In baseball, unlike basketball or football, once a player is removed from the game, he can't be put back into the same game. That is (probably) to prevent a repetition of matchups.

Example: Late in the game, you have a matchup of (lefthanded) batter X against (lefthanded) pitcher A. So the batting team replaces X with a right handed batter Y. The pitching team brings in B, a right handed pitcher. Now the batting team wants to use a left handed batter, but they can't "recycle" X. So they either have to use another left handed batter, Z, or let the new, unfavorable matchup stand.

My understanding is that there is an exception involving catchers. That is, if you replace a starting catcher with a second catcher, you can put back the starting catcher. What I'm not sure about is whether this is true generally, or whether it applies only in special situations.

Are there situations in which you can "recycle" a catcher (or other player) in baseball? And if so, why would that be the case?

2 Answers 2


The issue with baseball is that there are many different rules variations depending on the level you are talking about. The NCAA abides by the same substitution rules as the American League in the MLB. In lower levels, however such as high school (NFHS) a starting player may re-enter the game in his previous spot in the batting lineup once and substitutes may not re-enter.

A catcher may not re-enter the game at the MLB or NCAA level under any circumstances (ie the second catcher gets injured). This is an exception that the MLB has made for the All-Star game only to keep position players or pitchers from having to play catcher in an exhibition game.

MLB Rule 3

  • 2
    OK, so that "exception" exists only for the All Star game.
    – Tom Au
    Apr 24, 2014 at 22:16

There are no exceptions to the substitution rule (at least under MLB Rules)

Excerpt from section 3.03:

A player once removed from a game shall not re-enter that game. If a player who has been substituted for attempts to re-enter, or re-enters, the game in any capacity, the umpire-in-chief shall direct the player’s manager to remove such player from the game immediately

Your Answer

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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.