HOUSTON — Limiting pitching changes, restricting defensive shifts, altering the strike zone and installing pitch clocks are among the ideas Major League Baseball may consider as it undertakes a multiyear review of the game that could include the sport’s most radical changes in decades.

Baseball owners were given a lengthy presentation Thursday during their quarterly meeting of how the sport has changed in the past 40 to 50 years.

“Sometimes baseball fans think about what should happen with the game sort of with an artificial construct, that the choice is between preserving ‘The Game,’ as it came down originally from the mountain, and making some changes to that game,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said.

“The point of the conversation today was that the game has changed dramatically. It’s changed organically. It kind of has flowed where the competitive juices of managerial and general managerial decisions have taken it. And the question is, you take a snapshot after 40 years of that and you say, wow, here’s what it looks like, here’s what it used to look like and should we be thinking about what has occurred and whether we want to allow it to continue to go on the path it’s on?”

If implemented, some of the changes could be the most revolutionary since the AL adopted the designated hitter in 1973 or perhaps even since the number of balls for a walk was reduced from five to four in 1889.

Orioles catcher Matt Wieters wasn’t too enthused by the proposals.

“I don’t like things that would actually change the way the game is played. If you make the game shorter without changing its integrity, I’m all for it. But the things that are being talked about can mess with the integrity,” he said.

Offense dropped steadily after the start of drug testing in 2003 until an uptick started in the second half of last season. Strikeouts have set records annually for much of the past decade, increasing from an average of 12.74 per nine-inning game in 2006 to 15.57 this season.

And the average time of a nine-inning game is exactly 3 hours – Manfred highlighted that Game 7 of the 1960 World Series took 2:36 for Pittsburgh’s 10-9 win over the New York Yankees.

Manfred acknowledged some of the increased length was caused by added TV commercials.

“We did not and we are really not at the point of making recommendations or having the owners make decisions about what if any changes are necessary,” Manfred said.

“I think when you have sort of a new administration, it’s a good time to take a really hard look at the product. I think there are pieces to this project that are not yet complete, including figuring out what are fans are seeing, what they like, what they don’t like in a more comprehensive way than we’ve done in recent years, having interactions with the other stakeholders in the game, the ESPNs, the Foxes, the Turners, our big partners, and sharing with them how we see the product and getting their reaction.”

Baseball’s owners approved the sale of a controlling stake in the Seattle Mariners from Nintendo of America to a group of minority owners led by Western Wireless Corp. founder John Stanton and retired Microsoft executive Chris Larson.