Major League Baseball suspended Houston Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick two games on Thursday for his violent home-plate collision with Jonathan Lucroy of the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
Lucroy suffered a concussion and broken nose as a result of the collision, which happened in the eighth inning of a 10-10 game that the Astros eventually won in 10 innings. Marisnick was attempting to score on a sacrifice fly by George Springer. Marisnick was called out on the play for colliding with Lucroy, and the call was upheld after review to end the inning.
Video replays seem to show Marisnick veering on the first-base side of the third-base line to run into Lucroy rather than veer away to try to get to the plate. Some people have called for a longer suspension for the incident if Major League Baseball is serious about making sure injuries don’t happen in home-plate collisions.
“It certainly didn’t look like a clean play,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus told reporters after the game. “I don’t know what actually happened, but it looked like Marisnick took a step to the left and bowled into him with his arm up. The call was right. Really, I think Major League Baseball should probably take a look at it. Consider some type of suspension, quite frankly.”
Chief baseball officer Joe Torre agreed with Ausmus, saying in a statement, “After thoroughly reviewing the play from all angles, I have concluded that Jake’s actions warrant discipline. While I do not believe Jake intended to injure Jonathan, the contact he initiated in his attempt to score violated Official Baseball Rule 6.01(i), which is designed to protect catchers from precisely this type of collision.”
Marisnick appealed the suspension.
Lucroy was taken to a local hospital Sunday night, where he stayed until Monday. He was released, though he was still scheduled to undergo further tests before he would be cleared to play.
Lucroy was hit by Marisnick’s lowered shoulder, then hit his head on the ground after he was knocked back. He had to be helped to a cart, though he was able to get on his feet to walk with assistance.
The 33-year-old Lucroy is in his first season with the Angels, batting .237 with seven home runs and 30 RBI. He’s played for four other teams during his nine previous seasons in the majors.
Catchers have been forbidden from blocking the plate while waiting for a throw in Major League Baseball since the 2014 season. At the same time, it was ruled that a runner trying to score that runs out of a direct line to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher or any other player covering the plate will be ruled out, even if the player taking the throw loses possession of the ball.
Catchers in possession of the ball are allowed to block the plate, and runners are not required to slide, though if they do slide, they will avoid violation of the rule.