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Ducks, Bluefish to try three-ball walks, outs for two-strike fouls

The Ducks' Lew Ford gets his second hit,

The Ducks' Lew Ford gets his second hit, a single, in the bottom of the second inning against Camden on Sunday, July 6, 2014. Credit: George A. Faella

The independent Atlantic League is trying a more radical pace-of-play experiment than the major leagues.

When the Long Island Ducks host the Bridgeport Bluefish on April 18, a batter will be called out for a two-strike foul ball and will be given a walk for three balls rather than four.

Major League Baseball and the players' association adopted a pitch clock to time between-inning breaks and pitching changes this year. They didn't adopt other changes that were tested during the Arizona Fall League, such as pitch clocks and limits on mound conferences.

"While these rules are not under consideration by the Atlantic League, we continue to serve as an experimental laboratory for ways to improve the pace of games," league president Rick White said in a statement Tuesday. "The changes should spice things up for fans as the 2015 season approaches."

The league said the changes for the exhibition game were proposed by Paul Auster, a 68-year-old author and baseball fan. The league said the changes were not under consideration for regular-season games.

New York Sports