Managers generally discourage players from sliding headfirst at first base and home plate, but there are exceptions depending on the particular play. The widespread feeling is that major leaguers should make their own decisions in the moment and that injuries are an inevitable part of the game.
“A lot of what we do on the field is instinctual, not instructional,” said A. J. Hinch, the Astros’ manager.
At the minor league level, where there are many more teams and a correspondingly higher number of sliding injuries, the Angels require players who tend to slide headfirst to wear thumb guards, Manager Mike Scioscia said. In the past, the Astros removed minor leaguers from games if they slid headfirst into first or home.
Players in Pittsburgh’s farm system who have injured their hands, fingers or shoulders can be fined for sliding headfirst. So can players who tend to rely more on brawn than speed.
But, said Larry Broadway, the Pirates’ director of minor league operations: “Typically, you don’t really get to that point. Guys know that if they’re not supposed to, they don’t do it.”
Major leaguers who prefer to slide headfirst say it is easier to avoid tags…