"Same guy," Utley said.
So this doesn't surprise him?
"No," he said.
Utley, whose homer in the fourth was the 200th of his career, joined Ryan Howard in the lineup. Howard missed last season's opener because of an injured left Achilles.
"It's pretty obvious the physical significance of it," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said before the game. "But maybe even as importantly, just their overall presence, just having them around, having them active has an immediate impact on our club. You talk about the core players on our team, and they're two very important ones. Missing those guys makes quite an impact, not just physically, but the psyche of the club."
Manager Charlie Manuel agreed, even after the loss. How couldn't he after watching Utley hit the ball hard and run the bases well?
"Yeah, when Ut is on, he's still a real good player," Manuel said. "And tonight he had a good night, and that's great. I'm sure that's going to play a big part in our success down the road."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.