San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, whose 2011 season was cut short after the Marlins’ Scott Cousins crashed into him at the plate, said Tuesday that a home plate collision rule adopted by Major League Baseball and its players does a good thing by eliminating “malicious collisions.”
“I’ve always said that the main thing is for everybody to be comfortable with it, that the catchers and runners are protected,” said Posey, addressing the rule change for the first time.
Posey, an All-Star catcher, sustained a broken bone in his lower left leg and three torn ligaments in his ankle in the May 2011 collision, an injury that helped intensify debate over plate collisions. Posey returned in 2012 to win the National League MVP award.
The new rule, in what both sides said was a one-year experiment, allows collisions if the catcher has the ball and is blocking the runner’s direct path to home plate, and if the catcher goes into the basepath to field a throw to the plate.
The rule states that “a runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate).” A runner violating the rule will be declared out, even if the fielder drops the ball.
The umpire crew chief can use the new video-review system to determine whether the rule was violated.
“I have always set up in front of the plate, where the runner can have part of the plate,” Posey said.
Tony Clark, the new executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, asked for Posey’s input in helping both sides shape the rule. “They got a lot of different input,” Posey said.
“The way I look at it, I don’t see that drastic of a change,” he added. “The hardest part will be for umpires to make a judgment, although having the replay might help.”
Greinke slams Down Under trip
It wouldn’t bother Zack Greinke if he didn’t have to travel for the Dodgers’ opener against the Diamondbacks in Australia.
“I would say there is absolutely zero excitement about it,” Greinke was quoted as saying in a story by ESPNLosAngeles.com last weekend. “There just isn’t any excitement to it. I can’t think of one reason to be excited for it.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that organizers of the series at the Sydney Cricket Ground on March 22-23 demanded an explanation from the Dodgers and Major League Baseball. Officials from the club and MLB assured them Monday that Greinke was speaking for only himself and not the entire team, according to the newspaper.
Greinke’s teammate said he is looking forward to the trip.
“It’ll be fun to see what Sydney has to offer,” first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said.
Clearing the bases
When it comes to his 50-game drug suspension, Nelson Cruz didn’t have much to say during his introduction by the Orioles. Cruz gave short answers to any Biogenesis-related questions during a news conference a day after the 33-year-out outfielder finalized an $8 million, one-year contract. “Whatever happened in the past, I look to move forward and have a great year with the Baltimore Orioles,” Cruz said. … Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels is slated to throw off a mound today for the first time this spring training, still unsure how much of April he will miss. He said two weeks ago he won’t be ready by opening day. … Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to make his Yankees debut Saturday. Tanaka signed a $155 million, seven-year contract in January. He was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year while leading the Rakuten Golden Eagles to the Japan Series title. … Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston grounded out to second and struck out looking in Florida State’s 8-3 loss to the Yankees. … Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp is scheduled for an MRI of his surgically-repaired left ankle on Friday. The scan will help determine whether Kemp can accelerate his rehabilitation from micro-fracture surgery in October. … Left-hander Madison Bumgarner has been selected the Giants’ opening day starter. … Yu Darvish will be the opening day starter for the Rangers. … A’s catcher John Jaso will take his place behind home plate today in a game for the first time since suffering a concussion when he was struck by a foul tip last July 24.