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Friday, May 28, 2010
Baseball Coaching Digest - When Can a Pitcher Throw to an Unoccupied Base Without Balking?
By Nick Dixon
The answer to this often debated question is yes. The pitcher is allowed to throw to an unoccupied base if a runner is making an attempt to reach that base. The pitcher does not have to step off or clear the runner to make this throw.
For example, there is a runner on second base. The runner on second base breaks for third and the pitcher realizes what is happening. The pitcher being in his stretch delivery, steps toward third with his stride foot, and throws to third to get the runner out.
The rule as stated in the rule book makes this play legal. The pitcher is entitled to make a throw to second or third base if the runner is attempting to advance. When the runner makes an attempt to steal a bag, he is making an effort to advance. The pitcher has a right to make a play on an advancing runner. Then the pitcher is making a legal play in throwing to the base in an attempt to make the play.
Rule 8.05 in the official baseball rule book is the rule applying in this play. The rule states:
8.05 If there is a runner, or runners, it is a balk when (d) The pitcher, while touching his plate, throws, or feints a throw to an unoccupied base, except for the purpose of making a play.
The rule clearly states that a pitcher has the right to make a play on an advancing runner.
There are two things that the pitcher must remember when making this play:
1. The pitcher must step directly toward a base before throwing to that base. The 45-degree rule applies as judged by the umpire.
2. The pitcher can not stop his pitch motion to the plate to try and make a play on the runner. Once a pitcher commits his motion toward the plate, the pitch must be thrown to the plate.
I hope this article was informative and interesting to you. I thank you for taking the time to read it. Have a great day, Nick
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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nick_Dixon
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