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Nationals' Matt Williams Waiting On Official Rule Change On Collisions At Home

Matt Williams told reporters on Wednesday that he's not going to talk to the Washington Nationals' catchers about any rule changes until he knows exactly what the new rules will be. Will the new rules help Wilson Ramos solve his issues with plays at the plate?

Patrick McDermott

Both's Buster Olney and's Ken Rosenthal wrote on Wednesday that their sources told them MLB's new rules on collisions at home plate would be coming in the next few days.

Olney reported that the holdup was a matter of, "...determining the precise language for new rules."

"We have to figure out exactly what we're dealing with first. - Matt Williams waiting on clarity on rule changes on collisions

Rosenthal quoted Joe Torre, part of the "Playing Rules Committee" who explained last month that it was a difficult process.

"'We are writing a rule,'" Torre said. "'It's not finished being written because it's not easy.'"

Until he and his coaches have  a clear explanation of what those changes will be, new Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams said today he won't address the issue with his catchers.

"We have to figure out exactly what we're dealing with first," the first-year skipper explained. ''If in fact that's approved and we're playing by that rule then we'll have to adjust."

"To try to teach them something or try to account for that before we know everything is probably not a smart move..." - Matt Williams on talking to catchers about rule change

But until they're told what the rules are, they don't know how to adjust. Catchers and coaches around baseball are awaiting further instruction, which is likely to come when representatives from MLB visit each team at their respective spring homes today.

"To try to teach them something or try to account for that before we know everything is probably not a smart move," Williams said, "because you're thinking about other things [than] you should be thinking about."

The Nationals have an impressive collection of catchers in camp with Wilson Ramos, Jose Lobaton, Jhonatan Solano, Sandy Leon, Chris Snyder, Koyie Hill, Jeff Howell and Brian Jeroloman competing and former major league backstops like Randy Knorr, Matt LeCroy and Bob Boone around to offer advice.

"Everybody that's involved with an organization wants their guys to be healthy," Williams continued, "not only from a catcher's perspective, but a baserunner's perspective. So, we'll see how it all plays out and we'll adjust."

Catchers around the league are going to have to break some ingrained habits.

"Everybody is taught, have been taught anyway, that they need to take the plate away when they need to take the plate away," Williams said. "And if that rule is changed, then we all have to adjust."

The same question that everyone has come up with when thinking about how things could go wrong occurred to the Nats' new manager. "It's fluid in my brain," Williams said. "What if the ball takes the catcher into the runner? I mean, there [are] all kinds of different scenarios that can play out within that play." Instant replay? Collisions at home banned? Spring Training games start soon. Some clarity on the rules would probably be helpful...