“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.”Torre was the Dodgers’ manager from 2008-10, when Mattingly was the club’s hitting coach, and the Mets’ manager from 1977-81.The Dodgers said in a statement that they “stand behind Chase Utley and his decision to appeal the suspension issued (Sunday) by MLB.”Chris Guccione, the second base umpire in Game 2 Sunday, did not rule Utley out for interference. In fact, after the Dodgers challenged Guccione’s “out” call, Utley was allowed to stay on second base — despite never making contact with the bag – because Tejada’s foot was off the bag when he received the throw from Daniel Murphy and Utley left the field thinking he was out.Torre defended Guccione’s judgment after the game, but reversed course in his statement Sunday.“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,” Torre said. “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.“However, after thoroughly reviewing the play from all conceivable angles, I have concluded that Mr. Utley’s action warrants discipline,” Torre continued. “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.”Torre said that the league will experiment with a rule requiring runners to slide into second base during the upcoming Arizona Fall League season.That’s of little consolation to the Mets, who are now without their starting shortstop for the remainder of the postseason. Wilmer Flores will replace Tejada in the starting lineup. Triple-A infielder Matt Reynolds is expected to be officially added to the Mets’ playoff roster today.“I said entering this series defense is going to be important, very important,” Collins said Saturday. “So we thought (Tejada) would be the guy. Now we’re going to have to ask Wilmer to step up. Relax, play with a little relaxation that I don’t think there is any pressure on him. Just play the game the way he knows how. And I think he will.”Before the suspension was announced Sunday, Collins reiterated that he believed Utley’s slide was late.“Where he hit Ruben on the field, certainly was something that needs to be addressed,” Collins said. “A two-game suspension for a legal baseball play is outrageous and completely unacceptable,” Wolfe said in his statement. “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.”Utley expressed regret over the injury Saturday night in postgame interviews and apologized to Tejada via a text message to Mets third baseman David Wright, according to one report.MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer, Joe Torre, ruled that Utley’s slide violated rule 5.09(a)(13). This rule declares a batter – in this case, Howie Kendrick – is out when “a preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play.”Baseball’s rulebook goes on to state that “the objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play.”Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told reporters Sunday that he believed Utley’s slide was legal. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Major League Baseball suspended Dodgers infielder Chase Utley two games Sunday for his slide that injured Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in the seventh inning of Game 2 of the National League Division Series. Utley’s agent, Joel Wolfe, said in a statement that Utley will appeal the suspension.The series resumes Monday, with Game 3 scheduled for 5:37 p.m. Pacific Time at Citi Field. Utley is allowed to play until the appeal process is complete. If he loses the appeal, the Dodgers’ roster would be reduced to 24 players. Given the timing and importance of the suspension, the process could be expedited prior to Game 3.Tejada suffered a fractured right fibula on the play.
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