PITCHER PROTECTION RULE
There are only three (3) very simple components to the "PPR". Two of them are factual matters and
the third is an umpire's potential judgment call. The confusion on the part of Tournament/Field
Directors, Umpires and Managers/Players is the result of over-complication of the rule interpretation.
The umpire shall automatically apply the PPR and the resultant 'Dead Ball Out' ruling in the following factual circumstances:
• The PPR is applied only WHEN a batted ball actually strikes the pitcher (except on the arms -
See 'Judgment Call' below). Near misses, balls batted sharply through the pitcher's box or in
the vicinity of the pitcher, without striking the pitcher, do NOT result in the automatic
application of the PPR. It is NOT our intent to remove the pitcher from the game defensively.
The previous requirement that the batted ball be a line drive has been removed. Short hops
striking the pitcher are now encompassed by the PPR. Example: The PPR is automatically
applied when a sharply batted ball strikes the pitcher's head, neck, torso or legs. Think of the
"sheriff's pistol range" armless silhouette target as a visual illustration.
• The pitcher MUST be in the pitcher's box when struck by a batted ball as described above.
The pitcher's box is a 2' by 6' rectangle with the front being the front edge of the pitching
rubber (50' from home plate) and extending 6' back there from toward 2nd base. Being in the
pitcher's box is defined as ANY part of the body being in contact with the pitcher's box or the
lines defining the box. Examples: A pitcher leaning outside the box to deliver a pitch, with a
foot down on or inside the lines of the pitcher's box IS protected by the PPR. (Lines are in!)
Conversely, a pitcher who delivers a pitch then loses contact with the pitcher's box by stepping
to the side to assume a fielding position is NOT covered by the PPR. The same result applies
when a pitcher delivers a pitch then retreats behind the pitcher's box, or to any other position
in the field of play, for purposes of making a defensive play. The pitcher's box is the only 'safe
haven' for application of the PPR.
The umpire shall make a judgment call as to the application of the PPR when any batted ball strikes
the pitcher in the arms, including the glove.
• When a batted ball strikes the pitcher in the arm (including the glove), while the pitcher is, in
the umpire's judgment, in the process of making a reasonable defensive play on the ball, the
PPR does NOT apply. This is a 'play on' situation. Example: Pitcher is in the pitcher's box and
reaches out (or jumps up) in an attempt to field a batted ball, which strikes the pitcher on the
forearm. This is a live ball and the result of the play stands.
• When a batted ball strikes the pitcher in the arm (including the glove), whether or not the ball
ultimately strikes any other part of the pitcher's body, AND in the umpire's judgment, the
pitcher had NO opportunity to make a reasonable defensive play on the ball, the PPR applies
and a resultant “Dead Ball Out” ruling shall be made. Examples: Pitcher is struck in the arm(s)
while reacting to protect himself or avoid being harmed by the batted ball. Pitcher makes a
personal defensive reflex move and is struck by the batted ball on the arm and/or other part of
Only two factual criteria determine the automatic application (or non-application) of the PPR. An
umpire's judgment call, not subject to protest or appeal, is required when a batted ball strikes a pitcher on the arms, whether or not it then strikes another part(s) of the pitcher's body.