Sources: MLB tells Cubs, Padres that Anthony Rizzo collision violated rule
Padres manager Andy Green was correct to question the legality of Anthony Rizzo’s collision with catcher Austin Hedges in Monday night’s game between the Padres and Cubs.
Major League Baseball, according to sources, informed both clubs Tuesday that Rizzo was in violation of Rule 7.13, which the sport introduced in 2014 to protect catchers from such collisions.
The violation carried no practical consequence; plate umpire Jeff Nelson ruled that Rizzo was out to end the sixth inning of the Cubs’ eventual 3-2 victory. The outcome would have been the same if Nelson had invoked the rule, which is why the play was not subject to replay.
Rizzo told Cubs writers on Tuesday that he had spoken with Joe Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer. Torre informed Rizzo that he had violated the rule but would not be disciplined, Rizzo said. No player has been suspended for violating Rule 7.13.
Hedges left the game in the middle of the seventh inning with what the Padres called a bruised right thigh, and Green expressed his frustration with Rizzo’s play in pointed comments to reporters afterward.
Green declined further comment to FOX Sports on Tuesday, standing by his remarks of the previous night.
“It’s a fairly egregious violation of the rule,” Green said. “The rule exists to protect that catcher. The safety of the catcher is more in jeopardy now when you have the rule to protect you, because you are not expecting to get hit.
“You’ve got to think like that. I think it’s a cheap shot. I’m not saying (Rizzo is) a dirty player at all. No one is saying that. He clearly deviated from his path to hit our catcher and took our catcher out. The rule exists to protect him. It’s a disheartening play.”
Rule 7.13 states that, “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)…”
An additional comment within the rule adds that, “a slide shall be deemed appropriate, in the case of a feet-first slide, if the runner’s buttocks and legs hit the ground before contact with the catcher.”
Rizzo, 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds, appeared to make contact with Hedges before his buttocks and legs hit the ground.
“If you give them the plate, they’re supposed to slide,” Hedges said.
The Cubs, however, contended that Rizzo did nothing wrong.
“I loved it, absolutely loved it,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s part of the game. If the catcher is in the way, you hit him.”
Rizzo said, “I’ve talked to a lot of umpires about the rule. My understanding is (if the catcher) has the ball, it’s game on.”
Green had a different view, suggesting that Rizzo merited a harsher penalty than simply being called out.
“For me, the whole point of the rule is to protect my catcher, not to necessarily get a call right on safe or out,” Green said. “When Austin Hedges’ health is put in jeopardy because someone took a shot at him when he’s not expecting it at all, that’s a problem.
“That’s something where baseball needs to consider how you handle situations like this after it occurs. Because if there’s some sort of penalty now, then people think twice about it. If something happens with Anthony Rizzo’s next number of games, then they think twice about taking that shot. That’s up to the Commissioner’s Office to make that type of determination. That’s not up to me.”