NEW YORK – Major League Baseball and its players have banned most home plate collisions but left open an exception if the catcher has the ball and is blocking the runner's direct path to home plate.
A new rule, 7.13, was adopted by MLB and the players' association on a one-year experimental basis, the sides said Monday.
A comment attached to the rule states "the failure by the runner to make an effort to touch the plate, the runner's lowering of the shoulder, or the runner's pushing through with his hands, elbows or arms, would support a determination that the runner deviated from the pathway in order to initiate contact with the catcher in violation."
A runner who violates the rule shall be declared out even if the catcher drops the ball. If a catcher blocks home plate without possession of the ball, the runner shall be safe. However, a catcher may block the plate to field a throw if the umpire determines the catcher could not have otherwise fielded the ball and that contact with the runner could not have been avoided.