MLB has announced pace of play initiatives that will be implemented this season, including a limit on mound visits among other changes. A pitch clock will not be put in place for 2018, with commissioner Rob Manfred deciding to defer it “in order to provide players with an opportunity to speed up the game without the use of those timers,” according to a press release.
Mound visits without a pitching change will now be limited to six per team, per nine innings. For extra-inning games, each club is entitled to one additional non-pitching change mound visit per inning.
“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 in a statement. “My strong preference is to continue to have ongoing dialogue with players on this topic to find mutually acceptable solutions.”
The commissioner’s office also is working toward expediting the replay review process and deterring sign-stealing through the use of electronic equipment, according to the release.
Another change that will take place in the upcoming season will be a reduction in between-innings down time. The number will drop to 2:05 during locally televised regular season games, 2:25 during nationally televised regular season games and 2:55 during tiebreaker and post-season contests.
The time limits will be enforced by umpires on the field, and “players who consistently or flagrantly violate the time limits will be subject to progressive discipline for just cause” by the commissioner’s office.