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Mike Scioscia not sold on idea of banning collisions at the plate

Bruce Bochy and Mike Matheny, who, like Scioscia, are ex-catchers, have advocated a rule change to reduce injuries. Scioscia questions the feasibility of such a move.

February 27, 2013|By Bill Shaikin
  • Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay collides with Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz during a playoff game. Ruiz made the tag for the out.
Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay collides with Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz… (Matt Slocum / Associated…)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Although two prominent managers recently have called for a ban on collisions at home plate, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said he is not convinced a rule change is in order.

"It's a tough thing to legislate with any kind of rule," Scioscia said.

San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy and St. Louis Cardinals Manager Mike Matheny — former catchers — each has advocated such a ban, citing an unwarranted risk of injury. Bochy's Giants lost catcher Buster Posey for most of the 2011 season after a collision; Matheny's playing career ended because of concussions linked to collisions and to balls fouled off his mask.

"I do believe that this game will get to the point where there will no longer be a collision at the plate," Matheny told reporters at the Cardinals' camp this week.

Any rule change would require the approval of the on-field committee appointed by Commissioner Bud Selig. Scioscia, a longtime Dodgers catcher, serves on that committee.

"No one wants to see a catcher get hurt. No one wants to see a runner get hurt," Scioscia said. "It's worth talking about. But it's going to be difficult to put in a rule that says you can't do this or do that, because you're totally changing the dynamics of a play."

Scioscia questioned the feasibility of a proposal under which catchers would stake out one side of the plate and runners would have to slide toward the other side. What would happen, he wondered, if the catcher set up on one side but the throw forced him toward the other side?

"If a throw is a little bit off-line, you still have to give the catcher the opportunity to make a play," Scioscia said.

"You could say, 'You can't knock a catcher down.' If the catcher is going to take away the plate and it's the only chance you have to try to hit him where he can't catch the ball, you're taking the play away. It's a very, very delicate thing to legislate without changing the dynamics of what is obviously a key play."

Trout futures

Mike Trout maintained a .667 on-base percentage in Cactus League play, with a single and walk in the Angels' 8-8 tie with the San Francisco Giants. With Albert Pujols set to bat third this season and Josh Hamilton fourth, the Angels have no need to drop Trout in the lineup to leverage his power.

"Long-range, he's probably better suited to hit second, third or fourth," Scioscia said. "Right now, there's no doubt he's part of an elite group of leadoff men."

Weight watcher

Reliever Chad Cordero said he lost 47 pounds — on Weight Watchers — in his effort to return to the major leagues for the first time since 2010. After his debut with his hometown Angels, he was tempted to celebrate at the In-N-Out across from his rental home here. Then he decided he would hate himself in the morning.

"I just went home and made a salad and a lobster tail," he said.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

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