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MLB adopts new home plate collision rule

An experimental rule designed to “increase player safety” and “eliminate egregious collisions” at home plate was announced by the MLB and MLB Players Association on Monday.  Whispers of the new rule – Rule 7.13 – floated at Winter Meetings last December, and the official wording was agreed upon earlier this year.  The rule makes clear that a runner may not go out of “a direct line to the plate” to make contact with the catcher and knock him down, or else the umpire may call the runner out even if the catcher drops the ball.  Furthermore, the catcher may not block the pathway of the runner toward the plate unless he is in full possession of the ball, or else the umpire may call the runner safe.  Runners are not required to slide, but doing so prevents them from being subject to violations of the new rule.  And finally, the violations of the new rule are subject to the expanded instant replay rules being implemented this year.

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