Sources: MLB owners seeking measures to speed up pace of games
Baseball owners are negotiating pace-of-game changes with the players union, but the initial adjustments will be more dramatic at the minor-league level, sources told FOX Sports.
A 20-second pitch clock will be implemented at Double-A and Triple-A, but not in the majors in 2015, sources said.
A memo from Braves president John Schuerholz to minor-league clubs on Thursday confirmed the plan for Double-A and Triple-A. According to that memo, it includes putting a time limit on inning breaks, pitching changes and individual pitches. Exact limits are not finalized, but they will be based on regulations used in the Arizona Fall League. In that league, pitch-clock violations resulted in an automatic ball or strike being called on the offending team.
There will be three timers in each park – two offset behind home plate but between the dugouts and one in the outfield beyond the fence or near the scoreboard. Each club will be responsible for hiring and paying a timer operator, and all necessary equipment will be purchased by MLB Advanced Media.
Owners could vote to approve a particular course of action in regard to the major leagues at their meetings in Phoenix on Thursday, but no changes will be official until the union approves. The exact proposals for the majors are not known, but baseball has discussed forcing managers to make replay challenges more quickly.
The introduction of the pitch clock would be the most significant innovation in the minors, one that baseball ultimately may adopt at the major-league level.
Multiple players and coaches told FOX Sports recently that they found the pitch clock to be effective and not disruptive to the flow of the game.
News of the pitch clocks at Double-A and Triple-A was first reported by Robert Murray of MLBDailyRumors.com.