Did collision compare to Morgan-Hayes incident?
LOS ANGELES — Go back to Aug. 31, 2010, and the Marlins were on the receiving end of a vicious and controversial collision at home plate.
Catcher Brett Hayes separated his left shoulder after being plowed into by Washington’s Nyjer Morgan.
Hayes missed the remainder of the season, and a benches-clearing incident occurred the next day after Chris Volstad twice threw at Morgan, who charged the mound the second time.
Were there any similarities between the Morgan collision and the one that occurred on Wednesday night at San Francisco? In the 12th inning, Scott Cousins barreled into Giants catcher Buster Posey, who fractured his lower left leg and sustained ankle ligament damage.
Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez says the two collisions are apples and oranges.
When Morgan charged home, Hayes was rising to catch a high throw, and he was not blocking the plate. Rather than slide in and score easily, Morgan initiated contact. Then he went back to touch home plate.
Cousins clearly was looking to knock the ball loose from Posey, who was attempting to field a short hop, and in the process of turning. Because of the throw, Posey’s left leg was exposed. He lowered it to the ground in front of the plate.
Cousins didn’t know Posey hadn’t come up with the ball.
“It would have been hard for me to make a decision five feet before I got to home plate, to avoid the catcher,” Rodriguez said of Cousins. “I think that was part of the game. We are very sorry. There is no one here who wasn’t sorry. Even after he scored, there was no celebration in the dugout. There was zero celebration in the dugout. He came in shaking hands and all that. But there was zero celebration.”
Marlins catcher John Buck says the blocking the plate drill is worked on for more than a week during Spring Training. Buck adds that Posey was prepared to withstand the hit to his upper body. But his legs weren’t braced beneath him, resulting in the injury.
“There is about a week in spring, maybe more, working on that specific play,” Buck said. “For that reason. It’s a high risk play. You work on how to receive the ball, even if you are kicked or slid into. You’re trying to position your body if you are exposed, so even if you get hit, you can take it.
“It’s high emotion. Your thought as a catcher is to catch the ball and block home. I think that’s why you spend so much time in Spring, so you have that muscle memory. But it was a short hop. His leg turned, and left him exposed.”
Buck added that Posey normally wouldn’t lower his leg, but he was caught out of step due to the short-hop throw.
“I would venture to say, he doesn’t normally do that,” Buck said. “You have so much riding on that play, that you’d do so much to catch it and block the plate. Because the ball was short-hopped, it looked like he laid that left leg down to block the plate. His left leg was in front of the dish, his leg was trying to block the plate. I think he thought he had the ball. So once he did, if you look as [Cousins] hits him, [Posey’s] knee is down. But you could see, he was ready to absorb that hit.”
— Joe Frisaro