Manny Machado becomes 1st victim of MLB's new pitch clock in spring training

MLB's pitch clock is officially here, and the league's pitchers aren't the only players who will have to make some adjustments. Manny Machado learned that the hard way Friday.

In the San Diego Padres' first game of spring training in Arizona, Machado became the first MLB player called for a pitch clock violation. His offense: not being ready in the batter's box with eight seconds remaining on the clock.

Home plate umpire Ryan Blakney added an automatic strike for the violation, putting Machado behind 0-1 against Seattle Mariners pitcher Robbie Ray.

The disadvantage clearly didn't bother Machado much, as he hit a single on the next pitch and finished the day 2-for-2.

After exiting the game, Machado told the Bally Sports San Diego broadcast that it might take him a while to get used to the change, which required him to be not only in the box but also ready and facing the pitcher within the time limit.

"I'm going to have to make a big adjustment. I might be 0-1 down a lot this year," Machado said. "It's super fast. There's definitely going to be an adjustment period, but going down in the history books."

Manny Machado just became the answer to a baseball trivia question. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Manny Machado just became the answer to a baseball trivia question. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

MLB pitch clock is a change for everyone

Under the new pitch clock rules, laid in much greater detail here by Yahoo Sports' Hannah Keyser, pitchers get 15 seconds when the bases are empty and 20 seconds with runners on base to start their deliveries after receiving the ball from the catcher. They are also only allowed two "disengagements" (read: pickoff attempts) per at-bat.

Meanwhile, batters have to be ready in the box with eight seconds left. Violations for pitchers result in an automatic ball, and batters' result in an automatic strike. If you want to see what that pace looks like, here's the first at-bat of Friday:

These changes, along with larger bases, a ban on the shift and more stringent balk rules, are the dominant story in spring training this year. While the long-expected clock has been seen as a potential menace to pitchers, many pitchers have insisted they actually gain an edge playing with the new countdown.

Machado's being the first victim is a quiet indication that those pitchers might have a point, but everyone on the field still has more than a month to get used to MLB's faster pace.