The rules changes approved by the MLB owners are as follows:
- Coaches and managers are now allowed to bring interpreters to the mound this season for conferences with foreign-born pitchers who don't speak fluent English. While this hasn't been a major issue in the past, more and more Asian players are entering the major leagues and players like the Texas Rangers' Yu Darvish was often left on an island on the mound. The role of translator for Spanish-speaking players was usually filled by infielders who could slip in to the group huddle on the mound and help their coaches communicate with the pitcher.
- Teams will now be allowed to have a seventh coach in uniform in the dugout. The previous rule allowed for six coaches in uniform but with many adding additional consultants, managers had been pushing for the additional coaching spot during games.
- The fake-to-third, throw-to-first move has been outlawed. The owner's actually tried to outlaw this temporarily last year, putting an end to the discussion that the play was a balk, but the move was vetoed before it could be implemented. Under the new wording of the rule, a pitcher cannot fake to third unless he first steps off the rubber. If he stays on the rubber, it would be considered a balk. The play is actually addressed in the Official Baseball Rules under Rule 8.05 (c) which says, "It is possible, with runners on first and third, for the pitcher to step toward third and not throw, merely to bluff the runner back to third; then seeing the runner on first start to second, turn and step toward and throw to first base. This is legal."
The hope is that the Player's Union will meet in the upcoming weeks and ratify the new changes. All changes proposed by the owner's must be approved by the player's union before they can be implemented.
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