FORT MYERS, Fla. — Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association agreed on a rule change Monday, announcing the much-discussed revision that will ban purposeful collisions at home plate.
Rule 7.13 now says that a runner cannot initiate contact with the catcher (or another defensive player) when attempting to score. Catchers can block the plate but only after gaining possession of the ball.
In the view of Red Sox manager John Farrell, little will change for the catchers. But he believes all runners should now slide into home to avoid collisions.
“There’s no contact, no collision,” Farrell said.
Runners who plow into the catcher will be called out and could face ejection or suspension. The play will be subject to video review.
Catchers have to provide a reasonable lane to the plate in the judgment of the umpire. In that sense, it is similar to other bases.
“The rule does not change as far as it relates to the defense player,” Farrell said. “It’s just that the base runner cannot run the catcher over.”
Red Sox catcher David Ross said he would review the wording of the rule to determine just how much of an advantage the catcher can gain.
“It’s not that you’re looking for a loophole,” he said. “You just want to see what you can do and can’t do and how you can make it work for you. I’m sure the coaches will be talking a lot about this.”
Ross said he appreciates the intent of the rule, which is to further protect catchers. He’s not sure about changing what was a fundamental aspect of the game.
“I don’t want to get run over and I don’t want to run somebody over,” he said. “It’ll take some time to adjust but we will.”
The rule will be reviewed by a committee of players and managers during the season and afterward, and changes could be made.
Koji Uehara likes to joke that his fame in Japan pales in comparison with that of players such as Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka, even after he played such a huge role for the Red Sox last season.
But fame did have some rewards for Uehara. He was signed to promote a beer brand in Japan, Suntory Premium Malt, and filmed a commercial. The ad shows the closer sitting at a bar and drinking a glass of beer with a satisfying “Ahhh” at the end.
“Please try it,” Uehara said. “It’s coming here, so we’ll give you some.”
Uehara said he also wrote a book about his experiences last season.
Peavy throws BP
Jake Peavy threw live batting practice for the first time in camp. A sore right ring finger set him back a few days.
“It was my third time off the mound,” he said. “I’ve made huge progress with my finger. I feel a whole lot better gripping the ball and fastball command is coming.”
Peavy was in bed much of Sunday, dealing with flu-like symptoms.
“I just need to get going,” he said.
Farrell said that while Peavy had a minor setback because of his finger, it’s not something that would cause him to miss any of his scheduled starts in spring training.
Nava goes slow
Daniel Nava hasn’t swung a bat in four days because of a nerve issue in his neck. He was on the field taking grounders and throwing but was held back from hitting. He hopes to get started again soon. “It’s just a minor little thing I’m working on,” Nava said. “There’s no point of going too fast and then all of a sudden we’re set back two or three weeks. I’ve been out there for ground balls, throwing, shagging fly balls. The final step will be just getting swings down.” Nava is not expected to play in the college doubleheader Thursday . . . Good sign for Grady Sizemore: He is scheduled to play in one of the college doubleheader games. Sizemore is trying to make the Opening Day roster after missing the last two seasons dealing with injuries.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.