Watch previously aired coverage in the video above to learn about the Guardians spring training
“Double A and Triple A guys that are up on this team now, we all have played with these rules, so I think we will be able to help the veteran guys who haven’t really played with these rules, I think we’ll bring a nice insight to them,” Guardians outfielder Will Brennan said.
The biggest change fans will notice this season is the pitch timer.
Pitchers will be required to begin their motion 15 seconds after receiving the ball with the bases empty or 20 seconds after receiving the ball with runners on base. If they don’t, they will be charged with an automatic ball.
FOX 8’s P.J. Zielgler sat down with Manager Terry Francona in Goodyear, Arizona and asked him about these pitching rule changes and how it will affect his staff.
“What we don’t want to do is get in the way, we don’t want them having to feel rushed when they are pitching, so we need to make sure they get the sign so they have time on the rubber to make decisions they want to,” Francona said.
Pitchers will also be limited to two breaks from the mound, either a pickoff attempt or a step-off per plate appearance with a runner on first.
“You’ll probably be seeing us throw over to first less so we don’t box our pitchers in where they don’t feel like they can step off or throw over,” Francona said.
The second big rule change involves a restriction on shifts. The defensive team must have a minimum of four players on the infield, with at least two infielders completely on either side of second base.
“As a lefty at least, you pull the baseball, you hit it really, really hard and the second baseman is in the middle of right field and he’s there and he throws you out which is unfortunate but next year it could possibly be a hit,” Guardians first baseman Josh Naylor said.
The last big rule change will include bigger bases. First, second and third have been expanded from 15 inches on each side to 18 inches on each side, the biggest reason for the bigger bases is safety.
“If it can get a guy more ability to get to second base, steal second base, stay on the base, ultimately I think it is going to be good for the game,” Guardians catcher Mike Zunino said.
And yes, these rules are here to stay, at least for now, and that includes the postseason.
“I think some of these changes, even if I’m not the biggest proponent of them, I do think it will help us,” Francona said.