Thursday October 16th, 2014

An Arizona Fall League contest between Surprise Saguaros and the Salt River Rafters on Tuesday clocked in at two hours and 14 minutes, the first test of Major League Baseball’s attempt to shorten games.

Last month, MLB announced that it had created a committee to look at the pace of the game after contests this season took just over three hours to complete, 20 minutes more than games played 11 seasons ago.

During the AFL game, a 20-second pitch clock was used, and breaks between half-innings were limited to two minutes and five seconds.

"It's a little different, takes some getting used to," Salt River Rafters centerfielder and Houston Astros prospect Andrew Aplin said, according to MLB.com. "I think it's more on the pitching, a little bit more frustrating on the pitching side because they get in a hole, 3-0, they like to step off, get their composure and bounce back so they can throw three strikes in a row, but it's hard for them to do that when they have to watch the clock."

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Three automatic balls were called during the Saguaros-Rafters game when pitchers took longer than 20 seconds to throw the ball to the plate.

There were two clocks placed behind home plate, one at the edge of each dugout and one in left-center field, alerting the players of the time to throw the next pitch and to be ready for the next half-inning.

Teams were also limited to three on the mound conferences per game. All Arizona Fall League ballparks are also testing no-pitch intentional walks, in which a manager signals to the home-plate umpire using four fingers to intentionally walk a batter.

- Scooby Axson

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