What Does "DH" Stand For?


Quick Answer

In Major League Baseball, "DH" stands for "designated hitter." The DH is a non-fielding player selected because of his batting ability to substitute for the pitcher in the team's batting order. If a team chooses to use a designated hitter, the selected player must be reported to the umpire prior to the game, otherwise the pitcher is required to take his own bats.

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Full Answer

The batting-order position for the DH is fixed, but the player named as the DH is changeable. A player who substitutes or "pinch hits" for the designated hitter bumps the original DH out of the game and becomes the new DH. If a DH is ever used in a defensive capacity by taking a position on the field, then that player assumes the batting-order position of the player he replaced, and the pitcher resumes his place in the batting lineup.

The main argument supporting the original implementation of the DH rule was that pitchers, because of their specialized skills and training for throwing the ball, were terrible batters. Major League Baseball's American League adopted the Designated Hitter rule in 1973, but the National League voted against it. As of 2014, the DH rule is followed in MLB games played in American League ballparks, but not in National League parks.

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