Guardians adjusting well to pitch clock, pitching coach Carl Willis says

Mar. 4—Guardians pitching coach Carl Willis is confident his pitchers will adjust to the pitch clock smoothly. Under rules enacted this year, a pitcher must begin his pitching motion toward home plate within 15 seconds of getting the ball when the bases are empty or 20 seconds if the bases are occupied. The pitcher will be charged with a ball if the pitch clock expires before he begins his pitching motion.

"One thing we have in our advantage is we're a relatively young pitching staff. So I think we'll be able to adapt quicker," Willis told reporters covering spring training in Goodyear, Ariz. "My fear is not necessarily how it will affect the performance. I worry about the starters as they get deeper in games.

"All of a sudden you have to back up a base or cover first and you're still on the clock. Typically in a long inning you're going to tire more quickly. When that happens you're at more risk of injuries, and that's what we're always trying to avoid. That's my concern about it, but the rule is the rule."

The pitch clock reduced length of games by an average of 25 minutes in the minor leagues last year, according to

The other part of the rule change affecting pitchers is the one that limits them to two pickoff attempts between pitches. The rule was used in the minors last year and resulted in 26 percent more stolen base attempts, according to

Rickey Henderson of the Oakland A's set the modern-day stolen bases record in a season with 130 (172 attempts) in 1982. The last player with 100 or more stolen bases in a season was Vince Coleman of the St. Louis Cardinals with 109 steals (131 attempts) in 1987.

Jon Berti of the Miami Marlins led the Majors with 41 steals last season. Jose Ramirez and Andres Gimenez led the Guardians with 20 steals apiece.