CHICAGO — Anthony Rizzo received a call from Major League Baseball about his collision Monday with San Diego Padres catcher Austin Hedges at home plate, but the Chicago Cubs slugger will not be punished.
MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre spoke with Rizzo on Tuesday to inform him he had violated Rule 7.13, which protects catchers from collisions. The rule was introduced in 2014.
Rizzo slammed into Hedges in the sixth inning of Chicago’s 3-2 win. Rizzo was called out, and Hedges left the game with a bruised right thigh.
“It an instinct play, there’s no intent to be malicious toward Austin Hedges, toward the San Diego Padres, it wasn’t a statement,” Rizzo said. “It’s a tough baseball rule and there’s a lot of gray area.
“The league looked at it, and it’s over with now.”
“It was a bad slide,” Hedges said Tuesday. “I clearly gave him the plate. He went out of his way, got me pretty good. It was just too bad. I thought I gave him enough plate to go ahead and slide.”
Hedges was out of the lineup Tuesday. The catcher hopes to play Wednesday in the finale of the three-game series.
If plate umpire Jeff Nelson would have called Rizzo in violation of the rule, nothing would have changed.
Padres manager Andy Green called the play a “fairly egregious violation of the rule” on Monday.
“Don’t think in any way, shape or form he’s a dirty baseball player,” Green said Tuesday. “I think it was one of those plays, he makes a decision in a split-second, he violated a rule. A rule that was designed to protect the health of my catcher and every catcher in the game of baseball.”
Cubs manager Joe Maddon didn’t dispute Torre’s interpretation, but stated his objection to the rule, which mandates runners stay on a direct path and catchers cannot block the plate without the ball.
“I thought it was a great baseball play,” Maddon said. “Their catcher did everything right, the way he caught the ball and slid into the plate as he was attempting to block the line, and Anthony did the right thing attempting to score a run, which is the whole purpose of playing baseball.
“The narrative gets really thrown out of proportion, but I think that’s just the world we live in today.”
Rizzo was back in Chicago’s lineup as the leadoff hitter Tuesday against Padres right-hander Jhoulys Chacin.