NEW YORK ( Associated Press) – Starting extra innings with a runner on second base during the regular season became a permanent rule in Major League Baseball on Monday after starting three seasons ago during the coronavirus pandemic.
Known to some as the “Autorunner” and others as “Manfred Man” after commissioner Rob Manfred, the rule was adopted unanimously by the 11-person competition committee.
The committee also prohibited the use of position players as pitchers. They are limited to extra innings when the player’s team is trailing by eight or more runs or leading by 10 in the ninth inning. Last year, a position player could only pitch extra innings if his team was winning or losing by six or more runs.
The joint competition committee, set up in the lockout agreement in March last year, comprises six management officials, four union representatives and an umpire.
Last year, 216 games went into extra innings, down from 233 in 2021 and 78 during the shortened 2020 season. The longest last year was Cleveland’s 7–6 win over Minnesota in 15 innings in the second inning of a September 17 doubleheader. He remained away from an entry for the longest of the Rule’s three seasons in a victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in San Diego on August 25, 2021, which was 16 episodes.
Home teams have gone 113-103 in extra-inning games last year and 262-263 in 2020 since the runner-up rule was introduced, according to data from the Elias Sports Bureau. Elias pointed out that the Locals had a record in extended games of 312–294 between 2017 and 2019.
The rule was adopted as a pandemic measure for the 2020 season and is set to continue.
“Teams are getting used to the extra innings rule,” Manfred said after an owners’ meeting on Thursday. “I think it’s generally well accepted by the players.”
According to the commissioner’s office, the use of position players as pitchers increased from 90 in 2019 to 89 in 2021 and 132 last year. His use of six or seven races increased from eight in 2019 to 16 in 2021 and 28 last year.
His use of forwards by six or more increased from 1 in 2019 to 18 last season in 2021.