Major League Baseball announced changes to the official rules today that are effective this season, and even include Spring Training games as of March 2.
Today’s announced changes include the much-discussed “Three-Batter Minimum” for MLB pitchers:
The Official Baseball Rules have been amended to require the starting or any relief pitcher to pitch to a minimum of three batters, including the batter then at bat (or any substitute batter), until such batters are put out or reach base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the substitute pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the umpire crew chief’s judgment, incapacitates him from further play as a pitcher. The three-batter minimum will become effective in 2020 Spring Training beginning on Thursday, March 2.
Major League BaseballFebruary 12, 2020
What’s significant to note here is that relievers must stay in to face three batters or until the offensive team is put out. So, relievers entering the game with fewer than three outs will not necessarily have to face three batters.
Rosters Sizes, IL Stays, and Challenge Times
Other changes affect the MLB rosters that includes a tightening of September call-ups from 40 to 28 players, with a maximum of 14 pitchers.
Starting this season pitchers placed on the injured list will need to remain there for at least 15 days, up from the previous requirement of 10 days. This move is meant to address clever “back-dating” of IL trips, which effectively limited a starter’s missed games to just one appearance.
In yet another all but meaningless attempt to quicken pace of play, MLB will cut manager’s challenge times from 30 to 20 seconds this season.
You can read the complete text of the rules changes on the MLB website.
Interested to know more about baseball’s rules? RSNStats has enjoyed and relied on two great illustrated guides:
Baseball Field Guide : An In-Depth Illustrated Guide to the Complete Rules of Baseball by Dan Formosa and Paul Hamburger and RuleGraphics: Professional Baseball by Dennis Goodman.
Leave a Reply