This might have been the first time fans anywhere did not want to see Yasiel Puig. As Puig emerged and was introduced as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning Monday, the chant erupted from every corner at Citi Field: “We Want Utley!”
The fans here wanted Chase Utley’s hide during pregame introductions. The boos were long and loud and merciless, and Utley was decidedly and impressively stoic as the camera lingered. The “Utley Sucks” chants resumed later, alternated with the “We Want Utley!” chants.
The crowd did not get its wish. Utley, whose slide Saturday resulted in a broken leg for New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada, did not play Monday in the Dodgers’ 13-7 loss to the Mets in Game 3 of the National League division series.
Utley had been suspended for two games, but he remained eligible pending an appeal hearing. Officials from the league and players’ union conferred Monday and hope to set a date for the appeal hearing Tuesday.
“I’d like to think it can be done before the end of the series,” Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said.
Mets Manager Terry Collins said he had ordered his team to focus on the game, not to retaliate. Collins said he was surprised that the Dodgers did not start Utley, who had six hits in 18 career at-bats against Mets starter Matt Harvey, and wondered whether Utley might have been hurt in the collision with Tejada. Mattingly said the team went with regular second baseman Howie Kendrick for “baseball reasons,” not because Utley was injured, or because the Dodgers were concerned for his safety had he played.
Mattingly said he watched MLB Network on Monday and saw what he called “similar” slides that did not result in suspensions. Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers’ ace, said he thought the league was “maybe a little bit bullied” into the suspension, levied by chief baseball officer Joe Torre.
“Never happened before,” Kershaw said. “I’ve seen slides a lot worse.”
Said Manfred: “The thought of Joe Torre being bullied by anyone I find to be just a little laughable.”
Utley did not comment beyond a statement in which he reiterated he felt “terrible” about the injury and saying he would concentrate on the game.
On Sunday, he had sent regrets to Tejada via a text message to Mets third baseman David Wright. On Monday, Wright pointedly declined to say whether he thought the message was sincere.
“I got the text and I passed it to Ruben,” Wright said.
Times staff writer Dylan Hernandez contributed to this story.