Mets' Tejada breaks leg after takeout slide by Dodgers' Utley
New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada broke his right leg when a takeout slide by the Los Angeles Dodgers' Chase Utley's flipped the shortstop in the seventh inning of Game 2 of the NL Division Series on Saturday night.
The Mets were leading 2-1 when the Dodgers put runners at the corners with one out against Noah Syndergaard. Bartolo Colon relieved, and Howie Kendrick hit a grounder up the middle.
Second baseman Daniel Murphy flipped to Tejada, who took the throw awkwardly for an apparent force as Utley slid past the bag and slammed into him, causing Tejada to flip over as the tying run scored from third.
"I feel terrible that he was injured. I had no intent to hurt him whatsoever," said Utley, who had reached with a pinch-hit single. "Any time there's a double play you should do your best to break it up."
Tejada was put on a flatbed vehicle after an air cast was placed on his leg. The Mets said Tejada sustained a fractured right fibula.
Mets infielder Kelly Johnson called it a "tackle." Asked about the play, second baseman Daniel Murphy said, "Slide would be generous."
"Only Chase knows going in there what the intent was," third baseman David Wright said. "I have a problem with the play on a number of different levels, one being the slide itself. In my opinion, he wasn't anywhere close to the bag. With that being said, he never touched the bag. And I think the 'neighborhood play' is there to protect players. ... It definitely seemed like after that play we lost the momentum and they came up with some big hits."
Utley was ruled safe on a video review, which determined Tejada's foot missed the bag. Utley also appeared not to touch the base.
Los Angeles scored four runs in the inning and went on to win 5-2 to even the series.
Major League Baseball executive Joe Torre said he will review the controversial slide for possible disciplinary action.
"I'd hate to think that Utley tried to hurt somebody," said Torre, MLB's chief baseball officer. "It certainly was late. That concerns me. The lateness of the slide. ... I'm looking at it to see if anything should be done."
Torre, a former manager of the Dodgers and New York Yankees, was at Dodger Stadium for the game.
"I have to determine if I thought it was excessive," he said. "Not that you shouldn't slide hard, but as I said, just the late slide is probably the only thing that is in question."
A comment in the Official Baseball Rules to Rule 5.09 (a) (13) says umpires could have called an inning-ending double play if they decided Utley had gone outside the baseline and interfered with Tejada fielding the throw.
"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 comment says. "Obviously this is an umpire's judgment play."
Utley was only about a foot off the base. Torre said second base umpire Chris Guccione ruled it was a legal slide on the field.
"That's a judgment call," Torre said. "I'm still watching replays of it. They get a chance, one shot to look at it. ... I can't fault the umpire for everything he had to look at."
Torre also said umpires were correct to award Utley second base after the Dodgers asked for a video review, which determined Tejada did not touch the base on the play. Utley did not touch the base on the slide.
"He never needed to touch the base because the umpire called him out," Torre said. "You're correcting the umpire's mistake. In that situation, going to replay and they see the runner never touched the base, but the umpire called him out, by replay rules we can correct the situation and put the runner on the bag."
Torre said Tejada was not subject to the protection of the "neighborhood play" which allows fielders to not touch the base but still be credited with the out. The throw Tejada received from second baseman Daniel Murphy took Tejada away from the bag.
"This wasn't a neighborhood play because (of Tejada) spinning around and reaching for the ball and stuff like that," Torre said.
Other players telling me same as what Ripken and @tonygwynnjr are saying - by spinning, Tejada left himself vulnerable.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 11, 2015
#MLB explanation on Utley/Tejada: Umpires on field determined play was reviewable as a force play, not the neighborhood play.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) October 11, 2015
#MLB rule: Replay Official "shall place base runners on bases he believes they would have reached had reviewed call been made correctly."— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) October 11, 2015
Yes, fair point, I should have said legal as opposed to clean. https://t.co/Cnn8SqgcrN— CJ Nitkowski (@CJNitkowski) October 11, 2015