Rules and rule modifications

Updated: January 26, 2006, 7:08 PM ET
ESPN.com

Note: The tournament will be played under the official rules of Major League Baseball and will include the use of a designated hitter.

Rosters

Five days before its first game, a team shall submit to the World Baseball Classic, Inc. (WBCI), a tournament roster of no more than 30 players, each of whom must have been on that team's provisional roster (submitted on Jan. 17, 2006), plus one manager and at least five (and up to six) coaches.

Each player on the provisional roster is subject to pre-competition anti-doping testing.

Player eligibility

A player is eligible to participate on a World Baseball Classic team if:

• The player is a citizen of the nation the team represents. (Additionally, if a player is qualified for citizenship or to hold a passport under the laws of a nation represented by a team, but has not been granted citizenship or been issued a passport, then the player may be made eligible by WBCI upon petition by the player or team.)
• The player is a permanent legal resident of the nation or territory the team represents.
• The player was born in the nation or territory the team represents.
• The player has one parent who is, or if deceased was, a citizen of the nation the team represents.
• The player has one parent who was born in the nation or territory the team represents.

Notes: In the event a player appropriately appears on more than one provisional roster, he may select the team for which he wishes to play.

Player restrictions per MLB club

WBCI will not approve a player's participation if such participation would cause a Major League Baseball club to have more than 14 players from its organization, or more than 10 of its players who were on any club's major league active or disabled list as of Aug. 31, 2005, participate in the tournament, unless the major league club informs WBCI in writing that it has no objection to allowing such additional players to participate.

WBCI also may deny participation to players whose participation would otherwise impose an undue hardship on an MLB club (e.g., too many starting pitchers, too many catchers, etc., participating in the tournament, collectively).

Disabled personnel

A World Baseball Classic team may replace a player, manager or coach on its tournament roster if the player, manager or coach is disabled. A player is disabled only if WBCI grants a petition of a team to declare a player disabled.

A disabled player shall be ineligible to participate in any further tournament games. A team may replace a disabled player on the tournament roster with another player who had appeared on that team's provisional roster. The following system will be in place depending upon when such an injury occurs:

• If a player is injured in Round 1 of the tournament, no replacement for such player shall play until the beginning of Round 2 of the tournament.
• If a player is injured in Round 2 of the tournament, no replacement for such player shall play until the semifinals of the tournament.
• If a player is injured in the semifinals of the tournament, no replacement for such player shall be permitted.
• Replacements are subject to the player restrictions per MLB club.
• A replacement shall be subject to the same game and tournament roster restrictions to which the player he is replacing was subject.

Bereavement leave

A World Baseball Classic team may submit a request to WBCI that a player be given bereavement leave.

A player given bereavement leave may be replaced on the tournament roster by another player who had appeared on that team's provisional roster.

The minimum period of bereavement leave shall be three consecutive days, and the maximum period of replacement shall be seven consecutive days.

• A replacement shall be subject to the same game and tournament roster restrictions to which the player he is replacing was subject.

Pitcher use limitations

Official baseball rules shall be supplemented for tournament games played by a team, as follows:

A pitcher must:

• Not pitch until a minimum of four days have passed since he last pitched, if he threw 50 or more pitches when he last pitched;
• Not pitch until a minimum of one day has passed since he last pitched, if he threw 30 or more pitches when he last pitched;
• Not pitch until a minimum of one day has passed since any second consecutive day on which the pitcher pitched; and
• Throw no more than:
-- 65 pitches per game in Round 1 of the tournament;
-- 80 pitches per game in Round 2 of the tournament; and
-- 95 pitches per game in the semifinals and final of the tournament.

Note: A pitcher may exceed the maximum per-game limits in order to complete a batter's plate appearance.

If a pitcher is within 20 pitches of a prescribed limit at the beginning of an inning, the Game Operations Technical Committee (appointed to each game by WBCI) shall so inform the umpire-in-chief, both managers and the ballpark public address announcer. The Game Operations Technical Committee shall immediately notify the umpire-in-chief when a pitcher has reached a limit set forth in the rule (which includes finishing a batter's plate appearance, if necessary), whereupon the umpire-in-chief shall inform the pitcher's manager to remove the pitcher from the game immediately.

There are no restrictions on the use of position players.

Early termination for large leads

The umpire-in-chief will award a regulation game in Rounds 1 or 2 of the tournament to the team that:

• Is ahead by 10 or more runs when the opposing team has batted in at least seven innings;
• Is ahead by 15 or more runs when the opposing team has batted in at least five innings.

Note: A game can be terminated in the middle of an inning if the team reaches the necessary number while at bat. The game will end immediately after that run is scored, unless it is because of a home run, in which case all runs score (similar to games won in a team's last turn at bat).

Winning pitcher

Pitchers will be awarded wins on the basis of Rule 10.19(g), and no other facet of the rule, which states: "In some non-championship games (such as the major league All-Star Game), it is provided in advance that each pitcher shall work a stated number of innings, usually two or three. In such games, it is customary to credit the victory to the pitcher of record, whether starter or reliever, when the winning team takes a lead which it maintains to the end of the game, unless such pitcher is knocked out after the winning team has a commanding lead, and the scorer believes a subsequent pitcher is entitled to credit for the victory."

Standings and tiebreaking procedures

In Round 1, the teams in each pool shall be ranked according to the percentages of games won in Round 1. The two teams with the highest such percentages in each pool shall advance to Round 2. In Round 2, the teams in each pool shall be ranked according to the percentages of games won in Round 2, without regard to the results of Round 1. The two teams with the highest such percentages in each Round 2 pool shall advance to the semifinal round.

Ties shall be broken in the following order of priority:

• The team that defeated the other tied team head-to-head in a given round shall be ranked higher in the pool standings for such round.
• The tied teams shall be ranked in the standings for that round according to fewest runs allowed divided by the number of innings (including partial innings) played in defense in the games in that round between the teams tied.
• The tied teams shall be ranked in the standings according to fewest earned runs allowed divided by the number of innings (including partial innings) played in defense in the games in that round between the teams tied.
• The tied teams shall be ranked in the standings according to highest batting average in games in that round between the teams tied.
• Standings shall be determined by the drawing of lots, conducted by WBCI.

Note: Standings and tiebreaking procedures are based on International Baseball Federation rules.

Disputes

All disputes between and among players and teams (other than anti-doping disputes) shall be referred to WBCI for decision.

Protests

The Game Operations Technical Committee shall convene immediately upon any protest. A decision will be made as soon as possible, so as not to interfere with the flow of the game or the well-being of the participating players.

Home/visitor designations

In each pool in Round 1 and Round 2, home team designations shall be as follows:

• Team 1 home, Team 2 visitor;
• Team 3 home, Team 4 visitor;
• Team 1 home, Team 3 visitor;
• Team 2 home, Team 4 visitor;
• Team 4 home; Team 1 visitor;
• Team 2 home, Team 3 visitor.

Prior to the start of play in Round 1, WBCI shall conduct a draw for each pool in which each team is designated as "Team 1," "Team 2," "Team 3" or "Team 4" for purposes of determining the home team in the pool schedule. (Two teams in each pool shall be home team twice and visiting team once; and the other two teams shall be home team once and visiting team twice.)

In each pool in Round 2, the two winners of the Round 1 pools participating in that Round 2 pool shall be either Team 1 or Team 2. WBCI shall conduct a draw for each pool to determine which of those two is designated as "Team 1" or "Team 2" and another draw to determine which of the two remaining teams in the pool is designated as "Team 3" or "Team 4." (Two teams in each pool that won a Round 1 pool shall be home team twice and visiting team once, and the other two teams shall be home team once and visiting team twice.)

In each of the semifinal games, the team that finished in first place in its Round 2 pool shall be the home team. In the championship game, if one team had finished in first place in its Round 2 pool and the other had not, the team that had finished first in its Round 2 pool shall be the home team; otherwise WBCI shall conduct a coin flip or draw to determine the home team.

Playing rules

All tournament games shall be played according to the provisions of the Official Baseball Rules as recodified, amended and otherwise adopted at New York City, Dec.21, 1949, and thereafter amended by the Official Playing Rules Committee, as supplemented by these rules. The role of the "League President" in the Official Baseball Rules, with respect to the tournament, shall be performed by the designees of WBCI.