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Chase Utley deal with Dodgers made official

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Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers on Wednesday finalized and made official their signing of Chase Utley, bringing back the second baseman on a one-year contract worth a reported $7 million.

Utley, who turns 37 on Dec. 17, hit .212/.286/.343 in 107 games with the Phillies and Dodgers in 2015, including .202/.291/.363 in 34 games with the Dodgers after he was acquired on Aug. 19.

"You look at Chase Utley, the intangibles, I think he's a special player and can make our team better," manager Dave Roberts said on Monday, as seen on MLB Network.

He missed 37 games with right ankle inflammation, but after returning hit .258/.328/.439 over his final 42 games of the season.

"It got to a point where I felt comfortable with where the Dodgers were at and I wanted to be a part of what they're doing," Utley said on Wednesday. "It was an easy decision."

Utley, with 1,465 starts at second base in his career, also made three starts at third base with the Dodgers — his first career games at the position — and started once at first base. Utley's 1,479 career games at second base ranks third among active players and is tied for 39th all-time.

Utley said he has exchanged texts with new manager Dave Roberts, but hasn't yet spoken to him on the phone about his potential role on the team. While second base seems the most logical place for Utley to play, the Dodgers' press release listed Utley as an infielder.

"I still enjoy playing baseball and feel like I bring some things to the table that can help a ball club," Utley said. "We'll sit down with Dave, and see where it goes."

Utley said he will incorporate ground balls at third base in his offseason workouts, and after averaging 116 games per season for the last five years is trying to stay healthy enough to play every day in 2016.

"I spend a lot of time during this part of the year to play as many games as possible. This is a goal in my preparation," Utley said. "I'd like to play as much as possible."

Utley's two-game suspension for his hard slide/tackle into Ruben Tejada in Game 2 of the National League Division Series is still pending. Utley's appeal has not yet been heard, and he said on Wednesday that he's not sure when the appeal hearing will take place.

With Utley, the Dodgers have 39 players on the 40-man roster, and have $162.89 million committed to 15 players in 2016, not counting Hisashi Iwakuma, whose contract has not yet been finalized.