MLB, USA Baseball introduce experimental extra-inning rule in Appalachian League

MLB, USA Baseball introduce experimental extra-inning rule in Appalachian League
The WBSC international extra-inning rule is providing a reference to modify the existing game. A player-re-entry rule to be tested after 8 July.

Major League Baseball (MLB) and USA Baseball have introduced an experimental extra-inning rule, inspired by the WBSC international rule, in the ten-team Appalachian League, that opened its 2021 season on 2 June.

In case a game is tied after nine innings, the first extra-inning will begin placing runners on first and second with no outs. If the game remains tied after the first completed extra inning, the following inning will begin with the bases loaded and no outs. The game will end in a tie if a winner has not been determined after two full extra innings have been completed.

In the second half of the season, which opens on 8 July, a pitcher who starts an inning and exceeds 25 pitches before recording three outs may be substituted for a relief pitcher to complete the inning. The pitcher who began the previous inning and was substituted out of the game will be allowed to re-enter to begin the subsequent inning. The pitcher who came on in relief will also be eligible to re-enter the game in the following inning. Any pitcher who re-enters a game may only do so in consecutive innings.

Position players may be allowed to re-enter a game as necessary due to injuries or if injury prevention is essential.

"Central to our mission as the national governing body for baseball in the United States is to develop strategies that will allow the game and its participants to grow," said Eric Campbell, USA Baseball’s General Manager for National Teams. "In addition to adopting Pitch Smart guidelines into the Appalachian League, introducing a re-entry rule and modifying the extra-inning rule will support the development of the 400 athletes participating in the league in a new way. We are confident this direction will lead to positive results for the athletes now and in the future."

We are excited to work in collaboration with USA Baseball to implement new rules in a manner that protects the long-term interests of athletes while preserving the competitive integrity of the game,” said Appalachian League President Dan Moushon.

Major League Baseball (MLB) and USA Baseball partnered to make the Appalachian League a part of the Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP), a collaborative effort that establishes a development pathway platform for some of the best first and second-year college players in the United States.

The Appalachian League has operated since 1911 and has been affiliated to Minor League Baseball. It was classified as a Rookie league from 1963 to 2020.