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Mattingly: Slide rule 'not necessary'

Marlins' manager in favor of expanded pace-of-play changes
MLB.com @JoeFrisaro

JUPITER, Fla. -- Picking up the pace and preventing violent collisions involving infielders are two new rules Major League Baseball is in the process of revising in 2016.

The Marlins will have time in Spring Training to familiarize themselves. Marlins manager Don Mattingly is especially pleased with the pace-of-play initiatives. An expansion calls for 30-second visits to the mound by managers or coaches as well as 20-seconds-shorter broadcast breaks between innings.  

JUPITER, Fla. -- Picking up the pace and preventing violent collisions involving infielders are two new rules Major League Baseball is in the process of revising in 2016.

The Marlins will have time in Spring Training to familiarize themselves. Marlins manager Don Mattingly is especially pleased with the pace-of-play initiatives. An expansion calls for 30-second visits to the mound by managers or coaches as well as 20-seconds-shorter broadcast breaks between innings.  

"I like the games moving quicker," Mattingly said. "I like the in-between innings moving quicker, and guys staying in the box, all that. This is just another evolution of that. Obviously, there's a lot of talk about the game being played at a better pace.

"Honestly, I like the games moving, too, especially the dead time. I can see as a fan, a couple of years ago, the innings in between, it seemed like they were forever. It just stretches out the game for no reason."

Reactions around the Majors

The slide rule at second base will create another adjustment for middle infielders and baserunners. MLB is amending the "neighborhood play." Now, the defensive player must be touching the bag with the ball secured to get the out, instead of being able to drift off the base to avoid contact. Baserunners will adapt to sliding in a manner in which they aren't deliberately targeting an infielder.

Under the new Rule 6.01(j), a runner will have to make a "bona fide slide," which is defined as making contact with the ground before reaching the base, being able to and attempting to reach the base with a hand or foot, being able to and attempting to remain on the base at the completion of the slide (except at home plate) and not changing his path for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.

Violators will be called out for interference, and the batter-runner will also be called out. Interference will not be called, however, if the contact is caused by the fielder positioning himself or moving into the runner's legal path to the base.

The neighborhood play will be subject to replay.

Video: Must C Collision: Utley's hard slide injures Tejada

The "take out" slide came into question last postseason when Chase Utley of the Dodgers broke Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada's leg while breaking up a double play.

Mattingly was the Dodgers' manager at the time.

Asked if a slide rule was necessary, Mattingly said: "Not really, but obviously they thought [so]. Usually when talk radio gets going, everybody kind of gets going, then we react to it. That's okay. Whatever we do, it always goes through the Rules Committee and the Players Association. I think times will continue to change, and we make adjustments to it. With replay and different things, it will continue to evolve over time. It's okay."

The Utley-Tejada play gained tremendous attention, but there were other collisions that also factored into MLB making changes.

"I'd seen some slides early in the year that I heard all the talk on," Mattingly said. "The Utley slide was really just kind of a New York thing."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Miami Marlins