No matter what, two mound visits in one inning must result in the pitcher being taken out of the game. That’s the rule and there are no exceptions – just ask Rocco Baldelli.
The Twins manager was ejected during the fifth inning of the Twins-Astros game in Houston for arguing with the umpire crew following a strange situation that started when Jose Altuve took issue with being grazed by an Aaron Sanchez fastball.
That led to words between the two as Altuve walked to take his base, which in turn led to both benches clearing. The issue never went any further, but because Baldelli left the dugout and talked to Sanchez it apparently was counted as a mound visit.
After Sanchez walked the next batter on four pitches, Twins pitching coach Pete Maki made a mound visit, and to the Twins’ surprise the umpires demanded Minnesota remove Sanchez from the game.
Baldelli argued and was tossed, though he complained long enough to give Cole Sands a chance to warm up. Sands then got a bases loaded double play to get out of the jam unscathed.
Here’s the rule from MLB.com:
“The members of the coaching staff (including the manager) can make one mound visit per pitcher per inning without needing to remove the pitcher from the game. If the same pitcher is visited twice in one inning, the pitcher must be removed from the contest.”
And it gets more specific:
“The mound visit is considered to be concluded once the manager or coach leaves the 18-foot circle surrounding the pitching rubber, though they are permitted to temporarily leave that area to notify the umpire of a substitution. In that case, the manager or coach can then return to the mound without it being counted as two mound visits.”
Based on the rule, it suggests that Baldelli stepped inside the 18-foot circle surroundin the pitching rubber, therefore counting his presence on the field as a mound visit.