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A’s pitcher Trevor May says anxiety was made worse by MLB’s new shot clock, forcing him to IL


May 19, 2023

Reliever Trevor May says Major League Baseball’s new shot clock rule has contributed to his anxiety, which has gotten so bad he’s landed on the Oakland A’s disabled list.

On May 33, he became the third player this year to land on the disabled list with mental health issues. Colorado Rockies closer Daniel Bard and Detroit Tigers outfielder Austin Meadows are dealing with similar issues.

During an interview with the Mercury News, May, who previously dealt with anxiety on the mound, revealed that the shot clock has had an impact on his mental state this season.


Trevor May, #65 of the Oakland Athletics, throws during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at RingCentral Coliseum on March 30, 2023 in Oakland, California. The Athletics defeated the Angels 2-1. (Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images)

«Before, I had a big strong guy, a guard, and anxiety was trying to get in the door and the guard wouldn’t let him,» May said. «Now that anxiety is fast. The guard is too slow. The anxiety is just getting in there.»

«They told us when we got up [to the majors], slow down the game, don’t let the game speed you up. Now the game is literally speeding up. We can’t slow it down,» he continued.


May would get off the mound, take a deep breath, and lock himself back in before throwing his next pitch if he felt anxious. However, with only 15 seconds with no one on base and 20 seconds with someone on base, pitchers have had to speed up their pitches.

May’s stats took a huge hit when he was unable to adjust properly, as he has a 12.00 ERA through six innings. In his last outing on April 18 against the Chicago Cubs, May allowed three earned runs on two hits and a walk, pitching just one-third of an inning.

trevor may

Trevor May, number 65 of the Oakland Athletics, pitches against the New York Mets in the top of the seventh inning at RingCentral Coliseum on April 15, 2023 in Oakland, California. All players wear the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

It’s been so bad that May considered retiring, but credits A’s mental skills coach Ben Strack for talking him out of it.

May also noted that family issues have contributed to her anxiety, though she did not divulge what they are.

«If you go home now and be done with baseball, you’ll still be you,» Strack told May. «You’d just be home, you’d still have to deal with this. Then there would probably be regret in there. That would build up and be even worse.»

There’s no timeline as to when May, who had a career 3.83 ERA before his outings with the A’s this season, will return to the mound.

Trevor May coming off the mound

Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Trevor May, #65, walks to the dugout between innings during the Oakland Athletics vs. Baltimore Orioles MLB game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 11, 2023 in Baltimore . (Charles Brock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Unlike the shot clock, however, Oakland isn’t rushing him to make his next pitch.