Report: Indians, Padres progressing on Ryan Ludwick talks

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The Indians remain in the market for offensive help after acquiring Kosuke Fukudome and they’re making progress on talks with the Padres regarding Ryan Ludwick, says ESPN.com’s Buster Olney.

It’d be Ludwick’s second stint in Cleveland, and the hope is that it’d go better than his first; unable to establish himself because of knee problems, he hit .247/.305/.467 with 13 homers in 227 at-bats for the Indians from 2004-06.

Ludwick has hit .238/.301/.372 for the Padres this season, but it does come with 62 RBI in 374 at-bats.  He’s been somewhat better outside of Petco Park, hitting .258/.300/.389 with six homers in 190 at-bats.

Olney tweeted that there’s a “good chance” a deal will be struck.  Ludwick is a free agent at season’s end and the Padres might not want to risk offering him arbitration anyway, so the return shouldn’t be too significant.

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%.