Dodgers News: Dave Roberts Hopeful Universal DH Returns In 2021

Facing unprecedented circumstances last year, Major League Baseball and the Players Association reached an agreement to implement the designated hitter in the National League for the 2020 season.

It was initially met by some pushback from purists in the sport, but there was an understanding a universal DH was in the best interest for pitchers and efforts to protect them from injury. By the end of the season, Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was among those whose opinion had been swayed.

Although there was a modest expectation the universal DH would return this season, the league and MLBPA reportedly were at odds over implementing it in exchange for expanded playoffs. Those issues recently were recently said to no longer be on the table.

When told there were some rumblings that MLB and the union could still reverse course before Opening Day, Roberts expressed hope that would be the case. “If the game of baseball were to pivot, I think there would be a lot of people in favor of that,” he said.

“I just think it gets nine hitters in there. It’s hard enough to hit, so now you’re getting pitchers that really are overmatched at the plate and not very successful, sacrifice bunting. So I just think we talk a lot about the fan interest, and I think fans would want to see a hitter hit rather than a pitcher.”

The Dodgers utilized the DH spot to rotate regular position players through as a means of providing some rest.

Regardless of what ultimately transpires this year, there is a widely held expectation a universal DH will be negotiated as part of new collective bargaining agreement that needs to be in place before a 2022 season can be played.

Dodgers pitchers batting

The Dodgers just began having their starting pitchers bat for the first time this week. Clayton Kershaw lined a single into left field in his first at-bat, and so too did David Price.

“That was by far my best hit in the big leagues. I don’t care if it came in Spring Training,” Price said. “To be able to get a ball on the barrel and hit it to the outfield grass, that was cool. To do it off of a friend in Merrill Kelly, that makes it a little bit more special.”

Although Kershaw and Price hit in back-to-back games, the Dodgers did not have Julio Urias make a plate appearance Friday. “We could hit him, but Justin taking more at-bats today is more important than Julio taking an at-bat,” Roberts explained.

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