Don Mattingly won’t talk contract status at “awkward” press conference

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Don Mattingly is unhappy about the possibility of entering 2014 in the final year of his contract, but the Dodgers manager declined to address the topic yesterday during what Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times called an “awkward” press conference.

Two months ago there was speculation that Mattingly might quit if he didn’t get a contract extension–and his right-hand man, bench coach Trey Hillman, got fired–so the situation has calmed down considerably since then, but his quotes still had plenty of bite to them:

At this point, it’s not worth talking about. I think that day I was fairly clear. Like anything else that’s happened with me in the past, you talk about it and you don’t continue to talk about it. I don’t think anybody really wants to hear about my situation. They’d rather hear about the players, what we’re trying to do, how we’re trying to win.

Asked if he’s talked to the Dodgers about a new contract since October, he replied: “I’m happy with the way everything’s going.” And then, as Hernandez documents in his article, Mattingly answered a series of similar questions with non-answer answers to make it clear that “happy” isn’t the most accurate word choice.

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%.