Houston Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick was suspended for two games by Major League Baseball and fined an undisclosed amount Thursday in the wake of Sunday’s violent collision with Los Angeles Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
Marisnick crashed into Lucroy in front of home plate while attempting to tag up from third base during the eighth inning of Sunday’s game in Houston. After the collision, Lucroy was carted off the field and taken to a hospital. He suffered a concussion and broken nose, according to reports.
Joe Torre, the chief baseball officer for MLB, determined that Marisnick’s actions warranted discipline by the league. While Torre said in a statement that he does “not believe that Jake intended to injure Jonathan,” he also said “the contact [Jake] 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.”
The rule includes this stipulation: “The failure by the runner to make an effort to touch the plate, the runner’s lowering of the shoulder, or the runner’s pushing through with his hands, elbows or arms, would support a determination that the runner deviated from the pathway in order to initiate contact with the catcher in violation of Rule 6.01(i).”
Umpires called Marisnick out on the play, determining that he lowered his shoulder to make contact with Lucroy and strayed out of the baseline. The call was upheld after a review.
Marisnick defended his play in interviews following the game, but he also said in a Twitter post on Sunday evening that he “felt awful” and apologized profusely to Lucroy. He will appeal the suspension, allowing him to play Thursday night, and told reporters Thursday that he “would like to just talk further with Major League Baseball” about the play. He said in the Twitter post that he “made a split second decision at full speed to slide head first on the inside part of the plate."
“Obviously I still feel terrible about it,” Marisnick told reporters Thursday. “It was a rough couple days, just going through kind of everything that happened, kind of a chance to sit back and digest everything. I’ve seen a lot of takes on it, and obviously everybody has their own opinion, but I know deep down in my heart that I had no intent to hurt or make contact with him.”
The protection of catchers is an ongoing subject of debate. St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Angels Manager Brad Ausmus, a former catcher, both called on the league to suspend Marisnick following Sunday’s game, with Molina describing it on Instagram as a “Bulls--- play!”
“I don’t fault Jake because he wasn’t hunting him, he wasn’t going after him,” said Astros Manager A.J. Hinch, also a former major league catcher. “He tried to take a step on where Lucroy was going to go, and it’s difficult in that little 1- to 3-foot circle where you’re trying to figure out going at full speed what’s going to happen. It just turned out to be an ugly play.”
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