clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

A rules discussion question

New, 83 comments

Last night, Alexi Ogando threw a pitch that was in the dirt, came up, hit Yorvit Torrealba's glove and then ricocheted up and hit the batter (I forget who it was) in the face.

The pitch was called a ball, but it occurred to me...

Rule 5.09(a) of the rules of baseball says a batter is entitled to first base if:

b) He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless (1) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (2) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball; If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a ball if he makes no attempt to avoid being touched.

APPROVED RULING: When the batter is touched by a pitched ball which does not entitle him to first base, the ball is dead and no runner may advance.

Now, whenever the ball hits the catcher, bounces off and hits the batter, it is called a dead ball.  But the rules don't seem to indicate that's the case...if the ball bounces off the catcher and then hits the batter, it should be a HBP, and the batter should be awarded first base, the way I'm reading the rules.

And it isn't that the ball hit the dirt...if the ball hits the dirt in front of the plate, bounces up and hits the batter, it is still a HBP and the batter gets first.

So, am I missing something?  Have I overlooked a portion of the rules?  Or is this just one of those things where umpires and players are calling and treating this sort of event a certain way, even though the rule book doesn't authorize it?

And what do you think...if a pitch bounces off the catcher and hits the batter, should it be called an HBP?  Or is the way it is being called now the "right" way, whatever the rules may say.