For all the dramatics of the Dodgers’ World Series run, there was a metronomic ritual that tended to drive fans a bit batty: Yasmani Grandal, the catcher, called time out and visited his pitcher.
Again. And again. And again.
What Grandal did was within the rules last year, but it might not be this year. Major League Baseball is prepared to unilaterally implement a rule that would force a team to remove a pitcher after a second mound visit in an inning, a person familiar with the matter told The Times on Thursday.
Current rules require a team to remove a pitcher after two visits from the bench — that is, manager or coach — in an inning. Under the possible new rule, visits from players would count toward that total.
If Grandal went to the mound to talk to his pitcher, neither pitching coach Rick Honeycutt nor manager Dave Roberts could make a visit without removing that pitcher.
“The stuff where nothing is going on — [the St. Louis Cardinals’] Yadi Molina is making his 93rd trip to the mound, or whoever the catcher is, I don’t mean to pick out a guy — dead time is an issue,” Commissioner Rob Manfred told The Times last year.
If he cannot reach agreement with the players’ union, Manfred has vowed to use his authority to unilaterally implement changes designed to speed up the game.
The union is expected to reject management’s most recent proposal, The Athletic reported Thursday. That proposal limits mound visits, but not as strictly as the one the league would implement on its own.
In the absence of an agreement, the league would impose a series of changes, most notably limiting mound visits and installing a 20-second pitch clock. With the need to prepare players, coaches and umpires for new rules, it is unlikely the league would extend negotiations with the union beyond Feb. 1, when owners conclude their quarterly meetings.