New language inserted into Rule 8.04, which regulates the time that a pitcher has to pitch, has been amended to increase the time within which a pitcher must pitch from 12 to 15 seconds, but the timing will begin when the pitcher receives the ball without regard for whether the batter is ready for the pitch.
If the batter has had a reasonable opportunity to get ready and is not ready, he would be at risk for having the pitcher pitch, or, if the batter is out of the batter's box, for having an automatic strike called, as set forth in Rules 6.02(c) and (d).
I was always under the impression that the timing was always irrespective of whether the batter was ready, and that the pitcher could just pitch unless that batter had called and received time. Guess not. Either way, actually enforcing this rule would make a big difference in the pace of games, which is badly needed in my view. The second rule:
Another rule change will limit the number of visits to the mound by managers, coaches and infielders. Any combination of three or more manager/coach visits to the mound in a game without removing the pitcher will result in the automatic removal of the pitcher from the game on a fourth visit, regardless of whether prior visits were to the same or different pitcher(s). Additionally, no more than one infielder at a time is permitted to visit the mound, including during any visit by a manager or coach.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I've never thought that coach/manager visits were huge contributors to longer games. Well, non-La Russa games anyway. It's probably a good rule, though, because I'd venture a guess that in-game visits from pitching coaches are pretty much pointless and their elimination would go a long way towards making pitchers happier men. Ask yourself: have you ever seen a pitcher look to the dugout and ask for a pitching coach visit? Ever seen a pitcher look particularly pleased when the pitching coach comes out? Me neither.
If they're reduced, pitchers will simply have to figure out how to "bear down," "settle down," and/or "go after this guy" on their own initiative.