Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have formally announced a modified designated hitter rule that has been approved for the 2022 season.
Dubbed the “Shohei Ohtani rule,” it allows a starting pitcher who starts the game while batting for himself to remain in the game as a designated hitter after his pitching period is over.
In the case of the Los Angeles Angels, they would be required to list the two-way player Ohtani twice on the lineup sheet: once as a designated hitter and again as a starting pitcher.
“The expansion of the designated hitter and the ability to offer two-way players more flexibility to showcase their talents will benefit the game in the near future,” said Kevin Slowey, MLBPA’s director of player services, in a press release.
Last season, the Angels had to forgo DH when Ohtani pitched and batted in the same match, using pinch-hitter when the pitcher’s point in order came out after Ohtani left the mount. In some games, the Angels moved Ohtani to the outfield after he was removed as a pitcher to keep his club in formation.
The southpaw Ohtani hit .257 with 46 homers, 100 RBI and 26 steals, also going 9-2 with an ERA of 3.18 in 23 starts as a pitcher in 2021. The southpaw from Japan scored 156 in 130 1 / 3 innings on the way to a unanimous MVP award.
The Ohtani rule comes at a time when the designated hitter will be used for the first time in both U.S. and domestic leagues in a full 162-game season. The AL first implemented DH in 1973.
It was also announced that the extra inning rule, whereby a runner is placed in second place at the start of each half inning from the tenth inning onwards, will be in use for the third consecutive season.
Both sides agreed that the rule will help protect health and safety. The off-season lockout has postponed the start of the season to April 7, and the schedule will include more doubleheaders so you can play a 162-game schedule.
“As part of our discussions with the MLBPA regarding the 162-game condensed schedule, we have agreed to extend the extra innings rule to the 2022 championship season and to temporarily expand rosters.” Megan Sword, executive vice president of baseball operations at MLB, said in the press release. “We are excited to see the Universal Designated Hitter in action this season with changed rules that will promote the use of two-way players in the future.”
The opening day rosters will include 28 players, ranging from 26 through May 1. Any doubleheaders during that time will increase the roster to 29 players.
Player option assignments are limited to five, but any moves made before May 2nd will not count towards the assignment.
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Los Angeles Angels, Shohei Ohtani