Count J.P. Arencibia among those who are in favor of the new rule designed to limit the number of home-plate collisions.
MLB and the players’ association announced details of the new rule on Monday, attempting to “prohibit the most egregious collisions at home plate.”
The new rule, which is on an experimental basis for this season, states:
• 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). If, in the judgment of the umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) in such a manner, the umpire shall declare the runner out (even if the player covering home plate loses possession of the ball).
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• Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If, in the judgment of the umpire, the catcher, without possession of the ball, blocks the pathway of the runner, the umpire shall call or signal the runner safe.
“It takes away the malicious intent behind the play at the plate,” Arencibia said. “The runner doesn’t always have to slide and the catcher still has the ability to block the plate when he has the ball in hand. But it’s giving that runner the lane and making sure when you give him that lane that there’s appropriate action on his end to slide.”
Manager Ron Washington also supported the new rule, which can be reviewed without costing a manager one of his challenges.
“I’m in favor of what it is to keep the game healthy,” Washington said. “It’s not going to stop guys. We have to wait and see when the games are played what it’s going to cause.”