Utley still active but not in Game Three order
By Larry Fine
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley remained eligible to play in Monday's National League Divisional Series clash against the New York Mets on Monday as the appeal of his two-game suspension has not been heard, but he was not in the starting lineup.
Utley was suspended for what was deemed an illegal slide into Mets' shortstop Ruben Tejada, who suffered a broken right leg from a collision at second base during Saturday's second game of the best-of-five, which is tied at 1-1.
While Major League Baseball was ready to hear the appeal on Monday, the Players Association asked for more time to prepare for the hearing, which can be held up to 14 days after the discipline.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, who enjoyed a stellar career in New York as first baseman for the Yankees, said the charged atmosphere anticipated in the Big Apple and the focus on Utley was not a factor in his decision to start Howie Kendrick.
"We thought Howie has been swinging the bat good, and feel like he gives us the best chance to win today," Mattingly said.
Mattingly said the decision to play Kendrick, the regular second baseman, was taken on "baseball reasons" despite Utley's 6-for-18 mark against Mets starter Matt Harvey and not over concerns pegged to what could be a hostile crowd at Citi Field.
The play has caused a firestorm of debate on Twitter, at the water cooler and on talk radio on whether Utley's aggressive collision with Tejada was simply hard-nosed baseball or a reckless play.
The Dodgers manager said Utley had assured him he felt alright after taking a knock on the head in the collision. Continued...