Since MLB created new rules a few years ago to protect catchers and limit unnecessary hard contact in plays at the plate, we’ve seen fewer and fewer collisions. But we got one tonight, courtesy of Anthony Rizzo and Austin Hedges, and San Diego is steamed about the way it played out.
After catching a fly ball in center field, Matt Szczur threw home to try getting Rizzo out at the plate. He did—after Rizzo barreled into Hedges, the Padres’ catcher.
(If you’re on mobile, watch video here.)
Hedges struggled to get up and eventually left the game with a bruised thigh. After the game, several members of the Padres called Rizzo out for the play—none so strongly as manager Andy Green, who called it “fairly egregious,” “disheartening,” and “a cheap shot.”
The rules don’t ban collisions at the plate, they ban any attempt by a player to “deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher...or otherwise initiate an avoidable collision.” (Rule 7.13, check it.) An addendum says that if the catcher “blocks the pathway of the runner,” the play is legal. Rizzo pretty clearly didn’t deviate from his path here, so the question is then one of whether Hedges was blocking him. Rizzo, naturally, says it was legal:
Hedges, for his part, was a bit more diplomatic:
Either way—hopefully something we don’t have to see continued tomorrow via juvenile punitive measures.