Posey's injuries stirs up old debate

Wednesday's violent collision between Giants catcher Buster Posey and the Marlins' Scott Cousins - which left the reigning NL rookie of the year with severe injuries in his lower left leg and likely ended his season - has reignited the decades-old and completely intractable debate over plays at home plate.

In the last few years, the NFL has cracked down on violent hits and increased fines with an eye on player safety, and this week it announced a policy of "club accountability" for teams whose players repeatedly are fined for flagrant hits.

Those developments in the NFL have some in Major League Baseball, including Posey's agent, pointing to the star's injury and asking for something similar. Others, however, argue that bowling into the catcher at home plate is an essential part of baseball.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy, a former catcher who had multiple head injuries in his playing days, was one of those who called on exploring ways to protect players.

"I think we do need to consider changing the rules here a little bit because the catcher is so vulnerable and there's so many who have gotten hurt," Bochy said. "And not just a little bit, had their careers ended or shortened."

"What do you want them to do? Make guys wear tennis shoes? It's a Major League Baseball game," said Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "Sometimes guys break up double plays, sometimes you gotta try to score. Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt, but you got to play the game."

Former Cleveland Indians catcher Ray Fosse, whose career was never the same after Pete Rose, then with the Reds, barreled over him to score the winning run in the 1970 All-Star Game, wondered why after all these years there are still few rules to protect catchers at the plate.

"After Rose hit me in '70, I had two guys that blindsided me, guys who hit me standing up," Fosse told the Associated Press. "There's never anybody ejected for that."

Still, Fosse stopped short of advocating changing the rules - which illustrates how difficult, how full of ambivalence, the matter remains.

Dodgers' McCourt facing $9.8 million deadline

A critical deadline is rapidly approaching for the Dodgers and their sorely pressed owner, Frank McCourt.

On Tuesday, he has to make the club's May 31 payroll: about $9.8 million. Even if McCourt, as he has said, is able to make payroll, the club's finances are in very poor shape. For example, he needed a $30 million loan from current television partner Fox to cover his bills earlier this year.

If McCourt can't make payroll, however, MLB commissioner Bud Selig could take over the team and put it up for sale.