The Ole Ball Game

is it a balk

Jason asked: If there is a runner on 1st stealing 2nd, can the pitcher throw to 3rd for the 3rd baseman to throw out the runner? Or is this a balk?

Rick answered: Jason, thank you for your question.

The rule covering the above situation is 6-2, Section 2 Infractions by Pitcher Art 4...Balk: If there is a runner or runners, any of the following acts by a pitcher while he is touching the pitcher's plate is a balk:

b. failing to step with the non-pivot foot directly toward a base(occupied or unoccupied) when throwing or feinting there in an attempt to put out, or drive back a runner:or throwing or feinting to any unoccupied base when it is not an attempt to put out or drive back a runner.

The key to all this for the pitcher is to step back off the rubber with his pivot foot. Once he steps back, he is no longer a pitcher, he becomes an infielder and is able to throw the ball wherever he wants.

If he has started his delivery to the plate, he must complete that delivery, he cannot change direction and throw to third base.

In the photo above, if the runner leaves early, while the pitcher is still set, he can step back with his pivot foot, turn, and throw out the runner himself.

Yours in baseball,


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