Rule Change Turns Trick Pickoff Move Into Balk

NEW YORK — One of the oldest trick plays in baseball is now a balk.

Under a rule change imposed by Major League Baseball, pitchers will no longer be allowed to fake a pickoff to third base and throw to first as a way to dupe a runner on first base into breaking for second. Next season, that move would be a balk. Pitchers can still step off the rubber and fake to third.

The change was approved at the owners’ meetings two weeks ago.

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