Complete Guide To MLB Rule Modifications For 2024 Season

Major League Baseball announced modifications to several rules were approved by the joint competition committee and will go into effect at the start of the 2024 regular season.

The MLB rule changes being implemented are widening the runner’s lane to first base, reducing time on the pitch clock with a runner on base, timer during pitching changes, reducing the number of mound visits allowed per game, a pitcher that warms up for an inning needing to face at least one batter, time permitted for a relief pitcher to enter, and when a pitch clock starts.

MLB proposed minor changes to the pace of play regulations to address an increase in game time as the 2023 season progressed. From April to September, the average nine-inning game time increased by seven minutes (five minutes after controlling for the number of pitches, breaks and runs scored).

“From its inception, the joint Competition Committee’s constructive conversations between players, umpires and owners have produced rules that significantly improved the game for fans,” chairman of the competition committee John Stanton said in a statement.

“These modifications will improve on last year’s work by the Competition Committee, which was a resounding success with our fans and for the sport.

“I want to thank the Commissioner’s Office, the Players Association and the Major League Umpires for their dedication to the greatest game ever invented.”

MLB rule changes 2024

Baserunner’s lane widened

The runner’s lane is being widened to include the dirt area between the foul line and the infield grass. This will allow batters to take a more direct path to first base while retaining protection from interference.

The distance between the foul line and the infield grass will be between 18 and 24 inches in all parks, with some limited grace periods granted by MLB due to difficulty in modifying the field.

Pitch timer reduced

Time allotted between pitches will be reduced from 20 seconds to 18 seconds with runners on base. Pitchers will retain their ability to step off and reset the clock up to two times without penalty.

Permitted time for relief pitcher to enter game

If a new pitcher steps onto the warning track with less than two minutes remaining on the clock between innings, it will reset to two minutes rather than two minutes and 15 seconds, as was the case in 2023.

Number of mound visits reduced

Mound visits will be reduced from five per game to four, and an extra mound visit will still be awarded for the ninth inning if the defensive team has zero remaining at the end of the eighth inning.

Umpires will permit defensive players to signal for a mound visit without actually visiting the mound to further help improve pace of game.

When does pitch timer reset?

What’s more, the FTC will now restart the timer after a dead ball when the pitcher has the ball and play is ready to resume. There will no longer be a requirement for the pitcher to be on the mound, removing his ability to delay the start of the timer by walking around the edge of the mound.

One-batter rule within facing three hitters

A pitcher who is sent out to warm up for an inning must face at least one batter, as well as any requirements under the three-batter minimum rule if they weren’t already inserted into the game.

An exception to the new MLB rule for pitchers warming up needing to remain in the game is if there is an injury.

MLB withdraws change to pitch clock-batter timeout

Based on player feedback, MLB withdrew a proposal that would have required the home plate umpire to immediately reset the pitch clock after a batter called timeout.

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