Pitch clock rules force D-backs’ Joe Mantiply to start count 1-1 without throwing a pitch

Feb 27, 2023, 9:01 PM | Updated: Mar 1, 2023, 7:01 am

If you have been watching the early days of spring training this year, you’ve noticed there are quite a few rule changes taking MLB by storm.

None of those has had a bigger impact thus far, however, than the new pitch clock, which has sped up the flow of the game quite dramatically.

Just take a look at Monday’s 3-0 Arizona Diamondbacks win over the Chicago Cubs at Salt River Fields, which lasted exactly two hours and four minutes.

But on the other side of that time-saving coin is the fact that some at-bats may start 1-0 or 0-1 despite a pitch not even being thrown. Or 1-1, as we saw in today’s matchup between D-backs lefty Joe Mantiply and Cubs top prospect Brennen Davis.

That’s because there was an infraction on both Davis and Diamondbacks catcher Carson Kelly, the latter of which was penalized after he took too long to get into the catcher’s box despite being on the field during Arizona’s last out offensively the previous half-inning.

“If the catcher is the last out of the inning, they’re supposed to wait until he gets back to the dugout to start the clock. There was just a miscommunication,” Mantiply told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo after his outing.

The new MLB rules state that a pitcher must begin his windup — or lift his plant leg in the stretch — within 15 seconds with the bases empty and 20 seconds with a runner on, while a hitter must be in the box and looking at the pitcher with eight seconds remaining.

Even manager D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said postgame that some umpires are still getting used to the new rules.

“It was very confusing. We don’t know a lot of those ground rules. We’re learning piece by piece. … I think there’s just going to be a little bit of gray area or leeway given by the umpire knowing if the catcher wound up on the bases or was left on deck.

“I think in the future you’re going to see that kind of waived off and given an extension of time. Unless the catcher is maliciously doing something, in which case I think they should penalize the pitcher, but Carson wasn’t. He was doing his best to get out there. We’ll figure that out, those are questions we’re going to have.”

It’s OK skip, we’re still getting used to all the changes, too.

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