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MLB to implement 20-second pitch clock in spring training

In the latest effort to speed up the game, Major League Baseball will introduce a 20-second pitch clock during spring training, with the idea of ultimately implementing it during the 2019 regular season.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to unilaterally introduce a pitch clock but he is first seeking approval from the MLB Players Association.

Pitch clocks – which have been used in Triple-A and Double-A baseball since 2015 – are likely to have a noticeable effect in ending a significant amount of dead time during matches.

Pace of play has been one of Manfred’s key focuses as he looks to revive MLB’s flagging attendances.

Average crowds dropped four per cent, to 28,830, last year after 14 consecutive seasons topping 30,000. Total attendance, meanwhile, fell to 69.63 million from 72.67 million in 2017 and a high of 79.5 million in 2007.

Read more: US sports tweak rules and presentation to keep audiences hooked