Picking Off To First


James Shaw from Saratoga Springs, NY asks:

Does the pitcher have to step off the rubber before throwing to first on a pick off move?

 No although the pitcher needs to step directly to the base he is throwing to on a pick off. The pitcher must also complete his throw to first. In other words he can not pretend to throw the ball to first without actually throwing it. The rule of thumb for umpires in deciding if the pitcher threw directly to first it to draw an imaginary 45 degree line from the 90 degree angle that is made up by first base and home plate. If the pitcher steps to the first base side of this line then he is considered having stepped directly towards first. If he steps on the home plate side of this line and then throws to first it is a balk.

Answered by: Jonathan Bravo
Keywords: Pitching

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