Rich Marazzi Mailbag June 2020
Q. With the minimum three batter rule scheduled to go into effect this year, if the substitute pitcher comes in the game with one out and gets the next batter to hit into a double play, he does not have to pitch the following inning. But if the manager sends him out for the next inning, how would the umpires handle that?
A. As stated, if the substitute pitcher never returned for the next inning, he has met the requirement of the rule which states he must pitch to three batters or end an inning. In the above situation, if the manager sends the pitcher back out the next inning, he must face two batters to complete his three-batter minimum.
Q. With the bases loaded and no one out, the batter rolls slowly to the second baseman. The runner on third gets a late start before he dashes home. The second baseman decides to throw home but as he is about to throw, the runner, who was on first and advancing to second, bumps into the second baseman and he drops the ball. Everybody is safe. Should one or two outs be called on this play?
A. It appears that the runner going to second is not attempting to intentionally break-up a double play. Therefore, the runner going to second should be called out with no runner advancement. There was no putout prior to the interference. If R1 was already put out, and then interfered with the fielder who was attempting to throw home, then R1 and R3 would both be called out. If R1 interfered with the fielder with the obvious intent to break up a double play on the batter-runner, then the batter-runner and R1 would be out.
Q. Bases loaded two outs. The batter hits a homer. The runner on second base scored but didn’t touch third base. The fielding team appeals, and the runner is called out. How many runs score? And does the home run count?
A. No runs score because the third out resulted in a force out. The runner, who missed third base, was forced to advance to that base and never touched the base. The home run is nullified.
Q. Is this statement true?
“It is not a balk, if with a runner on base a pitcher delivers the pitch and the ball slips out of the pitcher’s hand and crosses the foul line.”
A. That is true. It is a balk if a pitcher delivers a pitch with a runner/s on base and the pitch slips out of his hand, but the ball does not cross the foul line. Any intended pitch that slips out of the pitcher’s hand and crosses the foul line is a ball with or without runners on base. If it does not cross the foul line with no runners on base, it is a no pitch.
Q. In a Type 2 obstruction, let’s say a runner going from first to third gets obstructed by the shortstop after crossing second base. If the obstructed runner falls down and decides to get back to second instead of continuing to third and gets thrown out at second, is he protected by the rule to stay at second base? How does the rule apply in this case?
A. The runner should be protected. The umpire must determine if the runner chose to return, or if the obstruction caused him to return when acquiring third was his intention and was reasonably possible. If that is the case, the umpire could award the runner third base. I think if the umpire could not protect the runner to third, he would protect him at second.
Q. Let’s say you have the bases load with one out and the infield is playing in on the grass. The batter hits a ground ball towards the shortstop. The shortstop dives for the ball but is unable to catch it. If the ball makes contact with the base runner going from second to third, who is clearly behind the shortstop, will the baserunner at second be called out, or will the play continue?
A. Because the infield is playing in, no infielder would have a chance to make a play on the ball. Therefore, the runner should not be called out and play should continue. When a runner is hit by a batted ball behind the infielder and no other fielder has a chance to make a play, the ball should remain alive and in play.
Managers, players, coaches and broadcasters should be aware of this rule since in most situations a runner is called out for interference if hit by a batted ball.
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