Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Chase Utley has been suspended for Games Three and Four of the National League Division Series as a result of his illegal slide in the bottom of the seventh inning of Saturday night’s Game Two at Dodger Stadium, Major League Baseball Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre announced. Utley is appealing the ruling and may be able to play in tonight’s game.
“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,” Torre said in a Sunday release. “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.”
Torre added: “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.
MLB has been in discussions with the Players Association throughout the year regarding a potential rule change aimed at protecting middle infielders, Torre noted.