Giants get briefed on pace, domestic violence

MLBPA executives visit as part of Spring Training camps tour

Giants get briefed on pace, domestic violence

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The impending attempt to improve the pace of play was among the top issues that Major League Baseball Players Association officials discussed with the Giants on Wednesday.

Executives of the union, including executive director Tony Clark, began their annual tour of all 30 Spring Training camps by visiting the reigning World Series champions. Clark said the subjects discussed included "anything that has made a headline over the course of the last three months."

That included the coming implementation of pace-of-play rules. Changes include requiring hitters to keep at least one foot in the batter's box between pitches in many cases, as well as the addition of clocks meant to limit the time of pitching changes and between-innings breaks.

Clark said his discussion with the Giants gave union leaders "an opportunity to see if we can address some concerns that some have, while creating some new habits without jeopardizing the integrity of the play on the field. This was the hope here. With the batter's box rule, with the in-between innings timing, with the pitching-change timing, we're simply hopeful that those adjustments have some effect on the length of the game, but do so without significantly changing the way the guys play, prepare, do what they need to do.

"Obviously we all love the game and we appreciate the game being played at this highest level. So any time you start to make or look to make adjustments to the game itself, you need to tread very lightly."

Said right-hander Matt Cain, the Giants' player representative, "He did a great job of simplifying things."

Clark also addressed the union's efforts on the subject of domestic violence, which intensifies Thursday as three teams begin classes for players to increase their sensitivity to the matter.

"I think the steps that we have taken have been hugely beneficial," Clark said. "Awareness, prevention, education, understanding -- those are all things that all of us are committed to, to make sure that we have an understanding of the challenges that exist, and we work to address them on the front end as best we can.

"... A number of players we know are very interested in hearing more about the dynamics in general. For some, it's very close to home. Others are simply learning as we go. But from start to finish, it's an opportunity for us to move forward in a very positive direction on a very challenging issue."

The Giants are among the teams that will undergo a domestic violence seminar Thursday. Cain lamented the societal factors that have brought this issue to the forefront.

"It's sad to think that you have to have a meeting about it," he said. But, he added, "Guys need to understand what's going on."

Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.