PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Major League Baseball's new rule regarding home-plate collisions is not a complete ban, which suits Mets catcher Travis d'Arnaud just fine.
d'Arnaud expressed some concern last week over a proposed ban of collisions, which he described as instinctual plays that he personally enjoys. The new rule, which is experimental for 2014, only bans catchers from blocking the plate without possession of the ball, and baserunners from deviating from their direct path to the plate to initiate collisions. The league described those situations as "the most egregious collisions at home plate."
"It's part of being a catcher," d'Arnaud said last week. "Say, for example, it's Game 6 of the World Series and I'm told I can't block the plate. Well, my instincts are going to tell me to save that run from being scored."
The Mets, however, banned d'Arnaud from engaging in collisions last season, and they are issuing an organization-wide mandate for all of their catchers this year.
The league also announced that instant replay will be available to review potential violations of the new rule.
Granderson to play early, often this spring
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Though Mets veterans David Wright and Daniel Murphy will not see much early spring playing time due to the team's desire to keep them healthy, Curtis Granderson does not fall into the same category.
Unlike Wright and Murphy, who each played extensively during the 2013 regular season, Granderson missed the majority of the campaign with two major injuries. He specifically requested to receive a large number of Grapefruit League at-bats to make up for that.
As a result, Granderson will play often at the beginning of the spring slate, which opens Friday afternoon against the Nationals. But it may be midway through March before Wright and Murphy join him in the lineup on a regular basis, due to the team's desire to prevent the nagging injuries that consumed both players last spring.
Wright nearly missed Opening Day after suffering an intercostal strain, and Murphy endured a similar injury earlier in camp.
"They were both on board completely with it," manager Terry Collins said of Wright and Murphy. "They're such tremendous workers that both of them said the one thing they want to do is come out healthy. So we said we're going to take a little bit out of their hands, because if we leave it to them they're going to max out effort.
"We've got to get them ready for April, and we think that we certainly can do that in the last two weeks of Spring Training, as opposed to the entire month. So we're going to back them down a little bit early, and then gradually get them involved and get them more playing time."
• The Mets announced that Dillon Gee, Bartolo Colon, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jeurys Familia, Noah Syndergaard, Joel Carreno, Carlos Torres, Steven Matz and Jose Valverde are all scheduled to pitch in an intrasquad game Thursday at Tradition Field. Admission to the game is $6, with proceeds going to the Mets Foundation.
• Matt Harvey threw off flat ground Monday for the second time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in October. Harvey, who is scheduled to advance his program every other weekday until he is ready to pitch off a mound during the summer, threw 20 times at a distance of 60 feet.