Designated debate: What should baseball do with the DH?

  • Article by: JASON GONZALEZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 25, 2013 - 5:07 PM

Some want the NL to adopt it; others say let the differences remain.

hide

Ryan Howard is in his 10th season as the first baseman for the Phillies, but playing for a team with a DH might enable the 33-year-old slugger to prolong his career.

Photo: Matt Slocum, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The idea of one day losing slugger Ryan Howard is worrisome, yet realistic, to Charlie Manuel. The longtime Philadelphia Phillies manager has seen National League All-Stars — and slugging first basemen — Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder depart for the American League and the lure of the designated hitter.

Howard, a first baseman who is 20 months removed from Achilles’ tendon surgery and battling knee problems, seems to be a perfect candidate to follow that path when his contract expires in 2016. But there’s a scenario that could keep Howard and other aging, sore-kneed run-producers in the NL.

The new model of interleague play, which finds the Twins at Miami on Tuesday night, has ignited an argument about the future of the DH. With 15 teams in each league — after Houston’s move to the AL West this season — there will be interleague series play throughout the season. Teams are traveling to the other league more often and are forced to adapt with or without a DH.

The changes have led many in baseball to believe that the National League eventually will adopt the DH rule. If it does, Philadelphia has a better chance of making Howard a lifelong Phillie.

“When you get to that point [in your career], it can be very enticing when you start thinking about it,” Howard said about the lure of the DH.

Manuel, like many traditionalists, is torn on the issue, believing that the long-standing differences of the American and National Leagues is a positive. The idea that endless interleague play creates an unfair playing environment is just talk, Manuel said.

“It’s something to discuss and people might try to make an issue out of it. But at the same time [the DH] has been in effect for a long time,” Manuel said. “I think both leagues are balanced out.”

Maybe. Watching Twins pitchers Scott Diamond and Kevin Correia strike out three times in four plate appearances during their visit to Milwaukee at the end of May made Twins hitters think otherwise.

“A lot of the guys were joking when we were in Milwaukee and the National League, we’d rather see [a Twins DH], than [Mike] Pelfrey or [another pitcher],” occasional Twins designated hitter Joe Mauer said. “Using that DH can really help.”

AL teams are asking pitchers to take more batting practice. NL teams are trying to turn pinch hitters into designated hitters. Neither is ideal.

“I don’t know which way they’re leaning. I know this sets up for some crazy stuff,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Worst-case scenario, you’re in the pennant race, and now your pitchers have to go hit and run the bases. It wouldn’t be a lot of fun. I know National League teams do it all the time, but we don’t. So there’s a difference.”

‘Synchronize it’

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig isn’t generally a fan of differences in the leagues. He has rid the AL and NL of separate presidents. He has eliminated league-specific umpiring crews. And this year, he has evened the number of teams in each league.

However, when it comes to the DH, the commissioner’s office hasn’t hinted of change coming.

General managers also haven’t spent much time discussing the DH.

“Whether it will be either disbanded or put into both leagues, that is going to come from the commissioner’s office,” Twins GM Terry Ryan said. “With interleague play taking place every day, it’s getting a lot more attention now.”

The 2013 season began with an interleague series and will end with one. It even had an effect on how some teams prepared for the season.

Kansas City pitchers were bunting and hitting since the first day of spring training. Their second series of the season was at Philadelphia. Detroit manager Jim Leyland has the opposite problem. The Tigers end their regular season at Miami and with no DH.

  • related content

  • Chart: A glance at the DH

    Monday June 24, 2013

    Glance at the DHWhen it went into effect: The American League adopted it in 1973.Best DHs: Edgar Martinez, Mariners;...

  • Reusse blog: Arcia has shot to be Twins' sixth Rookie of Year

    Tuesday June 25, 2013

    The AL's rookie crop is not impressive, and Arcia has the swing for solid production in second half of schedule.

  • Twins promote outfielder Buxton to Fort Myers

    Monday June 24, 2013

    After dominating the Midwest League, outfielder Byron Buxton was promoted to Class A Fort Myers by the Twins.

  • Twins-Miami series preview

    Monday June 24, 2013

    TWO-GAME SERIES AT MARLINS PARKTuesday, 6:10 p.m. • FSN, 96.3-FMRHP Kevin Correia (6-4, 3.87 ERA) vs. RHP Jose Fernandez (4-4,...

  • David Ortiz has played in 1,891 major league games with the Red Sox and Twins. Of those, he has had to play in the field only 258 times.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
7:05 PM ET123456789RHE
MinnesotaK. Gibson (11-10)000
BaltimoreC. Tillman (11-5)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati 2 Bottom 8th Inning
Pittsburgh 3
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 20 4th Qtr
(2) Alabama 30
Rice 10 4th Qtr 8:59
(17) Notre Dame 38
(10) South Dakota St 18 4th Qtr 10:18
(24) Missouri 35
Fla Atlantic 7 3rd Qtr 3:09
(22) Nebraska 48
California 31 4th Qtr 12:30
Northwestern 21
Marshall 28 4th Qtr
Miami-Ohio 20
UC Davis 0 3rd Qtr 3:34
(11) Stanford 38
Arkansas 21 3rd Qtr 5:30
(6) Auburn 28
(16) Clemson 7 1st Qtr 1:41
(12) Georgia 7
Liberty 0 1st Qtr 8:55
(23) North Carolina 7
Ohio U 7 1st Qtr 9:12
Kent State 0
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 2 2nd Half 35:00
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close