MLB’s new rules come into effect this week: Here’s what players learned this spring

Phoenix –

It was a defining moment in the recently concluded World Baseball Classic. Japanese star pitcher Shohei Ohtani vs. US slugger Mike is his trout. Nine times. 2 out. One run game.

Team USA pitcher Meryl Kelly said the storybook scene was dramatic not only for the fans watching, but for the players in the dugout. I also acknowledged that

“How would you set the pitch clock in a situation like this?” Kelly said.

Well, we’re trying to find out.

Major League Baseball’s new rules package is scheduled to make its regular season debut on Thursday, when all 30 teams will play their first games. For many fans, it will be the first time they’ve seen a list of quite a few rule changes in the sport, including pitch clocks, infielder shift restrictions, and larger bases. did not.

“It’s next level. Enforcing the rules in the games that matter,” said Evan Longoria, a three-time Diamondbacks All-Star. “No one has their number stamped on the back of their baseball card during spring camp.

“I think this will be a big adjustment.”

The good news for baseball is that the rule change was widely praised during spring training. , 26 minutes shorter than last season’s Spring Games.

Infield shift limitations weren’t really a big concern. Little attention is paid to large bases that help contain conflicts and injuries.

MLB has also demonstrated a willingness to listen to player feedback. Last week, the commissioner’s office sent a memo to clarify some rule issues for spring training.

But we all know the real test starts on Thursday.

Cubs pitcher Drew Smiley said, “I think we’ll see more gamesmanship in the regular season.

Some of that was shown in spring training. New York Mets ace Max Scherzer and other pitchers have weaponized the pitch clock to force hitters to rush, wait for hitters within the bounds of a 15-second timer, or wait for hitters in 20 seconds when someone is on base. I tried to mess up the timing.

“The power that pitchers have now, I can totally set the pace,” said the three-time Cy Young Award winner.

The cat-and-mouse game between pitchers and stealers will be especially interesting in the opening weeks of the season. A pitcher can only leave the rubber twice in each at-bat. That means your chances of trying to pick off are limited. If the pitcher leaves base for his third and does not record an out, a balk is called and all runners advance his first base.

Stolen bases and stolen base attempts during spring training are up about 50% from last spring’s games.

And they were able to jump back into the regular season.

“To be honest, I didn’t want to mess with it,” D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said of the team’s running strategy. “But believe me, we are working on something behind the scenes.”

Emphasis on athleticism is central to what MLB wants in the 2023 game, and the sport has been aggressively marketing it. A recent video from — cheekily titled “Get that shift ΓǪ outta here!” — features “Breaking Bad” actor Bryan Cranston to celebrate the change.

So far, players and coaches seem cautiously optimistic that the rule change is a good thing.

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw said the idea of ​​a pitch clock was far scarier than the actual pitch clock.

“I stared at it and realized I was probably thinking more than I should,” said the three-time NL Cy Young winner. I don’t think

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler said he hopes the new rules will remove some of the mind games from baseball.

“Before you step out of the batter’s box to catch your breath, look up at the sky and take your time getting back into the batter’s box,” Kapler said. Then there is the real penalty.”

“It takes all the thoughts out of your head. I think that gives the athletes the most advantage.”

The WBC Ohtani-Trout showdown ended with Ohtani beating his Los Angeles Angels teammate to hold on to Japan’s 3-2 win, but was not subject to this year’s rules.

Does the pitch clock make the situation a little more lively? Of course.

But Diamondbacks manager Lobro said the good things about the new rule outweigh the bad. I felt that I was At first he thought it was eight times.

Then he realized it was just the third.

Suddenly the pitch clock didn’t sound so bad.

“I adapted and I think everyone adapted,” Lobro said. “I think the rules are really good.”


Gary Schatz, an AP freelance writer in Arizona, contributed to this report.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button