Sox get lesson on new replay, home plate collision rules

Sox get lesson on new replay, home plate collision rules
February 24, 2014, 6:15 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- On Sunday afternoon, John Farrell and some of his coaches traveled up to Port Charlotte for a meeting with Major League Baseball officials, eager for an update and some clarifications on two big rule changes for 2014: instant replay and the elimination of collisions at home plate.
     
"Actually, the (collision) rule doesn't change in regard to the defensive player," said Farrell. "A catcher can block the plate after he receives the ball, much like any other base. The runner, obviously, can't have any 'intent' to run a catcher over, and that's defined by lowering the shoulder, extending the arms or elbows out in front of you.
     
"There may be some incidental contact if an errant throw takes the catcher up the (base) line. The catcher also can't maliciously look to take the plate away or to block the plate that would be beyond the normal aggressiveness at the plate."
     
Farrell said plays at the plate are also reviewable, if a team believes a catcher attempted to block the plate before receiving the ball.
     
"So basically, the rule doesn't change as it relates to the defensive player," Farrell said. "It's just that the baserunner can't run the catcher over. The catcher also has to leave an open channel to the plate, but he can take that away after he receives the ball."
     
Farrell said the team will just instruct its baserunners to slide as they approach the plate.
     
"You're talking about such a quick decision, you've got to go in feet first," said Farrell. "There's no contact, no collision."
     
On the replay rule, Farrell said he had been under the impression that managers would be given just one "challenge" for the first six innings and not using it would mean it was lost.
     
"That's not the case," he said. "You have that one challenge throughout the course of the game, but you cannot challenge more than once inside the first six innings, unless you're right -- then you get the challenge reinstated."
     
Farrell also revealed that when managers go out to argue call, umpires will be "prompted" twice during a conversation with umpires.
     
"By the second one, you've got to come up with a decision to challenge or not," said Farrell. "Basically, they're trying to keep in mind the pace of the game, gamesmanship, all those types of things."