Academy Courses

The Designated Hitter

The Designated Hitter (TOPIC)

The designated hitter (“DH”) rule is most commonly associated with the American League in Major League Baseball. The rule was implemented in the AL in 1973 and allows a non-fielding hitter to bat in place of the pitcher. Some amateur baseball leagues will even allow the DH to bat in place of a defensive player.

If league rules allow a designated hitter and a team intends to utilize one, this must be declared in the starting line-up. Using a DH isn’t required, but the decision must be made before the game. Should a team choose not to use a DH in the starting lineup, they will be precluded from using one for the entire game.

If the DH is substituted at any time (e.g. as a pinch runner or pinch hitter), the incoming substitute takes over the designated hitter duties. A DH can enter the game defensively. However, if the DH replaces a fielder, the pitcher must then bat in the replaced player’s spot in the batting order.

Designated Hitter Rule: [Official Rule 5.11]

Designated Hitter: [Umpire Interpretation 36]