Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts: Shohei Ohtani Rule Is ‘Great’ For Fans & MLB

Among the rule changes MLB announced for the 2022 season was to amend the designated hitter, also commonly referred to as the ‘Shohei Ohtani rule’ because it was put in place for the Los Angeles Angels’ two-way superstar.

The universal DH was already agreed to, but the new rule lets a starting pitcher also remain in the lineup and count as two separate players. This allows two-way players to not only continue hitting for themselves when they are pitching, but stay in the game to bat after they are no longer pitching.

Previously, if a pitcher was hitting as the team’s designated hitter, they would need to move him to a different position on the field to keep the bat in the lineup after he was done pitching. That in turn cost the team their DH spot.

Currently, the rule is mainly in place for Ohtani, so it won’t affect the L.A. Dodgers much at all, but manager Dave Roberts believes the change is a positive change for the game of baseball and its fans, via SportsNetLA:

“I think it’s great. Obviously he’s a unique player. The game is about the players, the game is about the fans. For people that are working the game, it’s our jobs to work around those rules. It’s about the fans and the game. People want to see Shohei play. I wish when he’s out of the game he can’t keep hitting — that would be better for the Dodgers — but for the fans to see him pitch and stay win the game to DH, that’s great.”

Last season, Ohtani did everything well, including throwing some of the fastest pitches on the mound, hitting some of the highest exit velocities at the plate and being one of the fastest players on the basepaths.

His skills across the board made him one of the best hitters in baseball, winning the American League Silver Slugger Award at the designated hitter position with 46 home runs and 26 stolen bases, and one of the best pitchers in the AL, posting a 3.18 ERA with 156 strikeouts.

The significant contributions on the mound and at the plate also made him the unanimous choice for the AL MVP Award.

“He can check it off his list,” Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner said of Ohtani winning the award. “That was on his list. He wanted to be an MVP. He can check that one off. Obviously what he did was special. Happy for him. That was awesome.”

Ohtani rule also allows DH to enter as the pitcher

The amended DH rule also states if the DH is replaced, he can continue as the pitcher but can no longer hit for himself.

However, if the player is simultaneously replaced both as a starting pitcher and DH, he cannot be replaced by another two-way player filling both roles as separate people as this can be done only once on the initial lineup card by identifying that the starting pitcher will bat for himself.

“The expansion of the designated hitter and giving two-way players enhanced flexibility to showcase their talents will benefit the game for the foreseeable future,” MLBPA director of player services Kevin Slowey said of the change.

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