GLENDALE, Ariz. – MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has made it clear that he wants to shorten the length of games and is willing to make significant rules changes (like a 20-second pitch clock and limitations on mound visits) to do so.
So far, the players and their union have not been willing to go along with the proposed changes, and Manfred has not followed through on threats to unilaterally implement the new rules.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he expects there to be “some finality” on whether any changes will go into effect for this season before the start of preseason games next week.
“If it does happen, it’s going to happen before games start,” Roberts said. “As I understand it, there’s dialogue and before games start here there will be some finality.”
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is not a big fan of the proposed rules changes.
“Football is four hours, 4 ½ hours,” Jansen said. “The Super Bowl was five hours. Baseball fans are not going to stop watching because the game is too long. Let’s stop that. I think that’s ridiculous.”
Jansen blamed the length of games on the way hitting approaches have changed and the number of pitchers pushed to the big leagues before they have learned to throw more than one or two pitches for strikes.
“Hitters are different now, because there’s no contact hitters anymore,” Jansen said. “Everybody wants to swing for the fences all the time. There’s a lot more strikeouts. And a lot of walks because pitchers don’t command now. … If pitchers can’t command their secondary pitches, the game is going to be long.”
Jansen will be taking his time this spring. The Dodgers closer was one of the pitchers who threw bullpen sessions during Wednesday’s first official workout. But he will be eased into things this spring and won’t pitch often in Cactus League games as a nod to his expanded workload during the Dodgers’ playoff runs the past two years.
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