Pitcher Goes to His Mouth on the Pitcher's Plate


A.      FED – Point of Emphasis in 2008:  While on the mound the pitcher may touch his pitching hand to his mouth as long as he wipes off that hand before it touches the ball.  (6-2-1e; 6.2.1a) Penalty:  Changed in 07A ball shall be called each time the pitcher violates this rule” - Changed in 08 “and subsequently engages the pitcher’s plate.” (6-2-1e Penalty)1.        Also: (EDITED)  A  pitcher intentionally in contact with the pitcher’s plate, whether in the windup or set position, may not go to his mouth because he has interrupted his pitching motion.  (6-12, 6-1-3) Penalty: ball/balk.  (6-1-2/3 Penalty; 6.1.3o; 6.2.1a; 6.2.1b)(ADDED) Note:  Two Elliott Hopkins Official Interpretations ruled that in the windup position with both hands at his side (Website 2007, #9) or the set position (Website #12), the pitcher could bring his pitching hand to his mouth without penalty if he wiped it off before touching the ball.  Reason:  He had not interrupted his pitching motion.  Case book plays 6.2.1a and 6.2.1b reversed those rulings.

B.      NCAA – (EDITED) Same as FED 6-2-1e.  (9-2d; 9-2d Penalty; 9-2d AR 1)2.        Also: (Changed – 08)  In cold weather the umpire may announce that pitchers may blow on their hands on or off the rubber.  9-2d AR 2)3.       Also:  The NCAA draws a distinction between a pitcher “going to his mouth” and deliberately applying any foreign substance or moisture to the ball.  Penalty:  for applying foreign substance:  Warning/ejection.  (9-2e Penalty)                       

NAIA – Same as NCAA .  (8.02)

C.      OBR – The pitcher may not touch his pitching hand to his mouth anywhere within the dirt portion of the pitching mound.  (8.02a-1) Penalty:  ball.  Professional pitchers who repeatedly violate that rule are subject to a fine.  (8.02a-1 Penalty).  Exception:  If both managers agree in advance, during cold weather the pitcher may blow on his hands while on the mound or pitcher’s plate.  (8.02a-1 Ex)4.       Also:  (ADDED) Official Interpretation:  SI: J/R:  The pitcher may not intentionally violate this rule to grant an intentional walk.  First violation:  Add a ball to the count.  Second violation [to the same batter]:  Add a ball and warn the pitcher he will be ejected if he continues.  Third violation:  Add a ball and eject the pitcher.

        Play:  R3:  The pitcher is: a) on the pitcher’s plate, or b) on the mound, but not in intentional contact with     the pitcher’s plate when he touches his pitching hand to his mouth. 

Ruling:  FED:  In a) it is an immediate balk and R3 scores.  In b) it is a balk only if the pitcher touches the ball without wiping off his hand.                   

NCAA and NAIA:  It is a ball in a) but OK in b) unless F1 fails to wipe of his hand, when the penalty is also a ball.           

OBR:  In both a) and b) it is a ball, whether or not the pitcher wipes off his hand.


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