Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz had a pretty good day on Monday, Opening Day across baseball. The right-hander tossed seven shutout innings against the Phillies en route to an 8-0 win. He even made contact all three times he came to the plate, recording three ground outs.
It was what he did at the plate that ruffled some feathers. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Buchholz received a warning letter from Major League Baseball “informing” him that he had stepped out of the batter’s box. MLB has implemented some new measures with the intent of speeding up games. One of them is rule 6.02 (d):
(d) The following rule shall be in effect for all National Association Leagues:
(1) The batter shall keep at least one foot in the batters box throughout the batters time at bat, unless one of the following exceptions applies, in which case the batter may leave the batters box but not the dirt area surrounding home plate:
(i) The batter swings at a pitch;
(ii) The batter is forced out of the batter’s box by a pitch;
(iii) A member of either team requests and is granted Time;
(iv) A defensive player attempts a play on a runner at any base;
(v) The batter feints a bunt;
(vi) A wild pitch or passed ball occurs;
(vii) The pitcher leaves the dirt area of the pitching mound after receiving the ball; or
(viii) The catcher leaves the catcher’s box to give defensive signals.
Buchholz, to his credit, took the warning letter with a bit of humor, joking that he may only take two more plate appearances the rest of the season. Teammate David Ortiz found it amusing that Buchholz has already received a warning while he hasn’t. Ortiz has been an outspoken critic of the new pace-of-play rules.