02/28/2008 4:03 PM ET
Playing Rules Committee enacts rules modifications for 2008
Major League Baseball's Playing Rules Committee has adopted a number of slight changes to the
language of the Official Baseball Rules that will take effect this season as well as several experimental
initiatives that will be employed at the Minor League level in the 2008 season, it was announced today.
Under Major League Rule 25(c), the Playing Rules Committee is charged with voting to amend the
Official Baseball Rules. The Playing Rules Committee addressed a number of areas where existing Rules
could be clarified, harmonized with other Rules or amended to be consistent with accepted practices at the
professional level. The Rules amendments enacted this year primarily address those areas and do not make
any major changes in the way the game is played.
Noteworthy among this year's changes are experimental rules that are to be used in the two Minor
Leagues at the Short-Season A classification, the New York-Penn League and the Northwest League, for the
2008 season. New language inserted into Rule 8.04, which regulates the time that a pitcher has to pitch,
details additional pace of game measures that will be implemented on an experimental basis. Rule 8.04 will
be amended to increase the time within which a pitcher must pitch (from 12 to 15 seconds), but the timing
will begin when the pitcher receives the ball, without regard for whether the batter is ready for the pitch. If
the batter has had a reasonable opportunity to get ready and is not ready, he would be at risk for having
the pitcher pitch or, if the batter is out of the batter's box, for having an automatic strike called, as set forth
in Rules 6.02(c) and (d).
In addition, another experimental rule in the New York-Penn League and the Northwest League will
regulate visits to the mound, limiting the number of visits to the mound by managers, coaches and
infielders. Among the provisions of the rule is that any combination of three or more manager/coach visits
to the mound in a game without removing the pitcher will result in the automatic removal of the pitcher
from the game on a fourth visit, regardless of whether prior visits were to the same or different pitcher(s),
and that no more than one infielder at a time is permitted to visit the mound, including during any visit by a
manager or coach. The limitation on the number of mound visits is similar to the rules used in international
and NCAA play, and the restriction on infielder visits to the mound is similar to the international rule.
An added comment to Rule 4.05 requires that a coach, until being passed by a batted ball, must position
himself no closer to home plate than the front edge of the coach's box and no closer to fair territory than
the edge of the coach's box closest to the field.
Other revisions intended to improve, clarify or harmonize language affects Rules 1.14, 3.01, 6.05, 7.03,
8.01 and 8.05. The rules index has also been revised extensively.
"The Playing Rules Committee is pleased to take these additional steps to modernize the Official Baseball
Rules and to enhance their practicality wherever possible," said Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB's Executive Vice
President of Baseball Operations and a member of the Playing Rules Committee. "We will be particularly
interested in monitoring the new experimental pace of game procedures in the New York-Penn League and
the Northwest League. The improvement of pace of game is an important goal common to all levels of
professional baseball, and Major League Baseball will remain proactive in this effort."
This marks the second consecutive season in which the Playing Rules Committee has made changes to
the Rules. Prior to last year, the Rules had not been changed since the Strike Zone was redefined in 1996.
Last year's changes included a modification regarding regulation tie games, providing that a tied regulation
game that is stopped would now be suspended and resumed before the next scheduled game between the
same two clubs on the same grounds, and extensively revised Official Baseball Rule 10, which concerns
official scorers and scoring rules, acting upon recommendations of an ad hoc advisory committee comprised
of official scorers, Club personnel and Major League Baseball staff.
The Playing Rules Committee consists of Solomon; John McHale, Jr., MLB's Executive Vice President for
Administration; Sandy Alderson, the Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Padres; Bob Beban, the
President and General Manager of the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League; Hall of Famer Rod Carew,
a 19-year Major League veteran; Terry Ryan, Senior Advisor to the General Manager of the Minnesota
Twins; John Schuerholz, the President of the Atlanta Braves; Bill Stoneman, Senior Advisor to the Los
Angeles Angels of Anaheim; and MLB Umpire Supervisor Larry Young, a 23-year Major League Umpire.
Mike Gaski, President of USA Baseball and head baseball coach at UNC-Greensboro, is an advisory member
of the Committee.