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Francona wants home-plate collisions to stay


SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Indians manager Terry Francona does not believe home-plate collisions should be banned by Major League Baseball.

Earlier this week, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny expressed his feelings that baseball should ban collisions at the plate and requested a meeting with Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, to discuss the matter.

Matheny spent 13 seasons in the big leagues as a catcher and had his career ended due to a concussion.

"First, let me preface it by saying how much respect I have for Mike," Francona said. "I do not agree. We talked about this last year. I don't think people have thought it through enough."

Francona believes changing the rules to eliminate home-plate collisions -- a move aimed at protecting catchers from injury -- could lead to injuries for baserunners.

"You're going to get more baserunners injured," Francona said. "The game's going too fast. You've just got to let guys play. As an organization, if you want your guy to move, [that's fine]. But I don't think people are taking into account that if the [runner] is coming around third, the ball's coming, and the catcher is there, what if the catcher lunges at somebody, or blocks the plate, what's the runner going to do?

"You're going to get more baserunners hurt. It's unfortunate when a catcher gets hurt, but it's kind of part of the game. I guess every organization can do what they choose. I don't think you can ever institute a rule."

Francona was asked what he would instruct his catcher to do in such situations.

"Play the game right," replied the manager.

That includes blocking home plate on such plays.

"When it's called for, yeah," Francona said.

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