Baseball Pinch Hitter

Do Not Confuse Baseball Pinch Hitter Rules
With The Designated Hitter Rule

Pinch Hitter Value?

Baseball Pinch Hitter is touted as being a grand strategy weapon for the game but to me it is a gimmick with some exceptions.

In Baseball, a Pinch hitter is a common term for a substitute batter. Batters can be substituted for at any time the ball is dead; the manager may use any player not yet in the game as a substitute.

Pinch hitters are often used to replace a starting player when a substitute is thought to have a better chance of reaching base or helping other runners to score.

A pinch hitter for the pitcher in the losers half of the ninth inning sure makes good strategy sense and to enter a pinch hitter who is a great bunting star at the appropriate time is valid.

The baseball game rules are diminished somewhat as being counter to real life youngsters playing on the playground by baseball playground rules even though the pinch hitter might be inserted on the hope of substituting one hitter on the whim he might be better than the scheduled hitter.

The Rules:

  • A baseball pinch hitter is a batter used as a substitute for another batter.
  • The usual abbreviation for a pinch hitter is PH.

    By the rules baseball pinch hitter only comes into the game when the batter whose turn he is taking is due to bat. At that time, he is "announced into the game"; the batter which he replaced is out of the game for good.

    If a baseball pinch hitter is in the on-deck circle but the inning ends before he comes to bat, he is not considered to have been announced into the game and can be used at a later point of the game.

    By baseball pinch hitter a substitute player is already in the game, having come in earlier as a defensive substitute or as a pinch runner, he is not considered to be a pinch hitter when his turn to bat comes.

    Baseball pinch hitters are used principally in two situations: to replace a weak hitter (often the pitcher, although a weak-hitting defensive specialist can also be a target), or to gain a platoon advantage.

    In some instances, a manager will utilize the baseball pinch hitter to insert a hitter into the game to execute a specific play, such as a sacrifice bunt.

    When the pinch hitter's team takes the field the next half-inning, the pinch hitter can either:

    (a) take the defensive position of the player for which he pinch hit; (b) take another position on the field, with other defensive substitutions being made to ensure that all defensive positions are filled; or (c) be in turn replaced by a defensive substitute. In a box-score, this would be listed as: Smith ph-3b, for example.

    The exception to this rule is that a baseball pinch hitter hitting for the designated hitter automatically becomes the designated hitter; if he takes a position on defense, rule 6.10 applies and his team forfeits the use of the designated hitter for the rest of the game.

    A pinch hitter may be substituted by another pinch hitter before his turn at bat is completed, for example if the opposing manager reacts to the pinch hitter's announcement by changing his pitcher.

    Both players are listed as pinch hitters, and the pinch hitter who did not come to bat may not be used again in the game. There is no limit, except the size of the roster, to the number of times a manager can call for a new pinch hitter during the same at bat.

    Managers have been known to call for a succession of pinch hitters as a means of delaying the game or showing up the home plate umpire. Such a tactic will usually result in an ejection or a forfeit in favor of the opposing team (the latter especially if the object was to delay the game on purpose).

    If a player acts as a pinch hitter and his team bats around in the inning, he may come to the plate a second time, and is still a pinch hitter since he has not played any position in the field. Thus, a pinch hitter may get more than one hit in a game in his role.

    A hit by a pinch hitter is known as a pinch hit. A home run hit by a pinch hitter is a pinch hit home run, and the net plus ultra is the Pinch Hit Grand Slam!

    Separate statistics and records are kept for pinch hitters, including at bats, hits, home runs and runs batted in.

    The Official baseball major league rules have available what is known as the Designated Hitter Rule.

    Baseball Leagues have the option to adopt the Designated Hitter Rule if they so choose to do so.

    The Designated Hitter Rule does not eliminate the foregoing Baseball Pinch Hitter.

    The American League has adopted and uses the Designated Hitter Rule.

    The National League to date has refused to adopt the Designated Hitter Rule.

  • Here for your understanding of the Designated Hitter Rule is the MLB Official rules subsection 6.10 of section 6.0 "The Batter" taken from the MLB Official Rules:
  • 6.10

    Any League may elect to use the Designated Hitter Rule.

  • (a) In the event of inter-league competition between clubs of Leagues using the Designated Hitter Rule and clubs of Leagues not using the Designated Hitter Rule, the rule will be used as follows:

    1. In World Series or exhibition games, the rule will be used or not used as is the practice of the home team.

    2. In All-Star games, the rule will only be used if both teams and both Leagues so agree.

  • (b) The Rule provides as follows:

    A hitter may be designated to bat for the starting pitcher and all subsequent pitchers in any game without otherwise affecting the status of the pitcher(s) in the game.

    A Designated Hitter for the pitcher must be selected prior to the game and must be included in the lineup cards presented to the Umpire in Chief.

    The designated hitter named in the starting lineup must come to bat at least one time, unless the opposing club changes pitchers.

    It is not mandatory that a club designate a hitter for the pitcher, but failure to do so prior to the game precludes the use of a Designated Hitter for that game.

    Pinch hitters for a Designated Hitter may be used.

    Any substitute hitter for a Designated Hitter becomes the Designated Hitter. A replaced Designated Hitter shall not re-enter the game in any capacity.

    The Designated Hitter may be used defensively, continuing to bat in the same position in the batting order, but the pitcher must then bat in the place of the substituted defensive player, unless more than one substitution is made, and the manager then must designate their spots in the batting order.

    A runner may be substituted for the Designated Hitter and the runner assumes the role of Designated Hitter.

    A Designated Hitter may not pinch run.

    A Designated Hitter is “locked” into the batting order. No multiple substitutions may be made that will alter the batting rotation of the Designated Hitter.

    Once the game pitcher is switched from the mound to a defensive position this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game.

    Once a pinch hitter bats for any player in the batting order and then enters the game to pitch, this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game.

    Once the game pitcher bats for the Designated Hitter this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game. (The game pitcher may only pinch-hit for the Designated Hitter.)

    Once a Designated Hitter assumes a defensive position this move shall terminate the Designated Hitter role for the remainder of the game.

    A substitute for the Designated Hitter need not be announced until it is the Designated Hitter’s turn to bat.

    Batter Up----Let's Play Ball....