One year ago Major League Baseball and its Players Association agreed on a new set of rules that would be implemented at the start of the 2020 regular season.
One of the notable changes was that position players could no longer pitch at any point unless designated as a “Two-Way Player.” A player qualified as a “Two-Way Player” only if he accrues at least 20 Major League innings pitched and at least 20 Major League games started as a position player or designated hitter (with at least three plate appearances in each of those games) in either the current season or the prior season.
The only other times position players would be allowed to pitch was going to be in extra innings, or games their team was losing or winning by more than six runs.
With so much changing due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the league recently announcing it will only have a 60-game season in 2020, they changed course on a position-player pitching as well. According to Jayson Stark of The Athletic, the old rules of position players being able to pitch whenever is back in place:
MLB will reverse its new rule which would have allowed position players to pitch only in blowout games or in extra innings. The new rule for 2020 permits position players to pitch at any point of any game.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and all other MLB teams typically only use position players on the mound in blowouts or extra-innings games when they run out of pitchers anyways, so this likely won’t be much of a change.
Russell Martin isn’t currently on the Dodgers’ roster, but he actually made four pitching appearances in 2019, tossing four shutout innings while giving up just two hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
Kiké Hernandez also saw some time on the mound as recently as 2018, although he did not fare as well, giving up a walk-off to the Philadelphia Phillies in an extra-inning game.
Perhaps the biggest rule change in place for the 2020 season is the implementation of a universal DH, so Dodgers pitchers no longer will have to hit. That is only expected to be the case this year though with traditional National League rules due to return in 2021.
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