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Rules to speed up games could be in place for this season

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news conference at baseball's All-Star game, Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Minneapolis. Credit: AP / Paul Sancya

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. - Coming soon to a stadium near you: faster baseball games.

That's the plan, anyway, as Bud Selig announced Thursday that rules designed to speed up the pace of games are being negotiated with the Players Association -- and, according to a source, some are likely to be implemented for the 2015 season.

Selig hopes to use many of the same rules tested last year during the Arizona Fall League. The one that probably won't make the cut is the 20-second pitch clock, which first will be used at the Double-A and Triple-A levels.

The other five, however, are under discussion. Those include keeping at least one foot inside the batter's box during each at-bat, a three-timeout limit on mound conferences per game, a 2-minute, 30-second clock for pitching changes and the between-innings time period and a no-pitch intentional walk.

The AFL experiment shortened games at the Salt River facility by 10 minutes, down to 2 hours, 42 minutes from 2 hours, 52 minutes a year ago. Last season, MLB games on average took longer than three hours to complete.

"The Fall League was a very useful thing,'' Selig said. "It really was a very critical step in that process and we'll see what happens. But I'm very confident. Let's put it that way.''

The AFL had pitch clocks installed behind home plate, in the outfield and in each dugout. The logistics of doing so at all 30 major-league ballparks might prevent the rule from being adopted in time for Opening Day.

The others might take some time for the players to adapt to, especially the batter's box rule, as many veterans hold up the game between pitches.

"People are always resistant to change in anything in life,'' Selig said, "whether it's baseball or anything else. So anything that we did, way back to all the changes of the last 22 years, there's always some period of adjustment.

"But our people have been working with it and we've been talking to players. I think we're on the right track. I really do.''

2016 ASG to San Diego. Selig also announced that Petco Park will host the 2016 All-Star Game, its first since the stadium opened in 2004 and the third Midsummer Classic for the Padres. This year's All-Star Game will be played at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

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