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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred says he's in favor of restrictions on use of relief pitchers

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred says he's in favor of restrictions on use of relief pitchers
Rob Manfred speaks to reporters during a news conference at Major League Baseball headquarters in New York on May 19. (Mary Altaffer / Associated Press)

Major League Baseball is considering a limit on the number of relief pitchers a team can use as a way to speed up the game and make the later innings more interesting, Commissioner Rob Manfred said in an ESPN interview Thursday.

Presented with a scenario in which restrictions are placed on the number of pitching changes allowed per inning or per game, Manfred said, "I am actually in favor of something like that. We spent a ton of time on this issue in the last few months."

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Back in 1964, teams used an average of 2.58 pitchers per game; by 2014, that number had increased to 3.92.

Games this season are averaging 3 hours, 4 minutes.

"I've got nothing against relief pitchers, but they do two things to the game," Manfred said. "The pitching changes themselves slow the game down and our relief pitchers have become so dominant at the back end that they actually rob action out of the end of the game, the last few innings of the game.

"So relief pitchers is a topic that is under active consideration. We're talking about that a lot internally."

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