ATLANTA (Bottom of the Fourth) - The Atlanta Braves, widely expected to contend for the 2011 NL East crown, have made a bold move in the early season by becoming the first National League team in baseball history to employ a designated hitter, namely the just-signed Jermaine Dye.
The National League, of course, doesn't let its teams use DHs, instead requiring pitchers to hit in the regular batting order. The Braves plan to circumvent this rule by removing players from its every day line-up. Nate McClouth, for example, has not hit well this year, and the Braves could opt to leave him on the bench and a hole in center field while DHing Dye.
Dye could fill in for players on rest days, as well. Catchers in particular need regular rest, and the team could choose to have its pitchers simply pitch to the backstop and retrieve their own balls while hitting Dye in place of a resting Brian McCann.
Finally, while the team hasn't spoken publicly about this, it has been rumoured that in an effort to gain employment with an MLB team, Dye has been working on his hit-pitching, a rarely-used technique in which the pitcher delivers his pitch by batting it towards the strike zone. If Dye has indeed become proficient at this skill (and rumour has it he's got a three-pitch arsenal featuring a two-seam fastball, splitter, and shuuto), the Braves could keep their line-up intact while using their newest player as a DH/pitcher.