The independent Atlantic League has been partnering with Major League Baseball over the last few years to "test" ideas to potentially be implemented in affiliate ball - and it looks like one test is over.
The ALPB announced Friday that for the 2022 season, it will be moving the pitching rubber back to 60 feet, 6 inches, and will resume having home plate umpired call balls and strikes. The league had used the Automated Ball-Strike system since the second half of the 2019 season, and last year, moved the rubber back to 61 feet, 6 inches in the second half as part of it's Innovative Test Rules and Equipment Partnership with MLB.
“As we enter 2022, we reaffirm to players and fans that ball-strike calls, and the distance of the pitching rubber, will return to accepted norms,” said Atlantic League President Rick White in the league's release announcing the restoration of the "original" rules.. “We retain several past MLB test features, such as 17” bases, extra innings tiebreaker and anti-shift rules, among others. The test rules and equipment are transitional by definition: Some elements remain, others are tweaked, and still others are abandoned. That’s why MLB and the ALPB conduct the tests.”
Whit also said the Atlantic League and MLB will announce 2022 test rules later this spring.
“We are honored to pioneer the future of the game with Major League Baseball,” said White. “We’re proud that many tests today will find their way to the big leagues in the future. We will continue to closely corroborate on tests with MLB.”