Picked Off


RJ from Casper asks:

Runners are on first and third. One out. Runner at first attempts to steal second. Pitcher pivots and throws to second and gets the runner out. The coach for the team up to bat is arguing that it is a balk because you can't throw to an empty base. Balk or not? Thanks!

Assuming that the pitcher did not commit any violation while turning to throw to second this is not a balk and the runner is out. Although it is true that normally a pitcher is not allowed to throw to an unoccupied base while in contact with the rubber, the pitcher may throw to an unoccupied base while in contact with the rubber in order to make a play at the base in question.

Another way the pitcher could throw to second if he was unsure about the rule would be to dismount the rubber (removes his pivot foot from the rubber) because once he does that he becomes an infielder. However, if a pitcher does this to play catch with one of his fielders the umpire should step in right away to stop it because that would be considered making a mockery of the game.

Answered by: Jonathan Bravo
Keywords: Pitching

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