- Joe McDonald, ESPN Staff Writer
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox manager John Farrell met Sunday with major league officials in Port Charlotte as part of a regional session to learn more about the rule changes for the 2014 season.
A major topic of discussion this spring has been the limiting of home plate collisions, a rule that was officially adopted Monday. Farrell explained the rule doesn’t change for the defensive player. The catcher can block the plate after he has control of the ball.
“The runner obviously can’t have any intent to run a catcher over, and that’s defined by lowering the shoulder, extending the arms or elbows out in front of you,” Farrell said. “There may be some incidental contact if an errant throw takes a catcher up the line. The catcher also can’t maliciously look to take the plate away or to block the plate that may be above and beyond the normal aggressiveness of the play.”
Farrell also indicated that plays at the plate are reviewable. If the catcher doesn’t have the ball, he must leave open a path to the plate, but he can take that away after he receives the ball, explained Farrell.
Farrell is telling his baserunners to slide into home to avoid any issues.
Also on the docket were managerial challenges. Like most other managers, Farrell was under the impression he had only one challenge in the first six innings, and if it’s not used, it expires. But that’s not the case. Managers retain a challenge as long as the challenged play is overturned, but may not challenge more than two plays in a game. Once the manager has exhausted his ability to challenge plays during the game and after the beginning of the seventh inning, the crew chief may choose to invoke instant replay on any reviewable call.
* The Red Sox are hopeful that Daniel Nava, who is dealing with slight discomfort in his neck, will be able to swing a bat on Tuesday. Whether he’ll be ready to play in Boston's doubleheader versus collegiate teams on Thursday remains to be seen.
“It’s just a minor little thing we’re working on, but there’s no point in going too fast and then all of a sudden we’re set back two or three weeks,” Nava said.
He’s been able to take ground balls and participate in all the other drills, but Nava has been kept out of the cage. He said he has no idea how his neck issue surfaced.
* Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy, who dealt with a slight finger/hand issue earlier in camp, threw a live BP session Monday and he believes he’s back in his normal routine.
“I do,” he said. “I hope the finger issue is getting behind me. I’m still getting treatment, but I feel very good using all my pitches and able to work toward getting all those sharp now.”
He’s the type of pitcher who first focuses on his fastball command before focusing on any of his off-speed pitches. He did throw a few changeups Monday, but his session was mostly fastballs. The plan moving forward is that he’ll have Tuesday off before throwing another live BP session on Wednesday.
* Red Sox pitcher Felix Doubront also tossed live BP Monday, and Farrell has been impressed with the way the ball is coming out of the southpaw’s hand.
“He’s throwing the ball well,” Farrell said. “He’s come into camp in better shape than in years past. We look for a progression and an improvement on last year. Ideally, that’s eliminating some of those peaks and valleys.”
Doubront posted an 11-6 record with a 4.32 ERA in 29 games (27 starts) in 2013. At one point, Doubront went 16 straight starts without surrendering more than three earned runs. Conversely, he gave up five or more runs in six starts.