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MLB takes steps to limit home plate collisions

NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball on Monday adopted a rule aimed at limiting the most dangerous home plate collisions between baserunners and catchers.

MLB's playing rules committee had voted in December to come up with rule changes designed to eliminate those types of plays, but needed to draft the regulation and obtain approval from owners and the players' union.

Under the new guidelines, a runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to home plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher or other player covering home plate.

If the umpire judges such a runner initiates contact with the player covering the plate, the runner shall be declared out even if the player covering home plate drops the ball in the collision.

Unless the catcher is in possession of the ball, the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner as he is attempting to score. If the umpire judges that the catcher does so, the runner will be deemed safe.

Umpires will consider whether the runner tried to touch the plate and whether he lowered his shoulders or pushed through with his hands when heading toward the catcher.

The new rule, which will be adopted on an experimental basis for the 2014 season, does not require runners to slide into home plate, and a catcher may still block the plate to field a throw that the umpire determines he could not otherwise have fielded.

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