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Atlantic League to use Automated Ball-Strike System for rest of season

Long Island Ducks starting pitcher Pedro Beato delivers

Long Island Ducks starting pitcher Pedro Beato delivers a pitch against the Blue Crabs on July 7 at Bethpage Ballpark. Credit: George A. Faella

The Atlantic League, an independent baseball league that includes the Long Island Ducks, will use the Automated Ball-Strike System (ABS) to call balls and strikes for the remainder of its season, the league announced on Tuesday.

The ABS was used for the first time for the Atlantic League All-Star Game earlier this month. The Atlantic League has an experimental rule-testing agreement with Major League Baseball.

“This is a landmark day for the Atlantic League and professional baseball,” Atlantic League president Rick White said in a statement. “After successfully unveiling the ABS at our All-Star Game in York, Pa., and following positive feedback from managers, players, umpires and fans, we are eager to implement the consistent strike zone accuracy offered by ABS technology.”

The Atlantic League will start using the ABS on Thursday at games hosted by the High Point Rockers, Lancaster Barnstormers and Ducks. The Ducks will host the New Britain Bees on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip.

According to the release from the Atlantic League, home plate umpires will be assisted with calling balls and strikes by the ABS. Home plate umpires will wear an earpiece to relay the ball or strike call after receiving it from the ABS, which utilizes radar technology. Umpires will continue to use their judgement for other issues such as check swings and also will perform their other normal duties.

Newsday reported earlier this month that the use of the ABS in the first half of the Atlantic League season had been delayed to allow for installation of the system and training for umpires. The ABS had been tested during the first half of the Atlantic League season but wasn't officially used. White told Newsday earlier this month that he expected the ABS to be officially used sometime in the second half of the season.

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