Major League Baseball formally announced that a pitch clock will be implemented during every 2019 Spring Training game. No decision has been reached yet on whether the rule change will carry over into the regular season.
The brand new 20-second pitch timer will gradually progress through three phases of Spring Training. In the first bunch of Cactus League and Grapefruit League games, a pitch clock will operate without enforcement so players and umpires can get used to the concept.
Starting next week, umpires will begin issuing reminders to pitchers and hitters who violate the rule. Though, no ball-strike penalties will be assessed during this time.
By the end of Spring Training, umpires will be permitted to hand down any ball-or-strike penalties if necessary. However, such is only possible depending on the status of negotiations with the Major League Baseball Players Association, who currently oppose a pitch clock.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has long desired introducing a pitch clock to improve pace of play and reduce the length of game times. However, the idea has largely garnered criticism from players and fans alike.
Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill are among the Dodgers players who aren’t in favor of a pitch clock. Kershaw, in particular, previously said he would pay no attention to it during his starts.