Cardinals react to pitch clock, other changes ahead of 2023 season

JUPITER, Fla. — Nearly two weeks into spring training games, the St. Louis Cardinals are preparing for the upcoming season with several new changes.

Major League Baseball introduces two significant rule changes and a new field arrangement for 2023. Underneath…


  • To adjust the pace of play for pitchers and hitters, MLB now uses a pitch clock system similar to that used in minor leagues. Pitchers must pitch to hitters within 15 seconds if bases are empty, or within 20 seconds if runners are on base.
  • Hitters are only allowed one timeout per plate appearance and must return to the box with eight seconds remaining on the clock. Otherwise they run the risk of being called to strike.
  • Also, pitchers will receive two disengagements per at-bat, whether done as a pickoff attempt or a mound step-off per batter. Testing this a third time in an at-bat means a block if a runner is on base.


  • Those weird but occasionally effective moments where you might see five infielders or three on the side of first base for a left-hander are no longer.
  • MLB’s new setup requires teams to position two infielders on each side of second base (no more, no less) when the pitcher starts pitching. All four infielders are also asked to keep both feet inside the infield while the pitcher is on rubber. Outfielders can venture closer to home plate for an at-bat if necessary, although infield territory is off-limits.


  • An important part of the game is bigger than ever. The default size for the first base, second base, and third base now increases from 15″ square to 18″ square. The homeplate remains the same size.
  • Larger bases will decrease the distance for runners by three inches from home to 1B and home 3B. They will also decrease the spacing from 1B to 2B and 2B to 3B by 4.5 inches. The top priority here is the safety of the players.

How are these changes shaping up for the Cardinals so far?

Baseball games last year had a standard duration of almost three hours. The Cardinals have completed 7 of their first 11 spring games in under 2 hours and 30 minutes, nearly a half hour faster than the average for previous years. None of their games have surpassed the three hour mark at this point.

For the shift bans, several left-handers who could be shift-prone are enjoying a strong start to spring. Brendan Donovan hits .304 with three homers and nine RBIs with plenty of starting opportunities. Dylan Carlson and Nolan Gorman, considered top prospects in previous springs, also have a pair of big flies and on-base plus slugging rates over .900.

Larger bases allow the Cardinals to explore more stolen bases and double-play strategies in the early stages. St. Louis has stolen six bases so far, which at a pace of 162 games would be slightly below last year’s total (95). However, the Cardinals are also seeing early positive results from baseball-dependent pitchers like Steven Matz and Dakota Hudson.

As players adjust to new rules, some outside of their camps for the World Baseball Classic, the Cardinals have recently made many comments about the new changes…

Adam Wainwright

“I think the learning curve for players and managers will be huge in spring training this year as we understand we have people who work slow and work fast. Shifts will be a big deal for us in spring training. It will help people get into a better rhythm [but] It will be an adjustment for some of our guys.”

Paul Goldschmidt

“I definitely think there will be a learning curve. There will be a bonus in learning how to play by the rules. … I think back to the replay. We tried it in spring training, but it wasn’t until maybe halfway through the year that everyone was happy with how it worked. Major League Baseball has done a good job adapting and changing these rules. If this stuff has unintended consequences, they will see through it.

Andrew Knizner

“I find [the pitch clock] actually gets tougher for hitters. Hitters have a slower pre-pitch routine where they have to hit the road, adjust, argue, and get back in the box. … Looking ahead to next season, the list will be the biggest adjustment. I think our pitchers are doing a good job with the pace.”

Paul DeJong

On the pitch clock: “Some guys will succeed, others will take a little to adjust but overall I think the game will be ok. We’ll all get used to it. When there are boys , the timing felt good with runners on base. With no runners on base, I tend to think pitchers will have an advantage.

About Bases: “It’s still 90 feet to the front of the plate. It should be normal for double plays, but stolen bases will be a big one. … Those swimming moves and slides that a lot of people do will be more effective. We’ll have strategies for that as an infielder, but I think for us, spreading the bag to try and make a tag will be the way to go.

Brendan Donovan

On the square clock: “I could do that partially [pitch-clock hitting] in the fall leagues and minor leagues. I think team-wise this team is doing a great job of communication. It’s about learning and growing as a team. We won’t miss it.”

On shift bans: “If you have good direction, I think you can still achieve good results. Last year I sometimes outdid the shift to the opposite field because that’s how I was set. I wasn’t trying that, I was just trying to hit where it was thrown. On the defensive side of things, those instincts kind of fall into place as well.

Ryan Helsley

“I had the pitch clock when I was a starter. I haven’t had much of a pitch clock in the big leagues for the past four years. We can adjust that too. I think it’s going to be a learning curve for everyone. “

Matthew Liberatore

“I think we had a little trouble with that [the pitch clock] last year the shot clock. We had it in Memphis, got into the big leagues, and it didn’t exist. We had a lot of guys, myself included, almost sprinting. That was something I learned to slow down. I can see it’s a difficult transition.”

Jordan Hicks

“I think it’s going to get worse [the hitters] because everyone always takes forever (said jokingly). You get the character, the pitch count, and should be pretty much spot on after that.

Alec Burleson

“I had a full year in triple-A. I would say it was harder to get out of the pitch clock and into the big leagues. They’re so used to stepping into the box and preparing for the punch. I think it will affect everyone differently.”

Oli Marmol

“The team that communicates best will have an advantage. You’ll have people spread all over the place. They will have new rules, but the team that really gets into how to communicate these things and keep everyone on track will definitely have an advantage. There are certain ones that can get pretty silly depending on how you want to go about it. There will be a strategy surrounding everything.

On shift bans (what it means for outfielders): “I think the league made it pretty clear let’s play the game. Don’t make us another rule here just to make sure the left fielder plays before the right fielder. We’re doing this for a reason, so don’t get cute with what we’ve got. And if you do, we’ll write it down. I don’t think we’ll see much of it.

Bill Dewitt II

“I’ve really been a huge supporter of all of them, especially the postponement. I felt it was really tough for certain lefties, unfair in a way. Pitch clock, the dead time in the game, there is no action if someone’s pitcher is out of the box all the time. … I think the pitch clock and shifts are great changes. I think it’s exciting to see how it all plays out. Cardinals react to pitch clock, other changes ahead of 2023 season

Sarah Y. Kim

InternetCloning is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button