Monday, August 12, 2013

Ask the UEFL: Patton Substitution to Start the Seventh

Welcome to "Ask the UEFL," our newest Umpire Odds & Ends series in which Close Call Sports answers your rules-related questions. We're presently in baseball season, so Q1 comes to us about the MLB. Greg writes:

"O's pitcher Troy Patton took warm up pitches [to begin the bottom of the 7th inning of Sunday's Orioles-Giants game], then Buck Showalter came out to replace him before he faced a batter. Rule 3.05(d). States that a pitcher that crosses the foul line must pitch to atleast one batter, unless a sub. is put in."

Rule 3.05(d) states (the underlined portion refers to a rules change for the 2013 season):
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.
As such, we refer to the top of the 7th inning. With two out and none on, Patton batted and made the final out on a bunt ground out to Giants pitcher Matt Cain, ending the top half of the inning. As "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" blared, Patton climbed the mound and warmed up for the bottom of the 7th as Brett Pill emerged from the Giants dugout to lead off for the scheduled #9 hitter Matt Cain. After Pill was announced 25 seconds before the inning was set to begin pursuant to MLB directive, Showalter emerged from the visitor's dugout to replace Patton with Tommy Hunter.

Answer: The umpires got this right because Pill became Cain's substitute batter, though Patton did indeed return to the Orioles' first base dugout during the half-inning break.

If you have a question for the UEFL, send us an e-mail (info at closecallsports dot com) or visit our Ejection/Report form, selecting the "Misc. Rules Question" or "Other Discussion Request" submission type.


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