MLB cracking down on obstruction in an effort to encourage more aggressive baserunning

Fri, Feb 16, 2024
MLB News (AP)

MLB cracking down on obstruction in an effort to encourage more aggressive baserunning

SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) - Ronald Acuna Jr. and Corbin Carroll just got a little more dangerous. Same for Bobby Witt Jr., Elly De La Cruz and the rest of baseball's fastest players.

Major League Baseball wants umpires to crack down on obstruction, and the commissioner's office went over its plans during a call with big league managers this week. The increased emphasis is only on the bases and not at home plate.

The focus is on infielders who drop a knee or leg down in front of a bag while receiving a throw, acting as a deterrence for aggressive baserunning and creating an increased risk of injuries.

"I think with everything, they're trying to make the game a little safer to avoid some unnecessary injuries," Phillies shortstop Trea Turner said Friday at the team's facility in Florida. "The intentions are always good. It comes down to how it affects the players and the games. I'm sure there will be plays where one team doesn't like it or one team does."

READ MORE Outfielder Harold Ramirez loses to Rays in arbitration and gets $3.8 million instead of $4.3 million Manfred expects A's to play in new Las Vegas stadium starting in 2028 Rob Manfred says he will retire as baseball commissioner in January 2029 after 14 years

With more position players arriving at spring training every day, the topic likely will come up more and more as teams ramp up for the season.

"We'll touch on that. We'll show them some video of what's good and what's not," Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. "You know, it's going to be a little adjustment."

Making obstruction a point of emphasis fits in with an ongoing effort by MLB to create more action. Obstruction calls are not reviewable, which could lead to some disgruntled players and managers as enforcement is stepped up, but it also means it won't create long replay deliberations.

A package of rule changes last season - including pitch clocks, bigger bases and limits on defensive shifts and pickoff attempts - had a dramatic effect. There were 3,503 stolen bases in the regular season, up from 2,486 in 2022 and the most since 1987.

MLB changed a different baserunning rule this offseason, widening the runner's lane approaching first base to include a portion of fair territory. MLB also shortened the pitch clock with runners on base by two seconds to 18 and further reducing mound visits in an effort to speed games.

"When a pitcher gets the ball that clock's going," Bochy said. "So yeah, you have to adjust with what's been thrown at you as far as the rules."

___

AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York and AP freelance writer Chris Nelsen in Clearwater, Florida, contributed to this report.

___

AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB

"
Article Copyright © 2024 The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
ATSWins.ai