Spring training pitch clock use to start without penalties

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 9:15 p.m. ET

NEW YORK (AP) — A 20-second pitch clock will be phased in in three stages during spring training, with the start of ball/strike penalties depending on negotiations with the players' association.

Major League Baseball said Friday that the pitch clock will not be enforced this weekend and that beginning early next week umpires will issue reminders to batters and pitchers who violate the clock.

MLB did not give a date for when it might start ball/strike penalties.

The clock will not operate before the first pitch of a plate appearance, or after foul balls, mound visits or timeouts called by umpires, except for timeouts called just to reset the clock. The clock will reset after pickoff throws and bluffs.

The clock will start when a pitcher is in possession of the ball on the mound, and the pitcher must start his windup or move toward a set position within the 20 seconds. A hitter must be in the batter's box and alert to the pitcher with at least 5 seconds left.

Management proposed a regular-season pitch clock after the 2016 and 2017 seasons, but the players' association refused to agree. Talks are ongoing about possible 2019 regular-season use. Management has the right the impose a clock without an agreement, but Commissioner Rob Manfred has said he prefers a deal.