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Batted Ball Deflects off Pitcher and Umpire on Same Play

Batted balls deflected by fielders, runners or umpires cause lots of problems. Knowing what to do when a batted ball is deflected could win you a ball game.

If a batted ball that deflects off the pitcher hits the runner going to a base, the ball would remain in play. The runner is not out but must still avoid the fielder if the fielder has a chance to make a play on the ball, meaning the fielder does not have to chase the ball and is within reach of the ball.

The Dayton Dragons (Reds) played the South Bend Cubs in a Class A Midwest League game this past August.  With a runner on first base, the batter hit a shot that deflected off the pitcher before striking the second base umpire. The ball then rolled to the shortstop near second base. The shortstop fielded the ball, stepped on second and threw to first for the odd 1-6-6-3 double play. Because the ball deflected off the…

The Dayton Dragons (Reds) played the South Bend Cubs in a Class A Midwest League game this past August.  With a runner on first base, the batter hit a shot that deflected off the pitcher before striking the second base umpire. The ball then rolled to the shortstop near second base. The shortstop fielded the ball, stepped on second and threw to first for the odd 1-6-6-3 double play. Because the ball deflected off the…

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...to continue to advance to the next base after he is struck by a batted ball.  Let the umpires decide where to place the runner.

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1 reply
  1. ataha
    ataha says:

    Regarding the first play (batted ball hits pitcher then umpire), isn’t your last sentence incorrect: “If the ball deflected directly to the shortstop without touching the ground, it would have remained “in flight” and the shortstop would have recorded the putout without stepping on second base before throwing to first.”?

    Rule 5.06(c)(6) Comment (MLB rules) says “If a batted ball is deflected by a fielder in fair territory and hits a runner or an umpire while still in flight and then caught by an infielder it shall not be a catch, but the ball shall remain play.” Doesn’t that mean that even if it were caught on the fly by the shortstop, it should be treated essentially like a ground ball, not a catch?

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