MLB intends to ban plate collisions

ap photoStarter Masahiro Tanaka was one of the high-priced free agents the Yankees signed this offseason.

Major League Baseball plans to eliminate home plate collisions, possibly as soon as next season but no later than by 2015.

New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, chairman of the rules committee, made the announcement Wednesday at the winter meetings. Player safety and concern over concussions were major factors in the decision.

In a sport long bound by tradition, a ban will be a major step. MLB also is instituting a vast increase in the use of instant replay by umpires next season in an effort to eliminate blown calls.

Citing player safety, Alderson said wording of the rules change will be presented to owners for approval at their Jan. 16 meeting in Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Approval of the players’ union is needed for the rules change to be effective for 2014.

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