Friday, June 3, 2011

Montero working on sweep tags at home

By Anthony Fenech / | 06/03/11

PHOENIX -- Before Friday's game, D-backs bullpen and catching coach Glenn Sherlock was working with catcher Miguel Montero on sweep tags at home plate.

"Obviously there has been a lot going on with tag plays and things at home plate," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "We always try to do something at home and sharpen things up."

Gibson said the team has had conversations about it, but he said not to read much into Montero's pregame practice.

He also explained his thoughts on the recent hot-button topic of catchers blocking home plate in light of Giants catcher Buster Posey being injured just over a week ago.

"I'll just say this: I thought the play was within the rules," Gibson said. "And I'll tell you from the way I looked at it as a player, if you're coming down the line and the catcher's up in front of the plate, you don't know. A lot of guys will bait you to slide, but when it's a close play like that, you have no idea if that ball's going to be caught or if it's going to be mishandled. "[It] is bang-bang. So if you assume it's going to be caught -- lets assume its going to be caught right there -- if he slides, is he going to be safe or is he going to be out? So it's a baseball play and I think that he chose to make sure the ball was dislodged and it's an unfortunate play, but I do feel it was within the rules. Those plays have been going on for many years.

"I don't know this but it'd be interesting -- I would say probably more runners get hurt at home plate in collisions than catchers over time, in my guess. I have no basis; it's a baseball play so right now it's within the rules. If they should change it then we'll adapt to it."

When asked if he instructs his catchers to avoid contact, Gibson said he leaves that up to Spurlock.

"But I played with a guy, Mike Scioscia," Gibson said. "He was pretty much on the plate, and his theory was if you're on the plate, you're deeper and you have a better chance for reading it. And you're also taking it more head on. He would stay there and in the end, if he didn't have to, he would just go down and roll. I watched him get crushed, getting knocked out at home plate and hanging on to the ball.

"But getting back to your original question, I think the play was within the rules."

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