Major League Baseball will utilize a 20-second pitch clock for the first time during spring training games, commissioner Rob Manfred announced at a press conference on Sunday.
"You will see pitch clocks in those (spring training) games," Manfred said to reporters, including Eduardo A. Encina of the Tampa Bay Times. "We will start getting ready for the possibility that we're gonna use the pitch clock on Opening Day."
There will be no violations called during the spring so that pitchers can get used to working with the clock, according to Mark Zuckerman of MASN.
Right now, the clocks will only be used during the spring and not when the regular season begins on March 28. However, Manfred said that talks with the MLB Players' Association about the issue continue, and he's hoping to reach an agreement with the union soon, per ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Manfred does have the power to unilaterally implement a pitch clock at any time without input from the union.
Manfred has had a longstanding desire to implement a pitch clock in MLB. He has implemented multiple other rule changes - including limitations on mound visits - in order to improve pace of play and speed up games. The average MLB game time in 2018 was three hours - down by five minutes from the year prior.
It was reported last year that Manfred planned to add the clock in 2019 if last year's average game time failed to drop below two hours, 55 minutes.
A 20-second pitch clock has been used in the minor leagues since 2015.