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Collins seeks clarity on play at plate vs. Twins

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Several times during Friday's 9-1 win over the Twins, Mets manager Terry Collins went out to talk to crew chief Bob Davidson and home-plate umpire Brian O'Nora. A few times, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire went out. A couple of times both managers went out together.

It was to discuss the new rules regarding catchers, baserunners and home-plate collisions to which all teams are trying to get accustomed.

This time it involved the run scored by the Twins in the fourth inning, when Joe Mauer led off with a single, went to third on Jason Kubel's single and scored on Wilkin Ramirez's sacrifice fly to center field. Juan Lagares' throw home to catcher Taylor Teagarden was not in time, allowing Mauer to score. In the process, Teagarden took a step to his left when attempting to receive the throw and appeared to have a foot in front of the plate.

All parties were trying to make sure Teagarden was set up in the proper position, according to the new rule.

"The play at home plate was the discussion," Collins said. "There's new rules on that play. Bob Davidson, who -- it's all new to everybody -- thought that Taylor might have had the plate blocked early, which is now illegal without the ball.

"Taylor thought he gave him the backside of the plate. The replay umpire, who came out between innings, said he thought on the replay that [Teagarden] gave [Mauer] the back side of the plate. But on that particular play, coming straight down the line, Joe said, 'As I was coming in, I couldn't see anything. The closer I got and the fact that the throw was up the line, all of a sudden the play opened up.'

"Now, the issue is, like I told Brian, all of a sudden, you see that play. If you're the third-base umpire, you're the only one who can really see where he's at because the home-plate umpire has got the tag. When you turn, you think if [the catcher has] got the plate blocked, [the runner is] going to be safe. So it's going to be new to everybody and that was the whole discussion. Gardy said Joe said, 'Hey, I couldn't find the plate.' Our guy [Teagarden] said, 'I only thought I had the front corner. I thought I gave him the whole lane.'

"It's going to be a play where you can actually go out and say [to the umpires], 'You're going to have to take a look at that [on replay]' and it's not going to cost you a challenge."

Neither manager asked for a challenge this time, Collins said. The review umpire, located in a production truck close to the field, came out to offer his opinion.

"I asked Bob when he left the field, 'Did you look at the replay?' And he told me that [Teagarden] was fine," Collins said.

Collins said he expects some confusion early in the season before everyone understands the new rule.

"Oh, no question about it. Yeah, there's going to be trial and error," Collins said. "There's going to be a lot of looking at some tape. If we're going to use this technology, we got to have some mistakes. I think you got to use it as much as possible. We don't want to lengthen the game obviously. But I think in order to make it work, we've got to get the kinks out some way."

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to
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