Questions/Answers 2013

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     On Sunday, January 06, 2013, I posted the following questions and answers.

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0001.  Final 2012 Review

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1952. Tom House mouth guard video

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You are correct. This video does feel like a cheap late-night infomercial.

From the video script, "and actually supporting it with some science."  He knows he's full of sh-t.

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1954. Underground pitching clinic

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My point is that you are far more knowledgeable about the basics of my baseball pitching motion than any of the Marshall baseball pitching coaches that I certified. I understand that, other than your sons, you have no interest in teaching youth baseball pitchers.

The basics?  Holy crap Batman, there's more?

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     Yep. Mastering the skills is just the beginning.

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1957. Former Tiger Schlereth signs minor-league deal with Orioles

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That Mr. Peterson is not at the Orioles' spring training facility working with Mr. Schlereth does not bode well for either gentleman.

The Peterson Principle; rise to the level of your ability to bullshit.

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1958. Reds proceeding with caution in Aroldis' transition

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Reds pitching coach, Bryan Price, said:

01. "I think the days of hiking a pitcher's innings number by 50 or 60 or 80 innings in today's standards would be considered irresponsible."

Ass covered.

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02. "We're going to be very conscientious of that.

English major?

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03. "However, we haven't set any exact numbers or even gotten to the point of naming our starting rotation."

In other words. we still have to make it up.

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04. "If we were to move forward with Chappy in the rotation, there will have to be some creativity involved in how we do it."

Obligatory nickname.  Creativity, not science.

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05. "That will be a challenge, but a challenge we're up to."

It will be a challenge to come up with some bullshit that sounds like we know what we're doing, and, if it fails, makes sure it's Chappy's fault.  But we're up to the challenge.

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06. "For whatever reason, when you condition yourself to a five-man rotation, your body seems to respond that way."

Wow, really?

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07. "Day 4, you may still have some tenderness from your previous start or bullpen session, but on Day 5 your arm and body are ready to go."

Do you even listen to yourself?  Does this sound like a winning strategy?  Whack yourself with a hammer every fifth day and hope you heal enough to do it again.

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08. "You don't want to get into a situation where you ask the other four guys to compromise their routine out of respect for one guy."

What?

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09. "No matter what decision is made, I, field manager Dusty Baker and general manager Walt Jocketty will be highly scrutinized and probably criticized."

But they will bravely forge ahead against the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

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10. "I think everyone will want to know the plan and a solid hard number for innings."

But how can you let them they know when you don't know?

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11. "Whatever we choose to do, there's always going to be an opposing side that feels we could do things better."

Wow, nice turnaround.  Choose?  How about know?

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12. "We have to be satisfied with our choices, because our intent will be to get the most out of Aroldis without putting him in a high-risk position."

Is this guy running for President?

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13. "I have some ideas, and I'm sure Walt and Dusty, our training staff and doctor do as well."

So we will put all of our bullshit ideas together.  See which ones make us look smart but are sufficiently nebulous, and then disseminate them to the lemmings.

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14. "We'll have a plan, and it will be something we can coordinate and feel good about going forward."

Yep, we don't really know what we are doing and we keep trying to tell you that but you won't listen.

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1959. The best pitching coach in the majors

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On the other hand, Mr. Cueto injured himself before the playoffs and Mr. Webb injured himself in the first game of the season and never pitched again. To me, that means that Mr. Price does not understand what causes pitching injuries.

Besides, being the best of the 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches on major league teams does not require much. Being called the best of the worst is not an honor.

Baseball is great.  People in positions of power take credit when things go well and it's the athlete's fault when they don't.

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1960. High school shortstop prospect Andy McGuire underwent hip surgery in September

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To prevent this injury, baseball batters have to turn their rear foot at least forty-five degrees pointing toward the baseball pitchers and push backward with the front of the foot.

This means that similarly with baseball pitchers walking toward home plate, baseball batters have to walk toward the pitching mound.

Hip joints do not do well when they rotate.

Turning your foot 45 degrees is too revolutionary and scary.

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1964. Jeremy Bonderman giving it "one last shot" at big league career

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Around January 10, 2013, Mr. Bonderman plans to arrive in Peoria, AZ to start working out at the Mariner’s spring training facility, five weeks before pitchers and catchers are due to report.

I wonder whether Mr. Bonderman is interested in knowing why he tore his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

No, not really.  Too scary.  And it might involve more change.  My God, the man has already gave up potato chips.

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1968. Indians agree to Minor League deal with Kazmir

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I applaud Mr. Kazmir's tenacity. However, without improving the quality and variety of his baseball pitches, how can Mr. Kazmir believe that he can get better results?

He has given up potato chips.

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1969. Marlins sign Maine to minor-league deal

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I applaud Mr. Maine's tenacity. However, without improving the quality and variety of his baseball pitches, how can Mr. Kazmir believe that he can get better results?

Potato chip-less-ness.

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1971. Second hitting coach becoming hot trend

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Until all coaches understand Biomechanics, baseball will continue to do as pitchers and hitters have done since the beginning of baseball, i.e., do what the recent most successful pitcher and hitter did. That insures that pitching and hitting coaches perpetuate the best of the worse pitching and hitting techniques.

A second hitting coach provides another blame target for the higher ups to throw to the wolves when things go badly.  This is the creative thinking GM's talk about.

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1975. Connection Balls

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The better way for baseball pitchers to move their upper body forward is to step forward with their glove foot only as far as they are able to continue to move the center of mass toward home plate.

The 12 inch ball won't work?  Damn, I was going to market special pitching shirts with the balls sewn in.  The pitchers would look like monsters.  Intimidation baby.

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0002.  Some of My Personal Marshall Motion Sticking Points And Their Solutions

We have worked on the Marshall Motion since 2007 when my eldest son was 12 and had elbow pain. The challenge has been to set aside my pitching prejudices so that I could finally see the light.

The problem was my constant tendency to try to reconcile the Marshall Motion with the Traditional Motion. Don't do it! Don't waste your time like I did.

Kids learn a second language quickly precisely because they don't reconcile the new language to their native. They see the new language as a 'stand alone'.

Dr. Marshall started fresh using physics and applied anatomy. No reconciliation. To reconcile is to compromise.

And fortunately for us all, the way that maximizes results is also the safest. Some smokers live a long time. That is not a reason to smoke, or pitch traditionally.

This document is an attempt to pass on a few of the things that helped me. Hopefully it helps you.

1. The Acromial Line and Staying On It.

The acromial line is the imaginary line extending out through both shoulders.

Like many people, my sons had trouble pendulum swinging along the acromial line. The problem, as many are, was at the beginning. Their first move was to 'extend' the shoulder (like when you elbow somebody behind you). Do that and you are off the track at the start.

Our solution was to imagine a 'side stripe' running down the side of the body. We also recognized that in the starting position, the elbow was already on or very close to the acromial line.

The pitching hand needs only move 90 degrees from in front of the body to the 'side stripe' while pendulum swinging. We envision a 'one piece takeaway' like in golf.

2. What the Heck is 'Driveline Height'?

Simple. It is the height of your elbow when you hold your elbow next to your head, like with Dr. Marshall's 'slingshot' position.

3. The "Walking Reflex".

This is a biggie. We got bogged down because we kept comparing it to what we thought we knew about traditional pitching or hitting rotation. Clear your mind. The fastest way to rotate is not 'between' your feet, it's 'over' your front foot.

The greatest part (around 90%) of any pitcher's velocity comes from shoulder rotation. The fastest way to rotate is on/over the front foot with the 'free' knee driving across the 'front' knee. Think ice skater going into a spin.

Step with your 'glove' foot and then drive the 'pitching' knee across and closely in front of the glove knee. Doc writes 'diagonally across the glove knee'. See how it makes you rotate really fast? That's the 'walking reflex'. You 'walk' into the rotation. It's effortless and efficient.

Another thought that helped us is to think of the pitching knee and pitching elbow moving forward together. This helps to ensure that we throw with the entire pitching side. If the pitching knee gets forward and across the glove knee, then it's highly likely that the pitching elbow will have achieved a horizontal bounce.

Now actively swing your 'butt' around too. That's 'flipping the hip'. Even better rotation. Pull your glove arm straight into your glove shoulder. Even better. Now physics is your friend, not your enemy.

Experiment. See how quickly you can rotate your rear shoulder around to point at home plate. Or, in the immortal words of Dr. Marshall "point your acromial line towards home plate".

4. The 'Horizontal Bounce'

This is huge.

Let's define the active 'slingshot' position as the elbow pointing forward at the target with the Humerus bone leaning forward at about 2 o'clock as viewed from the side. This is a little different than 'vertically alongside the head'.

As you actively flow into the slingshot position, done correctly, the shoulder rotation adds to the drive of the elbow past the 'slingshot' position into the 'horizontal bounce'.

A 'deep' horizontal bounce will have the elbow pointing at the glove-side batter.

The horizontal bounce safely lengthens the tendon of the Latissimus Dorsi and allows it to 'slingshot' the elbow up and back while you drive the forearm forward 'off the bounce' toward home plate.

The elbow is a fulcrum used to powerfully 'force-couple'. The elbow stays at the same height or pops up. It does not get pulled down.

When you 'drive off the bounce' and 'force couple', the opposing forces add up, "summate". What an exciting concept! It's a two-for-one sale that you don't want to miss.

5. What keeps us from achieving this?

I believe the biggest culprit is getting 'pinned'. From the 'loading the slingshot' position, you must start the elbow toward the slingshot position before you start to powerfully rotate your shoulders. The elbow must stay in front of the acromial line.

From in front of the acromial line, shoulder rotation drives the elbow forward. If the elbow lags behind, then the rotational force 'pins' it back, making it impossible to achieve the horizontal bounce.

We came up with 'stay in front of the wave'. Like a boogie board, ride the wave.

Now do you see why staying on the acromial line at the start is so damn important? You have to 'get in front of the wave'. Try catching a wave on a boogie board from too far behind.

6. Start Your Rotation Under Control

Good golfers know that you have to start the swing under control. Start too fast and you lose control of the club head and then it's hook and slice city.

The club head needs to be traveling its fastest through contact. The same holds true with the Marshall Motion.

7. Driving Downhill

If you are able to horizontally bounce and punch straight out with your throws, then the line across the top of the shoulders determines the throwing angle. If, when you rotate, the line across the top of the shoulders is plumb level, the throw will be driven out plumb level. If you are throwing a fastball, then it will probably be high.

Fastballs need to be 'driven down'. That is, the line across the top of the shoulders will need to be slightly angled downward. The key is, when you walk heel-toe onto your glove foot, to bend your glove knee and set your body lean appropriately forward. In other words, 'stand tall' with a forward full-body lean.

This has to be done prior to the fast rotation. You cannot overcome those forces to adjust down without pulling the arm down. Nor do you want to.

In batting, the rotational forces will 'put a good line' on the bat head. You have to put a 'good line' on your line across the top of your shoulders.

8. Summary

     a. Stay in front of the wave.
     b. Get your body onto your front foot.
     c. Set your shoulder angle.
     d. Turn the back of your arm forward.
     e. Rotate like crazy.
     f. Horizontally bounce.
     g. Point your acromial line at home plate.
     h. Drive off the bounce.
     i. Lean forward.
     j. Arm wrestle inside of vertical.
     k. Drive downhill.
     l. Force-couple.
     m. Pronate the finish!


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     Great stuff. The images are great.

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0003.  Relief pitching book

I need some professional insight into the care of a pitcher's health and how to maximize his usage.

I have followed your work from afar over the past several years, and I am intrigued to learn more about your opinions on the subject.

Since my area of concern lies in the effective and maximum use of relief pitchers, I feel that you are the most qualified individual to give me the insight I need for three reasons:

You have the experience.
You took the time to earn a PhD in kinesiology.
You think outside the box.

In the name of time, let me answer a few of the questions you will find yourself asking.

I am not a reporter.
I do not have any ties to the baseball community.
This is not graduate work.
I do plan on turning my research into a book.
I cannot afford to pay you for your time.

To give you an idea of some of the questions I would ask, the following is an example:

Assuming a six day major league weekly schedule, what would be the most effective way to get a pitcher to work three to four games a week at two innings per outing while insuring a pitcher's health?

(I use "insuring" loosely, meaning they are not likely to have short or long term arm issues at a greater rate than that of a "traditional" pitcher today.)


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     Because I earned my doctoral degree in Kinesiology, Exercise Physiology and Motor Skill Acquisition, I averaged pitching two innings per appearance for a decade and, during one season (1974), pitched in nearly two of every three games (65.43%).

     Therefore, if you want to hear how to teach and train baseball pitchers to pitch two innings per appearance three of four games out of six games per week, you have contacted the only person that has not only did that for himself, but knows how to do it for others.

     Despite, with videos, my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book and my Question/Answers files, I have already explained how to teach and train baseball pitchers of all ages how to do what I did and what I have learned since I did it, I will gladly answer any and all questions that you have.

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0004.  The Specific Chronology of the Marshall Pitching Arm Actions

How is this? Any usable language here? The writing juices are flowing and I'm trying to take advantage.

1. Pendulum swing the pitching arm downward, backward and upward through the 'loaded slingshot' checkpoint.

2. When moving from the 'loaded slingshot' checkpoint to the 'slingshot' checkpoint, the pitching elbow must get and stay in front of the pitching shoulder. To do this, after passing through 'loaded slingshot,' the pitching upper arm must quickly move forward and upward.

3. About half way between the 'loading the slingshot' and 'slingshot' checkpoints, the back of the pitching upper arm starts turning toward home plate and the Latissimus Dorsi muscle engages. This is 'lock.'

Note: When the body moves over the front foot, rotation begins. Delaying the explosive forward body rotation enables 'lock' to happen. Otherwise, over the rear foot body rotation causes the pitching arm to lag to behind the acromial line. With the pitching arm behind the acromial line, it is impossible to 'horizontal bounce' the pitching forearm.

4. With the pitching arm in 'lock,' forwardly rotating the shoulders moves the pitching elbow inward past 'slingshot' into the 'horizontal bounce'.

5. The force of horizontally driving the pitching elbow inward past the 'slingshot' position causes the pitching hand to move laterally outside of the elbow. This action 'lengthens' the Latissimus Dorsi tendon. At the end of this movement, the Latissimus Dorsi tendon snaps back. This is the 'acceleration bounce' that starts the pitching hand forward. To take maximum advantage of the 'bounce', pitchers 'drive off the bounce'.

Note: Horizontally 'bouncing' the contracting Latissimus Dorsi muscle safely lengthens its tendon. After lengthening, the Latissimus Dorsi tendon snaps back. This is the 'magic moment' that slingshots the baseball toward home plate.

6. The Latissimus Dorsi muscle simultaneously inwardly rotates and extends the pitching upper arm. Extending the pitching upper arm stops the forward movement of the pitching upper arm. Inwardly rotating the pitching upper arm pops the pitching elbow dramatically upward.

Note:  As the pitching hand drives toward home plate, the pitching elbow completely stops and moves backward. This is how the pitching arm creates parallel and oppositely-directed forces that add together (summate) to generate additional force. This is 'force-coupling.'

7. After the pitching upper arm force-couples, the pitching elbow extends. After the pitching elbow extends, the pitching forearm pronates.

8. Therefore, the only differences in the pitching arm actions to throw the wide variety of pitches are the positions and actions of the wrist, hand and fingers.


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     With each re-write, the description of the Marshall pitching arm actions get better.

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0005.  Dick Mill's Marketing Machine

I can’t help but share this advertising piece that was passed to me by a friend (below).

I find it amazing that Dick Mills somehow now touts himself as a researcher of the laws of science.

From what I can tell he has been researching is the laws of Marketing more than anything.

Isn’t this the same guy whose son had arm trouble?

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On Saturday, we had a very successful mini-clinic on for 6 high school pitchers.

We had 4 come from Florida (2 of the parents drove the 2100 miles to come). 1 came from San Francisco and one from New Mexico.

Do not waste time on practice activities that have not proven to improve performance.

Here are some of those activities that do not work:

* long toss or any long distance throwing
* excessive weight or strength training over explosive full-body or functional training (watch out for Olympic lifts or flat bench press or any exercises where the pitcher cannot see his hands)
* pitching drills (unless a beginner just learning the pitching motion)
* towel drills, balance drills, kneeling drills or other invented drills
* training aids - such as the Pitchers Power Drive
* flat ground pitching when a mound is available
* less than game intensity bullpens (unless working on making a specific mechanical chance)
* slowing the pitching motion down to gain ball control
* focusing on control when making mechanical changes
* arm exercises to gain velocity
... and other invented training ideas that are all "belief based" with no scientific basis

Below is a sports science study about strength training. The problem today in baseball is that almost all coaches believe that both long toss and strength training are how pitchers can increase velocity. There is no evidence that either one works.

I will bet some of you too believe both long toss and strength training works. But how many of you have done the research as I have done?

These studies are like other laws of science like the law of gravity. If you think gravity only works 90% of the time... you are in trouble.

If you just read the results or the Implication of the study it pretty much says it all.

Implication: The direct application of this recommendation is that hard-throwing is the only stimulus for improving muscular function in baseball pitching. Training on resistance machines, or doing different forms of throwing as training and practice items will be irrelevant activities for improving pitching. Irrelevant training should not be expected to produce pitching improvements.

So if you want to improve velocity you must first develop good pitching mechanics and then practice throwing fastballs to improve your velocity.

Here is the study:

SPECIFICITY OF THE STRENGTH TRAINING RESPONSE McArdle, W. D., Katch, F. I., & Katch, V. L. (2004).
Exercise physiology (5th ed.).
Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

"An isometrically trained muscle shows greatest strength improvement when measured isometrically, whereas a dynamically trained muscle tests best when evaluated in resistance activities requiring the movement. Furthermore, isometric strength developed at or near one joint angle does not readily transfer to other angles or body positions that demand use of the same muscles.

In dynamic exercise, muscle trained through movement over a limited ROM [Range of Movement] show the greatest strength improvement when measured in that ROM.

Even a body-position specificity exists; muscular strength of ankle plantar and dorsiflexors developed in the standing position with concentric and eccentric muscle actions showed no transfer when evaluating the same muscles' strength in the supine position.

Resistance training specificity makes sense because strength improvement blends adaptations in two factors: (1) the muscle fiber itself and (2) the neural organization and excitability of motor units that power discrete patterns of voluntary movement.

Likewise, a muscle's maximal force output depends on neural factors that effectively recruit and synchronize firing of motor units, not just local factors such as muscle fiber type and cross-section area.

[Research] findings provide strong evidence that resistance training per se does not induce all-inclusive (general) adaptations in muscle structure and function. Rather, a muscle's contractile properties (maximal force, velocity of shortening, rate of tension development) improve in a manner highly specific in the muscle action used in training, strengthening muscles for a specific athletic or occupational activity, demands more than just identifying and overloading the muscles used in the movement.

It requires training specifically in the important movements that necessitate improved strength" (McArdle, Katch, & Katch, pp. 520-521).

Of particular relevance to specific training for baseball pitching, is the final conclusion of McArdle, Katch and Katch (2004):

"To improve a specific physical performance through resistance training, one must train the muscle(s) in movements that mimic the movement requiring force-capacity improvement, with specific consideration for force, velocity, and power requirements" (p. 521).

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Implication: The direct application of this recommendation is that hard-throwing is the only stimulus for improving muscular function in baseball pitching. Training on resistance machines, or doing different forms of throwing as training and practice items will be irrelevant activities for improving pitching. Irrelevant training should not be expected to produce pitching improvements.

Anyone can learn how to recognize the common mechanical faults that reduce velocity and increase the risk of injuries.


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     Yes. Mr. Mills destroyed his son's pitching arm.

     My sympathies go to those that trust Mr. Mills.

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0006.  Rotation

In Question #1974 you wrote:

"'Traditional' baseball pitchers start their powerful forward rotation of their body before their glove foot lands."

To me, this is a major departure from what you have said in the past.

I believe you used to say that pitchers can't rotate forward until the glove foot lands. To say that traditional pitchers can start "powerful" rotation before the glove foot lands is even more surprising.

What are pitchers using for leverage to start their rotation forward before their glove foot lands?

The only thing I can think of is glove foot float but that isn't powerful rotation.


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     When I wrote that 'traditional' baseball pitchers start their powerful forward rotation of their body before their glove foot lands, I did not mean that the forward rotation of their body was powerful, only that they started their forward body rotation before their glove foot lands.

     It is not possible for baseball pitchers with their glove foot off the ground to powerfully forwardly rotate their hips and shoulders forward. However, as you said, just before their glove foot lands, their pitching foot floats to the glove foot side. This is evidence that 'traditional' baseball pitchers start their forward rotation before their glove foot lands.

     If you have watched ballet, then you have seen these athletes hold one leg off the ground and by hopping on their grounded leg are able to spin around and around. That is, these athletes are able to powerfully forward rotate their body with only one leg on the ground.

     However, it is true that for baseball pitchers to powerfully forwardly rotate their hips and shoulders, they need the second contact of their glove foot with the ground.

     What I am trying to explain is where my baseball pitchers start their body rotation over their glove foot, 'traditional' baseball pitchers start their body rotation off their pitching foot.

     Because 'traditional' baseball pitchers rotate off their pitching foot, their body's rotational velocity causes their pitching upper arm to move behind their acromial line.

     However, because my baseball pitchers rotate over their glove foot, my baseball pitchers are able to keep their pitching upper arm in front of their acromial line.

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0007.  Rotation

I looked more closely at some film of traditional pitchers to see their forward rotation. What I see is that, to separate the forward rotation of their hips from their shoulders, they rotate their hips forward before the glove foot lands. It would seem to me that this doing this lessens the power that their hip rotation can supply.

1. Would you agree?

But this made me take another look at Jeff Sparks' hip rotation. On his Maxline pitches, because he steps to his glove side, his pitching hip starts its rotation on the shortstop side of second base. I judge this by drawing a line through his Acetabular Line when his glove foot lands.

On the other hand, when his glove foot lands on Torque pitches, Jeff's Acetabular Line points from home plate to second base. Therefore I have to wonder if you would get greater release velocity on Torque pitches. I further have to wonder if you would be better off placing the glove foot at a 45 degree angle on the mound on Maxline pitches. This might enable you to get the hips rotated back further.

2. In any event, all things being the same, will the hip position at foot strike on Torque pitches give you more velocity?

If that is true, I question the need to step as far as you recommend on Maxline pitches. It appears to me that the hip rotation ends at about the same point on both Maxline and Torque pitches at the release of the baseball. If anything, his hip looks further rotated at release on his Torque fastball, which is surprising.


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01. Yes.

     Before their glove foot lands, 'traditional' baseball pitchers rotate their hips (acetabular line) from well beyond second base to pointing toward second base.

     Then, after their glove foot lands, at release, 'traditional' baseball pitchers have only rotated their hips to forty-five degrees short of perpendicular to the driveline to home plate.

     This means that, after their glove foot lands, 'traditional' baseball pitchers only rotate their hips forty-five degrees.

02. I teach my baseball pitchers to start with their hips and shoulders (acromial line) pointed at second base. Then, after their glove foot lands, I tell them to rotate their hips to forty-five degrees in front of the perpendicular to the driveline to home plate. That is one hundred and thirty-five degrees, ninety degrees more.

     In Jeff's video, at release, Jeff had rotated his hips about thirty degrees in front of perpendicular to the driveline to home plate.

     While the extra forward rotation is great, the key to success is that my baseball pitchers delay the start of their explosive forward rotation until they have moved their body in front of their glove foot. This action enables my baseball pitchers to 'lock' their pitching upper arm with their shoulders. This prevent the pitching upper arm from lagging behind their acromial line.

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0008.  Brandon Webb to audition for teams later this month
CBS Sports.com
January 01, 2013

Brandon Webb is scheduled to pitch in front of a number of teams this week in hopes of mounting a comeback from the many shoulder issues that have plagued him the past few years, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Webb has not thrown a pitch in the majors since Opening Day of the 2009 season.

The former Cy Young winner was one of the best pitchers in baseball from 2005 to 2008. He threw more than 225 innings in each of those four seasons, never posting an ERA higher than 3.54. He won the Cy Young Award in 2006 and finished second in the voting in '07 and '08. But he left his 2009 Opening Day start for the Arizona Diamondbacks with a sore shoulder.

He has since undergone numerous surgeries, tried numerous comebacks and experienced numerous setbacks. He spent 2010 with the Diamondbacks, but failed to throw a pitch. He signed with the Texas Rangers for the 2011 season but, again, his shoulder did not cooperate. He did not sign with a major league team in 2012.

There is plenty of interest in Webb, as Heyman notes that "several" teams will be watching. Webb will be 34 in May and has not thrown a pitch in a major-league game in nearly four years.

If he can show even a glimmer of that electric sinkerball he once had, he will likely get an invitation to spring training.


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     The article said that Mr. Webb has undergone numerous surgeries.

     As I recall, because Dr. Meister did not find anything wrong, Mr. Webb's first surgery turned out to be a non-surgery.

     I am unaware of other surgeries.

     My diagnosis of Mr. Webb's problem was lengthening the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments, thereby Mr. Webb has an unstable pitching shoulder joint.

     The only cure is for Mr. Webb to learn how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle. When the Latissimus Dorsi muscle inwardly rotates the pitching upper arm, the pitching shoulder joint is maximally stable.

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0009.  Retooled rotation now Angels' biggest uncertainty
MLB.com
January 02, 2013

Heading into the last New Year, it was perceived to be the Angels' greatest strength. Now, starting pitching is mostly a concern; seemingly the only one on a team with continual championship aspirations.

The pricey, decorated trio of Zack Greinke, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana has been replaced by the reasonable, less-heralded trio of Jason Vargas, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton, pushing C.J. Wilson to the No. 2 spot in the rotation and turning up the pressure on ace Jered Weaver.

The additions of Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett, who should turn the much-maligned bullpen into a force, and the big-ticket signing of Josh Hamilton, who puts the lineup among the game's very best, meant Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto spent less on the area considered most crucial to overall success -- starting pitching.

Will he regret it?

Well, it depends on how you look at it. Here's one way: The new trio basically matched the production of the old trio in 2012 and will cost less than half in 2013.

Hanson, Blanton and Vargas combined to post a 4.32 ERA in 583 innings for their respective teams last season and shouldn't make much more than $18 million combined this season. Greinke, Haren and Santana posted a 4.27 ERA in 567 innings last year and will make $37.45 million this year.

Those numbers, however, could be deceiving. Because while Haren (4.33 ERA) and Santana (5.16) were roughed up in 2012, few would be surprised if they returned to form in 2013; their track record suggests they should. And with Greinke gone, the top of the Angels' rotation no longer looks so menacing.

That's why Wilson, who began last season in the No. 4 spot of the staff, is so important.

Is he good enough to be a No. 2 starter on a playoff team? No question. The 32-year-old lefty slotted behind Cliff Lee in 2010, then was the de facto ace when the Rangers made a return trip to the World Series the following year, en route to landing a five-year, $77.5 million contract from the Angels last offseason.

The uneasiness comes mostly from last year's sluggish second half, which saw Wilson post a 5.54 ERA. But he blames that almost entirely on bone spurs, which he began nursing in his pitching elbow shortly after the All-Star break and cleaned up with a minor procedure early this offseason.

He will tell you that's the reason he's bouncing back.

"You look at what I did the first half [2.43 ERA], that's what happens when I feel good," Wilson said. "The second half is what happens when I don't feel good. So, that's pretty much it."

The biggest mystery among the new starters is Hanson, the 26-year-old right-hander who looked like one of baseball's brightest young arms from 2009-11 -- a span that saw him post a 3.28 ERA for the Braves -- but fell off considerably this past season.

Hanson missed the last two months of 2011 with shoulder and back pain, admitted to being tired in the second half of 2012 and finished the season with a 4.48 ERA while giving up 27 homers, 10 more than his previous career high. In the process, his average fastball velocity continued to drop, from 92.7 mph in 2010 to 89.6 in 2012.

But Hanson, acquired in exchange for reliever Jordan Walden on Nov. 30, says this offseason is "100 percent" different from last year, and he expects that to translate into a bounce-back 2013 campaign.

"Last offseason, I was trying to make sure I could go out and pitch every five days; I was worried about staying healthy and being able to pitch," he said. "This offseason, I'm moving forward. I'm trying to get stronger, I'm trying to build my strength and endurance instead of just trying to be healthy. So, it's a totally different offseason, and I already feel a lot better, a lot stronger."

Blanton's strikeout-to-walk ratio has improved each of the last three years, reaching a career-high 4.88 mark in 2012, and he'll benefit from pitching in a more spacious park than the one he was accustomed to in Philadelphia.

But he is who he is -- a steady, reliable innings-eater who also doesn't miss many barrels. From 2005-12, Blanton averaged a 4.37 ERA, 21 homers and 178 innings while making at least 28 starts in seven of those eight years.

He is an innings-eater in the truest sense of the term -- and that designation doesn't particularly bother the 32-year-old righty.

"I'm fine with that," said Blanton, who agreed to a two-year, $15 million deal on Dec. 5. "I don't feel like you throw 180, 190, 200 innings without being able to go deep into games."

Vargas, a free-agent-to-be who was acquired for designated hitter Kendrys Morales on Dec. 19, has averaged a 3.96 ERA and 204 innings the last three years in Seattle. He gave up 35 homers last season -- trailing only Santana for the Major League lead -- and posted a 4.78 ERA in 19 starts away from spacious Safeco Field in 2012, which was otherwise a career year. But then there's that 2.27 ERA Vargas sports in seven career games (six starts) at Angel Stadium.

And that leads to an important, overlooked point about this new group: All three of them are fly-ball pitchers stepping into a very favorable situation. Half the time, they'll be pitching in a stadium that ranked 25th in the Majors in home runs allowed last season. And for pretty much all year, they'll have one of baseball's best defensive outfields -- Hamilton, Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos -- behind them.

"I've had to play against them," Vargas said, "so I know the things those guys are capable of doing and the disappointment they're capable of making for the other team."


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01. After removing bone spurs, Mr. Wilson moves from fourth starter to second starter. After Mr. Wilson learns how to pronate the release of his breaking pitch, Mr. Wilson has to outpitch baseball pitchers that were second starters last year.

02. Mr. Hanson has lost 3.1 mph (92.7 to 89.6). To regain that velocity, rather than training for health, Mr. Hanson is training for strength. In today's baseball, resting is training for health. Training for strength is old school.

03. With his 4.37 ERA and 21 home runs in 178 innings, Mr. Blanton eats innings. Because, in thirty-three starts, to pitch 180 innings, Mr. Blanton must average over five innings per game. Mr. Blanton is proud that in those over five innings, Mr. Blanton only give up over two runs.

04. Mr. Vagas hopes that he can continue his 2.27 ERA in seven games in Anaheim. Even if he does, Mr. Vargas has to pitch the same number of games away from Anaheim. Sounds like another under .500 win-loss season.

     The good news is that these pitchers cost about half as last year's pitchers.

     However, with that saved money, the Angels bought Mr. Hamilton.

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0010.  Brett Meyers will get chance to start with Indians after agreeing to 1-year, $7 million deal
Cleveland Plain Dealer
January 02, 2013

CLEVELAND, OH: The Indians have reached agreement with veteran right-hander Brett Myers on a one-year $7 million deal with a club option for 2014 pending a physical.

Myers, according to a league source, has a good chance of winning a job in the  Indians' suspect rotation. That rotation includes Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Zach McAllister, Trevor Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, Corey Kluber, Jeanmar Gomez and David Huff. Carrasco is coming off Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and Kluber is recovering from knee surgery.

Veteran lefty Scott Kazmir will also be in camp on a minor league deal.

The Tribe's rotation was a horrid last season, posting the second highest ERA in the American League at 5.25 ERA. Masterson and Jimenez, the top two starters, lost a combined 32 games.

Last season Myers made 70 relief appearances, 35 each for Houston and the White Sox. He has not taken a regular turn in the rotation since going 7-14 in 33 starts for Houston in 2011. He threw 216 innings that season.

The 6-4, 240-pound Myers went 3-8 with a 3.31 ERA and 19 saves in 21 chances last season. All the saves came with the Astros.

Myers, 32, has spent most of his career as a starter, although he has closed at times. He went 21-for-24 in save opportunities in for the Phillies in 2007. Out of 377 career appearances, 249 have been starts.

In June of the 2006 season, while pitching for Philadelphia, Myers was arrested in Boston for striking his wife, Kim, in the face the night before he was supposed to face the Red Sox in an interleague game.

Myers is 97-93 with 40 saves and a 4.20 ERA in his career. He made $11 million last year.


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     In 2006, before a game in Boston, MA, 6' 04" 240 lb. 26 years old Brett Myers struck his wife in the face.

     On January 02, 2013, Mr. Myers signed a one-year $7 million deal.

     I wish his 2006 wife well.

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0011.  Should the Dodgers just hoard their pitching?
ESPNLos Angeles.com
January 02, 2013

The Dodgers signed 32-year-old minor-league journeyman Dallas McPherson. I can still see him at his locker stall in Tempe, the baby-faced 24-year-old with the massive, upper-cut swing (and the back problems accompanying it), who was all but guaranteed the Angels' starting third base job when Troy Glaus departed.

He's a good reminder that nothing is guaranteed in baseball, aside from the beery, sticky coating on fans' shoes as they file out after a game.

The top question/issue/priority for this team going into spring training hasn't changed: sorting out the back end of the rotation. Who makes the cut, who gets traded, who gets shuffled off to the bullpen for safekeeping, etc.?

Let's assume Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly hold up all spring training and the Dodgers have this look as opening week rolls around: Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Billingsley, Josh Beckett and Hyun-jin Ryu. That is both very exciting (ESPN's Buster Olney ranks it the third-best rotation in baseball) and very issue-raising. Let's assume Lilly could prove useful as another lefty in the bullpen as a long man/spot starter.

That leaves Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang as entirely expendable and otherwise largely useless. Why? Because as veterans without options, they can't be stashed in Triple-A. Neither figures to be either happy or particularly productive as a reliever.

So, at some point we'll probably see the Dodgers trade one or more of their starting pitchers, but you can make a good argument for keeping them all through at least mid-March. Why not get a sense of who you're going to have before you do something about who you don't need?

It's tempting to use a starter as a chip to acquire another useful piece -- say a veteran backup catcher or effective lefty reliever, maybe a right-handed outfielder -- but the Dodgers are looking at different math than you and I are. Guess how many teams got through 2012 using just five starters? Try none.

The Cincinnati Reds came close, but Todd Redmond made his major-league debut in August and they wound up using six, becoming the only team in the majors that used that few. The Dodgers don't have to look far to see how injuries can ravage a team's pitching plans. Two teams in the NL West led the majors in starters used. The San Diego Padres churned through 15 starters and the Colorado Rockies went through 14.

The Dodgers used nine, not bad considering they traded for two of those starters and saw injuries take three of their guys out for various lengths of time.

After Cincinnati, in fact, only two teams used just seven starters: the San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners. Twenty-one teams -- 70 percent of the league -- used more starters than the eight the Dodgers currently have on their major league depth chart. So, maybe they need more?

Absurd? Probably, but they've also recently been linked to Kyle Lohse.


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     Until professional baseball understands the causes of pitching injuries and how to prevent them and how to train their baseball pitchers to remain strong through entire seasons and teach their baseball pitchers how to throw the wide variety of pitches that they need to succeed against the four types of baseball batters, major league teams will continue to average starting ten different pitchers every season.

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0012.  Padres confident in options for starting rotation
MLB.com
January 02, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA: There's a chance the Padres won't add another starting pitcher before the start of Spring Training.

San Diego general manager Josh Byrnes indicated Wednesday that the team won't simply add another pitcher for the sake of doing so or even for the sake of adding depth to the current rotation candidates.

"It would probably be more of [getting] an upgrade than just adding depth," Byrnes said. "We feel we have seven or eight guys who could start a game in April. I think we're covered."

Byrnes said the team has remained engaged in talks with other teams about starting pitching and that adding another arm with a free-agent signing seems remote at best.

The team continues to receive interest in corner infielders -- no, not third baseman Chase Headley; he isn't going anywhere -- and some of its relievers.

The Padres have some excess with first baseman Kyle Blanks and third baseman James Darnell, both of whom would open the season with Triple-A Tucson unless they win bench jobs on the big league roster.

"There are ideas we've worked on in a slow and steady way," Byrnes said. "But nothing is imminent."

The Padres signed Jason Marquis to a one-year deal last month, adding him to a mix of candidates for the rotation that also includes Clayton Richard, Edinson Volquez, Anthony Bass, Tyson Ross, Eric Stults, Casey Kelly and Robbie Erlin.

Byrnes continues to say good things about Ross, whom the team acquired in November from the A's in a four-player deal. Ross, a right-hander, won't turn 26 until April and still appears to have a very high ceiling, though he's struggled in his first 53 Major League games (5.33 ERA).

Then there's the possibility that starting pitchers Cory Luebke, Joe Wieland and Andrew Cashner will join the team at some point near midseason, giving the Padres additional rotation options. Luebke and Wieland are coming off Tommy John surgery a year ago and Cashner suffered a lacerated tendon in his right thumb last month.

With those three already set to start the season on the disabled list, Byrnes reiterated that the team won't take a chance on a health risk, meaning that free agent Shaun Marcum -- who was limited to 124 innings last season due to right elbow tightness -- isn't an option.

Pitchers and catchers report to the team's Spring Training facility in Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 12. Position players report on Feb. 15 with the first full-squad workout set for the following day.


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     San Diego general manager, Josh Byrnes, said: "We feel we have seven or eight guys who could start a game in April. I think we're covered."

     Clearly, because, in the entire 2012 season , the Padres started fifteen different baseball pitchers, Mr. Byrnes means that the Padres will use seven of eight baseball pitchers to start the April games.

     I wonder how many more the Padres will need to pitch the May games.

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0013.  A's encouraged by Colon's winter ball stint
MLB.com
January 03, 2013

Though Bartolo Colon's winter ball stats equate to a small sample size, the A's are convinced that the veteran right-hander has maintained the form that helped him win 10 games for them last year.

Playing for Aguilas Cibaenas, four months after he was handed a 50-game suspension by Major League Baseball for testing positive for an excessive level of testosterone, Colon tallied 13 2/3 innings over four starts. He held opponents scoreless in two starts, while surrendering a combined eight (seven earned) in the other two.

Like vintage Colon, he struck out 13 and allowed just one walk, and A's assistant general manager David Forst said Colon "looked good in all four of his starts, based on reports."

Colon received a one-year, $3 million contract from the A's on Nov. 3, though he still has five games remaining on his suspension. While his new deal includes plenty of incentives for starts and innings, he also can earn bonuses for relief appearances. But Colon is expected to break camp in the rotation and will be welcomed back with open arms.

"He's gone through his penalty," manager Bob Melvin said recently. "It's one thing if it's a guy who might be a little bit of a bad guy, but he is a true gentleman, a great guy who just made a mistake. He'll be embraced back here again. He was very important for us. Guys like that can kind of get lost in the shuffle when they're not here and you get to the postseason, but he was a key guy for us, he really was."

The former American League Cy Young Award winner went 10-9 with a 3.43 ERA in 24 starts for Oakland in 2012, his 15th season in the Majors, while providing veteran leadership to an otherwise youthful staff. He'll join Brett Anderson, Jarrod Parker, Tommy Milone, A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily in the rotation mix, one of baseball's best.

"I got very close to him, and we had a nice conversation and he was very remorseful when [his suspension] went down," Melvin said. "I think in the back of his mind he was hoping this situation would arise for him again, and it did."


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     That Mr. Colon would allow someone to inject blood products into him to help him recover from a pitching injury, it should come as no surprise that he would allow someone to inject testosterone into him.

     But, it does not seem fair that, as men age, their testosterone level decreases and the rules prevent them treatment. Do the rules prevent augmenting the thyroid hormone? Augmenting the thyroid hormone also increases testosterone.

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0014.  Rangers add experienced righty Frasor to bullpen
MLB.com
January 03, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX: Looking for a chance to pitch for a playoff team, right-handed reliever Jason Frasor has agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Rangers.

"He's a proven veteran who brings a competitive presence to our bullpen," Rangers pro scouting director Josh Boyd said Thursday.

Frasor, 35, has spent almost his entire nine-year career with the Blue Jays, and he was 1-1 with a 4.12 ERA in 50 relief appearances for them in 2012. He averaged 10.9 strikeouts, 4.5 walks and 8.7 hits per nine innings.

"From what I understand, there were something like 70 free-agent relief pitchers out there," Frasor said. "You take away the left-handers and the closers and you've got to think there were 40 guys like me. When it appeared the door to Toronto was closed, I just wanted to go to a winner. I was in Toronto for nine years and didn't even smell a playoff race. I'm 35 years old, I feel great, but my window is closing a little bit. I just wanted the chance to be on a great team. I'm thrilled with this opportunity."

Frasor missed six weeks beginning on July 16 with inflammation in his right forearm, marking the first time in his career that he was on the disabled list. He returned in September and had a 4.70 ERA in his final eight appearances while opponents hit .313 off him.

Frasor underwent a physical for the Rangers on Wednesday, and everything checked out fine.

"Perfect, absolutely perfect," Frasor said when asked where he stands physically. "I had a physical yesterday and they took a million pictures -- photos and MRIs. I saw the doctor afterward and he said everything looked great. That goes along with how I feel."

Frasor uses mostly a fastball/changeup combination with an occasional slider. He relies mainly on being aggressive in the strike zone and throwing his fastball in the right spots. His fastball is normally clocked at 92-94 mph.

"If I drink an extra Red Bull, I might throw 95," Frasor said. "I locate my fastball. My second best pitch is my changeup. I'm not a big breaking ball guy. I can go weeks at a time without throwing my breaking ball. I'm pretty aggressive in the zone and like to go after guys. If you can locate your fastball, things should be fine."

During his career, he is 0-4 with a 9.19 ERA in 17 appearances at the Ballpark in Arlington.

"Me and my buddies in the bullpen never liked coming to Texas," Frasor said. "You're facing a team and facing a lineup that just scored a lot of runs. It just seemed like the Toronto Blue Jays were always getting their brains beat out in Texas. It was more the hitters than the stadium. I had good days and bad days, mainly because of the hitters. I'm glad I'm on that side."

Frasor joins a bullpen headed by closer Joe Nathan, and he's the second Texas reliever signed to a Major League contract this winter. The Rangers signed Joakim Soria to a two-year contract, but he missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and is not expected to be ready until sometime in May at the earliest.

The Rangers also acquired reliever Josh Lindblom from the Phillies as one of two players for infielder Michael Young. Lindblom and Frasor right now are the two leading candidates to be Texas' right-handed setup relievers at the beginning of the season. Tanner Scheppers, who was 1-1 with a 4.45 ERA in 39 games as a rookie in 2012, is also high on the list.

Michael Kirkman and Robbie Ross are the most experienced left-handed relievers on the 40-man roster. Ross, who was 6-0 with a 2.22 ERA in 58 games in 2012, could be given a chance to switch to the rotation, but it will most likely depend on if the Rangers add more left-handed depth.

They traded for left-hander Tommy Hottovy from the Royals and right-hander Cory Burns from the Padres, signed right-handers Collin Balester and Evan Meek, and left-hander Neal Cotts to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. They also took right-hander Coty Woods from the Rockies in the Rule 5 Draft. All but Woods have pitched in the Major Leagues, and Meek was an All-Star with the Pirates in 2010 before coming down with shoulder problems.


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     The article said: "Frasor, 35, has spent almost his entire nine-year career with the Blue Jays, and he was 1-1 with a 4.12 ERA in 50 relief appearances for them in 2012. He averaged 10.9 strikeouts, 4.5 walks and 8.7 hits per nine innings."

     I love the 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings. I don't mind the 4.5 walks per nine innings. However, the 8.7 hits per nine innings bothers me. Depending on the number of extra base hits per nine innings, I prefer less than 7 hits per nine innings.

     When I see high strikeout and high hits, I see baseball pitchers that give into the count. Mr. Fraser would do better to walk more batters per nine innings and give up fewer hits and extra base hits. This means that Mr. Fraser needs to challenge himself, not the batters.

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0015.  O's camp to feature plenty of pitching battles
MLB.com
January 03, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD: The Orioles have been very quiet this winter, with the re-signing of outfielder Nate McLouth to a one-year deal the club's biggest move so far of the Hot Stove season.

And while executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette is still actively looking for ways to upgrade the offense and help stabilize a lineup in need of a middle-of-the-order bat -- and without the power services of the departed Mark Reynolds -- the O's pitching has improved from a year ago.

Duquette's main agenda last winter was to stockpile pitching, and the Orioles, still in lieu of a true ace, have strength in numbers and a pair of talented young prospects in Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman that could reach Baltimore by midseason.

With the calendar flip putting Spring Training just over a month away, one of the more interesting battles in Sarasota, Fla., will be how the Orioles fill out their rotation and keep together a bullpen responsible for a lot of the success in 2012. While Baltimore remains interested in bringing back free agent Joe Saunders -- who was acquired in an in-season trade with Arizona -- and could potentially sign another reliever or two, there's plenty of competition already on the roster.

Nineteen of the 39 players on the Orioles' current 40-man roster are pitchers, and 13 of them can be considered starters. That group can be pared down to nine considering left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada -- coming off Tommy John surgery -- won't be a full-go in camp and Bundy and Gausman, along with prospect Zach Clark, are long shots to make the Opening Day roster. So, who will be part of the starting five come April 2?

Assuming there are no major injuries, Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen are locks for rotation spots, with Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman -- both of whom excelled in Baltimore last season -- also getting long looks. Gonzalez, who was in Minor League camp last spring, is coming off a fabulous rookie season in which he pitched to a 3.25 ERA in 18 games (15 starts), while the 24-year-old Tillman flourished after his July promotion and posted a 2.93 ERA in 15 games.

Should both Gonzalez and Tillman excel in camp and secure spots -- manager Buck Showalter is a big fan of competition and will probably shy away from publicly handing out jobs early in the spring -- things will get interesting for the fifth-starter race.

Last year's Opening Day starter Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton will look to bounce back from uneven seasons, while Tommy Hunter and Brian Matusz -- who both thrived after being moved to the bullpen -- will also show up to camp stretched out to start. Steve Johnson is coming off a fine rookie season, and Duquette didn't rule out Rule 5 Draft pick T.J. McFarland as a potential rotation candidate when the club selected him at the Winter Meetings.

All six of those pitchers could be moved full-time to the bullpen, although given the state of the Orioles' relief corps -- which is nearly intact from last season -- there isn't exactly a wealth of open spots. Closer Jim Johnson heads a group that includes Darren O'Day, Luis Ayala, Troy Patton and Pedro Strop, and Duquette could add another Major League arm or two in the next month, with Matusz and Hunter getting the edge among the current group of potential options.

Matusz pitched to a 1.35 ERA in 18 regular-season games, while Hunter lowered his ERA by two runs (5.71 compared to 3.71) out of the bullpen. The organization is also high on prospect Mike Belfiore, added to the 40-man roster this winter, who is coming off a successful season and was named to the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars team.

Part of the reason the Orioles have been hesitant to go out and lure a big-name, big-contract pitcher to Baltimore is that the organization remains hopeful Bundy and/or Gausman -- two of the best prospects in baseball -- can grow into that role, although it's certainly not out of the question that either come up in the bullpen first.

Bundy made his Major League debut as a reliever, and Gausman, a college righty who is older and considered more polished, could join Patton in a 'pen that could be low on lefties -- depending on where Matusz ends up.

There is also the possibility that Duquette, who acquired Hammel and Chen late last winter, has a few moves left up his sleeve. The club has been active in trade talks, and while the emphasis is clearly on acquiring some offense, it wouldn't be out of the question for the Orioles to add pitching, particularly if they have to trade away some of their young arms to bring back a bat.


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     The article said: "Bundy made his Major League debut as a reliever."

     That is how future major league starters should develop.

     Quality rookie major league pitchers need to pitch once through the line-up in every home and road series. They need to watch how the starters pitch three times through the line-up. Then in successive appearances against teams, these budding starters should use different pitch sequences for the second and third times they pitch to each team's line-up.

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0016.  Reds investigating multiyear deals with Latos, Bailey
MLB.com
January 03, 2013

CINCINNATI, OH: The holidays are now over, so 'tis really the season for younger arbitration-eligible Major League players to add some zeros to their paychecks.

The Reds are starting to focus their attention toward signing their remaining arbitration-eligible players -- pitchers Homer Bailey, Mat Latos, Mike Leake, Logan Ondrusek and Alfredo Simon and outfielders Chris Heisey and Shin-Soo Choo -- before ever getting close to a hearing.

"We've talked to a couple of them," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "Nothing has gotten really serious yet. With it having been Christmas, and a couple of guys were on vacations, we didn't expect to get going until after the holidays."

Like ace Johnny Cueto, who was signed to a four-year, $27 million deal before the 2011 season, the Reds wouldn't mind locking up the power arms of Latos and Bailey with multiyear contracts.

"We've discussed that," Jocketty said. "We're taking a look to see if it works. If not, we'll go year to year. We'd prefer something long term eventually."

The 25-year-old Latos was 14-4 with a 3.48 ERA over his career-high 33 starts that also tied for the National League lead. His 209 1/3 innings were also a career high, and he threw two complete games.

Latos, who earned $550,000 in 2012 and is represented by the Bledsoe Brothers agency, is eligible for arbitration for the first time. He was the Reds' biggest acquisition of the previous winter, when he came over in a trade with the Padres for Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger.

This will be Bailey's second experience with the arbitration process after he avoided the hearing last year by signing a one-year, $2.4 million contract.

Bailey, 26, was 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA and also made 33 starts in 2012. After a checkered beginning to his big league career, he established highs last season in wins, innings (208), starts, strikeouts (168) and quality starts (21) and led the NL with a 2.32 road ERA.

On Sept. 28, Bailey made history by throwing the first no-hitter of his career against the Pirates. He is represented by the Hendricks Brothers.

The deadline for clubs and arbitration-eligible players to exchange figures is Jan. 18, and the period for hearings is slated from Feb. 4-20. The Reds have not been pitted in a hearing against a player since winning a case over reliever Chris Reitsma in 2004.


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     The article said: "Like ace Johnny Cueto, who was signed to a four-year, $27 million deal before the 2011 season, the Reds wouldn't mind locking up the power arms of Latos and Bailey with multiyear contracts."

     Red general manager, Walt Jocketty, said:

01. "We've discussed that (avoiding salary arbitration)."
02. "We're taking a look to see if it works."
03. "If not, we'll go year to year."
04. "We'd prefer something long term eventually."

     Didn't Mr. Cueto injure himself just before the playoffs last season? If Mr. Cueto is unable to return to his previous performance level, the Reds have to pay Mr. Cueto for three years of lower quality pitching or not pitching.

     I would pay players based on their previous season one year at a time. I would never sign free agents. Instead, I would teach and train baseball pitchers how to become the best that they can be and pitch the top three twice a week.

     If these guys want to do the work and have the opportunity to become historic, then, without a long term contract, they will return every year.

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0017.  Exclusive 300-win club figures to stay that way
MLB.com
January )4, 2013

Cy Young can get comfortable. The Hall of Fame hurler is the lone pitcher in the 500-win guild, the most exclusive club in the annals of America's pastime, and he won't have company anytime soon, if ever.

Young and Walter Johnson are the only pitchers to compile more than 400 wins, another number that seems out of reach for today's tossers.

Even 300 wins -- the modern standard of excellence, the landmark upon which a pitcher can safely book a future flight to Cooperstown -- seems like a tall order for the current crop of hurlers, who have been conditioned to harness their talent across fewer innings and on fewer occasions. To arrive at the monumental digit requires a lengthy career devoid of enduring injuries and defined by consistency, fortune and supremacy.

Perhaps what makes the club so prestigious is its elusiveness and the uncertainty surrounding its future participation. There are 24 pitchers in the 300-win brigade, and that total might hold steady for some time. Of active pitchers, only 40-year-old Andy Pettitte (245) has more than 200 career wins. Of all hurlers who have yet to celebrate their 30th birthday, Justin Verlander paces the pack with 124 career wins.

It could be years before another pitcher reaches the milestone and gains entry into the pantheon of pitching elite.

"I think it's a bit of an endangered species, because of the five-man rotation and pitchers pitching fewer innings," said Paul Hirsch, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research board of directors. "We could argue there was a five-man rotation in the [Tom] Glavine and [Greg] Maddux era, and they won 300 games, but they were pitching deeper into games."

Long behind us are the days of Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn, who needed only 11 seasons to secure his 309 victories. He tallied 48 wins during the 1883 campaign and logged 59 wins while tossing 678 2/3 innings during the '84 season.

Randy Johnson is the most recent pitcher to punch his ticket to the 300 club, which he did in June 2009. Glavine reached the plateau in 2007, three years after Maddux did. In 2003, Roger Clemens nabbed win No. 300 on his fourth attempt. Prior to The Rocket's feat, however, there was a 13-year drought. We have also endured gaps of 17, 19 and 20 years between 300-game winners during the sport's history.

"If you go back and look at it," said Gary Gillette, editor of the "Emerald Guide to Baseball" book, "every time there's a 300-game winner, there are a lot of people saying, 'We'll never see another one.'"

At first glance, CC Sabathia would appear to have the best chance of any active pitcher. The burly southpaw, 32, stands at 191 victories, with 11 or more in each of his 12 big league seasons.

"He has the best chance," Gillette said. "I like Sabathia a lot. He has the physical stature. He's relatively young. He has experience and stuff. He plays for a team that's pretty good. He's closest and has the longest track record."

The shelf life of a starting pitcher, however, is inherently fragile. Dizzy Dean seemed destined for access to the 300 club after completing the 1936 season with 121 career triumphs. He had rolled off consecutive seasons of 20, 30, 28 and 24 wins, but injuries promptly derailed his career and he finished with 150.

Denny McLain compiled seasons of 31 and 24 wins in 1968 and '69, pushing his career total to 114 at the age of 25. Then, arm trouble and off-the-field issues stunted his win total, and he closed his career at the age of 28 with 131 victories.

"An awful lot of it is luck," Hirsch said. "Johan Santana would've looked like a very good bet five years ago. Obviously, he's pretty much run out of chances, and it's been because of injury."

Brandon Webb tallied 40 wins in 2007-08, but he hasn't pitched in the big leagues since he made one appearance in 2009, leaving the 33-year-old sinkerballer with what was a quickly-accumulated 87 victories. Bartolo Colon rolled off eight straight seasons with at least 14 wins, and he used a 21-win 2005 campaign to capture the American League Cy Young Award and propel his career win total to 139. In the seven years since, however, he has racked up just 32 wins, a fall from grace triggered by an ailing shoulder.

An injury-plagued 2012 campaign (11-8, 4.49 ERA) diminished Roy Halladay's chances for 300 wins. The 35-year-old sits 101 victories from the milestone.

"I think Halladay is a real long shot at this point," Gillette said. "Two years ago, you would've thought he had a decent chance."

Clearly, a clean bill of health provides a pitcher the most significant advantage. Jake Peavy racked up 80 wins before his 27th birthday, but injuries and inconsistency have plagued him since, and he sits at 120 wins four months before he blows out 32 candles on his cake.

Playing for a winner doesn't hurt. Mike Mussina, who hung up his cleats four years ago following a 20-win campaign just 30 wins shy of 300, won at least 11 games each year from 1992-2008. His team finished with a winning record in 13 of those 17 seasons. Meanwhile, Felix Hernandez has finished among the top four in voting for the AL Cy Young Award three times -- winning in 2010 -- despite just one season with more than 14 victories. In his seven full seasons, the Mariners have averaged fewer than 74 wins per year.

In pursuit of 300, a fast start can be beneficial. Even with a constant lack of run support in Seattle, Hernandez has piled up 98 wins before his 27th birthday because he burst onto the scene at 19. R.A. Dickey's 20-win season in 2012 boosted his career total, but to reach 300, the 38-year-old would need to replicate that output each season until he earns his AARP card at age 50.

Though it's more difficult to project long-term consistency, Verlander and Clayton Kershaw would appear to have a shot at 300. Verlander has racked up 124 victories in his seven full seasons.

"I like Verlander's chances a lot," Gillette said. "He's smart, he has stuff, he has experience, he's young and he plays for a good club."

Kershaw has notched 61 wins before his 25th birthday.

"Kershaw, you would think, would have something of a chance, because he hasn't had arm trouble," Hirsch said, "and it looks like he's going to play the bulk of his career for a team that's willing to spend money."

Of course, Sabathia remains the favorite if he can maintain his long-standing record of health. He has made at least 28 starts in each of his 12 seasons, but had surgery to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow in late October.

"I really believe that he's going to be fine," manager Joe Girardi said. "Will you see him in tip-top form the first day of Spring Training? Maybe not, but that's not uncommon, either. I really believe he's going to be OK."

Sabathia would seem to stand at least six or seven years away from No. 300, should everything proceed according to plan. But plenty can happen in six or seven years.

"If I had a dollar for every time in my life I heard someone say, 'This is never going to be done again,' or 'No player is ever going to hit this total or break this record,' I'd be very, very rich," Gillette said.

"The thing about baseball is, generally, I think you should never say never."

Here is a look at where certain active pitchers stand in their quest for 300 wins:

01. Halladay: Wins: 199 Age: 36 in May: Win totals past five years: 20, 17, 21, 19, 11: Target: About 17 wins per season for six years

02. Tim Hudson: Wins: 197 Age: 38 in July: Win totals past five years: 11, 2, 17, 16, 16 ; Target: About 17 wins per season for six years

03. Sabathia: Wins: 191 Age: 33 in July: Win totals past five years: 17, 19, 21, 19, 15: Target: About 16 wins per season for seven years

04. Mark Buehrle: Wins: 174 Age: 34 in March: Win totals past five years: 15, 13, 13, 13, 13: Target: About 16 wins per season for eight years

05. Verlander: Wins: 124 Age: 30 in February: Win totals past five years: 11, 19, 18, 24, 17: Target: About 18 wins per season for 10 years

06. Hernandez: Wins: 98 Age: 27 in February: Win totals past five years: 9, 19, 13, 14, 13: Target: About 17 wins per season for 12 years


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     At 33 appearances per year, baseball pitchers have to win 20 games per year for fifteen years or win 15 games per year for twenty years.

     With my plan, three baseball pitchers would start two games per week from the second week in April to the end of September. That is a minimim of twenty-five weeks or 50 starts. With 17 more starts per season, my top three guys should easily win 300 games.

     If I had it to do over, then that is exactly what I would have liked to try. Three times through the line-up fifty times per year.

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0018.  Partnership puts Rockies at forefront of training science
MLB.com
January 03, 2013

DENVER, CO: When the Rockies arrive in Scottsdale, Ariz., for Spring Training, they'll see what look like several doormats in their spacious and modern exercise room.

Well, they're much more. They're state-of-the-art tools that the Rockies hope will help them rise from the floor of the National League West and into playoff contention in 2013.

On Tuesday, the club and Sparta Performance Science, a Silicon Valley sports performance company, announced an agreement that will make the Rockies the first professional sports team to install force-plate technology and propriety software as part of the strength-and-conditioning equipment. The new equipment might not look like a big deal, but it will provide a startling amount of data that the Rockies believe could hold a key to helping the club figure out how to improve performance and prevent injury.

"It's kind of a thin platform, basically a little wider than the width of our bodies -- kind of like a doormat, almost as thick, but a lot more expensive and a lot better design," said Rockies strength-and-conditioning coach Brian Jordan, heading into his fifth season in his current post and 15th in the organization.

A player will jump from the force plates. It seems simple enough. But beneath the player's feet, a giant leap will be taking place.

The technology and software -- using Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction" -- will produce "movement signatures" within minutes.

Those "movement signatures" can be used to detect weaknesses that could be addressed during that day's workout, or they could reveal nutritional needs and even point the athlete toward changes in sleep patterns that can make him more efficient.

"Instead of subjective data that we've relied on for so long, and which will still be part of the equation, it gives us some authenticated data on our players, and we use that data plus information collected from other athletes," Jordan said. "It paints us a picture of certain things they can work and help us lock onto the best program for keeping guys healthy and their performance at the highest level."

Individual athletes have been taking advantage of Sparta technology for years. The company was founded by Dr. Phil Wagner, a University of Southern California training physician who has worked with world-class athletes worldwide. The company's website lists athletes in many sports. Phillies standout Chase Utley is the most notable baseball player listed. Former Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs, who has signed to play with the Seibu Lions in Japan, also is listed.

"We are excited for this opportunity to bring a system for players to take accountability for their own physical development and see the subsequent effects on the game of baseball," Wagner said in the press release. "With this first step, the Rockies and Sparta can begin to set a new standard for efficiency and player development."

The sport-specific experience was crucial to the Rockies' decision to enter the partnership.

As the Rockies struggled through injuries last season, club officials theorized on occasions that atmospheric conditions connected to Denver's altitude, which is significantly greater than any other Major League city, might contribute to injury risk.

Some of the injuries were difficult to explain, such as pitcher Jhoulys Chacin's nerve issue in his chest, third baseman Chris Nelson's irregular heartbeat and infielder Jonathan Herrera's missed time because of an infection from his wrist watch.

Some crippling injuries were clearly of the structural variety. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who has a history of leg muscle issues, was limited to 47 games because of scar tissue in his left groin -- a condition that required surgery. Veteran first baseman Todd Helton's season was shortened by a torn labrum in his right hip. Outfielders Michael Cuddyer and Eric Young Jr. saw their seasons end early with oblique injuries.

But with the team careening toward its worst record in 20 seasons (64-98), the club's assertion that altitude was an issue were met by fans and media with skepticism, eye-rolling and accusations of excuse-making.

The mantra of the Rockies, who kept the front office intact but brought in former infielder Walt Weiss as manager and made significant coaching staff changes, is to make the home field an advantage.

"We are excited to begin a long-term relationship with an organization that mirrors our cultural values and desires to be the best organization in its industry," Rockies general manager and chief baseball officer Dan O'Dowd said in the club's press release. "This technology will be a tremendous asset in our efforts to further advance our performance development with all our programs and players."

Part of that, Jordan said, is collecting better data on players so that there is less guesswork.

After the initial testing during Spring Training, the Rockies will assess how often testing should occur, whether the Sparta equipment will be brought to Coors Field for regular use and whether the Rockies will send the equipment available to their Minor League affiliates when their seasons begin are all to be determined.

Pitching arm injuries have been a bane of the club's existence over 20 seasons. A system that uses the force of a player leaping won't measure weaknesses in the vulnerable small muscles of the arm or the soft tissue in the shoulder area, but could expose an overall body weakness that could make a pitcher's movements less efficient, Jordan said.

"It's not going to define who can throw 98 mph and who can hit .300, but it gives us an idea of what we can work on and what's possible," Jordan said. "We're ready to get after it and leave no stone unturned in the effort to improve our players. I'm sure we'll look at things that will work and things that won't work, but everything we do will be in the effort to get better."


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     Wow. The Rockies will be the first major league team to measure how much force their players exert downward when they jump upward.

     To vertically jump high, heavy guys have to apply more downward force than lighter guys.

     If only jumping higher will jump the Rockies higher the National League West standings.

     The articles said: "As the Rockies struggled through injuries last season, club officials theorized on occasions that atmospheric conditions connected to Denver's altitude, which is significantly greater than any other Major League city, might contribute to injury risk.

     With fewer oxygen molecules per cubic foot (high altitude of Denver), athletes have to work harder to do what they can easily do with higher oxygen molecules per cubic foot (low altitude of San Diego).

     Like when Mexico hosted the Olympics, to perform like they perform at sea level, Rockie players need to train at high altitude.

     However, while fitness is absolutel necessary, skill is what succeeds.

     The Rockies would do better to take high-speed film of the Rockie players performing the skills that they need to succeed and have a knowledgable Kinesiologist with over forty years of scientifically analyzing the skills of baseball explain how to perform these skills.

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0019.  Back of Astros' rotation has plenty of competition
MLB.com
January 04, 2013

HOUSTON, TX: Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow created plenty of competition in the back end of the pitching rotation this season with the addition of right-handers Philip Humber, Alex White and John Ely to a group that already included youngsters Dallas Keuchel and Jarred Cosart.

First-year manager Bo Porter will have to be creative this spring when it comes to finding enough innings to properly evaluate all the candidates for the starting rotation. Luhnow said right-handers Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell and Jordan Lyles are locks for the rotation, with Humber having a leg up for the fourth spot.

That will leave five pitchers battling for the final spot -- White, Ely, Keuchel, Cosart and veteran Edgar Gonzalez, who signed a Minor League contract with a Spring Training invite.

"I think Harrell, Norris and Lyles, it's their job to lose at the top of the rotation," Luhnow said. "We're talking about the other two spots and there's lots of competition for it. Humber has obviously got a proven track record, so he'll probably have an edge over the other guys, but Ely had a terrific Minor League season, White has definitely got the stuff, and Keuchel showed last year he can be, at times, competitive. He just needs to improve his consistency."

The Astros claimed Humber off waivers from the White Sox in November and promptly signed him to a $800,000 contract for this season with a club option for $3 million for '14. The Texas native, who pitched at Rice University in Houston, threw a perfect game last year, but was inconsistent at the end of the season.

White, 24, came to the Astros in December in a trade with Colorado, where he was 2-9 with a 5.51 ERA last season in 23 games (20 starts). He split the season between Colorado and Triple-A Colorado Springs, where he went 3-4 with a 3.71 ERA.

Ely, 26, worked the majority of last season pitching at Triple-A Albuquerque in the Dodgers organization, going 14-7 with a 3.20 ERA in 27 starts. He has made 25 career Major League appearances in three seasons for the Dodgers, who traded him to the Astros in December.

Keuchel, the only left-hander in the mix, made his Major League debut last year and had an up-and-down rookie season. He wound up going 3-8 with a 5.27 ERA in 16 starts, but will have to be more consistent to stick in the rotation.

Then there's Cosart, one of the team's top pitching prospects. The Houston area native went 6-7 with a 3.30 ERA in 21 games (20 starts) combined at Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Oklahoma City last year and possesses one of the best fastballs in the system.

"Cosart will be in the mix, but it would be a surprise for me if he made the club out of Spring Training," Luhnow said. "Stranger things have happened, but I feel like he needs a little more seasoning. He's not far away. I wouldn't be surprised if all those names mentioned are pitching in the rotation at some point in 2013."

The Astros had 11 different pitchers make starts in 2012, led by Harrell (32), Norris (29) and Lyles (25). Keuchel made 16 starts and Gonzalez made six, going 3-1 with a 5.04 ERA after being signed out of the Mexican League.


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     When Mr. Luhnow was the player development guy for the Cardinals, he received kudos for drafting baseball players that did well.

     Now, Mr. Luhnow prognosticates about how the Astros baseball pitchers will compete for jobs. That is a big jump in expertise. Of course, the best Astros pitchers might not be among the best major league pitchers. This is, being the best of the worst does not mean much.

     2013 will show how much Mr. Luhnow understands about what baseball pitchers need to succeed.

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0020.  Billingsley progressing from his injury
MLB.com
January 04, 2013

Chad Billingsley, one of the most prominent Dodgers rehabbing injuries, had made it to this point in the offseason without a physical setback, according to their agent.

The agent is Dave Stewart, the former Dodgers pitcher who owns three World Series rings and is eager for his client to get his first. At the moment, however, he just wants to get their health back.

Stewart said Billingsley reported no setbacks in his recovery from a partially torn right elbow ligament that he chose to treat with platelet-rich plasma injections instead of the Tommy John surgery often prescribed for such tears.

Billingsley was injured on Aug. 24 while on the best run of his career, having gone 6-0 with a 1.30 ERA the previous month in the wake of an 0-5 tailspin a month earlier. He was shut down a month after the injections and resumed throwing to the point where he hit 94 mph in a two-inning simulated game in November. He took a month off and resumed playing catch in December.

"Physically, Chad's doing great, and he's excited about the year," said Stewart. "He sounds confident. I'm not in his head, but he sounds like he's relieved that the throwing program worked out well. He's pain-free. He said he's right where he needs to be."

The Dodgers are cautiously optimistic Billingsley can avoid surgery, but nobody will know until he really tests the elbow in Spring Training games.

His uncertain status is one reason general manager Ned Colletti signed free agents Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu to go with Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Ted Lilly. The surplus is likely to lead to a trade of Capuano or Harang, probably for a relief pitcher.


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     Instead of Tommy John surgery to repair his torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament, Mr. Billingsley chose to take platelet-rich plasma injections.

     If Mr. Billingsley would also learn how to pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, then the platelet-rich plasma injections would appear to have worked.

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0021.  Cubs sign Dontrelle Willis to minor-league deal
CBSSports.com
January 04, 2013

Dontrelle Willis' retirement is over -- and the left-hander is trying to resurrect his career where it started, with the Cubs. Willis has signed a minor-league deal with the Cubs.

Although Willis did not receive an invite to big-league camp, he will get chances in big-league camp if he is throwing well.

Willis, who will celebrate his 31st birthday on Jan. 12, spent last season with the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Va., going 0-3 with an 8.53 ERA in four games and three starts before announcing his retirement in July. Heyman reports Willis decided to un-retire after the 2012 season ended.

Originally an eighth-round pick by the Cubs in 2000, he was traded to the Marlins in 2002 in a deal that netted Chicago Antonio Alfonseca and Matt Clement. A year later he won the Rookie of the Year, going 14-6 with a 3.30 ERA. He won 22 games in 2005, finishing second in the Cy Young voting and then after a disappointing season in 2007, he was part of the trade that sent Miguel Cabrera to Detroit.

Willis' career never quite got back on track. He was 4-15 with a 6.15 ERA in 43 games (40 starts) for the Tigers, Diamondbacks and Reds in his four seasons after leaving Florida. He last pitched in the majors in 2011, when he started 13 games for the Reds, going 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA. He signed with the Phillies last December, but was released in spring training and then signed with the Orioles.


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     I wonder what Mr. Willis is going to do differently that enables him and the Cubbies to believe that he will have a different result.

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0022.  Rockies to scout former Cy Young winner Webb
MLB.com
January 04, 2013

DENVER, CO: The Rockies will be among the teams that will scout former Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb's throwing session, which will occur sometime in the next couple of weeks, Rockies senior vice president of Major League operations Bill Geivett said.

The Rockies' interest in the workout session, which was first reported Friday by the Denver Post, is part of the club's attempt to find an accomplished pitcher with a history of forcing ground balls -- a profile the club wants to stick to in any trade or free-agency endeavor. Webb would be considered a low-risk maneuver.

Webb, 33, won the National League Cy Young Award in 2006 and finished second in NL voting the following two years while with the D-backs before having his career short-circuited by shoulder problems. The right-hander last pitched in the Majors in 2009 with the D-backs. His last action was four games in the Minors with the Rangers in 2011.

It's not clear how many teams will be at the session.

The Rockies have made it known they would love to have a pitcher similar to how Webb was in his prime, and in the past they have succeeded with pitchers coming off down seasons and injuries. The Rockies will have to determine after Webb throws if he would be a candidate for a Major League contract or be invited to camp under a Minor League deal or if they'd pass altogether.

The Rockies would love to add a starter, plus a reliever capable of pitching multiple innings, but presently are at the 40-man limit on the Major League roster. To sign someone to a significant Major League contract, they would have to clear a roster spot, most likely with a trade that would clear roster space and salary.

The Denver Post also reported that the Rockies are looking at free-agent righty Jeff Karstens, who was recently non-tendered by the Pirates after going 5-4 with a 3.97 ERA in 19 games, including 15 starts, last season.

The Rockies have signed left-handed pitcher Erick Threets, who has pitched in the Majors with the Giants and the White Sox, to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, Rockies player development director Jeff Bridich said.

Threets, 31, made 10 appearances with the Giants over the 2007-08 seasons and 11 appearances with the White Sox in 2010. He is a combined 0-1 with a 3.28 ERA. Threets spent last season at the Triple-A level with the Athletics and the Dodgers.


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     I wonder what Mr. Webb is going to do differently that enables him and the Rockies to believe that he will have a different result.

     Perhaps, with the new force-plate mats, Mr. Webb will learn how to vertically jump higher.

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0023.  Orioles can't wait for Wada to show up
CSNBaltimore.com
January 04, 2013

Last spring training, signs of Tsuyoshi Wada were everywhere. There were the requisite reporters from Japan, a former scout serving as his translator and tons of intrigue.

Early in spring training, Wada’s elbow started hurting, so he stopped throwing. This was a big story in Japan, so questions were asked every day.

Finally, Wada threw in an exhibition game in Lake Buena Vista against Atlanta, and near the end of spring training, one in Sarasota.

As the Orioles broke camp a few days later, the decision was made to keep Wada behind in extended spring training before bringing him to Baltimore.

Later in April, Wada pitched in a Triple-A game, but came away with more pain, and after some examinations, it was decided that he’d need Tommy John surgery.

The Orioles’ big off-season signing missed 2012, but now there’s word that his rehab is going well.

He met up with the team during the last series of the regular season at Tampa Bay, and said he was ahead of schedule. The Orioles are hoping that’s true.

Wada was signed to a two-year, $8.15 million contract in Dec. 2011. The Orioles are hoping for some production in the final year of the contract.

If all goes well, Wada will be the team’s fifth starter. He was a starter in Japan. In nine seasons, he was 107-61 with a 3.13 ERA, and his last two in Japan were his best. In 2010 and 2011, Wada was 33-13. In 2011, he had a sparkling 1.51 ERA.

The left-hander, who’ll be 32 early in spring training, could pitch out of the bullpen, too. There was some thought early last year that he might, but the team’s bullpen looks more settled at the moment thann the starting rotation.

Wada underwent surgery on May 11, and a year’s rehab is considered the norm. It’s possible that he won’t pitch in any spring training games, and certainly not in the first few weeks of camp.

It’s likely that Wada will be carefully monitored and pitch in some later minor league exhibition games as he did last year. If he stays back in Sarasota.

If Wada joins the Orioles in early or mid-May, he could still be a major contributor.


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     In December 2011, after a 1.51 ERA in Japan, the Orioles gave Mr. Wada $8.15 million to pitch in 2012 and 2013. Thus far, while Mr. Wada has not pitched to one batter for the Orioles, he does have a 0.00 ERA.

     Didn't the Orioles have their medical staff evaluate Mr. Wada's pitching arm?

     Why did the MRI not show that Mr. Wada had a torn or ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligament?

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***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, January 13, 2013, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0024.  January 6 Mini Rant

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I only commented on one article (the Rockies ridiculous force-plates).  For the rest; pendulum swing up to drive-line, engage your Latissimus Dorsi, pronate, challenge yourself not the hitter, and train during the off-season.

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Rockies strength and conditioning coach, Brian Jordan, said: "The technology and software -- using Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction" -- will produce "movement signatures" within minutes."

Step one: make up a cool sounding buzz word.

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

Rockies strength and conditioning coach, Brian Jordan, said: ""Those "movement signatures" can be used to detect weaknesses that could be addressed during that day's workout, or they could reveal nutritional needs and even point the athlete toward changes in sleep patterns that can make him more efficient.?"

Step two: make up some cool sounding attributes.

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

Rockies strength and conditioning coach, Brian Jordan, said: ""Instead of subjective data that we've relied on for so long, and which will still be part of the equation, it gives us some authenticated data on our players, and we use that data plus information collected from other athletes," Jordan said. "It paints us a picture of certain things they can work and help us lock onto the best program for keeping guys healthy and their performance at the highest level.""

Step three: tell us how this is the latest and greatest and how you must be really good at your job to even know about it, never mind use it.

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

The article said: " Individual athletes have been taking advantage of Sparta technology for years. The company was founded by Dr. Phil Wagner, a University of Southern California training physician who has worked with world-class athletes worldwide. The company's website lists athletes in many sports. Phillies standout Chase Utley is the most notable baseball player listed. Former Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs, who has signed to play with the Seibu Lions in Japan, also is listed."

Step four:  validations; founded by a Dr? - must be legit; professional athletes use it? - must be legit.

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

Sparta technology founder, Dr. Phil Wagner, said: ""We are excited for this opportunity to bring a system for players to take accountability for their own physical development and see the subsequent effects on the game of baseball," Wagner said in the press release. "With this first step, the Rockies and Sparta can begin to set a new standard for efficiency and player development.""

Step five; make sure everyone knows it's not your fault if it doesn't work - "...a system for players to take accountability for their own physical development..."

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

The article said: "As the Rockies struggled through injuries last season, club officials theorized on occasions that atmospheric conditions connected to Denver's altitude, which is significantly greater than any other Major League city, might contribute to injury risk."

Denver specific: make sure you mention the altitude.  That's an easy excuse, never mind the fact that it's an advantage.

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

The article said: "Some of the injuries were difficult to explain, such as pitcher Jhoulys Chacin's nerve issue in his chest, third baseman Chris Nelson's irregular heartbeat and infielder Jonathan Herrera's missed time because of an infection from his wrist watch."

Well, these quirky injuries will certainly be a thing of the past.

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

The article said: "But with the team careening toward its worst record in 20 seasons (64-98), the club's assertion that altitude was an issue were met by fans and media with skepticism, eye-rolling and accusations of excuse-making.

No shit Sherlock.

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

Rockies general manager and chief baseball officer, Dan O'Dowd, said: ""We are excited to begin a long-term relationship with an organization that mirrors our cultural values and desires to be the best organization in its industry," Rockies general manager and chief baseball officer Dan O'Dowd said in the club's press release. "This technology will be a tremendous asset in our efforts to further advance our performance development with all our programs and players.""

OMG Gag me with a spoon.

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

Rockies strength and conditioning coach, Brian Jordan, said: "Pitching arm injuries have been a bane of the club's existence over 20 seasons. A system that uses the force of a player leaping won't measure weaknesses in the vulnerable small muscles of the arm or the soft tissue in the shoulder area, but could expose an overall body weakness that could make a pitcher's movements less efficient, Jordan said."

You have no idea what you're talking about and have become pathetic in your efforts to divert blame and justify your existence.

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

Rockies strength and conditioning coach, Brian Jordan, said: ""It's not going to define who can throw 98 mph and who can hit .300, but it gives us an idea of what we can work on and what's possible," Jordan said. "We're ready to get after it and leave no stone unturned in the effort to improve our players. I'm sure we'll look at things that will work and things that won't work, but everything we do will be in the effort to get better.""

Really?

This last paragraph is something else.

They are a bunch of headless chickens. Baseball is run by chickens with neck stumps.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I can barely read this crap anymore.  Doc has forever ruined the sports pages for me.

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0025.  Dr. Andrews and the Washington Redskins

I would like your opinion on the following article about Dr. James Andrews and the medical treatment of Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III.  This is the second instance within a year where a professional sports organization has said that Dr. Andrews said one thing, when later on he doesn't corroborate it.

The first instance was when Nationals GM Mike Rizzo indicated that Dr. Andrews was on board with the Stephen Strasburg innings limit, and now with Redskins Head Coach Mike Shanahan saying that he gave clearance for RGIII to re-enter a previous game.  And clearly during the playoff game this past Sunday,  RGIII should not have been playing.

This last incident raises a lot of questions.

Dr. Andrews is on the sidelines of all Redskins games.  And I'm sure he charges a pretty penny to be there.  With the NFL indicating it's taking player safety seriously, it seems that their needs to be independent medical personnel on the sidelines of each game.

Because if Dr. Andrews is somehow feeling pressure to clearing injured players to play and he's considered the pre-eminent sports medicine doctor, I'm sure lesser known guys are feeling the heat to say OK too.  And it does raise a flag that Dr. Andrews is doing it for the money, although I'm sure he's very wealthy at this point and that shouldn't really be an issue.

I mean I do give him credit for giving his side of the story.  But I'm sure from now on teams will probably try to have him sign a document saying he can't speak about individual players on their teams.

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

Dr. James Andrews says he never cleared Robert Griffin III to go back into game after injury
Robert Klemko
USA TODAY Sports
January 06, 2013

When Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III injured his knee on a gruesome collision in the fourth quarter of a 31-28 victory against the Baltimore Ravens on Dec. 9, he limped off the field for one play, then hobbled back into the huddle as fans and teammates held their breath.

Griffin, clearly injured and in pain, remained in the game for four plays before removing himself.

The following day, when the team revealed Griffin had suffered a sprained lateral collateral ligament, coach Mike Shanahan was asked why he had risked the health of his franchise quarterback by putting him back into the game.

Shanahan said he let Griffin return with the blessing of James Andrews, the renowned orthopedic surgeon, who was on the sideline.

Andrews, however, told USA TODAY Sports on Saturday that he never cleared Griffin to go back into the game, because he never even examined him.

"(Griffin) didn't even let us look at him," Andrews said. "He came off the field, walked through the sidelines, circled back through the players and took off back to the field. It wasn't our opinion.

"We didn't even get to touch him or talk to him. Scared the hell out of me."

Yet when asked by news reporters, Shanahan described a conversation with Andrews this way:

"He's on the sidelines with Dr. Andrews. He had a chance to look at him and he said he could go back in," Shanahan said Dec. 10. "(I said) 'Hey, Dr. Andrews, can Robert go back in?'

'Yeah, he can go back in.'

'Robert, go back in.'

"That was it," Shanahan said.

Only that's not the way it happened, Andrews said. What's more, Andrews remains worried about Griffin's health as the Redskins play the Seattle Seahawks in an NFC wild-card game at FedEx Field today.


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     I thought that it was Dr. Yocum that said that he never agreed with the innings limit for Mr. Strasburg.

     Nevertheless, that, without making certain that Dr. Andrews cleared Mr. Griffin to return to the field, Mr. Shanahan put Mr. Griffin back in the game in not only stupid, it is legally actionable.

     Clearly, Mr. Griffin should not have played in this game.

     When Mr. Griffin twisted his knee and fell, I saw a ligament rupture.

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0026.  Steve Delabar

What are your comments on this pitcher's training program?

It sounds like the guy who trains him has been reading your site.

I'm alluding to the comparison to the tennis serving motion, and the use of weighted balls for specifics.

But I wonder why the Mariners or Blue Jays aren't concerned with the way this pitcher trains, as most MLB teams are when your usage of lead balls is noted.

And I believe this is the same pitcher who HBO's Real Sports said last year was using Tom House's techniques also in a story.

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

New throwing technique pays dividends for Delabar
By Gregor Chisholm
MLB.com

Dec 28, 2012

TORONTO, ON: Steve Delabar's remarkable journey to the Major Leagues is more reminiscent of a Hollywood script than a real-life story.

It was just over three years ago that Delabar's career was left for dead when he suffered a fractured right elbow while pitching for the Brockton Rox of the independant Can-Am League. The injury was so severe that Delabar required a metal plate and nine screws to help it heal.

The future looked bleak and Delabar abandoned all hope of one day reaching the big leagues, but all of that changed when Delabar began working out at an academy called Players' Dugout in Elizabethtown, Ky., and was introduced to a workout program that would end up changing his life forever.

"As far as my professional baseball career, it was basically over," Delabar recently said. "There wasn't much I could do at 26, 27 years old. 'Hey, guys, I've never been above high [Class] A. Do you want to give me a Major League job?' It doesn't work like that.

"I did the program because I was going to teach the program. With a broken elbow, I didn't know if I was going to play again. I just wanted to teach this program and help these kids at our academy, and sure enough, it helped me."

Shortly after suffering the devastating injury, Delabar returned home and spent some time as an assistant coach at a local high school.

There had been talk around town about the velocity program, and Delabar wanted to see it for himself. He began working out with his friend and former instructor Joe Newton with the goal of eventually passing along the knowledge of the program to his athletes.

The workout focused on acceleration and deceleration of the arm. It used a variety of weighted balls to strengthen the arm and shoulder while subsequently increasing arm speed at the same time.

What happened next, though, was completely unexpected -- at least in Delabar's case. As the program continued to grow, so did Delabar's velocity. He began reaching upper 80s, then low 90s and eventually began registering some eye-popping numbers that would have seemed impossible even during his days as a pro.

The success became so apparent that Newton asked the Mariners to have a look for themselves. Seattle sent a scout and later that year Delabar found his return path to the big leagues. Delabar made his debut in 2011, and the following year he was traded to Toronto, where he would go on to post an impressive 3.38 ERA in 29 1/3 innings.

"We're talking about a young man that actually broke his elbow, had nine screws and a plate and was rebuilt," Newton said. "He came back, took a year and a half two years off and started this program.

"Then all of a sudden he was having a great year, Toronto wants him. He breaks a Major League record this year striking out four in one extra inning, then comes back the next inning strikes out of the next two. I don't know how anyone can really explain that. I think the program was finally something that came along which could get out of Stevie's tank what was in there."

The velocity program was designed by Maryland native Jamie Evans, who spent three years laying the groundwork for what could turn into a breakthrough for the way pitchers train.

The science of sport is a constantly evolving process. It wasn't that long ago that a torn ulnar collateral ligament resulted in a career-ending injury for pitchers. That changed with the invention of Tommy John surgery, and now not only do players return, but they're often able to do with better strength than they ever had before.

Evans' research focused on finding a reason why injuries in baseball -- especially to pitchers -- were reaching such high numbers. Along the way, he noticed that the motion tennis players use for their serve is somewhat comparable to that of a pitcher throwing a baseball. The difference in tennis is that players often don't have to worry about the shoulder problems that constantly plague ballplayers.

The studies revealed that one theory behind the lack of injuries in tennis is that players don't let go of their racket. Instead of releasing an object, they continue through their wind-up with one fluid motion.

The velocity program set out to find a way to replicate that scenario for pitchers. Weighted balls were used, but instead of having the pitcher release the ball, they hung onto it all the way through the motion. So far, the program has been working wonders.

"They hold onto the tennis racket, and that was kind of implemented into the balls that we use," Newton said. "We started figuring out that if we do certain things with certain kids that the results would happen.

"Tennis players were pretty healthy and our baseball guys aren't, so [Evans] kind of added some things to the program and it became a velocity program. It's a shoulder strengthening program for your shoulder to get healthier and stronger. That's what it actually is, but when your shoulder gets stronger, your velocity is going to increase, and that's what happened."

Delabar is an obvious spokesman for the program, but he's not the only Major Leaguer who has gone through it. The original study involved 10 big leaguers, and for the past couple of years, talk about the workout routine has slowly spread across Major League Baseball.

Kansas City's Nathan Adcock, Philadelphia's B.J. Rosenberg and San Francisco's Stephen Shackleford are now among the other participants, while Newton said there is another group of ballplayers that would prefer not to have their names publicly disclosed.

Just like with any new program, there are skeptics. Ballplayers often are creatures of habit, and if they're already taking part in a workout routine they like, they're unlikely to change. But for those who are seeking out alternatives, the velocity program has become an enticing option.

The health and performance study of the velocity program is scheduled to be published in medical journals this spring. The more accepted it becomes by the medical professionals then the more likely the numbers of ballplayers taking part will continue to grow.

"We're going into our third year with the velocity program," Newton said of his academy. "We had 19 kids the first year, we had well over 300 last year and we felt like our numbers are already way over that this year.

"We've implemented it in several academies across the country under our supervision. It is going very, very well. The numbers we are getting back is great. The healthiness of their shoulders has improved, and that's always been the No. 1 goal in all of this."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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     Maryland native, Jamie Evans, researched the causes of pitching injuries.

     "Maryland native." I am a "Michigan native." To become an expert in training baseball pitchers, is that all that anybody needs?      I also suspect that I know where Mr. Evans searched for the causes of pitching injuries. Unfortunately, it appears that Mr. Evans did not learn much.

     The article said that 'along the way,' Mr. Evans noticed that the tennis serving and baseball pitching motions are similar, but tennis servers do not suffer the same injuries. Mr. Evans decided that the reason tennis servers did not suffer throwing injuries was because tennis servers do not release their rackets.

     Mr. Evans also saw that tennis servers continue through their wind-up with one fluid motion.

     Mr. Evans has it backward. The one fluid motion needs to be at the start of the baseball pitching motion. Only then can the acceleration and deceleration phases also become one, smooth, continuous movement.

     Wow. I wasted all those years earning a doctoral degree and taking high-speed film. I could have simply watched the U.S. Open tennis tournament.

     Instead of decelerating a weighted ball, because the muscles that grip the weighted ball remain contracted throughout the throwing motion, Mr. Evans should use wrist weights.

     While very crude and incomplete, using weighted balls as Mr. Evans teaches streamlines their force application technique and strengthens the muscles that decelerate their pitching arm.

     I can't wait to read how Mr. Evans explains how he learned to teach my 'horizontal bounce' technique.

     But, Mr. Evans does not need to. Mr. Evans is already receiving full credit for Mr. Delabar pitching in the major leagues.

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0027.  That Horizontal Bounce Feeling

I asked my fourteen and seventeen year old sons how getting to the horizontal bounce 'feels' to them.

Both picture it as they do their WW's.  Of quickly swinging their pitching elbows, ahead of the rear shoulder, up and in, past the 'slingshot' position into 'deep slingshot' and feeling their pitching hands 'pull' laterally away from their heads off of 'deep slingshot'.

It is important not to let the hand pull laterally 'up and away' off of 'deep slingshot' and go into early elbow extension.

The force of horizontally driving the elbow up and in causes the hand to be moved away, but the 'feeling' of 'pulling' the hand back at that moment is important.

Earlier in their development, they would lose control of their pitching hands at that point - and that caused early elbow extension.  Still very powerful, but not properly controlled, especially for pitch height.

You advised them to 'arm wrestle' the forces at that point and now that feeling has advanced to your 'pulling on the slingshot' with the pitching hand and the control of the action that that implies.  'Arm wrestling' comes next as they drive out forward.

Both feel that the insides of their elbows end up in front of their faces at the end of 'deep slingshot'.

At 'slingshot', the Humerus bone must be angled forward at about 40 degrees.

1. Do you agree?

They both say they punch out straight forward from there very conscience of staying inside of vertical.

I'm looking for a name for the 'past slingshot' position.  I'm trying out 'deep slingshot'.

2. Do you have one?


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01. As my baseball pitchers move the center of mass of their body forward to over their glove foot, I tell them to 'throw' their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head and turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     The Pectoralis Major muscle initiates this action, but about one-half way through this movement the Latissimus Dorsi muscle takes over and, instead of continuing the horizontal flexion action of the Pectoralis Major muscle, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle begins to 'extend' the pitching upper arm.

     It is that 'pitching upper arm extension' action that 'locks' their pitching upper arm with the shoulders, thereby preventing the inertial mass of the pitching upper arm from causing the pitching upper arm to lag behind the acromial line.

     In the anatomical position, where the arms reach horizontally forward, pitching upper arm extension would move the pitching upper arm vertically backward behind their body.

     However, in the baseball pitching motion, where, instead of the pitching upper arm pointing vertically downward, the pitching upper arm points vertically upward.

     As a result, instead of moving backwardly behind the body, when the pitching upper arm extends, the pitching upper arm moves forward.

     In the 'static' (no lateral movement) position, I tell my baseball pitchers to step backward with their pitching foot and, with their pitching forearm pointed at second base, reach as far backward as possible. Ironically, this action flexes the pitching upper arm.

     By flexing the pitching upper arm, my baseball pitchers increase the distance over which they are able to extend their pitching upper arm.

     This means that, when my baseball pitchers move into 'lock,' I want my baseball pitchers to actively flex their pitching upper arm as far as they are able. The result of this action is to point the pitching upper arm more vertically.

     As a result, when my baseball pitchers move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot and initiate their explosive forward rotation of the entire pitching arm side of their body, they also move their pitching upper arm from pointing vertically upward to forty-five degrees in front of vertical.

     The analogy that I prefer to use, but, unfortunately is horribly misunderstood, is that the sharp movement of the pitching upper arm from vertical to forty-five degrees forward is like the handle of the bullwhip at the start of the sound breaking velocity of the tip of the bullwhip.

     That is, during the 'horizontal bounce,' my baseball pitchers also snap their pitching upper arm forward. Then, when my baseball pitchers start to 'arm wrestle' (horizontally inwardly rotate) their pitching upper arm, they 'recoil' their pitching elbow such that it moves upward and backward.

     The backward action of the pitching elbow and the forward movement of the pitching hand force-couples the baseball through release.

02. From my 'Loaded Slingshot' position, the action of the pitching upper arm moves from 'static' to 'dynamic.'

     This is, instead of not having any side-to-side movement, I want my baseball pitchers to start their pitching upper arm horizontally forward, such that, when their acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate about as far laterally away from the driveline as possible.

     As my baseball pitchers continue to move the center of mass of their body forward, from this maximally lateral position of their pitching elbow, I want my baseball pitchers to 'throw' their pitching upper arm upward and inward.

     This means that I want my baseball pitchers to move their pitching elbow from maximally as far laterally from the driveline to as far medially from the driveline as possible.

     This action initiates the 'horizontal bounce,' where the inward movement of the pitching elbow, like the loading of the slingshot, enables my baseball pitchers to 'pull' their pitching hand laterally away from the driveline.

     With the Latissimus Dorsi muscle contracting to extend the pitching upper arm, the lateral force of pulling the pitching hand laterally away from the driveline lengthens the tendon of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     Research, where scientists removed a muscle and attached both ends of the muscle firmly with its maximum length, when electrically stimulated the muscle portion to contract, the muscle portion shortened, but the tendon lengthened.

     This means that the connective tissue that makes up tendons are elastic. That it, without tearing, tendons are able to lengthen and elastically rebound.

     Therefore, unlike the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, the 'horizontal bounce' of my baseball pitching motion properly uses the elastic property of tendons.

     Where I would call this action, 'dynamic slingshot' your choice of 'deep slingshot' does provide a better word picture.

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0028.  Extending the upper arm off the horizontal bounce

In Q/A #0004. The Specific Chronology of the Marshall Pitching Arm Actions under 6., it says: "The Latissimus Dorsi muscle simultaneously inwardly rotates and extends the pitching upper arm. Extending the pitching upper arm stops the forward movement of the pitching upper arm. Inwardly rotating the pitching upper arm pops the pitching elbow dramatically upward.

I'm confused about extending the pitching upper arm stops the forward movement of the elbow.

When we horizontally bounce, the elbow pops up, away and back.

I don't see where it extends at all.


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     You are correct. The pitching upper arm stops actively (mioanglosly) extending well before it starts to inwardly rotate. Immediately after the pitching upper arm moves forward, upward and inward, the pitching upper arm extends. The inward rotation of the pitching upper arm causes the pitching elbow to pop upward.

     However, whenever the Latissimus Dorsi muscle contracts, it extends and inwardly rotates the pitching upper arm. In the beginning phase, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle actively (mioanglosly) extends the pitching upper arm, but inactively (isoanglosly) inwardly rotates the pitching upper arm.

     Then, during the 'horizontal bounce,' the Latissimus Dorsi muscle inactively (isoanglosly) extends the pitching upper arm and actively (plioanglosly) inwardly rotates the pitching upper arm.

     Then, during the elastic rebound, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle inactively (isoanglosly) extends the pitching upper arm and actively (mioanglosly) inwardly rotates the pitching upper arm.

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0029.  The Lid Dill

  Finally learning to inwardly rotate, especially off of a horizontal bounce' was huge.

  Looking back, your 'lid drill' for learning curves was the best tool by far.

  Like that book, 'Everything I needed to know, I learned in Kindergarten", everything I needed to know about the Marshall Motion, I learned from the lid drill.

  You can't throw from 'inside to outside' without inward rotation and without throwing from inside to outside, you will never throw a quality sinker.

I've come to believe the lid drill is the fastest way to learn the sinker as well as the curve and torque fastball.

  We like using the 175 gram "Ultimate Frisbee".  It's very comfortable and flies great.

  My 12 year old son, who does not play baseball, was able to inwardly rotate and horizontally sail an upside Frisbee, with a pronation curve release, within 6 throws.

  It's a perfect example of the 'drill teaching the skill'.

  I believe your lid drill is an unbelievably powerful tool to learn your motion.  Your thoughts?


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     For years, to get my baseball pitchers to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, the first thing that I taught my baseball pitchers was to throw my 'bull's eye' Maxline Fastball Sinker.

     Because, to throw my sinker, my baseball pitchers start their acceleration phase with their pitching forearm maximally pronated, it is impossible for them to throw a sinker without inwardly rotating their pitching upper arm.

     To inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, baseball pitchers have to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     In 1988, I figured out how to pronate the release of the curve ball. I called this curve, my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     To teach the release of my Maxline Pronation Curve, I used an appropriately-sized football.

     One day, as I watched one of my guys continually supinate release his football curve, I grabbed the lid off the square four gallon bucket in which he stored his baseballs, iron ball and wrist weights and told him to put the tip of his middle finger into one corner of the lid and throw the lid such that it horizontally sailed toward home plate.

     When he supinated the release of the lid, the top of the lid faced forward and, like a flying duck shot with buckshot, the lid immediately dropped to the ground. Finally, I had found the drill that taught the skill of pronating the release of my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     The question is: Is my lid throw drill the best way to teach baseball pitchers how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle?

     I agree that throwing the lid does require baseball pitchers to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     However, with their pitching forearm maximally supinated at the start of the acceleration phase, because baseball pitchers are able to maximally pronate their pitching forearm to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve, they do not learn how to maximally inwardly rotating their pitching upper arm.

     When I threw my Maxline True Screwball, I started with my pitching forearm maximally supinated. However, when I tried to teach my baseball pitchers to throw their Maxline True Screwballs starting with their pitching forearm maximally supinated, they were not able to throw any reverse breaking pitch well.

     Therefore, I stopped trying to get them to start all pitches with their pitching forearm maximally supinated.

     I see your point. However, unless I could watch how baseball pitchers convert their release of my Maxline Pronation Curve to their release of my Maxline True Screwball, I remain unconvinced.

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0030.  Brewers agree to terns with reliever Gonzalez
MLB.com
December 28, 2012

MILWAUKEE, WI: Barring an unexpected snag in a physical exam, the Brewers will begin the New Year with another new bullpen arm.

Two sources confirmed that the Brewers and free-agent left-hander Mike Gonzalez have agreed to terms, with one source saying it's a one-year contract pending a physical exam.

Gonzalez will earn $2.25 million plus incentives.

Gonzalez posted a 3.03 ERA in 47 appearances for Washington in 2012, his best ERA since his last season in the National League -- 2009 -- when he posted a 2.42 ERA in 80 appearances for the Braves.

The 34-year-old would be the third reliever acquired by the Brewers in about a month. Melvin already traded for right-hander Burke Badenhop and signed left-hander Tom Gorzelanny (two years, $5.7 million) to bolster a relief corps that ranked last in the Majors last season in relief ERA (4.66) and blown saves (29). After the season, the Brewers parted with Kameron Loe, Manny Parra, Francisco Rodriguez and Jose Veras, all but starting from scratch.

Melvin mined some of baseball's best bullpens. Badenhop came from the Rays, who led the American League with a 2.88 bullpen ERA in 2012, and Gorzelanny and Gonzalez from the Nationals, whose relievers combined to rank third in the NL with a 3.23 ERA.

The Brewers have shown interest in Gonzalez before, hosting his then-agent, Scott Boras, for a pitch in the team's suite at the '09 Winter Meetings. The Brewers wound up signing right-hander LaTroy Hawkins instead, and Gonzalez signed a multiyear deal with the Orioles that winter. He subsequently pitched for the Rangers and Nationals.

This year, Gonzalez signed on with agent Dan Lozano's MVP Sports Group.

With their trio of December additions, the Brewers' bullpen has quickly taken shape for 2013. Closer John Axford is back, and Melvin has said that Jim Henderson -- a midseason callup last year who helped stabilize a group in free-fall -- will get a chance to win setup duties. Gonzalez and Gorzelanny will give the Brewers a pair of left-handers, Gonzalez with closing experience to the tune of 56 saves in 434 career appearances. Badenhop takes over the Loe role, a ground-ball pitcher for the middle innings. Brandon Kintzler pitched his way into consideration late last season.

That's six of the seven positions spoken for, leaving one for one of the pitchers who will begin camp fighting for a spot in the starting rotation.

"There's really no room for anyone else," Melvin said.

At the moment, there is no room for Gonzalez on the 40-man roster. The Brewers will have to clear a spot before officially announcing his signing.


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     Isn't Mike Gonzales the baseball pitcher to whom the Orioles signed for big money for the 2009 season only to suffer a pitching injury?

     If so, that Mr. Gonzales pitched well for the Nationals in 2012 is good news.

     Nevertheless, I wonder why the article did not mention Mr. Gonzales' injuries.

     With regard to the comment that the 'Brewers bullpen has quickly taken shape for 2013: Mr. Melvin has found new names, but whether he has found a better bullpen is suspect. Chairs on the Titanic.

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0031.  Met's pitcher Gee has weight off shoulder as surgery fixes blood clot
New York Daily News
December 29, 2012

Dillon Gee is about one month into his off-season throwing program already and he’s noticed something different. In years past, even when he was coming off healthy seasons, the first few weeks of throwing felt “real awkward” as his arm and legs and body rekindled his pitching motion and there was always soreness afterward.

These days, however, Gee is fresher after he throws, looser. It’s a wonderful feeling coming off the scariest stretch of his pro career, one in which a blood clot discovered in his right shoulder led to anxious thoughts about life and his baseball future and, ultimately, a successful surgery.

"I had so much time off that the first time I threw it was, 'What's this going to feel like?'" Gee said in a recent telephone interview. “This year, the first few weeks have felt better than they normally do and I thought that was a real good sign.

“One of the things with my surgery we were hoping for was, by recouping some of the blood flow I had lost, that my recovery would be better and that seems to be the case so far.

“I’m excited. The doctor said he was surprised I could recover every five days as it was, with the lack of blood and oxygen, so hopefully that will make it that much easier to bounce back after every start. You never know what the future holds, but we have a lot of positive signs going.”

It’s all potentially good news for the Mets, who could use some of that in the pitching department. Gee expects to have a normal spring training and that’s perhaps more important than ever to the Mets’ staff, since he moves up a notch in the rotation after the trade of Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey.

The 26-year-old Gee, who was 6-7 with a 4.10 ERA in 17 starts last season before being shut down in July, sounds like he has put all the frightening stuff behind him from last summer.

He and his wife, KariAnn, were terrified at first, he said. “You think the worst when you hear blood clot,” Gee said. After doctors assured him his life wasn’t in danger, he worried about his pitching career. “The thought of that being taken away was very frightening,” he said.

But surgery by a specialist in St. Louis successfully widened a damaged artery in his shoulder and he feels healthy. He’s been throwing at his alma mater, the University of Texas at Arlington, since the end of November with ex-college teammate Nate Long, a pitcher in the Oakland organization.

He feels so much like himself that he’s been thinking about what he can improve on.

“Just a couple years in the league, you can get ahead of yourself and overthink and miss things that could’ve turned a ballgame,” Gee said. “With experience, you can slow it down. I think I can get better at that. Physically, I threw the ball well last year, probably as well as I have since I was called up.

“My main goal right now is to make sure I’m healthy and I don’t see why I shouldn’t be.”


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     Blood clots occur as a result of decrease blood flow velocity. Widening the Mr. Gee's damaged shoulder artery will increase the blood flow through his pitching shoulder. Nevertheless, even with decreased blood flow velocity, unless people have a tendency for their blood to clot, slow blood flow does not create blood clots.

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0032.  Overstocked rotations worth watching
ESPN.com
December 31, 2012

This time of year, it's easy to look at 40-man rosters around the game and wonder how teams are going to fit everybody into their regular-season rotation. The overstocked starting staffs of the Dodgers and Cardinals might seem to demand action, for example, but not so fast. Credit their general managers and a few other decision-makers with sitting tight.

Consider the Dodgers. It might seem that their cup runneth over after adding Zack Greinke and Korea's Hyun-Jin Ryu. On paper, they have eight plausible options in their rotation, including Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang, Chad Billingsley and Ted Lilly.

That number gives you a sense of mass that's far more certain than the identity of the Dodgers' final five. Billingsley was hitting the mid-90s during rehab work in November, but there's ongoing concern over his elbow. Lilly is supposed to be all the way back from shoulder surgery in spring training, but we'll see how he looks once he reports. Capuano's second-half fade in 2012 on top of a long list of surgeries (including two Tommy John procedures) don't add up to a sure thing.

So they have to make a deal, right? Staff-filling No. 4 pitchers like Harang and Capuano aren't liable to bring much in return. The Dodgers might be asked to eat considerable cash given the back-loaded deals Ned Colletti gave the two pitchers.

If you're Colletti, why hurry or worry until you see what shape everyone is in, and who's ready to go in the latter half of March?

Similarly, the Cardinals' situation looks good on paper, but perhaps not so much when you ponder their past. Getting Chris Carpenter back to round out a rotation featuring Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Jake Westbrook and either Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly or top prospect Shelby Miller might allow GM John Mozeliak deal from a position of strength.

But would the Cardinals, after getting by without Carpenter and Wainwright at the same time for most of the past two seasons, trade either in their final seasons before free agency? That would hamper the Cardinals' bid to win one more title armed with both, and absent somebody coughing up a top-shelf middle infielder, they're not a team with many needs.

Sticking with the NL Central, the Reds' decision to move Aroldis Chapman back into the rotation might make it seem like Mike Leake is extraneous. But why should Walt Jocketty deal Leake before seeing how well the Cuban Missile takes off while pitching every fifth day? And where would dealing Leake leave the Reds should anyone get hurt in the early going?

You don't even have to be a contender to want to join the ranks of hoarders. The Cubs' decision to sign veterans Edwin Jackson, Scott Feldman, Scott Baker and Carlos Villanueva during a busy winter doesn't mean that both Travis Wood and Jeff Samardzjia are out of their jobs. But it could mean that Matt Garza is now a bargaining chip who would become available after he shows that he's healthy this spring.

Baker is also working his way back from injury, so there will be plenty for the Cubs' brass to monitor. The freedom to deal a pitcher as good as Garza can be in his last year before free agency -- and the possible draft compensation he'd create on departure -- could bring in some sorely needed talent to their rebuilding effort.

Which all goes toward saying that right now it's sensible to carry six or seven or more starters and let events and availability dictate your actions if you're a GM. Wait and see who breaks down, on your team or everyone else's, because inevitably somebody will.

Sensible as this may all be, some people are hurt by it. Kyle Lohse is the most obvious example. If a club wants to add a veteran starter, why go two years on a likely one-year wonder like Lohse, when you might wait and see if Garza is healthy and if the Cubs like one of your prospects?

On the other hand, if you're one of those teams that really could use Harang or the like to round out your rotation and complete your offseason plans, it's easier to wait out the next two months until the Dodgers may have to make a move than it is to sign him on the market.

If you're worried about a seemingly incomplete rotation on your hometown nine, don't sweat it -- the talent pool isn't just made up of who's left on the market, it also includes everybody on the other 29 teams. And if you're wondering about who's going to round out your starting quintet, don't worry -- it might just be a Dodger TBNL.


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     The frenzy for getting as many starting pitchers as they have the money to sign shows that major league baseball has no idea how their baseball pitchers will perform.

     Without understanding what causes pitching injuries and how to teach baseball pitchers the wide variety of pitches that baseball pitchers need to succeed, major league baseball flounders along wasting time and money.

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0033.  The Marshall Lid Dill

I believe the Marshall lid drill is the best way to get pitchers to learn the horizontally bounce.

I had my fourteen year old son do your lid drill.

Then, we moved to throwing curves with baseballs accentuating driving the middle finger straight out as long as possible until he got over-spin.

Then, we moved to sinkers.

I emphasized inside out and pronating the release.

I figured the inside out would take care of the inward rotation and bingo - nice little sinker.

If you get the elbow to move medially in off of the slingshot, then you can inwardly rotate and throw inside out. 1. Isn't that the key to the screwball?


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     The very first skill that injury-free baseball pitchers have to master is how to engage the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     I love my Lid drill. My Lid drill not only teaches baseball pitchers how to pronate the release of their breaking pitches, my lid drill also teaches baseball pitchers how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     However, powerfully inwardly rotating their pitching arm to throw my reverse breaking pitches also teaches baseball pitchers to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     With my Lid drill, baseball pitchers start their acceleration phase with their pitching forearm maximally supinated, such that, during release, they are able to maximally pronate their pitching forearm.

     To teach the release of my reverse breaking pitches, baseball pitchers start their acceleration phase with their pitching forearm maximally pronated, such that, during release, they are not able to pronate their pitching forearm at all.

     Therefore, to generate the reverse rotation of these breaking pitches, baseball pitchers have to powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     The question is: Which teaching technique teaches baseball pitchers to more powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm?

01. Yes.

     When baseball pitchers use their Pectoralis Major muscle to pull their pitching upper arm medially across the front of their body, they are not able to throw a quality reverse breaking pitch.

     Thank you for taking the time to talk with me about my response to the Horizontal Bounce Feeling email you sent me.

     You are the first to understand the analogy of the bullwhip and the pitching arm action that I teach.

     When I first went online, I used the bullwhip analogy.

     Unfortunately, pitching coach wannabees misinterpreted the analogy to say that striding far and bending forward at the way made the body into a bullwhip. So, I stopped talking about the bullwhip analogy.

     Striding far is an injurious flaw that I did not want to encourage.

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0034.  Bullwhip

You wrote: "The analogy that I prefer to use, but, unfortunately is horribly misunderstood, is that the sharp movement of the pitching upper arm from vertical to forty-five degrees forward is like the handle of the bullwhip at the start of the sound breaking velocity of the tip of the bullwhip." I loved this.

I don't remember you describing it exactly like this before, the Humerus bone as the whip handle, but it makes perfect sense.

1. You would want to snap it forward at an inward angle, correct?

You also wrote: "Then, when my baseball pitchers start to 'arm wrestle' (horizontally inwardly rotate) their pitching upper arm, they 'recoil' their pitching elbow such that it moves upward and backward." This was also great. Very clearly written.

Another aspect of 'recoil' would be that you are pushing against a baseball that has the audacity to 'push back'!

2. This does not happen with a traditional arm action because the forces are not linear, correct?


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01. When, as my baseball pitchers approach the end of the forward rotation of the entire pitching arm side of their body, my baseball pitchers start the bullwhip action by sharply driving their pitching elbow forward from their pitching upper arm pointing as vertically upward as they are able to forty-five degree in front of vertical.

     Simultaneously, my baseball pitchers sharply start to horizontally inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     The result of these two actions is to move the pitching elbow upward and backward.

     When their pitching forearm is perpendicular to the driveline to home plate, my baseball pitchers sharply start to extend their pitching elbow and, shortly thereafter, they start to sharply pronate their pitching forearm.

     For this description, instead of 'explosively,' I have chosen to use the word, 'sharply.' Nevertheless, by 'sharply,' I mean I want my baseball pitchers to focus on these moments in the force application kinetic chain and initiate their most powerful, concentrated muscle actions to ballistically accelerate their pitching hand.

     Ballistically means that, after the 'sharp' muscle contraction, that portion of the kinetic chain moves without further force application from that muscle.

02. Force-coupling requires parallel and oppositely-directed forces. For two forces to be parallel, they have to be in straight lines (linear).

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0035.  A look at the typical outcome of Tommy John surgery
OrthopedicCarolina.com
December 21, 2012

Medial ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, otherwise known as Tommy John surgery, is an increasingly common procedure performed to restore a torn ligament in the elbow. The surgery’s nickname comes from pitcher Tommy John, who was one of the first people to undergo this innovative sports medicine procedure in 1974. The recovery time for Tommy John surgery is usually lengthy, but most people regain their pre-injury performance abilities. Here is what you need to know about the outcome of this procedure:

First Stage of Recovery

For the first six weeks after Tommy John surgery, you will need to limit your movement. Your arm will be in a splint for up to 10 days following the procedure to ensure that you keep your elbow immobile. A physical therapist will show you gentle exercises to do daily to strengthen your arm and regain your range of motion. Your physical therapist will also give you full-body conditioning exercises to complete.

Second Stage of Recovery

Starting at six weeks after surgery and lasting for the next few months, you will work with a physical therapist to begin strengthening your elbow. This process will be progressive as you regain more and more of your motion. You will still need to avoid activities that put undue stress on your elbow for at least four months.

Third Stage of Recovery

After five months, most Tommy John surgery patients are ready to gradually return to throwing with their injured arm. The first step is to start throwing without winding up. The second step is to add gentle wind-ups. Most athletes can return to practice and, eventually, to games once they are pain-free.


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     Somewhere in these three stages, somebody needs to explain to these injured baseball pitchers what injurious flaw in their baseball pitching motion ruptured their Ulnar Collateral Ligament and what they have to do to not rupture their replacement Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

     Duh.

     However, under no circumstance, should any orthopedic surgeon learn how to eliminate the injurious flaw that ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament. Instead, orthopedic surgeons need to discover more and more different ways to perform the Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery faster. Then, orthopedic surgeons will be able to do more surgeries in shorter times and get to the golf course for an early tee time.

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0036.  Cobb preparing to fight for job in starting rotation
MLB.com
January 07, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG, FL: Alex Cobb and Matt Moore often jabbed back and forth last season regarding whose midsection had grown the most.

So when Cobb recently talked about his offseason workouts with Moore, the obvious question to be posed to the right-hander was simple: "Who is fatter?"

Cobb didn't hesitate to reply: "Oh, Moore, for sure. We've got a little bet going. We're going to have to do a final test in Spring Training."

Far be it for either of the pair -- or anybody else for that matter -- to justly decide which one is in better shape. Come Spring Training, Cobb said that Moore has insisted they take an underwater body composition test, which is the most accurate way to measure body fat.

Being able to tease about body fat and go through regular workouts this offseason has been a welcome respite for Cobb, who had to proceed with caution following the 2011 season.

"This year's been awesome," Cobb said. "It's been the best offseason to date for me workout-wise. Last year, I wasn't able to get into the gym and work out as vigorously as I'd like. This year, Matt and I have a good workout program, and we push each other pretty hard.

"This is the heaviest I've been my whole life, especially in the offseason, when I usually cut some weight. My mental approach to this offseason was to get bigger and stronger, to really minimize my risk of getting injured and to be able to carry a bigger workload, because I know there's going to be a bigger workload expected out of all of us."

On Aug. 18, 2011, Cobb had season-ending surgery performed to remove a blood clot and blockage in the area of his first right rib. Fortunately, the problem did not linger and he had a strong '12 campaign that saw him begin the season at Triple-A Durham before getting recalled on May 19 after Jeff Niemann went down with an injury.

Cobb spent the remainder of the season with the Rays, going 11-9 with a 4.03 ERA in 23 starts.

From Aug. 1 through the end of the season, Cobb's seven wins tied him with Ryan Dempster of the Rangers and Hisashi Iwakuma of the Mariners for the American League lead. Other highlights included Cobb's 10-strikeout performance on June 17 against the Marlins and his first career shutout, which came Aug. 23, when he allowed the A's just four hits in the Rays' 5-0 win. In the process, Cobb gained experience, further validating the feeling that he belonged in the Major Leagues.

"Everything you do in life, whether it's your job or your hobby, the more repetitions you have, the more time you have of that under your belt, you're more comfortable with that, regardless of whatever that might be," Cobb said. "The comfort factor of going into this season knowing that I've faced the best team in the league at any given time, the hottest bat at any given time, I know I can compete at that level and I know it's up to me that particular day whether I perform or not.

"That's a real weight off your chest, to know that your talent level is capable of competing day in and day out. I'd say just the experience factor. There are a ton of little aspects that go into it, and I think they fall into the category of repetition and knowledge going into each year. Every year, it will get a little better."

If a criticism could be found regarding Cobb's 2012 performance, occasional lapses in damage control could be cited. He allowed eight earned runs early in a June 25 game against the Royals, and he allowed eight earned runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Angels on Aug. 18. To Cobb's credit, he pushed through his struggles to pitch eight innings against the Royals. And, miraculously, he did not take a loss against the Angels, as the Rays rallied to a 10-8 win.

"Consistency is every pitcher's main goal going into every year," Cobb said, "but not so much damage control. I feel like those kinds of games come from the unknown and being kind of timid and shy pitching in that game. You kind of have that in the back of your mind that you don't want to get hit around, and that's when you do get hit around when you're timid and shy. And you don't attack hitters.

"I think knowing that my stuff translates and I know that I can attack any hitter at any time helps with the problems I've had in the past with my consistency."

James Shields and Wade Davis are gone after Tampa Bay traded them to Kansas City. In their absence, Cobb is likely to be in the 2013 rotation, which needs to do some quality work to smooth over for the loss of the pair of right-handers.

"With that trade happening, it improved my odds of getting into that rotation," Cobb said. "It didn't guarantee it, by any means. I still have to work and fight for a spot in Spring Training -- and I know that. I like that aspect of competing, knowing that I have guys around me who are going to take my spot if I don't perform. I figure it's a real healthy system we have working right now.

"It's exciting, and I know that nothing will be given to you in this organization, so I'm ready to prepare like I'm fighting for a spot in the rotation regardless of who is there."


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     The best way to decrease the fat percentage of the body is to decrease the amount of animal fat that we eat. The second best way to decrease the fat percentage of the body is to keep moving.

     The best way to increase the fitness of the body for throwing high quality pitches is to perform baseball pitching specific exercises.

     The best way to prevent blood clots in the area of the pitching arm side first rib is to drive the pitching arm in straight lines toward home plate.

     Unfortunately, Mr. Cobb is not doing any of these three things.

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0037.  With Oliver likely gone, Cecil ready to step up
MLB.com
January 07, 2013

TORONTO, ON: It has become increasingly likely that 19-year veteran Darren Oliver has played his last game for the Blue Jays, a scenario that would leave Toronto without its top left-handed late-inning relief option.

Fellow southpaw Brett Cecil, who will be entering Spring Training as a reliever for the first time in his career, is one player who figures to benefit if Oliver is out of the mix.

"Obviously it would help me out a little bit if he did retire, but I would rather him back on the team, to be honest," Cecil said at the Blue Jays Winter Tour, presented by TD, stop at Rogers Centre on Saturday.

Oliver was an important fixture in Toronto's bullpen last season, tying for the team lead in appearances with 62, while his 10 1/3 innings pitched in high-leverage situations was second most among Blue Jays relievers, according to FanGraphs.com. The 42-year-old was leaned on heavily in a year he posted a career-best 2.06 ERA.

Replacing Oliver's production won't be easy, but Cecil has been equally effective against lefties over the last three seasons, holding left-handed hitters to a .208/.270/.300 batting line, while Oliver has posted a .220/.272/.314 mark. Cecil's numbers against lefties during that span, over a smaller sample than league qualifiers, is among the best in baseball.

The 26-year-old Cecil has been homer-prone throughout his career, but he has a good chance to minimize the long ball by not having to go through lineups multiple times. He didn't allow a home run over his 11 innings of relief work last season and has surrendered just four to left-handers over 337 at-bats since 2010.

After struggling in past stints as a starter, particularly against righties, Cecil could shine as a left-handed specialist, with theoretically more zip on his stuff.

Cecil enjoyed an uptick in velocity following his switch to the bullpen, with his average four-seam fastball spiking from less than 90 mph as a starter to 92 mph over his 12 appearances as a reliever, according to brooksbaseball.net.

"Right now, I feel like the bullpen is that place for me where I can succeed," said Cecil, whose past experiences as a reliever include closing at the University of Maryland. "In college, I had that mentality of going out and blowing it out for one inning, two hitters, one hitter.

"It seems like a better suit for me right now."

Cecil doesn't want to turn the page on starting, but he understands a move to the bullpen could have a positive impact on his career, especially on a Blue Jays team without any vacant rotation spots.

"I would prefer to be in the starting rotation, but in the end, I want to do whatever makes the team successful and whatever makes me successful," Cecil said.

Cecil appears to be a lock to break camp with Toronto based on his track record versus left-handers and the fact he's out of options, which means he would have to clear waivers in order to be sent to the Minors.

Lefty Aaron Loup, who will be competing with Cecil after an impressive rookie campaign, may begin the season at Triple-A Buffalo, but he also stands to benefit in the event Oliver does not return.

Loup held left-handed hitters to a .207/.220/.241 batting line, while holding righties to a .638 OPS.

"It's definitely going to help me out being here last year," said Loup, who posted a 2.64 ERA over 30 2/3 innings. "You kind of know going in that's what I'm going to be doing, is facing lefties. That doesn't mean I can't get right-handers out."

The Blue Jays will have one more lefty in the bullpen in J.A. Happ, who is likely to serve as a long reliever. Right-handers Casey Janssen, Steve Delabar, Brad Lincoln, Esmil Rogers and Sergio Santos, who appeared in just six games last season and is coming off shoulder surgery, are the leading candidates to fill out the remaining spots.

Hard-throwing righty Jeremy Jeffress, who's also out of options, has the potential to emerge in the event of an injury or something performance related.

An Oliver departure would make some decisions easier for Toronto -- especially with Cecil and Rogers being out of options -- but it doesn't settle every job for a Blue Jays bullpen that will look entirely different from the one assembled in Dunedin, Fla., last Spring Training.


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     Baseball pitchers give up home runs when baseball batters correctly anticipate pitches.

     Therefore, when starting, for Mr. Cecil to stop giving up home runs, Mr. Cecil has to throw different pitch sequences to the batters.

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0038.  Hudson progressing with Tommy John recovery
MLB.com
January 09, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ: When the season ended for the Arizona Diamondbacks, the work was just beginning for Daniel Hudson.

The D-backs right-hander saw his season come to an end on June 26 in Atlanta when he sustained an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery the following month.

For the rest of the season, Hudson could only watch as the D-backs limped to an 81-81 finish.

"You go from doing something that you've done every single day for pretty much your entire life, and you have an injury like this and you can't do anything that relates to it even closely for four months, and it's just kind of crazy," Hudson said. "When your team is out there fighting hard and trying to get on a winning streak and you're sitting at home or in the dugout just watching and can't do anything to help, it takes a mental toll on you."

Hudson began rehabbing toward the end of the regular season and began throwing a tennis ball the first week of November.

"I was obviously wondering, 'Is it ready to go?'" Hudson said of his thoughts prior to throwing for the first time. "The first one was kind of hesitant and then it's like, 'I know how to do this.' It's like getting up and riding a bike again.

"We started slow, we started throwing a tennis ball for the first week just to get that motion back, and that was actually more difficult than throwing a baseball because it was so light. I had no idea where that tennis ball was going. The next week we were just tossing a baseball back and forth -- I don't think it was even 30 feet. And then we just progressed it from there like 15 or 20 feet every week."

In December, Hudson was playing catch from just over 100 feet.

Initially, his workouts took place near his home in Gilbert, Ariz., with D-backs head athletic trainer Ken Crenshaw. Hudson was given a few weeks off to head back to his native Virginia for the holidays, and when he returned, he and Crenshaw began working at the team's Salt River Fields Spring Training facility.

Hudson was expected to be a key part of the D-backs' rotation last year after going 16-12 with a 3.49 ERA in 33 starts in 2011. However, shoulder problems and then the elbow injury limited him to just nine starts.

The D-backs' starting rotation figures to be Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill, Brandon McCarthy and Wade Miley, with the fifth starter likely coming down to rookies Tyler Skaggs and Patrick Corbin.

So far there have been no setbacks in Hudson's rehab, and he is hopeful that he can return to the Arizona rotation in July.

"Obviously, you don't want to rush it because it's such a major injury, but I would say around the All-Star break either right before or right after would be pretty realistic," Hudson said. "That would put me right at 12 months, which is pretty close to average for people to recover from Tommy John. If it's a couple weeks before, it could happen that way, or if it's a couple weeks after, it could happen that way, but I would say the All-Star break is pretty realistic."


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     Diamondback baseball pitcher, Daniel Hudson, said:

01. "We started slow, we started throwing a tennis ball for the first week just to get that motion back, and that was actually more difficult than throwing a baseball because it was so light.
02. "I had no idea where that tennis ball was going."
03. "The next week we were just tossing a baseball back and forth -- I don't think it was even 30 feet."
04. "And then we just progressed it from there like 15 or 20 feet every week."

     That's funny, Mr. Hudson did not say anything about eliminating the injurious flaw that ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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0039.  Former first-rounder Johnson eyes revival with Pirates
MLB.com
January 07, 2013

The Pirates' annual pre-Spring Training voluntary workouts are under way at Pirate City. This year, the conclave is living up to one of its chief purposes, a greet-and-meet mixer for newcomers to the organization.

General manager Neal Huntington likes the gathering, open to players on the 40-man roster and invited others, because "guys enjoy getting to know each other, and it's the first stage to turning the page [from the offseason] and getting everybody's baseball energies flowing again."

The "getting to know" part will be enhanced by various social outings after each morning's workouts, from Monday night's BCS championship game viewing party to golf and fishing junkets.

Veterans who have dropped by Bradenton, Fla., to turn the spigot on their energies are Clint Barmes and Jose Tabata, with Charlie Morton also on site to continue his escalating rehab from summer Tommy John surgery. Attendees also include such top prospects as right-handers Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole and catcher Tony Sanchez.

But nearly half of the three dozen going through drills are new Pirates. They include three-fourths of the package acquired from Boston in the recent Joel Hanrahan-Brock Holt deal -- infielders Jerry Sands and Ivan De Jesus Jr., and right-hander Stolmy Pimentel. Other fresh faces belong to Andrew Oliver, Clint Robinson, Vin Mazzaro and Zach Stewart.

One missing face, neither new nor fresh, could become quite significant when the real deal begins on Feb. 11 with the first formal workout for Pirates batterymen. Kris Johnson is too busy starring for Escogido in the Dominican Republic Winter League playoffs to make it to Pirate City, but the left-hander will be there soon enough to try to pitch his way into the Bucs' plans.

Johnson could throw his hat into the ring of rotation candidates and compete with Jeff Locke, Kyle McPherson, Oliver, Mazzaro and others. Or he could emerge as a viable candidate to provide a second lefty arm in the bullpen, next to Tony Watson.

In the Dominican, Johnson has continued his dramatic rise from obscurity. Or, his return to faded stature. It's a matter of how one chooses to look at it -- but, either way, he'll be in camp on a non-roster basis to take advantage of the opportunity offered by holes in the Pirates' staff.

Obscurity? The 6-foot-4, 170-pounder ended 2011 pitching for the Kansas City T-Bones in an independent league, where most careers dead-end, not take off.

Stature? In 2006, he was drafted by Boston in the first round -- a bit later than other first-rounders such as Clayton Kershaw, Tim Lincecum and Ian Kennedy.

Years of subsequent progress -- by 2008, he ranked as the Red Sox's fourth-highest pitching prospect, per Baseball America -- came crashing down in 2009-10 with a 9-26 record for Pawtucket, and his release in May 2011 with a 12.63 ERA for the Triple-A club.

The road then led to Kansas City, and a U-turn. Transitioning with the Pirates to a swing role, Johnson began 2012 by going 3-2 with one save and a 2.09 ERA in nine starts and six relief appearances for Double-A Altoona. Promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis, he went 5-2 in 20 games (four starts), with a 4.53 ERA.

Pan to the Dominican: He fashioned an ERA of 0.67 in six regular-season games, allowing a total of only 11 hits in 27 innings. In a 3-2 playoff win on Saturday, Johnson stayed hot by giving up one run in seven innings.

Johnson had been a mere Draft afterthought (50th-round pick by the Angels in 2003) after a prep career at Blue Springs (Mo.) High School that produced five no-hitters, but that was probably due to his perceived commitment to attend Wichita State University. His college career derailed with Tommy John surgery in 2005, but not even that could dissuade Boston from signing him for an $850,000 bonus.

Never a power pitcher, Johnson grew to rely even more on eliciting grounders after the elbow surgery took away his plus-curve. In its place, he has developed a premium changeup as an out pitch to complement a fastball in the 90-93 mph range.


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     Instead of an annual pre-Spring Training voluntary workouts in their spring training center, all major league teams should have their players training from the day after the season ends until spring training starts.

     Until all the players have mastered every skill require to be the best baseball player that they can be, all players need to spend every off-season improving their skills.

     Then, during every off-season thereafter, all players need to maintain their skills, but, because as they age, their ability to physiologically respond to the stresses of competition, all players need to train more intensely.

     Rest is the enemy of fitness and skill maintenance.

     The only way to delay the aging process from eroding their baseball skills is to perform these skills every day for as long as baseball players want to be able to perform these skills every day.

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0040.  Padres have a quality arm in lefty Erlin
MLB.com
January 07, 2013

It goes without saying that the best trades benefit both teams. However, many times trades involving prospects for veteran players take several years to be evaluated fairly.

At the non-waiver Trade Deadline in July 2011, the Texas Rangers and San Diego Padres proved to be a good match as trade partners.

The Rangers sought a shut-down-type reliever to add strength to the back end of their bullpen. The Padres were looking for quality starting pitching prospects who could be developed in their system.

The Rangers were able to acquire veteran right-handed reliever Mike Adams from San Diego. The Padres received two potential starting pitchers in right-handed prospect Joe Wieland and lefty Robbie Erlin. Both pitchers were highly rated in what at the time was a pitching-rich Rangers organization.

While Adams contributed to a Rangers run to the World Series, he has now moved on and will be pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies. Wieland is recovering from Tommy John surgery he had this past July. Erlin has recovered from an inflamed elbow that cost him three months this past season for the Padres' Double-A San Antonio club.

The Rangers selected Erlin in the third round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. He was chosen following his successful high school career at Scotts Valley High School in California. While at Scotts Valley, Erlin had a 9-1 composite record with a remarkable 0.63 ERA. He struck out 125 in 62 innings. His dad, Rick Erlin, is now the head coach of that baseball program.

At the beginning of his professional career, Erlin showed an ability to command his pitches and throw strikes. He earned a reputation as a reliable, economical control pitcher with a complete repertoire and an ability to keep his team in the game.

In his first full season, Erlin pitched for Class A Hickory in the South Atlantic League. He had a 6-3 record with a 2.12 ERA and 0.924 WHIP. He was striking out almost 10 hitters per nine innings while walking only one per nine innings.

His outstanding rookie season earned Erlin promotions in 2011 to high Class A Myrtle Beach (Texas) and Double-A Frisco (Texas), as well as San Antonio after he was traded to the Padres. He threw to a combined 9-4 record, starting 25 games and throwing 147 1/3 innings.

When healthy this past season, Erlin pitched well for San Antonio, fashioning a 3-1 record with a very impressive 2.92 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP in 52 1/3 innings. He struck out 72 and walked only 14.

In an effort to make up for lost time due to his elbow strain, Erlin was assigned to pitch in the Arizona Fall League for the Peoria Javelinas. He started seven games, throwing 23 2/3 high-quality innings.

The longer I watched Erlin, the more he reminded me of Ted Lilly. Now 37, Lilly has pitched parts of 14 big league seasons. The 22-year-old Erlin, who is one inch shorter at 5-foot-11 and the same weight as Lilly at 190 pounds, has a similar repertoire of fastball, curve and changeup.

Erlin's mound mechanics are extremely smooth, and he has shown an ability to repeat his delivery with no sign of extraneous movement or variation in his release point and follow through.

During the AFL, Erlin seemed to gain a bit of velocity as the game progressed. His fastball went from the high 80's to sitting at 90-to-91 miles per hour from the first to the fifth inning.

While most of his pitch sequences were triggered by his fastball, he changed velocities with effective curveballs and changeups that altered the eye levels of hitters. Dropping in velocity with a curveball in the mid-70s, Erlin confused hitters, as they didn't know what pitch was coming. In general, his changeup had great life at anywhere from 77-to-80 miles per hour.

Erlin showed the ability to throw all three pitches in his repertoire for strikes. It was not uncommon for him to get ahead in the count with fastballs and finish the hitter with secondary pitches. If a hitter showed vulnerability to offspeed and breaking balls, Erlin would confine his pitch sequence exclusively to those secondary pitches, not offering to show the hitter a fastball.

It was that mound intelligence, that savvy approach to attacking hitters that caused me to believe in Erlin as a projectable, high-quality starting pitcher.

Erlin's history his shown him to be a fly-ball pitcher. In spacious Petco Park, his fly-ball rate should not be an issue. Even if he does yield home runs on the road, they may not come with many men on base due to his ability to limit walks.

The Padres' front office has done an outstanding job identifying and assembling a deep organizational talent pool that includes young pitchers. While pitching injuries are certainly not rare, the Padres have experienced more than their fair share. Yet, despite countless lost innings due to injury, efforts continue to stock the organization with viable pitching options.

From what I have seen, based upon his mound presence, his repertoire, his command and his control, Erlin is an important part of the Padres' pitching future.

Ranked as the No. 8 prospect in the Padres' system by MLB.com, Erlin has the ability to fit in the middle of a starting rotation and give his club quality starts that provide them with a chance to stay in the game and win.


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     In this article, the sportswriter evaluated lefty Robbie Erlin.

     The sportswiter said:

01. "Erlin's mound mechanics are extremely smooth."
02. "Erlin has shown an ability to repeat his delivery."
03. "Erlin's delivery has no sign of extraneous movement or variation in his release point and follow through.
04. "During the Arizona Fall League, Erlin seemed to gain a bit of velocity."
05. "His fastball went from the high 80's to sitting at 90-to-91 miles per hour from the first to the fifth inning.
06. "While most of his pitch sequences were triggered by his fastball, he changed velocities with effective curveballs and changeups that altered the eye levels of hitters.
07. "Dropping in velocity with a curveball in the mid-70s, Erlin confused hitters, as they didn't know what pitch was coming."
08. "In general, his changeup had great life at anywhere from 77-to-80 miles per hour.
09. "Erlin showed the ability to throw all three pitches in his repertoire for strikes."
10. "It was not uncommon for him to get ahead in the count with fastballs and finish the hitter with secondary pitches."
11. "If a hitter showed vulnerability to offspeed and breaking balls, Erlin would confine his pitch sequence exclusively to those secondary pitches, not offering to show the hitter a fastball."

     While I disagree with starting batters with fastballs, otherwise, the sportswriter described a potentially successful major league baseball pitcher.

     However, I would like to know more about the inflammed pitching elbow that cost Mr. Erlin three months in his 2012 Double-A season.

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0041.  Tigers GM Dombrowski blunt: 'You can't have six starters"
Detroit News
January 07, 2013

A script is being memorized ahead of the Tigers' piling into buses for their January caravan, which gets rolling in two weeks.

It is text written by and for Rick Porcello. And it no doubt reads something like this:

"I have no idea what the team has planned for me. It's out of my control. I'm just going to prepare for the season and be ready to pitch and to do my job.

"If I'm traded, I'm traded. If I stay in Detroit, great. I love it here. Love my teammates. Love where we're headed in 2013. Excited by the chance to play in another World Series. But this is all out of my hands."

Porcello, to his credit, will be unflappable as he recites his response to queries asked at all points, from Detroit to the shores of Lake Michigan as the caravan wheels statewide ahead of the Jan. 26 TigerFest bash at Comerica Park.

He has little choice as the Tigers appear ready to trade him rather than to try and stuff six starters into a five-man rotation.

Dave Dombrowski has never for a moment doused speculation that a starter will be swapped and that it probably will be Porcello, whose right arm, track record, and upside at age 24 make him the Tigers Pitcher Most Likely To Be Dealt.

The Tigers front-office boss will not say as much because, diplomatically, he can't announce he's shopping a particular person. But every general manager across baseball knows Porcello is available and that the Tigers have had heavy conversations about him.

"That scenario has been out there for a while, and really, it's no different today," Dombrowski said Monday, speaking of trade talk, generally. "These are the types of things that you allow to sort themselves out, and so I don't spend time speculating about deals.

"We do have six starters who are very capable pitchers."

Smyly stays?

For various reasons Porcello is viewed as the Tigers' most saleable pitching merchandise.

Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez are, in January 2013, stronger right-handed starters.

Drew Smyly, who was impressive during his 2012 baptism, is a left-handed pitcher the Tigers need as a starter when the division and baseball at-large feature so many lethal left-handed batters.

Porcello probably impresses opposing teams more than he has charmed Tigers fans. Rival general managers see a pitcher who can digest 180 innings, who throws a 95-mph fastball alongside his two-seam sinker, who tosses strikes, and whose contract ($3.1 million in 2012, arbitration-eligible this year) and trade price (reasonable package in return) are affordable when Porcello doesn't hit free agency until 2016.

Presented with the practical evidence, Porcello is simply the easier, and preferable, choice to be dealt by a Tigers team that could use some help in return, either at shortstop, or in an outfield that could afford more muscle.

Comerica Park customers, lots of them, aren't so sure this makes sense. Hang on to Porcello, they say. You'll soon need him.

Probably true. Starting rotations rarely make it through a season without at least one big boy crashing the disabled list for days or weeks of refurbishing.

Hanging onto a dependable innings-eater is saving a pitcher for a rainy day, and in baseball it isn't only April that's famed for showers.

But it's not that simple, this idea of stockpiling starting pitchers.

Starters need to pitch every fifth day, ideally for six or more innings. Their arms are long-distance motors that typically do not benefit from excessive rest or random bullpen shifts.

Porcello could work as a long reliever. But it would not be in the Tigers' interests to take a guy who has the capacity to pitch 180-plus innings and make him a reliever or spot-starter. His value and trade price would be diminished unnecessarily when there are ample options for long relief.

Then hang onto Porcello, the crowd says, and warehouse Smyly at Triple A Toledo. Smyly is three years out of college. He had two disabled-list stints in 2012. He has never pitched more than 126 innings in professional baseball.

Valid points. But, again, impractical arguments when Smyly has shown he is ready for regular work and when April's chopped-up schedule and probable rainouts mean Smyly won't be needed in a regular rhythm until May.

Still time to make a deal

Dombrowski is happy to hand Smyly a regular rotation load.

"He would be able to go at this point," said Dombrowski, who on Tuesday heads to the quarterly owners' meetings at Scottsdale, Ariz. "He's pitched a lot of innings in college (103 in 2010, the year he was drafted). We would progress him like any young pitcher. But he's ready to pitch."

Dombrowski's words confirm that unless Smyly has an injury or has problems no more anticipated from him than from other Tigers starters, he will be part of manager Jim Leyland's rotation quintet on Opening Day.

What that means for Porcello is as obvious today as it was the day last month when owner Mike Ilitch decided to pay Sanchez $80 million for a five-year renewal in Detroit.

Porcello will almost certainly be traded. If not this month, which is the percentage bet, then at some point between now and April when another team's interest and the Tigers' trade needs converge.

"You can't have six starters," Dombrowski said. "There have been situations where guys work out of the bullpen in long relief, or you send guys to Triple A. But if you take a guy who's been in long relief for three months, you can't start him (regularly) right away. You've got to build him up.

"So, it's just a matter of timing. Everyone (front offices) just got back. There's still a lot of talking going on for a lot of people."

Heavy among the conversationalists will be a team from Detroit. First among discussion topics will be Porcello, which is why it will be wise for a young pitcher to rehearse that script as he patiently awaits his fate in 2013.


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     Because Tigers general manager Mr. Dombrowski believes that he can get more by trading Mr. Porcello than by trading Mr. Smyly, Mr. Dombroski plans to trade Mr. Porcello.

     However, while Mr. Porcellos pitches 180 innings without injuries, Mr. Smyly had two disabled-list stints in 2012.

     General managers should never trade the best of two choices.

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0042.  Liriano's two-year deal with Pirates in limbo after injury
MLB.com
January 08, 2013

The Pirates' agreement with left-hander Francisco Liriano, struck three weeks ago, appears to be off due to an injury suffered by the pitcher to his non-throwing right arm.

According to a Major League source, Liriano suffered the unspecified injury in late December, shortly after he and the club had come to terms on a two-year, $12.75 million contract.

The injury is serious enough to have precluded Liriano from traveling from his home in the Dominican Republic to Pittsburgh to undergo the prerequisite physical to make the agreement official.

The Pirates are believed to be in continuing talks with the Liriano camp, likely trying to negotiate new terms.

General manager Neal Huntington said the club continues "to have dialogue with Francisco's representatives, but there is nothing to announce at this time."

The club never made any official announcement regarding the 29-year-old left-hander, thus it didn't feel any need to backtrack upon disclosure of the injury.

"We announce and acknowledge transactions when they are official," Huntington said. "News of any agreement never came from us."

Liriano was expected to fill a spot in the middle of the Pirates' rotation, behind A.J. Burnett and lefty Wandy Rodriguez, and ahead of James McDonald.

He went 6-12 in 2012, splitting the season between the Twins and the White Sox. He has a career record of 53-54, including seasons of 12-3 in 2006 and 14-10 in 2010, both with Minnesota.


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     Shortly after Mr. Liriano came to terms on a two-year $12.75 million contract, Mr. Liriano injured his glove arm.

     While glove arm injuries can negatively affect the quality of pitching arm actions, with two months before spring training, Mr. Liriano should have sufficient time for his glove arm injury to heal.

     This sounds like a negotiating ploy.

     To verify, we need more information about the glove arm injury.

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0043.  Howell and Dodgers finalize $2.85 million deal
Associated Press
January 08, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA: Left-hander J.P. Howell and the Los Angeles Dodgers have finalized a $2.85 million, one-year contract.

The 29-year-old reliever was 1-0 with a 3.04 ERA in 55 games for the Tampa Bay Rays last season and held left-handed batters to a .200 average (17 for 85).

He has a 21-23 record with a 4.42 ERA in 33 starts and 234 relief appearances for Kansas City (2005) and Tampa Bay (2006-12).

Howell can earn $750,000 based on relief appearances: $75,000 for 50, $125,000 for 55, $150,000 for 60 and $200,000 each for 65 and 70. He also can earn $300,000 for innings; $50,000 each for 50, 55, 65 and 70, and $100,000 for 75.

Howell also has $700,000 in games finished bonuses: $100,000 each for 30, 35 and 40, and $200,000 apiece for 45 and 50.

The deal was agreed to last week and announced Monday.


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

     Because professional teams are able to prevent players from having the opportunity to earn incentive bonuses, I disagree with incentives being a part of contracts.

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0044.  Texas could reward Harrison with multi-year deal
MLB.com
January 08, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX: Matt Harrison is getting at least one reward for his outstanding 2012 season. He will be honored on Friday night as the Rangers Pitcher of the Year at the club's annual awards show at the Arlington Convention Center.

"It's very humbling for many reasons," Harrison said. "Being where I was a few years ago, not knowing if I had a place on the team, struggling with adversity, reading negative things about you. But it made me a stronger person and more motivated."

The awards will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday at the Convention Center. But Pitcher of the Year is just the first reward that Harrison may receive this offseason. A multiyear contract might also be in the works.

Harrison is eligible for arbitration and won't be a free agent until after the 2014 season. But the Rangers have also broached the possibility of a multiyear contract with his agent earlier this winter.

"It's kind of like preliminary stuff; nothing has become serious yet," Harrison said Monday night from his offseason home in North Carolina. "That's something that will be good to get done before Spring Training. With the holidays and free agency, there hasn't been much said about it.

"The main thing as long as my family is happy and taken care of, if something like that happens, I'd be up for it. It would be a place to call home for the next four or five years. I like the guys I play with and I like Texas. It will be a good thing."

It may be something that happens in Spring Training. The Rangers signed Derek Holland to a five-year, $28.5 million contract last spring. Harrison settled for a one-year deal worth $2.95 million while avoiding an arbitration hearing with no serious discussions about a long-term deal.

Harrison responded by going 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA and being named to the American League All-Star team. Holland, after winning 16 games in 2011, was 12-7 with a 4.67 ERA while missing time on the disabled list with a stomach virus.

Holland said earlier this offseason that he is using Harrison as a role model to get better as a pitcher. Harrison, who likes to seclude himself with his family away from baseball during the offseason, said he hasn't had a chance to speak with Holland about that yet.

"That would be something to talk about in Spring Training," Harrison said. "I don't get into that stuff in the offseason. But he has the stuff to be a good pitcher for a long time. It's just a matter of him figuring out some of the same things I did, like avoiding the big inning. Don't let that get out of hand. I was able to stay away from that last year. He'll figure it out too."

That's something Harrison is still working on in an offseason workout regimen that is just getting started. He has begun throwing off flat ground and expects to get on the mound soon in preparation for pitchers and catchers reporting on Feb. 12.

"I want to stick to the same routine I had last offseason," Harrison said. "I'll get more into it once I get off the mound. I want to work on my sequence of pitches when I get off the mound. I'm thinking back on games that were rough and work through some of the tougher situations and continue that through Spring Training. See if I can catch some things before it gets out of proportion."

Harrison remains motivated. He finished the 2010 season as a little-used reliever and was not on the postseason roster. He was the Rangers' fourth starter during their 2011 run to the World Series. He emerged along with Yu Darvish as one of their top two starters in 2012, but did not get a chance to pitch in the playoffs because the Rangers were knocked out in the one-game Wild Card round against the Orioles.

The Rangers have high expectations for Harrison in 2013. Their interest in exploring a long-term contract with him only reinforces their confidence in their Pitcher of the Year.


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     The article said that, because Mr. Harrison learned how to prevent the big inning, Mr. Harrison had a great 2012 season.

     When inning start poorly, for example, the lead-off batter hits a double, baseball pitchers have to forget about the base runner on second base and do everything that they can to get the first out of the inning.

     When baseball pitchers try to prevent the base runner on second with no outs from advancing to third, they end up putting more batters on base. This means that, at times, baseball pitchers have to give up one run to prevent three runs from scoring.

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0045.  Marshall Lid Drill - Rear Side View

You wrote: "03. Marshall Lid Drill - Rear Side View In this view, it is clear that your seventeen year old son needs to use his glove arm to move the acromial line toward home plate. To do this, he needs to drive his glove elbow laterally to the pitching arm side of his body and arch his back.

What?


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     Your son is working hard on forwardly rotating the entire pitching arm side of his body. However, because he does not reverse rotate the non-pitching arm side of his body, he does not get the glove arm side of his acromial line in line with his pitching arm side.

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0046.  YouTube videos of the Lid drill

I will take these in the order reviewed, using your numbers.

01. Is 45 degrees too little?  Would more horizontal be better?

02. Is the acetabular line being 45 degrees in front of perpendicular to the driveline too little?  Are you saying with that better use of the glove arm would improve this?

03. I don't follow this instruction.


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01. To drive the pitching forearm forward at forty-five degrees inside of vertical is fabulous.

02. To forwardly rotate the hips forty-five degrees in front of perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate is fabulous.

     However, to point the acromial line at home plate, the shoulders need to forwardly rotate another forty-five degrees. Without reverse rotating the glove arm side of the acromial line, your son cannot point his acromial line at home plate. This should be a simple skill adjustment.

03. I hope that what I wrote above clarifies what your son needs to do with his glove arm.

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0047.  Marshall Lid Drill - Rear Side View

What are the gains from getting his glove arm side of his acromial line in line with his pitching arm side?

My guesses:

1. Faster rotation
2. More accuracy (within the 17 inches)
3. A little closer to home plate and therefore, more spin and velocity because your motion increases velocity and spin velocity through release.


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     When my baseball pitchers step forward with their glove foot, they reach straight toward home plate with their pitching fully extended at shoulder height.

     The horizontal pull back of the glove hand toward its shoulder initiates the forward rotation of the entire pitching arm side of the body. This means that, at the end of this glove hand pull back, the pitching hand lies against the front of their glove shoulder.

     Then, as my baseball pitchers crack their pitching arm whip through release, to provide parallel and oppositely-directed body force, I want my baseball pitchers to drive their glove hand laterally toward the pitching arm side of their body. This action will move their glove arm side of the acromial line toward pointing at second base and cause the upper body to vertical. I call this action, arching the upper back.

     With regard to what doing this glove arm action does:

01. It maintains the forward rotation of the entire pitching arm side of the body through release.

02. It enables baseball pitchers to align the entire acromial line to within the seventeen inch width of home plate.

03. It enables baseball pitchers to release their pitches farther down their driveline.

04. The force-coupling between the glove and pitching arms increases release velocity.

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0048.  Marshall Lid Drill - Rear Side View

You wrote:

1. "Crack their pitching arm whip" - love the imagery.

2. "...cause the upper body to vertical." - this has me a little lost.

3. "Force-coupling between glove and pitching arms" - makes sense and more great imagery.


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     When baseball pitchers drive their glove hand laterally to the pitching arm side of their body, that action generates lateral force that causes the shoulders to move laterally. Since, during release, my baseball pitchers are turning the entire pitching arm side of their body toward their glove arm side, this lateral force straightens their upper body, such that they stand taller and rotate faster.

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0049.  Pronation Question

1. If you pronate more after release will that increase velocity?

2. If so how much?

3. Also how many times a week do you recommend doing wrist weight stuff?


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01. Yes.

02. While the primary reason to pronate all pitch releases is to prevent injuries to the back of the pitching elbow, by powerfully turning the Radius bone toward the Ulna bone, like flexing their wrist, baseball pitchers will add to the total force application to the baseball. It is not possible to quantify how much more force pronation adds to the total force that baseball pitchers apply.

03. Up to sixteen biological years old, I recommend that youth baseball pitchers complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program. Therefore, they need to do my wrist weight exercises for sixty consecutive days.

     From sixteen to nineteen biological years old, I recommend that adolescent baseball pitchers complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program. Therefore, they need to do my wrist weight exercises for one hundred and twenty consecutive days.

     After nineteen biological years old, I recommend that adult baseball pitchers complete my 280 or 720 Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program. Therefore, they need to do my wrist weight exercises for two hundred and eighty to seven hundred and twenty consecutive days.

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0050.  Marshall Lid Drill - Rear Side View

I've had a little more time to ponder this latest information and experiment with it.

1. The glove arm matches the pitching arm.

2. Therefore, the glove arm comes in at a controlled rate that matches the pitching arm going into the slingshot until the final explosion where it needs to match the force of the pitching arm 'cracking the whip'.

3. This creates another force-couple; the glove arm/ pitching arm force couple.

4. Everything part of the body force-couples.

5. Is the above correct?


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01. The glove arm initiates the forward rotation of the entire pitching arm side of the body. However, in general, other than the timing of their actions, the glove and pitching arm action mirror each other.

02. Once again, the glove arm action precedes the pitching arm action.

03. Yes.

04. Yes

05. Mostly.

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0051.  Liriano injured; Pirates signing on hold
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
January 09, 2013

BRADENTON, FL: The Pirates‘ plan to sign free-agent left-hander Francisco Liriano was put on hold — perhaps permanently — when the pitcher injured his right arm sometime around Christmas.

General manager Neal Huntington on Tuesday confirmed the injury. But, citing medical privacy laws, Huntington declined to say how Liriano got hurt or whether the injury would prevent him from being ready for the start of spring training Feb. 12.

“We continue to have dialogue with Francisco‘s (agent), but there is nothing to announce at this time,” Huntington said.

On Dec. 21, the Pirates and Liriano agreed to the framework of a two-year, $12.75 million contract. The deal was pending the completion of a physical exam by Liriano, who lives in the Dominican Republic in the offseason.

Liriano, 29, pitched last year for the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox and went a combined 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA and a 1.468 WHIP. He has a fastball that touches 95 mph but also has put up a plus-5.00 ERA and averaged five walks per nine innings each of the past two seasons.

The Pirates wanted Liriano to fill the No. 3 spot in their starting rotation behind veterans A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez. Righty James McDonald, who was erratic last year, would have gone into the No. 4 slot, with one of two rookies — Kyle McPherson or Jeff Locke — in the final spot. Chris Leroux could be an option because the Pirates plan to convert him from a reliever to a starter during spring training.

Right-hander Charlie Morton is recovering from Tommy John surgery and isn‘t expected back until midseason at the earliest. Management would prefer to have top pitching prospect Gerrit Cole begin the season at Triple-A Indianapolis.

Kyle Lohse, Shaun Marcum and Joe Saunders are the top free agents still available. The Pirates could try to re-sign Jeff Karstens, whom they non-tendered in November. Huntington also did not rule out standing pat with his current mix of pitchers.


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     Medical privacy laws prevent Pirates general manager, Neal Huntington, from telling us how Mr. Liriano injured his glove arm or whether the injury will prevent Mr. Liriano from being ready to competitively pitch at the start of spring training.

     With a combined 6-12 win-loss record, five walks per nine innings and a 5.34 ERA in 2012, I don't want to hear that Mr. Huntington offered Mr. Liriano a $12.75 million two-year contract.

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0052.  Rockies give Corpas invitation to spring training
MLB.com
January 09, 2013

DENVER, CO: The Rockies have looked to an old friend to help with their new pitching plan.

Right-hander Manny Corpas, the closer on the 2007 Rockies club that went to the only World Series in team history, rejoined the Rockies on Wednesday, agreeing to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to Major League sources. With Corpas two seasons removed from the elbow surgery he underwent at the end of the 2010 season, the Rockies believe he can fill a hybrid relief role.

Corpas, 30, who earned 19 saves in the regular season and five in the postseason after taking over as closer during the 2007 campaign, was with the Rockies from 2006-10, with the final years affected by elbow problems. After sitting out the 2011 season, Corpas made 48 appearances for the Cubs last season and went 0-2 with a 5.01 ERA. Corpas became a free agent when he refused outright assignment to the Minors after the season.

The Rockies' 40-man Major League roster is full, which is why Corpas is coming to camp as a non-roster invitee. But the club, counting on him to return to the slider that made him special, sees him as a serious candidate to claim one of the bullpen spots.

The pursuit of Corpas sheds light on how the Rockies plan to build their bullpen in 2013 under new manager Walt Weiss. During the latter part of last season, with Jim Tracy managing, the Rockies went with four starting pitchers and three hybrids, throwing on a rotation, who would take over after the starter threw roughly 75 pitches or was facing the lineup the third time. The plan didn't take root, as Tracy often felt hamstrung in setting matchups and was nervous about how long extra-inning games would affect the staff in following days. The Rockies went back to five starters before the regular season ended.

But the Rockies found value in the hybrid role. There will be a five-man rotation and the pitch count will be relaxed somewhat -- to upwards of 90 pitches but not likely to much over 100. Corpas is a candidate to be one of the hybrids, who will be expected to face right- and left-handed hitters and be versatile enough to pitch multiple innings or come in and escape jams.

The Rockies believe these hybrids can be late relief-types, like Corpas or organization arms such as Edgmer Escaolona, Will Harris or Rob Scahill. They also could be starter-types, which would give those who don't make the starting rotation a landing spot. Righty Adam Ottavino, a former starter with the Cardinals, had positive results in a hybrid role last season. Someone like lefty Josh Outman, who will be given a shot at the rotation, or Daniel Rosenbaum, a Rule 5 pick from the Nationals, also could fit in the hybrid role.

The rest of the projected seven-man bullpen would be right-handed setup men Matt Belisle and Wilton Lopez, left-handed setup man Rex Brothers and veteran closer Rafael Betancourt.

The structure would eliminate two roles that the Rockies felt didn't have as much value -- long reliever, who would eat up innings if a starter were to exit early, and the left-handed specialist.

Being against the roster limit also is a complication as the Rockies seek a proven starting pitcher who profiles well at Coors Field -- meaning low walks and a high percentage of ground-ball outs. The Rockies are known to be looking at low-risk pitchers, some who could be signed under Minor League contracts. To add a significant free agent with a Major League contract, the Rockies will have to clear room and want to also clear some salary.

The Rockies acknowledged last week that they will be present at the throwing session of former Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb, who has not pitched in the Majors since 2009 because of shoulder problems.

Other free agents that could be on the team's radar are right-handers Derek Lowe, Chris Volstad and Carl Pavano. The team also could take a look at Jeff Karstens and Aaron Cook, who did the best pitching of his career with Colorado.

The Rockies were listening to offers for arbitration-eligible center fielder Dexter Fowler -- not wanting to deal him but believing they could settle their pitching needs with the right trade. However, talks with various teams seem to have lost traction.

The Rockies also could move veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez, due $3.2 million this year to complete his two-year deal. They also could listen if teams call about lefty Jorge De La Rosa, who was injured in 2011 and missed most of 2012. De La Rosa, reported to be healthy, is due $11 million this season. Dealing him would clear plenty of payroll, but the Rockies would either have to receive the pitcher they want in return or clearly have a bead on such a pitcher in free agency.


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     In 2012, the Rockies limited their starting pitchers to 75 pitches per game. At 4.5 to 5 pitches per batter, this meant that starting pitchers would pitch to 15 to 18 batter, or twice through the line-up.

     Unless starting pitchers are able to throw three of the four types of baseball pitches, i.e., a fastball, a breaking ball and a reverse breaking ball, when guessing what pitch baseball pitchers will throw them, baseball batters only have to chose between two pitches.

     Therefore, two-pitch starting pitchers have difficulty getting outs the third time through the line-up.

     However, 2012 field manager, Jim Tracy, 'felt hamstrung in setting matchups and was nervous about how long extra-inning games would affect the staff in following days.

     Therefore, before that regular season ended, the Rockies went back to the five-man rotation.

     As a result, in 2013, the Rockied will increase the pitch count to 90 to about 100 pitches per game. These additional 25 pitches will enable these starters to pitch to 5-7 more batters the third time through the line-up.

     Unfortunately, the Rockies have not taught their five starters to throw three types of pitches.

     By the way, sliders and curves do not count as two types of pitches. They are both breaking pitches.

     Nevertheless, the Rockies found value in the hybrid role.

     The Rockies management expect 'hybrid' pitchers to successfully pitch to right and left-handed hitters, pitch multiple innings and come in during bad innings and escape jams.

     Without teaching and training their baseball pitchers how to master the wide variety of high-quality pitches that they need succeed against the four types of baseball batters, the Rockies will continue to flounder.

     In the thin air of Denver, pull sinkers do not sink.

     If only to hear what I had to say, Mr. O'Dowd should have returned my call.

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0053.  Pirates chairman seeks 'balance' in training drills
MLB.com
January 09, 2013

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: Spring Training is right around the corner, and Pirates chairman Bob Nutting is eager see his team back in the field, preparing to improve on the promise of the 2012 season.

"I'm really looking forward to that. Everybody is looking forward to next season," Nutting said in an interview with MLB.com at MLB's Owners Meetings in Scottsdale. "We need to move forward in 2013. I really think we have a lot of opportunity to continue the momentum we've built the last two years. And that will begin on Day One in Spring Training.

"I spent some time with [manager Clint Hurdle] during the holidays, and he is an absolutely focused team leader. The question is how do we make sure we start off on the right tone and are mentally and physically prepared to play 162 games?"

Part of that preparation will involve the continuation of supplemental physical and mental toughness drills culled from military organizations, such as the Navy SEALS. The key, Nutting said, is that the focus remain on baseball, with the additional training serving to enhance the players' mental and physical preparation for the long grind of the baseball season.

"It's crystal clear we're not running a boot camp, a paramilitary operation," Nutting said. "The focus must be and has been on baseball. Competing on a championship level is the single-minded focus. But getting to that point clearly is about more than simply rolling balls out and having people do drills.

"We need to make sure we find the right balance, and if that balance includes drawing lessons from a group like the Navy SEALS -- an elite organization that has mental toughness and performs at the highest level -- can we learn from that? Yes."

Nutting's comments sharply contradicted a widespread perception that the chairman had ordered the training methods to cease, likely as a result of his comments to the media in early November. On that occassion, he addressed the training program, which had become an issue of contention with some members of the Pittsburgh media: "I believe that our primary responsibility is to develop baseball players to play baseball and win championships at PNC Park. If we can find the appropriate balance, where we have the safety of our players utmost in mind, that we have the baseball development utmost in mind, we can supplement that baseball focus with additional drills for team-building training."

That did not differ at all from his message Wednesday. He continues to support club president Frank Coonelly -- who was rebuked less than a month ago at PirateFest for saying, "We'll never apologize for any affiliation with the United States military in our mental conditioning" -- and general manager Neal Huntington, who has drawn frequent and pointed criticism for his occasional references to Pirate City drills.

"I think Neal has it exactly right," Nutting said Wednesday. "We train well. I have a lot of personal respect for the military; my brother-in-law just retired from the Marine Corps, a fighter pilot. We do a lot of work with veterans and would never put ourselves in position to disrespect them. Frankly, I believe it would be wrong to think that an elite program in another area does not offer lessons we can learn about driving mental toughness. There have been some creative ideas, and we do need to make sure we find that balance.

"The training our guys went through last summer isn't boot-camp training. We need to make sure we're not cutting off good, valuable training tools and techniques. But we don't want to swing too far; we need to make sure we understand we are focused on baseball."

That focus will grow sharper in a month, when the Bucs open Spring Training in Bradenton, Fla.


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     To become the best baseball players that they can become, baseball players need to train as hard and purposeful as they are able every day. That training must be specific to the skills that they need to succeed.

     My interval-training drills for baseball pitchers are highly specific to the baseball pitching skills that baseball pitchers need to succeed.

     Therefore, I agree with the concept that an 'elite organization that has mental toughness that performs every day at the highest level.'

     I did that every day of my professional baseball career.

     Unfortunately for the Pirates chairman, Bob Nutting, nobody in the Pirates organization knows how to design interval-training programs for baseball pitchers and position players that increase fitness and skills.

     Nevertheless, that the Pirates want their players to work hard is a start.

     Now, if they only knew who knows how to design specific interval-training programs that teach and train baseball players the skills that they need to succeed.

     I would love the opportunity to explain to Mr. Nutting how to achieve what he envisions.

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0054.  For starters, little relief when moving from bullpen
MLB.com
January 09, 2013

Despite plenty of examples to draw from in recent years, Reds skipper Dusty Baker won't exactly have a foolproof blueprint when it comes to managing Aroldis Chapman's highly anticipated move to the starting rotation this season.

Indeed, one doesn't need to go back any further than last year to see both extremes of the high-risk, high-reward transition.

At the start of the 2012 season, five young relievers -- Chris Sale of the White Sox, Lance Lynn of the Cardinals, Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs, Neftali Feliz of the Rangers and Daniel Bard of the Red Sox -- joined starting rotations. Among them, the results ranged from a Cy Young-contending performance to a demotion to Triple-A to a season-ending injury.

"I think everyone will want to know the plan and a solid, hard number for innings," Reds pitching coach Bryan Price said. "I get it. It's a point of interest. It's a great talking point. It will be a debatable issue. Whatever we choose to do, there's always going to be an opposing side that feels we could do things better. We have to be satisfied with our choices, because our intent will be to get the most out of Aroldis without putting him in a high-risk position."

Luckily for the Reds, the most productive transition last season was made by Sale, whose circumstances most closely resemble those of Chapman.

Sale, like Chapman a hard-throwing lefty, entered the Chicago rotation a season after recording a career-high 71 innings as a reliever. Chapman logged 71 2/3 innings last season.

Sale went 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA in 30 appearances, 29 of them starts, and finished sixth in the voting for the American League Cy Young Award. Along the way, his workload increased by 121 innings from the previous year.

"I think regardless of where people stand on the question, I think the days of hiking a pitcher's innings number by 50 or 60 or 80 innings in today's standards would be considered irresponsible," Price said. "We're going to be very conscientious of that."

Sale's journey didn't come without a bump. He experienced minor discomfort in his elbow in early May, which led to a brief move back to the bullpen and his one relief appearance. Less than a week later, Sale returned to the rotation to stay, going on to pitch 192 innings. He will enter this season as potentially the White Sox top starter.

"He's going to be treated like any other starter," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn. "Entering Spring Training with Chris, it's not going to be with the same restrictions or quite the same concerns as 2012. He has established himself as a front-end-of-the-rotation starter in the AL and we look forward to seeing where it goes from here."

The Reds hope to be in a similar position at this time next year with Chapman, but even with the utmost precaution, such an increased workload presents a risk to any pitcher's arm.

Consider Feliz, who entered the Rangers' rotation at the age of 23 after recording a combined 72 saves in 134 relief appearances from 2010-11. Feliz initially pitched well, going 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA in seven starts and one relief outing, but he landed on the disabled list with a sprained elbow following a start on May 18.

Two months later, the right-hander experienced discomfort after making three rehab starts and ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery that will keep him out for most, if not all, of this season.

"We don't know the answer," Rangers GM Jon Daniels said at the time it was announced Feliz would have elbow surgery. "He is as strong and as well-conditioned as he's ever been. There weren't any warning signs."

Therein lies the danger with such a move -- by the time a potentially serious injury becomes apparent, it could be too late. While Baker can certainly take extra precautions with Chapman, there's no guaranteed method to avoiding such a worst-case scenario.

"Do you monitor his pitch count? We don't know what his maximum is yet," Baker said. "Do you monitor his innings? Do you do a [Stephen] Strasburg situation where you sit him down the last month of the season? Or he could maybe relieve early or something and [you can] stretch him out."

As for Lynn, Samardzija and Bard, all three were fortunate enough to avoid injuries, but not all of them produced the hoped-for results.

Lynn stormed out of the gate en route to an All-Star Game selection before hitting some bumps in August and bouncing back and forth to the bullpen down the stretch. He made 29 starts, finishing with strong numbers: 18-7 with a 3.78 ERA. He threw 176 innings.

Samardzija became a viable starter, going 9-13 with a 3.81 ERA while pitching 174 2/3 innings. Unlike Lynn, the increased workload didn't seem to bother Samardzija's performance, as his second-half ERA of 2.58 was considerably lower than his first-half mark of 4.71.

The transition was by far the toughest on Bard, who struggled to a 4-6 record with a 5.30 ERA in 10 starts before being demoted to Pawtucket. He never returned to the Red Sox rotation.

These are just some recents examples of what could happen when the Reds make the move with Chapman.

"It will be difficult. It's not an easy move," said Bronson Arroyo, Chapman's teammate and a veteran of 13 big league seasons, most of them as a starter. "He should get a fair shot. It's just my opinion. I'm just saying it's not an easy move -- if people think throwing 80 innings a year is any way comparable to taking the ball every fifth day and throwing 200, it's not.

"It's such a different ballgame that you don't know what you're going to get. I'm not saying he can't do it. I am saying it will be a large change."

Baker is confident Chapman will produce in whichever role he plays, saying he could potentially be his best starter and best reliever. The main concern, one that will linger all summer, will be staying healthy.

"I have no worries about my arm," Chapman said via an interpreter. "Since I've known about this, I've been working and getting prepared to do what I did before. Nothing has changed."


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

     Regarding Aroldis Chapman, Reds pitching coach, Bryan Price, said:

01. "I think everyone will want to know the plan and a solid, hard number for innings."
02. "I get it."
03. "It's a point of interest."
04. "It's a great talking point."
05. "It will be a debatable issue."
06. "Whatever we choose to do, there's always going to be an opposing side that feels we could do things better."
07. "We have to be satisfied with our choices, because our intent will be to get the most out of Aroldis without putting him in a high-risk position."
08. "I think regardless of where people stand on the question, I think the days of hiking a pitcher's innings number by 50 or 60 or 80 innings in today's standards would be considered irresponsible."
09. "We're going to be very conscientious of that."

     Reds field manager, Dusty Baker, said:

01. "Do you monitor his pitch count?"
02. "We don't know what his maximum is yet.,"
03. "Do you monitor his innings?"
04. "Do you do a [Stephen] Strasburg situation where you sit him down the last month of the season?"
05. "Or he could maybe relieve early or something and [you can] stretch him out."

     Reds starting pitcher, Bronson Arroyo, said:

01. "It will be difficult."
02. "It's not an easy move."
03. "He should get a fair shot."
04. "It's just my opinion."
05. "I'm just saying it's not an easy move."
06. "If people think throwing 80 innings a year is any way comparable to taking the ball every fifth day and throwing 200, it's not."
07. "It's such a different ballgame that you don't know what you're going to get."
08. "I'm not saying he can't do it."
09. "I am saying it will be a large change."

     Reds pitcher, Aroldis Chapman, said:

01. "I have no worries about my arm."
02. "Since I've known about this, I've been working and getting prepared to do what I did before."
03. "Nothing has changed."
     Regarding Chris Sale, White Sox general manager, Rick Hahn, said:

01. "He's going to be treated like any other starter."
02. "Entering Spring Training with Chris, it's not going to be with the same restrictions or quite the same concerns as 2012."
03. "He has established himself as a front-end-of-the-rotation starter in the AL and we look forward to seeing where it goes from here."

     Regarding Neftali Feliz, Rangers general manager, Jon Daniels, said:

01. "We don't know the answer."
02. "He is as strong and as well-conditioned as he's ever been."
03. "There weren't any warning signs."

     Isn't it too bad that none of these guys have any idea what causes pitching injuries and how to teach and train baseball pitchers not only to never injure themselves, but also how to master the wide variety of pitches that they need to succeed against the four types of baseball batters.

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0055.  Bauer in town after Tribe brass meets with him in Texas
Cleveland Plain Dealer
January 09, 2013

CLEVELAND, OH: Trevor Bauer isn't out to prove the Arizona Diamondbacks wrong for trading him so quickly after making him the third pick in the country in 2011, he just wants a chance to win a job in the Indians' rotation and make some friends.

"It is what it is," said Bauer when asked about the three-team trade that brought him to Cleveland on Dec. 11. "They chose to go in the direction they thought was best for their organization. If I'm not that, that's the business of it.

"I try to get better, because I enjoy getting better. Revenge-based thinking doesn't drive me."

The Indians acquired Bauer and relievers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw from Arizona in a nine-player trade. The Tribe sent Shin-Soo Choo, Jason Donald and $3.5 million to Cincinnati for outfielder Drew Stubbs. In exchange for Bauer, Albers and Shaw, Cleveland sent Tony Sipp and Lars Anderson to Arizona. The Diamondbacks received shortstop Didi Gregorius from the Reds.

Three spots in a rotation that lost the most games in the American League last year belong to Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez and Brett Myers. Zach McAllister is favored to win the fourth spot, which leaves the fifth job to be decided among Bauer, Carlos Carrasco, David Huff, Corey Kluber and Scott Kazmir.

"I'll be given a chance to compete for a spot," said Bauer, in Cleveland on Wednesday for the first time since the trade. "Really, that's all I want is a chance to be evaluated on a fair playing field with everybody else."

On Monday, General Manager Chris Antonetti and manager Terry Francona visited Bauer at the Texas Baseball Ranch where he trains. Bauer's unusual training methods -- he sometimes plays long-toss for 1 hour and 20 minutes on the day he starts -- has put him in the spotlight. Sometimes the spotlight has been good, sometimes it has cast him in a negative light.

Bauer appreciated that Antonetti and Francona cared enough to make the trip to Texas.

"They came down to see it for themselves and understand before making and judgments on it," he said. "That's all I could expect or want. Not everyone is going to like my routine. . . . Just the fact that they were willing to come down, that meant a lot to me."

Bauer pitched well last season in the minors for Arizona. He went 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA in 22 starts at Class AA Mobile (Ala.) and Class AAA Reno (Nev.). Bauer, however, was pitching with a strained right groin, suffered in his second start of the season. He was able to pitch and win with the injury in the minors, but when the Diamondbacks called him up, he went 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA in four starts.

The long-toss routine on start days -- sometimes Bauer will stretch his throws to 400 feet -- came under question. So did Bauer's attitude toward his teammates. Shaking off veteran catcher Miguel Montero on his first big-league pitch didn't help.

Bauer said there was nothing wrong with the routine, which was similar to the one he used in high school and at UCLA. He said he was hampered by the groin injury and didn't throw enough strikes (17 strikeouts and 13 walks in 161/3 innings).

"I just didn't pitch well," he said. "I was fighting through an injury that affected me quite a bit. At the end of the day, I just didn't throw enough strikes."

When the season ended, Bauer talked to some of the veteran Diamondbacks about the supposed friction he had caused in the clubhouse. Bauer, 21, said he joined the big-league club fixated on the time-tested rookie rule: "Keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut." Apparently the rule needs some updating.

Some of the veteran Diamondbacks were upset Bauer didn't talk enough. They interpreted his silence for arrogance.

"I like to think of myself as a person who is easy to get along with," said Bauer. "If I was doing something, it surely wasn't intentional. . . . I was trying to reach out and get some opinions to see what I could do to improve my relationship with my teammates."

The opinions were hard to hear, but Bauer thinks they will help him with the Indians.

"If people disagree with what I do or say, by all means, let's talk about it," he said.

Bauer's pitch selection is as varied as his workout routines. He says his current arsenal consists of nine pitches: four-seam fastball and two varieties of change-ups, curveball, sliders and reverse sliders. What is a reverse slider?

"It's a cross between a sinking fastball and a screwball," said Bauer. "It's anywhere between 87 and 90 mph. It's a little bit bigger than a sinker, a little bit smaller than a screwball and acts a lot like a left-handed cut fastball."

Got it?

Bauer said only on the rarest of occasions is he able to throw all of his pitches for strikes in the same game.

"Those are the fun days," said Bauer. "They're all designed to fit a certain purpose in my game plan. When they're all working, it's like a video game-type thing. You pick a pitch and throw it. But it only happens once or twice a season."

Even at once or twice a season, it would be a welcome change from the kind of starting pitching Indians fans watched last season.


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

     Wow.

     Indians general manager, Chris Antonetti and manager Terry Francona visited Bauer at Ron Wolforth's the Texas Baseball Ranch.

     Indians pitcher, Trevor Bauer, said:

01. "They came down to see it for themselves and understand before making and judgments on it."
02. "That's all I could expect or want."
03. "Not everyone is going to like my routine."
04. "Just the fact that they were willing to come down, that meant a lot to me."
05. "If I was doing something (not talking), it surely wasn't intentional."
06. "I was trying to reach out and get some opinions to see what I could do to improve my relationship with my teammates."
07. "If people disagree with what I do or say, by all means, let's talk about it."
08. "It's (reverse slider) a cross between a sinking fastball and a screwball."
09. "It's anywhere between 87 and 90 mph."
10. "It's a little bit bigger than a sinker, a little bit smaller than a screwball and acts a lot like a left-handed cut fastball."
11. "Only on the rarest of occasions, I am able to throw all of my pitches for strikes in the same game."
12. "Those are the fun days."
13. "They're all designed to fit a certain purpose in my game plan."
14. "When they're all working, it's like a video game-type thing."
15. "You pick a pitch and throw it."
16. "But it only happens once or twice a season."

     That Mr. Bauer spends at least some of his off-season training with Mr. Wolforth's training center is a mixed blessing.

     I like that Mr. Bauer trains during the off-season.

     However, other than teach Mr. Bauer to pronate his releases, how to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve and that I recommend that baseball pitchers master the wide variety of pitches that baseball pitchers need to succeed against the four types of baseball batters, Mr. Wolforth has nothing to teach Mr. Bauer.

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0056.  Trevor Bauer bringing unconventional methods to Tribe
Lake County New Herald
January 09, 2013

Trevor Bauer can throw eight pitches, but the Indians only have five-finger catchers. So watching the catchers calling pitches this year could be worth the price of admission.

"I throw a four-seamer (fastball), two different changeups, two different curves, two different sliders and a reverse slider," said Bauer, sounding like a waiter describing to diners today's menu specials.

Instead of diners, however, Bauer was talking to reporters Wednesday at Progressive Field. It's the first time the independent-thinking phenom has spoken to the Cleveland media since he was acquired by the Indians last month in a three-team trade that also included the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Cincinnati Reds.

Bauer, who turns 22 next week, was the third player selected overall in the 2011 June Draft. However, only 18 months after drafting him, Diamondbacks officials gave up on him, shipping him to Cleveland as part of the trade in which the Indians traded Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Donald to Cincinnati and Tony Sipp and minor-leaguer Lars Anderson to Arizona.

The Indians also acquired outfielder Drew Stubbs from the Reds and relievers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw from the Diamondbacks.

Bauer, however, was the big catch for the Tribe. He's a potential No. 1 starter eventually, for a rotation that last year was held together by bailing wire and duct tape.

In 22 starts last year at Class AA and Class AAA, Bauer, who was an All-American at UCLA, was 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA. Despite those dominating numbers, the Diamondbacks felt he was expendable.

"I was a little surprised by the trade, yeah," said Bauer. "But that's something you can't control. I got the news and said, ‘OK. That's what it is. Time to move on'."

One theory on why the Diamondbacks gave up on Bauer so quickly is because of his unique approach to pitching, and his training methods, which clash with much of what is considered conventional thinking.

For example, his pregame warmup routine before every start lasts 1 hour, 20 minutes and includes him making numerous throws from 330 to 400 feet across the outfield, plus extensive stretching drills. His between-starts workouts are also somewhat unconventional.

"It's not for everyone," said Bauer of his routine. "All I ask is that people see it and try to understand it before they judge it."

Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said the controversy surrounding Bauer's unconventional approach is much ado about nothing.

"A lot has been made out of it, but it's no big deal," said Antonetti. "For as analytical as Trevor can get between starts, once he crosses the line, it's all about pitching and competing."

Bauer's father is a chemical engineer, and Bauer majored in that at UCLA.

"I love physics and figuring out how things work," he said, in explaining his meticulous approach to the art of pitching.

About the eight-pitch repertoire, Bauer said, "All those pitches are designed to fit a specific purpose in a given game. When I have them all working it's a lot of fun. It's almost like a video game."

Bauer said he isn't so set in his ways that he's not inflexible, but that his routine is what works best for him.

"If people disagree with my approach, I'm open to discussion," he said. "Let's talk about it, and if it makes me a better pitcher, I'm always open to learning."

Bauer made his major-league debut with Arizona last season, becoming the first player from the 2011 Draft to reach the big leagues. He labored through four starts with a strained groin and was 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA.

Asked how close he feels he is to being a major-league pitcher, Bauer said, "I'm just going to spring training and try to pitch to the level I know I can get to and we'll see where that takes me."

Antonetti said Bauer will likely be a contributor at the major-league level in 2013, the only question is when.

"It could be on opening day, or later in the season," said Antonetti. "There's a lot to like with Trevor. He has a great arsenal: an above-average fastball, very good secondary stuff, and he's very committed to being a success. He'll come to training camp with a chance to win a spot in the rotation."


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

     About his eight-pitch repertoire, Bauer said:

01. "All those pitches are designed to fit a specific purpose in a given game."
02. "When I have them all working it's a lot of fun."
03. "It's almost like a video game."

     That sounds as though Mr. Bauer understands that, to succeed against the four types of baseball batters, Mr. Bauer needs a wide variety of high-quality pitches.

     Mr. Wolforth is a high-quality plagiarizer.

     Indians baseball pitcher, Trevor Bauer, also said:

01. "I am not so set in my ways that I am not inflexible."
02. "However, my routine is what works best for me."
03. "If people disagree with my approach, I'm open to discussion."
04. "Let's talk about it."
05. "It makes me a better pitcher, I'm always open to learning."

     There is only one person that can tell Mr. Bauer something that will make Mr. Bauer a better pitcher.

     It is the guy from whom Mr. Wolforth plagiarized.

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

***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, January 20, 2013, I posted the following questions and answers.

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

0057.  January 13 Retrospect

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

0026. Steve Delabar

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

The article said: "I did the program because I was going to teach the program. With a broken elbow, I didn't know if I was going to play again. I just wanted to teach this program and help these kids at our academy, and sure enough, it helped me."

You were going to learn it just to teach it?  What made you think it was worth the time?

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

The article said: "The velocity program was designed by Maryland native Jamie Evans, who spent three years laying the groundwork for what could turn into a breakthrough for the way pitchers train.

What are his credentials?

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

The article said: "The science of sport is a constantly evolving process. It wasn't that long ago that a torn ulnar collateral ligament resulted in a career-ending injury for pitchers. That changed with the invention of Tommy John surgery, and now not only do players return, but they're often able to do with better strength than they ever had before.

Better strength than they ever had before?  Here we go....

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

The article said: ""Tennis players were pretty healthy and our baseball guys aren't, so [Evans] kind of added some things to the program and it became a velocity program.

'Kind of added some things'?  Like what? - a dash of paprika?"

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

The article said: "Delabar is an obvious spokesman for the program, but he's not the only Major Leaguer who has gone through it. The original study involved 10 big leaguers, and for the past couple of years, talk about the workout routine has slowly spread across Major League Baseball.

You got 10 big leaguers to help you with your original study? 

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

The article said: "Just like with any new program, there are skeptics. Ballplayers often are creatures of habit, and if they're already taking part in a workout routine they like, they're unlikely to change. But for those who are seeking out alternatives, the velocity program has become an enticing option.

Those players exists?

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0033. The Marshall Lid Dill

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

You wrote: “However, powerfully inwardly rotating their pitching arm to throw my reverse breaking pitches also teaches baseball pitchers to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.”

But the lid offers instantaneous and obvious feedback.

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

You wrote: “The question is: Which teaching technique teaches baseball pitchers to more powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm?"

Both, but, IMO, the lid offers easier feedback.

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

0035. A look at the typical outcome of Tommy John surgery

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

You wrote: “However, under no circumstance, should any orthopedic surgeon learn how to eliminate the injurious flaw that ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament. Instead, orthopedic surgeons need to discover more and more different ways to perform the Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery faster. Then, orthopedic surgeons will be able to do more surgeries in shorter times and get to the golf course for an early tee time.”

Are you being facetious or sarcastic?

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

     Real.

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

0037. With Oliver likely gone, Cecil ready to step up

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

The article said: ""I would prefer to be in the starting rotation, but in the end, I want to do whatever makes the team successful and whatever makes me successful," Cecil said.”

In the end, you want a spot.  Period.

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

0038. Hudson progressing with Tommy John recovery

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

The article said: ""Obviously, you don't want to rush it because it's such a major injury, but I would say around the All-Star break either right before or right after would be pretty realistic," Hudson said. "That would put me right at 12 months, which is pretty close to average for people to recover from Tommy John. If it's a couple weeks before, it could happen that way, or if it's a couple weeks after, it could happen that way, but I would say the All-Star break is pretty realistic."”

You don't need 12 months.

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

You wrote: “That's funny, Mr. Hudson did not say anything about eliminating the injurious flaw that ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.”

He didn't say anything about cold fusion either.

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0041. Tigers GM Dombrowski blunt: 'You can't have six starters"

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

The article said: "Starters need to pitch every fifth day, ideally for six or more innings. Their arms are long-distance motors that typically do not benefit from excessive rest or random bullpen shifts.”

Is he trying to say 'consistent routine'?

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

The article said: "Then hang onto Porcello, the crowd says, and warehouse Smyly at Triple A Toledo. Smyly is three years out of college. He had two disabled-list stints in 2012. He has never pitched more than 126 innings in professional baseball.”

Big Ole' Fat Red Flag

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

0052. Rockies give Corpas invitation to spring training

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

You wrote: “If only to hear what I had to say, Mr. O'Dowd should have returned my call.”

Who is Mr. O'Dowd?  I didn't see that name in the article.

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

     Mr. O'Dowd is the Rockies general manager, who, after the Rockies announced that they were searching for a Director of Baseball Pitcher, I telephoned and left a message with his secretary that I would like a few minutes of his time.

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0054. For starters, little relief when moving from bullpen

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

The article said: ""I think everyone will want to know the plan and a solid, hard number for innings," Reds pitching coach Bryan Price said.”

'And when I/we have any idea you'll be the first to know...'

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

The article said: ""I get it. It's a point of interest. It's a great talking point. It will be a debatable issue. Whatever we choose to do, there's always going to be an opposing side that feels we could do things better. We have to be satisfied with our choices, because our intent will be to get the most out of Aroldis without putting him in a high-risk position."”

Blah, blah, blah.  What a load of fertilizer.

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

The article said: "Luckily for the Reds, the most productive transition last season was made by Sale, whose circumstances most closely resemble those of Chapman.”

Yeah, lucky, they can copy it and have their asses nicely covered.

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

The article said: ""We don't know the answer,"”

Really?  You don't?  We're shocked. How about Dr. Meisner?

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

The article said: "Rangers GM Jon Daniels said at the time it was announced Feliz would have elbow surgery. "He is as strong and as well-conditioned as he's ever been. There weren't any warning signs."”

"Therein lies the danger with such a move -- by the time a potentially serious injury becomes apparent, it could be too late.”

Are the writer and Josh Daniels in cahoots?

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

The article said: "While Baker can certainly take extra precautions with Chapman, there's no guaranteed method to avoiding such a worst-case scenario.”

Pull-em-out-of-your-kazoo guesses rarely are guaranteed.

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

The article said: ""Do you monitor his pitch count? We don't know what his maximum is yet," Baker said. "Do you monitor his innings? Do you do a [Stephen] Strasburg situation where you sit him down the last month of the season? Or he could maybe relieve early or something and [you can] stretch him out."”

Are you asking us Dusty?  Don't you and your experts know?  Too funny.

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

The article said: "Baker is confident Chapman will produce in whichever role he plays, saying he could potentially be his best starter and best reliever. The main concern, one that will linger all summer, will be staying healthy.”

I'll go ahead and predict that he won't stay healthy.

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

The article said: ""I have no worries about my arm," Chapman said via an interpreter. "Since I've known about this, I've been working and getting prepared to do what I did before. Nothing has changed."”

Blah, blah, blah.  But you do have worries.  Lots of them.

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0055. Bauer in town after Tribe brass meets with him in Texas

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

The article said: "Trevor Bauer isn't out to prove the Arizona Diamondbacks wrong for trading him so quickly after making him the third pick in the country in 2011, he just wants a chance to win a job in the Indians' rotation and make some friends.”

Bull, yes he is.

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

The article said: ""I try to get better, because I enjoy getting better. Revenge-based thinking doesn't drive me."”

The work is its own reward.  Where have I heard that one?

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

The article said: ""They came down to see it for themselves and understand before making and judgments on it," he said. "That's all I could expect or want. Not everyone is going to like my routine. . . . Just the fact that they were willing to come down, that meant a lot to me."”

Put one in the positive column for the GM and Manager.

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

The article said: "The long-toss routine on start days -- sometimes Bauer will stretch his throws to 400 feet -- came under question. So did Bauer's attitude toward his teammates. Shaking off veteran catcher Miguel Montero on his first big-league pitch didn't help.”

How dare he! Why did Montero need to play big shot?  And then make a big deal out it?

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

The article said: "Some of the veteran Diamondbacks were upset Bauer didn't talk enough. They interpreted his silence for arrogance.”

They sound insecure.

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

The article said: ""It's a cross between a sinking fastball and a screwball," said Bauer. "It's anywhere between 87 and 90 mph. It's a little bit bigger than a sinker, a little bit smaller than a screwball and acts a lot like a left-handed cut fastball."

Got it?”

Got what?

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

0056. Trevor Bauer bringing unconventional methods to Tribe

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

The article said: ""I was a little surprised by the trade, yeah," said Bauer. "But that's something you can't control. I got the news and said, ‘OK. That's what it is. Time to move on'."”

The Diamondbacks were not the best for him.

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

The article said: "One theory on why the Diamondbacks gave up on Bauer so quickly is because of his unique approach to pitching, and his training methods, which clash with much of what is considered conventional thinking.”

Yeah, they weren't able to injure him fast enough.  The baseball guys do nothing but tell you they don't know anything and then get pissed when you don't want to do what they don't know.

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

The article said: "Bauer said he isn't so set in his ways that he's not inflexible, but that his routine is what works best for him.”

What?

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

You wrote: “Mr. Wolforth is a high-quality plagiarizer.”

High-quality?  If he were a high quality plagiarize, then Trevor would be better.

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

You wrote: “There is only one person that can tell Mr. Bauer something that will make Mr. Bauer a better pitcher.”

Many somethings.

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

You wrote: “It is the guy from whom Mr. Wolforth plagiarized.”

Rick Peterson?

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

0058.  Muscle Development

My thirteen year old son continues to work hard.

I am still concerned by his pitching arm side development.

After my trip to the underground Marshall training center, I became more concerned because the other trainees don't have the same unequal development.

Should I be concerned?


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

     No.

     Nevertheless, when your son does his heavy ball throws, you could have him wear his glove arm wrist weight.

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0059.  Pitching Coach

  My son is looking to get into pitching and I came across your website describing safe pitching mechanics.

Where are you located?

I would like to hire a coach to teach him these mechanics properly from the start.

Please let me know your location, availability, and if not available, any possible referrals to teach proper technique.

He is 10 years old.


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

     The best that I can offer you is that you and your son watch my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, Causes of Pitching Injuries Video, Prevent Pitching Injuries Video and Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion Video, read my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book and the Question/Answer files and complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

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0060.  Reverse breaking pitches

In Q#33 you wrote: "To teach the release of my reverse breaking pitches, baseball pitchers start their acceleration phase with their pitching forearm maximally pronated, such that, during release, they are not able to pronate their pitching forearm at all."

1. Is a reverse breaking pitch an off-speed pitch that breaks toward the pitching arm side of home plate?

If that is correct then we are talking about your Maxline Pronation Curve, your screwball and your sinker.

So you definitely start your screwball with the forearm pronated.

I don't see how your curveball starts with the forearm pronated so you must be saying that your Maxline Pronation curve is not reverse breaking pitch.

My major question is your statement that you start the Acceleration Phase of you Sinker with the forearm maximally pronated. I never realized that.

2. Is maximally pronating your forearm at the start of the Acceleration phase something new for your sinker?

Here is what you write in your book concerning the release of your sinker: "To teach my two seam Maxline Fastball Sinker forearm action, I tell pitchers to throw four seam Maxline Fastballs with my two seam Maxline Fastball Sinker grip. For my release action, I turn the thumb side of my wrist forward.   With my fingers facing toward home plate, I powerfully pronate my forearm and radial flex my wrist and squeeze the baseball out between my middle and ring fingers to spiral the baseball toward the middle of home plate. With a reverse spiral spin axis, my two seam Maxline Fastball Sinkers move downward and toward the pitching arm side of home plate."

I took you instruction to turn the thumb side of the wrist forward as akin to turning the thumb forward for your Maxline fastball. I always considered that to be very slight pronation. And this is at the end of the Acceleration phase not the beginning.

3. What is the purpose of Maximally pronating your forearm at the beginning of the Acceleration phase for you sinker?


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

01. A reverse breaking pitch is a pitch that is not a breaking pitch. Breaking pitches are cut fastballs, sliders and curve. Therefore, reverse breaking pitches are tailing fastballs, sinkers and screwballs.

02. When I teach my baseball pitchers to throw my reverse breaking pitches, I have them start the acceleration phase with their pitching hand maximally pronated. That means that I want my baseball pitchers to rotate their Radius bone tightly toward their Ulna bone.

     As a result, the only way that my baseball pitchers are able to achieve any inward rotational velocity is to powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     Then, after my baseball pitchers learn how to powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, I teach them how to maximally supinate, i.e., rotate the Radius bone as far away from the Ulna bone, at the start of the acceleration phase.

     Therefore, during my sinker and screwball releases, I not only powerfully inwardly rotated my pitching upper arm, I was also able to powerfully pronate (inwardly rotate) my pitching forearm.

03. As I said above, my purpose in teaching my baseball pitchers to start the acceleration phase of my reverse breaking pitches with their pitching forearm maximally pronated is to teach them how to powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     The first skill that all baseball pitchers must learn is how to powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

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

0061.  Muscle Development

We will proceed on course. He does wear the 5 lb wrist weight will doing his IB throws.


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

     Unless your son is ambidextrous, it is not possible to stress the glove arm as much as throwing baseballs stresses the pitching arm. The best we can do is my wrist weight exercises and wearing wrist weights when he throws his heavy ball.

     X-rays of the bones in my glove and pitching arms showed little development differences. However, because Andy Messersmith did not do my wrist weight exercises. X-rays of the bones in his glove and pitching arms showed considerably more thickness in the cortex of his pitching arm.

     As much as I trained and pitched, I never had any problem with the dorsal nerve roots from vertebra where the Latissimus Dorsi attached.

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

0062.  Wilson continues to work out under Giants watch
San Francisco Chronicle
January 10, 2013

Free-agent Brian Wilson has completed his long-toss program and should begin throwing off a mound soon as he bids to return from his second “Tommy John” surgery. He continues to work out under the Giants’ supervision.

It’s standard procedure for a free agent to rehab with his old team, with which he incurred the injury. It’s also good for the the Giants to have a true sense of Wilson’s progress because they still have some interest in re-signing him.

The Giants’ stance has not changed. They are still willing to discuss a contract with Wilson with a low base salary and big incentives if he is healthy, but the Giants also recognize that Wilson might get offers with greater guarantees. No signing is imminent as far as the Giants know.

It actually might behoove Wilson to hold off signing, especially if he really feels good throwing. Other teams do keep tabs on injured players. If he can show he is close to pitching-ready as spring training approaches, he might be able to get a bigger guarantee.

Wilson would have one extra bridge to cross before re-signing with San Francisco. He was hurt that they did not tender him a contract for 2013 and would have to get over those hard feelings. Maybe he already has.

Meanwhile, the Giants plan to go into 2013 with Sergio Romo and others closing games.


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What are the chances that Mr. Wilson will eliminate the injurious flaw that ruptured his born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligament and his repaired Ulnar Collateral Tendon?

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0063.  Sabathia says he'll be ready for Yankees spring training
New York Post
January 10, 2013

The Yankees were a beaten and battered team after they lost to the Tigers in the ALCS.

And with Alex Rodriguez out until at least July with a hip injury, Mariano Rivera still not 100 percent after his ACL injury and Derek Jeter having yet to test his surgically repaired ankle, the Bombers will be facing plenty of health questions to start the 2013 season, as well.

The good news, though, is CC Sabathia has pronounced himself healthy following his arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow in October.

“My elbow is feeling good,” Sabathia said yesterday on ESPN. “I just started throwing on Monday. That’s the time I would normally start my throwing program, and I’ll be ready to lengthen it out and be ready to go for spring training.”

As he did a year ago, Sabathia spent the offseason trying to shed some weight.

“I lost a little bit of weight,” Sabathia said. “Twenty pounds. Coming off the elbow surgery, I just wanted to be able to be healthy and stay healthy all year.”

Sabathia wasn’t able to do that last season, when he put some weight back on and wound up on the disabled list twice.

The 32-year-old left-hander still managed to throw at least 200 innings for the sixth straight year and pitched brilliantly against the Orioles in the ALDS before faltering versus Detroit.

He is optimistic that despite the age of their current roster, the Yankees will be able to contend this season.

“I don’t think we’re too old,” the lefty said. “We’re definitely an older team ... [but] we have guys who work really hard. Jeter, Rivera, [Andy] Pettitte, these guys, they work. It’s not by accident they’re some of the greatest players who ever played.”

Sabathia spent yesterday trying to win a fan vote and get himself on the cover of Sony’s “MLB 13: The Show" video game.

He is not concerned that on top of the aforementioned veterans coming off serious injuries, the team’s offseason has primarily been filled with resigning other aging players like Hiroki Kuroda and Ichiro Suzuki, as well as adding Kevin Youkilis, who is 34.

“I think we have the guys,” Sabathia said.


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     Aging is a bitch.

     Even when baseball pitchers have no injurious flaws in their baseball pitching motions, the wear and tear of explosively pitching, batting, running and so on inevitably damages bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons.

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0064.  Marshall day 25

Can you please comment on the attached video? Specifically, is my son getting enough forward rotation?

Thirteen year old doing a wrist weight throw with a hybrid wrong foot throw technique

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     Clearly, your son is driving his pitching arm wrist weight down his acromial line directly at home plate.

     Clearly, your son is rotating his pitching hip (acetabular line) just short of pointing directly at home plate.

     Now, if he is able to achieve the same acromial line and acetabular line with my Drop-Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion, then his body action would be fabulous.

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0065.  Medial epicondyle injury

You may recall that I came to visit you in the middle of November on my way from Alabama to a men's tournament in Jupiter.  You were so gracious with your time and your stories.  I enjoyed it very much. Thank you again.

I'm also writing to you about another topic about which we had previously conversed via email: a persistent issue I've had with my medial elbow.  I first wrote to you about it last February in 2012 Q&A #232.  I wrote to you again in September, I think, in #1539 and #1540. Since mid-February when I first hurt it, I always have at least some pain in the medial elbow when I take a "praying" position with my palms together out in front of my chest and I press them together.  However, I was able to pitch over 200 innings this past year, and the problem seemed to go almost entirely away at times and rarely bothered me when I was actually in competition.  However, since about the middle of August, I have had problems with it more often, resulting in some velocity decrease more often, and it has been harder to do long toss.  It was not bothering me much when I saw you in November, and, unfortunately, I didn't mention it then.

However, since the November tournament, the problem is back and seemingly more persistent.  The soreness is on the medial epicondyle itself, just on the inside notch of it, maybe a tiny bit to the distal side.  (Maybe where the pronator teres attaches?) The pain is more substantial some times than others.  I often can feel it when I dry my hair when I get out of the shower, and I can trigger some pain with hard pronation.  After doing a few consecutive days of aggressive long toss a couple of weeks ago, I was having so much medial elbow discomfort the next day that I had a difficult time doing even one biceps curl with a 20 lb. dumbbell.

I went to see an orthopedist in mid-December.  They performed the X-Ray, which is attached as a pdf.  The doctor said that I have a "calcification" just below (distal, I suppose) to the medial epicondyle.  No MRI has been done at this time.  Based on seeing video of me throwing and the limited information I provided via email, you indicated that you believed that it was likely not an issue with my ulnar collateral ligament.  Based on his physical exam, the doctor here said that he also does not think it is likely my UCL.  Rather, he suggests that it is more likely medial epicondylitis/epicondylosis and that the calcification may have resulted from associated chronic irritation.  From my own online reading, I understand that true medial epicondylitis tends to be more short term and involves inflammation of the tendonous sheath where the muscles that flex and pronate the wrist (including the pronator teres) attach at the medial epicondyle.  Medial epicondylosis, by contrast, is a more common and chronic, degenerative condition where the tendon fibers have become frayed and are not healing properly, with too many Type III collagen fibers being produced instead of Type I fibers.  If I were to say, my symptoms seem more consistent with the latter.

I have been advised to follow what I think is a pretty standard rehab protocol.  First, a stage of high repetition, relatively light weight PT exercises: wrist curls, extensions, and pronation/supination, with emphasis on the eccentric phase of the movement.  Also some ultrasound and message.  Then when I'm no longer experiencing symptoms, they would have me do a standard rehab interval throwing program stage, where I'd perform several sessions of 125 throws at 45 feet, then several at 60 feet, etc., eventually going to sessions of 175 throws at 180 feet.  Then I'd return to throwing off a mound.

Several questions:

1) What do you think on the rehab protocol? I'm more inclined to just keep doing your more pitching specific wrist weight exercises, iron ball throws, and baseball throws at an intensity that does not make the medial elbow pain worse, as you've previously suggested.  I've been laying off the long toss because that was making it worse. 

2) If I do continue with the WW's, IB's, and BB's at reduced intensity, should I only do at maintenance reps, or should I do more reps than that if I can?

3) Any thoughts on epicondylitis vs. epicondylosis?

4) Does the calcification suggest anything particular? Any recommendations on how to deal with it?

5) Any thoughts about icing and self-message of the medial elbow?

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

01. Non-specific exercises waste your time and do not resolve your problem.

02. You should continue with the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

03. You wrote: The soreness is on the medial epicondyle itself, just on the inside notch of it, maybe a tiny bit to the distal side.

     From your description, you could have injured the attachment of the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscle. This attachment is at the very bottom of the five muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle.

     You wrote: Maybe where the pronator teres attaches?

     The Pronator Teres muscle arises from the top of the medial epicondyle. That does not sound like where you pinpointed the discomfort.

     You wrote: The pain is more substantial some times than others.

     That sounds as though, instead of injuring muscle tissue, you have injured where the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscle arises. Possibly, you pulled some of its attachment from the bone.

     This injury can be very painful after use. But, after you get the blood flow going, you would be able to throw very hard without discomfort.

04. Calcification indicates that the body is trying to repair the injury. If the location of the calcification is where the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscle arises, then that would confirm the diagnosis.

05. To decrease the discomfort, icing and self-massage might be helpful. However, the healing process requires several months of gently stimulating blood flow to the injured area.

     Therefore, my recommendation is for you to decrease the stress, but every day, do my adult interval-training program. No more 'doing a few consecutive days of aggressive long toss.'

     I am not a fan of long tossing. I prefer my Half Reverse Pivot drill. That is, I want my baseball pitchers to throw their non-fastballs with my Half Reverse Pivot drill off the pitching mound and throw their fastballs with my Half Reverse Pivot drill from home plate to second base distance, i.e., about 130 feet.

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0066.  Whatever happened to...?

I and perhaps other readers would be interested in an update from the gentleman who in late 2011 had asked about interval training for his daughter, an accomplished distance runner who at the time was a high school junior.

Also of interest would be the progress of the collegiate javelin thrower who intended to try out for his country's Olympic team.

If nothing else, perhaps they would appreciate knowing that they remain in some of your readers' thoughts.


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     I am always the last to know what happened with people I advise.

     I believe that the young female long distance runner developed 'lower leg compartment' difficulties. I recommended that she make sure that she always lands on the heel of her feet and roll across the entire length of her foot. However, I have not heard anything.

     I also have never heard from the collegiate javelin thrower.

     Off the top of my head, I can think of two dozen people from whom I would like to hear the rest of their story.

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0067.  Medial Epicondyle Injury

Thank you for your response.

A few follow up questions:

1) I have previously done the WW exercises at 15 lbs. and the IB exercises with an 8 lb. IB.  Should I continue at those weights or reduce to 10 lb. WW's and 6 lb. IB?

2) Should I do only maintenance number of reps, i.e., 24 WW, 24 IB, and 36 BB? More reps if I can tolerate it?

3) Am I correct to assume that I should also refrain from doing half-reverse pivot throws until after the medial elbow symptoms completely resolve? Once I can do half-reverse pivot throws, how often do you recommend doing them?


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01. You should stay at the same wrist weight and heavy ball weights. However, you should decrease your intensity.

     If you have injured the attachment of the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscle to the distal portion of the medial epicondyle, then you should gradually increase the number of Middle Fingertip Spins.

02. Except for your Middle Fingertip Spins drill, you should stay at maintenance levels.

03. With regard to what drill you should use: For your wrist weight and heavy ball throws, I recommend that you do:

     a. 6 repetitions of my Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching actions drill,
     b. 6 repetitions of my Wrong Foot body action; Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching actions drill,
     c. 6 repetitions of my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill and
     d. 6 repetitions of my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion.

     In those 6 repetitions, you should do one each of my Maxline and Torque Fastballs and two each of my Maxline True Screwballs and my Maxline Pronation Curves.

     When you do your 36 baseball throws, you should do 9 repetitions of each drill and two each of the four basic types of pitches and one more of which ever you want.

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0068.  Hamels OK after offseason shoulder issue
CSNPhilly.com
January 10, 2013

Ruben Amaro Jr. insists that it’s nothing to be concerned about, but any time someone hears that Cole Hamels experienced shoulder soreness, well, there’s going to be concern.

That’s just the way it is with pitching arms. Especially ones critical to a team’s success.

“I’d be concerned if this was an issue, but we don’t view this as an issue at all,” Amaro said Thursday.

CSNPhilly.com learned that Hamels encountered an issue during his offseason throwing program.

Amaro confirmed that the issue arose early in the offseason and the GM disclosed that Hamels actually had “some shoulder soreness at the end of the season.” Amaro said that shoulder soreness was “not uncommon.”

According to Amaro, Hamels “got aggressive” with his throwing program sometime in October. The pitcher, according to Amaro, “had some soreness” and contacted [head athletic trainer] Scott Sheridan.

“We shut him down for a couple of weeks, but he’s fine now,” Amaro said. “He was being proactive more than anything else, which is good. We backed him off and slowed him down, but he’s back throwing now and doing fine. He’s had no complaints.”

Amaro wasn’t certain where Hamels had been throwing when the pitcher felt the soreness. Hamels throws throughout the winter, wherever he is at the time. Amaro said the issue was not serious enough that Hamels needed to be examined. The GM would not say whether Hamels received any treatment other than rest.

Hamels, who turned 29 in December, received a thorough medical check before signing a six-year, $144 million contract, the largest in Philadelphia sports history, in July. That checkup included an MRI. The lefthander has had some minor arm troubles, including a two-week stint on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation in August 2011. He had surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow after that season. These problems were considered minor (and Hamels proved that with a strong season in 2012). If they had been more serious, the club likely would not have been willing to give Hamels his historic contract in July.

The Phillies, who saw their string of five straight NL East titles end in 2012, hope to return to the playoffs in 2013. Good health is crucial to their chances. Foundation blocks such as Roy Halladay, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard all missed significant time with injuries in 2012. They must be healthy for the Phils to contend. Hamels, coming off 17 wins and 216 strikeouts (both career highs) in 215 1/3 innings in 2012 is also vital to the team’s fortunes. He could end up making his first opening-day start in 2013. He was supposed to be the team’s opening-day starter in 2009 but elbow tightness scuttled that plan.

Amaro continues to get reports on Halladay’s workouts in Clearwater. The righthander spent seven weeks on the DL with shoulder issues in 2012. He has made some mechanical adjustments to ease the burden on his shoulder.

“He’s doing real well,” Amaro said. Pitching coach Rich Dubee “saw him throw. He feels good. His mechanics look good. Everything is positive. He’s getting loose faster than in the past.”

Halladay will start throwing off a mound later this month and he, like Hamels, will be ready for Day 1 of spring training.

“We’ll know more when he’s on the mound and firing, but right now all indications are good,” Amaro said of Halladay.

Utley, whose sore knees prevented him from playing a game in the last two spring trainings, continues to take ground balls several times a week in California. Sheridan will evaluate his progress in person next week.

“Chase is strong and good,” Amaro said. “He should be 100 percent going into camp.”

Howard “has shown no deficiencies” in his Florida workouts, according to Amaro.

Camp opens Feb. 12. Amaro said Jimmy Rollins is already hitting in Clearwater.

“Knock on wood, at least from the medical reports, everything is pretty positive,” Amaro said. “What happens coming into camp, we’ll see.

“I’m looking forward to getting rolling,” Amaro added. “It’s been a longer offseason than we’re used to having. I’m curious to see how people look, how healthy people are. I know our veterans who have been there are not happy with how things turned out and hopefully that translates into the urgency I like to see.


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     In July 2012, before Mr. Hamels signed a six-year, $144 million contract, the largest in Philadelphia sports history, now 29 years old, Mr. Hamels received a thorough medical check.

     That checkup included an MRI.

     Mr. Hamels has had some minor arm troubles.

01. In 2011, Mr. Hamels spent two-weeks on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.
02. After the 2011 season, Mr. Hamels had surgery to remove a bone chip from his pitching elbow.

     However, the Phillies considered these problems to be minor. That Mr. Hamels had a strong 2012 season supports their position. If the club thought that these problems were serious, then they likely would not have been willing to give Hamels his historic contract in July.

     Phillies general manager, Ruben Amaro Jr., said:

01. "It (Mr. Hamels sore pitching shoulder) is nothing to be concerned about."
02. “I’d be concerned if this was an issue, but we don’t view this as an issue at all."
03. "Mr. Hamels had soreness in his pitching shoulder early in the offseason."
04. "Mr. Hamels actually had “some shoulder soreness at the end of the season.”
05. "Shoulder soreness was “not uncommon.”
06. "Mr. Hamels “got aggressive” with his throwing program sometime in October."
07. "Mr. Hamels had some soreness” and contacted [head athletic trainer] Scott Sheridan."
08. “We shut him down for a couple of weeks, but he’s fine now.
09. “He was being proactive more than anything else, which is good."
10. "We backed him off and slowed him down."
11. "But, he’s back throwing now and doing fine."
12. "He’s had no complaints.”
13. "I am not certain where Mr. Hamels had been throwing when the pitcher felt the soreness."
14. "Mr. Hamels throws throughout the winter, wherever he is at the time."
15. "The issue was not serious enough that Hamels needed to be examined."
16. "I would not say whether Mr. Hamels received any treatment other than rest."

     Mr. Hamels had soreness in his pitching shoulder.

     Mr. Hamels felt it was serious enough to contact the Phillies head athletic trainer.

     Mr. Amaro shut Mr. Hamels down for two weeks.

     Pitching shoulder discomfort results from the pitching shoulder not being able to withstand the stress of the training program.

     Somebody has to determine whether the cause of the soreness is too much too soon or an injurious flaw in his baseball pitching motion.

     Rest is never the cure. Resting for two weeks decreases the ability of whatever tissue was not able to withstand the stress to be less able to withstand that stress.

     After two weeks of rest, this tissue needs three weeks of appropriate training just to get back to the fitness that resulted in discomfort.

     To eliminate the soreness, Mr. Hamel needed to either eliminate the injurious flaw that caused the discomfort or slightly decease the intensity of the training, but train through the discomfort.

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0069.  Joakim Soria hoping to return by late May
CBSSports.com
January 10, 2013

Rangers reliever/reclamation project Joakim Soria is battling his way back from Tommy John surgery for the second time in his career. Although Soria initially hoped to be back by opening day, he's now locked on to a more tenable timetable.

"I'd like to start when the season begins in April, but that's not realistic," Soria said. "I'm still looking at late May, but it's probably more like the first few days of June. It depends how it goes with the bullpens. I'm doing everything possible to get ready as soon as I can. My goal is to be with the team and help them."

Soria underwent the procedure on April 2 of last year.

The 28-year-old Soria, who last pitched in 2011, has a career ERA of 2.40 and a WHIP of 1.043 across parts of five major-league seasons. In December the Rangers signed him to a two-year, $8 million contract with a club option for 2015. They're hoping he'll round into form and be able to replace Mike Adams as the primary right-handed setup man to closer Joe Nathan.


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     That Mr. Soria ruptured his replacement Ulnar Collateral Tendon means that nobody associated with the Texas Rangers knows what cause baseball pitchers to rupture the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Last summer, at the invitation of the Texas Rangers team orthopedist, Dr. Keith Meisner, I flew to Dallas, TX and presented my research on the causes of pitching injuries.

     It appears that Dr. Meister did not understand my explanation of the injurious flaw that causes baseball pitchers to rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     How difficult is it to understand that, to prevent injury to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers need to pendulums swing their pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement?

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0070.  White Sox pleased with Danks' recovery
CSNChicago.COM
January 10, 2013

John Danks has plenty of work ahead, but the White Sox are pleased with how he has progressed thus far.

Five months after he had shoulder surgery to repair a capsule tear and remove debris in the rotator cuff and biceps, Danks, the team’s opening day starter last season, has successfully completed the long-toss portion of his rehab.

Team trainer Herm Schneider said in a team-released video on Thursday that Danks, who went 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA in nine starts last season, hasn’t had any glitches in his rehab program thus far. Danks began his long-toss program a few days ahead of the planned Nov. 1 start date and completed it late last month.

“Johnny’s doing extremely well,” Schneider said. “He did the entire long toss program and completed it without a glitch. Our philosophy is a slow climb, not peaks and valleys, just a slow climb, and that’s exactly what he did. Nothing but progress all the way through and completed it without a flaw. We’re extremely pleased.”

Reflecting upon last season, Danks isn’t quite as pleased with his output. The left-hander is cognizant of the fact big things are expected of him after he signed a five-year, $65-million extension in December 2011. So an injury-plagued season, one in which he exhausted every effort to rehab before his Aug. 6 surgery, isn’t quite up to Danks’ standards.

“I felt like I was a waste of money last year to put it lightly,” Danks said. “I didn’t do my job. I hurt the team more than I helped the team and that bugs me a little bit, a lot of bit. I want to get back to being a guy that is counted on, thought to be able to take the ball every fifth day and give us a chance to win.”

Danks -- who was 40-31 with a 3.61 ERA in 608 1/3 innings from 2008-10 -- sounds as if he has taken the motivation from the last two seasons and instilled it into his rehab program. Schneider said Danks has adhered to every detail of the plan, which the trainer said is “somewhat aggressive” in order to get the pitcher on the mound as quickly as possible. The team is hopeful Danks can contribute in the 2013 season, but hasn’t set any dates.

“Surgery’s like 10 percent of fix and 90 of the fix is the rehab and the time you put into it,” Schneider said. “As we’re seeing with Derrick Rose, they’re being careful with him. We’re being careful, but we’re still being somewhat aggressive to get him back throwing because the longer you stay away from it the harder it is to get back into the swing of things, especially with the rhythm of pitching.

“Johnny has worked very hard … (he has) been diligent on everything we’ve asked him to.”

Without any previous rehab experiences, Danks said because he’s in unfamiliar territory, he determines his status based on Schneider’s reactions. Thus far those conversations have been positive, Danks said. He looks forward to spring training, which begins in just over one month. White Sox pitchers and catchers hold their first workout on Feb. 12 in Glendale, Ariz.

“He’s pleased,” Danks said. “That makes me feel good about things. I know that I’m not where I need to be by any means but I’m definitely making huge improvements every week. I’m looking forward to getting on a mound and before we know it’ll be spring training.”


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     Last season, Mr. Danks had shoulder surgery to repair a capsule tear and remove debris in the rotator cuff and biceps.

     Does the White Sox head athletic trainer, Herm Schneider, understand the injurious flaw that causes capsule tears, rotator cuff debris and Biceps Brachii attachment injuries?

     No.

     The answer is: Engage the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

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0071.  Marshall Day 26

Can you please comment on this video?

Specifically, is my son's release point forward enough, and is he pulling his arm forward?

Thirteen year old using my hybrid Wrong Foot body action to throw his heavy ball

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     Your son is using my Wrong Foot body action where he drives through release without his pitching foot landing. This is a hybrid Wrong Foot body action that I use to teach my baseball pitchers how to bridge the gap between my true Wrong Foot body action and my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion.

     He is doing a great job of moving the entire pitching arm side of his body forward. He forwardly rotates his hips (acetabular line) just short of pointing at home plate and does point his pitching arm shoulder (acromial line) at home plate.

     He released his heavy ball throw about as far forward as is possible.

     To take this body action to my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion, your son needs to alternate my hybrid Wrong Foot body action where he drives through release before his pitching foot lands and my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion.

     However, your son is not using his glove arm as well as he should. Your son horizontally pulls backward with his glove arm, but he stops short of moving his glove hand laterally behind his body. As a result, your son does not point the glove arm side acromial line at home plate.

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0072.  Marshall Day 26 - 2

This is a particularly bad example of my son's glove hand action. He is having difficulty bringing his glove hand straight back to his shoulder. Any suggestions?

Thirteen year old using my hybrid Wrong Foot body action to throw an appropriately-sized football

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     To point the entire acromial line at home plate, at the same time that my baseball pitchers diagonally drive the entire pitching arm side of their body across the front of their glove knee, to force-couple this body action, my baseball pitchers have to diagonally drive their glove arm side of their body backward. When baseball pitchers apply parallel and oppositely-directed forces, body force-coupling helps accelerates the pitching arm through release.

     This video shows that your son stops backwardly rotating the glove arm side of his body.

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0073.  If shy Bauer can fit in, he'll be just fine in Cleveland
MLB.com
January 10, 2013

CLEVELAND, OH: The streets of this city on a winter weekday can be a lonely place for the new guy in town.

And so it goes that when Trevor Bauer strolled through those streets Tuesday night, looking to play some pool and perhaps meet a few folks, he wound up on his own, hunched over a billiard table in a bowling alley. The Indians' high-profile trade acquisition was, in that moment, just another nameless face in the downtown tableau, a solo soul.

Frankly, it's a part Bauer knows well.

Back then was a diamond in the rough.

Growing up invisible, my life was sure tough.

These are the words that open one of the rap songs Bauer recorded, along with high school pal Connor Garelick, and revealed to the ever-critical eye of the Internet last summer.

And while the clearly amateur effort leaves plenty to be desired from a poetic perspective ("I'm gold now, because I shine in all I do/Like a 24-carat diamond ring for your boo") and Bauer himself concedes "I'm not good at it," we can read quite a bit from those words. For rare is the professional ballplayer for whom feelings of isolation strike such a raw nerve.

This is, after all, a team sport. One in which the kind of raw talent Bauer possesses can elevate you to a supreme stature at a remarkably young age.

For Bauer, though, the baseball talent that came so naturally to him stands in stark contrast to the social and interpersonal skills that have often eluded him.

"I didn't have a lot of friends growing up," said the soon-to-be 22-year-old native of North Hollywood. "I had a lot of free time. Instead of going to the movies with friends, I'd be up at the park working out. Everybody would be talking about the movie they saw. Well, I couldn't be a part of that conversation."

This is the fundamental foundation point you must understand about Bauer, one of the most hyped, most scrutinized and perhaps most misunderstood prospects in the game. For this is a man apart from all convention, be it baseball's time-worn training methods or basic clubhouse interaction.

A man apart is a man critiqued, a man questioned. And the questions that arose out of Bauer's short and altogether unsuccessful stay in the Arizona organization have followed him to his new Major League home in Cleveland.

Shake off your catcher in the moment leading up to your first Major League pitch? Yeah, that'll ruffle some feathers in a game so deeply devoted to an often-unwritten code of conduct.

Toss the ball more than 400 feet, from outfield corner to outfield corner, as a regular part of your pregame warmup routine? Sure, you'll become a circus-like curiosity.

Summon your inner Eminem and the let the world in on it? Oh, man, you're going to get crushed in the Twitterverse.

And if you're traded a year and a half after a team took you with the No. 3 overall pick in the Draft and gave you a big league contract and a $3.4 million signing bonus, well, suffice to say it doesn't do wonders for your rep.

But for Bauer, this arrival to the Indians, who acquired him in last month's three-team, nine-player swap with the D-backs and Reds, presents a new opportunity. It is here, he hopes, where, to paraphrase a line from Bob Dylan, his shyness won't be mistaken for aloofness and his silence for snobbery. It is here, he hopes, where his unique routine will be embraced with open arms.

Already, things are looking up, for the Indians are genuinely open minded about Bauer, his program, his intellectual approach and his effort to become a better teammate. They wouldn't have swung this trade if they weren't willing to embrace Bauer, in all his forms.

General manager Chris Antonetti and manager Terry Francona visited Bauer earlier this week, observing his throwing program at Ron Wolforth's Texas Baseball Ranch and his conditioning routine at Dynamic Sports Training. They came away convinced, in Antonetti's words, that Bauer "works very hard and is committed to being the best pitcher that he can be." And the Indians are going into this relationship committed to letting Bauer do his thing -- even if his thing differs from the norm.

"If he aggravated somebody else on another team," Francona said, "I don't care."

Bauer caused consternation in Arizona. The words "stubborn" and "uncoachable" have been attached to his name, and these are not words to be taken lightly. Bauer had command issues both at the Triple-A (61 walks in 130 1/3 innings) and Major League (13 walks in 16 1/3 innings) levels, and perhaps because he relies so much on his lower half, this was attributable to the groin injury that hounded him much of the year.

But the baseball stuff aside, those same issues Bauer had in high school -- that struggle with the interactions that come so naturally to so many others -- followed him to the big leagues. When he was traded, he certainly wasn't barraged with texts from his former mates, wishing him well. Truth is, Bauer had once again been unable to secure meaningful friendships.

"I'm still learning how to fit into a social setting," he said. "I'm not comfortable in large groups of people. It's tough in baseball, because you walk into a clubhouse and there's a large group. How do I fit in? I didn't learn that in high school. I'm still trying to learn it. It's something I need to improve on."

That's one reason why Bauer is here, taking part in the Indians' winter development program, an acclimation environment for some of their prized Minor Leaguers. That's why he reached out to several of his D-backs teammates at season's end, asking where he went wrong.

Bauer's athletic skill and standing have already introduced him to a wealth of money and opportunity. But Bauer still counts his close friends (including Garelick, who he met his junior year of high school) on a single hand. And he is still, in many ways, that kid off on his own, tossing baseballs in the park.

"It's a lot easier to make friends now that I'm ... something," Bauer said. "But I still only have three or four really close friends in the world."

The irony is that Bauer's first impression with the Cleveland media could not have been stronger. He came off comfortable in his own skin, comfortable discussing his quirks in both personality and profession. Bauer was well-spoken, open and approachable.

If Bauer applies those traits to the Cleveland clubhouse, he'll fit in just fine. And if the more bizarre elements of his preparation are accompanied by success in the Tribe's starting rotation, he'll never have to worry about people trying to pull him out of his comfort zone.

It's a fresh start for Bauer. The balls have been re-racked. The diamond in the rough has a new chance to shine.


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

     Indians baseball pitcher, Trevor Bauer, said:

01. "It's a lot easier to make friends now that I'm ... something."
02. "But I still only have three or four really close friends in the world."

     Sorry, Mr. Bauer. Now that you are a well-known rich young baseball player, it is not easier to make friends.

     Perhaps, when you are around other rich young baseball players, you might find friends that don't care about your money and celebrity, but, unless they are not also baseball pitchers, you cannot be sure.

     When you are no longer able to pitch major league baseball, those three or four close friends will still be friends, treasure them.

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

0074.  Bauer joins Tribe fold with clean slate
MLB.com
January 10, 2013

CLEVELAND, OH: The Indians are not overly concerned with Trevor Bauer's past. All Cleveland cares about is the young pitcher's future, which has the potential to be bright, given his ability to both throw a baseball and study the intricate physics behind his chosen profession.

Being traded to the Indians in December offered Bauer a clean slate. All the issues over his unique warmup routine, the reports of his inability to mesh with his Arizona teammates, the questions about his willingness to listen or try something new, it can all be pushed aside now that Cleveland is providing the prospect with a new environment.

"If he aggravated somebody else on another team, I don't care," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He's got a fresh start."

Bauer is concerned about his past, though. Sitting in an interview room outside the Indians' clubhouse at Progressive Field on Wednesday, the pitcher explained how he hopes to step into that room smarter for what took place last season in the desert. Bauer will have a crack at Cleveland's rotation this spring, and he wants to be better prepared for his next trip to The Show.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity and to get going with it," Bauer said in his first interview since being traded to the Indians. "It's going to be a lot of fun."

As analytical as he is with his mechanics -- such is the life of an engineer's son -- Bauer is also interested in human behavior. More to the point, he is trying to learn how he wound up in a situation similar to high school, when he felt his shyness was confused with arrogance. Back then, Bauer says he rarely had the nerve to strike up conversations.

It was not until his final year at UCLA -- during a chat with a friend from his former high school -- that he learned about his reputation.

With the D-backs, all Bauer wanted to do was belong, so he acted the way he heard rookies were supposed to act -- he tried to shut up and listen. In his effort not to get in anyone's way, the pitcher actually stepped on some toes. He heard he was being viewed as arrogant and stubborn. The last thing Bauer wants is for those labels to follow him throughout what could be a promising career.

Rather than run from these issues, Bauer dove in head first. After the season ended, the pitcher called some of his Arizona teammates, searching for where he went wrong in his first taste of the big leagues. Bauer asked for honesty, and he got it. At some points, what he heard hurt, but he feels he has learned a lot from the experience.

"I just kind of wanted to reach out and get some opinions on it," Bauer said, "It was really beneficial for me to hear. It wasn't easy to hear in a lot of ways, but it was beneficial for me to hear kind of the perception of me: 'You do this, and it's perceived this way.'"

The Indians have taken steps to show Bauer that the only way they are perceiving him is as an integral piece to their young core.

On Dec. 11, Cleveland teamed with Arizona and Cincinnati to pull off one of the winter's biggest trades: a nine-player swap centered around right fielder Shin-Soo Choo going to Cincinnati and Bauer coming to the Tribe. As part of the deal, the Indians also landed outfielder Drew Stubbs (from the Reds) and relievers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw (both from the D-backs).

For Cleveland, which dealt two of its top pitching prospects (Drew Pomeranz and Alex White) to the Rockies two seasons ago to acquire Ubaldo Jimenez, this was a chance to add a young impact arm to the fold. Bauer was a first-round pick in 2011, soared through the Minor League ranks and has a repertoire that potentially portends big league stardom.

Bauer throws as many as eight pitches, though rare is the outing in which he will feature the entire slate. The right-hander sits around 94-96 mph with his four-seam fastball and has two variations each of a changeup, curveball and slider. Bauer also wields a reverse slider, which he described as having similar action and speed as a left-hander's cut fastball.

In 29 career Minor League starts, Bauer has gone 13-4 with a 3.00 ERA, piling up 200 strikeouts against 73 walks in 156 innings. Last year, he went 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno, striking out 157 in 130 1/3 innings.

"There's a lot to like," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "He's got a great arsenal of stuff. He's got a above-average to well-above-average fastball and great secondary stuff. And, as I've said, he's really committed to being the best pitcher he can be. He'll work and be diligent in doing that."

Antonetti and Francona saw that firsthand on Monday, when they traveled to Texas to watch the 21-year-old Bauer run through a typical day of offseason training. It gave the GM and manager a chance to sit down and talk with the pitcher, and it also afforded them the opportunity to witness and discuss his unusual pregame program.

Bauer was appreciative of the personal visit.

"It was really enjoyable," Bauer said. "It meant a lot to me that they'd come down and see what I do and get to know me and what makes me tick and what I enjoy and stuff like that. They're trying to at least see [my routine] for themselves first, and understand it, before they make any judgment on it, which is really all I could expect or want. Not everyone is going to like my routine."

Fans will almost surely enjoy watching Bauer's warmup ritual, which can sometimes offer as much of a show as the final rounds of batting practice.

Bauer said he might start as early as 80 minutes before a game's first pitch, setting aside time for a series of workout techniques aimed at getting him warm. The most glaring of his rituals is an extreme form of long toss, working his way up to throwing at a distance of more than 400 feet on occasion. Bauer uses the outfield space between foul poles.

"If it's 330 feet down the lines," Bauer said, "that's about 469 feet between the poles."

It's actually 466.69 feet, but it is clear that the pitcher calculated the numbers in the past.

"My routine is always changing," he said. "The one constant in it is I know there's a certain feel that I have where I know I'm ready to go. When I get that feel, I know I'm ready to step on a mound and get ready to pitch in a game."

Last season, Bauer said he injured his right groin in his second outing of the season. The right-hander pitched through it and still managed to put up solid numbers against Minor League hitters, but found he could not do the same in the big leagues. In four starts with Arizona in June and July, Bauer went 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA, giving up 13 runs on 14 hits with 13 walks in 16 1/3 innings.

Bauer was criticized for shaking off signs from D-backs catcher Miguel Montero during his outings, and the young pitcher's routine was scrutinized.

"I think, overall, there's just too much focus on that my routine caused me to not perform well," Bauer said, "even though my routine has been a similar routine all the way through high school, all the way through college, all the way through the Minor Leagues, when I was having really good success. I think it was just kind of the easy thing to pinpoint and say, 'This is why he's struggling.'

"I don't really think it's the routine. It's just that I didn't pitch well. I was fighting through an injury that affected me quite a bit. At the end of the day, I just didn't throw enough strikes."

Antonetti is not worried about Bauer's warmup practices.

"I think a lot's been made of it," Antonetti said. "I don't think it's that big of a deal."

More or less, that is the stance the Indians appear to be taking with Bauer's past.

That has not stopped Bauer from trying to learn from everything that has taken place over the past year. Cleveland appreciates the way the pitcher has tackled the issue, and the D-backs were also impressed by the way Bauer was handling things this winter.

"He realizes he made mistakes, and I applaud that," D-backs president Derrick Hall said to reporters at a charity event earlier this winter. "That shows a tremendous amount of maturity on his part."

It might also just be the way the pitcher is wired.

"I just love knowing why things work the way they do," Bauer said. "I'm guilty of it in relationships, too. I'd be trying to figure out why does this person do this, 'Well let's see.' I have to remind myself that we're not machines. There's probably not a formula for why people do certain things."

Bauer included.


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

     To avoid injuring the Adductor Brevis muscle (groin) of his pitching upper leg, Mr. Bauer needs to turn his pitching foot to point at least forty-five degrees toward home plate and use his Rectus Femoris muscle to move his body forward.

     The only baseball friend that Mr. Bauer needs is someone able to answer Mr. Bauer's pitching questions, such as 'How can I prevent injuring my groin?' and discuss the science of baseball pitching.

     Otherwise, Mr. Bauer only needs to be who he is.

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0075.  Rangers' Lewis recovering from surgery well
Dallas Morning News
January 11, 2013

After making about 30 throws from 45 feet on three difference occasions last week, right hander Colby Lewis extended his rehab throwing program to 60 feet on Wednesday. Lewis, who underwent surgery last August, said the throwing program is going well, but does not expect any issues – at this stage.

“I haven’t had any kind of residual pain or anything like that after throwing,” Lewis said. “I’m just following the routine right now. I felt OK when I was throwing before I had surgery last year. So, until you get on the mound, you don’t know.”


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

     On three occasions last week, Mr. Lewis threw 30 baseballs a distance of 45 feet.

     Clearly, whoever designed this rehabilitation program does not understand the concept of 'detraining.'

     'Detraining' means not training.

     When athletes do not train for one day, they need to train for one and one-half days to regain the fitness that they had before they did not train that one day.

     Therefore, by throwing every other day, Mr. Lewis take one step ahead and one and one-half steps backward.

     That is why I teach my baseball pitchers to train everyday for as long as they want to be able to throw baseballs.

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0076.  Alderson: Francisco Mets' closer for now
New York Post
January 11, 2013

"Sandy Alderson isn't making any promises about making any significant additions before Opening Day, but he also didn't give a ringing endorsement of Frank Francisco as the Mets' closer this season.

When asked yesterday if he was confident in Francisco going forward finishing games, the Mets general manager paused before answering.

"Confident? I'm willing," Alderson said. "There's still a lot out there and we're looking."

Several experienced — if fading — closers remain on the market. Jose Valverde and Francisco Rodriguez are included in that group, and Alderson chose not to comment on either.

His trepidation regarding Francisco is understandable, considering how poorly the 33-year-old performed last season after signing a two-year, $12 million deal. He had a 5.53 ERA and his season ended prematurely because of elbow inflammation.

Francisco underwent surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow last month and is expected to be healthy for the upcoming season.

Of course, with the way the team looks right now, there might not be many opportunities for any closer to pick up a lot of saves.

But Alderson and the rest of the organization have made it clear this offseason has been more about positioning itself for the future beyond the 2013 season.

"We want to go to spring training with the best possible roster," he said. "If that includes signing a major league free agent, so be it. So far, we've been unwilling to overpay for what's available."


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

     Mets general manager, Sandy Alderson, said:

01. "We want to go to spring training with the best possible roster."
02. "So far, we've been unwilling to overpay for what's available."

     This is Mr. Alderson's plan?

     The off-season should be the time during which general managers are improving the skills and fitness of their employees. Not the time when they will become willing to overpay for what's available.

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

0077.  Perkins ready to run with Twins' closer role
MLB.com
January 11, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN: After going from starting pitcher to reliever and now closer, Glen Perkins has served in just about every pitching role for the Twins since being called up in 2006.

There have undoubtedly been some ups and downs for Perkins, but the left-hander has seemed to find his place as a shutdown reliever the past two seasons.

He flourished in his role as closer in the second half of 2012 with Matt Capps dealing with rotator cuff issues, and now the Twins are hoping he'll settle in as the closer of the future.

And Perkins is excited about that potential after getting his first taste as the club's ninth-inning stopper, as he picked up 16 saves in 20 chances in Capps' absence.

"I like being the guy at the back they get the ball to," Perkins said. "I liked getting the ball to [Joe] Nathan and Capps, but it's fun to be that guy at the back at the end of the game. As much pressure as there is and how much fun it is to get guys out in the seventh or eighth, it's fun to be able to end the game. I've had a good time with it."

The Twins have had their fair share of dominant closers ranging from Rick Aguilera to Eddie Guardado to Nathan, and Perkins has shown he has the tools to follow in those footsteps.

Over the past two seasons, Perkins has a combined 2.52 ERA with 143 strikeouts and just 37 walks in 132 innings, ranking as one of the best left-handed relievers in baseball.

But it wasn't always easy for Perkins, as his emergence as a top-flight reliever came after he had a combined 5.87 ERA from 2009-10, including a 5.81 ERA in 124 innings at Triple-A Rochester in '10.

Perkins, though, embraced his new role as a reliever in '11, and he was able to find success with added velocity to his fastball and a devastating slider.

"Perk kind of settled in and realized that this was a good route for him, and took the ball and just got up there and let it fly," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's kind of just grasped the role and enjoyed it. He got into a situation where he knew he could step onto the mound and let it fly, the velocity went up two, three mph. And I think he enjoyed that competition getting outs late in the ballgame, and he's kind of run with it from there."

For his efforts, Perkins was rewarded before the 2012 season with an extension to keep him in his home state of Minnesota through the '15 season worth a guaranteed $10.3 million that includes incentives for games finished.

Gardenhire credited Perkins for maturing despite his prior struggles, and knows he can count on the 29-year-old lefty moving forward.

"That's going from being a young player to understanding that you're in a good situation, you're pitching for your hometown team where you grew up," Gardenhire said. "And once he kind of got through all that and realized how good it was to be a Minnesota Twin, he took off."

Perkins also has some help at the back end of the bullpen, as Jared Burton had a breakout season with a 3.05 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 62 innings, and he was given a two-year extension at the end of the season. Brian Duensing also had success as a reliever, while Alex Burnett and Casey Fien both emerged as pleasant surprises last season.

Perkins feels the bullpen should be one of the club's strengths in '13 after being solid last season despite the club's overall struggles.

"I think it was a strong point for us," Perkins said. "Hopefully, we'll have some guys step up next year, too. So we'll see what happens. We're not too far away from being a good team. If we get some consistency from the starting five in the rotation, we have a chance to be pretty good."


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

     Twins field manager, Ron Gardenhire calls Twins baseball pitcher, Glen Perkins, 'Perks.'

     These are grown men in a highly lucritive business. While not IBM or some other large lucritive business, I am confident that their bosses do not make up nicknames for their employees.

     Most nicknames depreciate people.

     I guess 'Mr. Perkins' would be too formal, 'Glen' would be too familiar, but for 'Skip', 'Perks' is just right.

     Sounds like a bunch of adolescents.

     When I coached, I called my baseball players by their last name, i.e., Mr. Johnson. They called me, Dr. Marshall. The concept is mutual respect, not boss and underling.

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0078.  Giants add righty Tobin to bullpen competition
MLB.com
January 11, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Right-hander Mason Tobin joined the competition for what's expected to be one, and only one, vacancy in the Giants' bullpen, signing a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league Spring Training.

Tobin has not pitched since April 2011 with the Texas Rangers. Receiving his first Major League action, he recorded a 6.75 ERA in four appearances before injuring his throwing elbow. Tobin then underwent Tommy John surgery for the second time. Tobin's agent, Steve Canter, said Friday that the 25-year-old impressed Giants scouts during a workout earlier this month in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Except for that brief Major League stint, Tobin hasn't pitched above Class A. Formerly a starter, he went 6-4 with a 2.43 ERA in 25 outings (21 starts) in the Angels and Rangers organizations from 2007-09.

The Giants' other offseason acquisitions expected to contend for the relief role formerly held by Guillermo Mota include Scott Proctor, Fabio Castillo and Sandy Rosario. Holdovers and rookies also in the mix include Jake Dunning, Jean Machi and Dan Otero.


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

     Giants minor league baseball pitcher, Mason Tobin, will have the pleasure of pitching spring training innings that the pitchers that will break with the major league team are not ready to pitch in spring training.

     Nevertheless, Mr. Tobin will have the opportunity to show what he can do.

     I remember when I was on the Triple-A roster of the Detroit Tigers and, late in spring training, the general manager asked me to throw batting practice to the Tigers starting batting line-up.

     To me, this was an audition and, while I could only throw fastballs, I could move the 'circle of friction' of my two-seam Maxline Fastball wherever I wanted.

     The resulting unsuspected movements broke bats and humilitated the batters.

     One month into the 1967 season, on Memorial Day, I joined the major league team.

     Good luck, Mr. Tobin.

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0079.  Players put machismo aside for benefits of yoga
MLB.com
January 11, 2013

Baseball is a macho sport. Baseball players are bred on toughness, broken in with age-old training techniques that their hardscrabble forefathers cobble into a broad, manly category called, among other things, "getting after it."

The notion of reporting to a room where the lights are dimmed, soft music is playing and the instructor speaks in a calm voice and spouts odd terms such as "downward-facing dog" and "Namaste" doesn't exactly qualify as old-school hardball.

Then again, if a player is willing to venture into the foreign land known as the yoga studio, he's usually in for the rudest of awakenings. In a serious hurry.

"They show up, even to the most basic class, and they think it's some easy thing, some foo-foo thing for women," said Tracy Hayes, a yoga and Pilates instructor and the wife of Chris "Disco" Hayes, a Minor League right-hander.

"After getting into the first simple pose, they're all crying like babies. They realize how difficult it is."

And eventually, they see how rewarding it is.

Matt Repplinger, a Denver-based baseball yoga consultant, says the connection between the age-old teachings of yoga and baseball have grown "exponentially" in the last five to 10 years. He said adventurous players looking for an edge would always seek it out, but now it's becoming more and more accepted throughout the ranks of the Grand Old Game.

"There's always been the chew-spit mentality in baseball, and I suppose that will always be there," Repplinger said. "Baseball people can be set in their ways. But it's growing, and it's gotten to the point where guys aren't ashamed to admit that they're doing it.

"And it used to be that guys who did do it wouldn't tell anyone about it, because it gave them their edge."

But as any instructor or disciple will quickly tell you, the benefits of yoga go far beyond gaining strength and flexibility. The focus, attention and mental fortitude required to not only contort and compress the body into the poses but to stay in those poses for long periods of time can often translate to the desired "zone" when on the field.

More and more teams are signing on during Spring Training, with optional classes available, and players are seeking out individual instructors in the offseason.

Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants is a longtime student, and Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees has dabbled in yoga and did it with New York-based instructor Gwen Lawrence as recently as 2009.

Lawrence is a huge baseball fan. Her husband, Ted, is a former player who was drafted and spent time in the Minors. He's now the high school baseball coach at Rye Country Day School in suburban Westchester County, N.Y., and Gwen travels to Florida with Ted to help prepare the team during its own yearly Spring Training.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman knows to go to her when his players are interested in yoga fine-tuning, and Lawrence also works with the New York Giants football team, New York Rangers hockey team, the Red Bulls pro soccer team and several colleges. She has a program called "Power Yoga for Sports" that comes with DVDs. Yankees prospect Dante Bichette Jr. has been using them for years.

Lawrence said her approach to baseball players isn't what you might expect when you walk into a yoga studio. You're not going to smell incense and hear Yanni, for example. What you might hear is Lawrence screaming at you.

"I go into their world," Lawrence said. "I don't ask them to come into my world. The object is to boil down a 5,000-year-old art to the most structured, make-sense time for them. So I'll get in their face a bit. I'll yell, 'No! You're staying in that pose! Find a way!' It's that kind of training aspect.

"I've been known to drop an F-bomb or two."

Alan Jaeger, a longtime yoga instructor and pitching guru who currently co-operates Jaeger Sports, which has been known lately for its commitment to long-tossing techniques for pitchers, says he has always gone with a different approach. Jaeger has worked with Zito since the beginning of the left-hander's career, and Jaeger also has taught yoga to Boston reliever Andrew Bailey and former players Mike Lieberthal and Joel Zumaya, among others. He says his sessions always begin and end with meditation.

"You enter a lot more of that calm, relaxed, quiet presence and state," Jaeger said. "A lot of it is about slowing down and deepening poses, and getting into your breath and calm perseverance. It's a quiet discipline.

"Getting in game situations, you're sped up. And that's not the problem, because these guys are already built-in competitors. You can be as quiet and calm as you want, but poses for 90 seconds are brutally challenging. Breathing is getting faster.

"But it's about slowing down, quieting down, detaching from outcome and consequences in your world. I want their attention on their breath and their body, not their head. Be present. Thoughts are going to take you into the future or past and be distracting. There's nothing to do with the action in front of you. My commands are about presence, attention. 'What are you doing now?'"

Elena Brower, the New York-based founder and co-owner of the Virayoga studio, isn't surprised that different teachers could have such different methods. She says it's imperative that each prospective student finds the right teacher for their mind and body type. That's why baseball players require different needs in yoga from football or basketball players.

Then again, Brower said, some things about it will always stay the same.

"There's a level of focus and refinement of attention that yoga brings to athletes," Brower said. "Athletes can identify, because it's exactly what they can identify when they're in their space, on the field. It's the same feeling. It's just the thing you do. It's the same experience. So it really is the same teaching.

"Can you put attention in one place and just leave it there? And can you switch from that to being aware of everything? Can you see it all? That's basically what they're doing as athletes. They have to see the whole field and the one thing they have to accomplish."

Lawrence knows it's helped A-Rod. She said with a laugh, "The last time I worked with him was the last time he won."

And Hayes, who has been a submarine pitcher and a sidearmer and a conventional righty, knows it's helped him with flexibility and focus as a pitcher and can help other baseball players, too, if they get past any stigmas that might prevent them from walking in that door and getting in that brutal first pose.

"Early on when I was doing it, it was like, 'OK, I'm weird. I throw really weird. I have this really weird wife,'" Hayes said.

"And now it's, 'Well, maybe we're not so weird.'"


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     Flexibility has nothing to do with Yoga or meditation.

     The range of motion (flexibility) of joints depends on the ability of antagonitic muscles to withstand stress.

     To increase the range of motion of the pitching shoulder, baseball pitchers have to train the acceleration and deceleration muscles.

     Sitting with your legs crossed will not increase the functional range of motion of the hips joints.

     With regard to pitching in pressure situation: Baseball pitchers need to differentially control the muscle tensions in the muscles that baseball pitchers use to accelerate and decelerate their pitching arms.

     This means that controlling muscle tensions is a learned skill.

     To improve performance, athletes need to differentiate between the muscle tension that they need to succeed and the muscle tension that will cause them to fail.

     Like simultaneously stomping of the brakes and the accelerator, removing the unnecessary muscle tension frees the necessary muscle tension to work better.

     To learn more, research Edmond Jacobson and Arthur Steinhaus.

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0080.  Ex-Giants closer Wilson reportedly works out for Mets
MLB.com
January 13, 2013

Brian Wilson may be switching coasts next season.

According to multiple reports, the bearded former Giants closer worked out privately for the Mets, who may be looking to add some bullpen depth behind Frank Francisco for the 2013 season.

Wilson, 30, underwent Tommy John surgery last April after just two appearances. Despite struggling through injuries during the second half of 2011, he still managed to rack up 36 saves for the Giants that year, along with a 3.11 ERA.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson watched Wilson's workout and told The New York Post he was "not sure" if the club would extend a contract offer to the right-hander, who posted a career 3.21 ERA with 340 strikeouts in 320 innings over his seven years in San Francisco.

Wilson was non-tendered by the Giants in November.


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

     A year afer Mr. Wilson helped the Giants win a World Series, the Giants did not offer Mr. Wilson a contract.

     I guess it was Mr. Wilson's fault that he ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Why do teams have Medical Staffs and several baseball pitching coaches only to have baseball pitchers suffer pitching injuries?

     At the least, before they cast injured pitchers aside, teams should make their pitchers whole.

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0081.  Maples learned much from trying first season
MLB.com
January 14, 2013

CHICAGO, IL: A year ago, Dillon Maples was eagerly looking forward to his first season of pro baseball.

The right-handed pitcher was ranked sixth among the Cubs' future stars on MLB.com's Top 20 Prospects heading into 2012. A 14th-round Draft pick in 2011, Maples had turned down a full scholarship to play football at North Carolina to sign with the Cubs. He agreed to a $2.5 million deal, the largest bonus for a player selected after the second round.

But things didn't turn out as planned.

"My first year of pro ball didn't go exactly how I drew it up," Maples said. "I learned a lot from this year."

Two days before he showed up for a mini-camp, Maples was throwing on flat ground.

"That night, I was eating, and then I turned the channel on the remote and I was like, 'Man, something [hurts] in my forearm,'" he said.

Unexplained soreness in a pitcher's forearm is not a good thing.

"I didn't think it was that big of a deal," Maples said during an interview in Mesa, Ariz. "I came in and said, 'Hey, I've got a little tender spot in my forearm.' The next thing I know, it turned into a pretty serious thing."

Maples had a strained ligament in his elbow. That kind of injury can result in Tommy John surgery.

"I really didn't know the extent of what my injury was," Maples said. "They told me, 'Six weeks, no throwing,' and I was like, 'OK, six weeks, I'll be back in 2 1/2 weeks.' I started talking to Chuck [Baughman], the [athletic] trainer, and he said, 'There's this throwing program you have to do, and you have to work back into it.'

"When you get hurt, it's not just as soon as you're healthy, you start playing. You have to rehab."

Ask any player: Rehab stinks.

Maples had felt fine before the discomfort. He'd spent that offseason prepping by doing what had worked in high school. "It's a totally different animal [here in the pros], and your arm has to last longer," he said.

The lesson he learned was the importance of following the Cubs' offseason workout program.

"I take full responsibility for my throwing," Maples said. "The throwing program is on us. I wasn't smart with the throwing program. I looked at it and was like, 'OK, I'll do some of this, I'll do some of my stuff.' This offseason, I'll follow [the Cubs' program] religiously."

The Cubs will find out if Maples, 20, followed their orders when he reports with the rest of the Minor Leaguers to Mesa next month. The team is counting on its top prospects so it doesn't have to rely on the free-agent market or trades. Last season, two Draft picks from 2009 -- Chris Rusin (fourth round) and Brooks Raley (sixth round) -- both made their Major League debuts as the Cubs were scrambling to find starting pitching after trading Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm, losing Matt Garza to injury and shutting down Jeff Samardzija. Both Rusin and Raley are projected to open in the Minor Leagues in 2013.

Last summer, Maples progressed enough to appear in six games for the Cubs' Arizona Rookie League team. He totaled 10 1/3 innings, then stayed in Mesa to pitch in the instructional league in October. He was on a strict pitch count and limited to no more than three innings an outing.

In October 2011, in his first instructional league game, Maples had cruised, striking out five batters over two innings. His first Rookie League outing in 2012 wasn't as impressive, but encouraging because there was no pain. He walked two and struck out one over one inning.

The right-hander is now ranked No. 12 on the list of Cubs' Top 20 Prospects. He's projected as a top-of-the-rotation starter. Maples is a lot smarter now.

Was he upset about spending most of his first pro year in rehab?

"It's kind of a weird way that I learned this, but I was fishing with my dad," Maples said. "We go to the Outer Banks [in North Carolina] fishing. We're sitting there, there's probably 20 guys. There's a guy who has a huge drum [fish], and he's reeling it in, and the line snaps. I'm like, 'Man, I'd be [ticked] off, I'd be mad.'

"It is what it is. This [past] offseason, I was working out hard, I was doing what I was supposed to be doing, and this [injury] slowed me down. It is what it is. You can only hope to get better from it, stronger."


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     Cubs 14th round baseball pitcher, Dillion Maples, said:

01 "I take full responsibility for my throwing."
02. "The throwing program is on us."
03. "I wasn't smart with the throwing program."
04. "I looked at it and was like, 'OK, I'll do some of this."
05. "I'll do some of my stuff.'"
06. "This offseason, I'll follow [the Cubs' program] religiously."

     This is why newly-signed professional baseball pitchers should spend the first 280 days of their professional baseball career completing my 280-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     When they finish this program, these youngsters will understand what they have to do to become the best baseball pitchers that they can be.

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0082.  Karstens said to be returning to Pittsburgh
MLB.com
January 14, 2013

The Pirates have agreed to bring back right-hander Jeff Karstens, whom the club had non-tendered two months ago.

According to a Monday report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Bucs and the pitcher came to terms on a one-year contract, pending a physical.

The club had no comment, with Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington simply responding, "We have nothing to report with respect to any player signing. We continue to work through the process on a number of fronts."

The development would not be surprising, and would be welcomed by the popular pitcher's fans.

Karstens, 30, has received only mild interest on the market since becoming a free agent on Nov. 30, when he was not offered a contract by the Pirates. Prior to taking that step, Huntington had tried to negotiate a deal with Karstens, who was eligible for arbitration and likely due a salary of about $4 million in that process.

Since he was non-tendered, a contract now negotiated by Karstens would not be subject to arbitration protocol.

The tentative agreement with Karstens comes a couple of weeks after left-hander Francisco Liriano suffered an injury to his non-throwing arm to nullify the free agent's two-year, $12.75 million agreement with Pittsburgh.

In the interim, the Pirates had also expressed interest in other pitchers, including free-agent right-hander Shaun Marcum, most recently of the Brewers, and Detroit's Rick Porcello.

The Pirates had expressed some concern about the durability of Karstens, who missed significant parts of the 2012 season with injuries to his shoulder, hip and groin that limited him to 15 starts and 90 2/3 innings. When able to pitch, however, he was effective -- posting an ERA of 3.97. He is the only member of the 2011-12 rotations to have a sub-4.00 ERA each season, having pitched to a 3.38 in 2011.


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     So, when teams refuse to offer their players a contract, those players cannot use arbitration to determine the amount of their contract.

     Once again, it is Mr. Karstens fault that he injured his pitching shoulder, pitching hip and pitching groin (Addutor Brevis muscle).Since he was non-tendered, a contract now negotiated by Karstens would not be subject to arbitration protocol.

     If professional teams allowed injured baseball pitchers to go to whomever they wanted to prevent or rehabilitate pitching injuries, then I could see how their teams might not have any responsibility for their injuries.

     But, they don't.

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0083.  Diamondbacks extend closer Putz through 2014
MLB.com
January 14, 2013

The D-backs have agreed to a one-year contract extension with J.J. Putz, keeping the closer in Arizona through the 2014 season.

"J.J. has provided much-needed leadership and stability for our bullpen the last two years," general manager Kevin Towers said on Monday. "He has been an integral piece and helped set the foundation for our bullpen's turnaround, so we are excited to have him in place the next two seasons."

"I'm very happy to be a member of the great D-backs organization and family though 2014," said Putz. "It's special to be with my family year-round, so we're all really excited."

Putz, 35, posted a 2.82 ERA with 65 strikeouts in 2012. The former All-Star notched 19 straight saves from May 26-Aug. 31 on his way to 32 on the season. Putz led an Arizona bullpen that posted a franchise-record 3.24 ERA last year.

The Michigan native has played a decade in the bigs since being selected by the Mariners in the sixth round of the 1999 First-Year Player Draft. He has a career 33-31 record with a 3.04 ERA and 183 saves for the Mariners (2003-08), Mets (2009), White Sox (2010) and D-backs (2011-12).

Putz enters 2013 with the opportunity to become the 45th pitcher in Major League history to record 200 saves, and the first to reach 100 saves for the D-backs.


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     For Mr. Putz to get a two-year contract after ten years of major league pitching is a rare and remarkable accomplishment. My congratulations.

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0084.  Soria happy to set up, but hopes to close again
MLB.com
January 14, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX: Joakim Soria said he signed with the Rangers because he wanted a place to pitch. He was a closer for five seasons for the Royals but understands that might not be his role with the Rangers.

Joe Nathan is the Rangers' closer for 2013 and possibly '14 if the club picks up his option. That seems to be fine with Soria, although he still entertains hopes of being a closer again at some point in his career.

"This is baseball," Soria said. "I just love to play baseball. I don't mind if I'm the setup reliever. The goal is to win the championship."

Nathan is in the second season of a two-year, $14.75 million contract. The Rangers also have a club option on the right-hander for $9 million for 2014, with a $750,000 buyout. Nathan also has the option of getting out of his '14 contract while forfeiting both salary and buyout if he finishes at least 38 games this season.

Nathan, who turned 38 in November, pitched in 66 games for the Rangers in 2012, going 3-5 with a 2.80 ERA and 37 saves in 40 chances. He also set a club record with 31 straight successful save opportunities and was selected to the All-Star team for the fifth time in his career.

But if Soria is healthy, he gives the Rangers a backup closer on days when Nathan is unavailable. Alexi Ogando, who is moving to the rotation, had three saves last season, while Mike Adams, Tanner Scheppers and Koji Uehara each had one on days when Nathan needed a break.

Soria, 28, had 160 saves as the Royals' closer from 2007-11 before missing all of 2012 after undergoing Tommy John surgery on April 3. He was an All-Star in '08 and '10.

"I think you talk to any of us and it's not about where we pitch, it's about being able to compete and try and help this club out," Nathan said. "Any time you've got a guy that's a late-inning guy that's had success [is a good thing], and obviously with Soria, he's as good as it gets when he's healthy. Hopefully, he can get back to himself sooner rather than later and give us that depth that you need in the bullpen, especially if you're planning on playing late into the season and into the postseason."

Soria needs to get healthy as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Right now, he is throwing on flat ground for about 18 minutes. He won't throw off a mound until the end of February, and he is not expected to pitch in a Major League game until the end of May.

"It's going good, but right now we're just looking to put the strength back in my arm," Soria said. "The doctors will decide when I go back on a mound, maybe the end of February. We'll see."

When he is healthy, Soria is expected to be the Rangers' primary eighth-inning setup reliever. But there is no doubt Soria wants to be a closer again, and his incentive-laden contract is built toward him being a closer as early as the 2014 season if Nathan does not return.

Soria's unusually complicated contract, agreed to at the Winter Meetings, calls for a $2 million base salary in 2013 and a $5.5 million base salary in '14. The Rangers also have a $7 million option on Soria for '15, with a $500,000 option. Soria's long list of incentive clauses and salary increases begins with a $500,000 bonus in 2013 if he is on the active roster for just one day. But that's just the beginning.

His 2014 salary can increase from $100,000 to $1 million more depending on how many "games finished" he has in '13. Games finished is a statistic used in incentive clauses for closers. Soria's base salary for '14 increases by $100,000 if he finishes 10 games in '13. He gets another $100,000 each on his '14 contract for 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 60, 65 and 70 games finished in '13. That's a maximum increase of $1 million.

Soria's option and buyout for 2015 can also increase depending on how many games finished he has in '13 and '14. If Soria has 55 games finished in '14 or 100 games finished between '13-14, then his '15 salary goes up to $8 million and his buyout goes up to $750,000.

Most of Soria's incentive clauses in 2013 are based on games pitched, which is customary for a setup reliever. Soria gets $100,000 if he pitches in 30 games, another $50,000 for 35 games, $75,000 for 40 games, $75,000 for 45 games, $75,000 for 50 games, $75,000 for 55 games, $100,000 for 60 games and $100,000 for 65 games. That would be a total of $650,000 if he pitches in 65 games.

But Soria would also do well if he ends up as the Rangers' closer in 2013. He would get $100,000 for 10 games finished, and another $100,000 each for every five more games he finishes -- up to a maximum of 40 games and $700,000. His '14 incentives are all tied to games finished as opposed to games pitched. Soria gets $100,000 for 10 games finished and another $100,000 for 15, 20 and 25 games finished. He gets an extra $150,000 each for 30, 35 and 40 games finished, $200,000 for 45 and 50 games finished and $250,000 for 60 games finished. That is a total of $1.3 million in incentives in '14 based solely on games finished.

Soria can earn an extra $1 million in incentives in 2015 based on games finished. He gets $250,000 for 45 games finished and another $250,000 for 50, 55 and 60 games finished.


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

     Wow. Talk about hedging your bets.

     What prevents the Rangers from not letting Mr. Soria pitch in the game that would give Mr. Soria from making another $250.000?

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0085.  Blackburn to miss start of season after wrist surgery
MLB.com
January 14, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN: Right-hander Nick Blackburn will miss the start of the season, as he's set to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his right wrist on Wednesday at the Mayo Clinic, and will be in a cast for six weeks.

Blackburn, who also had a bone chip removed from his right elbow in October, will not be ready in time for Spring Training. Twins pitchers and catchers are set to report on Feb. 12, and Blackburn will start his rehab once the cast is removed.

He was considered a candidate to be the club's fifth starter after the Twins added Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia to a rotation that already includes Scott Diamond. Other rotation candidates include Kyle Gibson, Liam Hendriks and Cole De Vries.

Blackburn, though, struggled last year, posting a 7.39 ERA in 19 starts before being outrighted off the 40-man roster in August.

Blackburn, who is 43-55 with a career 4.85 ERA over 145 games (137 starts) in six years with the Twins, is set to earn $5.5 million this season.


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     Removing loose pieces of hyaline cartilage from the pitching elbow does not require a long recouperation period.

     Mr. Blackburn had these 'bone chips' removed in October. That means that Mr. Blackburn has at least three months to recover from this arthroscopic surgery.

     If, after wrist surgery, Mr. Blackburn will be in a cast for six weeks, Mr. Blackburn will not be able to start rehabilitation until after spring training starts.

     Mr. Blackburn will not be ready to competitively pitch until at least May.

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0086.  Rizzo builds Nationals into near-flawless contender
MLB.com
January 15, 2013

So now the Washington Nationals have three closers, and isn't that going to be a problem?

Yes, I'm reaching. Otherwise, it's almost impossible to find a flaw with this team, and that's no fun. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo has constructed a roster that's close to perfect, and now he's about to turn it over to a manager, Davey Johnson, with one of the best winning percentages in history (.564).

Rizzo's team won 98 games last season, the most in baseball. The Nationals led the National League in ERA and were fifth in runs. Only three teams made fewer errors.

When last season ended, they had one pressing need (if there's such a thing for a 98-64 team): an impact defensive presence in center field. If he could bat leadoff, so much the better.

The Nationals were widely linked to free-agent center fielder Michael Bourn, but Rizzo went another direction, sending his best pitching prospect, Alex Meyer, to the Twins for Denard Span.

Span is such a perfect fit, both at the top of the lineup and in center, that if Rizzo hadn't done one other thing, his team would have been favored to win the NL East again. And this time, the Nationals would be going back to the playoffs with Stephen Strasburg at the top of their rotation.

Only Rizzo wasn't done. He essentially swapped Edwin Jackson for Dan Haren in his rotation. And then he went to work on his bullpen, where he'd lost three left-handed relievers in free agency -- Sean Burnett, Mike Gonzalez and Tom Gorzelanny, who made a combined 162 appearances.

Still, the Nationals' bullpen was deep. Rizzo would have closer Drew Storen for an entire year and also Tyler Clippard, who saved 32 games while Storen was recovering from elbow surgery. He also signed former Reds lefty specialist Bill Bray to a Minor League contract. When healthy, he has been one of the best left-handed specialists in the game.

And when Rizzo re-signed first baseman Adam LaRoche, his work appeared to be done. LaRoche hit 33 home runs in the middle of the order last season, and he was equally huge in the clubhouse, a calming presence for a club going through the grind of a pennant race for the first time.

LaRoche's return seemed to make Michael Morse available, and us smart guys figured he'd be traded for a reliever or a prospect. Only Rizzo wasn't done. He was in Puerto Rico last week scouting Javier Vazquez, who has been touching 95 mph on radar guns after taking 2012 off. Vazquez made sense for the Nationals as insurance for the rotation or another quality arm for the bullpen.

All that was before Rizzo surprised baseball on Tuesday by signing free-agent closer Rafael Soriano to a deal worth at least $28 million over two years. He was one of the more intriguing names left in this free-agent market and had been mentioned in connection with the Dodgers and Tigers.

All Soriano does for the Nationals is make a solid bullpen one of the best in baseball. Regardless of how Johnson lines them up, the Nationals seem capable of reducing games to six innings.

Johnson will have the option of using three guys -- Soriano, Clippard and Storen -- for the late innings. All of them have had success closing games. This is where it helps having someone with Johnson's years of experience. He has such a good relationship with his players that regardless of who he uses and in what situations, his guys will understand he's only doing what he believes is best for the team.

As Spring Training approaches, it's fun to argue whether the Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals, Reds or Nationals should be the consensus favorite to win the NL.

That's the fun part of this thing. It would be easy to make a case for any of the five teams, and the D-backs, Brewers, Braves and Phillies aren't far behind. Baseball has never had this kind of parity, and maybe that's what Rizzo had in mind when he added a guy who saved 42 games for the Yankees in 2012.

Maybe he's looking beyond the regular season to another round of postseason play when the games are closer and when funny stuff sometimes happen. The Nationals learned how to win last season and had as much fun as any group in the game. Now they'll be dealing with expectations.

Rizzo did what the best general managers have always done. That is, he was unafraid to change a really good club. He kept the core guys together and added some more. Enjoy the ride, boys.


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     It does sound as though Mr. Rizzo has gathered together baseball players capable of challenging for the National League East championship.

     However, Mr. Johnson will have his hands full keeping three closers ready, let alone happy.

     As long as Mr. Johnson calls these three closers, Mr. Soriano, Mr. Clippard and Mr. Storen, I am sure that they will all pitch very well.

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0087.  Nationals want to see Strasburg pitch 200 innings
USA Today
January 15, 2013

The Nationals would like to see Stephen Strasburg pitch 200 innings next season following a year in which Washington's ace was shut down at just under 160 and missed the postseason.

In an interview with USA TODAY Sports, Bob Boone, the Nationals' vice president of player development, was asked to elaborate on manager Davey Johnson's comment in December that he has "no restrictions" for next season.

"To say there's no restrictions really means, 'Hey, we'd like him to pitch 200 innings,'" Boone said. "But, you're not gonna say no restrictions like you might have on Steve Carlton, who would throw 320 innings. You're not gonna do that. There's always restrictions, but the meaning is, 'We're not gonna shut him down after 160 innings.'"

Boone said, however, that "no restrictions" doesn't mean Strasburg has an unlimited pitch count during games.

"That's a quote to a question of, 'Are you gonna cut his innings short?'" Boone said. "That's just the answer to that. As far as monitoring the number of pitches and protecting your guys in the innings, that always happens, especially with young people that are as talented as him."

Strasburg, 24, went 15-6 with a 3.16 ERA in 28 starts last season in his return from Tommy John elbow surgery. The Nationals indicated before the season he would have an innings limit, and they stuck by their decision despite criticism in the news media, especially following a first-round playoff exit.


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     Fear of not knowing whether Mr. Strasburg has injurious flaws forces the Nationals to cover their behinds with pitch and innings limits that prevent Mr. Strasburg from the fitness that he needs to pitch more innings.

     The Nationals fear is preventing Mr. Strasburg from becoming the best baseball pitcher that he can be.

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0088.  New rules would ban 'trick' pickoffs, add interpreters
MLB.com
January 15, 2013

A series of rules changes proposed by the general managers in November and approved by the sport's top executives at the recent Owners Meetings are awaiting ratification by the Major League Baseball Players Association.

There are more than a dozen alterations and amendments on the table. Among them is the fake-to-third, throw-to-first pickoff move, which would be ruled a balk, and the allowance of an interpreter to accompany a pitching coach or manager to the mound and assist in communicating with pitchers who don't speak fluent English.

Clubs would also be permitted to have a seventh coach in uniform and in the dugout during games, a response to the number of teams that have added a second hitting coach in recent years.

ESPN.com first reported the proposed rules changes to permit an interpreter to join mound conferences and to have an additional coach on the bench during games.

Generally, details of such tentative amendments aren't revealed until after the union signs off on them. For example, there was a push to ban the third-to-first pickoff play last year, but the union asked for more time to study the issue.


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     Under former rules, from the Set Position, with base runners on third and first bases, baseball pitchers could step toward third base, not throw the baseball to third base, disengage the pitching rubber with their pitching foot, turn and throw or not throw the baseball toward first base.

     Unless baseball pitchers do not disengage the pitching rubber with their pitching foot, I see no reason for umpires to call a balk.

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0089.  Nationals boost bullpen, sign Soriano to two-year deal
MLB.com
January 15, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC: The Nationals made their bullpen even better on Tuesday afternoon, agreeing to sign reliever Rafael Soriano to a two-year, $28 million contract, pending a physical, according to baseball sources.

The deal also includes a $14 million option for 2015 that vests if Soriano finishes 120 games over the next two years. The Nats have not confirmed the signing.

Soriano, 33, had one of his best seasons in 2012, posting a 2.26 ERA with 42 saves for the Yankees, taking over the closer duties after Mariano Rivera's injury. He joins a Nats bullpen that already includes Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard, who closed games in 2012.

Soriano has a 2.78 career ERA in 11 seasons with the Mariners, Braves, Rays and Yanks.

The signing of Soriano comes after Washington's bullpen imploded during the National League Division Series, allowing 16 earned runs against the Cardinals. The worst performance came in the ninth inning of Game 5, when Washington held a 7-5 lead going into the top of the ninth inning before Storen allowed four runs for a 9-7 loss.

Storen was one strike away from getting David Freese for the final out, but Freese walked. Daniel Descalso came to the plate, and on the first pitch, he singled off the glove of shortstop Ian Desmond, scoring Carlos Beltran and Adron Chambers to make it a 7-7 game.

Manager Davey Johnson then elected to pitch to Pete Kozma, rather than walk him to get to pitcher Jason Motte. Kozma singled to right field to send home Freese and Descalso to put the Cards on top.

With Soriano on board, the Nationals most likely will trade Clippard or Storen. Before the non-waiver Trade Deadline in 2011, the Nats tried to trade Storen to the Twins for Denard Span, but that deal fell through because Span suffered a concussion that forced him to miss a lot of action. Minnesota later traded Span to Washington for pitching prospect Alex Meyer last December.

Storen missed half of the 2012 season because of bone chips in his right elbow. He returned to action after the All-Star break but didn't reclaim his role as the closer until September, when Clippard slumped.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo could try to package Storen and Michael Morse in a deal for prospects.

The Nats' Major League roster is nearly complete. They are looking to sign a starting pitcher, even though their rotation is set, and they continue to have interest in right-hander Javier Vazquez, who has not pitched in the Majors since 2011 and has not yet decided if he will play in 2013.


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     Mr. Storen has ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament and had bone (hyaline cartilage) removed from his pitching elbow.

     That means that Mr. Storen bangs the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together and reverse bounces his pitching forearm immediately before he starts the acceleration phase of his baseball pitching motion.

     I remember that when Mr. Soriano first arrived with the Yankees, he had some physical problems.

     Therefore, for Mr. Rizzo to sign 33 year old Mr. Soriano and trade much younger Mr. Storen seems short-sighted.

     Let us see what Mr. Rizzo does.

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0090.  Danks says shoulder 'feels great' in mound sessions
MLB.com
January 15, 2013

CHICAGO, IL: When asked about his outlook for the 2013 season during the months of October, November and December, John Danks would use the words "cautiously optimistic" as part of his response.

Then Jan. 2 rolled around, and the rehab program for Danks' arthroscopically repaired left shoulder took him to throwing off the mound. That big step and ensuing positive results slightly altered the southpaw's outlook.

"Being on the mound for a little bit of time, I feel better about things than I did before," Danks told MLB.com via a Tuesday morning phone interview. "There's still a ways to go. I haven't spun anything or seen a hitter. But my shoulder feels great off the mound."

Danks has thrown 40 pitches off the mound three times per week since Jan. 2, going with the mix of 30 fastballs and 10 changeups. He felt good enough to petition to increase the number of pitches in the sessions, but White Sox head athletic trainer Herm Schneider and pitching coach Don Cooper have told Danks to stay where he's at currently.

Prior to arriving in chilly Chicago next Friday for SoxFest at the Palmer House, Danks will start "spinning them" as part of the increased mound work. He already has moved from just throwing fastballs straight down the middle to working them on the corners.

"We are getting there," Danks said. "I'm throwing pretty hard off the mound, not just wobbling it. So I can't complain.

"Our longer Spring Training will be helpful. I know they are going to be careful with me, but my goal is for them not to have to be careful. I just want to be one of the guys."

Surgery to repair a capsular tear and minor debridements of the rotator cuff and biceps taking place on Aug. 6 inherently moves Danks just outside that "one of the guys" category. Luckily for Danks, the surgery performed by Dr. Anthony Romeo and Dr. Gregory Nicholson, with assistance from Dr. Charles Bush-Joseph and Dr. Nick Verma, revealed a normal labrum and made possible a Spring Training return, or possibly a return shortly after the start of the regular season.

Schneider praised Danks for his commitment to the full rehab as part of a team-released video late last week. Danks completed the long-toss program -- which began on Nov. 1 -- on Dec. 31, and did the entire program without a glitch.

"Johnny is doing extremely well," said Schneider in the video. "Our philosophy is a slow climb, not peaks and valleys. Just a slow climb. That's exactly what he did, and he made nothing but progress all the way through. Johnny has worked very hard, has not complained one bit, and has been diligent on everything we asked him to do. Kudos to him, he has been awesome to work with.

"Surgery is like 10 percent of the fix, and 90 percent of the fix is the rehab and time you put into it. Surgery took 40 minutes or maybe an hour, and the rehab takes months, as we are seeing with Derrick Rose. [The Bulls] are being careful with him. We are being careful, but being aggressive to get him back throwing. The longer you stay away from it, the harder it is to get back into the swing of things, especially with the rhythm of pitching."

An 0-8 effort with a 5.25 ERA over his first 11 starts contributed to a subpar 8-12 showing with a 4.33 ERA during the 2011 season for Danks. Those numbers stood as an unfortunate drop for a left-hander who won in double-digits each of the previous three years, had a sub-3.80 ERA in all three seasons, and pitched at least 195 innings in each year.

That rough showing was Cy Young Award caliber in comparison to the 2012 debacle for Danks, coming immediately after agreeing to a five-year, $65 million extension with the team. The intensely competitive 26-year-old never really felt right on the mound from the outset, and his 3-4 season all but ended with a victory at Wrigley Field on May 19 after just nine starts.

Frustration from continued pain while simply playing catch in an attempt to come back was replaced by optimism when the doctors surgically repaired the shoulder. Throwing off the mound and being able to bounce back healthy after throwing has certainly increased that optimism a level or two.

"Everything has been great to this point," Danks said. "I would think that going into the end of the season this is where I would be at this point, what we expected. I'm on pace for what they thought I would be.

"I've had days where I thought, 'Am I going to be ready?' And the next day, I feel great. The biggest thing is I've been able to bounce back each time, and I haven't had to take a step back. Before surgery, I couldn't play catch a couple days after long toss.

"My top priority is getting healthy, which is why on the same day I'm throwing and doing my shoulder program, I'm still doing my workout and conditioning," Danks said. "Right now, I feel like I'm as good as I can be. Coming off surgery and whatnot, I feel ready to go."


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     Surgically-repaired White Sox baseball pitchers, John Danks, said:

01. "Being on the mound for a little bit of time, I feel better about things than I did before."
02. "There's still a ways to go."
03. "I haven't spun anything or seen a hitter."
04. "But my shoulder feels great off the mound."

     Mr. Danks injured his pitching shoulder because Mr. Danks takes his pitching upper arm behind his acromial line.

     Therefore, to move his pitching upper arm back to in front of his acromial line, Mr. Danks has to use his Pectoralis Major muscle. Pulling the pitching upper arm back to the pitching arm side of his body causes Mr. Danks' pitching forearm to move laterally away from Mr. Danks' body.

     I call this action: 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.' 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' causes the bones in the back of the pitching elbow to bang together.

     When Mr. Danks said that he 'has not spun anything,' Mr. Danks means that he has not supinated the release of his breaking pitches.

     The combination of 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' and 'Supinating the release of breaking pitches' not only severely stresses the front of Mr. Danks' pitching shoulder and causes pieces of hyaline cartilage to break loose from his olecranon fossa.

     Therefore, unless Mr. Danks learns how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle and pronates the release of his breaking pitches, Mr. Danks will never pitch well again.

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0091.  Clinic to give Braves hurlers jump start on season
MLB.com
January 16, 2013

ATLANTA, GA:

The Braves are less than a month away from staging their first Spring Training workouts in Florida. But some of the club's pitchers will get an early start when they come to Turner Field to participate in a voluntary early throwing program next week.

Tim Hudson, Kris Medlen and Craig Kimbrel are among the pitchers expected to participate during at least a portion of the program, which will begin on Tuesday and run until Feb. 4.

Braves pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training on Feb. 11 and participate in their first workout the following day at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex. The first full-squad workout is scheduled for Feb. 15.

Medlen and Kimbrel will spend the next few weeks preparing to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. The only other Braves pitcher who could pitch in this year's Classic is left-handed reliever Luis Avilan, who is a candidate to be part of Venezuela's bullpen.

This early throwing program provides the pitchers an opportunity to strengthen their arms and be prepared to throw off the mound when they arrive for the start of Spring Training. In addition, the event gives pitching coach Roger McDowell a chance to see some of the organization's top pitching prospects.

Some of the prospects expected to make an appearance include Sean Gilmartin and J.R. Graham, both of whom are scheduled to participate in the Braves Country Caravan that will be staged from Jan. 22-Feb. 2.

Having recently completed a stint in the Dominican Winter League, Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado are not expected to be in Atlanta for this year's event. But barring any trades, both talented young hurlers are expected to be a part of the Opening Day roster.

Teheran and Delgado are expected to come to Spring Training to battle for the fifth spot in the rotation. Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez's current plan is to put one of the right-handers in his rotation and the other in the bullpen as a long reliever.

The most significant change to the pitching staff occurred in December when the Braves traded Tommy Hanson to the Angels for hard-throwing right-hander Jordan Walden. Walden, who notched 32 saves for the Angels in 2011, is expected to serve as a middle reliever in Atlanta. The club does not know if he plans to participate in the early throwing program.


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     Because rest detrains the bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons associated with baseball pitching, I strongly recommend that baseball pitchers never stop throwing baseballs.

     Therefore, starting to throw during the last week of January, while waiting until spring training starts on February 11 is worse, is several months too late.

     Professional athletes need to keep themselves fit to compete every day. Maintaining competitive fitness takes about one-half the effort and stress that trying to regain competitive fitness.

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0092.  Mets not impressed with Wilson
New York Post
January 16, 2013

Brian Wilson probably shouldn’t change his ring tone to “Meet the Mets” anytime soon.

According to a baseball source Tuesday, the veteran closer didn’t impress the Mets during his workout at UCLA on Saturday and wasn’t deemed worthy of a major league contract at this point in his rehab from Tommy John surgery. Wilson, the source said, wasn’t interested in a minor league deal.

“Physically, he’s not ready,” the source said. “He’s got a ways to go.”

The source said if Wilson is still on the market during spring training, the Mets could hold another audition for him, but the Mets also aren’t in a rush.

In the meantime, the Mets figure to pursue other bullpen options.

The 30-year-old Wilson underwent Tommy John surgery — which generally carries a 12-month rehab — last April. But Wilson also underwent a previous Tommy John surgery, perhaps making teams more cautious in their approach.

Wilson, a three-time All-Star, made $8.5 million in 2012 and was non-tendered by the Giants in November after they won their second World Series in three years. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson watched Wilson’s workout on Saturday.

Wilson’s best year came with the Giants in 2010, when he went 3-3 with a 1.81 ERA and 48 saves.


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     With two Ulnar Collateral Ligament ruptures, when teams do not know how to eliminate the injurious flaw that caused the injury, they should be very cautious.

     That Mr. Wilson was not fit to competitive pitch did not help.

     Unless Mr. Wilson learns how to pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, Mr. Wilson will rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament for a third time.

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0093.  What a relief: Importance of bullpens keeps growing
MLB.com
January 16, 2013

The one-strike-away Nationals are taking no chances this time. Hello, Rafael Soriano.

To the nation's capital goes Soriano, an elite closer for three clubs over the past four seasons. If it's three months too late to appease the faithful still reeling from a Game 5 loss to the Cardinals in the National League Division Series, you can't second-guess Washington's good intentions.

In the international pastime these days, you never can have enough late-inning arms.

It wasn't always this way. There was a time, before the advent of five-man rotations and analytics, when bullpens were staffed primarily by aging veterans hanging on for big league paydays and untamed thoroughbreds such as Sandy Koufax and Nolan Ryan trying to harness their fantastically erratic stuff.

If a starter didn't go nine innings in those days, he apologized to his manager as one of the old guys or kids came on to finish the job.

We have arrived at a point where bullpens are on close to equal footing with starting rotations in the Major Leagues' scheme of things. Pitching is still the name of the game, but no longer is it all about who starts. The finishers are gaining annually in stature -- and pay.

The Nationals led the Majors in wins with 98 in 2012, owing a measure of their success to a bullpen that ranked seventh with a 3.23 ERA and had a 75-percent success rate in save attempts. Sadly, what too many folks will remember is that NLDS meltdown that moved the Cards to the NL Championship Series and D.C. to tears.

The Reds' relief corps was the best last season, leading the Majors with a 2.65 ERA. Aroldis Chapman converted 38 of 43 save opportunities with a 1.51 ERA.

With Jonathan Broxton having re-upped with the Reds as a free agent, Chapman once again is being considered for the rotation -- leaving skeptics to wonder why you'd mess with such success.

"He could very well be my best starter and my best reliever," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Chapman, whose triple-digit heat accounted for 122 punchouts in 71 2/3 innings. "He would probably prefer to start, but last year we were preparing him as a starter, and there was much debate about whether to send him to the Minor Leagues to start or not. Emphatically, some of us wanted him in the big leagues, and he ended up being the setup man and ended up being a closer. So we'll have to see.

"Right now, we have six starters, and Chapman could possibly be one of them or could be our best closer. It's a pretty good problem to have."

Bruce Bochy, manager of the World Series-champion Giants, has picked up on a trend this winter as he's surveyed the game's landscape.

"I think clubs are really trying to build up their bullpens, in particular, to improve their pitching staffs," Bochy said. "It just seems like teams have gone more toward pitching and defense. I know that's what we wanted to do, and it's worked well for us."

Known primarily for their dominant starters, the Giants would not be champions for the second time in three years without the superb work of a bullpen that was enhanced measurably in the postseason by the temporary addition of Tim Lincecum.

The loss of closer Brian Wilson, so critical to the team's 2010 championship run, to Tommy John surgery after just two appearances could have been a staggering blow in 2012. But Sergio Romo's transition from setup artist to closer was so remarkably seamless that the Giants can feel secure even if Wilson, a free agent, departs.

Romo set up for Santiago Casilla before taking over the ninth inning in late August. A 28th-round Draft pick in 2005, Romo yielded just two runs in his final 21 regular-season appearances and one run in 10 2/3 postseason innings. The World Series ended with Romo catching Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera looking at a third strike in Game 4 in Detroit. His three Fall Classic saves were nine up, nine down.

"Sergio, he's a guy you want out there," Bochy said. "I know this is a play on words, but he saved us all year. When we lost Wilson, Casilla got the lion's share of saves. Then we went by committee, and eventually Sergio took over. We had the right guy."

The best relievers are physically and emotionally resilient, with short memories. After blowing a save for Jake Peavy in late April 2005, Trevor Hoffman -- the saves king before Mariano Rivera succeeded him in 2011 -- greeted a reporter new to the Padres beat.

"You won't see that happen again for a while," Hoffman vowed. His next blown save came almost exactly five months later, on Sept. 26, ending a run of 34 straight conversions.

In 1969, the single-season saves record held by Jack Aker, who saved 32 games for the Kansas City A's in 1966. Francisco Rodriguez has held the record since 2008 with 62. In 2012, there were 14 pitchers with 32 or more saves.

"There's an ever-growing importance of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings of games," Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher said. "A lot of times starting pitchers look at a goal of 200 innings as a benchmark of a good season. With that, there's nine more outs left in a game. If you have lockdown guys for the seventh through the ninth, it gives you a good shot at doing something special.

"I still think there's a huge emphasis on the starting rotation. You need those guys to get deep in the game to keep your bullpen from being overused. The last three outs are the tough outs, but setup guys like Scot Shields [previously] with the Angels and Scott Proctor [previously] with the Yankees, who can work the seventh and eighth and get it to your closer, are invaluable."

The two surprise teams of 2012 -- the Orioles and Athletics -- were driven by their bullpens. Remarkably, Baltimore won 93 games with only one double-figure winner in the rotation: rookie Wei-Yin Chen.

Similarly, the A's, capturing the American League West with 94 victories, had a staff-high 13 wins from rookie starters Tommy Milone and Jarrod Parker. Oakland manager Bob Melvin was wheeling out an all-rookie rotation down the stretch after losing Brett Anderson to injury.

"Those young guys the A's had starting did a great job of controlling counts and getting deep in games," Butcher said. "Their bullpen wasn't overtaxed, and it really came through for them."

The Athletics' balanced relief corps, led by Grant Balfour and Ryan Cook, had the fourth-best ERA (2.94) among Major League bullpens. Only the Reds, Braves (2.76) and Rays (2.88) were better.

One can imagine how the relief-strapped Angels felt watching Fernando Rodney emerge as the AL's best closer for Tampa Bay (48-for-50 in save attempts) after falling on his sideways cap for two seasons in Anaheim. Going back to his Detroit days, Rodney has had Rockies-like peaks and Grand Canyon valleys, underscoring the often unpredictable nature of relievers.

The Tigers, with Jose Valverde going from 2011 perfection (49-for-49) to 2012 struggles, managed to reach the Fall Classic despite a 3.79 bullpen ERA, 18th in the Majors. Starters Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer can cover up a lot of blemishes.

"In the game of baseball, it's always been said, pitching stops everything else," Texas manager Ron Washington said after the A's snuffed his club's run at a third consecutive AL West title. "They stopped us."

The Rangers were rock solid with veteran Joe Nathan nailing down 37 of 40 save tries. The overall bullpen ERA was 3.42. The Angels came in at 3.97, 22nd in the Majors, with 22 blown saves.

To remedy the situation, the Angels signed former Phillies closer Ryan Madson, coming off an idle 2012 while recovering from Tommy John surgery with the Reds, and Sean Burnett, a dynamic southpaw in Washington.

With Madson and Burnett joining Scott Downs, Kevin Jepsen and Ernesto Frieri, a breakout star after arriving from San Diego last season, the Angels believe they have the depth to relieve t he pressure on a rotation that has been remodeled behind ace Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson. Tommy Hanson, Jason Vargas and Joe Blanton will be new on the scene.

"There are so many situations where we didn't hold leads the way we needed to last season," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "And I think going into this year, if everyone hits the ground running as far as our bullpen, we're going to hold leads at a much better rate. And that's going to definitely influence where we finish our standings."

The Rangers eventually can unleash three proven closers at the back end of their bullpen, with free-agent signee Joakim Soria and holdover Neftali Feliz both coming back from Tommy John surgery.

Soria had 160 saves in five seasons as the Royals' closer, and the Rangers are prepared to wait for him. Feliz's surgery in early August makes him questionable for 2013, but Alexi Ogando is another proven late-inning hammer, and is also capable of starting. Robbie Ross provides lefty balance.

Nowhere in 2012 was the impact of those last three innings more evident than in Baltimore.

The Orioles' bullpen, featuring closer Jim Johnson and his 51 saves, had the fifth-lowest ERA in the Majors (3.00), converting 75 percent of its save opportunities. Manager Buck Showalter's relievers compensated for a rotation that ranked 21st with a 4.42 ERA, delivering fewer innings (5.8 per outing) than all but eight starting staffs in the Majors.

Holding off Baltimore in the AL East by two games and eliminating the Wild-Card Orioles in a taut AL Division Series, the Yankees got 6.2 innings per start from CC Sabathia and Co., fourth best in the game. In Mariano Rivera's absence, that saved wear and tear on a Soriano-led bullpen that logged 101 1/3 fewer innings than that of Baltimore.

Only the Rockies, with their three-inning-starters experiment, and the Royals required more innings from their bullpens than did the Orioles.

Johnson was supported by Darren O'Day, Pedro Strop, Luis Ayala, Troy Patton, Kevin Gregg, Matt Lindstrom, Steve Johnson and converted starters Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter. Showalter's showstoppers were responsible for the team's 29-9 record in one-run games and incredible 16-2 mark in extra innings.

The Orioles realistically can't expect this year's bullpen to match that. It's time for the starters to provide some relief.


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     Those baseball pitchers that are not able to pitch three times through the line-up pitch one-time through the line-up or less.

     Unless three times through the line-up baseball pitchers are able to pitch more often than every five days, one-time through the line-up guys are worth as much as three times through the line-up guys.

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0094.  Orioles' bullpen looks to repeat last year's success
MLB.com
January 16, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD: The bullpen held the Orioles together in 2012, helping the club overcome a patchwork rotation and lulls in the offense by shutting the opposition down in the late innings. A relief corps much in question last winter quietly melded into a fine-tuned machine that led Baltimore to a 29-9 record in one-run games and a formidable ability to turn extra-inning contests into wins.

After being brought along slowly in Spring Training last year due to a sore back, closer Jim Johnson was named to his first All-Star squad and recorded an American League-leading 51 saves to anchor a bullpen that went 32-11 with a 3.00 ERA over 545 1/3 innings in the regular season. While the O's have been eerily quiet this offseason in making upgrades, arguably their strongest area on paper this winter remains in relief.

"We got the whole bullpen back," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of this year's roster. "That was the strength of the ballclub."

The challenge now is to repeat those efforts.

Health permitting, there's no reason the Orioles' bullpen can't continue to be one of the AL's best, although relief pitching is fickle and can change markedly from year to year. Of last year's Opening Day roster, only right-handers Matt Lindstrom, who was traded midseason, and Kevin Gregg, who was released, are gone, with the 'pen getting a late-season lift from converted starters Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter. What happens with Matusz and Hunter, who will be stretched out to start at the very least for the beginning of camp, will be an underlying storyline this spring.

Baltimore has a lot of pitching depth, and there will be a handful of rotation candidates who can't fit as starters. Matusz and Hunter have proven they can both pitch well out of the bullpen, and they would figure to have an edge for the final few spots in a 'pen that is projected to include Johnson, Pedro Strop, Darren O'Day, Troy Patton and Luis Ayala.

There is also the school of thought internally that Matusz and Hunter pitched so well in relief that it would be hard to not to keep them there. Matusz posted a 5.42 ERA as a starter and a 1.35 ERA as a reliever, while Hunter had a 5.71 ERA as a starter and a 3.71 ERA in relief, pitching to a 3-0 record with a 0.71 ERA in his final 10 relief appearances.

Should the lefty Matusz earn a rotation spot, non-roster invitees Daniel Schlereth and Zach Braddock will get a chance to join Patton as another lefty option for manager Buck Showalter.

Right-hander Steve Johnson is another option in relief if he doesn't make the starting rotation, as the rookie proved to be effective in both roles and was a pleasant surprise last season. The O's went most of the year without a designated long man, a rotating spot that could easily be filled again by an extra starter.

Showalter took great care in preserving the team's bullpen last season, making roster moves at an alarming clip in an effort to protect the relievers' arms, and it paid off down the stretch. Fans can expect that same approach this year, with the Orioles optimistic that the young 'pen -- with last year's average age just over 27 -- will use the experience and continue to improve.

Strop, who was 4-2 with a 1.67 ERA prior to the All-Star break and then posted a 3.45 ERA in his final 34 relief appearances, will try to get back to his first-half form when he preceded Johnson as a lethal setup man. O'Day, who took over the role and became Baltimore's best reliever in the postseason, returns after going 7-1 with a 2.28 ERA in 69 regular-season games.


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     In 2012, Orioles baseball pitchers, Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter, converted from starting to relief pitching.

     As a starting pitcher, Mr. Matusz had 5.42 ERA as a starter. As a relief pitcher, Mr. Matusz had an 1.35 ERA.

     As a starting pitcher, Mr. Hunter had 5.71 ERA as a starter. As a relief pitcher, Mr. Hunter had an 3.71 ERA.

     These results show the difference between three-times through the line-up and one-time through the line-up pitchers.

     When Mr. Matusz and Mr. Hunter faced baseball batters the second and third times through the line-up, the batters correctly anticipated the pitches that Mr. Matusz and Mr. Hunter were going to throw and hit them hard.

     The Rockies took this information and thought that they could have relievers pitch one time through the line-up, which typically means two innings and win baseball games. It did not work.

     Therefore, professional teams have to teach their baseball pitchers the wide variety of pitches that enable them to pitch three times through the line-up against the four types of pitches without starting the same batters with three different pitch sequences.

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0095.  Soriano brings Nationals' bullpen to next level
MLB.com
January 16, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC: With the addition of closer Rafael Soriano on a two-year, $28 million contract, the Nationals have strengthened an already impressive bullpen, which will now feature former closers Drew Storen and Tyler Clippard in setup roles.

It was a deal that made some of Soriano's former teammates believe the Nationals are going to be tougher in 2013. As free-agent reliever Peter Moylan, who played with Soriano on the Braves, puts it, "With the addition of Raffy, it's going to turn into a six-inning game."

According to infielder/outfielder Willie Harris, the Nats are getting more than just a great arm.

"It's a great pickup for the Nationals. Knowing Soriano, I can say he is a big-time competitor, always wants the ball," said Harris, who played with Soriano when both were with the Braves in 2007. "One thing I can say about the guys in the clubhouse, they are going to love him. They are going to eat really well because his mom can really cook. They are getting a quality guy, definitely a quality pitcher."

Soriano brings more than food to the table. According to Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey, Soriano is a student of the game. Before and after games, according to Hickey, Soriano would talk about situations that happened during a game. Soriano has an arsenal of pitchers, which includes a fastball, cutter, changeup and slider.

"He didn't need a lot of coaching," Hickey said. "He was a knowledgeable player. He was a guy who didn't have a dominant pitch. ... For a closer, he did the best job of pitching that I've ever seen -- setting up hitters, not just coming after it with a 99-mph fastball or gimmick pitch.

"He really did a good job from both sides of the plate, changing speeds. He pitches at 91 mph when he could pitch at 94, but he saved that for when he really wanted it. What impressed me was the way he actually pitched."

Soriano arguably had his best season in 2012 after replacing Yankees legend Mariano Rivera, who missed most of the season because of a knee injury. All Soriano did was save 42 games and post a 2.26 ERA in 69 appearances.

Pirates catcher Russell Martin was Soriano's teammate for two years in New York, and Martin said Soriano was fearless on the mound.

"It didn't matter who he was facing or what the score was, he is going to be the same guy every time he goes out there. He is a professional," Martin said. "He understands what his job is. He just goes out there and he has the same attitude every time he goes out there. It's pretty simple with him.

"He shows up at the yard, has his routine. You can't rattle him easily. He just has calm nerves, he does his job. Obviously, he is blessed with a good arm and ability. He just goes out there and has the same attitude every time out."

Off the field, Martin said Soriano kept to himself most of the time, but loves to joke with people once he gets to know his teammates. One American League scout said Soriano has a reputation of being standoffish and aloof at times.

"He is a little different, quiet," the scout said. "He doesn't talk to a lot of people. You might get the wrong impression, but he is a nice person. He will take the ball and put the Nationals over the top."

Said Moylan: "He will let you know when he is going to be loud, but the majority of the time, he will do his own thing. If he has something to say and he needs to air it out, you are going to know about it. ... He would tell you things that you should or shouldn't do. He obviously has more years under his belt now."

With Soriano on board, a National League scout believes the Nationals will not trade Storen or Clippard. If anything, the scout believes, Washington will not make a move until Spring Training. There isn't a rush to trade one of the relievers. In fact, the scout believes the Nats will keep Storen and Clippard, who will become the setup men.

Storen missed half of the 2012 season because of bone chips in his right elbow. He returned to action after the All-Star break but didn't reclaim his role as the closer until September, when Clippard slumped.

Soriano comes to a team that saw its bullpen implode during the NL Division Series, allowing 16 runs against the Cardinals. "The Nationals have to hang on to Clippard and Storen -- for right now," the NL scout said. "You never know what you are going to have as far as injuries in Spring Training. Those guys are always going to have market value as far as being trade bait."


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     Rays pitching coach, Jim Hickey, said:

01. "Soriano is a student of the game."
02. "Before and after games, Soriano talks about situations that happened."
03. "Soriano has an arsenal of pitches; a fastball, cutter, changeup and slider.
04. "He didn't need a lot of coaching."
05. "He is a knowledgeable player."
06. "He was a guy who didn't have a dominant pitch."
07. "He did the best job of pitching that I've ever seen; setting up hitters, not just coming after it with a 99-mph fastball or gimmick pitch.
08. "He really did a good job from both sides of the plate, changing speeds."
09. "He pitches at 91 mph when he could pitch at 94, but he saved that for when he really wanted it."
10. "What impressed me was the way he actually pitched."

     In 2012, in 69 appearances, with a 2.26 ERA, Mr. Soriano saved 42 games for the Yankees.

     With his experience, Mr. Soriano will pitch well in playoff intensity games.

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0096.  Indians prospect Haley looking for pain-free 2013
Cleveland Plain Dealer
January 16, 2013

CLEVELAND, OH: Trey Haley has one goal above all others this season. It is not based in statistics.

"Stay healthy," he said. "Stay healthy. I want to give myself an opportunity to pitch for a full season."

Haley, a high-end reliever prospect for the Indians, is not unlike his contemporaries in this way. They all want to remain on the field. But it is the point of emphasis for Haley based on how his previous two seasons have unfolded.

In 2011, his first year after being switched from starter to reliever, Haley worked a combined 27 games for Class A Lake County and advanced-A Kinston. He missed most of June and July because of groin soreness.

Last season, he opened in Carolina (formerly Kinston) and dominated. Alas, he was shut down after nine appearances because of continued groin trouble. He underwent surgery in early June to repair a sports hernia, then returned to pitch well in nine games for Class AA Akron.

"It's good to get the injury issue resolved so I can concentrate on pounding the zone," he said.

When Haley can fully leverage a 6-4 frame, his stuff is electric. It begins with a four-seam fastball that sits in the mid- to high-90s and a two-seamer with good movement. Baseball America recently ranked Haley's fastball as the best in the Cleveland farm system.

Asked about Baseball America's ranking, Haley laughed and said: "I honestly didn't even know that. Really, I didn't."

Nor does Haley know exactly how hard he throws on a given day. He does allow, humbly, that he occasionally has reached triple digits.

"I'm focused on results, not pitch speed," he said. "It doesn't matter how hard you throw if you don't get outs consistently."

Haley always has possessed the live arm, but he was not necessarily seeking to throw the speed ball past anybody as a schoolboy in Texas.

"I didn't really have a four-seamer in high school," he said. "I just had a two-seam grip and got good movement with it. Nobody showed me any different. I only began to incorporate the four-seamer as a pro."

Entering the 2008 draft, Haley was ranked the 33rd best prep pitching prospect by Baseball America. The Indians drafted him in the second round (76th overall); their first pick was Lonnie Chisenhall. Haley would have been headed to Rice.

Haley struggled as a starter with Lake County in 2009 (4-8, 5.56 ERA) and in 2010 (5-11, 5.97). He had serious command issues, walking 151 in 193 2/3 innings. Farm director Ross Atkins signed off on Haley's move to the bullpen.

"We felt it was the best way to maximize his ability," Atkins said. "The decision to have him pitch in relief is not the end of his chance to start, but we like where he is right now. He's come on strong."

Haley said: "I'm OK either way. Whatever they tell you to do, you do."

Part of Haley's problem as a starter involved pitching through the discomfort that inevitably accompanies the workload. Being a starting pitcher seems glamorous from the outside, but it requires endless hours behind the scenes that are taxing physically and mentally. The grind is exponentially more difficult for a pitcher coming directly from high school, given a lack of experience.

Another part of Haley's problem was dealing with an overhaul of mechanics. Only in the rarest of rare instances does an organization draft a pitcher and leave his mechanics alone.

"This past year, I got to the point where I didn't need to think or worry about my delivery," Haley said. "I could just go out and compete."

A reliever does not need the starter's assortment of pitches. Two often will do, as long as they are good enough. Haley complements the heater with a slider or curve -- "whichever is feeling good on that day." His biggest improvement has been in throwing the breaking ball for strikes in any count. Haley also uses a changeup.


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     The article said: "Another part of Haley's problem was dealing with an overhaul of mechanics."

01. All professional baseball teams should immediately take high-speed film of all of the baseball pitchers that join their team.

02. Then, they should identify the injurious flaws in their baseball pitching motions.

03. Then, they should teach their baseball pitchers how to eliminate those injurious flaws from their baseball pitching motion.

04. Then, they should start their pitchers on a training program that teaches and trains baseball pitchers to throw the wide variety of pitches that they will need to succeed against the four types of batters.

05. Then and only then, when their baseball pitchers are able to competitively pitch without thinking about their baseball pitching motion and 'just go out and compete.'

     By the way, to eliminate groin (Adductor Brevis muscle) injuries, baseball pitchers only need to turn their pitching foot to at least forty-five degrees toward home plate and, to move their body forward, push off the front of their pitching foot.

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0097.  Texas locks up Harrison for five years, $55 million
MLB.com
January 17, 2013

The Rangers took another step toward solidifying their rotation for years to come on Wednesday, signing left-hander Matt Harrison to a five-year, $55 million contract extension, according to an industry source.

The deal comes a day after the 27-year-old filed for salary arbitration. Harrison was eligible for free agency after the 2014 season, but his new contract will keep him with the Rangers through at least 2017 and contains a team option for '18 that becomes a vesting option if Harrison reaches certain plateaus for innings pitched.

Harrison passed a physical on Wednesday night, and the Rangers announced the deal at a news conference Thursday.

Texas now has four starting pitchers under the age of 30 who are under contract or team control for at least the next four seasons. Alexei Ogando will be eligible for arbitration for the first time next year and can't become a free agent until 2017. Derek Holland is signed through '16, with two additional team option years, and Yu Darvish is signed through '17.

Harrison went 18-11 with a 3.29 ERA in 32 starts for Texas last season, throwing 213 1/3 innings. He made his first American League All-Star team and was the Rangers' Pitcher of the Year.

Originally a third-round pick by the Braves in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, Harrison was acquired by Texas at the 2007 Trade Deadline as part of a deal for Mark Teixeira. In five seasons with the Rangers, the lefty has started 94 of his 126 games, going 48-30 with a 4.08 ERA and averages of 5.5 strikeouts and three walks per nine innings.


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     The article said: "In five seasons with the Rangers, the lefty has started 94 of his 126 games, going 48-30 with a 4.08 ERA and averages of 5.5 strikeouts and three walks per nine innings."

     In 2012, in 32 starts, in 213 1/3 innings, with a 3.29 EAR, Mr, Harrison won 18 games and lost 11 games.

     If we eliminated Mr. Harrison's 2012 statistics from the his five year total with the Rangers, Mr. Harrison greatly improved his results. I wonder how many strike outs and walks per games Mr. Harrison had in his 2012 season.

     It had to be better than 5.5 strike outs and 3 walks per nine innings.

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0098.  Feliz throws baseball for first time since surgery
MLB.com
January 18, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX: Neftali Feliz threw soft toss Friday at the Rangers' pitching minicamp at the Ballpark in Arlington, the first time he's thrown a baseball since undergoing Tommy John surgery last June.

Feliz said he felt good afterward, and looks forward to the long climb back onto a Major League mound. The Rangers hope Feliz will pitch some time this season, the best-case scenario being around the All-Star break.

"He's probably on schedule to where he needs to be," Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux said to reporters after Friday's minicamp session. "Hopefully the rehab goes well and we'll see him this year."

Feliz said he doesn't know how long the rehab process will take. He's focused on getting healthy. When asked if he would prefer returning as a starter or a reliever -- Feliz was in the rotation when he tore his ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm -- he said didn't know.

"I'm not giving that much thought right now," Feliz said through an interpreter. "I'm trying to get ready and be in the best shape and be ready to play."

Feliz did have his contract situation worked out Thursday. He and the Rangers avoided salary arbitration, with Feliz agreeing to a one-year, $2.9 million contract.

He tweeted Friday in Spanish that the deal was done and he was happy.

"The timing's good because I want to get my family in a better position," Feliz said.

Feliz was the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year as the Rangers' closer with 40 saves. He had 32 saves in 2011, but was moved to the rotation in '12. He was 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA in eight games (seven starts), with 37 strikeouts and 23 walks.


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     After Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery in June 1012, in the middle of January 2013, Rangers baseball pitcheer Naftali Feliz, soft tossed some baseball throws.

     Osteoblast bone cells only need six weeks to heal broken bones and to close the holes in the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm and the coronoid process of the Ulna bone of the pitching forearm.

     Therefore, sometime in early August, Mr. Feliz should have thrown his first soft tosses.

     Decades ago, medical experts realized that as early as possible surgical patients need to get out of bed and start moving. The same goes for surgically-repaired baseball pitchers.

     That is how I am able to rehabilitate Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery patients to be ready to competitively pitch in less than six months after surgery; nine weeks for the osteoblasts to do their thing and four and one-half months to return the bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons to their competitive fitness.

     Of course, I will make sure that these surgically-repaired baseball pitchers will never, ever again rupture their new Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

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***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, January 27, 2013, I posted the following questions and answers.

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0099.  Jan 20 Looksee

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0068. Hamels OK after offseason shoulder issue

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The article said: "Ruben Amaro Jr. insists that it’s nothing to be concerned about, but any time someone hears that Cole Hamels experienced shoulder soreness, well, there’s going to be concern.

That’s just the way it is with pitching arms. Especially ones critical to a team’s success."

What the hell do these sentences mean?

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The article said: " “I’d be concerned if this was an issue, but we don’t view this as an issue at all,” Amaro said Thursday."

Yeah, right.

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

The article said: "Amaro wasn’t certain where Hamels had been throwing when the pitcher felt the soreness. Hamels throws throughout the winter, wherever he is at the time. Amaro said the issue was not serious enough that Hamels needed to be examined."

Hold on, you shut him down but didn't bother to examine him?

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The article said: "The Phillies, who saw their string of five straight NL East titles end in 2012, hope to return to the playoffs in 2013. Good health is crucial to their chances."

Really? let me right that down.

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The article said: "Amaro continues to get reports on Halladay’s workouts in Clearwater. The right-hander spent seven weeks on the DL with shoulder issues in 2012. He has made some mechanical adjustments to ease the burden on his shoulder."

Interesting, what were those?  Probably just adjusted the steering wheel setting in his car.

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0073. If shy Bauer can fit in, he'll be just fine in Cleveland

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The article said: "Bauer caused consternation in Arizona. The words "stubborn" and "uncoachable" have been attached to his name, and these are not words to be taken lightly. Bauer had command issues both at the Triple-A (61 walks in 130 1/3 innings) and Major League (13 walks in 16 1/3 innings) levels, and perhaps because he relies so much on his lower half, this was attributable to the groin injury that hounded him much of the year."

(I am half-way through this article, the labored writing style is wearing me out and now comes the inevitable "relies on his lower half" crap)

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The article said: "That's one reason why Bauer is here, taking part in the Indians' winter development program, an acclimation environment for some of their prized Minor Leaguers."

Really?

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Mr. Bauer said: ""It's a lot easier to make friends now that I'm ... something,""

Oh, I'll bet.

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The article said: "It's a fresh start for Bauer. The balls have been re-racked. The diamond in the rough has a new chance to shine."

Wow, glad that's over.

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0076. Alderson: Francisco Mets' closer for now

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The Mets general manager said: ""We want to go to spring training with the best possible roster," he said. "If that includes signing a major league free agent, so be it. So far, we've been unwilling to overpay for what's available.""

The same old, tired, non-specific BS.  It's exhausting.  He has no idea, and has no idea that he has no idea.

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0079. Players put machismo aside for benefits of yoga

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The article said: "Alan Jaeger, a longtime yoga instructor and pitching guru who currently co-operates Jaeger Sports, which has been known lately for its commitment to long-tossing techniques for pitchers, says he has always gone with a different approach. Jaeger has worked with Zito since the beginning of the left-hander's career, and Jaeger also has taught yoga to Boston reliever Andrew Bailey and former players Mike Lieberthal and Joel Zumaya, among others. He says his sessions always begin and end with meditation."

I guess it's OK, after last year's World Series, to say you work with Zito.  No one was admitting that for the previous 5 years.

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0080. Ex-Giants closer Wilson reportedly works out for Mets

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You wrote: "At the least, before they cast injured pitchers aside, teams should make their pitchers whole."

It's the pitcher's fault.  When you blindly follow you are to blame.

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0082. Karstens said to be returning to Pittsburgh

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You wrote: "If professional teams allowed injured baseball pitchers to go to whomever they wanted to prevent or rehabilitate pitching injuries, then I could see how their teams might not have any responsibility for their injuries.

But, they don't."

But the pitchers don't seek out the information either.

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0092. Mets not impressed with Wilson

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You wrote: "Unless Mr. Wilson learns how to pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, Mr. Wilson will rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament for a third time."

At what point is it Mr. Wilson's fault?

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0094. Orioles' bullpen looks to repeat last year's success

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The article said: "Health permitting, there's no reason the Orioles' bullpen can't continue to be one of the AL's best, although relief pitching is fickle and can change markedly from year to year."

Doc, why is it 'fickle'.  Everybody writes that.

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

     'Fickle' is a cutesy way for saying that they have no idea why baseball pitchers injure themselves.

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The article said: "Showalter took great care in preserving the team's bullpen last season, making roster moves at an alarming clip in an effort to protect the relievers' arms, and it paid off down the stretch."

Ah yes, Showwalter the puppet master.

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0096. Indians prospect Haley looking for pain-free 2013

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The article said: "Another part of Haley's problem was dealing with an overhaul of mechanics. Only in the rarest of rare instances does an organization draft a pitcher and leave his mechanics alone."

Why is that?  Do they know so much?

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0098. Feliz throws baseball for first time since surgery

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You wrote: "Of course, I will make sure that these surgically-repaired baseball pitchers will never, ever again rupture their new Ulnar Collateral Tendon."

  Get then back in half the time and make sure they never rupture their UCT again?  Your phone will be ringing off the hook.

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

     As you said earlier, 'Yeah, right.'

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0100.  Elbow Tenderness

I wrote to you at the end of November about the inside of my elbow having soreness. I was doing your 8LB IB Recoil Program, and was feeling it while I was doing the WWs only (20LB WW). We determined that it was because when the elbow is bent less than 90 degrees it can put stress on the inside of the elbow.

1. Is this stress being put on the tissue and attachments of the medial epicondyle?

2. If so, if I cannot correct the angle of the elbow, will my body make the physical adjustments and strengthen or is this something I'm always going to have to train through?

I'm hoping its because it's been a long time since I have used 20LB WWs because of the shoulder injury I suffered and maybe it's taken a while for my elbow to adjust to the increased weight. I was able to get through the Slingshot Drill with the 20LB 96 reps with no issue, but since moving on to the Loaded Slingshot I've felt it, and some days are better than others. It s been approximately 12 days that the tenderness has been there. It's tender after I work out, but it's less sore when I wake up in the morning so I'm hoping it's training discomfort.

Also, this is going to be my first attempt at doing your 1/2 Reverse Pivot drill. I've always used the old "Step Back Wrong Foot; Pendulum Swing" drill.

I was wondering if you could point me where in your Q & A's you have described it so I can begin doing that when the time comes.


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     The cause of your discomfort when you use my 'Loaded Slingshot' glove and pitching arm drill is because, in my 'Loaded Slingshot' position, you have not yet engaged your Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     Therefore, I recommend that, instead of starting with your pitching arm in my 'Loaded Slingshot' position, you start with your pitching arm in my 'Slingshot' position and, until you feel that you have dropped out of 'lock,' (when you no longer have engaged your Latissimus Dorsi muscle) reach your pitching hand straight backward toward second base.

     Then, from the 'lock' position, move your pitching arm into and through my 'Slingshot' position through release.

     Then, rather than start from my 'Loaded Slingshot' position, instead of holding my 'Loaded Slingshot' position, you should gently pendulum swing your pitching arm through my 'Loaded Slingshot' position.

01. When you move through my 'Loaded Slingshot' position and have your pitching upper arm vertically beside your head with the back of your pitching upper arm facing toward home plate, you will eliminate the stress on the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle.

02. Rather than train through the discomfort of holding my 'Loaded Slingshot' position, I want you to learn how to move through my 'Loaded Slingshot' position with your pitching upper arm in front of your acromial line and smoothly, but quickly move your pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward toward your head and turn the back of your pitching upper arm to face toward home plate. When you do this, you will engage your Latissimus Doris muscle and remove all stress from the front of your pitching shoulder.

     Until you are able to perform my Wrong Foot; Pendulum Swing drill without any discomfort, I do not want you to try my Half Reverse Pivot; Pendulum Swing drill.

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0101.  Lock

Q/A# 27 you wrote: "The Pectoralis Major muscle initiates this action, but about one-half way through this movement the Latissimus Dorsi muscle takes over and, instead of continuing the horizontal flexion action of the Pectoralis Major muscle, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle begins to 'extend' the pitching upper arm.

     It is that 'pitching upper arm extension' action that 'locks' their pitching upper arm with the shoulders, thereby preventing the inertial mass of the pitching upper arm from causing the pitching upper arm to lag behind the acromial line."

It appears you have changed where you have your pitchers achieve "lock" in your pitching motion. In your last video you demonstrate your pitchers achieving "lock" at the start of the Acceleration phase. Now it appears you are saying your pitcher achieve "lock" further down their driveline.

1. Is this correct?

Also you have said many times that immediately after the glove foot lands you want your pitchers to throw their pitching arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head. Now it appears that you are saying that you want to wait until the humerus bone is perpendicular to the driveline before initiating this action.

You wrote: "This is, instead of not having any side-to-side movement, I want my baseball pitchers to start their pitching upper arm horizontally forward, such that, when their acromial line is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate about as far laterally away from the driveline as possible.

     As my baseball pitchers continue to move the center of mass of their body forward, from this maximally lateral position of their pitching elbow, I want my baseball pitchers to 'throw' their pitching upper arm upward and inward.

     This means that I want my baseball pitchers to move their pitching elbow from maximally as far laterally from the driveline to as far medially from the driveline as possible."

I can see where this will get you the bounce you want, but it also introduces a side to side action.

2. Is this correct?


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01. The switch-over from the Pectoralis Major muscle horizontally flexing the pitching upper arm to the Latissimus Dorsi Muscle extending the pitching upper arm is the moment that baseball pitchers 'lock' their pitching upper arm with their shoulders.

     To engage the Latissimus Dorsi muscle, baseball pitchers not only move their pitching upper arm forward, they have to move the pitching upper arm upward.

     When baseball pitchers start to turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate, their Pectoralis Major muscle stops horizontally flexing the pitching upper arm and the Latissimus Dorsi muscle starts extending the pitching upper arm.

     When, as I apply gentle force against the pitching elbow as my baseball pitchers slowly move their pitching upper arm forward and upward, my baseball pitchers are able to 'feel' the switch-over. At that moment, my baseball pitchers 'feel' the power of extending the pitching upper arm toward home plate.

     With regard to also moving the pitching upper arm inward past the driveline toward home plate: The inward movement of the pitching elbow causes the outward movement of the pitching hand outside of the driveline. This is the 'Horizontal Bounce' that lengthens the tendon of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle resulting in an 'elastic' bounce that accelerates the pitching hand toward home plate.

02. My 'Horizontal Bounce' action does move the pitching elbow to move inside of the driveline toward home plate and forces the pitching hand to move outside of the driveline toward home plate.

     However, unlike the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' that tears the connective tissue of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, because the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm are contracted from the start of the acceleration phase through release, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament does not receive any stress.

     This side to side movement does violate my 'apply force to the baseball in straight lines toward home plate' requirement.

     By using their Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull their pitching upper arm back to the pitching arm side of their body, curvilinearly toward home plate and across the front of their body, 'traditional' baseball pitchers have difficulty with their horizontal control

     When my baseball pitchers start to extend their pitching elbow, the Triceps Brachii muscle will move the pitching hand upward, thereby, further violates my 'apply force to the baseball in straight lines toward home plate' requirement.

     To minimize the upward movement of the pitching hand, my baseball pitchers need to wait to extend their pitching elbow until they have inwardly rotated their pitching forearm to perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate.

     This is where the ability of my baseball pitchers to drive their pitching forearm horizontally inside of vertical enables my baseball pitchers to apply force more straight toward home plate.

     By using their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to extend their pitching upper arm straight toward home plate, my baseball pitchers have difficulty with their vertical control.

     However, because the strike zone is larger vertically than horizontally and baseball batters are more likely to swing at pitches both below and above the strike zone than at pitches inside or outside, of the two control difficulties, vertical control is the better difficulty.

     Fortunately, to teach baseball pitchers how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle is very, very simple.

     My Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions with wrist weight drill teaches baseball pitchers how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     And, although only with my Maxline Pronation Curve release, my Wrong Foot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions with the Bucket Lid also teaches baseball pitchers how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     When all baseball players learn how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, we will have eliminated pitching injuries and significantly increased release velocity and consistency.

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0102.  Pronator Teres discomfort?

From the information you last provided and my symptoms, I still suspect that the injury is at the attachment for the pronator teres. (My ability to describe anatomical locations is limited; I apologize.)

Assuming that the attachment injury does involve the pronator teres at the top of the medial epicondyle, does that alter your recommendation at all as to how I should proceed with rehab?


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     No.

     My Middle Fingertip Spins drill not only trains the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscle, by simultaneously pronating the pitching forearm, my Middle Fingertip Spins drill also trains the Pronator Teres muscle.

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0103.  Comments from Tommy John

The New York Times recently interviewed Tommy John.

He has comments about Little League pitchers versus pitchers in professional baseball.

And he also has some comments about Dr. Andrews.

Were you aware he was coaching with the Expos back in 2002?

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30 Seconds With Tommy John
By JOE BRESCIA
January 19, 2013
New York Times

Many pitchers can thank Tommy John and his doctors for their baseball careers. In 1974, John, then a Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander, had an elbow ligament in his pitching arm replaced with a tendon from his right forearm. The operation, ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction, was performed by Dr. Frank Jobe. Hundreds of pitchers, including stars like the Washington Nationals' Stephen Strasburg, have since had what is now known as Tommy John surgery.

John, who was named the National League's comeback player of the year in 1976, retired in 1989. He had 288 victories and a 3.34 earned run average in his 26-year career with six teams.

Now 69, John will attend Baseball Assistance Team's annual fund-raising dinner honoring Yogi Berra on Tuesday in New York. The group helps former players and baseball employees facing hard times.

1. Q. Are you sorry you never copyrighted the term Tommy John surgery?

A. I checked on it, and they couldn't copyright it. If I could, the doctors were not going to pay me any money, so it would have been called the Frank Jobe surgery.

2. Q. How's your arm doing? Can you toss a few innings?

A. My elbow's fine. But I have some arthritis in my shoulder. [Don] Mattingly wanted me to throw out a first pitch at a Dodgers game last year. So I went out to the mound and started to throw and waved Donnie out to the mound and said, "I can't pitch." He came out and called in the left-hander from the bullpen. And it was Dr. Jobe. So 87-year-old Dr. Jobe threw out the first pitch and bounced a 15-footer to Steve Yeager.

3. Q. The Yankees, one of the teams you pitched for, have had several top pitching prospects that needed your surgery, including Manny Banuelos, Joba Chamberlain and Andrew Brackman. Are the Yankees doing something wrong?

A. I think it's the nature of the beast. The Yankees had the Joba rules. Some of the coaches told me it was a pain. You have to pitch him here and not there. You have to give him two days, this and that. That didn't work. Throwing a baseball is hard on your arm. If you throw a baseball long enough you're going to come down with some sort of injury. What you try and do is throw it as correctly as possible. I don't think throwing a baseball 100 times or less is going to keep you from having Tommy John surgery.

4. Q. What do you think about pitch counts used by most teams today?

A. I don't know who came up with the 100-pitch count. I have no idea. But I know when I was coaching with the Expos in 2002, Cliff Lee used to get on me all the time. He'd say, "Why can't I throw more than 100 pitches?" I said cause my bosses have said so. I said, "Cliff, if it was me, you're out there throwing the ball until you finish the game."

Here's my reasoning. Jim Andrews is a great orthopedic surgeon. He studied pitching and pitch counts on Little Leaguers. And he came up with Little League pitch counts. Twelve-year-old kids can throw 85 pitches in a game and then they have to be off four days and can't pitch until the fifth day; 22- to 42-year-old pitchers in the big leagues who have trainers, strength coaches, massage therapists, acupuncturists and all the supplements - and I don't mean performance-enhancing drugs - can only throw 15 more pitches. One of those numbers is wrong.  I'm not saying it's Jim Andrews. I'm not saying it's baseball. But if a 12-year-old can throw 85 pitches and a major league ball player can only throw 15 more pitches, something is wrong with the numbers. You draw your conclusions.

5. Q. How do you spend your time now?

A. I live in New Jersey at a place where we have seven golf courses and a bunch of ski runs. I'm waiting for good weather to go out and hit the golf balls. I also make golf clubs for friends. I'm also involved with charity work. On Jan. 31, I'm going to be a guest celebrity bartender at Foley's, the restaurant in Manhattan named after Red Foley, the sportswriter. They're celebrating their ninth anniversary. All the money raised that night will go to my foundation, Let's Do It. We contribute to STOP, founded by Dr. Jobe and Dr. James Andrews to prevent overuse injuries with young pitchers. And we support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. My youngest son, Taylor, committed suicide March 9, 2010.

6. Q. Why is the Baseball Assistance Team so important to you?

A. It's baseball people helping baseball people. I was never more touched in my life than when I found out at a B.A.T. dinner about how they helped Vernon Law's son, who had cancer. His dad, Vernon, was a great player and his brothers played. But he never played the game and they still helped him.  And one of the players I had in the minor leagues when I was working for the Expos was sick and his insurance ran out. And B.A.T. helped him. It makes you feel good you can do something.

7. Q. You've been a player, a broadcaster, a minor league coach and a minor league manager. What would be your ideal baseball job be at this time in your life?

A. Broadcasting. Because what you say on the air doesn't have to be correct. (John laughed.) But I have a lot of insight to offer for station like the MLB Network.  My career has spanned so many things. When I came up in 1963, I made $6,000 a month. Minimum salary. Meal money was $8 a day. I was there for Curt Flood, free agency, (Andy) Messersmith and (Dave) McNally, strikes. Marvin Miller. I can give you insight on the haves and the have-nots. I like Jim Kaat. I find that Jim is one of the best I ever heard.

8. Q. Do you think you deserve induction to the Hall of Fame?

A. My theory about the Hall of Fame is I don't worry about things that I cannot control. If I could control the voting and I didn't get in, I would be worried. Personally, I think I should be in. For longevity, for 288 wins, for the arm surgery. I think that sets me apart from anybody else that's out there.

9. Q. Should players who used performance-enhancing drugs be allowed into the Hall?

A. Yes. They didn't break any rule of baseball. And you hear a lot about the hitters, but taking performance-enhancing drugs probably helps a pitcher more than it helps a hitter. Because you still have to put the bat on the ball squarely. And taking steroids and all that doesn't make you do that. It just makes you stronger.  You can be a mediocre pitcher that lost your stuff throwing 88, 90 miles an hour. Then you're put on the drugs and all of a sudden you're throwing 94, 95, 96 miles an hour.  If you asked me if anyone used steroids in a lineup that I faced? I don't care, the whole lineup could have used them. If I had good stuff, they were going to hit the ball harder, but it was going to get to the shortstop quicker and the out would be made at first base easier.

10. Q. Did players use amphetamines when you played?

A. I lost out on a Cy Young Award and there were guys who won the award who the sportswriters knew were on amphetamines. So what's the difference? I think the players that have used performance enhancers will eventually get into the Hall. People have to get over it. I think we're a forgiving society.

11. Q. You played for George Steinbrenner. Should he be inducted?

A. They just put Jacob Ruppert in right? George should be in someday. All these players making millions of dollars. I said for years that they should send Christmas cards to two people, Marvin Miller and George Steinbrenner. Marvin started it with free agency. And George kept it going with outlandish salaries.

12. Q. What was the highlight of your career?

A. Two things. Pitching in the 1977 playoffs for the Dodgers, I beat Steve Carlton in a pouring rainstorm in Philadelphia to win the N.L. pennant. I pitched nine innings and I beat Carlton, 4-1. Dusty Baker hit a three-run homer off Steve. That was the best game I ever pitched in baseball considering the enormity of the game. And it rained from when I warmed up in the bullpen until I walked off the mound at the end. That was my first trip into a World Series. I was on a World Series team in 1974, but I had elbow surgery and I couldn't play.

The second highlight was after my surgery, I pitched 13 years in the big leagues and never missed a start. Whatever we did to rehab my elbow, we may have done it better than they do it today with all their knowledge.

13. Q. Any regrets?

A. I have no regrets, other than I was born too soon. I told my dad near the end of his life that I'm really mad about you and Mom. And he said, What? And I said, "Why couldn't you and Mom have had me about 10 or 12 years later in life so I could have reaped the money that's out there now?" (John laughed.) And Sandy Koufax was born much too soon.

14. Q. Favorite player to watch today?

A. Derek Jeter. Plays the game the way it's supposed to be played. Plays it hard. Keeps his mouth shut. He's a throwback to the Mattinglys, Randolphs, Chamblisses, Munsons.

15. Q. Your daughter, Tamara, is married to the Chicago Bears' Patrick Mannelly. Are you an N.F.L. fan?

A. I was a Chicago Bears fan when I was a little boy growing up in Terre Haute, Ind. And my mom and dad were Bears fans, too. When my daughter phoned us and told us that Patrick was drafted by the Bears, I was absolutely ecstatic.

As opposed to baseball, in the N.F.L. the salary cap makes every team average. That's parity. Then you have the teams that have the good systems like (Bill) Belichick with good personnel people, and they get the right players and they're 12-4 or 13-3. The teams with bad personnel people are 8-8, or 7-9.

16.Q. What's in your iPod?

A. I have my son who died. He sounds like Josh Groban. I have Josh Groban, Andrea Bochelli, George Strait, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, the Gatlin Brothers. Coming from Indiana, I'm a country fan.


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     Thank you for sending me this article.

     Timmy John is a good person that does things right.

     I am saddened to learn that he and his wife suffered the loss of a child.

     With regard to TJ's comments about pitch counts: TJ does not understand what causes pitching injuries. Nevertheless, he brought one of his sons to me to explain how his son should train and he visited frequently.

     I wish him and his wife happy and long lives together.

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0104.  Lock

This sentence is unclear to me: "To minimize the upward movement of the pitching hand, my baseball pitchers need to wait to extend their pitching elbow until they have inwardly rotated their pitching forearm to perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate."

Inward rotation of the pitching forearm is pronation. Is that what you are referring to here?

That would have you pronating the forearm before you extend the elbow.

Also, having the forearm perpendicular to the driveline means it would have to be horizontal to the ground. Is that correct because that seems impossible to me?


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     You are correct.

     I should have written: "To minimize the upward movement of the pitching hand, my baseball pitchers need to wait to extend their pitching elbow until they have inwardly rotated their pitching upper arm until their pitching forearm is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate."

     With regard to having the pitching forearm perpendicular to the driveline to home plate: The horizontal angle is irrelevant. However, because I want my baseball pitchers to have their pitching forearm inside of vertical at release, at the start of the extension of the pitching elbow, I do want the pitching forearm more inside of vertical.

     Nevertheless, rather that actually having their pitching forearm horizontal, at the start of the extension of their pitching elbow, I want my baseball pitchers to try to have their pitching forearm horizontally perpendicular to the driveline to home plate.

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0105.  Do muscles now stretch

In Q/A #27, you wrote: "This means that the connective tissue that makes up tendons are elastic. That it, without tearing, tendons are able to lengthen and elastically rebound."

Since muscles consist of tendons, are you now saying that muscles do stretch?


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     The contractile portion of muscles do not lengthen without injury. However, the connective tissue portion of muscles (tendon) are able to lengthen and snap back without injury.

     Nevertheless, to prevent injury, athletes have to already be contracting the muscles whose tendons they want to lengthen. That is, for someone to jump down from a platform and, when they land on the toes of their feet, expect the Achilles tendon to lengthen and snap back, they will eventually snap the Achilles tendon.

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0106.  Cavaliers chill out--literally--on West Coast
Cleveland Plain Dealer
January 18, 2013

PORTLAND, OR: The weather on the Cavaliers West Coast trip has been unseasonably cold every step of the way so far -- first Denver, then Los Angeles and Sacramento and now here.

But on Tuesday, half a dozen Cavs players and several athletic training staff members including head athletic trainer Max Benton, took that to a whole new level by visiting the U.S. Cryotherapy Center outside Sacramento. According to the www.uscryotherapy.com website, cryotherapy is localized or whole-body exposure to subzero temperatures to decrease inflammation, increase cellular survival, decrease pain and spasms, and promote overall health.

Subjecting themselves -- on purpose -- to temperatures that reached 166 degrees below zero, Tristan Thompson, C.J. Miles, Luke Walton, Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller and Kevin Jones found the process shocking, but worthwhile.

"It's crazy how fresh you feel afterwards," said Walton, who experienced the cryotherapy for the second time after his initial visit with the Lakers. Kobe Bryant is a big proponent of the therapy, as is Pau Gasol and now, Miles.

"I was definitely better," he said before the Cavs victory over Portland on Wednesday night. "It definitely helped. I felt a big difference. I was a lot fresher, the legs, everything."

That being said, Miles admitted the process was a shock.

"When it first hits you, it takes your breath away," he said.

The players were divided into groups of three -- Miles, Zeller and Jones in one group and Walton, Thompson and Waiters in the other. They wear hats that cover their ears, socks, gloves, shorts and surgical masks. They first enter a chamber that's about 76 degrees below zero to get their bodies acclimated and then spend three minutes in a small room where the temperature is minus 166.

"The first time is the worst," Walton said after practice at the Nike headquarters on Thursday afternoon. "They're putting you in a room that's, like, minus 180. So your mind is telling you, 'I might die.'

"The second time you know you're going to make it though."

Although Thompson attempted to dance his way through the three minutes, typically players walk around the small room while listening to music -- all the players listened to rap music, the trainers chose heavy metal -- and letting out the occasional scream.

"You can feel the saliva freezing in your mouth," Walton said. "When you need to yell, you yell. They had the music going for us. They tell you one minute, two minutes ... the last minute feels like eight minutes."

Cavs coach Byron Scott was thrilled his players took advantage of the therapy, but even more thrilled that he didn't have to.

"The good thing about that is they went, and they went together, that's the biggest thing," Scott said. "As long as guys are doing things together as a basketball team, it brings that unity that we've been talking about all season long. That's what I want these guys to do is get together and learn each other and know each other and get familiar with one another outside of basketball because I think it helps on the court as well. I've always said I want real good basketball talent, but I want great chemistry. I think activities like that can help with that type of chemistry.

"(But) that did not intrigue me at all. It was cold enough in L.A. and cold enough in Sacramento that I didn't want to go into an area that was going to be even colder. More power to them. I appreciate them going and spending some time together."

Walton said the effects don't last long.

"I notice it a lot that day and the next day and then it's gone," he said. "It's like icing but way more intense. Once you go out and play or practice and all the inflammation comes back, then you've got to do it again."

Thompson said he'd love it if the Cavs got a cryotherapy chamber at their Cleveland Clinic Courts practice facility.

"It was a great experience, first and foremost," he said. "I wish we were able to have that at our facility. ... It's a great invention. Who knows? Maybe one day we'll have one at our facility. I think it would be helpful."

The therapy is not just for professional athletes. Sessions cost as little as $25, but right now Sacramento has the only facility open to the public.


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     The scientific principle that increases blood flow to selected parts of the body is: Cold Induced Vaso-Dilation.

     This means that when athletes greatly decrease the temperature of a selected part of their body, to keep their body temperature at normal levels, the cold temperature first causes the involved blood vessels to constrict (become less open). However, because the constricted blood vessels greatly decreases the blood flow to the involved muscle tissue, these involved bone, ligaments, muscles and tendons do not receive the oxygen and nutrients they need to properly function. As a result, to prevent injury to these involved bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons, the Central Nervous System causes the involved blood vessels to dialate (become more open).

     However, as Mr. Walton said, the benfits do not last more than a few seconds.

     The best way to eliminate inflammation is to train the involved bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons to withstand the competitive stress.

     Contracting muscles product waste products. Sensors within blood vessels recognize the increase waste products and cause the involved blood vessels to open wider. The benefits of contracting muscles to increase blood flows is far more effective than decreasing the temperature of selected body parts.

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0107.  Gomes hopes to regain form with back healthy
MLB.com
January 19, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG, FL: Wearing his No. 47 jersey and khaki shorts, Brandon Gomes spent a few hours of his Saturday doing the kind of work not often associated with Major League pitchers. He dug ditches, pushed around wheelbarrows full of dirt and raked mulch just outside the shadow of Tropicana Field.

Gomes and right-hander Alex Cobb were taking part in the Tampa Bay Rays Employee Community Outreach Team's work with the Edible Peace Patch Project, installing a garden at Campbell Park Elementary School with about a dozen Rays staff members and more than 100 local volunteers throughout the day.

It was hardly glamorous work, but Gomes was happy to do it, especially considering how he felt this time last offseason.

"Anything you can do to help out is a great idea, and this is so beneficial for the kids," Gomes said. "It'll be my workout for today."

After a tremendous rookie season in which he posted a 2.92 ERA in 40 big league appearances, Gomes underwent back surgery to fix a disc in November 2011, something that would wind up holding him back throughout his 2012 campaign.

He spent most of last winter rehabbing from surgery and couldn't even throw when Spring Training began. When he worked his way back, he couldn't recapture the same form that made him so effective in his rookie year. While his Triple-A Durham numbers were strong -- a 3.09 ERA, 5-4 record, nine saves and 73 strikeouts in 55 1/3 innings -- he pitched to a 5.09 ERA in only 15 appearances in the Majors during the 2012 season.

Despite the disappointing numbers, Rays manager Joe Maddon praised the 28-year-old reliever for being at the stage in his development where he knew he could be successful in the Majors, and Gomes agreed with that "100 percent." Even when he didn't feel right physically or mechanically, he gained confidence from the fact that he could still record outs.

"I never really felt like I did in 2011," Gomes said. "I felt really good in September. I felt good physically, finally. I felt like everything was starting to click mechanically. Probably about a year out, so right around Thanksgiving [2012], I started to feel like I didn't have surgery. I felt completely 100 percent. It's been good. I'm really excited to get into this season.

"It was much different, because this year I could start with the strength-and-conditioning training right away. And last year, it was just rehabbing to get healthy enough to be able to throw a baseball. So it's been completely different, where I know I've been healthy for a year now, so that I can actually focus on the pitching aspect and the minor details rather than trying to get healthy to be able to go out and compete."

Indeed, this has been a more normal offseason for Gomes and his wife, Blair, who joined him Saturday to shovel dirt and work on the school's garden. They've traveled around the country to weddings for friends and family and spent the last month before Spring Training relaxing in Tampa. At the same time, Gomes has been working out five days a week, splitting time between Tropicana Field and the University of Tampa.

But there could be another obstacle standing between Gomes and a spot in the Rays' Opening Day bullpen this year.

If the season began today, Gomes would almost certainly be in the big league bullpen alongside closer Fernando Rodney, setup men Joel Peralta and Jake McGee, left-hander Cesar Ramos, right-hander Roberto Hernandez (if he doesn't make the starting rotation) and right-hander Dane De La Rosa.

But Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has said he's looking for "one or two more relievers." If they pick up one more bullpen arm, Gomes would still figure to make the Opening Day roster. If they pick up two more and Hernandez begins the season in the bullpen, Gomes might be sent back to Durham as one of the odd men out. That's not a concern for him at this point, however. Instead, Gomes is simply focused on jumping out to the kind of head start he couldn't get a year ago.

"I've always tried to keep a focus on what I'm going to do to get better and not really worry about who we bring in or anything like that. If I take care of myself and do my job, it'll play itself out the way it should," Gomes said. "I think it's the easiest way to go about things and the least amount of stress to put on yourself. Just do as well as you can, and everything will fall into place."


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     While the article did not identify the intervertebral disk that surgeons 'fixed,' the intervertebral disk of choice for 'traditional' baseball pitchers to injure is the intervertebral disk between the fifth Lumbar (L5) vertebrae and the first Sacral (S1) vertebrae.

     I know because I shattered that intervertebral disk and had to have the pieces removed.

     To prevent injury to this intervertebral disk, baseball pitchers have to stop bending forward at their waist.

     To not bend forward at their waist, baseball pitchers have to 'step' forward only as far as they are still able to move the center of mass of their body forward over their 'step' foot.

     From that point, baseball pitchers need to rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body diagonally forward over their 'step' foot.

     Or, as I prefer to call this action: 'Stand tall and rotate.'

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0108.  Carpenter, Garcia looking ahead to spring tests
MLB.com
January 19, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO: The messages from Chris Carpenter and Jaime Garcia were nearly the same Saturday, when each individually addressed the media during their appearances at the Cardinals' Winter Warm-Up event.

Both relayed positive reports about how their arms have responded to offseason work, but also cautioned against conclusions. The pair of pitchers -- who, if healthy, will make up two-fifths of the Cardinals' rotation -- said they won't feel in the clear from 2012 injury issues until their arms go through the test of Spring Training.

"Right now I'm in a stage of my career where my mind is never at ease with physical issues," said Carpenter, who turns 38 in April. "I feel good. And I feel healthy. But I felt that coming into last year, too, and it didn't work out. I know that my throwing is going well. I know that my shoulder is strong throughout exercise and throwing. I'm not having any issues."

Carpenter, who surprised most when he was able to return from midseason thoracic outlet syndrome and make six starts (regular season and postseason combined), began his offseason throwing program the first week of December. That is a month earlier than usual, though obviously there were no workload considerations since Carpenter logged only 30 2/3 innings last year.

"I was a little anxious about how I was going to feel and if I was going to feel well," Carpenter said. "When you go through all the stuff that I've gone through, there's always doubt in your mind when you pick up the ball -- what is it going to feel like? So far, it's felt good."

He'll arrive at the Cardinals' spring complex in Jupiter, Fla., well ahead of the team's required report date for pitchers and hopes that his Spring Training workload will not have to be modified. By making that late-season return in 2012, Carpenter at least alleviated any concerns about the thoracic outlet procedure hindering a return.

Garcia, unlike Carpenter, did not end the 2012 season healthy, which adds to the questions about his status. He opted not to have surgery to address a left shoulder injury that interrupted and then ended his season prematurely. The left-hander has only thrown off the mound once since being removed from the Cardinals' Division Series roster in October. That mound session came back in November, after which Garcia shut down and focused solely on rehab work.

He has resumed throwing on flat ground and expects to throw his first bullpen session of 2013 within the next week.

"I'm feeling good, getting ready for spring," Garcia said. "All I'm doing is working as hard as I can. Believe me, I'm doing everything I can possibly do every single day to be ready to go."

Asked, however, if he was confident that the shoulder issues that limited him to 121 2/3 regular-season innings were past him, Garcia guardedly replied: "We'll see. We'll see in April."

The Cardinals are also waiting to see how Garcia's arm responds over the next several weeks before setting his Spring Training program. They do know now, though, that Garcia's spring will not be interrupted by the World Baseball Classic.

Garcia clarified Saturday that he never intended to play for Team Mexico, even though that national team had advertised him as one of the roster's key players back in December. It wasn't until last week that he was actually personally contacted by a representative of the Mexican club. At that time, he informed them that he would not be participating.

"It's tough because it was such an honor for me to be chosen for that thing," Garcia said. "But it's not the time right now."

While the Cardinals remain cautiously optimistic that both Garcia and Carpenter will be in the club's Opening Day rotation, the organization also feels protected in case either has any setback. With Adam Wainwright, Jake Westbrook and Lance Lynn projected to take the other three starting spots, the Cardinals have a crop of three young right-handers who could all make a case for the chance to start at the big league level.

Joe Kelly filled in solidly when Garcia landed on the disabled list last summer. Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal showcased their star potential into the postseason. All three will enter Spring Training building up as starters.

"I think a lot's been made out of the inactivity [this offseason], but I think the reason for that is the current depth we have on our club," said general manager John Mozeliak, who has made only two modest free-agent signings. "Not only what you see at the Major League level, but also what we have coming. ... I think that we'll see more of an impact from our Minor Leagues this year than maybe we would have last year. That's really our model, and that's how we have to be successful.

As we move forward, that's what we want to see happen -- have a lot of our questions answered through our Minor League system."

If both Garcia and Carpenter check out healthy, the Cardinals can plug any one of these young pitchers into their bullpen. At least one will likely begin the year in the Triple-A rotation.


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     Because in preparation for his thoracic outlet surgery, Mr. Carpenter continued to train, I am surprised that Mr. Carpenter waited until the first week of December to start his training. Rest is the enemy of physiological fitness, especially during the downhill side of aging.

     Mr. Garcia has surgery on his pitching shoulder. Surgically-repaired pitching shoulders rarely return to previous competitive levels. The only chance Mr. Garcia has of returning to previous competitive levels is to learn now to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle and master my 'Horizontal Pitching Forearm Bounce' technique.

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0109.  Terry Francona likes what he hears from Carlos Carrasco
Cleveland Plain Dealer
January 19, 2013

CLEVELAND, OH: Indians manager Terry Francona did not need to see right-hander Carlos Carrasco to be enthused about him Friday morning at Progressive Field.

Francona simply needed to listen.

The more audible the pop from Carrasco's pitches to a catcher's glove in an indoor cage, the wider Francona's smile.

"Granted, he was in the cage," Francona said. "But that ball was making a loud noise. It was exciting. If he's not healthy, nobody is."

Carrasco did not pitch in the majors last season after elbow trouble limited him to 21 starts in 2011 (8-9, 4.62 ERA). He underwent reconstructive surgery in September 2011.

Carrasco was among Indians players in the clubhouse Friday in advance of TribeFest this weekend at Progressive Field. Spring training can't come fast enough for Carrasco.

"You have no idea how excited I am," he said. "Oh, my goodness. I'm 100 percent, the arm feels great, and I'm ready."

Carrasco said his rehabilitation, though long and arduous, went as well as can be expected. He said he did not suffer any significant setbacks and will arrive at Goodyear, Ariz., with no restrictions. The Indians, of course, will monitor his workload.

"A lot of times when guys get their elbow fixed, they come back better," Francona said. "It might take them a while, but once they get back and have the feel of competing instead of rehabbing, you see more success."

Carrasco, who turns 26 on March 21, acknowledged that his extended time on the sidelines probably has made him somewhat of a forgotten man. He is 10-15 with a 4.93 ERA in 33 career major-league starts, all with Cleveland.

"I hope I can surprise some people," he said.

The Indians acquired Carrasco from Philadelphia in the Cliff Lee trade in July 2009. They desperately need Carrasco to be productive, if for no other reason than to make the trade less lopsided. Others who came to Cleveland for Lee and Ben Francisco were infielder Jason Donald, minor-league pitcher Jason Knapp and catcher Lou Marson.

Whenever Carrasco is ready to pitch in the majors, he almost certainly will need to wait again. On July 29, 2011, he buzzed Kansas City's Billy Butler during a blowout loss. Major League Baseball suspended him for six games for intentionally throwing near the head.

Carrasco appealed, giving him the opportunity to make his next start, Aug. 3 in Boston. It ended up being his final start before being shut down, meaning the suspension has not been served.


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     In Septemer 2011, Mr. Carrasco had his Ulnar Collateral Ligament repaired. Therefore, Mr. Carrasco has had sixteen months in which to rehabilitate his pitching elbow. I am confident that the holes that surgeons drilled through Mr. Carrasco's Humerus and Ulnar bones has closed.

     However, if Mr. Carrasco is still 'Reverse Bouncing' his pitching forearm, then I cannot be sure that Mr. Carrasco is not tearing the connective tissue fibers of his new Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

     If Mr. Carrasco is still tearing those connective tissue fibers, then we have not long to wait for the second rupture.

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0110.  Johnson ready to deal with surplus of bullpen 'aces'
MLB.com
January 19, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC: Manager Davey Johnson was in Africa when he received a text message from general manager Mike Rizzo earlier this week that the Nationals had signed closer Rafael Soriano to a two-year, $28 million contract.

Johnson said that he was taken by surprise when he read the news about Soriano. While the move makes the team better, Johnson praised Tyler Clippard and Drew Storen for the job they did for the team in recent years.

Clippard, who spent most of 2012 as a closer -- saving 32 games, lost his job after a month long slump in September. Storen reclaimed the role that month, but did not pitch well in the postseason. Storen was Washington's closer in 2011 and saved 43 games.

"I've never seen Soriano pitch that much, but I always liked his stuff," Johnson said via telephone. "I love my guys -- Clippard and Storen. They did a good job for us. Even the job Henry [Rodriguez] did [early in the 2012 season]. They have given me too many aces."

Johnson has yet to communicate with his relievers about their roles, but he acknowledged that he is worried about Clippard and Storen's egos. While Soriano is considered the closer on the team's depth chart, Johnson said he will use his relievers the way he feels fits the best for the ninth inning.

During his managerial career, Johnson has been known to use more than one closer during a season. When he managed the Mets in 1986, for example, Johnson employed two closers -- Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell -- who helped him win a World Series title.

"Things work out. I know Clip wanted to close for a long time, and he got his chance and he did great," Johnson said.

"Storen, he had 43 saves his first [full] year as a closer. Now, [we have] Soriano. I'll have that discussion with them. It will sort itself out. I [will] go with the guy I think is best, but I think they are all great. That's why it's going to be a fun year."


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     The answer is simple: Whenever replacing baseball pitchers, field managers need to select the best available baseball pitcher. The challenge is knowing which baseball pitcher is the best available baseball pitcher.

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0111.  Astros ink left-hander Bedard to Minors deal
MLB.com
January 21, 2013

HOUSTON, TX: The Astros took a flier on another reclamation project Monday, signing veteran left-hander Erik Bedard to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to Spring Training. Houston signed outfielder Rick Ankiel last week.

Bedard, 33, made 24 starts for the Pirates last year and went 7-14 with a 5.01 ERA, allowing 129 hits in 125 2/3 innings. In his nine-year Major League career, he's 63-64 with a 3.85 ERA with the Orioles, Mariners, Pirates and Red Sox.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Bedard is likely to take a spot in the Houston rotation this year behind right-handers Bud Norris, Lucas Harrell and Jordan Lyles. He started on Opening Day for the Pirates last year.

"When you have a lot of right-handers in the mix and to have a left-hander with his type of Major League experience and success and track record, it can only help us," Luhnow said. "He's got a strong chance to be in our rotation all year long, and we're hoping that's the Erik Bedard that's had tremendous success already in his big league career."

Bedard was one of the most effective left-handed starters in the American League from 2006-09, ranking third in winning percentage with a 39-23 (.629) record and second in ERA (3.40) among lefties in that span before being slowed by injuries. He was 13-5 for Baltimore in 2007.

"It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see him as a very, very effective Major League starter," Luhnow said. "He's been very, very effective throughout most of his career, and has had challenges with injuries, but he's still young and has a lot of ambition left in the game."

Among those also battling for rotation spots this spring are right-handers Philip Humber, Alex White, John Ely and Jarred Cosart and left-hander Dallas Keuchel. Lefties Brett Oberholtzer and Rudy Owens will also be in camp, but they're likely to start in the Minor Leagues.

"We're going to take the best five starters, regardless of handedness," Luhnow said.


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     Unless Mr. Bedard adds something to his pitching, such as an another pitch or choosing better pitch sequences, if I were Mr. Luhnow, I would expect the 5.01 ERa Bedard.

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0112.  Lock

Given my understanding of the tendon snap back in your Horizontal Bounce, I'd like to explore the injurious traditional forearm bounce.

You wrote: "However, unlike the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' that tears the connective tissue of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, because the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm are contracted from the start of the acceleration phase through release, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament does not receive any stress."

1. Is there a tendon snap back in the traditional forearm bounce?

My take is that there is. But, my understanding of the science does not support my view.

If the muscles on the lateral side of the elbow are contracted during the bounce in the traditional pitching motion, then the muscles on the medial side of the elbow are not contracting.

And since ligaments have no contractile properties, I do not see where there can be a tendon snap back because the muscles on the medial side are not contracting.

My only thought is that the tendons on the lateral side of the elbow supply the snap back.

So, I am looking for an explanation of what is supplying the "bounce" in the traditional pitching motion.


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     You are correct. When lengthened, ligaments do not snap back.

     When 'traditional' baseball pitchers 'Reverse Bounce' their pitching forearm, while their pitching elbow moves forward, their vertical pitching forearm moves downward. Therefore, at the end of that downward movement, the only structure that prevents the pitching forearm from continuing to move downward is the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Therefore, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament has to decelerate and stop the downward movement of the pitching forearm.

     Without tearing some of its connective tissue fibers, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament is not able withstand that downward force.

     I call that downward force, 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     In this situation, 'bounce' does not mean snap back. As you said, ligaments do not have the ability to contract. Therefore, only tendons have the ability to snap back.

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0113.  Success stories

Who are your most famous graduates?

Can you provide a list of all your major league pitchers, all stars etc.?


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     My most famous baseball pitcher to whom I taught my baseball pitching motion is me.

     I could provide a list of the major league baseball pitchers with whom I have worked, but I won't.

     The quality of my work stands on its own.

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0114.  Marshall day 32

Attached is a video of my thirteen year old son doing a MFB.

Thirteen year old throwing a baseball

I think he is doing a much better job with his glove hand.

Will powerful pronation just come as he gets stronger?

Also, my son has experienced no training discomfort since we started on December 1st.

Is the weight not enough, or is his intensity not enough? I'm reluctant to push for intensity for fear of losing proper technique.


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     But first, your son is pulling his pitching upper arm downward. Until his pitching hand reaches as far forward as possible, he needs to keep his pitching elbow high.

     He is pulling his glove hand backward. However, when he reaches the front of his glove shoulder he stops moving his glove shoulder backward in line with the acromial line of his pitching arm.

     As a result, he does not arch his upper back.

     With regard to training discomfort: Increasing the weight of his wrist weights should not negatively affect his technique. It appears that your son is working at maximum intensity. Therefore, to increase the stress, you need to increase the weight of his wrist weights.

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0115.  Update on my long distance running daughter

I am writing to provide you an update regarding my daughter, who you were kind enough to assist with training advice in late 2011.

In June of 2012, she was diagnosed with exersional compartment syndrome in both calves.

By the time of the diagnosis, her pain had escalated to the point she could no longer train or run competitively.

She had surgeries on both calves last summer to correct the issue, and has been back to competitive running for about two months. She is very happy to be running pain free again and is close to her pre-injury 1600 meter times.

She is now a high school senior and is currently competing with her school's indoor track team.

Prior to being sidelined due to her injury, she had posted some very competitive times in both the 1600 and 3200 meter events.

Her pre-injury meet times last year, as well as her current running status, has resulted in her being recruited to run track by several colleges.

She is still incorporating your interval training recommendations into her workouts and is very pleased to be able to once again pursue her athletic passion of competitive distance running.

I will send you another update once she begins running in college this fall.


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     I and my readers appreciate the update.

     We wish you and your daughter great fun.

     We look forward to more updates.

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0116.  Pirates, Liriano agree to revised deal
MLB.com
January 21, 2013

The Pirates have reached a new two-year agreement with left-hander Francisco Liriano, about a month after an original deal was in place.

The two sides agreed in principle to a two-year, $12.75 million contract in late December, but a Major League source told MLB.com earlier this month that Liriano suffered an injury to his non-throwing right arm shortly after the deal was agreed upon, thus taking it off the table.

The deal has been adjusted and Liriano will assume risk due to the injury. The Pirates have not confirmed the signing. The southpaw is coming off a 6-12 season (34 total appearances, 28 starts) split between the Twins and the White Sox, to whom he was traded July 28. He has a career record of 53-54, including seasons of 12-3 in 2006 and 14-10 in 2010, both with Minnesota.

Liriano is expected to fill a spot in the middle of the Pittsburgh rotation, behind A.J. Burnett and left-hander Wandy Rodriguez and ahead of James McDonald.


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     The article said: "The deal has been adjusted and Liriano will assume risk due to the injury."

     Does that mean that, with all other pitching injuries, the teams assume the risk of injury?

     If so, then how come teams are able to release injured baseball pitchers?

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0117.  Rockies looking at Pavano, Lowe for rotation
MLB.com
January 21, 2013

DENVER, CO: After signing Miguel Batista over the weekend and reportedly reaching an agreement with Chris Volstad on Monday, the Rockies are pushing for two other veterans to compete for a starting-rotation spot -- Carl Pavano and Derek Lowe. Batista's Minor League contract has been confirmed by the club, and Volstad's was reported Monday morning by the Denver Post. Major League sources confirmed a Post report of the Rockies pursuing Pavano and Lowe.

The Rockies also remain interested in evaluating former Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb, who hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2009 because of shoulder issues. Webb is expected to throw in front of scouts for various teams sometime soon.

The Rockies believe the rotation will be bolstered by the healthy returns of two accomplished pitchers whose 2012 seasons were abridged by injury -- righty Jhoulys Chacin and lefty Jorge De La Rosa. They also re-signed veteran Jeff Francis. However, the rest of the rotation candidates figure to be young. Two of the young candidates are coming off season-ending injuries -- right-hander Juan Nicasio (left knee surgery) and left-hander Christian Friedrich (lower back stress fracture). The club has set a priority of adding one more experienced starter.

One issue has been the Rockies have a full 40-man Major League roster, and they would have to make a trade and would need to clear salary to bring in a pitcher on a Major League deal. The Rockies have talked to several teams about trades involving center fielder Dexter Fowler, and they could be willing to deal veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez, but nothing has come to fruition.

In the past, the Rockies have had success with veterans coming off injuries or rough years who have signed with them in an attempt to reestablish their value. Last year's experiment with Jamie Moyer didn't work out long term, but signings of Darren Oliver and Shawn Estes a few years back were successes. Pavano, 37, and Lowe, 39, if throwing well, fit the Rockies' desire to have a ground-ball pitcher with a low rate of walks.

Pavano battled a right shoulder strain for part of last season with the Twins and finished 2-5 with a 6.00 ERA in 11 starts, but he has found interest on the free-agent market. He was involved in talks with the Mets earlier in the winter. The Rockies have pursued Pavano heavily in past years and are known to have had their eye on him throughout this offseason.

Lowe went 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA in 21 starts with the Indians, and he also made 17 appearances with the Yankees last season (1-1, 3.04 ERA). Lowe also has experience with the National League West, having pitched for the Dodgers from 2005-08. That time included a 16-8 performance in '06.

Volstad, 26, went 3-12 with a 6.31 ERA in 21 starts for the Cubs last season. His first win came on Aug. 26 against the Rockies, when he ended a 24-start winless streak by going 6 2/3 innings in a 5-0 Cubs victory at Wrigley Field that was shortened to eight innings because of rain. Volstad also went 3-5 with a 5.17 ERA in 12 starts for Triple-A Iowa.

The Rockies hope Volstad can recapture the form of the early stages of his career. He went 6-4 with a 2.88 ERA as a rookie for the Marlins in 2008, and 12-9 with a 4.58 ERA with the Marlins in 2010. The Marlins dealt him to the Cubs for pitcher Carlos Zambrano and cash considerations before last season.

The versatile Batista, who turns 42 on Feb. 19, appeared in 30 games and started five games. Overall, he went 1-3 with a 4.61 ERA.

If Batista does not fit into the starting-rotation plans, he could compete for one of the hybrid bullpen spots. After experimenting with a four-man rotation last year, the Rockies are going back to the traditional five-man rotation, but they are staying with the idea of three relievers who pitch on a rotation and can be asked to face as few as one batter or pitch multiple innings.


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     Rather than teach and train their baseball pitchers the skills that they need to succeed in the high altitude air of Denver, the Rockies prefer to sign those over-the-hill guys that they mistakenly believe will pitch well in the rarified air.

     Sinkers do not sink in Denver as much as they sink at sea level. Therefore, sinker ball pitchers will not succeed in Demver.

     To succeed in Denver, baseball pitchers have to throw non-fastballs with exceptionally high spin velocities.

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0118.  Strasburg not only young ace at risk of Year-After Effect
SI.com
January 22, 2013

Not long ago an aunt and uncle gave me a worn department store gift box filled with newspaper clips about my late father, Tony Verducci, a highly successful football and baseball coach at Seton Hall Prep in New Jersey. Buried in the pile of yellowed newsprint was a 1973 column by Lloyd S. Glicken of the Newark Star-Ledger that bore news for me. Glicken wrote that my father, on the advice of the late Mets manager Gil Hodges, limited his pitchers to a maximum of 90 pitches, and in fact the previous season had removed a pitcher with a no-hitter after four innings because of the pitch count.

"Gil, who married my cousin, told me it was a good idea for young pitchers," my father said in the column. "It saves their arms. They do it in the minors to keep a young pitcher from throwing too much."

I was shocked. I never knew this: my father was implementing strict pitch counts with his pitchers 40 years ago. That season, his fifth, he won his 100th game, improving his record to 100-29.

Hodges had died the previous year, 1972, at age 47. Not only a great first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the manager of the 1969 New York Mets, Hodges also was an innovator in developing young pitchers. With his pitching coach, Rube Walker, Hodges helped popularize the five-man rotation. He joined a Mets organization in 1968 loaded with young arms and set the foundation for nearly all of them to enjoy long, healthy careers; Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan, Dick Selma, Jim McAndrew, Jim Bibby, Gary Gentry, Rich Folkers, Jon Matlack, Tug McGraw and Steve Renko all were between 18 and 24 years old when Hodges arrived. Their longevity is a testament to how they were developed in the Mets system.

Forty years later, people still argue about how to develop young pitchers and whether to put governors on them. The debate reached a record volume last year when the postseason-bound Nationals shut down ace Stephen Strasburg as a preventative measure.

Actually, what the Nationals did dovetails with what has become accepted wisdom across the industry: monitoring the innings of a healthy young starter to limit the increase in year-to-year workload. Teams believe "too much, too soon" when it comes to increased innings for young pitchers puts them at risk of injury or regression -- in the same way it would be with a sudden, large increase in volume for any physical activity (running, strength training, etc.), especially for younger athletes.

I've been tracking innings jumps for young pitchers for more than a decade, using protocols established by Rick Peterson, the former Oakland pitching coach who oversaw the health and development of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito, the real backbone of the Moneyball A's. (They started 58 percent of Oakland's games from 2000-04.) Peterson believed pitchers 25 and under should not exceed an innings increase of more than 30, though even he did so once with Mulder. I've tracked major league pitchers who exceeded the threshold, using all innings in a calendar year (postseason, minors and Arizona Fall League included, though not spring training).

The Year-After Effect, as I called the risk after a big innings jumps, is not a scientific, predictive system. It's a rule of thumb to identify pitchers who may be at risk because of a sharp increase in workload. The older the pitcher, the bigger the body type and the closer to the 30-inning threshold is their increase, the less they seem to be at risk. Think Matt Harrison of the Rangers, who took a jump of 36 1/3 innings at age 25 in 2011 and pitched very well the next year.

Last year I identified 14 young pitchers coming off workload increases of 30 innings or more. Nine of them suffered injuries or significant regression: Derek Holland, Dylan Axelrod, Jaime Garcia, Liam Hendricks, Eric Surkamp, Chris Schwinden, Daniel Hudson, Zach Stewart and Michael Pineda.

This year I found 11 pitchers with a red flag, including Strasburg (even using the more conservative jump from his previous high from 2010, not his injury-shortened 2011). While every team now watches innings jumps, not all agree on precisely how to do so. I'll give the 2013 list, then follow it with examples from two organizations that represent the far ends of the spectrum when it comes to monitoring young pitchers: the White Sox, whose old-school approach favors more throwing and individualized workloads, and the Cardinals, whose new-school approach emphasizes increasing innings by no more than 15-20 percent per year. The list:

Pitchers At Risk in 2013

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
| # |Pitcher           |Team       |Age|2012 Innings Pitched|Increase*|
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|01.|Chris Sale        |White Sox  |23 |192                 |+121     |
|02.|Jarrod Parker     |A's        |23 |214/ 2/3            |+078     |
|03.|Jose Quintana     |White Sox  |23 |185                 |+063     |
|04.|Joe Kelly         |Cardinals  |24 |187                 |+055     |
|05.|Stephen Strasburg |Nationals  |23 |159 1/3             |+036     |
|06.|Chris Rusin       |Cubs       |25 |173                 |+034 1/3 |
|07.|Matt Harvey       |Mets       |23 |169 1/3             |+033 2/3 |
|08.|Alex Cobb         |Rays       |24 |177 2/3             |+033     |
|09.|Felix Doubront    |Red Sox    |24 |161                 |+031 2/3 |
|10.|Dan Straily       |A's        |23 |191 1/3             |+030 2/3 |
|11.|Andrew Werner     |Padres     |25 |166 2/3             |+030 1/3 |
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*From previous professional high

In more than a decade of tracking such innings jumps for young pitchers, I've never seen anything close to the increase the White Sox gave Sale, the reed-thin lefthander who converted from the bullpen to rotation and understandably faded down the stretch (3-5, 4.22 in his last nine starts). The biggest previous jumps belonged to Paul Maholm (+98 1/3 for the 2005 Pirates) and Runelvys Hernandez (+92 for the 2002 Royals).

Does this mean Sale and his teammate, Jose Quintana, who is number three on the watch list (+63 innings) are in trouble? Not necessarily. It does mean they bear watching. But first you have to understand that the White Sox are the rare team these days that does not work from a standard protocol when it comes to innings for young pitchers.

"We go by our own philosophy," pitching coach Don Cooper said. "I don't compare us to other guys. I don't know Stephen Strasburg A to Z. I know Chris Sale from A to Z. I know Jake Peavy from A to Z. I know our guys. I look at them and decide what's best for them."

It's hard to argue with Cooper's success, especially when it comes to getting starting pitchers to take the ball deep into games with regularity. Since 2003, Cooper's first full season as the Chicago pitching coach, here are the franchises with the most times a pitcher has thrown 200 innings in a season:

1. White Sox: 25
2. Angels, Diamodnbacks: 18
4. Giants: 17
5. Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs, Cardinals: 16

And now, as if Royals fans needed reminding of how the franchise has flunked pitching development, here are the worst teams at producing 200-inning seasons over the past 10 years:

1. Royals, Orioles, Pirates: 6
4. Padres: 8
5. Rockies: 9

Cooper's pitchers far and away are the most reliable. He must be doing something right. His young pitchers often crack the +30-inning barrier: Mark Buehrle (2001), John Danks (2008), Dylan Axelrod and Zach Stewart (2011) and now Sale and Quintana. It's an old school philosophy. Cooper does not begin with innings limits in mind, but will adjust work schedules, bullpen sessions and even pitch selections as needed. Last season, for instance, Cooper built in rest for Sale by using the All-Star break (12 days off), an extra day or more between starts (17 of his 30 starts) and even a short assignment to the bullpen.

Cooper watches for signs of wear and tear, but as long as a pitcher keeps a good delivery intact and is healthy, he will keep sending the pitcher to the mound rather than letting a pre-determined innings limit force a shutdown.

"I want our guys to be the best they can be," Cooper said. "How do you do that? You let them go. The best guys are the guys who can do it year after year. Those are the pitchers that are the most valuable guys to have, especially in the American League.

"Pitchers are the horses to a degree and we're the jockey. Sometimes you have to know when to canter, and sometimes you have to go to the whip. I've been doing this 12 years. The key is everything works off having a good delivery. Show me a starter who's got a horse[bleep] delivery and a long career. You can't do it."

Sale did wear down toward the end of the season. He made six of those final nine starts on regular rest. Cooper did note that Sale, in order to prepare for his first full season starting, did more off-season throwing last year. This year, Cooper said, "I'd like to think there are no governors on him." Cooper did say he will need to amend throwing programs for all pitchers this spring because of the World Baseball Classic; the tournament has caused a longer spring training with as many as three off days.

Now consider the case of Kelly and the Cardinals, an otherwise conservative organization that pushed Garcia in a world championship season in 2011 (Garcia's odd mechanics may be more to blame for his physical problems).

Asked about the organizational philosophy on young pitchers and innings limits, general manager John Mozeliak said, "Our preference is to monitor them and give them no more than a 15 to 20 percent increase each year."

Kelly threw 132 innings in 2011. A 20 percent increase would have added 26 1/3 innings, giving him a preferred 2012 workload of a Strasburg-like 158 1/3. Instead, between stints with Triple-A Memphis and St. Louis, including some bullpen work and the postseason, Kelly added 55 innings, a 42 percent jump to 187.

"He's not someone we look at in quite the same way [as others]," Mozeliak said. "He doesn't have a lot of innings and experience. He didn't throw a lot in college. He's a very athletic young man and he's almost fresher than someone who threw robust innings in the past.

"His case is a case of someone who does need to throw. Having the sort of role where it changed from starter to reliever, he benefited from that. It did help manage his innings. He also gained a lot of valuable experience -- being stuck into the rotation and giving him the chance to work on his secondary stuff was important."

Mozeliak said Kelly will begin spring training with an opportunity to earn a spot in the rotation, as will Lance Lynn, Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller. The Cardinals drafted all four pitchers in either 2008 or 2009.

In a perfect world for the Cardinals this year, neither Rosenthal (140 1/3 innings last year) nor Miller (153 2/3), both 22, would throw as many innings as did Kelly last year. As they discovered with Garcia and Kelly, however, the Cardinals understand how the opportunity to win a pennant complicates development plans.

Last year, facing the same decision with their aces in that late-season pressurized environment, the White Sox and Nationals arrived at different decisions. Sale kept pitching; Strasburg did not. Both organizations believe it made the best choice. Perhaps not even time will tell. As a 40-year-old yellowed newspaper clipping reminded me, the search to keep young arms healthy is ongoing and a universal answer is ever elusive.


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     Sports Illustrated writer, Tom Verducci, wrote: "The Year-After Effect, as I called the risk after a big innings jumps, is not a scientific, predictive system."

     Sports Illustrated writer, Tom Verducci, wrote: "It's a rule of thumb to identify pitchers who may be at risk because of a sharp increase in workload."

     To validate his 'rule of thumb,' Mr. Verducci says, "Think Matt Harrison of the Rangers, who took a jump of 36 1/3 innings at age 25 in 2011 and pitched very well the next year."

     Sports Illustrated writer, Tom Verducci, wrote: "The older the pitcher, the bigger the body type and the closer to the 30-inning threshold is their increase, the less they seem to be at risk."

     Because Mr. Verducci has no idea what causes baseball pitchers to injure themselves, Mr. Verducci's 'Year-After Effect' statistical analysis has no scientific merit.

     Because I know what causes baseball pitchers, I not only know which baseball pitchers will suffer pitching injuries, I know what pitching injuries that they will suffer.

     Therefore, no baseball pitcher that I teach and train will ever suffer a pitching injury.

     That means that none of my baseball pitchers will ever have a 'Year-After Effect' without regard for the age of the baseball pitchers, the size of the baseball pitchers or how many innings more than 30 that they pitch over their previous season.

     But, Mr. Verducci understands that.

     In his personal after-effect, what Mr. Verducci said was: "I do not know how to scientifically investigate my 'Year-After Effect' concept."

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0119.  Labrum tears

I  have come to an understanding through your research and viewing your website that labrum tears occur due to throwers taking their arm laterally behind their acromial line (side to side movement).

My question is, how exactly do labrum tear(s) occur?  Like a SLAP tear?

I've been trying to work it out in my mind with a mental picture like this:

When throwers take their throwing arm behind their acromial line, they stress the front of the shoulder.  To create an anterior labrum tear (SLAP), the head of the humerus kind of like comes out of its fossa and slides a little bit to the anterior side of the fossa, which allows the head of the humerus to clip/tear/fray/pinch the anterior side of the labrum while the thrower is taking his arm laterally behind his acromial line.  Is this accurate?

Are there such things as posterior labrum tears?  And if there are, are they due to throwers decelerating their arms across their body which stresses the back of the shoulder and the same thing I described above happen but posteriorly to the labrum?


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     Your description of how baseball pitchers injure the anterior aspect of their Labrum is accurate.

     When baseball pitchers pull their pitching upper arm across the front of their body, the head of the Humerus bone does not have the sideways pressure required to contact the posterior Labrum.

     To eliminate Labrum tears, baseball pitchers must keep the head of their Humerus bone in the middle of the Glenoid Fossa.

     To keep the head of their Humerus bone in the middle of the Glenoid Fossa, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm straight backward toward second base, then, to keep the head of their Humerus bone in the middle of the Glenoid Fossa, at the start of their acceleration phase, engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

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0120.  Liriano reportedly broke arm in bathroom fall
MLB.com
January 22, 2013

The mystery of Francisco Liriano's broken right arm received some unsubstantiated clarification recently with a newspaper in his native Dominican Republic reporting he suffered it in a bathroom fall.

According to elcaribe.com, the newspaper's website, Liriano fell days after the Dec. 21 agreement on his original two-year, $12.75 million contract with the Pirates, fracturing the humerus bone in the upper arm.

Citing a "source close to the player," the report said Liriano's right arm is in a cast. The report included no other details as to where or how exactly the left-handed pitcher had fallen.

The accident forced the sides to revisit terms of the original contract and reopen negotiations, which were finalized on Monday, according to FOXSports.com. The club had no comment, as Liriano still must pass a physical to formalize the agreement.

Speaking to MLB.com earlier this month at the MLB Owners Meetings in Paradise Valley, Ariz., Pirates club chairman Bob Nutting had said, "Liriano remains a player we are interested in. But we'll have to make absolutely sure that there's a 100 percent chance of his recovery and ability to play."

The potential total value of the deal remained the same, but Liriano agreed to a lower 2013 salary and to assume a shared risk.


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     Under what circumstance, Mr. Liriano broke the Humerus bone of his glove upper arm is irrelevant. However, the type of fracture and the time required for that fracture to heal is relevant.

     Because simple fractures typically require six weeks to heal and another nine weeks to return to previous bone density levels, Mr. Liriano's glove arm Humerus bone will not be fully ready for almost four months.

     Fortunately, Mr. Liriano fractured the Humerus bone in his glove upper arm. Therefore, Mr. Lirianao does not need to have his six-week atrophied glove arm Humerus bone fully recovered.

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0121.  Napoli has avascular necrosis in his hips
CBSSports.com
January 22, 2013

Shortly after an announcement was made that Mike Napoli had agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Red Sox, there was a conference call with reporters, Napoli, Napoli's agent Brian Grieper and Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington. The major topic of the call was Napoli's hip injury, which appears to be the reason why the initial three-year, $39-million deal was reworked.

It turns out that Napoli has avascular necrosis in both hips. AVN is a degenerative condition where bone tissue dies due to lack of blood supply. According to mayoclinic.com, "blood flow to a section of bone can be interrupted if the bone is fractured or the joint becomes dislocated."

AVN was one of the contributors to the end of Bo Jackson's football and baseball careers, but Brett Favre played nearly his entire NFL career with the condition.

According to Napoli's agent, an MRI last spring did not reveal AVN. It was discovered during his physical for the Red Sox. Also, Napoli's agent insists that this issue will not affect his performance and that moving to first base will only help his client.

"This has not affected him whatsoever," Grieper said. "Mike is asymptomatic. No soreness, no restrictions, no nothing."

Still, knowing all this, it's pretty easy to see why Napoli's three-year, $39 million deal ended up being finalized at one year and $5 million.


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     I remember Bo Jackson trying to play major league baseball with a man-made hip socket and head of the Femur bone.

     I did not know that Brett Farve had avascular necrosis in his hips. Clearly, Mr. Farve's problem did not require hip replacement surgery.

     If Mr. Napoli turns his rear foot to at least ninety degrees toward the pitching mound, then Mr. Napoli will use the front of his rear foot to move his body forward. This will minimize the stress on his rear hip.

     To remove the stress on his front hip, Mr. Napoli will have to walk through the end of his swing.

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0122.  Driving the shoulder

Been working on the 'shoulder drive behind elbow extension'.

Are you saying that, after rotating the shoulders and driving the pitching arm into the 'dynamic' slingshot position, and, off the 'bounce', inwardly rotating the pitching arm until the pitching forearm is perpendicular to the driveline, that the pitching shoulder then drives the pitching upper arm forward as the pitching elbow extends and pronates?

Is this shoulder movement distinct from rotation?

I've been rehearsing it and it seems that I can feel a separate action but I don't know if that's just my imagination.


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     Sort of.

     Let me list the steps.

     At the start of the acceleration phase, my baseball pitchers:

01. pendulum swing their pitching arm downward and backward to forty-five degrees behind their body,

02. step forward with their glove foot only as far as they are able to continue to move the center of mass of their body forward over their glove foot,

     When their glove foot lands, my baseball pitchers:

03. pull their glove forearm diagonally backward, inward and upward over their glove shoulder,

04. throw their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head and drive the entire pitching arm side of their body, focusing on driving their pitching knee diagonally forward and inward across the front of their glove knee,

     Now, my baseball pitchers are at what we are calling either the 'deep' Slingshot or 'dynamic' Slingshot position where the pitching elbow is inside of the driveline toward home plate and the pitching hand is outside of the driveline toward home plate. I call this action: 'Horizontally Bouncing the Pitching Forearm.'

     The purpose of my 'Horizontal Pitching Forearm Bounce' is to lengthen the tendon of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle, such that, at the end of the 'Horizontal Bounce,' the tendon of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle elastically rebounds. This 'elastic rebound' accelerates the pitching upper arm forward.

     You wrote: Are you saying that, after rotating the shoulders and driving the pitching arm into the 'dynamic' slingshot position, and, off the bounce, inwardly rotating the pitching arm until the pitching forearm is perpendicular to the driveline, that the pitching shoulder then drives the pitching upper arm forward as the pitching elbow extends and pronates."

     My answer to your question was: 'Sort of' and here is why.

05. After my baseball pitchers rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body, including the shoulders, diagonally forward and inward during which my baseball pitchers move their pitching upper arm inside of the driveline toward home plate, a position that we are calling either 'Deep Slingshot' or 'Dynamic Slingshot,' my baseball pitchers actively inwardly rotate the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm horizontally inside of vertical.

06. When the longitudinal line of the pitching forearm becomes perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate, i.e., where the line between the center of the pitching hand and the center of the pitching elbow is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate, my baseball pitchers use their Triceps Brachii muscle to explosively extend their pitching elbow,

07. As my baseball pitchers drive their pitching hand through release, my baseball pitchers powerfully and maximally pronate their pitching forearm, flex their pitching wrist and flex their Index and Middle Fingers.

08. During the inward rotation of the pitching upper arm portion of the acceleration phase, in addition to increasing the velocity of the pitching forearm toward home plate, the force-coupling action of the pitching upper arm and pitching forearm of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle decelerates and safely stops the forward movement of the pitching upper arm.

     That the pitching elbow pops upwardly and moves backwardly is evidence that the Latissimus Dorsi muscle has not only accelerated the pitching hand toward home plate, but also safely decelerated and stopped the pitching upper arm, thereby eliminating any back of the pitching shoulder injuries.

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0123.  My College Junior Baseball Pitcher

I wanted to update you on my son’s progress since he has gone back to school. The 10lb lead ball you sent me has made a difference, particularly in the amount of spin he can apply to pitches and their movement has increased.

Conference play begins in 7 days. So far they have been conditioning and throwing bullpens until this week. They have played 2 inter-squad games this week, with him getting in 3 innings so far. He has scattered two hits, allowed one walk, while striking out five. Two strikeouts were swinging on screwballs. The other 3 were on called third strike pronated curves.

His maxline 4 seam fastball velocity is in the high 80’s to 90. He throws the screwball and the pronated curve. He hasn’t developed his torque pitches yet. I am looking forward to him developing more pitches that move to his glove side. But since he started using the heavier lead ball about 6 weeks ago all his pitches have more dramatic movement now.

His teammates have nicknamed him “Seatbelt”. I asked him why. The told him he “buckles” every batter. We are looking forward to see how his season unfolds.


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     I and my readers appreciate the update.

     If your son, in three intra-squad games, is able to strike out five of the nine outs with only a Maxline game, imagine how well he will do when he adds the Torque game.

     Did right-handed batters get those two hits and, if so, were those two hits in the third-short hole?

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0124.  My high school pitchers

I am a high school baseball coach who has benefited beyond what I ever imagined from your help.

Thank you for sharing your time and your mastery of pitching.

My baseball pitchers who are not in a winter sport will complete 70 days of your 120 day high school pitchers interval training program when high school baseball practice can begin.

We will then have three weeks of official practice before the baseball season begins.

I have the following questions:

01. Once practice begins and during the baseball season, should the pitchers who completed the 70 days continue with the wrist weight and shot puts and, if they should, what number of repetitions would you recommend?

02. On the day that they pitch in a game, should they use the wrist weights and shot puts and if they should, when in the day?

03. From the time the pitcher throws his last pitch in a high school game until his next start, what would be involved in a daily workout for a high school pitcher and how many days should there be between starts?


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01. To maintain the fitness that they gained from doing 70 days of my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, I recommend that these high school pitchers continue to do their wrist weight exercises and their iron ball and baseball throws, but with one-half of the repetitions of my 120-Day program.

     At 70 days into my 120-Day program, I have high school pitchers doing 48 wrist weight exercises, 48 iron ball throws and 48 baseball throws.

     Therefore, to maintain their fitness, I recommend that these baseball pitchers do 24 wrist weight exercises, 24 iron ball throws and 24 baseball throws. However, instead of training with high intensity, for the first 8 repetitions, I want these baseball pitchers to start each drill with low intensity, for the second 8 repetitions increase to near high intensity and, for the last eight repetitions, return to low intensity.

     By gently increasing the intensity, then gently decreasing the intensity, these baseball pitchers are taking their pitching arm for a jog.

02. On the day that these baseball pitchers competitively pitch, I recommend that these baseball pitchers do one-half of the number of repetitions I recommended for maintaining their fitness; i.e., 12 repetitions, of their wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws.

     Immediately after these baseball pitchers complete their 12 repetitions warm-up, these baseball pitchers should start to throw to their catcher in preparation to competitively pitch. However, to enable the body to remove the waste products that they generated in preparation to competitively pitch, these baseball pitchers need to casually walk around for a couple of minutes then sit down for a few minutes before entering the game.

03. Immediately after these baseball pitchers stop competitively pitching, I recommend that these baseball pitchers casually walk around for ten minutes and repeat their pre-game wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws.

     Then, if possible, sometime after the game, I recommend that these baseball pitchers casually jog for twenty minutes.

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0125.  Lock

So, leaving the injury issue aside, the bounce in the traditional pitching motion does not add anything in terms of velocity. Is that correct?


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     Because, when my baseball pitchers 'horizontally bounce' their pitching upper arm, my baseball pitchers are contracting their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, 'horizontally bouncing' their pitching forearm will not injure their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     Athletes injure tendons, such as the Achilles Tendon, when they 'bounce' the tendons of muscles that they are not contracting. This is the mistake that those that teach 'Plyometrics' make.

     Because ligaments do not have the ability to contract, the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' injurious flaw in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion injures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament. Therefore, ligaments cannot withstand sudden forces. When the contractile portion of muscles are not contracting, the tendons of muscles are also not able to withstand sudden forces.

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0126.  Tigers banking on better bullpen results vs. lefties
MLB.com
January 22, 2013

DETROIT, MI: The bullpen debate around the Tigers began soon after the World Series ended, and it rolls into the final weeks leading into Spring Training. Even when roles begin to be defined in camp, it'll probably still go on, weighing youth and potential against experience and use.

Unless the Tigers pull a major surprise in the next few weeks, that debate will center around who's closing. At some point, it should probably linger over to who's facing left-handed hitters. It's a question that will quietly get a look in camp.

Lost in the euphoria of Detroit's run to the World Series, and Jose Valverde's blown saves along the way, were the bullpen questions that the team took into the postseason. Their off-and-on struggles against lefties might have been near the top of the list.

The .263 average Detroit allowed to left-handed hitters ranked fifth highest among American League teams, and 13 points higher than any other team that made the postseason. Take away the .224 average Drew Smyly allowed, mainly as a starter, and what Casey Crosby allowed in his three fill-in starts, and Tigers lefties allowed a .268 average in lefty-against-lefty matchups.

The primary lefty, Phil Coke, allowed a .263 (31-for-118) average to lefties, 30 points above his career average allowed, before he shut down hitters in the postseason. Duane Below, who made one spot start and 26 relief appearances, saw lefty hitters go 24-for-79 (.304) against him. Lefties went 5-for-12 off Adam Wilk.

The bright spot, unexpectedly, was midsummer callup Darin Downs, who took his stingy performances from Triple-A Toledo and carried them to Detroit. Left-handed hitters didn't have many opportunities off him in his long-relief appearances, but they batted just 6-for-35 (.171) with 10 strikeouts against him. That performance was no small reason why the Tigers kept him on their 40-man roster this offseason rather than try to re-sign him to another Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite.

The work of high-strikeout right-handers Al Alburquerque and Brayan Villarreal, who combined to hold lefties to 15-for-85 (.176) with 28 strikeouts, mitigated the importance of lefty-lefty matchups. Add in Coke's dominant October against the Yankees' many left-handers, and the Tigers were covered when they needed a big out against a left-handed batter. Now comes the follow-up, and in a division that still features dangerous lefty bats from Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau in Minnesota to White Sox slugger Adam Dunn to Kansas City's Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon, Detroit can't count on a division title without some big outs along the way.

At this point, the Tigers look like a team that has its field of candidates. It's a matter of figuring out who to use and how to use them.

Daniel Schlereth, the once-promising lefty reliever, is gone, non-tendered and now headed to Orioles camp. Wilk is off to Korea for an opportunity at regular pitching time and resume building. Toledo lefty Matt Hoffman, a promising reliever a year ago, is now off the 40-man roster and headed to Minor League camp after the Tigers outrighted his contract earlier in the offseason. Andy Oliver is headed to Pirates camp after being traded last month. Crosby is a starter as long as the Tigers need rotation depth.

At this point, the left side of the bullpen shapes up much the same as it did for the summer, with Coke as the primary southpaw and Downs and Below looking to support.

"We're very happy with Coke as one of our left-handed relievers, and we have some other guys that are in the mix for the No. 2 spot," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said at last month's Winter Meetings. "If we said to ourselves, 'This guy is better than what we have,' would we do that? Sure. Is it something that we're going to go out and sign a big-name free-agent player to do that? The answer is no."

Whether Coke gets any closing opportunities alongside a righty, however, could have a major impact on Detroit's plans. It doesn't appear likely now, but six weeks of Spring Training could change the picture quite a bit.

Coke has alternated dominant years with average ones against lefties in his four Major League seasons. Considering he held them to a .215 average in 2011, it's possible he doesn't repeat last year. The question is whether there's a consistent middle ground for him between the extremes, and how the Tigers use him against lefties. He has more meetings with Mauer and Morneau than he does against any other hitter, holding them to a combined 4-for-24 since joining the Tigers in 2010, including 2-for-10 last year.

Downs' work in 20 2/3 innings in the big leagues was enough to earn him a long look this spring as the potential second lefty the Tigers have struggled to find. If he can stay consistent, he could fill the role. With Below, much like Crosby, the Tigers have to decide whether he fits best as an insurance starter or should make the move to the bullpen, either situationally or in long relief. The chance to settle into a routine could prove to be a boost for him.

Detroit never went for the big addition, but the Tigers added a few candidates to take a shot at finding somebody. Rule 5 Draft pick Kyle Lobstein drew the Tigers' attention with his overall pitch repertoire rather than one dominant pitch. Among the Minor League signings, one pitcher to watch is Jose Alvarez, whom the Tigers signed off an encouraging stretch in winter ball in Venezuela. His strong arm doesn't translate into high strikeouts, but the Tigers believe he can get outs on balls put in play.


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     When baseball pitchers are able to pitch equally well to both sides of home plate, their field managers do not have to look around for somebody that is able to only get out glove arm side batters.

     This means that the first non-fastball pitches that all baseball pitchers need to master are the reverse breaking pitches.

     In addition, unlike breaking pitches, reverse breaking pitches have many more variations of movement.

     This means that baseball pitchers are able to throw two-seam Maxline Fastball Sinkers and four-seam Maxline True Screwballs and every pitch in between, such as Maxline Scrukers, all of which skilled baseball pitchers are able to make move downward toward the pitching arm side of home plate, straight downward and downward to the glove arm side of home plate.

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0127.  Tillman is motivated to win rotation spot
MLB.com
January 23, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD: Heading into Spring Training, things are a little different for Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman. But the 24-year-old -- who is coming off a career year despite spending the first half in Triple-A -- said he will try to approach next month's camp with the same mindset.

"It's going to be different, but I know what I've got to do this spring," said Tillman, who set career highs in nearly every statistical category, including wins (nine), ERA (2.93), games started (15) and quality starts (nine). "Last year, I was kind of trying to find myself still. I know exactly what I need to do now. I know what I need to do to get myself to where I need to be for April 1. That's my goal, April 1, and not the beginning of spring."

Tillman is well aware of the Orioles' surplus of starting-pitching candidates, and the competition should be one of the most closely contested competitions this spring. Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen figure to have spots, and Miguel Gonzalez -- like Tillman -- is coming off an impressive half-season's worth of starts. Right-hander Steve Johnson will also get a chance after a successful 2012, with last year's Opening Day starter Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter also all in the mix.

Tsuyoshi Wada will be slowed and rehabbing from last year's Tommy John surgery, but he could be a factor later in the season, as could top pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has also said the club will look at Rule 5 Draft pick T.J. McFarland as a starter this spring.

"It's going to be a battle any way you look at it," Tillman said. "We've got a bunch of guys coming in, and that's what makes it fun, to tell you the truth, is being able to compete. You lose that edge [and] then it takes the fun out of it. So, I'm excited about it."

Tillman's improved velocity last spring -- his fastball touched 97 mph -- was impressive and he was one of the last waves of spring cuts after a solid Grapefruit League campaign. He was promoted to the Orioles after going 8-8 with a 3.63 ERA in 16 games for Triple-A Norfolk and Tillman -- with a new and improved delivery -- became one of the team's best starters down the stretch, winning eight of his final 14 games.

"It does help," Tillman said of his success last season. "It's more of a confidence thing. You get those games under your belt, you get that experience under your belt, and it gives you the feeling that you can go out there and get the job done, no matter who you're facing or who you're pitching against. It's big going into the offseason and you get to relax a little bit, but at the same time, you know what you've got to do to get ready for Spring Training."

Tillman has been working out with special assistant Brady Anderson for about two months and said at Saturday's FanFest that the end of the season -- which culminated with a loss to the Yankees in the American League Division Series -- was bittersweet.

"That last game left not a very good taste in your mouth, and I feel like we really want to get back after it just for that reason," Tillman said of an Orioles club returning everyone from last season. "You can't let it weigh you down, but at the same time, it's in the back of your head, knowing that you want to be that much better so it doesn't happen again."


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     Unless major league batters have faced pitchers, the first time through the league, baseball pitchers have an advantage.

     Orioles baseball pitcher, Chris Tillman said:

01. "That last game left not a very good taste in your mouth, and I feel like we really want to get back after it just for that reason."
02. "You can't let it weigh you down, but at the same time, it's in the back of your head, knowing that you want to be that much better so it doesn't happen again."

     It appears that, at the end of the major league season, the major league batters has seen enough of Mr. Tillman to hit his pitches hard.

     Therefore, most likely, unless Mr. Tillman adds something to his game, such as another quality pitch or better pitch sequencing, instead of having the great half-season that Mr. Tillman had in 2012, the opposition baseball batters are going to have great At Bats.

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0128.  Young to get paid for making weight
Associated Press
January 23, 2013

Delmon Young has some incentive to lay off the desserts: He can earn $600,000 based on his weight this season.

Young's $750,000, one-year contract with the Philadelphia Phillies allows him to earn an additional $2.75 million in bonuses.

The deal for the AL championship series MVP, announced Tuesday, calls for him to get on a scale on six occasions to be chosen by the team. He'll receive $100,000 each time he makes weight, according to details obtained by The Associated Press. The first three times, he must be 230 pounds or less, and the second three, 235 pounds or less.

Young also would earn a $250,000 bonus for being on the active roster for one day, and $100,000 each for 40, 80, 120 and 160 days.

He can earn $1.5 million in performance bonuses: $150,000 each for 250, 300, 350 and 400 plate appearances; $200,000 apiece for 450 and 500; and $250,000 each for 550 and 600.

Young lost 30 pounds between the 2009 and 2010 seasons, when he was with the Minnesota Twins. He went up to 239 before dropping to 207.

The 27-year-old outfielder hit .267 with 27 doubles, 18 homers and 74 RBI for Detroit last season. He hit .313 with three homers and a team-high nine RBI during 13 postseason games.

Young had a $6.75 million salary last year, when he was suspended without pay for seven days by Major League Baseball after an incident outside a New York City hotel last spring. Young pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment for shouting an anti-Semitic slur and tackling a man to the ground.


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     By agreeing to pay Mr. Young up to $600,000 for weighing what he should weigh, the Tigers are preventing Mr. Young from behaving as professional athletes should behave.

     When athletes are not able to keep themselves in their best physical fitness, without regard for what their statistics are, they are not worth having on a team.

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0129.  Cardinal hitters looking forward to working with Mabry
MLB.com
January 23, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO: Mike Matheny took the question -- one in which he was asked to discuss possible remedies for the offense’s maddening inconsistency last year -- and jokingly shifted the onus elsewhere.

"That’s John Mabry’s job," the soon-to-be second-year manager replied. "He has to figure that out."

Matheny, of course, was being part factual, part facetious. He’ll stay integrally involved in the club’s offensive work and has already developed ideas on how to prevent 'all-or-nothing' from defining the offense again in 2013. But the burden will, indeed, also belong to Mabry.

Upon Mark McGwire's departure for Los Angeles, the Cardinals tapped Mabry as the team’s new hitting coach. The choice seemed logical, as Mabry had just completed his first season on the organization’s Major League staff. As the team’s assistant hitting coach in 2012, Mabry worked alongside McGwire, who had once also been his Cardinals teammate.

The hitting philosophy that Mabry said he listened to McGwire preach as a coach wasn’t all that different than the one Mabry saw the former first baseman employ with success during his playing days. It was a philosophy, Mabry described, of pickiness, and one that contributed to the club finishing second in the league with an average of 4.72 runs per game.

"Get a good pitch, look to hit it up the middle," Mabry said. "When you look at it that way, you don’t try to reinvent any wheels. We’re going to stay on the same path. We have guys who know what they’re doing."

Mabry’s projected starting lineup includes four players who broke into the Majors at least nine seasons ago. Those four -- Carlos Beltran, Rafael Furcal, Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina -- have, among them, 20 All-Star selections. When it comes to working with their swings, maintenance, then, becomes more pivotal than instruction.

Where Mabry will have a more hands-on approach is with the less-tenured players, some of whom he worked especially close with last season in helping to prepare them for bench roles. Staying sharp while not playing every day was a task Mabry took on regularly during his 14-year playing career.

"He’s a great player’s coach," Matt Carpenter said of Mabry. "Obviously, we're going to miss Mark, and we wish him the best, but we're filling in with a guy who’s going to do just as good of a job. His knowledge of the game, playing the role that he did ... when he was a player, you've really got to know the game well to have that kind of role. He’s brought that into his own style of coaching. He’s a great mentor, and we’re all looking forward to getting to work with him some more."

"He’s been around," added Jon Jay. "It's just like the Tony [La Russa] to Mike Matheny transition. We knew exactly what we were going to get. Mabry is the same way. He's been around us. He knows us as hitters. I'm looking forward to that."

The mental aspect of hitting, which Mabry described as being the separator between "good and great, great and awesome," will be of greater emphasis in 2013, both Mabry and Matheny vowed.

When it came to the work demands, the 2012 season served as a litmus test for Mabry, who had initial concerns about how much family sacrifice would come by taking a full-time coaching position. Mabry and his wife, Ann, have four children.

The time commitment was as hefty as Mabry had anticipated. But it was location that made it feasible. Location is the same reason why he agreed to return in an even larger role, one that he likely wouldn’t have accepted from another organization.

"I'm still here. I'm still home," said Mabry, who made St. Louis his permanent home after retiring as a player. "I get to come home every night, and they get to see me every morning. If I were to go back into baseball, it would be with the St. Louis Cardinals, the team that drafted me and developed me. People like [former Cardinals coaches] Dave Ricketts and George Kissell are guys who invested in me, and I’ve made it a point to invest in other people."


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     Cardinals new batting coach, John Mabry, said:

01. "Get a good pitch, look to hit it up the middle."
02. "When you look at it that way, you don’t try to reinvent any wheels."
03. "We’re going to stay on the same path."
04. "We have guys who know what they’re doing."

     These four statements do not sound like what the Cardinal batters need to do to "prevent 'all-or-nothing' from defining the offense again in 2013".

     To prevent "all-or-nothing' offense, teams need to be able to grind out pitchers, advance base runners to third base with less than two outs and get those base runner across home plate.

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0130.  Driving the shoulder

You wrote: 03. pull their glove forearm diagonally backward, inward and upward over their glove shoulder,

1. I'm writing: What?

You wrote: 04. throw their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head and drive the entire pitching arm side of their body, focusing on driving their pitching knee diagonally forward and inward across the front of their glove knee,

2. I'm writing: I have my sons drive their pitching upper arm to end up 45 degrees forward of the head, not vertically beside the head.  They try to pass through 'vertically beside their head'.

You wrote: Now, my baseball pitchers are at what we are calling either the 'deep' Slingshot or 'dynamic' Slingshot position where the pitching elbow is inside of the driveline toward home plate and the pitching hand is outside of the driveline toward home plate. I call this action: 'Horizontally Bouncing the Pitching Forearm.'   3. I'm writing: It seems to me that the 'driveline' as described is not the line between the center of second base and the center of home plate.  It is what I'm going to call for the moment the 'dynamic driveline' between the pitching arm acromial process and the center of home plate.  Is this correct?

So, there is no 'punching action' of the pitching shoulder as the elbow extends and pronates through release?

You have always written to 'rotate through release'.  I guess the powerful inward rotation and force-coupling action 'feels' like 'shoulder punching'.


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01. The lost limb in our discussions of my baseball pitching motion is the glove arm. However, the glove arm starts the acceleration phase. Therefore, how my baseball pitchers use their glove arm meaningfully affects how my baseball pitchers rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body.

     With their pitching arm forty-five degrees behind their body and their glove arm forty-five degrees in front of their body both moving along their acromial line, my baseball pitchers step forward with their glove foot.

     When the heel of their glove foot lands, my baseball pitchers have their pitching upper arm at shoulder height and their pitching hand at driveline height pointing at second base and their glove upper arm and hand at shoulder height pointing at home plate. I call this pitching arm position, 'Loaded Slingshot.'

     As my baseball pitchers pull the heel of their glove foot backward toward second base and start to drive their pitching knee diagonally across the front of their glove foot, at shoulder height, my baseball pitchers simultaneously pull their glove hand diagonally behind their body.

     Until my baseball pitchers move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot, my baseball pitchers simultaneously roll across the entire length of their glove foot and step forward with their pitching foot and move their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward and turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate. I call this pitching arm position, 'Slingshot.'

     When my baseball pitchers move their pitching upper arm about halfway between having their pitching arm at driveline height in my 'Loaded Slingshot' position and my 'Slingshot' position, my baseball pitchers engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle. I call this pitching arm position, 'Lock.'

     When my baseball pitchers get their pitching arm to 'Slingshot,' my baseball pitchers should have moved the center of mass of their body to slightly in front of their glove foot.

     At this moment, my baseball pitchers must maximally increase the velocity of the forward rotation of the entire pitching arm side of their body.

     By throwing their glove hand diagonally backward over their glove shoulder, my baseball pitchers once again forwardly rotate their body.

     This glove arm action triggers the glove foot to powerfully push backward and their pitching knee to drive diagonally forward.

     I hope this answers your 'What?' question.

02. I agree that for my baseball pitchers to move their pitching elbow as far forward as they are able, my baseball pitchers have to have their pitching upper arm angled at forty-five degrees toward home plate.

     However, when my baseball pitchers have their pitching upper arm angled at forty-five degrees toward home plate, from the rear view, I want their pitching upper arm vertically beside their head.

03. As viewed from overhead, the driveline starts with the pitching hand in my 'Loaded Slingshot' position and moves to the pitching hand at release. If we extend that line, then backwardly, it should point at second base and, forwardly, it should point at home plate.

     The 'punching action' to which you refer takes place during the force-coupling action of the glove hand moving backward over their glove shoulder and the pitching hand moving forward through release. This is the 'back arching' moment immediately before release.

     You wrote: I guess the powerful inward rotation (of the pitching upper arm) and force-coupling (the glove hand moving backward over the glove shoulder and the pitching hand moving forward through release) action 'feel' like shoulder punching.

     That is correct.

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0131.  My College Junior Baseball Pitcher

The two hits that my son game up were first pitch fastballs to right handed batters hit to the left side of the field.

I am sure they went up there looking "first pitch fastball in a zone" and got it.

At this level of play, these hitters can turn a 90 mph fastball around pretty quick if they are convinced they are going to see one.

My son knows he needs to use a torque pitch that he feels confident he can throw for strikes for a first pitch. I am encouraging him to do that.


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     Throwing my Maxline Fastball to 'Pitching Arm Side Pull Hitters' (PASPH) is like setting the baseball up on a tee.

     When pitching to batters for the first time, baseball pitchers have to show that they are able to throw first pitch non-fastballs for strikes.

     With two quality fastballs, that is, my Maxline and Torque Fastballs moving toward opposite sides of home plate, while not slowing their bat, can confuse batters.

     The best first pitch in the first At Bat against PASPHs is a breaking pitch away.

     While, occasionally, throwing reverse breaking pitches inside to PASPHs can be successful, if they guess right, then PASPHs will hammer that pitch.

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0132.  Elbert's season in doubt after second surgery
MLB.com
January 23, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA: Dodgers left-handed reliever Scott Elbert underwent a second arthroscopic operation on his left elbow Wednesday, putting his 2013 availability in question.

With Spring Training starting in three weeks, the Dodgers announced that Elbert will begin a throwing program in six weeks.

Elbert’s new problem sheds a different light on the Jan. 7 signing of free-agent left-handed reliever J.P. Howell for $2.85 million. Elbert apparently felt pain around that time, conservative treatment was tried, but the elbow did not respond.

Elbert underwent a first procedure Sept. 19 to remove scar tissue in the back of the elbow, and earlier this month general manager Ned Colletti said he had no reason to believe that any of his recovering players would not be ready for the start of the season.

Wednesday’s procedure involved “a new area of cartilage damage [that] was discovered and debrided” by Dr. Neal ElAttrache, according to a club announcement.

Elbert went 1-1 with a 2.20 ERA over 43 appearances last year before landing on the disabled list for a second time at the end of August. His injury could provide an opening for lefty Paco Rodriguez, who was the first player from last year’s Draft to reach the Major Leagues and had a 1.35 ERA in 11 appearances.


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     The article said: "Wednesday’s procedure involved “a new area of cartilage damage [that] was discovered and debrided.”

     Cartilage means the hyaline cartilage that covers the surface of the olecranon fossa.

     Inflamed hyaline cartilage is painful.

     Debrided means to trim the loose ends.

     This means that Dr. ElAttrache did not repair anything.

     When the inflamation subsides, Mr. Elbert should be able to start throwing. However, Mr. Elbert needs to eliminate their injurious flaw that inflames the hyaline cartilage of his olecranon fossa.

     That injurious flaw is 'Supinating Releases.'

     To eliminate this injurious flaw, baseball pitchers have to learn how to pronate their releases.

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0133.  Pavano ruptures spleen, will miss up to eight weeks
MLB.com
January 24, 2013

More health problems for free-agent right-hander Carl Pavano could postpone his signing with a new team, as the former Twins starter ruptured his spleen while shoveling snow on his driveway and will be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Also per the report, Pavano's agent has declined comment.

Pavano, 37, saw his 2012 season cut short due to a sore right shoulder, an injury caused by a bone bruise. He struggled in 11 starts last season, with a 6.00 ERA and 2-5 record. In his last full season, in '11, he had a 9-13 record, with career high in hits allowed (262) and a 4.30 ERA.

The Rockies and Mets were among the teams that had shown interest in the starter, though New York is not expected to pursue any more starters following its signing of Shaun Marcum on Thursday.

Troy Renck of the Denver Post tweeted that the Rockies "are out" regarding Pavano, citing an MLB source, but did not specifically say it was related to the injury.


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     To rupture his spleen, Mr. Pavano must have fallen and landed on something that impacted his spleen.

     This is serious and Mr. Pavano will not be able to rotate his body at competitive intensities for a couple of months.

     To regain the fitness lost with two months of detraining will require three and one-half months to regain.

     Five months from now is late June.

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0134.  Farnsworth set to rejoin  Rays on one-year pact
MLB.com
January 24, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG, FL: Kyle Farnsworth will be returning to the Rays in 2013, according to a report by ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.

Farnsworth is reported to have signed a one-year Major League contract -- worth as much as $3 million if he reaches the incentives in the deal, which is pending a physical.

Farnsworth served as the Rays' closer in 2011 and notched 25 saves while compiling a 5-1 record with a 2.18 ERA in 63 appearances. Fernando Rodney took over the closer role in 2012 after Farnsworth began the season on the disabled list with a right elbow problem.

Farnsworth eventually returned to the team, but he did not return to the closer role. He finished with a 1-6 record and a 4.00 ERA in 34 appearances.

Besides Tampa Bay, Milwaukee had been rumored to be Farnsworth's most serious suitor.

With Farnsworth back in the fold, the Rays will head to Spring Training with the potential to have another solid bullpen. In addition to Farnsworth, the relief corps will include Rodney, Joel Peralta, Jake McGee, Cesar Ramos, Brandon Gomes and Dane De La Rosa.


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     Wow. In 2011, Mr. Farnsworth won 5 games, lost 1 game and earned 25 saves with a 2.18 ERA. But, with pitching elbow problems, in 2012, Mr. Farnsworth won 1 game, lost 6 games and did not earn any saves with a 4.00 ERA.

     I wonder which pitching elbow injury Mr. Farnsworth suffered.

     If I knew, then I could explain what injurious flaw Mr. Farnsworth has to eliminate.

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0135.  Mets tap free agent Marcum for rotation vacancy
MLB.com
January 24, 2013

NEW YORK, NY: Six weeks after trading R.A. Dickey to the Blue Jays, the Mets have made their move to replace him. The club has signed free-agent starter Shaun Marcum to a one-year deal pending a physical, a source told MLB.com on Thursday, plugging up the vacancy in their rotation. The Mets did not confirm the deal.

Marcum, 31, went 7-4 with a 3.70 ERA in 21 starts for the Brewers in 2012, striking out 109 batters and walking 41 in 124 innings. He missed more than two months of the season with elbow tightness, following a bout of shoulder discomfort that sidelined him during Spring Training.

Despite those health issues, Marcum has generally pitched well since undergoing Tommy John surgery after the 2008 season, posting a 57-36 career record and 3.76 ERA. He will fill the spot that opened when Dickey left for Toronto, giving the Mets a five-man rotation of Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Matt Harvey, Dillon Gee and Marcum.

In that sense, he fits the precise mold of what Sandy Alderson described in mid-December, when the general manager vowed to replace Dickey with a quality arm.

“We don’t of course expect to go out and duplicate R.A. Dickey -- that’s not going to happen,” Alderson said at the time. “But at the same time, we’ll be looking for somebody who probably is looking for a good opportunity, somebody with some upside.”

Marcum, who posted a .634 winning percentage and 3.59 ERA for the Blue Jays and Brewers from 2010-11 -- his first two years back from Tommy John surgery -- fits that description. When healthy, he is capable of providing quality innings in the middle of a rotation.

But if Marcum cannot stay healthy, the Mets have committed to him for only one year. By midsummer, top prospect Zack Wheeler should be ready for the big leagues, potentially joining Harvey and Niese as rotation pillars for at least the next half-dozen seasons.

Relying heavily on control and command, Marcum features a mid-80s fastball and cutter and a changeup that dips into the 70s. He also throws a curveball and slider.

He will use those weapons in tackling the unenviable task of replacing Dickey, who will become the seventh Cy Young Award winner in history to begin his defense of the award with another team. In their pursuit of a replacement starter, the Mets also checked in on free agents Carl Pavano and Chris Young before ultimately settling on Marcum. Shortly after trading Dickey, Alderson said that he was looking for a pitcher accomplished enough to warrant a guaranteed rotation slot.

He found one in Marcum, even if New York’s rotation is now defined as much by health concerns as by healthy starting pitchers. In addition to Marcum’s shoulder and elbow issues, Santana has yet to produce a fully healthy season since his 2010 shoulder surgery, while Gee has not pitched since discovering a blood clot in his throwing shoulder last July.


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     In 2008, Mr. Marcum ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament. That means that Mr. Marcum 'Reverse Bounced' his pitching elbow.

     In 2012, Mr. Marcum injured his pitching shoulder. That means that Mr. Marcum took his pitching upper arm laterally behind his acromial line.

     Mr. Marcum has a lot of injurious flaws that he needs to eliminate.

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0136.  Sale throws his weight around
MLB.com
January 25, 2013

CHICAGO, IL: Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig certainly won't be calling Chris Sale any time soon, probably never, to use him as part of a celebrity endorsement deal. But the slender left-hander, coming off a Cy Young-caliber effort in his first year as a starter, gained 15 pounds in the offseason.

The 6-foot-6 23-year-old exited the 2012 season at 170 pounds and weighed in on Friday at a bulky 185.2.

"I learned how to grill," said a smiling Sale of the reason behind his weight gain. "Hopefully I can maintain that through spring and through the season.

"Chicken, steak, pork, corn, anything. It's been fun. I've been working out hard. I actually got a trainer this offseason down there in Naples, [Fla.], my hometown. He's been great. I go there Monday through Friday and work out, and I've just been eating."

With or without the weight, Sale's goals haven't changed. He posted a 17-8 record with a 3.05 ERA and 192 strikeouts over 192 innings under Chicago's watchful eye. He wants those same positive results in helping the team succeed, while pitching at least 200 innings.

Caution will still be there where the organization's prized hurler is concerned, but there won't be as many extended breaks for Sale in 2013, even though manager Robin Ventura wants to hold off his Cactus League debut until later into Spring Training. Sale's teammates trust wholeheartedly in his ability, even if they don't trust in his weight gain boast.

"I told these guys I put on some weight and they didn't believe me," Sale said. "I told them my shoe size got bigger, that it went all the way down to my feet.

"I'm feeling good. Everything is great. My body feels good, I feel loose. I'm just excited for Spring Training to start and ready to get going."


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     23 year old professional baseball pitchers are supposed to increase their muscle mass.

     Instead of his weight, the White Sox needs to have concern for how far Mr. Sale take his pitching upper arm behind his acromial line.

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0137.  Jurrjens deal gives Orioles more rotation depth
MLB.com
January 25, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD: The Orioles have reached a one-year agreement with free-agent pitcher Jair Jurrjens, and the 26-year-old right-hander told MLB.com Friday that he is healthy and motivated to win a spot in the club's starting rotation this spring.

"That was one of my main goals, was to try to get a team to give me a chance again," said Jurrjens, who has thrown seven bullpen sessions this winter while working out in Tampa, Fla. "I know a lot of people are scared with the past history of my knee, but I'm ready to prove some people wrong and show that I'm ready to go again."

The O's are not commenting on the agreement, which was first reported late Thursday night. The deal is still pending a physical and isn't expected to be made official before Monday.

But the addition -- a low-risk, high-reward signing -- is right on par with the philosophy of executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, who stated at the news conference announcing his and manager Buck Showalter's contract extensions that he was still actively looking to add pitching. An All-Star in 2011, Jurrjens went 3-4 with a 6.89 ERA last year and was non-tendered by the Braves this winter, effectively becoming a free agent.

Jurrjens spent a good portion of last season in the Minor Leagues, and he said Friday that weakness in his right quadriceps limited his power, causing a velocity dip and a demotion to Triple-A Gwinnett in April.

"Everything just kept getting worse and worse and weaker and weaker," said Jurrjens, who wore a knee brace while pitching and managed to stay off the disabled list despite chronic achy pain. "I couldn't push off like I wanted to, and you could see what happened last year. I was able to stay on the field, but not perform like I needed to perform. That's why I got sent down and non-tendered, but I've been working on getting my strength and ways to maintain it during the season.

"So far it's going well. [I'm] seeing a lot of improvement, and we're working on a game plan for me to do during the season to stay healthy and help the team."

Jurrjens is more than two years removed from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair a minor meniscus tear and lingering issues that shortened his 2011 season and led to a disappointing '12. So far this winter, Jurrjens said he hasn't had any of that achy pain in his knee and has been able to run and do squats with no issues.

"The thing I was looking for was being with a young team that's winning," said Jurrjens, who praised Showalter as a manager. "When I first heard the Orioles were talking to my agent, I got really excited. I saw how far they got last year in the playoffs and I saw the way they played the game. It's exciting.

"I think I'm ready for [the competition] coming in, and I always want to be ready to compete for a job -- even if I have a job already. I don't want to use Spring Training to get in shape. Already coming into Spring Training in shape, you improve quicker and can start working on things."

Jurrjens has been on Baltimore's radar in previous winters as a potential trade target, but knee issues and a drop in velocity -- he averaged just over 88 mph on his fastball in 2012, down from nearly 92 mph in '08 -- caused his value to drop. Duquette, a fan of reclamation projects, likes roster flexibility, and Jurrjens has options remaining, meaning he can be sent to the Minor Leagues without having to clear waivers.

Jurrjens' deal is worth $1.5 million and can escalate to $4 million with incentives, according to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman, who first reported the signing. Jurrjens would be arbitration-eligible after the 2013 season, so he could remain under team control if he performs well and fits into the O's future plans.

Asked whether he sees himself as a potential bullpen guy should he not crack the rotation, Jurrjens said, "I've always been a starting pitcher my whole career. I'm not going to change now. Whatever they want me to do, I'm going to do it, but I see myself as a starter."


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     In 2011, Mr. Jurrjens had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair a minor meniscus tear.

     Orioles baseball pitcher, Jair Jurrjens, said:

01. "Everything just kept getting worse and worse and weaker and weaker."
02. "I couldn't push off like I wanted to, and you could see what happened last year."
03. "I was able to stay on the field, but not perform like I needed to perform."
04. "That's why I got sent down and non-tendered, but I've been working on getting my strength and ways to maintain it during the season.'
05. "So far it's going well."
06. "[I'm] seeing a lot of improvement, and we're working on a game plan for me to do during the season to stay healthy and help the team."

     Mr. Jurrjens is a right-handed baseball pitcher. Mr. Jurrjens injured the medial meniscus in his right knee.

     To do this, Mr. Jurrjens uses his Tensor Faciae Latae muscle to sideways move his body forward. As a result, Mr. Jurrjens does a 'sideways split' that severely stresses the inside of his pitching knee.

     To eliminate this injurious flaw, Mr. Jurrjens needs to turn his pitching foot at least forty-five degrees toward home plate and use his Rectus Femoris muscle to move his body forwardly toward home plate.

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0138.  Jones to help instruct Padres this spring
MLB.com
January 25, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA: It's been over three decades since Randy Jones last slipped on a Padres uniform, which is why it will no doubt feel a little surreal when he does so again during Spring Training.

But this much the 1976 Cy Young Award winner is absolutely certain of: He won't be wearing the same sized uniform he did with the team during his last season in 1980.

"No way," Jones said Thursday at a season ticket-holder event at Petco Park. "You can't weigh 195 and fit into a 175-pound uniform."

Jones, who turned 63 on Jan. 12, will join the team during Spring Training as a special instructor around March 1, which is when the Minor League players report to the team's Spring Training facility in Peoria, Ariz.

Jones was 92-105 with a 3.30 ERA over eight seasons with the Padres (1973-1980). During his Cy Young campaign, he was 22-14 with a 2.74 ERA, leading the league in games started (40), complete games (25) and innings (315 1/3).

Jones has remained a community icon. He's essentially an ambassador with the team while also running a successful business selling his popular barbecue sauce and owning the Randy Jones All-American Grill, located in Mission Valley, not far from where he pitched for the Padres at the old Jack Murphy Stadium (now Qualcomm Stadium).

The idea of helping coach or assist the Padres isn't a new one to Jones, who has remained attached to the game through his work with the Padres as well as private pitching lessons that he has offered for over 25 years. Barry Zito of the Giants was one of his students.

"I reached out to [manager Bud Black] last summer ... about coming to Spring Training for a few weeks and working with the pitchers," Jones said. "I've always wanted to do it and felt it was a good time to do it now.

"Earlier, when I was younger, I didn't want a [Padres] coach thinking I wanted a job. I think I'm now of the age where they know I'm not looking for a job."

What does Jones hope to impart to the players he works with?

"I think all of us have the same perspective having played. I think we all say the same thing but have a different way of saying it. It might be I say something the right way to some of these kids and they can learn a little bit," he said.

"It will be a lot of fun. I've done a ton of private pitching lessons and stayed close to the mechanics of the game and philosophy of it. I feel I've never lost that. I'll just try to complement whatever [pitching coach Darren Balsley] is trying to do."

Black said that the young pitchers in camp, on the Major League side and especially on the Minor League side, can benefit from Jones' knowledge.

"He can give the pitchers a little something more insightful, from a guy who wasn't overpowering as a pitcher ... moving the ball around, pitching to spots, the importance of fastball command, changing speeds and saying it in a manner that maybe only Randy can do," Black said. "He's very personable."


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     In 1976, Randy started 40 games, pitched 315 1/3 innings, completed 25 games, won 22 and lost 14 with 2.74 ERA.

     Randy threw an 80 mph fastball that moved like a screwball.

     In 1981, Randy and I pitched for the New York Mets. I thought that he was older than me. However, he is seven years younger than me.

     Randy pestered me to teach him how I threw my screwball. In 1982, Randy started the season very well. He said that his new screwball helped him. Because Randy's fastball was essentially an 80 mph screwball, his new 70 mph screwball didn't work for him for long.

     Randy is a good guy. I wish him fun.

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***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, February 03, 2013, I will post the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0139.  January 27 Manna from Heaven

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0100. Elbow Tenderness

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You wrote: "02. Rather than train through the discomfort of holding my 'Loaded Slingshot' position, I want you to learn how to move through my 'Loaded Slingshot' position with your pitching upper arm in front of your acromial line and smoothly, but quickly move your pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward toward your head and turn the back of your pitching upper arm to face toward home plate. When you do this, you will engage your Latissimus Doris muscle and remove all stress from the front of your pitching shoulder."

  Nicely written and there is the first critical phase compete.  You can't get to the desired 'dynamic slingshot' position without getting in front of the acromial as you pass through 'loaded slingshot'.  The elbow makes a nice tight upward, inward 'U-turn' to get (a) in front of the acromial line and (b) start to turn the back of the arm toward home plate.

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0101. Lock

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You wrote: "When, as I apply gentle force against the pitching elbow as my baseball pitchers slowly move their pitching upper arm forward and upward, my baseball pitchers are able to 'feel' the switch-over. At that moment, my baseball pitchers 'feel' the power of extending the pitching upper arm toward home plate."

And not until then, can you rotate like the Tasmanian devil and simultaneously extend the upper arm into the 'dynamic' slingshot position which I will define as 'slingshot with the elbow past the front of the shoulder'.

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You wrote: "To minimize the upward movement of the pitching hand, my baseball pitchers need to wait to extend their pitching elbow until they have inwardly rotated their pitching forearm to perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate."

Crystal clear.  And you still have the same degree of elbow extension to apply to the baseball.

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You wrote: "This is where the ability of my baseball pitchers to drive their pitching forearm horizontally inside of vertical enables my baseball pitchers to apply force more straight toward home plate."

Because it minimizes the upward drive of the elbow extension.

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You wrote: "And, although only with my Maxline Pronation Curve release, my Wrong Foot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions with the Bucket Lid also teaches baseball pitchers how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle."

And gives instantaneous feedback, i.e., the lid flies horizontally.

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You wrote: "When all baseball players learn how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, we will have eliminated pitching injuries and significantly increased release velocity and consistency."

Wow, great question and great answer.

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0103. Comments from Tommy John

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You wrote: "I wish him and his wife happy and long lives together."

Tommy said, "Whatever we did to rehab my elbow, we may have done it better than they do it today with all their knowledge."

You designed his rehab program and you corrected his injurious flaw.  Why no mention of that?  Inexcusable on his part.

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0104. Lock

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You wrote: "Nevertheless, rather that actually having their pitching forearm horizontal, at the start of the extension of their pitching elbow, I want my baseball pitchers to try to have their pitching forearm horizontally perpendicular to the driveline to home plate."

The pitching forearm would be parallel to the front of home plate from inward rotation and then the elbow extends.

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0117. Rockies looking at Pavano, Lowe for rotation

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You wrote: "To succeed in Denver, baseball pitchers have to throw non-fastballs with exceptionally high spin velocities."

Do those pitchers exist?

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     Yep.

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0118. Strasburg not only young ace at risk of Year-After Effect

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You wrote: "In his personal after-effect, what Mr. Verducci said was: "I do not know how to scientifically investigate my 'Year-After Effect' concept."

And yet, he still gets paid to write it and will continue to be quoted.  Too funny.

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0123. My College Junior Baseball Pitcher

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You wrote: "Did right-handed batters get those two hits and, if so, were those two hits in the third-short hole?

'Seatbelt', nice.  This pitcher's velocity has steadily increased over the past few seasons.

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0129. Cardinal hitters looking forward to working with Mabry

You wrote: "Cardinals new batting coach, John Mabry, said:

01. "Get a good pitch, look to hit it up the middle."
02. "When you look at it that way, you don’t try to reinvent any wheels."
03. "We’re going to stay on the same path."
04. "We have guys who know what they’re doing."

These four statements do not sound like what the Cardinal batters need to do to "prevent 'all-or-nothing' from defining the offense again in 2013".

To prevent "all-or-nothing' offense, teams need to be able to grind out pitchers, advance base runners to third base with less than two outs and get those base runner across home plate."

Those 4 statements made me think they don't a hitting coach.  Just put up a sign in the locker room that reads, 'stay on the path'.  That sign would also localize floor maintenance.

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0130. Driving the shoulder

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You wrote: "By throwing their glove hand diagonally backward over their glove shoulder, my baseball pitchers once again forwardly rotate their body."

Once again?

  --------------------------------------------------      I know. I have not fully explained about how to teach baseball pitchers to force-couple the glove and pitching upper arms.

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

You wrote: "However, when my baseball pitchers have their pitching upper arm angled at forty-five degrees toward home plate, from the rear view, I want their pitching upper arm vertically beside their head."

That clarifies things.  I don't know about the rest of the readers, but I always took the 'vertical' to be from the pitching arm side view.

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0131. My College Junior Baseball Pitcher

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You wrote: "While, occasionally, throwing reverse breaking pitches inside to PASPHs can be successful, if they guess right, then PASPHs will hammer that pitch."

Sounds like it's time for lots of torque fastball football throws.  The single greatest drill for teaching that pitch.

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0135. Mets tap free agent Marcum for rotation vacancy

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You wrote: "Mr. Marcum has a lot of injurious flaws that he needs to eliminate."

They should have paid Mr. Dickey.

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0136. Sale throws his weight around

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You wrote: "Instead of his weight, the White Sox needs to have concern for how far Mr. Sale take his pitching upper arm behind his acromial line."

They don't even know what the 'Kodachrome' line is.

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0137. Jurrjens deal gives Orioles more rotation depth

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You wrote: "To eliminate this injurious flaw, Mr. Jurrjens needs to turn his pitching foot at least forty-five degrees toward home plate and use his Rectus Femoris muscle to move his body forwardly toward home plate."

The sideways split helps to create the elasticity in the throwing motion.  Don't you read Dick Mills?

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0138. Jones to help instruct Padres this spring

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Randy Jones said: "I think all of us have the same perspective having played. I think we all say the same thing but have a different way of saying it. It might be I say something the right way to some of these kids and they can learn a little bit," he said."

Sounds like a member of Congress.

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You wrote: "Randy is a good guy. I wish him fun."

You should have shown him your Torque Fastball.  Wait, when did you invent that pitch?

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0140.  Supination

In your response to 2013 Q&A you stated that when you threw your maxline true screwball, you started with your pitching forearm maximally supinated, rather than with your forearm maximally pronated, as you now teach that pitch.

1. As I understand your present teaching, the pitching forearm is to be maximally supinated at the beginning of the acceleration phase in order to throw your maxline pronation curve and that the pitching forearm is to be maximally pronated at the same stage to throw your maxline true screwball.  Is that correct?

2. When you pitched, did you have your pitching forearm maximally supinated when you began the acceleration phase and then adjusted the position of your forearm, wrist, and hand during the acceleration phase, e.g., rotate to full pronation at release for your maxline true screwball?

3. I also understand your present teaching to be that a pitcher protects the ulnar collateral ligament of his pitching elbow essentially by these means:

     (a) by taking the ball out of the glove with the palm of the pitching hand and the ball facing up and then bringing the ball up to driveline height in one smooth, continuous motion (rather than with the palm down, which tends to lead to late forearm turnover that leads, in turn, to reverse forearm bounce) and

     (b) by pronating the pitching forearm early so as to engage the muscles of the forearm that attach to the medial epicondyle of the humerus, thereby taking stress off of the ulnar collateral ligament.


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     First, everything I write I have known for forty years. However, to prevent readers from disregarding what I teach as too too radical, rather than start by teaching the Calculus of my baseball pitching motion, I decided to start with arithmetic and gradually introduced algebra and so on.

     After over thirteen years online, I am so enjoying explaining the advanced principles of how to initiate the 'elastic rebound' of my 'Horizontal Pitching Forearm Bounce,' hereafter known as 'Horizontal Pitching Forearm Rebound.'

01. Yes.

     However, the first step in learning how to grip, drive and release my Maxline True Screwball is to start with the pitching forearm maximally pronated.

     However, with their pitching forearm maximally pronated, my baseball pitchers could not actively pronate their pitching forearm through release. This means that to apply the reverse rotation to the baseball, my baseball pitchers had to powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     After my baseball pitchers learned how to throw my Maxline Fastball Sinker and started to turn the circle of friction toward the pitching arm side of the baseball, rather than start their Maxline True Screwball grip, drive and release with the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body, I told them to start with the palm of their pitching hand facing upward, like when they threw my Maxline Fastball.

     When my baseball pitchers showed that they were able to throw my Maxline Fastball Scruker (a pitch that is half-way between my Maxline Fastball Sinker and my Maxline True Screwball), I told them to start with the palm of their pitching hand facing inward toward their body.

     Lastly, when my baseball pitchers showed that they were able to throw my Maxline True Screwball, I told them to start with the palm of their pitching hand facing downward as though they were throwing my Maxline Pronation Curve.

02. Yes.

     Unfortunately, to date, I am the only baseball pitchers that learned how to start my Maxline True Screwball with the maximally supinated pitching forearm.

03. To prevent exposing the Ulnar Collateral Ligament to stress that it cannot withstand, I teach my baseball pitchers to:

         a. Pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

             01.) When my baseball pitchers take the baseball out of their glove and pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, my baseball pitchers have the palm of their pitching hand facing upward.

             02.) When my baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching hand backward, my baseball pitchers have the palm of their pitching hand facing toward home plate.

             03.) When my baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching hand upward to forty-five degrees, my baseball pitchers have the palm of their pitching hand facing downward.

             04.) When my baseball pitchers have their pitching arm forty-five degrees behind their body, my baseball pitchers start to turn the palm of their pitching hand to facing away from their body, such that when their pitching hand reaches driveline height, they have the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body.

     When my baseball pitchers turn the palm of their pitching hand to face away from their body, my baseball pitchers have supinated their pitching forearm about one-half of the way to full supination and, similarly outwardly rotated their pitching upper arm one-half of the way to full outward rotation.

     To move their pitching forearm to full supination and their pitching upper arm to full outward rotation. where they have positioned their pitching forearm and pitching upper arm for maximally pronating their pitching forearm and inwardly rotating their pitching upper arm. I have my baseball pitchers move their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head, such that they have turned the back of their pitching upper arm facing toward home plate and the back of their pitching forearm facing upward, i.e., my baseball pitchers have positioned their pitching arm for my 'Horizontal Pitching Forearm Rebound.'

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0141.  Supination

Sorry, I accidentally sent my last email before it was entirely finished.

As I was saying, I understand your present teaching to be that a pitcher protects the ulnar collateral ligament of his pitching elbow essentially by these means:

     (a) by taking the ball out of the glove with the palm of the pitching hand and the ball facing up and then bringing the ball up to driveline height in one smooth, continuous motion (rather than with the palm down, which tends to lead to late forearm turnover that leads, in turn, to reverse forearm bounce) and

     (b) by pronating the pitching forearm early so as to engage the muscles of the forearm that attach to the medial epicondyle of the humerus, thereby taking stress off of the ulnar collateral ligament.

It would seem that taking the ball out of the glove with the pitching forearm in a fully supinated position with the palm of the pitching hand and ball facing upward would facilitate taking the ball to driveline height in one smooth continuous motion.

However, if you have the pitching forearm maximally supinated at the beginning of the acceleration phase, either with all pitches or even with just the maxline pronation curve, does that prevent engagement of the muscles of the forearm that attach at the medial epicondyle?


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     I teach my baseball pitchers to drop their pitching hand out of their glove with their pitching hand under the baseball.

     However, I have watched several of my baseball pitchers start turning the palm of their pitching hand away from their body immediately after their pitching hand leaves the glove.

     As a result, instead of pendulum swinging their pitching arm downward, because the Biceps Brachii muscle supinates the pitching forearm, these baseball pitchers bend their pitching elbow, such that they move their pitching forearm horizontally backward and, eventually, laterally behind their body.

     When my baseball pitchers start their acceleration phase with their pitching upper arm at shoulder height and their pitching hand at driveline height with the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body, i.e., in my 'Loaded Slingshot' pitching arm position, to bring their pitching forearm along with their pitching upper arm as they move forward, inertial mass of the pitching forearm, wrist, hand fingers and baseball causes the muscles that attach to their medial epicondyle to contract.

     With the muscles of that attach to the medial epicondyle contracting, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament receives absolutely no stress.

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0142.  101-Year-Old Marathoner to Retire

Thought you might enjoy his advice for health and longevity.

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101 Year Old Marathoner to Retire
01/24/13
news.discover.com

A 101-year-old Sikh regarded as the world's oldest marathon runner will quit after one final run at next month's Hong Kong race, media reports said.

Indian-born British national Fauja Singh admitted age was finally catching up with him and he had decided not to compete after the Hong Kong Marathon on February 24, five weeks before his 102nd birthday on April 1.

ANALYSIS: So You've Run a Marathon, but Could You Run 100 Miles?

"But I will keep running for at least four hours daily after that," Singh, who lives in Ilford, told the Times of India newspaper during a visit to his home state of Punjab.

"Running is my life. I will keep running to inspire the masses."

Singh, dubbed the 'Turbaned Tornado', took up running marathons at the ripe old age of 89 and has been credited with competing in eight 42-kilometre (26-mile) races in London, Toronto and New York.

He finished his fifth London Marathon last year in a time of seven hours and 49 minutes and was honoured by being invited to carry the Olympic torch.

Singh, who says he was born on April 1, 1911, insisted he was not suffering from any illnesses and did not take medicines when he was asked the secret of his amazing physical fitness.

"The reason for my good health is that I exercise daily and follow a proper diet regime," he was quoted as saying. "I take happiness in biggest proportions though my actual diet is very small.

"Nowadays, people are more interested in going to a gym, but I feel that if they exercise regularly on their own they can be physically and mentally strong.

"Daily exercise will keep you away from all diseases."


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     This is a great story.

     However, I can top it.

     My jogging hero is Larry Lewis.

     Every day, until he died at 106 years old, Larry jogged 6.7 miles in 37 minutes through the Golden State Park in San Francisco and waited tables at the St. Francis Hotel.

     I had the pleasure of having breakfast and talking with Mr. Lewis for over an hour.

     And, yes, after his morning jog, Mr. Lewis walked from his house to my hotel, a distance of over 6 miles.

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0143.  Horizontal Rebound

Why does it seem easier to achieve horizontal bounce with a curve than a screwball?


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     In my 'Loaded Slingshot' position, I teach my baseball pitchers to have their pitching upper arm at shoulder height with the anterior surface facing upward pointing toward second base.

     In my 'Loaded Slingshot' position, to prevent my baseball pitchers from moving their pitching upper arm behind their acromial line, I teach my baseball pitchers have their pitching hand at driveline height with the palm of the pitching hand facing away from the body.

     This means that, instead of the pitching forearm matching the pitching upper arm with the anterior surface of the pitching forearm facing upward, I teach my baseball pitchers to have the anterior surface of their pitching forearm facing away from their body.

     When the anterior surfaces of the pitching upper arm and the pitching forearm match, the pitching arm works most smoothly.

     From this starting position, I teach my baseball pitchers to move their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head.

     During this pitching upper arm action, I teach my baseball pitchers to reposition their pitching forearm, wrist, hand and fingers for whatever pitch they are going to throw.

     To throw my Maxline Pronation Curve, I teach my baseball pitchers to turn the anterior surface of their pitching forearm from facing away from their body to facing downward with the palm of their pitching hand facing downward.

     Because, in my 'Slingshot' pitching arm position, the back of the pitching upper arm faces toward home plate, with my Maxline Pronation Curve, I teach my baseball pitchers to have the anterior surface of their pitching forearm facing downward, the anterior surfaces of their pitching upper arm and pitching forearm face each other.

     With these two anterior surfaces facing each other, when my baseball pitcher 'Horizontally Rebound' their pitching forearm, the pitching upper arm and pitching forearm work smoothly together, such that my baseball pitchers easily move in sync.

     However, to throw my Maxline True Screwball, I teach my baseball pitchers to keep the anterior surface of their pitching forearm facing away from their body with the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body.

     Because, in my 'Slingshot' pitching arm position, the back of the pitching upper arm faces toward home plate, with my Maxline True Screwball, I teach my baseball pitchers to have the anterior surface of their pitching forearm facing away from their body, the anterior surfaces of their pitching upper arm and pitching do not face each other.

     With these two anterior surfaces facing in different directions, when my baseball pitcher 'Horizontally Rebound' their pitching forearm, the pitching upper arm and pitching forearm work do not smoothly together.

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0144.  PASPH

In today's letters you wrote: "The best first pitch in the first At Bat against PASPHs is a breaking pitch away."

Doesn't that mean that, if one were to use your pitching philosophy, a pitcher would have to wait until he is biologically 19 to pitch effectively to Pitching Arm Side Pull Hitters?

I believe you want to wait for the shoulder growth plates to close before pitchers throw sliders.


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     You are correct.

     Until youth baseball pitchers master pronating the releases of their breaking pitches, I do not want them to throw my Torque Fastball Slider.

     At sixteen biological years old, all growth plates in the pitching elbow completely mature.

     At nineteen biological years old, all growth plates in the wrist and shoulder completely mature.

     The danger of youth baseball pitchers throwing my two-seam Torque Fastball Slider is that, instead of pronating their release, the supinate their release. When baseball pitchers 'Supinate Releases' and use their Pectoralis Major muscle to pull their pitching upper arm from laterally behind their body, the resulting 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' causes the bones in the back of their pitching elbow to bang together.

     Therefore, instead of throwing my Torque Fastball Slider, I teach my youth baseball pitchers to throw my two-seam Maxline Pronation Curve.

     To throw my four and two-seam Maxline Pronation Curves, my youth baseball pitchers drive the ring finger side of their Middle Finger horizontally through the top seam of the baseball.

     To throw my two-seam Torque Fastball Slider, my baseball pitchers have to learn how to drive the ring finger side of their Middle Finger diagonally through the side of the loop that will face toward home plate at a forty-five degree forward angle.

     When my baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to extend and inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, they are more likely to pronate their pitching forearm through release.

     Nevertheless, until pronating releases becomes a reflex, I prefer that my youth baseball pitchers wait until all growth plates in their pitching arm completely mature.

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0145.  Jog 20 minutes

In Q/A #124 you wrote: "Then, if possible, sometime after the game, I recommend that these baseball pitchers casually jog for twenty minutes."

If I were a baseball coach I would try to get all players to walk or jog 2.5 miles after every workout simply to instill an important lifetime habit. That said, I don't think this would help or hurt their baseball skills. I would not have them do it after competitive games however. 

1. Would jogging 2.5 miles after every practice at the high school / college level hurt or help baseball skills?

With that as a preface:

2. Since baseball pitching does not create lactic acid why do you want pitchers to jog 20 minutes after pitching?


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01. Specificity of training teaches us that jogging does not enhance the skills that baseball pitchers need to succeed.

02. You are correct.

     When accelerating the velocity of baseballs for 0.2 seconds every 15 seconds is not anaerobic exercise. Therefore, baseball pitchers do not produce lactic acid. Therefore, jogging for twenty minutes after competitively pitching will not metabolize lactic acid.

     However, increasing blood flow by jogging for twenty minutes will increase the removal of other aerobic waste products, water and carbon-dioxide and increase oxygen uptake. To me, more importantly, these twenty minutes enable baseball pitchers to evaluate their performance from which they are able to plan what they need to do to improve the quality of their pitches and the pitch sequences they used.

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0146.  high school pitchers

For a high school coach, you are an invaluable resource with your web site and, in particular, your willingness to respond to questions.

Thank you for your reply on how to implement the in-season use of wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws for the high school players who completed 70 days of the Interval Training Program.

Thank you for the specific information about the game day preparation and the time following the game.

I have these follow up questions:

01. When the pitchers maintain their conditioning with 24 wrist weights, iron balls, and the 24 baseball throws, should they throw any more pitches after the 24 to a catcher?

02. If they should, how many do you recommend?

03. How many days between starts do you recommend for a high school starting pitcher?

04. What program of wrist weights, iron balls, and baseball throws would you recommend for pitchers who were in a winter sport and not able to train for pitching when they begin practice on the first official day?


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01. When maintaining their fitness level, high school baseball pitchers do not need to perform all their wrist weight exercises, iron ball throws or baseball pitches at full intensity. Instead, for the first 8 repetitions, they should gradually increase their intensity, then for the second 8 repetitions, they should perform at near full intensity, then, for the third 8 repetitions, they should gradually decrease their intensity.

     During the second 8 repetitions of their baseball pitches, with their second 8 full intensity pitches, high school baseball pitchers to throw 2 reverse breaking pitches, 2 Maxline Fastballs, 2 breaking pitches and 2 Torque Fastballs.

     I would not allow them to throw more than 24 pitches to catchers. Because, in games, baseball pitchers do not get 'take-overs,' instead of concern for over-use injury, to force them to concentrate on their releases, I would limit them to 24 pitch sequence pitches.

02. They shouldn't.

03. I recommend that, with open growth plates in their pitching wrist and shoulder, high school baseball pitchers should pitch only twice through the line-up. I recommend that high school baseball pitchers pitch twice through the line-up and once through the line-up equally spaced, such as Tuesday and Saturday, in a week.

04. At the least, high school baseball pitchers that play winter sports should do 24 wrist weight exercises. If they could also do 24 iron ball throws, that would be good. Because they tamper up and tamper down their intensity, they will not metabolize much substrate, but they will keep their pitching bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons fit.

     However, because they did not throw baseballs, they will need at least three weeks to catch up with those baseball pitchers that were able to also threw 24 baseball pitches.

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0147.  Trevor Bauer Pitch Grips

Trevor Bauer posted his pitching grips online. I think this is very generous for a current professional athlete to do this.

Trevor Bauer talks about how he grips his pitches

While Trevor claims he pronates every pitch, I have to wonder especially the way he describes his curve ball. His slider grip is exactly like your Torque fastball.


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     You are correct.

     How Mr. Bauer says that he releases his curve does not match with the high-speed video that I watched of him releasing his curve.

     While Mr. Bauer's heart is in the right place, this video does not teach anybody how to throw these pitches.

     Moreover, Mr. Bauer's grips do not position the seams of the baseball to maximize the movement of his pitches.

     I would like to invite Mr. Bauer to watch Section 09: Baseball Training Program of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     How do I write a comment on Mr. Bauer's' video?

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0148.  Early detection should help Napoli’s recovery
By TIM BRITTON
Journal Sports Writer tbritton@providencejournal.com
January 25, 2013

According to his doctor, Mike Napoli’s hip condition was caught at the perfect time.

Dr. Joseph Lane of the Hospital for Special Surgery has been treating Napoli this offseason. He said on Friday that Napoli’s hip injury — avascular necrosis, or AVN — has been caught early enough to prevent it from worsening.

In Napoli’s case, AVN consists of a loss of blood supply to the top of his hips, Lane said. If unrecognized or untreated, the inadequate blood supply would lead to degeneration in the bone to the point of collapse; in essence, the spherical head of the femur will no longer match the curve in the hip’s socket. Because the problem was discovered during his physical with the Red Sox in December, Napoli should be able to avoid that worst-case scenario.

“The earlier you know it, the better the chance to prevent regression and in some cases actually heal the process,” Lane said. “If you do it late, it’s just a matter of when will the hip fail. But [Napoli] doesn’t have that. It was caught, it appears, when his hip was absolutely perfectly round.”

Lane said that, with changes in his treatment, his training and his defensive position, Napoli “has a very good chance that that hip will heal and he’ll go on to a long, productive career.”

AVN is caused by any number of things, Lane said, from certain drugs to alcohol use and right down to genetics. While “steroids” are often credited with causing the problem, that refers mainly to anti-inflammatory steroids, such as cortisone, that are, in Lane’s words, “used ubiquitously in the sports medicine world.” It does not mean the anabolic steroids that fall under the umbrella of performance-enhancing drugs.

Although the cause of Napoli’s condition isn’t clear, Lane said that’s true in about 40 percent of cases. Not knowing the exact cause can slow down the formation of a successful prevention strategy, meaning Napoli will have to be careful with, say, cortisone shots during the course of the season.

Napoli, though, is taking medication, and Lane said moving from behind the plate to first base should ease the stress placed on his hips.

“Now that they know they have this problem, he’s on drugs that will protect his hip, and in the course of time he will ultimately reestablish a blood supply there,” Lane said. “They’re going to make him into a first baseman. They’re aware they’re going to protect this person’s hip until he goes through a healing phase. And he will go through a healing phase.” At the very least, the medication should postpone any degeneration in the hip.

“If you catch it early, a number of these will spontaneously heal. Also, the earlier you pick it, we now have drugs or tricks to treat this so that you can essentially heal this completely or slow it down so there is no collapse,” said Lane. “As long as there is no collapse in the ball, then the patient can function quite well.”

Napoli’s situation is different from that of Bo Jackson, Lane said, because Jackson suffered a collapse of the bone in his hip. The two-sport star eventually needed a hip replacement; even after that, he briefly returned to play in the major leagues.

Napoli said earlier this week that he doesn’t feel any of the symptoms of AVN — mainly, pain in the hips — which again suggests the problem was detected at a fortunate point.

“Caught it at stage zero,” Napoli said. “We saw a bunch of doctors, got a bunch of opinions and went from there. I got on medication. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be healthy and ready to go for Opening Day.”


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     Hospital for Special Surgery orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Joseph Lane, said:

01. "AVN (Avascular Necrosis) is caused by any number of things, from certain drugs to alcohol use and right down to genetics."
02. "Anti-inflammatory steroids, such as cortisone, are often credited with causing the problem.
03. "Cortisone are used ubiquitously in the sports medicine world.”
04. "Although the cause of Napoli’s condition isn’t clear, it’s true that, in about 40 percent of cases, cortisone causes AVN.
05. "Not knowing the exact cause can slow down the formation of a successful prevention strategy."
06. "Mr. Napoli will have to be careful with cortisone shots during the course of the season."

     Nevertheless, orthopedic surgeons for major league baseball teams carry a supply of cortisone shots in the doctor's bag ready to shoot up anybody with any discomfort.

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0149.  Pelfrey expects to enter spring without limitations
MLB.com
January 26, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN: New addition Mike Pelfrey made his first appearance at TwinsFest on Saturday, and said that he's expecting to enter Spring Training without any limitations.

Pelfrey, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on May 1, is ahead of schedule in his rehab and plans on entering the season just like any other.

"When I signed, they kind of gave me a three-week break," said Pelfrey, who signed a one-year deal worth $4 million on Dec. 20. "I picked it back up and threw 45 pitches yesterday before I came. I cranked it back up. I plan on going to Spring Training with no restrictions and being like any other guy there, be ready to go."

Pelfrey said he's excited about switching over to the American League and has heard only positive things about the Twins and Target Field. His only big league experience has come with the Mets, as he has a career 4.36 ERA in 896 1/3 innings.

He added that he's excited about the prospects of turning around the team after the Twins finished in last place each of the last two seasons.

"Obviously I wasn't here last year, but I've had guys tell me the biggest struggle was the starting rotation," Pelfrey said. "The thing they brought up was a lot of times, the second or third inning, you're down 5-0 early. I think the offense starts to press.

It obviously makes it tough on the bullpen. They've brought some guys in, [Vance] Worley and [Kevin] Correia and myself, that I think we can get this thing turned around and get a lot more consistency in keeping them in ballgames. From my understanding, this offense is going to put up some runs. If we can keep them in the game and get the ball over to the bullpen, I like our chances."


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     New Twins baseball pitcher, Mike Pelfrey, said that he expects to enter Spring Training without any limitations.

     What a surprise.

     If Mr. Pelfrey continues to 'Reverse Bounce' his pitching forearm, then Mr. Pelfrey is in for another surgery.

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0150.  Red Sox hoping their young arms will eventually pay off
MLB.com
January 27, 2013

With the way Ben Cherington and his staff have approached this offseason, it’s clear that building a foundation from within now is more of a priority than it was in the final years of the Theo Epstein administration. Prospects have been hoarded. Even a second-round draft pick was judged to be too steep a price to pay for Adam LaRoche or Nick Swisher.

Still, with pitching in particular, drafting and developing talent is exceedingly difficult. Red Sox fans are still waiting for Sun-Woo Kim, Brian Rose and Seung Song to pan out. Many are skeptical about the extent to which Boston is relying on the development of Matt Barnes, Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster — and understandably so. The odds that all three develop into All-Stars are slim.

Is that reason enough to go another route to build a starting rotation? Hardly.

Though many draft picks fail to pan out, the free-agent market is at least as inefficient. Recognizable names tend to drive up bidding among teams, but those recognizable names frequently bust, too — and those busts are far more costly.

An examination of the best starting rotations in baseball in recent years yields ample evidence that drafting and development — supplemented by a trade or two — remains the most efficient avenue for assembling a pitching staff.

Betting on either Barnes or De La Rosa to pan out remains a safer move than spending big money on the free-agent market like the Red Sox did with John Lackey. Trading a Barnes or De La Rosa for a young but established major-league starter — the way the Red Sox did with then-25-year-old Josh Beckett in 2005 — likewise echoes the way other teams have achieved success.

Of the five pitchers making up the 10 best starting rotations in the league in each of the last three seasons, 52 percent have come up through their team’s farm system as draft picks or international free agents. Another 24 percent have been acquired via trade — either as veterans for prospects (like Gio Gonzalez or Roy Halladay) or as a prospect who later blossomed (like Jair Jurrjens or Adam Wainwright). Still another eight percent could be classified as scrap-heap free agents who were more afterthoughts than sought after (like R.A. Dickey or Brandon McCarthy).

That doesn’t leave much for the top end of the free-agent auction. Of the big-ticket free agents to have been part of a top-end starting rotation in the last three years, only Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee actually could be considered an asset. Derek Lowe and Barry Zito have been part of terrific starting rotations in Atlanta and San Francisco, respectively, but those starting rotations would have been even better without them. No other big-ticket free agent has been a part of a top-10 rotation in the last three seasons.

More than 90 percent of pitchers making up the game’s best rotations either were developed, acquired via trade or signed as a middle-of-the-road free agent who incited more shrugs than cheers — like Ryan Dempster did in Boston, for example.

What does that mean for the Red Sox?

It doesn’t automatically mean hoarding an entire farm system’s worth of starting pitchers. Almost a quarter of the pitchers on top-10 starting rotations were acquired by trade. Boston should be willing to deal away one or two elite arms if a pitcher the caliber of James Shields, Mat Latos or Gio Gonzalez — all traded in the last 15 months — becomes available on the trade market in the next year or two.

There’s a reason Boston drafted pitchers with eight of their first nine picks last June. Assembling an assembly line of young pitchers would allow Ben Cherington to trade from a position of strength in any such deal. Even if Barnes, De La Rosa or Webster develops into a star elsewhere, trading one or more wouldn’t hurt the Red Sox if another star or two comes up through the pipeline behind them.

But one ace pitcher, no matter how obtained, does not a rotation make. Teams that complement their best pitchers with free-agent acquisitions tend not to do very well. Teams that complement their best pitchers with homegrown talents tend to do better.

Take the Phillies, perhaps the best starting rotation in baseball over the last three seasons. The Phillies signed Lee and traded several top prospects for Halladay, but they’ve complemented Lee and Halladay with first-round pick Cole Hamels, third-round pick Vance Worley and seventh-round pick Kyle Kendrick.

The Washington Nationals traded a package of prospects for Gio Gonzalez and had the good fortune to draft Stephen Strasburg No. 1 overall, but they filled out their rotation with draft picks Ross Detwiler and Jordan Zimmermann to go along with mid-range free agent Edwin Jackson. The St. Louis Cardinals signed Kyle Lohse as a mid-range free agent but traded for Wainwright and Jake Westbrook and developed Jaime Garcia and Lance Lynn in their farm system.

That a team can never have enough pitching is the oldest truism in baseball. Teams that have to build their pitching rotations through the free-agent market tend to be teams that don’t succeed.


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     The article said: "An examination of the best starting rotations in baseball in recent years yields ample evidence that drafting and development — supplemented by a trade or two — remains the most efficient avenue for assembling a pitching staff."

     The article said: "Of the five pitchers making up the 10 best starting rotations in the league in each of the last three seasons:

01. "52 percent have come up through their team’s farm system as draft picks or international free agents."
02. "24 percent have been acquired via trade."
03. "08 percent could be classified as scrap-heap free agents."

     That accounts for 84 percent of major league starting baseball pitchers. How do major league teams get the remaining 16 percent of starting baseball pitchers?

     Clearly, the most efficient and effective way to build a major league pitching staff is to teach and train high-quality amateur baseball pitchers an non-injurious baseball pitching motion and how to throw the wide variety of high-quality baseball pitchers that they will need to succeed against the four types of baseball batters.

     Now, all Mr. Cherington needs to do is find someone that knows how to do that.

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0151.  Inertia

  Can traditional hitters avoid the inertial mass of the bat to stop forcing their front forearm to get pinned to their chest when hitters take a stride and begin the rotation of their hips and shoulders when they begin their swings?

  I see this to be a big issue from little leaguers to big leaguers. It seems as if it is a culprit behind hitters miss hitting fbs and being late on fbs as well as a loss of power and precision.

  Thank you for all the work that you do.


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     When baseball batters use their front arm to pull their bat forward, they will never be able to not pin their front upper arm against their chest.

     However, because I teach my baseball batters to use their rear arm to drive their bat forward, my baseball batters never pin their front upper arm against their chest.

     To teach baseball batters how to use their rear arm to drive their bat forward, they need to practice my 'Rear Arm Only' drill.

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0152.  Checkpoint names

'Loaded slingshot' to describe 'slingshot inside of the driveline'...'deep slingshot'....dynamic slingshot'.... seems perfect.

You've always envisioned that position when the hand is throw laterally away as the elbow is driven in as 'pulling on the slingshot'.

The thing is to come up with a name for the position at the end of the pendulum swing when you 'turn upfield' to get pitching arm in front of the acromial line.

Pendulum end?  Pendulum turn?

As you can see, I got nothin'.


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     We have moved into areas of discussion of my baseball pitching motion that I have never exposed before.

     When I started my website, my goal was to get all baseball pitchers and players to use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to move their pitching/throwing upper arm forward.

     So, I called the final stage of the pitching arm action of my baseball pitching motion, 'Slingshot.'

     To me, 'Slingshot' gave the correct description of how I want all baseball players to drive the baseball through release. For actual slingshots to propel their shots, slingshotters have to pull the elastic bands on both sides of the slingshot back as far as they are able.

     That is what 'Horizontally Rebounding' the pitching forearm does.

     Therefore, I had to talk about how baseball players load their pitching forearm slingshot.

     The action that loads the 'Slingshot' in my throwing motion is when my baseball players move their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head. The farther inside the driveline toward home plate that baseball players move their pitching elbow, the farther they lengthen the tendon of their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     However, because all baseball players were not using their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to move their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head, to teach them how to 'load' their 'Slingshot' made no sense.

     Therefore, to plant the idea that baseball players could 'Slingshot' their pitching forearm, I called the 'Ready to Accelerate' position, the 'Loaded Slingshot' position.

     Now, that a certified Marshall baseball pitching motion coach is forcing me to get into details for which nobody but he is able to understand, he is forcing me to rename the various positions of the pitching arm.

     This is a guy that not only attended my first of two Marshall Baseball Pitching Motion Clinics, but he moved his family to Zephyrhills. With that commitment, the first thing that I taught his fifteen year old son was how to use his wrist weights to horizontally bounce his pitching forearm.

     As with all the skills of my baseball pitching motion, for the involved bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons to be able to withstand the new stress requires several months of daily training.

     Therefore, his son needed about a year to properly perform my 'Horizontal Pitching Forearm Rebound.' Part of the reason that this young man required this length of time to develop the fitness required to properly perform this skill was similar to all those to whom I taught my baseball pitching motion.

     He and all those I have trained were not able to discard all aspects of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that they learned first. It took most of those twelve month to get this young man to stop lifting his glove foot off the ground.

     Until instead of lifting their glove foot off the ground and start stepping forward with their glove foot, baseball pitchers are not able to rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body forward together.

     Without rotating the entire pitching arm side of their body forward together, baseball pitchers are not able to move their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     Because he and all the other baseball pitchers to whom I tried to teach my baseball pitching motion refused to stop lifting their glove foot, he and all the other baseball pitchers to whom I tried to teach my baseball pitching motion were not able to perform my 'Horizontal Pitching Forearm Rebound.'

     Fortunately, this young man's father would not allow this young man to lift his glove foot off the ground.

     As a result, this young man now is able to powerfully horizontally rebound his pitching forearm.

     Therefore, we need to label positions of the pitching arm in my baseball pitching motion differently.

     From now on, after my baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching upper arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height, to indicate that the pitching arm is ready to start the Acceleration Phase of my baseball pitching motion, I will call this position, my 'Ready' position.

     From now on, when my baseball pitchers move their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching upper arm facing toward home plate, because this action lengthens the tendon of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle, I will call this action, 'Loading the Slingshot' action.

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0153.  Pitch Grips

Go to YouTube.com. If you want to Comment on a video you then have to either log in with your user name and password or become a member and then log in. Once you are logged in you can comment on videos. Do a search for Trevor Bauer's channel which is named Baueroutage. Look for his Pitch Grips video.

If you go back and look at the video you will see a "comments" box.

Once again, you have to be logged on to comment.


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     I have Mr. Bauer's YouTube Pitch Grips video running.

     I do not see anything that says that I can log in or comment.

     I found a box that said that if I clicked on it I could comment on Mr. Bauer's video.

     However, when I clicked on that box, my Prevent Pitching Injuries, Causes of Pitching Injuries, Jeff Sparks 2008 and Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion videos popped up.

     To get out of that, I clicked on the back arrow and clicked in the box again and a comment box appeared, but immediately changed to a Get a better name on YouTube box, a How you appear now box and an After updating box and it the page does not have a back arrow.

     When I clicked on the forward arrow, the videos that appeared before, appeared again, but I had a back arrow.

     When I clicked on it, I returned to the 'click to leave a comment' box, so I did again and around we went again.

     So, this time I clicked on the How you appear now box. The next screen had a How you'll appear after updating box. It said, 'Your full name will replace your username on your channel and on the following: your 22 videos . your 44 comments. Another box said; Review all my content.

     When I clicked on the Review all my content body, the next screen had a Review your content box and below it bolded Videos with an Okay dot. So, I clicked on the Okay dot. Nothing happened. So, I clicked on the Next box.

     Next, I got a Check your name and create a profile box. I clicked on it, but nothing happened. So, I clicked on the forward arrow and it returned me to the Comments box. When I clicked on it, it returned me to the Get a better name on YouTube.

     I am stuck in a never-ending loop that will not allow me to comment on Mr. Bauer's ridiculous Pitch Grips video.

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0154.  Trevor Bauer Posts a Video of His Pitch Grips

Trevor Bauer posted a ten minute YouTube video where he shows the grips on his pitches.

Any comments you have on it would be interesting, i.e., any pitches you like or don't like of his.

Trevor Bauer talks about how he grips his pitches

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     I have watched Mr. Bauer's feeble attempt to explain how he grips, drives and releases his pitches.

     Unfortunately, Mr. Bauer has very little idea about what he is trying to teach.

     To teach Mr. Bauer how baseball pitchers should grip, drive and release the wide variety of baseball pitches that they will need to successfully pitch to the four types of baseball batters, I unsuccessfully tried to write an invitation for Mr. Bauer to watch Section 09 of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     If you are willing, I would appreciate it if you would send Mr. Bauer my invitation.

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0155.  Watch these Ubersense videos

I was browsing the internet researching ways to improve my velocity and pitching mechanics.

I am 6"5 and 205 pounds and presently topping out at 90 mph, which I feel is tremendously deficient for my frame and power performance levels (If you would like to know these details I can provide them).

I have graduated from college and no longer able to continue the college route.

I incurred a shoulder injury in my senior season and have rehabilitated myself to better than before the injury as it was minor.

In short, I am working to sign with a minor league organization and feel that with a few minor tweaks to my mechanics I can reach 92-94 mph.

I have read through some of your website and will continue to do so, however I felt reaching out to you would be of tremendous benefit.

Below is a link to a recent bullpen and the videos that was taken.  Also I have provided two other brief videos.

If you are able to view these briefly and provide some guidance I was be greatly appreciative.


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     I watched the front view video of your baseball pitching motion.

     From the 'traditional' Set Position, without a 'Reverse Bouncing' your pitching forearm, while lifting your glove arm side leg to waist high and backwardly rotating your hips and shoulders to pointing at the second baseman and first base, respectively, you pendulum swung your pitching arm almost three feet laterally behind your body.

     As a result of these actions, you had to use your Pectoralis Major muscle to pull your pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of your body, where you slinged your pitching forearm laterally away from your body, from where your curvilinearly swung your pitching arm toward home plate and across the front of your body.

     The second video was the same as the first video.

     To prevent injuries and maximize your release velocity, you need to learn how to use your Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive your pitching upper arm rectilinearly toward home plate.

     On my website, I have provided my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, my Prevent Pitching Injuries video, my Causes of Pitching Injuries video, my Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion and 18 other videos for my readers to watch.

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0156.  Trevor Bauer Posts a Video of His Pitch Grips

There is a comment section below the video.

I will ask Trevor Bauer if he has been to your Web site and seen your videos and see what he responds with.

Mr. Bauer looks like he responds to questions/comments in that section.  I noticed this particular comment and response to that particular video: ----------------------------------------

Trevor,

When you throw your fastball you pronate your arm. When you throw the curve and slider are you supinating your arm? Would the reverse slider put less stress on your arm as you are pronating this like the fastball?

BauerOutage 2 days ago

i pronate all of my pitches. you? can see it in some of my other slow mo videos shot from behind the mound

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

BauerOutage is the identification handle that Bauer is using. It seems that he is admitting he throws your pronation curveball.


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     I will try to invite Mr. Bauer to watch section 09 of my Baseball Pitchers Instructional Video again.

     Thank you for writing a comment to Mr. Bauer to visit my website.

     I read that comment and answer. However, when Mr. Bauer gripped and demonstrated his curve, he moved his hand as though he would release the baseball over the top of his Index finger.

     Nevertheless, in an earlier email question where someone sent me the link to Mr. Bauer throwing his curve with slow-motion video, Mr. Bauer clearly pronated his curve ball release.

     Since I showed Brent Strom how to grip, drive and release my Maxline Pronation Curve and Mr. Strom has taught my technique to many others, I believe that Mr. Strom taught Mr. Bauer how to grip, drive and release my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     Now, I want to teach Mr. Bauer how to properly position the seams of the baseball for maximum movement.

     For example, with what he calls a reverse slider, but is actually my Maxline Fastball Sinker, Mr. Bauer needs to learn the power of the 'Circle of Friction.'

     Then, we will need a conversation of how to engage the Latissimus Dorsi and how my Half Reverse Pivot; Pendulum Swing drill is a better way to achieve and maintain pitching arm fitness.

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0157.  Pitch Grips

Now that I think of it, YouTube is trying to get people to get away from nicknames on its web site. I recently got that message. Since you use your actual name now, I don't know what to tell you.

I just looked at your video with Jeff.

Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion

If you look at your comments section, you actually don't use your full name.

YouTube is trying to get you to use Dr. Mike Marshall as your Channel name.

So, the comments works the same way in reverse. You should be getting an email when someone comments on Jeff's video. So when you comment on Bauer's video he will get an email I assume. Then he can choose to reply or not.

It will be extremely interesting to me to see if he replies.

My suspicion is that Wolforth (and Bauer) only believe in your pronation and the very basics of your training. For example Trevor uses a 4 lb ball every day. I think these guys are afraid to train with more weight but its a start.

Pronation has definitely arrived in a large part of the traditional baseball world.

Pendulum swinging the arm back is getting there too, but no one does it by taking the ball out of the glove with the palm of the hand under the ball.

From driveline height until release, outside of pronation, the traditional world is clueless from what I can see.

Engaging the Latissimus Dorsi will take a while for them to comprehend IMO.

I think Bauer would understand the concept. He is intentionally shortening his windup to prevent injury so he needs to speak with you. I can't see any way he will throw 95 MPH (his goal) with his new pitching motion. He must have unbelievable fast twitch muscle fibers.

I hope this helps.


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     YouTube gave me a choice of drmikemar and Michael Marshall, I chose Michael Marshall. If YouTube had permitted me to put whatever name I wanted, I would have put in Dr. Mike Marshall. Nevertheless, I will try again.

     I received an email from another reader that he wrote a comment that invited Mr. Bauer to watch section 09 or my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video. Hopefully, he will do so and we will start a dialogue.

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

     Update:

     Later, when I visited Mr. Bauer's Pitch Grips video and clicked on the Comments box, instead of putting me in the never-ending loop, it allowed me to write an invitation for Mr. Bauer to watch section 09 of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

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0158.  Gamel, Narveson get medical clearance from Brewers
MLB.com
January 28, 2013

MILWAUKEE, WI: Infielder Mat Gamel and left-hander Chris Narveson will be full participants at the start of Spring Training camp after gaining medical clearance Sunday from the team's top doctor.

Narveson, who had surgery in May for a torn rotator cuff and labrum, and Gamel, who suffered a torn ACL in his right knee the same day Narveson went under the knife, were examined Sunday morning by Dr. William Raasch, the team's head physician. Both were deemed "good to go," assistant general manager Gord Ash said.

Gamel also had surgery, and Ash said the Brewers will limit Gamel's running at the start of Spring Training and will ease him into the sort of "extra" work normal for a player preparing to play multiple positions. But Ash said Gamel should be able to participate in all of the regular camp drills.

The Brewers expect to use Gamel as the starting first baseman in April and May while Corey Hart recovers from knee surgery. When Hart returns, Gamel could also see action in the outfield or at third base.

Narveson, meanwhile, threw his most recent bullpen session in Arizona on Friday without issue, Ash said.

"[Manager] Ron [Roenicke] wants to be sure we're careful with him, which we're going to be, and we go slow," Ash said. "But there's no restrictions."

Narveson will compete for a spot in the starting rotation.

Only three players on the big-league roster were expected to be limited at the start: Hart, left-hander Miguel De Los Santos (shoulder) and infielder Hector Gomez (groin). The Brewers claimed De Los Santos off waivers from the Rangers in September knowing he had a shoulder issue.

"We decided we'd rather get him fixed now and get it over with instead of going into the season wondering when he's going to break down," Ash said. "He should be back by July."


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     Brewers baseball pitcher, Chris Narveson, had surgery in May for a torn rotator cuff and labrum.

     Brewers orthopedic surgeon, Dr. William Raasch, said that Mr. Narveson was 'good to go.

     Without Mr. Narveson throwing baseball pitchers, Dr. Raasch had no idea whether Mr. Narveson is able to throw baseballs without discomfort.

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0159.  Hamels downplays shoulder issue from last year
MLB.com
January 28, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA: Cole Hamels gave a few Phillies fans a moment of panic earlier this month when word spread he suffered from a sore left shoulder late last season.

Hamels' reaction when asked about it Monday?

"I don't know of anything that happened," he insisted. "I've been healthy. That's the last thing on my list. ... I haven't felt anything of that sort. That's the honest truth. I don't know. I wasn't the one that started it. I know I feel good and I'm ready to go. That's all I can really answer. That's kind of where it is. Same program, ready for Spring Training and finally getting out of the cold. That will be a lot nicer. I'm very excited."

Hamels was in Philadelphia on Monday for the 109th annual sports writers dinner, where he was given the Humanitarian Award for his work with the Hamels Foundation.

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. earlier this month addressed a report that said Hamels suffered from a sore shoulder. Amaro said the Phils shut down Hamels' throwing program for a couple of weeks and he has been fine since.

Amaro said the Phillies never considered it an issue, pointing out Hamels never visited a doctor. Hamels said the same thing. So while Hamels felt something in the shoulder in September, he considered it typical soreness from the grind of the regular season and nothing more. That seems to be why there is a discrepancy in what Hamels said. Typically when a pitcher complains of shoulder soreness, it means he cannot pitch, but Hamels apparently never felt that way.

If Hamels is fine, that certainly is good news for Philadelphia. Hamels, 29, signed a six-year, $144 million contract extension last summer, and the Phils need him healthy if they expect to return to the postseason in 2013.

Hamels said he planned to throw his fourth offseason bullpen session Wednesday. He plans to head to Clearwater, Fla., sometime next week.

Hamels seemed optimistic about his team's chances in 2013, despite finishing 81-81 and missing the postseason for the first time since 2006.

"We just have a lot to prove," he said. "I think ultimately we can't take the back seat and hope that we can coast through. We really have to go after it from the very beginning and not really hope we can play catch-up. These teams now, they're a lot better, the players are a lot better in the league, and they're not going to allow you to really catch up."


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     Phillies baseball pitcher, Cole Hamels, said:

01. "I don't know of anything that happened."
02. "I've been healthy."
03. "That's the last thing on my list."
04. "I haven't felt anything of that sort."
05. "That's the honest truth."
06. "I don't know."
07. "I wasn't the one that started it."
08. "I know I feel good and I'm ready to go."
09. "That's all I can really answer."
10. "That's kind of where it is."
11. "Same program, ready for Spring Training and finally getting out of the cold."
12. "That will be a lot nicer."
13. "I'm very excited."

     I am skeptical of people that say 'That's the honest truth.'

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0160.  Elbow

My son (17 years old) has been doing your training program for years. I have occasionally dropped you a line and you have been gracious to answer my questions through the years.

While my son uses the traditional motion, we have worked to avoid as many of the flaws you point out in your teachings.

Recently for the first time ever he has pain on the inside of his elbow the morning after pitching (did not feel anything while throwing).

1. Would you be so kind as to take a peek at the attached video there are two pitches (one in normal speed and one slowed down)?

Seventeen year old's modified 'traditional' baseball pitching motion

All X-rays were fine, but the orthopedic dr said it is a ligament strain and to not do anything for 4-5 weeks other than some therapy. It hurts when the elbow is completely extended or pushing on the palm when the arm is in an "L" position with forearm vertical. I didn’t think he had much fly out to cause a ligament strain (diagnosis of the orthopedic).

2. Do you see anything that would be the cause of this?

We don’t want to fall into the cycle of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

3. Will taking the ball out with the palm up help?

Many thanks for your help - we are saddened and hoping you can identify the flaw. As always, I appreciate your all you do.


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01. Yes, I will evaluate how your son uses his pitching arm.

02. Your son takes his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one pitching elbow jerky movement.

     a. This means that your son raises the back of his pitching upper arm to almost shoulder height with his pitching hand still at waist height. Therefore, your son 'Reverse Bounces' his pitching forearm. This jerky pitching elbow action adds unnecessary stress to the muscles on the inside of his pitching elbow.

     b. That your son raises his glove upper leg about forty-five degrees above horizontal with his pitching hand at shoulder height forces your son to rush his pendulum swing. Therefore, when your son's glove foot lands, his pitching hand is still vertically moving vertically upward. As a result, at the start of his acceleration phase, your son does not have his pitching hand at driveline height ready to go. This also adds unnecessary stress to the muscles on the inside of his of his pitching elbow.

     c. That, to decelerate his pitching arm, your son pulls his pitching arm diagonally across the front of his body means that he has 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.' Therefore, when your son combines his 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' with his weak or non-existing pitching forearm pronation through release, he not only unnecessarily stresses the muscles on the inside of his pitching elbow, but he also bangs the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together.

03. Taking the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand under the baseball could not hurt.

     You are correct.

     'Pitching Forearm Flyout' does not strain the Ulnar Collateral Ligament. Instead, it bangs the bones in the back of the pitching elbow together.

     Primarily, your son has to smoothly and continuously pendulum swing a slightly bent pitching elbow to driveline height earlier with the back of his pitching upper arm facing away from his body, such that his pitching upper arm and pitching hand reach shoulder height at the same time and powerfully pronate his releases.

     I recommend that your son makes the adjustments that I discussed and continue to do the maintenance level of my high school baseball pitchers interval-training program every day.

     I also recommend that your son learns how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

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0161.  Ceda could factor in Marlins' bullpen equation
MLB.com
January 28, 2013

JUPITER, FL: A key contributor to the bullpen may end up being someone who missed all of last year due to injury.

Jose Ceda, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, is throwing without restrictions, and he could factor into the bullpen equation.

"There is a chance to break camp with the big league team," Ceda said.

Voluntary minicamp for the Marlins started on Monday at the team's Spring Training complex at Roger Dean Stadium.

A year ago, Ceda was making a case to earn a bullpen spot on the Opening Day roster. In 7 1/3 innings over five Grapefruit League appearances, he posted a 1.23 ERA, with eight strikeouts and two walks. But late in Spring Training, during an outing against the Braves, Ceda experienced discomfort in his elbow. He underwent surgery on April 12.

Now healthy, the 26-year-old is heading into Spring Training looking to make an impact.

"I feel really good," Ceda said.

Ceda, who admits that his arm felt a little sore for most of Spring Training in 2012, began throwing off the mound last week, and he has bullpen sessions scheduled for Tuesday and Friday.

"I'm getting stronger," he said.

Because Ceda didn't pitch at all in 2012, he may not be fully ready to contribute at the start of the season. He has one more option, though, so the Marlins could send him to the Minor Leagues if he needs more time to get sharp.

Ceda could be a candidate to start the campaign at extended spring camp to get some innings, then head to Triple-A New Orleans. He appeared in 17 games for Miami in 2011, and posted a 4.43 ERA in 20 1/3 innings. That same year, Ceda went 3-1 with a 1.36 ERA in 36 games at New Orleans. He struck out 53 and walked 13 in 39 2/3 innings.


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     The article said:

01. "In 7 1/3 innings over five Grapefruit League appearances, he posted a 1.23 ERA, with eight strikeouts and two walks."
02. "But late in Spring Training, during an outing against the Braves, Ceda experienced discomfort in his elbow."
03. "He underwent surgery on April 12."
04. "Ceda admits that his arm felt a little sore for most of Spring Training in 2012."

     This does not sound as though Mr. Ceda ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament. Instead, it sounds as though the orthopedic surgeon did a wrap-over.

     If Mr. Ceda learned how to properly pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, then Mr. Ceda would not have needed any surgery.

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0162.  Pineda making strides at Yanks' training complex
MLB.com
January 28, 2013

NEW YORK, NY: Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda is set to reach a major checkpoint in his recovery from right shoulder surgery, graduating to tossing from a half mound on Tuesday at the club's complex in Tampa, Fla.

The 24-year-old Pineda missed all of the 2012 season due to injury after being acquired from the Mariners in January.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that the organization is hopeful that the right-hander will be an option at the big league level by June or July.

Pineda underwent arthroscopic surgery in May to repair an anterior labral tear of his pitching shoulder after experiencing weakness, and later pain, during his Spring Training appearances.

The Yanks said that they believe Pineda was healthy at the time of the trade; he underwent a full physical, including an MRI exam, before the deal, and no issues were found. Pineda has yet to make his regular-season debut wearing pinstripes.

Pineda made a splash in 2011 with the Mariners and was named as an American League All-Star, going 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA in 28 starts before being acquired by New York with pitcher Jose Campos for power-hitting catcher Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi.


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     The article said:

01. "Pineda underwent arthroscopic surgery in May to repair an anterior labral tear of his pitching shoulder after experiencing weakness, and later pain, during his Spring Training appearances."
02. "The Yanks said that they believe Pineda was healthy at the time of the trade; he underwent a full physical, including an MRI exam, before the deal, and no issues were found."

     Mr. Pineda needs to stop taking his pitching upper arm laterally behind his acromial line. To do this, Mr. Pineda needs to learn how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     The Yankee Medical Staff gave Mr. Pineda a full physical, including an MRI exam and did not find any issues.

     Surprise, surprise.

     To evaluate whether baseball pitchers are healthy, teams need to take high-speed film and have an expert evaluate the pitching motion for injurious flaws. That Mr. Pineda takes his pitching arm laterally behind his acromial line should have stopped the trade.

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0163.  Teams willing to trade veterans often reap the benefits later
Providence Journal
January 28, 2013

It’s easy to say that what the Red Sox need this season and in future seasons is consistent excellence in their starting pitching. Both the 2004 and 2007 World Series-winning Red Sox teams had starting pitching that ranked at or near the top of the American League. Where will that starting pitching come from? That’s not as easy to say.

Part two of a three-part series.

For the Oakland Athletics, Mark Mulder is the gift that keeps on giving.

Along with Tim Hudson and Barry Zito, Mulder made up one-third of the best starting rotation in the American League in his five seasons in Oakland. When Mulder appeared to peak in value, the Athletics swapped him to the St. Louis Cardinals for a 24-year-old youngster named Dan Haren.

Three seasons later, after Haren started the All-Star Game for the American League, the Athletics traded him to Arizona for 19-year-old lefty Brett Anderson. Anderson has fought injuries early in his career, but he has a 3.57 ERA in more than 400 major-league innings and is still just 24 years old.

Nick Swisher is a similar gift that has kept on giving.

Oakland drafted Swisher in 2002, with the draft pick it received as compensation for losing Johnny Damon to the Red Sox via free agency. Swisher played three-plus seasons with the Athletics, compiling an on-base percentage of .361 and hitting 20 or more home runs three times. The Athletics then swapped Swisher to the Chicago White Sox for 22-year-old prospect Gio Gonzalez.

After two uneven seasons, Gonzalez blossomed into a star, posting back-to-back ERAs under 3.25 — at which point the Athletics traded him to the Washington Nationals for a package of prospects that propelled them past the Texas Rangers and into the playoffs last season.

For years, perception has been that Oakland and Tampa Bay has had their hands tied, forced to trade veterans for prospects thanks to severe payroll constraints.

But the trade of Swisher for Gonzalez wound up working out spectacularly for the Athletics. The trade of Mulder for Haren worked out even better. Those weren’t salary-dumping trades. Those were baseball trades — and good ones, too.

Maybe Oakland isn’t just making the best of a bad situation. Maybe the Athletics simply are exploiting the latest market inefficiency — a gap in value between big-name players nearing age 30 and cost-controlled players still in their early 20s.

The same goes for the Tampa Bay Rays, who have spun off Matt Garza and James Shields in recent years to restock the upper levels of what already has been a productive farm system. Chris Archer, obtained in the Garza trade, broke into the major leagues for the first time last season and figures to step into the rotation void left by Shields. Elite prospect Wil Myers was the centerpiece of the Shields trade and should be the Rays’ Opening Day right fielder. Twenty-two-year-old pitcher Jake Odorizzi could factor into the rotation mix as well.

That’s why it made sense for Boston to explore trading Jon Lester this offseason. The lefty will turn 29 before the season begins and has just two years left on his contract — meaning his trade value already has peaked and is on its way down. But with Shields the only other big-name pitcher to change teams this offseason, it stands to reason that the Red Sox could have received a significant package of prospects had they chosen to trade Lester.

There are several differences between what Oakland and Tampa Bay have done and what Boston could do. First and foremost is public perception. Trading veterans for prospects sometimes can result in an immediate dip in performance as those prospects break into the major leagues. Oakland hadn’t won more than 81 games since 2006 before charging to an American League West title in 2012. That would drive the masses in Boston ballistic. It would take more courage for Ben Cherington to make such a trade than it has taken Billy Beane or Andrew Friedman.

Using the label of “proven veteran” on pitchers like Mulder (back then) or Lester (now) is misleading. Experience has no correlation with effectiveness. Experience sometimes just means wear and tear.

There were 20 pitchers 30 or older who qualified with ERAs under 4.00 last season. There were 35 pitchers 29 or younger who did so — including 16 who were either 25 or 26. A pitcher who’s 30 tends to be a depreciating asset. A bet on a talented 24-year-old tends to be a better bet — whether he’s pitched in the major leagues previously or not.

Trading Mulder for Haren yielded Oakland a better pitcher. Trading Gonzalez for four prospects made the Athletics a better team. As the Red Sox build a pipeline of pitching — eight of their first nine draft picks last June were pitchers — Cherington could have the same opportunity to sell high and reap the rewards.


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     Many of the injurious flaws in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion do not manifest themselves until after several years of mis-use.

     Therefore, when major league teams have quality baseball pitchers that have these types of injurious flaws, such as Mr. Mulder had, it makes good sense to trick other major league teams into trading young baseball pitchers for these soon to be injured quality major league baseball pitchers.

     Will the Cardinals will ever again make a trade with the Athletics?

     Can anybody ever trust Mr. Money Ball to make a fair trade?

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0164.  Good-fielding pitchers help themselves on mound
MLB.com
January 29, 2013

Short of telling him to keep the golf clubs in the bag, the surest way for a manager or pitching coach to get a disdainful roll of the eyes from a pitcher in Spring Training is to mention "PFP" -- pitchers' fielding practice.

"Guys will say, 'Oh, man, we've done that 18 days in a row,'" Reds manager Dusty Baker said this week. "And I'll say, 'Yeah, and this makes 19.' Guys might hate it, but the repetition is important -- extremely important.

"We work on it big-time. We tell our pitchers to take it seriously. It can be the difference between winning and losing." Baker and Cincinnati pitching coaches Bryan Price and Mack Jenkins have driven home their messages with the clarity of a cloudless springtime sky in Arizona or Florida.

According to "The Fielding Bible" calculations of John Dewan and his staff, the Reds were the best in the Major Leagues last season in handling the defensive aspects of pitching, saving 23 runs with their gloves. Only the Nationals, with 98, had more wins than the Reds' 97.

Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers were second with 16 runs saved, one more than the Cardinals' staff. The Blue Jays' staff saved 10 runs, a number that should rise with Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey bringing their advanced defensive talents north of the border. The Dodgers and Rays also saved 10 runs from the mound.

While the catcher is considered the leader of the infield, set apart by his tools and multiple duties calling pitches, guiding pitchers and setting defenses, the man on the mound -- the fifth infielder -- is critical to defensive containment. His glove is there to be used, along with his athleticism, knowledge, anticipation and instincts.

Moving from the White Sox to the Marlins as a free agent, Buehrle maintained his reputation as the best fielding pitcher in baseball by saving 12 runs for himself, a remarkable figure given he works every fifth day. The Major League leader in runs saved at any position was Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney with 28, one more than Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan.

The Cards' Jake Westbrook saved 11 runs, followed by the Reds' Johnny Cueto (eight) and Randy Wolf (seven with Brewers, Orioles). Dickey, the National League Cy Young Award winner for the Mets, saved six runs, as did the Reds' Mike Leake, Zack Greinke (Brewers and Angels), Ricky Romero (Blue Jays) and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw, a 2011 NL Gold Glove winner, will be joined by Greinke at the top of the Dodgers' rotation this spring.

Four of Cincinnati's starters were on the plus side of the defensive equation, saving a total of 22 runs. Barely trailing Cueto and Leake, Bronson Arroyo and Homer Bailey each saved four runs. Mat Latos was neutral, neither saving nor giving back any runs defensively.

"Mat's working hard on it, getting better," Baker said. "Homer has really come along. Johnny is outstanding, especially when you consider the deception in his delivery. Bronson has been one of the best fielding pitchers for years, and Mike is an athlete who plays it like an infielder."

At the other end of the spectrum, giving away runs with mound misplays, were the Pirates (-17), Padres (-16), Astros (-15), Yankees (-14) and Indians (-13). Their pitchers didn't help themselves.

"Most of the errors, I've found, come from relievers," Baker said. "They've usually just come in the game and have all that adrenaline pumping. Most of the errors come on throws -- especially to second base. Guys aren't used to taking something off the ball and throwing to moving targets, so you see a lot of balls sail into the outfield."

The fifth infielder operating in the heart of the diamond often overlooked gets in the company of the four gloved bandits intercepting bullets from first to third base.

"The only time most people pay attention to [the pitcher] is when he makes an error," Baker said. "But being able to handle balls through the middle -- he's the closest guy to me if I'm hitting -- takes away the first-and-third on those 20-hop grounders to center. Being able to make good throws to first and take them is just as important. That's why PFP is so valuable.

"It helps to be a good athlete and have a good delivery, but even then you have to work at it. When I managed Greg Maddux with the Cubs, he worked as hard as anybody. Look how it paid off for him [with 18 Gold Gloves]. He was the best for a reason -- he never stopped working at it."

By measure of Gold Gloves accumulated, the best of the modern era defensively beyond debate are Maddux and Jim Kaat. They set the standard with consistent, sustained brilliance.

Second to Maddux and his Major League-record 18 Gold Gloves, Kaat won 16, tying Brooks Robinson for second all-time. Maddux's run from 1990 through 2008 was interrupted only by Mike Hampton in 2003. Kaat's run of 14 straight began in 1962.

Rounding out the top six are Bob Gibson (nine Gold Gloves), Bobby Shantz (eight) and Mark Langston and Mike Mussina, with seven each. Ron Guidry, Phil Niekro and Kenny Rogers each won five.

In today's game, Buehrle stands alone, claiming the distinction from "The Fielding Bible" as the best defender at his position for a fourth consecutive season. His 2012 Gold Glove for the Marlins was his fourth, tying him with Jim Palmer.

The Rays' Jeremy Hellickson and Jake Peavy of the White Sox were co-AL Gold Glove winners in 2012. In addition those already mentioned, the Cards' Adam Wainwright, the Tigers' Justin Verlander, the Braves' Kris Medlen, the Rays' David Price, the D-backs' Trevor Cahill and Joe Saunders also grade highly.

Buehrle has mastered the art of defense in the fashion of stylish lefties through the years, such as Shantz, Harvey Haddix, Kaat, Tommy John, Guidry, Fernando Valenzuela, Rogers and Langston.

Kaat, who won his first Gold Glove at 23 and his last at 38, tells a fascinating story about how he came to author his long-running glove story.

"As a pitcher," he said, "you have to anticipate the balls being hit back at you. I was fortunate. I grew up as a radio baseball fan. Baseball is a great radio game to use your imagination. We didn't have the pictures back then.

"I heard announcers describe Bobby Shantz's motion, and he was the Gold Glove winner at that time. And I would mimic his motion in my backyard -- jump toward home plate, land on the balls of my feet.

"When I went to my first Spring Training, after some pitching and fielding drills, the coach said to me, 'You look just like Bobby Shantz.'"

Kaat and Maddux were textbook examples of how a smooth delivery and balanced landing position can protect a pitcher against the agony of a baseball imprinted on his anatomy. Both were blessed with Kaat-like quickness.

"The pitcher is the closest guy to me as a hitter," Baker said. "He's worried about delivering the ball to a location, first and foremost, so he has to make a quick transition to being ready for a shot right back at him. He has to think and act quickly, for his own self-defense.

"Maddux used to throw the ball on the outside and take a little off, expecting the ball to be hit right back at him. Fernando [Valenzuela] was like that; he was one of the best I played with. Tommy John used to pitch batting practice to us without a screen; he wanted to get in the habit of handling balls drilled back at him.

"I faced Kaat; he was really athletic. He became a sinkerball pitcher like [John] after coming in as a power pitcher. Gibson, I faced him only a few times. He was such a great athlete he was able to make plays even though he fell off the mound to the first-base side."

Defense actually starts for a pitcher before a pitch is thrown. Keeping runners anchored is a valued skill.

Cueto and Ryan Hanigan, who caught all but one of Cueto's 33 starts, erased nine of 10 men attempting to steal in 2012. That doesn't even count the six runners Cueto picked off. Greinke and Dickey were next best with four pickoffs each.

Throwing out 64 percent of basestealers overall, the Reds were third in the NL behind the D-backs and Cards, nine points better than the league average. Cincinnati's 3.34 team ERA, despite playing in a hitter-friendly home park, was eclipsed only by the Nationals' 3.33 in the NL.

Even if he doesn't have a great pickoff move, a pitcher can control the running game with a quick release home and by throwing frequently to first base.

Only 42 runners have stolen on Buehrle over the past nine seasons. He has picked off 31, and 48 have been thrown out trying to steal.

Personally saving more than one run every three starts has helped keep Buehrle in games. Combined with his control and quick pacing, he has exceeded 200 innings for 12 consecutive seasons, the first 11 of them with the White Sox.

How many of his 174 wins against 132 losses are the product of his defense is open to debate, but it has been helpful, beyond argument.

It's safe to say Maddux would not have retired with 355 wins -- the eighth-most victories of all-time -- or Kaat with 283 (31st) if not for their matchless defensive skills.

A 2010 play by Buehrle remains framed as the pitchers' answer to Willie Mays' over-the-shoulder World catch and Ozzie Smith's gallery of astonishment.

In the fifth inning of a 6-0 home victory for the White Sox over the Indians, Buehrle deflected Lou Marson's bullet with a kick save and raced toward the first-base foul line. Snatching the ball with his glove hand, he made a no-look, fade-away toss between his legs to first baseman Paul Konerko, who barehanded the toss for the out.

"When stuff like that happens," Buehrle said in the afterglow, "it surprised me just like it did 40,000 people here today. It's one of those when you are running over ... you are saying, 'Do I slide and spin or grab the ball and throw it?' Every thought went through my head but that one."

The drudgery of PFP can't prepare a guy for everything.


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     I did not see any closers in the list of Gold Glove winners.

     How many Gold Glove winners tagged the base runner on third base trying to score on a suicide squeeze bunt?

     How many Gold Glove winners caught a short bunted pop-up in foul territory a few feet behind the right-handed batter?

     The only way baseball pitchers are able to make these plays is when they move the center of mass of their body forward through release such that they are able to continue toward home plate.

     Because 'traditional' baseball pitchers stride so far that they are not able to continue to move the center of mass of their body forward through release, 'traditional' baseball pitchers are not able to make these fielding plays.

     With my reverse pivot throw technique throw to second base, baseball pitchers would not only pick base runners off second base, but also prevent steals of third base and base runners scoring from second base on singles to the outfield.

     Unless coaches work with only three game ready baseball pitchers, such that they are able to field and throw game quality throws to each of the three bases, Pitchers Fielding Practice is a waste for time.

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0165.  Mercy Health to be official medical provider for Cardinals
MLB.com
January 29, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO: The Cardinals announced on Tuesday that they have reached a multiyear agreement with Mercy Health of St. Louis that makes Mercy the official medical provider for the organization. As a part of this arrangement, Mercy will cover the Cardinals' orthopedic and sports-medicine needs.

Mercy, which is one of Missouri's largest employers, already provides the team physicians for the club's Double-A affiliate in Springfield.

The Cardinals will retain several members of their previous medical staff, including team physician Dr. George Paletta, who has worked with the Cardinals for the last 15 years. Lyndon Gross will return for his seventh season as the team's orthopedic surgeon.

During Tuesday's press conference, it was also announced that Mercy Clinic Sports Medicine specialist Dr. Brian Mahaffey and internist Dr. Jason Hand will serve on the Cardinals' care team.


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     Where is the expert that is able to watch high-speed film of baseball pitchers and identify injurious flaws in their baseball pitching motion or the expert that understands how to teach and train baseball pitchers the skills that they need to succeed?

     However, if having a hospital in charge of medical care for a major league team prevents the team orthopedic surgeon from doing unnecessary Ulnar Collateral Ligament wrap-over and impingement surgeries and pretending to know how to prevent pitching injuries and how to teach and train baseball pitchers, then, by all means, let the hospital take charge.

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0166.  My comment on Mr. Bauer's Pitch Grips Video

After I changed my YouTube name from drmikemar, which I did not use, but the YouTube program shorted from drmikemarshall to drmikemar, to Michael Marshall, the only choice that YouTube gave me, I was able to write the following in the Pitch Grips comment box.


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

Dear Sir,

     This is Dr. Mike Marshall.

     I invite you to watch section 09 of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video in which I discuss and demonstrate how baseball pitchers grip, drive and release the wide variety of high-quality pitches that they need to succeed against the four types of baseball batters.

     Since you pronate the release of your curve, I assume that Mr. Strom taught you my Maxline Pronation Curve. I taught him.

     Let's talk.

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0167.  Mr. Bauer's response to my comment and my response to his response

actually strom didnt teach me the pronated curve. i figured it out on my own. i pronate all pitches. it adds extra rpm to the ball. same as when a boxer would pronate a punch for extra power. it just makes sense to do it in pitching as well.


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     Pronating all releases not only increases release and spin velocity, it also prevents the bones in the back of the pitching elbow from banging together.

     Your reverse slider and my Maxline Fastball Sinker are the same pitch. The key to quick movement is controlling the position of the 'circle of friction.

     'In Section 09 of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I discuss and provide high-speed film that shows pronation releases and spin on the way to home plate.

     I would appreciate your thoughts.

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0168.  Mets sign reliever Atchison to Minor League deal
MLB.com
January 29, 2013

NEW YORK, NY: The Mets have signed right-handed pitcher Scott Atchison to a Minor League contract and invited him to Spring Training, the team announced Tuesday.

Atchison, 36, posted a career-best 1.58 ERA in 42 appearances out of Boston's bullpen last season, ranking fourth in the Majors in ERA among relievers with at least 50 innings pitched. He struck out 36 batters and walked nine, three of which were intentional.

But his age and injury history dampened his market. Atchison partially tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow in July and elected not to have surgery, returning in September to make five appearances.

"Some teams were pretty cautious with the elbow," Atchison said Monday. "I think some of that was more to do with my age than anything, age and the elbow. It's kind of like, 'OK, well, you're 36, going to be 37, and you do have this tear.' Everybody knows about it, obviously."

Atchison intimated Monday that although he would be signing an unguaranteed Minor League contract, he would have an excellent chance to make the Mets' Opening Day roster.

"It's not going to be a Major League deal, but it's going to be a situation where I'm going to have a pretty good chance to make a team," he said. "There are some openings in their 'pen, and they're not bringing in a whole lot, I don't think, at this time. There was a little caution in my health, and we tried to find the places that weren't worried about it as much and get the best deal we possibly could. I'm going to have a very good chance to make the team."

Though general manager Sandy Alderson has said he would like to import at least one reliever on a Major League contract between now and the start of Spring Training, the list of remaining candidates is slim. Alderson does plan to watch former Giants closer Brian Wilson work out for a second time, though there are no guarantees that Wilson is fully recovered from surgery, or that the Mets would be a match.

As currently constituted, New York's Opening Day bullpen figures to include closer Frank Francisco, setup man Bobby Parnell and left-hander Josh Edgin. After that the picture blurs significantly, with Greg Burke, Robert Carson, Jeurys Familia, Jenrry Mejia, Darin Gorski and Jeremy Hefner among those competing for jobs. That leaves plenty of opportunity for Atchison. Originally selected in the 49th round of the 1998 First-Year Player Draft, Atchison owns a 3.48 career ERA over 155 appearances with the Mariners, Giants and Red Sox. He also spent two years with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Central League.


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     The article said: "Atchison partially tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow in July and elected not to have surgery, returning in September to make five appearances."

     To make five appearances with a partially torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament, Mr. Atchison had to pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height without a 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     If Mr. Atchison does not 'Reverse Bounce' his pitching forearm, then Mr. Atchison would not tear his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Therefore, I think that Mr. Atchison did not injure his Ulnar Collateral Ligament last July, but at some time much earlier in his career, even as far back as high school. I think that, last July, Mr. Atchison had discomfort in the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle.

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0169.  Tigers eye any baserunning improvement
Detroit News
January 29, 2013

Watching the Tigers on the basepaths can sometimes feel like watching Wile E. Coyote trying to catch the road runner.

Dust is flying, but they just don't seem to be getting anywhere fast - and when they finally do arrive, it's just in time for the catcher to drop an anvil on their head.

It's frustrating to watch, obviously. And third-base coach Gene Lamont took plenty of heat for it, some well-deserved, some not.

Lamont has been relegated to the bench in 2013, with Tom Brookens guiding runners home, but don't expect wholesale changes in approach.

As manager Jim Leyland told reporters over the weekend at TigerFest, the fans might want to see more action on the bases, but that's not the kind of team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski has built.

This team hits singles, doubles and home runs. It won't often leg out triples or go from first to third on a base hit. And that's perfectly fine, so long as the team's hitting doubles and home runs.

It's those power outages that cause concern and send fans' blood pressure through the roof when runner after runner is stranded.

You can't always wait for the home run. Even the best power hitters only average three home runs for every 10 fly balls.

Sometimes you need to force the issue or score that key late-innings run.

That's why the Tigers have to be better on the bases in 2013.

Baserunning statistics are imprecise, but a scan of some of the more popular sabermetric versions agree: The Tigers were pretty bad last year, just as they usually are.

Baseball Prospectus' Base Running Runs put the Tigers at about 10 runs worse than an average team, which gave them a ranking of third from the bottom.

Using a different formula called Ultimate Base Running, Fangraphs.com also came up with the 10 runs, which ranked fifth from worst.

In simple terms, if a baserunner takes an extra base, he earns credit. If he gets thrown out, get docked for it.

It's more complicated than that, but visit either site to get more detailed information about its particular stat.

Quintin Berry (5.9), Don Kelly (1.4) and Omar Infante (1.2) were among the Tigers' leaders in UBR.

Jhonny Peralta (-3.5), Delmon Young (-3.0) and Miguel Cabrera (-2.8) brought up the rear.

Austin Jackson, surprisingly, was nearly a run worse than average at -.7.

Despite what the Tigers tell the fans or the press, they must know this is a problem.

So they brought in baserunning consultant Jeff Cox, who will at least help Jackson, Andy Dirks and a few others to steal bases.

They added utilty player Jeff Kobernus during the winter meetings, after he was taken by the Boston Red Sox in the Rule 5 draft and then traded to Detroit.

Kobernus stole 42 bases in Double-A in 2012 and has 95 across the past two years.

And, of course, they could potentially see some gains in taking the extra base if Brookens does a better job directing traffic than Lamont.

The Tigers cannot change who they are. Players like Cabrera and Fielder are never going to become base-stealing threats.

But if the Tigers want to do their part to keep blood pressure in check around the state of Michigan, the team simply must do a better job on the base paths in 2013.


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     The article said: "Even the best power hitters only average three home runs for every 10 fly balls."

     That seems high to me. If, with 10 fly balls, baseball batters could hit 3 home runs, then, with 27 fly ball outs, they would hit 8.7 home runs.

     The article said: "Players like Cabrera and Fielder are never going to become base-stealing threats."

     Maybe not, but taking extra bases is not a matter of speed. Instead, it is getting a jump on the batted baseball, correctly turning the next base such that they maximize the straight line distance that they run and carrying their speed into their pop-up slide.

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0170.  Beachy on track despite 'trying rehab work
MLB.com
January 30, 2013

ATLANTA, GA: Right-hander Brandon Beachy has met with Braves physical therapist Lloyd Van Pamelen a little earlier in the day than normal over the past two weeks. His motive has been to complete his therapy work in Gwinnett County, Ga., and then drive to Turner Field in time to interact with some of the players participating in the team's voluntary early throwing program.

"It's something I've been missing for a while," Beachy said. "I want to feel I'm a part of it as much as possible."

There has been a void in Beachy's life since he blew out his right elbow while pitching against the Orioles on June 16. With one painful pitch, Beachy went from being on top of the world to being just another of the countless pitchers who have been sentenced to endure the physically taxing and mentally grueling return from Tommy John surgery.

Seven months removed from the surgical procedure, Beachy feels great from a physical perspective. His elbow has continued to cooperate as he completes his throwing program. But Beachy has also experienced some frustration while attempting to convince himself that he is actually not that far away from his projected late-June return to Atlanta's rotation.

"I'm just checking days off the calendar," Beachy said. "I feel good. I haven't really come across any serious hurdles. I'm just easing along."

While there is some hope Beachy will return in late June, the Braves will take every necessary precaution to protect the bright future of the 26-year-old, who who was leading the Majors with a 2.00 ERA when he tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Beachy expects to increase the distance of his long-toss throwing exercises from 120 feet to 150 within the next week. The next step would have him simulating his pitching motion while throwing on flat ground. If all goes well, Beachy could be cleared to begin throwing off a mound with a controlled motion in late February or early March.

"I've thought about it a lot for a long time," Beachy said. "Just going through learning how to throw again and getting my body to be in sync has been a little trying at times. I'm sure I will go through that on the mound. So I'm excited to get on [the mound]. But at the same time, I know I'm going to be frustrated at times. I'm not looking forward to that part of it." When Beachy began throwing again in November, he experienced some days when playing catch felt anything but natural. He experienced the same oddity after taking a few days off during the holiday season.

"There are just days when the legs and body are not in tune with each other," Beachy said.

Fortunately, Beachy has another five months to get everything back in sync. Unfortunately, he has another five months to eagerly anticipate a true return to normalcy.


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     Rehabilitating all injuries requires that athletes judicially apply stress to the bones, ligaments, muscle and bone the injured area of increasing intensity such that they stimulate physiological responses.

     When baseball pitchers increase the distance that they throw baseballs from 120 to 150 feet, they do not stimulate meaningful physiological responses.

     Instead, to meaningfully stimulate physiological responses, rehabiliating baseball pitchers need to strap on 10 lb. wrist weights and throw 6 lb. iron balls, learn how to properly apply force and judicially increase the number of repetitions and intensity.

     What takes 12 months with the 'orthopedic surgeon rehabilitation program' takes 120 days with my interval-training rehabilitation program.

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0171.  Marcum ready to seize opportunity given by Mets
MLB.com
January 30, 2013

NEW YORK, NY: Shaun Marcum understands what awaits him in Flushing. After R.A. Dickey departed, Marcum came aboard, so he is the man who will need to replace Dickey.

He is the man who will need to replace the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner.

"I'm not going to be able to do it myself," Marcum said Wednesday, after the Mets officially announced his one-year deal worth a reported $4 million base salary. "I'm just going to go out there and do what I can to help the Mets be consistent, and go as deep in the game as I can. That's about all I can ask for."

That's about all the Mets can ask of their newest acquisition, as well. General manager Sandy Alderson signed Marcum not because he thought the right-hander could deliver Dickey-type numbers, but because he believed Marcum could provide innings and stability in the middle of the rotation.

Though Marcum has battled injuries in recent years, he boasts a strong track record when healthy, posting a career 57-36 record with a 3.76 ERA. He strikes out a fair amount of batters considering his low-velocity arsenal, and does not cede many walks or home runs.

More than performance, then, the issue with Marcum is health. Shoulder and elbow issues dogged him in 2012, finally forcing him off the mound when he partially tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. A full tear might have necessitated surgery, but Marcum stuck with rest and rehab, returning in August to make eight starts down the stretch.

Marcum claims that he is now healthy, altering his throwing program in recent years to incorporate more frequent long-toss sessions and a heavier overall workload.

"I have had no problems since I started my program, and really have had no problems ... since I came off the DL in August," Marcum said. "The main thing was getting my arm strength back, throwing more, and with that, I'm recovering. I haven't even had any soreness."

The hope is that Marcum can return to form as the roughly 30-start, 200-inning pitcher he was from 2010-11 with the Blue Jays and Brewers. That is why he chose the Mets over "15 to 20" other teams that pursued him to varying degrees this winter. In New York, Marcum realized, opportunity was there for the taking.

"I think that's every starter's goal," he said of the chance to make a full slate of starts. "They're giving me the opportunity to do that, and I couldn't pass that up."

So Marcum will join Johan Santana, Jon Niese, Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee in a rotation that ranked eighth in the NL in ERA last season. With Dickey gone, that number is almost certain to increase.

Marcum will play a significant role in determining how much or how little.

"If all five starters go out there and do their job, stay healthy, get to the goal of 200-plus innings, that will fill R.A.'s shoes by itself," Marcum said. "The teams I've been on that made it late in the season, still in the playoff race, we didn't use that many starters. Everybody stayed healthy and everybody made their starts. So if we can do that, that will help to fill the hole that was left when R.A. was traded."


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     The article said:

01. "Shoulder and elbow issues dogged him (Shaun Marcum) in 2012, finally forcing him off the mound when he partially tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow."
02. "A full tear might have necessitated surgery, but Marcum stuck with rest and rehab, returning in August to make eight starts down the stretch."

     A couple of months of rest and rehab does not repair Ulnar Collateral Ligaments.

     Therefore, I think that Mr. Marcum did not partially tear his Ulnar Collateral Ligament last year. Instead, I think Mr. Marcum partially tore his Ulnar Collateral Ligament earlier in his career, even as far back as high school.

     To return in August to make eight starts means that Mr. Marcum does not 'Reverse Bounce' his pitching forearm.

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0172.  Strasburg: Shutdown 'still kind of a sore spot'
Washington Post
January 30, 2013

Few Washington Nationals are looking forward to the 2013 season as much as Stephen Strasburg. When the right-hander arrives in Viera, Fla., in two weeks for spring training, he will be anticipating the first full season of his young career, all restrictions lifted.

Asked about his offseason in a telephone interview Monday night, Strasburg’s response was telling: “It’s been a month longer than everybody else. I’m [champing] at the bit.”

Strasburg, 24, went through various stages of coping after he was shut down on Sept. 8 after 159 1/3 innings . He was angry and defiant at first, saying immediately after his final start, "I don't know if I'm ever going to accept it, to be honest."  Nearly a month later, he was more subdued, admitting that time had helped him accept it, and even relenting that his late-season inconsistency was perhaps because of the innings increase from the previous year. Four months later, it still lingers — but less so.

“It’s still kind of a sore spot, to be honest,” he said Monday. “I wish it didn’t end up the way it did. But I can’t really worry about it anymore. The season’s over, and I don’t think anybody else on the team is playing the ‘what if’ scenario anymore. It’s all about looking to the future and looking into this coming season and preparing for that.”

Strasburg says he is already throwing bullpen sessions and feels great. His body is stronger and his right arm is well rested, more than 28 months removed from his Tommy John surgery. Golf and his recent charity event have kept him busy. And he has had time to reflect on his 2012 season, which the Nationals ended it in the heart of a pennant race out of concern for the long-term health of his surgically repaired elbow.

General Manager Mike Rizzo, the decision-maker on the shutdown, and Manager Dave Johnson watched Strasburg closely last year, particularly late in the season when the right-hander’s performances were inconsistent.

“I know there were obviously times during the season where I think [Johnson] tried to protect me a little bit more than other guys,” he said. “And I’m excited to have a little bit more of a leeway to be able to go out there and work through tough innings and go back out there when I’m feeling good, and not necessarily worry about pitch counts every time or the grand scheme of things like an innings limit.”

While Strasburg wouldn’t attach any specifics to his personal goals for next season, the Nationals are hoping he can hit 200 innings.

“I want to be the guy that can go out there and go at least seven, eight innings every time out,” he said. “I want to be the horse in the rotation that everybody can really rely on and is going to get that consistent starter.”

Strasburg missed Saturday’s NatsFest to be in San Diego with his third annual 5K fun run and walk that benefits his former baseball team at San Diego State.

Because of California’s budget cutbacks, Strasburg helps supplement the baseball team’s shortfalls with funds raised by the event. He hopes it will help with their travel budget, field maintenance and improvements to the baseball facilities.

Nearly 1,000 people participated in the event this year, slightly fewer than before because of the poor weather on the day of the event. Strasburg is awaiting a final tally on the amount of money that will be donated. Unlike past years, he didn’t run in the event and instead waited at the finish line, high-fiving the first finishers and presenting the awards.

After he was shut down following a bad start against the Miami Marlins, the Nationals allowed Strasburg to play catch. But after the season ended, they wanted him to rest. After Christmas, he started playing catch again. He threw his first bullpen session Friday and the second Monday, his close friend and college battery mate Erik Castro catching.

“I think I’ve made huge strides this offseason as far as building strength,” Strasburg said. “I’m kinda starting to notice my body changing and I’m starting to mature a little bit more as I get a little bit older.”

Talking from San Diego on Monday, Strasburg sounded relaxed and comfortable. He has rested, spent time playing golf, and even followed Tiger Woods closely on his round Sunday at the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines. Pitching coach Steve McCatty has called every month to check in. Strasburg has copies of the film on every one of his starts from last season, has pored over them and picked up on his flaws.

When he was throwing well, he was relaxed on the mound, his mechanics were fluid and he “didn’t necessarily come out guns blazing, trying to throw the dirtiest pitch every time.” He struggled when he allowed his mechanics to slip and didn’t adjust.

“The big thing that I want to change is not to necessarily hit the panic button when it happens,” Strasburg said. “Instead of just to try and throw harder and generate more spin on breaking balls or more movement on the change-up, to really just take a step back and get back to basics of just pitching to contact and really just letting our great defense do their job.”


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     Nationals baseball pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, said:

01. "I don't know if I'm ever going to accept it, to be honest."
02. “It’s still kind of a sore spot, to be honest.”
03. “I wish it didn’t end up the way it did."
04. "But I can’t really worry about it anymore."
05. "The season’s over, and I don’t think anybody else on the team is playing the ‘what if’ scenario anymore."
06. "It’s all about looking to the future and looking into this coming season and preparing for that.”
07. “I know there were obviously times during the season where I think [Johnson] tried to protect me a little bit more than other guys.”
08. “I’m excited to have a little bit more of a leeway to be able to go out there and work through tough innings and go back out there when I’m feeling good, and not necessarily worry about pitch counts every time or the grand scheme of things like an innings limit.”
09. “I want to be the guy that can go out there and go at least seven, eight innings every time out.”
10. “I want to be the horse in the rotation that everybody can really rely on and is going to get that consistent starter.”

     When, instead of declarative statements, such as “I want to be the guy that can go out there and go at least seven, eight innings every time out,” people use qualifiers, such as 'to be honest,' 'really,' and 'actually,' it means that they are not telling the whole truth.

     Mr. Strasburg will never forgive Mr. Rizzo for taking possibly two World Series starts when he was 23 years old away from him.

     When he gets the chance, Mr. Strasburg will find a major league team where he gets to decide when and how much he pitches.

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0173.  Cardinals boast remarkable depth in rotation
MLB.com
January 31, 2013

The Cardinals enter 2013 touting depth, which is a testament to the focus the organization has put on developing elite talent through its Minor League system. And in no area is that depth more obvious than on the starting pitching front, where the Cardinals have a core of veterans, along with an ascending bunch of dynamic right-handed arms, ready to take the reins. That depth was critical in 2012, when just weeks into Spring Training the club learned that it would be without Chris Carpenter indefinitely. Lance Lynn stepped up and went on to win 18 games.

A few months into the season, Jaime Garcia landed on the disabled list, too. That's when Joe Kelly emerged. Eight of his first 12 Major League starts were quality ones.

While sufficient depth sustained the Cardinals through injuries last year, the number of Major League-ready starters seems to be even greater this year. General manager John Mozeliak recently discussed the logjam of pitching with reporters, noting that "if everybody broke [camp] healthy, we'd have a hard time getting a couple players on the roster. I think, right now, depth is our asset."

Returning to the rotation are Adam Wainwright and Jake Westbrook, both of whom are in the final guaranteed year of their respective contracts. Carpenter and Garcia will be back, as well, assuming both incur no injury setbacks. Lynn has the lead on the fifth spot, though Kelly, Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal could make a push with strong showings this spring.

Now nearly two years removed from Tommy John surgery, Wainwright heads to Spring Training without the questions of how his arm will hold up. Including his postseason work, Wainwright threw more than 200 innings in 2012. He won 14 games and worked through an up-and-down first half to become more consistent late in the year.

"I look at that season a number of different ways," Wainwright said. "Did it come out exactly the way I wanted it to? No. But am I also proud of what I was able to accomplish with some of the things I overcame? Yes, absolutely. … Mentally, it was such a boost for me to be able to accomplish a full season of taking the ball every fifth day."

Wainwright will again share the co-ace title with Carpenter, who was sidelined most of last season due to thoracic outlet syndrome and subsequent surgery.

The good news for the Cardinals is that Carpenter has already erased concerns about being able to come back from the procedure. He blew away the original rehab timetable and made six starts, three of which came in the postseason, before shutting back down last fall.

That said, Carpenter didn't return with his usual command and arm strength. Both will be scrutinized this spring as he sets out to prove that there are no lingering effects in his worn right arm.

"I'm excited and looking forward to this year," said Carpenter, who began his offseason throwing program about a month earlier than usual. "I was excited about the way I felt last year. I definitely felt like I needed to get some arm strength back that wasn't there, but I've been working hard this winter. I'm excited to go down there and start from the beginning."

Health will be of particular concern with Garcia, too, given how his 2012 season progressed. After missing more than two months during the regular season with a left shoulder injury, Garcia was shut down by the shoulder ailment during the postseason.

He opted not to have surgery, meaning that no one will know for sure how Garcia's arm will respond until he ramps up his throwing program during Spring Training.

Asked recently if he was confident that the arm issues were past him, Garcia responded: "We'll see. We'll see in April. So far it's been good."

Westbrook ended the year nursing an oblique injury, though that is no longer of concern. Having signed a contract extension last September, Westbrook returns as a veteran who can give the Cardinals length and stability. His 3.97 ERA in 2012 was his lowest in a minimum 25-start season since 2004.

Lynn's ERA was slightly lower (at 3.78) in what was his first full season in the big leagues. Unexpectedly thrust into the rotation last spring, Lynn was an asset and an All-Star. He hit a few rough patches and had to learn about the need to control his emotions, but Lynn put himself in position to enter 2013 as a favorite for the final rotation spot.

That said, Mozeliak made it clear during Winter Warm-Up that Lynn still has to come into Spring Training prepared to compete for the job.

If Lynn hits any bumps, or if the Cardinals are dealt an injury blow to any of their other starters, they have several right-handers in waiting who could slide in and step up. Miller, Rosenthal and Kelly all made their Major League debuts in 2012 and had varying levels of success in varying roles.

All three showed an ability to be successful in the big leagues, and the Cardinals won't hesitate to call on any of them should a need arise in the rotation.

"They are a good group of guys," Westbrook said of the Cardinals' emerging young pitchers. "They go about their business the right way. They're definitely not the type of young guys who think they have it all figured out. They're asking questions and doing what they need to to get better. We've got some unbelievable arms."


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     It does appear that the Cardinals have a viable program that teaches and trains baseball pitchers.

     However, that several of their baseball pitchers, such as Mr. Carpenter, Mr. Wainwright and Mr. Garcia, has suffered pitching injuries means that they had better have several young baseball pitchers ready to replace their injured guys.

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0174.  At full strength, prospect Gibson eyes Twins' rotation
MLB.com
January 31, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN: The 2012 season offered two blueprints for how to handle young pitchers coming off Tommy John surgery.

There was the Nationals' much publicized decision to shut down ace Stephen Strasburg in early September to limit his innings total, while the Braves used Kris Medlen in the bullpen for the first four months of the season before inserting him back into the rotation on July 31.

Both pitchers produced impressive numbers -- Strasburg had a 3.16 ERA in 159 1/3 innings and Medlen posted a 1.57 ERA in 138 innings -- but only Medlen pitched down the stretch and in the playoffs.

The Twins will have a similar situation on their hands with top pitching prospect Kyle Gibson, who is heading into his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on Nov. 7, 2011. They still haven't fully decided how they'll limit Gibson's innings, but the right-hander is expected to throw between 130 and 140 innings in '13.

"It all gets down to the organization and what they want and how they want us to handle him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We'll sit down as we go along. We know restrictions are going to be there, I'm sure. I'll talk to [general manager] Terry [Ryan] as we go along. The first thing is to get him out on the field and get him going through the same things that everyone else is. I'm sure he can't wait to do that, and get right in the middle of the program. He's ready to do that with no restrictions."

Gibson, though, appears more likely to begin the season as a starter and be shut down later in the year; unlike Medlen, he doesn't have any prior experience as a reliever.

He's a strong candidate for Minnesota's fifth spot in the rotation, but he could begin the year at Triple-A Rochester depending on how he fares in Spring Training. Gibson said he's fine with whatever plans the Twins have for him, and he's encouraged by the progress he's made since undergoing the elbow operation.

"I'm open to pitching wherever they want me to pitch," Gibson said. "My goal is to get to the big leagues as fast as I can. If that's as a reliever or as a starter, so be it. Whichever team I'm on, whether it's Rochester or New Britain or the Twins, I'm just going to help them win somehow."

Gibson officially made his comeback last season, when he posted a combined 4.13 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings, split between the Gulf Coast League, Class A Advanced Fort Myers and Triple-A Rochester.

He then pitched in the Arizona Fall League, where he got off to a fast start, but struggled in his last few outings. He ended up posting a 5.40 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings, to give him a combined 53 2/3 innings on the year.

"I was out there and felt really good," Gibson said. "My one goal in Arizona was to throw and stay healthy. After that, just work on stuff as I go. I feel like if I had better command I would feel really good about my Fall League experience, but since I lost my command at the end that was a little frustrating."

However, it was still an impressive enough showing in '12 to make his return to MLB.com's Top 100 Prospect rankings. He was named the 49th best prospect in baseball on Tuesday.

Gibson said he believes that everything happened for a reason, and that he learned a lot while rehabbing his elbow, which helped him gain perspective both on baseball and in life.

"As a competitor and as somebody who loves playing this game, to have it taken away so quickly and so easily is very humbling," Gibson said. "I feel mentally I got a lot stronger through this. You never know when you're going to be finished playing this game -- one shoulder injury away from having to go into the real world and work an eight-hour day job."


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     If the Twins organization understood how to eliminate the injurious flaw that ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, then they would not have to have restrictions for Mr. Gibson.

     Instead, Mr. Gibson could pitch as much as his ability to get baseball batters out allows him.

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0175.  It's risky for Reds to switch things up
ESPN.com
January 31, 2013

The Cincinnati Reds made one of the most provocative moves of the Major League Baseball offseason without spending a dime or cracking the cover of a Scott Boras promotional binder. After an extensive internal debate in October, they decreed that Aroldis Chapman will move from the back end of the bullpen to the starting rotation, where they hope he will blossom into must-see viewing in installments of six innings or more.

Chapman stands 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and reached 100 mph on the radar gun a major league-high 242 times last season, according to the Bill James Handbook, so the best-case scenario calls for him to join fellow lefties CC Sabathia, David Price and Clayton Kershaw as a 200-inning workhorse and perennial Cy Young Award candidate. And if you want to really dream big, think back to a pitcher who spent two decades making left-handed hitters beg out of the lineup with stiff necks, head colds and other mystery ailments every time his turn in the rotation rolled around.

Yes, Randy Johnson.

Bryan Price, Cincinnati's pitching coach, knows it's both premature and unfair to categorize Chapman as a Latin version of the Big Unit-in-waiting. But if Chapman is going to evolve as a pitcher and reach his maximum potential, Price is convinced it will have to come in the rotation. Chapman turns 25 in late February, and if the Reds pigeonhole him as a closer now, it's going to become progressively more difficult to change his long-term career arc.

"I hear the argument, 'Why mess with something when it's gone so well?'" Price said. "I get that. We have a really good team and the window of opportunity is now, and we may be better suited to Aroldis closing rather than starting because we already have a strong five-man rotation without him. I totally understand that. Bryan Price, Cincinnati's pitching coach, knows it's both premature and unfair to categorize Chapman as a Latin version of the Big Unit-in-waiting. But if Chapman is going to evolve as a pitcher and reach his maximum potential, Price is convinced it will have to come in the rotation. Chapman turns 25 in late February, and if the Reds pigeonhole him as a closer now, it's going to become progressively more difficult to change his long-term career arc.

"But I also have a feeling in my heart that he's not going to be the best possible pitcher he can be until he throws enough innings to master his craft. I think this kid has untapped potential, but it won't come out until we give him an opportunity to mature as a pitcher. Does he have a chance to be one of the better starters of his generation? The longer we wait, the less chance we have of ever finding out."

The stakes are high because the 2013 Reds have designs on winning the National League Central division and making a deep run in October. Reds fans have reason to wonder if Shin-Soo Choo can play an adequate defensive center field or if Joey Votto's knee will allow him to return to MVP form, but the Chapman storyline makes for meatier give-and-take based on a classic risk-versus-reward debate: Is the potential long-term benefit of moving Chapman to the rotation worth the short-term minefields the Reds might encounter?

Chapman was otherworldly in 2012, when he ranked with Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel and Tampa Bay's Fernando Rodney among the holy trinity of shutdown closers. He saved 38 games and averaged 15.32 strikeouts per nine innings, with a WHIP of 0.81. When he began popping the catcher's mitt in the bullpen, spirits immediately sank in dugouts throughout the National League. Now the plan calls for Jonathan Broxton to slide into Chapman's old role and Sean Marshall to be the main setup man and Plan B closer. The success of the experiment depends almost as much on them as it does on Chapman.

The closer role has become so mythologized in recent years and is considered so integral to the success of contending teams, you don't have to look hard to find a scout or competing executive who questions the wisdom of the Reds' decision.

Cincinnati's bullpen led the majors with a 2.65 ERA last season and ranked third with a .219 batting average against, and the Reds have weakened an obvious team strength.

"It's going to be fascinating to watch," said an AL talent evaluator, "but I think they're absolutely crazy doing what they're doing. They just won 97 games, and I don't think you mess with that. How many innings are you going to get out of him this year -- 130 or 140? They need to close out the games they're supposed to win, and it was damn near automatic when he came in the game. I would never even think about it, let alone try it."

Some of Chapman's teammates are similarly dubious. In December, starter Bronson Arroyo predicted that it will be "very difficult" for Chapman to move to the rotation, where he'll have to harness his fastball for much longer periods while navigating opposing lineups. Second baseman Brandon Phillips concurred with that assessment in an interview last week. "If you want to go out there and win right now, I mean, I would keep him as the closer right now," Phillips told SiriusXM Sports. "That's my opinion. But hey, I'm not the GM."

Walt Jocketty, who is the GM, believes in freedom of expression. But he's not exactly hanging on the input of Cincinnati's players.

"It's fine," Jocketty said of the disparate opinions being expressed. "We didn't sit down and talk to the players about it and get their approval. All they see is a guy who was a dominant closer. They don't see the big picture."

The reality is, Jocketty and others in the Cincinnati hierarchy envisioned Chapman as a starter the moment he defected from his native Cuba and signed a six-year, $30.25 million contract in January 2010. Chapman was all set to join the Reds' rotation last spring until injuries to Ryan Madson, Nick Masset and Bill Bray prompted manager Dusty Baker to move him to the bullpen before Opening Day.

Despite Chapman's ninth-inning success last year, the Reds were smitten by the events of last March, when he dazzled as a starter in the Cactus League. Spring training stats are generally regarded as worthless, but Chapman made a lasting impression while going 2-0 with a 2.12 ERA and 18 strikeouts and two walks in 17 innings in Arizona.

"He was by far our best starter during the spring," Jocketty said.

Anyone who views Chapman as a thrower rather than a pitcher might have gotten a wake-up call after watching him command his fastball to both sides of the plate and make deft use of his slider and splitter in Arizona. Then the regular season began, and Chapman became more of a one-pitch pitcher. According to FanGraphs, Chapman threw 88 percent fastballs and 12 percent sliders during the regular season, and essentially junked the splitter.

As a starter, Chapman will be forced to embrace subtleties of the game that have been generally foreign to him. He'll have to swing a bat multiple times in a game, lay down sacrifice bunts and run the bases (assuming he can actually reach base on occasion) without injuring himself. He'll also have to be more adept at fielding his position and holding baserunners. Opposing hitters have batted .149 against Chapman in his 137 career relief appearances, so he's needed a pickoff move in the same way Raul Ibanez needs styling mousse.

Recent history shows that Chapman's move to the rotation could go either way. Joba Chamberlain, Neftali Feliz and Daniel Bard all struggled with the transition or suffered injuries during the process. Jocketty, naturally, prefers to cite the examples of Adam Wainwright and Chris Sale, who quickly emerged as All-Star starters after apprenticeships in the bullpen.

The Reds are leaving themselves some wiggle room. Chapman will arrive in Goodyear, Ariz., and get lengthened out with his throwing regimen. But if the experiment isn't panning out, the Reds can always switch him back to the 'pen. As Price points out, the team doesn't have to settle on a specific course of action on Feb. 1 or even March 1.

"We can decide on April 1," Price said, "but we can prepare him to start. If it turns out we're better suited to win a World Series with Aroldis in our bullpen, then so be it. Believe me, I'm not going to be standing there throwing up a blockade." If the Reds stick to the plan, they'll have to carefully manage Chapman's workload. Last year Chapman threw 71 2/3 innings. The Reds are refraining from publicly setting an innings target, because they saw what a circus the Stephen Strasburg story became last year. But logic and recent historical precedent make it seem unlikely they can expect anything more than 150 innings from Chapman in 2013.

"That's something we plan to discuss in spring training," Jocketty said. "We have some ideas. If he begins the season as a starter, we'll have to watch his innings and bring him along slowly. Or we could possibly put him in the bullpen as a long guy for a while, then move him into the rotation when the time is right. As far as the number of innings, I'm not sure we've determined that yet."

Although Chapman generated his share of strange off-field news last season, the Reds say he's a conscientious worker who pays diligent attention to his running, lifting and throwing programs. Strength and conditioning coach Matt Krause and assistant trainer Tomas Vera have both checked in on him at his offseason home in South Florida and reported that it's all systems go.

Chapman is on board with the move to the rotation, and now it's up to him to make the Reds look smart. Rest assured that national media outlets passing through Goodyear will be monitoring his progress, and the debate will rage in April if Broxton starts blowing leads in the ninth.

"It's a fine line," said outfielder Jay Bruce. "You want to consider the best interests of your team and think about the best interests of the player, as well, because they've invested a lot of money in Aroldis and he's a big part of our future. It's a tough decision. I'm glad I don't have to make it."

If the move pans out, Chapman will join a rotation that includes Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos, Homer Bailey and Arroyo, with Mike Leake in the equation as a sixth starter. Cueto finished fourth in NL Cy Young Award balloting last season. Latos ranked seventh among NL pitchers with a 4.2 WAR. Bailey set a career high with 208 innings and pitched a no-hitter in September, and Arroyo provides stability and innings as the veteran craftsman.

"You can dream on a rotation like that," Jocketty said.

Before the dream begins taking shape, the hard work and ground-laying for the next chapter of Aroldis Chapman's career will begin on a bullpen mound in Arizona. If the Reds think the scrutiny has been intense this winter, they haven't seen anything yet.


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     The article said:

01. "Mr. Chapman reached 100 mph on the radar gun a major league-high 242 times last season." Wow.
02. "Mr. Chapman averaged 15.32 strikeouts per nine innings." Wow.
03. "Chapman threw 88 percent fastballs and 12 percent sliders during the regular season, and essentially junked the splitter."

     To succeed as a starting pitcher, Mr. Chapman needs his splitter. It is the only pitch that moves away from the glove arm side baseball batters.

     With three At Bats per game, if Mr. Chapman continues to throw 88 percent fastballs, then major league baseball batters will catch up to some.

     In addition, I am concerned that, during September, Mr. Chapman could not maintain the quality of his pitches.

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***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, February 10, 2013, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0176.  February 3-D Review

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0152. Checkpoint names

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

You wrote: "The action that loads the 'Slingshot' in my throwing motion is when my baseball players move their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head. The farther inside the driveline toward home plate that baseball players move their pitching elbow, the farther they lengthen the tendon of their Latissimus Dorsi muscle."

I always find 'vertically beside the head' a little confusing because the actual position is 'forward' of that.

Could we say 45 degrees vertically forward of the head'?

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

     The pitching upper are moves to forty-five degrees toward home plate after it has been vertically beside the head from the rear and side views.

     Therefore, I want my baseball pitchers to immediately move their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching upper arm facing toward home plate.

     When my baseball pitchers stop rotating the entire pitching arm aide of their body diagonally forward, they move their pitching upper arm from vertically beside their head in the side view to forty-five degrees toward home plate.

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0159. Hamels downplays shoulder issue from last year

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

The article said: "Hamels said he planned to throw his fourth offseason bullpen session Wednesday."

Wow, 4th already? Really? You workaholic you.

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

You wrote: "I am skeptical of people that say 'That's the honest truth.'"

The pitcher doth protest too much, methinks.

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0162. Pineda making strides at Yanks' training complex

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

You wrote: "To evaluate whether baseball pitchers are healthy, teams need to take high-speed film and have an expert evaluate the pitching motion for injurious flaws. That Mr. Pineda takes his pitching arm laterally behind his acromial line should have stopped the trade."

There wouldn't be many trades at all if we disqualified every pitcher who takes their arm laterally behind their acromial line.

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0163. Teams willing to trade veterans often reap the benefits later

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

The article said: "Using the label of “proven veteran” on pitchers like Mulder (back then) or Lester (now) is misleading. Experience has no correlation with effectiveness. Experience sometimes just means wear and tear."

Experience would mean a lot more if you 'experts' didn't destroy pitchers' arms before they could put the experience to work.

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

The article said: "There were 20 pitchers 30 or older who qualified with ERAs under 4.00 last season. There were 35 pitchers 29 or younger who did so — including 16 who were either 25 or 26. A pitcher who’s 30 tends to be a depreciating asset. A bet on a talented 24-year-old tends to be a better bet — whether he’s pitched in the major leagues previously or not."

As usual, looking for love in all the wrong places.

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

You wrote: "Can anybody ever trust Mr. Money Ball to make a fair trade?"

Mr. Bean isn't holding a gun to anyone's head. Everyone is acting in their own best interest. Mr. Bean's decisions are probably based on payroll budget more than some terrific insight into the long term deleterious effect of rotating beyond the acromial line.

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0164. Good-fielding pitchers help themselves on mound

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

The article said: "Moving from the White Sox to the Marlins as a free agent, Buehrle maintained his reputation as the best fielding pitcher in baseball by saving 12 runs for himself, a remarkable figure given he works every fifth day."

Sounds like he elicits a lot of ground balls up the middle.

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

The article said: "Kaat and Maddux were textbook examples of how a smooth delivery and balanced landing position can protect a pitcher against the agony of a baseball imprinted on his anatomy. Both were blessed with Kaat-like quickness."

Another example of someone writing about pitcher fielding as if they have a clue, when, we now know, they don't.

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

The article said: ""The pitcher is the closest guy to me as a hitter," Baker said. "He's worried about delivering the ball to a location, first and foremost, so he has to make a quick transition to being ready for a shot right back at him."

Don't let the fact that with one leg up in the air pretending to pee on a fire hydrant, that he can't make a quick transition.

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

The article said: ""Maddux used to throw the ball on the outside and take a little off, expecting the ball to be hit right back at him."

Really, that was his plan? He didn't throw any other pitches?

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

The article said: ""I faced Kaat; he was really athletic. He became a sinkerball pitcher like [John] after coming in as a power pitcher. Gibson, I faced him only a few times. He was such a great athlete he was able to make plays even though he fell off the mound to the first-base side.""

My guess is he made plays, when possible, on the first base side.

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0167. Mr. Bauer's response to my comment and my response to his response

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

Mr. Bauer said: "actually strom didnt teach me the pronated curve. i figured it out on my own."

Really? Wow.

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0177.  Trevor Bauer has replied to your comment on Pitch Grips

well protecting the body is obviously the most important reason to pronate.

it protects the bones in the elbow as well as the soft tissue in the back of the shoulder as it activates the bigger musculature in the back around the scapula designed to slow the arm down.

Added rpm is just a nice benefit that most ppl don't tap into.

The reason i have different grips on my slider is to control the circle of friction as you call it.

1 for tighter spin and movement. 1 for less movement and strikes


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     The Pronator Teres muscle pronates the pitching forearm.

     The Rhomboid Major and Minor muscles decelerate the forward movement of the Scapula bone.

     With regard to safely decelerating the pitching arm, whether baseball pitchers use their Pectoralis Major or Latissimus Dorsi muscles to move their pitching upper arm forward determines whether they use their Teres Minor or their Latissimus Dorsi muscles to safely decelerate their pitching arm.

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0178.  New commment for Mr. Bauer's Pitch

How baseball seams collide with the air molecules en route to home plate determines the amount of movement that different pitches achieve.

When I pitched, I always threw every type of pitch that I had with as much release and spin velocity that I could.

At that time, I threw a fastball that moved to the pitching arm side of home plate, a sinker, a screwball and a slider.

Since then, I have designed a fastball that moves to the glove arm side of home plate and my Maxline Pronation Curve.

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0179.  Billingsley says his right elbow is feeling fine
MLB.com
February 01, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA: Chad Billingsley, whose uncertain health spurred the Dodgers to their offseason spending spree for starting pitchers, said he's had no issues with his right elbow during the winter.

With less than two weeks before the first pitchers-and-catchers workout, Billingsley said he feels "absolutely great."

"Tomorrow I'll throw off a mound for the eighth time and I've had no issues," he told Jorge Jarrin on AM570's DodgerTalk Thursday night. "It's just like any other offseason."

Well, not exactly. This offseason, Billingsley is coming off a partially torn elbow ligament, the kind that usually requires Tommy John surgery and a year off to rehab. But Billingsley instead chose a conservative treatment with a pair of platelet-rich plasma injections and rest.

Billingsley spent the last five weeks of the 2012 season on the disabled list, resumed throwing in October and had two simulated games in Arizona, reaching 94 mph. He then shut down for a month before resuming his normal throwing program in January.

"Everything's been great," he said. "I've had no issues, no setbacks. Everything is looking good going into Spring Training."

That said, management was skeptical enough about Billingsley to spend more than $200 million to sign Zack Greinke and Hyun-jin Ryu, stacking the rotation in case Billingsley's elbow can't withstand the rigors of Spring Training.

If Billingsley proves healthy, the Dodgers will have a surplus of starting pitchers with Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Ted Lilly (who is coming off shoulder surgery). That is bound to lead to a trade.

At this point, Billingsley slots behind Clayton Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu and Josh Beckett, even though Billingsley's been the staff's No. 2 starter since Kershaw's emergence.

Just before his August injury, Billingsley showed how good he can be by winning six consecutive starts while posting a 1.30 ERA. He was the first Dodger to win six straight starts since Kevin Brown in 2003. That turned around his season after a career-worst five-start losing streak.

Billingsley is 80-61 lifetime and, after going 10-9 last year, joined the Phillies' Cole Hamels as the only active National League pitchers with double-digit wins for six consecutive seasons.


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     Instead of having Ulnar Collateral Ligament replaced, Mr. Billingsley decided to have injections of platelet-rich plasma and resume throwing in October and November, including two simulated games in which he threw 94 mph fastballs.

     After pitching those two simulated games, Mr. Billingsley shut down for a month before resuming his normal throwing program in January.

     That Mr. Billingsley pitched in two simulated games and threw 94 mph shows that Mr. Billingsley did not have to have his partially torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament replaced.

     This means that Mr. Billingsley does not 'Reverse Bounce' his pitching forearm.

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0180.  Union, NFL spar on health matters
USA Today
February 01, 2013

The NFL Players Association announced a 10-year, $100 million partnership grant Thursday with Harvard University to research and treat player injuries and brain and heart illnesses after nearly 80 percent of players from 32 teams said in a union survey they don't trust team medical staffs.

That mistrust stems in part from four teams that required players to sign waivers before receiving injections of the painkiller Toradol.


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

     I don't trust any professional sport team doctor. Owners only hire doctors that will do what the owners want them to do.

     The only answer is for the Player Associations for different professional sport teams to chose team doctors.

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

0181.  Rehab and strengthening exercises

Do you have a list of rehab and strength exercises if so could you share them with me?


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

     The same wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws that I used to enable me to pitch in two of every three major league games in 1974, I recommend to baseball pitchers rehabilitating from pitching injuries and surgeries.

     In the 38 years since, I have refined and enhanced my training programs.

     To start, I recommend my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     To download that training program, on the home page of my website, click on my Baseball Pitcher Interval-Training Programs link and open my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     To understand how to perform the drills, click on my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and open my Wrist Weight Training Program and Iron Ball Throwing Program files.

     I designed these drills specifically for the glove and pitching arm actions that eliminate pitching injuries and maximize release velocities.

     If I do anything else to help, please let me know.

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0182.  Trevor Bauer has replied to your comment on Pitch Grips

well, protecting the body is obviously the most important reason to pronate. it protects the bones in the elbow as well as the soft tissue in the back of the shoulder as it activates the bigger musculature in the back around the scapula designed to slow the arm down. Added rpm is just a nice benefit that most ppl don’t tap into. The reason i have different grips on my slider is to control the circle of friction as you call it. 1 for tighter spin and movement. 1 for less movement and strikes


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

     Dr. Marshall's response:

The Pronator Teres muscle pronates the pitching forearm. The Rhomboid Major and Minor muscles decelerates the forward movement of the Scapula bone. With regard to safely decelerating the pitching arm, whether baseball pitchers use their Pectoralis Major or Latissimus Dorsi muscles to move their pitching upper arm forward determines whether they use their Teres Minor or their Latissimus Dorsi muscles to safely decelerate their pitching arm.

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     Unfortunately, to date, Mr. Bauer has not responded.

     Help is not help when the helpees did not ask for help.

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0183.  Dr. Marshall writes another comment for Mr. Bauer's Pitch Grips video

How baseball seams collide with the air molecules en route to home plate determines the amount of movement that different pitches achieve. When I pitched, I always threw every type of pitch that I had with as much release and spin velocity that I could. At that time, I threw a fastball that moved to the pitching arm side of home plate, a sinker, a screwball and a slider. Since then, I have designed a fastball that moves to the glove arm side of home plate and my Maxline Pronation Curve.

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0184.  X-Ray

I believe that I have previously sent you the attached file, which is a December 2012 X-ray of my right elbow. The orthopedist sees calcification near the medial epicondyle, which is an area that I have been having problems with off for almost a year now.

1) Can you tell from the X-ray whether the calcification is likely associated with my ulnar collateral ligament or an attachment of one or more of the muscles at the medial epicondyle?

2) Do you think that an MRI would likely clarify the nature of the injury?

3) Based on the doctor's tentative diagnosis, I've been assuming that it is not the UCL.

I have been following your recommendation of performing your wrist weight and iron ball exercises and baseball throws at reduced intensity and maintenance volume as rehabilitation.

However, if the calcification turns out to be associated with an injury of the UCL, instead of a muscular attachment site, would you still recommend that I keep rehabbing it that with your program as I've been doing, or would I likely be looking at surgery?


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     Unfortunately, when I opened your attachment, I got gibberish.

     To repair torn Ulnar Collateral Ligaments, the body does calcify the injury. However, if that is the calcification that your doctor found, it should not interfere with your training.

     Please describe the problems that you have had with your medial epicondyle area.

     I recommend that you continue to rehabilitate as you have been doing.

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0185.  Trevor Bauer videos

If you go to You Tube and type in Trevor Bauer Curveball, Trevor Bauer Reverse Slider etc..., you get high speed videos of his releases.

It looks to me like he gets the back of his arm toward home plate and seems to separate the arm actions to a degree.


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     I put this link on my website some time ago and commented that Mr. Bauer uses my pitching arm action and pronation release that I teach to throw his curveball. Clearly, Mr. Bauer turns the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and pronates his release. However, he does not get his pitching forearm inside of vertical at release.

     This is the first time that I watched Mr. Bauer throw his slider. Clearly, Mr. Bauer turns the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and pronates the release.

     When Mr. Bauer releases his split pitch, he releases the baseball with straight backward rotation. Splitters are supposed to reverse rotate. Therefore, not only does his grip and release not place the baseball seams in position to collide with air molecules, eventually, it will injure the flexor muscles of his Index finger. Mr. Bauer did not meaningfully pronate his split release.

     To release his fastball, Mr. Bauer has his Index and Middle fingers separated. To maximize the force that the Index and Middle fingers are able to apply, baseball pitchers need these two fingers tightly together acting as one big finger. Again, Mr. Bauer did not meaningfully pronate the release and, certainly, did not turn either side of the baseball to collide with the air molecules en route to home plate, such that the baseball would move laterally. Mr. Bauer needs to learn my Maxline and Torque Fastball releases.

     Nevertheless, it is clear that Mr. Bauer engages his Latissimus Dorsi muscle. If he learned how to 'Horizontally Rebound' his pitching forearm, then he would significantly increase his release velocity.

     However, I am sure that Mr. Bauer wil say that he "actually figured out how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle on his own."

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0186.  Larry Lewis (2013 Q&A #142)

I was wondering at what age Mr. Lewis was able to run 6.7 miles in 37 minutes.

If he was able to do this at age 70 or older, he might well have been among the world's elite distance runners for his age group, judging from the times listed for 10,000 meters at the following webpage.

World Masters Athletics Records Outdoor Men

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     As best that I am able to remember, I met Mr. Lewis when he was 103 years old and still running 6.7 miles in 37 minutes.

     Somewhere around here I have an article that contains that information.

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0187.  Elbow

While my son's elbow is still hurting if we put pressure on the ulna at the base palm at the wrist on little finger side, we were anxious to start looking to correct the flaw that is causing this pain in the medial area.

Below is a link to a video (2 minutes) I took with 4 different angles. Kind of shadow drill with no ball and a couple with a tennis ball just going very lightly so you could take a look.

Seventeen year old with a 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce'

Seventeen year old without a 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce'

Do you think this change will take some pressure off the inside of the elbow?

We appreciate your guidance!


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

     By keeping the angle of your son's pitching elbow well beyond ninety degrees, your son has eliminated the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' jerky movement of raising his pitching forearm vertically upward and, despite his extremely high lift of his glove leg and excessively long stride, your son is timing when his glove foot lands and his pitching hand reaches driveline height.

     However, your son's pitching forearm is not vertical at release and he does not meaningfully pronate his pitching forearm through release.

     I recommend that your son step more straight forward with his glove foot, turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate, drive his pitching forearm inside of vertical at release and powerfully pronate all releases.

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0188.  Does stretching elastic bands avoid injuries?

Thank you for all that you do.

We have been doing your program here for a few years and have really seen exponential growth in pitchers.

My question comes from the "Physical Therapist" world.

We have PT/Trainers telling players that bands and stretching are the answer to all strength and preventative care.

1. "Do more bands and stretch to avoid injury."

Obviously, I am not part of that school of thinking, but, because they have some letters after their name, they are taken as somebody who knows what they're talking about. 9 times out 10 their diagnosis/advice seems to be a shot in the dark that they know nothing about and it is taken as gospel.

After following your teachings for many years:

2. What should/could I be telling pitchers about the limitations of band work as a means to an end and how do you combat these thinkers of band work being the end all and be all.


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

     Baseball pitching is an explosive, ballistic sport action.

     To train the bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons that explosively accelerate and decelerate the pitching arm, baseball pitchers need to precisely replicate the competitive action of the baseball pitching motion.

     Stretching elastic bands not only does not replicate the competitive action, stretching elastic bands does not stimulate a physiological response in the bones, ligaments, muscles and tendon.

     To precisely replicate my non-injurious baseball pitching motion and stimulate the bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons that maximize the force that baseball pitchers are able to apply to the baseball, instead of elastic bands, I recommend weights strapped around the glove and pitching wrists and heavy balls to which baseball pitchers apply force exactly as they apply force to baseballs.

     However, to prevent baseball pitchers from doing too much too soon, we have to start with weights suitable for the age and capabilities of the baseball pitchers.

     Therefore, I have designed interval-training programs for baseball pitchers of all ages.

01. For ten to sixteen biological age youth baseball pitchers, I recommend my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Programs. With this program, youth baseball pitchers master the drills that I use to teach the skills of my non-injurious baseball pitching motion. Then, after youth baseball pitchers are able to perfectly perform my baseball pitching motion, they gradually increase the weight of their wrist weights and heavy balls.

02. When youth baseball pitchers become biologically sixteen years old where the growth plates in their pitching elbow have completely matured, I recommend my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

03. When high school baseball pitchers become biologically nineteen years old where the growth plates in their pitching wrist and shoulder have completely matures, I recommend my 280-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

04. After adult baseball pitchers complete my 280-Day program, to maximize their baseball pitching fitness, I recommend a series of 72-Day 'Recoil' Interval-Training Programs that result in these adult baseball pitchers throwing 30 lb. wrist weights on their glove and pitching arms and 15 lb. lead balls at their maximum intensity.

     To find these interval-training programs, interested baseball pitchers need to click on the Baseball Pitcher Interval-Training Programs link listed on the home page of my website.

     To learn how to perform the drills that I use to teach the skills of my non-injurious baseball pitching motion, interested baseball pitchers need to click on the Baseball Pitching Instructional Video listed on the home page of my website and start by watching my Wrist Weight Training file.

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0189.  Up to eight pitchers in hunt for Rangers No. 5 spot
MLB.com
February 01, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX: Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux has been putting together his plan for Spring Training, and it includes stretching out 12 pitchers in preparation to be starters.

That means as many as eight pitchers could be competing for the fifth spot in the rotation when pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 12 to Surprise, Ariz.

"It will be intense," Maddux said Friday.

Four of the spots in the rotation are set, with Matt Harrison, Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Alexi Ogando. Eight other pitchers will be stretched out as starters, including Robbie Ross. He was the Rangers' left-handed setup reliever last season but will be given a chance to start this spring.

Maddux has six identified competitors in Martin Perez, Justin Grimm, Kyle McClellan, Randy Wells, Cody Buckel and Nick Tepesch. Maddux said one more pitcher will be stretched out as a starter, but he is leaving that spot open.

There will be plenty of time for pitchers to make an impression. Because of the World Baseball Classic, the Rangers are playing 38 exhibition games this spring, the most ever scheduled for a normal spring.

The Rangers will also be without Holland for much of that time. He is pitching for the United States in the WBC, which means his spot in the spring will be filled by those competing for the fifth-starter spot.

"It will give somebody an opportunity," Maddux said. "There are going to be some innings there that we normally wouldn't have."

Buckel and Tepesch have not yet pitched in the Major Leagues. But Ross had never pitched in the Major Leagues either before coming to camp last spring and winning a job in the bullpen.

"Last year at this time, everybody was wondering who Robbie Ross was," Maddux said. "But he introduced himself in Spring Training, and it was good to meet him. He really stepped up. It's up to these guys to step up now."

The Rangers have 36 pitchers on their Spring Training roster. They have 24 on the 40-man roster and another 12 coming in on Minor League contracts. Maddux is planning on at least one group of pitchers to throw live batting practice on Feb. 12, the day before the first official workout.

"I'm calling that Day Zero," Maddux said.

Not all 36 pitchers will be ready to go on Feb. 12. Colby Lewis, Neftali Feliz, Joakim Soria and Matt West all underwent major arm surgery last winter and aren't expected to pitch in Cactus League games. Rookie right-hander Roman Mendez also had surgery this winter and is expected to be behind the rest of the group. All others are expected to compete at the beginning of camp, either for a spot in the rotation or in the bullpen.

The bullpen could be wide open. Soria is not expected to return from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery until late May, and Feliz won't be back until August. If Ross wins a spot in the rotation, that will create further competition and a possible need for a left-handed reliever.

Michael Kirkman and Jeff Beliveau, who was claimed off waivers from the Cubs this offseason, are the two most experienced left-handed relievers on the 40-man roster. Perez might end up in the bullpen if he doesn't make the rotation, although it's more likely he'll start at Triple-A Round Rock. Veteran left-handers Neal Cotts and Nate Robertson are also coming into camp as non-roster players trying to win a spot in the bullpen. Joe Ortiz is another left-handed reliever on the 40-man, but he has never pitched in the big leagues.

From the right side, the Rangers have Joe Nathan back as closer but lost three of their top right-handed relievers to free agency: Mike Adams, Koji Uehara and Mark Lowe. Moving Ogando back into the rotation means another top reliever has to be replaced.

The Rangers signed veteran Jason Frasor and traded for Josh Lindblom to help make up for the loss. Tanner Scheppers also returns after posting a 4.45 ERA in 39 games as a rookie last season.

Other right-handed bullpen candidates from the 40-man roster include Jacob Brigham, Cory Burns, Wilmer Font, Justin Miller, Neil Ramirez and Coty Woods, who is a Rule 5 Draft pick from the Rockies organization. Non-roster right-handed candidates for the bullpen include Colin Balester, Evan Meek, Yonata Ortega, Yoshinori Tateyama and Johan Yan. Meek was an All-Star reliever for the Pirates in 2010.

"There is definitely a lot of opportunity out there," Scheppers said. "A lot of young guys want to show what we have, show we're healthy and show we're consistent. They're going to field the best 25 guys, so it will be interesting and exciting. I'm looking forward to it."


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     Rather than spend the off-season teaching and training baseball pitchers how to master the wide variety of baseball pitchers that baseball pitchers need to pitch to the four types of baseball batters, on what Ranger baseball pitching coach, Mike Maddux, calls Day Zero, Mr. Maddux is going to have the candidates for the fifth starting pitcher job throw live batting practice on Feb. 12, the day before the first official workout.

     Dr. Meister and the Rangers' Atletic Trainer will be busy.

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0190.  John Farrell: John Lackey fit and ready
Boston Herald
February 01, 2013

Perhaps it was a good thing that Red Sox manager John Farrell recently traveled to Dallas to visit with John Lackey. Otherwise, he may not have recognized the big right-hander.

Reached by phone yesterday as he prepared to leave today for Fort Myers, Farrell said Lackey has lost at least 10 pounds, likely more, during the final stages of his recovery from Tommy John elbow surgery. He also expressed confidence that Lackey will be healthy and ready to pitch in spring training after missing all of last season.

“In talking with him, in being down with him in Texas, the freeness and the looseness he feels in his arm, this is the first time in a while that he’s been able to experience that,” Farrell said. “So, I’m expecting him to be a big part of our rotation this year.”

Indeed, the Red Sox are counting on it. Because Lackey underwent surgery after the 2011 season, he has had extra time to recover. Rather than pushing to return to the mound in the typical 12-month rehabilitation window, he is 16 months removed from surgery.

And while lefty Franklin Morales, hard-throwing Rubby De La Rosa and knuckleballer Steven Wright may provide depth, the expectation is that Lackey won’t have any substantial spring training limitations.

“Any time you don’t have to rush that return to game activity, I think the better off you’re going to be,” Farrell said. “And this isn’t a young pitcher that’s trying to get established at the big league level. This is a guy that’s well into a very successful major league career, and you may not have the same limitations on his workload as you would with a young pitcher.”

And, perhaps for the first time in his Red Sox career, Lackey is healthy. He pitched with elbow discomfort throughout a dismal 2011, when he posted a 6.41 ERA that ranked higher than any Red Sox pitcher with at least 150 innings in a season. Farrell is hopeful that Lackey can pitch more like he did in the second half of the 2010 season, when he posted a 3.97 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 102 innings.

“He pitched deep in the game routinely, even if he wasn’t feeling 100 percent from a health standpoint,” Farrell said. “When you look back at that second half, he pitched very well.”


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     For 16 months, Mr. Lackey has not competitively pitched.

     If Mr. Lackey finished his rehabilitation in 12 months, Mr. Lackey should have spent those extra four months competitively pitching in simulated games every five days.

     The idea that rest makes baseball pitchers stronger is nonsense.

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0191.  Trevor Bauer Windup Mechanics video

Trevor Bauer's New Windup Mechanics

Trevor Bauer is apparently tweaking his mechanics this off season. He has a stated goal of throwing 95 MPH this year.

I don't see how he possibly can with these mechanics.

Evidently, to prevent injury he is shortening his windup.

I believe this is the Maddux effect on baseball pitching. It is this shortening of his driveline that I feel reduces his ability to pitch at his genetic release velocity.

1. Do you feel Mr Bauer's windup hampers his ability to throw with his maximum release velocity?

On the other hand, I think this wind up will prevent front of the shoulder problems because he keeps his elbow in front of his acromial line. Then, the question becomes:

2. Does Trevor use his Latissimus Dorsi?

I say no but it does appear that his elbow turns all the way over to pointing up at release. The elbow does not snap back, however.

For what it's worth what I believe will catch up with Mr Bauer is the violent bending at the waist he does when pitching and doing the pull down phase of his long toss routine.


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01. With his pitching foot parallel with the pitching rubber, Mr. Bauer uses the Tensor Fascia Latae muscle to move his body sideways forward.

     This action unnecessarily stressed the top of the hip socket, the inside of his pitching knee and his pitching upper leg groin (Adductor Brevis muscle). When Mr. Bauer pitched in the major leagues for the Diamondbacks, he had an injured pitching upper leg groin injury.

02. When Mr. Bauer's glove foot lands, Mr. Bauer's glove foot is still in contact with the pitching rubber, his glove foot is to his pitching arm side of straight forward and his pitching hand is not at driveline height.

     With his glove foot in contact with the pitching rubber, Mr. Bauer can forward rotate his pitching hip to about forty-five degrees toward home plate. This means that Mr. Bauer is not able to generate meaningful forward body rotation.

     With his glove foot on the pitching arm side of straight forward, Mr. Bauer forces Mr. Bauer to pull his pitching arm across the front of this body.

     With his pitching hand not at driveline height when his glove foot lands, Mr. Bauer cannot keep his pitching upper arm in front of his acromial line.

03. When Mr. Bauer gets his pitching forearm horizontally behind his pitching elbow, Mr. Bauer's pitching upper arm is clearly behind his acromial line and horizontal.

     With his pitching upper arm behind his acromial line, Mr. Bauer has to use his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching upper arm forward and across the front of his body.

     While Mr. Bauer does not have much 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' Mr. Bauer still uses his Brachialis muscle to prevent the bones in the back of his pitching arm from banging together. This means that Mr. Bauer cannot use his Triceps Brachii muscle to mioanglosly extend his pitching elbow.

04. With his pitching elbow pointed upward after release, while Mr. Bauer did not engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, Mr. Bauer tried to pronate his release. However, Mr. Bauer pronated after he released his pitch.

05. At the end of his Deceleration Phase, Mr. Bauer's pitching hand is well across the front of his body.

     This means that Mr. Bauer used his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching arm forward and across the front of his body.

     Earlier this week, I watched high-speed video of Mr. Bauer throwing his curve, sinker, splitter and fastball. In every video, Mr. Bauer turned the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate. Therefore, in these videos, Mr. Bauer engaged his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     If Mr. Bauer uses the baseball pitching motion that I watched this morning, then not only will Mr. Bauer not increase his release velocity, Mr. Bauer will eventually suffer pitching injuries to his pitching hip, pitching knee, glove knee, front of his pitching shoulder and back of his pitching elbow.

     In the Comments box for 'Trevor Bauer Windup Mechanics' video, I wrote:

"Mr. Bauer This pitching motion is horrible. You do not engage your Latissimus Dorsi muscle. You pull your pitching upper arm, do not use your Triceps Brachii muscle and, if at all, you weakly pronate your release. Your body action prevents hip and shoulder rotation. Not only will you not increase your release velocity, you will eventually suffer injuries to your pitching hip and knee, glove knee, front of your pitching shoulder and back of your elbow. You have lost everything good that you did well."

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0192.  Former NL Cy Young Award winner Webb retires
MLB.com
February 04, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ: It appears there simply were no more Major League pitches left in Brandon Webb's right arm.

The former National League Cy Young Award winner said Monday that he was officially retiring from the game after attempting a third comeback from arm trouble.

"I've tried everything -- I've worked with many different people, trying different things, so there's no second guessing," Webb said of his decision.

As it turns out, Webb's final game in the big leagues was Opening Day 2009, when he left the D-backs' game after four innings with some discomfort in his shoulder.

At the time, it didn't seem like a significant injury. Webb was coming off a season in which he was 22-7 with a 3.30 ERA in 34 starts and finished second in the NL Cy Young voting.

Two surgeries and several failed comeback attempts later, Webb finally acknowledged he was out of options.

"I was at the top of my game, at the top of the game and then it was just suddenly over," Webb said. "My dad said, 'At least you didn't have to struggle, at least you went out on top.' I was like, 'Yeah, but I would almost have rather have tapered off, because I think that would have been easier for me rather than just suddenly be done.'"

After trying to make comebacks with the D-backs in 2010 and the Rangers in '11, Webb thought he was done, but he had surgery in August 2011 to see if that might help.

Last season, he did not pitch and seemed to be all but retired. However, the love of the game and the desire to explore all options had him thinking maybe he could find a way.

Then this past November he ran into Reds pitching coach Bryan Price, who served in a similar capacity for the D-backs during Webb's run of success. Webb won the 2006 NL Cy Young Award and finished second in the voting in 2007 and '08 with Price as his pitching coach.

Price said if Webb was up for it, he would love to work with him to see if there was something left in his arm.

"If it was going to be anybody to work with, it would have been him," Webb said.

So starting just before Thanksgiving, the pair began working, and there were initial signs of hope during flat-ground sessions.

"I was spinning curveballs, my changeups were great, my movement was great and I thought maybe I could go back to where I was," Webb said. "But once I got close to getting on the mound and turning up the intensity, just like the other times, my arm just won't let me do it."

Webb tried taking a week off to see if that would help, but last Tuesday with his shoulder still aching, he decided there was nothing more he could do.

"It's frustrating, but it's a relief though, too," Webb said. "It's both feelings -- sadness because I'm definitely going to miss it, but also relief because I can stop worrying if I've done enough or tried hard enough. I was putting in all this time and effort over the last three years, and it turned out to be all for nothing."

Webb is not sure what his next step will be. His wife, Alicia, would like him to do something, he said, and he'll spend all the time he can with the couple's two young children, Reagan and Austin.

Baseball, though, still tugs at him, and his heart remains with the D-backs, who drafted him out of the University of Kentucky in 2000. It's the only organization for which he threw a Major League pitch.

"I don't know if I'm coaching material," Webb said. "I would like to do something in the game. What it is I don't know." The D-backs would certainly like to talk to him about what that might be.

Team president and CEO Derrick Hall said he planned on giving Webb a little time to get past the decision, but then hopes to discuss a way to make Webb a part of the organization going forward.

"It's obviously a sad day," Hall said. "He had a wonderful career, and in my opinion, will always be a D-back. He provided our fans and organization with some great pitching memories. He was always a class act and represented the D-backs in the finest way. He's a wonderful father and husband and has always been a true gentleman."


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     Cy Young Award winner, Brandon Webb, said:

01. "I've tried everything."
02. "I've worked with many different people."
03. "Tried different things."
04. "So, there's no second guessing."

     When Mr. Webb won the 2006 Cy Young Award and finished second in 2007 and 2008, Reds pitching coach, Bryan Price, Mr. Webb's pitching coach.

     Mr. Webb said: "If it was going to be anybody to work with, it would have been him (Mr. Price)."

     Just before Thanksgiving, Mr. Webb started working with Mr. Price.

     Mr. Webb said:

01. "I was spinning curveballs."
02. "My changeups were great."
03. "My movement was great."
04. "I thought maybe I could go back to where I was."
05. "But, once I got close to getting on the mound and turning up the intensity, just like the other times, my arm just won't let me do it."

     After taking a week off to see whether rest would fix his arm, last Tuesday (January 28, 2013), Mr. Webb decided there was nothing more he could do.

     As my stats guy, Brad Sullivan wrote at the top of this article: Ah, no you haven't tried everything.

     In two weeks of training with me, Mr. Webb would no longer have any discomfort in his pitching shoulder.

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0193.  Trevor Bauer Windup Mechanics

This issue of engaging the Latissimus Dorsi still has me confused.

You seem to suggest that, because Mr. Bauer brings his pitching arm across the front of his body at release he, therefore, was not able to engage his Latissimus Dorsi.

I also looked at Mr. Bauer's fastball, curveball and slider.

You suggest that he engages his Latissimus Dorsi in these clips.

While you can't see where his arm goes after release my suspicion is that it goes across the front of his body. As evidence I give you a slow motion clip shot around the same time as the curve ball, fastball and slider.

Trevor Bauer Windup Mechanics

In this clip, while Mr. Bauer turned the back of his humerus bone toward home plate his pitching arm clearly finishes across the front of his body. Therefore, my understanding is that he did not engage his Latissimus Dorsi.

Does Mr. Bauer engage his Latissimus Dorsi in this clip?


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     To turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate, baseball pitchers have to use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     However, that does not mean that these baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to inwardly rotate their pitching elbow through release.

     The visual cue that indicates that baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to inwardly rotate their pitching elbow is whether, after release, their pitching elbow pops upward.

     Because, in Mr. Bauer's 'Trevor Bauer Windup Mechanics' video, Mr. Bauer's pitching elbow does not pop up, Mr. Bauer did not use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to inwardly rotate his pitching arm.

     In addition, contrary to Mr. Bauer's statement the he always powerfully pronates the releases of his pitches, that the palm of Mr. Bauer's pitching hand does not immediately turn to at least face away from his body indicates that Mr. Bauer did use his Pronator Teres muscle to powerfully pronate this release.

     Mr. Bauer's pitching forearm does not have a tight pronation circle. Instead, Mr. Bauer's pitching forearm moves across the front of his body. This means that Mr. Bauer supinated this release.

     At release, Mr. Bauer turns his head to the glove arm side of his body. This action indicates that Mr. Bauer used his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching upper arm forward.

     Therefore, to answer your question, in this video, Mr. Bauer did not use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     In your previous email, you wrote: "For what it's worth what I believe will catch up with Mr. Bauer is the violent bending at the waist he does when pitching and doing the pull down phase of his long toss routine."

     By repetitively powerfully bending forward at his waist, Mr. Bauer will eventually injure the L5-S1 intervertebral disk in his lower back.

     In my comment about Mr. Bauer's pitching motion in this video, I forgot to include that Mr. Bauer will perpetually injure the Adductor Brevis muscle in his pitching upper leg, also known as the 'groin.'

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0194.  Is it possible to throw hard with your motion?

With my new pitching program I bought and by studying Major League motions, I've seen my control improve and velocity soar from the low 70's to low 80's in one year. I couldn't be more pleased with the results.

But while doing this, I've always wondered "what if your correct and I get injured."

I found your motion very interesting but at the same time it confuses me.

I asked my pitching instructor about you and he said that he'll give me a million bucks if I can find a student of yours that can throw 75 mph.

The motion you teach seems to get so much disrespect due to no MLB pitchers using it.

So my question is:

Is it possible to throw hard with your motion?

Is there a single major league that throws above 95 mph that has good mechanics to you?

I was wondering what your thoughts are on this?


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     If your pitching instructor coach owes you a million bucks for every baseball pitcher that uses the pitching arm action that I teach, your pitching instructor owes you several million dollars.

     If you are able to find a major league baseball pitcher that uses his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to powerfully inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm, his Triceps Brachii muscle to powerfully extend his pitching elbow and his Pronator Teres muscle to powerfully pronate the releases of all his pitches, then you have found a major league baseball pitcher that has good pitching mechanics.

     Your pitching instructor has no idea what he is talking about.

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0195.  Tale on Rondon's velocity to be told during spring
MLB.com
February 04, 2013

DETROIT, MI: The legend of the Bruce Rondon fastball is already building, like something out of folklore or a tall tale that gets bigger each time it's retold. It's not like seeing Bigfoot, but it might be comparable to a shooting star.

He hit 102 mph on one pitch and 101 on three others in the 2012 XM All-Star Futures Game at Kauffman Stadium, and that was in front of a national audience against some of the best prospects in baseball. That had some extra adrenaline on it.

Greg Gania, play-by-play broadcaster for the Double-A Erie SeaWolves, says Rondon, who cracked MLB.com's Top 100Prospects list, definitely hit 101 mph on the ballpark readings when he was there during the summer, though scouts there clocked him at 102 on their own radar guns.

Mike Maroth, the former Tigers pitcher who is now the pitching coach at Class A Lakeland, said he saw him hit 102. He saw Rondon throw changeups up to 90 mph, and he had to smile.

"I had a hard time getting my fastball up to 88," Maroth said wistfully.

Tigers assistant general manager Al Avila says he saw Rondon top that.

"I've seen 103," Avila said, "and I've seen the most consistent 100s outside of [Justin] Verlander."

Rondon himself claims he doesn't know. He says he usually doesn't look back at the radar readings on scoreboards after he throws a pitch.

"Sometimes," he said through an interpreter.

The hardest he has been told about was 104, which a friend claimed to have seen in a Minor League game against the Yankees. Rondon didn't see it. That might be where the legend gets stretched.

Whatever the top number, it's how common triple digits became that helped grow the legend.

"You were pretty much guaranteed to see 100 every time he stepped out on the mound," Maroth said. "A hundred is pretty common for him. The thing is, it doesn't look like it's that hard before he throws so free and easy. He's not a max-effort guy. The ball just jumps out."

Though others have hit 100 on a rare occasion, it's the kind of velocity nobody has seen consistently from a Tiger other than Verlander since Joel Zumaya was healthy. As much awe as Zumaya's fastball attracted, Rondon's fastball has the potential to be a spectacle, no matter what happens in his bid to win the closer's job with no big league experience.

Even his new teammates are curious. All that most Tigers players have seen from Rondon came from a brief appearance in a game last spring when the Tigers brought him along for a day as an extra reliever.

"To be honest with you, I've never caught him," Alex Avila said during the Tigers' winter caravan last month. "I've never even seen him pitch live. All I've seen is video, and all I've got to go by right now is just what everybody has said and what all of you guys have written. I am as interested as you guys to see what Spring Training holds for Bruce Rondon."

Rest assured, his fate won't rest on how hard he throws. If manager Jim Leyland holds to the approach he has taken during past Spring Trainings, the radar board at Joker Marchant Stadium will be off. That philosophy goes back to Zumaya's days in camp, when Zumaya was known to look over his shoulder at the numbers.

Rondon doesn't sound like he'll get wrapped up in that. What encourages some, though, is how he has pitched in spotlight situations. His Futures Game appearance, his first real prospect spotlight, was one sign. A matchup at Class A Lakeland against Vladimir Guerrero was another. In that case, it wasn't simply about velocity.

Guerrero, once known for the quickest bat in baseball, was making a comeback attempt and making his way up the Blue Jays system. Rondon hadn't built up the name yet.

"He didn't throw a pitch under 100 until he threw one of the best sliders I've seen him throw," Maroth said. "He really stepped up, went right after him."

The slider was 87 mph with late break. The fastball that eventually got Guerrero, Maroth said, was 101 mph outside. Guerrero got his bat on it but grounded out.

In those instances, Rondon seemed to channel his adrenaline well in big situations. At neither point, though, was he auditioning for the big leagues, let alone for the closer job. The closest he has come to that was his late-season stint at Triple-A Toledo, where he struck out nine on five hits over eight innings with seven walks.

The composure is what Leyland will be watching more than the velocity readings.

"You can't make a senior out of a freshman," Leyland said. "I don't know, but I do like talent, and he's got a lot of it. We'll give him an opportunity."

Rondon throws with Zumaya-like velocity, but Zumaya never got a chance to close in Detroit. Rondon throws a little harder, but as Al Avila pointed out, the difference between 100 and 102 mph is arguably trivial. What separates Rondon at this point is his use of his other pitches.

Maroth praises Rondon's slider, a late-breaking pitch that has movement without sacrificing much velocity. Al Avila praises Rondon's changeup, which he can throw with deception in part because he throws his fastball so easily.

"He doesn't throw it very much," Avila said.

Both pitches, Maroth said, Rondon throws for strikes. He doesn't have to rely on hitters chasing them to get outs.

No matter what is to be believed on the fastball, it's the kind of stuff that a lot of current big league closers would love to have. At some point, it's going to dazzle big league hitters this spring. How he uses it, and how he handles everything mentally, will be a big factor on whether he gets to show it on Opening Day, when the Tigers visit Minnesota.

It's the city where Zumaya threw his signature fastball, hitting 103 on the radar at the Metrodome against the Twins as a rookie in 2006. It's also where Zumaya threw his last Major League pitch, collapsing on the mound at Target Field after blowing out his elbow in 2010.

It's where the legend on Rondon could turn to reality.


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     Mr. Rondon throws a 100 mph fastball, an 87 mph slider and a seldomly used change-up.

     Unless Mr. Rondon pronates the release of his slider, Mr. Rondon will bang the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together and lose the flexion and extension ranges of motion in his pitching elbow.

     The reason why high release velocity baseball pitchers seldom become the best baseball pitchers that they can be is that, instead of teaching their baseball pitchers how to throw a wide variety of high quality pitches that they will need to pitch to the four types of baseball batters, their pitching coaches talk about velocity.

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0196.  Cardinals GM Mozeliak talks about the team's use of sabermetrics
ESPN.com
February 04, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO: On the bookshelves in John Mozeliak's office, several books with a dark background and bright red letters on the spine stand out. The shelves hold many items, some pictures and many baseball books, but it is the red letters the eye gravitates toward. They read, "Bill James Handbook."

It is surprising Mozeliak would have books by Bill James, whom Bob Costas once described as the man responsible for revolutionizing baseball, only because as the St. Louis Cardinals' general manager he has available to him endless statistical information most of us will never see. What does he do with these books?

Mozeliak says he likes the James handbooks because he can get a quick snapshot of players and they are all in alphabetical order.

"A lot of times I label the pages of particular players I'm working on and just flip to it," Mozeliak said. "The James book to me is almost more like baseball cards' stats now. I utilize our own internal system, which is more sophisticated and gives us sort of different answers anyway, so I have both at my disposal."

People define sabermetrics in many different ways, but for Mozeliak sabermetrics is a tool and a reference for how one can value players.

"Sabermetrics to me was always sort of the society of baseball and math; where they collide," Mozeliak said. "I also think it's a little more of the history of the game, and an appreciation for performance in terms of how you rank players."

In 2004 the Cardinals made a conscious effort to build an analytics department. A baseball team can’t become sabermetric-minded overnight; it takes time to establish and then time to work out the kinks.

"At the time we called it Baseball Development," Mozeliak said of the initiative. "We still have that department in play. It's evolved quite a bit. We no longer solely have people in that department that don't have some baseball background. It is a diverse group, and that group is looking at how to best combine advanced metrics as well as traditional scouting."

Mozeliak says people working in baseball naturally gravitate to numbers. He does not have a degree in math but says, "there are guys down this hall that do." While he uses advanced statistics, he doesn't throw out all the traditional ones.

"I do think ERA has relevance on the pitching side," Mozeliak said. "Although it is not perfect, it does give you an idea of how [pitchers] are performing."

He also utilizes WAR, a linear weights statistic that when used to evaluate batters combines batting, fielding, baserunning and replacement level by position.

"There is no perfect stat, but when you look at trying to define Wins Above Replacement, it is a very simple place to grab information and get a feel for it," he said.

There are several versions of WAR out there, and while he looks at all of them, he does have a favorite.

"I use our own internal system, because that's what I'm most familiar with and also in the past five, six years I feel like we've made very good decisions based on it," Mozeliak said. "My confidence in it is very strong."

The job of a general manager is filled with constant decision-making. In the past teams would rely solely on scouting information and very generic statistics. Mozeliak says using advanced statistics helps him make the best decisions possible.

"Now we're able to combine these advanced stats with the ability now to really create a model that gives us sort of recommendations on contracts, salary and length," he said. "When you start thinking about things like the aging curve -- that is something I think 20, 30 years ago when players were signing contracts, they were signing contracts for what they accomplished -- now people are signing contracts for what you expect them to do."

It is general knowledge that most teams use some sort of advanced statistics these days. While some teams use them more than others, the industry is learning how to use sabermetrics to gain even the smallest of edges.

"When everybody is doing the same thing or close to it, is there a competitive advantage? Probably not, right? So when you think about how all organizations now are valuing certain things, what we do now is spend a lot of energy trying to determine what is being overvalued and then look at what is undervalued. Then maybe we should be swimming at that end of the pool. So, that's one focus."

The other focus is a more corporate approach. Mozeliak describes it this way: "Meaning, here we have this way of thinking that's on top of the company. How do we get that to be accepted from a bottom-up approach?"

It is one thing for front offices to use advanced statistics, but for teams to gain an advantage, the statistical research also needs to trickle down to on-field personnel.

"What we do is we don't force-feed it, we don't necessarily tell people, 'This is how you have to think and here's why,' but we do [give] subtle examples of why we think it is important, why we value certain things from an analytical side and how they can incorporate that into their day-to-day job. I assure you it's not a [meeting] where we sit down there and have a statistical advanced class every spring training, because it is just not helpful.

"Player development, for example, they understand what they are doing; they understand their business and they're good at it. I will say where analytics do come into play is two places. One is the amateur draft. It has become a really important tool for the success of our operation. The other part that comes into play is determining promotions and demotions in minor league players and, again, we do not solely make decisions on what these numbers say. We allow all the people we have working for us to have a voice in this, but we do have some guidelines that we use that help us make these decisions."

When evaluating a player such as outfielder Oscar Taveras, a top prospect in the Cardinals organization and one of the best in baseball, there are several prongs to making a decision on what turns a prospect into a major league player. Mozeliak says you can think of the process as legs to a table.

"If you lose one or two the table falls, so you really need all [of them] to stabilize your decisions," Mozeliak said.

One aspect would be the scouting, such as bat speed or a player's mechanics. A second is statistics. For the Cardinals, another important part is work ethic and character.

"The character component of our decision-making does not account for anything in the analytical world," said Mozeliak. "We don't put it in the algorithm, because it is just not there, but we do try to do our due diligence on the back end on what kind of person they are and how they will fit into our clubhouse, because we really do feel that's a key component to our success."

Projections are yet another branch, but they can be tricky.

"Projections at the lower levels are very difficult to use for major league projections," Mozeliak said in evaluating a player such as Taveras. "Having said that, when you do have the kind of performances he's had, it's not hard to start looking at major league projections for him. So, Taveras actually is into that now for us."

In recent years the Cardinals seem to have a tendency to emphasize college players in the draft. Is this a product of relying highly on analytics?

"I will say that when you look at collegiate players from an analytical standpoint, it is much easier to make projections versus high school stats. [High school stats are] really a lot of noise with no real clear answer," Mozeliak said. "We do try to balance off the draft where we are not exclusively college or high school. Now I think a lot of our success stories have come from college, but I think in time, maybe in 2014, 2015, you are going to see this shift of the Shelby Millers of the world show why we drafted him."

On the major league level advanced statistics do trickle down to the coaches. Mozeliak says the daily job of determining who should play and why they should play is a decision that takes into account so many things most of us never see. He says it is helpful having a manager like Mike Matheny who is willing to look at advanced statistics, but at the same time Mozeliak doesn't want to create a "paralysis downstairs" because the advanced statistics can be a little overwhelming.

"I believe how [Matheny] puts a lineup together is that he is utilizing things we give him from upstairs, but we don't want to bury him with having to overthink things. Most importantly, we hire a manager to make that lineup. I do think one thing that Mike and his staff have done a very good job of is embracing anything we can put together as far as advanced scouting for them. Trying to eliminate small sample sizes and make them accept larger ones for probabilities has been helpful. Mike, he is a young manager that is very interested at looking at the best ways to be successful, so that's always a good sign when you have that in an employee."

Mozeliak's goal is for the coaches to tell him and the statistics department what information they want and need, rather than just feeding them information the analytics department has put together. At some point though, as more teams figure out how to use advanced statistics in a way that will trickle down to on-field decisions, will the Cardinals need to reinvent or revise the entire process to maintain an edge?

"I think so," he said.

"Your first statement is the truest of all," Mozeliak continued. "When you said, 'How do you have a competitive advantage?' There may come a time when there is no place to push stats, like some of the defensive world is still improving, right? Nobody feels like they've got that nailed, but with the creation of f/x data there's a chance it is going to get pretty good quickly. [FIELDf/x data tracks player positions, providing feedback for reaction times and if a play in the field was even possible]. So from an organizational standpoint, we are always looking at ways that might have nothing to do with stats, but give us that advantage."

For now, Mozeliak's desk offers a clue to one way the Cardinals have maintained a competitive edge since he became general manager in October 2007. There are a few black binders scattered about on his desk. There is also a copy of "The Hardball Times 2013 Annual" on top of a pile of papers. When I ask if it is all right if I mention that he reads these sabermetric books, Mozeliak smiles and with the tone of confidence only a GM with one World Series championship under his belt (and plans for more rings in the future) can have, says, "Sure."

"They are there, I use them," Mozeliak admitted. "My geeky reading."


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     Cardinals general manager, John Mozeliak, said: "Projections at the lower levels are very difficult to use for major league projections."

     That is because Mr. Mozeliak does not understand the skills that baseball players need to succeed in major league baseball.

     No statistic teaches baseball players these skills.

     Therefore, with regard to developing major league baseball players, sabermetrics have no value.

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0197.  Pronation

1. Do you like Tyler Matzek's and Trevor Bauer's mechanics?

2. Can pronation increase velocity?

3. Could you teach me your motion, but the type that Tyler Matzek does?

I'm really interested in your motion. At first I tried to learn it, but you used too many hard words in your video and site that I gave up:)

4. Would it be possible to get mentored by you? It's my dream to become a pitching coach in the future.

Also, by mentor,  I mean looking at my videos and answering my questions, nothing big.

If I can understand your motion, I can post on forums and to my team and friends about your motion.

I can also post videos on YouTube and promote your site.

I can work really hard up to 10 hours each day and I'm confident I can change people minds on your mechanics.

I just need to understand your mechanics.

Please could you take me in as a student, I know your likely very busy but please.


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01. Lon Fullmer attended one of my Marshall pitching motion certification clinics.

     Starting at ten years old, Mr. Fullmer taught Tyler Matzek his interpretation of my baseball pitching motion. In Mr. Fullmer's interpretation, his baseball pitchers use the 'traditional' body action. The 'traditional' body action prevents baseball pitchers from rotating the acromial line to pointing at home plate at release.

     Nevertheless, Mr. Matzek says that he is able to stand on the pitching mound and, with my Half Reverse Pivot drill throw the baseball over the center field wall. That means that Mr. Matzek uses the pitching arm action that I teach.

     With his bastardized Marshall pitching motion, Mr. Matzek is not able to master the wide variety of pitches that he needs to succeed against the four types of baseball batters.

     Mr. Fullmer told me that he has repeatedly told Mr. Matzek to visit with me. Other that one email about obtaining a lead ball, I have never communicated with Mr. Matzek.

     In December 2007, I presented my materials to participants in Ron Wolforth's and Brent Strom's clinic.

     A year or two earlier, I and Jeff Sparks visited the Nationals spring training site for a tryout. During that tryout, Brent Strom asked me to explain how to grip, drive and release my Maxline Pronation Curve. I did so.

     At the 2007 clinic, Mr. Strom said that he had learned how to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     Recently, Mr. Bauer said that he figured out how to grip, drive and release his curve all by himself.

     In high-speed videos that Mr. Bauer posted that shows how he throws his curve and other pitches, Mr. Bauer used the pitching arm action that I teach. That means that Mr. Bauer turned the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate, which is my 'Slingshot' pitching arm action.

     Very recently, Mr. Bauer posted a high-speed video of the new pitching motion that he is learning in the hope that he will increase his release velocity, Unfortunately, the pitching motion I watched will not only not increase his release velocity, eventually, it will injure his pitching hip, pitching knee, pitching groin, lower back, the front of his pitching shoulder and the back of his pitching elbow.

     Therefore, to answer your first question, no.

02. Yes. When baseball pitchers powerfully pronate their pitching forearm though release as I teach it, they do increase their release velocity.

03. Several years ago, I decided that I would never teach a bastardized version of my baseball pitching motion.

04. Sorry. To learn how to perform my baseball pitching motion, you and others with the same request will have to use the videos and written materials that I have placed on my website for all to watch and read without charge.

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0198.  Elbow

We'll work that change as well.

Can I ask a stupid question?

I have been thinking about the flawed motion of having the wrist palm down and then turning it up while the arm is extending and coming up.

When I do that myself, that motion feels a lot like the supination action of a traditional curve ball.

So, even without ever planning on throwing a traditional curveball, in many ways he has been throwing one every pitch!

Would that be an accurate layman's way of understanding how that twisting action would strain the ucl?

Your help is so very much appreciated!


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     The only way that baseball pitchers unnecessarily stress the Ulnar Collateral Ligament is to 'Reverse Bounce' their pitching forearm while not contracting the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of their pitching elbow.

     I teach my baseball pitchers to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height with the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body, not upward.

     Baseball pitchers that have the palm of their pitching hand facing upward when the pitching arm reaches driveline height have maximally supinated their pitching forearm. I want my baseball pitchers to wait until they move their pitching arm into my 'Slingshot' pitching arm position to maximally supinate their pitching forearm. When baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm maximally supinated at driveline height, they will move their pitching hand laterally behind their acromial line.

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0199.  Pronation

Is there a single mlb pitcher who has mechanics you like?


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     No.

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0200.  Pronation

Also, how do you throw a curve, pronated?

Isn't supination the reason it curves?

Is chopping the wood correct?


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01. In Section 09 of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I explain and demonstrate how to grip, drive and release my Maxline Pronation Curve.

02. No.

03. No. Mr. House is trying to take credit for designing a pronation curve. The key to pronating the release of my Maxline Pronation Curve is to start with the palm of the pitching hand facing downward and ending with the palm of the pitching hand facing upward.

     In my Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video, Mr. Sparks shows how to properly release my Maxline Pronation Curve. You will see that it does not look like someone chopping wood or a karate chop.

     Instead of asking me questions that I have answered, you need to watch my videos and reading my Coaching Baseball Pitching book and Question/Answer files.

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0201.  Trevor Bauer Tweet From Last Week

While perusing Trevor Bauer's Twitter account, my stats guy, Brad Sullivan, came across the following brief exchange from last week.

Ben Andrews: Have you ever talked to former Cy Young winner Mike Marshall, who also has been ridiculed for his training methods for pitchers.

Trevor Bauer: nope never have. I've been attacked by a lot of his followers though. It's their favorite thing to do.


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     I assume that Mr. Bauer wrote this message before I commented on his 'Pitch Grip' video.

     However, that Mr. Bauer has not responded to my last comment on his 'Pitch Grips' video and my comment on his 'Pitching Motion' video, I am not certain that Mr. Bauer understands that I like his attitude about not allowing 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches to change his mechanics and only want to help him.

     To my readers: I appreciate that you help me teach how to eliminate pitching injuries and so on, but, please be kind

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0202.  Classic has Giants bringing extra pitchers to camp
MLB.com
February 04, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: The baseball bromide "you never get enough pitching" might seem to have become a Giants mantra. The reigning World Series champions will welcome 35 pitchers to camp when batterymates report to Scottsdale, Ariz., on Feb. 12.

Given the pitching staff's quality and stability, this seems like an excessively large contingent. Health permitting, San Francisco's five-man starting rotation is expected to return intact. And the bullpen has only one apparent vacancy, assuming the club opens the regular season with a 12-man staff.

But the Giants have reason to hoard arms. The pitching pool will become noticeably more shallow in early March, when nine players, including six pitchers, scatter to perform for their respective countries in the World Baseball Classic.

The exodus from the bullpen will be especially dramatic. Of San Francisco's six established relievers, only George Kontos will remain in Arizona. The rest -- Jeremy Affeldt (United States), Santiago Casilla (Dominican Republic), Javier Lopez (Puerto Rico), Jose Mijares (Venezuela) and Sergio Romo (Mexico) -- are Classic bound. So is starter Ryan Vogelsong (United States).

Starting pitchers will be continuing to build their endurance during the first half of March while the Classic is under way. Thus, the Giants will need an ample number of relievers to work the four to six innings that starters bequeath to the bullpen.

Giants vice president of baseball operations Bobby Evans acknowledged Monday that San Francisco's stockpiling is "definitely related" to the Classic. "We have to be careful with the number of arms we're losing," he said.

The additional pitchers fit all varieties, from rookies such as Jake Dunning and Chris Heston to Major League veterans such as Chad Gaudin and Scott Proctor.

Evans admitted that the number of pitchers in camp might seem a trifle high, but he noted that it isn't overly disproportionate in comparison with previous years. He pointed out that the Giants began camp with 28 pitchers in 2009, 30 in 2010, 29 in '11 and 33 last year.

Other Giants on provisional rosters for the Classic are center fielder Angel Pagan (Puerto Rico) and third baseman Pablo Sandoval and second baseman Marco Scutaro (both Venezuela).

Giants pitchers and catchers will conduct their first workout Feb. 13. Position players are scheduled to report to camp Feb. 15, with the first full-squad workout set for the following day.


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     To maintain competitive fitness and skill levels and delay the aging process, professional athletes must train every day.

     Rest is the enemy of fitness, skill and staying young.

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0203.  Johan Santana intends to pitch in World Baseball Classic
CBSSports.com
February 04, 2013

Mets left-hander Johna Santana intends to pitch for Team Venezuela in the upcoming World Baseball Classic. The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner has been working his way into shape for the tournament.

Santana, 33, went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 21 starts for New York last season. He threw the first no-hitter in franchise history on June 1, but the 134-pitch effort appeared to take a toll on his surgically repaired shoulder. Santana pitched to an 8.27 ERA in his final 10 starts after the no-hitter, and his season ended in mid-August due to an ankle sprain and lower back inflammation.

DiComo notes that because Santana finished last season on the disabled list, the WBC must be willing to insure the $31 million left on his contract before he can compete. The Mets could ask him to not participate in the tournament, though GM Sandy Alderson said he will not comment on the matter until Santana officially asks for permission to pitch in the Classic. He has not done that yet.

Santana pitched in the 2006 WBC, but he sat out the 2009 event due to a knee injury.


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     That Mr. Santana is working his way into shae for the upcoming World Baseball Classic is good news for the Mets. If Mr. Santana started immediately after his ankle sprain and lower back inflammation subsided, then Mr. Santana should be in great shape.

     The only problems would be whether Mr. Santana eliminated the injurious flaws that caused his pitching shoulder and lower back injuries.

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0204.  Matt Garza throws pain-free bullpen session
ESPN.com
February 04, 2013

MESA, AZ: The Chicago Cubs' prospects for a solid pitching rotation were enhanced on Monday when Matt Garza threw a bullpen session for the first time since the end of July and had no complications. 

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer and pitching coach Chris Bosio watched Garza throw 30 pain-free pitches at the team’s minor league complex.

“Matty looks like he is in great shape,” Bosio said. “It looks like he worked hard in the offseason. His legs are in great shape and I believe he is ahead of where he was last year when he reported.”

Garza had his 2012 season cut short after experiencing pain in his right triceps. That injury eventually led to a stress reaction in his elbow that ended his season in July after 103.2 innings pitched. Garza, who was on the trading block before his elbow strain, compiled a 5-7 record with a respectable if not spectacular 3.91 ERA.

The 29-year-old right-hander is going into his free-agent year after the 2013 season, in which he will earn $10.25 million.

“He has been on his program all winter and has not had any hiccups at all,” Bosio said. “The ball was coming out of his hand great today. He should be pretty happy and it was good to see him pitch with no concerns at this point.”

Garza threw mostly fastballs in Monday’s session. Before taking the mound, the pitcher played long toss for 20 minutes and joked with other players in camp. Bosio hit Garza some ground balls to end his workout for the day.

“He is on a program we put him on and at this point he is ahead of schedule,” Bosio said. “The communication I have had with our trainers indicate they are very happy where Matt is at in his program. As for me, I do not have any concerns at all for him. He has always been very honest about how he feels with us.”

The plan, according to Bosio, will have Garza throwing every other day at the beginning of camp . After two or three bullpens the starting pitchers throw live batting practice every fourth day with a side session in between. Garza and the rest of the Cubs’ rotation pitchers will then pitch every five days when the Cactus League season begins Feb. 23.


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     Cubs pitching coach, Chris Bosio, said:

01. “Matty looks like he is in great shape.”
02. “It looks like he worked hard in the offseason."
03. "His legs are in great shape."
04. "I believe he is ahead of where he was last year when he reported.”

     The good news is that Mr. Graza worked hard during the off-season. The bad news is that Mr. Bosio designed the training program that Mr. Garza did.

     Nevertheless, in general, even a wrong training plan is better than no plan.

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0205.  Rockies to have a development supervisor at each level
MLB.com
February 04, 2013

DENVER, CO: In an innovative move to oversee player development practices at every level of the Minors, the Rockies' 2013 Minor League staff will include a development supervisor for each of the six Minor League affiliates.

The Rockies, who announced assignments Monday, have a development director hired for every team except for Triple-A Colorado Springs, which will be hired soon. Of those hired, four are veterans in the Rockies' system -- Tony Diaz at rookie-level Grand Junction, Ron Gideon at short-season Class A Tri-City, Marv Foley at Class A Asheville and Duane Espy at Double-A Tulsa. Another, Fred Nelson at Class A Modesto, spent 27 years working in the Astros' organization, including a stint as player development director.

The development directors will work with the manager, staffs and players to make sure that the Rockies' development philosophies are being carried out and communication and team building take place.

The way the Rockies operated in the past, there was a manager and coaching staff at each level, and a set of roving instructors with various responsibilities -- pitching, infield, outfield, catching and baserunning. The Rockies hope the new structure brings more consistent instruction from level to level.

"Some of this remains to be seen," Rockies player development director Jeff Bridich said. "What we've done is take responsibilities that used to be done by roving-type coordinators and made them fully dedicated at a certain level. It's another set of hands, another set of eyes. Then there's the team-building aspect that will be a big part of the job." Bridich said the club is still interviewing candidates at Colorado Springs.

The Rockies still will have roving instructors, but the development director will always be present to evaluate not only the players but the coaching methods. The experience of each of the development directors, who will travel with each club, also allows him to instruct players if needed.

Diaz had managed Rockies clubs at the rookie level since 2007. Gideon was field coordinator for the entire farm system last season. Espy managed Tulsa the last two seasons. Foley was Minor League catching coordinator last season. Espy and Foley each also have worked at the Major League level with the Rockies.

The Rockies also officially announced all of their managing and coaching positions on Monday.

At Colorado Springs, the Rockies had previously announced that former Colorado first-base coach Glenallen Hill would be manager, and Dave Hajek, former roving infield coordinator, would be a coach. Dave Schuler moves up from Tulsa to become pitching coach.

The new Tulsa manager is Kevin Riggs, who coached there last season. Pitching coach Darryl Scott moves up from Modesto. Darin Everson, who managed the Washington Wild Things of the independent Frontier League the last two years and had spent four years working in the Marlins' system, becomes a coach at Tulsa.

Lenn Sakata returns as manager at Modesto, after leading the team to the California League playoffs last year. Jon Stone returns as a coach, and pitching coach Dave Burba moves up from Tri-City.

Fred Ocasio, who managed Tri-City last year, will manage Asheville this year. Pitching coach Joey Eischen and hitting coach Mike Devereaux return.

Drew Saylor, coach at Grand Junction last year, will manage at Tri-City. Frank Gonzalez, who played collegiately at Colorado State, spent eight years in pro ball mostly with the Tigers' organization and spent the last four years as head coach at Fort Collins (Colo.) High School, will be the Tri-City pitching coach. Warren Schaeffer, who spent the last six years as a player in the Rockies' system, will begin his coaching career at Tri-City.

Anthony Sanders, who coached at Tri-City last season, will manage Grand Junction. Ryan Kibler will return as pitching coach. Another coach will be Lee Stevens, who played eight years in the Majors with the Angels, Rangers, Expos and Indians, and has been the varsity baseball coach at Highlands Ranch (Colo.) High School the last five years and a hitting instructor at Slammers Baseball facility in Centennial, Colo.

The Rockies also have hired Andy McKay as the peak performance coordinator, a title previously called mental skills coach and performance enhancement coach. McKay spent the last 13 years as head baseball coach at Sacramento City College, and has coached in the Cape Cod and Northwoods summer leagues.

In addition to McKay, coordinators are Doug Linton (head pitching coordinator), Bob Apodaca (assistant pitching coordinator/assistant to the general manager), Mark Strittmatter (catching), Scott Murayama (head rehabilitation coordinator), Andy Stover (Tri-City trainer and assistant rehabilitation coordinator), Greg Bauer (strength and conditioning coordinator), Josh Rosenthal (cultural education coordinator), Scott Alves (video coordinator), Jerry Bass (equipment coordinator) and Butch Hughes (part-time pitching coach).

Also, the team hired full-time strength and coordinator trainers at Colorado Springs (Mike Jasperson) and Tulsa (Brian Buck).


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     To make sure that the manager, staffs and players of the Rockies minor league teams properly communicate the Rockies' development philosophies, the Rockies are sending development directors to every of their minor league teams.

     The Rockies still will have roving instructors. However now, development director will always be present. These development directors will evaluate not only the players, but the coaching methods and, where deficient, instruct the players.

     This action assumes that the minor league managers and coaches do not understand or do not want to properly communicate the Rockies development philosophies.

     My question is:

01. What are the Rockies development philosphies?

     Regarding the Rockies 'Development Directors' program, Rockies player development director, Jeff Bridich, said:

01. "Some of this remains to be seen."
02. "What we've done is take responsibilities that used to be done by roving-type coordinators and made them fully dedicated at a certain level."
03. "It's another set of hands, another set of eyes."
04. "Then there's the team-building aspect that will be a big part of the job."

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0206.  Price: Webb gave his all in comeback attempt
MLB.com
February 05, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ: For a while there, Bryan Price thought Brandon Webb might just be able to pull off a comeback and return to the big leagues.

The Reds' pitching coach, who worked with Webb when he was in a similar capacity with the D-backs from 2006-09, had worked with Webb for over two months trying to find a way to return the former National League Cy Young Award winner to the mound for the first time since Opening Day 2009.

"His throwing, his long toss, his accuracy, his arm strength, his arm speed were increasing and he still had that good natural action on his sinker," Price said. "I was optimistic barring any setbacks that he could get back on the mound and we could really evaluate what he had left in the tank. Unfortunately, we just fell a little short there."

After pain in his shoulder returned, Webb announced Monday that he had decided to retire from baseball.

Price and Webb reconnected this November when Price bumped into Webb at a restaurant. It made Price think back to something he saw last summer.

"What really hit me sideways was we were playing the Diamondbacks this past season late in the summer, and I saw on the scoreboard an advertisement for the alumni game they were having and one of the names up there was Brandon Webb," Price said. "That hit me funny, because you usually think those guys are retired players."

Webb and Price got to talking in November and decided to work together on Webb's latest comeback attempt.

Price had seen Webb at his best. The right-hander won the NL Cy Young Award in 2006 and finished second in the voting in '07 and '08.

"His sinker was second to none," Price said. "There were none that were better. That's not me being biased, that's just reality. You could practically talk to anybody in baseball, and they would probably agree that from the time he came on the scene in 2003 until the end of the 2008 season, I would gladly argue anyone who says there was a better sinker out there.

"He could also get the strikeout when he needed to and a lot of that was on his curveball and changeup. The other part of him that I admired was that he wanted to stay in games, but he was smart enough to know if he should stay in a game. He was always honest with us when he was tired, but if he wasn't tired, he wanted to stay in the game."

On Opening Day 2009, he injured his shoulder and never was able to pitch in a big league game again despite two surgeries and several comeback attempts.

Each time there would be optimism about his ability to return to action, only to have the shoulder pain crop up when he tried to up the intensity and get back on the mound.

Price tried a number of different ways to get Webb's shoulder loose -- including having him play some tennis -- but in the end, nothing worked.

"I was really happy to have the chance to work with him," Price said. "He made some good strides. The willingness was there, he put in the work, but his body just wasn't up to the challenge. I really admired him for giving it another chance."


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     As my stats guy, Brad Sullivan, said: "In short, Price has no clue how to keep pitchers healthy."

     In two weeks of training with me, Mr. Webb would know how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle. From there, without any pitching shoulder discomfort, Mr. Webb would be able to become the best baseball pitcher that he wanted to be.

     That Mr. Price had Mr. Webb play tennis shows how little Mr. Price understands the baseball pitching motion. Hanging onto the tennis racquet after serving trains the back of the serving shoulder. Mr. Webb's injured the front of his pitching shoulder.

     My wrist weight exercises properly trains the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to safely decelerate the pitching arm.

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0207.  Sabathia expects to hit ground running this spring
MLB.com
February 05, 2013

NEW YORK, NY: Yankees ace CC Sabathia said that his pitching elbow feels ready to handle the workload of another season, and the left-hander expects to be close to his normal schedule as the team begins camp.

"I feel pretty good. My arm feels good," Sabathia said. "I've been playing catch up to about 110 feet. I look forward to getting down to Spring Training and get off the mound and see how it feels."

Sabathia and the rest of the Yankees' pitchers are due to arrive in camp on Feb. 12. The 32-year-old had arthroscopic surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews in October to remove a small bone spur.

Yanks manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild have said that they expect no issues with Sabathia, and the hurler agreed with that assessment, coming off a campaign in which he was 15-6 with a 3.38 ERA during the regular season.

"I don't think I'll be that far behind; maybe just a bullpen session behind or a batting practice session I might skip," Sabathia said. "We'll see what happens when I get down there and talk to Larry and Joe."

Sabathia was in New York on Tuesday to accept community outreach honors at the 33rd annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner, held at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Midtown Manhattan, and he said the name of the fallen Yankees captain resonated with him.

"Just talking to older guys and guys who played with him, [Munson] was a great teammate," Sabathia said. "He was a great captain, very passionate, and that's something that you want to be as a teammate. The greatest honor is that the guys you played with had respect for you, and that's what his name means to me."

Yanks pitcher David Phelps was also present to receive the "Rising Star" award for his impressive debut campaign of 2012, and said he hopes to rejoin Sabathia in the rotation this season.

"I would like to. Anything could happen," Phelps said. "We have seven days until pitchers and catchers report. I'm just going to go in and try to help the team, whatever role that may be."

Sabathia had two stints on the disabled list last year, including a bout of elbow inflammation that prevented him from raising his left arm above his head, but Sabathia said that he sees no logic in reducing his goal of a heavy workload.

"I look at it one year at a time. That's what I've always done," Sabathia said. "I don't want to hold anything back or sacrifice anything one season to look forward three years from now. I'm playing for right now and trying to win a championship, and I want to go out there as many times as I can and try to help the team. I'll do what I can to stay healthy."


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     In October, Dr. James Andrews removed a small bone spur from Mr. Sabathia's pitching elbow.

     Baseball pitchers develop bone spurs in the pitching elbow when they bang the bones in the back of their pitching elbow.

     This means that Mr. Sabathia has 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' and supinates the release of his breaking ball.

     This bone spur is gone, but, unless Mr. Sabathia learns how to pronate the release of his breaking ball, it will not be long before another bone spur appears.

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0208.  From: 22egrossman has made a comment on Marshall Pitching Motion

im so confused


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My pitchers rotate their body over their glove leg, point their shoulders at home plate, apply force in straight lines, use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, their Triceps Brachii muscle to extend their pitching elbow and their Pronator Teres muscle to pronate their pitching forearm. As a result, without stiffness or soreness, my pitchers are able to powerfully throw a wide variety of high-quality pitches every day.

It is worth your time to understand.

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0209.  Cards' Carpenter unlikely to pitch this season
MLB.com
February 05, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO: On the heels of another injury setback, the Cardinals announced Tuesday that three-time All-Star and Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter is unlikely to pitch this season.

General manager John Mozeliak said during a news conference at Busch Stadium that Carpenter, who will turn 38 in April, reported to team officials last week that he was continuing to experience discomfort and numbness in his right shoulder -- the same issues he experienced last year, when he was shut down just weeks into Spring Training due to weakness and numbness in his shoulder, neck and back.

Mozeliak, accompanied by manager Mike Matheny, went so far as to say, "Do I envision Carp returning? I would say it's very unlikely, so no."

As recently as last month, Carpenter spoke with excitement about the upcoming season, telling reporters that he began his offseason throwing program in December and had, to that point, incurred no problems.

"I haven't had any issues with my throwing or anything this year," Carpenter said on Jan. 19 while attending the Cardinals' Winter Warm-Up. "I feel good. My shoulder feels good. I'm looking forward to getting down there and getting to camp early and get going."

But something changed in the meantime.

"On Friday he had notified me after numerous attempts at throwing bullpens, he is still feeling the same discomfort he was experiencing during last year's season and just felt like at this point he can no longer continue to try to throw," Mozeliak said.

"He was sad. He was definitely teary-eyed and I think he felt like, to some degree, he was letting us down. ... At that point I was still wondering if there was some point for some resolution on this, but both Mike and I have talked to him numerous times and at this time he just wants to make sure whatever's going on in his shoulder, his neck and his arm will not preclude him from having a normal life."

The announcement came exactly one week before the Cardinals are to hold their first Spring Training workout. The club was hopeful that Carpenter would again be a cog in a rotation that went most of the 2012 season without him.

With Carpenter out of the equation, the Cardinals will either have to lean on one of their young starting pitchers -- a group that includes Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Trevor Rosenthal -- or look for help from outside. Free agent Kyle Lohse remains unsigned.

A first-round Draft pick by the Blue Jays in 1993, Carpenter has been slowed by injuries throughout his career. He has landed on the disabled list 11 times and underwent separate surgeries on both his right shoulder and right elbow.

He was eventually diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and underwent surgery in July to correct the issue. Carpenter surprised many when he returned to the mound in September, but he returned without his usual arm strength.

Carpenter's final appearance in 2012 was on Oct. 21 at AT&T Park. He lasted four innings and allowed five runs (two earned) on six hits in four innings to the Giants, who went on to win that National League Championship Series and the World Series.


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     Numbness results from pressure on nerves. To have numbness in his pitching shoulder, Mr. Carpenter has to have an intervertebral disk between two cervical vertebrae pressing on a dorsal nerve root.

     The diagonsis of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome never made any sense.

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0210.  Honeycutt excited by pitchers at Dodgers minicamp
MLB.com
February 05, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA: The Dodgers kept last week's Young Guns pitching minicamp under wraps. So, nobody outside the organization saw Clayton Kershaw throw a bullpen session with no pain in his right hip, or Javy Guerra throw pain-free coming off collarbone surgery, or Ronald Belisario throwing his nasty stuff off a mound.

And no outsiders saw former first-rounder Chris Withrow now that he's been switched from a starting pitcher to a reliever, or Pedro Baez now that he's been switched from a third baseman to a pitcher.

But Rick Honeycutt saw all of that and more at Camelback Ranch-Glendale, and he's as excited as a pitching coach with eight high-priced starters and a loaded bullpen can be.

"Clayton was great, outstanding," said Honeycutt. "But he was outstanding his last three starts, so that wasn't a surprise. Shawn Tolleson had a little back tightness, but he threw a 'pen. So did Josh Wall and Javy Guerra, who isn't as far behind as I thought he'd be. Belisario was there, he threw twice, looked real good."

The Young Guns minicamp was originally intended for top pitching prospects, which is why Withrow and fellow first-rounders Zach Lee and Chris Reed were there. But with Spring Training around the corner and the pitching coaches in attendance, the Dodgers have encouraged Major Leaguers like Kershaw, Guerra and Belisario to stop by and get a bullpen in before Spring Training starts.

With the offseason spending spree, particularly on starters Zack Greinke and Korean lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Dodgers have eight starting pitchers. In addition to Kershaw and the new pair, returning are Josh Beckett, Chad Billingsley (coming off a partially torn elbow ligament), Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Ted Lilly (coming off shoulder surgery).

Honeycutt said Capuano, who lives in Arizona, threw two bullpen sessions at the minicamp last week. If Billingsley is healthy, there won't be room in the rotation for Capuano, Harang or Lilly.

"Better to have too much," said Honeycutt. "Where we're at is what the game should be about. Nothing is handed to you. It's about competition. It's not just about winning, it's about winning everything. These guys know the situation. We've got X-number of starters and just five spots that will go to the guys throwing the best. I don't think anything isn't as it should be."

Billingsley was not at the minicamp, remaining at home in Pennsylvania, but he hasn't had a setback after responding well to platelet-rich plasma injections. There is no way to know if his elbow will hold up until it is tested in Spring Training.

"He has to be smart and be open if he feels something so he doesn't push it past the point," said Honeycutt. "There's a fine line between being really hurt or having something you can deal with. Chad tends to pitch through whatever is going on, and he's not always open about what's going on. He needs to be honest with himself."

The Dodgers traded away eight young pitchers -- Rubby De La Rosa, Nathan Eovaldi, Scott McGough, Logan Bawcom, Josh Lindblom, Ethan Martin, Ryan O'Sullivan and Allen Webster -- during last summer's shopping spree for proven veterans.

Honeycutt didn't see Kenley Jansen throw, but the reliever arrived the day Honeycutt left and has been throwing bullpens with no ill effects from the surgery he had to fix an irregular heartbeat.

Honeycutt mentioned Jansen, a transformed catcher, in reference to Baez, signed for $200,000 to be a power-hitting third baseman. Baez, a .247 hitter in six Minor League seasons, is starting over as a hard-throwing reliever a la Jansen, who came out from behind the plate to emerge as a bullpen strikeout king.

"They put him on the mound in instructional league and that fastball is really strong," Honeycutt said of Baez, who turns 25 next month. "You talk about Kenley when you see the ball come out of his hand. He hasn't been overwhelmed by thinking too much about pitching. He just sees the glove and throws it and that's kind of refreshing."

Withrow, the Dodgers' No. 1 pick in 2007, had early bouts with the yips and more recently chronic back problems. Withrow responded to a bullpen move late last year, and Honeycutt said it's now permanent, hoping the role change can work Eric Gagne-like wonders for Withrow, whose electric arm is undisputed.

Maybe management recalls a hard-throwing second-rounder that struggled as a starter and was never tried as a reliever. Instead, the Dodgers let Joel Hanrahan leave as a free agent and he went on to be an All-Star closer. "Chris wanted the change," Honeycutt said. "He likes attacking more. He reminds me a little of Gagne, somebody who might throw three or four innings as a starter but have one [bad] inning, and you can eliminate that if you're only asking one inning of relief from him. Maybe one- or two-inning stints will be easier on his back. He's got the arm."

Honeycutt said he was also impressed with pitchers just added to the Major League roster -- Matt Magill and Steven Ames -- and especially 100-mph right-hander Jose Dominguez.


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     The article said: "The Dodgers traded away eight young pitchers for proven veterans."

     For long term success, professional baseball teams have to teach and train young baseball pitchers how to throw the wide variety of high-quality pitches that they need to succeed against the four types of baseball batters with a non-injurious, powerful baseball pitching motion.

     Veterans that used the injurious 'traditional' baseball pitching motion for years are only months from destruction.

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0211.  Laws of pitching physics get best of Webb
MLB.com
February 05, 2013

The rest of us tend to forget, because forgetting is convenient, how fragile even the best of these pitching careers can be.

With all the fame and fortune now available in the game, with all the remedies known to modern medicine, there will still be cases in which a pitcher's arm simply will not allow him to continue in his chosen profession.

One day, he can be at the top of his craft. And the next day, he can be done. He might not know immediately that he is done, but this will be history's verdict.

The case before us this week is Brandon Webb, announcing his retirement at age 33 due to a right shoulder that simply will no longer accept the workload of pitching at the Major League level.

Not all that long ago, Webb was one of the very best pitchers in the game. In a three-year span, 2006-08, for the Arizona Diamondbacks, he was as good as anybody on the mound. He wasn't romanticized the way flame-throwers are, but his effectiveness was beyond dispute.

He featured the "heavy sinker." His off-speed stuff was much more than all right, but with that sinker, every hitter was a ground ball waiting to happen. In that three-year span, he finished first, second and second in the National League Cy Young voting. He was 56-25 for those three seasons, including 22-7 in 2008, for a club that was merely 82-80. His ERAs for those three seasons, while pitching his home games in a hitter-friendly facility, were 3.10, 3.01 and 3.30. In Wins Above Replacement for NL pitchers over these three seasons, he was first, second and fifth.

Webb was explosion-proof. Working against his sinker, elevating the ball for distance might have been a passing thought but it rarely became a reality. In 2007, for instance, for every nine innings pitched, he gave up 0.457 home runs. In other words, Webb was giving up one home run roughly every 20 innings.

So he was a fully established ace, a pitcher who could be counted upon for tonight's start and over the long haul. He was, of course, the D-Backs' Opening Day pitcher in 2009. But after four innings, he left that game and that assignment, with soreness in his right shoulder. He never pitched another big league inning.

"I was at the top of my game, at the top of the game, and then it was just suddenly over," Webb said. "My dad said, 'At least you didn't have to struggle, at least you went out on top.' I was like, 'Yeah, but I would almost have rather have tapered off, because I think that would have been easier for me rather than just suddenly be done.'"

Webb, being the competitor that he was, didn't go quietly or quickly. He had two shoulder surgeries and made repeated comeback attempts. He tried to return with Arizona in 2010 and then with Texas in 2011.

I remember one morning in Surprise, Ariz., with Webb throwing a batting-practice session. His sinker was moving again, his velocity was increasing, his off-speed stuff was working.

Webb came off the mound beaming. The Rangers, defending American League champs at that point, might have had a rotation opening. It was not a stretch to imagine Webb back at the top of his game, pitching for a Texas club that would once again be a big winner. Rangers manager Ron Washington, after observing Webb's performance, proclaimed that the issue of Webb pitching again in the big leagues was a question "of when, not if."

It certainly looked that way on that day. But when Webb's workload picked up, the shoulder once again couldn't take the strain. Webb was shut down once more.

He had another shoulder surgery, later in 2011. This winter, wanting to stay in the game, and with a rested right shoulder, Webb worked with Bryan Price, who had been his pitching coach with the D-Backs and is now pitching coach for the Cincinnati Reds.

Again, Webb had initial success in flat-ground throwing sessions, regaining his movement, controlling his off-speed pitches. But once again, as his workouts picked up intensity, "Just like the other times, my arm just won't let me do it."

He subsequently took time off, but with his shoulder still aching, Webb decided to announce his retirement this week. He had put in three years of work since leaving the mound in 2009, but there was no happy ending.

Only 33, Webb would like to find a way to remain in the game. There should be a place for him in baseball. He certainly knew how to pitch, knew how to compete, knew how to win, for that matter. In a more perfect world, he would still be pitching at the top of his game. But in this world, in this line of work, sometimes human fragility trumps even a Cy Young Award-winning talent.


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     Using his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of his body, curvilinearly toward home plate and across the front of his body destroyed the front of Mr. Webb's pitching shoulder.

     Depending on how much damage his second surgery on his pitching shoulder caused, a few months of using his Latissimus Dorsi muscle inwardly rotating his pitching upper arm, his Triceps Brachii muscle extending his pitching elbow and his Pronator Teres muscle pronating his pitching forearm and Mr. Webb's pitching shoulder would be painfree.

     That is not Physics, it is Applied Anatomy.

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0212.  Pineda could progress to full mound by next week
SBNation
February 07, 2013

It seems a little like the only news we've heard about Michael Pineda since he became a member of the New York Yankees has been negative. His velocity was down, his labrum was torn, he got caught stupidly driving under the influence -- not really an auspicious beginning in a city that can be completely unforgiving. The Yankees gave up their top prospect for this guy, and the fans are going to demand results because of it, regardless of how Jesus Montero might do in Seattle.

Today, though, the news is positive. Pineda has been in Tampa, throwing off a half-mound in his rehabilitation after the surgery that repaired his torn labrum. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said today that Pineda has experienced no setbacks since he has been throwing again, and could very well make it all the way back to a regulation height mound by next week. After a long string of unfortunate events, it's nice to actually have a reason to be hopeful that things may be starting to go the right way with the pitcher who came to the Bronx surrounded by lofty expectations based on what he'd been able to accomplish with the Mariners.

Everyone will be curious to see what velocity Pineda is able to muster after undergoing a surgery that has a spotty track record at best. That information hasn't been discussed and probably won't be for some time. The team doesn't expect Pineda to be ready before about the half point of the year, which is still plenty of time away. It's possible that he will never be the fireballer that we may have thought we were getting, but there's just no way to know that right now. Wait-and-see mode is never fun, but at least we have more reason to be slightly optimistic than we did yesterday; and with how things have gone with Pineda to this point, that's something.


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     The articles said: "Mr. Pineda is throwing off a half-mound could very well make it all the way back to a regulation height mound by next week."

     Does this means that Mr. Pineda's rehabilitation program progresses Mr. Pineda from throwing off flat ground, to throwing off a five inch high mound and, lastly throwing off a ten inch high mound?

     Pity the grounds keepers that have to build the five inch high mound.

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0213.  Zito hoping this isn't final year with Giants
MLB.com
February 08, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: After this season, Barry Zito and the Giants could be involved in an activity they wouldn't have imagined before last year: Retaining the left-hander for an additional season, or even negotiating an extension with him.

Zito's reversal in 2012, when he finished 15-8 and added two more victories in the postseason, has created the possibility that the Giants might want him to stick around longer.

Zito and the Giants have reached the seventh and final year of his $126 million contract, which crests this season with a $20 million salary. Zito's performance this season will determine whether the Giants pick up an $18 million option on his services for 2014. They also can buy him out for $7 million.

Zito spent 2007-11 posting a 43-61 record with a 4.55 ERA. But even Giants general manager Brian Sabean acknowledged keeping Zito beyond this year is within the realm of possibility.

"Pitchers that stay in shape, especially left-handers, seem to have ways to reinvent themselves," Sabean said.

Said Zito, "This is where I want to be. I would love to play baseball in San Francisco until I'm happy riding off into the sunset."


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     Giants general manager, Brian Sabean, said: "Pitchers that stay in shape, especially left-handers, seem to have ways to reinvent themselves."

     After several wasted years, Mr. Zito trained through an off-season, sharpen his breaking ball and turned the baseball over and changed speeds.

     Those are tried and true concepts that all professional baseball pitchers should follow.

     Without a seven year $126 million guaranteed contract, Mr. Zito would not have had the years he needed to learn these lessons.

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0214.  Cleveland Indians 2013 spring training preview: The starting rotation
February 08, 2013

CLEVELAND, OH: There's one word for the Indians' starting pitching last season: terrible.

1. LHP Scott Kazmir

2012 stats: Pitched in the independent Atlantic League last year. He last pitched in the big leagues in 2011, appearing in one game for the Angels.

Comment: Edwin Rodriguez, one of the Indians minor-league managers, managed Kazmir in Puerto Rico this winter and said his velocity is back.

2. RHP Trevor Bauer

2012 stats: Arizona's No.1 pick in 2011 went 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA in four starts last year with the D-backs. In the minors, he went 12-2 with a 2.41 ERA at Class AA Mobile and Class AAA Reno.

Comment: He probably needs more time at Class AAA, but this is a guy the Indians have coveted since his UCLA days. They'll put up with his quirks as long as he pitches well.


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     The article discussed nine Indians pitchers. I chose to mention only Mr. Kazmir and Mr. Bauer.

01. Scott Kazmir:

     Indians minor league and Puerto Rico winter league field manager, Edwin Rodriguez, said that Mr. Kazmir's velocity is back.

     How has Mr. Kazmir changed his pitching motion?

02. Trevor Bauer:

     If Mr. Bauer uses the pitching motion in the Mr. Bauer Pitching Motion video, then Mr. Bauer will not get out of Triple-A.

     Hopefully, Mr. Bauer will consider my comment constructive criticism. I want Mr. Bauer to do well.

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0215.  Jurrjens' knee holding up deal with Orioles
Baltimore Sun
February 08, 2013

As of Thursday evening, the Orioles were still receiving medical evaluations on Jair Jurrjens, according to one team source.

It is becoming increasingly unclear whether the one-year deal between him and the Orioles will come to fruition. Vetting his physical has become a week-long process and it doesn’t seem like it’s heading in a positive direction.

The Orioles have long had concerns about Jurrjens’ health, especially the strength of his right knee. That dates back to last offseason, when the team tested the trade waters with the Braves in a possible deal involving Adam Jones. And that was before the velocity on his fastball continued to diminish and he pitched to a 6.89 ERA last season. They were concerned then, and they’re concerned now.


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     If Mr. Jurrjens were to turn his pitching foot to forty-five degrees toward home plate, then Mr. Jurrjens would have all the strength in his pitching knee that he will ever need.

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0216.  Dodgers add Lowe to bullpen with Minor League deal
MLB.com
February 08, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA: The Dodgers have added to their bullpen depth by signing free-agent pitcher Mark Lowe to a Minor League contract.

Lowe, 29, pitched in 36 games for the Rangers last year and missed time with a strained side muscle. He went to the Rangers from Seattle in the 2010 Cliff Lee trade.

Lowe would earn $1.5 million if he makes the Major League roster. But unless there is a new injury, the Dodgers have a loaded bullpen with closer Brandon League, setup men Kenley Jansen and Ronald Belisario, situational lefty J.P. Howell, as well as Javy Guerra, Matt Guerrier, Shawn Tolleson, Paco Rodriguez, Stephen Fife and Josh Wall.

In addition, if the top five starting pitchers are healthy, there isn't room for Chris Capuano, Aaron Harang and Ted Lilly. However, Chad Billingsley, Lilly, Jansen, Guerra and Guerrier are coming off injuries that required them to miss considerable time last season.


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     The Dodgers are signing as many veteran pitchers as they can find.

     They should spend their time and money developing young pitchers.

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0217.  Mark Prior in present tense
MLB.com
February 08, 2013

The sun is hot on top of a hill in San Diego and the house is white, so white that it looks perfect. A late-model 1990s sedan stops in the middle of the quiet street in the old neighborhood lined with Spanish-style super-casas, mid-century modern showpieces and other glittering fortresses of privilege.

The men in the sedan, who are probably in their 40s, are not close enough to the house to see the sculpted tufts of grass or the doormat marked by the letter P, but they gaze with curiosity through the open garage door and get a good look at the folks who have just exited the family Range Rover. The father is a tall, athletic-looking guy with sunglasses resting atop his brown hair. His wife is a pretty, fit blonde. The two little girls and one little boy who are rustling about look more like their mother -- light hair and blue eyes. They're smiling and laughing and waiting for the next bit of fun in a busy day. The mom ushers them into the house for snacks while the dad lingers.

"Hey," the guy riding shotgun calls out. "Can I ask you something?"

Nine years ago, the man who's about to answer this question was famous. He was a phenom, towering above baseball from the 10-inch-high Major League pitcher's mound. Already a Cy Young Award contender at 23 years of age, and -- paramount to his devotees, the beleaguered Chicago Cubs fan base that had not experienced a World Series championship since 1908 and a World Series appearance since 1945 -- a limitless, blazing 6-foot-5, 230-pound manifestation of rekindled hope aflame.

He doesn't hesitate. He's not taken aback by the request. He's comfortable and happy to oblige neighbors or strangers looking for help. Even though he lost one of the most infamous games in baseball's last half-century on that cool Tuesday night in Wrigley Field in October 2003, nobody recognizes him anymore. Not here, at least. Maybe in Chicago, but not here in his hometown, the place where he's at peace.Nine years ago, the man who's about to answer this question was famous. He was a phenom, towering above baseball from the 10-inch-high Major League pitcher's mound. Already a Cy Young Award contender at 23 years of age, and -- paramount to his devotees, the beleaguered Chicago Cubs fan base that had not experienced a World Series championship since 1908 and a World Series appearance since 1945 -- a limitless, blazing 6-foot-5, 230-pound manifestation of rekindled hope aflame.

Nine years. It's seemed like a long time, having not pitched in the big leagues since 2006 because of one injury or the next one or the bunch after that. It's seemed like a short time, watching his kids grow up so fast, watching as he and his wife evolve as parents and adults now in their 30s, settling into much quieter days in a world where expectations have new meaning. It's no longer the All-Star Game or the World Series or the Hall of Fame here on top of this hill. It's waking up every morning, really early, and trying to do the right things. Trying to get back to the Majors.

These days the questions are less about him and more about Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg, another phenom from San Diego, another guy who's had arm problems. Everybody wants to compare them.

Nine years. Maybe it hasn't seemed a day shorter or longer than that at all. Maybe it's that simple. Who knows? Like with everything else that's happened, why bother trying to figure it out anymore?

"Sure," Mark Prior says, emerging into the glow of the late November afternoon. "What's up?"

"Well, I've never seen a house so white. How do you keep it so white?"

Prior laughs a bit. He wasn't quite expecting this.

"Well, it's pretty new. We've only been here 11 months."

"Still, man ... wow."

"OK, I'll let you in on my little secret," Prior says with a smile, walking closer to the car, looking just as comfortable in a rumpled red T-shirt, cargo shorts and sneakers as he did nine years ago in that flawless white pinstriped jersey with the C over the heart and the No. 22 on the back and the blue sanitary socks pulled high over those celebrated, gigantic calves.

"I paint a different section of it every day."

The men in the car shoot him a quizzical look.

"I'm kidding," Prior says, and the three men laugh together before the car pulls away.

Mark Prior walks back to the white house that looks perfect but isn't, because nothing is. He opens the door and goes inside to his family.

It's 8 o'clock on Tuesday morning at the University of San Diego's practice football field. Mark Prior has arrived and he's staking out territory on the sidelines in silence. He's carrying what looks like a lacrosse net, pulling colored balls and a white towel out of a gym bag, and setting it all down onto bright green artificial turf. Prior doesn't look like he's aged much in the 10 years since he first appeared on a Major League mound. He doesn't mind pointing out the handful of gray hairs above his sideburns that catch the early-morning light.

He's greeting his throwing partner, right-hander Stephen Penney, a skinny, red-headed tree of a 25-year-old. They crack a joke about their shared agent, John Boggs, and his glorious, immovable head of hair. They're making a plan. Maybe they can push it more than they did yesterday. They'll see where the workout takes them. So far there's not a baseball in sight.

The pitchers stand and stretch. Unleashed endorphins and the fast-twitch migration of last night's soreness from one muscle to the next render them unaware of the rich memories surrounding them. Mark hasn't thought about it in a while, but he used to pass right through here on those spring afternoons of JV ball at University of San Diego High School across the street. That building has since been torn down, the school moving itself up the coast to Del Mar and taking on a new name.

Prior's 32, so it takes a bit of effort to picture the 15-year-old version of himself, yapping away with the guys, in full uniforms, on their way to the Pony fields and clicking on the USD campus concrete before descending into Tecolote Canyon. Back then there was so much ahead of him and no way of knowing where the dirt trail through a dusty, sagebrush-flanked ravine might be leading.

Penney never had to do that walk. By the time he was progressing through the same baseball ranks, carpools had been worked out. That was 2003, when Mark Prior was no longer a University High sports deity a la Phil Mickelson, Barry Zito and Luke Walton. Mark Prior was already a burgeoning big league ace, the guy who might have lost that gutting Game 6 of the National League Championship Series but still had years of glory ahead.

That game never seems to go away. The Cubs were leading, 3-0, in the eighth inning, five outs from clinching the pennant, when a fan named Steve Bartman tried to catch a foul ball and knocked it away from the glove of approaching Cubs left fielder Moises Alou.

Alou got mad, the Wrigley Field crowd got madder, Chicago shortstop Alex Gonzalez booted a ground ball, and the Cubs lost, 8-3, and then blew Game 7. Yet another winter -- and ensuing decade -- of heartache had begun.

Penney knew all about that game. And when he first encountered Prior, in a 2008 workout session arranged by their pitching coach, Tom House, who had become the pitching coach at Prior's alma mater, the University of Southern California, he didn't know what to expect.

Would this guy be aloof or standoffish, typical of what one might expect of a former No. 2 overall draft pick who hit the bigs within a year? Would he deem a 20th-round selection out of UC-Riverside unworthy of using the same Nautilus machine? Had the Bartman incident soured him for life? Or had the injuries to his shoulder that had kept him out of the Major Leagues since 2006 made him a big league brooder?

He figured he might as well find out, so Penney walked up to him.

"I'm Stephen," he said, shaking Prior's hand. "We went to the same high school."

That was all that needed to be said. It turned out Prior was just another guy who wanted more than anything to make it to the Major Leagues, even though he had already done it. Prior didn't know how to be any other way.

He had grown up in nearby Bonita with a father, Jerry, who had played offensive line for Vanderbilt and saw how big-time athletics could break your body. Once Mark focused on baseball, dominated high school, and showed promise as a Vanderbilt freshman before transferring and shining at USC, scouts and agents flocked.

He was drafted by the Yankees in 1998 but opted for classrooms and dorms instead. He saw the world, traveling with Team USA. Even before going 15-1 with a 1.69 ERA to win the Golden Spikes Award as the top player in college baseball in 2001, Jerry had told all the big league teams that they needed to call Dad and make an appointment if they were interested in Son. Jerry wanted Mark to be a college kid having fun playing baseball, a stance that frayed quite a few fiberoptic cables of the old-boy network.

In August 2001, Prior signed with the Cubs for $10.5 million, a Draft pick record that would stand until Strasburg got more than $15 million in 2009. He went back to school and lived by the beach, working toward the business degree he'd earn three years later. The following year, he pitched all of nine Minor League games between Double- and Triple-A. He struck out 79 batters in 51 innings -- enough for a grand Major League bow on May 22, 2002, where Prior struck out 10 Pittsburgh Pirates in six innings at Wrigley.

That August, the Cubs played at Pacific Bell Park in San Francisco. Dusty Baker, the manager of the World Series-bound Giants, got to the stadium early, as usual. He sat in the dugout, enjoying a sunny day by the bay. He saw a striking figure warming up by the warning track and watched. He knew it was Prior. He had read the scouting reports. Now he was seeing it, and he understood. This was the right way to start a career, he thought. Arrive first, leave last. Baker imagined what it might be like to have a guy like this leading his pitching staff.

This morning, Prior casts a shadow over another field, and Stephen Penney stands and faces him. They've done a drill of throwing motions with a towel instead of a ball. Now they're standing 60 feet apart, and almost an hour after they arrived, they're throwing a baseball.

Prior is doing this every morning because his shoulder has gotten stronger and he's been good enough to pitch in Triple-A the last two seasons. He was released by the Red Sox last August, but he's going to do whatever he can to hook on with another organization in 2013. Penney is doing this every morning because this is probably his last chance to get back in the game.

The friends play catch and laugh about how tired they are. Nearby, sitting on the parking-lot curb, a worker in a hard hat eats a breakfast burrito and looks on. A passerby asks him if he recognizes the guy with the brown hair.

"Nope," the guy says. "Is he a pitcher?"

Mark Prior's leaving the field, running to his Range Rover to hurry to the gym. Once he's settled behind the wheel, he mentions a book he read: The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain. It was written by a neuroscientist and it helps explain how we trick ourselves into looking at the bright side of things, even if our lives keep chucking big boulders in the way.

He knows no book could ever describe 2003. It felt more like a movie, walking down Michigan Avenue or the side streets near the three-story townhouse he bought in Lincoln Park and hadn't even furnished with living-room or dining-room furniture by October. People would stop as he walked by, like they were all frozen, like in that scene in "The Matrix." They'd turn around. They'd point. They'd whisper to each other. He saw their eyes widen. He didn't get it.

Prior found himself going to the same safe Italian restaurant, ordering the same gnocchi and tiramisu. Sure, he'd go out with Heather -- they were engaged by then -- and teammates and their wives or girlfriends, but he'd make sure he didn't stray too far from his sanctum.

He'd do it differently now, if he had that option. He always loved Chicago -- the neighborhoods, the culture, the energy. He's still mad at himself for not tagging along with Heather on architectural tours. He understands now why he insulated himself, though. He was 22 years old. He was trying to win games and keep his mouth shut and it was working. Life was flying by.

In his second start of 2003, he shut out the Expos, struck out 12 and didn't walk a batter. By May 12, he was 5-1 with a 2.13 ERA. On June 26, he struck out 16 Brewers in eight innings. On July 7, he and young Cubs ace Kerry Wood were on the cover of Sports Illustrated holding baseballs with flames superimposed between them. The headline was "Chicago Heat." Dusty Baker had left the Giants after losing the 2002 World Series to the Angels and took the Cubs job. Now he had Wood and Prior as his 1-2.

Prior's momentum didn't slow down until July 11, when he collided with Braves infielder Marcus Giles and bruised his right shoulder. He made the All-Star team but was on the disabled list. He came back Aug. 5 and pitched six shutout innings against the Padres in his hometown. Then came two straight complete-game victories, including a 131-pitch effort on Sept. 1, six days before his 23rd birthday, in which he blanked the Cardinals for eight innings. It was his sixth win in a row and he was 14-5 with a 2.36 ERA. He had given up three earned runs in his previous 47 innings.

Teammate Eric Karros called what Prior was doing to batters "a joke," but anyone who thought Prior made it look easy didn't see the agony behind it -- the moments he'd spent screaming his head off, always in the sanctuary of the clubhouse, by himself, throwing balls at lockers, cursing his imperfections. They saw a statuesque sculpture on the mound. They started counting the trophies.

On Sept. 6 in Milwaukee, Prior threw another 129 pitches for another win. The Cubs were 75-67 and a half-game behind Houston for the National League Central division lead. The next day he turned 23.

By the end of the regular season, with the Cubs on their way to the playoffs, Prior had finished a stretch in which he'd gone 10-1 in 11 starts, including 13-, 14- and 10-strikeout games in succession to end the regular season. The pitch counts for those games: 124, 131, 133.

On Sept. 26 on ESPN.com, statistics prodigy Nate Silver and injury expert Will Carroll wrote that, "In the terminology of pitching biomechanics, Mark Prior is a freak." Another source was quoted in the article as saying, "He's the model; he's perfect."

Silver and Carroll mentioned that Prior had been worked more heavily that season than "all but four other pitchers" in their "Pitcher Abuse Points system," but it didn't seem to be too much of a concern.

"There are five major principles of proper delivery that can be summarized as balance, posture, anatomical position, rotation, and release," they wrote. "Prior is textbook with all five."

They ended the piece with a caveat, a reminder that it all could fall apart, just as it had for other hyped pitchers: "Mark Prior is human."

October arrived, and Prior threw a two-hit complete game in his postseason debut, beating Atlanta in Game 3 as the Cubs took the NL Division Series. His pitch count was 133.

In Game 2 of the NL Championship Series against Florida, Jerry Prior watched from the stands along with Mark's mom, brother and sister, family and friends as Chicago's offense scored seven runs in two innings. Mark walked off the mound with an 8-0 lead after five. The Cubs, after losing Game 1, had a laugher in the bag to tie up the series.

Jerry picked up the golf pencil that he'd clutched during all of Mark's games clear back to Little League -- his nervous-habit pitch counter. He looked down at his scorebook. Only 73 tally marks. This couldn't have been better -- an official game, maybe one more inning and a great setup for a possible Game 6. It was even better when the Cubs scored three more in the bottom of the inning.

But Prior came out for the sixth, the seventh, the eighth. By the time he really was done, having given up two solo homers, he was at 116 pitches. The Cubs won, 12-3.

Six nights later was Game 6, and, well, that one can wait until later.

Back at the gym, it's a regular fitness day -- pick a partner -- and Heather's here, too, although she's paired with someone else. "I don't need to be his partner here," she cracks. She's getting after it, too. So is he, bouncing from Pilates balls to a box jump to biceps curls and on. The walls are painted with self-help axioms, human and otherwise:

"The only time success comes before work is in the dictionary." -- Vince Lombardi

"Your attitude determines your altitude." -- Zig Ziglar

"Do or do not. There is no try." -- Yoda

Most of the folks in this workout group don't know a thing about Pitcher Abuse Points or remember who won it all in '03. They're being egged on by the owner, Todd Durkin, a charged, flat-topped brick of a man who practically leaps off the cover of his book -- which is being sold at the front desk, right near the fridge stocked with two different types of coconut water -- onto the gym floor, whistle in hand.

There's a 40-year-old mom who's in great shape and knows it. There's a preacher with a big smile trying to get rid of his big boiler. And doing pull-ups by the mirror along the back wall, there's a former Major League phenom, 32 years old and wincing from the strain.

Lunch at last, and Mark Prior is still happy to stick with something that works. He's at a busy restaurant, the one with the turkey sandwich he loves. The manager looks up from the oven to greet him. Heather walks in with Matthew and Caitlin. Amanda's still at school.

The specialty here is Chicago-style pizza, and the walls are covered with Windy City lore: black-and-whites from the Great Fire, Mike Ditka's middle finger, a Jeff Tweedy concert poster. A blue coffee-table book rests on a windowsill behind where Heather is sitting. It says "Cubs" on the cover in large red-and-white letters. Prior's watching Caitlin eat red grapes from a container her mom brought.

The book is subtitled, "From Tinker ... to Banks ... to Sandberg ... to TODAY." It came out in 2005 and led off with a summation of 2004 -- another good campaign, with the Cubs finishing 89-73, but a disaster otherwise. The team was looking like a Wild Card lock until it lost seven of nine in late September and missed out on the playoffs.

As always with the Cubs or any team believed to be cursed, there was plenty of blame to sprinkle around -- on closer LaTroy Hawkins, who had given up a game-tying three-run homer with two out in the bottom of the ninth against the Mets on Sept. 25. On Dusty Baker. And, yeah, even Mark Prior. He had missed the first two months of the season with Achilles tendinitis and made just 21 starts that year, pitching 118 2/3 innings. His record was 6-4. His ERA was 4.02. Fans could be encouraged after Prior's final start in '04, a nine-inning, 16-strikeout effort, but the Cubs lost that game.

The next year wasn't any better. On May 27, 2005, a line drive hit by Colorado Rockies outfielder Brad Hawpe broke Prior's right elbow, forcing him out of action for a month in an otherwise productive year with 11 victories. The Cubs finished 80-82.

The following spring, Prior strained his shoulder, missed the first two months of the season, and wallowed through two more disabled list stints before packing in 2006 with a 1-6 record, a 7.22 ERA, and an established reputation among Cubs fans. Prior was no longer a thoroughbred. He was broken-down, soft and content to sit on the disabled list and collect his checks. Another disappointment in a century-plus full of them.

The message boards piled on about his training methods, with joke after joke about how he could still snap a towel with the best of them. They piled on Baker and the pitch counts. Of course they blogged about Game 2, and don't forget Game 6.

Teammate and close friend Glendon Rusch heard about it at his golf club in Southern California one day when a member of his foursome found out he was a Cub. "Whatever happened to Prior?" the guy asked Rusch. "Did he just fall off the face of the earth?"

Here's what happened: Prior got seven screws put in his mangled shoulder -- torn labrum, rotator cuff and anterior capsule -- by Dr. James Andrews in April of 2007 and missed the whole year. He shuttled back and forth from San Diego to see Andrews in Birmingham and to rehab at home. That December, the Padres signed him to a one-year deal, knowing he wouldn't be ready until June of 2008 at the earliest. In May, Prior was in Peoria, Ariz., at extended Spring Training, trying to face hitters. He could hardly throw a strike, and the ones he did throw were getting crushed by kids who weren't yet in A-ball. He was tired after 20 pitches. Dead tired. He threw one more and almost fell off the mound. He said, "I'm done," walked into the clubhouse and couldn't pick up his arm for a half-hour.

Prior had torn the capsule again, this time clean off the humerus bone, but he wasn't deterred from his plan to make it back. Dr. Heinz Hoenecke operated on him in San Diego, the Padres signed him to a Minor League deal for another shot, and in June 2009, back in Peoria, he tore it again.

With scar tissue on both sides of his shoulder and two young daughters and a pregnant wife waiting for him, Prior went home and did nothing for two months. Some nights he'd ask Heather if she had any idea why he was still doing this. She reminded him that he loved playing baseball. He thought of those games when the guy at the plate didn't have a chance, when Prior felt like he'd almost rather have a guy on third base with none out than bases empty, just so he could strike out the next three and pump that fist on the way back to the dugout. He thought about the clubhouse gags with the guys, the road-trip camaraderie, the daily routine. He'd quiet down because he knew the answer. He had to keep going.

But when he tried to throw that August, he couldn't get the ball past 40 feet and man, his shoulder hurt.

He got in his blue BMW, the one he bought when he was a Cubs rookie, when everything was ahead of him. He drove up to visit Tom House, to see if his mentor had any magic left for him.

Now the turkey sandwich is almost gone and Matthew has eaten enough grapes to earn a few fries. A guest asks if Prior's ever noticed the book on the shelf behind Heather. He says he has not.

"Check it out," the guest says, picking it up and pointing to the thumbnail photo under the header "TODAY." It's a strong, fearless right-handed pitcher in full windup.

"You're on the cover."

A Southwest Airlines jet takes off and zooms right above Mark Prior and his son, Matthew, in the Range Rover on the way to gymnastics at 4 in the afternoon. The airport's close to downtown, and it has a single, short runway, so your takeoff is quick and straight up to the sky and your landing can be harsh.

Caitlin and Amanda have been at the facility for an hour, and Heather sits and observes with the other moms. Matthew woke up from his nap and Mark gave him a choice: stay home with Dad or go for a ride to hang with Mom and Dad and watch his sisters. He chose gymnastics ... or, as Mark put it, the vending machine at gymnastics.

During a break in Amanda's balance-beam practice and as Caitlin gets ready to tumble, Mark and Heather and Matthew walk to a nearby juice bar. Matthew scoots around the tables in a miniature car while his parents order a smoothie made of lemon, ginger, apple, celery, cucumber, kale and romaine lettuce. Minutes later, the drink is ready and the three head back around the corner to gymnastics. The high school sweethearts take turns drawing from the green concoction's straw. The sky is beginning to darken and the air starts to cool among the trees where the desert ends at the Pacific.

It's an easy, patient life here with the Priors. Matthew is jubilant with a mouthful of SunChips. For a few minutes, he has everything he wants. Matthew's dad does, too -- except for one thing.

Prior wouldn't let himself think his career was over that day he braved the freeway traffic up to USC. He got to Tom House's office and wanted answers. Would he ever be able to pitch again?

"I don't friggin' know," House said.

They agreed on one thing: Prior's right shoulder was a mess. A big hole in the capsule. Not much to work with there. But, House wanted to know, what would happen if they went right at the pain? Strengthen all the muscles that hold the shoulder together. Throw and throw some more. What if they tried things nobody had tried before?

Prior glared at House as if the old coot had spinach in his teeth. House laughed. It was the same look Prior had been shooting his way since they started collaborating when Prior was 14 years old. Soon Prior was fighting that San Diego Freeway crawl three days a week, working with conditioning coach Jackson Crowther. House had Prior putting elastic bands on his thumbs and walking for 10 to 20 minutes with his arms held aloft like goalposts. And doing something he had never learned how to do: throw a football.

Jerry Prior would have forbidden his son from football if Mark had ever shown interest in it. Too many injuries. Not worth it. And here was his son, 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, mobile -- a model quarterback, really -- and unable to keep a straight face because he couldn't produce even a hint of a spiral and didn't know how to grip the laces.

He got there. One hundred throws a day went from 40 feet with a lot of pain to 60 feet with a little pain to 90 feet and 100 feet and, whoa, wait a minute, hey, here was a little bit of accuracy, a little bit of zip. Then back to a baseball and a real plan, with a focus on recovery and fatigue management. Watching lactate intake. Working on keeping more oxygen in the lungs. Smarter nutrition. Making the nervous system go faster. Mitochondria strength. Mark Prior was improving and learning, absorbing every scientific term House could pluck from the journals. He was fitter than he'd ever been. It was summer 2010 and he was ready.

And he couldn't get a job. Well, not a big league one, not even close, but Steve Boggs, the son of Prior's agent, John, was having fun on the independent-league Orange County Flyers. They were managed by Paul Abbott, who had pitched in the big leagues for 11 seasons. They wanted to see Prior throw. The team was playing on a junior-college field in Fullerton, Calif., because it couldn't afford to rent the Cal-State Fullerton stadium. Prior threw for a few minutes and was up to 88, 89 mph. Abbott gave him a uniform and a contract. Prior was happy to accept the minimum -- not even 800 bucks a month. He told Abbott he wanted to be a reliever. He wanted to see if he could pitch back-to-back days, to get the adrenaline level back up. To go at guys. Abbott said it sounded great.

"Be yourself again," Abbott told him. "It's not hard. Just be Mark Prior."

Prior debuted against Vancouver and pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Then the Flyers got a five-day break because the next team on the schedule, from Tijuana, had lost their field. This was "Z-ball," after all. The games were re-slotted in Yuma, Ariz., on a back field where it was 110 degrees at 10 in the morning. Prior had forgotten his sliding shorts and had to find a Dick's Sporting Goods. He got his pregame meal in full uniform at a nearby Subway. He hadn't been this happy on a baseball field in four years.

The "season" continued. Prior was up to 90, 91. Abbott watched him out there, still running poles, still doing exercises while other guys were showing up right before first pitch and drinking beers right after the last out. Abbott heard Prior beating himself up. "You know ... with my luck," was a common one. But he also saw lots of smiles.

The team went to Maui. Seriously. Somehow, someone paid for it. There was another indie team on the island, Maui Na Koa Ikaika, and the Flyers flew out to play them and ended up at the Grand Wailea Resort. The $450 low-end rooms were free, but the $20 cheeseburgers weren't. These guys had to eat, so Prior, the only one with a Costco card, shepherded a few over to the island's only location to stock up.

The Flyers were making a late-season push, so Prior grew a playoff beard with his teammates. He wasn't expecting to get a call from his agent after a morning of snorkeling, but John Boggs called him and told him the Rangers were offering a Minor League deal. He was off to Oklahoma City.

Before he left for the mainland, he addressed his teammates, thanking them for the opportunity, the support. They saw how serious he was. Was he getting a tad emotional? Steve Boggs could have sworn he was.

Prior got in one inning for Oklahoma City before the season was over. He went back to San Diego, beard in tow. The Cincinnati Reds were in town playing the Padres, so Prior sneaked into the manager's office before the team arrived. He made himself comfortable and smiled when Dusty Baker walked in.

They talked, as they had a few times a year since 2006. They made their points. Prior had never blamed Baker for his injuries the way so many Cubs fans had, but he did ask his former manager about the strategy in Game 2 of the 2003 NLCS, leaving him in for so long despite such a big lead. Baker had come to accept that he'd be forever pilloried by Cubs fans and the stat gurus he called "propeller-heads," with all that data to back up their claims, but who knew at the time? Throwing a baseball is an unnatural motion. Even the healthiest pitcher can get hurt. He told Prior he had learned from it. Prior said he understood.

Now the family leaves gymnastics and heads to the cars as the evening arrives. Another airplane takes off from the short runway as Caitlin and Amanda play rock-paper-scissors to decide who gets to go home with Mommy. Amanda wins and Caitlin and her dad plot a reverse-psychology strategy for her next go-around.

There's one more thing to do tonight. It's an exercise that might unearth some lingering emotional scars or something deep that Prior has yet to figure out about himself, like how he manages to stay so calm yet so driven despite all the setbacks. Or maybe it's nothing.

Either way, Prior has been asked if he's willing to watch Game 6 of the 2003 NL Championship Series for the first time since he experienced it from the mound as Heather watched from the cold Wrigley stands nine years ago.

"Sure," he says. "Why not?"

The game is on. Mark and Heather Prior are sitting on their large wraparound sofa. The kids are asleep.

Announcer Thom Brennaman, joined by former-ballplayer analysts Steve Lyons and Al Leiter, reveals the stakes: the Cubs are one victory from clinching, up three games to two, "but we are talking about the Chicago Cubs. A franchise that has not been to the World Series since 1945."

Tonight, Prior says he'd never heard of "The Curse of the Billy Goat," the tale of Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis being booted, along with his stinky pet goat, from Wrigley during that 1945 Series and dooming the franchise by proclaiming they'd never win again. He says he wasn't aware that the team hadn't won the Series since Oct. 14, 1908.

"I was still young," Prior says. "I was completely oblivious. We were just trying to win."

Brennaman continues. "We know all about Mark Prior," he says. "Arguably he has been the best pitcher in the National League the entire season."

The camera catches homemade signs strewn throughout the crowd. One reads, "World Series our PRIOR-ity" and "Prior for President."

The guest fast-forwards through Prior's seven shutout innings. Bottom of the seventh and Prior's at the plate. He bunts a two-strike pitch, a clutch sacrifice. "This guy was, for lack of a better word, bred to be in this position tonight," Brennaman says.

Tonight, Prior rolls his eyes.

"That is the biggest misnomer," Prior says. "Breeding."

"Right," Heather adds. "A robot."

"I worked with House, so I was groomed," Prior says. "It's the biggest bunch of BS ever ... to say I was scientifically put together. My mechanics have been my mechanics since Little League."

Top of the eighth. Marlins utility man Mike Mordecai flies out to left. Cubs still up, 3-0.

"Wow," Heather says. "Your face was so fat back then."

Prior laughs. "Thanks," he says.

Juan Pierre steps into the box and fouls off one pitch after another before lining a one-out double to left. Now Luis Castillo enters the frame. This is it. This is the at-bat.

It's a 1-and-2 count when the camera shows the huge throng gathered on the street outside the stadium.

"I had absolutely no idea that there were so many fans out there," Mark says, watching himself miss with a curveball. The camera pans down the left-field line to where the Cubs relief pitchers sit, motionless.

Castillo fouls one out of play. A graphic on the screen says Prior's average of 113.4 pitches per start in the regular season topped MLB and that he's averaging 124.5 in the postseason.

Prior mutters, "Led the Majors."

Castillo fouls off another. Cubs reliever Kyle Farnsworth is shown getting loose.

Prior reaches 93 mph on his 113th pitch, and then, on a tablet screen nine years later, left-handed Castillo swings and hits the ball.

"Again in the air, down the left-field line," Brennaman says while the ball drifts foul to Aisle 4, Row 8, Seat 113. "[Left fielder Moises] Alou reaching into the stands and he couldn't get it, and he's livid with a fan!"

Many remember the ensuing imagery: Alou's mini-tantrum, the scrum in the stands that includes Bartman, even though the TV cameras haven't yet ID'd him as the person of interest.

Tonight, 32-year-old Prior watches as 23-year-old Prior gloves the next ball thrown by Bako, nods, and gets back to work.

"What we're seeing is all the drama, that as a player, in the course of a game, you're not thinking about," Prior says tonight. "I mean, I'm just trying to pitch."

Now FOX shows the slow-motion replay. And a slower replay.

"That's a Cub fan who tried to make that catch," Brennaman says, to which Lyons responds, "Why?"

Prior throws the next pitch, 50 seconds after the last one. It's ball four, low, and it gets away from Bako. Wild pitch. "We'll call that a passed ball," Prior says now, grinning.

Pierre is on third, Castillo on first. Pudge Rodriguez, the tying run, is ready to hit.

Now another replay of the incident, focusing on Prior, who had pointed to the stands and barked what appeared to be, "That's [expletive] fan interference!"

"I'm sure I reacted to [Alou's] reaction," he says tonight. "Or maybe I just reacted. I don't know. It was just weird." Then the shot of Bartman with his cap and headphones, glasses and expressionless expression. The forever shot.

"Poor guy," Heather says, and Mark is asked how he feels about Bartman.

"Honestly, I don't have any negative feelings toward him because of what he did," he says. "You don't want him to go through that. I feel awful about that part of it. But dwelling on that situation ... as I've grown, matured, the older I get, especially with kids, the more I realize that you have to move on.

"At that age, I had so much to look forward to ... a pile of positives. Why would I be worried about this one negative thing?"

Prior puts Pudge in a quick 0-and-2 hole. Bako sets up to block a ball but adjusts when Prior spins a curve that Rodriguez rips for a single to left. Pierre scores. It's 3-1.

"That's the pitch that bothers me," Prior says tonight. "Probably more than anything. Put it on the plate and he strikes out. You've got to bury that pitch."

Miguel Cabrera is next. He swings at the first offering, bouncing a high, slow hopper into history when shortstop Alex Gonzalez moves for a quick double-play toss just before the ball's in his glove.

Brennaman: "Bobbled by Gonzalez and everybody's safe!"

The bases are loaded. A Cubs fan is shown with his hands on his head. Young Prior is stoic as he looks in at Derrek Lee, the next batter.

"Every coach has told every player, 'Don't show your emotions on the field,' and you don't," Prior says tonight. "Initially, I probably thought, 'Oh, crap,' but Gonzo was one of the best shortstops there was. He had saved my [rear] probably 100 times.

"And I'm still more [ticked off] that I didn't bury that pitch to Pudge."

Prior delivers and Lee hits it hard. It drops onto the left-field grass. The game is tied. Baker is walking to the mound to take the ball from his phenom.

"I threw him a 95 mph fastball in on his hands and he just turned on it," Prior says tonight. "The bullpen came in and didn't really calm it down. What are you gonna do?"

As Farnsworth strides to the mound, the iPad is turned off. Game 6, once again, is over for Mark Prior.

Mark Prior and Stephen Penney are back at the USD field. It's Wednesday, 8 a.m. sharp, and Prior has set up all the props and placed his iPhone gently on top of a metal tackling dummy.

It's not ringing today. He won't hear for a few months if he'll be offered a Minor League deal for 2013 or if he'll be asked to audition. He's still weeks from getting and accepting an invitation back to Wrigley -- a January mini-camp where he addressed the Cubs' top prospects on how to handle pressure and hype at a young age.

He's sure he'll keep getting compared to Strasburg, who was shut down for the playoffs last year by a team with the best record in the National League. Everyone will want to explain why pitchers get hurt, whether it's overuse or "scapular loading" or the "inverted W" or whatever. Prior's done trying to explain it.

This morning he's wearing a red warmup shirt with the "B" of the Boston Red Sox on the chest. It was part of his gear last year while pitching 25 innings -- his most in a season since 2006 -- for Triple-A Pawtucket. He stayed healthy, something he couldn't do in an 11-game stint in 2011 with the Yankees organization cut short by a groin injury, and he did OK. He struck out 38 batters but walked 23, and knows he has to be better. The pitching coach there, Rich Sauveur, said he didn't know what Prior was doing at 91 or 92 mph for guys to be taking some of the ugly swings they were taking, but that he should keep doing it.

He hopes he can. He had a blast last summer. He sat down next to then-Pawsox hitting coach Gerald Perry on a bus ride to Rochester and a 15-minute conversation turned into two hours. When he and catcher Mike Rivera ate breakfast in a downtown Indianapolis cafe, there were Cubs fans who recognized him. A Chicago lady told Prior that her son had a picture of him on his wall. Rivera made sure that anecdote made the clubhouse rounds.

When the team went to Buffalo, Prior took a side trip to Niagara Falls. The family came out to Pawtucket one weekend and they drove to Cape Cod, picked blueberries and played on the beach.

One night in Pawtucket, Heather sat with Matthew, Caitlin and Amanda in the stands while Mark warmed up and it hit her: This was the first time all three children had seen their father pitch. She was close to tears for a brief moment until the poignancy was overtaken by the reality of playing host to three toddlers at a baseball game.

For Mark, it was all back, that hard-to-describe feeling on the mound -- the moment when you know you're better than the guy with the bat in his hands. Nothing could beat it. And although Boston released him in August because the Red Sox were going young in the bullpen, there was always 2013. No reason to give up now. Not with three kids asking him every day when and where he's going to pitch next. Mark and Heather assure them it'll be somewhere. Even if it's an independent league, they'll all go out on the road together for the summer and Daddy will pitch and they'll all have fun and they'll love it, because that's why Daddy's still doing it: it's fun and he loves it.

Prior and Penney move out onto the field, heading to the 20-yard line. Penney's got a football in his hand. He's the quarterback and Prior's the receiver, lining up wide right. They march up the field. Some passes are complete, some aren't. They turn around at the goal line and head the other way.

Now Prior's the QB, and his form looks good. He's finding the laces every time, throwing a consistent spiral with some oomph to it. They get down to the 20 and Penney does a fade route. Prior lofts one high into the left corner of the end zone. Penney reaches out both arms and hauls it in, making sure to get both feet in bounds. Mark Prior laughs and pumps his fist. Touchdown.


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     Does Mr. Prior have a grip on the baseball or does the baseball have a grip on Mr. Prior?

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***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, February 17, 2013, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0218.  February 10 Around Again

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0177. Trevor Bauer has replied to your comment on Pitch Grips

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Mr. Bauer wrote: "well protecting the body is obviously the most important reason to pronate."

'Obviously'? Pronation protects the body?

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0179. Billingsley says his right elbow is feeling fine

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The article said: ""Tomorrow I'll throw off a mound for the eighth time and I've had no issues," he told Jorge Jarrin on AM570's DodgerTalk Thursday night. "It's just like any other offseason.""

Another workaholic. 8 times? Over how long a period?

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You wrote: "This means that Mr. Billingsley does not 'Reverse Bounce' his pitching forearm."

What is his injury issue?

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     Mr. Billingsley allegedly partially tore his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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0182. Trevor Bauer has replied to your comment on Pitch Grips

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You wrote: "Help is not help when the helpees did not ask for help."

I suspect all the 'experts' have been giving Mr. Bauer a lot of grief and it has worn him out.

Now that he has someone who can accurately answer his questions he's not opening up.

Hopefully, Doc and Mr. Bauer can come to a meeting of the minds.

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0185. Trevor Bauer videos

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You wrote: "However, I am sure that Mr. Bauer will say that he "actually figured out how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle on his own.""

Well, you didn't teach him so where do you think he picked it up?

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     I don't know for sure, but who else teaches baseball pitchers to turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate?

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0189. Up to eight pitchers in hunt for Rangers No. 5 spot

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You wrote: "Dr. Meister and the Rangers' Athletic Trainer will be busy."

Mostly looking at each other reassuringly, scratching their heads and saying, 'I don't know'.

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0191. Trevor Bauer Windup Mechanics video

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You wrote: ""Mr. Bauer This pitching motion is horrible. You do not engage your Latissimus Dorsi muscle. You pull your pitching upper arm, do not use your Triceps Brachii muscle and, if at all, you weakly pronate your release. Your body action prevents hip and shoulder rotation. Not only will you not increase your release velocity, you will eventually suffer injuries to your pitching hip and knee, glove knee, front of your pitching shoulder and back of your elbow. You have lost everything good that you did well.""

Don't sugar coat it Doc.

My own note to Mr. Bauer:

Mr. Bauer, you obviously have a tremendous amount of talent. It would not be hard to for you to regain use of the Latissimus Dorsi and add more inward rotation and pronation. There are several other simple changes that would protect your arm, knees, hips and back.... and allow you to have a very, very long a very, very successful major league career.

However you did it. You are one of the select few to have ever learned to engage your Latissimus Dorsi, which, in of itself, is a major achievement.

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

     You are correct, I was direct.

     Instead of telling Mr. Bauer what he was doing wrong, I should have told him how to eliminate the injurious flaws that will cause these injuries. However, 500 characters does not allow me to get into detail.

     I was hoping that Mr. Bauer would take my invitation to visit my website, where we could email.

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0192. Former NL Cy Young Award winner Webb retires

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The article said: "I've tried everything -- I've worked with many different people, trying different things, so there's no second guessing," Webb said of his decision."

Are you kidding me?

You kept asking a plumber how to do electrical work. No second guessing? There will be 1,000 second guesses.

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The article said: "Then this past November he ran into Reds pitching coach Bryan Price, who served in a similar capacity for the D-backs during Webb's run of success. Webb won the 2006 NL Cy Young Award and finished second in the voting in 2007 and '08 with Price as his pitching coach."

Coincidence is not a credential.

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"I don't know if I'm coaching material," Webb said. "I would like to do something in the game. What it is I don't know." The D-backs would certainly like to talk to him about what that might be.

Maybe you could teach all the young pitchers everything you know about avoiding pitching injuries?

That should take one cup of coffee. Maybe only a demi-tasse.

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0194. Is it possible to throw hard with your motion?

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The young man wrote: "I asked my pitching instructor about you and he said that he'll give me a million bucks if I can find a student of yours that can throw 75 mph."

Is this for real?

Does his pitching coach have the money?

I'll send my seventeen year old son right over.

Doc, we'll split the money three ways.

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0203. Johan Santana intends to pitch in World Baseball Classic

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You wrote: "The only problems would be whether Mr. Santana eliminated the injurious flaws that caused his pitching shoulder and lower back injuries."

Mr. Santana has taken many millions from the Mets and given very little back. He can't make it through a season and now he wants to pitch in the WBC? You've got to be kidding me.

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0204. Matt Garza throws pain-free bullpen session

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You wrote: "Nevertheless, in general, even a wrong training plan is better than no plan."

It sounds like Mr. Bosio thinks he will look good on the beach.

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0213. Zito hoping this isn't final year with Giants

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The article said: "Said Zito, "This is where I want to be. I would love to play baseball in San Francisco until I'm happy riding off into the sunset.""

Hey, Barry, you were on MLB welfare for most of the contract.

Play the next 2 years for $2. The Giants would still have overpaid.

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You wrote: "Without a seven year $126 million guaranteed contract, Mr. Zito would not have had the years he needed to learn these lessons."

Or without that 7-year, $126 million guaranteed contract he would have had a little more incentive to learn a little faster.

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0217. Mark Prior in present tense

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The article said: "The men in the sedan, who are probably in their 40s, are not close enough to the house to see the sculpted tufts of grass or the doormat marked by the letter P, but they gaze with curiosity through the open garage door and get a good look at the folks who have just exited the family Range Rover. The father is a tall, athletic-looking guy with sunglasses resting atop his brown hair. His wife is a pretty, fit blonde. The two little girls and one little boy who are rustling about look more like their mother -- light hair and blue eyes. They're smiling and laughing and waiting for the next bit of fun in a busy day. The mom ushers them into the house for snacks while the dad lingers."

Who writes this crap?

Are MLB.com writers former E! writers. It's nauseating.

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The article said: "He doesn't hesitate. He's not taken aback by the request. He's comfortable and happy to oblige neighbors or strangers looking for help. Even though he lost one of the most infamous games in baseball's last half-century on that cool Tuesday night in Wrigley Field in October 2003, nobody recognizes him anymore. Not here, at least. Maybe in Chicago, but not here in his hometown, the place where he's at peace. Nine years ago, the man who's about to answer this question was famous. He was a phenom, towering above baseball from the 10-inch-high Major League pitcher's mound."

Really? Gag me with a spoon.

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The article said: "Already a Cy Young Award contender at 23 years of age, and -- paramount to his devotees, the beleaguered Chicago Cubs fan base that had not experienced a World Series championship since 1908 and a World Series appearance since 1945 -- a limitless, blazing 6-foot-5, 230-pound manifestation of rekindled hope aflame."

Holy crap. Is there a hyperbole tournament going on?

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The article said: ""OK, I'll let you in on my little secret," Prior says with a smile, walking closer to the car, looking just as comfortable in a rumpled red T-shirt, cargo shorts and sneakers as he did nine years ago in that flawless white pinstriped jersey with the C over the heart and the No. 22 on the back and the blue sanitary socks pulled high over those celebrated, gigantic calves."

Are we caught up in the middle of a 'bromance'?

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The article said: "Mark Prior walks back to the white house that looks perfect but isn't, because nothing is. He opens the door and goes inside to his family."

No... to his 3 adorable, cherubic, angels and petite, blonde, athletic 'smoldering in a Mommy-way' wife.....

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The article said: "He's greeting his throwing partner, right-hander Stephen Penney, a skinny, red-headed tree of a 25-year-old. They crack a joke about their shared agent, John Boggs, and his glorious, immovable head of hair."

Wow, 'glorious'?

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The article said: "Penney knew all about that game. And when he first encountered Prior, in a 2008 workout session arranged by their pitching coach, Tom House, who had become the pitching coach at Prior's alma mater, the University of Southern California, he didn't know what to expect."

Penney is doomed.

When is Tom House going to appear, as himself, as a super-villain, in the next super-heroes movie?

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The article said: "This morning, Prior casts a shadow over another field, and Stephen Penney stands and faces him. They've done a drill of throwing motions with a towel instead of a ball."

Really, the freakin "towel drill? Too funny.

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The article said: "Now they're standing 60 feet apart, and almost an hour after they arrived, they're throwing a baseball."

In a hour they could have done some real work instead of playing with their toys.

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The article said: "The friends play catch and laugh about how tired they are."

Must be beach towels. Maybe they should switch to kitchen towels.

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The article said: ""Nope," the guy says. "Is he a pitcher?""

No, he's a towel boy.

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The article said: "Teammate Eric Karros called what Prior was doing to batters "a joke," but anyone who thought Prior made it look easy didn't see the agony behind it -- the moments he'd spent screaming his head off, always in the sanctuary of the clubhouse, by himself, throwing balls at lockers, cursing his imperfections. They saw a statuesque sculpture on the mound."

It's official, love is in the air.

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The article said: "On Sept. 26 on ESPN.com, statistics prodigy Nate Silver and injury expert Will Carroll

(did he play Archie Bunker?)

The article said: "wrote that, "In the terminology of pitching biomechanics, Mark Prior is a freak." Another source was quoted in the article as saying, "He's the model; he's perfect.""

Shows what they know.

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The article said: "They ended the piece with a"

'cover your ass'

The article said: "caveat, a reminder that it all could fall apart, just as it had for other hyped pitchers: "Mark Prior is human.""

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The article said: "October arrived, and Prior threw a two-hit complete game in his postseason debut, beating Atlanta in Game 3 as the Cubs took the NL Division Series. His pitch count was 133."

Start the Jaws music.

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The article said: "He got in his blue BMW, the one he bought when he was a Cubs rookie, when everything was ahead of him. He drove up to visit Tom House, to see if his mentor had any magic left for him."

Wouldn't he settle for useful information?

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

Tom House said: "I don't friggin' know," House said."

Finally, Mr. House said something that is true.

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

The article said: "They agreed on one thing: Prior's right shoulder was a mess. A big hole in the capsule. Not much to work with there. But, House wanted to know, what would happen if they went right at the pain? Strengthen all the muscles that hold the shoulder together. Throw and throw some more. What if they tried things nobody had tried before?"

Somebody pass the box of tissues. I'm getting all emotional.

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

The article said: "They talked, as they had a few times a year since 2006. They made their points. Prior had never blamed Baker for his injuries the way so many Cubs fans had, but he did ask his former manager about the strategy in Game 2 of the 2003 NLCS, leaving him in for so long despite such a big lead. Baker had come to accept that he'd be forever pilloried by Cubs fans and the stat gurus he called "propeller-heads," with all that data to back up their claims, but who knew at the time? Throwing a baseball is an unnatural motion. Even the healthiest pitcher can get hurt. He told Prior he had learned from it. Prior said he understood."

What a beautiful scene. The manager who ruined him but learned, the pitcher who was ruined but learned to forgive.

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

The article said: ""I worked with House, so I was groomed," Prior says. "It's the biggest bunch of BS ever ... to say I was scientifically put together. My mechanics have been my mechanics since Little League.""

Wow. House would be pissed if Prior were still any good.

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0219.  Trevor Bauer comment

In Q/A #191, on Mr. Bauer's YouTube channel, you wrote: "Mr. Bauer This pitching motion is horrible. You do not engage your Latissimus Dorsi muscle. You pull your pitching upper arm, do not use your Triceps Brachii muscle and, if at all, you weakly pronate your release. Your body action prevents hip and shoulder rotation. Not only will you not increase your release velocity, you will eventually suffer injuries to your pitching hip and knee, glove knee, front of your pitching shoulder and back of your elbow. You have lost everything good that you did well."

I looked for your comment on Mr. Bauer's YouTube channel and was not surprised that it is not there. I guess Mr. Bauer can add you to the list that has "attacked" him.

Leaving aside whether your comment is "kind" or not, the fact is that Mr. Bauer does not have a scientific bent that he likes to project. He is as set in his ways as any traditionalist. In my opinion, whatever chance this kid had was destroyed by your fellow Spartan, Kirk Gibson.

Mr. Bauer will help accelerate his self-learned pronation into the traditional world and maybe your wrist weight and iron ball training assuming he did not learn that on his own as well.

I have always felt that traditional pitchers would be better served doing your wrist weight and iron ball training than what they do now. It is going to be interesting to see if that training helps prevent/delay injuries to Mr. Bauer's elbow and shoulder.

One thing about Trevor Bauer is that he is a determined young man. I think the comments about his pitching motion is going to drive him to pitch 95 MPH. Leaving aside his pitching success, if he does reach 95 MPH with those mechanics, I will be impressed.

And while it is telling that he fears placing opposing viewpoints on his site (which in the traditional world automatically become attacks) it is very kind of Mr. Bauer to place his videos on the Internet.

Do you think that Mr. Bauer doing wrist weight and heavy ball (4 lb.) training will delay pitching arm injuries?

I think his lower back or right hip may go first.


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     With the pitching motion that I watched, Mr. Bauer will not increase his release velocity.

     However, he will continue to suffer 'groin' pulls, followed my pitching knee problems, followed by pitching hip problems and low-quality pitch and release consistency problems.

     In addition, if Mr. Bauer continues to use his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching upper arm forward, Mr. Bauer will develop front and back of his pitching shoulder and back of his pitching elbow problems.

     His only hope is that, by doing wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws, even without my 'Slingshot' drill, Mr. Bauer relearns how to use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle even as weakly as he uses it to inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm.

     However, to become the best that Mr. Bauer can be, Mr. Bauer needs to discard his paranoia that I am attacking him.

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0220.  Dr. Marshall Training

I'm looking for some help. I don't think Matty is getting powerful inward rotation of the humerus or a pronation pop. Can you offer some advice?

Thirteen year old throwing a Maxline Fastball with an appropriately-sized football

I also plan on making more frequent trips to the underground training center.


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     Your son is rotating the entire pitching arm side of his body forward much batter.

     With regard to 'Horizontally Rebounding' his pitching forearm: At this point in his training, I want youth baseball pitchers to learn how to turn the back of the pitching upper arm to face toward home plate. Until your son is biologically sixteen years old, I prefer that he focus on technique. Remember, I call the interval-training program for youth baseball pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition.

     It took me several freeze-framing, but I did see that yur son is turning the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and he is meaningfully inwardly rotating his pitching upper arm.

     He is doing very well.

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0221.  Wrist Weight Exercises

I watched my son do his WWs tonight.

They looked perfect. A terrific pronation circle on the 'throws'. Exactly the arm action I've been observing recently on his sinker baseball throws.

  Not sure why he went off the boil with the BB and FB throws, but we'll try again tomorrow.


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     Whenever my baseball pitchers start to rush the start of their acceleration phase, to find the proper body/pitching upper arm rhythm, they need to return to doing my wrist weight exercises.

     To 'feel' the ease of starting and continuing the momentum, my baseball pitchers should close their eyes and focus on how they are able to easily throw their wrist weights.

     Remember, I define the moment that my baseball pitchers have their pitching arm 'Ready' to throw their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching upper arm facing home plate is the first movement toward home plate that their pitching hand makes.

     If they try to throw their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head with the back of the pitching upper arm facing toward home plate before their pitching hand starts moving toward home plate, then the inertial mass of their pitching arm will move their pitching upper arm behind their acromial line.

     To make certain that my baseball pitchers always have their pitching arm moving forward when my baseball pitchers throw their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching upper arm facing home plate, I designed my Wrong Foot Pendulum Swing drill to make sure that they have the pitching arm moving forward before their pitching foot lands.

     Therefore, when my baseball pitchers lose the 'feeling' for when they should start their acceleration phase, they only need to practice a couple of my Wrong Foot Pendulum Swing drills.

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0222.  Reds Sox pitchers eager to work with Pedro
MLB.com
February 08, 2013

BOSTON, MA: Wearing a Red Sox T-shirt and team workout shorts, Pedro Martinez bounced around the facility at JetBlue Park on Friday, eager to begin his new role as special assistant to the general manager.

Perhaps the best pitcher to ever put on a Boston uniform, the presence of Martinez will be hard not to feel.

"I met him today for the first time, and I was actually talking to someone in the hallway, and he came out a side door and I was just like, 'Oh, Pedro Martinez, there he is.' It was pretty cool," said Red Sox reliever Andrew Bailey. "I had seen him around a little bit last year while I was up in Boston, but I never really got the time to introduce myself. Today I got to talk to him for a little bit. His presence -- just being around, the carefree mentality, just kind of having fun -- is great, especially this time of year during camp. I know he's like that all year long."

How Martinez's job will evolve will be determined over time.

"It's kind of an open book right now," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "The one thing that's great about Pedro is he's been an open book toward it, wanting and willing to give that experience and that guidance any way that he can. He's respectful of the coaching staff and the structure that's in place. We've got a very good resource to tap into."

Martinez clearly enjoys monitoring the mechanics of pitchers. While several Sox pitchers threw side sessions on Friday, Martinez watched discreetly in the background.

What will Farrell be looking for from the three-time Cy Young Award winner?

"To provide his experience," Farrell said. "To lend a watchful eye. He's got some connection obviously with Rubby [De La Rosa], pre-existing before even coming in here. For any young pitcher, regardless of where they come from, to be able to sit and have a conversation with Pedro, to tap into those experiences, can only be beneficial."


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     The article said: "For any young pitcher, regardless of where they come from, to be able to sit and have a conversation with Pedro, to tap into those experiences, can only be beneficial."

     Really?

     This is why professional baseball pitching is decades behind track and field and swimming in developing baseball pitching interval-training programs.

     And, when professional baseball hires Dr. Glenn Fleisig, Rick Peterson, Tom House and/or other alleged scientically educated personnel, they do not know how to determine whether what they do will eliminate pitching injuries and improve performance.

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0223.  Scott Boras planning to open South Florida training facility
FoxSports.com
February 08, 2013

How fed up is Scott Boras, one of baseball’s most powerful agents, with the accessibility of performance-enhancing drugs in South Florida?

So fed up that Boras intends to open a private multi-million dollar sports fitness center for his clients who train in South Florida by next year.

Boras won’t say it explicitly, but his goal is to protect his clients from people like Anthony Bosch and places like the Biogenesis wellness clinic.

Biogenesis, founded by Bosch, allegedly sold PEDs to Alex Rodriguez and a number of major leaguers, according to a report by the Miami New Times last week.

“There has been recently an unusual frequency of Latin players who have been subjected to rogue information and to individuals portraying themselves to be medically trained when they’re not,” Boras said.

“We want to make sure we’re making every effort to advance the credibility and understanding of what major league players must abide by and also to protect them from the influences of many of these supposed medical practitioners who are availing themselves to the players.”

Some may interpret Boras’ actions and comments as too little, too late – Boras has represented several players who are either alleged or confirmed to have used PEDs, including Rodriguez, Barry Bonds and Manny Ramirez.

Baseball suspended Ramirez in May 2009 for using a banned substance that, according to ESPN.com, he received from Bosch’s father Pedro, with Anthony Bosch serving as a contact between the two. Boras was Ramirez’s agent at that time, and also when Ramirez suddenly retired in April 2011 due to a drug issue.

Boras, who earned a doctorate in industrial pharmacology at the University of the Pacific, said he had no knowledge of any of his clients using PEDs, and began advising players in the late 1990s that the drugs “dramatically” affect joints, tendons and ligaments, effectively shortening careers.

“My answer to this is that we’re only as good as the information that we have,” Boras said. “These processes (at the training centers) are designed to further the communication, the understanding and our knowledge so we can do our best to promote the integrity of the game, advance the careers of players and also allow the teams that employ them to have a greater sense of trust and understanding about players.

“My belief is that all of us are accountable. We all — and I’m talking about myself, union officials, owners, club personnel — we all could have done a better job. But I always say the best thing we can do is learn from the situation and then take aggressive steps to ensure that we’re doing everything possible to advance the integrity of the game.”

Boras said he began planning to open the South Florida version of the Boras Sports Training Institute in Sept. 2012. He does not charge clients to use such centers, which feature a variety of training facilities and are staffed by trainers and sports psychologists.

The South Florida institute, Boras said, will be run by one of his newest employees — Miami resident and former major league outfielder Alex Ochoa, who spent last season as the first-base coach for the Boston Red Sox.

Boras’ original center opened at Soka University of America in Aliso Viejo, Calif., in 2003. Steve Odgers, a former Chicago White Sox strength and conditioning coach, heads Boras’ sports fitness program. Don Carman, a former major league pitcher who later became a sports psychologist, heads the mental-development program.

Boras said the idea is to “bring about a certain level of assurance that the players we represent are certainly given the best information and best professional training. We intend to certainly work with the team trainers and the clubs in sharing and advancing information about what the players are doing. We feel we can best avoid all of the outside resources that are attacking these young men and providing them with false information and less than licensed professional medical assistance.” Boras is adamant: He wants the game cleaned up.

“I think players are well-intended,” Boras said. “They want to follow the integrity of the game to the closest scrutiny. But the reality is, a lot of them in the ‘90s didn’t know. They didn’t know the impact … they didn’t know what the rules were because there is a sub-culture that operates.

“Now we want to eliminate that. We want to be very clear. I know my clients are vehement about wanting to make sure that our game is viewed with the proper integrity and their performances are viewed appropriately so that this is eradicated from the game.”


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     Add Miami resident, former major league outfielder and former Boston Red Sox first base coach, Alex Ochoa, former Chicago White Sox strength and conditioning coach, Steve Odgers, and former major league pitcher and sports psychologist, Don Carman, to the list of incompentent others to whom I referred in the preceding Q/A.

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0224.  A follow-up on the preceding article
Manny Ramirez just one of many Scott Boras clients linked to PED's
New York Daily News
May 07, 2009

01. Manny Ramirez is just the latest Major League Baseball player represented by superagent Scott Boras to be linked to performance-enhancing drugs.

02. Barry Bonds: Former Boras client was indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges for allegedly lying to BALCO grand jury when he testified that he never knowingly used steroids.

03. Kevin Brown: Mitchell Report says former Yankee pitcher put Boras' headquarters as a return address when he overnighted cash to steroid supplier Kirk Radomski.

04. Eric Gagne: Three days after Boras helps closer land $10 million contract with Milwaukee Brewers, Mitchell Report is released and says Gagne bought human growth hormone in 2004.

05. Scott Schoenweis Former Mets reliever received six shipments of steroids from Signature Pharmacy, target of Albany Internet drug investigation.

06. Rick Ankiel: Daily News reported in 2007 that Cardinals' pitcher-turned-outfielder received 12-month supply of human growth hormone from Signature Pharmacy.

07. Ron Villone: Former Yankee pitcher bought three kits of growth hormone from Radomski, according to Mitchell Report.

08. Ivan Rodriguez: Jose Canseco says in his book "Juiced" that he taught All-Star catcher all about steroids when they were teammates in Texas.

09. Gary Sheffield: Former Boras client told BALCO grand jury he unknowingly used steroids.

10. Alex Rodriguez: A-Rod admitted using steroids after Sports Illustrated reported in February that he tested positive during 2003 survey testing.


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     These are only the names of the famous Scott Boras Performance Enhancement Drug abusers.

     Nothing that Mr. Boras does is free.

     That Mr. Boras has the money to open a second private multi-million dollar sports fitness center in which only his clients train exposes the finacial incompetence in professional baseball.

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0225.  Hurst still pitching, only now it's to help game grow
MLB.com
February 09, 2013

PEORIA, AZ: For the second time in his post-playing career, Bruce Hurst finds himself working with Team China as its pitching coach, preparing for the World Baseball Classic. This time, Hurst is on the staff with manager John McLaren and Art Howe, the former big league manager who is the hitting coach.

The 54-year old lefty, who starred in Boston and San Diego during the 1980s and early '90s, is now part of Major League Baseball's foray into the international growth of the sport. Hurst was the pitching coach for China in the inaugural Classic in 2006, the country's first attempt at baseball in preparation for hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics.

"I really found my niche," Hurst said. "I really like this. I like the people from Major League Baseball International I work with. They are great guys. This is where I found my passion."

Hurst went 145-113 in a 15-year career that ended with Texas in 1994. He was drafted by the Red Sox and was with Boston for his first nine years, playing in two of the crazier games in pro baseball history along the way.

As a youngster in Boston's Minor League system, Hurst played in the longest game in baseball history: Pawtucket's 3-2 win over Rochester that took 33 innings and more than two months to finish. Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Wade Boggs also played in that game.

"It was fun to play in it," said Hurst, who pitched five innings of three-hit ball in the wee hours of April 19, 1981. "I just don't remember all the particulars of it sometimes. I just remember it was cold."

Five years later, Hurst was among the Red Sox players ready to celebrate their team's apparent curse-shattering victory over the Mets in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series at New York's Shea Stadium. Twice a strike away from winning, the game devolved in the bottom of the 10th inning, ending when Mookie Wilson's grounder skidded through the legs of first baseman Bill Buckner, allowing Ray Knight to score.

"I guess you can't get any closer to winning and still lose," Hurst said. "You play that game a thousand times and we don't lose. But the one time, that 1,001st time when it mattered, we did."

Two nights later, it was Hurst who was on the mound.

MLB.com: Everybody remembers Game 6, but people forget about Game 7. You had pitched great in that Series. After a rainout, manager John McNamara yanked Oil Can Boyd and gave you the start. You had a 3-0 lead and lost.

Hurst: I had my chance, no question about it. I had one out and nobody on and a 3-0 lead in the sixth inning and wound up leaving after that inning with the score tied. They loaded the bases. I had two outs, and Keith Hernandez had a hit and drove in a couple of runs off me. Because of Game 6, Game 7 has gone under the radar. I was watching MLB Network recently and they had Game 6 in the top 10 all-time great games. It's baseball lore now.

MLB.com: When you look back on your career, was that the highlight?

Hurst: The highlight is the '86 World Series. It has to be any time you get to play in something like that. There were a lot of great games, but as I get older, it's more the people I played with, the experiences I had. The games, they all came and went and they're recorded in history. But the friendships and relationships you developed over the course of the years, that's what matters most.

MLB.com: I guess it has to be one of your great disappointments, too.

Hurst: It would have been nicer to win. But, yeah, especially the way we lost.

MLB.com: You've been involved in baseball internationally for a while. How have you watched the China program grow?

Hurst: Before the Olympics, everyone and their dog was pouncing on China. There was a little bit more money. Everyone wanted them to have their fingerprints on it. Since baseball is out of the Olympics, some of the funding has dried up. There's not as much money going into the program, so it's a bit of a challenge. Last year, the professional league didn't play because there wasn't a sponsor. Because of that, the coaches have a lot more discretion. It's been interesting to watch.

MLB.com: How about the growth of the sport internationally?

Hurst: It's been quite fun to participate in. When we first started with the camps in Italy, we had 14- and 15-year-old kids. Actually, one of the first kids we had was [Mariners infielder] Alex Liddi. He was in that camp as just a 14-year-old kid. He was gangly and just a young boy. So it's interesting to watch the game develop. But with baseball out of the Olympics, the Classic is really significant. That's the way a lot of the countries and baseball federations get their funding now.

MLB.com: So the interest internationally is light years away from when you started more than a decade ago?

Hurst: I've found that there a lot of people around the world who are really passionate about the game. They have tall mountains to climb, because it's a second-tier sport in a lot of these countries. But more and more kids are playing. Coaches are getting better. We're starting to develop some kids in countries no one would have ever expected. Kids in Italy and Lithuania have been signed and are showing some promise. We had two kids sign from Moldavia. The Reds just signed a kid from Slovakia, a good-looking left-handed pitcher. We're starting to get better and better athletes. A lot of good things are happening. It's slow, but it's happening.

MLB.com: Where do you see the greatest growth in the sport?

Hurst: I see it in Brazil, in Colombia. In Europe, the Dutch have done a great job. It's a very mature program. Germany is making a lot of progress. The Czech Republic, actually, has a lot of good-looking players. They're progressing. The French are trying. There are some really good coaches in Sweden. They're just starting to get all the athletes they need to play there. And there are the Eastern Bloc countries. There are a lot of great softball players in New Zealand. And they're starting to introduce the game of hardball over there.

MLB.com: This has all happened since 2000, when the U.S. won the gold medal in the Olympics. Only eight countries qualified. Back then, almost none of this existed. So it's really not so slow. It's only been 13 years, a blink in the eye of world history.

Hurst: I guess when you look at it from that perspective, it has grown pretty quickly. Baseball is just like any other business, to a certain degree. You're competing for athletes. You're competing with golf, tennis, basketball, hockey and especially soccer around the world. We've got to do a good job of giving them a reason to play baseball. Here in the States and the Caribbean and Japan, all the kids play, so the best athletes are exposed to it.

MLB.com: Have you thought about being a pitching coach in the Majors?

Hurst: Nothing has really jumped out at me. I think everybody would like to get back in the big leagues. That's the greatest place in the world to play and to coach. I don't know. I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about it. I really enjoy doing this. I'll cross that bridge if it comes.

MLB.com: You were back for the Red Sox reunion last year on the day of Fenway's 100th birthday?

Hurst: That was incredible. It was a great day. I saw guys I hadn't seen in 25, 30 years. Man, it was fun. And to go back out on that field and stand there with them. I'm standing by Jim Lonborg and Dennis Eckersley and Pedro Martinez, all the guys who came back. Bobby Stanley. Yaz. Billy Buck. Carlton Fisk. The guys who came before me. Pumpsie Green, who changed the face of the franchise. Jim Rice. Just great guys. It was just phenomenal to be there.

MLB.com: In your heart, do you consider yourself to be a member of the Red Sox?

Hurst: Yeah, probably. If I had to pick a place, that's probably where I'd hang my hat.


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     With guys like Mr. Hurst teaching foreign baseball pitchers the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, the growth in foreign baseball will not last long.

     These countries do not have the United States inexhaustable supply of genetically-gifted young baseball pitchers to destroy.

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0226.  Garland inks minor deal with Mariners
MLB.com
February 09, 2013

SEATTLE, WA: Veteran right-hander Jon Garland, who sat out all of last season recovering from a shoulder injury, has agreed to a Minor League contract with the Mariners with an invitation to next week's Major League camp.

Garland's official signing is pending the results of a physical. But if all goes well, he will join the Mariners in Peoria, Ariz. Seattle's pitchers and catchers report Tuesday and take the field on Wednesday.

The 12-year Major League veteran owns a career record of 132-119 with a 4.32 ERA in 353 games, most of those coming during his eight seasons with the White Sox. He's since pitched with the Angels, D-backs, Padres and Dodgers, before injuring his shoulder midway through the 2011 season.

Garland, 33, was 14-12 with a 3.47 ERA in 2010 with the Padres, and won 18 games in back-to-back seasons with the White Sox in 2005-06. He earned an American League All-Star berth in 2005 and finished sixth in Cy Young voting that year.

Prior to his shoulder problem, Garland was a reliable workhorse who logged 190-plus innings nine seasons in a row from 2002-10.

Garland joins former Tigers starter Jeremy Bonderman among 12 non-roster pitchers invited to camp. Bonderman, 30, hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2010 and is coming back from Tommy John surgery.

The Mariners are looking to add some veteran depth to a rotation that doesn't have much experience beyond Felix Hernandez and Hishashi Iwakuma. Joe Saunders has agreed to a one-year Major League deal with an option for a second year, but he is also awaiting results of a physical before that becomes official.


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     Professional baseball appears to have an inexhaustible supply of surgically-repaired veteran major league baseball pitchers fropm which to select.

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0227.  Wieland, Luebke on rehab trail under same roof
MLB.com
February 09, 2013

SAN DIEGO. CA: Pitcher Joe Wieland didn't have to search too far this winter for someone to commiserate with about his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

That is, unless you consider the other side of the living room far.

Wieland spent the offseason in San Diego, a roommate of fellow pitcher Cory Luebke, who purchased a home in La Jolla a year ago. Like Wieland, Luebke is also coming off major elbow surgery.

"I think it's been really important for me to talk to him," said Wieland, who had his surgery in July. "He's two months ahead of me so I'm able to see what he's doing and ask him questions -- What did your arm feel like at this point of recovery? -- those kind of things."

Luebke, who had his surgery in May, is to the point where he'll play catch from 45 feet off a mound on Tuesday when pitchers and catchers report to Peoria, Ariz., for the start of Spring Training. His recovery has gone well, aside from a small scare in December.

"I had some scar tissue let loose so I thought I had actually torn it again," Luebke said. "But two or three days later, it felt good again."

Wieland has been playing catch at around 70 feet and will continue to do so in Arizona. While Luebke could return midseason, Wieland will be about two months behind.

"So far, it's gone really well, maybe even better than expected," he said. "Hopefully the next six months will go the same way."

Wieland and Luebke are carefully about attaching any expectation -- realistic or otherwise -- to a date of return. There are small victories on the road to recovery, many of them measured in feet and in days. That's fine for now.

The idea of getting back up on the mound Tuesday for Luebke is one of those victories. It's something he hasn't done since April 27, his last start before surgery.

"I think I'll be able to find it [mound]," Luebke said, smiling.


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     Misery loves company.

     With so many surgically-repaired major league baseball pitchers should team

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0228.  Padres will have plenty of arms to look over
MLB.com
February 09, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA: Come Wednesday morning, the first workout in Arizona for Padres pitchers and catchers, there will be a total of 36 pitchers on the field.

Not all are at full strength, as several players like Andrew Cashner, Joe Wieland and Cory Luebke are coming off surgery and won't be ready until midseason or later.

But from a standpoint of sheer volume, 36 pitchers are a lot to track. Part of this was by design. The Padres will play the most Spring Training games (38) in club history. More games equals more innings to cover.

The other is for manager Bud Black and his staff to get a glance at some of the top Minor League arms, such as Adys Portillo or non-roster invitees like Johnny Barbato, Kevin Quackenbush, Donn Roach and Matt Stites. All of the aforementioned players are regarded as top prospects.

"It's a great opportunity for us to put our eyeballs on these guys every day," said Black, who is entering his seventh season as manager. "It's a chance for us to watch them, to help them, to get to know them, their pitching style and their mentality … so when they do get sent out, we've got a great recollection and vision of them."

None of those pitchers are expected to break camp with the team at the end of March. All will begin their 2013 season in the Minor Leagues. That said, Black hopes the experience of being in a big league clubhouse and pitching in Cactus League games will help in their development.

"I think it's also great from a learning standpoint to rub shoulders with Huston Street, Clayton Richard, Jason Marquis, Luke Gregerson, some veteran pitchers who go about it the right way," Black said. "It's a great opportunity for them to pick the brains of those guys."


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     The more baseball pitchers the Padres have in spring training, the more baseball pitchers the Padres are able to injure.

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0229.  Healthy McClellan out to earn spot on Texas' staff
MLB.com
February 10, 2013

SURPRISE, AZ: Rangers pitcher Kyle McClellan is 100 percent healthy. He just needs to get all his muscles back into pitching shape after his battle with elbow and shoulder problems.

McClellan had to deal with pain in his shoulder for the past two years. It's why he pitched in just one game in the playoffs for the Cardinals in 2011, although the shoulder bothered him for much of the season. He made 16 appearances last year for St. Louis before going on the disabled list on May 18 with a strained right elbow.

But the problem was still the shoulder.

"I couldn't get my elbow above my shoulder," McClellan said. "The stress on the elbow was significant."

The problem was still evident when McClellan was close to coming off the disabled list in June. His mechanics were still out of whack and he was still feeling discomfort in his long-toss sessions. An MRI after the 2011 season showed only a minor tear in the labrum, but McClellan knew there was something wrong.

The doctors decided the only way to find out was through surgery. McClellan had the operation during the 2012 All-Star break and it was discovered that he had a "split" shoulder capsule in addition to some fraying of the labrum. The damaged capsule, which could not be detected through an MRI, was the source of McClellan's problems.

"I was relieved," McClellan said. "I knew something wasn't right and I wasn't able to fix it."

McClellan was not eligible for free agency this winter, but the Cardinals decided to release him rather than go to arbitration. The Rangers signed him to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

"It was not what I was hoping for," McClellan said. "I was hoping to finish out six years with the Cardinals. But it was nice to see other teams interested and Texas was one of the first to call."

McClellan spent five seasons as an integral member of St. Louis' bullpen, but was also 6-6 with a 4.21 ERA in 17 starts as a starter in 2011. Texas is going to give him a chance to win a job as the fifth starter.

"I've been asked for five years if I want to be a starter or a reliever," McClellan said. "My answer is I don't care. I didn't sign here hoping I would have a better chance of starting. I signed here because I felt it was a place my family would be more comfortable, there is an opportunity to win and it's an opportunity to reestablish myself. The biggest thing is showing I'm healthy and can I can be a contributing piece to a Major League team."


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     The article said: "The doctors decided the only way to find out was through surgery."

     Mr. McClellan suffered shoulder pain.

     Shoulder injuries result from taking the pitching upper arm behind the acromial line.

     When even shoulder-injured baseball pitchers stop taking their pitching upper arm behind their acromial line and use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to move their pitching arm forward, they will not need surgery.

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0230.  Jimenez hopes performance makes a U-turn
MLB.com
February 10, 2013

GOODYEAR, AZ: It was mostly quiet at the Indians' Spring Training complex on Sunday morning, but pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez made a point of stopping by to get in a quick workout. Jimenez is doing everything possible to correct all that went wrong last season.

"Hopefully this year is going to be different," Jimenez said. "Last year my mechanics were terrible. It was a mess."

During the offseason, in the Dominican Republic, Jimenez once again worked out regularly with Nelson Perez, a strength coach for the Indians. New manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway also made trips to the D.R. to get a first-hand look at the pitcher and to begin establishing a rapport.

Jimenez appreciates that Francona and Callaway went to see him, and was impressed with Francona's efforts to reach out to Cleveland players since being hired in October.

"Definitely, that says something about him," Jimenez said. "That shows the kind of person that he is. He wants to be there for everybody. When he was named the manager, he sent me a text message, and I know he did the same with all the guys. He really wants to establish a relationship with all the players."

In 2012 the 29-year-old Jimenez went 9-17 with a 5.40 ERA in 31 outings (176 2/3 innings), with 143 strikeouts, 95 walks and 16 wild pitches. In parts of two years with the Tribe, the right-hander has gone 13-21 with a 5.32 ERA in 42 appearances. General manager Chris Antonetti expressed faith in Jimenez's ability to smooth out his mechanics.

"I think he still has great stuff and the ability to be a very effective Major League starting pitcher," Antonetti said. "But as we've talked about, the thing that's the key for him is consistency. It starts with his ability to execute his delivery consistently.

"I know he and Mickey have already spent time together this winter. Mickey feels like [Jimenez] is in a better spot now, and Ubaldo feels he's in a better spot now than he was at this point last year. Hopefully that leads to more success."


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     Indians General manager, Chris Antonetti, said:

01. "I think he (Ubado Jimeniz) still has great stuff and the ability to be a very effective Major League starting pitcher."
02. "But as we've talked about, the thing that's the key for him is consistency."
03. "It starts with his ability to execute his delivery consistently."
04. "I know he and Mickey (Indians pitching coach, Mickey Callaway) have already spent time together this winter."
05. "Mickey feels like [Jimenez] is in a better spot now."
06. "Ubaldo feels he's in a better spot now than he was at this point last year."
07. "Hopefully that leads to more success."

     "Hopefully." Why would Mr. Antonetti have a pitching coach in whom he can only 'hope' that he is able to teach Mr. Jimeniz how to "execute his delivery consistently"?

     For Mr. Jimeniz to consistently execute his baseball pitching motion, Mr. Jimeniz needs to see what his does (high-speed film), break his pitching motion down to what he does through release, from where he starts his acceleration phase and how he applies force to his pitches.

     Mr. Jimeniz and Mr. Callaway should have started this process the day after the 2012 season ended.

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0231.  Dempster looking forward to facing AL lineups
MLB.com
February 11, 2013

FORT MYERS, FL: There are starting pitchers out there who avoid the American League like the plague, knowing that it is a far more offensive-minded institution. But Ryan Dempster, who signed with the Red Sox as a free agent this winter, is the type of competitor who looks at such a challenge and says, "Bring it on."

Aside from his two-month rental with the Rangers last summer after a trade from the Cubs, Dempster has spent his entire career in the National League.

"Anyone who says it's no different, believe me, it is different," Dempster said. "You're not facing a pitcher. You're facing a David Ortiz. You're facing a Mark Teixeira. You have somebody plugged in to that spot who is a bona-fide middle-of-the-order hitter.

"You know it does change, but at the same time, your goal as a pitcher is to just execute as many quality pitches as possible. If you throw 100 pitches in a game, and you execute 90 of those pitches, you're going to have success.

"The less pitches you execute, no matter who you're facing, you're not going to have as much success. I think that comes down to preparing, practicing to do it and then maintaining your focus -- never letting up. I think that's the most important thing, is it's kind of a fun and exciting challenge."

Manager John Farrell noted that Dempster's numbers with the Rangers last season (7-3, 5.09 ERA) were a little misleading.

"After the first five starts he had with Texas, if you look at the last seven, he pitched pretty darn well," Farrell said. "You don't have that nine-hole hitter to have a little bit of a breather [in the AL]. It's apparent he made that adjustment successfully in those last seven starts. He's been every effective against left-handed hitters. This is someone that has been successful and he's been healthy, and we're expecting upwards of 180 to 200 innings out of him."


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     New Red Sox baseball pitcher, Ryan Dempster, said:

01. "Anyone who says it's (designated hitter) no different, believe me, it is different."
02. "You're not facing a pitcher."
03. "You're facing a David Ortiz."
04. "You're facing a Mark Teixeira."
05. "You have somebody plugged in to that spot who is a bona-fide middle-of-the-order hitter."
06. "You know it does change, but at the same time, your goal as a pitcher is to just execute as many quality pitches as possible."
07. "If you throw 100 pitches in a game, and you execute 90 of those pitches, you're going to have success."
08. "The less pitches you execute, no matter who you're facing, you're not going to have as much success."
09. "I think that comes down to preparing, practicing to do it and then maintaining your focus -- never letting up."
10. "I think that's the most important thing, is it's kind of a fun and exciting challenge."

     The Designated Hitter rule never changed to whom closers pitched. Closers never pitched to pitchers. Even National League starters pitch to pitchers only twice in a game. Get over it.

     With regard to preparing to pitch to American League batters: During their first At Bats, batters have not seen what new pitchers throw and how their pitches move. The challange comes after the batters know what the new pitcher's pitches do. Then, it becomes a game of pitch selection to fit the type of batter to whom new pitchers are pitching.

     This means that quality of pitches are not as important as the variety and sequences of pitches specifically for each type of baseball batter.

     The point is when baseball pitchers are not able to correctly anticipate the pitches that baseball pitchers are going to throw in even count situation, the selection of the pitch means more than the quality of the pitch.

     Therefore, with proper pitch sequencing, baseball pitchers do not need to throw 90 high-quality pitches out of 100 they throw.

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0232.  GM disputes report on elbow: Hernandez 'his normal self'
MLB.com
February 11, 2013

SEATTLE, WA: From the start, the Mariners have put the brakes on reports that Felix Hernandez had finalized a seven-year, $175 million contract extension and now a reason may be emerging as to why: ESPN's Buster Olney says there could be concerns with the 26-year-old right-hander's pitching elbow.

But Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said on Sunday that Hernandez has been throwing normally for the last month as he prepares for camp and would be reporting with the rest of the club's pitchers and catchers as expected on Tuesday.

"He's coming down tonight and will be here to get his physical, and we'll get rolling," Zduriencik said from Peoria, Ariz. "I'm not going to comment on any of that other stuff. It's ridiculous. I've watched him at [Safeco Field] for the last month or so throwing, and he's his normal self."

Olney said one source told him the elbow is "an issue" in finalizing the new deal, which was initially reported by numerous media outlets as being agreed upon on Thursday. But the Mariners have said all along that there was no deal yet in place and stuck to their long-held policy of not commenting on ongoing negotiations.

"We've been consistent on this," said Mariners director of baseball information Tim Hevly. "No announcement is planned or imminent."

The 26-year-old Hernandez withdrew from the World Baseball Classic late last week, telling Venezuela head coach Luis Sojo he would not be able to participate due to the ongoing contract negotiations.

Hernandez also took to Twitter to apologize to Venezuela's fans while asking that they respect his decision and the need to put his family first while working out his contract. He made no mention of health issues.

Hernandez has been one of the most durable pitchers in Major League Baseball since joining the Mariners at age 19. He has pitched 200-plus innings in each of the past five seasons, including 232 or more the last four.

Since 1969, only Bert Blyleven, Fernando Valenzuela and Dwight Gooden have pitched more innings before the age of 27, with Hernandez at 1,620 1/3 in his eight seasons with Seattle.

Hernandez did struggle down the stretch last season, going 0-4 with a 6.62 ERA in his final six starts, but no arm troubles were mentioned and he made all his scheduled starts. The Mariners' ace was one of the American League's premier pitchers most of the year and put together a midseason nine-game win streak that included five shutouts and a perfect game. Hernandez finished the season 13-9 with a 3.06 ERA in 232 innings.

Hernandez has two years remaining on his current contract, which will pay him $20 million this coming season and $20.5 million in 2014.

Bob Nightengale of USA Today was the first to report a new extension, which would erase those last two years and pay Hernandez $25 million a year through 2019, though a baseball source with knowledge of the negotiations immediately said that report was inaccurate.

Wilfredo Polidor, one of Hernandez's representatives with the Octagon agency, told ESPNdesportes.com on Saturday that no agreement had been reached but that "we are moving forward," and he estimated the deal as 70 percent done.


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     When Mr. Hernandez first arrived in major league baseball, someone asked me to evaluate Mr. Hernandez's pitching motion.

     Mr. Hernandez did not 'Reverse Bounce' his pitching forearm. Therefore, I did not have any concern for Mr. Hernandez rupturing his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     The body action that Mr. Hernandez uses is the typical 'traditional' pitching motion. Therefore, Mr. Hernandez will eventually have pitching hip, pitching knee and lower back problems.

     From the movement of Mr. Hernandez's curve, I believe that Mr. Hernandez pronates the release of his curve. I am not so sure that he pronates the release of his slider. Therefore, Mr. Hernandez could lose some of his flexion and extension ranges of motion in his pitching elbow.

     Mr. Hernandez also throws a reverse breaking pitch. This means that Mr. Hernandez pronates that release.

     Except for his eventual pitching hip, pitching knee and lower back injuries, I expect Mr. Hernandez to pitch injury-free for several years.

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0233.  For pitchers and catchers, it's about the relationship
MLB.com
February 11, 2013

The Yankees are Chris Stewart's fifth Major League team in pieces of six seasons. The definition of a journeyman, the 30-year-old Southern California native is a .217 hitter with a .583 OPS in 148 career games. Not much to get excited about, right?

And yet, as you dig a little deeper, you find something remarkable about Stewart, a Riverside (Calif.) Community College product who caught in 55 games for the Yankees last year and a career-high 63 games with the Giants in 2011 as Buster Posey was recovering from a shattered ankle.

In "The Fielding Bible" section of the 2013 Bill James Handbook, it is revealed that only four catchers -– Yadier Molina (32), Matt Wieters (29), Humberto Quintero (18) and Jeff Mathis (17) -– have saved more runs over the past three seasons than Stewart, who has been credited with saving 16 by the metrics mavens. Right behind Stewart, who is expected to share the catching job in the Bronx with Francisco Cervelli this season, come Ryan Hanigan, Posey, Salvador Perez and Carlos Ruiz, four of the game's best catchers.

Molina and Wieters are the reigning Gold Glove winners. Molina led all catchers who played at least 500 innings with 16 runs saved in 2012, followed by Perez (nine), Hanigan (seven), Alex Avila (six) and Wieters and Mathis (five each).

With catchers, as with no other position players, there always is more -– much more -– than meets the naked eye.

The good ones have the tools and acumen to shape and control a game while gaining the full trust of the man on the mound.

As pitchers and catchers go through their early paces this week in Spring Training camps in Florida and Arizona, managers and coaches will be making their own pitches designed to motivate and enlighten.

In the case of the Angels' Mike Sciosicia, the words, sprinkled with humor and anecdotes, might vary from spring to spring, but the underlying message is essentially always the same.

"Nothing in the game," Scioscia says, "is more important than the pitcher-catcher relationship. It's the foundation of any team."

Slugger Josh Hamilton will not be the only important new face looking back at Scioscia in the Tempe, Ariz., clubhouse. The Angels' camp will be devoted to integrating starters Jason Vargas, Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton and relievers Ryan Madson, Sean Burnett and Brandon Sisk into the system, getting the new pitchers comfortable with catchers Chris Iannetta, Hank Conger and John Hester.

This represents a major overhaul for a contender, requiring the full attention and accumulated wisdom of Scioscia, pitching coach Mike Butcher and the rest of the staff.

"Everything starts with the pitcher-catcher relationship," Scioscia said. "How they communicate and interact, the rhythm and pace they establish, it sets a tone for the game. There is so much that goes into building that relationship, and it's critical to a team meeting its goals. This is something we stress from the first day of camp and carry through the season."

Bonds formed during these seven weeks of spring can go a long way in determining how successful teams will be over the long season.

The men on the mound command most of the attention, but the guy shielded by the mask and equipment is the backbone of a team. He is the field general, responsible for calling pitches, instilling confidence and erasing doubts in his pitchers, setting the defense, keeping everything together.

The Giants and Cardinals have claimed the past three World Series. Their catchers –- Posey and Molina -– just happen to be the two best in the game in the eyes of many. That is not a coincidence.

Posey's offense gives him the slight edge in most evaluations, but Molina is the master defensively, the standard by which all receivers are measured. Posey, the reigning National League Most Valuable Player, is rock solid and has a great arm, but if you're Salvador Perez in Kansas City or Miguel Montero in Arizona, Molina –- who learned his lessons well from big brothers Bengie and Jose -- is the guy you want to emulate.

The Cardinals, with a wealth of strong young arms, are one of the few clubs that could withstand the loss of a pitcher of Chris Carpenter's stature. Manager Mike Matheny, a four-time Gold Glove winner behind the plate, has deep faith in Molina's ability to bring out the best in such young, developing talents as Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal and Shelby Miller. While Giants manager Bruce Bochy, another former catcher, carefully manages Posey's workload behind the plate, giving him time at first base to keep his bat in the cleanup spot, Molina has maintained remarkable durability. His 133 catching starts in 2012 were exceeded only by Montero's 136. Posey made 111 starts at catcher and 29 at first.

Wieters (132), the Dodgers' A.J. Ellis (128), A.J. Pierzyinski (126) of the White Sox and the Yankees' Russell Martin (116) also were durable forces behind the plate.

Pierzynski and Martin have taken free agency to new challenges. Pierzynski will be handling the Rangers' staff along with Geovany Soto, while Martin gets to know the Pirates' arms. This leaves the White Sox staff in the hands of young Tyler Flowers, who flourished defensively behind Pierzynski, and Hector Gimenez.

Cervelli and Stewart are expected to handle CC Sabathia and Co. for manager Joe Girardi, at least until highly regarded Austin Romine and Gary Sanchez are ready for the Major Leagues.

Quintero, a 10-year veteran who has played for the Padres, Astros and Royals, is a non-roster invitee with the Phillies. Quintero, who caught in a total of 167 games for Houston in 2010-11, could play his way into a valuable role as Ruiz misses the season's first 25 games due to an amphetimine suspension.

Two of the most ingruguing catching stories of the spring will unfold at the Surprise, Ariz., site shared by the Royals and Rangers.

Kansas City is welcoming three new starters -– James Shields, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana -– to a rebuilt rotation. They will be thrilled to throw to imposing, athletic Perez, who has All-Star talent and needs only to avoid injuries to showcase it for a full season.

Texas, meanwhile, has imported the colorful Pierzynski to guide its gifted young staff along with Soto, who arrived at midseason 2012 in a deal with the Cubs.

The reigning American League West-champion Athletics finished the season with Derek Norris and George Kottaras sharing the duties in the wake of the trade to Washington of Kurt Suzuki, Oakland's durable receiver for five years.

General manager Billy Beane recently acquired John Jaso from division-rival Seattle, which landed slugger Michael Morse from Washington in the three-team swap as Beane parted with pitching prospects A.J. Cole and Blake Treinen. Kottaras became the odd man out with the lefty-hitting Jaso forming a platoon with Norris.

The A's won with pitching and power in 2012. Jaso, who had a .394 on-base percentage for the Mariners and a .927 OPS against righties, figures to help in an area where the A's got mostly Ds. Norris, 23, will play against most of the southpaws. "I think [Jaso] and Derek complement each other very well," Beane said. "We think [Jaso] is a great offensive fit in our lineup. He was really starting to show some power last year, and I think he's a unique bat that can catch."

The Rays' primary receiver in 2010 and 2011, Jaso had a 3.41 catcher's ERA in 43 games in 2012, handling a Seattle staff that had a 3.76 overall ERA. Norris, in 51 games, had a 3.10 CERA with an Oakland staff that had a 3.48 ERA.

Considerable debate exists over the relevance of CERA. Most managers prefer the eye test over hard numbers, studying such hard-to-quantify elements as how a catcher manages pitchers' emotions.

Historically, dozens of cases can be found of pitchers clearly performing at a higher level with their receiver of choice. The great Greg Maddux found a comfort level in Atlanta with unheralded Eddie Perez over Javier Lopez, the Braves' star.

Tim McCarver, who has been talking a good game for years, experienced extraordinary success with Hall of Famers Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton.

Gibson's ERA with McCarver was 2.44 in 214 games, a half-run better than Gibby's lifetime ERA of 2.91 in 528 games. Carlton had a 2.82 ERA with McCarver in 236 shared ventures, compared to 3.22 for Lefty's career in 741 games.

While these numbers are classified as random variables by most numbers crunchers, Yankees fans might be heartened by the 2.70 ERA that Giants pitchers put together in Stewart's 63 games in 2011, compared to their 3.20 season ERA. Stewart saved four runs and forged a 3.41 ERA in his 54 games in pinstripes in 2012. The Yanks finished with a 3.85 team ERA.

Moving east this season, to the National League game he prefers as a pitcher who can handle a bat, Dan Haren will be reunited with Suzuki, who contributed to the Nationals' Major League-best record after coming in a midseason swap with the A's. In Oakland, earlier in their careers, Haren and Suzuki had a 4.23 ERA in 14 games, a small sample size.

In Anaheim, Haren found remarkable success with Mathis, leaning heavily on the catcher's athleticism to record a 2.41 ERA in 32 starts. That was Haren's best ERA by more than a full run with any receiver in his career.

In the blockbuster deal that shaped the Blue Jays as a contender, Mathis moved from Toronto to Miami, where he'll be an invaluable mentor to young Rob Brantley.

Jose Molina, who preceded Mathis and Mike Napoli in the Angels' Camp Scioscia alongside big brother Bengie, is the Rays' No. 1 receiver, nurturing a staff that led the Majors in 2012 with its 3.19 ERA. Molina, 37, appeared in a career-high 102 games. Rays manager Joe Maddon, Scioscia's bench coach with the Angels before moving to Tampa Bay, knows a good thing when he sees it.

In The Fielding Bible's rankings of catchers by a panel of insiders, Jose Molina –- the middle of the three brothers -- tied Suzuki for sixth. Yadier, Jose's kid brother, was the unanimous No. 1, followed by Wieters, Hanigan, Ruiz and Posey. Rounding out the top 10 were Jonathan Lucroy, Alex Avila and Josh Thole, the former Mets receiver who went to the Blue Jays with NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey.

Toronto's J.P. Arencibia ranked 11th, ahead of Ellis, Montero and Joe Mauer. Miguel Olivo, a gifted athlete joining Hanigan and Devin Mesoraco with the Reds, gained more support in the survey -- tying Pierzynski for 15th -- than did Martin, Buck, Brian McCann and Carlos Santana.


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     To me, the answer of whether the catcher or the pitchers decide what pitches they should throw is simple.

     Which is easier, determining what catchers prefer that pitchers throw in 'crunch-time' situations or determining what pitches the ten to twelve baseball pitchers prefer to throw in 'crunch-time' situations?

     When the pitchers select their crunch pitches, the odds are 10 to 12 times better that batters will not correctly anticipate that crunch pitch.

     When I pitched, if the catcher correctly anticipated the pitches that I wanted to throw, I knew that I was too predictable. Other than setting up on the first base one-third of home plate and smoothering pitches that hit the dirt, that is all the value I found catchers provided.

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0234.  Carpenter hasn't given up on pitching again
Associated Press
February 11, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO: St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter hasn't ruled out pitching again, including this year.

If that seems remarkable, remember that it's Carpenter, whose sporadically brilliant career has included several comebacks from injury.

The 37-year-old Carpenter met with reporters at Busch Stadium on Monday as pitchers and catchers reported to spring training in Jupiter, Fla. Last week, the team said it wasn't counting on the long-time staff ace this season, shut down this time due to apparent circulation problems that left his pitching hand aching and discolored for hours after he left the mound.

Against odds, perhaps, there's dogged optimism.

"Maybe I don't ever want it to end," Carpenter said. "I don't think I'll ever retire, to be honest with you. I'll never say that word. There might always be hope. Maybe like when I'm 48 I can come back and pitch some more."

The 2005 NL Cy Young winner plans on meeting with team medical personnel returning after doing physical exams in Florida. He hadn't responded to text messages from numerous well-wishers, nor one from Dr. Greg Pearl of Dallas, who performed radical surgery last July to relieve nerve compression in the shoulder that involved removing a rib, because he "didn't know what to say."

"It was supposed to be fine," Carpenter said. "And it hasn't been. So we'll see what happens."

When Carpenter was shut down last spring, the symptoms were numbness and tingling up and down the right side of the body, including his face. Carpenter had been confident at the team's Winter Warm-up in mid-January that he'd be ready to go. Not long afterward, he had to cut short his first attempt throwing off a mound. He gave it a few more tries before informing the team.

"I was trying to think of reasons to be positive about what's going on," Carpenter said. "My arm felt pretty good, my hand was a little messed up. It just continued to go downhill."

The fourth session, Carpenter said, he was throwing at 70 percent effort and "had no idea where the ball was going."

Carpenter is entering the second year of a two-year, $21 million contract and said he owed it the organization to keep trying. But after undergoing an eighth surgery last season that "absolutely" left concerns about long-term health, he said there would not be a ninth.

He declined invitations to attend spring training from manager Mike Matheny, general manager John Mozeliak and teammates who consider him a clubhouse leader. Carpenter said he did not want to be a distraction for a team now looking for two new starting pitchers after Kyle Lohse left for free agency, and wasn't ready to be a full-time mentor, especially after getting shut down early in spring training last year.

"I keep hounding on him about it," Matheny said in Jupiter, Fla. "Every time he's around, he brings value. I'd love to have him here. Where he is right now, it's not an easy situation."

Concern about lefty Jaime Garcia's shoulder adds more uncertainty to the rotation from an NL wild card team that lost to the Giants in the NLCS last fall. Young right-handers Joe Kelly, Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal are candidates for spots.

"When you're in this situation once it's hard enough. When you're in it three or four times it becomes a big pain," Carpenter said. "Mentally and physically it's hard to come in every day and try to think you're part of it when you're not."

Carpenter was 21-5 with a 2.83 ERA in 2005, led the National League with a 2.24 ERA in 2009 and has a career 10-4 record and 3.00 ERA in 18 postseason starts. He was 4-0 in the 2011 postseason, beating the Rangers twice in the World Series.

But he totaled 21 1-3 innings in 2007 and '08 due to elbow and shoulder woes and missed the 2004 postseason due to nerve issues in the shoulder. He made only six starts last year, half of them in the postseason and none of them close to his old form.

"I felt as soon as I got to a certain pitch count, a certain level, the fatigue starting setting in pretty easy," Carpenter said. "Before I'd never had that problem. I could definitely tell there was a difference."

On Monday, Carpenter said he had no symptoms. Of course, he hasn't been pitching.

"If I feel like I can throw again and I'm cleared to start throwing again, I'm sure I probably will," he said. "I'm not dying, I just have a messed-up arm."


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     The article said:

01. "When Carpenter was shut down last spring, the symptoms were numbness and tingling up and down the right side of the body, including his face."
02. "In mid-January 2013, due to to apparent circulation problems that left his pitching hand aching and discolored for hours after he left the mound, Mr. Carpenter had to cut short his first attempt throwing off a mound."
03. "Mr. Carpenter has not responded to Dr. Greg Pearl of Dallas, who performed radical surgery last July to relieve nerve compression in the shoulder that involved removing a rib, because he "didn't know what to say."

     Numbness and tingling means that Mr. Carpenter is irritating nerves.

     Aching can also involve nerve damage.

     However, discoloration can be either poor circulation or nerve damage.

     In any case, these symptoms have nothing to do with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

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0235.  Indians give Matsuzaka a shot with Minor League deal
MLB.com
February 11, 2013

GOODYEAR, AZ: Indians manager Terry Francona saw Daisuke Matsuzaka at his best during the pitcher's early days with the Red Sox. Now, Cleveland is giving the former phenom a chance to revive his career.

On Sunday, the Indians reached an agreement with Matsuzaka on a Minor League contract, pending the completion of a physical. The Tribe's pitchers and catchers officially reported to camp on Sunday, and physicals are scheduled to take place throughout the day on Monday.

Cleveland's first workout for pitchers and catchers is slated for Tuesday.

As things currently stand, the Indians have an assortment of arms in the mix for one vacancy at the back end of the rotation. Matsuzaka -- known as Dice-K -- is a long-shot candidate for the job, which will be up for grabs among Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, David Huff and Scott Kazmir as well.

The top four spots within the Tribe's rotation are tentatively reserved for Justin Masterson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Brett Myers and Zach McAllister.

Francona was the manager of the Red Sox in 2007, when the club won the right to negotiate a contract with Matsuzaka with a bid of $51,111,111.11 through Japan's posting system. Boston inked the right-hander to a six-year pact worth $52 million, prying him away from the Seibu Lions.

In 2007, Matsuzaka finished fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year balloting, while helping Boston to a World Series triumph. A year later, Dice-K finished fourth in Cy Young voting after turning in his best season in the big leagues, going 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA and 154 strikeouts over 167 2/3 innings for the Red Sox.

Across the 2007-08 campaigns, Matsuzaka went a combined 33-15 with a 3.72 ERA in 61 outings.

Since that strong start to a much-hyped Major League career, Matsuzaka has endured inconsistent results and injury. He has gone 17-22 with a 5.53 ERA over the past four seasons (296 innings) and underwent Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery on his throwing elbow in June 2011.

Matsuzaka made his return to the mound for the Red Sox in June of last season, when he went 1-7 with an 8.28 ERA over 11 outings, in which he compiled 41 strikeouts and 20 walks in 45 2/3 innings. In his final five starts of the year, the right-hander went 0-4 with a 14.36 ERA, giving up 25 earned runs with 15 strikeouts and 10 walks in 15 2/3 innings.

Matsuzaka joins Kazmir as the only non-roster possibilities for the Indians' rotation. Carrasco (out of last season due to an elbow injury) and Bauer (acquired from the D-backs via trade this winter) appear to be leading candidates for the fifth spot. Kluber is in the mix after an up-and-down rookie showing last year, while Huff is an option as a starter or reliever.


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     Remember the hoopla about the 'gyro-ball'?

     The Japanese know how to advertise.

     I blame the Red Sox for destroying Mr. Matsuzaka professional baseball career.

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0236.  Clean-shaven Aardsma looks to win bullpen job
MLB.com
February 11, 2013

TAMPA, FL: For David Aardsma to have a chance at making the Yankees' bullpen this spring, he knew there was one important sacrifice to make: his goatee.

"It was a sad day," said a clean-shaven Aardsma, following a workout at the Yanks' Minor League complex. "You have it all offseason, and I'd been used to having it for such a long time. It was a sad shave this morning."

It will have been worth it if Aardsma can enjoy the kind of productive spring he is shooting for.

Aardsma made it into one September game with the Yankees last season -- his first big league appearance since 2010 -- after returning from Tommy John surgery, and he hopes to be an impact arm for manager Joe Girardi when 2013 begins.

"I've been throwing full [bullpen sessions]," Aardsma said. "I was [under] no restrictions at the end of last year, so I'm excited about it. I'm ready to have a real Spring Training for once."

The 31-year-old Aardsma said that he has been working out five to six days per week and has already thrown four full bullpen sessions, along with a handful of flat ground sessions.

"I feel normal, I feel like the same spot I used to be in Spring Training," said Aardsma, who saved 69 games for the Mariners from 2009-10. "I'm a little off here and there, but it's a lot tighter and it's coming together."


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     Yankee baseball pitcher, David Aardsma, said:

01. "I've been throwing full [bullpen sessions]."
02. "I was [under] no restrictions at the end of last year."
03. "So, I'm excited about it. I'm ready to have a real Spring Training for once."
04. "I have been working out five to six days per week."
05. "I have already thrown four full bullpen sessions, along with a handful of flat ground sessions.
06. "I feel normal."
07. "I feel like the same spot I used to be in Spring Training."
08. "I'm a little off here and there, but it's a lot tighter and it's coming together."

     If Mr. Aardsma started training immediately after the 2012 season ended, then Mr. Aardsma may have a shot at pitching well for awhile. That is, until he ruptures his replacement Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

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0237.  Pomeranz doesn't plan to dwell on struggles
MLB.com
February 11, 2013

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: Rockies left-hander Drew Pomeranz is coming off a 2-9 record and 4.93 ERA in 22 Major League starts in 2012, plus a lengthy demotion to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Part of his strategy for reversing his struggles is to not spend much time dwelling on them.

Pomeranz, 24, was a top pick of the Indians in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft and was highly touted when he came to the Rockies as part of the Ubaldo Jimenez trade in '11. But Pomeranz suffered an appendicitis attack in '11 and wasn't himself when he was called to the Majors to finish the season. The inconsistent delivery continued last season.

This offseason, Pomeranz worked out at Athletes Performance Institute in Los Angeles and spent time throwing at a facility owned by longtime Major League lefty Glendon Rusch, who spent part of his career with the Rockies. Through it all, Pomeranz believes he found his motion, and will be the pitcher the Rockies thought they were getting.

"I'm trying not to force any issue, just trying to let it happen, then try to repeat it," Pomeranz said. "I just tried to do too much, tried to think too much. Whatever my natural motion is, that's what I need to have and be comfortable with.

"I don't feel I was myself for about a year and a half, honestly. I'm trying to get back to where I was two years ago, my first Spring Training. It was the best I ever felt."


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     The article said:

01. "Mr. Pomeranz worked out at Athletes Performance Institute in Los Angeles."
02. "Spent time throwing at a facility owned by longtime Major League lefty Glendon Rusch."
03. "Mr. Rusch spent part of his career with the Rockies."
04. "Mr. Pomeranz believes he found his motion."
05. "Mr. Pomeranz believes that he will be the pitcher the Rockies thought they were getting.

     So, Mr. Pomeranz credits Mr. Rusch with finding his pitching motion.

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0238.  Leyland arrives in Lakeland, targets base thieves
Detroit Free Press
February 11, 2013

LAKELAND, FL: It's not displayed on the scoreboard.

It doesn't govern when the game ends.

But there is a clock in baseball.

Tigers manager Jim Leyland talked about it Sunday, moments after he sat down behind his desk at Marchant Stadium for the first time this year and punched in for spring training.

"One thing we're going to pay attention to is the times to the plate for our pitchers," Leyland said, announcing a spring-training priority. "It's something we've got to do a little better at."

He's talking about the time -- measured by a stopwatch -- that it takes the pitcher to get the ball to home plate when a runner on first has a chance to steal second. Last year, the Tigers allowed the second-most stolen bases in the American League.

Like most baseball people, Leyland realizes that thwarting a steal attempt depends more on the pitcher than the catcher. It's not how the catcher can get the ball to second, it's how quickly the pitcher can get the ball to the catcher.

"If we give Alex a chance, he throws them out," Leyland said of catcher Alex Avila.

Trying to get the ball to Avila faster isn't all the Tigers will be doing this spring to address their huge stolen-base deficit. Last season, when they allowed the second-most steals in the league with 131, the Tigers themselves stole 59 bases, the second-lowest total in the league. That's a stolen-base deficit of 72, more than twice as large as any other team in the league.

In the off-season, the Tigers quietly hired former big-league coach Jeff Cox as a base-stealing instructor. He has a locker in the spring-training clubhouse, and he is expected to spend at least two or three weeks in camp. His biggest project would figure to be Austin Jackson, who plummeted to 12 steals last season despite the speed that garnered him a league-high 10 triples and all those catches in which he seemingly outran the ball.

Leyland isn't looking for the Tigers to suddenly become one of the league leaders in steals.

"I don't really worry about the stolen bases like everybody else does," he said Sunday. "Everybody else wants to talk about how the Tigers don't steal many bases. Well, if we're a base-stealing team, we'll steal bases. But if we're not, I'm not going to just run to let somebody think I was being really aggressive."

Must the Tigers allow fewer stolen bases than they did last season?

"Anytime you eliminate something or get a free out, that's important," Leyland said. "You just don't want people running wild on you. Some of our guys aren't the fastest home, but they are pretty diversified with stepping off and throwing over to first."

As baseball's thinkers know, it's not just a game of talent, it's a game of execution. It's execution that prevents stolen bases.

If Leyland won't outright declare speed as a priority, his discussion about steals and pitchers' times to the plate would have pleased the man whose big face once again looks down on him from the wall opposite his desk in the manager's spring-training office.

There, as for the many decades, hangs the huge black-and-white facial photo of weathered, stoic Ty Cobb in a Tigers hat and sunglasses. Cobb was all about speed and resented how Babe Ruth made power so important. Cobb stole 869 bases for the Tigers.

Leyland opened his 50th season in pro ball on Sunday by talking about the readings on a stopwatch. By doing so in the company of Cobb's portrait, he did something hard to do even in a sport with no official clock. He made time stand still.


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     Tigers manager, Jim Leyland, said:

01. "One thing we're going to pay attention to is the times to the plate for our pitchers."
02. "It's something we've got to do a little better at."

     Mr. Leyland is talking about the time -- measured by a stopwatch -- that it takes the pitcher to get the ball to home plate when a runner on first has a chance to steal second.

     Last year, the Tigers allowed the second-most stolen bases in the American League.

     To release their pitches faster, baseball pitchers have to stop lifting their glove leg high off the ground.

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0239.  Santana getting ready for latest return to Mets
New York Post
February 11, 2013

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL: Even after a nearly six-month Mets hiatus, Johan Santana won’t have to sell his team on the idea his left shoulder is sturdy upon his expected arrival at spring training today.

The left-hander has done his convincing gradually, over the course of the winter.

“He says he feels great,” manager Terry Collins told The Post yesterday after a meeting with his coaches at Tradition Field. “He is well-rested and said [the layoff] was real good for him, so I’m expecting him to come in, and he said he’s ready to pitch like he’s capable of pitching.”

Though today is the official reporting date for Mets pitchers and catchers, Santana isn’t required at the team’s training complex until tomorrow, when players will undergo physicals. Santana’s first spring training throwing session is scheduled for Wednesday.

The last time the Mets saw Santana throwing a baseball was during a bullpen session on Aug. 21, when team officials decided to shut him down for the season with lower back stiffness. In his comeback from September 2010 surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder, Santana was 3-7 with an 8.27 ERA over his final 10 starts after starting the season strong. Included was a June 1 no-hitter against the Cardinals — in which Santana remained in the game to throw 134 pitches, possibly adding to his second-half woes. He is beginning the final year of the $137.5 million contract he signed with the club before the 2008 season. Including a 2014 buyout, Santana is still owed $31 million.

As relieved as Collins is to have Santana back in uniform, the manager said he won’t necessarily be rushing out to watch the lefty throw on Wednesday.

“I judge my stuff once they start playing games,” Collins said. “Those kinds of guys, a guy like him if he’s healthy, you’ve got to write off spring training. I’ve seen too many guys get thrashed in spring training and have big seasons. As long as his arm feels good, he will give us the innings.”

Collins plans to meet with all his pitchers on Wednesday, but will save his motivational talk until next week, after the position players have reported.

The manager’s meeting with the pitchers will consist of trying to map out a plan for getting everybody work.

“We have so many faces it’s going to be about trying to get them innings,” Collins said. “We’ve got [27] pitchers in camp and a lot of guys are fighting for jobs, so we’ve got to make sure we have comparable innings for every one of those guys. We’ll have to come up with a plan and make sure everybody is getting enough work.”

Though the rotation is full, with Santana, Matt Harvey, Jon Niese, Dillon Gee and Shaun Marcum, there will be a job competition, according to Collins.

“We’ve got to make sure [Jeremy] Hefner is ready and [Jenrry] Mejia,” he said. “We’re going to give Zack Wheeler the ball. We’ve got to make sure we’ve got seven or eight guys ready to go. There is some competition out there to see who is going to be the first guy called up if that’s needed.”


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     Unbelievable.

     With lower back pain, on August 21, 2012, the Mets tell Mr. Santana that he needs to rest. Six months later, Mr. Santana says that his pitching arm feels great. Howver, nobody with the Mets have watched Mr. Santana prepare for the 2013 season, much less guild his preparations.

     If professional baseball understood that it is the work that baseball players do in the off-season that determines how they perform during the championship season, then professional baseball players would perform at the best of their abilities for more years.

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0240.  Danks enters camp as key player for White Sox
MLB.com
February 11, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ: White Sox pitchers and catchers are scheduled to arrive at Camelback Ranch sometime around 11 a.m. CT Tuesday for physicals and their first workout of Spring Training 2013.

Jake Peavy will garner a major share of immediate attention, after the right-handed hurler passed on free agency in the offseason and returned via a two-year, $29 million deal.

Chris Sale also should be a person of interest, coming off a Cy Young-caliber debut in the starting rotation that included a single-season career high in innings pitched. And the hard-throwing right-handed bullpen tandem of Addison Reed and Nate Jones will be questioned as to whether it can meet the lofty expectations forged as rookies in 2012.

But no one reporting Tuesday will hold greater importance to Robin Ventura's second year as manager than left-handed starter John Danks. A year ago in Glendale, Danks began his work at the top of the White Sox rotation courtesy of Mark Buehrle's departure via free agency and Danks' offseason agreement with the White Sox on a five-year, $65 million deal.

The hope for Danks is to be ready by the start of the regular season, or somewhere close to it, after his previous campaign came to an end following nine starts due to Aug. 6 arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder. Danks hit all of his offseason rehab goals, but with Spring Training games beginning on Feb. 23, when the White Sox will play the Dodgers, Danks soon will be facing hitters and taking the rehab up another notch.

"My goal right now is to be ready on day one of Spring Training," said Danks when asked about his progress during SoxFest. "I know they are going to have special stuff for me to do. I want to show up and not have a special throwing program. I want to be the guy to go play catch and get ready for the bullpen.

"Whether or not they will let me do that, I don't know. I doubt it. I'm working with day one of Spring Training in mind."


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     White Sox baseball pitcher, John Danks said:

01. "My goal right now is to be ready on day one of Spring Training."
02. "I know they are going to have special stuff for me to do."
03. "I want to show up and not have a special throwing program."
04. "I want to be the guy to go play catch and get ready for the bullpen."
05. "Whether or not they will let me do that, I don't know."
06. "I doubt it."
07. "I'm working with day one of Spring Training in mind."

     Evan Mr. Danks understands that starting a special throwing program in Spring Training is ridiculous.

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0241.  Papelbon: I used Toradol while with Red Sox
ESPN.com
February 11, 2013

FORT MYERS, FL: Former Boston Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, who was with the team from 2005-11, said Saturday that he and numerous other Red Sox players were regularly injected with Toradol, a legal anti-inflammatory drug whose use has become increasingly controversial in sports.

Toradol is the nonsteroidal drug that Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz acknowledged last season might have contributed to the esophagitis that sidelined him for 20 games. Buchholz was hospitalized in intensive care and lost three or four pints of blood while dealing with the condition, which is a known side effect of the painkiller.

Papelbon said that when he was administered a physical by the Philadelphia Phillies prior to signing as a free agent after the 2011 season, doctors asked him if he used Toradol. When he answered in the affirmative, he was told that he would have to stop.

"They told me, 'We don't do that here.' That kind of surprised me," Papelbon said Saturday, speaking by phone from Phillies camp in Clearwater, Fla. "I haven't had a single Toradol shot since.

"But here's the thing you have to understand. There are so many organizations that do it. Not only baseball, but every sport. Football, basketball, hockey. It's not just the Red Sox."

A Red Sox official, speaking on background Saturday, described Toradol as a legal drug with clear pain-management benefits, and acknowledged its widespread use in baseball, including by Red Sox pitchers before their starts. But he added that the club is in the midst of reviewing its policy to ensure players' safety.

"A club's policy is related to how it's using Toradol, not whether it would use it," he said.

The official said the club was in full compliance last year with the legal stipulation that only a doctor inject the medication.

Papelbon said he couldn't recall who introduced him to Toradol, and wasn't sure when he first began receiving injections, but believes it was in 2007, when he was the closer on the team that won the World Series title.

"It was kind of a word-of-mouth thing," he said. "You got in the clubhouse and said, 'Man, I feel like crap,' and somebody would say, 'Oh, you should get a Toradol shot.' All players talk about what gets you through a 162-game season."

Papelbon said he never saw another player get injected, but he believes many players were using Toradol.

Papelbon said he was never told of any potential side effects of using Toradol, but did not personally experience any adverse reactions.

"I used it based on how I felt," he said. "The days I felt bad, I took it. Maybe once a month.

"It made me feel better. You had to get it about 30 minutes before a game, and it made me feel pretty damn good. It only lasted about four hours maximum. But I never saw anyone else get injected -- that's the God's honest truth."

The New York Times reported last April that according to a member of the medical staff of a Major League Baseball team, the use of Toradol in baseball started about a decade ago and quickly soared in popularity. R.A. Dickey, who won the National League's Cy Young Award in 2012, told the Times he was injected about a dozen times with it in 2011 to help recover from a torn plantar fascia in his right foot.

But the drug, though legal in MLB and other sports, has raised concerns among medical experts about the effects of longtime use. In December 2011, a lawsuit was filed by a dozen retired National Football League players who said the league and its teams repeatedly and indiscriminately administered the drug before and during games, thus worsening injuries like concussions.

In November, an article on the Digestive Health Institute website noted that because of the side effect of bleeding, England restricts the use of Toradol to hospitals, and other countries have banned the drug entirely.

The Food and Drug Administration, the article said, requested a boxed warning on Toradol to include the risk of life-threatening gastrointestinal bleeding. The warning states: "Increased risk of serious GI adverse events including bleeding, ulcer, and stomach or intestine perforation, which can be fatal; may occur at any time during use and without warning signs."

Last September, an NFL physician society task force provided a series of recommendations regarding the use of Toradol, including that it only should be administered by a team physician, and it should be limited to use on players listed on the team's injury report. It also said it should be given in the lowest effective dose and not be used for more than five days. Papelbon said Saturday that he never heard a member of the team's medical staff offer a player performance-enhancing drugs. "No, no, no -- never," Papelbon said when asked if he was aware of any member of the Red Sox medical staff suggesting the use of PEDs. "I think that would be pretty asinine for any team doctor or trainer to say that, don't you?"

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said Thursday that someone in the organization told him performance-enhancing drugs were an option for him as he tried to work his way back from a shoulder injury in 2008. Investigations conducted by both the Red Sox and MLB found that claim to be "completely baseless," according to two baseball sources with direct knowledge of the investigations.

Papelbon said he is happy in Philadelphia and doesn't miss Toradol.

"They use safer anti-inflammatories here, have other ways to keep you strong," he said.


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     Phillies baseball pitcher, Jonathon Papelbon, said: "They use safer anti-inflammatories here, have other ways to keep you strong."

     That professional athletes seek chemicals to help them perform shows that either they have no idea how to properly train their body to withstand competitive stresses or are too lazy to do the work.

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0242.  De La Rosa says his arm feels 'perfect'
MLB.com
February 11, 2013

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: From the outside, left-hander Jorge De La Rosa is one of the Rockies' biggest questions this year. After two essentially lost seasons because of an elbow injury that required surgery, it's still unknown whether he can return to his place as one of the game's most effective left-handed pitchers.

De La Rosa, however, believes he'll provide a positive answer. He underwent Tommy John surgery in June 2011, and after a comeback full of setbacks, made just three starts last season. Not having De La Rosa around to lead the staff was one of the many reasons the starting rotation struggled and the Rockies lost a club-record 98 games.

De La Rosa admitted Monday that he threw tentatively last season, especially when throwing a breaking ball. He pitched in instructional ball after the season, but that was cut short when he suffered a slight left knee strain.

But once he ramped up for this season, he said his arm felt "perfect." He sees himself regaining the form that led to a 16-9 record with a 4.38 ERA while helping the Rockies to the 2009 playoffs.

"I never thought it would be that hard," said De La Rosa, who was at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick for a physical and to shoot television commercials Monday, a day before the first workout for Rockies pitchers and catchers. "But I feel very good right now. I think I can be good.

"Right now, I feel like I never had this injury. I feel perfect. It was a long time to come back."

De La Rosa, who turns 32 on April 5, is being paid $11 million this year to complete a three-year, $31.5 million contract. A good year could entice the Rockies to pick up his $11 million option for 2014.


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     A major league team that believes that a baseball pitcher that started only three games last season is going to lead their pitching staff this season is delusional.

     However, this is the last year of Mr. De La Rosa's three year contract. Like Mr. Zito, it is the time for Mr. De La Rosa to make his best effort.

     The question is whether, like Mr. Zito, did Mr. De La Rosa train hard the entire off-season?

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0243.  Outman looking to put 2012 season behind him
MLB.com
February 11, 2013

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: Not long after learning he had made the Rockies' 2012 Opening Day roster, left-hander Josh Outman came down with a case of food poisoning and suffered a strained oblique while vomiting.

Changes in his motion while trying to come back from the injury caused inconsistency that led to a season of bouncing between the Majors and the Minors. He wasn't right until September, when he threw scoreless ball in nine of 12 relief appearances. He finished the year 1-3 with an 8.19 ERA in 27 games, including seven starts.

After the season, Outman, 28, went 2-1 with a 4.21 ERA in six starts in the Dominican Winter League, and he is back at camp this year hoping to turn heads again -- and be known for more than the guy whose stomach turned at the wrong time.

"I don't think that I'm ever going to be able to live that one down, and I've made peace with that fact," Outman said. "Once it's out there, it's out there. But I think I'm OK with that story being embellished if I can put my body of work from last season to rest. It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mentality. If I have a strong 2013, everybody will forget about 2012."

The Rockies have said Outman is a competitor for a starting-rotation spot, but he also has the versatility to pitch out of the bullpen.


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     The articles said: "Changes in his motion while trying to come back from the injury caused inconsistency that led to a season of bouncing between the Majors and the Minors."

     I remember when Mr. Outman was an amateur baseball pitcher, to prevent injuring his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, his father had Mr. Outman hang his pitching arm over this pitching shoulder.

     After Mr. Outman signed his professional contract, while promising Mr. Outman that he would not injure his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, the pitching coaches made Mr. Outman to use the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     Of course, shortly thereafter, Mr. Outman ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     I wonder what changes in his pitching motion the Rockies pitching coaches made Mr. Outman to make?

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0244.  New year, new chapter in Nicasio comeback story
MLB.com
February 11, 2013

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: The most heartwarming development of the Rockies' 2012 Spring Training was pitcher Juan Nicasio's comeback from a broken neck the previous August to win a spot in the season-opening rotation.

Now it's a new spring, and Nicasio is working on another comeback. This one, thankfully, is more conventional.

Nicasio, 26, nearly died on the Coors Field mound on Aug. 5, 2011, when the Nationals' Ian Desmond struck him in the face with a line drive and he tumbled to the ground with a fractured skull and broken neck.

After surprising everyone with his comeback last spring, Nicasio's season ended on June 2. He suffered a left knee injury trying to field Elian Herrera's hard grounder through the mound. Setbacks during his rehab eventually led to surgery on July 16 to remove four bone chips and perform microfracture surgery to promote healing.

On Monday, after taking his physical at the Rockies' complex at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Nicasio smiled and shrugged off his run of bad luck.

"I felt bad, because when I played in the Minor Leagues I was never hurt, then I get hurt, back-to-back," said Nicasio, who will join the rest of the Rockies' pitchers and catchers in their first official spring workout on Tuesday. "I've been around for two years, but I've pitched for just three months. Still, thank you, God, for everything. It's what happens sometimes, you know?

"But I keep working."

The comeback from microfracture surgery has proven difficult for athletes in other sports, as well as baseball players who have to run great distances. But Nicasio and Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger both say the pitcher appears to be past his recovery period.

Dugger said the key for Nicasio was being given time to rest. The Rockies did not let him participate in the Dominican Winter League, and Nicasio said it ultimately was a good decision. Not only was he allowed to recover and rehab the knee at the team's complex in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, without the stress of games, but he could work on the biggest question -- outside of injuries -- in his development.

Nicasio throws a heavy fastball and a slider, but to succeed as a starter -- something the Rockies firmly believe he will do -- he will need to develop an offspeed pitch. In bullpen sessions last year, Nicasio worked on a two-seam, sinking changeup, but he threw precious few in games.

"I need this pitch," he said. "I played a couple of innings at the complex and threw a lot of changeups. I want to throw it a lot in Spring Training."

Nicasio also must be more consistent with his slider, which can be a real weapon but also a liability when he leaves it up and in the middle of the plate. In 24 total Major League starts, he is 6-7 with a 4.65 ERA. There is plenty of room for growth, and Nicasio has the raw talent to accomplish that growth.

"He's a guy that has been knocked down a couple of times with some adversity," new Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "He's got some battle scars and he's competing. He's got an electric arm. If this guy is able to show up and take his best shot, he's got a chance to be real exciting."

Nicasio has had some misfortune, but he put it into perspective.

"The knee is nothing after the neck," Nicasio said. "But I'm lucky. I've never had an arm injury, and I have the opportunity to play the game. Everybody here knows I can do it. I need to play a whole season so everybody can see."


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     I want to hear more about 'microfracture surgery.' It sounds like another unnecessary and ineffectual orthopedic surgeon scam.

     The article said: "Nicasio throws a heavy fastball and a slider, but to succeed as a starter -- something the Rockies firmly believe he will do -- he will need to develop an offspeed pitch.

     Great. In the low air molecules atmosphere of Denver, the Rockies want to teach Mr. Nicasio how to throw a slow spinning circle change-up.

     The result will be a slow straight cookie pitch thrown only when Mr. Nicasio is ahead in the count for all baseball batters to sit on and crush.

     To succeed in Denver, Rockie baseball pitchers have to throw pitches with exceptionally high spin velocity.

     In addition, I hope that Mr. Nicasio has learned how to get his pitching foot on the ground before his pitches enter the contact zone.

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