PITTSBURGH -- It may not exactly be time for Ron Blomberg to move over. Being the first designated hitter in history may have longer staying power in trivia lore than being the first 26th man on a doubleheader roster. However, from one type of DH to another, the Pirates and the Rockies will both be making history on Wednesday when each team adds an extra relief pitcher for their twin bill at PNC Park. The special one-day roster expansion was negotiated into the new Basic Agreement, allowing the addition of an extra player for doubleheaders. The only stipulation is that the twin bill be scheduled more than a day in advance, to guard against the home team, with typically closer Minor League affiliates, having an unfair extra-man advantage.
Two prior doubleheaders this season were played on the days immediately following the postponements that caused them -- the Rangers at Detroit on Saturday, and the Giants at the Mets on Monday. Thus 26th men were not in play. The decision to postpone Monday night's game was made early in the afternoon. Wednesday's first game is scheduled to start at 12:35 p.m. "We have an opportunity to take advantage of a 26th player, and I'm sure we'll do that. It's a good idea," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. The 26th man does not have to be a pitcher. Clearly, however, that is the direction in which most teams will take this option. "It'll continue to be situation-specific. We briefly discussed adding a bat," said Pittsburgh GM Neal Huntington. "But it makes sense adding an arm. And it's not just for that [doubleheader] day; two games usually tax your staff for the next day, so an extra arm is very helpful."