Pitcher substitution

  • Here's the situation from today. I'm sure I wasn't correct by the book but I don't feel I did the wrong thing.

    Ethan was removed for a sub in the top of the third. In the top of the fourth, his team wants to make a pitching change so that their pitcher can be used in a couple of days. Ethan goes to the mound and starts warming up.

    Now, the manager knew he could return a starter to the game but didn't know the sub had to have 6 and 1 before they could.

    Ethan then, was an ineligible substitute. They pulled him off and I allowed them to return the original pitcher to the mound.

    Legal? Illegal?


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  • OK, what level because this could make a difference in HOW illegal it was.

    First, when Ethan threw his first warm up, the previous pitcher was removed. Some other pitcher is now going to have to pitch to the next batter until he reaches base or is retired. If this was Majors or below, Pitcher 1 is done. If this is Juniors and up, the original pitcher could come back after that 1 batter assuming Ethan wasn't an actual sub for him.

    Now, about Ethan. Who did he come into the game for and were there any legal subs on the bench? Technically, once Ethan threw the first warm-up bench, he is in the game as an illegal sub. Now, if there is a legal sub, he must come in for Ethan. If there is no legal sub, the opposing manager gets to choose who comes into the game. If he is feeling nice, he simply chooses Ethan who can now pitch and everything is good. If he chooses anybody EXCEPT Ethan, then whoever Ethan replaced in the game is done for the game (since Ethan cannot meet his six and one for the starter to re-enter).

    I think I covered most of the what if's there...

  • Rita - no matter the level of play, IF Ethan was removed as a starter and put on the bench he could NOT go back into pitch.

    In Juniors and above he must remain in one of the other eight spots on the field. Majors and below once removed from pitcher they are done at pitcher.

  • Tom, based on Rita's info, she says Ethan was a starter, not necessarily the starting "pitcher". We need additional/clearer info from Rita.

  • Interesting dilemma, I am going to side with Rita in making the right call under a 9.01C (yikes!)

    I would suppot his by referencing J/R Rukes of Professional Baseball that state that the rules do not discuss illegal substitutions (ie, an ineligible player enters the game) They site it is the umpires responsibility to determine a fair ruling in such situations. One suggested penalty is to eject the illegal sub and replace with original player.

    Technically it is the mires responsibility to recognize the illegal substitutionby way of line up card and prevent it but during regular season play I have never carried a lineup card in LL.

  • Dang, my iPad is doing a number on my grammar and spelling his morning!

  • @Brian - The problem here is that the LL rules (and subsequent rulings) DO address this issue. 9.01(c) isn't appropriate here.

    I'd like to say that, depending on the situation, I don't necessarily disagree with what Rita allowed providing the other Manager was OK with it. It wasn't legal per LL rules, but it wasn't necessarily the wrong thing to do.

  • There is an RIM comment that states if an ineligible pitcher takes the mound for tosses and is discovered to be ineligible prior to throwing a pitch, said pitcher is removed without a protest and the previous pitcher can't return. (Might even be a rule book comment as I think about it.) Therefore, with what I have in this...

    Ethan goes back to the bench. (I'm correcting the illegal sub)

    Whoever came out of the game for Ethan is back into the game.

    Original pitcher can't come back to the mound. (We've already had a warm-up toss, he's out of the game)

    Coach, I need a new pitcher.

  • That's what I had as well, mike. All personnel should attempt to avoid a protestable situation. Rita accomplished by removing Ethan and putting him back on the bench.

    3.08 is a little tricky. Yes, it states that once a pitcher throws one warm up pitch that he would be considered a substitute. However, it also clearly indicated that this is only in the case of an unannounced substitution. It appears that this wasn't the case. Hmm. I guess one could argue VI(b) as the reason for not returning the pitcher.

  • @ Tom,

    In our league Juniors BB is Continuous Batting Order and kids go from the mound to the bench and back to the mound (once, later) all the time and nobody complains and considers all players "in the game" at all times.

  • Mark F.

    That is not allowed per the following IC from the LLRIM under 4.04

    "League is using the CBO at the Junior/Senior/Big League level and wants to take its pitcher off the mound put him/her in the dugout for a rest and bring him/her back later because he/she is still in the line up. Can they do that? No, not really. While admittedly the player is still in the batting order, however, when they took the pitcher off the mound and moved him/her to the dugout they lost their chance to bring the pitcher back. The rule was written to keep the pitcher in the lineup both offensively and defensively."

  • Awesome! I have seen it happen so many times over the last three years while my son was playing juniors. Not always the pitcher comming off and going straight to the bench but pitcher comes out, later in the game at some point goes to the bench, then later becomes pitcher again. I said something about it when I was coaching and was treated like i was crazy. My president told me "Continuous batting order changes everything" lol.

    I will be helping the Big League team this year and will make sure the manager knows this....

    Yes, COB in big league too around here......

  • @Mike wrote "Whoever came out of the game for Ethan is back into the game."

    This is contraindicated by this 3.03 RIM IC:

    "If a situation exists where a starter has re-entered too soon and it is not discovered until play has resumed, we have a possible protest. If discovered then, the re-entering starter is removed (since he/she re- entered improperly), the substitute has already left the game (albeit improperly) and the re-entering starter cannot return again in the game (since he/she already re-entered, improperly). The manager has “burned” two players when the umpire could have stopped it."

    I read this to say that "whoever came out of the game for Ethan" is done for the day. (Personally, I've always found this a bit harsh, but that's what it says).

    As E Mark pointed out above, if there are no legal subs on the bench (which is not unlikely) the other manager gets to choose who fills that spot, which might be Ethan or whoever came out of the game for Ethan or someone else. But, based on the RIM comment, it is not appropriate for the umpire to unilaterally re-enter whoever came out of the game for Ethan.

  • Mark... we are working off of the fact that we haven't thrown a pitch. At no point did Rita say Ethan threw a pitch in the game.

    "Ethan was removed for a sub in the top of the third. In the top of the fourth, his team wants to make a pitching change so that their pitcher can be used in a couple of days. Ethan goes to the mound and starts warming up."

    If he did pitch to a batter, then the whole situation changes.... but if play hasn't resumed yet, we don't have an ineligible sub infraction. But, the moment he threw a warm-up pitch, we've removed the pitcher. So you can't put the other pitcher back on the mound, but you can correct the ineligible sub before play resumes and the infraction occurs.

    And there is a similar interp where a substitute pitcher is discovered to be ineligible prior to throwing a pitch, the previous pitcher can not return to the mound once a warm-up toss has been thrown.

  • @Mike - Per rule, it doesn't make an difference if he has pitched to a batter or not. Per rule, the pitcher has re-entered the game after the first warm-up pitch. He IS now the pitcher of record and IS back in the the line-up (illegally). You can't correct this.

    BTW, I had this exact situation in tournament several years ago (pitcher started waming up before changes were reported to me and I didn't notice). Note that this was back when the tournament MPR was the same as the regular season. In any case, I ruled as in my first post in this thread. Protest ensued that went all the way to WP and my ruling was upheld. Since that time, there have been subsequent rulings and the RIM and all of them still hold to the same ruling.

    Mark's post just before yours is correct. The player Ethan came in for is done for the day.

  • @Mike - I was relying on rule 3.08(a)(1) "3.08 (a) If no announcement of a substitution is made, the substitute shall be considered to have entered the game when - (1) if a pitcher, the substitute takes position on the pitcher's plate and throws one warm-up pitch to the catcher;"

    So, when Ethan threw the warmup pitch, he had entered the game. If he was just going in to play, say, second base, you are correct that the (unannounced) substitution would not be official until "play commences".

    On the other hand, the 3.03 IC that I quoted above does say, "...play has resumed..." But I think this is just shorthand for "when the substitution is official".

    I suppose it would be a grey area if the manager informs the PU of the change, the PU causes the change to be announced, but the PU catches the mistake before play commences. However, in the case of a pitcher, it seems that "throws a warm-up pitch" takes the place of "play commences".

  • So now we have a protest when the book tells us to avoid these kinds of protests in the regular season? I struggle with that interp.