Cubs get first taste of pitch clock in spring training opener vs. Giants

The Cubs won 10-8 in a game that lasted 3 hours, 6 minutes.

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The pitch clock starts to count down as Darius Hill stands on deck during a Cubs Spring Training game in Mesa, AZ. 02-25-2023.

The pitch clock starts to count down as Darius Hill stands on deck during a Cubs Spring Training game in Mesa, AZ. 02-25-2023.

MESA, Ariz. — The Cubs got their first taste of MLB’s rule changes in a 10-8 victory against the Giants in their Cactus League opener Saturday.

Center fielder Cody Bellinger benefitted from the first clock violation when Giants right-hander Tristan Beck was charged with an automatic ball in the first inning. There were believed to be as many as five clock violations in the game, but MLB didn’t provide an official count.

There also was some confusion about whether Cubs first baseman Eric Hosmer had called time out during an at-bat in the third inning — he was awarded time.

Otherwise, the implementation went smoothly. The teams didn’t experience any of the drama in the Red Sox-Braves game Saturday, which ended in a tie on a clock violation.

“I actually enjoyed it,” catcher Yan Gomes said. “I feel like it keeps the tempo going. … There’s just a couple little kinks to get used to. We’re not 100% sure [how it works] the beginning of the inning between at-bats because I feel like there were a couple of times where guys got surprised.”

Marcus Stroman, who allowed one run in two innings, already is looking for ways to take advantage of the rule. Messing with hitters’ timing was one of his tools even before the pitch clock.

“If they’re going to make us rush,” he said, “then I’m going to find a way to be me out there no matter what.”

The game lasted 3 hours, 6 minutes.

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