Guardians’ Terry Francona on ban of defensive shifts: ‘Hit the ball the other way’

Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona

Ahead of the weekend, New York Mets star shortstop Francisco Lindor explained to reporters that he is a fan of the MLB rule changes that include a ban on the polarizing defensive shift, the implementation of a pitch clock, and larger bases starting next year. 

Lindor’s former leader has expressed a different take. 

Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona guided the Boston Red Sox to a pair of World Series titles, holds the most wins in Guardians franchise history, and turned 63 years old this past April. He is essentially seen it all and done it all at the highest level of the game and recently spoke about both the ban on the shift and the incoming pitch clock. 

“I do worry about the shifting thing that … the unintended consequences,” he said, per The Athletic. “Like are you rewarding guys that just pull the ball instead of trying to get back to using the whole field? Like I keep hearing people say, ‘Guys are tired of hitting into the shift.’ Then hit the ball the other way. There are solutions other than just lift and separate.” 

Lindor remarked that the shift ban could allow him to “be athletic and move a little bit more and try to make more defensive plays,” and he said the pitch clock doesn’t really impact him because he doesn’t “step out of the box.” Francona does think players will quickly adjust to the clock next spring. 

“I think the guys are gonna get used to the pitch clock. I think (in) April, there will be some confrontations,” Francona added during his comments. “But I think guys will learn quickly and adapt. The bases, I don’t know. I’ve never seen that before. We’ll adapt. We’ll adapt to whatever.”

The first-place Guardians (73-65) hold a two-and-a-half game lead over the second-place Chicago White Sox in the American League Central standings and will begin a three-game home series versus the lowly Los Angeles Angels (61-79) on Monday night. 

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