Joe Girardi is still not quite sure what blocking the catcher entails. Credit: Getty Images
One of the new additions to rules this season is that catchers are not allowed to block home plate without possession of the ball.
Though he successfully won a challenge on a play at first base in Sunday’s 3-2 win over the Red Sox, Girardi was not successful at contesting a play in which he thought Toronto catcher Josh Thole was in violation of that rule when plate umpire Dana DeMuth ruled Francisco Cervelli out on April 5.
Since that 4-0 loss, Girardi has met with MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre, who, like Girardi, is a former catcher. And according to Girardi it did not offer any more clarity.
“It seems to be a difficult call to make,” Girardi said. “What is considered blocking the plate? If the runner is 30 feet away and he steps in, I think it’s probably going to be the thing that’s talked about the most. There is no clear-cut answer on what is blocking the plate, what is considered blocking the plate right now. It’s somewhat of a sense of the umpires. It’s probably going to have to go through some things before you actually have exactly what is considered blocking home plate. Obviously you’d like to have it ironed out but it’s not and you have to live with it and you’ll move on.
“We talked to him about what they were allowed to do and you’re not allowed to block home plate without the ball. There’s going to come an instance where it’s probably going to be close to blocking home plate without the ball and someone’s going to say, ‘Why that one and not the other one?’”
In the meantime, Girardi will teach his catchers to do what they’re supposed to, although he conceded instincts will take over.
“It’s a judgment on the umpires,” he said. “Let’s say you’re in a sense straddling home plate toward the third-base line and you catch the ball 40 feet before the guy gets there. Were you really blocking home plate? No, you weren’t. What if it’s 20 feet? What if it’s 10 feet? What if it’s five feet? That’s where I guess they have to try and iron this thing out so I’ll teach my catcher to do it just the way they’re supposed to do it and we’ll go from there.”
One of the hottest early rumors of the offseason involved Girardi returning to manage his hometown Cubs.
It seemed like a natural fit with Girardi’s roots in Illinois and the Cubs needing a manager after letting Dale Sveum go.
But it never seemed to develop into much more than a rumor, especially since Girardi re-signed with the Yankees about a week after general manager Brian Cashman’s season-ending press conference.
“I didn’t think about anything after that,” Girardi said. “This is home for me. This has been home for a pretty long time, really. Since I started playing here. We’ve been coming back and broadcasting, coaching, managing and my family is engrained in schools in New York. This is our life, so New York was I wanted to be, and this is where I’m at.”
Including minor league games, Girardi has 10 years with the Cubs. If you combine his playing, broadcasting, coaching and managing experience Girardi has 14 seasons associated with the Yankees.
Jeter: Still no fan of days off
About 2 1/2 hours before first pitch of the the opener to Wednesday's doubleheader media received the lineup card. Derek Jeter was not listed.
In what is becoming a routine, the media surrounded his locker before Jeter promptly asked, “You want me.”
He downplayed the minor quad injury that kept him out of the last two games with the Red Sox and acknowledged his acceptance toward getting rest.
“I’ve always understood, but I didn’t like it,” Jeter said. “I still don’t like it, but I get it, the fact that it’s a long season.”
Jeter seemed to injure it running to first at some point Friday night and naturally he didn’t go to Girardi to mention he felt something.
“I didn’t say anything,” he said. “I was running to first, and evidently, someone saw me stretching. I don’t know who. Joe said, ‘Did you hurt yourself? I saw you stretching.’ I said, ‘No, I was just tight.’ No big deal. That was the end of the conversation. Saturday, he was not planning on playing me anyways, and then when I got here on Sunday, he said, ‘You have the day off.’”