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New MLB changes didn’t have big impact on Yankees-Giants opener

The Yankees’ first real game played under MLB’s new rules was much ado about nothing.

Aside from the time of game being a crisp 2 hours and 33 minutes, the presence of the pitch clock, restricted shifts and bigger bases was not a major issue in the Yankees’ 5-0 win over the Giants on Thursday afternoon in The Bronx.

The game featured only one pitch-timer violation, when Giants first baseman J.D. Davis was not alert in the box by the 8-second mark during his at-bat in the ninth inning, leading to an automatic strike for Ron Marinaccio.

The bigger bases may have come into play in the second inning, when Thairo Estrada stole second base and dove in safely just ahead of the tag by shortstop Anthony Volpe.

And though the ban on extreme shifts was intended to create more action, the Yankees and Giants combined for 32 strikeouts with just 12 hits on a cold day in The Bronx.

“Not a lot, just because we’ve been doing it now for 40 days or whatever,” Aaron Boone said when asked how much he noticed the new rules in play.

Here is one of the pitch clocks at Yankees Stadium.
Robert Sabo for NY Post

“I’ve noticed it [in spring training]. Now you’re just in a big-league stadium with a full house and it counts. So I guess you notice it a little bit, but I also feel like in a lot of ways, I and we are used to it.”

Home-plate umpire Laz Diaz also appeared to have a way of allowing two Yankees to soak up their first at-bats instead of rushing into the box the beat clock.

The first time Aaron Judge and Volpe walked up to bat — Judge coming off a 62-home run season and Volpe making his MLB debut — Diaz went to clean off home plate, which turned off the clock and allowed a few extra seconds for the crowd to give both players ovations.