Royals want foundation for quick-pitch rule

Royals want foundation for quick-pitch rule

CHICAGO -- As manager Ned Yost will tell you, there are a few rules in the rulebook that could use a little touching up.

Of immediate interest for the Royals is the quick-pitch rule, which worked against Bruce Chen in the fourth inning Friday night.

Home-plate umpire Mike Everitt ruled Chen's pitch was thrown before White Sox batter Brent Morel was ready, making the pitch an automatic ball.

"It's the umpire's judgment," Yost said. "That's what it says in the rulebook. I don't think it's a quick pitch. The hitter was ready. He had his hands on the bat; he was set in the box. We've done it numerous times over the year and it's never been called a quick pitch before."

Yost said the rulebook may need to be looked at to determine a more concrete ruling, but for now, it's all a judgment call.

Rule 8.05 (c) notes: "A quick pitch is an illegal pitch. Umpires will judge a quick pitch as one delivered before the batter is reasonably set in the batter's box. With runners on base the penalty is a balk, with no runners on base, it is a ball. The quick pitch is dangerous and should not be permitted."

Royals pitching coach Bob McClure figures that the White Sox had asked the umpires to keep an eye on Chen for just that reason.

"It's got to be obvious that they were told by the other side when they were watching the tapes on Bruce, that he does that once in a while," McClure said. "He abbreviates his delivery which is perfectly legal. ... He uses that as part of his delivery to upset timing. Period."

It can be an effective weapon. McClure noted that Chen used the quick-pitch technique to strike out the Rangers' Michael Young for the first time in his career this year. Chen used his normal delivery for the first pitch, double-pumped on the second pitch, then quickened his delivery on the third pitch, and Young took strike three.