New York — Baseball made its call on the Chase Utley slide: out.
Officials for Major League Baseball and the players union banned rolling blocks to break up potential double plays, hoping to prevent a repeat of the takeout by Utley that broke the leg of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada during last year’s playoffs.
“From my understanding, we’ve been trying to work on this for a few years now,” Utley said at Dodgers camp, “so I don’t think one instance determined everything.”
Maybe, but fans may see it another way — the Chase Utley Rule.
Under the change announced Thursday, a runner must attempt a “bona-fide slide,” defined as making contact with the ground ahead of the base, being in position to and trying to reach the base with a hand or foot, trying to remain on the base after the slide, and sliding within reach of the base without changing his path to initiate contact with a fielder.
An umpire can call both the runner and batter out for a violation. Baserunners may not elevate or kick a leg above the fielder’s knee or throw his arm or upper body.
A runner who makes a permissible slide cannot be charged with interference, even if he makes contact with a fielder.
“I imagine there will be a little bit of an adjustment for the middle infielders, but also the baserunners,” Utley said.
Tejada missed the World Series because of the injury sustained at Dodger Stadium in the National League Division Series.
Utley was suspended two games, a penalty still under appeal.
Baseball and union officials also agreed to limit mound visits by managers and pitching coaches to 30 seconds and to cut the countdown clock for between-innings breaks by 20 seconds, to 2:05 for most games and 2:25 for nationally televised matchups.
Around the horn
Outfielder Dexter Fowler agreed to stay with the Cubs, spurning a $33 million, three-year offer from the Orioles to accept a $13 million, one-year deal that includes a mutual option for 2017.
... Giants right-hander Matt Cain underwent surgery on to remove a cyst in his right arm, but officials aren’t ruling out his ability to open the season in the rotation.
... Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner will take a slow approach at camp because of a lingering wrist injury. He bruised his left wrist running into the wall in the wild-card game against the Astros.