NEW YORK (Reuters) - A rough slide by the Dodgers’ Chase Utley that broke the right leg of Mets’ shortstop Ruben Tejada on Saturday has charged up emotions as the National League Division Series shifts to New York on Monday.
Some considered Utley’s aggressive effort to break up a potential double play simply hard-nosed baseball, while others saw it as an unnecessarily late, dirty hit.
The seventh-inning play was a turning point in the 5-2 Los Angeles victory, as a run scored on the play that tied the game 2-2 and led to three more runs in the inning.
The win tied the best-of-five 1-1, ended Panamanian Tejada’s season and could lead to on-field reprisals from the Mets when action resumes in front of a charged-up Citi Field crowd in the series that sends one of the clubs to the NL Championship Series.
Joe Torre, Major League Baseball’s Chief Baseball Officer, whose job includes on-field discipline, said he was looking into the play.
“I’d hate to think that Utley tried to hurt somebody,” Torre told reporters at Dodger Stadium after the game. “It certainly was late. That concerns me. The lateness of the slide.
“I’m looking at it just to see if there’s anything we feel should be done,” he added about whether Utley might be disciplined.
“I have to determine if I thought it was ‘excessive,’ I guess, is the word, on the slide.”
Mets manager Terry Collins said it was over and done with, but when asked about how his team felt, replied: “Yeah, they’re angry. They’re not very happy about it.”
Utley, a veteran second baseman who joined the Dodgers in midseason from the Philadelphia Phillies, said he was just playing hard.
“Anytime you have an opportunity to break up a double play, you should do your best to do that,” he said.
“I feel terrible that he was injured. I had no intent to hurt him whatsoever,” added Utley, who did not remain on the diamond to see if Tejada, who laid on the ground, was all right.
Mets captain David Wright said: “I have a problem with the play on a number of different levels.
“He’s running to second base with Ruben’s back turned. I don’t know what his intent is.”
Other current and former major league players weighed in via Twitter.
“It bothered me to see Utley’s slide and the way he went after Tejada. Being a 2nd base man he needed to think how to break the DP not his leg,” said Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez.
Shane Victorino, Utley’s former Phillies teammate, said: “Always called him one of my toughest teammates...Utley showing why I always called him a winner!!!”
Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond said: “Clean or dirty doesn’t matter at this point. Dodgers not giving the runs back. Chase will gladly take repercussions.”
Editing by Andrew Both