The Complete Guide to the Bullpen in Baseball

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What is the Bullpen in Baseball?

The bullpen in baseball is an area where relief pitchers warm up, stretch, go over pitching strategy, and more before entering a game. It is usually located behind the outfield walls, although a few Major League Baseball stadiums have theirs in foul territory. The bullpen includes the bullpen coach, the relief pitchers, and backup catchers who are ready to warm up the pitcher to enter the baseball game whenever their team requires them.

Why is it Called a Bullpen in Baseball?

The area is called a bullpen in baseball for two reasons. First, it resembles the pen in rodeo where extra bulls wait until they are ready to enter the action. Second, the Bull Durham tobacco ads that were out in the outfield fence at baseball stadiums were so close to where the pitchers were warming up that it became known as the bullpen area.

Where are Bullpens at Most MLB Stadiums?

In most Major League Baseball stadiums, the bullpen is located behind the outfield wall. However, some ballparks, such as the New Yankee Stadium and Citizens Bank Field, have unique arrangements for their bullpens. There are also some MLB stadiums, including Tropicana Field, Oakland’s ballpark, Wrigley Field, and Oracle Park, where the bullpen is in foul territory and on the baseball field.

What is a Relief Pitcher in Baseball?

A relief pitcher is a player who comes in “for relief” of another pitcher during a game. Relief pitchers can enter the game much sooner if the starting pitcher is struggling at the mound, giving up many runs, or getting injured. They must be mentally prepared to jump into the action whenever their team requires them.

Why Do Relief Pitchers Need to Warm up Before Entering a Game?

Relief pitchers need to warm up before entering a game to avoid severe strain on their arm when going from not throwing to throwing the ball in the 90s. Warming up also helps them shake off the rust from sitting in the bullpen for an hour or two, especially if the game goes into extra innings. A pitcher who does not warm up before entering the game might have less accurate or sharp pitches and be more likely to get injured.

Do Teams Call Certain Relief Pitchers for Specific Matchups?

Before 2020, MLB managers sometimes used one relief pitcher to face a specific hitter in a lineup and then took them out afterward. The new “three batter minimum rule” means that bringing in a new pitcher must face at least three batters before they can be removed from the game.

What is a Bullpen Game?

A bullpen game is when the starting pitcher leaves the game earlier than the team expected, and the manager must go to their bullpen earlier to get the remaining outs. This creates a situation where multiple pitchers are used to get the remaining outs.

What Does it Mean to Throw a Bullpen?

Throwing a bullpen session means a pitcher is working on their pitches with the help of the pitching coach in the bullpen area. The idea is to work on different pitch types and build up arm strength. Starting pitchers will have a 10-15 minute bullpen session between their starts to keep their arms loose.

How Many Pitchers Can Throw at Once in a Bullpen?

Every bullpen in Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball allows up to two pitchers to throw simultaneously. Two catchers are also present to catch any reliever who needs to warm up during a game.


In conclusion, the bullpen in baseball is an essential area of the game. It provides a place for relief pitchers to prepare and warm up before entering a game. The bullpen game, throwing a bullpen, and the use of certain relief pitchers for specific matchups are all part of the game’s strategy.