Royals manager Ned Yost, who caught for three teams in six seasons as a major-league player, refused to accept the role of sitting duck on plays at the plate.
“When you had time, I always took the opposite thought on a runner,” Yost said Tuesday. “I’m going to inflict as much damage and pain on you as I could. I’m fully equipped and protected.”
Either the catcher or the runner could get the brunt of the blow.
“It worked both ways,” he said.
But baseball has tweaked a rule, limiting collisions. They’ll be allowed only if the catcher has the ball and is blocking the runner’s direct path to home plate, and if the catcher goes into the base path to field the throw.
Also, a runner can’t go outside the pathway to the plate to initiate contact with the catcher in an attempt to jar the ball loose.
Instant replay, which will be expanded this season, can be used to determine if the rule is violated.
After a Tuesday review of the rule with coaches, Yost said little has changed.
“You can’t barrel into a catcher; everything else is basically the same,” Yost said.
Support for reducing collisions has a visual. In May, 2011, Giants catcher Buster Posey broke a bone in his lower left leg after a collision with the Marlins’ Scott Cousins. Posey, among the game’s bright young stars and coming off a Rookie of the Year season, was finished for the year.
Salvador Perez, the Royals’ Gold Glove-winning catcher, doesn’t think the rule will have a big impact on him.
“My idea is to be a little bit in front of the plate waiting for the ball,” Perez said. “I don’t think this is a big change.”
At 5 feet 9 and 160 pounds, outfielder Jarrod Dyson, the Royals’ fastest player, probably wouldn’t win many collisions. But he said the catcher is the beneficiary.
“They’re not doing this for the runner,” Dyson said. “Man, all I’m trying to do is get there safe and sound. And most times when I take off, I feel like I’m going to get there. If a catcher blocks the plate without the ball, it should be counted as a run.”
It will be. Under the rule, the runner is safe if the catcher blocks the plate without the ball.
Pitchers dominated the early portion of the Royals’ second scrimmage Tuesday.
Jeremy Guthrie, a projected starter, worked around a sharp single to Alex Gordon. Brad Penny pitched next and fanned two of his three hitters, including Eric Hosmer.
Also effective in their innings were Greg Holland, Aaron Crow, Francisley Bueno, Everett Teaford, Jon Rauch and P.J. Walters.
Home runs came late. Melky Mesa and Juan Graterol each hit one off Michael Mariot, and Jason Donald blasted a three-run shot off Sugar Ray Marimon.
Perez played first base in the scrimmage. He played one game there last season.Royals seeking voices
Want to belt out the national anthem, “God Bless America” or “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” for an audience of thousands?
Auditions for the fifth annual “Royals Fans Got Talent” will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 8 at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals are seeking bands, choirs, groups, musicians and individuals.
Paperwork for the auditions can be found on royals.com/perform. For more information, call 816-504-4436 or firstname.lastname@example.org