When the Texas Rangers decide this season that it’s time to go to the mound to talk with Yu Darvish, the manager or pitching coach won’t necessarily be trotting out there alone.
Baseball owners approved a rule change last week, several sources have told ESPN, that would allow coaches and managers to bring interpreters to the mound this season for conferences with foreign-born pitchers who don’t speak fluent English.
That was one of several rules changes that were voted on and tentatively approved at last week’s MLB owners meetings. The changes now must be approved by the players’ union in the coming weeks in order for them to be implemented for this season.
Two other notable rules that are expected to go into effect this season:
• Teams will be permitted to have a seventh coach in uniform, in the dugout, during games. Previously, clubs were allowed to have just six coaches dressed for a game. But with numerous teams adding a second hitting coach this year, clubs pushed for permission to have a seventh coach in uniform, and owners agreed.
• The fake-to-third, throw-to-first pickoff move now would be considered a balk. Baseball’s Playing Rules Committee voted last year to outlaw the trick move, but the union vetoed that change temporarily, pending further discussion. MLB has the ability to implement that change unilaterally for this season, but is hopeful the players will agree to the new rule so it can be implemented jointly, sources said.