Another area in which we need more consistency is the hybrid position. “Hybrid” is not a word that you will find in the rule book, but the definition of a hybrid something that is made by combining two things together. A “hybrid” position is a combination of the windup and the set positions.
Rule 6-1-1 states, “The pitcher shall pitch while facing the batter from either a windup position or a set position. the position of his feet determine whether he will pitch from the windup or the set position.” Further, it states that the pivot foot must be in contact with the pitcher’s plate.
Interestingly, “non-pivot foot” is not defined in the rule book. However, Rule 2-28-6 defines the pivot foot as the “foot with which the pitcher contacts the pitcher’s plate when he delivers the ball”. Logically, the non-pivot foot is the foot that does not contact the rubber when the ball is delivered. For a right-handed pitcher, the right foot is the pivot foot, and the left foot is the non-pivot foot. Conversely, for a left-handed pitcher, the left foot is the pivot foot, and the right foot is the non-pivot foot.
Rule 6-1-2 defines the wind-up position stating, “The pitcher’s *non-pivot foot* shall be in any position *on or behind* a line extending through the front edge of the pitcher’s plate.” In other words, the heel of the non-pivot foot can be as far forward as touching the front edge of the rubber. It can also be so far back that the toes are entirely behind the rubber. Remember that this year’s editorial change made it so that the entire pivot foot no longer needs to be in contact with the rubber. As long as part of the pivot foot is touching the plate, the pitcher has met the conditions for the pivot foot.
Rule 6-1-3 defines the set position, stating that “he shall stand with his *entire non-pivot foot in front of a line *extending through the front edge of the pitcher’s plate and with his *pivot foot in contact with or directly in front of and parallel* to the pitcher’s plate. Note that it does not say which direction the non-pivot foot has to face. It can be perpendicular to, at an angle to, or parallel to the rubber. It also does not give lateral restrictions to the non-pivot foot–it does not have to be within the side edges of the rubber.
To help us all understand what is legal and what is not, please review the pictures below. (Note that some images use the word “free” rather than “non-pivot”.)
Remember, we do not want to be overly technical, nor do we want to give any team an advantage or disadvantage. Use preventive umpiring as much as possible. Try and fix it as the pitcher is warming up, or have the catcher or 1st baseman call time and talk to the pitcher before anyone starts to complain.