SoSH Glossary: Double Switch

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SoSH Baseball Glossary

Baseball is filled with statistics, rules, and archaic terms that can often form what sounds like a foreign language. Sons of Sam Horn’s glossary provides a better understanding of these terms through straightforward definitions, clear explanations, and examples pulled straight from the baseball world. If there is anything you would like us to add to our glossary, please contact us.

Double Switch

A double switch is a substitution in which both the pitcher and a position player are replaced in the field, and their slots in the batting order are swapped. The double switch is implemented so that the pitcher’s spot in the batting order will be pushed to a later point, allowing the incoming reliever to remain in the game before his manager has to either allow him to hit or send in a pinch hitter for him. The double switch is reserved for games played without a designated hitter.

How Does It Work?

While the team performing the double switch is on defense, the manager must first alert the home plate umpire that his team is performing a double switch. He must tell the umpire who the new position player is, what position player he is replacing, and where in the order he will be hitting before going to the mound or signaling to the bullpen. The double switch works as follows:

  1. Current pitcher (A)  is replaced in the lineup by position player (B), and on the mound by relief pitcher (D).
  2. Position player (C) is replaced in the lineup by relief pitcher (D), and in the field by position player (B).

Hypothetical Example

In the top of the 6th inning, the Arizona Diamondbacks just took a 5-1 lead at Citi Field over the New York Mets with a three-run home run by Yasmany Tomas. Bartolo Colon is on the mound and due to lead off the bottom of the sixth. With Logan Verrett warming in the bullpen, manager Terry Collins comes out onto the field and approaches the home plate umpire alerting him that he is going to execute a double switch. He will replace Bartolo Colon in the batting order with Wilmer Flores, who will take over for James Loney at first base, and Verrett will enter the game as a reliever. Below are three lineups: one before the move, one without the double switch, and one with the double switch:

Before Regular Substition Double Switch
RF Curtis Granderson RF Curtis Granderson RF Curtis Granderson
3B David Wright 3B David Wright 3B David Wright
LF Michael Conforto LF Michael Conforto LF Michael Conforto
CF Yoenis Cespedes CF Yoenis Cespedes CF Yoenis Cespedes
2B Neil Walker 2B Neil Walker 2B Neil Walker
SS Asdrubal Cabrera SS Asdrubal Cabrera SS Asdrubal Cabrera
1B James Loney 1B James Loney P Logan Verrett
C Kevin Plawecki C Kevin Plawecki C Kevin Plawecki
P Bartolo Colon P Logan Verrett 1B Wilmer Flores

Notice how the reliever’s position in the batting order will not come up for a much longer time, allowing the Mets to field a stronger lineup.


Pete Hodges has written about the call up of a top prospect, an odd tradition, and Leo the Lip.

Follow Pete on Twitter @PeterWHodges.

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