The Chicago Cubs promoted Hayden Wesneski to the big-league roster Tuesday, where he made his major league debut. Wesneki’s dominant debut totaled five innings out of the ‘pen, striking out eight Cincinnatti hitters and allowing zero runs.

The Tampa Bay Rays selected Wesneski in the 33rd round of the 2016 MLB draft.

Wesneski went to Sam Houston State University, where he pitched three seasons for the Bearkats. In 2019, the New York Yankees drafted Wesneski in the sixth round. On Aug. 1, 2022, the Yankees dealt Wesneski to the Cubs in exchange for rookie relief pitcher Scott Effross.

Wesneski entered the ballgame in the 5th inning, relieving starting pitcher Wade Miley.

Photo: Charles Rex Argobast/AP

Wesneski opened his debut against Austin Romine, striking him out on a sinker and two nasty curveballs. Jonathan India fell victim to Wesneski in the next at-bat. After confusing India on a breaking ball, Wesneski commanded the outside corner with a 96 mph fastball. Wesneski finished the inning two batters later, getting Kyle Farmer to pop out to Cubs’ first baseman Alfonso Rivas.

Manager David Ross kept a loose leash for Wesneski, allowing the rookie to showcase his dominance.

Wesneski retired 12 of the first 13 Reds’ hitters he faced. The rookie pitched 4.1 innings before allowing a hit and finished the appearance allowing two in five innings.

Ross comments that Wesneski will stay in the bullpen “for now,” and hasn’t determined when he’ll get his first start. 

MLB’s committee approved significant changes for the 2023 season

The most influential change restricts the shift, which has been prolific as analytics have taken over the game. The rule change forces two infielders to be positioned on each side of second base. Additionally, all four infielders must be positioned in the infield.

The change positively affects hitters who dominate one side of the field. 

Additionally, the committee is instituting a pitch clock.

Pitchers will have 15 seconds when the bases are empty, and 20 seconds when a base is occupied. The rule hopes to increase the speed of the game. Baseball has continued to lose popularity in America, so Rob Manfred has instituted the change to gain more fans. The rules have worked in the minor leagues as fans have responded positively to the changes. Dating back to last season, the rule changes have been tested in over 8,000 games.

Bases have also been enlarged from 15 inches to 18 inches.

The change is hoped to benefit players’ health and increase offensive production. Larger bases promote stealing bases and allow more space for hitters to avoid infielders. 

Finally, MLB’s committee passed another rule that will speed up the pace of the game.

Pitchers can step off or attempt a pickoff two times during an at-bat. If the pitcher throws over a third time, a balk will be called if the attempt is unsuccessful. Additionally, if the runner advances, the pickoff counter resets.

The rule should have a positive response from fans. Pitchers tend to throw over to first extensively, despite improbable results, which slows down the game.

MLB is heading in the right direction with rule changes that positively impact fans, players and the game. Soon, America’s past time will make a comeback on a national stage. 

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