Flexibility of Spring Training Rules

I’m just curious about how far rules can be pushed in Spring Training. Every so often, I’ll watch a Cactus or Grapefruit League game and hear the announcers note that the managers agreed to use the DH rule for this particular game. Can they agree on other things that might be non-standard, as well?

For example (and I can think of a number of reasons this wouldn’t actually happen, but just for argument’s sake): say we’re in the 8th inning of an early March game. Joe Torre brings in a relief pitcher, then walks over to Ozzie Guillen and says, “I’d really like this guy to work on pitching out of a jam, so I’d like to have a runner on 3rd.” Guillen, being a jovial sort, calls in Paul Konerko, who played in the game earlier and was replaced, to stand on 3rd as a runner. Would the rules and/or umpires allowed this as long as both sides were amenable to it?

And if, as I assume, the two teams can’t run completely willy-nilly with the rules just because the game doesn’t count, are there any other Spring Training-specific rules – beyond the DH – that can be arrived at by mutual manager agreement?


In general, the games are run using MLB rules (the DH is allowed in MLB, after all, and even National League teams use it for several games each year). Managers want to run actual games to see how their team plays in game conditions.

I’d say that the scenario you discuss would defeat the purpose – Torre would want the pitcher to work both into and out of a jam. Or he could just wait until a couple of players get on an call for a bullpen.

There can be agreements on the number of innings (e.g., “We won’t play past ten innings, even if its tied”), but usually the games are played under the regular rules.