January 12, 2020

Ball gets lodged in outfield wall. What happens now?

Two Examples of Lodged Baseballs

Ball gets lodged in outfield wall. What happens now?

Lodged Baseballs

  1. Per rule 5.05 (a) (7), a ball is considered lodged if, in the judgment of the umpire, the natural trajectory of the flight of the ball is interrupted long enough to affect further play. A batted ball that sticks in a fence, scoreboard, shrubbery or vines located on the playing field should be considered a lodged ball. Likewise, a ball that goes behind a field tarp or wall padding without leaving the playing field should also be considered to be lodged. Also, a lodged ball occurs anytime the momentum of a rolling ball is stopped abruptly and sticks or is stuck under the fence padding, shrubbery etc. Runners are awarded two bases when it is rules that the ball is lodged.
  1. How easily a ball might be retrieved by the fielder should not factor in the decision as to whether or not to declare a ball as “lodged.”
  1. The determination of whether a ball is lodged is subject to Replay Review.
  1. If the outcome can be determined by review, the ruling shall stand regardless of the action on the field. The action on the field including the decision of a fielder to raise his hands to ask for umpire review of a lodged ball or to play the ball are still important as replay may not always have a definitive angle.
  1. If an umpire has gone out into the outfield, or anywhere in the park, and can see that the ball is lodged, he should kill the play (regardless of whether the fielder plays or raises his hands) and the rule (two bases from time of pitch) should be enforced. If the umpire cannot determine whether or not the ball is lodged from his position, the ball will be kept in play regardless of the fielder’s actions. Unless the ball is played by the fielder, the umpire should then go out and inspect the ball. If the fielder retrieves the ball before the umpire can inspect it, the play stands unless it is overturned at the Command Center. Of course, minor league umpires and teams do not have that luxury.

 Let’s look at some lodged ball situations that occurred during the 2019 season.


The Cubs and Giants played at Oracle Park on July 24, 2019. In the top of the third inning Javier Baez hit a shot to right field that lodged under the wall. Giants’ right fielder Austin Slater raised his arms and then decided to play the ball. Baez ended up on third base. The umpires conferred and sent Baez back to second base after ruling the ball was lodged.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon challenged the call but the call was confirmed in NYC and Baez was held at second base.



You can view the play by going to the link below:



The A’s and Astros played at Minute Maid on July 23. The score was knotted 3-3 in the top of the 11.th. The  A’s had  Matt Olson on second and Mark Canha on first  when Ramon  Laureano lined a double down the left-field line. It appeared that Olson and Canha both scored. Josh Reddick played the ball that was ultimately ruled  lodged.

Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch argued the ball was lodged and challenged the call that allowed two runs to score. The Replay Official OVERTURNED the “no call” on the field. It was ruled the ball was lodged and that Reddick’s actions were irrelevant when determining if the ball was lodged. Canha was returned to third and Laureano was awarded second base on the play.


You can view the play by going to the link below:

Laureano’s ground-rule double | 07/24/2019


  1. Umpires and coaches on all levels should walk the park during their first visit of the year and determine the potential problem areas. All teams should advise their fielders of the potential problem areas. These issues should be discussed at the plate meeting prior to the start of each series throughout the season, or at the minimum the first series of the year. Because player movement is so prevalent, any new player should be educated about the lodged ball rule and the areas in the ballpark that are problematic.
  2. Fielders should be instructed how to handle “lodged ball” situations. There was a time that I would have recommended that the fielder should not play a ball that was But because it can be determined at the Command Center, if challenged, it would seem logical that a fielder should play the ball if he is uncertain that the ball is lodged.
  3. On the minor league level, how a manager wants a defensive player to handle a “potential” lodged ball is an individual staff decision. Offensively, on all levels, I would recommend that the runner/s continue to run until the umpires halt continuous action in case an “apparent” lodged ball is not ruled as lodged. The base coaches will play a major role when this occurs.
  4. If a batted ball or thrown ball inadvertently goes inside a player or coach’s uniform, or lodges in the catcher’s or umpire’s face mask or paraphernalia, the umpires should call “Time” and place the runners in such a manner that will nullify the action of the ball going out of play. I have seen batted and thrown balls lodge inside a player’s jersey.
  5. If a pitched ball lodges in the catcher’s or umpire’s equipment, the award is one base from the runner/s position at the time of the pitch.

Pitched Ball Disappears into Umpire’s Jacket Pocket     

The Dodgers and Cubs played at Wrigley on April 25, 2019. Wilson Contreras led off the bottom of the ninth. Contreras hit a foul tip on Kenley Jansen’s first pitch. The ball ricocheted off Dodgers’ catcher Rocky Gale’s shoulder and squirreled into the jacket pocket of plate umpire Lance Barksdale.

You can view the unusual scenario by going to the link below.


Rich Marazzi Ruleball Comment

  1. Because this was a foul ball, it is treated like any other foul ball. If any runners were on base, there would be no advance.
  2. If a pitched ball lodges in the umpire’s or catcher’s mask or paraphernalia and remains out of play, the runners advance one base.
  3. If a pitched ball is “Strike Three” or “Ball Four” and lodges in the umpire’s or catcher’s mask or paraphernalia, and remains out of the play, the batter is awarded first base and runners advance one base. See rule 5.06 (c) (7)


Rich Marazzi rules consultant:  Blue Jays, Brewers, Cardinals, D’backs, Dodgers, Mariners, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Royals, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, the FOX Regional Sports Networks, ESPN, the White Sox TV announcers and WFAN radio.


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