Friday, April 9, 2010

Switch Hitter

In baseball, a switch-hitter bats right-handed against left-handed pitchers and left-handed against right-handed pitchers. Most switch-hitters are right-handed throwers. This is the case since the vast majority of players are right-handed. 

Switch hitters are rare in baseball. In youth leagues, there might be two or three players out of 100 who regularly switch hit. At the college level, there are only one or two switch hitters on each team (3 to 6%). Only one of 33 players on the UW baseball team is a switch hitter. Two players on the top ranked Arizona State baseball team are switch hitters. Two players, out of forty, on the 2010 Seattle Mariners roster are switch hitters.

Switch Hitter Changing Boxes
A batter may switch to the other box after every pitch if he so desires until the pitcher is set. He may switch from one box to the other on any ball strike count. One of the oldest myths in baseball is the one that says you can't switch boxes when you have two strikes on you.

The only restriction on the batter is that he may not step into the other box after the pitcher is in position ready to pitch. See Rule 6.02 and 6.06(b) in the Official Baseball Rules

Rule 6.02 
(a) The batter shall take his position in the batter’s box promptly when it is his time at bat. 
(b) The batter shall not leave his position in the batter’s box after the pitcher comes to Set Position, or starts his windup. 

PENALTY: If the pitcher pitches, the umpire shall call “Ball” or “Strike,” as the case may be. 

Rule 6.06 
A batter is out for illegal action when—
(a) He hits a ball with one or both feet on the ground entirely outside the batter’s box.

(b) He steps from one batter’s box to the other while the pitcher is in position ready to pitch; 

The exception to above sitituation is when a switch hitter faces a switch pitcher. Then the Venditte Rule comes into play.

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