Braves pitcher Julio Teheran lays down a sacrifice bunt. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Baseball is discussing some radical rules changes

You may not get to watch Braves pitcher Julio Teheran lay down a perfect bunt much longer.

Baseball owners and players are hoping to invigorate the sport with rule changes, though some of the more radical ideas under consideration are not likely to be adapted for this season.

"We would prefer more action and more offense," St. Louis Cardinals chairman William DeWitt Jr. said Thursday at the owners meetings in Orlando.

Major League Baseball has proposed that a team not be allowed to bring in a reliever until the previous pitcher has faced three batters or an inning ends. Players want the designated hitter expanded to the National League.

MLB wants pitch clocks and further restrictions on mound visits without pitching changes.

Strikeouts exceeded hits for the first time last year and the big league batting average dropped to its lowest level since 1972, the year before the American League adopted the DH.

"I don't think any of us are thrilled about more strikeouts and hits," said Joe Torre, MLB's chief baseball officer and a Hall of Fame manager. "To me the excitement in our game is basically the potential of things happening on the base paths."

Management and the players' association have taken the rare step of a somewhat expansive negotiation in the middle of a collective bargaining agreement. The current five-year deal extends through the 2021 season.

While pitch clocks are possible for this season, some changes are more likely to evolve slowly. Players would like the relief pitcher restriction to reach the major leagues in 2020. A DH in both leagues could be considered an economic issue by management, one more ripe for discussion in the next labor contract.

The competition committee met Wednesday and the executive council Thursday, and a full owners session is scheduled for Friday. Management proposed changes Jan. 14, the union responded Feb. 1 and the next move is up to MLB.

One change in terminology was announced: Deputy Commissioner Dan Halem said MLB is changing the name of its disabled lists to injured lists at the suggestion of advocacy groups for the disabled.

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