MLB proposal would start 11th inning of All-Star Game with runner on 2nd

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NEW YORK (AP) — A runner would be put on second base at the start of the 11th inning of the All-Star Game and each additional inning, according to the latest pace-of-game proposal by Major League Baseball.

The experiment also would be used in the 10th inning of spring training games, according to the Jan. 9 proposal obtained by The Associated Press. Spring training games would be capped at 10 innings.

Concerned about injuries in games that don't count, the players' association isn't expected to oppose the concept. MLB isn't considering using the rule in games that count.

Baseball experimented with the rule last year at the rookie level Gulf Coast and Arizona leagues, putting a runner on second base starting in the 10th. Extra-inning games in those two leagues averaged 27 minutes longer than nine-inning games, down from 43 minutes for other minor leagues.

Unable to negotiate a deal with players for a pitch clock or limits on mound visits, baseball owners discuss their next step this week during meetings that end Thursday in Beverly Hills, California.

Commissioner Rob Manfred met Jan. 23 with union head Tony Clark. Manfred has long vowed to make changes for this season with or without an agreement but says his preference is for a deal and is willing to negotiate the rules.

MLB has the right to implement the proposal it made last offseason, which includes a 30-second clock between batters and a 20-second clock between pitches that would reset when a pitcher steps off the rubber and when he makes or feints a pickoff throw, according to details obtained by the AP.

There also would be a limit of one mound trip per pitcher each inning, whether by a manager, coach or player, and a second visit would result in a pitching change. Violations would be punished by ball-strike penalties.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the 2017 regular season and 3:29 during the postseason. Players have resisted a pitch clock while appearing slightly more amenable to limits on mound visits.