27th Man

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, clubs have a 26-man active Major League roster but are allowed to recall one additional player who is on the 40-man roster to serve as the 27th member for the day of a doubleheader. That player accrues one day of MLB service time and is returned to the Minor Leagues following the completion of the doubleheader. This rule is in effect from Opening Day through Aug. 31. From Sept. 1 through the end of the regular season, all clubs must carry 28 players. The active roster reverts back to 26 players during the postseason.

Upon being optioned to the Minor Leagues, a position player typically 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. But if a player is serving as the 27th man for a doubleheader, there is no minimum number of days for which the optioned player must remain in the Minors.

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.