MLB pitchers are on the clock. Literally, now.
The league announced Friday the deployment of a 20-second pitch clock during all Spring Training games this year.
MLB has yet to declare whether the rule will apply to the regular season, so it's safe to say the use of the clock this spring will serve as a quasi trial period.
The pitch clock is a beautiful idea whose time is finally coming. Love the idea of fans counting down as it gets into final seconds.- Andy Martino (@martinonyc) February 22, 2019
At first, the clock will serve as merely a warning and will not be enforced. But "early next week," umpires will begin notifying pitchers or hitters when they are in violation of the rule. The expectation at that point is for umpires to make managers, coaches and field staff aware as well.
By the end of spring training, MLB expects to assess ball-strike penalties for transgressions. However, that policy is subject to negotioation with the Players' Association.
The rule does not apply to the first pitch of an at-bat and will begin prior to the second offering.