26-man Roster

Definition

Note: As part of MLB's health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic, each club will have a 30-man roster for the first two weeks of the 2020 season, 28 for the next two weeks, and 26 for the remainder of the season. Teams will submit 60-man pools -- that is, the group of players who will be able to play for them this season. According to the league's Operating Manual, all players on a 40-man roster "that the club anticipates participating" during the season will be part of the player pool, while the rest will be made up of non-40-man roster players under contract. Each team will be permitted a three-player taxi squad for every road trip, giving them immediate options to replace an injured or COVID-19 infected player. There will be no limit on the number of pitchers on the active roster, or on position players pitching. Rather than a 10-day injured list for position players and 15-day injured list for pitchers, there will be a 10-day injured list for all players in the shortened season. The 60-day injured list will be reduced to 45 days. The 7-day injured list will be unaffected. There will also be a COVID-19 injured list with no minimum or maximum number of days per trip.

In a typical season, a club's 26-man roster is its full roster of active Major League players from Opening Day through Aug. 31, and during the postseason. From Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season, all clubs must carry 28 players.

Players on the 26-man roster (or the Major League injured list) accrue Major League service time. All players on the 26-man roster must also be on the 40-man roster. Teams are required to have a minimum of 25 players on their 26-man roster.

The number of pitchers a club can carry on the active roster is capped at 13 (14 from Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season). To adhere to that rule, clubs will have to designate each player as either a pitcher or a position player prior to each player's first day on the active roster for a given season. That designation cannot change for the remainder of the season.

Position players will not be allowed to pitch except in the following scenarios:

• They are designated as a "Two-Way Player." A player can only qualify for this designation if he accrues at least 20 Major League innings pitched and at least 20 Major League games started as a position player or designated hitter (with at least three plate appearances in each of those games) in the current or prior season.
• A game goes into extra innings.
• A player's team is losing or winning by more than six runs when he enters as a pitcher.

In the case of doubleheaders, clubs are allowed to recall one additional player who is on the 40-man roster to serve as the 27th member of the active Major League roster only for the day of said doubleheader. That player accrues one day of MLB service time and is returned to the Minor Leagues following the completion of the doubleheader. Teams also are permitted to call up a 27th man on days when they are completing a previously suspended game and have another game scheduled after that, but the 27th man is only permitted to play in the regularly scheduled game that day, not the contest that was previously suspended.

Upon being optioned to the Minor Leagues, a position player must remain there for a minimum of 10 days before he is eligible to be recalled to the Major League roster. For pitchers, the minimum is 15 days. If a player is serving as the 27th man for a doubleheader or replacing a player who has been placed on the injured list, there is no minimum number of days for which the optioned player must remain in the Minors.