Spring training has started off with a freakin’ whimper for the Mariners. Yesterday it was announced that Hisashi Iwakuma would miss 4-6 weeks with a finger injury. Today: Taijuan Walker is said to be suffering shoulder soreness which will be limit him early in camp.
Walker debuted last summer and is expected to be a big part of the Mariners’ rotation this year. That the bigger part — Iwakuma — is already down means this setback for Walker is doubly painful.
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.