Designated hitter

Designated hitter

In baseball, the designated hitter rule is the common name for Major League Baseball Rule 6.10,[1] an official position adopted by the American League in 1973 that allows teams to designate a player, known as the designated hitter (abbreviated DH), to bat in place of the pitcher each time he would otherwise come to home plate, rather than replace him by pinch-hitting. Since then, most collegiate, amateur, and professional leagues have adopted the rule or some variant; MLB's National League and Nippon Professional Baseball's Central League, are the most prominent professional leagues that do not use a designated hitter.


The rule

In Major League Baseball, the designated hitter is a hitter who does not play a position, but instead fills in the batting order for the pitcher. DH at the MLB level may be used for the pitcher only as stated in Rule 6.10. In any case, use of the DH is optional, however, the manager must designate a DH prior to the start of the game; failure to do so forfeits the right to use the DH, and the pitcher must then take his turn at bat. The designated hitter may not play a field position and he may only be replaced by another player not currently in the lineup. However, the designated hitter may become a position player at any point during the game; if he does so, his team forfeits the role of the designated hitter, and the pitcher or another player (possible only in case of a multiple substitution) must bat in the newly opened spot in the batting order. The designated hitter could also become the pitcher, in which case any subsequent pitcher, or a pinch hitter, must hit when that spot in the batting order comes up again (save for a further double switch, as above). Likewise, if a pinch-hitter bats for some other player (such as, hypothetically, the first baseman) and then remains in the game as the pitcher, the team would forfeit the use of the DH for the remainder of the game, and the DH would have to assume a field position (in this hypothetical, play first base save, of course, for switching defensive positions with a teammate(s)).

In addition, unlike other positions, the DH is "locked" into the batting order and no multiple substitution may be made to alter the batting rotation of the DH. In other words, a double switch involving the DH and a position player is not legal. For example, if the DH is batting fourth and the catcher is batting eighth, the manager cannot replace both players so as to have the new catcher bat fourth and the new DH bat eighth. Once a team loses its DH under any of the scenarios discussed in the previous paragraph, however, the double switch becomes fully available, and may well be used via necessity, should the former DH be replaced in the lineup.

If a pinch-hitter bats, or a pinch-runner runs, for the DH, he then becomes the DH.

Interleague play

In Major League Baseball, (for interleague play and the World Series), the home team is the determining factor, with the rules of the home team's league applying to both teams; if the game is played in an American League park the designated hitter is in effect, however, in a National League park the pitcher must bat or be replaced with a pinch hitter.

This has applied to the All-Star Game as well, but in 2010, Major League Baseball announced the designated hitter rule would apply for every All-Star Game; while the 2010 game was already to have the DH, the 2011 game was the first played in a National League park with a DH.[2]

Forfeiting the right to a DH

In practice, it is very rare for a team to forfeit its right to a DH, even by substitution. The following are known instances in regular season games (not counting interleague play) of an American League pitcher coming to bat:

  • There have been four occasions where a team deliberately elected not to start a designated hitter in an American League ballgame, all between 1974 and 1976. The pitchers for those games were Ferguson Jenkins (1 for 2, a single) on October 2, 1974 for the Texas Rangers at Minnesota,[3] Ken Holtzman (0 for 2) for the Oakland A's against the California Angels on September 27, 1975,[4] Ken Brett for the Chicago White Sox on July 6, 1976 at the Boston Red Sox,[5] and again on September 23, 1976 for Chicago against the Twins.[6] (Brett went 0 for 3 in both games.)
  • Up 10-1 in the 8th inning of a game played on September 3, 1973, the Milwaukee Brewers elected to send DH Bobby Mitchell into left field, thereby forfeiting their right to use a DH. Relief pitcher Eduardo Rodríguez accordingly came to bat in the ninth -- and hit an RBI triple, sealing the Brewers' 13-5 win over Cleveland. [7]
  • In a 3-3 tie in the 8th, on a game played on June 12, 1974, the Milwaukee Brewers moved DH Tim Johnson to SS for defensive insurance, giving up their DH in the process. Reliever Tom Murphy then pitched into the 13th inning, hitting a single in his two at-bats. He lost the game, however, in the 13th, as the Kansas City Royals emerged 4-3 victors. [8] Oddly, Murphy picked up the relief effort from Eduardo Rodriguez, the last AL pitcher to get a hit in a game.
  • On June 27, 1976, the Detroit Tigers lost their DH in a game at the Boston Red Sox in the first inning when DH Rusty Staub went to right field instead of Alex Johnson. The pitcher, Frank MacCormack, took Johnson's place in the lineup, went 0 for 3, and pitched six innings before being relieved by John Hiller. The Tigers won 4–2 in 11 innings at Boston.[9]
  • In the midst of an 18-8 loss to Kansas City on Wednesday, August 29, 1979, the Milwaukee Brewers made several position changes, willingly losing their DH in the process. Amongst other moves, 3B Sal Bando was moved to pitcher in the 4th inning -- he hurled three innings, going to bat in the fifth as a pitcher and popping up. In the 7th, Bando and 2B Jim Gantner switched positions, though while a pitcher Gantner never made it to the plate as a batter. The next inning, Buck Martinez (normally a catcher) entered the game as the Brewers sixth pitcher of the day. As a pitcher, Martinez batted in the 9th, stroking an RBI single. For each of Bando, Gantner and Martinez, all of whom played in over 1,000 ML games, this game was their lone appearance in the majors as a pitcher.[10]
  • In his first of three major league pitching appearances for the Toronto Blue Jays, Bob Bailor, normally a position player, was moved from shortstop to pitcher in the 7th inning in a game on August 4, 1980, replacing Tom Buskey (who had been ejected from the game for throwing at a batter). Simultaneously, Garth Iorg moved from third to shortstop, and Steve Braun was inserted at third, replacing DH Otto Velez in the line-up. This meant that the Jays lost their DH. Bailor finished out the game as a pitcher, and came to bat in the ninth and popped out.[11]
  • On September 26, 1987, Detroit Tigers designated hitter Darrell Evans moved to first base in the bottom of the seventh inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays, causing pitcher Mike Henneman to be inserted into the first baseman's spot in the batting order. Henneman batted for himself in the ninth, but struck out attempting to bunt. The Blue Jays scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth to win the game 10–9 in the midst of a pennant race, with Henneman taking the loss.[12]
  • The Seattle Mariners' Brian Holman was in the midst of a perfect game bid against Oakland on April 20, 1990, when Pete O'Brien was moved from DH to 1B in the eighth inning. Seattle therefore lost their DH and Holman batted for himself in the ninth, reaching base on a error by the second baseman. Holman subsequently lost his perfect game bid with two out in the bottom of the ninth, when pinch hitter Ken Phelps hit a home run. Holman retired the next batter to end the game, winning 6-1.[13]
  • Leading 11-1 in the 7th inning of a game played on August 2, 1991, the Texas Rangers made a plethora of defensive changes -- including moving DH Geno Petralli to 3B, thereby losing their DH. This allowed reliever Mike Jeffcoat to come to bat in the ninth. Jeffcoat hit an RBI double, and later came around to score the Rangers 15th and final run in a 15-1 pasting of the Milwaukee Brewers. [15]
  • On May 23, 1996, the Boston Red Sox elected to lose their DH in the late innings, sending DH Jose Canseco out to play left field with a 9-4 lead in the 8th. Sox starter Roger Clemens hit for himself in the bottom of the 8th inning, and singled. The Red Sox won the game 11-4. [16]
  • Attempting to hold on to a 6-5 lead on June 9, 1996, the California Angels made some defensive changes in the bottom of the 9th, including moving DH Rex Hudler to 2B. Reliever Troy Percival, however, blew the save and allowed the Cleveland Indians to tie the score, and the game went into extra innings. Percival batted for himself in the 10th and struck out. Later, pitcher Ryan Hancock came into the game, and hit for himself in the 13th. Hancock singled and came around to score the go-ahead run in what turned out to be a 8-6 victory for the Angels. [17]
  • On August 16, 1997, in the 8th inning of a 5-5 tie against the New York Yankees, the Texas Rangers made several defensive changes, including moving DH Ivan Rodriguez to catcher, thereby losing their DH. Texas Rangers reliever John Wetteland consequently batted for himself in the 10th inning -- and hit an RBI double in an 8-5 Rangers win.[18]
  • An unusual instance of an American League team forfeiting its right to the DH happened on July 22, 1999 to the Cleveland Indians in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. Manny Ramirez, the designated hitter, accidentally went into right field in the top of the 2nd instead of Alex Ramirez, causing some confusion. The Indians lost their DH, Alex Ramirez was out of the lineup, and Charles Nagy was forced to hit in Alex Ramirez's place going 0 for 2. John McDonald later pinch-hit for Nagy in the 6th inning.[19]
  • On August 10, 1999, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays brought in third baseman Wade Boggs to pitch against the Baltimore Orioles in a blowout in favor of Baltimore. Boggs, peculiarly, was put into the DH's place in the lineup at the same time he was being brought into the game to pitch. Pitcher Boggs grounded out in his only at bat.[20]
  • In a game played on July 31, 2000, Boston Red Sox DH Darren Lewis was moved to CF in the 8th inning, and the Red Sox consequently lost their ability to use a DH. Pitcher Hipolito Pichardo batted for himself in the 9th, striking out.[21]
  • In the second game of a doubleheader between the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox on July 6, 2007, the Twins initially used their starting catcher, Joe Mauer, as the DH because Mauer had started the first game at catcher. The starting catcher for the second game, Mike Redmond, however, was forced to leave the game in the first inning due to injury after accidentally being struck in the head by the bat of Jim Thome, and Mauer had to take the field as the replacement catcher. Twins starting pitcher Matt Garza thus was forced into the batting order and became the first American League pitcher to bat in a regular-season American League game since Hipolito Pichardo on July 31, 2000. Garza went 0-for-2, but picked up the win in a 12-0 victory over the White Sox.[22][23]
  • On May 19, 2008, the Minnesota Twins surrendered their DH position in a game vs. the Texas Rangers in Minneapolis. Twins Manager Ron Gardenhire had to use rookie pitcher Bobby Korecky as a hitter in the 11th inning of the game; Korecky had only pitched in five major league games prior to this and had never had a major league at-bat. Nevertheless, Korecky hit the first pitch he saw into right field for a single, becoming the first Twins pitcher to get a hit in an American League game since the implementation of the DH rule. The inning ended with Korecky stranded at 3rd base with the bases loaded. Korecky ended up getting his first major league win in this game as the Twins won 7–6 in 12 innings.[24]
  • On May 17, 2009, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon incorrectly listed both Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria as third basemen in the starting lineup against the Cleveland Indians. Maddon's intent was for Zobrist to play at third and Longoria to be the DH. In the middle of the first inning, Cleveland manager Eric Wedge brought Maddon's error to the umpires' attention, and the Rays were forced to forfeit their DH, remove Longoria from the lineup since Zobrist played the top half of the first inning at third base (Longoria was available as a substitute since he never appeared in the game before that point), and bat starting pitcher Andy Sonnanstine at Longoria's place in the order—third. This was the first time a pitcher was in the initial batting order in a game between two American League teams since Ken Brett in 1976. Sonnanstine went 1 for 3 with an RBI double, and picked up the win in a 7-5 Tampa Bay victory.[25]
  • On June 11, 2011, Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Mike McCoy was moved from second base to pitcher in the top of the ninth, as the Jays were losing a 16-4 rout against the Boston Red Sox. Rather than use bench player at second base, third-baseman Jayson Nix moved to second base and DH Edwin Encarnacion was inserted at third base. McCoy pitched a three-up, three-down ninth, and then batting as a pitcher, grounded out in the bottom of the inning.[26]

In the following instances, a team forfeited their right to a DH, but due to pinch-hitters or other factors, a pitcher did not actually end up making a plate appearance:

  • On September 5, 1976, New York Yankees starting pitcher Catfish Hunter pinch-hit for second baseman Sandy Alomar, Sr. in top of the 6th inning and stayed in the lineup as the pitcher for the Yankees in the bottom half of the inning. César Tovar, the one-time designated hitter in the game, then took over at second base.[28] (Note: There is now a section of the rule that states that the game pitcher may only pinch-hit for the designated hitter; therefore, this move would have been allowed then, but now it would be prohibited.)
  • During the month of September, 1980, Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver inserted a pitcher into the DH slot but would use a hitting specialist (such as Benny Ayala or Terry Crowley) to pinch-hit when the designated hitter's first turn came up. There was a game on September 17, 1980, during which the Orioles and the Detroit Tigers both used the short-lived strategy.[29] (Note: Due to the loophole of which Earl Weaver took advantage, there was a rule change shortly thereafter that states the DH must come to bat at least once, unless the opposing team changes pitchers.)
  • In the bottom of the 8th on July 15, 1993, the Seattle Mariners' Jeff Nelson was moved from the pitcher position to left field. The strategy allowed Nelson to stay in the game while left-handed pitcher Dennis Powell came in to pitch to Mike Greenwell in a game at Boston. By moving the pitcher into a defensive position, Nelson was put into the designated hitter's spot in the batting order while the new pitcher (Powell) was placed into the left fielder's place in the batting order. (It is very uncommon to see this particular move in an American League ballgame due to the DH.) Powell's turn in the batting order came up in the top of the ninth: Pete O'Brien pinch hit for him. Left fielder Nelson was then moved back to pitcher, and pitched in the bottom of the ninth.[30]
  • On October 1, 2000, the Detroit Tigers willingly surrendered the DH position late in a game against the Minnesota Twins.[31][32] With the Tigers and Twins out of playoff contention, Tigers manager Phil Garner decided beforehand that utility player Shane Halter would play all nine defensive positions.[31][33] Halter began the game batting 8th and playing first base. At the start of the 8th inning, Halter moved to pitcher. In a series of corresponding defensive changes, Bobby Higginson moved from DH to left field and the Tigers lost the DH. After Halter walked the only batter he faced (Matt LeCroy), he moved to second base, Brad Ausmus moved from second base to first base, and first basemen Robert Fick moved to pitcher, where he was immediately replaced by relief pitcher Matt Anderson, who would bat ninth. Anderson was replaced by closer Todd Jones for the top of the ninth inning. When Jones' spot in the order came up in the bottom of the ninth, he was pinch hit for by Billy McMillon, who singled. The next hitter, Hal Morris, singled in the game winning run, scoring Halter.[32] The Tigers, using 15 position players and making use of expanded rosters, won 12–11 on the final game of the season. The Tigers and Twins tied an American League record for total players used with 42.[33]
  • There have been times when a manager may willingly surrender the DH position late in a game. During the 2005 American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, New York had Bernie Williams slated as the designated hitter.[34] Late in the game, manager Joe Torre took Williams out of the DH and put him in center field because of Williams' superior defensive play. Since the Yankees already had the lead, not giving up any more runs was more important to Torre than having a better hitter hit for the pitcher in the game at the time, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. Because a double switch was used, it was not necessarily a negative situation to have Rivera bat. Rivera's place in the order would have only come up if the Yankees batted around, which would have inherently meant their lead would have been further increased at that late point in the game anyway, giving more cushion for the Yankees' best relief pitcher to close out the game.
  • On May 28, 2009, Minnesota Twins catcher Mike Redmond was ejected from a game in Minneapolis against the Boston Red Sox after disputing umpire Todd Tichenor's call on a close play at home plate. Because Minnesota's normal starting catcher Joe Mauer was in the game as the DH and no other catcher was available, Minnesota was forced to forfeit the DH position for the remainder of the game. The pitcher was replaced with a pinch hitter both times it came up in Boston's 3–1 victory.[35]
  • On October 19, 2009, in the ALCS Game 3 New York Yankees designated hitter Jerry Hairston replaced left fielder Johnny Damon in the outfield in the 10th inning. This move forfeited their designated hitter and made the pitcher spot come up third in the 11th inning.
  • On September 13, 2010, Tampa Bay Rays catcher Kelly Shoppach was replaced by pinch-runner Desmond Jennings after Shoppach was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the 8th in a tight pitchers duel between the Rays' David Price and the Yankees' CC Sabathia. Dioner Navarro moved from designated hitter to catcher to start the 9th inning, thereby sacrificing Tampa Bay's designated hitter. By the time the DH spot was due up to bat in the 10th inning, pitcher Joaquin Benoit was pinch-hit for by Dan Johnson, who singled to right field.
  • On July 30, 2011, in the 2nd game of a double-header against the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees DH Nick Swisher was switched over to his traditional Right Field position in the top of the 8th inning, while starting pitcher Ivan Nova was replaced by Luis Ayala. While the Yankees forfeited their right to a DH in the process, the 8th inning ended before Ayala would have come up to bat, and as the Yankees were the home team and leading, the bottom of the 9th inning was not played.[37]

Other DH oddities

  • Pitcher Mark Langston pinch-ran for designated hitter Hubie Brooks in the top of the 9th inning, scored on a single, and then was in the remainder of the extra-inning game as the DH finishing with two strikeouts in a game at the Chicago White Sox on June 10, 1992.[39]
  • The 1976 World Series was the first time the designated hitter was used in a National League park; from 1976 through 1984, during even-numbered years, the designated hitter was used the entire series regardless of venue. Beginning in 1986, the league rules of the home team for each game would be the determining factor for that game.
  • April 10, 2007 was the first time the designated hitter was used at a National League park during a regular-season game. The Cleveland Indians, having already had their home-opening series against the Seattle Mariners postponed in its entirety because of a major winter storm, and the three games rescheduled for later in the season, and facing the same prospect in their next series against the Anaheim Angels, were forced to move those games to Milwaukee. This was the first time American League rules were used in Milwaukee since 1997 and the first time at Miller Park.

Background and history

The rationale for the designated hitter rule is that, with a few exceptions — most notably Babe Ruth, who began his career as a pitcher with the Boston Red Sox — pitchers are usually weak hitters who ordinarily perform once every four or five games. The designated hitter idea was first floated by Philadelphia Athletics manager Connie Mack in 1906.[53] The rumors were that he grew weary of watching Eddie Plank and Charles Bender flail away at pitches and call it batting. Mack's innovative proposal received little support and was even lambasted by the press as "wrong theoretically." The notion did not die. In the late 1920s, National League president John Heydler made a number of attempts to introduce a 10th man designated hitter as a way to speed up the game, and almost convinced National League clubs to agree to try it during spring training in 1929.[53] However, momentum to implement the DH did not pick up until the pitching dominance of the late 1960s. In 1968, Denny McLain won 31 games and Bob Gibson had a 1.12 ERA, while Carl Yastrzemski led the American League in hitting with a .301 average. After the season, the rules were changed to lower the mound from 15 to 10 inches and change the upper limit of the strike zone from the top of a batter's shoulders to his armpits. In addition, in 1969 spring training, both the American League and National League agreed to try the designated pinch hitter (DPH), but they did not agree on the implementation. Most NL teams chose not to participate. On March 6, 1969, two games utilized the new DPH rule for the very first time. Two newly formed expansion teams, the Montreal Expos and the Kansas City Royals would participate in one such game, and the New York Yankees and Washington Senators in the other. On March 26, 1969, Major League Baseball nixed the idea for the time being. Like other experimental baseball rule changes of the 1960s and '70s, the DH was embraced by Oakland A's owner Charlie O. Finley. On January 11, 1973, Finley and the other American League owners voted 8–4 to approve the designated hitter for a three-year trial run.[53]

On April 6, 1973, Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees became the first designated hitter in Major League Baseball history, facing Boston Red Sox right-handed pitcher Luis Tiant in his first plate appearance. "Boomer" Blomberg was walked.[54]

Naturally, the result of the first season of the DH was that the American League posted a higher batting average than the National League, something which has remained consistent to this day.

The designated hitter offers American League managers two options in setting their teams' lineups: they can either rotate the role among players (for example, using a left-handed hitting DH against a right-handed pitcher and vice-versa) or they can employ a full-time designated hitter. It also allows them to give a player a partial day off. The adoption of the designated hitter rule has virtually eliminated the use of the double switch in the American League.

At first, the DH rule was not applied to the World Series. In 1976, it was decided the rule would apply to all games, regardless of venue, but only in even-numbered years. This practice lasted until 1985. The next year, the rule was adapted to its current format of only applying in games played in the American League team's stadium.

Similarly, there was initially no DH in the All-Star Game. Beginning in 1989, the rule was applied only to games played in American League stadiums.[55] When this occurs, fans are allowed to select an American League player to start at that position, while the NL's manager decides that league's starting DH. Since 2010, the designated hitter has always been used by both teams regardless of where the game is played.[56] When regular season interleague play was introduced in 1997, the rule was, and continues to be, applied in the same fashion as in the World Series. On June 12, 1997, San Francisco Giants outfielder Glenallen Hill became the first National League player to be the DH in a regular-season game against the American League's Texas Rangers at The Ballpark in Arlington, when they met in interleague play.[57] When the Milwaukee Brewers moved from the American League to the NL in 1998, the Brewers no longer used the DH on a regular basis; thus, as also usually happens when a minor-league pitcher joins an NL team, their pitchers needed to take batting practice.

Occasionally National League teams utilize the designated hitter during spring training games, usually when a player is recovering from an injury.

In recent years, full-time DHs have become less common, and the position has been used to give players a partial off-day, allowing them to bat but rest while the other team is batting. Only a handful of players compile over 400 at-bats as a DH each year.

Major League Baseball present an annual award to the most outstanding designated hitter of the season, called the Edgar Martinez Award. Renamed for the former Seattle Mariners DH after his retirement in 2004, the Outstanding DH Award was introduced in 1973 and has been handed out every season since, except 1994 due to a player's strike. Notable winners include Martinez (5 times) and David Ortiz (5 times consecutively).


There is considerable debate over whether or not the designated hitter rule should be removed.[58][59] Some [58] have argued that the National League should adopt it. On the other hand, there are also fans who enjoy the fact that the American and National Leagues use different rules. Two generations of fans of American League teams have grown up with the designated hitter rule being in place, so some may consider the designated hitter to be as much a traditional part of baseball as the pitcher taking his turn at bat is for fans of National League teams.

Critics often argue that use of the designated hitter introduces an asymmetry to the game by separating players into classes, creating offensive and defensive specialization more akin to American football. Opponents of the rule believe it effectively separates pitchers, other fielders, and designated hitters into separate roles that never cross, possibly causing issues with promoting 'batting cage' players whose scope of experience is extremely limited. However, when the pitcher bats alongside everyone else, all nine players must take turns at the plate and in the field, and the hybridization of roles requires that everyone knows other roles in addition to their own.

The designated hitter rule also changes managerial strategy in late innings. In the National League, a manager must decide when to let a pitcher bat or remove him, as well as whom to pinch-hit with and where or if that player should take the field afterward. When the decision to remove a pitcher is made, the manager may also elect to double switch, delaying the new pitcher's turn at bat.

Advocates of the designated hitter [58][59] point to the fact that it has extended many careers, and, in a few cases, created long, productive careers for players who are weak fielders or have a history of injuries, such as Edgar Martínez. Hall of Fame members George Brett, Carl Yastrzemski, and Paul Molitor continued their careers longer than they ordinarily would have without the rule. Some believe that extending careers of older players is less of an advantage and more of a disadvantage, filling spots that otherwise may have been taken by younger players who end up not finding a place in the major leagues.

With the rule, the quality of play may suffer because the home team of a inter-league game automatically receives a significant unnatural advantage no matter which league's rules are in effect. To combat this, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has proposed that the road team's rules would be followed for interleague games.[60]

The designated hitter outside Major League Baseball

Amateur baseball

The use of the designated hitter rule in amateur baseball is nearly universal. The primary difference between the DH in the professional and amateur games is that the DH may bat in place of one player in any position in most amateur baseball leagues such as those that use National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) rules. Most high school coaches use a designated hitter in place of the weakest hitter in the lineup, if they use one at all. In amateur baseball, many pitchers are also good hitters and will often play another position (or even DH) when not pitching. Professional pitchers usually focus exclusively on improving their pitching, thus their batting skills often deteriorate compared to their teammates. However, in Canada, the DH must bat for the pitcher still.

One notable exception to the NFHS designated hitter rule in youth baseball is American Legion baseball. Legion rules exactly follow those prescribed in the Official Baseball Rules, which allow the DH only to bat for the pitcher. Prior to 1995, the use of the DH was not allowed in Legion baseball. Japanese high school baseball is one of the few amateur baseball leagues in the world that has never used the designated hitter rule at all. In South Korean high school baseball, the rule has been adopted since 2004.

In college baseball, NCAA rules state that the designated hitter must hit for the pitcher, but in many instances the pitcher is also a good hitter, and the coach may elect to let the pitcher bat in the lineup. If the pitcher opts to bat for himself, he is treated as two separate positions — a pitcher and a designated hitter (abbreviated P/DH on the lineup card) — and may be substituted for as such (i.e. if he is removed as the pitcher, he may remain as the designated hitter and vice versa). However, if a player who starts a game as a P/DH is relieved as the starting pitcher, he may not return to the mound even if he remains in the game as the DH, and he may not play any other defensive position after being relieved as the pitcher. Conversely, a player who begins the game as the DH, but not as the pitcher, may come into the game as a reliever and remain as the DH (in effect becoming a P/DH), be relieved on the mound later in the game but continue to bat as the DH.

International baseball leagues

The DH is used in most professional baseball leagues around the world. One notable exception is the Central League of Japan, where pitchers bat as they do in the National League. Japan's Pacific League adopted the designated hitter in 1975. However, when teams from different leagues play against each other in Japan Series or interleague games, the DH rule is adopted if the Pacific League's team hosts the game. Unlike the AAA in America, minor team games in NPB adopted DH rule regardless of teams.

Minor leagues

All of the non-independent minor leagues have adopted the designated-hitter rule for use in their games. At the double-A and triple-A level, when both teams are National League affiliates, they have their pitchers bat; otherwise the DH is used. (In the Pacific Coast League, pitchers only hit when both clubs are NL affiliates and both clubs agree to have their pitchers hit.) The reason for this is as players move up and get closer to reaching the majors, teams prefer to have the rules mimic (as closely as possible) those of the major leagues. Single-A and Rookie leagues use the DH in all games.[61]

See also


  • Will, George F. (1990). Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball. 
  • McKelvey, G. Richard (2004). All Bat, No Glove: A History of the Designated Hitter. 
  • Dickey, Glenn (1980). The History of American League Baseball. 
  • Johnson, Lloyd (1999). Baseball's Book of Firsts. 


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Further reading

  • Chen, Albert (April 11, 2011). "Going, Going ... Gone?: Adam Dunn is powerful, plodding, productive and very well paid—and in today's game, he's a dinosaur. In an era that values run prevention and lineup flexibility, the DH as we knew it is a dying breed". Sports Illustrated. p. 53. 

External links

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