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Pace of play remains priority for Commissioner

MLB discussing measures to address delays in game action
MLB.com

DENVER -- As part of his effort to visit with every club this season, Commissioner Rob Manfred met with members of the Rockies' front office and the local media at Coors Field on Wednesday morning.

Manfred addressed several issues, including his perspective on pace-of-play initiatives, pitchers hitting batters in retaliation, and the early results of the implementation of the 10-day disabled list.

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DENVER -- As part of his effort to visit with every club this season, Commissioner Rob Manfred met with members of the Rockies' front office and the local media at Coors Field on Wednesday morning.

Manfred addressed several issues, including his perspective on pace-of-play initiatives, pitchers hitting batters in retaliation, and the early results of the implementation of the 10-day disabled list.

View Full Game Coverage

MLB has been working with the Major League Baseball Players Association to improve the pace of play.

"In all candor, I'm a little disappointed with where we are on pace of play," Manfred said. "I think that we continue to struggle with dead time in the game -- mound visits, pitchers that don't deliver the ball promptly. We're having and will continue to have conversations with the MLBPA about some rule changes that we feel would help us improve on the topic of pace of game."

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Manfred reiterated a point he's made in the past: MLB is focused on changing the pace of the game, not the length of game.

"I love two-hour, 16-minute games," Manfred said in reference to a game the Cubs and Marlins played Monday at Wrigley Field. "But time of game is often about what happens on the field competitively -- how many runs are scored, how many guys get on base, how many times you have to change pitchers. Those are things I'm not looking to control, because that's about competition. That's up to the clubs.

Video: Manfred on addressing issue of retaliation

"Pace of game should be the same, regardless of whether it's a 2-1 game, or an 11-10 game. And that means people in the box, pitcher delivering the ball, avoiding 22 visits to the mound and things like that."

Manfred was also asked about retaliation pitches, given the recent incidents between the Red Sox and Orioles, as well as the Nationals and Giants, which resulted in suspensions of right-hander Hunter Strickland and right fielder Bryce Harper. Strickland hit Harper with a pitch at AT&T Park on May 29; Harper charged the mound, and the benches cleared.

Video: WSH@SF: Benches clear in San Francisco

"I've been around the game long enough to realize that even if I wanted to, I probably could not eliminate the concept of hit-batsmen and retaliation," Manfred said. "It's part of the game, and there are some things you just have to accept in life that you can't change.

"I will say this: We will continue to be and will be even more aggressive about any pitch that we think is intentional and has the prospect of causing injury to a batter, particularly pitches to the head area. … Secondly, we are going to be more aggressive on what I loosely refer to as the 'grudge' situations. It's one thing if somebody gets hit, someone retaliates and it's over. But it's an entirely different thing when you start seeing problems that persist over literally years. That kind of grudge has no place in the game."

In addressing the new 10-day disabled list, which is a reduction from the traditional 15-day DL, Manfred said MLB is watching how its usage plays out.

"The 10-day DL, I think the jury's still out," Manfred said. "It always takes a year or two to figure out exactly what you've done, and I think that's where we are on the 10-day DL. Obviously the concern there was to give clubs the opportunity to play at full strength when they had somebody who was going to be unavailable for a period of time, but not quite that period of time that we had traditionally used."

Prior to visiting Coors Field, Manfred met with the D-backs and Padres at Chase Field on Tuesday.

Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver.

Colorado Rockies