Scioscia OK with MLB's pace-of-game efforts
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Major League Baseball announced initiatives aimed toward quickening the pace of play on Friday, regulations that include managers staying in the dugout for replay challenges, hitters keeping one foot in the batter's box and clocks being incorporated in hopes of shortening the time between innings.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia is under the impression that it's still "a work in progress."
"It's not like pitch counts have risen over the last 20 years to warrant why it's taking an extra 15 minutes to complete a game," Scioscia said. "It's the flow of the game, the pace of the game. Our game should have a certain pace to it of getting on the mound, making a pitch, getting prepared, making another pitch in a reasonable amount of time. It helps the defense, hitters like getting into game flow, and certainly for the fans, I think there's some dead time that needs to be tightened up."
Scioscia, who met with MLB on Thursday afternoon, believes umpires will grant teams "a reasonable amount of time" to discuss replay before making a decision on whether to challenge a call.
A timer will start after each half inning to indicate when play must resume (2:25 for locally televised games, 2:45 for national broadcasts). Veteran right-hander Vinnie Pestano was hopeful that relievers would at least be given their standard eight warmup pitches on the field, but the new rules state that pitchers can only throw pitches until 30 seconds remain on the clock.
"It'll probably change guys' warmup routines in the bullpen more than it'll change them on the field," Pestano said. "They'll probably want to get more in the bullpen if they're going to be rushed out there."
Hitters could be the ones most affected now that MLB is enforcing Rule 6.02(d), which requires them to keep one foot in the batter's box during a plate appearance, subject to exceptions. The list of exceptions, however, is long, including swings, brush backs, bunt attempts, pickoffs and wild pitches.
"I think Major League Baseball wants to put in some common-sense things that will help keep the flow of the game going the way it has to without interfering on the ability of a hitter to get mentally back into another pitch," Scioscia said. "Some guys are going to have to adjust what they do. Walking 15-20 feet out of the box between pitches serves no purpose, and that needs to be eliminated."