Rob Manfred on Chase Utley, aggressive slides: 'Important we protect players'

Baseball Days after Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada suffered a broken right leg on a controversial takeout slide by the Dodgers' Chase Utley, commissioner Rob Manfred said he hopes to implement a rule change in 2016 to eliminate unnecessary collisions at second base."We started talking to the union about this," Manfred told reporters Tuesday in Chicago, via USA Today Sports. “It is another example of the issue of player safety, which is really high on our radar screen. We’ve got a lot of money invested in ballplayers. The players themselves have tremendous playing opportunities in terms of what they can earn. And I think it’s important that we protect them.’’MORE: Best photos of the NLDS | Craig Biggio supports takeout slides at second Manfred said the new rule would be a follow-up to the rule change involving plays at home plate. Baserunners are prohibited from intentionally running over catchers. “I hate to admit this,’’ Manfred said, “but I think the way we had to work through the home-plate situation gives you a feel for how difficult it is to write that kind of rule, that involves in-game action and an important part of the game. “This is one where, obviously, we’re going to be having a lot of conversations with the union about it. And making predictions about how those conversations go, and how it will be rolled out, I think, is a bad idea for me. This is a topic we’re interested in and we want to talk about.’’Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang suffered a broken leg in September on a takeout slide at second by the Cubs' Chris Coghlan, but Utley's suspension-worthy slide into Tejada may expedite the rule change. Manfred said all players should be protected.“We have some great young athletes and we don’t want to lose any of them, regardless of position, to injuries that can be avoided and we are going to constantly look at the game to find ways to prevent avo

idable injuries," he said.Utley was suspended two games for illegally sliding into Tejada. Utley appealed the ruling; a hearing is set for Monday. Manfred also said is looking to enhance fan safety in its ballparks. The first-year commissioner said he has discussed ways to put up more protective netting at ballparks, but has yet to produce a resolution.


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