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Dodgers’ Chase Utley banned two games for breaking opponent’s leg – SportsUntapped.com
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Added October 13th, 2015 by Ian

Dodgers’ Chase Utley banned two games for breaking opponent’s leg
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Infielder Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers was suspended for two games by Major League Baseball for an illegal slid which broke the leg of an opponent. Utley slid into second base during the Dodgers vs New York Mets playoff game at Dodger Stadium on October 10th and broke the leg of shortstop Ruben Tejada. Utley was banned for games three and four of the best-of-five National League Division Series in New York.

However, Utley has appealed the suspension and he’ll be allowed to play until the matter is settled. This means he was able to dress for the third game of the series on October 12th with the teams each winning a game in Los Angeles. The slide occurred in the seventh inning of the second game, but television replays showed it was more of a tackle than a slide. Baseball fans and experts are divided on the issue as some feel he deserves the suspension or even a longer one while other believe he shouldn’t have been banned at all.

The suspension shows that MLB is trying to eliminate plays where base runners deliberately go out of their way when trying to break up double plays by sliding into infielders. Joe Torre who is in charge of discipline for MLB sent a message to players with the suspension as he felt the slide crossed the line of tolerable physical play. The Dodgers of course stood behind Utley and his appeal while the Mets said the two-game ban was certainly deserved especially since Tejada is now sidelined for the remainder of the postseason.

Joel Wolfe, who acts as Utley’s agent, told the press, “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.”

Torre said he didn’t think the collision was too bad when he witnessed it live, but changed his mind after viewing replays of the incident from several different angles. Torre added that he doesn’t believe Utley meant to cause an injury to Tejada, but the alleged slide was actually a rolling block which violated the official rules of Major League Baseball and Utley deserved to be punished for his actions. Oddly enough though, the game umpires ruled the play to be legal.
Torre stated that MLB and the league’s players association have been discussing rule changes to better protect players in this type of situation. The league has already introduced a new rule to protect catchers from home-plate collisions, but there’s no protection at any of the other bases. Torre announced that the discussions will continue during the winter.

 
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