MLB introduced a tweak to the slide rule in order to limit a runner’s ability to slide into fielders, and will introduce a 30-second clock for mound visits.
The first change is the long-rumored tweak to the slide rule. In an attempt to limit the number of bone-crunching double-play breakups, MLB has instituted a four-pronged test to defining a “bona fide slide”. According to MLB.com, this occurs when a runner:
"begins his slide (i.e., makes contact with the ground) before reaching the base;is able and attempts to reach the base with his hand or foot;is able and attempts to remain on the base (except home plate) after completion of the slide; andslides within reach of the base without changing his pathway for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder."
The goal of this rule isn’t to end the practice of breaking up double plays with good, clean slides but rather to define what a good, clean slide is. Basically, it’s being defined as a good-faith effort at sliding toward the base, not just the fielder.
The second change has to do with continuing baseball’s pace-of-play initiative. A 30 second clock will be used to limit the total time of a mound visit from a member of the coaching staff. The stadium clock will begin counting down from the moment they step out of the dugout.
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"The mound-visit rule will not apply to teammates and will not come with a penalty but instead a subtle jab from umpires. Its intent is to discourage lollygagging among managers and coaches who often use plodding walks to give relief pitchers extra time to warm up."
Additionally, the between-innings clock will see a 20 second reduction this season. Locally televised games will see 2:05 between innings in 2016 while nationally televised games will have a 2:25 break (down a third of a minute from 2015 in both cases).