There are many general scenarios that involve an offensive player getting hit or touched by a live, batted ball. A runner can be touched by a batted ball or touched a thrown ball.
Any time a runner is hit by a batted ball before it has an opportunity to pass a fielder, he is typically out due to an interference violation. The batter-runner who put the ball in play is still awarded first unless he is the person touched by his own batted ball. However, there are times when a runner would not be automatically out due to being touched by a batted ball. If the ball passes an infielder (but not the pitcher) and then later somehow touches the runner (while not in a fielder’s possession) the ball is live and play continues. This also applies if a fielder accidentally deflects a ball back into the runner while attempting to make a play.
KNOW THIS: In the freak event that a batted ball hits two runners, only the first runner would be called out since the ball is dead as soon as it hits him.
Insider Reports: Runner Touched by Batted Ball
It is common for umpires to call “Time” when a runner is hit with a batted ball. But what about a deflected ball? The Twins played the White Sox September 1, 2016, and this quirky play happened. Watch the video, then read this excellent Insider Report.
This Insider Report details how on May 2, 2015, two major league games ended with a baserunner being struck by a batted ball. It also details how a runner broke up a no-hit bid by intentionally allowing himself to be hit by a batted ball.
Sometime this play can be tricky as it was when the Rangers and Red Sox played at Fenway Park, May 21, 2015. Read this Insider Report for a clear explanation and how the umpires in this case made the right call.
Runner Pushed off Base
The umpire must determine whether a runner’s momentum takes him off the base or if the runner is pushed off the base by a fielder. If the umpire judges that the runner is pushed or forced off a base by a fielder, intentionally or unintentionally, he has the discretion to return the runner to the base following the conclusion of the play.
Holding the Tag on the Runner: [Insider Report]
Did the runner’s momentum carry him off the bag or did the fielder push the runner off the bag? A play that happened in the 1991 World Series is still debated. Read this insightful Insider Report for details that will help you understand the rule.
Runner Interferes with a Fielder on a Batted or Thrown Ball [Official Rule 5.09(b)(3)]
If a runner is unintentionally touched by a thrown ball, the play continues. The only exception to this rule would be if the runner deliberately makes an effort to impede the defender (e.g. from making a clean catch), and is touched by the ball in the process, or intentionally contacts the thrown ball.
This runner is called for interference even though he does not touch the ball.
This runner interferes with a fielder making a play on a batted ball.
Runner interference can take different forms. This Insider Report discusses several cases of runner interference and adds some great coaching and umpiring tips. Watch the videos, read the case studies and better understand the rules.
Retired Runner Causes Interference: [Insider Report]
Retired runners can get involved in a play, cause confusion and be called for interference. It happened when the A’s played the Tigers, May 27, 2016. Watch the video and learn from this excellent Insider Report.