Chase Utley happy to move forward with suspension lifted

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A contrite Chase Utley once again expressed remorse for injuring Ruben Tejada in last year's National League Division Series, relieved that he can finally move forward after Major League Baseball reportedly reduced his two-game suspension to zero.

Utley's hard slide at second base in Game 2 of the NLDS left Tejada with a fractured right fibula and eventually resulted in a two-game suspension that MLB revoked Sunday.

"I think it's good for everyone that we can put this behind us and focus on baseball," Utley said after the Dodgers' morning workout Monday.

Utley knew his suspension was revoked on Sunday, but waited to comment on it until after he had a lengthy conversation with MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre.

"[Torre] expressed to me that what happened in the playoffs, after looking at other slides over the course of the years, it was not much different from those and there were no penalties there," Utley said. "So with that said, they rescinded the suspension. I can't say enough how terrible I felt about what happened to Ruben. I had no intent to hurt him whatsoever. If anybody thinks I did, they're completely wrong.

Earlier this spring, MLB clarified the rule on slides at second base, saying that the runner must now "make a bona fide attempt to reach and remain on the base." It is destined to go down as the "Utley Rule," although Utley himself doesn't necessarily think that should be the case.

"From my understanding, this has kind of been in the works for a year or two," Utley said. "Everyone was trying to get on the same page. Now that we're on the same page, I think we can move forward."

Commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday addressed the new rule and how it played a large part in changing Utley's discipline.

"Given that you can't go back to the World Series and alter him playing or not playing in that World Series, it seemed like a good result to move on and focus on the new rule going forward," Manfred said.

As a player for 13 seasons, Utley said he has experienced his share of hard plays at second base as the defensive player, but never came away with an injury as bad as the one Tejada received.

"I've been playing this game for a while now, and being a middle infielder, I've come across a ton of slides that were similar and I understand that it's part of the game," Utley said. "Now that we have a new rule in place, I definitely believe it will help keep guys healthy. The same with the slide rule at home plate. I think that obviously took a little time to get adjusted to and that's the main goal."

Utley further expressed his regret for what happened to Tejada.

"You try to move on," Utley said. "I'm happy that he's healthy and he's in camp and he's playing well. There's nobody happier than me, really."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.