NEW YORK (AP) — Rather than ban home plate collisions outright, Major League Baseball and its players adopted a rule limiting them this season.
In what both sides said was a one-year experiment, the rule allows collisions if the catcher has the ball and is blocking the runner's direct path to home plate, and if the catcher goes into the basepath to field a throw to the plate.
The new rule, 7.13, states "a runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate)." A runner violating the rule shall be declared out, even if the fielder drops the ball.
Along with the rule, the sides agreed to a pair of comments umpires use for interpretation. The first comment says players who slide appropriately are not in violation of the rule. The second comment says that "unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score."
The umpire crew chief can use the new video-review system to determine whether the rule was violated.
SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Outfielder Nelson Cruz and the Baltimore Orioles finalized an $8 million, one-year contract, a deal that puts him on track to become the team's regular designated hitter.
The 33-year-old, who served a 50-game suspension last year for violating baseball's drug agreement, can earn an additional $750,000 in bonuses based on days on the active 25-man roster: $150,000 each for 60, 90, 120, 150 and180.
He turned down a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Texas Rangers in November. Because of the qualifying offer, Baltimore forfeits its second-round selection in June's amateur draft, the 55th pick overall.
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington finally has a contract past this season.