The MLB Competition Committee has approved a handful of new rules for the 2024 season, it was announced today. The rule changes are:
— With a runner on base, a pitcher must deliver a pitch within 18 seconds, rather than 20 seconds, as was the close last year.
— If a new pitcher steps onto the warning track between innings with less than 2 minutes remaining on the inning break clock, the clock will reset to 2 minutes, rather than 2 minutes 15 seconds, as was the case last year.
— Mound visits are being reduced from 5 per game to 4 per game.
— The pitch clock will begin after a dead ball when the pitcher has a ball and play is ready to resume, rather than when the pitcher is on the mound, as was the case last year. Apparently, there were instances of a pitcher delaying the start of the clock by not going immediately to the mound.
— If a pitcher is warming up between innings on the pitcher’s mound in the field of play, he must face at least one batter before being removed. This means that if a pitcher is warming to start an inning, and the other team announces a pinch hitter, the pitcher can’t immediately be removed. It apparently only happened 24 times last season, and two times in the World Series, per the release from MLB, which seems rare enough that you don’t need a special rule for it, but whatever.
— The runner’s lane will now include the area from the foul line to the infield grass. Previously, the runner’s lane did not include the area inside the foul line, resulting in runners being called for interference for having, say, one foot in fair territory while running to first base.
The MLBPA released a statement saying that they voted against the proposed rule changes. You can see their statement below: