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Owners, union still working on plate ban

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PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) - Major League Baseball owners and the players' union remain at work on drafting a rule that would ban home-plate collisions.

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MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred said Thursday that owners ''fully expect'' to have a rule in place, hopefully this season, but that talks are ongoing.

Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations, said that the rule, in essence, will ''make sure a baserunner can't purposely bowl over'' a catcher.

Torre says the mentality of runners rounding third and wanting to score at any cost will have to change.

''There's going to be some inadvertent contact that you're not going to be able to avoid,'' Torre said, ''only because the catcher has to go catch the ball.''

Players' association Tony Clark anticipates approval of the rule for this season.

A former catcher, manager and broadcaster, Torre said he was approached about a possible rule change in 2011 by San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy after Giants catcher Buster Posey sustained a severe, season-ending ankle injury in a home-plate collision.

''I talked to Bruce Bochy because he was very concerned,'' Torre said. ''At the time, I said anything that makes sense I'll look at it, but I really didn't see anything that made sense to make sure it doesn't affect our game in a negative manner.''

But as time passed and more injuries occurred, the idea of a rule change grew more plausible, Torre said.

''We've had minor league injuries,'' he said. ''I've had letters from parents about what happened to their youngsters.''

Torre spoke with a series of managers, including St. Louis' Mike Matheny, a former catcher.

''We all know he had to give up the playing part of it because of the concussions, the number he sustained,'' Torre said. ''There's an 18-month period of his life that he can't recollect. You have to pay attention to that.''

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