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Wet rag among proposed rule changes for 2020 season


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?

Joe Kelly’s suspension reduced to 5 games on appeal

Joe Kelly suspended eight
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LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly had his suspension for throwing pitches near the heads of Houston hitters reduced to five games on appeal.

Kelly was originally penalized eight games by Major League Baseball on July 29, a day after throwing a 96 mph fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and two curveballs that brushed back Carlos Correa.

The Dodgers on Wednesday confirmed the reduced penalty.

Kelly went on the 10-day injured list retroactive to last Sunday with right shoulder inflammation. He will serve his suspension when he returns.

After striking out Corea, Kelly curled his lip into a pouting expression and exchanged words with the shortstop.

Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during the sixth inning of Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Houston in the teams’ first meeting since it was revealed the Astros stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts served his one-game suspension the same day the penalty was handed down. Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined an undisclosed amount.

Kelly denied that he purposely threw at the Astros. He has previously been suspended in his career for throwing at a batter.

The penalties were imposed by former pitcher Chris Young, MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations, who issued his first ruling since taking over the job from Joe Torre.