NEW YORK — Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley was suspended two playoff games by Major League Baseball on Sunday night for his late takeout slide that broke New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada’s right leg.
Utley’s agent called the penalty “outrageous and completely unacceptable” and said there would be an appeal.
The Mets and Dodgers are tied at 1-all in the best-of-five NL Division Series. Game 3 is scheduled for tonight at Citi Field.
An appeal would allow Utley to play until the hearing process is complete. MLB would likely try to resolve the matter today, before the series resumes.
In handing down the penalty, MLB executive Joe Torre called it an illegal slide. Umpires ruled it a legal play Saturday night.
Torre said after a complete review, he concluded Utley’s slide merited punishment.
Utley’s agent, Joel Wolfe, saw it differently.
“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,” Wolfe said in a statement.
“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,” he said.
When the Mets and Dodgers played in the 1988 NL Championship Series, there also was a suspension. Reliever Jay Howell was penalized three games for having pine tar in his glove —he appealed, and his suspension was cut to two games.
The 36-year-old Utley, a six-time All-Star, has a part-time role with the Dodgers after they acquired him Aug. 19 from Philadelphia. But before the suspension was announced, manager Don Mattingly said the infielder might start Game 3 because of his solid numbers against Mets pitcher Matt Harvey and the lefty-righty matchup.