Baseball Batting Rules

Baseball batter

What are the Batting Rules in Baseball?

The offense is the team currently at bat in the half-inning. One at a time, a batter comes to the plate to bat against the pitcher.

Batting Order

baseball batting order

Both teams follow a strict batting order that they determine at the start of each game. The batting order is a list of nine batters and their positions on the field. The batting order can not be changed, unless a substitution is made, in which the rules of baseball subsitions apply. Each player gets a chance to bat and won't get to bat again until each batter in the order has made a plate appearance.

At the start of each inning, the batter order continues from the last player to bat in the previous inning. Managers can make an appeal to the umpire if they believe a batter bats out of turn. However, if a mistake is made and no appeal is made, the game will continue as normal.

Batter's Box Violation

baseball batters box

When a player steps up to bat, he stands in the batter's box, the adjacent area to home plate. Batters can not leave the batter's box once the pitcher begins his pitching motion. If the batter leaves the box, the umpire will call a strike or ball as normal. There are two legal pitching motions in baseball called set and windup. An automatic strike will be called on the batter if he refuses to step into the batter's box. Batters must keep at least one foot inside the batter's box while swinging during the at bat. Batters can leave the box if they:

Calling Time

If the pitcher has not started his motion, the batter or another player or manager on the team can request "time" from the umpire allowing him to leave the batter's box. Calling time is sometimes used to make a substitution, for injuries, and for taking a break in between swings.

Completing The At Bat

The batter finishes the at bat when he becomes a runner or is called out by the umpire. As a runner, he must advance to first base to become safe. Here is a list of ways the batter can get out:

  • Three strikes are called
  • The hit goes fair and is caught
  • A foul tip is caught with two strikes in the count
  • A bunt goes foul with two strikes in the count
  • Infield fly rule is called
  • The ball touches the batter
  • A fair ball touches the batter before a fielder
  • The batter hits the ball a second time after hitting it once
  • The batter interferes with the ball when running

Illegal Actions

The batter is not allowed to switch the batter's box he is batting in while the pitcher is throwing. The batter cannot hit the ball with his feet outside the batter's box. The batter will be called out if he prevents the catcher from making a play at home. Batters are not allowed to use illegal equipment that is not approved by the umpires.

Running To 1st Base

After the batter makes contact with the ball and it goes fair, he becomes a batter-runner. When running to first base, the batter must stay within the running lane. However, the batter is allowed to exit the three-foot running lane when in close proximity to first base. The batter is also allowed to overrun and slide at first base, but sliding is not recommended.

Dropped Third Strike Rule

The batter will become a runner if a third strike is called but is not cleanly caught by the catcher and there are two outs and first base is not occupied with another runner.


Batters are not allowed to interfere with play, especially with fielders. Batters will be called out for interference if they:

  • prevent the catcher from making a play
  • change the direction of a hit ball
  • Confuse fielders with an unsportsmanlike action
  • Interferes with a fielder's ability to make a play


A walk occurs if the batter is hit by a pitch while in the batter's box or gets four balls called by the umpire. The batter is awarded first base, even if the ball touches his clothing.