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John Kruk on M&M: ‘Why not use DH the whole time?’

06.21.11 at 12:56 pm ET
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John Kruk

ESPN baseball analyst John Kruk joined the Mut & Merloni show for his regular Tuesday noontime interview, and the biggest discussion was about the interleague play that is once again underway in Major League Baseball. Although the Red Sox are in a three-game set with the Padres at DH-friendly Fenway Park, the guys still wanted to get Kruk’s thoughts on the designated hitter rule, and the man who played 10 seasons in the big leagues said he thought the rule should be expanded.

“That’s the thing that has yet to be figured out about interleague is how do we go about fixing the rules,” Kruk said. “I don’t know if National League managers would be opposed to it, but why not use the DH the whole time? So you have to use an extra player in the National League? You see how that plays out in the American League. It’s not like you’re double-switching and all that stuff, so what’s the difference? Why can’t the National League adopt it? Why can’t they do that in the World Series also? Why can’t they just adopt the DH for both leagues? It’s not like the National League doesn’t have anyone that can hit.”

In fact, the ESPN analyst gave his opinion that interleague play lasts too long – each team plays 18 games against a foe from the opposite league – and loses it luster a little bit. He even offered a solution to help keep the practice fresh in the eyes of the media and the fans.

“I didn’t realize it was that many, to be honest with you, because they play some and then they go back to American League teams are playing American League teams. Then, two or three weeks later, you go back to interleague. So I didn’t realize it was 18 games,” he said. “I don’t have an issue with if one team has a common foe. Washington, Baltimore, they should be a foe. Of course, the two New York teams. I guess they determined Philly and Boston should be a sibling rivalry. Oakland, San Francisco. If they play three and three, I think that’s plenty. I think 18 games, it’s like watching Yankees-Red Sox 18 times every year. After awhile, it’s just another game.”

Of course, the Red Sox will face the biggest problem tied with interleague play when they embark on a nine-game road trip to three different NL destinations following the conclusion of the San Diego series. That means they will have to either do without David Ortiz in the lineup or find another way to fit him in. One solution brought up thus far is to place Ortiz at first base and move Adrian Gonzalez to right field to keep the MVP candidate in the lineup as well. Kruk wasn’t a big fan of that solution.

Terry Francona’s very secure in his job. If he puts Gonzo out there and he runs into a wall and hurts his shoulder, oh boy. That’s not a pretty sight,” Kruk said. “To put Adrian in the outfield, I’m going to watch that one. That’ll be an interesting watch. I’ll have to talk to Terry about that.”

Kruk added that the Red Sox may be in a unique situation with Ortiz and Gonzalez in that every other AL team may be slightly better suited to play in an NL park.

“I think the way the game has evolved after drug testing, there’s more speed and defense concern. David Ortiz is, to me, is the only guy in the American League who’s the prototypical DH who you wouldn’t want him to play a position,” he said. “Everyone else is mix and match.”

Read More: adrian gonzalez, David Ortiz, John Kruk,
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