A pitcher is in the windup when, with the ball, the pitcher stands on or directly in front of the pitching rubber, located at the top of the mound, with their feet pointing toward home plate. Prior to throwing a pitch, the pitcher has the option of taking one step back toward second base or to either side, using their free leg (left leg for a right-handed pitcher). During the delivery of the pitch, the pitcher must take one step forward, in the direction of home plate. Alternatively, the pitcher may step off the rubber with their pivot foot (the right foot, for right-handed pitchers) or step toward and throw or feign a throw to a base, subject to the balk rules. The balk rules do not apply if there are no runners on base. In the windup, the time of pitch is the instant when one of the following occurs: the pitcher commits to taking a step backward, or they take a step to the side, or bring their hands together.
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