MLB Announces 20-Second Pitch Clock for Spring Training Games

Megan ArmstrongContributor IFebruary 22, 2019

A rain-covered logo is seen at Fenway Park before Game 1 of the World Series baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The MLB is taking a step toward addressing concerns over the length of games by implementing a 20-second pitch clock for 2019 spring training games.

The announcement came on Friday, per Baseball America, and signals the latest effort to quicken baseball's pace of play.

Kyle Glaser of Baseball America reported specifics on how the 20-second timer will be used in spring training. The timer will begin after the first pitch of each individual at-bat and will reset after a pickoff play, wild pitch or passed ball as soon as the pitcher has the baseball back in his hand on the mound.

Additionally, the timer will be turned off on a pitch following a foul or dead ball as well as after a mound visit.

The 20-second pitch clock is the latest on a growing list of rules the league is introducing to maximize action and minimize dead time.

Rule 5.07(c) in the 2018 MLB official rulebook, for example, states that a pitcher must deliver a pitch within 12 seconds after receiving the ball while the bases are empty.

In fact, the MLB released an entire pace of play initiatives package ahead of the 2018 season addressing mound visits, time between innings, timing of pitcher changes and instant replay.

In 2017, the league introduced no-pitch intentional walks and a stricter rule regarding a batter stepping out of the box.

It seems the MLB is testing the 20-second pitch clock in spring training before bringing it into the regular season and postseason. Perhaps one factor the league is considering, or wary of, is having to choose between pace of play and quality of play.

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