A not-very-common occurrence took place at a game I was at the other day, involving the switching of defensive positions as well as the designated hitter.
The players relevant to our example are:
- DH – Doug
- 1B – Frank
- C – Charles
- P – Paul
Frank doubles late in a close game, but his manager decides to pinch run for him with a faster player off the bench named Usain. Despite Usain’s speed, the team is unable to score and jog back out to play defense in the bottom of the inning.
Based on each player’s talents, the manager decides to move Charles from catcher to first base and inserts the designated hitter Doug into the game to catch. The reason this situation rarely pops up is because moving the designated hitter to a defensive position eliminates the designated hitter from the lineup.
Per rule 6.10:
The Designated Hitter may be used defensively, continuing to bat in the same position in the batting order, but the pitcher must then bat in the place of the substituted defensive player, unless more than one substitution is made, and the manager then must designate their spots in the batting order.
This means our pinch runner, Usain, cannot simply rotate into the DH role as if it were another defensive position. The pitcher, Paul, must now bat in Frank/Usain’s spot in the order. Usain is out of the game—unless he is brought in to pitch.