September 24, 2022

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The Major League Baseball Competition Committee will vote on rule changes on Friday with a focus on accelerating the pace of play, sources said

The Major League Baseball Competition Committee will vote on rule changes on Friday with a focus on accelerating the pace of play, sources said

The Major League Baseball competition committee is set to vote Friday on rule changes that will begin in 2023 and include the first-ever stadium clock, a repeal of the change, larger rules and a limit on the number of times a bowler can quit rubber, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The goal is to increase the action on the field, speed up the pace and reduce the amount of time it takes to play a major league game. Rule changes are expected to pass and include the following:

  • The pitch clock is 15 seconds with empty bases and a 20-second clock with contestants

  • Rubber disengagement – including launch attempts – for every panel appearance

  • Hitters are required to be in the hitter’s chest and “alert” eight seconds to go on the clock. Hitters are allowed one timeout per board appearance

  • Only two intruders will be allowed on each side of the second base, with all four on the dirt (or indoor turf)

  • Players cannot position themselves on the outside turf before throwing the field

  • Bases will increase in size from 15 square inches to 18

Major League Baseball has been engaging with extensive research it has conducted through fan and player polls over the past several years while testing changes at all levels of the minor leagues. With technological advances in shooting and defense over the past decade, the league expects the changes to be an evening method on the pitch for hitters while making a more enjoyable defensive product.

stadium clock

The clock will start when the bowler receives the ball from his holder or from the referee – and play is ready to resume. Most of the time, it’s after every throw, but this could include a moment for a runner to get back into the bag or a ball boy or ball girl to clear the field, for example. The referees will have to whistle to signal the end of the court clock, which will result in the ball being called. If the hitters are not ready with eight seconds left on the clock, a strike will be issued. Each hitter will be allowed one time limit per board appearance. Hill visits are limited to 30 seconds unless they are due to an injury.

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Rubber disengagement

Pitchers can go off the rubber twice per board appearance without penalty, but after a third move—which doesn’t result in a crack—a handicap will be called. In other words, the bowler can throw to first base up to three times, but the third attempt must result in an exit or the runner advances to base. The disengagement rule is reset when the runner reaches a new rule. With no runners, the third step would lead to a visit to the hill.

the shift

The referees will monitor the players to ensure that they are leveled correctly before the ball leaves the bowler’s hand. Like receivers in a soccer game, players can ask the referees if they are properly located, with two players required on each side of the second and none allowed on the outside turf. If a throw is thrown while the defending team violates the new shift rules, the battering team can choose the outcome of the next play or the ball to the batter. This is the only game with new rules that will be subject to review. Players cannot switch positions within an inning unless one of them is substituted.

Bigger bases

The increase in the size of the bases should reduce the casualties around them while increasing the attempts of the stolen base. Both outcomes occurred in the minors when the older bases were tested.

ESPN’s Jeff Bassan contributed to this report.