MLB saves Chase Utley from slide suspension

ESPN logo
Sunday, March 6, 2016

Major League Baseball has dropped Chase Utley's two-game suspension, meaning the Los Angeles Dodgers second baseman will be available to play Opening Day, sources confirmed to ESPN's Adam Rubin and Pedro Gomez.

Utley was suspended for his hard slide into New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. Tejada suffered a broken leg on the play.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the rescinded penalty.

Tejada offered no negative reaction to Utley's suspension being dropped.

"I don't care really," Tejada said. "I don't care. I care about me. I'm healthy here. I'm happy here. So I don't care about what's going to happen there or what's the decision they take there."

As Utley left the Dodgers game against the Giants in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Sunday, he told reporters, "We'll chat tomorrow. I'll be there."

First-year Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he's happy the situation can be put in the past.

"I didn't know what was official. You hear rumblings. But if that's the case, that's great," Roberts said Sunday. "That's great news for Chase, just for us to turn the page and move on."

In February,MLB and the players' union banned rolling block slides to break up potential double plays, hoping to prevent a repeat of the Utley takeout, which had not been illegal last season.

"It will definitely help keep guys healthy for sure," Utley said at the time of the rule change.

"I think the league has made an adjustment and made it pretty clear this year what's legal and what's illegal," Roberts said. "But as far as a suspension or anything like that for what happened last year in the postseason, I think the ruling was correct."

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said the bottom line is that he is pleased the sliding rule has been amended. He nonetheless appeared disappointed with the justification for MLB dropping Utley's suspension -- that punishment for similar slides was inconsistently enforced in the past.

Alderson noted that Mets reliever Hansel Robles will open the season with a two-game suspension, reduced from three games, for throwing in the direction of the head of Philadelphia's Cameron Rupp on Sept. 30. Robles did not hit Rupp with the quick pitch.

"As long as they're dropping penalties, they might as well drop his," Alderson dryly said.

Information from ESPN staff writer Doug Padilla and The Associated Press contributed to this report.