Experiments with robot umps, longer mound distance delayed

NEW YORK — Robot umpires will get some more warmup time.

Major League Baseball and the Atlantic League said Wednesday that the experiment with radar-tracking technology to call balls and strikes won't be used when the independent minor league starts play on April 25. Instead, the technology "will be implemented gradually over the course of the 2019 season." No date for the start was announced.

Plate umpires will wear earpieces and be informed of ball and strike calls by a TrackMan computer system that uses Doppler radar. Umps will have the ability to override the computer.

A test to extend the distance between the pitching rubber and home plate by 2 feet to 62½ feet also was pushed back. Originally scheduled to start after this year's All-Star break, the distance change was put off until the second half of 2020.

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