Dodgers infielder Chase Utley will not have to serve a suspension for his controversial slide into Ruben Tejada in last season’s NLDS, a source tells Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). Utley was supposed to sit out two more games to round out his suspension.
During the seventh inning of Game 2 of the NLDS, Utley’s hard slide broke up a double play and broke Tejada’s fibula. In the end, the Mets bested the Dodgers and went on to the World Series, but they were subsequently without the services of their starting shortstop.
MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre determined that Utley made a “rolling block … away from the base” when he took out Tejada. However, there was no rule against such a slide until this winter.
The 36-year-old Utley joined the Dodgers after an August trade with the Phillies and hit just .202/.291/.363, numbers that don’t come close to his All-Star years. In December, the Dodgers and Utley reached agreement on a new one-year, $7MM deal. This year, the Dodgers might be hoping he improves somewhat offensively, making him a valuable player when coupled with his defensive abilities.
When asked for his reaction to today’s news, Mets GM Sandy Alderson said he’s just glad the sliding rule has been changed, as Adam Rubin of ESPN.com writes.