MLB approves rule changes to speed up the pace of play, improve players' safety

MLB approves rule changes to speed up the pace of play, improve players' safety
10/09/2022
A pitch clock, limitations to shift, and bigger bases will be in the rules of play during the 2023 season. "These changes will make the game even better and more enjoyable," commented Commissioner Rob Manfred.

Major League Baseball (MLB) has announced three rule changes for the 2023 season: the implementation of a pitch timer, the limitation of defensive shifts and the use of bigger bases.

The pitch clock, already in use in WBSC competitions, will improve the pace of play. Pitchers will have up to 15 seconds between pitches when the bases are empty and up to 20 seconds with at least one runner on base. A hitter will have to be in the batter's box with at least eight seconds remaining.

The shift restrictions will return the game to a more traditional aesthetic. Two infielders will have to position themselves on either side of the second base bag, and all four infielders will need to have both feet within the outer boundary of the infield. Infielders may not switch sides unless there is a substitution.

Bases will increase from the standard 15 inches (38.1 centimetres) square to 18 inches (45.72 centimetres) square to improve player safety.

The changes have been approved by a majority vote of the new joint Competition Committee.

MLB created the joint committee as a part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiated with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) earlier this year.

The vote followed the Committee’s discussions in several meetings throughout the summer. The changes adopted by the Committee were tested extensively at the Minor League level over the past several years.

"Throughout the extensive testing of recent years, Minor League personnel and a wide range of fans, from the most loyal to casual observers, have recognized the collective impact of these changes in making the game even better and more enjoyable," commented MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. "We appreciate the participation of the representatives of the Major League Players and Umpires in this process."