This is a different kind of offseason for Chase Utley, different because he is not off at all.



If you saw Utley play over the final weeks of the Phillies' season, you saw him run after pop ups down the right-field line, sprint toward the third-base line to be the trailer on a cut-off from the gap, race to cover first base on a bunt, and swiftly go first to third on a base hit.



Frankly, he looked like the Utley of old, the guy he was before his knees, maybe for reasons of wear and tear, maybe, as he once said, for reasons associated with heredity, betrayed him in his early 30s.



Despite moving so well in the final weeks of the season, the cartilage problems in Utley's knees are not behind him. His condition must constantly be managed – before games, after games and in the offseason.



That's why, less than a week after the Phillies' 2012 season ended, and two months before his 34th birthday, Utley is already at work, trying to stabilize his knees and the areas around them, so that he may participate in spring training games for the first time since 2010 and be ready for opening day for the first time since that same year.



Utley missed the first 46 games in 2011 and the first 76 in 2012 as he fought off knee pain. He believes he's learned enough about his condition, technically called chondromalacia, that he should be able to get on the field earlier and more often in 2013, but is taking nothing for granted this winter. Re-starting activity after periods of rest gave him problems the last two winters. That's why there will be no rest this offseason.