New MLB rule change stuns Giants, leads to confusion and undesired result

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.–Giants reliever Trevor Gott ran in from the bullpen to pitch the ninth inning at Scottsdale Stadium Friday.

As he finished throwing warmup pitches, Angels third baseman Jhoan Urena trotted out to second base to start the inning in scoring position.


“I turned around and asked the umpire, ‘Is he supposed to be here?’” Gott said. “He said, ‘Yeah,’ but he looked like he was kind of joking. So I said, ‘For real?’ So it starts today.”

A new rule introduced by Major League Baseball was implemented for the first time Friday in the ninth inning of a tie game. The process of sending a runner to second base to start an inning was first tested in the minor leagues in 2018, but that practice only occurs in extra innings.

The goal is to speed up pace of play so that a game is decided sooner rather than later, but many believed the rule would never reach the major league level.

That officially changed Friday.

“The rest of the spring they’re taking a look at it, so we did it today,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

The rule will only be in place during spring training and only during the ninth and 10th innings of tie games, so it’s unlikely to impact much given how soon Cactus League play ends. Still, it’s another effort from baseball’s decision-makers to tinker with the existing structure of the game.

“It’s tough,” Gott said. “It makes you put your best guys out there in those situations. I don’t see that rule ever happening in major league games, but it definitely I guess could speed up games.”

Gott handled the situation like a veteran, in part because he grew accustomed to pitching in extra innings of minor league games in the Nationals organization last year. The right-hander said most teams liked to bunt …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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