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Porter gains clarity on home-plate collisions

Special to MLB.com

TORONTO -- Astros manager Bo Porter had a 15-minute conversation with Major League Baseball special adviser Tony La Russa on Wednesday to get some clarification on the rules which pertain to home-plate collisions and catchers blocking the plate.

During the call, Porter was informed by La Russa that the league will be sending out a memo to all 30 teams in the coming days to better outline the rules already in place. Porter made the call to La Russa because of a play that occurred in the club's 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

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TORONTO -- Astros manager Bo Porter had a 15-minute conversation with Major League Baseball special adviser Tony La Russa on Wednesday to get some clarification on the rules which pertain to home-plate collisions and catchers blocking the plate.

During the call, Porter was informed by La Russa that the league will be sending out a memo to all 30 teams in the coming days to better outline the rules already in place. Porter made the call to La Russa because of a play that occurred in the club's 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

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With Houston batting in the eighth, Toronto reliever Brett Cecil fielded a weak grounder and fired home to nail L.J. Hoes, who was attempting to score from third base. Hoes was ruled out, a play Porter unsuccessfully challenged, but the skipper's biggest issue was that he didn't feel Blue Jays catcher Dioner Navarro gave Hoes a proper sliding lane, which is mandatory.

Although Porter didn't agree that Hoes had a sliding lane, he did sympathize with Navarro, too. Porter said that ever since home-plate collisions were banned in baseball, plays at the plate and the language that has followed has focused on throws coming in from the outfield, which would give catchers ample time to set up. When an infielder is coming home with a throw, however, catchers don't have nearly enough time to react, which can make it difficult for them to create the proper sliding lane, Porter said.

"I think a lot of the conversations that we had leading up to the season was more about the ball coming in from the outfield and the catcher having reasonable time to position himself in a place where obviously there'll be a sliding lane," Porter said.

"The play happened so fast or it was going to happen so fast, that the catcher has to have reasonable time to get from behind the plate into a position to receive the ball. They're going to come up with some language that brings some clarity to it."

Porter also explained that he never thought he challenged Tuesday's play at the plate, which he first mentioned after the game. In his opinion, the umpires chose to review the play after he asked them to, but the crew believed that he in fact challenged it. Porter said there is still a lot to learn about the new rules and spoke to the umpiring crew before Wednesday's contest.

"Obviously, I didn't get a chance to talk to them after that play [on Tuesday] because once they go to the headset, you can't go back out and argue," he said.

Chris Toman is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

Houston Astros