WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred gave a verbal shrug of the shoulders when asked if the league would consider changing rules or regulations following the injury to Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper’s knee last weekend.
“I think with this one, you know it’s one of those freak things,” he told CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome. “Y’know, two players heading for the bag at the same time and just putting his foot down at the wrong spot in relation to the bag, it’s hard to know how you can prevent an injury like that.”
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On Thursday, just 48 hours after the fact, MLB insider Bob Nightengale signaled that the Commissioner’s office had had a change of heart and would look into it further:
In the aftermath of the injury, both Harper’s agent Scott Boras and general manager Mike Rizzo lobbied baseball through the media to consider changes to the game. The injury occurred following a rain delay, where the top of the base was slick and unforgiving.
“We’re going to have to do something,” Rizzo said Wednesday with the Sports Junkies on 106.7 the Fan. “I think MLB has recognized that this isn’t the first nor the last injury of this sort. We’ve had two horrific ones this year with Eaton and Harper.”
For Rizzo, it isn’t just the top of the bases that need to be reconsidered.
“Y’know, Harper, [Angels outfielder Mike] Trout, all these guys sliding into these hard bases headfirst. Most guys are going headfirst. You see it all the time that guys are throwing thumbs out, that are keeping the stars of our game out for a long time,” he said. “I think it’s a fairly reasonable fix, I think it’s a fairly easy fix to come up with.
“These intelligent people at MLB and the players’ association, we’ve got to put our heads together and come up with something a little bit better than this, and I think we will.”
Now, it seems as though Rizzo has support in the commissioner’s office for that type of discussion.