Questions/Answers 2010


***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, January 03, 2010, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

001.  Towel snapping

With the pitching arm fully covered by your explanations, I want to wrap up this subject with this question.  Does not the rest of the body have to be covered by Newton 3rd law also?  In others words, every movement by the body forward has to have a opposite movement backward, front arm and stride foot included.


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

     You are confusing Newton's Law of Reaction and force-coupling.  They are two very different principles.

     Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion, the Law of Reaction, says;  For every action force, there is an equal and oppositely-directed reaction force.

     Force-coupling occurs when athletes apply oppositely-directed forces on both sides of a fulcrum.

     In the drive through release second part of the Acceleration Phase of my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers apply oppositely-directed forces on either side of their pitching elbow.

     That means that their pitching upper arm applies force toward second base concurrent with their pitching forearm applying force toward home plate. Their pitching elbow is their fulcrum.

     If readers watch the side view high-speed film of my baseball pitchers, then they will see that, as they extend their pitching elbow through release, the tip of their pitching elbow comes to a complete stop.

     Because my baseball pitchers apply force toward straight toward second base with their glove arm, pitching leg and glove leg, they maximize Newton's Law of Reaction.

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

002.  Towel snapping

Well, you certainly explained the difference between Newton's third law and force-coupling, that was well received on my end.  To avoid any more confusion and to set the record straight, please explain the force toward 2nd base for the glove leg and pitching leg.  The reason for this request is that too many coaches misrepresent you on these 2 mechanics.


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

     Even though, in compliance with Newton's law of reaction, the glove arm also applies force toward second base, in this discussion, I will explain only how the legs provide force toward second base.

     In my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers stand with their pitching foot on the pitching rubber and their glove foot one step behind the pitching rubber.

01.  During the pendulum swing of their pitching arm, my baseball pitchers push off ground behind the pitching rubber with their glove foot and step straight forward toward home plate.  Therefore, to start to move the center of mass of their body forward, their glove leg applies the first force toward second base.

02.  During the first part of the acceleration phase, my baseball pitchers push off the pitching rubber with their pitching foot and start to drive the entire pitching arm side of their body toward home plate.  Therefore, to continue to move the center of mass of their body forward, their pitching leg applies the second force toward home plate.

03.  During the second part of the acceleration phase, in the same manner as when they are power walking, my baseball pitchers pull back against the ground with their glove foot toward second base.  Therefore, to continue to move the center of mass of their body forward, their glove leg applies the third force toward home plate.

     Because 'traditional' baseball pitchers stride seventy to ninety percent of their standing height, when their glove foot lands, they apply force toward home plate with their glove leg.  Therefore, before they even start applying force to the baseball toward home plate, they completely stop the forward movement of the center of mass of their body from moving toward home plate.  As a result, the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion violates Newton's law of reaction.

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

003.  I am writing to you in regards to my wife's shoulder.  I have her doing your pronated swings like you suggested.  She is doing 5 lb. wrist weights, 18 reps at the moment.

She went to the chiropractor today.  He asked her what she was doing to strengthen her shoulder so she can be ready to play ball in the spring.  She informed him that I am doing your 724-day program, and that she is doing your pronated swings.

He told my wife that he is aware of your program, and has your videos as one of his patients gave to him to look at, but has not watched them all completely.  He informed her that whatever you recommend for rehabilitation is the best way to go.

I just thought it was kind of neat that he had your videos, and is not so close-minded as most people that have not pitched professionally for 14 years; and have not done research on it for 40 years.

Something good happened with my Maxline workout.  I had mentioned that I thought I was having issues with locking my upper Arm with the Screwball.  I started really concentrating on inwardly rotating my pitching upper arm.  I noticed some results after two maxline workouts especially with my Lead Ball throws, as I was able to throw it more forcefully.

I didn't notice it as much with my baseball throws, but it did enable to me to get the correct spin axis on my screwball, and it felt great to really rip through the top seam of the ball.

On one of the throws, I felt my Latissimus Dorsi stretch to stop my pitching arm.  This is when I realized I had done it correctly.  Now, that I know what it feels like it will get easier and easier to replicate over and over.

I have some random questions:

1.  How come if a pitcher severely strains a muscle in the oblique area or and other muscle for that matter it can be rehabilitated pretty easily, but when a pitcher strains a rotator cuff, or tears a rotator cuff it will not heal on it's own like other muscles?

2.  If had you not injured your shoulder trying to stop a standing closet from falling, do you think you would still be doing your pitching program and pitching in leagues today?


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

01.  The Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle attaches to the rib cage with muscle fibers, not a tendon.  The 'rotator cuff' includes the tendinous attachments of the Subscapularis, Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor muscles.  Because the connective tissue that make up tendons do not have as much blood supply as muscle fibers, they do not repair quickly.

02.  As I recall, the last game that I pitched was in the semi-finals of the over-forty tournament in St. Petersburg, FL against a team from Puerto Rico that averaged over ten runs per game.  I cannot recall whether I shut them out or not, but I know that they could not handle my Maxline Pronation Curve and Maxline Fastball Sinker.

     Therefore, had I not torn the anterior capsule and probably the gleno-humeral ligaments of my pitching shoulder, I would hope that I would still be pitching.  Even though my release velocity had severely decreased, unexpected movement still enabled me to take the power out of their swings.  Remember, the velocity of the fastball is not as important as the velocity and movement differences between the fastball and the non-fastballs pitches we throw.

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

004.  Rotation over-rated?

The Karate Kick is one of the most powerful forces that man or woman can use to not only defend themselves, but to kill someone with a perfectly placed kick.  In applying the Karate kick, the kicker does not rotate his or her body.  So, isn't rotation over-rated in today's pitching instructions?

And, isn't the phrase, "explode those hips" and other phrases like, "pelvic loading" and "scapula loading", used by todays instructors as catch phrases to sell their inadequate instructions at rediculous prices, just to make money off of uneducated people?


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

     As ballet dancers, ice skaters, gymnasts and other skilled performers demonstrate, athletes can rotate their body very fast.

     To achieve their genetic maximum release velocity, baseball pitchers have to learn how to correctly rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm.  To correctly rotate the hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm, baseball pitchers must:

01.  Direct the rotational force directly at home plate.

     To benefit from their rotational force, baseball pitchers have to start the rotational action with their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm pointing at second base.

02.  Coordinate all the rotational muscles.

     To achieve their maximum release velocity, baseball pitchers have to use all the rotational muscles simultaneously.

03.  'Lock' the pitching upper arm with the shoulders.

     To move their pitching upper arm forward, baseball pitchers have to use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

04.  Continue the rotational force through release.

     To gain all that the rotational force has to give, baseball pitchers have to rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching arm through release.

     Unfortunately, the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion incorrectly rotates the hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm.  'Traditional' baseball pitchers:

01.  Reverse rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm well beyond second base.  Therefore, they direct their rotational force toward the pitching arm side of their body.

02.  Rotate their hips forward before they rotate their shoulders forward before they rotate their pitching upper arm forward.  Therefore, they cannot achieve their maximum rotational force.

03.  Do not 'lock' their pitching upper arm with their shoulders.  To move their pitching upper arm forward, they use their Pectoralis Major muscle.

04.  Rotate their hips and shoulders forward for one-third and one-half of the length of the driveline, respectively.  Therefore, during the critical last one-half of their driveline, they have to bend forward at their waist.

     My baseball pitchers use their rotational force properly.

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

005.  How to Safely Throw Curveballs

I am 20 years old and play baseball.  I am a pitcher and I have always wanted to learn how to throw a curveball correctly, but also safely.

I saw you on MLB Network's Diamond Demos on TV and I was really interested.  I went to your website and I was looking at it.  I thought that the training program that you have for pitchers looked like something that I would want to do.

If you have any advice on how to throw a curveball safely but correctly, I would love to hear what advice you could share with me so I could learn how to throw a curveball.


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

     In the Football Training Program section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I explain how to perform the lid and appropriately-sized football drills that teach the skills of throwing my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     You can either watch my video on my website without charge or you can purchase your own copy of my video.  To learn how to order your copy, you need to click on the Baseball Pitching Instructional Video icon on my Home Page and scroll to the bottom of the file, where I provide the mailing address to which you should send your request.

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

006.  Pitching Mechanics

I am 12 years old and I just saw you on MLB Network's Diamond Demos.  I went to your website to find more information about your throwing mechanics.  I wanted to know if your throwing mechanics would work for outfield and infield as well as pitching.


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

     If you substitute my One Step Crow-Hop body action for my Drop Out Wind-Up body action, the throwing arm techniques that I teach to throw my Maxline and Torque Fastballs work very well for position players.

     To learn my throwing arm techniques, you can either watch my video on my website without charge or you can purchase your own copy of my video.  To learn how to order your copy, you need to click on the Baseball Pitching Instructional Video icon on my Home Page and scroll to the bottom of the file, where I provide the mailing address to which you should send your request.

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

007.  Questions on pitching form

I saw you on the MLB Network earlier today talking about preventing arm injuries and the different tools you implement to maximize staying healthy.  Because I am constantly looking to improve, I had to get up and compare your motion with the motion I use.

So, i went to your website and did a little more research.  The first major improvement I cannot wait to employ into my routine was taking the strain off of the Teres Minor muscle.  But, in doing so in your videos, it seems to me that you are losing the ability to finish with a strong follow-through.

The pitchers' ability to field his own position to me is one of the most important aspects of being on the mound.  I like that you are taking strain off the Teres Minor, but I just do not see how you can do that and keep a "traditional" follow-through.

You are definitely right about bending over and creating strain on the lower back, but it does bring you naturally into a defensive follow-through position.  Unless I completely missed something, I was just wondering how you get your pitchers in a defensively ready position after they release the baseball.


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

     Please permit me to explain the four phases of the baseball pitching motion:

01.  The Preparation Phase.

     During the Preparation Phase, baseball pitchers move the baseball out of their glove to a 'Ready' position from which they start to drive the baseball toward home plate.

     The Preparation Phase ends when baseball pitchers start to move their pitching elbow toward home plate.

02.  The Acceleration Phase.

     During the Acceleration Phase, baseball pitchers apply force to their pitches toward home plate.

     'Traditional' baseball pitching motion coaches teach their baseball pitchers to use their Pectoralis Major muscle to pull their pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of their body, toward home plate and across the front of the body.

I teach my baseball pitchers to use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to extend and inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm to drive their pitching upper arm straight toward home plate.

03.  The Deceleration Phase.

     During the Deceleration Phase, baseball pitchers apply force to stop the forward movement of their pitching arm. 'Traditional' baseball pitching motion coaches call this the Follow-Through Phase.

     Whatever the name, the action of the pitching arm does absolutely nothing that means anything to the released baseball.  Therefore, the idea that baseball pitchers need a 'strong follow-through' has no validity.

     Nevertheless, either with the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion or my baseball pitching motion, the pitching arm stops at the same distance toward home plate.

     During the Deceleration Phase, after 'traditional' baseball pitchers release their pitches, their pitching arm continues across the front of their body.

     During the Deceleration Phase, after my baseball pitchers release their pitches, their pitching arm continues to move straight toward home plate.

     The difference is that, to decelerate their pitching arms, 'traditional' baseball pitchers use the weak and tiny Teres Minor muscle and my baseball pitchers use the extremely powerful and large Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

04.  The Recover Phase.

     During the Recovery Phase, baseball pitchers return their glove and pitching arms to where they can respond to batted baseballs.

     'Traditional' baseball pitching motion coaches teach their baseball pitchers to have their pitching foot land the same distance from home plate as their glove foot.  To do this, 'traditional' baseball pitchers have to stop the rotation of their hips and shoulders at about one-half way through the length of their driveline.  Therefore, they are able to use only their pitching arm to apply force through the last half of their driveline.

     I teach my baseball pitchers to have their pitching foot land with their pitching foot in line with their glove foot toward home plate.  I teach my baseball pitchers to rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body forward through release.  Therefore, my baseball pitchers use their body and pitching arm to drive the entire length of their driveline.

01.  The most important requirement of the position in which baseball pitchers end their pitching motion is the ability to prevent line drives from hitting them in the head.

     By standing facing home plate, except to facing toward second base, 'traditional' baseball pitchers are in the worst possible position from which to protect their head.

     However, by standing sideways to home plate, except for laying down behind the pitching mound, my baseball pitchers are in the best possible position from which to protect their head.

02.  The second most important requirement of the position in which baseball pitchers end their pitching motion is the ability to field bunts.

     By standing facing home plate, because baseball batters square to bunt during the Accelerations Phase, 'traditional' baseball pitchers are in the worst possible position from which to move their body forward.

     However, by standing sideways to home plate, because baseball batters square to bunt during the Acceleration Phase, my baseball pitchers have the best possible body action from which to move their body forward.

03.  The third most important requirement of the position in which baseball pitchers end their pitching motion is the ability to field ground balls hit to their glove arm side.

     By standing facing home plate, 'traditional' baseball pitchers are in the mediocre position from which to field ground balls to their glove arm side.

     However, by standing sideways to home plate facing the glove arm side of their body, my baseball pitchers are in the best possible position from which to field ground balls to their glove arm side.

04.  The third most important requirement of the position in which baseball pitchers end their pitching motion is the ability to field ground balls hit to their pitching arm side.

     By standing facing home plate, 'traditional' baseball pitchers are in the mediocre position from which to field ground balls to their glove arm side.

     However, by standing sideways to home plate, by facing the glove arm side of their body, my baseball pitchers are in the worse possible position from which to field ground balls to their pitching arm side.  But, that is why we have pitching arm side middle infielders.

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

008.  Pitching Questions

I was wondering if you can answer the following questions:

1)  I am constantly wondering if there is any age limited to hard a person can throw when he or she stops developing?

2)  I remember when I was 18 or 19 years of age, I used to have the ability throw at 90 mph (90 miles per hour), but when I stopped playing for awhile and working out for awhile.  However, I now realized at the age of 25 that I am throwing around mid 60's to early 70's mph.  Therefore, I am wondering if it still possibly to throw at 90 or more later in life?

3)  Are there other ways of making the minor leagues other than going to college in the United States?

4)  What are the various exercises that could help me achieve this goal?

5)  How long does it take for a person on average to see results?


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

01.  Until about thirty to thirty-five years old, baseball pitchers should favorably respond to appropriate baseball pitching interval-training programs.

02.  If you threw ninety miles per hour at nineteen years old, provided that you have not developed some infirmity that would prevent your body from responding to training, then you should be able to throw ninety miles per hour at twenty-five years old.

03.  The best way for baseball pitchers to display their pitching skills is to successfully pitch college baseball.  Unless baseball pitchers can throw in the mid-90s, tryouts are only money-makers for scouts.

04.  In my Baseball Pitcher Interval-Training Programs file, I provide the training programs that I designed for baseball pitchers of all ages.  For twenty-five year old baseball pitchers, I recommend my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

05.  How quickly baseball pitchers recognize the benefits of completing my 724-Day program depends on how quickly they learn how to correctly perform the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion, whether they precisely follow the program and the intensity and intelligence with which they work every day.

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

009.  Pitching.

I am forty years old and a former ten year minor league pitcher, six with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  I retired in 2001.

Currently, I am a student at Arizona State majoring in applied biological sciences, Wildlife management and restoration ecology.  I also teach pitching to several Phoenix area kids.

On of my students' dads asked me yesterday if I had seen Mike Marshall's pitching theory.  I saw no and, last night and today, I have read your website.  There are several interesting things about your theory I relate with.

Some of your theories I actually toyed with during my careet on the side but never took them into the game.  While in Albuquerque in 1997, Rudy Seanez discussed the curveball with me, which was very similar to how you talk about throwing it.  After watching your videos, it all came back to me that this was what Rudy was using and throwing like.

There are several things I can write about, but don't want to send you an extremely long email.  When you have time, I would really like an opportunity to speak with you.  I am very interested!


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

     I would very much enjoy answering every question that you have.

     However, because I want everybody to benefit from your professional baseball experiences, because I do not have time to talk on the telephone and because I have impaired hearing, even though it migh take several emails, I prefer to communicate via email.

     On January 16 and 17, 2009, I presented my material to the Arizona High School Baseball Coaches Association in the auditorium and baseball field at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, AZ.  It is too bad that we could not have talked then.

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

010.  Pitching Questions

1)  I reside in the Pacific Standard Time zone.  Therefore, I am constantly trying to figure out what time is appropriate to contact you by telephone?

2)  Where can I get a copy of the "724 Day Adult program?"

3)  What are the various components that come with this program?

4)  Does your program focus on the explosive technique that help a pitcher to move much more quickly and effectively?


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

01.  I prefer to communicate via email.

02.  In the Baseball Pitcher Interval-Training Programs file on the home page of my website, I provide my 724-Day program for everybody to download.

03.  In my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I explain how to perform the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion and everything else that you need to learn and do.

04.  Absolutely.

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

011.  Colin

I saw the '09 video of Colin (didn't get to watch the other guys yet) and he looks really comfortable throwing the ball.  Most striking to me is the complete lack of follow-through.  He throws, pronates and STOPS.  Just the way it should be.  That is by far the best example I've seen.  I hope he is well-rewarded in the New Year for his hard work.


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

     Colin had benefits that others did not have.  In the summer before he started training with me, Colin got to watch Jeff Sparks complete his Thirty Pound Wrist Weight and Fifteen Pound Iron Ball Recoil Interval-Training Program.  Then, he received the coaching knowledge that I gained from over forty years of research and ten years of working with baseball pitchers for a minimum of 280 consecutive days.

     As a result, Colin did not come in with a personal agenda.  Instead, he worked as hard as he could to do everything that I told him to do.  It was not easy and it did not happen over-night.

     Colin started in August 2007 and, yesterday, on January 03, 2010, I took video and high-speed film of the most skilled baseball pitcher to graduate from my Baseball Pitching Research/Training Center.  He can throw every pitch with excellent technique.

     By the way, Jeff Sparks 2008 DVD is the perfect example of how to engage the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  In the Maximum Pitching Forearm Acceleration Position, also known as my 'Slingshot' position, he has the back of his pitching upper arm facing directly toward home plate.

     You need to ignore my voice-over.  I was playing with those that believe they know something about the baseball pitching motion.  Their responses confirmed my suspicions.

     When I have time, in accordance with the actual important moments in the baseball pitching motion, I will redo their DVDs and provide the correct voice-overs for Jeff's and Mike's DVDs and I will do the same for the other DVDs that I have on-line.

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

012.  Pitching Questions

1)  According to your "724 Day Adult Baseball Pitching Interval Training Program", I am constantly wondering what you mean by the following:  BB, WW, FB, and IB.

2)  Are some of these exercises displayed in your pitching videos, which is located understand the heading "Baseball Pitching Instructional Video" that's on the home page?


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

01.  BB stands for baseball.  WW stands for wrist weights.  FB stands for football.  IB stands for iron ball.

02.  In my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, notably in my Wrist Weight Training Program section, I explain and demonstrate the drills that I used to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion in 2006.

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

***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, January 10, 2010, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

013.  Bat Weight

You recommend that hitters NOT swing baseball bats heavier than their game bats.  Almost everyone swings a weighted bat in preparation to hit.  I would love to know the reason.


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

     The Overload Principle only works when the drill precisely replicates the competitive action.  To swing weighted bats does not precisely replicate the competitive action.  Weighted bats do not train the muscles that accelerate the baseball bat.  Instead, weighted bats train the muscles that hold the bat up.

     Baseball batting is an 'Underload' activity.  Therefore, to increase the velocity with which baseball batters accelerate their bat, baseball batters should use lighter striking implements, such as broom and shovel handles.

     I have never read the Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Batting Mechanics report that a reader compiled from answers that I had given to baseball batting questions.

     Nevertheless, I believe that somewhere in that report, I explained the drills that I used to teach my baseball batting technique and provided my baseball batting interval-training program.

     In it, I should have explained where, depending on their age and strength, baseball batters should start with broom handles and whiffle balls or shovel handles and tennis balls.

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

014.  Upper Humeral Cystic Degeneration

I am a pro baseball player who is currently pitching in independent baseball.  I am 28 years old.

This past summer, I ran into some arm problems which I have never had or heard of before.  I have what is called Upper Humeral Cystic Degeneration.

I developed tendonitis this summer in my right (throwing) shoulder and it got to the point where throwing was virtually impossible.  I took 2 weeks off to rehab and strengthen and everything seemed fine.  I resumed pitching in games and, after about 5 innings, I was sidelined again with immense pain.

I have received an MRI which showed my problem and am currently waiting to see an Orthopedic Surgeon for his advice.  I have received opinions from doctors who have told me that my humeral head has been stretched or has grown.  Pending more expert advice, I am not sure what course of action I should be taking with regards to surgery or any other form of rehab.

Any advice or recommendations from you would very beneficial to me.


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

     Injuries to the front of the pitching shoulder result from baseball pitchers taking their pitching arm well beyond second base laterally behind their body.

     To prevent this injury, baseball pitchers have to pendulum swing their pitching arm straight backward toward second base and use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive the back of their pitching upper arm straight toward home plate.

     I recommend that you do my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

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

015.  Closed your Baseball Pitching Research/Training Center

I understand you took down the last of your Baseball Pitching Research/Training Center today.  That is hard to believe.

The irony is that today is Sir Isaac Newton's birthday.

Thank you for all you do.


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

     A glad day.

     After devoting forty plus years to learning how to teach and train baseball pitchers and eliminate all pitching injuries, now, I can get on with the rest of my life.  I will continue to upgrade the materials on my website and speak where asked to speak, but otherwise, I plan to think only of what Erica and I want to do.

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

016.  Running Program and Update on Throwing

I would like to start some kind of running program to build some stamina in my cardiovascular system.

I have had meniscus removed from both knees, roughly 25%-35% in each knee about 4 years ago.  My orthopedic surgeon told me that I am bound to get an early onset of arthritis due to the missing meniscus.

I have been tentative about starting a running program as I am not sure the constant pounding of the knees is a good idea.  I have read that you still run daily.

Have you had any type of surgery to your knees?  If so, would you recommend to someone to start running if they were missing cartilage in their knees?

What type of system should one use to start a running program?

On another note:  I have mentioned in the past that I felt my torque fastball was more powerful, but I may have to take that back.  Ever since you mentioned inwardly rotating the pitching upper arm more forcefully for your maxline pitches, it has made a world of difference.  After increasing my lead ball throws to 84 reps daily, I have to admit that my Maxline fastball is definitely more powerful than my torque fastball.

Thanks for the advice.


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

     In terms of cardiovascular benefit, walking is as effective as jogging.  However, with either activity, the training must be daily, must start with minimal repetitions and intensity and gradually increase every six days.

     I would not call the activity of my cardiovascular program, running.  I land on the heel of my feet and roll across the entire length of my foot and I run at little more than walking speed.  However, it is the best that I can do and I will continue to do the best that I can do every day until I take my last upright breath.

     Turning my pitching foot to parallel with the pitching rubber and dropping the inside of my pitching knee downward destroyed my pitching knee.  After twenty years of pain, I have my knee replaced last year.

     That is why I teach my baseball pitchers to point their pitching foot directly at home plate and 'walk' forward off the pitching rubber.  That not only is a more powerful way to apply force with the pitching leg, but it also is the way that we should use our knees.

     The Maxline driveline is straight.  The Torque driveline is not.  With the Maxline driveline, baseball pitchers powerfully inward rotate their pitching upper arm.  With the Torque driveline, baseball pitchers do not powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     The reason you mistakenly believed that the Torque driveline is more powerful than the Maxline driveline is because it felt more like how you used to apply force to baseballs.

     This was a case of 'if it feels strong, it is wrong.'

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

017.  Pitching Questions

I have another couple of questions that you could answer for me; therefore, they are the following:

1)  How can one maintain strengthen within their bones when they are 25 years old or over?

2)  How can one thicken their bones mass when they are 25 years old or over?

3)  Does carbonated drinks cause thinning of the bones throughout the entire body other your teeth?

4)  How effective is vitamin D for the body?


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

01.  To stimulate osteoblasts to lay down bone matrix, we must stress bones with daily activity.

02.  To increase bone mass, twenty-five year olds must appropriately increase the stress that they apply to their bones.

03.  I don't know what carbonated drinks would have in them that would influence osteoblasts to not lay down bone matrix.  Nevertheless, I don't believe that carbonated drinks are the best way to rehydrate our body.

04.  Nutrition is not my field of study, but I have read where the appropriate amount of vitamins are beneficial.  Therefore, I take a vitamin table daily.

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

018.  Bat Weight

Thanks for the answer and yes, in the special batting report, the drills and tools, you explain underloading.

However, I was wondering about batters swinging weighted bats in preparation for an "at bat".

The kids on my team regularly swung an extremely heavy "lead" bat just before getting in the batter's box.  They said it made their regular bat feel "quicker".  I wonder if it wouldn't have been better to just swing their regular bat.

How did your team's prepare to hit during a game?


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

     To make their regular bats feel quicker, I recommend that, before each At Bat, they swing their lighter training striking implement.

     Because, to prepare for every game, they completed the same Baseball Batting Interval-Training drills that I used to teach them the skills of my baseball batting technique, before each At Bat, most used the lighter training striking implement and their game bat.

     However, others preferred the metal donut that they slid over their game bats.  Therefore, I guess that I let them do whatever they wanted to do.

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

019.  Couple of questions

I'm the fellow who asked your advice a couple of month's ago about my wife's strained back and about the long term effects of running on my knees.  I appreciate your taking the time to respond, and I'm happy to report both her back and my knees never felt better.

I have a couple of new questions;

1.  Is there a danger in running on a surface, say a track or a treadmill, that is not perfectly level?

I have this situation in my home where my treadmill is wedged in a corner where the floor grades into some amount of 'slope' as it meets the wall.  This 'slope' is not apparent to the naked eye, but it's definitely there.  As a result, while standing stationary on the treadmill one of my feet will be a bit lower than the other.

2.  Is there a scientifically determined optimum amount of sleep one should get, or is the amount required subjective to the individual?

3.  Is there any danger inherent in the normal course of activities in the game of basketball?  Possibly the aspects of jumping, cutting, running and dribbling while crouching, swift changes of direction and the like?

4.  Have you read Anthem by Ann Raynd?

I'm amazed by how similar your life story and your viewpoint on your work, as well as your outlook on their mixed reception by those you are trying to help are to those of the protagonist Howard Roark.


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

01.  If the slope of the treadmill is from end to end, not side to side, then you will adjust without problems.  You may have to reposition your treadmill.

02.  People that sleep from four and one-half to six hours per night live longer.  Whether that amount of sleep works for everybody is not clear.

03.  The skills of basketball do not require athletes to use their body in ways that destroy their joints.  However, collisions between players, stepping on a foot, landing inappropriately and so on can cause injuries.

04.  I have no idea who Ann Raynd is.  My life is far too challenging and busy to read fiction.  I prefer movies.

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

020.  Towel snapping

This is excellent info.  In short, you are saying that reverse rotational is the route of all evil in the traditional pitching motion.

I understand now.  However, most people, including all amateur and most pro instructors, do not understand what reverse rotation is.  They think that going back is the answer.  However, they are really not going back with the rotation, they are really going backward. aren't they?


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

     Baseball pitchers should pendulum swing their pitching arm straight backward toward second base.  When they do so, they will also passively aim their pitching upper arm, their acromial line (shoulders) and acetabular line (hips) straight backward toward second base.

     From this starting position, baseball pitchers should simultaneously rotate their pitching hip, pitching shoulder and pitching upper arm forward to point at home plate.

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

021.  120-Day program

I noticed that you recently updated the 120 day high school pitchers workout.  I have so far done the 24 days of the wrong foot slingshot drill and the 24 days of the loaded wrong foot drill.

I printed out the workout sheet when I started and it stated to now start the wrong foot pendulum swing drill.  However, on the more recent one it shows to perform the two slingshot drills for 30 days each and then start the second base pick off drill.

Since I have not done 30 days of the two slingshot drills should I just continue on the workout sheet I started with or should I incorporate the new drill in also?


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

     The following is my revised 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
01. Wrong Foot; Slingshot drill:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 001| 10 lb. WW (12 reps): 06 lb. IB (12 reps): FB/Lid (12 reps): BB (12 reps)
Day 007| 10 lb. WW (24 reps): 06 lb. IB (24 reps): FB/Lid (24 reps): BB (24 reps)
Day 013| 10 lb. WW (36 reps): 06 lb. IB (36 reps): FB/Lid (24 reps): BB (36 reps)
Day 019| 10 lb. WW (48 reps): 06 lb. IB (48 reps): FB/Lid (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 031| Change to Wrong Foot; Loaded Slingshot drill:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 061| Change to Half Reverse Pivot; Pendulum Swing drill:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 091| Change to Drop Out Wind-Up; Pendulum Swing drill:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 121| Start pitching to catchers
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     You will notice that, to teach my Slingshot and Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions, I use my Wrong Foot body action.  However, to learn my Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions, I use my new Half Reverse Pivot body action.

     However, because I need to do my voice-over and am having some technical problems, I have not posted video of my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     Therefore, until you know how to do my Half Reverse Pivot body action, you should do what my preceding 120-Day program said.

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

022.  E-mail interview for The Bench

Thank you once again for taking time to answer questions from our members.  Please feel free to answer or not answer any of these questions.  Once the interview is posted on our site; I will send you the link for your records.

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

premium1981 asks:

How do you feel your career would of changed if you had played in today's game?  Do you feel like you would have done better, worse, or about the same?


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

     If I knew what I know now, then I have no doubt that I would have done far better.  However, if I had the same game now as I did then, I believe that I would have done about the same.

     My game was deception.  I threw fastballs, sinkers and screwballs with ten mile per hour difference in velocity that moved to the pitching arm side of home plate.

     Therefore, I had success against glove arm side pull hitters.  Therefore, I pitched as though I were a left-handed pitcher.  However, because I was right-handed and threw a quality slider, I did well against the other three types of baseball batters.

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

mrmopar asks:

1.  You are one of the most difficult living autographs in MLB today, yet you are quite approachable through your website, even taking time to personally answer questions.  What lead you to create this personal policy of not signing autographs for the fans?

2.  How did you come to sign a very limited number of cards for Upper Deck's? Sweet Spot card series, your only certified autograph issued to date, to my knowledge (many of which have faded terribly, FYI)?

3.  Will we possibly ever see a change to the no autograph policy either for a fee or free?

4.  Do you believe your record of 106 games will be matched or eclipsed in your lifetime?


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

01.  I have no interest in being part of the memorabilia industry.  However, because I earned a doctoral degree in Exercise Physiology with specialties in Kinesiology and Motor Skill Acquisition, I greatly enjoy helping those that want advice on baseball pitching.

     Nevertheless, to accommodate autograph seekers, I made a deal with Bill Corcoran (813)972-8175, a local memorabilia guy, for him to respond to autograph requests.

02.  The deal with Upper Deck was my first attempt to meet the needs of autograph seekers.  I do not understand what makes a certified autograph versus what is not certified, but, if autograph seekers get my autograph from Bill Corcoran, it is my autograph.

03.  When Bill receives sufficient numbers of autograph requests, he brings them to me and I sign them.  Over the past five years, I have signed about seven hundred and fifty autographs.

04.  Were I to train professional baseball pitchers, they would not only be able to pitch in more than 106 games, but they would also be able to start more than forty games a year and never suffer pitching arm injuries.

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

chieftazmisty asks:

1.  Who was the hardest batter to get out in your opinion when closing a game?


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

01.  I suppose that you want a specific name.  Although, when I absolutely had to get him out, I did, Joe Morgan was a very difficult batter to keep off base.

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

metrotheme asks:

1.  Do you have anymore pitchers that are in the minor leagues and how have pitching coaches responded to them?

2.  Is it true that you are shutting down operations?


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

01.  Over the ten years that I have coached baseball pitchers for a minimum of 280 consecutive days, I would estimate that a dozen should have become quality major league baseball pitchers.  However, the ignorance and mean-spiritedness of 'traditional' baseball pitchers refused to allow them to succeed.

     At present, I have a couple of guys pitching college baseball for my former assistant baseball coach from when I coached at Henderson State University.  Both pitchers have the skills required to succeed at the highest level.

02.  Actually, last year, I stopped accepting new students.  In a few days, I will be 67 years old.  My wife and I want to spend time doing what we want to do.

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

Fatboycards asks:

1.  What pitcher into today's game would be most comparable to you?


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

01.  I don't believe that any of today's relief pitchers can pitch 179 and 208 closing innings in successive years.

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

Loyalty32 asks:

Thank you for taking the time to field some questions from members of The Bench!

1.  Since you played in Montreal for 4 seasons, could you please explain some of the differences in the way you and other players were covered by the media here in the states?


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

01.  At the time, I did not notice any differences.  However, in retrospect, I suppose that there were fewer media people.

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

entersandman asks:

First off, thanks for taking the time to answer questions.

1.  Which team did you enjoy playing for the most and why?


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

01.  I enjoyed my time in Montreal and Minnesota the most.  Why?  Because Gene Mauch was the manager.  While I also enjoyed Walter Alston and Los Angeles, I did not enjoy living in Los Angeles as much as living in Montreal and Minnesota.

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

criollos asks:

1.  Do you think that, in general, is it good or bad for baseball and for the pitchers themselves the way their pitch count and the days in between appearances are being monitored by their teams?


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

01.  Because the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion is inherently injurious, I understand why teams have that pitch counts and extra days rest.  However, as pitching injuries continue to increase, it is apparent that their solution does not work.

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

johnmulemiles asks:

1.  If you could play for any MLB team today, which one would it be?


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

01.  I love day games.  Chicago Cubs.

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

hpubb asks:

You came into the 5th game in the 6th inning of the 1974 World Series, and mowed down the top part of the A's order.  Three up and three down.

When the A's came to bat in the 7th, Joe Rudi was leading off.  As I recall you threw very few, if any warm up pitches before that inning.  It was like you were daring him to hit your inside heater.

It's been 35 years since I saw that game, but I believe that's what you threw him, and he hit it out for a solo home run to give the A's the lead, and what turned out to be the game winner, and the end of the Series.  It was the only mistake I saw you make the whole season.

1.  What was going through your mind when Rudi walked up to the plate, and if you had the chance to go back in time and do it over again, what would you throw him?


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

01.  Joe Rudi was what I call, a pitching arm side spray hitter.  That means that he could hit my glove arm side pitch (slider) to the opposite field and had done so in a preceding game.

     Therefore, after the preceding game, I decided that I needed to speed up his bat with a fastball that moved inside off the plate, which I did.

     However, as I learned later, because I did not throw extra warm-up pitches after a delay due to a problem in left field, he decided that I was going to throw an inside fastball.  Actually, the delay in left field had nothing to do with my pitch selection.

     In any case, he looked for a fastball inside, I threw a fastball inside off the plate.  He opened his stance and hit it out of the ball park.  In the five games that I closed in that World Series, that was the only run I gave up.  Because, when I entered the sixth inning of the game, the scored was tied and we did not score any runs in our three innings thereafter, we lost.

     If I had it to do over, then I would have learned how to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve and thrown it to him.  Therefore, if he looked for a fastball inside, he would not hit my Maxline Pronation Curve, and I still would have backed him off home plate.

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

loftheb asks:

1.  Are you or were you ever a baseball card collector?

2.  Do you collect or have any memorabilia from your playing days?

3.  What was it like when you saw yourself on a baseball card for the first time?

4.  When did you know that being a professional baseball player would be your career path?

5.  Did you play other sports in High School or College?

6.  If not a pro baseball player, what would you have been and why?

7.  What is your most memorable or best pro baseball moment?

8.  What was the one pitch you would like to have back? (least memorable moment)

9.  Was there any significance to your jersey number?

10.  If you could play any other position besides pitcher, what would it be and why?

11.  Was there a batter who you had "his number" so to speak?

12.  How fast was your fastball?

13.  What was your favorite baseball stadium to play in and why?

14.  Did you have any pre or during game superstitions or rituals?


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

01.  I have never collected baseball cards.

02.  I do not have any memorabilia from my playing days.

03.  When I saw my first baseball card, I thought that it signified that I was a major league baseball player.

04.  When the Philadelphia Phillies offered me twenty thousand dollars to sign with them.  With that money, I paid my way through college.

05.  I played high school football, basketball and baseball.  However, because I signed a professional contract before I started college, I never played any college sports.

06.  I am what I would have been.  I earned my doctoral degree in Exercise Physiology and am a University Professor.

07.  I enjoyed every moment that I stood on a pitching mound.

08.  Because I kept track of every pitch I threw in major league games and carefully analyzed that data.  I have no regret about any pitch that I threw.

09.  When I joined the Detroit Tigers, they gave me the number of the guy I replaced.

10.  I played shortstop for my first four years of professional baseball.  Had I not had a bad back from a car accident I was in when I was eleven years old, I would have been a major league shortstop.

11.  I believed that when I had to get any batter out, I could.

12.  When I pitched, they did not show fastball velocities on the scoreboard.  Therefore, I have no source from which to tell you how fast I threw.

13.  I have no favorite baseball stadium.  I liked pitching in all major league baseball parks.

14.  Before every game, I studied my individual batter sheets that showed every pitch I had thrown to each batter.  Then, I decided what pitch sequence I would use against each of them in that game.

     Thanks for the questions.  This was fun.

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

023.  Video not playing

Your wrist weight section of your pitching video does not come up.  All the other sections appear to be working.

Wrist Weight Training Program

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

     Thank you.  I will forward your email to the guy that puts my videos on-line.

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

024.  Three brief questions

I am finished with the 24 day cycle of 10 lb wrist weight and 6 lb iron ball.

Questions: 

1)  What is the best way to add weight and keep adding weight (in 5 lb increments) to the existing duct-taped 10 lb weights and avoid lop-sidedness and dysfunction.

2)  What is the effect (positive/negative) of continuing to throw the 6 lb iron ball (for another month) until one can afford the 8 lb ball.

3)  What effects do the wrist weight/iron ball training have on pitchers who use the "traditional motion" (i.e. You in the 70's) as well as pitchers who throw side-arm or from lower slots?

Thank You and Awesome body of work!  No one else has ever done what you have.  Nobody.  Ever.  Period.


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

01.  When my guys add five pounds to their ten pound wrist weights, I have them wrap the five pound wrist weight around the little finger side of the wrist weight.  That way, when they pronate their releases, the wrist weight will continue the momentum of the pronation action.

02.  I use the twenty-four days while my baseball pitchers start their wrist weight training cycle to get their pitching arm accustomed to throwing the increased weight of their iron ball.  If you cannot throw the eight pound iron ball, then, when it comes time to increase the repetitions, your pitching arm will not be ready.  Therefore, until you throw the new iron ball for twenty-four days without increasing the repetitions, I recommend that your wait to start the iron ball training cycle.  At cost, I will send you an eight pound lead ball.

03.  Unless baseball pitchers perform the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion, they will not be able to do my wrist weight and iron ball training program.  With their first high-intensity 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' they may rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  On the plus side, if they start at very low intensity, then they will learn just how dangerous the 'traditional' force application technique is.

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

025.  Wrist Weight Training Program Video not playing

The video is still on Google and it does work.  BUT, it is not working from the link as it should.

This is very strange.  Your other links are working and I am sure your web html is correct.  That only leaves some issue with Google player or a setting on the adminstrative panel for the video.

About a month ago, I found that people were downloading your videos and placing them on other sites.  So, I changed the settings on the videos to allow play only.

On this particular video, I had a setting wrong that prevented a call from a website.  I changed that this morning.  However, it is still having problems.  It may just take a little time to become active.  I will continue to investigate.


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

     Wow.  And I am supposed to learn how to do this.  Everything you wrote is way above my pay grade.

     I appreciate everything you do.  You make my website better than I ever expected it to be.

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

026.  Wrist Weight Training Program Video not playing

It working now!  Thank goodness!  Sorry for any inconvenience it may have caused.


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

     Had a reader not told me that the Wrist Weight Training Program video was not working, I would never have known.  But then, I did not know that viewers could download my videos.

     I and my readers appreciate your help.

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

027.  E-mail interview for The Bench

Thanks for your time and willingness to answer our questions.  I have included the link to the posted interview so you can follow it for your records.

The Bench Interview

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

     If you read my posting of the interview on my 2010 Question/Answer file, you will notice that I edited some of my answers.  The extra read-through before I post it on my website always makes me want to do one more edit.

     I enjoyed talking with your readers.

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

028.  Thanks for the interview

I am a member of the trading card site (thebenchtrading.com) in which you did the interview with and I just wanted to personally thank you for your time to answer those questions.  It was greatly insightful and informative.

I have collected autographs of past and present baseball players as I feel it puts me a little closer to the game.  Living in MS, I don't have the access to baseball as I would like other than watching it on TV.  I now have over 5,000 autographs of many great players.

I can understand your stand on the topic as well as it is definitely your choice to do any type of autograph signing that you do.  As you are the last Cy Young Winner's autograph I need to have every winner since the award was first given, I am considering contacting Mr. Corcoran.

I had never contacted you before about it as I heard you just didn't like signing autographs.  I now do not totally get that feeling.  Anyway, I didn't mean to go on so long, just wanted to say thanks again for the interview and, as a person also in the medical profession, I totally agree with your research on the injuries current pitchers are causing to themselves.


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

     Thank you for taking the time to email me.

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

029.  About my children

First, I appreciate you taking the time to read my email.  I just have a couple of quick questions for you.

I have two very small children, both boys, ages 1.5 years and 2.5 years of age.  I have been reading online and doing some research about teaching them to throw with both arms.  I am curious if you have any experience with this and if you think it is a good idea or a bad idea?  I know there is at least one pitcher in the minors right now that has done this and is having great success.

I want to teach my boys the game at an early age and do things correctly so they don't have to deal with injuries and poor mechanics as they grow older.  I am not the type of person to push my kids in any particular direction However, I would like for them to learn things correctly so if they choose to persue baseball further, they will have the proper tools to do so.

I live in a very rural area where there are not many opportunities as far as baseball coaching goes.  I know you are not currently accepting new students and plan to retire soon, but I hope you will consider helping point me in the correct direction so I can help my boys.

I am more concerned with them learning proper mechanics and avoiding long term injuries than anything else at this point and with that in mind I am not sure that it would be best to teach them to trow with both arms.

I am almost positive that my oldest son is going to be a lefty as he has already taken to trying to learn to play guitar and he always plays it right handed for a few minutes then flips it over and plays it left handed.  He writes and draws with both hands and when I play around with him and we throw the ball I always encourage him to throw with both arms.  However, he seems to be favoring the lefty more than righty.

Anyway, thank you for your time.  I consider you to be the best source for this sort of information and wanted to try to contact you directly.


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

     At one and one-half and two and one-half years old, you have plenty of time to become the best baseball pitching coach that your son's will ever need.

     To learn how to pitch with both arms divides the time that youngsters have to practice with each arm in half.  Therefore, they become half as good with both arms as they could have been with their dominant arm.

     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.

     They need to learn how to perform the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.  Therefore, you need start by teaching them:

01.  My Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.

02.  My Wrong Foot body action; Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.

03.  My Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

04.  My Drop Out Wind-Up body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     Then, when they are nine years olds, I recommend that once a year until they are is biologically sixteen years old, they complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

     At sixteen biological years old, I recommend that once a year until they are biologically nineteen years old, they complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

    At nineteen biological years old, I recommend that they complete my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     Thereafter, for as long as they want to continue to pitch competitively, I recommend that, every off-season, they repeat my 72-Day Thirty Pound Adult Baseball Pitchers Wrist Weight Recoil Interval-Training Program and my 72-Day Fifteen Pound Adult Baseball Pitchers Iron Ball Recoil Interval-Training Program.

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

030.  Weighing the effects of Tommy John surgery on fantasy pitchers
SI.com
August 20, 2009

One of the biggest disappointments of the fantasy year has been the mediocre pitching of Minnesota's Francisco Liriano.  In 2006, he was the heir apparent to Johan Santana and in contention for both the AL Cy Young and Rookie of the Year awards.  But elbow pain landed him on the DL and later that year he had Tommy John surgery.  He returned in '08 and went 6-4, but his strikeouts were down while his WHIP and ERA were up.  This season, he's been even worse with a 5-12 record and an ERA of 5.80.  Could his '09 numbers have anything to do with trying to come back from the surgery too quickly?


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

     When baseball pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament and do not understand why, it is easy to understand why they are reluctant to throw as hard as they did before.

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

Every year pitchers go under the knife to have their Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) replaced, which starts the clock on the rehab process to regain velocity and form.  The original rehab time to return to pre-surgery pitching efficiency after this procedure is 18 months.  But in recent years a team's desire to get its multi-million dollar investment back on the mound combined with the athlete's natural need to compete have driven the rehab time down to 12 months.  This shortened rehab schedule has produced mixed results.

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

     Orthopedic surgeons drill holes through the Humerus and Ulna bones and thread the tendons of the replacement 'ligament' through these holes.  In the same way and same time period that broken bones heal, bone tissue grows tightly around these replacement tendons.  Therefore, at nine weeks after the surgery, the replacement 'ligaments' are ready to withstand an appropriately-designed rehabilitation program.

     Unfortunately, the orthopedic surgeons do not understand Exercise Physiology.  Therefore, they do not understand how to design rehabilitation programs.  First and foremost, because orthopedic surgeons have no idea what specific stress in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion causes baseball pitcher to rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, they do not understand how baseball pitchers need to adjust their pitching motion to remove this injurious stress.

     As a result, as soon as their patients start applying force exactly as they did that caused the rupture, they start microscopically tearing their replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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

This article will look at the results of certain pitchers who have come back from the surgery.  Based on what is discussed below, here's the protocol you should follow when evaluating any pitcher that has the procedure done:

1.  Start watching for updates about their rehab efforts about 11 months from the date of their surgery.

2.  Barring a setback, expect the pitcher to return at the one-year anniversary.  But also expect the pitcher to be less effective then his pre-surgery numbers indicate.

3.  While not foolproof, have more faith in the return to form of starters that are allowed to work out of the bullpen that first season back.

4.  While the pitcher will be healthier than at the time of the injury, do not expect him to exceed the talent he showed before the injury.

5.  Again, not foolproof, but in a best case scenario, beware a fall off after six or seven seasons of post TJS play.

Tommy John surgery

UCL surgery involves replacement of a damaged elbow ligament using one from another part of the body -- typically the hand, wrist, forearm or hamstring -- which is then wrapped in a figure-eight pattern through holes drilled in the arm's humerus and ulna bones.  The procedure is more commonly known as Tommy John surgery after the Dodgers' starter who received the procedure in 1974 and came back to have a prolific career into the '89 season.


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

     Typically, to use a the replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament, orthopedic surgeons remove the tendon of the Palmaris Longus muscle from the pitching forearm.  However, because the Palmaris Longus muscle contributes to wrist flexion, an important force in baseball pitching, orthopedic surgeons should remove the tendon of the Palmaris Longus muscle from the non-pitching forearm.

     Nevertheless, orthopedic surgeons are smart enough to not take remove any part of the four muscles that contribute to the 'Hamstring's muscle group.  Instead, they take part of the Pes Anserinus, which, because three muscles contribute to a shared attachment, means 'goose's foot.'

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

Prior to John's successful comeback, a torn UCL meant a pitcher's career path was headed towards coaching or broadcasting.  However, after returning during the '76 season, John was able to add 2544.2 IP to the 2165.2 he had already thrown, and logged more than half of his 288 career wins after his surgery.  Even by today's standards pitching an additional 14 post-surgery seasons was a remarkable feat, and John's results are the medical equivalent of Cy Young's 511 career wins:  It's foolish to even discuss whether someone will come close to matching it.

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

     Tommy John was able to return to pitching well because I showed him how to remove the unnecessary stress that ruptures Ulnar Collateral Ligament and gave him a simple rehabilitation program.  While I prefer that all baseball pitchers remove the injurious flaw that causes their Ulnar Collateral Ligament from rupturing, I can show all Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement pitchers how to, not only regain the use of their pitching arm, but also to improve their release velocity, release consistency and the quality of their pitches.

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

Dr. Frank Jobe, the surgeon who performed John's surgery, was a former Dodgers team physician and argues that Sandy Koufax could have extended his career with it (he claims Koufax's career-ending arthritis was caused by a stretched UCL).  Regardless, the surgery has become routine -- taking about one hour to complete -- and is available to pitchers at any level that tear their UCLs. Dr. James Andrews, among the handful of top TJS surgeons in the country, claims the surgery sees a success rate of 85%, up from 60% about 15 years ago.

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

     Lenghened or ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligaments do not cause arthritis.  Arthritis is a genetically-inherited disease that has nothing to do with baseball pitching.  My mother never threw a baseball and she has arthritis.

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

The myth of post-TJS performance improvement

Pitchers have reported a post-surgery increase in velocity.  Former closer Billy Koch claimed to have hit 108 mph on a radar gun after rehabbing.  Others, like Kerry Wood, agree that they too have seen higher velocity numbers thanks to the surgery.  However, this is likely a case of pro hoc, ergo propter hoc ("after this, because of this"), the argument that blames rain on a just-washed car.  The surgery and the higher velocity are related, but not directly.  And not all pitchers experience this increase.

Doctors postulate there are other reasons a pitcher might see increased velocity post-surgery.  The pitcher likely pitched with a torn UCL prior to the surgery, so he had not been pitching at peak performance.  Replacing the UCL allowed the pitcher to get back to where he would have been before the ligament damage, but not necessarily to a point of improvement.  Also, the rehab process works to build up the shoulder and elbow, which means the pitcher is probably in the best shape of his life, concentrating on health, nutrition and fitness for a full year.  And sometimes, the pitcher matures physically during the resting period.  Any one of these reasons -- or any combination -- could lead to increased velocity.


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

     When they are adolescents,youth baseball pitchers learn the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.  Therefore, with every competitive pitch that they throw, they tear the connective tissue fiber that make up their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Therefore, when they become adult baseball pitchers, they are pitching with lengthen and weakened Ulnar Collateral Ligaments.

     However, after their Ulnar Collateral Ligament surgery, during the early stages of again tearing the connective tissue fibers of their replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament, they have a tight, strong pitching elbow that transfers the force that they generate to the baseball.  As a result, they achieve higher release velocities.

     Unfortunately, because they are still doing the injurious flaw that ruptured their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, they will again gradually lose their release velocity and again rupture their new Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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

The downside to TJS success stories

Koch (yes, him again) once said, "[My arm] felt so good when I came back, I said I recommended it to everybody ... regardless what your ligament looks like."  Sure he was being facetious, but since we're talking about potential multi-million dollar careers, many didn't take his comments that way.  There has been talk of prophylactic TJS on healthy ligaments, but that would run south of anybody's interpretation of the Hippocratic Oath.

What is more disturbing is the increase in surgeries among younger pitchers.  Dr. James Andrews estimates that 20% of his TJS patients are major leaguers, another 20-25% are minor leaguers, and the remaining 55-60% are college or high school athletes.  The late Nick Adenhart had the procedure done when he was 18 and former MLB pitcher Dewon Brazelton got it when he was 15.  Doctors have quoted lower success rates in high school pitchers mainly because the commitment to rehab is likely harder for the youngster who may decide the work is not worth it, as opposed to the major leaguer who knows the seven or eight-figure cost of not returning to form.


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

     Replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligaments do not develop blood supply.  Without blood supply, the replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament cannot repair tears.  Therefore, replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligamenst rupture faster than born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligaments.  Teenages that have Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgeries never developed their born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligament sufficiently to increase the attachment strength to the bones that they needed to successfully rehabilitate their pitching elbow.

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

TJS rehabilitation

The initial rehabilitation time between Tommy John's UCL surgery and his return to the majors was 18 months, or basically the end of the '74 season to the beginning of the '76 season (technically, from 9/25/74 to 4/16/76).  In his first season back John -- a sinker curveball pitcher -- made 31 starts (207.0 IP) with a 3.09 ERA and pitched six complete games.  While his 10-10 record was mediocre by his standards, his underlying statistics were not far off his pre-surgery numbers and he was voted the NL's Comeback Player of the Year.


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

     Because, during the Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery, Dr. Frank Jobe crimped Tommy John's Ulnar Nerve, Tommy John lost the ability to use the muscles that his Ulnar Nerve stimulated.  Therefore, to enable Tommy John to contract these muscles, Dr. Jobe had to do another surgery.  However, myolinated motor nerves require several months to regenerate to sixty percent of their previous capability.  Those several months gave Tommy John the time that he needed to adjust his pitching motion.

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

Since John's UCL surgery, post-TJS rehabilitation has become better defined.  The arm is initially immobilized for a week then put in an adjustable brace.  The patient is engaged in range-of-motion exercises working up toward swinging a golf club by the 12th week.  By the 16th week the pitcher starts throwing on flat ground and then throws from a mound at six months.  By the end of 12 months the pitcher has thrown breaking balls and can pitch batting practice.  It is at this point the pitcher may return to competitive pitching.  However, that's just from a muscular and joint point of view.  The pitcher still has to mentally trust the arm (something some say Liriano is yet to do) and get back his mechanics, and it often takes another season before he can be considered back to full effectiveness.

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

     What does swinging a golf have to do with pitching baseballs?  Nothing.  This is the typical non-specific rehabilitation program that does absolutely nothing to properly prepare baseball pitchers for the appropriate stresses required to pitch at the highest levels.

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

Differences in physiology, surgery effectiveness, and environment can affect the length of the rehab.  Also, the pitcher has to make sure to work on his shoulder while rehabbing his elbow, or risk a DL stint with shoulder problems because they allowed the muscles to weaken during times of limited arm movement.

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

     Nonsense.  As human beings, all baseball pitchers respond to training with the same physiological adjustments that appropriately-designed rehabilitation programs stimulate.

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

The Morris-Smoltz bullpen model for post-TJS MLB return

With the established time to return to effectiveness being 18 months but the time that a pitcher can return to competition being 12 months, the more patient teams have used the compromise of having the starting pitcher return by way of the bullpen.  The plusses are obvious as the pitcher, who may not still be back to physical and mental game shape by the end of the 12 months, need not be stretched back to pitch 100 pitches in an outing.  Also, giving him one-inning outings allows him to get the feel of his pitches back with less damage to the team, and the manager can be more selective on when the pitcher enters a game.

Perhaps an argument in favor of going to the bullpen is the high-profile closers and relievers that have been able to perform well at the major-league level post-TJS.  Danys Baez, Rod Beck, Manny Delcarmen, Octavio Dotel, Frank Francisco, Eric Gagne, Tom Gordon, Hong-Chih Kuo (twice), Jose Mesa, Rafael Soriano and Bob Wickman were all able to pitch competitively after receiving TJS.  And just to set the record straight, Mariano Rivera did have TJS, but once the doctors opened up his elbow they found the UCL was fine and only needed to be moved.  Therefore, technically Rivera had the surgery, but did not have the procedure done to his arm.


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

     The important sentence in the preceding two paragraphs is:  "Mariano Rivera did have TJS, but once the doctors opened up his elbow they found the UCL was fine and only needed to be moved."  Orthopedic surgeons cannot 'move' the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  However, the fact that they interpreted MRI results to mean that Mr. Rivera had ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament is the important statement.  These guys are more like witch doctors than scientists.

     If they cannot correctly diagnose injuries, then why does anybody listen to what they have to say about rehabilitation or the causes of pitching injuries?

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

***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, January 17, 2010, I posted the following questions and answers.

     I know.  Today is Wednesday, January 13, 2010, not Sunday, January 17, 2010.  After I post my questions and answers Sunday mornings, the first thing that I do is put in the date for the following Sunday.

     However, I will not be home this Sunday.  Instead, tommorow morning, before I can even read questions readers ask me, I will be on an airplane to Pittsburgh, PA to present my materials to the Pennsylvania High School Baseball Coaches Association.

     I will not return home until after noon on Monday, January 18, 2010.  Therefore, I will not post this week's questions and answers and newspaper article critiques until Tuesday or later.  However, do not let my absence prevent you from sending questions.  I will get to them.

     Below, I have posted the only question that I received thus far this week that I should share with everybody.


***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

031.  Beginning your program

First, thank you for taking the time to read my email.

I am a 20 year old college pitcher.  I have never heard of you until recently.  But, I have read several articles about you and your findings.  I believe what you are doing is amazing and, if no one has said it lately, let me say thank you for all you have done for the game over the years in terms of research, dedication, time spent, and promoting what you have learned.  And, you have all of your information free.

My main question is: where, how, and what would I do to start your program?

I see the programs you have, but I am not quite sure how to organize it, what the drills look like, how many sets and repetitions to do for what exercise on what day, and so on.  If you would add some clarification on what the best possible route to take, that would be extremely helpful.

The mechanics you have developed, from what I have read so far at least, do exactly what I have been looking for in my search to become the best possible pitcher I can be.  I want to use pitching mechanics that fully enable me to use all of my body without putting stress on my arm.

I have had problems with my Ulnar Nerve.  The athletic trainer at my school, physical therapists I work with, and others have no ideas that have helped me.

At the current moment, I have been analyzing the mechanics of Tim Lincecum, Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt, and others.  My biggest concern is that I believe I can get more out of myself and want to become the very best baseball player I can be.  I am willing to start from scratch, have an open mind from what I have been taught before, and most of all work my butt off.

Using "traditional mechanics" (which I taught myself not being a pitcher until I was a sophomore), I throw about 85-88 m.p.h. with a curveball and decent changeup.  I am 5'9", in good shape on the P90X program, and have the desire to do anything that will set me apart and take me as far as I can with the talent and ability God has blessed me with.

I believe that your techniques and program can do that. These are my current mechanics as of a few weeks ago:

My Video

I understand you have specific equipment that is needed in order do the exercises that are in your program.  I was wondering if it is possible to make it by myself or possibly find somewhere that is relatively cheap since I don't have much extra cash?  If not that is all right, I will find a way to get it done if that is what I have to do, just was curious if there were any other options.

Again, thank you for reading my email and I apologize for its' length.  I have numerous questions I have been thinking about and want nothing more than to get the wheels rolling to this season and improve on every one after.


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

     January is too late to start my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     Nevertheless, between my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and the DVDs that I have in my Analysis of my Baseball Pitchers files, especially Jeff Sparks 2008 (turn the volume off and watch what he does), you should learn how to do the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     You need to immediately stop watching Lincecum, Clemens, Oswalt and any other 'traditional' baseball pitchers.  Every year, the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion destroys thousands of pitchers.

     I hope to shortly put my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill online.  When I do, you need to do that drill.  However, you also need to learn how to do my Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot and Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drills.

     I also hope to shortly put new versions of all the other DVDs online. . When I do, to be able to learn who performs which parts of my pitching motion better than the rest, you need to watch every one.  Colin Carmody 2009 will be another good one to watch.

     Lastly, when I get what I need to do voice-overs on all these videos, you will learn the importance of each phase of the baseball pitching motion.  Then, you will be the best pitching coach you can have.

     I watched your video.  Unfortunately, it shows only the side view.  Therefore, I cannot see how far laterally you take your pitching arm behind your body.

     However, while I prefer that you do not turn your pitching foot to parallel with the pitching rubber, lift your glove leg off the ground, stride more than the length of a power walking stride that forces you to bend forward at your waist, you did not do badly with getting your pitching arm up to driveline height.

     Still, you should take the baseball out of your glove with the palm of your pitching hand facing upward, vertically pendulum swing your pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height to arrive at the same time that your glove foot lands.

     To prevent Ulnar Nerve irritation, the first move you should make with your pitching arm after it reaches driveline height, is to raise your pitching upper arm to vertically beside your head and turn the back of your pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.  That will eliminate the 'Grabbing' and 'Looping' that irritates your Ulnar Nerve.

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

***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, January 31, 2010, I posted the following questions and answers.

     I apologize for the missed couple of weeks.  Unfortunately, some misguided computer programs wizards decided to put my computer out of commission.  As a result, I have not been able to work on my 2010 Question/Answer file.  It may take me a couple of weeks to catch up, but I will eventually get everything in.

     I appreciate your patience and the questions that you send me.


***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

032.  Pendulum Swing

I just finished my second day of drill #3; Wrong Foot Body Action, Pendulum Swing Glove and Pitching Arm Actions Drill.  Only about 598 days left in your 724-day throwing program!!!  I have some questions.

Observations and Concerns

I was thinking about the pendulum swing.  I played tennis in college and the rhythm of the glove arm in the pendulum swing feels a lot like my motion when I used to serve in tennis.

1.  Is the Tennis Serve Pendulum Swing suppose to resemble your Pendulum Swing?

2.  My pitching hand and upper arm get to driveline height too early.  I guess that is better than too late as I will avoid injury to my front shoulder.  Is this normal when first starting this drill?

3. I am tentative about moving the body forward and laying my arm back and keeping it behind, especially with the increase in the Iron Ball.  I feel like I have locked the upper-arm because I raise the elbow, but I am scared to hurt the front of my shoulder again.  Is this typical of your baseball pitchers?

4.  I feel like I am able to throw with more force from the "Loaded Slingshot" than the Pendulum Swing.  Does the pendulum swing contribute to the driveline force towards home plate?  Or is its main purpose to protect pitcher's UCLs and front of the shoulder?


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

01.  The tennis serving arm action and the baseball pitching pitching arm action should be identical.

02.  To move your pitching arm to driveline height before your glove foot lands means that you will start your acceleration phase with a zero velocity.  However, you are correct that moving your pitching arm to driveline height too early is better than too late.

03.  If you have 'locked' your pitching upper arm with your shoulders, then you have engaged your Latissimis Dorsi muscle, such that you will have more than enough strength to withstand the inertial drag of your iron ball.

     With my Wrong Foot body action; 'Pendulum Swing' glove and pitching arm actions drill, you pendulum swing your pitching arm vertically downward, backward and upward to driveline height into my 'Loaded Slingshot' or 'Ready' position from which you immediately assume my 'Slingshot' position.

     With my Wrong Foot body action; 'Slingshot' glove and pitching arm actions drill, you should have your pitching upper arm vertically beside your head and your pitching forearm horizontally extending back toward second base with the little finger side of your pitching forearm facing upward.  Then, before you step forward with your pitching foot, you should reach straight backward as far as you can.  This trains the Latissimus Dorsi muscle and increases the range of motion over which you apply force to your pitches.

     You will reinjure the front of your pitching shoulder only if, instead of using your Latissimus Dorsi muscle, you continue to use your Pectoralis Major muscle.  The difference is whether you have turned the back of your pitching upper arm to face toward home plate or not.

     For a visual reference of the proper position for the pitching upper arm, you should turn the sound off and watch the front view high-speed film for how Jeff Sparks 2008 positions his pitching upper arm.  You will see that he has the back of his pitching upper arm facing toward home plate.

04.  With the 'Pendulum Swing' glove and pitching arm actions, you should enter your acceleration phase with a positive velocity.  That you feel stronger with the 'Loaded Slingshot' glove and pitching arm actions indicates that, when you pendulum swing your pitching arm, you are not entering your acceleration phase with a positive velocity.

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

033.  Ayn Rand

I hope you have a safe and productive trip to the great city of Pittsburgh.

In Q#19 of this week's letters, a reader asked you if you were familiar with the book Anthem written by Ayn Rand and the protagonist Howard Roark.  It is a question I always meant to ask you.

The author is Ayn Rand and the book in question is the Fountainhead.  The protagonist is Howard Roark and, if your readers want to get a sense of the kind of man you are, they should read that book.

Ms. Rand's philosophy is known as Objectivism, something that might appeal to you.  I am quite confident Ms. Rand would greatly admire your life's work.  We certainly miss her voice on the world stage today.


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

     I will have to take your word.  I am too busy trying to eliminate pitching injuries to read for pleasure.

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

034.  certification

I have looked at your website and read most of what you have listed.  However, I did not see a link as to where one might be able to become a "Certified Dr. Marshall instructor."  Is there such a link?  If not, how does one go about becoming one?


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

     For lack of interest, a few years ago, I discontinued my Certification Clinics.  However, were my readers to express interest, I would gladly how one-day seminars on how to teach and train my baseball pitching motion.  That is what I do when I present my materials at High School Baseball Coaches Clinics.

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

035.  Range of Motion

In Question #1279 of your 2009 letters you write:  "The purpose of my Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions is to increase the Latissimus Dorsi muscle's range of motion."

My question concerns the term Range of Motion from a kinesiological perspective.

I always thought that ROM was defined by the action of joints, not muscles.  Since muscles are finite length tissue, I assume you are talking about the ability of the Latissimus Dorsi to lengthen and contract with your above statement.

I would have guessed that your statement would have said the Slingshot glove and pitching arm action is designed to increase the range of motion in the shoulder joint.  I know the drill is designed to use the Latissimus Dorsi but I thought it was simply to make the muscles stronger.  Therefore, do muscles have a range of motion and not joints or do the both have a range of motion?
,

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

     The ability of the muscles to withstand plioanglos stress increases the range of motion over which they can apply force.  Although wrongly applied, that is the basis for Plyometrics.

     In my Wrong Foot body action; 'Slingshot' glove and pitching arm actions drill, where baseball pitchers have their pitching upper arm vertically beside their head and their pitching forearm laying horizontally behind pointing toward second base with the little finger side of their pitching forearm, wrist and hand facing upward, to increase the range of motion of their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, baseball pitchers should lean backward and reach backward as far at they can just before they step forward with their pitching arm side foot.

     As they strengthen their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, they will increase the range of motion over which their Latissimus Dorsi muscle applies force.

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

036.  Chris O'Leary.

I would like to keep my point simple.

I have watched many of Chris O'Leary's videos and arguments in regards to Pitching/Mechanics of pitching.  Although he may not have all of the alleged credentials you have, I would like to suggest that that does not mean he does not have some very correct and legitimate points.

Conversely, because you have many educational credentials, you may not know exactly what you are talking about. I have been involved in professional baseball for a very long time, do not have any of the educational credentials you have, but would love to debate the issue of pitching and injuries.

My father never played professional baseball and you know what he worked for many years in THE BIG LEAGUES AS A PITCHING COACH.  Now, would you care to discredit my father considering he doesn't have certain "CREDENTIALS"?????

Sometimes, people can take the pieces of paper they have, i.e., CREDENTIALS with 50 cents down to the corner store and get a snickers bar.  I'm sure we can agree on that!

Now, like most people they like to receive money for their "EXPERTISE" just as you do and Mr. O'Leary does, I don't see that as a problem.  I myself am proud to say I have done many a lesson for people, pro bono, unlike others who could most likely afford to do the same, but choose to be greedy.

I think your comments about Mr. O'Leary were a bit on the offensive side and were probably a bit out of line.  It seems to me he is a bit on the younger side and like many are still trying to figure things out.

I'm sure considering since you are much older you probably have it all figured out.  I don't think he ever claimed to be an expert, but it seems to me that you on the other hand seem to quite high on your horse and your head might be a bit in the clouds.

Now, if you have ever been around big league coaches or players, they too never claim to be experts.  That is why they are coaches.

I have indeed been around such individuals for a long time and they, including myself, are always striving for more understanding.  Understanding that know one, probably will ever have all the answers except God and Mr. Marshall.


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

     You wrote, "I have been involved in professional baseball for a very long time, do not have any of the educational credentials you have, but would love to debate the issue of pitching and injuries."

     In addition to providing my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book and Baseball Pitching Instructional Video on my website without charge, I have answered thousands of questions without charge.  Just as I have done for many years for Mr. O'Leary, I would be glad to answer your questions.

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

037.  More questions

I am experiencing a dull ache in the back of my glove-arm shoulder.  It began aching a couple days into WW Drill #3 with the pendulum swings.  It feels like a rotator-cuff issue.

1.  Have your pitchers ever experienced it?

2.  Could it be a result of swinging the glove-arm wrong?

3.  In any of your drills does is there come a time when we should actively reverse rotate our shoulders?


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

01.  The purpose of training is to apply slightly more stress to bones, ligament, tendons and muscles than they are presently fit to withstand.  That stimulates them to make a physiological adjustment.  Dull aches indicate that they are making physiological adjustments.

     If you are performing my drills correctly, then you are stressing the correct muscles.  When you pull your glove arm straight backward, you use the Teres Major and Latissimus Dorsi muscles.  You need to make sure that, when you pull your wrist weight back, you lay it on top of your glove shoulder.

02.  If you pull the wrist weight back below your glove shoulder, then you can irritate the front of your glove shoulder.

03.  When baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm straight backward toward second base, they should passively allow their hips and shoulders to point toward second base.

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

038.  Pittsburgh Presentation

How did everythiing go in Pittsburgh?


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

     Everything went well in Pittsburgh.  With more videos to show that teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion, it is easier for the coaches to ignore the big words that I use.

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

039.  fatigue

I have a question about a fatigue problem I am having.  It has happened several times during your program and I have experienced it over the last year during ballgames.

At times I get so fatigued in your workout program I have to sit down because my body is so exhausted.  Then after about a minute I continue and have to sit back down after about 6 reps of iron ball throws.  It's strange because it happened on Sunday and I have had 2 workouts since and haven't experienced it since.  It comes and goes.

I have always felt that this fatigue was onset by nerves because I always felt it in a game.  I get light-headed and I HAVE to sit.  But, since it is happening during my workouts, I am starting to wonder if there's something wrong with my body.

1.  Have you ever heard of anything like this?

2.  Can you recommend any materials on this matter?

3.  Could not proprly warming up cause this?

4.  I also noticed it's more apt to happen if I do my WW portion of your workout and I take a small break and then continue on to my IB throws it will happen.  I don't understand why, it's very dehabilitating and it has only happened during my IB throws; but will continue on through my FB & BB throws.  This can't be normal.  It's a very weird feeling....any suggestions?


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

01.  Getting light-headed indicates that your brain is not getting enough blood.  When they train, it is very important that athletes have a 'relaxation instant' between muscle contractions.  You might be holding your breath.  You need to breathe.  The scientific term is the 'Valsalva Effect.'

02.  Other than what I wrote about the Valsalva Effect in my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, I do not know of any other materials.

03.  No.

04.  Before you throw the iron ball, take a deep breath.  Then, to keep your thorax solid, hold your breath only during the acceleration phase.  After you release the iron ball, exhale.

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

040.  A few questions

I hope that your recent trip to Pittsburg was enlightening to the high school coaches that attended your presentation.  I think your regulars would appreciate a brief synopsis of your trip, with comments about how you were received, questions that you were asked, and any other items that you think would be of interest.

I have a few questions and comments that I would appreciate your thoughts on.

1.  I was going to start my 15 year old son on the 120 day HS Pitcher’s Workout late last year.  Unfortunately, he had a stress fracture in his right (pitching) foot about the time we were going to start the program.  He got his boot off a few weeks ago and has recently been cleared by the doctor to resume athletic activity.

We now do not have enough time to complete the full program prior to the baseball season.  What do you suggest as a course of action?  Start the program and complete as much as possible?  Because the program cannot be completed in its entirety, work on specific drills only?

2.  About a year ago, I read an article online about how a batter should focus his eyes while a pitcher is in his wind up so that he may better ‘see’ the ball.  (I cannot re-find the article)  The idea was to ‘soft focus’ on the pitcher’s belt buckle, and slowly move your vision up his body as he winds up so that the eyes are more intently focused at the point of release.  This way, the eyes are more relaxed and able to focus more clearly when needed.  It makes sense to me.  Did you practice something similar to this in your playing days, and/or did you teach something like this during your college coaching days?

3.  Although he couldn’t fully participate, my son attended the off-season pitching workouts that his coach started having twice a week.  I found it encouraging that the coach was talking to the pitchers (according to my son) about using the triceps muscle and trying to limit side to side arm movement.  Unfortunately, he is still teaching the pitchers to show the ball to the centerfielder.  I believe he either is hearing of your principles/phrases through other coaches and parroting what he hears, or is trying to incorporate some of your pitching philosophy with the traditional motion.  It is somewhat encouraging.  I want to speak with the coach, but my son is asking me not to for fear it will land him on the bench.  He promises he will pendulum swing and not show the centerfielder the ball.  I’ll wait for now.

4.  When I wrote to you after last baseball season, I forgot to mention something sort of funny.  With the Marshall arm motion and release, his coach said he looked like a pitching machine, so they started calling him Iron Mike (a type of pitching machine).  I thought the name fit perfectly for obvious reasons.


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

     At the Pennsylvania High School Baseball Coaches Association Clinic, they gave me five forty-five minute session in which to present my materials.  While I am sure that those that attended my sessions felt that I crammed a lot of information into each forty-five minute session, I felt far less rushed than I usually do.
>br> 01.  Whatever time you and your son can do my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program is better than not doing anything.

02.  To pick up the baseball as quickly as possible, baseball batters should watch the pitching hand and baseball throughout the pitching motion.

03.  Teaching some of what I teach is better than teaching nothing of what I teach.

04.  The Iron Mike pitching machine has no side-to-side movement.  That is good.

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

041.  Tom House

You might be interested to know that Tom House has recognized that his towel drill was flawed.  He has "fixed" the drill by moving the weight of the towel from 2 oz to 5-7oz.  This to replicate the decelerator demands of the weight of the baseball.  I have a feeling you will still say his drill come up short.


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

     What kind of towel weighs two ounces?

     Bending forward at the waist is a flaw.  Pulling the pitching upper arm forward and across the front of the body is a flaw.

     The heavier towel does increase the stress on the decelerator muscles.  But, five to seven ounces will not stimulate a physiological response.

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

042.  I met Orel in Vegas and he said go for it!

I have enjoyed your site and all your research through the years.  What do you think of finding your talent later in life?

I've always been very athletic and felt I had a strong arm, but was targeted more for basketball and football because of my height 6'4".  Nevertheless, I had a deep passion for the game of baseball and I regret not thinking more about playing as a youth.

I'm not a kid (29), but I want to give it one shot to see if I do have the velocity I envision with the proper tutalidge and effort.  After 6 years being an Army medic, and now earning a comfortable living playing poker, I can afford to dedicate this year to see If I can develope into something special.

Mr. Hershieser sat down at a poker game off the strip at the Red Rock in Vegas and we got to talking and he inspired me to at least try it.

I guess my question to you is what direction should I go in to pursue this dream of mine.


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

     Thank you for taking the time to email me.

     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.

     As a twenty-nine year old, I recommend you complete my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     Thereafter, for as long as they want to continue to pitch competitively, I recommend that, every off-season, they repeat my 72-Day Thirty Pound Adult Baseball Pitchers Wrist Weight Recoil Interval-Training Program and my 72-Day Fifteen Pound Adult Baseball Pitchers Iron Ball Recoil Interval-Training Program.

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

043.  towel snapping

If the elbow is the fulcrum of the thowing arm, then is the knee the fulcrum of the pivot foot which starts the ground reaction force up thru the body?


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

     No.  The equal and opposite action of the body comes from the glove leg applying force toward second base.  This is Sir Isaac Newton's law of reaction, not force-coupling.

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

044.  Velocity

On average, how many mph did your students gain?


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

     Because I have a radar gun and display, I know what release velocity the baseball pitchers with whom I work have when they arrive.  However, because I do not attend games in which they pitch after they leave, I do not record the release velocities that they achieve after pitching competitively for several months.

     Nevertheless, from personal conversation with most of my baseball pitchers, they all significantly increase their release velocities.

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

045.  towel snapping

In a discussion with one of your critics about pronating, his reply was everybody pronates.  Therefore, it's my conclusion that he disagrees with you when you tell your pitchers when to pronate, force-couple and use the pitching elbow as a fulcrum.


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

     Everybody does not pronate the releases of their pitches.

     After baseball pitchers release their pitches, the Radius bone of their pitching forearm moves closer to the Ulna bone of their pitching forearm.  That does not mean that they are actively contracting their Pronator Teres muscle.

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

046.  ELBOW

Six months ago, I partially tore my pronator teres from my medial epicondyle.  I followed your advice and I was back to full strength in a remarkably short period of time.  Within 4 months I was throwing harder than ever, often over 90 (if stop watch times for a measured flight distance of 57.5' can be trusted).

This month, Jan 2010, forearm and medial epicondyle pain returned, although I can still throw well.  The discomfort dissipates after a good warm up, but I learned to heed the warnings.  I reduced the intensity of WW, IB and baseball throwing, but continue to train every day.  My driveline is solid.  I am not bouncing or crossing the acromial line.  I enter acceleration with positive velocity.

As with the tear 6 months ago, the current pain appeared concomitant to an obvious increase in velocity.  So, given otherwise safe mechanics, I tend to believe that I am in the midst of another physiological adjustment.  The pain is mostly bottom forearm and medial epicondyle, but there is also a little pain on the bottom of the elbow.  This latter pain seems related to the triceps connection, but I'm not sure.

The pain is the greatest with baseball throwing.  It is less with WW & IB and it seems that this may be because of lower release velocities and a slower finger flexor and pronation snap.  But again, I'm not sure.

Am I doing the right things and do you have any further advice?


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

     It sounds as though you are correctly diagnosing your discomfort.

     The difficulty that I see in what you are doing is that you seem to continually be in training mode.  You should spend most of your time in maintenance mode.

     The body is amazing, but it cannot withstand the stress of continually having to physiologically adjusting to more and more stress.

     Maintenance programs should not be stressful or take much time.  My maintenance program took about twenty minutes.

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

047.  Advice regarding my son's elbow

I just found your website and I think it is fantastic!

My son is a 16 years old pitcher.  His pitching elbow hurts when he throws.  I'd like to get your opinion on how I should proceed with correcting whatever is causing the pain.

Here is a brief history of his baseball experience and his elbow condition.

1.  My son played baseball every spring and fall season for at least 8 years.  Last spring, he pitched on his high school's junior Varsity baseball team.

2.  He is a good pitcher, and most of his coaches have had him pitch during the seasons he's played.  My wife and I are very cognizant of the extra susceptibility that young pitchers are to elbow and arm injuries.  When our son played little league, major league, Babe Ruth league, or travel baseball, we never allowed him to throw any more than 60 pitches per game, and no more than 6 innings per week.  We never allowed him to throw curve balls, sliders, sinkers, etc.  He only threw fastballs, change-ups and a knuckleball.  He received all of his pitching instruction by professionals.

3.  My son began throwing a curve ball last spring, at the age of 15, when he made his JV high school baseball team as a high school freshman.  He was taught how to throw a curve ball by his high school pitching coach.

4.  Although my son was a pitcher on his high school JV baseball team, he didn't pitch much.  For the entire JV season, I don't think he pitched more than ten innings in total.

5.  My son has never had any injuries, nor has he ever complained of any pain in his arms or anywhere else.

6. Last September (2009), Michael and I were having a catch in our back yard, and he complained that his right elbow was hurting him.  We stopped throwing.  He told me that the pain that he experiences upon throwing had actually started during the summer, around July.  He attended a pitching camp at his high school in July, which is conducted by his high school baseball teams' coaching staff.  I don't recall Michael ever complaining that his elbow hurt while he attended the camp, nor can he state definitively that his arm began to hurt while he was participated at the camp.  7.  My son didn't throw very much, if at all, after the July pitching camp ended.  Nor has he played any baseball since June of 2009.  In late October, he and I went into our backyard to have a gentle catch, and again his elbow began to hurt so we stopped.

8.  The specific location of the pain in his right elbow is localized in a spot about 1 to 1.5 inches up from the tip of his right elbow in the direction of his hand.

9.  I immediately made an appointment to see an orthopedic physician.  X-rays of his right elbow revealed that the growth-plate at the very tip of his right elbow (I forgot the technical name of this growth-plate) is not fused.  His orthopedic physician isn't sure as to whether the growth plate had fused at one time and somehow became unfused, or never fused at all.  All of the other growth-plates in his right elbow have fused properly.

10.  MRI results confirmed the above findings.  In addition, the radiologist who interpreted the MRI results concluded that the MCL ligament in his right elbow is torn.  All other ligaments in his right elbow appear to be normal.

11.  The radiologist's conclusions notwithstanding, the orthopedic physician gave my son a series of simple tests (e.g., made him do push-ups, made him bend his arm in certain ways, etc.), and concluded that Michael does not have any torn ligaments.  (In his words:  "The radiologist claims that you have a torn MCL, but you don't act like you do, nor do you respond as if you do to some basic physical tests.")

12.  The orthopedic physician recommended a six week course of physical therapy, which my son underwent and did very well with it.

13.  After six weeks of physical therapy, the physical therapist recommended that my son throw (not pitch) gently, after stretching, loosening-up his arm.  He threw about 25 gentle throws from about 45 feet, after which he complained that his elbow hurt.

14.  We took him back to his orthopedic physician, who again re-examined Michael's elbow, and subject him to a series of simple physical tests.  The orthopedic physician is of the opinion that the source of my son's elbow pain is more of neurological origin than anatomical origin.  He suspects that it may be due to some scar tissue pressing against the nerve that runs up that portion of the arm.  He gave my son a "cortisone" shot (it was triamcinolone, a specific type of "cortisone") in his right elbow.

15.  A week after the "cortisone" injection, my son and I threw a little.  While he says his arm feels better, it still hurts him to some extent following some gentle throwing.

My wife and I (and of course my son) are very concerned about his elbow.  Based on the information above, do you have any idea as to what may be causing the pain in his elbow?

Do you have any recommendations as to what we should do next?  Do you recommend us bringing my son to another orthopedic physician for a second opinion?  If so, can you recommend someone who specializes in sports-related elbow problems?


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

     What has happened to your son happens to almost every youth baseball pitcher that pitches as much as your son has.

01.  You wrote that your son has played baseball every spring and fall season for at least 8 years.

     That is way too much stress on the growth plates and ligaments of the pitching elbow.

02.  You wrote that you never allowed your son to throw any more than 60 pitches per game, and no more than 6 innings per week.

     The number of pitches he threw is not the problem. The problem is the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that he used and the length of time that he pitched competitively.  In addition to using my baseball pitching motion, I recommend that, until youth baseball pitchers are biologically sixteen years old, when the growth plates in their pitching elbow mature, they should not pitch competitively for more than two consecutive months during any calendar year.

03.  You wrote that you never allowed him to throw curve balls, sliders, sinkers, etc.

     While the release technique for the 'traditional' curve is especially damaging to the bones in the back of the pitching elbow, every other pitch, including fastballs destroy the growth plates and ligaments of the pitching elbow equally.

04.  You wrote that your son received all of his pitching instruction by professionals.

     'Traditional' baseball pitching coaches teach the techniques that has destroyed hundreds of thousands of pitching arms.  That you had these guys teach your son insured that he would eventually destroy his pitching arm.

05.  You wrote that your son began throwing a curve ball last spring, at the age of 15.

     Fifteen chronological years does not mean that your son is also fifteen biological years old.  However, even if he was fifteen biological years old, he would still have open growth plates for his medial epicondyle and head of his Radius bone.

06.  You wrote that his high school pitching coach taught your son how to throw a curve ball.

     The high school pitching coach teaches the 'traditional' curve ball release technique that destroys the pitching elbow.  However, even if your son was sixteen biological years old when this guy taught him how to throw the curve ball, he still would have destroyed his pitching elbow.

07.  You wrote that your son has never had any injuries, nor has he ever complained of any pain in his arms or anywhere else.

     Pitching injuries do not happen instantaneously.  They take years of improper stress on growing bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles to gradually reach the breaking point.

08.  You wrote that an X-ray revealed that the growth-plate at the very tip of his right elbow (I forgot the technical name of this growth-plate) is not fused.

     The tip of the elbow is the olecranon process of the Ulna bone of the forearm.  The olecranon process matures at biological fifteen years old.

     It is the olecranon process and fossa that the release technique of the 'traditional' curve ball injures.  You can thank your son's high school pitching coach.  He has no idea what he is doing.  I know that he does not understand that the release technique that he teaches destroys the olecranon process and fossa.

09.  You wrote that the orthopedic physician isn't sure as to whether the growth plate had fused at one time and somehow became unfused, or never fused at all.  All of the other growth-plates in his right elbow have fused properly.

     Growth plates do not fuse and become unfused.  However, growth plates do fracture.  If the growth plates for his medial epicondyle and head of his Radius bone has fused, the your son is biologically sixteen years old.

10.  You wrote that your son's orthopedic physician recommended a six week course of physical therapy that includes throwing gently, after stretching, loosening-up his arm.

     If he has fractured his olecranon process, then, the fracture heals, he should not throw, even gently.

11.  You wrote that the orthopedic physician believes that your son's elbow pain is neurological, not anatomical, due to some scar tissue pressing against the nerve that runs up that portion of the arm.

     That nerve is the Ulnar Nerve that runs through a groove in the back of the medial epicondyle of his pitching elbow.  However, because you have not said anything about 'tingling,' I doubt that diagnosis.

12.  You wrote that the orthopedic physician gave your son a 'cortisone' shot.

     'Cortisone' shots do not cure anything.  Instead, the soften bone and weaken ligaments.

     Your son needs to learn how to properly apply force with his pitching arm.  He needs to learn how to properly release his curve.

     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.

     After an X-ray shows that your son's olecranon process has healed and the growth plates for his medial epicondyle and head of his Radius bones have matured (watch 05. X-rays of Youth Baseball Pitchers in my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video file), your son should complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.  You can find that program in my Baseball Pitching Interval-Training Programs file.

     At nineteen biological years old, I recommend that adult baseball pitchers complete my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     Thereafter, for as long as they want to continue to pitch competitively, I recommend that, every off-season, they repeat my 72-Day Thirty Pound Adult Baseball Pitchers Wrist Weight Recoil Interval-Training Program and my 72-Day Fifteen Pound Adult Baseball Pitchers Iron Ball Recoil Interval-Training Program.

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

048.  towel snapping

In order for the front knee to apply issac newton force toward 2nd base, the knee of the pivot foot must be bent to provide the  forward force to accomplish newton Law?

Most pitchers do not come back to 2nd base with the front knee.  They continue the force forward following the lead of the pivot foot knee.  Is that correct?


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

     In the same way that we move forward while walking, baseball pitchers need to use the glove foot to first pull their body forward, then, when the center of mass of their body moves in front of their glove foot, they need to push backward with their glove foot.

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

049.  certification/reply

Thank you.  If there comes a point in time that you revitalize your clinics, please keep my name on your list.  If I am able to convince a group of baseball enthusiasts in the mid-Michigan area to consider inviting you to one of their conferences, I will contact you.


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

     For me to present my materials to interested parties here in beautiful Zephyrhills, FL, I would need a reasonable number of participants.  Perhaps, interested parties should ask me to add their names to an Interested Parties List.

     However, I am also willing to present my materials to groups, not for profit, but not at my expense.  The only thing that I ask is that I have sufficient time, which, to me, would mean at least five forty-five minute sessions.

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

050.  softball

I was a student of manual therapy.  I was wondering if you have any quick insight about what I should look for in a fast pitch softball player with anterior shoulder pain.  We have done a lot to strengthen posterior shoulder groups and reverse throwing motion.  It appears to be biceps origin or possibly subscap insertion.


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

     The two critical concepts in training athletes are 'Specificity of Training' and the 'Overload Principle.'

     Therefore, to train fast-pitch softball pitchers, we need to:

01.  Determine how to properly apply force to the softball.

02.  Teach the fast-pitch softball pitchers the proper way to apply force to the softball.

03.  Design acceleration and deceleration training programs that stress the involved bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles in precisely the same force application technique.

04.  Judiciously increase the stress that the fast-pitch softball pitchers receive.

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

051.  Little League Pilot Program

I would like your opinion on this press release from Little League.  It seems that they are moving somewhat to your suggestion of grouping kids not just by chronological age, and taking into account their physical development.

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

Pilot Program

Little League International Introduces New Pilot Program
By Communications Division
SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, PA
January 11, 2010

Ever since Little League debuted baseball for teenagers 50 years ago, the standard infield has featured a pitching distance of 60 feet, six inches, and base paths of 90 feet "the same size as a professional baseball infield."

The program grew over the years to its current status as the largest teenage baseball program in the world.  A few years ago, Little League added the option of allowing 12-year-old players to in the Junior League Division for Regular Season and Tournament Play.

Now, in an effort to further ease the transition from the standard Little League field size (46-foot pitching distance and 60-foot base paths), Little League is offering a pilot program for league age 12- and 13-year-olds.  The pilot program will be conducted on fields that feature a 50-foot pitching distance and 70-foot base paths.  The pilot program will be available to all Little League programs worldwide for the 2010 season.

We have seen more requests for the intermediate-size field recently, Patrick Wilson, Little League Vice President of Operations, said.  We are constantly looking for ways to provide more flexibility and to respond to the needs our local leagues.  For those leagues with the ability to create a new field for this program, or to modify an existing field, we hope this will be another way to provide an enjoyable experience for the families in their community.

Additionally, base runners will be permitted to lead off in the 50-70 Pilot Program (requiring pitchers to hold runners on base), runners may attempt stealing at any time, and head-first sliding is permitted.  In the Little League division, runners cannot leave the base until the ball reaches the batter, and sliding must be feet-first unless the runner is retreating to a base.

Also for the 50-70 Pilot Program "unlike the Little League division" the batter becomes a runner on a dropped third strike, the bat can have a diameter of 2 5/8 inches, and the on-deck batter is permitted.

Each league wishing to participate in the 50-70 Pilot Program is required to enroll with Little League International prior to initiating the program.  At the conclusion of the regular season, each participating league will be required to complete a post-season survey detailing the benefits and challenges.

We will take the information gathered, work with the leagues and districts, and make a decision on how to move forward in 2011, Mr. Wilson said.  If the 50-70 Pilot Program proves to be successful, our plan is to offer a full range of tournament play.

For 2010, there will not be a separate level in the International Tournament for the 50-70 Pilot Program.  However, local leagues and districts that are participating in the program will be able to organize tournaments using a Special Games Request Form.

Any player who participates in the pilot program during the regular season will be eligible to participate simultaneously in the Little League Division (for players ages 9-12) or the Junior League Division (12-14).  Such a player will be eligible for selection to either age-appropriate International Tournament Team.

However, a player who participates solely in the 50-70 Pilot Program also will be eligible based on his/her age for selection to a team participating in the International Tournament under guidelines established for player eligibility.

Here are some additional details:

01.  Leagues will be allowed to operate under inter-league play and combined teams.  However, players will only be eligible for tournament in the league where they reside.

02.  Leagues will be allowed to structure the 50-70 Pilot Program so that their typical season is conducted, for example, on Monday through Friday.  Then on Saturday and Sunday, leagues could offer the pilot program to players who wish to participate.  All pitching guidelines apply.

03.  Participating leagues (and districts with participating leagues) will be permitted to organize tournaments using a Special Games Request Form for players in the 50-70 Pilot Program.  Players may participate in both Special Games and the International Tournament under guidelines established in the Baseball Rulebook.

Later this month, Little League International will provide leagues with the procedure for participating in the 50-70 Pilot Program.


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

     I agree that jumping from sixty to ninety feet between bases and forty-six to sixty feet between the pitching rubber to home plate are big increases.  However, rather than chronological age, they should use biological age.

01.  Up to twelve biological year olds should use sixty foot bases and forty-six pitching mounds.

02.  Thirteen through fifteen biological year olds should use seventy-five foot bases and fifty-three feet pitching mounds.

03.  Sixteen biological year olds should use ninety feet bases and sixty and one-half feet pitching mounds.

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

052.  ELBOW

Thanks.  I have reduced the weight and intensity of my WW & IB throwing and have reduced my reps to 24.  You are correct.  I had remained almost exclusively in training mode.


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

     I assume that, until your next off-season, you will now do only my twenty-five minute maintenance program.

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

053.  Pendulum Swing

I'm glad to see you're computer is fixed.  I was kind of lost for awhile with the new motion, but I was able to manage.

In tennis, with my serve, I used to rock forward and then rock back on my rear leg as I started my pendulum swing.  I was having a hard time with the rhythm when I first started the new drill.

During one of my workouts, I did the pendulum swing and it clicked in my mind that it felt a lot like my tennis serve.  So I started doing it and have been doing it ever since.  The only thing I have eliminated is the rocking forward motion.  I felt like it may have been a wasted motion.

1.  Would you say that rocking forward is a wasted motion that does not contribute anything positive?

2.  I know you are a busy man, but I was wondering if it was at all possible to get a copy of the article "overload for the quick bat"?  Please let me know how much it would cost to get a copy of this if it is possible from you.  I tried doing a search online and could not come up with anything.

3.  How did the conference in Pennsylvania go?  Were there a lot of people that attended?

Also, I completely destroyed my rebound wall a couple days ago.  I had a metal pitch back net that I had bought for my daughter, and I had draped and tied two rugs to.  I wore out the first layer of rug and the metal frame bent and then snapped.

I am going to have to come up with a new idea for a rebound wall as the one I am currently using is not feasible as I have to stop in the middle of IB throws to adjust and fix two or 3 times.

I am also outgrowing my space.  I can't wait until the spring as I am going to have to move outside and do my workouts at a field.


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

01.  If you do not have base runners on first or second base, then I suppose that you could rock back and forth.  However, rather than learn two rhythms, I suggest that you use the same rhythm with and without base runners.

02.  I have the original copy of my 'Overload for the Quick Bat' article that I wrote in 1967 around here somewhere.  When I have some free time, I will look for it.

03.  My presentation in Pittsburgh went well.  However, as usual, the material was beyond the pay grade of the high school coaches.

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

054.  towel snapping

Great stuff.  Now, there are 2 more questions because you are dealing with a NON-scientific mind.

First, as the glove foot is pulling forward, is the is the pivot foot pushing off the mound?  Or, after the glove lands and pushes backward, do you push off with your pivot foot? Both of the above are brought up by my peers.  So, timing has everything to do with the motion and most of my peers do not agree with me.

I keep repeating the push off of the pivot foot because that's what my peers teach, PUSH OFF THE RUBBER.


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

01.  With my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers start with their pitching arm side foot on and their glove arm side foot one step behind the pitching rubber with both pointing toward home plate.

02.  To start my pitching motion, my baseball pitchers drop their pitching hand out of their glove and start to vertically swing their pitching arm downward and backward.

03.  When their pitching arm is forty-five degrees behind their body, my baseball pitchers step forward with their glove arm side leg.

04.  As their pitching arm continues to vertically pendulum swing backward and upward to driveline height, my baseball pitchers power walk forward with their glove arm side leg to land at the same time that their pitching arm reaches driveline height.

05.  Once the glove arm side foot contacts the ground, to start the forward rotation of their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm, my baseball pitchers use their pitching arm side leg to push off the pitching rubber.

06.  As the center of mass of their body moves toward home plate, to apply force toward second base, my baseball pitchers use their glove arm side leg to pull their body forward.

07.  At release, my baseball pitchers have their hips beyond perpendicular to the driveline and their shoulders slightly farther forward than their hips, such that the center of mass of their body is in front of their glove arm side foot.

08.  After release, to continue to rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body forward through release, my baseball pitchers use their glove arm side leg to apply force toward second base.

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

055.  ELBOW

With respect to WW & IB, maintenance means 24 reps of each, correct?


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

     To maintain an achieved level of fitness, athletes perform one-half of the minimum (base) number of repetitions that they performed when training.  They also moderate the intensity of their training, such that they perform one about one-half of the repetition at or near full intensity.

01.  When performing my interval-training programs, the minimum (base) number of repetitions for my wrist weight exercises, iron ball throws and baseball throw is forty-eight.

02.  Therefore, when maintaining, the number of repetitions for my wrist weight exercises, iron ball throws and baseball throws is twenty-four.

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

056.  Batting Training Question

In the Question 13 with regard to the underload/overload principle of baseball hitting, you responded:  “The Overload Principle only works when the drill precisely replicates the competitive action.  To swing weighted bats does not precisely replicate the competitive action.  Weighted bats do not train the muscles that accelerate the baseball bat.  Instead, weighted bats train the muscles that hold the bat up.”

What of training devices what add resistance to the bat while adding only negligible weight?  I believe the most common are devices with fins that slip over the bat.  Would a device like this provide overload resistance that replicates the competitive action?


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

     If baseball batters used baseball bats with fins to hit during competitive baseball games, then I would use baseball bats with fins to train baseball batters to hit with baseball bats with fins.

     Until then, to teach baseball batters the motor unit firing sequence that accelerates the striking implement with perfect technique, I will use striking implements that weigh less than the baseball bats that they use in competition.  In conjunction, I will train the involved bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles how to perfectly apply more and more force, which my 'Overload for the Quick Bat' interval-training program does.

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

057.  Transitioning and locking arm

I am really trying to be conscious of going into the acceleration phase from the pendulum swing with a positive velocity.  I am having a hard time locking the upper arm with my maxline pitches.

When I would do Loaded Slingshot drill, I could do it fairly easy because I could reach back lock the shoulder by turning the pinky side of the arm to face upwards without having to time anything then fire away.  With the addition of the pendulum swing it is much more tricky.

With my Maxline pitches I pendulum swing, turn the pinky side of the forearm to face upwards, I try and keep the elbow up near ear-height as I am moving my body forward.  Problem is that the shoulder lags and I don't think I am getting into acceleration phase with a positive velocity.  In fact, I think I am grabbing as I don't keep my arm straight back towards second base.

If a pitcher is grabbing, will he feel any stress on the elbow where it bends?  Its nothing major, and there is no soreness after workout, this is something I use to gauge if I am grabbing.  Is this a correct assumption?

So, as I was doing my baseball drills, I found myself having lead quite a bit to my glove side to get my pitching arm more vertical.  Does leaning to the glove side help with going into the acceleration phase with a positive velocity?


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

     When you perform my 'Loaded Slingshot' glove and pitching arm actions, it is fine to completely straighten your pitching arm.  However, when you perform my 'Pendulum Swing' glove and pitching arm actions, as you near driveline height, in anticipation of raising your pitching upper arm to vertically beside your head, you should start slightly bending your pitching elbow.

     You should note that, until you actually start raising your pitching upper arm to vertically beside your head, you need to keep the palm of your pitching hand facing away from your body.  This means that, at the same time that your raise your pitching upper arm to vertically beside your head, you re-position your pitching forearm, wrist, hand and fingers for the type of pitch that you are about to throw.

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

058. Interview with Dr. Frank Jobe
By Jonah Keri
Special to ESPN.com
September 13, 2002

In 1974, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Tommy John showed up in the office of orthopedic surgeon Dr. Frank Jobe and his partner Dr. Robert Kerlan to seek help with his sore elbow.  Jobe found John had torn his ulnar collateral ligament, a condition that had previously meant the end of a pitcher's career.  But, after months of consultation, two surgeries and more than a year of grueling rehab later, John returned to the mound at Dodger Stadium.  John would go on to win 164 more games in his career.  The surgeon became one of the noted pioneers and leaders in sports medicine.

Jobe spoke to us recently in an interview at his clinic in Los Angeles.


     (Actually, as the team doctor, Dr. Jobe attended most home Dodger games.  Therefore, Tommy John did not show up at Dr. Jobe's office.  Dr. Jobe met with TJ in the training room.)

Baseball Prospectus:  Has Tommy John surgery improved since you first did it in '74? John needed 18 months or so to come back.  Is the recovery time shorter now?

Dr. Frank Jobe:  The reason (John's) recovery was longer was because the ulnar nerve hadn't come back.  But, I don't think pitchers should come back and pitch off a mound in a game for at least one year, with tossing at four months.  You've seen some people that have tried to come back at seven or eight months.  They got sore and inflamed, then you have to wait a couple of months before that goes away.

The techniques have improved though. It takes about an hour now. With Tommy, it took about four.


     (When Dr. Jobe said that TJ's Ulnar Nerve had not come back, what he failed to admit is that, when he did the Ulnar Collateral Ligament substitution surgery on TJ, he crimped the Ulnar Nerve, which caused the nerve to die from the crimp to the end where it innervated muscles of his hand.

     A couple of months after the surgery, TJ telephoned me and asked me about his loss of sensation in his little finger and little finger side of his ring finger.  I told him that Dr. Jobe crimped his Ulnar Nerve and, if TJ ever wanted at least some sensation and motor function back, Dr. Jobe needed to uncrimp his Ulnar Nerve.  Uncrimping TJ's Ulnar Nerve only returns about sixty percent of its function.)

BP:  When pitchers hear it's an elbow problem instead of a shoulder, there's almost become this sense of relief, given how tough it can be to repair a shoulder.  What steps are being taken to fix the shoulder?

FJ:  The elbow is almost a hinge, which is a simple joint.  The shoulder has four joints involved and 21 muscles.  They need to all be in good condition and functioning in a synchronous pattern.  It's easier to get the shoulder out of whack and it's harder to get all the joints and muscles rehabbed and back in top shape.  If you're lucky enough to have a pitcher with one diagnosis in the shoulder, that's easier.  But there are often three or four problems.  If you beat up more than one structure, it's very hard to fully repair.


     (The shoulder has four joints?  I would call only where the head of the Humerus bone joins with the Glenoid Fossa of the Scapula bone, the shoulder joint.

     The Acromion Process of the Scapula joins with the distal end of the Clavicle bone, but I would call that the Clavical joint, not a shoulder joint.

     That is only three joints.  I wonder what Dr. Jobe believes is the fourth shoulder joint?

     In any case, with regards to baseball pitching, where the head of the Humerus bone joins with the Glenoid Fossa of the Scapula bone, is the primary joint of interest.  Nevertheless, with the excessive pulling of the pitching upper arm that the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, where the Acromion Process of the Scapula bone joins with the distal end of the Clavicle bone does receive a lot of unnecessary stress.)

BP:  There have been buzzwords for scary pitching injuries.  When people heard the words "rotator cuff" in the past, for example.  Now more and more it's "torn labrum."  Does that qualify as the worst shoulder injury you can get?

FJ:  You can fix that if that's all that's torn.  But if you've gone on to tear the labrum, you've probably torn the undersurface of the rotator cuff and stretched the capsule of ligaments.  That would be three diagnoses.  Can you fix all that?  You can fix it.  But, can they get back to the same level of pitching they were before is the question.


     (Like with rupturing the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, the solution is to eliminate the injurious flaw that causes the injury.  For rupturing the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers only need to take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball.  For tearing the Labrum, baseball pitchers only need to drive the baseball down their acromial line in a straight line between second base and home plate.)

BP:  Speaking of getting back to where you were before and getting back to elbows, we've heard from quite a few pitchers, swearing they throw harder after Tommy John surgery than they did before.  Is this possible?

FJ:  When a pitcher comes in with elbow problems, you often see that their ligaments were already wearing out well before.  Maybe four or five years ago, they could throw a 95 mile an hour fastball, but they've had that ability diminished as the ligament's been stretched.  What the surgery does is restore the ligament's stability to where it was four or five years ago.  A pitcher might say the operation did it, but it's just more stability in the arm contributing to better mechanics.


     (Dr. Jobe is correct about a lengthened Ulnar Collateral Ligament decreasing release velocity.  However, that lengthening process takes place during the growth and development of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament in adolescence combined with youth baseball pitching.

     Also, Dr. Jobe's statement that more stability in the pitching elbow contributing to better mechanics is silly.  A tighter pitching elbow enables baseball pitchers to transfer force at higher efficiency, not improve their force application techniques.)

BP:  Would a pitcher ever consider getting elective Tommy John surgery, just hoping to get that fastball?

FJ:  It wouldn't help if you didn't have it before.  All the surgery does is get you back to your normal elbow.  You either have the stuff or you don't.  A player that reaches the majors, he's spent years in the minors improving, making his mechanics better, with his muscles getting stronger.


     (Actually, after youth baseball pitching lengthens the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, one way for young adult baseball pitchers to increase their release velocity would be to tighten the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  However, because the substitute Ulnar Collateral Ligament does not have blood flow that enables it to hypertrophy in response to stress, if baseball pitchers uses the injurious flaw that ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, then it will again lengthen and then rupture this time.)

One thing we did see though, after we did this on Tommy.  A person who's a pitcher might come in, someone who's not in the majors.  And we'll ask him: Do you really want to be a pitcher?  Is this your life's goal?  Because it's going to take at least a year of your life to get back.

Tom Candiotti came in many years ago -- he was about an A-ball pitcher then.  And I said to him:  Are you really going to be a pitcher?  Do you think you're a prospect?  And he said to me, yes I'm a prospect.  So every year since then I've gotten a Christmas card from him, and every year it says:  "To Dr. Jobe, I'll always be your prospect."

BP:  With teams having such a tough time building five-man pitching rotations, what do you think about going to four-man staffs?

FJ:  I like the five-man rotation.  Overuse and a breakdown in mechanics -- lots of volume creates problems.


     (In the real world of Exercise Physiology, athletes cannot overuse their bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles.  However, they can misuse their bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles.  Therefore, baseball pitchers do not overuse, they misuse.)

BP:  What if you limited pitch counts on pitchers?  They could pitch every fourth day but have the coaches make sure each pitcher doesn't throw more than a certain number of pitches per game.

FJ:  Well, it would take training to do it right.  Right now you have starters trained to throw maybe 110 pitches, middle relievers trained to throw maybe 60 pitches, closers trained to throw 20 pitches or so.  You'd have to get starters trained to pitch more often.  The way things are going with salaries and the lack of good starting pitchers though, anything's possible.  Maybe not in the next year or two but it would be interesting to see.


     (Specificity of training means that athletes are able to perform to the limits at which they train.  Therefore, Dr. Jobe's statement is true.  However, Dr. Jobe fails to recognize the difference between overuse and misuse.  When baseball pitchers misuse their pitching arms, without regard to the number of pitches they train to throw.)

BP:  Are teams using relief pitchers the right way?

FJ:  I think they are, because overuse is the biggest problem you can get with a pitcher.  A starting pitcher that goes 110 pitches or so, he begins to lose his mechanics.  He might start to hurt himself and probably become more hittable too.  Having a few guys in the bullpen to take his place keeps him and the other guys in the bullpen fresh for next time.


     (As I said, Dr. Jobe does not understand the difference between overuse and misuse.)

BP:  What about high school pitchers or younger?  Would you limit their pitch counts?  Or have them not throw curves possibly?

FJ:  I don't think throwing the curve puts that much more stress on the arm.  I think learning how to throw it does.  That's why Little League kids get in trouble.  They want to throw a curve so they spend every afternoon throwing to their dads, trying as hard as they can to get it.  Then if they're good, the coach wants to win.  If it's the playoffs, the same kid might pitch three days in a row.


     (Wow, Dr. Jobe says that throwing curves is not bad, but practicing throwing curve is.  Clearly, Dr. Jobe does not understand the danger of supinating the release of curveballs to the bones of the back of the pitching elbow or the danger of grabbing and looping in conjunction with 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bouncing' the pitching forearm to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.)

BP:  Is there a magic age for pitch counts?  Would an 18-year-old have a different limit than someone who's 23 or 24?

FJ:  When they're 18, the bones are softer, the cartilage is softer, they should definitely be limited.  Once they're 21 or so, they're more fully developed.  When they're younger, they can't tolerate quite the same trauma.

An example of what I'm talking about is if you look at the baseball draft, there are a high percentage of kids at 18 who have already had Tommy John procedures.  This has really been in the last 10 years.  It wasn't nearly that bad before.  When the Dodgers are looking at a pitcher, I see their medical records; there were about five or six that had had it.  There was one we drafted, it turned out he needed (Tommy John surgery) and in the record it said he didn't need it.


     (The growth plates in the pitching shoulder and wrist do not mature until baseball pitchers are biologically nineteen years old.  However, I doubt that, after these growth plate mature, the bones are soft.  Instead, with the stress of competitively pitching, bones increase their density, which I suppose could be to what Dr. Jobe was referring.)

BP:  Is there less stress for sidearm or submarine pitchers?

FJ:  It's a more natural motion for the arm.  Remember when baseball first started, they pitched underhand.  I've only seen a few (submarine pitchers) so I can't give you a scientific opinion, but it certainly appears that way.


     (Because, when Dr. Jobe said that it certainly appears that way, he qualified his answer, I will give him a pass on this answer.  The sidearm and submarine pitching motion require baseball pitchers to pull their pitching upper arm forward.  Therefore, they are considerably more injurious to the front of the pitching shoulder than the overhand baseball pitching motion.)

BP:  What kind of training regimens would you like to see?  What do you think of the Braves' method of having their pitchers throw more than most other teams do?

FJ:  Throwing is good.  Throwing really hard can be bad.  Doing some kind of throwing can definitely help build arm strength.  We didn't know this before Tommy -- when he'd throw, he could toss OK, but once he got to 75 percent effort, that's when stress transfers from the muscle to the ligament.  Throw a lot, just not in a game.


     (Where did Dr. Jobe take his undergraduate and graduate Exercise Physiology courses?  Do doctors ever admit that do not have the credentials that they need to comment on anything?)

BP:  What's the next breakthrough in medical technology that might help fix pitching injuries, especially shoulder injuries?  Could it be something coming out of stem cell research?

FJ:  It could be stem cell research.  It could also be the regrowth of cartilage in joints.  As fast as the research there has been going, it might not be long before you can regrow cartilage to treat arthritic knees, elbows, shoulders.  This could really help degenerative conditions in a way that can't be done as well now.


     (I do not have the credentials that I need to comment on stem cell research.  However, I believe that answer to pitching injuries is to eliminate the injurious flaws that cause them.  And, I have already completed that research)

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

059.  Breaking Down Arnsberg:  What Are the Astros Getting?
The Crawfish Boxes (Houston Astros Blog)
November 03, 2009

In case you missed the FanShot from last Friday, the Astros hired a new pitching coach.  Brad Arnsberg comes with a reputation as a young pitcher-killer, but was loved by all his staffs and seemed to be able to work some magic with 'reclamation projects.'  The World Wide Web was abuzz with articles about his abundance, or lack thereof, of talent.  A fine hat-tip to clack and AstroAndy for linking to them.

What I wanted to do, though, is to see if it was warranted.  What we're really worried about here are young pitchers, right?  Guys 24 years old and younger are in the prime area for suffering from over-use.  There are two different models out there currently used to predict injuries to young pitchers.  Both were researched pretty thoroughly, but it's hard to tell if they're good predictors of injury potential or just good at explaining what happened in the past.

When I went back to research Arnsberg, I looked at every staff he had from 2000 in Montreal to 2002 with the Marlins and through his five-year tenure in Toronto.  I focused on all the pitchers he had that were 24 or younger.  This is a bit of a departure from the model, since they stop at 25, but since two-thirds of his stops were of the one-year variety, I downgraded the age a year.

The two methods I mentioned were Tom Verducci's theory on an increase in innings from year to year, most recently laid out here.  The other was Pitching Abuse Points (PAP), first published back in 1998 by Rany Jazayerli here.  I believe it's been tweaked a bit here and there since then, but it's a good starting place for the discussion.

Arnsberg oversaw 28 different pitchers in their Age 24 season or younger.  His biggest year for this was in 2000 in Montreal, when 10 different young pitchers got into games.  The 2000 season also seemed to be a learning year for Arnsberg as to how best to utilize pitchers.  Of the 10, only one threw more innings than the previous season (Javier Vasquez, +63 IP) and only one had more than 10 PAP per start (Vasquez, 16 PAP).  Carl Pavano pitched seven fewer innings than in 1999, but had a PAP/Start of 4.8 and then suffered an injury the following season.  The rest all had significant drops in innings pitched and none had more than 2 PAP/start.  None of the relievers in his bullpen threw three straight days and only Pavano suffered an injury the following season.  Knowing what we do now about Carl, it's easy to see it probably wasn't Arnsberg's fault.

The next year, he surfaced was in 2002 with the Marlins.  Five guys played at 24 or younger and two of the five had jumps higher than 30 innings.  Both Justin Wayne and Nate Robertson pitched over 40 innings more than the previous season, but each threw the majority of their innings in the minors, not the majors.  It's hard for me to pin these jumps on Arnsberg for that reason, since their workload was controlled by the minor league pitching coordinator, not the big league pitching coach.

As for the other three, Josh Beckett threw 47 less innings than the previous season and averaged 2.1 PAP per start.  Pretty reasonable for a 22-year old.  Brad Penny had a 69 inning drop in his workload and had 0.8 PAP/start.  The other guy in this group was Blaine Neal, a reliever who saw his workload go up by six innings and was used three straight days twice that season.  One of those times, though was on both ends of a double-header, when he faced just one batter in the first game.  No real injury trouble here, at least not by Arnsberg's work.  Beckett had the blister problems, but that's not related to overuse and Penny did have arm trouble, but much later than this.

On to the Toronto years, where Arnsberg saw an impressive group of young pitchers hit the big leagues.  In his first season, he had five pitchers in the age range we are looking at.  Two drastically increased their inning total (Dustin McGowan, +70, Chad Gaudin +74) while one starter also saw an uptick into the danger zone (Gustavo Chacin +36).  The other two guys, Brandon League and Shaun Marcum had smaller increases or decreases, but only Chacin had any PAP to speak of.

Chacin's total of 3.7 PAP/start is high, but not distressingly so and his innings increase was slight in comparison to McGowan's.  Still, Chacin did suffer a major drop-off in performance and had an injury or two thrown in for good measure.  Of course, his delivery is a bit quirky and he came out of nowhere to begin with, so it's hard to say whether Arnsberg led to this flameout.  Certainly, the other guys on this list went on to have solid years after 2005, so we may just be dealing with a small sample size.

In 2006, Arnsberg oversaw seven young pitchers, including newcomers Casey Janssen, Ty Taubenheim, Jeremy Accardo and Davis Romero.  Accardo, Romero and Dustin McGowan all had inning increases but the rest saw their totals drop.  Janssen was the only pitchers with more than 1 PAP/start and his was exactly one.  Marcum saw his total drop by 35 innings and had a PAP of 0.8 while League had a slight drop in innings, but was used twice three games in a row.  Taubenheim moved from a starter's role in the minors to the bullpen in the majors, which explains his 60-inning drop. None of the evidence here supports the conclusion that misuse led to any injuries.

In 2007, there were only four pitchers in our age-range, including two holdovers, League and Taubenheim.  Newcomers Jesse Litsch and Josh Banks both saw increases, though Litsch saw his total rise by 29 innings, just underneath the magic threshold.  Litsch also had just 0.7 PAP/start, meaning he wasn't throwing a ton of pitches.  League saw his total drop by 59 innings, in part due to injury (I think, though I can't find it anywhere).  Taubenheim had his total rise by 15, but was not used in more than two straight games, so he didn't really get overworked.

Litsch was the only pitcher considered young in 2008 and he saw his total innings drop by 11, but his PAP jumped up to 4.2 per start.  More distressingly, though was how he was used down the stretch.  From August 21 to September 29, Litsch started nine games and threw 61 innings and 980 pitches.  He totaled 88 PAP for an average of 9.7 per start, a huge jump over the beginning of the season.  He went 5-4 over this stretch and had an average game score of 62.4.  Those were both reasons why he pitched so much, I'm sure.  He was doing so well that the Jays wanted to keep him pitching to keep them in the race, as the team got to 12 games over .500 on Sept. 12.  However, Litsch was pretty much abused during this stretch.  He was used once on two days' rest, throwing 49 pitches over three innings and was used once on three days' rest in the back half of a doubleheader.  Litsch threw 110 pitches over 5 1/3 innings.

In 2009, Litsch was shut down in April and finally had Tommy John surgery in June.  I think it's safe to say that his usage pattern at the end of 2008 may have led to this, but we can't be certain.  Arnsberg's last year with Toronto saw five pitchers in our age-group, including Litsch.  Ricky Romero, Brett Cecil, Mark Rzepczynski and Brad Mills made major-league debuts and all but Mills saw increases in their inning totals.  None saw jumps of over 30, though they all had more PAP than in Arnsberg's past.  Romero tallied 6.3 PAP/start and saw his innings jump 14, while Brett Cecil had a jump of 24 innings and 2.1 PAP/start.  Rzepczynski made the jump straight from Double-A and saw an increase in 28 innings while having a PAP of 3.8 per start.

What does this mean?  Arnsberg gets blamed for the injuries to Marcum and McGowan, but in their formative years with the club, you can see he really didn't do much to hurt them.  Only in 2008 did his usage patterns significantly change, and that also coincided with a new manager, Mr. Old School Cito Gaston.

This is a classic example of a guy from a bygone era trying to throw pitchers out there like they did in the '70's and hoping it will work.  In 2008, for example, Gaston used pitchers on short rest six times, while the American League average was just 3.7.  In 2009, he was right in line with the league average of 3, but it still shows that he used his pitchers differently than most of the league.  Arnsberg didn't like it, and clashed with his manager as was chronicled here and here.  I'm not sure you can blame Arnsberg for what happened to Litsch but you definitely can't blame him for Marcum and McGowan.  B.J. Ryan also can't be blamed on him, nor can A.J.  Burnett, as both guys had either a history of injuries or a jump in innings before coming to Toronto.

At least one place is mad Arnsberg left Toronto, while there are a couple other places that still levy criticism.  I'm not sure how Arnsberg will do with Houston, but I do know he's got a pretty good track record of keeping the young guys healthy.  He'll have a tough time on his hands next season, though, as Bud Norris saw a 95 inning jump in his workload, though his PAP/start was just 0.5. Yorman Bazardo was also in the danger zone with a 34 inning jump, and his performance doesn't need any regression.  The only worrying part of the bullpen was Sammy Gervacio being used three straight days three different times and once for four straight games. Of course, the 24-year old only threw more than 20 pitches in a game twice, so it's not as worrisome as it appears.

To review, Arnsberg coached for four different managers and only under Gaston did his track record go astray.  Out of all his young pitchers, just three were inordinately abused:  Chacin, Litsch and Vasquez.  Now, we can see that Vasquez was just built to hold up to a higher workload, similar to Roy Halladay.  Still, it doesn't excuse the abuse in the first place.  Is Gaston more to blame for the last couple of seasons in Toronto?  We can't REALLY tell, but after reviewing all this, I certainly feel better about the Astros' new pitching coach.


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

     The author wrote:  "There are two different models out there currently used to predict injuries to young pitchers.  Both were researched pretty thoroughly, but it's hard to tell if they're good predictors of injury potential or just good at explaining what happened in the past.

     The answer is:  The two different models have nothing to do with what causes pitching injuries.  Therefore, they only explain what happened in the past to 'traditional' baseball pitchers.

     The best predictor of pitching injuries is how baseball pitchers apply force to their pitches.  If they have injurious flaws, then they will suffer injuries.

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

060.  Transitioning and locking arm

I really feel like I am timing my Pronation curve perfectly.  I dont feel any pausing, and I dont feel like I am looping or grabbing.

My torque fastball I think I may be grabbing as I am feeling some strain on the tendon that comes down from the biceps in the elbow joint.  The strain does not linger, and I do not feel any soreness the next day in this area.  Is this strain a sign of grabbing?


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

     Grabbing is bending the pitching elbow to ninety degrees or less before your glove foot lands.  Looping is the backward, outward and forward movement of the pitching forearm as a result of grabbing.

     If you are using the one-hand chest pass torque pitching arm action, then I doubt that you are grabbing and looping.

     However, because you have to rotate the palm of the pitching hand from facing away from your body to facing downward with the back of your pitching upper arm and hand facing toward home plate, there is a very high likelihood that you are grabbing and looping.

     High-speed film is the only way to know for sure.

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

061.  Advice regarding my son's pitching elbow

Thank you very much for your prompt reply.

I respect your opinions and advice.  And, I appreciate your candor.

Via PayPal, I made a donation to the cause.


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

     My readers and I appreciate your donation.

     I will use it to keep my website online and expand the videos that I have from which readers can learn how to eliminate pitching injuries, such as your son's fractured olecranon process growth plate.

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

062.  ELBOW

An orthopedic surgeon friend of mine diagnosed my elbow discomfort as a clear case of medial epiconylitis.  He says it will take about 8 weeks to heal.   He recommends no baseball throwing for 4 to 6 weeks and physical therapy with a 3-5 lbs weight.

I explained my WW and IB regimen, and that I'm in a maintenance mode to rehab.  He agrees that the sports specificity of your exercises is important to recovery, but says I am still likely doing them with too much intensity.

My questions:

1.  Is there such a thing as medial epicondylitis, or is tendonitis yet another misnomer or misdiagnosis?

2.  Should I do the 3-5 wrist curls along with maintenance WW & IB throws?


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

01.  Whenever athletes complain of muscle discomfort where the muscle attaches, orthopedic surgeons add 'itis' to the bone to which it attaches.

02.  No.  Why would training the muscles that bend the pitching elbow help anything?

     However, if you do nothing for eight weeks, then you will lose one hundred percent of the micro-anatomical advantages that you have trained for two years to gain.  Instead, every day, you need to do the maintenance workout at a decreased intensity.

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

063.  Bicep tendon

I feel tenderness in my bicep tendon.  It is only noticeable when I throw baseballs.

1.  Is this a common training discomfort?

2.  It is the area where the elbows bends and there are a bunch of tendons in there.  I feel like I am pronating very powerfully, yet that is when I feel the stress on the bicep tendon which doesn't make sense to me.

Does the bicep tendons contribute to the pronation snap or is it just weak and now needs time to adjust physically because my pronation snap is getting very strong?


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

     Unless you have 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' you are not using either the Biceps Brachii or Brachialis muscles.  Instead, if you are powerfully pronating your pitching forearm, then you are using your Pronator Teres muscle to bend the pitching elbow.

     I suspect that the training discomfort that you feel is your Pronator Teres muscle.  My baseball pitchers are supposed to have Pronator Teres discomfort.

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

064.  Ordinarily, I would just cut and paste the linked article.  But, since this also includes video, I'll just provide the URL and allow you to actually watch this testament to idiotic thinking.

Thankfully, the doctors interviewed don't subscribe to this thought.

Parents want kids to have Tommy John surgery

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

     It is hard to believe the lengths of stupidity to which parents will use their children.

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

065. Arredondo needs Tommy John surgery
ESPN.com
December 11, 2009

Los Angeles Angels reliever Jose Arredondo will undergo Tommy John surgery and is expected to miss the 2010 season, the team confirmed to ESPN The Magazine on Friday.

The 25-year-old Arredondo, once considered the Angels' future closer, returned home to the Dominican Republic on Friday after spending the week in Southern California.  He is expected to return in January to have the surgery.

After posting a 1.62 ERA in 61 innings in 2008 as an integral part of the Angels' bullpen, Arredondo struggled last season in part because of elbow problems.  Arredondo had a 6.00 ERA in 45 innings in 2009 and was sent down to Class AAA Salt Lake at one point.

The Angels, in part because of Arredondo's emergence in 2008, allowed record-breaking closer Francisco Rodriguez to sign with the New York Mets last off-season.

Arredondo's injury may also affect the Angels this offseason.  The team may now be reluctant to part with a reliever in a trade and will have to find another right-handed reliever to replace Arredondo.


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

     In 2009, in 45 innings, Mr. Arredondo gave up 30 runs.  That will not save many games.

     However, that does not mean that he ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  When did the defining ligament rupturing moment take place?

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

066.  I have to laugh at his nickname, "Everyday Eddie."  The most appearances he has had in a year is 83.  That makes him "Every Other Day Eddie."  In addition, the most innings he has pitched in a season since is 73 2/3 innings when he made those 83-appearances.

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

Guardado joins Nationals on minor league deal
Associated Press
December 26, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC:  Veteran left-handed reliever Eddie Guardado and the Washington Nationals have agreed to terms on a minor league deal.  Nationals GM Mike Rizzo made the announcement Saturday.  Terms were not disclosed.

The 39-year-old Guardado is fourth among active pitchers with 908 appearances in a 17-year career with the Rangers, Twins, Mariners and Reds.  The two-time All-Star has 187 career saves—including an American League-leading 45 in 2002.

Nicknamed “Everyday Eddie,” Guardado was 1-2 with a 4.46 ERA in 48 relief appearance last season with the Rangers.


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

     With 106 appearances, I guess that I was, 'Two of Three Games Mike.'

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

067.  Royals give Parrish a Minors deal
MLB.com
January 04, 2010

KANSAS CITY, MO:  Pitcher John Parrish, a left-hander who was out all of 2009 because of a shoulder injury, was signed to a 2010 Minor League contract by the Royals on Monday and invited to the Major League training camp.  "Our impetus for signing him was the lack of left-handed depth we have in starting and relief roles," said Scott Sharp, Royals director of Minor League operations.  "We hope that he can resurrect his career."

Parrish, 32, has pitched in 174 Major League games, primarily with Baltimore and mostly in relief, with a 13-13 record, one save and a 4.54 ERA.  A 25th-round Draft choice in 1996, he broke in with the Orioles in 2000 with eight starts, he was 2-4, and then turned to relief.

Traded to Seattle in August 2007, Parrish signed as a free agent with Toronto for the 2008 season.  For the Blue Jays, he was in 13 games, including six starts, and went 1-1 with a 4.04 ERA.  But Parrish spent most of '08 with Triple-A Syracuse, going 10-1 with a 2.97 ERA in 17 games.

Returning to Baltimore last spring as a Minor League free agent, Parrish was unable to pitch because of a sore shoulder.  Parrish underwent surgery for a torn labrum but is expected to be 100 percent for Spring Training, according to Jin Wong, Royals director of baseball administration.  "He'll be tried as a starter but could make the club in any role," Wong said.

Parrish becomes the 19th non-roster player invited to the Royals' Major League camp which begins on Feb. 18.  The Royals recently signed another left-hander, Nelson Payano, 27, a Minor League reliever who was 15-14 in six seasons, mostly in the Atlanta organization.


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

     Unless Mr. Parrish learns how to drive down his acromial line, he will continue to suffer shoulder pain.  Labrum surgery does not work.

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

068. Two coming off surgery agree with Pirates
Associated Press
January 04, 2010

PITTSBURGH, PA:  The Pirates have agreed to minor league contracts with right-hander Tyler Yates and left-handers Brian Burres and Neal Cotts.

Yates pitched in 75 games with Atlanta in 2007 and 72 with the Pirates in 2008 before being limited to 15 appearances with Pittsburgh last season.  He had reconstructive elbow surgery in July and was removed from the Pirates’ 40-man roster in October.

Cotts, who pitched in 284 games with the White Sox and Cubs from 2003-09, also had reconstructive elbow surgery in July.

Burres is 13-20 with a 6.08 ERA in 81 games with the Orioles (2006-08) and Blue Jays (2009).

Yates would make $300,000 in the minors and $975,000 in the majors, while Cotts would make $120,000 and $900,000 and Burres would make $100,000 and $550,000.


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

     What is reconstructive elbow surgery?  Do they mean Ulnar Collateral Ligament surgery?

     At least Mr. Burress has not had surgery.  However, after giving up over six runs per game, for an excuse, he might also need 'reconstructive elbow surgery.'

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

069.  Dodgers among the teams looking at Noah Lowry
Los Angeles Times
January 06, 2010

The Dodgers are among the 14 teams that requested medical records for free agent pitcher Noah Lowry, according to Lowry's agent, Damon Lapa.

Once considered among the top young left-handers in baseball, Lowry hasn't pitched in the majors in the last two seasons because of arm problems that first appeared in the summer of 2007.  He underwent two surgeries in 2008, one in the spring on his forearm and another in the fall on his elbow.  Lowry was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome last March, which led to him having a rib removed.

Lapa said the latest procedure "relieved every one of his symptoms."  "He's 100% healthy now," Lapa said.

Lowry has been throwing for eight or nine weeks and is now pitching off a mound.  He will work out for interested teams in Arizona later this month, and Lapa said his client wouldn't field any contract offers before then.  Lowry, 29, has a career record of 40-31 with a 4.03 earned-run average.  He led the Giants with 13 wins in 2005 and 14 in 2007.


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

     To relieve every one of his symptoms, Mr. Lowry needed four surgeries.  After over two years without pitching competitively, unless he has eliminated the injurious flaws that caused his previous symptoms, he will develop more symptoms.

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

070.  Promotions/Hirings by the Red Sox
Boston Globe
January 07, 2010

The Boston Red Sox have promoted Mike Reinold to Head Athletic Trainer and Assistant Director, Medical Services under Medical Director Dr. Thomas Gill.  Reinold has served as the club's Assistant Athletic Trainer for the past four seasons, adding the title of Rehab Coordinator prior to the 2008 campaign.

Before joining the Red Sox, he spent six years as the Director of Rehab and Clinical Education at the American Sports Medicine Institute run by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, AL.  Reinold earned a degree in physical therapy from Northeastern University and holds a doctorate in physical therapy from the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions.  He is a certified Athletic Trainer and certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

On his blog, Mr. Reinold comments on health-related issues.

Mike Reinhold

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

     During his time with the Red Sox, 'Pathomechanics' has not decreased, let alone eliminated the pitching injuries that Boston Red Sox pitchers have suffered.  How does his record warrant a promotion?

     Mr. Reinhold invites readers to join him at the twenty-first annual ASMI Injuries in Baseball course.  After twenty-one years of failure, I can hardly wait to hear their new cures.

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

071.  Yahoo Sports
January 09, 2010

Diamondbacks RHP Brandon Webb cut short his normal offseason routine to return to Phoenix to continue a rehabilitation program with D-backs trainer Ken Crenshaw.  Webb usually spends more time in Kentucky, where he prepares for the season by playing catch with his father, Philip, while also spending time hunting.  Webb pitched only four innings last season before finally opting for shoulder surgery in early August because of nagging pain.


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

     After four innings of his first game last year, without success, D-backs trainer Ken Crenshaw rehabilitated Mr. Webb for the entire season.  Finally, after the season, Mr. Webb had surgery during which the orthopedic surgeon found nothing wrong.

     What has changed that would make anybody believe Mr. Crenshaw will have a different result this year?

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

072.  Yahoo Sports
January 09, 2010

GM Dave Dombrowski comment about RHP Joel Zumaya, who has had major finger and shoulder surgeries that have contributed to him pitching less than 35 innings each of the last three seasons.

"He's never going to have a 100 percent shoulder.  It's just not going to happen.  He had major surgery in his shoulder, and so it's not going to be 100 percent.  So they have said that everything will be fine, but you still have to see it."


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

     Until Mr. Zamaya eliminates grabbing and looping his pitching forearm and pulling his pitching upper arm, Mr. Dombrowski is correct.

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

073.  Yahoo Sports
January 09, 2010

LHP Mark Mulder will meet with club officials in Phoenix to discuss a possible comeback attempt from a pair of rotator cuff surgeries.

Once one of the top pitchers in the game, Mulder has pitched only 12 2/3 innings since 2006.  New pitching coach Rick Peterson worked with Mulder in Oakland and helped with his physical rehab program last year, and he believes Mulder, 32, can make a successful comeback.


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

     Did I miss something?  I thought that the Milwaukee Brewers hired Mr. Peterson.

     In the season before the Oakland Athletics fired Mr. Peterson, Mr. Mulder and Mr. Hudson spent time on the disabled list.  Why would what Mr. Peterson believes mean anything?

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

074.  Yahoo Sports
January 09, 2010

Despite giving up 10 home runs with a 5.80 ERA in 2009 when he pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates, on signing Matt Capps, Nationals' GM, Mike Rizzo, said:

"I want him in my foxhole, because he is going to come in with it.  I feel comfortable.  When the bullpen gates swing open, I'm happy that No. 55 is coming out of the bullpen.  That's all the evaluation I needed."


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

     To me, it sounds as thought Mr. Capps brought gasoline to put out the fire.

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

075.  Daisuke Matsuzaka admits he hid injury from Red Sox
The Sporting News
January 10, 2010

The injury problems that have plagued Boston right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka since the 2009 World Baseball Classic might actually have predated the event, unbeknown to Red Sox officials.

Matsuzaka recently told the Japanese magazine Friday that his problems all began with a leg injury he suffered while preparing to pitch for his country and evolved, because of bad mechanics, into the shoulder injury that eventually landed him on the disabled list.

Dice-K admitted to the magazine that he kept the leg injury hidden from the Red Sox, according to translation of the story by The Boston Globe.  He also said he tried to heal himself while remaining in the Red Sox rotation, a plan that backfired.  "In hindsight," he said, "it was impossible to continue faking the whole season.  It was too much mental stress."


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

     Mr. Matsuzaka said that a leg injury caused his shoulder injury.  I believe that Mr. Matsuzaka injured the front of his pitching shoulder.  Front of the pitching shoulder injures result from baseball pitchers pulling their pitching upper arm forward.  Therefore, a leg injury caused Mr. Matsuzaka to pull his pitching upper arm forward.

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

076.  Davis has interest in Nationals
MLB.com
January 11, 2010

Free-agent pitcher Doug Davis said Sunday night he would like to play for the Nationals and help their young pitching staff, but he doesn't think he will play in Washington.  Why?  He was informed that the team had to address other needs such as finding a second baseman.

Davis, 34, played with the D-backs this past season and went 9-14 with a 4.14 ERA.  Local reporters were told at the Winter Meetings that the Nationals had interest in Davis.  "I'm [willing] to go anywhere and hopefully be a difference maker for a team that needs to make a turnaround and be successful," Davis said.  "On my part, of course, [there's interest].  For them, because of the signing of Jason Marquis, it kind of put them in a bind [to spend] money for starting pitching.  They had to address other problems.

"Possibly, when they find a second baseman, they can come back around to their starting pitching.  Of course, I'm up to talking with anybody right now.  Things are kind of going slow for me because I'm fifth or sixth down the line [when it comes to] starting pitching."

Davis, a left-hander, has experience helping young players and that occurred in 2007.  He helped the D-backs win the National League West crown by going 13-12 with a 4.25 ERA.  Davis believes he can teach the young Nationals pitchers how to scout opposing teams.

"I can help the young guys in a special way, how to scout the teams and show how to pitch to these guys and be successful against them," Davis said.  "You also want to lead by what you do on the field, not just being successful on the field, but the way you go about your business, make sure you start every fifth day.  Your team depends on you every fifth day."


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

     Mr. Davis wants to teach the young Nationals baseball pitchers how he pitches to opposing batters.  Interesting.  Usually, when major league pitchers successfully get major league batters out, they keep how they do it to themselves.  Why teach others how to get batters out.  They may take your job.

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

077.  Cubs lefty Ted Lilly may miss part of season recovering from shoulder surgery
The Sporting News
January 12, 2010

Lefthander Ted Lilly, the Cubs’ winningest pitcher over the last three years and considered by many their rotation anchor in 2010, is recovering from shoulder surgery and isn’t expected to start a throwing program until later this month.  At that pace, Lilly probably won’t be ready to pitch until a month into the season—if that soon.

”I’ve talked to him, and he seems to be doing well,” pitching coach Larry Rothschild told the Chicago Sun-Times.  ”It’s shoulder surgery, which is a concern always, but they didn’t do a whole lot other than clean it up.  He should be OK.  We’ll see.  We’re not going to know until he starts his throwing program.”


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

     Mr Rothchild said that the orthopedic surgeon did not do a whole lot other than clean it (pitching shoulder) up.  That sounds a lot like Mr. Webb's surgery.  To have surgery, Mr. Lilly must have felt pain.  But, since the orthopedic surgeon did not repair anything, what caused the pain?

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

078.  Reds scout abroad to balance field
MLB.com
January 13, 2010

CINCINNATI, OH:  To the casual fan, names like Aroldis Chapman, Humberto Valor, Juan Duran and Yorman Rodriguez might sound like international men of mystery.  To the Reds scouting department that often scours foreign lands for players, they are viewed as a fantastic four of prized baseball talent and symbols of the improvements made in international scouting.

As a small-market team with limited financial resources, the Reds have all but conceded any efforts to make major signings on the free-agent market.  But in the past few years, the amateur and international signing-bonus budget has increased.  And that has made the Reds as capable as the Yankees, Mets or Red Sox when competing for young talent in countries like Venezuela or the Dominican Republic.

"We have very good international scouts," general manager Walt Jocketty said Monday after the Reds announced the Chapman signing.  "We look at it as a way for us, in our market, to compete.  We've had to step up on some of these guys.  We can't go out and sign the expensive Major League free agents, so we're trying to build with the younger quality players through the Draft and international signings.  That's the way we're going to have to do it."

"Outside of the United States, the Dominican is the No. 1 producer of talent, followed by Venezuela," Reds senior director of scouting Chris Buckley said.  "You have to scout these countries hard because there is so much talent.  What happens if Cuba opens up?"

The Reds aren't waiting for the Cuban embargo to be lifted. Last weekend, they successfully landed Chapman, a left-handed pitcher who defected last summer and became a free agent. The 21-year-old has a fastball in the upper 90s and has touched 100 mph on the radar gun.  After a fierce bidding process against teams like the A's, Nationals, Red Sox, Angels and Marlins, the Reds came out on top by completing a $30.25 million deal over six years, with much of the money spread out over 10 years.

It was a stunning move, but the bold signing emphasized the Reds' commitment to youth and using all available avenues to get talent.  "I came from a program in Toronto where international scouting was big," Buckley said.  "Two-fifths of our Reds rotation is from the Dominican Republic, and our closer is from the Dominican.  Our catcher is from Venezuela.  It's a lot like that with other teams in baseball."

The Reds' relatively new player academy in the Dominican Republic helps the club be competitive in Latin America.  Among the instructors is former star Mario Soto, a special assistant to the GM, who helps develop young pitchers.  Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto, who was signed in 2004, got his professional start at that academy in his home country.

The Reds are also trying to establish footholds in the Pacific Rim.  Other clubs have successfully acquired talent from Japan, Korea and Australia.  Cincinnati isn't likely to spend the tens of millions of dollars required to get the veteran Japanese players who could be the next Ichiro Suzuki or Daisuke Matsuzaka.  Expect them to pursue younger players who want to begin their professional careers in the United States.

Buckley, along with Bill Bavasi, vice president of scouting, player development and international operations, and Tony Arias, Latin American scouting director, was planning to grab his passport again for another trip this week.  The three were headed to the Dominican Republic and Venezuela to look for more talent.  "We're still scouting those places very hard," Buckley said.  "We're thrilled to have Aroldis, but we're on to the next project."


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

     Mr. Jocketty said, "We can't go out and sign the expensive Major League free agents, so we're trying to build with the younger quality players through the Draft and international signings."

     I agree with building a winning major league baseball team starts with young quality players.  However, how teams teach and train these young quality players is what will make the difference.  Young quality players without structure and direction cannot become quality major league players.

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

079.  Smith poised for comeback in 2010: Rockies lefty shows progress at medical minicamp
MLB.com
January 13, 2010

DENVER, CO:  Left-handed pitcher Greg Smith lived 2009 as the Rockies' forgotten man in the deal that sent outfield star Matt Holliday to the Athletics.

Huston Street became the Rockies' closer.  Carlos Gonzalez provided a lift to the Rockies' outfield late in the season.  As for Smith, who threw 190 1/3 innings for the Athletics as a rookie in 2008, "I went through the year and every time I looked up, I saw those two letters, 'DL', beside my name.  It was very tough."

Two bouts with illness during Spring Training cost Smith preparation time, and in overworking to return led to shoulder inflammation, then back spasms.  His 2009 amounted to 49 1/3 innings in the Minors.

But, that's beginning to change.  On Wednesday, Smith and several other Rockies Major and Minor Leaguers who are or have been dealing with injuries began a medical minicamp at Coors Field.  But Smith, who is already into his normal off-season program, could be throwing bullpen sessions by the end of the 10-day session and should be ready when Spring Training opens next month in Tucson, AZ.

"I almost forgot how it feels to be healthy," Smith said.  "Every day last year, I'd go to the field and wonder, 'How am I going to feel today?  What's going to hurt today?  What's going to flare up next?'  I was always fighting something.  But now I feel good."

Smith, 26, never had a problem with availability before last season.

The D-backs' sixth-round pick out of LSU in the 2005 Draft, Smith was regarded highly enough that the Athletics grabbed him when they dealt Dan Haren to Arizona before the 2008 season.  With the A's, Smith made 32 starts and went 7-16 with a 4.16 ERA.  The record had more to do with a lack of run support, 2.88 per nine innings, the lowest for a Major League pitcher over the past 11 seasons.

After the '08 campaign, Smith underwent surgery to remove "loose bodies" from his throwing elbow, but the Rockies traded for him with confidence he would be healthy enough to compete for a spot in the rotation.  But, a stomach bug and shoulder inflammation derailed those hopes.  "It felt like a waste," Smith said.  "I sat down with [assistant general manager] Bill Geivett one day and told him how frustrating it was.  It was killing me.  In the end, it turned out to be invaluable information."

But, it's not always easy for Smith to chalk up 2009 as one big lesson.  "I don't know if I've let go of that disappointed feeling," Smith said.  "I guess I have to.  But before last year, I've prided myself on being able to go out there every fifth day.  I guess it's a good thing that last year is fresh in my memory because I don't want it to repeat itself.  I don't like that feeling where I have to sit on the bench and watch the game.

"But when I started my offseason workouts, I began to say, 'OK, 2009 is behind me.  It's on to 2010.'"  The medical minicamp is a good way for Smith to tear 2009 off his calendar.  "Last year was very tough for him, but we're optimistic," said Rockies player development director Marc Gustafson, who watched Smith go through rehab but not finish his comeback last season.  "Right now, he probably has more strength than he normally would at this time."

A year later than he wanted, Smith must show where he fits in the Rockies' pitching plan.  Right-hander Jason Marquis has signed with the Nationals after winning 16 games last season, but the other four starters, Ubaldo Jimenez, Aaron Cook, Jorge De La Rosa and Jason Hammel, return.  Lefty Jeff Francis, who won 17 games in 2007 but pitched through pain in 2008 and missed last season because of shoulder surgery, is expected back healthy.

But Smith will be trying to break into the rotation, or at least earn a spot in relief.  Rockies manager Jim Tracy is intrigued by Smith's potential.  "We're going to find out just as much about him probably in Spring Training as we are Jeff Francis," Tracy said.  "You can't ignore the fact that he had an injury-plagued 2009, but he pitched 190-plus innings for an American League club back in 2008 and did a very, very nice job."

Wherever Smith fits, he'll face a major question.  With the Athletics, opponents hit into .56 ground-ball outs for every fly-ball out.  This has stat analysts giving Smith a description that sounds like a reality show:  Extreme Fly-ball Pitcher.

Can Greg Smith find happiness letting hitters lift the ball at Coors Field?  Couple his fly-ball tendencies with more than four walks per nine innings and a low strikeout rate, and there is cause for concern.  However, when the Rockies scouted Smith, they noted that when his location was correct, the fly balls were not solid drives to the outfield but often weak popups that are no threat to leave any park, even one at mile-high altitude.  But even before the trade, Smith was working on forcing more grounders.

"Toward the end of 2008, I knew what the stats were and I started working with Curt Young, my pitching coach in Oakland, working on ways to get more sink and throwing downhill more," Smith said.  "It'll be nice to get more ground balls."  "So, I'm working on it.  I'm a fly-ball pitcher who is trying to adapt.  I'm going to try to get more ground balls, but fly-ball outs are still outs."


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

     At Coors Field in Denver, CO in January, Mr. Smith is attending a Medical Mini-camp.  I need details.

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

080.  Sheets to put his repaired elbow to the test: Free-agent right-hander throwing before teams on Tuesday
MLB.com
January 14, 2010

Free-agent starter Ben Sheets will give interested teams a chance to see how healthy his right elbow really is on Tuesday, when he holds a throwing session at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, according to ESPN.com.

Sheets, who missed the entire 2009 season after undergoing surgery on the elbow, has drawn interest from six to 10 teams and said that his arm felt "fantastic," ESPN.com reported.

Sheets went 86-83 with a 3.72 ERA in his first eight seasons in the big leagues, winning double-digit games seven times and finishing with an ERA under 4.00 each of his past five seasons.  During his last campaign, with the Brewers in '08, he went 13-9 with a 3.09 ERA in 31 starts while making $11 million.


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

     Mr. Sheets had surgery on his pitching elbow.  What did the surgeon do?

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

081.  Lidge has surgery, may miss opener: Closer undergoes arthroscopic procedure on right knee
MLB.com
January 14, 2010

Phillies closer Brad Lidge had what was believed to be minor arthroscopic right knee surgery on Wednesday.  And though his status for Opening Day is up in the air, the procedure, his second time under the knife this off-season, isn't expected to keep him on the shelf much longer than what was anticipated after his elbow surgery in November.

The surgery was more of a cleanup of loose bodies in the knee, one that was performed by team physician Dr. Michael Ciccotti at the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, the team announced in a news release on Thursday.

Lidge is expected to begin a throwing program in 10 days, and he isn't expected to miss much of the early part of the season, if at all, the club believes.  "It was not a particularly invasive procedure," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told MLB.com before boarding a plane on Thursday afternoon.  "We think the recovery time is two to three weeks.  He should be throwing a baseball shortly.  For us, it really doesn't dramatically change the start time on his clock.

"We're not sure if he'll be ready by Opening Day.  Again, if it's just after Opening Day, that's fine.  As long as he's 100 percent healthy, that's the goal.  But if he's not available by Opening Day, he'll be available soon thereafter."

Speaking with MLB.com shortly after the announcement, Lidge's agent, Rex Gary, echoed Amaro's sentiments, calling the surgery "very minor" and "not a big deal."

"He's feeling great," Gary said.  "He's on his feet.  It was very minor.  They just cleaned up, arthroscopically, some loose fragments in his knee, and the real impact of this surgery is it looks like it will delay his throwing program by 10 days.  That's it."

As for why Lidge didn't have the surgery earlier in the offseason, Gary said, "[The knee] wasn't bothering him then."  "My knee actually felt better toward the end of the season, and no major tears or anything had shown up on the MRI, so we decided just to rest it for the off-season," Lidge told CSNPhilly.com, adding that he has yet to begin throwing but could by next week.  "Then it started bothering me as my off-season workouts intensified, so I called [team medical personnel] and said, 'Let's take a look at it.'  I didn't want to have to grind it out through another season."

For Lidge, it is his second surgery of the offseason after he had bone chips removed from his right elbow shortly after the 2009 campaign ended, and it is his third right knee surgery since the end of his '07 season with the Astros.

Amaro said Lidge felt discomfort in the knee while rehabbing his elbow, which the GM said "is doing extremely well."  The Phillies then gave Lidge an MRI and decided to perform what Amaro called "exploratory surgery on the knee," in which Ciccotti trimmed some cartilage and took out a loose body or two.

The release described the surgery as "the removal of loose bodies and meniscal debridement."  "The surgery went well, and Brad is expected to begin his throwing program in 10 days," Phillies head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan said in a statement.  "We're not sure if he'll be ready by Opening Day, but we don't expect that he'll be too far behind.  This surgery was not directly related to any previous surgeries."

Lidge, 33, blew a Major League-worst 11 saves while sporting a 7.21 ERA in '09, one year after he went 48-for-48 in save chances during the Phils' World Series championship season in '08.  In his eight-year career, Lidge sports a 3.56 ERA and has converted 195 of 233 save chances.

Off-season elbow and knee surgeries won't make Lidge's task of bouncing back from arguably his worst season any easier.  But for now, neither side is expressing much concern.  "This probably should be a speedy recovery," Lidge told CSNPhilly.com.  "I'm already walking on it.  I have a crutch but I'm not using it.

"Opening Day remains my goal.  I think there's enough time to be ready.  But I want to be smart.  There's no reason to rush.  If I miss any time, it will probably be just a handful of days.  Hopefully it would be like '08 where I missed a few days, but everything went well after that."


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

     In 2009, Mr. Lidge had an 7.21 earned run average?

     As a result of the pitching knee action of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion albeit slightly modified to lessen the stress, I have a metal knee joint in my pitching knee.  To those that say that non-pitching arm injuries are not important, I say, if you don't have a metal knee joint, then you have no idea what you are talking about.

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

***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, January 31, 2010, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

082.  ELBOW

Thanks.  I just wanted to confirm what you've already taught me.

I have been doing exactly the right things for the past week.  The discomfort became prominent only 2.5 weeks ago, after clearly doing too much in training mode.  I had also been throwing full intensity bullpens, up to 100+ pitches, almost every day for the past several months.

It is remarkable that, as I advance in years to the point where I am supposed to lose velocity and endurance, according to traditional logic, I have increased in both.  Of course, there are limits to everything and I approached that limit this month.

After 1 week of maintenance training, the improved health is very encouraging.  I expect to be ready for season start at the end of March.


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

     Your orthopedic surgeon may understand surgery, but he has no idea what happens when athletes stop practicing their competitive skills.

     When athletes do not practice their competitive skills (detrain), they rapidly lose the competitive fitness of those skills.  Exercise Physiology researchers have found that, when athletes do not practice their competitive skills for four to eight weeks, they lose one hundred percent of the advantages they developed from their training.

     Conversely, when athletes practice their competitive skills throughout the year, year after year, they maintain their physiological fitness.

     Blood flow is critical for all types of fitness.  I designed my Recoil Interval-Training programs to increase the number of capillaries that serve the muscle fiber in my baseball pitching motion motor units.  Motor units are made up by a motor nerve and the muscle fibers that that motor nerve innervates.

     This means that cardiovascular fitness is specific to the motor units involved in an activity.

     For example, when we jog every day, the muscle fibers in the motor units that we use when we jog become more cardiovascularly fit for that activity.

     Therefore, to maintain their cardiovascular fitness for the muscle fibers in the motor units that we use to pitch baseballs, baseball pitchers must do my baseball pitching maintenance program every day.

     However, baseball pitching also has a motor unit contraction and relaxation sequence requirement that other athletes do not have.  That means that, to throw the wide variety of high-quality pitches that baseball pitchers have to throw at maximum intensity for strikes in competition, baseball pitchers have to practice these extremely fine motor skills every day.

     Exercise physiology researchers have determined that when athletes practice their competitive skills at one-half the number of repetitions at intensities that escalate from one-half to the full intensity required for competition, they maintain the competitive fitness of those skills.

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

083.  towel snapping

After I read over your your explantions of your delivery, I want to go over some points if you don't mind.  These questions may sound trivial, but they are most important to me.

1.  When you say, "behind the body," to me that means the arm goes behind the pitchers back, toward 1st or 3rd base, not toward 2nd base.  Is that correct?

2.  When you say, "power walk," to me that means they do not take a big stride.  Is that correct?

3.  You said "the glove arm side foot hits the ground then the pitching foot pushes off."  But, in the traditional delivery, doesn't the pitching arm foot leave ground before the stride foot hits the ground?

4.  You wrote, "As the center of mass of their body moves toward home plate, to apply force toward second base, my baseball pitchers use their glove arm side leg to pull their body forward."

That seems very, very hard to do.  Isn't it easier to do with the glove hand then the lower part of the body will follow?

To me, the confusing part of any hitting or pitching instructions are the phrases, "get back," or "go back.  My initial response is to go back to 2nd base.  To me, "get back" means to get the ball or bat behind the body.


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

01.  Yes.  When I wrote, "When their pitching arm is forty-five degrees behind their body, my baseball pitchers step forward with their glove arm side leg," I meant toward second base.

02.  Yes.  When I wrote, "As their pitching arm continues to vertically pendulum swing backward and upward to driveline height, my baseball pitchers power walk forward with their glove arm side leg to land at the same time that their pitching arm reaches driveline height," I meant that baseball pitcher should step forward only as far as they can continue to move the center of mass of their body forward.

     When 'traditional' baseball pitchers stride forward seventy to ninety percent of their standing height and more, they stop the forward movement of the center of mass of their body.  Because they have stopped to forward movement of the center of mass of their body before their pitching arm has started to move the baseball toward home plate, they cannot add the velocity that their pitching arm achieves to the velocity of the center of mass of their body.

     And, because striding that far forces baseball pitcher to bend forward at their waist, they destroy their lower back.

03.  Whether with my baseball pitching motion or the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers cannot start to rotate their hips forward until after their glove foot lands.  This means that, until their glove foot lands, they cannot move their pitching foot off the pitching rubber.

04.  The backward pull of the glove arm initiates the forward movement of the pitching arm.  Until after the hip and shoulder moves forward, the pitching arm does not start forward.

     Until 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches and pitchers carefully frame by frame analyze high-speed film of their baseball pitching motions, they have no idea what is going on.  Your questions show that you have never analyzed high-speed film of baseball pitching.

     On my website, I have several high-speed film video examples of my baseball pitchers.  When I find time, I will redo these videos and frame by frame evaluate these high-speed film videos and add the proper voice-overs.

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

084.  towel snapping

These points that you make are terrific.  It isn't that I never analyzed high speed film.  The truth is; I don't know how to anaylze them.  I am guilty of the same thing all pitching and hitting instructors in the whole baseball community are.  That is, I see what I believe and I don't believe what I see.

This is due to my ignorance of the pitching motion since I never pitched an inning of competitive baseball.  But, the instructors that know better, who are your biggest critics are guilty of pure arrogance and big egos.  Until this is changes, their followers are doomed.


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

     As I spend hours upgrading the videos I made for my baseball pitchers, I am concurrently developing an Evaluation Checklist for analyzing baseball pitching motions.  When I post my renovated videos, I will include that checklist.

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

085.  Your #3 answer

The point of my previous email is to find a phrase to describe the reverse pivot.  What phrase would you give to the backward force provided by the front leg?  Would it be "Recoil?"


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

     When my baseball pitchers apply force toward second base with their glove arm side leg, in satifaction of Sir Isaac Newton's Law of Reaction, they are providing oppositely-directed force.

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

086.  Do javelin throwers use Marshall Mechanics?

I do some jav throwing.  In javelin, it is very important that you accelerate the hand on a very staight path.  Otherwise, the javelin will not fly well and it hurts your elbow.  Unlike a baseball, the javelin is aerodynamical only in one direction.  That's why javelin throwers have to throw "through the tip".

That's why javelin throwing coaches say 'throw straight over the top' or 'elbow high next to the ear.' Pictures of javelin throwers show that they pull very straight rotation their PAS elbow and shoulder forward and their "popping their elbow".

Steve Backley Throws the Javelin

Breaux Greer Javelin Photo Sequence Analysis

Is this similar to Marshall Mechanics and could the use of the javelin since it requires to be thrown straight be used for baseball pitcher training?


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

     Thank you for the link that shows photographs of Steve Backley and Breaux Greer throwing javelins.      For baseball pitching purposes, I am interested in Mr. Backley's photographs 5 through 14 and Mr. Greer's Figures 13 and 14, when they release their javelins.

     Where baseball pitchers release their pitches straight forward, to achieve the maximum distance possible for his throw, javelin throwers release their javelins at an upward angle.  Therefore, we must convert the body angle that javelin throwers use from leaning backward to standing vertically upward.

     First, I will analysis how Mr. Backley uses his body.

01.  Photograph #6 shows that, when Mr. Backley steps forward off his throwing arm side foot, he has already moved his throwing arm into the position from which he will accelerate the javelin through release.

     In baseball pitching, baseball pitchers need to coordinate when their pitching arm arrives at the position from which they will accelerate their pitching arm forward with when their non-throwing arm side foot lands.

02.  Photograph #10 shows that Mr. Backley appears ready for the heel of his non-throwing arm side foot to land.  However, photograph #11 shows that, instead of landing on the heel of his non-throwing arm side foot, he landed with the entire dorsal surface of his non-throwing arm side foot.

     When humans walk, to keep the center of mass of our body moving forward, we land on the heel of our lead foot, roll across the entire dorsal surface of the dorsal surface of our lead foot, pull backward with our lead foot and drive the entire side of the trailing side of our body forward.

     When Mr. Backley landed on the entire dorsal surface of his non-throwing arm side foot, he stopped moving the center of mass of his body forward.

03.  Photograph #14 provides the evidence that Mr. Backley stopped moving the center of mass of his body forward. Notice that, when he releases the javelin, the foot of his throwing arm side leg remains in contact with the ground where it landed.

     This action prevented Mr. Backley from benefiting from rotating his hips, shoulders and throwing upper arm forward through release.

     Now, I would like to discuss how Mr. Backley uses his throwing arm.

01.  As I said earlier, "Photograph #6 shows that, when Mr. Backley steps forward off his throwing arm side foot, he has already moved his throwing arm into the position from which he will accelerate the javelin through release."

     With my baseball pitching motion, I call the position that Mr. Backley has his throwing arm, 'Loading the Slingshot' or 'Loaded Slingshot' for short.

     Mr. Backley has his throwing arm fully extended backward at the perfect height from which to drive the javelin straight forward, albeit at an upward angle.  However, instead of the palm of his throwing and facing upward, I would prefer that Mr. Backley have the palm of his throwing hand facing away from his body.

     With the palm of his throwing hand facing upward, Mr. Backley has already outwardly rotated his throwing upper arm ninety degrees.  This action decreases his ability to raise his throwing upper arm to vertically beside his head with the back of his throwing arm facing forward as you wrote that javelin throwing coaches tell them to do.

02.  The movement of Mr. Backley's throwing upper arm between photographs #12 and #13 shows what I mean.

     Photograph #12 shows that Mr. Backley's throwing upper arm is well behind his acromial line.

     Photograph #13 shows that Mr. Backley's throwing upper arm remains behind his acromial line.

     More importantly, both photographs #12 and #13 show that Mr. Backley never fully turned the back of his throwing arm to face forward.

     That means that Mr. Backley used his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his throwing arm forward.

     To achieve his genetic maximum release velocity, Mr. Backley and baseball pitchers need to rotate their hips, shoulders and throwing upper arm forward through release and use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive their pitching upper arm forward.

     Figures 13 and 14 show that Mr. Greer does a much better job of rotating his hips, shoulders and throwing upper arm forward through release.  Notice that, at release, where Mr. Backley had his throwing arm side upper leg at about forty-five degree behind vertical, Mr. Greer has his throwing arm side upper leg in front of vertical.

     Also, even though the side view makes it difficult to see clearly, it appears that Mr. Greer does turn the back of his throwing upper arm to face forward.  If so, then Mr. Greer uses his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive his throwing upper arm forward.

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

087.  Cleveland Indians' No. 1?  Jake Westbrook; Westbrook's No. 1?  A pain-free spring training
Cleveland Plain Dealer
January 14, 2010

CLEVELAND, OH:  The Indians want Jake Westbrook to be their opening day starter April 5 in Chicago.  Westbrook loves the idea, but first he has to become a pitcher again.  "I'll be more than happy to take on that experience," said Westbrook in a conference call with reporters from his home in Danielsville, GA "I think I'll be ready for opening day.  But for now, I just want to be one of the five starters on this team."

Westbrook hasn't started a big-league game since May 28, 2008.  The next month, he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and hasn't tossed a pitch in an Indians uniform.  Yet the state of the rotation headed into the 2010 season is such that Westbrook is manager Manny Acta's best candidate to be a No.1 starter.  If he stays sound for over 40 days in the Arizona desert, it would be Westbrook's second opening day start as an Indian.

Westbrook, shut down twice last season in the minors as he tried to make it back from surgery, finally saw progress in November and December pitching winter ball in Puerto Rico for Ponce.  He made four starts for manager/former teammate Eduardo Perez and went 0-0 with a 3.65 ERA in 12 1/3 innings.  The opposition hit .294 against Westbrook.  He walked six and struck out six, but, after every start, his elbow felt better than at any point during his lengthy rehab.  "Puerto Rico was awesome, a great experience," said Westbrook, 32.  "My elbow felt great.  It was encouraging to meet my pitch requirements and feel good the next day."

Westbrook reached 80 pitches in his final start, which Acta saw in person.  In spring training, Westbrook knows he's going to have to be ready to throw at least 100 pitches by the end of camp.

"This injury has taught me patience, but it was frustrating," he said.  "The biggest thing I want to do is be a part of this team.  I want to go through everything in spring training.  I haven't been able to do that for a long time."

Westbrook will report to Goodyear, AZ, in mid-February, well ahead of the Feb. 21 reporting day for pitchers, catchers and injured players.  He's the biggest question mark in a rotation that has a lot of things working against it.


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

     I watched Mr. Westbrook pitch in the playoffs a couple of years ago.  I liked his sinker.  I was surprised when I heard that he ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Usually, guys that throw sinkers pronate their pitching forearms, which means that they use their Pronator Teres muscle.

     While it is possible for even sinker throwers to 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' their pitching forearm, where they do not contract their Pronator Teres muscle until after the bounce, usually, in preparation to pronate their release, they contract their Pronator Teres muscle before the bounce.  When they do, the Pronator Teres muscle protects the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Of course, the far better way to protect the Ulnar Collateral Ligament is to eliminate the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' that eventually ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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

088.  Pirates' Cotts on comeback trail after surgery
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
January 15, 2010

BRADENTON, FL:  Lefty reliever Neal Cotts threw long toss Thursday morning under the watchful eyes of Pirates trainers and coaches, who said his motion was smooth with good zip on the ball.  "Pretty good arm action for a guy who had Tommy John surgery in early July," pitching coach Joe Kerrigan said.

Cotts, who'll turn 30 in March, was with the Chicago Cubs when he had surgery.  He rehabbed at the Cubs' facility in Mesa, AZ, and began throwing a few months later.  "I struggled at the start," Cotts said.  "But then, right after Christmas, it was like a switch just flipped on, and it all came back to me."

Cotts is slated to begin throwing off a mound at the end of this month, but he is not expected to be game-ready by the start of the regular season.


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

     After watching Mr. Cotts long toss, the Pirates' pitching coach, Joe Kerrigan said that Mr. Cotts had pretty good arm action.  When baseball pitchers throw long toss, they use the crow-hop throwing rhythm.  The crow-hop throwing rhythm coordinates the pitching arm and glove foot such that the pitching arm reaches driveline height at the same time that the glove foot lands.  That takes stress off the front of the pitching shoulder.

     However, when 'traditional' baseball pitchers throw off the pitching mound, they use the 'balance position' pitching rhythm.  With the 'balance position' pitching rhythm, the glove foot lands when the pitching arm is about half way through its 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.'  'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover' stresses the front of the pitching shoulder and leads to the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce,' which eventually ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     I wonder whether Mr. Kerrigan has any idea about the differences between the crow-hop and balance position throwing rhythms.

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

089.  Hanrahan's elbow tight
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
January 16, 2010

Pirate reliever Joel Hanrahan missed his scheduled pitching session yesterday because of "elbow tightness," manager John Russell said, adding that it was minor and that Hanrahan might be well enough to try again on the final day of camp today.  Hanrahan pitched three bullpen sessions here, one more than most, because he arrived early.


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

     The final day of the Pirates' camp is January 17, 2010.  Mr. Hanrahn arrived early and pitched three bullpens, one more than the other pitchers.

     With three days between bullpens, that means that the Pirates' camp lasted no longer than two weeks.  What kind of a camp is that?  Who can do anything in two weeks?  Did they bring these guys in only to see how they are throwing?

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

090.  Pirates finalize $1.35M contract with RHP Donnelly
Associated Press
January 18, 2010

PITTSBURGH, PA:  Right-hander Brendan Donnelly finalized a $1.35 million, one-year contract with the Pirates on Monday, giving Pittsburgh another option in its veteran-thin bullpen.  Once one of the majors’ top strikeout relievers as a setup man with the Angels, Donnelly has been limited to 45 games the last two seasons since reconstructive elbow surgery in August 2007.  He was required to pass a physical before the Pirates completed the contract.

The 38-year-old Donnelly, who can earn bonuses based on relief appearances, was 3-0 with two saves and a 1.78 ERA in 30 games with Florida last season.  “Brendan Donnelly is a veteran setup type reliever who brings experience, toughness and determination to our bullpen,” general manager Neal Huntington said.


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

     Mr. Donnelly was one of the major's top strikeout set up relievers with the Angels.  I wonder what the strikeout record is for a closer?

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

091.  Boras 'defines process' of Beltran decision: Agent suggests outfielder followed club's procedure
MLB.com
January 18, 2010

In response to general manager Omar Minaya recently telling New York-based media outlets his issue was not with Carlos Beltran, but with "the process" that led him to undergo a knee surgery the Mets were apparently not aware of, Beltran's heralded agent said he wanted to "define the process."

Regarding the Mets' claim they did not know about Beltran's arthroscopic right-knee surgery until after the fact, Scott Boras told The Daily News that's "an internal issue [for the Mets].  Carlos Beltran was not at fault.  He followed the orders of the Met doctor, who told [Beltran's doctor] to go ahead with the surgery."

Beltran had his knee cleaned out by his personal physician, Dr. Richard Steadman, in Vail, CO, last Wednesday morning and is expected to be sidelined 12 weeks.  Boras told the Daily News that Steadman called the Mets' physician, Dr. David Altchek, on Tuesday afternoon, and "after hearing Steadman's diagnosis, Altchek gave the OK."  "If Altchek and the Mets didn't want the surgery and the Mets didn't want the surgery, Altchek had the authority and control to direct Steadman not to do it," Boras told the publication.

"Omar spoke to Carlos after Dr. Altcheck made his decision, and if the Mets chose to stop what Dr. Altchek initiated, they had every opportunity to tell Carlos during that conversation or any time that evening.  Altchek's decision to proceed was the correct one, as Steadman found 20-30 cartilage fragments in the knee, and now Carlos has a chance to return early in the season.  "Without doing that, he may have been lost to the Mets for a substantial part of the season.  Altchek did his job well.  And Carlos is a dutiful employee."

Minaya told several news outlets on Friday that he indeed talked to Beltran on Tuesday night and did not disagree with the surgery, but also didn't give his center fielder the go-ahead, instead telling Beltran it's "OK, as long as we follow the protocol," he recounted to The New York Times.

The Mets have reportedly sent a letter to Boras, expressing their unhappiness with the way things played out in order to reserve any legal rights they may have regarding Beltran's contract.  The matter has also been brought to the attention of the Major League Baseball Players Association, which said in an e-mail last week:  "Based on the facts as we currently understand them, the Mets have no basis to assert that Carlos Beltran violated his contract."


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

     Early in my career with the Montreal Expos, during spring training, the general manager told me that I had to stay in the hotel with the other players.  After a moment, I told him that I preferred to live elsewhere, but I would let him know how to contact me.

     When I needed back surgery, I had back surgery.  When I signed my contract, I only agreed to play baseball for their team, nothing else.  I work with anybody, but for nobody.

     Beyond for whom Mr. Beltan plays baseball, that Mr. Boras or anybody else has the right to tell Mr. Beltran what he can and cannot legally do is ridiculous.

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

092.  MLB.com
January 19, 2010

...The Carlos Beltran controversy over his knee surgery caused many agents to ask why MLB and the union cannot agree upon an independent board of doctors that can be consulted for independent opinions?

Everyone in the business understands that the Mets did not insure Beltran, so that when team physician Dr. David Altcheck and trainer Ray Ramirez signed off on Dr. Richard Steadman's decision to perform arthroscopic surgery in Vail, CO, it was clear they were afraid that their worst time-frame fears might be realized and that Beltran could be out for, and paid for, much of the 2010 season. The assumption is that COO Jeff Wilpon had to know of the decision.  He decides who is signed, and for what.  Three agents last week said that he runs the Mets' committee.  As it turns out, Steadman removed 20 to 30 fragments of ligament that caused Beltran considerable pain, and Beltran likely will be playing much sooner than had the Mets waited or done nothing.

But, Wilpon's handling of the situation and the attempt to spin it off on agent Scott Boras may widen the suspicions between the club and its best player.  "The nature of the club doctor-owner relationship is in itself a conflict of the doctor-patient relationship," said one agent.  "One team had a doctor pay them to be their 'team doctor' because of the publicity.  We've seen the questions raised in the cases of Scott Rolen and Chris Carpenter in St. Louis."

Not to mention Bay in Boston.  At last season's All-Star break, the Red Sox offered Bay four years and $60 million.  At first, the offer was rejected, and Bay's agent, Joe Urbon, asked for six years with a $19 million average annual value.  Near the end of July, Bay changed his mind and decided that he was so happy in Boston he would stay.  Urbon flew to Boston to prepare for the signing and ensuing news conference.

But, when Bay underwent his pre-signing physical, Dr. Thomas Gill and the orthopedics at Massachusetts General Hospital raised several red flags.  They claimed that one knee had issues and the other was bone-on-bone.  The club then said that the deal as agreed upon was off and that the offer had to be two years guaranteed, with two years of vesting options based on health.  According to Urbon, the club also wanted Bay to pick up a portion of the insurance costs.

Urbon and Bay sought a second opinion that did not share the concerns about Bay's knee.  Urbon cited the fact that Bay hadn't been on the disabled list in five years, so Bay decided to play it out.  To everyone's credit, Bay never complained publicly.  He hit 16 homers the last two months and led all AL outfielders in OPS.  Urbon did not engage in a public firefight with the Red Sox, and Epstein refused to release their medical information because "he played his heart out for us."

At the Winter Meetings, Epstein increased the offer to include a third guaranteed year and was turned down.  He made a brief run at Holliday, then signed Lackey.  Urbon and Bay moved on, and though it took so long for him to sign with the Mets that many felt he didn't want to play there, that notion was wrong.  Bay wanted to play for the Mets, but they wanted due diligence on the knee issues, and when they were convinced he was fine, they signed him.

New York's Dr. Altcheck is very well respected.  Steadman had a different idea, and Beltran was at ease with it.  Dr. Gill is one of the most respected orthopedics and ethical people in the world's finest medical community; he had concerns, and some other doctors, including Altcheck, did not.


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

     With regard to baseball pitching injuries and rehabilitation, I know that orthopedic surgeons know nothing.  Therefore, I would never agree to allow them to determine what I could or could not do.

     Therefore, the idea that Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association would agree on an Independent Board of Orthopedic Surgeons that controlled how baseball pitchers applied force to the baseball or trained is ridiculous.

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

093.  Giants trade righty Valdez to Blue Jays: Club sends injury-marred pitcher to Toronto for cash
MLB.com
January 20, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, CA:  Merkin Valdez's injury-marred tenure with the Giants officially ended Wednesday, when the club traded the right-hander to the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations.  This ended the process that began last Thursday, when the Giants designated Valdez for assignment to clear a roster spot for first baseman Aubrey Huff.

Valdez, 28, never fully realized the promise that excited the Giants when they obtained him and left-hander Damian Moss from Atlanta for right-hander Russ Ortiz on Dec. 17, 2002.  He showed enough potential to be named the organization's player of the year by USA Today in '03, rated San Francisco's No. 1 prospect (ahead of Matt Cain) in '04 and selected to the World team for the All-Star Futures Game each year from 2003-05.

But Valdez, who switched from starting to relieving in 2006, struggled to gain command of his pitches, when he was healthy enough to perform, that is.  He endured shoulder tendinitis in 2004 and shoulder inflammation in '05 before undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in September '06.  That procedure shelved him for the '07 season.  Valdez made the Opening Day roster in '08 and had a 1.69 ERA in 17 appearances before a strained throwing elbow sidelined him in mid-May.


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

     In 2004, Mr. Valdez had shoulder tendonitis.  In 2005, Mr. Valdez had shoulder inflammation.  In 2006, Mr. Valdez ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Mr. Valdez rehabilitated through the 2007 season.  In 2008, Mr. Valdez stained his pitching elbow.

     Too bad that this proposed Independent Board of Orthopedic Surgeons was not available to tell Mr. Valdez what he should do.

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

094.  Oswalt feels he'll bounce back: New workout routine has righty confident in health
MLB.com
January 20, 2010
LEAGUE CITY, TX:  Roy Oswalt is feeling just fine, thank you, so quit worrying about him.  At least, that's the message Oswalt had for those who are wringing their hands about the back condition that has bothered the ace right-hander the previous three seasons, forcing him to miss the final two weeks of last season.

Oswalt would have pitched through the back trouble had the Astros been in a pennant race, but with 181 1/3 innings and 30 starts under his belt, the club wisely decided to shut him down.  A specialist recommended Oswalt cut back on his running and do more core-strengthening exercises to get prepared for 2010, and the new regimen has worked.

He's working out once in the morning and the afternoon and only recently started throwing a baseball, so he'll get a better idea how his back responds during Spring Training.  "I'm doing all the exercises they showed me to do as far as strengthening the lower back and doing a little bit less long cardio and a little more short stuff, like quick bursts here and there," Oswalt said.  "Instead of running three or four miles, I'm trying to do a little more accelerating stuff."

Oswalt, 32, went 8-6 with a 4.12 ERA last year and set a franchise record with 16 no-decisions before finishing the year on the disabled list.  Oswalt has been diagnosed with a bulging disk that causes hip pain and has caused numbness in his hand.  "I think people read into it a little too much it," Oswalt said.  "I'll be ready when it gets time to go.  This new workout stuff should help a lot."

Oswalt, who joined teammates Geoff Blum and Pedro Feliz and Astros legend Craig Biggio on the Astros' Winter Caravan tour Wednesday with stops in Galveston County and NASA, said he quickly lost 12 pounds on the new workout routine.  "I feel like I'm getting in shape quicker this way," Oswalt said.  "I just started throwing this week.  I've been lifting [weights] for couple of months now, and it seems like it's coming together well."

In some ways, there's a case that last season was an aberration for Oswalt.  Not only did he post career-lows in wins and ERA, he pitched two games in the World Baseball Classic in March, and made three more appearances in exhibitions, and already had a few innings under his belt when he reached Opening Day.  "I only missed three starts and started five in the WBC, so that's 35 starts," Oswalt said.  "I think I'll be in good shape.  [The back problem] is not in the back of my head or anything like that.  If I have to, I can pitch through it and hopefully for the entire season I'll be pain-free."

While spending his off-season in rural Mississippi and helping the day-to-day operations with his restaurant he opened in November, Oswalt kept an eye on the Astros.  He liked the addition of Brett Myers to strengthen the rotation.  "I think we're going to be OK if Myers comes in and pitches good and Wandy [Rodriguez] pitches the way he did last year," Oswalt said.  "The biggest thing is health.  Most teams you see in the World Series, they stay healthy the whole year.  That's the biggest key in the big leagues.  The talent is there, but we have to put it all together and stay healthy.  Adding a new manager and a pitching coach is a help for us."

Oswalt has liked what he's heard so far from new manager Brad Mills and is excited about working with new pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, who spent the previous five seasons with the Blue Jays and is a veteran of six Major League seasons as a player.  Arnsberg got a ringing endorsement from former Astros pitching coach and current Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey.  "I think it's going to work out well," Oswalt said.  "He fits our club well.  We have some guys on the team that have the same background as he does.  A lot of people from the side don't know what it's like to get on the field.  Being out there, he can understand how hard the game is, and you learn a lot from guys who had trouble getting through the season when they're hurting."


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

     "A specialist recommended Oswalt cut back on his running and do more core-strengthening exercises... ."

     Mr. Oswalt has lower back pain.  Striding so far that he cannot continue to move the center of mass of his body forward through release forces Mr. Oswalt to bend forward at his waist.  The repetitive bending forward at his waist has destroyed the intervertebral disk between his fifth Lumbar and first Sacral vertebrae.  Therefore, the damaged intervertebral disk presses against the motor nerves that exit the vertebral column between L5 and S1.

     When humans run, they do not bend forward at their waist.  Therefore, running, even in short bursts, does nothing to correct the problem.

     When athletic trainers say 'core-strengthening exercises, they mean sit-ups and back arches.  These exercises do nothing to correct the problem.

     Eventually, Mr. Oswalt will need surgery to prevent the damaged intervertebral disk from irritating the motor nerves.

     The only cure for Mr. Oswalt's problem is to power step forward only as far as allows Mr. Oswalt to continue to move the center of mass of his body forward through release.

     In 1977, to eliminate the excruciating pain from the intervertebral disk between my fifth Lumbar vertebrae and my first Sacral vertebrae from pressing on the motor nerves that exit the spinal column between those two vertebrae, I had that damaged intervertebral disk removed.  I want thank those 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches that told me to stride forward seventy to ninety percent of my standing height.

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

095.  Sheets story high risk, high reward
MLB.com
January 21, 2010

Now that Ben Sheets has once again displayed that he has a pulse and can throw off a mound for a few innings without needing to be hospitalized, some club will take a chance on him.  That club could get the man who once had brilliant stuff, the man who was so impressive that he started the 2008 All-Star Game for the National League.  Or that club could get the guy who, because of injury, missed parts of 2005, 2006 and 2007, and all of 2009.

Sheets threw earlier this week for scouts representing eight teams, and by all accounts, he threw well.  He threw his fastball and topped out in the low 90s.  He mixed in his curve, which was often a devastatingly effective pitch for him.  He threw without hitches, without restrictions.

Sheets missed the entire 2009 season after undergoing elbow surgery, and had his bid for a lucrative free agency postponed and damaged as well.  But, the successful workout this week is bound to summon forth memories of how good he was on those occasions when he was healthy.  And that, in turn, can increase the chances for the successful resumption of Sheets' career, both competitively and financially.

Sheets is reportedly seeking a contract in the range of $7 million to $8 million for 2010.  If he's healthy, that's a bargain, given the current, inflated market for pitching.  If he's not, it's simply a mistake.  But it is a chance that some club will be willing to take, because a healthy Sheets has typically been a remarkably good Sheets.

His 86-83 record in no way demonstrates his worth, because early in his career, when he enjoyed consistent good health, he was pitching for some distinctly below-average clubs in Milwaukee.  When he reached full effectiveness, that achievement was not reflected in his record.

Take, for instance, the 2004 season.  Sheets was a mere 12-14, but his ERA was 2.70, and he walked 32 while striking out 264.  That ratio is somewhere between excellent and astounding.  Sheets was an extraordinary pitcher working in relative obscurity.

As the Brewers got better, Sheets' availability diminished.  When he was healthy and the club was improved, the result was excellence, the kind of thing in the first half of 2008 that earned Sheets the All-Star start.

But even in that season, as the Brewers qualified for the postseason for the first time in 26 years, Sheets was not available at the end.  How much better would the Brewers' chances have been if they could have thrown a healthy Sheets, rather than Jeff Suppan, at the Phillies in the deciding NL Division Series game?

The history of injuries is on the negative side of the ledger, and it is not inconsequential.  On the plus side, Sheets is 31.  He can easily be categorized as well rested.  And there is the matter of his considerable ability, combined with the fact that when he was free of aches and pains, strains and sprains, he demonstrated competitive tenacity.

After his throwing session this week, Sheets said, "I've been healthy before in my life, and I feel every bit as good as I have in any point of my career.  That's what I judge off of.  What happens tomorrow or in seven years from now, I don't know.  We are all kind of a walking time bomb, and any injury can happen at any time.  But at this point, right now, I feel great."

That "walking time bomb" reference is probably a very accurate portrayal of how the injury situation appears to Sheets.  He's working well, winning games, striking out hitters, and boom, he can't pitch anymore.  But at this point, the question is how his physical status appears to his potential employers.

Rumors have linked him to nearly one third of the teams in baseball, at this point including, but not limited to, the teams that viewed his workout, the Cubs, Mets, Rangers, Dodgers, Phillies, Blue Jays, Reds and Athletics.  Some of these clubs have publicly stated that his asking price is too high.  And if that price includes a second year with a player option, the complaint is even more understandable.

But, barring a sudden relapse, some team will give Sheets a shot.  There is still some question as to how much money that team will give him along with that shot, but it won't be nickels and dimes.  Sheets hasn't pitched since 2008, but he hasn't had an ERA over 4.00 in a season since 2003.  From 2004 to 2008, he walked 152 and struck out 785.

This is where someone takes a chance, a gamble, a calculated risk, you name it.  Sheets could be the difference, the starting pitcher who turns a contending team into a postseason team.  Or he could be the kind of miscalculation that eventually sends a general manager searching for another way to earn a living.

High risk, high reward, Ben Sheets is available.


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

     After his throwing session this week, Sheets said, "We are all kind of a walking time bomb, and any injury can happen at any time.  But at this point, right now, I feel great."

     Mr. Sheets has no idea why he has suffered so many pitching injuries.

     Maybe, that proposed Independent Board of Orthopedic Surgeons can tell him.

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

096.  Penny a good fit for the Cardinals: Righty excited to play for the team he cheered for as a kid
MLB.com
January 21, 2010

ST. LOUIS, MO:  It seems that it was only a matter of time before Brad Penny became a Cardinal.  An Oklahoma native, Penny had long had one eye on the possibility of pitching in St. Louis.  And it's fair to say that plenty of eyes within the Cardinals organization had been on the big right-hander for quite some time.

Manager Tony La Russa, for one, had coveted Penny long before he finally signed a one-year contract to join the Redbirds rotation.  "Whenever you don't like a guy pitching against you, when his day comes him and you think, 'Oh, boy, this is not going to be fun for us,' you think, 'It would sure be nice to have him on our team,'" La Russa said.  He's been a guy that I did not think it would be a comfortable day for us.  So now he's on our side."

Penny likewise had always been aware of the appeal of pitching close to home.  Up until this season, the entirety of his career has been spent pitching on one of the two coasts.  Now he's back in the middle, and looking forward to it.  "I've always wanted to play here," Penny said.  "It was my favorite team growing up.  My dad was always a Dodgers fan and I was a Cardinal fan.  So I'm excited."

Perhaps more striking is that Penny also views himself as a fit as far as pitching philosophy.  Known best as a power pitcher, Penny said it won't be any problem for him to embrace pitching coach Dave Duncan's emphasis on quick outs.  "I've never really been [a strikeout pitcher]," Penny said.  "I was in the Minor Leagues, but as far as being in the big leagues, I've never been a real strikeout guy.  I don't even know my total for a season.  I've tried to pitch to contact.  That's how you get deep into games."

That's surely music to Duncan's ears.  Pitch efficiency has rarely been a strong suit for Penny, but if he commits to quick outs, it's likely that Duncan can help him shore up that aspect of his game.  Penny has averaged 16.1 pitches per inning over his career.  By comparison, Adam Wainwright has averaged 15.5 for his career, and Chris Carpenter has been under 15 in each of his full seasons in St. Louis.

Penny has the stuff.  It's a matter of harnessing it more consistently than he has, and perhaps Duncan is the perfect man to help him do it.  "I'm sure there's going to be some changes," Penny said.  "I've heard great things about him, and I'm definitely going to listen to him and see if I can bring it onto the field."

His new teammates are looking forward to finding out.  "I met him at the All-Star Game," Carpenter said. "I know he's a real big guy, throws the ball real hard.  And I know that he's a competitor.  I've competed against him on the other side a bunch of times.  And I also know that when he takes the baseball on any given day, you've got a chance to win.  So I'm excited about throwing him out there every fifth day and watching him do his work."

And in fact, Penny is looking forward to tapping some of Carpenter's knowledge.  "Carpenter reminds me a lot of [Roy] Halladay in the way he pitches," Penny said.  "Every pitch has a purpose.  I haven't seen Wainwright as much as I have Carp, but I'm excited.  I'm definitely going to learn from them."

One other thing worth noting: it's not like Penny has been a slug until now.  He has a 4.14 career ERA, and as recently as 2007 he posted a 3.03 mark and finished third in the Cy Young voting.  If he can get better than that, the Cardinals really have something on their hands.  "[I'm] trying to get a little smarter," he said.  "I'm not just trying to overpower everyone anymore.  I think when I was younger I was just trying to throw the ball by everyone.  I think you learn everywhere you go, and you've got to take every experience you have and try to make something good out of it."


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

     Maybe, Carp will show Mr. Penney his copy of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.  I am sure that Mr. Duncan would be pleased.

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

097.  Tigers reliever Zumaya looking strong in workouts
The Sporting News
January 25, 2010

The Detroit News reports Tigers fireballer Joel Zumaya is working hard in Florida (Lakeland, FL) to rehab the surgically repaired shoulder that has diminished his effectiveness over the last three years.  And word is that Zumaya is looking a lot more like the mean machine he was as a rookie in 2006.

Tigers trainer Kevin Rand told manager Jim Leyland last week that Zumaya has said his shoulder is "the best it’s felt in two years."  Pitching coach Rick Knapp visited Zumaya and reported, "I like what I’ve seen recently.  All the indications are that he’s healthy, that he feels good and strong, and that there’s not a weak link in his delivery."

To which Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski added, "he’s been cleared (to pitch) 100 percent.  If he didn’t have an injury history, you’d say he’s ready to go."


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

     Mr. Knapp said, "... there’s not a weak link in his (Mr. Zumaya's)delivery."

     Does Mr. Knapp understand what injurious flaw in Mr. Zumaya's pitching motion injured his surgically-repaired pitching shoulder?  If he does not, then how can he know that Mr. Zumaya does not still has that weak link in his delivery?

     Without charge, I will gladly take video and high-speed film of Mr. Zumaya and make a DVD like I make for my baseball pitchers.  Then, Mr. Knapp could see whether Mr. Zumaya still has that weak link.  I live less than thirty minutes away from Lakeland, FL.

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

098.  Johan's return to mound goes smoothly: Ace throws 24 pitches in bullpen session at Mets minicamp
MLB.com
January 26, 2010

A Mets team coming off an injury-depleted season got some much-needed good news from its ace on Tuesday morning, when Johan Santana reportedly threw a successful, and healthy, bullpen session at the club's minicamp in Port St. Lucie, FL.  Santana, as reported by The New York Post, arrived at the Mets' Spring Training complex a little before 10 a.m. ET, and after some running and light tossing, threw 24 pitches over a six-minute span in the bullpen and was later seen laughing with manager Jerry Manuel and general manager Omar Minaya.

It was Santana's first time on the mound since he had bone chips removed from his throwing elbow in September.  The 30-year-old left-hander also mixed in some changeups, and his goal is to crank it up to 90 pitches by the end of Spring Training, the Post added.

According to The New York Daily News, Santana said he can now extend fully, which the elbow prevented him from doing late last season.  The Venezuela native will wait until the second week of the Mets' Grapefruit League schedule to pitch in a game, the Daily News added.  "I'm feeling good," Santana told reporters in Florida on Monday.  "Time will tell, but I am feeling good.  We did a pretty good job with the off-season, working out and doing all the rehab, and I'm feeling good.  Everything is on schedule.  "I can't wait to be out in Spring Training and see where we're at to put everything together for Opening Day."

In his 10th season in 2009, Santana went 13-9 with a 3.13 ERA but made just 25 starts, his lowest since being a part-time reliever with the Twins in '03, before shutting it down in late August.  At the time, Santana said he would've pitched through the pain in his elbow if the Mets were in contention.


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

     Bone chips are actually pieces of hyaline cartilage that break off the ends of bones as a result of two bones banging together.  If the two bones are the olecranon process and fossa, then Mr. Santana supinates the releases his breaking pitches.  To eliminate this injury, Mr. Santana needs to learn how to pronate the releases of all his pitches.

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

099.  Jays' McGowan takes step forward: Pitcher could be in rotation mix with successful rehab
MLB.com
January 29, 2010

TORONTO, ON:  Dustin McGowan took a step toward putting himself in the mix for a spot on the Blue Jays' pitching staff on Friday morning, throwing off a mound without suffering any setbacks.  The same could not be said following a similar bullpen session during the summer.  This time around, Toronto's training staff told Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos that McGowan looked great and was pain free.  It was a positive development in what has been a long recovery process from right shoulder surgery for the right-hander.

"We're taking it step-by-step," Anthopoulos said.  "But, we're not looking too far ahead.  We don't want to build any expectations or timelines or anything like that.  He threw off a mound today.  He didn't have any pain or any soreness.  It went well and he looked good, and it's a step in the right direction."

McGowan, who will turn 28 in March, was viewed as a potential future ace until a right shoulder injury sidelined him midway through the 2008 season.  McGowan underwent an operation to repair fraying of the labrum in his arm that July.  Last season, the pitcher also suffered a right knee injury that required surgery.

If McGowan proves to be healthy and the Jays believe he is worthy of a spot on the Opening Day roster, either as a starter or a reliever, he could change the landscape of a young, inexperienced rotation that has multiple jobs up for grabs.  With ace Roy Halladay now traded to the Phillies, the Blue Jays have a wide-open race for starting jobs.  In order to realistically figure into that competition, McGowan has to have an outstanding spring.

"There's still a long road in this process," Anthopoulos said.  "He has to pass so many tests and make sure he continues to bounce back without any soreness or pain.  It's just part of the process.  We're not getting ahead of ourselves."

McGowan had his best season as a starter in 2008, when he posted a 4.37 ERA over 19 starts, going 12-10 with a 4.08 ERA overall for Toronto.

While McGowan will enter Spring Training as a big unknown for the Blue Jays, right-hander Shaun Marcum is a different story.  All reports have indicated that Marcum, who missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow, will be ready to compete as a leading candidate for a spot in the rotation.  "He's doing very, very well," Anthopoulos told fans at the Blue Jays State of the Franchise event on Thursday night.  "There's no restrictions.  No limitations at all.  He looks great.  He's going to come into camp with full guns-a-blazing.  We think he's going to be ready to go to pitch, hopefully, a full season for us and have a great year."  Marcum, 23-15 with a 3.85 ERA in his career as a starter for Toronto, could be in the mix for the rotation's No. 1 job.


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

     Mr. McGowen is recovering from Labrum surgery and Mr. Marcum is recovering from Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.  Unfortunately, nowhere in this article could I find what they are doing to recover.  Certainly, I did not read how Mr. McGowen has learned how to prevent the excessive side-to-side movement of his pitching upper arm that injured his Labrum or how Mr. Marcum has learned how to prevent the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' that ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Therefore, I predict that we will read about these two young men and their pitching injuries again.

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

100.  Liriano's winter work has Twins excited: Lefty looking to compete for fifth spot in rotation
MLB.com
January 31, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS, MN:  The Twins have made additions over the winter to boost their starting lineup, but the pitcher who could perhaps have the biggest impact on their rotation is one that's already familiar to Twins fans, Francisco Liriano.  Liriano is coming off his worst season with the Twins, having gone 5-13 with a 5.80 ERA in 2009, but the left-hander has bounced back this winter while pitching for Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter Leagues.  He helped the club earn a postseason berth and then went 3-1 with a 0.49 ERA in seven playoff starts, while recording 47 strikeouts and five walks in 37 innings.

It's the type of performance that has the Twins cautiously optimistic of what Liriano could bring to the club in 2010.  "He could be our ace in the hole," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said this weekend during the club's annual fan festival, TwinsFest.  "We said a few years ago that this guy is potentially a No. 1 [starter].  Everybody is always looking for No. 1 guys.  I don't want to put pressure on him and say he's a No. 1 guy.  But he's had No. 1 stuff and he's had No. 1 success before.  You never know what's going to happen but it could be very entertaining."

"I've got my confidence back," Liriano said. "This winter is the best I've felt."  Liriano finished off his tremendous run in winter ball as the winning pitcher for Leones del Escogido in the Domincan Winter League championship game on Thursday night.  He pitched five scoreless innings, striking out 10 while allowing one hit, to defeat Gigantes del Cibao, the club of his current Twins teammate, Alexi Casilla.  "He killed me," Casilla said with a laugh when asked about Liriano's winter performance in the Dominican.  "He kill everyone."

The reports out of winter ball were that Liriano's velocity had gone up, with his fastball topping out at 95-96 mph on the radar gun and his slider in the high 80s.  While Liriano's radar readings in the Dominican have at times been skewed, the pitcher said he's noticed a significant difference in the way he's throwing.  "I'm throwing a little harder now and I've got better control," Liriano said.  "I'm locating my fastball better.  My slider is way better too.  The first year coming back from my surgery, my arm didn't hurt at all, but I didn't have the power in it.  Now I feel stronger than before."

That's why this recent performance in winter ball has everyone excited, including Liriano.  "[It was like], this is me," Liriano said of the way he was throwing.  "That's the way I know how to pitch.  Not worry about anything or any hitter.  Just go out there and try to throw first pitch strikes and locate my fastball.  I feel like I did in '06, I have my confidence back.  My arm feels great.  Physically and mentally I'm ready to go.

"I think Francisco realizes this is a big year for him," Twins general manager Bill Smith said. "And this is a big year for him."  Liriano will head to Spring Training in the mix for a starting job, but he'll also be an option for the bullpen if he doesn't earn the fifth spot in the rotation.  His preference of course is to be a starter and so for now Liriano is focused on proving to the Twins that last season's struggles were just a fluke.  "I am going to go out there and show them I'm ready," Liriano said. "And hopefully [that means] I can be in the starting rotation."


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

     Mr. Liriano had Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.  After any surgery, baseball pitchers struggle to believe that their repaired pitching arm will hold up.  It appears that Mr. Liriano has moved past that concern.

     However, unless Mr. Liriano has eliminated the 'Reverse Pitchign Forearm Bounce' injurious flaw that ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament before, he will do it again.

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

101.  Rowland-Smith excited for fresh start in '10: Left-hander looking forward to learning from co-ace Lee
MLB.com
January 30, 2010

SEATTLE, WA:  One of the first things Mariners left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith plans to do when he reports to Spring Training next month is introduce himself to Cliff Lee and begin a teacher-student relationship.  "I am really looking forward to meeting him, being around him, and seeing what his work habits are," Rowland-Smith said.  "I have always enjoyed watching him pitch and I can learn a lot from him.  I can't wait to pick his brain.  I hope he doesn't mind."

Rowland-Smith, the leading candidate to join Lee and ace right-hander Felix Hernandez at the top of the Mariners' five-man starting rotation this season, looked and sounded ready to go on Saturday afternoon during FanFest at Safeco Field.  "You look forward to the start of Spring Training every year," he said, "but even more so this year because there was such a positive environment last season."

Rowland-Smith contributed five wins to the Mariners' 85-win season, spending most of the first half of the campaign on the outside looking in.  He broke camp in the rotation, but suffered left triceps tendinitis in his first start of the regular season and was either on the disabled list or on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma until July 24.

The Australian native pitched well enough down the stretch, especially at home where he had a 2.70 ERA and put him in position to warrant strong consideration for a spot in the rotation this season.  "I think Rowland-Smith made huge strides last year," pitching coach Rick Adair said of the lefty who compiled a 5-4 record and 3.74 ERA in 15 starts, giving him a record of 11-7 and solid 3.62 ERA after 88 Major League appearances and 27 starts.

Rowland-Smith, 27, admitted on Saturday that he became frustrated last summer when he wasn't promoted earlier.  "I was frustrated," he said.  "Anyone in my situation would.  It was tough dealing with an injury for the first time, missing a big chunk of the season and then proving that I can pitch at the Major League level on the field.  "It's easy to look back now and say it a lot more positive than negative.  I learned from it."

"I am taking a different approach this season," he said.  "I am not going to worry about where I'm going to wind up, or how many games I'm going to win or how many innings I'm going to pitch.  "I will take it one outing at a time, whether it's in April, July or September, and try to get deep into every game I pitch.  That's my goal.  If I can do that, the numbers will take care of themselves."


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

     In his first start of the regular season, Mr. Rowland-Smith suffered left triceps tendinitis.

     To extend their pitching elbow, 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not use their Triceps Brachii muscle.  Instead, they use the centripetal force of the 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' injurious flaw inherent in their 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.  Therefore, Mr. Rowland-Smith did not have Triceps tentinitis.

     Instead, as a result of supinating the releases of his breaking pitches, Mr. Rowland-Smith was banging the two bones in the back of his pitching elbow together.  Therefore, the orthopedic surgeon misdiagnosed his injury and the trainers designed an ineffective rehabilitation program.

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

***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, February 14, 2010, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

101.  Maintence or rest

I gave my son time off from everything when his fall season ended on November 1.  I thought that kids were supposed to get time off, not continue with "maintenance".  Therefore, he did not have sufficient time to complete the 120 day program.

Since he's at 15 lb WWs, I wasn't sure if he should stay at the same weight (15 lbs etc.), at 24 reps or drop to the 10 lb WW's with the season about to start, to avoid "regression".  I'm not sure if this matters, but he's about 18 months biologically advanced.

So, just to be 100% clear going forward, he should:

1.  continue at 15 lb WW's and 8 lb IB's, both at 24 reps (in addition to the warm-up exercises), using the drop out wind-up pendulum swings, right through until the fall season ends on November 1.

2.  On November 1, start the 120-day HS program at the same 15 lb WW's and 8 lb IB's so that he can finish the program for February 1, which will give him a month to come out of regression.

3.  For the month preceding the next season, increase the WW and IB weights, (starting at 12 reps?) and working up to 24 reps and continue that until it's time to start another 120-day training program in November.

Questions:

1.  Isn't the weight going to 20 lbs too much or does this provide the opportunity, by adding 5 lbs each year, to get really strong by the time you're a Junior in HS.

2.  Should you add the suggested (line) to the following?

        "I invite all parents and youth pitchers to join my Research Study Club.  In this way, we will monitor the growth and development of the growth plates of their pitching arms.  I will also evaluate the rate of their skeletal maturation.  Together, we can make certain that youth pitchers have all the pleasure of baseball without the pain and deformation of their pitching arm.

        I do not want biological sixteen through eighteen year old pitchers to train for pitching for more than four months per year.  (However, to not lose what they've gained, they need to continue at a 24 repetition "maintenance" level until they begin the next 120-day program.)  I want them to pitch no more than twice through a lineup in one game and once through a lineup in a second game per week against opposing teams.  I want biological sixteen through eighteen year old pitchers to learn how to competitively use my four basic pitches: Maxline Fastball, Maxline True Screwball, Maxline Pronation Curve and Torque Fastball."

In essence, there is no "time off".  I had read elsewhere in your Q&A files that your pitchers were "training, maintaining or pitching," but I thought that that applied to adult pitchers, not HS pitchers.

Hope what I wrote wasn't confusing.  I'm just trying to nail it down.


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

     The 'it' that you are trying to nail down is my vascillating behind.

     High School baseball pitchers should do my 120-Day program every year.  They should pitch competitively for 120 days every year.  Therefore, they should have 120 days without training or pitching competitively every year.  The question is what they should do when they are not training or pitching competitively.

     The difficulty is in how he prepares for the competitive season.  The better idea is to finish the 120-Day training program two months before the competitive season begins.  The competitive season starts with the first game in which he pitches.  However, if he does nothing for two months before the first game in which he pitches, then he will have lost all the micro-anatomical advantages that he gained from the 120-Day training program.  Therefore, for those two months, he needs to maintain his fitness.

     Nevertheless, for two months after he competitively pitches for 120 days, I prefer that that he does not train, pitch competitively or maintain.  The problem is that I know that he will lose all the micro-anatomical advantages that he gained from competitively pitching.

     Therefore, the question is, in the long run, is it better to maintain or abstain.  While I prefer that he abstain, I do not know whether maintaining or abstaining causes the worse problem.

     With regard to mastering the skills, maintaining is better.  However, with regard to stressing the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles associated with baseball pitching, abstaining is better.

     While I prefer two months of abstaining, I have no big problem with two months of maintaining.  Therefore, until several young men try both ways and we see whether either group has difficulties, I do not have an answer.

     Whichever he does, when he becomes biologically nineteen years old, then, for as long as he wants to continue to pitch competitive, he needs to train, maintain and/or pitch competitively every day.

     In conclusion, despite what I wrote that you quoted, I recommend that:

     If he starts pitching competitively on April 01, then, after August 01, he should not pitch competitively.  From August 01 until November 01, he should not train, pitch competitively or maintain.  On November 01, he should start my 120-Day training program.  On February 01, he should start my maintenance program.

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

103.  Tommy John Surgery

I am a graduate student in sport psychology.

In one of my courses, I am supposed to research a sport science and its effectiveness.

I have decided to research Tommy John surgery and its effectiveness with Major League pitchers.

I saw the special on Real Sports that featured your method of pitching, and it was quite remarkable how you can teach a new way for pitchers to be effective without throwing out their arms.

As you know, many pitchers get Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL and prolong their careers.  I was wondering what your opinion is about Tommy John surgery and whether or not it is truly necessary or effective for pitchers, why and why not.

I have a pretty good idea of what your stance is, but I would really like to hear it from you.


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

     When compared with baseball pitchers that do not rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligaments, baseball pitchers that rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament and require surgery to replace their Ulnar Collateral Ligament with the tendon of the Palmaris Longus muscle in their pitching forearm or part of the Pes Anserinus in their glove arm side knee, do not prolong their careers.

01.  They lose about two years having the surgery, rehabilitating from the surgery and becoming confident that they can pitch again.

02.  Because the replacement tendon cannot physiologically respond to stress, the replacement tendon requires less time to rupture again.

03.  Despite the misconception that 'Tommy John' surgery makes the pitching elbow stronger and enables these baseball pitchers to throw at higher release velocities than they ever could do before the surgery, within a year or two, as they tear more and more of the connective tissue that makes up the replacement tendon, their velocity decreases to non-competitive velocities.

     Therefore, the only solution to Ulnar Collateral Ligament ruptures is to not rupture the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Fortunately, to not rupture the Ulnar Collateral Ligament is very easy to do.  All baseball pitchers have to do is eliminate the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' injurious flaw in their 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.  To do that, all baseball pitchers have to do is:

01.  With the palm of their pitching hand facing upward, take the baseball out of their glove,

02.  With the palm of their pitching hand facing toward home plate, vertically pendulum swing their pitching arm downward and backward toward second base,

03.  With the palm of their pitching hand still facing toward home plate, pendulum swing their pitching arm upward to forty-five degrees behind the vertical line of their body, and

04.  While rotating the palm of their pitching hand from facing toward home plate to facing away from their body, pendulum swing their pitching arm up to driveline height, which is slightly above their pitching arm side ear.

     To also protect the front of their pitching shoulder, baseball pitchers should coordinate when their pitching arm arrives at driveline height with when their glove arm side foot lands.

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

104.  wrist weights

Right now, with tryouts 2-3 weeks away, my son should stay at 15lb ww's and 8lb IB's.  Is that correct?  I'm just confirming because I don't want to make more mistakes.


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

     For two months before the first game in which your son pitches, with the increased wrist weight and iron ball weights after he completed my 120-Day training program, he should do my maintenance program.

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

105.  Query

There is a fellow posting pitching advice on the Internet who claims the muscles of the abdomen, hips, back, etc. decelerate the pitching arm.  He says that is the key to preventing rotator cuff injuries.

His name is Kyle Boody.

Have you worked with him?  He doesn't have any research, performance, academic or training credentials that I could find.

I ordinarily wouldn't care, but it is somewhat disconcerting because some young player might read the advice and follow it.

Have you ever heard such advice, and is it worthwhile?  What is your advice to pitchers who want to prevent rotator cuff injuries?


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

     I believe that Mr. Boody runs driveline.com.  As I understand his credentials, he is a high school junior varsity baseball coach.  He has sent me a number of questions.

     To decelerate the pitching arm, muscles have to attach to the pitching arm.  No abdominal muscles attach to the pitching arm.  Therefore, that statement is ridiculous.

     The Latissimus Dorsi muscle does attach to the iliac crest of the hip triad of bones, to the vertebral column and to the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.  Therefore, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle could decelerate the pitching upper arm.

     However, 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  Therefore, because Mr. Boody does not qualify his statement as only in the Marshall baseball pitching motion, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle of the hips and back decelerate the pitching upper arm, that statement is also ridiculous.

     Because, only with my baseball pitching motion do baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, to prevent injuries to the rotator cuff muscles, baseball pitchers have to use my baseball pitching motion.

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

106.  Your delivery's effectiveness

I was reading some of the questions and answers from years past and a question popped into my head.  Have you ever compared the effectiveness of pitchers pre- and post- learning your delivery?

As in, let's say I use the "traditional" style now, I take a year off to learn your delivery, and then I go back to pitching with your delivery.

I realize there are many potential intervening variables in my hypothetical that might affect effectiveness, but have you ever done a longitudinal study such as this?

Let's face it; all that matters to most pitchers is their numbers on the mound, not whether their delivery might make them susceptible to injury down the road.

For your delivery to become more mainstream, it's just my opinion that if the numbers proved that your delivery makes pitchers perform better, not just prevent injury.


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

     I agree that, because of the prejudice of the 'traditional' pitching coaches that are in charge of whether baseball pitchers get opportunities to pitch, unless they are in great pain, baseball pitchers will not change their pitching motion to mine.

     With regard to whether my baseball pitchers are more effective with my baseball pitching motion than with the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion with which they came to me:

01.  If you watch the video and high-speed film DVDs that I have made of my baseball pitchers, then you can see that, when compared with the pitches that they threw before they came to me, they now can throw a wide variety of high-quality pitches.

02.  When we compare the release velocity that they had when they arrived with the release velocities that they achieved after training with me, all my baseball pitchers that, at least, learned the pitching arm action of my baseball pitching motion increased their release velocity.  When they also learned the body action of my baseball pitching motion, they further increased their release velocity.

     Nevertheless, without the opportunity to pitch competitively for several consecutive months, they cannot achieve their genetic maximum release velocity.

     For these reasons and because parents that do not want their sons to suffer the injuries that the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion causes, I have no doubt that, eventually, all baseball pitchers will use my baseball pitching motion.

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

107.  Toronto’s McGowan has pain-free mound session
Associated Press
January 29, 2010

TORONTO, ON:  Blue Jays pitcher Dustin McGowan threw off a mound at Toronto’s spring training complex in Dunedin, Fla., as he attempts to come back from shoulder and knee surgery.  The 27-year-old right-hander hasn’t pitched in a game since July 8, 2008, when he left a start against Baltimore with shoulder pain.  He had operations to repair a frayed labrum on July 31, 2008, and cartilage in his right knee last July 9.

“Dustin threw off a mound today and looked very good,” Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said in an e-mail to the Canadian Press on Friday.  “He experienced no pain, which is a very encouraging sign.  This is a positive step in his recovery.”


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

     Mr. Anthopoulos said, "This is a positive step in his recovery."

     Until Mr. McGowen can throw with maximum intensity for several weeks without pain, positive steps mean nothing.  If Mr. McGowen has not eliminated the side-to-side movement in his pitching arm action, then he will continue to destroy his pitching shoulder.

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

108.  Putz: Mets didn’t give me physical, told me to hide elbow injury
New York Post
February 01, 2010

It’s just another day for the Mets’ medical staff.  J.J. Putz told CSNChicago that he did not receive a physical after the Mets acquired him in a trade with the Mariners before last season.  Putz said the Mariners had discovered a bone spur in his throwing elbow during the 2008 season, and when the Mets did find out about the injury they instructed Putz to hide it from the media.  “When the trade went down last year, I never really had a physical with the Mets.  I had the bone spur (in the right elbow),” said Putz, who was signed by the White Sox this off-season after the Mets declined his option.

“It was discovered the previous year in Seattle, and it never got checked out by any other doctors until I got to spring training, and the spring training physical is kind of a formality.  It was bugging me all through April, and in May I got an injection.  It just got to the point where I couldn’t pitch.  I couldn’t throw strikes, my velocity was way down.”

Putz was brought in to form a 1-2 punch with Francisco Rodriguez at the back of the Mets bullpen.  But that never developed as Putz struggled through the early months of the season as K-Rod’s set up man.  Putz came under heavy scrutiny, struggling in the role, going 1-4 with two blown saves and a 5.22 ERA.  “Being hurt is never fun, especially when you go to a team like New York, where the expectation level is so high, and you’re not able to do what you know you can do,” Putz said.  “(The Mets) gave up a lot to get me, so it was disappointing and frustrating.  “I knew that I wasn’t right.  I wasn’t healthy.  The toughest part was having to face the media and tell them that you feel fine, even though you know there’s something wrong and they don’t want you telling them that you’re banged up.”

Putz was one of many key Mets to get injured during last season’s disastrous 70-92 campaign.  The Amazin’s seemingly mishandled injuries to star players Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, now you can add Putz to the list.

“It was a mess from the beginning,” Putz said.  “The entire team was hurt.  So, it was kind of like a snowball that kept going, going, going.”  Putz had surgery in early June to remove the bone chips and was expected to be out 10-12 weeks, but when he tried to return in August he felt some tightness in his shoulder and the Mets told him he had blown out his elbow.

“That was kind of a shock because I never felt any pain in it,” Putz said.  “That it’s my career, and when you know something doesn’t feel right, and they want to take these little sidesteps to do something, and just wait and wait and wait, you got to get it taken care of instead of trying to prolong the inevitable.” Upon signing Putz, the White Sox gave him a physical.  “When our doctors finally got their hands on him, he passed his physical with flying colors,” White Sox GM Kenny Williams said.  “We couldn't be happier with what was communicated to us by our doctors.”


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

     Mr. Putz said, “That it’s my career, and when you know something doesn’t feel right, and they want to take these little sidesteps to do something, and just wait and wait and wait, you got to get it taken care of instead of trying to prolong the inevitable.”

     Whatever happen to personal responsibility?  When I needed back surgery, I had back surgery.  It never occurred to me to ask permission for something that affected my career.

     And, what is up with the Mets telling Mr. Putz that he had "blown out his elbow."  Then, the White Sox telling him that he passed their physical with "flying colors."

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

109.  Jays' Hayhurst Set to Undergo Shoulder Surgery
TSN.ca
February 03, 2010

The Toronto Blue Jays, who have been adding to their bullpen might be without Dirk Hayhurst when the season starts.  The club announced on Wednesday that Hayhurst will undergo exploratory arthroscopic surgery on his sore right shoulder.  The 28-year old injured his shoulder while getting ready for the upcoming season.  The right-hander appeared in 15 games with the Blue Jays in 2009, and posted a 0-0 record with a 2.78 ERA.  Hayhurst's estimated return to action will not be available until following the surgery, which will take place in Cleveland.


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

     For his sore pitching shoulder, Mr. Hayhurst will undergo exploratory anthroscopic surgery.  If they tell me where Mr. Hayhurst feels pain, then I can tell him the anatomical source of his problem.  Did not these orthopedic surgeons dissect a cadaver?  Without looking under the skin, do they not know what is where?

     I took the Medical School's Anatomy class in which we dissected a cadaver.  Therefore, I do not need to use arthoscopy to see what is under the skin.

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

110.  Rehabbing Riske aims for Opening Day: Tommy John recovery to dictate bullpen competition
MLB.com
February 04, 2010

MILWAUKEE, WI:  This week, Brewers reliever David Riske marked the eight-month anniversary of his Tommy John elbow reconstructive surgery.  The procedure can require 12 months of rehabilitation, but Riske is hoping to be active for the Brewers on Opening Day.  Whether he meets that goal will go a long way in determining whether others are able to compete later this month for an opening in Milwaukee's improved bullpen.  "I'd say it's a long shot, but it's a possibility," Riske said Sunday at Brewers On Deck.  "It just all depends on how fast it responds, and then when I can face hitters and how fast it responds after that."

Riske has been rehabbing at home in Las Vegas and began throwing off a mound two weeks ago.  That's a significant milestone for a pitcher coming off a Tommy John procedure.

The Brewers would love to get some production from Riske this season because, so far, his three-year contract has not paid off.  He is due $4.5 million in 2010, making him Milwaukee's fifth-highest paid player for the moment (Corey Hart is seeking $4.8 million in arbitration).  Riske's contract calls for a $4.75 million option for 2011 or a $250,000 buyout.  "We're waiting to see what we see in the spring," said Brewers assistant general manager Gord Ash, who oversees the club's medical program.  "He's done a good job in his rehab.  We just have to see what we have.  The medical team's perspective is that it would be a stretch to get there [by the April 5 season opener], but we don't know for sure yet." Dr. William Raasch examined Riske in Milwaukee over the weekend and discovered no red flags.  Pitchers and catchers report to Maryvale Baseball Park on Feb. 20, and have their first formal workout on Feb. 22, though Riske is certain to begin on a throwing program separate from the others.

By Opening Day, Riske will be 10 months removed from surgery.  "Guys have come back in nine or 10 months before," Ash said.  "Some of them were younger, and I'm not sure if that makes a difference or not.  What I've learned through the years is that each individual heals and rehabs at his own pace. So we'll just have to wait and see."

Riske says his troubles began during his first Spring Training with the Brewers in 2007, when then-pitching coach Mike Maddux tried to introduce a curveball to his repertoire.  "I wish I would have never, ever tried to learn those breaking balls because that's really what triggered it," Riske said.  "What do you do? You want to do what they want, and it gradually got worse and worse.  ... My whole career, I threw 95 percent fastballs, and I've had a pretty good career up until last year.  I wish I would have just said no."

Riske said he objected, but tried to pitch through the pain.  He posted a 5.31 ERA in 45 appearances in 2008 and was shut down after September 07.  He appeared in only one game in 2008.  "I miss competition," Riske said.  "I've been competing with my boys at home, and that's just not the same.  I want that back.  I just want to go pitch without hurting."


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

     Riske says that throwing the 'traditional' curve ball that pitching coach Mike Maddux taught him caused him to rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Many, many times, I have explained how supinating the release of breaking pitches injures the bone on the back of the pitching elbow.  However, I have not explained nearly as often why throwing the 'traditional' supination curve also can rupture the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     In general, the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' causes the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Therefore, we need to know why does throwing the 'traditional' supination curve stress the Ulnar Collateral Ligament differently than the 'traditional' fastball.

     When baseball pitchers throw curves, even mine, they feel a need to tightly bend the pitching elbow before their glove foot lands.  I call this action, 'Grabbing.'

     With their pitching elbow tightly bent when baseball pitchers start to drive their pitching upper arm toward home plate, before it starts toward home plate, the pitching forearm makes a backward and outward pathway.  I call this action, 'Looping.'

     Because, during this movement, my baseball pitchers are contracting the muscles that attach to their medial epicondyle, they do not stress their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  However, because 'traditional' baseball pitchers have 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' they do not contract the muscles that attach to their medial epicondyle.

     Therefore, with their tightly bent elbow, when they 'Grab' and 'Loop,' their 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' unnecessarily stresses their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  However, when they throw their fastballs, they do not 'Grab' and 'Loop.'  Therefore, with a longer pitching elbow angle, they do not unnecessarily stress their Ulnar Collateral Ligament as much.

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

111.  Mariners, Bedard close to 1-year deal
Associated Press
February 04, 2010

SEATTLE, WA:  The Seattle Mariners and left-hander Erik Bedard are getting close to a one-year contract, pending a physical, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press.  The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the Mariners have not announced the deal.  The contract is expected to have a base salary for a fraction of $7.75 million the 30-year-old Bedard made last season, and it would likely include incentive clauses.

Seattle essentially would be making a low-risk move with Bedard.  The Mariners no longer need him to be a top of the rotation pitcher after trading for former Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee to team with ace Felix Hernandez, who was recently given a $78 million deal.  Bedard has said since last summer that he wanted to return to Seattle.

The former Baltimore Orioles ace has been rehabilitating in his native Canada from surgery in August to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder.  Mariners trainer Rick Griffin has been overseeing Bedard’s recovery from afar because the team is financially responsible for it until the free agent signs with another team.  Griffin said last week that Bedard felt good.  He reported Bedard has been throwing and working through exercises with a physical therapist near his home in Ontario.  But he added that Bedard has three-to-five months left of rehabilitation.  “He’s got a ways to go,” the trainer said.

The Mariners declined to offer Bedard salary arbitration this winter.  Seattle paid him $14.75 million for two seasons in which he won 11 games in 30 starts.  Shoulder troubles kept him from pitching past July 4 in his first season with the team in 2008.  He had surgery in September, then was on the 2009 active roster for just 20 days past June 17 before his next surgery.

When he has pitched for the Mariners, he has rarely lasted deep into games.  The trade for him—which cost Seattle eventual All-Stars in closer George Sherrill and outfielder Adam Jones—has been seen as one-sided.  The deal helped doom then-general manager Bill Bavasi, who was fired by the Mariners before the 2008 season ended.


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

     The Seattle Mariners trainer, Rick Griffin, said that Mr. Bedard has a ways to go.  Where has Mr. Griffin been since July 2008, when Mr. Bedard first injured himself?  This is February 2010, that is about eighteen months and he still has a ways to go.

     With every baseball pitcher I have trained that came to me with a pitching arm injury, after two weeks, they trained without any injury discomfort.  However, to eliminate the injurious flaw takes more time.  But, eighteen months is ridiculous.

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

112.  Phils sign Villarreal to Minors deal: Club's pact doesn't include invitation to Spring Training
MLB.com
February 04, 2010

The Phillies signed veteran right-hander Oscar Villarreal to a Minor League contract Thursday, his agent confirmed to MLB.com.  Villarreal, who missed the entire 2009 season after undergoing Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in April, is still recovering and isn't expected to report to Clearwater, FL, until late February.  But his agent, Oscar Suarez, said he's progressing just fine.  "Even if it's a week and a half later, there's really no big rush," Suarez said.  "What we want to do is make sure he builds up his innings correctly and then get ready."

Villarreal had a bullpen session in Tempe, AZ, on Friday in front of interested suitors, the Phillies, D-backs, Red Sox and Rockies were reportedly in attendance, and according to AOL FanHouse, the 28-year-old was hitting 89-90 mph on the radar gun.  Suarez said that session went "very well."  "That's why they're signing him," he added.  "The Phillies aren't going to go step out and sign a guy just to play Triple-A, I don't think."

Villarreal is not expected to be ready by Opening Day, and though his agent said he can probably face live hitting already, it would be best to "baby him along" as he recovers from major surgery.  "It's the guy who finishes the race, not the guy who starts," Suarez said.  "There's no reason to rush a guy that had surgery in April.  He's quite advanced, but there's really no rush on Oscar's side, or my part, or the Phillies' part."

Villarreal last pitched pitched in the Majors for the Astros in '08, going 1-3 with a 5.02 ERA in 35 relief appearances, striking out 21 and walking 17 in 37 2/3 innings.  His best season came with the Braves in '06, when he finished 9-1 with a 3.61 ERA in 58 games (four starts).  In six years in the big leagues, spent with the D-backs, Braves and Astros, the Mexico native is 24-15 with a 3.86 ERA and a 1.75 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 258 games (five starts).


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

     In 2008, Mr. Villarreal pitched 37 2/3 innings with a 5.02 earned run average.  This was before he ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Do the Phillies believe that, after Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery, baseball pitchers are better than they were before?

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

113.  Braves put faith in healing powers
Yahoo! Sports
February 04, 2010

It’s been a faith-based few months for the Braves, centered on their belief in the restorative powers of Tommy John surgery.  Oh, and the power of forgiveness was tested as well.  Tim Hudson returned after a year’s absence recovering from the ligament-replacement procedure that has resuscitated so many careers to make seven starts beginning September 01.  He pitched well enough in 42 1/3 innings:  49 hits, 3.61 ERA, 30 strikeouts, 13 walks, that the Braves entered the offseason assuming Hudson would be at the front of their rotation in 2010.

They did their best to trade Derek Lowe, but nobody would take on a contract that pays him $15 million each of the next three seasons.  So, instead, they dealt Javier Vazquez, coming off a career year, to the Yankees for middling outfielder Melky Cabrera and pitching prospect Arodys Vizcaino.  Vizcaino is barely 19, but wowed scouts with his stuff on the off-Broadway stage of low-Class A Staten Island last year.

The Braves, meanwhile, offered Hudson a testament of faith in the form of a three-year, $28 million contract.  “My arm hasn’t felt this good in eight years,” he said recently, and everyone will soon find out if it stays that way.

Lowe, normally a jovial sort, groused publicly about being shopped around, but once Vazquez was traded the Braves and Lowe shifted into forgive-and-forget mode.  Hudson and Lowe are joined by Jair Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson and Kenshin Kawakami to form one of baseball’s best rotations.

Another leap of faith led to Billy Wagner, who signed a one-year, $7 million deal to become the Braves’ closer after an impressive late-season return from Tommy John surgery.  He struck out 26 in 15 2/3 innings for the Red Sox, enough to convince Braves GM Frank Wren that at 38 he can approximate the Wagner who has saved 385 games.


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

     Mr. Hudson and Mr. Wagner have has Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.  Nevertheless, they received $28,000,000.00 for three years and $7,000,000.00 for one year, respectively.  I guess that the Braves believe that, after Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery, baseball pitchers are better than they were before.

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

114.  Debate rages over Lincecum's case: Arbitration hearing looms between Cy Young winner, Giants
MLB.com
February 04, 2010

There's a good chance Tim Lincecum found out sometime Wednesday night that the Tigers and Justin Verlander agreed to a five-year, $80 million contract, avoiding arbitration.  And even though Lincecum grew up near Seattle as a Mariners fan, he could have been raised in Wichita and still be well aware that Felix Hernandez and the Mariners re-upped for five years and $78 million a few weeks ago, also avoiding arbitration.

So naturally, with the Giants ace right-hander's arbitration case still looming and starting to take up more and more space in the daily headlines, the baseball world collectively asks one question:  How much is Tim Lincecum really worth?


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

     Mr. Verlander and Mr. Hernandez pendulum swing their pitching arm to driveline height.  Mr. Lincecum had severe 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'  It is only a matter of time before Mr. Lincecum ruptures his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Therefore, were my former head baseball coach at the University of Tampa to ask me, I would tell him to sign Mr. Lincecum for no more than a two year contract.  Nevertheles, until, as a result of more and more connective tissue tears lengthen his Ulnar Collateral Ligament and his release velocity significantly decreases, Mr. Lincecum deserves a great contract.

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

***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, February 21, 2010, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

115.  Sam Buchanan

This is Sam's dad.  Sam just got his first save of the year.

Thanks for everything.

------------------------------------------------- Sam Buchanan

University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College Baseball

Scorpions Come Back for 12-8 Victory and Split of Doubleheader Sun
Feb 14, 2010 at 6:40 PM

VICTORIA, TX:  Sam Buchanan pitched three plus innings of strong relief as UTB/TSC downed University of Houston-Victoria, 12-8, Sunday at Riverside Stadium to salvage one victory in the four-game weekend series.

"Sam came in and just threw strikes down the zone and good things happened," Scorpion head coach Bryan Aughney said.


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

     I appreciate the update.  We both know how hard Sam has worked.  He deserves this and more pitching fun and success.

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

116.  CONFUSED ON MAINTENANCE CYCLE

You answer to Question # 102 confused me.  I have not missed a day of training, switching from Training to Maintenance periods throughout the year.  Should I be taking some time off completely, whereby I don't even do maintenance training?  Or, is the below advice for high school pitchers and not full-grown adults?

     You wrote, "High School baseball pitchers should do my 120-Day program every year.  They should pitch competitively for 120 days every year.  Therefore, they should have 120 days without training or pitching competitively every year.  The question is what they should do when they are not training or pitching competitively.

        The difficulty is in how he prepares for the competitive season.  The better idea is to finish the 120-Day training program two months before the competitive season begins.  The competitive season starts with the first game in which he pitches.  However, if he does nothing for two months before the first game in which he pitches, then he will have lost all the micro-anatomical advantages that he gained from the 120-Day training program.  Therefore, for those two months, he needs to maintain his fitness.

        Nevertheless, for two months after he competitively pitches for 120 days, I prefer that that he does not train, pitch competitively or maintain.  The problem is that I know that he will lose all the micro-anatomical advantages that he gained from competitively pitching.

        Therefore, the question is, in the long run, is it better to maintain or abstain.  While I prefer that he abstain, I do not know whether maintaining or abstaining causes the worse problem.

        With regard to mastering the skills, maintaining is better.  However, with regard to stressing the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles associated with baseball pitching, abstaining is better.

        While I prefer two months of abstaining, I have no big problem with two months of maintaining.  Therefore, until several young men try both ways and we see whether either group has difficulties, I do not have an answer.

        Whichever he does, when he becomes biologically nineteen years old, then, for as long as he wants to continue to pitch competitive, he needs to train, maintain and/or pitch competitively every day.

        In conclusion, despite what I wrote that you quoted, I recommend that:

        If he starts pitching competitively on April 01, then, after August 01, he should not pitch competitively.  From August 01 until November 01, he should not train, pitch competitively or maintain.  On November 01, he should start my 120-Day training program.  On February 01, he should start my maintenance program."


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

     For you, the critical paragraph in what I wrote was:

       "Whichever he does, when he becomes biologically nineteen years old, then, for as long as he wants to continue to pitch competitive, he needs to train, maintain and/or pitch competitively every day."

     Biological sixteen through nineteen year olds still have considerable bone growth yet to complete.  Therefore, I do not want to take all their bone growth resources away from them in their efforts to respond to the stress of training and pitching competitively.  Therefore, I believe that, at least, two months per year for just bone growth is appropriate.  I worry that they should have more.

     After baseball pitchers complete their bone growth, they can stimulate their osteoblasts to lay down as much bone matrix that they want.  They will only increase the size of the affected bone tissue and their bone density.

     Therefore, you should train, maintain or pitch competitively every day for as long as you want to pitch competitively.

     Until, at fifty-six years old, a moronic household accident stopped me, from 1967 to 1999, I trained, maintained and pitched competitively, including starting as many as 80 games from February to November from 1983 through 1999.

     Truck on.

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

117.  Jays sign Gregg to one-year deal
Veteran expected to battle Frasor, Downs for closer role
MLB.com
February 05, 2010

TORONTO, ON:  The Blue Jays have made it official: Kevin Gregg is competing for the closer's job.  On Friday, Toronto officially announced that it has signed the reliever to a one-year contract that includes a pair of club options, adding more depth to a crowded bullpen.

Gregg will earn $2.75 million in 2010, and he has the potential to remain with the Blue Jays through 2012.  Ten days after the conclusion of the World Series, Toronto will have the ability to choose between parting ways with Gregg, exercising a one-year, $4.5 million club option for 2011, or picking up a two-year club option worth $8.75 million for the 2011-12 campaigns.

The options give the Blue Jays the opportunity to retain Gregg if the club lacks other closing options over the next two years.  That's important considering that left-hander Scott Downs and right-hander Jason Frasor, Gregg's competitors for the ninth-inning job this spring, are both eligible for free agency next winter.

"We do have a younger bullpen," Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said on Friday.  "This does give us some protection a little bit, knowing that we have the potential to control a guy like a Kevin Gregg with some experience closing games, and having a guy, if we felt it was the right baseball move for us, for 2011 and also potentially for 2012."

Including the two club options also increases Gregg's potential value as a bargaining chip around the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31.  Anthopoulos is focusing on the club's long-term situation and is trying to gather as many assets as he can.  Having Gregg in the fold as a potential trading chip is of value for a Toronto team that is trying to obtain young players for the future.

Gregg also qualified as a Type A free agent this off-season, and there is the chance that he could be worth compensation Draft picks again down the road.  That also is true of Downs or Frasor, who would likely be at least Type B free agents next off-season.  If all three relievers qualify, the Jays could have a handful of compensatory picks to help build up their farm system.

"Right now," Anthopoulos said, "with any free-agent signing or trade, we're trying to give as much value and flexibility to the club, and at the same time, try to protect the player and the upside of the player."

What the Blue Jays lacked, in Anthopoulos' opinion, was a pitcher with an extended track record as a closer; that's where Gregg comes into play.  Gregg won't be handed the closer's job, though.  Anthopoulos reiterated that manager Cito Gaston will have the final say on which pitcher will open the year as the primary ninth-inning arm.

"He's going to come in and we expect him to pitch late in the game," Anthopoulos said of Gregg.  "But, again, that'll be up to Cito to determine.  We don't have anybody that we've anointed the closer right now.  Kevin Gregg has had a lot of closing experience.  He's certainly not going to be handed the job, but he'll have every opportunity to compete for that role."

Over the past three seasons, the 31-year-old Gregg has posted a 3.86 ERA with 84 saves in stints with the Marlins and Cubs.  The right-hander has also blown 20 saves over that time period, seven with Chicago a year ago while earning $4.2 million, and he allowed 13 home runs last season, which was tied for the most yielded by a Major League reliever.

Gregg did finish with 23 saves and 71 strikeouts over 68 2/3 innings with the Cubs in 2009, but he lost the closer's job to Carlos Marmol in August and was shut down toward the end of September due to a crack in the cartilage in his left rib cage.  In the season's final two months, Gregg allowed 18 earned runs over 20 1/3 innings, giving him a bloated 7.97 ERA over that time period.

"If Kevin Gregg wins that job in Spring Training," Anthopoulos said, "that means Cito decided he was the right man for the job and he probably had the strongest camp.  If he doesn't win that job and he ends up getting the eighth-inning role or the seventh-inning role, that isn't a bad thing either.  That can only strengthen our 'pen."


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

     When he pitched for the Marlins, Mr. Gregg caught my eye.  He pendulum swings and takes his pitching arm straight backward toward second base.  However, as the injury to the glove side of his rib cage indicates, he used his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching upper arm forward.

     With his pitching arm starting from directly behind his body, he should not use his Pectoralis Major muscle.  Therefore, when he pitched for the Chicago Cubs, something changed.  I wonder whether somebody told Mr. Gregg that he needed to throw a pull slider or curve?  Something changed.

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

118.  Cyst puts Lyon behind schedule: Reliever's throwing program impacted
MLB.com
February 09, 2010

HOUSTON, TX:  Astros general manager Ed Wade said Tuesday relief pitcher Brandon Lyon had a small cyst in his right shoulder drained and will be a little behind schedule when he reports to camp next week.  But the Astros' injury concerns don't stop there.

Lyon, who signed a three-year, $15 million deal in December, had a cyst aspirated about two weeks ago, Wade said.  The Astros detected a small cyst in the initial MRI before signing Lyon, and his agent called Wade last month and told him Lyon was feeling some discomfort.  The Astros flew Lyon in to see team medical director Dr. David Lintner shortly after.

"The follow-up MRI showed it had grown to the size of 1 1/2 grapes," Wade said.  "They aspirated the fluid out of it and Brandon went home and began his regular throwing program."

The cyst had been pressing on a nerve and causing temporary weakness, but Wade said Lyon has been throwing without discomfort since the cyst was drained two weeks ago.

Lyon will report to Spring Training as scheduled with pitchers and catchers next week, but because of the birth of his child and the time spent in Houston treating the injury, Wade said the right-hander will be about 10 days behind in his throwing program.  "It shouldn't be an appreciable amount of time," Wade said.


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

     Mr. Wade developed a one and one-half grape sized cyst in his pitching shoulder.  Where?

     My guess is the back of his pitching shoulder; in his Teres Minor muscle.

     What bothers me is that Mr. Wade went home and started his regular throwing program, which means he has not changed what caused the cyst.  What makes the doctor believe that Mr. Wade will only continue to irritate the injury?

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

119.  Webb back where he belongs; on a mound:  Ace throws from bump for first time since August

MLB.com
February 09, 2010

PHOENIX, AZ:  D-backs ace Brandon Webb threw off a mound on Tuesday for the first time since having surgery on his right shoulder in August.  "[It] went good," Webb told MLB.com.  "[The] ball came out well, but I was just thinking about arm slot on every throw.  That's to be expected, not having thrown on the mound in so long."

Webb made just one start in 2009 because of shoulder discomfort.  On Aug. 3 he underwent a minor procedure known as a debridement to clean up some fraying around the labrum.  "It was good to get him into the next phase of his rehabilitation," D-backs manager A.J. Hinch said.  "He looked comfortable.  This is a positive sign as we're getting close to Spring Training.  I thought he looked good."

Webb began playing catch for the first time post-surgery in mid-November.  He threw four times without experiencing any discomfort before shutting things down for two months.  Webb had been playing catch again for weeks before getting on the mound on Tuesday.

The club will be cautious with Webb this spring, possibly giving him extra days' rest between throwing sessions.  The right-hander has said that if things keep progressing as they have, he does not see any reason why he would not be ready for the start of the season.


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

     Remember, after the surgery, the orthopedic surgeon said that he found nothing wrong with Mr. Webb's pitching shoulder.  Mr. Webb missed an entire year with nothing wrong with his pitching shoulder.  What makes anybody believe that Mr. Webb will be able to pitch this year?

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

120.  Angels cautious with recovering Shields:  Righty 'close to 100 percent,' easing back after knee surgery
MLB.com
February 09, 2010

On the phone from Michigan, Scot Shields was more concerned with reaching home safely in a blizzard on Tuesday than making it to the mound in time to deliver quality innings out of the Angels' bullpen when the 2010 season opens.  "Everything's fine," Shields said, referring to his recovery from left knee surgery.  "I'm on schedule.  I just don't know if I'm going to get off a mound as soon as everybody else.  They don't want me to rush it, but as far as being ready to go when it counts, I have no concerns at all.

"I'm close to 100 percent, but we're just being careful.  It's still going to be hard for me not to go out there when everybody else does. You know how I am."  Shields, who underwent patellar surgery on June 16, and spent the final 117 days of the 2009 season on the disabled list, met with team trainers last month and was instructed to proceed with caution in terms of throwing off the mound.

Shields, who turns 35 on July 22, is embarking on the final year of his three-year contract.  Blessed with a remarkably durable arm and an intense desire to compete, he is a Type A-plus personality, something the Angels' medical and training staffs always take into consideration.  He'd take the ball and work 162 games if manager Mike Scioscia let him.

Shields' spirits were raised by a visit to Angel Stadium four weeks ago.  He threw off flat ground with several teammates and experienced no pain in the knee, providing optimism that he'll be in his customary late-inning role on April 5, when the Angels welcome the Twins to open the season.  "I played catch there for two weeks," Shields said.  "I was very encouraged when I was out there throwing.  I got all the strength back playing catch."

Shields, the Majors' most durable reliever with a total of 425 innings from 2004 through 2008, appeared in only 17 2/3 innings with a bloated 6.62 ERA before finally caving in to the pain and going on the DL on May 27.  Despite favoring his landing knee, he still managed to hold hitters to a .239 batting average, slightly up from .226 lifetime.  His career ERA coming into the season was 2.93 in 428 games, 14 as a starter.  "I'm really looking forward to getting back on the mound and competing," he said.


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

     When 'traditional' baseball pitchers stride seventy to ninety percent of their standing height, they unnecessarily stress their glove leg knee.

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

121.  Questions about the screwball and training position players

The pitch I am having the most problem with seems to be the screwball.  But, I feel like I am making progress.  However, it just doesn't seem to come out of my hand cleanly.  Doing the FB drills, I get the right rotation.  But, when I do the BB drills, it's a very different feeling.  Should this be like that?

1.  How hard should I be gripping the ball?  Should I be using the middle finger the most when it comes to gripping it?

The chance of me trying to pitch this upcoming season does not look like a possibility.  Our team has plenty of pitching, so they say.  But, I am not bothered because I would rather go through the complete training cycle and the recoil programs before attempting to pitch.  Is this a good approach?

  With that being said, I think I will be playing mostly outfield and a little third base.  So, I have some questions.

3.  When you coached, did you have your outfielders do any specific drills?  I know the cross-panel drill is an option, but I haven't a clue on how to do it.  I was thinking of some drills I could do daily besides your program.  Would the extra work be too hard on my newly formed tissues in my arm?  I was thinking of maybe simulating charging a ball in the outfield and making throws to different bases.  Of course, I would be doing it with full intensity.  Your thoughts?

  4.  Which driveline should 3rd baseman's be using; Torque or Maxline?


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

     The key to throwing the screwball is to drive the front of the tip of the middle finger through the top seem of the baseball, not the index finger side of the tip of the middle finger.

01.  To throw the screwball, baseball pitchers have to grip the baseball as tightly as they can and, with their pitching thumb, push the baseball between their middle and ring fingers.

02.  Until baseball pitchers have mastered all six pitches, they should not pitch competitively.  Otherwise, they will delay mastering their pitches.

     My Half Reverse Pivot drill teaches the screwball release better than anything other drill anybody could invent.

03.  I had all position players do my Half Reverse Pivot drill.

04.  Third basemen use the Torque Fastball release technique.

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

122.  Batting

I had a question about your batting technique.  In your Pitching Video there is footage of you swinging a bat using a high-speed camera.  Is this what you're batting technique that you teach looks like or did you use a traditional baseball swing back when you played?

I read through you're special report on batting.  From what I gather, the workout for your batting technique would be something along the lines of this:

Broom Handle:

Rear Arm swings- 24reps
Front Arm swings-24reps
Both Arm swings-24reps

Of course, I would work the different pitch locations.

After increasing repetitions every 6 days until a total of 48 is reached, I would then move up to shovel handles, and then later on to my game bat.

Basically, the resistance is the swinging implement and the ball pitched correct?

I could not find any info on the "overload for the Quick Bat" drills.  I have read through a lot of the Q & A's, and I saw something mentioned about laying on a bench, on one's side, and using appropriate weight to snap straight up into the air replicating the swing with the front arm.  Am I understanding this correctly?  If not, or if I am could you clarify how much weight one should work with and where to put the weight on the arm?

Sorry for all the questions.  I am really interested in learning the batting technique and I think any clarifications would be enough to get me started then I will not be much of bother.


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

     I took that high-speed film in 1965 to be able to see what I did when I swung the bat.  It was from that research that I learned how to properly apply force to the baseball bat.  Therefore, I would not necessarily recommend that swing.

     For adults, I do not use the broom stick. We start with the shovel handle and tennis balls.

     To position their body to do my Overload for the Quick Bat drill, baseball batters:

01.  Lay on the rear arm side of their body on a bench.
02.  Use their rear arm to hold the head up.
03.  Cross their feet around the bench for support.
04.  Reach down to the ground to grab their barbell.

     To position their front arm to perform my Overload for the Quick Bat drill, baseball batters should:

01.  Have the upper arm of their front arm horizontal with the back of their upper arm facing upward.
02.  Have the forearm of their front arm vertical.

     To perform one repetition of my drill, baseball batters:

01.  Raise the barbell from where it is on the ground absolutely straight upward.
02.  Move the upper arm of the front arm upward along that vertical line as far as possible.
03.  To use the elbow joint of their front arm as the fulcrum, the instant that the upper arm reaches upward along that vertical line as far as possible, baseball batters stop the upward movement of the upper arm and start the upward movement of the forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and barbell.

     With the downward movement of the upper arm of the front arm, baseball batters initiate the parallel and oppositely-directed force of the force-coupling principle.

04.  Simultaneously, baseball batters drive the back of their front arm hand straight upward.  However, to prevent the bones on the back of their front arm from slamming together, they must keep the elbow joint of their front arm slightly bent.

     I recommend that adults start with ten pound barbells and increase the weight in the same manner as we do with the wrist weight exercises for baseball pitchers.

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

123.  Questions about Coaching Boys Aged 13-14 for Youth Baseball

I am e-mailing to ask your advice regarding coaching boys aged 13-14 in a "Little League" sanctioned organization.  I would like to be the head coach (as, I believe, this is the only way to introduce your training methods without having some pitching guru who knows so-and-so question them constantly).

I am going to make a few requests from the league regarding the players, to make certain it doesn't devolve into some "coaches' son" exhibition.  Please tell me what you think.

1.  I want no more than 12 boys on my team - the closer to 9 the better.  The only reason I would want more than, say, 10 is because of possible illness to players.
2.  I want players with as little experience as possible.  In my experience, boys with more experience (and, more often than not, a more advanced level of physical, biological, emotional and sexual maturity) tend to "drive out" the boys who lag by a year or two.

  Any suggestions to protect the interests of the players from the desires of the coaches?


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

     Knowledge is power.

     You should teach your baseball players what they need to properly throw, hit and field the baseball.  To do this, baseball players need to learn why and how to do my baseball pitching drills, baseball batting drills and baseball fielding drills.

     After they learn why and how, with the appropriate equipment and learning opportunities, they will become whatever quality baseball player that they want to become.

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

124.  Out of the Ordinary Training Discomfort near Lateral Epicondyle

Beginning in the middle of last week and continuing up through and including today, I have been experiencing some discomfort between my Lateral Epicondyle and my Olecranon Process of my pitching elbow.

The discomfort is more prevalent shortly after completing my Maxline Curve Ball and Torque Fastball workouts, and is mildly sensitive to touch/pressure hours later.  (It is non-existent during or after my True Screwball and Maxline Fastball workout.)

I am guessing I somehow over-taxed one of my extensor muscles.  I highly doubt I have "tennis elbow," seeing that I do not have any discomfort directly over my lateral epicondyle.

I have recorded my IB throws, and it is clear that I am doing a good job of pendulum swinging my arm to driveline height and raising my pitching upper arm vertically beside my head.   Sometimes, I do catch myself supinating my hand once (and sometimes before) it reaches driveline height, which causes me to wonder if this has something to do with my discomfort.  (Indirectly?)

In any event, this is the first time I have experienced any type of discomfort outside of typical muscle soreness in three-plus years.  I have not missed a day of training since this first developed, and I do not intend to any time soon.  Part of me thinks I should lower the intensity, but like I said, I feel no discomfort until after the workout, so it's tough to get any feedback during the workout to know whether or not to back off or continue at the same intensity level.

Can you shed any light on my discomfort?


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

     It sounds as though your Anconeus muscle is barking at you.

     Whenever muscles start to bark, it means that it cannot withstand the stress it is receiving.

     You said that you have trained every day for three years. At most, my adult training program lasts 724 days.  After that, except for the off-season Recoil Cycle, which should not last more than 144 days, you need to go into maintenance mode.

     My maintenance program uses 24 wrist weight and iron ball repetitions and 36 baseball throws that start at low intensity, build to maximum intensity and taper down to low intensity in equal amounts.  The idea is to keep the motor skill and just enough stress to keep the micro-anatomical benefits you gained from training.

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

125.  Out of the Ordinary Training Discomfort near Lateral Epicondyle

I'm sorry.  I should have been a bit more specific.  When I said that I have been training for three years, I meant that three years ago, I stopped throwing a baseball (or any ball for that matter) with the traditional throwing motion and began learning how to throw correctly.  As of right now, I am in maintenance mode, which is why I am taken aback by my recent discomfort.

However, I suppose that my desire to perform my wrist weight, iron ball, and baseball throws at maximum intensity for each and every throw, instead of gradually building up and tapering down the intensity level is why my Anconeus is barking at me.

Incidentally, I originally believed my Anconeus muscle was the culprit.  I guess I spent a little too much time staring at my Gray's Anatomy!

Actually, this incident reminded me of my roommate my freshman year in college.  He, like myself, was a pitcher.  He had an ongoing discomfort in near his Lateral Epicondyle, which slowly turned into no feeling at all.  An MRI revealed that part of "the muscle" (He didn't say what muscle it was when filling me in with his version of the story) was gray - which the medical staff declared to be dead.

They said the muscle had been "pinched" continually in the elbow joint, which according to their official diagnosis, was the result of too many forkballs.  He had surgery to "correct" the problem, and continued to pitch throughout his stay in college, albeit a lesser version than when he first appeared on campus.

Have you ever come across this type of an injury, or a diagnosis such as this?


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

     No.  And, I doubt the diagnosis.  Unless they do not get blood flow, muscles do not die.  When muscles do not get blood flow, they scream very loudly.  They do not go quietly.

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

126.  Questions about the screwball and training position players

Thanks for the advice on the screwball, I will concentrate on trying to push the ball out of my hand between the two fingers with my thumb.

1.  Half-Reverse pivot drill is the same as cross-panel drill correct?

I will look for some material in your Q&A on how to do this.  Unless you can easily explain it by email.

2.  Can I do the Half-Reverse Pivot drills in addition to my usual work load?  If so, should I do a minimum of 24 reps?

On another note, I mailed out a money-order yesterday for a 12 LB lead ball along with a donation to help you keep things up and running.


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

     In Question/Answer #1043 of my 2009 Question/Answer file, I carefully describe how my baseball pitchers perform my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     Here is question/Answer #1043 again.

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

1043.  Mike Farrenkopf and Pronation Snap

1.  At what point does one start his pronation snap?

2.  How is Mike Farrenkopf's progress coming along?  In the video, you said he didn't have all his pitches and he seemed to be making batters look silly with the different movement.  I was wondering what pitches are his best pitchers and the velocity on his maxline fast ball and torque fastballs were.

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

01.  I tell my guys that immediately after they raise their pitching upper arm to vertically beside their head, they need to maximally supinate their pitching forearm.  Then, after they rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm to point at home plate, they should simultaneously extend their pitching elbow and pronate their pitching forearm through release.

     However, because when they throw my Maxline True Screwball, they have to have the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body throughout their driveline, they cannot maximally supinate their pitching forearm.  Therefore, with my Maxline True Screwball, Maxline Fastball Sinker and Maxline Fastballs, they cannot pronation snap their pitching forearm through release. As a result, to more spin velocity to these pitches, they have to more powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     To do this:  When they throw my Maxline True Screwball, I teach them to keep their pitching arm tightly bent throughout the driveline.  When they throw my Maxline Fastball Sinker, I teach them to keep their pitching arm two-thirds bent throughout the driveline. When they throw my Maxline Fastballs, I teach them to keep their pitching arm one-third bent throughout the driveline.

02.  Recently, Mike visited for about ten days.  We found that, with his Maxline pitches, he had lost the ability to recognize when he drives his pitching arm down his acromial line.  While he was throwing his Torque pitches well, with his Maxline pitches, he was using his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching upper arm forward.

     Therefore, I had him do my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.  This is my new name for my Second Base Pickoff body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill, which was the new name for my cross-panel throws.

     With my Half Reverse Pivot body action:

01.  Baseball pitchers stand with their back to their target in the starting position for my Drop Out Wind-Up body action, in which they have their hands together at their waist, their pitching foot on the pitching rubber and their glove foot one step behind the pitching rubber.  They should have their acromial line perpendicular to the line to the target.

02.  To initiate the drill, baseball pitchers reverse pivot on their glove foot until their acromial line is again perpendicular to the line to the target.  They should land their pitching foot short of the line between where their pitching foot started and the line from that location to the target.

03.  They should drop their pitching hand vertically downward beside their body and pendulum swing their pitching arm backward and upward to driveline height directly away from the target to arrive at the same time that their pitching foot lands.

04.  From this 'Ready' position, they should rotate their acromial line forward to point directly at the target, pull their glove forearm straight backward and extend and inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm and pronate their pitching forearm down their acromial line.

     To throw my Maxline pitches, I tell my baseball pitchers to use their pitching arm as though they are shooting a jump shot in basketball.  However, instead of at an upward angle of forty to forty-five degree, they should drive the baseball horizontally straight toward home plate.

     To throw my Torque pitches, I tell my baseball pitchers to use their pitching arm as though they are two-hand chest passing the basketball to a teammate. However, instead of using two hands from chest height, they should use only their pitching arm from driveline height.

     To throw Maxline and Torque pitches into the strike zone, baseball pitchers have to start their Maxline pitches at the glove side of home plate and their Torque pitches at the pitching arm side of home plate.

     While how baseball pitchers apply force to their pitches influences release velocity, the primary source of release velocity is percent of fast-twitch muscle fibers.  Unfortunately, we do not know at what percent of fast-twitch muscle fibers baseball pitchers can throw ninety miles per hour.

     Therefore, all we can do is teach baseball pitches how to apply force in a straight line toward home plate with the most effective and efficient force application technique that we can design.

     If, to maximize the force that they can uniformly apply throughout their driveline, they also complete my interval-training programs, then they will achieve their genetically maximum release velocity.

     Consequently, without knowing the percent of fast-twitch muscle fibers in the muscle that baseball pitchers use to apply force to their pitches, to consider release velocity as an indication of the quality of the force application technique is without scientific meaning.

     Until Mike perfects my force application technique and completes my interval-training program, we will not know what genetic maximum release velocity he can achieve.

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

     For several months, I have promised to put video of my baseball pitchers performing my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, the voltage regulator on the motherboard of my video computer went bad.  Unfortunately, they no longer make that motherboard.  Therefore, I have to have another video computer made.  Unfortunately, it costs several thousands of dollars and takes about four weeks to get the parts and build.

     The good news is that I will have a state of the art video computer, at least for a few days until somebody upgrades something.  However, after five or six years, I was becoming proficient with my Premiere Pro 1.5 program, the new program jumps past the 6.5 upgrade to CS4, whatever that means.  To me, that means that I will need another five or six years to learn how to use that program.  When I do, I promise to put the Half Reverse Pivot video online.

     I also need to upgrade the DVDs of my 2007-2009 baseball pitchers with voice-overs and make other DVDs of pitcher with whom I worked before 2007.  Then, there is the baseball batting stuff I need to do.

     However, as my readers know, I do not charge for anything on my website, I have to fund my efforts out of my pocket.  Therefore, if you appreciate my efforts, I appreciate your financial support.

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

127.  Questions About Coaching Boys Aged 13-14 for Youth Baseball

I have devised the following questionnarie that I intend to give to parents to make certain I am supporting the best interests of their sons.  Am I missing anything?  Do you think it fulfills the goal of keeping a baseball coach "honest"?  Your input would be sincerely appreciated, and thank you.

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

Coach Evaluation
2010 Baseball Season

Please evaluate using the scale shown.  The responses will remain anonymous.

1.  My son has a stronger interest in the game of baseball as a result of his experience this spring/summer.

1 (Not at all)
2
3
4
5 (Absolutely)

2.  My son has had generally good interactions with the other boys on the team.

1 (Not at all)
2
3
4
5 (Absolutely)

3.  My son learned some activities that he could engage in between practices that will help him develop his baseball skills.

1 (Not at all)
2
3
4
5 (Absolutely)

4.  My son, on game days, seemed excited to play.

1 (Not at all)
2
3
4
5 (Absolutely)

5.  My son did not complain about certain players receiving unwarranted preferential treatment.

1 (Not at all)
2
3
4
5 (Absolutely)

6.  My son would like to be coached by Mr. Kerno next season.

1 (Not at all)
2
3
4
5 (Absolutely)

7.  My son seemed excited about practicing.

1 (Not at all)
2
3
4
5 (Absolutely)

8.  My son understood why certain activities were conducted during practices.

1 (Not at all)
2
3
4
5 (Absolutely)

Were there any instances of bullying/taunting/teasing that you felt should have been addressed?  Yes/No

If yes, please describe.

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

P.S.:  I still can't believe Jeff Sparks can pitch as well as he can, and no professional team is interested.  I'd rather watch him than a major leaguer.


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

     Youth coaches of all sports should have such concern for their players.

     With regard to Jeff Sparks:  Except for ignorance, the mean-spiritness in major league baseball is without limits.

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

128.  Could you help me with my local Little League president?

I have been having a disagreement my local "Little League" president regarding my proposal for maximizing the involvement of each boy in the game.

He contends that the two main reasons little league is failing are: 1.  The lack of parental involvement and 2.  Travel baseball. He says that this is happening all over the country, not just in our little neck of the woods.

I believe that he is wrong on both accounts.

I believe that "Little League" is failing because of coaches that don't respect the players.

My question is:  Could you provide me with a research study that might either support or refute my beliefs?


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

     Youth sports fail for the same reason why President Kennedy's Youth Physical Fitness Program failed.  Youth sport organizers classify the participants based on their chronological age, not their biological age.

     Therefore, they have youngsters that are biologically ten years old competing against youngsters biologically fifteen years old.  The kids understand that that is not fair.

     Equated and delayed maturers do not get the opportunity to learn the skills, so they quit.  Accelerated maturers don't feel the need to learn the skills.  Shortly thereafter, the accelerated maturers stop growing, such that when they lose their physical development advantages, they also quit.

     When growth and development researches asked youth baseball players whether they preferred to be on the team that won the championship, but they did not play very much or be on the team that finished last, but they got to play a lot, ninety-five percent chose to be on the team that finished last, but they got to play a lot.

     The only answer to fairness in youth sports is to accentuate skill development, not winning and losing, even if that requires that we change the rules to fit that purpose.

     For example:

1.  Ten players per team.

2.  Every inning, players rotate positions.

3.  Pitchers throw no more than two pitches to their teammates.
4.  Innings end after all team members bat.
5.  Games last one and one-half hours.

     When I was working with the Motor Performance Study lab session of the Motor Skill Acquisition class, the participants loved this game.  They never bothered to keep score.

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

129.  13 yr. old pitcher

I saw you on MLB Network and looked up your website.  I love what you are doing to help parents prevent injury in young pitchers.

In my case, this information got to me a couple of years too late.  My son has been playing travel baseball since he was 8 yrs. old.  He pitches and plays 3rd base.  Every year, starting at 9, he developed pain in his elbow toward the latter part of the season.

I had X-rays done on 2 occasions and there was no injury to the growth plate and the doctors recommended rest.  The problem came back again at the end of our Fall 2009 season.

This time, I took him to a different orthopedic doctor and insisted on an MRI.  The MRI shows he has a bone spur on his elbow.  They did not recommend surgery at his age.  They say the spur is not causing the pain, rather it is a result of the overuse.

He went for several weeks of deep tissue massage on his elbow and now he is going weekly for rehab and strength exercises.

He has never thrown curves, only fastballs and changeups.  I have always had him iced after pitching.

He is starting his Spring season now for his travel team and he has tryouts next week for his Middle School team.  I have already told both coaches that he will not be pitching anymore.  The doctors say until he finishes growing, this could continue to be a problem.

Have you had any experience with kids this age having a bone spur?  Do you think it will have to be removed at some point?

He has an exceptionally strong arm for his age and I feel like he has a future pitching in High School and possibly college if we can get past this.

I will not let him pitch the next 2 years, even if the doctors say it's okay.  I regret letting him pitch through his youth.

Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated.


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

01.  Bone spurs develop by growing through openings in the hyaline cartilage that covers the ends of bones.

02.  Openings in the hyaline cartilage that covers the ends of bones result from bones banging together.

03.  The bones on the back of the pitching elbow bang together because baseball pitchers use the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     The only solution to this problem is to stop using the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     The problem is not overuse.  The problem is misuse.

     Because, like a stone in your shoe, unless the bone spur is removed, it will continue to damage the hyaline cartilage of the adjoining bone, all bone spurs need to be immediately removed.  Regularly thereafter, because the opening in the hyaline cartilage remains, such that the bone spur can return, doctors need to monitor these patients.

     The bone spur is causing the pain.  Deep muscle massage not only wastes time and money, it will do nothing to prevent more damage.  The rehabilitation and strength training will not help.  They are wasting your time and money.

     I recommend that your son immediately get the bone spur removed.  Then, after a few weeks, he should complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

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

130.  Marlins' Miller eager to take bull by horns: Club hopeful young lefty will blossom at big league level
MLB.com
February 10, 2010

MIAMI, FL:  More than the numbers, the Marlins see the upside in Andrew Miller.  For good reason, because it's glaring. At 6-foot-7, the left-hander has a high ceiling.  He can blaze a fastball past a hitter in the upper 90s.  And his pitches have the kind of movement that has league insiders using the word "electric" when Miller is around the strike zone.

It's because of his pure natural ability that the Tigers selected Miller with the sixth overall pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.  The fact that he was so highly touted is why Florida insisted on Miller being included in the blockbuster 2007 trade that sent Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera to Detroit.

With Miller, still just 24, the Marlins have shown tremendous patience.  They believe he can blossom into a top-flight starter and a fixture in their rotation.  It's just a matter of him doing it.  And while the club continues to offer Miller an opportunity, it isn't making any guarantees for a rotation spot as Spring Training nears.

"I've probably gotten a lot of opportunities because of flashes of my potential," Miller said during the Marlins' Caravan, which is running all week in South Florida.  "It's basically up to me at some point to show I can find consistency in that potential.  "I've gotten a ton of opportunities with the Tigers and a ton of opportunities with the Marlins.  At some point, it's up to me to show that I've deserved it -- that I've put it to use and I'm running with it."

Marlins pitchers and catchers begin working out Feb. 20 at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, FL.  The club has made it clear that three rotation vacancies remain unfilled.  The only locks are Josh Johnson, projected to start on Opening Day, and Ricky Nolasco.

"Obviously, Ricky and J.J., they're going to be there," Miller said.  "The rest of us, we're going to have to prove it.  There's certainly not bad blood or anything.  All the guys get along.  Everybody is still young, but we're kind of in different stages of our career."

Miller is in the mix for the other spots with Anibal Sanchez, Chris Volstad, Sean West, Rick VandenHurk and Hayden Penn.  "We kind of look at it as, all the candidates, everybody has experience pitching in the big leagues," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said.  "They know what's expected of them.  Now it's time to win a job.  "We've been patient, and we understand the ups and downs of young players.  It's time for them as a group to step up."

In his first two seasons with Florida, Miller has dealt with some nagging injuries.  He has been plagued by right knee and right ankle problems, as well as a pulled muscle in his rib cage.  "Unfortunately, whether it's been injuries of just inconsistencies, it's been tough," Miller said.  "I think at some point, I have to step in and run with it."

Miller is well aware that his numbers are disappointing.  In 2009, he was 3-5 with a 4.84 ERA.  Projected to be in the rotation, Miller started 14 games and made six relief appearances.  He was the fifth starter when the season opened, and early on, he felt like he was establishing a rhythm.  But he wasn't able to sustain it and his statistics suffered.

The Marlins optioned Miller to Triple-A New Orleans on July 20, and he encountered some more troubles.  He spent time on the disabled list with an ankle injury.  "I feel great right now," Miller said.  "The ankle, I don't think it's going to be an issue, unless I were to sprain it again.  I'm not even taping it.  "That's been one of the most frustrating things for me.  I know that I've been inconsistent on the mound, but how much of that has been related to all these injuries that I've had?"

Because of lost time due to injuries in 2009, the Marlins sent Miller to the Arizona Fall League, where he worked on refining his delivery.  Lowering his arm slot is one of the adjustments Miller has made while working with new pitching coach Randy St. Claire and Wayne Rosenthal, Florida's Minor League pitching coordinator.

Along with several other pitchers, Miller already has been working out in Jupiter.  "We're kind of keeping a lot of stuff we've done in the past year or so, but at the same time, I was raising my arm," Miller said.  "It was going higher, and higher and higher."

The danger of tinkering too much with any player is the risk of them getting away from what made them prospects in the first place.  "I think that is somewhat what was happening," Miller said.  "I was accomplishing some of the things I wanted to work on, but at the same time, I was kind of becoming somebody who I wasn't.  "It's weighing what was working for you in the past, and why was it working, versus what can you change to fill these holes or these problems that you've had."

If Miller doesn't win a rotation spot, he could get a shot in the bullpen or be optioned to Triple-A.  Miller has one more option season, which gives the Marlins flexibility when they put together their Opening Day roster.  "We're not ruling anything out," Beinfest said.  "Again, those three spots are wide open.  We'll do what's best for the team and for the player.  If we feel they need to go back because they just aren't ready to contribute, then that will be the decision."


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

     Well, the last sentence tells us what they plan to do with Mr.Miller.

     Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said, "If we feel they need to go back because they just aren't ready to contribute, then that will be the decision."

     But, the reason that I included this article has to do with coaching.

     Mr. Miller said, "I've probably gotten a lot of opportunities because of flashes of my potential.  It's basically up to me at some point to show I can find consistency in that potential.  I've gotten a ton of opportunities with the Tigers and a ton of opportunities with the Marlins.  At some point, it's up to me to show that I've deserved it; that I've put it to use and I'm running with it.  "The rest of us, we're going to have to prove it.  ... we're kind of in different stages of our career."

     Mr. Miller has had right (glove arm side) knee and ankle problems and Oblique Internus Abdominis problem.  "Unfortunately, whether it's been injuries of just inconsistencies, it's been tough," Miller said.  "I think at some point, I have to step in and run with it."

     To refine his delivery, the Marlins sent Miller to the Arizona Fall League.  New pitching coach Randy St. Claire and Wayne Rosenthal, Florida's Minor League pitching coordinator lowered his arm slot.  To which Mr. Miller said, ""We're kind of keeping a lot of stuff we've done in the past year or so, but at the same time, I was raising my arm.  It was going higher, and higher and higher."

     In response to a question about the danger of tinkering too much with any player is the risk of them getting away from what made them prospects in the first place, Mr. Miller said, "I think that is somewhat what was happening.  I was accomplishing some of the things I wanted to work on, but at the same time, I was kind of becoming somebody who I wasn't.  "It's weighing what was working for you in the past, and why was it working, versus what can you change to fill these holes or these problems that you've had."

     After reading all this, it is clear to me that Mr. Miller has no idea why he suffers glove arm side knee, ankle problems and Oblique Internus Abdominis injuries.  In addition, he does not believe that what his coaches are making him do will help him.

     I believe that professional baseball pitchers have to figure it out on their own or through luck somehow get something right, their coaches are obstacles that they have to get around.

     In my career, while I had a couple of pitching coaches that I enjoyed, even they never offered me any information that positively contributed to my game.

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

131.  Dodgers passing on right-hander Wang: Pitcher's shoulder progress a factor in club's decision
MLB.com
February 10, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA:  The Dodgers will pass on rehabbing starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang, according to baseball sources.  General manager Ned Colletti and assistant GM Logan White watched Wang throw Wednesday in Arizona, but the right-hander remains limited to flat-ground work.  He has not thrown off a mound as he recovers from last summer's shoulder surgery.


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

     Who came up with 'Flat Ground Work'?

     What was his rationale for 'Flat Ground Work'?

     When they do 'Flat Ground Work,' how are baseball pitchers supposed to throw the baseball?

     When they do 'Flat Ground Work,' if baseball pitchers use the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, then their glove foot will land earlier than if they were throwing off the pitcher's mound.  Therefore, to coordinate when their glove arm side foot lands with where they want the pitching arm to be, baseball pitchers will have to adjust the rhythm of their pitching arm motion.  Why is that a good thing?

     When they do finally throw off the pitcher's mound, to coordinate when their glove arm side foot lands with where they want their pitching arm to be, baseball pitchers will have to re-adjust the rhythm of their pitching arm motion.

     Off the top of my head, I suspect that a biomechanist that never learned what muscles contribute to baseball pitching and never dampened a jock on a major league mound came up with this nonsense and the uneducated 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches jumped on it.

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

132.  Verlander reports Bonderman in fine form: Staff ace confident No. 4 starter taking big strides
MLB.com
February 10, 2010

DETROIT, MI:  Justin Verlander said the throws have life on them, more than he saw last year. He talked about making adjustments, going back to the basics. He's really excited about the progress.  He wasn't talking about himself. He was talking about Jeremy Bonderman.  It's the kind of talk the Tigers need to translate into results if they're going to have a complete rotation, or if Bonderman is going to turn the corner in his contract year.  So far, so good.

"We play catch together most of the time, and he's got a lot of life on the ball," Verlander said last week.  "And that's something that I hadn't seen over the last year or so.  I'm really excited about where he's headed."

He isn't the only one.  "He feels great," Tigers president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said.  "He feels healthy.  His ball's alive and everything we've heard about him, which has been great, Justin was telling me firsthand."

Verlander spends most of his off-season at his home in Lakeland, FL, so working out at the Tigers' Spring Training complex is just a short commute.  For Bonderman, who lives in the opposite corner of the country in Washington state, Lakeland is the final step of his workout program.  He ventured down there soon after the holidays, and the Tigers wanted him to keep throwing there rather than break for the winter caravan and TigerFest.


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

     That is it?  Mr. Verlander plays catch with Mr. Bonderman and tells the General Manager.

     When Mr. Verlander and Mr. Bonderman play catch, do they throw off the pitcher's mound and use their competitive pitching motion?  If not, who cares?

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

133.  Long-term deals risky for starting pitchers: Offering hurlers five-year contracts can be iffy propostion
MLB.com
February 10, 2010

The soapbox for arguing against extending pitchers' long-term contracts is always crowded.  Baseball "experts" caution general managers against making such commitments and, after they go ahead and do it, are equally generous with the criticism.  This is again a lively debate following an off-season in which three of the longest contracts have gone to pitchers: Boston went to a five-year deal to get John Lackey off the free-agent market, and Seattle and Detroit went to the same lengths to keep, respectively, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander off that market.  Those three teams thus ignored an unwritten, but understood, rule in most front offices:  No contracts longer than three years to pitchers.

The inspiration for such policies is the generally-held belief that, like any perishable on the shelf, pitchers come with an expiration date and that they hit their wall in Year Four.  But is that inspiration fueled by fact, or mere apprehension?  Is there evidence of pitchers declining after Year Three of long-term contracts?  Does their performance graph resemble the Alps, a three-year incline followed by a sharp decline?

That is what we are here to examine, but not to answer.  The track record is varied enough to preclude any absolutes. Draw your own conclusions.  But the issue certainly is timely, and not only because the aforementioned trio kept it topical.

Four pitchers who signed long-term contracts prior to the 2007 season are entering the fourth seasons of those deals:  Barry Zito, Roy Oswalt, Gil Meche and Daisuke Matsuzaka.  What can we expect from them, based on the lessons of the past?

A couple of ground rules first:  We considered only starting pitchers signed to contracts of five-plus years (a moot restriction, inasmuch as few relievers have ever received deals of that length, and none may ever again thanks to the Blue Jays' B.J. Ryan experience).  And this is not about the money.  No dollar signs, just possibly warning signs.  We're not getting into "contract valuation" double-talk.  Simply taking a snapshot of the performance risks of extended pacts for pitchers.  Of course, teams underwrite those long-term deals for hurlers with plenty of zeroes, so the two concepts are inseparable.  Still, we are all about taking the hill, not about going to the bank.

The good news for Mariners and Tigers fans is that Hernandez (23) and Verlander (27) are young enough to fall out of any historical trends; very few pitchers landed the long deal at such a young age, although even their results have been mixed.  The same goes for Red Sox lefty Jon Lester, who was 25 last season in the first year of his own five-year contract.

"There's a gamble on anybody that you sign long term," Detroit GM Dave Dombrowski said when announcing Verlander's deal.  "But to gamble on somebody that has premium talent, premium work ethic, has been a Tiger since Day 1, and you really know the person and know those things about him, if you're going to be aggressive and make things happen, those are the people you need to keep in your organization."

The call for his Seattle counterpart, Jack Zduriencik, was even easier.  "In this particular case, he's 23 years of age," Zduriencik said of Hernandez, "he's athletic as can be, he's going to get bigger and stronger and I think that ... when you have the opportunity to secure a guy like this, you do it."

Lackey, 31, is in a more precarious position.  Of the seven 30-plus pitchers signed to contracts of five-plus years in the past, only three, Bob Forsch, Greg Maddux and Kevin Millwood, sustained their prior performance through the fourth season.

Boston general manager, Theo Epstein, covered himself somewhat with the innovative contract clause that would give the Red Sox a sixth season of Lackey at the minimum salary if at any time during the five seasons he has to go on the disabled list with an elbow injury.  The protection is eminently sound, given a terrain pockmarked by the notorious failures of ...

1.  Kevin Brown, who was given a seven-year contract by the Dodgers in 1999 and in the fourth season pitched only 64 innings while going 3-4.
2. Don Gullett, who signed a six-year contract with the Yankees in 1977 and by the fourth season was out of baseball.
3.  Craig Swan, who received a five-year deal from the Mets in 1980 and in the fourth season went 2-8 in 96 innings.

There have been many more breakdowns:

1.  Darren Dreifort went 1-4 in the fourth year of a five-year deal with the Dodgers.
2.  Denny Neagle was out of baseball by the fourth season of his five-year deal.
3.  Ross Grimsley sat out the fourth year of his six-year pact.

Yet there have also been some notable success stories.

1.  Greg Maddux didn't miss a beat on successive five-year contracts, signing the latter in 1998 with the Braves, for whom he was still a classy 17-11 in 233 innings in 2001.
2.  Dave Stieb stepped it up in the fourth year of his record 11-year deal with the Blue Jays, going 16-8 in 207 innings in 1988.
3.  And, for a contemporary snapshot, Millwood went a characteristic 13-10 in 199 innings in the fourth year of the five-year contract he signed with Texas prior to the 2006 season.

Overall, however, it remains definitely a case of signer beware.

Of the 21 pitchers on our list (not all-inclusive, incidentally) with that Year Four already in the books, only nine maintained their prior level of performance and three of those seriously crashed soon thereafter, Mike Hampton, Chan Ho Park and Mark Prior.

Perhaps most interesting:  Fourteen of the 21 pitchers maintained their prior level of performance through the first three years of their deals, and six of those could not keep it up in Year Four.


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

     I am surprised that I am not on this list.  After finishing seven in the Cy Young Award in 1978, I signed a three year contract with the Minnesota Twins.  However, after finishing fifth in the Cy Young Award in 1979, the Twins released me in June 1980.  But then, after the 2001 strike, I signed with the New York Mets and ended with three wins, two losses and a 2.60 earned run average.

     Personal stories aside, the reason that I included this article is to discuss the validity of such research.

     The question is why do major league baseball pitchers perform poorly in the fourth year of five year contracts.  Therefore, researchers have to consider each baseball pitcher individually.  Then, if they find that some, many or most pitch poorly in the fourth year of their five year contract for the same reason, then they have a variable to investigate and resolve.

     Over the years, readers have asked me to analyze the baseball pitching motions of many young major league pitchers, including Mr. Verlander and Mr. Hernandez.

     With regard to these two major league pitchers:  I reported that neither had sufficient injurious flaws in their baseball pitching motions that caused concern that they would suffer serious pitching arm injuries.

     If I had been able to analyze the baseball pitching motions of the twenty-three major league baseball pitchers listed at the end of this article, then I would have been able to correctly predict whether they would have developed the pitching arm injuries that caused them to not be able to pitch their fourth year of their five year contract.

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

134.  13 yr. old pitcher

  Thanks for the fast response!

This makes more sense than anything I have been hearing from the doctors here.  My wife and I both asked about having it removed and 2 different doctors didn't recommend surgery.

I don't want this to continue to be a problem down the road.  Is this an arthroscopic type surgery or is it more involved?  How long is the recovery period?  Should I have it done here or is there someone you would recommend?


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

     To remove a bone spur is a simple arthroscopic surgery.  Like removing a stone from your shoe that has bruised your heel bone, a few weeks of rest and you can return to normal usage.

     However, your son must not return to the same pitching arm action that caused him to develop a bone spur.  You and he need to watch my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and make the appropriate adjustments.

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

135.  Orioles' Brad Bergesen Finds New Way to Get Hurt: Filming a Commercial
The Sporting News
February 12, 2010

Bergesen Injured Filming a Commercial

There are many ways for baseball players to get hurt that don't involve regulation games of baseball.  And there are many ways for the Baltimore Orioles to be struck down by fate that don't involve those games, either.  O's pitcher Brad Bergesen is living proof that you can combine the two.

Orioles right-handed starter Brad Bergesen will not be able to fully participate in spring training for at least 10 days after pitchers and catchers report Wednesday because of a strained right shoulder capsule that he injured during the filming of an Orioles TV commercial in early December.  Bergesen said he is participating in a throwing program in Sarasota, FL, but has not been able to throw off a mound since he hurt his shoulder in the promotional shoot.

Someone getting hurt filming that commercial is the the sort of thing that makes you think, "Only the Orioles," right?  This is just an unfortunate setback for a star-crossed pitcher, right?  Well, er, no.

Bergesen, 24, who went 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 19 starts last season, was shut down after he took a liner off his shin during a start July 30.  He didn't pitch again for the Orioles after that and hadn't thrown off a mound until he filmed the commercial, which was shot in an indoor batting cage at Camden Yards.  It featured Bergesen throwing pitch after pitch off a mound to an unidentified catcher.

I'm not sure who ultimately decided a pitcher's first throws from a mound after an injury needed to happen in a commercial, but I'll guess that person is not going to be in charge of ultimately deciding such things for the Orioles in the future.  The spot does look realistic, whatever that's worth.  But for the want of realism in an ad, a bit of a pitcher's recovery was lost, and the O's get to take a round of jokes from the madding crowd.  It would seem that fate and the Baltimore Orioles are still not on speaking terms.


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

     I thought readers would enjoy watching the video and seeing whether they can recognize the injurious flaw in Mr. Bergesen's 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that strained the capsule of his pitching shoulder.

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

136.  Dave Duncan Hits the Ground Planning
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
February 12, 2010

JUPITER, FL:  Dave Duncan had been in camp less than five hours Tuesday before summoning Adam Wainwright into his office and presenting him his spring schedule.  The sheet projected five starts for Wainwright following an extended series of bullpen throws and live batting practice sessions.  Duncan’s sheet is detailed (complex) enough that he felt the need to ask Wainwright if the schedule was clear.  Wainwright is experienced (sharp) enough that he needed no interpretation.  Pitching coach and co-ace were again on the same page.

Pitching math represents one of the most important aspects of camp.  This year’s process involves 26 arms, including as many as eight candidates for the fifth starter vacancy.

For the youngbloods, a first impression may be the only one they receive.

Duncan’s plan is to employ at least five pitchers per game (2-2-2-2-1) for the first 10 Grapefruit League games.  At that point, decisions must be made on who is a viable starting candidate, who is better served in the bullpen, and whose immediate future appears on a minor-league field.

Veteran lefthander Rich Hill, Kyle McClellan, Jaime Garcia, Mitch Boggs, Blake Hawksworth, Adam Ottavino, Evan MacLane and P.J. Walters will be the most closely scrutinized, though Walters’ reporting date may be delayed due to the premature birth of his first child.  Hill is the only contender to have ever spent an entire season in a major-league rotation, and shoulder problems cut short his 2009 with the Baltimore Orioles.

“After a couple times through is when you begin extending the starter,” Duncan explains.  “You start putting priority on certain guys at that point….  It’s why I tell these young guys to come into camp in good shape, because your innings are going to be in the beginning of spring.  Then you’re going to get work as the spring goes on depending on well you threw early on.  It’s a big mistake for a young guy who’s trying to make the club to come in here in less than great shape.”

Duncan doesn’t believe this spring’s decisions any more difficult than normal.  Indeed, the Cardinals could enjoy a glut of righthanded relievers unless McClellan strongarms his way into the rotation.

Questions about Chris Carpenter’s health that preoccupied last year’s camp have receded behind his monster 2009 season.  Duncan says he is confident that Kyle Lohse is past the physical complications that compromised him last summer.  Brad Penny is in shape. Wainwright enters camp following a rigorous winter conditioning program.

Starting depth may rank as the most pressing issue.  Duncan must determine not only his fifth starter, but also his sixth.  The inability to answer that question in 2007 followed the club the entire summer after ‘06 World Series hero Anthony Reyes struggled out of camp.  “If guys I don’t expect to stand out do stand out, then it gets a little more complicated,” Duncan says.  Duncan says he has little interest in importing additional non-roster arms into camp unless injuries thin the competition.


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

     Let's see.  The 2009 season ended about October 01, 2009.  Spring Training starts about February 15, 2010.  That means that Mr. Duncan wasted four and one-half critical months in which he could teach and train his baseball pitchers.

     The off-season is when baseball pitchers learn and train, not the month and one-half of Spring Training.

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

137.  Johnson aims to remain at top of his game: Marlins ace stepped up workout regimen this off-season
MLB.com
February 12, 2010

MIAMI, FL:  Josh Johnson understands there are no shortcuts to success in the big leagues.  Before testing his arm in a game, he does his leg work.  Running has become a major part of Johnson's routine.  All off-season, he logged his share of miles, constantly keeping his body in shape.  The Marlins' ace is entering the prime of his career, and he is taking every step to remain at the top of his game.

"I feel like I have to take care of my body a lot better," Johnson said during this week's Marlins Caravan.  "You kind of take things for granted when you're 21 years old.  You feel like you can do anything.  My body ached, but I didn't take care of it as long as I should have or could have."  An imposing 6-foot-7, 250-pounder, Johnson turned 26 on Jan. 31.

The Marlins made a major investment in the right-hander, signing him to a four-year, $39 million contract in January.  They are expecting him to hold up as one of the league's top pitchers.  And Johnson is doing his part by being one of the club's hardest workers.  In his comparatively young career, Johnson has already experienced the disappointment of not being able to pitch.

On Aug. 3, 2007, he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.  Through hard work, he was back on the mound less than a year later, facing the Dodgers on July 10, 2008.  Last year, Johnson flourished with a 15-5 record and a 3.23 ERA, and made the National League All-Star team.  He made 33 starts and tossed 209 innings, both career highs.

"When you get here, you have an appreciation and realize you have to take care of your body," Johnson said.  "You have to.  It's going to be better for your career.  It's better for your shoulder, your elbow, everything.  "Before, you'd eat out a little more.  Now, we eat in, almost every single night, a lot of chicken and fish."

Johnson is constantly looking to improve his game, whether he is on the mound, in the weight room or running in the streets or on the outfield grass.  Part of his routine includes a focus on his footwork and fielding.  "I worked a lot on my foot speed, which should help me hold runners," Johnson said.  Holding runners on base better will be a focus of the Marlins in Spring Training.

The team has an exceptionally tall rotation. Along with Johnson, Chris Volstad and Sean West are each 6-foot-8, and Andrew Miller is 6-foot-7.  Because of their size, they tend to not be as quick as some other pitchers.  If they are slow to the plate, teams will exploit that and run more regularly.  Fielding his position also is a priority for Johnson.

"I was fielding ground balls every day," Johnson said of his off-season.  "I was probably fielding 200, 300 ground balls every day.  Little things like that, which will help me also, conditioning-wise."

Running started to become a bigger part of Johnson's routine when he was recuperating from Tommy John surgery.  "There were some days where I was just bored, so I'd run twice a day," he said.  "If I felt I didn't do enough, I'd go running again.  Things like that.  All of a sudden, I started trimming down.  My body was feeling better.  My knees weren't hurting.  My back wasn't hurting.  I was like, 'Hey, that's the way to go.'"

In many ways, the elbow surgery set back Johnson's career. He had a promising rookie season in 2006, when he was 12-7 with a 3.10 ERA.  While he bounced back with back-to-back impressive seasons, Johnson still missed substantial playing time.  In a profession like big league baseball, time means money.  Johnson did sign a lucrative $39 million contract.  But compared to the deal Felix Hernandez of the Mariners recently signed, five years, $78 million, the Marlins seem to have a bargain.

Johnson, however, has no regrets.  "Not at all.  It was a blessing in disguise," he said.  "Not only did it help my work habits, [but] my son [Cash] was born after I had surgery, [and] I had a chance to spend the first seven or eight months of his life with him.  How many baseball players can say that?  "You can't put a price on that.  Most guys get to see their kids for two months and they are right back to camp.  I was there every single day.  I got to see him grow up."


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

     After reading the headline, I could not wait to learn about Mr. Johnson's rigorous off-season regimen.

     Footwork?  Now, I believe that baseball pitchers have to field bunts properly or they could be bunted out of the league.  But, all Mr. Johnson did was to run and practice footwork?

     Mr. Johnson ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Does he know why he ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament?      Mr. Johnson said, "When you get here, you have an appreciation and realize you have to take care of your body.  You have to.  It's going to be better for your career.  It's better for your shoulder, your elbow, everything."

     That sounds good, but where are the specifics?

     Mr. Johnson said, "Before, you'd eat out a little more.  Now, we eat in, almost every single night, a lot of chicken and fish."

     I guess that about covers it.

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

138.  Questions About Coaching Boys Aged 13-14 for Youth Baseball

Do you have still images that show, at the instant of release, the ideal finger positions of the different pitches that players need to train for?  I'd like to make these available to both players and parents.

By "wrong foot body action", I assume this means, when performing the training exercises, the leading foot is on your pitching hand side.  It feels different, and I'm trying to get used to it.  I just want to make absolute certain that I'm correctly interpreting it.

I'm girding for a fight with the "Little League" bureaucracy over my desire to train the "leftover" players that, I suspect, the "jock coaches" would rather just go home.


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

     In the Baseball Training Program section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I demonstrate how baseball pitchers should grip and release the pitches that I teach.  In addition, in the Analysis of Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitchers file, I provide high-speed film of my baseball pitchers releasing the pitches that I teach.

     In the Football Training Program section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I demonstrate how to perform the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     I wish you success with working the youngsters that the other coaches reject.  They deserve their opportunity to learn the skills of baseball.

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

139.  On a non-baseball note.

I noticed that the pilot who crashed his plane into a Texas IRS office had this as part of his final message:  "I saw it written once that the definition of insanity is repeating the same process over and over and expecting the outcome to suddenly be different.  I am finally ready to stop this insanity."

Thankfully, you're a rational individual.  But then, it's the owners who reject your thoughts who are the ones flying planes into their own franchises by continually ignoring your methods.


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

     To a point, I agree with your analogy.  The owners are causing their own pain, but it is only financial.

     The ones that should be storming the castle are the baseball pitchers of all ages that suffer the physical and emotional pain inflicted by the 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches that, by continuing to hire these guys, the baseball owners endorse.

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

140.  Autograph Signings

I am wondering if you would be interested in making an autograph appearance in Los Angeles.

To support you in your program, I would also like to find a way to incorporate a way for you to promote your pitching coach services.


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

01.  To your autograph appearance proposal, my answer is 'No.'

02.  To your proposal that I present my baseball pitching research to those interested in eliminating pitching injuries, my answer is 'Yes.'

     With the distorted values associated with baseball, I suspect that means that we will not be working together.

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

141.  Pact furnishes Giants, Lincecum with time: San Francisco, righty to mull options during two-year accord
MLB.com
February 12, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, CA:  The way time flies, Tim Lincecum's next potential contract showdown with the Giants will arrive with the speed of his fastball.  But though two years may seem fleeting, it'll give both the Giants and Lincecum ample time to reevaluate their respective positions, gauge the market and perhaps reach their next agreement without the threat of a salary-arbitration hearing to goad them.

Lincecum will have two years of arbitration eligibility remaining when the two-year, $23 million deal he agreed to Friday expires after the 2011 season.  So in a sense, the Giants will face the same predicament they confronted this year:  Do they risk taking Lincecum to arbitration and paying him an enormous sum on a one-year contract if they lose the case?  Or do they attempt to sign Lincecum to a longer multiyear pact which might pay him less on an annual basis but still represents a sizable financial commitment?

From Lincecum's perspective, he can't lose.  By contrast, the Giants have some thinking to do.

Since Lincecum will become eligible for free agency after the 2013 season, signing him to a contract of at least three years after his current deal ends will enable the Giants to "buy out" one or more years of free agency.  That might be an advisable course of action for the Giants to take if Lincecum continues to perform at or near his current level.  Price tags on premier pitchers likely will continue to rise.  But it's entirely conceivable that Lincecum would give the Giants a modest "hometown discount" that might save the club a few million dollars.

Then again, San Francisco could be constrained by various payroll dynamics.

After the 2011 season, they'll still owe left-hander Barry Zito $19 million in 2012 and $20 million in 2013.  They may decline Zito's $18 million option for 2014, though they'd have to pay him a whopping $7 million buyout.

The Giants must pay center fielder Aaron Rowand $12 million in 2012, the final year of his contract.  And third baseman Pablo Sandoval will become arbitration-eligible after the 2011 season.  He'll command a significant salary if he maintains his 2009 production.

Moreover, the Giants have right-hander Matt Cain to consider.  The club holds a $6.25 million option on his 2011 contract, which it almost surely will pick up.  Imagine Giants management trying to decide how much money to allocate to each pitcher.  The club will be leery of insulting either one or overpaying both.  It's all speculation at this point, but San Francisco could be forced into trading one of the two right-handers, similar to the situation it faced after the 1996 season, when Matt Williams was sent to Cleveland, partly because the Giants knew they couldn't afford both him and Barry Bonds.

There's also the issue of winning.  Assuming they stay healthy and effective, Lincecum and Cain maximize the Giants' chances of capturing their first World Series since 1954.  The Giants believe that by the end of the 2011 season, their pitching will be complemented by hitting prospects who should be Major League-ready, such as Buster Posey, Thomas Neal and Roger Kieschnick.

So the Giants' accord with Lincecum could be an aberration, something they won't be able to duplicate on a multiyear basis.  Or it could prove to be a down payment.


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

     With regard to Mr. Sabean signing Mr. Lincecum to a two-year contract:  With the horribly injurious baseball pitching motion that Mr. Lincecum uses, I believe that it is just a matter of time before many parts of his body start to fail.  However, because he is young, it is not easy to predict when.

     When I take into consideration that, for many years, I predicted that Randy Johnson would blow out his pitching arm, I am always aware of the abberations that can occur.  Nevertheless, unless he adjusts his force application techniques, I would not go more than two years with Mr. Lincecum.

     With regard to the Giants not being able to pay Mr. Lincecum, Mr. Cain, Mr. Zito, Mr. Rowand and Mr. Sandoval, I presented the answer to this problem to Marvin Miller in 1976.  However, he refused to offer it.

     To bring a rational fiscal policy to professional baseball, all the owners have to do is pay the Major League Baseball Players Association the appropriate percentage of their total revenue and leave it to the Major League Baseball Players Association to distribute salaries, medical care and retirement funds.

     Then, the owners only have to worry about developing baseball talent.

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

142.  Dragons pitching coach helping Chapman adjust: Tony Fossas aiding fellow Cuban not only on the field, but off of it as well.
Dayton Daily News
February 13, 2010

Aroldis Chapman may never pitch for Dayton, but the Reds’ left-handed phenom is learning a lot about his craft and how to live in this country from one of the Dragons.  After signing a $30-plus million contract with the Reds last month, the Cuban defector was resettled in Florida, near Tony Fossas, who is entering his second season as pitching coach of the Dragons.  Fossas is Cuban and pitched in the big leagues.

This week, the two will head to Goodyear, AZ, for Chapman’s first U.S. spring training.  “I’m from Cuba, from Pinar del Rio, and he is from the other side of the country, Oriente,” said Fossas, who lives in Plantation, FL, and has been working out with the 21-year-old Chapman nearly every day.  “Someone who (just) speaks Spanish is not good enough.  “Right now, he knows where I’m from.  We call it ‘barrio, barrio.’  It’s really the neighborhood.  He knows exactly who I am.  He knows exactly where my ancestry is.  “That brings a certain trust that would be hard to get if it was a person from another country.  Even though you might speak Spanish, it’s never the same.”

Freddy Benavides, one of the Reds’ minor-league coordinators and a former major-league infielder and the first Dragons manager in 2000, agrees.  Although Benavides is Latin, he was born in Texas.  “To a certain extent, Latin players gravitate toward Spanish-speaking players,” Benavides said.  “Here, he can relate even more, because he’s from the same country.  Plus, Tony is a pitching guy and pitched in the majors.  He brings credibility.”

Fossas came to this country in 1968 with his family, as a 9-year-old.  Chapman defected, by himself, last year, first to a European country, then to the U.S.  The Reds took a low-key approach with his agents and won his signature before turning him over to Fossas.  “I’m helping him acclimate himself to the United States of America,” Fossas said, “from the baseball field, from food, a little English.  A little of everything you can think of.  “When I came to the United States, there wasn’t even a bilingual program.  I went to a school.  I was the only Latin kid in the school.  The school system had no idea what to do with me, so I just sat in a normal class.  “The teacher spoke English and then she’d show me the book and tested me on sounds.  When she said ‘table,’ I would look at the words and she would pick out ‘table’ and I would write ‘table.’  That’s how I got tested.  It helped push me to learn quicker.  You had no other choices.  “Now you have choices.  They have tutoring at the ballpark.”

Fossas says he picks up Chapman at his apartment in the morning and goes to nearby Florida Atlantic University, where coach John McCormick lets them use the field and other facilities.  “We do our throwing program, our bullpen program, our running program,” Fossas said.  “We do agility drills and other work.  I have a catcher come in and there are other professionals who come.  “I don’t know where he’ll play this season.  That’s not for me to decide.  But I see him as a very, very exciting player with electric stuff and a very good work ethic, which kind of separates him a lot from other people I have known that had that kind of stuff.  “He wants to work hard.  He wants to do well.”

What about off the field?  “I’ve taken him to restaurants,” Fossas said.  “I’ve taken him different places, Walgreens, CVS.  We talk a great deal about life and we talk a great deal about being punctual, being on time.  “One of the things he’s fascinated by is the highway system, how highways curve and you have one highway going underneath and one on top and how freely the cars move.  “He’s a smart man. He already has one year of college in Cuba, and he’s picking things up really, really fast.  He’s completely literate with computers and cell phones.”

Fossas said Chapman believes he has a lot to prove, especially because several former Cuban players have not lived up to early promise because of injuries or other factors.  “He wants to make it a point he can come in and really do well and make people proud of his country and his situation,” Fossas said.

The coach said he also has learned from Chapman, especially about how things are in Cuba, where Fossas has not returned since he left.  “I’ve never been back, but that’s one of my dreams some day,” Fossas said.  “I’d like to go back to a free Cuba.  “He told me stories I’m not at liberty to talk about right now, and in his case, the way he left, shows a lot of courage.  He misses people there, and my wife has helped him send back some medicine.  “The big thing is to get him to spring training where he can hang around with other Latin players, and American players.  I’m making sure English becomes a priority in his life, because this is where he’s going to be a citizen.  This is where he’s going to live the rest of his life.”


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

     This is a very interesting story.  I wish Mr. Chapman well.

     However, did I read that Mr. Chapman signed a $30-plus million dollar contract?

     The Giants cannot pay proven major league baseball players, but the Cincinnati Reds can pay an untried Cuban baseball pitchers $30-plus million dollars.

     Does that sound fiscally responsible?

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

143.  Agent says Nats eyeing Benson: Veteran right-hander has worked out for Washington
MLB.com
February 13, 2010

Chien-Ming Wang isn't the only veteran pitcher the Nationals have interest in.  They also have their eyes on right-hander Kris Benson, according to his agent, Gregg Clifton.  The Nationals have not confirmed that they are interested in Benson, who has spent eight seasons in the big leagues.  Benson, 35, hasn't pitched a full season since 2006, when he was with the Orioles.  Over the past three seasons, Benson has been limited to a combined 22 1/3 innings, due to injuries and ineffectiveness.

According to Clifton, Benson's shoulder and elbow are 100 percent.  Over the past few weeks, in fact, Benson has had impressive workouts in front of several clubs, including the Nats.  Clifton is hoping to meet with general manager Mike Rizzo to discuss Benson on Monday or Tuesday in Tampa, FL, which is where arbitration cases are taking place.

"We've talked, and they were very impressed by his workout.  Kris is 100 percent healthy now," Clifton said via telephone.  "We had some conversations, obviously.  There hasn't been much going on this week because of the [snowstorm in Washington].  That kind of restricted things.  So, we'll see.  All the feedback from teams has been very positive."


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

     As I have said before, I believe in rehabilitating injured major league baseball pitchers that have had success.  However, to do this, the major league team must have someone that knows how to rehabilitate injured baseball pitchers.  With the Washington National's pitching injury record, I don't believe they have anybody that knows how to rehabilitate injured baseball pitchers.

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

144.  Richmond sidetracked by shoulder injury: Injury occurred during righty's preparations for Spring Training
MLB.com
February 13, 2010

Blue Jays right-hander Scott Richmond's quest to win a spot in Toronto's starting rotation has been sidetracked by a shoulder impingement.  Richmond, 30, went 8-11 with a 5.52 ERA in 27 appearances (24 starts) last season.  According to a team release, the injury occurred during his preparations for Spring Training, and he will be "monitored closely throughout his revised throwing program" to rehab the shoulder.

The British Columbia native, who was a member of Canada's team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, will be behind the other pitchers in camp, with his return to the mound dictated by his progress in rehab.  Richmond spent nearly a month on the disabled list last July due to inflammation in his right biceps tendon.  He struggled upon his return, going 2-6 with an 8.44 ERA in his final 11 starts.


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

     It is time for major league baseball teams and players to get serious about their business.

     To me, that means that major league baseball is a 365 day a year job.  To me, that means that major league baseball players should either be playing competitively or training to play competitively.

     To me, that means that, when they are not in-season, major league baseball players should be in their Spring Training headquarters with qualified coaches teaching and training them.

     What training program was Mr. Richmond following?  Who was monitoring him?  Nobody should show up in February with an injury.  By February, they should be ready to fine-tune their skills for Opening Day.

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

145.  Zimmermann itching to get back on mound: Nats righty in Viera while rehabbing from elbow surgery
MLB.com
February 14, 2010

Right-hander Jordan Zimmermann is already in Viera, FL, the Spring Training home of the Nationals, and looking forward to the day he can throw on a mound again.  Zimmermann, 23, is recovering from right elbow reconstruction surgery and not expected to pitch until August.  He is hoping to play in a big league game by early September.  Currently, Zimmermann is throwing the baseball from 90 feet on flat ground.  "Everything feels excellent," Zimmermann said via telephone.  "No pain and everything feels good."

This past season was Zimmermann's first in the big leagues.  He pitched in 16 games and was 3-5 with a 4.63 ERA and 92 strikeouts, which ranked second on the club.  "I thought I did pretty well," he said.  "We didn't get as many wins as we would have liked.  I got a feel [for pitching] in the big leagues.  Unfortunately, I got injured.  Hopefully, I will come back in September and be the real person in 2011."

Zimmermann last pitched on July 18 against the Cubs before complaining of tightness in his elbow.  It wasn't like Zimmermann was in serious pain.  When he was on the mound, there wasn't a problem, but in between innings, Zimmermann noticed that his elbow would tighten up quickly.  Zimmermann didn't think anything was seriously wrong when he saw the team doctors.  One can imagine how shocked he was when he learned that 90 percent of his ulnar collateral ligament was torn.  Zimmermann was so upset about the results that he uncharacteristically declined to talk to the media for a period of time.

"I didn't know what it was," Zimmermann said.  "Every time I threw, it wouldn't be painful to the point where I couldn't throw, but in between innings, it would tighten up really bad and it took me a lot longer to get loose.  That's when I figured I would get it checked out.  "I've never been through anything like that before.  It didn't set in right away.  I was going to be done for a whole year.  I just want to get out there and pitch.  I don't want to be on the DL ever."

When Zimmermann returns to action, the Nationals expect him to be one of several pitchers to have a major impact on the team.  "We are going to be adding a Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, who is coming back, and Drew Storen," team president Stan Kasten said last month.  "And after all of that, we still have the No. 1 pick in this year's Draft.  So the next wave: the coming attraction is coming to stadium near you.  It's a very exciting part of our story."

When told that the team considers him a major part of future, Zimmermann said, "It's a good feeling knowing that they still think I'm going to be the person that they thought I would be when they drafted me.  "Deep down, I know I'm going to come back the way I was before this injury, maybe a little better.  It's good to know that they still have faith in me and are not giving up on me."


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

     Two points.

01.  Despite the fact that he tore ninety percent of his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, Mr. Zimmermann did not have any pain.  Mr. Zimmernan noticed that, after he pitched an inning, his elbow would quickly tighten.  Mr. Zimmermann didn't think anything was seriously wrong.  Team doctors had to tell him the extent of his injury.

     Like I have repeatedly said, ligaments do not have pain sensors.  Therefore, baseball pitchers are unaware that they are tearing the connective tissue fibers that make up ligaments.  That is why ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligaments surprise baseball pitchers.  Until the stress on the adjoining muscles becomes too much for these muscle to withstand, baseball pitchers feel nothing.

02.  Mr. Kasten, who I knew when he and I were members of the Atlanta Braves organization, said, ""We are going to be adding a Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, who is coming back, and Drew Storen.  "And, we still have the No. 1 pick in this year's Draft.  So, the next wave: the coming attraction is coming to stadium near you.  It's a very exciting part of our story."

     This sounds a lot like the Chicago Cubs when they had Kerry Wood and Mark Pryor.

     Unless Mr. Zimmerman changes how he applies force to his pitches, he will again be unaware that he is tearing the connective tissue fibers of the tendon that the orthopedic surgeon use as his replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  And, this one will not last as long as his born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     At present, Mr. Strasberg does not have the skills and fitness that he needs to be a quality major league baseball pitcher.

     I do not know what Mr. Storen can do or be, but another number one draft pick baseball pitcher, like Mr. Strasberg will need years to become all he can be.

     I know that the Nationals fired last year's pitching coach.  I have no idea with whom they replaced him.  However, I doubt that he knows how to teach and train injury-free baseball pitchers to throw a wide variety of high-quality pitches.

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

146.  Jurrjens to have MRI on right shoulder: Braves hurler experienced soreness after throwing at camp
MLB.com
February 15, 2010

ATLANTA, GA:  Right-hander Jair Jurrjens will see Braves doctors later this week to learn why he has recently felt some discomfort in his right shoulder.  Braves general manager Frank Wren confirmed that Jurrjens is scheduled to undergo an MRI in Atlanta this week.  The 24-year-old experienced the shoulder soreness while throwing at the club's Spring Training headquarters at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida last week.

The Braves are hopeful that Jurrjens is simply dealing with normal soreness and has not sustained structural damage to the shoulder.  The young right-hander is expected to be a key member of a rotation that lost Javier Vazquez via trade in December. Utilizing some of the conditioning tips provided by John Smoltz, Jurrjens didn't show any signs of fatigue while completing 215 innings in 2009.  He allowed two earned runs or less in 26 of his 34 starts and posted a 0.97 ERA in the 37 innings that comprised his final five starts.


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

     What training program was Mr. Jurrijens following?  Who was monitoring him?  Nobody should show up in February with an injury.  By February, they should be ready to fine-tune their skills for Opening Day.

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

147.  10 for '10:  Young aces among those at risk of Verducci Effect
SI.com
February 16, 2010

Nothing is more inspirational this time of year than the pop of a well accelerated fastball into the cavern of a catcher's mitt, so welcome after a long, cold winter that the fastball's usual antagonist, the hitter, is unnecessary to its drama.  Such a sound is all the more inspiring when at its origin is a young arm, as full of promise as Chapter 1.  The scene plays out this week in every camp in Florida and Arizona, at once prompting joy and fear from the club elders who watch them.  For as they imagine young pitchers' success, they also must ask the question no one has yet truly cracked:  How do we keep them healthy?

The question is particularly timely in today's game.  A wave of young pitching has washed ashore.  Last year more 25-and-under pitchers made at least 10 starts than any time in the history of the game (71), including a 69 percent increase from five years ago.  In just the past 13 months teams have handed out contract extensions that bought out free agent years of young homegrown stars Zack Greinke, Jon Lester, Josh Johnson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Felix Hernandez and Justin Verlander.
This spring offers more potential stars:  Madison Bumgarner with San Francisco, Brian Matusz with Baltimore, Stephen Strasburg with Washington and Aroldis Chapman with Cincinnati.  Meanwhile, pitchers such as Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer with Detroit and Joba Chamblerlain with the Yankees, like Milo of Croton, bear the heavier burden on their shoulders of a second year of full-time starting duty.

The only task harder than a breakthrough season is trying to do it again.  Breakdowns are almost inevitable in pitching, but difficult to see coming.  The best we know is that the two factors that most elevate risk of injury are overuse and poor mechanics, which often are interconnected.

More than a decade ago, with the help of then-Oakland pitching coach Rick Peterson, I began tracking one element of overuse which seemed entirely avoidable:  working young pitchers too much too soon.  Pitchers not yet fully conditioned and physically matured were at risk if clubs asked them to pitch far more innings than they did the previous season, like asking a 10K runner to crank out a marathon.  The task wasn't impossible, but the after-effects were debilitating.

I defined an at-risk pitcher as any 25-and-under pitcher who increased his innings log by more than 30 in a year in which he pitched in the big leagues.  Each year the breakdown rate of such red-flagged pitchers, either by injury or drop in performance, was staggering.

I called the trend the Year After Effect, though it caught on in some places as the Verducci Effect.  As I was tracking this trend, the industry already was responding to the breakdown in young pitchers.  The Yankees instituted the Joba Rules.  The Orioles shut down pitchers late in the year.  Teams set "target innings" for their young pitchers before camp even began.  Clubs sent underworked starters to the Arizona Fall League to build their arms to better withstand regular work the next year.

Still, by oversight, circumstances or old school "take-it-as-it-comes" thinking, teams continue to overload young pitchers, which is why the Verducci Effect is still in business, with 10 pitchers red-flagged for 2010.  Imagine my surprise when I first ran the numbers and found two pitchers from the earliest adapters of the Year After Effect, the Oakland Athletics.  How could they of all teams, I wondered, let Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill take jumps of 55 and 54 1/3 innings in 2009?

"Oh, no," Oakland GM Billy Beane told me.  "We didn't.  We always keep an eye on the Verducci metrics."  Beane explained that Anderson and Cahill pitched for the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, so their innings jump was not nearly as large or as dangerous as their professional innings would suggest.  Goodbye red flags.

"We always keep an eye on that, especially when we get to September," Beane said.  "In fact, we backed off them in September [with extra days of rest and lower pitch counts] just because of that.  They each wound up in the 170s in innings, which was perfect.  They're right on track this year to go out and make 30 to 35 starts and throw right around 200 innings.  We think that's the natural progression."

Peterson convinced Beane back in 1998 that young pitchers needed their workload to "staircase," with modest annual increases so the body could grow accustomed to, rather than be shocked by, greater work capacity.  It was an idea that was not radical to road running or weight training, but was new to pitching.  Beane is a proponent of the "only so many bullets" theory, that pitchers have only so many throws in their arms, so when Peterson backed up his theory with data, Beane, who by the next year was sitting on a gold mine of young pitching in Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito, was sold.

"One thing I told Rick was, 'I can be sold if you give me information,'" Beane said.  "I don't pretend to know the answer.  Nobody knows.  But this just makes sense.  Given a choice between too much throwing at too young an age and being conservative, we'll always take the conservative route. Look, Hudson, Mulder, Zito, we took good care of those guys."

The reality is that the cost-effectiveness and durability of those three young starting pitchers defined what made those Oakland teams successful more so than all the attention given to finding guys with good on-base percentages.  In their 15 combined individual seasons in Oakland (not including partial rookie years), Hudson, Mulder and Zito averaged 17 wins, 33 starts and 219 innings.

"With Rick, he did his homework, sold me on it and we're abiding by it," Beane said.

Of course, baseball is such a beautiful, analog sport that circumstance and 30 franchise cultures defy a one-size-fits-all philosophy.  That's how I wound up with 10 young pitchers this year who fall into the danger zone.  It's not a prediction that they will break down, but only an estimate that they are at risk of a fallback season because of an aggressive workload increase in 2009.  Here they are, the 10 at '10 (includes all professional innings, including postseason and AFL):

---------------------------------------------------------------
| # |   Pitchers At Risk   | Age | Innings Pitched | Increase |
---------------------------------------------------------------
|01.|Cesar Carillo, SD     | 25  |     160.2       |   +84.1  |
|02.|Bud Norris, Hou       | 24  |     175.2       |   +73.0  |
|03.|Mat Latos, SD         | 22  |     123.0       |   +66.2* | 
|04.|Joba Chamberlain, NYY | 24  |     163.2       |   +47.2* |
|05.|Homer Bailey, Cin     | 23  |     203.0       |   +55.1  |
---------------------------------------------------------------
|06.|Josh Johnson, FL      | 25  |     209.0       |   +52.0* |
|07.|Rick Porcello, Det    | 21  |     170.2       |   +45.2  |
|08.|Max Scherzer, Det     | 25  |     175.0       |   +42.0  |
|09.|Felix Hernandez, Sea  | 23  |     238.2       |   +38.0  | 
|10.|Wade Davis, TB        | 24  |     195.0       |   +35.1  |
--------------------------------------------------------------- 
* = Previous career high occurred prior to most recent season. 
In general, the younger the pitcher and the greater the increase the greater the risk.  Likewise, the risk minimizes the closer guys are to the age and innings cutoffs.  Here are thumbnail looks at the young pitchers at risk:

1.  Carillo, Norris, Latos:  I hate to see guys with non-contenders getting pushed, as Kansas City and Pittsburgh used to do, but these guys have a common denominator:  their previous workloads were depressed by injuries in minor league seasons.  Carillo had Tommy John surgery, Norris suffered from an elbow strain (the Astros sent him to the AFL in 2008 and he still made the at-risk list) and Latos was bothered by oblique, ankle and shoulder injuries.  The size of those increases remains significant.

2.  Chamberlain:  Even with Yankees fans complaining about the Yankees treating him with kid gloves, Chamberlain made the list because he transitioned from a reliever into a full-time starter.

3.  Bailey:  This is probably the most troubling case on this list, if only because there was no reason to lean so hard on Bailey down the stretch.  The Reds finished 13 games out.  In his last nine starts, Bailey averaged 112 pitches and was given an extra day of rest only twice even as he far exceeded his previous high in innings.  The club kept leaning on him because he was pitching well, but to what end?

4.  Johnson and Porcello:  These are understandable to a certain degree.  Both clubs were playing meaningful games late in the season, when backing off one of your best pitchers is very hard to do.  Porcello, because of his age, is more at risk of paying for the workload than is Johnson.

5.  Scherzer:  Like Johnson, he took his increase at age 25, which minimizes the risk.  But Scherzer bears close scrutiny because, like Chamberlain, his pitching health has long been questioned because of his throwing style.  The Diamondbacks traded Scherzer in part because they never were sure that he would develop into the kind of workhorse starter that Edwin Jackson became in Detroit.

6.  Hernandez and Davis:  They barely made the list, though Hernandez's innings do not reflect the two high-intensity games he threw in the World Baseball Classic, once out of the bullpen.

At this time last year Mets pitcher Mike Pelfrey tried to convince me why he should not be on my 2009 list despite his 48-inning jump.  He was a big guy, he said, who learned to be more efficient with his pitches.  What happened?  His ERA shot up from 3.72 to 5.03.

I try to stress that the effect is not a predictor, it's just a guideline of risk.  In the previous four years, I have identified 34 at-risk pitchers.  Only four of them made it through that year without injury and with a lower ERA:  Jimenez and three studs who did it last year, Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw and Jair Jurrjens.  (Jurrjens may not have escaped the effect after all.  He reported to camp this week with a sore shoulder and will undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the problem.)  Jon Lester, with only a slightly higher ERA in a fine 2009 season, merits mention, too.  The at-risk pitchers last year who confirmed the effect included Pelfrey, Cole Hamels, Chad Billingsley, John Danks and Dana Eveland.

Past red-flag lists presaged the breakdowns of pitchers such as Jose Rosado, Chris George, Runelvys Hernandez, Dustin McGowan, Gustavo Chacin, Francisco Liriano, Anibal Sanchez, Fausto Carmona, Adam Loewen and Scott Mathieson.  It's not perfect nor is it meant to be.  But to borrow from Beane, given a choice, why not take the conservative route?


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

     So, the genesis of limiting young baseball pitchers to fewer innings starte more than a decade ago, when Mr. Verducci and Rick Peterson started tracking what happens with young major league baseball pitchers pitch too much too soon.  They called this 'overuse.'

     As a result of their ground-breaking research, they developed a definition of at-risk young major league baseball pitchers:

     "At-risk major league baseball pitchers are twenty-five years old or younger that pitch thirty or more innings one year than they pitched the preceeding year."

     Mr. Verducci called this, 'The Year After Effect.'  However, others called it, 'The Verducci Effect.'

     No less a baseball innovator than Oakland GM Billy Beane said that he keeps an eye on the Verducci metrics.

     Mr. Beane contends that, when young major league baseball pitchers pitch around two hundred innings in thirty to thirty-five starts a year, they are following the natural progression."

     Apparently, in 1998, Oakland pitching coach, Rick Peterson, convinced Oakland General Manager, Billy Beane that, to enable the bodies of young major league baseball pitchers to withstand the stresses of pitching major league baseball, they required modest annual increases in the number of innings they pitched each year.

     For their scientific basis, they compared baseball pitching to road running or weight training.

     As a believer that baseball pitchers have "only so many bullets" in their pitching arm, Mr. Beane readily accepted Mr. Peterson's theory, especially when Mr. Peterson backed up his theory with data.  Mr. Beane told Mr. Peterson, "I can be sold, if you give me information."

     Mr. Beane said that he does not know the answer, but then, nobody knows the answer.  But, modestly increasing the work load of young major league baseball pitchers 'just' makes sense.  When Mr. Beane has the choice between pitching young major league baseball pitchers too much or not, he will "always take the conservative route."

     As further testimony to the correctness of their theory, Mr. Beane says that we only need to examine what Mr. Peterson and he did with Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito.  Mr. Beane said, "We took good care of those guys."  After all, in their 15 combined individual seasons in Oakland (not including partial rookie years), Hudson, Mulder and Zito averaged 17 wins, 33 starts and 219 innings.

     Mr. Beane exclaims that Mr. Peterson did his homework; Mr. Peterson sold me on the idea and we are abiding by it.

     Unfortunately, neither Mr. Peterson, Mr. Verducci nor Mr. Beane knows anything about how the body responds to stress.  To know this, they have to be Exercise Physiologists.

     Rather than determining the causes of pitching injuries and eliminating them, they prefer to count innings.

     The other night, I happened on the Major League Baseball channel and listened to two guys talk about statistics that determine pitching injuries.  They spoke so authoritative that, for a brief moment, I thought that they knew what they were talking about.

     However, when I listened carefully, I understood that, while they used clever words and showed great pride in themselves, what they said had absolutely no scientific truth.

     Baseball pitchers injure themselves because of how they apply force to their pitches, not by the number of innings they pitch.  When we eliminate the injurious flaws in their pitching motions that cause pitching injuries, we eliminate misuse.

     In one respect, these gentlemen are correct.  Even when baseball pitchers eliminate the injurious flaws in their pitching motions that cause pitching injuries, if they do not train to withstand the stress, they can still injure themselves.

     However, this is not overuse, this is underuse.  Instead of taking their off-seasons off, young major league baseball pitchers need to train to withstand more and more stress.

     Unless I missed something, Mr. Hudson ruptured his Ulnar Collateral and Mr. Mulder has not pitched for the last two years.  And, whatever happened to Mr. Zito's career is not clear.  Nevertheless, clearly, Mr. Peterson and Mr. Beane did not take care of them.

     By the way, if Mr. Beane believed in what Mr. Peterson wanted to do, why did Mr. Beane fire Mr. Peterson?

     Until baseball learns the scientific method for determining cause and effect relationships, young major league baseball pitchers will continue to suffer from the nonsense that these three guys created and others follow.

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

148.  Duncan gets look at Penny
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
February 16, 2010

JUPITER, FL:  The routine played out about 50 times Monday morning on a bullpen mound behind the Cardinals' spring training clubhouse.  The raw-boned man used an unforced delivery to unleash a ball that seemed to jump out of his hand.  Standing behind him, mostly silent, the silver-haired man who had witnessed the delivery many times, but never up this close, looked on approvingly.

At one point the older man interrupted to impress how the big man could better extend on his pitches.  The big man nodded, then went back to his work.

For several years, Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan wished the Cardinals front office could allow him the opportunity to work with the big man, pitcher Brad Penny.  The moment finally arrived three days before pitchers and catchers go through their first official workout at the Roger Dean Stadium complex.  The pair never joked, never high-fived and barely spoke.  But they both appreciated the meeting.  "I've never heard anything bad about him.  It's always about how good he is and how calm he is when he's handling certain situations," Penny said.  "He's real good at the mental part of the game from what I understand.  I've heard nothing but good things and I'm excited."

Penny has twice won 16 games in a season, once led the National League in fewest home runs allowed per nine innings, twice shouldered 200 innings and once finished third in balloting for the Cy Young Award.  Duncan has watched Penny work for the Florida Marlins, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, respecting Penny's five-pitch assortment, his intimidating physique and his power arm.  Most of all, Duncan has wondered how good Penny might one day become.

"He's got a very solid delivery, pretty good command of the pitches he throws, and he throws with good velocity.  He's got all the equipment it takes," Duncan said.

The Cardinals in December signed the free agent Penny for a $7.5 million base salary that could grow to $9 million with incentives.  He slides into the slot vacated by Joel Piñeiro, who parlayed Duncan's pitch-to-contact philosophy into a two-year, $15 million free agent deal with the Los Angeles Angels.

Duncan loves Penny's pitch assortment.  He also has notions about how it might be better used.  But for now, they only remain notions.  "I think I'm going to have to see him pitch up close in competition to have a real solid opinion," Duncan said.  "I have thoughts and ideas right now, but I don't know if they're correct."

Duncan intends to use the next seven weeks to study Penny, framing his wide assortment with a plan for every hitter.  Those who can carry out the game plan consistently realize a benefit.  Duncan admires Penny's aggressiveness, his refusal to give in to hitters.  He's seen him blow away difficult lineups.

He's also seen him touched up by hitters confident of receiving fastballs rather than a curve, a split-finger pitch, a slider or a change-up, all pitches Penny throws.

"I would venture to say he has probably gotten in trouble doing that," Duncan says.  "There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the power he has as long as he doesn't forget he has to make a pitch.  Sometimes, guys will fall back on just their power, and you can't do that with all hitters.  Some hitters you can, but others you can't."

Bottom line:  It isn't what Penny throws but when and where he throws it.  "The way he wants to pitch is the right approach," Duncan insists.  "He's not going out there to strike everybody out.  He's not afraid to let the hitter swing the bat.  He may be to the extreme.  There may be situations where you want him to pitch a little more carefully.  All I know is all the ingredients are there."

Penny pitched hurt two years ago with the Dodgers and never found solid footing last season with the Boston Red Sox.  He reverted to more productive form following his Aug. 27 release and subsequent signing with the San Francisco Giants, going 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in six starts.  In five of 10 major-league seasons, Penny has offered a team a minimum 25 starts.  In each of those seasons he has either won 14 games (twice 16) or built a sub-4.00 ERA.

"I've seen him dominate good hitting," Duncan says.  "The potential is there.  Now it's just about how often he can be that kind of pitcher."

"Everybody has seen him throw.  Everybody has seen him have success.  Everybody has seen him be dominant," says Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter.  "He's been an All-Star.  He's had great seasons.  I'm just looking forward to watching a guy who knows himself and knows how to pitch.  It doesn't seem like he lacks confidence.  He definitely doesn't lack ability.  I look forward to watching him take the ball, because you know he's got a chance to win every time that he takes it."

Penny says the most important thing is to consistently work ahead in counts, something Duncan will gladly reinforce.  "It's always my fault.  It's never the catcher's fault.  The catcher is calling the game based on what I'm throwing for strikes that day.  It's different every fifth day," Penny says.  "When someone is throwing 1-0 and 2-0 (in counts) what are you going to throw?  Are you going to throw a curve so you're 3-0?  If he can't locate his fastball how's he going to locate his curveball?  The key is strike one."

The older man looks forward to what the big man brings.  "I like the situation here for him," says Duncan, also noting catcher Yadier Molina's positive influence.  "We'll go into games prepared and he's going to have a hell of a catcher catching him, who's very conscious of that very thing."


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

     The writer wrote, "At one point the older man interrupted to impress how the big man could better extend on his pitches."

     Even if Mr. Duncan had knowledge of the baseball pitching motion, it is not a good idea to ask baseball pitchers to change how they apply force to their pitches six weeks before the season starts.  The appropriate time for baseball pitchers to correct flaws is immediately after the season.

     The writer wrote, He's (Mr. Duncan) seen him blow away difficult lineups.  He's also seen him touched up by hitters confident of receiving fastballs rather than a curve, a split-finger pitch, a slider or a change-up, all pitches Penny throws.

     Mr. Duncan said, "I would venture to say he has probably gotten in trouble doing that.  There is nothing wrong with taking advantage of the power he has as long as he doesn't forget he has to make a pitch.  Sometimes, guys will fall back on just their power, and you can't do that with all hitters.  Some hitters you can, but others you can't."

     I could not agree more with Mr. Duncan.  Pitch sequencing is the answer.  Baseball pitchers should never throw the pitch that baseball batters expect them to throw.  Baseball pitchers should challenge themselves, never the batter.

     Mr. Duncan said, "The way he wants to pitch is the right approach.  He's not going out there to strike everybody out.  He's not afraid to let the hitter swing the bat.  He may be to the extreme.  There may be situations where you want him to pitch a little more carefully.  All I know is all the ingredients are there."

     I think I understand what Mr. Duncan is saying.  However, why doesn't he want his baseball pitchers to strike everybody out?  That does not mean that they have to throw fastballs in fastball counts.  I believe that baseball pitchers should be afraid to let baseball batters swing.  I want baseball batters to have absolutely no idea what pitch is coming and stand there and take them all.

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

***********************************************************************************************
     From Thursday, February 25, 2010 until Sunday, February 28, 2010, I will be in San Antonio, TX watching the University of Incarnate Word baseball team play the St. Mary's University baseball team.  Therefore, rather then rush to answer the questions I receive during my absence and include them in this weeks Q&A, I decided to post an abbreviated week of questions and answers on Thursday, February 25, 2010.

***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

149.  One step crow-hop body action

I am on my last 6-day training cycle with the 10-Lb IB (96 rep.) starting tomorrow.

I will be doing your WW Drill 4: One-step Crow-Hop Body Action, Pendulum Swing Glove & Pitching Arm Actions Drill according to your video.  But, according to your 280-day Interval Training Program it, says I should be doing your Step Back Wind-Up Pendulum Swing Throws.

1.  Are these 2 drills the same OR are they different, but designed to teach the same thing?

2.  I also noticed on day-197 that WWs are dropped to 24 reps daily instead of the normal 48 reps along with Decreasing the weight to 15 Lbs.  Is this where we are in maintenance mode in anticipation of the baseball season starting?


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

01.  I have changed the protocol in my 280-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     To teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion, I use four drills; the last of which is the competitive baseball pitching motion that recommend.

01.  With my Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill, my baseball pitchers learn how to use their pitching elbow as the fulcrum for force-coupling the pitching forearm.

02.  With my Wrong Foot body action; Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill, my baseball pitchers learn how to immediately raise his pitching upper arm to vertically beside his head with the back of his pitching upper arm facing toward home plate.

03.  Rather than my Wrong Foot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill, I now prefer that my baseball pitchers use my Half Reverse Pivot body action, Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     With my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill, my baseball pitchers learn how to vertically pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward toward second base and upward to driveline height to arrive the same time that their front foot lands.

04.  With my Drop Out Wind-Up body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill, my baseball pitchers learn how to stand tall and rotate the pitching arm side of their body forward through release.

     While I do not have my One Step Crow-Hop body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill as part of my training program, I want my baseball pitchers to learn how to throw baseballs other than when they are on the mound.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
01. Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 001|10 lb. WW (24 reps): 06 lb. IB (24 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (00 reps)
Day 005|10 lb. WW (36 reps): 06 lb. IB (36 reps): FB (36 reps): BB (00 reps)
Day 009|10 lb. WW (48 reps): 06 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (48 reps): BB (00 reps)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 013|10 lb. WW (60 reps): 06 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (30 reps)
Day 021|10 lb. WW (72 reps): 06 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (36 reps)
Day 029|10 lb. WW (84 reps): 06 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (42 reps)
Day 037|10 lb. WW (96 reps): 06 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 045|15 lb. WW (48 reps): 06 lb. IB (60 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 053|15 lb. WW (48 reps): 06 lb. IB (72 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 061|15 lb. WW (48 reps): 06 lb. IB (84 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 069|15 lb. WW (48 reps): 06 lb. IB (96 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
02. Wrong Foot body action; Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 077|15 lb. WW (60 reps): 08 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 083|15 lb. WW (72 reps): 08 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 089|15 lb. WW (84 reps): 08 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 095|15 lb. WW (96 reps): 08 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 101|20 lb. WW (48 reps): 08 lb. IB (60 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 107|20 lb. WW (48 reps): 08 lb. IB (72 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 113|20 lb. WW (48 reps): 08 lb. IB (84 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 119|20 lb. WW (48 reps): 08 lb. IB (96 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
03. Wrong Foot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 125|20 lb. WW (60 reps): 10 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 131|20 lb. WW (72 reps): 10 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 137|20 lb. WW (84 reps): 10 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 143|20 lb. WW (96 reps): 10 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 149|25 lb. WW (48 reps): 10 lb. IB (60 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 155|25 lb. WW (48 reps): 10 lb. IB (72 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 161|25 lb. WW (48 reps): 10 lb. IB (84 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 167|25 lb. WW (48 reps): 10 lb. IB (96 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
04. Drop Out Wind-Up body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 173|25 lb. WW (60 reps): 12 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 179|25 lb. WW (72 reps): 12 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 185|25 lb. WW (84 reps): 12 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 191|25 lb. WW (96 reps): 12 lb. IB (48 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 197|15 lb. WW (24 reps): 12 lb. IB (60 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 203|15 lb. WW (24 reps): 12 lb. IB (72 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 209|15 lb. WW (24 reps): 12 lb. IB (84 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
Day 215|15 lb. WW (24 reps): 12 lb. IB (96 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (48 reps)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
05. Add Maxline Fastball Sinkers and Torque Fastball Sliders:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 221|15 lb. WW (24 reps): 08 lb. IB (24 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (72 reps)
Day 227|15 lb. WW (24 reps): 08 lb. IB (24 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (72 reps)
Day 233|15 lb. WW (24 reps): 08 lb. IB (24 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (72 reps)
Day 239|15 lb. WW (24 reps): 08 lb. IB (24 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (72 reps)
Day 245|15 lb. WW (24 reps): 08 lb. IB (24 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (72 reps)
Day 251|15 lb. WW (24 reps): 08 lb. IB (24 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (72 reps)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
06. Pitch Sequences Against Four Types of Baseball Batters:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day 257|15 lb. WW (24 reps): 08 lb. IB (24 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (72 reps)
Day 263|15 lb. WW (24 reps): 08 lb. IB (24 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (72 reps)
Day 269|15 lb. WW (24 reps): 08 lb. IB (24 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (72 reps)
Day 275|15 lb. WW (24 reps): 08 lb. IB (24 reps): FB (24 reps): BB (72 reps)
Day 281|Start pitching to catchers
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

02.  After my baseball pitchers finish their twenty-five pound wrist weight training and twelve pound iron ball training, to redirect their energy usage to throwing baseballs, I drop them down to fifteen pound wrist weights and eight pound iron balls.

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

150.  Gagne looking for a return to Dodger Blue: Scouts have watched club's all-time greatest closer throw
MLB.com
February 16, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA:  Eric Gagne wants to be a Dodger again.  General manager Ned Colletti said that his scouts have seen Gagne throw, but that the club has not made an offer or decided whether it would.  Gagne also reportedly has contacted the Rockies, who are managed by Jim Tracy, Gagne's skipper during his glory years with Los Angeles.

The Dodgers' bullpen is loaded, with Jonathan Broxton, George Sherrill, Hong-Chih Kuo and Ronald Belisario, among others, and the 40-man roster is full.  Thus Gagne would have to make the club on a Minor League contract.

Gagne, 34, is the greatest closer in Dodgers history, a fan favorite, the National League Cy Young Award winner in 2003, a three-time All-Star and holder of baseball's all-time record of 84 consecutive save conversions.  He singlehandedly disrupted the traditional tendency of fans to leave home games early to avoid traffic, as they preferred to stay and watch "Game Over" Gagne, who entered the field to the blaring sound of Guns N' Roses' "Welcome to the Jungle."

But, his career spiraled downward, beginning with elbow surgery in 2005, then another elbow operation and back surgery in 2006, after which he left the Dodgers as a free agent.  Gagne made stops in Texas, Boston and Milwaukee after leaving Los Angeles.  After pitching for the Brewers in 2008, he was released during Spring Training of 2009 with a slight tear in his rotator cuff that he rehabbed without surgery.

Last year, he played for the Quebec Capitales of the independent Can-Am League as a starting pitcher/coach.  In 17 starts (102 2/3 inning) he went 6-6 with a 4.65 ERA and 64 strikeouts.  (Gagne originally was a starter for the Dodgers before moving to the bullpen in 2002.)

A native Canadian, Gagne lives in Scottsdale, AZ and visited the Dodgers' training complex at Camelback Ranch-Glendale last spring after being released by the Brewers.


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

     The MLB.com writer wrote, "Gagne, 34, is the greatest closer in Dodgers history."

     Mr. Gagne has admitted that he used performance enhancing drugs.  Therefore, whatever he did under the influence of these drugs should be removed from the record books.

     Nevertheless, even when we considered his 2003 record, he did not pitch 162 innings, much less 208 innings in 106 games.  Therefore, he did not qualify for the earned run average title.

     This means that Mr. Gagne did not contribute to about one-ninth of the number of innings that teams pitch in a season.  Therefore, Cy Young Award ballot writers should not have handed him the Cy Young Award.

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

151.  Tampa Bay Rays add low-risk, high-reward bullpen candidate in former Ranger Joaquin Benoit
St. Petersburg Times
February 16, 2010

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL:  If Joaquin Benoit can pitch again like he did before his shoulder injury, he could make the Rays' already improved bullpen even better.  The Rays are willing to take a low-risk look, signing Benoit to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training.

Benoit, 32, struggled through the 2008 season hurt and sat out last year recovering from rotator cuff surgery in January 2009.  He has been throwing in the Dominican Republic and is expected to participate fully in camp with the idea he could be ready for the start of the regular season.  The Rays, among a dozen teams interested, saw enough in two throwing sessions to work out a deal that would pay him $750,000 if he makes the roster, with another $500,000 in bonuses.  Benoit passed on more money elsewhere for the opportunity the Rays offered.

Benoit was dominant in 2007 for Texas, posting a 2.85 ERA in 70 games, going 7-4, striking out 87 in 82 innings and earning a two-year, $6 million contract.  His career record is 30-26 with eight saves and a 4.79 ERA in 273 games, all with the Rangers.


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

     "If Joaquin Benoit can pitch again like he did before his shoulder injury."

     Has Mr. Benoit eliminated the injurious flaw that caused the injury in his pitching shoulder?  If not, then Mr. Benoit will not pitch like he did before his shoulder injury.

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

152.  Mulder's agent says reports Mulder retired 'aren't accurate'
San Francisco Chronicle
February 16, 2010

Gregg Clifton, who is Mark Mulder's agent, said that reports out of Milwaukee today that Mulder has decided to retire "aren't accurate.  I don't know where that came from."

Apparently from Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson, who told reporters that Mulder, who Milwaukee was considering bringing in on a minor-league deal, was hanging it up.  Peterson was Mulder's pitching coach in Oakland and he has worked with Mulder as the left-hander tries to come back from injuries.

Clifton said the two-time All-Star has made no official decision to retire.  "I'm not saying Mark won't," Clifton said.  "But he has not made any decision."

Mulder hasn't pitched in a big-league game since the middle of the 2008 season and he has pitched in just six games since 2006, so it would not come as a huge surprise if he does decide to end his comeback bid.  He has put in a lot of effort, however; he's worked with Peterson and with his former college pitching coach while trying to iron out some mechanical issues with his delivery that were making him injury prone.


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

     Can we finally put to rest the nonsense that Rick Peterson knows anything about eliminating pitching arm injuries?

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

153.  Mark Mulder denies he’s retiring; says he halted throwing program
The Sporting News
February 16, 2009

Mark Mulder on Monday strongly denied reports out of Milwaukee and Oakland that said he had decided to retire from baseball.  The left-hander told the San Francisco Chronicle he is, in fact, backing off on his throwing program as he continues to recover from serious shoulder injuries.  He said he still is working on a delivery that will allow him to be effective on the mound.

"I never said ‘retirement.’ That’s the wrong word," Mulder told the Chronicle.  "The thing is, physically, I feel great, but my arm just doesn’t work the way I want to work, so I just shut it down from throwing.  But I never really said I was going to retire;  I’m 32 and I don’t feel like there’s anything physically wrong with me."

The retirement firestorm started Monday morning when Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson, who worked with Mulder when the two were with the Athletics, told MLB.com that Mulder was quitting.  That was after a Milwaukee television station had reported Mulder was finished.

Then came the denials, first by Mulder’s agent, Gregg Clifton, followed by Mulder himself.  "Whether or not I get it going again, I don’t know.  I’m not ruling anything out.  But retiring? No," Mulder told the Chronicle.

The Brewers had been interested in signing Mulder, who blossomed under Peterson’s tutelage in Oakland but hasn’t pitched in the majors since July 9, 2008, with the Cardinals.


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

     So, Mr. Peterson threw Mr. Mulder under the bus.  Nice guy.

     Mr. Peterson takes credit for Mr. Mulder's successes, but he will not accept the blame for the injuries that Mr. Mulder has suffered.

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

154.  I discovered my problem with a couple things

You might think I am a little slow, but with all my concentration put on trying to get the correct releases of your pitches, locking the upper-arm, and getting the ball into the acceleration phase with a positive velocity, I discovered an issue I was having in your motion.

I now realize why we must pendulum swing the pitching arm and take the baseball out of our glove with our palm facing upward.  I always thought the sole reason behind this was to protect our UCLs.

But, it became clear to me that there is another reason.  I was having a very hard time getting that fluid motion as there always seemed to be a pause after I tried locking the upper-arm after pendulum swing and adjusting the forearm for the pitch I was going to throw, especially your screwball.  I was not taking the ball out of glove with the palm of my hand facing upward.

What this was doing was throwing off my arm action with the body action because as I wasn't rotating the palm of my pitching hand away from my body at an early enough time which would allow me enough time to raise my pitching upper-arm next to my ear.

I was simply swinging it back and up to driveline height, but the problem was there was some lag as I had to raise my upper-arm and adjust the forearm.  I don't think the arm can smoothly do this if we don't rotate our pitching palm away from the body.

I know you must have said it numerous times in your video as well as your Q&A's.  It was something I lost in the mix as I was contrentrating so much on other things.  But, this big adjustment seems to be the key to the issues I was having.

I am now raising my upper-arm next to my ear in plenty of time and an able to adjust my arm for your screwball.

Here is some other things I noticed immediately:

1.  I am not burying my screwball into the ground and to the left-side of the plate anymore.  In fact, it is going to the right with an increase of velocity as well as spin as I am feeling the burning in my fingertips again which seemed to disappear when I started drill #3.

2.  My Maxline fastball seems to have new life.  I can also feel the burning sensation on my finger tips again.

I apologize for the long message.  I hope this makes sense.  If I am inaccurate with any of the above, please critique.


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

     Without performing the pendulum swing precisely as I describe it, baseball pitchers cannot properly position their pitching arm for the start of their acceleration phase.  That is why, as part of their warm-up drills from day one, I have my baseball pitchers complete sixteen wrist weight Drop Out Wind-Ups with Shakedowns.

     The four steps to the perfect pitching arm pendulum swing are:

01.  When baseball pitchers drop the baseball out of their glove, they have the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball.

02.  When baseball pitchers have their pitching arm vertically beside their body, they have the palm of their pitching hand facing toward home plate.

03.  When baseball pitchers have their pitching arm is forty-five degrees behind their body, they rotate the palm of their pitching hand from facing downward to facing away from their body.

04.  When baseball pitchers have their pitching arm at driveline height, they have their pitching arm pointing at second base, their pitching upper arm at shoulder height, their pitching hand slightly above the height of their pitching arm side ear and the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body.

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

155.  Brad Lidge after offseason surgeries
MLB.com
February 17, 2010

CLEARWATER, FL:  Brad Lidge sat behind a table Wednesday inside the Bright House Field lunchroom, where reporters had positioned tape recorders and microphones for some of his first words since Game 6 of the 2009 World Series.  Opening statements, Brad?  "I'm going to burn my '09 shirts and we'll get this over with and move forward from there," said Lidge, who might not be ready to start the season following off-season elbow and knee surgeries.

Ah, 2009.  Lidge went 0-8 with a 7.21 ERA and 31 saves last season.  He blew a Major League-leading 11 saves.  It was a nightmarish year that looked even worse following a flawless 2008, when he went 2-0 with a 1.95 ERA and 48 saves in 48 opportunities, including the post-season.  Lidge's ERA spiked 5.26 runs from '08 to '09, which was the fourth-worst jump in ERA in baseball history for relief pitchers with at least 40 appearances in consecutive seasons.

Lidge had been bothered with a sprained right knee, which put him on the disabled list in June, but for much of the season, he maintained he felt fine.  He wasn't.  The knee altered his mechanics, which might have caused the pain in his right elbow the second half of the season.  "It was tough to throw," he said.  "The biggest thing for me was trying to convince myself the whole year that I could get it done the same way.  And I felt I could, but obviously I wasn't the same guy last year as '08."

Both injuries affected the quality of Lidge's fastball and slider.  His altered mechanics, which he needed to compensate for his ailing knee, made him slower to the plate and might have had him tipping his pitches.  Runners ran at will against him (remember Johnny Damon in Game 4 of the World Series).  He started to throw a cutter the final weekend of the regular season as a stopgap to resolve his struggles against left-handed hitters.

Lidge said despite his struggles, he never thought about shutting himself down.  "I'll never put myself on the DL," he said.  "If they pull me out of there and say, 'You can't do it,' that's one thing.  If I can physically go out there, I'm going to.  That's not a decision that I feel like I need to make."

But, Lidge decided to have surgery after the season.  He had his flexor pronator tendon in his right elbow repaired and a loose body removed in November.  He had knee surgery in January, which he said leaves him about two weeks behind schedule entering Spring Training.

"I definitely feel a lot better," he said.  "I knew I needed to get my arm taken care of. That was more of a clean out-type procedure.  Getting some bone chips and bone spurs.  I had a little tendon tear.  Really the big issue for me was going to be my knee.  We tried to let it rest and just see if it would go away without having to do a surgery on it.  I was going up the stairs somewhere in December, and it was still hurting.  So at that point, I was like, 'We've got to get something done.  I don't want to go through '09 again.'  Right now, it actually feels really good.  Probably just a couple weeks after the surgery, I was able to do a lot of things that I hadn't been able to do the previous 10, 11 months.  So I think that's a really good sign going into Spring Training this year."

Lidge is a motivated man this spring.  He literally went from being the best relief pitcher in baseball in '08 to the worst in '09.  He wants to get back to the norm.  The veteran righty wants to get as far away from that 7.21 ERA as possible.  "It's a really frustrating thing," Lidge said.  "When you look at your career, a year like that really sucks.  It stands out.  There are years that go better than you ever thought.  There are years that go worse than you ever thought.  But, it is definitely motivating for me to get back to being the pitcher I am, and I know I will be this year.  I probably won't look back and dwell on it and be like, 'That's too bad,' or whatever.  It did happen.  It was a tough year.  But, it's done.  Now it's just all about being myself again and going to my bread and butter and getting things done.  I don't necessarily expect myself to have '08, but I expect myself to be a hell of a lot closer to '08 than '09, that's for sure.  I feel really optimistic that will be the case."

If Lidge had been healthy, he already would have thrown off a mound.  But, because he isn't, he estimates he might not throw off a mound for another two weeks.  That would leave him less time to get the 10 to 13 appearances in Spring Training he probably needs to be ready for the season.  He thinks he can do it.  "If there are no setbacks and everything goes smooth, I think that's a possibility," Lidge said.  "I think that's reasonable.  But, we also look at '08 as a model.  I missed the first five games, we didn't try to rush it and I had the best year of my career.  We'll be smart about it."

Smarter is better.  The Phillies need Lidge to anchor a bullpen that looked shaky at times last season.  If he is closing and closing successfully, Ryan Madson, J.C. Romero, Danys Baez, Chad Durbin and Jose Contreras fall in behind him.  And that means, in theory, everything should be improved.


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

     With a 7.21 ERA, Mr. Lidge had 31 saves.

     Mr. Lidge gave up almost one run per inning and still received 31 saves.  That means that, when Mr. Lidge entered the game to pitch his one inning, he had at least a two run lead.

     Like I have said for years, to pitch one inning with at least a one run lead is the easiest gig major league baseball pitchers can have.

     The tough gigs for closers are ninth innings and beyond tie games on he road.

     To properly evaluate closers, based on the number of innings pitched, the score and whether the game is on the road or at home, we need to hierarchially order the situations when closers enter games.

     Therefore, from the toughest to easiest innings that closers can face are:
-------------------------------------------
| # |    Score     | Location of the game |
-------------------------------------------
|01.| Score tied   | On the road          |
|02.| Score tied   | At home              |
|03.| One run lead | On the road          |
|04.| One run lead | At home              |
|05.| Two run lead | On the road          |
|06.| Two run lead | At home              |
-------------------------------------------
     To determine the best closer, we need to award points for every closing inning that closers pitch.  Because there are six cicumstances under which closers pitch, I recommend that we award six points down to one point for every type of inning that closers successfully pitch and substract one point up to six points for every type of innings that closers unsuccessfuly pitch.

     This way of evaluating closers eliminates the meaningless save statistic and awards the closers that successfully pitch the tough innings.

     I would like to compare my 1974, 1973, 1979, 1972 and 1978 numbers with the numbers that today's closer achieve.

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

156.  Kuroda aims to recover from painful '09:  Hurler hopes unusual acupuncture treatment is effective
MLB.com
February 17, 2010

PHOENIX, AZ:  Hiroki Kuroda survived the horror of a line drive off his head last summer and showed no mental trepidation climbing back on the mound and risking that it might happen again.  What Kuroda still isn't sure about, though, is a pain in the neck that returned during winter workouts.  Kuroda now says the slight herniation in the disk in his neck, technically injury No. 3 during a disappointing 2009, was probably a whiplash result of the line drive off his head Aug. 15 in Arizona.

"It's hugely possible that was why," he said.  "The ball hit on the right side of my head and it was kind of whiplash.  Where I felt the pain was the left part of the neck.  When I thought the pain was gone, it came right back.  I think getting hit in the head had a lot to do with it."

Kuroda said he thought the neck was fully healed until he started winter workouts, only for discomfort to return.  He credits a rare method of acupuncture administered in his native Japan for relieving the pain.  He reported to Dodger Stadium last month for workouts and has had five bullpen sessions pain-free.  He continues regular acupuncture and massage treatment from Dodgers therapist Ichiro Tani.  "I think I have recovered," he said last week.  "It doesn't hurt anymore."

Nonetheless, Kuroda's health is one of the big unknowns as the Dodgers open Spring Training this weekend.  Only a year ago, Kuroda was considered by many to be the Dodgers' ace.  He was, after all, named Opening Day starter after stepping up big-time with a pair of post-season wins in 2008.  But, after winning the 2009 opener, Kuroda suffered a strained left oblique muscle during a bullpen session before his second start and spent nearly two months recovering.

Kuroda looked rusty going 2-5 over the next two months and just seemed to be gaining some momentum with a pair of August wins when Rusty Ryal turned around a 94-mph fastball with a line drive that drilled Kuroda above the right temple near the hairline.  At the time, Kuroda was throwing a two-hit shutout through five innings.  Television technicians estimated that there was about two-thirds of a second between the time the pitch left Kuroda's hand and the point at which the line drive struck his head.  Kuroda, diagnosed with a concussion, at the time said he was "lucky to be alive."

He returned after three weeks with a loss, then won his next three starts down the stretch, but pitched poorly in a loss to the Pirates September 28, after which he complained of a sore neck that was diagnosed as a slight disk herniation.  Kuroda missed his last regular-season start and was left off the roster for the NL Division Series.  He said he was healthy enough to be added to the roster for the NL League Championship Series, only to pitch ineffectively in his only start against the Phillies, shelled for six runs in 1 1/3 innings of the 11-0 Game 3 blowout loss.

"In my last game there was no pain," Kuroda said, "but, during the off-season there was a little bit of pain when I worked out hard.  It would get a little tight, but not the same pain I felt during the season."

So he saw his regular acupuncturist in Hiroshima, who resorted to a treatment that is very irregular even in Japan, according to Kuroda.  "Normally they use one needle in acupuncture, but he used a device with several needles in a cylindrical tube," said Kuroda.  "He pressed it and many needles came through and it was really painful.  But, the treatment worked, it relieved the pain.  "Having said that, I have to be careful to prevent the pain from happening because it comes all of a sudden.  During the season, I have to be careful."

Kuroda enters the final season of a three-year, $35.3 million contract.  He is the Dodgers' highest-paid pitcher (receiving $15.4 million this year, including a pro-rated signing bonus) and second-highest-paid player (although most of Manny Ramirez's $20 million salary is deferred), but he won only nine games in 2008 and eight last year.

He's a strike-thrower, with a 3.74 cumulative ERA in the Major Leagues an indication of his ability, but his two-year record is 17-17.  "Last season I was really frustrated, to say the least," he said.  "Out of all the seasons I've had, including [11 in] Japan, I've never had a year with so many injuries.  It was really stressful.  But you learn from mistakes and try not to get injured and do whatever possible to avoid injuries and stay healthy.  "It's really difficult to prevent getting hit in the head or prevent injuring an oblique muscle.  They happen in a blink of a second in a game situation.  But having gone through it, I can mentally prepare if I get injured with the same pain to go through the recovery period."

Kuroda turned 35 last week and has thrown more than 2,000 professional innings.  "I don't feel I'm that old, and as long as I play at this level, I don't want to think about my age or that age has a lot to do with it, at least I don't want to think that way," he said.  "You can't be prepared for a game if you are afraid of injury or afraid of getting old.  I don't think I'm afraid of anything, that's what's allowed me to play until now."

He said he won't decide how long he wants to play or whether his career would continue in the Major Leagues or Japan until after this season, but insists he's as motivated to compete as he was when he signed two years ago.  "I'd like to play as long as I can," he said.  "Having gotten hit by the pitch, it could have been the end of my baseball career and the end of my life.  I'm just glad I have another chance to play, and now that I have the chance, I want to live my dream as long as possible.  I don't really feel pressure because of last year.  But because of last year, I like to play to the max, and I don't want any regrets at end of the season."

He was asked if Dodgers fans have seen the real Kuroda.  "If you look at a whole season, they probably haven't," he said.  "If you look at certain games, I've pitched really well.  What I have to do this year is increase the number of games I've pitched well, and if I do that, the people will see me at my best."


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

     In the lower back, the L5-S1 intervertebral disk herniates when baseball pitchers bend forward at their waist, thereby squeezing the anterior aspect the disk, which pushes the disk posteriorly.  Then, the protruding disk inflames the motor nerve that exits the spinal column at that level.

     In the neck, because baseball pitchers turn their head to their glove side, the muscles that attach to the vertebrae rotate the vertebrae to their glove side.  After baseball pitchers release their pitches, they rotate those vertebrae to their pitching arm side.

     When these muscles co-contract, baseball pitchers tear the muscle fibers in the muscles that turn the vertebrae to their glove side.

     Therefore, the cause of the pain that baseball pitchers experience in their neck differs from the cause of the pain that baseball pitchers experience in their lower back.

     To eliminate neck pain, to move their pitching upper arm toward home plate, baseball pitchers should use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, not their Pectoralis Major muscle.

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

157.  Finally healthy, Zumaya ready for battle:  Right-hander back in the saddle with adjusted arm slot
MLB.com
February 17, 2010

LAKELAND, FL:  Joel Zumaya was Detroit's closer-in-waiting three years ago.  He was a potential closer contestant a few months ago.  Now?  Zumaya isn't taking anything for granted.  All he knows, he says, is that he's healthy, more so than he has been for the past 2 1/2 years.  And as the hard-throwing right-hander enters what could be the Spring Training camp that determines the rest of his career, he sounds like someone on a mission.

"I'm coming in to prove something," Zumaya said after a bullpen session Tuesday at Joker Marchant Stadium.  "I've got a lot to prove.  The last two years, I've been sitting on the shelf, so I'm probably on my last string right now.  And I don't want that last string to get pulled."  He isn't referring to anything attaching his shoulder as a string.  He's talking about his career as a Tiger.

Even with the fact that Zumaya is tough on himself, it's a scenario few would've imagined after that magical 2006 season.  Zumaya pitched in 62 games and 83 1/3 innings as a rookie that year, but has just 78 appearances and 88 innings in three seasons since.  When he avoided arbitration this winter, the Tigers included a clause in his contract that awards a bonus if he makes 30 appearances this season, something he hasn't done since '06.

Zumaya isn't claiming he's owed anything based off that year alone.  He's just ready for a shot to prove himself again.  He's healthy, he says, and he wants a chance to show what he can do.  "I have nothing bothering me in my arm anymore," Zumaya said.  "I'm throwing the ball free and easy."  He has kept what was bothering him in his shoulder last year and wrecked his 2009 season just when it was getting going.  It was a bone shard, the result of a stress fracture, but a lot larger than the sliver one might expect.  Surgery last August removed it.  "I have it as a souvenir," Zumaya said.  "It's probably the size of my thumb.  It's that big."

A year ago, doctors believed he could pitch through the stress fracture, even with the bone fragment.  Pro quarterbacks have thrown through similar stress fractures and felt fine.  Unfortunately, there's so little history with pitchers and that kind of injury that they had no examples in that sport with that throwing motion.  An abbreviated Spring Training followed, with tendinitis costing Zumaya a chance to open the season on the active roster.  He joined the club in late April, had mixed results through June, then felt his shoulder turn progressively worse in a disastrous outing at Yankee Stadium out of the All-Star break.

Part of Zumaya's problem, in hindsight, had to do with his arm angle.  As he tried to pitch through shoulder trouble, he lowered his arm angle to a more comfortable slot.  His pitches, in turn, flattened out, especially his fastball.  He was throwing as hard as ever, but hitters connected.

Seven weeks after his surgery, Zumaya was "flipping the ball" to get a feel for it.  He threw his first mound session before Christmas.  He returned to throwing at a high school alumni game.  "I threw the last inning, just to see how it felt," he said.  "And it felt fine."  Since then, he has been on a normal throwing program, not a rehab program.  His bullpen session Tuesday morning was his sixth since coming to Lakeland right after New Year's Day.  Each one has left him feeling encouraged.

What encouraged pitching coach Rick Knapp, besides the health, was the arm angle.  It has Zumaya excited, too.  "My arm slot is totally different from where I was the last two years," he said.  "It's a lot higher.  It's actually where I'm supposed to be.  I mean, the last two years, I've thrown with my arm slot a little low, because I had that little issue.  I've kept my mouth shut for a while.  I just had to get this done and get cleaned up.  "Like I said, I'm fine.  My arm slot's going to be a lot better.  My offspeed [pitches are] a lot sharper.  The ball's coming down to a point.  It's not coming flat."

If he can keep it that way, he might again have a career on the rise.  Any shot he had to be a closer in Detroit anytime soon likely vanished when the Tigers signed Jose Valverde to a two-year contract.  But he has enough eighth-inning experience to be a strong setup man if he stays healthy.

The Tigers' bullpen is deep in talent, probably deeper than it has been in a long time.  But manager Jim Leyland admits Zumaya is a big key because of what he brings.  "I think the bullpen's going to be pretty good, particularly if Zumaya's healthy," Leyland said Wednesday.  "Everybody says he is, but you don't know that until we get out there."  Zumaya doesn't consider his health as a question anymore.  His performance is now the key.  "Basically, I feel fine," Zumaya said.  "I'm not even on a rehab program.  I'm already on my sixth 'pen [session].  I'm way advanced on some of these guys.  Once [workouts] come around, I'm going to be ready."


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

     Mr. Zamaya had a stress fracture.  Stress fractures are cracks in the bone.

     However, Mr. Zamaya said that the orthopedic surgeon removed a piece of bone that was about the size of his thumb.  That is not a stress fracture; that was a shattered bone.

     How did the bone replace that thumb-sized piece of bone?

     Me believe that Mr. Zamaya embellishes.

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

158.  This is the latter portion of an MLB.com article on Marlins' reliever Leo Nunez:

...In the off-season, Nunez has been working on fine-tuning his slider and changeup.  When he faces batters, he will work on a pitch sequence, like not always opening with a first-pitch fastball.  "I've been doing a lot of work with the slider," Nunez said.  "That and throwing my fastball inside more.  Right now, I feel good."

An issue with Nunez last year was wear-and-tear on his body.  In the 2009 Marlins media guide, he was listed at 6-foot-2, 182-pounds.  Because of his slender body type, the Marlins were mindful of his total appearances.  Still, he ended up throwing in a career-high number of games.  His 75 appearances also were tied for 11th in the National League.

The Marlins do have other closing options should they need them.  Brian Sanches, Dan Meyer, Seth McClung and Derrick Turnbow offer alternatives.  Acquired from the Royals for Mike Jacobs after the 2008 season, Nunez had never thrown in more than 45 games with Kansas City.

To help his durability, this off-season Nunez spent more time in the weight room.  At FanFest last weekend, he showed up at 190 pounds.  "I gained about eight-to-10 pounds since last year," Nunez said.  "I was working with weights every day."  The extra weight should help him hold up late in the season.

"He's got a whippy arm, so I don't know if it's necessarily a weight issue with him," Marlins GM Michael Hill said.  "When he's at his best, he's able to command his pitches.  When he ran into trouble, his fastball was up and not over the plate.  "He has the repertoire and the weapons to be successful.  What he has to learn to be successful at that role is not to be predictable, because [hitters] have a book [on him], too.  They're working at trying to beat him."


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

     Mr. Hill, the Marlins General Manager, said that Mr. Nunez got into trouble when his fastball was up and not over the plate.  Then, Mr. Hill said that Mr. Nunez needed to be unpredictable.

     When Mr. Hill said that Mr. Nunez had to throw pitches that batters do not expect, he surprised me.  Unfortunately, Mr. Hill did not blame Mr. Nunez's problem on throwing what batters expected.  Instead, Mr. Hill blamed Mr. Nunez;s problem on his fastball being up and not over the plate.  He cannot have it both ways.

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

159.  Recovering Lilly targets Opening Day:  Cubs lefty hopes to return from shoulder surgery early
MLB.com
February 17, 2010

MESA, AZ:  There's no official date for Ted Lilly's return, but the Cubs left-hander does have a goal in mind:  Opening Day.  "I don't know what the date is," Lilly said Wednesday.  "I'd like to be ready when all the other healthy guys are.  That would be good for me.  If I can't, I'll be disappointed.  "I have to understand that sometimes you take one step back to gain a couple forward.  The whole idea is to not only come back as soon as possible and be out there contributing but be productive, too."

Lilly is coming back from arthroscopic surgery in early November on his left shoulder.  It was a minor procedure.  He has yet to throw off a mound but is playing catch, and on Tuesday he was able to throw from about 120 feet.  On Wednesday, the day pitchers and catchers report to Fitch Park, Lilly and Ryan Dempster went for a long run.  "It feels pretty strong," Lilly said of his shoulder.  "I expect to be ahead of schedule, whatever schedule comes out.  I think the real test is first, when you get on the mound and start throwing downhill off the slope and after that when you get into a game situation and you try to really dial it up with runners in scoring position or whatever it is, that's when you find out how healthy you really are."

This is the final season of Lilly's three-year contract with the Cubs.  He'd prefer to keep all negotiations between him and general manager Jim Hendry private, but he said it's too early to discuss a new deal.  "I haven't even thought about it," Lilly said.  "The first thing that comes to mind when you talk about something like that is I've been on many teams and been in this situation before and been with a lot of players before, and I think the best thing to do is not make it be about yourself.  "I don't want to draw attention to myself in that way and distract from anything our club is trying to do.  I don't think it's all about me."


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

     Using the Pectoralis Major muscle to pull the pitching upper arm forward causes injuries to the front and back of the pitching shoulder.  While the articles does not provide details of the 'minor' procedure that Mr. Lilly had, I do not believe that it included teaching Mr. Lilly how to use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to move his pitching upper arm forward.

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

160.  Cubs’ Zambrano says he is shaping up
Associated Press
February 18, 2010

MESA, AZ:  Carlos Zambrano took off his cap to show a standard and conservative haircut—no streaks and nothing fancy—that resembled the one he sported as a younger player.  “I feel like a new guy.  I feel like a rookie again.  That’s why I have this haircut,” Zambrano said.  If Zambrano had a different look Thursday when the Chicago Cubs pitchers and catchers held their first workout, it was his trimmer physique.  He estimates he’s lost between 12 and 15 pounds through a new diet and is down to 260 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame.  Zambrano plans to lose five more pounds and work with a nutritionist once the season starts.

After a disappointing 9-7 season a year ago that included two trips to the disabled list for hamstring and back issues, the emotional right-hander said he plans to keep his angry outbursts in check and his body healthy.  “Believe me.  I think I passed that stage where everything gets me mad,” the 28-year-old Zambrano said.  “That’s why you will see a Carlos Zambrano smiling and laughing with everybody.”

Zambrano spent his winter in Chicago but headed to Arizona at the beginning of February to get a head start on spring training.  “I am a proud guy and obviously I wasn’t proud of the season I had last year,” Zambrano said.  A tirade against an umpire in which he threw a baseball into the outfield and slammed his glove against the dugout fence led to a six-game suspension.  Zambrano acknowledged that the game, at times last season, stopped being fun.  “It was.  It wasn’t,” he said.  “I have fun.  Some other ways I have frustration.”

And during the off-season, he heard his name mentioned in trade rumors, even though he has a no-trade clause in the five-year, $91.5 million deal he got in August of 2007.  The worst part, he said, was how much the speculation upset his daughter.  “One time, I told my daughter that we may move.  It’s hard to see your kid crying,” Zambrano said.  “Everybody was talking about trading, trading, trading.  I thought it was coming for sure, but (general manager) Jim (Hendry) never mentioned anything to me.”

Zambrano revealed Thursday that he’s dropped the cutter from his pitching mix this season because he made too many mistakes with it last season.  Entering 2010 with a 105-68 record and a 3.51 ERA over nine seasons, he’s fully aware that the Cubs’ success this season depends on him again becoming the staff ace.

“Carlos is serious this year.  I think Carlos was embarrassed last year,” manager Lou Piniella said.  “We need Carlos.  There is no reason Zambrano can’t win 18 ball games or so.”


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

     New haircut.  Lost 12 to 15 pounds.  New happy attitude.  Sounds as though Mr. Zambrano is ready to go.

     The only part of this article that makes me think that Mr. Zambrano might have a good year is when he said that he is not going to throw his cutter anymore.

     Unfortunately, Mr. Zambrano's reason for not throwing his cutter anymore was wrong.  He said that he dropped it because he make too many mistakes with it last year.  The real reason why Mr. Zambrano should not throw his cutter anymore is because he pulls his cutter.  True, that does make it difficult for Mr. Zambrano to control, but, more importantly, pulling his cutter injures the front of his pitching shoulder.

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

161.  A wiser Hamels has a recovery plan
Yahoo! Sports
February 18, 2010

CLEARWATER, FL:  Cole Hamels had gone from toast of the town to burned crisp in a year’s time, so naturally a lot of folks analyzed the problem.  Not just any folks – some of the best left-handed pitchers in recent memory.  Hall of Famer Whitey Ford discussed the enigmatic Philadelphia Phillies pitcher with manager Charlie Manuel over dinner.  Hamels sought advice from Hall of Famer Steve Carlton and Cy Young award winner Cliff Lee.  And he was receptive, as always, to the counsel of 24-year veteran and teammate Jamie Moyer.

So, it was in the spirit of additional support that someone suggested to Manuel that Johnny Podres be summoned to spring training to tutor Hamels.  After all, in his prime, Podres was a phenomenal left-handed pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers who went on to become a Midas-touch pitching coach with four teams, including the 1993 National League champion Phillies.  Manuel stammered for a moment, then informed the gentleman that Podres had passed away (two years ago at age 75).

For all the helping hands, solicited and otherwise, Hamels is aware that only he can put his career back on track.  He admits to having been overwhelmed by reaching the pinnacle too soon, a World Series MVP in 2008 at age 24, and views the humbling setbacks of 2009 as a necessary part of his maturation.  “You live and learn,” he said.  “You need to have games that don’t go the way you like.  It lets you know this game is hard.  When things get tough, you learn a little bit about yourself.  You have to simplify the game instead of making it out to be something that’s even harder.  And that’s what I did [last year], I made it a lot harder than the game should be.”

Problems began when he spent the months following the Phillies’ championship on what he wryly called “an extended media circuit” that included appearances on David Letterman and Ellen DeGeneres, as well as dozens of hand-shaking, autograph-signing publicity requests.  President Obama called him the “unbelievable playoff ace” when the Phillies were honored at the White House.  Hamels signed a three-year, $20.5 million contract and then went on a radio talk show and called the division rival Mets “choke artists.”

In sum, he found time for everything except picking up a baseball, and he showed up at spring training out of shape.  It took him weeks to build his arm strength to a point where he could throw a curveball.  And when the season started, he couldn’t throw the curve for strikes.  Sure, he still had his live fastball and one of the best changeups in the game.  But hitters had solved him, recognizing that he didn’t have a reliable third pitch.  The batting average against him rose from .227 in 2008 to .273 in 2009.  “Guys are going to catch up to you,” he said.  “Hitters made the adjustment.”

Hamels’ reaction to getting knocked around compounded the problem.  He became furious with himself, on the mound, in plain view. Hamels, for so long the epitome of a laid-back California kid, had become a confused, clueless shell of the pitcher who had gone 29-15 the previous two seasons.  Manuel and pitching coach Rich Dubee were baffled by the spectacle.  “The biggest problem with Cole last year, in my opinion, is he pitched with a lot of anger, with himself mostly,” Dubee said.  “He’s such a perfectionist.  You don’t pitch with anger.  He wasn’t nearly as focused as he was the two previous years.  He expects a lot out of himself, not unlike most guys in that clubhouse, but your expectations of what you want and the way you approach it are very important and his approach wasn’t good.”

Dubee’s inclination is to throw Hamels’ anger in his face by having him watch video of his worst performances, not to analyze mechanics or pitch selection, but so he sees himself angrily snatching the ball back from the catcher and stomping around the mound.  Hamels isn’t so sure that’s necessary.  “I was there.  I remember those times,” he said, chuckling.  “I don’t think I need to watch the video.”

Hamels has already taken a major step toward a remedy: arriving at camp in shape.  Hamels never stopped throwing during the off-season, taking baseballs on his vacation, ducking into tennis courts, gyms and schoolyards, throwing against fences, walls and to his brother.  “He needed to come to spring training in condition so work can be done,” Dubee said.  “He took it to heart.”

Hamels will be able to work on the command of his curveball much earlier this spring because his arm strength has already been built up.  Even while getting torched during the playoffs last season, he allowed seven home runs and 16 earned runs in 19 innings, he noticed what a good curve can do for a pitcher.  Dodgers young left-hander Clayton Kershaw particularly made an impression.  “He has a very effective curveball,” Hamels said.  “I saw what that did to our hitters, and I do understand our hitters are very good. Putting that in my repertoire, a curveball,– it really does change what a hitter does.  A pitch that has movement in the opposite direction of the changeup adds another dimension.”

Hamels also plans to develop a cut fastball; a pitch he has toyed with but never thrown in a game.  If it seems odd that a pitcher with Hamels’ pedigree is still struggling to harness a curveball and develop a fourth pitch, keep in mind he pitched only 201 innings in the minors.  Hamels rose quickly through the farm system and had immediate success at the big-league level.  Including the post-season, he’s thrown 665 innings the last three years.

So it’s fair to chalk up some of his mistakes to inexperience.  Mistakes like throwing consecutive changeups to Manny Ramirez in Game 1 of the NLCS last year when it was apparent Ramirez couldn’t catch up with his fastball.  The last changeup was deposited in the left-field bleachers.  And mistakes like Hamels thinking Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte would bunt in the fifth inning of Game 3 of the World Series with the tying run on second and one out.  He threw a high curveball hoping a bunt might be popped up, and Pettitte smacked the pitch into center field for a single.  Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon followed with hits, the Phillies’ lead had vanished and momentum in the series had turned.

“There are always points in anyone’s career where you stop and take it all in and learn,” Hamels said Thursday.  “I’m still young in the baseball world.”  After Game 3, Hamels all but threw in the towel, saying he couldn’t wait for the season to end.  Manuel again was perplexed.  He called Hamels into his office for an explanation, accepted it, and the two men didn’t speak during the off-season.  Not that Manuel is down on Hamels, even though he did say new acquisition Roy Halladay will start opening day.  The dominance Hamels exhibited in 2007 and 2008 is fresh in Manuel’s mind.  All he needed was to see the left-hander the first day of spring.

“You can see it in his body and his arm strength,” Manuel said.  “He worked hard in the off-season, all on his own.  “He’s definitely a gamer.  I’ve never, ever questioned his mental toughness.  He’s going to win 20 games before his career is over.”  If Hamels sustains the commitment he professed Thursday, those wins could come in 2010.


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

     The Phillies Field Manager, Mr. Manuel said that Mr. Hamels worked hard in the off-season, all on his own.

     To show Mr. Hamel angrily snatching the ball back from the catcher and stomping around the mound, the Phillies pitching coach, Mr. Dubee made a video of Mr. Hamel's worst performances.

     I think I found the problem with the Phillies pitching.

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

162.  Swimming pool

One of the keys to your pitching motion is to pull the glove foot back toward second base once it lands and then, once the pitching side hip passes the glove side hip, to push the glove side foot toward second base.

This action appears to be easier said than done.

Therefore, what do you think of putting pitchers in a pool of about 4-5 feet of water to get the feel of the glove foot action?

I was in a pool last night and it struck me that water might give pitchers enough resistance to feel what the glove leg is supposed to accomplish.  When you walk in a pool your "glove" leg has to pull the body forward until the center of mass of the body passes the glove side hip.  Then, it pushes backward to propel the body forward in the water.

Would there be any value for a pitcher doing this?


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

     When baseball pitchers pitch up to their waists in water, the principle of 'Specificity of Training' requires that I train them up to their waists in water.

     Whether high-speed film shows that my baseball pitchers actually move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot before they release their pitches does not matter.

     When my baseball pitchers try to move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot before they release their pitches, they move the center of mass of their body forward through release.  That is all that matters.

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

163.  Ligaments emitting pain

An important belief of yours is that ligaments do not have Golgi sense organs and therefore do not emit pain.

A doctor in California evidently had his knees operated on without anesthesia and found that his ligament emitted quite a bit of pain when probed.

I'd appreciate you take on this.

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

Conscious Neurosensory Mapping of the Internal Structures of the Human Knee Without Intra-articular Anesthesia

1.  Scott F. Dye, MD; Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of California, California,
2.  Geoffrey L. Vaupel, MD; Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, California Pacific Medical Center, Davies Campus, San Francisco, California and
3.  Christopher C. Dye; Mira Costa College, Oceanside, California

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Scott F. Dye, MD, California Pacific Medical Center, Davies Campus, 45 Castro Street, Suite 117, San Francisco, CA 94114

Abstract

The conscious neurosensory characteristics of the internal components of the human knee were documented by instrumented arthroscopic palpation without intra-articular anesthesia.

With only local anesthesia injected at the portal sites, the first author (SFD) had both knees inspected arthroscopically.  Subjectively, he graded the sensation from no sensation (0) to severe pain (4), with a modifier of either accurate spatial localization (A) or poor spatial localization (B).

The nature of the intra-articular sensation was variable, ranging from 0 on the patellar articular cartilage to 4A on the anterior synovium, fat pad, and joint capsule.

1.  The sensation arising from the cruciate ligaments ranged from 1 to 2B in the mid-portion, and from 3 to 4B at the insertion sites.

2.  The sensation from the meniscal cartilages ranged from 1B on the inner rim to 3B near the capsular margin.

Innervation of most intra-articular components of the knee is probably crucial for tissue homeostasis.  Failure of current intra-articular soft tissue reconstructions of the knee may be due, in part, to the lack of neurosensory restoration.

Research studies of the knee designed to delineate factors that restore neurosensory characteristics of the musculoskeletal system may lead to techniques that result in true restoration of joint homeostasis and function.


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

     When I read this abstract, I kept thinking, why did these guys do this?

     Their answer was that, if they understood the neurosensory characteristics of the musculoskeletal system, then, after surgical repairs, they might be able restore normal joint function.

     Okay.

     The doctor that agreed to surgery on his knee without anesthetic graded his discomfort from zero (no sensation) to four (severe pain).  The other doctors quantified whether the subject accurately located where they probed, where (A) indicates that the subject accurately located the probe and (B) indicates that he did not accurately locate the probe.

1.  When they probed the articular cartilage of the Patella bone, the subject did not feel any discomfort and did not accurately locate the probe.

2.  When they probed the anterior synovium, the fat pad and joint capsule, the subject correctly located the probe's location and reported severe pain.

3.  When they probed the mid-portions of the Anterior and Posterior Cruciate Ligaments, the subject could not accurately locate the probe and reported minimal discomfort.

4.  When they probed the insertions sites of the Anterior and Posterior Cruciate Ligaments, the subject could not accurately locate the probe and reported considerable to severe pain.

5.  When they probed the inner rim of the meniscal cartilages, the subject could not accurately locate the probe and reported minimal discomfort.

6.  When they probed the capsular margins rim of the meniscal cartilages, the subject could not accurately locate the probe and reported considerable discomfort.

     That these researchers found that, when they probed the mid-portions of the Anterior and Posterior Cruciate Ligaments, the subject could not accurately locate the probe and reported minimal discomfort, supports my belief that, when baseball pitchers microscopically tear the connective tissue fiber that make up their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, they cannot feel pain.

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

164.  Hanrahan to begin season on DL: Veteran right-handed reliever sidelined by elbow strain
MLB.com
February 18, 2010

BRADENTON, FL:  Pitchers and catchers hadn't yet taken the fields at Pirate City for the team's first official workout on Thursday before the club found itself dealing with the reality that it will be without right-handed reliever Joel Hanrahan on Opening Day.

Though tests are still ongoing, Hanrahan has been diagnosed with a flexor-pronator strain in his right elbow, an injury that has sidelined him from throwing for the time being.  The Pirates are still getting a grasp on the severity of the injury, but that should be known after Hanrahan undergoes another handful of tests and exams in the upcoming week.

He is scheduled to be examined by Pirates medical director, Dr. Patrick DeMeo, in Bradenton later on Thursday, and then by orthopedist Dr. James Andrews next Thursday in Pensacola, FL Hanrahan said he also has an MRI scheduled for Tuesday.  "The reality is that Joel probably won't be ready for Opening Day," general manager Neal Huntington said.  "Is it May 1?  Is it June 1?  We'll know more as we get more doctor information."

Tests so far have shown no structural damage, and surgery has not yet been a point of discussion with Hanrahan.  "Hopefully it won't be anything that lingers all year," Hanrahan said.  "Hopefully we can get it taken care of now.  If I miss two weeks to a month, that's better than missing a whole year."

Hanrahan dealt with some mild discomfort in his pitching arm during the final two months of the '09 season and pitched just twice after Sept. 15 because of that.  He said he felt fine throughout the winter until he began throwing at the team's minicamp in early January.  He took a week off after minicamp to rest his arm, but when his elbow was still bothering him early this month, Hanrahan again alerted the club's medical staff.  "It's tough," he said.  "You want to get out there and do your preparation to get ready for the season.  You get to know guys a lot better out on the field than sitting in a trainer's room.  It's tough, but it's something that you've got to deal with."


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

     Discomfort in the Pronator Teres muscle is a normal training discomfort.  Baseball pitchers need to train through this discomfort.  The worst course of action is rest.  Now, he will be less able to withstand the stress.

     Of course, if the Pirates had an appropriate off-season training program, then he would have trained his Pronator Teres muscle to withstand the stress.

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

165.  Mets ace Santana feels strong after elbow surgery
Associated Press
February 18, 2010

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL:  Asked to pick the best pitcher in the NL East, New York Mets ace Johan Santana had a quick answer.  “Santana,” he said Thursday.  Santana reported to spring training expressing confidence in both his team and his surgically repaired left elbow.  “We are confident about the things we can do,” Santana said.  “We are healthy and we are definitely happy to be back on the field and do the things we know.  It’s going to be a good atmosphere around here, and everyone wants to move on and get everything going.”

Santana began throwing off a mound last month for the first time since August when he was shut down to have surgery to remove bone chips.  He spent much of the offseason working out at Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers and said he has made progress since first stepping back on a mound in Port St. Lucie during the Mets’ three-day minicamp at the end of January.  “I’m able to let it go,” Santana said.  “I am able to throw my fastball with no problems and throw my breaking balls and my changeup without feeling that sharp pain in the back of my elbow now.  I am able to throw all my pitches pain free, so that’s a big plus for me.”

Santana was reminded during a news conference that the last time he underwent elbow surgery, he went on to win a Cy Young Award the next season, his first of two with the Minnesota Twins.  Despite his elbow problems, he went 13-9 with a 3.13 ERA in 25 starts last year.  “My plan is definitely to win the World Series,” Santana said.  “That’s what we want to do.  If I win the Cy Young, great.  I feel good.  I am going to compete, and I am going to try to do my best every time I am out there.  If I stay healthy, I think I’m going to have a chance.”

Santana doesn’t mind the naysayers doubting the Mets this season.  Even after an injury-plagued season resulted in a 70-92 year, he believes his team has the talent to succeed.  He also said he hasn’t changed his mind about wanting to be in New York.


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

     Mr. Santana said, "If I stay healthy, I think I'm going to have a chance."

     That does not sound as though he understands what has happened to him.

     Bone chips result from bones slamming together.  Mr. Santana needs to stop banging the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together.  To do that, he needs to learn how to pronate the releases of all his pitches.

     Wouldn't it be nice if Mr. Santana knew this?

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

166.  Nationals’ Detwiler out 3 months after hip surgery
Associated Press
February 18, 2010

VIERA, FL:  Washington Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler will miss at least three months after undergoing surgery this week to repair torn right hip cartilage.  The procedure was performed Monday by Dr. Marc Philippon in Vail, Co.

Detwiler is expected to arrive at the team’s spring training headquarters this weekend, a team spokesman said.  Detwiler is scheduled to begin a throwing program in three weeks.


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

     Baseball pitchers reverse rotate on their pitching arm side hip.  The excessive side-to-side movement eventually destroys their pitching hip, such that, after they retire, they get to have their hip replaced.

     However, Mr. Detwhiles injured his glove arm side hip.

     I have never watched Mr. Detwhiler pitch.  However, I suspect that he steps well to the outside of the line between from where he has his pitching foot on the pitching rubber and straight forward.

     Baseball pitchers with extremely closed strides with their glove foot turned toward their pitching arm side put severe stress on the posterior side of their glove hip.

     Therefore, striding closed not only unnecessarily stresses the front and back of the pitching shoulder, it also unnecessarily stresses the posterior aspect of the glove hip.

     When he comes back, Mr. Detwhiler needs to learn how to get his pitching arm to driveline height at the same time that his glove foot lands at least on the line straight ahead of where he has his pitching foot on the pitching rubber with his glove foot at least pointing toward home plate.

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

167.  Padres’ Young feels good in first bullpen session
Associated Press
February 19, 2010

PEORIA, AZ:  Right-hander Chris Young says he felt good after participating in a bullpen session during the team’s first workout on Friday morning.  Young, who had arthroscopic shoulder surgery on August 17, says he spent all off-season strengthening his right arm and shoulder in order to be ready for spring training.  He threw 40 pitches in 10 minutes.  Young was 4-6 with a 5.21 ERA in 14 starts last season and hasn’t pitched since leaving early from a June 14 game against the Los Angeles Angels.  “It was a standard first day,” Young said with a laugh.  “Everybody was healthy.  Nobody got lost.  I think it’s a good day.

“Being ready was the goal.  The (doctors) had kind of gone over the rehab timetable and that was the goal.  But you never know, one what they’d find once they got in there, or if you’d ever have any setbacks during the rehab.  Fortunately I haven’t had any.”

Young began his rehab in November.  Manager Bud Black has constantly been monitoring Young throughout the offseason at Petco Park.  Prior to Friday’s session, Young had thrown off a mound several times without incident.  “Everything’s going well from what he’s indicated and what I’ve seen of his arm is great,” Black said.  “The way the shoulder is working, his arm stroke, it’s fluid, it’s loose.  It doesn’t look like there’s any tentativeness when he’s throwing the ball.  Physically he’s in a very good spot.  “The doctors felt he’d be ready to do the work a healthy pitcher would do.”

Young said he began strengthening his shoulder 8-to-12 weeks earlier than normal this off-season.  With the shoulder strong, Young hasn’t shied away from throwing any of his pitches during bullpen sessions.

Young reported feeling healthy to begin the 2009 season, but he made only 14 starts before going on the DL with a strained right shoulder.  After two months of treatments proved ineffective, Young underwent surgery.  But doctors didn’t find any significant structural damage.  “I feel like the arm injury fortunately wasn’t more serious but it’s something that long term is going to benefit me,” Young said.  “I think it was a wear-and-tear injury that accumulated over time and finally it just couldn’t take any more.  Hopefully that’s been corrected.  I feel strong and healthy.”


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

     In 2009, after fourteen starts, Mr. Young went on the Disabled List with a strained pitching shoulder.  Two months of treatments did not take away the discomfort.  Therefore, the orthopedic surgeon recommended surgery.  However, after cutting open Mr. Young's pitching shoulder, he didn’t find any significant structural damage.

     When what trainers do that passes for rehabilition does not eliminate the discomfort that baseball pitchers feel, why is surgery the next option?  Trainers have not idea how to eliminate pitching injuries.  They believe that pulling on rubber hoses trains baseball pitchers.

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

168.  Dice-K likely to miss start of spring
Boston Herald
February 19, 2010

Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka has a sore back that is expected to sideline him for the start of spring training, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.  However, the injury is not expected to keep Matsuzaka from being ready for the start of the season.  Matsuzaka told Japanese reporters recently, in comments relayed by ESPNBoston, that his back was feeling sore.

He left the minor league complex today after a truncated workout that included shoulder strengthening.

It’s unclear exactly how Matsuzaka was injured, but one theory is that he hurt himself while working hard to arrive at spring training in top condition, because he has something to prove after last year’s lost season.  He has kept the Red Sox abreast of his condition and is being treated by the team’s medical staff.


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

     The Boston medical staff is treating Mr. Matsuzaka.  Mr. Matsuzaka did exercises designed to strengthen his pitching shoulder.  Orthopedic surgeons are not Exercise Physiologists.  Trainers are not Exercise Physiologists.  Most Exercise Physiologists are not Exercise Physiologists.

     The blind are leading the blind into the oblivion of the Disabled List.

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

169.  Gagne agrees with Dodgers
Associated Press
February 19, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ:  Former NL Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne has agreed to a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers and would receive a $500,000, one-year contract if added to the 40-man roster.  Gagne won the 2003 NL Cy Young with the Dodgers, when he converted all 55 save chances, and saved 152 games over three seasons through 2004.  The right-hander converted a record 84 consecutive save chances during that time, but had operations on his pitching elbow in 2005 and 2006, and back surgery in 2006.

Now 34, he hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2008, when he was 4-3 with a 5.44 ERA and 10 saves in 17 chances for Milwaukee.  The Brewers released him from a minor league contract last March after doctors found he had a frayed rotator cuff.  He signed with the Quebec Capitales of the independent Can-Am League and went 6-6 with a 4.65 ERA in 17 starts.

The Mitchell Report accused Gagne of receiving human growth hormone in 2004.  He apologized to Milwaukee teammates for “a distraction that shouldn’t be taking place,” but didn’t directly address the allegation.


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

     I thought that Mr. Gagne admitted that he used the Growth Hormone, but it was to heal his injured knee.  I did not know that the Growth Hormone knew what part of the body to treat.

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

170.  Braves’ Jurrjens says shoulder ‘really tight’
Associated Press
February 19, 2010

KISSIMMEE, FL:  A clean MRI this week gave Jair Jurrjens relief that there’s no structural problem with his right shoulder.  Even so, Jurrjens was not ready to throw on Friday when the Atlanta Braves pitchers and catchers reported to spring training.  He said tightness in the shoulder could keep him from throwing “for a week or two.”

Jurrjens said Friday he expects to be ready for the start of the season, but he said he’ll be behind other Braves pitchers as he works out the stiffness.  “I’m hoping in a week or two I can start playing catch a little bit,” Jurrjens said.  “I was throwing from the mound already back home.  I don’t think it will take so long to get back up.  We’ll see.  We’re going to take it slow and hopefully I can get back on the field quick.”

Braves orthopedist Dr. Xavier Duralde prescribed a week of rest and treatment for Jurrjens following Wednesday’s MRI, which revealed only inflammation.  “I’m happy nothing showed up,” Jurrjens said.  “The doctor said that’s the most beautiful MRI he ever saw in his life.  Everything is intact and nothing is wrong in there.  I’m happy with that.”

The first official workout for pitchers and catchers is Saturday.  Jurrjens will spend the day “stretching and stretching” to try to regain flexibility in the shoulder.  “I’m really tight in my shoulder and I think that’s where the inflammation is,” he said.  Jurrjens says he made an awkward underhand throw while working out last week, causing the problem.  “Playing around and doing something stupid, I felt something,” he said.  “I’ve learned when I work out to make sure I stretch it and don’t play around.  It’s something you learn and I’ll make sure I never do it again.”


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

     Mr. Jurrjens said, “I was throwing from the mound already back home.  I don’t think it will take so long to get back up.

     Obviously, Mr. Jurrjens does not know that one month of detraining completely eliminates the micro-anatomical advantages he gained from competitively pitching last year.  It will take him one and one-half times the training time than the detraining time for him to return to his previous fitness levels.

     That means that, if baseball pitchers want to keep the micro-anatomical advantages that they gained from competitively pitching a major league season, then, for the entirety of their off-season, they have to maintain that fitness.

     After finding no damage in an MRI, Braves orthopedist Dr. Xavier Duralde told Mr. Jurrijen to detrain for a week or two.  Clearly, Dr. Duralde also does not understand detraining.

     The blind leads the blind into the oblivion of the Disabled List.

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

***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, March 07, 2010, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

171.  Chris 'Oleary

Chris O'Leary is using the Internet to advise athletes how to pitch and throw.  Today,he said that you have no understanding of the anatomy of the elbow.  If you did, you would recommend the "high-cocked" position used by traditional throwers.  He claimed that catchers and infielders throw that way and they have no elbow problems.

I usually wouldn't care.  But, some young person might stumble on to this mis-information, use it, and become injured.

Therefore, to clarify:

1.  Do you understand of the anatomy of the elbow?  If you do, then how did you achieve that understanding?

2.  Compared with Mr. O'Leary, what are your academich credentials?

3.  Is the "high guard" or "high cocked" position safe for baseball pitchers?  If not, how do you recommend pitchers move the ball into the position from which to start their acceleration toward home plate?

4.  When you played professional baseball, do you remember the pain, tendonitis, stiffness and torment suffered by many of your position player teammates after throwing with a traditional motion every day for seven months a year?

Isn't it true that a position player in pro ball; with games, pre-game drills and daily infield practice, will throw more baseballs in a week than Mr. O'Leary perhaps has thrown in his life?


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

01.  As an undergraduate Physical Education major, I took the undergraduate course in Anatomy that the Anatomy Department at Michigan State University offered.

     As a graduate school Exercise Physiology major, I took the Gross BioMedical Anatomy course that the Medical School at Michigan State University offered to medical students.

     In that course, I participated in dissecting a cadaver.

     As a result, I not only completely understand the structure of the human elbow, but I understand every bone, ligament, tendon, muscle, nerve, blood vessel and so on in the human body.

02.  As I understand the 'high-guard' or high-cocked' position as I believe Mr. Tom House first described it, immediately before baseball pitchers start to pull their pitching upper arm forward, they have their pitching elbow bent at ninety degrees with their pitching upper arm at shoulder height and their pitching forearm pointing vertically upward.

     This means that they have their pitching hand and baseball well above their height at which they will drive the baseball toward home plate.  That means that, before their pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball can start forward, they have to drop downward to the height at which they are pulling their pitching upper arm forward.  I call this action, 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' is the injurious flaw that ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament of 'traditional' baseball pitchers.

     Unfortunately, as a result of 'Reverse Throwing Forearm Bounce,' catchers also rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Because other position players use the crow-hop throwing rhythm, they raise their pitching arm to driveline height to arrive at the same time that their front foot lands, they are moving their throwing arm forward before they 'Reverse Throwing Forearm Bounce' their throwing arm.

     Therefore, they are contracting the muscles that attach to their medial epicondyle.  As a result, these muscles that overlay the Ulnar Collateral Ligament remove all stress from their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, such that they do not rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

03.  The 'traditional' baseball pitching motion uses the 'balance position' throwing rhythm, which means that, when their glove foot lands, the pitching forearms of 'traditional' baseball pitchers are not moving forward, but are still in the 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover' stage.

     Other than catchers, position players use the crow-hop throwing rhythm, which means that, when their glove foot lands, the throwing forearms of position players are moving forward.

     I have no doubt that, except for me when I pitched major league baseball, position players throw baseballs many more times per week than 'traditional' baseball pitchers.  However, the number of times that baseball players throw does not determine the injuries that they suffer.  How baseball players apply force to the baseball determines the injuries that they suffer.

     This means that, unless they do not that the fitness to withstand the stress at which they are applying force, overuse does not injure pitching/throwing arms.  Misuse injures pitching/throwing arms.

     This is another case of where common sense is the fool's excuse for lack of knowledge.

     I know Mr. O'Leary.  I know his baseball pitching background.  If readers took the time to research his academic background, then nobody would pay any attention to anything he has to say about baseball pitching.

     Because I keep a hard copy of every email that I receive and the answer I provide, I can go back the several years to when, to teach his son how to pitch, Mr. O'Leary wrote me his first email asking me to explain baseball pitching to him.

     If anybody meets Mr. O'Leary, then they immediately know that he has never dampened a jock on a pitching mound in any competitive baseball game of any significance.

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

172.  Baseball batters

In your Question and Answer section, you wrote:  “For baseball batters who want to rotate their body, they initiate that rotation with their rear leg.  After their front foot contacts the ground, they can start forwardly rotating their hips."

Your statement seems to indicate that it is not imperative that baseball batters rotate, but rather, optional.

I am trying to envision how a batter would deliver your top-arm punch and front-arm pull back without having rotated the hips and torso first.

Perhaps I am misreading things, but if there is a way to eliminate rotation from baseball batting, that is information that I would like to hear more about.


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

     I can see where I said, 'For baseball batters who want to rotate their body' could be interpreted as some baseball batters might not want to rotate their body.  I apologize for the poorly worded statement.  All baseball batters must rotate their body forward.

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

173.  POST MLB PITCHING

After MLB, did you apply learned when pitching amateur ball?  In other words, did you separate palm under, pendulum swing and try to throw it much like one does when throwing the heavy implements?


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

     Every day from 1967 through 1999, I did my wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws.  To learn how to use my Latissimus Dorsi muscle, instead of my Half Reverse Pivot body action, I used my Second Base Pickoff Move (Quarter Reverse Pivot) body action.

     For verification, I invite readers to read the June 15, 1973 article in the Montreal Gazette newspaper.

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

174.  New Brewers' Pitching Coach Studies Biomechanics

Brewers Trio Has Biomechanics Tested

Peterson's approach helps keep hurlers healthy By Adam McCalvy MLB.com PHOENIX, AZ:  The Brewers made baseball history of sorts on Friday when they began putting their Major League pitchers through a motion analysis exercise in a batting cage-turned laboratory at Maryvale Baseball Park.

Yovani Gallardo, Dave Bush and Doug Davis were among the pitchers stripped to their skivvies and strapped with sensors for a 10-pitch throwing session.  The sensors recorded more than 40 individual measurements in the pitchers' delivery and compared those readings to normative ranges established over the past two decades at Dr. James Andrews' lab in Birmingham, AL.  The idea is to identify potential areas of injury risk.

It's part of a program that new pitching coach Rick Peterson calls his "life's work," but the Brewers have been interested in biomechanics for at least the past five years.  The team's head physician, Dr. William Raasch, established a portable lab in Milwaukee, the only such in-house setup in baseball, the Brewers believe, and has used it to analyze pitchers in Milwaukee's Minor League system.  Friday marked the first time that the team began running all of its Major League pitchers through the process.

"Probably my fifth time doing it," said Gallardo, who came up through the Brewers' system.  "It's nice to know the certain points you may be putting more stress, like your shoulder or your elbow or whatever it is."

The program likes Gallardo.  He went through a test last year in Milwaukee and found that of all the pitchers tested, he put the least stress both on his shoulder and his elbow.  "It's good to hear that," he said.  "It makes you want to work even more on keeping your mechanics."

Said Bush:  "It's a little bit awkward because you're standing there without any clothes on but your sliders, but it's going to be pretty cool to see what it says.  I have an open mind about everything.  I'm not saying I'm going to go along with everything it says, but I'm definitely open to talking about it."

Left-handers Randy Wolf and Chris Capuano are among the more interesting subjects scheduled for an analysis on Saturday.  Wolf was the Brewers' biggest free-agent pickup and Capuano is trying a comeback from his second Tommy John surgery.  Capuano underwent an analysis several months ago during his rehabilitation and is curious to see how the results compare.  Wolf was just looking to have a little fun.  "We'll see if I qualify for a game of Tron," he joked.

This is serious stuff for Peterson, who was thrilled to join the Brewers over the winter because of the team's existing work in biomechanics.  He got his start in the field in 1989, when he was the White Sox's Double-A pitching coach in Birmingham, where Andrews had just founded the American Sports Medicine Institute.

Peterson's strength was taking Andrews' readings and developing solutions for pitchers to lower the red flags.  He has come up with a number of drills over the years to fix, for example, hip rotation or stride length.  By doing so, Peterson says he can reduce the likelihood of injury, he says Major League teams spent $1.4 billion on injured pitchers over the past 10 years, while improving a pitcher's performance.

He has spoken at length with a number of Milwaukee media outlets about his program since joining the Brewers, leading some skeptical fans to wonder whether the team hired a pitching coach or an injury prevention specialist.

That question was posed to Brewers manager Ken Macha, who worked with Peterson previously in Oakland, on Friday morning.  "The way to answer that is to tell them to check the guy's record," Macha said.  "At one particular time, the Toronto Blue Jays had [Roy] Halladay, [Kelvim] Escobar and [Chris] Carpenter all in their snake [Minor League system].  A little later, we had [Tim] Hudson, [Mark] Mulder and [Barry] Zito.  All three of those guys became extremely productive pitchers at an early age for the A's.

"Whereas, Carpenter didn't become productive until he got [to St. Louis].  Escobar, so-so.  And Halladay wound up getting sent back to A-ball to restructure himself.  You look at that particular example, and that says a lot for [Peterson]."  Peterson's passion, Macha said, is his best trait.  "I think the best coaches are the guys who can break down the basic movements into such small parts," Macha said.  "Whether it's teaching a ground ball or the hitting stroke or whatever, you simplify it for these players so they're looking to improve their small parts."

So far, the reviews of Peterson have been positive.  He's extremely smart, and he knows a lot about what he believes in," said Bush, whose 2009 season was ruined by an elbow injury.  "It's definitely a different program than the ones I've been involved with in the past.  I've never worked with someone who has this much knowledge of the biomechanics of pitching.  We've talked about mechanics a lot, but this is different.  I'm curious to see where it goes."


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

     For his attempts at eliminating pitching injuries, I strongly commend Mr. Peterson.  Unfortunately, the ASMI protocol does not identify the injurious flaws that injure baseball pitchers.

     After all the problems and injuries that Mr. Hudson, Mr. Mulder and Mr. Zito have had, I do not understand why anybody believes that what Mr. Peterson does helps anybody.

     Nevertheless, I would gladly watch the 250 frames per second high-speed video that Dr. Raasch's portable biomechanics lab provides and explain to Dr. Raasch and Mr. Peterson the injurious flaws in their baseball pitchers that they need to eliminate.

     Back in 1967, when I first took high-speed film of baseball pitching and determined the displacement, velocity and acceleration graph from which I calculated the forces generated, I learned that, unless you understand what muscles are providing the force, numbers have no meaning.

     Therefore, what Mr. Peterson is doing has no meaning.

     For my evaluation of the work that the American Sports Medicine Institute does, I refer readers to my Special Reports file.

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

175.  Mound temperament and pitching performance

I was wondering if you shed any light on a question I have.

Recently, I was arguing with someone on the influence of "mound temperament," or "perceived emotionality" on pitching performance.  My POV was that there was no correlation whatsoever between a starting pitcher's performance and the above, i.e., mound temperament or emotionality.

Have there been any scientific studies that shed any light on this relationship?


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

     After my baseball pitchers learn how to throw the pitches that I teach them, their next step is to throw those pitches in pitch sequences that are appropriate for each type of baseball batter in games as they do in bullpens.  When they can do that, I say that they have 'mound presence.'

     I agree that, for baseball pitchers to do this, they have to have confidence that they can do it.  I suppose that we could call this 'mound temperament' or 'perceived emotionality.'

     I suppose that psycho-therapists could interview baseball pitchers about their 'feelings' and write a report.  But, other that quantifying the percent strikes that baseball pitchers throw during bullpens versus during games, I do not see how researchers can study this phenomenon.

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

176.  San Antonio trip

I hope you had a great trip to San Antonio to watch Incarnate Word play St Mary's.  As I understand it Incarnate Word has a pitching coach who formerly coached under you and three pitchers who trained under you.  I see that, while Incarnate Word has a pretty good season going, they got spanked pretty good in one of the games this weekend.

My questions:

1.  Is it true that whatever pitching motion they use that all Incarnate Word pitchers train with iron ball and wrist weights?

2.  Is it true that all pitchers from Incarnate Word pronate the release of all pitches?

3.  I hear that Alfredo Caballero has gone to a more traditional motion.  What did you think of performance?

I know your guys were in varying stages of regression when you had you Certification seminar, but I thought Alfredo had the most potential of that group in terms of potential release velocity.

4.  How is Mike Farrenkopf doing?  I thought if Mike reached 90 MPH, it would be case-closed for the doubters of your pitching motion because I never thought he had a 90 MPH arm.

  5.  How is Colin Carmody doing?  Did you get to watch him throw any bullpens?


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

01.  When I coached baseball at Henderson State University, they allowed me to advertise for a graduate student to be my assistant coach.  From the long side of applicants, I chose John Maley.  When John told me that he played second base in college, I immediately made him my pitching coach.

     After he graduated, he became the pitching coach at St. Mary's University in San Antonio, TX, where, in the first year that they were eligible to participate in the NCAA II tournament, largely due to their pitching, four of whom I trained, they won the National Championship.

     After working for a couple of years at Texas State University in San Marcus, John moved to the University of Incarnate Word.  John is in his third season at the UIW.  However, he is an assistant coach; that means he has to satisfy the head coach.  John does what he can do, but he cannot do everything that I would do.  Nevertheless, he does a great job.

     With regard to my wrist weight exercises and my iron ball throws:  Some pitcher do some of my wrist weight exercises and some do not or they do only some of them.  They do not have a rebound wall, but they have a concrete dugout.  So, some throw a four pound soft covered heavy ball.  My guys throw their fifteen pound balls out in the back where they cannot destroy anything.

02.  John teaches them how to pronate the releases of their pitches.  Some learn how to do it and some do not want to do it.

03.  Alfredo uses a hybrid body action much like Jeff Sparks did in 1999 and 2000.  Therefore, he cannot get his body rotated forward far enough to drive down his acromial line.  Nevertheless, he uses my pitching arm action and pronates his releases.  But, because of his body action, he cannot get his pitching forearm vertical at release.

04.  Mike throws nice pitches, but he is still more concerned about throwing strikes than high-quality pitches.  When he learns to throw all pitches at his maximum genetic intensity, Mike will throw at whatever release velocity he is genetically gifted to throw.

05.  As the DVD that Colin put on YouTube shows, he can throw great bullpens.  At present, he is working on throwing the same quality of pitches in games.  When he does, he will become an outstanding baseball pitcher.

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

177.  Batting.

Two of us have been dissecting your batting information as contained in these question and answer files.  One huge question remains.

We are having trouble picturing the humerus of the front arm fully adducted and then internally rotating the shoulder joint.

Any mental pictures, suggestions or other aids to our understanding would be greatly appreciated.


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

     The front arm of my baseball batting technique is responsible for the backward parallel and oppositely-directed force immediately before the baseball bat contacts the baseball.

     That means that when the rear arm extends it's elbow joint to 'punch' straight at the baseball, the front arm flexes it's elbow joint to stop the forward movement of the handle of the baseball bat.

     To do this, the upper arm of the front arm starts and stays at shoulder height until this force-coupling moment occurs.  Then, to stop the forward movement of the handle of the baseball bat, baseball batters powerfully snap the elbow of their front arm down to the side of their rib cage, flex the elbow joint of their front arm and flex the wrist joint of their front arm.

     After their baseball bat contacts the baseball, my baseball batters keep the elbow of their front arm tight against their body and decelerate the baseball bat by plioanglosly inwardly rotating the shoulder joint of their front arm.

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

178.  video analysis

Do you offer video analysis services?

My son has an arm path that is unique to traditional pitchers (it reminds me of Jim Palmers "layed off" forearm rotation) and looks similar to videos on your site where you discuss breaking the hands with palm out vs. palm on top.  I guess the exception would be that my son pulls his hand behind his coronial plane whereas you teach staying "in line".

I would appreciate your thoughts on his arm path in regards to pro's/con's on health, control & velocity.  I can't tell if it's an even riskier version of traditional arm path or a hybrid of your teachings.

Not sure if you do video analysis services or if a donation for the website is preferred.


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

     I offer high-speed film and video analysis like the DVDs that I make for the baseball pitchers I train.

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

179.  San Antonio

What happened to the pitchers that they gave up so many runs in that last game?  And, when that next happens to me in my coaching career, is there anything (other than the obvious) that I can do or are there just days like that?


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

     The Incarnate Word pitchers gave up so many runs because you cannot sequence two pitches.  Also, with fourteen pitchers suited for the game, when the game got out of hand, the head coach told the pitching coach to pitch the kids whose fathers were pestering him about why their sons were not pitching.  Now, he has the reason.  They stink.

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

180.  shoulder pain

My son now a freshman in college is experiencing shoulder pain in the front of his shoulder and on the side (2-3 inches from the top of his shoulder down the side of his arm).

I have not seen him throw since the Fall season but he said they changed his mechanics after the X-mas break wanting him to use more of his legs and throw more traditional.

He told me he still uses the pendulum swing arm action and nothing has changed with his arm action since learning your mechanics.  Without seeing him throw, I'm not sure how accurate the last statement can be.

Anyway, I told him to return to the mechanics he learned from you and also continue to do his 15 lb WW and to work through the pain.

My question is:  If he has inflammation or a slight tear in a tendon of his pitching shoulder, am I wrong for telling him to continue to do the WW program?


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

     Pain in the front of the pitching shoulder results from pulling the pitching upper arm across the front of the body.  He needs to use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm.  Powerfully pronating his pitching forearm before, during and after he release his pitches will help.

     To use more of his legs and throw more 'traditional,' those idiots made him do precisely what destroys pitching arms.  That is, reverse rotating his hips and shoulders and taking the baseball laterally behind his body.

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

181.  Drill #4: Drop Out Wind-Up Pendulum Swing

I began Drill #4, the Wind-Up Body Action; Pendulum Swing Glove & Pitching Arm Actions Drill.  I am following your video and it's instruction.

1.  Should I start using the side-step (45degrees that you currently utilize) with the glove-foot and land on the heel and roll across the whole foot now?  Or is that for me to work on later?

2.  I am using the 10Lb lead ball until I receive the 12Lb lead ball from you (I mailed the money-order about 12 days ago).  Should I still keep doing 96 reps of lead ball tosses until I receive the 12 Lb ball or do I drop down to 48 reps and keep increasing WWs per your program?

3.  My first day was a bit frustrating on the new drill.  I felt like I did a fairly good job on the FB, IB, and BB drills; but I struggled to find any fluidity with the WWs.  Is this common?

4.  If I do incorporate your side-step do I still do the hop (the hop that rotates the pitching hip) at the end of your motion?


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

01.  On my Maxline pitches, to move their release point outside of the glove side of home plate and to rotate their acromial line farther toward home plate, I teach my baseball pitchers to step at a forty-five degree angle to the glove side of the pitching rubber.

     To make sure that my baseball pitchers move the pitching arm side of their body forward through release, I teach my baseball pitchers to walk forward off the pitching rubber, such that the heel of their glove foot lands first.

02.  On March 01, 2010, I mailed the twelve pound iron ball to your home address.  Please let me know when it arrives.

     Until the twelve pound lead ball arrives, you should use the ten pound lead ball as the training program prescribes that you should use the twelve pound lead ball.

03.  The first time that my baseball pitchers step forward with their glove foot, they frequently return to the 'balance position' timing of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.  That is, they step forward before their pitching arm is forty-five degrees behind their body.

04.  To make sure that my baseball pitchers lift their upper leg as they drive the pitching arm side of their body forward, I use the hop action of the glove foot.

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

182.  velocity-arm speed

It's that time of year!  My son just turned 14 and he has been practicing baseball indoors with his team all winter.

He is a southpaw, 5'10", 160 and he is growing at a very fast rate in many ways, including physically!

My question to you is:  Would this be the prime time of his growing life to get involved in weighted baseballs or even the edge glove for velocity or even bat speed?

He has very long fingers and other strong pluses that could provide an interesting future in baseball!


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

     Weighted baseballs and other gimmicks do not increase release velocity.  Instead, baseball pitchers have to learn how to apply force in straight lines toward home plate over longer time periods.

     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.

     For biological fourteen years olds, I recommend that once a year until youth baseball pitchers are is biologically sixteen years old, they complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

     At sixteen biological years old, I recommend that once a year until high school baseball pitchers are biological nineteen years old, they complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     At nineteen biological years old, I recommend that adult baseball pitchers complete my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     Thereafter, for as long as they want to continue to pitch competitively, I recommend that, every off-season, they repeat my 72-Day Thirty Pound Adult Baseball Pitchers Wrist Weight Recoil Interval-Training Program and my 72-Day Fifteen Pound Adult Baseball Pitchers Iron Ball Recoil Interval-Training Program.

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

183.  My 10 year old son batting

The following are two clips of my son doing your one handed swings.  On the top hand swings, I think he comes too far away from his rib cage.  Can you please provide your thoughts on both?

Front Arm Only Swing

Rear Arm Only Swing

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

01.  With the baseball bat horizontal, the starting position for my front arm only swing of my baseball batting technique is:

     a. the upper arm of the front arm at shoulder height,
     b. the elbow of the front arm tightly bent,
     c. the forearm of the front arm pointing at the baseball pitcher,
     d. with the palm of their front arm facing downward and
     e. the thumb of the front hand touching the ear lobe on the rear arm side of the head.

     To initiate the front arm only swing, I teach my baseball batters to step forward with their front leg and, when their front foot lands, rotate their hips and shoulders forward until their acromial line is perpendicular to where they should hit the ball.  During this movement, the front arm remains in exactly the same position as it was in the starting position.

     To apply the parallel and oppositely-directed force on one side of the fulcrum between where their front hand and rear hand grip the baseball bat, I teach my baseball batters to snap the upper arm of their front arm sharply down to the front arm side of their body and drive the back of their front arm straight toward the ball.

     The video shows that your son does a nice job of not taking his front arm upward or laterally behind his body.  However, he needs to start with the elbow of his front arm tightly bent and extend it through contact.

02.  With the baseball bat horizontal, the starting position for my rear arm only swing of my baseball batting technique is:

     a. the upper arm of the rear arm pointing downward,
     b. the elbow of the rear arm tightly bent and tightly against their body,
     c. the forearm of the rear arm pointing upward,
     d. with the palm of their rear arm facing toward the baseball pitcher and
     e. the thumb of the rear hand touching the ear lobe on the rear arm side of the head.

     To initiate the rear arm only swing, I teach my baseball batters to step forward with their front leg and, when their front foot lands, rotate their hips and shoulders forward until their acromial line is perpendicular to where they should hit the ball.  During this movement, the rear arm remains in exactly the same position as it was in the starting position.

     To apply the parallel and oppositely-directed force on one side of the fulcrum between where their front hand and rear hand grip the baseball bat, I teach my baseball batters to keep their rear elbow tightly against their body and, like a boxer, drive their rear hand straight toward the ball, such that the 'sweet spot' of the baseball bat contacts the ball.

     The video shows that your son does not keep his rear elbow tightly against his body.  Therefore, instead of straight line driving his rear hand straight toward the ball, he moves his rear elbow away from his body and pulls his rear arm in a circle toward the ball.

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

184.  My ten year old son with 3 lb. iron balls

  Can you please comment on the following?  My son is having difficulty staying tall and rotating also he is not properly force-coupling with his glove hand.  I'd like to get him started on the loaded slingshot if you think he's ready.

  Loaded Slingshot

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

     Baseball pitchers cannot bend forward at their waist and rotate.  They can only rotate through release when they stand tall.

     I tell my baseball pitchers to imagine a steel rod goes vertically downward through the top of their head and their body and they rotate around it.

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

185.  Rotator cuff surgery animations

I thought these were interesting and help explain what is involved with the rotator cuff tear repairs.

Repairing Supraspinatus tendon rupture

Another Supraspinatus tendon repair technique

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

     These an animations show how they repair ruptures of the attachment of the Supraspinatus muscle to the top of the head of the Humerus bone.  Basically, they stitch the torn portion of the attachment back into the bone.

     To not rupture the tendon of the Supraspinatus muscle, baseball pitchers only have to pronate the release of their curveballs.

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

186.  12 year old

My son is taking instruction from a pitching coach who teaches the best way to pitch is to be like a "slingshot".  The classic motion where the arm drags behind the body.  I know this is wrong, but since I can't make it to Florida for training, what should I do?


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

     In the baseball pitching motion that I teach, the first skill that baseball pitchers need to learn is how to raise their pitching upper arm to vertically beside their head with their pitching forearm laying horizontally behind their pitching elbow pointing at second base.  I call this position, 'Slingshot.'

     The reason why I chose that name is because, with my baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers use their pitching elbow as a fulcrum, which means that, when my baseball pitchers powerfully extend their pitching elbow, the pitching elbow stops moving forward.  This is force-coupling, which is the most efficient way for athletes to apply force.

     Unless this pitching coach is teaching my baseball pitching motion, it sounds as though this pitching coach is stealing my terminology.

     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.

     For biological twelve years olds, I recommend that once a year until youth baseball pitchers are is biologically sixteen years old, they complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

     At sixteen biological years old, I recommend that once a year until high school baseball pitchers are biological nineteen years old, they complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     At nineteen biological years old, I recommend that adult baseball pitchers complete my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     Thereafter, for as long as they want to continue to pitch competitively, I recommend that, every off-season, they repeat my 72-Day Thirty Pound Adult Baseball Pitchers Wrist Weight Recoil Interval-Training Program and my 72-Day Fifteen Pound Adult Baseball Pitchers Iron Ball Recoil Interval-Training Program.

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

187.  Lead ball arrived

I have received the 12 lb. Lead ball.

Last night, I really started to feel the stress and fatigue on the latissimus dorsi muscle during my BB throws.  This made me feel good as it meant I was performing the end of the motion correctly.

I really need to focus on the acceleration phase now.  It's very hard to be patient and wait on the arm after you pendulum swing to 45 degrees.  I just have to keep working at it.


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

     At your age, overcoming the injurious and mechanical flaws in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion is hard work.  We need to start with eight year olds.

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

188.  3/4 slot

My questions is:  Are there any particular grips that can be used for a mid 3/4 arm slot type pitcher that will help with movement?


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

     With regard to the relationship between the line across the top of their shoulders and the longitudinal line of the pitching upper arm, all baseball pitchers are identical.  The only difference is how much they lean their body to their glove side.

     How baseball pitchers grip the baseball does not have anything to do with how much baseball pitchers lean to their glove side.

     In the Baseball Training section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I show and explain how baseball pitchers should grip, drive and release my pitches.

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

189.  12 year old

He's using your 'slingshot' term, but not the way you use it.  He teaches the classic motion as seen in your 1971 video; elbows bent, etc.

Do you have any coaches in my area?


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

     I would not call my 1971 baseball pitching motion classic.  In 1971, my earned run average was 4.38.  After analyzing my 1971 high-speed film, I dramatically changed my pitching arm action.  In 1972, my earned run average was 1.78 and I finished fourth in the Cy Young Award.

    You and your son have everything you need for him to become the best, injury-free, highly-skilled baseball pitcher he can be.

     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.

     I recommend that once a year until youth baseball pitchers are is biologically sixteen years old, they complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

     At sixteen biological years old, I recommend that once a year until high school baseball pitchers are biological nineteen years old, they complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     At nineteen biological years old, I recommend that adult baseball pitchers complete my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

      Thereafter, for as long as they want to continue to pitch competitively, I recommend that, every off-season, they repeat my 72-Day Thirty Pound Adult Baseball Pitchers Wrist Weight Recoil Interval-Training Program and my 72-Day Fifteen Pound Adult Baseball Pitchers Iron Ball Recoil Interval-Training Program.

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

190.  Peterson working on formula for success: New Brewers pitching coach is a proponent of biomechanics
MLB.com
February 19, 2010

MILWAUKEE, WI:  Rick Peterson laughs out loud when asked whether he believes in fate.  "Oh, my God, are you kidding me?" he asks.  "That's all I believe in."

So, chalk it up to fate that Peterson battled injuries throughout his collegiate career and a four-year stint in the Pirates' Minor League chain.

Fate led him to delay pursuing a job in either of his undergraduate degrees, psychology and art, in favor of coaching.  It led him in 1989 to Birmingham, AL:, home of the Double-A club of the White Sox.  But also, of Dr. James Andrews, who opened the American Sports Medicine Institute where Peterson began studying the root causes of pitching injuries.

Peterson was among the first baseball men to walk through ASMI's doors and over the ensuing two decades he studied biomechanics as something of a religion, becoming an expert at using Andrews' readings to develop a program to help pitchers reduce the likelihood of injury and improve velocity and command of their pitches.

Fate then took Peterson to the A's and the Mets and made him one of the game's most famous pitching coaches.  Now, at 55, fate has led him to Milwaukee, home of the National League's worst starting rotation in 2009 and two of his former managers.  Brewers skipper Ken Macha was with Peterson in Oakland and bench coach Willie Randolph was his boss in New York.

Most important, the Brewers are at the front of the biomechanics movement and are the only Major League club, as far as Peterson is aware, with an in-house lab.  In a sense, the Brewers needed Peterson as much as he needed a job.

As Peterson settled this week into Maryvale Baseball Park, where Brewers pitchers and catchers will have their first official workout on Monday, he considered how fate had done it again.  "What a perfect match," Peterson said.  "That's why I'm so excited."

Brewers fans are excited, too, and some consider the new pitching coach the team's most important free-agent acquisition.  Peterson had been out of organized baseball since June 2008, when the Mets abruptly dismissed him and Randolph, and focused on 3P Sports, a private venture that offers biomechanical analyses and individualized pitching programs for amateurs.

Teams came calling before the end of the 2009 season and the Brewers were at the front of the pack.  They couldn't recover from injuries to starters Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan, or from Manny Parra's continued inconsistency, and finished with a 5.37 ERA, tied with Baltimore for the worst starters' ERA in the Majors.

General manager Doug Melvin got to work.  He let go Braden Looper, who led the staff with 14 wins despite a 5.22 ERA, and hired Peterson in October; picked up starter Randy Wolf at the Winter Meetings in December; and then added another lefty starter, Doug Davis, in late January.  Wolf posted 24 quality starts for the Dodgers in 2009 and Davis had 22 for the D-backs, five more than any of the Brewers' starting pitchers.

It's up to Peterson to get more from the returnees, including 27-year-old Parra, who is out of Minor League options; Bush, whose contract isn't guaranteed until Opening Day; and Suppan, who will cost the Brewers $12.5 million this season in the final year of his contract.

"Rick is pretty demanding, but I think the guys are going to figure out that he can really help them out," Macha said.  "So it shouldn't be much of an adjustment.  We were last in the league in [starting] pitching, so we definitely need to get better."

Is there pressure to get instant results?  "I have a total passion for this, so there is no pressure," Peterson said.  "This is my life's work.  It's an unbelievable opportunity and I'm so honored that the Brewers have given it to me.  That's how I look at it.  "Plus," he added, "this isn't about me.  This is about the program."

Peterson's program is why he might be the game's only pitching coach who can spend nearly an hour on the telephone with a reporter and not really talk much about pitching, at least in terms of the traditional X's and O's.  He's more interested in talking about the program and its "peak performance triangle."  On one side of the triangle are the technical components of a clean, repeatable delivery.  The next side is physical behavior such as conditioning.  And the final side of the triangle is performance-based behavior: confidence, focus.

At the center of the triangle is biomechanical analysis, the key, according to Peterson, of optimizing all three elements.  Anyone who has seen behind-the-scenes footage of a video game being created or a "making of" film of the recent hit "Avatar" will get the idea.  Specialists paste sensors on various parts of a pitcher's body and take more than 40 precise measurements during a 25-pitch, high-intensity throwing session.  They measure everything from stride length to arm angle at foot contact to hip, elbow and shoulder rotation with precision that is impossible to replicate with the naked eye.  The findings are compared to the normative range for Major League pitchers compiled by ASMI over the past 12 years.

What Peterson brought to the table during the early years of Andrews' study was an ability to translate the hard data into real-world solutions.  Over the years, he has developed drills to help pitchers get back into normative ranges, thus reducing the risk of injury and setting them up for success.  "It's like taking your car to a mechanic and he says, 'Your front end is out of alignment, your brakes are bad and you need a new muffler,' and then he hands the keys back to you without fixing the problems," Peterson said.  "I've spent the last 20 years figuring out how to fix the problems."

Peterson has taken more than 80 pitchers to Birmingham for analysis, but the Brewers have their own equipment in a Milwaukee lab created by William Raasch, the team's head physician.  The lab is portable, and the Brewers plan to conduct organization-wide testing in Phoenix beginning later this month.

The biomechanical analysis is only one piece of the puzzle, Peterson stressed.  But it's an important piece, considering that over the past decade teams have spent $1.4 billion on injured pitchers.

Peterson is asked often how he gets pitchers to buy into the program.  "But I'm not selling anything," he said, laughing again.  "I'm excited about the depth and the talent we have here.  You look at the young talent like Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra, the great moments that Jeff Suppan has had in his career, the games that Dave Bush and Doug Davis and Randy Wolf have pitched in their careers.  "What I want to know from the guys when I have my first chance to speak with them is, are you committed to 'best'?  Because there is a big, huge canyon between 'good' and 'best.'  If they are committed to being the best, we have a long history of best practices that we can follow to get there.  It's all about the program."


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

     I am as excited about what the Brewers are doing as Mr. Peterson is.  I want him to succeed.  However, I know that he will not succeed.  And, here is why.

     "The findings are compared to the normative range for Major League pitchers compiled by ASMI over the past 12 years."

     This means that Mr. Peterson will compare the findings that he gets on the Brewer baseball pitchers with the baseball pitchers that the American Sports Medicine Institute has measured over the past twelve years.  All of these baseball pitchers use the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     Mr. Peterson has taken more than 80 pitchers to the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, AL for analysis; including Mr. Hudson and Mr. Mulder that have suffered severe pitching injuries.  Unfortunately, Dr. Fleisig, the director of the American Sports Medicine Institute refused to release the names of the baseball pitchers that he used to determine this 'normative' data or even admit how many have suffered severe baseball pitching injuries.

     Therefore, when Mr. Peterson compares his baseball pitchers with the ASMI data, he will not help them eliminate pitching injuries.

     My concern is that, when Mr. Peterson fails to eliminate baseball pitching injuries, professional baseball will stop looking for the correct way to eliminate pitching injuries.

     Therefore, to help them succeed, I will gladly donate my time and energy to meet with Dr. Raasch and Mr. Peterson.  I applaud the Brewers for their efforts.  I want the to reap the rewards of their efforts.

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

191.  Cook comes to camp less "puffy" than before
ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 20, 2010

TUCSON, AZ:  Rockies right-hander Aaron Cook cut out fried foods and sodas.  He stopped eating desserts and avoided late night snacks.  The result was startling.  Cook reported to spring training at 200 pounds, down from 220 at the end of the 2009 season.  He expects to gain between five and 10 pounds during camp, but should enter the upcoming season carrying less weight.  “I’m going to give him a little bit of my Trail Mix to get a pound or two back,” manager Jim Tracy joked.

Cook was sidelined for more than a month last season with right shoulder inflammation.  He also had been hampered by lower back and right knee stiffness, hip soreness and turf toe, leading to the winter diet.  “I stopped eating late at night before I’d go to bed,” said Cook, Colorado’s career leader in wins (63), starts (163) and innings pitched (1,087 2-3).  “My last meal during the offseason would be 7 o’clock at night.  I’d go to bed, wake up and go work out.  “All the little things that you should do anyway, I started doing.”

Cook went 16-9 with a 3.96 ERA and was a first-time All-Star in 2008, but slipped to an 11-6 record and a 4.16 ERA in 158 innings last year.  He threw his first bullpen session of the spring on Saturday and catcher Chris Iannetta said there was a noticeable difference from last season.  “From the first couple pitches, I saw a lot more extension,” Iannetta said.  “And that’s good, because we can get back to some things we did the previous year with glove-side command.  Last year, he cut off a lot of pitches that I don’t think he wanted to do.  I know he was a little frustrated with that and concerned.”

Pitching coach Bob Apodaca, who watched Cook throw Saturday, said the pitcher measured a line in the dirt where he wanted his front foot to land and “didn’t have one single footprint outside that direct line.”  Cook has tended to throw across his body, which Apodaca said takes a physical toll over the course of a season.  “He just looks really healthy and athletic,” Apodaca said.  “His movements are so fluid right now.  We’re all used to seeing a little puffier Aaron Cook.”


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

     All major league baseball pitcher should be in the best physical condition that they can be.  However, that will not eliminate Mr. Cook's pitching shoulder inflammation, lower back pain, pitching knee stiffness, hip soreness or glove foot turf toe.

     Nevertheless, although pitching coach, Bob Apodaca, should have started the day after the season ended, that, if Mr. Apodaca also teaches Mr. Cook to pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height to arrive when his glove foot lands, that Mr. Apodaca has Mr. Cook step straight forward will lessen the unnecessary stress on the front of his pitching shoulder.

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

192.  Injured Volquez happy at Reds’ spring training
Associated Press
February 20, 2010

GOODYEAR, AZ:  Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez was home in the Dominican Republic when he went to a baseball game just to see teammate Francisco Cordero throw in the winter league.  Volquez couldn’t throw after season-ending Tommy John surgery, but he said he missed his teammates more than pitching.  So, he caught up with Cordero after the game and the veteran told Volquez to keep his head up, that spring training was just around the corner.

While he still doesn’t take part in all the same activities as his teammates, and rehab is expected to take a full year, Volquez said Saturday he’s happy to be around his teammates at spring training in Arizona.  “I’m still here on the team, I feel like I’m part of the team,” he said.  “I’m with my teammates.  You get time with guys in here, you say hello to everyone, they make you happy.”

Volquez is tough to miss at the Reds complex.  He’s a centerpiece of the clubhouse, holding court in both English and Spanish.  As pitchers moved between fielding stations for their first workout on Thursday, Volquez urged them on, telling them to get a move on in both languages, sometimes mixing the two.

An All-Star two years ago, Volquez went just 4-2 with a 4.35 ERA last season before feeling pain in his arm in June.  He was twice on the disabled list, the first time with back spasms and then with the elbow injury that ended his season.  Volquez dismisses any talk that his participation in the World Baseball Classic hampered his conditioning or caused the injuries, he refuses to believe it was a product of anything but bad luck.

Now, he’s dealing with it.  He’s already throwing from 130 feet on flat ground, taking fielding practice, bunting and doing “everything a pitcher does except pitch.”  The most common mistake among pitchers returning from Tommy John surgery is rushing back, and the Reds are worried about Volquez setting too early of a timetable.  He’s already said he wants to return by the anniversary of his August 03, 2009 surgery.

On Friday, Reds manager Dusty Baker and pitching coach Bryan Price talked to Volquez about what he needs to do during spring training; don’t push yourself physically but continue to push yourself mentally.  “He’ll come back strong and I’m going to have to talk to him to him about continuing to pitch and compete in his mind even though he’s not on the field, continue to play the game like he’s pitching,” Baker said.  “Sit over there and think what pitch he’d throw right now in order to stay in mental continuity and to maintain being a part of the team.”  Right now, that’s enough for Volquez.


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

     Mr. Volquez is throwing from 130 feet on flat ground.  If he is throwing 130 feet on flat ground with my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm action drills, then he would not be wasting his time.  That drill not only eliminates the cause of rupturing the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, it teaches how to engage the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

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

193.  Pirates look to cut down on Zach Duke’s workload
Associated Press
February 20, 2010

BRADENTON, FL:  The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking to cut down on All-Star pitcher Zach Duke’s workload this season.  Duke has made at least 30 starts in three of his first four full seasons in the majors. The exception was 2007, when shoulder problems limited him to 19 starts.  Duke didn’t miss a start last season, but faded over the final two months.

On Saturday, pitching coach Joe Kerrigan said the amount of work Duke put in between starts might have been the culprit.  “We’ll have to take a look at that,” Kerrigan said.  “Maybe that has something to do with the wear and tear in August and September.”

Last season, Duke was injury-free and pitched 213 innings, tops on the team and 12th in the National League.  The left-hander also was tied for third in the NL with three complete games, the most by a Pirates pitcher since Jeff Suppan had three in 2003.  “I take a lot of pride in the fact that I take the mound every time and, most of the time, I give us a chance to win,” Duke said.

Eight victories and a 3.29 ERA in the first half of last season earned Duke his first trip to the All-Star game.  After that, however, things changed dramatically.  “His ERA for August and September was in the middle 5.00s,” Kerrigan said.  “Yeah, he was pitching his butt off the first two months and was going eight or nine innings, but did those outings take a toll in August and September?”  Duke’s string of 15 straight starts in which he pitched six-plus innings was snapped August 04 in a 6-0 loss against Arizona.  Duke put up ERAs of 5.76 in August, and 5.84 in September and October, winning just twice in his final 11 starts.

Over the winter, Kerrigan closely scrutinized video of Duke’s outings and did not spot any flaws in his mechanics.  In the second half of the season, the Pirates cut back on Duke’s off-day throwing sessions, hoping that would keep him strong down the stretch.  Kerrigan now believes they might have to cut back even more—perhaps limiting Duke’s early-season outings or trimming his workouts.

Duke overhauled his off-season workout program, hoping for better results this season.  His training regimen focuses on his legs and core (abdomen, oblique) muscles.  He pieced together elements of what he learned from the Pirates’ training staff and his own personal trainers.  “The key is getting into a routine,” Duke said.  “You let your body adjust to the routine and stick to it, no matter what.  That doesn’t mean you can kill yourself (working out) one week and then do nothing the next week.”


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

     The Pirates pitching coach, Joe Kerrigan said that maybe the amount of work Mr. Duke put in between starts has something to do with the wear and tear in August and September.”

     To determine whether Mr. Duke's between starts work negatively influences his August and September games, Mr. Kerrigan should evaluate the quality of the pitches he threw, not the statistics.  At the end of the season, baseball batters know what starters throw and when.  Perhaps, the baseball batters adjusted and Mr. Duke did not.

     Mr. Duke's off-season workout program focuses on his legs and core (abdomen, oblique) muscles.

     While I commend Mr. Duke for having an off-season training program, he should focus on preparing the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles in his pitching arm for the season, not just his legs and trunk muscles.

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

***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, March 14, 2010, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

194.  IS IT ME??!!

I've been doing your stuff for nearly 3 years.  The more I read crap from people like O'Leary, via your Q&A, the more I get angry.  The high guard nonsense and all other traditional ideas peddled by the so-called experts ruined my arm and caused me several surgeries and lost time.  This was true EVEN AS A FIELDER.  Now, I throw harder than ever every day.  Often 90+.  O'Leary doesn't throw because he hurt his shoulder way back when.  'Nuff said.  I'm done venting.

Question:  The more I progress, the more I realize how critical the pitching toe forward is.  The pitching toe forward all but forces every positive aspect of the driveline.  It's hard NOT to stay on the right side of the driveline, passively rotate, pendulum swing, arrive to driveline height on time, achieve a safe 'lock', pronate through release, conserve momentum and so on when the motion starts with pitching toe at least 45 degrees forward.

In other words:  If one wants to narrow the gap between the perfect heavy implement throw and the baseball throw, all they have to do is put their pitching toe forward!  It makes ALL the difference.  Baseball pitchers that put their pitching foot parallel with the pitching rubber can make their pitching motion "work", but they will have a lot of unnecessary body/arm fighting each other to oversome.

To demonstrate my point: Baseball pitchers should consider your 2B pickoff drill as demonstrated by Joe on MLB.com.  ANYONE could do that drill and immediately understand its forced intent.  And, they could repeat that drill time and time again.

For purposes of this discussion, whether or not they agree with your theories is irrelevant.  The quickest path from the 2B pickoff drill to the full motion pitch is toe forward.  When the toe is forward, everything tumbles into place.  Toe forward is THE natural starting point.

Reference:  Outfielders and cricket bowlers use the crow-hop body action.  Foot parallel to the rubber is a rule-based bastardization of biologic design.  You know this.  I mention this for others.

To my question:  Why does it seem that people are having a hard time achieving a good driveline?

Becoming safe and strong is only pickoff drill and a toe point away, or so it seems to me.  Am I missing something?

Unrelated:  Notice the connection between glove arm action and pitching foot placement.  Pitching foot parallel leads to glove thumb rotating up.  Toe forward leads to glove thumb pronated down.  Big movements depend upon seemingly innocuous or inconsequential beginnings.


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

     Chris O'Leary is but one of a long list of frauds that steal money and destroy pitching arms.  Unfortunately, we do not have any licensing requirements for baseball pitching coaches.  I would gladly write the exam that they would have to pass.  If I did, then we would only have one certified baseball pitching coach.

     I like your pitching toe forward argument.  However, I would prefer to explain that every joint in our body has a right way for us to use them.  With the knees, we flex and extend them.  Our knees do not bend to the inside, which is what turning the pitching foot parallel with the pitching rubber requires.

     You are absolutely correct that my Second Base Pickoff body action and, more recently, my Half Reverse Pivot body action not only teach baseball pitchers how to properly use their pitching arm, but also teach baseball pitchers how to properly use their body.

     When I get my new video making computer, I will complete the video that I am making that explains and demonstrates my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.  Then, I will find the best way to include it in the list of videos on my website.

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

195.  Joe Nathan's Elbow and other questions.

1.  I'm a Twins fan and I'm worried about Joe Nathan's bad elbow.  Could you please contact him and give him some help?

2.  Do you think Tim Lincecum will last or will his pitching motion backfire in the long run?

3.  Is it true that the Split-Finger fastball can hurt a pitcher's arm?


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

01.  I would gladly help baseball pitchers everywhere how to eliminate their pitching injury.  In Mr. Nathan's case, unless the Twins or Mr. Nathan contacted me, Mr. Nathan would not be interested in what I have to say.

02.  With Mr. Lincecum's severe Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce, with every pitch that he throws, Mr. Lincecum microscopically tears the connective tissue fibers in his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  When his Ulnar Collateral Ligament is no longer able to withstand the stress, it will rupture.

03.  By spreading the Index and Middle fingers, the Split Finger Fastball places stress on the Flexor Digitorum Profundus and Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscles that attach to the Index finger that they eventually will not be able to withstand.

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

196.  Shoulder pain

I'm having trouble when I pitch.  After a while, my shoulder starts hurting me.  I normally practice every day.  Do you any pitching stance I should use from other pitchers so I can decrease my shoulder from hurting?


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

     Your pitching shoulder hurts because you take your pitching arm laterally behind your body.  You need to learn to take your pitching arm back toward second base and drive it straight forward toward home plate.

     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.

     To learn how to properly apply force to your pitches, you need to learn what my materials teach baseball pitchers to do.

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

197.  Joe Nathan's Elbow and other questions.

1.  Can that throwing the screwball hurt a pitchers arm?

2.  Why is Zito having so many pitching problems especially in the first half of the season?

I think if Barry Zito threw it would help his career.  It helped Mike Cuellar.  LHP's who throw the screwball can be lethal.

3.  I called Twins GM Bill Smith and told him to call you and gave him your website and phone number on the site.

4.  He doesn't ice his arm.  Will this hurt him in the long run?

He says Juan Marichal helped him with the leg kick and push off the mound.  You should go on MLB Network and breakdown Lincecum's delivery.

5.  Do you think it's better for pitchers to go back to 1968 rules and make the mound 6 inches higher?  Will this prevent arm injuries?

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions.  I have learned so much.


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

01.  With regard to the bones on the back of the pitching elbow:  When baseball pitchers throw reverse breaking pitches, they are throwign the safest of all the pitches that they can throw.

02.  I would need to watch Mr. Zito pitch on a daily basis to understand if he has pitching problems in the first half of the season and, if so, why. I believe that all baseball pitchers should throw reverse breaking pitches.

03.  I have my hand on my telephone waiting for the general manager of the Minnesota Twins to call me.

04.  I never iced my pitching arm.  Mr. Lincecum's baseball pitching motion is destroying his pitching arm, not the ice that he does not use.

05.  The slope of the pitching mound, not the height of the pitching mound changes how baseball pitchers throw their pitches.

     In 1969, major league baseball changed the height, but not the slope of the pitching mound.  Therefore, what major league baseball did only lowered where pitches crossed home plate.  Nothing that they did increased pitching injuries or helped baseball batters.

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

198.  Bone Bruise

Are you familiar with bone bruises?

I'm coaching a 13 year old team and one of my players felt a pop on a routine throw from short to first.

X-Rays were negative, but the MRI showed a bone bruise in his right elbow (I believe it was the ulna bone.  However, he's not my son, so I'm not 100% sure).

The recommendation was 1 month of rest with no throwing.

It seems from all my reading and conversations with you that rest is not something you subscribe to.  However, I don't know what his father would say if I told him he needed to keep throwing in some sort of light, modified way.

Would you recommend anything in particular?

I've tried to teach all my kids to pronate every throw to prevent this type of thing, but as 13 year olds, it usually goes in one ear and out the other.


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

     You wrote that, on his throw to first base, the shortstop felt a pop in his throwing arm.  Did he complain about any pain?  If so, where?

     If he slammed the olecranon process of his Ulna bone into the olecranon fossa of his Humerus bone, then, when he tried to maximally straighten his throwing elbow, he would have complained of pain in the back of his throwing elbow.

     I would teach him my one-hand chest pass throwing arm action and how to powerfully pronate his releases.  As you wrote, pronation prevents injury to the back of the throwing arm.

     On the assumption that he does not complain of discomfort in the muscle mass that attaches to the medial epicondyle of his Humerus bone, rather than rest, I would have him perform my Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.  I would make sure that he powerfully pronates every release.

     After a week or so, I would have him perform my Wrong Foot body action; Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.  Again, I would emphasize powerfully pronating every release.

     Next, I would have him perform my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     Lastly, I would have him perform my One Step Crow-Hop body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

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

199.  Query

A man recently wrote on the Internet that he had taken his son for lessons from a "well respected" pitching coach.  He then related the following harrowing tale:

"After the bullpen session he (the instructor) asked him to do a series of standing broad jumps.  My boy jumped about 8 ft.  He suggested that my kid had good mechanics and his ability to throw 80 and jump 8 ft indicated that as he gained strength and jumped farther he would increase velocity without fear of injury.  For example, he said that many scouts shy away from kids who throw 90 but can jump only 7ft.  Suggesting that they were obtaining velocity without the core and leg strength and would in time break down."

Chris O'Leary then wrote on the same Internet page that it is the rotary muscles of the torso that power the pitching motion, not the muscles that relate to standing broad jumps.

Which leaves four questions several of us are hoping you might answer to put a stop to the madness:

1.  Is the standing broad jump a predictor of throwing velocity and freedom from pitching arm injury?  If not, what is it a predictor of?

2.  Are the muscles that rotate the torso responsible for powering the pitching motion?

3.  Finally, have you performed actual research into the role of the pitching arm in baseball pitching?  What is that role?  Have you gone so far as to identify each and ever muscle and its function throughout the preparatory, acceleration and deceleration phases of pitching?

4.  If you have done such research and formulated a theory of force application to support it, where are the coaching materials available so that fathers such as the one in the original example might teach their children how to pitch correctly? What is the cost of those coaching materials?


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

01.  The distance that athletes can standing long jump indicates the fast-twitch muscle fiber percentage of the muscles specific to performing the standing long jump.

     The distance that baseball players can throw baseballs indicates the fast-twitch muscle fiber percentage of the muscles specific to throwing baseballs.

02.  Dr. Glenn Fleisig, the Director of the American Sports Medicine Institute, has stated that how fast baseball pitchers rotate their body determines their release velocity.  I agree.

     However, then, Dr. Fleisig says that his research shows that 'traditional' baseball pitchers rotate their hips forward about one-third and their shoulders forward about one-half of the way through the length of their driveline.

     So, my question is:  If rotating the body forward determines the release velocity that baseball pitchers achieve, then why do they not rotate their body forward through the entire length of their driveline?

     Dr. Fleisig's problem is that, because major league pitchers use the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, despite his research that proves otherwise, he assummes that the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion is the perfect way for baseball pitchers to apply force.

     With my baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers rotate their hips and shoulders through the entire length of their driveline.

03.  In 1971, I high-speed filmed my baseball pitching motion from the rear, side and overhead view and calculated the acceleration graph for the baseball.  From that research, I determined how baseball pitchers should apply force to their pitches.

     I have identified the muscles that perform during the Preparation Phase, the Pitching Upper Arm Acceleration Phase, the Pitching Forearm Acceleration Phase, the Deceleration Phase and the Recovery Phase.  You can find this information in my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, which is on my website for all to read without charge.

04.  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 for visitors to read and my Baseball Pitchers Training Programs for visitors to copy and complete.

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

200.  Bone Bruise

Thanks for the response.

When the player threw the ball on the throw in question, he did complain of pain on the posterior side of his arm just above the point of his elbow.  It also hurt when he subsequently swung a bat.  He rested for about 6 weeks, then came back and started throwing a week ago and it hurt again.  The doctor said he now has fluid around the elbow joint.

FYI.  I had the team throwing 2 lb. iron balls and doing 5 lb. wrist weights for about 2 months from the slingshot position (no baseballs), but many of them could not master the motion.  I'm afraid that he may have hurt himself during that time, though he never complained while doing those.

I'm assuming you want him to do your drills using just a baseball, correct?


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

     No.  I want them to complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.  They need to learn how to inwardly rotate their throwing upper arm and pronate their throwing forearm.

     To help them learn these skills, they need to watch the Wrist Weight Training and Iron Ball Training sections of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     When I add my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill video to my video list, they need to learn how to do that drill.

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

201.  Joe Nathan's Elbow

Now that Joe Nathan has torn his Ulnar collateral ligament, at age 35, can he come back if he needs Tommy John Surgery?  Is there anything you could recommend to help Nathan get back to being a great reliever?  Is he washed up?


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

     I taught the only one person that had Tommy John surgery that won more games after the surgery than before how to appropriately adjust his baseball pitching motion.

     Unless Mr. Nathan correctly adjusts his baseball pitching motion, he will continue to microscopically tear the connective tissue fibers in his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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

202.  I throw a change-up and when I throw it towards the ending it breaks slow.  Is it good or does it need to break fast?

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

     Pitches that break slowly get hit hard.

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

203.  Muscle Attachments

As I understand it, muscles originate from bones and attach to tendons which attach to bones.  When you talk about where muscles attach in your book, is the first attachment always where the muscle originates and the second attachment where it attaches through the tendons?

The reason I ask is because I read somewhere that muscles contract toward where they originate.  Is this correct?

Also, is there any particular logic in how you list the muscles within your chapters for the shoulder girdle, shoulder joint, etc.  For example, is there any reason in Chapter 13 you start with the Latissimus Dorsi 2 muscle then go to Levator Scapula then to Pectoralis Minor, etc in that particular order?


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

01.  Muscles contract.  Bones move.  Whichever bone does not move determines in which way the muscle appears to contract.  However, muscles only contract.

02.  Alphabet.

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

204.  Grip & Release Questions

The other day I held the ball with the standard 4-seam Maxline grip, but slightly turned/angled my index and middle fingers toward the ring finger side to make it easier for me to release off of the ring finger side of the tip of the middle finger.

My Maxlines improved quite a bit.  My fifteen year old son, who already threw a good one, got even better.  Is that nuance OK?  You probably have already told me, but I didn't understand.

Until then, we had always placed the two fingers down "flat" (for lack of a better term).

With regard to screwballs:  When my son inwardly rotates, he does better with them.  The punching straight forward analogy you told us is also helping.  Do the fingers flex "horizontally" as you drive through the top of the baseball and was that the "snapping" sound you made when you threw screwballs the index finger snapping against the thumb pad?


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

     When baseball pitchers throw my four-seam Maxline Fastball, they should turn the glove side of the baseball to face slightly forward.  However, we always want the spin axis to be vertical.

     You should be able to do this without angling their fingers.  When you angle the fingers, you might lose the vertical spin axis.  Then, you are throwing a four-seam Maxline Fastball Tailing Fastball or Sinker.

     On my Maxline True Screwball, baseball pitchers drive their middle finger horizontally through the top seam of the baseball, such that the last part of the middle finger that touches the baseball is the ring finger side of the middle finger.

     The 'snapping' sound comes from the pad of the tip of the middle finger contacting the thenar eminence.



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

205.  Distal Clavicle Resection

I am in my mid 40s and have pitched baseball most of my life, college, adult hardball leagues, and pitching BP to the youth I coach.  I have thrown a lot of balls.  I believe much of the conventional wisdom in baseball is misguided and appreciate what I have learned from your site, videos, etc.

Because of shoulder pain, I recently had an MRI with dye.  I was diagnosed with an AC joint impingement, and it is very painful.  The doctor recommended the removal of a portion of distal clavicle.

I have tried rest, ice, cortisone, but still have pain.  In your opinion, can I rehab this injury and if so how, or is surgery the only option?


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

     The idea of removing the lateral aspect of your Clavicle is barbaric.

      I assume that your shoulder pain is in the front of your pitching shoulder.  That means that you take the baseball laterally behind your body, pull it back to the pitching arm side of your body, where the centripetal force slings it laterally away from your body, pull it back toward home plate and across the front of your body.

     To eliminate the unnecessary stress of this throwing motion, you need to pendulum swing your pitching arm straight backward toward second base, raise your pitching upper arm to vertically beside your head, turn the back of your pitching upper arm to face toward home plate, drive the baseball straight toward home plate and powerfully pronate your pitching forearm.

     To learn how to do this, you need to watch my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and do my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

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

206.  Cook-ing up a plan for 30 starts: Pitcher loses weight to stay healthy
Denver Post
February 21, 2010

TUCSON, AZ:  In an attempt to become more of a pitcher, Aaron Cook has become less of a man.  Of all the sights and sounds at the Rockies' spring training camp, none is more startling than Cook's 18-pound weight loss.  Add in his retro red hair, a dramatic departure from his shaved-head ways, and Cook is a candidate for one of those "Hi, my name is" stickers that were all the rage at the Rockies' first-ever camp at Hi Corbett Field.

Make no doubt, this isn't about aesthetics.  It isn't about a new look so much as a new outlook.  Given his injury and health history, there will always be a certain what-if aspect to Cook's career.  But having turned 31 during the offseason, he wanted to get in better shape to give himself a chance to pitch an entire season.

"I just figured, if I could lose a little weight, it might take some pressure off my body so I could make it through the season without missing any starts," Cook said.  "I've had a lot of nagging stuff, and I wanted to do what I could do to maybe alleviate those things.  "I'm getting up in age a little more, so I felt like I should do it.  We'll see what happens.  I did it by design, but it's always a gamble as far as whether it's going to work."

This much is certain:  After another season cut short by an injury, this time a shoulder strain, Cook had nothing to lose but weight.  He wants to make 30-plus starts and throw 200-plus innings as he did in 2006 and 2008, not be on the disabled list for much of the pennant stretch, as he was in 2007 and 2009.

"He's blue collar all the way," Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca said.  "He doesn't give in to counts, he doesn't give in to hitters, and he wants to be out there for 200 innings.  If you're anticipating throwing 200 innings, the majority of the work comes in the off-season.  The maintenance part comes during the season, but the majority comes in the off-season.  "He's a smarter young man now.  He's a young veteran who's figured things out.  You look at him now, you see a more sculpted body.  He's actually underweight right now, but he realizes that.  He'll probably put on five or 10 pounds before the season."

A 30-something veteran underweight?  Well, yeah, for the time being.

"I'm going to give him a little of my trail mix and put a pound or two back on him," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.  "What he did was get rid of some stuff that may, I don't want to say was holding him back, but would hold him back for a period of time.  Physically, he has prided himself on the fact that he wants to make all his starts this year."

There have been many ironies to Cook's career, none of which have been lost on him.  He almost lost his life to blood clots in his lungs in 2004 but eventually became the winningest pitcher in Rockies history.  Yet when the only team he has known experienced its greatest success, including the surreal nature of Rocktober 2007, he spent most of his time watching the moments, not living in them.  He missed the pennant stretch in 2007 with a strained oblique and was sidelined for more than a month in 2009, from late August to late September, after being forced to leave a game against San Francisco with pain in his shoulder.

Cook doesn't want to relive those frustrations.  If the Rockies are in the hunt for another playoff appearance, he wants to be on the mound, not the DL.  He feels he owes it to his teammates, many of whom he has spent his entire career with.  "It's kind of weird," he said.  "You go through your rookie year and the middle years in service time, and now I'm kind of like the senior guy around here.  It's kind of like going from high school to getting married to being a dad.  "I want to go out there every day and help this team win.  Everybody in this clubhouse is so oriented on the team.  It's definitely a very special, very blessed situation.  We want to win a World Series.  That's the bottom line.  That's all that matters."


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

     We see this every spring.  When their career is going down the toilet, lose weight.

     Mr. Cook injured his Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle and the front of his pitching shoulder.  Losing weight will not prevent either of those injuries.

     To eliminate his Oblique Internus Abdominis injury, Mr. Cook has to learn how to rotate his hips and shoulders forward together.  That means that, instead of leaving his pitching foot on the pitching rubber, he has to powerfully drive his pitching hip forward.

     To eliminate the front of his pitching shoulder injury, Mr. Cook has to learn how to use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  This means that he has to pendulum swing his pitching arm back toward second base, raise his pitching upper arm to vertically beside his head, turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and powerfully inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm and pronate his pitching forearm through release.

     The Colorado Rockies pitching coach, Bob Apodaca said, "If you're anticipating throwing 200 innings, the majority of the work comes in the off-season.  The maintenance part comes during the season, but the majority comes in the off-season."

     Wow, that is an unique idea.  Imagine if baseball pitchers started training immediately after the last competitive game, such that, when spring training arrived, they were ready to pitch.

     Unfortunately, Mr. Apodaca does not walk the walk.  Otherwise, Mr. Cook would not have spent the off-season losing weight.  Instead, he would have completed my Thirty Pound Wrist Weight and Fifteen Pound Iron Ball Recoil Interval-Training Cycles.

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

207.  Diamondbacks' Webb 'stronger every week'
Arizona Daily Star
February 21, 2010

Brandon Webb said he felt a little stiffness and soreness after he tossed the ball Saturday.  But it's no cause for alarm, the Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher said. The soreness was normal. He threw a bullpen session on Friday, and he usually takes the day after a bullpen session off.  Webb said he has suffered no setbacks during his return from a shoulder injury that required surgery in early August.  He hopes to be ready for the Cactus League schedule, which begins March 4 when the D-backs play the Colorado Rockies at Tucson Electric Park.  "I feel like I'm getting better and stronger every week, and it's going to be a gradual process," Webb said after the first workout of pitchers and catchers at Kino Sports Complex.

He is expected to throw another bullpen session Monday.  The team will adjust Webb's schedule based on how he feels, manager A.J. Hinch said.  To give Webb extra time to get ready, Hinch picked Webb to pitch the third game of the season while Dan Haren (14-10 with a 3.14 ERA in 2009) will start the season opener April 5.  "I definitely think Danny deserves to get the ball on opening day," said Webb, who started the first game each of the last four seasons and was the 2006 NL Cy Young winner.  "He had a great year last year.  If I start Game 3, I'm happy starting anywhere.  That means I'm out there playing."

Without Webb for all but one game in 2009, the D-backs faltered to 70-92, last in the NL West.  "We need Webby to be there," said Haren who struck out a career-high 223 and walked 38 in a career-high 229 1/3 innings.  "The team will probably go as far as he takes us. Him being part of the staff, it'll be a lot easier than last year, having to shoulder the load."

While Webb dealt with the disappointment of an injury, Haren handled the frustrations of being a struggling team's ace.  "Individually, it was a pretty good year for me," said Haren, who finished fifth in Cy Young voting.  "Team-wise, it was rough."

The injury limited Webb to just four innings on opening day.  "Just seeing the team struggle and not being able to have a helping hand in any of that is tough," said Webb, who threw off a mound for the first time on Feb 09.  Both Webb and Haren said they expect the D-backs to be improved with such additions as right-hander Edwin Jackson, who is expected to start the second game, first baseman Adam LaRoche and relievers Bob Howry and Aaron Heilman.  Left fielder Conor Jackson (valley fever), closer Chad Qualls (knee) and catcher Chris Snyder (back) are expected to be healthy.

The rotation will be one of the division's deepest with the addition of Jackson, an All-Star last season with the Detroit Tigers.  "I would be very disappointed. I'd be shocked if we aren't competing for the division," Haren said.  "I think the ownership and front office showed confidence in us wanting to win right now.  We're set up to win right now, and I don't see why we wouldn't."


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

     Mr. Webb said he has suffered no setbacks during his return from a shoulder injury that required surgery in early August.

     What required surgery?  For those that carefully read my Question/Answer files, we know that they orthopedic surgeon did not find anything wrong with Mr. Webb's pitching shoulder.

     That means that Mr. Webb missed the entire 2009 season for nothing.  Neither the trainers or orthopedic surgeon knew what to do.  So, Mr. Webb did nothing except become less and less able to withstand the injurious stress of pulling his pitching arm across the front of his body.

     This season will not be any different.  When baseball pitchers injure themselves, this is the classic example of the incompetence of trainers and orthopedic surgeons.

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

208.  Blue Jays place reliever Hayhurst on 60-day DL
Associated Press
February 21, 2010

DUNEDIN, FL:  Toronto Blue Jays reliever Dirk Hayhurst was placed on the 60-day disabled list Sunday and is expected to miss most of the season after having right shoulder surgery February 05.

The 28-year-old Hayhurst damaged the labrum in his throwing shoulder during off-season workouts.  Toronto signed him as a free agent just before training camp a year ago.  He spent most of last season with Triple-A Las Vegas.  In 22 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays, he had a 2.78 ERA with 13 strikeout and two walks.


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

     What off-season workouts?  Who was in charge of these off-season workouts?  Professional baseball teams should have qualified people in charge of off-season workouts.  Obviously, they do not.

     Where is the investigative reporting?  Are these questions to embarrassing to ask?  To ask the proper questions, are sports reporters afraid of losing their free meals?

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

209.  Strong showing in DR has Twins hopeful for Liriano
Associated Press
February 21, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS, MN:  A broad smile creased Francisco Liriano’s face as he spoke about his winter in the Dominican Republic, where he reunited with a long lost friend.  In his first three seasons after Tommy John surgery, the Minnesota Twins left-hander lost touch with his slider, once one of the most feared and unhittable pitches in the big leagues.  In his fourth off-season since the procedure, Liriano was finally able to rear back and let it fly.  For the first time in a long time, the bite was in the slider and not in his elbow.

While pitching in winter ball in his native Dominican this offseason, Liriano started to feel like the All-Star power pitcher he was in 2006, not the wayward youngster of the past three seasons who looked lost without his favorite pitch.  He went 3-1 with a 0.49 ERA in seven postseason appearances for Leones del Escogido, including a one-hit, 10-strikeout, five-inning masterpiece in the championship game.  “That’s what I thought.  This is me,” Liriano said at TwinsFest in January.  “This is how I know how to pitch.  Not worrying about anything, about any hitter.  Just go out there and throw first-pitch strike and locate my fastball.”

He says that fastball was clocking at 95-96 mph.  But the biggest difference was getting his knee-buckling slider back, and his confidence swelled because of it.  “If he gets that and he gets that confidence going, he might be that true No. 1 that every team needs,” first baseman Justin Morneau said.

As the Twins’ pitchers and catchers report for spring training in Fort Myers, FL, the team and Liriano hope his winter ball performance was a sign of things to come.  “You just have to wait and see how he carries it up to here,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.  “It’s one thing pitching down there and it’s another thing pitching up here.  But the reports are that he’s really throwing the ball well.  He could be one of those ace in the holes if he can come back and bounce back, keep his arm up and the ball down.”

After going 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA in 2006, Liriano developed arm problems and missed all of 2007 with the dreaded ligament replacement surgery.  He went 6-4 with a 3.91 ERA in 2008, but he didn’t have the same juice in his fastball and break in his slider that he did before.  Last year was even worse.  Liriano went 5-13 with a 5.80 ERA, leading some to wonder if a power pitcher like him could ever fully recover.  Trying to make the transition from overpowering opposing hitters to relying on location and guile to get them out was exhausting.  “I think I overdo things last year trying to get better,” Liriano said.  “I think I was too tired and my body was too tired.”

So Liriano went back home to the Dominican and tried to relax. He worked out, but tried to pace himself to avoid burnout.  It worked.  “He killed everybody,” said Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla, whose Dominican team lost to Liriano’s in the league championship.

At the team’s annual fan festival, Liriano was walking around with a hop in his step and a smile on his face that has not been seen in some time.  “It helped me a lot,” he said of his success in the Dominican.  “I got my confidence back.  I feel really good physically and mentally.  I’m really focusing to get to spring training so I’m ready.”


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

     If Mr. Liriano pendulum swings his pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous motion and pronates the release of his slider, then he will continue to do well.  However, if he does not, then he will rupture his replacement Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

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

210.  Smart Textile Baseball Shirt

I wondered if you saw any use for such a device explained in the article.  I know they will be primarily measuring people using the traditional pitching motion, so their claim of avoiding injuries is dubious at best.

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

Smart textile baseball shirt to be ready for market in 2010
Dan Rogers
March 12, 2010

A smart textile shirt that can protect baseball pitchers against injuries is being prepared for commercial use in 2010.  The sensing shirt, which can be used to monitor a pitcher's mechanics during training or a game, was demonstrated with a prototype at Northeastern University.  Researchers at the Boston, MA, US-based university have attracted the interest of Major League baseball teams, as well as college teams and potential manufacturers.

Marcus Moche, one of the mechanical engineering students behind the shirt, comments:  'We're getting the intellectual property done at the moment; we'd like to get this to market as soon as possible, so players can start using it.  'In a month or two, we hope to start working on it.  If the IP is established soon, we can have a production prototype ready in around six months.'

Injury avoidance

The aim is to create a shirt that can be used both in training and in a real game, so that expensive injuries to pitchers can be avoided.  Says Moche: '$54 million is lost each year in pitching injuries, and the number of injuries has been increasing for decades now.  'We're focused on baseball as there's such a large market, because the salaries are so high and so much stands to be lost.'

The e-textile shirt consists of conductive threads that carry the signals of sensors located throughout the shirt.  The signals are calculated and differentials in the mechanics of a player's pitch can be shown.  The technology could make it easier to notice a change in pitching, due to fatigue or a lapse in concentration, for example, that would change the dynamics of the pitcher's muscles and possibly cause an injury.

Pitching mechanics

Moche remarks:  'We looked at pitching mechanics and found that each pitch generates enough force to tear the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) [the muscle that prevents lateral stress on the elbow].  'However, other muscles like the bicep take some of the load away from the UCL.  We wanted to see if there was a way to quantify pitching mechanics.'  The team tested the device and have compiled data that shows how these mechanics work throughout the body and help to indicate when they change.

Moche adds:  'We determined the quality of mechanics over a pitching session, which is typically around 30-70 pitches.  As the player gets tired, the mechanics tend to worsen - with the shirt that becomes very obvious.'

The prototype currently uses data transferred to a spreadsheet to formulate plot points on a graph.  However, the researchers will ultimately create a system that can be easily interpreted by all users.  The prototype also requires connection between the shirt and a computer via a lead, though the research team will also include technology to wirelessly transfer data in the future.


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

     The 'Sensing Shirt' that they are trying to manufacture duplicates the sensors that Biomechanists place on the body of baseball pitchers that enable computers to determine the displacement, velocity, acceleration and force values associated with the baseball pitches that they throw.

     Unfortunately, as I have shown with the American Sports Medicine Institute, lots of numbers do not explain injuries.

     Northwestern University student, Marcus Moche, one of the mechanical engineering students behind the shirt, said "... we found that each pitch generates enough force to tear the Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL)."

     Mr. Moche and the other Northwestern University mechanical engineering students have biomechanically analyzed the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion and, like Dr. Glenn Fleisig, Director of the American Sports Medicine Institute do not understand how to determine forces.

     Both groups have incorrectly measured the inward rotation of the pitching upper arm.  'Traditional' baseball pitchers do not inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm at all.  'Traditional' baseball pitchers only horizontally flex their pitching upper arm.

     The basic concept that these two groups of Biomechanists misunderstand is the proximal to distal action of the pitching arm.  That means that:

01.  First, the Shoulder Girdle muscles apply force.
02.  Second, the Shoulder Joint muscles apply force.
03.  Third, the Elbow Joint muscles apply force.
04.  Fourth, the Forearm Joint muscles apply force.
05.  Fifth, the Wrist Joint muscles apply force.
06.  Sixth, the Metacarpal Joint muscles apply force.
07.  Seventh, the Phalange Joint muscles apply force.

     Until the preceding muscle groups apply force (concentrically contracting), the succeeding muscle groups merely hold their positions (isometrically contracting).

     What these Biomechanists misunderstand is that, when they believe that 'traditional' baseball pitchers are inwardly rotating their pitching upper arm, they have already released their pitches.  This means that the muscles that inwardly rotate the Shoulder Joint are no longer contracting.  Instead, their antagonistic muscles are contracting.

     Because the article placed parenthesis around the following statement, I believe that the author of this articles, Dan Rogers, wrote the following: "[the muscle that prevents lateral stress on the elbow]."

     Mr. Rogers is saying that the Ulnar Collateral Ligament is the muscle that prevents lateral stress on the pitching elbow.

01.  The Ulnar Collateral Ligament is not a muscle, it is a ligament.  Ligaments cannot contract.  Therefore, ligaments do not apply force.  Ligaments only hold two bones together.

02.  The Ulnar Collateral Ligament does not prevent lateral stress on the pitching elbow.  The Ulnar Collateral Ligament is not the medial side of the elbow joint.  The Ulnar Collateral Ligament attaches to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm and to the coronoid process of the Ulna bone of the pitching forearm.

03.  The Ulnar Collateral Ligament does not prevent stress on the medial side of the pitching elbow either.  The Ulnar Collateral Ligament only holds the Humerus bone to the Ulna bone.

     Mr. Moche said, "However, other muscles, like the bicep take some of the load away from the Ulnar Collateral Ligament."

     When 'traditional' baseball pitchers throw curve balls, they supinate their pitching forearm.  The Biceps Brachii muscle supinates the pitching forearm.  However, even when 'traditional' baseball pitchers throw curve balls, the Biceps Brachii muscle does not 'take some of the load away from the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     The muscles that take all stress off the Ulnar Collateral Ligament are the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone and attach to the Radius, carpal and phalange bones:

01.  Pronator Teres muscle
02.  Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle
03.  Palmaris Longus muscle
04.  Flexor Carpi Ulnaris muscle
05.  Flexor Digitorus Superficialis muscle

     Mr. Moche said, "As the player gets tired, the mechanics tend to worsen, with the shirt, that becomes very obvious."

     This statement assumes that baseball pitchers injure themselves only when they get tired and cannot repeat their 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.  Mr. Mouch is saying that when 'traditional' baseball pitchers are not tired and can apply their maximum force to their pitches, they never injure themselves.

     That is not true.  The causes of the numerous pitching injuries that baseball pitchers suffer result from the injurious flaws in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, not fatigue.

     Until Biomechanics laboratories, such as the American Sports Medicine Institute, have the protocol with which to determine the injurious flaws in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, whether the 'Sensing Shirt' works is irrelevant.

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

211.  SLIDER

I need help on my slider.  I understand the grip and finger placement.  I understand that it is to be released with pronation, and that it can be considered "controlled supination" up to a point.

I'm confused regarding a comment you made a long time ago.  I recall reading that you said the ball should be sort of "pinched" out between the thumb and the fingers, or words to that effect.  Could you please cover that again?


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

     Before I answer your question, I need to say:  Nothing about any pitches I teach involves 'controlled supination.'  I want my baseball pitchers to unabashedly powerfully pronate the release of every pitch that I teach.

     With every non-fastball I teach, I want my baseball pitchers to very, very tightly grip the baseball.  I want my baseball pitchers to squeeze the baseball as hard as they can between the ring finger side of their middle finger and the middle finger side of their ring finger.

     With my reverse breaking pitches, I also want my baseball pitchers to use their thumb to push the baseball even more tightly against the ring finger side of their middle finger and the middle finger side of their ring finger.

     With my Torque Fastball Slider, I want my baseball pitchers to force the baseball as deeply as they can between their middle and ring fingers with the ring finger side of their middle finger pressing against the seams of the loop of the baseball and the middle finger side of the middle phalange of their ring finger.

     At release, I want my baseball pitchers to drive the ring finger side of their middle finger diagonally through the baseball.

01.  If the baseball spirals toward home plate with the circle of friction rotating on the top, front aspect of the baseball, then they threw my Torque Fastball Slider.

02.  If the baseball rotates with a vertical spin axis, then they threw my two-seam Torque Pronation Curve.

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

212.  Duchscherer doesn’t throw because of back problem
Associated Press
February 21, 2010

PHOENIX, AZ:  Oakland Athletics pitcher Justin Duchscherer is off to a slow start at spring training.  The two-time All-Star, who missed all of last season after having surgery on his right elbow and being treated for clinical depression, didn’t throw Sunday during the first workout for Oakland pitchers and catchers.  Duchscherer is feeling pain in his lower back and is likely to undergo some procedure Monday to treat the problem.

While Duchscherer missed out, oft-injured Ben Sheets was at work.  The four-time All-Star was pounding the strike zone, and the sound of his fastball hitting the catcher’s mitt echoed during the Athletics’ practice.  “Any baseball player is going to be excited about the start of a new season,” Sheets said.  “You tend to get a little antsy as spring training draws near.”

Sheets will be one of the most closely watched pitchers of the spring as he returns from the right elbow surgery he underwent nearly a year ago to the day.  Sheets, who signed a one-year contract worth $10 million plus incentives in late January, wants to show he can still pitch.  “It was an alone year but that’s in the past,” Sheets said.  “I felt like I had a chance to get healthy and do other things in my life.”

Sheets grew up in the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization, which has its spring training headquarters in another section of Phoenix.  “It was kind of strange putting on the green for the first time,” said Sheets, who owns a major league record of 86-83.  “When you’re with one organization for so long, you tend to identify with that color.  I even made a wrong turn out of where I stay the first day I was in town.  Old habits die hard.”

Left-hander Dallas Braden, the Athletics’ opening day starter last season, was also anxious to get going after having his season end prematurely with a foot injury.

“There’s no way you can be disappointed entering spring training,” said the animated Braden, who dealt with breathing issues all of last year in addition to his aches and pains.  “I was ready for this on Aug. 5, two days after I realized I wasn’t going to pitch again.  I started playing catch in late November.  I wanted that feeling.  I wanted to know I was still a baseball player.”  Braden underwent surgery to correct blockage in his nasal passages and has been able to sleep better ever since.  “There were days I would go workout where after 30 minutes I wanted to pass out,” he said.  “But sleep is the biggest thing.  It’s taken a lot of weight off me mentally.”


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

     This article has three stories for the price of one.

     The pitch after pitch intense bending forward at the waist and snapping back upright has irritated Mr. Duchscherer's lower back.  When the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion destroys the L5-S1 intervertebral disk, Mr. Duchscherer will either need back surgery or have a lifetime of lower back pain.

     After not pitching last season, Mr. Sheets appears to be throwing well.  However, because I know that he has not eliminated the injurious flaw in his 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that caused him to have surgery and miss last season, I don't predict long term pitching.

     Mr. Braden had surgery to enable him to breath through his nose more effectively.  When I workout, so I don't pass out, I open my mouth and take in big breaths.  However, at other times, I prefer to breath through my nose.  So, the surgery helps there, but not when pitching.

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

213.  Pitching coach Randy St. Claire's job: hone Florida Marlins' quality arms
Miami Herald
February 21, 2010

JUPITER, FL"  When he wasn't ice fishing on a nearby pond, snowmobiling in the surrounding woods or ice skating on his homemade backyard rink, the upstate New York man assigned the task of improving the Marlins pitching staff often spent his winter days holed up inside, "out there in the boonies," studying game video and taking notes.

Randy St. Claire was impressed with what he saw then.

He was even more impressed Saturday when he got to see his pupils in person, with his own naked eyes, as Marlins pitchers began pumping fastballs on Day 1 of spring training.  "A lot of power arms," St. Claire said afterward.  "Big, tall, strong kids that can really get the ball up there.  This is really nice.  This is the most quality arms I've ever had."  Which might not be saying a whole lot considering that the arms St. Claire has worked with in the past belonged either to the Montreal Expos or Washington Nationals. not exactly hotbeds of success.

That didn't stop the Marlins from going after St. Claire after another up-and-down season for their own pitchers, hiring him to replace Mark Wiley.  The Marlins front office knew St. Claire from their days together in Montreal, before Jeffrey Loria transferred ownership from the Expos to the Marlins in 2002.  Then the Expos Triple A pitching coach, St. Claire was invited to hop on the moving van with other members of the organization.  He declined.

But after the Nationals fired him in June, St. Claire became available.  And the Marlins pounced on him after a mostly successful 2009 season.  "We were looking for somebody to help these guys be consistent," said Larry Beinfest, the Marlins president of baseball operations.  "When we interviewed him, the answers made sense to us." The Marlins wanted somebody to help Ricky Nolasco avoid another April-May meltdown like the one that led to his brief demotion to the minors last season, and someone to make Chris Volstad believe in himself again.

"What makes a good pitching coach?" St. Claire said.  "You've got to be able to see changes and not make changes.  You've got to know when to be a pitching coach and when not to be.  When a guy is going really good, what do you want me to do?  You want me to change it?  Why mess with it?"

Each individual is different, St. Claire explained.  With Volstad, for example, it is a matter of confidence.  "He's a young kid," St. Claire said of Volstad, who is 23 and went from a 2.88 ERA as a rookie in 2008 to a 5.21 ERA last season.  "He needs it all.  His mechanics weren't that bad.  I don't think there's a whole lot of adjustment that needs to be done there."

With Andrew Miller, who has been wildly inconsistent, mechanics are key. St. Claire has examined video of Miller and suggested he return to his high school pitching delivery.  Miller, a tall, angular left-hander, has undergone one tweak after another, but to no avail.  "A lot of it is just to get my arm slot back to where it was more natural,:" Miller said.  "Basically, it's lower and a lot more fluid.  It's a fine line between not completely ditching everything and starting back over to what it was in high school."

Scott Strickland, a journeyman reliever trying to win a bullpen spot with the Marlins, worked with St. Claire when the two were together in the Expos farm system.  "The thing I like about him is, he's cut and dry," Strickland said.  "If you stink, he's going to tell you why you're stinking.  If you're doing good, he's going to pat you on the butt."

The Marlins are counting on improvement in their pitching staff to help them get over the hump and into the playoffs for the first time since 2003.  They're counting on the outdoorsman from the Adirondacks to help make it happen.  "We'll see if I can help them out and improve on their consistency," St. Claire said.  "That's what my goal is."


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

     My mistake.  I thought that baseball pitching coaches were supposed to teach and train baseball pitchers how to become the best injury-free, highly-skilled baseball pitcher that they can be.  Now, I know that baseball pitching coaches need to only improve their consistency, whatever that means.

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

214.  New Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire seeks consistency for young staff
Palm Beach Post
February 21, 2010

JUPITER, FL:  Ice fishing in the morning. Snowmobiling in the day. Watching video of Josh Johnson and Chris Volstad at night.  Just your typical winter day in the Adirondack Mountains for new Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire.  "Some guys like warm weather. I enjoy the cold weather," said St. Claire, who also ice skated on a homemade rink in Brant Lake, New York, just two hours from the Canadian border.  "It's in the boonies. (Baseball) is the last thing you think about when you're out there.  It clears your head and you go back to work."

St. Claire, 49, was hired in October to replace Mark Wiley, who was fired after the season because of an inconsistent season from Marlins starters.  The fact that St. Claire went right to work, studying video of Marlins pitchers through a frigid upstate New York winter, doesn't surprise those who know him.  "He's there early and he leaves late," said Marlins reliever Brian Sanches, who pitched under St. Claire with the Washington Nationals in 2008. "And he watches hours and hours of video."

St. Claire's first week in Marlins camp has been quite a change, and not just because of the sunny, 75-degree weather.  He still watches video but he's finally getting to watch Marlins pitchers in person.  "This is nice to have this amount of arms, a lot of power arms.  Big, tall, strong kids who can really get the ball up there," he said.  "Hopefully we can move that along and get it a little better and get it a little more consistent."

St. Claire is no stranger to being fired, either.  He was let go in June, in his seventh season with the Nationals, when Washington's staff ERA ranked last in the majors at 5.69.

But, the Marlins believe he's the coach they need to help their talented staff develop to its potential. He's their third pitching coaching since 2006.  "Right now, I'm just watching and making sure every body is in shape.  I'm not really looking for a lot, just strikes out of everybody," said St. Claire, who posted a 12-6 record and 4.14 ERA in 162 career games as a relief pitcher for the Montreal Expos (1984-88), Reds ('88), Twins ('89), Braves (92-92) and Blue Jays (94).

"This is the most quality arms, quality guys, I've ever worked with.  I've never had that luxury before."

St. Claire might enjoy the outdoors in the winter, but baseball is in his blood.  His father, Ebba St. Claire, was a catcher for the Boston/Milwaukee Braves (1951-53) and New York Giants in 1954.

"He's been around and has enough experience and success that obviously he knows what he's doing,' Sanches said of St. Claire.  "He knows how to reach guys and I think it'll be easy for us to adjust."

One change St. Claire has started is to have Marlins pitchers throw off the mound in so-called "bullpen sessions" every other day.  In recent years, those pitchers threw every day off the mound in spring.  "I know they've got good stuff," he said.  "It's a matter of consistency and lot of times consistency comes from a mental thing."


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

     From 1984 through 1994, Mr. St. Claire pitched in 162 games, won 12, lost 6 with a 4.14 earned run average.  That is about 16.2 games, 1.2 wins and 0.6 wins per year.  That means that Mr. St. Claire spent a lot of time watching others pitch.

     With a 5.69 staff earned run average, Mr. St. Claire also watched his 2009 Washington Nationals baseball pitchers throw a lot of pitches.

     But this year, even though Mr. St. Claire believes that consistency is mental, he has his baseball pitchers throw bullpens every other day in spring training.  I agree that baseball pitchers should throw frequently.  However, all training has to be specific.

     This means that baseball pitchers have to not only pitch off pitching mounds, they need to pitch fastball batting practice, pitch sequence batting practice, intra-squad games and competive games; in that order.

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

215.  Harden looking to stay healthy for Rangers in 2010
Associated Press
February 21, 2010

SURPRISE, AZ:  No one ever has questioned Rich Harden’s stuff.  His health has been a different story.  “I know if he’s healthy he’ll perform,” Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said Sunday.  “The big thing is to keep him healthy.”

Health and Harden rarely have intersected since the right-hander came up to the major leagues as a member of the Oakland Athletics in 2003.  He was 5-4 in 13 starts that first season and followed it with an 11-7 campaign with 167 strikeouts in 189 2/3 innings across 31 starts in 2004.  Then the injuries came—a strained left oblique in 2005, a strained back in 2006 and 2009, a sprained elbow ligament in 2006 and a strained shoulder in 2007 and 2008.  “In the past it’s always been something,” Harden said.

With the litany of injuries, the 28-year-old’s workload on the mound has decreased:  nine starts in 2006, four in 2007 and a pair of 140-plus inning seasons the past two years.  Overall, Harden has been on the disabled list seven times the past five years.  Yet the potential remains.  Harden has averaged 9.35 strikeouts per nine innings over the past seven seasons, more than any pitcher with at least 125 starts in that span.

After a 9-9 season in 25 starts for the Chicago Cubs last year, the Rangers signed Harden to a two-year deal with a mutual option for 2011.  “I was excited because I’ve seen him good and he’s been good when he’s healthy,” Washington said.  For the first time in a half-decade, Harden has come to spring training healthy.  And that has given him considerable reason for optimism.  “This is the first winter in a while that I’ve been able to begin the whole training program and build up strength,” Harden said.  “Easily, this is the best I’ve felt in a while.”

One of the ways Harden believes he can help himself approach his career-best 189 2/3 innings is by reducing his pitch count per inning.  “I can pitch a lot more innings if I can get deeper in each game and be more efficient with my pitches,” Harden said.  “Even when I have a clean inning I’m still throwing a lot of pitchers.”

Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux said the higher pitch counts are a result of Harden’s electric stuff.  “Guys who have low pitch count innings have good location but they also put the ball in play,” Maddux said.  “Guys with good stuff, the batter can’t put it in play.  They just foul it off, foul it off, foul it off.”

If nothing else, Harden should need little time getting back into the routine of the AL West after spending the first five-plus years of his career in the division.  “It’s nice to get back to a familiar place,” Harden said.  “Our team’s going to be pretty strong.”


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

     While I agree that professional baseball players should train throughtout the off-season, what training program did Mr. Harden do this off-season?  With injuries to his pitching shoulder the past two seasons, I hope the training program included using the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive the baseball in straight lines toward home plate.

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

216.  Refreshed Oswalt seeking return to form
Associated Press
February 21, 2010

KISSIMMEE, FL:  Roy Oswalt will be counting innings more than victories this season.  The Houston Astros’ ace said Sunday that if he can make 35 starts and reach 200 innings, he’ll consider 2010 a successful year.  Oswalt finished 2009 with a disappointing 8-6 record, a career-high 4.16 ERA and a franchise-record 16 no-decisions.  He strained his lower back in July, then sat out the last two weeks of the season with a bulging disk.

Oswalt also grew frustrated when he felt like he was taking the brunt of the blame for the team’s struggles, even when he pitched well.  He allowed three runs or fewer in 19 of 30 starts, and took a loss or a no-decision in 12 of them.  “You can only do so much, you can only play as long as you can play, and that’s all you can do,” he said.  “You get talked about a lot, but that’s part of the game.  “Everybody’s got an opinion,” he said.  “It’s been like that all my life, so it doesn’t really matter.  I don’t have anything to prove, just go out there and pitch, if I can stay on the field, that’s the biggest thing.”

The 32-year-old Oswalt said his back is healed and he’s been re-energized by new manager Brad Mills and pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, who’ve brought a much-needed fresh approach to the clubhouse.  Now if only Oswalt can stay healthy.  Oswalt met with two back specialists and followed a daily off-season exercise regimen to re-strengthen his back muscles.  He also got some extra time to recover and prepare for spring training, unlike last season, when he pitched in the World Baseball Classic.

If his back can hold up, Oswalt thinks he can put up similar numbers to 2004 and ’05, when he helped Houston reach unprecedented postseason success.  He made 35 starts and won 20 games in each of those seasons.  “I usually don’t set goals,” Oswalt said.  “If I can start 35 games and feel good going out there, that’s pretty much all I can ask for.  It’s all about being out there.”

Mills, hired to replace the fired Cecil Cooper, said he has no reason to believe Oswalt can’t regain his old form.  He can’t speak to what happened to Oswalt last season, and just wants his No. 1 starter to find his comfort level.  “He’s a good pitcher, and he’s going to be a good pitcher for a few more years, quite a few more years,” Mills said.  “There’s no reason to think that he’s not going to have an outstanding year.  I haven’t been here in the past, so I don’t know exactly what’s gone on, how he’s performed.  I look at numbers.  “I just want Roy to be Roy, and he’ll be fine.”

Oswalt, left-hander Wandy Rodriguez and first baseman Lance Berkman are the last holdovers from Houston’s 2005 World Series team.  Entering his 10th season, Oswalt leads the majors with 137 wins since 2001 and he’s started the last seven season openers.  Despite the success, Oswalt said he won’t hesitate to ask for guidance from Arnsberg, who coached current Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay in Toronto.  Arnsberg and Oswalt sat down for a meeting on Sunday morning.  “It doesn’t matter where you are in your career,” Oswalt said, “you can always learn something.”

Arnsberg said he won’t hold back telling Oswalt about techniques or routines employed by Halladay or other top pitchers he’s coached.  He wants to listen and learn from Oswalt, too.  “It’s nice to be able to throw a name out there,” Arnsberg said.  “You can always go back and reflect and say, ‘Well, this worked for this guy.  What do you say we give it a try?’  If we don’t, well then we’ll wash our hands of it and we’ll go to the next stage or level.  I’ve got to find different ways, too.”

Oswalt is just eager to get the season started and see how the rejuvenanted energy in the clubhouse translates to the field.  “It is a little more exciting this year, new guys, new faces,” he said.  “The manager brings a lot of fire to the team and the new pitching coach is really excited about bringing in some new things he had in Toronto, with what he did with Halladay up there and some different guys.  It should be fun.”


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

     Oswalt met with two back specialists and followed a daily off-season exercise regimen to re-strengthen his back muscles.

     Mr. Oswalt's L5-S1 intervertebral disk is anteriorly bulging out of his lower spinal column.  Strengthening back muscles will not stop that disk from bulging.

     To eliminate lower back pain, Mr. Oswalt needs to learn how to drive the entire pitching arm side of his body forward, such that he can stand tall throughout the length of his driveline.

     Houston Atros pitching coach, Brad Arnsberg said, “It’s nice to be able to throw a name (Roy Oswalt) out there.  You can always go back and say, ‘Well, this worked for (Roy Oswalt).  What do you say you give it a try?"

     That is how 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches teach baseball pitchers.  They use the names of successful baseball pitchers and tell their baseball pitchers to copy them.  They have no idea why baseball pitchers should apply force to their pitches, they simply say copy this or that guy.  That is why pitching injuries are increasing.

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

217.  Yankees still believe in former first-rounder Brackman after 'embarrassing' showing
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
February 22, 2010

TAMPA, FL:  As Andrew Brackman finished up his bullpen session on Sunday, no fewer than four organizational pitching coaches, plus manager Joe Girardi, formed a semi-circle around the mound to watch.  It was as if the closer the Yankee brain trust got to Brackman, the better the chance of finding the answer to his ballyhooed potential.  So far the answer has been elusive, to say the least.

When the Yankees drafted the 6-11 Brackman out of North Carolina State three years ago with their first-round pick, they envisioned something of a righthanded version of Randy Johnson.  They didn't envision him going 2-12 with a 5.91 ERA in the low minors, as Brackman did last season at Single-A Charleston.  A former basketball player as well as a pitcher at N.C. State, Brackman had never experienced such failure as an athlete.  "It was definitely embarrassing," he said Sunday.  "After every game, the numbers would weigh on you a little bit.  It was one of the worst years in either baseball or basketball that I've ever had."

Considering that he had Tommy John surgery in August 2007, it's too early to call Brackman a bust based on last season.  But at the age of 24, it's fair to say that 2010 looms as a crucial year in determining whether he will come close to fulfilling the expectations that come with a 95-plus mph sinking fastball.  It's also fair to ask whether the Yankees were presumptuous in drafting Brackman with the 30th overall pick, knowing at the time he was headed for surgery.  The Tommy John procedure has become fairly commonplace, yet the Yankees were surely the only team in baseball willing to gamble a guaranteed $4.45 million contract, including a $3.35 million signing bonus, under such circumstances.

For that matter, it's worth noting that Brackman's contract could add up to $13-plus million, with performance and roster bonuses, and more significantly, stipulates that he must pass through waivers if the Yankees send him to the minors at any time after the 2011 season.  That's not a lot of time for him to pay dividends.  The good news for the Yankees, however, is that they believe Brackman is showing significant progress and could still move quickly up the organizational ladder.  "I see that happening," said Nardi Contreras, the Yankees' organizational pitching coach.  "He got out of whack last year, but now he's throwing the ball really well.  We'll probably start him in (Single-A) Tampa, let him get a taste of things, and then hopefully he takes off."

Contreras said he was impressed that Brackman was throwing his fastball "downhill with very good command" during yesterday's bullpen session.  Brackman hopes it's a sign that he has turned a corner.  "It's like night and day from last year," he said.  He has lost some 20 pounds, down from 240 to about 220, and feels as if the weight loss has taken strain off his arm.  But perhaps most significantly, Brackman is rebuilding confidence after he "panicked a little bit last year" after getting off to a rocky start.

Worried that his fastball velocity was off, Brackman changed his mechanics and unraveled from there.  His 76 walks were the most in the South Atlantic League, and the Yankees were so concerned that they moved him to the bullpen late in the season, hoping to help him relax.  "It did take a little of the pressure off," said Brackman.  He didn't issue a walk in his final 10 innings out of the bullpen for Charleston, and then went to Instructional League and "pitched really well," said Contreras, as a starter again.

For now the Yankees say they are committed to Brackman as a starter, but if he struggles again the bullpen could become a tempting option.  Though he is working on adding a changeup, he so far has been basically a two-pitch pitcher, which could be a formula for a power reliever.  "I actually did like going out there letting it go for an inning or two," Brackman said.  "Starting or relieving is fine with me.  The way things came around at the end of last season, I'm just really anxious to see what this year has in store."  The Yankees are at least as anxious.  They are still hoping for another Big Unit, but they need to see results immediately, or time could be running out on their Big Gamble.


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

     In 2007, Mr. Brachman had Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.  Despite knowing that Mr. Brachman ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, the Yankees drafted Mr. Brachman 30th.  What!

     I don't care that Mr. Brachman threw a 95 mph sinking fastball.  To rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament means that he has a terrible 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'  The Yankees have no idea what 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' means.  They have no idea how to eliminate the injurious flaw that ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Nevertheless, they guaranteed Mr. Brachman $4.45 million dollars.

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

218.  Bannister showing early signs of strong recovery from arm trouble
The Kansas City Star
February 22, 2010

SURPRISE, AZ:  Optimism always comes overstocked in spring training but, even so, it’s worth noting that Royals pitching coach Bob McClure is gushing these days over right-hander Brian Bannister.  “The way Banny was pitching the other day,” McClure said, “I thought, ‘Geez, he can go pitch in a game right now.’"

It’s worth noting for two reasons.  One, McClure’s style is typically understated.  It’s not that he’s shy to praise, but he tends to do so in measured bursts while simultaneously noting areas requiring improvement.  Two, Bannister ended last season on the shelf after a perplexing loss of strength that undermined what had been a strong comeback season.  He owned a 3.59 ERA through 20 starts before ballooning to 4.73 by surrendering 32 earned runs in 31 innings over his final six starts.

“It was really tough (to understand),” he said, “because I didn’t have any sharp pain.  I had fatigue.  It felt like a dead arm, the kind you get every year in spring training.  Every pitcher deals with that.  “I don’t know if I mildly strained (the shoulder) or what.  I just couldn’t recover.  I kept trying to pitch through it, and it kept getting worse.”

A mid-September examination in New York revealed no need for surgery.  Doctors deemed an overhauled conditioning program as the proper treatment.  “I was doing a maintenance program (before) for my shoulder and my arm,” Bannister said, “but it gets to a point when you realize that you have to do a little bit more.  I definitely stepped it up a notch.

“This off-season, I had personal trainers for my arm and my body.  I was busy this off-season.  I don’t want to spout a bunch of clichés about working hard.  But I put my time in, and I’m encouraged.”  The goal: Get back to the form he displayed in those first 20 starts.  “I know this is going to be a controversial statement,” Bannister said, “but I gauge my pitching based on my productivity, things like wins above replacement.  I know a lot of people won’t agree with me, but I feel I had a better season last year than in my rookie year, when I almost won the rookie-of-the-year award.  “The wins-above-replacement claims that.  I improved my ground-ball percentage.  Take away the last month, which you can’t do, and I was a lot better pitcher. I really made strides.”

McClure agrees and cites Bannister’s WHIP, the ratio of walks and hits to innings pitched.  “If you’ve got a 1.30 or 1.35 WHIP and you’re a starting pitcher,” McClure said, “you can pitch in the big leagues.  I think his was 1.37.”  Bannister’s WHIP was 1.37 including those final six dreadful starts.  It was 1.28 through 20 starts.  “He came in here, obviously, thinking, ‘I’m going to be in the rotation,’?” McClure said.  “He wanted to prove he was healthy.  Well, that’s all behind him.  The last few ’pens he’s thrown, he could have pitched in a game.  It was crisp.  It was easy.  No effort.  Location was good.

“I’ll tell you: I’ll throw Banny out there every fifth day.  Anytime.  No question.  Because if you’re going to get him, you’ve got to hit him.  If you don’t hit him, he’s going to have a pretty good game because he’s not walking anybody.”  Bannister feels it, too.  “I am really encouraged,” he said.  “I feel good.  I’m throwing well.  The ball is coming out good.  My recovery (from bullpen workouts) has been real good.  I’m excited about the season.  We have a chance to have a really good staff.”


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

     Mr. Bannister, not Banny, had a strength problem with the front of his pitching shoulder.  The orthopedic surgeons did not operate.  Personal trainers worked on his pitching arm and body.  Now, Mr. Bannister is throwing very well.

     Because nobody determined what caused the strength loss and the trainers used non-specific exercises, I expect Mr. Bannister to repeat last year's season; good WHIP or not.

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

***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, March 21, 2010, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

219.  tommy john surgery

You claim that you persuaded Tommy John to get his now famous elbow surgery.  After his surgery, how much INPUT DID YOU HAVE IN TRAINING HIM TO RECOVER FROM HIS SURGERY?


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

     About two weeks before TJ injured his pitching elbow, I saw him jogging around Dodger Stadium wearing a rubberized jacket.  We had side-by-side lockers. When he sat down to dress for batting practice, I asked him to let me examine his pitching arm.

     When I felt the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle, they were very tight, not flaccid.  The same was true of the finger flexor muscles on the anterior surface of his pitching forearm.  I told TJ that jogging with a rubberized jacket to stimulate sweating was depleting his Potassium levels.

     As a result, the motor nerves that serve the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle and flex the fingers in his pitching arm remained contracted. I recommended that he increased his Potassium intake and remove the rubberized jacket.

     Then, in that fateful game, TJ threw a pitch that did not go where he wanted.  Then, he threw another pitch that did not go where he wanted. When he walked off the mound, he came to me in the dugout and said that he had done something to his pitching arm.

     I walked with him into the trainer's room. I examined his pitching forearm.  When I felt the medial epicondyle of his pitching elbow, I did not find any muscles.  Then, I looked down his pitching forearm.  The five muscles that attach to his medial epicondyle were balled up in the middle of his pitching forearm.

     Until I had to go to the bullpen for the start of the seventh inning, I sat with TJ waiting for Dr. Jobe to arrive.

     The next day, when I arrived at Dodger Stadium, as usual, I entered the Stadium from the back and walked through the Dodger bullpen down the left field line.

     To my amazement, I found TJ lobbing baseballs to a catcher. I stopped him and asked what he was doing.  TJ said that Dr. Jobe told him to come out early, throw a few baseballs and see how he felt.

     I told TJ that he had torn the medial epicondyle muscles from their attachment and ruptured the Ulnar Collateral Ligament that held the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of his pitching upper arm to the Ulna bone in his pitching forearm.  Until he reattaches those muscles and replaces his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, he cannot throw baseballs.

     I never persuaded TJ to have surgery.  He had surgery because he had no choice.  With the collaboration of many orthopedic surgeons, Dr. Jobe reattached the muscles of the medial epicondyle and replaced the Ulnar Collateral Ligament with the tendon of the Palmaris Longus muscle of his non-pitching forearm.

     A few months later, TJ telephoned me that he had lost sensation in his pitching hand.  I specifically asked him whether he has sensation in the little finger of his pitching hand.  He said that he did not. I told TJ to contact Dr. Jobe and tell him that, during the surgery, he had crimped the Ulnar Nerve and it had died from that crimp to the end of the nerve.

     Dr. Jobe immediately relocated the Ulnar Nerve.  Therefore, before TJ could throw baseballs, he had to wait until the myelinated Ulnar Nerve regenerated.  Although, when nerves regenerate, they only recover about sixty percent of their previous function, TJ was able to use the muscles that his Ulnar Nerve served.

     When I saw TJ next spring, I showed him my wrist weight exercises and told him that, when he took the baseball out of his glove, he needed to pretend that he was holding a pie tin full of water and try not to spill any water.  This forced TJ to take the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand under the baseball, pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

     This pitching arm action made sure that, when TJ started to accelerate his pitching arm toward home plate, he was contracting the muscles that attach to his medial epicondyle, thereby removing all stress from his replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     As a result, TJ was able to pitch without microscopically tearing the connective tissue fibers of his replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Later in his career, after he pitched a season for the California Angels, TJ visited me in St. Leo, FL, the home of Saint Leo College, where I was an Associate Professor and Head Baseball Coach.  Because he was not pitching well, TJ wanted me to watch his baseball pitching motion.

     I determined that TJ was too horizontal with his pendulum swing, such that he was taking the baseball well beyond second base.  I told TJ to vertically pendulum swing his pitching arm straight toward second base and drive his pitching arm straight toward home plate.

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

220.  Sowers behind in race for Tribe rotation: Out of options, lefty recovering from sore left shoulder
MLB.com
February 22, 2010

GOODYEAR, AZ:  Jeremy Sowers arrived at the Indians' Player Development Complex about a month in advance of the report date for pitchers and catchers this Spring Training.  He came here eager to win a job in the Tribe's rotation, sure.  But Sowers' early arrival had more practical implications.  For much of the 2009 season, Sowers was bothered by soreness in his left shoulder.  So the Indians had him come to camp early to receive treatment for the issue, but he said he still expects to be "a couple weeks" behind his fellow pitchers in camp.

That's not a great forecast for Sowers, who is out of Minor League options and vying with fellow left-handers David Huff and Aaron Laffey and right-hander Mitch Talbot for one of two open spots in the starting rotation.  "Obviously not," Sowers said Monday.  "But you can't pick when you get hurt.  You deal with it.  I've had plenty of opportunities to prove my value to this team.  Whatever happens, happens."

The official diagnosis on Sowers is left shoulder inflammation.  He said he's worked during the past month to improve the strength in his shoulder muscles, and he has begun doing some long-tossing and throwing off flat ground.

Tribe pitchers and catchers will hold their first official workout Tuesday, with the hurlers throwing all their pitches off the mound for 10 minutes apiece.  Sowers won't be part of that workout, though he said he is scheduled to throw about 25-30 pitches off a mound to see how his shoulder tolerates the activity.  "There's no telling how quickly I'll progress," he said.

The knock on the 26-year-old Sowers, who was the Tribe's No. 1 Draft pick in 2004, last season was that he lost effectiveness the second and third time through an opponent's lineup.  For the season, he was 6-11 with a 5.25 ERA in 23 appearances, including 22 starts, at the big league level.  The opposition hit .205 off him the first time through the lineup, .303 the second and .370 the third.

Could the shoulder problem have been causing fatigue that affected Sowers' effectiveness over the course of a game?  Not really, Sowers said.  "If my velocity was going down [as the game wore on], you could point to that," he said.  "But that's probably more coincidence, a mental hurdle more than a physical hurdle, and the challenge of facing guys a third time."

The shoulder situation places a hurdle in front of Sowers as he hopes to land a job and avoid getting placed on waivers.  As he noted, he has had his share of chances to prove his worth, having logged 71 starts over the past four seasons.  In that time, he's compiled an 18-30 record and 5.18 ERA.  His stock has fallen steadily in the wake of his strong second half in his rookie season of '06.

Early effectiveness in his starts last season led some to believe Sowers might be better-suited for a long relief role, though his raw stuff hardly seems like relief material.  Sowers himself sounded a bit skeptical about the bullpen possibility when asked about it Monday.  "I think since I've been drafted I've logged eight innings out of a bullpen," he said.  "And they were all clean innings where I knew when I'd be coming out of the 'pen and when I'd pitch.  That being said, if it came to that, pitching is pitching.  The bullpen is a different mindset, but, when you're on the mound, it's all the same."

If Sowers doesn't get on the mound in games early in the Cactus League season, it's doubtful he'll be a serious candidate for the rotation.


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

     To receive treatment for his inflammed pitching shoulder, the Indians had Mr. Sowers come to camp early.  Nevertheless, Mr. Sowers will be a couple of weeks behind the other pitchers.

     Mr. Sowes should have started rehabilitating his pitching shoulder immediately after the season.

     During the past month, Mr. Sowers has worked to improve the strength of the muscles in his pitching shoulder and now, he has begun long-tossing and throwing off flat ground.

     Great.  During the past month, the trainers have Mr. Sowers doing some non-pitching specific shoulder exercises.

     Therefore, these non-pitching specific shoulder exercises will do absolutely nothing to help Mr. Sowers.

     Now, the trainers have Mr. Sowers long-tossing.  When baseball pitchers long toss, they use the crow-hop throwing rhythm, which enables baseball pitchers to get their pitching arm to driveline height at the same time that their glove foot lands.  When 'traditional' baseball pitchers pitch off pitching mounds, they use the balance-position pitching rhythm, which does not enabale baseball pitchers to get their pitching arm to driveline height at the same time that their glove foot lands.

     Therefore, long-tossing will do absolutely nothing to help Mr. Sowers.

     In addition, the trainers have Mr. Sowers throwing off flat ground.  When baseball pitchers throw off flat ground, their glove foot lands earlier in their pitching arm action than when they throw off the pitching rubber.

     Therefore, throwing off flat ground will do absolutely nothing to help Mr. Sowers.      "The opposition hit .205 off him the first time through the lineup, .303 the second and .370 the third."      The writer wondered whether, during the second and third times through the lineup, Mr. Sower's shoulder problem lessened the quality of his pitches.  Mr. Sowers thought that, because his velocity did not decrease, he might have a mental problem.

     When baseball batters correctly guess what pitch baseball pitchers are about to throw, baseball batters hit baseballs hard.  Therefore, the ability of baseball batters to correctly guess what pitch Mr. Sowers is going to throw improves the more times that they see Mr. Sowers.

     It appears to me that either Mr. Sowers throws fastballs in fastball counts, breaking balls in breaking ball counts and change-ups in change-up counts.  He might want to mix things up.

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

221.  tommy john surgery

Thank you for sharing that experience with me.  It is eye opening.

I know for a fact that kids today getting tommy john surgery do not rehab like that.

One question:  Tommy John came to the famous crane position estalished by our hero Tom House.  I would think that it would be against your judgement to go back to 2nd base from that position.


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

     Even with the worst of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion's body action, baseball pitchers can use the glove and pitching arm actions that I recommend.  At least then, the only injuries that they will suffer will be to their pitching hip, pitching knee, glove knee and lower back.

     TJ had his pitching hip replaced.

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

222.  Elbow Soreness

I have had some tenderness on the inside of my elbow above the funny bone or the groove that the nerve sits in.

I am in the last training cycle of the 25 lb. wrist weight exercises.  I notice the tenderness if I do not pendulum swing correctly when doing the WWs.  I feel the stress on the elbow when I accelerate the WWs forward.  Does this sound like UCL stress?  I also feel tenderness when I do the 12 lb. IB throws, but not as much because I feel like I am pendulum swinging and locking the upper arm much easier than with the WWs.

1.  Could I have aggravated the UCL if I had not been having my pitching palm facing away from the body?

2.  Or, is the UCL problems only IF I am taking the ball out of the glove with my hand on top of baseball?

3.  I also read in you're Q&A's that Jeff had UCL issues and when you put pressure on his UCL he felt pain.  I thought ligaments did not have pain sensors?

4.  I am feeling the soreness and fatigue on the inside of my elbow when I do the BB drills.  I am wondering if the full motion is giving all my pronator teres it can handle and it's just training discomfort.  Sometimes, I feel the strain at the bottom of the bicep where it intersects with the elbow and it radiates to where I think the pronator teres connects with the medial epicondyle.

5.  Does the pronator teres have any role besides engaging the latissimus dorsi to decelerate the pitching arm?  Does the pronator teres take any brunt of the force?


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

     Discomfort results from increasing the stress above what the bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles and connective tissue can withstand.  This stress forces these tissues to make a physiological response.  That is what training is all about.  You are supposed to have discomfort.  If you appropriately increase the stress, then the body responds and you move on to the next weak link.

     It sounds as though the Ulnar Nerve groove connective tissue is your present weak link.  Connective tissue is structurally insignificant, but they do emit strong pain signals.  This means that you can perform the activity, but it hurts.  Usually, when you get good blood flow going, you can perform without discomfort.  Therefore, during your warm-up exercises, to allow the blood flow to get up to speed, you should take your time and gradually increase your intensity.

01.  With the pitching arm moving forward, you are contracting the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle.  Therefore, you have not aggravated your Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

02.  Ulnar Collateral Ligament problems only occur when baseball pitchers have 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.'

03.  When, before he met me, Jeff Sparks pitched in high school and his first two years of college, he injured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  However, after we worked together, despite the previous injuries to his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, Jeff pitched without difficulty.

     Whatever discomfort those with Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries experience, come from the additional stress placed on tendons, connective tissue and muscles as a result of the inability of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament to hold the Humerus bone tightly against the Ulna bone.

04.  Because I want my baseball pitchers to powerfully pronate the releases of their pitches, they should stress their Pronator Teres throughout my interval-training programs.  You should expect ongoing physiological responses from the Pronator Teres muscle.

05.  When the Pronator Teres muscle pronates the pitching forearm, the pitching upper arm has to inwardly rotate whether they use the Latissimus Dorsi muscle or not.  However, by raising the pitching upper arm to vertically beside their head and rotating the back of the pitching upper arm to face toward home plate, baseball pitchers will engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

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

223.  1st win

Sam got his first win Sunday.  Two scoreless innings.  He is second on the team in ERA.

Thanks for all you do.

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

Scorpions 6, Valley City State University 5 (9 innings)

UTB/TSC had a seemingly comfortable 3-1 lead going into the seventh inning behind the pitching of Kevin Chapman, who started and was trying to record a complete game.  But VCSU touched Chapman and reliever Adam Vera for four runs in the top of the seventh to take a 5-3 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.

The Scorpions clawed back and tied the game, 5-5, sending it into extra innings.  Henggeler had a walk-off opportunity in the seventh, but flied out to end the inning.

In the ninth, Jorge Camorlinga led off the inning with a single, extending his hitting streak to nine games.  Peter Maldonado singled and Matt Ginn walked to load the bases.  With one out, Henggeler then laid down a beautiful bunt to end the game.

The Scorpions, who had only three hits in the first six innings and still led, 3-1, finished with nine hits.  Maldonado scored twice and Ignacio Celedon drove in two runs.

Sam Buchanan pitched the final two innings of scoreless baseball to record his first victory of the season.


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

     That the coach had Sam pitch the last two innings shows that he has confidence that Sam can pitch.

     He is enjoying the external benefits of his hard work.

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

224.  injuries

I did not know that Tommy John had hip surgery after his baseball career.

In the prescriptipn drug industry, the drug companies must warn of side effects in taking their drugs.  That's what we need for baseball pitching coaches.

If baseball pitchers do what Tom House, Dick Mills or Paul Nyman teach and suffer injuries, they should have to warn their pitchers about these side effects.  And, if their pitchers require surgery, they should have to pay.

I wish I could mount a national campaign to inform the general public about what these guys do.


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

     Ignorance is not an excuse.  They know that baseball pitchers they train suffer injuries, but they continue to teach the same injurious baseball pitching motion.

     That 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches do not accept the responsibility for the lifetime of pain that what they teach causes is why I do not respect them.

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

225.  Pitch question:  What was it and how do you throw it?

I’m a right-handed batter and I was facing a right-handed pitcher.

A couple of games ago, I had a guy throw a pitch that came right at my hip and broke over the inside corner for a called strike.  It had a ton of horizontal movement and really locked me up.

I pitch occasionally, but cannot get that kind of movement in either my slider or curveball.


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

      You said that a right-handed baseball pitcher threw a curve ball to the pitching arm side of home plate that moved to the pitching arm side of home plate.  That sounds like my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     If you watch the videos of any of my Analysis of my Baseball Pitchers, then you will see that I teach all my baseball pitchers how to throw this pitch.

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

226.  pronation slider

You have stated in the past that the pronation slider should not be thrown by youth pitchers.  I am curious to get an answer on technical side of this.

I have found that most youth pitchers can throw this easier than the pronation curve and since it is a pronation pitch, it relieves the elbow.  It sinks well and is easier to control than the pronation curve for smaller hands.  When my son pitched in high school, it was his best pitch.  His second best was the pronation curve.

From some slow motion release video I saw on TV, I noticed that Scott Kazmir pronates the release of his slider.  It may be possible that your methods and pitches are finding their way into MLB, just not discussed openly.

Your pronation slider may be the best pitch that baseball has ever seen.

So, back to the original question on the pronation slider:  What stresses does this pitch place on the pitching arm or shoulder that makes you want pitchers to wait until they are older to throw?


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

     The growth plate of the Olecranon Process does not completely close until youth baseball pitchers are biologically fifteen years old.

     When baseball pitchers throw 'traditional' cut fastballs, sliders and curve balls, they supinate the releases.  That is, they turn the thumb side of their pitching hand upward through release.  As a result, they bang their Olecranon Process into its fossa.

     With every breaking pitch that they throw, they permanently damage their Olecranon Process; even to the point of breaking the tip of their Ulna bone completely off.

     Therefore, until baseball pitchers prove that they reflexively pronate the release of their Maxline Pronation Curve with over-spin, I do not want them to even try to pronate the release of my Torque Fastball Slider.  The risk to reward is too great.

     Even at five hundred frames per second, it is not easy to tell the difference between baseball pitchers pronating or supinating the release of my Torque Fastball Slider.

     As an example, watch the two-seam Torque Fastball Curve that Colin Carmody throws in his video.  If you watch closely, as I do frame by frame in my video studio, then you can see that he turns his pitching thumb upward through release.

     While that does not necessarily mean that he bangs his Olecranon Process into its fossa, it is too close for comfort.  However, his Olecranon Process has completely matured.  Therefore, if he does bang his Olecranon Process into its fossa, then all he will do is lose extension range of motion in his pitching elbow.

     I strongly disagree that my Torque Fastball Slider is the best pitch that baseball has ever seen.  When thrown correctly, I would list the best pitches that I teach as:

01.  Maxline Fastball Sinker
02.  Maxline Pronation Curve
03.  Maxline True Screwball
04.  Torque Fastball
05.  Maxline Fastball
06.  Torque Pronation Curve
07.  Torque Fastball Slider

     Against youth and high school baseball batters that pull away from home plate, my Torque Fastball Slider may appear to be a great pitch, but when thrown to quality college and professional baseball batters, they will get hammered.

     From release to completed pronation takes three one-hundredth of a second.  I doubt that 250 frames per second of slow motion video shows Mr. Kazmir pronates the release of his slider.  Because he pulls his pitching upper arm across the front of his body, I believe that he never actively inwardly rotates his pitching upper arm.  Therefore, I doubt that he inwardly rotates (pronates) his pitching forearm.

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

227.  Pitch question:  What was it and how do you throw it?

Thank you for your response.

I throw a traditional curve ball and have some elbow issues after I throw it a lot.

This pitch moved away from the pitching arm side of homeplate.  The ball was coming right at me, then broke over the plate.

I will check out your videos.

I play and pitch in a Mens Senior league (25 and up).  I ran into major arm issues in college.

I have a 10 year old lefty son that is currently playing on a 11 U travel team.  He pitches well with good velocity and adequate control (effectively wild is that means anything).  He throws a fastball, a little change, and a has nice cutting movement to most of his pitches.  As a lefty, I swear theay they cannot throw a ball straight for the life of them.


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

     'Traditional' curve balls destroy the bones on the back of the pitching elbow.  Whatever their age, no baseball pitchers should ever throw 'traditional' curve balls.

     My Maxline Pronation Curve moves toward the pitching arm side of home plate.  If the curve that you saw moved started toward the pitching arm side of home plate, then moved toward the glove side of home plate, it was not my Maxline Pronation Curve.  Instead, it was a 'traditional' curve ball that got away from the pitcher.

     If you were to watch the pitches that right-handed pitchers throw in mirrors, then you would see that they throw the same pitches as left-handed pitchers.  You simply do not see as many left-handed pitchers, so they look different.

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

228.  2008 Paul Nyman article about Barry Zito

Please read the attachment I enclosed.  Let me know what you think.


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

     The only thing that Mr. Nyman wrote that was true was that Dick Mills is a footnote in the history of 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches.  Rather than spending the time required to correct all the misinformation that Mr. Nyman believes, I prefer to use my time teaching what baseball pitchers should do.  Let us leave Mr. Nyman and and Mr. Mills as sad footnotes.

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

229.  Failed Ulnar Collateral Ligament reconstruction surgery

In 2007, he had gained attention as a pitcher and a handful of professional teams contacted him. In May 2008, my son, who was a college pitcher/infielder, underwent “Tommy John Surgery.”.

After an uneventful rehab and no episodes of pain on the mound during the winter 2009, he was ready for the 2010 season.

In Jan of 2010, he developed moderate elbow discomfort.  An MRI revealed that he had ruptured of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament graft.  Dr. Lewis Yocum confirmed the graft failure.  My son was devastated.

My son has returned to the infield, but his arm pain is worsening.

The thought of a second ucl reconstruction is disheartening to say the least.

I am a physical therapist who has rehabed enough athletes/pitchers to know that Ulnar Collateral Ligament revision does not have a great success rate.

Several recent papers by Yocum, Andrews, Dines and Altchek report success rates of 30%.

Have you worked with pitchers in similar situations?

He really wants to pitch again at a high level or at least have a chance.  He never really was able to get going this year as the repair failed so early in the season.

Your comment/advice would be appreciated.

My son is not completely ruled out a second surgery, but obviously his pitching mechanics (which have been described as “very good”) need altering. Thank you.  (Searching for possible answers/hope!)


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

     The reason why baseball pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament is the same reason why their rehabilitation after Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery fails.  That reason is 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     The Ulnar Collateral Ligament ruptured because it could not withstand the stress that the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion put on it.  Therefore, unless baseball pitchers stop inappropriately stressing their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, they will rupture their replacement Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

     If your son ever wants to pitch again, then he has to stop using the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     To learn how to appropriately apply force to his baseball pitches, your son needs to complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

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

230.  Throwing drill

On this throwing drill you created (I filmed Sept 25,2008):

Extreme Cross-Panel Drill

I can not remember the purposes it is designed for.  I was trying to remember, but what I recall is it helped stop grabbing and strengthened the arm.  I think this was Joe Williams that I filmed doing this drill.  And, to my further embarrassment, I can not remember the proper name of the drill.

I do remember he was throwing the ball as far as he could, actually over the building at the end of the netting.  That was really impressive.  I am sure there is a reason for throwing at the 45 degree angle toward the building, could you please detail out the reasons why.

Please explain the purpose of the drill.  Also, would using a weighted baseball in this drill improve anything or create new problems?

I could slow the video down and we could add it to your web page if you wish.


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

     For years, to teach my baseball pitchers how to drive down their acromial line, which means to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle and pronate their releases, I used my Second Base Pickoff Move body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     Because I had my baseball pitchers throw the baseball to the sixteen foot panel to the immediate pitching arm side of the panel directly in front of their pitching mound, I called the drill, my Cross-Panel throws. When my baseball pitchers worked on my Maxline Pronation Curve, the drill worked especially well.

     However, some very flexible baseball pitchers that I trained were still able to use their Pectoralis Major muscle to pull their pitching upper arm forward. While the baseball pitcher in this video is Joe Williams, the person for whom I designed this drill was Jason Schmeidel.  Because Jason could not stop using his Pectorialis Major muscle to pull his pitching arm forward, I decided that I had to design a drill that made it impossible for Jason to pull his pitching upper arm forward.

     Using my Second Base Pickoff body action and stepping directly toward the home plate directly in front of him, I told Jason to throw the baseball five panels to the pitching arm side of his home plate panel.  To prevent him from cheating with his step, I placed a concrete block next to where I told him to step.

     In my training setup, I use an eighty foot long batting cage with five side by side pitching mounds every sixteen feet.  Therefore, Jason threw from mound #1 into the middle of panel #5, which meant that, to reach the net in the air, he had to throw the baseball about ninety feet.

     After a few throws, Jason finally engaged his Latissimus Dorsi muscle and threw that baseball down his acromial line.  For the first couple of weeks, he could not throw the baseball hard enough to reach the #5 panel in the air with his Maxline Fastballs.  However, after a couple of months, he was able to throw his Maxline Fastballs on a line into the middle of the panel.

     I and his fellow baseball pitchers noticed the significant improvement in his release velocity.  Therefore, we decided to add this drill to their workout.  We called this drill, my Extreme Cross-Panel drill.

     However, with only five panels, we could only have one right-handed and one left-handed baseball pitchers simultaneously do the drill.  Therefore, I decided to create a drill that enabled five baseball pitchers to simultaneously perform the drill.  I call that drill, my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     As soon as I get the new Adobe Premier Provide video studio computer that I recently ordered, I will finish making the video of my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill and put it on my website for all to watch and learn how to do.

     However, as was the problem with my Second Base Pickoff drill, by not stepping where I tell them to step, rather than engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle and drive down their acromial line, they are still able to use their Pectoralis Major muscle to pull their pitching upper arm forward.  Therefore, we need to force the baseball pitchers to step at a forty-five degree angle from to where they need to throw the baseballs.

     The purpose behind throwing heavier balls than the regulation five and one-quarter ounce baseball is to stimulate the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles involved in throwing to make a physiological response.  To do that, the ball must be significantly heavier than the regulation baseball.  Therefore, for biologically eight, twelve, sixteen and nineteen year old baseball pitchers, I recommend two, four, six and eight pound balls, respectively.

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

231.  Biceps soreness

My twelve year old son has been doing a great job with his WW's and IB's.  We've also been doing 25 half-reverse pivot throws every day.  I heartily congratulate him as he complains about triceps, pronator teres and latissimus dorsi soreness.

He seems to do a very nice job of the Marshall motion including some nice inward rotation.  However, and this is where I'm confused, in the last two days, he has complained of soreness in the center of his biceps.  I would have expected that with "flaring" of which he has very little.


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

     While soreness in the area of the middle of the Biceps Brachii will not cause any injury problem, it does indicate that he is co-contracting the muscles that flex and extend the pitching elbow.  Typically, this would mean that he has some 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'  Is he taking his pitching arm laterally behind his body?

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

232. 

Biceps soreness

My twelve year old son over-rotates a little bit, but he's really pretty good at staying "on line," when throwing normally.  However, your response triggered a thought.  When he does the half-reverse pivot drill, he lets his hand fly away out to the right as he turns and then fights like hell to "stick" it in the strike zone because he knows that's what I'm looking for.

I continue to demonstrate the correct movement, but he continues to swing his arm out.  So yesterday, I had him just start in a "wrong foot sideways" position to let him focus solely on the arm action and that seemed to go well.

The initial swinging "out" would of course cause him to swing laterally behind his body.  I think that has to be it.

My fifteen year old son has really been working hard on the half-reverse pivot drill which we do at 180 feet.  Man, is he doing a nice job or inwardly rotating on it.  I'm very proud to say that he reminds me of Colin.  His curve ball has really gotten mean and his screwballs have been the best ever.  I don't know whether you know it or not, but that whole "inward rotation of the shoulder" thing is pretty important.

As always Doc, thanks a million for the help.


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

     When I teach the pendulum swing of the pitching arm, I tell my baseball pitchers that the outside of their little finger has to brush against their pitching leg.

     Damn.  I wish that, forty years ago, I had recognized that powerfully inwardly rotating the pitching upper arm and forearm (pronation) increased release velocity, release consistency and prevented injuries.

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

233.  Thanks for answering all my questions this year.

I just wanted to let you know that i finished the 120 day workout today.  My arm feels better than it ever has and I'm looking forward to having a great season.


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

     For taking your baseball pitching career into your own hands, I congratulate you.  When athletes understand what they have to do to succeed, they can become more than they thought they could be.

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

234.  half-reverse variation

Simplifying the half-reverse pivot drill to "wrong foot, sideways" loses something.  What specifically am I losing by varying from the complete drill?


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

     I use my Second Base Pickoff body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill to teach me how to engage my Latissimus Dorsi muscle and drive down my acromial line.  However, I understood and believed in what I was trying to do.

     Therefore, what I am saying is that, when baseball pitchers do not learn how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, they either do not understand what they are trying to learn or do not believe in what they are being taught to learn.

     When I taught others how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle and drive down their acromial line, I frequently felt as though they are trying to show me that they can use the 'traditional' pitching upper arm action, that is, use their Pectoralis Major muscle to pull their pitching upper arm forward and still drive down their acromial line.

     Like you say with your son, 'stick' their pitching hand into the strike zone, they would simply powerfully pronate their pitching forearm.  However, because their pitching hand crossed the midline of their body gave them away.

     For example, except for when he threw my Maxline Pronation Curve, Joe Williams always used his Pectoralis Major muscle.

     Whether we use the Second Base Pickoff, Extreme Cross Panel or the Half Reverse Pivot body action, baseball pitchers can always find a way to not learn to use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     The baseball pitchers that came to me for help wanted to eliminate their pain.  But, they knew that they had to return to working with 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches that would not allow them to use my baseball pitching motion.

     Therefore, to my discredit, after I explained several times and made repeated attempts to teach them this critical skill, I moved on.  On my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, do you remember me repeatedly saying, "Did they immediately raise their pitching upper arm to driveline height" and answering, "No."

     What I was telling viewers was that they refused to learn this critical skill.

     The first guy that learned to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle was Sam Buchanan with his wrist weight exercises.  He was the first guy to achieve over-spin on my Maxline Pronation Curve.  However, the last time that he visited, he used his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching arm forward.

     The second guy that learned to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle was Mike Farrenkopf.  Remember the fuss I made about Mike getting his pitching upper arm vertically beside his head?  When he visited last summer, he used his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching upper arm forward.

     After seeing Mike engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, after over ten years of excuses, as a gift to me, Jeff Sparks stopped trying to pitch professionally and completed my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program; including my 30 lb. Wrist Weight and 15 lb. Iron Ball Recoil Interval-Training Cycles.

     Although he still has some non-injurious flaws, he mastered the critical aspect of my baseball pitching motion.  He perfectly engaged his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     In my Analysis of my Baseball Pitcers file, ignore my commentary and watch the Jeff Sparks 2008 DVD.  You will see that he has the back of his pitching upper arm facing completely toward home plate.  That shows that he has perfectly engaged his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     Although not quite as well as Jeff Sparks, Colin Carmody also engages his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  Besides seeing slow motion of the back of their pitching upper arm facing toward home plate, we can also recognize that baseball pitchers engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle by the pitching elbow popping up after they release their pitches.

     After forty years of teaching my baseball pitching motion, other than me, only four guys engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  I know that all the other guys could have learned to do it.

     Unfortunately, because 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches do not have any idea what they are doing, but have the power to prevent my baseball pitchers from pitching, all the other guys tried to compromise my baseball pitching motion with the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

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

***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, March 28, 2010, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

235.  Torque Fastball

When my son is doing the torque fastball football throws, the football is spinning vertically.  In your video, it appears the ball should be spinning on a tilt of about 45 degrees.  Also, from your baseball throws video, the ideal rotation would be horizontal.  What is correct?

I tell him to drive his elbow straight at the target.  When his elbow flares out, I correct him.  Am I giving him bad instruction?

It appears from the video that the elbow has to flare a little in order to allow the hand to pass inside the elbow thus imparting the "chest pass" force application.


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

     The pitching arm action for my Torque pitches is the two-handed chest pass in basketball.  You should have your son practice two-handed chest passes with a basketball.  After he learns how to correctly perform a two-handed chest pass with a basketball, you should ask him to not use his non-pitching hand to push the basketball, but only to keep from dropping the ball and perform a two-handed chest pass with only his pitching arm.

     If he does it correctly, then, as a right-handed baseball pitcher, the basketball will have a three o'clock to nine o'clock rotation.

     When he practices his appropriately-sized football throws, he should be able to also achieve an almost horizontal rotation.

     However, when he does his baseball throws, if he is able to achieve anything near twenty degrees tilt, then he will be doing well.

     Make certain that he powerfully pronates his pitching forearm.

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

236.  One-on-one coaching

How much would it cost me to get coaching from you on a one on one level?


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

     I appreciate your interest in having me teach you my baseball pitching motion.  However, I no longer accept clients.  Nevertheless, with the materials on my website, you can teach yourself.  If you have any questions, please email me.

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

237.  Fast-twitch percentage

  Is the percentage of fast twitch muscle fiber consistent throughout the body?  Is it possible to have 60% fast-twitch muscle fiber percentages in the legs and 90% in the arms?


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

     Fast-twitch muscle fiber percentages vary from one muscle to the next.  For example, of all the muscles that attach the pitching arm, the Triceps Brachii muscle has the highest percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers.

     However, we cannot change the fast-twitch percentages.  Therefore, we can only improve the effectiveness and efficiency with which baseball pitchers apply force and teach baseball pitchers how to throw a wide variety of high-quality pitches that baseball batters cannot anticipate or hit.

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

238.  USA TODAY - Sports Weekly

I am the account executive with USA TODAY and representative for Sports Weekly  (A USA TODAY weekly publication).  I thought that our publication could be the perfect forum for you to advertise for Dr. Mike Marshall Pitching Coach Services.

You would be reaching an active male audience between the ages of 20-40 yrs of age.

Formerly known as Baseball Weekly, Sports Weekly offers you a way to reach nearly 2.7 million sports fanatics at an affordable rate!  Sports Weekly's classified section is where small to mid-size sports companies come to sell products and services.  Quite simply, Sports Shop is the premier sports classified section in the country.  It is the perfect place to advertise sports equipment, health products, tickets, camps/schools, travel, memorabilia and fantasy products.

Sports Weekly is published every Wednesday.  I look forward to the opportunity of discussing an effective advertising plan with you.


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

     I do not charge for anything on my website.  Therefore, I have no money with which to advertise my website.

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

239.  Osgood-Slaughter's

A friend of my son's has been diagnosed with Osgood-Slaughter's.  I was wondering if there is any therapy that he can do to lessen the discomfort, or is this something he will have to grow out of.  He is a soccer player so he obviously needs his legs.  Also, can he do any permanent damage if he plays through it?

As always, I thank you for all you do.


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

     When adolescents put more stress on growth plates than the growth plates can withstand, the growth plates respond with pain.  The only way to eliminate this pain is to not put stress on these growth plates.

     Typically, when growth plates emit pain, they prematurely close.  This permanently alters their normal growth and development.

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

240.  I'm a little confused about maintenance.  I understand that I am to do one-half of the base level of repetitions.  Does this also include only one-half of the warm up exercises for the iron ball and wrist weights?

Also, I never do the wrist weight and iron ball exercises at full out intensity until the season over and I only throw the baseballs as hard as I can every third day, is this right?   Just two blood flow days then a full out bullpen every third day?


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

     Warm-ups prepare the body for the training.  Before baseball pitchers train, they must always properly warm-up.

     To maintain a level of fitness, baseball pitchers need to do their wrist weight and iron ball training programs at one-half the number of repetitions with about one-half of those repetitions at full intensity.

     With regard to throwing baseballs:  With only one-half of the repetitions, I recommend two days of blood flow intensity, which is about two-third intensity and one day of full intensity.

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

241.  Pitchers limited to 2 innings per game

Our local Cal Ripken league board has become so obsessed with "Fairness" that they enacted some interesting rules this year.  The biggest is that a pitcher may only pitch 2 innings in a 6 inning game.

This might be fine for our lower level division made up of 8-10 year olds, but I think the 11 and 12 year olds should be allowed to throw longer to build up arm strength.

What do you think?


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

     First:  Until youth baseball pitchers are biologically thirteen years old, I do not believe that they should pitch competitively at all.  However, even though I believe that you are destroying pitching arms, I will answer your question.

     I agree with the league board.

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

242.  Engaging Latissimus dorsi

I think I am having problems engaging my Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

It's at the point where I am trying so hard that it is really messing up the timing of everything else.  I just have no idea if I am engaging it or not.

I know I am suppose to raise the upper-arm to beside my ear and show the back of my pitching arm; but I am not sure if I am doing either with my maxline pitches.  I think I am with my torque pitches or close to it.

My questions are:

1.  Is it your half-reverse pivot drill that best teaches this?

If so, I am getting close to where I will be throwing sinkers and sliders in your training program and go into maintenance mode.  So I am thinking of adding the drill that best teaches the engagement of the latissimus Dorsi.

2.  If I do another drill in addition to maintenance mode, should I just do 24 reps of each WWs and IBs when I do the additional drill?

3.  I watched Colin's pendulum swing in your latest video on him.  It seems he does not pendulum swing towards 2nd base for his screwball as it is more towards the shortstop position.  Is this observation correct or is it an adjustment you made in the motion?


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

01.  My Slingshot glove and pitching arm action requires baseball pitchers to have their pitching upper arm vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching arm facing toward home plate and their pitching forearm horizontally behind their pitching elbow pointing at second base.

     When baseball pitchers have their pitching arm in my Slingshot position, they have engaged their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     If you turn off the sound and watch the front view high-speed film of Jeff Sparks 2008, then you will see the back of his pitching upper arm facing toward home plate.  That is what you want to learn to do.

02.  I recommend that, on alternate days, my baseball pitchers throw twelve Half Reverse Pivot drill Maxline and Torque Fastballs.

     Done correctly, my Half Reverse Pivot drill teaches baseball pitchers to engage their Latissimus Dorsi.

     a.  Baseball pitchers have to vertically pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward in the opposite direction to which they are going to throw the baseball.

     b.  With my Maxline Fastball, baseball pitchers have to step at a forty-five degree angle to the glove side of their body.

     c.  With my Torque Fastball, baseball pitchers have to step straight forward.

     d.  Baseball pitchers have to never allow any part of their pitching arm to be on the front side of their acromial line.

03.  I have not posted Colin's 2009 DVD.  When I have time, I will add my analysis of what he does to the DVD and post it.

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

243.  Another tragedy that could have been avoided

California teen hit in head by baseball clings to life
Associated Press
March 23, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO, CA:  As a Northern California high school baseball player clung to life after he was hit in the head by a line drive during a practice game, educators at his school questioned whether metal bats are more dangerous than wooden ones.

Gunnar Sandberg, 16, a student at Marin Catholic High School, remained in critical condition Tuesday at Marin General Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Kathie Graham.  He was removed from a medically induced coma on Friday and underwent a brain scan Monday after doctors "didn't like what they saw," said school principal Chris Valdez.  "There has been some positive activity yesterday and today, which is keeping us hopeful," the Sandberg family said in a statement Tuesday.  "We appreciate the outpouring of love and support from the community."

Sandberg was struck by a sharply hit baseball on March 11 while pitching during a practice game against Concord's De La Salle High School.  The hitter used a metal bat in which the weight is distributed more evenly than it is in wooden bats, so it's easier to swing faster.  Sandberg's injury has renewed concerns about the safety of metal baseball bats, which some coaches and parents believe make the ball travel faster and reduce a player's reaction time.

Valdez said Marin Catholic players will switch to wooden bats for the remainder of the season.  And at a meeting Thursday, he plans to ask the Marin County Athletic League, which is made up of 10 schools, including Marin Catholic, to place a moratorium on the use of metal bats.  "We know clearly (metal bats) can cause some damage," Valdez said.  "But we're not positive that they are worse than wooden bats."

Debbie Patch, whose son, Brandon, 18, died after he was struck by a ball off a metal bat during a 2003 game in Helena, MT, applauded Marin Catholic's decision to use only wooden bats.  "Brandon would be alive today if that ball had been hit with a wooden bat," Patch said during a phone interview Tuesday.  "It doesn't have the same velocity.  He could have been injured, but I believe he still would have been alive."  The Patch family was awarded more than $800,000 last year by a jury that found the bat's maker, Louisville Slugger, had failed to adequately warn about the product's dangers.  The case has been appealed, Patch said.

Because of the concern, metal bats are no longer used at high school games in North Dakota and New York City.

But the U.S. Consumer Safety Product Commission in 2002 found there wasn't enough data to conclude that non-wooden bats pose an "unreasonable risk of injury" and declined to institute a rule that all non-wood bats perform like wood bats.  Still, Mike May, a spokesman for the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association, said the industry adopted standards in 2003 requiring that balls coming off metal bats are no faster than those coming off the best wooden bats.  May said there is no reason to switch from metal to wooden bats.  "When people see an injury from a baseball off a batted ball, they always go to the bat," May said.  "There's other things to consider.  Was Gunnar's vision partly impeded by light?  Was he in the right position to field the ball.  Was he looking?"


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

     I find myself in the position of agreeing with a corporate apologist.

     While I need proof that the coefficient of restitution for metal bats and wood bats are the same, I believe that the reason why baseball pitchers cannot defend themselves against batted balls is that they are in the worst possible position from which to defend themselves.

     The best position from which to prevent a batted baseball from striking baseball pitchers in the head is to have both feet planted on the ground with the body turned to one side with their glove close to their head.

     From this position, baseball pitchers can move their glove in front of the batted baseball and move their head laterally out of the way.

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

244.  Pitchers limited to 2 innings per game

The debate among my fellow coaches is innings pitched versus pitch count.  I had a kid on my team who threw exactly 15 pitches to record 6 outs in 2 innings.  The opposing pitcher was having some control problems and threw in my estimate 30 pitches in one inning and probably 30 more the next.  So even though they both threw 2 innings my pitcher threw 45 few pitches than the other kid.

We tend to think that limiting innings instead of pitches works against pitchers who have good control and and work out of innings quickly.  If we did go to a pitch count what do you think is an appropriate number of pitches per game for and 11 or 12 year old.


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

     You raise a valid point.

     However, to me, the idea of insuring that more youth baseball pitchers get the opportunity to experience pitching in games is the important factor.

     With regard to the situation you described:  I recommend that each pitcher pitch to no more than five batters in an inning.

     Therefore, if the youngster that threw thirty pitches in an inning did not get three outs before he faced the sixth batter, then another pitcher should have pitched to the sixth batter.

     On the other hand, your pitcher deserved to pitch to the six batters that he got out in his two innings.

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

245.  Another Young Pitcher Hit in the Head From a Batted Ball

High school pitcher in coma after skull fractured by line drive off metal bat
By John Swartz Marin Independent Journal
March 18, 2010

MARIN, CA:  Out of respect for a player severely injured during a game last week with De La Salle, Marin Catholic's baseball team used wooden bats against Drake Tuesday to highlight the danger of metal bats.

Marin Catholic pitcher Gunnar Sandberg is in a medically induced coma at Marin General Hospital after suffering a skull fracture when he was hit in the head by a line drive during a scrimmage in Kentfield March 11.  "My athletic director and principal came to me and said we want to set an example.  We were going to use wood bats today no matter what," MC coach Mike Firenzi said earlier this week.  Drake agreed to use the bats as well.  Many believe that balls hit hard by metal bats contribute to injury risk for fielders.  High school organizations in North Dakota and New York City have banned metal bats.

Sandberg, a junior from Kentfield, was pitching against De La Salle High School of Concord when the incident occurred at 5:20 p.m.  He was taken to the emergency room at the hospital where he was assessed overnight, and he was put in a temporary coma Friday evening because of swelling of the brain.  "We got to the emergency room and they did a scan immediately.  That showed a fracture above his right ear that was shaped like a baseball," said Bjorn Sandberg, Gunnar's father.  "The nurse told us she hoped surgery wouldn't be needed, but that we needed to be prepared.

On Friday morning, everything seemed reasonable.  That night, my wife noticed (Gunnar) seemed more agitated.  The doctors did another scan, and they came back and told us he was in surgery within 10 minutes."  Sandberg underwent decompressive craniectomy surgery, which consisted of removing a portion of his skull to allow his brain to swell without being compressed.  "He had skull surgery," Bjorn Sandberg said.  "He didn't have to have brain surgery, which we're all glad about."  Bjorn Sandberg said doctors expected that the post-surgery, induced coma would last three to five days.  "They also said don't be surprised if it's more," he said.  "We're in the beginning of our journey and the doctors, who have all been great, are focusing on right now."

The possibility the injury could be severe was obvious as soon as it happened.  The ball was likely traveling at more than 100 mph when it struck the pitcher, according to those on the scene.  The batter was using a metal bat, which tends to add more speed to baseballs than wooden bats.  "I don't even think the batter took a step to first base," Marin Catholic varsity baseball coach Mike Firenzi said.  "It was the worst thing I've ever seen on a baseball field in 23 years of coaching.  I haven't slept for the past two nights thinking about the sound."

Marin Catholic catcher Andrew Traver was the first to reach the pitching mound, where Sandberg initially sat up after the ball hit him.  "It was a fastball, and as soon as (the batter) made contact, everything seemed to slow down," Traver said.  "I saw that Gunnar didn't have any time to react; the ball went straight at him.  I ran straight to him.  It got real serious real fast."  Marin Catholic athletic trainer Jamie Waterman was at a lacrosse game on another part of campus when the injury occurred.  "A player ran over and took me straight to him," Waterman said.  "(Sandberg) was answering questions, but as soon as they told me what happened, a batted all straight to his head, I said to call 911."

The exclusive use of metal bats in amateur and youth baseball has been an issue concerning players' safety for several years.  The North Dakota High School Activities Association has banned non-wood bats, according to a New York Times report from March 2007.  New York City followed North Dakota's example, banning metal bats in August of that year, according to USA Today.  "I think there are a couple things that need to be looked at," Bjorn Sandberg said.  "We need to make this game safer for the players.  These new bats are too powerful.  They're like weapons."


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

     The best position from which to prevent a batted baseball from striking baseball pitchers in the head is to have both feet planted on the ground with the body turned to one side with their glove close to their head.

     From this position, baseball pitchers can move their glove in front of the batted baseball and move their head laterally out of the way.

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

246.  Questions

I find all of your information fascinating and enlightening, and I have a few questions to ask that perhaps you can help me with.  I greatly appreciate your time and service.

I played baseball when I was younger (I'm now 22), but I now play handball at a major university, and raquetball recreationally.  In handball, players do not literally throw the ball from their hands, but they still hit the ball with a throwing motion.  Also, ambidexterity is essential to success, so players have to be able to throw with either hand.  Seeking to perfect my throwing motion is what brought me to your site.

Recently, I competed in a collegiate national handball tournament in Arizona with hundreds of other students.  Over the course of the week I couldn't help but notice the countless ice packs being used between matches.  By the end of the tournament I too, like many other players, could barely move my arms.  Though the insensity levels vary between pitching and handball, as maximal effort is not necessary for every shot hit, serving and some shots do require lots of effort and cumulatively speaking you get worn out.

As I would like to have longevity in this sport, I have a few questions to ask.  I hope your expertise in baseball throwing mechanics can be transfered.

1.  I know you do not advocate pitching with a traditional style, but do you believe that ordinary throwing at much lower intensities can be as harmful?

2.  One cannot always hit the ball with an overhand motion in handball, nor is it always preferable.  Do you have any advice regarding throwing sidearm or low-side arm or underhand?  Correct me if I am wrong, but I would assume that supinating during takeaway and pronating through delivery would be one step to take.

3.  Lastly, I understand that throwing a baseball and hitting a handball are different things, but I believe both players are suseptable to similar injuries because of the similar mechanics.  If you have any other thoughts or suggestions I will gladly accept them.  I understand if you cannot help me, but I thank you for your time.


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

01.  Whether pitching baseballs or striking handballs, the basics of how to use the arm are the same.  Both require that athletes:

     a.  Drive their hands in straight lines toward the target.
     b.  Drive their hands down their acromial line.
     c.  Powerfully pronate their forearms.

02.  Whether the arm appears to be overhand, sidearm or underhand, the relationship between the line across the top of the shoulders and the upper arm remains the same.  The difference is the angle of the line across the top of the shoulders.

     You are correct.  Baseball pitchers and handball players supinate during the preparation phase and pronate during the acceleration phase.

03.  Baseball pitcher and handball players suffer similar injuries because throwing baseballs and striking handballs require the same mechanics.

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

247.  Soreness in the lateral head of the triceps brachii muscle

If a pitcher has soreness in the lateral head of the triceps brachii muscle, is this most likely due to over reverse rotating which leads to forearm flyout?


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

     When 'traditional' baseball pitchers reverse rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching beyond second base, they use the Pectoralis Major muscle of their pitching arm to pull their pitching upper arm back to the pitching arm side of their body, toward home plate and across the front of their body.  As a result, they will have discomfort in the front and back of their pitching shoulder.

     When baseball pitchers have discomfort in the lateral head of their Triceps Brachii muscle of their pitching arm, they are using my baseball pitching arm action.

     'Traditional' baseball pitchers use the Brachialis muscle of their pitching elbow to prevent the bones on the back of their pitching elbow from slamming together, not their Triceps Brachii muscle to mioanglosly extend their pitching elbow.

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

248.  Instructional material

I just wanted to inquire as to the differences in philosophy and methodology between your materials/services and those of Paul Reddick.

He mentions using some of your knowledge in a taped interview on his site.  I am not as familiar with his reputation as I am with yours.

I am a high school coach and we are looking to do something different our training methods due to large incidences of arm ailments and pitchers just not going as deep into games as in previous seasons.

Mr. Reddick obviously thinks highly of your knowledge, but my instincts tell me that you have a much broader base of knowledge and study of the biomechanics of pitching than he does, not to mention your personal successes.

Would you mind just sharing any opinions as to how our program might benefit from purchasing your information?


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

     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.

     At sixteen biological years old, I recommend that once a year until high school baseball pitchers are biological nineteen years old, they complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

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

249.  Knee injury

I thought I'd let you know how my knee issue turned out.  As usual, you were correct.  I got the MRI and the ortho said he could not see anything wrong with the knee.  He said he did not have an answer as to why it swelled up so much.

He said it takes about a month for the cortisone shot to wear off.  Therefore, I will pretty much just walk the next couple of weeks then get back into what I call walk/jogging and the stationary bike (without going up in levels).

You are so correct about training daily.  After being in that daily routine for so many months, I just don't generally feel as good scaling back.


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

     There are times that we have to decrease our training and even stop training for a few days.  However, in general, we are better doing something than doing nothing.

     At our ages, we need to try hard to keep the same training intensity, not try to increase it.

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

250.  Harvey Krupnick

When I was in Boston recently, my brother and I were chatting with a good friend of his about baseball.  I wouldn't call this guy an anti-Marshall guy, but he is not into your materials or training his son as my brother is doing.

As we were chatting, I mentioned that there was a guy named Krupnick around the area that supposedly did well with your batting materials.  Being from Mass myself, I remembered you mentioning him on your website.  I just missed his visit to your complex.  I think I showed up the next day because you mentioned that he had visited.

Anyway, this friend of my brother says that he is scheduled to attend a hitting clinic with Mr. Krupnick in a couple of weeks.  What a coincidence.  That hitting clinic was this week.  This guy was very familiar with you, but had no idea that Mr. Krupnick was a friend of yours.

I am pleased to report that, without prompting, Mr. Krupnick, started out the clinic by saying that Dr. Mike Marshall was responsible for the hitting theories he would demonstrate.

My brother's friend, who is an AAU youth coach said it was the best clinic he had ever attended.

My brother's friend has been hearing about your pitching mechanics for over two years, so he asked Mr. Krupnick what he thought of your pitching theories.  He said that he went down to your camp, but he does not understand how to do teach it himself.  But, he said, "If Dr Marshall says it is so, then it is so".


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

     A few years ago, on the grounds that I was a Johnny-come-lately, someone questioned my right to discuss baseball batting.

     After I explained that, in 1965, I took first high-speed film of myself and later took high-speed film of Ron Pruit, that later wrote a baseball batting book with Mike Schmidt and Rick Down that later became a major league batting instructor baseball batting and taught my force-coupling baseball batting technique to Harvey Krupnick that later gave baseball batting clinics and put out a baseball batting video and worked with many highly-successful baseball batters, including Kirk Gibson, he decided that I might have a right to discuss baseball batting techniques.

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

251.  Boggs picks up velocity as a reliever
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
February 22, 2010

JUPITER, FL:  Once the Cardinals moved Mitchell Boggs to the bullpen late last season, that was when things really started speeding up, for his career, and for his pitches.  Boggs, a 26-year-old righthander, startled the big-league staff with his sudden velocity jolt as a reliever.  When asked what put him on the postseason roster, one coach said, simply:  "Ninety-eight."  That was what Boggs' fastball clocked at during his relief appearances, consistently.  "When I was starting every five days, I had the ability where some outings I would touch 95 (mph), 96 (mph)," Boggs said.  "I knew if I got into a situation where my outings were brief, obviously out of the 'pen, then there would be the potential for a little spike in velocity.

Boggs, a candidate for late-inning relief, will be one of the first four Cardinals to throw live batting practice today at spring training.  He leads a trio of young pitchers who ended last year in the bullpen, each of whom sports speed as an asset.  Jason Motte throws consistently in the upper 90s and righty Blake Hawksworth threw at 95 mph to 96 mph last fall.

Pitching coach Dave Duncan agreed that each has an element of power to offer the bullpen.  But not one can survive on speed alone.  "The thing is most of the guys you categorize as power guys are strikeout pitchers," Duncan said.  "I don't think these guys have quite gotten there yet.  That doesn't mean that one point in time they won't be strikeout guys.  But you don't strike out guys until you really create strikeout counts on a consistent basis.  As they gain experience and improve the command of their pitches they have the ability to be strikeout guys."

For Boggs, whose fastball has movement on it, that means tightening and exercising his slider.  As a starter, Boggs said his slider started to morph into a curve because throwing the hard slider was too taxing over several innings.  As a reliever, he can be more aggressive with it.

Hawksworth can lean on his changeup, but that doesn't offer him the shutdown pitch Duncan described.

Motte's fastball is straight, and he's working on a cutter and a slider to offer movement.  "It's not what you throw or how hard you throw it," Motte said, "but if you hit your location.  The more weapons you have, the less (predictable) you become."


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

     I love strikeouts.  I want my baseball pitchers to strikeout every baseball batter they face.

     Mr. Duncan said, "But you don't strike out guys until you really create strikeout counts on a consistent basis."

     He is correct.  However, when Mr. Motte said, "The more weapons you have, the less (predictable) you become," he clarified Mr. Duncan's comment.

     I have nothing against velocity, but, to strikeout baseball batters, baseball pitchers have to throw pitches that baseball batters do not anticipate.  And, it is best, when baseball pitchers do not throw two of the same pitches during the At Bat.

     Because At Bats can require six pitches, baseball pitchers need six high-quality pitches.  How many pitches can Mr. Duncan teach his baseball pitchers?

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

252.  Rockies use visual to aid hitters
Denver Post
February 22, 2010

TUCSON, AZ:  There are orange construction signs outside Hi Corbett Field and orange cones in the outfield.  The cone position is a less-than-subtle hint to avoid offensive detours.  Using the Power of V, Rockies hitting instructor Don Baylor placed three cones apiece behind second base and shortstop, it forms a V when looking from home plate, to remind players to hit to the big part of the field.  "It creates a visual, reinforces the idea that they need to stay inside the ball," Baylor said Sunday after several position players hit in an optional workout.  "Spring training is a time to be working on fundamentals."

As good as the Rockies were last year, they had issues at the plate.  Only the Arizona Diamondbacks struck out more.  And three hitters, Ian Stewart, Clint Barmes and Chris Iannetta, battled lengthy slumps after becoming too pull-conscious.  "We ran into trouble when we tried to hit the ball too far.  You need to let the home run happen," manager Jim Tracy said.  "Focus on the power V."

So committed is Baylor to changing habits, he will keep the cones in place during batting practice in spring training home and away games.  "People will just figure they are out there for conditioning," Baylor said with a smile.  Consider it mental exercise.


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

     Mr. Baylor said, "Spring training is a time to be working on fundamentals."

     No, the off-season is the time to work on fundamentals.  Spring training is the time to perfect the skills players gained during the off-season.

     Nevertheless, I like that Mr. Baylor uses visual aids to teach baseball batters to use the entire field.  When I coached college baseball, I used a similar visual aid.

     I placed orange cones in the infield openings between the first and second basement and the third baseman and shortstop.  I told my hitters that they needed to learn how to hit these cones.  I wanted my baseball batters to hit line drives that hit infield dirt.

     As Mr. Tracy implied, when baseball batters try to hit everything to the pull infield opening, they cannot react to hit to the opposite infield opening.  However, when baseball batters try to hit everything to the opposite infield opening, they can react to hit to the pull infield opening.

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

253.  Webb continues to impress at camp:  Righty uses changeup, stretch for first time since surgery
MLB.com
February 25, 2010

TUCSON, AZ:  It was only a bullpen session, but the 45 pitches Brandon Webb threw on Thursday morning had the D-backs feeling good.  "I feel like every time I'm getting somewhere," Webb said.  "So eventually I'm going to get to where I need to be.  Today was by far the best day.  It's just going to be a process."

The 45 pitches were the most he has thrown off the mound in any of his six bullpen sessions since he began throwing again last month.  For the first time since shoulder surgery in August, Webb threw changeups from the mound.  The session also marked the first time Webb worked from the stretch.

While his shoulder has been good for Webb during his bullpen sessions, he has struggled to get his mechanics and release point where he wants them.  In that regard, Thursday's session was a big step forward.  "He really kind of pushed toward what I would call a normal bullpen," said Arizona manager A.J. Hinch.  "That was a great step forward for him.  I thought the finish to his throw was better.  It's more mechanical now, it's not a matter of strength or distance or anything like that.  It's kind of finding his arm swing again to where it feels normal as opposed to robotic.  It's getting to the point now where it's clicking."

Webb will take two days off before throwing another bullpen session Sunday.  In the meantime, Webb is going to play long toss in an effort to stretch his arm out more.  "Volume-wise he's throwing probably more pitches than the rest of camp," Hinch said.  "Now, intensity-wise that's where we're monitoring him a little bit."

Webb started Opening Day for the D-backs in 2009 and lasted just four innings.  After the game, he complained of discomfort in his shoulder and did not pitch again the rest of the year.  That lack of being on the mound regularly has made it difficult for Webb to get used to being back up there.  On flat ground, his mechanics are right where he wants them, but on the mound it's a little different.  "It's just a process of relearning, I guess," he said.  "The slope is so much different.  I feel totally fine on flat ground, but getting on the slope, it's different working downhill.  It's crazy.  I hadn't thrown off the mound for roughly 11 months or so.  You wouldn't think it would be that tough, but it is.  I don't know about relearning totally how to throw, but it kind of is."


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

     First.  Mr. Webb did not have shoulder surgery.  The orthopedic surgeon opened his pitching shoulder, found nothing wrong and closed his pitching shoulder.

     Mr. Webb said, "I hadn't thrown off the mound for roughly 11 months or so."  Mr. Webb was referring to the fact that he pitched four innings in the opening game last year and has not thrown from a pitching mound since.

     Instead, a few months after his non-surgery, the crack Arizona Diamondback rehabilitation team started Mr. Webb on flat ground throwing drills.

     Mr. Webb said, "It's just a process of relearning, I guess,  "The slope is so much different.  I feel totally fine on flat ground, but getting on the slope, it's different working downhill."

     Duh.  All training is specific.  To pitch off a pitching mound, baseball pitchers need to pitch off a pitching mound.  Therefore, baseball pitchers should almost always throw off pitching mounds.

     That does not mean that they cannot long toss.  They can long toss off pitching mounds.  However, instead of releasing their long tosses at upward angles, they release their long tosses horizontally.  No matter what, baseball pitchers need to coordinate their glove and pitching arm actions with their body action.

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

254.  Tillman's back OK following bullpen session
MLB.com
February 24, 2010

SARASOTA, FL:  Chris Tillman threw a bullpen session on Wednesday, his first since being pulled from Sunday's workout with back spasms, and all reports came back positive.  "He threw the ball very, very well," pitching coach Rick Kranitz said.  "[I'm] very pleased with that."  Tillman said he threw all his pitches and had trouble limiting himself to just 75 percent effort.  "Obviously, it felt like I hadn't played catch in three days, but other than that, everything felt good and looked good," Tillman said.  "Kranny said my delivery looked nice and smooth."

Kranitz consulted with Tillman briefly before the right-hander took the mound and said the emphasis was on making sure his mechanics and delivery were intact.  "It was good; it was repeatable, which is exactly what I wanted to see," Kranitz said.  After coming off the mound, Tillman approached head athletic trainer Richard Bancells, who was standing behind the bullpen, and briefly told him that his back felt fine.  Tillman will continue to receive treatment, mostly as a precautionary measure, throughout the season.

Tillman has had back spasms in the past, but he attributed his most recent problem to falling asleep awkwardly on the couch.  The Orioles chose to err on the side of caution and pulled him out of practice early Sunday and also pushed back the 21-year-old's scheduled side session.  Originally slated to throw on Monday, Tillman took the day off, and after positive reports during Tuesday's pitching drills, he took the hill on Wednesday.


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

     Everybody knows that, when we lift heavy objects off the floor, we should keep our backs straight and use our legs.  Otherwise, we will injure our lower back.  Somebody needs to tell 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches.  Apparently, they did not get the memo.

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

255.  DiFelice rehabbing at Minor League complex:  Left-hander expected to miss entire season after surgery
MLB.com
February 24, 2010

PHOENIX, AZ:  Rehabbing Brewers reliever Mark DiFelice, the team's resident barber, made an appearance in camp on Wednesday morning with a bushy head of hair.  He's vowing not to cut it until he's back in the big leagues.  It could be a while. DiFelice underwent shoulder surgery in December and is not expected to pitch this season.  He won't even be able to get onto a mound to begin a throwing program for at least another month.

DiFelice stopped by a field at Maryvale Baseball Park on Wednesday morning while the big league campers stretched for their daily workout.  It was bittersweet.  "It's difficult to see," DiFelice said.  "I knew it was going to hit me when I got to camp and saw everybody doing their thing.  When I was at home, it really didn't hit me."

DiFelice had been rehabbing at a clinic near his Philadelphia-area home but reported this week to the club's Minor League complex to continue his work with the team's highly regarded physical therapist, Kenny Patterson.  The Brewers non-tendered DiFelice soon after his surgery but re-signed him to a Minor League deal to monitor his progress.

They could miss him this season.  Working almost exclusively with his signature cut fastball, which is devastating on right-handed hitters, DiFelice posted a 3.44 ERA in 74 games over the past two seasons and held righties to a .218 batting average. Since his surgery, the second procedure on his shoulder in his career, DiFelice has been working to improve the range of motion in his joint.  He hasn't been able to give himself a haircut.  "I'm going to let it go for a little while," he said.  "It's gotten past that weird stage.  I told my mother I wasn't going to cut it until I got back into the big leagues and she was like, 'That might be a while.  You might have some long hair.'"


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

     Mr. DeFelice throws cut fastball.  That means that he uses his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching upper arm and supinates his pitching forearm.  Until he changes how he applies force to his pitches, he will never pitch major league baseball again.

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

256.  Pirates easing Dotel into spring routine
Associated Press
February 24, 2010

BRADENTON, FL:  Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Octavio Dotel is off to a slower start than he expected at spring training.  Dotel strained a muscle on the left side of his upper body Sunday while throwing a bullpen session.  The injury is not considered serious, but Dotel has been shut down for a few days as a precaution.  “It’s good that it wasn’t a big pop or a snap or anything,” manager John Russell said Wednesday.  “It’s better it happened now than later in camp.  There are no concerns he won’t be ready for the season.”


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

     Mr. Dotel's Oblique Internus Abdominis could not withstand the unnecessary stress of separating his hips and shoulder rotations.

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

***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, April 04, 2010, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

257.  More questions

When one decreases his WWs and IB throws after day 221, is it possible to do that workout for years and not lose any physiological adjustments the body has made on the journey?

I ask this because I feel the workout to be too easy now.  I am afraid to lose any off the gains I have made.

Just a sidenote:  The body is very amazing.  When I reduced my WWs to 15 pounds, I realized how far and how much my gains have come from the beginning of your program.  The 15 lb. WWs feel like feathers now.  The 12 lb. IB is starting to feel lighter and lighter as well.

With the 'tradional baseball batting' swing, you mention that swinging a heavier bat than a game bat only trains the muscles that decelerate the bat.  What actually trains the muscles that accelerate the bat?

I am currently using the 'traditional' batting motion and would like to strengthen the muscles that accelerate the bat and train every day.  What do you suggest?


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

     After Day 221, I have my baseball pitchers decrease their wrist weights to fifteen pounds and their iron balls to eight pounds.  Until the aging process takes away their regenerative processes, if my baseball pitchers train every day at these weights, then they will be able to do fifteen pound wrist weights exercises and eight pound iron ball throws with only a gradual minimal loss of fitness.

     That is why I recommend that, after they complete my 280-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, they complete the rest of my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.  Then, they will to use thirty pound wrist weights and fifteen pound iron balls every day and the gradually minimal loss of fitness takes longer to decrease non-functional levels.

     When baseball batters swing implements heavier than the bats that they use in competition, they train the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles that hold the bat up rather than the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles that drive the baseball bat horizontally toward the pitched baseball.

    In my Special Reports file, I have my thoughts of how to teach and train baseball batters how to perform my baseball batting technique.

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

258.  Wrist weight exercises

Your wrist weights and wrists exercises were developed to prevent injuries, correct?  Would it be in a pitchers best interest to use them to rehab injuries also?


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

     I designed my wrist weight exercises to teach my baseball pitchers how to properly use their pitching arm and to train the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles that decelerate the pitching arm to withstand many times the physiological stress of my baseball pitching motion.

     I designed my iron ball throwing drills to teach my baseball pitchers how to properly use their pitching arm and to train the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles that accelerate the pitching arm to withstand many times the physiological stress of my baseball pitching motion.

     Therefore, to rehabilitate injured 'traditional' baseball pitchers, I would teach injured baseball pitchers how to eliminate the injurious flaw that injured their pitching arm and train the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles that decelerate and accelerate the pitching arm to withstand many times the physiological stress of their baseball pitching motion.

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

259.  A's hurlers owe much to bullpen coach:  Romanick has been integral to advancing careers
MLB.com
February 24, 2010

PHOENIX, AZ:  Ron Romanick is never quite done with his homework.  The A's bullpen coach is constantly seeking knowledge.  After all, it's what aids him in his quest to strengthen baseball's future on the mound.  Brad Ziegler credits him with creating a "comfortable bullpen atmosphere."  Dallas Braden calls him a "great baseball mind."  Joey Devine admires his "great memory."

All of it comes from the material Romanick has come across, in books and online, during his 18 years of coaching experience.  Romanick is always moving forward, both with his players and the programs he develops for them.  And no one talks enough about his work than those who have seen it blossom, including Devine, Ziegler and Braden.

Romanick, 49, enters his third season on the A's Major League staff as bullpen coach after spending nine seasons as the club's Minor League roving pitching instructor.  He also served as a pitching coordinator for the Mariners organization for seven seasons, a time that followed a brief three-year professional playing career.

Those experiences have helped Romanick form individually-designed pitching programs catered toward a player's style and health.  He doesn't just produce, though.  He directs.  "He's come up with all the ideas for our throwing programs and rehab programs," Ziegler says.  "So who better to help the guys run it than the guy who created it?  That way we know it's done the right way."

Ziegler, for one, has a hard time imagining where his career would be without Romanick, who has effectively converted the A's right-hander into one of the game's best submarine-style relievers.  The 26-year-old Ziegler took a leap of faith in 2006 with his then-Minor League instructor, who convinced the pitcher that the switch would greatly increase his odds of receiving a ticket to The Show.  "I'd like to think that there was still a chance that I might have still gotten to play," says Ziegler, who finished his 2008 rookie season with a 3-0 record and 1.06 ERA.  "I don't think I would have been as successful as I have been, and going forward I'm hoping to have a 10 to 12 year career, and he's very much a major part of why that's happened."

Talking and communicating are major aspects of Romanick's programs, which continually make use of repeating and reinforcing.  Just ask Braden, who underwent shoulder surgery and turned to Romanick after the 2005 season.  "After I came off surgery, doctors basically told me I wouldn't pitch for a year," the A's left-hander says.  "Ron changed that for me.  The biggest thing for me was making sure I continue to simulate the same arm speed on my fastball and changeup, so the throwing program was tailored toward that."

However, any athlete who has ever gone through a rehab program knows that they don't always go according to plan.  That's no issue for Romanick, who has plans for plans that don't work.  "He does a great job of dealing with setbacks and realizing what needs to change in order to benefit you," Braden says.  "There's never a work stoppage because you're always taking a step.  Whether it's two big steps or five baby steps forward, it doesn't matter.  You're always going to be progressive."

That positive mindset, prominent in an injury-prone Oakland clubhouse, has jump-started careers, rebooted careers and led other careers in a healthy direction.  Devine, among the countless others, is currently a product of such success.  The A's reliever, who went under the knife last April, has already deemed himself way ahead of schedule for a return, which could come by Opening Day.  "It's just been real good working with Ron," Devine says.  "He wants to see us have success.  He puts a lot of long, hard hours into what he does and really takes a lot of pride in what he does.  He communicates it well and wants to see you get healthy."  "He knows our deliveries, and he knows what it takes to motivate us," he says.  "He's not just the guy who answers the phone down there in the bullpen.  He actually plays a big part in helping us develop."


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

     After a three years professional baseball playing career, Mr. Romanick was a pitching coordinator for the Mariners for seven years, a Minor League pitching coordinator for the Athletics and now is in his third year as the Athletics bullpen coach.

     Even though he is a bullpen coach, he comes up with throwing programs for the baseball pitchers.

     As the Minor League pitching coordinator, Mr. Romanick converted a baseball pitcher to a submarine-style reliever.  Submarine-style baseball pitchers cannot throw quality breaking pitches.  Therefore, they will never be a quality baseball pitcher.  Thanks a lot.

     In an injury-prone Athletic's clubhouse, the writer credits Mr. Romanick with jump-starting and rebooting baseball pitching careers.  How about eliminating the injuries that the Athletics' baseball pitchers suffer?

     Who is the Athletics pitching coach and does he and Mr. Romanick coordinate their efforts?  To me, this sounds like a mess.

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

260.  Dillard tinkering with new delivery:  Brewers prospect hopes sidearm approach leads to 'pen job
MLB.com
February 25, 2010

PHOENIX, AZ:  Give Brewers right-hander Tim Dillard some credit:  The old way wasn't exactly working, so he's trying something new.  Dillard is working on a new, sidearm delivery this spring and will continue the project with another bullpen session on Friday at Maryvale Baseball Park.  His last mound work was Wednesday, when Dillard worked on his full arsenal of pitches and then stayed late to chat with an army of organizational pitching coaches, including Rick Peterson.  "It's basically the same thing; I'm just tilted over," Dillard said.  "It didn't take them much to talk me into it."

It's in Dillard's interest to try something new.  He made 13 appearances for the Brewers in 2008 but only two in 2009, when he walked five batters in 4 1/3 innings and was charged with six earned runs.  The Brewers removed him from the 40-man roster earlier this month after they claimed fellow righty Marco Estrada off waivers from Washington.

Dillard had better luck as a starter in 2009 for Triple-A Nashville, going 11-7 with a 4.51 ERA.  The Brewers assigned him to start so he could log more innings to work on his breaking pitches, but now it appears he'll focus on becoming a relief specialist with his new, funky delivery.

Peterson has had success with similar changes in the past.  He worked, for example, with Mets pitchers Aaron Heilman and Pedro Feliciano on dropping down, though Feliciano throws much lower than Dillard.  Heilman's angle is more similar to Dillard's.  "The whole thing was to try to get his stuff to be a little more effective," Brewers manager Ken Macha said.  "He didn't throw many in the strike zone [on Wednesday], but his breaking ball had a little depth to it.  I thought the quality of his breaking ball was good.  Now if we can get them over the plate, it would be a lot better."

Macha brought up Kent Tekulve as another example of a pitcher who found success after dropping his arm slot.  Tekulve made the change 40 years ago in Class A ball, Peterson's father, Harding, was the team's farm director at the time, and was a teammate of Macha for several subsequent seasons in the Pirates' farm system.  It took Tekulve parts of seven Minor League seasons to crack the Majors, but he went on to have a long and very successful career.

Dillard has bought into the change.  "I just haven't stuck," Dillard said.  "They've seen me as a reliever, as a starter, and a few years ago I even closed some.  I've asked before, 'Just put me in a role and let me stay with it.'  I think that's what they've done with this move.  They think I can be effective this way.  There's not as many right-handers out there doing it like this.  "I've thrown a little bit like that in high school and college, so it's not that big a deal for me.  They didn't have to do a lot of convincing to get me to try it.  I almost like being a little 'dirty.'  I like the bullpen.  If this is the role they see me in, I think I can do it."

It's a work in progress.  He gave catcher Angel Salome quite a workout on Wednesday, spraying pitches all over the strike zone and one that sailed over Salome's head and struck the fence.  It might be some time before he tries facing hitters.  Dillard will be patient.  He turns 27 in July, so there is still time to get back to the big leagues.  "A lot of friends were asking me over the winter what I thought was going to happen this year," Dillard said.  "I think I joked around and said something like, 'Who knows, maybe they'll have me try something crazy.'  Well, here I am."


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

     Mr. Dillard said that throwing sidearm is basically the same as throwing overhand, but just tilted to his pitching arm side.  He is correct.  However, he will also not be able to pronate the release of breaking pitches or get glove arm side baseball batters.

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

261.  Delcarmen to be more open about injuries: Reliever wasn't forthcoming about shoulder fatigue last year
MLB.com
February 25, 2010

FORT MYERS, FL:  He would wind, fire, look and then cringe.  Each time, Manny Delcarmen could barely believe what his eyes were telling him.  On many an August or September night, he'd look at the center-field scoreboard at Fenway Park, where velocity is tracked and see 90, 91 or 92 mph.  Did Delcarmen need to get his eyes checked?  Was the radar gun broken?  The truth is that as much as Delcarmen tried to make himself believe otherwise, he was pitching through right shoulder fatigue that he didn't tell the team about until it was too late.

The injury turned out to be minor and probably could have been avoided altogether if he had just told manager Terry Francona he needed a few days off.  "They told me they thought it was just a little tendinitis or something," Delcarmen said Thursday.  "I don't know, because I had never had any shoulder problems before, but maybe I was a little fatigued and that caused a little tendinitis.  Like I said, it's a lesson learned.  I'll try to stay strong all year and not be in that position."

Why didn't he tell anyone?  "I just feel as a pitcher, I've felt bumps and bruises before that, and I felt like I could muscle through," Delcarmen said.  "I just kept telling myself over and over to try to get through it, and it just kept getting worse and I couldn't really take it anymore."

If there was a rock bottom, it was probably when the righty got in a car accident the weekend before the post-season, causing pain in his back and neck.  He was left off the American League Division Series roster and watched as the Red Sox were swept in three games by the Angels.

It is over now, and Delcarmen vows to be more open with the training and coaching staffs this year.  "The thing is, Tito even said he loves guys who just want to go out there and compete.  But he told me that if I feel something, I should say something," Delcarmen said.  "I'd look back and expect to see 95, 96 mph, and it wasn't happening.  The last time I threw at Fenway, it was to the point where I just couldn't throw.  I keep saying, 'Lesson learned,' but I definitely learned from last year.  I feel good; I feel 100 percent ready to go."

But there Delcarmen was on Thursday, throwing batting practice to hitters and looking like he always had before the final weeks of last season.  In other words, his fastball was exploding, his curveball was bending dramatically and his changeup was perplexing.  "It was pretty good," Delcarmen said.  "I felt good.  The ball was down in the zone.  I couldn't ask for more than that, so I felt good.  I feel 100 times better than I did last year toward the end.  It's just good that I feel normal and ready to go."

Though he is far from the biggest name in the Boston bullpen, Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard and Hideki Okajima all get a lot more recognition, Declarmen can be a vital piece when he is right.  Francona has leaned on Declarmen a lot through the years.  Though he is still fairly young at 28 years old, Declarmen is ninth in franchise history with 241 relief appearances.  Only nine relievers in the Majors have appeared in more games than the 181 by Delcarmen over the past three seasons.  "He's been a pretty important part of our bullpen, whether he's pitching in the sixth inning or the seventh inning, because he can get left-handers out and because of his ability to throw the changeup," Francona said.  "He's got enough power in his breaking ball to get righties out.  He's that guy that can throw one-plus innings.  We might be down a run or two, but he's that guy that gives us a chance to win.  There's a lot of ways he can help."

The only thing that declined more than Delcarmen's fastball in the last two month of 2010?  His statistics.  The ERA progression said it all.  He was a perfect 0.00 in April, followed by 3.00 in May, 4.00 in June, 4.66 in July, 5.25 in August and a whopping 14.14 in September/October.  "We were running through some problems with Manny for a while.  The velocity was ticking off," Francona said.  "He wasn't using his legs as well as he should.  I think it's a combination of things.  I think when that happens, you start trying to throw harder and not using your legs.  He wasn't real open about it.  A lot of players are like that.  Then, when things go well and you fight through it, you appreciate it.  But then when you lose a player, it's tough.  So there's a fine line that we recognize."

And the Delcarmen of 2010 should be able to look back at the board and see the 96- and 97-mph readings that he's become accustomed to.


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

     When team doctors say that baseball pitchers have tendonitis, what they are actually saying is that they have no idea what is wrong.

     However, that Mr. Delcarmen had problems with the front of his pitching shoulder indicates that he pulls his pitching arm, which gradually destroys the gleno-humeral ligaments.  To eliminate the insidious downcline of his pitching shoulder, Mr. Delcarmen has to learn how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

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

262.  Lincoln may be ready to live up to potential:  Pirates' top pitching prospect to compete for rotation spot
MLB.com
February 25, 2010

BRADENTON, FL:  Tim Lincecum has two National League Cy Young Awards displayed in his home.  Evan Longoria has an American League Rookie of the Year Award and an AL Gold Glove to his name.  Clayton Kershaw has made five postseason starts.  And up to this point, all Brad Lincoln has been able to do is admire from afar.

Lincoln was selected one spot after Longoria and just ahead of Kershaw (No. 7) and Lincecum (No. 10) when the Pirates took him with the fourth overall pick in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft.  His command was touted by Baseball America as the best among all college pitchers that year, and his curveball was compared to that of Ben Sheets.  Having had time to polish his skills at the University of Houston, the consensus was that Lincoln was on the fast track up.

But on the first day of Spring Training the following year, Lincoln was shelved with a right elbow injury.  Seven weeks later, he'd be undergoing season-ending ligament surgery.  All those projections about how quickly Lincoln would be making his debut in Pittsburgh were replaced by concerns about whether he would fully recover.  Well, he did.  And now he's ready to add to the accolades of that '06 class.  "Sometimes I think about guys who were in my Draft class and the way they are doing now and I think, 'What if I didn't get that arm injury?'" Lincoln said in his first time back at Major League camp since the elbow injury.  "'Could I be doing that?'"

Lincoln may not have gotten out of the gate as quickly as some of his Draft classmates, but he appears on the verge of establishing himself as a big league pitcher real soon.  The 24-year-old Texan is mentioned along with Kevin Hart and Daniel McCutchen as a legitimate candidate for the Pirates' vacant rotation spot.  And while it's unlikely that Pittsburgh will go with Lincoln to start the season, he has every intention of making the decision a hard one.  "You hear the saying that I'm the third guy in line for the fifth spot, but I'm going to go out every day and give it my all," said Lincoln, the organization's top pitching prospect.  "Whatever happens at the end of spring, that's what it is.  But every day, I come in with that mind-set that I'm pitching for a spot on the Opening Day roster."

If nothing else, Lincoln's continued development this spring will give the Pirates an idea of just how close the right-hander really is.  Director of player development Kyle Stark has already talked about how well Lincoln matches up with those other fifth-starter candidates.  And pitching coach Joe Kerrigan was raving about his pupil on Day 3.  "Lincoln's got the big arm," Kerrigan said.  "He's got the stuff.  He's the type of guy that can overpower you.  That's a pretty good option to have."

Lincoln comes armed with a fastball-curveball mix that has taken no hit from the arm surgery.  He split the '09 season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, going 7-7 with a 3.37 ERA.  Lincoln was especially overpowering with Altoona, where he struck out 65 and posted a 2.28 ERA in 75 innings.  The right-hander finished the year with 107 strikeouts and only 28 walks in 136 1/3 innings.  His continued development of a changeup is something that the Pirates are convinced will make the righty that much more dangerous.  It is a pitch that Lincoln threw some in the past, but never one he felt comfortable relying on.

But when the organization forced Lincoln to use the pitch regularly in Triple-A last year, things slowly started to click.  "It's come a long, long ways," Lincoln said.  "It's been a long hard road.  Last year, they were making me throw it in games, and I was still kind of leery about throwing it, because I didn't want to get hurt with it.  I worked on it in the offseason and now it's working."  The changeup should particularly be an asset in helping Lincoln be more effective against left-handed hitters, who hit a combined .352 against him in 12 Indianapolis starts.  "It is a weapon," Stark said.  "He's got to have confidence to use it and then knowledge on how to use it.  We fully expect it to get more consistent."

Lincoln's Triple-A numbers suffered a bit early on while he worked to master the pitch, though the right-hander ended the season with four wins in as many starts.  The latter two were both shutouts.  Lincoln rolled that into a successful stint with Team USA in last September's World Cup.  He finished the tournament with three wins, including a victory in the team's gold medal game against Cuba.  "It's something I'll never forget," Lincoln said of that final World Cup win.

For all the what-ifs he could be asking, the truth is that Lincoln seems perfectly content with what he's accomplished so far and where his career appears headed.  Those high expectations that were attached to his name on Draft Day?  Lincoln wants them all back.  Everything may not have happened on the timetable he imagined, but Lincoln is proving that a detour can't stop the drive.  "I just want to keep working hard and stay injury free," Lincoln said.  "I'm happy with where I am now.  This year is going to be exciting."


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

     I assume that the 2007 season-ending ligament surgery involved the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  If so, while I hate to be the dark cloud on a sunny day, unless Mr. Lincoln has learned how to pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height, then I predict that the excitement that Mr. Lincoln experiences some time soon is rupturing his replacement Ulnar Collateral tendon, a la Mr. Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals.

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

263.  Santana looks to get 'even' results:  Angels righty hopes 2010 compares to '06, '08 success
MLB.com
February 25, 2010

TEMPE, AZ:  Ervin Santana doesn't pay much attention to statistics, he maintains, but he does find it a little odd that even-numbered years have been his best.  "Yes, 2006 was good, 2008 was very good," he said.  "Not as good were the other years.  I don't know why.  All I know is I want to pitch better than 2008.  That's my goal."

If Santana succeeds in his mission in 2010, the Angels will be getting a huge season out of the 27-year-old native of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic.  Santana missed the first five weeks last season with a sprained right elbow and only periodically found the stuff that had made him an All-Star in 2008.  "Ervin feels very strong," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said on Thursday at Tempe Diablo Stadium, where Santana pitched eight minutes of live batting practice for the first time this spring.  "He's going through his progressions.  "The ball looks like it's coming out of his hand better than at any time last year.  We want to keep him on pace.  It's important for any pitcher coming back from an injury to keep that governor on him and go through that progression.  We expect to see better stuff when he gets back on the mound this spring [in Cactus League play]."

Struggling to catch up after his late start last season, Santana finished 8-8 with a 5.03 ERA, making 23 starts and pitching 139 2/3 innings.  "My velocity wasn't the same," he said.  "I was 89 to 92.  When I feel good, I can go from 94, 95, up to 98 sometimes.  Big difference.  "It was very hard to catch up last year.  As a pitcher, you want to do a great job every time out.  But if you're not healthy, you're not going to perform."

Pitching coach Mike Butcher encouraged Santana by underscoring the positives in his season, and the pitcher took those thoughts home to the Dominican Republic for his usual winter of running and throwing first off flat ground and then the mound.  "Talking to Mike," Santana said, "he told me he was proud of me.  I didn't have my velocity but pitched to both sides of the plate and had good location.  Sometimes you don't have to throw too hard.  "Even though I was hurt, I won eight games and finished strong.  So, for me, it was a good season."

Santana has a full repertoire:  four-seam fastball, two-seamer, slider, curveball, changeup.  He'd like to add a cut fastball while refining his two-seamer and change.  "It's good to have a lot of pitches for the hitter to think about," he said, grinning.

Scioscia could sense the pitcher's frustration at times last season, but the Angels struggled with putting together a rotation through a turbulent five months and even at 80-90 percent efficiency, Santana was better than other alternatives.  He went to the disabled list a second time in June for 19 days with right forearm stiffness, unrelated to the elbow sprain.  "There were a couple of times when his stuff picked up toward the end [of the season] that was much closer to where he was [in '08]," Scioscia said.  "But he never showed that electric stuff of the year before.

"There were probably a number of reasons for it.  What he had was treatable, but any time you're impacting your elbowing, it's obviously significant.  He had enough to pitch.  When Ervin was at 90, 91 with his slider sharp, that's enough to compete.  But the results aren't the same as when he's sitting at 91 to 93, hitting 95.  "If he gets back to '08, he's going to have a good season."

That was when Santana had the distinct look of an ace all summer.  Pumping premium gas from April through September, Santana was 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA in 32 starts, pitching an inning for the American League in the final Midsummer Classic staged at the old Yankee Stadium.  He had career highs in innings (219) and was second in the AL in strikeouts with 214 while walking only 47 men and holding hitters to a .237 batting average.  Those are ace numbers, even if Santana doesn't pay all that much attention to those things.  "When I had my 500th strikeout and they gave me the ball, I threw it away," he said.  "I don't keep things like that."

Santana's experience sometimes obscures the fact he's still a work in progress.  He has four years and 104 days of Major League service time, having broken in at 22 in 2005, going 12-8 with a 4.65 ERA.  He jumped to 16-8 with a 4.28 ERA in '06, reaching 204 innings with 141 strikeouts before laboring through a disappointing '07.  He never found his rhythm or confidence while going 7-14 with a 5.76 ERA.

Determined to recover his form, he put it all together in '08 and sees no reason why, nearing his physical peak at 27, he can't be even better this season.  "Good arm speed," Butcher said during Santana's session on Thursday.  Santana broke two bats, and Freddy Sandoval, Hainley Statia, Nate Sutton and Gary Patchett struggled to get the ball out of the infield.  Catcher Mike Napoli nodded approvingly when asked about the level of Santana's stuff.  "Very nice," Napoli said.

Another highly productive even-numbered season wouldn't seem odd at all to Santana.


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

     Mr. Sanatana said that he does not know why his 2009 season was not as good as his 2008 season or why his release velocity dropped from highs of 96-98 miles per hour to 89-92 miles per hour.

     In 2009, he spent the first five weeks on the disabled list with a sprained pitching elbow and almost three more weeks on the disabled list in June with pitching forearm stiffness.

     When velocity decreases and the pitching elbow and forearm hurt, the odds are that Mr. Santana has incomplete tears in his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  If this is true and he does not learn to pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height, then his 2010 season could go very wrong.

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

264.  Healthy Bonderman looking good in camp:  Injuries behind him, righty hopes to produce in contract year
MLB.com
February 25, 2010

LAKELAND, FL:  Miguel Cabrera has seen Justin Verlander turn around from 18 losses in 2008 to 19 wins last year.  He has seen Rick Porcello mature from a teenager in Tigers camp into a front-line starter last season.  But he had never really seen Jeremy Bonderman pitching healthy, not if you accept the fact that Bonderman pitched hurt for two months in '08.  Cabrera finally saw a healthy Bonderman on Thursday. The results left him screaming in approval.  Cabrera let out a yell after Audy Ciriaco took a big swing and miss on a Bonderman slider.  Bonderman threw another slider and got another whiff from Ciriaco, which elicited another howl from Cabrera, who was shaking his head from the nearby bench.  "Good," Cabrera said later.  "He seemed healthy."

It wasn't exactly what Bonderman meant when he said he wanted to see how hitters reacted to his pitches in his first session of live batting practice this year.  But he'll gladly take it.  "That was good," Bonderman said.  "It felt good to just get back out there and not worry about anything."

Five years ago on the same back fields at Tigertown, another slugging Tigers first baseman was raving about Bonderman.  Dmitri Young was left shaking his head during live batting practice after a fastball-changeup combination from Bonderman sent him swinging at air.  "That was filthy," Young said at the time.  "If that's any indication of what we have to worry about, maybe we don't need a No. 1 [starter]. He'll take that role."

That was a long time ago, and not just in years. Bonderman was a budding, healthy 22-year-old power pitcher at the time, seemingly destined to take over the No. 1 starting spot in Detroit.  He won 11 games by the All-Star break that year and barely missed out on a spot in the All-Star Game at Comerica Park.  Back-to-back 14-win seasons and a strong postseason performance in 2006 earned Bonderman a four-year, $38 million contract, locking him up for what was expected to be his entrance into elite starting status.  He has just 14 wins and 41 starts in three seasons since then, and his contract has been lumped in with other deals that haven't worked out as hoped in Detroit.

All of a sudden, Bonderman is 27 years old and in a contract year, trying to prove he can not only stay healthy, but be effective again.  "At this point, I just want to play," Bonderman said. "I don't care [about contract status].  In my personal opinion, I owe this organization a lot.  They've given me an opportunity.  I've made a lot of money, but I haven't earned it in the last couple years.  I want to have a good year and try to give back as much as I can."

The Tigers believe he can and will.  That's why they've written him into the fourth spot in the rotation, without competition.  As long as he's healthy, they believe he's one of their four best starters this year.  If Bonderman didn't have to serve a three-game suspension for his pitch that hit Minnesota's Delmon Young in the final week last season, he might've started sooner.  At this point, the Tigers aren't hoping Bonderman's healthy, they're expecting it.  They point out that Bonderman was able to work out at full strength this winter.  There was no rehab as part of his offseason program this year.  "Our people have said all along that he's healthy," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said last week.  "He feels great.  He's throwing the ball.  He has no pain.  The only difference with Bonderman actually, he was further behind last year than we thought."

The expectation in Spring Training last year was that he'd be ready to start the season.  But lost in Bonderman's surgery from 2008 was that he had a nerve issue around his shoulder, which set him back and took longer to recover than expected.  That's past him now.  And as the Tigers point out, Bonderman's arm, shoulder and elbow were structurally fine last year.  He has told coaches he feels better now than he has in years, as good as he did during those younger years in 2004 and '05.  So far, his pitches are looking good, too.

Cabrera has an idea how much of a difference a healthy Bonderman can make, even if he hasn't seen it.  "If he's healthy, if he's ready to pitch, I think he's going to be a big difference for us," Cabrera said.  "We have more chances to win with him.  It's going to be like 10 or more wins with him."


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

     In 2008, Mr. Bonderman has surgery on his pitching shoulder.  In 2009, he had a nerve issue related to his shoulder surgery.  But now, he is ready to go.

     However, he throws a slider.  If he pulls his pitching upper arm, then he will again have front of the pitching shoulder problems.

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

265.  Wrist weights

Correct me if I am wrong, but don't you teach your students to do the wrist weights first?  Then, after they master their wrist weight exercises, they start their iron ball throws?


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

     I introduce my baseball pitchers to my wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws at the same time.  However, until their master the releases of my four-seam pitches with their appropriately-sized footballs, I do not let them throw baseballs.

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

266.  Hanrahan may be ready by Opening Day
MLB.com
February 25, 2010

BRADENTON, FL:  Right-hander Joel Hanrahan just might be ready for Opening Day after all.  One week after general manager Neal Huntington expressed serious doubt that Hanrahan would be healthy enough for the start of the season, Hanrahan received clearance to begin throwing again next week.  The righty was shut down earlier this month after being diagnosed with a flexor-pronator strain in his right elbow.

Dr. James Andrews examined Hanrahan in Pensacola, FL on Thursday and confirmed the results of the MRI Hanrahan had done earlier in the week.  That MRI, taken on Tuesday, revealed that the inflammation in Hanrahan's elbow was rapidly dissipating.  It also found no structural damage.

As a result, Hanrahan is expected to begin throwing on flat ground sometime next week.  He'll work his way out to throwing from a distance of 120 feet and then will move to mound work.  Though Hanrahan is obviously behind his ideal schedule, the Pirates are not ruling out the possibility that the right-hander could be ready come Opening Day.

Even if Hanrahan isn't quite ready on April 05, the Pirates are not anticipating the need to find a replacement for very long.  That's a welcome relief for Pittsburgh, which is relying on the righty to be one of the club's late-inning relievers.  He earned the role after posting a 1.72 ERA in 33 games for the Pirates last year.


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

     This article shows what is wrong with how major league baseball trains baseball pitchers.

01.  Mr. Hanrahan complains to the trainer that he has discomfort in the Pronator Teres muscle of his pitching elbow and forearm.

02.  The trainer has the team's orthopedic surgeon examine Mr. Hanrahan.

03.  The team;s orthopedic surgeon orders Mr. Hanrahan to immediately stop throwing baseballs and takes an MRI.

04.  Even though the MRI shows no structural damage, the team has Dr. James Andrews also examine Mr. Hanrahan.

05.  Dr. Andrews also takes an MRI and not only finds no structural damage, but he also finds that the inflammation of the Pronator Teres muscle is rapidly dissipating.

06.  With concurring orthopedic surgeon opinions, Mr. Hanrahan gets to start throwing on flat ground sometime next week.

     With my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, my baseball pitchers complain of Pronator Teres discomfort almost every day.  They complain of Pronator Teres discomfort because my interval-training program gradually increases the stress that we apply to the Pronator Teres muscle.  After 724 days, I want my baseball pitchers' Pronator Teres muscle to be the size of Arnold Swartzenegger's Biceps Brachii muscle.

     If Mr. Hanrahan had come to me with his complaint about discomfort in his Pronator Teres muscle, I would have told him, great, now get back to work.

     The time period that Mr. Hanrahan did not train only lenthened the time that he needs to get his Pronator Teres muscle ready for competition.  Rest does not strengthen muscles.  Rest weakens muscles.

     Of course, if Mr. Hanrahan had started training for the next season the day after the last season ended, then his Pronator Teres muscle would not have had any discomfort.  To start training in Spring Training or even a month or two before Spring Training after two to three months without training is ridiculous.

     When was the last time that team orthopedic surgeons investigated the effects of detraining?  They are carpenters of the human body, not Exercise Physiologists.  Orthopedic surgeons have no idea how to train baseball pitchers.  But then, neither do trainers or baseball pitching coaches.

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

267.  No weighting for Mariners' new conditioning program
Seattle Times
February 25, 2010

PEORIA, AZ:  Hundreds of hours pumping iron with four prior major-league teams still couldn't prepare Eric Byrnes for what he saw when he first stepped into the Mariners' new weight room.  His initial reaction: "Where are all the weights?"

Most of them are no longer in a training facility the team has completely revamped this spring as part of an overhaul of its strength and conditioning program.  The Mariners announced Thursday that they have hired fitness consultant Dr. Marcus Elliott as their new director of Sports Science and Performance.

Elliott is the founder of the Peak Performance Project (P3), a science-based program that develops sports-related workouts to optimize performance and reduce injury.  He has worked with the New England Patriots, Utah Jazz and various Olympic and national programs in the United States, Australia and South Africa, but the Mariners represent his first attempt to integrate P3 into a major-league baseball team.

"Baseball's kind of a monolithic sport," said Elliott, who has a three-year contract with the team.  "They keep doing the same thing that they used to do.  And so it's difficult to come in with a real wholesale change like this.  It takes some energy and you ruffle feathers a little bit.  But the upside is so huge.  The upside to the organization is so huge largely because other people haven't done this yet."

If it sounds a little like "Moneyball" for gym rats, that's because the Mariners are indeed trying to break new ground.

What Elliott has done in prior work with individual ballplayers — who travel to his Santa Barbara, CA-based training facility, is develop their "rotational mechanics" through strengthening their hips and lower bodies.  Elliott says the idea is to improve the explosiveness in the movements players are required to perform, whether it's swinging a bat or changing direction quickly to get to a hard-hit grounder.

This is accomplished through minimal equipment, which explains why the Mariners' weight room has been gutted of all but a handful of workout benches and smaller-sized dumbbells.  The one equipment exception is a wall lined with Keiser air-compression pulley machines, which are used to perform exercises that simulate baseball activity, like swinging a bat.

Byrnes has been on the program a week and says he's very impressed.  "It's as technologically advanced a program as I've ever seen," Byrnes said.  "It's very baseball specific.  I'm always open to trying new things, but it seems like they really have it figured out over here."

Elliott's contract called on the Mariners to hire two full-time employees to help train current staffers on the aspects of P3.  One of them, Danny Garcia, a former major leaguer with the New York Mets, was on hand Thursday to demonstrate some of the exercises.  Garcia performed a series of "skaters" exercises, where he shuffled from side-to-side, pushing off each foot to simulate a speedskater.  Later, he grabbed hold of the pulley machine and performed a series of twisting, rotational movements that resembled swinging a bat.  Both exercises build hip strength and help develop "lateral" or "horizontal" power in a ballplayer, rather than "vertical" power that can inhibit performance.

"When we have guys that show up who are these big, strapping monsters, and we find out they hit four home runs?  Never do they use their lower half well," Elliott said.  "Almost always they create big vertical forces.  They can't create these horizontal forces."

All Mariners minor-leaguers are required to use the program.  Facilities are being adapted at minor-league parks throughout the Mariners' system, and all players have been given diagnostic tests to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to "lateral power" and flexibility.  They will be tested again later this year to gauge improvement.

Major leaguers aren't required to use the program, though with the changed weight room, it's tougher to stick to more traditional programs.  Ken Griffey Jr. began using a different training regimen last season and has no plans to change.  But most of the players are using it, or parts of it.

Mariners catcher Rob Johnson, coming off two hip surgeries, was the first Seattle player to use the system.  Johnson began working out on the program in January, shortly after Elliott began consulting the Mariners on their fitness needs.  "It gives you a really good feeling about using a lot of your legs," he said.  "But it's not like a squat where you're just pounding your muscles.  Everything's explosion.  So, you get in that rhythm, you simulate your swing, you simulate certain movements that you make.  The point of the whole thing is really to translate it onto the field."

And the Mariners have an exclusive contract for the program in regards to other MLB teams.  Elliott is to travel to Seattle for roughly four extended stays this season to monitor progress and says he guarantees the team will have better athletes because of it.  "If you're going to build athletes, you have to do athletic things with them," he said.  "The whole philosophy of building athletes is you have to expose them to an environment that forces them to develop physical tools that they need when they're out there."  Even if it does mean taking away their weights.


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

     In 2010, to analyze the pitching motions of their baseball pitchers, the Milwaukee Brewers has the high-speed video cameras and a computer and to train their baseball players, the Seattle Mariners have hired a fitness consultant.

     In 1967, as a graduate student in Kinesiology, I took high-speed film and developed an interval-training program for baseball batters and pitchers.

     While I applaud Major League Baseball for finally accepting science, they are forty-three years behind me with experts that have no idea what they are doing.

     My concern is that, when these experts fail, Major League Baseball will go back to the dark days of let's do what we did from the beginning of professional baseball.

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

268.  Wrist weights

When I came down to your first certified teachers clinic, you showed all this.  However, I thought the wrist weights and iron ball throws were two different exercises that you taught separately.

This sheds a new light on things.  You did show us the football grips that weekend, but somehow I MISSED THE CONNECTION that you master both drills with the football first.

If this is the case, then you use a dry run with the football until the baseball pitchers get the proper releases.  Is that correct?

So, when is the time in your judgement to go to the wrist weights and iron balls?


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

     On day One:

     I teach my baseball pitchers how to do my Wrist Weight warm-up exercises and the first of the four drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     I teach my baseball pitchers how to do my Iron Ball warm-up exercises and the first of the four drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     However, before my baseball pitchers throw any baseballs, I want them to learn how to properly release the pitches that I teach.  To learn how to impart the proper spin axis for my baseball pitches, I have the work with appropriately-sized footballs.

     In Chapter Thirty-Six: Dr. Mike Marshall's Training Programs and Drills, I explain how to perform my drills.

     Because I last updated Chapter Thirty-Six in 2006, I just read that chapter of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book.  While, for the most part, everything I wrote has not changed, I did find some things that I would like to add.

     I have added this chapter to the list of things that I need to do to help interested baseball pitchers and their pitching coaches (Dad) learn how to use my baseball pitching motion.

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

269.  Lon Fulmer's 12-Year-Old Student

As a Dodger fan growing up in So Cal, and in Orange County now, it was truly great to find Lon Fulmer in Coto de Caza and learn in the process what you've been doing.

My 12-year-old had previously been an uncoached pitcher for 5 years.  He reached a good level of success in the season and All-Stars with a fastball, but it was clear that the pressure to come up with additional pitches was mounting.

To protect his arm, frinds helped me find Lon late last year and I came to fully embrace what you are teaching and doing.

In a game last week, however, my son was coming off some sickness, such that to find strength, he changed his pitching motion.  As a result, his velocity was way down and he injured his shoulder. Today, we learned the results his MRI.  The doctor says that my son has a small, but clear, tear in his labrum.

The orthopedic doctor is well-regarded and consults with the Angels.  He says that the tear runs from about the 12:00 o'clock position to the 1:00 o'clock position.  My son has never had a problem in the shoulder before but, as noted above, was off in his motion and coming across his body that night.

The doctor said that there is a 90% chance that my son will fully recover without any surgical intervention, but only IF he follows doctor's orders for 10 weeks:

1. My son needs six weeks of complete shoulder rest, including no batting, throwing, swimming, an so on and, thereafter,

2. my son needs four weeks of a long-toss rehabilitation program.

Lon suggested that I run all of this by you.  I sure do appreciate anything you might add or confirm, and look forward in all events to getting my son back on board with your program in the months ahead.


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

     As you correctly wrote, injuries to the front of the pitching shoulder result from baseball pitchers taking their pitching arm laterally behind their body, then pulling their pitching upper arm back to the pitching arm side of their body and redirecting their pitching upper arm toward home plate.

     In general, to eliminate this pitching injury, baseball pitchers have to pendulum swing their pitching arm toward second base and drive their pitches straight toward home plate.

     In addition, instead of using their Pectoralis Major muscle to pull their pitching upper arm, they need to learn to use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive their pitching upper arm.

     My Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill teaches baseball pitchers to raise their pitching upper arm to vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching upper arm facing toward home plate and their pitching forearm pointing toward second base horizontally behind their pitching elbow.

     To recover from this injury, your son needs to practice this drill.

     As soon as your son can assume this pitching arm position without discomfort, he needs to do his wrist weight exercises, iron ball throws and appropriately-sized football throws.  At twelve years old, your son should be using five pound wrist weights and throwing a four pound iron ball.

     After a few weeks, your son needs to complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program, which, to teach your son how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, includes my new Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

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

270.  Wrist weights

Very good.  Now, the final piece for this non-scientific mind.

When you add weight to the wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws, is that the same principle as putting a heavy weight on the end of the bat?

Is this called, 'resistance,' so your motion is correct or exactly what is the scientific term for your exercises and for putting the weight on a bat?


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

     When Exercise Physiologists increase the number of repetitions and the amount of weight that they ask athletes to do, they are satisfying the 'Overload Principle.'

     However, before they can satisfy the 'Overload Principle,' Exercise Physiologists have to satisfy the 'Specificity of Training Principle.'

     That means that the interval-training programs that they design must be specific to the motor skills that athletes perform in competition.

     Therefore, before they can design any interval-training program, Exercise Physiologists have to be Kinesiologists.

     Kinesiologists determine how athletes can more effectively and efficiently apply force in the motor skills that they perform in competition.

     This means that to design interval-training programs for baseball pitchers, Kinesiologists have to analyze the biomechanics and applied anatomy associated with effectively and efficiently applying force to their baseball pitches.

     Non-specific training exercises, such as pulling on elastic cords, do not satisfy the 'Specificity of Training Principle.'      Because putting weights on baseball bats trains the muscles that hold the bat up, rather than drive the baseball bat horizontally toward pitched baseballs, that non-specific training does not satisfy the 'Specificity of Training Principle.'

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

271.  JOE WILLIAMS

Did Joe quit baseball?  If so, why?  Did he leave satisfied with what he learned from you, or was there some sort of difference in opinion?


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

     After the St. Louis Cardinal released Joe from their Double-A team, Joe decided that nobody would allow him to throw with my baseball pitching motion.  Therefore, he stopped training.

     As to whether he was satisfied with what I taught him, he would have to answer that question.

     From my viewpoint, he came to me with an injury, I rehabilitated him and taught him to throw a wider variety of high-quality pitched than he could throw before.

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

272.  Visit

I want to thank for taking time to meet with me and my son last Friday.  We enjoyed every minute of it.  I hope we didn't wear out our welcome.  My son has told all his friends that he has finally met you.

While, I did not get to put what I learned into play, I promise my son will.  He couldn't wait to get off the plane and go throw.

Look forward to doing it again someday!


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

     To know that baseball pitchers I trained are teaching their sons and others to throw how I taught them is very satisfying.  Thank you and your son for stopping by.

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

273.  Swinging a sledge hammer.

Thank you for making your research available on the web.

Our nine year old son is playing in minor league basebal.  This is the first season where the kids start pitching.  Your videos and training programs are very interesting and helpful.

The other reason I am writing to you is for some direction.  I am a 54 year old land surveyor who works both inside at a computer terminal and outside.

Through my career, I swung a sledge hammer to pound in stakes.  I believe that has led to the problems I am experiencing now.  My goal is to write a book about safely pounding stakes into the ground that incorporates a study similar to yours.

The book would not only show proper techniques, but how to do it safely to prevent future harm to your body.

Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.


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

     While you did not describe the problems that you are experiencing, I have to say that any activity that requires participants to bend forward at their waist is destined to injure the L5-S1 intervertebral disk in the lower back.

     Therefore, unless you can figure out how to pound stakes into the ground without bending forward at the waist, you will not find proper techniques with which to perform this activity safely.

     I say the same thing about the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

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

274.  Erbe's new delivery paying dividends
MLB.com
February 26, 2010

SARASOTA, FL:  Baseball players, and pitchers in particular, are creatures of habit.  Meticulous and often superstitious, they are taught to never give up, a notion that breeds resistance to even the slightest form of change.  But when Brandon Erbe's Minor League career started to stall, the highly regarded Orioles prospect took it in stride, agreeing to abandon the delivery that made him a third-round Draft pick in favor of a more fluid approach.

Two seasons later, and despite an injury-plagued 2009, the risk has paid off.  Erbe's first Major League camp has turned heads in the Orioles' organization this spring, with manager Dave Trembley singling out the 22-year-old's first few bullpen sessions.  "Boy, that was something," Trembley said after watching Erbe throw on Monday.  "He threw 35 pitches and he didn't throw two that were above the knees.  Everything was down.  He's really cleaned up his delivery a lot."

Coming off a dismal 2007 at Class A Advanced Frederick, Erbe showed up to instructional league that off-season ready for a mechanical overhaul.  He had finished 6-8 with a 6.22 ERA in his third professional season, and while his strikeout ratio was impressive (8.4 Ks/9 IP), his control left much to be desired.  Erbe averaged nearly five walks for every nine innings pitched, frequently hitting his pitch count by the fifth inning.

Minor League pitching coordinator Dave Schmidt had watched the tapes.  Erbe's jump move, where the right-hander moved both his feet up in the air, had to go.  The motion didn't lend itself to balance and direction, the two things you want in a pitching delivery.  To break the habit, Schmidt had to break down Erbe's motion from the beginning.

The pair worked together on a series of five drills, and for three weeks, Erbe wasn't allowed to throw the baseball.  Schmidt wanted him to commit the new motion to memory before moving Erbe to the bullpen to throw a few side sessions.  Just 19 at the time, Erbe was a quick study, surprising Schmidt with his progression and ability to repeat the new motion.  More impressive still was when Erbe showed up at Frederick the next spring with his delivery still intact.  "He's worked very hard," Schmidt said.  "It's one thing for me to suggest, or anybody to suggest, to a player that he needs to make some changes, but until the player buys into it, it's not going to work.  He knew it was going to be key for him to be able to make those changes to get to the next level.  And it has allowed him to have better command."

Erbe walked 12 fewer batters and pitched 31 1/3 more innings in 2008, lowering his ERA nearly two runs in the process.  His numbers at Bowie last season weren't as indicative of his progress, given that Erbe was slowed by a minor ankle problem and missed more than two months with a shoulder injury that he says was a residual effect of his old motion.  "Last year was kind of a little injury-plagued season, but I think the [old] delivery was probably the means for all that," said Erbe, who described his previous style as aggressive and "kind of violent."  "For me, it's been a huge, huge battle, working with my delivery and my mechanics," Erbe said.  "It's been kind of a struggle the last couple of years to get consistent.  I'm finally at a point [now] where I don't have to think about it constantly and it's starting to come natural."

Schmidt likens the transition Erbe has made from that of a thrower to a pitcher.  "He's always had a tremendous arm," Schmidt said.  "He's got great arm strength, can throw very hard.  But now [his delivery has] enabled him to kind of take advantage of that and throw the ball over the plate, and use that stuff to get hitters out."

Entering his sixth season in the Orioles' organization, Erbe acknowledges that it has been frustrating to deal with injuries and learn a new delivery, things that have undoubtedly slowed his ascent.  "I was 17 my first year, so for me, it seems like I've been playing in the Minor Leagues forever," he said.  "But realistically, I've learned a lot and I've grown so much as a baseball player that, injuries aside, it's been good, solid time.  "I haven't really been [in the Minors] wasting away.  I've been progressing, getting better the entire time.  So hopefully I can shorten that gap between now and the Major Leagues and continue to progress."

Schmidt sees no reason why the Owings Mills, Md., native can't someday don his hometown black and orange.  "I see him as a Major League starter," Schmidt said.  "I do.  I see him as having the ability to be a Major League starter.  I think he has the pitches, I think he has the stamina and he has the mental makeup to handle things that might be thrown at him at that level."

For now, though, Erbe is focused on maintaining consistency and control, the self-described "downfall" of his formative years.  Although upon hearing Trembley's praise, Erbe struggles to contain his excitement.  "It's kind of neat," said Erbe, who was raised as an Orioles fan.  "This whole thing is kind of strange to me, because I'm from Baltimore, [and] I grew up five minutes from the stadium.  So it hits home a little more for me."


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

     Other than the ankle injury in 2008, the article does not explain what injuries Mr. Erbe has suffered.  Also, other than say that the Minor League pitching coordinator, Dave Schmidt, stopped Mr. Erbe from moving his feet up in the air, the article does not explain what adjustments Mr. Erbe made that improved his ability to throw strikes.

     Nevertheless, the article shows the value of evaluating how baseball pitchers apply force to their pitches.

     That is why I strongly recommend that major league baseball teams immediately high-speed film their baseball pitchers and put together a DVD like the ones I make of the baseball pitchers that I train.

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

275.  Brewers trio has biomechanics tested:  Peterson's approach helps keep hurlers healthy
MLB.com
February 26, 2010

PHOENIX, AZ:  The Brewers made baseball history of sorts on Friday when they began putting their Major League pitchers through a motion analysis exercise in a batting cage-turned laboratory at Maryvale Baseball Park.  Yovani Gallardo, Dave Bush and Doug Davis were among the pitchers stripped to their skivvies and strapped with sensors for a 10-pitch throwing session.  The sensors recorded more than 40 individual measurements in the pitchers' delivery and compared those readings to normative ranges established over the past two decades at Dr. James Andrews' lab in Birmingham, AL.  The idea is to identify potential areas of injury risk.

It's part of a program that new pitching coach Rick Peterson calls his "life's work," but the Brewers have been interested in biomechanics for at least the past five years.  The team's head physician, Dr. William Raasch, established a portable lab in Milwaukee, the only such in-house setup in baseball, the Brewers believe, and has used it to analyze pitchers in Milwaukee's Minor League system.  Friday marked the first time that the team began running all of its Major League pitchers through the process.

"Probably my fifth time doing it," said Gallardo, who came up through the Brewers' system.  "It's nice to know the certain points you may be putting more stress, like your shoulder or your elbow or whatever it is."  The program likes Gallardo.  He went through a test last year in Milwaukee and found that of all the pitchers tested, he put the least stress both on his shoulder and his elbow.  "It's good to hear that," he said.  "It makes you want to work even more on keeping your mechanics."

Said Bush:  "It's a little bit awkward because you're standing there without any clothes on but your sliders, but it's going to be pretty cool to see what it says.  I have an open mind about everything.  I'm not saying I'm going to go along with everything it says, but I'm definitely open to talking about it."

Left-handers Randy Wolf and Chris Capuano are among the more interesting subjects scheduled for an analysis on Saturday.  Wolf was the Brewers' biggest free-agent pickup and Capuano is trying a comeback from his second Tommy John surgery.  Capuano underwent an analysis several months ago during his rehabilitation and is curious to see how the results compare.  Wolf was just looking to have a little fun.  "We'll see if I qualify for a game of Tron," he joked.

This is serious stuff for Peterson, who was thrilled to join the Brewers over the winter because of the team's existing work in biomechanics.  He got his start in the field in 1989, when he was the White Sox's Double-A pitching coach in Birmingham, where Andrews had just founded the American Sports Medicine Institute.  Peterson's strength was taking Andrews' readings and developing solutions for pitchers to lower the red flags.  He has come up with a number of drills over the years to fix, for example, hip rotation or stride length.  By doing so, Peterson says he can reduce the likelihood of injury, he says Major League teams spent $1.4 billion on injured pitchers over the past 10 years, while improving a pitcher's performance.  He has spoken at length with a number of Milwaukee media outlets about his program since joining the Brewers, leading some skeptical fans to wonder whether the team hired a pitching coach or an injury prevention specialist.

That question was posed to Brewers manager Ken Macha, who worked with Peterson previously in Oakland, on Friday morning.  "The way to answer that is to tell them to check the guy's record," Macha said.  "At one particular time, the Toronto Blue Jays had [Roy] Halladay, [Kelvim] Escobar and [Chris] Carpenter all in their snake [Minor League system].  A little later, we had [Tim] Hudson, [Mark] Mulder and [Barry] Zito.  All three of those guys became extremely productive pitchers at an early age for the A's.  "Whereas, Carpenter didn't become productive until he got [to St. Louis].  Escobar, so-so.  And Halladay wound up getting sent back to A-ball to restructure himself.  You look at that particular example, and that says a lot for [Peterson]."

Peterson's passion, Macha said, is his best trait.  "I think the best coaches are the guys who can break down the basic movements into such small parts," Macha said.  "Whether it's teaching a ground ball or the hitting stroke or whatever, you simplify it for these players so they're looking to improve their small parts."  So far, the reviews of Peterson have been positive.  "He's extremely smart, and he knows a lot about what he believes in," said Bush, whose 2009 season was ruined by an elbow injury.  "It's definitely a different program than the ones I've been involved with in the past.  I've never worked with someone who has this much knowledge of the biomechanics of pitching.  We've talked about mechanics a lot, but this is different.  I'm curious to see where it goes."


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

     Me too.

     I want to know what 'Red Flags' Mr. Peterson uses to identify potential injuries.  If they are the same as Dr. Fleisig uses, then Mr. Peterson will not succeed.  Did Mr. Peterson teach Mr. Hudson the baseball pitching motion with which he ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament?

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

276.  Walton employing new pitching philosophy:  Jays' new pitching coach trying to save 'bullets' for games
MLB.com
February 26, 2010

DUNEDIN, FL:  After Blue Jays pitchers wrapped up their portion of the first full-squad workout of Spring Training on Friday, new pitching coach Bruce Walton stopped to get a drink from the bright orange cooler at the back of the club's bullpen.  "There are a lot of guys here," Walton said.  "A lot of guys.  It's a big test for me."

In his first tour as a Major League pitching coach, Walton has been tasked with orchestrating a complicated spring competition for Toronto's rotation and bullpen.  There are more than three dozen pitchers in camp, and among that group, roughly two dozen have a legitimate shot at finding their way onto the team's Opening Day roster.  Beyond merely determining which arms will break camp with the Blue Jays, though, Walton is also trying to find a way to get as many innings as he can out of a very young and inexperienced cast.  To hopefully achieve that goal, Walton, hired in October to replace Brad Arnsberg, who now holds the same role with the Astros, has devised what he is calling his "arm management program."

"Obviously, I can't control how many pitches it takes for them to get three outs," Walton explained.  "I can't control how many times they get up in the bullpen and stuff like that.  But on our throwing days, our side days, our long-toss days, we're just going to manage them with common sense and try to save bullets in those areas where, hopefully, you keep them fresher day-to-day and game-to-game."  Walton believes that altering the pitchers' routines can benefit them throughout the course of a full season, increasing the probability that they will be able to handle larger workloads.  Some studies have suggested that pitchers should only increase their innings by 20 percent each year, but Walton feels he can upgrade that to 25-30 percent by reducing the amount of throwing between appearances.

This means limiting the amount of time pitchers play catch, for example.  "They love to play catch.  They're pitchers.  That's what they do," Walton said.  "When they start playing catch, it's fun for them, but I think sometimes we go overboard a little bit.  I think we do waste some bullets, and I just want to control it the best I can."  For bullpen sessions between starts, Walton said he plans on having a "soft rule" of only having the pitcher work off the mound for eight minutes.  He believes there is only so much a pitcher can work on in the bullpen, and, especially with a younger pitching staff, Walton feels the time for learning is during games.

This spring, Walton has altered the way pitchers train during workouts.  One change is that pitchers are only scheduled to work through a light round of catch the day following their bullpen sessions on the mound.  Walton wants the pitchers to work harder on their mound days and to take things easier when they are not scheduled to pitch.  In the past, pitchers also would routinely play catch first, then work through various practice stations before finally shifting to mound sessions.  That often created downtime between playing catch and working off the hill.  Now Walton has the pitchers do a long-toss workout right before they are scheduled to pitch off a mound.  "Is that saving bullets?" Walton said.  "No, but it's using your bullets at the right time before you come to the mound to get your work in."

Walton was asked if the changes he is making were in response to the pile of arm injuries Toronto pitchers have experienced in recent seasons.  He said the only thing behind his still-evolving program is the youth that the Blue Jays are working with this season.  "I don't think it's in response to anything other than the inexperience and the younger kids that I will have," Walton said.  Walton also acknowledged that some pitchers often push themselves too hard during Spring Training in an effort to impress the organization, especially in a camp as competitive as this one.  Walton said he has tried to emphasize that not making the Opening Day roster is not the end of the world.  Many pitchers have specific development plans in place and their shot at the big leagues will come at the right time.  "Hopefully I get them to understand that making the team, not making the team, it's not that big of a deal," Walton said.  "Everybody is going to have an opportunity, I think, to come up over the course of the year.  Hopefully by my patience and the way I talk and the way I teach, it slows guys down a little bit."

In some ways, this spring is as much a learning process for Walton as it is for the young pitchers.  And he admits that his ideas and plans are all works in progress.  "I don't know where I'm going exactly," he said with a laugh.  "But I know that I've started at the right spot."


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

     Commom sense is the fool's excuse for lack of knowledge.

     The mistake that Mr. Walton makes is that he is rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.  The problem is treating baseball pitchers as though throwing is bad for them.  What is bad for them is the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

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

277.  Mijares takes liner off forearm in practice:  Reliever experiencing minimal swelling, expected to be fine
MLB.com
February 28, 2010

FORT MYERS, FL:  The Twins have been relatively injury-free since official spring workouts began on Monday, but the club got a scare on Sunday afternoon when left-hander Jose Mijares was hit by a line drive in his left forearm while throwing live batting practice.  Mijares fell to the ground after being struck by Jason Kubel's liner, and trainer Tony Leo ran out to tend to him.  Twins physician Dr. John Steubs also happened to be on the field shagging fly balls and came over to get a look at him.  Mijares remained on the ground for a few minutes, but was then able to get up and walk off the field on his own.

After the workout, Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said that Mijares should be OK since the line drive struck the fleshy part his forearm and there was minimal swelling.  "He's doing good," Anderson said.  "We'll see [how he is] tomorrow."  Mijares, who was wearing just a wrap around his left forearm as he left the clubhouse, wasn't the only pitcher to have a scare on Sunday.  Right-hander Pat Neshek took a lined shot from Alexi Casilla off his heel, but he was fine.

Both pitchers were throwing without a screen in front of them.  During these early workouts pitchers have the choice of whether or not they'd like to pitch with a screen, but there is no question that manager Ron Gardenhire would prefer for them to use it.  "I always get nervous with the guys that don't like the screens," Gardenhrie said.  "That's always up to them.  They don't get to have a screen during the game and that's what their thought process is, don't get into bad habits with that screen out there, not protecting yourself.  That's what the theories are.  But also you hate to see guys doing that without the screen because there are going to be some guys popped pretty good."


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

     After baseball pitchers find their release points in their bullpen work, they need to throw fastball batting practice to baseball batters.  However, because the baseball batters know that the baseball pitchers are going to throw only fastballs, baseball pitchers must be behind a protective screen.

     After baseball pitchers find their release points for their fastballs, they need to throw pitchers batting practice, where they also tell the baseball batters what pitch they are throwing.  Therefore, they also must be behind a protective screen.

     The only time that baseball pitchers should not use a protective screen is when they throw pitchers batting practice and do not tell the baseball batters what pitches they are throwing.

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

278.  Wrist weights

That clears up about 1/2 of my quest for knowledge on this subject.

My next area of interest is rehabing my rotator cuff tear.

1.  The exercises I DO TO REPAIR OR AT LEAST rehab my shoulder to permit me to play golf or throw a baseball the next day without pain are done with rubber cords, bungy cords and plastic straps.

So, if I want to reinforce a proper hitting or throwing motion, you are telling me that I could never reinforce a proper motion using these materials.  However, these materials can have pitchers or batters using the same actions that they use in competition.

2.  Can we use these materials with weights? Your analogy of putting weight on the end of the bat is eye-opening.

3.  For the sake of argument, should the weight be on the batters wrists?

4.  Are all trainers Kinesiologists and Exercise Physiologists?


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

01.  Injuries to the front of the shoulder result from moving the head of the Humerus bone laterally in the Glenoid Fossa.  To prevent these injuries, athletes have to stop moving the head of the Humerus bone laterally in the Glenoid Fossa.

     With regard to baseball pitchers:  To eliminate front and back of the pitching shoulder injuries, baseball pitchers have to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle and apply force to their pitches down their acromial line.

     With regard to golfers:  To eliminate front and back of the rear shoulder of the golf swing, with the upper arm of their rear shoulder tight to their body, like a straight cross in boxing, golfers have to drive the upper arm of their rear shoulder perpendicular to their acromial line.

02.  To be of any value, all training must be specific to the competitive activity. This means that all training must overcome inertia.  When athletes pull rubber bands, they do not overcome inertia.

03.  The only way to overload baseball batters is to work against gravity.  That is why, in my 'Overload for the Quick Bat' article that I wrote in 1967, I have baseball batters laying on the rear arm side of their body and driving the weight vertically upward.

04.  Trainers are not Kinesiologists or Exercise Physiologists. The relationship between athletic trainers and Kinesiologists and Exercise Physiologists is similar to nurse and Medical Doctors.  Until the Medical Doctor tells them what they should do, they should never do anything.

     That is why it is ridiculous when athletic trainers disagree with how I train baseball pitchers.  They do not have the academic background or experience to do anything but ask what they should do.

     Kinesiologists are a combination of Biomechanists and Applied Anatomists.  Therefore, as evidenced by Biomechanist, Dr. Glenn Fleisig, because they are not also Applied Anatomists, Biomechanists are not Kinesiologists.

     With regard to teaching and training baseball pitchers, I have never met a Kinesiologist or Exercise Physiologist that has any idea how to teach and train baseball pitchers.

     They may understand the Kinesiological or Exercise Physiological principles, but, without years of high-speed film research, performing the motor skills and teaching and training baseball pitchers, they do not understand how these principles apply to this specific motor skill.

     When asked to comment on how I teach and train baseball pitchers, even when my baseball pitchers demonstrate my wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws, they say that what I do is not possible.

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

279.  Sports Talk Radio

We're looking forward to having you on our show.  My co-host and I  have been fans of your website and teachings for a long time.  This won't be an uninformed interview.  We are believers.


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

     Sports media people have always been more advanced in their thinking than General Managers.  General Managers are afraid to do anything that all other General Managers do not do.  Only owners, like Bill Veeck, Walter O'Malley and Charlie Finley have the courage to try something new.

     Thanks again for the opportunity to talk about teaching and training baseball pitchers.

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

280.  Question about grip and possible pitches

I have played some baseball and softball for numerous years and I have recently been asked to maybe tryout to be a reliever for my university.  The only problem is that the pitching coach I have talked to can't really relate to me.

I have attached pictures of what my pitching hand looks like.  I was born with 3 fingers, but I have no problem throwing or hitting baseballs.  I actually have extraordinary grip strength.

I was wondering if you knew of any grips I could try or what pitches you think might be a good fit.  I have tried some different grips, but I wanted to maybe get some advice.


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

     It appears as though you did not develop an Index finger, your Middle and Ring fingers fused into one and you have relatively a normal Little finger and Thumb.

01.  To throw my Maxline Fastball, baseball pitchers release the baseball off the tip of their Middle finger.  Since you have a combined Middle and Ring finger that probably is stronger than just a Middle finger alone, you should not have any difficulty throwing that pitch.

02.  To throw my Torque Fastball, baseball pitchers release the baseball off the tips of their Index and Middle fingers.  Since you do not have an Index finger, you would have to release that pitch off the tip of your combined Middle and Ring finger.  Without the Index finger to double the area of force application, you will have some release inconsistency.

03.  To throw my Maxline Fastball Sinker, baseball pitchers jam the baseball between their Middle and Ring fingers and apply pressure with their Thumb to squeeze the baseball out of their pitching hand.  Without the oppositional force of the Ring finger, you will have to try to release the baseball off the outside of your combined Middle and Ring finger.  Unfortunately, without the oppositional force, you will not achieve the spin velocity to make this pitch dramatically move downward and to the pitching arm side of home plate.

04.  To throw my Torque Fastball Slider, baseball pitchers spiral the release the baseball off the Ring finger side of their Middle finger.  Since your combined Middle and Ring finger has extra strength, you should throw this pitch with strength and high spin velocity.

05.  To throw my Maxline True Screwball, baseball pitchers horizontally drive the Ring Finger side of their Middle finger through the top seam of the baseball.  With the additional strength of your Middle finger, you should be able to achieve a high spin velocity.

06.  To throw my Maxline Pronation Curve, baseball pitchers also horizontally drive the Ring Finger side of their Middle finger through the top seam of the baseball.  With the additional strength of your Middle finger, you should be able to achieve a high spin velocity.

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

281.  This is Sam's Dad.

Yesterday Sam has two more appearances and two more scoreless innings.

First game:  Sam entered the game with no base runners and no outs.  He gave up a triple to the first batter.  Then, he struck out two batters and left the base runner on third base.

Second game:  Sam entered the game with a base runner on first base with no outs.  He walked the first batter and wild pitched the base runners to second and third base.  He got the next batter to pop up.  Then, the coach had Sam intentionally walk the next batter.  With a two-strike Torque Fastball to the next left-handed batter, Sam struck him out.  Sam ended the inning with a ground out to the first baseman.

With a .267 batting average against him, Sam has the second lowest earned run average on the team.

Thanks for all you do.


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

     To make these stories more exciting, we need the scores and location of the games.  If the games were on the road and Sam was working the last innings with one run leads, then these are incredibly difficult pitching situations.

     However, whatever the game conditions, with the pressure of these situations, that Sam had the confidence to throw the right pitches with the quality required to earn these outs shows that he has mastered his game.

     Because I do not get to work with my baseball pitchers in competitive games, I can only teach them how to grip, drive and release these pitches and the pitch sequences that work best to the four types of baseball batters.  Sam did everything else.

     Please congratulate Sam for me.

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

282.  Jerry Manuel says New York Mets pitcher Kelvim Escobar will start season on disabled list
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
February 28, 2010

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL:  Jerry Manuel believes Kelvim Escobar is likely to open the season on the disabled list.  The 33-year-old righthander arrived at camp complaining of "shoulder weakness."  "I don't see it right now," Manuel said about Escobar's Opening Day availability.  "Hopefully I'm wrong."


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

     Until major league baseball owners and players understand that playing professional baseball is a three hundred and sixty-five day job, this is what happens.  In the end, to finance training their baseball players every day during every off-season will cost owners less money and make more money for the players.

     Unfortunately, because Kansas City Royals owner, Ewing Kauffman did not hire people that knew how to teach and train baseball players, his year around training idea did not work.  That does not mean that the idea was not right.

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

283. MLB instituting new medical records system: Web-based plan designed to provide trainers with more info
MLB.com
March 1, 2010

From the moment a player joins any organization in Major League Baseball, his baseball vital signs are well documented.  With radar-gun readings, scouting reports and countless game statistics seemingly charting his every move, there's literally a book on every professional player.  For a trainer, the medical book needed on a player hasn't always been as accessible or as thorough, his vital signs sometimes harder to read.  But that is changing in 2010, with Major League Baseball instituting through all 30 organizations a new integrated, Web-based system designed to allow trainers to have more and better medical information at their fingertips.

"In 2020 or even 2015, I think there'll be people looking back saying, 'What's remarkable is you used to do it any other way,'" said Stan Conte, the Dodgers' director of medical services and head trainer.  Conte was among the Major League trainers instrumental in pushing for such a system in order to streamline access to injury and treatment information, both internally and when players move from one organization to another, and ultimately to perform Job One when it comes to athletic trainers' mission: providing the best possible care for players.  "What makes it new and exciting to those of us in the field is the continuity of care," Conte said.  "I've always said the medical department is not the baseball department.  When a player comes to your team, you're responsible for them and their medical care."

For years, Conte and other members of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) lobbied for a system that would make that job more efficient.  After all, waiting 2-3 days for medical records following a trade or having too many hurdles trying to keep tabs on the hundreds of players in their own organizations was so, Y2K.  In the span of a little more than a year, their wish was granted.  Starting this Spring Training, baseball's trainers and doctors have a new tool at their disposal that eventually will provide an encyclopedia of knowledge on every professional player.  It's much like one being used in the National Hockey League the last three seasons, and like the NHL one designed by SuttonMed Systems, but customized to fit baseball's specific injury dynamic.

With discussions beginning in 2007 and the project starting in earnest following what Conte described as a turning point at the 2008 Winter Meetings, Major League Baseball's labor relations department made the system a high priority.  "It obviously doesn't appear out of nowhere.  It's something that's been discussed for a number of years, and any project of this magnitude takes time," said Dan Halem, senior vice president for labor relations for Major League Baseball.  "But we got there."  Even Conte was pleasantly surprised when the system went online for all 30 clubs as of Jan. 4.  "When they first said it'd be ready for 2010, I said there's just no way," he said.

The system, which Halem said does not change any rights of players in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, is still in the early stages of getting up and running, with previous records being digitized and training staffs documenting Spring Training treatment in the system in real time.  Conte and Halem say there is a lot of growing into it to be done, and no doubt a lot of adjustments to be made.  "Right now, we're focused on getting the system rolled out to 30 clubs," Halem said.  "It's a very large undertaking.  This year is almost a test year, and it's going to need to be upgraded based on feedback.  But every player on every club at every level down to Rookie ball will have their records in this new system."

It's a step forward, all would agree.  Going from a number of different approaches with different sets of records and a lot of manual file-keeping to a fully digitized and standardized, eminently secure and state-of-the-art system that's being put into effect industry-wide in the span of about a year?  That's significant progress.

As Halem suggests, it didn't happen in a vacuum, or without a lot of work.  MLB director of labor relations Chris Marinak made the project his mission, spearheading the efforts of customizing it to meet the specific needs of baseball, and ensuring it will be the benefit sought for 30 teams.  "The goal was to implement the best medical electronic system being used in professional sports, and we should be able to get there," Marinak said.

In some respects, the process of getting the system running was a logical exercise, baseball players' injuries are often related to the elbow or shoulder, as opposed to the many knee injuries or concussions one might see in the NHL or the National Football League, which also has a database system.  So the system is set up with categories that make sense for baseball.  But there of course have been and will be variables involved.

"It's very complicated," said Marinak, who said it took about six months of "architecting it out" to get the system to the point where training staffs could move into their record-keeping houses this year.  "There's no one generally acceptable way for providing treatment for certain injuries, so there was a lot of discussion about how to approach that sort of issue and make the system operate in such a way that medical staffs can best track and record injuries and treatments."

The system, which also will be used for Major League umpires, is secure with tracking of access, which is limited to specific personnel within an organization.  With it, Conte can remain totally apprised of a Double-A second baseman's injury progress, and a general manager can track reports from a pitcher's Minor League rehab assignment in real time.  Where there used to be stacks and cabinets of files, there will be digital access to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, X-rays, reports and any other records. And, unlike in the past, there will be standardization, which will aid in team medical staffs knowing the history of a player arriving via trade or Minor League or Major League free agency.  "One of the things that's going to happen with this system is that everybody's going to be speaking the same language," Conte said.

Security is of obvious importance, and obvious priority.  While, for instance, Dr. Lewis Yocum or Dr. James Andrews, noted surgeons who perform procedures on players from many teams, might have limited access to records to help them treat players, access is extremely limited in general.  No, the Red Sox can't check out the Yankees' medical records, or vice versa.  And, no, fantasy baseball owners can't get a leg up on their players' latest medical reports.  Like any one being treated medically would expect, this information is protected by federal HIPAA privacy guidelines and expected to be in even better hands now.  "The information here is more secure than it's ever been," Conte said.

Halem said the future could include some element of predictability, based on years of injuries and treatments being documented.  While injury predictability using sabermetric algorithms and other research has been one of Conte's own projects in recent years, that's not what piques his interest here.  As a trainer, Conte is excited about the system for one reason.  "This is going to make things a lot easier in terms of taking care of the medical needs of players," he said.


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

     For doctors to have all the medical records on their patients minimizes treatment mistakes and lowers health care costs.  However, for injuries that baseball players suffer to help, the records have to be correct and the doctors and trainers have to know how to properly treat these injuries.

     Therefore, the key sentence in this article is; "There's no one generally acceptable way for providing treatment for certain injuries."

     Also, orthopedic surgeons do not know how to diagnose pitching injuries.  Instead, they use the 'open-and-take-a-look' approach.

     Far too frequently, orthopedic surgeons open baseball pitchers and find no structural damage.

     Remember how last year, the Arizona Diamondback's orthopedic surgeon opened Brandon Webb's pitching shoulder and found no structural damage.  Because the Arizona Diamondback's Professional Baseball Athletic Trainer Society trainer and orthpedic surgeon had no idea what they are doing, Mr. Webb lost and entire season and may lose the rest of his career.

     Last summer, a baseball pitchers I trained, against my recommendation, while completing my Thirty Pound Wrist Weight and Fifteen Pound Iron Ball Recoil Interval-Training Program pitched seven innings, relieved two innings the next day and pitched two more innings two days later.  Then, he telephoned me to tell me that he thinks that he injured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     After he explained the location of his discomfort, I told him that he had torn connective tissue fibers that overlay the area where his Ulnar Nerve passes through a groove behind the medial epicondyle in his pitching elbow.  I told him that, even though, until he gets the blood flow up to speed, the pain is significant, this injury is structurally insignificant.  I told him to stop pitching competitively and continue to do his Recoil Interval-Training Program.

     About a month later, this young man told me that he went to an orthopedic surgeon who took and MRI and told him that he had completely ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament and to immediately stop training.

     I told him that he has not only not ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, but his Ulnar Collateral Ligament is not injured at all and to immediately get back to training.

     He said that the orthopedic surgeon wants to do surgery immediately.

     I told him that the orthopedic surgeon will not find any structural damage and to not only not have the surgery, but to immediately get back to training.

     For insurance reasons, he decided to not have the surgery and get back to training.

     However, like I predicted, connective tissue injuries require several months to heal.  Therefore, he whined so much about his discomfort to his college baseball pitching coach that, for the entirety of fall baseball practice, the pitching coach did not let him pitch.

     As a result, even though he was completely discomfort free for the spring season and throwing well, he is not part of the team's conference games pitching plans.

     The point is: Garbage In, Garbage Out.  With Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society trainers and orthopedic surgeons entering the data and treatment plans, with regard to teaching and training baseball pitchers, this data base has no value.

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

***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, April 11, 2010, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

284.  Sam Buchanan

You wrote, "To make these stories more exciting, we need the scores and location of the games.  If the games were on the road and Sam was working with one run leads, then these are incredibly difficult pitching situations.

With the pressure of these situations, that Sam had the confidence to throw the right pitches with the quality required to earn these outs shows that he has mastered his game."

I thought you had the link to the school website.  The first game was a blowout, and Sam pitched the last inning for work.  The second game, his team was well behind, and Sam needed to hold them.  They did attempt and almost made a comeback.

What is great is that Sam seems to be a trusted reliever, even in conference games, while only a sophomore.

You wrote, "I can only teach how to grip, drive and release these pitches and the pitch sequences that work best to the four types of baseball batters.  Sam did everything else."

You also taught him how to condition himself, so that he can pitch anywhere, anytime, on as many consecutive days as you need, for as long as you need, at least until such time as his substrate is exhausted.  Then, just let him eat, and get eight hours.

University of Texas at Brownsville


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

     In a previous email, you did send me the link to the school website.  Usually, I Google the school's name and add baseball at the end.  However, with this school's name, 'The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (UTB/TSC),' I took the easy way and waited for your reports.

     Even though the game results were not in doubt, that Sam refused to give up runs in situations that required playing it safe shows his belief in his abilities.

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

285.  Some things must not stick

I have reviewed Mr. Rick Down's baseball batting instructional website.  It advises batters to pull the knob of the bat at the ball with the front arm and extend both arms vigorously before allowing the wrists to roll.  He says nothing about force coupling.  We know Mr. Down is in possession of your knowledge about baseball batting.  Some things must just not stick with some people.

I read last week in these columns that one of your pitchers competed in baseball games while also performing one of your recoil cycles.  I know that any pitcher sufficiently trained to be completing a recoil cycle is also sufficiently trained to know better than to compete and train at the same time.  He then was again going to defy your advice and have a useless surgery, and then whined his way into permanent bullpen exile.

Again, I guess some things just must not stick with some people.


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

     In 1974 and 1975, I took high-speed film of Rick Down batting.  In 1974, he used the 'traditional' front arm pull batting technique.  In 1975, he used my rear arm force-coupling technique. Rick knows the difference.  However, to get along with the 'traditionalists,' he compromised.  That I have never received an offer to implement my baseball pitching or batting techniques into professional baseball shows that to not compromise is to not get a job.

     Rick and I played Intramural Football at Michigan State together for a couple of years.  He was an outstanding athlete and a good friend.  I will not criticize the choices that he made.

     After learning my force application techniques and training every day for a couple of years, my baseball pitchers feel invincible.  This young man was not the first to exceed my recommendations and suffer structurally insignificant discomfort.

     The problem arises when those around my guys do not believe that I know what I am talking about.  They talk my guys into seeking 'professional' advice, which means some orthopedic surgeon.  Then, the orthopedic surgeon adds his ignorance to the discussion.

     When, a couple of years ago, a part owner of a major league team set up a meeting between the General Manager of that team and me, I told him that, if he wanted to have injury-free baseball pitchers, then he had to keep the orthopedic surgeon out of the clubhouse and trust me to teach and train his baseball pitchers.  That was our last conversation.  As a researcher, I do not know how to compromise scientific facts.

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

286.  Query

We have just read the recently published account of the 1986 New York Mets team.  It was pretty disgusting, with incredible amounts of drinking, drug abuse, terrible misogynistic verbal and physical abuse of women such as flight attendants, and aggressive bullying of reserve men by starters and star players.

You are, and presumably were, an educated man with tastes that went beyond sports and raising Hades after the game.  How did you cope with such behavior, if indeed you ever witnessed it?  How would you advise other serious athletes who are not knuckle-dragging Neanderthals to cope with such behavior?

No one is expecting a team of highly competitive alpha athletes to behave like a knitting club, but nonetheless, how should cowardly, macho and morally bankrupt behavior be treated in such a setting?


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

     In 1969, when Jim Bouton wrote 'Ball Four,' he included the socially incorrect behavior that entitled professional athletes believe is their right.  That the 1986 New York Mets behaved the same should not be a surprise.

     As several sports reporters wrote in articles about me, except for when I am standing on a major league mound, I hated everything about playing major league baseball.  I found the in-season life of major league baseball players mind-dulling and boring.

     I arrived at the ball park as late as I could and, after the game, I left as fast as I could.  I spent my off-time either with friends in the major league cities or alone.  Nevertheless, my teammates always elected me to be their player representative and they knew better than to mess with me.

     However, these books highlight aberrant behavior.  Every team had some mature men.  Usually, they were the ones that held the Sunday services.

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

287.  Question/Answer file

I saw your 2007 video of Alfredo on your website.  His strikeouts per nine innings this season is 16.28, after April 2nd stats.

The NCAA Division I leader, according to ncaa.com ,has a strikeout per nine innings of 14.91, Division II leader at 16.36, and Division III leader at 15.30.

Alfredo does not make the list because he has not pitched the minimum of 33 innings, one for each game the team has played.  However, 38 strikeouts in 21 innings with a .147 batters average against are enough to group him among the top college pitchers.

According to the schools website, a few games back Alfredo closed out 2 games on the same day; pitching 3 innings and striking out 8, 7 of which were swinging.  Included in these numbers is the second game where he struck out the last 5 batters of the game all swinging, earning the save and conference player of the week.

Do you know if Alfredo Caballero currently uses your arm and/or body action?


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

     On February 26 and 27, 2010, I flew to San Antonio, TX and watched the Incarnate Word's baseball team play the St. Mary's baseball team.  As I recall, Alfredo pitched one inning.

     Alfredo uses a body action similar to what I taught Jeff Sparks in the DVD I made of him pitching in 1999 and 2000 that I included in my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.  However, Alfredo does use the pitching arm action that I teach.

     However, because of the pseudo-traditional body action, he cannot get his pitching forearm vertical at release.  Therefore, even though he strongly pronates his releases, including his Maxline Pronation Curve, he does not get over-spin.

     Alfredo throws nice Maxline and Torque Fastballs with decent command.  He throws a barely adequate Maxline Fastball Sinker and Torque Fastball Slider.  But, because he uses these pitches only in fastball counts, the batters have not yet caught up with them.  With his pitching forearm outside of vertical, Alfredo throws a very nice Pronation Curve that moves dramatically to the glove arm side of home plate.  That is his strikeout pitch.

     Last year, I also attended the St. Mary's and last series at Incarnate Word. Alfredo was also on the Incarnate Word's baseball team.  Unfortunately, he did not pitch well, and, as a result, much.

     After the last game, Alfredo asked me what he needed to do.  I told him that he needed to do what I taught him to do from August 2006 to May 2007 that you saw in the 2007 DVD that I made of him.

     I told him that he had to throw the minus ten mph breaking and reverse breaking pitches on the first pitch, the appropriate two-seam fastball on the second pitch and finish the At Bats with his Maxline Pronation Curve and four-seam fastballs.

     His father told me that he worked every off-season day on getting these pitches ready.  In the fall, Alfredo pitched something like twenty inter-squad innings and did not give up any hits, much less runs and he only walked five.

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

288.  Discrepancy in training programs

I was cruising along following your 280-day program thinking it was the same as the first 280 days of your 724-day program.

I found that in your 724-day program you only have pitchers throw up to 2 days of 72 reps of 12 lb IBs.  Then, you have go down to 24 reps of 8 lb IBs.  In your 280-day plan you have them throw to 96 reps of 12 lb. IBs.  Why is there a discrepancy?

My plan is to do your 724-day training program.  Considering my age at 36, I know I will never pitch anything more serious than the league I am currently in.  It got me thinking.

Would it be better to just complete your 280-day program and do your recoil programs in the offseason rather than do your 2-year training before throwing a pitch in a real game?
?

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

     The difference between my 280 and 724-Day programs is that, in the 724-Day program, after the 215 days, I start the 72-Day Recoil cycles.  That means that I moved the last forty-eight days of the 280-Day program to the end of the 724-Day program.

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

289.  Erik Bedard's pitching motion

After your appearance on our radio show last Friday, when I saw this photo of Erik Bedard, I couldn't help but think of what you said.  I guess Bedard's chronic arm troubles should come as no real surprise.


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

     The photograph that you sent shows Mr. Bedard immediately before he released this pitch.  Clearly, he is contracting his Brachialis muscle, which means that he took the baseball laterally behind his body and is using his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching upper arm back to the pitching arm side of his body and forward toward home plate.  He appears to be throwing a slider.

     The injuries that Mr. Bedard would suffer from this technique would involve the front and back of his pitching shoulder and to the back of his pitching elbow.

     To eliminate these injuries, Mr. Bedard needs to take the baseball back toward second base, engage his Latissimus Dorsi and Triceps Brachii muscles and strongly pronate the releases of all pitches.

     One off-season of my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program would eliminate his pitching injuries forever.

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

290.  Mix of Questions

1.  When you pitched professionally did you ever have to pitch through training discomfort?

2.  When you were warming up in the bullpen or arrived at the park was there ever a time when you knew you didn't have you're A-game?  If so, how did you go about correcting things?

3.  Were there times when you were out on the mound where you would let something bother you during the game that it affected the way you pitch?

I am asking some of these questions because I get the impression that you are a very confident person and very strong mentally.  Learning how to deal with pressure situations is very hard for me and I need to learn to be strong.

4.  I am very interested in knowing why somedays everything clicks right and athletes feel like they are in the "zone" and another time they feel like nothing is going right.  Is there a scientific explanation or a physical explanation?

5.  You mentioned that when hitters swing implements that weigh more than their game bats they train the muscles that hold the bat up.  Thinking about this and reading some of the info on the "overload for the Quick Bat" drill I was wondering if strapping 10 lb. WWs on one's wrists and doing swings would be beneficial and satisfy the principle of Specificity of Training even though one was using the 'traditional' batting swing like most of today's hitters are using?

6.  Would you're "overload for the quick bat" drill be beneficial for today's hitters even though they are not using you're batting mechanics?

7.  Would the combination of doing both your throwing program and "overload for the quick bat" drill be too much for the bones, ligaments, and tendons involved?

Thank you for taking the time to answer all these questions.


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

01.  In 1967, after I determined the injurious flaw in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that the Tiger pitching coaches forced me to use that causes of the loss of my extension and flexion ranges of motion in my pitching elbow, I decided to not only adjust how I applied force to my baseball pitches, I also decided to design an interval-training program to help me withstand the appropriate stresses associated with baseball pitching.

     In the beginning, I was primarily interested in powerfully pronating the releases of my pitches and increasing the force that I could apply to baseballs with the tip of the middle finger of my pitching hand.

     Therefore, I strapped ten pound wrist weights on my glove and pitching wrists and started to do what I called my Three Movement Deltoid drill.  As the name implies, this drill had three components.

01.  First, I swung both arms laterally away from my body and upward above my head.

02.  Second, I returned my arms to my side and swung both arms upward in front of my body above my head and

03.  Third, I drove both arm straight downward and just before my arms fully straightened, I strongly pronated both arms.

     It was from my Three Movement Deltoid drill, that I developed my Pronated Swings and Pendulum Swing Wind-Up with Shakedowns warm-up drills.

     In addition, I tried to find the natural rhythm for coordinating my leg actions with my arm actions.

01.  I started by pendulum swinging my pitching arm downward and backward and when I felt the rhythm was right, I stepped forward with my glove foot.  I found that the heavy weight on my pitching wrist taught me the proper moment for me to start moving my body forward.  All human movements are about overcoming Inertia.

02.  Then, when I had my body moving forward and my pitching arm reached driveline height, I could drive the entire pitching arm side of my body forward at the same time that I drove my pitching arm forward.

     As soon as I completed one pitching motion, I could easily flow into another pendulum swing of my pitching arm downward and backward.  Therefore, I would just keep walking and repeating the coordinated arm and leg actions.

     In 1971, after I took the three camera high-speed film of my baseball pitching motion, I determined that I had to powerfully inwardly rotate my pitching upper arm. From my knowledge of the muscles that attach to the pitching upper arm, I determined that I needed to use my Latissimus Dorsi muscle, not my Pectoralis Major muscle.  That is when I developed my Wrong Foot body action and my Slingshot, Loaded Slingshot and Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drills.

     In the four years from 1967 to 1971, because my ten pound wrist weights felt so light, I had increased the weight of my wrist weights to thirty pounds.  Therefore, in my 1971 off-season, I started what I now call my Recoil Interval-Training programs.

    During these years, I was also throwing heavy balls.  During the season, I carried an eight pound ball with me and threw it every day.  In the off-seasons, I gradually increased the weight of my heavy ball to a sixteen pound shot put.  The lead balls that I use today are much easier to grip and throw.

     With regard to pitching through training discomfort, because I spread my program over five off-seasons (1967, 1968, 1969, 1970 and 1971), I never had any training discomfort.

     When I decided to train baseball pitchers, I knew that I could not work with them for five six month time periods.  I started with 280 days where I gradually increased the weigh of the wrist weights from ten to twenty-five pounds and the heavy balls from six to twelve pounds and told them to maintain at fifteen pound wrist weights and an eight pound iron ball.

     I kept careful discomfort records from which I learned the areas of the pitching arm that developed 'training' discomforts.  I quickly learned that, if baseball pitchers performed my drills correctly, they could train through these discomforts.

02.  For me, throwing in the bullpen was only to get the blood flow going.  I never tried to throw strikes off the bullpen mound.  Therefore, I did not determine the quality of the pitches for that game until I threw my warm-up pitches off the game mound.  As the years went by, I found that the consistency of the quality of my pitches improved.

03.  After their previous At Bat, I wrote down the pitch sequence that I would throw next to every batter.  Therefore, when I pitched, I thought of nothing else.

04.  To me, the most important factor in performance consistency is the consistency of our sleep/wake cycle.  I made sure that, every night, I went to bed at the same time and woke up at the same time.  I also never put any poison in my body.

6.  As with the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion, my 'Overload for the Quick Bat' drill is specific to my baseball batting technique.

7.  Because the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion and my baseball batting technique use entirely different bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles, athletes could complete both drill sets every day.  However, whether the involved muscles would have sufficient substrate with which to resynthesize the adenosine-tri-phosphate molecules required for the high intensity muscle contractions is another question.

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

291.  Can a military mind whip Pirates into winners?
Yahoo! Sports
March 01, 2010

BRADENTON, FL:  Improving baseball performance in ways other than spending time on the diamond has long been met by resistance from the old guard.  With the Pittsburgh Pirates, though, any remnant of the old guard was swept away in the team’s removal of veteran players, coaches and anyone else who carried the stench of 17 consecutive years of losing.  “Changing the culture” is the slogan du jour, and while it sounds vaguely like something out of the People’s Republic of China circa 1950, the Pirates are committed to shaping the minds of their young ballplayers as much as they are honing physical skills.

Enter mental conditioning expert Bernie Holliday, who undoubtedly would blanch at the communist China comparison because he spent the last six years at West Point steeling the psyches of fledgling U.S. Army officers.  Holliday, 36, has an office at the team’s spring headquarters, wears a black Pirates pullover like all the coaches who carry around fungo bats and commands the attention of large groups of players in daily training sessions.  For now Holliday’s mental conditioning will be directed solely at minor leaguers, in part because of worries that big leaguers might not be receptive to his concepts and techniques.  Apparently, old-guard mentality continues to fester, even if the old guards themselves have been, as Mao used to say, purged.

Sports psychologists and other purveyors of above-the-neck expertise aren’t particularly new.  Ken Ravizza, a Southern California-based professor whose shingle bears the title Peak Performance Consultant, is widely known in MLB circles for his work with the Los Angeles Angels and his book, “Heads-Up Baseball.”  He continues to work with teams, the Tampa Bay Rays, in particular, because of his long relationship with manager Joe Maddon.

The Rays, in fact, recently hired a Ravizza disciple, Lance Green of Tulane University, as a full-time mental skills coach charged with implementing a systematic approach throughout the minor league system much the same as Holliday will do with the Pirates.  Ravizza, Harvey Dorfman, Chad Bohling, former pitcher Bob Tewksbury and others have worked between ballplayers’ ears, tackling issues ranging from fear of failure in a game rife with it, to concentrating amid enormous distractions, to persevering through the daily grind, to maintaining composure under pressure.  Mental conditioning trainers employ visualization techniques and utilize the latest biofeedback and video technology.

The field is growing, and Holliday’s entry adds a new and intriguing twist:  a military approach.  Kyle Stark, the Pirates’ director of player development, visited West Point during the off-season in search of ideas and left with Holliday.  “I told them, ‘How about if I not only pick your brain but pick your pocket and steal one of your employees?’ ” Stark said.  “I was drawn to Bernie by a couple of things.  One is that he had been doing work with West Point athletes as well as soldiers.  The discipline, the respect, a lot of the things we are preaching here are obviously important to the military as well.  “The other thing is that if he can get a soldier to be calm, cool and collected under pressure, and let’s have a little perspective here, I think we can get a hitter or pitcher to do the same thing.”

Despite being reluctant to cast the spotlight on himself so early in his employment with the Pirates, Holliday agreed to an interview with Yahoo! Sports.  He described his background, detailed the program he will implement and discussed the growing mental training field and how it applies to baseball.

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

1.  Why decide to mentally train ballplayers instead of soldiers?

Bernie Holliday:  The program Kyle Stark described to me seemed to parallel my philosophy.  There are a lot of similarities on how he wants to grow the mental conditioning side of the Pirates and the beliefs I have about how the job should be done.  My job at the end of my Army experience was to train our trainers to train the soldiers, and I no longer had the one-on-one connections with the soldiers, and I missed that.  My passion was being in the trenches, doing the work every day, talking to the players, coaches, soldiers and commanders.  Taking this job enables me to move close to the front lines and do the work with the players and coaches.

2.  How much had you followed baseball?

Bernie Holliday:  I understand the mental side of baseball, but I’m learning very quickly that there is a lot more to learn.  The guys at this level, there is so much intricacy and subtlety in how to execute, and I’m fascinated by that.  So that’s where my growth curve has to be very sharp.

3.  How do you view the job?

Bernie Holliday:  Just as you’d develop physically in the weight room, you want to develop mentally so that you are at your best when it matters most.  I think of my position as the mental equivalent of a strength coach, as opposed to the mental equivalent of an athletic trainer.  The trainer takes an individual who has an injury and helps get him playing; a strength coach takes a player who is playing and helps him become stronger, faster and more dominant.  Rather than focusing on the 5 percent who struggle, let’s focus on the 95 percent who are pretty darn good and want to get better.

4.  Given your background in the military, what are some of the ways you can make guys mentally tough?

Bernie Holliday:  I’m not a therapist, not a psychologist, not a psychiatrist and not a trained medical specialist.  I don’t have a license to do that.  My training is predominantly as an educator.  I want to make sure these guys get mental reps, just like you get reps on the field and in the weight room.  There are ways to get mental reps when it comes to developing confidence, practicing concentration and learning to become more composed under stress.  Those three C’s, confidence, concentration and composure, are what I base my work around.  When players have those three things aligned they start to see that next level of performance.  We do some specific detailed goal-setting, so they have a plan every day and have motivation with a big goal, and the smaller daily goals provide the focus.  We have techniques to gain composure, so that when they are in a pressure situation they’ve rehearsed it enough to succeed.

5.  How can game pressure be simulated?

Bernie Holliday:  We’re introducing technology into the process.  We will create personalized visualization scripts for the players.  They’ll come up with the way they want to play the game, put together the scenario they want to experience and the way they want to perform in that scenario, and we put it on an iPod or iPhone and they can listen to it and rehearse it.  They practice that visualization as we increase distractions, increase pressure.  First they do it before going to bed, then before a workout, then they find ways to build it into momentary pauses within a ballgame.  We’ve got crowd noise.  We’ll get them physically exhausted and simulate the level of intensity your body experiences in a big moment.

6.  So the goal is for a player to be able to apply the concepts in the seventh game of the World Series, that the mental toughness techniques wouldn’t desert a player then?

Bernie Holliday:  That you’ve used it enough times that it’s become just a part of who you are.  Repetition builds strength, so the more you can do the right things, as we increase the pressure and increase the quality, you’ll have that ability when you need it.

7.  Why focus on minor leaguers at the outset?  Why not step into the major league clubhouse and make an immediate impression there?

Bernie Holliday:  The systematic approach is going to be carried out at the minor league level.  The program and these skills are certainly going to be available to major leaguers.  We want to make sure it is something they are interested in doing, that they are comfortable and that a trust is built before we hit the major league guys hard.

8.  Is there potentially a resistance to this?

Bernie Holliday:  Certainly.  We’d like to fine-tune it, get it really wired tight, and help people understand the larger culture we are trying to build.  I believe that is going to spread.  People are going to get behind the program once they see it in action, and once they build confidence in some of the principles they are understanding and once they start to feel that culture change in what mental conditioning can offer a player.

9.  How much time will you get with the players?

Bernie Holliday:  We’ve got a series of 12 short talks scheduled with every player in the minor league system, in groups of 25 to 30.  We’ll discuss what great players do, what great players think, how you can build skills and techniques to move toward becoming an extraordinary thinker.  We’ll cover what I call the six fundamentals:  the foundation, confidence building, attention control, managing energy, goal setting and visualization.  In the afternoons I’ll be available if somebody wants a more personal approach.

10.  Do the players remind you of soldiers?  They are all young males.  Is there a parallel that provides a comfort level?

Bernie Holliday:  Something I’ve been fascinated by is going into a coach’s office and taking a look at his bookshelf.  You’ll always see books about great military leaders.  And when I visit military commanders, I take a look at their bookshelves and there are books about great coaches.  There is a borrowing from both cultures that is beneficial.  Soldiers want to be at their best because they are going to be deployed, their lives are on the line and freedom is at stake.  Ballplayers want to be at their best to build a career, pursue a dream, provide for their families and win a World Series.  So there’s this pursuit of excellence I see in both groups.  At the same time there is the light-hearted young adult you see.  That’s refreshing, too, to see that side where they just want to have a good time and be a 22-year-old while at the same time be a soldier or pro ballplayer.

11.  Does this demographic lend itself to what you are doing?  Are they sponges, receptive to new ideas?

Bernie Holliday:  You are going to find a wide variety of receptivity.  There’s going to be a small group happy to do everything I say because they are enticed by the idea of being great and exploring their upper limits.  There’s going to be a group that doesn’t want anything to do with it.  And there is a big group in the middle who want to get into it, want to get their feet wet and see where it goes.  That’s the group I focus most of my effort on.

12.  Baseball is a game of failure and a player has to have a short memory.  What is the ideal mindset to succeed?  Might it be uniquely tailored to that constant failure and also to the repetition and daily grind inherent in the sport?

Bernie Holliday:  In baseball there are no guaranteed results and no guarantee of consistent success.  So if you are basing confidence on results, you are going to have a tough time feeling confident.  We try to help players develop confidence through the daily accomplishment of goals and bring that confidence to the results rather than wait for the results and build confidence from there.  It’s a different way of looking at where confidence comes from and how it is acquired.  When it comes to failure, it’s critical these guys see failure as short-term, temporary and changeable.  The danger is when you see failure as permanent, all-encompassing and the way it is.

13.  You use the term “goose-bump goals.”  What are they?

Bernie Holliday:  It’s important that people have something really meaningful they are going after, something that makes the hair on the back of their neck stand up when they think about accomplishing it, something that gives them a chill down their spine when they visualize themselves reaching it.  Motivationally, that’ll get you through a lot of the day-to-day ups and downs.  And if you are lacking it, those ups and downs are really going to take their toll on you.

14.  Ideally, in three years or so, several of the minor league players you are working with will be on the major league roster.  What kind of relationship do you anticipate having with them at that point?

Bernie Holliday:  In working with a player, as strange as this sounds, I try to work myself out of a job.  I don’t want them to become dependent on having to rely on someone else to help them figure out confidence and to understand how to concentrate.  If I do my job well, and this program is set up the way it needs to be, guys are going to learn how to practice these skills, get really good at them and make it part of who they are.  All I need to do is give them a little high five and let them go out and be who they are.

15.  How do you measure your progress?  How will you and the organization measure your impact?

Bernie Holliday:  That’s the million-dollar question.  And it’s an inherent challenge in the field of sports psychology.  We’re working with the mental intangibles that underlie success.  And it’s very challenging to put a certain number or grade on something like motivation, persistence, focus and perseverance.  I don’t know if anybody has really cracked the code on that yet.  Much of how we do it is staying in touch with the players and what seemed to work and what seemed to stick and getting constant feedback from the coaching staff.

16.  So you will be working with the Pirates coaches?

Bernie Holliday:  The mental conditioning program cannot succeed without the absolute support of the coaches.  I’m not going to be with all the teams all the time.  The coaches are working with the players every day, getting to know the guys, how they perform under stress, their strengths and weaknesses.  One of my big goals is to help the coaches understand what I do and what mental conditioning is, and that should work itself into the way they reinforce the guys day to day.  So I really look forward to their support.

17.  What is the future of mental conditioning?  What’s on the horizon?

Bernie Holliday:  I’m optimistic that our field is going to progress the way the strength and conditioning field has.  Thirty years ago, athletes didn’t want to do strength and conditioning because they thought they’d become muscle-bound and inflexible.  And now you can’t find a program that doesn’t have a comprehensive strength staff.  I’m hoping that in the years to come mental conditioning is seen a lot like physical conditioning.  Also, there is a lot of intriguing biofeedback software and other technological advances that help better understand what’s happening physiologically when you practice, train and compete.  We’ll see that take hold as we move forward in the 21st century.


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

     Mr. Holliday said, "Thirty years ago, athletes didn’t want to do strength and conditioning because they thought they’d become muscle-bound and inflexible.  And now you can’t find a program that doesn’t have a comprehensive strength staff."

     In 1967, I started my Wrist Weight and Iron Ball Baseball Pitching Interval-Training Program.  After I won the Cy Young Award in 1974, baseball pitchers started to weight train.  Therefore, Mr. Holliday was essentially correct.

     However, what Mr. Holliday did not mention is that these comprehensive strength staffs do not know how to eliminate pitching injuries.  Therefore, they are without value.

     The title of this interview is "Can a military mind whip Pirates into winners?"

     The answer is, 'No.'

     The reason is simple.  All training must be specific to the competitive situation.  To be specific to soldiers, their trainers must teach them the skills that are specific to combat situations.  To be specific to baseball players, their coaches must teach them skills that are specific to competitive baseball situations.

     Many years ago, Rick Peterson, who took a Sports Psychology course somewhere, telephoned me and asked me what I do to make baseball pitchers confident that they can get batters out.  I told him that I teach them how to throw baseball pitches that baseball batters cannot hit.

     Without the knowledge that, if they throw baseball pitches that baseball batters cannot hit, baseball pitchers will not have confidence that they can get baseball batters out.

     In addition, baseball players have to start with low-intensity competitive situations and gradually increase to high-intensity competitive situations.  That means that they do not start by pitching in World Series games.

     Therefore, my plan for mentally training baseball pitchers is:

01.  Teach baseball pitchers how to throw baseball pitches that baseball batters cannot hit.

02.  Have these baseball pitchers throw their pitches in seqeunces that are appropriate for the four types of baseball batters until they can throw two of three of all their baseball pitches for strikes to catchers off the game mound.

03.  Have these baseball pitchers throw their two and four-seam fastballs to the four types of baseball batters in batting practice situations until they can throw two of three of all these baseball pitches for strikes off the game mound.

04.  Have these baseball pitchers throw their minus ten and minus twenty miles per hour non-fastballs to the four type of baseball batters in batting practice situations until they can throw two of three of all these baseball pitches for strikes off the game mound.

05.  Have these baseball pitchers throw their pitches in sequences to the for the four types of baseball batters in batting practice situations until they can throw two of three of all these baseball pitches for strikes off the game mound.

06.  Have these baseball pitchers throw their pitches in sequences to the four types of baseball batters in simulated game situations until they can throw two of three of all these baseball pitches for strikes off the game mound.

07.  Have these baseball pitchers throw their pitches in sequences to the four types of baseball batters in low-intensity game situations until they can throw two of three of all these baseball pitches for strikes off the game mound.

08.  Have these baseball pitchers throw their pitches in sequences to the four types of baseball batters in medium-intensity game situations until they can throw two of three of all these baseball pitches for strikes off the game mound.

09.  Have these baseball pitchers throw their pitches in sequences to the four types of baseball batters in high-intensity game situations until they can throw two of three of all these baseball pitches for strikes off the game mound.

     The point is:  No amount of talking will teach baseball pitchers how to win baseball games.

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

292.  Health remains primary focus for Bray:  Reds lefty optimistic about getting some Cactus innings
MLB.com
March 02, 2010

GOODYEAR, AZ:  Reds lefty reliever Bill Bray can hardly believe his luck and is hesitant to jinx it.  "I almost knock on wood but I feel good," Bray said.  "Things are coming along well and so far I haven't had a setback, which is better than expected.  The bullpens are getting better each time I go out there."

Injuries have robbed Bray of about as many games as he's been able to pitch for Cincinati since he came over from Washington in a 2006 trade.  No injury has been as damaging as the one to his left elbow that required Tommy John surgery to repair last May.  The 26-year-old Bray was limited to all of three games for Triple-A Louisville in 2009.  He was expected to miss 10-12 months, but after rehab and an offseason throwing program, Bray has the club feeling optimistic about his chances to contribute this year.  "Bray was a pleasant surprise to see, the progress and where he was at this point," manager Dusty Baker said.  "He's still a little behind."

It's unlikely that Bray will be ready to go as Cactus League games begin at the end of this week.  But he's up to throwing 40 pitches from the mound in his bullpen sessions, and most importantly, he's been pain-free.  "I'm hoping to get a couple of innings in this spring as quickly as my arm lets me, [that's] what I will shoot for," Bray said.  "It's a real balancing act to make sure you're doing the right thing and progressing.  You don't want to push too hard and have a setback that will cost you another couple of months."

"Setbacks in spring" could make for a sad blues song, and Bray has enough experience to know how to write it.  In 2007 Spring Training, Bray fractured the tip of his left index finger on a ground ball and was shut down.  When he resumed throwing, Bray developed shoulder tendinitis and couldn't pitch again until May.  He wound up only pitching 19 big league games that season.  The 2008 camp began with shoulder soreness and put Bray behind enough that he began the season in Triple-A.  He wound up pitching a career-best 63 games, however, in '08 before shoulder soreness held him back at the start of camp last year.

"That's why I'm glad we're in Arizona, a different place," Bray said.  "I'm hoping to break that string.  The past two or three springs [in Florida], it was my shoulder really bothering me and it was hard getting started.  Once I got started and going, my shoulder would feel better."

After last year's issue, the Reds' medical staff instructed Bray to keep throwing throughout the off-season to keep his arm stretched out.  He did his rehab work at for much of the winter at the Reds' complex in Goodyear.  And during the time in December when most pitchers weren't throwing, Bray threw a couple of times a week.  "It seemed to help. It kept everything greased up and moving," he said.  With limited space, whether Bray starts the season in the Minors or the disabled list remains a question.  "It's not something I'm worried about," Bray said.  "It's cliché, but the only thing I can worry about is taking it day by day.  My only goal for this spring is to be healthy.  If I'm not healthy, I can't do anything."


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

     The crack Red's medical staff instructed Mr. Bray to keep throwing throughout the off-season "to keep his arm stretched out."

     Pitching arms do not stretch.  When 'traditional' baseball pitchers throw, depending on the intensity of their throwing, they microscopically destroy their pitching arm.

     Mr. Bray said, "My only goal for this spring is to be healthy.  If I'm not healthy, I can't do anything."

     That does not sound as though Mr. Bray has any confidence that he will remain healthy.

     That is why I take high-speed film that show baseball pitchers the injurious flaws in their 'traditional' baseball pitching motion and explain how to adjust their pitching motion to eliminate pitching injuries.  When baseball pitchers understand the cause of their pitching injuries, they become confident that they will remain healthy.

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

293.  My son's High School Baseball

I thought I'd give you a quick update on my fifteen year old son.

Because of the normal High School politics, the high school baseball coach put two of my son's Freshman friends on the Varsity team and my son on the Junior Varsity team.  They did not even allow my son to pitch until the third week of practice and it was in an intra-squad game.  When he finally got the chance to show them his stuff, he mowed them down.

Essentially, my son uses your drop-out wind-up, but with a very slight leg lift.

The 25 half-reverse pivot throws that he makes each day from 2nd base to home have:
1. given him a helluva screwball and
2. made pitching off the mound feel like LL distance.

My son is working hard and with purpose.  Instead of defeating him, the high school politics are fueling him.

His velocity was markedly better than anyone else.  The first side-line warm-up catcher (who was just standing) refused to continue after three fastballs.

He struck the first guy out on three fastballs; maxline, torque, maxline.  The speed alone was enough, but adding the movement just added insult to injury.

He ended up striking out 5 of the 6 batters he faced, one comebacker to the mound and one bloop hit just over the shortstop off of a curve.  One of the strikeouts came on a called curve and one on a called screwball.

He has, of course, not been moved up to varsity.  I tell him to just keep plugging and not get too worked up over it.  I'm slightly concerned that he will start to press.

Anyway, he's doing great.  As always, we can't thank you enough for all the things you've taught us.


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

     I do love strikeouts.

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

294.  Wrist weights

Your last email explained over-loading.  But, what about under-loading?

The big scoop now is that over-loading exercises slow down pitching arms, bat and golf club speed.  Instead, you need under-loading to increase pitching arms, bat and golf club speed.

The example they use is a runner in track.  They say to build up strength in the legs, they tell runners to run up hills.  This is over-loading in their mind.  To increase speed in their legs, they tell their runners to run downhill.  This they claim is under-loading.

So naturally, they have developed drills and products to develop enhance over-loading and under-loading skills to their particular sport.

Your wrists exercises and iron ball throws fit the over-loading principle.  I was thinking would simulating using a whip like motion in the throwing motion is under-loading in your mind.


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

     The most important concept in teaching and training athletes is the 'Specificity of Training' concept.  Therefore, to benefit, coaches need to teach and train athletes with the exactly the same motor skills that they use in competition.

     That means that when coaches teach and train track runners to run uphill, the track runners become skilled and physically fit only to run uphill.  While running uphill does require more work, running uphill does not train the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles that track runners use when they run their races in competition.

     That also means that when coaches teach and train track runners run downhill, the track runners become skilled and physically fit to run downhill.  While running downhill appears to require less work, because, unless, to keep each track runner from falling on their faces, the angle of the hill is graded perfectly of each track runner, the track runners will use the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles that decelerate their body.  Therefore, running downhill is neither specific nor under-loading.

     The Motor Cortex of the brain is the movement computer of the body.  All motor skills have specific motor unit contraction and relaxation sequences.

     To design interval-training programs, Kinesiologists have to first determine the most effective and efficient way for athletes to apply force.  This means that, for whatever motor skill for which they are designing their interval-training programs, they have to determine the perfect motor unit contraction and relaxation sequence.

     With my high-speed film research and my knowledge of Applied Anatomy, which is what muscles should athletes use, I have determined what I believe is the perfect motor unit contraction and relaxation sequence for baseball pitching.

     The second most important concept in training athletes is the 'Overload Principle' concept.  That means that the stress that training programs place on athletes must force the involved bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles to make a physiological response.

     With regard to baseball pitching:  Baseballs weigh five and one-quarter ounces.  Therefore, to train baseball pitchers by decreasing the weight of the balls that they throw (under-loading) will not stimulate a physiological adjustment or a perfect their motor unit contraction and relaxation sequence.

     That means that they only way to stimulate a physiological response is to use weights significantly more stressful than five and one-quarter ounces.

     With regard to baseball batting:  For adults, baseball bats weigh about thirty-two ounces.  To have baseball batters swing heavier implements only trains the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles that hold the these heavier implements upward against the downward force of gravity.

     Therefore, by having my baseball batters lie on their rear arm side and drive the weight vertically upward against the force of gravity, I designed my 'Overload for the Quick Bat' drill to train the front arm of the baseball swing.

     Then, to teach my baseball batting technique and increase velocity at which my baseball batters moved the center of mass of the baseball bat to the moment of collision with the thrown baseball, I used broom handles and whiffle balls and shovel handles and tennis balls.

     This is under-loading.

     With under-loading, athletes are able to perform the motor skill that they will use in competition at increased velocities.  To achieve the over-loading effect that stimulates the physiological adjustment, we use 'time' as the over-load.

     That means that we require baseball batters not only swing with perfect motor unit contraction and relaxation sequences, but we also require them to swing at maximum intensity at twenty-four thrown balls from twenty-five feet in one minute.

     With this over-loading technique, baseball batters should swing the lighter implement with perfect technique at their maximum velocity in about every two seconds.  This training stimulates physiological responses and perfects their motor unit contraction and relaxation sequence.

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

295.  Sports talk radio/abdominal strains

1.  In the Q&A you posted Sunday, you said you will be a guest on a sports talk radio show.  Please let us know the date, time and station.

2.  Recently, several prominent pitchers have suffered "abdominal strains" serious enough to send them to the disabled list.  What flaw(s) in their pitching motion cause this?


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

01.  At 5:00PM Eastern Daylight Time on Friday, April 02, 2010, The Rex and Ray Show kindly invited me to join them on WNST Radio AM in Baltimore, MD.  They asked great questions and I had a great time.

     At 7:00PM Pacific Daylight Time on Monday, April 12, 2010, a weekly internet baseball show, SoCal "Live" has kindly invited me to join them on www.socalgoldlive.com somewhere in California.

02.  Major League Baseball calls these injuries, 'Oblique' strains.  'Oblique' refers to the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle that essentially arises from the lateral and anterior aspect of the hip and inserts into Ribs 10-12.  When this muscle contracts, it rotates the rib cage toward the glove arm side of the body.

     The cause for all bone, ligament, tendon and muscle injuries is that the injured tissue could not withstand the stress of the activity.

     In this case, the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle cannot withstand the stress of rotating their rib cage toward the glove side of the body.

     The injurious flaw in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that places more stress on the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle on the glove side of the rib cage than it can withstand is separating the rotation of the hips forward and rotation of the shoulders forward.

     This 'traditional' baseball pitching motion technique places all stress of moving the entire pitching arm side of the body forward on this one muscle.

     To prevent this injury, I teach my baseball pitchers to rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body forward together.

     When baseball pitchers do this, they not only use the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle on the glove side of their rib cage, they also use the Oblique Externus Abdominis muscle on the pitching arm side of their rib cage and the Quadratus Lumborum muscle on the glove arm side of their lower back.

     In addition to protecting the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle on the glove arm side of the rib cage; by rotating the entire pitching arm side of their body forward together, my baseball pitchers rotate their hips and shoulders farther forward at increase rotational velocities, which increases their release velocity, consistency and more.

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

296.  GUEST APPEARENCE ON SOCAL GOLD "LIVE"

I believe that your comments on injury prevention through proper mechanics will require more time to properly cover.  Could we dedicate a full hour to your interview?


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

     To explain how to eliminate all pitching injuries, I am delighted to join you for whatever length of time that you want.

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

297.  Lotta fun

When baseball batting, it is sure is a lot of fun to rotate the acromial line into position with a properly positioned front arm and then call in the artillery with the force-coupling.  The technique allows for a large margin for error and still hit the ball hard.

We are all looking for the perfect force-coupling timing.  We live for those swings.  But even when we are off by more than just a bit, the proper positioning of the limbs and torso and lower body offers a great deal of flexibility that still allows us to hit screamers.

We don't even need great athletic ability or great fast twitch ability or above average motor coordination to get into proper position.  Most of that is done before a swing decision is made.  Perhaps, that is why you have said that coaching batting was satisfying, because the results came faster and the improvement doesn't take as long as it does for pitching.

It is an amazing batting method.  I know your guys did well against most everyone, but they must have just demolished poor pitching.

I have no idea what it is like to face MLB pitching on a consistent basis, but I have to think that a team composed of 16 position players, four each from the four styles, would routinely score more than 1,000 runs a season in pro ball.

Last year, the Phillies led the NL in runs scored, with 820, and they give up thousands of outs a year to strikeouts and soft flies and weak rollover grounders to the pull side from traditional hitters starting the bat forward by pulling on it with the front arm.


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

     With the front arm pull of the 'traditional' baseball batting technique, baseball batters take too long to get to the baseball, such that they cannot react to what they are not anticipating.  Therefore, they pop up and strike out a lot.

     With the rear arm drive of my baseball batting technique, baseball batters get to the baseball faster, such that they can react to what they are not anticipating.  Therefore, they very seldom pop up or strike out.

     In the same way that my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program would revolutionalize major league baseball pitching, my Adult Baseball Batters Interval-Training Program would revolutionalize major league baseball batting.

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

298.  Please, Just A Couple Questions

I am a Senior in High School I am doing a Senior Project on different pitches and what one is the most dominant pitch is.  I need an outside source who is an expert, so I just need to ask you a few questions because you seem to know what you are talking about.  I would just email them to you.


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

     I would enjoy answering any baseball pitching questions that you have.

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

299.  National Baseball Coaches Convention

At the National Baseball Coaches Convention in Dallas, TX on January 09 and 10, 2010, Ron Wolforth and Brent Strom spoke of your methods of driving the baseball in a straight line toward the plate.


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

     Thank you for the heads up.  I will get the speakers list.

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

Speaker Schedule Courtesy: ABCA
Release: 11/05/2009
2010 ABCA Dallas Convention Speaker Schedule

Friday, January 8, 2010 8:15-8:30am: Start of Clinic Sessions Welcome & Introduction to Clinic Format Pat McMahon - ABCA President Tim Mead, Walsh University -ABCA Second Vice-President and Clinic Director

8:30-9:10am: "It Takes People to Win Championships" Paul Mainieri, Louisiana State University

9:10-9:45am: "Coaching Ethics" Mark Johnson, Sam Houston State University

9:45-10:25am: "Blending-The Art of Improving or Enhancing the Rate in Which Movement Patterns Transfer from Our Practice, Training or Drill to Game Time" Ron Wolforth, Pitching Central, and Brent Strom, St. Louis Cardinals

10:25-11:05am: "Consistency of Performance-Learning to be Comfortable While Being Uncomfortable" Ken Ravizza, Cal State Fullerton

11:05-11:45am: "Wall Ball" John Cohen, Mississippi State University

11:45-12:15pm: "Pitching Mechanics-Old Versus New School" Scott Manahan - Hamilton Township High School (OH)

12:15-12:45pm: "Give your Team Offense a Tune Up" Tom Collins Stonypoint High School (TX)

12:45-1:25pm: "Building a Winning Baseball Program" Marty Paulsen Fond du Lac Goodrich High School (WI) & Mark Fuller Cumberland High School (WI)

1:25-2:05pm: "An Offensive Game Plan" Greg Guilliams & Todd Guilliams, Valdosta State University

2:05-2:45pm: "Catching Skills and Drills" Scott Stricklin Kent State University

2:45-3:25pm: "Stealing the Big Inning" Jason Stein, Eastern Kentucky University

3:25-4:05pm: "Wooster Hitting, Same Stuff, Different Angle" Tim Pettorini College of Wooster

4:05-4:45pm: "The Modern Day Baseball Player, Trends, Issues, and Performance Training" Dana Cavalea, New York Yankees

6:00-9:30pm: Hall of Fame/Coach of the Year Banquet

Saturday, January 9, 2010

8:30-9:10am: "Psychology of Coaching" Sam Riggleman, Spring Arbor University

9:10-9:50am: "A Key Component in Reducing Youth Arm Injuries: Coaching Interventions" Ron Johnson, Gulf Coast Rehabilitation

9:50-10:40am: Panel Discussion:  "Exploring the ABCA Code of Ethics" Gordie Gillespie, St. Francis University; Jerry Kindall (Retired) University of Arizona; Paul Mainieri, Louisiana State University; Paul Twenge, Minnetonka High School (MN)

10:40-11:10am: Nolan Ryan, Hall of Fame Pitcher & Texas Rangers' President

11:10-11:50am: "Infield Play, Daily Infield Drills" Jeff Willis, Louisiana State University-Eunice

12:15-2:00pm: ABCA Honors Luncheon

2:00-2:40pm: "Baseball Coach, Are You Leaving a Legacy or Just a Job Vacancy?" Steve Foster, Kansas City Royals

2:40-3:20pm: "Preparing Hitters in 'Practice'" Rudy Garbalosa, Lynn University

3:20-4:00pm: "Keys to Success" Tommy John, Former MLB All-Star Pitcher

4:00-5:20pm: "Mental Skills and Toughness Training for the 21st Century Athlete" Spencer Wood, Icebox Athlete

6:00-8:00pm: "Hot Stove" Pitching Discussion (Grand Ballroom DE)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

8:30-9:10am: "Good Coaches, Greater Men" Jason Marshall, University of Texas at San Antonio

9:10-9:50am: "Positional Hitting" Jaimie Cevallos, The Swing Mechanic

9:50-10:30am: "What Goes on in the Brain of a .330 Hitter and 20-Game Winner Pitcher" Buddy Biancalana, Perfect Mind/Perfect Motion Sports

10:30-11:10am: "Coaching the Mental Game" Aaron Weintraub, Mental Skills Coach

All clinic sessions will be held at the Dallas Hilton Anatole Hotel in the Chantilly Ballroom.

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

     A couple of years ago, I spoke at the 'Baseball Pitching Boot Camp' clinic in Houston, TX that Ron Wolforth and Brent Strom run.  At that time, the St. Louis Cardinals hired Brent Strom as a roving pitching coach.

     Below, I have copied the title of their presentation.

     "9:45-10:25am: "Blending-The Art of Improving or Enhancing the Rate in Which Movement Patterns Transfer from Our Practice, Training or Drill to Game Time" Ron Wolforth, Pitching Central, and Brent Strom, St. Louis Cardinals"

     It is appropriate that they called this "The Art of ...," because they have no idea about science of teaching motor skills.

     I am not honored that they quoted me.

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

300.  Pitching questions

I have been a student of the game for many years.  I would love to have you answer a question about the deterioration of MLB pitchers' ability to pitch complete games over the past 15 years.

It seems like up until to the late to mid 1990s, MLB pitchers were pitching multiple complete games and each year.  There were number of 20-game winners.

When I watch games now, starting pitchers usually average about 6 innings a game and the 20 game winner has all but vanished.

What do you believe are the reasons for the pitchers now throwing lesser innings?

Is it weaker arm strength, less conditioning, both or neither?

I have read that pitchers at the turn of the century were pitching and winning 40 complete games.

Do you think Major League pitchers will ever getting back to pitching multiple complete games like they did in the 1980s or do you see this era over?


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

     The primary reason why today's baseball pitchers do not pitch as much as we used to pitch is that orthopedic surgeons make the decision on whether baseball pitchers should pitch.

     I have no problem with baseball pitchers asking the Athletic Trainers about pains they have.  I have no problem with the Athletic Trainers not knowing why the baseball pitchers have these pains.

     However, I have a big problem with orthopedic surgeons acting as though they know what to do.  They have no idea what causes pitching injuries or how to eliminate them.

     Therefore, to save face and error on the side of caution, they tell every baseball pitcher that tells their Athletic Trainer that they have pain, to not touch a baseball for two weeks.

     This means that whatever was not able to withstand the stress of baseball pitching becomes less able to withstand the stress of baseball pitching and the downward spiral to oblivion begins.

     Their solution to pitching injuries is to decrease the amount that baseball pitchers throw baseballs.  The started the five-man pitching rotation.  They want more rest (weakened pitching arms).

     Everything that orthopedic surgeons make baseball pitchers do is the opposite of what baseball pitchers should do.

     The biggest perpetrator of this fraud is Dr. James Andrews.  Now, he is a nice guy and a great surgeon, but, instead of admitting that he has no idea about how to eliminate pitching injuries, he enjoys the King status that, out of fear of player agents suing them, major league team's have given him.

     To his credit, over twenty years ago, Dr. Andrews started the American Sports Medicine Institute that biomechanically analyzes baseball pitchers.  To do the baseball pitching research, he hired Dr. Glenn Fleisig to do the research.

     Unfortunately, Dr. Fleisig is an incompetent researcher.

     Rather than search for the most effective, efficient and injury-free baseball pitching motion for baseball pitchers to use, Dr. Fleisig decided that, because major league baseball pitchers use the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, every baseball pitcher should use the 'traditional' baseball pitching.

     My over forty years of baseball pitching research shows that the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion has numerous injurious flaws.  In my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I describe those injurious flaws and the adjustments that baseball pitchers have to make to eliminate pitching injuries.

     I sent Dr. Fleisig my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.  I drove from Tampa, FL to Birmingham, AL and tried to explain what causes baseball pitching injuries.  I offered to team with Dr. Fleisig.  Instead, Dr. Fleisig chose to 'go a different way.'

     I am encouraged that the Boston Red Sox hired a guy that worked in Dr. Andrews' rehabilitation lab.  However, his 'Pathomechanics' rehabilitation method does not work.

     I am encouraged that the St. Louis Cardinals hired a guy that worked in Dr. Fleisig's biomechanics lab.  However, the recommendations that they made to baseball pitchers do not work.

     I am encouraged that the Milwaukee Brewers have an orthopedic surgeon that had a portable biomechanics lab.  However, the orthopedic surgeon and the Milwaukee Brewers pitching coach, Rick Peterson, are following the protocol that Dr. Fleisig's biomechanical lab uses.  Therefore, they will fail.

     Because major league team owners do not have anybody qualified to evaluate what Dr. Andrews and Dr. Fleisig do, Dr. Andrews and Dr. Fleisig continue to destroy the pitching arms of all baseball pitchers with whom they have contact.

     So far as I can see, unfortunately, I am the only person qualified to evaluate what Dr. Andrews and Dr. Fleisig do and major league baseball General Managers either do not have the ability to understand what I say or are afraid to let me help them.

     However, I am encouraged that more and more 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches are small piece by small piece are introducing parts of my recommendations to their baseball pitchers.

     A week ago, I learned that 'a St. Louis Cardinal pitching coach' told the audience at the National Baseball Coaches Convention in Dallas, TX this year that my recommendation that baseball pitchers apply force to their pitches in straight lines toward home plate is the right way to teach baseball pitchers.

     Until major league teams understand that everything that I recommend that baseball pitchers do is right, major league baseball pitching will only get worse.

     To insure that someday all baseball pitchers will do what I recommend, I will continue to do everything that I can to make my website the source where baseball pitching coaches and pitchers can learn how to properly apply force to their pitches.

     When that happens, I will have eliminated pitching injuries and thirty game winners will become common place.

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

301.  Street backs doctor's treatmemt
MLB.com
By Thomas Harding
03/02/10

TUCSON, AZ:  Rockies closer Huston Street said Tuesday he will answer any questions that arise in the ongoing investigation of a doctor who has treated him twice for injuries.  Dr. Tony Galea of Toronto was arrested on charges of importing and using banned drugs after a police raid on his offices in October.

Street said his agents have told him that it's possible that federal investigators and Major League Baseball could question him about Galea, who treated him for an irritation of the ulnar nerve in his right elbow in 2007 and a right hip flexor strain in 2008.  Both treatments, which occurred when he was with the Athletics, were public knowledge.

Galea's case has received added attention because he is the doctor to golf's Tiger Woods.  Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees said Monday he would cooperate with any investigation.  Media outlets have reported that investigators have talked to the Mets' Jose Reyes, and teammate Carlos Beltran acknowledged that he has seen Galea about a knee injury.

Street, who will not participate in Spring Training games in the beginning because of tightness in his right shoulder, said there was no wrongdoing during his treatments with Galea.  "I was notified by my agents that I may or may not be asked questions, whether that's from the U.S. Attorney's Office or the [MLB] Commissioner's Office," Street said.  "Whatever that procedure entails, obviously I'm going to be ready to cooperate if and when that's necessary to answer any questions they might have.

"I really don't know the specifics of why he is in trouble, why he is not in trouble.  I know that everything we had talked about that we had discussed, that we were going to do procedurally, was 100 percent within the law.  We went to him because he's been very good with getting injuries healed.  We'll just see whatever they need."

Galea faces charges in Canada of conspiring to smuggle human growth hormone and Actovegin into the U.S., conspiracy to smuggle prohibited goods into Canada, unlawfully selling Actovegin and smuggling goods into Canada.  According to medical experts, Actovegin, de-protenized calf blood, has legitimate medical uses but has potential as an illegal performance-enhancing drug. HGH also has legitimate medical uses, but not as a performance-enhancer.

The New York Daily News has reported Galea has adamantly denied providing HGH to the athletes he treats.

Street said the 2007 treatments consisted of oxygen therapy and manual therapy, "just a therapist with their hands on me."  His main reason for sticking with Galea is his ability to pinpoint injuries and their causes.  "Ninety-nine percent of all injury is diagnosis," Street said.  "That's where that trust comes from.  You want to get diagnosed correctly."

Of his current shoulder injury, Street said it's normal tightness.  It has improved after playing catch the last two days.  Not being scheduled for games initially is merely "precautionary," he said.  "We worked through two of these last spring," said Street, who joined the Rockies in a trade last season and converted 35-of-37 save chances last season.  "This is pretty common for me at the beginning of the year."


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

     Mr. Street said that Mr. Galea has the ability to pinpoint injuries and their causes.  Mr. Street said that the treatments that Mr. Galea uses are oxygen and manual therapy.

     Oxygen and manual therapy will not eliminate the injurious flaws that cause pitching injuries.  Mr. Galea is a snake-oil salesman.

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

302.  Changeup transformed Frasor's career:  By mastering pitch, Jays reliever finds success on mound
MLB.com
March 02, 2010

DUNEDIN, FL:  Jason Frasor ducked around a corner and fumbled through his equipment bag, searching for a baseball.  The Blue Jays reliever returned and spun the ball in his right hand until the seams were aligned perfectly between his index and middle fingers.  "Like this," said Frasor.  He then spread the two digits farther apart along the ball and turned his hand back and forth to show off the grip, the one used for his unique changeup.  It looked simple enough.  And the way Frasor explained how he throws the pitch, it sounded simple, too.

For hitters, though, finding a way to successfully hit Frasor's changeup has proved to be a bit more complex.  It's an offering that took years of practice, but it was not until Frasor spent one weekend in Nashville, TN, two winters ago, that he finally made it work.  All of a sudden, Frasor had transformed himself as a pitcher.  The confidence issues he battled for years began to fade away.  The uncertainty of his role within the Blue Jays' bullpen disappeared.  Frasor used to wonder if his time as a big leaguer was nearing an end.  Now he is entering a contract year, and the only unanswered question is whether Toronto will hand him the closer's role.  "It changed my career," Frasor said.  "It changed my life."

The particular changeup that Frasor features is often referred to as a "fosh" pitch.  It is a hybrid grip that combines elements of a split-fingered fastball and a circle change.  Out of Frasor's right hand, it initially looks similar to his fastball, the one that the 5-foot-9 pitcher can push up to 95 mph at times, but the drop-off in speed makes it extremely difficult to hit.  By the time a right-handed hitter begins his swing, Frasor's changeup is diving to the inside edge of the plate and toward the bat handle.  For lefties, the pitch dances down and away.  It is a third pitch to complement the hard fastball and slider that Frasor also throws.  The only difference between his four-seam fastball and changeup is the baseball's rotation.  "How many hitters can recognize that?" he said with a shrug.  "I don't know."

Last season, the pitch helped the 32-year-old Frasor fashion a career season out of the Blue Jays' bullpen.  He finished 7-3 with a 2.50 ERA in 61 games, finishing 36 contests and notching 11 saves as a part-time stopper.  Across 57 2/3 innings, Frasor collected 56 strikeouts and issued just 16 walks.  This after handing out 32 free passes one season earlier.  It was a drastic upgrade over Frasor's first five years as a reliever for Toronto.  From 2004-08, he posted a 4.03 ERA with a 1.97 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 281 games.  Last year, Frasor had a 3.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio.  In nearly every area, Frasor's results improved dramatically, but the pitcher is confident that it was not a fluke showing.

Frasor believes he can do it again.  "I was just telling somebody that I don't feel like last year was just a string of good luck," Frasor said.  "I feel like, with the changeup, I was much more consistent, and I can carry that over to this year and the next year and the year after that. If you have a changeup, you can pitch forever."  Blue Jays pitching coach Bruce Walton originally showed Frasor how to throw the changeup during the 2004 season.  The right-hander worked on the pitch over and over, but he never really got the hang of it.  Along the way, Frasor tried mixing in a curveball, but he abandoned that pitch and became more of a fastball and slider specialist.

The results were always mixed, though.  "It's been on and off, mostly off, for the first five years," Frasor said.  "But I just kind of simplified it."  One weekend did the trick.  "That's all it took," Frasor said with a smile.  Frasor's agent introduced him to former big league pitcher Doug Bochtler, who now runs a pitching clinic in Nashville.  Bochtler's specialty is the changeup, and Frasor decided to head to Tennessee two offseasons ago to work with the instructor on the pitch.  Bochtler explained his approach and everything changed in a hurry for Frasor.  He finally got it.

Rather than worrying about the entire grip and motion, Frasor was taught to concentrate only on the middle finger while throwing the pitch.  Frasor applies more pressure with that finger while bringing his arm around and then he concentrates on how the ball feels spinning off the finger as he releases.  Just like that, Frasor had his new weapon.  "It's funny," Frasor said with a laugh.  "When you walk through his pitching clinic, there's always high school kids, and [Bochtler] walks around giving everybody the middle finger, because that's the finger for the changeup.  It's not meant to be, 'Screw you,' it's, 'That's all you've got to worry about is that one finger.  That's it.'"

Hitters can't sit and wait for Frasor's fastball, especially now that the pitcher is beginning to gain even more control over the changeup as a strikeout pitch.  As a result, Frasor's confidence is admittedly higher than it's been in his career.  Frasor's transformation is one reason why Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said he believes the changeup is the best pitch in baseball.  "This kid gained a lot of confidence last year and he was successful," Gaston said.  "You'd give him the ball and he did a great job for us.  He really just got over the hump last year."

Gaston is considering Frasor, Scott Downs and Kevin Gregg for the primary closer's job this spring.  Frasor said he will be comfortable in any role during the upcoming season, but he admitted that working in the ninth inning is something he would enjoy doing again.  "It's the best role," Frasor said.  "If I had that role again, I'm honored to have that, because there's some pretty good pitchers on this team."

In past springs with Toronto, Frasor sometimes doubted he would even make the Opening Day roster.  Here he is, six years later, ranked fifth in franchise history in games finished and sixth all-time in appearances.  If Frasor pitches in 58 games this year, he will join Blue Jays greats Duane Ward, Tom Henke and Dave Stieb as the only pitchers to appear in at least 400 games for the club.

Frasor is amazed he has lasted this long.  "I can't believe I'm here," he said.  "I was supposed to be released from the Blue Jays many, many times from what I hear, from what I've read.  All of a sudden, I'm going on my seventh year with these guys and I love it here."  That said, Frasor knows he has a great opportunity ahead as a free agent after this year.  "It's exciting," he said.  "I feel as good now and as confident as I've ever been in my stuff.  I don't think I throw as hard as I did in '04 or '05, but that's all right.  I have a changeup."


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

     In 2004, Blue Jays pitching coach, Bruce Walton, showed Mr. Frasor how to throw a changeup.

     For the first five years, Mr. Frasor had mixed results.

     Then, in the 2009 off-season, Mr. Frasor spent a weekend in Nashville, TN working with former big league pitcher, Doug Bochtler.

     Rather than worrying about the entire grip and motion, Mr. Bochtler taught Mr. Frasor to concentrate only on the middle finger while throwing the pitch.

     Mr. Frasor uses a hybrid grip that combines elements of a split-fingered fastball and a circle change.

     To left-handed batters, Mr. Frasor's pitch dances down and away.  To right-handed batters, Mr. Frasor's pitch dives to the inside edge of the plate and toward the bat handle.  The only difference between Mr. Frasor's fastball and his changeup is how the baseball rotates.

     Who says, "Baseball pitchers are only as good as the strength and skill of the tip of the middle finger on their pitching hand?"

     Who has this grip on the cover of his Baseball Pitching Instructional Video?

     Who says that the Maxline Fastball Sinker is the best baseball pitch?

     Who is Doug Bochtler and from where did he get the method he uses to teach baseball pitchers how to throw a 'Change-up?'  Does Mr. Bochtler understand how to create a 'circle of friction?'  Does Mr. Bochtler understand the Marshall Effect of Bournouli's Fluid Flow Principle?

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

303.  Completed last training cycle for lead balls

I just completed the last day of the 12 lb. lead ball training cycle.  Tomorrow, I start learning sliders and sinkers.

My assumption is that I have injury proofed my arm and I have to wait for my pitching-arm to come out of regression.


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

     For as long as you use my baseball pitching motion and do my interval-training program as I recommend every day, you will never suffer any pitching arm or body injuries.

     The bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles associated with my baseball pitching motion are fit to allow you to throw baseballs with as much intensity as you can generate.  That is the next physiological adjustment that you need to make.

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

304.  Pitching questions

  I am very glad to hear that some MLB coaches are finally using your some of your knowledge in improving pitcher's motion.

Have coaches on the high school and college level taken your advice?  How about international teams?

I hope that they do.  I completely agree with you and I hope MLB coaches and owners start listening more to your recommendations.


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

     Every now and then, high school and college coaches will email me that they are using my ideas.  The same is true internationally.  However, I do not keep a list.

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

305.  My son's High School Baseball

My fifteen year old son closed the opening Junior Varsity game two days ago.  On eight pitches, he struck out two batters and got a popup to end the game.

Today, in six innings, he gave up no earned run on no hits, two walks and ten strikeouts. to to end the game However, due to five errors, he lost 3-2.

His velocity was down because of some timing/mechanical things, but his movement was very good.   He got a lot of swings and misses. to to end the game It's very interesting to see the big jump in mph when he gets it "right".  It may be just JV ball, but it is still exciting.


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

     It appears that someone sees that they should pitch your son more.  That he is pitching six innings in a Junior Varsity game is better than watching Varsity games.

     Correct me if I am wrong, but, by my calculations, in nine innings, your son has given up no earned runs on two walks, one bloop hit and seventeen strikeouts.

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

306.  Great thing happened today

My wife wanted to throw some as her softball season is coming up.  After I was done throwing with her, she asked if I wanted to throw a couple baseballs with her as she knows I am now in maintenance as of today.

The look on her face when I threw your MPC was priceless.  In fact, I shocked myself.  She was in awe at the drop on it as I was too because it was pure overspin (12-6).  She kept wanting to see it again; but I only threw 5 or so.  I also threw about 10 TFBs and they were all very accurate and great movement.

I had been throwing in my basement all winter.  My receiving net is maybe only 20 ft away at best.  I know it's supposed to be 59 ft away; but I have no other way.

The release on my MPC always felt right and, by the rotation of the stripe, I knew I had it right, so it didn't concern me that it was too short of a distance to see the movement as long as I was hitting the net at a certain height I felt fine.

My wife knows I have always been weary about whether my team will let me pitch or they might not be supportive.  She said if they have any doubts, my MPC and TFB would convince them.

I know I still have a long way to go.  I know that frustration and a lot of hard work lies ahead.  It just felt good to see things come to fruition a bit.

I do have a question:

When I dropped down to an 8 lb. lead ball, I thought I was going to throw it through my rebound wall.  However, my pronator Teres was exhausted more than usual, even though my lead ball throws and WWs are easier.

Does throwing more baseballs exhaust the pronator teres because it's pronating harder because a baseball is only 5 ounces and we increased the throws by 24?


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

     The effects of training are specific.

     You cannot throw heavy wrist weights and iron balls at the same velocity that you throw baseballs.

     Therefore, although you are using the same motor unit contraction and relaxation sequences, by performing that sequence more quickly uses time as an overload.  Now, you have to become fit for throwing baseballs at the decreased time interval.

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

307.  Freeman to have Tommy John surgery:  Prospect was hoping to have recovered with off-season rest
MLB.com
March 02, 2010

JUPITER, FL:  Minor League left-hander Sam Freeman will undergo Tommy John surgery, Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said on Tuesday.  A Cardinals team physician will perform the operation, for which a date and location have yet to be determined.  Freeman, 22, was in camp as an "early arrival," rather than a non-roster invitee.  According to Mozeliak, Freeman felt discomfort in his pitching elbow late in the 2009 season.  It was hoped that, with an off-season of rest, he would recover.  However, his throwing sessions in Florida made it clear that he had not recovered.

Freeman had been advancing quickly through the St. Louis farm system.  He debuted at Rookie-level Johnson City in 2008 and made it all the way to Double-A Springfield before the end of the '09 season.  He split '09 between high Class A Advanced Palm Beach and Springfield, pitching exclusively in relief.  In 41 relief appearances in 2009, Freeman posted a 2-2 record, a 2.41 ERA and two saves.  He struck out 47 against 27 walks and allowed six home runs in 56 innings.

Freeman was selected in the 32nd round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Kansas.


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

     Rest stimulates negative physiological adjustments, not positive physiological adjustments.  Therefore, after an off-season of rest, Mr. Freeman was less able to withstand the stress of his 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, not more.

     When Mr. Freeman complained of discomfort late last season, who diagnosed his problem and recommended that he rest?  This article makes is sound as though resting this off-season was Mr. Freeman's idea.

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

308.  Kazmir reunited with his nasty stuff:  Pitcher, back with old coach Butcher, finds way with Angels
MLB.com
March 02, 2010

TEMPE, AZ:  There are athletes and there are pitchers. Sometimes there are athletes who happen to be pitchers.  A former high school quarterback in Houston, Angels southpaw Scott Kazmir falls into that latter category.  It is something pitching coach Mike Butcher is stressing as they collaborate in an effort to bring him back to the dominant form he demonstrated in his early 20s in Tampa Bay.  "Butch fixed me when I was struggling with some things in 2006," Kazmir said.  "I'm confident he can do it again."  Butcher, Kazmir said, "treats every pitcher as a special case."  This lefty, the coach emphasizes, is about as special as they come.  "I'm glad I do have a history with Kaz," Butcher said.  "We had success together.  He's a tremendous talent."

They bonded as teacher and pupil for the 2006 Rays.  With Butcher serving as manager Joe Maddon's pitching coach, Kazmir, at 22, emerged as one of the game's premium starters.  He forged a career-best 3.24 ERA and was 10-8 with 163 strikeouts in 144 2/3 innings when shoulder inflammation forced him to miss the season's final five weeks.

"My reference when I watch him in workouts is a visual of 2006, a great year for him," Butcher said.  "He had a dominant fastball, a dominant slider and was working on a changeup.  "He was hard in with the fastball to a right-handed hitter followed by a nasty slider.  That back-foot slider to a right-handed hitter is an almost unhittable pitch."

Trouble is, that nasty slider went into hibernation the past two seasons, surfacing only occasionally.  Reaching hitters in the low-to-mid 80s when thrown with force, it was the deadly complement to his 94-97 mph heater.  Butcher's aim is to see Kazmir maximize his talent, and rediscover his killer slider, by letting it flow naturally.  "I see a guy trying to get his feel back to get on top of the slider," Butcher said.  "His arm strength is there.  He can get it up there.  It's a matter of getting his timing in creating that good tilt on his slider, getting good life on it.  "He got into some bad habits. Overall, mechanically, there was some athleticism taken out of his delivery.  When you try to make a guy too mechanical, it takes away from his athletic ability."

Butcher demonstrated how Kazmir was cutting off his delivery, not bringing his arm all the way down and through in a natural, flowing manner as he was releasing the ball.  "Playing catch with Kaz, I'm focusing on getting him to follow through with his pitches," Butcher said.  "I want him to get back to using that athleticism, doing what he can to bring his body into his delivery.  "I like to see him confident. His ball has natural life and jumps on you.  He can sting your [glove] hand."

Kazmir was even better in '07 after Butcher joined manager Mike Scioscia's Angels staff, replacing Bud Black as pitching coach with Black moving down the road to manage the Padres.  Kazmir was 13-9 with a 3.48 ERA in '07 and produced 239 strikeouts in 206 2/3 innings, career highs in both departments.  His production, however, began to tail off. A biceps strain in the spring of 2008 limited his repertoire to fastball/changeup when he was spinning his slider, unable to drive through with force to snap it down on a right-handed hitter's hands.  "I was timid," Kazmir said.  "Any time you have an injury, you don't want to test it and reinjure it.  I ended up learning a changeup on the go, and it ended up being a great pitch."

After working only 152 1/3 innings in '08, he went to the disabled list with a right quadriceps strain last May and struggled to find his rhythm when he returned.  His ERA soaring, the Rays made Kazmir, and his three-year, $28.5 million contract with a 2012 option, available in late August.  Aware that they might lose John Lackey as a free agent, the Angels snapped up the two-time AL All-Star, sending prospects Sean Rodriguez, Alex Torres and Matt Sweeney to Tampa Bay.

Reunited with Butcher, Kazmir flourished with a sizzling 1.73 ERA in six starts, solidifying a rotation that had been patched together all season owing to injuries and the death of Nick Adenhart.  Kazmir started Game 3 of the AL Division Series sweep of Boston and Game 4 of the AL Championship Series against the Yankees, getting mixed results.  He continued to pound mid-90s fastballs in the strike zone along with darting changeups, but he still couldn't find any consistency with his slider.  That became his mission as he returned home and went through an extensive winter training regimen to build core strength.

Kazmir and Butcher exchanged video over the winter, focusing on the mechanics and grip on the slider.  "It seems like a couple of years ago when I lost my slider, I was trying to manipulate the ball with my arm," Kazmir said.  "It wasn't like I was following through like I do with my fastball.  "The slider was down to 78, 79 miles an hour.  My good, hard slider was normally around 83, 84.  It would come off my index finger.  When I got here last year, Butch showed me the same grip, but added the middle finger for me.  We didn't want to use it in games in late September and October, but it was something to keep in mind."

When Kazmir reached Arizona, he was nursing a tender right hamstring, sustained in early January during his workouts.  Making up for lost time, Kazmir has begun to throw off the mound. Scioscia, who misses nothing in camp, has been impressed.  "He feels good," Scioscia said.  "Kaz had a terrific season for us.  Maybe he wasn't in peak form in the playoffs as far as his production, but he was a big part in us leading the world in pitching through September.  "There are some things he needs to get back to in order to make him dominate the way he was a few years ago."

Command of the hard slider that made hitters so uncomfortable is at the top of that check list.  "I faced him last year," Angels second baseman Howard Kendrick said.  "He has late life on his fastball, some serious giddyup.  He can get it up there with the best of the lefties.  "I saw his fastball and changeup, but not his slider.  He's definitely one of the tougher lefties.  I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do this year."  Nobody is more eager to see what he can unleash than Kazmir, who turned 26 five weeks ago and is just now entering his prime years physically.


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

     In 2006, Mr. Butcher was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' pitching coach and Mr. Kazmir was 22 years old.  In 144 2/3 innings, Mr. Kazmir struck out 163 batters and won ten games.  However, shoulder inflammation forced Mr. Kazmir to miss the season's final five weeks.

     Nevertheless, Mr. Butchers uses his recollection of the 2006 pitching motion that Mr. Kazmir as his reference of how Mr. Kazmir should throw.  Mr. Butchers says that, in 2006, Mr. Kazmir had a dominant fastball, a dominant slider and was working on a changeup.  Mr. Butchers says that Mr. Kazmir threw a back-foot slider to right-handed hitters that was an almost unhittable pitch."

     Mr. Kazmir did not try to throw a back-door slider to right-handed batters.  Instead, because of his excessive 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' Mr. Kazmir could not pull his pitching upper arm to the glove arm side of home plate.

     That, in the spring of 2008, Mr. Kazmir strained his Biceps Brachii muscle (actually his Brachialis muscle) proves that Mr. Kazmir had excessive 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,.'

     Nevertheless, because Mr. Butcher last worked with Mr. Kazmir four years ago, he wants to revive the pitching motion that Mr. Kazmir used when he suffered pitching arm injury after pitching arm injury.

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

309.  Webb a little hesitant in bullpen session:  D-backs right-hander hopes to 'let it go' in his next outing
MLB.com
March 04, 2010

TUCSON, AZ:  On the plus side, Brandon Webb says his surgically repaired shoulder feels good.  As for his state of mind, well that's another story.  "It was average," said Webb, who threw his fifth bullpen of the spring Thursday morning.  "I feel like I'm kind of stagnant right now.  I want to feel some progression every time, and I feel like the last couple times I've been out, it's been the same."

When he next takes the mound, though, the circumstances will be different.  Webb is slated to face hitters in a batting practice-type environment Sunday or Monday, and that could cause his adrenaline to pump a little more and allow him to let loose.  "They're thinking that if I get some hitters in there, get a new look, get something other than just [bullpen coach Jeff Motuzas] catching me, the intensity will pop up," Webb said.  "Still can't let it go, so that's what I'm looking to build on."

Thursday there was a bit of a difference when pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre Jr. stepped in the box to simulate a hitter.  "The intensity did step up a little bit there," Webb said.  "I could feel it, it was two or three or four percent.  It wasn't like it was a lot, but it was a little bit.  That was something new."

Webb emphasized that it's not pain that's causing him to hold back a bit, but rather a mental hesitation to let it go completely.  "I just need a little more intensity," Webb said.  "I need to jack myself up, I need something.  I don't want to overdo it either.  I don't want to set myself back.  That's like the thing that's in the back of my mind always.  I'm set up right now to be where I need to be, and one little setback would probably push me back to where I don't want to be.  Still a little cautious.  "If I'm ready to go Sunday, we'll do it Sunday," Webb said.  "If we need an extra day, we'll do it Monday."

For the first time since he started throwing back in January, Webb said he felt as good mechanically out of the windup as he did from the stretch.  Previously, he was more comfortable from the stretch.  "I feel pretty comfortable on the mound mechanically," Webb said.  "I don't have any patience right now.  I'm ready to go, let loose.  I want to throw in a game and obviously I'm not ready to do that right now, but the next step is facing live hitters and that will be coming up."


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

     In their articles about Brandon Webb, the first thing that writers write is that his surgically repaired shoulder feels good.

     The orthopedic surgeon did not find anything wrong with Mr. Webb's pitching shoulder.  Therefore, Mr. Webb does not have a surgically repaired pitching shoulder.

     When Mr. Webb says, "It's not pain that's causing him to hold back a bit, but rather a mental hesitation to let it go completely.  What he really means is that it is the pain that is causing him to hold back>

     When Mr. Webb says, "I just need a little more intensity.  I need to jack myself up, I need something.  I don't want to overdo it either.  I don't want to set myself back.  That's like the thing that's in the back of my mind always.  I'm set up right now to be where I need to be, and one little setback would probably push me back to where I don't want to be," Mr. Webb is protesting too much.  Mr. Webb believes the opposite.

     What Mr. Webb knows is that everything is the same or worse now than when, after the first game of the 2009 season, he complained of pitching shoulder soreness.

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

310.  Return of the Ugly Numbers--Week One

SUN (4/4)--ONE GAME
Average number of pitches per game: 326.00
Average number of pitches per half inning: 19.18
Average number of innings per starter: Exactly 5
Average number of relievers per game (both teams): 4.50
Percentage of relievers pitching more than one inning: 10.00

MON (4/5)
Average number of pitches per game: 290.00
Average number of pitches per half inning: 16.54
Average number of innings per starter: Slightly under 5 2/3
Average number of relievers per game (both teams): 6.85
Percentage of relievers pitching more than one inning: 13.48

TUE (4/6)
Average number of pitches per game: 295.86
Average number of pitches per half inning: 16.31
Average number of innings per starter: Slightly over 5 2/3
Average number of relievers per game (both teams): 7.14
Percentage of relievers pitching more than one inning: 16.00

WED (4/7)
Average number of pitches per game: 310.20
Average number of pitches per half inning: 16.86
Average number of innings per starter: Slightly over 5 2/3
Average number of relievers per game (both teams): 7.13
Percentage of relievers pitching more than one inning: 24.30

THUR (4/8)
Average number of pitches per game: 301.27
Average number of pitches per half inning: 16.57
Average number of innings per starter: Slightly under 5 2/3
Average number of relievers per game (both teams): 6.82
Percentage of relievers pitching more than one inning: 21.33

FRI (4/9)
Average number of pitches per game: 298.13
Average number of pitches per half inning: 16.32
Average number of innings per starter: Slightly over 5 2/3
Average number of relievers per game (both teams): 5.87
Percentage of relievers pitching more than one inning: 29.55


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

     For those of us that track the futility of major league baseball pitching, your summary list makes a perfect ending to each week's 2010 Question/Answer file.

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

***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, April 18, 2010, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

311.  My son's High School Baseball

Your math is correct.

However, my son sometimes pendulum swings up too high.  Does that shorten his driveline?  There are times everything clicks and the ball really zips.  Those times are getting more frequent.


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

     When baseball pitchers take their pitching arm above driveline height, to throw the baseball to home plate, they have to lower their pitching arm to driveline height.  This decreases release velocity and consistency.

     The best remedy that I can recommend is to have your son do my Wrong Foot body action; Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     Before he throws his pitches, he needs to look at where he has his pitching hand.  Then, you need to make sure that, after he turns to look at his target, he does not move his pitching hand above the height of his driveline.

     Then, when he uses my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion, until he pendulum swings his pitching arm to forty-five degrees behind his body, he must not step forward with his glove foot.  To help him learn how to do this, he needs to stop lifting his glove leg before he steps forward.

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

312.  Thank you!

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

For the past 4 years, I have been teaching my son your tenants.  When we started, my son was a 14 year old “sore armed” pitcher who was complaining of elbow pain every time he pitched in a game.

But now, after learning how to pronate the release of all his pitches, straightening his driveline, building up his bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles through the use of your weighted throwing program, he is a powerful, durable, and very effective high school senior who is being recruited by several colleges including a couple good Division I schools.

Currently, he is on the leader boards in 11 pitching categories that includes over 100 of the largest schools in the region.  He is the leader in two those categories, innings pitched and total strikeouts.

What’s more, he is doing it with only 2 pitches; his Maxline 2 seam fastball and his MP curve.  The coach calls all the pitches and my son has too big a variety pitches for him to keep track.  So, the coach doesn’t allow him to throw more than two pitches.

So far this spring, he has pitched to 117 batters in 28 innings.  He has allowed 10 singles, 5 doubles, 0 triples, 0 home runs, 14 walks and 37 strikeouts.  If he were allowed to throw pitches that move to the glove arm side, I feel his numbers would be even better.

Thank you again for your generous sharing of all of your knowledge.


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

     That, despite the coach limiting your son to only two pitches, your son has struck out 37 batters in 28 innings and given up only 15 hits is amazing.

     At the very least, the coach should allow him to choose which fastball to throw and let him throw some type of reverse breaking ball to glove side batters.

     My Maxline Fastball works well against pitching arm side spray hitters and glove arm side pull hitters.  My Maxline Pronation Curve also works well against pitching arm side spray hitters and glove arm side pull hitters.

     However, to get pitching arm side pull hitters and glove arm side spray hitters out, he needs my Torque Fastball and Maxline Fastball Sinker.

     What type of batters got the ten singles and five doubles and where did these hits go?

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

313.  Pitching pain in elbow

I received your information on the Sports Medicine Forum and am in need of information and hope you may be able to help.

My son is an 18 year old senior and D1 college recruit.  He is scheduled to sign this spring.

He developed pain in the upper rear part of his elbow at the end of the fall season.  After resting for about a month, we took to see an orthopod, who prescribed more rest and an MRI.

The MRI was negative, but he treated my son with 2-3 weeks of therapy and more rest.  After therapy, he started to throw again, slowly and, within the last week, has pitched and an inning here and there.  His velocity is greatly reduced and the pain has returned.

He has pitching videos, one more recent that can be viewed at YouTube.  Could you possibly check his form?  Along with overuse, this must be a mechanics issue.

Any suggestions that you could give would be greatly appreciated; as my son feels that his pitching career may be over.


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

     Pain in the back of the pitching elbow indicates that he is banging the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together.

     When he throws his breaking ball (it moves like a slider), he supinates (turns his thumb upward) his release.  That causes him to bang the two bones in the back of his pitching elbow together.

     To eliminate this problem, your son needs to learn how to pronate (turn his thumb downward) the release of this pitch.

     To learn how to pronate his breaking pitches, he can watch my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video that is on my website for all to watch without charge.

     From the video, I learned that your son needs to raise his pitching arm to driveline height with a smooth pendulum swing.

     While he does not raise his pitching upper arm to shoulder height before his pitching hand, he still generates some 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'  That and, because he pulls his pitching arm forward, unnecessarily stresses the front of his pitching shoulder.

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

314.  Aggravated Piriformis?

Over the past few weeks, I've been dealing with ongoing hip discomfort in what I originally thought to be my Tensor Fasciae Latae muscle.  However, I am now leaning toward my Piriformis muscle or possibly a Gluteus muscle, due to the everyday movements I am currently having a little trouble negotiating.  I was hoping you could help me confirm my diagnosis, and possibly some advice to alleviate the discomfort.

Here is what I know:

1.  The discomfort began about three weeks ago, after the third game of my season.  Aside from the actual games, my training routine and daily activities have remained the same.  Actually, my training (throwing workouts, hitting and overall strength workouts) fell into maintenance mode a week before the season started.

2.  Initially, I did nothing but continue to train and play.  However, when the discomfort refused to subside, I began taking Ibuprofen.  That seems to be a decent temporary solution, however, I can't stand taking any type of pills/medication/drugs, so I do not want to make this a pre-game or post-game ritual.

3.  The biggest hint I've used to pinpoint the "problem muscle," is when I get into my car.  (The discomfort is in my right leg.)  There is a slight "tinge" in my hip when I put my foot into the car, but I the discomfort becomes more prominent as I slide into the seat of the car.  My reaction is to press my foot into the floor of the car until I am in the seat, which seems to cause the discomfort to subside.

4.  The discomfort is not a constant.  Usually the discomfort occurs when I am:  getting into my car (not always, but it's pretty consistent after a game), sitting on the couch with my feet up and a few hours after a workout.

5.  The other day, I performed an exercise where I lay flat on my back, my legs bent, and my feet flat on the floor.  I raise my hips off the floor, and alternate raising one foot off the floor while the other foot stabilizes my position.  My right Gluteal muscles feel weaker.

6.  Massage seems to help.

7.  I also play golf.  The discomfort becomes noticeable around the 12th hole, however if I play on back-to-back days, the discomfort is less on the second day.  It does not bother me on the swing, but as I walk the course.

I don't think this is a serious condition, however, it is slightly beyond annoying.  Am I on the right track recognizing what muscles are the root of the problem?  What can I do to alleviate the situation aside from continuing to train, albeit at a lesser intensity?

By the way, my arm feels better than ever, and is the envy of every player on my team.  They can't believe how I am never sore, when they are "hanging" the day after a game.  A new teammate saw me throwing for the first time, and said "Oh, you throw the new way."  I said, "I guess the 40 year old throwing motion I use is new compared to the 150 old way you throw!"


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

     All discomforts result from bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles not being able to withstand physical stresses.

     From your description of your discomfort, this sounds like a long term misuse problem.

     Unfortunately, you did not say whether your pitching or glove hip has the discomfort.  Nevertheless, I suspect the discomfort is in your pitching hip.

01.  If you are using my Drop Out Wind-Up body action, then you will not misuse your pitching hip.  However, if you do not have your pitching foot pointing at home plate, then you are misusing your pitching hip.

02.  Medication does not eliminate discomfort problems.  To eliminate discomfort problems, you have to point your pitching foot at home plate and drive your pitching knee forward close to your glove knee.

03.  Okay.  Now, I know that you are a right-handed baseball pitcher, the discomfort is in your pitching hip.

04.  That the discomfort increases when you have your feet up indicates a hip joint problem, not muscle.

05.  Discomfort in the hip joint can influence the hip extensor muscles.

06.  Me too.

07.  Golf is four hours lost forever.

     I designed my Drop Out Wind-Up body action to eliminate pitching hip, pitching knee, glove knee and lower back misuse.  The pseudo-traditional body action or some other abberation that you must be using causes this problem.

     When you drive your pitching upper arm toward home plate, is the back of your pitching upper arm facing toward home plate?

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

315.  Aggravated Piriformis?

Although I disagree with your opinion of golf (agree to disagree?), I have to agree that my pitching hip issue is probably the result of a long history with the traditional wind up.

Currently, I do not use a traditional wind up, a pseudo wind up, or anything "disguised" to look more "acceptable."  I only throw from your set position from the mound.  When playing another position (short stop),I make a point of throwing with a crop hop.  That being said, diving and back hand plays are a little tougher to reposition into a crop hop, but I do my best.

As I get more accustomed to the hitters in the league, as well as the pitchers on my team's staff, I am able to position myself better and increase the chance of being able to field the ball in front of me.

Back to my hip:

I can definitely feel a "knot" (Myofascial Pain Syndrome; or is that massage therapist speak, in my right Gluteal area.  (For the record, is a "knot" the result of a lack of blood flow to that muscle?)

This is the area I aggressively massage at the end of the day.  Seeing that you said that hip discomfort affects hip extensor muscles, I'm thinking this is what you were telling me.

Can my discomfort also be a result of not training to run the bases as well as I should have?  I'm thinking in terms of secondary leads and my first step out of the right-handed batter's box.  (Or am I in denial that years of misuse have finally caught up to me?)

To answer you