Rich Aurilia hangs up his cleats after 15 years

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aurilia cap tip.JPGRich Aurilia officially announced his retirement from baseball Sunday, according to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, and may go to work for the Giants in some kind of broadcasting capacity.

Aurilia, 38, posted a .275/.328/.433 batting line over 15 professional seasons, making stops in San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego and Cincinnati.  In fact, he was in San Fran when he made the announcement this weekend.

“It’s weird being around here, man,” Aurilia said. “I wanted to grab a
bat in the 11th inning the other day when they had guys on third with
less than two outs. I miss being around the guys and I miss the
competition, but everything else I’m OK with. It’s time for a different
phase of my life. I’m actually handling it better than I thought I
would, which is good.”

Aurilia hit .213/.256/.279 in 133 plate appearances for the Giants last season while earning a cool $1 million salary.  He was an All-Star just once — back in 2001.

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%.