Major League Baseball's experiment to put a runner on second base to begin extra innings in the lower levels of the Minor Leagues is "far down the road, if we ever get there" from reaching MLB, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said Monday on MLB Network's "High Heat."
The rule change, which is similar to the current rules for the World Baseball Classic in games that reach the 11th inning, will be used in Rookie-level games this season. Each team will begin its half of the inning with a runner on second and zero outs in the 11th inning and later.
Torre echoed Commissioner Rob Manfred's stance that it is currently only an experiment, but said his managerial experience leads him to believe it will produce better baseball.
"We get to those 12th, 13th, 14th innings -- and I'm just talking from the dugout now -- and no matter how much you tell the players, 'Just try to get on base,' everybody's trying to end the game themselves," Torre said. "And to me, that's an ugly game. Everybody's trying to hit a home run. And you go through your whole bullpen and you use everybody up, and here we are in the 19th inning, and we've got a utility player on the mound.
"If you put a man on second base … it gets back to the baseball that you started with that particular game with," Torre continued. "In other words, get a base hit or hit the ball in the hole or get him over to third base. It's just baseball. I don't think it's baseball when everybody gets up there and swings from their rear end and tries to hit it out of the ballpark. I think [the change] is trying to use the game the way it's supposed to be used, to score runs and try to win a ballgame."
Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.