Get ready for strikes by robots.
Computers will be used for ball/strike calls starting April 28 in the independent Atlantic League, where the distance between home and first will be shortened by 3 inches. The ground between the mound and home plate will lengthen by 2 feet for the second half of the season beginning July 12.
The 60-foot-6-inch distance between the front of the pitching rubber and the back point of home plate has been standard since 1893, but Major League Baseball reached a three-year deal to experiment in the Atlantic League, an eight-team circuit. Infield defensive shifts will be limited. Pitchers there will have to get used to 62 feet, 2 inches this summer.
Plate umpires will wear earpieces and be informed of ball/strike calls by a TrackMan computer with Doppler radar. Umps will have the ability to override the computer, which considers a pitch a strike when the ball bounces and then crosses the zone.
"The beauty of baseball is that it's not foolproof. You've got to hit a round ball with a cylindrical bat square, and then you've got to get it past people," umpire Joe West said. "The game is typically American. It's always somebody else's fault when they lose — and usually it's us."
Orioles acquire outfielder
The Baltimore Orioles acquired outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. from the Toronto Blue Jays for international signing bonus pool allocation.
Smith, 26, hit .293 with two homers and nine RBI in 47 games with Toronto over the past two seasons.
To make room for Smith on the 40-man roster, Baltimore designated left-hander Josh Osich, 30, for assignment.
Marlins catcher rests knee
The Miami Marlins are shutting down Jorge Alfaro for a few more days after inflammation returned to the right knee of the Opening Day catcher.
Alfaro reaggravated the injury during Tuesday's game while sliding into second base.
Obtained from Philadelphia as part of the trade that sent J.T. Realmuto to the Phillies, Alfaro injured the knee while chasing a foul popup in the Grapefruit League opener, banging it against a pole in the dugout.