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Chase Utley ready to move past (no) suspension, focus on baseball

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PHOENIX -- Dodgers infielder Chase Utley said he has known for weeks that his two-game suspension for a late slide in Game 2 of the National League Division Series was rescinded, and that he is ready to move forward.

"I think it's good for everyone that we can put this behind us and focus on baseball," Utley said on Monday afternoon.

News broke Sunday that Utley would not receive any punishment for his slide into second base against the Mets last October that broke up a double play in what was ultimately a game-winning rally for the Dodgers, but also broke the right fibula of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada.

"I can't say enough how terrible I felt about what happened to Ruben. I had no intent to hurt him whatsoever, and anybody who thinks I did is completely wrong," Utley said Monday. "I'm happy he's healthy, he's in camp, and he's playing well. There's nobody happier than me, really."

Utley was initially suspended for two games by chief baseball officer Joe Torre during the NLDS, but Utley appealed. The appeal was postponed once the Dodgers were eliminated in the playoffs and it was no longer imminent.

"At the time he felt like he needed to make a quick decision," Utley recalled. "In the playoffs there are a lot of tension, and [Torre] did what he felt he needed to do."

Utley ended up never even having to appeal, with Torre letting him know the suspension would be rescinded "weeks ago," per Utley.

"He expressed to me what happened in the playoffs, after looking at other slides over the course of the years, that it was not much different than those slides and there were no suspensions there," Utley said. "At the end of the day, he believes the slide was not an illegal slide. Therefore, there should be no suspension. It was a tough situation for everyone. You never want to see an opposing player get hurt, ever."

On Feb. 25, MLB and the MLB Players Association jointly adopted new guidelines clarifying the interference rule and sliding to break up double plays, determining what makes a "bona fide" slide.

"We all have to see how it all plays out. A lot of us have played a certain way for a while," Utley said. "The neighborhood play is now reviewable so that will be different for middle infielders, and getting acquainted with it in spring training will help."

"I've been playing this game for a while now, and being a middle infielder I have come across a number of slides that have been similar and I understand it's part of the game. Now that we have a new rule in place, I definitely believe it will keep guys healthy.

"Like with the slide rule at home plate, I think that took a little bit of time to get adjusted to, but guys are staying healthy and that's the goal."