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Dodgers: Dave Roberts Still Hoping MLB Uses the Universal DH

Doc hoping for a last-minute change.



The Dodgers used the Universal DH better than anyone in baseball last year. Dave Roberts took full advantage of it, getting guys days off their feet while also keeping hot bats in the lineup. Losing that in 2021 will be a little of an adjustment. 

Granted, it was only a rule-change for one year. But the DH in the National League ended up being a very well-received transition by players, coaches, and front offices. Dodgers pitchers have talked often this Spring about how they would prefer to have it moving forward. Understandably so, since pitchers are just there to pitch. 

But Dave Roberts isn’t ready to give up hope for the universal DH in 2021. The Dodgers manage told media before a game this week that he would still very much like to see it instituted, even this close to Opening Day. 

Well I just think it [DH] gets nine hitters in there. It’s hard enough to hit so now you’re getting pitchers that really are overmatched at the plate and not very successful, sacrifice bunting. So I think we talk a lot about the fan interest, and I think fans would want to see a hitter hit rather than a pitcher.

A manager not wanting his pitchers to hit is completely reasonable. It’s not a very competitive at-bat in the first place but now add in the extra factor of not stepping into the batter’s box all year. And while some Dodgers pitchers have got their at-bats in during Spring, not one has said they would be against a DH.

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The rule change might not be popular among the baseball purists, but it made a big difference in 2020. That also allowed for more job openings in the league with the need to fill a spot in the lineup. For the Dodgers, it allowed them a whole lot of flexibility. 

Unfortunately, the fate of it in 2021 lies in the hands of Major League Baseball. They are currently holding it hostage in hopes of getting extended playoffs this year, something the Player’s Union has been adamant about avoiding. 

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Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

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  1. ATTENTION! NL League players, especially pitchers, coaches, managers and team front offices: go get in front of Manfred and MLB and state your case to their faces! For MLB to think this isn’t a health and safety issue they are dead wrong. And fans for the most part may be turned away from the game because most want to see hitters hit, not a pitcher having to bat after more than a year off. To MLBPA, go ahead and and agree to some sort of expanded PS because that appears to be the hold up here.

    • No kidding. But having a DH also protects the 7th and 8th place hitters in the lineup. Sure, Barnes was helped by Betts in the hitting department. But he also was able to bat 9th hitting in front of Betts, the lead off guy. What do ya think may happen to Barnes or anyone batting 8th in front of the pitcher?

  2. Atlanta is hoping for the DH more than anyone. Otherwise they will have Ozuna in left field.

    • Why should MLB continue to have separate playing rules for each league? Not to mention that it’s also an uneven playing field, what with the AL having a DH but not in NL. Again, rules should be the same for BOTH leagues.

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