Pitchers Covering Bases

My son’s coach never has the pitchers covering up a base. He has them stand on the mound and look at the play or if there is a cut to home the pitcher always cuts the ball. Can you help me out with when a pitcher should cover a certain base.

Ed Lopat told me that when a pitcher steps off the rubber he or she becomes a fifth infielder and has to be ready to cover any base, especially first or third. For example: a ground ball is hit in the direction of first or second base, and the fielder is out of position, so the pitcher has to get over there in a hurry to cover the bag if there’s a putout to be made. There’s no time to lose. I’ve seen this too many times: the ball is hit to the first baseman who is out of position, and if the pitcher isn’t there to cover the bag either the ball gets thrown into the dugout or into right field, and the batter is safe at first. So it’s essential that PFP—pitchers’ fielding practice—be a part of any workout. They have to be able to get over to the base in time to grab the throw and make the putout. 8) :baseballpitcher:

Some clubs have all kinds of needs - play wise, and every practice session invariably is a give and take of who’s available, what time can be spent on the most important techniques for the team and individuals alike.

Field availability and blending batting practice, bull pen duty, infield,cutoff man routines, run downs, bunt defense, base running and so forth can limit a lot of basic as well as fine tuning disciplines. Also, supporting
equipment that allows for multiple disciplines to be “run” simultaneously can be another factor. Take for instance a simple infield screen that’s not available due to money constraints or some other condition. A simple infield screen can allow for all kinds of multiple practice sessions as well as rotating various players to see what club assets can be used for their highest gain.

In addition, a coaching staff that has leanings towards … say hitting as a primary game plan/ strength, may subordinate other practice sessions.

Amateur ball is a peak-n-valley experience with respect to position specific training and performance. That’s why a youngster who has interest in the game should crank up the ole imagination and watch TV for college ball, MLB and of course try and catch as much Minor Ball ( Rookie, A, AA, AAA) as possible. In fact, if you really want to watch superior baseball – I mean top notch, aggressive and learn the game,… watch single A ball. In my opinion there is no better brand of ball …by professionals, for professionals, totally professionally played.

Coach B.

On my team, pitchers always have a place to be and it usually isn’t on the mound. They’re either covering a base or they’re backing up a base.

Of course, if I was paying my pitchers millions of dollars then maybe I’d want them out of harm’s way as much as possible.

Age / field size also plays a role in determining where pitchers should go…with very little foul ground behind home plate, having the pitcher as a cut off man can sometimes be the most effective way to go. Having previously only coached big kids, it took a while when my own kid went thru little league age to accept that …

Thats exactly why I wish I had signed my son up for Pony instead of Little League. Why teach kids certain skills when they will have to unlearn them at a later date, and then learn different skills?

The way I learned it, a pitcher covers first on balls hit where the first baseman may have to make a play on the ball; back up a play at third on throws from right or center; cover the play at home if the ball is behind the catcher or back up the play if the ball is in front of the catcher on a play from the outfield; and field any balls that he can get cleanly, including bunts - but not including fly balls unless no one else can get there to call him off. He will also be involved in run-downs of runners caught between bases.

Personally, I wouldn’t plan to use a pitcher as a cutoff man. That’s the first baseman’s job from right field and the 3rd baseman’s job from left unless he is so out of position that he can’t do it. Of course others may do it differently, and some would argue the benefits of dedicating the pitcher as cut, but I personally want my infielders handling it, not the pitcher.