There may come a time when major league pitchers stare at a clock counting down the seconds before they must deliver the ball. However, that time has not come.
“I’m not about to say it can’t happen, but I think we’re a little ways away from that,” said Joe Torre, the chief baseball officer for Major League Baseball.
MLB tested a 20-second pitch clock in the Arizona Fall League, one of several experiments in an effort to quicken the pace of games. Torre said a pitch clock would not be tried in the major leagues next season but could be considered in at least some of the minor leagues.
Torre, speaking Tuesday at baseball’s winter meetings, said he “was never a proponent” of a pitch clock until he saw one in use in the Arizona Fall League.
“It really wasn’t intrusive in any way,” Torre said. “If you watched the players play, nobody seemed to be uncomfortable doing it. It just sort of picked the pace up of the game.”
The AFL also directed players receiving an intentional walk to proceed directly to first base rather than taking four balls, but Torre said adopting that measure would not save significant time since intentional walks do not occur often and do not take much time.
Torre said he plans to meet with managers here Wednesday, in part to discuss how they can decide whether to challenge a replay without the facade of walking onto the field to engage an umpire. The managers use the time to allow their staff to review the video and signal whether a challenge is warranted.
Initially, Torre said, he wanted managers to lose the ability to challenge a play if they left the dugout, then decided he did not want to restrict managers from consulting with an umpire.
“I really didn’t plan on watching managers meander on out,” Torre said. “That looks bad.”