Major League Baseball has announced four fairly significant rule changes for the all-star game, and they will be in effect this year when Joe Girardi manages his first midseason classic.
“I think it’s good because the last thing you want to do is get in a situation like they had a few years ago where there’s a tie,” Girardi said. “Sometimes a catcher goes down or a player goes down, you don’t want to get in a bind where, to me, the fans aren’t seeing the best product. The reentry rule I like. I like the extra player because it’s gives you more flexibility on your roster.”
All-star voting has begun, but Girardi said he hasn’t started thinking about the decisions he’ll have to make to round out the roster.
“Because I haven’t done it, I really don’t have the experience to tell you when I’ll start thinking about it,” he said. “Probably mid to late June is the time that starts to make sense. You’ll start looking at the numbers and how your roster is going to be made up. You’ll probably have a better idea of how the voting is going.”
Here are the four changes:
• The designated hitter rule will now be utilized by both teams regardless of whether the All-Star Game is played in an American League or a National League ballpark. The National League’s starting DH will be selected by the N.L. All-Star manager, while the American League’s starting DH will continue to be selected via fan balloting.
• Any pitcher selected to an All-Star Team who starts a regular season game on the Sunday immediately preceding the All-Star Game will not be eligible to pitch in the All-Star Game and will be replaced on the roster. The pitcher who is ineligible to play in the All-Star Game will be recognized as an All-Star, will be welcome to participate in All-Star festivities and will be introduced in uniform.
• Rosters will be expanded from 33 players to 34 players, consisting of 21 position players and 13 pitchers. Last year’s 33-man rosters consisted of 20 position players and 13 pitchers.
• In addition to the existing injured catcher rule, one additional position player who has been selected to an All-Star Team will be designated by each All-Star manager as eligible to return to the game in the event that the last position player at any position is injured.
Associated Press photo