"Switch Hitter" question?
Question:Can a batter "Switch sides" during an at-bat? That is to say, take the first pitch as a left handed batter, then before the next pitch switch to batting right handed? Obviously, there are players who can physically do it, so this is a rules question - is it allowed?
It seems to me, if legal, as a way to defeat situational pitching - player in in the on deck circle indicating he'll bat right handed, steps into the box to do so, other team substitutes a left handed pitcher, he throws one pitch (so he can't be substituted again), batter moves to left side...?
Also, I am remembering correctly that a pitcher cannot be replaced mid-at-bat unless injured, right?
A pitcher can be replaced during a plate appearance, subject to the following:
(1) The starting pitcher must face the leadoff batter until the batter is retired or reaches base, unless the pitcher becomes injured or is ejected.
(2) When a reliever is brought in, he must pitch until the current batter is retired, reaches base, or the third out of the half-inning is recorded. (Unless, of course, he becomes injured or is ejected.)
"Switch Hitters" are labeled that because they can effectively
bat from either side. But to answer your question, No, he can
only hit one side or the other during a single at-bat. On his
next time at the plate, he can bat the opposite side--but he
can't bat left AND right at the same at-bat.
Your pitcher question is a little more involved. If the coach visits the pitcher more than once in the same inning, the pitcher is removed.
But you're thinking too hard about this. Any manager in the big leagues is going to have former knowledge of most, if not all, players his pitching staff will face as well as a detailed scouting report. If a particular batter his pitcher is faceing is a switch hitter and it comes to a point in the game of situational hitting, that manager is going to go with a pitcher that will have the batter on the side of the plate he wants (left vs righty / righty vs lefty) in order to hopefully dictate how that batter approaches the at bat and with any luck the threat of the batter will be nuetralized.
An example: Mark Teixeira (1st base TX Rangers) is a switch hitter - he's facing Mark Buehrle (P Chi White Sox) who is left handed. Teixeira is batting right handed, his natural side of the plate and most powerful. There's runners at 2nd and 3rd and two outs. Texas needs one run to tie. Ozzie Guillen pulls Buehrle and goes with Bobby Jenks who is right handed. Now Teixeira swaps to the left side where he naturally pulls the ball. Guillen puts in the defensive shift and Teixeira pulls the ball to the 2nd baseman, who is playing in shallow right field, for the easy out; the inning and the threat are over. Thats how situational hitting / pitching always works.
A pitcher can be replaced at any time, even if healthy. It's a substitution just like any other. However, a NEW pitcher must pitch to at least one batter, unless he is injured. Excerpt from Rule 3.05:
(b) If the pitcher is replaced, the substitute pitcher shall pitch to the batter then at bat, or any substitute batter, until such batter is put out or reaches first base, or until the offensive team is put out, unless the substitute pitcher sustains injury or illness which, in the umpire-in-chief’s judgment, incapacitates him for further play as a pitcher.
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