HOUSTON -- Even though Astros catcher Carlos Corporan blocked sliding Angels infielder David Freese with his left leg during a play at the plate in the second inning Saturday, Astros manager Bo Porter said Sunday he thought his backstop was within the new rules that are designed to prevent home-plate collisions.
It wound up not mattering because Corporan couldn't handle the throw, but he dropped his left knee to the ground and appeared not to provide a path for Freese, who slid head first and was called safe.
Freese said home-plate umpire Eric Cooper told him he would've been ruled safe anyway because Corporan didn't give him a lane to slide through when he didn't have the ball, and straddling the plate doesn't qualify as providing a lane.
Porter believes his catcher provided a clear path to the plate.
"I think Corporan gave him a sliding lane," Porter said. "If Corporan would have come up with the ball and made the tag, he would have been out and Corporan dropped the ball, so it's a moot point."
Corporan didn't block the plate until he got the ball, and the rules state the catcher must give a sliding lane for the runner and not block the plate without the ball.
"As the catcher, you can't be in front of the plate or drop down in front of the baserunner without the baseball," Porter said. "I felt like Corporan was in good position. He had the sliding lane and he just didn't control the ball through the tag."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia, a former catcher, said interpretations involving plays at the plate are still evolving when it comes to the new rule.
"The old adage about how you really don't want to go head first into home plate might not be as relevant if you have a lane to slide in if you have the play beat because you will most times be presented with a swipe tag instead of a leg," he said.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.