Spring training is always a time for making tweaks and figuring things out. This year in Dodgers camp, one of the things they’re trying to figure out is how the new rules will affect the players. To that end, when Los Angeles took the field at Camelback Ranch on Thursday for their first intrasquad game of the spring, they started looking at pitchers’ times between pitches.
MLB is implementing a pitch clock in 2023, which will give pitchers 15 second to deliver the next pitch with no one on base, and 20 second with runners on. LA didn’t have an actual pitch clock in Thursday’s game, but they did have a stopwatch for informational purposes, and it sounds like ace pitcher Julio Urias might need to pick up the pace a bit.
Really, four pitches isn’t bad for the first time out, especially without a clock to keep an eye on. Once there’s an actual, physical clock in the pitcher’s view, guys like Julio who work relatively quickly anyway will naturally get in the groove of moving in time with the clock. Roberts shared that sentiment.
I don’t think it’s going to be hard for him because he’s just got to know and he’s a guy that once he understands the rules or expectations, he adapts.
The pitch clock isn’t the only rule change coming to MLB. There’s also the new rule about infielder positioning, which says there must be two infielders on each side of second base and in front of the outfield grass. Max Muncy hit a single up the middle in Thursday’s scrimmage and celebrated the lack of the shift because it probably would have been an out in previous seasons.
There are bigger bases this year, too, along with limits on how many pickoff attempts pitchers can make. Both of those new rules are designed at least in part to increase the running game. Umpires will also be more strict in enforcing balk and illegal pitch rules, so Dodgers pitchers will all need to make sure they’re staying within the guidelines.
It’s a fun little subplot this spring, in case you don’t have enough to keep you interested.
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