In Major League Baseball
, the disabled list (DL)
is a method for teams to remove their injured players from the roster in order to summon healthy players.
Players are placed on either the 15-day or the 60-day disabled list, usually depending on the severity and/or recovery time of the injury. A player may be shifted from the 15-day to the 60-day DL at any time, but not vice-versa. The player may not rejoin the team until 15 or 60 days has elapsed; however, a player's time on the DL may exceed the specified number of days. The 15-day DL does not count the player on the active roster
(comprising the 25-man roster
until September 1st), whereas the 60-day DL does not require the player to be counted on either the team's active roster or its 40-man roster
. By placing a player on the disabled list, a spot on the active roster
is made available. Another player from the minor leagues
, free agent
pool, a traded player, or a recovered player coming off the disabled list may be used to fill this spot.
Players may be put on the DL at a date retroactive to the last day they played. This allows a team to avoid being penalized because it avoids the disadvantage of playing with a reduced roster. Retroactive placement may be made at most 10 days after the time of injury. When a player is listed as day-to-day before being placed on the disabled list, it therefore may pinpoint the date of the injury.
A team may keep an injured player on the roster but keep him listed as day-to-day to indicate that the medical staff is unable to determine when the player can resume normal playing activities again. If the injury turns out to be minor, then the player may resume playing without having to wait to come off the disabled list.
Players recovering from an injury may appear in a limited number of minor league games while still on the disabled list in order to prepare for reactivation. Non-pitchers may stay in the minor league club for up to 20 days; pitchers for up to 30 days.
Until the late 1980s, there were 10-day and 21-day disabled lists. The number of players who could be placed on each list was limited, and there was much less flexibility about when they could return to action. In addition, players with major league contracts were not allowed to go to the minor leagues for rehabilitation.