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Marlins catchers to approach new rule on collisions same way -- giving lane to back of plate

JUPITER -- As a former catcher, Marlins manager Mike Redmond says he's never had a problem with collisions at the plate.

He likes the aggressiveness on both sides, the concept of a runner trying to knock the ball out of the catcher's mitt and the catcher trying to hold on for dear life.

Major League Baseball's new experimental rule (7.13) -- announced Monday and aimed at protecting those parties from injuring each other -- is making its way around major league clubhouses now. Reaction has been mixed. In the Marlins clubhouse, Redmond said "there's definitely still some grey areas to this rule."

"I think the meat of it is good," Redmond said. "But I still feel like we're going to approach this thing the same way as far as our catchers, how we setup. We setup and give them the back part of the plate so they can either slide into it or reach with their hand. You can still block the plate as long as you have the ball. And that's what we're going to do.

"I don't think it's a huge adjustment for us. Probably more comfortable for the catchers now because they don't have to worry about getting run over. There still could be some contact there, but at the same time too you can't lower your shoulder, push with your arms or anything. The catcher is going to be able to hang in there a lot longer and not worry about the contact."

Good for catchers it seems and not so much for runners.

"What I've told our runners is you have to slide into home plate," Redmond said. "It's just the way it is. And the catchers once they catch the ball they're going to be able to block the plate. So it will be interesting to see how those bang-bang plays -- the instinct plays -- how those work. 

"The way I understand it is you can still have the collision but it's going to be up to the umpire to judge the collision because you can't lower your shoulder, you can't push off with your arms. So I don't know how your going to go into the guy. So unless you're going to chest bump him I'm not sure exactly how its going to happen.

"Now you're thinking about how do I slide. You got to be thinking about where the ball is, how am I going to slide in here. It creates a lack of aggressiveness for the runner for me."

The Marlins began spring training not knowing exactly what MLB was doing to do about collisions so they kept their padded cylinder dummies -- used for simulating collisions in camp -- inside. They brought them back out Tuesday.

"With the dummy you don't have to run it into the guy. You can just slide it and throw it as a guy sliding," Redmond said. "You still have to prepare for guys sliding, hook slides, practice your tags that way. We just won't be ramming it into them like we used to."

> The Marlins open exhibition play Wednesday against the University of Miami. Redmond said he planned to get most of his regulars an at-bat before letting minor leaguers and backups get most of the action. The plan is the same versus FIU on Thursday.

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