Less than a week to go until opening day 2022. Thursday, April 8.
The Rangers open in Toronto the following day. And then this long wonderful season unfolds in front of us.
MLB announced, really more like made official, rule changes for 2022.
1 Rosters are expanding from 26 players to 28 players for April. This is to help prevent injuries, mainly with pitching, since spring training was shortened. There will be no limit to the number of pitchers a team can carry in April. After May 1, when rosters shrink back to 26, teams can roster only 13 pitchers.
2 Double headers will go back to being nine innings instead of the seven innings they were the past two seasons.
3 The ghost runner lives. At least for this season. Yes, like the past two seasons, extra innings will start with a runner at second. It was a rule that at first seemed to go against any sensible sensibility to a sensible baseball purist. But in practice it’s proved to be a great rule. For one, it might be the only inning a team gets a runner on base. But, it does make games end quicker than those 17-inning marathons.
4 The Shohei Ohtani rule goes into effect. If a pitcher is also the team’s DH, the team doesn’t lose that player as a DH when the pitcher leaves the game.
Other rules being kicked around, like the pitch clock, banning the shift, and wider bases, will probably be implemented next year.
As for now, it’s really just a few procedural tweaks.
First, we have to get through these final five spring training games.