Wet rag among proposed rule changes for 2020 season

Tyler Clippard
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MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo reports that there have been several proposed rule changes for the 2020 season. Craig discussed one of them earlier: extra innings will start with a runner on second base.

Additionally, there will be a DH in both leagues. There will be no limits on position players pitching. The three-batter minimum will still be implemented. And, accounting for the novel coronavirus, pitchers will be allowed to keep a wet rag in their pocket as a substitute for licking their fingers.

Cotillo adds that the trade deadline will be set for August 31. The Opening Day roster will contain 30 players, but will be reduced to 28 on the 15th day of the season and 26 on the 29th day. The 60-day injured list will likely become the 45-day IL and there will be a 10-day injured list for less serious injuries.

Media access will be limited, per Cotillo. Media members will use Zoom and other forms of video chat. They will be allowed in the stadiums but won’t be allowed to get close to the players.

Many of these rule changes make sense given the circumstances. A lot of attention will be paid to the “wet rag” rule, and deservedly so. It is going to be very difficult to break pitchers’ habit of licking their fingers and touching their face in other ways. What happens when a pitcher does accidentally lick his fingers? Will the ump jump out from behind home plate to call time while the pitcher applies hand sanitizer and a new ball is used?

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.