Utley not in Dodgers’ lineup for Game 3 vs Mets

Author: the associated press
Published: Updated:

(AP) — Chase Utley was not in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ starting lineup for Game 3 of their NL Division Series against the New York Mets on Monday night.

Instead of Utley, Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly started Howie Kendrick at second.

Utley appealed his two-game suspension assessed by Major League Baseball on Sunday night for an illegal slide in Game 2, which broke the right leg of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada. The appeal meant the penalty could not start until after a hearing and a decision.

Utley’s hearing didn’t take place Monday. The sides were still trying to agree to a schedule.

Kendrick is 1 for 6 against Mets Game 3 starter Matt Harvey, while Utley is 6 for 18.

“I’m a little surprised,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “Don knows his team better than me, but I got the same stats he’s got, and I know he swings the bat pretty good against Matt Harvey.”

Collins also did not expect any attempts by his players to retaliate. He said Harvey had “been told.”

“This is too big a game. We need to not worry about retaliating,” he said. “We need to worry about winning. … The one thing we can’t do is cost ourselves a game, and this particular game, because we’re angry. We can play angry, but we’ve got to play under control.”

MLB and the players’ union were working to set up the appeal hearing before special assistant to the commissioner John McHale Jr., a person familiar with the process told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized. The sides spoke with McHale late Monday, giving their positions on when the hearing should be held.

Utley was penalized Sunday by Joe Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer, who said Utley’s takeout of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in Game 2 on Saturday was an “illegal slide.”

The tying run scored on the play, the first of four runs in the inning, and the Dodgers went on to win 5-2 and tie the series at one game apiece. If umpires had ruled the slide an illegal takeout, they could have called an inning-ending double play, which would have left the Mets ahead 2-1.

Utley asked the union to appeal the discipline. His agent, Joel Wolfe, said “a two-game suspension for a legal baseball play is outrageous and completely unacceptable.”

“The players association and my agent are handling the appeals process,” Utley said in a statement Monday. “I have nothing more to say other than to reiterate that I feel terrible about Ruben’s injury. Now my teammates and I are focused on Game 3 and doing everything we can to win this series.”

Under the sport’s collective bargaining agreement, the hearing is to start within 14 days of MLB receiving the appeal. Penalties are held in abeyance pending a decision on the appeal.

Then with Philadelphia, Utley also angered the Mets in 2010 when he slid hard into Tejada. Harvey hit Utley on the back with a 95 mph fastball at Citi Field on April 14 after Philadelphia’s David Buchanan plunked Wilmer Flores and Michael Cuddyer, both on the left hand.

McHale had been MLB’s executive vice president of administration from 2002 until April, when he received his new title. He has continued his role of hearing appeals of on-field discipline.

Before joining the commissioner’s office, McHale had been Colorado’s executive vice president of baseball operations, Detroit’s chief executive officer and Tampa Bay’s chief operating officer.

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