Rule 4 - Coaches, Players & Substitutes
Sec. 1 COACHES
a. The Head Coach is responsible for signing the line-up card.
b. Coaches must be neatly attired, including the wearing of suitable footwear, or dressed in team uniform in accordance with the colour code of the team. If a coach wears a hat or cap, it must be approved headwear.
c. An offensive team coach (base coach) is an eligible member of the team at bat who takes his place on the field, within the coach’s box.
1) Two coaches are allowed to give words of assistance and direction to the members of their team while at bat.
2) One shall be stationed near first base and one near third base and they are obligated to stay within the confines of their respective coach’s box.
EXCEPTION: A coach may leave the coach’s box to signal a runner to slide, advance or return to a base, or move out of a fielder’s way, as long as he does not interfere with the play.
3) A base coach may address only his team members.
4) One coach can have in his possession in the coach’s box, a scorebook, pen or pencil all of which shall be used for scorekeeping or record keeping purposes only. One or both coaches may have an indicator.
d. A defensive team coach/manager is an eligible member of the team in the field.
1) He may be either a non-playing coach who remains in the dugout; or
2) A playing coach who takes his place on the field.
3) This coach may give direction and assistance to his team while they are playing defence.
e. Coaches may not use language that will reflect negatively upon players, umpires or spectators.
f. No communication equipment is allowed between:
1) The coaches on the field;
2) The coaches and the dugout;
3) The coaches and any player; or
4) The spectator area and the field, including the dugout, coaches and players.
EFFECT – Sec. 1e-f: Any infraction will result in the ejection of the coach.
Sec. 2 LINE-UP CARDS AND ROSTERS
a. Official line-up cards are to be completed and submitted to the official scorer and umpire at the start of each game. The plate umpire retains the card for the duration of the game.
1) A player’s name shall not be in the starting line-up unless the player is present in the team area and in uniform.
2) All available substitutes should be listed in the designated place by their last name, first name and uniform number.
3) Eligible roster members may be added to the available substitute list at any time during the game.
4) The name of the head coach/manager must be listed on the line-up card.
b. Male rosters shall include only male players and female rosters shall include only female players.
Sec. 3 PLAYERS
a. A team shall consist of players in the following positions:
1) Nine (9) players: pitcher (F1), catcher (F2), first baseman (F3), second baseman (F4), third baseman (F5), shortstop (F6), left fielder (F7), center fielder (F8) and right fielder (F9).
2) With a Designated Player (DP), the DP is listed in the first nine (9) positions with the Flex in the tenth (10) position. The Flex requires one of the nine (9) positions listed in 3.a.1 above. If the DP is terminated or temporarily eliminated as allowed in Sec 5.h, the team may continue with nine (9) players.
3) Master divisions may use a Designated Runner (DR) in combination with Sec. 3-a-1 or Sec. 3-a-2.
NOTE: Players of the team in the field may be stationed anywhere on fair territory, except the catcher, who must be in the catcher’s box, and the pitcher, who must be in a legal pitching position at the start of each pitch, or within the pitcher’s circle when putting the ball in play.
b. A team must have the required number of players present in the team area to start or continue a game.
EFFECT – Sec. 3b: The game is forfeited.
c. Designated Runner (MASTERS ONLY) -The team may designate one player as a runner. The player shall be called the Designated Runner (DR).
1) The DR must be listed in the starting line-up; and
2) The DR must be listed in the last spot in the starting line-up (10th with no DP or 11th with the DP).
3) The DR may run for only one player per inning and may do so each time that player becomes a runner in the inning.
4) The DR may run for a different player each inning.
5) The DR may not bat or play defence.
6) An eligible player not in the game may substitute for the DR.
7) The DR may not re-enter the game.
8) A team is not obligated to use the DR the entire game.
Sec. 4 STARTING PLAYERS
A starting player shall be official when the line-up card is inspected, and approved, by the plate umpire and team representative at the pre-game meeting.
a. The names must be entered on the official line-up card in advance of the meeting.
b. In case of injury or illness, changes may be made at the pre-game meeting with the umpires.
1) A listed substitute may take the place of a player whose name is in his team’s starting line-up.
2) He would then be considered the starting player.
3) The player replaced at the meeting could enter the game, as a substitute, at any time later in the game.
Sec. 5 DESIGNATED PLAYER
a. A “DESIGNATED PLAYER”, referred to as a DP, may be used as a batter for any defensive player, provided it is:
1) Made known prior to the start of the game; and
2) His name is entered on the line-up card as one of the nine hitters in the batting order.
b. The starting DP may be substituted and may re-enter one time, as long as he returns to the position in the batting order that he occupied when he left the game.
c. The name of the defensive player for whom the DP is batting (known as the FLEX), will be placed in the 10th position on the line-up card.
d. The DP and his substitute must remain in the same position in the batting order whenever they are in the game.
e. The DP and his substitute, or the FLEX, may never play offence at the same time.
f. The DP may be substituted for at any time, either by a batter, runner, or by the FLEX for whom he is batting.
1) If the DP is replaced on offence by the FLEX, or by a substitute for the FLEX, the DP is considered to have left the game.
2) If this change is not announced, this change would be an illegal substitution.
3) If replaced by the FLEX, this reduces the number of players from ten to nine. If the DP does not re-enter, the game may continue and legally end with nine players.
4) If the starting DP re-enters, he may play offence and defence (continue the game with nine players), or he may bat in his original place in the batting order, and the FLEX returns to the 10th position in the line-up and plays defence only again.
EFFECT – Sec. 5-a-f: The provisions of Rule 4, Sec. 7 and penalties for violations apply. Placing the DP in a position in the batting order other than his starting position is considered an illegal re-entry.
g. The DP may play defence at any position.
1) Should the DP play defence for a player other than the FLEX, that player will continue to bat, but not play defence, and is not considered to have left the game.
This player is called the OPO.
2) This defensive change does not have to be announced.
h. The DP or the OPO may play defence for the FLEX and the FLEX is considered to have left the game, reducing the number of players to nine.
1) If this change is not announced, this would be an illegal substitution.
i. The FLEX may be substituted for at any time by a legal substitute. The starting FLEX may re-enter the game one time, either in the 10th position in the line-up, or in the DP’s position in the batting order.
1) If returning to the number 10 position, he will again play defence only, but may play in any defensive position.
2) If returning to the DP’s position in the batting order, he will play offence and defence, and the game will continue with nine players.
EFFECT – Sec. 5g-i: The provisions of Rule 4, Sec. 7 and penalties for violations apply. Placing the FLEX in a position in the batting order other than that of the DP is considered an illegal re-entry.
j. In U14 and under categories, the use of the designated player rule is not permitted.
Sec. 6 RE-ENTRY
a. Any of the starting players may be substituted for and re-entered once, provided such players occupy the same batting position whenever they are in the line-up.
b. When a starting player re-enters the game and occupies a different position in the line-up, it is considered an illegal re-entry.
NOTE: A starting player and their substitute cannot be in the line-up at the same time.
1. When the FLEX bats for the DP, the DP is temporarily eliminated.
2. If the starting player is brought into the line-up as a replacement player.
c. Once substituted from the game, a substitute may not re-enter the game.
d. If the manager/coach re-enters a substitute later in the game, it is considered an illegal re-entry.
1. When the substitute is used as a replacement player.
2. (MINOR ONLY) When all legal substitutes have been entered or all starting players re-entered by a team in a game, the re-entry and substitution rules are waived in the event of an injury and/or illness.
a. The player entering the game shall assume the batting position of the injured and/or ill player.
b. If a DP is in use and no players are available, only the FLEX may assume the batting position of the injured/ill player (as allowed in Sec 5h).
c. The injured and/or ill player may not return to the game.
EFFECT – Sec. 6a-d:
1. Violation of the re-entry rule is handled as an appeal, which may be made at any time while the illegal re-entered player is in the game.
2. The appeal need not be made prior to the next pitch; however, all plays that occurred while the illegal re-entered player was in the game shall stand.
3. The penalty for an illegal re-entry is the ejection of both the manager/coach (whose name appears on the line-up card) and the illegally re-entered player.
4. The name of the new coach who is to assume responsibility for the team must be provided to the umpire.
1. If the illegal re-entry also violates the illegal substitute ruling (Rule 4, Sec. 7b and Effect Sec. 7h), those penalties would also be in effect.
2. The umpire can prevent an illegal re-entry up until the next pitch but failure to do so does not alter any subsequent penalties.
3. If what would otherwise be a legal re-entry is not reported, it is an illegal substitute.
Sec. 7 SUBSTITUTES
A substitute may take the place of a player whose name is in his team’s line-up. The following regulations govern substitutions;
a. Any player may be substituted from the game at any time when the ball is dead.
1) If an injury to a batter-runner or runner prevents him/her from proceeding to an awarded base, and the ball is dead, the batter-runner or runner may be substituted for.
i. The substitute will be allowed to touch any awarded base(s).
ii. The substitute must touch any awarded or missed base(s) not previously touched.
b. The manager or team representative of the team making the substitution shall immediately notify the plate umpire at the time a substitute enters.
c. Substitutes will be considered in the game when announced to the plate umpire.
d. The plate umpire shall then report the change to the scorer prior to the next pitch.
e. A substitute will not violate the substitution rule until a pitch (legal or illegal).
f. If the team manager, or the substitute in violation, informs the umpire prior to the opposing team’s notification, there is no violation regardless of how long the substitute was illegally in the game.
NOTE: The use of an illegal substitute is an appeal play that must be brought to the attention of the plate umpire by the offended team, while the illegal substitute is in the game.
g. If a violation is discovered prior to a pitch (legal or illegal), there is no penalty and the illegal substitute shall be declared legal.
h. An illegal substitute is considered in the game and the player from the starting line-up being illegally substituted for is considered to have left the game after a pitch (legal or illegal).
EFFECT – Sec. 7h:
1. OFFENSIVE TEAM VIOLATIONS
a. If the illegal player is discovered while at bat:
1) A legal substitute or the starting player (subject to the re-entry provisions) assumes the ball and strike count.
2) Any advance of runners while the illegal player is at bat is legal.
b. If the illegal player is discovered after completing his turn at bat and prior to the next pitch, legal or illegal:
1) The illegal player is called out; and
2) Any advance of runners as a result of an obstruction, an error, a hit batter, a walk, or a base hit is nullified.
3) Any additional outs that were recorded on the play will stand.
c. If the illegal player is discovered after completing his turn at bat and after the next pitch, legal or illegal:
1) No one is out, and any advance by runners while the illegal player was at bat is legal.
d. If the illegal player is discovered while in the game as a runner:
1) A legal substitute, or the starting player (subject to the re-entry provisions), assumes the position on the base; and
2) Any bases advanced by the illegal player shall be legal.
2. DEFENSIVE TEAM VIOLATIONS
a. If the illegal player is discovered after making a play and prior to the next pitch, legal or illegal, the offensive team has the option of:
1) Taking the result of the play; or
2) Having the play nullified, with runners returning to the last base held at the time of the play and the batter returns to bat assuming the balls and strikes held prior to the discovery of the illegal player.
b. If the illegal player is detected after a pitch to the next batter, all play(s) stand.
3. IN ALL VIOLATIONS
a. The illegal player will be declared an ineligible player and removed from the game.
b. Should an ineligible player return to the game, it is declared a forfeit to the team not at fault.
i. A player substituted from the game shall not participate in the game again, except as a coach.
1. The starting line-up may re-enter once. (See Rule 4, Sec. 6)
2. Any player who has not been ejected or removed for a violation of the rules can enter the game as a replacement player.
j. Multiple substitutions can be made for the player listed on the starting line-up but no substitute can return to the game after being substituted from the line-up.
1) The starting player, who re-enters and is substituted for a second time, would not be allowed to participate in the game any more as a player.
2) The starting player who re-enters can play any position on defence but must remain in the same position in the batting order, as listed on the starting-line-up.
EXCEPTION: A starting pitcher, who has been removed from the pitching position as a result of the defensive team reaching their limit of charged conferences, may reenter, but not as a pitcher.
NOTE: The provisions of Rule 4, Sec. 7 will not apply in the event of the required use of a replacement player except that the replacement player must report to the umpire and Effect Rule 4-10 f-g shall apply.
Sec. 8 DISPUTED CALLS
a. Any team member disputing any judgment decision by an umpire will result in a team warning.
b. Any repeat offence shall result in the ejection of that team member.
Sec. 9 DUGOUT CONDUCT
a. Coaches, players, substitutes, or other bench personnel shall not be outside the designated bench dugout area, except when the rules allow or considered justified by the umpire.
b. This includes players other than the on-deck batter (who must remain in the on-deck circle) at the start of the game, between innings, or when a new pitcher is warming up.
EFFECT – Sec. 9: The first offence is a team warning. Any repeat offence shall result in the ejection of that team member.
Sec. 10 REPLACEMENT PLAYER
a. In the event of any player bleeding during the game, that player must be withdrawn from the game if the bleeding cannot be stopped within a reasonable time, or if his uniform becomes covered in blood.
b. The withdrawn player shall not return to the game until all bleeding ceases, the area cleaned and covered and, if necessary, his uniform replaced.
c. If a change of number is required due to the new uniform shirt, there is no penalty.
d. The withdrawn player shall be replaced by a replacement player, who may act for the withdrawn player for the remainder of the inning in progress (i.e. until the end of the inning of the home team), and for the following complete inning.
e. The replacement player cannot be a player currently playing in the game.
f. The replacement player cannot be a player who has been ejected or removed from the game for a violation of the rules.
g. The replacement player must be reported to the umpire.
h. The umpire must be advised that the withdrawn player is returning to the game.
EFFECT – Sec. 10g-h:
1. This is an appeal play which can be made anytime while the replacement player or the withdrawn player is in the game.
2. The illegal substitute penalties apply (Effect Sec. 7h).
3. If the team in violation reports the replacement player or the returning withdrawn player to the umpire before the non-offending team appeals, there is no violation.
i. The replacement player shall be permitted to bat in the turn of the withdrawn player and field for the withdrawn player under all circumstances that would apply to the withdrawn player.
j. The withdrawn player may return to the game at any time in accordance with the Official Rules of Softball or following the expiration of the time permitted to treat the injury as per (a) above.
k. The use of a replacement player is not subject to the provisions of the substitution rule (Rule 4, Sec. 7h) provided the withdrawn player returns to the game within the time permitted.
EXCEPTION – Sec. 10k: The replacement player and the returning withdrawn player must be reported to the umpire.
EFFECT – Sec. 10:
1. Should the withdrawn player not be able to return to the game after being out for the time described in (d) above, the replacement player must be treated as a substitute in accordance with Rule 4, Sec. 7.
2. If the replacement player is one who has previously been in the game and cannot legally re-enter the game, then he must be replaced by a legal substitute who has not yet been in the game.
3. The withdrawn player may subsequently re-enter the game subject to the provisions of Rule 4, Sec. 7.
4. Should the team not have a legal substitute available, the game will be forfeited.
Sec. 11 TEMPORARY RUNNER
Is legal for a catcher who gets on base. The following provisions apply:
a. It is optional.
b. There must be two out.
c. If the catcher is on base with less than two out, the temporary runner may beused after the second out occurs.
d. The temporary runner is the last person in the batting order who is not on base at the time of use.
e. The catcher who finished the previous inning catching is the only player eligible to have a temporary runner.
f. If the catcher is the runner in the tiebreaker situation, they will be considered the same as if they had batted and would be allowed a temporary runner with two out.
g. Re-entry and substitution rules are waived for the temporary runner.
h. If an incorrect player is discovered as the temporary runner, make the change without penalty.
i. If a temporary runner is due to bat, go to the next person in the batting order without penalty.