As the Major League Baseball owners began their annual meetings on Wednesday, a major talking point in the sport is carrying over the designated hitter to the National League.
There were recently rumblings of “momentum” being generated for the DH to become a staple across baseball. Of course, as it currently stands, a DH is used for all American League games, and Interleague and World Series games played in an AL ballpark.
Interleague play began during the 1997 season and since that point it’s created for interesting situations when an AL club has visited an NL ballpark.
During such instances, the likes of famed Boston Red Sox DH David Ortiz, Edgar Martinez of the Seattle Mariners, and several others, have needed to field a position when playing on the road against an NL club.
The difference in styles between the two leagues has sparked plenty of debate amongst former and current players and analysts.
When asked for his opinion on the matter, Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw explained in an interview on Game Night with Matt Perrault why he prefers to not have the DH:
“I’m kind of torn. I think obviously some of the greater hitters of our game are DHs. You see David Ortiz and Edgar Martinez when you go back, and different guys like this are some of the better hitters. But at the same time, my mentality is baseball is a two-way sport. You have to be able to put a glove on your hand and go out there and play in the field to be a baseball player. I definitely would not take it away. I want the pitcher to hit. I guess my easy answer is keep it the way it is and deal with it in the World Series.”
Kershaw added being able to bat is an added benefit on a personal level:
“I love taking batting practice. I get to hit at Dodger Stadium every home game, get to go out there early and take batting practice on the field, maybe even hit a couple over the fence. Once the game starts it’s definitely not easy. But I will say this, it does take your mind off of pitching for that brief moment. I think that’s probably good for me. I don’t have to sit on the bench and constantly be thinking about pitching every single time. I think there’s a benefit in that, for sure.”
The 27 year old is a career .153 hitter with one home run and 24 RBIs. He’s been among the Dodgers pitchers to swing the bat well in recent years, which was a competition that leaned in Zack Greinke’s favor.
The Dodgers have 10 Interleague contests at home this season and 10 on the road.