We have the 2023 MLB rule experiments set to tested in the Atlantic League this year, including a designated pinch runner and a new limit on how often a pitcher can step off the rubber.
Beginning on the April 28 Opening Day the Atlantic League will feature a new Designated Pinch Runner rule, a pitcher limit of a single disengagement per at bat, and the return of the Double-Hook DH rule:
- Designated pinch runner. Each club will list a player who is not otherwise in the starting lineup as a designated pinch runner. That player may then be substituted at any point into the game as a baserunner. The player who is substituted for, as well as the pinch runner, may then return to the game without penalty. Charlie Finley and Herb Washington would be so proud to see the game catching up with them.
- Single pitcher disengagement per at bat. Unlike the new MLB rule allowing a pitcher to disengage from the pitching rubber twice during an at-bat, the Atlantic League test will permit only a single disengagement per at-bat in 2023.
- “Double-Hook” DH rule. The ALPB will continue the use of this DH rule, allowing clubs to use the designated hitter throughout the game provided that the club’s starting pitcher has completed at least five innings. If the starter fails to make it through the fifth, the club then loses the DH for the remainder of the game.
Previous rules first tested in the Atlantic League include the Double-Hook Designated Hitter, the dropped pitch rule, automated balls and strikes using TrackMan technology, no mound visits other than for pitching changes or medical issues, the three-batter minimum for pitchers, bigger bases and defensive shift restrictions.