UPDATE: Brian Roberts receives epidural in troublesome back

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Brian Roberts headshot.jpgUPDATE: Don’t count on seeing Roberts return after the minimum. Roberts will have to rest for 4-5 days after undergoing another epidural
injection in his back on Monday, according to Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com. Team doctors believe Roberts re-aggravated his back on the very same slide where he suffered an abdominal strain last Friday.

11:54 AM: The Orioles have finally decided to place Brian Roberts on the 15-day disabled list, reports MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli.

The Baltimore second baseman suffered an abdominal strain during Friday’s game against the Blue Jays and did not see any playing time this weekend.  He is 2-for-14 through four games this season with a double and a run scored.  The move was made retroactive to April 10, so he will be eligible to return before the end of the month and is expected to do just that.

The Orioles called up infielder Justin Turner almost immediately after Roberts was injured and he’s expected to get a few starts at second base over the next two weeks.  Julio Lugo, also 2-for-14 in four games this season, will benefit the most.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.