Baseball Substitutions

Baseball players may substituted during play. Get ready to learn about the rules of making substitutions in baseball.


We've already learned that a baseball game lasts nine (9+) or more innings and teams have nine (9) fielders in the field. We also learned that baseball teams have both a 25-man roster and 40-man roster. it makes sense that these same nine (9) players don't play the entire game. They are substituted out.

In this tutorial, we will learn about player substitutions and the rules that apply to them in baseball.


A substitution is the act of replacing one or more (1+) players of a team on the field with players from the dugout located beyond the foul lines. Of course, these players have to be on the team roster.

Baseball Dugout

The following are possible substitutions teams can make:

When Does A Substitution Happen In Baseball?

In baseball, teams are allowed to only make substitutions when the baseball is declared 'dead' by umpires.

The ball is declared 'dead' by umpires for reasons like:

How Often Can A Baseball Team Make Substitutions?

Teams can make unlimited substitutions throughout the course of a baseball game. Once a player is substituted he must be replaced in the batting order. In addition, the player cannot return to the game.

Pinch Runner

Pinch runners are substitute baserunners, who replace runners who are on-base. Once a pinch runner is used, the player they replace must be taken out of the game. We'll learn more about pinch runners in future chapters.

Baseball Pinch Hitter

Pinch Hitter

Pinch hitters are substitute batters, who replace batters who are already on the lineup. Once a pinch hitter is used, the player they replace must be taken out of the game. We'll learn more about pinch hitters in future chapters.

Pitching Changes

When a pitcher is substituted, the team's manager will notify the umpire-in-chief of the replacement and the substitute for the pitcher in the batting order.

IMPORTANT: If the pitcher was substituted during the middle of the inning, he gets a few warm up pitches and then he must resume play where the previous pitcher left off.

We'll learn more about pitching changes in future chapters.


A rotation is a type of strategy used by managers to maximize pitcher performance. It is a defined schedule that field managers make to determine how much playing time a pitcher should get before they are substituted. It is based on how many pitches are thrown and how the depth chart. We will learn more about rotations in later chapters.

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