Photo courtesy of the New York Post
By: Ross Sutton
After yet another injury to a pitcher doing National League things, I think it is time for the MLB to change the DH rule as soon as possible. Masahiro Tanaka will miss “a few weeks” according to reports after he left Friday’s game against the Mets due to tightness in both hamstrings. Other recent injuries to pitchers that occurred while running or hitting include: Jacob deGrom hurt his elbow swinging a bat and Jimmy Nelson hurt his rotator cuff sliding back into first after a pickoff attempt. We still have not seen Nelson this season after a breakout season in 2017. I don’t understand why these National League teams are okay with losing their top talents due to injuries that could be easily avoided. I’m not sure when enough teams in the league will realize that having a DH for only half the league is terrible for the game and is watering down the product on the field. I have no idea who wants to watch any pitcher look like a little leaguer at the plate against an opposing pitcher. In an age where the MLB is trying to make the game more watchable and improve the pace of play, I think it greatly improves the product on the field if all hitters actually have a chance to get a hit at the dish. It would also improve the pace of play if the managers weren’t forced to go back and forth about what they need to do in order to maneuver around the pitcher’s spot in the lineup.
So what can be done to solve this problem? The easy solution would be to make the DH a league-wide rule so no one has to watch these pitchers hit and injury themselves. Hopefully there are enough teams (25 out of 30) that will stop being so stubborn and do the right thing and allow the DH in the National League too. One other idea I had that could solve this problem is to enact a rule in which a team could have one player as a “designated runner” essentially, where they are allowed to come off the bench as many times as necessary to run for the pitcher. This would not eliminate the injuries that can happen to pitchers while hitting or running to first base, but it would eliminate the injuries on the basepaths while someone else is hitting. This is not a perfect solution but I still think it would be a great improvement to the current rule. Unfortunately, the only perfect solution in my mind would be for the DH rule to be accepted league-wide, so hopefully 25 teams agree to having a DH as soon as possible.
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