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Phils owner weighs in on Arrieta talk, pitching

As negotiations with Boras continue, Middleton expresses confidence in front office
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Scott Boras is known to call an owner or two as he pursues and closes monster contracts for clients.

The agent can be persuasive. So how often has Phillies owner John Middleton heard from Boras recently? Middleton shaped his thumb and index finger into a circle Thursday, a couple of hours before the Phillies played an exhibition against the University of Tampa at Spectrum Field.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Scott Boras is known to call an owner or two as he pursues and closes monster contracts for clients.

The agent can be persuasive. So how often has Phillies owner John Middleton heard from Boras recently? Middleton shaped his thumb and index finger into a circle Thursday, a couple of hours before the Phillies played an exhibition against the University of Tampa at Spectrum Field.

• Phillies' Spring Training information

Zero.

"We're pretty clear that Matt's the guy," Middleton said, referring to Phillies general manager Matt Klentak. "I think you have to do that or you cut the legs out from your general manager. Look, I don't know what I'd do if my phone rang right now and it was Scott Boras. I mean, honestly, I think what I'd say is, 'Scott, it's nice to talk to you, but I don't negotiate. Matt does. I don't want to be rude, but I'm paying the guy a lot of money.'

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I've said this many times and I really believe it. This is no different than my company. I've told Matt and [team president] Andy [MacPhail] and everybody else, I'm going to evaluate you based on how well you do. If I sit there and I start making decisions for Matt, it's kind of hard for me to evaluate Matt, isn't it? He's got to make that decision. He's got to accept the responsibility for it. I have to give Matt the authority to do this. Does that mean we don't talk a lot? We've already talked this morning about what's happened since 5 o'clock last night."

Sources have told MLB.com that the Phillies are open to a three-year contract for free-agent right-hander Jake Arrieta, but they have been unwilling to make a six- or seven-year commitment to him, which reportedly is what Arrieta wants. In other words, little has changed between the Phillies and Boras, despite discussions throughout the offseason.

"It's hard to characterize it at this point," Middleton said about the team's chances of finding a starter before Opening Day. "It's not so remote that you'd say no, there's really no chance. But I would tell you we're not just looking at free agents. We're talking to teams about trades, because there are players that we would trade for.

"Beyond that, I would tell you, whether we get it done before the start of the season or we do it during the season, I'm hoping we're playing so damn well by early July that I get to look at Matt and say, 'Matt, we're in the hunt now. What the hell are you going to do come Trading Deadline to get us over the hump?' If we're there, my guess is Matt will probably look at everything a little bit differently, as I think he should."

The Phillies currently look at their situation like this: While they believe they will be much improved, they do not like the idea of throwing $100 million or more to a pitcher who turns 32 in a couple of weeks, even one as accomplished as Arrieta.

Video: Lidge on Phillies pitchers and outlook for the year

Starting pitching is always available. If the Phillies play as well as manager Gabe Kapler said they can, they should be able to find one later.

"I think Andy, Matt and I are completely in agreement here," Middleton said. "We want to improve the team, we're always trying to improve the team, but we've got to do it a way that makes sense now and next year. We don't want to sacrifice something significant in the future by making a short-term move. Whether it's a trade or a signing, if we get the deal we think is right, we'll do it. We'll pull the trigger. Money is zero object. No object whatsoever."

So it has to be smart money?

"We're not going to go out and do something stupid," Middleton said.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies

Which Phillies longshot could make club?

Curtis, Eshelman, Quinn, K-Rod among dark horses
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Is there an Eddie Oropesa in Phillies camp this spring?

Is there a Brock Stassi?

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Is there an Eddie Oropesa in Phillies camp this spring?

Is there a Brock Stassi?

The Phillies open their Grapefruit League season on Friday against the Blue Jays at 1:07 p.m. ET in Dunedin, Fla., which means it's not too early to think about dark-horse candidates to make the Opening Day roster.

Grizzled Phillies fans probably remember Oropesa pitching 13 2/3 scoreless innings during Spring Training in 2001 to make the team as a tremendous longshot. Phillies fans certainly remember Stassi's emotional reaction after making the team as a dark horse last spring.

Video: Stassi discusses making Opening Day roster

The Phillies have had other longshots make the Opening Day roster in seasons past. The list includes Cedric Hunter in 2016, Mario Hollands in '14 and Joe Bisenius in '07.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Spring info | Tickets | Schedule

Here is a look at four dark-horse candidates to make the Phillies' 2018 Opening Day roster. They might not have the same underdog story as Stassi -- only one player here has not appeared in the big leagues, and he was selected in the second round of the 2015 Draft -- but they will have to overcome their share of obstacles to make the roster.

Video: OAK@PHI: Curtis induces inning-ending groundout

LHP Zac Curtis

The Phillies claimed Curtis off waivers from the Mariners in September, and he allowed one run in 3 2/3 innings. He is on the 40-man roster, but he might sit behind fellow left-handers Adam Morgan, Hoby Milner and Fernando Abad, who joined camp this week as a non-roster invitee, in a battle to make the team's eight-man bullpen. Curtis is intriguing. His fastball averaged just 91.4 mph last season, but he has posted 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings in four Minor League seasons. Morgan seems like a lock to make the team, so if the Phillies want to carry two left-handers, Curtis will need to outpitch Milner and Abad, who must be placed on the roster by March 22 or he can become a free agent.

Video: PHI@PIT: Eshelman strikes out Bell in the 4th inning

RHP Tom Eshelman

The Phillies named Eshelman their Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2017. If they do not sign a starter like Jake Arrieta, there will be a serious competition to be the team's No. 5 starter. The pitchers in that mix likely include Ben Lively, Zach Eflin, Jake Thompson, Mark Leiter Jr. and Eshelman. Eshelman is at a disadvantage, because he is not on the 40-man roster. Even if he pitches well, it is difficult to imagine the Phillies not giving one of those other pitchers a chance to start the season with the club. So Eshelman -- the only player on this list who hasn't yet appeared in a big league game -- will really have to dominate any time he pitches this spring to move past them.

Video: BOS@PHI: Quinn smokes a solo homer in the 3rd

OF Roman Quinn

The Phillies plan to carry an eight-man bullpen, which means they will have only four position players on the bench. One of them will be a second catcher. Another will be an outfielder. That leaves two spots. The Phillies likely will want those two players to be versatile. Non-roster invitees Pedro Florimon or Adam Rosales could take one or both jobs, because they can play both infield and outfield. But the switch-hitting Quinn is interesting, because of his speed, arm and range in the outfield. He is a weapon, which is why the Phillies have had him taking some ground balls in the infield this spring. The infield is not Quinn's future, but they want to make sure he can play there in a pinch. Of course, Quinn has missed a ton of time the past few seasons, including much of last season with an elbow injury. Maybe he is better served getting some at-bats early in Triple-A and joining the Phillies later.

RHP Francisco Rodriguez

It is hard to imagine Rodriguez as a dark horse candidate, but he is after signing a Minor League contract.

Rodriguez posted a 7.82 ERA in 28 appearances before the Tigers released him last season. The Nationals released him, too. For Rodriguez to make the team, he will have to pitch extremely well, showing he can get hitters out with a fastball that averaged 89.6 mph last season.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies, Zac Curtis, Tom Eshelman, Roman Quinn, Francisco Rodriguez

Prospect Dominguez impresses Kapler early

Hurler, 23, looks like 'seasoned veteran' in exhibition win
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies manager Gabe Kapler tuned up for his Grapefruit League debut Friday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin with a 6-0 victory Thursday over the University of Tampa at Spectrum Field.

Afterward, Kapler raved about Phillies prospect Seranthony Dominguez, who allowed a single to start the sixth inning before striking out the next three batters swinging -- two on sliders and one on a fastball that touched 96 mph.

View Full Game Coverage

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies manager Gabe Kapler tuned up for his Grapefruit League debut Friday against the Blue Jays in Dunedin with a 6-0 victory Thursday over the University of Tampa at Spectrum Field.

Afterward, Kapler raved about Phillies prospect Seranthony Dominguez, who allowed a single to start the sixth inning before striking out the next three batters swinging -- two on sliders and one on a fastball that touched 96 mph.

View Full Game Coverage

"Just kind of electric stuff, kind of the bravado of a seasoned veteran," Kapler said of the 23-year-old, who's ranked No. 30 in the Phillies' Top Prospects list, according to MLB Pipeline. "That was awesome."

Dominguez could open the season in Double-A Reading. His future could be in the bullpen, accelerating his timetable to reach the big leagues.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"What I really want is to show that I'm capable of fulfilling the needs they're looking for," Dominguez said through the team's interpreter.

Nick Pivetta will start Friday against the Blue Jays. Mark Leiter also is scheduled to pitch.

Knapp leads off

Everybody knows that Spring Training lineups mean nothing about the future, but it was interesting to see Andrew Knapp bat first Thursday. Interesting only because no catcher in Phillies history has hit leadoff in the regular season, according to Baseball Reference.

Knapp worked a walk in the first inning.

Eickhoff ready to roll

Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff faced seven batters in two hitless, scoreless innings, throwing seven first-pitch strikes. He missed the final month of last season because of nerve irritation in his right hand, but he said he is healthy.

Video: Eickhoff discusses his first start of the spring

"I think every year I have something to prove," Eickhoff said. "Just to get on the mound again and feel those butterflies again and being able to compete, that's what you miss the most. I feel great."

Got to be flexible

Infielder Jesmuel Valentin played right field as the Phillies search for versatility on a projected four-man bench.

Valentin has played second base and shortstop in his Minor League career, although he played 15 games in the outfield in winter ball. But Valentin must show he can play multiple positions competently to make the team. He almost made the Opening Day roster last season, but lost one of the final two bench jobs to Brock Stassi and Daniel Nava.

• Phillies' dark-horse roster candidates

"Ideally, we have a 40-man guy who's got a lot of flexibility," Kapler said.

Second baseman Scott Kingery could see time in center field and elsewhere this spring, too.

Support for Stoneman Douglas High

The Phillies will wear the caps of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball team before Friday's game.

New Era produced more than 2,500 caps for every team and every umpire in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. Teams could have the caps signed and auctioned to benefit funds related to assisting victims and families of the horrific shooting that left 17 dead at Stoneman Douglas on Feb. 14. Many teams will donate proceeds to the Broward Education Foundation, which established the official Stoneman Douglas Victims Fund.

More information can be found at browardedfoundation.org.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies, Seranthony Dominguez

Kapler prefers undefined roles for relievers

Matchup based bullpen designed to treat every situation as high-leverage
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Gabe Kapler has offered a few hints at how he might use his bullpen in 2018.

He has preached flexibility, and how he prefers his relievers be open to pitching in any inning. But he also said he understands the importance of roles, and how relief pitchers crave their routines.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Gabe Kapler has offered a few hints at how he might use his bullpen in 2018.

He has preached flexibility, and how he prefers his relievers be open to pitching in any inning. But he also said he understands the importance of roles, and how relief pitchers crave their routines.

Spring Training info

"We still want to be creative," Kapler said Wednesday afternoon at Carpenter Complex. "We still have a mindset that we want our pitchers to come in thinking of themselves as high-leverage, important-to-every-game relievers. And then use them according to the best possible matchup, and the most important moments of the game. That's not to say roles won't become more clear and more defined. They might. But for right now, the way we want their mindset coming into camp is, 'I am a relief pitcher. I dominate important parts of the game. I am flexible. I am prepared.'"

Mets manager Mickey Callaway matter-of-factly said he is ditching the traditional closer role. He said he is going to pitch his relievers when it makes the most sense. Seventh inning guy? Setup man? Closer?

Buh-bye.

Kapler could be thinking along those same lines. If so, he is not ready to say it publicly. After all, Spring Training is only a little more than a week old.

So when asked if Hector Neris, who enters camp as the favorite to fill the traditional closer's role, could pitch in the sixth or seventh inning -- if the game is on the line -- Kapler deferred.

"I'm really looking at it as a collective unit of really dynamic relievers because he's not the only guy that has had a role in the past," he said. "He hasn't really had it that long. We don't have Kenley Jansen. We discussed this a little bit in the offseason. We don't have Andrew Miller. There isn't this really long track record of, 'I've been the closer for the last five years and this is what I do.' So we are looking at a collective, dynamic, capable, flexible group of relievers, and trying to treat them all as individuals."

The Phillies have two veteran relievers on the 40-man roster: Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter. Both signed free-agent contracts in December.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Veterans can be more rigid in their thinking. Former Phillies reliever Joaquin Benoit criticized the team last season because he said relievers never knew when they were going to pitch.

Neshek and Hunter are not concerned.

"There will be roles, but it won't be certain innings," Neshek said. "It'll probably be interchangeable. I don't know how that's going to work. But stuff like that, you pitch into it. I think that stuff changes with how well you do."

"I'm OK with it," Hunter said. "I understand some guys have their set routines or whatever they feel gets them ready to be where they are, but I'm pretty easygoing. If we need to win a game let's win a game. If that's what you think you need to do, he's the skip. It's his decision, and we fall in line. Yes, you do like to play manager and think along with him, but that takes time."

It will be up to Kapler and pitching coach Rick Kranitz to communicate their plans on a game-by-game or series-by-series basis. So far, Neshek and Hunter said the communication has been excellent.

"It's a conversation," Kranitz said. "It's giving them plenty of time before the game. It's all the prep work. They're going to know which guys they're expected to get out. So if you're watching the game you're thinking like, 'OK, I've got it. This looks like it could be me.' There's a lot that's put into it, but they're going to know which guys they're out for."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies

Double rake: Williams almost dents car again

Homer from Phils slugger nearly hits Kapler's rental for second consecutive day
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Maybe Phillies manager Gabe Kapler should move his car.

Phillies outfielder Nick Williams nearly hit Kapler's rental car with a home run for the second consecutive day Wednesday at Carpenter Complex. Williams dented the roof of Kapler's car on Tuesday, hitting a home run over the right-field fence at Mike Schmidt Field.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Maybe Phillies manager Gabe Kapler should move his car.

Phillies outfielder Nick Williams nearly hit Kapler's rental car with a home run for the second consecutive day Wednesday at Carpenter Complex. Williams dented the roof of Kapler's car on Tuesday, hitting a home run over the right-field fence at Mike Schmidt Field.

Spring Training: Info | Tickets | Gear

"If he is destroying cars and it happens to be mine, no problem," Kapler said.

But why not park his vehicle elsewhere?

"No, no," Kapler said, smiling. "We're going to make it a bullseye for him. We'll have a running joke, and it's a great way to build relationships. That's part of the whole scientific plan to make this work."

Kapler said he and his coaching staff have been impressed with the way Williams has looked and performed in camp. Rhys Hoskins, Odubel Herrera, Aaron Altherr and Williams figure to be part of the regular outfield rotation, with Hoskins and possibly Herrera regular presences in the lineup.

"[Williams] is really shining," Kapler said. "He just walks around with a perpetual smile. But clearly our hitting coaches are enthused about the bat path, the way he lofts the ball to the middle of the field. Some hitters, when they hit their best ball, it's on the ground. And Nick, when he makes his most solid contact, he has a nice loft to his swing. And in the middle of the field, there are not many guys that can drive the ball like he can."

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Kapler stressed that he is not worried about finding enough plate appearances for Hoskins, Herrera, Altherr and Williams. Hoskins can play first base whenever Carlos Santana is not there. There are pinch-hitting and double-switch opportunities. There are designated hitter opportunities in Interleague Play.

Kapler said everybody will be satisfied.

"Not concerned," Kapler said. "They're all going to get a ton of reps. They all very well may be in the lineup on more days than not."

Bring on Tampa

The Phillies host the University of Tampa baseball team in an exhibition game Thursday afternoon at Spectrum Field. Right-hander Jerad Eickhoff will pitch the first inning.

Philadelphia has a two-game winning streak against Tampa. It lost to the Division II college team in 2015.

The Phillies have not said who will start Friday's Grapefruit League opener against the Blue Jays in Dunedin.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies, Nick Williams

Phillies, Arrieta reportedly 'having dialogue'

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jake Arrieta considers himself one of the elite pitchers in baseball, and he still hopes to be paid like one.

It is why the Phillies have not signed Arrieta, who they would love to have in their rotation. MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Tuesday morning the Phillies and Arrieta's agent, Scott Boras, are "having dialogue" about a deal. Sources have told MLB.com that the Phillies would consider a three-year contract for Arrieta, but little has changed despite discussions throughout the offseason.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jake Arrieta considers himself one of the elite pitchers in baseball, and he still hopes to be paid like one.

It is why the Phillies have not signed Arrieta, who they would love to have in their rotation. MLB Network's Jon Heyman reported Tuesday morning the Phillies and Arrieta's agent, Scott Boras, are "having dialogue" about a deal. Sources have told MLB.com that the Phillies would consider a three-year contract for Arrieta, but little has changed despite discussions throughout the offseason.

A deal seems unlikely at the moment.

• Phillies' Spring Training information

Arrieta, who turns 32 on March 6, went 14-10 with a 3.53 ERA in 30 starts last season for the Cubs. His fastball velocity dropped from 94.3 mph in 2016 to 92.7 mph in 2017, which could be cause for concern. Perhaps it is why the Cubs never made a contract offer to Arrieta, despite him pitching for them the previous five seasons. Instead, they recently signed Yu Darvish to a six-year, $126 million deal.

Heyman reported at the time that the Cubs called Arrieta to see if he would consider a similar deal, if Darvish declined. Heyman reported that Arrieta "wasn't immediately prepared to accept a six-year deal for what was believed to be for a similar annual salary." 

If that is the case, then the Phillies and Arrieta are a long way apart.

Of course, things change. If Arrieta is simply looking to surpass the average annual value of Darvish's deal ($21 million), perhaps the Phillies could overpay on a three-year contract. Maybe even a four-year contract. Even then, the Phillies will lose another top Draft pick. They already surrendered their second-round pick in the 2018 Draft, plus $500,000 in international signing bonus money, for signing first baseman Carlos Santana in December.

But Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said last week the Phillies would remain disciplined and not throw their plans in the trash to make an impulse buy.

Signing Arrieta to a five-, six- or seven-year deal would be a serious impulse buy.

"We've gone through this rebuild, we've acknowledged that it was going to be painful for a few years," Klentak said. "It has been. We're not going to do anything to compromise the future of that. We're going to continue to do this right. We're competitive as anybody else is, but we're not going to radically change our valuation on a potential acquisition based on emotion. That's not something we're going to do."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies, Jake Arrieta

Kapler's rental car dented by Williams' HR

First-year manager hopes dinged vehicle is a sign of things to come from OF
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies outfielder Nick Williams stepped out of the team's clubhouse Tuesday afternoon at Spectrum Field and ducked behind a trailer to check out the cars parked just beyond the outfield wall.

"I've got to take a look," he said with a smile.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Phillies outfielder Nick Williams stepped out of the team's clubhouse Tuesday afternoon at Spectrum Field and ducked behind a trailer to check out the cars parked just beyond the outfield wall.

"I've got to take a look," he said with a smile.

Phillies' Spring Training information

Williams crushed a home run earlier at Mike Schmidt Field at Carpenter Complex. The ball sailed over the right-field fence and onto the roof of manager Gabe Kapler's rental car. It made a small dent.

"I would trade a Nick Williams home run for a dent in a rental car any day of the week," Kapler said.

Video: Williams on Santana addition, lofty goals for 2018

Yeah, but would he feel the same about a smashed windshield?

"A Nick Williams home run, yes," Kapler said. "The car can go in the shop, I don't need to see it for a long time. I'll get another rental. I want as many Nick Williams home runs as possible."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

VAM

Kapler had red "Be Bold" T-shirts made for everybody in camp. The letters "VAM" are on one of the sleeves.

"VAM" stands for "value at the margins."

"I have some close friends who use the terminology in our conversations, a group of people that sort of inspire each other to peel back additional layers," Kapler said. "The meat and potatoes is always the most important things that our jobs entail.

"The meat and potatoes for a catcher is keeping the ball in the zone. It's to throw, it's to block. And then the value at the margins might be the conditioning that they're doing out on the field that nobody sees. The value at the margins might be the relationships they're developing with the pitching staff. We're just thinking about where we can find the value at the margins, because we may not have the track record of some of the other clubs that we're going to be competing with. So, therefore, we have to get the extra value. We have to find the value at the margins, so we can get that extra inch, which turns into an extra game, and at the end of the year we're fighting for an NL East title."

Early impressions of K-Rod

Francisco Rodriguez signed a Minor League contract with the Phillies to try to resurrect his career. The 36-year-old threw live batting practice Tuesday.

"Very professional," Kapler said. "Very competitive. Dropped in a few fastballs on the outside corner that make you think about vintage Frankie Rodriguez. Look, he's not 97 [mph] anymore. But he's also a much different pitcher. His mentality is, 'I'm going to hit the corners. I'm going to execute right when I need to execute and make a big pitch.' At this point, we all trust that he can do that."

Video: Zolecki on K-Rod's deal with the Phillies

Rodriguez posted a 7.82 ERA in 28 appearances before the Tigers released him last season. The Nationals later released him. Rodriguez's fastball averaged 89.6 mph last year. He said in bullpen sessions in January it clocked anywhere from 89-92 mph. But clearly he is going to have to pitch really well to make the 25-man roster.

Extra bases

• Kapler talked last week about occasionally sending players home to help them rest and recuperate. Veteran relievers Pat Neshek and Tommy Hunter left camp after throwing bullpen sessions in the morning.

"Sometimes we just want to get them off their feet," Kapler said. "We had that conversation with Kranny [pitching coach Rick Kranitz] preemptively. We had that conversation with the players. We're involving them in their development and their recovery process."

• The Phillies will play the University of Tampa baseball team Thursday. Kapler said the Phillies have not decided on a starting pitcher.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies

All clubs to don Douglas caps for ST openers

MLB.com @_dadler

All 30 Major League teams will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps before their Spring Training games this weekend to show support for the Parkland, Fla., community and the Stoneman Douglas student body after the tragic shooting at the school on Feb. 14.

Players across MLB will then be signing the caps and auctioning them to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which will benefit the official Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund. Seventeen people were killed in the shooting, including 14 students and three staff members.

All 30 Major League teams will wear Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School baseball caps before their Spring Training games this weekend to show support for the Parkland, Fla., community and the Stoneman Douglas student body after the tragic shooting at the school on Feb. 14.

Players across MLB will then be signing the caps and auctioning them to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which will benefit the official Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund. Seventeen people were killed in the shooting, including 14 students and three staff members.

Video: Teams to wear Stoneman Douglas hats for ST openers

"It's a tragedy. It was a tragedy that hit the state of Florida, where we have two teams, but obviously has very specific baseball connections," Commissioner Rob Manfred said. "Really a very strong sentiment among the clubs that this was the appropriate thing to do immediately."

MLB teams will wear the caps pregame on Friday and will also be allowed to wear them during their games. Since they're off on Friday, the Royals and Rangers will don the hats on Saturday.

The Commissioner approved the use of the caps during all games on Friday, the Spring Training openers for most of the clubs.

The effort started with a few Grapefruit League teams, which wanted to wear the caps pregame, and it quickly spread across camps in Florida and Arizona. Soon all 30 teams had decided to join in the support and fundraising effort for the school community.

Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo attended Stoneman Douglas, and spoke at a prayer vigil at Pine Trails Park the day after the shooting. 

"It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do," Rizzo said Monday about meeting with families of the victims of the shooting. "You don't know what to say, there's nothing you can say. When people get shot, you're grateful they're alive. When they pass away, you're grateful you knew them. Just to see how real it is, it's sad and it's why I'm so proud of what they're doing back in Parkland and how everyone is coming together. They're going to turn this tragedy into something positive.

"The caps made for the fundraising effort will be provided to all players, coaches and umpires."

The Stoneman Douglas High School caps are reminiscent of how the Mets wore NYPD and FDNY caps following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. The Mets donned the caps to honor the first responders in their first game after the attacks, in Pittsburgh on Sept. 17, and again in their return to New York four days later. In that memorable game at Shea Stadium, Mike Piazza hit the go-ahead home run in the eighth inning to lead the Mets to an emotional win over the Braves.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.

Phils emboldened by Kapler's spring message

New manager presiding over unique camp with mantras of 'Be Bold,' 'Value at the Margins'
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Be bold, Gabe Kapler.

Kapler's first camp with the Phillies has been anything but ordinary. Sure, the bullpen sessions, batting practices and baserunning and bunting drills are there. But Camp Kapler has a decidedly different vibe than springs past.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Be bold, Gabe Kapler.

Kapler's first camp with the Phillies has been anything but ordinary. Sure, the bullpen sessions, batting practices and baserunning and bunting drills are there. But Camp Kapler has a decidedly different vibe than springs past.

• Phillies' Spring Training information

Kapler pushed back the start times of workouts to allow players to rest more and recuperate better. Players are tracking their practice reps, so the athletic training staff can monitor their health more effectively. Umpires are behind the plate at bullpen sessions, creating in-game conditions. Music not only is playing over the loudspeakers at Carpenter Complex, like in the past, but small Bluetooth speakers are found throughout the hallways at Spectrum Field. Kapler points to scientific evidence that music enhances mood and performance.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"I think it's great. I think it's different," Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan said Monday morning before the team's first full-squad workout. "I think the place where we're at, different can be good."

Kapler kicked things up a notch in the past 24 hours. He held a team dinner at a Clearwater restaurant on Sunday night. It is one of a few team-building events scheduled this spring. Kapler recently held a chicken wing-eating contest between the Major League and Minor League staffs. He has scheduled an upcoming talent show with players.

Kapler spoke to his players Sunday night. He showed video highlights of the Phillies and Eagles championship parades, highlights from the 2008 World Series and highlights of his current players. At one point, Kapler said, some other people had something to say to them. Eagles players Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz and Vinny Curry, 76ers players Ben Simmons and J.J. Reddick, and Flyers center Claude Giroux appeared on the video screen to wish them well on the upcoming season.

Oh, Justin Timberlake wished them luck, too. His uncle, John Timberlake, is general manager of the Clearwater Threshers and a member or two from his group have Philly roots.

"The J.T. one struck me the most," Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff said. "Just his status in the world. He's a good person. He's pulling for us. I think he really meant it. You could see the passion in what he was saying. It was really cool."

The Phillies showed up at Spectrum Field on Monday morning to find red "Be Bold" T-shirts on the chairs in front of their lockers. "VAM" was written on one of the sleeves, meaning Value at the Margins.

Tweet from @PhilaUnion: Juggling in the @Phillies clubhouse? Now that���s bold. #DOOP #BeBold pic.twitter.com/rp35t9zrh2

"Be Bold" has been Kapler's core message at camp.

"One of the questions I've been asking a lot of our players is, What does it mean to play boldly?" Kapler said recently. "What does it mean to deliver a pitch boldly? What does it mean to take a swing in the batter's box boldly? What does it mean to communicate boldly? The thought process is: Create the environment where people feel like they can be bold and comfortable."

Then on Monday morning, Kapler introduced Eagles center Jason Kelce, who gave an unforgettable speech to millions of Eagles fans on the Philadelphia art museum steps following the Super Bowl a couple of weeks ago. Kelce touched on Kapler's "Be Bold" message, while keying on the underdog theme of his own speech.

Video: Jason Kelce talks similarities in baseball, football

It resonated.

"I'm a big fan of being an underdog," Phillies prospect Dylan Cozens said. "It was having that mentality of just proving people wrong."

Tweet from @ToddZolecki: Jason Kelce fired up the Phillies before their first full-squad workout this morning. He said he swore more today than on the art museum steps. https://t.co/dYGRxIFdmW pic.twitter.com/zkjyXj79Ys

"Don't listen to what people on the outside say," outfielder Aaron Altherr said. "They believed in themselves. They knew what they could do. I believe when he says he sees similarities between the Eagles and Phillies. A lot of people are counting us out, but I think we definitely believe we can compete for that division title."

Players seem to be responding enthusiastically to Kapler's style and message, although some naturally are curious to see how it unfolds over time. Everything is new. Everything is different. It takes time to adjust to new and different.

Video: J.P. Crawford's outlook for the 2018 season

"He instills a confidence in guys," Morgan said. "Be bold. That's good. Value at the margins. That's huge. One person doesn't need to carry the whole burden. Rhys [Hoskins] doesn't need to hit 80 home runs to make this team better. If he hits 10 more than he did last year, that would be great. If everybody takes just one little step forward, we're going to be a better team than we were last year. That's what we're kind of looking for.

"It's fun. I was telling some of the guys, I'm having fun this spring. You better get your work in. We're here for baseball, not just to say we're here for baseball. But the more relaxed we are, I think that's going to make us better."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies

'Bold' choice: NFL champ Kelce talks to Phillies

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jason Kelce made Chase Utley's infamous World Series championship speech seem tame a couple of weeks ago, when he dropped a wildly celebrated, but profanity-laden speech about the Eagles, underdogs and championships on the steps of the Philadelphia art museum.

The millions that watched will never forget it.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jason Kelce made Chase Utley's infamous World Series championship speech seem tame a couple of weeks ago, when he dropped a wildly celebrated, but profanity-laden speech about the Eagles, underdogs and championships on the steps of the Philadelphia art museum.

The millions that watched will never forget it.

• Phillies' Spring Training information

A more subdued Kelce traded his Mummers costume for a red Phillies "Be Bold" T-shirt Monday morning at Bright House Field, where he addressed the Phillies before their first full-squad workout. Kelce had been in Clearwater to unwind from the Super Bowl madness when he contacted the Phillies to see if he could watch a workout.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said, "Absolutely. And could you speak to my players, too?"

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"There are a lot of similarities," Kelce said about the Eagles and Phillies. "A good young team with a lot of talent. When anybody was talking about Philadelphia before the season started, I think we were usually projected to be 8-8, and then we went to win the Super Bowl.

"You see the talent. You see a lot of the pieces ready to expand on this thing. I think that obviously Gabe is hitting that home. He's pointing to us just because he sees the similarities as well. I'd be lying to if you if [I said] at the beginning of the year we were thinking about the Super Bowl. That's not what we were thinking about at that point. At that point you're just thinking about trying to get better and prove yourself and make sure you're putting yourself in a position to do your job. I think that's the biggest thing that they're focused on as well."

• Castrovince: Phils on the cusp of greatness?

The central theme to Kapler's camp has been "be bold," which is why everybody had "Be Bold" T-shirts in their lockers Monday. Kelce understood the message.

Tweet from @Eagles: Jason Kelce and Brad Lidge know what it takes to win a Championship in Philadelphia.Thanks to the @Phillies for inviting Jason to speak with the team! #BrotherlyLove pic.twitter.com/I9W4Rcxp2Y

"You have to be aggressive and you have to be confident enough to do what you think is right," Kelce said. "At the end of the day I think confidence breeds better play. Obviously, that's something that the skipper is trying to hit home with these guys. A lot of it is being bold enough with yourself, being honest with yourself, looking in the mirror, where do I need to get better? What do I need to improve upon every single day? As long as you're getting better yourself ... you're going to be putting your team in a better chance to be successful."

Kapler's biggest takeaway?

"I think there were eight to 10 [things] to take away, but the No. 1 was it is OK to fall down, be fearless, get back up, be bold and do it all over again," he said. "Champions have stories to share and they're effective for a reason. Because they've been through the ups and downs, they've displayed courage, they've come together as units, they've known what it feels like to have people count them out and then to prove people wrong."

But most important, did Kelce curse?

"Probably more, actually," Kelce said. "At least through the start of the speech I made an effort to not curse, then that quickly faded."

Kapler's early impressions

Kapler said he loved the first full-squad workout.

"They came out and they gave us everything they had," he said. "We have high expectations. We expect you to come prepared. We expect you to come in, bust your [rear end] and to come and do it the next day, and they started off on the right foot."

The manager said it was "pretty awesome" to see Carlos Santana bring so much intensity the first day. Kapler watched live batting practice on one field at Carpenter Complex and made a point to mention Cesar Hernandez, Jerad Eickhoff, Franklyn Kilome, Nick Pivetta and Cole Irvin.

"The ball was coming off the bat good," Kapler said about Hernandez. "He was getting off his 'A' swing quite a bit, which is tough to do in live BP. Kilome, good live arm, fastball the rides up in the zone. Dirty breaking ball. There was a lot to dream on today."

Stay healthy, boys

Kapler had a lengthy talk on the field after the workout with prospects Dylan Cozens, Scott Kingery and Andrew Pullin about staying healthy throughout the season, which included working out hard, getting enough rest and eating healthy, while not being afraid to indulge every once in a while.

What are Kapler's indulgences?

"An occasional glass of wine, scotch, steaks," Kapler said. "I really, really like creamy vegetable stuff. We had some creamed spinach last night. Incredible. I can go on and on. This could turn into a food discussion and I'd stand here all day."

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies

Patient Phils could be on cusp of greatness

Breakout season would go long way to woo Harper, Machado in '19
MLB.com @castrovince

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies made some major investments this winter, and not just in the bluetooth speakers that have made their clubhouse, their morning workouts and even the empty hallways of Spectrum Field consistent sources of musical accompaniment at the behest of rookie skipper Gabe Kapler. They signed Carlos Santana to a three-year, $60 million contract that was a behemoth by the standards of a cost-conscious industry, and they committed nearly $35 million over two years to Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek for the bullpen.

But if they were to dole out some more dollars for a dependable veteran starter like Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb, well, that would be music to the ears of those who think the Phillies are a lot closer to legit contention than people give them credit for.

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies made some major investments this winter, and not just in the bluetooth speakers that have made their clubhouse, their morning workouts and even the empty hallways of Spectrum Field consistent sources of musical accompaniment at the behest of rookie skipper Gabe Kapler. They signed Carlos Santana to a three-year, $60 million contract that was a behemoth by the standards of a cost-conscious industry, and they committed nearly $35 million over two years to Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek for the bullpen.

But if they were to dole out some more dollars for a dependable veteran starter like Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb, well, that would be music to the ears of those who think the Phillies are a lot closer to legit contention than people give them credit for.

Hot Stove Tracker

And maybe, eventually, to the ears of Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.

More on those guys in a sec, but first, what are we to make of this 2018 Phillies club, as currently constructed?

"It's a real similar situation to Houston in '15, when I got there," Neshek said. "Last year, it was kind of messy [96 losses], but I feel like we're way ahead of where Houston was then. I like our core, and I know they have the money to add if we start winning. I think it's an up-and-coming team that's going to be pretty good. And the NL East isn't that great this year."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Evaluators from other clubs put the Phillies on the list of teams likely to add a starter between now and Opening Day. But in a market that has finally achieved some movement in recent days, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak's public comments on the matter indicate we shouldn't expect anything earth-shattering, even as enticing as a depressed price tag for Arrieta might be.

"We're pretty disciplined," Klentak told reporters last week. "We've gone through this rebuild, we've acknowledged that it was going to be painful for a few years. It has been. We're not going to do anything to compromise the future of that. We're going to continue to do this right. We're competitive as anybody else is, but we're not going to radically change our valuation on a potential acquisition based on emotion."

This tact is in line with the typical rebuild timetable.

Though the Phillies took a frustrating step back in the standings last year, their overall outlook is still that of a club on the rise and, potentially, on the cusp. The addition of Santana and a full season of Rhys Hoskins and J.P. Crawford provides tremendous OBP ability for what could be a breakout offense. The bullpen looks deep (the Phillies might even go with as many as nine relievers at times this year), and Aaron Nola (119 ERA+ in 168 innings last year) is one of the more exciting young arms in the game. Certainly, there's an argument for the Phillies seeing what they have before they sign off on another sizable contract.

"I think they're waiting to see signs of life," Neshek said, "then they're going to help us."

Video: Kapler on playing a bold, fearless style of baseball

What is atypical, however, is what's looming ahead -- a once-in-a-generation free-agent class fronted by Harper and Machado. It's no secret the Phillies have aligned their payroll picture around the idea of landing one (both?) of those franchise-changers.

"I think they could go sign two really ridiculous guys if they wanted to," Neshek said with a smile.

But while money does, indeed, talk louder than the aforementioned speakers, neither Harper nor Machado is going to sign up for an iffy standings situation. The Dodgers are going to be in the market for Harper, and the Yankees for Machado. The Cubs and Red Sox could be involved, too. These are big-market ballclubs that double as clear contenders now, in the recent past and, in all likelihood, in 2019 and beyond.

Video: Rhys Hoskins reflects on 2017, looks forward to 2018

So it is imperative that the Phillies take a big step forward this year. That is the thought that inspired Klentak and Co. to bid boldly on Santana and the 'pen, surprising some in the industry with their aggressiveness. But with those contracts and the Odubel Herrera extension literally the only monetary commitments on the books in the coming years on a club replete with revenue streams, why stop there?

The Phils' rotation picture is iffy, to say the least, and the worry is that it undercuts the sweeter sounds emanating from the rest of the roster. This team can't afford another "messy" mark.

You see Nola's image on billboards near the Carpenter Complex for good reason. His high-strikeout/low-walk/high-ground-ball profile makes him a rising star. Beyond Nola, though, Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, Jerad Eickhoff, Zach Eflin and Ben Lively combined for a 5.24 ERA in 91 starts last season. While the Phillies have to let some of those guys take their lumps and figure things out at the big league level, they need somebody to lend a dose of dependability and, perhaps, a between-starts example of how to prepare.

"I like our starting staff," said Nola, "but you can always benefit from a veteran."

Video: Nola thinks Phillies can contend in 2018

For the Phillies, the benefit of at least contending for a Wild Card spot in 2018 would extend beyond the obvious enthusiasm it would engender from the Philly faithful. It would make the pitch to Harper and/or Machado that much more inviting.

Arrieta, Lynn and Cobb are all still sitting there, and they are all capable of taking this rotation -- and, ergo, this team -- to another level. Serenade one of them, and the music might reach the ears of next year's prominent free-agent pair.

Anthony Castrovince has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2004. Read his columns, listen to his podcasts and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince.

Philadelphia Phillies

MLB announces pace of play initiatives for '18

MLB.com @_dadler

Major League Baseball will implement new pace of play rules for the 2018 season, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Monday, but there will be no pitch clock this season.

After consulting with the MLB Players Association and all 30 clubs, MLB announced its slate of rules changes, among them a limit on mound visits per game.

Major League Baseball will implement new pace of play rules for the 2018 season, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Monday, but there will be no pitch clock this season.

After consulting with the MLB Players Association and all 30 clubs, MLB announced its slate of rules changes, among them a limit on mound visits per game.

•  Pace of play rules FAQ

A pitch clock -- giving the pitcher a certain amount of time to deliver the ball -- had been one of the major proposals considered. MLB decided to defer implementation of a pitch clock, as well as a between-batter timer, in order to give players an opportunity to respond to the new rules and positively affect pace of play throughout the 2018 season.

"I am pleased that we were able to reach an understanding with the Players Association to take concrete steps to address pace of play with the cooperation of players," Manfred said in a statement. "My strong preference is to continue to have ongoing dialogue with players on this topic to find mutually acceptable solutions."

New phone lines connecting the video review rooms and the dugout will be installed and monitored, limiting the ability of teams to steal signs, which is viewed as a contributing factor to the increasing number of mound visits. Rules governing when players can and cannot leave the batter's box between pitches, instituted during the 2017 season, remain in effect.

•  Players, managers react to new rules

"Players were involved in the pace of game discussion from Day 1, and are committed to playing a crisp and exciting brand of baseball for the fans, but they remain concerned about rule changes that could alter the outcome of games and the fabric of the game itself -- now or in the future," said Tony Clark, the MLBPA executive director.

Here is a breakdown of the new rules:

• Mound visits: Mound visits will be limited to six per team per nine innings. Teams will receive an additional visit for every extra inning played. Any manager, coach or player visit to the mound will count as a mound visit. Visits to the mound to clean cleats in rainy weather, to check on an injury or potential injury or after the announcement of an offensive substitution are excepted. Also, normal communication between player and pitcher that do not require either to vacate their position on the field do not count as a visit. If a team is out of visits, the umpire will have discretion to grant a visit at the catcher's request if he believes there has been a cross-up between the pitcher and catcher.

Video: Hot Stove on mound visits regarding pace of play

• Between-inning breaks: As has been the case since the start of the 2016 season, a timer will count down between innings from 2:05 for breaks in locally televised games, from 2:25 in nationally televised games and from 2:55 for tiebreaker and postseason games. The difference now is that at the 25-second mark, the umpire will signal for the final warmup pitch and the pitcher must throw it before the clock hits 20. The batter will be announced at the 20-second mark and the pitcher must begin his windup to throw the first pitch of the inning within the five seconds before the clock hits zero. Another important change is that a pitcher is no longer guaranteed eight warmup pitches between innings. However, he can take as many as he wants within the countdown parameters noted above. The timer will start on the last out of the inning, unless the pitcher is on base, on deck or at bat, in which case the timer shall begin when the pitcher leaves the dugout for the mound. If the final out of the inning is subject to replay, the timer begins when the umpire signals the out.

• Timing of pitcher changes: The timing clock -- as listed above -- also applies to pitching changes, and it will begin as soon as the relief pitcher crosses the warning track.

Video: Hot Stove on batter's box rule, replay review changes

• Instant replay: All club video review rooms will now receive direct slow-motion camera angles in order to speed up challenges and the resulting review. New phone lines will connect the rooms to the dugout and will be monitored to prevent their use for sign stealing.

Summary of 2018 Rule Changes

I) Mound Visits 
1. Number
A. 2018 Championship Season. Mound visits without a pitching change shall be limited to six (6) per team, per nine innings. For any extra-innings played, each Club shall be entitled to one additional non-pitching change mound visit per inning.  
B. OBR 5.10(l). Official Baseball Rule 5.10(l), which governs mound visits by a manager or coach, remains in effect (i.e., a pitcher must be removed on the second visit by a manager/coach in an inning). 

2. Definition of Mound Visit. A manager or coach trip to the mound to meet with the pitcher shall constitute a visit. A player leaving his position to confer with the pitcher, including a pitcher leaving the mound to confer with another player, shall also constitute a mound visit, regardless of where the visit occurs or the length of the visit, except that the following shall not constitute mound visits:
A. Discussions between pitchers and position player(s) that (i) occur between batters in the normal course of play and do not require either the position player(s) or the pitcher to relocate;
B. Visits by position players to the mound to clean spikes in rainy conditions;
C. Visits to the mound due to an injury or potential injury of the pitcher; and
D. Visits to the mound after the announcement of an offensive substitution.

3. Cross-Up in Signs. In the event a team has exhausted its allotment of mound visits in a game (or extra inning) and the home plate umpire determines that the catcher and pitcher did not have a shared understanding of the location or type of pitch that had been signaled by the catcher (otherwise referred to as a "cross-up"), the home plate umpire may, upon request of the catcher, allow the catcher to make a brief mound visit. Any mound visit resulting from a cross-up prior to a team exhausting its allotted number of visits shall count against a team's total number of allotted mound visits.

II) Inning Breaks and Pitching Changes
1. Time of Break. The timer will count down from 2:05 for breaks in locally televised championship season games, from 2:25 for breaks in nationally televised championship season games, and from 2:55 for tie-breaker and postseason games as follows: 

Time Remaining | Required Action
25 seconds: 
Umpire signals pitcher to complete last warmup pitch.
20 seconds: Batter's announced and must leave on-deck circle, batter walk-up music shall begin, and pitcher shall complete last warmup pitch.
0 seconds: Pitcher must begin motion to deliver first pitch.

A. The pitcher may take as many warm-up pitches as he desires, but regardless of how many warm-up pitches he has thrown, he must deliver his final warm-up pitch at least 20 seconds prior to the end of an inning break or pitching change. OBR 5:07 will be revised to reflect that pitcher is not guaranteed eight warm-up pitches. 
B. The umpire shall signal for the last warm-up pitch at 25 seconds, unless a special circumstance (as described below) applies. 
C. The batter must leave the on-deck circle and proceed directly to the batter's box when the pitcher throws his final warm-up pitch.  
D. The pitcher must begin his motion for the first pitch as soon as the batter steps into the box and is alert to the pitcher; provided, however, the pitcher cannot begin his motion for the first pitch more than five seconds prior to the end of an inning break or pitching change so that television is ensured to be back from commercial break. 

2. Special Circumstances. A Player will be excused from following the time limits set forth above if the umpire determines that any of the following special circumstances are present:  
A. There is a delay in normal warm-up activities during the inning break due to no fault of the Players (e.g., injury or other medical emergency, equipment issues, playing field or grounds crew issues);
B. The umpire believes the pitcher is at a legitimate risk of injury if he does not receive additional time to throw warm-up pitches; 
C. The umpire believes the batter is at a legitimate risk of injury if he does not receive additional time to enter the batter's box; 
D. Any other special circumstances which, in the umpire's judgment, warrant allowing the pitcher to throw after the deadline. 

3. Start of Timer for Inning Breaks
A. Last Out of Inning. The timer shall start on the last out of an inning for an inning break.   
B. Close Plays/Replay Review. The Field Timing Coordinator shall delay the start of the timer if the final out of the inning is a close play that may be reviewed by instant replay. If the final out of the inning is determined in instant replay, the timer shall start as soon as the out is signaled by the umpire.  
C. Pitcher or Catcher On Base/On Deck. If a pitcher ends an inning on base, on deck, or at bat, the timer shall reset when the pitcher leaves the dugout for the mound. If a catcher ends the inning on base, on deck, or at bat, the timer will reset when the catcher enters the dugout (and another catcher must begin warming up the pitcher). 
 
4. Start of Timer for Pitching Changes
A. Pitcher Crosses Warning Track. The pitching change timer shall begin as soon as the relief pitcher crosses the warning track (or foul line for on-field bullpens) to enter the game. In the case of a pitching change that occurs during an inning break, the timer shall reset if previously started as soon as the relief pitcher crosses the warning track (or foul line for on-field bullpens).  
B. Relief Pitchers Must Promptly Leave Bullpen. Relief pitchers shall leave the bullpen promptly following an appropriate signal by their manager or coach. During the playing of God Bless America, or any other extended inning event previously approved by the Office of the Commissioner, the timer will begin at the conclusion of the song or event. 
 
5. Enforcement. Umpires shall direct players and enforce the inning break and pitching change time limits on the field. Players who consistently or flagrantly violate the time limits will be subject to progressive discipline for just cause by the Office of the Commissioner pursuant to Article XI(C) of the Basic Agreement.

III. Batter's Box Rule
The batter's box rule that was in effect during the 2017 season will remain in effect during the 2018 season.

IV. Video Replay Review
The following adjustments will be made to the video replay technology:
A. Install capability for all Club video review rooms to receive direct slow motion camera angles for the 2018 championship season; 
B. Install new phone lines connecting the video review rooms and the dugout, and monitor the communications over those lines to prevent their use for sign-stealing.

David Adler is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.