Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays say plate blocking rule won't change much

PORT CHARLOTTE — The Rays got right to work early Tuesday morning discussing MLB's new rule regarding home plate collisions in small group sessions, with manager Joe Maddon preparing to present their organizational position to the full squad today.

"I think I finally know what I think," Maddon said.

Preferring to not reveal specifics for competitive reasons, Maddon said in general that the Rays don't feel they'll need to change much from what they presently do to adhere to the new rules, which are designed to eliminate violent collisions at the plate.

"Quite frankly, I don't think there should be," he said. "I think it's an organizational concept that you have to decide for yourselves, how you want to teach this and what you want to gain from it or definitely not lose from it."

The Rays' two veteran catchers, Ryan Hanigan and Jose Molina, were both surprised at the form of the new rule, and not particularly enthusiastic. "I'm old school," Molina said.

Molina said he may have to slightly adjust his technique, where he leaves the plate open and slides across to block as he receives the throw. "Now I'll have to wait that second and catch the ball and then do it," he said. "That's the part I have to kind of work into it. It's not much."

Hanigan said he, too, may have to make a small change — he tends to stick his leg out to block the plate ahead of the throw — but also doesn't see major adjustments needed. Plus he said he may feel more comfortable blocking the plate knowing he can't, at least legally, be run over.

"I've been doing it one way for so long, it's going to be tough to try to do anything different," he said.

Maddon also will provide direction to the baserunners, who he feels may be more at risk of injury trying to avoid potentially illegal collisions. OF Matt Joyce was among those who see it the same way: "I think the runners are more vulnerable."

Molina said he would have preferred the change been announced sooner so they had more time this spring to work through it. Though Maddon, further hinting that they won't change much, said, "If you're trying to learn something new, it would be difficult. And if you're not, it shouldn't be that difficult."

Both Molina and Hanigan said there is much unclear, and potentially up to an individual umpire's discretion, about the new rules, such as whether a runner can still hit a catcher who has the ball and is legally blocking the plate.

Maddon agreed: "You talk about Pandora's Box."

ARCHED UP: RHP Chris Archer didn't throw batting practice with his group, saying the change was scheduled-related, allowing him to throw to hitters Thursday then be on a five-day schedule to start Tuesday. "I'm open to any of that stuff," Maddon said. "There's nothing wrong with him at all, he feels great, he's throwing the ball wonderfully."

BREAKTHROUGH: RHP Juan Sandoval could have his visa issues in the Dominican Republic resolved by today and be able to report to camp in the next few days. There was word of progress for INF Wilson Betemit and RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo.

ZO' BETTER: 2B Ben Zobrist took ground balls and some swings at softly tossed balls, his previously tight and sore back continuing to improve. He is expected to rejoin workouts soon though is not likely to play in Friday's opener as he had hoped.

MISCELLANY: There has been more talk of the Rays' trade interest, potentially for pitching, in Seattle INF Nick Franklin, who was displaced by Robinson Cano. The Mets are also interested. … Camp visitors included former Rays OF Fernando Perez, now 30 and retired. … Thursday's workout will start and end early as players and staff will participate in the annual Rays Charity Golf Tournament at the Ritz-Carlton Members Golf Club in Bradenton.

Rays say plate blocking rule won't change much 02/25/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 7:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Is Mikhail Sergachev, who debuts with Lightning at Wednesday camp, ready for the NHL?

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — When defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was taken ninth overall by the Canadiens in the 2016 NHL draft, a horde of Montreal media surrounded him for his first news conference.

    Mikhail Sergachev takes a shot during warmups prior to a game between the Canadiens and Arizona Coyotes in October in Montreal. [Getty Images]
  2. Top pick Brendan McKay signing with Rays for $7M bonus


    The Rays are set to sign top pick 1B/LHP Brendan McKay for a bonus just over $7-million, the Tampa Bay Times has learned.

    McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.

    The deal is expected to be finalized …

    Brendan McKay was the No. 4 overall pick in the June 12 draft as he starred as a two-way player leading Louisville to the College World Series.
  3. Vince Young takes shot at Bucs' Ryan Fitzpatrick


    Former NFL quarterback Vince Young, out of the league since 2011 and complaining about not getting more opportunities to prolong his career, took a shot at new Bucs backup Ryan Fitzpatrick in a story posted at …

    Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who signed with the Bucs to be Jameis Winston's backup this fall, has played for six other NFL teams in his 12 seasons in the league.
  4. For starters: Rays at Pirates, with Hechavarria active, Robertson sent down


    UPDATE, 3:26: And the Rays indeed have Hechavarria at SS and Beckham at 2B. Also, with no DH Dickerson is in left.

    The stellar view from the press box at PNC Park.