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Velocity 08-20-2019 10:40 PM

How do pitchers defend against comebackers?
I don't watch much baseball, but as I understand it, good pitching technique requires the pitcher to "lay his body all out" - and he would be in a poor position to defend himself against a ball struck right back in his face by the batter. If he only laid his body out halfway in the motion, so as to be better prepared to stop a comebacker, he wouldn't be pitching well.

Is it just a matter of luck and speedy reflexes?

Ethilrist 08-20-2019 10:57 PM

A mitt, an enlightened sense of self-interest, and years of practice.

running coach 08-21-2019 05:29 AM

There's plenty of Youtube videos of pitchers who do get hit. And some miraculous catches and fraction-of-an-inch near misses.

Hit by comebackers(disturbing)
Avoiding comebackers.
A list of videos

russian heel 08-26-2019 09:36 PM

There was a special cap in the league a few years back, but only a few pitchers wore it and it looked ridiculous:

I don’t get why pitchers just don’t wear batting helmets like base runners do.

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Chessic Sense 08-26-2019 09:53 PM

It happens all the time, and it stings, but unless it's a direct shot to the head, it's typically not a big deal. Batter get hit all the time, and that's usually a harder, straighter shot, but they rarely get seriously hurt.

While a pitcher is pretty immobile after throwing the pitch, they can usually move their head the 6 inches needed to dodge the ball, or at least get a glove up there to block it.

It's far, far more common for a skipping grounder to hit their legs, and often pitchers outright try to kick the ball to knock it down and get the out.

So in short, they defend against comebackers the same way anybody defends against a punch. They cover up, duck, or both.

FastDan1 08-27-2019 08:47 AM


Originally Posted by Chessic Sense (Post 21827412)
Batter get hit all the time, and that's usually a harder, straighter shot, but they rarely get seriously hurt.

The ball can certainly come off the bat faster than the pitcher throws it. Giancarlo Stanton holds the record with a hit that left the bat at 123.9 mph. Pitchers top speed is roughly 102 mph. 105-110 mph coming off the bat is not unusual.

Novelty Bobble 08-28-2019 03:57 AM

Happens in cricket as well. The speed off the bat is slightly lower as is the bowling speed but the distance from bowler to batsman is shorter at the point of release and even more by the time the ball comes back to the bowler (who has travelled several meters down the pitch by that point).

So overall reaction time for the hardest shots off the fastest bowlers will be much the same. They have no protection but in cricket the batsman will pretty much always be trying to steer the ball away from the bowler to avoid the classic "caught and bowled" so a straight driven ball to the bowler is not typical. Catches do get taken like that but they are not as spectacular as the more gymnastic ones above and certainly many, many injuries do result from them but pretty much all are soft tissue or broken digits. I'm struggling to think of serious bowler head injuries in that situation.
As others have said, practice, anticipation, reactions and self-preservational instinct probably mean most nasty injuries are avoided.

Kent Clark 08-28-2019 08:44 PM

Two of the most famous examples of pitchers getting hit by comebackers were Herb Score, who suffered several broken bones in his face and an injured right eye; and Bob Gibson, who was hit in the leg so hard the ball broke his fibula.

Gibson got back up and pitched to three more batters before his leg finally collapsed. He would return to pitch after eight weeks. Score missed four and a half months, but his eye healed completely. He returned the next season.

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