Minor league baseball to experiment with robo umpire, new base sizes

Minor league baseball will be experimenting with rule changes this upcoming season including new base sizes and "robot umps."

Major League Baseball (MLB) announced the rule changes on Thursday, as well as how each change will take effect in different leagues and levels in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the new rules.

The changes include larger bases, infielders must be on the outer boundary of the field before the pitch, pitchers must be off the rubber for a pickoff, only two pickoffs per plate, a 15-second pitch clock and an automatic ball-strike system. 

There is no guarantee that any of these rules make it to the MLB, but they are under consideration, and reviews of the test with them this season will be submitted by the rules committees.

The purposes of these changes are to avoid player injuries, quicken the pace of the game and have more action on basepaths, according to the MLB.

It is unclear how fan capacity will look at baseball games, particularly early in the season, with the coronavirus still hindering the ability of people to gather in big crowds.

The Texas Rangers are going to allow 100 percent capacity of fans at their field while Chicago's White Sox and Cubs will only be at 20 percent capacity on opening day.

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