Pitcher stretch rules

The stretch position consists of three stages. In the initial stage, the pitcher stands with their glove side facing home plate, their hands separated, and their pivot foot parallel to and touching the pitching rubber. This position allows the pitcher to set up for the upcoming pitch effectively.

The second stage, known as “Set,” requires the pitcher to join their gloved hand with their pitching hand while potentially moving their free foot closer to the pivot foot. When there are runners on base, the pitcher must come to a complete stop in front of their body, also known as “Set.” This pause gives the pitcher a chance to assess the situational variables and make calculated decisions.

The final stage is the motion to pitch. During this stage, the pitcher’s stride foot steps forward while the back foot remains in contact with the rubber. The coordinated movement of the body and the arm in this stage enables the pitcher to deliver the ball with accuracy and speed.

Understanding and adhering to the rules for the stretch position is vital for pitchers to maintain their effectiveness on the mound. It ensures a fair competition between pitchers and batters, creating an exciting and strategic game of baseball.

Windup Vs. Set Position

In baseball, pitchers have two legal pitching positions: the windup position and the set position. Let’s take a closer look at each of these positions.

Windup Position

The windup position is used by pitchers when there are no runners on base. In this position, the pitcher faces the batter with their pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate, while the other foot is free. The windup position allows pitchers to generate more power and momentum in their delivery, as they have the freedom to use a full range of motion.

Set Position

The set position, also known as the stretch position, is used by pitchers when there are runners on base. In the set position, the pitcher stands facing the batter with their pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate, while the other foot is placed in front of the pitcher’s plate. The pitcher must hold the ball in both hands in front of their body and come to a complete stop before delivering the pitch.


With runners on base, the pitcher is presumed to be in the set position if their pivot foot is in contact with and parallel to the pitcher’s plate, and their other foot is in front of the pitcher’s plate. The set position allows pitchers to maintain better control over the running game, as they can quickly deliver the ball to the plate to hold runners or attempt pickoffs.

Understanding the differences between the windup and set positions is crucial for pitchers as they adapt their delivery based on the game situation. Whether it’s the power and momentum of the windup or the control and effectiveness of the set position, pitchers must master both techniques to maximize their performance on the mound.

Exceptions and Clarifications

In the world of baseball, there are certain exceptions and clarifications to the rules governing pitcher positions. Let’s explore some of these exceptions and the clarifications that players and coaches need to be aware of.

Windup Notification

An important aspect of pitcher positions is the ability to notify the home plate umpire when pitching out of a windup position. This notification can be given either before the beginning of an at-bat or during an at-bat under specific circumstances.

For example, if the offensive team makes a substitution, the pitcher can notify the umpire that they will be pitching from the windup position. Additionally, if one or more base runners advance during an at-bat, the pitcher can also change to pitch from the windup position and notify the umpire accordingly.

Temporary Replacement Player

In the case of a player undergoing concussion evaluation, a temporary replacement player can be brought in to take their place. This replacement player must be an eligible player who has not yet participated in the game.

If the injured player is cleared to resume participation, they can only resume their lineup spot once. This ensures fair play and prevents any advantage gained from the temporary replacement.

Video Review Challenge

In recent years, video review challenges have become an important part of the game. Coaches have the opportunity to challenge umpire decisions and have them reviewed with the help of video evidence.

One key clarification is that coaches are now allowed to keep their video review challenge, even if the original call is overturned. This gives them the flexibility to use their challenge strategically throughout the game without the fear of losing it unnecessarily.

These exceptions and clarifications help maintain the integrity of the game and ensure fair play for all teams involved.

Now, let’s take a look at a table summarizing these exceptions and clarifications:

Exception/Clarification Description
Windup Notification Pitcher can notify umpire before/at-bat
Temporary Replacement Player Player undergoing concussion evaluation can be replaced
Video Review Challenge Coaches can keep their challenge even if call is overturned

Do the Pitcher Stretch Rules Differ from the Pitcher Throwing Motion Rules?

Yes, the pitcher stretch rules differ from the pitcher throwing motion rules. Understanding these differences is crucial to learn proper pitching mechanics. In the stretch position, the pitcher is required to come set before delivering the pitch, while in the throwing motion, the pitcher can use a continuous motion to deliver the pitch.

Enforcement and Penalties

Umpires play a crucial role in the enforcement of pitching rules to ensure fair play and maintain the integrity of the game. It is their responsibility to ensure that pitchers adhere to the necessary requirements and regulations.

One key aspect of pitching rules is the requirement for pitchers to come to a complete stop when using the set position. Failure to do so may result in a balk, which can have significant consequences for the pitcher and their team.

Umpires are vigilant in watching for any attempts by pitchers to “beat the rule” and catch the batter off guard with an illegal quick pitch. Pitchers who try to deceive the batter by pitching before they are ready or without proper adherence to the rules will face penalties determined by the umpire.

Another crucial rule that umpires enforce is the prohibition on pitchers adding foreign substances to the ball. Any pitcher caught violating this rule will be ejected immediately. This strict enforcement aims to maintain a level playing field and prevent unfair advantages.

Additionally, the NCAA has implemented specific enforcement measures for team personnel during altercations. Any team member, except for coaching staff, who leaves the dugout or bullpen during a confrontation will be ejected and must serve a one-game suspension. This rule emphasizes the importance of sportsmanship and preventing unsportsmanlike conduct.

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