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Top minor leagues to experiment with 3-batter minimum

March 29, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Leagues at minor league baseball’s two highest levels will use the experimental rule requiring pitchers to face at least three batters or end the half-inning, unless injured.

The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues said Friday the rule will be used at Triple-A and Double-A.

Major League Baseball proposed the rule to the players’ association, which refused to agree to its use in the major leagues this year. MLB intends to institute the rule for 2020.

Pat O’Conner, the NAPBL’s president, said the rule will provide “providing valuable data for Major League Baseball as they review the impact it has on the pace of play.”

An adjustment has been made to the rule the minor leagues started using in 2018 that had extra innings start with a runner on second. Last year, the runner was the one whose spot was up last in the previous inning. Under the change for this year, pitchers will be skipped over if their slot was last and the man in the previous position will start on second base.

In addition, the limits on mound visits without pitching changes have been dropped from six to five at Triple-A, from eight to seven at Double-A and 10 to nine at Class A. There is no limit for short season or rookie leagues.

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