Bandits, LumberKings will have runners starting on second base in extra innings

Minor League Baseball initiates changes, including runner for extra innings

Minor League Baseball initiates changes, including runner for extra innings

Minor League Baseball today announced rule and procedure changes aimed at reducing the length of extra innings games and the number of mound visits during a game throughout Minor League Baseball.

The procedures, which MiLB says were made in partnership with Major League Baseball, "aim to reduce the number of pitchers used in extra innings and the issues created by extra innings games", which include position players being used as pitchers and shortages of pitchers in the days following unusually long games.

The rules are meant to shorten the length of extra-inning games and the number of mound visits throughout a game, keeping in mind player safety and providing more action for viewers.

But the most interesting concoction that Minor League Baseball has come up with is starting extra innings with a runner on second base, according to an official release.

Predictably, MILB is following in MLB's footsteps by limiting the number of times teams can gather at the mound.

With runners on base, the pitch timer will go from 15 to 20 seconds.

Visits by coaches and position players to the pitcher's mound will be limited, with different rules for different levels. The runner will be the player in the lineup before the leadoff hitter in that inning, though teams will be allowed to substitute in that spot.

MiLB also made a change to the pitch clock rules it adopted in 2015 in Triple A and Double A. Pitchers will now be allowed 15 seconds to begin their windup or motion when no runners are on base. If that runner scores, it is charged to the pitcher as an unearned run.

For those wondering, there is no listed penalty for a team who attempts to make an additional mound visit. Each team gets one additional mound visit for each extra inning.

Another initiative to speed the game comes with changes to the pitch clock rules. Meaning, if the cleanup hitter grounded out to third to end the ninth inning, he'd be at second base with the No. 5 hitter in the batter's box to start the 10th inning. Between-pitch times have been adjusted.

If the pitcher fails to begin his delivery within the allotted times, the batter will be awarded a ball.

Pitchers at the Triple-A and Double-A levels will be allowed 15 seconds to begin their wind-up or the motion to come to the set position when no runners are on base. However, Double-A teams will be allowed eight visits while Single-A teams will be allowed 10. If the batter doesn't return to the box with 7 or more seconds remaining on the clock, a strike will be called.

The first two weeks of the season will serve as a grace period, with players receiving warnings for violations.

The new rules will go into effect beginning April 20.

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