Batter Attempts to Help Catcher But is Called Out!
Carlos Correa was batting at Minute Maid Park on April 23, 2019, when the Astros hosted the Twins. It was the bottom of the seventh with runners on first and second and two outs when a Tyler Duffy pitch bounced in the dirt. The ball then caromed off catcher Mitch Garver and skipped toward the third base line. Correa, in an apparent instinctive reaction, tried to grab the ball as the ball deflected off Garver. The ball ticked off Correa’s hand and Garver pursued the ball with both runners advancing. The umpires made no call.
Twins’ manager, Rocco Baldelli, conferred with plate umpire Angel Hernandez. Hernandez then huddled with the other umpires, Ed Hickox, Carlos Torres and Dana DeMuth. The umpires decided that Correa interfered with Garver, the catcher, who was attempting to make a play. They invoked rule 6.03 (a) (3) that reads, ” A batter is out for illegal action when he interferes with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by stepping out of the batter’s box or making any other movement that hinders the catcher’s play at home plate”
You can view this play by going to the link below:
Expert Interpretation by Rich Marazzi
- An offensive player should never attempt to touch or handle a live ball.
- Intent is not part of the rule. It’s obvious that Correa’s actions were not intended to impede the catcher, but he was called for interference because he impeded or hindered Garver’s attempt to make a play.
- The ball is not dead at the moment of interference. If the catcher retires the runner, the interference is nullified. If the catcher does not retire the runner, the batter is out and the runner must return to his base. As in the above play, if the interference occurs on “Strike Three,” both the batter and the runner are out. No runners can advance when interference is called.
- If Garver was not attempting to make a play, there would be no violation.
- If Garver threw out the runner, the interference would have been nullified and Correa would lead off the next inning.
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.