Mike Redmond discusses new catcher rule

JUPITER, Fla. -- MLB's new home plate-collisions rule has been met with both clarity and confusion at Marlins camp.

After months of speculation, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia is glad that guidelines are now in place.

"I understand what they're doing, they're protecting the catchers," Saltalamacchia said. "They're trying to eliminate the dirty plays. I'm for that.

"From what I understand, it's basically going to be the same. You just can't block the plate without the ball. I always thought that was a rule to begin with."

Still, after reading the rule, manager Mike Redmond notes there is some confusion over how the rule will be interpreted.

"There are definitely still some grey areas to this rule," Redmond said. "I think the meat of it is good. The targeting of the catchers is winning over. But I still feel like we're going to approach this thing the same way as far as our catchers, how we set up.

"We set up and give them the back part of the plate so they can either slide into it or reach with their hand. You can still block the plate as long as you have the ball. And that's what we're going to do. I don't think it's a huge adjustment for us."

The basics of the new rule are:

• The catcher may not block the pathway of a runner attempting to score unless he has possession of the ball. If the catcher blocks the runner before he has the ball, the umpire may call the runner safe.

• All calls will be based on the umpire's judgment. The umpire will consider such factors as whether the runner made an effort to touch the plate and whether he lowered his shoulder or used his hands, elbows or arms when approaching the catcher.

• Runners are not required to slide, and catchers in possession of the ball are allowed to block the plate. However, runners who do slide and catchers who provide the runner with a lane will never be found in violation of the rule.

• The expanded instant replay rules, which also go into effect this season, will be available to review potential violations of Rule 7.13.

Redmond, a former catcher, still is unclear if the baserunner can lower his shoulder to dislodge the ball, if the catcher is standing at the plate. The way the organization hears it, runners will not be allowed to extend their arms in an attempt to pry the ball free.

"What I've told our runners, you've just got to slide at home plate, that's the way it is," Redmond said. "The catchers, once they catch the ball, they're going to be able to block the plate. It's going to be interesting to see how those bang-bang plays at home, the instinct plays, how they work."

From a technique standpoint, the Marlins are relieved their catchers won't have to reprogram the way they set up to receive a throw and apply a tag.

"The only grey area I see, maybe, is on the runner's side of it," Saltalamacchia said. "Knowing he may have to slide, but if the catcher is in the way, you want to score. That might cause some issues. Hopefully not. I don't think there is any clear-cut way. I think this is probably the best way it could have gone. There is not going to be a happy side, unless it stays the way it is."

Marlins set to open spring vs. Hurricanes

Mike Redmond on emphasizing strong team mentality

JUPITER, Fla. -- Let the games begin.

The Marlins have been entrenched in going through the fundamentals since Spring Training opened on Feb. 16. Now, it's time for games to get underway.

The Marlins take on the University of Miami on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. ET at Roger Dean Stadium.

Facing a college team or two has become a tradition for the club. The Marlins will start right-hander Angel Sanchez, who was acquired from the Dodgers last July in the Ricky Nolasco trade. UM is going with right-hander Javi Salas.

On Thursday, the Marlins take on Florida International University, also in Jupiter. Justin Nicolino will start for Miami.

The Grapefruit League season gets going on Friday against the Cardinals. Jose Fernandez will make his debut, with St. Louis countering with Carlos Martinez.

Against the Hurricanes on Wednesday, the Marlins will play some of their regulars. Many will get only one at-bat.

"It's a good day to give a lot of our younger guys a few at-bats in the game, and our regular guys will get in Friday," manager Mike Redmond said.

The college teams will be using metal bats.

In the past, the big league clubs were cautious of metal bats because of how much life they gave to the ball. But colleges now use BBCor bats, which don't have as much spring to them.

"I know the offense, statistically, is way down in college baseball," Redmond said. "That bat has made a huge difference. We're playing it as a game to get our younger guys in. I know our guys are excited to get a chance to play and see some of our young pitchers as well."

Cishek tallies first save in simulated game

Cishek excited about new bullpen arms

JUPITER, Fla. -- It was just a simulated game, but if the Marlins actually kept score, Steve Cishek would have notched his first save of Spring Training.

The Marlins closer faced four batters in a scoreless inning, recording one strikeout and one walk. For the most part, the sidearm slinging right-hander was sharp. He kept the ball down, induced some weak contact and threw strikes.

Even though Cishek is a closer who is focused on saving games, Tuesday's performance was a personal victory in many ways, mainly because it was his first time facing hitters since camp opened on Feb. 16.

Early on, he missed a few days due to a stiff neck, which occurred by sleeping awkwardly.

Cishek threw the final inning, facing Marcell Ozuna, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Giancarlo Stanton and Adeiny Hechavarria.

Ozuna flied out to left, Saltalamacchia struck out on a slider. Stanton drew a walk, and Hechavarria tapped to third.

"I threw a lot of splits today against righties and lefties," Cishek said. "One that was terrible, the one I threw to Stanton that was in the dirt."

Before striking out Saltalamacchia, Cishek had a slider get away that caused Saltalamacchia to leap out of the way.

It was also encouraging that Cishek kept the ball down.

"That's my bread and butter; keep it down," Cishek said. "It was a good first one."

A year ago, Cishek posted a 2.33 ERA and he saved 34 of 36 chances.

Starting off the spring treating a stiff neck made Cishek eager to face hitters.

"I was just antsy," Cishek said. "This offseason went by quickly. After three weeks, I was ready to see some hitters again and just battle. It was definitely a lot of fun."

Worth noting

• Fernandez, the reigning National League Rookie of the Year, received some special attention on Tuesday. The 21-year-old ace was being followed by an MLB Productions crew, and he was wearing a microphone. On his cap was a GoPro camera to give a different perspective.