PHILADELPHIA -- Chase Utley has ended the drama.

The Phillies second baseman, who came into Monday night's game against the Mets leading both leagues with 24 home runs, will compete in the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium.

He hits his 25th to lead off the fourth inning.

"I was asked a while ago (and) I pondered it a little bit," Utley said. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, the last All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. I couldn't pass that up."

This Monday night's Home Run Derby will mark the fifth straight year a Phillies player has competed. Bobby Abreu and Ryan Howard won the competition in back to back seasons, in 2005 and 2006.

Jim Thome competed in 2004 and Howard made his second straight trip a year ago.

"I'm going to tell him to make sure to get into that rhythm," Howard said. "Don't try to swing at every pitch, because you'll get tired quick."

Utley will take his cuts off Phillies catching instructor Mick Billmeyer, who threw to Thome in 2004.

"Splits and sinkers," Billmeyer said on what he had in store for Utley. "I'll just try to throw it where he can reach it, and if the timing isn't there, take it. It's that simple."

With 25 home runs in 89 games, Utley is only seven long balls away from tying his career high. He hit 32 in 2006.

Has his increased production surprised him?

"My goal every year is to try and improve; playing in a hitter-friendly ball park doesn't hurt," Utley said. "At the same time, you want to try to get better.

"I don't know if it's surprise. It's just a work in progress."

After hitting 11 home runs in the first month of the season, Utley was named the Natoonal League Player of the Month. He hit 19 home runs before June 1.

"I think here lately, he's kind of been slacking off, he hasn't kept up the same pace," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said before the game.

As if on cue, Utley homered in his second at bat.

"From here down," Billmeyer said, pointing toward his forearms. "He's as strong as anybody; he's got strong wrists, strong fingers, strong hands.

"And he's got that snap at the end is his bat. He's not leading the league in home runs because he's some big, burly guy."

Utley will compete against Florida's Dan Uggla, Houston's Lance Berkman, Cleveland's Grady Sizemore and Texas slugger Josh Hamilton. Three more players will be announced later this week.

"I think he'll be fine," Howard said. "There's a short porch to right (at Yankee Stadium). Lefties definitely have the advantage."

l l l

When the Phillies placed Tom Gordon on the disabled list late Sunday night, left-handed reliever R.J. Swindle was recalled from Lehigh Valley.

It's the second time in less than a week that Swindle has made the trip from Allentown to Philadelphia. Swindle, who turned 25 on Sunday, was up for two games last week in Atlanta before J.A. Happ was activated and after Brett Myers was demoted.

Swindle never left the bullpen.

"I was fine with it, they told me it was temporary," Swindle said at his new locker stall inside the Phillies clubhouse. "Obviously my goal was to come back up at some point during the season, by September. I didn't think it would be this quick.

:I'm just glad to get back up here and maybe get he chance to pitch this time and help the ball club."

Swindle made his debut in the sixth inning Monday night. He served up a home run to the first major league batter he faced, Mets all-star third baseman David Wright.

Swindle was 2-1 with a 1.52 ERA in 30 games between Lehigh Valley and Reading this year.

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