NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Travis d’Arnaud tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee while sliding into second base last June.
The Mets acquired d’Arnaud from Toronto this offseason in the R.A. Dickey trade, and want to keep their top position prospect in tip-top shape. So the team is banning the young catcher from a classic bang-bang play: blocking home plate with a runner bearing down from third.
Manager Terry Collins described his conversation with d’Arnaud on Wednesday.
“I told him, ‘Trav, I know you’re a tough guy. I know it’s baseball. But if you want to play for the next 15 years, the last thing we need is to have you re-injure your knee. Just get in front of that plate and let them have the plate. And if you receive the ball early, get yourself in a good position. But I’m not going to let you stick that left leg out there and have somebody who is just a reckless guy come charging in and have you shorten your career. I’m not going to allow that to happen right now,’” Collins said.
So that’s that. No protecting the dish for the 24-year-old, who was described on the Mets’ official website as a player that “relishes home-plate collisions.” The San Francisco Giants delivered the same edict to Buster Posey after the catcher was seriously injured at the plate in 2011.
D’Arnaud said he’d do “whatever the organization wants me to do.”
“We look down the road and this kid’s going to be a starter here for a long time,” said Collins. “We certainly don’t want anything to keep that from happening.”
Later Wednesday, on a conference call with several Mets bloggers, general manager Sandy Alderson pointed to the growing concern with concussions in professional sports.
“This particular issue has gotten some coverage in recent days. Mike Matheny of St. Louis suggested there be a rule change about collisions at home plate,” said Alderson, according to MetsBlog.com. “I think you have to be sensible about this, and catchers themselves have to be sensible.”
Alderson said the focus has been on d’Arnaud “because of his prospect status and his injury history,” but it’s also something to consider for all the team’s catching prospects.
“Whether that will be permanent with him or all of our catchers, and the swipe tag becomes standard for catchers in the big leagues, I don’t know,” Alderson said. “But I think it’s a legitimate issue we have to address globally and not just in the case of Travis d’Arnaud. We have an obligation to treat everyone the same way.”
Does baseball need to outright ban the home-plate collision? Be heard in the comments…