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Dodgers Plan On Getting Pitchers Their At-Bats in the Coming Weeks

Without the Universal DH in place, we’re back to pitchers hitting in 2021.



The Dodgers will have to get used to another new normal in 2021. The funny thing is, it’s just an adjustment back to the same rules from 2019. The Universal DH made a brief pit stop in MLB last year, but will not be part of the plan for the National League. 

Because of that, Dodgers pitchers will have to remember how to step into a big-league batter’s box again. Los Angeles has opted to utilize the designated hitter during Spring Training games so far, but there is a plan in place. 

Dave Roberts said in his postgame press conference on Wednesday that Dodgers pitchers have been practicing sacrifice bunts on a daily basis. They will start to get into the batting cages in the coming weeks with the hope that they will get real at-bats within the next few weeks. 

I think that third or fourth week, pitchers will typically get in there and sac bunts and take some at-bats. They’ve been working daily on the bunting, we haven’t got them in the cage yet but that should probably be happening soon as far as getting them swinging the bat. And then hopefully we’ll get them into a game in the next couple of weeks. 

In a typical year, pitchers generally start getting 1 or 2 live at-bats in the last 2 weeks of Spring Training. The Dodgers obviously had to readjust the approach to that a little bit given they are coming off of a year with the DH. 

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The Dodgers will have a few guys in their starting rotation that can swing a bat. Clayton Kershaw hasn’t hit much over the last few years, but he was still putting good wood on the ball in 2019. Tony Gonsolin picked up 4 hits in his rookie year, and Walker Buehler has shown some power with his homerun. 

Watching pitchers hit obviously isn’t ideal, but it could be fun for one more year. 

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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. No DH hurts the Dodgers more than any other NL team by far. First of all, they have 2 career AL pitchers in their rotation. Neither has even one extra base hit in the majors, both under .100 career BA, Price doesn’t even have a single sacrifice bunt ever. Next, with Betts and Seager batting 1 & 2, having an automatic out batting 9 will cost them many runs. Third, no DH will cost Smith and Rios tons of ABs, that is a shame for their bats to be out of the line up. If I was manager, I’d bat the pitcher 8, or even 7, to get more runners on base prior to Betts and Seager.

  2. And the minute that a pitcher gets hit on the throwing hand (happens every year) it won’t be “fun” now will it? What a bunch of hooey. Everyone not engaged in a battle to the death of their sport can agree that both the universal DH and expanded playoffs are good for baseball. COVID won’t be a problem in 2022. There will be a season long work stoppage because both management and the players are intent on destroying the “village” in order to save it.

    • love the optimism. I want to eliminate the DH altogether, and leave the playoffs alone. hopefully that is what comes out of next winters talks and we play ball in 2022! Go Dodgers!

    • Right on, rainbirdmuse! Honestly I’m a little less interested in this season now because I’m tired of following a sport where there’s not an even fair playing field for the NL. Baseball has gone backwards and as you say the lack of a DH does hurt this team Smith sits when Barnes catches. Instead, the pitcher kills the inning and when we see Barnes bats 8th this year, he won’t do as well batting in front of a pitcher instead of batting 9th last year in front of Betts instead. Oh, he take his walks when the opponents need to use the pitcher as an escape hatch. No mattwhat MLB and and Manfred think, there is a definite health and safety issue with pitchers. There may be a reason some teams will carry extra starters this year.

  3. Growing up most of these pitchers were the best hitter on their teams, so they should still be able to hit.

    Statistically there is not much difference between having a pitcher hit and dh hit. There is no significant increase in hitting with a dh.

    Pitchers mostly hit on the same side they throw. So the throwing hand is away from the pitchers.
    There is no danger of getting it hit. And there was never real problem with pitchers getting injured hitting in the past, that is just a nonsensical worry.

    • yessir! What an ADVANTAGE a team has when their pitchers can hit or lay down sac bunts. I remember Drysdale was used as a pinch hitter, he was that good. Kershaw and other Dodger pitchers over the years have been known to hit. This is real baseball, where strategy and all around athleticism from your pitchers is valued and helps make the game as great as it is. I can’t stand watching DH baseball.

  4. Glad to see no DH, but Manfred dangled it intentionally in 2020 to use as a giveaway to the players union in the next bargaining agreement. On a separate note, maybe April fool’s day isn’t the best opening day for baseball. Seems like March 31 or April 2 would have worked just as well. Maybe it’s a tribute to Manfred.

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