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GENERAL BASEBALL RULES

All-Star Game

All-Star Game fan voting will be conducted in two rounds. During the "Primary Round," each Club will nominate one player per eligible position (three outfielders), who will be voted on by fans. In late June or early July, an "Election Day" will be held in which the top three vote-getters at each position in each League during the Primary Round (including the top nine outfielders) will be voted on by fans during a prescribed time period to determine the All-Star Game starters. Further details on the new fan voting format will be announced in April.

Manager Challenges

Each club receives two manager challenges to start each All-Star Game, postseason game and Divisional or Wild Card tiebreaker game, and one manager challenge to start every other game. All reviews are conducted at the Replay Command Center, which is located at Major League Baseball Advanced Media headquarters in New York, by replay officials -- full-time Major League umpires who work shifts at the Replay Command Center in addition to their on-field work. Replay officials review all calls subject to replay review and decide whether to change the call on the field, confirm the call on the field or let stand the call on the field due to the lack of clear and convincing evidence. A manager may challenge as many reviewable calls within a single play as he desires using one challenge. The club retains its manager challenge if the replay official overturns any challenged call (even if he upholds other challenged calls), and loses its manager challenge if no calls are overturned. Once a club has exhausted its available manager challenge(s), it will no longer have the ability to challenge any additional play or call in the game. A manager has a 30-second time limit to inform the umpire (by verbal communication or hand signal) whether he wishes to use his manager challenge to invoke replay review, and the challenge may not be rescinded once it has been exercised.

Mound Visits

Clubs are limited to five (5) mound visits per team per nine innings, with teams receiving an additional visit for every extra inning played. Any manager, coach or player visit to the mound counts as a mound visit under this rule, though visits to the mound to clean cleats in rainy weather, to check on a potential injury or after the announcement of an offensive substitution are excepted. If a team is out of visits, the umpire will have discretion to grant a brief visit at the catcher's request if a cross-up has occurred between the pitcher and catcher.

Slide Rule

When sliding into a base in an attempt to break up a double play, a runner has to make a "bona fide slide." Such is defined as the runner making contact with the ground before reaching the base, being able to reach the base with a hand or foot, being able to remain on the base at the completion of the slide (except at home plate) and not changing his path for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder. The slide rule prohibits runners from using a "roll block" or attempting to initiate contact with the fielder by elevating and kicking his leg above the fielder's knee, throwing his arm or his upper body or grabbing the fielder. When a violation of the slide rule occurs, the offending runner and the batter-runner will be called out.

Trade Deadline

The trade deadline will remain July 31st; however, trade waivers will be eliminated. Players may be placed and claimed on outright waivers after July 31st, but players may not be traded after that date.

GREAT AMERICAN BALL PARK GROUND RULES

For universal ground rules and rules specific to Great American Ball Park, please click below.

CHANGES 2020

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association have agreed on the following rule changes to go into effect for the 2020 season:

ACTIVE ROSTER PROVISIONS

  • The active roster limit from Opening Day through August 31st and in Postseason games will increase from 25 to 26, and the minimum number of active players will increase from 24 to 25. The current Major League Rules allowing for a 26th player for doubleheaders will be amended to allow for a 27th player.
  • Elimination of 40-man active roster limit in September. From September 1st through the end of the championship season, all Clubs must carry 28 players on the active roster.
  • The number of pitchers a Club may carry on the active roster will be capped at a number determined by the joint committee. Clubs must designate each of its players as either a pitcher or a position player prior to each player's first day on the active roster for a given season. That designation will remain in effect for the player, and cannot change, for the remainder of the championship season and Postseason. No player on the active roster other than those designated as pitchers by the Club may appear in a championship season or Postseason game as a pitcher except in the following scenarios:
    • Players designated as a "Two-Way Player." A player qualifies as a "Two-Way Player" only if he accrues at least 20 Major League innings pitched and at least 20 Major League games started as a position player or designated hitter (with at least three plate appearances in each of those games) in either the current championship season or the prior championship season;
    • Following the ninth inning of an extra-inning game; or
    • In any game in which his team is losing or winning by more than six runs when the player enters as a pitcher.

MINIMUM NUMBER OF BATTERS FOR PITCHERS

The Office of the Commissioner will implement an amended Official Baseball Rule 5.10(g) requiring that starting pitchers and relief pitchers must pitch to either a minimum of three batters or the end of a half-inning (with exceptions for incapacitating injury or illness). The Players Association has agreed that it will not grieve or otherwise challenge the Office of the Commissioner's implementation of the amended Rule 5.10(g).  

INJURED LIST AND OPTION PERIOD FOR PITCHERS

Subject to input from the joint committee, the minimum placement period for pitchers on the Injured List shall increase from 10 days to 15 days, and the minimum assignment period of pitchers who are optionally assigned to the minors will increase from 10 days to 15 days.