Minor leagues to enforce pitch clock, change extra-inning rules

Minor League Baseball is rolling out new rules to shorten extra-innings games and likely speed up the action in all games, it was announced Wednesday.

The changes, developed in conjunction with Major League Baseball, are expected to benefit teams by alleviating wear and tear on pitching staffs and also make for a better experience for fans by shortening the length of games.

The biggest change involves starting all extra innings with a runner on second base. That runner will be the player in the batting order position one spot ahead of the scheduled leadoff batter of the inning.

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A similar rule has been in common use in softball for a number of years, helping to curtail the number of games that go deep into extra innings.

"We believe these changes to extra innings will enhance the fans' enjoyment of the game and will become something that the fans will look forward to on nights where the game is tied late in the contest," Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Conner said in a statement.

In another change, Triple-A and Double-A pitchers will be allowed 15 seconds to begin their wind-up or the motion to come to the set position when no runners are on base. It becomes a 20-second clock with runners on base.

If the pitcher does not begin his wind-up or begin the motion to come to the set position in the allotted time, a ball will be added to the count on the batter. Should the batter fail to be in the batter's box and alert to the pitcher with seven or more seconds remaining on the pitch timer, a strike will be added to the count.

Related: Major league players who have switched teams this offseason: 

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MLB players who have switched teams this offseason
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MLB players who have switched teams this offseason

Giancarlo Stanton

Former team: Miami Dolphins
2018 team: New York Yankees

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

J.D. Martinez

Former team: Arizona Diamondbacks
2018 team: Boston Red Sox

(Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Marcell Ozuna

Former team: Miami Marlins
2018 team: St. Louis Cardinals

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Ichiro Suzuki

Former team: Miami Marlins
2018 team: Seattle Mariners

(Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)

Jake Arrieta

Former team: Chicago Cubs
2018 team: Philadelphia Phillies

(Photo by Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Neil Walker

Former team: Milwaukee Brewers
2018 team: New York Yankees

(Photo by John Konstantaras/Getty Images)

Evan Longoria

Former team: Tampa Bay Rays
2018 team: San Francisco Giants

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Tim Lincecum

Former team: Los Angeles Angels (2016)
2018 team: Texas Rangers

(Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

Eric Hosmer

Former team: Kansas City Royals
2018 team: San Diego Padres

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Yu Darvish

Former team: Los Angeles Dodgers
2018 team: Chicago Cubs

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Gerrit Cole

Former team: Pittsburgh Pirates
2018 team: Houston Astros

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Lorenzo Cain

Former team: Kansas City Royals
2018 team: Milwaukee Brewers

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Carlos Santana

Former team: Cleveland Indians
2018 team: Philadelphia Phillies

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Wade Davis

Former team: Chicago Cubs
2018 team: Colorado Rockies

(Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Andrew McCutchen

Former team: Pittsburgh Pirates
2018 team: San Francisco Giants

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Zack Cozart

Former team: Cincinnati Reds
2018 team: Los Angeles Angels

(Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)

Mike Minor

Former team: Kansas City Royals
2018 team: Texas Rangers

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Lucas Duda

Former team: Tampa Bay Rays
2018 Team: Kansas City Royals

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Bryan Shaw

Former team: Cleveland Indians
2018 team: Colorado Rockies

(Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Tommy Hunter

Former team: Tampa Bay Rays
2018 team: Philadelphia Phillies

(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Matt Kemp

Former team: Atlanta Braves
2018 team: Los Angeles Dodgers

(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

Todd Frazier

Former team: New York Yankees
2018 team: New York Mets

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Addison Reed

Former team: Boston Red Sox
2018 team: Minnesota Twins

(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Jay Bruce

Former team: Cleveland Indians
2018 team: New York Mets

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Brandon Morrow

Former team: Los Angeles Dodgers
2018 team: Chicago Cubs

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Steven Souza Jr.

Former team: Tampa Bay Rays
2018 team: Arizona Diamondbacks

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Jake Odorizzi

Former team: Tampa Bay Rays
2018 team: Minnesota Twins

(Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Dee Gordon

Former team: Miami Marlins
2018 team: Seattle Mariners

(Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

Yangervis Solarte

Former team: San Diego Padres
2018 team: Toronto Blue Jays

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Joakim Soria

Former team: Kansas City Royals
2018 team: Chicago White Sox

(Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Yonder Alonso

Former team: Seattle Mariners
2018 team: Cleveland Indians

(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

Denard Span

Former team: San Francisco Giants
2018 team: Tampa Bay Rays

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Freddy Galvis

Former team: Philadelphia Phillies
2018 team: San Diego Padres

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Jason Vargas

Former team: Kansas City Royals
2018 team: New York Mets

(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

Tyler Chatwood

Former team: Colorado Rockies
2018 team: Chicago Cubs

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Aledmys Diaz

Former team: St. Louis Cardinals
2018 team: Toronto Blue Jays

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Brandon McCarthy

Former team: Los Angeles Dodgers
2018 team: Atlanta Braves

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Stephen Piscotty

Former team: St. Louis Cardinals
2018 team: Oakland Athletics

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Matt Moore

Former team: San Francisco Giants
2018 team: Texas Rangers

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Andrew Cashner

Former team: Texas Rangers
2018 team: Baltimore Orioles

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Minor league games will also have a cap on the number of visits to the mound by coaches and position players. Triple-A clubs will be allowed six visits per team, Double-A will be given eight and Single-A squads will be allowed 10. There will not be a limit on mound visits for short season and rookie-level clubs.

Teams will be allowed one additional visit in each extra inning played.

The rules governing mound visits by managers are coaches remain unchanged. The second such visit to a hurler in an inning will continue to require a pitching change.

Players will receive only warnings for violations in the first two weeks of the season, the announcement said. The rules will be fully enforced beginning April 20.

-- Field Level Media

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