Official Rules(view all)

5.04 (b) (6.02) The Batter’s Box

5.04 (b) (6.02) The Batter’s Box

(1) The batter shall take his position in the batter’s box promptly when it is his time at bat.

(2) The batter shall not leave his position in the batter’s box after the pitcher comes to Set Position, or starts his windup.

PENALTY: If the pitcher pitches, the umpire shall call “Ball” or “Strike,” as the case may be.

Rule 5.04(b)(2) Comment (Rule 6.02(b) Comment): The batter leaves the batter’s box at the risk of having a strike delivered and called, unless he requests the umpire to call “Time.” The batter is not at liberty to step in and out of the batter’s box at will.

Once a batter has taken his position in the batter’s box, he shall not be permitted to step out of the batter’s box in order to use the resin or the pine tar rag, unless there is a delay in the game action or, in the judgment of the umpires, weather conditions warrant an exception.

Umpires will not call “Time” at the request of the batter or any member of his team once the pitcher has started his windup or has come to a set position even though the batter claims “dust in his eyes,” “steamed glasses,” “didn’t get the sign” or for any other cause.

Umpires may grant a hitter’s request for “Time” once he is in the batter’s box, but the umpire should eliminate hitters walking out of the batter’s box without reason. If umpires are not lenient, batters will understand that they are in the batter’s box and they must remain there until the ball is pitched. See Rule 5.04(b)(4) (Rule 6.02(d)).

The following two paragraphs are additional material for Rule 5.04(b)(2) Comment (Rule 6.02(b) Comment), for Major League play only:

If pitcher delays once the batter is in his box and the umpire feels that the delay is not justified he may allow the batter to step out of the box momentarily.

If after the pitcher starts his windup or comes to a “set position” with a runner on, he does not go through with his pitch because the batter has inadvertently caused the pitcher to interrupt his delivery, it shall not be called a balk. Both the pitcher and batter have violated a rule and the umpire shall call time and both the batter and pitcher start over from “scratch.”

The following paragraph is additional material for Rule 5.04(b)(2) Comment (Rule 6.02(b) Comment), for National Association play (in lieu of the additional two paragraphs, above, that apply to Major League play):

If after the pitcher starts his windup or comes to a “set position” with a runner on, he does not go through with his pitch because the batter has stepped out of the box, the umpire shall not call a balk. The umpire shall call an automatic strike if Rule 5.04(b)(4)(A) (Rule 6.02(d)(1)) calls for such sanction.

(3) If the batter refuses to take his position in the batter’s box during his time at bat, the umpire shall call a strike on the batter. The ball is dead, and no runners may advance. After the penalty, the batter may take his proper position and the regular ball and strike count shall continue. If the batter does not take his proper position before three strikes have been called, the batter shall be declared out.

Rule 5.04(b)(3) Comment (Rule 6.02(c) Comment): The umpire shall give the batter a reasonable opportunity to take his proper position in the batter’s box after the umpire has called a strike pursuant to Rule 5.04(b)(3) (Rule 6.02(c)) and before the umpire calls a successive strike pursuant to Rule 5.04(b)(3) (Rule 6.02(c)).

(4) (6.02(d)) The Batter’s Box Rule

(A) The batter shall keep at least one foot in the batter’s box throughout the batter’s time at bat, unless one of the following exceptions applies, in which case the batter may leave the batter’s box but not the dirt area surrounding home plate:

(i) The batter swings at a pitch;

(ii) An attempted check swing is appealed to a base umpire;

(iii) The batter is forced off balance or out of the batter’s box by a pitch;

(iv) A member of either team requests and is granted “Time”;

(v)  A defensive player attempts a play on a runner at any base;

(vi)  The batter feints a bunt;

(vii)  A wild pitch or passed ball occurs;

(viii)  The pitcher leaves the dirt area of the pitching mound after receiving the ball; or

(ix)  The catcher leaves the catcher’s box to give defensive signals.

If the batter intentionally leaves the batter’s box and delays play, and none of the exceptions listed in Rule 5.04(b)(4)(A)(i) through (ix) (Rule 6.02(d)(1)(i) through (ix)) applies, the umpire shall issue a warning to the batter for the batter’s first violation of this Rule in a game. For a batter’s second or subsequent violations of this Rule in a game, the League President may issue an appropriate discipline.

(B) The batter may leave the batter’s box and the dirt area surrounding home plate when “Time” is called for the purpose or as a result of

(i) an injury or potential injury;

(ii) making a substitution; or

(iii) a conference by either team.

(5) (6.03) The batter’s legal position shall be with both feet within the batter’s box.

APPROVED RULING: The lines defining the box are within the batter’s box.

Rule 5.04(b)(4)(B) Comment (Rule 6.02(d) Comment): Umpires shall encourage the on-deck batter to take a position in the batter’s box quickly after the previous batter reaches base or is put out.