Major League Baseball is apparently implementing a Shohei Ohtani rule.
MLB, following a year-long solicitation from Los Angeles Angels general manager Billy Eppler, has seemingly adjusted its guidelines in order to allow for a two-way distinction.
"One of (the new rules the commissioner has allowed this offseason) is that we will be able to send Shohei on an actual rehab assignment as a pitcher and then the very next day, if we so choose, we can use him in a major-league game as a hitter," Eppler said during an appearance on MLB Network Radio.
Previously, players sent on rehab would need to be placed on the injured list and spend the requisite amount of days (a minimum of 10) on the IL before being added back to the active roster. Under the new rule, Ohtani could apparently remain on the active roster as a hitter while away from the club.
"We would have to play (one man) short (on the active MLB roster) the day that he's on a rehab assignment," Eppler added.
Ohtani is expected to make his return to the mound in 2020 after acting only as a hitter in 2019 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. The 25-year-old hit .286/.343/.505 with 18 homers and 12 stolen bases over 106 games last year.
During his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2018, Ohtani made 10 starts on the mound where he authored a 3.31 ERA and a 3.57 FIP while also posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances as a hitter.