MLB players get familiar with new watches during spring training

In the first inning of a spring practice game against the Seattle Mariners here on Friday, San Diego Padres third baseman Manny Machado put his left foot on the batsman’s pitch, hit the bat on home plate and twirled it before the set. It’s a routine he’s done countless times.

But in this case, Machado was out of time. Ryan Blackney, the home court umpire, got up from his crouch, pointed to Machado and then to his left wrist to signal the first pitching clock violation in Major League Baseball history – although it happened in an exhibition game.

In line with a set of new rules designed to speed up the game and increase activity, there will now be a 30-second interval between batters. Once the game has started, pitchers will have 15 seconds to start moving with empty bases, or 20 seconds if there is a runner on base.

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