Chase Utley’s appeal hearing will probably happen during spring training

Ruben Tejada, Chase Utley

The Dodgers’ Chase Utley upends Mets infielder Ruben Tejada at second base in Game 2 of the National League division series.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Chase Utley is expected to get his chance to appeal his two-game suspension, probably during spring training.

No date has been set for the appeal hearing, according to a person familiar with the matter but not authorized to discuss it. If the full suspension is upheld, Utley would miss the first two games of the Dodgers’ season. If the suspension is reduced to one game, Utley would miss opening day.

Utley was suspended after his controversial slide in Game 2 of the National League division series left New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada with a broken leg.

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In announcing the suspension for what Major League Baseball called an “illegal slide,” Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre cited Utley for a “rolling block ... away from the base.” Joel Wolfe, the agent for Utley, called the slide “a legal baseball play” and termed the suspension “outrageous and completely unacceptable.” Wolfe had collected videos of what he considered similar slides that did not result in suspensions.

MLB had intended to hear Utley’s appeal before Game 3 of the NLDS, but the hearing was delayed for one week after the players’ union exercised its right to ask for more time to prepare. As it turned out, Utley did not play in Games 3 and 4 -- the two games for which he would have been suspended -- and the scheduled Oct. 19 appeal hearing was postponed indefinitely because the Dodgers had been eliminated by then.

The Dodgers re-signed Utley for one year and $7 million, and he had been expected to share playing time at second base with Enrique Hernandez. The Dodgers this week reportedly entered negotiations to bring back second baseman Howie Kendrick, who had rejected the team’s offer of a one-year, $15.8-million contract. The Dodgers had hoped to collect an extra draft pick when Kendrick signed elsewhere, but he remains available in free agency, making it plausible that no team would surrender a draft pick to sign him.


Twitter: @BillShaikin 


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