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Chase Utley Suspended 2 Games for Slide into Ruben Tejada in Game 2 of NLDS

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10:  Ruben Tejada #11 of the New York Mets is hit by a slide by Chase Utley #26 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the seventh inning in an attempt to turn a double play in game two of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The New York Mets can't get their Game 2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series back, but they can at least take solace in the fact that Major League Baseball considers Chase Utley’s slide into second base worthy of a suspension.

MLB Communications announced Sunday that Utley would be suspended for two games for his slide in the seventh inning of Saturday's contest. Here is the full statement:

MLB Communications @MLB_PR

LAD INF Utley has been suspended for Games 3 & 4 of NLDS as a result of his illegal slide in the 7th inning on Sat. http://t.co/ktAjmXWFaR

However, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports noted that Utley will appeal the suspension, adding that the infielder will "cite a number of similar slides that did not result in discipline." Utley's appeal has yet to be heard.

Continue for updates.


Latest on Status of Utley's Appeal

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Tuesday, Oct. 13

Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reported there will not be a hearing Tuesday prior to Game 4 of the NLDS. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reported, per a source, that Utley's hearing will be Oct. 19.

Utley's appeal was not heard prior to Monday's game, making him eligible for the contest. Despite being eligible to play, the Dodgers did not include Utley in the team's starting lineup for Game 3.

After announcing the lineup, manager Don Mattingly said Utley was left out for "baseball reasons," via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.

Earlier Monday, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman tweeted that the league wanted the hearing prior to Game 3, but the union wanted time to prepare. Heyman added the collective bargaining agreement "mandates appeals be within 14 days."

Prior to Game 3, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said he "hopes" the appeal can be heard prior to the end of the series, via Shaikin.


Utley Reportedly Offered Lesser Ban Prior to Suspension

Monday, Oct. 12

ESPN's Buster Olney reported before giving Utley a two-game suspension, MLB originally asked him to take a one-game suspension for Game 3, but he said no.


Reaction, Comments to Controversial Play

The slide broke Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada's right leg and sparked the critical four-run rally that allowed the Dodgers to win, 5-2.

New York held a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning, but Los Angeles had runners on the corners with one out. Howie Kendrick hit a ground ball, and Utley slid outside and well past second base to break up a potential double play. He slammed into Tejada in the process and was eventually called safe after a replay review because the Mets shortstop never touched the bag.

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com pointed out how strange it was that Utley was ruled safe:

Jayson Stark @jaysonst

A stunner from MLB. Chase Utley suspended for next 2 games. Even more bizarre now that he was called safe https://t.co/fgxb7TKyBG

After the ruling, Adrian Gonzalez and Justin Turner drove in runs with doubles, and the Dodgers proceeded to even the series at a game apiece.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post said Los Angeles will play with 24 players if the suspension is eventually upheld.

Utley's agent Joel Wolfe released the following statement regarding the suspension, via Rosenthal:

A two-game suspension for a legal baseball play is outrageous and completely unacceptable. 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.

ESPN Stats & Info highlighted why the result of the appeal will be critical in the series:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Chase Utley: suspended for 2 games (can appeal) Utley: 6-18 (.333 BA) vs Game 3 starter Matt Harvey .403 career OBP in postseason

Mets fans were understandably upset in the immediate aftermath of the play that broke Tejada’s leg and cost their team a chance to go up 2-0 in the series. Gary Parrish of CBS Sports echoed that sentiment:

Gary Parrish @GaryParrishCBS

(Now maybe some of you idiots will stop pretending he was just playing the game the right way and hard.)

Utley commented on the play after the game, via the Associated Press (via ESPN.com): "I feel terrible that he was injured. I had no intent to hurt him whatsoever. Anytime there's a double play you should do your best to break it up."

Utley said he wasn't trying to hurt anyone, but Mets third baseman David Wright was not pleased with what happened, according to the AP (via ESPN.com):

Only Chase knows going in there what the intent was. I have a problem with the play on a number of different levels, one being the slide itself. In my opinion, he wasn't anywhere close to the bag. With that being said, he never touched the bag. And I think the "neighborhood play" is there to protect players. ... It definitely seemed like after that play we lost the momentum and they came up with some big hits.

The AP piece noted that there is a history between the two players. In 2010, when Utley was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, the Mets were upset when he went in with a hard takeout slide on Tejada.

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