Report: MLB permanently implements extra-innings ghost runners, tweaks rule on position players pitching

Toronto Blue Jays' Bo Bichette talks with Atlanta Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Runners in the regular season will continue to get a free pass to second base to lead off extra innings. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Baseball's ghost runner is here to stay.

MLB's joint competition committee unanimously approved the rule placing a runner at second base at the start of every extra inning in the regular season, ESPN's Jesse Rogers reported Monday. The rule was initially implemented amid the 2020 season in an effort to reduce injury risk and wear on pitchers in a limited player pool. It also limits the chances of marathon extra-innings affairs.

The rule had since been adopted on a season-by-season basis in 2021 and 2022.

Monday's decision makes the rule permanent barring a future vote to rescind it. The rule does not apply in the postseason.

Per the report, MLB is also changing its rules regarding position players pitching. Previously, teams were allowed to put a position player on the mound during a game in which they were leading or trailing by six or more runs.

Now, teams in the lead have to hold a 10-run advantage in the ninth inning before sending a non-pitcher to the mound, and teams trailing by eight or more will be allowed to use position players as pitchers at any point in the game, per the report.

As with the ghost runner, extra innings changes the rules. Position players can pitch regardless of game circumstance once a game goes past nine innings.