An assist is awarded to a fielder who touches the ball before a putout is recorded by another fielder. Typically, assists are awarded to fielders when they throw the ball to another player -- but a fielder receives an assist as long as he touches the ball, even if the contact was unintentional. For example, on a line drive that strikes the pitcher before caroming to the shortstop, both the pitcher and shortstop are awarded an assist if the out is made on a throw to first base.
There is an assist awarded on most ground-ball outs -- because most ground-ball outs require a defender to throw the ball to another defender. However, there can also be assists on fly balls -- when a runner tries to advance, but the outfielder (or in rare cases, the infielder) throws him out or doubles him off.
There is a maximum of one assist per player per out recorded. If a player touches the ball twice in a rundown, where the runner is eventually tagged out, that player is only credited with one assist for that out.
It's important to note that pitchers are not awarded assists for strikeouts. And though assists are kept for infielders, infield-assist metrics aren't looked at very often. Instead, outfield assists receive the most attention, because they are much rarer.
Watch: Ryan Madson and Christian Colon each record an assist on a double play.
In A Call
"gets the assist"