I guess I'm essentially asking if the time limit is inclusive or exclusive. For example:

A player is placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 1. Does that mean that he is eligible to return (at the earliest) on:

a) July 15 (the day he's placed on it and the day he returns count as days on the DL),
b) July 16 (the day he returns doesn't count since he's active that day), or
c) July 17 (he must be on for 15 complete days, which would be July 2-16)?


Oh it's far more complicated than that.

The player is eligible to come off the injury DL sometime between July 6th and July 15th.

When a player is placed on the DL it's retroactive to the last day he played. So if the player was placed on the DL 10 days after he had last played (the limit for retroactive DL placement), he might be eligible to come off in just 5 days. Generally this is suboptimal, but teams will often let a player sit a few days to see if he can still play before placing him on the DL.

That said, the number of days is counted from the last date that the player played. Players are routinely listed as placed on the DL the day after they are hurt. So if you're hurt the last day of June and placed on the DL on the first day of July, you are eligible to come off the DL on the 16th of July.

This is illustrated in a data dump from baseball heat maps. Looking at 2013 specifically, we can see only a few players who were only on the DL for 15 days. Here are a couple of examples to illustrate the concept:

  • Coco Crisp A's 4/30/2013 (injured the 29th) - 5/15/2013
  • Derek Norri 8/21/2013 (injured the 20th) - 9/5/2013 (he did not play the game he was activated, this may be because he was the backup, or because he was pulled from the DL before he was ready due to Sept roster rules).

So if you're placed on the DL on 7/1 you can come off 7/16. However, this usually means you were hurt 6/30.

There is an additional short term DL in major league baseball that was instituted with the most recent CBA, this is only for players who have suffered a concussion and is a 7-day disabled list. However, for all intents and purposes it works exactly like the 15 day DL just with a shorter duration.

  • Thanks - so thorough! I'm seeing some examples to the contrary though: This year, Christian Yelich played on June 13 (and not June 14), and on June 16 he was placed on the DL retroactive to June 14. He was activated on June 29, which was supposedly the first day was eligible to come off (mlb.mlb.com/news/…). If this is all true, wouldn't this mean that if you were hurt on 6/30 and placed on the DL on 7/1 that you'd be eligible to come off on 7/16, not 7/15?
    – Jer
    Jul 8 '14 at 18:57
  • @Jer you're right, it's exclusive of the first day. So you're placed on 7/1 your eligible to come off 7/16.
    – wax eagle
    Jul 8 '14 at 19:01
  • 1
    I should mention I reviewed the CBA and it's maddeningly non-specific about what constitutes the term 15 days.
    – wax eagle
    Jul 8 '14 at 19:23

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