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Kinsler, Tigers weigh in on rule changes

MLB.com @beckjason

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Ian Kinsler said Major League Baseball's recent rule changes on potential double-play turns at second base will have a bigger impact on shortstops than second basemen, since making fielders touch the bag affects shortstops who have traditionally run across the bag on double plays rather than staying on it.

On slides, though, Kinsler doesn't see a massive change so much as a clarification to make it less subjective for umpires.

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Ian Kinsler said Major League Baseball's recent rule changes on potential double-play turns at second base will have a bigger impact on shortstops than second basemen, since making fielders touch the bag affects shortstops who have traditionally run across the bag on double plays rather than staying on it.

On slides, though, Kinsler doesn't see a massive change so much as a clarification to make it less subjective for umpires.

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"They organized the rule a little bit, made it a little more descriptive for the umpires and for the players to kind of understand what is obstruction and what isn't. So I think that's a good thing," Kinsler said. "Before it was basically umpires' discretion, and every umpire sees things differently, so the rule wasn't really solid depending on the angle that he has, the speed of the play, the time of the game, the angle of the sun, whatever."

Tweet from @tigers: Ian Kinsler ➡️ @JoseIglesias_SS ��https://t.co/fRUopPxYJ5

By new rule, a baserunner must now be able to reach the base with his hand or foot while sliding and must attempt to remain on the base after completing the slide, or else be called for interference. The runner also cannot alter his path to create contact with an infielder. The rolling slide into a middle infielder is also out.

"For me, the only problems were guys sliding away from arm's reach, that lead foot being up in the air, and late slides," Kinsler said. "Those are three things that I think could've been discussed and changed or defined a little better. And that was really it for me. As long as you start your slide before the base and you're within reach of the base, for me that's fair."

Manager Brad Ausmus said he and his coaches will go over the rule changes over the next couple of days. He doesn't anticipate a big adjustment with the neighborhood play now subject to review.

"It makes it more cut-and-dried," Ausmus said. "The old rule was the neighborhood play couldn't be reviewed unless the throw took the middle infielder off the bag. It was much more subjective. Now it's [a question of] he was on the base or he wasn't. That actually makes it easier."

The Tigers will likely practice sliding on Sunday.

Kinsler doesn't believe baseball should eliminate the hard slide, just make the egregious ones more clear.

"I just think the rule needed to be cleaned up a little bit, and I think that's what they did," he said. "I'm definitely opposed to taking the aggression away from the game. If we continue to take exciting plays away from the game, it's going to be a staring contest out there."

Quick hits
• Besides Matt Boyd on Tuesday and Buck Farmer and Mike Pelfrey for the Wednesday split-squads, Ausmus announced his rotation for the next few Spring Training games. Daniel Norris will start against the Braves on Thursday at Disney World, followed by Justin Verlander on Friday against the Yankees at Joker Marchant Stadium. Jordan Zimmermann will make his Tigers debut against his old team, the Washington Nationals, on Saturday at Viera.

Anibal Sanchez was in line to start Wednesday before a triceps strain sidelined him from throwing this week. With Sanchez out for now, Ausmus isn't adjusting his starting plans. "The feeling is that Sanchie's going to be back in plenty of time," Ausmus said.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

 

Detroit Tigers, Ian Kinsler