Chase Utley will be suspended for two games of the National League Division Series.
The Los Angeles Dodgers infielder was involved in a controversial play in Saturday’s Game 2 win over the New York Mets. While trying to break up a double play at second base, Utley slid into Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada, who suffered a broken leg and will miss the remainder of the playoffs.
Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s chief baseball officer, issued the following statement:
“I recognize that there has been much commentary and many questions regarding the unfortunate play in last night’s game in which Ruben Tejada was injured. As I said after the game, the determination of whether a baserunner has intentionally interfered with a player attempting to turn a double play is left to the judgment of the Umpire on the field, and that judgment call is not subject to review. I should add that determining where to draw the line between an illegal slide and a legitimate hard play is an extremely difficult call for our Umpires.
“However, after thoroughly reviewing the play from all conceivable angles, I have concluded that Mr. Utley’s action warrants discipline. While I sincerely believe that Mr. Utley had no intention of injuring Ruben Tejada, and was attempting to help his Club in a critical situation, I believe his slide was in violation of Official Baseball Rule 5.09 (a)(13), which is designed to protect fielders from precisely this type of rolling block that occurs away from the base.
“We have been in discussions with the Players Association throughout the year regarding potential rule changes to better protect middle infielders, and we intend to continue those discussions this offseason.”
The Mets said in their own statement they “completely support” the suspension, calling it the “appropriate course of action.”
Utley will appeal, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
“A two game suspension for a legal baseball play is outrageous and completely unacceptable,” Utley’s agent, Joel Wolfe, said in a statement. “Chase did what all players are taught to do in this situation — break up the double play. We routinely see plays at second base similar to this one that have not resulted in suspensions. Chase feels terrible about Ruben Tejada’s injury and everyone who knows him knows that he would never intentionally hurt anybody. We will be appealing this suspension immediately.”
Utley could be eligible to play in Game 3 on Monday.
Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Chase Utley makes a hard slide in NLDS Games 2