Baseball plans to ban collisions at the plate

Staff writerDecember 12, 2013 

ORLANDO, Fla. — Those jarring collisions at the plate will be a thing of the past if the union signs off on a ban announced Wednesday by Major League Baseball at the winter meetings.

“The exact language and how exactly the rule will be enforced is subject to final determination,” said New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, who chairs the rules committee.

“We’re going to do fairly extensive review of the types of plays that occur at home plate to determine which we’re going to find acceptable and which are going to be prohibited.”

Any rules change for the coming season must be approved by the players’ association, but Alderson characterized the ban as a response to “a few issues” that surfaced in recent years.

“One is just the general occurrence of injuries from these incidents at home plate that affect players, both runners and catchers,” he said.

“And also kind of the general concern about concussions that exists not only in baseball but throughout professional sports and amateur sports today.”

Alderson said the intent is to draft a rule with two levels of punishment.

“One will be with respect to whether the runner is declared safe or out based on conduct,” he said. “So, for example, intentionally running over the catcher might result in an out call.

“I think that the enforcement will be on the field as well as subsequent consequences in the form of fines and suspensions and the like.”

COLON TO METS

Another free-agent pitcher came off the board when the Mets reached agreement with Bartolo Colon on a two-year deal for $20 million.

Colon, 40, was 18-6 last season at Oakland with a 2.65 ERA in 30 starts. He won all three of his starts against the Seattle Mariners.

SHORT HOPS

The Pittsburgh Pirates and right-handed pitcher Charlie Morton have agreed to a three-year, $21 million contract. The team also signed right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez to a one-year contract for $5 million. … Jerry Hairston Jr. announced his retirement, following a 16-year major league career, and will apparently join the Los Angeles Dodgers’ new television channel. He hit .257 with 70 home runs.

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