Report: MLB ready to institute pitch clock

Major League Baseball is prepared to add new rules to speed up games in 2018 even if the players union doesn't sign off on the changes, ESPN reported Thursday.

With pace-of-game talks between MLB and the players' association stalled, commissioner Rob Manfred is prepared to institute a 20-second pitch clock, sources told the network. MLB may also put a restriction on catcher mound visits in 2018.

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Manfred said late last year he preferred to negotiate a deal with the players before proceeding, "but if we can't get an agreement, we are going to have rule changes in 2018, one way or the other.''

Any rules changes require the approval of MLB owners, who will hold their quarterly meetings Feb. 1 in Los Angeles.

MLB games averaged three hours, 6 minutes last season to set a record.

Related: See last season's Gold Glove winners:

19 PHOTOS
2017 MLB Gold Glove winners
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2017 MLB Gold Glove winners

Catcher, American League: Martin Maldonado, Los Angeles Angels

(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Catcher, National League: Tucker Barnhart, Cincinnati Reds

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

First base, American League: Eric Hosmer, Kansas City Royals

(Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

First base, National League: Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Second base: Brian Dozier, Minnesota Twins

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

Second base, National League: DJ LeMahieu, Colorado Rockies

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Shortstop, American League: Andrelton Simmons, Los Angeles Angels

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Shortstop, National League: Brandon Crawford, San Francisco Giants

(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Third base, American League: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays

(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Third base, National League: Nolan Arenado, Colorado Rockies

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Left field, American League: Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals

(Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Left field, National League: Marcell Ozuna, Miami Marlins

(Photo by Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Center field, American League: Byron Buxton, Minnesota Twins

(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

Center field, National League: Ender Inciarte, Atlanta Braves

(Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Right field, American League: Mookie Betts, Boston Red Sox

(Photo by Adam Glanzman/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Right field, National League: Jason Heyward, Chicago Cubs

(Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)

Pitcher, American League: Marcus Stroman, Toronto Blue Jays

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Pitcher, National League: Zack Greinke, Arizona Diamondbacks

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

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Players union representatives are contending that games can be shortened through revisions in instant replay, stricter monitoring of the down time between innings and even bringing back bullpen carts for pitching changes.

The proposed 20-second clock would add a ball to the count for violations by a pitcher or a strike for an infraction by the batter.

-- Field Level Media

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