PEORIA, Ariz. -- Padres catcher Nick Hundley called Monday's announcement by Major League Baseball and the Players Association that it has banned most home-plate collisions on a one-year experimental basis a "step in the right direction."
"Anything that leads toward player safety is a good thing," Hundley said. "But at the same time, you have to consider the runners' safety as well. There are guys who can break their ankle sliding into the plate when it's blocked. For a catcher, if you're not blocking the plate, you shouldn't get hit.
"It will be interesting to see how the rule plays out, how it's interpreted."
The rule that is being implemented will prohibit the most egregious collisions at home plate.
Rule 7.13 states that a runner attempting to score may not deviate from his direct pathway to the plate in order to initiate contact with the catcher or any other players covering home plate. If there's a violation, the umpire can declare the runner out even if the player covering the plate losses possession of the ball.
The rule goes on to state that unless a catcher is in possession of the ball, he cannot block the pathway of the runner attempting to score. The umpire can call or signal the runner safe if he deems the catcher does not have the ball when blocking the plate.
MLB will distribute training materials during Spring Training.
"I'll talk to umpires and we'll get some games in. I think it's important to know what they've been told, too," Hundley said. "And it's important as a catching staff to know what's going to be called, what's illegal and what's illegal."
Stults to start Padres' first spring game
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres have 29 able-bodied pitchers in big league camp, which makes the process of finding innings for all of them this Spring Training a little tricky.
But, as the annual charity game against the Mariners on Thursday draws closer, manager Bud Black said Monday that veteran left-hander Eric Stults will start the game.
Stults is scheduled to throw one inning, and the Padres will likely use six or seven pitchers in that game, including Minor League right-handers Donn Roach and Kevin Quackenbush.
Last season, Stults led the Padres in victories (11) and innings (203 2/3) while making a career-high 33 starts. He had a 3.93 ERA and is projected to be the fifth starter in the team's rotation.
Thursday's game is the first of 28 contests the Padres will play in Arizona before breaking camp. The team will then face the Indians in two exhibition games in San Diego before starting the regular season on March 30 against the Dodgers.
The Padres don't have any 'B' games scheduled to get pitchers and position players extra work, adding to Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley's challenge to find enough innings for the pitchers in camp.
The only pitcher on the 40-man roster not in camp is left-hander Alex Torres, who has yet to report to Arizona while getting his visa issues worked out in his native Venezuela.
Luebke challenged with second Tommy John rehab
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Having rehabbed following Tommy John surgery in 2012, you would think Padres pitcher Cory Luebke would have the routine down pat the second time around.
But that wasn't the case Sunday, when Luebke, five days removed from his second elbow reconstruction surgery, discovered that the details from his first rehabilitation on his left elbow weren't easy to recall.
"I'm surprised some of the stuff I was doing today was stuff I had forgotten the answers to. … Hopefully, it will all start coming back to me," Luebke said.
Luebke had his surgery on Feb. 18 by Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola, Fla. The initial marks on the surgery were good, Luebke said. Now comes the work to get back.
"The first four to six weeks, you're trying to get full range of motion back," he said. "It was good to get that moving around a little bit."
Luebke said his rehabilitation following a second Tommy John surgery will closely resemble the one he followed the first time, though "things are a little more delicate."
Luebke said he would probably "cross paths" with D-backs pitcher Daniel Hudson, who also needed to have two Tommy John procedures.
"I'll leave him alone for now," Luebke said. "It seems like he's doing well."
• Third baseman Chase Headley, who Saturday suffered a strained right calf in an infield drill, had an MRI exam on Monday to determine the severity of the injury. Headley arrived at the team's training facility without the crutches he had used the previous two days as the club awaited the results.