Ghost runners will remain in 2022.
A major league source confirmed a report from the New York Post that MLB and the MLB Players Association have reached agreement for the 2022 season to reinstitute a runner on second base at the start of all extra innings, beginning with the 10th. While the rule has to be approved by a vote of MLB owners, it’s expected to pass.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora said MLB canvassed managers and front offices in recent days about whether to resurrect the rule, which was not part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Amidst concerns about players’ physical preparedness for the 2022 season following a compressed spring training, the runner — which has accelerated the conclusion of extra-innings games — was reinstated for next season.
Additionally, according to the Post, teams will be able to carry expanded rosters of 28 players through May 1 in an effort to diminish early-season, workload-related injury concerns. The rosters will return to the normal 26 for the bulk of the season.
MLB and the Players Association also agreed to a Shohei Ohtani-inspired change: In games where the starting pitcher is also the designated hitter, the player will be allowed to remain in the game as a D.H. even after he exits the contest as a pitcher. The “Shohei Rule” will be in effect for the entire five-year term of the recently negotiated CBA.