Boston Red Sox

By Matt McCarthy,

In what could be a trial run for the 2019 regular season, Major League Baseball has announced plans to implement a 20-second pitch clock during spring training games this year.

The 20-second timer, which has been in effect in the minor leagues for the past few seasons, will be in place for all Grapefruit and Cactus League games.

Major League Baseball says no decision has been made regarding implementation for the regular season. The league and the MLB Players Association are still discussing the matter.

Under the rule, pitchers must either come to the set position or go into the windup before the 20 seconds on the clock have elapsed. The pitch itself will not need to be thrown within the 20 second window.

Oct 26, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi prepares to throw a pitch against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 13th inning in game three of the 2018 World Series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The clock begins running after the first pitch of an at-bat and continues through the end of the at-bat. The clock will not run on foul balls or during mound visits.

The timer will reset after pickoff attempts.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has long been a proponent of a 20-second pitch clock in an attempt to speed up the game, but has received pushback from the players. Manfred has the authority to unilaterally implement a timer for the 2019 season, but up until this point has chosen to discuss the potential change with the union.

In a January meeting, the two sides reportedly discussed the possibility of only using a pitch clock when there are no runners on base.

You can hear Matt McCarthy on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s own Hardcore Baseball podcast and on various 98.5 The Sports Hub programs. Follow him on Twitter @MattMcCarthy985.