TEMPE, Ariz. -- Rule 7.13, which essentially looks to eliminate cheap shots to catchers, was announced Monday. Under it, runners can't deviate from their direct path to home plate in order to make contact with the catcher, and catchers must give the runner a direct path if they don't have possession of the ball.
The rule -- in an experimental stage this year and reviewable by instant replay -- does not ban players from colliding with a catcher if the ball is already in the catcher's possession by the time the runner reaches home plate. But there is a gray area there, which should prompt both sides to err on the side of caution.
The Angels have joined most Major League organizations this spring in directing catchers toward a proper tag more than a block, and Angels catcher Hank Conger doesn't believe the new rule will change how he approaches close plays at the plate.
"I'm just going to get the ball and put a tag on it," Conger said. "Last year, I don't ever recall me taking away the plate early enough for the guy to crush me on the basepaths. I usually caught it, tagged, and my knees kind of came through with it. So, I'm just going to go ahead and put a tag."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less