The rule saved Orioles pitcher Thomas Eshelman in a rough first inning against the Pirates on Sunday, and did the same for Red Sox starter Garrett Richards against the Braves on Monday
The pitch count is only the most jarring of a series of new rules being put in for the first weeks of spring training this season. Games are initially being scheduled for seven innings, but teams may agree to play as few as five. On Monday, there was a five-inning game between the White Sox and Angels, plus games of six, seven, eight and nine innings.
The changes are not universally popular, even among baseball people. “Now we’re going to play five and six and seven inning games,” said Dayton Moore, the Kansas City Royals general manager. “We’ve got 75 players in camp and 41 of them are pitchers. We’re trying to get them innings and develop them, but we’re not getting them a chance to, and the fans don’t know if they’re coming to watch a five-, six-, seven- or nine-inning game the first two weeks.”