Major League Baseball imposes stricter mound-visit limits, defers on pitch clocks

There will be fewer of these going forward. (Ronald Martinez  Getty

"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."

There will now be a general limit of "six mound visits per nine-inning game without a pitching change, whether by a manager, coach or player", Associated Press confirms.

"We'll have to just figure out a more non-verbal method of communication", Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.

If a catcher gets "crossed up" with the signs... he calls for a curve and gets the express, for instance... we usually see a mound visit to get that sorted. Clubs receive an additional mound visit per extra inning played. Sometimes we go out there just to give him a breather.

Kendall Graveman had a simple response to baseball's new pace-of-play rules that were announced Monday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because that detail was not announced.

"You already have video before the pitcher comes into a game", Verlander said.

In a direct nod to the importance of TV, the new rules also state that "the pitcher can not begin his motion for the first pitch more than five seconds prior to the end of an inning break or pitching change so that television is ensured to be back from commercial break".

The players' union had rejected a proposal including a 20-second pitch clock.

"The signs are getting so much more advanced to protect against that, so that's why you're seeing more mound visits", Verlander said. Umpires can also grant an extra visit if they believe the catcher and the pitcher are confused on signs.

The rule that a pitcher must be removed on a second mound visit in an inning remains in effect.

The league came up with six because teams averaged six mound visits per game in 2017. From now on, there will be a limit of six per game by any coach or player, not including managers' visits to change pitchers and excepting injury situations, pinch-hitters and weather issues (like cleaning spikes).

If a player leaves his position to discuss strategy with a pitcher after an offensive substitution, it will not count as a visit.

An umpire can award additional visits in the event there is concern over a pitcher-catcher "crossup" regarding signals and/or pitch location.

Major League Baseball is hoping that this rule change can help cut nine-inning game times from three hours and five minutes last season and get it closer to the two hour and 46 second game times in 2005. There are exceptions relating to injury and if the pitcher or catcher finishes the previous half inning on base, at bat or on deck. Despite rumors that a 20-second clock was in play and the leader of the sport would put it in regardless of player feedback, it didn't happen.

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