Major League Baseball might be taking another step toward robot umpires.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said on Tuesday that the early stages of experimenting with the electronic strike zone have been successful.
"The initial returns on the electronic strike zone have been very positive," he told MLB Network Radio. "I think the deployment of the technology through an earpiece to the umpire was a really good idea. It was not mine, but it was someone of our group who came up with the idea."
The technology was used in the Arizona Fall League, and Manfred said the experimentation will continue in the minor leagues.
The independent Atlantic League became the first American professional baseball league to use an electronic strike zone this past summer at its All-Star Game.
Human umpires have come under fire at various times this postseason, particularly during Game 5 of the World Series when home plate ump Lance Barksdale made some questionable calls.
Manfred spoke about the difficulties umpires face and how human error is part of the current process.
"I think our umpires do an outstanding job," Manfred said. "I also think their job gets harder and harder. The game is faster. Pitchers throw harder. Their spin rates are higher. All that makes it more difficult to call balls and strikes. I think that it's incumbent upon us to try to move and advance as the game changes to be in a position to make a change if in fact we decide we need to do that."
There's no official plan or timetable to introduce an electronic strike zone at the major-league level.