Of all of new rules that were announced this week by Major League Baseball and the Players Association, the most controversial is the one that will force pitchers to face at least three batters per appearance unless it’s the end of the inning or the pitcher gets injured. That rule is going to start next season.
Or is it?
The three-batter rule has been a pet project of commissioner Rob Manfred and is designed to speed up the game by ending the parade of one-batter relief appearances that can slow the sport to a crawl.
But the Players Association is opposed to the idea. MLB has the right to implement the change unilaterally for next season as part of the collective bargaining agreement. The union can’t stop it – but it can continue to lobby MLB to not implement the change as part of their continued negotiations.
Players Association executive director Tony Clark, after his annual spring training meeting with Yankees players at Steinbrenner Field on Saturday, was asked if he thought the union could get MLB to scrap the three-batter rule.