Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw Hopes Universal DH Returns

Major League Baseball experimented with a trio of new rules during the abbreviated 2020 season, and among them was a universal designated hitter that eliminated the need for pitchers to bat in National League games.

Some players didn’t immediately take to the change, but it eventually grew on them, as the universal DH proved to be a useful addition. Having an extra spot in the lineup created more jobs and helped prevent pitcher injuries related to hitting.

While the expectation had been the universal DH would return this season, a recent proposal was rejected by the MLB Players Association. Although teams are now looking at the prospect of pitchers batting again, it remains a possible an agreement could be reached.

Clayton Kershaw hopes that is the case, as he believes having an extra hitter in the lineup will benefit most teams and especially the Los Angeles Dodgers, via SportsNet LA:

“I actually got kind of used to the DH, honestly. Don’t get me wrong, I love hitting, but just because I get to take BP at Dodger Stadium. It’s not that much fun in a game. That’s not easy to do. But to be able to hit home runs at Dodger Stadium is a ton of fun.

“Honestly, the way we’re built, the way our team can be put together, I think it would almost benefit us more to be able to have a DH. Hopefully they can figure that out, because I think it benefits the game in general. I’ve kind of come around, honestly. I’m kind of used to it now.”

The universal DH allowed the Dodgers to give various players opportunities throughout the year, both to keep a rhythm and get some rest. It most notably kept Will Smith in the lineup during the postseason on days when Austin Barnes caught Kershaw.

With an expanded lineup, the Dodgers wound up hitting an MLB-best 118 homers last year and additionally broke the Atlanta Braves’ NL record for most home runs hit in a single calendar month.

Friedman proposes hybrid DH

The biggest gripe of the universal DH for baseball traditionalists was that it took away from some of the strategy typically seen in NL games.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman proposed a unique solution to this, which calls for teams starting games with a DH, but relinquishing it as soon as the starting pitcher is pulled.

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