Baseball Warmup Pitch Rules

Baseball Warmup Pitch Rules

Warming up before pitching is a critical part of a baseball game. While often done between innings or during commercial breaks, there are actually a very specific set of rules that need to be adhered to. Read on to learn all the rules and regulations surrounding warmup pitches in baseball.


When a pitcher takes the mound at the beginning of each inning or when called from the bullpen to replace another pitcher, he is allowed to throw practice pitches to the catcher. The pitcher is allowed to throw as many practice pitches as they would like before their designated warmup time is over. The type of pitches is not restricted and is entirely up to the pitch and catcher's discretion.

Although the number of warm up pitches is unlimited, the warm up period is timed. The time between innings and pitching changes varies based on whether the game is being broadcast locally or nationally. For local games, the time is two minutes and five seconds, but for nationally televised games, it is two minutes and 25 seconds.

The umpire signals for the final warmup pitch to be thrown with 25 seconds remaining, and the pitcher must throw their final pitch with 20 seconds left on the clock. After their last pitch is thrown, the pitcher is still allowed to talk to his catcher, stretch, or prepare however he needs to do before the inning actually begins.


Players do not have to adhere to these strict warm up times if the warmups of any infield play (pitchers and catchers included) occurs to no fault of the players. Another exception would be if the umpire determines a player would be at serious risk of injury without receiving additional time.

A pitcher can also warm up in the bullpen, which is usually located in the outfield. A bullpen is a place where relief and closing pitchers go to warm up before they are put into the game. There are no rule limitations on how many pitches they can throw here, only limitations imposed by pitching coaches to preserve their arm.


From 1939 to 2018, warmup pitch rules were based on pitch count instead of time, and pitchers were only allowed to throw eight warmup pitches. In 2018, these rules were changed to a restricted amount of time, with the exceptions of warming up in the bullpen and infielders being allowed to warm up if it occurs to no fault of the players. The benefits of these changes are that pitchers now have much more time to go through their pitching progressions and do not have to rush.

Similar Rules to Warmup Pitch Rules


What is a warmup pitch in baseball?

A warm up pitch in baseball is a chance for a pitcher to loosen up, as well as practice throwing specific pitches with his catcher. Warmup pitches aid in building the chemistry between the two players as well as preventing injury to the pitcher. In short, these pitches help the pitcher prepare physically and mentally for the upcoming batter/batters. These warmups are crucial to the safety of the pitcher, catcher, and batter and have been standard practice in baseball for some time.

What are the rules for warmup pitches in baseball?

Pitchers have a specific timeframe in which they are allowed to throw the ball, and the umpire will give them a warning when it is time for them to throw their final pitch. In addition, the pitcher must begin his windup to throw the first pitch of the inning within the five seconds before the clock hits zero.