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Manfred: Automated ball-strike system not on agenda for '23 season

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said that an automated ball-strike system "isn’t on the agenda" for the '23 season, according to Peter Abraham of the BOSTON GLOBE. Manfred said, "It’s got a little more of a delay in front of it. There’s just only so many changes you’re going to make in one year." Abraham wrote the league is "contemplating two systems." One would have "every pitch called by the tracker via an earpiece with the home plate umpire." The second would be to "give each team a certain number of challenges to overrule the umpire." That is "being tried out" in some Florida State League games this season. Each team has three challenges, and if the call is overturned, they keep the challenge. Abraham: "Understandably, umpires don’t want to lose the ability to call balls and strikes. But can you imagine a playoff game or Game 7 of the World Series being decided by a challenge on whether a pitch was a strike or ball?" There is "little doubt a pitch clock is coming soon, perhaps next season" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/15).

GRADUAL ADOPTION: In Chicago, Maddie Lee notes when MLB approved PitchCom this spring, the Cubs "weren’t ready to use it in games." However, a little over a month into the season, "almost all of the Cubs’ pitchers are using PitchCom." Cubs pitchers gradually "started embracing the new device." P Drew Smyly said that he "tried it out because rotation mate Marcus Stroman gave it a positive review." P Scott Effross was the "first reliever to try it in a game" after "getting used to listening to it in the bullpen." Cubs pitchers who use PitchCom over the last couple of weeks cited the ability to "control tempo, even if that doesn’t always mean speeding it up, and the peace of mind with a runner on second base" as the advantages of the system (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 5/16).

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