PEORIA, Ariz. -- Padres catcher Nick Hundley called Monday's announcement by Major League Baseball and the Players Association that it has banned most home-plate collisions on a one-year experimental basis a "step in the right direction."
"Anything that leads toward player safety is a good thing," Hundley said. "But at the same time, you have to consider the runners' safety as well. There are guys who can break their ankle sliding into the plate when it's blocked. For a catcher, if you're not blocking the plate, you shouldn't get hit.
"It will be interesting to see how the rule plays out, how it's interpreted."
The rule that is being implemented will prohibit the most egregious collisions at home plate.
Rule 7.13 states that a runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher or any other players covering home plate. If there's a violation, the umpire can declare the runner out even if the player covering the plate losses possession of the ball.
The rule goes on to state that unless a catcher is in possession of the ball, he cannot block the pathway of the runner attempting to score. The umpire can call or signal the runner safe if he deems the catcher does not have the ball when blocking the plate.
MLB will distribute training materials during Spring Training.
"I'll talk to umpires and we'll get some games in. I think it's important to know what they've been told, too," Hundley said. "And it's important as a catching staff to know what's going to be called, what's illegal and what's illegal."