Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Zack Wheeler sounded off on Major League Baseball implementing a pitch timer this season.
"I don't like it," Wheeler said Tuesday on NBC Sports Philadelphia. "I guess you got to get comfortable with it. I mean, I don't like it at all. I think it messes with the game too much."
Wheeler, 32, later admitted that he felt rushed on the mound during the Phillies' spring training game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.
"Imagine a pitch clock when you're trying to make the most important pitches in the playoffs, having something count down on you like this," he said. "In Triple-A, in the minor leagues, they're playing for stuff, but they aren't playing for what we're playing for up here. It just adds something to it that isn't part of the game."
The addition of a pitch timer was designed to improve the speed of the game and reduce dead time.
Pitchers have up to 15 seconds between pitches when the bases are empty and up to 20 seconds between pitches with at least one runner on base to deliver the ball to home plate.
Pitchers must begin their motion before the expiration of the timer, and they also may step off the rubber only twice per batter's plate appearance. That includes pickoff attempts. Stepping off a third time will result in a balk (unless the runner is ruled out). Hitters must be in the box with at least eight seconds remaining on the clock and will be allowed only one timeout per plate appearance.
Wheeler went 12-7 with a 2.82 ERA in 26 starts last season.
--Field Level Media