Minor League Baseball Announces Three-batter Minimum Rule for Pitchers

Changes are coming to baseball. The biggest differences, however, are coming in the 2020 MLB season. 

First, the minors will be used as a guinea pig this season. Minor League Baseball announced multiple pace of play rules on Friday. 

Here's a look at three rules baseball hopes will speed up the game. 

Three-batter minimum rule

Say goodbye to lefty specialists. Any starting pitcher or reliever in Double-A and Triple-A is required to face at least three batters. So far, the rule is only in effect for those two levels. 

Any exception will be made to the rule if a pitcher is deemed ill by the umpire-in-chief or a pitcher is injured. 

Extra innings

At every level of the minors, extra innings will start with a runner at second base. If the last batter of the previous inning, however, was the pitcher, there's a change to the rule this year. 

In this scenario, the player in the batting order before the pitcher, or a pinch runner, will be placed at second base. As always, any batter or runner previously removed from the game cannot return to be the designated runner at second base. 

Pitcher's mound visits

Aside from Short Season and Rookie-level teams, mound visits per game by a coach will be shortened. Triple-A teams will be allowed five (down from six), Double-A teams will have seven (down from eight), and Single-A teams will have nine (down from 10). 

By comparison, MLB teams, too, can only have five visits per game (down from six). 

[RELATED: Seven Giants prospects who could reach major leagues in 2019 season]

Changes are coming to the minors, and be warned, the same can soon be said for the major leagues as well.

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