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Joe Girardi: MLB’s three-batter minimum ‘dumbest rule that we’ve ever put in’

Major League Baseball instituted a handful of rules changes for the 2020 season, and Philadelphia Phillies skipper Joe Girardi clearly is not a fan of one of them.

Some of the changes implemented were necessitated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and tentatively for only the 2020 season. The universal DH and the rule where a baserunner was automatically placed on second base in each half of an extra-inning game are two such examples. These rule alterations were done in the interest of player health and safety amid a compacted and abbreviated 60-game season.

The one that has drawn Girardi’s ire, however, was instituted just before COVID-19 turned the baseball world upside down during spring training.

In February, MLB announced a few changes to the game, including the controversial three-batter minimum rule, which specified that any starter or reliever must face three batters, or pitch until the inning is over, before being replaced.

Suffice to say, Girardi absolutely hates that particular change to the game. Speaking at a recent event, the Phillies manager laid waste to the three-batter minimum rule.

“It changes the strategy of the game,” Girardi added.

The three-batter minimum rule was instituted “in an effort to reduce the number of pitching changes and, in turn, cut down the average time per game,” as MLB explained.

Girardi admitted he’s “all-in” on the other rules implemented by the league, and he was 100% behind how MLB altered its postseason format amid the pandemic-compromised 2020 campaign.

Rob Manfred in September defended all the new rules the league has implemented in recent seasons, including the three-batter minimum, but MLB commissioner did so in such a smug, artless manner that it’s not surprising he’s considered one of the most embattled league heads in professional sports.

It will be interesting to see if Manfred reacts to Girardi trashed the three-batter minimum rule and specifically mentioning him, though it merits noting the Phillies skipper is not alone in questioning the wisdom of some of the league’s recent initiatives.