Autorunners will continue to hit the lanes during extra innings for the third season in a row.
Despite the relaxation of restrictions imposed by the pandemic, Major League Baseball and the players’ union reached a tentative agreement to keep this controversial rule standing, according to which each team that goes to bat starts with a runner in the second. base during extra innings.
The rule will remain in effect for at least the entire 2022 season.
The agreement requires the approval of the owners of the major league teams, something that could come as early as next week, a person familiar with the agreement said Tuesday, who asked to remain anonymous because an announcement about it had not been authorized.
The New York Post was the first outlet to report on the deal.
Likewise, the agreement on modifications to the rules of the game includes the expansion of the active payroll, from 26 to 28 players from April 7 to May 1, before the postponed start of the preseason.
Another new rule would benefit Shohei Ohtani, the Angels star who shines both on the mound and with the bat. The modification comes before the adoption of the designated hitter rule in both leagues.
Now, pitchers who start games in the batting order can continue in games as designated hitters even if they are relieved on the mound. Likewise, a designated hitter may enter a game to pitch.
The change will apply to multiple seasons.
The modification on the automatic corridor was applied from the regular campaigns of 2020 and 21, as part of the Operations Manual that included the procedures to deal with COVID-19.
The change did not apply to the postseasons in either of those two years.
There were 78 games that went into extra innings during the 2020 season, shortened by the pandemic. The longest innings were a pair of 13-inning games at Houston, won by the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 29 and Oakland on Aug. 7.
In every previous season since 1901 there had been at least one game of 15 innings or longer.
There were 233 extra-inning games last year. The longest was a win for the Los Angeles Dodgers at the San Diego Padres on August 25 in 16 innings.
The modification for 2020 and 21 that shortened doubleheaders to seven-inning games will not continue for 2022.
Active player rosters will be 28 from opening day through May 1. They will be reduced to 26 from May 2 to August 31 and will be expanded to 28 for the remainder of the regular season.
Last year, the cap was 26 from the opening game through Aug. 31, before being expanded to 28.
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Report: MLB, MLBPA agree to adjust rules