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Cleveland Indians pitcher Andrew Miller said players are “not necessarily for the changes MLB wants,” including the potential use of a pitch clock, but said they are hoping to avoid a high-profile standoff with the league office about pace-of-play decisions.
Miller, a Major League Baseball Players Association representative, talked to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com about the ongoing discussions Friday.
“This is not something we want to turn into a big fight or some sort of ugly showdown about us trying to make a point,” Miller said. “MLB thinks they have a way to speed up games. It’s really important to them. They’ve made it abundantly clear. We just don’t necessarily love the way they’re doing it.”
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Thursday that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred may “unilaterally implement” his proposal to speed up games, led by a 20-second pitch clock, with the sides unable to reach an agreement on the issue.
Miller told Crasnick the union agrees with Manfred that “we want games to be quicker so it doesn’t have an effect on viewership,” but he added the lack of a clock makes baseball “so appealing and so unique.”
“Different players had different issues, and ultimately this wasn’t something we supported,” he said. “But if MLB does implement, our job is to try and go out there and make it work.”
Similar rules have been in place at the Triple-A and Double-A levels since 2015.
A pitcher must start his motion within 20 seconds from the time he receives the ball, or an automatic ball is called. The clock doesn’t count down if the batter leaves the “dirt circle surrounding home plate.”
Miller concluded he thinks baseball is making positive strides thanks to a talented group of young players and back-to-back exciting World Series matchups, and he hopes the disagreement about pace-of-play standards “isn’t something that pulls us in the wrong direction.”