Manfred to encourage support of 3-batter minimum for pitchers in 2020
Alex Trautwig / Major League Baseball / Getty

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred will be pushing hard for a major rule change to be implemented in time for next season.

During his media availability at the All-Star Game on Tuesday, Manfred said he'll encourage owners to vote this winter in favor of a three-batter minimum rule for pitchers, according to Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

MLB reportedly tabled the three-batter proposal in February as part of larger rule-change discussions with the players' association. If it were put into place, all pitchers would have to face at least three batters after entering a game, unless it's the end of an inning or the pitcher gets hurt.

While designed to cut down on needless pitching changes and improve the pace of play - an issue that's long been at the forefront of Manfred's agenda as commissioner - detractors, including MLBPA president Tony Clark, have noted that the three-batter minimum would eliminate jobs for left-handed specialists out of the bullpen.

"Players are going to be affected," Clark told Nightengale, adding that his constituents are concerned about it.

"I think our game needs to figure out what it wants to be," Clark added. "The reason I say that is because the challenges many think we have can be remedied by a little more baseball."

Manfred has the power to unilaterally impose the rule change in time for Opening Day 2020, even if the MLBPA disagrees.

The commissioner also touched on the possibility of another rule change: The National League adopting the designated hitter, which the union has pushed for in response to the three-batter minimum. Manfred said pitchers will continue to hit in NL parks for at least two more years until the two sides begin discussing the next collective bargaining agreement in December 2021.

"We decided it was a 2021 issue," Manfred said. "It's a major concession to the MLBPA."

"I do not think (the universal DH is) inevitable," he added. "Remember, it takes three-quarters of the vote for approval. Hell, it was hard for me to get three-quarters of the vote to get elected."

Manfred to encourage support of 3-batter minimum for pitchers in 2020
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