MLB Outlines Pace-of-Play Changes for 2018 Season Including Reduced Mound Visits

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2018

Los Angeles Angels pitching coach Charles Nagy visits with starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs (45), Martin Maldonado, second from right, and Andrelton Simmons, right, on the mound in the second inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Major League Baseball announced new rules Monday to speed up the game in 2018, according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area, which include only allowing "six mound visits a game and [cutting] back on time between innings."

However, the league said in a statement it won't add a pitch clock or a timer between batters this season "in order to provide players with an opportunity to speed up the game without the use of those timers," Jon Morosi of MLB Network noted.

MLB clarified those six mound visits wouldn't include pitching changes, per its statement about the new rules. In extra-inning games, teams will be granted one additional mound visit per inning.

The new rules won't be without exceptions. For instance, MLB announced the "home plate umpire may, upon request of the catcher, allow the catcher to make a brief mound visit" if the umpire believes a cross-up between the pitcher and catcher occurred.

Additionally, "players who consistently or flagrantly violate the time limits will be subject to progressive discipline for just cause," though ball-strike penalties will not be levied in pace-of-play infractions.

"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," MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in the statement. "My strong preference is to continue to have ongoing dialogue with players on this topic to find mutually acceptable solutions."

Cutting back on time between innings will include having just "2:05 for breaks in locally televised championship season games...2:25 for breaks in nationally televised championship season games, and...2:55 for tie-breaker and postseason games."

Additionally, a pitcher must throw his final warm-up pitch by the time the between-innings counter hits 20 seconds, and the batter must proceed to the batter's box after that warm-up pitch is thrown.