Major League Baseball has suspended Dodgers infielder Chase Utley two games for his slide in the seventh inning of Game 2 of the National League Division Series on Saturday. Utley’s agent, Joel Wolfe, said in a statement that Utley will appeal the suspension.
Game 3 of the series is Monday at Citi Field. Utley should know by then whether or not he will be eligible to play. If he is not eligible, the Dodgers would be limited to 24 players for Games 3 and 4.
Wolfe issued this statement explaining the basis for their appeal: “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.”
Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada suffered a fractured right fibula on the play. Utley expressed regret over the injury last night in postgame interviews and apologized to Tejada in a text message to teammate David Wright, according to one report.
The Mets issued the following statement Sunday night:
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.
In a statement Sunday, MLB declared Utley’s slide illegal. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters that he believed Utley’s slide was legal.
“I’ve seen slides all year long,” Mattingly said. “I’ve seen a number of them look just like. You’re trying to break up two. I think as you’re going full speed, you’re trying to break up two. I don’t think you’re — again, I saw the slide. He hit the ground first. Yeah, I’ve seen people say it’s late. You could say it was late, but to me it was legal.”
The Dodgers issued a statement late Sunday saying only that the club “stands behind Chase Utley and his decision to the suspension issued tonight by MLB.”