Yankees pitchers pan ‘horrible’ new extra-innings rule
Major League Baseball will roll out a new rule for the protracted 2020 season that aspires to shorten extra-inning games, and a few New York Yankees pitchers clearly are not fans of the plan.
A baserunner will be automatically placed on second base in each half of an extra-inning game this season, and the Yankees experimented with it during Tuesday night’s intrasquad game so pitchers — especially relievers — can gain some familiarity with the arguably unsettling situation they will be placed in during high-leverage appearances.
Adam Ottavino was among the group of Yankees relief pitchers to enter an inning with an automatic baserunner second base. Suffice to say, he doesn’t like it one bit.
“No, not at all,” Ottavino said of the new rule, per the New York Daily News. “It’s just not real baseball. So I’ll get used to it, but uh, I don’t particularly like having a runner out there that I haven’t earned, for him to be out there. So it’s not my favorite rule, to be honest.”
Fellow bullpen arm Chad Green concurred with Ottavino’s sentiment.
“I’m personally not a fan of it just because I don’t know who wants to pitch with a runner on second, nobody out and an extra inning game,” Green said. “So it’s not something that you necessarily look forward to when you’re about to run out there. I think I heard Otto say that he would like the people to earn it when they get on second. I kind of echo that. So it’s not something that I necessarily enjoy.”
Along with Tuesday’s experiment, Yankees manager Aaron Boone and bench coach Carlos Mendoza also have relievers taking extra reps in pitchers fielding practice (PFPs), most notably for covering first base on bunts.
It merits noting that MLB is unlikely to ever fully implement the runner-on-second rule for extra innings for the long haul in light of the strong pushback when the minor leagues began enforcing it in 2018. Instead, the league has explained that the rule was instituted only for the upcoming 60-game season to limit the risk of injury and even increased transmission of COVID-19.