As Major League Baseball gets set to finally begin its 2020 regular season, there are a number of different rules that will be in place due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic creating a unique year.
The regular season will only be 60 games, so one of the biggest schedule changes is that teams will play teams in their division, as well as those in the opposite league that are geographically close. That means the Los Angeles Dodgers will be playing all National League West and American League West teams.
Since there will be so much Interleague play and as a means to protect pitchers, MLB decided to implement a universal designated hitter for the 2020 season. That is a big advantage for a team like the Dodgers, who will replace their pitcher with a ninth batter in an already very deep lineup.
Don’t expect the Dodgers to have one set DH for most of the season though, as manager Dave Roberts revealed he plans to use it to get his regular players off their feet, per Jon Morosi of MLB Network:
The #Dodgers won't have a full-time DH in 2020, Dave Roberts told us on @MLBNetworkRadio. He expects to utilize the spot as a partial day off for regular players, depending on handedness of the starting pitcher; he mentioned Justin Turner as one option in that regard. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) June 24, 2020
Given the Dodgers’ depth and versatility, it makes sense for them to utilize the DH in this manner. Players like Kiké Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Matt Beaty can easily fill in for starters at essentially any position to allow them to DH for a game or two.
Additionally, with the season being so short and not including many days off, it is essential that the Dodgers keep their players healthy and fresh for a potential postseason run that wouldn’t be too far in the future.
Justin Turner is the Dodgers’ oldest everyday player at 35 years of age, so as Roberts outlined the plan, he can be expected to DH in addition to playing third base. Hernandez and Taylor are both known for their defense and versatility, so there wouldn’t be any sort of drop off if they take a starter’s spot in the field for a night to allow Turner to get off his feet.
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