IN THE NEWS: Umpires Al Salerno and Bill Valentine file a grievance against the American League and its president, Joe Cronin. The grievance is filed by the new umpires union with the National Labor Relations Board.
IN THE NEWS: The Expos trade 1B Donn Clendenon and OF Jesus Alou to Houston for OF/1B Rusty Staub. Clendenon, however, refuses to report to Houston and announces that he is retiring instead. A few days later, Clendenon will decide that he would be willing to go to one of several other teams, a move which outrages the Astros. It will be April before the issues are resolved.
IN THE NEWS: The National Association approves the use of the Designated Hitter for the International, Eastern, Texas and New York-Pennsylvania Leagues. The rules vary slightly for each league. The Texas League will be the first to use the DH, in April.
The two major leagues agree to try an experimental rule change in spring training using a designated pinch hitter, but they don't agree on the implementation (as noted by John Lewis) The American League tells the teams to use the designated pinch-hitter when they are the home team; the National League gives the home manager the choice of which rules to use, but the visiting manager has to agree. The National League had three rules: Rule A allows for a pinch-hitter to bat for the pitcher twice in a game with the pitcher remaining in the game. The pitcher could be used to bat for himself at anytime. An example is a pinch-hitter batting for the pitcher the first time and fourth time; the pitcher could bat the second at bat; another pinch-hitter could bat the third time. A pinch-hitter could play defensively, if he took the field the next half-inning after batting. The pitcher would bat in the replaced player's spot. Rule B is the DH rule that will eventually be the standard in the American League, except the player could not go in defensively later. Rule C allows for a pinch-runner only twice in a game for the pitcher or pinch-hitter in rule A or DPH in rule B. The PR can enter defensively at any time, even though he appeared twice as a runner. The Mets, Giants, and Cardinals say that they will not use the rules, and the Astros and Reds follow suit.