(a) Each player of the offensive team shall bat in the order that his name appears in his team’s batting order.
(b) The first batter in each inning after the first inning shall be the player whose name follows that of the last player who legally completed his time at bat in the preceding inning.
(a) The batter shall take his position in the batter’s box promptly when it is his time at bat.
(b) 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 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 6.02(d).
The following two paragraphs are additional material for 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 stepped out of the box, 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." Rule 6.02 50
The following paragraph is additional material for 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 6.02(d)(1) calls for such sanction.
(c) 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 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 6.02(c) and before the umpire calls a successive strike pursuant to Rule 6.02(c).
(d) The following rule shall be in effect for all National Association Leagues:
(1) 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) The batter is forced out of the batter’s box by a pitch;
(iii) A member of either team requests and is granted "Time";
(iv) A defensive player attempts a play on a runner at any base;
(v) The batter feints a bunt;
(vi) A wild pitch or passed ball occurs;
(vii) The pitcher leaves the dirt area of the pitching mound after receiving the ball; or
(viii)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 6.02(d)(1)(i) through (viii) applies, the umpire shall award a strike without the pitcher having to deliver the pitch. The ball is dead, and no runners may advance. The umpire shall award Rule 6.02 to 6.05 51
additional strikes, without the pitcher having to deliver the pitch, if the batter remains outside the batter’s box and further delays play.
Rule 6.02(d)(1) Comment: The umpire has the discretion to issue a warning to a batter in lieu of calling an automatic strike for the batter’s first violation of Rule 6.02(d)(1) in a game, so long as the batter’s violation is judged to be brief and inadvertent. 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 6.02(d)(1) and before the umpire calls a successive strike pursuant to Rule 6.02(d)(1).
(2) The batter may leave the batter’s box and the dirt area surrounding home plate when "Time" is called for the purpose of
(i) making a substitution; or
(ii) a conference by either team.
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.
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.
6.04 A batter has legally completed his time at bat when he is put out or becomes a runner.
6.05 A batter is out when—
(a) His fair or foul fly ball (other than a foul tip) is legally caught by a fielder;
Rule 6.05(a) Comment: A fielder may reach into, but not step into, a dugout to make a catch, and if he holds the ball, the catch shall be allowed. A fielder, in order to make a catch on a foul ball nearing a dugout or other out-of-play area (such as the stands), must have one or both feet on or over the playing surface (including the lip of the dugout) and neither foot on the ground inside the dugout or in any other out-of-play area. Ball is in play, unless the fielder, after making a legal catch, falls into a dugout or other out-of-play area, in which case the ball is dead. Status of runners shall be as described in Rule 7.04(c) Comment.
(b) A third strike is legally caught by the catcher; Rule 6.05 52
Rule 6.05(b) Comment: "Legally caught" means in the catcher’s glove before the ball touches the ground. It is not legal if the ball lodges in his clothing or paraphernalia; or if it touches the umpire and is caught by the catcher on the rebound.
If a foul-tip first strikes the catcher’s glove and then goes on through and is caught by both hands against his body or protector, before the ball touches the ground, it is a strike, and if third strike, batter is out. If smothered against his body or protector, it is a catch provided the ball struck the catcher’s glove or hand first.
(c) A third strike is not caught by the catcher when first base is occupied before two are out;
(d) He bunts foul on third strike;
(e) An Infield Fly is declared;
(f) He attempts to hit a third strike and the ball touches him;
(g) His fair ball touches him before touching a fielder;
(h) After hitting or bunting a fair ball, his bat hits the ball a second time in fair territory. The ball is dead and no runners may advance. If the batter-runner drops his bat and the ball rolls against the bat in fair territory and, in the umpire’s judgment, there was no intention to interfere with the course of the ball, the ball is alive and in play;
Rule 6.05(h) Comment: If a bat breaks and part of it is in fair territory and is hit by a batted ball or part of it hits a runner or fielder, play shall continue and no interference called. If batted ball hits part of a broken bat in foul territory, it is a foul ball.
If a whole bat is thrown into fair territory and interferes with a defensive player attempting to make a play, interference shall be called, whether intentional or not.
In cases where the batting helmet is accidentally hit with a batted ball on or over fair territory or a thrown ball, the ball remains in play the same as if it has not hit the helmet.
If a batted ball strikes a batting helmet or any other object foreign to the natural ground while on foul territory, it is a foul ball and the ball is dead.
If, in the umpire’s judgment, there is intent on the part of a baserunner to interfere with a batted or thrown ball by dropping the helmet or throwing it at the ball, then the runner would be out, the ball dead and runners would return to last base legally touched.
(i) After hitting or bunting a foul ball, he intentionally deflects the course of the ball in any manner while running to first base. The ball is dead and no runners may advance; Rule 6.05 53
(j) After a third strike or after he hits a fair ball, he or first base is tagged before he touches first base;
(k) In running the last half of the distance from home base to first base, while the ball is being fielded to first base, he runs outside (to the right of) the three-foot line, or inside (to the left of) the foul line, and in the umpire’s judgment in so doing interferes with the fielder taking the throw at first base, in which case the ball is dead; except that he may run outside (to the right of) the three-foot line or inside (to the left of) the foul line to avoid a fielder attempting to field a batted ball;
Rule 6.05(k) Comment: The lines marking the three-foot lane are a part of that lane and a batter-runner is required to have both feet within the three-foot lane or on the lines marking the lane. The batter-runner is permitted to exit the three-foot lane by means of a step, stride, reach or slide in the immediate vicinity of first base for the sole purpose of touching first base.
(l) An infielder intentionally drops a fair fly ball or line drive, with first, first and second, first and third, or first, second and third base occupied before two are out. The ball is dead and runner or runners shall return to their original base or bases;
APPROVED RULING: In this situation, the batter is not out if the infielder permits the ball to drop untouched to the ground, except when the Infield Fly rule applies.
(m) A preceding runner shall, in the umpire’s judgment, intentionally interfere with a fielder who is attempting to catch a thrown ball or to throw a ball in an attempt to complete any play:
Rule 6.05(m) Comment: The objective of this rule is to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base. Obviously this is an umpire’s judgment play.
(n) With two out, a runner on third base, and two strikes on the batter, the runner attempts to steal home base on a legal pitch and the ball touches the runner in the batter’s strike zone. The umpire shall call "Strike Three," the batter is out and the run shall not count; before two are out, the umpire shall call "Strike Three," the ball is dead, and the run counts. Rule 6.06 54
6.06 A batter is out for illegal action when—
(a) He hits a ball with one or both feet on the ground entirely outside the batter’s box.
Rule 6.06(a) Comment: If a batter hits a ball fair or foul while out of the batter’s box, he shall be called out. Umpires should pay particular attention to the position of the batter’s feet if he attempts to hit the ball while he is being intentionally passed. A batter cannot jump or step out of the batter’s box and hit the ball.
(b) He steps from one batter’s box to the other while the pitcher is in position ready to pitch;
(c) He interferes with the catcher’s fielding or throwing by stepping out of the batter’s box or making any other movement that hinders the catcher’s play at home base. EXCEPTION: Batter is not out if any runner attempting to advance is put out, or if runner trying to score is called out for batter’s interference.
Rule 6.06(c) Comment: If the batter interferes with the catcher, the plate umpire shall call "interference." The batter is out and the ball dead. No player may advance on such interference (offensive interference) and all runners must return to the last base that was, in the judgment of the umpire, legally touched at the time of the interference.
If, however, the catcher makes a play and the runner attempting to advance is put out, it is to be assumed there was no actual interference and that runner is out--not the batter. Any other runners on the base at the time may advance as the ruling is that there is no actual interference if a runner is retired. In that case play proceeds just as if no violation had been called.
If a batter strikes at a ball and misses and swings so hard he carries the bat all the way around and, in the umpire’s judgment, unintentionally hits the catcher or the ball in back of him on the backswing before the catcher has securely held the ball, it shall be called a strike only (not interference). The ball will be dead, however, and no runner shall advance on the play.
(d) He uses or attempts to use a bat that, in the umpire’s judgment, has been altered or tampered with in such a way to improve the distance factor or cause an unusual reaction on the baseball. This includes, bats that are filled, flat-surfaced, nailed, hollowed, grooved or covered with a substance such as paraffin, wax, etc.
No advancement on the bases will be allowed and any out or outs made during a play shall stand. Rule 6.06 to 6.07 55
In addition to being called out, the player shall be ejected from the game and may be subject to additional penalties as determined by his League President.
Rule 6.06(d) Comment: A batter shall be deemed to have used or attempted to use an illegal bat if he brings such a bat into the batter’s box.
6.07 BATTING OUT OF TURN.
(a) A batter shall be called out, on appeal, when he fails to bat in his proper turn, and another batter completes a time at bat in his place.
(1) The proper batter may take his place in the batter’s box at any time before the improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and any balls and strikes shall be counted in the proper batter’s time at bat.
(b) When an improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and the defensive team appeals to the umpire before the first pitch to the next batter of either team, or before any play or attempted play, the umpire shall (1) declare the proper batter out; and (2) nullify any advance or score made because of a ball batted by the improper batter or because of the improper batter’s advance to first base on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batter or otherwise.
NOTE: If a runner advances, while the improper batter is at bat, on a stolen base, balk, wild pitch or passed ball, such advance is legal.
(c) When an improper batter becomes a runner or is put out, and a pitch is made to the next batter of either team before an appeal is made, the improper batter thereby becomes the proper batter, and the results of his time at bat become legal.
(d) (1) When the proper batter is called out because he has failed to bat in turn, the next batter shall be the batter whose name follows that of the proper batter thus called out;
(2) When an improper batter becomes a proper batter because no appeal is made before the next pitch, the next batter shall be the batter whose name follows Rule 6.07 56
that of such legalized improper batter. The instant an improper batter’s actions are legalized, the batting order picks up with the name following that of the legalized improper batter.
Rule 6.07 Comment: The umpire shall not direct the attention of any person to the presence in the batter’s box of an improper batter. This rule is designed to require constant vigilance by the players and managers of both teams.
There are two fundamentals to keep in mind: When a player bats out of turn, the proper batter is the player called out. If an improper batter bats and reaches base or is out and no appeal is made before a pitch to the next batter, or before any play or attempted play, that improper batter is considered to have batted in proper turn and establishes the order that is to follow.
To illustrate various situations arising from batting out of turn, assume a first-inning batting order as follows:
PLAY (1). Baker bats. With the count 2 balls and 1 strike, (a) the offensive team discovers the error or (b) the defensive team appeals. RULING: In either case, Abel replaces Baker, with the count on him 2 balls and 1 strike.
PLAY (2). Baker bats and doubles. The defensive team appeals (a) immediately or (b) after a pitch to Charles. RULING: (a) Abel is called out and Baker is the proper batter; (b) Baker stays on second and Charles is the proper batter.
PLAY (3). Abel walks. Baker walks. Charles forces Baker. Edward bats in Daniel’s turn. While Edward is at bat, Abel scores and Charles goes to second on a wild pitch. Edward grounds out, sending Charles to third. The defensive team appeals (a) immediately or (b) after a pitch to Daniel. RULING: (a) Abel’s run counts and Charles is entitled to second base since these advances were not made because of the improper batter batting a ball or advancing to first base. Charles must return to second base because his advance to third resulted from the improper batter batting a ball. Daniel is called out, and Edward is the proper batter; (b) Abel’s run counts and Charles stays on third. The proper batter is Frank.
PLAY (4). With the bases full and two out. Hooker bats in Frank’s turn, and triples, scoring three runs. The defensive team appeals (a) immediately, or (b) after a pitch to George. RULING: (a) Frank is called out and no runs score. George is the proper batter to lead off the second inning; (b) Hooker stays on third and three runs score. Irwin is the proper batter.
PLAY (5). After Play (4)(b) above, George continues at bat. (a) Hooker is picked off third base for the third out, or (b) George flies out, and no appeal is made. Who is the proper leadoff batter in the second inning? RULING: (a) Irwin. He became the proper batter as soon as the first pitch to George legalized Hooker’s triple; (b) Hooker. When no appeal was made, the first pitch to the leadoff batter of the opposing team legalized George’s time at bat.
PLAY (6). Daniel walks and Abel comes to bat. Daniel was an improper batter, and if an appeal is made before the first pitch to Abel, Abel is out, Daniel is removed from base, and Baker is the proper batter. There is no appeal, and a pitch is made to Abel. Daniel’s walk is now legalized, and Edward thereby becomes the proper batter. Edward can replace Abel at any time before Abel is put out or becomes a runner. He does not do so. Abel flies out, and Baker comes to bat. Abel was an improper batter, and if an appeal is made before the first pitch to Baker, Edward is out, and the proper batter is Frank. There is no appeal, and a pitch is made to Baker. Abel’s out is now legalized, and the proper batter is Baker. Baker walks. Charles is the proper batter. Charles flies out. Now Daniel is the proper batter, but he is on second base. Who is the proper batter? RULING: The proper batter is Edward. When the proper batter is on base, he is passed over, and the following batter becomes the proper batter. Rule 6.08 57
6.08 The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when—
(a) Four "balls" have been called by the umpire;
Rule 6.08(a) Comment: A batter who is entitled to first base because of a base on balls must go to first base and touch the base before other base runners are forced to advance. This applies when bases are full and applies when a substitute runner is put into the game.
If, in advancing, the base runner thinks there is a play and he slides past the base before or after touching it he may be put out by the fielder tagging him. If he fails to touch the base to which he is entitled and attempts to advance beyond that base he may be put out by tagging him or the base he missed.
(b) He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless (1) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (2) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball;
If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a ball if he makes no attempt to avoid being touched.
APPROVED RULING: When the batter is touched by a pitched ball which does not entitle him to first base, the ball is dead and no runner may advance.
(c) The catcher or any fielder interferes with him. If a play follows the interference, the manager of the offense may advise the plate umpire that he elects to decline the interference penalty and accept the play. Such election shall be made immediately at the end of the play. However, if the batter reaches first base on a hit, an error, a base on balls, a hit batsman, or otherwise, and all other runners advance at least one base, the play proceeds without reference to the interference.
Rule 6.08(c) Comment: If catcher’s interference is called with a play in progress the umpire will allow the play to continue because the manager may elect to take the play. If the batter-runner missed first base, or a runner misses his next base, he shall be considered as having reached the base, as stated in Note of Rule 7.04 (d).
Examples of plays the manager might elect to take:
1. Runner on third, one out, batter hits fly ball to the outfield on which the runner scores but Rule 6.08 to 6.09 58
catcher’s interference was called. The offensive manager may elect to take the run and have batter called out or have runner remain at third and batter awarded first base.
2. Runner on second base. Catcher interferes with batter as he bunts ball fairly sending runner to third base. The manager may rather have runner on third base with an out on the play than have runners on second and first.
If a runner is trying to score by a steal or squeeze from third base, note the additional penalty set forth in Rule 7.07.
If the catcher interferes with the batter before the pitcher delivers the ball, it shall not be considered interference on the batter under Rule 6.08(c). In such cases, the umpire shall call "Time" and the pitcher and batter start over from "scratch."
(d) A fair ball touches an umpire or a runner on fair territory before touching a fielder.
If a fair ball touches an umpire after having passed a fielder other than the pitcher, or having touched a fielder, including the pitcher, the ball is in play.
6.09 The batter becomes a runner when—
(a) He hits a fair ball;
(b) The third strike called by the umpire is not caught, providing (1) first base is unoccupied, or (2) first base is occupied with two out;
Rule 6.09(b) Comment: A batter who does not realize his situation on a third strike not caught, and who is not in the process of running to first base, shall be declared out once he leaves the dirt circle surrounding home plate.
(c) A fair ball, after having passed a fielder other than the pitcher, or after having been touched by a fielder, including the pitcher, shall touch an umpire or runner on fair territory;
(d) A fair ball passes over a fence or into the stands at a distance from home base of 250 feet or more. Such hit entitles the batter to a home run when he shall have touched all bases legally. A fair fly ball that passes out of the playing field at a point less than 250 feet from home base shall entitle the batter to advance to second base only;
(e) A fair ball, after touching the ground, bounds into the stands, or passes through, over or under a fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery, Rule 6.09 to 6.10 59
or vines on the fence, in which case the batter and the runners shall be entitled to advance two bases;
(f) Any fair ball which, either before or after touching the ground, passes through or under a fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through any opening in the fence or scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery, or vines on the fence, or which sticks in a fence or scoreboard, in which case the batter and the runners shall be entitled to two bases;
(g) Any bounding fair ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands, or over or under a fence on fair or foul territory, in which case the batter and all runners shall be entitled to advance two bases;
(h) Any fair fly ball is deflected by the fielder into the stands, or over the fence into foul territory, in which case the batter shall be entitled to advance to second base; but if deflected into the stands or over the fence in fair territory, the batter shall be entitled to a home run. However, should such a fair fly be deflected at a point less than 250 feet from home plate, the batter shall be entitled to two bases only.
6.10 Any League may elect to use the Designated Hitter Rule.
(a) In the event of inter-league competition between clubs of Leagues using the Designated Hitter Rule and clubs of Leagues not using the Designated Hitter Rule, the rule will be used as follows:
1. In World Series or exhibition games, the rule will be used or not used as is the practice of the home team.
2. In All-Star games, the rule will only be used if both teams and both Leagues so agree.
(b) The Rule provides as follows:
A hitter may be designated to bat for the starting pitcher and all subsequent pitchers in any game without otherwise affecting the status of the pitcher(s) in the game. A Rule 6.10 60
Designated Hitter for the pitcher must be selected prior to the game and must be included in the lineup cards presented to the Umpire in Chief.
The designated hitter named in the starting lineup must come to bat at least one time, unless the opposing club changes pitchers.
It is not mandatory that a club designate a hitter for the pitcher, but failure to do so prior to the game precludes the use of a Designated Hitter for that game.
Pinch hitters for a Designated Hitter may be used. Any substitute hitter for a Designated Hitter becomes the Designated Hitter. A replaced Designated Hitter shall not re-enter the game in any capacity.
The Designated Hitter may be used defensively, continuing to bat in the same position in the batting order, but the pitcher must then bat in the place of the substituted defensive player, unless more than one substitution is made, and the manager then must designate their spots in the batting order.
A runner may be substituted for the Designated Hitter and the runner assumes the role of Designated Hitter. A Designated Hitter may not pinch run.
A Designated Hitter is "locked" into the batting order. No multiple substitutions may be made that will alter the batting rotation of the Designated Hitter.
Once the game pitcher is switched from the mound to a defensive position this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game.
Once a pinch hitter bats for any player in the batting order and then enters the game to pitch, this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game.
Once the game pitcher bats for the Designated Hitter this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game. (The game pitcher may only pinch-hit for the Designated Hitter). Rule 6.10 61
Once a Designated Hitter assumes a defensive position this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game. A substitute for the Designated Hitter need not be announced until it is the Designated Hitter’s turn to bat.
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