Full plate for Mets catchers to digest in plays at home; new rules to be announced soon

Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud at spring training on

Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud at spring training on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2014, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud likened plate collisions to the kind of highlight-reel plays seen elsewhere around the diamond. Outfielders make leaping catches. Infielders make diving stops. And catchers, he said, make baserunners pay a price for trying to score.

"It's part of the game that every catcher enjoys," he said. "It's like our thrill."

Even when it's the catcher who pays the price.

But soon those thrills will be a thing of the past.

Major League Baseball has settled on new rules outlawing collisions at home plate, executive vice president for baseball operations Joe Torre told reporters Friday. An announcement could come this weekend. The rules should be in effect in spring training.

Though the rules have yet to be announced, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson spent part of Friday telling his catchers to avoid collisions.

"You'll see our guys practicing assuming that we want to try to avoid collisions at the plate,'' said Alderson, the chairman of MLB's rules committee.

Alderson wants his catchers to give baserunners a clear lane. D'Arnaud said they have been drilled to give runners "pretty much the whole plate."

Alderson said the "prevailing sentiment" in front offices has been to discourage home-plate collisions. At about this time a year ago, the Mets specifically instructed d'Arnaud to avoid blocking the plate. He said the adjustment was difficult and that he even defied that edict -- in a spring training game.

"I know a lot of catchers love that play at the plate, just like I do," he said. "But the rules change and we've got to adapt."

Of course, in the heat of the moment, making that adjustment might be difficult.

"It's part of being a catcher," d'Arnaud said. "Say, for example, it's Game 6 of the World Series and I'm told I can't block the plate. Well, my instincts are going to tell me to save that run from being scored."

Under the new rules, a catcher could be penalized for blocking the plate. Such plays also might be reviewable, leaving open the possibility of a baserunner being ruled safe even if he never touched home plate.

"It'll finally be put to rest as far as, we will have a rule," Torre told reporters. "That has been determined. As far as the details, there'll be a memo that will be sent out."

Notes & quotes: Matt Harvey is expected to begin his throwing program , according to a source, exactly four months after Tommy John surgery. Harvey has been medically cleared and was prepared to throw before he was moved back a day . . . Bobby Parnell complained of tightness in his left quadriceps, forcing him to bump a scheduled throwing session to . Parnell has been working his way back from neck surgery . . . Edgardo Alfonzo joined the Mets as a spring training guest instructor.

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