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Chase Utley suspended 2 games for slide into Ruben Tejada, will appeal

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball has suspended Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Chase Utley for Games 3 and 4 of the National League Division Series for what the league deemed was an illegal slide into Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada.

Tejada broke his leg in the collision in the seventh inning of Saturday night's Game 2.

Utley will appeal the suspension. The Dodgers expect the matter to be heard quickly, likely well before game time Monday night, a source said.

"The Dodgers stand behind Chase Utley and his decision to appeal the suspension issued tonight by Major League Baseball," the team said in a statement.

"Chase did what all players are taught to do in this situation -- break up the double play," Utley's agent, Joel 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."

The league's discipline czar, Joe Torre, had said following Saturday's game that he would look into the matter and issued his ruling Sunday evening.

"After thoroughly reviewing the play from all conceivable angles, I have concluded that Mr. Utley's action warrants discipline," Torre said in a statement. "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."

Umpires ruled the play legal during 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," 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."

The Mets said they support the decision to suspend Utley.

"[The Mets] feel this was the appropriate course of action," the team said in a statement. "With this decision behind us, the team and our fans can now focus on playing winning baseball."

Torre also said the league has been in discussions with the MLB Players Association throughout the season about rule changes to protect middle infielders in such situations. He said those discussions will continue in the offseason.

The best-of-five series is tied at one game apiece, with Game 3 set for Monday night in New York.

Prior to the suspension being announced, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly had said there was a possibility Utley would start Game 3 because he is 6-for-18 with a home run off Mets starter Matt Harveyfor his career.

Mattingly also said before the announcement that Mets fans wouldn't have had a problem with the play had it been made by New York captain David Wright.

"If it would have been their guy, they would be saying, 'David Wright, hey, he's a gamer. He went after him. That's the way you gotta play,'" Mattingly told the Los Angeles Times. "But it's our guy. It's different.

"I know how ... the New York media gets a little bit going and it gets dramatic. But for me you can't have it both ways. If David would have done it, it wouldn't have been any problem here in New York."

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