Should the DH be universal? Don Mattingly doesn’t think so

One of the weirdest things happened on Tuesday between the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins. It was the perfect storm for Rays reliever Vidal Nuno, who pitched two scoreless innings and went 2-for-2 with a double in the 16-inning debacle.

He was the first Rays pitcher to get multiple hits since Andy Sonnanstine a decade ago and it got him a pulled hamstring and a stint in the 10-day disabled list for his efforts.

Which brings back the continuous debate of whether or not both the National League and American League should have the designated hitter.

Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly doesn’t think so.

“No for me,” he said. “I think it’s a different game.”

Mattingly spent his entire playing career in the American League with the New York Yankees but has spent his entire managerial career in the National League with the Marlins and the Los Angeles Dodgers. He said he prefers the National League because it’s more interesting and more of a challenge, especially when pinch hitting and bullpen maneuvers come into play.

Mattingly also noted that some of the pitchers in the big leagues were some of the best hitters on their teams entering their professional careers and think that the lack of hitting in the pro level is why that is the position that historically hits the worst. What happened to Nuno is the most prominent argument behind universal DHs. There are countless articles about pitchers being terrible hitters and injury prone whenever they’re on the base paths.

“I think it happens more in the American League than National League,” Mattingly said. “(Zach) Grienke is a really good hitter. He stole second base (against the Marlins a week ago). American League pitchers don’t get on the field very often. So you have to play accordingly. Usually you got to tell a guy to don’t run. They usually get hurt on the bases.”

The trend suggests that the DH will encompass all of baseball. It’s already in most of college baseball and even an option in high school baseball. Should MLB decide to expand to 32 teams and realign itself to be more geographically friendly, the universal DH may go along with it. Until then, the different leagues is still compelling for members of the old school like Mattingly.

 

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About: Tony Capobianco

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A graduate of the University of Arizona (2008-2013), Tony Capobianco covered sports from preps to pros since 2011 from the Tucson Citizen to Miami Herald to most recently with the Enid News & Eagle. The "Cuban Cowboy" took a first pitch to the nuts and lived to laugh at the viral video. Follow him @TonyCapobianco

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