CHICAGO: Under former Tribe manager Eric Wedge, pitchers being forced to hit in National League ballparks during interleague play raised alarms. His main concern was making certain they didn't get hurt.
New manager Manny Acta comes fresh from the Washington Nationals, a National League team where pitchers hit all the time. Not that he's going to tranform any of Cleveland's starters into a lethal pinch hitters. But unlike Wedge, he won't instruct his pitchers not to swing (in non-bunting situations).
""Pitchers hitting can help you or hurt you,'' he said. ""At the end of the month, we'll have our pitchers hit and bunt on the field during batting practice. There are enough interleague games that you don't just want guys to stand there and take three pitches, but you also don't want guys to get hurt.''
Taking BP in early May isn't going to erase the disadvantage American League pitchers have as hitters. Not only do NL pitchers hit every day in batting practice, they began taking swings in spring training.
Discussing pitchers hitting led into the topic of designated hitters. Acta was asked which game he preferred: American League or National League, and he offered a ""no comment.''
""There are two leagues, one is older than the other, and they have two different ways of playing he game,'' he said. ""You deal with it. I don't think it's (the DH) is going away.''