TRIPS TO THE MOUND—APPROVED RULINGS
(1) In the top of the second inning, the catcher goes out and talks to the pitcher. Later in the same inning, the pitching coach goes out and talks to the pitcher. Does the pitcher have to be removed from the game?
Ruling: No. This is the second visit, but it is the first trip by a manager or coach to the pitcher. The provisions of Official Baseball Rule 5.10(l), including the provision requiring the pitcher’s removal on the second visit by a manager or coach in an inning, remain in effect and unchanged by the mound visit rule (Rule 5.10(m)). However, a mound visit by a player and a separate visit by a manager or coach in a single inning will not result in an automatic pitching change.
(2) With a substitute pitcher entering the game in the top of the fifth inning, the catcher goes to the mound during the inning break and returns in the allotted time for warmup pitches. Should this be charged as a visit?
Ruling: No, this is not considered a visit. Players may visit the mound during an inning break or pitching change without being charged with a mound visit, provided that the mound visit does not prevent the pitcher from complying with the inning break or pitching change time limits set forth in On-Field Regulation 2-7.
(3) With a substitute pitcher entering the game in the top of the fifth inning, the manager or coach goes to the mound during the inning break and returns in the allotted time for warm-up pitches. Should this be charged as a visit?
Ruling: Yes, this is considered the first trip to that pitcher and one of the five visits allowed. The exception for visits between innings is limited to players only. Managers or coaches will be charged with a mound visit if they visit the mound during an inning break or after a new pitcher enters the game. (Under the comment to Official Baseball Rule 5.10(l), a manager is charged with a mound visit if he visits the mound to speak with a new pitcher after a coach removes the prior pitcher.)
(4) In the bottom of the sixth inning, the offense substitutes a pinch hitter. The catcher then goes to the mound to talk to the pitcher. Should a visit be charged in this situation?
Ruling: No. Players may visit the pitcher without a visit being charged immediately following an offensive substitution. The exception set forth in Official Baseball Rule 5.10(m)(2)(D) (“visits to the mound after the announcement of an offensive substitution”) shall be limited to mound visits by players. A trip to the mound by a manager or coach without a pitching change after the announcement of an offensive substitution (i.e., a pinch hitter or pinch runner) shall result in that team being charged with a mound visit. A mound visit by a player (or players) following the announcement of an offensive substitution shall not count as a mound visit, provided that the visit occurs after the announcement of the substitution but prior to a subsequent pitch or play.
(5) In the bottom of the sixth inning, the catcher goes to talk to the pitcher. While the catcher is still on the mound, the manager or coach goes to the mound and removes the pitcher. Should a visit be charged to the defense? Ruling: No. If the players remained on the mound and are joined by the manager or coach who is making a substitution for the pitcher, then no visit will be charged. A team will be charged with only one mound visit if a player, manager, or coach joins a mound visit already in progress. If a manager or coach joins a mound visit already in progress between a pitcher and catcher/position player(s) and then removes the pitcher from the game, the team shall not be charged with a mound visit provided that the visit by the manager or coach to remove the pitcher commences before the last remaining player leaves the mound to return to his position.
(6) In the ninth inning, the manager goes to the mound and replaces the game pitcher. The first three pitches by the substitute pitcher are very wild. The pitching coach wants to visit the pitcher. Should this be allowed? Ruling: Yes, but only if the number of total number of mound visits has not reached five before the coach’s visit. If the defense has used their five allotted visits, the coach could not visit as this would require the pitcher to be removed from the game, and a substitute pitcher cannot be removed until he has faced one batter or retired the side.
If a manager or coach leaves the dugout after his team has exhausted its allotted number of mound visits without signaling for the relief pitcher, an umpire should inform the manager or coach that he is not allowed to visit the mound without removing the pitcher. A manager or coach who crosses the foul line on his way to the mound after his team has exhausted its mound visits must make a pitching change irrespective of whether he was warned by the umpire. If a manager or coach believes an exception to the mound visit rule applies, he must confer with the umpire prior to crossing the foul line. In circumstances in which a team is forced to make an unintended pitching change by operation of this rule and there is no relief pitcher warming up in the bullpen, the manager or coach who violated the rule by exceeding his team’s allotted number of mound visits shall be subject to ejection from the game. The umpire may allow the substitute pitcher additional time to prepare to enter the game.
(7) In the ninth inning, the home team manager believes that he has only used four visits, but the umpire informs the manager that his team has used five visits. Can Replay be used to determine visits?
Ruling: No. The umpire’s decision and count of the trips is final, and Replay cannot be implemented to correct the count of visits.
(8) In the third inning, with a runner on second base, the batter singles up the middle. The pitcher moves behind the plate in foul territory for a potential play at the plate. At the end of the play, the catcher and pitcher have a few words as the pitcher walks by the catcher on his way to the mound. There was no delay or overt conference; rather just words exchanged as the pitcher passed the catcher. Should a visit be charged?
Ruling: No, as long as no delay or “conference” between the two players occurs. If players leave their positions for a defensive play, discussions between the pitcher and a position player(s) that occur in the normal course while the players return to their positions prior to the next at-bat do not constitute a mound visit.
(9) In the third inning, the catcher is crossed up by the pitcher. The catcher immediately wants to go to the mound to straighten out the signals. Should a visit
Ruling: Yes, if a team has remaining mound visits. If the team has already used their allotted visits and the umpire determines the catcher was crossed up, the umpire may allow the catcher to visit the pitcher. Any such mound visit resulting from a “cross up” prior to a team exhausting its allotted number of visits shall count against a team’s total number of allotted mound visits.