MLB Drops Chase Utley Suspension
Seems like only a few days since we told you that Major League Baseball is adopting a new “Utley Rule” to prevent hard, injurious slides at second base — you know, the kind former Phillies second baseman Chase Utley used to break Ruben Tejada’s leg last year during the playoffs.
The league said last fall that Utley — now a Dodger —would be suspended two games for the wipeout, but there’s been a change of heart. Baseball officials said Sunday the suspension is being lifted, the reports.
Why the leniency? Well , you may have noticed that MLB implemented the rule against such slides … just a few days ago. Months after Utley’s slide. Joe Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer, admitted the ex post facto rule-making would make it difficult for MLB to uphold the suspension on appeal.
“I think it would have been an issue,” Torre said. “There wasn’t anything clear-cut to say that play violated a rule.”
“It’s unfortunate that Chase got demonized by all of this,” said Utley’s agent, Joel Wolfe. “He has never intended to hurt another player. He’s taken great pride in always playing the game the right way and giving maximum effort every time he steps on the field. MLB determined this was a clean play within the rules, an acceptable play, and a hearing wasn’t necessary.”
Utley spent parts of 13 seasons — including the 2008 World (Bleeping) Championship season — with the Phillies before last season’s trade to the Dodgers.