Manfred: MLB pace changes will happen with or without union

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says rule changes to speed games will be put in place next year with or without an agreement with the players’ association.

Major League Baseball proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, limits in trips to the mound by catchers and raising the bottom of the strike zone. The union did not agree, and management has the right to impose them unilaterally for 2018.

Speaking Thursday after a quarterly owners’ meeting, Manfred says “my preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can’t get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other.”

Manfred anticipates a new posting system with Japan to be in place soon. He is not yet ready to speak about expanded protective netting in ballparks next season.

After a record 6,105 home runs this season, he says MLB will discuss studies of baseballs later in the offseason. MLB says the balls are within specifications.

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