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MLB announces new collision rule

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Major League Baseball made official new rules to protect catchers from flagrant home-plate collisions. Starting this season, a runner who deviates from a direct path to the plate to initiate contact with a catcher will be called out even if the catcher loses the ball, and runners will be declared safe if the catcher blocks the plate without the ball.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter and a small contingent of Orioles personnel attended a meeting on Sunday in Port Charlotte, Fla., where MLB officials briefed them on both the collision policy and the new expanded replay system.

"The big thing we're trying to eliminate, and I wholeheartedly support it, is the cheap-shot collision where the guy is completely exposed, doesn't have the ball and some guy hunts him," Showalter said. "We've had it happen with Matt (Wieters) a couple times and we were real unhappy about it. I can still remember the players that did it, with no intent to score, had the plate given to him, could have slid and just hit him very maliciously. We're going to get that out of the game."

Though Showalter had expressed concern earlier in camp about the particulars of the new replay system, he seemed satisfied with the program that was outlined at the meeting.

"It's good," he said. "They've done their homework. It's the product of so many hours and so many what-ifs. There's not a what-if that they haven't at least given some real deep thought to. You can tell they've been doing this for a while."

(c)2014 The Baltimore Sun

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