California Dolphin: statewide California news

Ear pieces, extra signs and the questions the Giants have about pace of play changes

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.–Think the runner on second has picked a few signs? Time for a mound visit.
That same player has a big lead and he’s contemplating stealing third? Jog on in and let the pitcher know.
Thanks to new rules instituted by Major League Baseball, the era of casual conversation at the pitcher’s mound is over. On Monday, Commissioner Rob Manfred introduced new pace of play rules for the 2018 season including a directive that limits teams to just six mound visits per game.
Each additional trip to the center of the diamond –whether it comes from a manager, pitching coach or even a second baseman– will require a pitching change.
On Tuesday, several Giants’ players expressed skepticism over how the rules will be enforced, uncertainty over what constitutes a “mound visit,” and apprehension about altering the way the game is played. Though many players are unclear over how the rules will be implemented, second baseman Joe Panik said he’ll be more conscious of how frequently he’ll interact with Giants’ pitchers.
“It’s more if we’re changing up the signs or if you see something like a runner is going to try to take third, that’s the only time I’d think about running in there,” Panik said. “I guess now you just have to be a little more conscious, just yell from your position like ‘Hey, pay attention to the runner,’ instead of having to go in there so you’ll save those visits for the pitching coach or I guess Buster (Posey).”
MLB’s chief baseball officer, Joe Torre, paid the Giants a visit on Tuesday, but the club’s union rep, Cory Gearrin, said that Torre only spoke with manager Bruce Bochy and other coaches about the rule changes. Gearrin said he hopes pitchers will have clarity on certain rules in the coming days, but over the long run, he’s hopeful a Bochy-led team will use the changes to their advantage.
“It’s hard to know until we get in games and start seeing it unfold practically what it’s going to look like,” Gearrin said. “But having played for Boch for a couple of years and knowing he’s a master of using his bullpen, I think having a manager that can do those kind of things is a huge advantage for us. So figuring out how to work within that framework hopefully gives us a larger advantage I would hope.”
Gearrin took over as the Giants’ player representative after Matt Cain retired last season, and he’s also one of two elected representatives –along with Colorado Rockies’ catcher Chris Iannetta–on the Major League Baseball Players’ Association pension committee. Gearrin said some of the changes show the league has been listening to players’ ideas regarding pace of play, and he emphasized the players are eager to create a better product for fans.
If catcher Buster Posey was charged with improving the product, Gearrin and other pitchers would be allowed to communicate with their battery-mates through earpieces. Posey thinks earpieces would combat sign stealing, which has become an issue players are more concerned about in an era in which cameras catch every on-field movement.
With mound visits now restricted, Posey said he expects to spend more time with pitchers in the dugout between innings running through signs and creating backup plans in the event opponents begin translating the signals.
Related Articles

How Andrew McCutchen stole the spotlight during Giants’ batting practice

Daily Dieter Podcast: Giants still aren’t good enough to overtake Dodgers

Report: Giants great Orlando Cepeda rushed to hospital

What looks different and what’s the same for the Giants

How Bruce Bochy plans to use Tony Watson

“Before the game, I think every pitcher is going to have to have a couple of sets of signs that they go to rather than just one and having some way of changing them without going to the mound,” Posey said. “I would be in favor of an earpiece, I think that would just simplify everything but maybe that’s something that could work down the road.”
Another rule no longer guarantees pitchers the right to eight warmup pitches. Instead, pitchers now have two minutes and five seconds between innings to throw as many warmups as they please for locally broadcast games, and two minutes and 25 seconds for nationally televised games.
For a player like Ty Blach, who sprints out to the mound, finding the time for a proper warmup shouldn’t be an issue. For Madison Bumgarner, who strolls to the rubber, the change could be a nuisance.
“I’m certainly not going to sprint out to the mound and rapid-fire as a way to get loose,” Bumgarner said.

Top News

Ain't No God; don't even think about theism

UnFox News: not a propaganda arm of the Republican party