Published: Wed, February 21, 2018
Medical | By Jackie Banks

MLB imposes limit on mound visits

MLB imposes limit on mound visits

Back to the pace-of-play topic, while the headline of the new changes deals with limiting the amount of mound visits to six per every nine-inning game, the more significant move, which no one seems to be talking about, was trimming down commercial breaks after every half inning.

The mound visits are going to be the more contentious change in the short term, but the changeover clock is clearly going to be used to pave the way for a pitch clock. Major League Baseball defined a mound visit as a manager or coach leaving the dugout to meet with the pitcher, along with a position player leaving his position to speak with the pitcher, and the pitcher leaving the mound to confer with another player. With over two minutes between innings and at every pitching change, the league has almost 40 minutes of dead time to work with in each game that does not require the intrinsic rules of the game to be fiddled with each year.

While MLB will not mandate the tracking of mound visits on ballpark scoreboards, at least some teams are expected to keep an updated tab on the scoreboard. Starting this season, this kind of thing probably won't happen. Major League Baseball and Manfred have been pushing for a pitch clock for years now, but the MLBPA is against it, and they won this battle. This latest initiative spearheaded by the MLB was proposed in order to speed up baseball games and will now be recognized in the upcoming 2018 season.

"We understand there is an integrity issue with that, and also keeping the game going and not burn a mound visit because you have to change signs".

Pitcher will be advised when his last warm-up pitch is happening (25 seconds remaining between innings).

20 seconds remaining: Batter is announced and must leave on-deck circle.

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"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 of the changes.

There will be less time between innings and pitching changes. For real change to come in the time of a game, the league will have to find new and creative ways to shorten commercial breaks while still generating revenue for advertisers.

The penalty for violations will be "progressive discipline". There had been talk of charging the pitcher with an automatic ball if he wasn't ready to deliver the pitch when the timer runs out, and charging the batter with an automatic strike if he wasn't in the box when the timer runs out. The rules, which will be implemented in time for spring training games, do not include a between-batter timer.

Because of the timer rules, pitchers are no longer guaranteed to receive eight warm-up pitches.

Last year, a system of fines was not enforced until a player was 20 seconds over the inning-break limit. Perhaps what's notable is what's not in this agreement: No pitch clocks quite yet. I was pro-pitch clock, but that isn't happening.

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