SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Major League Baseball has decided to bring back the controversial extra-inning rule for the 2022 season after negotiations with the MLB Players Association on health and safety protocols, a high-ranking MLB executive told USA TODAY Sports.

The official spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because an official announcement isn’t expected until the 30 owners vote next week. The owners will also vote to approve expanding the rosters by two players to 28 for the month of April because of the shortened spring.

MLB will again have a “ghost runner’’ on second base beginning in the 10th inning of all regular season extra-inning games, which the players union vehemently wanted. The “ghost runner” also had the support of managers and GMs. The rule was initially implemented in 2020 as part of the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. 

“I thought it was working really well,’’ Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said. “I know it’s not traditional baseball, but when you’re talking about saving arms, and saving guys for the next day, I think it’s good.

“I enjoyed the ghost runner over the last couple of years, I really have. It added a certain degree of excitement to the game. It sped up the game. It enabled us to preserve some pitching, and not having to send out guys for the next day because we’re tapped out.

“And it was not weighted one way or the other, the odds are equal that both teams can go in and execute and win a baseball game.’’

Shohei Ohtani became the first player in MLB history to start an inning on second base under MLB's new extra inning rules in this game on July 24, 2020.

MLB also included a new “Shohei Ohtani Rule’’ in their new protocols with the universal DH, according to the New York Post. If the starting pitcher is also hitting in the lineup, like Ohtani does, he can remain in the game as the DH even if he’s pulled out of the game as a starting pitcher. Angels manager Joe Maddon thought it was unfair if they were the only team in baseball playing by the old National League rules.

MLB is also reverting to traditional nine-inning doubleheaders as commissioner Rob Manfred vowed last summer, believing the shortened games cheated fans who were paying full price for tickets.

“I don’t know, I’m sure we’ll have a different rule in three months, maybe the next year after that,’’ said D-backs ace Madison Bumgarner, who threw a seven-inning no-hitter last season that wasn’t officially recognized because it was a shortened game. “We’ll just make it up as we go. We’ll see whatever they like, the flavor of the week. …

“Maybe we’ll start playing with a whiffle ball or something.’’

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