ARLINGTON, Texas - R.A. Dickey chose diplomacy.
The former Met was a teammate of Ruben Tejada from 2010-12 and is quite familiar with Chase Utley, a former member of the Phillies.
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"I can see both sides," said Dickey, Toronto's scheduled starter for ALDS Game 4 if his team won Game 3 Sunday night. "I played against Chase for a while. He has a knack for walking that razor's edge on what seems appropriate and what may be a little bit over the line."StoryCurrent, former players react to Utley's slide
It's a line that just about every Mets fan and, it appears, most in the Mets' clubhouse felt Utley crossed when he broke Tejada's right leg with a takeout slide in the seventh inning of the Dodgers' victory in NLDS Game 2 Saturday night.
Sunday night, Utley was suspended for Games 3 and 4.
"It's tough to talk about that one, especially being a middle infielder," Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said Sunday. He saw it from the perspective of a defender and a baserunner. "You can see his first thought was to break up the double play. That's what everybody will do, especially in the postseason. It looked like he dived a little late; that's the only thing I saw."
In Houston, star rookie shortstop Carlos Correa referenced the recent rule change to eliminate collisions with catchers. That's something one club official here said "definitely" will be discussed in relation to middle infielders at next month's general managers' meetings.
"They protect the catcher," Correa told the Houston Chronicle. "I think they should protect us middle infielders, as well."
Like Dickey, though, Correa said there was another side.
"It's playoff baseball . . . you're trying to get that run in for your team," Correa said. "Everybody will try to break up the double play. Unfortunately, the guy got hurt."
Dickey indicated Tejada bore some responsibility and should have recalled 2010, when Utley took him out on a similar slide.
"He knows when Chase is on first, he had better watch out," Dickey said. "As Chase's teammate, I would want to know my guy's going in there to try and break it up in a playoff game."
Perhaps the most famous postseason takeout slide was the one by the Royals' Hal McRae, who blew past second base and barrel-rolled into the Yankees' Willie Randolph in Game 2 of the 1977 ALCS. Buck Martinez, a backup catcher on that Royals team and now a Blue Jays broadcaster, said his first thought Saturday night was, "Man, that's borderline."
"He clearly went after the guy," he said, but added that Tejada should have been aware of the baserunner. "Everybody knows that Utley plays hard. You've got to pay attention. That's part of the pre-pitch preparation: Who's the runner at first? Everybody in baseball knew when Hal McRae was on first . . . [Tejada] was in a bad position. He never should have spun around and tried to make the throw . . . Take the forceout and get the hell out of there."