The Mercury News

`Significan­t' rules tweaks will be announced today for pitch clock


Major League Baseball's new pitch clock is going to undergo some timing adjustment­s before it is turned on for games that count.

Baseball Commission­er Rob Manfred called the changes “significan­t” but also described them as “clarificat­ions” based on input from players. The alteration­s are likely to be announced today, eight days before Opening Day.

“They're important in my mind because they're responsive to things players said to us,” he said before Tuesday night's World Baseball Classic championsh­ip game between the United States and Japan.

Baseball's 11-man competitio­n committee, establishe­d in the labor agreement last March, adopted the pitch clock and shift limits last September over the opposition of the four players on the panel. MLB set the pitch clock at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners.

MLB also is limiting pickoff attempts and requiring two infielders to be on either side of second and all infielders to be within the outer boundary of the infield when the pitcher is on the rubber.

Players have talked about the need to accommodat­e certain plays that delay a pitcher from getting on the mound, such as after backing up first base.

“We have another set of issues that we want to see some regular-season games before we make a decision on them,” Manfred said. “I've met with six teams' players already. Our feet are not in stone on this, on the one hand, and we are prepared to make adjustment­s based on input. On the other hand, we want to give it a chance to see exactly how it plays out after a period of adjustment in some regular-season games before we make any really significan­t alteration.”

Further adjustment­s may be made during the season. MARLINS PLAYING IT SAFE WITH CUETO >> The Miami Marlins are being cautious with veteran right-hander Johnny Cueto, who is dealing with arm soreness just over a week before the start of the regular season.

First-year manager Skip Schumaker didn't seem concerned Tuesday when explaining why Cueto didn't do his scheduled work on a back field the previous day. Cueto had been set to throw about 70 pitches while simulating four or five innings.

“This is a time where there's no reason to push through this general soreness,” Schumaker said. “If he needs another extra day, you give people extra days and that's the value of spring training.”

Cueto, back in camp with the Marlins after making a start for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, is scheduled for a bullpen session today. If all goes well, he could pitch in a game for the Marlins on Friday.

The 37-year-old Cueto is going into his 16th big league season. He pitched last year for the Chicago White Sox before his deal with the Marlins that will pay him $6 million this season and includes a $10.5 million team option for 2024 with a $2.5 million buyout. D-BACKS LOSE CATCHER >> The Arizona Diamondbac­ks will go into the season without catcher Carson Kelly, who has a broken bone in his right forearm after getting hit by a pitch in a Cactus League game.

Kelly will likely miss several months, though manager Torey Lovullo wasn't ready to discuss a potential timeline for his return when announcing the diagnosis Tuesday, a day after Kelly got struck by a pitch from White Sox righthande­r Gregory Santos.

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