ORLANDO, Fla. — The designated hitter isn’t coming to the National League just yet.
Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner confirmed Thursday that no votes on any rules changes will be taken at the two-day owners’ meetings being held here.
Steinbrenner, who arrived Thursday, said he expects owners to be briefed Friday on potential rules changes that were bandied about by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association in January.
Among the suggestions from the union was adding the DH to the National League beginning this season. It’s more likely that the DH will be phased in over time in the NL because teams already have set much of their rosters for 2019.
Commissioner Rob Manfred is pushing for changes to improve the pace of play for the sometimes plodding sport. The most controversial is a proposal to require relief pitchers to face at least three batters per appearance (unless it’s the end of an inning or the pitcher is injured). Manfred also is interested in instituting a 20-second pitch clock, which he can do unilaterally under baseball’s collective-bargaining agreement.
MLB and the Players Association hope to reach agreement on any rules changes before the start of the regular season.
One change in terminology was announced: Deputy commissioner Dan Halem said MLB is changing the name of its disabled lists to injured lists at the suggestion of advocacy groups for the disabled.
Hal: Yankees ticket sales ‘flat'
Steinbrenner said ticket sales are about the same as they were at this time last year, which he said is partly because some buyers who signed 10-year ticket agreements when Yankee Stadium opened in 2009 did not renew.
“I think ticket sales are pretty much spot on to last year at this point,” he said. “We’re a little bit down because 10-year deals came up and some of those people live in different cities, who knows. But it’s very minor.
“For the most part, we’re running flat right now. Super Bowl’s over now. Spring training’s getting ready to start. That’ll be the test. We haven’t gone on sale for individual games yet, we haven’t done those kind of things, so right now I think we’re pretty flat to last year.”
Single-game Yankees tickets will be available in a presale on Feb. 20.