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MLB, teams preach peace on field; Chase Utley does not play

Ruben Tejada of the New York Mets is

Ruben Tejada of the New York Mets is hit by a slide by Chase Utley of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the seventh inning in an attempt to turn a double play in game two of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 10, 2015. Credit: Getty Images

The stakes were far too high for retaliation, and commissioner Rob Manfred drove home the point before Game 3 of the National League Division Series on Monday night.

With tensions still running high over the takeout slide that broke Ruben Tejada's right leg and left Chase Utley appealing his two-game suspension, representatives from the Mets and Dodgers met with Manfred.

"The game was the most important thing," Mets manager Terry Collins said after his team's 13-7 victory. "And we had to go play it correctly."

Major League Baseball took the unusual step of bringing Collins and Dodgers manager Don Mattingly into a pregame meeting. It also was attended by Mets general manager Sandy Alderson and his Dodgers counterpart, Andrew Friedman.

"Whether it was necessary or not, I don't know," Manfred said before the game, which featured no retaliation. "We decided to do it out of an abundance of caution because we want the focus to be on a nice, clean game on the field."

Because Utley appealed his suspension, he was eligible to play Monday night, although he did not appear.

Manfred said a date has yet to be set to hear the case, though he wants the matter resolved as soon as possible.

In a statement, Utley said he feels "terrible" about Tejada's injury but that his focus was on Game 3 of the series.

Fans at Citi Field struck up anti-Utley chants. The public-address announcer paused for a few extra beats when Utley was announced, allowing fans to shower him with vitriol.

Utley did not blink.

A few moments later, the fans erupted when Tejada was introduced. In full uniform, the injured shortstop hobbled from the dugout to the first-base line with the aid of a cane.

Before the game, Collins said his biggest job would be to temper the emotions of the night, though in ways big and small, they came tumbling out, anyway. He even took the step of talking to Game 3 starter Matt Harvey about winning the game ahead of getting payback.

"I've had my conversation with Matt," he said. "We're not throwing at anybody. We'll worry about this stuff at another date."

Debate about Utley's slide raged across social media and even made its way to Citi Field, where Dodgers Game 4 starter Clayton Kershaw chided baseball for being "bullied into suspending" the former Phillies second baseman.

"I've seen slides a lot worse," Kershaw said. Manfred called those remarks "a little laughable."

Collins fired back at comments by longtime friend and Phillies coach Larry Bowa, who told the New York Post that Tejada should have moved out of the way of Utley's slide.

"Unless he was playing short," Collins said of Bowa. "Then he would have been on top of the guy, fighting him. I know Larry too well."

David Wright said he supported the suspension and confirmed that Utley texted him with a message for Tejada. When asked if the apology was sincere, he answered, "I got the text, and I passed it to him."


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