In the fifth inning of Friday night’s loss to the Brewers, Tony Gwynn Jr. reached first on an error by Todd Wellemeyer, followed by a particularly useless throw to first by third base fill-in Brendan Ryan.
Wellemeyer proceeded to throw over to first, then pitch out, throw a strike, throw over to first again, then pitch out again.
It was on this second pitch out that I saw something that irked me. The batter, Jason Kendall, with the hit-and-run apparently on, threw the bat at Wellemeyer’s pitch out. Yadi Molina, being the stud that he is, threw Gwynn Jr. out at second base anyway, but it raised an interesting question (at least for me).
Why would a player be allowed to throw the bat at a pitch like that without punishment under the rules? I understand that sometimes a bat will slip from a hitter’s hands and fly across the field, but Kendall blatantly threw the ball at the pitch out.
Rule 7.05c states:
Each runner including the batter-runner may, without liability to be put out, advance —
(c) Three bases, if a fielder deliberately throws his glove at and touches a fair ball. The ball is in play and the batter may advance to home base at his peril.
So a player is not allowed to throw his glove at a ball in play, but Kendall can fling the bat at a pitch out? Think about the injury possibilities. What if he had successfully made contact with the ball, and the bat went flying backward into Molina from the force of the pitch? I think this is a huge oversight by MLB.