Major League Baseball took a formal step Tuesday to clarify a portion of the new rule governing unnecessary collisions between base runners and catchers at home plate. In a statement sent to the baseball operations departments for all 30 teams, MLB said umpires have been instructed not to apply Rule 7.13 to force plays at home plate. The directive came several days after Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, said the rules were interpreted incorrectly to overturn an apparent force play in a game between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. An overturned call led to controversy in the third inning of Cincinnati's 11-4 victory over the Pirates on June 18. Umpires initially ruled that Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco was out on a force play at home plate, then changed the call to safe because officials at MLB's replay command center in New York determined that Pirates catcher Russell Martin had illegally blocked home plate with his foot. Rule 7.13 was adopted in order to prevent unnecessary collisions at home plate between a runner attempting to score and a catcher attempting to make a tag play on the runner. Rule 7.13 has no function for a force play. So, effectively immediately umpires will be instructed not to apply Rule 7.13 to force plays at home plate.
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