NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, November 12, 2015, 12:53 AM
BOCA RATON, Fla. When recalling the Chase Utley-Ruben Tejada takeout slide in Game 2 of the NLDS the fractured the leg of the Mets’ shortstop, Joe Torre says player safety has to be MLB’s top priority.
“The one thing we all want to do is make sure we don’t have guys carried off the field,” said Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer, on Wednesday. “Even though we’ve had a lot of criticism on the collision play at the plate, we haven’t had anybody carried off the field in a couple of years. I think that’s great.
“We’re looking at it. Obviously you can’t lose sight of what the game is all about. You don’t want somebody not trying to get to second base and trying to keep the inning going. It’s a thin line that you have to walk. That’s why it’s really tough to put pen to paper on something like this. We’ll have some discussion and see what kind of ideas will possibly work.”
Torre said the issue was on the agenda for a rules committee meeting at the MLB Winter Meetings next month in Nashville.
Tejada’s was not the only costly takeout slide last season. The Pirates lost shortstop Jung Ho Kang to a broken left leg and a torn knee ligament on a takeout slide by Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan. Torre indicated those injuries sparked conversations within MLB similar to the Buster Posey incident in 2011 that was the genesis of the home plate collision rule.
MLB already has rules in place that give umpires the latitude to eject baserunners who go out of their way to target fielders. That was not used in the Tejada incident, though Torre eventually suspended Utley for two games in the National League Division Series. Utley appealed the suspension, but his hearing has been postponed.
“With the Utley situation, he hit Tejada before he hit the ground,” Torre said. “I thought that was a little overly aggressive. He slid too late and he didn’t make an effort to touch the base. His target was the infielder.”
In other news at the meetings:
l The Mets are one of several teams that have told MLB they would be interested in making a spring training trip to Cuba, Mets assistant GM John Ricco said. MLB is hoping to send one team to Cuba this spring to play the national team. The Yankees and Cubs have also expressed interest.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said a lottery may be held to pick the team, but that hinges on the U.S. government allowing the event.
“We put our name in,” Ricco said. “I have no idea where that stands. I don’t know what the criteria is. Maybe it’s a straight lottery. Maybe it’s an East Coast team. We did put our name in for that a couple of weeks ago.”