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MLB teams can keep carrying 14 pitchers through June 19

Los Angeles Dodgers v Cincinnati Reds
“So many pitchers to choose from down there.”
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

One of these days the 13-pitcher limit — which was agreed to before the 2020 season — will be enforced in Major League Baseball. But that day won’t be Monday.

Teams will be allowed to carry up to 14 pitchers for three more weeks, through June 19.

Pitcher limits were ignored during the 2020 and 2021 seasons as part of COVID protocols. This year, the 99-day lockout shortened spring training, and as a precaution teams were allowed to carry 28 players on the active roster though May 1, with no pitcher limits.

The league and players association agreed to allow an extra pitcher for four weeks once active rosters reduced to 26 players on May 2. That was set to expire Monday, which we discussed along with upcoming Dodgers pitching plans on the latest episode of the podcast.

It will be interesting to see how this is utilized by the Dodgers, who have eleven games remaining on their stretch of 31 games in 30 days, ending next Sunday, June 5. But after that they have four off days in 15 days, through the period when 14 pitchers are allowed. Depending on Andrew Heaney’s timetable, the Dodgers likely only need a fifth starter once in those last two weeks, so the team could very well carry 10 relievers instead of nine for the last several games of that stretch if they are so inclined.

So far this season, the Dodgers’ 146 relief appearances — 3.4 per game — is in the middle of the pack, ranking 17th in MLB, with a league average of 151 relief appearances per team.

But there will be plenty of time to think about the future Dodgers bullpen in a couple weeks. In the near future, they have a not-quite-stretched-out Mitch White starting the series opener against the Diamondbacks on Thursday, and a Ryan-Pepiot-sized “TBA” slated to make Saturday’s start. There are more immediate innings to fill first.