the pitcher is allowed to lick his fingers only while off the entire pitching circle (all the dirt around the mound). if the pitcher is caught licking his fingers on the mound, it is considered a Balk and eith a ball is awarded to the batter (no men on base) or the runners on base are allowed to advance.
Rule 8.02 of The Official Rules of Baseball:
" The pitcher shall not --
(a) (1) Bring his pitching hand in contact with his mouth or lips while in the 18 foot circle surrounding the pitching rubber. EXCEPTION: Provided it is agreed to by both managers, the umpire prior to the start of a game played in cold weather, may permit the pitcher to blow on his hand.
PENALTY: For violation of this part of this rule the umpires shall immediately call a ball. However, if the pitch is made and a batter reaches first base on a hit, an error, a hit batsman or otherwise, and no other runner is put out before advancing at least one base, the play shall proceed without reference to the violation. Repeated offenders shall be subject to a fine by the league president. "
The penalty for a pitcher licking his fingers on the mound is a ball. If the batter has 3 balls on him this would be considered the fourth ball and the batter would be credited with a base on balls. There is no penalty for a pitcher licking his fingers while not on the pitching mound as long as he wipes his fingers off prior to stepping onto the pitching mound.
starting with the 2010 season, a pitcher can go to his mouth while on the mound as long as he is not on the rubber, and he makes an obvious motion of whiping his hand on pants before returning to the mound. This was changed in order to speed up the game
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