GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers appreciates the clarity provided by Monday's announcement concerning Rule 7.13, which "will prohibit the most egregious collisions at home plate" per a release from Major League Baseball.
According to the rule also implemented by the MLBPA:
• A runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate). If, in the judgment of the umpire, a runner attempting to score initiates contact with the catcher (or other player covering home plate) in such a manner, the umpire shall declare the runner out (even if the player covering home plate loses possession of the ball).
• 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, in the judgment of the umpire, the catcher, without possession of the ball, blocks the pathway of the runner, the umpire shall call or signal the runner safe.
This rule does not mandate that the runner always has to slide or that the catcher can never block the plate. On the pathway call, the umpire will consider whether the runner made an effort to touch the plate and whether he lowered his shoulders or pushed through with his hands, elbows or arms when moving toward the catcher.
"It's nice for everybody to know what we need to work on," Flowers said. "That's been up in the air when we've worked on a few things already.
"Do we need to work on this? Will it happen? I saw the first details, and they had to change a couple things. I don't know all the details, but at least a decision's made. At least we know what we need to practice every day."
Flowers didn't really think a change needed to be made.
"I haven't had too many experiences with it. I think for baseball it's tough to see some guys get hurt," Flowers said. "Obviously, Buster [Posey] getting hurt on that play, that's not good for anybody. That's probably taking fans out of the seats.
"They're coming to see him play and that team play. From that aspect and MLB's aspect it makes sense. For us slower baserunners, it's going to be a little different. Sometimes we have a chance to run them over and score. Now, we have to make it."