After player enters, MLB allows certain pitch clock delays

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball has clarified its new rules to allow umpires to delay the start of the pitch clock after big swings in which a batter loses his footing or when a pitcher covers first base, the third or home, in addition to other details announced Wednesday.

The commissioner’s office said in its memo that if a catcher completes an inning at base, at bat, or on the deck, an umpire may determine that the catcher needs more time and allow the pitcher another warm-up pitch and the catcher to throw to second base.

MLB also said that if a defensive team violated the new shift restrictions, they would be subject to a video review involving only the first player to touch a ball after a pitch.

The league has also stated that after a batter uses his only allowed timeout during a plate appearance, the clock should start when the batter indicates he is ready in addition to the previous specification when returned. in the batter’s box.

The clarifications before the March 30 openings were contained in a four-page memo sent by MLB senior vice president Michael Hill to managers, general managers and assistant general managers, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press. .

“They’re important in my mind because they react to the things the players have told us,” commissioner Rob Manfred said on Tuesday night before Japan beat the United States 3-2 in the World Classic championship game. baseball.

Baseball’s 11-man competition committee, established in the labor agreement last March, adopted the pitch clock and shift limits last September over opposition from the four players on the panel. MLB has set the pitch clock at 15 seconds without runners and 20 seconds with runners.

The average length of spring training games through Monday was down from 25 minutes to 2 hours and 36 minutes. Violations per game were 1.03 over the past week, down from 2.03 in the first week of spring training, according to the memo.

Teams were told that the bat boys and bat girls from the visiting dugout would meet with the visiting club before each series to discuss player preferences. MLB said it will monitor bat boys and bat girls to determine if they are contributing to the game’s out-of-pace procedures.

MLB said it will release guidance to teams on Friday about pitchers’ use of PitchCom. Catchers were allowed to use the device to call pitches last season, and pitchers were allowed to experiment with it during spring training.


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