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Atlantic League announces new rules for second half

The framework of America’s pastime is changing right before our eyes.

On Thursday morning, the Atlantic League announced four new rules in conjunction with its three-year agreement with Major League Baseball set to go into effect on July 12.

According to a press release, the new rules are as follows:

  • Pitcher is required to step off the rubber in order to attempt a pickoff 
  •  One (1) foul bunt is permitted with two strikes before a strikeout is called 
  •  Batters may “steal” first base on any pitch not caught in flight (the batter can be thrown out if he attempts to run) 
  •  “Check swing” rule made more batter-friendly

A report from Somerset Patriots beat writer Mike Ashmore clarified the check swing rule.

Atlantic League President Rick White said in the release: “We have seen a tremendous amount of interest in these initiatives from our players, coaches and fans throughout the first half of the season. We look forward to working further with Major League Baseball and observing these additional rule changes in action throughout the remainder of the year.”

History at Wednesday’s Atlantic League All-Star game in York, Pa. with an automated ball-strike system used to determine pitches. The umpire wore an Apple AirPod in his ear and called the game based on what the radar system told him.

The Trackman will be fully implemented in all eight ballparks in the second half after numerous tests of the system throughout the first half of the season.

Additional rules which took effect in the first half include:

  • No mound visits permitted by players or coaches other than pitching changes and medical visits 
  • Pitchers must face a minimum of three batters or reach the end of an inning before they can exit the game, unless the pitcher becomes injured 
  • Increase size of bases from 15 inches square to 18 inches square 
  • Time between innings and pitching changes reduced from 2:05 to 1:45.

Follow Dylan Manfre on Twitter for the latest on the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

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Dylan is a sophomore journalism major at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey and covers the Somerset Patriots and Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He is also the Sports Editor of Rider's student newspaper, The Rider News.
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