The Stretch Position and the Set Position
Definition (adapted from Jaska Roder Rules of Baseball)
The stretch position has three stages. During the Initial Stage of the stretch position, the pitcher must stand with his glove side towards home plate. His hands must be obviously separate; his throwing hand (with or without the ball) at his side in view from all three bases. His pivot foot must be parallel to and touching the pitching rubber.
The Intermediate Stage is when the pitcher comes to “Set.” In the motion to come set, the pitcher is required to join his gloved hand and pitching hand (regardless of which has the ball). At the beginning of this motion, the pitcher can (but is not required to) draw his free foot nearer to his pivot foot.
With runner(s) on base, the pitcher must also execute a complete stop of such motion in front of his body (which includes his head). The pitcher has now become “Set.”
The last stage is the Motion to Pitch. This is when the stride foot steps forward. The back foot must stay in contact with the rubber and may not be repositioned.
While in the stretch position the pitcher can legally:
- Step and throw to a base
- Disengage from the rubber
A complete stop is not required when a pitcher uses the stretch position with no runners on base, since there is no penalty for it. However, umpires must ensure that such pitcher
(a) does not deliver a “quick pitch” to the batter, and
(b) makes a complete stop when there are runners.