Los Angeles Angels DH Shohei Ohtani stands near the pitch clock...

Los Angeles Angels DH Shohei Ohtani stands near the pitch clock against the Washington Nationals in Anaheim, Calif., on April 10, 2023. Credit: AP/Ashley Landis

Commissioner Rob Manfred said he is thrilled by how the baseball season is going with the new rules designed to help speed up the game and the success of the World Baseball Classic.

“We could not have asked for a better start to the game than we have had this year,” Manfred said in a meeting with the Associated Press Sports Editors in the league’s midtown offices Monday morning.

Manfred gave the players credit for helping to implement the changes, saying they have done “a phenomenal job” of adjusting to the new rules, which include a pitch clock, shift bans, bigger bases and limits to how often a pitcher can disengage from the rubber.

“The players have generally had a positive attitude about having to make what is a really significant set of adjustments,” Manfred said.

Manfred said whatever complaints he’s heard from the players have been minor.

“I’ve met with players on seven teams so far,” he said. “Most of it was around smaller issues about the [pitch] clock. Things like, ‘I’m a pitcher and I covered first base, I need more time to get back to the mound.’ . . . Catchers’ timing in getting equipment on and off. A lot of conversation about umpires’ discretion to deal with unique circumstances.”

Yankees starter Gerrit Cole has taken in the changes just fine. The average length of a Cole-started game this season is 2:26.

“Rhythm and tempo, it’s been a non-factor,” Cole said recently. “I prepared for it. But my pace historically has been within the ramifications of it.”

And what about the league’s 30 owners?

“It’s hard to get people 30-0 on anything,” Manfred said. “I’m telling you the owners are 30-0 in support of these changes.”

Manfred said the changes are important as the league tries to appeal to a younger fan base that now can stay up to watch games that have averaged 2:36 per nine innings, 27 minutes fewer than last season. Yankees games are averaging 2:37, tied for seventh-fastest, and Mets games are lasting 2:43, tied for fourth-longest.

Manfred said the key to the success of the changes was trying them out in the minor leagues first.

“We played 8,000 minor- league games with these rules,” he said. “I’m really gratified that the prediction of what we saw at the minor-league level turned out to be true.”

Manfred called the WBC “maybe the best baseball tournament there’s ever been,” giving credit to Mike Trout for getting other great players to join the U.S. team.

“It was a great team they put together,” Manfred said. “You can’t ask for better than Ohtani vs. Trout at the end of the game.”

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