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Change to expanded rosters in September?

ST. LOUIS -- The effect of expanded rosters on playoff races could have less of an impact in the future as changes to the system are being discussed, a baseball official said Wednesday.

The problem is not so much the number of September call-ups from the minors, but how many should be active for any one game. For the first five months of the season, teams are limited to 25-man rosters, but there are no restrictions -- aside from cost -- in September.

The Cardinals had 29 for Wednesday night's game against the Mets, including 18 position players. Their bench players included six righthanded hitters, three lefties and one switch-hitter.

One proposal being considered is to still have unlimited call-ups, but only dress a set number of players, like a healthy scratch in the NHL or inactive players in the NFL. That would allow for minor-leaguers to be developed in September and yet maintain the integrity of the competition for the stretch run. The change would need approval by the Players Association, but there's not likely to be resistance as long as the call-ups receive service time.

After Tuesday's loss, Terry Collins lamented the parade of pinch hitters used by Tony LaRussa -- including Adron Chambers, the lefthanded-hitting call-up who hit a bases-clearing triple off D.J. Carrasco.

"It's what September is about," he said. "It's been going on for years and years and years."

That could come to an end, however, sooner than later.


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