Mariners will limit Michael Pineda’s workload with extra rest between starts

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Throughout the first half the Mariners talked about potentially finding ways to limit rookie Michael Pineda’s workload and it sounds like they’ve decided to go with extra rest between starts.

Pineda, who’s currently on pace to throw around 195 innings, will have nine days off before making his next start and manager Eric Wedge told Greg Johns of MLB.com that the Mariners “will pick spots” to give him similar extra rest down the stretch with “a day here, two days there, that type of deal where we can spread it out a little more.”

Pineda has been fantastic with a 3.53 ERA, .205 opponents’ batting average, and 133/43 K/BB ratio in 21 starts, but the 22-year-old right-hander has never thrown even 140 innings in a season before and Seattle won’t be playing for much besides draft position in September. Wedge declined to “go public with” a specific innings limit, but the plan he describes would probably leave Pineda throwing around 175 innings.

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%.