Wednesday, April 26, 2023

MLB To Try Out Experimental Playing Rules In Atlantic League

Yankee Stadium's facade. Photo by Jason Schott.


Major League Baseball recently announced new experimental playing rules that will be used in the 2023 Atlantic League (ALPB) Championship Season. In 2019, it became MLB's first Partner League, a capacity in which it pioneered rules and equipment tests.

The Opening Day for the Atlantic League is this Friday, April 28, and local teams include the Staten Island Ferry Hawks and Long Island Ducks. 

The new rules are a new Designated Pinch Runner rule, a pitcher limit of a single disengagement per at bat, and the return of the Double-Hook DH rule. The rules are further explained below:

Designated Pinch Runner: Each club will list a player who is not otherwise in the starting lineup as a designated pinch runner. That player cannot be substituted at any point into the game as a baserunner. The player who is substituted for, as well as the pinch runner, may then return to the game without penalty.

A single disengagement per at-bat will allow a pitcher to disengage from the pitching rubber just once during an at-bat, while the new Major League Baseball rule this season allows two.

The "Double-Hook" DH rule allows clubs to use the designated hitter throughout the game provided that the club's starting pitcher has completed at least five innings. If the starter fails to make it through the fifth, then the team loses the DH for the remainder of the game.

Atlantic League President Rick White said in the press release announcing these rules, "The Atlantic League is proud of our relationship with MLB as its very first Partner League. We are excited to have pioneered the rules changes which MLB is using today to enhance the game at its highest level. Our players and coaches are helping shape the future of the game."

The Atlantic League's partnership role has called for the league to institute rule changes that are under evaluation for testing by Major League Baseball. Some of the rules first seen by fans of the Atlantic League advanced to further testing in affiliated play in the Minor Leagues before being implemented in MLB games.

MLB Executive Vice President, Baseball Operartions Morgan Sword said in the press release, "We thank the Atlantic League for their continued partnership. In recent years, the ALPB's experimental rules have aimed to emphasize athleticism, improved pace of play and other means of giving fans the game they want to see. We are excited for another great season of Atlantic League baseball and the entertainment that it will bring to fans."

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