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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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MLB Open to Tweaking Rule Changes Before Season

  • MLB's new rule changes could be altered prior to the season.
  • Some players have sought alterations to new pitch clock rules.
Arizona Diamondbacks Ketel Marte prepares to bat against Seattle Mariners in the third inning with the new pitch clock
Rob Schumacher / USA TODAY NETWORK

Major League Baseball might tweak its major rule changes just before Opening Day.

This year, MLB is instituting a pitch clock, restrictions on defensive shifts, larger bases, and limits on how many times a pitcher can attempt a pickoff. Baseball officials have signaled a willingness to make changes prior to the season, which begins on March 30.

With some time to experience the changes in preseason games, the MLB Players Association and individual players have expressed a handful of concerns about pitch-clock regulations.

Some feel that the 15-second timer should be relaxed when no one is on base, and that hitters should have a little more time to be in the batter’s box and “alert to the pitcher.” Currently, batters receive an automatic strike if they are not ready to receive a pitch with eight seconds remaining on the clock.

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Hitters have also expressed the desire to call more than one timeout per plate appearance. Mets ace Max Scherzer has said he loves the new rules because they allow him to force hitters into holding their batting stances longer than is comfortable once they have burned their timeouts.

The new rules are already having their intended effects: Spring training games have been 25 minutes shorter than spring training games last year, while stolen base attempts are up 50.3% from last spring as of earlier in the month, with a higher success rate.

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