NEW YORK — Major League Baseball imposed stricter limits on mound visits by players in an effort to speed games but decided against 20-second pitch clocks for 2018.

After more than a year of negotiations, the Major League Baseball Players Association refused to agree to the changes but also signed an agreement that it will not oppose the rules.

The amendments to the playing rules announced Monday include a general limit of six mound visits per nine-inning game without a pitching change, whether by a manager, coach or player.

To assuage players’ concerns about sign stealing, MLB will install new telephone lines from dugouts to video replay rooms. MLB said the lines will be monitored, and a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press all conversations on the lines will be recorded. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because that detail was not announced.

MLB has the right to make playing rules changes absent an agreement with one year notice and made proposals during the 2016-17 offseason for a pitch clock and more restrictions on mound visits.

“I am pleased that we were able to reach an understanding with the players association,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “My strong preference is to continue to have ongoing dialogue with players on this topic to find mutually acceptable solutions.”

Union head Tony Clark noted the sides technically did not reach a deal.

ORIOLES: Chris Tillman agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract according to a person with knowledge of the deal. Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year.

GIANTS: The team finalized a two-year deal with left-hander Tony Watson that includes a player option for 2020 and guarantees the former All-Star reliever $9 million.

NATIONALS: A person with knowledge of the deal says 40-year-old reliever Joaquin Benoit has agreed in principle to a $1 million major league contract for the 2018 season.

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