Dodgers Spring Training: New MLB Rules A Welcomed Change

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New MLB rules largely went off without a hitch as Spring Training games began Friday, and that also held true for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Manny Machado proved to be a minor exception, as he was called for an automated strike due to not being in the batter’s box in time. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was away from camp to visit Stanford with his daughter, but had been aware of the positive results with the pitch timer and restrictions on defensive shifts.

“I didn’t get a chance to watch them, but I guess the timing and pace of play, overall time of game, was right around 2 and a half hours,” Roberts said before the Dodgers faced the Brewers at American Family Fields of Phoenix. “That’s exciting. That’s encouraging. Especially in Spring Training, where the games sort of drag on.”

Roberts didn’t anticipate the Dodgers encountering any trouble with MLB’s new rules, which came to be. Only Rubby De La Rosa was called for a violation of the pitch timer.

“I thought it was good. I think we had one violation, and I think there might have been four overall,” Roberts said after the Dodgers’ 7-4 loss at American Family Fields of Phoenix.

“It didn’t really affect the pace. I thought it was great. The pace was really good. I felt good about it. Overall, I thought we pitched pretty well and took good at-bats. The things we wanted to see, we got to see. There’s been a lot of talk all around baseball and in every individual clubhouse.

“You can see guys are making a concerted effort to kind of speed things up,”

The pitch clock didn’t figure to be of particular concern with Michael Grove, who started the first Cactus League game of his career. Grove previously became familiar with the timer while in the Minor Leagues, and had already dismissed having any concern.

Roberts glad new MLB rules don’t have delay

After an offseason in which it became apparent new rules would be implemented this year, MLB elected to start them from the minute Spring Training games began.

“I think in past we’ve waited to let people get into the swing of Spring Training before implementing rules. But I think off the get-go, Game 1, I think it’s good,” Roberts said.

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