NEW YORK – Safe at second base — and suspended for two games.
Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Chase Utley was banned for two playoff games by Major League Baseball on Sunday night following 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 Monday night at Citi Field.
An appeal would allow Utley to play until the hearing process is complete. MLB likely would try to resolve the matter Monday, 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, and Utley was even awarded second base after a replay review showed Tejada never touched the bag with his toe.
Torre said after a closer examination, he concluded Utley's slide was illegal.
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.
"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," he said.
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 Utley might start Game 3 because of his productive numbers against Mets pitcher Matt Harvey (6-for-18 with a homer) and the lefty-righty matchup.
The Dodgers said they stand behind Utley and his decision to appeal.
"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. 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 illegal slide and a legitimate hard play is an extremely difficult call for our umpires," Torre said.
"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."