This week could see the start of pitchless intentional walks during spring training.
Major League Baseball’s commissioner Rob Manfred announced the change and the players’ association said it would agree that the change taking place for the 2017 season.
The change is amongst other rule changes that baseball sent out to is teams earlier this week. Modifications to the video review rules this season included a time limit of 30 seconds for the manager to request the review and a limit of two minutes for the umpire in charge of reviews in New York to make the decision.
That is unless a supervisor in the New York replay room allows for more time to be taken by the umpire.
Under the intentional walk change, a team will be able to signal for the intentional walk without any pitches thrown. Manfred announced that MLB staff has met with teams to discuss the rule changes including the intentional walk change.
The intentional walk rule change is expected to take effect this week during the league’s spring training games.
On Tuesday, Manfred said that as soon as all the teams have been told by members of his office about the change, it will be implemented.
Wanting the pace of play to be increased, MLB discussed raising the strike zone on the lower edge from just below the batter’s knee cap to its level prior to 1996 at the top of the knee cap, installing pitch clocks and limiting the number of trips during the same inning to the pitcher’s mound.
The players’ association said it would not agree to any changes this season in those areas. Under the current labor contract in baseball, management is able to make unilateral changes to the playing rules only when it gives an advance notice of one year.
Manfred said that talks are continuing with Tony Clark the union head and players relative to the other changes.
Manfred said he would like to have dialogue with MLB players privately related to the changes. Over the years that has served the league and players best, and he said he spoke to Clark last week about that.
Manfred said the two talked about getting together and to look at information related to the game with a group of the players.
Additional changes planned for the upcoming season include language related to stopping quick pitchers and keeping the coaches on first and third in their respective coach’s boxes.