Lance McCullers Jr. Rips MLB for New Mound Visit Rules, Talks Sign-Stealing

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2018

Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. talks to catcher Brian McCann after giving up the first hit of the baseball game by the Kansas City Royals, during the seventh inning Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

After Major League Baseball announced rule changes to limit mound visits per game, per USA Today, Houston Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. explained that the real problem was players stealing signals.

"You think I want to break rhythm and tempo during a game to talk about signs behind my glove?" McCullers added in a since-deleted tweet (via Charles Curtis of For The Win). "No, it's a necessary reaction to an issue we, as pitchers and catchers, are facing. I guess enforcing the integrity by hitting batters is better than an extra four minutes to exchange signs."

McCullers also had a problem with ESPN showing the extensive mound visits in Game 7 of the World Series. The 24-year-old started that game and allowed zero runs in 2.1 innings en route to an Astros victory, securing the first championship in franchise history.

The rule changes, which limits mound visits to just six per game, were among the recent rule changes made to improve the game's pace of play. The average game in 2017 lasted three hours and five minutes, the highest mark in the history of the sport.

However, McCullers explains that it is only due to stealing signals that is forcing the pitchers and catchers to change up signs throughout the game.

He suggested throwing at a player would be an alternative to enforce one of the "unwritten rules" of the game. This clearly wouldn't be an ideal alternative for the league, especially if it becomes widespread. 

An ideal scenario could be creating rules to limit the ability for base-runners to steal the opposing team's signs.

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