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Girardi shares ideas to speed up game pace

Girardi shares ideas to speed up game pace

NEW YORK -- With the recent election of Rob Manfred to succeed Bud Selig as Commissioner of Baseball, ways to solve some of baseball's lingering issues, most notably its pace of play, have resurfaced.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi shed light on that topic Tuesday, advocating that MLB limit visits to the mound more strictly in an effort to speed up, and maybe affect, the way managers and coaches utilize the bullpen.

"They have a rule for coaches, but they don't have a rule for players," said Girardi. "And I think you could really take advantage of that and have less trips to the mound."

Girardi also conceded that the game has become longer due to larger television timeouts and even hitters being taught to become more patient. Those things, he says, are more difficult to adjust, as is the construction of some ballparks, which also have a hand in delaying play on the field.

"There's some ballparks that aren't easy to get in from the bullpen," Girardi said. "You think about Baltimore, you've got to walk down 10 steps of concrete -- these guys are in spikes -- then you've got cobblestone, and then you've got to sprint in, and then you've got to talk to your catcher, and then you've got to get your eight pitches in. That's not easy to do.

"Do I want to a guy tired when he gets to the mound? Absolutely not. There's a lot of talk about [pace of play], but I think the easiest way is [cutting down] trips to the mound."

Another concern Girardi pointed to was safety, specifically as it regards catchers. A former backstop himself, Girardi used Brian McCann as an example, after the catcher returned to the lineup Sunday after sitting out a week with a concussion he received on a hard foul tip to his mask.

"There actually ought to be a third catcher here that's not on the roster, and if a guy gets concussed in the game, you can add him to the roster and he's not allowed to play unless the guy gets hurt," said Girardi, who did not offer up a solution for who that 26th man might be.

"If you get to a certain point ... you're sure the heck not going to put a pitcher behind home plate, and you don't want to put your shortstop or second baseman behind home plate, so I wish that's something they would look at."

Jamal Collier and Jake Kring-Schreifels are associate reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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