MLB imposes time limit for mound visits, updates slide rules

Charles LeClaire / USA TODAY Sports

Resolved to both speed up the game and better protect vulnerable infielders, Major League Baseball announced a series of rule changes for the 2016 campaign Thursday afternoon.

As part of the commissioner's ongoing effort to shorten game time, mound visits from coaches or managers will be limited to 30 seconds, with their trips to be tracked on an in-stadium clock beginning from the moment they leave the dugout. Exceeding the 30-second time limit won't result in a penalty, however, but only with a visit from the umpire. Additionally, the allotted time between innings will be be shortened by twenty seconds, theoretically shaving six minutes off a game's expected running time.

Revisions to the rules outlining proper slides could be much more consequential than the new pace-of-play initiatives. Eager to eliminate serious injuries resulting from takeout slides at second base, the league has redefined what constitutes a "bona fide slide," with non-compliance from baserunners resulting in an automatic double play. Runners are still permitted to make contact with the fielder if they don't violate any of the four criteria of a proper slide, jointly established by the league and the players' association:

Slide prior to reaching the base.
Slide so you are able to and attempt to reach or touch the base.
Slide so you are able to and attempt to stay on the base.
Do not change your pathway to the base.

Amendments to the slide rules come in the wake of devastating injuries to Jung-ho Kang and Ruben Tejada, two middle infielders hurt in 2015 by baserunners attempting to break up potential double plays by either deviating from the basepath and/or sliding with no intent to stay on the bag.

"I'm all for it," Kang told the Pittsburgh Tribune through an interpreter when asked about the new rules.

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MLB imposes time limit for mound visits, updates slide rules
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