MLBPA head: ‘We did not agree to the 3-batter minimum’
Tony Clark, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said the union did not agree to adding a three-batter minimum for pitchers beginning in 2020.
Instead, the rule change will be unilaterally implemented by commissioner Rob Manfred’s office.
“We did not agree to the three-batter minimum,” Clark told Jayson Stark of The Athletic.
The union reportedly rejected past proposals by the league that incorporated a three-batter minimum, so many around the game were surprised to see the rule included in the agreement between the MLBPA and MLB announced Thursday.
The rule reads as follows:
- Three-batter minimum for pitchers: All pitchers must pitch to a minimum of three batters or to the end of a half-inning, with exceptions being made for injury or illness.
As a result of the change, there’s a concern that pitchers – specifically left-handed specialists who typically enter games to get a situational out or two – might not be usable and won’t be able to find employment in the majors.
“It was a little shocking, to be honest,’’ Chicago Cubs veteran lefty reliever Brian Duensing said of the rule change, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports. “I think it will take jobs away from some pitchers. There are a lot of lefties out there that their career is coming in and getting lefties out. Some guys make a living by getting a hitter out, so now it might be different for them.
“It’s going to cause some guys to pitch differently, or find new ways to go about their job to keep their job.”
The union did agree that it won’t grieve or otherwise challenge the implementation of the new rule by the commissioner’s office.