Official Rules(view all)

5.10 Substitutions and Pitching Changes (Including Visits to the Mound)

5.10 Substitutions and Pitching Changes (Including Visits to the Mound)

(a) A player, or players, may be substituted during a game at any time the ball is dead. A substitute player shall bat in the replaced player’s position in the team’s batting order.

(b) The manager shall immediately notify the umpire-in-chief of any substitution and shall state to the umpire-in-chief the substitute’s place in the batting order.

Rule 5.10(b) Comment: To avoid any confusion, the manager should give the name of the substitute, his position in the batting order and his position on the field. When two or more substitute players of the defensive team enter the game at the same time, the manager shall, immediately before they take their positions as fielders, designate to the umpire-in-chief such players’ positions in the team’s batting order, and the umpire-in-chief shall so notify the Official Scorer. If this information is not immediately given to the umpire-in-chief, the umpire-in-chief shall have authority to designate the substitutes’ places in the batting order. If a double-switch is being made, the manager or coach shall first notify the plate umpire. The umpire-in-chief must be informed of the multiple substitutions and interchanged batting order before the manager calls for a new pitcher (regardless of whether the manager or coach announces the double-switch before crossing the foul line). Signaling or motioning to the bullpen is to be considered an official substitution for the new pitcher. It is not permissible for the manager to go to the mound, call for a new pitcher, and then inform the umpire of multiple substitutions with the intention of interchanging the batting order. Players for whom substitutions have been made may remain with their team on the bench or may “warm-up” pitchers. If a manager substitutes another player for himself, he may continue to direct his team from the bench or the coach’s box. Umpires should not permit players for whom substitutes have been made, and who are permitted to remain on the bench, to address any remarks to any opposing player or manager, or to the umpires.

(c) The umpire-in-chief, after having been notified, shall immediately announce, or cause to be announced, each substitution.

(d) A player once removed from a game shall not re-enter that game. If a player who has been substituted for attempts to reenter, or re-enters, the game in any capacity, the umpire-in-chief shall direct the player’s manager to remove such player from the game immediately upon noticing the player’s presence or upon being informed of the player’s improper presence by another umpire or by either manager. If such direction to remove the substituted for player occurs before play commences with the player improperly in the game, then the substituteplayer may enter the game. If such direction to remove the substituted-for player occurs after play has commenced with the substituted-for player in the game, then the substitute player shall be deemed to have been removed from the game (in addition to the removal of the substituted-for player) and shall not enter the game. If a substitute enters the game in place of a player-manager, the manager may thereafter go to the coaching lines at his discretion. When two or more substitute players of the defensive team enter the game at the same time, the manager shall, immediately before they take their positions as fielders, designate to the umpire-in-chief such players’ positions in the team’s batting order and the umpire-in-chief shall so notify the Official Scorer. If this information is not immediately given to the umpire-in-chief, he shall have authority to designate the substitutes’ places in the batting order.

Rule 5.10(d) Comment: A pitcher may change to another position only once during the same inning; e.g. the pitcher will not be allowed to assume a position other than a pitcher more than once in the same inning. Any player other than a pitcher substituted for an injured player shall be allowed five warm-up throws. (See Rule 5.07(b) for pitchers.) Any play that occurs while a player appears in a game after having been substituted for shall count. If, in an umpire’s judgment, the player re-entered the game knowing that he had been removed, the umpire may eject the manager.

(e) A player whose name is on his team’s batting order may not become a substitute runner for another member of his team.

Rule 5.10(e) Comment: This rule is intended to eliminate the practice of using so-called courtesy runners. No player in the game shall be permitted to act as a courtesy runner for a teammate. No player who has been in the game and has been taken out for a substitute shall return as a courtesy runner. Any player not in the lineup, if used as a runner, shall be considered as a substitute player.

(f ) The pitcher named in the batting order handed the umpire-in-chief, as provided in Rules 4.02(a) and 4.02(b), shall pitch to the first batter or any substitute batter until such batter is put out or reaches first base, unless the pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the judgment of the umpire-in-chief, incapacitates him from pitching.

(g) If the pitcher is replaced, the substitute pitcher shall pitch to the batter then at bat, or any substitute batter, until such batter is put out or reaches first base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the substitute pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the umpire-in-chief’s judgment, incapacitates him for further play as a pitcher. 

The starting pitcher or any substitute pitcher is required to pitch to a minimum of three consecutive batters, including the batter then at bat (or any substitute batter), until such batters are put out or reach first base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the starting pitcher or substitute pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the umpire-in-chief’s judgment, incapacitates him from further play as a pitcher. 

Comments: To qualify as one of three consecutive batters, the batter must complete his plate appearance, which ends only when the batter is put out or becomes a runner. If the offensive team is put out prior to any substitute pitcher completing his first three consecutive batters, the pitcher may be removed from the game between innings; but, if he returns for the subsequent inning, he must complete pitching to as many batters as necessary to satisfy the three consecutive batters requirement, which total would include any batters that completed a plate appearance with that pitcher the prior inning (i.e., if he completed 0 PA in inning 1, he must complete 3 PA in inning 2; if he completed 1 PA in inning 1, he must complete 2 PA in inning 2; if he completed 2 PA in inning 1, he must complete 1 PA in inning 2). An intentional walk counts toward fulfilling the number of required batters. Picking off a runner does not fulfill the minimum batter requirement, but would permit the early removal of the pitcher if the out recorded by the pickoff ends the inning. 

(h) If an improper substitution is made for the pitcher, the umpires hall direct the proper pitcher to return to the game until the provisions of this rule are fulfilled. If the improper pitcher is permitted to pitch, any play that results is legal. The improper pitcher becomes the proper pitcher as soon as he makes his first pitch to the batter, or as soon as any runner is put out.

Rule 5.10(h) Comment: If a manager attempts to remove a pitcher in violation of Rule 5.10(h) the umpire shall notify the manager of the offending Club that it cannot be done. If, by chance, the umpire-in-chief has, through oversight, announced the incoming improper pitcher, he should still correct the situation before the improper pitcher pitches. Once the improper pitcher delivers a pitch he becomes the proper pitcher.

(i) If a pitcher who is already in the game crosses the foul line on his way to take his place on the pitcher’s plate to start an inning, he shall pitch to the first batter until such batter is put out or reaches first base, unless the batter is substituted for, or the pitcher sustains an injury or illness which, in the judgment of the umpire-in-chief, incapacitates him from pitching. If the pitcher ends the previous inning on base or at bat and does not return to the dugout after the inning is completed, the pitcher is not required to pitch to the first batter of the inning until he makes contact with the pitcher’s plate to begin his warm-up pitches. 

Rule 5.10(i) Note: The substitute batter exception to the requirement that a pitcher already in the game must face the first batter to start an inning contained in Rule 5.10(i) does not apply to a substitute pitcher who returns for a subsequent inning without having satisfied the three batter requirement contained in Rule 5.10(g). Thus, if a pitcher who has not completed his three batter requirement at the end of an inning returns for the subsequent inning, the obligation to satisfy the balance of this requirement shall continue even if the opposing team elects to pinch hit for the first hitter to start a subsequent inning. 

( j) If no announcement of a substitution is made, the substitute shall be considered as having entered the game when:

(1) If a pitcher, he takes his place on the pitcher’s plate;

(2) If a batter, he takes his place in the batter’s box;

(3) If a fielder, he reaches the position usually occupied by

the fielder he has replaced, and play commences;

(4) If a runner, he takes the place of the runner he has replaced.

Any play made by, or on, any of the above mentioned unannounced

substitutes shall be legal.

(k) Players and substitutes of both teams shall confine themselves to their team’s benches unless actually participating in the play or preparing to enter the game, or coaching at first or third base. No one except players, substitutes, managers, coaches, trainers and bat boys shall occupy a bench during a game.

PENALTY: For violation the umpire may, after warning, remove the offender from the field.

Rule 5.10(k) Comment: Players on the injured list are permitted to participate in pre-game activity and sit on the bench during a game but may not take part in any activity during the game such as warming up a pitcher, bench-jockeying, etc. Injured players are not allowed to enter the playing surface at any time or for any purpose during the game.

(l) Visits to the Mound Requiring a Pitcher’s Removal From the Game

A professional league shall adopt the following rule pertaining to the visit of the manager or coach to the pitcher:

(1) This rule limits the number of trips a manager or coach may make to any one pitcher in any one inning;

(2) A second trip to the same pitcher in the same inning will cause this pitcher’s automatic removal from the game;

(3) The manager or coach is prohibited from making a second visit to the mound while the same batter is at bat, but

(4) if a pinch-hitter is substituted for this batter, the manager or coach may make a second visit to the mound, but must remove the pitcher from the game. A manager or coach is considered to have concluded his visit to the mound when he leaves the 18-foot circle surrounding the pitcher’s rubber.

Rule 5.10(l) Comment: If the manager or coach goes to the catcher or infielder and that player then goes to the mound or the pitcher comes to him at his position before there is an intervening play (a pitch or other play) that will be the same as the manager or coach going to the mound. Any attempt to evade or circumvent this rule by the manager or coach going to the catcher or an infielder and then that player going to the mound to confer with the pitcher shall constitute a trip to the mound. If the coach goes to the mound and removes a pitcher and then the manager goes to the mound to talk with the new pitcher, that will constitute one trip to that new pitcher that inning. A manager or coach shall not be considered to have concluded his visit to the mound if he temporarily leaves the 18-foot circle surrounding the pitcher’s rubber for purposes of notifying the umpire that a double-switch or substitution is being made. In a case where a manager has made his first trip to the mound and then returns the second time to the mound in the same inning with the same pitcher in the game and the same batter at bat, after being warned by the umpire that he cannot return to the mound, the manager shall be removed from the game and the pitcher required to pitch to the batter until he is retired or gets on base. After the batter is retired, or becomes a base runner, then this pitcher must be removed from the game. The manager should be notified that his pitcher will be removed from the game after he pitches to one hitter, so he can have a substitute pitcher warmed up. In such circumstance, the substitute pitcher will be allowed as much time to throw preparatory pitches as in the umpire’s judgment circumstances justify. For purposes of this Rule 5.10(l), replacing the pitcher shall constitute one trip to that pitcher that inning, regardless of whether the manager or coach chooses to go to the mound, or whether the pitcher remains in the game at a different position on defense.

(m) Limitation on the Number of Mound Visits Per Game 

The following rule shall apply in Major League games. National Association Leagues may adopt a rule providing for a different limitation on the number of mound visits permitted in a game or no limitation on the number of mound visits. 

(1) Mound visits without a pitching change shall be limited to five per team, per nine innings. For any extra-innings played, each team shall be entitled to one additional nonpitching change mound visit per inning. 

(2) For purposes of this Rule 5.10(m), a manager or coach trip to the mound to meet with the pitcher shall constitute a visit. A player leaving his position to confer with the pitcher, including a pitcher leaving the mound to confer with another player, shall also constitute a visit, regardless of where the visit occurs or the length of the visit. Visits by a manager, coach or player to join a mound visit already in progress shall not constitute an independent visit. In addition, the following shall not constitute visits: 

(A) Discussions between pitchers and position player(s) that occur between batters in the normal course of play and do not require either the position player(s) or the pitcher to relocate; 

(B) Visits by position players to the mound solely to clean spikes, provided the player does not confer with the pitcher; 

(C) Visits to the mound due to an injury or potential injury of the pitcher; 

(D) Visits by position players to the mound after the announcement of an offensive substitution but prior to a subsequent pitch or play; 

(E) Visits to the mound by position players that occur during a suspension of play pursuant to an umpire’s call of “Time” (e.g., following an injury to an umpire or player; the presence of a spectator, object, or a member of the grounds crew on the field; a manager’s initiation of Replay Review, etc.), provided that the mound visit does not otherwise delay a return to game action; 

(F) Visits to the mound by position players after a home run, provided that the player returns to his position before the runner crosses home plate; and 

(G) Visits to the mound by position players during an inning break or pitching change, provided that the mound visit does not prevent the pitcher from complying with any applicable inning break or pitching change time limits. 

(3) Cross Up in Signs. In the event a team has exhausted its allotment of mound visits in a game (or extra inning) and the home plate umpire determines that the catcher and pitcher did not have a shared understanding of the location or type of pitch that had been signaled by the catcher (otherwise referred to as a “cross up”), the home plate umpire may, upon request of the catcher, allow the catcher to make a brief mound visit. However, any 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. 

(4) Enforcement of Mound Visit Limits. 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, unless during the at-bat of a substitute pitcher’s first batter, in which case the substitute shall continue to pitch only for the remainder of the at-bat in accordance with Rule 5.10(g). 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. 

If a position player makes a visit after his team has exhausted its allotted number of mound visits he may be subject to ejection for failing to return to his position when instructed by the umpire; however, an impermissible visit by a position player shall not require the removal of the pitcher. 

Rule 5.10(m) Note: Regardless of anything to the contrary in Rule 5.10(m), 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, unless during the at-bat of a starting or substitute pitcher’s first three batters, in which case the pitcher shall continue to pitch to a minimum of three consecutive batters in accordance with Rule 5.10(g). The penalties contained in Rule 5.10(m) continue to apply.