Franklin Gutierrez has recovered enough from a torn pectoral muscle that he’s resumed swinging a bat, but the Mariners center fielder has not been cleared to throw yet and Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that he won’t accompany the team to Japan later this week.
Gutierrez’s best-case scenario is probably a late-April debut, so not going to Japan doesn’t mean a whole lot in terms of his timetable, but he was unsure when asked when he’ll resume throwing:
I can’t throw. Not now. I don’t know when it’s going to happen. Just doing the exercises. I don’t know when I’m going to be playing. It just depends on how fast I recover.
Suddenly late April seems pretty optimistic.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that talks between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players’ Association concerning pace of play changes have stalled, which makes it more likely that commissioner Rob Manfred unilaterally implements the changes he seeks. Those changes include a pitch clock and a restriction on catcher mound visits.
Manfred said, “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, one way or the other.”
The players have made several suggestions aimed at reducing the length of games, such as amending replay review rules, strictly monitoring down time between innings, and bringing back bullpen carts.
It is believed that MLB is proposing a pitch clock of 20 seconds. If a pitcher takes too long between pitches, he will have a ball added to the count. If the hitter takes too long, then he will have a strike added to the count.