LOS ANGELES -- Chase Utley was suspended for two games by MLB for his slide into Ruben Tejada during Saturday's Game 2 of the National League Division Series, the league announced on Sunday.
Tejada suffered a broken right fibula on the play, under the microscope of postseason baseball on national television, which is the real impetus for the action taken by MLB.
"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," MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre said in a statement, "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."
Utley plans to appeal.
Utley's agent, Joel Wolfe, calls the suspension "outrageous and completely unacceptable."— Ken Gurnick (@kengurnick) October 12, 2015
MLB special assistant John McHale will hear Utley's appeal. #Dodgers #Mets— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) October 12, 2015
I'm told MLB will try to expedite Utley's appeal hearing tomorrow so matter can be decided by game time.— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 12, 2015
From Joel Wolfe, Utley's agent: "We routinely see plays at second base similar to this one that have not resulted in suspensions."— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 12, 2015
However many games Utley might miss, the Dodgers will not be able to replace him on the roster. They would have to play with 24 players.
The Dodgers issued a statement: "The Dodgers stand behind Chase Utley and his decision to appeal the suspension issued tonight by Major League Baseball. The club will have no further comment at this time."
The Mets issued a statement as well, with the opposite view, saying, "The New York Mets completely support the decision made by Major League Baseball to suspend Chase Utley for two games and feel this was the appropriate course of action. With this decision behind us, the team and our fans can now focus on playing winning baseball."
None of this is particularly surprising, with just about every actor playing their part in an all-too-familiar play. But the key part of the press release is the most important part of this whole ordeal going forward, which could lead to changing the script in the long term.
"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 this discussions this offseason," Torre said.
All this boils down to is there needs to be a rule change...which with this instance among others will happen.— Brett Anderson (@BrettAnderson35) October 12, 2015