Feb 17, 2023 - Sports

Guardians 2023: Roster moves, new rules, how to watch

Cleveland Guaridans' Jose Ramirez drops his bat after swinging and hitting the ball into the air as a catcher looks on.

Jose Ramirez and the Guardians' journey back to the postseason begins now. Photo: Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Goodbye, football. Hello, Major League Baseball spring training.

Driving the news: The Guardians began optional workouts this week in Goodyear, Arizona, with pitchers and catchers reporting today. Exhibition season starts next week.

State of play: Four significant league changes this season — all aiming to either increase action or speed up play — will debut in spring training.

  • Shift restrictions: Defenses must have a minimum of four players on the infield dirt, with at least two on either side of second base to increase the batting average on balls in play.
  • Pitch clock: A 30-second timer between batters and 15-20 seconds between pitches depending on whether the bases are empty.
  • Limited pickoffs: Pitchers may only attempt two pickoffs per at-bat when there's a runner on first, which should increase stolen base attempts.
  • Bigger bases: 15-inch bases have been replaced with 18-inch bases. Bigger bases mean shorter base paths, so expect more infield singles and successful steals.

State of the franchise: The 2022 Guardians were a surprise playoff team that's built to repeat as American League Central champions.

  • The team has a strong starting rotation led by Shane Bieber and Triston McKenzie, backed by one of the best bullpens in the league.
  • The signing of power hitter Josh Bell should boost the team's lineup, while free agent addition Mike Zunino is an upgrade at catcher.

What we're watching: The Guardians open the season March 30 in Seattle. The home opener will also be against the Mariners, on April 7 at Progressive Field.

Yes, but: You may have trouble watching. Guardians games air on Bally Sports, whose parent company, Diamond Sports Group, is on the verge of bankruptcy.

  • MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the league would take on streaming duties for games if needed.
  • For now, Guardians spring training games, which start Feb. 25, are scheduled to broadcast on Bally Sports.

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