There will be two extra All-Stars this summer.
Rosters have been expanded again by commissioner Bud Selig’s special committee for on-field matters, with each team bringing 34 players to the July 13 game in Anaheim, Calif., part of several changes coming to the summer showcase.
“I think they’re serious about it being a true competition. To do that, if the game goes extra innings you have to be able to compete,” said St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, a member of the committee. “This way you’ve got an extra guy you can protect.”
All-Star rosters have steadily expanded. There were 28 players per team from 1969-97, and the size increased to 30 with expansion in 1998.
After the infamous 7-7, 11-inning tie in Milwaukee in 2002, when both teams ran out of pitchers, rosters expanded to 32 players, including 12 pitchers, the following year, when the game first started counting for World Series home-field advantage.
The size increased to 33 players, including 13 pitchers, last summer, and will now be 34 players, with 13 pitchers per team.
“Any time you can add people to the All-Star team it’s good,” said Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who left off San Francisco Giants slugger Pablo Sandoval last year. “He was having a tremendous year and he wasn’t chosen. It gives players like that who deserve it a chance.”
Another change is that a pitcher who starts on the final Sunday before the All-Star break will be ineligible to pitch in the All-Star game and will be replaced on the roster, Major League Baseball said in a change announced Wednesday.
“You always have a problem with the Sunday pitchers. No matter what they say, Tuesday’s not a good day for them to pitch,” La Russa said.
In addition, a designated hitter will be used in the All-Star game every year, including in NL cities. The DH has been used since 1989 when the All-Star game was played in AL ballparks. There would have been a DH anyway for this year’s game.
“I think that’s a great idea,” La Russa said. “You go through a lot of needless scorecard work, it’s unnecessary.”
Fans will continue to vote for the AL starting DH. The NL DH will be picked by the All-Star manager.
The players’ association already has approved the changes.
“The changes are designed to make the All-Star game as competitive a contest as it could possibly be,” said Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president of labor relations.
Under a change that runs contrary to normal baseball rules, each manager may designate a position player who will be eligible for re-entry to the game if the final position player — at any position — is injured.
Previously, there was a special All-Star rule allowing re-entry only to replace an injured catcher. While that rule was put in sometime before 2002, it does not appear to have been used.