Marlins' catchers prep for no contact at plate

Backstops working in advance of rule to eliminate collisions at home

Marlins' catchers prep for no contact at plate

JUPITER, Fla. -- The first couple of days, Marlins catchers worked on blocking pitches in the dirt. On Tuesday, they were introduced to how to no longer block the plate.

In anticipation of the new Major League Baseball rule aimed at eliminating home plate collisions, the Miami catchers did some preliminary drills on how to tag without bracing for possible contact with a runner.

Specifics on the rule change are expected on Thursday, the Marlins' first full-squad workout at Roger Dean Stadium.

"For the catchers, we've got to try to prepare them for what's coming, until we find out exactly how they're going to implement it," manager Mike Redmond said. "The good thing is, you always work on catchers catching the ball and making the tag anyway. We're going to continue down that path."

Jarrod Saltalamacchia notes there will be an adjustment.

"It's going to be tough," he said. "You're asking guys who have been doing it since they've been kids to change what they've been accustomed to."

In Tuesday's drill, the catchers positioned in front of the plate, fielded a toss and applied an imaginary tag while sliding a few feet on one knee.

"As a runner, you have to slide," Saltalamacchia said. "You've been doing that forever. But as a catcher, you have to think about so many things at a split second."

Saltalamacchia also said there must be some direction from the umpires.

"We've got to set a rule, and we're going to need the umpires to come out and kind of explain it to us, because it's going to be on them," Saltalamacchia said. "It's not going to be a video review, from what I understand. We need them to be like, 'We're going to be OK with that, or we're not going to be OK with that.' We need to know."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter