Speed­ing games up on the agenda for next sea­son

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - SPORTS - — The As­so­ci­ated Press

OR­LANDO, FLA. » Ma­jor League Base­ball is in­tent on short­en­ing games next sea­son.

The av­er­age time of a nine-in­ning game was a record 3 hours, 5 min­utes, up from 2:56 in 2015. The post­sea­son av­er­age was 3:29.

Many own­ers and gen­eral man­agers want to cut down trips to the mound by catch­ers, whether the rea­son is chang­ing signs, talk­ing about pitches or giv­ing a pitcher a breather dur­ing long plate ap­pear­ances.

MLB pro­posed three changes last off­sea­son that the play­ers’ union didn’t ac­cept, and man­age­ment can start them next year with­out player ap­proval: re­strict­ing catch­ers to one trip to the mound per pitcher each in­ning; em­ploy­ing a 20-sec­ond pitch clock; and rais­ing the bot­tom of the strike zone from just be­neath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level — at the top of the kneecap.

Base­ball com­mis­sioner Rob Man­fred prefers reach­ing an agree­ment with the union.

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