“The Disabled List”

Learn how the disabled list works for major league baseball players.

Dr. Keith Meister, Medical Director of Sports Medicine at Medical Center Arlington and Team Physician for the Texas Rangerscontinues to share important insight about sports medicine in baseball. Today Dr. Meister explains how the disabled list is used for professional baseball players in the MLB.

What is it? How do we use it? What are our options?

The 15 / 60 day DL: In the major leagues, a player can be placed either on the 15-day or the 60-day disabled list, depending on the severity and/or estimated time to recovery from the injury. A player may not rejoin his team until either the 15 or 60 days has elapsed. Retroactive placement may be made at most 10 days after the time of injury. Thus, after several days, if it becomes apparent that the injury will take at least 15 days to recover from, the days sat may be counted against the designated 15 days. If a recovery period becomes longer than initially anticipated, a player may be shifted from the 15-day to the 60-day DL. Additionally, a stay on either DL can be extended indefinitely beyond the prescribed minimum days (15 or 60).

The advantage of using the 60 day DL in a protracted injury is that it allows the team to open up a 40 man roster spot and thus, bring in an additional player to the major league roster. However, anyone transferred to the 60-day DL after August 1 may not return to the active roster that season. Lastly, as the 60 day DL does not count the player on the team’s 40 man roster, the 15 day DL does not count the player on the 25 man active major league roster. The 40 man roster must be full in order to use the 60 day DL.

Concussion DL: In 2011, the 7 day disabled list was instituted at the major league level to cover head injuries (concussion). It was hoped that a shorter DL option would encourage teams to await full recovery from often difficult to assess head injuries rather than placing the athlete on the 15 day DL and forcing him to miss over two weeks from an injury that likely would only take half that time to recover from. If a player is not activated from the concussion DL after those 7 days have passed, he is automatically transferred to the 15-day DL.

Paternity leave: Instituted in 2011, paternity leave allows a team to replace a player who is an expectant father for 1–3 days on the roster to be available for the birth of his child.

Bereavement List: A player may be placed on the bereavement list (3-7 days) upon attending to a seriously ill member in the player's immediate family or to a death in the family.

Rehab Assignment: Players recovering from an injury may appear in a limited number of minor league games while still on the disabled list in order to prepare for reactivation. Non-pitchers may stay with the minor league club for up to 20 days; pitchers for up to 30 days.

Minor League Baseball DL: The minor league uses a 7-day disabled list for all injuries. Players who are on the 40-man roster but get hurt in the minor leagues are placed on the minor league DL, but not on the major league DL. Potentially, a player injured in the minors and who would be placed on the major league 60-day DL cannot be placed on the 60-day, meaning the 40-man roster spot is not freed up.

Medical Center Arlington can help diagnose a sports injury and treat it before it worsens. Please call 1-855-868-6262 for a physician referral.

Related Posts:
Baseball Injuries: What is "Tommy John" Surgery?
WBAP Physician Radio Interviews: Dr. Keith Meister

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