Catchers can be sitting ducks when baserunners bear down on them, so what, if anything, should be done?
They wear extra padding, but should they be treated like tackling dummies?
They have on shin guards and facemasks, but should they be launched into as if they were blocking sleds?
It's a tough call for a league that shouldn't water down aggressive play but should realize that catchers can't be slammed into when they aren't hovering over the plate.
The Giants' Buster Posey suffered potentially season-ending injuries on Wednesday when the Marlins' Scott Cousins ran him over on the way to the plate. Jeff Berry, Posey's agent, wants rules changed. Giants manager Bruce Bochy, a former catcher, agreed.
"I'm just saying we might need to consider something to protect these guys," Bochy said. "Because they are getting bigger and faster and hitting these guys when they're not really prepared to get hit. It's a little different than football. It's not really built to be a contact sport, as much as it may look like it. You saw what happened here."
The catcher position is one of the most vital on the field. It's one place where a player is involved with hitting, defense and pitching.
Teams hunt high and low for high-impact catchers, and they are hard to find. That's why Posey, Joe Mauer, Matt Wieters and Carlos Santana are drooled over.
Of that group, Posey and Santana either will miss or already have missed significant time with injuries suffered during collisions at home plate. You think the Twins don't cringe every time an opponent slides into their $184 million investment?
Former catcher Terry Steinbach, who spent three seasons with the Twins, said catchers must be prepared for those moments.
"If it's a one- or two-run game and it is late in the game and that run matters," he said, "I'm expecting to get run over."
Steinbach said there are ways catchers can avoid getting hurt in those situations. Mauer brought up the same thing last season when talking about the Santana collision. A catcher can show the runner the plate to encourage a slide, then slide his leg in front and let the runner hit the shin guard. Mauer also said if a catcher angles his foot up the third base line it can help keep the leg and foot from getting tangled and twisted.
Posey did neither. But this isn't about what he failed to do. He was in front of home plate when the throw came in -- not fully blocking it -- and never caught the ball as he turned to face the runner. Cousins leaned to his left, raised his forearm and clobbered Posey.
If Posey is blocking the entire plate, then go through him. In this case, Cousins should be subject to a fine or suspension. And/or a Giants pitcher needs to apply street justice the next time San Francisco faces Cousins.
Catchers should not be subject to such collisions. Especially when concussion awareness is at an all-time high in sports.
|Seattle - LP: C. Furbush||8||FINAL|
|Cleveland - WP: J. Smith||10|
|Tampa Bay - LP: J. Lueke||5||FINAL|
|Toronto - WP: R. Dickey||7|
|NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson||6||FINAL|
|Baltimore - LP: P. Strop||4|
|Cincinnati - WP: J. Cueto||4||FINAL|
|NY Mets - LP: S. Marcum||3|
|Philadelphia - LP: C. Hamels||1||FINAL|
|Miami - WP: A. Sanabia||5|
|Minnesota - LP: K. Correia||1||FINAL|
|Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran||5|
|Oakland - WP: B. Colon||9||FINAL|
|Texas - LP: J. Lindblom||2|
|Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw||3||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo||1|
|Boston - LP: J. Lester||4||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - WP: D. Axelrod||6|
|Kansas City - LP: J. Guthrie||5||FINAL|
|Houston - WP: D. Keuchel||6|
|Arizona - WP: P. Corbin||5||FINAL|
|Colorado - LP: J. Garland||1|
|St. Louis - LP: S. Miller||2||FINAL|
|San Diego - WP: J. Marquis||4|
|Washington - LP: Z. Duke||0||FINAL|
|San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong||8|