Major League Baseball players report to camp July 1, for some teams that means reporting to their facility in Florida, for others it will be their home ballpark. Baseball's return is being measured in days. That's exciting. So are a handful of new rules, most notably the universal DH.
Many have been clamoring for the change for years, and in the coronavirus-shortened season MLB will give it a test run, because, why not?
That could spell big things for former St. Thomas More and LSU star Andrew Stevenson.
"I'm definitely going to be used in a different role," he said on a Zoom interview from his Youngsville home. "I've only been on a National League team with double-switches, pinch hitters and pinch runners. So, we'll see in the long run how that plays out. I'm just excited to get back out there."
Stevenson fights back a smile as we talk about his role this year. It's clearly something that's crossed his mind, but he tries to downplay it and say all the right things.
In the past he's been utilized as a pinch runner or defensive substitute. The universal DH could open a spot in the field giving him a chance to play everyday. Last season he recorded a .367/.486/.953 slash line in 30 at-bats. Stevenson being used as a DH isn't out of the realm of possibility either.
"It's definitely going to shift things around, but at the end of the day it's a business, so we're going to see what happens," he said.
Friday, ESPN's Jeff Passen outlined Major League Baseball's policy for players who test positive for the coronavirus. Players who do test positive will need to pass two negative tests, be symptom free for 72-hours and be cleared by a joint committee consisting of a team doctor, two-independent doctors and a non-medical representative from both the league and MLB Players Association. You can read his detailed report here.
Stevenson said it will be up to the players to keep other players safe as the league hasn't issued any sort of policy regarding off-field behavior. Still he says any health concerns are outweighed by his drive to get back on the field.
"You take athletes away for too long they get the itch to get back, so just getting back on the field and competing against somebody."
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