MLB - Dropped 3rd strike

In Tuesday night’s Yankees-Cleveland game, the Cleveland catcher dropped a 3rd strike, but the batter didn’t realize it, and headed to the dugout without the catcher making any play on him. The announcer mentioned that he was automatically out since he was heading to the dugout. However - at this point he was still in the dirt baseline to first base. If he suddenly realized the situation, he could have attempted to make it to first base.

There is a rule that states that a runner can be as much as three feet off the baseline and still be considered on it. So the runner would have had a couple of seconds within that three foot margin to change his mind and start runnibg - hoping the catcher has been distracted.

I guess it’s the umpire’s call as to whether the runner was finally out of the baseline and officially out with no further play.

Rule 5.09 (b) (1)

“If a runner leaves his base path and heads for his dugout or his position believing that there is no further play, he may be declared out if the umpire judges the act of the runner to be considered abandoning his efforts to run the bases. “

Also note the 3 foot rule only applies if the runner is actively evading a tag.