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3-batter minimum, early trade deadline, DH changes proposed

February 6, 2019

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball and its players are discussing bold changes to spark the sport that include a three-batter minimum before a pitching change except at the start of an inning, a single trade deadline set before the All-Star break and expanded rosters.

The union renewed its push to extend the designated hitter to the National League, suggested amateur draft incentives for winning records and penalties for losing records, and proposed a change in service-time rules that would lead to faster free agency for top rookies held in the minor leagues early in the season. Management proposed expanding minimum time on the disabled list and optional assignments to the minor leagues to 15 days.

The talks are an expansion of the ones last offseason in which management threatened to implement a pitch clock, then backed off but did institute limits on mound visits without pitching changes. Management made its proposal on Jan. 14, the union responded last Friday and discussions are ongoing.

Details were disclosed to The Associated Press by people familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized. Aspects of the proposals were first reported by The Athletic.

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