Questions/Answers 2009

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     On Sunday, January 04, 2009, I posted the following questions and answers.

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001.  Yes I guess the A's did win the '74 World series, just a bit of wishful thinking on my part.  (Also perhaps a bit of revisionist history.)  I do remember Joe Ferguson's throw from right field to nail a runner at the plate.  He had a tremendous arm.

Once after a game in Sept. '74 I passed my self off as Steve Yeager with the help of a friend.  I signed a number of autographs and for about 5 minutes I knew what it was like to be a Dodger.  Davey Lopes saw what was going on and he just kind of smiled and winked at me.  He was kind enuff to not blow my cover.  I was only 18 yrs old at the time.  My friend's girl friend tried to get your autograph for her brother, but you didn't sign.  You did however tell her that she really just wanted to talk to you, not get an autograph.  I remember she was puzzled at your remark.  Oh well, that was a long time ago.

There is a guy who goes to my church.  His name is Perry Husband.  He breaks down hitters swings the way you do for pitchers.  Have you heard of him?  I guess he has his fair share of baseball disciples, some even at the major league levels.  Are you still teaching at University level, or are you busy with your baseball pitching/consulting business?

Thanks for responding.

P.S.  Do you have your own version of baseball's all time top ten pitchers?  Mine would include, Koufax, Clemens, Seaver, Gibson, Carlton, Maddox, Mathewson, Johnson, Spahn, & Martinez.  I know there are many others as well.

P.S.S.  Who is the best hitter you ever faced?  Where does Mr. Steroids (Bonds) fit into the all-time greats?  What would have McCovey, Stargell, Killebrew or Schmidt done on steriods?


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     The purpose of my website is to eliminate pitching injuries.  I do not participate in memorabilia and am not interested in nostalgia.  I have never heard of Mr. Husband.  I am retired.  Other than administer my website, whenever invited, I present my information at baseball conventions and clinics.  I do not make top ten lists.  While not the most successful baseball batter against me, I consider Joe Morgan the most difficult baseball batter for me to get out.

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002.  I should have understood earlier.

Admittedly, I won’t be bringing the potato salad to any Mensa meetings but I can read “purdy gud”.  Yet somehow, despite my best efforts, I failed to understand two important aspects of your pitching motion.  You cleared them up during my last visit and they are making a big difference in a myriad of ways and I thought I’d share them in case they would help some of your other faithful readers.

(1)  “Towards second base”:

I completely misunderstood applying force “towards second base” with the glove foot.  I was “pushing dirt” towards home plate mistakenly thinking that that was the oppositely-directed force required to counteract the “towards home plate” force of my pitching arm.  But as you pointed out, I was, in fact, pushing toward home plate.  You want us to “push dirt” toward second base with the glove foot as if running towards home plate.

What a revelation!  My sons and my drivelines are much longer and straighter and, of course, much closer towards home plate.  All of the other aspects of your motion; the vertical upper arm, inwardly rotating, shoulder tilt, pronating and finishing “with the hand in the back pocket” seem to happen more naturally (or is this just my imagination?).

The verbal key that is working for us is “push-push” – meaning we push forward toward home plate with the pitching foot and then again with the glove foot.  I’m using this verbal key because you have to allow the center of mass of your body to get ahead of the glove foot to be able to “push” towards second base.  My 13 year old, immediately and easily made this important change – it was probably a relief to no longer be “swimming against the current”!

One thing I’ve noticed, the pitching knee and pitching elbow seem to be moving “together” once we start to forwardly rotate.  I’m assuming this is good because our pitching knee is well ahead of our glove knee at release.

This brings me to my second lack of understanding.

(2)  “Inwardly rotating the pitching upper arm”:

I just didn’t get it.  Now it’s clear; when you bring the pitching hand forward from the slingshot position with the pitching hand inside of vertical, you are inwardly rotating the pitching upper arm!  Duh.  We pretty much were doing it but clearly understanding makes a difference.

As always, thanks for your help.  By the way, writing this e-mail and trying to be precise was exhausting.  I’m going to go lie down now for a well deserved rest.


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     You have explained these two critical skills of baseball pitching very well.  I am sure that readers understand what you wrote better than what I wrote.  Push-push works for me.

     We are still working on standardizing the drill that we are doing to teach baseball pitchers how to more powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.  The Extreme Cross-Panel drill works.  However, it has some drawbacks.

01.  It requires a lot of room.  If everybody had a baseball infield in their backyard, then, while facing the glove side base, they could throw from home plate to second base.

02.  It requires baseball pitchers to release their throws at upward angles.  Specificity of training requires that we train baseball pitcher to release their throws at the same angles that they release their pitches in competition.

     Therefore, at present:

01.  I am having the guys stand on my pitching mounds in my Wind-Up Drop Out Competitive Baseball Pitching Motion facing away from the net into which they throw.

02.  Then, to throw the baseball four feet to either side of home plate, which now becomes second base, I ask them to disengage the pitching rubber with their pitching foot,

03.  drop their pitching arm out of their glove to pointing vertically downward by their side,

04.  reverse rotate their hips and shoulders one hundred and eighty degrees until they point their acromial line at the new second base,

05.  pendulum swing their pitching arm backward and upward to driveline height to arrive when their pitching foot lands on the line between the new home plate and second base,

06.  pull straight back toward the new home plate with their glove arm and

07.  drive the baseball straight toward where the shortstop or second baseman should be to pick a base runner off second base using either their Maxline or Torque force application technique.

     Because I want them to use this action to actually pick base runners off second base in competition:

01.  they need to stand tall and rotate,

02.  keep the center of mass of their body on line to their target,

03.  move their body and arms synchronously,

04.  transcribe a perfect elliptical pathway with their pitching arm,

05.  point their glove arm directly at the target,

06.  never take their pitching hand laterally behind their acromial line,

07.  apply force straight toward the target,

08.  powerfully inwardly roll their pitching shoulder behind their pitching upper arm,

09.  powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm,

10.  powerfully extend their pitching elbow,

11.  powerfully pronate their pitching forearm,

12.  powerfully ulnar or radially flex their wrist,

13.  powerfully flex their hand and

14.  powerfully flex their index and middle fingers.

     When baseball pitchers perfect these actions, they will have used their pitching arm in the most powerful way to maximally accelerate baseballs toward home plate.  When combined with my Drop Step Maxline body action and my Heel Toe Let It Go Torque body action, where they move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot, such that they can 'push' backward toward second base with their glove foot, they will have perfected the baseball pitching motion that I recommend.

     If your young men has learned how to move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot, such that they can push back toward second base with their glove foot, then they are indeed 'moving their pitching knee and pitching elbow toward home plate together.'  At release, we definitely want the pitching knee well ahead of the glove knee.

     And, as you correctly noted, when baseball pitchers do this, they will inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, tilt their shoulder line to forty-five degrees and higher, release their pitches with their pitching forearm vertical or inside of vertical, pronate their pitching forearm, 'stick' their pitching hand in the strike zone and put their pitching hand in the back pocket on their pitching arm side 'naturally.'

     My congratulations to you and your sons.

     Contrary to Dr. Fleisig's teachings, when baseball pitchers powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, they do not put their Ulnar Collateral Ligament in danger.  Instead, they prevent the Ulnar Collateral Ligament from receiving any stress at all.  Therefore, contrary to Dr. Fleisig's teachings, it is impossible for baseball pitchers to inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm or extend their pitching elbow or pronate their pitching forearm too powerfully.  Therefore, again contrary to Dr. Fleisig's teachings, the maximum release velocity that baseball pitchers can achieve is not 'just North of one hundred miles per hour.

     Instead, I believe that, after completing all my interval-training programs, the maximum release velocity that baseball pitchers can achieve depends on how perfectly they perform my baseball pitching motion.  When asked this question at the 2007 Sabermetrics Convention, I answered that I believe that today's baseball pitchers have the genetics with which to throw one hundred and ten miles per hour.

     Whether pitching baseballs, throwing javelins, serving tennis balls, spiking volleyballs or performing any other sport action that requires maximum overhead velocity, to apply maximum force without any injurious stress, athletes must powerfully forwardly rotate their acromial line, inwardly rotate their upper arm, extend their elbow, pronate their forearm, flex their wrist, flex their hand and flex their fingers.  These actions compliment each other, such that they sequentially fit together perfectly.

     My new Second Base Pickoff body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill teaches baseball pitchers how to perfectly perform these skills.

     As you can see, your email did not exhaust me.  Instead, your email energized me.  What a great early morning pick-me-up.  Thank you.

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003.  You might find this kinesiologist and physical therapist's article interesting:

Eric Cressey article.

Specifically, this portion:

  "They do a lot of Tommy John surgeries and ulnar nerve transpositions for elbow issues that can often be resolved with improving internal rotation range-of-motion at the shoulder, or cleaning up soft tissue restrictions on flexor carpi ulnaris, flexor carpi radialis, pronator teres, etc."

Does this sound like something that would be applicable to your training protocol; specifically, how you attempt to increase the density of the humerus through iron ball training and the strength of the pronator teres through wrist weight training?

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Posted on Thursday, 17th January 2008 by admin
Studying for the Wrong Test?
Inefficiency vs. Pathology

Q:  I read with great interest your baseball interview at T-Nation, as I have two sons who play high school baseball.  More interestingly to me, though, was this statement:

“Pathology (e.g., labral fraying) isn’t as important as dysfunction; you can have a pathology, but not be symptomatic if you still move well and haven’t hit “threshold” from a degenerative or traumatic standpoint.”

Is this something that can be applied to the rest of the body?

A:  Great question – and the answer is a resounding “Absolutely!”

Many musculoskeletal issues are a function of cumulative trauma on a body with some degree of underlying inefficiency.  People reach threshold when they do crazy stuff – or ignore inefficiencies – for long enough.  Here are a few examples:

Lower Back Pain

As I touched on in a recent newsletter, we put a lot of compressive loading on our spines in the typical weight-training lifestyle – and you’d be surprised at how many people have spondylolysis (vertebral fractures) that aren’t symptomatic.  But there’s more…

A 1994 study in the New England Journal of Medicine sent MRIs of 98 “healthy” backs to various doctors, and asked them to diagnose them.  The doctors were not told that the patients felt fine and had no history of back pain.  80% of the MRI interpretations came back with disc herniations and bulges.  In 38% of the patients, there was involvement of more than one disc.  It’s estimated that 85% of lower back pain patients don’t get a precise diagnosis.

Shoulders

You’d be amazed at how many people are walking around with labral fraying, partially torn rotator cuffs, and bone spurs.  However, only a handful of people are in debilitating pain – and others just have a testy shoulder that acts up here and there.  What’s the issue?

These individuals might have a fundamental defect in place, but they’ve likely improved scapular stability, rotator cuff strength/endurance, thoracic spine range-of-motion, soft tissue quality, cervical spine function, breathing patterns, mobility of the opposite hip/ankle, and a host of other contributing factors – to the point that their issues don’t become symptomatic.

Elbows

They do a lot of Tommy John surgeries and ulnar nerve transpositions for elbow issues that can often be resolved with improving internal rotation range-of-motion at the shoulder, or cleaning up soft tissue restrictions on flexor carpi ulnaris, flexor carpi radialis, pronator teres, etc.

According to Dr. Glenn Fleisig, during the throwing motion, at maximal external rotation during the cocking phase, there is roughly 64 Nm of varus torque at the elbow in elite pitchers.  This is equivalent to having a 40-pound weight pulling the hand down.

The other day, I emailed back and forth with my good friend, physical therapist John Pallof about elbows in throwing athletes, and he said the following:

“Over the long term, bone changes just like any other connective tissue according to the stresses that are placed on it.  Most every pitcher I see has some structural and/or alignment abnormality – it’s just a question of whether it becomes symptomatic.  Many have significant valgus deformities.  Just disgusting forces put on a joint over and over and over again.”

Makes you wonder who is really “healthy,” doesn’t it?

Carpal Tunnel

I can’t tell you how many carpal tunnel surgeries can be avoided when people get soft tissue work done on scalenes, pec minor, coracobrachialis, and several other upper extremity adhesion sites – or adjustments at the cervical spine – but I can tell you it’s a lot.

Knee Pain

Many ACL tears go completely undiagnosed; people never become symptomatic.  I know several people who have ruptured PCLs from car crashes or contact injuries – but they work around them.

Some athletes have big chunks of the menisci taken out, but they can function at 100% while other athletes are in worlds of pain with their entire menisci in place.

Many knee issues resolve when you clear up adhesions in glute medius, popliteus, rectus femoris, ITB/TFL, psoas, and the calves/peroneals; improve ankle and hip mobility; and get the glutes firing.

I’m of the belief that all stress on our systems is shared by the active restraints and passive restraints.  Active restraints include muscles and tendons – the dynamic models of our bodies.  Passive restraints include labrums, menisci, ligaments, and bone; some of them can get a bit stronger (particularly bone), but on the whole, they aren’t as dynamic as muscles and tendons.

Now, if the stress is shared between active and passive restraints, wouldn’t it make sense that strong and mobile active restraints would protect ligaments, menisci, and labrums?  The conventional medical model – whether it’s because of watered-down physical therapy due to stingy insurance companies or just a desire to do more surgeries – fixes the passive restraints first.  In some cases, this is good.  In other cases, it does a disservice to the dynamic ability of the body to protect itself with adaptation.

I’m also of the belief that there are only a handful of exercises that are genuinely bad; upright rows, leg presses, and leg extensions are a few examples.  The rest are just exercises that are bad for certain people – or exercises that are bad when performed with incorrect technique.  With these latter two issues in mind, find the inefficiency, fix it, and you’d be surprised at how well your body works when it moves efficiently.


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     Rather than an article, Mr. Cressey answers a question.  In the question, a parent of two high school baseball players wants to know at what point pathologies become injuries.

     In essence, Mr. Cressey answers that, whenever humans perform activities beyond normal every day basic needs, the stresses that they place on their body cause damage that require many repetitions to become debilities.

     To illustrate his point:

01.  He cited a 1994 New England Journal of Medicine article in which orthopedic surgeons found serious vertebral column pathologies in patients without symptoms.

02.  Without any scientific verification, he claimed that people also have shoulder pathologies without symptoms.

03.  He also claimed that, instead of replacing ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligaments and relocating the Ulnar Nerve from its groove behind the medial epicondyle, symptomatic baseball pitchers simply need to improve the inward rotation range-of-motion of their pitching upper arm or 'clean' up soft tissue restrictions of the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle.

     Next, without defining the asymptomatic pathology, he credited Dr. Glenn Fleisig with the finding that, during outward rotation, Elite baseball pitchers generate the equivalent of forty pounds of force on their pitching elbow.

     However, he then cited Mr. Pallor, a physical therapist, who stated that bones change as a result of stress.

     Growth and Development researchers have understood that bone tissue changes as a result of activity for over one hundred years since, in 1895, Roentgen invented the X-ray machine.  In 1967, I demonstrated that, as a result of 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' 'traditional' baseball pitchers enlarged the coronoid process of their Ulna bone.

04.  Mr. Cressey continued with some nonsense that Carpal Tunnel relates to muscles in the neck, collar bone and upper arm, presumably due to irritations to the Brachial Plexus.

05.  Mr. Cressey further continued with silliness that the Gluteus Medius, Rectus Femoris, Psoas Major and other muscles contribute to knee problems.

     However, although, by including labrums, menisci and bone, he went too far, he did recognize that muscles actively protect ligaments.  And, although not properly defining efficiency, he recognized that, to be effective, training requires specificity of training.

     In short, I found Mr. Cressey's comments short on scientific verification and severely lacking credibility.

     To specifically answer your question as to whether baseball pitchers can overcome ruptures of their Ulnar Collateral Ligament and Ulnar Nerve discomfort by improving the inward rotation range-of-motion of their pitching upper arm or 'cleaning' up soft tissue restrictions of the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle:

01.  If they use my baseball pitching motion, to pitch competitively, baseball pitchers do not even need an Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  However, I still recommend that they have one.

02.  Therefore, once they ruptured their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, I recommend that 'traditional' baseball pitchers have Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.

     However, to never rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers only need to take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand facing upward and pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one smooth, continuous movement.

     After the have Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery, to avoid re-rupturing their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers have to learn how to take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand facing upward and pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one smooth, continuous movement.

     The muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle have nothing to do with inward rotation of the upper arm.  Therefore, Mr. Cressey's comment that baseball pitchers should 'clean' up tissue restrictions involving these muscles is nonsense.

     Further, even if these muscles had something to do with inward rotation of the pitching upper arm, they do not have any tissue restrictions that need any cleaning up.

03.  On the other hand, I agree with Mr. Cressey that baseball pitchers with Ulnar Nerve discomfort do not need surgery to relocate their Ulnar Collateral Ligament to the front of the elbow joint.

     When, immediately before their start to pull their pitching elbow forward, 'traditional' baseball pitchers move their pitching hand close to their head, they cause an injurious flaw that I call, 'Looping,' where their pitching hand moves backward and outward before it starts moving forward.

     To eliminate this injurious flaw, 'traditional' baseball pitchers need to learn how to keep their pitching hand the full length of their pitching forearm behind their pitching elbow.

04.  Mr. Cressey wrongly quoted Dr. Fleisig.  In his Pathomechanics: Injuries to the Pitching Elbow article, Dr. Fleisig attributed rupturing the Ulnar Collateral Ligament to excessive inward rotation velocity, not outward rotation like Mr. Cressey said.

     However, Dr. Fleisig is wrong.  'Traditional' baseball pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament during outward rotation of their pitching upper arm, not during inward rotation.  Therefore, by misquoting Dr. Fleisig, I suppose that one could say that Mr. Cressey was correct.  Unfortunately, being right by being wrong does not count.

     In conclusion, neither Mr. Cressey nor Dr. Fleisig know what they are talking about.

     However, when Mr. Cressey sort of correctly stated that muscle actions protect ligaments, he almost got something right.  Unfortunately, Dr. Fleisig does not understand the difference between active and passive tissues.  He thinks that the Ulnar Collateral Ligament 'pulls' the pitching forearm forward.

     In my baseball pitching motion, I teach my baseball pitchers to powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, extend their pitching elbow and pronate their pitching forearm.  By pronating their pitching forearm, they contract the muscles of their medial epicondyle, which protect the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     With my wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws, my baseball pitchers increase the density of the involved bone tissue.  Therefore, because my baseball pitching motion properly stresses bone tissue beyond the ability of normal bone tissue to withstand, to avoid injury, they need to increase their bone density.

     As evidence, Dr. Fleisig correctly found that, without any discomfort, my baseball pitchers inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm more powerfully than his Elite baseball pitchers.

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004.  For what its worth I thought the letter of the year was Charlie's retirement letter.  That was about as moving a letter as you will find in all your letters.  I think it should be on your Home page as an example of what being the best you can be is all about.

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     Recently, Charlie visited for a couple of days.  Although, because he has detrained for a couple of months, he suffered significant lack of fitness muscle soreness the next day, he loved showing off the quality of the Maxline Pronation Curves that he throws.

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005.  Week of 12/29/08.

Was wondering if you have anyone training this week?  If so, then what is the normal time?


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     That week, we will be training all seven days.  We train from 9:00 to 10:30AM.  We are at the corner of Hwy 301 (Gall Blvd) and Vinson Avenue in Zephyrhills, FL.

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006.  In perusing your Q&A files, it seems like 2008 has been quite a year for all devotees Marshallian.

Many successes for Marshall pitchers, and many facets of the Marshall technique seem to be finding their way into professional baseball.

The amazing 12 year old pitcher is amazing indeed; watching him leap forward with his GAS leg is poetry in motion (not to mention the spin axes he is getting on his pitches.)  It is indeed unfortunate that there are so many nay-sayers attempting to demean this young man's accomplishments.  As you've said, he's a motor skill genius, but best of all, he seems to be having a heck of a good time throwing the ball with his unique style!  It will be interesting to note how various rules committees react as the Marshall technique gains popularity as more and more youngsters master it.

You've mentioned Dick Fosbury as someone who was ridiculed for introducing an advance in motor skill as related to sport.

Another one who comes to mind is Hank Luisetti, who in the 1930's, revolutionized the game of basketball with his running one-handed shot, at a time when the two-handed set shot was the standard.  (Luisetti was the first college player to score 50 points in a single game.)  Were it not for Hank Luisetti, would we have ever had Pete Maravich? (now, the Pistol was a REAL motor skills genius!)

I'm also reminded of David Berkoff, he of the "Berkoff Blastoff," which was quickly banned from international swimming competition in 1988, after Berkoff's rivals began copying him.  Here's a link for you and your readers to enjoy regarding the "dolphin kick" and Berkoff:

Washington Post article

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A Revolution That Began With a Kick
Washington Post Staff Writer
By Amy Shipley
Friday, June 20, 2008

Even longtime swimming coaches profess to being baffled by the more than three dozen world records broken in the last 18 months in pools around the world.  They wonder how to fully explain such a sudden and widespread explosion of speed in a sport contested since the first Olympics more than a century ago.

The answer, they say, cannot lie solely in the latest high-tech swimsuits introduced amid a swirl of controversy this winter, because the world-record smashing began at last year's world championships -- long before the newest of the newfangled apparel came out.

Swimmers, coaches and scientists say it is impossible to pinpoint one explanation.  They cite many contributing factors, ranging from professional training groups that have sprouted across the United States to greater access to underwater cameras and other advanced technology.

But some say the most significant breakthrough has been a revival of a swimming maneuver developed more than 70 years ago by one of the physicists who worked on the atomic bomb.

Though utilized for decades, the underwater dolphin kick had not been fully exploited by the swimming mainstream until Olympic megastar Michael Phelps and a few other stars began polishing it -- and crushing other swimmers with it -- in recent years.  Some say the revival has caused a quiet sensation that has been largely drowned out by the reaction to the suits, whose tightness, futuristic fabric and seam-free design make swimmers sleeker and more streamlined.

It is the use of the dolphin kick, coaches point out, that keeps swimmers where they can best take advantage of whatever advantages the suits offer:  underwater.

"You cannot succeed without this skill," said Mark Schubert, the head coach and general manager of USA Swimming's national team.

"It's a weapon," said Jonty Skinner, the performance science director for the U.S. national team.

"It's been a quantum-leap difference," said Phelps's longtime coach, Bob Bowman.  "Michael's going 13 meters underwater [using the kick] instead of five.  That was what he did that Ian Thorpe didn't."

Bowman was referring to Phelps's demolition of Thorpe's world record in the 200-meter freestyle last year, an achievement that stunned fans at the world championships in Melbourne, Australia.  The mark set by the now-retired Thorpe, the greatest swimmer of his era, had been considered virtually untouchable before Phelps's swim.

But Bowman said the difference in Phelps's record race (1 minute 43.86 seconds) and Thorpe's 2001 effort (1:44.06) was plain:  Phelps stayed underwater longer off the turns, executing the undulating motion with his entire body that is designed to mimic a dolphin's use of its flipper.  It wasn't that Thorpe did not use the dolphin kick.  All elite freestylers have for years, rather than the old-fashioned flutter kick.  But Thorpe came to the surface earlier throughout his race, dolphin-kicking less and relying more on his freestyle stroke.

The problem for Thorpe?  When executed properly, experts say, the underwater dolphin kick is faster than any stroke except a full-out freestyle sprint over 50 meters.

Phelps's turns and underwater kicking were the difference, Bowman said.  "Free-swimming 200 straight meters, Ian would probably win handily."

Also known as the fly kick because of its connection with the butterfly stroke, the underwater dolphin kick has become so important, some coaches contend, it has earned its own classification.

"There are now five strokes," Schubert said.  "The fifth stroke is the underwater dolphin kick."

Origins of the Kick

The underwater dolphin kick attracted the interest of swimming innovators as early as the 1930s.  The late Volney C. Wilson explored its possibilities before diving into later work on nuclear fission and the atomic bomb, according to David Schrader, a research professor at Marquette University who is Wilson's biographer.

Schrader said Wilson, an alternate on the 1932 Olympic water polo team who studied fish propulsion at a Chicago aquarium, claimed to have shown the kick to Johnny Weissmuller, a training mate at the Illinois Athletic Club.  "Weissmuller reproduced it perfectly, but was not impressed by it," said Schrader in a phone interview, recalling a conversation with Wilson.

Indeed, the kick did not immediately take off.  For years, swimmers relied on the flutter kick in the freestyle.  The dolphin kick has always been associated with the butterfly, which was not contested in the Olympics until 1956.

One of the first swimmers to turn heads with the underwater dolphin kick was David Berkoff, a Harvard graduate who became known for the "Berkoff Blastoff."  In 1988, Berkoff set several world records in the 100 backstroke by dolphin-kicking for 35 meters underwater at the start of the race.  When rivals began doing the same, FINA, the sport's international governing body, acted quickly, banning underwater swimming in the backstroke for more than 10 meters, then later, 15 meters.

Seven years later, Arizona-based swim coach Bob Gillet urged his young butterfly star, Misty Hyman, not only to do the dolphin kick underwater as long as she could, but also to swim on her side to enhance the stroke's effects.  By 1997, she was winning butterfly races by swimming 35 meters underwater.

A year later, FINA banned swimming underwater more than 15 meters for the butterfly and freestyle.  (In the breaststroke, swimming underwater has been banned since the 1950s; however, since 2005, competitors have been allowed one downward dolphin kick off the turns.)

'We All Studied Him'

Despite the success of Berkoff, Hyman and others, few coaches were tempted to try to maximize the available 15 meters of underwater opportunity.  Some looked at the success of Berkoff and Hyman as something of a fluke, figuring that extra time underwater would provide only temporary gains.  They thought swimmers would surge ahead but fade at the end of races out of pure exhaustion, particularly in races longer than 100 meters.

They also worried about safety; no one wanted swimmers passing out during practice while trying to hold their breath longer than usual.

And because the kick was executed underwater, coaches added, it was a difficult skill to teach and evaluate.  No one really knew the perfect way to do it.  No one really knew whether it would be a big plus or not.  So for years, many coaches and athletes worked on it only perfunctorily.

"Nobody figures out what's faster until somebody goes faster using it, then all of the coaches sit in the video room saying, 'How are we going to beat this guy?' " Schubert said.

Among the first swimmers to perfect the maneuver within the 15-meter limit, Schubert said, was American Neil Walker, who used to frustrate four-time Olympic gold medal winner Lenny Krayzelburg in backstroke races in 25-meter pools (as opposed to the Olympic 50-meter distance) in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  With the extra turns, Walker could routinely defeat the more acclaimed Krayzelburg, surging ahead in the underwater portion of races.

"We all studied him," Schubert said.  "He was the first great dolphin kicker.  We all studied his underwater technique and copied it."

Then there was Phelps.

In August 2002, Phelps broke the 400 individual medley record in a close race against teammate Erik Vendt at the U.S. championships in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  In that race, Schubert recalled, Phelps -- then a rising teenage star -- passed Vendt in the last 50 meters by catapulting ahead with his dolphin kick.  Back then, however, Phelps was just learning to use the kick to his advantage.  He has mastered it only recently, coaches say, putting him in an elite group along with Americans Natalie Coughlin, Ryan Lochte and Aaron Peirsol.

A year before the 2004 Olympics in Athens, U.S. swimming coaches got together and agreed they needed to better understand this dolphin kick.  Clearly it was important.  But there was virtually no body of research on the topic.  How much of a difference did it make?  How should they teach it?  Which was the best approach?

They got in touch with group of scientists at George Washington University who had been studying how fish swim in an effort to aid in the design of small submarines for the Navy.  USA Swimming's biomechanics coordinator, Russell Mark, immediately set the GW team -- which included professors Rajat Mittal and James Hahn and student Alfred von Loebbecke -- to the task of studying the underwater dolphin kick.  The USA Swimming-sponsored research, which began in 2003, continues to this day.

"The advantages of doing it," Mittal said, "are very apparent to everybody."  The race has since been on to implement the kick.

"I've talked to people about the fly kick being a weapon for your swimming that you must have," said Eddie Reese, a two-time Olympic team coach at the University of Texas.  But in years past, "I was always disappointed I wouldn't see [school-age swimmers] doing the fly kick underwater.  In the last five years, I've been seeing it more and more.

"Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte and Aaron Peirsol -- you can't compete with them unless you can fly kick."


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     Thank you for the very interesting information.  These examples show that, when someone invents something that greatly improves performances, others resist.

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007.  I'm very impressed with this 12 yr. old and all he has learned in just a short time.  He does so many things correctly and will be awesome by the time he reaches High School.

In viewing him throwing the maxline true screwball, it looks as though he never gets to the "Lock" position and appears at driveline height he turns and bends his wrist with his thumb forward early.

My understanding is you wanted your pitchers to position their wrist and hand for each pitch in the acceleration phase.  Is this correct?

If he continues without changing, would you be concerned that he may allow the batter to see when the screwball will be thrown early?


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     More important than tipping the pitch is, by leading his screwball with his thumb, he will never achieve his maximum Maxline True Screwball spin velocity.  To properly release my Maxline True Screwball, I want my baseball pitchers to have the palm of their pitching hand facing forward with their middle finger horizontally driving through the top seam of the baseball.

     When baseball pitchers try to rotate their wrist, they will never achieve maximum spin velocities.  The only way that baseball pitchers can achieve maximum spin velocity is by driving the tip of the middle finger through the top seam of the baseball toward home plate.

     With all that this young man has learned in such a short time, I did not want to add this detail to the mix.  This is something that, with my Maxline True Screwball, until my baseball pitchers have their driveline perfected, I regularly wait to explain the proper middle fingertip release action.

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008.  This is Amazing's father.

I've been giving more thought to a variant of the first part of your motion.  Of course I'm trying to appease what I believe will be rule changes in the future without introducing harmful elements.

Here goes:

1)  Both feet on the rubber, toes pointed straight ahead.
2)  Hands come up to right pectoralis.
3)  Full step backwards with right foot.
4)  Acromial line forty five degrees (passively rotated).

Above steps can be done slowly, following steps are in rapid succession.

5)  Weight is shifted over right foot in a slight rocking motion.  Left hand moves straight towards home plate, ending thumb down while right hand moves straight towards second ending with palm up.

This is not a pendulum swing - the hands are driven directly toward home and second from the start position high on the chest.

6)  Push off of right leg and complete the normal motion.

I see a great possibility for limiting grab by not swinging the pitching arm up.  Also, the "pivot" foot will be no farther from the rubber than a traditional pitcher's foot would be.  However, the release point would also be more in line with a traditionalist's release point and, while we are still adding the body's velocity to the velocity generated by the arm, this added velocity would undoubtedly be reduced from what it is now.

Please don't choke on your breakfast while reading this - I know many have altered your motion before - with unfortunate results.  Believe me, I would love to see all kids release the baseball six to eight feet in front of the rubber, but we all know that's not going to be allowed so let's plan preemptively and be ready.

Any huge problem in driving the hands straight outwardly from a high chest position towards home and second?  I am assuming we can initiate a forward motion with the g/s heel beginning the instant the arms reach full extension.

I know, for my son, this would allow me to address an almost insurmountable problem and that is the p/s arm swinging up, up and away until he transitions into a grab and ends up holding the baseball way over his head.

I feel lousy even mentioning this to you because I know you've spent most of your life thinking about it, but I want your motion to be in the ballpark - not a museum.  We HAVE TO conform just enough to get in the door.  Then we'll blow their socks off.


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     If I understand what you wrote correctly, even though your son is right-handed, you want him to step backward off the pitching rubber with his pitching foot.  Then, you want him to jump forward off his glove foot that remains on the pitching rubber.

     If they will make a rule that prevents my baseball pitchers from releasing their pitches eight feet in front of the pitching rubber, then they will make a rule that prevents baseball pitchers from pitching with their glove foot on the pitching rubber.


     I recommend that your son continue to practice his maximally extended driveline motion.  I want to force the local rule makers to make a rule against it.

     Then, when they do, I want your son to be ready with another baseball pitching motion.  With the new baseball pitching motion, I want him to use the one that I envisioned, where my baseball pitchers move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot and push back, but do not jump forward as your son does.      To do this, instead of jumping off his pitching foot, then jumping off his glove foot, all he needs to do is step forward off with his glove foot and jump forward off the pitching rubber with his pitching foot.

     If he releases his pitches after he moves his pitching knee in front of his glove knee with his acromial line pointing as close a possible toward home plate, then he will release his pitches with his pitching foot close to his glove foot.

     With his pitching foot close to his glove foot, nobody will complain about where he releases his pitches.  It is the final kick of his pitching foot toward home plate that he does that makes it obvious that he is releasing his pitches so far forward.

     Nevertheless, I believe that what he has invented is marvelous and the best possible way for baseball pitchers to throw their pitches.

     To correct for his 'looping,' I recommend that your son do my new Second Base Pickoff body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill that I explained in Question/Answer 2009 #002.

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009.  Tire drill for hitting

I would appreciate if you would comment on this tire drill.  I will have a clip of it in the attached video.

Tire drill for hitting article.

  The tires are tractor tires.  They weigh anywhere from 80 to 150 lbs.  They are about 24 inches tall when laying flat on the ground.  They stack the tire parallel to the ground, alternating heights to create different stimuli of the hitting zone.  They hit the tires with sledgehammers that are 6, 8 and 10 lbs and are the standard length.

According to the coach, these high school kids can perform 2 handed as well as top hand slams with precision, control and power.  And they can do this without allowing the hammer to bounce too far from the point of contact.  I take it the kids do this 2-4 time a week.

  I thought it would be nice for you to see what these kids are doing these days.  I think the coach I am talking to places the tires up higher on some kind of platform so the kids can more readily mimic the baseball swing.  The clip should give you a pretty good idea what I am asking.

You have written that the tire drill slams the forearm bones into the distal humerus bone.  I could not find any mention of shoulder trauma.

My questions:

1.  I have to assume there is no way you would want under 16 y/o biological baseball players doing this drill.  Correct?

2.  Wouldn't this drill traumatize the shoulder of under 19 y/o biologicals?  If so, would it be the front of the shoulder.

3.  Even if the shoulder growth plates were closed would this drill traumatize the shoulder?

4.  Would it be correct to say that the benefit of swinging a sledge hammer would quickly dissipate because you would not have to recruit the muscles that help swing the heavier bat?

Assuming this is true, how would a laymen that believed in Specificity of Training understand this?  The coach is trying to replicate the swing with a heavier implement.  So from a laymen's perspective, he has a specific swing and he is using the Overload Principle.  Once again the coach does the drill with more specificity than is shown in the clip.


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     The video that I watched showed only a few seconds of kids swinging sledge hammers at tractor tires.  They did not stack the tires.  They had only one tire laying on the ground.  The kids swung downward and hit the top and side of the tire.      You are correct.  The critical principle in all sport skill training is Specificity.  The key to successful batting is quickness and directness to the pitched baseball.

     With six, eight and ten pound sledge hammers, the athletes would train the muscles that hold these weights up, not swing the weights horizontally toward pitched baseballs.

     I am not very concerned for the involved growth plates as I am for the incorrectness of the force-couple technique.  These guys will develop loops through which baseball pitchers can drive a tractor through.

     This video is a perfect example of when you have no idea what you are doing, at least keep everything moving.  I saw nothing of value to playing baseball.  This guy is nuts.

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010.  The ASMI 27th Annual Injuries in Baseball Course.

When I read through the list of presentations, I noticed that not one talked about the causes of pitching injuries and how to prevent them.  Instead, they talked about how to diagnose injuries, how to do surgeries and how to rehabilitate injuries.

If you were to "crash" this gathering and tell them what causes pitching injuries and how to prevent them, then you would put all these people out of business.

The ASMI 27th Annual Injuries in Baseball Course

-------------------------------------------------

The ASMI 27th Annual Injuries in Baseball Course
International Hotel, Houston, Texas

FRIDAY, January 23, 2009

7:10 a.m. LIVE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Shoulder Anatomy; Manuj Singhal, M.D.

7:30 a.m. LIVE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Physical Exam of the Shoulder; Neal S. ElAttrache, M.D. and Lonnie Paulos, M.D.

7:50 a.m. Biomechanics of the Shoulder; Glenn S. Fleisig, Ph.D.

8:10 a.m. Diagnostic Studies of the Shoulder: X-Ray, MRI, CT and Ultra Sound; Dave Lintner (Houston Astros MD)

8:30 a.m. Operative Management of Rotator Cuff Pathology in Throwers; Neal S. ElAttrache, M.D.

8:50 a.m. Other Less Common Pathologies in the Throwers Shoulder; Jeffrey R. Dugas, M.D.

9:10 a.m. Rehabilitation of Rotator Cuff Injuries; Michael M. Reinold, P.T., D.P.T., A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.

10:15 a.m. Introduction to the Labrum: Anatomy, Pathology and Diagnosis; Walt Lowe, M.D.

10:35 a.m. Injuries to the Labrum; Russ Paine, P.T.

10:55 a.m. Labral Pathology: Operative Management to Include Complete 360 Degree Labral Tears. The Extreme SLAP; E. Lyle Cain, Jr., M.D.

11:15 a.m. The Loss of Internal Rotation in Throwers: Causes and Treatment. Does This Cause Injury? New Research; Kevin E. Wilk, D.P.T.

11:35 a.m. Capsular Microinstability in Throwers; Lonnie Paulos, M.D.

11:55 a.m. The Batters Shoulder: Post Instability; Jeffrey R. Dugas, M.D.

12:15 p.m. Biceps Tendon Injuries in the Thrower; Walt Lowe, M.D.

12:35 p.m. Putting It All Together: What I Have Learned About the Throwing Shoulder in the Last 35 Years; James R. Andrews, M.D.

2:20 p.m. Scapular Training, Strengthening and Muscular Education Techniques; Russ Paine, P.T.

2:40 p.m. Techniques to Keep the Pitchers Healthier Through the Season; Jamie Reed, M.S., A.T.,C.

3:00 p.m. Dynamic Stabilization Exercises for the Upper Extremity in Throwers; Kevin E. Wilk, D.P.T.

3:20 p.m. Dynamic Reactive Exercises for the Shoulder; Ken Crenshaw, A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.

3:40 p.m. Changes in Strength ROM Over the Course of the Season: Efficacy of Stretching and Strengthening; Michael M. Reinold, P.T., D.P.T., A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.

4:00 p.m. Hamstring Injuries in Baseball Players: Recognition and Treatment; Bob Mangine, M.Ed., P.T., A.T.,C.

4:20 p.m. Special Rehab Considerations for the Windmill Pitcher; Lynn Snyder-Mackler, Sc.D., P.T., F.A.P.T.A.

5:05 p.m. Plyometrics to Enhance Baseball Performance; Russell Orr, M.S., A.T.,C., C.S.C.S., L.M.T.

5:45 p.m. In Season Conditioning to Maximize Performance; Nathan Shaw, A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.

6:05 p.m. Advance (Complex) Periodization; Javair Gillett, C.S.C.S.

6:25 p.m. Protecting the Starting Pitcher; Perry Castellano, C.S.C.S. - R

6:45 p.m. More Core Training Drills;Russell Orr, M.S., A.T.,C., C.S.C.S., L.M.T.

SATURDAY, January 24, 2009

8:05 a.m. LIVE VIDEO DEOMNSTRATION: Anatomy of the Elbow; Tom Gill, M.D. (Red Sox)

8:25 a.m. Biomechanics of the Elbow; Dave Fortenbaugh, M.S.

8:45 a.m. LIVE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Physical Exam of the Thrower’s Elbow; Walt Lowe

9:05 a.m. Valgus Extension Overload: Pathophysiology and treatment of Posterior problems in the thrower’s elbow; Keith Meister, M.D.

9:25 a.m. Non-Operative Treatment of Specific Elbow Pathologies; Lenny Macrina, MS, PT, SCS

10:10 a.m. Diagnosis of Medial Elbow Pain in the Throwing Athlete; J.P. Bramhall, M.D.

10:30 a.m. Rehabilitation for the Painful In-season Thrower’s Elbow; Ken Crenshaw, A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.

10:50 a.m. The Tommy John Injury Epidemic: Risk Factors and Outcome with Reconstruction; E. Lyle Cain, Jr., MD

11:10 a.m. Rehabilitation Following UCL Surgery; Kevin E. Wilk, D.P.T.

11:30 a.m. UCL Reconstruction in Patients with Intraligamentous Bony Pathology; Jeffrey R. Dugas, M.D.

11:50 a.m. Newer Alternative Techniques for UCL Reconstruction; Neal S. ElAttrache, M.D.

12:10 p.m. Rehabilitation Following UCL Surgery; Kevin E. Wilk, D.P.T.

2:05 p.m. Smokeless Tobacco Update; John F. Wisniewski, D.M.D., M.S.

2:25 p.m. Hydration and Possible Dangers of “Energy Drinks”; TBA

2:45 p.m. What You Need to Know About Lasiks Eye Surgery; TBA

3:05 p.m. Developing an Emergency Action Plan; Tracy R. Ray, M.D.

3:25 p.m. Baseball Voodoo; Craig Young, M.D.

4:30 p.m. Common Biomechanical Faults of Adolescent Pitchers; Becky Bolt, M.S.

4:50 p.m. The Epidemic and Overview of Throwing Arm Injuries in Youth Baseball; Tom Gill, M.D.

5:10 p.m. Guidelines for Strengthening and Stretching Exercises for the Adolescent Thrower; Michael M. Reinold, P.T., D.P.T., A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.

5:30 p.m. Four Week Training Program for Adolescent Baseball Players; Rafael Escamilla, Ph.D., P.T., C.S.C.S., F.A.C.S.M.

5:50 p.m. Practice Makes Perfect: Athletic Development Practice On-The Field; Javair Gillett, C.S.C.S.

6:10 p.m. Youth Health and Performance: There’s Gotta Be a Better Way; Tom House, Ph.D.

6:30 p.m. TBA; Michael J. Axe, M.D.

6:50 p.m. Throwing Guidelines for Youth Baseball Players: Scientific Data; Lynn Snyder-Mackler, Sc.D., P.T., F.A.P.T.A.

SUNDAY, January 25, 2009

8:05 a.m. Preventing and Dealing with Knee Injuries in Catchers; William G. Clancy, Jr., M.D.

8:25 a.m. Rehab Following ACL Injury and Surgery Guidelines; Russ Paine, P.T.

8:45 a.m. Squat and Lunge Exercises for Knee Rehabilitation; Rafael Escamilla, Ph.D., P.T., C.S.C.S., F.A.C.S.M.

9:50 a.m. How Trunk Motion and Arm Slot Affect Arm Torque; Arnel Aguinaldo, M.S, A.T.,C.

10:10 a.m. Biomechanics of the Lower Extremities During Pitching; David Stodden, Ph.D., C.S.C.S.

10:30 a.m. Common Mechanical Traits of Power Pitchers; Bill Thurston

10:50 a.m. Do Biomechanical Evaluations Help? Clinical Outcome for 100 Pitchers; Glenn S. Fleisig, Ph.D.

11:10 a.m. TBA; Rick Peterson

12:20 p.m. Pregame Meal Planning; Local Nutritionist

12:40 p.m. Practical Approach to Dermatology; David Braunreiter, M.D.

1:00 p.m. Headaches; Craig Young, M.D. or José O. Ortega, M.D.

1:20 p.m. Managing Seasonal Allergies and Asthma; Craig Young, M.D. or José O. Ortega, M.D.

12:20 p.m. Core Function and Training Techniques; Ken Crenshaw, A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.

12:40 p.m. Core Training Techniques: Part II; Nathan Shaw, A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.

1:00 p.m. Techniques to Enhance Neuromuscular Control for the Lower Extremity – Knee and Ankle: Lynn Snyder-Mackler, Sc.D., P.T., F.A.P.T.A.

1:20 p.m. High Ankle Sprain Management; Bob Mangine, M.Ed., P.T., A.T.,C.

1:40 p.m. Techniques to Improve Shoulder Motion; Russ Paine, P.T

2:00 p.m. Techniques to Measure Shoulder ROM: Which One is Best?; Leonard C. Macrina, P.T., C.S.C.S.

2:20 p.m. Training the Hip and Pelvis for Explosive Power in Baseball; Todd Hooks

2:40 p.m. TBA

3:00 p.m. New Concepts and Techniques for Stretching; Mike Ryan, A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.

3:20 p.m. Explosive Speed and Strength Training; Robert E. Mangine, M.Ed., P.T., A.T.,C.

12:20 p.m. Arm Care for the Youth Pitcher; Ron Wolforth

12:50 p.m. TBA; Dick Mills

1:20 p.m. TBA; Rick Peterson

1:50 p.m. TBA; E. David Osinski, M.A.

2:20 p.m. Building an Efficient Motion: How to Get the Most Out of Your Body; Bill Thurston


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     Over the twenty-seven years that the American Sports Medicine Institute has offered this Annual Injuries in Baseball Course, baseball pitching injuries have dramatically increased and the nonsense that they present is a major cause of that dramatic increase.

     To tell us about the injuries they see, they have a long list of orthopedic surgeons that know nothing about the baseball pitching motion.

01.  James R. Andrews, M.D.
02.  Michael J. Axe, M.D.
03.  J.P. Bramhall, M.D.
04.  David Braunreiter, M.D.
05.  E. Lyle Cain, Jr., M.D.
06.  William G. Clancy, Jr., M.D.
07.  Jeffrey R. Dugas, M.D.
08.  Neal S. ElAttrache, M.D.
09.  Tom Gill, M.D.
10.  Dave Lintner M.D.
11.  Walt Lowe, M.D.
12.  José O. Ortega, M.D.
13.  Lonnie Paulos, M.D.
14.  Tracy R. Ray, M.D.
15.  Manuj Singhal, M.D.
16.  Craig Young, M.D.

     To tell us how to rehabilitate these injuries, they have a short list of biomechanists that know nothing about the baseball pitching motion.

01.  Becky Bolt, M.S.
02.  David Donatucci, M.Ed., C.S.C.S.
03.  Glenn S. Fleisig, Ph.D.
04.  David Stodden, Ph.D., C.S.C.S.

     To tell us how to rehabilitate these injuries, they have a long list of physical therapists that know nothing about the baseball pitching motion.

01.  Arnel Aguinaldo, M.S., A.T.,C.
02.  Perry Castellano, C.S.C.S. - R
03.  Ken Crenshaw, A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.
04.  Rafael Escamilla, Ph.D., P.T., C.S.C.S., F.A.C.S.M.
05.  Javair Gillett, C.S.C.S.
06.  Lynn Snyder-Mackler, Sc.D., P.T., F.A.P.T.A.
07.  Robert E. Mangine, M.Ed., P.T., A.T.,C.
08.  Russell Orr, M.S., A.T.,C., C.S.C.S., L.M.T.
09.  E. David Osinski, M.A.
10.  Russ Paine, PT
11.  Michael M. Reinold, P.T., D.P.T., A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.
12.  Nathan Shaw, A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.
13.  Kevin E. Wilk, D.P.T.
14.  John F. Wisniewski, D.M.D., M.S.

     To tell us about the baseball pitching motion, they have a short list of the usual suspects that teach the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that destroys baseball pitchers.

01.  Tom House, Ph.D.
02.  Dick Mills
03.  Rick Peterson
04.  Bill Thurston
05.  Ron Wolforth

     For three days of worthless information, they charge physicians $550.00 and everybody else $450.00.

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011.  60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program edit suggestions.

In your Question/Answer file, you have said that youth baseball pitchers can complete your 60-Day program and to do so does not count against their sixty days of competitive pitching.  I think that you should add a sentence saying this in your 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

I also added a question about whether youth baseball pitchers should continue to do their wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws throughout the year.


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     You are also correct that, to improve their skills, especially their releases, I want youngsters to use my 60-Day program at least once during their off-season.  To improve their fitness, I also want them to complete my 60-Day program before their competitive season.  However, I only want them to do my 60-Day program IF THEY want to do them.

     When they are not completing my 60-Day program, I do not recommend that they continue to do my wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws.  However, if they want to fool around with my lid throws, plastic javelin throws and appropriately-sized football throws, I would have no objection.

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012.  Finger pain.

My son is a high school pitcher, He is 6'1" 160 lbs. a Junior, 85 mph fast ball.  He has pitched rather well for size.  Colleges and scouts have been watching him.

In November while throwing, his middle pitching finger began having so much pain that he cannot throw anymore.  This pain is behind the finger nail next to the joint.  He did have some swelling in this joint when it first happened.

I have taken him to three sports doctors and they all have different methods of treatment.  None of these treatments have relieved the pain.  I did get an X-ray of his finger.  It looked normal.  I have asked for an MRI but was told that an MRI would not show anything.  They keep telling me they can't feel any tissue damage.  The pain is only when he throws baseball or positions the tip of his middle finger towards his palm and pulls on the finger tip.

I have searched the internet and have found articles that state a pitchers middle finger is prone to injuries.  I'm running out of time and doctors.  Do you have any suggestions?


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     The tendons of the Flexor Digitorum Profundus muscle attach to both sides of the distal phalange of the middle finger.  It sounds as though your son has injured one or both of these attachments.  I would think that a MRI of his hand would be the best way to determine whether these attachments are still sound.

     He could also have a problem with the joint between the distal and middle phalanges of his middle finger.  For example, he could have inflamed hyaline cartilage on one or both of the articular surfaces.  Perhaps, he has an arthritic condition.  Again, I would think that a MRI of his hand would be the best way to determine the status of this joint.

     Perhaps, instead of a sports doctor, you should see muscle and joint specialist.

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013.  Torque fastball.

My question concerns striding closed on your Torque fastball.

In Q#285, you write about traditional pitchers:

"If they stride closed, then they can still injure the front of their pitching shoulder."  It looks like your guys stride closed on your Torque pitches.

1.  Why don't your guys hurt the front of their shoulders.

Also, on your torque pitches, you want your guys to step forward BEFORE the baseball gets to their pitching hip.  Therefore their glove foot lands before the baseball gets to driveline height.  It seems to me this gives your guys a better chance to get their pitching hip ahead of their glove hip.  Yet, on Maxline pitches, you want your guys to step forward after the baseball clears the hip and arrive at driveline height at the same time that the glove foot lands.

2.  Can you explain why you have different body actions for Maxline and Torque pitches as it relates to the position of the baseball when the glove foot lands?


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01.  When my baseball pitchers throw my Torque pitches, even though I teach them to step on the line between their pitching foot and straight forward, unlike 'traditional' baseball pitchers, they do not injure the front of their pitching shoulder because they do not have 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' which, to get the baseball in the seventeen inch width of home plate, they do not have to pull their pitching upper arm across the front of their body.

02.  With my Maxline pitches, I want my baseball pitchers to make the baseball move to the pitching arm side of home plate.

     To be able to do this:

     a.  My baseball pitchers have to rotate their acromial line forward to point as closely toward home plate as possible.

     To facilitate their ability to rotate their shoulders forward to point as close toward home plate as possible, I teach my baseball pitchers to stand with their pitching foot on the three and one-half inches of the glove arm side of the pitching rubber, step at a forty-five degree angle to the glove arm side of their body and, after their glove foot lands, drive their pitching knee toward their glove knee.

     This action forces my baseball pitchers to rotate their hips forty-five degrees in front of perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate.

     Then, when my baseball pitchers move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot, such that they can accelerate the center of mass of their body toward home plate, they can extend the time over which they can continue to rotate their hips and shoulders forward.  Then, after their glove foot push-back, they can pull their glove forearm straight backward toward second base and continue to rotate their pitching shoulder forward.

     b.  My baseball pitchers have to release my Maxline pitches as far to the glove side of home plate as possible.

     Because, with my Maxline pitches, my baseball pitchers point their pitching upper arm as vertically as possible, tilt the line across the top of their shoulders to the glove arm side as far as possible and drive their pitching forearm as far inside of vertical as possible, my baseball pitchers release their pitches over their pitching shoulder.

     After they drop step at forty-five degrees to the glove arm side of their body off the extreme glove side of the pitching rubber, my baseball pitchers release their Maxline pitches outside of the glove arm side of home plate.  Therefore, in addition to spin axes that cause the baseball to move to their pitching arm side of home plate, my baseball pitchers can apply lateral force to their Maxline pitches and still throw the baseball in the seventeen inches of the width of home plate.

     To be able to apply force to the pitching arm side of home plate, my baseball pitchers have to get their pitching hand inside of vertical and drive their pitching hand to the pitching arm side of their body.  To succeed, they cannot pull their pitching upper arm across the front of their body.

     Therefore, when their glove foot lands, they have to have their pitching hand at driveline height.  If they do not, then, when they push off their glove foot, because they would have to pull their pitching upper arm forward, they will unnecessarily stress the front of their pitching shoulder.

     That is why, with my Maxline force application technique, I make sure that my baseball pitchers do not step forward until their pitching arm is forty-five degrees behind their body.

03.  With my Torque pitches, I want my baseball pitchers to make the baseball move to the glove arm side of home plate.

     To be able to do this:

     a.  My baseball pitchers have to turn the straight driveline toward home plate to the glove arm side of home plate.

     To facilitate their ability to drive their pitching hand toward the glove arm side of home plate, I teach my baseball pitchers to stand with their pitching foot on the three and one-half inches of the pitching arm side of the pitching rubber, land with their glove foot heel on the line between their pitching foot and straight forward, roll forward over the full length of their glove foot and, when they come up on their glove toes, sharply turn their shoulders to forty-five degree angle to the glove arm side of their body and drive their pitching knee toward the glove arm side of home plate.

     This action forces my baseball pitchers to rotate their hips forty-five degrees in front of perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate.

     Then, when my baseball pitchers move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot, such that they can accelerate the center of mass of their body toward home plate, they can extend the time over which they can continue to rotate their hips and shoulders forward.  Then, after their glove foot push-back, they can pull their glove forearm straight backward toward second base and continue to rotate their pitching shoulder forward.

     b.  My baseball pitchers have to release my Torque pitches as far to the pitching arm side of home plate as possible.

     Because, with my Torque pitches, my baseball pitchers point their pitching upper arm as vertically as possible, tilt the line across the top of their shoulders to the glove arm side as far as possible and drive their pitching forearm as far inside of vertical as possible, my baseball pitchers release their pitches over their pitching shoulder.

     After they step on the line between their pitching foot and straight forward off the extreme pitching arm side of the pitching rubber, my baseball pitchers release their Torque pitches slightly outside of the pitching arm side of home plate.  Therefore, in addition to spin axes that cause the baseball to move to their glove arm side of home plate, my baseball pitchers can apply lateral force to their Torque pitches and still throw the baseball within the seventeen inches of the width of home plate.

     To be able to apply force to the glove arm side of home plate, my baseball pitchers have to get their pitching hand outside of vertical and drive their pitching hand to the glove arm side of their body.  To succeed, they have to apply a side force to their pitching arm.  To apply this side force, they step closed and turn their hips and shoulders toward the glove side of home plate.  With their pitching upper arm vertical, this sudden turn of their hips and shoulders to the glove side of home plate centrifugally slings the pitching forearm laterally away from their body.

     Therefore, when the heel of their glove foot lands, they have to have their pitching hand below driveline height.  To centrifugally sling their pitching forearm laterally away from their body, they have to delay their pitching arm reaching driveline height until they roll across the entire length of their glove foot and come up on their glove toes when they sharply rotate their hips and shoulders to the glove arm side of home plate.

     If they have their pitching arm at driveline height when their glove foot lands, then they will release the baseball before roll across the entire length of their glove foot and come up on their glove toe when they sharply rotate their hips and shoulders to the glove side of home plate and the baseball will stay to the pitching arm side of home plate.

     That is why, with my Torque force application technique, I make sure that my baseball pitchers step forward before they start to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward.

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014.  IHSBC Chicago, Jan 30-31, 2009.

I read on your site Wednesday that you plan to be appearing at an upcoming Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association clinic, but that you did not yet know the precise location and time of your presentation.

Therefore, I sent an email to the association's Clinic Director, Chuck Gandolfi, to see if he could provide the specific information.  In his reply, he said you had not been confirmed as a clinician and that he would contact me next week should anything change.

I'm hopeful whatever is necessary to secure your participation in this clinic can be worked out.

I'm excited about the possibility my son's coaches could hear about your work in person.  One would think educators, entrusted with the care of young arms during some of their most vulnerable years, would be the most receptive audience for academic research on "how to eliminate all baseball pitching injuries while increasing release velocity, pitch variety, pitch quality and release consistency."

I will be watching, optimistically, for good news about a Dr. Marshall trip to Chicago this month!


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     A couple of months ago, Mr. Gandolfi asked me to present at the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Clinic.  I immediately agreed.  He told me that I am presenting on Friday night January 30, 2009 and Saturday morning January 31, 2009.

     I have purchased the airline tickets.  I have reserved the car.  To meet with whomever wants to talk baseball pitching, we will be at the White Sox Training Center in Lisle, IL from noon on Friday until they close the place and again on Saturday from when they open the place until 4:00PM when we have to leave for the Midway Airport.

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     On Sunday, January 11, 2009, I posted the following questions and answers.

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015.  Looked for your 2009 Q&A file to usher in the New Year and was profoundly disappointed to get my coffee, pop tart and not be able to find it!  Hope all is well.

On an aside, you make mention of Casio's EX series camera in your equipment files and that is great.  However, I would not direct readers to a specific distributor as something untoward may come about and you could find yourself in the middle of it.

As an example, I bought mine mid '08 when it was exceedingly difficult to find one in this country and I had difficulty with some of these camera "storefronts" before I found a reputable retailer.  I know nothing about the distributor you direct your readers to but you may want to insert a caveat for your protection.

Pitching question:  By shortening the p/s stride (or leap), my son should be able to rotate much faster, right?  I had him try it a couple of times last night while he was inside, in his socks - nonetheless to my eye he appeared to rotate much faster.

This correlates to bringing the arms in for the spinning skater (angular momentum or some such thing) to increase rotational velocity.  For our purposes it would be facilitating movement of the g/s towards second thereby increasing the directed force of the p/s to home.  You know I'm starting to get so good at throwing out technical terms I barely understand that I impress myself - I should open a website!  Anyway, am I right?


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     Sorry about the delay in this week's Question/Answer file.  On Sunday, I received an email that I wanted to include and it is taking me several hours to respond.  With any luck, I will finish it this morning.

     I will put a disclaimer in my Equipment Vendors file.  Thank you.

     I believe that how quickly baseball pitchers rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching arm forward depends on how powerfully they pull their glove forearm straight backward and how powerfully they drive their pitching knee toward their glove knee.

     However, with balance a factor, I can see how shorter glove foot steps would help.

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016.  I would like for you to read this article regarding internal rotation in the pitching motion:

Mr. Somers article

In it, the author documents that he believes extending the pitching arm before internally rotating the shoulder will increase release velocity and help to protect the arm from UCL-related injuries.

I emailed him to note that ASMI documented significantly higher internal rotation velocities in your "torque group" as compared to the ASMI "elite" pitcher, yet the lack of UCL-related injuries in your camp would indicate that valgus stress caused by internal rotation may not be the cause of UCL ruptures.

Can you please speak to this article and give your educated opinion on it? I would be most interested.  Thank you.


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     First, I appreciate that you took the time to tell me about this article.

     Second, I appreciate that you emailed Mr. Somers that my baseball pitchers achieve significantly higher inward rotation velocities than ASMI's Elite group, yet never suffer Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries.

     Because I have decided to review this article sentence by sentence, I will not waste the space needed to rewrite the entire article. However, I will distinguish what Mr. Somers wrote with bold text and what I write without bold text.

--------------------------------------------------

Mr. Somers wrote, "In the previous article Biomechanics: Ulnar Collateral Ligament, the discussion centered on what causes UCL tearing and how to prevent it."

     I appreciate that Mr. Somers is trying to determine what causes baseball pitchers to rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament and what baseball pitchers have to do to prevent this injury.

Mr. Somers wrote, "One of my conclusions was to delay internal rotation until after arm extension."

     Apparently, Mr. Somers concluded that one solution to baseball pitchers rupturing their Ulnar Collateral Ligament is for baseball pitchers to extend their pitching elbow until after they inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

Mr. Somers wrote, "This article will discuss that concept in greater detail.

     Until I learn more about this concept, I will wait to comment.

Mr. Somers wrote, "Delayed internal rotation is the term I use to describe arm action that involves the triceps brachii as the primary accelerator of the forearm as opposed to the muscles of the rotator cuff."

     I have two problems with this statement.

01.  With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers do not actively extend their pitching elbow.  Therefore, they do not use their Triceps Brachii muscle.

     In the video of Nolan Ryan that Mr. Somers included in this article, viewers can see where Mr. Ryan's pitching elbow moves from bent at ninety-degrees to one hundred and eighty degrees straight.  However, Mr. Ryan did not use his Triceps Brachii muscle to straighten his pitching elbow.

     Instead, because right-handed Mr. Ryan took his pitching arm laterally behind his body toward first base, to throw the baseball toward home plate, he had to return his pitching arm to the pitching arm side of his body.  Therefore, he applied toward-third-base force to his pitching arm.

     However, because he wants to throw the baseball toward home plate, not third base, Mr. Ryan has to stop the baseball from going toward third base and turn it toward home plate.  This action generates a toward-third-base centripetal force that 'slings' his pitching forearm laterally away from his body toward third base.

     It is this centripetal force that straightens his pitching elbow, not his Triceps Brachii muscle.

     To prevent his olecranon process from slamming into its fossa, Mr. Ryan reflexively contracts the Brachialis muscle. However, because the centripetal force is very strong, even though it is contracting, his Brachialis muscle lengthens.  In Kinesiological terms, this is called, an 'eccentric muscle action.'

02.  The rotator cuff muscles do not accelerate the pitching forearm.

     Four muscles make up the rotator cuff.  The Subscapularis muscle inwardly rotates the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.  The Supraspinatus muscle abducts the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.  The Infraspinatus muscle outwardly rotates the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.  And, the Teres Minor muscle outwardly rotates the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.

     We now know that Mr. Somers is Anatomically and Kinesiologically challenged.

Mr. Somers wrote, "Internal rotation and arm extension occur in perpendicular planes... ."

     During shoulder joint inward rotation, the anterior surface of the Humerus bone rotates inwardly.  During elbow joint extension, the anterior surface of the Ulna bone moves away from the anterior surface of the Humerus bone.  What planes is he talking about?

Mr. Somers wrote, "so sequencing is important for efficient energy transfer through the kinetic chain."

     I agree that, to efficiently transfer force from the Shoulder Girdle, to the Shoulder Joint, to the Elbow joint, to the Forearm Joint, to the Wrist Joint, to the Hand Joint and the Finger Joints, each joint of the pitching arm has to sequentially apply force on top of the force generated by the preceding joint or joints.

Mr. Somers wrote, "The kinetic chain starts at the ground, moves up through the body, and ends in the finger tips.

     Because, after the glove foot lands, the baseball is not moving toward home plate, 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not have a kinetic chain that starts at the ground.

Mr. Somers wrote, "Since the focus here is on arm acceleration, the analysis of the chain will start at the shoulder with the upper arm in an externally rotated position."

     The 'externally rotated position' to which Mr. Somers refers is that moment in the pitching motion where the pitching forearm is horizontally behind the pitching elbow when the pitching elbow is moving toward home plate.  I prefer to call this position, the maximum pitching forearm acceleration position.

Mr. Somers wrote, "From the shoulder, a series of arm movements is responsible for completing the chain."

     Actually, the joint that starts the kinetic chain for the pitching arm is the Shoulder Girdle, which means the movement of the Scapula bone.  To drive the baseball toward home plate, all baseball pitchers abduct their Scapula bone, which means that the Scapula bone moves away from the vertebral column.

     The second joint in the kinetic chain for the pitching arm is the Shoulder Joint, which means the movement of the Humerus bone.  To drive the baseball toward home plate, 'traditional' baseball pitchers horizontally flex their Humerus bone, which means that the Humerus bone moves horizontally forward and across the front of their body.

     The third joint in the kinetic chain for the pitching arm is the Elbow Joint, which means the movement of the Ulna bone.  However, 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not drive their Ulna bone toward home plate.  Therefore, because the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion does not use the muscles of the elbow joint to accelerate the baseball, their baseball pitchers do not have a kinetic chain for their pitching arm.

Mr. Somers wrote, "As the trunk accelerates, the shoulder toward the plate, the humerus establishes a plane of motion."

     To accelerate their pitching arm toward home plate, baseball pitchers rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward.  Because, at release, 'traditional' baseball pitchers align their entire pitching arm with the line across the top of their shoulders, the angle at which they lean the line across the top of their shoulders determines the angle at which they release their pitches.

     Therefore, contrary to Mr. Somers' comment, the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm does not establish the plane of motion, the line across the top of the shoulders establishes the plane of motion.

Mr. Somers provided a graphic of a circle with a straight line arrow showing how baseball pitchers release their pitches tangent to the arc that their pitching hand transcribed.

     I agree that 'traditional' baseball pitchers apply force to their pitches along a curvilinear pathway.  Therefore, as Sir Isaac Newton's Law of Inertia explains, to maintain the baseball on this curvilinear pathway, instead of applying force to the baseball, 'traditional' baseball pitchers have to apply force back toward their body.  As a result, 'traditional' baseball pitchers waste force.

Mr. Somers wrote, "Within this plane, the humerus moves in an arc."

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, because their baseball pitchers take their pitching upper arm laterally behind their body, they have to return their pitching upper arm to the pitching arm side of their body and, then, turn their pitching upper arm toward home plate.  Therefore, 'traditional' baseball pitchers do move their pitching upper arm along a curvilinear pathway.

     However, I teach my baseball pitchers to point their pitching upper arm at second base.  Therefore, my baseball pitchers do not take their Humerus bone behind their body.

     From pointing at second base, I teach my baseball pitchers to immediately raise their pitching elbow to driveline height.  Therefore, my baseball pitchers move their Humerus bone in straight lines toward home plate.

Mr. Somers wrote, "The distal end of the humerus (near the elbow) reaches peak forward velocity shortly after the humerus is perpendicular to the ball's path to the plate."

     First, for 'traditional' baseball pitchers, the paths of the baseball and the pitching upper arm (Humerus bone) toward home plate are curvilinear.  Therefore, it is impossible for the Humerus bone to ever be perpendicular to the path of the baseball.  What Mr. Somers should have written is when the Humerus bone is perpendicular to the straight line between second base and home plate.

     Second, the toward-home-plate velocity stops at the same time that the rotation of the shoulders forward stops.  The rotation of the shoulders forward stops when the shoulders are perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate.  According to the American Sports Medicine Institute, their Elite pitchers stop rotating their shoulders forward when they are half-way between the first forward movement of the baseball and when they release their pitches.

     Therefore, instead of reaching its peak velocity, when the Humerus bone is perpendicular to the straight line between second base and home plate, the distal end of the Humerus bone has stopped moving forward.

Mr. Somers wrote, "Beyond this moment, velocity of the humerus is directed somewhere other than the target."

     Throughout the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, the pathway of the pitching hand and baseball dictates the path of the distal end of the Humerus bone.  After the pitching hand and baseball returns to the pitching arm side of the body from laterally behind their body, after release, the pitching hand will continue along its centripetal force pathway back to laterally in front of their body.

Mr. Somers wrote, "If the humerus moves past perpendicular, the rest of the arm and the ball move with it."

     The pathway of the pitching hand dictates the pathway of the pitching upper arm, not the other way around.  It seems as though Mr. Somers has everything backward.

Mr. Somers wrote, "The kinetic chain weakens when the forearm and wrist compensate to put the ball's path back in line with the target."

     With this statement, Mr. Somers appears to recognize that when baseball pitchers apply force along a curvilinear pathway, they cannot achieve their maximum release velocity.  Therefore, I wonder why he recommends that 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

Mr. Somers wrote, "To maintain the integrity of the kinetic chain, all parts of the arm must apply force in the same direction."

     With this statement, Mr. Somers appears to understand the meaning in Sir Isaac Newton's Law of Inertia.  Let me give him a hint.  To achieve their maximum release velocity, baseball pitchers have to apply force in straight lines toward home plate.  That sounds like my baseball pitching motion.

Mr. Somers wrote, "Arm extension and internal rotation are motions that also create arcs, so the same rules apply."

     To apply force in straight lines toward home plate, I teach my baseball pitchers to inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, to extend their pitching elbow and pronate their pitching forearm.  To teach my baseball pitchers how to drive down their acromial line, I have them perform my Second Baseball Pickoff body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     Therefore, shoulder joint inward rotation and elbow joint extension are not joint actions that create curvilinear pathways.

Mr. Somers wrote, "When internal rotation occurs before arm extension, the forearm is perpendicular to the plate before the triceps extends the arm."

     Because 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not actively extend their pitching elbow, they cannot inwardly rotate their shoulder joint before they extend their pitching elbow.

Mr. Somers wrote, "In this sequence, the arc created by arm extension is in a plane that is perpendicular to the arc created by the humerus."

     The centripetal force that 'slings' the pitching forearm laterally away from the body creates the curvilinear pathway that the pitching hand and baseball follow, not elbow extension.

     At release, 'traditional' baseball pitchers align their pitching forearm with their pitching upper arm.  Therefore, the curvilinear pathways of the pitching hand and baseball follows the same curvilinear pathways of the pitching upper arm.

Mr. Somers wrote, "Even though the triceps extends rapidly, its contribution to forward velocity is minimal, making it a weak link in the kinetic chain.

     To extend their pitching elbow, 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not use their Triceps Brachii muscle.  Therefore, the Triceps Brachii muscle does not contribute anything to release velocity.  The Triceps Brachii muscle is not the weak link in the kinetic chain, because the elbow joint does not contribute to release velocity, the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion does not have a kinetic chain.

Mr. Somers wrote, "Arm extension after this point also results in valgus extension overload syndrome which can lead to a number of pathophysiological conditions that includes tearing of the ulnar collateral ligament."

     Like Dr. Glenn Fleisig, the director of the American Sports Medicine Institute, Mr. Somers wrongly believes that baseball pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament during the acceleration phase of the baseball pitching motion.

Mr. Somers wrote, "However, when the arm extends before internal rotation, the triceps can accelerate the forearm directly toward home plate in the same plane as the humerus."

     Because 'traditional' baseball pitchers never contract their Triceps Brachii muscle, this statement is ridiculous.  If they never contract their Triceps Brachii muscle, then their Triceps Brachii muscle cannot accelerate the pitching forearm toward home plate whatever the plane of the Humerus bone.

Mr. Somers wrote, "In this sequence, the triceps maximally contributes to forward velocity and is a strong link in the kinetic chain."

     With my baseball pitching motion, as viewed from overhead, because my baseball pitchers apply force to the baseball in straight lines toward home plate, to actively extend their pitching elbow, they do powerfully use their Triceps Brachii muscle.  Therefore, with my baseball pitching motion, the Triceps Brachii muscle is a very strong link in a real kinetic chain.

Mr. Somers wrote, "After the arm extends, pronation, wrist flexion, and internal rotation can further extend the kinetic chain and powerfully finish the pitch directly toward home plate."

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, it appears that the shoulder joint inwardly rotates through release.  However, the shoulder joint never actively inwardly rotates.

     What actually happens is when baseball pitchers flex their wrist through release, the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone pronate the pitching forearm.  This pronation action forces the pitching upper arm to follow the action of the pitching forearm. Therefore, it appears that the pitching upper arm inwardly rotates, but it does not.

A HALL OF FAME EXAMPLE

Mr. Somers provide a three frame video of Nolan Ryan throwing a fastball.

     In the first frame, Mr. Ryan has his pitching arm in what I call, the maximum acceleration position.  Mr. Somers calls it, the maximum outwardly rotated position.

Mr. Somers wrote, "In the first frame, you can clearly see that external rotation has taken place."

     Unfortunately, Mr. Somers failed to provide video evidence of how Mr. Ryan assumed this position.  Nevertheless, to achieve the maximum acceleration position, I believe that Mr. Ryan did outwardly rotate his pitching upper arm.

     However, just because baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm horizontally behind their pitching elbow does not mean that they outwardly rotated their pitching upper arm to get in this position.

     To get their pitching arm in the maximum acceleration position, I teach my baseball pitchers to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward in straight lines toward second base to driveline height with the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body in one smooth, continuous movement pointing at second base.  From this position, I teach them to immediately raise their pitching elbow to driveline height.

     Therefore, with their pitching hand still at driveline height, when they raise their pitching elbow to driveline height, they have their pitching forearm the full length of their pitching forearm behind their pitching elbow.

     In this way, rather than raising their pitching hand and baseball to driveline height by outwardly rotating their pitching upper arm, my baseball pitchers assume the maximum acceleration position by raising their pitching elbow to driveline height.

Mr. Somers wrote, "The forearm must trail the elbow for the triceps to be able to accelerate the forearm toward home plate."

     Because, to drive the baseball toward home plate, it is impossible for baseball pitchers to have their pitching forearm in front of their pitching elbow, I guess that that part of this statement is true.  However, once again, 'traditional' baseball pitchers do NOT use their Triceps Brachii muscle.

Mr. Somers wrote, "External rotation positions the arm for this, but Dr. Mike Marshall believes that his pitchers do this without external rotation."

     As I said above, for my baseball pitchers to raise the pitching elbow to driveline height after the pitching hand and baseball have reached driveline height, they do NOT actively outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     In the second frame, the centripetal force that Mr. Ryan generates has moved his pitching forearm about half-way to fully extended.

Mr. Somers wrote, "In frame 2, Ryan has finished accelerating his elbow and is beginning arm extension."

     While I agree that Mr. Ryan's pitching upper arm has stopped moving forward, I would not say that he has finished accelerating his pitching elbow.  Instead, Mr. Ryan has finished rotating his shoulders forward.

     I strongly disagree that Mr. Ryan is beginning to extend his pitching elbow.  Instead, the centripetal force that Mr. Ryan generates is 'slinging' his pitching forearm laterally away from his body.  I call this action, 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'

Mr. Somers wrote, "You can see that his forearm still trails his elbow in a laid back position allowing arm extension to occur in roughly the same plane established by his humerus."

     I agree with Mr. Somers. Mr. Ryan's pitching forearm is about to align with his pitching upper arm, which aligns with the line across the top of his shoulders.

     In the third frame, the centripetal force that Mr. Ryan generates has moved his pitching forearm to fully extended at release.

Mr. Somers wrote, "In frames 3 and 4, Ryan's arm approaches full extension, internal rotation begins, and his forearm starts to turn forward toward the plate."

     As I explained earlier, Mr. Somers mistakes the movement of the shoulder joint as inward rotation.  Actually, Mr. Ryan's pitching upper arm is simply following the reflexive pronation action of the pitching forearm.

Mr. Somers wrote, "As he releases the pitch, forearm pronation occurs, and internal rotation occurs through the deceleration phase."

     That Mr. Ryan is throwing a fastball means that, to some limited extent, he is actively pronating his pitching forearm.  However, if Mr. Ryan were to throw his breaking ball, then he would be actively supinating his pitching forearm.

     Mr. Somers mistakes the action of the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone that flex the wrist as active pitching forearm pronation.

Under the heading of PAUL NYMAN AND DR. MIKE MARSHALL AGREE... SORT OF, Mr. Somers wrote, "They don't agree 100% on this issue, but they have very similar things to say."

     I want to see this.

Mr. Somers wrote, "In an article written for The Hardball Times in May 2008, Paul Nyman said, "What is critical in all arm actions is creating external rotation of the shoulder."

     Well, I strongly disagree with this statement.  Other than to safely decelerate their pitching upper arm after powerfully inwardly rotating their pitching upper arm, I never want my baseball pitchers to actively outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

Mr. Somers quotes Mr. Nyman as saying, "Torso rotation (transverse and sagittal) creates the change in direction necessary to cause the forearm to lay back (external rotation of the throwing shoulder)."

     Kinesiologically, the human body has three planes.

01.  The Sagittal or anterioposterior plane, which vertically transects the body from the front to the back.

02.  The Frontal or lateral plane, which vertically transects the body side to side.

03.  The Horizontal or transverse plane, which horizontally transects the body below the iliac crest.

     Therefore, Mr. Nyman was simply saying that 'traditional' baseball pitchers:

01.  Rotate their hips (acetabular line) forward rotate from pointing at well beyond second base to about forty-five degrees short of perpendicular to the line between second base and home plate.

02.  Rotate their shoulders (acromial line) also from well beyond second base to perpendicular to the line between second base and home plate.

03.  After these actions, the excessive length of their glove foot strides forces 'traditional' baseball pitchers to bend forward at their waist.

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, the following six actions sequentially move the pitching forearm to horizontally behind their pitching elbow:

01.  'Traditional' baseball pitchers take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand on top of the baseball.

02.  Therefore, they raise their pitching upper arm to shoulder height before their pitching hand and baseball.

03.  To raise their pitching hand and baseball to driveline height, 'traditional' baseball pitchers have to raise their pitching hand and baseball vertically upward.

04.  When their pitching forearm points vertically upward, their glove foot lands.

05.  When their glove foot lands, 'traditional' baseball pitchers start to rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward.

06.  With their pitching hand and baseball moving upward, the forward movement of their pitching elbow forces the pitching forearm to move downward to horizontal.

Mr. Somers quotes Mr. Nyman as saying, "The forearm lays back as a result of its inertia; i.e., a sudden change in direction (rotation of the upper torso) leaves the forearm behind."

     I would say that Mr. Nyman has been reading my website.  I am positive that he did not figure this out on his own.

Mr. Somers quotes me as saying, "Dr. Marshall agrees that the ball should be kept at full forearm length behind the elbow, that the forearm should lay back."

     Duh, for over forty years, I have described this position as the position of the pitching arm that enables baseball pitchers to achieve their maximum release velocity.

     However, what is write is:  I want my baseball pitchers to keep their pitching hand and baseball horizontally the full length of their pitching forearm behind their pitching elbow.

     Of course, when I say this, I am discussing the tendency of baseball pitchers to move their pitching hand and baseball close to their pitching shoulder in an action that I call, 'grabbing.'

Mr. Somers wrote, "Similarly, both agree that this laid back forearm position allows the triceps to maximally accelerate the forearm toward home plate."

     Because 'traditional' baseball pitchers take their pitching arm several feet laterally behind their body, before they can release their pitches toward home plate, they have to return their pitching arm to the pitching arm side of their body.

     Therefore, when 'traditional' baseball pitchers assume the maximum acceleration position, their pitching forearm is moving laterally away from their body.

     As a result, to prevent their olecranon process from slamming into its fossa, 'traditional' baseball pitchers reflexively contract their Brachialis muscle.  With their Brachialis muscle contracted, they cannot contract their Triceps Brachii muscle.

     Nevertheless, the Triceps Brachii muscle moves the anterior surface of the Ulna bone away from the anterior surface of the Humerus bone.  Therefore, to maximally accelerate the Ulna bone, baseball pitchers would have to point their Humerus bone at home plate, not have it horizontally beside their body.

Mr. Somers wrote, "Where they differ is in Nyman's belief that external rotation is necessary."

     Mr. Nyman has never had a clue what he is talking about.

Mr. Somers wrote, "Dr. Marshall believes that his pitchers do not externally rotate their upper arms, so he obviously does not believe that external rotation is necessary."

     With their pitching arm at driveline height pointing at second base with the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body, to assume the maximum acceleration position, all baseball pitchers need to do is raise their pitching elbow to driveline height.

Mr. Somers wrote, "Strictly speaking, for the triceps to be able to accelerate the forearm toward the plate in this manner, the upper arm must be oriented in such a way that the triceps faces home plate."

     This statement is correct.  For the Triceps Brachii muscle to accelerate the Ulna bone toward home plate, baseball pitchers must point their pitching upper arm at home plate.  He is arguing that what he said above, "...this laid back forearm position allows the triceps to maximally accelerate the forearm toward home plate," is wrong.

     I teach my baseball pitchers to rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward and point their acromial line as close as possible at home plate.  If their acromial line points at home plate, then their pitching upper arm points at home plate.  Wala, my baseball pitchers and only my baseball pitchers can use their Triceps Brachii muscle to accelerate their Ulna bone toward home plate.

Mr. Somers wrote, "Without external rotation, the only way to accomplish this is to flex the anterior deltoid raising the elbow above shoulder height."

     When they complete my wrist weight exercises, my iron ball throws, my lid throws, my plastic javelin throws and my appropriately-sized football throws, my baseball pitchers raise their pitching upper arm above the line across the top of their shoulders.

     I also believe that, when they throw baseballs, they raise their pitching upper arm above the line across the top of their shoulders.

     Unfortunately, in the two DVDs in my 2008 baseball pitchers file, neither of the baseball pitchers raised their pitching upper arm above the line across the top of their shoulders.  Instead, to get the pitching forearm vertical at release, they dramatically leaned the line across the top of their shoulders to their glove side of their body.

     Nevertheless, they WERE able to get their pitching forearm vertical at release.  Therefore, they were able to use their Triceps Brachii muscle to accelerate their Ulna bone toward home plate.  Similarly, my amazing twelve year old baseball pitcher has his pitching forearm vertical at release.  We continue to work on raising the pitching upper arm above the line across the top of their shoulders.

     However, as the Nolan Ryan video shows, with their 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' 'traditional' baseball pitchers cannot get their pitching forearm vertical at release.

Mr. Somers wrote, "Since this does not take place in either Dr. Marshall's delivery or the traditional delivery, I believe that Dr. Marshall's pitchers do externally rotate their upper arms."

     To raise the pitching hand and baseball from their waist to driveline height, 'traditional' baseball pitchers have to outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.  I call this action, "Late Pitching Forearm Turnover."

     With my Maxline force application technique, my baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height straight at second base in one smooth, continuous movement to arrive with the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body at the same time that their glove foot lands.

     My baseball pitchers do not have 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.'  Therefore, they do not vertically raise their pitching hand and baseball from their waist to driveline height.  However, when their pitching arm is forty-five degrees behind their body, they turn the palm of their pitching hand from facing toward home plate to facing away from their body.

     To do this, they supinate their pitching forearm.  Therefore, when their pitching hand reaches driveline height, the palm of their pitching hand faces away from their body.  Because, when they supinate their pitching forearm, their pitching upper arm has to similarly adjust its position, they unknowingly outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm ninety degrees.

     After their pitching arm reaches driveline height, I teach my baseball pitchers to immediately raise their pitching elbow vertically upward to driveline height.  This action 'locks' their pitching upper arm with their shoulders.  It also unknowingly outwardly rotates their pitching upper arm another ninety degrees.

     Therefore, without actively outwardly rotating their pitching upper arm, my baseball pitchers unstressfully assume the maximum acceleration position.

     At this time, I will explain to Mr. Somers why 'traditional' baseball pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, what baseball pitchers have to do to eliminate injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament and, despite inwardly rotating their pitching upper arm more powerfully than the American Sports Medicine Institute's Elite group of baseball pitchers, many of which have the fastest release velocities in the major leagues, why my baseball pitchers do not injury their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

01.  Why 'traditional' baseball pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligaments.

     'Traditional' baseball pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament at the moment when their pitching forearm stops moving downward as their pitching elbow starts moving forward.

     During 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' with their pitching upper arm already at shoulder height, 'traditional' baseball pitchers vertically raise their pitching hand and baseball from their waist to above their shoulders.

     To do this, they outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.  In their pitching elbow, they contract their Brachioradialis muscle, which lies on the lateral aspect of their elbow.

     When their pitching forearm points vertically upward, their glove foot lands and they start to rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward.

     With their pitching forearm pointing vertically upward, the forward movement of their pitching upper arm causes their pitching forearm to move downward to horizontal.  However, the downward force of this action causes their pitching hand and baseball to move below horizontal.  I call this action, 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     Remember, when 'traditional' baseball pitchers outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, to move their pitching forearm upward, 'traditional' baseball pitches contract the Brachioradialis muscle of their pitching elbow.

     Therefore, when the inside of their pitching elbow bounces downward, the only structure that prevents the Ulna bone from separating from the Humerus bone in the medial side of the elbow is the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     If the angle of the pitching forearm is at or near ninety degrees during their 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce,' and 'traditional' baseball pitchers powerfully accelerate their pitching upper arm forward, then the downward force on the unprotected Ulnar Collateral Ligament microscopically tears some of the connective tissue fibers that make up the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     After sufficient numbers of these insults, probably in the tens of thousands of maximum intensity competitive pitches, 'traditional' baseball pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

02.  What baseball pitchers have to do to eliminate injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     To eliminate Ulnar Collateral Ligament ruptures, 'traditional' baseball pitchers only need to eliminate their 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' which leads to their 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     This means that they only need to take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball, pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward to forty-five degrees behind their body, supinate their pitching forearm until the palm of their pitching hand faces away from their body and in one smooth, continuous movement continue to pendulum swing their pitching arm upward to driveline height.

03.  Why, despite inwardly rotating their pitching upper arm more powerfully than the American Sports Medicine Institute's Elite group of baseball pitchers, many of which have the fastest release velocities in the major leagues, my baseball pitchers do not injury their Ulnar Collateral Ligament?

     When my baseball pitchers vertically raise their pitching upper arm to driveline height, they use the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm to also raise their pitching forearm to driveline height.

     The muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone attach to the medial epicondyle and to the Radius bone, two carpal bones, a palmar aponeurosis and the middle phalange of the fingers.  The Ulnar Collateral Ligament attaches to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone and to the coronoid process of the Ulna bone.

     Therefore, the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone hold the Ulna bone tightly to the Humerus bone.  Therefore, when they use my baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers do not even need an Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Consequently, when my baseball pitchers use their Teres Major and Latissimus Dorsi muscles to powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, their Triceps Brachii muscle to extend their pitching elbow and their Pronator Teres muscle to pronate their pitching forearm, the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of their Humerus bone prevents the stress from arriving at their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     In conclusion, Mr. Somers does not know what he is talking about.

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017.  Jan 30, 31, 2009 Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association Clinic

That is great.  I will send you the final clinic information ASAP.  I was in San Diego when you called waiting for seat confirmation to come home today.  We do not have any financing except we will provide the Marriott for lodging and food expenses etc. while at the clinic.

Looking forward to hearing your presentation.


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     I checked my email earlier and did not see your email.  I just finished leaving a telephone message and decided to check my email again and found your email.

     Joe and I are very excited about the opportunity to speak with your group.  We plan on arriving at the White Sox Training Center in the early afternoon on Friday and do not plan to leave on Saturday until well after the clinic ends.  We want to meet and speak with as many high school baseball coaches as possible.

     We hope to be at the Marriott before noon on Friday.

     Don't concern yourself with the inability to provide money for our presentations; it is sufficient that we get to talk about baseball pitching.

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018.  I have been training over 1 year with outstanding results.

However, for the first time in my life I'm experiencing medial epicondyle pain.  It has not restricted my 20 lbs WW or IB training, nor has it been very noticeable when throwing baseballs.  But, it is very sore to the touch.

I have not been supinating any pitches.

During a recent travel period, I was forced to train with only 6.5 lbs WW vice 20 lbs for 8 days.  I've resumed my normal weight.  It is since resuming my normal weight that I've noticed the pain.  Could it be physiologic adaptation?

I will continue to train at appropriate intensities.  Is pain in the medial epicondyle an early indicator of UCL problems?


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     Unless you have decided to have a 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover' and a 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce,' I doubt that you have done anything to your Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     However, you have changed something that has stressed the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle more than before.

     When baseball pitchers supinate the release of their pitches, the injury they suffer is slamming their olecranon process into its fossa, not stressing their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     It does not see possible that lowering the weight of your wrist weights for eight days than returning to your normal weight would cause the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle to have to make a physiological adjustment.

     That the discomfort does not limit you from completing your normal wrist weight exercises or baseball throws indicates that you do not have any structural damage.

     That the medial epicondyle area is sore to the touch is irritating.  But, when the soreness does not prevent you from training indicates that you should continue training.

     I recommend that you back down your intensity for a few days.  Let's see whether the soreness goes away or worsens.

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019.  This is Trip Somers.

Mr. Boddy was kind enough to forward to me your response to my recent article regarding internal rotation and arm extension.  Under your scrutiny, it has become clear how poorly I explained a few of the concepts I talk about.  In the future, I will definitely make an effort to be more clear, especially since my target audience is not as bright as you or I.

Based on your feedback, it may come as a shock that I am in nearly complete agreement with you on injury prevention and mechanical efficiency.  I was an honors physics student in high school and tested out of mechanical physics going into college.   Where I lack, as you bluntly pointed out, is in my anatomical and kinesiological knowledge.

In the opening of your email, there seemed to be some confusion about the order in which my two articles were published.  My first article discussed the anatomy of the UCL and the causes of valgus stress.  In it, I cover a lot of what you discuss as part of my failure in the second article.  I will freely admit that it isn't perfect.

My primary regret with the first article is that I did not explain in enough detail how forced external rotation ("picking the ball up with the elbow" as some describe it) and late forearm turnover affect internal rotation and valgus torque during early arm acceleration.

Here's the link, if you care to have a look:

Mr. Somers revised article

One thing I kept noticing throughout your response was an assumption (or something like it) that I favor a 'traditional' delivery over yours.  This is simply not true.

My concept of "delayed internal rotation" is specifically about the two major actions of the upper arm during the acceleration phase and the order in which they occur, nothing more.

I made sure not to discriminate in regards to a pre-defined delivery, in short, because if I told people I was a fan of your delivery, a large portion of my audience would run away screaming.

The key point that I attempt to make is that internal rotation with a flexed elbow will create large amounts of valgus torque in the UCL.  For this reason, I concluded that internal rotation should *not* occur with a flexed elbow.

The 4-frame Nolan Ryan image was not intended to show ideal arm action.  I meant it solely as a visual example of what delayed internal rotation looks like.

There are also a lot of disagreements based on what seem to be terminology confusion.  I routinely refer to passive actions (external rotation, internal rotation, arm extension) without the "passive" label.   As I used the terms, "arm extension" can be passive or active.  In the future I will clarify this more precisely.

I will now address specific points in your email to Mr. Boddy in order to clarify some points of confusion.

--------------------------

You wrote, "rotator cuff muscles do not accelerate the pitching forearm" and "During elbow joint extension, the anterior surface of the Ulna bone moves away from the anterior surface of the Humerus bone.  What planes is he talking about?"

(1)  You are obviously correct with both of your statements.
I was attempting to take a short cut for the sake of my non-technical audience when I referred to the rotator cuff as a forearm accelerator.  The action to which I was referring is the movement of the forearm around the humeral-length axis during internal rotation.  The forearm is accelerated, but not directly by the rotator cuff.  Agree?

(2)  I'm guilty of a poor choice of words in referring to "perpendicular planes".

The first plane is actually a plane - the plane established by flexing and/or extending the elbow.  The second plane is not really a plane at all, and it isn't always perpendicular; it's the "plane" (for lack of a better word) established by the movement of the forearm around the humeral-length axis.  In my imaginary model, the elbow was flexed to 90 degrees, and I mistakenly referred to the path as a plane for this reason.

You wrote, "What Mr. Somers should have written is when the Humerus bone is perpendicular to the straight line between second base and home plate."

I absolutely agree.  It is only my second article, so I am still trying to develop my terminology.

You wrote, "Mr. Somers wrongly believes that baseball pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament during the acceleration phase of the baseball pitching motion."

This is actually not entirely true.  For lack of a better way to describe it, I believe that the majority of UCL damage occurs when a 'traditional' pitcher stops his arm and forearm from going backwards.

This is basically my attempt at describing 'reverse forearm bounce' when the inertia created by late external rotation of the humerus is strongly opposed by the rotator cuff as it tries to counteract this backwards movement.  I do, however, believe that the valgus component of valgus extension overload syndrome should not be ignored as an agitator of the UCL.

You wrote, "With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, it appears that the shoulder joint inwardly rotates through release.  However, the shoulder joint never inwardly rotates."

I find this to be untrue in many cases, obviously with pitchers who have horrible mechanics by any standard.  I have noticed on several occasions with adolescent pitchers that their pitching arms are flexed to 90 degrees with their forearms vertical when their acromial lines are perpendicular to the line between second base and home plate.

This position 'requires' valgus torque (though not necessarily internal rotation) just to be able to maintain such posture.  Is it ideal?  Absolutely not.  Does it happen?  I believe it does.

---------------------------

I've read just about every pitching opinion on the internet that I can find.  I continue to be frustrated by the fact that so many people are getting by on and receiving acclaim for what amounts to guess work.  No one seems to be using any concrete science to back their opinions other than you.

I'm a technical person, so I always want things to be proved.  I tend to not take anything for granted, including your work.  I trust that you know what you're doing, but I will still verify because that's the type of person I am.  And I will tell you this, the more research I do, the more I agree with you.

You have influenced me more than anyone else I've read and for good reason.  If I can overcome my terminology issues and explain myself in better detail, I believe you will find my future articles far more to your liking.

I appreciate the feedback, and I look forward to more of it.


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     I appreciate that Mr. Boddy took the time to send you my comments about your article.  I was planning to do the same this morning.

    Collegial discourse is essential for advancing knowledge in any scientific field.  When I wrote two papers for Dr. Fleisig in which I carefully scrutinized his work, I did so to advance our knowledge.  Unfortunately, he refused to read and respond to my comments.

     Like I said in my response to your comments, I appreciate that you are trying to advance the knowledge of pitching injuries.  I even more appreciate that you took the time to respond.

     As I feel is my collegial responsibility, I will always respond to your comments.

-------------------------------------------------

     I went to the link you provided and made a copy of your article.  Unfortunately, at this time, because I am preparing materials for a presentation I have this weekend in Baton Rouge, LA, I will not be able to give it the full attention it deserves.  Nevertheless, when I have time, I will scrutinize it for you.

     Whether you favor the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion over mine did not enter my mind.  In fact, I believe that I read something you wrote where you recognized the increased spin velocity that my Maxline Pronation Curve release technique enables baseball pitchers to achieve.  Therefore, I thought that you are a thoughtful person.

     We certainly do not want readers to put you in the frightening category into which they have placed me.  In person, I am even more frightening.

     Baseball pitching requires the coordination of all the joints associated with the pitching arm.

01.  The Shoulder Girdle muscles initiate the force.

02.  The Shoulder Joint muscles build on the force from the Shoulder Girdle.

03.  The Elbow Joint muscles should build on the force generated by the Shoulder Girdle and Shoulder Joint muscles.

04.  The Forearm Joint muscles should build on the force generated by the Shoulder Girdle, Shoulder Joint and Elbow Joint muscles.

05.  The Wrist Joint muscles should build on the force generated by the Shoulder Girdle, Shoulder Joint, Elbow Joint and Forearm Joint muscles.

06.  The Hand Joint muscles should build on the force generated by the Shoulder Girdle, Shoulder Joint, Elbow Joint, Forearm Joint and Wrist Joint muscles.

07.  The Finger Joint muscles should build on the force generated by the Shoulder Girdle, Shoulder Joint, Elbow Joint, Forearm Joint, Wrist Joint and Hand Joint muscles.

     Unfortunately, the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion skips the Elbow Joint.

     Nevertheless, baseball pitchers cannot alter the order in which they use the muscles of the joints in their pitching arm.  Therefore, your concept of 'delayed inward rotation' is not possible.

     When, from the maximum pitching forearm acceleration position, baseball pitchers inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, they contract the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone in their pitching upper arm.

     Therefore, in addition to their specific joint actions, the Pronator Teres, Flexor Carpi Radialis, Palmaris Longus, Flexor Carpi Ulnaris and a portion of the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscles hold the proximal end of the Ulna bone tightly against the distal end of the Humerus bone.

     Because the Ulnar Collateral Ligament attaches to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone and to the coronoid process of the Ulna bone, its job is to hold the proximal end of the Ulna bone to the distal end of the Humerus bone.

     This means that, during inward rotation of the pitching upper arm, the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle remove all stress from the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Therefore, when you say, "... internal rotation with a flexed elbow will create large amounts of valgus torque in the UCL," you are wrong.

     Inward rotation with a flexed elbow does not injure the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  However, outward rotation with a flexed elbow does injure the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     The Nolan Ryan video does not show what delayed internal rotation looks like.  Instead, it shows that, like all 'traditional' baseball pitchers, after they release their pitches, the pitching upper arm follows the reflexive pronation action of the pitching forearm.

     I believe that it was you who said that ligaments act passively.  That is correct.  Without any contractile properties, ligaments cannot apply force.  Therefore, all ligaments do is resist force.

    Muscles have contractile properties.  Therefore, muscles generate force. Therefore, muscles act actively.

     However, after they release their pitches, when baseball pitchers reflexively pronate their pitching forearm, their pitching upper arm passively inwardly rotates.  These joints did not rearrange their order of active contraction.

     When my baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm downward and backward to forty-five degrees behind their body with the palm of their pitching hand facing home plate, they are adducting their Shoulder Girdle and extending their Shoulder Joint.

     However, when, to turn the palm of their pitching hand to face away from their body, they then supinate their pitching forearm, they passively outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     When, after 'traditional' baseball pitchers take the baseball laterally behind their body, they drive their pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of their body, they generate forces toward the pitching arm side of their body that 'slings' their pitching forearm laterally away from their body.

     I am not sure we can call this action passive. However, it is clearly not active elbow extension.  It is resistive elbow extension, which means that the muscles that flex the elbow are trying to prevent the elbow from fully extending.

     I call this, plioanglos, which means lengthening joint action. Kinesiologists call this, eccentric muscle contraction, which means that even though the muscles that operate across the joint are lengthening, those muscles are still contracting.

     I do not agree that the four rotator cuff muscles accelerate the pitching forearm.  I do not agree that the only rotator cuff muscle that could inwardly rotate the pitching upper arm, the Subscapularis muscle, accelerates the pitching forearm.

     I believe that, with their Pectoralis Major muscle, 'traditional' baseball pitchers horizontally flex their pitching upper arm.

     The Pectoralis Major muscle attaches to the outside edge of the bicipital groove on the anterior surface of the head of the Humerus bone.

     In the maximum pitching forearm acceleration position, the bicipital groove is outwardly rotated.  Therefore, when 'traditional' baseball pitchers contract their Pectoralis Major muscle, in addition to horizontally flexing their pitching upper arm, they also inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     You wrote, "I believe that the majority of UCL damage occurs when a 'traditional' pitcher stops his arm and forearm from going backwards."

     If you replace the word, 'majority' with all, then your statement would be correct.

     We can ignore the valgus component of valgus extension overload syndrome as an agitator of the UCL.  Actually, there is no such thing as the 'valgus extension overload syndrome.'  It is nonsense.

     Because of the forces that cause 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' 'traditional' baseball pitchers never use their Teres Major and Latissimus Dorsi muscles to inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.  Therefore, 'traditional' baseball pitchers never inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.  Instead, they horizontally flex their pitching upper arm.

     I love it when someone challenges what I say.  I constantly hope that someone will think of something that I have not already considered.  Unfortunately, in the over forty years of researching baseball pitching, nobody has ever said something that I had not already considered.

     However, my Kinesiology professor came close one time, but, after further discussions, we agreed that how I interpreted how baseball pitchers should incorporate Newton's Law of Reaction was correct.  Nevertheless, I keep hoping. Therefore, please keep trying.

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020.  Quick Question.

Mixed into the lengthy email you sent to Mr. Boddy about my article, you made a comment about the humerus point directly to home plate.

You wrote, "To maximally accelerate the Ulna bone, baseball pitchers would have to point their Humerus bone at home plate, not have it horizontally beside their body."

I do not fully understand the arm position you describe here.  The immediate questions that come to mind are:

(1)  In this position, how can the arm extend and maintain the forearm in a vertical position with the humerus pointing directly to home plate?

(2)  In nearly every video I have seen of your pitchers, they release the ball with their arms nearly perpendicular to the line between second base and home plate.  This seems to be a discrepancy.  What am I missing?


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01.  When baseball pitchers point the Humerus bone of their pitching upper arm laterally away from their body, they cannot get their pitching forearm vertical at release.

     Therefore, when baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm vertical at release, they must have pointed the Humerus bone toward home plate.

     Consequently as seen from the overhead view, they are using their Triceps Brachii muscle to extend their pitching elbow straight toward home plate.

02.  While I agree that my baseball pitchers have not yet fully forwardly rotated their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm to point directly at home plate, like Dr. Fleisig reported, my baseball pitchers forwardly rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm over seventy percent of the length of their driveline.

     When compared with ASMI's Elite group, who forwardly rotate their hips about thirty percent of the driveline length and forwardly rotate their shoulders about fifty percent of the driveline, my baseball pitchers forwardly rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm significantly more.

     Nevertheless, we are continuing to work on forwardly rotating our hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm one hundred percent of the length of our drivelines.

     Like my amazing twelve year old baseball pitcher showed that baseball pitchers can apply a powerful force toward second base with their glove leg, I am hoping that someone will show that baseball pitchers can forwardly rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm to point directly at home plate.

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021.  Two questions:

1.  Do you recommend that position players throw using a version of your throwing technique to throw to the bases?

2.  Can a pitcher who uses your pitching style maximally throw just as hard as a pitcher who utilizes the traditional method maximally?  Meaning can a pitcher reach speeds of 100 mph with your technique?


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01.  Absolutely.

02.  I believe that, with the baseball pitching motion that I recommend, baseball pitchers throw at least ten miles per hour faster than with the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.  In addition, without ever suffering pitching injuries, they can throw a wider variety of high quality pitches.

     In the off-season after the 1989 season, I worked with Rudy Seanez for a couple of months.  He said that, in his set position, he threw 88 miles per hour, but, during the 1990 season, he regularly threw 102 miles per hour.

     Therefore, I believe that, after mastering my baseball pitching motion and completing my Interval-Training programs, I believe that there are several major league pitchers in the game today that would be able to throw well over one hundred mile per hour fastballs.

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022.  The Possible Future for the Pirates Two Pitching Prospects From India.

I hope someone lets the two Pirates pitching prospects see their potential future in training with Tom House and the Pittsburgh organization:

--------------------------------------------------

Pirates notes: Bradley says he's no bust
By John Perrotto, Times Sports Staff
Sunday, January 4, 2009 12:15 AM EST

Bobby Bradley will be remembered as one of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ many failed pitching prospects of this decade.  He isn’t entirely happy about that.

“I’ve read things where people said I was a bust and I don’t think that is necessarily fair,” said Bradley, the Pirates’ first-round draft pick in 1999 from Wellington (Fla.) Community High School, who never reached the majors.

“I pitched pretty well when I was healthy but I had injuries.  I had Tommy John surgery on my elbow.  I had shoulder surgery. At the end of my career, I couldn’t feel the fingers on my left hand and had surgery to repair a nerve.  I did everything I could to pitch.”

Bradley has had an interesting life since the Pirates released him from their minor-league system in 2005.

He has become an avid golfer and regularly competes and wins long-driving contests around the country.  He also has become a top-notch poker player and won $96,000 in a tournament in Las Vegas last year.

Bradley is also a salesman for Pure Power Edge, a company based in Nova Scotia that makes customized mouthpieces for professional and college athletes.  He was at baseball’s winter meetings in Las Vegas last month drumming up business.

“My life has been anything but dull,” Bradley said with a laugh.  “The only thing I miss about baseball is my teammates but I don’t miss all the surgeries and all the time in the trainer’s room.

I gave it my very best shot and my only regret is I never got to pitch in the major leagues.  Just one time would have been a great memory but it didn’t happen.”


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     You are correct.  Mr. Bradley's story is but one of thousands.  Do these pitching coaches have no shame?  How about the general managers who hire these pitching coaches?  How about the owners who hire these general managers?

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023.  This is Trip Somers.

You wrote, "I went to the link you provided and made a copy of your article.  Unfortunately, at this time, because I am preparing materials for a presentation I have this weekend in Baton Rouge, LA, at this time, I will not be able to give it the full attention it deserves."

In an effort to clarify some points and better explain myself, I have heavily edited the article you copied (as well as the one you already reviewed).  Before you devote time to it, I recommend visiting the site again to get the latest version.

Mr. Somers revised revised article

Frankly, I'm still not happy with it and I will probably make more changes.  Nevertheless, it's a better representation of what I believe than what I had previously published.

Readily awaiting the firing squad.


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     I appreciate the head-ups.  I just made a copy of your edited article and promise that I will offer my thoughts as soon as possible.

     I greatly appreciate your willingness to receive and respond to constructive criticism.  I will respond to your constructive criticisms in kind.  Without how people offer them, I consider all criticism constructive.

     Contrary to Dr. Fleisig's opinion and many others, when it comes to biomechanically perfecting the baseball pitching motion, I am on their and your side.  I want everybody to work together without concern for monetary gains or credit.

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024.  Will you please tell me what you will include in your upcoming presentation?

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Here are my outlines for my two presentations.

A.  Friday night

     01.  Understanding the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion.
     02.  What baseball pitchers do that result in pitching injuries.
     03.  What baseball pitcher need to do to prevent pitching injuries.
     04.  How to biomechanically maximize the force that pitchers apply to their pitches.
     05.  How to anatomically maximize the force that pitchers apply to their pitches.

B.  Saturday morning

     01.  How to teach baseball pitchers the most powerful pitching arm technique with which they can apply force to their pitches.
     02.  How to teach baseball pitchers to pronate the releases of two types of fastballs, a safe high-spin velocity curve ball and a safe screwball.
     03.  How to teach baseball pitchers to the perfect biomechanical body action with which to use the most powerful pitching arm force application technique.
     04.  How to train the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles associated with baseball pitching to safely withstand more stress than baseball pitchers could ever generate.
     05.  How to pick base runners off first and second bases.

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025.  MEDIAL EPICONDYLE

The pain to the touch has subsided a bit.  I'm still WW and IB training, but at reduced intensity.  With WW, I feel a little discomfort while in the locked position just prior to driving the pitching arm forward.  IB throwing has much more noticeable discomfort around the medial epicondyle.

I failed to mention that during my travel period I did not have iron balls to throw.  Upon my return, I immediately resumed 8 lbs IB throwing with max intensity.  Before the medial epicondyle discomfort arose, I noticed finger flexor soreness.  Could it be that I put too much on the finger flexor attachments?  How do I know if I've strained the UCL?


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     When your finger flexor muscles became sore, it means that you have trained at an intensity greater than they could withstand.  When the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle became sore, it means that you have trained at an intensity greater than they could withstand.

     That you trained with decreased wrist weight resistance decreased the amount of stress that your tissues could withstand closer to the decreased wrist weight.  That you did not train at all with your iron ball throws means that you lost about one-quarter of the microanatomical fitness you had.

     Therefore, when you returned to your normal training situation, instead of returning your normal training intensity, you should have moved more gently into resuming your maximum training intensity.

     Ligaments do not have the sense organs that muscles and tendons have.  Therefore, athletes will be very aware of muscle and tendon soreness.  'Traditional' baseball pitchers never know that they have microscopically torn the connective tissue fibers of their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     However, because you do not have a 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' in your baseball pitching motion, you are not microscopically tearing your Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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026.  The 12-year-old jumping off the rubber.

I understand what you said about the rule, and that all pitchers release the ball with both feet in front of the rubber.  My point is that this kid takes it to a wonderfully absurd or absurdly wonderful level, so much so, that even I, or a blind ump can see that he's WAY in front.

Reining in Amazing seems like a natural thing to do, regardless of what kind of motion he's using, because he's just so darn far out there.

It's like the phantom double play pivot at second base.  You can get away with a little daylight between your foot and the bag when you release the ball, but if you're halfway to first base when you snap the relay to first base, you'll get busted.

Having said all of that, I love how the kid just throws himself into those pitches in every sense of the word.  It's like the Gibsons and Boutons of the traditional world, except all the force is going straight where it needs to be, and his arm doesn't fall off, two extremely good things.


  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     I know that it is obvious that my amazing twelve year old baseball pitcher releases his pitches farther forward than 'traditional' baseball pitchers.

     However, what he does is nothing like the phantom double play.  In the phantom double play, the infielder does not touch second base.  Therefore, he violates the rules.  My amazing twelve year old does not violate the rules.

     Therefore, to call balks when he pitches, someone will have to change the rules of baseball.

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027.  Is throwing to catchers a benefit?

Do you think Amazing's pitching advancement is accelerated by throwing to his dad?

I know that you have your guys need to throw into a net at your training site.  Even though you tell them to throw to catchers for at least three weeks, then batting practice and simulated games, I think that they need to throw to catchers all the time.  I understand the logistics of lining up enough catchers to handle your guys and the amount of pitches they throw every day.  But, you could have your pitchers catch each other.  I think the peer instruction would be invaluable as well.  They'd be throwing to an analyst.


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     I believe that Amazing's rapid motor skill ability gains happened as a result of a close father/son relationship, following my recommendations without question and never letting a 'traditional' baseball pitching coach near him.

     Logistics is not the reason why I prefer that my baseball pitchers throw into nets.  Catchers inhibit the learning process.  Until my baseball pitchers can throw strikes into the net, they should not throw to catchers.  Unfortunately, rather than wait until they can throw strikes into the net, some arbitrary time limit forces them to throw to catchers before they are ready and, as a result, they fail.

     Nobody can run until they can walk.  This means that nobody can skip steps in the motor skill development order.      Sorry, your thought not only violates a simple principle of motor skill acquisition, but also insures mediocrity.

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028.  This is Trip Somers.

I've actually decided in favor of a rather large rewrite of the article you have now downloaded twice, but I don't know when I will be finished, thanks to my work schedule.  The original was just plain horrible from both an organizational standpoint and a concepts standpoint.

To keep your time from being wasted, I recommend that you pay no attention to what you have already downloaded.  Instead, I will gladly let you know when I have completed my update, so that you can have a look at something that I'm actually satisfied with.

I apologize for any inconvenience.

Thanks for your time.


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     I have been there many times.  I understand completely.  I will wait for further instructions.  Happy writing.

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029.  Thanks.  My medial epicondyle discomfort is improving.  I threw baseballs hard last night with no meaningful discomfort in the elbow, forearm or shoulder.  As usual, your recommendations were spot on.

Would like your insight on a performance problem.

The challenge for each pitcher is to know himself.  For me, when my driveline is less than optimal, it is because I am trying to throw hard too early in the motion.  If I can wait until my weight is transferred to the glove foot and I'm rotated more like I do with WW & IB, I'm great.

If I try to throw hard too early, I throw from the back foot, fight against my body, loose velocity and can't find the strike zone.  I seem to bounce between strategies to ensure I apply force at the right time.  All of them attempt to mimic the rhythm and timing of WW & IB throwing.

Sometimes it's feeling the weight transfer to the glove foot and feeling the pitching knee drive forward.  Other times I have better success by directly controlling when I accelerate the pitching arm forward.  Most often the best results come from establishing the feel & timing at lower intensity and retaining that rhythm while ramping up to max effort.

What have you and your guys found that might consistently work?  It seems to be a common problem, so I suspect your guys recognize when it happens and have strategies to correct it.


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     Personally, I focused totally on powerfully pronating my pitching forearm.

     I tell my guys to wait until after their glove foot land, then explode off the pitching rubber and drive the entire pitching arm side of their body toward their glove knee.

     All that matters is that everybody throws every pitch with everything that they have.

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030.  Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Clinic Agenda.

If you have not already seen this, here is the link for the IHSBC Clinic agenda for Friday and Saturday, January 29-30.  Looks like you will be speaking Friday at 8:20 – 9:00 (The traditional pitcher: injury prevention -- biomechanical and anatomical) and Saturday at 10:50 – 11:30 (Powerful mechanics, 2 fastball releases, high spin curve, Screwball and pick-offs).

Illinois High School Baseball website

We are looking forward to the great presentations.

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Illinois State High School Baseball Coaches Clinic

FRIDAY JANUARY 30, 2009

4:00-5:30:  Registration and Exhibitors Booths Open

5:30-6:30:  1A, 2A, 3A, 4A and Summer State Champions
Bobby Lonergan, Ron Smith, Joel Hawkins, Dave Haskins and Paul Babcock

6:30-7:10:  John Musachio, Head Coach Oakland University
Winning With Command of your Fastball

7:10-7:35:  VISIT THE EXHIBITORS

7:35-8:15:  Mark Haley, Arizona Diamondbacks
Throw and release techniques to improve your throw out percentage

8:20-9:00:  Dr. Mike Marshall, Major League Record holder and 1974 Cy Young Winner
The traditional pitcher: injury prevention -- biomechanical and anatomical

9:00-11:00:  IHSBCA Coaches and Exhibitors Appreciation Reception

SATURDAY JANUARY 31, 2009

7:00-8:00:  Registration Begins

8:10-8:50:  Paul Belo, Palatine High School
A Winning Approach To Hitting

8:50-9:30:  Dr. Brent Walker, Mental Training Consultant
Play In The Zone:  Your Competitive Edge

9:30-10:10:  Jami Isaacson, Knox College
Offensive Pressure Baseball

10:10-10-25:  IHSBCA Salutes Jim Brownlee, ISU Plus, IHSBCA 1A and 2A Award Winners

10-25-10:50:  VISIT THE EXHIBITORS

10:50-11:30:  Dr. Mike Marshall, Major League Record holder and 1974 Cy Young Winner
Powerful mechanics, 2 fastball releases, high spin curve, Screwball and pick-offs

11:30– 11:40:  IHSBCA 3A and 4A Award Winners and Announcements

11:45-1:15:  LUNCH AND VISIT THE EXHIBITORS

1:20-2:00:  Mark Haley, Arizona Diamondbacks
How Well Do We Utilize Our Players?

2:00– 2:40:  Justin Stone, Chicago White Sox
Progressive Hitting Drills, Pitch Recognition and Approach

2:40-3:15:  Marty Kobernus, Chicago White Sox
The Physically Efficient Pitcher

3:15-3:30:  TRX Suspension Training
With The Chicago White Sox


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     Thank you for the itinerary.

     We look forward to seeing you.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, January 18, 2009, I posted the following questions and answers.

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031.  The hernia was from a very distinct play during the season.  I spun wheels coming out of the batters box and then further aggravated it stealing second.  Initial pain was in the upper thigh and lower abdomen.  There was no groin injury.  The pain there was deferred from pressure in the inguinal canal.  PT's saw no dysfunction in the groin and sent me back to general surgery when PT gave no improvements to what felt like a groin strain.

To answer your question about whether I turn my pitching foot parallel with the pitching rubber:

Sometimes.  I try to retain the crow hop rhythm.  When I literally crow hop, I have no issues with the pitching foot twisting closed to a more parallel-to-rubber position.  When I pitch I use a pseudo traditional motion with a slight leg lift for comfort.  If nothing else, a slight leg lift helps with my timing.  I know it doesn't do anything.  Sometimes I feel the pitching foot twist to a more parallel position while my acromial line is passively rotating closed.

To better understand my injury, I did throw foot parallel to see if the "groin" hurt more.  It made no difference, which raised further questions.

The hernia had no noticeable impact on training or baseball pitching.  Moving laterally and bending over to field are damn near impossible.  Hitting with power is restricted.  Sprinting is out of the question.  Most importantly to me, I can't jog for more than 1 mile before the pain shuts me down.

Any advice on how to keep training while not jeopardizing the hernia repair would be greatly appreciated.

Still having medial epicondyle pain to the touch, but it appears to have absolutely no impact on baseball throwing.  Able to throw WW & IB with max effort with no or very minor elbow discomfort.  Still, I am reducing intensity for a while.

Thanks to you my fastball is now .44 to .47 seconds to the 60' line bisecting the plate (flight distance of 54 - 54.5').  That is much faster than 1 year ago and that was measured during my current regression training period.  I can tell there is more to come.  I didn't believe you when you once said "you are no where near your genetic release velocity".  Again, you were right.  I'll continue to shut up and listen.  Thanks for keeping me young.


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     When baseball pitchers turn their pitching foot parallel with the pitching rubber, they cannot drive off the pitching rubber with their pitching foot.  Instead, they use the muscle on the outside of their leg, the Tensor Fascia Latae to move their body forward.  Ice skaters use their Tensor Fascia Latae.

     Baseball pitchers should drive off the pitching rubber like they are coming out of the starting blocks in a one hundred yard dash.  To do this, they need to point their knee at home plate, not to the pitching arm side of their body.

     In addition to the long term effect of destroying the lateral surface of their Tibia bone, which, if continued long enough, will require knee replacement surgery, baseball pitchers unnecessarily stress the Adductor Brevis muscle on the inside of their groin.

     As you correctly described, all males have openings in the abdomen where the testicles descended during gestation.  When the intestines protrude through these openings, they have hernias.  Because these are not only painful, but could become life threatening, athletic men with hernias need to have these excessively large openings surgically closed.

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032.  I hear that you spoke in Baton Rouge.  How were you received?  Did Joe help out with the demonstration?

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     Joe and I had a great time in Baton Rouge with the Louisiana High School Baseball Coaches Association.  After my evening presentation on Friday night and my morning presentation on Saturday, coaches surrounded us with questions.

     Because I was the last speaker on Friday night, because we answered their questions for over an hour, we were the last people to get our food at their banquet.  However, we were the first presenters on Saturday morning.  Therefore, to enable the next speaker to start, we had to promise to stay and answer questions during their break for lunch.

     Unfortunately, we did not have an outside location in which Joe could demonstrate all our drills.  They were shocked by his Wrist Weight exercises, thinking that he was going to injure himself, but admiring how powerful he is.  He could not throw his fifteen pound lead ball.  But, during the lunch break, he went outside the hotel and threw it in a vacant lot next door.

     We set up a net in the hall and Joe did his best with my Second Base Pickoff drill.  They loved his Maxline Pronation Curve.  Joe also threw the lid and appropriately-sized football into the net.  Again, they could not believe the spin velocity he gets on his Maxline Pronation Curve.

     All in all, despite the 6:30AM departure from Tampa, the seventy-five mile drive from New Orleans to Baton Rouge and giving the demonstration indoors, we had a great time, talked with a lot of people and won over many converts.

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033.  I haven't been following you since 2000 when you first went online but I have been watching the site and reading the Q & A files for a few years and I can't recall you missing a couple of Sundays.  What's going on?

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     When I am out of town, I cannot post my Question/Answer file.  Or, when I want to finish a particularly long email that I consider important, I will post my Question/Answer file later on Sunday or early Monday.

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034.  I opened a private channel on YouTube, where I can post videos of my son and hopefully you'll have time to review them, or at least a few from time to time.  The below-mentioned videos should be on there by the time you read this.

I took 300fps of Scott and a couple of friends today and I want your opinion on his swings.  I included a:

1)  high, off the plate outside pitch
2)  high, off the plate inside pitch
3)  over the plate, above the belt pitch

It's his second time to swing a bat since last May and I ask that you let me know if you see anything problematic.

       Also, as I was getting the video ready to send to the other kid's Dad I came across a pitch that my son threw back in early December.  I guess neither of us was much involved because it appears he is drop-stepping (to the p/s) a TFB.  The ball has a little zig-zag right out of his hand - I doubt you can see it with the YouTube resolution.

He started Spring football last week but after he gets used to that I'll start throwing with him and posting video as we go.


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01.  The first video (CIMG0079) shows your son throwing is very dark and difficult to see exactly what he is doing.  However, I still love to watch his body action.  I wish I could get my guys to even come close to what he does.

02.  The second video (CIMG0097) shows Scott swinging at an inside pitch.

03.  The third video (CIMG0092) shows Scott swinging at an outside pitch.

04.  The fourth video (CIMG0080) shows Scott swinging at a middle pitch.

     He starts the bat forward with his front arm, such that he pins his front arm against he chest.  Therefore, on the inside pitch, he is late.  On the other pitches, he is close to on-time.

     To learn how to use his rear arm to start the baseball bat forward, he needs to do my rear arm only drill.

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035.  I was on the Baseball Fever website and read what Bill Peterson has been saying.  I am sure that neither he nor Baseball Fever asks you to respond.  I would like to hear what you have to say.

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Mr. Peterson wrote, "Numerous times I've suggested that Dirt provide some visual proof about things like center mass concepts, and he has yet to respond.  The ice skater analogy has significant flaws in it.  Skaters spin fast because they draw their arms inward while rotating on the forward surface of the blade where there is minimal friction. The center of rotation is along an axis from the skate, through the hip and pelvis, then the spine.

Pitchers do this too, to a degree, but it has nothing to do with the center of mass; rather it has to do with the stride hip.  And this is precisely where Marshall's center of mass ideas fail to pass muster, particularly as regards performance.  Marshall calls this idea one of his 'laws.'  It's not a law, it's a theory, and the theory is observably falsified, even by his own film record.

Instead, pitchers need to generate ground force in order to provide opposite force for the torso rotation.  The oppositely directed force is generated by a stiffened stride leg, and the stride hip then becomes the center of rotation for the mechanical model.  If this center of rotation moves forward, "leaking" opposite force, velocity must suffer.  It's much, much more complicated than this, and if you wish we can discuss it more."


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     The ice skater analogy compares standing tall and rotating versus bending forward at the waist.  The fact that ice skaters rotate faster when they pull their arms close to their rotational axis has nothing to do with the analogy.

     The only concepts that I call 'laws' are Sir Isaac Newton's three laws of motion and my three laws of force application.

    I have no law relative to the center of mass.  Instead, I say that, to be able to keep the center of mass of their body moving forward through release, my baseball pitchers have to move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot, such that, to continue to move the center of mass of their body forward through release, they can apply force toward second base with their glove foot.

     To stand tall and rotate, like when we walk, I teach my baseball pitchers to step forward at a length the enables them to move the center of mass in front of their glove foot.

     I agree that, to enable baseball pitchers to rotate over their glove foot, they need to apply force to the ground. However, they should do this with their pitching foot, not their glove foot.

     When, after their glove foot lands, I teach my baseball pitchers to powerfully push off the pitching rubber with their pitching foot.  To continue the rotational velocity that the pitching foot initiates, I teach my baseball pitchers to simultaneously drive their pitching knee toward their glove knee and pull their glove forearm straight backward toward second base.

     Contrary to ice skaters who stand in one spot and spin, to use the momentum of their body to increase their release velocity, baseball pitchers need to rotate over their glove foot while they continue to move of the center of mass of their body toward home plate.

     Therefore, instead of losing velocity by continuing to move the center of mass toward home plate while they rotate over their glove foot, my baseball pitchers add the velocity that they can generate with their pitching arm to the toward-home-plate velocity of the center of mass of their body.

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036.  Here is another argument that Bill Peterson is making against you.  I am sure that neither he nor Baseball Fever asks you to respond.  I would like to hear what you have to say.

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Mr. Peterson wrote, "To date, none of Dr. Marshall's students are able to perform his mechanic in the way that he details.  Even his most proficient students miss SIGNIFICANT portions of what he details.  This is what led us to keep looking for answers because I believe some of his concepts are correct, while others are invalid."


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     While it depends on their ability and willingness to learn what I teach, I do not believe that my baseball pitchers miss significant portions of my baseball pitching motion.  Nevertheless, I can think of a few lesser important concepts.

01.  I want my baseball pitchers to forwardly rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm to point directly at home plate.  Unfortunately, to date, according to the American Sports Medicine Institute, they are able to forwardly rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm through only seventy percent of the length of their driveline.

     Therefore, while not everything that I want, my baseball pitchers are still far superior to ASMI's Elite group of mostly major league baseball pitchers.

02.  I want my baseball pitchers to move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot and push back toward second base with their glove foot.  To date, while I do not yet have any high-speed film evidence that they can do this as well as I want them to, I do have a twelve year old that does it far better than I imagined it could be done.

03.  After their pitching arm reaches driveline height, I want my baseball pitchers to immediately raise their pitching upper arm to driveline height.  While I believe that I have seen some of my baseball pitchers do this with their baseball throws, I have video evidence that they do this with their wrist weight exercises, iron ball throws, lid throws, plastic javelin throws and appropriately-sized football throws.

     If Mr. Peterson examples of significant skills that my baseball pitchers, other than his son, have not been able to learn, then I would gladly discuss them.

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037.  Here is another argument that Bill Peterson is making against you.  I am sure that neither he nor Baseball Fever asks you to respond.  I would like to hear what you have to say.

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Mr. Peterson wrote, "I wish I had high school footage of my son, but didn't own a video camera.  Mechanically he looked very much like a lefty version of Greg Maddux.



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     I wish the best for Pat.  However, to say that Pat looked very much a lefty version of Greg Maddox is not true.

     When I took Pat's 2004 entrance video, he had the classic 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.  He took the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand on top of the baseball.  He had 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.'  He had 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Turnover.'  And, more importantly, where Mr. Maddox never pulls his fastball to the glove side of home plate, Pat did.

     My radar gun had Pat typically throwing 70 to 71 miles per hour with occasional 72 and 73 mile per hour fastballs.  He pulled most of his fastball and his supination curve across the front of his body.  When baseball pitchers pull their pitching upper arm across the front of their body, they unnecessarily stress the front of their pitching shoulder.

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038.  Yes, I do that.

With WW and IB throwing, the body wants to drive with pitching tow forward and pitching knee to home plate.  I use the heavy implement throwing as my built-in coach.  Therefore, when I pitch baseballs I try to do the same thing.

I always thought that the most under-discussed part of your motion is how to keep from rushing.  I have a theory that traditional guys keep rushing at bay by introducing injurious and mechanical flaws.  They take short cuts of sorts, which may help curb rushing but kills their arms & bodies.

An understanding of what should happen is sometimes not enough for the pitcher to MAKE it happen consistently.  Although I'm doing pretty good, I would love to get inside some of your students' heads.

A long time ago, you kindly provided Joe's email to me with his permission, but it didn't work.  If he is willing, I'd like to ask him a few questions and let him know of some things that have consistently worked great for me.  Confidentiality understood and appreciated.  I never do the blog thing.

Unrelated, what can I do to sustain training fitness post hernia surgery?


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     I teach my baseball pitchers to use the Law of Conservation of Momentum to learn when to apply force and how much.  Because, when they complete my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion when they use thirty pound wrist weights, they understand that the time to get powerfully quick is, after their glove foot lands when they push off the pitching rubber with their pitching foot.

     I want the entire pitching arm side of their body driving as hard as possible toward home plate.

     After surgery, you will need to greatly reduce both the resistance and intensity with which you train and gradually bring both back to your present levels.  A good guide to how long it will take you to get back to your present fitness is to multiply the days that you do not train by one and one-half.

     For example, if you do not train for two months, then it will take you three and one-half months to get back to where you were before you stopped training.  You cannot rush it.

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039.  Dave Duncan

In reading of all the "success" that Dave Duncan has had in regards to injuries of his pitchers, is it NOT surprising that he was NOT a pitcher during his playing days?

I was a backup OF/1B/C when I played in Jr. High school.  Guess that would qualify me to be a pitching coach as well...

Thanks for being a sane voice out there.  I only wish I had met you way back when I hurt my arm trying out for my Jr. High team and even now still suffer the effects of it almost 40 years later.


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     It has always amazed me that anybody would believe that someone who never dampened a jock on a major league pitching mound could teach major league baseball pitchers what they needed to do to succeed.

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040.  What workout exercises do you prefer your pitchers to use?

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     I recommend the drills that I demonstrate in my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.  I recommend the interval-training programs that I provide in my Baseball Pitcher Interval-Training Programs file.

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041.  Here is another argument that Bill Peterson is making against you.  I am sure that neither he nor Baseball Fever asks you to respond.  I would like to hear what you have to say.

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Bill Peterson wrote, "If you studied Marshall's film enough you would see that Pat was originally doing one thing with the arm action differently than anyone else... he kept the arm long in back; all of the others flex the elbow.

If you understand that the glove side flying open early (a byproduct of HOW Marshall has taught his mechanic) and you combine this with inordinately long levers, you'll understand that this is a recipe for serious anterior shoulder problems; it's called dislocation.

If you understand Marshall's theoretical mechanic well enough you will also understand why it's advantageous to leave the arm long in back; if you don't you will grab then loop and bounce.  In reality, the one guy who was the closest to getting it right was also the most vulnerable."


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     In his 2005 exit video, Pat did extend his pitching arm toward second base.  However, these are not my instruction.

     I teach my baseball pitchers to pendulum swing their pitching arm straight toward second base with their pitching elbow slightly bend and the palm of their pitching hand facing toward home plate downward and backward to forty-five degrees behind their body, where, while they continue to pendulum swing their pitching arm upward to driveline height, they turn the palm of their pitching hand away from their body.

     When their pitching arm reaches driveline height, I want their pitching elbow slightly bent and the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body.  Instead, when Pat's arm reached driveline height, he fully straightened his pitching elbow and had the palm of his pitching hand facing upward.

     As Mr. Peterson confirmed, "If you studied Marshall's film enough you would see that Pat was originally doing one thing with the arm action differently than anyone else...he kept the arm long in back; all of the others flex the elbow."

     Therefore, even though I repeatedly emphasize that, to 'lock' their pitching upper arm with their shoulders, I want my baseball pitchers to immediately raise their pitching upper arm to driveline height, Pat did not or would not immediately raise his pitching upper arm to driveline height.  Because he did not or would not immediately raise his pitching upper arm to driveline height, Pat did not 'lock' his pitching upper arm with his shoulders.

     As a result, because Pat did not or would not 'lock' his pitching upper arm with his shoulder, when he forwardly rotated his shoulders, because the inertial mass of his pitching upper arm caused his pitching arm to lag behind his shoulders and Pat pulls his pitching upper arm forward, he unnecessarily stresses the front of his pitching shoulder.

     However, contrary to Mr. Peterson's statement that I teach my baseball pitcher to pull back with their glove forearm early, I teach my baseball pitchers to 'lock' their pitching upper arm with their shoulders immediately after their pitching arm reaches driveline height.  That Pat did not or would not do this caused his problem, not my instruction.

     I recognized that Pat did not or would not immediately raise his pitching upper arm to driveline height very early in Pat's training.  Instead, he would drop his pitching elbow well below shoulder height.  To see what he did, you can go to my 2007 Baseball Pitchers file and watch the side view of every pitch that Pat threw.

     To correct this problem, I had Pat return to performing my Wrong Foot body action; Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.  This drill teaches my baseball pitchers how to immediately raise their pitching upper arm to driveline height.  Pat performed this drill perfectly.

     In fact, for those of you who watched the Real Sports segment of me, you will see Pat practicing my Wrong Foot; Loaded Slingshot drill with his fifteen pound iron ball.  When Mr. Gumble asked him whether throwing a fifteen iron ball so hard hurt him, Pat answered, "No."

     Therefore, for Mr. Peterson to say that what I taught Pat injured the front of Pat's pitching shoulder is a lie.  In additioin, every day, I ask all pitchers whether they have any discomfort.  I still have those daily discomfort reports.  Therefore, I can prove, in Pat's own words, that Pat never said that he had any discomfort in the front of this pitching shoulder.

     Unfortunately, shortly after the Real Sports folks taped that segment at my Baseball Pitching Research/Training Center, Mr. Peterson told Pat to stop doing my Wrong Foot; Loaded Slingshot drill and start getting ready to pitch competitively in the Colorado summer college baseball league.

     I told Pat that, until he learns to immediately raise his pitching upper arm to driveline height, he should not pitch competitively.  Therefore, Mr. Peterson is responsible for any problem that Pat suffered.

     While, as my entrance video shows, he is not genetically gifted, he should have become a quality college baseball pitcher.  After my 280-Day program, Pat threw a very good Maxline True Screwball, a decent Maxline Fastball, Maxline Fastball Sinker, Torque Fastball and Torque Fastball Slider.  Unfortunately, he continued to pull his Maxline Pronation Curve into the ground.  I only teach baseball pitchers what they need to do; they have the responsibility to learn what I teach.  I cannot make them.

     When I learned that, in the few weeks before the Colorado summer college baseball league started, Mr. Peterson changed how Pat threw, I knew why he was the only one of the eight pitchers that I sent to Colorado failed miserably.

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042.  Here is another argument that Bill Peterson is making against you.  I am sure that neither he nor Baseball Fever asks you to respond.  I would like to hear what you have to say.

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Mr. Peterson wrote, "The arm action I teach utilizes portions of Marshall's theories. Here's where we get into theory v reality again.  Pronation is misunderstood.  If the elbow drives forward, like is does in RPM's arm action, with the forearm anterior surface facing upward, the forearm is already fully pronated long before release while the forearm trails the elbow.  This protects the UCL.


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     That Mr. Peterson admits that 'The arm action he teaches utilizes portions of my theories' does not absolve him of plagiarism.  Clearly, without me, he has no basis on which to talk about baseball pitching.

     Mr. Peterson writes, "If the elbow drives forward, like is does in RPM's arm action, with the forearm anterior surface facing upward, the forearm is already fully pronated long before release while the forearm trails the elbow."

     To determine whether baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm fully pronated or supinated, we have to examine the position of the palm of the pitching hand.

01.  When my baseball pitchers throw my Maxline Pronation Curve, I teach them to have the palm of their pitching hand facing downward.

     With the palm of their pitching hand facing downward, my baseball pitchers have the back of their pitching forearm facing upward.  If Mr. Peterson similarly teaches his baseball pitchers, then he is doing what I teach.

02.  When my baseball pitchers throw my Torque Fastball, I teach them to have the palm of their pitching hand facing inward toward their body.

     With the palm of their pitching hand facing inward, my baseball pitchers have the little finger side of their pitching forearm facing upward.  If Mr. Peterson similarly teaches his baseball pitchers, then he is doing what I teach.

     Mr. Peterson says that pronation "protects the UCL."

     In 1967, over forty years ago, I determined that, when baseball pitchers powerfully pronate their pitching forearm, before, during and after their release their pitches, the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle eliminate all stress on their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Because Mr. Peterson fails to credit me as the first to publish this discovery, he is a plagiarist.  However, at least it is nice that Mr. Peterson has gotten something that I teach right.

     In conclusion, the particularities of each of the baseball pitches require that my baseball pitchers adjust the position of the palm of their pitching hand.  However, because, with every baseball pitch I teach, my baseball pitchers have their pitching elbow at driveline height with their pitching forearm laying horizontally behind, they contract their Pronator Teres muscle.  The position of the palm of the pitching hand is irrelevant.

     Clearly, Mr. Peterson and his inadequate biomechanist, John DiAquisto, are significantly anatomically and kinesiologically challenged.  Therefore, even though he has stolen almost everything that he teaches from me, unless he has correctly quoted me, you cannot trust anything that he says.

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043.  I noticed in the first base view of Mike Farrenkopf's ASMI video you have posted on your site that Mike will step forward too early not waiting until his pitching arm is at 45 degrees.

It seems as though due to this his arm is reaching driveline height too early and this is causing his elbow to flex prior to lifting his elbow up to position his upper arm to vertical as close to the head as he can.  Could this be why he appears to be looping?

I'm guessing that if he would wait until his arm was where it needed to be before stepping forward, he would eliminate this flaw and have a longer driveline.  Is this correct?


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     I did not post Mike's ASMI video.  Mike did.  However, when I found out that he posted it, I included it in the list of postings that my guys have made without my knowledge.

     With my Torque pitches, I teach my baseball pitchers to step forward before they start to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height.  Therefore, when the heel of their glove foot lands, their pitching arm still has not arrived at driveline height.

     As a result, their pitching hand does not arrive at driveline height until they have moved their body forward over the full length of their glove foot and they are pushing backward off their glove toes.

     Remember, until their glove foot lands, baseball pitchers cannot powerfully rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward with complete control.

     If, before their glove foot lands, they start to rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward, then, just before their glove foot land, their glove foot will move to the pitching arm side of their body.

     As a result, they will not be able to control where they release their pitches.  I call this, 'glove foot float.'

     However, with my Maxline pitches, to be able to forwardly rotate their acromial line to point at home plate, I want my baseball pitchers to drop step to the glove side of their body.

     Therefore, my baseball pitchers have to coordinate when their pitching arm reaches driveline height and the toes of their glove foot land.  A perfect combination would be that their pitching arm smoothly flows from moving downward, backward and upward to driveline height into the acceleration phase of the pitching motion.

     However, that some of my baseball pitchers arrive at driveline height early does not mean that they would automatically move their pitching hand closer to their pitching shoulder.

     Nevertheless, for maximum release velocity and release consistency, they need to precisely time these two events.

     Along with several other problems, my new Second Base Pickoff drill is fixing this problem.

     With my new Second Base Pickoff drill, while their reverse rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm one hundred and eighty degrees to point their acromial line at the target, I teach my guys to vertically drop their pitching hand out of their glove and pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height to arrive when their pitching foot lands.

     Then, they drive their pitching hand and baseball straight down their acromial line, 'stick' their pitching hand into the target and put their pitching hand in their back pocket.  This eliminates all pitching upper arm pull.

     The key to this drill is that it is a pickoff.  Therefore, they have to be very quick with their body action, very quick with their pitching arm action and very quick with their release.

     As a result, they get rid of everything that they do not need, including moving their pitching hand closer to their pitching shoulder.

     When, before they start their pitching elbow forward, baseball pitchers move their pitching hand closer to their pitching shoulder, I call this, 'grabbing.'

     With their pitching hand close to their pitching shoulder when their pitching elbow starts forward, their pitching elbow moves forward, but, because the pitching hand has to wait until the pitching elbow is the full length of their pitching forearm in front of their pitching hand, the pitching hand transcribes a 'loop.'

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044.  Question about iron balls.

I was wondering what the difference between the 6-12 lbs shot-put’s that you get and getting them online?  Is it the diameter?

The reason I ask is that I train in my basement (in Maine, cold here) with your Pitcher Interval-Training Program.  I bought a 6 lbs indoor shot-put that works great against my basement wall.  They have other weights for indoor shots but the diameter increases (6 lb – 100mm, 8 lb -113mm, 10 lb -125mm, and 12 lb -125mm).

Is this a problem? Can I substitute these instead of the iron balls you get?


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     For my eight, ten, twelve and fifteen pound heavy balls, I special order them from a company that makes lead weights to hold shrimp nets on the floor of the gulf.

     They cost me three times their weight plus shipping.  For example, if you wanted eight, ten and twelve pound lead balls, because they weigh thirty pounds, they would cost ninety dollars plus shipping.

     Because they are lead balls, they are much smaller than iron balls or shot puts.

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045.  Here is another argument that Bill Peterson is making against you.  I am sure that neither he nor Baseball Fever asks you to respond.  I would like to hear what you have to say.

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Bill Peterson wrote, "The final action is one of upper arm inward rotation, not forearm pronation."


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     This statement verifies how deeply Mr. Peterson and Mr. DiAquisto are Anatomically and Kinesiologically challenged.

     Mr. Peterson and Mr. DiAquisto do not understand is that 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not actively inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm at all.  Instead, they horizontally flex their pitching upper arm.

     What Mr. Peterson and Mr. DiAquisto mistake as inward rotation is actually the result of 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' and the Pectoralis Major muscle horizontally flexing the pitching upper arm.      With 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' the horizontal centripetal force that slings the pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball laterally away from the body, unless the shoulder joint comes apart, the pitching arm has to come across the front of the body.

     With the Pectoralis Major muscle pulling the pitching upper arm forward from behind their body, after 'traditional' baseball pitchers release their pitches, the Pectoralis Major muscle, which attaches to the lateral lip of the bicipital groove on the anterior surface of the head of the Humerus bone, secondarily causes the Humerus bone to modestly inwardly rotate.

     Mr. Peterson and Mr. DiAquisto also do not understand is that 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not extend their pitching elbow.  Instead, they use their Brachialis muscle to eccentrically flex their pitching elbow.

     As a result of generating horizontal centripetal force to the pitching arm side of their body, 'traditional' baseball pitchers reflexively contract their Brachialis muscle to try to prevent their olecranon process from slamming into its fossa.

     For a force application technique to satisfy the Kinetic Chain, with regard to the pitching arm, to overcome the inertial mass of the pitching arm and baseball, the muscles of the Shoulder Girdle must contract first.

     After the Shoulder Girdle muscles contract, to conserve the momentum that the Shoulder Girdle muscles generated, the muscles of the Shoulder Joint must contract second.

     After the Shoulder Girdle muscles contract, to conserve the momentum that the Shoulder Girdle muscles generated, the muscles of the Shoulder Joint must contract second.

     After the Shoulder Joint muscles contract, to conserve the momentum that the Shoulder Girdle muscles generated, the muscles of the Elbow Joint must contract third.

     After the Elbow Joint muscles contract, to conserve the momentum that the Elbow Joint muscles generated, the muscles of the Forearm Joint must contract fourth.

     After the Forearm Joint muscles contract, to conserve the momentum that the Forearm Joint muscles generated, the muscles of the Wrist Joint must contract fifth.

     After the Wrist Joint muscles contract, to conserve the momentum that the Wrist Joint muscles generated, the muscles of the Hand Joint must contract sixth.

     After the Hand Joint muscles contract, to conserve the momentum that the Hand Joint muscles generated, the muscles of the Finger Joints must contract seventh.

     Instead, rather than powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, 'traditional' baseball pitchers choose to far less powerfully horizontally flex their pitching upper arm.

     Instead, with their 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not actively extend their pitching elbow at all.  Therefore, the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion fails to conserve the decreased momentum generated by the Shoulder Girdle and Shoulder Joint.

     Readers beware.  Mr. Peterson and Mr. DiAquisto do not know that they do not know.  Therefore, according to the Persian proverb, you need to ignore them.

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046.  Here is another argument that Bill Peterson is making against you.  I am sure that neither he nor Baseball Fever asks you to respond.  I would like to hear what you have to say.

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Bill Peterson wrote, "As per Marshall's scenario, if you continue to pronate hard, while the forearm extends, you cause severe stress to the pronator teres (because the pronator teres is also a flexor of the elbow).  Co-contraction...the same thing that tears hamstrings."


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     Athletes tear the Short Head of the Biceps Femoris muscle (one of the four muscles that make up the 'hamstrings' muscle group) because another nerve innervates this muscle than innervates the other three muscles.  Therefore, when athletes have not practiced the motor unit contraction and relaxation sequence for sudden sprinting, they can experience a delay in the inhibitory signal reaching this muscle.  As a result, when the antagonistic muscle group to the 'hamstring's muscle group, the 'quadriceps' muscle group, contracts, the Short Head of the Biceps Femoris muscle remains contracted and tears.

     The Pronator Teres muscle pronates the pitching forearm.  Because the Pronator Teres muscle attaches above the pitching elbow, it secondarily flexes the pitching elbow.  The Triceps Brachii muscle extends the pitching elbow.

     In the spinal column, when the Motor Cortex sends nerve impulses to muscle to contract, internuncial nerves at every level of the vertebral colum, sends inhibitory signals to their antagonistic muscles.

     The muscles antagonistic to the Triceps Brachii muscle are the Biceps Brachii and the Brachialis muscles.  Despite the fact that the Pronator Teres muscle secondarily flexes the pitching elbow, the Pronator Teres muscle is not antagonistic to the Triceps Brachii muscle.

     Now we can add that, in addition to Anatomically and Kinesiologically challenged, Mr. Peterson and Mr. DiAquisto are also Physiologically challenged.

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047.  Here is another argument that Bill Peterson is making against you.  I am sure that neither he nor Baseball Fever asks you to respond.  I would like to hear what you have to say.

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Bill Peterson wrote, "I've witnessed this firsthand, to the point it incapacitated a pitcher for much of a summer season.  Marshall stressed 'sticking' the release while pronating hard:  a mistake on more than one front because it also diminishes velocity by taking wrist action away from fastballs."


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     This is a situation where, in the minds of the insufficiently educated, a little scientific knowledge becomes dangerous.

     I don't know whether, in this case, Mr. Peterson's mind or Mr. DiAquisto's mind or both made up this ridiculous statement, but clearly, both of them as significantly insufficiently educated.  They have confused to entirely different physiological phenomenon, namely, 'Reciprocal Inhibition' and Co-contraction without coincident action.

     As a result of 'Reciprocal Inhibition,' athletes tear the short head of their Biceps Femoris muscle.

     The short head of the Biceps Femoris muscle arises from the posterior surface of the Femur bone and, along with the long head of the Biceps Femoris muscle, attaches to the head of the Fibula bone and the lateral epicondyle of the Tibia bone.

     The other three muscles that make up the 'hamstrings' group of muscles, the long head of the Biceps Femoris, the Semiteninosus and Semimembranosus muscles, arise from the ischial tuberosity of the Ischial bone of the Hip Triad of bones and attach to the Tibia bone below the knee joint.

     Tearing the short head of the Biceps Femoris muscle occurs as a result of the peroneal portion of the Sciatic nerve innervating the short head of the Biceps Femoris muscle and the tibial portion of the Sciatic nerve innervating the long head of the Biceps Femoris, Semitendinosus and Semimembranosus muscles.

     When athletes suddenly powerfully contract their 'quadriceps' group of muscles instantly after they powerfully contract the 'hamstrings' group of muscles, the internuncial nerves at the spinal cord level as which the motor nerves that serve these antagonistic group of muscles instantly send an inhibitory signal to the 'hamstring' group of muscles.

     Unfortunately, in inadequately trained athletes, the inhibitory signal to the short head of the Biceps Femoris muscle arrives too late.  Therefore, the powerful extension of the knee when sprinting occurs when the short head of the Biceps Femoris muscle remains contracted and tears muscle fibers in the short head of the Biceps Femoris muscle.

     This is the one example in the human body where 'Ricipical Inhibition' fails to protect the non-contracting antagonistic muscle.

     The Triceps Brachii muscle that extends the elbow joint is not antagonistic to the Pronator Teres muscle.  Therefore, the internuncial neurons at the spinal level that controls elbow joint action does not send an inhibitory signal to the Pronator Teres muscle when the Triceps Brachii muscle contracts.  Instead, when the Triceps Brachii muscle contract, the internuncial neurons send inhibitory signals to the Biceps Brachii and Brachialis muscles that flex the elbow joint.

     However, as posing body builders show, athletes can co-contract their Biceps Brachii and Triceps Brachii muscles.  They just cannot co-contract these muscles with any coincident action.  That means that they can simultaneously contract antagonistic muscles, but they cannot powerfully flex or extend the joint across which these muscles operate.

     This time, in addition to showing that they are Anatomically and Kinesiologicall challenged, Mr. Peterson and Mr. DiAquisto show that they also Physiologically challenged.  Therefore, readers should dismiss them as insufficiently educated and ignore whatever they say.

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048.  Here is another argument that Bill Peterson is making against you.  I am sure that neither he nor Baseball Fever asks you to respond.  I would like to hear what you have to say.

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Bill Peterson wrote, "Pitchers can't do this (horizontally rotate their shoulders forward while standing tall) efficiently and any attempt to do so results in driving the ball upward, not forward, as is clearly evidenced by Dr. Marshall's own films."


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     Mr. Peterson says that my baseball pitchers 'drive the baseball upward, not forward.

     If this were true, then they would release their pitches vertically upward, not horizontally toward home plate.

     What Mr. Peterson should have said is, with Dr. Marshall's baseball pitching motion, to get their pitching forearm vertical at release, his baseball pitchers extend their pitching elbow vertically upward.

     That my baseball pitchers release their pitches horizontally shows that, while they extend their pitching forearm vertically upward, they still apply force straight forward at home plate.

     Because, with my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers do not take their pitching arm laterally behind their body, they do not generate the horizontal centripetal force that causes 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'  Therefore, instead of releasing their pitches with their pitching forearm outside of vertical, my baseball pitchers release their pitches with vertical pitching forearms.  As Mr. Peterson suggests, all you have to do is watch the baseball pitchers in my Analysis of my 2008 Baseball Pitchers file.

     Unfortunately, Mr. Peterson confuses the involuntary 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' with voluntarily extending the pitching elbow vertically upward and forward.  Where 'traditional' baseball pitchers waste energy fighting their 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' with their Brachialis muscle, my baseball pitchers are accelerating the baseball with their Triceps Brachii muscle.

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049.  Here is another argument that Bill Peterson is making against you.  I am sure that neither he nor Baseball Fever asks you to respond.  I would like to hear what you have to say.

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Bill Peterson wrote, "Marshall's guys, as shown on his film, don't drive their elbow forward toward home plate and toward the gun.  They drive the elbow up in the air."


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     My baseball pitchers do not drive their pitching elbow up in the air, they drive their pitching forearm vertically upward and forward toward home plate.  Therefore, as seen from the overhead view, my baseball pitchers have a nearly straight driveline toward home plate.

     Without question, to drive their pitching forearm vertically upward and forward is far superior to the 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' without any positive force from the elbow joint muscles that the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion does.

     To rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward to point as close as possible to home plate, with my Maxline pitches, my baseball pitchers drop step to their glove side at forty-five degrees, drive their pitching knee at forty-five degrees toward their glove knee as they stand tall and rotate.

     In the American Sports Medicine Institute's inadequate biomechanical analysis of my baseball pitching motion, Dr. Fleisig found that my baseball pitchers rotated their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward through seventy percent of the length of their driveline.

     While I want my baseball pitchers to rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward through one hundred percent of the length of their driveline, when compare with ASMI's Elite group of primarily major league baseball pitchers, who rotate their hips forward about thirty percent of their driveline and their shoulders forward about fifty percent of the length of their driveline, that my guys rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward through seventy percent of their driveline is significantly superior.

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050.  Here is another argument that Bill Peterson is making against you.  I am sure that neither he nor Baseball Fever asks you to respond.  I would like to hear what you have to say.

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Bill Peterson wrote, "Marshall's instructions do not lead to guys throwing in the way he theorizes.  All you have to do is look at his claims and then compare this with his film record to know that the two don't align.


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     That Mr. Peterson uses the high-speed film and video DVDs that I make of my baseball pitchers and post on my website shows that I am not making any false claims.  Instead, when my baseball pitchers do not perform my baseball pitching motion as I teach them, I not only show it to everybody, but I also say it on the video.

     These video clips show that, as evidenced by the quality and the variety of the baseball pitches that they throw, my baseball pitchers do most of what I teach them to do very well.  I challange Mr. Peterson to show 'traditional' baseball pitchers capable of throwing the quality and variety of pitches that my baseball pitches can throw and without injury.

     With regard to pitching injuries:  If his son, Pat Howe, has ever suffered any pitching injuries, it was not when I trained him at my Baseball Pitching Research/Training Center.  I have video and written proof.

     Therefore, I submit that Mr. Peterson has taught his son the injurious mechanical flaws that resulted in Pat's injuries.  However, because Mr. Peterson refuses to provide high-speed film and video evidence of how his son or others perform his bastardized baseball pitching motion, he has no credibility.  Therefore, I, for one, will not spend hard-earned money to see whatever ridiculous alterations he has made to my baseball pitching motion.

     It is the heart-break of coaching when, no matter how hard I try, my baseball pitchers cannot perform my baseball pitching motion exactly as I teach it.  However, I never stop trying to help them.

     Unfortunately, coaching is a symbiotic relationship.  I teach.  They learn.  We equally share the responsibility.

     When I see my guys working as hard as they can to overcome mechanical flaws that prevent them from becoming the best that they can be, I ache for them.  However, like in Mr. Peterson's son case, because of Mr. Peterson injecting himself into the mix, while I feel sorry for Pat, the blame for Pat's lack of success rests with Pat and his father.

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051.  Here is another argument that Bill Peterson is making against you.  I am sure that neither he nor Baseball Fever asks you to respond.  I would like to hear what you have to say.

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Bill Peterson wrote, "Your statement would correctly read:  Pat is now observably doing a number of the things Marshall has theorized about (which none of Marshall's students have ever demonstrated, insofar as his published film record shows), and he's doing so BECAUSE of the changes we have made to the entire mechanic."

Bill Peterson also wrote, "Pat is now doing many of the things that Marshall asked him to because we have made significant changes to the mechanic, each of which substantially contradict portions of Marshall's instructions and theories."


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     Where is Mr. Peterson's transparency?  If what he says is true, then, like I do, show us.  I would love to watch Pat perform my baseball pitching motion as I designed it.

     Tell you what Bill.  Send Pat to Zephyrhills, FL and I will high-speed film and video him throwing my six basic adult pitches.  Then, I will upload the DVD I make of his efforts and everybody can see whether what you say is true.

     Until then, please tell me the 'number of things' that I theorized about that my baseball pitchers do not do, but, 'BECAUSE of the changes we (you and Pat) have made to the entire mechanic,' Pat now does.

     Talk is cheap, my friend.  Put up or shut up.

     Instead of talking behind my back on your manfriend apologist's website, like the quivering coward that Sam Buchanan's father proved you to be, be a man and debate directly with me.

     And, please bring Mr. DiAquisto with you.  Like Dr. Fleisig, he is a number cruncher without sufficient knowledge in Anatomy, Physiology and Kinesiology to correctly interpret his inadequate biomechanical analyses.

     We will see if, unlike Dr. Fleisig, Mr. DiAquisto has the professionalism to debate with a scientifically qualified researcher with over forty years of investigation into the mechanics of baseball pitching.  I would love to have Mr. DiAquisto tell me something about the mechanics of baseball pitching that I have not already considered.  I really would.

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052.  Here is another argument that Bill Peterson is making against you.  I am sure that neither he nor Baseball Fever asks you to respond.  I would like to hear what you have to say.

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Bill Peterson wrote, "The analysis I've done on these pitchers clearly shows that the center of mass (and the stride hip) slow down significantly prior to release, not vice versa.  Trying to drive forward off the glove leg (like in the 12-year old clip) results in both feet being off the ground at release.  Again, please show me ONE clip that actually portrays this in action."


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     That my amazing twelve year old baseball pitcher use his glove foot to apply force toward second base to accelerate the center of mass of his body toward home plate shows that baseball pitchers can use their glove leg to apply oppositely-directed force to their pitches, like Sir Isaac Newton's Law of Reaction would want.  That, when he releases his pitches, the amazing twelve year old has both feet off the ground is irrelevant.

     Nevertheless, you have made a valid point.  To date, I have not provided evidence that the baseball pitchers that I train can move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot, such that they can apply oppositely-directed force with their glove leg.

     We continue to try.  Visually, I believe that some are doing this.  However, until I can provide high-speed film evidence, this concept remains theoretical.

     If you and Pat have made changes to my baseball pitching motion that enables him to perform concepts that my baseball pitchers have not yet demonstrated, why has he not moved the center of mass of his body in front of his glove foot, such that he can apply oppositely-directed force with his glove leg?

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053.  Do you know anything about the effects of softball pitching on young girls?  My daughter is 11, and has had no pain so far in her pitching arm.

We live in the northern part of the South.  Her pitching coach, like you, seems to be a student in how the human body works.  He teaches softball pitching a little differently than most current coaches in order to prevent softball injuries.

He too, works with injured athletes, both baseball and softball players, to adjust what they're doing to make it safer on their bodies.  Therefore, I feel that she is using very sound technique.

I was curious though about work load and limits on pitching on young girls.  Is it similar to boys or due to the different motion, can they pitch more?

Thanks for your time.  I'm glad that folks like you and her coach are working to make sports safer in our youth sports obsessed nation.


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     The unnecessary stress in the maximum velocity overhand throwing motion comes mostly from the amount of side to side movement of the pitching arm.  With the maximum velocity underhand throwing motion, the pitching arm has very little, if any, side to side movement.  Therefore, fast-pitch softball pitchers do not suffer the injuries that baseball pitchers suffer.

     Nevertheless, adolescent females have growth plates that with too much stress will prematurely close.  However, because females biologically mature earlier than adolescent males, where the danger ages for males is 12 to 14 biological years old, I would expect that the danger ages for females would be between 10 and 12 years old.

     Therefore, I would not allow 10 to 12 year old adolescent female fast-pitch softball pitchers to pitch competitively for more than two consecutive months per year.

     Unfortunately, when growth plates receive more stress than they can withstand without prematurely closing, they do not emit pain signals.  The only way that we know when they have prematurely closed is when we X-ray the glove and pitching elbows and notice that the growth plates in the pitching elbow have prematurely closed.

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054.  Passive Outward Rotation

  In Question #16, you go to great lengths to explain that your pitchers do not actively outwardly rotate their pitching arms when bringing the baseball to driveline height and when bringing the humerus to the Slingshot position.

As an example you write:  "Other than to safely decelerate their pitching upper arm after powerfully inwardly rotating their pitching upper arm, I never want my baseball pitchers to actively outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm."

In your Coaching Pitchers book you state that you do not discuss the muscles involved in the Transition phase because pitchers can't hurt themselves.  So I have to assume this does not have to do with injury prevention.

I have to say that I always believed your guys actively outwardly rotated their upper arm when bringing the baseball to driveline height (I believe at one time you had your guys start their transition with the palm of the hand facing the pitcher's body which to me means they would have to actively outwardly rotate their upper arm).

1.  Why is it so important that your guys passively rather then actively outwardly rotate their humerus on the way to driveline height and when bringing the humerus into the Slingshot position from driveline height?

  You also suggest in the quote I supply that your guys actively outwardly rotate their humerus in the deceleration phase.  That really surprised me.  My view of "active" is that there is some conscious thought involved.  I always thought when you get to the deceleration phase there was not much a pitcher could.

2.  How is it that your guys actively outwardly rotate their humerus in the deceleration phase?


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     Because the 'Transition Phase' of the baseball pitching motion ends when baseball pitchers start their pitching elbow forward, my statement that baseball pitchers cannot injure themselves during the 'Transition Phase' is correct.  However, because 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover' is part of the 'Transition Phase,' I can see that, with 'traditional' baseball pitchers, how they end their 'Transition Phase' contributes to their injuring their pitching arm.

01.  When, at forty-five degrees behind their body, my baseball pitchers rotate the palm of their pitching hand from facing toward home plate with the thumb side of their pitching hand pointing away from their body to the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body with the thumb side of their pitching hand pointing upward, they have to use their Brachioradialis muscle to supinate their pitching forearm and, with that forearm supination action, they use their Teres Minor muscle to passively outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     I use the word 'passively' because they do not put any stress on their pitching shoulder.  The action is very gentle with no bounce or trauma and the pitching forearm initiates the action.

02.  When, after their pitching arm reaches driveline height, to 'lock' their pitching upper arm with their shoulders, my baseball pitchers raise their pitching elbow to driveline height, they use their Anterior Deltoid muscle to abduct their shoulder joint and the inertial mass of their pitching forearm and baseball and, to a minimal degree, their Teres Minor muscle, aligns their pitching forearm horizontally behind their pitching elbow.

     Again, I use the word 'passively' because they do not put any stress on their pitching upper arm.  The action is very gentle with no downward force that 'bounces' the inside of their pitching elbow.

03.  During the 'Acceleration Phase,' I teach my guys to powerfully extend and inward rotate their pitching upper arm. Like in all ballistic actions, the antagonistic muscles have to decelerate the acceleration movements.

     Therefore, during the 'Deceleration Phase,' my baseball pitchers have to use the muscles that decelerate the extension and inward rotation actions of their shoulder joint.

     While I am certain that they use their Teres Minor and Infraspinatus muscles and, to a lesser extent, their Supraspinatus muscle, because of the unique position from which the pitching upper arm started its extension and inward rotation movements, I am also certain that the Posterior Deltoid contributes to the deceleration action.

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055.  This is Mike Farrenkopf.

I threw 2 innings today in our inner squad.  It felt good to get back onto the game mound.

I had 2 K's, but gave up 2 runs in the second inning.  I believe I gave up 3 hits.

Today, I really tried to transfer the rhythm and feeling that I have in the bullpen into the game mound.  The first inning went well.  The second inning I kept missing with my -10's.  When I'd come back with a fastball, I'd leave the fastball in the middle of the zone.  The batters took advantage of that and lined the pitches into the gaps.

In the second inning, I lost the relaxation and focus that I had in the first inning.  I am looking forward to my next outing so that I can continue to work on these details.


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     I appreciate the update.

     First, you are pitching to your teammates.  They know the pitch sequences that Coach Maley has you throw.  They know that you will start them with minus tens and, then, go to the appropriate two-seam fastball.  They are sitting on them.

     After baseball batters have faced you several times, you have to design specific pitching sequences unique to the strengths and weaknesses of each batter.  You have to throw out the first three sequences that I teach you.

     You need to review the pitch sequences of their earlier At Bats against you and write up new individualized sequences.

     You are learning that, after baseball pitchers learn how to throw high quality pitches, they still have a lot more to learn.  I call it, mound presence.

     When you are missing with your minus tens, you cannot stop throwing them.  If you do, then you will never get out of trouble.  Contrary to popular belief, it is better to keep throwing your minus tens and walk batters than it is to start throwing fastballs and getting hit hard.

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     On Sunday, January 25, 2009, I posted the following questions and answers.

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056.  Doc, I'm going to post a single video from today.

I believe my son has two choices:

1)  he can walk forward with the g/s foot and drive off his p/s foot to generate toward-the-plate velocity and shortening the distance between home and the mound or,

2)  he can walk forward with the g/s foot and drastically shorten his p/s stride. The second technique enables him to have a much, much, faster rotation of the hips (and shoulders.)

I don't know which technique will get the ball to the plate sooner.  You can see after three days and ~50 reps of this he has gotten the hips to rotate faster and it will increase a lot as we continue.  And, getting his acetabular and acromial lines to stay in sync won't be much of a challenge.

This is going to enable him to point the acromial line at home at release without much effort.  He is already throwing down the A-line (directly down it) on 5-10% of his throws with no trouble.  In some clips, he gets the hips there first, in others he gets the shoulders pointed to home first.  I think it's going to work well.

You can also see that he is beginning to stop the head jerk and his post-pitch g/s leg whip.  He is rotating his acromial line to point at home plate without having to over-rotate after release.  You'll see what I mean in the forthcoming video clips.

We hope that your birthday was a great one.


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     At sixty-six years old, even if I can only sit upright and answer the emails, every birthday is a great one.

     This video is exactly what I have demonstrated for years as what I thought was the maximum toward-home-plate distance that baseball pitchers could move the center of mass of their body and push back toward second base with their glove leg.

     However, you and your son proved me wrong.

     I understand your concern that those in charge of youth baseball in your area will ban what your son can do.  Nevertheless, I believe that, with regard to moving the center of mass of the body as far forward as baseball pitchers can, what he does is biomechanically tremendous.  And, I still want to get that motion on high-speed film.

     Still, in a way that should be acceptable to everybody, if your son can do what this video shows, then he will move the center of mass of his body in front of his glove foot and use his glove foot to apply more equal and oppositely-directed force toward second base.

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057.  I'm a junior in high school.  I've watched your video and it seems like your pitching techniques correlate closely with my pitching coach's methods.

I'm currently working with a former pitching and catching coach with a professional baseball team.  Your technique is based on kinesiology, which is also the founding premise of his pitching technique.

He emphasizes the use of the lower body and core muscles, particularly on rotating the back foot to create driving force.

I've been working with him for three years now and I've never had any arm injuries and I'm a dominant pitcher in my league as well as against players from higher division schools.

Generally, I keep my velocity around high seventies to low eighties, but I can throw up in the mid-eighties when I'm on really good form.  I also notice that when I'm on my game that I don't even feel my arm as I release the ball and as I said, the ball gets to the plate noticeably faster than usual.

At these times, I am also much lower to the ground as I release.  Sometimes when I pitch, my throwing hand brushes the ground.  The point I'm trying to get at is that I would like to know if you could take a look at my pitching form and see if you have any tips or if you see any flaws.


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     That your throwing hand brushes the ground indicates that you bend forward at your waist, which means that you stride forward so far that you cannot continue to move the center of mass of your body forward throughout your pitching motion.

     I teach my baseball pitchers to stand tall and rotate.  Therefore, they release their pitches as high as their standing height enables them.

     I also teach my baseball pitchers to drive their pitching hand in straight lines toward home plate and 'stick' their pitching hand into the strike zone.  Therefore, after they release their pitches their pitching arm is horizontal pointing directly at home plate, not even pointing downward, much less anywhere near the ground.

     I am more than happy to watch video of baseball pitchers who are doing my interval-training programs with the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.  Unfortunately, you are not doing my interval-training programs or my drills.

     When you do, I would greatly enjoy evaluating your baseball pitching motion.

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058.  Scientific Reference Website

When you click the link to “Anatomy of the Human Body” it goes to the skeletal section.  Is that what you wanted?  Once there, you can just click “home” and from there navigate to the other sections, but I thought it might be confusing to new readers.


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     I just change it.  Let me know if it works.

     I appreciate the heads-up.  I need all the help that I can get.

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059.  Bill Peterson.

Shouldn’t Bill Peterson be taken off of the Certified Pitching Coaches list?  He doesn’t teach your motion and doesn’t deserve the accreditation.  Maybe you could start a “Hall of Shame” file.


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     Mr. Peterson met the criteria to be on my Certified Marshall Baseball Pitching Coaches List.  That is, he attended one of my Certification Clinics.  Mr. Peterson says that he knows how to teach my baseball pitching arm action better than I do, which means that he tries to teach most of my baseball pitching motion.

     While I agree that he should be ashamed of what he says about how I teach baseball pitchers, I do not want to stoop to his level of vindictiveness.  Therefore, I will leave him on my list.  Readers can decide who knows what they is talking about.

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060.  Baseball Fever

  I posted your responses of what Bill Peterson had to say on Baseball Fever and SHOCKINGLY now the thread no longer exists.   If anyone has anything positive to say about what you are doing, then their post magically goes away.  I'm sure the person we can thank for this is the moderator of BaseballFever.com, Jake Patterson.


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     Some months ago, Joe Lindsay, aka Jake Patterson emailed me whining that some of my guys were abusing other bloggers on his website.  Therefore, he was banning them.  I told him that censorship is far worse than anything that these guys were doing.

     In this situation, a reader of my website sent me statements that Bill Peterson was making about me and my baseball pitching motion on Joe's website, BaseballFever.com.  I spent several hours answering Mr. Peterson's comments.

     Other than to say that, as a result of my evaluations of Mr. Peterson's comments, Mr. Peterson has no idea what he is talking about and readers should ignore him, I provided scientific explanations.

     Therefore, after one of my readers posted my responses on BaseballFever.com, to read that Mr. Lindsay removed my responses shows that Mr. Lindsay lied when he said that he is only preventing abusive behaviors.  In truth, Mr. Lindsay is the un-American censor of free speech that I told him he is.

     In removing my respones to Mr. Peterson's comments, Joe Lindsay, aka Jake Patterson's actions proves that he is the unabashed manfriend apologist for Bill Peterson that I said that he is.  As such, he has removed himself from anybody taking anything he says or does seriously.  He has become a pitiful joke, which means so has his website.

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061.  Bill Peterson.

I thought you might find it amusing that I started a new thread on BaseballFever.com.

If people cannot already tell that Bill Peterson is a liar and a scam artist, then when they see this, they will definitely know that he is.

I dug up old posts from Bill and found what he was claiming BEFORE you ruined his dreams of making money by not giving him exclusive rights to your teachings.

I'm sure the thread will be taken down very shortly, but, at least, you will be able to post it on your site.

Whoops, as I am writing you this email, Jake has already taking my thread down and has banned me.

So, here is the thread that is now gone:

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Since the New Marshall thread has "mysteriously" vanished after I posted Dr. Marshall's responses to what Coach45 (Bill Peterson) posted earlier.  I propose a new thread.

Here is my BIG question.  Why would anyone listen to what this man, Bill Peterson, Coach45, has to say?  He is a LIAR and here is proof.

On Bill Peterson's RPMpitching.com website, Coach45 writes, "Velocity is absolutely not the end all, but it's unwise to think Dr. Marshall has all the answers when he trains a pro prospect for three years and the net result subtracts 12-13 mph from his fastball."

Yet, on 12-06-05 at 1:02pm:, in a thread entitled, 'Does Dick Mills really know what he is talking about?', Coach45 wrote, "Using Marshall's mechanics, imperfectly, my son threw into the mid-90 this summer and continues to throw with this intensity every single day, seven days per week.  With the overload training he is doing now he throws an equivalent of well over 180 pitches per day, seven days per week.  Muscle fatigue?  You bet, but he is not doing structural damage to the elbow and/or shoulder."

  SO, WHICH ONE IS IT?  Did Coach45's son gain velocity using Marshall's training methods or did he not?

Also, he has recently claimed that, due to the Dr. Marshall's training, his son injured himself.  He blames Marshall and takes no responsibility at all.

But, on 12-07-05 at 4:47 pm, in the thread entitled, 'Does Dick Mills really know what he is talking about?, Coach45 wrote, "Will I feel somehow responsible if he is injured or if this fails?  How could I not do so?"

Later in the same post, Coach45 said, "In all this time, the most severe discomfort came for my son when he upped his intensity when first pitching competitively.  That soreness was in the anterior deltoid, as opposed to structural, connective tissue and through this soreness he continued to train every single day."

"That he can throw a much broader array of pitches, all with greater movement, with higher release velocities than he ever had before (I think the scouting bureau has velocities on file, so we have an independent source), and can work on improving it every single day, is all the proof I personally need.  I wish you could experience what I have seen.  Like I have said before, this is unlike anything any of us are accustomed to."

In the same thread on 12-09-05 at 7:55pm, Coach45 wrote, "I coach and am actively teaching these mechanics.  They work, and a whole lot better than the traditional way.  Huge variety of pitches; quicker time to the plate; closer release to the plate; ability to train every day; and yes, freedom from injury, just like Dr. Marshall claims."

Later, in the same thread on 12-10-05 at 8:19am, Coach45 wrote, "Is Dr. Marshall's way the very best way to throw that mankind will ever know? From the injury standpoint it's far superior to anything else out there now.  His guys also throw a vastly superior variety of pitches, release the ball closer to home plate (like moving the mound closer to the plate), increase their release velocities, have quicker times to the plate than a traditional slide step, can do it every day, and aren't getting hurt." "Guys, these are facts.  Facts are things that you can look at and say, 'yep, that's exactly what he does.'  If you ask me for the proof I will provide it."

  In a thread entitled, 'Mike Marshall's Pitching Motion,' on 12-08-06 at 3:03 pm, Coach45 wrote, "Over the summer, he (my son) experimented with some different footwork and the results appeared encouraging from a velocity standpoint, but, until he is strong enough to correct the specific arm flaw, the footwork issue is largely irrelevant."

Was Coach45's son ever really injured, like Coach45 now says?  Were Coach45 lying then or is he lying now?  Either way, he is a LIAR.

I also find it interesting that Coach45 says that his son was the only one doing certain things right in Marshall's motion.  Yet, in the above quote, he freely acknowledges that his son had a specific arm FLAW.  This means it was not Dr. Marshall's fault.  Instead, it was his son's inability or unwillingness to perform what Dr. Marshall wanted.

Lastly, regarded the pictures and videos that Coach45 has posted in his efforts to refute what Dr. Marshall teaches.

On 12-09-05 at 5:53pm, in the thread entitled, 'Does Dick Mills really know what he is talking about?:', Coach45 wrote, "Video, unless it's high speed and undoctored by software, does not show you what the arm truly does."

Therefore, BECAUSE Coach45 has DOCTORED Dr. Marshall's video, we shouldn't pay any attention to ANY VIDEO OR PHOTOGRAPHS that Coach45 has posted.

  On his website, drmikemarshall.com, Dr. Marshall has refuted everything Coach45 has critcized about what Dr. Marshall teaches.  Therefore, the fact that Coach45 contradicts himself, nobody should pay attention to anything he has to say.  And the fact that Joe Lindsey immediately removes my postings from the Baseball Fever website means that nobody should pay any attention to anything that he has to say either.


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     By using his own words, you have shown that Bill Peterson has no integrity.  To make the almighty dollar, he will say anything.  I feel sorry that he has put his son through all this.

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062.  This is Amazing's Dad.

Would you please watch two videos of my son and tell me what you think?

www.youtube.com/docsstudent

1.  Is he close to throwing down acromial line?
2.  Is he rotating his hips correctly?


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01.  Boy, how I love his body action.  And, as you said, he does drive his pitching hand, albeit in this video, without a baseball, down his acromial line.  However, please ask him to try to keep his eyes on where he wants to throw the baseball.

02.  He rotates his hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward as one very, very quickly.  If, instead of driving his pitching knee toward home plate, he were to drop step to his glove side and drive his pitching knee toward his glove knee, then he would be even better.  He should also lean the line across the top of his shoulders more to his glove side.

     I love watching him. I wish at least one of my guys could do this.

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063.  This is Mike Farrenkopf.

I threw one inning today.  I felt much more relaxed.

1.  RHB 3-1 ground out.
2.  RHB 6-3 ground out.
3.  RHB struck out looking at a screwball.

For the first two batters, I was able to have success with my sinker later in the sequence that Coach Maley called.


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     I assume that, by later in the sequence, you mean that you did not have two strikes on the batters.  Two-strike sinkers and sliders may get most batters out, but, in the long run, you would do better to go with screwballs and curves.  They will still get these lesser batters out, but will also get quality batters out.  You should always pitch up to the quality required to get quality batters out, not down to the quality required to get lesser batters out.

     If, instead of throwing one ball, no strike two-seam fastballs, Coach Maley had you continue to throw sinkers or sliders until you got one or two strikes, then he was changing the pattern on the batters and forcing you to get those pitches in the strike zone.  Without throwing them for strikes, you will not succeed as well as you should.

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064.  I am a pitching coach works with kids and adults.

I have read through your material and watched most of the video content you provided online.

Being a retired oral surgeon and now a physics teacher at a community college, I appreciate the science-based approach to mechanics you report.

When I try to explain the Newtonian physics to most other coaches, their eyes glaze over.

I played two years of college ball, but I think the coach liked my grades more than my fastball.  I realized then and now that baseball, at all levels, continues to be taught more by tradition than by science.

Some elements of the delivery you teach is similar to the method used by cricket bowlers, who also readily make the ball break in either direction when it bounces in front of the wicket.

A lot of BP pitchers also use the step back and with a short back arm action and then forward to increase momentum toward the plate.  So what you recommend is not as foreign as it may seem to traditionalists.

I emphasize head-shoulder separation more than you do, but I've also had to emphasize flexing of the trunk just before release to prevent cuff and labrum injuries.

I noticed that your students do not flex the trunk much at all.

  I guess my first question to you is how the delivery is executed from the stretch position with runners on base?


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     With regard to Sir Isaac Newton's three laws; you should tell coaches that:

01.  Newton's Law of Inertia teaches us that, from the first moment that the baseball moves toward home plate through release, baseball pitchers should apply force straight toward home plate.

02.  Newton's Law of Acceleration teaches us that, baseball pitchers should apply straight line force to their pitcher over as great a distance as possible.

03.  Newton's Law of Reaction teaches us that, to apply more straight line force toward home plate with their pitching arm, baseball pitchers need to apply more straight line force toward second base with their pitching leg, glove arm and glove leg.

     The only difference between the wind-up and set positions is, in the set position, baseball pitchers must have their glove foot on the ground in front of the pitching rubber, where, in the wind-up position, baseball pitchers can have their glove foot on the ground anywhere else.

     When my baseball pitchers have base runners on first base, they can either place their glove foot on the ground in front of the pitching rubber or they can place their glove foot on the ground one full step behind the pitching rubber.

     With both positions, my baseball pitchers come set with both hands together in front of their body at their waist.

     With their glove foot on the ground in front of the pitching rubber, they can:

01.  disengage the pitching rubber with their pitching foot and drop both hands to their sides,

02.  step toward home plate and pitch the baseball to the batter or

03.  step toward first base and throw the baseball to first base in an attempt to pick the base runner off base.

     With their glove foot on the ground one full step behind the pitching rubber, they can:

01.  disengage the pitching rubber with their pitching foot and drop both hands to their sides,

02.  step toward home plate and pitch the baseball to the batter or

03.  step toward first base and throw the baseball to first base in an attempt to pick the base runner off base.

     Instead of bending forward at their waist, I teach my baseball pitchers to stand tall and rotate.

     When baseball pitchers bend forward at their waist, the American Sports Medicine Institute reported that their Elite group of baseball pitcher rotate their hips and their shoulders forward for only thirty and fifty percent of the length of their driveline, respectively.

     However, with my baseball pitching motion, the American Sports Medicine Institute reported the my baseball pitchers rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward for seventy percent of the length of their driveline.

     When baseball pitchers rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward, they act like booster rockets to the space shuttle, we want baseball pitchers to rotate forward as fast as they can for as long as they can.

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065.  High School Rules

  My son will be pitching at the high school level this spring.  I have emailed you previously about the issue of wind up and set position with regard to high school baseball rules.  I have been thinking about what he may encounter this season and his possible options.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I recalled that a fellow father had sent to you the high school baseball rules that pertain to pitching.  I researched the past posts and found the pertinent post in question 913 in your 2007 Q & A files.

Although the rule for the wind up position notes that;  "The pitcher's non-pivot foot shall be in any position on or behind a line extending through the front edge of the pitcher's plate.", I was told by two IHSA (Illinois High School Association) umpires (one 2 seasons ago, and one this past season) that both feet need to be on the pitching rubber in the wind up position.

This is counter to what the rule actually states.  When confronted, the ump this summer told me that both feet have to be on the rubber, and that the GS foot can be pushed back with the toe still on the rubber.  That was his moronic interpretation.

Regardless, what I am trying to settle is what is legal, and what my son should practice and use.  Fortunately, you are heading to the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Clinic later this month.  It would be of great help, not only to me and my son, but to all fathers and high school pitchers if you could help resolve this issue while at the clinic.

I see a couple of possible choices.

1.  If the foot behind the rubber is in fact legal for a wind up position, use the Marshall Drop Out Wind Up. You would have to step off of the rubber to throw to any base, (The rule is pretty explicit in this regard; "With his feet in the wind-up position, the pitcher may only deliver a pitch or step backward off he pitcher's plate with his pivot foot first.") but the delivery time to home plate is quicker then a traditional set position.

2.  Use the Marshall Set position. The high school rule states; "Before starting his delivery, he shall stand with his entire pivot foot in front of a line extending through the front edge of the pitcher's plate and with his entire pivot foot in contact with or directly in front of the pitcher's plate."

I had an umpire this season insist that the foot had to be parallel to the pitching rubber.  His reasoning was that the "entire" pivot foot meant that the entire foot had to be on the rubber, thus, parallel.  I then asked if it were ok to have his entire foot in front of the rubber (heel almost touching) because the rule notes that the foot can be directly in front of the pitcher's plate.  He had no answer for that, and proceeded to tell me that would be called a balk.

3.  If neither of these is available, use the Jeff Sparks 2000 set position.

[Most of the year, my son pitched from the Marshall set position with men on.  I learned to speak with the umps prior to the game starting to clarify his delivery before he got on the mound.  This worked well with the few exceptions noted.

I recommend that fathers/coaches do this prior to game time.  It also helps the umps explain it to the opposing coaches when they start to yell balk.  I also liked that the base runners and first base coaches were confused and didn't quite know how to deal with it.

I would have him step off to throw over once or twice, then step directly to first and throw.  That usually caught them leaning.  He picked off a handful this year.  Most didn't lead off far or try to steal.  Many times the coach yelled "back" when my son threw to home.]

As you can see, there is a bit of a dilemma and confusion regarding what high school pitchers are able to do.  If you can find (or attempt to find) a resolution at the Illinois High School Coaches Clinic, it would greatly appreciated.  This information would be helpful for all that use these rules.  I would assume there will be umpires at the clinic also that you can ask.  If no resolution is had, what do you suggest?


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01.  For high school baseball pitching rules to require their baseball pitchers to have both feet in contact with the pitching rubber prevents baseball pitchers from pitching from the three and one-half inches on the glove side of the pitching rubber.

     Baseball pitchers should be able to pitch equally from both sides of the pitching rubber.

     The rule that says that baseball pitchers cannot take their glove foot beyond the lateral edge of the pitching rubber is supposed to prevent baseball pitchers from stepping sideways off the pitching rubber, not prevent baseball pitchers from pitching off the glove side of the pitching rubber.

02.  Similarly, the rule that requires baseball pitchers to have their entire pitching foot in contact with the pitching rubber is supposed to prevent baseball pitchers from having part of their pitching foot beyond the lateral edge of the pitching rubber, not force them to turn their pitching foot to parallel with the pitching rubber.

03.  The unique to high school baseball rule that, when they are in a wind-up position with base runners on first base, to throw the baseball to first base in an attempt to pick base runners off first base, they first have to disengage the pitching rubber with their pitching foot is ridiculous.  When they disengage the pitching rubber with their pitching foot, they do not have to throw to first base.  Why would they make that a requirement to be able to throw to first base?

     I don't believe that umpires are interested in anything that I have to say.  I believe that it is up to the high school baseball coaches associations to ask the umpires how they interpret the rules and request uniformity.

     All in all, it sounds as though you and your son did a good job of clarifying the situation.

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066.  See You in Chicago.

I look forward to seeing you at the IHSBCA clinic in Lisle, Illinois on January 30th and 31st.  I do hope that you make a positive impression on these Illinois High School Coaches so that they don’t try to change my son’s mechanics when he tries out for the local HS team 3 years from now.  At age 11, he is turning out to be a very good catcher, but after doing your 60 day training, he throws a pretty good Torque Fastball, so it’s possible that he might want to pitch more when he turns 13.

I also look forward to meeting other fathers in the Chicagoland area who are teaching their sons the Marshall Method.  It will be great to exchange info and compare notes.


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     I will do my best to show the high school baseball coaches that I have a viable and safe baseball pitching motion.

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067.  I noticed that most of the links on your “Equipment Vendors” page no longer work.

Here is the new link for the Frozen Ropes 1 pound (16 oz), 2 pound (32oz), and 3 pound (48oz) balls:

Frozen Ropes website

Here is a link for a place that sells 4 pound and 6 pound iron shots:

Track Outlet website


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     Thank you for the heads-up on my Equipment Vendors file.  I think that I have fixed them.  I also appreciate the additional website addresses.

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068.  This is Amazing's father.

I have some more videos that I would like you to watch.

I don't expect too much for a while.  My son is trying to assimilate a lot of new stuff.  I cut the drop step back a little as it was making him open his shoulders early.  I'm comparing the rate of pelvic rotation with his arm speed to get an appreciation of how fast he's twisting.  He can keep the head still when I remind him.  A few thousand reminders from now he'll probably have it down pat.

His arm action has gone to hell since he's been reworking the body action.  It comes as no surprise but I don't like it.  To put my mind at ease I have him do lids afterwards and we make sure he brings the elbow close to the ear with a near vertical humerus.  He can't get the lids horizontal when his elbow falls more than ~30-40 degrees off vertical in the slingshot position.

Towards the end of the session he started getting very close to the camera at "release" and in reviewing those clips I can see that he clearly was pushing hard off the p/s foot and driving.  Unfortunately he was driving towards home instead of "into his rotation."  Nonetheless, when that hip rotation is coupled with the p/s leg drive he is going to be a tornado.

Another week or so getting the big motor changes down and I'll hand the ball back to him.


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     While I enjoyed all three videos, with one exception, I especially enjoyed the third video.  That exception is that he did not have his pitching upper arm as vertical as it needs to be.

     Can I put these videos on-line as his January 2009 efforts?

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069.  I believe that you once advised that to maintain muscle while losing weight, one would need to consume 1 gram of protein for each kg of bodyweight each day.  I read that the body can only process 20 grams of protein per hour.  If you consumed 80 grams of protein in one meal, are your muscles not going to benefit from the additional 60 grams of protein that you consumed?

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     To properly balance our nutritional needs, fifteen percent of what we eat should be protein, twenty-five percent should be plant fat and sixty percent should be glucose.  To determine how much protein is fifteen percent of what we should eat, we should eat one gram of protein for every kilogram that we weigh.

     At 220 pounds of body weight, we should eat 100 grams of protein per day.  At 110 pounds of body weight, we should eat 50 grams of protein per day.  We do not have to eat all those grams of protein in one sitting.

     For more information, please check my Special Reports file.

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070.  This is Amazing's father.  I have several videos that I need you to watch.  I don't know what to omit, so take your pick.   About half have him throwing a baseball.

1)  Please look at at least one of the MPCs to check the grip.  The footage is excellent of the grip and release.  I see his thumb just above the fingers and you've told me in the past that shouldn't be the case.

2)  He threw one screwball and sure enough he is getting the palm more towards home on release to allow a longer drive with the middle finger.

3)  He forgot about the elbow once he started throwing baseballs but we will fix this.

4)  I forgot to remind him about the head.

5)  At driveline height, when he drop steps, he is as much as ~30 degrees off the home-to-second line with his arms.  Is he drop stepping too much?

If you want to post these videos, we are okay with that.  Are you going to link directly to this YouTube channel?


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01.  CIMG0171:  It takes too long to start, but once he started, he did very well.

     I would call this his 'extended driveline technique,' which you know that I like.  However, if, instead of straightening his pitching knee out toward home plate, he kept his pitching knee bent, then he would still release his pitches the same distance forward.  But, because he did not jump forward, nobody would question the pitching motion.  I would like him to be able to do both body actions.

02.  CIMG0172:  I loved it.  The video started right away and he used very good technique.

03.  CIMG0176:  This video looks just like CIMG0172, but a little shorter.

04.  CIMG0177:  He showed a great drop step and curve release.

05.  CIMG0178: This video is also great.

06.  CIMG0179: This video is too short.

07.  CIMG0182: He has absolutely great rotation of his hips, shoulders and pitching arm forward.

08.  CIMG0183:  It looks like he threw a Maxline Fastball.  He looked great.

     I would call all of the pitches from here on his 'shortened driveline technique.'  I love them.  I do not see how anybody could object to this body action.

09.  CIMG0184:  He threw a Maxline Pronation Curve.  He looked great.

10.  CIMG0187:  He threw a Maxline True Screwball.  He looked great.

11.  CIMG0188:  He threw a Maxline Pronation Curve.  He looked great.  However, the video is too short.

12.  CIMG0189:  He threw a Maxline Pronation Curve.  He looked great.

13.  CIMG0190:  He threw a Maxline Pronation Curve.  He looked great.  Best one.

     I would like to include CIMG0184, CIMG0187 and CIMG0190 on my website.  Where is his Torque Fastball?  Could you put them in a separate youtube address to which I can send my readers?

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071.  This is Amazing's father.  Oops, I forgot to give you the youtube address.

I ended up sending 13 videos.  The first seven or eight are basically the same.  The elbow moves up and down a bit and he gets sloppy and starts whipping his g/s leg around in some but in general they are similar.  If you click "select all" at the lower right corner of the box the videos appear in, you will see the remaining videos.

These are all with my son throwing a baseball and, in at least one of them, he appears to keep his eyes on the plate the whole time.  These give a beautiful shot of the release; even on Y/T you should be able to see it if you select the "play in high quality" option.


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     I love everything that you and your son are doing.  Could your son come here and teach my guys how to do this?

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072.  You said "I want the entire pitching arm side of their body driving as hard as possible toward home plate."  When this is tried before the glove foot lands, is that what front foot float is?  Thanks.

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     When baseball pitchers start to rotate their hips forward before their glove foot lands, just before their glove foot lands, it moves sideways to their glove arm side.  I call this, 'glove foot float.'

     'Glove foot float' decreases the velocity at which baseball pitchers can rotate their hips forward and their release consistency.

     With my Maxline pitches, I want my baseball pitchers to drop step at a forty-five degree angle to the glove side of their body with their glove toes landing when their pitching arm is forty-five degrees behind their body, drive the pitching arm side of their body forward off the pitching rubber with their pitching leg while they raise their pitching arm to driveline height and, as they drive their pitching knee toward their glove knee, push back with their glove leg, release their pitches.

     With my Torque pitches, I want my baseball pitchers to step on the line between their pitching foot and straight forward with the heel of their glove foot landing when their pitching arm is forty-five degrees behind their body, roll the body across the entire length of their glove foot and raise up onto their glove foot toes while they raise their pitching arm to driveline height and, as they push back with their glove leg, release their pitches.

     I am asking Amazing's father to post videos of his son that show him throwing my four basic pitches where he does pretty much as I just described.  To prevent 'traditionalists' from banning his baseball pitching motion, all he needs to do is keep his pitching knee bent such that his pitching foreleg points back toward the pitching rubber until after he releases his pitches.

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073.  This is Amazing's father.

I'll set up four different channels on YouTube, one for each pitch.  Maybe something like: "Dr Mike Marshall - Torque Fastball"

Then, I'll take 12 clips, three of each pitch (when conditions allow filming) and I'll post them on the existing channel and you can pick the ones you want to display.  Then I'll transfer them to the respective, and appropriately titled, channel on YouTube.

  Are you serious in wanting my son to teach your guys?  Provided we don't have anymore meteorological travesties down here, my son and I are looking forward to visiting at the very tail end of May, as we did last year.  His primary purpose is returning to Universal Studios.


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     I would appreciate if you could put the four videos that I mentioned into a single file titled, 'Dr. Marshall's four basic pitches.'  I thought that they were great.  You do not need to take any more. I will post this file as Amazing's January 2009 video.

     I was half-serious about your son teaching my guys.  Actually, to try to learn how he moves his pitching knee so far forward and points his acromial line at home plate, I am having them watch his videos.  I think that those four videos are sufficient for now.

     However, I am totally serious about taking high-speed film of him this summer on my dime.  I desperately need to show every aspect of how he throws my four basic pitches.

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074.  Questions on Key Issues With Major League Pitching.

  It has been a few months since the last round of questions I sent you from readers.  Today I wanted to get your perspective on an article by Rick Peterson.  He is a guest columnist at the website below.  I have summarized the points that I wanted to get your comments on.

Gary Armida article with Rick Peterson

1)  Rick Peterson believes in the pitch count as he likens it to a long distance runner.

He said, “Think about it as a runner.  Let’s say he runs three or four miles a day which would average about 27 miles a week.  He’s conditioned to that routine.  Then, the runner decides to do away with consistent training and will run however long he feels like it - like Forrest Gump.  So, one day he runs seven miles, the next 8, and the next 4 and so on.  So, one week he runs about 40 miles and then the next he runs 50, followed by 60 miles.  What happens to his legs?  He burns out and gets hurt.”  Proper conditioning to achieve optimal performance is necessary.  If pitchers aren’t put on a regular routine which allows them to condition their arm, more frequent injuries will occur (which is scary considering the already high rate of pitching injuries).

2)  If pitch counts don't matter, how do you explain the increased Batting Average and OPS as pitch count goes up in the article?

3)  Which is more important, swings and misses or inducing groundballs?

Rick Peterson explains, “If you had to choose, inducing groundballs is more important.  Consider that the batting average of a ball put in play on a 0-0 count is over .325.  If the count moves to 1-0 or even 1-1, it jumps to over .500.  It only makes sense that you want the ball to get hit on the ground.”  Your thoughts?

4)  Myth of “Getting Ahead”:  Rick Peterson said, "There is something more important than getting ahead.  The important aspect is how a pitcher gets ahead.  You want to pitch to the bottom of the strike zone.  The batting average of all balls put in play on a pitch at the bottom of the strike zone is .220.  If you do fall behind, make sure it is at the bottom of the strike zone.”  Your thoughts?

5)  Is location and the ability to change speed the two most important aspects of pitching?  Are they more important than velocity and movement?

6)  Do you believe, as Rick Peterson points out, that sports psychology can be a helpful tool for a pitcher.  If you think and believe like a winner you can make an average pitcher good and a good pitcher great?

We look forward to hearing your thoughts.  We will be publishing this on our website and using it in a conversation during our Sunday Radio Show where we have the site's editor, Gary Armida, come and talk about the Rick Peterson series.


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01.  Mr. Peterson is correct.

     Athletes cannot perform in competition for any longer than they can perform in their daily training.  That is why, at the end of their training program, I train my baseball pitchers to complete 24 wrist weight exercises, 24 iron ball throw, 12 football throws and 120 baseball throws every day.

     As a result, my baseball pitchers have no difficulty pitching two closing innings in two out of three major league games as I did in 1974 or starting every Wednesday and Sunday games as I did in Puerto Rico in the winter of 1968.

     That is why, when they complete my 724-Day interval-training program, I call my baseball pitchers, Monster baseball pitchers.

     Unfortunately, because the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion destroys pitching arms, 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches, like Mr. Peterson, cannot train their baseball pitchers as rigorously as I can train mine.

02.  Pitch counts do not count.  What matters is the quality and variety of the types of baseball pitches that major league baseball pitchers throw.  Because I teach two types of fastballs, two types of breaking pitches and two types of reverse breaking pitches, my baseball pitchers can pitch three times through the line-up without throwing the same type of first pitches.

03.  I want my baseball pitchers to throw pitches that baseball batters cannot hit even when they know what pitch my baseball pitchers are throwing.  I call these pitches, Humiliators.  When I pitched, I threw a humiliating screwball.

     As a result, to prevent me from getting two strikes on them and me throwing my screwball and humiliating them, baseball batters would swing early in the count and hit a lot of easy ground ball outs.  Without the humiliating pitch to worry about, baseball batters know that they can wait and still get a good swing at their two strike pitches.

04.  I agree with Mr. Peterson that how baseball pitchers get ahead in the count is important.

     My research on my pitch sequences shows that first pitch fastball strikes result in higher batting averages and on base percentages than first pitch non-fastball balls.  Therefore, I teach my baseball pitchers to start the first two At Bats against batters whom they have never faced before with two different types of non-fastball pitches.  Thereafter, they need to sequence their pitches to take advantage of the weaknesses of each baseball batter.

05.  The most important quality that baseball pitches can have is sudden and unpredictable movement.  Fastballs should move to the pitching arm and glove arm side of home plate.  Sinkers and sliders show suddenly move downward and to the pitching arm and glove arm side of home plate.  And, screwballs and curves should suddenly move downward.  These are the pitches that I want my baseball pitches to learn.  The differential velocities of these pitches are more important than their absolute velocities.

06.  The best sports psychology that baseball pitching coaches can give their baseball pitchers is to teach them how to throw baseball pitches that move suddenly and unpredictably within the strike zone.  Words do not get baseball batters out.

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075.  I am a 25 year old leisurely softball player.  I played baseball growing up as a kid and know how to take care of my arm.

I have been having this problem lately where my bicep hurts after throwing so much to the point where I can hardly hold my arm up.  The pain usually subsides after I rub in some Ben Gay and take some Advil but it doesn't help while I am playing.  The pain is from my elbow to the top of my bicep and it starts almost as soon as I start warming up after stretching of course.  Any advice?


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     When baseball pitchers have discomfort in the muscles that flex the elbow joint, the cause is 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'  'Pitching Forearm Flyout' occurs when baseball pitchers take their pitching hand and baseball laterally behind their body such that, to throw the baseball toward home plate, they have to return their pitching hand and baseball back to the pitching arm side of their body.

     To take their pitching hand and baseball back to the pitching arm side of their body, they generate horizontal force toward the pitching arm side of their body.  Consequently, when they turn their pitching hand and baseball to throw the baseball toward home plate, the lateral force slings their pitching forearm laterally away from their body to their pitching arm side.

     Therefore, to prevent their olecranon process from slamming into its fossa, they have to contract the muscles that flex their pitching elbow.  As a result, they overwork the muscles that flex their pitching elbow.

     While you said that you are a softball player, not a baseball pitcher, the cause of your discomfort might come from the same mechanical flaw.

     The cure is to stop taking your throwing hand and softball laterally behind your body.  Instead, you should take your throwing hand and baseball straight back toward second base and drive the softball straight toward home plate with a powerful throwing forearm pronation action.  Pronation means that you should turn the thumb of your throwing hand downward through release.

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076.  I won't be able to add "January" to "DrMarshall4Pitches" as the field won't accept any additional characters.

My son is going to pitch to a friend tomorrow.  His buddy is a 13 y/o who hits well so it should be a good battle.  In preparation for that, I had him throw from the full 46.5' today and I asked him to throw hard.  So, as expected, he reverted almost entirely to his former style.  One notable exception is that he, on several pitches, managed to keep his eyes on the catcher throughout.  His accuracy was better today as you'll see in the videos.  It's never been bad but he has a penchant for loosing a wild one every 10-15 pitches.  I don't see that so much in the last few weeks.

He won't benefit from his faster hip rotation tomorrow as I know he'll go with the "extended driveline", but he is mastering the new mechanics so quickly I feel he'll have them mastered in less than six weeks.

Lastly, his fastballs are coming into the plate without much vertical drop.  That can only mean that his velocity is up.  I have no idea what it is, but it's faster than it was a month ago - and this is still with the extended driveline (slow hips.)

Six or seven videos from today.  I edited them for brevity.


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     We should come up with some type of standardized youtube address system whereby we only need to change the name of the month to distinguish between the different videos.  How about; 'Jan09Amazing' and so on?

     If your son is able to throw strikes to catchers, then he is ready to throw pitching practice to batters.  Tell him for me to have fun.

     I love the behind the catcher view.

01.  CIMG0224:  This video starts a little late.  We need to see a second of his standing still before he starts his motion.  However, he looked great.  What a beautiful driveline release and a great Maxline Fastball with great movement.

02.  CIMG0226:  This video again started way too late.  However, even though it only showed his release, the driveline looked great and his Torque Fastball moved well.

03.  CIMG0227:  This video started at the end of his pendulum swing.  However, again, his driveline looked great and his Torque Fastball moved well.

04.  CIMG0229:  You timed this video perfectly.  This video started just as he started his pitching motion.  His driveline looked great and his Maxline True Screwball moved well.  However, he is hooking his wrist.  He needs to drive the tip of his middle finger through the top seam of the baseball like he is throwing a fastball, that is, with the pad of the tip of his middle finger facing toward home plate, not flat against the baseball.

05.  CIMG0231:  This video started a little late, at the end of his pendulum swing.  However, he had a great driveline and release.  The spin axis of this Maxline True Screwball was great.  Still, with a stronger middle fingertip release, he could increase his spin velocity.

06.  CIMG0232:  This video is the best of the three Maxline True Screwballs.  It started on time and he threw a great pitch.  This belongs in the Jan09Amazing file.

07.  CIMG0234:  This video also started at the end of his pendulum swing.  Nevertheless, what an incredible Maxline Pronation Curve.  I have no idea how to edit your video, but, if you can get them all like CIMG0229, they would all be marvelous.

     Choose one each of the four types of pitches and put them in the 'Jan09Amazing' file.  I need my guys to watch them.  Even though, instead of keeping his pitching knee bent until after he releases his pitches, he straightens his pitching leg, you son's body action is wonderful.  Maybe, because he is so close to landing, he has to straighten his pitching knee.

     Great stuff.

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077.  This is Mike Farrenkopf.

I pitched 2 innings in our inner squad scrimmage yesterday.  No runs, 1 hit, and I hit 1 batter.

1st inning:
RHB:  SI*c (low middle) MF (low away) F-8
RHB:  SL (inside) F-7
LHB:  SL*c (low middle) TF (low, batter attempted to bunt but held back) SI (high) MF (hit batter in the back) HBP
RHB:  SL* (away middle) MF (high) Runner at first attempts to steal but my catcher threw him out at second.

2nd inning:
RHB:  SL*c  (middle)  SC (up in zone, lined to center) -8
RHB:  SI (ground out to second) 4-3
LHB:  SL*s (low middle) CB*c (away) CB (low and out) SC (ground out to first) 3-3
RHB:  SI*s (away) MF*f (fouled back) TC (fouled) SC (left the pitch up and he popped it to left) F-7

I need to make sure I bury my out pitches so that the batters do not get a good bat on the ball or if at all.


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     I and your many website fans love these reports.  I hope that posting them works for you.  If not, tell me and I will not post them.  However, if we post them, then we need to post them all.

     I also greatly appreciate that you provided the pitch sequences.  More fun for me.

First Inning.

01.  You started this right-handed batter with a Maxline Fastball Sinker.  That means to me that you believed that he is a pull hitter.  That he flied out to center field on the Maxline Fastball means that he tried to pull the pitch and it moved away from him.  That means that he is a pull hitter.

02.  You started this right-handed batter with a Torque Fastball Slider.  That means that you believed that he is a spray hitter.  That he swung at the pitch and flied out to left field could mean that he is either a pull hitter or a sufficiently skilled batter that he can be either a pull or spray hitter.

03.  You started this left-handed batter with a Torque Fastball Slider.  This means that you believed that he is a pull hitter.  Unfortunately, you missed with the follow-up two-seam Torque Fastball.  Then, you were high with a Maxline Fastball Sinker and hit him with a two-seam Maxline Fastball.  This means that you either took the baseball too far laterally behind your body or you did not inwardly rotate your pitching upper arm strongly enough.

04.  You started this right-handed batter with a Torque Fastball Slider.  This means that you believed that he is a spray hitter.  However, instead of a second pitch two-seam Torque Fastball inside, you threw a two-seam Maxline Fastball.  Why?

Second Inning.

04.  I assume that this is the same batter as was batting at the end of the first inning.  You again started him with a Torque Fastball Slider.  He took the pitch for a called strike.  Dumb hitter, he should have been looking for the slider.  Then, you threw him a Maxline True Screwball and he lined to center for a hit.  While it is true that a Maxline True Screwball is the minus twenty pitch most unlike the Torque Fastball Slider, it does give a spray hitter a pitch that moves away from him to hit back up the middle or the other way.  I would recommend a two-seam Torque Fastball inside.  Then, with two strikes, you can see whether he will chase a Maxline True Screwball out of the strike zone and finish him with a Maxline Pronation Curve.

05.  That you started this right-handed batter with a Maxline Fastball Sinker shows that you believed that he is a pull hitter.  However, he hit the pitch to second base.  He either is a spray hitter or tried to be one.  That he failed could mean that he tried to be one.

06.  That you started this left-handed batter with a Torque Fastball Slider shows that you believed that he is a pull hitter.  That he swung at and missed the pitch indicates that you might have been right.  That he took a two-seam Torque Pronation Curve for a called strike also indicates that you might have been right.  That he grounded a Maxline True Screwball to first base indicates that you were right.

07.  That you started this right-handed batter with s Maxline Fastball Sinker shows that you believed that he is a pull hitter.  That he swing and missed indicates that you might be right.  That he fouled back a two-seam Maxline Fastball also indicates that you might be right.  That you threw a two-seam Torque Pronation Curve with two strikes instead of a four-seam Maxline Pronation Curve confuses me.  If he is a pull hitter, then he should have pulled it foul early.  Did he?  That he popped up a two-strike Maxline True Screwball to left field shows that you were right.

     Great report.  Good job.  The second pitch Maxline True Screwball after a first pitch Torque Fastball Slider to a suspected right-handed spray hitter is not a good choice.  With two strikes, you could throw it to get him to chase something out of the strike zone, but, on the second pitch, you needed to come inside again with either a two-seam Torque Fastball or two-seam Torque Pronation Curve.

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078.  This is Amazing's father.

This is what I've got so far:  www.youtube.com/jan09scott

I can't bring myself to put "amazing" in the title - that is too vainglorious for my taste.

Can't locate good obliques of the TFB and MFB so I'll try and shoot them next time out.

He threw about ten pitches today but his curve seemed to be ~20mph and 15 degrees off (short) of the acromial line.  Weird, but he's been vomiting ever since so maybe that played a role.

I'm afraid that your kids there are going to come to resent Scott when they read that we discussed him coming down there.  Having been to your facility and having seen these athletes work and knowing that they are slowly overcoming many years of ingrained mechanical motion I know that neither I nor Scott could "teach" them a thing!

If watching Scott's motion in person would help them then I would gladly make the drive - that was my intent in my letter and I'm afraid I worded it poorly.  Your pitchers have been absolutely steadfast and staunch supporters of Scott ever since his video was made public and given the withering criticism he has received I find it heartwarming to know that he has such allies.


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     You guys are too modest.  'Amazing' does not give you guys enough credit, much less too much.

01.  MFB Frontal @ 300fps:  I love the view from behind the catcher.  Even though this video starts after he has started his acceleration phase, it shows a great driveline and Maxline Fastball release.  It shows how my Maxline Fastball moves to the pitching arm side of home plate.

     I love watching his pitching arm after he releases his pitches.  His pitching elbow pops up, which shows how powerfully he inwardly rotates his pitching upper arm and his pitching forearm transcribes a perfect pronation circle which shows how powerfully he pronated his pitching forearm.  His entire pitching arm action is gorgeous.

     Is it possible to redo these videos to show how he starts his pitching motion?

02.  TFB Frontal @ 300fps:  Again, even though this video starts after he has started his acceleration phase, it shows a great driveline and Torque Fastball release.  It shows how my Torque Fastball moves to the glove arm side of home plate.

03.  MTSc Frontal @ 300fps:  This video almost starts at the beginning of his pitching motion.  It shows a great driveline and Maxline True Screwball release.  It shows how my Maxline True Screwball moves to the glove arm side of home plate and downward.  What a great screwball he threw.

04.  MTSc Oblique @ 300fps:  This video almost starts at the beginning of his pitching motion.  It shows a close-up view of how your son releases my Maxline True Screwball.  Again, it shows how he powerfully inwardly rotates his pitching upper arm and pronates his pitching forearm.  Marvelous.

05.  MPC Frontal @ 300fps:  This video starts after your son has raised his pitching arm to driveline height.  It shows a great driveline and Maxline Pronation Curve release.

     When anybody says that it is impossible for baseball pitchers to point their acromial line at home plate before they release their pitches, I will send them to these videos.  I wish all my guys could throw my Maxline Pronation Curve as well as your son.  I am humbled by the accomplishments that you and your son have achieved.

06.  MPC Oblique @ 300fps:  This video starts after your son has started his pendulum swing.  It shows a vertical pitching forearm, a great driveline and a Maxline Pronation Curve release.  I am amazed at how high his pitching elbow pops up after release, which proves how powerfully he inwardly rotates his pitching upper arm.

     As you noted, what you guys have done amazes my guys.  They will never resent Scott, they respect what he has accomplished too much.  However, instead of giving you and he all the credit you deserve, they say that he learned how to do my baseball pitching motion this well because no 'traditional' baseball pitching coach messed him up first.  I never put that qualifier on your accomplishments.

     We could never ask you and Scott to make that long trip.  The video shows everything that they need to see. Nevertheless, we will enjoy your visit for the high-speed filming.  This time, they will very closely watch everything that Scott does.

     I will immediately post this website address.  Everybody needs to see how much more you and Scott have done.

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079.  This is Mike Farrenkopf.

I do not mind at all that you post my updates.

When I threw the torque curve instead of the MC, I actually was intending to throw the MC.  I pulled the pitch so it ended up moving like a TC.

I do not have an answer to the 4th sequence.  Like you said, I should have thrown a 2 seam TF inside.


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     Thank you.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, February 01, 2009, I posted the following questions and answers.

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080.  Tennis Forehand Question.

I recently saw a technique being discussed where the tennis forehand is done in a "wrap" fashion.  In other words, after hitting the ball the player continues to swing the racket such that the arm (and racket) end up over the opposite shoulder (i.e., for a right-hander the racket would end up over the left shoulder).  This is called the "wrap" technique?  Evidently, the coaches feel that this allows more power and spin to be put on the ball.

My question, from reading your site, wouldn't this end up eventually causing shoulder pain?


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     Do the athletes use one or two hands on the tennis racquet?  With two hands, they can use the force-coupling technique, which would greatly decrease the deceleration force that they have to apply, which would greatly decrease the possibility of applying more stress than they can safely withstand.

     The upward direction of the force application technique is to enable the athletes to put top spin on the tennis ball.  While this decreases the horizontal velocity of the returned tennis ball, it enables the athletes to keep the tennis ball within the confines of the tennis court.

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081.  Clarification.

  In this week's Q #76 you write:  "When baseball pitchers start to rotate their hips forward before their glove foot lands, just before their glove foot lands, it moves sideways to their pitching arm side.  I call this, 'glove foot float.'"

I always thought the glove foot moved to the glove side during Glove foot float.


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     You are correct.  I will correct the quote.  I greatly appreciate your editing my work.  Sometimes, I have so much to write in such a short time.  Thank you.

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082.  Clarification #2.

Back to Q#76 again:  You write:  "With my Maxline pitches, I want my baseball pitchers to drop step at a forty-five degree angle to the glove side of their body with their glove toes landing when their pitching arm is forty-five degrees behind their body,"

Assuming this true, this is a major departure from what I understood about when the glove foot lands on your maxline pitches.  I was under the impression that you want the glove foot to land at the same time as the baseball reaches driveline height.  Has there been a change?


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     Yes.

     Under the classification of 'live and learn,' I have watched my 'Amazing' twelve year old baseball pitcher throw my Maxline pitches and the only way I now believe that baseball pitchers can move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot such that they can apply force back toward second base with their glove leg is to delay when their pitching arm reaches driveline height.

     Previously, to prevent injury to the front of the pitching shoulder, I recommended, like with the 'crow-hop' throwing rhythm, baseball pitchers need to have their pitching arm at driveline height when they glove foot lands.  However, my 'Amazing' twelve year old baseball pitcher has convinced me otherwise.

     I now believe that baseball pitchers need to have their pitching arm at driveline height when they use their glove leg to apply force back toward second base.

     I recommend that all readers go to: www.youtube.com/jan09scott and watch this twelve year olds body action over and over as follows:

01.  Watch how he uses his glove arm side leg.  He no longer jumps forward off his glove foot until after he releases his pitches.  That is what 'traditional' baseball pitchers and my guys do just not as close to release as he does.

02.  Watch how he uses his pitching arm side leg.  He no longer 'kicks' his pitching lower leg forward.  He keeps his pitching knee bent until he needs to straighten it for landing.  I don't see how anybody can object to this body action.

03.  Watch how he rotates his acromial and acetabular lines to point directly at home plate.  I cannot believe how quickly he is able to rotate his hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward.  He stands absolutely vertically upward and rotates around his vertical axis.

04.  Ignore the fact that he raises his pitching arm to high above his head and loops his pitching arm and watch how he points his pitching upper arm directly at home plate.  He makes it look so easy.

05.  Watch how vertical he gets his pitching arm at release.  Notice that, when he starts the inward rotation of his pitching upper arm, he has his pitching upper arm just above horizontal.  It is incredible.

06.  Watch how powerfully he inwardly rotates his pitching upper arm.  From the 'oblique' view, you can see how high his pitching elbow pops up after release.  Unbelievable.

07.  Watch how powerfully he pronates his pitching forearm.  He drives his pitching arm straight toward home plate without pulling his pitching upper arm downward.  My guys work for years and cannot learn this.

08.  Watch how tightly he gets his 'pronation circle.'  I and my guys are in awe of how tightly he gets his 'pronation circle.'

09.  Watch how he 'sticks' his pitching hand into the strike zone.  The end of his deceleration phase is directly at home plate.

10.  Watch the perfect spin axis he gets with all four of my basic adolescent baseball pitches.  While he could improve his Maxline True Screwball release, his Maxline Pronation Curve release is incredible.  I never thought that I would see a twelve year old with over-spin.

11.  Watch how perfectly all four of my basic adolescent baseball pitches move.  With his beautiful pitching upper arm inward rotation, he is able to throw his Maxline pitches within the seventeen inches of home plate and still his Triceps Brachii muscle to powerfully extend his pitching elbow.

     And on and on and on.  With every view of every pitch, I keep clicking on the Replay button and seeing more and more.  I recommend that, like track coaches studied the 'Fosbury Flop' in high jumping, everybody study him.

     When, in 1967, in discussions with my Kinesiology professor, Dr. William W. Heusner, where I theorized what baseball pitchers had to do to satisfy Sir Issac Newton's Law of Reaction, I never imagined what this young man does.  Now that I see it, I know that it is right and he has proved that my theory was correct.  The glove leg is the primary contributor to the equal and oppositely-directed force that Sir Isaac Newton requires.

     With my new Second Base Pickoff body action; Pendulum Swing Glove and Pitching Arm Actions drill, he will eliminate the excessive pitching arm action and tighten his glove arm action.  When he does, he will perfectly perform my theoretical baseball pitching motion.  And, he is already the most skilled practitioner of my baseball pitching motion.

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083.  Bilateral Training.

In Chapter 32 of your book you write about Bi-Lateral Training, you wrote:

f.  Bi-Lateral Training Principle

        "Whenever athletes perform exercises that stress muscles that attach to vertebral columns, they should equally train both sides.  Equalized bi-lateral muscular development helps vertebral columns to remain vertically aligned.  Also, whenever possible, athletes should simultaneously train bi-laterally.  However, when athletes cannot bi-laterally train simultaneously, they should train their non-dominant sides and, then, their dominant sides.  The only truly valuable cross-training occurs when non-dominant motor unit contraction and relaxation sequences cross over to their dominant sides.  Therefore, bi-lateral training produces symmetrical muscular development, reduces vertebral column mal-alignments and promotes perfect motor unit contraction and relaxation sequences."

Strength & Conditioning "Coaches" are becoming a major part of the baseball community at the professional all the way down to the youth levels.  The coaches often cite the unilateral development of the pitching arm side of the body as a major culprit to pitching arm problems.  They say this "asymmetry" is a big predictor of injury.  They say this asymmetry leads to problems such as internal rotation deficit (GIRD), and something they call "sick Scapula".  Therefore, these S&C coaches appear to spend much of their training with pitchers addressing this postural imbalance.

In Question #1172 in your 2008 Question File, you somewhat address this issue.  For example, you say that the development of the Latissimus Dorsi can affect the angle of the line across the front of the shoulders.  You do not, however, say that this is injurious.

My Questions:

1.  In your book you say that if you can not train bilaterally you should work on the non dominant side first.  I don't see this in you training protocols.  You have been asked a few times from readers if they should also pitch baseballs with their non dominant side arm and answer that they should not.  Can you explain your training programs in regard to this Bi-lateral issue?  As an aside to this issue, I found it interesting that you said that you started out as a lefty and then changed to throwing right handed.  For whatever reason, Johann Santana says he did a similar thing as a teenager.

2.  Do you think it is a wise use of their time for S&C coaches to rebalance the torso in their off season training of their pitchers?  I suspect they are missing the point that all these injuries are because of the flaws in the traditional pitching motion.

3.  You say in Chapter 13 of your book "The Clavicle maintains the Scapula at fixed distances from the Sternum.  Therefore, the Scapula cannot move closer to or farther away from the Sternum.  "If this is true how can the more well trained Latissimus Dorsi change the angle across the top of the shoulder?  Would this change the position of the Sternum?

4.  Leaving aside the mechanical and injurious flaws in the traditional pitching motion, would one side dominance be more of problem in the traditional world than in the Marshall world?


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01.  My Wrist Weight exercises bi-laterally train the glove arm of the baseball pitching motion.  As evidence, I offer the X-rays of the Humerus bone of my glove upper arm.  You will see that, unlike Mr. Messersmith's Humerus bone of his glove upper arm, my Humerus bone of my glove upper arm was not significantly different from the Humerus bone in my pitching upper arm.

02.  Because the Strength and Conditioning coaches do not specifically train the glove arm side of baseball pitchers in precisely the same manner as they should use their glove and pitching arms, they cannot get the results that they need.  First and foremost, the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion cannot satisfy the requirement of 'the conservation of momentum.'  To do that, they will have to use my baseball pitching motion.

03.  The Latissimus Dorsi muscle inwardly rotates the pitching upper arm.  As a result, the pitching upper arm moves from horizontal to vertical.  Watch how the 'Amazing' twelve year old baseball pitcher changes the angle of the pitching upper arm.

04.  See #02 above.  Because the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion does not satisfy the Law of Conservation of Momentum, it cannot help but unnecessarily stress the pitching arm and cause injuries.

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084.  This is Amazing's father.

Well, that was fun!

Yesterday, we began the "maximum release velocity" approach.  When we went across the street to throw lids, the impact was noticeable.  The last three lids whistled as they flew by me (I serve as a human target, but I am reconsidering that office), nothing close to that has happened before.

Today, he threw four of each pitch, beginning with the TFB.  These were good, two were a little harder than usual.  With the MPC all four made it to the glove easily.  The screwball was good, not much change. When he threw the MFBs they were a little harder, like the TFB - except the last one.

The front of his pitching plate is 49' from the front of the bucket I sit upon to catch.  He threw this particluar MFB at my right shoulder around the height of the top of my forehead.  It got to me so bloody fast I shot my hand up just in time to catch it but it was breaking to my left (normally I can't see this, but there was no mistaking it) and as such it went off my glove.  It went over my head, bounced off the tarp, hit me in the back and hurt!!

Not having played baseball, I don't know what it looks like to see a 70mph pitch coming at you, much less 80 or 90, but my goodness that startled me.  Probably more from it being so out of the norm moreso than it's velocity.  I have caught LL pitchers that throw low 50s according to a radar gun and I believe this pitch might have been in the high fifties.

I'm glad I never told him to "let it all hang" and throw for everything he's worth before because it may have impeded his learning your mechanics.  Now however, I'm going to see if these large muscles start to sequence properly, with more regularity.

I'm not going to film or critique for a while - I want him to just have fun throwing the tar out of the ball.

Wish you could have been here for his MFB - talk about a quantum leap - and in only TWO days!


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     The best judges of whether baseball pitchers are throwing with velocity sufficient to get baseball batters out are those baseball batters.  Nevertheless, that you have less time in which to react to his Maxline Fastball is interesting.

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085.  I bought the Casio EX-FH20 hi speed camera.  It captures at 420 frames per second and 1000 frames per second.  I think it is much better than the Casio EX-F1 and it costs less!

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     I will pass the word along.

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086.  Follow-up on new Maxline mechanics

I am pleased that you have decided to have the glove foot land at the 45 degree behind the back position.  I would expect that your guys will now start getting their pitching foot ahead of their glove foot at release.  I consider this a major advancement to your pitching motion.  I have two questions.

1.  How did this suddenly become non-injurious?  I believe it was your position that if the glove foot landed too soon the pitcher would pull the upper arm forward.  It does not appear that Scott (Amazing) does this, but is there something besides visual evidence has changed your mind?

2.  You have often said that the stride in traditional pitchers does not contribute to release velocity because the baseball is still going backwards when the glove foot lands.  You have said, I believe, that your motion contributes to the kinetic chain because the glove foot does not land until the baseball get to driveline height.  This has clearly changed as the glove foot will land and the baseball will be going backwards in your new mechanic.  Therefore, does this new mechanic change your view of the kinetic chain in the traditional baseball pitching motion and/or your new motion?

I love Scott's Torque fastball.  He will find out that it will be a devastating pitch against RH hitters.


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     I want thousands of Amazings out there.  With his video example, fathers everywhere should be able to teach their ten year old baseball pitchers to throw like Scott.  Gentlemen, get to work.

     In August 2007, with my Maxline pitches, to enable my baseball pitchers to more easily rotate their acromial line to point at home plate and release their Maxline pitches outside of the glove arm side of home plate, I started teaching my baseball pitchers to step forward with their glove foot at a forty-five degree angle to the glove arm side of their body.

     As my Amazing twelve year old shows, as I theorized, baseball pitchers can point their acromial line directly at home plate and drive their pitching upper arm straight at home plate and 'stick' their pitching hand into the strike zone.

01.  With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, their 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover' injurious flaw delays their pitching arm from arriving at driveline height before they start to pull their pitching elbow forward.  Therefore, the resulting 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' tears the connective tissue of their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     To eliminate their 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover' which injures their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, I recommend that they take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball.

     To eliminate injuries to the front of their pitching shoulder, I recommend that they pendulum swing their pitching arm to driveline height to arrive at the same time that their glove foot lands and their glove leg pushes forward toward home plate.

     The crow-hop throwing rhythm that 'traditional' baseball pitchers use when they long toss forces baseball players to raise their throwing arm to driveline height to arrive at the same time as their glove foot lands.

     After watching my Amazing twelve year old, I realized that, instead of timing the arrival of their pitching arm at driveline height with when their glove foot lands, my baseball pitchers should time the arrival of their pitching arm at driveline height with when they push back toward second base with their glove leg.

     However, the reason why leaving their pitching arm below driveline height when their glove foot lands does not injure the front of their pitching shoulder is because, instead using their Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally flexing their pitching upper arm, my baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi and Teres Major muscles to inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     As the oblique views of Amazing's Maxline True Screwball and Maxline Pronation Curve show, after he releases his pitches, his pitching elbow pops vertically upward well above his driveline.  This action eliminates all stress from the front of his pitching shoulder.

02.  The Law of Conservation of Momentum, now bastardized into the 'Kinetic Chain,' requires that once baseball pitchers start to move the baseball toward home plate, the action of every joint in the anatomical chain contributes to the acceleration of the baseball through release.

     After 'traditional' baseball pitchers lift their glove leg high into the air in front of them and stride seventy to ninety percent of their standing height, the fact that the baseball is either completely stopped or moving backward proves that they legs contribute nothing to the acceleration of the baseball toward home plate.  Therefore, they do not meet the requirements of the Law of Conservation of Momentum.

     With my baseball pitching motion, the baseball starts moving forward when my baseball pitchers start moving the center of mass of their body forward and, unlike 'traditional' baseball pitchers, provided like the Amazing twelve year old baseball pitchers does, they continue to move the center of mass of their body forward through release.  If they do not, then they also do not satisfy the Law of Conservation of Momentum, at least with their glove leg action.  Nevertheless, where 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not, my baseball pitchers do meet the requirements with their pitching arm action.

     However, my Amazing twelve year old has proven that my theory of how baseball pitchers can satisfy Sir Isaac Newton's Law of Reaction works.  Even though he has not yet mastered how to leave his pitching hand the full length of this pitching forearm behind his pitching elbow, by keeping the center of mass of his body continuously moving toward home plate, he keeps the baseball continuously moving toward home plate, which satisfies the Law of Conservation of Momentum for his entire body and pitching arm.

     My new Second Base Pick-off body action; Pendulum Swing Glove and Pitching Arm Actions drill will teach Amazing how to eliminate his looping.

     Sometime in February, my guys and I will take video of their drill from which I will make a DVD that I will put on my website for all to learn how to correctly perform this drill.

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087.  I will send you a DVD in the mail.

My high school student is learning your Maxline Pronation curve.  He can throw it, however he has not mastered it yet.  He picked up your torque slider very quickly and on those times when he gets it right, there is no one on this planet that can hit it.  The good news is that no one ever taught him anything but a fastball and a traditional curve.  I am un-training the traditional curve and moving toward the pronation curve.

He can easily throw your maxline fastball.  It has wonderful movement.  He is still working on the Torque Fastball.  The torque pitches seem to be the hardest for experienced athletes to pick up as they are not used to bringing their hand to the torque position inside of vertical.

When I first worked with him, he complained of elbow pain.  That was a year ago.  I first taught him to pronate.  This solved his elbow pain issues.  For the past few months we have been working on his driveline and his control.  His is a gifted young man.  I feel fortunate to be able to work with him.

We are working on mastering 3 pitches for his spring season.  With that, he will be very successful and with the team he is playing with we should see him in the High School State Championship.

Now, I need to teach him mental toughness.  The one thing that all pitchers must possess to be highly successful.  Any pointers?


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     He is lucky to have you.  He just does not know it yet.  I look forward to watching his DVD.

     Because it is so easy for those who have not yet mastered pronating the release of their Maxline Pronation Curve to supinate the release of their slider, I prefer not to teach them anything even closely resembling the slider until they can back-of-their-hand pronation rip the release of their Maxline Pronation Curve.  I don't care where their throw their Maxline Pronation Curve, only that they pronation rip the release.

     Do you have him throwing the lids and appropriately-sized footballs? They are critical to the development of my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     In my experience, because it is much easier to Radially Flex the wrist than Ulnarly Flex the wrist, baseball pitchers learn my Torque Fastball one-hand chest pass release much more easily than they learn my Maxline Fastball release.

     He needs to start doing my Second Base Pickoff body action; Pendulum Swing Glove and Pitching Arm Actions drill.  This drill will increase how powerfully his inwardly rotates his pitching upper arm and straighten his driveline.

     Baseball pitchers become mentally tough when they can throw a wide variety of high-quality pitches into the strike zone that baseball batters cannot hit.

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088.  Demonstration video.

Do you think making a video of your and Joe’s presentation/demonstration complete with a camera behind home plate and Joe throwing strikes from second base would be of any value?  It could become a “virtual” presentation, which is the next best thing to a presentation.

Maybe give a catcher’s view with a batter at the plate as a reference point.


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     On Wednesday, February 11, 2009, I plan to take the front view of my guys doing my Second Base Pickoff body action; Pendulum Swing Glove and Pitching Arm Actions drill.  Then, on Thursday, February 12, 2009, I plan to take the rear view.  If we can find a baseball field with electrical service, then we could try the second base to home plate throws.

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089.  I am a young, new, high school pitching coach.  I have listened to Tom House's theories and I'm looking for different perspectives right now to teach to my pitchers.  I have an open mind I'm just trying to find something that I'm comfortable teaching.

What do you think of Dr. House's methodology?  Where do your teachings differ from his, and are there any other names or teachings out there that you would recommend?


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     What Mr. House teaches destroys pitching arms.  All you need to do is ask Mark Prior.

     On my website, drmikemarshall.com, without charge, I have provided my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and other video files for visitors to watch, my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, Question/Answer files and other text files of visitors to read and my Baseball Pitchers Training Programs for visitors to copy and complete.

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090.  You wrote:  " As the oblique views of Amazing's Maxline True Screwball and Maxline Pronation Curve show, after he releases his pitches, his pitching elbow pops vertically upward well above his driveline.  This action eliminates all stress from the front of his pitching shoulder.

I was under the impression that the elbow popping up was the result of pronation.  You have said in the past that forearm pronation protects the elbow not the shoulder.  I believe it was view that locking the humerus in its Glenoid Fossa protects the front of the shoulder.  Has you view on this changed?


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     Pitching forearm pronation turns the pitching thumb to point downward.  Pitching upper arm inward rotation turns the pitching elbow to point upward.  When the pitching elbow pops upward, it means that the pitching upper arm inward rotation was especially powerful.  In addition to pitching elbow extension, these three actions powerfully apply force to the baseball.

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091.  Sheets still on the market.

Dallas Morning News
Jan 6, 2009

Starter Ben Sheets continues to wait and see what might happen.  His agent said he continues to talk with the Rangers.  No offers have been made, so things haven't advanced to the next level.

Sheets is probably waiting to see what Derek Lowe gets on the open market.  The Mets have offered Lowe $36 million over three years and don't intend to up the offer, according to Newsday.  The Braves might be interested, according to an AJC blog entry.

Several reports have said that Sheets' medicals are scaring some teams off.  The Rangers have seen Sheets' medicals and don't seem scared to the point where they aren't still interested.  But those medicals also could bring Sheets' price down.  The Rangers would need to unload some sort of salary.  But how much?  Would trading Hank Blalock be enough to make room for Sheets?  Maybe.  Perhaps owner Tom Hicks would be willing to make a multi-year deal knowing that Vicente Padilla's salary can come off the books after 2009 (and maybe Kevin Millwood's too, depending on whether he pitches 180 innings this season).  Just a thought.

Are you still interested in Sheets?  What kind of offer would you make for him knowing his recent history of injuries?


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     Obviously, I have never examined Mr. Sheets or been able to high-speed film his pitching motion.  Nevertheless, I believe that he is the best free agent baseball pitcher this off-season.  Naturally, I would be more enthused if I were able to train Mr. Sheets.

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092.  Newsday
January 6, 2009

Mets general manager Omar Minaya and his lieutenants have internally discussed a plan to re-sign Pedro Martinez -- assuming Martinez is amenable to a contract with a low base salary and heavy with incentives -- and mix and match Martinez, whose last 21/2 seasons have been plagued by injury and ineffectiveness, with rookies Jon Niese and Bobby Parnell.


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     Without dramatically changing how Mr. Martinez uses his pitching upper arm, I do not believe that he has anything left.

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093.  Chris Carpenter could close for Cardinals
The Associated Press
January 6, 2009

Still looking for a closer, the St. Louis Cardinals might consider turning to oft-injured ace Chris Carpenter next season.  Cardinals manager Tony La Russa told The Associated Press on Monday that he'd think about using the 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner in that role if it were the best way to keep him on the mound.

Carpenter made only four appearances last season following reconstructive elbow surgery and underwent another procedure in November to transpose an elbow nerve that was causing irritation.

"We want Chris pitching for us, and if I was told he couldn't be healthy throwing 100 pitches every five days and he could be a reliever, I'd take him as a reliever," La Russa said.

Reports on Carpenter have been positive so far.

"He still hasn't thrown, and that's next," La Russa said.

A timetable for a throwing program will be determined after a checkup next week.  General manager John Mozeliak said doctors are undecided about which role suits Carpenter best.  The Cardinals also considered Carpenter for a bullpen role last August after he was slow to recover from his starts.

"We're trying to make sure we check out all our options," Mozeliak said.  "I think it's got to be what's best for Chris, and what's best for the team."


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     The scariest sentence in this wishful thinking article is; 'doctors are undecided about which role suits Carpenter best.'  What medical school course teaches doctors about how much stress the destroyed pitching arm can withstand when the baseball pitcher continues to use the baseball pitching motion that has already ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament twice?

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094.  Major League Baseball, Florida Marlins and city of Hialeah to build MLB Urban Youth Baseball Academy in Southern Florida; State-of-the-Art facility will offer free baseball and softball instruction to local youth.
MLB.com
January 7, 2009

Major League Baseball (MLB), Florida Marlins, and city of Hialeah have agreed to build MLB's second Urban Youth Baseball Academy, providing free baseball and softball instruction to Southern Florida youth, ages 7-18, as a component of the new Marlins stadium project.  The announcement was made today at the future site of the Academy, at the intersection of NW 36 Avenue and West 87 Street in Hialeah.  MLB President and Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy, MLB Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations Jimmie Lee Solomon, and Florida Marlins President David Samson joined city of Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina for the announcement.

"The opening of our second Baseball Academy is an important development for Major League Baseball," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig.  "Our first Academy in Compton has proven to be a significant investment for the growth of our sport, particularly among inner-city youth.  We hope that this new Academy will have a similar impact in the lives of children in this community.  I would like to thank the city of Hialeah and the Florida Marlins for participating in this important project, and I look forward to seeing the talent potential that will be developed at this Academy, both on and off the field."

Major League Baseball is scheduled to break ground on the Hialeah facility later this year.  Supporters include the Florida Marlins, city of Hialeah and Rawlings Sporting Goods.  The MLB Urban Youth Academy in Hialeah will feature state-of-the-art facilities including a show field complete with scoreboard; permanent seating for 700 fans, with space for an additional 1800 fans; dugouts and lights; two auxiliary fields; four softball/Little League ball fields and batting cages; and a 1,200 square-foot office space and other facilities.

Like its forerunner in Compton, the MLB Urban Youth Academy will operate on a year-round basis.  Over the course of the first year of operation, the Academy expects to offer the free program to a minimum of 2,500 youth.  Academy staff will consist of former Major and Minor league players. Additional instructors, collegiate coaches, scouts, and certified athletic trainers also will participate in the Academy.  The Academy will be available to all who want to participate from the Hialeah and greater Miami area with enrollment open year round.

"Baseball is truly 'Americas Game'; participation in this sport can help develop the character of our community youth and is critical for interpersonal development and success. Additionally, it will provide job opportunities and vocational training in the areas of field's crew personnel, umpires, and stadium operations to residents of our community," stated city of Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina.  "Through this academy and partnership with MLB, we will work diligently and positively to develop in our youth: integrity, respect, accountability, character, self-discipline, personal responsibility and teamwork."

In addition to baseball and softball instruction, boys and girls attending the MLB Urban Youth Academy will be given the opportunity to participate in free seminars on umpiring, athletic field management, scouting and player development, sports and broadcast journalism, public relations and statistics, as well as athletic sports training.  The MLB Urban Youth Academy will create a diversified program for students that will not only concentrate on baseball and softball, but educational opportunities as well.  The Academy's goal is to graduate 100 percent of the youth it serves.

"It is our responsibility as a Major League team to make our community a better place for future generations," said Marlins Owner Jeffrey Loria.  "The academy's mission is to set the standard for instruction, teaching and education by providing safe, organized recreational activities for our youth.  This partnership will enhance the quality of life in the surrounding communities, and we are extremely proud to be partnering with Major League Baseball and the city of Hialeah on this initiative."

Another Major League baseball youth baseball program expected to utilize the facility is the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program presented by KPMG.  RBI presented by KPMG is one of the many Major League Baseball initiatives dedicated to enhancing youth participation and interest in baseball and softball.  Specifically, RBI is designed to promote interest in the sport and encourage kids to stay in school.  RBI programs have been started in more than 200 cities worldwide, and annually provide as many as 100,000 boys and girls the opportunity to play baseball and softball.

"This second Youth Baseball Academy is an important step in making sure that kids who want to play our sport, have the opportunity to do so," said Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Jimmie Lee Solomon.  "The Compton Academy has proven that it can help to grow the game with more than 24 students athletes drafted since 2006.  In total, 49 student athletes have signed professional contracts.  76 Academy student athletes have gone on to participate in collegiate baseball and softball programs.  I expect this Academy will have the same success and will hopefully teach kids of the many opportunities our game has to offer."

The MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton first opened its doors in February of 2006 as the first MLB year-round Academy that offered free baseball and softball instruction to inner-city kids (ages 8- 17). Located on the campus of El Camino College Compton Center, about 15 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles and exactly 20 miles from both Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium of Anaheim, the Academy's goal is to set the standard for instruction, teaching and education in Urban America through the strength of the national pastime and to enhance the quality of life in the surrounding communities.

The MLB Urban Youth Academy also has been home to the MLB High School showcase during the past two years in which top talent from the Southern California region has come to demonstrate their skills in front of Major League scouts.  These showcases have produced an additional 61 players who were drafted in the last two years, not including the student athletes who were Urban Youth Academy participants.  The power of the showcases to draw the top talent from throughout the region and beyond demonstrates the immense respect that the Academy has earned in a short amount of time.

In addition, the MLB Urban Youth Academy in Compton hosts the RBI World Series presented by KPMG, the championship round of the RBI program; Urban Invitational, a highly competitive college baseball tournament featuring Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU's) playing top tier universities in the Southern California area; the Breakthrough Series in partnership with USA Baseball featuring three teams with players from the MLB Urban Youth Academy, Mentoring Viable Prospects and the Major League Scouting Bureau; and the Academy Barons, a California Collegiate League team consisting of collegiate athletes from around the southern California area.


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     If, indeed, like the fourth following paragraph in this article says, the MLB Urban Youth Academy offers their free program to a minimum of 2,500 youth, I cannot say enough positive about what they are doing.

     Unfortunately, the devil is in the details.

     This paragraph also says, " Academy staff will consist of former Major and Minor league players. Additional instructors, collegiate coaches, scouts, and certified athletic trainers also will participate in the Academy."      This past weekend, Joe Williams and I had the priveledge to present my materials to the Illinous High School Baseball Coaches Association.  We had a great time and the high school coaches responded very positively.  However, the IHSBCA held their annual meeting in the White Sox Academy.

     Therefore, the White Sox Academy staff also presented their ideas.  Because the White Sox major league baseball team owns the White Sox Academy, the White Sox Academy staff teaches what the White Sox coaching staff teaches.

     Obviously, I could not disagree more with what they teach their baseball pitchers to do.  However, while not injurious, what they teach their baseball batters to do is also ridiculous.  And, the White Sox do not offer their programs for free.

     Consequently, while I applaud Major League Baseball and the Florida Marlins for their philanthropic gesture, if, like at the White Sox Academy, they teach the same stuff that destroys the Florida Marlins baseball pitchers, they will destroy the pitching arms of the youth in the Miami area.

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095.  IHSBCA clinic this weekend.

Thank you for agreeing to me taking video of your presentations.  I will gladly send you and Joe copies.  I plan to start working on the DVD today.  I'm going to need some help from my daughter, who's away at school, but am hopeful I can turn it around within 3 weeks or so.

My son is looking forward to seeing Joe's video, too.  Sometimes he feels a bit isolated.  Because he's a work in progress, coaches are reluctant to give him a chance to fail with a non-traditional approach.  It will be encouraging for him to watch a more finished product, and a local one at that, demonstrating for his school's varsity coach and hundreds of peers.

My son got to meet you last year in St. Louis, at the SABR meeting.  He got to do some football-release catch with you during the Q-&-A you held in the lobby after your presentation.

It was interesting to listen to the coach-talk after your talks.  Many are very interested, and were trying to think of ways to make implementations.  Friday night I sat with the coaches from a local high school who I know and they were saying they might try to identify some prospective pitchers who weren't yet set in their traditional delivery ways and try to bring them along with your approach.

Other groups:  It was like listening to gatherings of tobacco company executives!  Trying to debunk and deny.  The thought occurred to me:  wouldn't it be great if you could get the Surgeon General to make coaches who insist on the traditional delivery wear a warning on the front their uniform somewhere?  "WARNING:  The Surgeon General has determined that the traditional pitching motion causes certain injury to the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, groin, and rib cage, which will result in crippling reduction of range of motion and the need for surgery, perhaps several surgeries."


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     I remember meeting your son in St. Louis and having him throw my Maxline Pronation Curve release with the appropriately-sized football back to me.  He did very well.

     I thank you for videotaping my presentation and Joe's magnificent demonstration of my wrist weight exercises, iron ball throws, lid throws, appropriately-sized football throws and baseball throws.  Joe was on fire.  I have never seen my Maxline Pronation Curve thrown so hard and move downward so dramatically with great command.  We look forward to watching everything on the DVD you make.

     I also got the feeling that many of the high school coaches were interested in implementing at least parts of what I teach.  And, unfortunately, I also heard the lame excuses that the lazy and ignorant make.  Nevertheless, all of them witnessed something that they had never encountered before and know that there is a baseball game out there that nobody is playing.

     Actually, because the injury rate associated with baseball pitching is higher than the death rate from the bubonic plague, I believe the Center for Disease Control should take over regulating baseball pitching coaches.  The CDC already put out a warning about 'stretching,' it is time that they ban the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     It was great to see you again.

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096.  IHSBCA Clinic.

It was great to meet you at the IHSBCA clinic and I want to thank you for showing me the best way for a catcher to throw to 2nd base.  Like a lot of what you teach, it makes more sense to have the catcher's body moving in the direction that he is throwing instead wasting time jumping up and down.  I will have my son watch the video that I took of you and will include that motion in my son's 60 day training that we are starting today.

Here are some of the things that I observed at the clinic:

Promotion:  It would have been good if they would have included your web site on the info package they passed out to everyone at the clinic.

Friday night:  While you were on stage, I saw many confused looks on a lot of coach's faces.  It was as if I could almost hear them thinking,  "How can it possibly be that almost everything that I have been taught and everything that I am currently teaching, is WRONG?????"

Saturday morning:  I saw several wincing while Joe was doing his wrist weight drills.  I saw more coaches expecting Joe's arm to explode while throwing the 15 pound ball.  But the biggest reaction was when Joe threw the pronation curve.  A lot of jaws hit the ground.  When you were told that your time was up, several coaches were asking for you to keep going.  Afterwords, several people asked Joe how many pitches he threw in a week and were shocked to hear that he threw 120 pitches EVERY DAY.

I don't know how many coaches are going to try giving your methods chance, but I am certain that you got several of them thinking about it.

Last year I let my then-ten-year-old try out for pitching knowing that the manager would not let him pitch because he was doing everything "wrong".  His coach seemed to be very close minded about the proper way to pitch.  But to my surprise, after seeing my son throw 55 mph torque fastballs that had lots of movement, the manager let him pitch from the first game on.  The manager would only let his pitchers throw one inning per game so my son ended pitching a total of 12 innings last year.  My son deciding that he liked catching better than pitching because he didn't enjoy the stress of so many 3-2 counts.

This year as an 11 year old, he wants to concentrate on catching, so we are doing the 60 day Marshall training again mainly to help his throws to 2nd base.  When he gets older and if he is able to perfect the curve and screwball, he might want to return to pitching some day.

The point I'm making here, is that even the most closed minded coach can change his mind if he sees with his own eyes something new that actually works.


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     Next to baseball pitchers, catchers have more throwing arm problems than anybody else on baseball teams.  Where baseball pitchers have to struggle through with the 'balance position' of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, catchers have to struggle through with the 'baseball to their throwing ear' of the 'traditional' baseball catching motion and the three step run-around body action.  I hope that your son has fun with my two-step drop step body action and my full pendulum swing glove and pitching arm actions.

     The biggest difficulty that I had was that they did not provide the overhead projector that I requested.  Therefore, I could not put my transparency that provided my website address or the transparencies of the critical baseball pitching muscles, especially the Latissimus Dorsi and Pronator Teres.  Pointing at where the Latissimus Dorsi arises from the hip and vertebral column on Joe's back and where it inserts just inside of the bicipital groove on the anterior surface of the head of the Humerus bone of Joe's pitching upper arm did not work as well.

     Many high school coaches sought me and Joe out and said precisely what your said they said,  'How is it possible that I have been teaching my baseball pitchers a pitching motion that injures them and prevents them from throwing as hard as they can?'  To a man, everyone said that they were going to make changes.  I told them to at least take the baseball out of the glove with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball and pendulum swing their pitching arm to driveline height in one smooth, continuous movement.

     It helped that the White Sox Academy had a mural on the wall of a White Sox pitcher starting his 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.'  I used that to tell them to never send any baseball pitcher to these guys for training.  I could not believe the White Sox Academy's baseball pitching guru, fast-talking Marty Koburnus, had the nerve to say that how I raised my glove leg in the DVD I made of my 1967 baseball pitching motion was perfect.  Was he not listening to me Friday night when I explained how, to have success as a major league baseball pitcher, I had to change everything that I did?  Or, was he trying to use me to justify the crap that he teaches?

     Then, like Ron Wolford with is football rope drills and other nonsensical athletic development drills, he used his son to launch into some ridiculous demonstration of how to use straps with hand and foot holds to train baseball pitchers.  The crap about his new student was the goofiest thing that I have ever seen.  Fast talk and pseudo-scientific words may trick the kids and, unfortunately, some coaches, but it was nonsensical gibberish to me.

     I also greatly enjoyed the response of the coaches to Joe's incredible demonstration of my baseball pitches, especially his Maxline Pronation Curve.  The coaches would shake their heads and laugh at how dramatically the baseball moved downward.  Joe was on fire.

     I heard the coaches yelling out for us to continue, but I did not want to make the organizers angry.  I am hoping that they will tell others to have us present at their clinics.  However, I should have said that we would continue during the last half hour of the lunch break.  We did that, but I did not say it when I had the microphone in my hand.  Still, we had well over one hundred coaches watch Joe throw over one hundred more baseball pitches.

     Thank you for the story of how your ten year old son won over his 'traditional' baseball coach.  I wish him great success as a catcher.  If, for his own amusement, he practices my Maxline Pronation Curve and Maxline True Screwball, he might decide to pitch and catch.  It is the time for him to try everything and see what he does best and enjoys most.

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097.  This is Amazing's father.

You mentioned in the Q&A that Scott's MTSc release could be better.

1)  What is wrong with it?
2)  What does he need to do to fix it?

Regarding the 45 degree angle at g/s foot landing.  Good call and good news for newer students.  Overcoming the timing difficulties posed by having the hand back, waiting, while trying to coordinate the acetabular and acromial rotations was exceedingly difficult to accomplish and we never could have done it w/o high-speed.  I think an added benefit might be less of an opportunity to go into a pronounced grab.

Why do you specify landing on the toes with the g/s foot?  Won't that apply some force toward home, thereby impeding the movement of center-of-mass over and in front of the g/s foot?

You mention that Scott's rotation has sped up.  Yes, it is notably faster.  Once he stops cheating his rotation by letting his axis waver and letting the p/s leg whip, it will be even faster.

Everyone responds to different stimuli, but the cue I gave to Scott was to borrow from martial artists.  Many young kids practice some form of kicking art and as such if they know how to throw a sidekick then they can apply that very same motion.

They simply rise up on the toe of the standing leg and pivot about it as fast as they can, while standing erect.  Ending in a position such that they have rotated the foot 180 degrees.  As they are pivoting the p/s hip will rotate towards the glove side of the plate.  They should flex the quads of the "kicking" leg to get it in a cocked position.

This brings the pitching knee past the g/s knee very quickly and mimics the leg action you are looking for, to a tee.  As you are "cocking" the kicking knee you will feel it "pulling" your pelvis around, quite forcefully.

You will find that the leg does not extend as it was doing previously in Scott's motion because this tip teaches the kicker to cock it for a strike, ie., flexed.

  With this forceful rotation establishing the acromial line parallel to the home-second line has happened without conscious effort.  Adding a small drop step usually takes him very close to throwing down the A-line, whereas before he had to think about the A-line, every pitch.

This worked wonderfully for him and is quite easy to do.  If this sounds too convoluted let me know and I'll film it and put it on Y/T.


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     In an earlier email, I mentioned that, when Scott releases his Maxline True Screwball, he 'hooks' his pitching wrist.  To achieve maximum spin velocity, baseball pitchers cannot use wrist action to impart spin.  Instead, they have to use the tip of their middle finger much like they are throwing fastballs.  However, instead of driving the tip of the middle finger through the middle of the baseball, they need to drive the tip of their middle finger through the top seam of the baseball.

     For my Maxline Pronation Curve, I teach my baseball pitchers to drive the ring finger side of the tip of their middle finger horizontally through the top seam of the baseball.  The powerful fast action of the tip of ring finger side of the tip of the middle finger causes the baseball to rotate at very high spin velocities.

     For my Maxline True Screwball, I also teach my baseball pitchers to drive the pad of the tip of their middle finger horizontally through the top seam of the baseball.  However, rather than bring their pitching hand forward with the back of their pitching hand facing toward home plate that I teach them to do with my Maxline Pronation Curve, I teach them to maximally Ulnar Flex their pitching wrist, such that the palm of their pitching hand faces toward home plate with their middle finger as horizontal as possible facing toward home plate.

     I do not want the pad of the tip of the middle finger flat against the baseball.  Instead, I want the pad of the tip of the middle finger facing toward home plate with only the ring finger side of the pitching finger in contact with the top seam of the baseball.  Then, at release, I want baseball pitchers to throw my Maxline True Screwball with the fastball tip of the middle finger release through the baseball.

     With my Maxline pitches, I want my baseball pitchers to land on the toes of their glove foot so that they can drive the center of the mass of their body toward home plate.  I believe that this is the best way to move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot.

     I love your Martial Arts analogy.  I also like that this enables Scott to keep his pitching knee bent in anticipation to powerfully kicking his pitching lower leg forward.  However, when it comes to baseball pitching, I do not want Scott to powerfully kick his pitching lower leg forward.  Instead, I want him to keep his pitching knee bent until after he releases his pitches.

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098.  IHSBCA clinic.

First of all, thank you!  Thanks for giving your heart and soul to baseball.

I remember watching you pitch (and actually disliking you as you came into cold Wrigley field and sticking it up the Cubs rear ends) without sleeves no matter how cold it was and how menacing you looked.

As for the clinic, I wish I could have spent more time talking with you but as the clinic is my responsibility I was constantly on the go, but I do get to listen to my speakers.  Great, Great job.  I would gladly recommend you to any group or organizations.  I think getting to the little leagues at ages 6-8 would be most important to help truly get it going.


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     I did love to pitch in Wrigley Field.  It had a high grass infield and short outfield walls.  The combination worked well for me.

     As for youth baseball, I would love to speak with the coaches one night and give clinic in which I show them how to teach their baseball pitchers the next day.

     However, my favorite group is high school coaches.  It is just that, to do the job well, I need much more time.  If we could have been outdoors sitting behind home plate, then they could have learned more about what we do.

     Two weekends ago, Joe and I were in Arizona and Joe gave his demonstration on a baseball field.  It was far easier for everybody to see what Joe was doing and how they could use my drills with their teams.

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099.  My son, the catcher.

The main reason why my son did not like pitching last year was because he did not have the mental toughness to be able to handle giving up walks.  He loved striking out batters, but every time he threw a ball three, he looked like he was about to attend his own execution.  He didn’t have fun.  I guess that he was not emotionally mature enough to handle it as a 10 year old.  He put too much pressure on himself and did not want to let the team down.  He was much happier as a catcher and did an outstanding job behind the plate.

I told him that he doesn’t have to pitch in games if he doesn’t want to, but that we can have fun learning your 4 pitches in the back yard.  I now understand why you recommend that boys not pitch competitively until they are 13 biological years old.  If he learns your other pitches as well as he throws the Torque fastball, he could be a monster pitcher.

We started our 3rd 60 day training yesterday with the slingshots.  Although my son wanted to do all of the drills, I am forcing him to stay with the 1st drill for at least a week before we add the 2nd drill.  I won’t introduce the catcher’s throw until after we get to the full windup drill.

If you don’t mind me doing so, I will put the video of your catcher’s throwing motion up on YouTube.  If we can prevent some of the arm and shoulder injuries that catchers endure, it would be a good thing.


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     While I have great concern for the growth plates in the pitching elbows of youth baseball pitchers, I would prefer that, before they pitch competitively, all baseball pitchers have mastered my baseball pitches.  If your son can wait until then, then he might find baseball pitching more enjoyable.  We need more Monster baseball pitchers.

     I have no problem with you putting the video of me demonstrating my two-step catchers release technique.  Please email me with the youtube address.

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100.  12 year old throwing schedule.

For how many months has 12 year old “Amazing” been training/throwing in a row and/or in the last 12 months?


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     After their visit last May, I recommended that 'Amazing' practice his releases with only lid and football throws.  Thereafter, I said that he should complete my 60-Day program once in the Fall and again in the Spring.  To the best of my knowledge, he did not pitch competitively last year.

     Therefore, with two months of competitive pitching, I have no problem with youth baseball pitchers completing my 60-Day program twice during the year and practicing with their lids and footballs whenever they want.

     For example, if their competitive season is June and July, then, in October and November, they could complete their Fall 60-Day program and, in February and March, they could complete their Spring 60-Day program.

     In this way, without continuously stressing the growth plates in their pitching elbow, they can continue to improve their skills.

     Then, when they are biologically sixteen years old, they can increase their participation in competitive baseball to four months and, after two months without baseball throwing, they can complete my 120-Day program.

     For example, if their competitive season is April, May, June and July, then, in October, November, December and January, they could complete my off-season 120-Day program.

     In this way, without continuously stressing the growth plates in their pitching wrist and upper arm, they can continue to improve their skills.

     Of course, once baseball pitchers are biologically nineteen years old, they should either be training or competing.  They should never miss day.  From 1967 to 1999, I did everything that I could to never miss a day.

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101.  This is Amazing's father.

Today, throwing off flat ground in cleats, the first several MFB he threw were upper 40s and 50 or 51.  Then, after a break, he threw his MFB is 56 and 57 mph.

Normally, I only see his body action @300fps or I'm concentrating on catching the ball.  On Friday I asked him to throw a MFB into the net when I was standing off to the side.  Being able to stand back and watch his forward rotation in "real time" was awesome.  It's startling how fast he does it - really cool.

I'll shoot/post film at the end of the month at the latest.  I intend to shoot quite a bit at normal spd (30fps) from "behind the mound" so we can look for movement and the viewers will get a feel for the velocity of the pitches as well as his ability to throw strikes.

Which reminds me, he does throw more accurately now that he watches my glove the whole time.  I didn't expect that much of an improvement.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.


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     When I saw Scott last May, I thought that he was a couple of years away from the start of his adolescent rapid growth spurt.  We need to keep an eye open for when he starts to thin out and get taller.  With all that rapid long bone growth, we should leave some energy for his growth spurt.

     The velocity information is interesting.  It shows how strong an influence proper force applications have on release velocity.  The two variables that determine release velocity is the percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers and the force application technique.  We can only change the force application technique.

     Within the force application technique, how explosively baseball pitchers rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward and how explosively baseball pitchers inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, extend their pitching elbow and pronate their pitching forearm with proper timing determines whether they are getting everything they have into their pitches.

     From what you describe, Scott sometimes hits the timing and sometimes does not.  With practice, he will 'feel' how long into his hip, shoulder and upper arm forward rotation, he should wait until he uses his pitching upper arm, elbow and forearm.

     By keeping his eye on the target and his glove foot on the ground, Scott should greatly improve his release consistency.

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102.  Rich Hill's mechanics.

My name is Michael Andrews and I unfortunately did not have the pleasure of listening to you speak last weekend in Chicago on Saturday as I was out with an illness.

To go along with coaching, I am a writer for a blog based out of the Midwest.  I am sure you are requested to answer an extremely high amount of questions and what not, but I do request your expect opinion in regards to Rich Hill's struggles in '08.

To go along with that shoulder tilt, Hill suffered back injuries.  I had written this article last Friday stating that the likely upcoming trade of Hill likely based on the regression of Hill in '08 was caused as much if not more mechanically than mentally ala Blass, Wohlers, Ankiel, etc.

This article appears to have gained plenty of steam including being sent to Orioles manager Dave Trembley and possibly Orioles pitching coach Rich Kranitz based on IP and email addresses.

I had always been taught that when you have an extreme shoulder tilt (Glove arm/elbow point to the sky) that your mechanics will be one of 1st things to go and it appear that Hill like Guidry has pitched with this (adding deception as well as staying on top of the curve) and it has hurt his balance and keeping the same release point.

I would just like an expert opinion as to whether or not my synopsis is correct concerning this article as far as that increased shoulder tilt leading to a further loss of command/control or possibly the back injury?  Or would the back injury by itself cause the increase in shoulder tilt and loss of command/control?

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated in regards to whether or not that increase in shoulder tilt could a large factor into Hill's decline last year.

-------------------------------------------------

Article about Rich Hill

Where Have you Gone Rich Hill?  Trade Rumors Between Cubs-Orioles Swirl
Name: Michael Andrews
Email: univ_of_kentucky@yahoo.com
January 30, 2009

Rich Hill, the once promising middle of the rotation starter as recently as the Fall of 2007, is likely on the verge of being traded to the Cubs’ primary trading partner the Baltimore Orioles, according to the Baltimore Sun for the ever popular “Player to be Named Later” (PTBNL).

Blessed with one of the best curveballs in baseball, as well as one of the most deceptive fastballs, the rise and fall of Rich Hill has been sudden and brings back images of Steve Blass, Mark Wohlers and Rick Ankiel.  In this article, I will discuss why I don’t think it is a mental flaw, but more mechanical at this stage.

Drafted by the Cubs in the 4th round of the 2002 draft, Rich Hill was considered a raw LH’er with a developing curve who had hot and cold streaks with untapped potential. After signing with the Cubs, he was sent to Short-Season Boise and struggled with his command and his overall numbers, posting an ERA of 8.36 in 6 games (5 starts) in only 14.1 IP with 14BBs, 12Ks, and 4 wild pitches.

The following year he returned to Boise and improved, throwing 68 IP while walking 32 and striking out 99, before finishing at Lansing where he struggled with his command again walking 36 in 29 IP but only allowing 14 hits and striking out 50.

He improved his control at Daytona in 2004 while still striking out over 11 per 9 IP and holding opponents to around .200.

The questions still lingered as far as how outstanding could he be if he had better command and control.  Finally, that question was about to be answered.

2005 was Hill’s breakout season as far as his prospect status.  He was about to face AA, which usually consists of every organization’s top prospects, as well as the more advanced at AAA later on in the year.

Finally able to improve his command and control to where it needed to be to advance to the majors, Hill dominated AA and AAA, throwing a combined 123 IP allowing 97 hits while only allowing 35BBs and striking out 182 hitters.  In September, Hill received his first taste of the majors and, as expected with most rookie pitchers, he was fatigued and a bit shell shocked.

2006 was Hill’s 1st legit chance at cracking the major league rotation, but that delayed after a poor showing at Mesa.  Undeterred by the slow start, Hill was the best pitcher in all of the minors going 7-1 with a 1.80 ERA while throwing 100 IP only allowing 62 hits and walking 21 with 135 strikeouts.  In July of ’06, he was called up again as injuries ravaged the Cubs starting rotation and the team collapsed to 90+ losses, allowing the Cubs to call-up Hill.  He struggled at first again posting a 1-3 record with a 9+ ERA before being send down to Iowa again and being called up in Sept.  after a solid run again at Iowa, it finally clicked in the majors as he went 3-1 with an ERA under 4 that final month.

Hill was a favorite in 2007 to earn a rotation spot given the continuing health problems of Kerry Wood, as well as Hill’s strong showing the previous September.  He did not disappoint in 2007, while likely being the team’s 2nd most productive starter behind Zambrano and looking like one of baseball’s better young pitchers.

The following year it took a turn for the worse as mechanical issues began to take place.  Hill was quickly sent to Iowa where he continued to not throw strikes, and he was shuttled between Iowa, Rookie Ball, and High-A.  He was sent down to the Dominican Republic to work out his issues and had not shown any improvement and regressed as the year went on.

As to why I think Hill’s struggles so much with his command, I think it is mainly mechanical and NOT MENTAL as many tend to believe.

Mechanically, he has severe shoulder tilt with his glove arm (right arm) severely higher than his throwing shoulder.  The reason why he does this to get on top of his 12-6 curve which is why he it is one of the best in the game when it is on.  Also, it makes it much more difficult to pick up his FB coming out his hand.  One of the side effects on having this throwing mention is that it is very difficult to repeat your delivery, which is the key to throwing strikes since your balance and center of gravity often changes each pitch.

To further illustrate that shoulder tilt, compare him to Greg Maddux who is likely the most mechanically sound pitcher of our generation:

With Maddux you can see a slight shoulder tilt, but he still has the same balance point and his center of gravity is still over his midsection.  Not only has his throwing motion kept his healthy all these years, it has allowed to be one of the best control pitchers in MLB history.

Back to Hill and some more illustrations, here is Hill in July of 2006 at Iowa, where he was pitching very well and on one of his hot streaks.

As you can see there is still a shoulder tilt, but given how well he was pitching during this stretch and game, it didn’t throw him off mechanically.  This next picture is a picture from Spring Training of 2008 where he didn’t last long and ended up walking 6 in this short outing.

As you can see, there is a much more pronounced shoulder tilt in the second picture as his pitching hand is well below the knee, compared to the 1st picture where it is well above the knee.  I do believe that these mechanical flaws are partially and likely the most important reason why he has struggled so greatly recently.

It is worth noting that Baltimore’s pitching coach is Rick Kranitz, who is outstanding at analyzing pitchers’ mechanics and has spent time in the Cubs organization as a pitching coach.  I don’t think it is ironic that Kranitz was the pitching coach at Iowa in 2004 and 2005, which is right when Hill was at his best mechanically, as well as the best he has been as far as his command and control.  While this is the worst case scenario, having to unload such a gifted pitcher for so cheap, it is probably the best for Rich Hill to go to Baltimore and work with Kranitz again.


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     So, is the point that you are making that, because, at the start of his acceleration phase, Mr. Hill tilts the line across the top of his shoulders dramatically downward, he has too much vertical inconsistency with his pitches?

     The first photograph that you provide shows that, just before he starts his acceleration phase, he has the baseball laterally behind his body at knee high with the palm of his pitching hand facing away from the pitching arm side of his body and his pitching upper arm almost at shoulder height.

     To throw baseballs toward home plate, baseball pitchers must have their pitching hand and baseball above shoulder height lying horizontally behind their pitching elbow.

     Therefore, before he can even start to drive the baseball toward home plate, with his pitching upper arm fixed at shoulder height, he has to raise his pitching hand straight upward to above shoulder height.  I call this action, 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.'

     When his pitching forearm is vertical or about halfway through his 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' he will start to pull his pitching elbow forward.  As a result of the upward and backward movement of his pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball and the forward movement of his pitching upper arm, while he raises his pitching upper arm upward, his pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball move downward.

     At some point, the pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball have to stop moving downward and start moving forward.  I call this moment, 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     The downward force of 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' microscopically tears the connective tissue fibers of his unprotected Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     In addition, the first photograph also shows that Mr. Hill reverse rotates his hips and shoulders to point well beyond second base.  Therefore, when he forwardly rotates his hips, then his shoulders, he will generate considerable force to the pitching arm side of his body.

     As a result, whatever distance laterally behind his body that Mr. Hill takes the baseball will generate horizontal force that slings his pitching forearm laterally away from the pitching arm side of his body.  I call this action, 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'

     In combination with supinating the release of his curve, 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' will cause the two bones in the back of his pitching elbow to slam together.  Therefore, he will lose extension and flexion ranges of motion in his pitching elbow.

     In conclusion, while I agree that baseball pitches should keep the line across the top of their shoulders level, Mr. Hill has far greater problems with his baseball pitching motion.  That is, with every pitch he competitively throws, he is destroying his pitching arm, pitching hip, pitching knee and lower back.

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103.  Follow-up on new Maxline mechanics.

Another question on this statement:  "As the oblique views of Amazing's Maxline True Screwball and Maxline Pronation Curve show, after he releases his pitches, his pitching elbow pops vertically upward well above his driveline.  This action eliminates all stress from the front of his pitching shoulder."

Does this mean it is not necessary for this youngster to "lock" his humerus in his Glenoid Fossa?


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     After their pitching hand reaches driveline height, during the last stage of their Transition Phase, I want my baseball pitchers to immediately raise their pitching upper arm to vertically beside their head.  This action 'locks' their pitching upper arm with their shoulders and starts the Acceleration Phase.

     After they synchronously rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm to point at home plate, I want my baseball pitchers to powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, extend their pitching elbow and pronate their pitching forearm.

     Therefore, when Amazing's pitching elbow pops upward, it is a result of his powerful inward rotation of his pitching upper arm during the final moments of the Acceleration Phase of my baseball pitching motion.

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104.  More crap.

Here's the link:

Rob Neyer's comments about Will Carroll's gyroball explanation

Will Carroll writes, "The second "spin" -- and this is what’s revolutionary, perhaps -- is the motion of the upper arm.  This differentiates from Mike Marshall’s Newtonian model and demands a forceful yet controlled rotation of the humerus.  To get the idea of this in your head, hold your arm out so that your upper arm (humerus) is parallel to the floor.  Have your forearm at a ninety-degree angle and hold the ball so that the ball is between your hand and your ear.  The proper second "spin" is done by rotating the upper arm so that the forearm goes from pointing up to pointing down and the hand goes from pointing in at the body to pointing away from the body (pronation) just after the release of the ball."

Sounds vaguely familiar.  What dumbasses.  I'm rapidly getting to the point where I want to hit somebody.

Doc.  Maybe if you put your ideas down on paper, perhaps in book form, so others could read and understand.  As an added bonus you could even offer it for free, maybe on your website.  You could even promote it with a boatload of exclamation points!!!!

Just think, the Japanese had to use supercomputers, you just used your noodle.


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     Mr. Carroll wrote this article, The Ghost Pitch, a couple of years ago.  I read this nonsense the off-season before Mr. Matsuzaka signed with the Boston Red Sox.  Carroll calls himself the injury expert, but refuses to debate me about what causes pitching injuries.  He wrote a worthless book and he is a disgrace to baseball.

     Obviously, everything that he writes is ridiculous.  But, in America, we allow free speech.  If people do not know enough to understand that Mr. Carroll knows nothing, then we have to 'let the buyer beware.'  That enables Mr. Carroll to fleece you.

     Computers can only know as much as those who provide the information to analyze know.  And, I don't believe that computers can dream of something not yet known.

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105.  This past year, my son completed his first 60-Day program in June and July, took a month off in September and December.  Presently, aside from throwing 4 of each pitch (with some exceptions), he does bucket twirls, IB fingertip spins and five lids several days a week.

He is getting taller and thinner.  As of a couple of weeks ago he was 5' 7.25" and 156#.  That's about a one inch difference in the last 4-5 months.

What do you mean by "leave some energy for his growth spurt?"  Exactly what is your concern?


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     Thank you for the training information.

     We have to balance how many days youth baseball pitchers competitively pitch, how many days they practice their baseball pitching skills and how many days they give their growth plates to develop without stress.

01.  For youth baseball pitchers, I recommend that they should competitively pitch for no more than sixty consecutive days at a time.

02.  For youth baseball pitchers, I recommend that they should practice their baseball pitching skills for no more than sixty consecutive days at a time.  If they are not involved in other throwing activities, then, after sixty days of non-throwing, they might be able to complete a second sixty day program.

     Within reason, when they are not competing or training, I have no problem with youth baseball pitchers occasionally throwing their lids and appropriately-sized footballs.

     If, for example, youth baseball pitchers competitively pitch during June and July, then they need to take at least two months off before they start their sixty days training program.  Therefore, they could train during October and November.

     Then, if they are not involved in other throwing activities, after not throwing during December and January, they could repeat their sixty day training program.

     Dr. Joel Adams' research is the only meaningful research I have seen on growth plate injuries in youth baseball pitchers.  My examination of the X-rays that he took and kindly copied for me leads me to believe that the time period of greatest susceptibility to serious growth plate injuries is during their adolescent rapid growth period when the long bones of their pitching arm, i.e., their Humerus, Ulna and Radius bones, dramatically lengthen within a few months.

     It seems to me that, with these bones getting longer, the muscles that attach to these bones, because the muscles do not similarly get longer, place more stress on the ossification centers to which they attach that attach to these long bones via their growth plates.

    That is why, during the rapid growth phase, I recommend more awareness and concern.

    With Osgood Schlatter's disease, the growth plate for the Tibial Tuberosity on the front of the lower leg just below the knee becomes inflamed.  Through a common tendon, the Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Intermedialis and Vastus Medialis muscles attach to the Tibial Tuberosity.  When running and jumping, youngsters complain of pain in that growth plate. If they do not stop running and jumping, they might pull that ossification center off their Tibia bone.

     The same situation applies for the Medial Epicondyle in the pitching elbow. The most serious growth plate injury is the avulsion of the ossification center of the Medial Epicondyle.  Five important throwing muscles, the Pronator Teres, Flexor Carpi Radialis, Palmaris Longus, Flexor Carpi Ulnaris and a portion of the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscles attach to the Medial Epicondyle.  Therefore, especially during the rapid growth phase, I recommend that parents regularly check this growth plate for sensitivity.

     To do so, parents should place their thumb directly on the Medial Epicondyle and their fingers on the opposite side of the elbow and apply continuous and cautiously strong pressure for a couple of seconds, then release.  If their son experiences either sharp pain or dull aching, then I recommend that they have him discontinue throwing for a couple of weeks.

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106.  Numbness of the Mind.

I was watching an Indians executive last week on a local TV show and he was asked about player insurance.  He noted that no team can get insurance for any "pre-existing condition" (i.e. blown out arm).

Given the fact that teams spends at least hundreds of thousands of dollars (and probably millions) on such insurance for major contracts (primarily for that "dangerous" position" pitcher), you would think some team might decide that they could spend money on extra scouts or coaches in the farm system.  Oh, I'm sorry, I was thinking logically.


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     I don't believe that hiring extra scouts and coaches is going to eliminate pitching injuries.  However, if they would high-speed film their baseball pitchers and identify those with 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' and teach them how to properly pendulum swing their pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, then they could prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament ruptures.

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107.  The Yankees have spent around $1.5 billion and have won just as many World Series as the Pirates, so what are they worried about.  You know, they wouldn't need to really worry about a salary cap if they could produce top-quality pitchers every year.  You wouldn't happen to have any idea on how that could happen, would you?

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     Yes, and they know as well.  However, rather than talk with me and learn something, they think that they are protecting their jobs.

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108.  I didn't know your thoughts on the possibly increased vulnerability of the growth plates during periods of rapid growth.  The muscles (you names 9 or 10) don't lengthen correspondingly with the long bones?  Why is that?

He hasn't have pain at the medial epicondyle, but no point in waiting until he does!  I'll tell him to stop throwing baseballs.


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     Obviously, the muscles have to eventually lengthen as the bones lengthen.  However, the stress from the lengthening bones stimulates their lengthening.  Therefore, until they catch up, they pull on their growth plate.

     I have no problem with rapidly growing youth baseball pitchers throwing their lids and footballs, but they should reserve throwing baseballs for their 60-Day program and competitive pitching.

     After the growth spurt subsides, until they are biologically sixteen years old, I have no problem with two evenly spaced 60-Day programs around the two months of competitive pitching.

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109.  Dr. Mike Marshall (Wrist Weights)

The wrist weight exercises below are an exact copy of your pitching motion with an extreme emphasis from frame 10 thru on pronating the pitching arm to correct an extreme bad habit of a pitcher whipping the arm across his body causing injuries to shoulder and elbow.


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     With my wrist weight exercises, my baseball pitchers perfectly perform the baseball pitching motion that I teach.  They almost look like my Amazing twelve year old baseball pitcher.

     From the front view:

01.  Frame Nine shows the perfect vertical position of the pitching upper arm that I want my baseball pitchers to do.

02.  Frame Ten shows the horizontally inside of vertical pitching forearm that I want my baseball pitchers to do.

03.  Frame Eleven shows that, at release, they can move their pitching knee in front of their glove foot that I want my baseball pitchers to do.

04.  Frame Twelve shows that they drove their pitching arm down their acromial line, stuck their pitching hand into the strike zone and put their pitching hand in their back pocket that I want my baseball pitchers to do.

     From the side view:

01.  Frame Four shows the perfect glove and pitching arm positions for the start of their acceleration phase.

02.  Frame Five shows that they have their pitching arm at driveline height when their glove foot lands.

03.  Frame Seven shows that they immediately raise their pitching elbow to driveline height and keep their pitching hand the full length of their pitching forearm behind their pitching elbow.

04.  Frame Nine shows that, at release, they can move their pitching knee in front of the glove foot.

     It is too bad that I do not know how to show these pictures on my website.

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110.  Iron Ball Drill

  The same goes for the iron balls the motion is an exact copy of the wrist exercises and your pitching motion.

How many reps a day for both exercises and what weight to start out with and at what time do you increase the weights and to what limits do you stop at?  Also, what are the average increases of the weight on both exercises say 5 lbs. a jump up on every increase?


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     You are correct, Sir.  If my baseball pitchers could throw baseballs with the same techniques as when they do their wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws, then they would be perfect.

     In my Baseball Pitches Interval-Training Programs file, I have all the specifics for all of my training programs.

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111.  Son's delivery. I sent you a youtube address that shows a short clip of my son pitching.  It is only one pitch.  I thought you might find it interesting that he has a natural exaggerated pronation in his delivery.

Up until recently, when I found some articles you had written, I believed his unorthodox pitching style was going to lead to arm injuries.  And of course every coach and parent who sees him pitch tells me he will end up with an injury.

I have been reluctant to change his style because he is so effective.  He was nine in the video clip and is ten now.  He throws in the 60's and has great command.  Last season opening day, he had 13 strikeouts NO WALKS and one hit.  A dribbler that went through our first baseman's legs like Bill Buckner.

He is obviously not throwing with a pendulum motion in fact he is more 3/4 sidearm.  The odd thing is he does this naturally I have never taught him to throw with the pronation he just does it.  I didn't even know what he was throwing exactly, but I guess it is a variation of a screwball?  I have videos of him throwing a baseball at 4 years old and he pronates.  Weird.

As you can see in the clip the lefty he throws to backs up thinking he is going to be hit by the pitch as the pitch breaks over for a strike.

Since I have read your articles I am embracing the pronation instead of being scared of it and trying to change it.  I'm not looking for a free lesson by sending you this.  I thought you would find it interesting and if you have any basic tips you think I should have my son work on that's fine too.

P.S.:  We won the league title last year. I'd like to think my son's "unorthodox" pitching had something to do with it.


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     You are correct.  Your son did pronate the release of this pitch.  He also did not take the baseball laterally behind his body.  These are two very good things.

     However, he raised his pitching upper arm to shoulder height before his pitching hand and baseball.  Therefore, he had to raise his pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball vertically upward to driveline height.  I call this, 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.'  The 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' that results from this injures his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     In addition, he had his pitching foot parallel with the pitching rubber.  After several years of competitive pitching, he will damage the lateral aspect of his pitching knee and eventually require knee replacement surgery.  Because he strides so far that he had to bend forward at his waist, he will eventually damage his lower back and require surgery.

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112.  Your videos

I had the opportunity to review your videos.  I instruct pitching here in Leesburg, FL and made two observations I felt compelled to share with you.

First, I was very impressed with the movement and instruction for throwing the maxline screwball.  Second, I feel it is irresponsible to teach this pitch to children under 15 years of age.

Even with your method for throwing, there seems to be an incredible amount of torque being applied to the throwing elbow.  Your video of a 12 year old throwing send chills down my spine.

I read too many articles and see too many kids injuring their arms trying to throw breaking pitches because their bodies are just not ready to handle the mechanics of throwing those pitches.  A 12 year old has a better chance of pitching longer in their lives by mastering control and speed of pitches than trying to move the ball left and right.

Wouldn’t you agree that a pitcher should wait until they are more developed physically to protect against needing Tommy John surgery before they are 16?


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     It is great to read that a youth baseball coach places the health of his baseball pitchers before winning.  Therefore, I assume that you do not allow your youth baseball pitchers who are biologically twelve years old and less to pitch competitively at all and your youth baseball pitchers who are biologically thirteen through fifteen years old to pitch more than two consecutive months per year.

     Do you know how many growth plates they have in their pitching elbow?  Do you know at what biological age these growth plates mature?  If not, then you are injuring the growth plates in the pitching elbow of your youth baseball pitchers.

     With regard to the baseball pitching motion that I teach:  It is perfectly safe for youth baseball pitchers of all ages, including as young as eight years old to not only practice my Maxline True Screwball, but my Maxline Pronation Curve as well.  However, my Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program only lasts for sixty days, then they have to do other activities.

     The reason that throwing my Maxline True Screwball and Maxline Pronation Curve with my baseball pitching motion is perfectly safe is simple.  When baseball pitchers of all ages powerfully pronate their releases of all pitches, they prevent their olecranon process from slamming into its fossa.  Therefore, with regard to the loss of their extension range of motion and injuries to the back of the pitching shoulder, the safest pitch for all baseball pitchers to throw is my Maxline True Screwball.

     When you teach your youth baseball pitchers to throw curve, do you teach them to release the baseball over top of their Index finger?  That means, when they throw curves, do you teach your baseball pitchers to turn the thumb of their pitching hand to point upward?  Turning the pitching thumb to point upward at release is called, supination.  If so, then you are injuring your youth baseball pitchers.

     When baseball pitchers supinate the releases of their cutters, sliders and curves, they slam their olecranon process into its fossa.  Therefore, supination is harmful.

     What you call, 'torque' is pronation.  Pronation means to turn the thumb of the pitching hand to point downward.  Pronation is not harmful.

     When baseball pitchers pronate their pitching forearm, the use their Pronator Teres muscle.  The Pronator Teres muscle overlays the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Therefore, when baseball pitchers contract their Pronator Teres muscle, they protect their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand on top of the baseball?  If so, then you are injuring the Ulnar Collateral Ligament of your youth baseball pitchers.

     The cause of injury to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament are 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches who teach youth baseball pitchers to take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand on top of the baseball.

     Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to turn their pitching foot to parallel with the pitching rubber?  If so, then you are injuring the lateral aspect of their pitching knee.  Fortunately for you if you do, it takes several thousands of competitive baseball pitches for the damage to require knee replacement surgery.  Therefore, you will be able to misbelieve that you did not cause the problem.

     Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to reverse rotate their hips beyond second base?  If so, then you are injuring the anterior aspect of the acetabulum of their hip.  Fortunately for you if you do, it takes several thousands of competitive baseball pitches for the damage to require hip replacement surgery.  Therefore, you will be able to misbelieve that you did not cause the problem.

     Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to take their pitching elbow behind their acromial line, such that they pinch their two Scapula bone together?  If so, then you are injuring the anterior aspect of the labrum in their pitching shoulder.

     Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to take the baseball laterally behind their body?  This means that, when you stand at home plate, can you see the baseball behind their body?  If so, then you are injuring the coranoid process of the Ulna bone in their pitching forearm.  Fortunately for you, this injury does not cause any pain, only the loss of their flexion range of motion.  Therefore, you will be able to misbelieve that you did not cause the problem.

     Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to stride seventy to ninety percent of their standing height?  If so, then you are injuring the intervertebral disk between their fifth Lumbar vertebrae and their first Sacral vertebrae.  Fortunately for you if you do, it takes several thousands of competitive baseball pitches for the damage to require the removal of this intervertebral disk.  Therefore, you will be able to misbelieve that you did not cause the problem.

     Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to have their stride foot land to the pitching arm side of the line from their pitching foot straight forward (closed)?  If so, then you are injuring the front of their pitching shoulder.

     Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to pull their pitching arm downward and across the front of their body?  If so, then you are injuring the posterior aspect of the labrum in their pitching shoulder.

     I am sure that you teach them many other things that are also injurious.  Unfortunately for them, you simply do not have any idea what you are doing.

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113.  SOLVING THE BACK FOOT THROWING PROBLEM

Thanks to you, I think I've fixed my problem.  You said that after the glove foot lands, the pitcher must drive his entire pitching arm side of the body towards homeplate or his pitching knee.  You also said that he must give it all he's got.  I took that to mean driving off of the rubber like a sprinter.  In short, the pitching foot drive off must be a powerful, vice passive, movement.  Is that correct?

My problem was that I was passively coming off of the rubber.  I was glove foot pulling off instead of back foot driving off.  This passive approach eventually led to back foot throwing, which results in pulling the ball over vice driving it straight forward.

Now, one can get away with this passive approach when throwing WW & IB.  That is, the heavy implements go a long way to ensure conservation of momentum even if one does not forcefully sprint/drive forward off of the pitching foot.  BUT, when I forcefully drive my entire throwing arm side of my body towards the target after landing, my 8 and 6 lbs. iron balls go considerably farther and faster.  Same with baseballs, as you know.  So, it seems to me that in order to get up on that glove foot (throw off of the front foot), we must ensure we really drive with the pitching foot after landing.  Is this correct?


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     Is sounds as though you have it.  I want my baseball pitchers to drive the entire pitching arm side of their body forward as powerfully as they can.  Then, when their acromial line points at home plate, I want them to powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, extend their pitching elbow and pronate their pitching forearm.

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114.  Thanks so much for your input.

I will try to adjust my son's delivery in the areas you mention.  We do limit his baseball play time every year hoping to avoid overuse injuries.  He throws hard for his age and growth plates are obviously an area of concern.  I will read your email more closely watch a few of your student's videos and see what we can do.


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     Rather than watch my student videos, you should watch my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.  From that video, you should learn how to perform the drills with which I teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.  Then, you and your son should complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program at least once a year until he is biologically sixteen years old.

     While I know that nobody does it at their own risk, I also recommend that youth baseball pitchers do not pitch competitively until they are biologically thirteen years old and then, pitch only one time through the line-up twice a week for two consecutive months until they are biologically sixteen years old when all the growth plates in their pitching elbow completely mature.

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115.  Departments of Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda.

Jim Bouton put it best (I think) when he said what was most irritating about MLB's attitude toward you is not that they don't listen, it's that they WON'T listen.  Instead the band played on--Iceberg dead ahead.


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     I don't understand the difference between 'don't' and 'won't.'  In both cases, they can't fix the problem.  Actually, they do listen.  Unfortunately, the people to whom they listen do not know what they are talking about.

     As always, I thank you for sending me articles about the pitching injuries that major league baseball pitchers suffer.  With all my travel this past months trying to get high school baseball coaches to stop destroying the pitching arms of their players, I have not had time to include your articles.

     Because I believe that nowhere else can my readers find all the articles that you find and that we need to highlight the problem, I will start adding those articles as time permits.

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116.  Why guarantee a healthy arm when it's more fun to cross your fingers and wish really hard that he stays healthy?

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From bust to boom?  Tribe's Shapiro hopes low-risk Pavano signing pays off big
Cleveland Plain Dealer
January 7, 2009

CLEVELAND, OH:  Carl Pavano, a free-agent bust for the Yankees, will be a member of manager Eric Wedge's starting rotation on opening day if he can stay healthy in spring training.  The Indians signed Pavano on Tuesday to a one-year, $1.5 million incentive-laden contract. Last season Pavano, as part of a four-year, $40 million deal with the Yankees, made $11 million.  "If he's healthy, he'll be in the rotation," said GM Mark Shapiro.  "And we expect him to be healthy."

Pavano can make another $5.3 million in performance incentives with the Tribe.  They don't kick in until he's made 18 starts.  "I think we're getting him at the right time," said Shapiro.  "He tried hard to justify his contract in New York, but obviously he had a tough go of it.  I know he was disappointed.  He expressed to us that he's extremely motivated and eager for a new start."


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     I am all for second chances.  However, unless he has changed how he applies force to his baseball pitches, he will repeat the injuries that he suffered before.  Remember, the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different result.  If he spent time with me and made the changes that I recommended, then it would make sense to give his this second or is it tenth chance.

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117.  I guess he just had an urge to try pathomechanics.  After all, he's only had four major elbow surgeries.

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Yahoo! Sports
January 8, 2009

John Smoltz ended ties to the only team for whom he has pitched in 21 seasons in the big leagues after the Red Sox were willing to gamble more than the Braves that he can come back from last June’s season-ending shoulder surgery.  The Red Sox reportedly offered Smoltz, who will turn 42 on May 15, a guaranteed $5.5 million, with an additional $5 million possible in incentives.

Later Thursday a Braves source close to the negotiations confirmed that Atlanta’s offer guaranteed considerably less money than that of the Red Sox.  The Braves would have paid Smoltz incrementally based on his health up to a maximum of $5 million if he remained on the major league roster for 60 days, and the guarantee was for no more than $3 million.  The offer also included another $5 million in performance bonuses and $2 million in additional incentives.  So Smoltz could have earned up to $12 million by staying healthy and pitching extremely well.

But Smoltz, who has come back from four major elbow surgeries, managed to make just five starts for the Braves last season before he was forced to shut down because of shoulder pain.  He subsequently underwent surgery to repair significant damage to his rotator cuff and labrum, but has made what appears to be a rapid recovery – by the first week of December, he was throwing again, and Braves manager Bobby Cox, who watched Smoltz’s workout, said there was “no doubt in my mind” that Smoltz would pitch in the 2009 season.

But the Red Sox, who have a history of taking chances on rehabilitating pitchers, jumped in hard for Smoltz, a certain Hall of Famer.  Last year, the Red Sox re-signed Curt Schilling to an $8 million deal even though he was coming off shoulder problems, and when it became apparent that he would not be able to pitch, signed Bartolo Colon.  The Sox were hoping to get from 100 to 120 innings out of either pitcher, giving them depth in the rotation and allowing them a chance to bring along top prospect Clay Buchholz slowly.

Schilling did not pitch at all last season and Colon pitched just 39 innings over seven starts before breaking down, but Boston is willing to bet that Smoltz offers a better outcome.  The Red Sox already have five established starters in Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Tim Wakefield and free-agent signee Brad Penny, who also had shoulder issues last season.


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     The Red Sox must have plenty of money to waste.  All these pitchers just keep throwing the same way and they just keep throwing money at them.  Where are the fabulous results from Dr. Andrews' crew and their 'Pathomechanics' nonsense? -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

118.  Indians' Lee will skip World Baseball Classic
Cleveland Plain Dealer
January 8, 2009

American League Cy Young winner Cliff Lee turned down an invitation to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic in March because he threw a career-high number of innings last year and he didn't want to re-arrange his training routine.  Agent Darek Braunecker said Lee was intrigued by the invitation, but decided to concentrate on pitching the Indians' season opener against Texas on April 6.

"Cliff gave it a lot of thought," said Braunecker, "but he's coming off the biggest workload of his career.  He wanted to stay on track.  If, as anticipated, the Indians are a contender this year, he could pitch even more innings."


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     If I had not had children in school and was working on a doctoral degree, then I would have pitched winter baseball throughout my professional baseball career.  In 1968, after the Tigers banished me to Triple-A baseball for having the gall to learn how to throw my screwball, as a starter, I lead the International League in innings pitched, then went to Puerto Rico and started every Wednesday and Sunday game for half their season.

     Unfortunately, even though they did not reimburse me for the salary that they cost mea nd my family, the Seattle Pilots picked me up in the expansion draft and ordered me to stop pitching.  I should have stayed and started every Wednesday and Sunday game.

     If I were training pitchers for a major league organization, then I would recommend that they pitch winter baseball and, certainly take advantage of the World Baseball Classic.  With my baseball pitching motion and interval-training programs, I and my baseball pitchers do not wear out.  After they threw me out of major league baseball, from 1983 through 1999, I pitched from February to November, averaging over eighty starts per year.

     There is another baseball world out there that, except for me and my guys, nobody knows about.

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119.  Why should the Pirates need your services? It would only get their pitchers healthy, and God forbid, they might have their first winning record (if not more) since the early '90s.

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Sore shoulder costing Dumatrait: Lefty all but out of rotation competition, but still has shot at 'pen
MLB.com
January 8, 2009

PITTSBURGH, PA:  Pirates left-hander Phil Dumatrait has put his offseason throwing program on hold, as his return from minor arthroscopic shoulder surgery continues to be delayed.  And as a result, his status for Spring Training remains in question.

Dumatrait went to visit noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday, after complaining of continued soreness in his left shoulder.  Andrews found an area of inflammation in Dumatrait's left shoulder, and as a result, the 27-year-old southpaw has been shut down from throwing for the next 10 days.

Inflammation in the shoulder area is not entirely unusual following the arthroscopic surgery Dumatrait underwent last summer.  And the fact that the diagnosis revealed no structural damage is certainly encouraging.  However, with this latest setback, Dumatrait has all but put himself out of the competition to make the Bucs' rotation out of Spring Training.  Dumatrait was expected to be one of at least eight Pirates pitchers vying for a starting spot in camp.

"Phil is behind schedule in trying to make the team as a starter," general manager Neal Huntington acknowledged.  "But if he can recover quickly from this and have a solid spring, there's still a chance that he could be considered for a bullpen spot."

Dumatrait had undergone minor shoulder surgery in early August, with the expectation at the time being that he'd be able to resume throwing in October and progress through a normal offseason throwing program.  He was expected to be at full strength come the start of Spring Training.  However, he was late to begin throwing and never progressed to the point where he was able to throw off the mound.


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     This soreness had nothing to do with the arthroscopic surgery five months ago.  Instead, it had everything to do with how he continues to apply force to his pitches.  While the article does not say whether he is following Dr. Andrews' "Pathomechanics' regimen, whatever he is doing does not work.

     When will baseball learn that orthopedic surgeons and biomechanists are not trained in applied anatomy?

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120.  The man is quite a risk-taker.  He's putting what's left of his career in the hands of Toronto pitching coach, Brad Arnsberg, who blew out the arms of Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan last year.  And, he continued to make A.J. Burnett a perennial candidate for the DL.

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Maroth looks to revive career with Jays: Left-hander isn't guaranteed job, but feels one is within reach
MLB.com
January 8, 2009

TORONTO, ON:  The Blue Jays are heading into the coming season with a rotation filled with question marks.  That isn't stopping Mike Maroth from viewing Toronto's situation as one of opportunity -- a chance for him to revive his career by earning a starting role.

Maroth -- two seasons removed from his last walk up a big league mound and returning from left shoulder surgery -- signed a Minor League contract with the Blue Jays on Dec. 30, hoping to prove he can once again provide a durable arm.  The left-hander knows he isn't being handed a job with Toronto, but he feels one is within reach with the club.

The Jays, who lost right-hander A.J. Burnett to the Yankees in free agency this winter, have two rotation vacancies and a handful of pitchers vying for the jobs. Various injuries have also left Toronto without right-hander Dustin McGowan until at least May and right-hander Shaun Marcum until next season.  For Maroth, the losses created a window of opportunity.

"I threw for quite a few teams in December," Maroth said during a phone interview this week.  "It just looked like the best opportunity to come in and make a team was with Toronto.  Losing Burnett and a few other guys to injuries, there are some openings.  So I'm hoping to be able to come in and make an impact and prove that I'm healthy and pitch and be effective.

"Hopefully, I can earn a spot.  With the Jays, there was an opportunity for me to pitch in big league camp and be able to prove that."

The 31-year-old Maroth will first have to prove that he is indeed completely recovered from the left shoulder operation he underwent on May 15.  Last season, Maroth's season came to a close after he made just three starts for Triple-A Omaha, an affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.  The pitcher said years of wear and tear made the procedure necessary.

"My range of motion was pretty limited," Maroth said.  "I just think over time it was getting that way.  Flexibility is so important to be able to throw a baseball, and it was causing irritation in my shoulder -- it was causing some problems.  Last year, the arm just couldn't take it."

Maroth said the surgery was to repair some fraying of the labrum in his throwing shoulder.  The pitcher indicated that the operation was more for cleaning up his shoulder than anything else, adding that there was no structural damage and no stabilizing pins were needed.

"It was just kind going in, looking around and cleaning it up," Maroth said.  "I have completely recovered at this point.  Basically, I've been throwing [bullpen sessions] and everything to this point, and now I'm just continuing to get ready for the season.  I will be ready to go when I come into Spring Training, looking to earn a spot."


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     But, has he stopped taking his pitching elbow laterally behind his acromial line?  That is what caused the injury to the posterior aspect of his labrum.

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121.  "Career high innings" + "ligament replacement surgery" = deja vu.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (PA)
January 8, 2009

Relief pitcher Logan Kensing and the Florida Marlins agreed on a $660,000, one-year contract, avoiding arbitration.  Kensing went 3-1 with a 4.23 ERA in a career-high 55 1/3 innings last year.  The right-hander missed much of the 2007 season recovering from elbow ligament replacement surgery.


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     Unless Mr. Kensing has learned how to eliminate his 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce,' he will rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament again.  Just ask John Smoltz, who, by the way, still has 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'  Good luck with that, Red Sox.

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122.  He could have been spared the lobbying had he followed your methods, but then he's working hard to come back (long tossing)?

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PEDRO LOBBIES FOR METS RETURN
New York Post
January 9, 2009

Pedro Martinez spent yesterday afternoon entertaining friends on his boat in the Dominican Republic.  The future Hall of Fame pitcher wants to sail - back to the Mets.  In an exclusive interview with The Post, Martinez said he's open to pitching just about anywhere in 2009, but the Mets are far and away his first choice.  He also urged the Mets to sign free-agent righty Derek Lowe, Martinez's former teammate on the Red Sox.

Martinez's agent, Fern Cuza, is expected to speak with Met GM Omar Minaya next week about re-signing the 37-year-old right-hander.  Minaya has indicated throughout the offseason that Martinez is a realistic option.  "I went over to the Mets with something in mind, to win a World Series in the National League, and I haven't achieved that," said Martinez, who just completed a four-year, $53 million contract.

"I'm anxious to get out there with the team that we have right now. We should be really close to a team that will win it all, and I want to be part of it."

Minaya's focus has remained on free agents Lowe and Oliver Perez, in that order, for one spot in a rotation that will include Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey and John Maine.  Martinez could be a factor for the rotation's fifth spot.  Nevertheless, Martinez's durability remains an issue after three straight seasons in which he spent significant time on the disabled list with hip, calf, toe and hamstring ailments, as well as rotator-cuff surgery that shelved him for most of 2007.

Last season Martinez finished 5-6 with a 5.61 ERA, but says his problems were more mental than physical as his father, Paulino, battled and then succumbed to brain cancer in late July.  "I was trying to find cover under baseball, to get away from what happened with my dad, and obviously it didn't work," Martinez said.  "I thought I was going to put it away, put it aside, be distracted from everything that had happened with my dad, and it didn't happen.  "I couldn't talk about it, either.  It was too much under my chest.  It really does affect somebody to lose a parent like that, especially a good guy like my dad."

Martinez says he's fine physically and has been long-tossing, without throwing from a mound this offseason.  He sounded confident he can stay healthy for a full season.  "I haven't in the last three years, but I've had the time I needed to rest and get my mind set and get everything ready," Martinez said.  "I've been in rehab after rehab the last three years. I feel [everything] has gone away, and I can really perform to a level I expect to perform for a team in the big leagues."

In his dream Met rotation for next season, Martinez is flanked by Lowe, whom he considers one of the two best big-game pitchers he's played with (Curt Schilling is the other).  Even if the Mets ultimately don't re-sign Martinez, the pitcher is comfortable in imploring Minaya to sign Lowe. "It would be a great move and a smart move for Omar to do that," Martinez said.

As much as Martinez would love to have his pal Manny Ramirez as part of the mix, he also understands why the Mets have not pursued the future Hall of Fame outfielder.  "I don't go to the papers a lot, but I know what happened to [team owner] Mr. Fred Wilpon, and I feel very badly for him," Martinez said, referring to Wilpon's investments with alleged swindler Bernard Madoff.  "I feel very badly for the whole organization that those things happen. I wish I could do something.  I just pray that [Wilpon] bounces back and we can give him the World Series that he deserves."


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     Several years ago, a friend of mine said that, when a Red Sox doctor was visiting the Dominican Republic, he saw Pedro and his trainer watching my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.  However, I have no seen a change in how he applies force.

     Therefore, despite these tear-jerking stories, without severe salary adjustments and incentives, I would not take the chance on Pedro.

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123.  Questions on Pitching Injuries.

  Your last piece went over extremely well.  Every time you answer questions about pitching, it's one of the most popular topics on my site.  Today, Rick Peterson was discussing pitching injuries and some of the things he and Dr. James Andrews are doing.  I have a few questions that I was interested in hearing your response.

1.  According to Rick Peterson:  “In the last 10 years Tommy John surgeries have increased by 700 percent in the amateur pitching market." Why is this, in your opinion, the case?  Why are young pitchers more prone to injury today then let's say when I was playing amateur ball in 1989?

2.  Many amateur coaches don't have the expertise to understand the complex nature of pitching.  Knowing this, what are some simple things they could do to help their pitchers?

3.  Peterson cites three reasons for pitching injuries: Poor Delivery/Mechanics, Poor Conditioning, and Overuse.

Do you agree with those three?  We know you address the mechanics aspect and overuse, but what about conditioning?

For more details, go to this link:

Gary Armida article with Rick Peterson

4.  Coach Peterson highlights a key concept discussed at the Course known as periodization.  “Periodization is the cycling of high intensity activity and a period of rest/recovery.”

Do you do something along the lines of Periodization?  Is it unhealthy to play baseball all year long and not have the winter to "rest".

5.  Are you familiar with Dr. James Andrews and his Baseball Course?

For a description of his baseball course, go to:

ASMI's 27th Annual Baseball Course


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01.  If over the last ten years, seven times the number amateur baseball pitchers have had to have Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery, then my mission to eliminate the injurious flaws inherent in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion becomes even more critical.

     The injurious flaw inherent in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that results in the rupture of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament is 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     However, the action that begins the pitching arm action that eventually leads to 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' is when baseball pitchers take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand on top of the baseball.

     When 'traditional' baseball pitchers swing their pitching arm backward with the palm of their pitching hand on top of the baseball, they raise their pitching upper arm to shoulder height before they raise their pitching hand and baseball to shoulder height.

     Therefore, with their pitching upper arm remaining at shoulder height, 'traditional' baseball pitchers have to raise their pitching hand and baseball vertically upward.

     In Kinesiological terms, they are outwardly rotating the Humerus bone of their pitching upper arm.  When baseball pitchers outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, to bring their pitching forearm along, they contract the muscles that attach to the lateral (outside) of their elbow.

     The Ulnar Collateral Ligament attaches to the coronoid process of the Ulna bone of the pitching forearm and to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.  Therefore, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament lies on the medial (inside) of the pitching elbow.

     This means that, without the muscles of the medial epicondyle, i.e., the Pronator Teres, Flexor Carpi Radialis, Palmaris Longus, Flexor Carpi Ulnaris and a portion of the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscles, contracting, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament stands alone against the stress of the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     When their pitching forearm becomes vertical, their glove foot lands and they start to pull their pitching elbow forward.

     With their pitching arm moving upward and backward and their pitching elbow moving forward, the oppositely-directed forces cause their pitching forearm moves backward and downward until the moment when it stops moving downward and starts moving forward.  This is the moment of the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     With every 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce,' the connective tissues of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament microscopically tear.  When these microscopic tears render the Ulnar Collateral Ligament unable to withstand the stress, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament eventually ruptures.

     That this is happening to amateur baseball pitchers at seven times the rate as before indicates that they are applying more unnecessary stress than before.  While 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' is the basic cause of Ulnar Collateral Ligament ruptures, the fact that the rate has increased means that something else is causing amateur baseball pitchers to apply more stress than before.

     With the requirement to get signed to a professional contract is that amateur baseball pitchers have to throw ninety miles per hour, those amateur baseball pitchers who throw a few miles short of ninety miles per hour increase the intensity of their 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounces.'

     Nevertheless, if all baseball pitchers learn how to take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball and then pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, then they could apply as much stress as they can without microscopically tearing the connective tissues in the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     The reason is that, when baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm as I just described, they contract the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle on the medial (inside) of their pitching elbow.  Therefore, these muscles protect the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

02.  If they teach their amateur baseball pitchers five things, then they will eliminate all pitching injuries.

     a.  Take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball and then pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

     b.  Reverse their hips, shoulders and pitching arm to point at second base, not beyond.

     c.  Drive their pitching hand and baseball straight forward toward home plate.

     d.  Powerfully pronate the releases of all pitches.

     e.  Have their pitching hand and baseball arrive at driveline height at the same time that their glove foot lands.

03.  What I say is:  If all baseball pitchers mastered the skills of my baseball pitching motion, complete all of my interval-training programs and train every day until they no longer want to pitch competitively, then we would eliminate all pitching injuries and they could start and go three times through the line-up twice a week or pitch two innings in two out of three day three hundred and sixty-five days each year until they are, at least, in the middle forties.

04.  From what I wrote in #03 above, it should be clear that rest of any kind results in atrophy.  I believe that, for every day that adult baseball pitchers do not train, they decrease how long they can perform at their highest level by one and one-half days.

05.  Yes, I am very familiar with Dr. Andrews' Baseball Course.  On January 23-25, 2009, in Houston, TX, they held their 27th Annual Injuries in Baseball Course.  I have even listed the speakers and their topics in my 2009 Question/Answer file.

     They have offered this course for twenty-seven years.  You would think that, if they knew what they were talking about, then the number of pitching injuries would be decreasing down to none.  However, that the number of pitching injuries is increasing means that they have no idea what they are doing.

     I have downloaded the article that Rick Peterson wrote, "Bridging the Gap Between Potential and Peak Performance.  If you do not mind, I would like to study what Mr. Peterson say sentence by sentence and give you my opinion at a later date.

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124.  Your videos.

You wrote:  "Therefore, I assume that you do not allow your youth baseball pitchers who are biologically twelve years old and less to pitch competitively at all and your youth baseball pitchers who are biologically thirteen through fifteen years old to pitch more than two consecutive months per year."

What I do is teach proper mechanics to reduce the amount of pressure on the arm and show the kids how to use their lower body and core to do the hard work.  I focus on control first, then power.  And by your ridiculous logic, kids under 12 shouldn’t play catch because of their health.  I restrict the number of pitches a player can throw in game and in a week for safety sake.

You wrote:  "Do you know how many growth plates they have in their pitching elbow? Do you know at what biological age these growth plates mature?  If not, then you are injuring the growth plates in the pitching elbow of your youth baseball pitchers."

I don’t need to know the number of growth plates in a player’s arm to teach him how to throw the ball.

You wrote:  "With regard to the baseball pitching motion that I teach: It is perfectly safe for youth baseball pitchers of all ages, including as young as eight years old to not only practice my Maxline True Screwball, but my Maxline Pronation Curve as well.  However, my Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program only lasts for sixty days, then they have to do other activities."

That is why I asked you the question.  From the look of the videos, it would appear that an extreme amount of force is being applied to the elbow at release.

You wrote:  "When you teach your youth baseball pitchers to throw curve, do you teach them to release the baseball over top of their Index finger?  That means, when they throw curves, do you teach your baseball pitchers to turn the thumb of their pitching hand to point upward?  Turning the pitching thumb to point upward at release is called, supination.  If so, then you are injuring your youth baseball pitchers."

As I stated, I instruct up to age 15.  I do not teach breaking pitches at all.  I believe that presenting the same mechanics with each pitch and changing speeds is more than effective at that level.  Showing a 12 year old how to throw a curve ball is asking for trouble.

You wrote:  "When baseball pitchers pronate their pitching forearm, the use their Pronator Teres muscle.  The Pronator Teres muscle overlays the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Therefore, when baseball pitchers contract their Pronator Teres muscle, they protect their Ulnar Collateral Ligament."

So, you are telling me that pronating isn’t putting pressure on the elbow at all?  I find that difficult to believe.

You wrote:  "Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand on top of the baseball?  If so, then you are injuring the Ulnar Collateral Ligament of your youth baseball pitchers."

What I teach is a motion that separates the glove and hand at the last second of moving forward to create momentum.

You wrote:  "The cause of injury to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament are 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches who teach youth baseball pitchers to take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand on top of the baseball."

In my teaching the hand is on the side of the ball when removed from the glove and then rotated over the top during delivery.

You wrote:  "Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to turn their glove foot to parallel with the pitching rubber?  If so, then you are injuring the lateral aspect of their pitching knee.  Fortunately for you if you do, it takes several thousands of competitive baseball pitches for the damage to require knee replacement surgery.  Therefore, you will be able to misbelieve that you did not cause the problem."

And if you do not get your back foot parallel to the rubber, then you do not have enough drive off the back foot to generate power in the pitch.

You wrote:  "Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to reverse rotate their hips beyond second base?  If so, then you are injuring the anterior aspect of the acetabulum of their hip.  Fortunately for you if you do, it takes several thousands of competitive baseball pitches for the damage to require hip replacement surgery.  Therefore, you will be able to misbelieve that you did not cause the problem."

As I stated in my first email, I was impressed with the delivery method.  I still feel that it should not be taught to children under 15 because you are still generating too much torque on the elbow and wrist in the delivery.

You wrote:  "Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to take their pitching elbow behind their acromial line, such that they pinch their two Scapula bones together?  If so, then you are injuring the anterior aspect of the labrum in their pitching shoulder."

I tell you what, here is the link of my 12 year old pitching.  You tell me what you think of his delivery for yourself.

Vincent Niglio's twelve year old baseball pitcher video

You wrote:  "Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to take the baseball laterally behind their body?  This means that, when you stand at home plate, can you see the baseball behind their body?  If so, then you are injuring the coronoid process of the Ulna bone in their pitching forearm.  Fortunately for you, this injury does not cause any pain, only the loss of their flexion range of motion.  Therefore, you will be able to misbelieve that you did not cause the problem."

Again, follow the link and observe the delivery I teach.  You will notice a couple of mistakes in his delivery that I am correcting such as head position at release and stepping to the side instead of straight back, but overall, this is a good foundation to grow from.

You wrote:  "Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to stride seventy to ninety percent of their standing height?  If so, then you are injuring the intervertebral disk between their fifth Lumbar vertebrae and their first Sacral vertebrae.  Fortunately for you if you do, it takes several thousands of competitive baseball pitches for the damage to require the removal of this intervertebral disk.  Therefore, you will be able to misbelieve that you did not cause the problem."

Without the stride, too much emphasis is placed on the arm to deliver the ball with speed.

You wrote:  "Do you teach your youth baseball pitchers to have their stride foot land to the pitching arm side of the line from their pitching foot straight forward (closed)?  If so, then you are injuring the front of their pitching shoulder."

I saw the video of your 12 year old on you tube pitching using your method.  Every pitch was a balk.  There was no power generated in his pitches and there was no control.

You wrote:  "I am sure that you teach them many other things that are also injurious.  Unfortunately for them, you simply do not have any idea what you are doing."

I find this last part insulting because I pride myself in teaching proper mechanics that reduce injury and protect the pitchers so they may enjoy longer careers in baseball.  You seem to answer queries to your methods with attacks and personal affronts while making up ridiculous theories about how traditional pitching will lead to more injuries than your method.

I welcome you to attend any of my practices with my team since you are a stone’s throw away in Sanford, FL.

My phone number was in my first email so feel free to contact me and we can discuss this further.

Vincent Niglio
Leesburg All-Star Baseball, Inc.
606 Newell Hill Road
Leesburg, FL 34748
(352)360-5684
www.eteamz.com/leesburgyankees
leesburgasb@embarqmail.com


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     I appreciate that you took the time to respond.

     In response to my assumption that you do not allow biologically twelve years old and less to pitch competitively at all and your youth baseball pitchers who are biologically thirteen through fifteen years old to pitch more than two consecutive months per year, you wrote:

"What I do is teach proper mechanics to reduce the amount of pressure on the arm and show the kids how to use their lower body and core to do the hard work.  I focus on control first, then power.  And by your ridiculous logic, kids under 12 shouldn’t play catch because of their health.  I restrict the number of pitches a player can throw in game and in a week for safety sake."

     These are generalizations.  What do you teach that you believe reduces the amount of pressure on the pitching arm?  What do you have youth baseball pitchers do to use their lower body and core to do the hard work?

     Do you understand that, after the high glove leg lift, the long stride toward home plate and the glove foot landing, the baseball is not moving toward home plate?  If you did, then you would understand that, in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that you teach, the lower body does not contribute to release velocity?

     What muscles make up the 'core?'  How do these muscles contribute to release velocity?

     I did not say that biological twelve year old and younger youth baseball pitchers should not play catch.  I said that biological twelve year old and younger youth baseball pitchers should not pitch competitively.

     I believe that they are not only insufficiently physiologically developed, but also do not have the baseball pitching skills with which to benefit from competitive baseball pitching.

01.  How many baseball pitches per competitive baseball game can biological nine year old youth baseball pitches throw without altering the normal growth and development rate of the growth plates in their pitching elbow?

02.  How many baseball pitches per competitive baseball game can biological ten year old youth baseball pitches throw without altering the normal growth and development rate of the growth plates in their pitching elbow?

03.  How many baseball pitches per competitive baseball game can biological eleven year old youth baseball pitches throw without altering the normal growth and development rate of the growth plates in their pitching elbow?

04.  How many baseball pitches per competitive baseball game can biological twelve year old youth baseball pitches throw without altering the normal growth and development rate of the growth plates in their pitching elbow?

     Can you refer me to the research study that determined these numbers?

     Have you read Dr. Joel Adams' research about the rate of growth plate injuries in youth baseball pitchers?

     In response to my question about your knowledge of the growth plates in the pitching elbow of youth baseball pitchers, you wrote:

"I don’t need to know the number of growth plates in a player’s arm to teach him how to throw the ball."

     You are absolutely correct.  You do not need to know how much damage you are doing to the growth plates in the youth baseball pitchers that you teach the 'traditional' baseball pitchers.  I am sure that the mothers of these youth baseball pitchers that you teach appreciate your ignorance and lack of conscience about the results of your teachings.

     In response to my statement that my baseball pitching motion, my Maxline True Screwball and Maxline Pronation Curve that I teach are perfectly safe for youth baseball pitchers of all ages, you wrote:

"That is why I asked you the question.  From the look of the videos, it would appear that an extreme amount of force is being applied to the elbow at release."

     The paragraphs that followed my 'everything I teach is safe' statement carefully explained the science on which I base my statement.

     In response to my statement that 'supination' is the culprit in the baseball pitchers throwing curve, you wrote:

"As I stated, I instruct up to age 15. I do not teach breaking pitches at all.  I believe that presenting the same mechanics with each pitch and changing speeds is more than effective at that level.  Showing a 12 year old how to throw a curve ball is asking for trouble."

     Because you have no idea what you are doing, I believe that you are correct in not teaching your idea of how to throw curves to chronological fifteen year old and under youth baseball pitchers.  However, the only injury that youth baseball pitchers suffer from throwing 'traditional' curves is the loss of their extension range of motion.  Without throwing curves, youth baseball pitchers can still suffer every other pitching injury.  They just will not manifest those injuries until after many more repetitions.

     In response to my statement that 'pronating' the pitching forearm protects the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, you wrote:

"So, you are telling me that pronating isn’t putting pressure on the elbow at all?  I find that difficult to believe."

     If you understood the applied anatomy of baseball pitching, then you would understand that what I said was true.  Unfortunately, you do not know enough about what you are doing to understand that what you think is right is wrong.

     In response to my question about whether you teach your youth baseball pitchers to take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of the pitching hand on top of or under the baseball, you wrote:

"What I teach is a motion that separates the glove and hand at the last second of moving forward to create momentum."

     Why did you not answer my question?  In what do you want to create momentum? How does separating the baseball from the glove at the last second of moving forward create momentum?  Do you mean that baseball pitchers should keep the baseball in their glove until they are almost done moving forward?  This statement makes no sense.

     In response to my question about whether you teach your baseball pitchers to have the palm of their pitching hand on top of or under that baseball when they take the baseball out of their glove, you wrote:

"In my teaching the hand is on the side of the ball when removed from the glove and then rotated over the top during delivery."

     What?  If baseball pitchers have the palm of their pitching hand facing inward when they take the baseball out of their glove, then how do they get their pitching hand and baseball to driveline height?  During release, is not it a good idea to have the palm of the pitching hand behind the baseball?  What does 'rotated over the top during delivery mean?

     In response to my question about the position of the pitching foot relative to the pitching rubber, you wrote:

"And if you do not get your back foot parallel to the rubber, then you do not have enough drive off the back foot to generate power in the pitch."

     With regard to power off the pitching rubber:  When baseball pitchers have their pitching foot parallel with the pitching rubber, the only muscles that they can use to drive their body forward are the muscles on the lateral aspect of their pitching leg.  That muscle is the Tensor Fascia Latae muscle.

     Ice skaters use this muscle to push sideways against the ice.  While it makes sense to use this muscle on ice, I am confident that track sprinters prefer to use the knee extension muscles of their thigh to drive out of their starting blocks.

     Therefore, your statement has no scientific merit.  But worse, you missed the point of my question.  When baseball pitchers turn their pitching foot to parallel with the pitching rubber, they place considerable unnecessary stress on the lateral aspect of their pitching knee.  With sufficient numbers of repetitions, they will require knee replacement surgery.  Do you not care that, with every pitch that they throw using what you teach them, they are destroying their pitching knee?

     In response to my statement that excessive reverse rotation of the pitching hip, baseball pitchers damage their hip joint, you wrote:

"As I stated in my first email, I was impressed with the delivery method.  I still feel that it should not be taught to children under 15 because you are still generating too much torque on the elbow and wrist in the delivery."

     I have already explained that what you call 'torque' is pronation and why my baseball pitching motion does not injure youth baseball pitchers.  Why do you keep talking about torque?  Your inability to understand the applied anatomy of baseball pitching is the problem.

     However, once again, you did not answer my question.  Do you not care that what you are teaching your youth baseball pitchers is destroying their pitching hip?

     In response to my question about whether you teach your youth baseball pitchers to 'pinch their two Scapula bone together,' you wrote:

"I tell you what, here is the link of my 12 year old pitching.  You tell me what you think of his delivery for yourself.

Vincent Niglio's twelve year old baseball pitcher

     I went to the website.  It showed a youth baseball pitcher from the rear, side and front views throwing a fastball.

01.  He turns his pitching foot to parallel with the pitching rubber.
02.  He raises his glove knee to waist high.
03.  He reverse rotates his hips to point slightly beyond second base.
04.  He takes the baseball out of his glove when he starts his body forward.
05.  He drops his pitching hand straight downward.
06.  He keeps his pitching upper arm below shoulder height until he raise his pitching hand to driveline height.
07.  He raises his pitching hand straight upward.
08.  He points his glove arm about twenty degrees behind the pitching arm side batter.
09.  He keeps his pitching hand and baseball in line with the line between second base and home plate.
10.  He strides about five feet.
11.  He strides to the glove side of a line between his pitching foot and straight.
12.  When his glove foot lands, he does not have his pitching arm at driveline height.
13.  He bends forward at his waist.
14.  He moves his pitching hand and baseball close to his pitching shoulder before he starts his pitching elbow forward.
15.  He pulls his pitching arm forward.
16.  At release, his pitching foot is within inches of the pitching rubber.
17.  He pulls his pitching arm across the front of his body.

     In general, he uses the typical 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     He does not reverse rotate his hips too far or does not take the baseball laterally behind his body.  These are good things.

     However, everything else he does are either injurious or mechanical flaws.  If he continues to use this pitching motion, then he will suffer numerous injuries.  But, as I said, fortunately for you, these injuries will take years to manifest themselves and you can disavow any responsibility.

     You wrote:

"Again, follow the link and observe the delivery I teach.  You will notice a couple of mistakes in his delivery that I am correcting such as head position at release and stepping to the side instead of straight back but overall, this is a good foundation to grow from."

     Head position at release and stepping to the side when he steps back with his glove foot are the least of his problems.

     You wrote:

"Without the stride, too much emphasis is placed on the arm to deliver the ball with speed."

     As I said earlier, if you freeze frame this young man when his glove foot lands, then you will see that the baseball is not moving forward.  This means that the stride does nothing to increase the velocity of the pitch.

     You wrote:

"I saw the video of your 12 year old on you tube pitching using your method.  Every pitch was a balk.  There was no power generated in his pitches and there was no control."

01.  Now, you are admitting that you do not understand the rules of baseball pitching.

02.  With the incredible amount and intensity of Amazing's forward rotation of his hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm, he is generating as much power as he is able.

03.  He is practicing.  To become the best baseball pitchers that they can be, baseball pitchers should perform at their maximum intensity until they can throw strikes.  If, to throw strikes, baseball pitchers practice at lesser intensities, then they will never be that best baseball pitcher that they can be.

     Remember, they should not pitch competitively until the growth plates at the distal end of the Humerus bone in their pitching elbow matures and until they have mastered my baseball pitching motion and pitches such that they can throw two of three of every pitch for strikes.  Otherwise, they will not benefit from pitching competitively.

     In response to my comment, "you simply do not have any idea what you are doing," you wrote:

"I find this last part insulting because I pride myself in teaching proper mechanics that reduce injury and protect the pitchers so they may enjoy longer careers in baseball.  You seem to answer queries to your methods with attacks and personal affronts while making up ridiculous theories about how traditional pitching will lead to more injuries than your method.

     I welcome you to attend any of my practices with my team since you are a stone’s throw away in Sanford, FL."

     I believe that it is the same distance from where you live to where I live as it is from where I live to where you live.  We welcome everyone who wants to see what I teach.  We train from 9:00 to 10:30AM seven days a week.

     When I say that you do not have any idea what you are doing, I am not attaching you or making personal affronts.  I am providing you with constructive criticism.  You can choose to remain defensive or to learn.  The choice is yours.

     By what you wrote before and now again, you prove my point.  You have no idea what you are doing.  In my attempt to show you what you should be doing, I hope that you appreciate the time that I have given you.

     You wrote:

"My phone number was in my first email so feel free to contact me and we can discuss this further."

     I have spent more than enough time answering your question.  Nevertheless, if you have any more questions, then please email them to me.

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125.  One final question and that is how many reps to start the training.  For example, 5 reps in a row 25 times to a limit of increase of 5 times till you get to 25 reps 25 times.

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     I do not know the ages of the baseball pitchers that you are talking about training.  However, if they are biologically sixteen years old or older, you should start with my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     On the home page of my website, you will find my 'Baseball Pitcher Interval-Training Program' file.  When you click on that, you will find a list of my training programs. Click on my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.  Then, you should download a copy.

     If you carefully read the instructions, then you will see precisely how many repetitions of my wrist weight (WW) exercises, my iron ball (IB) throws, my football (FB) throws and my baseball (BB) throws that the baseball pitchers should perform every day.

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126.  My son's elbow injury.

  My 17 year old son has recently been diagnosed as having a mild partial tear of his UCL.  (This diagnosis was made with an MRI).  His doctor prescribed a months rest and this was all.  (No exercises, physical therapy, etc.).

My question to you is do you think the doctor is being aggressive enough?  Is there any kind of physical therapy you could recommend?  Would ultrasound or tens therapy help?  Is there any kind of supplement such as Osteo Bi Flex that you think would help?  We are open to any kind of suggestions you might make.


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     Unless your son wants to tear his Ulnar Collateral Ligament completely through, the first thing that your son has to do is change how he applies force to his pitches.  The second thing that he has to do is gently apply stress to the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles involved in the correct baseball pitching motion.

     Therefore, I recommend that he completes my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     On my website, drmikemarshall.com, without charge, I have provided my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and other video files for visitors to watch, my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, Question/Answer files and other text files of visitors to read and my Baseball Pitchers Training Programs for visitors to copy and complete.

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127.  Here is the YouTube link.

Here is the link to the video of you demonstrating the proper Catcher's Throw to 2nd base using your two-step drop body action full pendulum swing glove and pitching arm actions method.  Let me know if there is anything in the text that you want me to change.

Dr. Marshall demonstrates his two-step catcher throw technique

This year's 60 day training session with my son is going very well so far.  He seems to be doing all 4 pitches with the football very well.  All 4 pitches have a lot of movement, especially the screwball and finally, the curve.  He is very excited about trying them out with baseballs, but we won't be using them for another week.

We don't have a backstop for the 2 pound ball drills so instead we both wear catchers mitts and toss the ball to each other.  In addition to strengthening his throwing arm, I believe that it also strengthens his catching hand and arm.  It think that is one of the reasons he was such a good catcher last year.  After spending 2 months catching 2 lb balls, catching a 5 oz ball is a piece of cake no matter how fast the pitcher throws.


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     While I have no problem with you posting my brief demonstration of my two-step catchers release, I intended it for your personal use.  Therefore, this is your posting, not mine.  Your text is your text.  My text would be considerably more scientific and thorough.

     If I were to post how I teach baseball catchers to throw to second base and, some day, I will, I would have far more extensive explanations, high-speed film and videos of actual throws.

     Nevertheless, I hope that my simplistic demonstration helps your son and any others who might watch this clip.

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128.  Dirtbag's 12 yr old baseball pitcher.

Have you seen this yet?  Awesome stuff!

Dirtbag's twelve year old baseball pitcher


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     Dirtbag gives me annual reports on the baseball pitchers that he coaches.  Despite allowing them to equivocate the body action of my baseball pitching motion, he seems to have considerble success.

     While this youth baseball pitcher bends forward at his waist and does not drop step on his Maxline Fastball, Maxline Fastball Sinker or Maxline True Screwball, he did okay.  The strike out pitch, Torque Fastball, was a solid pitch.

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129.  This is Mike Farrenkopf.

I pitched in my first college conference game yesterday.  I came in at the start of the 5th inning. We won this game.  I gave up one run on one hit, no walks and three strike outs.

Coach Maley called my pitches.

1)  RHB:  SI (high away) SI (high middle):  Home run over left field fence.
2)  RHB:  SI*c SI* MF (away) SC*:  Strike out swinging
3)  RHB:  SI*swing SI(low) SI*c SC*c:  Strike out called
4)  RHB:  SI* MF (away) SC*c SC: Strikeb out swinging

I apologize for the lack of detail or even accuracy of the sequencing.  Coach Maley charts our pitches and I even reviewed it over with him.  But, I did not get a chance to write it down.  I should be charting my own pitches after every inning, then I would not have this problem.

Today, I was brought into the game at the start of the 3rd inning.  We won this game.  I gave up two runs on two hits, one walk, one hit batter and one strike out.

3rd Inning:
1)  RHB:  SI:  Double off left field wall
2)  RHB:  SI*c MF (low away) SI*s SC*: Strike out swinging.
3)  RHB:  SL*c (2-5 caught stealing) SI:  Lined out to left

4th Inning:
1)  RHB:  Double
2)  RHB:  Walk
3)  RHB:  Fly out to short
4)  LHB:  Hit by pitch
5)  LHB:  Single to right field

The pitcher that relieved me gave up a single.  Therefore, one more of my base runners scored.  He got out of the inning without any more damage.

I do not recall the sequencing.  I should because I was only throwing two pitches, the sinker and screwball.

You may ask where is my torque game?  I had struggled with my slider and torque fastball in my last scrimmage game.  I feel confident in the bullpen, but I tend to rush my torque arm action in games.  I lose control.  I would have like to have thrown my slider and maxline pronation curve.

I did talk to Coach about this after the game.  It is obvious that I need to execute all my pitches in order to be successful.  I hope that playing these games will help me continue to learn about baseball pitching.  I have plenty to learn.  Or another way of saying it, I need to execute what I have already learned from you.

I felt fatigue in my arm during this 4th inning today.  I tried my hardest to work through it.


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     I understand why Coach Maley had you throw back to back Maxline Fastball Sinkers to the first college batter that you faced.  From the last intersquad game, he did not trust your Torque Fastball Slider and he wanted you to get your Maxline Fastball Sinker into the game.

     When you threw the first Maxline Fastball Sinker high and away, you showed that you were rushing and could not finish the pitch.  Drop stepping should have helped you get your acromial line closer to home plate.  Are you doing your Second Baseba Pickoff drill?  Then, when you threw the second Maxline Fastball Sinker, you also rushed, but, this time, you also pulled the pitch.  Therefore, you lost movement.  It was as though you threw a ten mile per hour slower Maxline Fastball.  Good bye.

     Nevertheless, you appear to have righted yourself with the first pitch Maxline Fastball Sinker to the second batter.  While you should have thrown your two-seam Maxline Fastball on the second pitch, it appears that the batter swung and missed the second of back-to-back Maxline Fastball Sinkers.  This means that he is not a quality hitter.  After the four-seam Maxline Fastball sped up he reflexes, he swung and missed your Maxline True Screwball.

     With the third batter, Coach Maley had you throw three consecutive Maxline Fastball Sinkers.  That the batter could not hit them shows that he was not a quality hitter.  That your one ball-two strike Maxline True Screwball froze him proved the point.

     The sequence to the fourth batter was much better.  He swung and missed at the first pitch Maxline Fastball Sinker.  Howefver, apparently, this team does not pay attention to how you pitch previous batters.  Then, you missed away with the two-seam Maxline Fastball.  That means that you are still rushing.  The drop step will help.  The Second Base Pickoff drill will help.  Then, you threw back-to-back Maxline True Screwballs.  Again, this batter proved to not be a quality hitter.

     With two outs and nobody on, you should have introduced your Torque game.  You should have at least thrown one Torque Fastball Slider early in the count and a four-seam Torque Fastball between the two Maxline True Screwballs.

     In the second game, it is apparent that the opposition made note of the fact that you start every right-handed batter you face with a Maxline Fastball Sinker.  In this situation, I could not have pitched well with these sequences.  That you got away with the same Maxline Fastball Sinker, two-seam Maxline Fastball, Maxline Fastball Sinker and Maxline True Screwball sequence with the second batter shows that either he did not face you in the game the day before or he is a real crappy hitter.

     I liked that you threw a Torque Fastball Slider to start the third batter.  Unfortunately, you followed it with another Maxline Fastball Sinker.  It should have been a two-seam Torque Fastball, then your Maxline True Screwball.  Luckily, he only lined out to left field.  He should have hit it out of the park, especially if he faced you the day before.

     My guess is that the lead-off double came off a Maxline Fastball Sinker.  The walk resulted from you trying to be too fine with the Maxline Fastball Sinker.  The pop-up to short came off either a Torque Fastball Slider of a two-seam Torque Fastball that got in on his hands.  The left-handed batter that you hit with a pitch came off a Maxline Fastball Sinker that you did not finish or drop step.  The left-handed batter that singled to right hit another Maxline Fastball Sinker that you pulled.

     That you told me after that last inning that you only threw Maxline Fastball Sinkers and Maxline True Screwballs show that I did not read ahead, that I was wrong about the pitch you threw the right-handed batter that he popped to short and I was right about everything else.

     Nobody could succeed with throwing only these two pitches, no matter how well you throw them.  You are absolutely correct that, to succeed, you need to throw all pitches.

     I remember a game where I went several extra innings against the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta, where Gene Mauch stopped calling my pitches and let me go on my own.  After we won the game, he trusted me to put my game into play the best way for me.  You are going to have to show Coach Maley that you can command your entire game and know how to put it into play.  To do that, you are going to have to not only execute your game better, you are going to show that you know what pitch sequences you throw.

     If you do not have a copy of the game sheets that I used to chart my pitches, then you can download a copy from Chapter Twenty-Three: Data Collection of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book or make one of your own.  Whichever, you need to get your head more into the game.  You can no longer be thinking about how to throw your pitches.  You are either ready to pitch competitively or you are not.  If you are not ready to pitch your game, then you need to spend more time learning how to pitch your game, not pitching competitively.

     Joe told me that things went well in the two innings that you pitched in your last intrasquad game before the championship season started.  I would have liked to have received the pitch sequences and At Bat results.  If I had, I would have learned that you lost your Torque game and might have been able to have helped you get it back.  Until you showed me that you have your Torque game, I would not let you pitch again.  You need to land on the heel of your glove foot, roll across the entire length of your pitching foot, raise up on the toes of your glove foot and throw.  You have 'glove foot float.'

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     On Sunday, February 15, 2009, I posted the following questions and answers.

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130.  Review of Peterson article.

     This is Dr. Marshall speaking.

     Last week, a reader asked me to comment on an article in which Mr. Gary Armida interviewed Mr. Rick Peterson.  I did so.

     However, because the statements that the reader attributed to Mr. Peterson were so outlandish, I wanted to go through the article sentence by sentence.  Readers can find the entire article at:

Gary Armida article with Rick Peterson

     Because I have included almost all of the article in my review, I will only present my review.


     Therefore, to distinguish what the author wrote and Mr. Peterson said, I will bold their text.

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Pitching Perspectives with Rick Peterson: Understanding the Epidemic of Youth Pitching Injuries
February 6th, 2009
By Gary Armida

Mr. Peterson said, “In the last 10 years Tommy John surgeries have increased by 700 percent in the amateur pitching market.  Something is obviously wrong here.”


        If this statistic is true, then, in the last ten years, something has changed. Because ‘traditional’ baseball pitching coaches still teach the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion to our youth baseball pitchers that causes baseball pitchers of all ages to rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, then something has increased the rate of UCL ruptures seven hundred percent.

        I agree that extending the time period over which youth baseball pitchers competitively pitch is the new variable that has increased the number of Ulnar Collateral Ligament ruptures.  However, the primary culprit is the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion.

     The first change that youth baseball organizations have to make is to remove the injurious flaws, including the one that ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament from the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     Surprisingly, to remove the injurious flaw that ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament is very simple.  Baseball pitchers of all ages only need to learn to:

01.  Take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball.

02.  Pendulum swing their pitching arm vertically downward and backward to forty-five degrees behind their body with the palm of their pitching hand facing toward home plate.

03.  At forty-five degrees behind their body, while they continue to pendulum swing their pitching arm backward and upward in one, smooth, continuous movement to driveline height (below the top of their head) turn the palm of the pitching hand to face away from their body.

     When all baseball pitchers learn how to do this, we will have eliminated injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament and the need for Tommy John surgery.

     However, we still have the problem of altering the development of the growth plates in the pitching elbow of youth baseball pitchers.  To prevent the permanent changes in the development of these growth plate, I recommend the following.

01.  Until they are biologically thirteen years old, youth baseball pitchers should not pitch competitively at all.  I would like to add that, until they master my baseball pitching motion and can throw two of every three pitches of the four pitches that I recommend that youth baseball pitchers throw, they should not pitch competitively.

02.  Between biological ages of thirteen and sixteen years old, when all growth plates in the pitching elbow mature, youth baseball pitchers should not pitch more than once through the lineup twice a week for two consecutive months each year.  If they are not in the rapid growth spurt phase of their growth and development, then they can complete two of my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Programs.  Also, they can practice the releases of their pitches by throwing lids and appropriately-sized footballs.

03.  When they are biologically sixteen years old, they should complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program once a year and pitch competitively for four consecutive months a year.

The author wrote, "If one were to take Coach Peterson's statements and apply them in the context of health in an area other than baseball, one would call this increase in injuries and the subsequent surgeries, an epidemic."

        In a presentation at the California Sports Medicine Seminar at the University of Los Angeles in May of 1975, the May 26, 1975 issue of Sports Illustrated quoted me as saying, “Over the past twenty years, by using adult rules in children’s baseball games, we have selectively taken the best arms and ruined them.  There is no way that adolescent injuries can be mended.  They are handicaps for life.”

          I also said that if the Center for Disease Control were able to actually measure the changes in the development of the growth plates in the pitching elbows of youth baseball pitchers, they would declare an epidemic.

        Dr. Andrews and Mr. Peterson are forty-four years late for the battle.

Mr. Peterson said, “Major League teams spent $330 million dollars on pitching injuries.”

        What Mr. Peterson means is that it costs Major League baseball $330 million dollars to pay baseball pitcher who are on the Disabled List.  They spend nothing on research to eliminate pitching injuries.

The author wrote, “This increased use, without proper coaching, has led to the explosion of pitching related injuries.”

        I agree that youth baseball pitchers are competitively pitching too much.  I have already explained the limitations on competitive pitching that Dr. Joel Adams’ 1975 article in California Medicine suggests.  However, neither Dr. Andrews, Mr. Peterson nor ‘traditional’ baseball pitching coaches in general have any idea what proper coaching means.

The author wrote, “Fortunately, the amateur pitching market is about to get the benefit of 30 years of research from the acclaimed Dr. James Andrews and the on-field experience (as well as many years of collaboration with Dr. Andrews) of Coach Peterson.”

        Dr. Andrews may have thirty years of surgical experience, but he certainly does not have thirty years of research into the causes of pitching injuries.  How do I know that?  I have over forty years of research into the causes of pitching injuries.  And, I have read everything that Dr. Andrews, Dr. Fleisig, Dr. Andrews research biomechanist and Mr. Peterson have said and written.  Not only do they know nothing about the causes of pitching injuries, what they think causes pitching injuries is wrong.

The author wrote, “Today, Coach Peterson explores the underlying causes of amateur pitching injuries, advancements made, and a look to the future.”

Mr. Peterson said, “The problem is that nobody really knows what to do or where to go.”

        Therefore, Mr. Peterson admits that nobody, including Dr. Andrews, Dr. Fleisig and himself, knows what to do or where to go.  But, I do and have for over forty years.

Mr. Peterson said, “There has never been a place or a program that can prevent pitching injuries.”

        I have a place and the programs that eliminate pitching injuries.  And, Dr. Andrews, Dr. Fleisig and Mr. Peterson know me.  They know that I know what to do and where to go.  It is all on my website.  The interval-training programs that I have designed will teach and train all baseball pitchers how to eliminate all pitching injuries.  However, the problem is that they cannot make money telling people to go to my website.

Mr. Peterson said, “That is why it is so exciting to bring our program to the amateur pitching market.  We can shift the focus from rehab to prehab.”

     I have been doing prehab for over forty years.  If Dr. Andrews and Mr. Peterson want to shift the focus from surgeries and rehabilitation to prehabilitation, then all they need to do is use my materials.  As long as they eliminate pitching injuries, they can make all the money they want and I don’t care whether they give me any credit.  They just have to stop the nonsense that they are teaching.

The author wrote, “While there are some highly trained (and very well-intentioned) coaches involved with amateur players, few can bring the experience of Dr. Andrews’ research or Coach Peterson success in his 11 years as a Major League pitching coach and 30+ years in professional baseball.”

        Dr. Andrews and Dr. Fleisig have done zero scientific research of any quality and Mr. Peterson has destroyed pitching arms wherever he has coached major league pitchers.  On the other hand, I have over forty years of scientific research and no baseball pitcher I have trained has ever required any pitching surgery.

The author wrote, “The expertise and advancements with pitching injury prevention have been limited to the professional ranks (furthermore, most teams don’t know what to do with the information-another group that is slow to react).”

        If Major League Baseball had any idea of how to prevent pitching injuries, then they would not have any injured baseball pitchers.  However, in 2008, in addition to twenty-two trunk injuries and fifty-one leg injuries, their baseball pitchers suffered one hundred and ninety-four pitching arm injuries.  Major League Baseball has no idea how to prevent pitching injuries.  Mr. Peterson, stop lying.

The author wrote, “With that lack of knowledge in the amateur baseball organizations coupled with increased intensity and playing time, youth pitching injuries have exploded.”

        Major League Baseball doctors and pitching coaches do not know more about preventing pitching injuries than amateur baseball pitching coaches.  Except for the lost revenue, they do not even care about the pain their baseball pitchers suffer.  However, the mothers of injured youth baseball pitchers care.

The author wrote, “As is usually the case with the medical field, it can often take far too long for doctors and scientists to get their full scientific validation in order to put a program into action.  Luckily, because of Dr. Andrews’ research and Rick Peterson’s experience and work with Dr. Andrews and Major League pitchers, the tide seems to be changing.”

        Maybe in their minds and the minds of uneducated sports writers and the like, Dr. Andrews, Dr. Fleisig and Mr. Peterson, believe that they have ‘full scientific validation.’  However, I know that they do not know what they are doing.

The author wrote,” Assuming that a pitcher is not genetically predisposed to arm injuries (meaning that he can, actually, pitch), there are three main causes of pitching injuries.”

        Unless they are physically disabled, no baseball pitchers are genetically predisposed to pitching arm injuries.  This is simply the lame excuse that ‘traditional’ baseball pitching coaches give for their inability to explain why baseball pitchers that they train injure themselves.

The author wrote, “The first cause is the classic “bad mechanics”.  Coach Peterson (who prefers to refer to this as the delivery) doesn’t limit this one to just pitchers in the amateur market.  Instead, he broadens it to poor throwing delivery or poor arm action.”

        The author is absolutely correct.  The primary cause of pitching arm injuries is the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion that Mr. Peterson and all other ‘traditional’ baseball pitching coaches teach.

       To name a few, when ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers teach the following injurious flaws, they injure baseball pitchers.

01.  Turn the pitching foot to parallel with the pitching rubber.
02.  Reverse rotate the hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm well beyond second base.
03.  Stride seventy to ninety percent of the standing height.
04.  Take the baseball out of the glove with the palm of the pitching hand on top of the baseball.
05.  Raise the pitching upper arm to shoulder height with the pitching hand below shoulder height.
06.  Lift the pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball vertically upward to above shoulder height.
07.  Have the glove foot land before the pitching forearm lies horizontally behind the pitching elbow (Maximum Pitching Forearm Acceleration Position).
08.  Land with the glove foot on the pitching arm side of the line from the pitching foot straight forward (Closed).
09.  Generate horizontal centripetal force to the pitching arm side of their body.
10.  Supinate their pitching forearm, wrist, hand and fingers through release.
11.  Bend forward at their waist.
12.  Pull their pitching arm across the front of their body and downward.

Mr. Peterson said, “Unfortunately, with amateur pitchers, this can be trained very early.  One of the first problems is getting a young pitcher to grip the ball properly.  How the heck can an 8 year old properly grip a baseball? His hands are too small.”

        I agree that eight year olds do not have hands large enough to properly grip regulation size baseballs to throw non-fastball pitches.  However, their hands are large enough to play catch with regulation sized baseballs.  Therefore, small hands do not cause pitching injuries.  The solution to the small hands problem is to wait until youth baseball pitchers have larger hands to teach them how to pitch.  Until then, we should teach them how to correctly use their throwing arm.

Mr. Peterson said, “Think about the pitching delivery as an upside down tornado.  Hip rotation determines velocity.”

        In the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers rotate their hips forward such that, at release, their pitching foot is within inches of the pitching rubber.  This means that they have rotated their hips forward through about one-third of the time between when they started their pitching arm forward to when they release their pitches.

        In the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers rotate their shoulder forward such that, at release, their shoulders are perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate.  This means that they have rotated their shoulders forward through about one-half of the time between when they started their pitching arm forward to when they release their pitches.

        Therefore, the only part of their body that applies force to the baseball the entire time between when they start their pitching arm forward and when they release their pitches is their pitching arm.

     As a result, that upside down tornado to which Mr. Peterson referred has little impact on release velocity.

Mr. Peterson said, “If the delivery is executed properly, the shoulder doesn’t do much work.”

        Because ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers stop rotating their shoulders forward at about halfway through the driveline, all baseball pitchers have left is to pull their pitching arm forward.  To pull their pitching arm forward, in a shoulder joint action that Kinesiologists call, ‘horizontal flexion,’ ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers use the Pectoralis Major muscle that lies on the front of their chest.

        However, the most powerful muscle that attaches to the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm is the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  The ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion does not use the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to accelerate the baseball toward home plate.

        The second most powerful muscle that attaches to the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm is the Teres Major muscle.  The ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion also does not use the Teres Major muscle to accelerate the baseball toward home plate.

        In a shoulder joint action that Kinesiologists call, ‘extension’ and ‘inward rotation,’ without any unnecessary stress and the resulting injuries, the Latissimus Dorsi and Teres Major muscles are the most powerful muscles with which baseball pitchers can powerfully and safely accelerate their pitches toward home plate.  Mr. Peterson cannot spell Latissimus Dorsi.

        Dr. Andrews, Dr. Fleisig and Mr. Peterson have no idea how to teach baseball pitchers how to ‘unlock’ the power of the Latissimus Dorsi and Teres Major muscles.  I do.

Mr. Peterson said, “But, in order for the shoulder not to feel the brunt of the workload, everything must be in sync, on-time, and in coordination with the rotational velocities, the lower body and the upper torso.”

        Be specific, Mr. Peterson, how do you believe that the lower body and the upper torso should be in sync or in coordination with their rotational velocities?  As I said earlier, in the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion, the hips stop rotating forward at about one-third and the shoulders stop rotating forward at about one-half of the length of the driveline of the pitching arm.  How are they in sync and in coordination?

The author wrote, “In other words, if a delivery is done correctly, the impact on the shoulder is minimal.”

        I agree.  However, as long as ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers pull their pitching arm forward with their Pectoralis Major muscle, they will always maximally impact their pitching shoulder.

The author wrote, “The problem is that most amateur level coaches (I was a high school baseball coach for 10 years, so don’t take the following as a slight) do not have the pitching education to correct such deficiencies.”

        I agree.  However, neither does Dr. Andrews, Dr. Fleisig, Mr. Peterson or any other ‘traditional’ baseball pitching coach.

The author wrote, “Instead, most coaches will say to a pitcher something to the effect that the pitcher is “flying open”.

        When 'traditional’ baseball pitching coaches say that baseball pitchers are ‘flying open,’ they mean that their baseball pitchers cannot keep their pitching upper arm in line with their shoulders.  This means that instead of keeping their pitching upper arm in line with their shoulders, their pitching arm lags behind their shoulder line.

        However, when ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers use their Pectoralis Major muscle to pull their pitching upper arm forward, the inertial weight of their entire pitching arm is more than their Pectoralis Major muscle can overcome.  Therefore, ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers unnecessarily stress the front of their pitching shoulder.

        Because ‘traditional’ baseball pitching coaches, including Mr. Peterson, do not have any idea what they are doing, the solution to this problem that they teach is for their baseball pitchers to limit how much they rotate their shoulders forward.

        This means that, where Mr. Peterson was just lauding the value of rotating the hips forward, now he is saying that his baseball pitches should not rotate their shoulders forward.

        To prevent ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers from rotating their shoulders forward, Mr. Peterson et al teach their baseball pitchers to stride to the pitching arm side of the line between their pitching foot and straight forward (Closed).  This action prevents baseball pitchers from rotating their hips forward, which, in turn, prevents baseball pitchers from rotating their shoulders forward.

        Nevertheless, when ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers use their Pectoralis Major muscle to pull their pitching upper arm forward, at the beginning of the forward rotation of their hips, the inertial weight of their entire pitching arm causes their pitching upper arm to lag behind their shoulders.  All that striding closed does is to allow the pitching upper arm to catch up with their shoulders.

        With my baseball pitching motion, I teach my baseball pitchers to raise their pitching upper arm to driveline height before they start to rotate their hips and shoulders forward.  Therefore, my baseball pitchers ‘lock’ their pitching upper arm with their shoulders.  This means that their pitching upper arm never lag behind their shoulders.

The author wrote, “But, as Coach Peterson explains, that merely means that the pitcher is out of sync which “puts a ton of pressure on the shoulder during the acceleration phase of the delivery.”

          I agree that, during the start of the acceleration phase, the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion 'puts a ton of pressure on the shoulder.'  However, I disagree that it has anything to do with being out of sync.  It has everything to do with using the Pectoralis Major muscle to pull the pitching upper arm forward.

Mr. Peterson said, “After the cocking stage, the ball comes to a complete stop or almost a complete stop.”

        With this statement, Mr. Peterson admits that the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion does not conserve the momentum of the backward movement of the pitching arm.

        What Mr. Peterson calls the ‘cocking stage’ is actually the ‘Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.’  ‘Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce’ occurs when ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers raise their pitching forearm to point vertically upward at the same moment that their glove foot lands and they start to pull their pitching upper arm forward.  Even though the pitching upper arm starts to move forward, the baseball stands still pirouetting in a small circle as it moves downward to the height of the pitching elbow.

        Properly defined, baseball pitchers have their pitching arm ‘cocked’ when the pitching forearm lies horizontally behind the pitching elbow, it is in the position to maximally accelerate toward home plate.

Mr. Peterson said, “This is right before the point where the pitcher’s arm is about to accelerate through the pitch.”

        Until their glove foot lands, baseball pitchers cannot rotate their hips forward.  With the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers rotate their hips forward first, then rotate their shoulders forward.  It is not until they start rotating their shoulders forward, that ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers start pulling their pitching upper arm forward.

Mr. Peterson said, “That stopping point to the completion of the acceleration phase lasts 0.3 seconds.  So, if you think about it, in that 0.3 seconds the ball is accelerated from zero miles per hour to 90-plus miles per hour (for a Major league pitcher).”

        In 1971, I high-speed filmed my baseball pitching motion from the rear, side and overhead views with synchronized high-speed timers in view of each camera.  I determined that from first forward movement to release, I applied force for 0.2 seconds.

        Release velocity equals force times the time period over which baseball pitchers apply force divided by the mass of the baseball.

        Ninety miles per hour is one hundred and thirty-two feet per second.  One hundred and thirty-two feet per second divided by 0.2 seconds is 6.6 pounds of force.

        According to Mr. Peterson, at 0.3 seconds of force application, to throw ninety miles per hour, baseball pitchers only have to apply 4.4 pounds of force.  While I have no idea from where Mr. Peterson determined that baseball pitchers apply force to 0.3 seconds, I question whether the statement is accurate.

The author wrote, “Quite simply, amateur athletes are not conditioned to pitch as much as they do.”

        I agree.  ‘Traditional’ baseball pitching coaches have no idea how to properly train their baseball pitchers.  Until they understand the ‘Overload Principle’ and ‘Specificity of Training,’ they will never properly train baseball pitchers.

Mr. Peterson said, “How many amateur pitchers are made to do shoulder strengthening exercises as a part of their youth programs?  The answer is probably none.”

     All of the parents who are using my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program and 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program are doing strengthening exercises that I designed specifically for the pitching shoulder.

        With this statement, Mr. Peterson shows that he does not understand ‘Specificity of Training.’  The only training that helps baseball pitchers is overloading the pitching muscles in exactly the same movements that they use to throw baseballs.

The author wrote, “Essentially, young pitchers are throwing more than ever, but failing to properly condition their shoulders, arms, legs, torso, etc. in order to handle the increased workload.”

        While I believe that athletes should train for fitness beyond whatever their competitive activity requires of them, if they only train by performing the activity, then they will become fit for performing that activity.

        However, with the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion, because it has so many injurious flaws inherent in it, with every pitch that ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers throw, they are destroying their pitching arms.

The author wrote, “Additionally, conditioning comes into play during the deceleration phase of the delivery.”

        Baseball pitchers can only accelerate their pitches as fast as the muscles that decelerate their pitching arm can safely stop their pitching arm.  With my wrist weight exercises, my baseball pitchers train their deceleration muscles far beyond the acceleration force that they can generate with their acceleration muscles.

The author wrote, “Based on ASMI (American Sports Medicine Institute) research, most amateur pitchers are not old enough (or developed enough) to properly drive through a pitching delivery.”

        I have no idea on what the author or Mr. Peterson based this statement.  To understand that ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers cannot uniformly accelerate their pitches through release, the American Sports Medicine Institute would have to calculate Acceleration Graphs for the baseball pitchers that they biomechanically analyze.

        ASMI did not calculate Acceleration Graphs for the four baseball pitchers that I had them biomechanically analyze.  And, I have not seen any Acceleration Graphs that they calculated for any other baseball pitchers that they biomechanically analyzed.

        In my 1971 high-speed film analysis of me throwing my fastball, slider and screwball, I calculated the Acceleration Graphs.  I found that, after I started to bend forward at my waist, while I continued to accelerate my fastball through release, I did so at lower and lower rates.

        This means that, for baseball pitchers to accelerate their fastballs at the same velocity rate increases, they have to stand tall and rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forward through release.

Mr. Peterson said, “You wouldn’t give a kid the keys to a sports car without brakes, would you?  Well, that’s similar to what’s happening to young pitchers. They are not conditioned enough to properly execute a delivery.”

        To impress on readers how critical powerful deceleration muscles are to increasing release velocity, for over forty years, I use the following analogy.  Suppose that you are on a quarter mile drag car race track driving a car that can accelerate to five hundred miles per hour in one quarter mile.  However, one hundred yards beyond the finish line, there is a two thousand foot cliff.  How fast would you accelerate the car?

        The answer is:  That depends on from what speed can the brakes stop the car in one hundred feet.

        Does is seem that Mr. Peterson plagiarized his analogy?

The author wrote, “The hard throwers are the group that is most at risk for injury, especially if they are poorly conditioned.”

        Whether ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers are extremely well conditioned, whatever that means, or poorly conditioned makes no difference in when they rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

        With every ‘Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce,’ ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers microscopically tear the connective tissue fibers of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

        ‘Traditional’ baseball pitchers with higher take-off velocities of their pitching elbow will microscopically tear more of the connective tissue fibers that make up the Ulnar Collateral Ligament than ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers with lower take-off velocities.

        Therefore, ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers with higher take-off velocities of their pitching elbow require fewer pitches to rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament than ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers with lower take-off velocities.

        However, when baseball pitchers do not have ‘Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce’ in their pitching motion, like my baseball pitchers, despite their take-off velocity, they will not even microscopically tear any of the connective tissue fibers that make up the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

The author wrote, “In this case, Coach Peterson is not talking about (overuse) in a particular season or a particular game (although that can also be a small factor).  Instead, he speaks of overuse in the context of entire year.”

        What Mr. Peterson is hoping for is that if we shorten their competitive season, then baseball pitchers will make it through the season before the accumulated microscopically torn connective tissue fibers in the Ulnar Collateral Ligament reach the point where the UCL completely ruptures.

        However, because ligaments have minimal blood flow, they do not repair these microscopic tears at a rate sufficient to be ready for the next season.  Therefore, at some point, even with shorted competitive seasons, ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers with ‘Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce’ will eventually rupture their UCL.

        The only answer is to either eliminate ‘the Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce’ injurious flaw from the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion or use my baseball pitching motion.

Mr. Peterson said, “The days of the three letter athlete are over.  Today, amateur baseball is played year-round.  Amateur pitchers will play in travel leagues all winter and continue to throw.  Quite simply, there is not enough time for a player to rest. The winter should be a time for the body, the muscles, to rest and recover.”

01.  Until they are biologically thirteen years old, youth baseball pitchers should not pitch competitively at all.  Instead, they should complete two of my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Programs per year.  Evenly spaced, they should have two four month hiatuses from throwing baseballs.

02.  Until they are biologically sixteen years old, youth baseball pitchers should pitch competitively for two consecutive months and, unless they are in their rapid growth spurt, they should complete two of my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Programs.  Evenly spaced, they should have three two month hiatuses from throwing baseballs.

03.  Until they are biologically nineteen years old, youth baseball pitchers should pitch competitively pitch for four consecutive months and complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.  Evenly spaced, they should have two two month hiatuses from throwing baseballs.

The author wrote, “Now, the medical field seems to be moving quickly to the side of injury prevention instead of reacting to an injury.”

        I have not seen any sign that the medical field has the slightest idea how to prevent pitching injuries.

The author wrote, “Not surprisingly, Dr. Andrews has been on the forefront of this movement.”

     Over the last few years, Dr. Andrews has stated that youth baseball pitchers pitch competitively for too long each year.  He has also recommended that Little League Baseball implement pitch count limits for youth baseball pitchers of varying chronological ages.  But, from what scientific research study did Dr. Andrews come up with these numbers?

     Dr. Andrews and/or Dr. Fleisig, the director of the American Sports Medicine Institute sent out a questionnaire in which they asked several people associated in some way with baseball to guess how many competitive baseball pitches that ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen chronological year old youth baseball pitchers can throw before they suffer pitching injuries.

        Despite the fact that none of the responders did not even know what growth plates are or the difference between chronological and biological ages, in their overwhelming ignorance and arrogance, these men provided the number of pitches that youth baseball pitchers of the varying chronological ages should throw.

        With these numbers, Dr. Andrews and/or Dr. Fleisig had someone add these numbers and divide by the number of naïve fools that provided them and came up with an average number for each chronological age.  This is what Dr. Andrews and/or Dr. Fleisig is scientific research.  It is not.  It is taking a poll of ignorant, arrogant fools.

The author wrote, “For the past 27 years, Dr. Andrews has conducted The Baseball Course.”

        To make sure that readers understand what Dr. Andrews 2009 Baseball Course offered, I provide the list of presentations from the ASMI website.

  -------------------------------------------------

01.  LIVE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Shoulder Anatomy; Manuj Singhal, M.D.
02.  LIVE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Physical Exam of the Shoulder; Neal S. ElAttrache, M.D. and Lonnie Paulos, M.D.
03.  Biomechanics of the Shoulder; Glenn S. Fleisig, Ph.D.
04.  Diagnostic Studies of the Shoulder: X-Ray, MRI, CT and Ultra Sound; Dave Lintner (Houston Astros MD)
05.  Operative Management of Rotator Cuff Pathology in Throwers; Neal S. ElAttrache, M.D.
06.  Other Less Common Pathologies in the Throwers Shoulder; Jeffrey R. Dugas, M.D.
07.  Rehabilitation of Rotator Cuff Injuries; Michael M. Reinold, P.T., D.P.T., A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.
08.  Introduction to the Labrum: Anatomy, Pathology and Diagnosis; Walt Lowe, M.D.
09.  Injuries to the Labrum; Russ Paine, P.T.
10.  Labral Pathology: Operative Management to Include Complete 360 Degree Labral Tears. The Extreme SLAP; E. Lyle Cain, Jr., M.D.
11.  The Loss of Internal Rotation in Throwers: Causes and Treatment. Does This Cause Injury? New Research; Kevin E. Wilk, D.P.T.
12.  Capsular Microinstability in Throwers; Lonnie Paulos, M.D.
13.  The Batters Shoulder: Post Instability; Jeffrey R. Dugas, M.D.
14.  Biceps Tendon Injuries in the Thrower; Walt Lowe, M.D.
15.  Putting It All Together: What I Have Learned About the Throwing Shoulder in the Last 35 Years; James R. Andrews, M.D.

Break for lunch.

16.  Scapular Training, Strengthening and Muscular Education Techniques; Russ Paine, P.T.
17.  Techniques to Keep the Pitchers Healthier Through the Season; Jamie Reed, M.S., A.T.,C.
18.  Dynamic Stabilization Exercises for the Upper Extremity in Throwers; Kevin E. Wilk, D.P.T.
19.  Dynamic Reactive Exercises for the Shoulder; Ken Crenshaw, A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.
20.  Changes in Strength ROM Over the Course of the Season: Efficacy of Stretching and Strengthening; Michael M. Reinold, P.T., D.P.T., A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.
21.  Hamstring Injuries in Baseball Players: Recognition and Treatment; Bob Mangine, M.Ed., P.T., A.T.,C.
22.  Special Rehab Considerations for the Windmill Pitcher; Lynn Snyder-Mackler, Sc.D., P.T., F.A.P.T.A.
23.  Plyometrics to Enhance Baseball Performance; Russell Orr, M.S., A.T.,C., C.S.C.S., L.M.T.
24.  In Season Conditioning to Maximize Performance; Nathan Shaw, A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.
25.  Advance (Complex) Periodization; Javair Gillett, C.S.C.S.
26.  Protecting the Starting Pitcher; Perry Castellano, C.S.C.S. - R
27.  More Core Training Drills;Russell Orr, M.S., A.T.,C., C.S.C.S., L.M.T.

Break for the day.

28.  LIVE VIDEO DEOMNSTRATION: Anatomy of the Elbow; Tom Gill, M.D. (Red Sox)
29.  Biomechanics of the Elbow; Dave Fortenbaugh, M.S.
30.  LIVE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION: Physical Exam of the Thrower’s Elbow; Walt Lowe
31.  Valgus Extension Overload: Pathophysiology and treatment of Posterior problems in the thrower’s elbow; Keith Meister, M.D.
32.  Non-Operative Treatment of Specific Elbow Pathologies; Lenny Macrina, MS, PT, SCS
33.  Diagnosis of Medial Elbow Pain in the Throwing Athlete; J.P. Bramhall, M.D.
34.  Rehabilitation for the Painful In-season Thrower’s Elbow; Ken Crenshaw, A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.
35.  The Tommy John Injury Epidemic: Risk Factors and Outcome with Reconstruction; E. Lyle Cain, Jr., MD
36.  Rehabilitation Following UCL Surgery; Kevin E. Wilk, D.P.T.
37.  UCL Reconstruction in Patients with Intraligamentous Bony Pathology; Jeffrey R. Dugas, M.D.
38.  Newer Alternative Techniques for UCL Reconstruction; Neal S. ElAttrache, M.D.
39.  Rehabilitation Following UCL Surgery; Kevin E. Wilk, D.P.T.

Break for lunch.

40.  Smokeless Tobacco Update; John F. Wisniewski, D.M.D., M.S.
41.  Hydration and Possible Dangers of “Energy Drinks”; TBA
42.  What You Need to Know About Lasiks Eye Surgery; TBA
43.  Developing an Emergency Action Plan; Tracy R. Ray, M.D.
44.  Baseball Voodoo; Craig Young, M.D.
45.  Common Biomechanical Faults of Adolescent Pitchers; Becky Bolt, M.S.
46.  The Epidemic and Overview of Throwing Arm Injuries in Youth Baseball; Tom Gill, M.D.
47.  Guidelines for Strengthening and Stretching Exercises for the Adolescent Thrower; Michael M. Reinold, P.T., D.P.T., A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.
48.  Four Week Training Program for Adolescent Baseball Players; Rafael Escamilla, Ph.D., P.T., C.S.C.S., F.A.C.S.M.
49.  Practice Makes Perfect: Athletic Development Practice On-The Field; Javair Gillett, C.S.C.S.
50.  Youth Health and Performance: There’s Gotta Be a Better Way; Tom House, Ph.D.
51.  TBA; Michael J. Axe, M.D.
52.  Throwing Guidelines for Youth Baseball Players: Scientific Data; Lynn Snyder-Mackler, Sc.D., P.T., F.A.P.T.A.

Break for the day.

53.  Preventing and Dealing with Knee Injuries in Catchers; William G. Clancy, Jr., M.D.
54.  Rehab Following ACL Injury and Surgery Guidelines; Russ Paine, P.T.
55.  Squat and Lunge Exercises for Knee Rehabilitation; Rafael Escamilla, Ph.D., P.T., C.S.C.S., F.A.C.S.M.
56.  How Trunk Motion and Arm Slot Affect Arm Torque; Arnel Aguinaldo, M.S, A.T.,C.
57.  Biomechanics of the Lower Extremities During Pitching; David Stodden, Ph.D., C.S.C.S.
58.  Common Mechanical Traits of Power Pitchers; Bill Thurston
59.  Do Biomechanical Evaluations Help? Clinical Outcome for 100 Pitchers; Glenn S. Fleisig, Ph.D.
60.  TBA; Rick Peterson
61.  Pregame Meal Planning; Local Nutritionist
62.  Practical Approach to Dermatology; David Braunreiter, M.D.
63.  Headaches; Craig Young, M.D. or José O. Ortega, M.D.
64.  Managing Seasonal Allergies and Asthma; Craig Young, M.D. or José O. Ortega, M.D.
65.  Core Function and Training Techniques; Ken Crenshaw, A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.
66.  Core Training Techniques: Part II; Nathan Shaw, A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.
67.  Techniques to Enhance Neuromuscular Control for the Lower Extremity – Knee and Ankle: Lynn Snyder-Mackler, Sc.D., P.T., F.A.P.T.A.
68.  High Ankle Sprain Management; Bob Mangine, M.Ed., P.T., A.T.,C.
69.  Techniques to Improve Shoulder Motion; Russ Paine, P.T.

Break for lunch.

70.  Techniques to Measure Shoulder ROM: Which One is Best?; Leonard C. Macrina, P.T., C.S.C.S.
71.  Training the Hip and Pelvis for Explosive Power in Baseball; Todd Hooks
72.  TBA
73.  New Concepts and Techniques for Stretching; Mike Ryan, A.T.,C., C.S.C.S.
74.  Explosive Speed and Strength Training; Robert E. Mangine, M.Ed., P.T., A.T.,C.
75.  Arm Care for the Youth Pitcher; Ron Wolforth
76.  TBA; Dick Mills
77.  TBA; Rick Peterson
78.  TBA; E. David Osinski, M.A.
79.  Building an Efficient Motion: How to Get the Most Out of Your Body; Bill Thurston


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        If you read the topics of each brief presentation, then you will notice that not a single presentation talked about what changes had to be made in the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion to eliminate pitching injuries.

The author wrote, “The Baseball Course is attended by doctors, physical therapists, scientists, coaches, and players.”

        And, everybody walked away without knowing one thing about how to prevent pitching injuries.

The author wrote, “As stated on the official website, “The purpose of the course is to exchange information regarding all aspects of baseball healthcare including mechanisms of injury, conservative and surgical treatment of injuries, rehabilitation, conditioning, nutrition, mental, skill, and injury prevention.”

        What mechanisms of injury?  What injury prevention?  I see a lot of surgical treatment and rehabilitation that makes money for orthopedic surgeons.  But, nothing else.

        Dr. Andrews has had twenty-seven years in which to eliminate pitching injuries.  Yet, by his own admission, the rate of Ulnar Collateral Ligament ruptures among amateur baseball pitchers has risen by seven hundred percent.  Do you believe that he has any idea of how to eliminate pitching injuries?

The author wrote, “Coach Peterson is happy to report that during the most recent Baseball Course (January 23-25, 2009), there was “the highest level major call to action to bring the research and findings to the field.  The focus finally seems to be moving more towards prehab rather than rehab.”

        I read the topics and the names for the presenters.  If they do not know what causes pitching injuries, how can they have any idea how to train baseball pitchers to prevent pitching injuries?  I have already shown the strengthening muscles in ways not specific to baseball pitching does not prevent injuries.

The author wrote, “In fact, an entire three hour session was dedicated to a discussion on youth injuries, treatments, best practices, and guidelines.”

        They talked about treatments, not injury prevention.

Mr. Peterson said, “Periodization is the cycling of high intensity activity and a period of rest/recovery.”

        As I explained earlier, for their growth plate to properly mature, youth baseball pitchers of varying biological ages require rest intervals.  However, in adult athletes, rest causes the loss of fitness in the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles of baseball pitching.

The author wrote, “The result of all of this research and knowledge has led Rick Peterson to devise a program incorporating this research combined with his professional experience.”

        Mr. Peterson does not have the scientific training required to devise training programs for baseball pitchers.  When did he complete his undergraduate and graduate courses in Anatomy, Kinesiology and Exercise Physiology?

The author wrote, “The subtitle of the Peak Performance Pitching Triangle is “Preparation equals Performance”.  The triangle incorporates the three areas necessary for the makeup of a successful pitcher.”

        I want to hear this.

The author wrote, “First on the triangle is skills and competencies which are the technical components of a pitcher.  Obviously, a pitcher will need the proper delivery in order to achieve a high level of success.”

        Mr. Peterson teaches the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion.  The ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion destroys pitching arms.  Therefore, Mr. Peterson has no idea what the ‘proper delivery’ is.

The author wrote, “The triangle also incorporates physical behaviors such as the necessary conditioning.”

        Mr. Peterson has no idea how to train baseball pitchers of any age.  In Oakland, he worked with Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson.  Barry Zito has lost whatever pitching arm strength he had before he met Mr. Peterson.  Mark Mulder has not pitched in two years.  And, Tim Hudson ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  The truth is:  Mr. Peterson has no idea what he is doing.  However, he knows that he wants your money.

The author wrote, “Lastly, performance based behaviors rounds out the list. That is the physiological side of successful pitching, an area even more ignored than the aforementioned rise of injuries.”

        Mr. Peterson once took a Psychology of Sports course.  Several years ago, he telephoned me and asked me what I do to make my baseball pitchers assertive.  I said that I teach them how to throw baseball pitchers that baseball batters cannot hit.  Without those pitches, no amount of talking will help.

The author wrote, “The Peak Performance Triangle is the basis of Coach Peterson’s new business venture into the amateur pitching market.”

        See, Mr. Peterson wants your money.

The author wrote, “The focus of the revolutionary program is to improve deliveries, improve conditioning, and increase awareness of overuse.”

        Mr. Peterson has no clue how to do any of these things.

The author wrote, “In the near future, Coach Peterson will launch a new company that will, in his words, “give amateur pitchers access to the same technology, research, and conditioning programs that I (and Dr. Andrews) have used with major leaguers.  Literally, the program can be used from the Little League fields to the Major League Fields”

        For over twenty years, Mr. Peterson has made his living off the reputations of Dr. Andrews’ surgical skills and the American Sports Medicine Institute’s biomechanical analyses.  However, major league teams have learned that neither Mr. Peterson or the American Sports Medicine Institute have any idea how to eliminate pitching injuries.  Let the buyers beware.

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131.  The age group is from 13 to 15 and they have open eyes to new techniques, but you have to show that it works.  I use the jeff sparks film clips and now the wrists and iron balls clips that match his delivery.  But as usual the kids that are more into this are the ones whose arm hurt or are underveloped, the truth is they are the ones to work with anyway because there are more of them.  Just have to get the message out more parents are now beginning to see the light.

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     Within the next few weeks, I plan on taking video of my new drill, Second Base Pick-off body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions.  After I make a DVD of the drill, I will add it to the list of drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     I recommend that you use this drill to unlock the power of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

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132.  MSU Batting Practice.

I remember you as a reliever, mostly because you were one of the most cerebral pitchers, if not players, in either league.  That impressed me, because I've always believed that baseball is a sport for which intelligence is at least as important as physical ability.  You were one of those who proved that.  Yes, you had the physical ability to pitch, but I always thought you were such a "thinking man's pitcher" that it outweighed that.

I have a question that is totally unrelated to that, but felt like if I ever got the chance to tell you that, I would.  You stuck out in the crowd that way.

There was a quick blurb for "This Day In Sports History" that went something like this:

"February 1, 1976:  Former Tiger pitcher Mike Marshall is arrested by the East Lansing police for taking batting practice on the campus of Michigan State University.  MSU officials had asked the Dodger reliever not to hit baseballs near the tennis courts fearing for the students' safety.  Marshall protests that it is against his rights as an MSU instructor and files a lawsuit against the school."

The question is, what was the outcome of that suit?

P.S.:  I hope somebody (like my team, the Tigers) picks up on your coaching methods and can prove that they work.


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     As usual, the press got the story all wrong.

     MSU campus security 'arrested' me, not real East Lansing police.  I was not hitting baseballs near tennis courts.  Instead, I was in street clothes sitting on a chair watching Rick Down, later to become the batting coach for the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, practice the baseball batting techniques that I was teaching him.  He and two college professor friends of mine were inside of a batting cage that I bought for MSU students, including the University's baseball team, to use.

     They put me on trail in the East Lansing courthouse.  I represented myself.  After five days of testimony, by a vote of five to one, the jury determined that Mr. Frank Beeman, the director of the Intramural Building that housed these training facilities had exceeded his authority and found that I was innocent of all charges.

     I also won the lawsuit, which was a thinly veiled attempt by the Chairman of the Physical Education Department, Gale Mikles, to prevent me from receiving the doctoral degree that I had earned.

     As a legitimate enrolled member of the MSU student body, I continued, to not only use these facilities for three more years and receive my doctoral degree, but I also completed one year of post-doctoral work publishing my research.

     For their part in the mess, Mr. Beeman left MSU and, after I had previously donated several thousands of dollars to enable MSU students and the University baseball team to hold their indoor practices, I have never given one more dime.

     Nevertheless, I am still regularly to speak to MSU's Orthopedic interns about how to eliminate baseball pitching injuries.

     With regard to my former major league team in my home state, the Detroit Tigers, ever using my baseball pitching motion and interval-training programs to eliminate their pitching injuries and improving the quality and variety of the pitches that their pitcher can throw:

     Because I presently reside within minutes of the Detroit Tigers spring training facility in Lakeland, FL, I have telephoned Mr. Dombrowski with an offer to drive over to their facility with one of my more highly skilled baseball pitchers and demonstrated why and how what I teach eliminates pitching injuries.

     Unfortunately, I have never gotten beyond Ms. Lyons, his secretary.  However, I did receive an email that Mr. Dombrowski appreciated my offer and sent a message to his Player Development Director.  Since it had been several months since that communique, I believe that the Player Development Director is not interested in eliminating pitching injuries. That is bad news for Zamaya and others.

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133.  Upcoming article in MEMagazine.

Thank you for your time, Dr. Marshall.  We've got a copy of your DVD, so I think we are all set.  Have a nice evening.


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     I thank you for the work that you are doing on the article I contributed to Mechanical Engineering Magazine.  I am thrilled that the magazine is interested in how basic mechanical engineering principles apply to baseball pitching.

     I apologize that I do not have hi-res photos of my baseball pitching motion or any other photographs and baseball cards from my time in the major leagues.  That you can get what you need from the DVD I made shows me that you are a very skilled art and production designer.  I appreciate your efforts on behalf of my article.

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134.  Partially Torn ligament.

I would like to understand what exactly is a partially torn ligament.  A 21 year old college pitching son of a friend of mine partially tore his ligament this summer while pitching.  The son told his father that his elbow was killing him with pain.  I would say the young man did what all traditional pitchers do.  He took a couple of months off and did the light dumbbell stuff.  His father actually did not know the exact physical therapy he performed.  Anyway, his season is now about to start and he tells his dad his arm feels great.

1.  I envision a partially torn ligament as akin to tearing a piece of paper, but not all the way through.  Then, with rest the tear heals so that the piece of paper (ligament) is whole again.  Since these pitchers eventually have no pain I envision that the tear healed itself.  Would this image be correct?

2.  I understand how rest equals atrophy, but, because the five Medial Epicondyle muscles are not used when the pitcher has Reverse Forearm Bounce, it would seem to me that it would not matter if those muscles atrophied, at least as it pertains to UCL tears.  Since a ligament has no contractility can it actually atrophy?  I know you feel that your program strengthens the ligaments, so I am talking the traditional pitching motion.

3.  What I am trying to figure out is if this young man's ligament is as good as new since he feels no pain or is that specific area of the ligament less healthy.  If the area is more susceptible to injury as I suspect why would there be no pain sensations?

4.  When pitchers rupture an Ulna Collateral Ligament is the rupture always in the same spot on the ligament?  In other words, would it be possible for him to rupture the UCL in a different location from the original tear?


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01.  Ligaments tie two bones together.  They are made up of connective tissue fibers. With every unprotected 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' that 'traditional' baseball pitchers have, the unnecessary stress microscopically tears some of these connective tissue fibers.  When surgeons see ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligaments, it looks like frayed rope fibers.

02.  Without appropriately-applied stress, every human tissue atrophies.  Bones lose bone density.  Ligaments lose connective tissue fibers. Tendons lose the density of the bone tissue with which its fibers interdigitate. Muscle fibers lose some myofibrils that make up muscle fibers.  However, with appropriately-applied stress, bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles increase their ability to withstand that stress.

     However, because the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion has injurious flaws, it is not possible for 'traditional' baseball pitchers to apply appropriate stress to their bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles.  If they try, they fracture their Humerus bone, rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, pull the attachment of their Subscapularis muscle off the Lesser Tuberosity of the head of their Humerus bone and rip the attachment of their Biceps Brachii and/or the labrum off the superior aspect of the Glenoid Fossa.

03.  Ligaments do not have pain sensors.  Therefore, whatever pain this young man suffered was not coming from his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Therefore, that he now says his arm feels great does not mean that his UCL has regenerated the connective tissue fibers required to repair the tears that the MRI showed.  Because he is still not taking the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand under the baseball and vertically pendulum swinging his pitching arm downward and backward to forty-five degrees behind his body, where he turns the palm of his pitching hand to face away from his body while he continues to pendulum swing his pitchign arm in one, smooth, continuous movement up to driveline height, I suspect that we will see more of what he felt before with worse results.

04.  Whatever connective tissue fibers are in position to withstand the unnecessary stress that his particular version of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion places on his Ulnar Collateral Ligament is where he is microscopically tearing his UCL.

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135.  Pitching mechanics for other sports?

I listened to you this morning on the Lansing, Michigan talk radio show "Mad Dog."  I used to pitch way back in jr. baseball & in high school @ East Lansing (80).  I hurt my arm my senior year throwing a knuckleball which really disappointed me because I loved to pitch.  I am an avid handball player and still enjoy competing but am concerned about the toll the game takes on my arm - left & right.  I see the effect the game has on some of the other competitive handball players.

I read one of the articles via your webpage and could relate the screwball or curve ball to the ability to move or hop the ball in the handball court.  I believe that your studies in pitching could help eliminate some of the injuries that handball players expose themselves to in our sport - albeit a small but devoted dwindling group.

Do you have any thoughts that you could share about the cross applications from pitching to handball?

I enjoy listening to you.


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     When athletes perform any sport action that requires maximum arm velocity, they need to powerfully inwardly rotate their shoulder joint, extend their elbow joint and pronate their forearm joint.

     For baseball pitching, to throw the widest variety of high-quality pitches, they also need to have their pitching forearm vertical at release.

     For striking the ball in handball, to use their striking arm as the same with every arm action, athletes have to position their shoulders differently for every height of the ball at the strike moment.

     I recommend that handball players first learn how to use their striking arm as baseball pitchers do.  Then, without changing how they use their striking arm, they should practice striking balls at every other height.

     The idea is to never pull the striking upper arm across the front of the body.

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136.  Videos of your Amazing twelve year old baseball pitcher.

I understand that you want to show that quick progress that youth baseball pitcher can make in learning your baseball pitching motion.  Countless links on Google refer to the November and December videos as "weird" and "unorthodox."  Therefore, I believer that including the November and December videos of this remarkable young man is counterproductive.

The June video shows a kid struggling to learn your baseball pitching motion.  Unfortunately, most viewers do not notice that he had the palm of his pitching hand under the ball and that he does not have meaningful pitching forearm flyout.

The January videos shows that the same kid has greatly improved how he performs your baseball pitching motion. The different angles and slow speed help other young baseball pitchers learn how to perform your baseball pitching motion.

Unfortunately, many people are wasting all of their time and energy arguing over trivial irrelevant horseshit.  They miss the point.  When I see their ridiculous comments to the videos that your guys have posted, such as comments about balking and lack of velocity, I become irritated.  However, these same people do not make any comments about the January video.

I believe that we should only show video that resembles the finished product.  I know a lot about athletics and a fair amount about my body, but if I stumbled upon the November and Decemberb videos, I wouldn't give them a second thought.

To stimulate productive conversation, we need to minimize the proverbial lightning rod that these videos have become.  Not all publicity is good publicity.   The last few months have not been kind to your reputation or your credibility.

You want to disseminate the latest, best and most accurate information you have.  Therefore, you should apply the same philosophy to your video library.  Perhaps, at some point, you can put all these videos on DVD with you explaining the process.  But not now.  Now, we need to show the best we have.

To do otherwise, only gives the naysayers fodder that prevents serious students distracted.  Therefore, I urge you to remove the November and December videos and ask your guys to pull their links.  We should focus the discussion on January video.


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     I understand your point.  I expected the results that we have gotten from those who will ridicule everything that we do no matter what.

     However, unlike everybody else who claims to know something about baseball pitching, we do not manipulate the truth.  We are transparent.  Whether these malcontents recognize it or not, my Amazing twelve years old baseball pitcher has proven two critical principles in my baseball pitching motion.

01.  Baseball pitchers can use their glove leg to apply oppositely-directed force to their pitches.

02.  Baseball pitchers can point their acetabular and acromial lines directly at home plate.

     To me, my guys and those who want to learn, this young man is a motor skill marvel.  We celebrate him.

     Those who write the ignorant, short-sighted nonsense show that they are ignorant and short-sighted.  Nobody knows the fools in these discussions until they open their mouths.

     I believe that the fact that the November and December videos have raised such a clamor from the Naysayers show how badly these videos have hurt their arguments.  The fact that they have nothing to say about the January video proves the point.

01.  We have won the argument about straight-line drive (Sir Isaac Newton's Law of Inertia).

02.  We have won the argument about extending the distance over which we apply force to the baseball (Sir Isaac Newton's Law of Acceleration).

03.  Now, we have won the argument about how to maximize the oppositely-directed force (Sir Isaac Newton's Law of Reaction).

     These are the big battles we need to win to change the baseball pitching motion.

     In addition:

01.  Even the naysayers have acknowledged that my wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws properly train baseball pitchers.  We have been pre-habilitating baseball pitchers for over forty years.  Now, although over forty years after I started doing it, everybody, including Dr. Andrews and the American Sports Medicine Institute, is talking about pre-habilitation.

02.  To learn how to release my Maxline Pronation Curve, they are using my lid throws.  This pitch that I invented will revolutionalize baseball.

03.  To learn how to release all pitches, they are using my appropriately-sized football throws.  until these drills, nobody knew how to properly teach spin axes.

04.  Even the Naysayers admit that my baseball pitchers throw the best non-fastball pitches that they have seen.

     This means that the only argument that they have left to make is that, with my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitcher cannot achieve release velocities as high as the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion achieves.  Of course, the base their argument on the nonsensical evaluation that Dr. Glenn Fleisig made on the four baseball pitchers that I drove to Birmingham, AL in my effort to teach Dr. Fleisig how to eliminate pitching injuries.

     However, the truth is that, even with the compromise body action that we used several years ago, many of my baseball pitchers achieved release velocities significantly greater that they achieved with the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.  And, they did so without injury.

     When more genetically-gifted baseball pitchers start using my baseball pitching motion and interval-training programs, we will easily win that argument.  And, that is inevitable.

     Unfortunately, in the past, the ignorance of the 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches held us back.  At that time, we had many quality baseball pitchers, who because they want these 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches to allow them the opportunity to pitch competitively hid the body action that they know they should use.

     Today, we have youth baseball pitchers who are using the body action that I recommend.  To them, my Amazing twelve year old baseball pitcher is a hero.

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137.  It appears the Red Sox are confident that "pathomechanics" will get them back to the World Series.  Either that, or they're stocking up on bubble gum and bailing wire to keep Smoltz, Penny and Beckett (among others) pitching.  These portions of an article on the Red Sox' signing of Takashi Saito caught my attention:

-------------------------------------------------

MLB.com
January 10, 2009

...If not for the right elbow injury that limited Saito for much of the second half last season, it's doubtful the Dodgers would have non-tendered him in December.

...In 2008, Saito was part of a Los Angeles team that went deep into October, losing to the Phillies in the National League Championship Series.  But Saito pitched just once in the postseason after being on the disabled list from July 13 to Sept. 15.

"I feel great," Saito said. "When I came back toward the end of last season, I was still throwing 93, 94 miles per hour.  I just needed some more time to get my control and my command, but the velocity was there, and my elbow was feeling great.  I didn't have any problem with my shoulder or elbow or my arm or any part of my body.  As of now, the elbow is still fine. I feel great. I'm confident it will hold up the rest of the season."


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     I also want to keep an eye on Dr. Andrews' 'pathomechanics' program.  Unfortunately, it is the same old rehabilitation program of non-specific exercises.  I wonder whether Mr. Reinold ever took undergraduate and graduate courses in Exercise Physiology.  If he did, then how did he miss the lecture on 'Specificity of Training?'

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138.  More math: Andro + Tommy John Surgery = Imminent Oblivion

-------------------------------------------------

Sergio Mitre also will get a 50-game suspension.  The Yankees righty failed a drug test because a trace amount of androstenedione appeared without his knowledge in a supplement bought at GNC.  Mitre, a former Cub and Marlin, isn't expected to return from Tommy John surgery until midseason and will serve his suspension while on the disabled list.


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     The old I-did-not-know excuse.  What was he doing in the GNC store?

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139.  I'd feel sorry for him, but then he also stated that he wouldn't change his pitching motion, so...

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Boston Globe
January 11, 2009

It's not the usual spring drill for Carpenter.  Former National League Cy Young winner Chris Carpenter is crossing his fingers.  Two years of pure agony with Tommy John surgery and a nerve problem in his shoulder have kept him off the field and in rehab situations that, quite frankly, he's sick and tired of.

Carpenter said his arm feels fine, but it's felt fine before.  His hope now is to go through his normal preparation for a season, then head to spring training with the Cardinals and be ready to go.  "I just started playing catch, which is what I normally do at this time of the year, and then I get on a mound at around the beginning of February," Carpenter said.  "That's my plan right now.  "After two very frustrating and miserable years, I just want to feel healthy again.  I feel if my arm and elbow are fine, I'll be able to do what I've always done."


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     If, after watching my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, he had telephoned me, then he would not be wondering whether he could pitch again.  I want to see how Mr. Duncan helps Mr. Carpenter return to his Cy Young form.

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140.  Marlins not interested in Pedro
MLB. com
January 11, 2009

Chances of Pedro Martinez winding up with the Marlins?  None.  A source confirmed to MLB.com on Sunday afternoon that Florida had no interest in Martinez.

On Saturday night, a report on ESPNdeportes.com, stated the Marlins had discussions with agent Fernando Cuza regarding Martinez.  The report added Florida may have begun preliminary contract talks, and that the two sides were expected to continue talking this week.  As of late Sunday afternoon, the Marlins were not considered a possible fit.

Martinez has a home in Miami, and he has expressed privately a desire to pitch for the Marlins.  On Monday, Cuza is expected to have discussions with the Mets about a possible return to New York.  The right-hander also is expected to test the free agent market.


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     Pedro is another guy who watched my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and did not telephone me.  While he has a seriously destroyed pitching arm, I know that we could have eliminated the pain.

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141.  The last sentence is mind-numbing, given your abilities:

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Akron Beacon Journal
January 11, 2009

Anthony Reyes made an immediate impact for the Indians after being acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in the second half of last season.  Now, he has earned a spot in the rotation.  "Certainly if he is healthy, Reyes is going to be in our rotation," Shapiro said.

Reyes sat out the last few weeks of the season with a sore elbow.  After the extended rest, he was sent to the club's new spring-training complex in Goodyear, Ariz., to complete a throwing program.  "He threw off the mound at perhaps 75 percent [of his capacity]," Shapiro reported.  "We won't know for sure if he's healthy until we see him in spring training."

But the GM has no reason to doubt that Reyes will be fit.  On the other hand, Reyes' elbow has caused him to miss enough time to be a concern.  It probably will be a maintenance issue for his entire career.


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     My Second Base Pickoff body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm action drill will take care of his grabbing and looping problem.  Extended rest and whatever 'throwing program' the Indians have will do nothing to correct his injurious flaw.

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142.  Staving off the inevitable:

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Prior signs minor league deal with Padres
Associated Press
January 13, 2009

SAN DIEGO, CA:  Right-hander Mark Prior, who has missed more than two full seasons because of shoulder problems, was invited to spring training.  Prior signed with the Padres as a free agent prior to the 2008 season but missed the entire year after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder on June 4, the latest medical setback to a once-promising career.  Prior also missed the 2007 season after undergoing surgery on the same shoulder that April.  He last pitched in the big leagues on Aug. 10, 2006, with the Chicago Cubs.  He was 1-6 with a 7.21 ERA that season.

Padres general manager Kevin Towers said Prior threw off a mound on Friday for the first time since surgery, and the report from team trainer Todd Hutcheson was good.  “The last surgery benefited him a great deal,” Towers said.  “It looks like his mechanics are back in line again and he has good carries on his throws when he’s doing long tosses.

“He’s had quite a few surgeries, and we’re hoping this one certainly fixed any issues he had,” Towers said.  “I hate to put any timelines on it, but we hope he’s pitching competitively at the start of the season.  If it’s not in the big leagues, then maybe a few starts in the minor leagues.”  Prior will make $1 million if he’s on the big league roster.  His salary is not guaranteed.


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     From Tom House's proclamation that Mark Prior had the perfect pitching motion to an unguaranteed salary.  Why does anybody pay any attention to anything that Tom House and those on the Board of Directors of his National Pitching Association say?

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143.  From an MLB.com article on the Red Sox' signing of John Smoltz.  Get ready for more blather on "pathomechanics":

...Now that the signing is official -- Smoltz agreed to a one-year, $5.5 million pact that includes incentives that could bring the total to $10 million -- Epstein can be candid about the fact he was initially skeptical that this signing would occur.  For starters, Smoltz had that deeply loyal relationship with the Braves and was an institution in the city of Atlanta.  There was also the fact he had extensive right labrum damage repaired on June 2, limiting Smoltz to just six games last year.

But after seeing the pitching video that Smoltz had produced and supplied to prospective suitors, the Red Sox went to Atlanta in early December to see Smoltz pitch and to get a close look at his rehabbing right shoulder.  That is when it became clear to both sides that there could be a fit.

"John threw a bullpen [session], for us the second week in December," said Epstein.  "[Pitching coach] John Farrell came away from that bullpen saying that if that had been the bullpen John threw the first day of Spring Training, we would have been really pleased.  That was six months after surgery.  So I think that shows how far along he was and he passed our physical yesterday with flying colors."

Knowing full well that teams were scared off by his surgery, Smoltz was pleased at the initiative demonstrated by the Red Sox.  "To this organization's credit, they made everything possible from the standpoint of flying down to see me throw and putting their hands on me, and they saw what they were getting and they saw what I'm capable of doing," said Smoltz.


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     As a fellow Michiganer, I wish Mr. Smoltz every success.  Unfortunately, he will not find it with Mr. Reinold's 'pathomechanics' and Mr. Farrell.

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144.  Dodgers Showing Interest in Benson
Los Angeles Times
January 14, 2009

The Dodgers are among the teams showing interest in Kris Benson, according to the pitcher's agent, Gregg Clifton.  Clifton confirmed that the Dodgers sent assistant general manager Logan White to watch Benson in a long-toss session last week in Arizona.  Benson was slated for his first mound session of the winter Wednesday and is planning to hold an open workout for potential suitors a week from Saturday.  Clifton said he expects five to 10 teams to be represented at the workout, including the Dodgers.

Benson missed the entire 2007 recovering from rotator cuff surgery.  He didn't pitch in the majors in 2008, but compiled a 1-6 record and 5.78 earned-run average in the Philadelphia Phillies' farm system.  The Phillies released him on Aug. 31.

Benson has a career record of 68-73 with a 4.34 earned-run average over seven major-league seasons.  "Kris is just looking for the right opportunity to go out and show he's healthy," Clifton said.  "I can't say it outweighs everything, but opportunity is a high priority for him."


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     Like all injured baseball pitchers, I feel sorry that they have suffered so.  But, for some reason, I have always pulled for Mr. Benson.  Unfortunately, he has not eliminated the injurious flaws in his pitching motion.

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145.  The first (of many) for 2009:

Here was USA Today's assessment of Hurley after he was drafted in 2004; well, Hershiser also blew out his arm, so they have that in common:

RHP Eric Hurley has been compared to Orel Hershiser in that he keeps his pitches down in the strike zone and they have late break.

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Rangers lose Hurley for season
Associated Press
January 21, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX:  Rangers right-hander Eric Hurley, a former first-round pick who made his major league debut last year, will likely miss the 2009 season after surgery Wednesday to repair a torn rotator cuff.  Hurley experienced soreness in his shoulder midway through last season.  He had an injection in his shoulder in August and did rehabilitation through December, but the soreness didn’t go away.

“We were hopeful that rehab would allow Eric to avoid surgery.  Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way,” general manager Jon Daniels said.  “I thought he could have impacted our club this year, but with the proper program, that should be realistic for the following season.”

Instead of participating in a winter development camp this week as scheduled, Hurley consulted with doctors and had the surgery on his rotator cuff and labrum.  Dr. Keith Meister, the team’s physician, said the shoulder was not as bad as expected, but Hurley will not resume a throwing program for three to four months.  The 23-year-old Hurley, a first-round pick in 2004, was 1-2 with a 5.47 ERA in his five starts for the Rangers last season. He made his major league debut June 12 at Kansas City.


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     Five years of the downward spiral to oblivion.  Why don't these guys take charge of their careers.  When I noticed that I had lost twelve degrees of the extension range of motion in my pitching elbow, I searched for the cause and fixed it.  These guys do nothing.

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146.  Yeah, this is a real shock:

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Shoulder keeps Harden from Classic: Recovering righty won't represent Team Canada in tourney
MLB.com
January 21, 2009

As expected, Rich Harden's balky shoulder will keep him off Team Canada's final roster for the World Baseball Classic.  Harden, the Chicago Cubs right-hander whose inclusion on his nation's preliminary roster Monday may have been purely ceremonial, told his hometown newspaper in British Columbia, the Victoria Times Colonist, that he won't be able to play.
"If I was 100 percent, and it was a different year and different scenario, I would have jumped at the opportunity to play," Harden told the newspaper.  "It's unfortunate, but it's not the decision I can make right now," he said.  "In my heart I was hoping it would work out, but in my head I had a feeling it wouldn't.  I kind of knew the decision would be made for me by circumstance.  It's very disappointing not to play for Canada, but my No. 1 priority is the Cubs.  I've just started to throw, and it [March] is too soon for me."


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     He waits until the middle of January to get ready for spring training.  He should have started getting ready the day after his game last season.

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147.  This sounds smart; think about going back to work with the guy who screwed up your chance to get a monster contract:

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Sheets meets again with hometown Rangers
Associated Press
January 23, 2009

ARLINGTON, TX: — Free agent right-hander Ben Sheets met again this week with the Texas Rangers, the team that plays not far from his Dallas home.  “It was part of doing our due diligence,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Friday.  “Just continued dialogue, really.”

Sheets also met with Daniels at the winter meetings last month.  This time, there was a dinner Wednesday night that included team owner Tom Hicks, team president Nolan Ryan, manager Ron Washington and new pitching coach Mike Maddux, who was with Sheets in Milwaukee the past six seasons.

Daniels described the meeting as “positive,” but wouldn’t say whether the Rangers have made a formal offer to Sheets.  “I wouldn’t say we’re in any different position today than we were before that,” Daniels said.


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     Mr. Sheets is a huge talent.  Unfortunately, because of lack of proper training, he breaks down every year.  With one off-season of the proper training, he would be a superstar for the rest of his career.

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148.  Francis still unsure about Opening Day
Rockies lefty progressing in recovery from shoulder soreness
MLB.com
January 23, 2009

DENVER, CO:  Rockies southpaw Jeff Francis looked game-ready in his crisp, pinstriped uniform on Friday afternoon.  But, for now, he's an actor playing a baseball player -- in one of the team's clever promotional commercials.  Actually, pitching for the Rockies seemed far off.

Shoulder soreness forced Francis to the disabled list from July 2-Aug. 6 and was partly responsible for the sub-par season he had -- 4-10, 5.01 ERA in 24 starts -- before the Rockies shut him down after his Sept. 12 start.

Even now, after an offseason of rest, his shoulder is still an issue.  Within the last month, Francis said, surgery was a consideration late last month or early this month.  Just this week, his throwing program reached the stage where he can play long-toss at 90 feet, although he couldn't quite reach that distance on a cold Friday morning.  That means he's about a month behind in his offseason throwing program.

"It's not as good as it should be this time of year," Francis said.  "I've done a lot of shoulder strengthening of the decelerator muscles [small muscles that contract at the end of the pitching motion].  I had some instability and some weaknesses there.  That's what we've been working on the last three or four months.  "I need to get healthy. If it takes longer than Opening Day, so be it.  I need to be patient with this."

Rockies trainer Keith Dugger said through a team spokesman that Francis continues to have left shoulder inflammation and is on a "rehab throwing program -- the progress is very slow."


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     As long as Mr. Francis continues to have 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' he will continue to injure his Teres Minor muscles.  The solution is simple: Stop taking the baseball laterally behind your back and start powerfully pronating your releases.  I said the same thing after the Rockies won their division in 2007.

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149.  Cleveland Plain Dealer
January 25, 2009

Can Fausto Carmona be the same pitcher who won 19 games two years ago?  The Indians think so, based upon his hip injury having healed and Carmona walking only 10 batters in 32 2/3 innings (compared with 28 strikeouts) in the Winter Dominican League.  In 2008, Carmona (8-7, 5.44) suddenly lost his control (70 walks in 120 2/3 innings). In 2007, it was only 61 walks in 215 innings.  He was a sinkerballer whose pitch counts stayed low for most of his career, then soared with the control troubles in 2008.

Tribe pitching coach Carl Willis spotted a small flaw in Carmona's delivery.  The right-hander worked on it this winter.  "We saw much better results," said assistant GM Chris Antonetti.  "Fausto had four walks in one game [in the Dominican], and the rest of the time, his command was back.  He is a guy who always had good control in the minors, so we feel good about him."


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     We should applaud genius when we see it.  Mr. Willis spotted a small flaw in Mr. Carmona's delivery and, now, Mr. Carmona has returned to his winning 19 games form.

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150.  Note the liberal use of the word "If":

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Healthy hurlers spell St. Louis success
Full seasons from Carpenter, Wainwright could thrust club to forefront
MLB.com
January 30, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO:  If the most over-told story of the 2009 Cardinals is Chris Carpenter's return from a shoulder injury and elbow surgery, the most under-told may involve Carpenter's No. 1 protege.  Right-hander Adam Wainwright started and finished the 2008 season healthy, but in between he missed nearly 11 weeks.  He's fully healthy and reporting no lingering problems from the finger injury that sidelined him for most of the summer of '08.  If Carpenter stays healthy for '09, it's a boost.  But to get full, 33-start seasons from both right-handers would change the entire look of the Cardinals' rotation, and thus the club as a whole.


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     I'm sorry.  But, after Dave Duncan called me a 'joke,' I have to keep an eye on how his pitchering staff is doing.

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151.  Zito works the weights in bid to come back strong
Associated Press
February 1, 2009

Barry Zito rushed from an appearance and autograph session with homeless children straight to the ballpark weight room.  He was short on time and needed to fit in his second workout of the day.  The 30-year-old Zito has committed himself to his fitness and offseason program like never before, eager to turn things around as he heads into his third season with the San Francisco Giants.  The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner, who received a $126 million, seven-year deal before the 2007 campaign, is a disappointing 21-30 in his two seasons with San Francisco.

"The workouts are awesome," said Zito, who has been training all winter with fitness guru and fellow Giants pitcher Brian Wilson.  "We're working out six days a week, two-a-days."  Wilson, the team's closer who has been living with Zito in the Hollywood Hills area of Los Angeles, has witnessed his teammate take some major strides.  When they started back on Nov. 1, Zito could do all of three pull-ups.  Now he can do 16.

"You can see a good difference," said Wilson, who adheres to the most intense workout regimen and strictest diet of anyone on the Giants.  "As far as strength goes, I don't think he's done this kind of work before.  The gains are tremendous."  Zito thinks so, too.  All of this from someone who once joked that you "can't pull fat" to explain why his routine didn't include weight training.

From band work to yoga, high-intensity karate and weight lifting, they have been doing it all.  Their throwing program has consisted of playing catch across a canyon, a distance of more than 200 feet.  "We've had some expensive days losing balls," Wilson said.


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     A few years ago, someone sent me a copy of an article that detailed how Mr. Zito trained in the off-season.  It was slightly less impressive than this workout.  If pull-ups made baseball pitchers, then gymnasts must throw 150 miles per hour.

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152.  5 Minutes for Blogging, Dave Duncan Edition

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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
February 3, 2009
Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan was a guest on the Team 1380 radio show Tuesday.

Here are the five most interesting things he said:

1.  HE IS OPTMISTIC ABOUT CHRIS CARPENTER:  This is a big one for me, because Duncan has credibility.  He says what’s on his mind.  He isn’t worried about being politically correct.  He doesn’t engage in false spin.  He’s not going to tell you that the glass is half full when it’s running low.  A couple of months ago, for example, Duncan said that he couldn’t afford to count on Carpenter for 2009, because Carp’s viability was still up in the air because of a nerve problem in his pitching arm.  Duncan wasn’t buying the team’s happy talk on the medical front.  But on Tuesday, Duncan said he’s very encouraged by Carpenter’s status, even though Carpenter has started only 5 games over the last two seasons.  Duncan said that team trainer Barry Weinberg told him that Carpenter can have a normal routine in spring training.  Carpenter doesn’t have to be held back, or handled with extra care.  He can throw and get his work in like all of the other pitchers.  That’s why Duncan is optimistic.  Because Carpenter will be ready to go from Day 1 of spring training.  No baby steps are needed.  Now: that said, Duncan also wanted to make the point that the real tests will come all spring, when Carpenter pitches in games.  And that Carpenter must pass those tests.  But as for now?  Duncan, formerly pessimistic says this:  “We have a feeling he’ll be in the opening-day rotation.”  That’s because Carpenter at least is starting on schedule as spring training begins.  That’s a plus.

2.  CHRIS PEREZ AND JASON MOTTE ARE STILL WORKS IN PROGRESS:  The pitching coach said he doesn’t want to burden the young pitchers by putting the closer tag on them now.  He wants them to have a normal spring training, and work on what they need to work on, without the pressure of carrying around the closer designation.  He thinks it’s a big mistake to declare one of them the closer now.  He wants to see what they can do, and how they come along.  I asked Duncan: where do Perez and Motte need to improve?  Duncan said Perez has to refine his slider and make it more consistent.  He said that Perez throws a good slider some of the time, but it’s imperative for Perez to throw a good slider all of the time.  Duncan said that right now, hitters are happy when Perez throws the slider, because it isn’t the close to approaching the caliber of his fastball.  As for Motte, Duncan said that Motte (who throws so hard) is working on a second and third pitch.  Motte has the great fastball, but the slider is far from being a finished product.  And the Cardinals want Motte to develop a changeup.  Duncan said there’s no guarantees that both guys will make the club at the end of spring training.  It’s difficult to develop new pitches at the major-league level.  Much easier to refine those pitches in the minors.  Duncan praised both pitchers for their work ethic and willingness to do what it takes to get better.

3.  THE CLOSER’S JOB FOR NOW WILL BE FILLED BY A COMMITTEE:  Duncan said the plan is to go into spring training with the idea that several guys can close games.  He mentioned Ryan Franklin, Perez, Motte and LH Trever Miller.  If they go into the regular season without a set closer, Duncan said the ninth inning will play out based on pitcher vs. hitter matchups — meaning that he’ll give the ball to the reliever who has the best chance to get an out against a particular hitter.  My co-host, Joe Strauss, offered the opinion that this is less than ideal given Duncan and Tony La Russa’s history of preferring to rely on one shutdown closer.  And Duncan agreed.  But he said it doesn’t have to be this way all season.  “Will work it this way if we have to until someone emerges as ‘The Guy,’” Duncan said.  I asked Duncan if he had one wish for an addition to the staff during spring training, and he said that he if had to pick one thing it would be “an established closer,” on a one-year deal, until Perez or Motte are ready.  He didn’t offer any names.  He also said it wouldn’t make sense to give 4-year, 5-year deal contract to a closer when Perez or Motte will have the job relatively soon.

4.  DUNCAN IS EXPECTING MORE FROM JOEL PINEIRO:  Last season, in 25 starts, Pineiro went 7-7 with a 5.13 ERA.  Batters hit .300 against him with a .507 slugging percentage. Duncan said the team needs more from Pineiro, and that he believes Pineiro can deliver more.  Duncan cited two reasons for optimism:  he’s convinced that Pineiro feels bad about his performance in 2008 and is determined to do better; Pineiro is in much better shape this spring.  “And I don’t think he was in the kind of shape he should have been,” last spring.  Duncan didn’t say this, but I will:  remember, Pineiro is pitching for a new contract.  He’s in his walk-year of a two year deal.

5.  DUNCAN IS FIRED UP OVER JOSH KINNEY:  After a scintillating showing during the 2006 postseason — three hits allowed and 6 Ks in 6.1 IP — Kinney blew out an elbow and missed the entire 2007 season and much of 2008.  Kinney returned late last season and impressed by giving up three hits and striking out 8 in 7 IP.  Duncan said that Kinney appeared to have all of his stuff intact:  good velocity and command and could throw all of his pitches.  He’s excited about having him back for 2009 and thinks he can play a key role in the bullpen, which is probably one of the reasons why the team didn’t re-sign aging RH reliever Russ Springer.

Bonus comments from Duncan:  Kyle McClellan will be in the bullpen if Carpenter holds up and continues to make advances this spring.  But for now, McClellan is preparing as a starter, just in case.  McClellan will go through the first three turns in the rotation once the spring-training games begin, and after that Duncan and La Russa will take a look at the situation with Carpenter (and others) and go from there.  Duncan has no reservations or concerns over LH Trever Miller;  he said Miller is a physical-conditioning freak who always has his pitching arm in great shape, and nothing has changed.  Duncan isn’t concerned that the Cardinals’ physical of Miller detected a slight muscle tear in the shoulder.  Duncan said Miller has likely been pitching with it for a few years and that it isn’t a factor.  Duncan likes young starting pitcher Mitchell Boggs and said Boggs will be starting in the big leagues in the near future.  As for his son, OF Chris Duncan, Dave said that he’s fully recovered from surgery to repair a herniated disk and has regained 100 percent of his strength.  Duncan said that Chris has full strength and use of his right arm for the first time since the first half of the 2007 season.


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     While I want to highlight Mr. Duncan's activities, I feel sorry for the baseball pitchers that he ruins year after year.

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153.  Sheets might need elbow surgery:  Deal with Rangers called off;  Brewers may pay for procedure
MLB.com
February 05, 2009

MILWAUKEE, WI:  Finally, an answer to one of this winter's most puzzling questions:  Why is the National League's All-Star Game starting pitcher still looking for a job?

The answer is that free agent right-hander Ben Sheets may need surgery to repair the torn flexor tendon in his elbow, and his former employers may be asked to pick up the tab.  Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash said on Thursday that the team has been in discussions this week with Sheets' agent and officials from Major League Baseball about who would pay for the procedure.

"We're working our way through all of the details and we don't know the answer yet," Ash said. "Major League Baseball has regulations related to workers' comp and there are procedures and protocols that have to be respected.  We're working our way through those so I can't give you much insight other than that."

The Texas Rangers and Sheets reached an agreement on a two-year contract late last week and only a physical stood in the way of the deal being completed.  But everything changed once it was determined that Sheets had a torn flexor tendon that might require surgery.

Sheets is a free agent who declined an arbitration offer from Milwaukee on Dec. 8, but he was injured while a Brewers employee.  He worked much of the second half of the 2008 season with elbow pain and was left off Milwaukee's postseason roster, then revealed to reporters that he had torn the flexor tendon near his right elbow.

At the time, according to Ash, the medical prognosis was that, "with rest and exercise and rehab, he should be fine."  Asked if there was any talk of surgery at that time, Ash replied simply, "None."  The team was so comfortable with that diagnosis that it extended a Dec. 2 offer of arbitration to Sheets, who is a free agent for the first time in his career.  Had Sheets accepted that offer, he would have been considered a signed player for 2009 at a salary to be determined, almost certainly higher than the $11 million he earned in 2008, when he finished 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA in 31 starts.

The Brewers had dispatched assistant athletic trainer Dan Wright to Louisiana to examine Sheets and that visit did not reveal any red flags.  That visit occurred before Dec. 8, when Sheets formally declined the team's arbitration offer.

Sheets and his agent, Casey Close, were seeking a multi-year contract for significant guaranteed dollars.  The Yankees showed some interest before they signed A.J. Burnett and then re-signed Andy Pettitte, and the Rangers emerged thereafter as Sheets' most serious suitors.  The Brewers have remained on the sidelines.  General manager Doug Melvin contacted Close in early January, after John Smoltz and Brad Penny signed incentive-rich, one-year contracts with the Red Sox, to inquire whether Sheets would consider a similar deal. That offer was spurned.

Now it appears surgery is an option for Sheets, who has been dogged by injuries throughout an otherwise stellar Major League career.  He has appeared on four NL All-Star teams but has also been on the disabled list six times, mostly for shoulder issues.

Many of his recent woes have been tied to a an injury he suffered in August 2005, when Sheets tore the latissimus dorsi muscle in his upper back, near his right shoulder.  He did not require surgery to repair the muscle but went on the disabled list twice in 2006 for shoulder issues that Sheets and the Brewers agreed were likely related to the manner in which the "lat" muscle healed.

The irony is that Sheets was on his way to an injury-free 2008 season when the elbow woes began.  He first mentioned elbow pain on Sept. 17, when he exited a crucial start at Wrigley Field after two innings.  He tried to pitch once more, on Sept. 27, but was ineffective in 2 1/3 innings against the Cubs and declared, "That's all I have.  I've got a broke arm."

Ash was not sure when the debate about possible surgery would be settled.  "When you're dealing with multiple parties, it always takes a little longer than you hoped," Ash said.  "We're working our way through it."


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     When doctors say that baseball pitchers have injured the flexor tendon in their pitching elbow, they mean one of the five muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle on the inside of the Humerus bone in the pitching upper arm.  Without personally examining Mr. Sheets, I cannot tell you which muscle he injured.

     The worst case scenario would be that he tore a piece of the tendon attachment of the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscle from the bone on the lower portion of the medial epicondyle.  While structurally insignificant, this injury can be very painful.  However, if he did my iron ball workout, then he would be able to throw the iron ball as hard as he could without discomfort.

     If this is his injury, then, with my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, he would strengthen the attachment of this muscle to the bone and be able to pitch without pain, albeit with discomfort after he pitched for several more months, within a couple of months.  While the total time period varies with the severity of the tear, once baseball pitchers start my program, if they train every day, the pain will magically disappear somewhere around eight to ten months.

     If the injury is one of the other four muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle, then the injury is not serious at all.  Instead, it is a matter of inadequate training.  Therefore, once again, my 120-Day program will eliminate this problem forever.  For sure, if the injury is truly the 'flexor tendon,' then Mr. Sheets does not need surgery.

     Elsewhere in this article, the writer said that Mr. Sheets had injured his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  That injury also indicates that Mr. Sheets is inadequately trained.  Therefore, I am confident that, if Mr. Sheets completed my 120-Day program, then he would never injure himself ever again and would become the pitching superstar that I believe that he should be.

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154.  Joba tosses Florida bullpen session:  Flamethrowing righty strengthened shoulder in off-season workouts
MLB.com
February 06, 2009

NEW YORKm NY:  Joba Chamberlain is throwing off a mound and is ready to showcase his full arsenal of pitches, the ones he will use as a starting pitcher this season.  The Yankees right-hander threw 31 fastballs and changeups in a bullpen session at the club's Minor League complex on Friday, the Associated Press reported.  Chamberlain will throw again on Monday, and New York pitchers and catchers are due to report on Feb. 13.

"I'm excited that they wanted me to be in a starting role," Chamberlain told the AP.  "You just prepare like you're going to get 30 starts, and that's the mind-set you got to have set in."  Chamberlain's role has become something of a never-ending debate in New York, after he was converted from a Minor League starter into a big league reliever midway through the 2007 season, helping the Yankees pursue the American League Wild Card.

Last spring, the Yankees decided to have Chamberlain begin the season in the bullpen but hatched a plan to extend him into a starting pitcher by increasing his innings, beginning in late May.  Chamerlain joined the rotation in June and was 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA as a starter, but he battled right rotator cuff tendinitis after an Aug. 4 start at Texas and completed the season in relief.  Chamberlain finished 4-3 with a 2.60 ERA in 42 appearances (12 starts).

Chamberlain has thrown off a mound four times, according to the AP, and added extra shoulder strengthening exercises to his offseason workout program.  "[I did it] just to keep it as strong as you can," Chamberlain said.  "It's a long season."

Speaking to reporters, Chamberlain acknowledged his continuing legal situation.  The 23-year-old was pulled over by state police in his hometown of Lincoln, Neb., on Oct. 18 and is facing charges of driving under the influence and having an open container in his vehicle.  Chamberlain has since spoken to youth groups on a regular basis about the matter.  His scheduled court appearance was postponed by attorney Randy Paragas on Jan. 23.  "I did mess up, and I'll be the first one to admit it," Chamberlain said.  "But I'm also the first one to come out and talk about it and not hide from it.  We've all made mistakes in our lives.  You have to be a man about it and face up to it."


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     When I first watched Mr. Chamberlain pitch, he impressed me with his curve.  At that time, he drove his pitching forearm inside of vertical and pronated the release of his curve.  He also strongly pronated the release of his fastball.

     However, shortly thereafter, he started to pull his curve and supinate his release.  That is what caused the 'rotator cuff' injury.  I do not know whether his discomfort is in the front or back of his pitching shoulder.

     If it is in the front of his pitching shoulder, then he has irritated either his Anterior Deltoid or Subscapularis muscles.  For both the solution is simple.  Stop pulling your pitching upper arm across the front of your body.  He needs to learn how to drive his pitching arm down his acromial line.

     To do that, he needs to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm, his Triceps Brachii muscle to extend his pitching elbow and his Pronator Teres muscle to pronate his pitching forearm.

     If it is in the back of his pitching shoulder, then he has irritated his Teres Minor muscle.  The solution is simple.  He needs to eliminate his 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'  To do this, he needs to learn how to pendulum swing his pitching arm straight backward toward second base and powerfully pronate the releases of all pitches.

  Because I doubt that he will do this, I predict that he will suffer more of the same injury.

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155.  "If Carpenter and Wainwright can crank out a combined 60, 65 starts..."--this sentence should end with the phrase, "then cows will fly":

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Carpenter is huge question as Cards prepare for camp
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
February 09, 2009

...As usual, the Cardinals' status as a postseason contender will probably come down to pitching.  The rotation has an asterisk, at least until we learn more about Chris Carpenter's health and long-term viability.  The bullpen doesn't have a fixture at closer, and the inability to preserve leads was the team's most damaging problem in 2008.

The Cardinals have a pair of potential nasty closers in Chris Perez and Jason Motte.  Perez throws 97 mph, and Motte is even faster.  That kind of velocity is hard to find, and La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan have to go with it.  It's not as if they were handed a couple of junkballers; Perez and Motte have special arms.  And they're an example of why the Cardinals pumped so much money into player development.  The goal is to find potential gems and fit them onto the big club.

And if it's a tad early for Perez and Motte, so be it.  This isn't the worst situation to be in.  Perez or Motte are preferable to a broken-down closer, a rehabbing closer, or a veteran reliever who can't handle the pressure of closing.  Before Perez was promoted on Aug. 6, the Cardinals had saved games at a rate of 52.6 percent.  The save rate was 75 percent over the remainder of the season.

As for the rotation, consider: Last season the Cardinals finished a respectable sixth in the NL in starting-pitching ERA, and that's with Carpenter and Adam Wainwright combining to make only 23 starts.

The Cardinals made no effort to re-sign Braden Looper, who gave them 199 sturdy innings last season.  So the rotation is thinner than I'd like, and if Carpenter heads to the disabled list for another extended stay, then this team is in serious trouble.  That's why I continue to be disappointed by the Cardinals' decision to bypass a free-agent market that offered reasonable one-year buys.

If Carpenter and Wainwright can crank out a combined 60, 65 starts, this rotation should be more than adequate.  A physically sound top four of Wainwright, Carpenter, Kyle Lohse and Todd Wellemeyer looks attractive to me.

I don't like to pin the entire fate of the rotation on one guy, Carpenter.  But clearly his status is the No. 1 determining factor in the Cardinals' season.  And if Carpenter blows up again, causing a meltdown of the rotation, Mozeliak and DeWitt will feel the heat.


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     I believe that Mr. DeWitt owns the Cardinals.  Therefore, someone farther down the food chain with feel the heat.  Probably, someone whose job relates to pitching.  With all the injuries to the pitching staff over the past several years, I am amazed that anybody associated with developing baseball pitchers still have their jobs.

     That Mr. Carpenter insists on using the same 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that has twice ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, my expectation of his pitching abilities this year is low.  However, you never know, it might hold together just long enough to get a good season in.  How long did he take to rupture his first replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament?

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156.  Another one bites the dust:

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Rays RHP Bradford sidelined until at least May
February 09, 2009

ST. PETERSBURG, FL:  The defending American League champion Tampa Bay Rays will be without valuable set-up man Chad Bradford for at least the first month of the season.  The Rays said Monday that Bradford will be sidelined until May - possibly longer - after undergoing surgery on his right elbow Thursday in Birmingham, AL.

The veteran righthander had been going through his offseason training program when he felt discomfort in his pitching arm.  He reported the problem to team doctors, which resulted in a surgical procedure in which Dr. James Andrews removed loose bodies from Bradford’s elbow.

“He’d just started his throwing program, and on the third day of his throwing program, he had some discomfort in his elbow,” Rays vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said.  “And then he experienced some swelling in his elbow, which is consistent with loose bodies.”

The submarine-throwing Bradford, who was acquired from the Baltimore Orioles on August 7, is facing a recovery time of three to four months.  “We decided that doing a scope would be in the best interest of him and the team,” Friedman added.  “We did that and we expect him to miss the first month or two of the season.”

Bradford, 34, made 21 appearances for the Rays, posting a 1.42 ERA.  In 68 combined outings with Baltimore and Tampa Bay last season, he was 4-3 with a 2.12 ERA.  “To focus on the positive, it’s going to be a great shot in the arm for us when he is back,” Friedman said.  “And to be able to add that quality of a reliever to the mix at that point.”


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     When baseball pitchers tilt their shoulder dramatically to the pitching arm side of their body to throw submarine, they have to supinate the release of their breaking ball.  Therefore, they slam the olecranon process on the back of their pitching elbow into its fossa.  The repeated insults not only cause the hyaline cartilage that covers the fossa to calcify, it also breaks pieces of this cartilage off the bone.

     These pieces of hyaline cartilage are the 'bone chips' to which doctors refer.  To prevent the olecranon process from slamming into its fossa, baseball pitchers have to learn how to pronate the releases of all pitches.  Unfortunately, submarine pitchers cannot pronate the releases of their breaking pitches.

     These are the reasons why I refuse to teach baseball pitchers how to throw with their pitching forearm anything but vertical at release.

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157.  The Carpenter Watch: Waiting to Exhale
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
February 10, 2009

JUPITER, FL:  Chris Carpenter takes the mound Wednesday for the first time since a nerve disorder shut down his 2008 season and a non-related issue required November nerve transposition near his right elbow.  “I don’t know if there’s any special significance,” Carpenter said.  “I’m just getting up there starting to get my arm in shape.  Playing catch it feels great.  It feels strong.  I’m just looking forward to doing all the normal stuff.”

Carpenter enters camp barely behind his pitching compadres.  For now, pitching coach Dave Duncan has tentatively slotted Carpenter’s first Grapefruit League appearance for the Cardinals’ fourth game, Feb. 28 against the Washington Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium.

“You go each time and build up, from batting practice to getting ready to pitch in a game.  It’s pretty much normal stuff,” Carpenter said.


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     The nerve that doctors moved to the front of Mr. Carpenter's pitching elbow is the Ulnar Nerve.  Lay people call it, their 'funny bone.'  The Ulnar Nerve passes through the elbow area in a groove behind the medial epicondyle on the back of the inside of the elbow.  When baseball pitchers 'grab' and 'loop' their pitching forearm, they irritate their Ulnar Nerve.  Therefore, rather than correct these injurious flaws, they chose to relocate the Ulnar Nerve.

     Unfortunately, 'grabbing' and 'looping' the pitching forearm also causes other injuries.  When combined with 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' 'grabbing' and 'looping' ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Because Mr. Carpenter has already ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament twice, these two additional unnecessary stresses accelerate the injurious process.

     If I were Mr. Carpenter, then I would not worry about holding my breath until I ruptured my UCL a third time.  It won't take that long.

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158.  Long tossing: The KEY to success!:  Zumaya poised to battle for closer's role: Reliever hopes to compete with Lyon, Rodney for job in spring
MLB.com
February 11, 2009

LAKELAND, FL:- Joel Zumaya believes he's ready to compete this spring.  He doesn't just mean competing against hitters in Spring Training games. He's talking about competing for the job.  Yes, the closer's job.  It's the role Zumaya was seemingly poised to assume after the 2007 season before shoulder surgery set him up for an injury-plagued 2008 campaign.  The fact that he feels ready to pick up his career where it seemingly halted says a lot about his confidence heading into 2009.

"I've got two guys that I'm going to be fighting for the role," Zumaya said after throwing his latest bullpen session off a mound on Wednesday.  "They're going to be friends.  We're going to be part of the team.  But when we're out there, it's going to be competitive."

The other two guys to which he refers are Brandon Lyon, whom the Tigers signed as the favorite for the role, and Fernando Rodney, whose struggles down the stretch last year set up the closer search this winter.  Neither arguably has the potential of Zumaya, whose triple-digit fastball made him one of baseball's best setup men and a Detroit fan favorite in 2006.

If he earns the right to close, though, it might well be on the strength of his other pitches, including a changeup that has become his Spring Training project.  Whether or not he throws 100 mph again, Zumaya is looking to be a little different pitcher, and better for it.  Even with his injuries, he's a maturing one.

Wednesday marked Zumaya's fourth mound session since coming to Lakeland about a month ago, having been cleared to throw again around the new year.  Reports on his sessions from club officials have been positive.  Just as important, the look on Zumaya's face Wednesday as he talked about his game was positive, too.

With three days to go before the Tigers' first formal workout of the spring, Zumaya couldn't hide his pleasure when asked what it feels like to be in this shape.  He compared it to that 2006 camp, when he surprised many by winning a job in the bullpen and assuming what ended up being a critical role.  "I made the team.  That's what I feel like," Zumaya said.

He has said in the past that he didn't feel like he was part of the team last spring, when he was working his way back from surgery to rebuild the AC joint in his shoulder.  Pitching in games was out of the question last spring, so he went about his rehab program largely in the background.  Dr. Andrews' opinion was that Zumaya's shoulder injury was similar to that of some NFL quarterbacks, who have continued to play through it.  So, too, could Zumaya if he felt right.  When he finally had a chance to play catch, he felt better than he could've expected.

"When I threw the first time, it was just me and [younger brother and Tigers Minor Leaguer] Richard [Zumaya]," Zumaya said.  "We were out in the front yard.  Felt like nothing had ever happened to my arm.  "I was excited, like 'Wow, this is too good.'"

That feeling has generally held through subsequent sessions, Zumaya said, with little more than fatigue from building up his arm.  He has followed a throwing program set up by new pitching coach Rick Knapp, who has emphasized long tossing as a way to build strength in the arm.  Zumaya threw 50 pitches off the mound on Monday, as well as running and weight training, and came out fine.  "Other than [fatigue], the way I've thrown, you can't ask for anything more," he said.


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     First, Mr. Zamaya injured the tendon of the Flexor Digitorum Profundus muscle that attaches to the distal phalange of his middle finger.  Then, he injured the acromial-clavicular joint of his pitching shoulder.

     These two injuries are part of the same injurious flaw in his 'traditional' baseball pitching forearm that I call, 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'  Mr. Zamaya takes his pitching arm well beyond second base laterally behind his body.  Therefore, when he returns his pitching arm to the pitching arm side of his body, he generates so much side-to-side force that he slings his pitching forearm laterally away from the pitching arm side of his body.

     The tendon that attached to the tip of his middle finger could not withstand all this stress and ruptured.  Then, the inevitable continuation of the 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' to his pitching arm side caused him to pull his pitching arm across the front of his body.  This action injured his acromial-clavicular joint.

     If Mr. Zamaya is ever going to pitch without injury, then he has to learn how to pendulum swing his pitching arm straight backward toward second base and drive the baseball down his acromial line.

     I live less that thirty minutes from Lakeland, FL.  A few months ago, I telephone Mr. Dombroski.  I left word that I wanted to anonymously explain to whomever is in charge of Mr. Zamaya's rehabilitation what I thought would correct his difficulties.  A very kind Ms. Marty Lyons emailed me that Mr. Dombroski had sent the message on to Mr. Knapp.  I guess Mr. Knapp thinks that long tossing is the solution.

     We will see.

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159.  Penny valuable: Armed with new program, he's ready to help Red Sox
Boston Globe
February 12, 2009

FORT MYERS, FL:  While John Smoltz has spent spring training throwing a football and Rocco Baldelli is working with the Red Sox on developing a way to monitor his health, the third member of the new rehab triumvirate spent yesterday morning throwing his first bullpen session.  He fit right in with the other pitchers, on schedule to start the season in the rotation.

Other than all the talk about assistant trainer Mike Reinold's shoulder program, it seemed as if Brad Penny was just another pitcher.  Just another starter shaking off a couple of months of disuse while fitting himself into the staff.

"I think the hope is that we got him at the exact right time," manager Terry Francona said.  "He seems like he's in a position where he wants to kind of show baseball what he can do.  Last year didn't work out the way he wanted it to [6-9, 6.27 ERA].  But he seems hungry to do that, and maybe we'll be the recipients of a guy that can win 16, 18 games, that type of pitcher."

If Penny translates his talent to results, as he did in his dominant 2007 season - 16-4 with a 3.03 ERA in 208 innings for the Dodgers - the Red Sox can look to one of their lesser-known personnel for the reason.

As he did after the signing became official, Penny yesterday lauded Reinold for the part he played in getting the free agent righthander to come to Boston.  Earning praise throughout baseball, or at least in baseball clubhouses, Reinold's program offered a way to strengthen a shoulder that led to a shortened 2008 season.

"If it is [a selling point for Boston], good for us, because we believe in it," Francona said.  "I do think it's a selling point and I think it should be.  If I was a pitcher and we had a guy, not only a pitching coach like John Farrell but an organization that cared enough to employ a guy like Mikey because of pitchers' health, I would want to maybe be a part of that also. If it is a selling point, I think it's deserved."

After going on the program during the off-season, Penny threw off a mound yesterday, the first time he had done so since September, when he was shut down for the season and placed on the 60-day disabled list.  Thirty pitches into the session, Penny was still feeling good.

"The way I feel now, I shouldn't have any setbacks," said Penny, who threw all fastballs.  "I've just got to stay after my shoulder work, do the best I can to stay in the best shape I can.  Everything else will take care of itself."

The workload and unique exercises - "A lot of stuff that we weren't doing in LA, that I've never seen before, and nobody had ever shown me," Penny said - have been a revelation for the pitcher.  "Just the way you do the exercise is everything," he said.  "He's got it down to a science, talking about Mike Reinold.  So everyone I talked to said nothing but good things about him, and that was part of my decision."

So he ended up as a reclamation project in Boston, his one-year, $5 million contract far shy of what the option year called for in his old contract that was bought out by the Dodgers.  "I look at it as an opportunity," Penny said.  "The way I pitched last year, I put myself in that position.  I mean, injuries are out of my control.  All I can do is go out there and focus [on] the task at hand, which is to pitch every fifth day.  "I'm real excited. I can't wait to get back out there and prove I'm healthy."


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     So, Dr. Andrews' 'Pathomechanics' rehabilitation methods are finally clearly on the line.  To those who have not read the 'Pathomechanics' article, the idea is to measure baseball pitchers for weaknesses, then use flexibility and weight training to strenthen those weaknesses.  Sounds good.  However, unfortunately, because they have no idea what causes pitching injuries, what they measure as weaknesses are not weaknesses and the flexibility and weight training they have them do is not specific to baseball pitching.

     Injuries define bad baseball pitching mechanics.  Therefore, you don't measure for weaknesses.  Instead, you eliminate the cause of the injury.  Neither Dr. Andrews or Mr. Reinold know how to do this.  Therefore, 'Pathomechanics' will not work.

     Whether Mr. Penny is able to return to his 2007 form will show whether 'Pathomechanics' is right or I am right.  It will be interesting to watch the remainder of Mr. Penny's career.  The same is true of Mr. Beckett and Palpabone.  Remember, last season, they were poster boys for Mr. Reinold's training methods.

160.  Cardinals' Chris Carpenter reports no discomfort
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
February 12, 2009

JUPITER, FL:  Concerns will always linger for Chris Carpenter.  But more important, the discomfort that grabbed him by the shoulder last August and September does not.  Carpenter took the mound Wednesday for the first time in five months, completing a restrained 10-minute throw that marked another step toward his return to competition after a combination of nerve complications that short-circuited his 2008.

"I can't imagine him being much better than he is right now," said pitching coach Dave Duncan, who won't make a final read until Carpenter reports how he feels this morning.  Carpenter threw to West Palm Beach native and nonroster catcher Tony Cruz. More concerned with using proper mechanics than velocity, Carpenter gradually increased his effort during the session but refrained from using breaking balls until Friday's follow-up.

"I feel good," Carpenter said.  "I've been working hard.  I started preparing myself like always to be ready to pitch no matter what the outcome with my arm might be. And that was months ago when it wasn't as strong as it is now and nobody knew what was going to happen."

"If we have him pitching the way he's pitched in the past, it would be very important," Duncan said.  The last two years have left Carpenter wary of proclaiming success.  "It's hard with everything that has happened the last two years," Carpenter said.  "It's hard to let go and feel good about everything because you never know — for me anyway, it's been one thing after another.  And I never know if something else is going to jump up there.  All I can do, like I've said all along, is work as hard as I can physically, to know I've done everything I can to keep myself healthy and go from there."

Carpenter is scheduled to throw four more side sessions through Feb. 19.  He is then tentatively scheduled to face hitters in live batting practice.  Duncan has penciled him in for a Feb. 28 Grapefruit League debut against the Washington Nationals.  "If nothing happens and we still don't think it's in his best interest to pitch in that game, we may change that," Duncan said.  "You're not going to let anything slip through the cracks with him. You're going to play close attention," Duncan said.  "You make sure you don't get too aggressive with him.  You keep things under control."

Carpenter arrived in Florida after putting himself through a dogged winter conditioning program.  As for his return to the mound, Carpenter said, "Today was exactly what I was expecting.  If I continue to progress, I'm fine with that."


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     Mr. Duncan is so insightful.  I am learning so much.  I can't wait until Mr. Carpenter throws his curve and pitches batting practice.

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161.  If this guy thought his elbow was in bad shape before.

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Cleveland Indians spring-training chatter:  Reyes makes a House call over the winter
Cleveland Plain Dealer
February 13, 2009

Anthony Reyes, who has a good chance to win a job in the Tribe's starting rotation, spent a lot of time this winter with pitching guru Tom House to find a way to take the strain off his right elbow.  "I've worked with him for a long time," said Reyes.  "The mechanics I've had the last couple of years are not my regular mechanics.  I've picked up some bad habits and put a lot of stress on my elbow."

House, USC's pitching coach, had pitchers throw footballs to warmup when he coached with the Texas Rangers.  "When I first start getting ready to throw in the off-season, I throw a football for the first two weeks," said Reyes.  "It's less stressful than throwing a baseball."  Reyes said all it took was a game of catch for House to suggest some changes.  Reyes, who pitched at USC before House became the pitching coach, was shut down in September because of a sore elbow.


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     Wow, the old throwing spirals with footballs drill.  This is the same drill that Mr. House used to destroy the entire Texas Rangers pitching staff, including ending Mr. Ryan's career.  My best wished to Mr. Reyes.  We will be watching.

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162.  Baseball CATCHER training programs

I heard you on the mad dog radio show (WVFN -Lansing, MI) this morning (actually I've heard you numerous times on the show).  It just baffles me as to why no one in position of authority seems to want to listen to you!

Anyway, I have a 17 1/2 year old son who is a catcher on his high school baseball team.  He will be the starter this spring.  Last year while on junior varsity, about half way through the season he complained of arm pain even though he was (only) catching 2 of the 4 games each week.  This year he is to be the starting catcher for the varsity and I think the coach plans on using him as the starter for all 4 games each week.  So I'm a little concerned that the arm pain will return.

I visited your website today and realize that it is directed at pitchers.  Even though my son is a catcher, he still has arm pain because of all the throwing the position demands.  So my question is whether you think that any of the exercises that you suggest for pitchers would also be useful to catchers?  Or could you recommend other exercises that would be more beneficial for catchers?    Before I sent this e-mail I took a look at your Q&A for 2009 and I saw the following response to question 96 and 127 respectively:

1.  Response to Q96:  Next to baseball pitchers, catchers have more throwing arm problems than anybody else on baseball teams.  Where baseball pitchers have to struggle through with the 'balance position' of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, catchers have to struggle through with the 'baseball to their throwing ear' of the 'traditional' baseball catching motion and the three step run-around body action.

2.  Response to q 127:  While I have no problem with you posting my brief demonstration of my two-step catchers' release, I intended it for your personal use.  Therefore, this is your posting, not mine.  Your text is your text.  My text would be considerably more scientific and thorough.  If I were to post how I teach baseball catchers to throw to second base and, some day, I will, I would have far more extensive explanations, high-speed film and videos of actual throws.  Nevertheless, I hope that my simplistic demonstration helps your son and any others who might watch this clip.

That last response has really peaked my interest!!!!!  How can I get the "more scientific and thorough" details?  We're only about a month or so away from the start of Spring practice so your timely response is greatly appreciated.


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     All baseball players should complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.  The only changes that they need to make are:

01.  Practice only the fastball releases.

02.  For my Drop Out Wind-Up body action, position players should substitute my One-Step Crow Hop body action and catchers should substitute my Two-Step Catchers body action (as seen in that video that I did not authorize).

     At some unknown time in the future, I will find time to put together a video in which I explain and show the mechanics and applied anatomy of how baseball catchers to throw to second and third bases.

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163.  This is Mike Farrenkopf

In my last outing, I was put into the start of the 3rd inning.

01.  RHB:  SL*c, MF high away, SI high away, SI low in, MF away:  BB
02.  LHB:  TF away, SL low middle, MF*c, SI high inside, TF*c, TF away (ground ball):  -9
03.  RHB:  SI high away, MF high away, TF low, SI in:  BB

Removed from the game.

In my bullpens yesterday and today, I did not have a problem with flying out and not sticking my pitches.  I need to bring that to the game mound.  I am frustrated at myself that I get the opportunity to pitch and help my team in these games, but I do not produce.


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     Baseball pitchers take time to develop.  To become the best baseball pitchers that they can be, they have to learn how to properly:

01.  Use their pitching arm properly.
02.  Use their pitching leg, glove leg and glove arm correctly.
03.  Throw the wide variety of pitches that they will need for success against the best batters that they will face.
04.  Throw these pitches to catchers.
05.  Throw these pitches in batting practice.
06.  Throw these pitches in simulated games.
07.  Throw these pitches in competitive games.

     You have succeeded at the first six levels.

     The baseball is in your hands.  You need to learn how to eliminate all distractions and do what you have done thousands of times before.  Chose the correct pitch sequence to throw the batters and throw the highest quality pitches that you can throw.

     Your bullpens need to become rehearsals for what you will do in competition.  To eliminate whatever doubts that you have, you need to see the positives that you have.  You have to know that when you do what you can do, you will receive the results that your efforts deserve.  Above all else, for the simple joy of throwing baseball pitches, you must love what you are doing.

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164.  Your critics always say that you can't throw the dreaded 90 mph with your delivery.  But, if you look at the top left hand corner of these pictures, anyone can clearly see that Jeff Sparks threw over 90 mph on his fastballs and 78 on his screwballs.  With that much difference in speed, he was impossible to hit.

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     Many of the baseball pitchers with whom I have worked have thrown well over ninety miles per hour.  However, as you have shown with the photos that you sent me, in the James Jeffrey Sparks section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, Jeff threw over ninety miles per hour with his fastballs and threw unhittable Maxline True Screwballs at a respectably lower velocity.

     Because they have nothing positive to add to the discussion, those naysayers to whom you refer misrepresent the truth.

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165.  Partially Torn ligament

1.  Since the pain this man experienced in his elbow was not coming from his UCL, would it be safe to assume the pain was coming from one of the Medial Epicondyle muscle (Pronator Teres, Flexor Carpi Radialis, Palmaris Longus, Flexor Carpi Ulnaris or part of the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis).  If so, what muscle would be the likely culprit if any?

2.  So that I am clear if someone ruptures their UCL, their will not be any pain?  I happened to be watching the Braves game when Tim Hudson ruptured his UCL this summer.  After the game Bobby Cox said Tim would be fine.  Would it be fair to say that Mr Cox thought Mr. Hudson was OK because he was not in excruciating pain?

Yo3.  aid in section 2:  "However, because the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion has injurious flaws, it is not possible for 'traditional' baseball pitchers to apply appropriate stress to their bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles.  If they try, they.....rip the attachment of their Biceps Brachii off the superior aspect of the Glenoid Fossa."

I believe this attachment is also at the superior aspect of the Labrum.  I have seen several players be told that pain in this area is Biceps Tendonitis.  Would you agree with that diagnosis?

4.  Would the Scapula loading flaw in the traditional pitching motion that causes problems with the Labrum also be the culprit for this problem with the Biceps Brachii?

5.  Does the tendon of the Biceps Brachii that attaches to the Coracoid of the Scapula also get ripped from the bone due to any improper force form the traditional pitching motion.


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01.  Most likely, the injured muscle is the weak link in the chain.  In this case, that would be the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis.

02.  Yes.

03.  Tendonitis means pain in where the tendon of muscles attach to bones.

04.  Scapular loading requires that baseball pitchers pinch the two Scapula bones together tightly against the vertebral column.  To do this, baseball pitchers have to:

     a.  Point their glove arm well behind the pitching arm side batter and pull their glove arm diagonally backward and
     b.  Horizontally extend their pitching upper arm as powerfully as possible.

     As a result, the overhead view of their baseball pitching motion will show that the angle between their glove and pitching upper arms approximate ninety degrees.

     However, when baseball pitchers point their glove arm at home plate, even when they move their pitching upper arm behind their acromial line, without the added stress of the glove upper arm, they will not injure the attachment of their Subscapularis muscle to the lesser tuberosity of the head of the Humerus bone of their pitching upper arm.

05.  The short head of the Biceps Brachii muscle arises from the Coracoid Process of the Scapula bone and the long head of the Biceps Brachii muscle arises from the supraglenoid tuberosity of the Scapula bone.

     The common tendon of these two heads of the Biceps Brachii insert into the Radius bone at the Radial tuberosity, which is just below the head of the Radius bone on the medial side of the bone and with the lacertus fibrosus sheathing to the origins of the finger flexor muscles on the anterior surface of the forearm.

     Because the force application line for the short head of the Biceps Brachii muscle is not in line with the extension of the pitching elbow, it does not suffer from the unnecessary stress that the plioanglos action of the pitching elbow in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion causes.

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166.  But, the most important issue now is that we, the believers, have the ammo to put these jealous gurus and their Blind faith individual followers who follow the lead of the resistance movement against YOU in their place, which in my mind is the toilet.

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     When researchers base the force application techniques that they recommend athletes use to apply force all sport activities on relevant scientific principles, the results will always be the best way to perform those sport activities.

     That is why the naysayers, from Dr. Glenn Fleisig, Tom House et al to the fools on the website blogs, refuse to debate me mano y mano.  When those who do not know that they do not know talk, ignore them.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, February 22, 2009, I posted the following questions and answers.

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167.  Kinesiology Student seeking advice and help for a research project.

I am writing to you because I was interested in doing a research project on your pitching methods for my Exercise Physiology class and I was hoping I could acquire any help, guidance, and research data that you have acquired over the years of your work.

I've played baseball all my life and was a pitcher up until my sophmore year of college when I tore several muscles in my rotator cuff as well as my labrum causing me to have to make the move to first base.

This project, due at the end of my semester, is incredibly exciting to me, as it will hopefully give me some insight into what caused my own injury, as well as educate my classmates (at least on a limited level) about one of the most complicated, and injury prone, activities in all of sports.

Specifically my project will be on injury risk and prevention with high velocity overhand throwing.  I don't think that I could give a 30 minute presentation on this at the moment (outside of relaying my own personal experience), but I was hoping that with some of your help and guidance I might be able to when the time comes.

I'm somewhat familiar with your work and was hoping I could receive additional insight into the mechanics and proper technique that you emphasize.

My presentation does require research data, so if you could point me in the direction of any published articles that you may have in scientific journals it would really help.

And finally, if you have any additional insight or advice, than I would most gladly take it.


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     I will be happy to help you in any way that I can.

     The first advice I will give you is to read everything that I have written on my website.  My second advice is to not waste your time looking for other relevant references.  Other than my work, nobody has done any work that has any scientific merit.  They will only bog you down trying to make sense out of nonsense.

     To prove my point, I direct you to:  Pathomechanics: Injuries to the Pitching Elbow

     The article is very impressive with wonderful pictures and scientific language.  To insufficiently trained researchers, it makes perfect sense.  However, it is completely wrong.

     To understand why it is completely wrong, I direct you to my 'Dr. Andrews and Dr. Fleisig Do Not Understand Why Baseball Pitchers Rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligaments' report in the Special Reports file of my website.

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168.  Pitching mechanics for handball.

Thank you very much for your response.  I have visualized your suggestions and have since tried to incorporate the motions into my practice.  I still need more work on not hurting my left arm/shoulder.  It is harder for me to get the proper motion with that side.


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     As an avid handball player when I attended Michigan State University, I understand the difficulty of getting the non-dominant arm to work as well as the dominant arm.  To become as skilled as the dominant arm, it requires the same number of perfect practice hits as the dominant arm has had.

     Good luck and please keep me posted with your progress.

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169.  Apophysis vs. Epiphysis Growth plates.

  A local doctor makes the distinction between Apophysis and Epiphysis growth plates.  He says that the growth plates in the elbow are Apophysis growth plates by which he means that these growth plates are anchor points for muscles.  He believes that these growth plates do not contribute to bone growth.  You do not mention the word in your book.  The doctor suggests that these growth plates close at 14 years old.

The doctor says that the shoulder growth plates are Epiphysis growth plates.  He does say that these growth plates contribute to the growth of the humerus.  He also suggests that these growth plates close at 14 years old.  You do mention Ephysis growth plates in your book.

1.  Can you give me your sources for the biological ages for growth plate appearance and closure for the humerus shoulder, elbow and wrist?

2.  Can you discuss whether you agree with this doctor calling elbow growth plates Apophysis growth plates.  I did a word search of your letters and the word came up a couple of times in the context of your readers giving you medical reports from their doctors.  Do you agree with this doctor that the elbow growth plates do not contribute to bone growth?


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     By converting cartilage bones to calcified bones, all growth plates contribute to bone growth.

     I wrote Chapters Six:  Principles of Skeletal Growth and Development and Chapter Seven: Growth Plates of the Adolescent Elbow during 1979 through 1982.  While I am confident that I have the references that I used somewhere in my file cabinets, unless I see a reason worthy of taking that much time away from what I am currently doing, I will leave it to those chapters to explain how those references taught me that growth plates mature.

     In the middle of long bones, in the cartilage bones of fetuses and newborns, diaphysial ossification centers appear in the middle of long bones.  They are primarily responsible for converting cartilaginous bones to calcified bones.

     Epiphysial ossification centers appear at the proximal and distal ends of bone and other medial and lateral locations.  Therefore, those at the proximal and distal ends of bone also contribute to the conversion of cartilage tissue to calcified bones.  However, they do so in the space between the shaft of the long bones and these epiphysial ossification centers.

     The two growth plates at the elbow end of the Humerus bone, the Trochlear and Capitular growth plates, mature at biological thirteen years old.  Like with the growth plates in the wrist, the growth plates at the shoulder end of the Humerus bone, the head of the Humerus bone and lesser tuberosity growth plates mature at biological nineteen years old.

     I agree that the medial and lateral epiphysial ossification centers do not contribute to the converting cartilage bone tissue to calcified bone tissue at the end of the Humerus bone.  And, I agree that the medial ossification center has muscles that arise from it.  I have never said otherwise.  Nevertheless, these growth plates do contribute to bone growth, just not in the length of the Humerus.

     The source for the otherwise unpublished information with regard to the development of the growth plates in the elbow is S. Idell Pyle of Radiographic Atlas of Skeletal Development of the Hand and Wrist by William Walter Greulich, Ph.D. and S. Idell Pyle, Ph.D. and Radiographic Atlas of Skeletal Development of the Knee by S. Idell Pyle, Ph.D. and Normand L. Hoerr, Ph.D., M.D. fame.

     One week in 1982, I believe, I drove to Cleveland, OH and visited the Department of Anatomy of Western Reserve University' School of Medicine.  I met with Professor Pyle.  I asked why they had not published a Radiographic Atlas of the Skeletal Development of the Elbow.  She said that they did not have the funding.  Then, she went into their X-ray files and brought me X-rays of the elbows of adolescent males from ten through sixteen biological years old.  Those are the X-rays that I provide in my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     This means that I have published the Radiographic Atlas of Skeletal Development of the Elbow.  However, I am happy to list Professor Pyle as co-author.

     While I have independent sources that verify the developmental sequence of the appearance of epiphysial ossification centers for the olecranon process and lateral epicondyle and growth plate maturations, these X-rays show how the elbow matures.

     Therefore, when your doctor says that the medial epiconyle growth plate closes at fourteen years old, he is wrong.  The growth plate for the lateral epicondyle matures at fourteen biological years old.  The growth plate for the olecranon process matures at fifteen biological years old.

     That he does not distinguish between chronological age and biological age means that he is wrong about the age at which even the lateral epicondyle matures over fifty percent of the time.

     The growth plates for the medial epicondyle and head of the Radius bone do not mature until sixteen biological years old.

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170.  I have a player with tight hamstring muscles.  He has pulled it in the past.  What would you suggest to improve his situation?

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     For all running problems, I recommend my 'Speed Ups' drill.

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171.  My youngest son a senior in HS has completed his fourth 120 day program with 20lb WW and 12lb IB.  (His strength is just amazing this year.)  His freshman, sophomore and junior year I had him cut the reps in half for his IB & WW program just to maintain his strength while the baseball season continues.

He has some time every morning to complete his workout prior to leaving the house for school so he has been doing that every day.  He said his arm feels great and has not complained at all even though on some days he throws 40-50 pitches in the bullpen at practice in the afternoon.

My questions are:

1)  If he has the time some of the evenings, should he be doing his routine after practice?

2)  Would it be ok if he splits the routine up and performs the IB & WW program in the morning and or evening and saves his BB routine to be done every day at practice?


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     At biological sixteen years old, all growth plates in the pitching elbow have matured.  Therefore, these youth baseball pitchers cannot do any harm to these growth plates.

     However, until biological nineteen years old, the growth plates in the pitching shoulder and wrist remain open.  If we had X-rays of your son's glove and pitching shoulders, then we would know whether those growth plates are still open.

     Even if they are open, I still recommend that between biological sixteen and nineteen years old, youth baseball pitchers start my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program two month after their four consecutive months of competition and complete it two months before they start pitching competitively again.

     However, I prefer that youth baseball pitchers wait until they are biologically nineteen years old before they start increasing the weight of their wrist weights and iron balls.  Therefore, because your son has already completed four-fifths of my 280-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, I would be very interested in seeing X-rays of his glove and pitching shoulders from at least half-way down the length of the Humerus bones of his pitching upper arm.

     When I played professional baseball, in-season, I completed my wrist weight exercises just before I went to bed, my iron ball throws after my morning jog and, on game days, I threw at the park.  Therefore, it does not make any difference when your son does his training, just that the does them daily.

01.  I recommend that he does his wrist weight exercises just before he goes to bed, his iron ball exercises in the morning and his baseball throws at baseball practice or the same time as when he would be practicing.

02.  Yes.

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172.  Where on your website are your Speed up drills located?

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     You will have to search for them. Go to my 2004 Question/Answer file.  Open your Edit list and click on Find. Write 'speed-ups' in the box.  To see more, click on Find Next.

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173.  My son corrected me this evening concerning the weight of the iron ball he used.  Apparently, he used the 8 lb IB for 90 days and a 10lb IB (not 12lbs) for the last 30 days.  Also, the WW were 15 lbs until the last 30 days and then he increased them to 20 lbs when he felt like they were too light for him.

Back in June 2007 you had emailed me and suggested he increase his WW to 15lbs and his IB weight to 8lbs.  I never dreamed since he had been strong enough for the increased weight in 2007 that he would be at risk increasing his weight for his 4th HS program.

I wish I would have consulted you before this last HS program and I pray the increased WW & IB did not alter his growth plates in his shoulder and wrist.

I'll work on having some X-rays taken and send them to you.


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     I remember recommending that he increase his wrist weight and iron ball weights.  Even though he continued to increase these weights, I doubt that he did himself any harm.  I just want to check on his shoulder growth plates.

     I have a guy in my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video with shoulder X-rays that showed his growth plates had prematurely closed.  While this may shorten the length of his Humerus bone, it will not cause any injury problems.

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174.  EXERCISES FOR HITTERS

I RECEIVED YOUR DVD 6 MONTHS AGO AND I HAVE WATCHED IT NUMEROUS TIMES.  I RECOMMEND IT FOR EVERY PARENT WHO HAS A CHILD THAT WISHES TO PITCH.  MY QUESTION IS ABOUT HITTING.  FROM LITTLE LEAGUE THRU HIGH SCHOOL THE BEST PITCHER IS USUALLY THE BEST HITTER ON THE TEAM.  WHAT EXERCISE PROGRAM WILL HELP PREPARE THE HITTER?  IF YOU HAVE ALREADY ANSWERED THIS QUESTION PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHERE TO FIND THE ANSWER.


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     In 1967, I wrote an article that I called, 'Overload for the Quick Bat.'  Other than that article, in my Special Reports file, I have a report that I call, 'Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Batting Mechanics.'

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175.  This is the Kinesiology student.

I read through your explination on why Dr. Fleisig is wrong.  Very thorough and interesting.

1.  What I wanted to ask you was what exercises, training routines and programs could be used to limit the tension on the UCL?

2.  Would a trainer of a pitcher want to hypertrophy those small muscles in the forearm and then use a strength training program followed by power training for the forearm muscles?

3.  Also, is the deceleration phase of the throw at all important in the prevention of arm injury, or is it merely caused by improper mechanics?

4.  If you know of any articles on any of these questions, please let me know.


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     I am glad to read that you read Dr. Fleisig's article and my critique.  Now, you need to read the rest of what I have written and watch the videos that I have produced.

     This time only, I will answer the first and last of your four questions.  I did not put the answers on my website to answer for every individual who has not read the answers that I have already provided.

01.  To prevent injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers have to learn how to use the muscles of the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of their pitching upper arm to protect the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     To do this, they have to take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball and, in one, continuous, smooth movement pendulum swing their pitching arm vertically downward and backward to forty-five degrees behind their body, where they turn the palm of their pitching hand from facing toward home plate to facing away from their body and swing their pitching arm upward to driveline height, which is the height of their pitching ear.

     With their pitching hand at driveline height and their pitching upper arm at shoulder height, baseball pitchers are in position to start the acceleration phase of their pitching upper arm.  That is, the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of their pitching upper arm are contracted.

     As you read in my critique of Dr. Fleisig's misguided article, 'traditional' baseball pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament at the end of their 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover' during their 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'  To move their pitching hand and baseball from waist high with their pitching upper arm at shoulder height, 'traditional' baseball pitchers have to outwardly (externally) rotate the Humerus bone of their shoulder joint.

     When 'traditional' baseball pitchers outwardly rotate the Humerus bone of their shoulder joint, across their pitching elbow, they contract the Brachioradialis muscle, not the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle muscles of the Humerus bone.  Therefore, the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone are not protecting the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  As a result, when the force of the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' lands on the unprotected Ulnar Collateral Ligament, the connective tissue fibers that make up the Ulnar Collateral Ligament microscopically tear.  With sufficient tears, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament ruptures.

     With my Interval-Training programs, baseball pitchers not only remove the injurious flaw that ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, but also strengthens the Ulnar Collateral Ligament and the muscles that protect it.

     I will leave the importance of how I teach my baseball pitchers to safely decelerate their pitching arm for you to research.

04.  As I showed you with the Fleisig article, the only place that you can find the answers to all baseball pitching injury questions is on my website.

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176.  To be brief, I am a JC football coach and the strength and conditioning coach for the team.  I saw your program on HBO and thought it to be revolutionary and provocative.  I played baseball as a youth and suffered some arm injuries as a pitcher.  Fortunately or unfortunately, I was not talented enough to do any permanent damage.

My question is regarding your training methods applicability to QB's in football.  How much crossover is there?   Do you think some of the exercises can be modified to fit the QB throwing motion or are the mechanics too different?


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     Back in the late 1970s, with my wrist weight exercises, I rehabilitated Fran Tarkenton, Archie Manning, Brian Sipe, John Hadl, Billy Kilmer and others from their throwing injuries.

     The key is engaging the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  They also have to powerfully pronate their releases.  They need to learn how to drive down their acromial line.  And, they need to eliminate all 'Reverse Throwing Forearm Bounce.

     They should practice only my Maxline and Torque Fastball techniques.  With my Maxline Fastball throwing forearm action, they will learn how to throw to the throwing arm side of their body.  With my Torque Fastball throwing arm action, they will learn how to throw to the non-throwing arm side of their body.

     With my Maxline Fastball throwing forearm action, they should use their throwing arm as though they are throwing darts.  That is, they should start with their throwing elbow pointing downward, but end up with their throwing elbow pointing upward.  As a result, after release, they should 'point' their throwing hand straight at their target and, after they decelerate their throwing arm, they should 'put' their throwing hand into their back pocket.

     With my Torque Fastball throwing forearm action, they should use their throwing arm as though they are doing a two-handed chest pass in basketball.  That is, they should start and end with their throwing elbow pointing sideways.  As a result, after release, they should also 'point' their throwing hand straight at their target and, after they decelerate their throwing arm, they should also 'put' their throwing hand into their back pocket.

     With both throwing forearm actions, they must powerfully extend their throwing elbows and pronate their throwing forearms.

     They need to start with my Wrong Foot body action; Loaded Slingshot non-throwing and throwing arm actions drill.  When they are able to get their throwing elbow to pop up, they have 'engaged' their Latissimus Dorsi.

     Then, they need to use my Wrong Foot body action: Pendulum Swing non-throwing and throwing arm actions drill.  However, they must greatly abbreviate their pendulum swing.  That is, they should start with their throwing arm in the typical quarterback ready position.  But, when they want to throw, instead of taking their hand straight backward, they need to immediately raise their throwing upper arm to vertically beside their head.

     This not only eliminates their 'Reverse Throwing Forearm Bounce,' it also 'locks' their throwing upper arm with their shoulders and engages the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to inwardly rotate their throwing upper arm.

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177.  "If not for shoulder problems..." -- Get ready for more of the same:

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Players in ’04 Deal Are Joined on Mets
New York Times
February 13, 2009

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL:  Three other players were traded between Seattle and Chicago on June 27, 2004, but at the time only two mattered to Mariners and White Sox fans.  In the thick of a division race, the White Sox acquired the All-Star right-hander Freddy García for their postseason push.  In last place and looking toward the future, the Mariners received a player they believed would be their center fielder of the future, a fleet prospect named Jeremy Reed.

Now teammates on the Mets, García, 32, and Reed, 27, are connected by much more than that trade.  Injuries and hard luck have detoured once-promising career paths to competitions for two of the few unsettled spots on the roster.

García, if healthy, should have an edge over Tim Redding for the final slot in the rotation.  Reed must fend off Cory Sullivan to win the reserve outfielder’s job.  “I’ve had to make teams every year I’ve gone into spring training,” said Reed, who joined the Mets in the 12-player deal in which the Mets also received J. J. Putz and Sean Green.  “I haven’t once been told, ‘You’re the opening day guy, go get ’em; take what you need in spring training.’”

Reed may be used to having to prove himself, but García is not.  If not for shoulder problems, García, who has a career record of 118-77, would have been among the more coveted pitchers available.  He settled for the ultimate low-risk, high-reward contract with the Mets, a minor league deal that will pay him $1.5 million if he makes the 40-man roster.

“I expect to be in the rotation,” García said. “If not, I’ll have to go somewhere else.”  For most of his career, García had been assured of a rotation spot every spring.  Between 1999 and 2006, he led the American League in innings pitched (1,643 2/3) and ranked second behind Mike Mussina in victories (116).  He also won a World Series ring, with the White Sox in 2005, when he pitched seven shutout innings in the Game 4 clincher against the Astros.  But soon after joining the Phillies in a December 2006 trade, García started having shoulder problems.  He made only 11 starts before having labrum surgery and missing more than a year.

García was interested in signing with the Mets, whose general manager, Omar Minaya, tried to trade for him on several occasions.  The Tigers swooped in last August, and García made three starts in September, pitching five innings each time, but he was shut down again with shoulder discomfort while playing winter ball in Venezuela.  García said Friday that both magnetic resonance imaging exams he has had this off-season came back clean.

“Since I had surgery, I feel like I have a new shoulder,” García said.  After arriving Friday, García palled around with his old friend Johan Santana. Santana and García attended the Astros’ academy in Venezuela in 1995, and stayed at each other’s homes in Seattle and Minnesota.  “We finally have a chance to wear the same uniform for the first time here, so hopefully that’ll be the case throughout the whole season,” Santana said.


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     Labrum surgery.  The Labrum is a connective tissue ring that lines the edge of the Glenoid Fossa into which the head of the Humerus bone articulates.  It has not contractile properties.  Therefore, it contributes nothing to the generation of force with which baseball pitchers apply to their pitches.  However, it destroys pitching careers.

     Baseball pitchers injure their Labrum when the do not drive down their acromial line.  That means whenever baseball pitcher take their pitching arm too far behind or too far in front of their acromial line, they jeopardize their Labrum.  If they learned how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle and drive down their acromial line, then they would have no Labrum problems.

     My Wrong Foot body action; Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions, my Wrong Foot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions and my wrist weights and my Second Base Pick-off body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drills teach baseball pitchers how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle and drive down their acromial line.

     Until Mr. Garcia learns these skills, he will never pitch without pain again.

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178.  It would be stable, but...

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Nats Seek Stable Set of Arms - Rotation Continues to Be 'Big Unknown' as Washington Enters Spring Training With Five New Projected Starters
Washington Post
February 14, 2009

Two months ago, John Lannan bought a house here.  He'd talked about it with his dad, and they agreed:  It was a good time to buy.  It felt grown-up, established.  He bought a dog, a 47-inch television and a wraparound couch.  He revamped a sunroom into a third bedroom, and decided that fellow Washington Nationals pitcher Collin Balester could take residence in one of the spare bedrooms, so long as he tossed in some cash now and then.

"Me and Bally just went shopping," Lannan said.  "Spent like $180.  Got some fruit.  Some cold cuts."

Another Washington pitcher, Matt Chico, lives down the road. Chico bought a then-unfinished house in July 2007, because, hey, it made sense to live just a few traffic lights from his team's spring training home.  At that time, Chico -- as Lannan does now -- had a lock on a starting rotation spot.  Even a year ago, Chico had the right to envision the long arc of a promising career.  Well, at least he did until the night when his left elbow popped, and the date a few months later when orthopedist James Andrews noticed a full elbow tear.

Six days after undergoing a surgery that rebooted his career, Chico moved into his new house.

In 2008, at least, unpredictability put a giant chokehold on the entire Washington pitching staff.  As spring training concluded, the Nationals projected a starting rotation of Odalis Perez, Tim Redding, Shawn Hill, Jason Bergmann and Chico, none of whom now figure into this year's start-of-spring projections.  Inconsistency cost Redding a roster spot and shuttled Bergmann down the depth chart.  Injuries have Hill and Chico in rebuilding mode.  Perez has rejoined the team on a minor league deal, but must overtake the current crop to earn a roster spot.

Pitching, by tradition, is baseball's most precarious vocation.  Some talents develop, others do not; some arms withstand the strain, others crack.  As Washington pitchers and catchers prepare to report today, the team's present projected rotation underscores the way in which careers can contort, often laughing at logic.  One calendar year ago, Scott Olsen was with Florida. Daniel Cabrera was with Baltimore.  Balester just hoped for a decent year with the Class AAA Columbus Clippers.  Jordan Zimmermann had never pitched a professional game beyond the Class A New York-Penn League.  Lannan had pitched in only six big league games.  He still lived with his parents in Long Island.

This was the first year he could afford to move out.

"If you think about it -- it's so unpredictable," Lannan said.  "These projections, how often are they ever right?  Because all these things can happen."

The success of Washington's season is largely predicated on the rotation's ability to grow some roots.  Nationals President Stan Kasten called it "the big unknown."

Said Bergmann:  "This year's [initial] rotation has no members of last year's rotation.  It takes a strong person to understand you could be making a lot of money or struggling to have a job at all."

For at least a couple weeks last season, Lannan and Chico pitched in the Washington rotation at the same time.  The Nationals promoted Lannan from Class AAA on April 5, just days into the season, and his performance thereafter never allowed the team to send him down.  Technically a rookie, Lannan pitched like the team's ace.  Through it all, he kept a list of his goals on a little piece of folded paper in his wallet.  He wanted 10 wins; he got nine.  He wanted an ERA under 3.50; he settled for a 3.91.  Still, his 182 innings tied for the team lead.  He ranked eighth in the National League in quality starts.

Despite his growth, Lannan never dared to let himself feel entrenched.  Not when he still had so much to prove, he said.  Not with so many nearby reminders of pitching's fragility.

On April 16 last year, one day before Lannan threw six innings of one-run ball, Chico started a game against the New York Mets.  On one pitch, he felt a popping sensation in his elbow.  He didn't know quite what happened.  Chico, who had gone 7-9 with a 4.63 ERA in 31 starts in 2007, had never dealt with an injury more serious than tendinitis.  He told the team doctor, and eventually, three doctors examined the injury, finding no tear -- though none of the doctors conducted an MRI exam, Chico said.

For another month, Chico kept pitching.  The pain increased.

"Then I went down and saw Dr. Andrews," Chico said.  "That was when I got an MRI.  He said it was completely torn."

Since the surgery, Chico has spent almost all of his time in Viera, rehabbing and reminding himself about patience.  On Monday, for the first time since undergoing the reconstructive surgery, Chico pitched off a mound.  He felt nervous.  His delivery felt foreign, it had been that long.

But on Friday, he was back at it again, another light bullpen session.  Spin Williams, an organizational pitching coach, and trainer Steve Gober observed, mostly reminding Chico to not overdo things.  They didn't want him throwing anything more than 45 or 50 mph.

Given the plodding path before him, Chico later said that any return to the big leagues is still, for now, a distant vision.

"My goal is to get back to the big leagues in September," Chico said.  "Whether that's reachable is hard to tell.  There are a lot of things that have to happen for that to occur.  I have to be feeling good, healthy and then the other thing is, there has to be a spot open for me."


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     I hate reading these stories.  The answers are so simple.  The stupidity so enormous.  And, the kids suffer.  Eliminate 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'  Use the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone to protect the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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179.  Once again, that nasty word "if" is mentioned:

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Anibal Sanchez, healthy again, hopes to bolster Marlins' staff in 2009
Palm Beach Post
February 14, 2009

JUPITER, FL:  Anibal Sanchez has a new number (19) and a new look after losing about 10 pounds over the winter.  But when he pitches this year, the Marlins hope to see the Anibal Sanchez of old.  "We're just hoping he can get back to that mentality and form of 2006," left fielder Cody Ross said.  "You're talking about a potential front-line starter in the back end of the rotation.  It'd be huge if all goes well and his arm is healthy."

With owner Jeffrey Loria watching, the Marlins opened their spring workouts Saturday with what might be the most promising starting rotation since their 2003 championship season.  The top three starters will be right-handers Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Chris Volstad, who went a combined 28-13 last year.  Left-hander Andrew Miller is hoping a new delivery will help him improve after going 6-10 with a 5.87 ERA last year, his first year with the Marlins after being traded from Detroit.

But the big question for the rotation is whether Sanchez can bounce back.  As a rookie in 2006, he threw a no-hitter and went 10-3, offering glimpses of future greatness before arm problems in 2007 curtailed his development.  He made just six starts in 2007 before having shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum that kept him out of major-league action for a year.  He returned last July 31 and finished with a 2-5 record with 5.57 ERA.

"Coming off of surgery, he broke down a little bit toward the end of September, which is totally to be expected for someone coming off that type of injury," catcher John Baker said.  "When we see his fastball at 92, 93 miles an hour, he'll be where he's supposed to be and he'll be like the Anibal Sanchez of '06."

Sanchez admitted that he struggled at times last year to pitch without fear of injuring his shoulder again.  "The hard part is when you go to the mound and you don't know if you're going to feel something but you still feel it in your mind.  Right now I am free of that," he said.  "Now, in my mind I just want to go to the mound.  I am healthy.  I don't have any restrictions."

Pitching coach Mark Wiley said he expects Sanchez to improve based on how hard he has worked this off-season.  "He came in early.  He has dedicated himself," Wiley said.  "This year he'll be at full arm strength and hopefully he'll get back to where we all saw him in '06."

Unlike Johnson and Nolasco, Wiley said, Sanchez is most effective when he uses his offspeed pitches in the entire strike zone - as Greg Maddux did in his prime.  "It's a dynamic rotation," Baker said.  "We have a great opportunity, especially in the division because we have five different starters pitching five different styles.  Nobody is a clone of another guy on the staff so that makes it difficult for opposing lineups to make adjustments day in and day out."

Manager Fredi Gonzalez said he knows who his opening-day starter will be, but he won't announce it or the rest of the rotation until closer to the end of camp.  It'll also be a young rotation: Nolasco is 26, Johnson 25, Sanchez 24, Miller 23 and Volstad 22.  When Sanchez arrived for camp, he asked reliever Logan Kensing for permission to take Kensing's No. 19.  "It's my lucky number.  I used it when I was kid, when I was in the minors," said Sanchez, who wore 36 in each of his past three years with the Marlins.  "When I wear 19, everything is fine."  Kensing now wears 20 and said he doesn't care what number he wears as long as the Marlins reach the playoffs.

"If all the starters stay healthy," Sanchez said, "we can be the best rotation in the National League."


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     Yeah, and if we had candy and nuts, we could have a happy Christmas.  Why doesn't Mark Wiley dedicate himself to learning how to prevent pitching injuries?  Labrum problems are almost as easy to eliminate as ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligaments.

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180.  Another member of the "My arm isn't strong enough" squad:

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Cubs Team Report
Yahoo! Sports
February 14, 2009

Right-hander Carlos Zambrano probably will not compete in the World Baseball Classic for Venezuela.  The Cubs are relieved about that, mainly because Zambrano’s right shoulder acted up on him more than once last season.  During recent weeks, Zambrano has been battling an eye infection, for which he’s taking eye drops.  He also said he is still considering laser surgery to correct a vision problem.

“The doctors said I was supposed to have an eye (shaped) like a baseball, and my right eye is like a football,” Zambrano said.  “That’s something that I have to correct.  I may do it.  I don’t know yet.  There’s a small a chance I’ll do it right now, or I’ll do it during the season.  Let’s see how the drops work.”

Zambrano added that his shoulder is fine, saying he had as much rest this winter as he’s had in any offseason he’s been in baseball.  The Cubs sent one of their trainers to Venezuela to work on Zambrano’s shoulder strength.

Zambrano, 27, has made four consecutive Opening Day starts for the Cubs.  Although he admits to getting too amped up for Opening Day, he said he’d like to start again this year.  Manager Lou Piniella has not announced an Opening Day starter.  Right-hander Ryan Dempster emerged as the Cubs’ No. 1 starter late last season.


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     Mr. Zambrano had as much rest this off-season that he has ever had and a Cubs trainer flew to Venezuela to strengthen his pitching shoulder.  I predict that, unless Mr. Zambrano stopped pulling and supinating the release of his breaking ball, he will have more problems with his pitching shoulder than he has ever had.

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181.  Surprise: Lousy work ethic = Elbow trouble.

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Pirates Team Report
Yahoo! Sports
February 14, 2009

Tom Gorzelanny says he is ready to put a miserable 2008 season behind him.  He has lost 15 pounds and a new closely-cropped haircut is at symbolic of change.  The left-hander seemed poised to become of the better starting pitchers in the National League in 2007 when he went 14-10 with a 3.88 ERA in 32 starts during his first full major league season.  However, he was 6-9 with a 6.66 ERA in 21 starts last season, and he was made to take a seven-start detour to Class AAA Indianapolis beginning July 4 in an effort to get on track.

Gorzelanny admitted he reported to spring training out of shape last year after getting married in the offseason and slacking off on his workouts.  He also had elbow pain that persisted throughout the season, though he hid the severity from the Pirates’ medical staff.  “I figured once we got started with spring training, everything would be fine, I’d get back into shape and my arm would stop hurting,” Gorzelanny said.  “It was a humbling season.  I learned a lot about myself and to not take things for granted.  I realized that the hard work doesn’t stop once you have success in the major leagues.”

Gorzelanny tried to pitch through the elbow discomfort.  He second-guesses himself for not having the problem attended to early.  “I didn’t think it was that serious and I really wanted to build off what I had done the year before,” Gorzelanny said.  “I’m a competitor.  I wanted to take the ball every fifth day and pitch.  I didn’t want to go on the disabled list.  Looking back, it was selfish on my part.  At the time, though, I felt I was doing the right thing by not letting my team down.”

His lessons learned, Gorzelanny believes he is on course for a season more like 2007 than 2008.  “Last year was so frustrating that I never want to go through anything like that again,” Gorzelanny said.  “It made me hungry to come back this season and pitch the way I know I’m capable of pitching.”


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     When you have no idea what to do, get a new haircut and lose some weight.

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182.  DEAD ARM THROWING!:

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Padres Team Report
Yahoo! Sports
February 14, 2009

Although he has had two major rounds of shoulder surgery since he last pitched in 2006, Mark Prior says he is “cautiously optimistic” his second attempt at a comeback with his hometown San Diego Padres will be successful.  Prior reported to Peoria, Ariz., with other pitchers and catchers on Feb. 13.  “I am far ahead of where I was last spring at this time,” said Prior.  “I’m encouraged.”

In 2007, Prior underwent what he described as a “three-in-one” round of shoulder surgery—including the repair of a split in the capsule—conducted by Dr. James Andrews in Alabama.  Prior had more surgery last June 4 to re-attach the capsule to the bone.  Prior admitted “it would have been easy to cash it in” after the second round of surgery.  “Too easy,” he said.  “The reality is that I could have thrown my last pitch in the major leagues.  But I need to know that for me.  And I don’t think it is over.  I’ve always been a guy who likes to control my own environment.  I want to control how I go out.  I don’t want to give up.  And the other reality is, I could pitch again.  “Wouldn’t it be something to be back on the mound in a major league game?”

Last year, the Padres paid Prior $1 million.  This year, he’s accepted a minor league contract with San Diego—although he did have better offers elsewhere.  “My first goal is to be healthy,” Prior told the San Diego Union-Tribune.  “My second goal is to pitch.  San Diego was the best place to do it.  The Padres have been great with me during what I’ve been going through. I knew they cared.  And the training staff has been great.  “I have no crystal ball.  I know what I want to do, but I am at the mercy of what my arm says I am.  As to when, where and how, I don’t know, I don’t make promises.  But my shoulder feels 95 percent again and it works properly.

“In reality, the second surgery could have been a blessing in disguise.  I bought some time.  Last spring, I felt I was getting close.  Looking back, it didn’t feel right … it didn’t feel like where I needed it to be.”  Prior is one of eight pitchers seeking two berths at the back end of the rotation.


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     Mr. Prior says that he wants to control his environment.  If so, then why does he continue to consult Tom House, Mark Carroll, Dr. Andrews and Dr. Fleisig?  Nothing that they have done has ever helped him.

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183.  12 minutes sounds pretty definitive to me:

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M’s LHP Erik Bedard ‘healthy’ since surgery
Associated Press
February 15, 2009

PEORIA, AZ:  Erik Bedard declared himself fine after he threw for 12 minutes in the bullpen on Sunday, his first work off a mound in front of Seattle Mariners eyes since having season-ending surgery on his throwing shoulder last September.  Bedard didn’t start after July 4 last season, a disappointing one after the Mariners traded five top prospects to Baltimore for what they thought would be their ace in 2008.

How curious were the Mariners to see Bedard throw Sunday?  New general manager Jack Zduriencik, assistant GM Lee Pelekoudas, first-time manager Don Wakamatsu, trainer Rick Griffin and new pitching coach Rick Adair all watched from a few feet away as the left-hander threw smoothly.  “I wasn’t even thinking about that,” Bedard said of trying to make a strong first impression while throwing about 35 pitches.  When it was over, Griffin and Adair had brief chats with Bedard.  The ace of few words then laughed at a nearby water cooler with reliever Roy Corcoran and catcher Jamie Burke.

“He looked in shape and he looked healthy,” Wakamatsu said.  “We’re not trying to put all the attention on one guy.  I think it was a big help, the meeting I had with him before the season.  I got to know him, and we’ve built a good relationship.  He’s got a good sense of humor.  He just doesn’t want to be the center of attention.  “That’s fine.  As long as he goes out there every five days, we’ll be happy.”

Last Sept. 26, after Bedard went 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 15 starts, Dr. Lewis Yocum removed a cyst from Bedard’s pitching shoulder and cut away some tissue.  Recovery time from that procedure typically is six months, but Bedard is one month ahead of that right now.  He began throwing during the second week of December in his garage at his home near Navan, Ontario, off his portable plastic mound.  By the first of the year, Bedard said the scar tissue had loosened and he felt pain-free, as he has since.  He said his shoulder troubles are completely out of his mind.

“It was normal, because I’ve been throwing bullpens at home.  So I knew how it felt,” Bedard said of Sunday’s workout.  Asked what the difference was between now and last year, he said simply, “It just doesn’t hurt.”


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     But, what did Mr. Bedard do to prevent the reoccurance of the same injury?  Does he or anybody else know why the cyst developed?  Without understanding the cause, they cannot expect a cure.

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184.  History repeats itself...

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Harden shouldering great expectations for Cubs
Yahoo! Sports
February 15, 2009

MESA, AZ:  Rich Harden reported the following Saturday morning: “I feel great.”  And this should be promising news.  Harden represents everything that’s right about the Chicago Cubs – the talent and potential and beckoning excellence.  Only there’s this thing Harden said March 25, 2006: “I feel great.”  And again on March 21, 2007: “I feel great.”

Neither of those seasons turned out quite like Harden imagined.  In 2006, he pitched once between April and September.  The next year, he shut down his season July 8.  Harden, so blessed with a right arm that fires 100-mph cannonballs from a frame that cracks 6 feet in spikes only, was likewise cursed with the sort of fragility reserved for Fabergé eggs.

Now he’s proclaiming health in spite of a shoulder that … well, it’s not quite clear.  There is some sort of a tear.  Harden wouldn’t say how serious.  Neither will the Cubs.  Only that he’d be gone 12 to 18 months if he opted for surgery, which indicates that this isn’t quite a boo-boo that’ll get better if mommy kisses it.

So forgive the denizens of Cubdom for needing some prescription-grade antiperspirant.  It’s just that, you know, they’ve done this tango.  Kerry Wood.  Mark Prior.  Young arms.  Incredible beginnings.  Limitless potential.  Then injuries hit and sent their careers Blagojeviching down the commode.

“Now that you say that, it makes a lot of sense,” Harden said.  “I haven’t thought about that.  I could see that.  Especially with my past, going through injuries.”

There was the oblique strain.  The back pain.  The elbow-ligament issues.  And now the shoulder, brought on, Harden said, by reaching to barehand a ground ball up the middle a few years back.  Damaged goods after all.

Still, who could tell?  A month before the Cubs acquired Harden in July, he struck out three hitters on nine pitches in one inning.  Over nearly three months with Chicago, Harden limited batters to a .157 average and struck out 89 in 71 innings.  When he pitched, Harden was every bit as good as the man whose acquisition he was brought in to combat, CC Sabathia.

Of course, the frequency of Harden’s starts is the whole rub, and he disappeared for two weeks in early September because of a cortisone shot.  Then he bombed out in the Cubs’ season-ending loss that completed the Dodgers’ first-round playoff sweep.  Harden chose rehabilitation over surgery, and the Cubs picked up his $7 million option hoping like hell for Dr. Jekyll.

Rather than return home to Canada, Harden spent the entire winter in Arizona working with a physical therapist to fortify his shoulder and Cubs coaches to strengthen his upper body.  Though the offseason-fitness program is a tried-and-true spring cliché, Harden’s sincerity was evident.  He hates being hurt, coddled, babied.

He leaves the Cubs little choice.  Their starting-pitching depth is among the best in baseball, so they plan on taking advantage of the unusually long 39-game Cactus League season to prepare the staff for Harden’s scheduled absences.  Between off-days and intentionally skipping starts, the Cubs are aiming for Harden to start 25 games, same as last season.

“We threw out that number,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.  “He might pitch 32.  You never know.  We’re going to watch his pitch count.  We’re going to keep him strong.  This kid loves to compete.  But at the same time, we’re aware he’s had some physical problems and we’re not going to overtax him.”

Part of that is incumbent upon Harden.  Though he can hit 100 mph with his fastball, Harden said he continues to learn the virtues of locating pitches and changing speeds.  OK.  Again, a nice thing to say.  Now let’s see him drive the speed limit in a Lamborghini.  “It’s tough,” he said.  “You want to be out there every single game for 100-plus pitches.  It’s tough not to.”

Over Harden’s first three seasons, he lasted 100 pitches in 37 of 61 starts.  Since 2006, he has started 38 games and hit the century mark 14 times.  He hasn’t thrown a complete game since ’05, either, and made it into the eighth inning just twice.

And yet the expectations on Harden are the highest of any Cubs pitcher, higher than Carlos Zambrano or Ryan Dempster, because at his best, Harden is far superior.  He’s better than just about anyone when healthy.

During the Cubs’ first workout, it was evident Harden isn’t.  While the rest of the pitchers threw off mounds, Harden played catch on flat ground.  As impressed as Piniella was with his staff – “The first day all the pitchers look like 20-game winners,” he said – even he saw the incongruity that his likeliest pitcher to win 20 games looked the least like it.

While Chicago’s pitchers threw, Jake Peavy sat on a bench across town in Peoria and talked about his offseason.  The Cubs spent weeks trying to put together a deal for him.  They offered dozens of packages and included a third team and a fourth team and tried everything in their power.  And there Peavy was Saturday, answering questions in a San Diego Padres uniform.

The Cubs wanted Peavy for innumerable reasons.  Near the top of the list is Harden.  Because no matter how much he smiles or deflects or denies, nothing blunts the reality that something is wrong with his shoulder.  And that is anything but great.


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     We're going to watch his pitch count.  We're going to keep his strong.

     And still, he cannot pitch every five days.  How about trying something different?  He spent the winter in Arizona doing what.  "working with a physical therapist to fortify his shoulder and Cubs coaches to strengthen his upper body."

     I want to know who this physical therapist is and what he and the Cubs coaches had Mr. Harden do.  How did he or the Cubs coaches change the pitching motion to prevent his injuries?

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185.  Contract talks quiet, Lincecum throws: Cy Young winner, Giants aren't pursuing long-term deal right now
MLB.com
February 15, 2009

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  The Los Angeles Angels signed Ervin Santana to a four-year, $30 million contract Saturday.  Might the Giants do the same with their own precocious, prolific right-hander, Tim Lincecum?  Perhaps, but not right away.  Both club officials and Lincecum said Sunday that negotiations for a multiyear deal aren't active, though that could change with a single phone call and a productive chat.  "Nothing's going on right now," Lincecum said Sunday.  Generally, he added, the business side of baseball concerns him "very little.  I'm just worried about the season.  What I hear, I hear about from my agent [Rick Thurman] and I haven't heard anything.  I'm just playing the waiting game."

Lincecum's bargaining leverage approximates Santana's.  Lincecum, 24, is the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner.  Santana, 26, owns a 51-37 career record and is coming off an All-Star season in which he finished 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA.  Lincecum, 18-5 with a 2.62 ERA and a Major League-high 265 strikeouts last season, threw with his typical crispness off a bullpen mound during the Giants' opening workout for pitchers and catchers.  It was only Lincecum's third throwing session off a mound this year, so he's still reacclimating himself.

"My dad always says, 'Find rhythm first,' so I tried to do that," Lincecum said.  At one juncture, Lincecum fiddled repeatedly with his two-seam fastball.  Aided by bullpen coach Mark Gardner, Lincecum finally threw one he liked.  "Atta boy," catcher Eli Whiteside hollered.  "I figured it out," Lincecum called back, grinning.


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     This was 'only Lincecum's third throwing session off a mound this year.'  That is not a good sign.  However, with his very bad 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce,' I wonder how long his Ulnar Collateral Ligament will last.  I bet that it lasts slightly longer than his pitching hip and pitching and glove knees, all three of which, unless he changes how far he reverse rotates his hip and how strongly he stresses his pitching and glove knees, he will eventually require replacement surgery.

     Fortunately, Mr. Lincecum does powerfully pronates his fastball and change-up pitches.  I have not seen his breaking ball, but I will bet that he supinates his release.  But then, he can continue to pitch with decreased extension and flexion ranges of motion in his pitching elbow.

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186.  I imagine every pitcher "looks impressive" in the first few days of camp:

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Rehabbing reliever Moylan impresses
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lake Buena Vista, FL:  With attention focused on Derek Lowe and Japanese import Kenshin Kawakami, no Braves pitchers was more impressive Sunday than rehabbing reliever Peter Moylan.  The Aussie sidearmer left hitters shaking heads and team officials smiling after he threw a slew of hard sinkers with impressive velocity and location.  It was his first time facing hitters since ligament-transplant elbow surgery May 8, 2007.  “He looks absolutely great,” outfielder Matt Diaz said after mostly flailing at Moylan’s pitches.  “When he’s throwing like that on Day 1 … he could have gotten people out today [in a regular game].”

Chipper Jones and Brian McCann struggled against Moylan, who didn’t look like a pitcher nine months into what’s customarily a 12-month rehab process.  “I don’t know if he’s supposed to look that good this early or not,” manager Bobby Cox said in a cautious tone.  “It feels real good. I’m excited,” said Moylan, who hopes to be ready when the season begins.  “That’s how I’ve been throwing in my bullpen sessions.  But it’s not until you get in front of hitters and see their reactions.  … I’m excited.  I don’t want to say too much, but it feels good.”

Moylan was the Braves’ best reliever in 2007, posting a 1.80 ERA in 80 appearances.  He had only seven appearances in 2008 before surgery.  The Braves hope Moylan, Rafael Soriano and closer Mike Gonzalez form a dominant bullpen trio.  Moylan and Soriano are coming back from elbow surgeries, and Gonzalez had elbow surgery in 2007.

Soriano had four disabled-list stints in 2008 before nerve-transposition surgery in August.  He didn’t throw Sunday because of an upper-respiratory infection, but Cox said Soriano’s arm was fine.  Soriano told team officials he’s been throwing bullpen sessions in the Dominican Republic without problems.  Cox said he thought Moylan and Soriano would be ready opening day.


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     Elbow surgeries.  Who taught these guys to take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand on top of the baseball?  Is he still with the Braves?

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187.  A new delivery? Same old results:

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Marlins' Miller still hoping to fulfill potential
Miami Herald
February 15, 2009

JUPITER, FL:  The question for Florida Marlins pitching coach Mark Wiley was the sort that gets batted around a sports bar.  Which of the team's talented young starting pitchers will finish with the most career victories?  After Wiley mulled it over, the first name he mentioned was the Florida starter with the most modest resume: erratic left-hander Andrew Miller.  "He's working on a new delivery," Wiley said.  "Once he locks in with that, he's got as much topside as anybody."

Florida's rotation includes Ricky Nolasco, a 15-game winner last year; Anibal Sanchez, who threw a no-hitter as a rookie; Josh Johnson, who went 7-1 last year after returning from elbow surgery; and Chris Volstad, who had a 2.88 ERA in 15 games as a rookie in 2008. None is older than 26.  But the pitcher with the most potential might be the 23-year-old Miller, a former first-round draft pick acquired a year ago in the trade that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit.

A native of Gainesville, FL, and former star at the University of North Carolina, the hard-throwing Miller failed to live up to the hype in his first season with the Marlins.  He went 6-10 with a 5.87 ERA and ended the season in the bullpen.  "It was frustrating, to say the least," Miller said Sunday, the second day of spring training.  "I've got to go out and perform better than I did last year, that's for sure.  I've got plenty to improve on, but I think we're making some good adjustments that will help me do that."

The 6-foot-6 Miller begins camp with a new motion designed to improve his command and reduce pounding on his right knee, which has been prone of bouts of tendinitis the past two years.  Soreness sent him to the disabled list for six weeks last season.  Miller said the change in his delivery is somewhere between a tweak and an overhaul, and he conceded he has yet to work out the kinks.  "I can do it, but it's not 100 percent comfortable," he said.  "It's a process, but it's coming along pretty good."

The Marlins decided the change was needed after watching Miller struggle last year.  He walked 56 and gave up 120 hits in 107 1-3 innings.  "Nobody ever really did too much with Andrew," Wiley said.  "That's what happens - guys who have great arms in high school and college can dominate, and nobody is going to try to fix it too much.  We let him settle in last year in the big leagues, and as time went on we talked about it and finally he said, 'I need to change.'  We came up with a plan, and he's happy with it so far."

The new motion reduces Miller's hip swivel at the start, giving him a more direct route to the plate.  He has yet to face a hitter, but manager Fredi Gonzalez said he sees a more consistent delivery.  "The last two bullpens were outstanding," Gonzalez said after Sunday's drills.  "He has been working extremely hard on that, and you can tell a big difference.  He repeats it.  If he can do that, there's no question the arm is there.

"The consistency is what got him in trouble last year, and it was his delivery.  If he can repeat it and keep it that simple, we've got a heck of a pitcher on our hands."  Miller showed signs of fulfilling his potential last year.  During a three-game stretch in May, he allowed only two earned runs and 12 hits in 19 innings.  He gave up just one run in consecutive seven-inning outings in June.  "For all the bad, there was some good," Miller said.  "I know it's in there.  It's a question of how I can do that every time, as opposed to a couple of games at a time."


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     To improve his command and reduce pounding on his right knee, pitching coach Mark Wiley reduced Mr. Miller's hip swivel at the start.  This is supposed to give his 'a more direct route to the plate.'  However, Mr. Miller has been 'prone of bouts of tendinitis' in his glove knee.

     While I am pleased to read that Mr. Miller has reduced the amount he reverse rotates his hips, excessive reverse hip rotation does not change the stress he applies to his glove knee.  How far he strides with his glove leg stresses his glove knee.

     To decrease the stress on his glove knee, Mr. Miller needs to step forward with his glove foot only as far as enables him to continue to move the center of mass of his body forward through release.  Unfortunately, to do this, he would have to stop raising his glove leg and striding seventy to ninety percent of his standing height.

     My prognosis is that this change in his pitching motion will not positively influence the tendonitis in his glove knee.

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188.  Another Dave Duncan alert:

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St. Louis Cardinals reliever Chris Perez works on throwing motion
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
February 15, 2009

JUPITER, FL:  Arguably the leading candidate for the Cardinals' vacant closers role, second-year righthander Chris Perez is scheduled to throw his first official bullpen session of spring training Sunday.  He's working on something new and plans to bring back a little of something old.  In his past two sessions with pitching coach Dave Duncan, Perez has been stopped in the middle to correct what coaches see as a flaw in his arm path.  They want him to try and get the same motion whether he's throwing his high-heat fastball or his under-construction slider.  "My mechanics feel good," Perez said.  "Right now, it's not my mechanics, it's just the angle my arm takes as I throw the ball.  They want to make it the same from one pitch to the other.  That way I'm not giving up the pitch by having two different release points."

Perez saved seven games for the Cardinals last season and since being drafted in 2006 he's been billed as the club's future closer.  He comes to camp as part of a competition or a committee for the role — depending on perception — and must develop his second pitch to strengthen his claim.  Improving the consistency of his arm path is new.  What he uses as his second pitch could be old.

Perez usually uses his curveball early in spring training and builds toward throwing the slider that he uses during the regular season.  This year, he's considering keeping the curve and nurturing it as more than a show pitch.  "It's been looking good," Perez said. "Coach Marty (Mason) told me to throw a curve or a slider.  Whether I can throw it consistently is the most important thing.  They want me to have one.  They don't care which."


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     To make sure that Mr. Perez does not tip his pitches, Dave Duncan wants Mr. Perez to have the same motion with his fastball and his slider.  Coach Mason wants Mr. Perez to choose throw either a slider or a curve, not both.

     First, the reason Mr. Perez has different release points for his fastball and slider is because he pronates the release of his fastball and supinate the release of his slider.  Therefore, to make the two release points the same, Mr. Perez needs to learn how to pronate the release of his slider.

     Because Dave Duncan cannot spell pronation or supination, he cannot teach Mr. Perez how to release these two pitches the same.

     If Mr. Perez did learn how to pronate the releases of all pitches, then, without one pitch influencing the other, he could learn how to throw both the spirally slider and the horizontally spinning curve.  Unfortunately, Coach Mason knows less than Dave Duncan, who knows nothing.

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189.  Well, he gets to work with Mike Maddux again...

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Turnbow sets small goals
Dallas Morning News
February 15, 2008

Former All-Star closer Derrick Turnbow would like to be a closer again for the Rangers, but the non-roster invitee isn't looking that far down the road yet.  "Like any closer, once you close you always want to do it," the right-hander said.  "I definitely would like to be a closer again, but I've got to take it one step at a time.  I have to make the team, do whatever role they ask me to do and work my way back to the back end of the bullpen and hopefully somewhere down the road get a chance to be a closer again."

Turnbow suffered a tear in his rotator cuff while with Milwaukee, but it didn't require surgery.  Turnbow said he's been rehabbing since last July and has already thrown bullpen sessions.  He said he's not ready to throw back-to-back days yet but expects to this spring.


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     I wish writers understood that the 'rotator cuff' is four muscles.  'Traditional' baseball pitchers typically injure the Teres Minor muscle in the back of their pitching shoulder, but most doctors misdiagnose injuries to the front of the pitching shoulder as 'rotator cuff' injuries.

     Nevertheless, the solution to both problems is the same.  These baseball pitchers need to learn how to drive their pitching arm down their acromial line and powerfully pronate all releases.

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190.  "If" and "might"--good thing they have a clue on the situation:

A streamlined Harang to start Opening Day if healthy
Dayton Daily News
February 15, 2009

SARASOTA, FL:  Aaron Harang walked through the clubhouse door without having to turn sideways.  He sat in a metal chair and it didn't groan like a creaking door.  Somebody spotted the 6-foot-7 Cincinnati Reds pitcher and said, "Did you leave half of yourself at home?"  He left a lot.  He left 25 pounds and he left memories of a 17-loss 2008 season.  And he was given startlingly good news from the mouth of manager Dusty Baker: "If the season started tomorrow, Aaron Harang is the Opening Day pitcher."

That, of course, is if Harang doesn't meet with the unnatural disaster of a sore arm, shoulder, back or kneecap.   It would be Harang's fourth straight Opening Day start for the Reds, this time April 6 against the New York Mets.  "If he stays healthy, of course," said Baker.  "He has pitched the last three Opening Days and why should I let one down year spoil what he accomplished the previous three?  "And it should help him confidence-wise."

Of his weight loss — from 280 to 255, Harang said, "I lost about 10 pounds right after the season, then decided to keep going — workouts, change of diet, less eating out, smaller portions."  Of his 6-17 season, Harang said, "Not only did I flush away 25 pounds, I flushed the memories of last year right with them right down the toilet as soon as the season was over.  I've not even looked back over my shoulder.

"Losing the weight might keep me more durable," said one of the game's more durable pitchers, a guy who has averaged nearly 216 innings and 33 starts over the last four seasons.  "Maybe this will add 15 to 20 innings," he said.  "Maybe me and Bronson Arroyo can pitch 240 innings. Maybe Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto can pitch 220.  Maybe whoever is the No. 5 starter can pitch 200.  "That would be great for the starting staff and even greater for the bullpen," he said.


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     Have a bad season?  Lose weight and all is forgotten.  Six wins and seventeen losses and he wants to pitch another fifteen or twenty innings.  That would bring his up to seven wins and nineteen losses.

     Maybe he should eliminate those sore arm, shoulder, back or kneecap problems and maybe learn how to throw some pitches that hitters cannot hit.  That 'pitch to the bat' concept does not seem to be working for him.

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191.  Cub staff solid, even without Peavy
Chicago Tribune
February 15, 2009

..."Our starting pitching is in pretty darn good shape, assuming everyone stays healthy," said Cub manager Lou Piniella.  Rich Harden, who spent most of the off-season rehabbing his shoulder in Mesa, was the only one not throwing off a mound Saturday.  The injury-prone right-hander, who posted a 1.77 ERA in 12 starts after being acquired from Oakland in July, said his shoulder feels good and he never seriously considered surgery that would have kept him out the entire 2009 season.  "Last year I was able to get through the season and had some success," Harden said.  "Rehabbing and doing the physical therapy to get stronger is only going to make me feel better.  I'm happy with that."

Piniella asked the media not to "read anything into" Harden playing catch with trainer Mark O'Neal while everyone else threw, a scene that conjured up memories of departed starter Mark Prior and the infamous towel drill.  "Basically, we're just holding him back a little," said Piniella, pointing to the long spring training as a reason for the light workload.  Of course, that's what former manager Dusty Baker said every spring about Prior, who is attempting a comeback up the road with the Padres.  "Heard he looks fantastic," Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley told the San Diego Union-Tribune. Some things never change.


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     Ah, the old Tom House 'towel drill.'  Great memories.  At least, baseball pitchers swept the dirt in the front of the mound.

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192.  John Maine shoulders comeback to Mets' starting rotation
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
February 16, 2009

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL:  The Mets' other starting pitcher returning from surgery is doing fine, too.  Just like Johan Santana, whose comeback from a torn meniscus in his left knee has been on schedule, John Maine is throwing off a mound with no difficulty this spring training.  Maine resumed throwing Dec. 1, two months after an operation to shave a bony growth known as a Bennett lesion in his right shoulder socket.  "I felt nothing, other than tightness," Maine said about his initial tossing in Virginia this winter.  "I felt no pain."

Now the former 15-game winner aims to go deeper into games, after averaging just under 5-2/3 innings per start in 2008.  Maine's 4.17 pitches per batter were the most of any NL pitcher who logged at least 100 innings last year.  His 18.14 pitches per inning were second only to Pitsburgh's Ian Snell (18.29) among major-league pitchers who faced at least 400 batters.

To address that, pitching coach Dan Warthen is encouraging Maine to throw a curveball, which the 27-year-old righthander hasn't used in two years.  Maine's pitch count is high because he throws the ball up in the strike zone and batters tend to foul off his fastballs and sliders.  Warthen believes that by showing a curveball, even if it bounces in the dirt, hitters' timing and eye levels will be disrupted.  Then, the logic goes, when Maine goes back to the fastball at the top of the strike zone, batters are more likely to swing and miss, or take it for strike three.

"I really want to get 200 innings," said Maine, who came within nine innings of that total in '07.  Maine is on track to start Game 4 of the season, April 10 in Miami, after Santana, Mike Pelfrey and Oliver Perez pitch in Cincinnati.  That's not to suggest Maine is the No.4 starter.  Starting Santana on Opening Day naturally results in Perez starting Game 3 to stagger the lefthanders and righthanders.  Maine has a career 9.88 ERA against Cincinnati, while Pelfrey is 6.12 ERA against Florida, so having Pelfrey face the Reds and Maine face the Marlins is sensible.

Maine's last appearance came Aug. 23, though his surgery waited more than five weeks.  Despite pain in the shoulder as he started and stopped his delivery, Maine was allowed by team doctors to attempt a late-season comeback because they felt confident the bony growth wasn't in a place where it would cause a tear.  Maine threw batting practice Sept. 20 in Atlanta, then again before a game against the Cubs at Shea.

"We threw the one Atlanta bullpen (session) and it was very mediocre," Warthen said.  "And then he threw again, a batting practice really, and he threw the ball really well.  So we considered it.  And then he came in the next day and the arm just hanged.  At that point in time we realized that we weren't going to use John Maine."

Jerry Manuel had even floated the idea of Maine closing with the relief situation in disarray.  "By all means," Warthen said about whether that option was considered.  Maine, for his part, said he was ready, although his only notable relief experience came in three appearances in the minors in 2002.  He had his closer music already picked out: "Posse on Broadway" by Sir Mix-a-Lot.  "I think it was a possibility," Maine said.  "Why not? Billy (Wagner) was out.  You never know because we never got to that."


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     And, what does Mr. Maine do in his 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that caused his Bennett lesion.  Is that the dreaded Tony Bennett or Bennett Cert lesion?

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193.  Until he breaks down--again:

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Braves looking forward to healthy Gonzo—finally
Associated Press
February 16, 2009

KISSIMMEE, FL:  Mike Gonzalez feels 22 again.  He’s lost a few pounds.  His left arm is strong and limber.  And there’s not a lick of pain to mess things up.  It’s time to show the Atlanta Braves what they thought they were getting two years ago: one of baseball’s most dominant relievers.  Gonzo is ready to go gonzo.  “Man, it’s been a few years since I felt the way I do now,” he said Monday, having just arrived at his locker for the second workout of spring training.  “I feel crispy.  I lost 10 or 12 pounds.  I feel really good.  I feel agile.”

The Braves are mostly concerned with his left arm, which broke down not long after the Braves acquired him from Pittsburgh in the winter of 2007.  The previous year, Gonzalez converted all 24 of his save chances in a breakout season for the lowly Pirates, with 64 strikeouts in 54 innings.  But his elbow began hurting, so he shut it down for the final month.

Gonzalez got a clean bill of health before the trade to Atlanta, but it quickly became apparent he was still hurting.  He pitched in only 18 games before doctors discovered a torn ligament in his elbow.  He underwent the dreaded Tommy John operation, which generally requires at least a year to come back from.  “It’s one of those things where you go out there and try to grind through,” Gonzalez recalled.  “Obviously, I went as far as I could.  But you can’t compete at 80 mph when you’re used to being a guy who throws 90-plus.”

While Gonzalez returned on schedule in July 2008, he wasn’t quite himself.  There were nagging doubts about his health, the sort that plague every player coming back from that first major injury.  Each time he felt a little ache, he wondered if his elbow had broken down again.  There was even some moments of fear, which simply can’t be a part of a closer’s mindset.

“You don’t really understand your body for the first few months because you’ve never gone through it,” Gonzalez said.  “A couple of time you go out there and throw and say ‘Ohhhhhh, did I hurt that again?’  That’s part of the process of breaking the scar tissue.  But those are things you’ve never done before.”  He did have 14 saves, but his ERA (4.28) was unacceptable for a closer.  While showing flashes of his old dominance with 44 strikeouts, he gave up six homers in 33 2-3 innings.  Compare that with his last season in Pittsburgh, when he surrendered just one homer and pitched far more innings.

Now, there’s no excuses.  Gonzalez, 30, had a full year to recover from the surgery.  He pitched 36 games last season, more than enough to work through any lingering issues.  He had the whole offseason to get in the best shape of his career.  “I always felt the only issue for me was my health,” he said.  “I’m 100 percent now.  I don’t see any reason I’m not going to go out there and dominate.”

That’s what the Braves want to hear.  A rash of injuries to the pitching staff sent them spiraling to their worst season since 1990, far behind the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies in the NL East.  Determined to avoid a repeat, the Braves acquired three durable starters— Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez and Japanese all-star Kenshin Kawakami.  Rafael Soriano and Peter Moylan, both coming off season-ending surgeries, are expected to handle setup duties once they’re fully recovered.  That leaves the ninth inning.

Gonzo Time.

“I don’t think Atlanta has gotten to see the full Gonzo yet,” outfielder Jeff Francoeur said.  “Even though he came back last year and was doing good, he was not the full Gonzo.”  Chipper Jones, the NL’s reigning batting champ, remembers what it was like to stand at the plate against the full Gonzo.  “He’s no fun to face,” Jones said.  “He’s got an outstanding fastball and an outstanding slider.  And he’s got the mentality to be a closer.  He’s a bulldog out there.  He’s a go-getter.  He’s got everything you want in a closer.”

The Braves need to look no farther than New York to recognize the value of a reliable closer.  When Billy Wagner went down, the Mets collapsed in the NL East race.  They not only finished behind Philadelphia—they missed out on a wild-card spot that looked like a lock.  “They’re probably in the playoffs last year if they had a closer,” Francoeur said.  “And they didn’t have one.  Ten or 15 years ago, it wasn’t that big a deal.  Pitchers were going eight or nine innings all the time.  Now, that dominant closer is the way to go.”

The Braves have struggled to find one since John Smoltz—who had 144 saves from 2002-04—went back to starting games instead of finishing them.  Chris Reitsma.  Dan Kolb.  Bob Wickman.  They’ve all come and gone.  “It’s a good feeling for a team to have a guy they know is going to get three outs in the ninth inning and lock it up,” manager Bobby Cox said.  Gonzalez believes he’ll be that guy.  “I feel like I have a brand new arm,” he said.  “I feel like I’m 22 again.  I’m ready to go.”


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     Take the tendon of the Palmaris Longus muscle and tie it through the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm and the coronoid process of the Ulna bone of the pitching forearm and lose ten to twelve pounds and all is good again.

     After all, it took about three years for John Smoltz to rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament a second time.  Start the clock.  Let's see how long it takes Mr. Gonzales to rupture his replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Unless, of course, like I did for Mr. John, maybe someone has taught him how to eliminate 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce."

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194.  Until "Pathomechanics" puts him on the DL:

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Brad Penny’s escape from L.A.
Yahoo! Sports
February 16, 2009

FORT MYERS, FL:  Though he loved Los Angeles and in its place was subject to the softest free-agent market in years, Brad Penny is happy to be free of the Dodgers.  And though they were left to rebuild a pitching staff that could use another power arm or two, the Dodgers are happy to be rid of him, sources close to the team said.  The way Penny saw it, he pitched for them until his aching shoulder would no longer allow it, and then they asked him for more innings, potentially risking more damage.

The way they saw it, Penny hinted he’d pitch down the stretch in return for them picking up his 2009 option, worth $8.75 million, the paycheck more important than the team.  The way it ended, Penny cleared out his locker and went home long before the Dodgers’ season was over.  He signed in early January with the Boston Red Sox, a one-year contract worth $5 million guaranteed.  He’s expected to be their fifth starter for at least as long as it takes John Smoltz to get healthy, and the situation will sort itself from there.

It was an apparently content, seemingly healthy Penny who last week began his 10th big-league season by throwing without pain, he said, for the first time in a year.  He needed to move on, clearly.  “A lot of stuff went on last year,” Penny said.  “There were a few people I didn’t get along with on the coaching staff that don’t respect people.  I mean, me and Joe [Torre] got along fine.  I just feel like nobody had my back there. You’re in the clubhouse and you have players coming up to you saying coaches are saying this to them about you.  And that’s just not a good situation to be in.”

Coaches?  “Your boy Larry Bowa.”  Anyone else?  “You know what, injuries are out of my control,” said Penny, who did take a cortisone injection in September.  “I was hurt.  Obviously they didn’t believe me, because of what they were saying.  But, they’ll learn.  You’ve got to listen to your arm.  It’s not all about giving someone a shot.  I was hurt.  I’m not going to make that up.”

The season before, Penny won 16 games and finished third in the National League Cy Young voting.  In 2008, his record was 6-9 and his ERA was 6.27.  He pitched only nine innings after mid-June.  “I was trying to protect my career,” he said.  “Obviously I don’t throw 88 miles an hour.  If they’re too blind to see that, that’s out of my control.  It’s funny, man, I don’t know.  … They should look at it like I tried to do more than I should have.  From the start.  They knew I was hurt in spring training.  I wouldn’t have been of any help.  Yeah, I could pitch.  I wouldn’t have done any good.”

In Red Sox camp, he’s latched onto trainer Mike Reinold, a shoulder guru.  And he’s waiting for the right moment to glom onto Smoltz, who throws one of the great split-fingered fastballs in the game.  Penny has dabbled with a splitter but has never been completely content with it.  “I’ve had no one to help me out with the split,” he said.  “I came up with it on my own, I threw it on my own.  Nobody ever showed me any way to throw a splitty.”

After that, he said, he’s simply looking forward to being in Boston, being a Red Sox, and not being, well, you know.  “I’m so glad to be out of there,” he said. “I think it was the right thing for me and them.”  See?  Everybody’s happy.


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     Dr. Andrews' pathomechanics training and Smoltz's split-finger fastball.  Mr. Penny is ready.  We will see.

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195.  Reds righthander ready to compete for 5th spot
Associated Press
February 16, 2009

SARASOTA, FL:  Reds pitcher Micah Owings, hampered by a shoulder strain after he was acquired from Arizona last season in the Adam Dunn trade, is hoping his pinch-hitting skills and now pain-free delivery will secure him a roster spot.  Manager Dusty Baker said Monday that Owings has looked sharp in recent throwing sessions.  Owings says he’s healthy and able to throw hard.

The righthander, who was 8-8 with a 4.30 ERA in 2007 but slipped to 6-9 with a 5.93 ERA last year, is a candidate for the fifth spot in Cincinnati’s rotation.  Owings didn’t make any appearances for the Reds last season because of the hurt shoulder.  But as a pinch-hitter, the career .319 hitter doubled in the deciding run for Cincinnati in a September win over the Diamondbacks.


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     I don't believe that a .320 pinch-hitting pitcher with a 6.00 ERA will pitch major league baseball.  I wonder what shoulder problem his has.  He might want to focus on that.

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196.  Lohse at home with Cardinals
Associated Press
February 16, 2009

JUPITER, FL:  A year ago, Kyle Lohse was a pitcher without a team.  Now, he’s a key part of the St. Louis Cardinals’ rotation and enters the season with the security of a new contract.  “I got lucky to come here, get into a good situation and lucky enough to sign that extension at the end of the year,” Lohse said Monday as pitchers and catchers worked out at spring training alongside a few early arriving position players.  The full squad is due Tuesday.

Lohse went 9-12 with a 4.62 ERA with Cincinnati and Philadelphia in 2007 but was a free agent before he agreed to a one-year deal with the Cardinals last March.  The 30-year-old right-hander responded with the best season of his eight-year career, going 15-6 with a 3.78 ERA over a team-best 200 innings.  He credited pitching coach Dave Duncan with his resurgence.

“A big part of it was the pitch selection,” Lohse said.  “Using a lot more two-seam (fastballs), letting the ball run down in the zone, pitching to contact and just the whole game planning.  He helped me see what I wasn’t seeing in the hitters.”  Lohse told his agent, Scott Boras, that he preferred to stay in St. Louis and parlayed the big season into a $41 million, four-year deal with the Cardinals.

“I felt comfortable,” Lohse said.  “I love the chemistry here.  I wanted to make sure I could stay in that comfort zone and work a deal out.  “It turned out timing-wise it was great.  That was kind of secondary.”  The economy got worse as the offseason dragged on, making Lohse’s deal even more noteworthy.  “There were some other multiyear deals that got done,” general manager John Mozeliak said.  “But could it have changed our thinking on how we allocated resources?  It’s possible.  Still, I have no regrets about what we did.”

The contract includes a no-trade provision.  “I think that touched him that he got it,” Mozeliak said.  “His commitment was to want to be here.”  Lohse figures to be the Cardinals’ No. 3 starter behind Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, assuming Carpenter is healthy after pitching just 21 innings over the past two seasons due to elbow problems.


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     Mr. Lohse threw a two-seam fastball that moved down in the strike zone and batters hit the ball on the ground.  If he does not face too many pitching arm side pull hitters and glove arm side spray hitters, then he might be able to continue with that strategy.  Unfortunately, hitters also game plan.

     To throw two-seam fastballs that move down, baseball pitchers have to pronate their releases.  That is good, but what is he going to do when the hitters sit on that pitch?  Also, he better hope that he does not get any pitching arm problems.  Dave Duncan does not have a plan that fixes that.

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197.  Washington says Rangers’ rotation is set—for now
Associated Press
February 16, 2009

SURPRISE, AZ:  Two days into spring training, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington says his rotation is set.  That doesn’t mean the starting pitchers won’t be challenged.  The Rangers deviated from their norm by having pitchers throw to hitters during batting practice on the first day of workouts Sunday.  A day later, Washington indicated he was ready to roll with Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla, followed in no particular order by Scott Feldman, Matt Harrison and Brandon McCarthy.  “The only thing that can unseat it is if one of those guys come up with an injury or something unforeseen happens,” Washington said Monday.  “But that’s where we want to go.”

Facing batters so early couldn’t have come as a surprise because new pitching coach Mike Maddux made it clear over the winter that his pitchers should arrive in shape and ready for a heavier workload.  Last season, the Rangers had the fifth-highest ERA in club history at 5.37.  “Accountability and reliability are two things that take no talent,” said Maddux, the brother of 355-game winner Greg Maddux.  “The game is about God-given ability, but it doesn’t take any talent to hustle or be in shape.”

Team president and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan watched Sunday’s first session.  The plan is for pitchers to throw to hitters every other day.  Millwood, whose hamstring problems last spring set the tone for an injury-filled season in which 14 pitchers spent time on the disabled list, said Maddux’s regimen is similar to what the Braves used when Millwood was in Atlanta.  “Throwing live BP makes you concentrate a little bit more, and you get a little bit more out of it, so that’s a good thing,” said Millwood, who was 9-10 with a 5.07 ERA in 2008, his second straight year with a 5-plus ERA after 10 seasons without one.

Millwood, the likely opening day starter, and Padilla (41-8, 4.74 ERA a year ago) are the known quantities for Washington.  The 23-year-old Harrison posted a 9-3 mark in 15 starts as a rookie after a July callup, although his ERA was a somewhat bloated 5.49.  McCarthy hasn’t stayed healthy in Texas and made just five starts last season.  Feldman was a career reliever before starting 25 times in 28 appearances last year.

“We didn’t know what to expect when you have a guy coming from the bullpen,” Washington said.  “I’m not saying anything’s set in stone, but he’s got a spot to give up if that’s what he wants to do.  Knowing Feldman, he’s not going to give it up.”  Feldman abandoned the sidearm delivery he had used since becoming a reliever in favor of the traditional over-the-top motion he used when he was a starter in college.  “The more difficult thing was trying to get a consistent delivery and arm angle,” Feldman said.  “It’s a lot of fun to know when you’re going to pitch and knowing you’re going to pitch more than one inning or face more than one batter.”


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     Lose some weight, look good in the uniform and give up over five runs per game.  Sounds like a plan to me.

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198.  Calling Sanyatana: "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it":

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THE PLAN IS SIMPLE: FORGET THE PAST AND START NEW
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
February 16, 2009

BRADENTON, FL:  The new pitching coach exhorted the fellas to snarl.  He instructed them to make a face, look violent, even growl.  He reached deep into his expansive resume, one that includes a bunch of staff ERAs in the mid-3.00s and a couple of Cy Young Awards in Boston with Pedro Martinez, and he counseled his new group of young arms:  "Scare the spit out of them."  Or something like that.

And this was while practicing simple throws over to first base to hold runners.  Imagine the new directions Joe Kerrigan can bring to throws home.  This much seems certain:  What the new pitching coach will do for the Pirates, owners of the National League's most-gracious pitching staff in 2007 at five-plus earned runs per game, is provide a novel start.

"I don't want to dwell on last year," this former Red Sox, Expos and Phillies pitching coach said from Pirate City, where yesterday his 28 pitchers endured their second day of Camp Kerrigan.  "I just want to move forward, look forward.  So if you did have a bad year last year, I don't care.  That's the way I think I have to approach it, too.  Not to dwell on any negatives.  Wipe the slate clean, and move forward."

Arguably, Kerrigan was one of the Pirates' most important acquisitions in an offseason in which the team added two major league players to the 40-man roster and as many new tutors, infield/first-base coach Perry Hill and Kerrigan.  And, at the end of yesterday's 110-minute session, manager John Russell concluded of the pitchers:  "So far it looks like they have" embraced Kerrigan's program.

"[Kerrigan] does a lot different," starter Ian Snell said.  "It's so weird because this is stuff that we've never, ever done before here.  He's brought something new.  It's very good.  I mean, it's working."  "His knowledge of the game is something you might have never seen," continued starter Tom Gorzelanny.  "The things that he knows, what he's experienced, just how he goes about with his philosophy, it's pretty cool.  It's fun to work with.  I look forward to being with him more and trying to get every little piece of info out of him, because I think he has too much in there.  It might take me awhile."

Kerrigan, whose Red Sox (with such starters as Mark Portugal, Pat Rapp and Pedro's brother Ramon Martinez) and Expos (with Kirk Reuter and Butch Henry) topped their respective leagues in ERA three of seven years in one 1994-2000 stretch, starts anew here with a simple plan:  pitching for dummies.  Actually, it's pitching at dummies.  There are blue and red silhouettes propped up aside a home plate.  Pitchers each morning work on throwing inside to those stand-ins, whiskers from would-be batters.  Often, Kerrigan goes behind the plate to catch them.  "So if you want to see two dummies standing back there ... ," he joked.

"He's a character, man," Snell said. "He's something different."  He is big on stats, reliever John Grabow said.  And throwing first-pitch strikes.  And throwing strikes, period.  "Pound the strike zone, that's it," Snell picked up.  "That's what he keeps saying [imitating Kerrigan's deeper voice]:  'Pound the strike zone, pound the strike zone, pound the strike zone.'  And when you're pounding the strike zone, he'll just come up behind you, 'Pound the strike zone.'"

General manager Neal Huntington considers it a strategy simplified and strictly tailored:  "He's got a few bullet points with each pitcher that he's going to emphasize and focus, some mechanical, some plan, some approach, some unrelated to anything.  He's got a few ways he's going to reach each guy."

A huge asset, catcher Ryan Doumit termed him.  Most agree that Pirates catchers likewise will benefit from Kerrigan's 12 years as a pitching coach and 18 years as a major league coach since Bill Virdon and the Montreal organization made him their bullpen coach in 1983 alongside Galen Cisco and the late Mel Wright -- or, as Virdon called that, "a pretty good start."  Kerrigan, 55, after being an interim manager in Boston then a New York Yankees coach and advisor, spent last year in the world-champion Phillies' broadcast booth but wasn't finished as a mentor.  So what if he's the Pirates' third pitching coach in three years in their ears?

"I don't worry about that," he said.  "This is the way we're going to do it here, according to a plan, according to a structure, according to a discipline.  That's the way we're going to do it."

NOTES:  Nine pitchers threw for 10 minutes apiece in yesterday's workout, prime among them starters Paul Maholm, Zach Duke and Gorzelanny.  Jeff Karstens, shut down in January minicamp because of minor elbow soreness, also pitched off the mound.  ... Phil Dumatrait made roughly 75 throws from 150 feet as part of his rehab process.


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     Throw strikes.  Everybody yells that at pitchers.  What do they think pitchers are trying to do?  How about teaching pitchers how to throw strikes with pitches that hitter cannot hit?

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199.  Cordero ready to put healthy foot forward
Cincinnati Enquirer
February 16, 2009

Reds notebook

SARASOTA, FL:  Francisco Cordero pitched pretty well for a guy with one healthy leg to stand on last year.  This year, he'll get a chance to show what he can do with two.  Cordero, the Reds' closer, passed his first big test of the spring Sunday.  He threw off the mound for the first time since Sept. 26 surgery to repair a micro fracture and remove a bone spur from his right foot.  "I felt pretty good," he said.  "It's not 100 percent. But it's coming along."

Cordero went 5-4 with a 3.33 ERA and 34 saves last year – his first with the Reds after signing a four-year, $46 million contract – despite the injury.  But it's something he dealt with all year.  In fact, he hasn't been able to run as part of conditioning since midway through the 2007 season.  He set a Milwaukee club record and finished second in the National League with 44 saves in 2007.  So he figured out a way to get around the pain.  "I tried not to think about it when I pitched," he said.  "You put your mind on something else.  But my ankle would lock up sometimes."

Cordero finished the season strong.  He converted his last 14 save opportunities.  Cordero is able to jog lightly.  But he's being kept out of the regular conditioning drills with pitchers.  Running is a key part of conditioning.  Cordero tried to make up for it in the weight room.  "There's a lot you can do," he said.  "You can ride the bike.  I worked a lot on my upper body, my shoulder."


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     Mr. Cordero had a microfracture and bone spur in his right foot.  Unfortunately, I do not know whether Mr. Cordero is a left or right-handed pitcher.  If he is left-handed, then he injured his glove foot.  To reduce the stress on his glove foot, he would need to step forward only as far as he can continue to move the center of mass of his body forward through release.  If he is right-handed, then he needs to point his pitching foot toward home plate and, instead of pushing off the inside of his pitching foot, he needs to push off the toes of his pitching foot.

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200.  Dodgers' Hiroki Kuroda says his shoulder is pain-free: The discomfort pitcher says he felt for the majority of last season was absent in his 30-pitch session Monday.
Los Angeles Times
February 17, 2009

Phoenix, AZ:  Chad Billingsley has already thrown seven bullpen sessions this year.  Jason Schmidt has tossed almost as many.  Monday, Hiroki Kuroda threw his first.  "It went better than I thought it would," he said.  That came as a mild relief for Kuroda, who Manager Joe Torre said was one of the two most likely candidates to start on opening day.  Billingsley is the other.

Waiting until spring training to start throwing off a mound isn't unusual in Japan, where Kuroda spent the first 11 years of his professional career.  What was unusual for the 34-year-old right-hander about this off-season was that the wait wasn't imposed by custom but by tendinitis in his shoulder.  The discomfort Kuroda said he felt for the majority of last season was absent in his 30-pitch session, reinforcing his belief that he was right to decline an invitation to pitch for Japan in the World Baseball Classic and spend most of his off-season rehabilitating his shoulder at Dodger Stadium.

The work in the trainer's room came at the expense of English lessons he had hoped to take this winter.  "My 6-year-old daughter understands a lot more English than I do," he said in Japanese, laughing.  "My English isn't progressing at all."  With Takashi Saito's signing with the Boston Red Sox leaving the Dodgers without any other Japanese-speaking players, Kuroda sat alone most of the time he was in the clubhouse over the first three days of camp.  But he said he's far more comfortable than he was a year ago, when, he said, "I couldn't tell left from right."

He knows his teammates.  His coaches know him.  The abundance of Japanese restaurants in the Dodgers' new spring home of Arizona makes up for the departure of "Chef Saito," who often cooked for him last spring in Vero Beach.

Kuroda, who threw 183 1/3 innings last year, said his goal is to pitch 200 innings this year.  He said he expects to be better prepared to be part of a five-man rotation, something he had trouble dealing with after being part of six-man rotations in Japan for so many years.  Kuroda said he would spend the spring working on developing a changeup, which wasn't part of his repertoire last year.

The former ace of the Hiroshima Carp acknowledged he was displeased with how he pitched last season, when he was 9-10 with a 3.73 earned-run average in the first year of his three-year, $35.3-million contract.  The only parts of the year that he felt positively about, he said, were the two games he won in the playoffs.  "He not only did OK, he dominated," Torre said of Kuroda's 1.46 ERA in the postseason.  Asked whether he felt added pressure this year because of the departures of Derek Lowe and Brad Penny, Kuroda laughed nervously.  "Just by you talking to me about that, I'm feeling pressure," he said.


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     I would have loved to have pitched in Japan.  However, with my bad hearing, I have difficulty understanding what people say in English.  I would have needed sub-titles.  Mr. Kuroda has my best wishes on learning English.  At least, he has a great teacher, his six year old daughter.

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201.  St. Louis Cardinals expect a competition for pitching roles
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
February 17, 2009

JUPITER, FL:  Pitching coach Dave Duncan arrived in Florida almost two weeks before the pitchers' and catchers' official report date, an indication of intense curiosity or a longer than usual to-do list.  If determining ace Chris Carpenter's health ranks as camp's No. 1 pitching priority, identifying a closer stands a close second.  Then there's the matter of choosing among three lefthanded relievers for likely one remaining spot, with Trever Miller projected as lead southpaw.  And, oh, select from least six righthanded arms for the projected five openings should Kyle McClellan not be needed in the rotation.

As for roles, is it Chris Perez or Jason Motte who will close?  Who inherits the fire-stopper role Russ Springer handled so adroitly last season?  Given veteran Ryan Franklin's ultra-consistent two years as set-up man, what's left for Brad Thompson and Josh Kinney?  After working only seven major-league innings the past two seasons because of two elbow surgeries, is Kinney still suited for working consecutive days or multiple innings?

Could the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Jess Todd, become this year's McClellan, leaping from long shot at Class AA Springfield to a berth on the opening-day roster?  "There are plenty of valid questions," Duncan said.  "But you have to remember we've just started.  We haven't played any games.  Seven weeks is a long time.  Every year you ask yourself questions in February, and many times they've answered themselves by April."

Not since the Cardinals' rise to power in 2000 as the NL Central's dominant team has this much intrigue been waiting for the bullpen.  "A lot of things fall into place if we answer the closer question," said Duncan, who last spring added lefthander Ron Villone and then-rookie McClellan to the mix while freezing the five returnees in their 2007 roles.  "If an answer doesn't become apparent, things get more complicated."

Perez and Motte, probably in that order, will be evaluated as Jason Isringhausen's successor.  For the first time since Dave Veres held the role in 2001, there is no obvious endpoint to the bullpen.  "If no one takes the job by the horns, you could go into the season trying to mix and match," Duncan said.  "That's not your preference. But it can be done."

Last season underscored the difficulty.  With Isringhausen laboring and hurt, Duncan and manager Tony La Russa alternately turned to Franklin, Perez and McClellan.  The Cardinals suffered 31 blown saves, most in the league.  It became a ready explanation for why the team fell four games short of the NL wild card.  The Cardinals unsuccessfully pursued free agent Brian Fuentes and were not serious players for Brandon Lyon.  La Russa and Duncan have acknowledged the difficulty of developing a closer at this level.  "I think it would be a good camp if guys left here knowing their roles," said Franklin, the bullpen's returning veteran arm in the absence of Isringhausen and Springer.  "Because of everything that was going on, that wasn't the case for a good bit of last season."

Duncan says he is leaning heavily toward a seven-man alignment featuring five righthanders and two lefties.  Miller, 35, signed a marked-down, one-year deal as a free agent after a team medical exam revealed damage to his shoulder.  Royce Ring, Charlie Manning and non-roster invitee Ian Ostlund likely will vie for the second lefthander spot.  Ring and Manning made a combined 99 appearances last season. Ostlund, 30, never has pitched in the major leagues, yet his 77 strikeouts vs. 17 walks at Class AAA Toledo last season caught Duncan's attention.

The versatile Thompson has 24 starts among his 153 major-league appearances and carries value as a long man as well as a spot starter.  Like McClellan, Thompson conditioned himself as a starter this winter.  McClellan, who struggled under heavy use last season, likely will be considered with Kinney and Motte for Springer's vacated role, which typically required putting down rallies with one or two outs.  "I feel great," said Kinney, who made 72 appearances between Memphis and St. Louis in 2006.  "My arm is not an issue.  I'm confident I can pitch whenever and wherever they need me."

Duncan believes both Perez and Motte can stick.  All the "floating" candidates retain options, adding to the possible combinations.  "I'm ready to do whatever they need me to do," said Perez, who has averaged more than 22 saves in three professional seasons since being made the 42nd overall pick in the 2006 draft.  "I've closed ever since college, but my focus is to pitch well however I'm needed."  There is no greater attribute within a spring training written in pencil.


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     Imagine how much easier his job would be if Mr. Duncan understood how to eliminate pitching injuries.  Then, he would not need the nearly twenty different baseball pitchers that he used last year.

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202.  Former St. Louis Cardinal Jason Isringhausen would like to make comeback with team
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
February 17, 2009

JUPITER, FL:  The door for Jason Isringhausen's return to the Cardinals appears more closed than open, for now.  Pitchers and catchers have reported to all 30 major-league camps, but the franchise's all-time saves leader remains a free agent stuck at 293 career saves.  The Cardinals, despite a minority opinion within the organization that Isringhausen could serve as a positive influence and safety net, are inclined to allow young guns Chris Perez and Jason Motte audition for the vacated closer's role without complication.

"You look at where we're trying to go with this and the impact it would have on this camp and the players involved.  I think the message we want to send these guys is if they're capable of doing it, they're going to get the chance to do it," general manager John Mozeliak said.  Mozeliak recently confirmed speaking to Isringhausen's agent, Dan Horwits, about his client's availability but added that the matter remained a back-burner issue.

Isringhausen for now is working out at his home in Tampa, FL.  The Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers have expressed interest.  Isringhausen also has stayed in touch with Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, who has suggested that bringing Isringhausen into camp might be a good thing.  "I don't mind working with those young kids there" in the Cardinals' reordered bullpen, Isringhausen said.  "I don't mind helping 'em.  I really believe it could work for everybody."

Isringhausen, who saved 217 games in 401 appearances for the Cardinals in seven seasons, endured a 2008 campaign that was as trying mentally as it was physically.  He was 1-5 with 12 saves and a 5.70 ERA in 27 appearances.  He suffered seven blown saves, hurt his pitching hand with a punch delivered to a clubhouse television and twice lost his saver role.  The ordeal wore on him, affected his relationship with manager Tony La Russa and disconcerted some teammates.  Isringhausen's final outing was Aug. 16; a flexor tendon tear near his right elbow required surgery Sept. 12.  "My elbow doesn't hurt at all.  It's good to go," Isringhausen said.

Inconsistency led to fan disapproval.  La Russa later said he felt the burden was made doubly heavy because Isringhausen is a local product, from Brighton, Ill.  La Russa said Monday that several complications existed in bringing Isringhausen into camp.  "There was a determination at one time that a change of venue would be a smart move.  I don't know where it is now," La Russa said.  Isringhausen insists he's fully recovered, physically and mentally.

Just as significant regarding the cost-conscious Cardinals, he is prepared to enter camp without guarantees, financial or otherwise.  "I know last year was a terrible year at a terrible time for my career," Isringhausen said.  "But I don't need money.  I need to get back pitching again and figure out if I can still get major-league hitters out.  To me, that means getting into camp and making somebody's team."  Isringhausen acknowledged that last season created tension that seeped into his relationship with La Russa.  But he insisted there are no lingering issues.

"I don't have a problem with Tony.  I don't know if he had a problem with me," Isringhausen said.  "We had our shouting matches.  That's the way things go.  I talked to him about it.  And he's talked to me.  I have a lot of respect for him.  We had seven pretty good years together."


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     Mr. Isringhausen lives thirty minutes from my Baseball Pitching Research/Training Center.  It is too bad that he does not have the initiative to know who I am and drive here.  He might have learned something that could have helped him.  What does it hurt to watch and listen?

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203.  Francis hopes to return to Rockies’ rotation soon
Associated Press
February 17, 2009

TUCSON, AZ: . Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Jeff Francis is fielding ground balls, showing off moves to first base and practicing his bunting.  Just how much more he can do remains to be seen.  Francis is going through workouts with the Rockies, but doesn’t know when he will be pitching in a game after battling a strained shoulder since last season.  “The best case scenario is that I am pitching off the mound in the next three or four days.  Hopefully I start to build up and by the end of spring I will be able to be in a game,” Francis said Monday.  “If all goes well I might be back with the team by May.”

The Rockies have not given Francis a timetable to decide if surgery is required.  He is not slated to be in the rotation when the regular season begins.  Francis, a vital part of the Rockies’ successful run to the World Series in 2007, spent a stint on the disabled list during the 2008 season before being shut down early in September.  “We are going to keep working with Jeff.  He has been very forthright in how he feels,” manager Clint Hurdle said.  “We are probably going to guard on the side of caution.”

Colorado picked up Jason Marquis in a trade with the Chicago Cubs to help ease the burden of not having Francis in the mix.  Francis, who was 17-9 with a 4.22 ERA in 2007, hopes he will return soon.  “It is tiresome for me to wonder how it is going to be every day,” Francis said.  “Right now it is OK, not the greatest.  We will see.”

Francis was 4-10 with a 5.01 ERA last year with discomfort in his shoulders, but MRI’s have not shown a clear-cut problem.  Bullpen sessions the next few days should tell more.  “I have been told MRI’s for throwing athletes are not 100 percent conclusive,” Francis said.  “You never know there might be something not showing up or just inflammation lingering around.”  But Francis said the pain has eased.  “That has made me a little more optimistic,” he said.


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     Change nothing, field bunts, wait until the pain eases.  Sounds like a formula for more years of unsuccessive pitching.

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204.  Athletics Team Report
Yahoo! Sports
February 17, 2009

Oakland opened camp with a workout the same day that pitchers and catchers reported, something the team hasn’t done in more than a decade.  Manager Bob Geren said that the prompt workout was the result of the extra week of spring training—he wants to make sure his pitchers get adequate rest during the seven weeks built into this spring in order to accommodate the World Baseball Classic.  Geren said that the A’s pitchers would throw four days in a row and then get the fifth day off, something they haven’t done in previous seasons.

Justin Duchscherer hasn’t been named as the Opening Night starter, but he is expected to be if he has a healthy spring.  He is not limited in any way following minor hip surgery last fall, and he is scheduled to be on the same throwing program as the rest of the starters.

Oakland’s main competition on the pitching side is at the fifth starter spot, because Dallas Braden is penciled in for the No. 4 spot after making strides in the second half last year.  Left-handers Gio Gonzalez and Josh Outman, both rookies acquired in trades over the past year and a half (Gonzalez in the Nick Swisher deal and Outman in the Joe Blanton deal), are the top contenders for the fifth spot.


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     "Geren said that the A’s pitchers would throw four days in a row and then get the fifth day off."  Didn't Billy Martin try this and destroy his pitching staff?  'Traditional' baseball pitchers cannot withstand the unnecessary stress under every three day bullpens, four days in a row will eventually cripple them.  However, my guys would refuse to take the day off.

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205.  Minnesota Twins pitcher Boof Bonser faces untimely setback with shoulder issues: Bonser, battling for a Twins roster spot, now has issues with shoulder

Pioneer Press
February 17, 2009

FORT MYERS, FL:  When Boof Bonser first returned to the mound in early January, on his regular winter timetable, "I couldn't throw a ball through glass."  Which is bad for a pitcher whose roster spot is at risk.  Bonser's campaign to remain with the Twins by earning a bullpen spot has been delayed by what the right-hander hopes is a minor case of tendinitis in his pitching shoulder.  Bonser, who had cortisone injected into the sore muscle last Thursday, took part only in fielding drills on training camp's first day and stood on the sidelines as his teammates threw off a mound.

"I've never been hurt.  Never," said Bonser, who spent four months of last season pitching in long relief after surrendering his starting job.  "All of a sudden, for something like this to happen, it's frustrating.  I've always been ready for spring training."

And this one is particularly important. Bonser is out of options and out of a starting job, so if he doesn't secure his long-relief role again — with Philip Humber, R.A. Dickey and a handful of rookies aiming at the same goal — his days in Minnesota are likely over.  Bonser would have to pass through waivers unclaimed by any of the other 29 teams before the Twins could send him to the minor leagues.

The immediate concern is his health, however.  Bonser said a magnetic resonance imaging exam and an X-ray revealed no structural damage, so a cortisone shot was considered the wisest move.  He tried throwing on Sunday, and though the shoulder was improved, the pain remained.  "We're letting the medicine kick in a little more," Bonser said.  "Supposedly (on) Wednesday, I'm going to throw."

Liriano, a year after:  Justin Morneau and Nick Punto arrived in camp Monday, leaving the Twins with fewer than a dozen players still to arrive.  Only one is late, however: left-handed starter Francisco Liriano, whose flight from the Dominican Republic was canceled Sunday.  The Twins expect him in uniform today.  When he arrives, he will experience a different training camp than that of a year ago.  Liriano was making his long-awaited return from ligament-replacement surgery last February, and his arrival was delayed 10 days by a visa issue.  He was handled with extreme care and ultimately wasn't back in the major leagues for good until August.

This year, however, "he's right with the other guys," manager Ron Gardenhire said.  "We've done the caution thing for about a year and a half, two years.  Now he's right with everyone else."  Gardenhire's goal for Liriano is to realize that his injury has healed.  "Get him confident that he can release the ball — that's the biggest thing," Gardenhire said.  "When you come off something like that, you pinch pitches off and pull your arm back, and don't finish them.  He's still got things to do."

Neshek's rehab home:  This is how committed Pat Neshek is to the year of rehabilitation he faces in Southwest Florida after elbow surgery:  He bought a house.  "I figure, I'm going to be working out every day for 14 months or so, I might as well get a place," said Neshek, who is still a month or more away from being able to take the mound.

The Twins like their long-term rehab patients to work out at their year-round complex here, where they have staff members and trainers able to monitor their daily progress.  Knowing that he would be in Florida throughout 2009, Neshek spent the first three months of his post-surgery recovery in Minnesota — yes, the Twin Cities during winter's coldest months — in order to be with family.  Neshek reported with the rest of his teammates this week, and on Monday's first workout, took part in what limited drills he could — consisting almost entirely of covering first base on balls hit to the first basemen.  "It's a start," he joked.


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     If I were training baseball pitchers for an affiliate team, I would want all the baseball pitchers in the organization living in the spring training city of the team.  They would learn that they have a responsibility to use every off-season day to become more skilled, trained and prepared for the next season.

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206.  Spring trend is cutting fastball
San Francisco Chronicle
February 17, 2009

Tyson Ross, like several Athletics pitchers in camp, is throwing a cut fastball, something he mentioned to minor-league instructor Gil Patterson on his own during instructional league last fall.  Ross, a 6-foot-5 right-hander from Cal who was the A's second-round pick last year, likes the addition to his game, and Patterson said, "He throws the ball hard and he's got great movement and a great slider, so going from the slider to the cutter was relatively easy for him.  It's really all him."

Ross missed part of the season at Class-A Kane County with a shoulder impingement, but he was able to finish strong, going to Class-A Stockton for the playoffs.  He gave up one run in 10 innings, and the Ports won the California League title.  The 21-year-old is likely to start this season in Stockton, not far from his East Bay home.  He grew up right near the Coliseum, a die-hard A's fan.


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     If, to throw his cut fastball, Mr. Ross supinated his release, then I would not like the addition to Mr. Patterson's game.

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207.  Dept. of More of the Same:

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Lowry misses second straight mound session
Associated Press
February 17, 2009

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  San Francisco Giants left-hander Noah Lowry missed his second straight mound session of spring training Tuesday after developing tightness in his shoulder during pre-camp throwing sessions.  Lowry, attempting to win a spot in the Giants rotation after missing the entire 2008 season, instead threw off flat ground at the Giants’ complex.  “You take a year off, you are bound to have a little tightness,” said Lowry, who has not pitched since August 2007.

Lowry had surgery for a rare neuromuscular problem in his left forearm, called exertional compartment syndrome, on March 7, 2008, and then had an arthroscopic procedure to remove a bone spur from his left elbow in September, as he was preparing to pitch in the Arizona Rookie League.  Lowry said he pitched off a mound only twice between his two operations last year.

“Of course I want to be out there,” said Lowry, who was 14-8 in 2007 despite missing the final month of that season with tightness in his left forearm.  “I’ve worked hard all offseason, day in and day out, to get to this point.  The main thing is (developing arm) strength, but at the same time I don’t want to go out there and set myself back to a point where I might have to take a couple of days off.”  Lowry enters camp as a candidate for the No. 5 spot in the rotation behind Tim Lincecum, Randy Johnson, Matt Cain and Barry Zito.  Manager Bruce Bochy said Lowry is scheduled to throw off a mound Thursday.


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     Exertional compartment syndrome.  I guess he could not exert that compartment of his pitching foream.  Maybe, if he could have, then he would not have developed the bone spur in his pitching elbow.  Or, he could learn how to pronate his releases.

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208.  It might not have been the same, but the results will be...

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Braves Team Report
Yahoo! Sports
February 17, 2009

Inside Pitch

The Braves’ early throwing program at Turner Field from Jan. 30 to Feb. 6 wasn’t the same this year.  No veterans, lots of kids.  Not as business-like.  No sense, really, of the nearness of the season, despite the tagged and plastic-wrapped boxes on pallets in the middle of the clubhouse.  The altered atmosphere had nothing to do with pitching coach Roger McDowell.  The annual get-the-kinks-out gathering of pitchers used to be called Camp Leo, after former pitching coach Leo Mazzone, who left for Baltimore and an eventual pink slip.  (It doesn’t always pay to be the manager’s childhood pal.)

Manager Bobby Cox and the Braves moved on, immediately hiring McDowell.  The former reliever has been terrific, patiently teaching and breaking down video for veterans and minor-leaguers alike.  This year, however, it was only minor-leaguers or young pitchers who showed up regularly for the sessions in the indoor cages.  Right-hander Tim Hudson came every other day for his turns, lightly tossing as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery; he might be able to return to the rotation in August.  And left-hander Mike Gonzalez made an appearance on the first day, excited about how good he feels, primed to show what he can do now that he’s healthy.

Some starters were in their home countries or taking care of visas—right-handers Kenshin Kawakami and Javier Vazquez.  Right-hander Derek Lowe lives in Florida and figured there was no point in making the trek to Atlanta to do what he was doing already.  That’s no big deal; former Braves right-hander Greg Maddux traditionally got ready for the season on his own at home in Las Vegas.

The difference in the atmosphere at the ballpark this year was the absence of Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.  They were the ones who doggedly led the way—Smoltz with his competitiveness, Glavine with his determination.  As Maddux said in his retirement press conference, it was Glavine who showed him that no matter how you feel, you take the ball when it’s your turn.  You go out there and pitch.

Some of the pitchers who showed up at the park this year were on the team last season, because the expected starters were injured.  None is certain to make the team out of spring training.  They most likely will pitch in Atlanta this season only if another epidemic of Tommy John surgery breaks out.

That group includes left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes, right-hander James Parr and right-hander Charlie Morton.  Potential, yes.  There was potential and promise in the clubhouse.  But there used to be professionals destined for the Hall of Fame.  They weren’t there.


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     I wonder what the frames per second of the video that Mr. McDowell broke down is.  If it is only thirty frames per second, then he wasted everybody's time.  Of course, even if it were the five hundred frames per second that I use, if you don't know what you are looking at, then it won't make any difference.

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209.  Twins Team Report
Yahoo! Sports
February 17, 2009

Inside Pitch

The Twins’ pitching staff will report intact for the first workouts of the spring on Feb. 16, but it won’t remain that way for long.  A quintet of pitchers, including a major portion of the bullpen, will depart for World Baseball Classic camps.  Francisco Liriano will be in the rotation for the Dominican Republic, while Jesse Crain will work out of the bullpen for Canada. Jose Mijares is on Venezuela’s roster, Luis Ayala will pitch for Mexico, and Joe Nathan will be in the Team USA ‘pen.

It’s a bit of a risk, considering how quickly pitchers will be expected to compete, and one Twin in particular understands the gamble that even the WBC’s pitch limits can’t eliminate.  Ayala, who will sign his contract and formally become a member of the Twins on the first day of camp, was a major casualty of the 2006 WBC.

While pitching for Mexico, Ayala tore a ligament in his elbow, had to undergo Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery, and missed the entire season.  His ERA still hasn’t recovered; both of his seasons since returning have been less successful than the three that preceded the injury.  Still, the Twins accept the risk as part of the tournament, an event the franchise supports.

“You hope nothing happens to them,” general manager Bill Smith said, “but we absolutely believe players should be allowed to represent their country.  We wouldn’t deprive our players of that.”  That doesn’t mean they aren’t trying to limit the risk, however.  At the Twins’ request, Liriano pitched only 11 innings during the Dominican winter league, taking the mound for just four short starts in order to avoid overworking himself with the WBC—and a long season—ahead.


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     If I injury-proofed them, then they could pitch all year around and only get more skilled, stronger and better prepared.  With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, it is only a matter of time before they break down.

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210.  Rays block Kazmir from WBC
Associated Press
February 17, 2009

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL:  Scott Kazmir will not pitch for the United States in next month’s World Baseball Classic because the Tampa Bay Rays were concerned about the risk of injury to the All-Star left-hander.  The AL champions petitioned to have Kazmir removed from Team USA because the 25-year-old missed the opening month of last season with an elbow strain suffered during spring training and then pitched through October because of the playoffs and World Series.  “With health issues that he had last year, coupled with the fact he played an extra month, we felt the prudent thing to do would be to push him back a little bit in spring, as we’re doing with some of our other pitchers as well,” Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Tuesday night.

“We felt like the difference between pitching competitively in early March with USA on your chest as opposed to some time in the second week of March in a Grapefruit League game differed greatly in terms of what it takes to get to that point, as well as stress on the arm.”  Kazmir, a two-time All-Star, was 12-8 with a 3.49 ERA in 2008.  Even though he just turned 25 last month, he’s already Tampa Bay’s career leader in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts and ERA.

Friedman called the Team USA invitation “very well-deserved,” but stressed the Rays felt Kazmir’s participation “had a chance to be problematic over the span of a six-month season, and hopefully an extra month beyond that.”  Last May, the left-hander signed a three-year contract extension that guarantees him $28.5 million.  The deal through 2011 includes a club option for 2012 and could be worth up to $39.5 million.  “I kept him abreast of the situation along the way.  I talked to him again after we got word.  … Looking at it as a positive for the organization, it gives him a chance to get ready a little slower and be around his teammates all of spring training,” Friedman said.  “That’s what we’re focusing on.”


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     It is the economics, stupid.  He will break down, but, at least, we will not waste our innings pitching for Team USA.

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211.  Contreras ready to step on it
Chicago Tribune
February 17, 2009

Jose Contreras is recovering almost too quickly from a torn left Achilles' tendon.  White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he had spoken with Contreras on Monday to make sure the right-hander wouldn't suffer any setbacks as he comes back from the season-ending injury sustained last August.  "I don't want to send him backward in his workouts," Guillen said.

Contreras has participated in pitchers ' fielding drills and has thrown long toss with no discomfort.  Contreras, listed at 255 pounds last year, also took stress off his legs by losing 30 pounds in the off-season thanks to a better diet and a workout program designed by a new personal trainer in the Tampa area.  He could contend for a spot in the rotation well before the target date of the second half of the season.  "The arm is not the issue," Contreras said, "It's the foot."

Thin explanation:  Pitcher Bartolo Colon declined a request to talk to reporters.  Guillen defended his projected No. 4 starter when asked whether he thought Colon, listed at 5 feet 11 inches and 245 pounds, was out of shape.  "Colon was 350 pounds when he won the Cy Young Award [in 2005]," Guillen quipped.  "He's not a model.  When you're a model, you have to be careful.  He's not a jockey.  ... [Colon] surprised me. He's in better shape than what I thought."  Colon is on a modified program because he had surgery to remove bone chips in his right elbow last fall.


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     One guy loses thirty pounds and everybody is happy.  The other guy does not and the manager defends him.  Still, it is the pitching arm that must be properly trained.

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212.  Welcome to another edition of, "If they had only listened...":

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Braves suing Hampton’s insurance company
By STAFF REPORTS
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Braves have filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the Hartford Life Insurance Company seeking $4.82 million for the time Mike Hampton was disabled last season.  The Braves, who also seek interest on the damages, filed the suit last week in United States District Court in Atlanta.  According to court documents, Hartford Life issued a policy to the Colorado Rockies in December, 2000, after Hampton signed with the team as a free agent.  The policy was assigned to the Braves when they acquired Hampton in November, 2002.

The insurance policy had an expiration date of Oct. 1, 2005.  However, the suit contends there was a provision in the policy that if remain in effect if Hampton was “totally disabled” before the expiration date.  Hampton missed the entire 2006 and 2007 seasons after two elbow surgeries.  The suit contends the team received payments under the policy.

According to the court documents, Hartford Life contends that Hampton was not “totally disabled” before or during the 2008 season.  Hampton injured his pectoral muscle in the bullpen while warming up for what was to be his for first start of the 2008 season on April 3.  Hampton missed the next 117 days, finally coming off the disabled list on July 26, 2008 and making his first start in 3 1/2 years.

Hampton, who signed with the Houston Astros during the offseason, missed a day of spring training with an irregular heartbeat.


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     It is difficult to understand how any insurance company would injure major league pitchers from injury and never require that these baseball pitchers receive proper training.  Maybe, if I talked with insurance companies, then we could eliminate pitching injuries.

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213.  With apologies to the Beach Boy, "If we wish and hope and pray, it might come true...":

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Nats’ Hill takes 1st step back on latest comeback
Associated Press
February 18, 2009

VIERA, FL:  (AP)—Shawn Hill knows exactly what everyone is thinking:  Will this guy ever be healthy?  The Washington Nationals right-hander knows he never has made more than 16 starts or thrown as many as 100 innings in a season.  He also knows all too well — a glance down at the thick scar on his right arm provides one quick reminder— that he’s had his share of operations.  So it’s no secret that as much as the Nationals prize Hill’s ability, they also worry about whether he ever can be counted on with regularity.  And, Hill acknowledges, there have been times he’s shared those concerns.

“It has gotten in my mind before, and that’s usually been right before or right after a surgery, where you’re at the low point, thinking, ‘What now?”’ Hill said Tuesday, a thick wrap encasing his right elbow after his first official bullpen session of spring training.  “But right now,” he continued, “there’s no reason to think that way, no reason to dwell on it.”  He felt good Tuesday, staying on the mound for the full 10-minute throwing session, longer than any of the other pitchers in his group.  “Almost didn’t want to stop,” Hill said.

Nationals catcher Jesus Flores caught the session and noted Hill was hitting corners.  Given Hill’s history—which includes missing all of 2005 after reconstructive elbow surgery; right forearm nerve and left shoulder issues; bone spurs removed from his elbow in September—perhaps the most promising words Tuesday came from pitching coach Randy St. Claire.  “He looked normal,” St. Claire said.  Of course, he soon added:  “We just have to keep our fingers crossed.”

Manager Manny Acta was keeping an eye on Hill also, as were other members of the team’s staff.  While Hill figures he should have an idea of how things are going after two starts in exhibition games, Acta wants to withold judgment until the final two weeks of the spring.  Even though Hill went 1-5 with a 5.83 in 12 starts in 2008, making him 7-15 with a 4.93 ERA in the majors, the Nationals are high on him.  Primarily because of his sinker, which Acta says ranks “just a tad below Brandon Webb.  It’s that good.  It’s legit.”  “Everybody knows that sinker’s coming,” Acta said, “and they still can’t do too much damage to it.”

Hill said he felt no pain Tuesday—he hasn’t been feeling pain since he began getting ready for spring training, in fact, which is a nice change.  A year ago, he could not lift weights, because it hurt when he released his grip.  Being unable to maintain strength added to his difficulties.  “This is much better than I felt last year, at any point in time,” Hill said.  “I’m not taking any painkillers or anything like that.”

Now, though, the only thing he’s dealing with is it takes a little longer than it used to for him to loosen up his arm.  To try to improve that, Hill has been having massages a few times a week, with about 30-40 minutes spent on his forearm, biceps and triceps.  Hardly a burden to bear, given all he’s been through while trying to show he can be a front-line starter in the majors.  “I have the question marks hanging over my head, which is fair.  I’m fully aware of that.  If I’m healthy, I think that I’ve proven in the past—over short spurts, granted—what I’m capable of,” Hill said.

“There’s that dark cloud hanging over my head until I get rid of it,” he continued.  “And the only way to do that is to go, be healthy and throw however many innings it’s going to take for people to go, OK, no more question marks— at least for now.”


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     Baseball pitchers who throw fastballs that move down usually pronate their releases and, thereby, do not suffer injuries.  Clearly, reconstructive elbow surgery, right forearm nerve and left shoulder issue and bone spurs removed from his elbow show that he is doing something else really wrong.  Bone spurs indicate slamming the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together.

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214.  New reliever aiming to remain healthy, unlike last two years: Veteran Gordon, at 41, has worked seldom since '06
Arizona Daily Star
February 18, 2009

For two consecutive years, since he pitched in the 2006 All-Star Game, Tom Gordon felt pain in his right elbow.  He underwent ulnar nerve decompression and bone spur removal last year, ending his 2008 season in July.  Now feeling good at age 41, Gordon is focused on returning to form at Arizona Diamondbacks spring training.  He has been playing catch and might throw from a mound the first week of March, he said.  "I think I'm ahead of schedule," he said.

Gordon, who has started and pitched in setup and closer roles, will add an experienced arm to the bullpen.  "First, we have to get him healthy and pitching in games and make sure we have him for a full season," manager Bob Melvin said.  "He gives you a lot of flexibility."

After pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies for the last three seasons, Gordon signed a one-year deal with Arizona on Feb. 6. He last pitched in a game July 5, finishing the season at 5-4 with a 5.16 ERA.  "I've always enjoyed the thrill of being at the back end (of the bullpen), but the last couple years the inconsistencies as well as being unhealthy really took its toll on me," he said.  "I need to get back to that feel.  Once I'm able to do that I want to be consistent every day and see what I can do to help the team win."


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     Mr. Gordon 'loops' his pitching forearm.  My Second Base Pick-off drill can fix that.

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215.  A role model on how to blow out your elbow?:

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D-backs hurler shows promise
Associated Press
February 18, 2009

TUCSON, AZ:  Hard-throwing Daniel Schlereth knows only one speed.  "Our trainer, Ken Crenshaw, he told me to tone it down a little bit," the 22-year-old Schlereth said Tuesday during the third day of the Arizona Diamondbacks' spring training drills.  "These guys don't really know how I've thrown my whole life."  Schlereth, the Diamondbacks' first-round draft pick (26th overall) in the 2008 first-year player draft, was a late-inning relief pitcher in college at the University of Arizona, which is five minutes down the road from the Diamondbacks' spring training facility.  He is the son of former NFL standout offensive lineman Mark Schlereth.

Diamondbacks manager Bob Melvin said he's excited to watch more of Daniel Schlereth as camp moves forward, calling him a likely "quick mover" in the organization.  Making the big league roster seems to only be a matter of time for Schlereth, but for the time being, the organization's primary concern is patience and health.  "You don't want to injure yourself or really set yourself back before you start getting in games because that's where you really start competing for jobs and that's when we start evaluating you," Melvin said.

Now sharing a clubhouse with 41-year-old Tom Gordon, signed in the offseason to add depth to the Diamondbacks' bullpen, Schlereth doesn't have to look far for a role model in his pursuit of longevity.  Gordon smiled when hearing about the all-out approach Schlereth has been showing in his first few days of camp.  "That's how young guys are," Gordon said.  "Even my first couple of opportunities, I was the same way.  I think the high-energy, that's a wonderful thing to have, but when it's gone, it's gone.  So let him enjoy these opportunities, every day of it."

Schlereth said his hopes for the season are high, but he wants to remain realistic about how his road to the Major League roster will progress.  "I'd like to think I'd be in the big leagues right when we break out of camp," he said.  "But that's probably not going to happen so my focus every day is to keep getting better and keep doing whatever is asked of me so I'm ready to move whenever they feel its time.  That's what my goal is right now -- doing whatever I can to help this team."


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     Best wishes, young man.  I hope that your baseball pitching motion holds up.

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216.  If this is true, then Penny would never make it with your program:

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Larry Bowa responds to Brad Penny's criticism
Los Angeles Times
February 18, 2009

Phoenix, AZ:  After learning that Brad Penny singled him out as a source of his disenchantment in his final season with the Dodgers last year, third base coach Larry Bowa fired back by describing the former All-Star pitcher as a lazy underachiever whom the club was right to part with.  Penny, who signed with the Boston Red Sox in the off-season, said in an interview with Yahoo Sports that he was upset that Dodgers management questioned whether he was really hurt last season, and that Bowa talked behind his back.

"There were a few people I didn't get along with on the coaching staff that don't respect people," Penny said.  "I mean, me and [Manager] Joe [Torre] got along fine.  I just feel like nobody had my back there.  You're in the clubhouse and you have players coming up to you saying coaches are saying this to them about you."

Said Bowa:  "Is this the same Penny that never went to meetings, that came late, left early, was never in shape, always had an excuse when things didn't go right, didn't help the young kids at all?  Coaches get on players when they're lazy and don't work.  I think he should worry about getting hitters out in the American League East and not worry about me."

Penny's problems with Dodgers management started last spring when his request for a contract extension was denied.  Limited to 17 starts last season by shoulder problems, Penny went 6-9 with a 6.27 earned-run average, then said he pitched hurt because he at least wanted the team to pick up his $9.25-million option for 2009.  But club officials questioned the severity of the injury and cut ties with him.

Bowa said the Dodgers made the right call:  "If Brad Penny wants to work and dedicate himself, he could probably be as good as he wants to be.  He didn't do it with us."


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     Nobody can tell which is the fool in an argument.

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217.  M’s Silva loses 35 pounds after disappointing 2008
Associated Press
February 18, 2009

PEORIA, AZ:  Carlos Silva’s new manager wanted to give his $48 million pitcher a hug.  Not because he missed him over the winter—Don Wakamatsu wasn’t even in Seattle with the burly right-hander last season.  “I hugged him just to see if I could put my arms around him,” Wakamatsu said, laughing.  Last year it may have taken two men with the wingspans of hawks to do that.  Silva devoured large, late dinners while reaching 285 pounds.  Everything else plummeted.

He went 4-15 with a career-worst 6.46 ERA in his first season with the Mariners.  He was 1-15 in his final 23 starts.  His usually jolly nature turned jaded.  He complained teammates weren’t pulling their own, um, weight.  His own added pounds gave him problems with his back.  “I don’t feel I did anything for this team,” he said.

Now, after painful yoga training and a nutritionist fine tuning his diet — cutting meals from two steaks to one; prohibiting meals after 7 p.m.; encouraging him to go to sleep by 9:30 instead of midnight—Silva has lost 35 pounds.  “A lot of changes. A whole different life.  It feels really good,” Silva said proudly.

He was sitting at his locker after clowning with and then beating ace Felix Hernandez, a fellow, smaller Venezuelan, in two 300-yard shuttle conditioning runs.  “I think you will start to see the difference,” he said.

The Mariners already do.

“It looks like someone cut him in half,” Wakamatsu said, calling Silva’s appearance his best surprise in his first few days as a major league manager.  Silva knew he had disappointed the Mariners, their miserable fans and himself last season.  One of the 2008 offseason’s bigger free-agent pitcher signings became one of many to blame for Seattle becoming the first team with a $100 million payroll to lose 100 games.  “The expectations were so high,” he said in his accented English.  “For me, I didn’t show it to my teammates, to the fans.

“This year, it’s time.  … I have to.  But the thing I can tell you know is,” he said, pointing a finger for emphasis, “I expect to do well.”  Silva called this winter the most intense he’s had since he broke into the majors with Philadelphia seven years and 59 wins ago.  He set a goal in October to be at 250 pounds when he arrived at spring training for the second season of his four-year deal with Seattle.  In the first week of this “new life,” he lost five pounds.  “This is going to be easy, no problem,” Silva told himself.

The next week he lost only two pounds.  Then none.  The week after that, he gained back two pounds.  He was discouraged.  Rafael Colon, one of the Mariners’ Spanish-speaking mental-skills coaches, encouraged him to keep working, that change would not come overnight.  Then Silva’s wife, Maria, who had just had their second child in September, stepped in.  She cooked for him, trimmed fat from all meats.  She made sure he was in bed by 9:30 for his 7 a.m. workouts, because, as his nutritionist emphasized, “You burn a lot of fat when you sleep.”

Maria also joined her husband for yoga workouts three times per week.  The sessions were like in-house torture to the inflexible Silva.  “I’m telling you, man, that’s the worst thing I ever did in my life,” he said, not laughing.  “I was so stiff.  My God, it was so painful.  “Because I was pretty strong, I thought, ‘Yoga, big deal.  I can do that.’  I couldn’t hold the positions.  My body wouldn’t twist.  After the first 10 minutes I told my wife, ‘I can’t do this any more!”’

The 6-foot-4 Silva was so fearful of the yoga, he studied the security cameras that were trained on his driveway in nervous anticipation just before his instructor was due to arrive at his house.  “As soon as I would see her on the cameras, my body would be in pain,” Silva said.  Yet he kept at it.  Now, no one will ever mistake him for Richard Simmons, but at least no one will mistake him for the Michelin Man anymore.

Not his wife, his yoga instructor, his nutritionist—nor another young woman who made Silva shine this winter: daughter Gabriella, now five months old.  “She’s so great.  Every time she looks at me, she smiles,” Silva said, gushing and spreading his fingers from his slimmed-down face to imitate his daughter’s radiance.  “Oh, it’s so great.”


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     Rather than learn more pitching skills and become injury-proofed, lose weight.

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218.  World Series titles for Boston since Henry took over in 2002: 2
World Series titles for the Yankees since 2002: 0
Yeah, biggest payroll is the main determinant for a championship:

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Boston owner John Henry renews salary cap call
Associated Press
February 18, 2009

FORT MYERS, FL:  Boston Red Sox owner John Henry renewed his call for a salary cap on Wednesday after an offseason in which the New York Yankees added three free agents for $423.5 million.  Or, as Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said, “the Yankees have spent like the U.S. Congress.”

And while Boston’s chief rival opens a new $1.5 billion Yankee Stadium on April 3, Lucchino said Fenway Park, built in 1912, should be around for another 50 years.  More immediately, the Red Sox owners are troubled by the wide disparity in team payrolls that they say limits competitive balance in baseball—even though Boston had the second-highest payroll at the end of last season.  A salary cap, Lucchino said, is “as inevitable as tomorrow.”

The Yankees ownership and even major league players might agree to a salary cap, Henry said.  “It depends on the overall picture,” he said.  “How does that relate to revenue sharing?  We’ve gone as far as we can go with revenue sharing at this point.  “I think we all agree that competitive balance is an issue and if there was a way to put together an enlightened form of a salary cap, I think everybody among the ownership parties would support it.  I think it’s quite possible to put together a partnership between the players and owners going forward.  I think it’s something that should be at least explored.”

Henry, Lucchino and Red Sox chairman and part-owner Tom Werner held their annual session with reporters Wednesday, the first official workout day for the entire squad.  Henry’s call came exactly five years after he first proposed a salary cap in the wake of the Yankees’ trade for Alex Rodriguez after the Red Sox failed in their attempt to obtain him from the Texas Rangers.  At that time, Henry advocated a cap “to deal with a team that has gone so insanely far beyond the resources of all the other teams.”

That drew this response from Yankees owner George Steinbrenner:  “We understand that John Henry must be embarrassed, frustrated and disappointed by his failure in this transaction” involving Rodriguez.  Last season the Yankees finished, as usual, with the highest payroll in baseball, $222.5 million.  The Red Sox were second at $147.1 million.  But that’s a gap of $75 million.

Then, in the offseason, the Yankees signed first baseman Mark Teixeira and pitchers CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett for $423.5 million while the Red Sox handed out mostly one-year deals to free agents.  Lucchino acknowledged that a salary cap could hurt the Red Sox but the Yankees “would be impacted even more.”  Big payrolls don’t always produce championships.

Last year, New York missed the postseason for the first time in 14 years, and Boston lost the AL championship series to Tampa Bay, whose $51 million payroll was the third-lowest.  Philadelphia won the World Series with a payroll that ranked 10th.  Still, a salary cap “has proven to be an effective method in other leagues” of providing long-term competitive balance, Lucchino said.

Convincing the players union to adopt one when the current collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2011 season is a major obstacle.  “You have to make an intelligent, persuasive case for it,” Lucchino said, “but I do look around and I see a hockey league, a basketball league and a football league all with forms of a salary cap or a payroll system.

“And I think that it’s as inevitable as tomorrow that there will be some kind of system like that in baseball. It’s just not as imminent as tomorrow.”  Lucchino preferred the phrase “payroll zone” to “salary cap” and said all teams would have to be within that zone.  “That’s being addressed at the highest levels by baseball and its labor negotiators,” he said.

Henry is beginning his eighth season as principal owner of the Red Sox.  Each year the team has upgraded Fenway Park and plans to complete that process in 2010.  Once repairs to the seating area and waterproofing of concrete are complete, “Fenway Park will be stable and solid and, with normal maintenance, will be around for another 50 years,” Lucchino said.  The stadium, tucked into a city neighborhood and known for its Green Monster in left field, may be the biggest reason the Red Sox have sold out their last 468 regular-season home games, a major league record, Henry said.

But with the economic downturn, it will be harder to maintain that.  “It’s going to be tested this year, no doubt about it,” Henry said.  “I think we have nine games in April and May that are not sold out yet.”  He also said some corporate sponsors left the Red Sox but have been replaced.  Overall, the Red Sox, with their passionate fan base, are holding up well.  “Certainly, nobody’s immune to what’s going on in the economy,” Werner said, “but we’ve been very fortunate.  Our fans have been just very supportive of our efforts this offseason.  I think our season ticket rate is as robust as we could ever ask it to be.”

The owners were less eager to discuss Rodriguez’s admission that he used banned substances from 2001 to 2003, but Lucchino did say it’s “unfortunate” that the confidentiality that was part of the testing was violated.  “I feel more comfortable talking about the Boston Red Sox than talking about the New York Yankees,” Lucchino said before being interrupted.  “When did that change?” Henry said with a grin.

Lucchino once sniped that the Yankees were the “Evil Empire” after they signed Cuban right-hander Jose Contreras in December 2002 for $32 million over four years.  Now they’ve added three high-priced free agents during a recession.  “An old adage says (there’s) three things money can’t buy—love, happiness and the American League pennant,” Lucchino said.  “We’re going to be testing that adage again this year.”


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     Hire coaches who know how to make quality baseball players and you would not have to buy them.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, March 01, 2009, I posted the following questions and answers.

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219.  Francis appears closer to surgery
The Denver Post
February 19, 2009

Rockies pitcher Jeff Francis is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Thursday, but that won't happen until his shoulder is re-evaluated in the morning.  There were growing indications Wednesday afternoon that Francis was leaning strongly toward having potential season-ending surgery on his shoulder.  Francis talked one-on-one with manager Clint Hurdle about his situation Wednesday afternoon.

Francis is believed to have a torn labrum flap creating an impingement.  Francis feels pain when he throws, gets better as he loosens up, but the ache remains.  Francis had originally set tomorrow as a deadline to decide, then backed off that in recent days, wanting to see how he did against hitters.  Admittedly, this decision has kept him up at night as he's tried to determine if it's worth continuing to work through the pain.

The left-hander went 4-10 last season and landed on the disabled list because of the same shoulder problem.


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     Labrum surgery is very difficult from which to return.  Before he has that surgery, he should change how he applies force to his pitches.  When, instead of having Labrum surgery, baseball pitchers with Labrum tears learn how to drive down their acromial line, they pitch without discomfort.

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220.  Isn't EVERY pitcher ahead the hitters at this time of year?:

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Lincecum picks up where he left off; Giants' reigning Cy Young winner dazzles in first live session
MLB.com
February 19, 2009

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  Tim Lincecum usually freezes hitters with his baffling array of pitches. Thursday, Lincecum kept batters stunned while barely trying.  None of the five teammates Lincecum faced in the spring's first round of "live" batting practice swung at any of his approximately 30 pitches.  Randy Winn, Edgar Renteria, Fred Lewis, Eli Whiteside and Rich Aurilia were "tracking" some of Lincecum's pitches -- that is, familiarizing themselves with following the ball out of the hurler's hand, a common Spring Training practice.

But it also was clear that the hitters deemed themselves overmatched by many of Lincecum's deliveries, particularly at this early stage.  "Five or six pitches through, I'm like, are they going to swing?" Lincecum said.  "I wanted to know if I should be ready for a comebacker."

The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner said that he threw all of his pitches except his slider.  Lincecum mentioned that he concentrated on his curveball instead because he has struggled to control it lately.  Once Lincecum departed, Lewis continued his lively hitting by belting a Barry Zito pitch into the right-field pavilion.  "Rack 'em," Zito called.

Away from the practice fields, Noah Lowry continued his recovery from last year's pair of arm surgeries by throwing comfortably off a bullpen mound.  "It's getting better and better," said Lowry, who missed last season and experienced discomfort behind his throwing shoulder shortly after camp opened.  If Lowry feels fine on Friday, he'll likely throw another bullpen session on Saturday or Sunday.  "I don't think he's far behind," manager Bruce Bochy said.  "He had good stuff and good velocity."


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     The batters are looking ahead to the day that they have to face Mr. Lincecum.  They want to see what he has and not show what they can do.  When I was with the Montreal Expos, Rusty Staub asked me to throw batting practice to him and did the same thing.

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221.  Angels' Jered Weaver lags behind in spring schedule
Los Angeles Times
February 20, 2009

Tempe, AZ:  Jered Weaver has not been absent during this first week of spring training, but he has been marked, by his own admission, as "tardy," lagging behind fellow campers in his throwing program.  While many Angels are pitching off the mound, Weaver is long-tossing at 180 feet, the arm issues that forced him to open the 2007 season on the disabled list having resurfaced this winter.  "It's the same stuff, different year, you know?"  Weaver said Thursday.  "It kind of tightens up on me in the off-season, so I know the routine now.  I take it slow in the beginning, stretch my arm out, get some strength back.  I feel good.  It's getting better every day."

Manager Mike Scioscia tried to put some distance between Weaver's current problems and those in 2007, when Weaver got off to a very slow start in spring training and was criticized by some in the organization for not working hard enough over the winter.  Weaver, diagnosed with biceps tendinitis and a tired shoulder, opened 2007 on the disabled list, but was activated in mid-April and went 13-7 with a 3.91 earned-run average in 28 starts.

"That was a youngster throwing more innings than he ever had in his life [in 2006] trying to find the balance between getting your rest and getting back up for the next season," Scioscia said.  "He's learned from that.  Some pitchers need a little more time to build up to what they need, and Weaver is one of those."  Asked if there were similarities between this spring and 2007, Weaver said, "It's the same kind of feeling, nothing we haven't dealt with before."

The difference is, in 2007, the Angels did not know Weaver's arm was tight until camp opened.  This winter, the problem flared up in early January, and Weaver immediately notified the Angels, who had him come to the stadium for the next five weeks or so for treatment and strengthening exercises.

Weaver, who went 11-10 with a 4.33 ERA in 30 starts last season, didn't pitch in any exhibition games in 2007.  This spring, he is scheduled to begin throwing off a mound in a week to 10 days.  "We didn't get to it as quickly [in 2007] as we did this time," Weaver said.  "But I'll be on pace to start the season.  I definitely have enough time to get going.  I'm on schedule . . . just a little tardy."


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     It is easier to maintain a level of fitness than it is to achieve a higher level of fitness.  This means that, at the end of the previous season, when baseball pitchers should be at their highest level of fitness and skill, to maintain that level of fitness and skill, they should train every day of the off-season.

     Unfortunately, because, with every pitch that they throw, the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion unnecessarily stresses their pitching arm, they probably are better off not training.  However, rest is atropy.  Therefore, when spring training arrives, they have to again try to achieve the level of fitness and skill that they had at the end of the preceeding season.

     With my baseball pitching motion, I trained every day of the year.  Therefore, I was able to not only maintain my level of fitness and skill, I could work on achieving new levels of skills.  That is why my strike percentages with all my pitches continued to improve.

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222.  Rehab road slow for Capuano; One-time ace hopes to be back in Majors by mid-May
MLB.com
February 20, 2009

PHOENIX, AZ:  A bleary-eyed Chris Capuano slumps on a chair in the Brewers' Spring Training clubhouse after another long day of work.  He deserves the rest.  Capuano, attempting a comeback from his second career Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, has been arriving at Maryvale Baseball Park each day at 6 a.m. MT for his rehab, which these days includes bullpen sessions and therapy at the team's Minor League complex.  When the rest of team takes the field for stretching at 9:30, Capuano's workday is essentially already done.

Still, he sticks around to stretch with the team and then goes through the daily rounds of fielding practice and instruction with the other pitchers.  "I'm beat right now," he said as players filed in Friday afternoon.  Capuano is aiming to be back to game shape by mid-May, a reasonable target considering he underwent left elbow surgery on May 15 at the Birmingham, AL, offices of Dr. James Andrews.  Capuano underwent his first such procedure on May 17, 2002, when he was property of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Brewers nontendered Capuano, a 2006 All-Star, over the winter, but then re-signed him to a Minor League contract that will pay $500,000 if he's in the Majors with more than $3 million available in incentives.  Those incentives include a $150,000 bump if he's named National League comeback player of the year.

First things first.  Capuano is up to about 35 pitches in his bullpen sessions and has been working in Minor League camp so he can continue to collaborate with Kenny Patterson, the team's well-respected physical therapist.  He's hoping to throw live batting practice in about three weeks, then pitch an inning or two in a big league game near the end of the team's Cactus League schedule.

"That's the hope," he said.  "I'm shooting to be built up, ready to start games by mid-May, so it's pretty much on schedule.  It's tougher now, because everybody else is in here going full-speed, and I wish I was doing that, too.  They're having to hold me back a little bit right now."


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     Under the definition of insanity that those who do the same thing over and over again and expect different results, what has Mr. Patterson changed in Mr. Capuano's baseball pitching motion that eliminates the injurious flaw that ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament?

     If, because Mr. Patterson has no idea what to do to eliminate the injurious flaw that ruptured Mr. Capuano's Ulnar Collateral Ligament, then Mr. Patterson is wasting Mr. Capuano's time.

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223.  Brocail dealing with shoulder tendinitis; Veteran reliever held out of live batting practice Friday
MLB.com
February 20, 2009

KISSIMMEE, FL:  Right-hander Doug Brocail was held back from pitching live batting practice on Friday with a slight case of tendinitis in his right shoulder, but the condition apparently isn't worrisome for either Brocail or manager Cecil Cooper.  "I'm just being smart this time," Brocail said. "I usually get it early January and it's gone by Spring Training.  This time I got it early February and it's not gone yet.  It usually take three, 3 1/2 weeks and it's gone."

Added Cooper:  "He's been kind of battling it just a little bit all spring.  We thought it would be good for him not to go out and face the hitters."  Brocail will continue throwing, but with caution.  "You just don't push it," he said.


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     "I usually get it early January and it's gone my Spring Training."  What did I just say about insanity?

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224.  Hi, I'm 17, a Jr. in high school, and I'm a pitcher.  I just had surgery on my shoulder (torn labrum) last April due to a change in bad mechanics according to Chris O'Leary's "inverted W".

I'm looking for some advice/help to get back on track.  Before I had my surgery I was clocked at 75 mph when I was only 14.  So I proportioned it to what I would be throwing once I turned 18.  And I got 96 mph.

So this is the track I want to be back on.  But, after my surgery, I've seen a tremendous drop in arm strength and velocity, which is to be expected.  Is there anyway, that you think that is best, I can throw like I did before.

Some questions I have are:  Should I do long-toss to rebuild arm-strength and go back to my old mechanics so it doesn't hurt again when I pitch?  Or can you give me some suggestions that can help me out?


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     First, why would anybody do anything that Chris O'Leary says?  Did you bother to read his credentials?  He had none.  The first thing in life that you need to learn is who knows what they are talking about and who does not.  Chris O'Leary knows nothing.  In our buyer beware society, you have to educate yourself enough to know to whom you should listen.

     Labrum surgery is serious.  It is the most difficult surgery from which to recover.  The odds are that you will never throw anywhere near what you could have had you not followed Chris O'Leary's nonsense.

     That said, the only chance that you have of becoming whatever is left of your pitching arm to become is to complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     Second, that what Chris O'Leary recommends that baseball pitchers do caused this young man to tear his Labrum should be legally actionable.  Mr. O'Leary has absolutely no business telling baseball pitchers how to do anything.  He has no training.

     But, what is worse, he has no ethics.  He has caused this seventeen year old serious pain and suffering.  Why is that not assault?  In my mind, Mr. O'Leary is no better than a mugger.  He should be ashamed, humiliated.  At the very least, he should send this young man a sincere apology and remove everything that he has ever said from the internet.

     I respect people's privacy.  But, in this case, I am going to give the name and email address of this young man.  Let's see whether Mr. O'Leary has any charaacter.

     The young man's name is Raul Cruz.  His email address is da_roosta21@yahoo.com.

     Over the years, I have received emails from baseball pitchers of all ages who have told me that they injured themselves using the teachings of Tom House, Dick Mills, Paul Nyman and others.  Yet, these guys continue to tell baseball pitchers how to apply force to their pitches.  I believe that all these guys and all other 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches are criminals.

     They are frauds.  They know that what they teach injures baseball pitchers.  But, they do not care.  They want the money.

     Until these guys stop teaching force application techniques that injure baseball pitchers, we will never eliminate pitching injuries.  Ignorance is not an excuse.  Clearly, after one baseball pitcher they train suffers an injury, they should know that what they taught him injured him.  If they do not know that for sure, then, at least, until they know for sure, they should at least stop coaching baseball pitchers.

     I know for sure that nothing I have ever taught baseball pitchers has caused even one of them to injure themselves.

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225.  This is Mike Farrenkopf.

I threw in our game yesterday.  We lost 13 to 2.  I went in at the start of the 6th inning when we were down 11 to 2.  I gave up a double and walked 2.  After I loaded the bases, the pitcher in my relief gave up my two runs.

1.  RHB:  SI (low middle), MF (low outside corner), MF (low outside corner), TF (middle):  double to left field.

Because another fastball was called, and since he was the small batter that had not shown power all day, I thought I could come inside.  I missed my spot and he proved me wrong.

2.  RHB:  SI*s(low middle fouled down towards catcher), SC (high middle), SL*s (chopped foul up 3rd base line), MCB (low middle), 4SMF (low middle) 4TF (middle outside corner):  Walk.

I wanted to come back with another -20 instead of throwing back to back fastballs.  I should have shaken off the pitch, I mentally was prepared for a -20.

3.  RHB:  MF (low in), TF (low middle), SC*s (low middle), SC (inside), MF (low inside):  Walk.

This was a terrible sequence of throwing balls on my part.  I lost awareness of the key things that it takes to throw these pitches successfully.  This is a personal thing I need to figure out.

I need to finish batters off with two strikes.  The list goes on of what I need to do.  With your help through all these e-mails and from what I learned down in Zephyrhills, I know what I need to do.  I am obviously not doing it.

I did a better job driving my pitches compared to my last outing.  My pitches were not missing by much.  I felt I was right around the zone.  But clearly, I would not have walked two batters if I was in the zone.


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     It sounds as though you are learning about game management.

     After baseball pitchers learn how to properly use their pitching arm, how to properly release all pitches and the rest, they still have to learn game management.

01.  With an 11 to 2 lead, the right-handed first batter swung at a three ball, no strike count fastball down the middle and hit it for a double.  So much for pitching to the bat and hoping for the best.

     On the two balls, no strike count, instead of throwing back to back Maxline Fastballs, you should have thrown a Torque Fastball Slider.  Even if you missed with it, you would have learned what correction you needed to make to throw the next one for a strike.  Then, if you missed with the slider, on the three balls, no strike count, you should have thrown whatever pitch you would throw to start the next batter.  Since he was another right-handed batter, you should have thrown a Maxline Fastball Sinker.

     If you threw the slider for a strike, then you would have been back in this At Bat.  Then, if you had thrown the Torque Fastball, he would not have been as ready to hit it.

02.  After the first sinker for a strike, you should have thrown a two-seam Maxline Fastball.  To get batters out on minus twenty pitches, you have to first speed up their bat.  When you throw four consecutive non-fastballs, you cannot strike batters out.

     On the two strikes, one ball count, you had to come inside and up hard.  You had to speed up his bat.  Then, you should have thrown the Maxline Pronation Curve.  If you miss, then he is wide open for a Torque Fastball inside.

     That you threw the Torque Fastball outside, indicates that you have glove foot float.  Before you start to rotate your pitching arm side forward, you have to get the heel down.

03.  MF, TF, MSc, MF is not a sequence.  You have to establish that you can throw non-fastballs for strikes.  Therefore, until you throw minus tens for strikes, you should not throw fastballs.

     To three consecutive right-handed batters, you threw only one slider and you threw it for a strike.  Sliders down and in to right-handed batters from left-handed pitchers get two hop ground balls to third base that not only get easy outs, but, with base runners, can get two easy outs.

     If you do not establish that you can throw sinkers and sliders for strikes any time that you want, then you and any other non-genetic freak baseball pitcher will never be successful.  After that, you have to throw fastballs where you should throw them.  If you do these two things, then your minus twenty pitches will get you easy outs and you will be successful.

     You have the skills.  Now, you have to correctly use your skills.  With bad sequencing, baseball pitchers with great skills do not succeed.

     When you throw your next bullpen, until you can successfully pitch the sequences that you should have throw, pitch to these three guys over and over and over and over ... .

     The next time you get ready to enter a game, until you have full confidence and command of the sequence, pitch the sequence that you plan to throw to the first batter you will face over and over.  When you arrive at the mound is too late.  When you run to the mound, you must know that, whatever happens, you know exactly what you are going to do.

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226.  Your old "buddy", Chris O’Leary, is saying the following on Baseball Fever:

http://www.baseball-fever.com/showthread.php?t=87780

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Chris O'Leary

Pronation Curve?

As anyone who follows my work knows, my enthusiasm for the ideas of Dr. Mike Marshall has faded over the years.  This is due to a number of factors, most importantly an inconsistency between what he says his pitchers do and what they actually do.

A case in point is his pronation curve.

My understanding is that if a pitcher is maximally pronating at the release point, his hand will be between the ball and his head (as when you throw a circle change by pointing the circle at the target).  However, if you look at this video closely, you will see that the pitcher's hand is outside of the ball, with the ball between his hand and his head.

In other words, he's thumb up, in a supinated position, at the release point.  His hand doesn't reach the point of maximum pronation until several frames after the release point.  I'm not sure how what I see in this clip is different than a standard curveball.

Here's a link to the original clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjl3v=en&autoplay=1

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Harley

Yes, Pronation Curve.

I think that the point is that this 12 year old pronates his hand before the bones in his elbow have a chance to slam into each other.  As long as he does that, he will not develop bone chips or lose flexion and extension range of motion in his elbow.

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Chris O'Leary

Maybe the pronation will help prevent the Olecranon from slamming into its Fossa, but he's supinated through the release point which means he's not lowering the level of stress on his UCL.

Again, what I see in this clip is a plain old curveball (admittedly a nice one), not something new and different.


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     I understand that you are using sarcasm.  I assume that my regular readers also understand this and, maybe, even chuckle.  Nevertheless, I want to make it clear to everybody that I do not consider Mr. O'Leary positively.  I do not appreciate that he uses my name as part of his websites.  I do not endorse anything he does or says.

     When I clicked on the website address, I got a message that the URL contained a malformed video ID.  However, from the comment about my Amazing twelve year old baseball pitcher, I believe that the video about which O'Leary is talking is of this twelve year old.

     While 'Amazing' properly performs the release of my Maxline Pronation Curve, if Mr. O'Leary wants to analyze how I teach my baseball pitchers how to pronate the release of my Maxline Pronation Curve, then he should watch my five hundred frames per second high-speed film of my 2009 baseball pitchers DVDs.

     Nevertheless, his analysis shows his stupidity. He has no idea what he is watching, much less what he thinks he knows.

     The comment from the other gentleman was on target.  By powerfully pronating their releases, my baseball pitchers prevent the olecranon process from slamming into its fossa.  The 'traditional' supinated curve does not.

     To further show that Mr. O'Leary has no idea what he is talking, he said that how I teach my baseball pitchers to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve puts their Ulnar Collateral Ligament at risk.

     What Mr. O'Leary and Drs. Andrews and Fleisig do not understand is that 'traditional' baseball pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament when, during their 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' they use their Brachioradialis muscle, which, when they have their 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce,' they do not have the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of their pitching upper arm contracting.  Therefore, they microscopically tear the connective tissues that make up the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     My baseball pitching motion does not have 'Late Pitching Forearm 'Turnover.'  Therefore, by definition, my baseball pitching motion does not have 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'  When their pitching arm reaches driveline height, my baseball pitchers are contracting the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.  As a result, it is impossible for my baseball pitchers to microscopically tear the connective tissue fibers that make up the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     As I said in question #224 of this Question/Answer file, those who do not know that they do not know cannot use ignorance as an excuse for the pain and suffering that they cause.  We already know that Mr. O'Leary's ignorance has destroyed one young man's Labrum and dreams.

     Therefore, like Mr. House, Mr. Mills, Mr. Nyman and every other 'traditional' baseball pitching coach and Drs. Andrews and Fleisig, we need to brand them and Mr. O'Leary as the frauds that they are and ignore them.  That they continue to recommend baseball pitching motions that cause pain and suffering is not only irresponsible, but should be legally criminal and we should prosecute them for the damage that they cause.

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227.  Last Wednesday (Feb 18th), while at football practice, my son hurt his left knee.   The mechanism consisted of him falling backward while with his feet were planted.  Another player's leg got wedged behind his left knee as it flexed.  My son fell all the way back to the ground while the foot remained planted and the knee joint flexed around the other player's leg.  I think this would be called a "knee hyperflexion."

I've hurt my knees enough to know how to check the four main supporting ligaments and none of them suffered a sprain 3.  With a lot of compression and intermittent icing over the first forty eight hours, he is able to walk, but has medial and lateral patellar pain.

Looking at the knee from an anterior perspective, if you were to try to "grasp' the kneecap" at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock with your fingers, you would be where the pain is.  The pain at the epicondyles for the LCL and MCL is only remarkable with firm palpation whereas the 'kneecap" pain is persistent.

While the discomfort is lessening by the day I'm unsure whether merely waiting it out is the best approach.  Should I take him to an orthopod?  Do you have any recommendations?  Lastly, at what point should he rejoin football & baseball practices?


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     Whenever adolescent athletes injure themselves, I always look first at what growth plates and involved.  Unfortunately, because we are involved in moving to our new house, my Radiographic Atlas for the Skeletal Development of the Knee is in a box.  Therefore, I cannot be precise in my discussion.  Suffice to say, like in their elbow, adolescent males have growth plates in their knees at the knee ends of their Femur and Tibia bones.

     These are in the area that you are describing.

     Therefore, just as I would say were you to have reported that he has discomfort in the growth plates at the elbow end of his Humerus bone or the elbow end of his Radius and Ulna bones, I recommend that he not resume activity until the discomfort has gone.  Unfortunately, we will not know whether the insult has changed the developmental process of these growth plates for several months.

     Nevertheless, adolescent males have other structures in this area.  You have checked his Medial and Lateral Collateral Ligaments.  They may also be injured, but they appear to be intact.  Therefore, the recommendation is the same.  He should not resume activity until the discomfort is gone.

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228.  IHSBCA DVD

I mailed you three copies of the IHSBCA DVD this morning.  You should have them by Wednesday or Thursday.  They still need some finishing work, but it's far enough along to make it viewable.


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     Joe and I appreciate the effort you are taking to provide us with a DVD of our presentation to the Illinois High School Baseball Coaches Association.

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229.  Thank you for taking questions, and thank you for receiving us at your training center last month.  As always, it was impressive and fun, and most of all, educational.

Several key adjustments to throwing and batting have happened because of what was learned on our visit.

1.  When do you plan to post video or film of your second base pick off throws?

2.  When an position player completes the 280 day program, does in-season maintenance consist of 24 reps of 15-pound wrist weights, 24 reps of 8-pound iron ball throws, and 36 baseball throws per day?

3.  If a batter has mastered your force-coupling batting style and displays strong plate discipline, would you permit him, on rare and special occasions, to anticipate what and where a pitcher might throw, start his swing early to really cream that pitch and that pitch alone, provided he in fact does NOT swing if he has anticipated incorrectly?

4.  What method do you teach catchers to use when the pitcher throws a pitch in the dirt?  Should they block it or catch it?  Should they use a one-knee block or a two-knee block?


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     As I always say, we love visitors.  My guys love to show off.  What they like best is, unlike when they try as hard as they can to get those who spend their lives on the baseball pitching blogs, they can instantly prove that what they say is the truth.

01.  Because we are in the middle of relocating to our new house, I will have to postpone the production of the video describing how to correctly perform my new Second Base Pick-Off body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.  However, I do have the video 'in the can.'  Therefore, when I am able to again work on my video studio equipment, I should be able to turn it out rather quickly.

02.  For days that they are not scheduled to pitch competitively, to maintain their fitness and skills, they need to complete one-half of the training number of repetitions.

03.  I believe that, like in the 'Hoosiers' movie, all nine batters on a baseball team must work together.  Therefore, lead-off batters of innings have different jobs than the third batters of innings.  In general, I am not a fan of home runs.  I prefer not to clear the bases.  Home runs stop rallies.

04.  With base runners on third base and base runners without sufficient speed to advance on pitches thrown into the dirt, I want my catchers to smother the baseball with their glove and whole body.  Otherwise, like first basemen, when base runners have the speed to run on pitches into the dirt, I want them to back hand pick the baseball and throw base runners out.

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230.  Re:  Chris O'Leary's post about your Maxline Pronation Curve.

I noticed that in a later posting, COACH45 (Bill Peterson), politely tells Chris that the UCL is NOT under stress at the moment of release, which is a nice way of saying that Chris has no idea of what he is talking about.


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     Take a guess who taught Bill Peterson that, when baseball pitchers are contracting the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament id not under stress.

     Unfortunately, to placate the 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches and try to make money, Bill Peterson does not mind teaching baseball pitchers how to destroy their pitching hip, pitching knee and the L5-S1 inter-vertebral disk.  Therefore, he is no better than Mr. O'Leary.

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231.  Some questions.

1)  If I were to train for a 25 mile marathon, what would I have to do?  Would the process be the same if I were to run more miles or fewer miles too?

2)  Why is stretching bad?

3)  How do you tear your hamstring?

4)  Why are the bands that pitchers use to warm up not causing enough stress to make an adjustment?


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01.  You are asking me to teach you Exercise Physiology.  In my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, Chapter Thirty-Two:  Physiology of Exercise provides some basic principles that you need to understand.

     However, in general, to properly prepare athletes for any activity, exercise physiologists have to start at levels of stress below what the individual athletes can presently tolerate without discomfort and gradually increase those levels of stress.

     The key is to gradually increase the stress above what the athletes can presently perform, such that the stress triggers the involved physiological system to make a physiological adjustment without injury.

     Unfortunately, most who design training programs do not know the difference between good training discomfort and injury training discomfort.  That is why, when confronted with baseball pitchers complaining of pain, orthopedic surgeons tell them to stop training for two weeks.

02.  Hundreds of myofibrils make up single muscle fibers.  Hundreds of contractile units make up myofibrils.  Actin and myosin protein filaments make up contractile units.  'Stretching' tears the connective sheathing that surrounds contractile units.

03.  The inhibitory impulse to prevent muscle contraction in the short head of the Biceps Femoris muscle arrives too late.  Therefore, it tears.

04.  The fact that pulling on elastic bands does not stimulate the involved physiological system to make an adjustment to meet the training overload is not the point.  The point is, even were the physiological system make an adjustment, baseball pitchers would not be able to pitch better, instead, they would only be able to pull on elastic bands better.

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232.  I had countless insults to my knees as a youth and a couple of years ago while running full speed, one of my Lateral Collateral Ligaments completely detached itself from the inferior condyle.

I've read that sometimes the damaged or torn portion of ligaments from lesser sprains (1 or 2) doesn't reattach itself after the trauma and instead will lose its vascularity.  I believe I had enough "minor insults" when younger to leave the LCL in such a state that it severed itself entirely without much effort.  Is this highly atypical?

Bearing this in mind, you can see why I'm concerned about my son.  Would you press for an MRI in my situation?  If an MRI shows a portion that is not healing then I would have a "window" in which to get it reattached before it lost it's vascularity, correct?

For reference, he can fully weight bear on the leg and walk.  He has marked pain on palpation to the medial anterior aspect of the patella.  Vigorous palpation will elicit pain on the inf/sup attachments of the LCL.


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     Ligaments receive much less blood flow than muscles.  Therefore, they do not rapidly rebuild damaged connective tissue.  Unfortunately, unlike muscle tissue, they also do not have pain sensors.  Therefore, until they rupture, we have no idea how much damage they have.

     I have little confidence that an MRI tells us much.  And, even if they do, unless ligaments have ruptured, orthopedic surgeons cannot do anything.

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233.  I am having great success driving weight onto front leg/towards target after glove foot landing.  This conscious use of the throwing arm side lower body does not seem necessary when throwing WW & IB.  Therefore, I missed this vital component of momentum conservation when trying to bring WW & IB to baseball.

It would seem that the lighter weight of the baseball requires a pitcher to “do a little more” if he wants the same flow forward as he gets with WW & IB.  Otherwise, the pitching foot remains back and he’s forced to throw against the acromial line primarily from his back foot vice along the acromial line off of his front foot.  Is this correct?


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     For years, I have said that, when my guys do their wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws, they easily move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot.  Then, with the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot, they easily use their glove leg to apply force back toward second base.  Therefore, they are able to continue to move the center of mass of their body forward until well after they release their pitches.

     However, when they throw baseballs, they cannot do this.  From watching their efforts, I believe that the years of using the rhythm of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion is the reason.  To support that belief, I offer my Amazing twelve year old baseball pitcher.  He learned how to do this beyond my wildest dreams.

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234.  Have you always recommended sprinting off with the pitching foot after glove foot landing in order to more easily move the center of body mass forward, and thereby throw off of the front foot and down the acromial line?

I ask because I find it much easier to drive the pitching knee forward towards the glove knee if I actively drive with the pitching foot.  When I drive, I come closer to WW & IB; the driveline, velocity and accuracy are wonderful.  When I try to more passively pull the pitching knee forward (vice drive forward), the results are not as good.

I think it is important to recognize that the WW & IB skill of conserving momentum does not transfer directly to baseball throwing.  Bridging the gap requires focused use of the pitching and glove legs.  Otherwise, we can expect reversion to glove foot float, back foot throwing, pulling over & across.  Therefore, I believe a critical "teach" is the aggressive drive off of the pitching leg (and driving the entire throwing side) after glove foot plant.  I didn't catch this point in your video.

When you pitched MLB, did you purposefully try to drive up onto glove leg as part of straightening your driveline?


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01.  I call it, 'Flip your hip.'  I tell my baseball pitchers to step forward with their glove foot like they are casually walking off the pitching rubber.  When their glove foot is about to land, I want them to have their entire glove arm pointing at home plate and their acetabular line (hips), acromial line (shoulders) and their entire pitching arm pointing at second base with the rotational muscles of their entire body wound tight ready to explode.

     Then, when their glove foot lands, I tell my baseball pitchers to immediately raise their pitching upper arm to vertically beside their head and drive off the pitching rubber with their pitching foot as powerfully as they can.

     Then, when they have moved the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot, I tell my baseball pitchers to pull straight back toward second base with their glove arm and drive their pitching knee toward their glove knee as powerfully as they can.  This action rotates the entire pitching arm side of their body forward.

     Then, when their acetabular line, acromial line and pitching upper arm point at home plate, I tell my baseball pitchers to lean back, flip their pitching hip and powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, extend their pitching elbow and pronate their pitching forearm.

     At release, I want the pitching knee as far in front of their glove foot as possible.  However, I want their pitching knee bent, such that their pitching foot is the full length of their pitching foreleg behind their pitching knee.

02.  In the Wrist Weight Training section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I very clearly demonstrate how I want my baseball pitchers to 'Flip their pitching hip.'  I believe that I show precisely what I have explained above.

03.  Were ifs and buts candy and nuts, we would all have a happy Christmas.  Were I had understood all about the proper body action for the powerful pitching arm action that I used when I pitched major league baseball, I would have been a far more successful baseball pitcher.  And, I would not have had to remove the L5-S1 intervertebral disk in my lower back or have my pitching knee replaced.

     Thank my lucky stars that, after my 1971 high-speed film study, I learned not to reverse rotate my pitching hip so strongly that, unlike two of my Dodger teammates, Andy Messersmith and Tommy John, I also needed hip replacement surgery.

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235.  Very helpful as always.  I was not being critical of your video, I was being critical of myself.  You've also written of this clearly in CH. 37.  Based on my discussions with coaches, especially youth coaches, your material is being used more and more.  I know you know that.

God bless the information age and its countless injury reports.  Whereas before publishers wouldn't publish your book, I believe they would now give it more serious consideration.  I recommend perusing that.  You'd be amazed how people legitimize the printed word.  'If it's on a Barnes & Noble book rack, it's got to be true'.  Time to leverage that chink in human nature.


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     Back in 1979 and 1980, I wrote the first draft of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book.  Since then, I have sporadically updated some chapters.  Therefore, one of my goals after I stop training pitchers everyday is to revisit my book and send it to some publishers.  If we combine it with an updated video made by professionals, I think that we might have something people will want.

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236.  Please find attached a copy of the article, "Coached by Newton", that will appear in the April 2009 issue of Mechanical Engineering.  I hope you approve of it, as your research regarding the pitching motion of baseball players is simply too important to be disregarded by the 'minds' of baseball.

I would also like to shop the article around (once it is published) to a few of the more mass channel publications, such as Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News.

Also, if you would like some copies sent, please pass along the quantity and a mailing address, and I will be certain to forward this to Mechanical Engineering.

Thanks for being very easy to work with, and I hope I've been the same.


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          I hope that you are right that the information is too important for professional baseball to ignore. I also hope that some mass channel publications pick it up.

        However, this article only covers the mechanical part of the story.  We have another story just as important that covers the applied anatomy part of the story.  Do you know of an Applied Anatomy Magazine?

          This has been fun. I appreciate that recognized the quality of the information and made this article happen.

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237.  Could you send me a link to where you describe your loading the slingshot drillthis drill is described?

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        In the Wrist  Weight Training section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I discuss and demonstrate how to perform all the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

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238.  My question concerns the position of catchers on your college teams when you coached.

I always thought that catchers should get as close to the plate as possible without interfering with the batters swing.  My thought was that umpires call strikes where the ball hits the catchers mitt instead of where the ball crosses the front of home plate.

I would think that with the first step move you want your catchers to perform with their throwing side foot you would have to be a fair distance away from the batter.  Therefore:

1.  How far away from the batter did you have your catchers set up?
2.  Did the distance change depending on the whether there were men on base?
3.  Where did you have your catchers position their glove (e.g., on the corner of the plate, right down the middle)?


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        Before catchers catch the baseball, umpires should decide whether pitches are outside or inside the strike zone.

        Catchers sit with their throwing foot slightly behind their glove foot.  Therefore, the short forward step with their throwing foot does not advance the center of mass of their body.

01.  With base runners on base, I want my catchers to be close enough to home plate to react quickly to reach out with their glove and smother pitches in the dirt that land on or closely behind home plate.

02.  Without base runners on base. I tell my catchers to, like first basemen, stay back and try to pick baseballs thrown in the dirt.

03.  I tell my catchers to center their body on the first base one-third of home plate.

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239.  I have followed with great interest your communications with Trip Somers.   On January 27, 2009, Mr. Somers posted his revised article.   I have waited patiently for your response.   When can I expect it?

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     In question #16 of my 2009 Questions/Answers file, in excruciating detail, I discussed an article that Mr. Trip Somers wrote.

     To my pleasure, Mr. Somers responded and said that, in light of my comments, he would clarify his article.  He said that, at that time, he would appreciate my reviewing his article again.

     However, to my displeasure, Mr. Somers never told me that he had posted his final edited article.

     Therefore, I will direct readers to where they can read the article and I will sentence by sentence review his edited article for a second time.  Hopefully, he will have learned from my last review.

-------------------------------------------------

Mr. Somers article

Delayed Internal Rotation:  Performance Implications
Trip Somers
Tuesday, January 27, 2009 at 7:55 PM

In the previous article Biomechanics: Ulnar Collateral Ligament, the discussion centered on what causes UCL tearing and how to prevent it.  In one of my conclusions, I suggested the delay internal rotation until after arm extension.  Now, I will discuss this concept in greater detail.

Delayed internal rotation is the term I use to describe arm action in which internal rotation does not occur until after the arm extends.  Done properly, this arm action allows the triceps brachii to maximally accelerate the forearm directly toward the target.


     Unfortunately, Mr. Somers continues to make the same basic Kinesiological mistake.  When athletes use their extremities, they do so from proximally to distally.  It is impossible for them to do otherwise.

     For example, imagine that you are walking.  Can you extend your knee before you lift your leg?  Of course, you cannot.

     Therefore, with regard to the pitching arm, the Kinetic Chain of actions are:

01.  The Shoulder Girdle action takes place first,
02.  The Shoulder Joint action takes second,
03.  The Elbow Joint action takes place third,
04.  The Forearm Joint action takes place fourth,
05.  The Wrist Joint action takes place fifth and
06.  The Finger Joint actions take place seventh.

     Therefore, contrary to Mr. Somers statement that inward rotation of the Shoulder Joint takes place after the Elbow Joint action is nonsense.  It anatomically impossible.

     In my earlier review of his article, I clearly explained this to Mr. Somers.  Apparently, he is insufficiently educated to understand basic Kinesiological principles.

Internal rotation changes the orientation of the humerus and the direction in which the forearm moves during arm extension, so sequencing is important for efficient energy transfer through the kinetic chain.

     The Kinetic Chain is actually the Conservation of Momentum.  The principle of the Conservation of Momentum requires that when athletes start to move the object of interest, they continually build on the momentum that they generate.

     If, at some point, the momentum slows down, stops or moves in any direction other than along the straight line to release, then the athletes have violated the Conservation of Momentum.  Also, if one link in the Kinetic Chains fails to apply force, then the force application technique does not satisfy the Conservation of Momentum.

     With regard to baseball pitching:

01.  The Shoulder Girdle (Movement of the Scapula bone) is the foundation on which all other arm action apply their force.  Therefore, the Serratus Anterior muscle powerfully abducts the Scapula bone to the pitching arm side of the rib cage.

02.  The Shoulder Joint (Movement of the Humerus bone) initiates the momentum that the pitching arm applies to the baseball.

     a.  'Traditional' baseball pitching coaches teach their baseball pitchers to horizontally flex their shoulder joint, which means to contract their Pectoralis Major muscle.

     b.  I teach my baseball pitchers to extend their shoulder joint, which means to contract their Latissimus Dorsi and Teres Major muscles.

03.  The Elbow Joint (Movement of the Ulna bone) builds on the momentum achieved by the Shoulder Joint action.

     a.  'Traditional' baseball pitching motion, because to the 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' flaw, 'traditional' baseball pitchers contract the Brachialis muscle to prevent the olecranon process from slamming into its fossa.

     In Kinesiological terms, ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers eccentrically contract their Brachialis muscles. Eccentric muscle actions mean that, even though baseball pitchers are contracting muscles, the length of those muscles increase.

     To understand Eccentric Muscle Contractions, Kinesiologists use a simple example that everybody does every day.

     Suppose you have an eight ounce glass of water sitting on a table.  To raise the glass of water to your mouth, you grasp the glass and use the muscles that flex your elbow joint.

     When the joint across which the muscles are contracting shorten, Kinesiologists call that, an Concentric Muscle Action.

     After you tip the glass up and drink the water, you want to return the glass to the table.  You could contract the muscles that extend your Elbow Joint and throw the glass downward or you can slowly lower the glass to the table.

     When you lower the glass to the table at a velocity less than gravity would move the glass downward, you use the same muscles that you used to raise the glass to your mouth.  That is, you continue to use the muscles that flex your Elbow Joint.

     Now, because the muscles that you are contracting are increasing in their length, Kinesiologist call this action, Eccentric Muscle Action.

     In the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion, because baseball pitchers take the baseball laterally behind their body, to throw the baseball toward home plate, they have to return the baseball to the pitching arm side of their body.

     When ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers return the baseball to the pitching arm side of their body, they generate a horizontal force to the pitching arm side of their body that causes their pitching forearm to move away from their pitching upper arm.

     To prevent their olecranon process from slamming into its fossa, ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers involuntarily contract the Brachialis muscle that flexes the Elbow Joint.

     Because of reflex called, Riciprocal Inhibition, the muscles that extend the Elbow Joint cannot simultaneously contract.  Therefore, when ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers contract their Brachialis muscle, they cannot simultaneously contract their Triceps Brachii muscle.

     Consequently, because the muscles that operate in the Elbow Joint do not actively contribute to the Kinetic Chain, the Kinetic Chain is broken.

     As a result, by definition, the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion violates the requirements of the Kinetic Chain.

     b.  Because my baseball pitchers powerfully contract the Pronator Teres muscle, which secondarily flexes the pitching elbow, they can use their Triceps Brachii muscle to actively extend their Elbow Joint.

     Therefore, my baseball pitching motion satisfies the requirements of the Kinetic Chain.

04.  The Forearm Joint (Movement of the Radius bone) continues to build on the momentum achieved by the Shoulder and Elbow Joint actions.

     a.  With their pitching arm fully straightened as a result of fighting their 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not significantly use their Forearm Joint muscles.

     b.  Because my baseball pitchers powerfully contract their Pronator Teres muscle before, during and after release, they continue to build on the momentum achieved by their Shoulder and Elbow Joint actions.

05.  The Wrist Joint (Movement of the Metacarpal bones) continues to build on the momentum achieved by the Shoulder, Elbow and Forearm Joints.

06.  The Finger Joints (Movement of the Proximal, Middle and Distal Phalange bones) continues to build on the momentum achieved by the Shoulder, Elbow, Forearm and Finger Joints.

ARM ACTION - THE KINETIC CHAIN

The Kinetic Chain starts at the ground, moves up through the body, and ends in the finger tips.  Since the focus here is on arm acceleration, this analysis of the chain will start at the shoulder with the upper arm in an externally rotated position.


     Ideally, the Kinetic Chain (Conservation of Momentum of the baseball) does start with the actions of the pitching and glove legs.  However:

01.  Because, with the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, after the glove foot lands, the baseball either stands still or moves backward, the legs do not contribute to the acceleration of the baseball.

02.  Because, with my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm to driveline height in one smooth, continuous movement, when they step forward with their glove foot, the baseball moves forward as well.

     In my earlier analysis of his article, I also explained this to Mr. Somers.  It appear that Mr. Somers is also insufficiently educated to understand this basic Kinesiological principle.

From the shoulder, a series of arm movements is responsible for completing the chain.  As the humerus is accelerated, it establishes a plane of motion.  Velocity of an object moving in an arc. Within this plane, the humerus moves in an arc.  The distal end of the humerus (near the elbow) reaches peak forward velocity shortly after the humerus is perpendicular to the line between second base and home plate.

     This paragraph is mostly who-gives-a-damn jibberish.  However, the toward-home-plate velocity of the elbow joint end of the Humerus bone is important.

01.  With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, the 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' flaw slings the entire pitching arm laterally away from the body to the pitching arm side.  Therefore, the peak velocity of the Humerus bone takes place while it is moving sideways, not toward home plate.

     Therefore, at no time in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion is the Humerus bone perpendicular to the line between second base and home plate.  'Traditional' baseball pitchers cannot get their pitching forearm vertical at release.  Just look at the pretty pictures that Mr. Somers provides.  They prove that the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm is well outside of vertical.

     In addition, these photographs also prove that 'traditional' baseball pitcher cannot apply force with their pitching forearm.  After correcting for the loss to the extension range of motion of the pitching elbow of 'traditional' baseball pitchers, the position of the pitching forearm at release is the same as for their pitching upper arm.

02.  With my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm vertical at release.  To get their pitching forearm vertical at release, my baseball pitchers have to get their pitching upper arm near vertical and separate the force that their pitching forearm applies from the force that their pitching upper arm applies.

Beyond this moment, the velocity of the humerus is directed somewhere other than the target.  If the humerus moves past perpendicular, the rest of the arm and the ball move with it.

     This is jibberish.  When I say, jibberish, I mean something that sounds scientific, but does not make any sense.  For older readers, it is like a Professor Irwin Corey comedy routine.

The Kinetic Chain "breaks" when the forearm and wrist compensate to put the ball's path back in line with the target.  To maintain the integrity of the Kinetic Chain, all parts of the arm must apply force in the same direction.  Arm extension and internal rotation are motions that also create arcs, so the same rules apply.

     I agree that all joints in the pitching arm must apply straight-line force to the baseball toward home plate.  However, when baseball pitchers straighten their pitching elbow, unless they use their pitching arm as though they are throwing darts at the target, they will generate a curvilinear pathway.

     Because it is impossible for baseball pitchers to apply force in absolutely straight lines toward home plate, we have to decide in which direction they should straighten their pitching elbow.

     Because of the horizontal force that ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers generate away from the pitching arm side of their body, with an eccentric muscle action, they involuntarily straighten their pitching elbow laterally away from their body.

     However, because my baseball pitching motion does not generate horizontal force to the pitching arm side of their body, by tilting the line across the top of their shoulders, raising their pitching upper arm vertically beside their head and powerfully pronating their pitching forearm, which also flexes their pitching elbow, my baseball pitchers actively extend their pitching elbow vertically upward.

     Therefore, while the final pathway of the baseball arcs vertically upward, my baseball pitchers benefit in two critically important ways.

     With vertical pitching forearms at release:

01.  My baseball pitchers have their pitching arm in the seventeen inch width of the strike zone.  Therefore, any release inconsistency that they have is within vertical dimension of the strike zone, which is larger than the horizontal dimension of the strike zone.

     And, baseball batters swing at more fastballs higher than the highest limit of the strike zone and at breaking balls below the lowest limit of the strike zone than at pitches inside and outside of the strike zone.

02.  My baseball pitchers can make baseballs move to either side of home plate with equal ease.

When internal rotation occurs before arm extension, whether the internal rotation is intended or unintended, the forearm moves from the laid back position into a more upright position and the medial epicondyle faces the target.

     Mr. Somers is correct.  The position from which the pitching forearm is in position from which it is able to maximally accelerate the baseball toward home plate is when it lays horizontally behind their pitching elbow.

From this position, the arc created by arm extension is in a plane that is perpendicular to the line between second base and home plate.  Even though the arm extends rapidly, the contribution to pitch velocity is minimal.

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers involuntarily extend their pitching arm laterally away from the pitching arm side of the body.  Mr. Somers is correct.  Therefore, with the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion, as I said earlier, their baseball pitchers do not use their Elbow Joint to apply force to the baseball.

     However, also as I explained earlier, with my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers do use their Elbow Joint to apply force to the baseball.

This is a break in the Kinetic Chain that also negatively affects the potential velocity contribution of pronation.

     Again, Mr. Somers is correct.  As I said earlier, the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion does violate the requirements of the Kinetic Chain.

Arm extension after this point may result in valgus extension overload syndrome which can lead to a number of pathophysiological conditions that may include ulnar collateral ligament tears.

     What Valgus Extension Overload Syndrome?  The cause of the involuntary straightening of the pitching elbow of ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers is the horizontal force that they generated to return the baseball to the pitching arm side of the body, not some imaginary syndrome.

     Does Valgus Extension Overload Syndrome cause the last ice skaters in a line of ice skaters with their hands joined to continue to move straight forward when the lead ice skaters suddenly turn to one side?

     The answer is, NO!

     The Law of Inertia causes the ice skaters at the end of a hand-held line to continue to move straight forward when the lead ice skaters suddenly turn to one side.

     The Law of Inertia also explains why, with the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion, the baseball continues to move laterally away from the pitching arm side of their body when the pitching upper arm suddenly turns toward home plate.

[Note:  Dr. Mike Marshall believes that valgus extension overload syndrome does not exist.  I tend to believe that it does exist but that it may be irrelevant with regard to pitching.  More to come on this.]

     Mr. Somers is correct.  I do NOT believe that any such thing as the Valgus Extension Overload Syndrome exists.  I know that Dr. Fleisig made it up.  This proves that Dr. Fleisig also does not understand basic Kinesiological principles.

When the arm extends before internal rotation, the triceps can accelerate the forearm directly toward home plate in the same direction in which the humerus was accelerated.

     The basic mistake that Mr. Somers continues to make is believing that ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers actively Inwardly Rotate their Shoulder Joint.  They do not.

     Instead, ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers actively Horizontally Flex their Shoulder Joint.  This means that ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers pull their pitching upper arm horizontally forward and across the front of their body.

     What Mr. Somers mistakenly believes is Inward Rotation of the Shoulder Joint is a residual action of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.

     When baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm laying horizontally behind their pitching elbow, the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle, which horizontally flexes the Shoulder Joint, wraps around the head of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.

     Therefore, after the Pectoralis Major muscle pulls the pitching upper arm forward to release, just before release, the Pectoralis Major muscle starts to pull the pitching upper arm across the front of the body.

     During this pull across the front of the body, the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle unwraps around the head of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.  This action causes the head of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm to appear to inwardly rotate.

     This residual action of the Pectoralis Major muscle is what causes Mr. Somers to mistakenly believe that ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers actively inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm after they extend their pitching elbow.  In reality, ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers do not extend their pitching elbow or inwardly rotate their pitching shoulder.

In this sequence, the triceps can maximally contribute to pitch velocity and is a strong link in the Kinetic Chain.

     Because, to prevent the bones on the back of their pitching elbow from slamming together, ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers eccentrically contract the muscles that flex their pitching elbow, they cannot use their Triceps Brachii muscle to maximally contribute to pitch velocity.  Therefore, with the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion, the Elbow Joint does not contribute anything to the Kinetic Chain.

After the arm extends, pronation, wrist flexion, and internal rotation can continue the kinetic chain and powerfully finish the pitch directly toward home plate.

     ‘Traditional’ baseball pitchers do not actively extend their Elbow Joint.  Therefore, they do not continue the Kinetic Chain and they, most certainly, do not drive the baseball directly toward home plate.

     Mr. Somers photographs of Mr. Ryan do not show any of what Mr. Somers claims happens.  Mr. Somers cannot prove that he or any other ‘traditional’ baseball pitcher does.  Therefore, everything he says has no scientific credibility.  As a result, we need to ignore him.

     Nevertheless, I agree with Mr. Somers that, with my baseball pitching motion, after my baseball pitchers rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm to point at home plate, they do powerfully inwardly rotate their Shoulder Joint, extend their Elbow Joint, pronate their Forearm Joint, flex their Wrist Joint and flex their Index and Middle Fingers.

A HALL OF FAME EXAMPLE

Take a look at Nolan Ryan's arm action in the following image.

Nolan Ryan's arm action - extending the arm from an externally rotated position.

In the first frame, you can clearly see that external rotation has taken place.  The forearm must trail the elbow for the triceps to be able to accelerate the forearm toward home plate.  External rotation positions the arm for this, but the method used to create this external rotation is as important to UCL health as the external rotation itself is to pitch velocity (see the previous article).


     Just because Mr. Ryan's pitching arm straightens does not mean that he used his Triceps Brachii muscle to extend his pitching elbow.

     If Mr. Somers had included photographs of Mr. Ryan's taking the baseball out of his glove and moving it backward, then we would have seen how far laterally behind his body (toward first base), he took the baseball.

     Then, if Mr. Somers had included photographs from where he took the baseball laterally behind his body, then we would have seen where Mr. Ryan's pitching upper arm reached shoulder height with the baseball still waist high.

     Then, if Mr. Somers had included photographs from where his pitching upper arm reached shoulder height with the baseball still waist high, then we would have seen where Mr. Ryan had to raise his pitching forearm, wrist, hand and baseball vertically upward.

     I call this action, 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.'  During 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' Mr. Ryan actively outwardly (externally) rotates his pitching upper arm.

     Remember where Mr. Somers said, "External rotation is as important to UCL health as the external rotation itself is to pitch velocity (see the previous article)?

     It is during outward rotation of the Shoulder Joint where ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers microscopically tear the connective tissue fibers of their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Therefore, Mr. Somers and Drs. Andrews and Fleisig have no idea what they are talking about.

In frame 2, Ryan has nearly finished accelerating his elbow, and arm extension has begun.  You can see that his forearm still trails his elbow in a laid back position allowing arm extension to occur in the same direction as his humerus.

     Mr. Ryan has not accelerated his pitching elbow.  Instead, to prevent the bones on the back of his pitching elbow from slamming together, he has eccentrically contracted his Brachialis muscle.

In frames 3 and 4, Ryan's arm approaches full extension, internal rotation begins, and his forearm starts to turn forward toward the plate.

     As I explained early, Mr. Somers mistakes the residual action of the horizontal flexion of the Shoulder Joint for active inward rotation of the Shoulder Joint.

As he releases the pitch, pronation occurs, and internal rotation continues through the deceleration phase.

     Clearly, inward rotation of the Shoulder Joint does not continue through the deceleration phase.  Instead, in an attempt to discipate the force that Mr. Ryan generated to accelerate his pitching arm, the pitching arm simply continues along the curved pathway that Mr. Ryan used to apply force to his pitches.

     While it is not as easy to understand, I believe that ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers never actively pronate their Forearm Joint.  Instead, I believe that the residual movement of the Pectoralis Major muscle that appear to be active inward rotation of the Shoulder Joint simply carries the pitching forearm along with it.

     Clearly, when the pitching upper arm is inwardly rotating, because the forearm attaches to the upper arm, the forearm will also inwardly rotate.  It is this involuntary inward rotation of the pitching forearm that Mr. Somers mistakes as active Forearm Joint pronation.

PAUL NYMAN AND DR. MIKE MARSHALL AGREE... SORT OF

     If Mr. Nyman appears to agree with anything that I say, it is because he has plagiarized what I have written.

They don't really agree on this issue, but they have some similar things to say.

     If this statement is true, then why did Mr. Somers say that Mr. Nyman and I agree at all?

In an article written for The Hardball Times in May 2008, Paul Nyman said the following:

What is critical in all arm actions is creating external rotation of the shoulder.  Torso rotation (transverse and sagittal) creates the change in direction necessary to cause the forearm to lay back (external rotation of the throwing shoulder).  The forearm lays back as a result of its inertia; i.e., a sudden change in direction (rotation of the upper torso) leaves the forearm behind.


     Mr. Nyman said, ‘Transverse and sagittal torso rotation creates the change in direction necessary to cause the forearm to lay back (external rotation of the throwing shoulder.’

     To move their pitching hand and baseball from waist high to above shoulder height, ‘Traditional’ baseball pitchers actively outwardly rotate their Shoulder Joint until their pitching forearm points vertically upward.

     During the active outward rotation of the pitching upper arm, ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers contract the muscles that attach to the lateral epicondyle of their pitching elbow, they do not contract the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of their pitching elbow.

     As their pitching forearm approaches pointing vertically upward, the glove foot of ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers lands.

     As soon as their glove foot lands, ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers start to rotate their shoulders forward.

     When they start to rotate their shoulders forward, they start to pull their pitching upper arm forward.  This is what Mr. Nyman calls, ‘Transverse and sagittal torso rotation.’

     With their pitching upper arm moving forward and their pitching forearm pointing vertically upward, the inertia mass of the pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball cause the pitching forearm to move downward.  I call this action, ‘Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.’

     To move forward with the pitching upper arm, the downward movement of the pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball has to stop.

     If ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers are still contracting the muscles that attach to the lateral epicondyle of the pitching elbow, then the only structure available to withstand the downward force of the inertial mass of the pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball is the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Therefore, this ‘Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce’ microscopically tears some connective tissue fibers of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  When sufficient numbers of connective tissue fibers tear, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament ruptures.

     To return to Mr. Nyman’s statement:  ‘Transverse and sagittal torso rotation creates the change in direction necessary to cause the forearm to lay back (external rotation of the throwing shoulder,’ the inertial mass of the pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball causes the pitching forearm to lay back, not outward rotation of the pitching shoulder.

Dr. Marshall agrees that the forearm should lay back, specifically that the ball should be kept at full forearm length horizontally behind the elbow.

     To maximally accelerate their pitching hand and baseball through release, baseball pitcher have to have their pitching hand the full length of their pitching forearm behind their pitching elbow.

     However, this does not mean that I agree with the position of Mr. Ryan’s pitching arm that appears to be the same as I want.

     To get into this position, Mr. Ryan has used ‘Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce’ and his pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball are moving laterally away from his body.

     With my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement straight toward second base.  My baseball pitchers do not have ‘Late Pitching Forearm Turnover’ or the resulting ‘Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.’

     Because my baseball pitchers take their pitching arm straight back toward second base, they do not have ‘Pitching Forearm Flyout.’   Therefore, their pitching arm is not moving laterally away from the pitching arm side of their body.

Similarly, both agree that a laid back forearm positions the triceps to maximally accelerate the forearm toward home plate.

     If Mr. Nyman says that ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers use their Triceps Brachii muscle to extend their pitching arm, then he is as Kinesiologically challenged as Mr. Somers.

     The only way that baseball pitchers can use their Triceps Brachii muscle to extend their pitching arm is for them to use my baseball pitching motion.

In his articles for The Hardball Times, Nyman makes no claim regarding the effect of the elbow's path on forearm acceleration, but Dr. Marshall has something to say about elbow paths that have a large lateral component.

     What I said was that ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers take the baseball laterally behind their body.  Therefore, to return the baseball to the pitching arm side of their body, they have to apply force to the pitching arm side of their body.  With my baseball pitching motion, because my baseball pitchers take the baseball straight backward toward second base, they do not apply force to the pitching arm side of their body.

From an email he sent me:

When, after 'traditional' baseball pitchers take the baseball laterally behind their body, they drive their pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of their body, they generate forces toward the pitching arm side of their body that 'slings' their pitching forearm laterally away from their body.


     Okay, that is what I said.  The force to the pitching arm side of their body ‘slings’ their pitching forearm laterally away from the pitching arm side of their body.

In order to prevent this slinging action, the brachialis experiences an eccentric contraction.  This not only opposes passive arm extension - called "forearm flyout" by Dr. Marshall - it also opposes active arm extension by the triceps.

     I call this action, ‘Pitching Forearm Flyout.’  The Brachialis muscle does not experience an eccentric muscle contraction, it eccentrically contracts.

     Earlier in this report, I explained that when a contracting muscle gets longer, it is eccentrically contracting.  From the why that Mr. Somers phrases his statement, it is obvious that he has no idea what an eccentric muscle contractions are.  In the first three weeks of the Applied Anatomy section of the undergraduate Kinesiology course, students learn about eccentric muscle contractions.

     That neither Mr. Somers and Mr. Nyman have no idea what eccentric muscles contractions are, much less when ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers have them, means that they are irrefutably unqualified to analyze the baseball pitching motion.  They have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.

In another point of contention, Nyman says that inertial forearm layback is necessary for maximizing pitch velocity.  Nyman's description of the inertial layback is identical to Dr. Marshall's description of late forearm turnover.

     As I explained earlier, what Mr. Somers and Mr. Nyman do not understand it that, during their ‘Late Pitching Forearm Turnove,’ until ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers point their pitching forearm vertically upward, they are actively contracting the muscles that outwardly rotating their pitching upper arm.

     Therefore, that Mr. Somers considers what I explained about ‘Late Pitching Forearm Turnover’ and what Mr. Nyman says about inertial forearm layback are two entirely different phenomenon.

     The inertial mass of the pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball comes into play after the glove foot of ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers land.

     When their glove foot lands, ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers start to rotate their shoulders forward.  Therefore, they also start to pull the Humerus bone of their pitching upper arm forward.  Now, the inertial mass of the pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball becomes important.

     With the pitching upper arm moving forward and the pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball pointing upward, their inertial mass causes the pitching forearm to move downward.  I call this, ‘Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.’

     Because, during their ‘Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce,’ ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers continue to contract the muscles that attach to the lateral epicondyle of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament is the only structure that prevents the pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball from coming apart from the pitching upper arm.

     This is the moment when ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers microscopically tear the connective tissue fibers of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament that eventually ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

As discussed in my first article, late forearm turnover is the largest risk factor for UCL tears since the flexor-pronator mass does not strongly oppose the valgus torque that it creates.

     Wait a minute.  In the beginning of this article, Mr. Somers said, “In one of my conclusions, I suggested the delay internal rotation until after arm extension.”

     Now, he is saying ‘Late Pitching Forearm Turnover’ is the largest risk factor for Ulnar Collateral Ligament tears.  During ‘Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,’ ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.  They do not inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     Dr. Fleisig said that baseball pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament when they inwardly rotate their pitching arm.  In fact, in his ridiculous analysis of the four baseball pitchers that I drove to Birmingham, AL for biomechanical analyses, because of their excessively high inward rotation velocity of their pitching upper arm, Dr. Fleisig warned me about the impending doom of the Ulnar Collateral Ligaments of my baseball pitchers.

     Dr. Fleisig was wrong and Mr. Somers is wrong.  Neither of them have any idea what they are talking about.

IN A FEW PARAGRAPHS

The mechanics involved in over-hand throwing strongly indicate that the kinetic chain functions more efficiently when internal rotation is delayed until after arm extension.

     I see absolutely nothing that indicate any such nonsense.  Certainly, Mr. Somers has not conducted any research to support such a claim.  To the contrary, it is anatomically impossible for the Shoulder Joint action to take place after the Elbow Joint action.

This means that less energy is wasted on movement that doesn't directly contribute to pitch velocity.

     While this is a true statement, it does not apply to anything that Mr. Somers recommends that baseball pitchers do.

Paul Nyman and Dr. Mike Marshall both agree on the principle reason behind delayed internal rotation - to utilize the triceps brachii as a key link in the kinetic chain - though Dr. Marshall does not agree with all of Nyman's reasoning.

     What is Mr. Somers talking about?  I have not agreed with anything that Mr. Somers has said about this fictitious ‘Delayed Internal Rotation’ nonsense.

     Furthermore, as I have said many times now, ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers never, ever use their Triceps Brachii muscle to extend their pitching elbow.  To see the evidence that ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers never contract their Triceps Brachii muscle, Mr. Somers only has to take five hundred frames per second high-speed film of any ‘traditional’ baseball pitcher from the pitching arm side of their body.

     That is precisely what I did in 1967.  Forty-two years later and I still have to suffer fools with no academic training or research proclaiming themselves experts.

My conclusion: delayed internal rotation has positive performance implications.

     Mr. Somers cannot provide a single baseball pitcher that he has trained that is able to delay the inward rotation of their pitching upper arm until after they use their Triceps Brachii muscle to extend their pitching elbow.  He is delusional.

This information, coupled with my previous conclusions regarding UCL health, leads me to believe that there are both performance and health benefits to delayed internal rotation.

     Mr. Somers needs to stop spreading nonsense.  His advice destroys pitching arms.  He, Mr. Nyman, Mr. House, Mr. Mills, all other ‘traditional’ baseball pitching coaches, Drs. Andrews and Fleisig and all other orthopedic surgeons are the reason why pitching injuries continue to escalate.  They all need to shut up.

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240.  Reds LHP Bray throws first bullpen session
Associated Press
February 20, 2009

SARASOTA, FL:  Reds lefty reliever Bill Bray, held back from early spring drills because of tendinitis, is back with the rest of the staff.  “It’s good,” he said Friday after throwing his first bullpen session.  The 25-year-old said he shouldn’t have any problem getting ready for the season as long as he has no setbacks. Taking it slow at the start was really just a precaution, he said.  Bray has a history of shoulder problems.  That’s largely why he didn’t make the team out of camp last year.

He ended up having a good season, going 2-2 with a 2.87 ERA in a career-high 63 games. But his early arm problems have him re-evaluating his offseason program.  “I think I’m going to work with a physical therapist on regular basis to keep stretched out,” he said.  “And I’ll probably play catch rather than not throwing at all.”


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     Shoulder tendinitis.  Keep it stretched out.

     Discomfort results from lack of fitness to perform at the intensity required to compete and from the unnecessary stress of bad pitching technique.  Without personally examining Mr. Bray, I cannot determine which causes his discomfort.

     That the discomfort went away last year and he had a good season is a good sign.  Even my guys will experience discomfort when they increase their intensity for pitching to catchers, pitching batting practice, pitching in simulated games and pitching in competitive games.  This is normal.

     The key is understand from where the discomfort comes.

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241.  1st-Rounder Adam Ottavino is “the best we’ve ever seen him”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
February 21, 2009

JUPITER, FL:  Every time St. Louis Cardinals pitching prospect Adam Ottavino would toe the rubber to deliver a pitch there were so many thoughts buzzing between his ears.  His arms needed to swing here.  His hands needed to be placed there.  His shoulder positioned this way.  His foot sure that land that way.  Not too far back on that back leg.  Not too far forward on the release.  Don’t do it that way.  Be sure to do it this way.

He was consumed by every thought possible about what it took to deliver a pitch.  Every one except actually thinking about the pitch.  “I was a real mess,” Ottavino said.  “Now, I’m just done playing that mental game.”

Ottavino has impressed the pitching coaches here at Roger Dean Stadium with how he’s come into camp with a simpler delivery, sharper pitches and a general calm and consistency that he hasn’t had since, well, really since the Cardinals picked in the first round of the 2006 draft.  Roving pitching Dyar Miller called Friday’s round of live batting practice one of the most impressive days he’s seen at spring training, and the consensus around camp was that one of the pitchers that has consistently stood out is the one they’re all hoping will stand up and reclaim his spot as a prospect: Ottavino.

“This is the best I’ve ever seen him,” pitching coach Dave Duncan said Friday.  “His delivery is really improving.  The things he’s been working on are all coming together.  You can see the benefits of a young pitcher gaining confidence from results.”

Ottavino stormed out of college with the reputation for wearing rose-colored sunglasses and throwing hard.  The Cardinals also classified him as one of the pitchers who had ideal mechanics, even if they defied convention.  That didn’t last.

Ottavino described himself as “liberated” last spring training when he was invited to an early-spring workshop on pitching, one that stressed “natural mechanics” and showed the pitchers such signature deliveries as Sandy Koufax’s and such athletic mechanics as Bob Gibson’s.  The Cardinals’ pitching advisers made some alterations to his mechanics and encouraged Ottavino to embrace some of his non-traditional swings and quirks.  Ottavino immersed himself in the theory and started adopted all sorts of loose and comfortable mechanics.  He also clouded his head with every thought possible but the act of making the pitch.  He was devoured by thoughts of where his shoulders went and where his arms would swing and where his feet were going to land.

Forget about remembering to look at where the glove was or what location to target.  The numbers reflected that. Ottavino struggled in the first half of the season, and he finished 3-7 with a 5.23 ERA.  He allowed 133 hits and 52 walks against 96 strikeouts in 115 1/3 innings.  There wasn’t an aspect of his game that he didn’t struggle with.

“No question,” Ottavino said.  “I was pretty down pretty deep that first half.  I’ve never had anything like that happen to me.  I was going out there hoping something right was going to happen.  I needed something to go right to win and I was just hoping it would.  I wasn’t myself for most of the season and only started feeling better the second half.

“I guess you’ve got to take a step back sometimes to step forward.  I hope to take that step forward.”  He started by gaining some weight.  Ottavino entered spring training last year a rail, vastly slimmed down from his draft frame of just two years before.  He said he weighed-in at 210, and that felt like he didn’t have much muscle to get through the spring.  He said a combination of trying a new nutrition plan and food poisoning — the latter more than the former — contributed to significant weight loss.  It made the entire season physically difficult to get through.  This offseason he changed his nutrition, upped his workouts and reported to camp at 240.  His frame has noticeably more packed on it, and he feels “just stronger” during his bullpen sessions.

Others are noticing. His fastball has more pep to it, better location.  Instead of the odd arm swing toward the moon that he test-drove last summer, he’s keeping his hands down, his mechanics simple and everything moving toward the plate.  His delivery is natural, not overwrought.  There’s no thought in his mind but putting that pitch on that target.

And that’s got a few officials thinking Ottavino might be the pitcher expected.  “He’ll never have complete confidence in himself until he has confidence he can execute pitches, and he’s starting look like he can do that,” Duncan said.  “When you execute your pitches everything starts falling into place.  You do less thinking because you have confidence you know what you’re capable of doing.”


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     Mr. Duncan is correct.  Until baseball pitchers can automatically perfectly execute their pitching motion, they should not pitch competitively.  That Mr. Ottavino pitched competitively last season delayed his progress.  Until baseball pitchers are ready, despite whether the season is starting, they should not pitch competitively.

     Motor Skill Acquisitionists call what happened to Mr. Ottavino, 'Paralysis by Analysis.'  This means that athletes become so involved in thinking about what they are doing that they cannot 'feel' what they are doing.

     However, rather than have them battle through their confusion, they need a drill that teaches them how to 'feel' what they are doing.  That drill is my Second Base Pick-off body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     My Second Base Pick-off drill requires baseball pitchers standing in my Drop Out Wind-Up position facing home plate to pivot on their glove foot and rotate one hundred and eighty degrees to the pitching arm side of their body, point their pitching foot at second base all the while pendulum swinging their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height and pointing their glove arm at second base.

     The reason why it teaches baseball pitchers to 'feel' is because it is a pick-off motion.  This means that the baseball pitchers have to throw the baseball as quickly as they can.  No thinking, just get rid of the baseball as fast as you can.

     The body action prevents baseball pitchers from taking the baseball laterally behind their body.  Therefore, to throw the baseball at second base, they have to drive down the acromial line.

     By powerfully pronating their pitching forearm and 'sticking' their pitching hand at second base, they learn how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi and Teres Major muscles to extend and inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

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242.  La Russa happy that Carpenter is back on the mound
February 21, 2009
Associated Press

JUPITER, FL:  Chris Carpenter was on the mound Saturday morning, and that was enough for St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa.  La Russa watched as the former Cy Young Award winner threw 30 pitches from behind a screen in a 10-minute session, his first time facing batters since September.  “The fact that he’s actually on the field is exciting,” La Russa said.  “We’ve only seen this how many times?  You can count it on less than two hands how many times in the last two years we’ve actually seen him facing a hitter.  So this is a big day, and a fun day.”

Though he struggled at times with the location of his fastball, Carpenter snapped off several strong breaking balls.  “My arm felt great,” Carpenter said.  “My location was off a bit at the beginning, but I felt like the last 10 or so (pitches) I was hitting my spot pretty good.  It was just fun to get back out there and be a part of it.”

He was the opening-day starter in 2007, but left that game with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery.  Carpenter didn’t return to the majors until late July of last season, then left his Aug. 10 start against the Chicago Cubs with what turned out to be nerve-related damage in his shoulder.  He made a relief appearance at Arizona on Sept. 2 and was shut down after the outing because his shoulder was still bothering him.  He had elbow surgery in November.

“It looked like he had plenty of arm strength and he looked strong,” said general manager John Mozeliak, who watched the session from the side of the batting cage.


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     Unfortunately, Mr. Carpenter ruptured his own Ulnar Collateral Ligament and his replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament because he takes the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand on top of the baseball.  Therefore, he has 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' which causes the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' that microscopically tears the connective tissue fibers of his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Because, when he throws his curve, he tightly bends his pitching elbow, he increases the injurious stress.  Further, he supinates the release of his curve.

     While I wish all baseball pitchers fun and success, because he has not eliminated these injurious flaws, I believe that it is just a matter of how long his second replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament lasts.  Replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligaments have no blood flow or sensory nerves.  Therefore, while his is microscopically tearing its fibers, he will not experience any discomfort.  How long did his first replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament last?

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243.  Pirates Team Report
Yahoo! Sports
February 21, 2009

All the preseason publications pick the Pirates to finish last in the National League Central for a third straight season.  Club president Frank Coonelly’s message to the team:  Don’t believe everything you read.  “Everyone thinks that we’re just supposed to give up on 2009, but that’s the furthest thing from the truth,” Coonelly told reporters after a 20-minute address to the team.  “It’s as (Pirates chairman) Bob Nutting said at the start of our winter caravan (in January), the expectation is that we’re going to be better in 2009.  Nothing else will be acceptable.

“We’re building this organization to win over the long haul, but we also want to win in 2009.  The public perception may not be favorable in that regard, but there is no reason why we can’t be successful this season.”  Coonelly pointed to the Tampa Bay Rays, who went from having the worst record in the major leagues in 2007 to winning the American League pennant last season before falling to the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.

“Nobody picked the Rays to win last season, but they believed in themselves and exceeded all the external expectations to play in the final game of the season,” Coonelly said.  “There is no reason we can’t have the same expectation level with our club.”

Coonelly also updated the players on what the Pirates have done to upgrade the overall talent level and commitment to winning.  He is particularly happy the Pirates signed left-hander Paul Maholm, catcher Ryan Doumit and center fielder Nate McLouth to three-year contracts worth a guaranteed $41.75 million.  “We’re willing to commit to the young players who fit what we’re trying to do, and it shows that they believe in what we’re trying to do by committing to us,” Coonelly said.


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     Professional baseball teams can either buy players or teach the ones that they have to become better players.  Unfortunately, to teach players how to become better players, they need to have a motor skill development plan with an interval-training program.

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244.  Cardinals Team Report
Yahoo! Sports
February 21, 2009

With Chris Carpenter, the longtime staff ace, proceeding smoothly as he tries to overcome his arm issues of the last two years, manager Tony La Russa has established his five-man rotation for spring training games: right-handers Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Kyle Lohse, Todd Wellemeyer and Joel Pineiro.

But La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan said Kyle McClellan and Brad Thompson will work as starters through the first half of spring training, and possibly beyond.  Duncan has McClellan scheduled for at least two exhibition-game starts in March as insurance in case Carpenter’s progress slows or somebody falters.  “They told me to come in almost game-ready,” McClellan said.  “I feel like I’m ahead of schedule.  That was on purpose.  I’m trying to win a job.”

Carpenter, four months removed from nerve transposition surgery near his right elbow, impressed all on-lookers with his first five bullpen throwing sessions.  “He’s at the point where he’s upset if he doesn’t paint,” Duncan said.  Carpenter was slated to start the club’s fourth exhibition game, against Washington.


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     Mr. McClellan said, "I'm trying to win a job."  He should be trying to perfect his skills.  When he does, then he will have his best chance of winning a job.

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245.  Guillen: 'Watch out' if hurlers heal fast
Chicago Tribune
February 21, 2009

After hearing predictions about the White Sox finishing last in the AL Central, manager Ozzie Guillen made a bold declaration Friday about the availability of injury-prone veteran pitchers Jose Contreras and Bartolo Colon:  "If we have Contreras and Colon, watch out.  It's going to be a pretty good club.  We're good without them, but I think we're going to be better."

Guillen said Contreras, 37, who appears to be making a surprisingly fast recovery from August Achilles' tendon surgery, feels healthy enough to start a game.  And Colon, 35, told Guillen, "I'll be there for you sooner than people think," the manager said.

Colon, the 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner with the Angels, is recovering from surgery to repair bone chips in his right pitching elbow.  Lefty Clayton Richard and Jeff Marquez would have bullpen roles if Contreras and Colon are ready at the start of the season.


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     When baseball pitchers slam the bones of their pitching elbow, the hyaline cartilage that covers the ends of bones chip away.  Surgery for removing these hyaline cartilage chips does not 'repair' anything.  Instead, it removes impediments to free movement.

     To 'repair' this problem, baseball pitchers have to learn how to not slam these bones together.  To do this, they have to stop supinating the releases of their cut fastballs, sliders and curves.

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246.  Ryan, Accardo healthy, ready to anchor Blue Jays bullpen
TSN.CA
February 21, 2009

Although there have not been a lot of reasons for optimism about the Toronto Blue Jays' prospects for the upcoming season, one spot that should give hope to manager Cito Gaston is the team's bullpen.  For the first time in nearly two seasons, closer B.J. Ryan enters camp with a clean bill of health.

Ryan was limited at the start of last season due to a forearm injury, causing him to miss the first 11 games of the campaign.  When he was able to return, the Bossier City, Louisiana native struggled in the early-going as he attempted to regain his confidence in his abilities.  Ryan does not foresee the same problems this year.  “I can worry about the important things instead of how my arm feels,” Ryan told TSN.  “Now I can go out there and worry about mechanics and repeating, making pitches and being consistent because that's something I really struggled at last year.”

The 33-year old was able to bounce back from his sluggish start and ended up saving 32 games for the Blue Jays in 60 outings while posting a 2.95 earned run average.  Ryan said it took him some time to adjust to the idea that he wasn't doing more damage to his arm by continuing to pitch.  “You hear the doctors and trust their opinions and they tell you that you are fine, but you telling me one thing and me going out there and doing it is a different thing,” Ryan told TSN.  “That's knowing your body and knowing how you feel.  That mental hurdle last year was one of the toughest ones of my career.”


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     When doctors and/or pitching coaches cannot explain athletes have their pains and what they have to do to eliminate them, the athletes cannot perform at competitive intensity.  I teach my baseball pitchers what the names of the muscles in their pitching arm and what each does in the baseball pitching motion.  As a result, they understand the difference between training discomfort and injurious pain.

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247.  Mets rotation has quality at top and quantity at bottom
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
February 22, 2009

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL:  The list of fill-in starters used by the Mets during the past three seasons is lengthy and unremarkable, from Brian Lawrence and Jason Vargas, to Alay Soler and Dave Williams, to Jose Lima and the late Geremi Gonzalez, to Chan Ho Park and Tony Armas Jr.  Now, the need for those plugs may be gone.  The Mets appear to have moved beyond the health issues that often sidelined Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez.  So there finally may be continuity with the rotation, and the end of an era of perpetually needing call-ups who bring modest returns.

Those eight fill-ins combined for 31 starts since '06.  They went 7-13 with a 7.68 ERA.  Lawrence's starts down the stretch in '07 in order to allow Martinez to get extra rest following shoulder surgery helped seal the Mets' fate in their historic squandering of a seven-game lead with 17 to play.  "To some degree we have insulated ourselves against that scenario," Jerry Manuel said, "but you never know."


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     Never knowing which baseball pitcher is going to break down next is a bad way to run a business.  Instead of spending huge sums on buying broken down baseball pitchers and hoping it works out, why not hire some competent researchers?  Oh, that's right, I forgot.  They hired the American Sports Medicine Institute to biomechanically analyze their baseball pitchers and the rate of pitching injuries increased.  Now, the Red Sox have their fingers crossed that Dr. Andrews' 'pathomechanics' program will work.

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248.  Rangers sign former Pirates pitcher
The Associated Press
February 22, 2009

SURPRISE, AZ:  Right-hander Kris Benson, the first pick in the 1996 draft by the Pirates, signed a minor-league contract Saturday with the Texas Rangers.  Benson reported to camp as a non-roster invitee.  The Rangers, who are looking to add depth to their rotation, worked out Benson earlier in the week.  "I'm not really paying attention to the minor league side of things," the 34-year-old Benson said.  "My goal and mindset is totally set on making this big league team."


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     What did I just say about spending money on broken down baseball pitchers?  Actually, because, when they are healthy, they have to mound presence to succeed, retooling broken down baseball pitchers would work.  Now, you only need someone who knows how to retool broken down baseball pitchers.

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249.  Izzy awaits chance
Jason Isringhausen reported to the Tampa Bay Rays' spring camp, and manager Joe Maddon was looking forward to seeing the reliever on the mound.  "We'll take it slowly in the beginning to make sure everything is in order," Maddon said.  "Obviously, he could be a big boon to us if we get this guy back and well."

Isringhausen, who was released by St. Louis after last season, agreed to a minor league deal with the AL champions Friday.  The right-hander could give Maddon some insurance in the bullpen if closer Troy Percival isn't ready to go after offseason back surgery.  Chad Bradford also is expected to be sidelined three to four months after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow this month.


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     Injuries, surgeries, will they never end?  Not until they stop teaching the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

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250.  Carpenter's outing pleases Duncan
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
February 22, 2009

JUPITER, FL:  The times Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter has faced hitters have been so few and far between the past couple of years that even a day that leaves the pitching coach "tickled pink" comes colored with caution.  Carpenter threw 30 pitches to batters on Saturday, the first time he’s thrown to hitters in any forum since early September.  His curveball had sharp bite, his changeup had late movement and what his fastball lacked in command it made up for in velocity.  It was an outing that pleased all parties.

But it was just one outing.  "He’s been mostly unavailable (for two seasons)," manager Tony La Russa said.  "The work he’s done has been in the training room.  The fact that he’s actually on the field is exciting.  We’ve only seen this how many times?  You can count on (one) hand the number of days we’ve actually seen him face hitters.  This is a big day.  This is a fun day."

Carpenter will throw another batting practice session on Tuesday, throw a less-intensive workout in the bullpen Thursday and is scheduled to then start Saturday against Washington.  Including spring training exhibition games, Saturday will be Carpenter’s fourth start since opening day 2007.  Carpenter, the 2005 Cy Young Award winner, understands the scrutiny given his every pitch this spring as the Cardinals have said a lot of their success hinges on his surgically repaired elbow and at-times cranky shoulder.

"I expect it," Carpenter said.  "I expect it from everybody.  They are paying me a lot of money to go out there and take the ball every fifth day.  I’ve had a lot of problems the last couple years and I haven’t been able to do it.  I’m doing everything I can physically to make sure it’s not my fault if something happens.  "I’ll continue to do that."

Carpenter faced seven hitters on Saturday, throwing four or five pitches to each.  Early in the session, he struggled to spot his fastball, once apologizing after buzzing catcher Jason LaRue with a high, tight fastball. ("Don’t say you’re sorry," La Rue snapped back.) His stuff was good; his accuracy was a little off.  Pitching coach Dave Duncan said that the L-screen Carpenter had as protection was one reason.  Carpenter called it adrenaline.

The righthander has had a normal spring, experiencing no setbacks.  The spring schedule allows for Carpenter to get several starts on an extra day of rest should his progress slow.  La Russa has stressed prudence even as Carpenter calls this a normal spring — save for the attention.

"Looked pretty normal to me," Duncan said.  "I was tickled pink with the way he threw.  I think you have to be conscious of the fact that he hasn’t pitched in two years.  (His throw Saturday) tells me he’s as close to 100 percent effort level as you can get.  I can’t imagine that he’s got any more in there."


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     I like that Mr. Duncan believes that Mr. Carpenter is close to 100 percent effort.  That is a good sign.  However, Mr. Carpenter said, "They are paying me a lot of money to go out there and take the ball every fifth day.  I’ve had a lot of problems the last couple years and I haven’t been able to do it.  I’m doing everything I can physically to make sure it’s not my fault if something happens.  "I’ll continue to do that."

     "To make sure that it's not my fault if something happens."  Mr. Carpenter has no idea why he repeatedly ruptures his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Nevertheless, for the money, he will continue to do what he has always do that ruptures his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  That does not sound as though Mr. Carpenter is having any fun.  Without fun, nobody performs the best that they can.

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251.  Rays' Nelson Thrives Despite Long Road To Majors
Tampa Tribune
February 22, 2009

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL:  He doesn't want to waste a second.  He beats most everyone to the park.  Joe Nelson learned at his first training camp, in 1996.  The then-Atlanta Braves prospect overslept twice.  "First time, they told me, OK, it happens," Nelson said "The second time, they said, Joe, you're a fourth-round pick, we expect better.  You better not ever, ever be late to the fields again.  I haven't come close since."

Joe Nelson is the Rays' new 34-year-old bullpen phenom.  OK, you're not a phenom when you're 34, but Nelson's story, at least, is phenomenal.  How do you and your right arm make it big in the majors after 12 years and four major arm surgeries, after all those years in the minors, after all those people told you to give up?

But Nelson made it last season with the Florida Marlins.  In 2008, his 2.00 ERA was third among National League relievers.  He was a workhorse, brutal on righties and lefties alike with a nasty change complete with a unique grip, the ball placed between Nelson's middle and ring fingers for a forkball fade.  Nelson calls it the "Vulcan" because the finger spread looks like Spock's "Live long and prosper" in "Star Trek."  "He should be able to beam us up at some point," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

Even those surgeries, including a Tommy John turn, that wiped out entire seasons.  They wiped out everything in Joe Nelson but hope.  How many surgeries? So many that Nelson met his wife, Teresa Cortinas, at one of them.  It's a story as old as time.  Boy meets girl.  Boy has blown-out elbow.  Girl is radiologist.  The couple has three young children.  "Best injury I ever had," Nelson said. "He appreciates everything," Maddon said.  "... There's a definite sense of gratitude when he talks about being here."  Nelson has thrown only 103 major-league innings.  His first taste came in 2001 with the Braves.  He threw two innings to an ERA of 36.00.  Back to the minors.  He next pitched in the majors for Boston, five years later.  He threw two more innings for a 16.88 ERA. Back to the minors.

Plenty of people told him to find a new career. His wife told him to follow his dream.  He kept pitching.  In 2006, across four different call-ups with the Royals, he had nine saves and a 4.43 ERA.  Then: more surgery.  He missed 2007.  When he asked the Marlins about a job before last season, Florida assumed he meant as a scout.  But, no.

So here's Joe Nelson, with a one-year, $1.3 million free-agent deal.  Here he is, bright and early every morning, grateful and ready to work.  Here he is, with his simple advice for young teammates.  "When you play, smile."


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     That 'Vulcan' grip with the baseball between the middle and ring fingers sounds an awful lot like my Maxline Fastball Sinker grip.  If so, to get the baseball to move to the pitching arm side of home plate and downward, baseball pitcher have to pronate their pitching arm.  That is good.

     Because Mr. Nelson wants the baseball to move away from glove side batters, he has to drive his pitching arm down his acromial line.  That is good.

     If he is doing these two things, then his days of surgeries are over.  Congratulations, Mr. Nelson.  I am happy for you and yours.

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252.  Pitcher Mark Melancon springs up the charts at Yankees camp
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
February 22, 2009

TAMPA, FL:  Mark Melancon looked at the workout schedule Sunday morning, a daily ritual for virtually every player in camp.  He knew he was penciled in for live batting practice, but when the 23-year-old saw Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano were in the group hitting against him, he texted his father back in Colorado.  "He said, 'Just picture your mom standing in there,'" Melancon said.  "I said, 'No thanks. I'll be fine.'"

Melancon was right.  He threw 30 pitches during his session, getting Jeter to swing and miss a couple times and breaking Cano's bat with a filthy four-seam fastball.  With Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman watching the pitcher many think could be Mariano Rivera's successor, Melancon took advantage of an opportunity to impress, something he hopes to do every time he takes the mound this spring.  "I think I'm ready," Melancon said when asked if he feels he belongs in the majors.  "I still think I have a lot of learning to do.  I'm definitely not at the level I want to be at."

Confident words from a pitcher with just 12 games of experience at the Triple-A level.  But having worked his way back from reconstructive elbow surgery, Melancon doesn't come off as arrogant.  It's more a case of ... he's good, and he knows it.

While Girardi tried to quell any talk about Melancon succeeding Rivera, the topic didn't seem to faze the youngster.  "It's not overwhelming, because I know it's not true unless I make it true," Melancon said.  "I think it's able to be done, so I'm excited for that.  I'm excited that people are throwing that out there, but I know it's not true until I make it true."  "I can picture that," Melancon said. "I think I have a lot to offer - my competitiveness and my ability to get it done.  I feel that in any situation I come in to I have a chance to get outs and win."

Melancon (pronounced Muh-lan-son) was taken by the Yankees in the ninth round of the 2006 draft, but after helping Staten Island to its second straight New York-Penn League title with seven appearances that year, he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Oct. 31, knocking him out for the entire 2007 campaign.

He returned last season, though he was rusty in the early part of the season with Single-A Tampa.  After allowing six runs in his first three outings, Melancon gave up just two earned runs in his next 20-2/3 innings, earning a promotion to Double-A Trenton in mid-May.  The righthander continued his success there, going 6-0 with a 1.81 ERA in 19 outings.  On July 29, he was moved to Triple-A Scranton, where he struck out 22 batters in 20 innings (12 games) before helping the club to the International League title with three scoreless innings over two postseason games.

Melancon entered the season ranked as the Yankees' No. 9 prospect by Baseball America, though he could wind up being more important to the club in 2009 than any of the eight players listed ahead of him.

Girardi puts Melancon "in the mix" with the rest of the relievers, though Cashman said recently that he anticipates the youngster opening the season at Triple-A.  "You don't want to make too much of what you see right now because his stuff is going to get better as he goes on in spring training," Girardi said.  "I love his arm."


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     If Mr. Girardi does not understand why Mr. Melancon required "reconstructive elbow surgery," then how can he love his arm?

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253.  Cubs keeping reins on workhorse 'Z'
Chicago Sun-Times
February 23, 2009

MESA, AZ:  Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said the Cubs are monitoring Carlos Zambrano's innings, not his right shoulder.  The team is easing him into a workload of spring games that won't start until the second time through the rotation. "Over the last seven or eight years, he's pitched a lot of innings and thrown a lot of pitches, so you start to be aware of that," Rothschild said.  "But I don't know that [this spring is] a whole lot different.  What's different is there haven't been any quotes that put the spotlight on him."

Two years ago, Zambrano predicted a Cy Young Award for himself and a World Series for the team.  Last year, he was generally bland with the quotes, workmanlike with the pitching and wound up with a cranky shoulder that put him on the disabled list in June.  "Those things are going to come up when you've pitched that many innings," Rothschild said.  "But he bounced back from that pretty well, stuff-wise especially."  "The outings weren't as consistent [10.09 ERA in seven of his last eight starts, with a no-hitter in the other], but arm-slot-wise, stuff-wise and velocity-wise [he was fine].  He just didn't make good pitches.  That could've been caused by [the shoulder issue]."

Zambrano, who spent much of the winter strengthening his shoulder, is taking eyedrops to clear an infection.  It's not certain whether he'll have laser surgery to correct astigmatism in his right eye.  He's scheduled to throw batting practice to hitters today for the first time in camp, a day or two behind the other pitchers.

"It's just to make sure he goes through the strides he needs to go through and we prevent anything from happening early in the season while getting his arm strength where it needs to be," Rothschild said.  "He's going to be throwing, just not necessarily under the most stressful situations early."


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     "... arm-slot-wise, stuff-wise and velocity-wise [he was fine].  He just didn't make good pitches.  That could've been caused by [the shoulder issue]."

     You think?  "Spent much of the winter strengthening his shoulder."  How?  Did they first eliminate the injurious flaw that injured his pitching shoulder?  Has he stopped pulling his slider?

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254.  Tight but all right
Los Angeles Times
February 23, 2009

Joe Saunders is experiencing a little "tightness" in his throwing shoulder, but the left-hander described the feeling as "normal spring-training soreness."  Saunders, who went 17-7 with a 3.41 earned-run average and made the All-Star team last season, doesn't believe the setback will affect his spring preparations.  "It happens every year, something gets sore, nothing is hurt," said Saunders, who has been throwing since January.  "Last year it was my elbow. This year it's my shoulder's turn, I guess."


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     Mr. Saunders could be right.  It could be the normal result of increasing intensity.  "Last year it was my elbow.  This year it's my shoulder's turn, I guess."  That does not sound good.

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255.  Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
February 23, 2009

Phil Dumatrait, scheduled to return today to the mound for his third round of spring pitching after August shoulder surgery, is being rehabbed toward a starting role, Russell said.  "You can always put him in the bullpen.  But if you build him up in the bullpen and need a starter, it's going to be more difficult.  So we'll get him going as a starter, and see how he progresses."


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     After shoulder surgery last August, they are rehabbing Mr. Dumatrait toward a starting role.  While I am most concerned that they have not corrected the injurious flaw that cause him to have shoulder surgery, it also bothers me that they are putting time pressure on his rehabilitation.  Athletes do not recover according to when the team plays games.

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256.  The next Smoltz? Braves eager to show off Hanson
Associated Press
February 23, 2009

KISSIMMEE, FL:  When Tommy Hanson arrived for his first big league camp, he was assigned to a corner of the Atlanta Braves’ clubhouse with a bunch of other guys wearing football-like numbers.  The barely-out-of-high-schoolers.  The journeymen.  The guys who’ll spend their season in outposts such as Mississippi and Myrtle Beach.  In fact, Hanson only has half a locker.  He must share his stall with another non-roster invitee, Kris Medlen.

But this inglorious, crowded spot is merely a stopping-off point for Hanson, a chance for him to get a sampling of life in the majors before he claims a more prominent position.  This is the guy who’s supposed to restore the luster to the Braves’ rotation, the one who’ll provide a link to a glorious era when pitchers named Smoltz and Maddux and Glavine were in their prime.

“This kid is going to be a No. 1 starter in Atlanta soon,” Braves star Chipper Jones said.  “There’s no holding him back.  Even if I had to go to a six-man rotation, I would do it, just to get this kid some experience and get him on his way.”

Spring training is overrun with hyped-up prospects who’ll never spend a day in the big leagues, but it’s hard not to get excited about this laid-back, 6-foot-6 Californian with the dazzling right arm.  The slider, said manager Bobby Cox, is a lot like the one thrown by John Smoltz.  That’s a good comparison, said Jones, except Hanson has a wider repertoire than the only pitcher in baseball history to win 200 games and save 150 more.

The Braves might have acquired San Diego ace Jake Peavy during the offseason, if only they had been willing to give up a player who’s never pitched above Double-A.  They weren’t.  “I’d love to see him come down here and dazzle and make this club,” Jones said.  “I think he can pay immediate dividends.”

Sitting on the far side of the clubhouse, a wall separating him from the more established members of the team, Hanson merely smiles when asked about all the hype.  “I’m not a flashy guy. I’m not a guy where that’s going to go to my head,” Hanson said.  “If everyone wants to write how good I am or how good I can be, go for it.  It’s fun to read that stuff.  It’s cool.  But it’s not going to affect me or anything like that.”  Everyone raves about his maturity, the fact that he can throw four pitches— fastball, curveball, slider and changeup—for strikes.  “It won’t be long before he’s up here,” Cox predicted.  “He can throw one bad pitch in the ‘pen and correct it on the next pitch.  Some guys, it takes six or seven pitches to figure it out.  That tells you about his makeup.  He’s way ahead of the game.”

Growing up in Redlands, Calif., Hanson used to watch the Braves on television when he got home from school. With the three-hour time difference, they would just be getting started on the East Coast about the time he walked in the door.  He watched Cox barking from the dugout, Jones ripping line drives from both sides of the plate and, of course, all those great pitchers who served as the cornerstone for 14 straight division titles.  Greg Maddux won three Cy Young Awards in Atlanta, Tom Glavine claimed two and Smoltz captured one of his own.  They were joined over the years by starters such as Steve Avery, Denny Neagle and Kevin Millwood, all of whom had big years for the Braves.

Hanson is ready to lead the next great Atlanta rotation.  “I want to pitch a long time,” he said.  “That would be the ultimate goal to do something like those guys.  I want to get better.  I want to have a good season this year and hopefully be up in Atlanta at some point, helping us win some games.  I’m just going one step at a time right now.”

While Jones is pushing for Hanson to get a shot right from opening day, he’ll likely spend at least part of the season at Triple-A Gwinnett, the Braves’ new farm club in suburban Atlanta.  The team doesn’t want to rush its prized prospect to the big leagues faster than it has to, especially when it bolstered the rotation by signing Derek Lowe, trading for Javier Vazquez, acquiring Japanese all-star Kenshin Kawakami and bringing back the 42-year-old Glavine for another season.  But it seems just a matter of time before Hanson is squeezing someone out of a spot.

“This kid is that good,” Jones said.  “The power arm is something this club has been missing for a while.  Smoltzie has a power arm.  He can get the strikeout when he needs it.  That’s why he’s such a good pitcher in the postseason.  Power arms are good to have in the postseason.”  The postseason?  Aren’t we getting a little ahead of ourselves here?

Hanson seems to take it all in stride, though he has to admit that it seems a little strange to hear who’s building up the expectations.  “I’ve watched Chipper play since I was a little kid,” Hanson said, breaking into an embarrassed grin.  “It’s crazy hearing stuff like that from him.  And Bobby Cox saying I have a Smoltz-like slider.  It’s just a good feeling.  The work I’ve put in must be paying off.  It’s just kind of cool to hear those comments.”


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     I hope that having a slider like Smoltzie does not mean he gets to have two Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgeries like Smoltzie.

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257.  Isringhausen has solid workout: Rays manager Maddon, pitching coach Hickey like what they see
MLB.com
February 23, 2009

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL:  Newly signed Jason Isringhausen opened the eyes of Rays manager Joe Maddon during Monday's workout.  "[He] looked pretty good," Maddon said.  "I thought he was pretty firm today.  I thought he threw the ball well and he felt pretty good about himself.  It was kind of nice to watch."

Isringhausen, 36, is a veteran of 13 Major League seasons, including the past seven with the Cardinals.  In 2008, he endured two trips to the disabled list, which limited him to 42 appearances and 12 saves, his lowest total since converting to closer in 1999.  Isringhausen's season ended on Aug. 16 due to right elbow tendinitis and a partial tear of his flexor tendon, which was repaired in a Sept. 12 procedure.  He also missed 26 games with a right hand laceration.

"I don't want to push it, so whenever they say he's ready to roll, we'll put him out there," Maddon said.  "But I just know today, he threw his fastball, he threw his curveball, his changeup.  I think he threw a couple of sliders or cutters, but he was totally unencumbered.  He threw the ball well, it was hitting the glove and he had a lot of pop on the ball.  [It was] kind of nice to see."

If Isringhausen is healthy enough, he's a good candidate to claim one of the available bullpen spots, and, based on his background, could even be a candidate to close.  "I was pretty encouraged by what I saw today," Maddon said.  "I know he's working his butt off already, and all I've heard is how hard he works.  And he goes out there and I have no real base to compare it to, but I just liked what I saw today."

Isringhausen was joined by fellow reliever Troy Percival on Monday.  Percival, who is coming back from December back surgery, threw 28 to 30 pitches, while Isringhausen threw approximately 35, according to pitching coach Jim Hickey.  Hickey said both veteran relievers are on a schedule that will have two days off before they pitch another bullpen session.  "Just not too much too soon," Hickey said.

Hickey seemed most excited about seeing Jake McGee throw Monday.  The left-handed pitching prospect made 15 starts for Double-A Montgomery in 2008 before tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.  Dr. James Andrews performed season-ending Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery on July 8.  McGee is expected to miss a portion of the '09 season as he recovers.

"McGee looked really good," Hickey said.  "That was exciting, especially when a guy puts so much work and effort and time into it.  The ball came out of his hand tremendously.  He was exciting before, but this is a whole different thing now."


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     "... right elbow tendinitis and a partial tear of his flexor tendon, which was repaired in a Sept. 12 procedure, back surgery, season-ending Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery on July 8..."  It sounds like a Mash unit report, not spring training.

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258.  Schmidt sharp in brief stint against teammates
Associated Press
February 23, 2006

PHOENIX, AZ:  Admittedly nervous, Jason Schmidt had modest expectations for his twice-repaired right shoulder in his return to the mound Monday.  “My biggest goal was to get out there and walk off in one piece,” the Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher said.  “I wanted to be able to come out knowing I don’t have to ice.  I think I accomplished that, as long as I don’t trip on the way to the clubhouse.”

Things couldn’t have gone much better for the 36-year-old veteran, who threw nine of his 11 pitches for strikes and retired three of the four batters he faced to begin a five-inning intrasquad game.  Schmidt has pitched in only six games, all in 2007, during the first two seasons of his three-year, $47 million deal with the Dodgers.

He looked sharp in his brief stint against teammates.  Schmidt used only two of his four pitches, fastballs and changeups, to retire Juan Pierre, Mark Loretta and Matt Kemp while allowing only an infield single to Casey Blake.  “I wanted to get in a game, get my feet wet and see how it feels to play catch tomorrow,” Schmidt said.  “I wouldn’t have minded a few more pitches.  When you get out there and get loose, you feel like you can throw all day.  “It’s going to take me a while.  I’ll be honest about that.  I have to get all my checkpoints back, the things that got me over the plate and got me aligned.”

There were no speed guns used Monday, but pitching coach Rick Honeycutt was very happy with what he saw from Schmidt, a candidate for the back end of the rotation if the positive trend continues.  “The whole key is he just feels good.  He’s been one of the regular guys, he hasn’t missed any throwing or drills,” Honeycutt said.  “He wants everything to be perfect, but this was a very positive step.”

“I’m not going to be a 96-98 (mph) guy like I was before.  I just have to get it around the plate and get them to hit it on the ground,” Schmidt said.  “Down the road, maybe a little bit will come back.  It probably won’t fully be there, but you never know.”

Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who watched Schmidt struggle from the first day last spring, was impressed with how smooth he looked Monday.  “He had an easy time throwing the ball.  He certainly looked comfortable,” Torre said.  “He’s been in a great frame of mind.  Last year, there would always be that one day when he wasn’t sure.  But today looked like he was just letting it go and it looked great coming out.”


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     “My biggest goal was to get out there and walk off in one piece.”

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259.  Zumaya, Porcello blowing Tigers away: Hurlers impress staff in throwing sessions on Monday
MLB.com
February 23,2009

LAKELAND, FL:  Give Joel Zumaya credit for this:  He knows where he wants to be with each outing.  At one point during his live batting practice session Monday morning, he was muttering to himself in frustration after throwing a split changeup that didn't do what he wanted.  Never mind that his breaking ball was giving hitters fits at times.  He wants to improve both of his secondary pitches.  "Last year at this time, I was only at 90 feet, throwing off flat ground," Zumaya said.  "I'm trying to be 100 percent for Opening Day and just trying to work down in the zone and throw strikes.  If I throw and establish those two pitches I'm working on, the curveball and change, like this guy said, I'm pretty unhittable.  That's pretty good to hear."

The guy Zumaya referred to is Brandon Inge, one of those hitters who was buckled by a Zumaya breaking ball.  "Pretty dominating," was another description Inge used.  Inge paid an additional complement to Zumaya by the way he celebrated simply making contact.

Through two live BP sessions against hitters, Zumaya is giving Tigers coaches reason to believe that the troubles of last fall's stress fracture in his throwing shoulder are behind him.  With manager Jim Leyland out of town for a family funeral, it was third-base coach Gene Lamont keeping a close eye on their potentially prized setup man.  "He's got a real good look in his eye," Lamont said.  "I think he knows it's an important spring for him, just like we know it's important."

Zumaya's look showed a focus on improvement as he went back out to the mound.  While he was happy with his breaking ball, he didn't have as much command on his offspeed pitch at times as he would've liked.  He admitted to getting charged up to the point of overthrowing on some of his fastballs, adding an audible grunt on a couple of them.  "When I grunt, it's either that I'm ticked off a little bit or I just tried to do a little bit more," Zumaya said.  "Usually, the ones where I don't grunt are my fastest ones.  When I grunt, it usually comes out a little differently, because I'm trying to do too much.  "There won't be that much grunting this year."


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     If Mr. Zumaya still 'loops' his pitching forearm, then Mr. Zumaya's days of dominating stuff will not last for long.

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260.  Royals’ Gobble ready to put last year’s nightmare in rear-view mirror
The Kansas City Star
February 23, 2009

SURPRISE, AZ:  Royals reliever Jimmy Gobble started last spring by walking into a low-lying cactus while playing golf and jamming the needle deep under his toenail.  The rest of the year never got much better.  “Describe it?” Gobble said. “I don’t think I can put it into words that you could put into the paper.  Just say it wasn’t very good.”  That doesn’t begin to describe it.

Gobble compiled an 8.81 earned-run average in 39 games — the worst by any pitcher in either league who made at least 15 appearances.  The nightmare peaked July 21, when he allowed 10 runs in one inning against Detroit.  He also suffered back spasms, perhaps as a result of changing his delivery to ease the pain in his foot.  The result was six weeks on the disabled list that included eight rehab outings in the minors.  That’s a lot to forget in a few months.

“You go into the winter,” Gobble admitted, “and you don’t know what to expect.  Truly, I wanted to be part of this organization, but after what happened, I didn’t know.  That’s nothing personal.  That’s business.  I looked at it that way.”  The Royals chose to view last year as an aberration and envision the 2007 Gobble — the guy who posted a 3.02 ERA in a club-leading 74 outings while seeming to establish himself as one of the league’s better left-handed situational relievers.

Manager Trey Hillman blames himself, in part, for Gobble’s rough 2008.  Hillman cites two occasions, including that game against the Tigers, when a tired bullpen led him to allow an ineffective Gobble to take a pounding.  “I also forced the issue of wanting him to be better against right-handed hitters when he wasn’t ready for that,” Hillman said.  “Having said that, the objective this year will be to primarily utilize him (against left-handed hitters).”

The Royals have that luxury since their projected bullpen includes two other left-handers in Ron Mahay and John Bale.  And Gobble, even when everything else last year turned sour, remained effective against lefties — limiting them to 13 hits in 65 at-bats.  “In a bad season,” pitching coach Bob McClure said, “if your left-hander is keeping left-handers to .200, that’s pretty good.  Overall, he didn’t do well, but I think a lot of it was because of the injuries.”

Gobble, 27, turns mulish at the mention of those ailments.  He doesn’t deny them, but he rejects any suggestion that seems to use them as an excuse.  “When I’m on the mound,” he said, “I’m 100 percent.  There are no excuses.  If I’m out there, I can pitch.  And if I can pitch, there are no excuses.  It’s mind over matter.  You block it out and get your job done.”

Rather than injuries, Gobble points to irregular use.  He worked at least 11 times in each month in 2007; last year, he pitched 10 times in May and fewer in every other month.  Gobble understood it was the classic bullpen conundrum:  He pitched too seldom to find a groove, and he pitched too poorly to pitch more often.  That didn’t make it any easier to handle.

“I lost command,” he said, “and I lost confidence.  Then, shoot, I just … I mean I was trying and trying, but I was mad because I was pitching so poorly, and when I’m mad, I can’t learn.  When you can’t learn, you can’t overcome.  You can’t get any better.  “And I was mad for like four months.”


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     It does sound as though events conspired to ruin his season.  They did not mention any specific pitching arm injury or any surgery.  Those are good signs.  However, eight rehabilitation trips to the minors make me wonder.

     I liked, "When you can’t learn, you can’t overcome.  You can’t get any better."  That is right.  Do not blame anyone or anything, take responsibility and get to work.

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261.  Penny encouraged by first batting practice session
Associated Press
February 23, 2009

FORT MYERS, FL: - Brad Penny began his slow windup, then accelerated and fired the ball past the hitter, showing no signs that his shoulder had ever been hurt.  When he was done with his first batting practice session of spring training Monday, he chatted with Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek between the mound and home plate.  Then Penny met briefly with pitching coach John Farrell beside the batting cage.  “Today was an encouraging step for him,” Farrell said.

Boston’s new right-hander had thrown 30 pitches—fastballs, breaking balls and splitters—and stayed on track to be ready for the start of the regular season.  “I felt great,” Penny said.  “Today, for me, answered a lot of questions, mentally and physically.  I didn’t even know what to expect going out there the first time facing hitters, but everything felt great.”

The Red Sox hope his windup style—start slowly and end with a surge— mirrors his season.  He’s throwing off a mound every third day while nearly all other Boston pitchers are doing it every second day.  But he’s working hard on his conditioning and the rest of the program the team has set up for him.

And that’s what Farrell cares about, not about Los Angeles coach Larry Bowa’s comments that Penny was lazy and out of shape and missed meetings.  The Red Sox signed him to a one-year, $5 million contract after the Dodgers didn’t pick up his option.  “I have really no reaction to what feedback is coming from the Dodgers,” Farrell said.  “What we have to base our judgments on are what he shows us day in and day out.  … There have been no issues as far as him fitting in and matching the intensity the other pitchers are showing around him.”

Penny began the back-and-forth with Bowa when he told Yahoo Sports that he was upset that Dodgers management questioned whether he was injured and that Bowa talked behind his back.  Asked Monday if he had any comment on Bowa’s remarks, the pitcher said, “no, not at all.”  Instead, the discussion focused on the health of his shoulder and the go-slow approach the Red Sox are taking.  He won’t pitch in an exhibition game until March 5, eight days after Wednesday’s opener.

“I feel 100 percent,” Penny said.  “I would want to go out there every other day, but it’s probably being smarter and giving me more time to strengthen my shoulder to where it should have been last year and it wasn’t.”  Now he’s getting used to throwing to hitters again, refining his motion and improving the command on his pitches.  “I think the key for him will be as he gets into his first game activity and starts to really look to add some aggressiveness to the attacking of hitters,” Farrell said.  And if he feels fine the next day, Farrell said, that would build his confidence “that the physical issues are currently behind him.”  Farrell said Penny should be ready for opening day if he has no physical setbacks.  There’s not going to be the anxiousness by all of us to say, `Hey, you’ve got to hurry up,’ and then we take a shortcut with what his needs are,” Farrell said.

If healthy, he thinks Penny can win about 15 games again and pitch a lot of innings.  Penny is just eager to keep facing hitters, even in batting practice, rather than throwing to a catcher in the bullpen.  “When that hitter gets in there, you’re still trying to make pitches and you focus a little more,” he said.  “There’s not a lot of adrenaline facing hitters (in batting practice), but in the bullpen there’s absolutely no adrenaline.”  If all goes well, it should be flowing every fifth day in the regular season.  “I just want to go out there and pitch,” Penny said.  “Last year was a rough season for me, being hurt all year.  But, hopefully, I’m on the right track.”


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     "But, hopefully, I’m on the right track.”  We will see whether 'pathomechanics' makes the difference for Mr. Penny.  While I never wish any baseball pitcher any ill, I doubt that stretching and non-specific exercises without eliminating the injurious flaw in his pitching motion will provide long term benefits.

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262.  Cleveland Plain Dealer
February 23, 2009

Manager Eric Wedge ended Sunday's press conference by grabbing the remote control and watching Detroit's Mark "The Bird' Fidrych finish the ninth inning of a complete-game victory over the Yankees at Tiger Stadium in 1976 on the MLB Network.  Wedge and everyone else laughed as the hyper Fidrych, who liked to talk to the ball and himself on the mound, finished off the Yankees.  When Fidrych's stats from 1976 were shown, Wedge said, "Twenty four complete games in 29 starts!  No wonder he blew out."


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     While I believe that three times through the line-ups is enough, Mr. Fidrych did not injure his pitching arm because he pitched too much.  Instead, he injured his pitching arm because he used the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.  Wait.  No, Mr. Wedge is right.  Mr. Fidrych injured his pitching arm because he pitched too many complete games with the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.  If he had just pitched one time through the line-up in each game, then he might have lasted more than one year.

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***********************************************************************************************
     Unfortunately, during the week between Sunday, March 01, 2009 and Sunday, March 08, 2009, I was out of town on Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  On Wednesday and Thursday, we moved into our new house.  In addition, we lost our high-speed internet access.  I will also be out of town next Monday.  Nevertheless, as well as the pitching injury reports, as soon as I can find time, I will post the questions and answers for the week.  Thank you.

***********************************************************************************************
***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, March 15, 2009, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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263.  Dontrelle Willis, who helped the Marlins win a World Series and was a Cy Young contender, is hoping to rebound after a forgettable 2008 season
Miami Herald
February 24, 2009

LAKELAND, FL:  Dontrelle Willis was finishing breakfast in front of his locker last week when he was struck by a sudden sense of déjà vu.  His eyes surveyed the Detroit Tigers clubhouse at Joker Marchant Stadium.  Silence.  “Man, where's all the media?” Willis asked.  “This is like it was in Florida -- no one here.”

The clubhouse wasn't quite empty.  But hey, whatever brings him back to his Marlins days.  The Tigers can only hope Willis rediscovers his Florida form on the mound after a disastrous 2008 season that included a stint in the minors.  Willis, who was traded to Detroit along with Miguel Cabrera for six prospects in late 2007, will compete for the fifth spot in the Tigers' rotation this spring.  “I'm just happy to be here and be healthy and having fun, hanging out with the fellas and getting that camaraderie going,” Willis said.  “I feel good, and right now I'm just trying to win each day.”

Willis, 27, was the National League's Rookie of the Year in 2003, helping the Marlins win the World Series.  He was a Cy Young contender in 2005, when he won 22 games.  But he began to struggle with his control in 2006 and was even more erratic in 2007, finishing his final season with the Marlins with a 5.17 ERA.

That was nothing compared to the nightmare of 2008.  A quick recap of the lowlights: Willis injured his knee, was sent to the bullpen and then demoted to Single A Lakeland before working his way back to the majors in September.  Final numbers: 0-2 in eight major-league games (seven starts) with a 9.38 ERA.  “I just [stunk],” he said.  “I tried to play hurt, couldn't get it done.  That's the bottom line.”

But there was clearly more to Willis' problems than the injury.  There were issues with his mechanics the Tigers tried to work with him on.  And mentally, he was not his usual carefree self.  Former Marlins catcher Matt Treanor, now Willis' teammate with the Tigers, recalled watching Willis on TV last year.  “I could tell there was a different look on his face,” Treanor said.  “When you know a guy that's happy-go-lucky -- and he's like that on and off the field -- when he's on the field and he doesn't have that sparkle, you know something's bugging him.”

This year, Willis appears to be in better shape, mentally and physically.  He spent the off-season working out with Treanor and former Marlin Juan Pierre at a gym in Margate, waking up at 5:30 a.m. to leave his house in North Miami Beach in time.  Willis, an Oakland native, also spent time working out with Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia in the San Francisco Bay area.

He arrived in Lakeland to start preparing for the season on Jan. 3, 41 days before pitchers and catchers were due to report to camp.  The sooner he could erase the memory of last year, the better.  “If you don't mentally -- I don't want to say let stuff go, but come to grips with stuff -- you won't be able to move forward,” Willis said.  “`So before I come in here, I make sure my head is clear and I'm open to getting better.”

The Tigers are not sure what to expect this year from Willis, who has two years and $22 million remaining on his contract.  But they are not trying to reform his delivery.  They still want the laid-back pitcher with the off-center cap and the high leg kick.  They just want the one they saw in Florida all those years.  “It's not a secret: his delivery isn't the way you would put it in a book,” Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp said.  “But that doesn't mean he can't be effective.”  “I want him to be himself.  I want him to be who he was when he was good.”


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     Being himself is what got him to this point.  Mr. Willis needs to stop taking the baseball so far laterally behind his body.  If he does not, then you will see more of the same and the last couple of years.  His pitching shoulder is toast.

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264.  Schmidt's shoulder sore after debut: Dodgers righty gives mixed reviews after intrasquad game
MLB.com
February 24, 2009

PHOENIX, AZ:  Jason Schmidt's self-review of the day after was mixed.  Schmidt pitched a scoreless inning in a Dodgers intrasquad game Monday and said at the time that the real hurdle would be how he felt the next day.  So, how did he feel?  "It was all right," said Schmidt.  "It felt like I had thrown five innings.  It was a little sore in an area where it should be sore.  It's a good thing I'm not throwing a bullpen today.  Overall, I'd say it came out good.  I mean, I don't need a cortisone shot, so that's good, right?"

Right.  And while that bar may seem to be set low, Schmidt's expectations are forged by last year's ordeal, in which he never felt healthy and often needed to be shut down immediately after a strenuous throwing session.  This spring, Schmidt is sounding more optimistic than a year ago, although he said he was hoping to be completely pain-free Tuesday.  On the other hand, he said, he's realistic enough to know he might never be completely pain-free after undergoing major shoulder surgery in June 2007, then having the tip of the clavicle removed last September.

He also said he might never be a power pitcher again, but it's too soon to come to that conclusion.  Schmidt said he would have a better idea by Wednesday if he would need an extra day to bounce back before his next outing, which is tentatively set for a "B" game on Thursday.


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     “I mean, I don't need a cortisone shot, so that's good, right?"  I don’t believe that I would count on Mr. Schmidt.

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265.  Bonser to undergo exploratory surgery: Right-hander's absence likely to open up spot in Twins' bullpen
MLB.com
February 24, 2009

FORT MYERS, FL:  Twins right-hander Boof Bonser will undergo exploratory surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday in order to determine what has been causing the discomfort he's been experiencing.  The decision to perform surgery came after Bonser underwent another MRI on his shoulder in St. Petersburg, FL., on Monday.  No new structural damage was discovered in the exam, but doctors felt that it was time to go in with a scope and clean out the area.

"We did an MRI.  We did the rehab.  And now it's time to go look and see if there is something more serious," Twins general manager Bill Smith said.

Bonser will likely miss several weeks following the surgery, which will be performed by Rays orthopedist Koko Eaton.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the team will not have a specific timetable for Bonser's return until after surgery is performed and the club knows what was found in the shoulder.  "But they're going to clean something up, so he's going to be a little ways," Gardenhire said.

Bonser first began experiencing shoulder discomfort at the end of last season.  An MRI performed at that time revealed no structural damage, and Bonser was ordered to rest the shoulder and begin a rehabilitation program.  But the rehab didn't help.  Bonser tried to throw in early January and felt the same discomfort.  The right-hander received a cortisone shot from Dr. Eaton just a few days before he reported for Spring Training.  The shot had little effect on the problem, and Bonser has not really thrown since workouts began last Monday.  "It's extremely frustrating right now," Bonser said last week.

The news that Bonser will now undergo surgery could mean that a spot on the Opening Day roster has opened up for a relief pitcher.  Gardenhire said Tuesday that while Bonser had been expected to be in a long-relief role for the Twins, he was also going to be in consideration for one of the late-inning roles out of the 'pen, similar to the one he performed at the end of last season.  The Twins felt Bonser, who was 1-1 with a 5.88 ERA in 35 appearances, might be a possibility for that type of spot since he possesses a fastball that tops in the mid-90s.

But now the team will have to take a closer look at some of its other relief options, which include Philip Humber, Jason Jones, R.A. Dickey and Sean Henn.  "One guy goes down, it opens the door for some other guys to step in," Gardenhire said.  "We'll take a good look.  It's tough to see, because we were hoping to get Boof in there.  We like his arm."


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     The Twins like his arm.  But, when he injured his arm, they stopped liking him.

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266.  Bedard happy with brief intrasquad outing
Associated Press
February 24, 2009

PEORIA, AZ:  Erik Bedard passed his first brief test in his comeback from shoulder surgery, allowing only a groundball single during a scoreless inning in an intrasquad game Tuesday.  He then declared himself healthy and ready to pitch Friday in an exhibition game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Bedard threw 12 pitches, six to Bryan LaHair before he struck out the reserve first baseman to end his short morning.  “It was pretty good,” Bedard said of his first work against hitters since surgery Sept. 26 to remove a cyst from his pitching shoulder and cut away some tissue.

Bedard is one month ahead of the typical, six-month recovery time from that procedure.  Asked if he felt healthy, Bedard said, “Yep.”

The left-hander went 6-4 with a 3.67 ERA in 15 starts last season before the surgery. He didn’t make a start after July 4.  A year ago, the Mariners traded five top prospects—including George Sherrill, a closer they could now use—to the Baltimore Orioles for Bedard.

He and the Mariners agreed last month on a $7.75 million, one-year contract that gave Bedard a raise of $750,000 and avoided salary arbitration.  He is eligible for free agency after this season.  Bedard’s raise could total more than $1.3 million if he stays healthy in 2009.  He can make $600,000 in performance bonuses: $75,000 for 150 innings, $100,000 for 165 innings, $150,000 for 180 innings, $125,000 for 195 innings and $150,000 for 205 innings.

That all looks possible—so far.  “He said it was great.  Everything’s good,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said of Bedard’s outing Tuesday.  Bedard began throwing during the second week of December in his garage at his home near Navan, Ontario, off his portable plastic mound.  By the first of the year, Bedard said the scar tissue had loosened and he felt pain-free, as he has since.  He said his shoulder troubles are completely out of his mind.  Asked this month what the difference is between now and last year, he said simply:  “It just doesn’t hurt.”


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     Something in his ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion caused Mr. Bedard to develop a cyst in his pitching shoulder.  If they did not change how he throws, then he should expect another cyst or worse.

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267.  Given the fact that Mike Maddux will handle these gents, what can we expect?

1.  Turnbow is the only one of the three who hasn't blown his arm out; of course, he's only good for an inning of relief every other day.

2.  Guardado missed 63 games in 2004 with a shoulder injury; 39 games in 2006 with elbow tendinitis; 111 games in 2007 with presumably the same elbow injury; and 16 games in 2008 with shoulder soreness/inflammation.

3.  Donnelly missed four games in 2006 with a back injury and then suffered a "forearm injury" in 2007 that essentially resulted in Tommy John surgery.

4.  Frank Francisco missed all of 2005 and the first 70 games of 2006 with an elbow injury (presumably TJS).

5.  C.J. Wilson missed the final 48 games of last year with elbow inflammation.

-------------------------------------------------

Pitchers' health
Dallas Morning News
February 25, 2009

The Nolan Ryan Workout System is designed, in part, to help avoid the injury woes the Rangers suffered last year.  Two pitchers – Eric Hurley and Joaquin Benoit – were out of the picture before spring training even started.  But so far, so good after 10 days of workouts.  Last season, 14 pitchers went on the disabled list.  Five had multiple DL stints, including Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla.

Team president Nolan Ryan says:  "If Millwood and Padilla had been healthy for the whole year and we wouldn't have had to rush kids, I think we wouldn't have overworked our bullpen. Things could have been different."

Three veterans in camp on minor league deals could give the Rangers bullpen a level of experience that was lacking in 2008.  Derrick Turnbow and Eddie Guardado are former All-Star closers, and Brendan Donnelly was an All-Star setup man in 2003.  They know how to handle any situation thrown at them, and they can help take some late-inning burden off Frank Francisco and C.J. Wilson.

General manager Jon Daniels says:  "We're looking for a couple guys to fit with Frankie and C.J. in the back end of the bullpen, who can pitch late in games in winning spots.  They all have a track record of doing that."


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     With all the pitching elbow difficulties, Mr. Ryan would do better by teaching them how to take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball.

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268.  Rockies LHP Francis undergoes shoulder surgery
February 25, 2009

TUCSON, AR:  Colorado Rockies pitcher Jeff Francis underwent arthroscopic left shoulder surgery on Wednesday, the team announced.  Team medical director Dr. Thomas Noonan performed the procedure, which was for a labral repair and a debridement of the left rotator cuff.  Francis, 28, will begin rehabilitation of his left shoulder immediately but no date has been set for him to resume baseball activities.

Francis endured a disappointing and injury-plagued 2008 campaign, going 4-10 with a 5.01 ERA in 24 starts.  The British Columbia native enjoyed a breakout 2007 season, going 17-9 and serving as the ace for the National League champion Rockies.  In five seasons with the Rockies, Francis has a 51-44 record with a 4.74 ERA.


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     The article does not say whether they ‘shrank’ his capsule.  If they did, then he is done.

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269.  More bad news on Noah Lowry
San Francisco Chronicle
February 25, 2009

Chances of Noah Lowry being healthy enough to start and ready to might have been dealt a fatal blow with word that he is experiencing pain or discomfort in his pitching elbow.  We'll get more details tomorrow, but manager Bruce Bochy said through a team spokesman early this evening that Lowry will not throw for at least a few days.  I would guess diagnostic tests are in order.

This is Lowry's second setback this spring.  Earlier, he had tightness in the back of his throwing shoulder, which was attributed to his stepped-up throwing and considered minor.  This being the elbow is potentially more serious.  Lowry has not pitched in a game since August, 2007.


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     The tightness in the back of Mr. Lowry's shoulder resulted from trying to decelerate his pitching arm from its 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' with the Teres Minor muscle instead of his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     The discomfort in the inside of his pitching elbow resulted from the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' in his 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

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270.  Wood not too concerned with sore back: Closer has dealt with soreness before, expects to be fine soon
MLB.com
February 26, 2009

GOODYEAR, AZ:  Given that he's made 12 trips to the disabled list in 10 years, Indians closer Kerry Wood knows how the news that he was dealing with lower back soreness looked.  "It's not the impression you want to make coming into camp with a new team," he said.  "But what's done is done, and I'll go back to work."

Wood went back to work Thursday morning, participating in a morning workout in preparation for a bullpen session Friday.  That would lead one to believe the back issue is as minor as the Indians are making it out to be, but it will nonetheless be a situation worth monitoring as spring camp rolls along.  But the Indians were planning on easing Wood into Cactus League action anyway, so Wood's schedule, barring any setbacks, isn't terribly off-track.  The goal was to have him make two appearances by March 10, and he still might do so.  "I missed one [batting practice] session," Wood said.  "I've got to talk to [pitching coach] Carl Willis about what we're going to do with that BP -- if I need it or don't need it."

Wood, 31, said he's dealt with this back issue in previous springs with the Cubs.  "I know how to manage it," he said.  "Usually the first couple weeks, [it's a matter of] getting acclimated to being on spikes and wearing them all day long.  It's been dealt with.  You just hate to come over and miss a few days right out the gate."

None of Wood's DL trips over the years have been back-related.  He said he did have a bulging disc a few years ago, but he does not believe this issue is at all related to that one.  As for his schedule, Wood said he expects to get the same workload this spring that he got last year, which was his first as a closer.  "The silver lining is we have the extra week [of games]," Wood said.  "We can do whatever we've got to do to get it ready.  I have plenty of time to throw and get in the games.  I should still get my 12-14 innings in."


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     When we lift heavy objects, to eliminate unnecessary stress on the L5-S1 intervertebral disk, we are supposed to bend our knees and keep our back straight.  However, when baseball pitchers pitch, their 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches tell them to stride seventy to ninety percent of their standing height.  With all this bending forward at their waist, it is a wonder that they all do not need lower back surgery.

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271.  Bonderman a scratch for Saturday: Righty dealing with arm stiffness, to pitch simulated game
MLB.com
February 26, 2009

VIERA, FL:  Jeremy Bonderman will make his first outing of Spring Training in a simulated game rather than an actual one.  The Tigers right-hander has been scratched from his scheduled start Saturday, the club announced Thursday, so that the Tigers can monitor him closer while he deals with lingering stiffness in his throwing arm.  Bonderman will throw 30 pitches in the simulated outing, around the same as he would have thrown in the real game.  The difference in the simulated outing is that the Tigers can pace it.  He'll throw 15 pitches, sit down, then get up and throw 15 more.  "He wasn't too happy about it," manager Jim Leyland said, "but we have to do what's best for him and what's best for the club."

Bonderman missed the second half of last season following surgery to relieve a blood clot caused by a pinched vein.  The procedure removed the first rib from Bonderman's left side, but didn't do anything structurally to his throwing arm.  Because of that, his rehab process has mainly involved rebuilding strength in his arm and shoulder rather than any scar tissue.


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     When J.R. Richards pinched his Subclavian Vein, the decreased velocity with which his blood passed through the vein caused his blood to clot.  Then, when the clots reached his brain, he had a stroke.

     When blood flow slows, more water from the blood moves into the interstitial tissue that surrounds the vein.  As a result, the pitching arm swells.  Therefore, while pitching arms are typically larger than glove arms, we need to err on the side of caution and send these baseball pitchers to be checked for Subclavian Vein blockage.

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272.  Baez struggles, but Orioles hammer Cardinals 11-3
Associated Press
February 26, 2009

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL:  As he prepared to face a major league batter for the first time in well over a year, Danys Baez had no idea what to expect from his reconstructed right elbow.  “Before the first pitch, there were too many feelings at the same time,” Baez said.  “You’re always concerned about your arm, how it’s going to react against a hitter.” Baez hadn’t pitched since mid-September 2007. He underwent ligament replacement surgery the following month and missed last season.  Now he’s trying to win a job with the Orioles as a starter, a role he hasn’t held since starting 26 games for Cleveland in 2002.  Being Baltimore’s first pitcher of the day wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable as wondering how his arm would hold up.  “It was kind of a weird feeling,” he said.


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     When baseball pitchers do not understand why they ruptured their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, how can anybody expect them to ever feel comfortable again?

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273.  Ryan Feierabend first major loss of year for Mariners
Tacoma News-Tribune
February 26, 2009

PEORIA, AZ:  In a spring where they figure to play short-handed because of the World Baseball Classic, the Seattle Mariners made news they didn’t want Wednesday -- losing two players to injury.  Left-hander Ryan Feierabend, will miss the entire 2009 season after being scheduled to have “Tommy John surgery” in Los Angeles next week to rebuild the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.  “It’s something I thought I’d never have to hear,” Feierabend said.  “You don’t look forward to having any type of surgery.  But Tommy John is one of those surgeries that I’ve heard has one of the best recovery rates for a pitcher.  I’ve heard stories of guys coming back even stronger than they were before because of all the hard work they put in.

“If that’s what it comes down to, I’ll come back even stronger and maybe even hit 92-93 mph next year.  Who knows?”  Feierabend, 23, had a marvelous season in Tacoma in 2008, going 7-1 with a 2.04 earned run average in 13 starts, then went 1-4 with a 7.71 ERA in eight starts with Seattle.  He was fighting for a spot in the bullpen this spring, perhaps as a left-handed specialist.


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     The reason why some baseball pitchers increase their release velocity after their Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery is because this is the first time since they were adolescents that they had a tight Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  However, just like by microscopically tearing the connective tissue fibers that make up their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, they will soon again lengthen their Ulnar Collateral Ligament and again lose release velocity and rupture their new replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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274.  St. Louis Cardinals Tony La Russa seeks more pitchers
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
February 27, 2009

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL:  In what general manager John Mozeliak called a "disconnect" with his manager, Cardinals skipper Tony La Russa suggested Thursday morning that the team's shortage of arms was dire enough to seek a lend-lease arrangement with the overstocked Baltimore Orioles.  La Russa noted that he carried promising starters P.J. Walters and Adam Ottavino south for Thursday's exhibition against the Orioles in case several scheduled arms prematurely reached their pitch counts.  "I think we could work it where the guy who gets lent would be sure to pitch," La Russa said.  "We've got some kids here to protect.  Just going through the camp is a good experience for them."

The manager's suggestion caught the Orioles and Mozeliak by surprise.  Orioles manager Dave Trembley called it "an interesting concept.  I don't know what the rules are or how it would be received." One Orioles front-office member allowed, "You've got me.  You just asked me something I've never heard before."  Before La Russa's idea grew legs, Mozeliak arrived at Fort Lauderdale Stadium and quickly tried to defuse the situation by telling La Russa he would bring 2005 supplemental round pick Mark McCormick and Trey Hearne into camp.

Regarding the lend-lease, Mozeliak said, "That's not going to happen."  Mozeliak at first gave the impression the arrangement would primarily benefit the Orioles, saying, "I don't want to speak for them.  Let (Orioles general manager Andy) MacPhail answer this, not me."  Told La Russa presented the idea in a different light, Mozeliak admitted the situation left him feeling "a little awkward."

An 11-3 loss nearly realized La Russa's fear.  Starter Kyle Lohse lasted only two innings and lefthanded relievers Ian Ostlund and Brad Furnish each worked a prolonged inning marred by three earned runs.  Ostlund walked two and allowed three hits; Furnish walked four and allowed two hits.  Reliever Jess Todd saved the day with 2 1/3 innings.

Thursday morning's back-and-forth underscored a larger concern.  Pitching coach Dave Duncan fretted even before camp opened about the low number of arms invited.  The Cardinals opened with 29 pitchers (compared to the Orioles' 37) but quickly found out Mitchell Boggs and Matt Scherer were nursing injuries.  Mozeliak, who has denied that camp's low numbers are budget-related, hustled former Northern League lefthander Justin Fiske into camp Tuesday.  But as soon as Fiske arrived, 2007 supplemental pick and projected Triple-A starter Clayton Mortensen experienced elbow tightness and will be further examined today.


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     Between pitch counts and not training adequately to be ready to pitch when they arrive in spring training, I can understand why Mr. LaRusso has concerns about whether he can cover the innings his pitchers have to pitch.  The answer is to require baseball pitchers to train year around.  Unfortunately, with the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, that would mean that they would destroy that pitching arms earlier in their careers.

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275.  Webb scratched from scheduled start: Ace cautious after experiencing tightness in right forearm
MLB.com
February, 27, 2009

TUCSON, AZ:  D-backs ace Brandon Webb was scratched from his Friday start with tightness in his right forearm.  Webb said he felt the tightness on Thursday while playing catch, and after conferring with manager Bob Melvin they decided it was best to not make his start.  Neither Webb nor Melvin seemed overly concerned about the situation.  Jon Garland, who was scheduled to follow Webb to the mound, will get the start in Webb's place.  "I definitely don't think it's anything to worry about," Webb said.  "There are no elbow issues or anything like that."

Webb played catch on Friday, and Melvin said the session went well.  Rather than try to fit Webb in over the next few days, the D-backs will push him back to his next scheduled start, on Wednesday against the Mexican national team.  "We'll see how it goes playing catch today and hopefully I'll throw tomorrow," Webb said.  "We'll just play it by ear."


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     Even when baseball pitchers train throughout the year, when they throw their first serious bullpen, their first batting practice, their first intrasquad game, their first spring training game and their first championship season game, they will experience tightness in their pitching arm.

     However, where they experience this discomfort tells the story.  Mr. Webb experienced his discomfort in his pitching forearm.  That indicates either the wrist joint muscles that attach to their medial epicondyle or the finger flexor muscles that lie on the anterior surface of the pitching forearm.

     Neither of these discomforts indicate anything serious.  However, rest causes atrophy.  Therefore, while I agree that Mr. Webb could benefit from temporarily reducing the stress on these tight muscles, I would have him continue to train, but at slightly lower intensities.

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276.  Bray frustrated by playing catch-up:  Reds lefty reliever all too familiar with minor spring ailments
MLB.com
February 27, 2009

SARASOTA, FL:  Playing catch-up at Spring Training is a familiar situation for Reds lefty reliever Bill Bray.  In fact, it's too familiar for his -- or the club's -- liking.  Bray started camp with left shoulder soreness and is not yet on the schedule to pitch in games.  He threw to hitters in batting practice on Thursday without issue and is scheduled for more throwing sessions on Saturday and Tuesday.  If all goes well, he could begin working in exhibition games.  "I'm tired of it," Bray said.  "Anything I can do to avoid this again, I will definitely do.  It's pretty annoying coming down here and getting behind."

Bray started 2008 camp with the same problem, and the late start contributed to his having to start the regular season at Triple-A Louisville.  Two years ago, he suffered a fractured tip of the index finger on his throwing hand and came down with shoulder tendinitis when he resumed pitching.  At the suggestion of manager Dusty Baker, who recalled former Dodgers teammate Bob Welch enduring the same issues, Bray plans on making changes to his offseason throwing program.  Welch threw a couple of times per week during the offseason to keep his arm loose and it limited shoulder issues.

"I'm probably going to work a lot more closely with a physical therapist next year," Bray said.  "I did all my own stretching and arm program, and I still had problems when I started throwing.  I think it's going to take more than just me.  It's going to take someone to stretch me out better than I can do on my own."


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     I do not believe that 'throwing a couple of weeks during the off-season is sufficient to maintain in-season fitness, but it is better than nothing.  Instead, after their final championship season game, I would have baseball pitchers start my Recoil Interval-Training program.  By doing so, they would not only maintain their in-season fitness, but they would increase their fitness and improve their pitching skills.

     Then, when they arrived in spring training, they would be able, like I was, to immediately pitch competitively.  That enabled me to finish my quarter of college studies and report somewhere between the middle of March and even as late as three days before the season started without any discomfort or loss of skills.

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277.  Looper to see doctor about side injury: 'No change' in Brewers starter's condition after scratched outing
MLB.com
March 01, 2009

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  The Brewers expect to get an idea of the severity of Braden Looper's rib-cage injury Monday, when the right-hander visits a doctor in Phoenix.  Looper was scratched minutes before his scheduled Brewers debut Saturday when he felt a tweak on the left side of his lower back during pregame warmups.  He did participate in some plyometric throwing drills Sunday morning.

"He felt the same as yesterday.  There was no change today," general manager Doug Melvin said.  "We just have to wait a few days to see.  It's early enough in the spring to wait and see, monitor it, manage it and get more information."  Manager Ken Macha was concerned that the longer Looper is unable to pitch, the longer his absence will become.  That's because if he goes a significant stretch between starts, he may have to start from scratch with bullpen sessions and live batting practice to rebuild his arm for another stint in a game.


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     When baseball pitchers separate when they rotate their hips forward and when they rotate their shoulders forward, they place all the shoulder forward rotation responsibility to their Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle.  Therefore, they injure their Oblique Internes Abdominis muscle.

     I recommend that baseball pitchers simulataneously rotate their hips and shoulder forward.  When they rotate their entire pitching arm side of their body forward as one unit, instead of one muscle on the glove side of their thorax, they use four muscles.  Therefore, they not only eliminate injury to the Oblique Internus Abdominis, they can rotate the pitching arm side of their body forward at greater rotational velocity.

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278.  Wandy to miss at least two starts: Astros to exercise caution with lefty's strained back muscle
MLB.com
March 01, 2009

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL:  Wandy Rodriguez will miss at least two starts while nursing a strained intercostal muscle on his left side, manager Cecil Cooper said Sunday morning.  Rodriguez was originally slated to miss just one start after suffering the injury on Friday against the Nationals, but preferring to err on the side of caution, Cooper said they'll proceed slowly as they monitor the left-hander's progress.  "We don't want it to be something that lingers," Cooper said.  "It's better to be safe with it now.  We'll just go easy with him."

Pitching coach Dewey Robinson may have figured out why Rodriguez seems to always hurt himself in the same area, both on his left and right sides.  Robinson plans to work with Rodriguez in an effort to create less torque in the left-hander's delivery, while the athletic training staff will come up with a program designed to strengthen Rodriguez's midsection.  "His delivery is very similar to guys like Roy [Oswalt] and [Geoff] Geary," Robinson said.  "They're smaller guys and they use their lower half, their legs, and their stride gets a little long. That creates a lot of torque in the upper half."

After Rodriguez suffered similar midsection injuries last year, Robinson noticed Rodriguez had shortened his stride and stayed taller.  Robinson suspects that helped, and he'll encourage Rodriguez to do the same this time.  "I think it helped his command," Robinson said. "It might mean less of a chance of injuring himself."


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     By golly, with this shorter stride and standing tall idea, Mr. Robinson might be onto something.  I have heard this 'step forward like you are power walking, stand tall and rotate' idea somewhere before.  Now, if he suggests that Mr. Rodriquez rotate his entire pitching arm side of his body forward together, then I will start to be suspicious.

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279.  Let's hear it for "Pathomechanics."

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Penny's first Sox start may be delayed: Right-hander had tough time getting loose during BP Sunday
MLB.com
March 02, 2009

FORT MYERS, FL:  As a precaution, the Red Sox might postpone Brad Penny's first Grapefruit League start, which is currently scheduled for Thursday against Puerto Rico's World Baseball Classic squad.  Penny's batting-practice session on Sunday at City of Palms Park was cut to 25 pitches when the right-hander had trouble getting loose.

"We cut his bullpen and BP short [Sunday]," Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell told WEEI.com from Fort Lauderdale, FL, on Monday, where the Red Sox played the Orioles.  "It got to the point where he threw 25 pitches of BP and he didn't feel like he could get fully loose and certainly not turn up the intensity.  So rather than push it further, we felt it was a point of diminishing returns, so we cut it off at that."

The Red Sox have brought Penny along at a slightly slower pace than the team's other starters this spring because of the right shoulder woes that shortened his 2008 season to just 19 appearances.


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     While it might be premature to completely discredit 'Pathomechanics' for not properly preparing Mr. Penny, this is not a good sign.  Nevertheless, I don't believe that 'stretching' exercise and non-specific weight training is the answer.

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280.  Thanks.  I did get your email.  Very helpful as always.

I was not being critical of your video, I was being critical of myself.  You've also written of this clearly in CH. 37.  Based on my discussions with coaches, especially youth coaches, your material is being used more and more.  I know you know that.

God bless the information age and its countless injury reports.  Whereas before publishers wouldn't publish your book, I believe they would now give it more serious consideration.  I recommend perusing that.  You'd be amazed how people legitimize the printed word.  'If it's on a Barnes & Noble book rack, it's got to be true'.  Time to leverage that chink in human nature.


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     Back in 1979 and 1980, I wrote the first draft of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book.  Since then, I have sporadically updated some chapters.  Therefore, one of my goals after I stop training pitchers everyday is to revisit my book and send it to some publishers.  If we combine it with an updated video made by professionals, I think that we might have something people will want.

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281.  Please find attached a copy of the article, "Coached by Newton", that will appear in the April 2009 issue of Mechanical Engineering.

I hope you approve of it, as your research regarding the pitching motion of baseball players is simply too important to be disregarded by the 'minds' of baseball.

I would also like to shop the article around (once it is published) to a few of the more mass channel publications, such as Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News.

Also, if you would like some copies sent, please pass along the quantity and a mailing address, and I will be certain to forward this to Mechanical Engineering.

Thanks for being very easy to work with, and I hope I've been the same.


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        As a result of moving into a new house soon, I asked my Internet provider to transfer my Internet service to my new house.  They said that they could not transfer my service until March 10.  I said fine.  Then, yesterday, they turned off my Internet service where we have lived for the past ten years.

     When I called them, they said that they could not turn it back on.  The end of the story is that I am now using Erica's computer with dial up Internet access.  Therefore, I was not able to open the article.

        I would ask that you keep that copy of the article until after I get my Internet service at my new house.  I will want to include it in my articles file.  Until then, I would appreciate three copies of the article.  My guys want to see the final version.

        I hope that you are right that the information is too important for professional baseball to ignore.  I also hope that some mass channel publications pick it up.

        However, this article only covers the mechanical part of the story.  We have another story just as important that covers the applied anatomy part of the story.  Do you know of an Applied Anatomy Journal?

        This has been fun.  I appreciate that you and they recognized the quality of the information and made this article happen.

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282.  Could you send me a link where you explain loading the slingshot?

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     In the Wrist Weight Training section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I discuss and demonstrate how to perform all the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

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283.  Is it correct to assume that in order to throw 90 mph + fastball you have to have 90 mph arm speed?  If so how would you measure the arm to determine it's speed?

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     Because it is impossible to transfer one hundred percent of the force from the tip of the middle finger to the baseball, the tip of the middle finger must be going faster than ninety miles per hour.  The only way to measure the velocity of the tip of the middle finger is to put a glowing ball on the back of the tip of the middle finger.

     Unfortunately, the American Sports Medicine Institute fails to do this.  Instead, to determine release velocity, they use a radar gun.

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284.  Would you kindly send me the reference that we talked about yesterday?

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     It was a pleasure to talk with a trainer for a professional baseball organization.  Clearly, you and I could have spent considerably more time discussing the causes of baseball pitchng injuries.  However, with minimal time and the pitching coaches to consider, we had to limit our anatomical discussions.

     As promised, I am sending you the article in which Dr. Glenn Fleisig attribute Ulnar Collateral Ligament ruptures to 'traditional' baseball pitchers inwardly rotating their pitching upper arm.

     To make your personal copy of the Pathomechanics: Injuries to the Pitching Elbow article, you need to go to:

Pathomechanics: Injuries to the Pitching Elbow

     To understand why this article is wrong, you need to read my 'Dr. Andrews and Dr. Fleisig Do Not Understand Why Baseball Pitchers Rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligaments' report that is on my website at www.drmikemarshall.com in my Special Reports file.

     I look forward to discussing pitching injuries with you in great detail and explaining how we can eliminate all pitching injuries without regard to the release velocities that baseball pitchers achieve.

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285.  My question concerns the position of catchers on your college teams when you coached.

I always thought that catchers should get as close to the plate as possible without interfering with the batters swing.  My thought was that umpires call strikes where the ball hits the catchers mitt instead of where the ball crosses the front of home plate.

I would think that with the first step move you want your catchers to perform with their throwing side foot you would have to be a fair distance away from the batter.  Therefore:

1.  How far away from the batter did you have your catchers set up?
2.  Did the distance change depending on the whether there were men on base.
3.  Where did you have your catchers position their glove (e.g., on the corner of the plate, right down the middle)?


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        Umpires should decide whether pitches are outside or inside the strike zone before catchers catch the baseball.

        Catchers sit with their throwing foot slightly behind their glove foot.  Therefore, the short forward step with their throwing foot does not advance the center of mass of their body.

01.  With base runners on base, I want my catchers to be close enough to home plate to react quickly to reach out with their glove and smother pitches in the dirt that land on or closely behind home plate.

02.  Without base runners on base.  I tell my catchers to, like first basemen, stay back and try to pick baseballs thrown in the dirt.

03.  I tell my catchers to center their body on the first base one-third of home plate.

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286.  Penny pushed back after re-evaluation: Red Sox adjust right-hander's program to avoid shoulder issues
MLB.com
March 03, 2009

FORT MYERS, FL:  Though Brad Penny described his right shoulder as feeling "pretty good" on Tuesday morning, he will start his exhibition season later than planned.  The original plan was for Penny to start for the Red Sox on Thursday afternoon against Puerto Rico's World Baseball Classic team.  But after Penny felt some fatigue in his shoulder on Sunday, cutting a batting-practice session to 25 pitches, the Red Sox re-evaluated his program.

For the time being, Penny will go back to flat ground and focus on the ongoing process of strengthening the shoulder that limited him to just 19 games for the Dodgers in 2009.  "I don't think the shoulder strength is quite where it needed to be yet for the workload that had been scheduled out," said Penny.  "It's better to take it easy right now than to get out there the first week of April and have it flare up on me.  So [we're] just staying on the shoulder program -- [I'm] still going to play catch and just try to get my shoulder strength to where I need it to be."

Red Sox manager Terry Francona viewed the modified program as more of a conservative adjustment than any type of setback.  "After his side [session] the other day, we kind of sat down -- [pitching coach] John [Farrell] and I and [assistant trainer] Mike Reinold -- and said, 'OK, are we approaching this the best way we can?'  And the answer was no," Francona said.

"We talked to Brad and we said, 'OK, look, this is a long year, we think maybe we can make some more strides by keeping you on flat ground and in the bullpen for just the foreseeable future -- not a long time and getting a little bit more strength, almost like putting gas in the tank.'  And I think he was open to that.  So that's kind of where we are."

With Spring Training roughly a week longer this year because of the World Baseball Classic, Penny is comfortable with the adjustment in his schedule.  "This is a good year to have the extra time, I guess," Penny said.  "I'm just going to keep working and doing the shoulder program, and I'm pretty sure I'll get there."

Penny stressed that the current fatigue in his shoulder is nothing like the pain that made his 2008 season pure misery.  "No, not really," said Penny. "Last year was pretty bad for me, so it's not like that."  Francona said that it's too early to tell if Penny will start the regular season on the active roster, nor did he think that was particularly crucial.  "What we're really trying to do is get him healthy so he can go out and pitch like he can pitch," Francona said.  "So for me to sit here and go, 'Oh God, I'd like to get him for that third game,' would be a little bit of the wrong message to send.  We want to give this guy the best chance possible to be as strong as he can."


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     Hold it.  You mean that Dr. James Andrew's Mr. Pathomechanics, Mike Reinold, is not approaching Mr. Penny's situation in the best way that he can?  What the Red Sox have yet to realize is that Mr. Reinold's stretching and non-specific exercises will not work.

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287.  Please read the following paragraph I read in a PT book and give me your opinion of it.

'All movement starts at the core.  All attachments from the lower to upper body must run thru the middle of the body and ones ability to manipulate the middle, stretch, move, contract, expand and so on CREATES POWER.'


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     Newton' law of reaction teaches us that, to move our body, we apply force against the ground.  Therefore, I would say that all movement starts with our feet.

     The Hip Joint connects to the Hip Girdle.  Therefore, the Hip Joint relies on the Hip Joint muscles that attach the Hip Girdle for movement.  The Hip Girdle connects to the vertebral column and the rib cage.  Therefore, the Hip Girdle relies on the Hip Girdle muscles that attach to the vertebral column and the rib cage for movement.

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288.  This is Mike Farrenkopf.

I threw batting practice on Tuesday.  I forced myself to relax and let the movement of my pitches do the work.  I did well and had control of all my pitches.

I closed out our game on Friday.  I went in at the start of the 7th inning with the lead.

RHB:  SL*(foul right side), TF*(foul tip), SC*s:  (K)
RHB:  SI*c, MF:  (6-3 ground out)
LHB:  TF*c, MCB (high), SI*s, 4SMF (outside-I pulled this pitch, coach wanted an inside fastball), 4SMF:  (soft line drive to third base)


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     Now that you have finished the hard work, it is the time for the fun.

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289.  What sorts of barriers would a pitcher like Mike Farrenkopf face in attempting to sign a professional contract (assuming that is his goal)?  I would guess he is 6'3" or so, and is also left handed - two desirable attributes for a pitcher.

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     Today, to get an opportunity to pitch professionally requires throwing ninety miles per hour.  We will see whether Mike's skill and fast-twitch muscle fiber percentage enables him to do so.

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290.  In treating this knee injury I started with substantial and continued compression of the area for the first 48 hours, along with intermittent icing for the first 72 hours.  After the first week I've been using heat applied sporadically throughout the day for 30 min intervals.  My understanding is that cooling the vessels leads to vasoconstriction and heat causes vasodilation and ultimately increased blood flow to the poorly vascularized ligamentous tissue.  The application of heat is only applied after the vessels have had a chance mend. However, I saw where you mention in one of your Q&A answers that icing is the best way to increase perfusion to the affected area.  Is this right?  If so please explain this in detail as I want to understand the mechanism at work here.

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     In a physiological process called, Reactive Hyperemia, ice increase blood flow to the iced area.  When first applied, ice causes the blood vessels to constrict.  However, after a short time of the involved tissues not receiving the oxygen that they need to live, the blood vessels vasodilate.  In this way, ice increases blood flow to the iced area.

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291.  You said recently in your Q&A:  'Labrum surgery is serious.  It is the most difficult surgery from which to recover.  The odds are that you will never throw anywhere near what you could have had you not followed Chris O'Leary's nonsense.'

Why is that?  I ask because I had posterior labrum surgery.  After 18 months of your training, my arm has never felt better and I've never thrown harder.  I do know my range of motion has been reduced due to surgery.  Therefore, if not for surgery, I believe I'd be even stronger.  Is that what you mean?  In my case, your training has more than made up for the limits imposed by surgery.


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     Yes, that is exactly what I mean.  The major reason why baseball pitchers have difficulty recovering from Labrum surgery is the loss of the outward rotation range of motion in their pitching upper arm.  When baseball pitchers cannot lay their pitching forearm horizontally behind their pitching elbow, they can never achieve their maximum release velocity.

     In addition, if surgeons also 'shrink' their capsule, then they lose even more of the inward and outward range of motion in their pitching shoulder.

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292.  We have set our dates for the fall baseball clinic here in Minnesota which I had contacted you late fall.  The dates are Oct 23-25.  We would like to fly you in on the 23rd, but can wait until the 24th if need be.  Will get in touch with you later about flights.

Also you mentioned bringing one of your pitchers.  I know it is early, but will find out later where he would fly out of.  Thanks.


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     We are looking forward to meeting the Minnesota High School Baseball Coaches.  We want to arrive at a time that enables us to not miss any part of the clinic.

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293.  I thought you should know that a former major league pitcher said on the television set tonight that pitchers get hurt during Spring Training because of the following:

1.  At the start of the Spring Training, their arm muscles are "attenuated."  I think he was trying to make a point about tightness, but made one instead about weakness.  Strangely, he might be right on this one, but did so by accident.

2.  The arm muscles tighten up the first few days, then "spring back" to their former state.

3.  They do too much throwing in PFP.


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     Baseball pitchers injure themselves during spring training because they took time off after the previous season.  Then, when they return to training, they try to throw as hard as they did before they took time off.  And, oh yeah, they injure themselves because they use the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

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294.  I am a little confused about "locking" my pitching arm.  I am not really sure when I need to be locking it.  What I am doing now is... lets say I have started my pendulum swing and once my arm gets parallel I try to turn my elbow up and lock it.

Once I lock my arm I turn my hips and reach back to extend my arm.  After that it's the normal release.  So are my steps in order?  Or should I do something different?  Also I am having some pain in the upper front part of my shoulder.  Any ideas what could be causing that?


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     With my Maxline driveline, I teach my baseball pitchers to step forward when their pitching arm is forty-five degrees behind their body.  Therefore, when their pitching arm reaches driveline height, it is already moving forward.  When their glove foot lands, I want my baseball pitchers to raise