Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

Red Sox manager Alex Cora has some questions about MLB pace of play changes

John Tomase
February 19, 2018 - 4:24 pm

Baseball is finally taking concrete steps to speed up its pace of play, and Red Sox manager Alex Cora is cautiously on board.

MLB and the Players Association announced a number of changes on Monday: each team will only get six mound visits a game, including by catchers, and commercial breaks will be shortened by 20 seconds. For this year at least, there will be no pitch clock.

At Red Sox camp in Fort Myers, Cora responded to the changes. He's particularly interested in limiting catcher visits, because he knows teams are constantly trying to steal signs.

"I understand we want to speed up the game, I get it," he told reporters, including's Rob Bradford. "We don't want as much dead time during the game, but that's one that's an interesting one because we know what's going on around the league. Everyone is working hard from second base to take an advantage. And with that we have to be very careful because I saw it firsthand. Teams are very aware of switching signs and everything that is going on and there's a lot of cross-ups. We'll see how it goes."

MLB said umpires could allow extra visits if pitchers and catchers get crossed up, which Cora supports.

"You call a breaking ball, you throw a fastball at 98 and the catcher is looking for a breaking ball and he gets hit, we're talking about safety and keeping guys on the field," he said. "That was the first one I heard about. That's an interesting one. I get it, but there's more into this than just saying stay back with your delivery and execute pitches and that's an important part of the game. There's a lot of teams taking advantage of it and you have to make sure on a daily basis to win games that everyone is on the same page and getting the signs. I'll see the rest later, but that's a tough one."

As for the lack of a pitch clock, Cora believes hitters have done a better job policing themselves.

"Honestly, last year was my first time in a while to be on the field and guys were doing a better job in the batter's box," he said. "Obviously in October it's a different animal. Guys will take their time and the guys all around made the adjustment as far as staying in the batter's box. There are certain guys taking their time, but everybody was fairly good last year."

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