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Those roster, reliever and IL changes are coming to baseball next season

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO — Those one- or two-batter Sam Selman innings, summoned to put down a lefty, won’t make an appearance next season.

The anticipated rule changes, which the league and Players Association agreed upon at last year’s owners meetings, are expected to be enacted for the 2020 season.

That means relievers will have to face a minimum of three batters before being removed, rosters will expand to 26 until September, when the space will increase to 28, and pitchers would be placed on a 15-day injured list, not a 10-day one.

“[Those rules] were approved by the owners, and I fully expect that the rules will be operational in the 2020 season,” Rob Manfred said at a Winter Meetings news conference Wednesday.

What this will mean for the Giants — and for all of baseball — is less lefty-on-lefty, righty-on-righty matching up, which Bruce Bochy did not do a ton of, as he allowed his top relievers to hold down innings, rather than batters. Gabe Kapler’s hands will be cuffed, though, with the rule’s exceptions being injury or illness to the pitcher.

It will mean for Buster Posey that in marathon games during the last month of the season, he will not have to catch a dozen pitchers and squat for four hours, which he will enjoy.

And it will mean for the Giants starting pitchers and front office that “flexibility on your 40-man rosters becomes paramount,” as GM Scott Harris said.

If there’s a short-term injury to a pitcher that the Giants have to use the full 15 days to rehab, a new pitcher will have to be brought up.

“There are credible pitcher injuries that are day-to-day injuries that are three- or five- or seven-day injuries where, with a 10-day IL, it’s easier to cross that threshold and make that decision,” Farhan Zaidi said Tuesday. “With 15 days, it’s a little bit harder. So you’ll see less IL stints and … it’ll obviously have a trickle-down effect on how pitching staffs are managed.”


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