Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rule Limits Mound Visits Mlb Eschews Use of a Pitch Clock for Now

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Rule Limits Mound Visits Mlb Eschews Use of a Pitch Clock for Now

Article excerpt

BRADENTON, Fla. - Major League Baseball announced rule changes Monday intended to increase the pace of play, including a limit on mound visits, but the changes did not include a pitch clock.

The rules resulted from negotiations between MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association, meaning commissioner Rob Manfred did not unilaterally impose them, as is his right under the collective bargaining agreement. Concerned with television viewing habits as dead time in the game increases, Manfred is attempting to reduce the periods during which nothing is happening and counteract the lengthening time of games, which grew to an average of 3:05 in 2017.

"I am pleased that we were able to reach an understanding with the Players Association to take concrete steps to address pace of play with the cooperation of players," Manfred said in a statement. "My strong preference is to continue to have ongoing dialogue with players on this topic to find mutually acceptable solutions."

Teams - players, managers, coaches -can make only six mound visits that do not involve a pitching change per nine innings. They receive another one for each additional extra inning. There are exceptions, such as in the case of injury, a cross-up of signs between a pitcher and a catcher or after the announcement of a pinch-hitter.

Some players object to limitations on mound visits because of the importance of slowing down the game in big situations and switching the signs with runners on base. Not only do the pitcher and catcher need to know which sign they're on, but so do the middle infielders so they can adequately position themselves. They also were not thrilled about a pitch clock, which was proposed earlier this year.

"Players were involved in the pace-of-game discussion from Day One, and are committed to playing a crisp and exciting brand of baseball for the fans, but they remain concerned about rule changes that could alter the outcome of games and the fabric of the game itself - now or in the future," MLBPA executive directory Tony Clark said in a statement. …

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