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Wet rag among proposed rule changes for 2020 season

Tyler Clippard

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 28: Tyler Clippard #19 of the Arizona Diamondbacks licks his fingers prior to delivering a pitch against the Philadelphia Phillies at Chase Field on June 28, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Getty Images’s Chris Cotillo reports that there have been several proposed rule changes for the 2020 season. Craig discussed one of them earlier: extra innings will start with a runner on second base.

Additionally, there will be a DH in both leagues. There will be no limits on position players pitching. The three-batter minimum will still be implemented. And, accounting for the novel coronavirus, pitchers will be allowed to keep a wet rag in their pocket as a substitute for licking their fingers.

Cotillo adds that the trade deadline will be set for August 31. The Opening Day roster will contain 30 players, but will be reduced to 28 on the 15th day of the season and 26 on the 29th day. The 60-day injured list will likely become the 45-day IL and there will be a 10-day injured list for less serious injuries.

Media access will be limited, per Cotillo. Media members will use Zoom and other forms of video chat. They will be allowed in the stadiums but won’t be allowed to get close to the players.

Many of these rule changes make sense given the circumstances. A lot of attention will be paid to the “wet rag” rule, and deservedly so. It is going to be very difficult to break pitchers’ habit of licking their fingers and touching their face in other ways. What happens when a pitcher does accidentally lick his fingers? Will the ump jump out from behind home plate to call time while the pitcher applies hand sanitizer and a new ball is used?

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