Major League Baseball is reportedly set to experiment with a new rule designed to prevent extra-inning games from lasting quite as long -- and the Arizona League could be one of the first guinea pigs.
Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan wrote Wednesday that MLB "plans on testing a rule change in the lowest levels of the minor leagues this season that automatically would place a runner on second base at the start of extra innings." Passan said MLB would like to test the rule in a pair of rookie-level leagues, the Arizona League and Gulf Coast League, this summer.
"While the specifics of the rule are not final, the current plan is to start with a runner on second base in the 10th (inning) and every inning thereafter," Passan wrote. "As baseball grapples with ways to increase action in a game with a record-low rate of balls in play, changing its extra-innings rules emerged as a solution with multiple potential benefits."
Passan said MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre is in favor of the testing of the rule, though it would "likely take years" for the rule change to be adopted at the major league level.
Created in 1988, the Arizona League consists of 14 teams. Play typically begins in mid-June and ends in early September.