MLB Sends Memo Following Red Sox-Cardinals Pitch-Clock Incident

MLB is cracking down


May 17, 2023

The Boston Red Sox appeared to be on the short end of a hiccup in one of Major League Baseball’s newest rule changes.

In a matchup with the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday afternoon, Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen was called for two quick-pitch violations for engaging Willson Contreras too early in the pitch clock. Jansen saw that Contreras appeared ready at the plate and began his wind up. The problem? Contreras intentionally kept one foot out of the box, meaning he technically was not in a position to swing the bat. In other words, he was intentionally skirting the rules for a competitive advantage.

In an effort to counter, MLB has made some tweaks.

In a move that was influenced by the controversy between Jansen and Contreras, hitters were reminded that any attempted circumvention of pitch timer rules to gain an advantage will result in a violation and an automatic strike, according to a memo sent to MLB teams on Wednesday and shared by ESPN.

Those who offend on multiple occasions will be subject to further discipline by the commissioner’s office, per MLB.

Jansen was none too pleased about the ordeal, making a pointed statement after the game. Contreras didn’t see the big deal.

It was never going to be an easy transition once MLB implemented the changes in 2023. The sheer number alone would make it understandable for some oversight, as the pitch-clock, bigger bases and death of the shift made for a confusing offseason for the fans. The hiccups, however, haven’t really come as a result of poor planning. The league, perhaps surprisingly, has seen the rules work under their intended purpose as games have moved faster than ever and offense has seen an increase.

They just forgot about the fact that players were obviously going to find ways to skirt them. Lesson learned.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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