JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Speeding up the pace of game is something that’s been discussed at several levels of professional baseball. On Wednesday Minor League Baseball announced rule and procedure changes aimed at reducing the length of extra innings games and the number of mound visits during a game throughout Minor League Baseball.
In addition, the Triple-A and Double-A levels will use a 15-second pitch clock with no runners on base.
The procedures, created in partnership with Major League Baseball, aim to reduce the number of pitchers used in extra innings and the issues created by extra innings games, including, but not limited to, shortages of pitchers in the days to follow, the use of position players as pitchers and the transferring of players between affiliates due to pitching shortages caused by extra innings games.
“We believe these changes to extra innings will enhance the fans’ enjoyment of the game and will become something that the fans will look forward to on nights where the game is tied late in the contest,” said Minor League Baseball President Pat O’Conner. “Player safety has been an area of growing concern for our partners at the Major League Baseball level, and the impact that lengthy extra innings games has on pitchers, position players and an entire organization was something that needed to be addressed.”
Some of the new rules nclude:
-At all levels of Minor League Baseball, extra innings will begin with a runner on second base.
-Visits by coaches and position players will be limited based on the classification level. Triple-A clubs will be allowed six (6) visits per team, Double-A clubs will be allowed eight (8) visits per team, Single-A clubs will be allowed 10 visits per team and there will not be a limit on mound visits for Short Season and Rookie-level clubs.
-Pitchers at the Triple-A and Double-A levels will be allowed 15 seconds to begin their wind-up or the motion to come to the set position when no runners are on base. With runners on base, the pitch timer will go from 15 to 20 seconds.
There will be brief grace period from April 5-19 for teams to get accustomed to the new rules. Beginning on April 20 all of the new rules will be enforced.
“We feel that limiting mound visits and decreasing the amount of time between pitches with no runners on base will further improve the pace of play and make it a more enjoyable experience for our fans,” said O’Conner.
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