Blue Jays on MLB's new rule for home-plate collisions

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- John Gibbons was a catcher during his playing career. He was once injured in a home-plate collision during Spring Training. And Gibbons generally supports the intent behind Major League Baseball's experimental new Rule 7.13, designed to increase player safety, which was announced Monday.

Still, the Blue Jays manager is somewhat ambivalent about the change.

"I think if you start trying to mess with the game too much, you're going to run into problems," Gibbons said. "It's a big part of the game. Game on the line, it's the winning run, guys are trying to stop that run. Instinct tells them to do one thing. But if that's the rules, we live with that. Nothing we can do about that.

"What they're trying to do is eliminate the cheap shots. I understand what they're trying to do. But sometimes things happen. You know the rule, but sometimes things happen. The game's on the line, the guy's trying to take away the run? I don't know. That's a big disagreement a lot of people have. It will be interesting. You look at the NFL and it's almost like you can't hit anybody anymore. There are so many concussions in every sport now. Head injuries. Everything's kind of going that way."

Gibbons said the new rule wouldn't have kept him from being injured.

"That was a throw from left field up the line," he said. "As a catcher, I was going up the line to catch it and I kind of drifted into the runner. Plays like that, from what I understand, if you're going after the ball and you have collisions, that's just part of it. Or if you're going to catch the ball and you happen to get into the line and there's a little collision there, there's nothing you can do about that."

Gibbons added that he noticed a difference in the definition of expanded replay when some Grapefruit League managers were briefed over the weekend.

"Originally when we talked at the Winter Meetings, you had one appeal through six innings, then from the seventh inning on, it was all in the umpire's hands and they could do whatever they wanted," he said. "Now they say if you don't use it though six innings, you can hold onto it until the end, no matter what. That's one change I noticed."

Jays GM defends club ownership

Blue Jays host annual State of the Franchise

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos declined further comment when asked to comment Monday on the assertion that upper management needs to increase the payroll in order for Toronto to be competitive in the American League East. Instead, he referred to the quote he gave to FOXSports.com, which originally reported the story.

"Our ownership has been outstanding and given us all the resources we need," Anthopoulos told the website.

Agent Scott Boras referred to the asset base of Rogers Communications, the parent company of the team and added: "It's a premium city. It's a premium owner with equity. And it's a very, very good team that with additional premium talent could become a contending team. They're a car with a huge engine that is impeded by a big corporate stop sign ... a successful and committed ownership that needs to give their baseball people financial flexibility."

Worth noting

• Left-hander Ricky Romero -- who is trying to regain his 15-11, 2.92 ERA form of 2011 -- threw two innings of live batting practice Monday. He was erratic at first but settled down as the session continued.

"I like the way he's throwing," said manager John Gibbons. "I think he's moving in the right direction. To me, he looks confident. He's feeling good about himself. He's not where he needs to be or where he wants to be yet, but he's going in the right direction."

• Gibbons said he plans to push the starting pitchers a little harder than normal this spring, with the goal of having them better prepared when the regular season starts.

"Last year, our problem at the start of the season wasn't that they couldn't throw a lot of innings," Gibbons said. "It was that they couldn't stay in the game long enough to throw a lot of innings. We got beat around early. It had nothing to do with stamina. We just weren't pitching well."

• The Blue Jays will play an intrasquad game before opening their Grapefruit League schedule against the Phillies in Clearwater on Wednesday.

• Third baseman Brent Morel was claimed off waivers by the Pirates.