On the Sunday just prior to the 2019 Major League Baseball All Star break, the Los Angeles Angels played the Houston Astros. The game was tied at 10 and the bases were loaded. George Springer flew out to right field. Outfielder, Jake Marisnick, of the Astros, was on third base, and he aggressively tagged up heading for home plate as the throw in to catcher Jonathan Lucroy began arriving from the outfield.
As Lucroy came in to accept the throw and make a play at the plate, Marisnick used his forearm and headed to plow over the catcher. The collision was quite violent as Lucroy remained down for a while after the play. As he slowly sat up, blood was visibly dripping down his face. Although Marisnick was safe at home, he was called out for crashing into the catcher. The play was reviewed and the call on the field was upheld. Lucroy had to be carted off the field by emergency responders.
Lucroy suffered a concussion and a broken nose resulting from the collision at the plate. He was given a CT scan at the hospital. The degree of severity on the concussion has not been confirmed, but the Angel’s catcher was released from the hospital the day after he was treated there. He is scheduled to visit an ear, nose and throat specialist once the swelling subsides. Reports are saying that he seems to be recovering well, but there is no time table right now for his return to the lineup for the Los Angeles Angels.
Joe Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer, reviewed the play over and over again analyzing it from every available angle. He concluded that Marisnick did not intend to hurt Lucroy, but a two-game suspension is appropriate as the play violated the Major League Baseball rules that were recently implemented in order to protect the catcher from plays like these. The MLB has been trying to rid the game of baseball of home plate collisions due to player safety concerns mostly stemming from injuries that Buster Posey endured several years ago.
“It certainly didn’t look like a clean play,” says Brad Ausmus, the manager of the Angels, just after the game. “I don’t know what actually happened, but it looked like Marisnick took a step to the left and bowled into him with his arm up. The call was right. Really, I think Major League Baseball should probably take a look at it. Consider some type of suspension, quite frankly.”
“I watched the play again and it looks — he just drops right in front of me and once I kind of made a decision, it was too late,” Marisnick stated. “It was a bad play and I hope he’s OK.”
“I’ve seen a lot of takes on it, and obviously everybody has their own opinion,” says Jake Marisnick prior to the Houston Astros first game after the 2019 Major League Baseball All Star Game.“But I know deep down in my heart that I had no intent to hurt, or make contact, with him.”
“I don’t fault Jake because he wasn’t hunting him, he wasn’t going after him,” replied Houston Astro’s manager, AJ Hinch. “He tried to take a step on where Lucroy was going to go, and it’s difficult in that little 1-3 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.”
“I don’t think the suspension was necessary. I don’t think it was warranted, but MLB wants to maintain their control over the collisions at the plate, and for all of the right reasons,” said Hinch. “I haven’t seen in my career too many unintentional acts warrant a discipline, but this is a tough one because of the extent of the injury to Jonathan Lucroy and the nature of the rule around home plate.”
Marisnick stated, “Was me trying to clear all the way to the inside, and that’s why I’m so far inside, and the throw to the plate took him a little bit more inside than I anticipated.”
“I just kind of explained and apologized,” says Marisnick. “I’ll let him tell his side of the story. I don’t want to put words in his mouth.”