5.05 When the Batter Becomes a Runner
(a) The batter becomes a runner when:
(1) He hits a fair ball;
Rule 5.05(a) Comment:
If the batter hits a pitch that touches the ground first, the ensuing action shall be the same as if he hit the ball in flight.
(2) The third strike called by the umpire is not caught, providing (1) first base is unoccupied, or (2) first base is occupied with two out;
Rule 5.05(a)(2) Comment:
A batter who does not realize his situation on a third strike not caught, and who is not in the process of running to first base, shall be declared out once he leaves the dirt circle surrounding home plate.
(3) If the pitch touches the ground and bounces through the strike zone it is a “ball.” If such a pitch touches the batter, he shall be awarded first base. If the batter swings at such a pitch after two strikes, the ball cannot be caught, for the purposes of Rule 5.05(b) and 5.09(a)(3).
(4) A fair ball, after having passed a fielder other than the pitcher, or after having been touched by a fielder, including the pitcher, shall touch an umpire or runner on fair territory;
(5) A fair ball passes over a fence or into the stands at a distance from home base of 250 feet or more. Such hit entitles the batter to a home run when he shall have touched all bases legally. A fair fly ball that passes out of the playing field at a point less than 250 feet from home base shall entitle the batter to advance to second base only;
(6) A fair ball, after touching the ground, bounds into the stands, or passes through, over or under a fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery, or vines on the fence, in which case the batter and the runners shall be entitled to advance two bases;
(7) Any fair ball which, either before or after touching the ground, passes through or under a fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through any opening in the fence or scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery, or vines on the fence, or which sticks in a fence or scoreboard, in which case the batter and the runners shall be entitled to two bases;
(8) Any bounding fair ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands, or over or under a fence on fair or foul territory, in which case the batter and all runners shall be entitled to advance two bases;
(9) Any fair fly ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands, or over the fence into foul territory, in which case the batter shall be entitled to advance to second base; but if deflected into the stands or over the fence in fair territory, the batter shall be entitled to a home run. However, should such a fair fly be deflected at a point less than 250 feet from home plate, the batter shall be entitled to two bases only.
(b) The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when:
(1) Four “balls” have been called by the umpire;
Rule 5.05(b)(1) Comment:
A batter who is entitled to first base because of a base on balls, including an award of first base to a batter by an umpire following a signal from a manager, must go to first base and touch the base before other base runners are forced to advance. This applies when bases are full and applies when a substitute runner is put into the game. If, in advancing, the base runner thinks there is a play and he slides past the base before or after touching it he may be put out by the fielder tagging him. If he fails to touch the base to which he is entitled and attempts to advance beyond that base he may be put out by tagging him or the base he missed.
(2) He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless (A) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (B) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball;
If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a ball if he makes no attempt to avoid being touched.
APPROVED RULING: When the batter is touched by a pitched ball which does not entitle him to first base, the ball is dead and no runner may advance.
Rule 5.02(b)(2) Comment:
A batter shall not be considered touched by a pitched ball if the ball only touches any jewelry being worn by a player (e.g., necklaces, bracelets, etc.).
(3) The catcher or any fielder interferes with him. If a play follows the interference, the manager of the offense may advise the plate umpire that he elects to decline the interference penalty and accept the play. Such election shall be made immediately at the end of the play. However, if the batter reaches first base on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batsman, or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base, the play proceeds without reference to the interference.
Rule 5.05(b)(3) Comment:
If catcher’s interference is called with a play in progress the umpire will allow the play to continue because the manager may elect to take the play. If the batter-runner missed first base, or a runner misses his next base, he shall be considered as having reached the base, as stated in Note of Rule 5.06(b)(3)(D).
Examples of plays the manager might elect to take:
1. Runner on third, one out, batter hits fly ball to the outfield on which the runner scores but catcher’s interference was called. The offensive manager may elect to take the run and have batter called out or have runner remain at third and batter awarded first base.
2. Runner on second base. Catcher interferes with batter as he bunts ball fairly sending runner to third base. The manager may rather have runner on third base with an out on the play than have runners on second and first. If a runner is trying to score by a steal or squeeze from third base, note the additional penalty set forth in Rule 6.01(g).
If the catcher interferes with the batter before the pitcher delivers the ball, it shall not be considered interference on the batter under Rule 5.05(b)(3). In such cases, the umpire shall call “Time” and the pitcher and batter start over from “scratch.”
(4) A fair ball touches an umpire or a runner on fair territory before touching a fielder.
If a fair ball touches an umpire after having passed a fielder other than the pitcher, or having touched a fielder, including the pitcher, the ball is in play.