A new wrinkle has emerged for one of the rule changes recently announced by Major League Baseball and its players' association.
The three-batter minimum rule for pitchers will reportedly be tested in the minor leagues this year, and since it doesn't take effect in the majors until 2020, it could be tweaked if unintended consequences emerge, according to Jayson Stark of The Athletic.
MLB will test the three-batter minimum, along with other changes in the Atlantic League this season after agreeing to a three-year partnership last month. It is not known if this will happen in other leagues as well.
The rule - which was revealed Thursday as a part of a much larger agreement between the union and league - will be unilaterally implemented by commissioner Rob Manfred's office.
Following the announcement, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said the players' union didn't agree to the revision.
According to reports, the union rejected MLB's past proposals for the contentious rule that will force pitchers to face at least three batters, or pitch to the end of a half-inning barring injuries or illness. However, the union agreed not to challenge its implementation.
There is a growing fear that it could spell the end for some relievers, in particular, left-handed situational pitchers typically used for one or two batters, as managers deploy new ways to utilize bullpens.