May 27, 2022

Marlins Brewers Pitched Ball Lodged in Padding, Runner Awarded 1B

Craig Counsell Not Happy About this Rule

Marlins Brewers Pitched Ball Lodged in Padding, Runner Awarded 1B

The Marlins hosted the Brewers on May 15th.  In the bottom of the eighth, Brian Anderson was batting with two outs and facing Aaron Ashby. He struck out and the ball got by catcher Omar Narváez.  The Brewers’ catcher retrieved the ball that was under the padding near the backstop. He appeared to have no trouble throwing to first to retire Anderson, but plate umpire Chris Segal killed the play ruling the ball was lodged. Anderson was awarded first base.

The Brewers challenged the ruling, but the Replay Official ruled the ball was lodged.                                 

MLB Statement on Lodged Baseballs

The outcome of any potential lodged ball is subject to replay review and further clarification of rule 5.06 (b) (4) (f) which governs what should be considered a lodged ball.  Runners are awarded two bases if a fair batted ball sticks in the fence, scoreboard, shrubbery or vines. If the outcome can be determined by review, the ruling shall stand regardless of 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. Baseballs that disappear behind a tarp or wall (even momentarily) are to be treated as lodged balls. 

 Ruleball Comments

  • The call was a proper call. In the above play, because the lodged ball was a pitched ball, the batter-runner (Anderson) was awarded one base. If there were any runners on base, they would have been awarded one base.
  • Most lodged balls are the result of batted balls or thrown balls by a fielder. In that case, the award is two bases.
  • It’s a confusing rule. 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.
  • If a ball stops, it’s possible it stopped because it was momentarily lodged for some reason and it affected further play.
  • How easily a ball can be retrieved by the fielder does not factor in the rule.
  • Outfielders are instructed to raise their arms in the air when they think the ball is lodged, but that does not officially terminate play. Only the umpire can kill the play when he calls “Time.”
  • The lodged ball call, or no call, can be challenged and the Replay Official can either confirm or not uphold the call on the field.
  • If the Replay Official judges that a batted ball was lodged, all runners are awarded two bases from their position on the bases at the time of the pitch. If a thrown ball becomes lodged, the base award would be two bases from the runner/s position at the time of the throw. If it is the first play in the infield, runners are awarded two bases from their position at the time of the pitch unless all runners, including the batter-runner, have advanced one base before the throw in which case all runners are awarded two bases from the time of the throw.
  • I recommend that fielders should play the ball after they put their arms up to signal a lodged ball. I also think that all runners should keep running until “Time” is called by the umpires.
  • Runners should ignore a fielder who raises his arms because the fielder does not have authority to stop the play, and it’s possible that the umpires on the field or the Replay Official will judge that the ball is not lodged.

Rich Marazzi

Rules consultant/analyst:  D’backs, Nationals, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Rays, Red Sox, Rangers, Royals, Tigers, Twins, Yankees, Bally Sports, ESPN, YES, and NBC Sports Chicago.  

Have a question or comment for one of our experts?

Don't strike out!

Become a part of the largest baseball rules community in the world!

Get free access to baseball forums, rules analysis and exclusive email content from current and former Major League Baseball players and umpires.