Ubaldo Jimenez starts for Rockies with rumors swirling

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With less than 22 hours to go before the trade deadline, Ubaldo Jimenez is in San Diego and ready to make his start Saturday night for the Rockies.

YES Network’s Jack Curry and SI.com’s Jon Heyman are both reporting that the Rockies are asking for catcher Jesus Montero, right-hander Dellin Betances and right-hander Ivan Nova from the Yankees for Jimenez.  It’s down from the original request, which included top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos, but it still sounds as though the Yankees aren’t interested in giving up both Montero and Betances in the same deal.

ESPN’s Buster Olney says rival executives believe the Indians have the best chance of getting a deal done with the Rockies.  They’re believed to have top pitching prospect Drew Pomeranz in their offer.

The Tigers, on the other hand, may be out of the mix, even though they dangled their No. 1 pitching prospect, Jacob Turner.  The 20-year-old Turner made his major league debut Saturday, allowing two runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Angels.

There’s also been word that the Red Sox haven’t been in touch with the Rockies since Thursday.  They may be more focused on Hiroki Kuroda at the moment.

So, we’ll see what happens tonight.  If Jimenez is lights out, the Yankees or Indians might be more inclined to meet the Rockies’ steep asking price.

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%.