After player input, MLB allows some pitch clock delays


NEW YORK – Major League Baseball has clarified its new rules to allow umpires to delay the start of the pitch clock after big swings in which a hitter loses footing or when a pitcher covers first base, third or home, in addition to other clarifications announced Wednesday.

The commissioner’s office said in its memo that if a catcher ends an inning on base, at bat or on deck, an umpire may determine the catcher needs additional time and allow the pitcher another warmup throw and the catcher to throw to second base.

The MLB also said whether a defensive team violated the new shift restrictions will be subject to a video review only involving the first player to touch a ball after a pitch.

The league also said that after a batter uses his one allowed timeout during a plate appearance, the clock shall start when the hitter indicates he is ready in addition to the previous specification when he returned to the batter’s box.

The clarifications ahead of March 30 openers were contained in a four-page memo sent by MLB senior vice president Michael Hill to managers, general managers and assistant general managers, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

“They’re important in my mind because they’re responsive to things players said to us,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday night before Japan beat the United States 3-2 in the World Baseball Classic championship game.

Baseball’s 11-man competition committee, established in the labor agreement last March, adopted the pitch clock and shift limits last September over the opposition of the four players on the panel. MLB set the pitch clock at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners.

The average time of spring training games through Monday was down 25 minutes to 2 hours, 36 minutes. Violations per game were 1.03 during the past week, down from 2.03 during spring training’s first week, according to the memo.

Teams were told bat boys and girls in the visiting dugout will meet with the visiting club before each series to discuss the player preferences. MLB said it will monitor the bat boys and girls to determine whether they contribute to non-compliance with the pace of game procedures.

MLB said it will issue guidance to teams Friday on use of PitchCom by pitchers. Catchers were allowed to use the device to call pitches last season, and pitchers were allowed to experiment with it during spring training.

Dodgers place pitcher Noah Syndergaard on injured list with no timetable for return

dodgers syndergaard
Katie Stratman/USA TODAY Sports

CINCINNATI — The Los Angeles Dodgers placed pitcher Noah Syndergaard on the 15-day injured list Thursday with a blister on the index finger of his right throwing hand.

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said the timetable for Syndergaard’s return is unknown despite the 15-day designation.

“The physical, the mental, the emotional part, as he’s talked about, has taken a toll on him,” Roberts said. “So, the ability to get him away from this. He left today to go back to Los Angeles to kind of get back to normalcy.”

Syndergaard allowed six runs and seven hits in three innings against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night, raising his ERA to 7.16.

Syndergaard (1-4) has surrendered at least five runs in three straight starts.

Syndergaard has been trying to return to the player he was before Tommy John surgery sidelined him for the better part of the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

Roberts said Syndergaard will need at least “a few weeks” to both heal and get away from baseball and “reset.”

“I think searching and not being comfortable with where he was at in the moment is certainly evident in performance,” Roberts said. “So hopefully this time away will provide more clarity on who he is right now as a pitcher.

“Trying to perform when you’re searching at this level is extremely difficult. I applaud him from not running from it, but it’s still very difficult. Hopefully it can be a tale of two stories, two halves when he does come back.”