Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Legality of Nestor Cortes' Delay from Windup Position

After HP Umpire Reed Basner called Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes for a quick pitch (automatic ball) during Nationals batter Jeimer Candelario's 3rd inning at-bat in Washington, Cortes reacted by drawing out his windup on the very next pitch. Is this legal or a rules violation?

Official Baseball Rules 5.07(a) and 6.02(a)(5) govern the quick pitch part of the play. OBR 5.07(a) Comment states, "[Pitchers] may not step quickly onto the rubber and pitch. This may be judged a quick pitch by the umpire" and 6.02(a)(5) comment defines a quick pitch as an illegal pitch "delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter's box" (penalty with runners: balk; penalty without runners: ball).

The quick pitch was the correct call because pitcher Cortes began his windup motion prior to batter Candelario becoming reasonably set in the batter's box (e.g., he was not alert to the pitcher).

Immediately thereafter, Cortes responded by throwing a *slow pitch* on the ensuing offering, effectively drawing out his windup. Although OBR 5.07(a)(1) pertaining to Windup Position states, "any natural movement associated with his delivery of the ball to the batter commits him to the pitch without interruption or alteration. He shall not raise either foot from the ground, except that in his actual delivery of the ball to the batter, he may take one step backward, and one step forward with his free foot," pitcher Cortes didn't actually stop mid-delivery (no interruption). As for the alteration angle, even if it were to be adjudged a violation of 5.07(a)(1), there is no penalty other than "don't do that"—no automatic ball like a quick pitch.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Cortes responds to Quick Pitch call by throwing a Slow Pitch (WAS/CCS)


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