Can the visiting team change their starting pitcher once the line ups are given to the umpires and the game begins? Example- Joe Strikeout is the starting pitcher on the line up card. The visitors score 8 runs in the top of the 1st and they trot out Bill Not SO Much instead of Joe Strikeout. Legal substitution?

1 Answer 1


This is not legal. According to rule 5.10(f) of the 2016 MLB Rulebook, the starting pitcher, as listed on the lineup given to the umpire, must pitch to the first batter he faces (unless said pitcher is incapacitated for whatever reason). That batter must be put out or reach base before the starting pitcher can be replaced. In your scenario, the visitor's starting pitcher has yet to face any batter from the home team, and thus, cannot be replaced until he has faced the first batter from the home team.

The pitcher named in the batting order handed the umpire-in-chief, as provided in Rules 4.02(a) and 4.02(b), shall pitch to the first batter or any substitute batter until such batter is put out or reaches first base, unless the pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the judgment of the umpire-in-chief, incapacitates him from pitching.

  • I'm talking about the visitor's starting pitcher. When he comes out in the bottom of the 1st, he hasn't faced anyone yet.
    – Ralpjh D
    Jun 18, 2016 at 16:10
  • Your question is answered by the statement, "The pitcher named in the batting order handed the umpire-in-chief ... shall pitch to the first batter ... until such batter is put out or reaches first base." I corrected and clairifed this with respect to the visitor's starting pitcher, as originally stated in your question.
    – user527
    Jun 18, 2016 at 20:42
  • You're welcome. If this answer helps you answer your question, feel free to accept it.
    – user527
    Jun 19, 2016 at 16:43

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