WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- While Astros manager A.J. Hinch said he will reserve comment on the reported changes to how an intentional walk is implemented until he meets with senior vice president of baseball operations Peter Woodfork on Friday, his players had mixed opinions.
Sources told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi on Tuesday evening that rather than have a pitcher lob four pitches to the catcher to intentionally walk a hitter, managers will signal from the dugout to have the hitter just take first base.
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"Perfect. Beautiful. I like it," 19-year veteran Carlos Beltran said. "I think that will make the game move a little faster and make sure that guy is standing there and the pitcher has to throw four pitches. Why waste time? I agree with that one."
A few lockers down from Beltran, veteran outfielder Josh Reddick had a different take.
"Personally, I'm not a fan of it. I'm not a big fan of the speeding up the game process," he said. "I'm more old school. I like to just enjoy it. When I went to a baseball game, it was to enjoy it and not worry about how fast it was going. … I feel like they're letting pitchers off. They've got so many advantages over us as hitters. You look at intentional walks, and those are usually coming in the biggest part of the game. You're going to let them off easy. You're in the big leagues. You should be able to throw four pitches out of the zone, regardless."
Starting pitcher Collin McHugh said in his nine years of pro ball, he's seen maybe only three unexpected outcomes on an intentional walk.
"I think, in general, it's probably best for the game to move the game along a little bit from the percentage of times it actually affects the outcome of the game," he said.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.