Mlb Official

Is it possible for a pitcher to throw less than 3 pitches in a complete inning?

I know the record is 3 but I wondered if it's possible to go less.

Yes it is (and assuming you're referring to all pitches thrown, not just by one pitcher). The above answers given are incorrect, as a balk, by definition, can only occur with runners on base. A pitch has to be thrown for a hitter to reach base safely. There are no circumstances where a hitter can reach first without a pitch being thrown. kenny's answer is pretty interesting, but while an illegal pitch is called a ball with no runners on, it is still considered a pitch thrown.

Here's how it can be done. MLB official rule 6.02(c) states: If the batter refuses to take his position in the batter’s box during his time at bat, the umpire shall call a strike on the batter. The ball is dead, and no runners may advance. After the penalty, the batter may take his proper position and the regular ball and strike count shall continue. If the batter does not take his proper position before three strikes have been called, the batter shall be declared out.

So essentially if the batter refuses to get in the box three times he will be called out. If all three batters do that then the inning is over. In that same way a pitcher can pitch a complete game without throwing a single pitch.

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