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The issue of how to preserve the offensive contributions from good hitting catchers is hardly a new one. Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, arguably the greatest catcher of all time, hardly ever crouched behind the plate the last three seasons of his career, playing mostly first and third base.

contract, which runs through the 2018 season, with him at first base.

"I just believe we can't turn a blind eye to what's going on in these other sports,'' Matheny said.

Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president for baseball operations ?? and a former catcher himself ?? was reluctant to implement changes at first but eventually came around.

them to move 2012 NL MVP Buster Posey, who sustained a season ending leg injury in a May 2011 collision, to another position.

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Reebok Fury Pump

that will be enough to convince teams it's safe to leave the top hitting catchers behind the plate.

New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, chairman of the committee, said the new rule will govern both runners and catchers, although the details regarding positioning, intent and enforcement have yet to be worked out.

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Reebok Fury Pump

"I think it's something people are going to start thinking about,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We need Joe Mauer on the field. Yes, he's a great catcher in the league, but we need him on the field. We can't keep watching him get beat up like this and sitting on the sidelines while we're trying to get better.''

Still, the rule modification is not universally welcome.

´╗┐Star catchers behind the plate

In the last year alone, All Star catchers Mike Napoli and Joe Mauer have exchanged the so called tools of ignorance for the relative safety of first base. The San Francisco Giants hear calls from fans and news media pleading Reebok Boys Shoes

"He's like an extra coach on the field,'' Giants president Larry Baer said. "Of the nine years, how many are you going to get with him as a catcher? Hopefully all nine, but you figure at least in the near term, because of his age (26), he'll be able to Reebok Fury Pump stay at the position. And then in the back end, whatever happens, happens.''

On the other hand, Yost pointed out how much the Royals struggled when their All Star catcher, Salvador Perez, missed 10 days between late May and early June due to a death in the family.

With pitching reasserting itself as baseball's dominant force in recent years and scoring markedly down, the value of hitters of their caliber has increased, along with the need to keep them healthy.

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Posey's catastrophic injury when bowled over by Scott Cousins of the then Florida Marlins ?? the reigning NL rookie of the year sustained a broken leg and three torn ankle ligaments ?? provided the initial impetus for the rule change proposed Wednesday.

The lessons from the NFL, which in August agreed to a $765 million settlement of a lawsuit by former players for concussion related claims, surely sank in.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. With the high incidence of injuries and the chance of concussions no longer deemed acceptable job hazards, Major League Baseball on Wednesday decided to ban collisions at the plate.

But other factors not present during Bench's playing days ?? from the late 1960s to the early 1980s ?? are involved now, namely huge contracts and increased knowledge of the dangers of concussions.

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Mauer did not sustain his concussion on a collision but rather as result of a foul tip. The aftereffects of the injury, which occurred Aug. 19, knocked him out for the rest of the season. The post concussion symptoms lasted until late October, and in November the Minnesota Twins announced they would move the three time batting champion to first base permanently.

The Giants signed Posey to a nine year, $167 million extension in March, after he had led the club to World Series championships in two of the previous three seasons, in large part because of his ability to call a game and get the most out of the pitching staff.

And, while reduced, the dangers of baseball's most rugged position won't be eliminated by the new rule.

"Ultimately what we want to do is change the culture of acceptance that these plays are ordinary, routine and an accepted part of the game,'' Alderson said. "The risks and costs associated in terms of health and injury no longer warrant the status quo.''

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Catchers sustained 10 of the 18 concussions that forced players to go on the disabled list in 2013.

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And Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost said he relished collisions when he was a catcher and believes banning them would alter the game.

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"The size of these runners coming in as fast as they are, I just want to try to eliminate any injuries, severe injuries,'' Bochy said in a news conference Tuesday. "And Mike feels the same way, whether it's a concussion or broken ankle, whatever.''

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Shortly after the announcement, Pittsburgh Pirates backup catcher Tony Sanchez tweeted, "Nothing better than getting run over and showing the umpire the ball. Please don't ban home plate collisions.''

The Twins almost certainly won't get full value on Mauer's eight year, $184 million Saucony Kineta Wool

In addition to ranking second on the club in batting average (.292) and tying for third in RBI (79), Perez was in charge of handling a pitching staff that had the American League's best ERA at 3.45, and he's regarded as a team leader.

Will other clubs with offensively gifted catchers follow suit?

The proposed change by baseball's rules committee, which still needs to be fleshed out and approved by the team owners and the players union, is expected to go into effect for the 2014 season.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy became an outspoken advocate for modifying the rules to enhance safety, and he was joined in the crusade by St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, like him a former major league catcher.

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Reebok Fury Pump

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