Chase Utley Suspended for Two Games at Citi Field, Will Appeal
A day after Joe Torre told the New York Post “he was in reach of the bag,” Chase Utley has been suspended for his “illegal” slide. The MLB statement on the suspension says they do not believe Utley intended to injure anyone, but the slide was in violation of rule 5.09 (a)(13). For what it’s worth, here’s the rule from the official rulebook:
“A preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play.”
A comment added to the rule in the rulebook continues, saying “The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base.”
The Mets released a thank you statement, and Utley’s agent said that they’ll be appealing. “A two-game suspension for a legal baseball play is outrageous and completely unacceptable,” he said. The hearing will likely be tomorrow, before Game 3, in order to figure it all out before any unnecessary time is wasted.
If Utley wins the appeal, and plays tomorrow night, he can probably expect to be thrown at. If not by Matt Harvey, then by Mets fans.
UPDATE: According to Jon Heyman, the MLB wants to do the hearing today, but the players union wants time to prepare. Under the rules, Utley would be able to play while his appeal is pending.