Brian Cashman suggests rule change

Updated: May 28, 2011, 7:34 AM ET
By Buster Olney | ESPN The Magazine

In the aftermath of the injury to San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Friday afternoon that he would be in favor of making a rules change that would end contact between catchers and runners in collision plays in spring training.

A few years ago, the Yankees lost catcher Francisco Cervelli for three months to a broken wrist on a home-plate collision in spring training.

"I would make those changes in the spring," Cashman said, "in exhibition games that don't count."

In 2008, Cervelli's injury took place in a collision with the Rays' Elliot Johnson.

Afterward, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, "I think it was uncalled for, it's spring training and you are going to get people hurt and we got Cervelli hurt."

Cashman said he was not ready to take the step of altering rules as an effort to eliminate catcher-runner contact during the regular season.

"Second basemen and shortstops are vulnerable on double plays, outfielders will sometimes crash into a wall," he said. "Catchers are vulnerable [in collisions], for better or for worse."

Posey was hurt during the 12th inning of Wednesday's game between the Giants and Florida Marlins. Scott Cousins tagged from third on a sacrifice fly, beating the throw from Nate Schierholtz and lowering his shoulder to slam into Posey for a clean hit on the catcher. Cousins was safe as Posey never could quite corral the ball, giving Florida a 7-6 victory.

Posey laid in the dirt around home plate, dazed, writhing in pain and curling up in a ball. After several minutes of stunned silence at AT&T Park, fans began chanting "Posey! Posey!" as he was helped off the field by two team trainers holding his left leg.

Posey had already taken several hard foul tips off his mask and legs this season, even leaving one game for precautionary reasons to make sure he didn't have a concussion. Some observers have argued a slugger of his caliber shouldn't be behind the plate, where hits can be routine, and this injury surely won't do much to quiet that sentiment.

Posey himself has always shaken off those remarks, saying he was born to play catcher and loves his position.

Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Buster Olney | email

Senior Writer, ESPN The Magazine

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