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Chase Utley reportedly returns to Dodgers on 1-year deal

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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers are bringing back second baseman Chase Utley, reportedly signing the veteran to a one-year deal per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports said the two sides were close to a deal.

Utley's deal is reportedly worth "about $7 million," per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Utley, who turns 37 on Dec. 17, had the worst year of his career in 2015, hitting .212/.286/.343 with eight home runs and 21 doubles in 107 games. The longtime Phillies great was acquired by the Dodgers in Aug. 19 when Howie Kendrick was out with a hamstring injury, and hit just .202/.291/.363 in 34 games with Los Angeles.

He also missed 37 games while with the Phillies, on the disabled list with left ankle inflammation.

This is in many ways a bet on Utley's health, and a hope perhaps that a reduced role will keep Utley productive. That reduced role is presumed, because the Dodgers' two other in-house options for second base — Kiké Hernandez and Jose Peraza — are both right-handed batters and could use a left-handed complement.

Justin Turner also gets regular days off at third base and is coming off knee surgery, and the Dodgers didn't really have a backup currently on the roster. Whether Utley is that backup remains to be seen, though he did start three games there and play all of 25 innings at the hot corner with the Dodgers, his first major league time at the position.

The Dodgers declined Utley's $11 million 2016 option on Nov. 6, with the Phillies paying the $2 million buyout as part of the August trade.

The other pending piece of business with Utley is the appeal of his two-game suspension for slide tackling Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in Game 2 of the NLDS, with Tejada breaking his leg on the play.