MLB will use independent Atlantic League to experiment rules

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              Colorado Rockies players walk off the field after a spring training baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball will use the independent Atlantic League to experiment with rules changes and equipment.

MLB and the minor league announced a three-year agreement Tuesday that gives MLB the right to change the Atlantic League’s rules. Modifications for 2019 will be announced before openers on April 25.

The Atlantic League in December said extra innings this year will start with a runner on second base — the player in the batting order prior to the inning’s leadoff hitter. The same rule was instituted across affiliated minor league baseball last season.

MLB plans to install radar tracking technology in the eight Atlantic League ballparks and provide statistical services. It also will enhance its scouting of the league, which has allowed players such as Rich Hill, Scott Kazmir and Stephen Drew to earn returns to the big leagues.

In recent years, MLB has used the Arizona Fall League to experiment with rules, including pace-of-play initiatives like pitch clocks.