Baseball continues work on home-plate collision ban

Baseball continues work on home-plate collision ban

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. -- Even though no vote was taken on the proposal to ban home plate collisions at Thursday's quarterly Owners Meetings, Major League Baseball Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred is optimistic new regulations will be in place in time for the 2014 system.

"We fully expect we're going to make an agreement ... We're still in the process," Manfred said at The Sanctuary resort.

The delay is largely due to the fact that the resolution was only passed by the Playing Rules Committee at the Winter Meetings last month in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

"We are writing a rule," explained Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre, a member of the committee. "It's not finished being written because it's not easy. But in essence, we're going to just make sure that the baserunner can't just purposely bowl somebody over."

This is an issue that has gained traction quickly. Torre said he first started thinking about it after talking to Giants manager Bruce Bochy after catcher Buster Posey was lost for the season in a May 2011 play at the plate.

"He was very concerned," Torre said. "At the time, I said, 'Anything that makes sense, I'll look at.' But I really didn't see anything that makes sense to make sure it doesn't affect our game in a negative manner."

Then, however, catchers continued to be injured in both the Major and Minor Leagues. Torre began receiving letters from parents of youngsters who had been hurt after being run down at the plate. A conversation with Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, a former catcher whose career was cut short by a series of concussions, particularly hit home.

"When Mike Matheny tells you that ... there's an 18-month period in his life that he can't recollect, you have to pay attention to that," Torre said. "And that's where we are."

Any new rule will have to be approved by the Major League Baseball Players Association and the World Umpires Association. But the sentiment Thursday was that this can move quickly.

"There's not going to be a lack of contact. There's going to be some inadvertent contact that you're not going to be able to avoid because the catcher has to go catch the ball," Torre said. "But the whole mentality is going to have to change for that runner around third. When you're rounding third, in your mind, you're going to get home one way or the other. That's going to have to change."

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.