Chase Utley, second baseman for the L.A. Dodgers, has been handed a two-game suspension for a slide that broke New York Mets shortstop Rubén Tejada’s leg Saturday, ESPN reports. Utley was ordered to sit out of the third and fourth games in the National League Division Series, though the league’s appeal process might allow him to play when the teams meet for Game 3 on Monday.*
During the second game in the series on Saturday, Utley slid forcefully into Tejada, sending Tejada flying and leaving him with a broken leg. Major League Baseball Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre said in a statement tweeted by Sports Illustrated that it can be difficult for umpires on the field to make the call between legitimate “hard plays” and illegal slides, but he had determined that Utley’s play had crossed the line:
[A]fter thoroughly reviewing the play from all conceivable angles, I have concluded that Mr. Utley’s action warrants discipline. While I sincerely believe that Mr. Utley had no intention of injuring Rubén 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 kind of rolling block that occurs away from the base.
Utley’s agent Joel Wolfe protested the punishment, describing the maneuver as simply an attempt to “break up the double play” and claiming that similar plays had not drawn suspensions, ESPN reports. Wolfe added that “Chase feels terrible about Rubén Tejada’s injury and everyone who knows him knows that he would never intentionally hurt anybody.”
Wolfe’s statement promised an appeal, and league officials have said they expect to respond to the appeal before the next game in the series starts on Monday in New York.
*Correction, Oct. 11, 2015: This post originally misidentified the National League Division Series.