Leyland in favor of rule against collisions at plate

Leyland in favor of rule against collisions at plate

SEATTLE -- The topic of home-plate collisions is a sensitive one, and something Tigers manager and former Minor League catcher Jim Leyland hasn't discussed much out of hesitation for stoking the debate. After Brayan Pena's game-ending impact from Justin Smoak, however, Leyland waded into it.

Leyland, who serves on Major League Baseball's Special Committee for On-Field Matters, said Thursday morning officials are debating a rule that would have players slide at home plate in those situations.

"That's one of those other controversial things they're talking about maybe changing, where guys have got to slide," Leyland said. "I'm hoping it happens."

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny and Giants manager Bruce Bochy have both expressed strong support for a rules change, having seen their All-Star catchers take hard hits at the plate.

There are a lot of variables that go into such a play, Leyland cautioned, such as throws like Wednesday's that send the catcher up the third-base line and into the runner. That makes a set rule difficult to write, let alone enforce.

"That's why this hasn't been ironed out," Leyland said. "There's going to be some technicalities."

Pena, for his part, said after the game he felt fine, though he admitted he felt woozy for a few moments immediately after the hit. He was on the early bus back to Safeco Field on Thursday morning, and gave a thumbs-up sign when asked how he was feeling.

Leyland debated greeting him with a prank.

"I wanted to post my lineup with Pena catching," Leyland said with a smile, "but I didn't have the heart."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.