Minor League Baseball does more than just provide players for the Big Leagues; they also serve as laboratory for various experiments that may eventually show up in The Show. It would be well to remember, though, that not all experiments are successful:
Minor League Baseball today announced rule and procedure changes that will be implemented with the start of the 2019 Minor League Baseball season on April 4.
The procedures, created in partnership with Major League Baseball, aim to reduce the amount of downtime taken by mid-inning pitching changes and visits to the pitcher’s mound by position players and coaches, and reduce the risk of injuries to pitchers being used as base runners in extra innings games.
That’s right, put some gloss on it:
At the Triple-A and Double-A levels, the starting pitcher or any substitute pitcher is required to pitch to a minimum of three consecutive batters, including the batter then at bat (or any substitute batter), until such batters are put out or reach first base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the starting pitcher or substitute pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the umpire-in-chief’s judgment, incapacitates him from further play as a pitcher.
If you’ve ever been irritated by a reliever coming in to pitch to one batter, immediately followed by another reliever, then this is the rule for you. (And now you know why a 25-man roster in the majors typically contains 13 pitchers and 12 men to cover ever other position.)
Visits by coaches and position players will be limited based on the classification level. Triple-A teams will be allowed five (5) visits per team (down from six), Double-A teams will be allowed seven (7) visits per team (down from eight), Single-A teams will be allowed nine (9) visits per team (down from 10) and there will not be a limit on mound visits for Short Season and Rookie-level clubs.
For any extra-innings played, each club shall be entitled to one additional non-pitching change mound visit per inning.
As before, the manager can come out once to talk with the pitcher; the second time, the pitcher leaves the mound, never to return during the game.
And one of the dumber recent rules has been revised, albeit without much effect on its level of dumbth:
At all levels of Minor League Baseball, extra innings will begin with a runner on second base. If the last batter of the previous inning was the pitcher, the player to occupy second base to start the following inning will be the player in the batting order before the pitcher’s spot in the lineup. By way of example, if the pitcher bats in the eighth position and the number nine hitter in the batting order is due to lead off the 10th inning, the number seven player in the batting order (or a pinch-runner for such player) shall begin the inning on second base.
Not to say that football handles overtime at all well.
(With thanks to Roger Green.)
Addendum: The Triple-A Dodgers will so have radio broadcasts, despite what I said.