Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre called time and backed out of the batters box in the third inning on Wednesday night against the Astros. But home plate umpire Bill Miller didn't grant Beltre his timeout request, so when the 0-2 pitch from Dallas Keuchel crossed the unoccupied plate it meant a strikeout for the pitcher and one angry Beltre.
Beltre was out thanks to major league rule 6.02(b):
The batter shall not leave his position in the batters box after the pitcher comes to Set Position, or starts his windup.
Rule 6.02(b) Comment: The batter leaves the batters box at the risk of having a strike delivered and called, unless he requests the umpire to call Time. The batter is not at liberty to step in and out of the batters box at will.
Umpires will not call Time at the request of the batter or any member of his team once the pitcher has started his windup or has come to a set position even though the batter claims dust in his eyes, steamed glasses, didnt get the sign or for any other cause.
Umpires may grant a hitters request for Time once he is in the batters box, but the umpire should eliminate hitters walking out of the batters box without reason. If umpires are not lenient, batters will understand that they are in the batters box and they must remain there until the ball is pitched.
Perhaps Beltre, who was named to his fifth All-Star Game on Sunday, was subconsciously trying to add the cause of Keuchel, one of five Final Vote candidates for the 34th and final roster spot on the American League team.