Changes are coming to baseball. The biggest differences, however, will happen in the 2020 MLB season.
First, the minors will be used as a guinea pig. Minor League Baseball announced Friday multiple pace-of-play rules for this season.
Here's a look at three rules that baseball hopes will speed up the game.
Three-batter minimum rule
Say goodbye to lefty specialists. Any starting pitcher or reliever in Double-A and Triple-A is required to face at least three batters. So far, the rule only is in effect for those two levels.
Any exception will be made to the rule if a pitcher is deemed ill by the umpire-in-chief or a pitcher is injured.
At every level of the minors, extra innings will start with a runner at second base. If the last batter of the previous inning, however, was the pitcher, there's a change to the rule this year.
In this scenario, the player in the batting order before the pitcher, or a pinch runner, will be placed at second. As always, any batter or runner previously removed from the game cannot return to be the designated runner.
Pitcher's mound visits
Aside from short-season and rookie-level teams, mound visits per game by a coach will be shortened. Triple-A teams will be allowed five (down from six), Double-A teams will have seven (down from eight), and Single-A teams will have nine (down from 10).
By comparison, MLB teams can have just five visits per game (down from six).