On Monday night Andy Green the manager of the San Diego Padres called the home plate collision between Chicago’s Anthony Rizzo and San Diego’s catcher Austin Hedges a “cheap shot.”
The play may have been the most controversial since an attempt by Major League Baseball was made to legislate that type of contact out of baseball.
The play left players and coaches for the Padres wondering if any league discipline was needed and the Cubs defending their first baseman.
Rizzo was trying to score on a fly ball by Kris Bryant but collided with the Padres catcher. Green said that he believes Rizzo intentionally deviated from the path he was in toward home plate in an attempt to dislodge the ball from Hedges’ mitt.
Green said the play was a cheap shot following the 3-2 victory by the Cubs. Green wanted to be clear he was not calling Rizzo a dirty player, but he believes the Cubs’ first baseman deviated from his scoring path to hit Hedges.
Prior to the 2014 regular season, Rule 7.13 was enacted by MLB. The rule prohibits baserunners from leaving their direct line to home plate so they can initiate contact with a catcher or any other player covering home plate.
Umpires are able to call the player out even if the possession of the ball is lost by the player on defense.
The catcher is also not allowed to block the runner’s path in his attempt to score unless he already has the ball in his possession.
The rule came three years after Buster Posey the All-Star catcher for the San Francisco Giants suffered a horrendous leg injury during a collision with Scott Cousins an outfielder for the Marlins. Posey missed most of the 2014 season due to the injury he suffered.
Hedges on Monday was not injured, but did leave the game the following inning due to a thigh bruise. Rizzo said that he did not believe he was out of bounds.
Rizzo insisted it was not a dirty play as he was running toward home and the catcher caught the ball and leaned toward home plate.
Rizzo said that in his opinion the rule indicates that anything is on if the catcher already has the ball.
If San Diego has any inclination to retaliate they will not need to wait that long. The two teams will play head to head again on Tuesday at Wrigley Field.