Minor Leagues to start extras with runner on 2nd

Starting in 2018 Minor League Baseball will reduce its pitch clock to 15 seconds when no runners are on base at the Double-A and Triple-A levels

Starting in 2018 Minor League Baseball will reduce its pitch clock to 15 seconds when no runners are on base at the Double-A and Triple-A levels

Minor League Baseball will implement a series of rule changes created to reduce the length of games for the 2018 season, the organization announced Wednesday.

If the game goes to extra innings, each team will get one mound visit.

The rules are meant to shorten the length of extra-inning games and the number of mound visits throughout a game, keeping in mind player safety and providing more action for viewers.

At all levels of the minors, extra innings will now start with a runner on second base. MLB also tested the rule in the recent Arizona Fall League season following implementation in the Arizona Summer, Dominican Summer and Gulf Coast Leagues.

Back to the runner starting at second base.

Major League Baseball announced on February 19 that there will be a general limit of six mound visits per nine-inning game without a pitching change, whether by a manager, coach or player. The runner at second base will be the player in the batting order position previous to the leadoff batter of the inning (or a substitute for that player). And for the stats enthusiasts, the runner on second base will be considered there based on a fielding error but no errors will be counted and it will also not count toward a pitcher's ERA. That runner will count as an unearned run in the box if they score. In 2018, the Double-A Missions will get 8 visits per game, with more visits allowed in extra innings. However, if extra innings occur, teams are allowed one additional mound visit per inning. Any runner or batter removed from the game for a substitute shall be ineligible to return to the game, as is the case in all circumstances under the Official Baseball Rules.

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There was a 20-second pitch clock at Double-A and Triple-A the last three years, and now the pitch clock extends all through the minors. In Double A, teams will be allowed eight visits and in Class A teams will be allowed 10. The moves come as part of an ongoing experiment in baseball to shorten games, particularly those that go into extra innings. Most games are probably going to end in the 10th. Between-pitch times have been adjusted.

The timer will stop as soon as the pitcher begins his wind-up, or begins the motion to come to the set position.

The timer will start when the pitcher has possession of the ball on the mound, the catcher is in the catcher's box and the batter is in the dirt circle surrounding home plate.

Following an umpire's call of "time" or if the ball becomes dead and the batter remains at-bat, the timer shall start after the next pitch or play.

Players will receive only warnings for violations in the first two weeks of the season, the announcement said. After that period, the rules will be enforced as written.

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