Are fielders (not being the catcher) allowed to start in foul territory? This is actually something that I did. As a left outfielder I played/started on foul territory, because of a very strong and low sun in my eyes elsewhere. It could also be useful for right fielders with very fast pitchers. Or place a fielder at the back-stop for a wild pitch.

Also, is it allowed to have the catcher at the back-stop (fence), or right next to the home dug-out (say, for catching foul balls), or somewhere right of the right foul-line but 60 yards away from home plate, or in the infield six feet away from the plate?

Which rule applies, if any?

  • So, these are actually two questions, of which both you seem to know the answer already. Please read more tour asking questions in the help center. Welcome to Sports beta !! Jul 18, 2013 at 20:16
  • @JacobJanTuinstra Thanks for the welcome! However, I do not know the answers. I only assume that, if they are covered, they are covered by the same rule. I have my intuition, but that's about it.
    – user1564
    Jul 18, 2013 at 20:19

2 Answers 2


American Softball Association:

Ref: http://files.leagueathletics.com/Text/Documents/13338/35721.pdf

The American Softball Association does not actively publish their Official Rules - Umpire Edition, but I was able to find a 2005 legacy copy at the ref link above.

On Page 84 (PDF page 86):


A. The pitcher shall not deliver a pitch unless all defensive players are positioned in fair territory, except the catcher who must be in the catcher’s box.

B. A fielder shall not take a position in the batter’s line of vision or, with deliberate unsportsmanlike intent, acts in a manner to distract the batter. A pitch does not have to be released. The offending player shall also be ejected from the game.

The rules on Defensive Positioning are found in each type of pitching rule sections (Fast Pitch, Modified Pitch, Slow Pitch, 16-inch Slow Pitch)

  • Makes sense. The rule presumably exists to prevent players from pretending to be off the field but actually being a live player (to confuse the batter/runners).
    – Joe
    Dec 29, 2014 at 19:23

Major League Baseball:

Ref: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/downloads/y2014/official_baseball_rules.pdf

  • Question 1: On page 32 (PDF page 38):

4.03 When the ball is put in play at the start of, or during a game, all fielders other than the catcher shall be on fair territory.

(a) The catcher shall station himself directly back of the plate. He may leave his posi- tion at any time to catch a pitch or make a play except that when the batter is being given an intentional base on balls, the catcher must stand with both feet within the lines of the catcher’s box until the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand. PENALTY: Balk.

(b) The pitcher, while in the act of delivering the ball to the batter, shall take his legal position;

(c) Except the pitcher and the catcher, any fielder may station himself anywhere in fair territory.

  • Question 2: On page 3 (PDF page 9) the catcher's box is drawn out. On page 13 (PDF page 19) the definition is defined as

The CATCHER’S BOX is that area within which the catcher shall stand until the pitcher delivers the ball.

  • This is a good answer for MLB, but the question was tagged softball, which would have a separate rulebook.
    – Joe
    Dec 29, 2014 at 16:59
  • @Joe Good Call... I'll see what I can find. However, the user is no longer a valid account so it is highly likely to get accepted or additional views. Dec 29, 2014 at 17:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.