Minor League Baseball initiates changes, including runner for extra innings

Starting in 2018 Minor League Baseball will reduce its pitch clock to 15 seconds when no runners are on base at the Double-A and Triple-A levels

Minor League Baseball is implementing some new pace-of-play regulations this season, including limiting mound visits on putting a timer on pitches.

The changes, developed in conjunction with Major League Baseball, are expected to benefit teams by alleviating wear and tear on pitching staffs and also make for a better experience for fans by shortening the length of games.

"We believe these changes to extra innings will enhance the fans' enjoyment of the game", minor league baseball president Pat O'Conner said in a press release.

We could one day Major League Baseball add similar rules. Every time! I say go full insane and start each extra-inning with the bases loaded and no outs.

Visits by coaches and position players to the pitcher's mound will be limited, with different rules for different levels.

In addition, the pitch clock that began at Triple-A and Double-A in 2015 will be lowered from 20 seconds to 15 when there are no runners on base, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues said Wednesday.

If the placed runner scores, it would be considered a unearned run.

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Additionally, the limits on mound visits are an adaptation of MLB's new policy of six per game that was implemented last month for this season.

It's important to keep up with these kinds of things because it's possible they eventually make their way to Major League Baseball - heck, mound visit limits already have. Any runner or batter removed from the game for a substitute shall be ineligible to return to the game, as is the case in all circumstances under the Official Baseball Rules.

The biggest change, which actually alters the rules of the game, is the extra-inning rule. And that will continue every inning until the game ends.

The timer shall start when the pitcher has possession of the ball in the dirt circle surrounding the pitcher's rubber, the catcher is in the catcher's box and the batter is in the dirt circle surrounding home plate. The higher the league the fewer the visits allowed, from six in AAA to ten for A. Pitch timers will also be instituted with a 15 second timer when the bases are empty to 20 seconds when someone is on base.

Last but not least, we reach the pitch clock - or "pitch timer" as MILB calls it. Single-A clubs will be allowed 10 visits per team and there will not be a limit on mound visits for Short Season and Rookie-level clubs. If the batter isn't in the batter's box with seven seconds left on the clock, then a strike will be awarded. Pitchers who take too long will be penalized with a ball awarded to the count on the batter.

The new rules will begin after the first 15 days of the season.

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