Interpreter's Corner


 NYSPHSAA approved an addition to NFHS Rule 3-1-4:

New Addition:

The designated hitter and the pitcher may be the same person. If the pitcher bats for himself, he is treated as two separate positions – a pitcher and a designated hitter (abbreviated P/DH on the lineup card) – and may be substituted for as such (ie, if a player who starts the game as the P/DH is relieved as the starting pitcher, he may not return to the mound even if he remains in the game as the DH, and he may not play any other defensive position after being relieved as pitcher.)


This proposal will further support the NYSPHSAA Pitch Count Rule and limit the throwing, wear and tear on the starting pitchers’ arm when they are placed in the field after pitching. Additionally, it gives the coach flexibility with his lineup card. Other important elements to this rule: if a coach, lists his starting pitcher as just “P” on the lineup card then the pitcher can go to a position after he pitches; if a pitcher is listed as “DH/P” he can only pitch or DH in the game (or be removed from the game).


  1. The starting pitcher is listed as the P/DH on the lineup card. His team gets a 12 run lead after one inning. Can the coach replace the pitcher and put him in left field? Answer: No, the new addition to NFHS Rule 3-1-4 prohibits the starting pitcher from playing any other position in the field once he is removed from pitching.
  2. A coach must list the starting pitcher as the P/DH? Answer: No, it’s the coaches’ option to list the starting pitcher as the P/DH.
  3. A starting pitcher is listed on the lineup card as P (or 1). Can the coach replace him as the pitcher and have him play second base? Answer: Yes, because the pitcher was not listed as the P/DH on the lineup card.
  4. The coach neglects to list the starting pitcher as the P/DH when the lineup cards are turned into the umpire-in-chief. Can he make a correction after the first inning? Answer: No, all lineups are final after they are turned into the umpire-in-chief.
  5. A coach can still have a designated hitter (another player) for the starting pitcher? Answer: Yes, the new addition to NFHS Rule 3-1-4 does not change this option.




Coaches will now have 3 options at game time - no DH, the Federation DH, or this new option.  This option has to be declared at game start, or the umpires will assume that no DH is being used

The lineup card must list the player as P/DH for this rule to be in effect, and cannot be changed once the lineup card is turned in to the umpire


If the P/DH is removed from the game as a pitcher, he may remain in the game as a DH, or be removed from the game.  If removed from the game, then a substitute must fill that slot in the batting order.  This substitute could be the new pitcher, or a defensive player, possibly occupying the position of the second pitcher. If the starting pitcher is removed from the mound, but remains in the game as the DH, and a position player becomes the second pitcher, then still a defensive player will be needed, off the bench.  This substitute will occupy the P/DH spot and NOT bat. 

Correct, we tried to make it as simple as possible. 


If the starting P/DH is removed from the game completely, he may reenter in the same spot in the batting order later in the game and become the DH.  The substitute occupying that slot will be removed and ineligible to reenter. 

Correct, using the re-entry rule, he can reenter as the DH but cannot return to the mound as the pitcher.


Team A shows up at the game and elects to use the P/DH position.  In the fourth inning the starting pitcher is removed from the mound.  The new pitcher is off the bench and the teams only substitute.  The starting pitcher remains in the game as the DH.  The substitute pitcher is injured and has to leave the game.  Now what?

The game will continue with the team having only 8 defensive players but nine hitters.


Similar situation, but instead of the substitute pitcher being injured, the P/DH, now just the DH is injured.

The game will continue, with only 8 batters, but nine defensive players.  Every time the DH position comes to bat, an out will be called.


P/DH is being used.  Can a team enter a new DH and have the starting pitcher remain on the mound? 

No, the intent of the rule is to have one person occupy the spot in the line-up, he can either pitch and DH or just DH once removed from the mound


Can the P/DH be replaced with a new P/DH who obviously wasn't a starter.



Can a team have two DH's in the game at the same time. The standard Fielder/DH and a P/DH.



Is the P/DH limited to just the starting pitcher, or can a coach enter a second pitcher, off the bench, and have him become the new P/DH?

This would be allowed.


The game begins with the P/DH position.  During the game, the coach tells you he is terminating the DH role, therefore bringing it back to a straight nine line-up.  (This would allow the pitcher to stay in the game as a defensive player.)

Not allowed.


Can the coach remove the DH position, enter a new DH and have the starting pitcher remain?

NOT be allowed.


Abel is the P/DH for a team.   In the third inning he is replaced as the pitcher by Baker.  In the 5th inning Cain pinch hits for Abel(Cain is now the DH). In the 6th inning the coach wants to put Cain in to the field replacing Baker(no longer a DH role in the lineup once Cain goes in on defense) 

Cain can't enter the game on defense and Able could only re-enter as the DH as he was a starter. Going back to our original intent & language the P/DH can only pitch or DH if removed from the mound.


P/DH is replaced by the starting LF therefore a sub goes in to play LF. Does that sub continue to play LF without ever batting as long as the P/DH stays in the DH role?



Can the sub pitcher for the P/DH assume the role of the DH if a third pitcher comes in to pitch? 

If the second pitcher came off the bench, the coach will have to declare if this #2 pitcher is assuming both the P/DH spots or is he just going to be the pitcher. 

If the second pitcher came from one of the eight defensive players, then when the third pitcher comes in the game, the coach can put this player in any spot in the line-up he wants


Is there ever a scenario where you can lose the P/DH (DH role) during the game?

Yes.  Pitcher is removed, both as P and DH.  The second pitcher comes from left field, and the substitute goes into the batting order in place of the P/DH and plays and bats as the new left fielder.


The starting pitcher is listed as the P/DH. In the first inning, he gets a base hit, and I pinch run for him. He re-enters the game, and pitches into the 5th inning. I then bring in a relief pitcher for him, can he still become the DH?  The first time he was actually removed for the pinch runner and re-entered. Does him being removed from being a P, and changing to the DH count as him being removed from the game, or does it simply count as a position change?


Once he is pinch run for, he cannot return to the mound, he can only reenter as the DH.