(New York, April 18, 2023) – Major League Baseball (MLB) today announced experimental playing rules to be used during the 2023 Atlantic League (ALPB) Championship Season.  In 2019, the Atlantic League became MLB’s first Partner League, a capacity in which the ALPB pioneered rules and equipment tests.  Previous rules that were first tested in the Atlantic League include the Double-Hook Designated Hitter, the dropped pitch rule, automated balls and strikes using TrackMan technology, no mound visits other than for pitching changes or medical issues, the three-batter minimum for pitchers, bigger bases and defensive shift restrictions. 

Beginning with its 2023 Opening Day on Friday, April 28th, the ALPB will feature a new Designated Pinch Runner rule, a pitcher limit of a single disengagement per at bat, and the return of the Double-Hook DH rule.  Below is a summary of the experimental rules that will be tested to start the 2023 ALPB season: 

  • New to the Atlantic League this season will be the use of a Designated Pinch Runner.  Each club will list a player who is not otherwise in the starting lineup as a designated pinch runner.  That player may then be substituted at any point into the game as a baserunner.  The player who is substituted for, as well as the pinch runner, may then return to the game without penalty.
  • Unlike the new MLB rule which allows a pitcher to disengage from the pitching rubber twice during an at-bat, the Atlantic League test will permit only a single disengagement per at-bat in 2023.  
  • The ALPB will continue the use of the “Double-Hook” DH rule, which allows clubs to use the designated hitter throughout the game provided that the club’s starting pitcher has completed at least five innings.  If the starter fails to make it through the fifth, the club then loses the DH for the remainder of the game.

Atlantic League President Rick White said: “The Atlantic League is proud of our relationship with MLB as its very first Partner League.  We are excited to have pioneered the rules changes which MLB is using today to enhance the game at its highest level.  Our players and coaches are helping shape the future of the game.”

MLB Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations Morgan Sword said: “We thank the Atlantic League for their continued partnership.  In recent years, the ALPB’s experimental rules have aimed to emphasize athleticism, improved pace of play and other means of giving fans the game they want to see.  We are excited for another great season of Atlantic League baseball and the entertainment that it will bring to fans.”

The Atlantic League’s partnership role has called for the league to institute rule changes that are under evaluation for testing by MLB.  Some of the rules first seen by fans of the Atlantic League received further testing in affiliated play in the Minor Leagues before being implemented in MLB games. 

About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary season in 2023, the Atlantic League is Major League Baseball’s first Professional Partner League, a player gateway to the major leagues, and a leader in baseball innovation. ALPB has sent over 1,200 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 45 million fans to its family-friendly ballparks throughout its 25-year history. Please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.