Major League Baseball is introducing some new rules in 2023, but its extra-innings format reportedly is here to stay.
The league’s Joint Competition Committee unanimously voted to make its extra-inning rule permanent for all regular season games in 2023 and beyond, ESPN’s Jesse Rogers reported Monday.
Before the 2020 MLB season, the league changed its rules so that each extra inning would begin with a runner on second base. The player who recorded the last out in the prior inning would be a “ghost runner” to begin the next inning.
The rule was added in an effort to shorten extra-inning games during a 2020 season that was cut to 60 contests because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The league has kept the rule in place for each of the last two seasons and now is set to make it a permanent part of the rulebook. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred had signaled that the rule would return in 2023 despite polarizing reactions.
Rogers also reports that the league tweaked its rules for position players pitching, something teams do to preserve their bullpens in blowouts. A winning team must now be ahead by 10-plus runs in the ninth inning to bring in a position player to pitch, while a losing team can do so anytime it is down eight or more runs.
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On top of those changes, MLB is introducing a pitch clock, bigger bases and defensive shift limits in 2023.
So while baseball indeed is back, it will look a bit different this season.