MLB rule changes: Ohtani Rule, automatic runner, expanded April rosters all part of 2022 tweaks


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Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have announced a handful of potential rule changes for the upcoming 2022 season. The most notable tweaks include expanding rosters for April, the reinstallation of the automatic runner on second in extra-inning situations and a new “Ohtani rule.”

Here’s some information about each of the rule changes. 

1. Expanded rosters until May 2

Because of the impact MLB’s owner-imposed lockout had on the spring training schedule, the two sides have agreed to allow clubs a 28-player roster until May 2. Once that day comes, they’ll be forced to reduce their rosters down to the traditional 26 players. Do note that there will be no restrictions on how many pitchers a team can carry during the expanded roster period; they’ll be limited to 13 after that. 

2. The ‘Ohtani Rule’

The implementation of the universal DH has led to the creation of the so-called “Ohtani Rule.” Essentially, if a starting pitcher is used as the team’s DH, then they’ll be allowed to remain in the game as a hitter once their day on the mound has ended. In so many words, Ohtani (and other two-way talents) won’t have to throw nine innings in order to take their at-bats in the ninth inning and beyond.

3. Automatic runner back; short doubleheaders not

The automatic runner — placed on second base in extra innings — is expected to return, albeit only for the 2022 season. Interestingly, given that the logic behind the runner is to shorten games and reduce the workload placed on pitchers, the seven-inning doubleheaders are not part of the proposal. Instead, both ends of a doubleheader will be nine innings throughout the 2022 season.





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