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Report: MLBPA rejects pace of play changes

MLB.com @feinsand

After recent discussions with Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association has rejected the most recent proposal regarding pace of play rules, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.

MLB would have the right to implement rules changes based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

After recent discussions with Major League Baseball, the MLB Players Association has rejected the most recent proposal regarding pace of play rules, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.

MLB would have the right to implement rules changes based on the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Rosenthal also reported that the league is hopeful to make a deal and that Commissioner Rob Manfred and MLBPA executive director Tony Clark are slated to meet next week to discuss pace of play.

Rules being considered include a pitch clock and a limit on catchers' mound visits per inning. Last year's average game time of three hours, five minutes was the highest in MLB history.

MLB's proposals have shown "flexibility" in how the league could regulate mound visits, one source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi, and it remains unclear what the final rule will be.

At the conclusion of November's Owners Meetings in Orlando, Fla., the Commissioner indicated that pace of play remained a top priority for him. Manfred said last February that during the 2016-17 offseason, the MLBPA declined to accept MLB's proposals regarding the pitch clock and mound visits during negotiations for the CBA. Baseball's CBA permits MLB to impose on-field rule changes unilaterally when at least one year of notice is given to the union. MLB initiated that process in early 2017, and Manfred consistently has said MLB prefers to make changes with MLBPA cooperation.

"What's going to happen with respect to 2018 rule changes is fully dependent on which path we're on," Manfred said in November. "I've been really plain about the fact that my hope -- my preferred path -- is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018."

It's unclear what the time limit on a pitch clock would be under any rules changes, but Minor League Baseball has been using a 20-second clock. It begins when a pitcher takes possession of the ball on the dirt area around the rubber and ends as the pitcher either goes into his windup or arrives at the set position. The clock resets if a pitcher disengages from the rubber with runners on base or fakes a pickoff attempt.

USA Today first reported last offseason that MLB proposed a limit of one mound visit by a catcher per pitcher, per inning. The union raised concerns about that plan, noting the risk of cross-ups between pitchers and catchers.

Mark Feinsand, executive reporter for MLB.com, has covered the Yankees and MLB since 2001 for the New York Daily News and MLB.com.