Questions/Answers 2015

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     On Sunday, January 04, 2015, I posted the following questions and answers.

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0001.  Permanent Damage to the Pitching Elbow and Pitching Knee?

1. In your "how kinesiology changed my life" presentation, you said that once a pitchers arm is out of place, it cannot go back in place.

2. You also said that a pitcher's plant leg will irreversibly turn out at a 45 degree angle.

3. To your knowledge, is there any way to reverse these biomechanical effects?


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01. I did not say: "Once a pitchers arm is out of place, it cannot go back in place."

     Instead, I said that: "Once baseball pitchers lose the ability to fully extend and fully flex their pitching elbow, they will never be able to fully extend and fully flex their pitching elbow."

     The combination of two injurious flaws in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion causes baseball pitchers to permanently lose the extension and flexion ranges of motion in their pitching elbow.

     a. When 'traditional' baseball pitchers reversely rotate their hips and shoulders beyond second base, these baseball pitchers take their pitching arm laterally behind their body.

     Then, when these 'traditional' baseball pitchers explosively forwardly rotate their hips and shoulders, to move their pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of their body, these baseball pitchers generate a sideways force that slings their pitching forearm laterally away from their body.

     I call this injurious flaw: "Pitching Forearm Flyout."

     To prevent "Pitching Forearm Flyout" from slamming the olecranon process of the Ulna bone into the olecranon fossa of the Humerus bone, a spinal cord reflex triggers the Brachialis muscle to contract.

     Repeated contractions of the Brachialis muscle causes the Coronoid process of the Ulna bone to lengthen such that these baseball pitchers to lose the flexion range of motion of their pitching elbow.

     Because the lengthened Coronoid process is bone, these baseball pitchers will never be able to fully flex their pitching elbow.

     To prevent baseball pitchers from permanently losing the ability to fully flex their pitching elbow, baseball pitchers must stop taking their pitching arm laterally beyond second base.

     This means that all baseball pitchers must pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement directly toward second base.

     b. When 'traditional' baseball pitchers release their curve ball over the top of their Index finger, these baseball pitchers cause the olecranon process of the Ulna bone to slam into the olecranon fossa of the Humerus bone.

     Repeatedly slamming the olecranon process into the olecranon fossa causes the hyaline cartilage in the olecranon fossa to calcify, thereby causing the olecranon fossa to lose its proper depth.

     I call this injurious flaw: "Breaking Pitch Supination."

     When baseball pitchers inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm and outwardly rotate (supination) their pitching forearm, baseball pitchers cause the olecranon process to slam into the olecranon fossa.

     To prevent baseball pitchers from permanently losing the ability to fully extend their pitching elbow, baseball pitchers must stop releasing their breaking pitches over the top of their Index finger.

     This means that baseball pitchers must release their breaking pitches under the Ring finger side of their Middle finger.

     When baseball pitchers release their breaking pitches under the Ring finger side of their Middle finger, baseball pitchers inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm and inwardly rotate (pronate) their pitching forearm.

     The Pronator Teres muscle inwardly rotates (pronates) their pitching forearm.

     Because the Pronator Teres muscle arises from the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone and inserts into the middle of the lateral side of the Radius bone of the forearm, in addition to inwardly rotating (pronating) the pitching forearm, the Pronator Teres muscle flexes the pitching elbow.

     Because the Pronator Teres muscle also flexes the pitching elbow, the Pronator Teres muscle prevent the olecranon process from slamming into the olecranon fossa.

     To learn how to pronate the releases of all breaking pitches, baseball pitchers need to click on my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and open the Football Training Program section.

     In my Football Training section, I teach baseball pitchers how to horizontally sail the square lid off a four-gallon bucket. When baseball pitchers horizontally sail this Lid, they pronate the release of the Lid.

     I recommend that the first baseball pitching skill that all baseball pitchers must master is how to pronate the releases of their breaking pitches.

     If they do, then they will forever be able to fully extend and fully flex their pitching elbow.

02. I did not say: "A pitcher's plant leg will irreversibly turn out at a 45 degree angle."

     Instead, I said: "When, by using their Tensor Fascia Latae muscle to sidewardly move their body as far toward home plate as possible (sideways split), baseball pitchers will grind down the inside of their rear knee, such that the lower leg will turn laterally away from vertical.

     To prevent grinding the inside of the rear knee, baseball pitchers have to use the Rectus Femoris muscle to forwardly move their body toward home plate.

     This means that baseball pitchers need to turn their pitching foot at least forty-five degrees toward home plate.

     In my baseball pitching motion, I not only recommend that baseball pitchers turn their pitching foot at least forty-five degrees toward home plate, I also recommend that baseball pitchers step forward only as far as they are able to move their rear leg in front of their planted glove foot and, instead of rotating their hips and shoulders over their pitching foot, they rotate their hips and shoulder diagonally forward over their planted glove foot.

03. No, once lost, baseball pitchers will not ever be able to fully extend and fully flex their pitching elbow or return their pitching lower leg in line with the pitching upper leg.

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0002.  How did Rudy Seanez increase his velocity from 88 mph to 102 mph?

You wrote: "Athletes cannot perform in competition for any longer than they can perform in their daily training.  That is why, at the end of their training program, I train my baseball pitchers to complete 24 wrist weight exercises, 24 iron ball throws, 12 football throws and 120 baseball throws every day.”

1. Do you mean that, if you complete the 120 days Interval, you can only competitive pitch for 120 days in-season?

2. How long can you pitch before you start the next 120 days Adult Interval?

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

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

3. Which program did Rudy Seanez started on?

You said he only completed it for a couple of month.

4. Did he train for 120 days or 280 days?


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01. To become the best baseball pitchers that they are able to become, every day, adult baseball pitchers either are completing my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, maintaining their skills and fitness or competitively pitching.

02. Immediately after competitively pitching during the baseball season, my baseball pitchers complete their next 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program with the weighs of the wrist weights and heavy ball adjusted to the next training level.

03. Rudy completed my 120-Day program.

04. Because Rudy was able to train with me on site for only 90 days, Rudy finished the 120-Day program on his own.

     By the way, Jeff Sparks completed the first 90 days of my 120-Day program with Rudy.

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0003.  Permanent Damage to the Pitching Elbow

I threw exclusively fastballs and circle changes in Little League.

I only threw my breaking ball once in a game and it was accomplished by gripping the seam with index and middle, then "webbing" the rest of the thumb-finger wedge over one flap and releasing like a football for torque.

So I think I may have lost minimal amounts of extension and flexion.

But, I'd like to measure all the same.


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     To determine whether you have lost extension and flexion ranges of motion in your pitching elbow, you should raise both arms to shoulder height with the palms facing upward.

01. To determine whether you have lost flexion range of motion, stand in front of a mirror and fully flex both elbows as much as you are able and see whether your fingers are able to touch with the fingertips or the first or second knuckle.

02. To determine whether you have lost extension range of motion, stand in front of a mirror and fully extend both elbows as much as you are able and see whether the angle of the elbows are the same.

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0004.  How did Rudy Seanez increase his velocity from 88 mph to 102 mph?

Thank you very much for your video.

It is truly disappointing to see that people do not really give you credit for this masterpiece.


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     With all the pitching injuries baseball pitchers of all ages suffer, parents of youth baseball pitchers are searching for an injury-free baseball pitching motion.

     What 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches do not understand is that, when baseball pitchers suffer pitching injuries, they also suffer decreased release velocity.

     That is why guys like Rudy Seanez were able to increase his set position release velocity from 88 mph to 102 mph and a sixteen year major league career.

     When, in 2006, I published my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video for all to watch without charge, I gave baseball pitchers a gift that will never stop giving.

     Thank you for recognizing the value of my gift to baseball pitchers everywhere.

     Now, if only Major League Baseball's 'Committee of Experts' shared your opinion of my work.

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0005.  Permanent Damage to the Pitching Elbow

How does one go about obtaining scholarly research through the medium of the internet without paying for it?

I've conducted google scholar searches, but the articles it yields are ones that must be paid for before they can be read.

Is there another site through which I can find abstracts and case studies without a form of payment being required?

By the way, I appreciate you publishing your content free of cost.


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     Sorry, but my website is the only website that not only provides 'real' scientific research, not surveys and statistical nonsense, and also provides that research for all to watch and read without charge.

     As a doctoral degree earner, I am obligated to share what my panel of doctoral degree holders shared with me with the world.

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0006.  Odds are stacked against return from injury for Rangers' Harrison
Dallas Morning News
December 26, 2014

Question: What happened to the Matt Harrison insurance money this year? Also, what would you put the odds of Matt ever making it back to pitch? (Really nice guy...pulling for him big time here.)

Believe the Rangers get about 60 percent on the dollar for time on the DL. Matt earned about $7.4 million while on the DL last year, so the club would get back about $4.4 million.

Agree with your view of Matt as a person and a competitor, but the odds are stacked against him. He is giving it his best shot. If he cannot pitch, Matt will stay on the DL so the Rangers can get a return rather than retire.


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     If Mr. Harrison were to complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, then Mr. Harrison would have a chance of competitively pitching again.

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0007.  Yankees' Kuroda seems poised to return to Japan
New York Times
December 27, 2014

Hiroki Kuroda pitched for the Hiroshima Carp in Japan’s Central League for the first decade of his professional career before heading to the United States, where he has often pitched formidably for the past seven seasons.

Now, at 39, he appears ready to return home to finish his career with the Carp, meaning the Yankees will be without yet another pitcher who was part of a capable rotation in 2014. His decision to go back to Japan was first reported by a Hiroshima newspaper and then buttressed by multiple media reports in the United States.

In 32 starts for the Yankees last season, Kuroda, who made $16 million, went 11-9 with a 3.71 earned run average. Over all, in three seasons with the Yankees, he compiled a 38-33 record with a 3.44 E.R.A.

The Yankees have already lost several other starters from last season’s rotation. Brandon McCarthy signed a free-agent deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Shane Greene, who pitched impressively as a rookie, was traded to Detroit in a three-way deal that brought shortstop Didi Gregorius to the Yankees.

As it stands now, the Yankees’ rotation for 2015 consists of Masahiro Tanaka, C. C. Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Chris Capuano and Nathan Eovaldi, who was recently acquired from the Miami Marlins in a multiplayer deal.

It is a rotation with considerable talent and potential for injury. Tanaka is in danger of needing Tommy John surgery, which would sideline him for at least a year. Sabathia missed much of the 2014 season with a bad knee that required surgery.

Pineda was a dominant pitcher for the Yankees last season — when he pitched. In 13 starts, he had a sterling 1.89 E.R.A. But those are the only starts he has made for the Yankees in three injury-plagued years with the club. Capuano, a journeyman, went 2-3 in 12 starts for the Yankees last season. And while the 24-year-old Eovaldi is considered to have a big upside, in 2014 he went 6-14 in 33 starts with a 4.37 E.R.A.

It remains to be seen whether the Yankees are willing to enter the 2015 season with this rotation, particularly after missing the playoffs for two straight years.

Still available on the free-agent market is Max Scherzer, the dominant right-hander who went 18-5 for Detroit in 2014, with 252 strikeouts in 200? innings. The Yankees have maintained they will not be bidders for Scherzer, whose agent, Scott Boras, is seeking a huge, multiyear deal. But until proved otherwise, the Yankees cannot be ruled out, especially when Scherzer would quiet a lot of the pitching worries the team is now confronting.


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     It is too bad that the Yankees do not have a baseball pitching coach that understand how to teach and train injury-free baseball pitchers.

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0008.  Phillies reportedly sign Rodriguez to Minors deal
MLB.com
December 27, 2014

The Phillies and veteran left-hander Wandy Rodriguez agreed to a Minor League contract on Saturday, according to CSNPhilly.com.

The reported deal is pending a physical, and the Phillies have not commented.

The 35-year-old lefty has struggled with injuries the past two seasons. He spent both years with the Pirates -- making just six starts in 2014 because of a leg injury, and appearing in only 12 games in 2013 because of a forearm injury.

Rodriguez, who figures to compete for a spot at the back end of Philadelphia's rotation, is 91-94 with a 4.06 ERA in 10 seasons with the Astros and Pirates.


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     In 2013, a forearm injury limited Mr. Rodriguez to 12 games. In 2014, a leg injury limited Mr. Rodriguez to six starts.

     Mr. Rodriguez has a lot to overcome.

     To have any chance of pitching major league baseball again, Mr. Rodriguez needs to complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

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0009.  Mind over matter: Bauer goes high-tech in offseason regimen
MLB.com
December 28, 2014

CLEVELAND, in: Trevor Bauer craves information. He enjoys diving head first into data, reading scientific articles and searching for technological advancements that might help him further his own research into enhancing his pitching mechanics, velocity and production.

This offseason, Bauer embarked on his annual information-gathering tour armed with nearly a full sample of Major League innings to analyze. The young right-hander spent nearly the entire 2014 season in Cleveland's rotation, experiencing enough ups and downs to provide him with a platform from which to build. Bauer did not want to waste any time in getting started.

"I feel like I had a productive season," Bauer said shortly before the offseason began. "It was not up to my standards, which I think is something that helps me want to get to work. I feel like I do have a lot of stuff that I need to work on and get better at, so I'll be ready to go."

During his season-end meeting with Indians manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway, Bauer detailed his plans for the winter. He had a list of pitching experts that he planned on visiting around the country, while devising a plan of attack for the winter. Cleveland stressed the importance of leaning on Callaway throughout the process.

In November, while Bauer was spending time at the Driveline Baseball facility in Washington, Callaway made a trip to check in with the 23-year-old. Callaway spent time monitoring Bauer's progress with his velocity training and was impressed with the ideas the pitcher had for improving upon his wide array of pitches.

Bauer had already been studying slow-motion video of Indians starter Corey Kluber's technique for throwing his two-seam sinker and slider, as well as Tribe starter Danny Salazar's method for throwing his split-changeup. During their visit, Callaway said Bauer also had a looped video of Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman throwing a specific type of two-seamer.

Bauer was studying the way Stroman would utilize the pitch against a right-handed batter. The pitch being shown in the video was sent to the left-handed batter's box, but it would tail back over the outside corner of the plate for a strike. That is something Callaway said Bauer wants to work on improving for next year.

"He was working on the axis of spin," Callaway explained. "So they had that one pitch looping on a big-screen TV in there over and over and over again, just for a visual-type aid. I think Trevor values the break, the late movement and the speed." Callaway laughed when asked if Bauer was working on adding any new pitches.

"I don't think he can add any more pitches," Callaway said. "He's already invented some."

More than most pitchers, Bauer relies on in-depth video analysis.

Bauer detailed one of the setups that he uses in the offseason. He will have a camera in each batter's box mounted at eye level, so he can see the hitter's perspective. Bauer also has a camera mounted from the center-field view in order to track the flight of the ball. He then films his pitches at 240 or 480 frames per second, and he can overlay the pitches on video to see variances in the movement.

It is all in an effort to improve his command, while increasing deception to confuse the hitter.

"I'll know where each pitch ended up," Bauer explained, "and I'll color code each pitch [on video], if it's a fastball or it's a slider or whatever, and I'll know exactly what it looks like. What pitches look the same for a lefty? What pitches look the same for a righty? Are they the same? ... Like, maybe a slider and a fastball to a lefty look the exact same because of the angle he's looking at, but to a righty you can see a difference.

"So, then I can tailor-fit what pitches I throw and where to make them all appear the same, make my delivery appear the same, things like that."

When he is in the heart of his offseason throwing program, Bauer said he works on a six-day schedule. Two days will be focused primarily on velocity drills. The other four days will be a mix of mechanics and pitch command workouts. If he is training at the Texas Baseball Ranch, he said he has a real time video setup that allows him to analyze his delivery and pitches throughout the workout.

Callaway said Bauer has been great about keeping the Indians' staff up to date on what he is working on during the winter. The pitching coach also noted that Cleveland has given the pitcher access to much of the analytical pitch data that he likes to study. Callaway said Bauer probably leans on those resources more than any other pitcher with the Tribe.

"We've given him some websites and stuff that really gets into that kind of stuff," Callaway said. "I think he likes to have the resources to do it himself, instead of just trusting what we might say. He'd rather go and research it himself. He does a lot of that and did a lot of that during the season, like trying to make his own scouting report off the same stuff that we would use. I think he likes putting that work in to make himself a little more confident in what he's doing."

Bauer has appreciated the Indians being open to his approach with such things. In particular, the pitcher said Derek Falvey, Cleveland's director of baseball operations, and Eric Binder, an assistant to the player development staff, have been great resources for him.

"I think they've not only been open to what I'm doing, there's been a sharing of information," Bauer said. "Me getting information to them. Them giving information to me. It makes the conversation progress more rapidly when there's sharing from both sides."

Last season, Bauer went 5-8 with a 4.18 ERA in 26 starts, in which he piled up 143 strikeouts against 60 walks. It was not an outstanding season, but it was not a poor campaign, either. While Bauer helped strengthen the middle of the Tribe's rotation, he never experienced a strong uptick in performance over an extended period of time.

Bauer noted that he lost 13 pounds in the middle of the year, causing his velocity to drop throughout July. As a result, the right-hander wanted to work on establishing a better conditioning plan for 2015, along with training regimens to improve both his pitch speed and command. Bauer said the general idea is to work on all three areas in order to improve on the base he established last year.

"Everything is interrelated," Bauer said. "It's a whole process and there's a lot of stuff that goes into it."

Bauer does not worry too much about an information overload, either.

"I'm blessed in a way that I can process information," he said. "That's just how my brain works. If I wasn't processing information about baseball, it would be about building a quad copter or audio engineering or whatever else has interest to me."


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     The article said:

01. "During his season-end meeting with Indians manager Terry Francona and pitching coach Mickey Callaway, Bauer detailed his plans for the winter."
02. "He (Trevor Bauer) had a list of pitching experts that he planned on visiting around the country, while devising a plan of attack for the winter."
03. "Cleveland stressed the importance of leaning on Callaway throughout the process."
04. "In November, Mr. Bauer spent time at the Driveline Baseball facility in Washington."
05. "When Mr. Bauer is training at the Texas Baseball Ranch in Houston, Mr. Bauer has a real time video setup that allows him to analyze his delivery and pitches throughout the workout."

     When Mr. Bauer finishes with Mr. Boddy and Mr. Wolford, Mr. Bauer needs to stop by Zephyrhills, FL.

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0011.  Time running out for Drabek to make impact with Blue Jays
Bleacher Report
December 29, 2014

When the Toronto Blue Jays first acquired Kyle Drabek in 2009 as part of a package of prospects from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for ace Roy Halladay, the team’s hope was that Drabek would eventually develop into a frontline starter in the major leagues.

Since then, the now-27-year-old Drabek’s career hasn’t exactly panned out as planned. After making his debut with the Blue Jays in 2010, the right-hander posted an ugly 6.06 ERA in 18 games (14 starts) during the 2011 season and was optioned to the minor leagues.

The 2012 season wasn’t much kinder to Drabek, as he made Toronto’s Opening Day roster and went on to post a 4.67 ERA in 13 starts before going down with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. This was the second Tommy John surgery of Drabek's career.

The injury aside, Drabek’s biggest issue on the mound has always been his erratic control. In 172.1 career innings pitched in the major leagues,Drabek has issued a whopping 111 base on balls.

After he spent most of the 2014 season in Triple-A Buffalo working as both a starter and reliever, the Blue Jays called up Drabek late in the campaign and used him out of the bullpen. Drabek pitched just three innings for Toronto before the season ended, striking out five and not giving up a run.

While that small sample size looks promising, it’s worth noting Drabek’s 2014 numbers in Buffalo were rather pedestrian. He posted a 4.18 ERA in 99 innings pitched, giving up 116 hits and 30 walks during that span.

Drabek’s latest Tommy John surgery has also taken its toll and his stuff is not as sharp as it once was. According to Fangraphs.com, the average velocity of Drabek’s fastball went from 93.6 mph in 2010 to just 91.3 mph last season.

With other young starting pitchers such as Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Daniel Norris passing him on the depth chart, it seems unlikely Drabek will ever be a part of Toronto’s starting rotation again.

Considering he is out of options and can be claimed by another team if he doesn’t make Toronto’s Opening Day roster in 2015, the Blue Jays should give Drabek a long look during spring training and give him every chance to make the team.

While his days as a starter are likely behind him, Drabek might still have a future with the Blue Jays in the bullpen next season if he can show he can be an effective relief pitcher. But, the former top prospect is quickly running out of time and chances.


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     With the Texas Baseball Ranch so near, Mr. Wolford should have Mr. Drabek fixed. Clearly, the Blue Jays baseball pitching coaches have no idea what to do.

     However, my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program works miracles.

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0012.  Manship inks Minor League deal with Indians
MLB.com
December 31, 2014

CLEVELAND, OH: The Indians added to their bullpen depth on Tuesday, signing right-hander Jeff Manship to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to attend Spring Training with the Major League club.

Manship, 29, has a 6.46 ERA in 72 career games in the Majors spent between six seasons with the Twins, Rockies and Phillies.

Last year, the right-hander posted a 6.65 ERA in 20 games (16 strikeouts and 14 walks in 23 innings) with Philadelphia and turned in a 4.13 ERA in 10 games in the Phillies' farm system.

Manship spent time on the disabled list between June and July due to a right quad strain.


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     The four muscles that make-up the Anterior Muscles of the Thigh are:

01. The Vastus Lateralis muscle arises from the greater trochanter and gluteal tuberosity of the Femur bone and inserts into the lateral border of the Petellae bone (knee cap).
02. The Vastus Medialis muscle arises from the lower one-half of the intertrochanteric line and medial supracondrylar line of the Femur bone and inserts into the medial border of the Patellae bone (knee cap).
03. The Vastus Intermedialis muscle arises from the upper two-thirds of the anterior and lateral surface of the and the upper part of the supracondylar line of the Femur bone and inserts into the Patellae bone (knee cap).
04. The Rectus Femoris muscle arises from the anterior inferior iliac spine ot the Iliac bone of the hip triad of bones and the groove on the upper brim of the acetabulum of the hip socket and inserts into the upper border of the Patellae bone (knee cap).

     The three Vastus muscles are pure extenders of the knee joint.

     However, the Rectus Femoris muscle flexes the hip joint and extends the knee joint.

     Therefore, I doubt that Mr. Manship strained a 'quad.'

     Instead, I suspect that, while trying to recover his pitching upper leg, Mr. Manship injured his Rectus Anterior muscle.

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0013.  Pitching Prowess dominates Majors in 2014
MLB.com
December 31, 2014

Down to the last days of September to the final out of October and all the way into November, pitching continued to rule Major League Baseball in 2014.

With Jordan Zimmermann placing a cherry on top of the regular season with a no-hitter, Madison Bumgarner providing an exclamation point on the World Series with a performance for the ages and Clayton Kershaw doubling down on awards, baseball's arms flexed their muscles again with another click up the historical chart.

It's no secret pitching has been on a solid roll these last few years, and the hits just kept not coming in 2014. The haul of heady overall numbers, just from the regular season, represented another historic notch on pitching's belt.

Consider these feats for pitching as a whole in 2014:

1. The fewest runs allowed since 1981.
2. The lowest cumulative ERA since 1989.
3. The most strikeouts in history.
4. The lowest rate of walks since 1968.
5. The lowest marks allowed in both batting average and on-base percentage since 1972.
6. Throw in five no-hitters, and it really was another banner year for the men on the mound.

With Kershaw leading the way, individual performances were off the charts. The big Dodgers lefty won both the National League Cy Young Award and the NL Most Valuable Player Award, adding a June 18 no-hitter that was one of five in MLB this year, all of them coming in the NL.

Veteran Josh Beckett notched his first no-no on May 25, less than a month before his Dodgers teammate Kershaw.

The Giants' Tim Lincecum had his second in as many years on June 25.

Cole Hamels started a four-man feat with the first six innings for the Phillies on Sept. 1.

Zimmermann's no-no for the Nationals on the final day of the season, Sept. 28, came to a spectacular end on a diving catch by Steven Souza Jr., a reminder that the pitchers do have defensive players helping them with so many of the outs they record.

American League Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber of the Indians did a lot on his own, though, going 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA and 269 strikeouts -- just the fourth player in the last 25 years with at least 18 wins, 260 K's and an ERA under 2.50. The others: Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens.

And then the last stroke of pitching genius came from the left hand of Bumgarner in October, when he pitched a total of 52 2/3 innings to a 1.03 ERA. It was a truly remarkable run that began with nine shutout innings in the NL Wild Card Game and ended with an uncanny five shutout innings of relief in Game 7 of the World Series against the Royals.

While Kershaw grabbed all the top pitching awards and then some, Bumgarner earned a place as Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year -- putting pitching atop, well, everything in the world of sports in 2014.

"To me, you'd be hard pressed to find a performance like this ever," Giants catcher Buster Posey said of Bumgarner's Game 7 outing, though he could have been talking about his teammate's October.

During the regular season, the aggregate numbers through MLB's full slate of 2,430 games continued the trend of pitching prowess, across the board:

1. Runs per game: 4.07
2. The first season since 1976 to break to the four-run barrier could be on the horizon. The lowest mark since '81 (4.00) will do for now.
3. ERA: 3.74. More directly associated with pitching, the 2014 mark was more than a run lower than the 2000 season, and the lowest since 3.75 in '92.

4. Strikeouts: 37,441. For the seventh straight year, a new record and an all-time high of 7.7 per nine innings.
5. Walks: 14,020. An average of 2.9 per nine innings represents the lowest rate of free passes in any season since the pivotal 1968 "Year of the Pitcher" (2.8).
6. Batting average: .251. The lowest since .244 in 1972.
7. On-base percentage: .314. Another step further, the cumulative OBP was the lowest since .311 in '72.

Saying this trend that began in earnest in 2010 represents a downturn in hitting, which of course it does, doesn't give proper credit to Kershaw and Bumgarner, Kluber and Zimmermann, and all the other arms that put together such a stellar year.
Even this offseason's free-agent market has been dominated by arms. Starters Jon Lester (now with the Cubs), Max Scherzer and James Shields were the most prized players out there, and relievers like David Robertson and Andrew Miller cashed in big. If there's one thing every team wanted under its tree this holiday season, it was more pitching.
Consider the two teams that made it to the World Series. The Giants did it with deep pitching and a top mark of 22 homers among their hitters going deep. The Royals did it with deep pitching and a lineup that had no 20-homer guys but manufactured runs with speed and timely power.
"I think this is the way the game is," Royals manager Ned Yost said of his team's style squeezing opportunities among the few today's pitching offers. "I think this is the way the game was. This is the way the game got away from it, and now it's back to where the game is."

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     These pitching statistics are amazing.

     However, what about the number of baseball pitchers that suffered serious pitching injuries?

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0014.  Dodgers reportedly agree with reliever Santos
MLB.com
December 31, 2014

The Dodgers continued to rebuild their bullpen heading into the new year, reportedly agreeing to a Minor League contract with reliever Sergio Santos.

The reported deal has not been confirmed by the club, but Santos should add depth or contend for one of the final spots in the Dodgers' bullpen.

The 31-year-old right-hander is coming off an injury-plagued season in which he went 0-3 with an 8.57 ERA in 21 innings over 26 appearances for the Blue Jays. Injuries limited Santos to only 61 appearances for Toronto over the last three seasons, but he did manage to compile a 1.75 ERA in 25 2/3 innings in 2013.

Santos was at his best as the White Sox closer in 2011, putting together a 3.55 ERA with 30 saves and 92 strikeouts in 63 1/3 innings. For his career, Santos is 7-12 with a 3.89 ERA in 180 appearances.

Santos was taken by the D-backs in the first round of the 2002 Draft, eventually signed as a free agent with the White Sox in 2009 and was then traded from Chicago to Toronto in 2011.


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     The article said:

01. "In 2014, Sergio Santos had an injury-plagued season in which he went 0-3 with an 8.57 ERA in 21 innings over 26 appearances."
02. "Over the last three seasons, injuries limited Mr. Santos to 61 appearances."
03. "In 2013. Mr. Santos compiled an 1.75 ERA in 25 2/3 innings.
04. "Mr. Santos should add depth or contend for one of the final spots in the Dodgers' bullpen."

     Really. How?

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0015.  Duke's Swart undergoes Tommy John surgery
Duke Chronicle
December 31, 2014

The regular season doesn't begin until Feb. 13, but Duke is already facing its first bout with adversity.

Starting pitcher Trent Swart will miss the 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, the team announced in a press release Tuesday. The senior is expected to make a full recovery and should be back on the mound for the Blue Devils for the 2016 campaign.

“It’s a really tough blow to lose a pitcher like Trent Swart for the season,” Duke head coach Chris Pollard said in a press release. “Trent has consistently proven himself as one of the best starting pitchers in the ACC over the past three years. We will miss not only his production and competitive fire but also his leadership on the field.”

Swart was sidelined for part of the 2014 season with a forearm strain, but still turned in one of the best seasons in program history. Making 11 starts, the southpaw went 5-2 with an ACC-leading 1.76 ERA. In one of his most impresive outings of the season, the Carlsbad, Calif., native tossed eight innings of six-hit, three-run ball in the regular-season finale against then-No. 4 Florida State, and also put together a streak of 17 scoreless innings.

With Swart out of the rotation for 2015, Pollard's staff will rely even more heavily on junior Michael Matuella. The right-hander posted a 2.78 ERA in 11 starts last season and was recently ranked as the No. 2 overall prospect by MLB.com for the 2015 MLB Draft.

In addition to Matuella, the Blue Devils return 10 other pitchers from last year's staff, which posted the lowest team ERA in 43 years last season. Pollard will also add four freshmen arms to the mix.

Although Swart's production will be hard to replace, the young staff will get the opportunity to pitch meaningful innings early in their careers.

“This injury provides a tremendous opportunity for some young pitchers in our program to step forward and play a more meaningful role as we continue to grow this program towards national prominence,” said Pollard.


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     Duke University head baseball coach, Chris Pollard, said:

01. “It’s a really tough blow to lose a pitcher like Trent Swart for the season.”
02. "Trent has consistently proven himself as one of the best starting pitchers in the ACC over the past three years."
03. "We will miss not only his production and competitive fire, but also his leadership on the field.”
04. “This injury provides a tremendous opportunity for some young pitchers."
05. "Our young pitchers will step forward and play a more meaningful role as we continue to grow this program towards national prominence.”

     Not when your best baseball pitcher needs Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.

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0016.  Elbow Pain

My son has elbow pain for the past two years after pitching, then goes away.

This past summer he had a avulsion fracture in his right elbow.

The bone healed in 4 weeks and we waited another 8 weeks to be sure.

No one seems to be able to identify what is causing this pain.

Please look at the two videos and help us.

Side View Regular Motion

Rear View Slow Motion

Four colleges very interested in him.

We don’t know what to do.


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     I watched the two videos.

     Your son takes his pitching arm well beyond pointing toward second base.

     As a result, your son has to return his pitching arm to the pitching arm side of his body.

     Because your son rotates his hips and shoulders over his pitching foot on the pitching rubber, your son has to try to keep his pitching upper arm with the forward rotation of his shoulders.

     That puts a lot of stress on the front of his pitching shoulder and causes his pitching forearm to flyout sideways away from his body.

     This 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' action causes the bones in the back of his pitching elbow to bang together.

     As a result, your son has lost the ability to fully extend his pitching elbow.

     In addition, your son reflexively contracts the Brachialis muscle to prevent the bones in the back of his pitching elbow, which causes the coronoid process of the Ulna bone to lengthen. As a result, your son has also lost the ability to fully flex his pitching elbow.

     When your son releases his breaking pitches, your son releases the baseball over the top of his Index finger.

     This means the while your son is inwardly rotating the pitching upper arm, your son is outwardly rotating (supinating) his pitching forearm.

     When baseball pitcher inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm inwardly rotating and outwardly rotates the pitching forearm, the two contradictory actions cause the olecranon process of the Ulna bone to slam into the olecranon fossa of the Humerus bone.

     That caused your son to fracture the olecranon process of his Ulna bone.

     To prevent the olecranon process from slamming into the olecranon fossa, your son has to inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm and inwardly rotate (pronate) his pitching forearm.

     To prevent 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' that cause your son to lose the ability to fully extend and fully flex his pitching elbow, your son has to rotate his hips and shoulders forward over his glove foot and turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     To learn how to 'pronate' the releases of his breaking pitches, you and your son need to watch the Football Training Program section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and learn how to horizontally 'sail' the square lid off a four-gallon bucket, then use an appropriately-sized football to learn how to drive the Ring finger side of his Middle finger horizontally through the top point of the football.

     For over 130 years, 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches have taught baseball pitchers to release their breaking pitching over the top of the Index finger, thereby destroying their pitching elbow.

     You and your son should carefully watch my Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video, especially the front view slow motion video of my guy turning the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and driving the Ring finger side of his Middle finger through the top of the baseball, even to getting over-spin that causes the baseball not only move dramatically downward, but also move to the pitching arm side of home plate.

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

     On Sunday, January 11, 2015, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0017.  Elbow Pain

Words cannot express my sincere thanks to your evaluation of my son's delivery problem.

We will shorten that arm and limit the rearward rotation of his body on the rubber.

I will sit with him and have watch the football video and I will have him stop throwing that spike curve ball.

Last summer, while he was pitching, he threw that spike curve ball and felt a sharp pain. He called the catcher up to the mound and said that last pitch hurt, only fastballs to finish the inning.

So what your saying is very true.

He has a nice knuckle change-up he can throw instead. He also has a great change up.

He is not throwing in January to rest his arm.

He will practice this new motion 3 times a day with 10 reps in each set to perfect this new motion.

It will be in two parts:

The first will be from the stretch to the landing position and then stop and check the arm slot location.

Then move forward to the finish position and release the ball as far forward as possible.

He will not be throwing, but merely going through the motion slowly.

This is so important that he gets this down if he wants to continue to play ball in college.

I can't thank you enough for your wisdom.


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

     I recommend that you and your son first watch my Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video. That video teaches how to throw the six baseball pitches baseball pitchers need to master to be able to succeed against the four types of baseball batters.

     This video clearly shows how baseball pitchers should pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous straight toward second base.

     What is a 'spike curve ball?' Could you explain the technique and who teaches it?

     The Football Training Program teaches baseball pitchers how to achieve the proper spin axes for the six baseball pitches that I teach adult baseball pitchers.

     As another drill to learn how to pronate the pitching forearm when your son throws my curve ball, I included clips of how to horizontally 'sail' the square lid off a four-gallon bucket.

     To learn my method of throwing the baseball, I recommend that you and your son watch the Wrist Weight Training Program section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     Whether with wrist weights or not, your son needs to learn the four drills that I use to teach the skills of my pitching arm action.

01. Wrong foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arms actions drill.
02. Wrong foot body action; Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching arms actions drill.
03. Wrong foot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arms actions drill.
04. Drop Out Wind-Up body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arms actions drill.

     Instead of throwing a Knuckle change-up or a regular change-up, I recommend that your son learn how to throw my reverse breaking pitches, starting with my Maxline Fastball Sinker.

     If you continue to do what 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches tell your son to do, then your son will continue to suffer pitching injuries. The injurious flaws in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion not only cause pitching injuries, but they also decrease release velocity, release consistency and the quality of the pitches.

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0018.  Danny Hale comments on Dr. Marshall' Pitching Motion Video

LOL - I saw this crackhead talking about what Tom House - The NPA --- Now I get it he is from outer space


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Dear Sir,

     Unfortunately, Mr. House teaches what all 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches teach that cause the pitching injuries their students suffer.

     These injurious flaws not only cause pitching injuries, they also decrease release velocity, release consistency and the quality of their pitches.

     With my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers not only do not suffer pitching injuries, they also achieve their genetic maximum release velocity, release consistency and quality of the six pitches I teach.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0019.  Danny Hale comments on Dr. Marshall's Pitching Motion

Hey if i throw underhand my arm will be safe too


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Dear Sir,

     No. With the underarm technique, baseball pitchers cannot use the Latissimus Dorsi muscle or pronate the release of their breaking pitches.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0020.  Danny Hale comment on Dr. Marshall's response

Well that’s great and all, but here is a simple truth for now anyone that learns to pitch the way you teach is just wasting time.

Also, I would love the opportunity to see the SCIENTIFIC PROOF of what you claim.

The ASMI did a study (across several renowned universities costing millions) to find the safest method to pitch and Tom and other great pitching coaches live by it.

If you want people to take you serious provide something more than your opinion on the matter - just show us the case studies show us the case studies that prove everyone professional pitcher and pitching instructor is wrong.

I for one think that you’re full of it.

Not sure you motives (maybe you really wanted to be a pitcher but didn’t make it?), but let’s see some proof.


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

Dear Sir,

     Biomechanics measures displacement and time intervals. A computer program calculates velocity, acceleration and force. None of these calculations explain the causes of pitching injuries.

     After my 1967 major league season, X-rays showed that I lost 12 degrees of my extension and flexion ranges of motion. A damaged olecranon fossa and elongated coronoid process permanently deformed my pitching elbow.

     I found that when I took my pitching arm three feet laterally behind my back, to move my pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of my body, I generated centripetal force that caused my olecranon process to slam into my olecranon fossa. To prevent these damaging collisions, I learned to not take my pitching arm laterally behind my body.

     Biomechanics cannot explain the causes of pitching injuries.

     However, with a doctoral degree in Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology and Motor Skill Acquisition, I am able to determine the causes of pitching injuries.

     With my research, I managed to finish 4th, 2nd, 1st, 5th and 5th in the Cy Young Awards. I did really want to be a major league baseball pitcher and still hold numerous pitching records.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0021.  The Glove Arm

I am in the 8th grade and my hitting coach is a Marshall certified trainer. He has taught me the pronated throw for outfielders.

I have understood arm injuries that come from supinating which is when at the ballistic point in the throwing motion your humerus and radius bones slam together at the ligament causing ucl tears and tommy john surgeries etc.

I have considered taking up the throwing program. However, I do have a few questions.

You focus your workouts very much on the throwing arm, yet I do not see much addressed on the other arm.

1. How will this affect my balance on both arms?

2. How crucial are these workouts for an outfielder?

3. Will the balance difference effect my baseball play in a way I should be aware?

Thank you for taking your time to read this email.


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

     Pronating the releases of all pitches prevent the olecranon process of the Ulna bone from slamming into the olecranon fossa of the Humerus bone.

     However, when baseball pitchers take their pitching laterally behind their body, they will lose their flexion range of motion.

     Therefore, whether a baseball pitcher or a position player, you should keep the pitching arm on the line between second base and home plate.

01. If you open the Wrist Weight Training Program section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, you will find the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     At the start of every drill, I have my baseball pitchers point their glove arm directly at home plate, such that when the front foot lands, to start the rotation of the hips and shoulders, my baseball pitchers pull their glove arm backward toward second base.

02. All position players should do the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion with the exception that they only practice the release of my Maxline Fastball for outfielders and my Maxline and Torque Fastballs for all other position players.

03. The power in the pull-back of the glove arm triggers the rotational velocity of the hips and shoulders over their glove foot.

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0022.  Danny Hale comments on Dr. Marshall's response

Again there are studies, which I am admittedly less knowledgeable about that show underhand fast pitch to be safe or at least much safer than any type of release.

oh and you really may want to get a look at the bio mechanical research in the AMSI study on pitching they looked at a very similar concept in pronating the arm that you teach and found it to be no safer than throwing overhand with proper mechanics.

They also PROVED the theory you have about abduction stress on curve balls and sliders to be a MYTH. You know I can just say random crazy stuff too like I invented hoover boards or something - sounds great but in the end I would have to put up or shut up.


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Dear Sir,

     Leaving aside the incredible stress on the legs, lower back and Rib Cage, when baseball pitchers throw underhand, they cannot apply force in straight lines toward home plate. With their pitching arm within inches of the ground, sidearm pitchers are only able to pull their pitching upper arm, which unnecessarily stresses the front of their pitching shoulder.

     When baseball pitchers pronate the releases of their pitches, baseball pitchers prevent their olecranon process of the Ulna bone from slamming into the olecranon fossa of the Humerus bone. Therefore, when baseball pitchers supinate their releases, they permanently lose their extension range of motion.

     Whether baseball pitchers use the Pectoralis Major muscle or the preferred Latissimus Dorsi muscle, during the acceleration phase, baseball pitchers inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm. Pronation means to inwardly rotate the pitching forearm. These actions prevent stress on the pitching elbow. However, supination means outwardly rotating the pitching forearm. These actions generate contrary forces the permanently destroy pitching elbows.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0023.  Danny Hale replied to Dr. Marshall's response

Um did you just claim to be a Kinesiology expert, but discount the ability to use biomechanics or motion shaping / tracking and analysis – the very foundation of that science to understand injuries?

A science designed to allow one to understand these exact type of situations and the injuries associated with them more clearly.

Do you believe that the worlds most advanced Kinesiology experts who ran these tests are wrong?

If you do prove it!

DR. Andrews and Flisig both had to flip...


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

Dear Sir,

     Biomechanics generate tables of statistics that do not prove anything.

     Kinesiology combines mechanical analysis and structural analysis.

     To determine the causes of pitching injuries, researchers need to understand the stresses on the skeletal structure.

     For example, Biomechanics does not measure the extension and flexes ranges of motion of the pitching elbow. Therefore, Biomechanics cannot prevent injuries to the olecranon fossa or why the coronoid process elongates.

     For over thirty years, Dr. Fleisig has biomechanically analyzed baseball pitchers and those same baseball pitchers still destroy their pitching arms. Ask Mark Prior.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0024.  Danny Hale replied to Dr. Marshall's response

Um did you just claim to be a Kinesiology expert, but discount the ability to use biomechanics or motion shaping / tracking and analysis – the very foundation of that science to understand injuries?

A science designed to allow one to understand these exact type of situations and the injuries associated with them more clearly.

Do you believe that the worlds most advanced Kinesiology experts who ran these tests are wrong?

If you do prove it!

DR. Andrews and Flisig both had to flip their stance on years of curveball fear mongering do to the research, but sounds like you discount all of this science - can we get a look at your lab research please?

Beyond that there is really not much to say but this – it’s like this you attacked one of the most respected pitching coaches in the world – the National Pitching Association – and even mentioned one of the greatest pitchers of all time Nolan Ryan in your rant.

I am saying to you very clearly that what you have claimed - that these folks are hurting people and even insinuating that they are doing so knowingly.

I say BS and challenge you since you are claiming that the method that most of us teach (although admittedly modified from the standard NPA curriculum) is flawed a method that has been proven by some of the WORLDS BEST SPORTS MEDICIANE EXPERTS is wrong. So let’s see something more than antidotal evidence where is your lab research or any proof?

An what's your issue with Tom House and the NPA - I mean really why does any of this make you want to lash out at Tom?

Clearly the research they are doing illustrates a strong desire to help reduce injuries in all ages of pitchers.


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

Dear Sir,

     Biomechanics generate tables of statistics that do not prove anything.

     Kinesiology combines mechanical analysis and structural analysis.

     To determine the causes of pitching injuries, researchers need to understand the stresses on the skeletal structure.

     For example, Biomechanics does not measure the extension and flexes ranges of motion of the pitching elbow. Therefore, Biomechanics cannot prevent injuries to the olecranon fossa or why the coronoid process elongates.

     For over thirty years, Dr. Fleisig has biomechanically analyzed baseball pitchers and those same baseball pitchers still destroy their pitching arms.

     Ask Mark Prior how much Tom House helped him and thousands of others.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0025.  Hill Billy commented on Jeff Sparks

Sure he K'd 41, but he also gave up 19 hits, 3 hit batsmen and 30 walks!

So, he pitched 30.1 innings and had 52 base runners.

That is not good control.


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Dear Sir,

     Mr. Sparks pitched at the end of 1999 and the beginning of 2000.

     Rather than picking on negative statistics, how about watching Mr. Sparks in action.

     On my website (drmikemarshall.com), I have provided my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video for all to watch without charge. Section 11 contains video of Mr. Sparks pitching.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0026.  Hill Billy commented on Jeff Sparks statistics

Jeff Sparks statistics

Doesn't look that good to me. An FIP of 5.00 with a WHIP of 1.615 and over a BB per inning.

That is what my problem is with this motion, control.

It appears to be very difficult to have any semblance of control using this motion due to the way the leg flies open and how far to the left the head ends up.

That is too much head movement to be able to have good control of any pitches much less 3 or 4.


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

Dear Sir,

     According to Sir Isaac Newton's first and second laws of motion, to achieve maximum release velocity with maximum release consistency, baseball pitchers have to apply force to their pitches in straight lines over as great of distance as possible.

     To apply force over as great of distance as possible, baseball pitchers have to move the center of mass of their body forward through release. To do that, baseball pitchers have to rotate their hips and shoulders forward over their glove foot.

     To apply force in straight lines toward home plate, baseball pitchers have start by pendulum swinging their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement directly toward second base.

     Then, during the acceleration phase, while the baseball pitchers step straight forward toward home plate, baseball pitchers have to move their pitching upper arm to vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching upper arm facing toward home plate.

     Then, when the glove foot lands, to continue to move the center of mass of their body forward through release, baseball pitchers have to use their planted glove foot to pull their body straight forward toward home plate adding to their release velocity and release consistency.

     To watch these action in from behind the plate in slow motion, I invite you to open my Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video. Pay close attention to the position of the pitching upper arm as Mr. Sparks drives the back of his pitching upper arm straight toward home plate.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0027.  Yankees deal faded prospect Banuelos to Braves
Wall Street Journal
January 01, 2015

There was a time when the Yankees believed that left-handed pitching prospect Manny Banuelos was the future of their pitching staff. Now he’s just another trade chip, dealt to the Atlanta Braves Thursday for right-handed reliever David Carpenter and rookie lefty Chasen Shreve.

Banuelos, Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances were once parts of a three-headed prospect tandem known as the “Killer Bs,” young starting pitchers the Yankees hoped could carry the franchise forward for years. But Betances flamed out as a starter before blossoming as a relief pitcher, and Brackman is out of baseball entirely. Banuelos, 23, hasn’t panned out yet, turning in unremarkable minor-league seasons in 2011 and 2012 before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2013 to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow.

Carpenter, a 29-year-old, hard-throwing righty, should immediately step in to fill the setup role of Shawn Kelley, who was traded to the San Diego Padres earlier this week. In 2013, Carpenter posted a 1.78 ERA in 65.2 innings for the Braves; it ballooned to 3.54 in 61 innings this past season. Shreve, 24, allowed one run in 12.1 innings in his major-league debut this past season, and joins the mix of young lefty bullpen options for Yankees manager Joe Girardi.


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

     The article said:

01. "Mr. Banuelos is 23 years old."
02. "So, Mr. Baneulos hasn’t panned out yet."
03. "In 2011 and 2012. Mr. Baneulos turned in unremarkable minor-league seasons."
04. "In 2013, Mr. Baneulos had Tommy John surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow.

     It sounds as though Mr. Rothchild has panned out.

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0028.  Mets' prospect Matz could be the next deGrom
New York Daily News
January 02, 2015

Steven Matz was a little distracted. While his St. Lucie Mets were losing to the Yankees’ Florida State affiliate at Tradition Field on May 15, 2014, part of the lefthander’s attention was up in Queens. In between innings, the Long Island native was darting in from the dugout to the clubhouse where all the televisions were turned to SNY and he was keeping tabs on Jacob deGrom’s major-league debut.

“He had called me, told me he was going up (to the major-league club) and he was getting a start,” Matz recalled in a phone interview. “They all had the TVs on his game. We had a game, but I wasn’t pitching that day, so I’d run in and keep checking on how he was doing.”

The Mets don’t think it will be too much longer before deGrom watches Matz make his major league debut. The southpaw is coming off an exciting season in which he pitched to a 2.24 ERA (walking 35 and striking out 131 in 140.2 innings) between high-A and Double-A.

While Noah Syndergaard is considered the next great power arm in the system, already being compared to Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler, Matz is also getting some interesting comparisons. Last year, Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen compared Matz’s stuff to 2014 National League Cy Young award winner and NL MVP Clayton Kershaw’s, and Mets executive Paul DePodesta compared his makeup to the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year: deGrom.

“I am not making any kind of explicit predictions here, by any stretch, but there are a lot of similarities here between deGrom and Matz,” DePodesta, the Mets VP of Player Development and scouting, said.

“I am not predicting the rookie of the year 2015 by any stretch,” DePodesta said. “But I do think there are a lot similarities between the guys.”

Matz is trying to ignore the talk about his future this winter, but the comparison to deGrom is something he appreciates and is something he can use.

“Definitely” Matz said of being inspired by watching deGrom. “Obviously, coming from the minor leagues, you never know what it is like, but watching him go through all that and make his debut, watch his rookie season I can relate to that. I know what kind of pitcher he is, and knowing (his) personal level, watching him throughout the season, it’s been exciting and encouraging.”

Matz and deGrom spent much of 2011 together, working out, rehabbing and fishing in Port St. Lucie. Matz had a rocky rehab from 2009 Tommy John surgery as his UCL needed to recover, and then he had tendinitis in his shoulder. Matz did not make his professional debut until June of 2012. DePodesta says the struggle and the time off have made Matz mature beyond his 23 years and feels he shows that in his ability to pitch big games.

“This is a guy who absolutely rises to the occasion and I think that his maturity has a lot to do with it,” DePodesta said.

The Mets will be watching his maturity and stuff carefully this spring when Matz will be in the mix with their best young arms, including deGrom, for a chance to make his major-league debut in 2015. Without making any predictions, Matz said that’s exactly where he wants to be.

“The Mets have so many good arms in minor league system, if you don’t do well, you will get put aside,” Matz said. “That definitely gives you a little extra push, a little extra drive.”


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     The article said:

01. "Steven Matz and Jacob deGrom spent much of 2011 together, working out, rehabbing and fishing in Port St. Lucie."
02. "Mr. Matz had a rocky rehab from 2009 Tommy John surgery as his UCL needed to recover."
03. "Then Mr. Matz had tendinitis in his shoulder."
04. "Mr. Matz did not make his professional debut until June of 2012."
05. "Mets VP of Player Development and scouting, Paul DePodesta says the struggle and the time off have made Matz mature beyond his 23 years and feels he shows that in his ability to pitch big games."

     Unless surgically-repaired baseball pitchers learn to contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle of their pitching elbow, Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacements have an average of three years of shelf life.

     Does Dan Warthen know what a medial epicondyle is?

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0029.  A major league dream
Journal Courier
January 03, 2015

Eric Jokisch’s dream of becoming a major league baseball player came true on September 2.

He is spending the winter making sure that dream becomes a full-season reality next year.

“I want to start the year with the major league club,” said Jokisch. “I was fortunate to get a chance to get promoted to the major league club this year to improve my situation.”

The former Northwestern University and Virginia High School pitcher was promoted to the Chicago Cubs on September 2 and pitched his first game on September 8. He worked 14 1/3 innings total, allowing three earned runs on 18 hits for an earned run average of 1.88. He struck out 10 batters and walked four. He did not have any wins, losses or saves. He appeared in four games and made one start.

“I was pretty satisfied with my performance with the major league club,” said Jokisch. “My start against the Brewers was my only bad moment. I threw a lot more pitches than I should have and they tagged me for one earned run in four innings.”

Jokisch has spent his entire career with the Cubs. He was promoted from the Iowa Cubs, the Class AAA club, where he was one of five pitchers to post eight or more wins. He finished 9-10 with a 3.58 earned run average.

“I struggled a bit in June because I was making some changes,” said Jokisch. “Eventually, things came together. The changes started to pay dividends. I know the last two months of the season, my earned run average was below 2.0.”

Jokisch threw a team-high 158 1/3 innings. In his time on the hill, he allowed 63 earned runs and 155 hits. He fanned nearly one batter per inning, posting 143 strikeouts and walking 31 hitters. He led Iowa in strikeouts as well.

“The pitching coach at Iowa (Bruce Walton) really helped me,” said Jokisch. “I can’t thank him enough. He helped me change my approach to getting batters out.”

Since 2010, Jokisch has played for six minor league teams. In 647 2/3 innings of work, he has allowed 252 earned runs for a 3.50 earned run average. He has allowed 608 hits, fanning 544 batters and walking 198. He has a 42-35 record with one save. He played Class AA baseball with the Tennessee Smokies in 2012 and 2013.

During the winter months, he is working out with Body Symmetry in Springfield with trainer Chad Marschik.

“I am doing a ton of pitcher-specific stuff,” said Jokisch. “I am working on shoulder stabilization and core strength training. I am working out with Chad about three to four times per week. While it is important to stay in shape, getting rest is just as important.”

By the time he enters spring training in the middle of February, he will be throwing 40-50 pitches every third day. He will work up from there.

“My goal is to be at 100 percent by the time the season starts,” said Jokisch. “But this is the most important spring training of my career. I am trying to make the team.”


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

     Cubs baseball pitcher, Eric Jokisch, said:

01. “I am doing a ton of pitcher-specific stuff.”
02. “I am working on shoulder stabilization and core strength training."
03. "I am working out with Chad Marschik about three to four times per week."
04. "While it is important to stay in shape, getting rest is just as important.”

     Mr. Marschik has no idea what pitcher-specific training means.

     Rest is not as important as training.

     Rest is atrophy.

     Nevertheless, best wishes Mr. Jokisch.

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0030.  Royals sign Madson to Minor League deal
MLB.com
January 04, 2015

The Royals have signed reliever Ryan Madson to a Minor League contract, the club announced on Sunday.

Madson, 34, hasn't pitched in the Majors since the 2011 season because of elbow injuries, but he saved 32 games for the Phillies that year. He signed with the Reds for $6 million before the 2012 season and with the Angels for $3.25 million before the '13 season but did not appear in a game for either team. Madson's only game action in that time was one outing for the Angels' Class A Advanced team in 2013, a scoreless inning to record a save.

Madson's deal with the Royals comes with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Over nine seasons with Philadelphia, Madson worked primarily out of the bullpen and went 47-30 with a 3.59 ERA. The right-hander, who has 52 career saves, will be fighting for a spot in Kansas City's formidable bullpen.


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     The article said:

01. "Because of pitching elbow injuries, Ryan Madson hasn't pitched in the Majors since 2011."
02. "In 2012, Mr. Madson signed with the Reds for $6 million."
03. "In 2013, Mr. Madson signed with the Angels for $3.25 million."
04. "However, Mr. Madson did not appear in a game for either team."
05. "On Sunday, January 04, 2015, Mr. Madson signed a Minor League contract with the Kansas City Royals

     I wonder what Mr. Madson did during the 2014 season.

     If Mr. Madson had completed my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, then Mr. Madson could copetitively pitch major league baseball for the Royals.

     Otherwise, I doubt that Mr. Madson will pitch in any more major league games.

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0031.  Royals fans, if you like stolen bases, thank Rusty Kuntz
Kansas City Star
January 06, 2015

This winter I’ve been asked about the Royals offseason acquisitions — guys like Kendrys Morales, Edinson Volquez and Alex Rios — but nobody’s asked me about another significant offseason move the team made: keeping their entire coaching staff.

We don’t spend a lot of time thinking about a team’s coaches, but they matter. Here’s an example: in 2014 the Royals led the universe in stolen bases, and first base coach Rusty Kuntz is largely responsible — lose Rusty Kuntz and maybe they don’t steal so many bases in 2015.

(Fair warning: I’m prejudiced — I love the guy. I talk to Rusty every chance I get, and I’ve learned a lot of baseball during those conversations. I spend so much time talking to Rusty that other reporters will jokingly ask if it’s OK if they ask him a question. It’s not, but they do anyway.)

Everybody who has a clue realizes Rusty Kuntz is a valuable source of information — and that brings me to a story.

During the postseason, teams hold totally unnecessary off-day workouts. If you haven’t figured out how to hit after 162 games, it seems unlikely you’re going to find your stroke by taking a few hacks in mid-October. The main point of the workouts is to give the media a chance to take pictures and ask a few questions — more publicity for games that are already sold out. A few players drag themselves out to take a little batting practice, reporters gather around the manager to ask a few questions and collect some clichés, and then everybody goes home.

But after one of these off-day workouts, I was leaving Kauffman Stadium when I looked back at the field and saw Rusty Kuntz standing at first base, conducting a base-running clinic for some kids. I quickly realized I was walking the wrong direction; when one of the best base-running coaches in the game is conducting a free clinic, you might want to listen.

I turned around, headed back to the field and found myself standing next to Royals bench coach, Don Wakamatsu. He had the same idea I had: Don Wakamatsu wanted to hear what Rusty Kuntz had to say.

For instance:

1. With some pitchers, looking at first base means no pickoff attempt; if they don’t look at first they’re coming over.

2. Rusty advised the runners to “let your eyes move your feet.” Avoid guessing and anticipation; focus on the key (a move that gives away the pitcher’s intentions) and react.

3. If the pitcher is right handed, does he have a broad base or narrow base? If his feet are far apart, he’ll have to rock back to get his weight on his right foot, and that means he’s throwing the ball home. Watch his back shoulder.

4. If he’s right handed and has a narrow base, he won’t have to rock back to deliver a pitch, but there are still things you can key on. The pitcher will pick his front foot straight up for a normal set position delivery, but his front foot will go forward if he’s throwing out of a slide step — a delivery that gets the ball to home plate more quickly.

5. If the pitcher is using a regular delivery — no slide step — don’t worry about a pitch-out; a fast runner can still beat a throw down to second. “If he’s quick, you stick. If he’s slow, you go.”

There was a lot more instruction that day, but you get the idea. Most of this stuff isn’t secret (if a team has a specific key on a specific pitcher, they don’t want that pitcher to know they have it), but even the general stuff illustrates the attention to detail required to steal bases.

After the clinic was over, Rusty and I stood around and talked about his job. It requires a lot of time in the video room. Rusty told me about spending two hours studying one pitcher to find a “key,” the first physical movement that reveals a pitcher’s intentions. Remember, most teams have 12 pitchers — that’s a helluva a lot of time watching video.

No wonder Jarrod Dyson has said Rusty Kuntz is his video. Jarrod might steal the base, but Rusty probably did the work that made it possible. Look at the math: If a pitcher can deliver the ball to home plate in 1.3 seconds or less, he can shut down most base stealers.

But that 1.3 second delivery is measured from the time the pitcher picks up his front foot to the time the ball hits the catcher’s mitt. If Rusty Kuntz can study video and find something that indicates a pitcher’s intentions before the pitcher picks up his front foot, that 1.3 second delivery time can turn into a 1.5 — and now it’s off to the races.

If you’re a Royals fan, the addition of Kendrys Morales, Edinson Volquez and Alex Rios is important, but don’t miss what some of the guys on the coaching staff bring to the table. Without Rusty Kuntz, the Royals probably don’t steal so many bases — and I’d have to find someone else to talk to.


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     Great time to second base is 3.2 seconds.

     When catchers use my two step throw, they are able to get the baseball to second base in 1.8 seconds rather than 2.0.

     1.3 seconds plus 2.0 seconds is 3.3 and the base stealer is safe.

     1.3 second plus 1.8 second is 3.1 and the base stealer is out.

     Mr. Kuntz needs to spend as much time timing catchers as pitchers.

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0032.  Hudson has ankle surgery, out two months
MLB.com
January 06, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Giants right-hander Tim Hudson underwent surgery last Friday to remove bone spurs from on his right ankle, the club announced Tuesday. But manager Bruce Bochy downplayed the severity of the procedure, and the Giants insisted that Hudson will be fit to begin the season on time.

Hudson is expected to need eight weeks to recover from the operation performed by Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, N.C. According to the Giants, Hudson began experiencing discomfort as he increased the intensity of his offseason workouts.

"It just started nagging at him, so I think he just wants to get it cleaned up," Bochy said.

Hudson's activity will 1with a 6.19 ERA in four postseason starts.

As the Giants' staff is currently constructed, Yusmeiro Petit likely would assume a starting role if a vacancy needed to be filled in the rotation. But that shouldn't be the case with Hudson, as assistant general manager Bobby Evans said in a text message: "We expect Tim to be ready to go Opening Day."

Hudson finished 9-13 with a 3.57 ERA last year, including 0-4 with an 8.72 ERA in five September outings. The Giants posted a 17-14 record in his starts, including 9-5 at home.


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     The article said:

01. "Giants right-hander Tim Hudson underwent surgery last Friday to remove bone spurs from on his right ankle."
02. "Last year, Mr. Hudson was overcoming a serious injury to the same ankle that he sustained in July 2013 while covering first base."

     Bone spurs result from bones slamming into other bones leaving openings in the hyaline cartilage. Then Osteoblast cells lay down bone matrix through those openings.

     It is possible that when Mr. Hudson injured his ankle covering first base, Mr. Hudson broke pieces of hyaline cartilage loose.

     However, when baseball pitchers place their pitching foot parallel with the pitching rubber and move their body sideways toward home plate, the sidewardly movement of the ends of the Tibia and Fibula bones over the Calcaneus bone could chips pieces of hyaline cartilage off the ends of the Tibia and/or Fibula bones.

     For this reason and to stop grinding the inside of the Tibia bone at the knee joint, baseball pitchers need to turn their pitching foot at least forty-five degrees toward home plate.

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0033.  Cobb: Rays rotation eyes 1,000-inning plateau
MLB.com
January 07, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG, FL: A big part of the Rays' success this year will be determined by how well the starting rotation does. Several of the starters have already expressed a desire to log 1,000 innings as a rotation.

Likely Opening Day starter Alex Cobb addressed the prospect of the group achieving such a lofty goal.

"That would be the biggest leap we could make as a staff," Cobb said. "If we can get to that 1,000-inning mark as a staff, it would solidify what everybody is kind of whispering about us -- how we could be one of the best staffs in the [American League] East, even the AL. If we can get to that mark, I think that shows the maturity and the establishment the group has shown as a whole.

"It's very difficult to get that. But I do believe that just watching and seeing how everybody goes about their business in the offseason and the first-class care we get during the season with the training staff, it's a definite possibility to reach that goal."


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     The Rays trade even very successful older baseball pitchers.

     I believe that the Rays believe that, as a result of years of competitively pitching, these older baseball pitchers will break down.

     Unfortunately, when baseball pitchers use the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, the Rays are correct.

     So, after several years of successful pitching, young Rays starting pitchers can look forward to moving on.

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0034.  Fedde progressing in rehab from Tommy John surgery
MLB.com
January 07, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC: Right-hander Erick Fedde, the Nationals' first-round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, is happy to report that his elbow is recovering nicely from Tommy John surgery. In fact, the Nevada native was in Viera, Fla., recently to start a throwing program.

Fedde started off slowly by throwing 30 feet and then 60 feet. As of Tuesday, he had reached 90 feet and was throwing the ball 50 times per session. Fedde has good and bad days. When he has his good days, it means that he is thinking about nothing else other than throwing the baseball. He forgets that he had elbow reconstruction. The bad days mean the elbow is feeling a little tight and he feel soreness in muscles that he hasn't used in a while.

"I'm progressing pretty well," Fedde said via telephone. "There are good days and bad days when I'm throwing. I was told that was to be expected. I'm continuing with the shoulder rehab. Now I can finally lift and do weight training. My body is starting to feel back to normal."

Fedde is aware that the Nationals have had success with the players who have recovered from Tommy John surgery. The 21-year-old had a conversation with Stephen Strasburg once about getting back on the mound, and he has befriended fellow pitching prospect Lucas Giolito. The two met during the instructional league season, and Giolito had the procedure done two years ago.

Strasburg and Giolito have been successful on the mound since their surgeries. It helps Fedde believe that he will follow in the same path as those two pitchers.

"That's a big boost for me, personally," Fedde said. "I got to say hi to Stras when I went to D.C. He reassured me to keep moving along and trust the system. He said, 'There are going to be some days it's not going to feel good. Just judge yourself from month to month. It's easier that way. It would be better than day to day.' That's been some good advice from him.

"Giolito was walking me through the whole process. We have become pretty good friends. I still stay in contact with him, even in the offseason. He has been a huge help him for me. That is probably one of biggest things for getting through it, just having other guys to tell me, 'You are going to feel bad today. It happens. It's the same way I am.' Today I'm feeling just fine, throwing effectively."

Fedde will report to Spring Training early and work out with his teammates. He expects to take part in extended spring camp once the season starts and hopes to begin pitching in games by midseason.

"I'll work my way up. I hope to get some rehab starts. Hopefully, July time, we'll see what happens from there," Fedde said. "I want to be on the mound and be somewhat like my old self at some point of the year."

Before the surgery, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound Fedde had a great final season for UNLV, going 8-2 with a 1.76 ERA in 11 starts. He had 82 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings. Scouts compared Fedde to former White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell.

"I picture myself as a power pitcher with the ability to get ground balls when they are needed." Fedde said. "I lived on my two-seam fastball and my slider.

I thought I could punch out anybody in the country when I needed to. I could also live on my two-seam sinker to get the double play. [Before the injury] I was a pretty versatile pitcher. I want to become a little more rounded pitcher to help the Nationals. I want to pick up on other pitches and go from there."


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     Unless surgically-repaired baseball pitchers learn to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, the ugly truth is baseball pitchers with Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacements has a three to five year shelf life.

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0035.  Grilli eager to bounce back with Braves
MLB.com
January 07, 2015

ATLANTA, GA: Less than two years removed from becoming an All-Star closer in Pittsburgh, Jason Grilli is looking forward to the opportunity to prove he can still be quite valuable while serving as a primary setup man for Braves closer Craig Kimbrel.

"I'm excited to join Kimbrel down there in the bullpen and form another stronghold at the back end of the pitching staff," Grilli said. "Everyone wants to wear that crown and title [of closer]. But if you're not, sometimes the eighth inning is the harder inning. Sometimes the way a rough lineup rolls over, it doesn't really matter. You've just got to go out and get your three outs so you can just keep the chain rolling."

Grilli displayed his high-energy personality when he visited Turner Field on Wednesday afternoon to sign the two-year, $8.25 million contract he agreed upon with the Braves on Dec. 23. The 38-year-old reliever will receive $4.25 million in 2015 and $3.5 million in '16. His contract also includes a $3 million option for the 2017 season and a $250,000 signing bonus.

While some critics might doubt Grilli's potential after he produced a 4.00 ERA over 62 appearances with the Pirates and Angels this past year, the Braves seem confident the right-hander will be an asset in their reconstructed bullpen.

Grilli and Jim Johnson, another former All-Star closer who is looking to bounce back, stand as the primary offseason additions to Atlanta's bullpen. The Braves also completed their search for a left-handed specialist when they signed Josh Outman to a one-year deal Wednesday.

"I'm still doing it and I got a multiyear deal," Grilli said. "So they believe in me here. I'm featuring the same thing. I am 38 years old, but I don't feel it. I work hard in the offseason. I want to play this game. I suck the bone marrow out of life and out of baseball. With it, it's keeping me living and I live for this game."

After Grilli produced a 4.87 ERA through his first 22 appearances this past season, Pittsburgh traded him to the Angels, with whom he notched a 3.48 ERA in 40 appearances. There has been speculation that he was never able to recover from an early-season oblique strain that forced him to the disabled list in April.

But instead of using the ailment as an excuse, Grilli contends that his inflated ERA was simply the product of a few rough outings.

"Much is made of the microscopic sometimes, and it just rolls into things and assumptions and stories," Grilli said. "They say, 'He had a subpar year.' I say, 'Well, I guess I set the standard pretty high if they're saying I had a really bad year.'"

Whatever the case, Grilli certainly wasn't as dominant as he had been the previous few seasons. He truly established himself in 2013, when he converted 30 of the 31 save opportunities he compiled before a sore right elbow shut him down for nearly six weeks.

While combining for 118 appearances over the 2012 and '13 seasons, Grilli surrendered a .210 batting average, limited opponents to a .278 on-base percentage and struck out 36.8 percent of the batters he faced.

In the 62 appearances he combined to make for the Pirates and Angels this year, Grilli surrendered a .252 batting average, allowed a .330 on-base percentage and struck out just 24.3 percent of the batters he faced.

"Chronologically, I'm 38, but the wear and tear on my arm is not significant," Grilli said. "I'm priding myself into being accountable and dependable down there."


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     The article said:

01. "In April 2014, Jason Grilli injured his Oblique Abdominis Internus muscle."
02. "Mr. Grilli may have never recovered from his oblique strain."
03. "In 2013, a sore right elbow shut Mr. Grilli down for nearly six weeks.

     To prevent oblique strains, baseball pitchers have to rotate their hips and shoulders over their glove foot.

     To prevent sore pitching elbows, baseball pitchers have to pronate the releases of all pitches.

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0036.  Braves bring in Outman as left-handed specialist
MLB.com
January 07, 2015

ATLANTA, GA: The Braves completed their search for a left-handed specialist on Wednesday, when they signed Josh Outman to a one-year, $925,000 contract.

Outman, 30, was prepared to sign a Minor League contract with a club before Atlanta called on New Year's Eve to discuss the possibility of a Major League deal.

"It's never a bad thing to be on a competitive team, especially being in a bullpen that has been as strong as the Braves' has been over the years," Outman said.

Now that the Braves have signed Outman, they may talk to other clubs about left-handed reliever Luis Avilan, who fell out of favor as he struggled throughout most of the 2014 season.

Outman has been used solely as a reliever for both of the past two seasons. He produced a 4.33 ERA for the Rockies in 2013 and was then traded to the Indians. Outman recorded a 3.28 ERA in 31 appearances for Cleveland before being traded to the Yankees on Aug. 28. He surrendered just two hits in the 3 2/3 innings he compiled over nine scoreless appearances for New York.

"I think I just focused on embracing the role of the reliever," said Outman, who spent time as a starter for Oakland and Colorado. "I had a specific job last year."

While pitching for the Indians and Yankees, Outman allowed right-handers to bat .304 and compile a .407 on-base percentage, but he limited left-handers to a .169 average and a .269 OBP.

"I figured it out last year that I can be successful [as a lefty specialist]," he said. "I think, given my abilities, I can do more than that. But if that is what I'm called upon to do, I know I can be successful and I can give the team what the manager wants from me."


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     The article said:

01. "In 2014, lefty Josh Outman allowed right-handers to bat .304 and compile a .407 on-base percentage."

02. "However, Mr. Outman limited left-handers to a .169 average and a .269 OBP.
03. "Therefore, the Braves want Mr. Outman to pitch only to left-handed batters.

     As a pull pitcher, Mr. Outman cannot throw reverse breaking pitches.

     For baseball pitchers to throw quality reverse breaking pitches, baseball pitchers have to turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

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0037.  Continuing comeback bid, Harrison begins throwing
MLB.com
January 07, 2015

ARLINGTON, TX: Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison, who is trying to come back from lumbar spinal fusion surgery, has begun throwing again.

Harrison, working out at his home in North Carolina, made 65 throws from 30-40 feet in his first throwing session since May 30. Harrison, who won 32 games for the Rangers as a starter in 2011-12, has made just six starts over the past two years.

"It went fine and I felt fine," said Harrison, who had the surgery last June. "There were no issues in my back, but I was just playing catch. It wasn't like long toss. But overall, everything felt good. Every day is better and better. We'll see where it goes from here."

Harrison is not expected to be close to full strength by the beginning of Spring Training and probably won't be an option for the rotation until sometime around June 1 or later. Because there is almost no history of a pitcher returning from this kind of surgery, the Rangers are planning to take a cautious approach to Harrison's recovery.

He will most likely be limited to playing catch and long toss until March 1. If all goes well, he would likely start throwing off a mound around that date and possibly start pitching in Minor League games in April.

All of that is tentative because nobody is sure how the back will react to extensive rehab. The only sure thing is Harrison wants to do everything he can to see if he can overcome his back issues and return to the Rangers' rotation.


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     Rangers baseball pitcher, Matt Harrison, said:

01. "It (short tossing) went fine and I felt fine."
02. "There were no issues in my back."
03. "But, I was just playing catch."
04. "It wasn't like long toss."
05. "But overall, everything felt good."
06. "Every day is better and better."
07. "We'll see where it goes from here."

     When baseball pitchers play catch, they rotate their hips and shoulders forward over their glove foot.

     For Mr. Harrison to successfully competitively pitch, Mr. Harrison has to not only rotate his hips and shoulder forward over his glove foot, Mr. Harrison has to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

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0038.  The surgeons who helped Randy Johnson get to 300 wins
Becker's Orthopedic Review
January 07, 2015

Of course, orthopedic surgeons at all levels of every sport respond to athletes when they get injured. However, it takes another level of care and preparation for professional athletes to meet the demands of their level of competition.

And then, there are those elite players who are even more elite — like pitching powerhouse and newly inducted baseball Hall of Famer Randy Johnson — who require an extra amount of extra care, if only because the hopes and dreams of a team and fan base rely so heavily on these all-stars.

Known as "The Big Unit," Mr. Johnson began his long and storied career as an ace pitcher with a two-year stint with the Montreal Expos, from 1988 to 1989. He then hopped to the Seattle Mariners for the longest stretch of his career, from 1989 until 1998.

After a year with the Houston Astros, Mr. Johnson headed to the Arizona Diamondbacks, then to the New York Yankees, then back to the Diamondbacks before his last year pitching in 2009 with the San Francisco Giants.

With a knock-out fastball, imposing frame and signature side-arm toss, Mr. Johnson racked up 303 career victories during his 21-year campaign, and his stat line of 4,875 strikeouts puts him only behind Texas Rangers pitching ace Nolan Ryan all-time.

Before winning a Cy Young Award for his 1995 campaign, Mr. Johnson sustained a fairly nagging back injury in 1996, which kept him from the mound for several months and eventually required surgery, though physicians had originally assumed that the issue would straighten itself out with rest.

  The first major injury was one of many, but Mr. Johnson rebounded majorly in 1997 with a 20-4 record, in no small part to Mariners' team physician Larry Pedegana, MD, and Michael Watkins, MD.

  In his second season with the Yankees, just before the 2006 playoffs, Johnson's back returned to cause trouble. Yankees physician Stuart Hershon, MD, said that this injury wasn't related to the prior injury.

Without the relation, as fate would have it, Dr. Watkins, who had operated on the Big Unit a decade prior, returned to operate on him again, giving him another three years to pursue the elusive 300-win mark, only achieved by 24 pitchers before him.

  Mr. Johnson reached those 300 wins on June 4, 2009 against the Washington Nationals in Washington, D.C., likely one of the major benchmarks that resulted in his Hall of Fame status.

  Dr. Pedegana retired from the Mariners in 2006 after 29 seasons as the club's orthopedist after being named as the team's first Medical Director in 1999. He currently works at Orthopedics International in Seattle. Dr. Watkins works in Boston and specializes in vascular surgery. Dr. Hershon currently serves as the team physician for the New York Yankees.


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     The article said:

01. "Before winning a Cy Young Award for his 1995 campaign, Mr. Johnson sustained a fairly nagging back injury."
02. "In 1996, Mr. Johnson's nagging back injury kept Mr. Johnson from the mound for several months."
03. "Eventually, Mr. Johnson required back surgery.
04. "Just before the 2006 playoffs in Mr. Johnson's second season with the Yankees, Mr. Johnson's back injury returned."
05. "A decade after his first back surgery, the same orthopedic surgeon repeated the same back surgery."

     To prevent injuries to the lower back, baseball pitchers have to stand tall and rotate their hips and shoulder forward over their glove foot.

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0039.  Did ugly end weaken Halladay's Hall of Fame chances?
CSNPhilly.COM
January 08, 2015

When Roy Halladay came to the Phillies in the winter before the 2010 season, he was a borderline Hall of Fame pitcher who needed several more dominant seasons and a deep playoff run or two to really cement his case for Cooperstown.

Not that anyone was thinking legacy at the time. Back then, those following the Phillies saw the trade with Toronto as yet another huge addition to a team that looked capable of contending for titles for years to come. The Phillies won a World Series two years prior with a playoff rotation featuring Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton and Brett Myers — how could they not with Halladay and Cole Hamels fronting the staff?

Obviously, things didn't work out as planned. The Phillies had two terrific regular seasons, going 199-125 (.614) in 2010 and 2011, but lost in the NLCS to the Giants in '10 and to the Cardinals a round earlier in '11.

But even after the playoff loss in 2011, Halladay looked like a sure-fire Hall of Famer. He had those two more dominant seasons he needed, going 40-16 with a 2.40 ERA in 65 starts with 6.75 strikeouts for every walk. He completed 17 games, won a Cy Young in 2010 and was the runner-up in 2011.

At that point, Halladay was 34 years old, and his career numbers were remarkable for his era: 188 wins with a .671 winning percentage (numbers I'm citing first only because we're talking Hall of Fame here), and a 3.23 ERA.

Perhaps more importantly, Halladay also had two storybook performances with the Phillies, pitching a perfect game in May 2010 and the second-ever playoff no-hitter that ensuing postseason. Two games don't make a career, but they certainly add a delicious cherry on top for an already-worthy HOF candidate.

And then 2012 and 2013 happened.

The night I personally knew Halladay had fallen victim to Father Time was May 2, 2012, when the Phillies were in Atlanta.

The Phils staked Halladay a 6-0 lead and he gave it all back in a 15-13 Phillies loss. To that point, Halladay was 107-0 when given a lead of four runs.

That was Halladay's sixth start of 2012. Among his first nine, it was the only clunker. It would have been easy to dismiss as just one fluky game. After his next three starts — 22 innings, seven runs allowed — that's exactly what it looked like.

But it was a warning sign, a harbinger of things to come. You felt the tide begin to turn that night. Halladay, the warrior who was always enabled to stay in games after late mound visits from Charlie Manuel — and almost always went on to retire the next batter(s) — just no longer felt superhuman.

Because he wasn't. His shoulder was composed of the same bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons as the rest of us.

All those pitches, all those complete games had caught up to him. His shoulder wasn't the same. It had deteriorated to the point where Halladay was no longer able to place the ball exactly where he wanted. Those cutters to lefties and sinkers to righties weren't moving to exact spots like they had been for 10 consecutive seasons.

The rest of the story is well-documented. Halladay went 15-13 with a 5.15 ERA in his final two seasons with the Phillies, walking seven more batters than he did the first two years in 266 fewer innings. No lead was safe, no opponent (e.g. Adeinny Hechavarria) was too weak.

Fair or not, I think those final two years, which raised Halladay's career ERA from 3.23 to 3.38, subconsciously and slightly changed the perception of his legacy. Sometimes, Hall of Fame candidates suffer from weak seasons at the end of their careers. But Halladay wasn't merely hanging around to accumulate numbers in 2012 and 2013, so in a just world he shouldn't be penalized. It turned out he was just "hanging around," but none of us knew until it was too late.

Is he still a Hall of Famer? Yeah, I think so. But if we were discussing this topic after 2011, most would call him a first-ballot Hall of Famer, no questions asked. Now, it might take him two or three tries.

Doc was very clearly the most dominant pitcher of his era for a sustained period of time. He was doing it before Felix Hernandez and Clayton Kershaw burst onto the scene and after Pedro Martinez and Randy Johnson themselves began their journeys back to earth.

Halladay's detractors will look to his win total of 203 and say he didn't do it long enough or well enough. Anyone who watched him pitch and watched the sport change know that's poppycock.

There may never again be a 300-game winner. Hernandez and Kershaw have the best chance, and even they will need to average about 15 wins over the next 12 to 14 years. That assumes good health and unwavering durability, two things Halladay had from 2002 to 2011 before it all fell apart.

You simply cannot compare Halladay's numbers to pitchers of yesteryear. Bullpens weren't as specialized, which led to more wins for starting pitchers. Doc also spent 12 seasons in Toronto, and even in his peak years (2002 to 2009), the Blue Jays were 642-653. How many wins did Halladay lose by pitching on a mediocre team in a stacked division?

Baseball is all about eras, and Hall of Fame induction is all about judging a player's impact on his era.

Which pitchers from Halladay's era are even in the Hall of Fame conversation? CC Sabathia? Mark Buehrle? Tim Hudson? Not a chance.

Johan Santana didn't have the longevity. The only pitcher from the same era who may have a shot is Roy Oswalt, but he's more of a Mike Mussina-type, the kind of player who will be on the ballot for years before he maybe makes the Hall.

The lack of pitchers who were able to match Halladay during his 10-year peak will help his cause.

Halladay will first be eligible for the Hall of Fame's Class of 2019. That is also Mariano Rivera's first year of eligibility, and he's likely to garner 90-plus percent of votes.

Will Halladay get the necessary 75 percent in his first year of eligibility? Maybe. The only other borderline first-timers for that class will be Oswalt and Todd Helton, and they're not getting in on the first try, if at all. That lack of competition also helps Doc's case.

Halladay will make the Hall of Fame. It just might take a year longer than we would have expected after the 1-0, Game 5 NLDS loss to the Cardinals. We couldn't have known it then, but that was the last time he would ever truly look like more machine than man.


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     Eventually, the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion will destroy the pitching arms of even the greatest major league baseball pitchers.

     Baseball pitchers cannot supinate the releases of their breaking pitches and not destroy their pitching elbow and using their Pectoralis Major muscle to pull their pitching upper arm forward will destroy the pitching shoulder.

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     On Sunday, January 18, 2015, I posted the following questions and answers.

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0040.  Micheal Stokes comments on injury to the Ischio-femoral ligament in the rear side

Hi Dr. Marshall,

Don Baylor is shown on YouTube in a video from 2013 where his right joint capsule of the hip where the Ischio-femoral Ligament is significantly presenting complete failure.

Ego is one thing he dealt with. Sometimes calling out an injury is quite loathsome to MLBPA Inactive Members.

How do you observe the failure of Miguel Cabrera's feet? To say that it was derived by alcohol is to take away from his persona the fact that the MLBOA specializes in the isolation of players away from revealing injury until it is too late.


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Hi Michael,

     You wrote: "Don Baylor is shown on YouTube in a video from 2013 where his right joint capsule of the hip where the Ischio-femoral Ligament is significantly presenting complete failure."

     You are correct.

     I teach my baseball pitchers to rotate their hips and shoulders over their glove foot.

     I teach my baseball batters to keep their front foot on the ground and use their rear foot to drive their body toward the pitched baseball and rotate their hips and shoulders over their front foot.

     Unfortunately, the 'traditional' baseball pitching and batting coaches will never stop teaching their baseball pitchers and batters to rotate their hips and shoulders over their pitching foot and rear foot, respectively.

     The 'Committee of Experts' that Dr. Gary Green selected will never understand what causes injury to the pitching arm side hip socket and batting rear side hip socket.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0041.  Growth plates and pain

I believe you have written that growth plates can be damaged without associated pain (asymptomatic). I would like to explore this.

1. If a youngster fractured a growth plate would that have associated pain? I would think it would.
2. In the case of an elbow growth plate fracture, is it a case of the elbow taking multiple insults (as with the Ulnar Collateral Ligament) or can it be a one pitch event?
3. Is a growth plate fracture the same thing as a growth plate avulsion?

The reason for my questions is that I am hearing stories of youth coaches marching fathers and their young pitchers off to the doctors if the pitcher winces. In my experience the only time I saw a young pitcher wince is when he mistakenly supinated on a fastball and banged the bones in the back of the elbow together. I've seen kids fracture an elbow and/or humerus but that wasn't a wince. Those kids were done.

Let's say we have a biologically 12 year old so we know all growth plates are open. What would you advice if you saw a pitcher wince?

The good news here is that youth coaches are now aware of growth plates.


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     In Chapter Nine of my Baseball Pitching book, I provide Dr. Joel Adams research on the effect of competitive pitching on the adolescent pitching arm injuries.

     In the 1965 California Medicine Journal, Dr. Adams wrote on his study of traumatic changes in the pitching elbow of 162 9-14 year old boy baseball players.

     Dr. Adams provided X-rays and case histories of five 12 and 13 year old adolescent baseball pitchers that suffered injuries to their medial epicondyles.

     These injuries included slight separations of the growth plate, increased bone density, dissecans fragmentation, avulsion fragmentation, complete transverse fracture and Ulnar nerve pathway.

     To see the difference between a fracture and an avulsion, we need to have Dr. Adams reports.

     Dr. Adams also provided X-rays and case studies on six adolescent baseball pitchers with cartilage inflammation of the articulating surface between the capitulum and radial head. These injuries included Capitulum lesions, Capitulum osteochondritis, cartilage erosion and radial head enlargement, permanent radial head deformation, deformation cartilage erosion and loose fragments and radial head removal.

     In the 1966 California Medicine Journal, Dr. Adams reported on five 13-15 year old baseball pitchers with pain in their greater tuberosity growth plate of their pitching shoulder. These injuries included premature closure, demineralization and separation, separation and demineralization, separation and fragmentation and separation, deformation and demineralization.

     In Chapter Seven of my Baseball Pitching book, I provide the order of the appearance of ossification centers in the pitching elbow and when these growth plates mature.

01. At two biological months old, the humeral head ossification center appears.
02. At six biological months old, the humeral capitulum ossification center appears.
03. At fourteen biological months old, the distal radial ossification center appears.
04. At fifteen biological months old, the greater tuberosity ossification center appears.
05. At four biological years old, the radial head ossification center appears.
06. At four biological years old, the medial epicondyle ossification center appears.
07. At six biological years old, the distal ulnar ossification center appears.
08. At seven biological years old, the trochlear ossification center appears.
09. At eleven biological years old, the olecranon process ossification center appears.
10. At twelve biological years old, the lateral epicondyle ossification center appears.

     The epiphysial ossification center of the Humerus, ulna and radius also unite with their diaphysial ossification center in a specific sequence. To determine the age at which pitching is safe, we need to learn when these critical baseball pitching epiphysial and diaphysial ossification center unite.

01. At thirteen biological years old, the capitulum growth plate matures.
02. At thirteen biological years old, the trochlear growth plate matures.
03. At fourteen biological years old, the lateral growth plate matures.
04. At fifteen biological years old, the olecranon process growth plate matures.
05. At sixteen biological years old, the medial epicondyle growth plate matures.
06. At sixteen biological years old, the radial head growth plate matures.
07. At nineteen biological years old, the distal ulnar growth plate matures.
08. At nineteen biological years old, the greater tuberosity growth plate matures.
09. At nineteen biological years old, the distal radial growth plate matures.
10. At nineteen biological years old, the humeral head growth plate matures.

01. Dr, Adams reported severe pain to mild pain.

02. My best guess is that, when youth baseball pitchers suffer sufficient microscopic fractures, the last microscopic fracture causes a complete fracture. So, I doubt the one pitch event.

03. When the ossification center becomes sufficiently large, the ossification center can fracture. When the ossification center moves away from the long bone, the ossification center avulses.

04. Powerfully contracting the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle stresses the growth plate of the medial epicondyle. Therefore, when youth baseball pitchers wince with pressure on the medial epicondyle, I advise parents to immediately stop their youth baseball pitcher from competitively pitching.

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0042.  16 year old brother

I wanted to know if my brother who is currently 16 can do the 280 day program?


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

     Before your 16 year old brother starts any of my interval-training programs, your brother needs to get the square lid off a four-gallon plastic bucket and learn how to horizontally 'sail' the Lid.

     To learn how to 'sail' the Lid, you and your brother need to open my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and click on section 08. Football Training Program.

     To master the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion, your brother needs to open my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and click on section 06. Wrist Weight Training Program.

     I recommend that youth baseball pitchers of all ages complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program first.

     You will find my 60-Day program in my Baseball Pitcher Interval-Training Program. Download the program and follow the instructions.

     Instead of using 2 1/2 lb. wrist weights, at 16 years old, your brother should use 10 lb. wrist weights and, instead of using 2 lb. heavy balls, your brother should throw a 6 lb. shot put.

     The four drills that your brother needs to master are:

01. Wrong foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.
02. Wrong foot body action; Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.
03. Wrong foot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.
04. Drop out wind-up body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

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0043.  Hearst Sandlot Classic

I am a baseball researcher and member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). I have done 20 biographies for their bio-project and in October, 2013 had a story published in the Baseball Research Journal on the Hearst Sandlot Classic.

I have been trying to interview participants in the game, which was held annually for 20 years (1946-65). You played in the game in 1960, and were one of seven players from this contest to make it to the majors.

I would like to speak with you about your memories of the game and the road you took (literally and figuratively) from Detroit to the Hearst game and on to the majors, concentrating mostly on the Hearst games in Detroit and New York. I am not sure if this research will be enough for a book or even if I can find someone to publish my account of an event that is remembered by relatively few folks.

I have already spoken with more than twenty men who played in these games over the years.

You are one of 88 Hearst Alums to make it to the majors. Three (Al Kaline, Ron Santo, and Joe Torre) are in the Hall of Fame. On the other end of the spectrum, four Hearst players played in only one major league game, and several others were also in the “cup of coffee” category. There were Cy Young award winners (you and Mike McCormick), Rookies of the Year (Tony Kubek and Bob Grim), MVP’s (Torre and Dick Groat), and All-Stars too numerous to mention. And for many, their lives have been defined by what they did after baseball.

I hope you are well and I look forward to speaking with you.


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     That was 54 years ago.

     Nevertheless, I will talk with you.

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0044.  This is Dr. Marshall

Hi Allen,

     Big problem.

     When I tried to open the video segments of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I found the following:

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

There is a problem with this website's security certificate

Security certificate problems my indicate an attempt to fool you or intercept any data you send to the server.

We recommend that you close this website and do not continue to this website.

Click here to close this website.

Continue to this website (not recommended).

More information.

     Sincerely,

Mike


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Hi Doc

I just got back into the country. I was on a cruise.

I will do some checking as soon as I can.

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

Hi Allen,

     I hope that you enjoyed your cruise.

     But, I am glad that you are back.

     It was as though somebody attacked my computer and the segments of my Baseball Pitchers Instructional Video.

     As always, without you putting the segments of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video on Google, I cannot show visitors how to master my baseball pitching motion and how to prevent pitching injuries.

     Sincerely,

Mike


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0045.  Ryan kept rolling after elbow injury
MLB.com
January 10, 2015

As the 1986 season came to an end, the pain continued to throb in Nolan Ryan's right elbow. Finally, he relented. Ryan visited Dr. Frank Jobe and was told there was a ligament tear in the elbow. Jobe suggested Tommy John surgery.

Ryan balked.

He would turn 40 during the offseason. He'd already had a fulfilling career. And doctors were still refining the elbow surgery that Jobe made famous after treating lefty Tommy John successfully about a decade earlier.

"It was a 15-18-month recovery back then, and at my age that didn't make any sense," he said.

Ryan had such a stringent offseason workout routine to maintain his strength that he didn't feel he could keep his focus if he knew he would miss at least a full season, most likely more.

"Dr. Jobe said there might be scar tissue that would hold [the ligament together]," Ryan recalled. "I decided to go home and see what would happen. Around Dec. 15, it quit hurting. Then it was sore the first 10 days in Spring Training, but it went away, and the rest is history."

The rest was seven more big league seasons that ensured Ryan's first-ballot selection for the Baseball Hall of Fame. He led the National League with a 2.76 ERA in 1987, and in that year he started four-season streaks of both 200-plus strikeouts and 200-plus innings, winning strikeout titles all four seasons.

And before Ryan retired following the 1993 season, he had also added the final two of his record seven no-hitters.


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

     The article said:

01. "As the 1986 season came to an end, the pain continued to throb in Nolan Ryan's right elbow."
02. "Finally, he relented."
03. "Mr. Ryan visited Dr. Frank Jobe and was told there was a ligament tear in the elbow."
04. "Dr. Jobe suggested Tommy John surgery."
05. "Mr. Ryan had such a stringent offseason workout routine to maintain his strength that he didn't feel he could keep his focus if he knew he would miss at least a full season, most likely more."

     Ligaments do not have pain sensors. Therefore, when Mr. Ryan threw his supinated curve ball, Mr. Ryan injured his Pronator Teres muscle.

     Mr. Ryan's off-season training strengthened the other medial epicondyle muscles.

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0046.  Yankees reportedly hire two batting coaches
MLB.com
January 11, 2015

The Yankees made three personnel moves on Sunday, hiring a pair of hitting coaches and an infield coach, according to the YES Network. The club did not confirm the hirings.

The club has reportedly hired Jeff Pentland as the main hitting coach to replace Kevin Long, who was let go following this past season. Pentland will be joined by Alan Cockrell, who will serve in a newly created assistant-hitting-coach role.

New York also added Joe Espada as its new infield coach, replacing Mick Kelleher.

As for Pentland, the 68-year-old has a lengthy Major League resume that most recently includes serving as the Marlins' hitting coordinator in 2014. He's worked as a hitting coach for five other big league teams, last holding that title in 2011 with the Dodgers.

Cockrell, meanwhile, served as the Mariners' hitting coach for parts of two seasons in 2009-10 and held the same position with the Rockies in the two seasons prior to his stint in Seattle.

Though a number of teams across the Majors use multiple hitting coaches, this marks the first time in franchise history that the Yankees have taken this approach.


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     You need someone to pick up the baseballs.

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0047.  Orioles evaluate young, rehabbing arms at minicamp
MLB.com
January 12, 2015

SARASOTA, FL: A little more than a month before the start of Spring Training, there were Orioles pitchers throwing bullpen sessions and players working out on the back fields at Ed Smith Stadium.

The O's three-day minicamp, a chance for the club to evaluate some of its young pitchers, began on a rainy Monday morning. More than 20 pitchers were in attendance for a variety of reasons -- some recovering from injuries, others getting some work in with pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti, and a few more looking for a roster spot.

"This is huge. It's a good opportunity to come down here and see everybody," said right-hander Hunter Harvey, the Orioles' No. 2 prospect. "Being around all these guys is pretty special."

Harvey's season ended a month early due to a strained flexor mass in his right elbow, but he said he's fully healthy, and he began throwing a few weeks ago.

Starter Chris Tillman and relievers Tommy Hunter and Ryan Webb were also there, but none of them threw off a mound. Tillman usually starts throwing this time of year, but he was told to wait a bit longer. Hunter, who pitched in the Japan Series in November, was unsure when he would begin throwing, but he thought he started too early last spring.

"I think a couple more weeks, I'm going to start getting ready. It's not going to take long," Hunter said. "I took a month off, played [in the Japan Series] then spent a month and a half, two months getting back ready and ease back into it. Get a couple weeks and get back up on the mound ready to go, maybe a little longer."

Webb, meanwhile, said he feels "great" after undergoing surgery in October to repair the labrum in his left (non-throwing) shoulder, and he expects to be 100 percent healthy in time for Spring Training. Like Tillman, Webb is planning to spend most of the rest of the offseason in Florida.

"I played catch out there today and was fine, so I should be good to go," Webb said. "I anticipate not being limited for Spring Training. I'm still kind of in the rehab process, but it's going really well, and the range of motion is really starting to come back significantly every single day. There hasn't been any speed bumps or anything like that, and I should be 100 percent ready to go this spring."

Only three pitchers threw bullpen sessions before the rain came Monday morning: 40-year-old left-hander Mark Hendrickson, 21-year-old southpaw Stephen Tarpley and right-hander Jason Garcia, one of the O's two picks in the Rule 5 Draft.

Garcia, 22, hasn't pitched above Class A after being drafted by the Red Sox in 2010, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter came away impressed with his mechanics.

"I wanted to see if the delivery was as clean as it was on tape," Showalter said. "That's a pretty good arm right there. It's going to be fun to watch him."


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

     The article said:

01. "A little more than a month before the start of Spring Training, there were Orioles pitchers throwing bullpen sessions and players working out on the back fields at Ed Smith Stadium."
02. "In the O's three-day minicamp, the club evaluated more than 20 pitchers recovering from injuries, getting some work in with pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti, and a few more looking for a roster spot."

     Three days more than a month before the start of spring training at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, FL.

     All Oriole baseball players should live in Sarasota, FL and train every day from the day after their competitive season to the start of Spring Training.

     Surely, the club didn't have 20 guys show up for three days then go home.

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0048.  Rockies ramping up efforts to add pitching
MLB.com
January 12, 2015

DENVER, CO: The Rockies are expected to make moves to shore up their pitching staff this week, with trade talks with the Mets regarding right-hander Dillon Gee or serious discussions with free agents being the options.

The Mets have been shopping Gee (7-8, 4.00 ERA in 22 starts in 2014), and the Rockies have been among the teams prominently figuring in various reports since December. According to sources familiar with the situation, it's still not clear what the Mets require in return for Gee, and there hasn't been an offer from the Rockies.

A possibility could be left-handed reliever Boone Logan, who struggled through elbow issues last season with the Rockies in the first year of a two-year, $16.5 million deal, but is expected to be healthy for this coming season. The Mets could be in the market for lefty relief, but there are in-house options.

Gee, who turns 29 on April 28, is attractive to the Rockies on several fronts. He is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to earn $5.1 million this year, his second of arbitration eligibility. But because he was a Super 2 arbitration-eligible last year, he is under club control through 2016. Gee missed time last season with a right lat strain and finished with 137 innings, but threw 199 frames while going 12-11 with a 3.62 ERA in 2013. Also, Gee is 2-1 with a 3.20 ERA in three starts at Coors Field.

Being young and under club control has made Gee a target of several teams. FOX Sports also linked Gee to the Rockies and two other National League West clubs, the Giants and Padres. Gee has managed a 7-7 record, 4.14 ERA and 97 strikeouts against 39 walks against NL West teams.

If the Rockies don't swing a trade for Gee or another pitcher, they'll seek an experienced right-hander via free agency. The Rockies have not made an offer and are believed to be evaluating their options. FOX Sports mentioned that the Rockies are looking at former Giants righty Ryan Vogelsong, but Vogelsong is a flyball pitcher with a 7.92 ERA and 10 home runs allowed in 30 2/3 innings at Coors. The price would have to be right.

The Rockies are seeking a solid right-hander for a rotation that is led by lefty Jorge De La Rosa who will begin a two-year, $25 million contract in 2015, and righty Jhoulys Chacin, who is coming off a 2014 marred by rotator cuff damage. Righty Jordan Lyles and lefty Tyler Matzek, both 24, made a significant number of starts last season.

Younger pitchers who saw Major League action last season, such as righties Eddie Butler, Christian Bergman and Chad Bettis (being converted after struggling in the bullpen last year), and prospects such as righty Jon Gray and lefty Tyler Anderson, also are in the starting pitching mix. The Rockies also have signed former Nationals and Mets lefty John Lannan to a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp.


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

     If the Rockies would allow Lon Fullmer to coach Tyler Matzek, then Mr. Matzek would learn how to pronate the releases of his breaking pitches.

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0049.  Tommy John comebacks could be deciding factor in NL East
MASNSports.com
January 12, 2015

Last year, the baseball season was defined by a record number of pitchers sidelined with Tommy John surgery, a procedure that requires ligament replacement in the elbow.

This season, star pitchers who missed 2014 will be returning, and the National League East could be in for a big change as far as the teams that will challenge the Nationals.

The Nationals won the division by 17 games last season, but the Atlanta Braves - usually their biggest challenger - are short on pitching thanks in part to the elbow injuries, and are rebuilding their team for two years down the road. But there are two teams that could keep the Nationals from winning their second consecutive division title.

With Matt Harvey, a 2013 All-Star returning to the rotation, the New York Mets think they'll contend. The same is true for the Miami Marlins, who will get their best pitcher, Jose Fernandez, back as early as June in a rotation that has become deep over the offseason.

Teams with injured starters are already discussing how to shorten their workload this season, a la the 2012 Nationals, who sidelined pitcher Stephen Strasburg for September in his first year back from Tommy John even though they were heading to the postseason. The Strasburg debate almost never ended.

The Mets are having that same discussion now.

Harvey is gearing up for opening day, but Mets manager Terry Collins says the team hasn't decided how they are going to use Harvey. They could give him a few weeks off during the middle of the season or they could shut him down in September.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said the team would meet with Harvey, his agent and Collins to make a determination on what's the best route to take.

"We are going to be watching him closely," Collins said.

Collins says it's going to be a battle between Harvey's bulldog mentality and Mets management looking out for the long-term future of the team.

When we last saw Harvey, he was electrifying Citi Field with dominating stuff that earned him a spot on the NL All-Star team. He threw 178 1/3 innings with 191 strikeouts, a 2.27 ERA and a 9-5 record.

Harvey, 25, will not face batters until mid-February and he won't throw his slider until the end of spring training.

The Mets figure putting Harvey back into a rotation that already has Jacob deGrom (9-6, 2.69 ERA as a rookie in 2014) and Zack Wheeler (11-11, 3.54 ERA) is going to make them better. They added Michael Cuddyer (.332 average for Colorado last season) to their outfield and think that bounceback seasons from David Wright (.269-8-63) and Curtis Granderson (.227-20-66) will be enough to build on their 79 wins from 2014.

After a 77-win season in 2014, the Marlins have the same idea. Fernandez, 22, was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2013 and had a strong enough season to be considered for the Cy Young Award. Fernandez had 187 strikeouts in 172 2/3 innings and a 2.19 ERA, stats that made him an All-Star.

Fernandez joins a rotation that has newly acquired Mat Latos from Cincinnati as well as Henderson Alvarez and Jarred Cosart in the top three slots. Ex-National Dan Haren could also win a spot, if the Marlins don't accommodate his request for a trade to a West Coast team that conducts spring training in Arizona.

Throw in the possibility of signing James Shields, a bullpen of power arms, a talented nucleus and the signing of Giancarlo Stanton, and there's hope in Miami.

But Marlins manager Mike Redmond isn't going to rush Fernandez - even though expectations are high.

"He's making good progress, but that's the last thing we want is rush him for the sake of a few more starts," Redmond said. "He means so much to the organization."

Generally, Tommy John surgery - which includes taking a ligament from a cadaver and relocating it in the pitcher's ailing elbow - has an 80 percent success rate.

The surgery is common. A Major League Baseball survey showed that 25 percent of major league pitchers have had the surgery while 15 percent of minor league pitchers have undergone the procedure.

Every right-hander in the Tigers bullpen last season, including closer Joe Nathan, has come back from the surgery. So have St. Louis' Adam Wainwright and the Nationals' Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann. In fact, on the final day of last season, Zimmermann became the fifth pitcher to throw a no-hitter after having the surgery.

Last season, the number of elbow surgeries reached epidemic proportions, despite a tight focus on innings limits, pitch counts and biomechanics.

Historically, 15 to 20 pitchers a year have undergone the surgery, but in the last three years, the number has increased to 25 to 30 a year, Major League Baseball says.

And other pitchers across the leagues are hoping for a comeback from Tommy John this spring.

Oakland is hoping Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin can heal. Arizona is watching Patrick Corbin, the Yankees are keeping tabs on Ivan Nova and Tampa Bay is monitoring Matt Moore.

Some position players, such as Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, are coming back from the injury. The Orioles aren't sure if Wieters, rehabilitating in Atlanta, will be ready at the start of the season, although that's their goal.

The surgery's 80 percent success rate is high, but MLB doesn't want its pitchers to think it is foolproof. Experts have told MLB that the rise in Tommy John surgeries goes back to youth programs where inexperienced coaches are having kids throwing too hard and too many pitches.

That's why MLB, led by Hall of Fame manager and executive Joe Torre, has put together this winter a set of guidelines on pitch counts and rest suggestions for young pitchers. They can be found at pitchsmart.org, along with information about training and injuries.

Colorado manager Walt Weiss sees a culture change in youth baseball that's leading up to the big league injuries. He said that when he was a kid, he threw to his brother or friends in his neighborhood, but it wasn't an intense game.

These days, young pitchers are throwing hard and competing in tournaments, sometimes pitching for two teams in one season, Weiss says. That puts wear and tear on the arm.

"Throwing that hard with that intensity that early in life isn't good for a young arm," Weiss says. "The damage is already done when the pitchers get into professional ball."

Sounds like the future of rotations in baseball could benefit from culture change in youth baseball.


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     Limiting pitch counts and not increasing innings pitched does not prevent injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Reverse bouncing the pitching forearm causes injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     To prevent injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

     Then, when baseball pitchers start the acceleration phase of their baseball pitching motioin, they need to powerfully contract the muscles that arise on the medial epicondyle of their pitching elbow.

     This muscle action removes all stress from reaching the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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0050.  Returning from a pair of injuries, Morton back on mound
MLB.com
January 13, 2015

BRADENTON, FL: Given the amount of time he's spent on the disabled list the past few years, Charlie Morton has grown used to pitching at unusual times, often alone and in front of more eyes than usual.

That was the case Tuesday morning, as Morton toed the rubber of a bullpen mound at Pirate City during the second day of the Pirates' four-day mini-camp. It was a fairly low-key session -- Class A Advanced Bradenton pitching coach Justin Meccage, on the receiving end, wasn't even wearing catcher's gear -- but it was Morton's first time throwing off a mound since September, when he underwent right hip surgery.

It was another step in the right direction for Morton as he continues building up arm strength, though it may have been more of a mental hurdle to clear before Spring Training than a physical one.

"I figured I'd get off the mound a little bit earlier," Morton said. "[I] didn't want to have expectations coming into it where I'm expected to be going full-blow.

"[I'm] easing into it, which is one of the reasons I wanted to get off the mound. Get off the mound nice and easy. It's not like I'm trying to get off the mound nice and easy at 65 percent when everybody else is at 80-90 percent. That's why."

Morton said his right hip felt "fine." The surgery was done to repair a torn labrum, but the 31-year-old right-hander was battling two injuries. He's less concerned about the surgically repaired labrum than the pubalgia (more commonly referred to as a sports hernia) that came about as a result.

"It kind of struck suddenly," Morton said. "And it was very deceiving in the sense that there were days where I felt OK -- not on the mound; I never felt good on the mound -- but there were days where I'd get up and feel OK, and then I'd go throw off the mound and it was bad. That's what concerns me, just because of how it presented itself before."

Morton explained that the condition came about as he attempted to compensate for his injured hip, but he's feeling good now.

"It's just one of those things where it kind of came from nowhere," Morton said. "It just felt miserable. It's basically a chronically torn muscle."

During his throwing session Tuesday morning, Morton's delivery was noticeably shorter and more efficient. Morton explained that the change was probably more exaggerated in the relaxed environment of a back-field bullpen session than it will be in a game scenario, but it was deliberate nonetheless.

Pirates special assistant Jim Benedict noticed a few things in Morton's pickoff move that he liked and wanted to incorporate into the righty's delivery in an attempt to make him more quick and efficient to the plate. It's not like reworking the pitcher's mechanics, necessarily, because it's a move that's already familiar to Morton.

"I think he felt that I could incorporate some of that in my actual delivery, where I'm not trying to use so much of my body to throw a baseball," Morton said. "I think the mindset is that you make things more efficient and you avoid problems by doing that. It's that basic.

"I'm trying to get a little cleaner, a little more efficient, just everything a little more efficient -- body and everything, trying to take the opportunity to improve, not just the lower half. ... It's kind of just trying to shore up some things, clean up things a little bit."


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

     The article said:

01. "Charlie Morton said his right hip felt "fine."
02. "The surgery was done to repair a torn labrum."
03. "But, the 31-year-old right-hander was battling two injuries."
04. "Mr. Morton is less concerned about the surgically repaired labrum than the pubalgia (more commonly referred to as a sports hernia) that came about as a result."

     Chronic groin pain and dilated superficial ring of the inguinal canal characterizes the sports hernia (athletic pubalgia).

     To pervent injuries to the hip socket of the pitching arm side, instead of rotating the hips and shoulders over their pitching foot on the pitching rubber, baseball pitchers need to rotate their hips and shoulders over their glove foot.

     To prevent injuries to the groin, instead of placing their pitching foot parallel with the pitching rubber, baseball pitchers need to turn their pitching foot to at least forty-five degrees toward home plate and, instead of using the Tensor Fascia Latae muscle to sidewardly move their body forward, baseball pitchers need to use their Rectus Femoris muscle to forwardly move their body forward.

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

     On Sunday, January 25, 2015, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0051.  This is Allen

Google changed the way it all works, so we will have to do some trial and error.

Remove the line that looks like this: A HREF="http://youtube.googleapis.com/v/H8d0JIDvfBw&autoplay=!" 01. Credentials

with this: A HREF="http://www.youtube.com/embed/H8d0JIDvfBw" 01. Credentials and let's see what that looks like.


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Hi Allen,

     All eleven sections work.

     You are the best.

     Sincerely,

Mike

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0052.  Bedard hoping to keep pitching
Toronto Sun
January 13, 2015

With five weeks to go until pitchers get going in Major League Baseball camps, lefthanded pitcher Erik Bedard isn't worried that he doesn't have a contract.

Bedard, who will turn 36 in March, is hopeful things will get worked out; they always have. It's amazing what he's already done -- a shy French-speaking kid from Navan riding a wonderful success story all the way into the big leagues. Bedard's rise to fame is an inspiration to kids who are told they're not good enough.

"Never give up. That's the message," said Bedard on Tuesday. "The only A team I made was when I was 13 and we went to the Little League World Series (with Orléans). After that, I was always on the B teams. Younger kids, sometimes they don't make the A team, don't think they're good enough and they quit. Don't quit. If you love the sport, keep trying."

He knows he's in the homestretch, that his career will end soon, but it's been a good run -- a career that was derailed at times by injuries, but has made him nearly $30 million.

"I'm confident I'll pitch this year," said Bedard. "I don't know how much mileage I have left. You could think you have 2,000 miles left on your arm and one pitch later, you're done. When I had Tommy John (surgery at age 23), I threw one pitch and blew out my elbow. The way I pitched last year, I think I still have it."

He pitched for Tampa last season, but was released at the end of July. In 75.2 innings, he had a 4-6 record with a 4.76 ERA.

"I thought I pitched pretty good," said Bedard. "I had one really rough outing, my last one. I had a month where I had a 0.60 ERA. My fastball's not as fast as it used to be, but I still have good control."

At times in his career, Bedard has been brilliant.

In 2006, he won 15 games for Baltimore; the following season, he went 13-5 with 221 strikeouts and finished fifth in the AL Cy Young voting. Before the 2008 season, he was dealt to Seattle, with Baltimore getting a haul that included Adam Jones and Chris Tillman. Bedard, battling a variety of injuries, has won 36 games since, also pitching for Boston, Pittsburgh and Houston.

"If you want to make the big bucks, you have stay healthy," said Bedard. "I try not to think about it. There are always 'what-ifs' in life. I did the best I could.

"I'm fortunate, I've had a good career. A lot of people would love to do what I do. If you can work and play a game at the same time, that's pretty good."

It's a good life for Bedard, whose Plan B if baseball didn't work out was to be an elevator mechanic like his dad Normand and brother Mark.

"When I went to college, I never thought about being a major-league baseball player," said Bedard. "It was just fun to be in college, play baseball and get an education. When I got to Double-A and I got called up, that was probably the biggest rush of my life."

Bedard is married to his long-time girlfriend Jessica, who's from Gatineau and has a nine-year-old son Maddox. They live in Cumberland, with a cottage in Calabogie.

Bedard laughs as he tells a story about Jessica, who he was helping prepare for a wives' softball game a couple of years ago in Houston.

"She really had never played any softball. So we got a glove and a ball and went into the parking lot and started practising," he said. "I wasn't throwing hard. I told her to catch it on the side a bit so it wouldn't hit her in the face. A couple of throws later, she missed the ball and it cracked her tooth. She had to get a new veneer. She had a busted lip, it was swollen up. After that, she stays away from gloves. She watches me throw, instead of throwing with me."

BEDARD WOULD LIKE TO PLAY IN TORONTO

At this stage in his career as a Major League Baseball pitcher, Erik Bedard sees himself as a teacher, a guy who can help a team's younger hurlers.

From Navan, just outside Ottawa, he would also like to pitch for a Canadian team.

So would he be a fit for the Toronto Blue Jays?

"It'd be nice to pitch in Toronto, maybe end my career there," said the soon-to-be-36-year-old pitcher, who's thrown for six teams in 10 major-league seasons. "Toronto's close. Family could fly in. And it'd be a chance to play for a Canadian team."

He says he could help a pitching staff, lending a hand like he got from B.J. Ryan, who would later join the Blue Jays, while he was in Baltimore.

"That's when I started throwing the cutter," said Bedard. "B.J. said to work on it with the four-seam grip. He told me if I could control the back door, I'd be successful. The cutter changed a lot of things. I was going deep in the count, getting a lot of foul balls and I wasn't getting a lot of quick outs. When I figured out how to throw the cutter, it changed my career.

"When I was younger, there weren't enough guys willing to help out. It's a competition. They don't want you to take their spot. When you're near the end of your career, you're not as worried about that. You want to help other guys out."


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Major league baseball pitcher, Erik Bedard, said:

01. "I'm confident I'll pitch this year."
02. "I don't know how much mileage I have left."
03. "You could think you have 2,000 miles left on your arm and one pitch later, you're done."
04. "When I had Tommy John (surgery at age 23), I threw one pitch and blew out my elbow."
05. "The way I pitched last year, I think I still have it."
06. "I know I'm in the homestretch, that my career will end soon."
07. "But, it's been a good run."
08. "At times, injuries derailed my career, but I made nearly $30 million."

     That Mr. Bedard had Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement at 23 and at soon to be 36 years old indicates that Mr. Bedard is no longer reverse bouncing his pitching forearm.

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0053.  Rays' McGee recovering quickly from surgery
Tampa Bay Times
January 13, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG, FL: Rays closer Jake McGee's recovery from elbow surgery is going well enough that he is anticipating an earlier than expected return, possibly in mid April.

After having Dec. 12 arthroscopic surgery to remove a "loose body," McGee said he was expected to miss the first month of the season.

But McGee said this week he has full range of motion in the elbow, and with no setbacks he could be ready for a rehab assignment around the time of the Rays' April 6 season opener, with a return to follow shortly.

"Everything is going well," McGee said.

The Rays plan to wait until McGee starts throwing in spring training next month to further define a timetable. The Rays have returnees Grant Balfour and Brad Boxberger and newcomers Ernesto Frieri and Kevin Jepsen to work high-leverage situations.


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The article said:

01. "On December 12, 2014, Jake McGee had arthroscopic surgery to remove a "loose body" in his pitching elbow."
02. "On January 13, 2015, Mr. McGee has full range of motion in the elbow."
03. "With no setbacks, Mr. McGee could be ready for a rehab assignment around the time of the Rays' April 6 season opener."

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     Mr. McGee has 'Pitching Forearm Flyout and supinates the releases of his breaking pitches. Therefore, Mr. McGee slams his olecranon procress into his olecranon fossa.

     As a result, Mr. McGree has lost some of his extension and flexion ranges of motion.

     This means that Mr. McGree does not have full range of motion in his pitching elbow.

     If Mr. McGee does not want more surgeries for loose pieces of hyaline cartilage and the resulting bone spurs, then Mr. McGee needs to stop taking his pitching arm laterally behind his body and start pronating the releases of all pitches.

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0054.  Braves agree to deal with Rodriguez
MLB.com
January 13, 2015

ATLANTA, GA: Furthering their attempt to round out their starting rotation, the Braves have decided to take a chance on left-handed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez, who reportedly recently failed a physical after agreeing a Minor League deal with the Phillies. The Phils have not confirmed that report.

A source familiar with the negotiations confirmed that the Braves have agreed with Rodriguez on a Minor League contract and a Spring Training invite. The club has not confirmed this agreement, which is pending a physical.

If the Braves deem Rodriguez to be healthy, they will likely continue to search for other veteran pitchers who would be willing to come to Spring Training with a Minor League contract and a chance to win the final available spot in their starting rotation.

As things currently stand, Rodriguez would be competing with David Hale, Manny Banuelos, James Russell and non-roster invitee Chien-Ming Wang for Atlanta's fifth spot. While Banuelos has the greatest upside among these candidates, the Braves would like the former Yankees prospect to get a little more seasoning at the Minor League level.

Rodriguez totaled just 18 starts while battling multiple ailments over the past two seasons. The 35-year-old southpaw has pitched seven innings in the two starts he recently made in the Dominican Winter League.

Rodriguez made only 12 starts for the Pirates in 2013 before suffering a season-ending left elbow injury while pitching against the Braves at Turner Field.

After overcoming what was diagnosed as an arthritic elbow, Rodriguez returned this past season and made six starts before the Bucs designated him for assignment on May 22, one day after he ended a month-long stint on the disabled list with an inflamed right knee.

Rodriguez produced a 3.47 ERA while totaling 128 starts for the Astros and Pirates from 2009-12. But the injury woes he has battled the past two seasons provide reason to question whether he will prove capable of filling the fifth spot in Atlanta's rotation this year.


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     The article said:

01. "Recently, left-handed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez reportedly failed a physical after agreeing a Minor League deal with the Phillies."
02. "Pending a physical, the Braves have agreed with Mr. Rodriguez on a Minor League contract and a Spring Training invite."
03. "In 2013, Mr. Rodriguez suffered a season-ending left elbow injury."
04. "The team's medical staff diagnosed Mr. Rodriguez as having an arthritic elbow."
05. "On May 22, 2014, one day after Mr. Rodriguez ended a month-long stint on the disabled list with an inflamed right knee, the Bucs designated Mr. Rodriguez for assignment."
06. "Mr. Rodriguez had started six games for the Pirates."

     I wonder whether the arthritic pitching elbow or the inflammed glove arm side knee causes Mr. Rodriguez to fail hte Phillies physical.

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0055.  Ogando under consideration by Red Sox
Boston Herald
January 14, 2015

The Red Sox attended free agent pitcher Alexi Ogando’s workout last Friday in Tampa and have since expressed interest in signing the 31-year-old, a source familiar with the club’s thinking said yesterday.

An All-Star four seasons ago for the Texas Rangers, Ogando’s career has been derailed the past two years by injuries to both his shoulder and elbow.

The right-hander did not pitch after June 3 last season after being shelved with an elbow strain. After declining surgery and opting to rest, the lanky, 6-foot-4 native of the Dominican Republic received clearance from renowned orthopedic surgeon James Andrews before throwing a bullpen session in front of an estimated 40 scouts from approximately 20 teams.

Ogando reportedly threw in the low 90’s during the workout. When he arrived in the big leagues in 2010, Ogando regularly reached 95-96 mph with his fastball while mixing in a slider and changeup. He has worked as both a starter and a reliever and currently is seeking a spot on a major league roster in any capacity.

Any deal with Ogando likely will have a relatively low guaranteed base salary with substantial incentives in place in case he stays healthy and is productive. He is not expected to reach an agreement with any ballclub before this coming weekend.


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     The article said:

01. "For the past two years injuries to both Mr. Ogando's shoulder and elbow has derailed Alexi Ogando’s career.
02. "Before throwing a bullpen session in front of an estimated 40 scouts last week, Dr. James Andrews cleared Mr. Oganda to competitively pitch."
03. "Reportedly, Mr. Ogando threw in the low 90’s.
04. "Four years ago, Mr. Ogando regularly reached 95-96 mph."
05. "Mr. Ogando throws a fastball, a slider and a changeup.

     Mr. Ogando's shoulder problem results from using his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching upper arm.

     Mr. Ogando's elbow problem results from supinating the release of his slider.

     That Mr. Ogando throws a slider and not a curve indicates that Mr. Ogando has 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'

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0056.  Indians sign Swarzak to Minor League deal
MLB.com
January 14, 2015

CLEVELAND, OH: The Indians know that a safety net is important for a bullpen, especially when fielding a cast that set the American League's single-season record for combined appearances last season. As a result, adding depth to the relief corps was a priority this offseason.

On Thursday, the Tribe added another piece to that part of the puzzle, signing reliever Anthony Swarzak to a Minor League contract that includes an invitation to attend Spring Training with the Major League club.

The right-hander offers experience as a long reliever and spot starter, and will be in the mix for one of the final spots in Cleveland's bullpen.

The Indians could have one or two relief jobs available, depending on whether manager Terry Francona decides to begin the year with a seven- or eight-man bullpen. As things currently stand, perceived locks for the bullpen include closer Cody Allen, setup man Bryan Shaw and right-hander Scott Atchison, along with lefties Marc Rzepczynski, Nick Hagadone and Kyle Crockett.

That group accounted for a considerable amount of the workload in 2014, when the Indians set an AL record with 573 combined relief appearances. Cleveland also became the first AL team in history to have four pitchers (Allen, Atchison, Rzepczynski and Shaw) appear in at least 70 games in the same season.

Cleveland will also consider starting pitchers Zach McAllister and Josh Tomlin for relief work, if they do not work their way into the rotation mix. Other bullpen candidates on the 40-man roster include C.C. Lee, Austin Adams and Shawn Armstrong. Beyond Swarzak, Cleveland's non-roster relievers include Scott Downs, Jeff Manship, Nick Maronde, Dustin Molleken and Bryan Price.

The 29-year-old Swarzak elected free agency in November after being outrighted to Triple-A by the Twins, who originally selected him in the second round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. Swarzak had been eligible for salary arbitration for the second time after earning $935,000 last season, when he posted a 4.60 ERA (4.10 ERA as a reliever) in 86 innings over 50 appearances.

In parts of five big league seasons -- all with Minnesota -- Swarzak is 16-24 with a 4.48 ERA in 439 2/3 innings (181 games, including 32 starts). The right-hander's best season came in 2013, when he turned in a 2.91 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 3.28 FIP in 96 innings (48 games). Dating back to 2012, Swarzak ranks second in the Majors with 237 1/3 relief innings. Swarzak primarily features a two-seam sinker (92-93 mph), slider (84-85 mph) and changeup (83-84 mph).


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     Surprisingly, the article does not mention that Anthont Swarzak has suffered any pitching injuries.

     However, the article said that Mr. Swarzak throws 92-93 mph two-seam sinker, an 84-85 mph slider and an 83-84 mph changeup.

     When baseball pitchers throw sliders instead of curves, it means that they take their pitching arm laterally behind their body.

     That means that, eventually, these baseball pitchers will lose their extension and flexion ranges of motion.

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0057.  Latissimus Dorsi muscle actions

Is there any way you can palpate the Latissimus Dorsi and feel it contract when someone inwardly rotates the Humerus bone?

If it were possible, it seems like it would be a good teaching tool to show pitchers.


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First, I have my baseball pitchers put both arms behind their backs as high up as they are able and move their elbows forward. If their Latissimus Dorsi muscle attaches to the inferior angle of the Scapula, then coaches are able to feel the Latissimus Dorsi muscle. If their Latissimus Dorsi muscle does not attach to the inferior angle of the Scapula bone, then the inferior angle moves far away from the surface of their back.

To show baseball pitchers how weak using their Pectoralis Major muscle to pull their pitching elbow curvi-linearly toward home plate, I have my baseball pitchers put their pitching arm at whatever angle (slot) they want perpendicular to their driveline toward home plate and I put my hand against their pitching elbow and ask them to apply force to my hand.

Then to show baseball pitchers how much more powerful using their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive the pitching elbow straight toward home plate, I have my baseball pitchers stand with their pitching foot forward and their pitching arm in my 'Slingshot' position and I put both of my hands against their pitching elbow and ask them to apply force to their hand.

The only way to show baseball pitchers how powerfully the Latissimus Dorsi muscle inwardly rotates their pitching upper arm, I have baseball pitchers stand with their pitching foot forward, their pitching upper arm forty-five degrees outside the driveline toward home plate in my 'Slingshot' position and holding a square Lid from a four-gallon bucket.

Then, I tell baseball pitchers to move their pitching elbow inward to the driveline toward home plate and drive their pitching forearm horizontally over the top of their head straight toward home plate 'sticking' their pitching hand in the strike zone with their thumb poining downward.

Done correctly, their pitching elbow will 'pop' upward as the pitching arm recoils backward from the powerful release.

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0058.  In comeback attempt, Santana retires six straight
MLB.com
January 14, 2015

Deciding to begin his latest comeback in the Venezuelan Winter League, left-hander Johan Santana had a perfect outing for Magallanes on Tuesday, retiring all six batters he faced.

An even better sign, Santana's fastball was clocked at around 90 mph and his signature changeup kept hitters off-balance.

Even with Santana's injury history and diminished velocity, plenty of Major League teams have reportedly shown interest in the 35-year-old, including the Yankees, who were in attendance for his first outing.

Santana was on the verge of joining the Baltimore Orioles' roster last summer when he tore his left Achilles tendon during a start at extended spring camp.

It marked just one of the many injuries Santana has faced over the past few years. He's also dealt with chronic shoulder issues, having shoulder capsule surgery in 2010 and '13.

Limited to just 21 Major League appearances since 2010, the two-time Cy Young Award winner and four-time All-Star was one of the most dominant starters during an eight-year stretch from 2003-10 with the Twins and Mets.

"Johan wants to go out on his own terms," Santana's agent Peter Greenberg told ESPN.com. "He doesn't want to go out because an injury put him out. He's worked very hard and kept himself in shape, and he's never thought about retiring.

"It's not about the money or anything like that. He's said he wants to draw his own ending. He wants to go out on his own terms. He's told me, 'I want to add to my legacy.' I think anybody who knows him is going to bet on him."


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     The article said:

01. "From 2003-10, Johan Santana was one of the most dominant major league baseball starters.
02. "In 2010 and 2013, Mr. Santana had shoulder capsule surgeries.

     It took the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion eight years of major league pitching to destroy Mr. Santana's pitching shoulder.

     The only way that Mr. Santana can avoid further damage is to learn how to use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle and rotate his hips and shoulders forward over his glove foot.

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0059.  Brian Bannister joins Red Sox analytics team
Boston Herald
January 14, 2015

Conventional scouting reports never were enough for Brian Bannister.

Sure, like most pitchers, Bannister pored through the reams of information provided to him before every start. And yes, he found them to be perfectly valuable resources. For a right-hander who got by on guile and not electric stuff for five seasons with the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals, there was no such thing as too much when it came to studying the tendencies of hitters or the vulnerabilities of a lineup.

It was just that Bannister needed more. He always had a head for numbers, which probably explains his perfect score on the math portion of the SAT. So he was drawn to statistics that went beyond traditional earned run average and strikeouts, leading him to delve deeply into FIP, BABIP, UZR and the rest of the alphabet soup put forth by the sabermetric community.

And it didn’t end there. As a starter, Bannister pitched only once every five days. That left plenty of idle time to watch his peers with a discerning eye, and by 2010, his final season in the big leagues, he had cultivated a list of “under-the-radar players” that he determined didn’t receive the widespread respect they deserved. (Then-Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro was one of Bannister’s favorites.)

With Bannister, you never were quite sure whether you were talking to a pitcher or a wannabe general manager.

“To me,” Bannister said in April 2010, when the Red Sox visited Kansas City for a three-game series, “defense is the cheapest way to build a good team. Home runs and strikeouts are the most expensive, but defense is a way, I think, that the small- and middle-market teams can really gain an edge.”

Here’s another way: Enlist Bannister to work in your front office, which is precisely what the Red Sox have done. In announcing a flurry of personnel moves yesterday, general manager Ben Cherington revealed that Bannister has been hired as a professional scout and an analyst.

It is a good get for the Sox, who have prioritized statistical analysis since 2002 when owner John Henry bought the team and sought counsel from Bill James. Bannister, 33, brings a combination of the experience of a former player and an understanding of analytics.

As a player, Bannister was on the cutting edge of what he once called “the numbers behind the numbers.” He never threw the hardest or had the steepest break on his offspeed stuff, so he tried to find any edge imaginable. And if he hadn’t injured his shoulder at age 29, it is likely the advent of Pitchf/x would have lengthened his career.

The Pitchf/x system measures the speed of a pitch at the time it is released and tracks its movement. It also provided more data for Bannister to study and help influence the adjustments he made from one start to the next.

Even before Pitchf/x, though, Bannister was paying attention to advanced metrics. Rather than looking at wins, ERA and other old-fashioned barometers for how well he was pitching, he was more interested such things as BABIP (batting average on balls in play).

Another of Bannister’s favorites: xFIP, or expected fielding independent pitching, a statistic designed to measure anything for which a pitcher is specifically responsible. It helps understand how a pitcher fared, regardless of the configuration of the ballpark in which he pitched and the defense behind him.

“In a given year, a pitcher’s schedule can be fortunate,” Bannister said in 2009. “The ballparks he pitches in can be bigger, pitcher’s parks. That’s never talked about in the game of baseball, which is why I think FIP shows a pitcher’s true talent level better than any single stat.”

Bannister introduced former Royals teammate Zack Greinke to advanced metrics in 2009. And when Greinke won the Cy Young Award, he said his goal is “to try to keep my FIP as low as possible.”

The hearts of statheads everywhere skipped a beat.

Bannister retired in 2011 and has watched from the sidelines for the past few seasons. But the time is right for him to get back in the game, and the Red Sox will benefit from the expertise of someone player personnel chief Allard Baird described as “smart and passionate about evaluating.”

“I have always enjoyed seeing other players have success,” Bannister said last night. “That is why I am a player-development guy at heart.”

That was evident even when he was still playing.


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     The article said:.
.
01. "Brian Bannister never threw the hardest or had the steepest break on his offspeed stuff.".
02. "At 29 years old, Mr. Bannister injured his pitching shoulder.

     My stats and articles guy, Brad Sullivan said: "I'm guessing he can't calculate why he couldn't stay healthy."

     Mr. Sullivan's point is: When baseball pitchers suffer pitching injuries, what good are Mr. Bannister's statistics.

     Instead of hiring Mr. Bannister, the Red Sox needs to hire me.

     By the way, instead of FIP, baseball pitchers need fewer hits per innings.

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0060.  TRADITIONAL ROTATOR CUFF EXERCISES

Do traditional rotator cuff exercises have any value?

I, of course, do WW/IB daily and have for the past 8 years.

I long ago stopped doing throwing arm 3-5 lbs "coke cans", internal & external rotations, etc.

However, I have a minor case of tendonitis in my NON-throwing shoulder. I am not resting my non-throwing shoulder; I'm continuing regular exercise beneath the pain threshold. It is getting better, but I was wondering if doing traditional therapy might have preventative benefits.

As for my throwing: I continue to be amazed. Throwing harder than ever despite getting older.

For any readers: My experience is that the longer you do it, the better it gets. Well beyond what I thought was possible.


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     You must have stressed your glove shoulder more than the glove shoulder was ready for. Your treatment is correct. The proper therapy is to gently continue to do your wrist weights.

     Even were you to use your Pectoralis Major muscle to curvi-linearly pull your pitching upper arm toward home plate, doing rotator cuff (Teres Minor) has no value.

     With or without 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce,' the Pectoralis Major muscle assumes the task of inwardly rotating the pitching upper arm.

     Unfortunately, with 'traditional' baseball pitchers explosively rotating their hips and shoulders forward over their pitching arm side foot on the pitching rubber, the inertial mass of the of the pitching arm forces the pitching upper arm behind their acromial line.

     Years of involuntarily lengthening the tendon of the Pectoralis muscle gradually decreases release velocity and release consistency.

     Fortunately, by rotating their hips and shoulders forward over their glove arm side foot and moving their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head, my baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle not only to move their pitching elbow as far forward as they are able, but they use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to powerfully inwardly rotating their pitching upper arm and, such that instead of using the Teres Minor muscle, my baseball pitchers also use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to safely decelerate the pitching arm.

     The reason why you continue to increase your release velocity is because you are getting better at 'Horizontally Rebounding' your pitching forearm and recoiling your release.

     By driving your pitching hand down the acromial line farther toward home plate also contributes to your increasing release velocity and release consistency.

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0061.  Charlie Morton

I noticed one of the articles in last week's Q&A was about Charlie Morton of the Pirates.

I know he has said in the past that he models his pitching motion after Roy Halladay.

I believe he did this after he made the majors. He seems to be oft-injured ever since he made this change.

And Mr. Halladay retired with years still left on his contract after his performance radically deteriorated.


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     Because 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches have no idea what causes pitching injuries, baseball pitchers try to copy successful baseball pitchers.

     Although Mr. Halladay achieved good results for several years, his baseball pitching motion eventually destroyed his pitching arm and more.

     There is only one baseball pitching motion that does not eventually destroyed pitching arms and more.

     Mine.

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0062.  Mariners acquire Kickham from Cubs
Everett Herald
January 14, 2015

SEATTLE, WA: The Mariners added another left-handed pitcher to their 40-man roster Wednesday by acquiring Mike Kickham from the Chicago Cubs in a trade for minor-league pitcher Lars Huijer.

Kickham, 26, was 8-8 with a 4.43 earned-run average last season in 27 starts for Triple-A Fresno in the San Francisco organization before going to the Cubs in a Dec. 23 waiver claim.

The Cubs designated Kickham for assignment on Jan. 9 to create a roster space after signing free-agent outfielder Chris Denorfia, who closed out last season with the Mariners.

Similarly, Seattle needed to clear space on its roster for Kickham and did so by designating left-hander Anthony Fernandez for assignment.

Fernandez, 24, made just five starts last season at Tacoma before undergoing Tommy John surgery on his elbow. He was 9-8 with a 4.43 ERA over 22 starts in 2013 at Double-A Jackson.

Kickham was the Giants' sixth-round pick in the 2010 draft and pitched briefly in the big leagues in each of the past two years — going 0-3 in 14 games. He allowed 37 earned runs and 54 hits in 30 innings.

Huijer, a 21-year-old right-hander, was 6-9 with a 5.08 ERA last season in 28 games (24 starts) at Lo-A Clinton. He signed with the Mariners in 2011 as a non-drafted free agent. Huijer spent the 2013 season with the Everett AquaSox, posting an 8-2 record and a 3.03 ERA.


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     The article said:

01. "In 27 starts for Triple-A Fresno, Mike Kickham was 8-8 with a 4.43 earned-run average last season."
02. "On December 23, 2014, The Cubs clained Mr. Kickman on waivers.
03. "Before undergoing Tommy John surgery on his elbow, Anthony Fernandez made just five starts last season at Tacoma."
04. "In 2013, Mr. Fernandez was 9-8 with a 4.43 ERA at Double-A Jackson.
05. "The Mariners designated Mr. Fernandez for assignment, i.e.: released."

     When Mr. Fernandez injured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, the Mariners needed Mr. Kickman.

     Injuries, not talent decides who gets the opportunities to succeed.

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0063.  Marlins sign Masset to Minor League deal
MLB.com
January 14, 2015

MIAMI, FL: Reliever Nick Masset, who appeared in 51 games with the Rockies last season, signed a Minor League contract with the Marlins on Wednesday that includes an invitation to Spring Training.

The Marlins typically don't announce each Minor League signing, but MLB.com has confirmed the Masset deal.

Once a mainstay in the Reds' bullpen, Masset resumed his career with Colorado in 2014 after he missed the previous two seasons due to an injured right shoulder.

Masset was 2-0 with a 5.80 ERA and 36 strikeouts against 24 walks over 45 innings with the Rockies in 2014.

With Cincinnati from 2009-11, the right-hander logged at least 70 innings during three straight seasons. Masset opened '08 with the White Sox, but he went to the Reds midseason as part of the Ken Griffey Jr. trade.


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The article said:

01. "In 2014, Nick Masset pitched 45 innings for the Rockies.
02. "Due to an injured right shoulder, Mr. Masset he missed 2012 and 2013.
03. "Mr. Masset signed a Minor League contract with the Marlins on Wednesday that includes an invitation to Spring Training.

     Injuries, not talent decides who gets the opportunities to succeed.

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0063.  Looking back at the Twins' 2012 draft
Minneapolis Star Tribune
January 14, 2015

After losing Michael Cuddyer to Colorado via free agency, the Twins acquired two additional draft picks, the Rockies' second round pick and a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds. Jason Kubel also left as a free agent to the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Twins also got a supplemental pick for him.

The MLB draft is incredibly difficult to judge or even analyze for more than a decade for various reasons. Top prospects don’t always make it big and there are hidden gems found in late rounds. However, when you have the opportunity to draft second overall in the draft, it is important to get it right.

As Aaron Gleeman pointed out, it’s important to get the early picks right, but even mid-to-late first round picks, much less picks in rounds two through forty, are mostly a crapshoot.

HIGH-UPSIDE PREPSTERS

The Twins have had a lot of success with athletic, toolsy high school hitters in the past. Torii Hunter (1993), Michael Cuddyer (1998), Joe Mauer (2001), Denard Span (2002) and Ben Revere (2007) are some examples of this.

Byron Buxton certainly fits that model. His tools and athleticism are truly elite. When healthy (2013), he was the best player in minor league baseball and put himself on track to be in the big leagues as a 19-year-old. Unfortunately a smorgasbord of injuries cost him a lot of development time and delayed his big league debut.

The Twins have had less success with drafting and developing high school pitchers. The most recent pitcher that the Twins drafted out of high school who made starts was Anthony Swarzak. Aside from Twins Hall of Famer Brad Radke, who the Twins took with their 8th round pick in 1991, others are few and far between. However, JO Berrios certainly displayed the potential and the work ethic to break that mold. He has a chance to be in the big leagues before he turns 22.

DRAFTING COLLEGE RELIEVERS

After that, however, we saw the Twins make another interesting shift in thinking. Five of their next six picks were college relievers. The Twins clearly focused on obtaining velocity through the draft. Although those five pitchers were relievers in college, the Twins made it clear that several of them would be given an opportunity to start. That makes sense. Starters have the opportunity to work 170 to 200 innings in a season whereas even the top relievers will likely top out at 70 innings in a season.

Even if the pitcher does go back to the bullpen, the opportunity to start has other benefits. He can work on secondary pitches. However, as a starter, he will have to work out of many situations that he will see coming out of the bullpen. It’s just that he is able to go through those experiences in the 3rd or 4th inning rather than late in the game.

That theory is sound, but there were certainly concerns with that strategy. One of them was an increased injury risk, whether real or perceived. Of course, that is going to be a concern with any pitcher.

The thought was that a couple of these guys would get up to the big leagues and pitch out of the bullpen. The thinking was also be that if even one of them reached the big leagues as a starter, the strategy would be a success. So, two-and-a-half seasons into their professional career, how has this strategy worked out for the Twins? Here is a quick look at those five college pitchers:

LUKE BARD – RHP – Georgia Tech

With the 42nd overall pick (supplemental pick for losing Kubel), the Twins took the right-hander. The thought was that he would be given the opportunity to start. However, in 2012 and 2013, he worked a combined 19.1 innings in the minors and then missed the entire 2014 season. At the end of the 2013 season in Ft. Myers, observers pointed out that he stuff was absolutely filthy. However, while rehabbing from offseason surgery last spring, doctors found that he had a muscle completely detached in his shoulder area and there was debris in his shoulder joint. He had surgery in mid-May and will likely be out for 12 months. Bard is as classy as it gets and when healthy, has really good stuff.

MASON MELOTAKIS – LHP – Northwestern State – Louisiana

With the 63rd overall pick, the Twins took a hard-throwing left-hander. Mason Melotakis had been clocked in the upper-90s out of the bullpen in college. In 2012 and 2013, he spent most of his time as a starter. Very early in the 2014 season, he moved to the bullpen and it wasn’t long before he was promoted to AA. As a starter, he worked in the low-90s and worked on two additional pitches. Out of the bullpen, he was again throwing in the upper-90s and getting significantly more strikeouts. Unfortunately late in the season, he developed elbow pain and in August he had Tommy John surgery. He will likely miss most of the 2015 season.

JT CHARGOIS – RHP – Rice University

JT Chargois was a two-way player for Rice who was one of two closers on their roster. He was the pick the Twins acquired from the Rockies for Cuddyer. After signing with the Twins, he pitched 16 innings in 12 games at Elizabethton. He tried to rehab some elbow discomfort through much of the 2013 season before having late-season Tommy John surgery. He missed the entire 2014 season. However, he returned to the mound in the Instructional League and impressed everyone with a fastball that hit 99 mph.

ZACK JONES – RHP – San Jose State

The Twins used their third round pick on a hitter, but returned to the collegiate bullpen arms in the fourth round when they picked San Jose State reliever Zack Jones. His upper 90s fastball has been impressive. His first full season in the pros was spent in Ft. Myers in 2013. He pitched well while trying to work on his control and his slider. He pitched in the Arizona Fall League, but while there was shut down with a strange, cold sensation in his right hand fingers. A couple of months later, it was found that he had an aneurysm in his right shoulder. He required surgery and rest. While recovering, they found blood clots in his leg. He returned to Ft. Myers in May and started a rehab program. He returned to the mound and ended the regular season as the Miracle closer, leading a dominant bullpen that helped the team to their first Florida State League title. He returned to the Arizona Fall League where he struggled with control but didn’t allow a run. He is back at 100 percent and was throwing between 95 and 98 mph.

TYLER DUFFEY – RHP – Rice University 

With their fifth round pick, the Twins took the other half of Rice’s closer share. Tyler Duffey was a hard-throwing reliever who, after signing, dominated at Elizabethton, walking two and striking out 27 in 19 innings. His first full season was split between Cedar Rapids (where he pitched the first seven innings of a no-hitter early in the season) and Ft. Myers. He made 18 starts before finishing the season in the bullpen. In 2014, he began with four starts in Ft. Myers before spending the majority of his season at New Britain. He finished the season with three starts in Rochester. He worked 149.2 innings. Recently, he was named as a non-roster Invitee to Twins big league spring training. A mid-90s fastball and two additional pitches and he is now considered a legit future big league starting pitcher.

These five will have to be added to the Twins 40-man roster following the 2015 season or be made available in the Rule 5 draft in December. Duffey has been very good as a starter and has a chance to be a big league starter (or a successful reliever). The four other arms have all missed significant time due to injury and surgeries. These guys are all 24 years old and still have a good chance to get to the big leagues as relievers. They have big velocity and if things go well, they could still be late-inning, impact arms in the bullpen. Has the strategy proven wise? That’s to be determined. Time will tell.


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The article said:

01. "While rehabbing from off-season surgery last spring, doctors found that Luke Bard had a muscle completely detached in his shoulder area and there was debris in his shoulder joint."
02. "In Mid-May, Mr. Bard had surgery and will likely be out for 12 months."
03. "When healthy, Mr. Bard has really good stuff.

     Injuries, not talent decides who gets the opportunities to succeed.

The article said:

01. "Late in 2014, Mason Melotakis developed elbow pain."
02. "In August 2014, Mr. Melotakis had Tommy John surgery."
03. "Mr. Melotakis will miss most of the 2015 season."

     Injuries, not talent decides who gets the opportunities to succeed.

The article said:

01. "After signing with the Twins, JT Chargois pitched 16 innings in 12 games at Elizabethton."
02. "Through much of the 2013 season, Mr. Chargois tried to rehab some elbow discomfort."
03. "Late in 2013, Mr3. Chargois had Tommy John surgery."
04. "Mr. Chargois missed the entire 2014 season."
05. "In fall 2014 Instructional League, Mr. Chargois impressed everyone with a 99 mph fastball".

     Injuries, not talent decides who gets the opportunities to succeed.

The article said:

01. "In 2013, Zack Jones pitched well."
02. "In the 2913 Arizona Fall League, Mr. Jones had a strange, cold sensation in the fingers of his pitching hand."
03. "A couple of months later, the Twins Medical Staff found that Mr Jones had an aneurysm in pitching shoulder."
04. "Mr. Jones required surgery to remove the aneurysm."
05. "While recovering, the Twins Medical Staff found blood clots in Mr. Jones' leg."
06. In May 2014, Mr. Jones returned to Ft. Myers and started a rehab program."

     Injuries, not talent decides who gets the opportunities to succeed.

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0064.  New Pirates pitcher Richard puts comeback in 'good' hands
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
January 13, 2015

BRADENTON, FL: Word spreads quickly in modern baseball, where players change teams frequently. So, when pitcher Clayton Richard was considering his options this offseason, he spoke with former San Diego Padres teammate Edinson Volquez about the Pirates.

“He loved it here,” Richard said. “It was nice to hear that. Everyone I’ve talked to, really, has nothing but positive things to say about the place and the people, more importantly, the people who are involved in this organization.”

Specifically, Richard heard good things about the Pirates’ ability to rejuvenate pitchers who suffered through injury, ineffectiveness or both. Volquez, now with the Kansas City Royals, was one of those, as was Francisco Liriano and Vance Worley. Richard, who joined the organization on a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training, fits the bill.

Following success with the Padres, he did not pitch at all in the majors in 2014 after surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome.

“I had a talk with the front office and the staff and everyone involved. Everyone is very positive and it seems like a terrific fit for me,” Richard said this week at the Pirates’ spring-training facility, where he is taking part in voluntary workouts.

In 2010, his third year in the majors, the left-hander posted a 3.75 ERA in 201 2?3 innings. A shoulder debridement procedure limited him to 99 2?3 innings in 2011. The following year, he started 33 games and pitched 2182?3 innings with a 3.99 ERA, but led the league in home runs allowed (31), with home games in mammoth Petco Park, no less, and the majors in hits allowed.

“In 2012, [I] was somewhat healthy, still dealing with the shoulder, but was able to get through the season,” Richard said. “And then ’13 was struggling, my shoulder just wasn’t right.”

His 2013 season ended June 21, when he left a start after two pitches. He had a resection surgery that tried to fix his acromioclavicular (AC) joint, but didn’t solve his problem.

“Your nerves pretty much run from your neck, and they have to go under that first rib and then out through your shoulder,” Richard said. “There’s a couple spots where they’ll get caught up. My symptoms were the front of my shoulder would always hurt. It would be pinching. Kind of like a dead-arm thing, where my shoulder would hurt and I wasn’t able to accelerate like I should be able to.”

Those symptoms pointed to thoracic outlet syndrome — the compression of nerves and blood vessels in the lower neck and upper chest. Surgeons removed the first rib and a muscle in his neck and released his pectoralis minor in the upper chest.

Because the surgery did not affect the shoulder itself, the rehabilitation consisted mainly of rest while the incisions healed before Richard began a traditional throwing and strength-training program. He pitched in the minor leagues for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2014, making four starts. He currently is in the process of teaching himself how to throw with a healthy shoulder again.

“I still have habits from when I was compensating for a bad shoulder,” he said. “I’m trying to get back.”

He pegged Pittsburgh, with pitching coach Ray Searage and special assistant to the general manager Jim Benedict, as a good place to do that.

“Guys that have dealt with injury or bad performance come in here and kind of have an opportunity to turn things around,” Richard said.


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

     The article said:

01. "Clayton Richard heard good things about the Pirates’ ability to rejuvenate pitchers who suffered through injury, ineffectiveness or both."
02. "Mr. Richard signed a minor league contract with an invitation to major league spring training.
03. "After surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome, Mr. Richard did not pitch at all in the majors in 2014.

     Injuries, not talent decides who gets the opportunities to succeed.

     Unfortunately, Pirates pitching coach, Ray Searage and special assistant to the general manager, Jim Benedict had any idea about what to do with thoracic outlet syndrome.

     Mr. Richard needs to use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive his pitches in straight lines toward home plate.

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0065.  Wrist Weights

I am about to undertake your wrist weight training program, and I would like a recommendation from you on where to begin.

I am a 24 year old male. I haven't trained in baseball for some years, but I used to pitch in Little League.

I eat a careful diet and am in good condition, ready to add my exercise back in.

I am six feet tall, and I weight about 145.

I haven't been to the gym since my senior year of college, which was about two and half years ago.

I've exercised intermittently and half-heartedly for spurts in that space of time between college and now (pushups).

Which size wrist weights should I tell Ooltewah to make for me? Two and a half? Five?


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     I recommend that you complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     The eleven sections of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video explainseverything that you need to know.

     To learn the pitching arm action that I teach, I recommend that your start with my Football Training Program where you learn how to horizontally sail the lid from a four-gallon bucket.

     After you master that skill, I recommend that you use an appropriately-sized football to learn how to achieve the spin axis for the four basic pitches that I teach.

     After you master these skills, I recommend that you open my Wrist Weight Training Program to master the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     If you have any questions, please email them to me.

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0066.  Training body rotation

Here's our latest article on increasing core strength, lower body stability, and rotational power. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on this one.

If you're interested in guest writing for our site, don't hesitate to reach out and let me know.


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     I am happy to answer any baseball pitching question you or anybody else asks me.

     I teach my baseball pitchers to stand tall and rotate their hips and shoulders diagonally across the front of their glove foot.

     To continue to move their center of mass forward through release, like power walking, I teach my baseball pitchers to use their glove foot to pull their body forward.

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0067.  Are Mets making players pay for their own offseason workouts?
NJ.com
January 15, 2015

Currently, a group of Mets players, both stars like David Wright and minor leaguers, are in Port St. Lucie, Fla. preparing for the upcoming season.

While the players are working out with organizational peers and teammates and under the direction of the club's new of head conditioning, they are also paying to do so.

Each player is paying $1,000 to participate, a Mets spokesperson confirmed. And Barwis is a consultant for the organization. Additionally, the spokesperson insisted that players are there voluntarily, combatting accusations that the session was a de facto mandatory one.

Players also receive housing and three meals a day.

The MLB Players Association is aware of the situation, Greg Bouris, a spokesperson for the MLBPA said, "and we're looking into it."

The workouts, the spokesperson contests, are an alternative to paying for training elsewhere. Fewer than 10 members of the club's 40 man roster are present.

News of the fees elicited controversy for the Mets on social media, but the Collective Bargaining Agreement does not seem to outline an easy answer.

The CBA allows for mini-camps in January but for no more than seven days and only to players on the 40 man roster who are not yet arbitration eligible.

The mini-camp, the CBA specifies, is voluntary and players have to be invites by a formal process and receive paid accommodation.

These workouts, however, do not seem to fit under these parameters.


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     The article said:

01. "While the players are working out with organizational peers and teammates and under the direction of the club's new of head conditioning, they are also paying to do so."
02. "Each player is paying $1,000 to participate, a Mets spokesperson confirmed."
03. "And Barwis is a consultant for the organization."

     I had to go online to find that Mr. Barwis' first name is Mike.

     Mr. Barwis was the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Michigan.

     I wonder whether Mr. Barwis understands the principle of specificity.

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0068.  Player-funded workouts latest PR debacle for Mets
CapitalNewYork.com
January 15, 2015

It probably seemed like a good idea on paper. But the latest P.R. initiative by the Mets is not going to end well.

The Mets haven't had what you would call an active offseason. They signed Michael Cuddyer, a mid-grade free agent, but have done almost nothing since. (An MLB agent pointed out to me that they haven't signed a pitcher at any level all winter.)

So with the fans and writers alike grumbling about the team's failure to add a shortstop, or another lefty reliever, both things the front office has made clear were areas in need of upgrade, thanks to ownership's financial limitations, it was time to change the subject.

Accordingly, the Mets gave the Post's Kevin Kernan access to their off-season workouts in Port St. Lucie. Kernan, who has been critical of the Mets in the past, excels at writing the craft piece, and this one focused on David Wright's recovery from a shoulder injury that greatly curtailed his 2014.

The story pointed out that the workouts, supervised by an outside trainer named Mike Barwis, had expanded significantly from last season, when a handful of Mets, such as Lucas Duda, trained with Barwis in Michigan.

Barwis first came to the attention of Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon back in 2007 when Barwis was working with the University of Michigan football team, and Wilpon was attending a practice at the school his father attended, according to a story of last year's Mets workouts with Barwis that ran in the New York Times. This time, the group met at the team's spring training headquarters in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Not only the players were on hand. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told Kernan the workouts are for players "to reach their full potentiality," which certainly makes it sound like the workouts—which must be voluntary or run afoul of the collective bargaining agreement with the major league players attending—will be used by the organization to measure player effort.

Remember that participation in last season's workout by Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores came up repeatedly during the season, with front office members citing their participation as cause for better play and more opportunities.

And Jeff Wilpon, largely out of sight this winter, was there too, telling Kernan he's "very excited for the season and this just adds to it. We have another six weeks before the team reports, and these guys are already down here working. Mike is doing this for the entire organization."

So Barwis was running these workouts, but not gratis. How grateful are the Mets players?

“We’re all paying to do this," Wright said. "To see the dedication of all the guys throughout the organization is pretty impressive."

How much are they paying? Adam Rubin said an agent told him $1000 from their minor leaguers, a number I've since confirmed is what each player is paying.

I reached out to the Mets on the subject, and a spokesperson responded to my questions by urging me to "Check out [Andy] Martino's column," referring to the ownership-friendly baseball writer for the Daily News. "It's a very accurate depiction of this."

Martino wrote in his column that the Mets told him Barwis pays the Mets to rent the space, and the $1000 apiece from each player goes to Barwis, not the Mets. (One presumes Barwis pays the rent to the Mets out of his operating income, which in this case comes from the players.)

And here's where we run into a problem of perception, and one of potential rule violations.

The P.R. bump the Mets were hoping a big "best shape of their lives" piece would provide got shoved aside quickly by media outlets covering the embarrassing idea that the Mets were charging their own players $1000 to attend pseudo-voluntary workouts at the team's own complex.

I spoke to a number of industry professionals, both on the team and agent side of things, and here's what I found out: Teams routinely split the cost of, say, housing with players who come in early for voluntary workouts. No one had heard of a team charging players for the workouts themselves. No one had heard of a team doing it on this scale in terms of number of players, with the greater number of participants increasing the pressure to attend the so-called voluntary workout.

Garrett Broshuis is a former minor leaguer and attorney currently suing major league baseball over unfair working conditions and low pay for minor leaguers. His entire case revolves around the premise that this is systemic, a problem for all 30 teams. He's been collecting minor league horror stories for this case for the past several years.

"It's not uncommon at all for teams to open up spring training early, and say you can work out here," Broshuis told me in a Thursday phone interview. "It's also not uncommon to make players pay for accommodations. I know a lot of guys who sleep on someone's couch."

But what about charging players $1000 for the privilege?

"This seems a lot more uncommon," Broshuis replied, saying he'd never heard of something like this. "'Deplorable' is the word I'd use."

The Mets, by opening this up to players throughout the organization, and having their decision-makers present, are taking the voluntary part out of an activity taking place during time the players aren't paid. Worse yet, for minor leaguers who generally make very little money at all, coming up with $1000, plus housing, during the period of the offseason they're usually earning money at various jobs just to afford playing baseball is an enormous hardship.

"Also, what if a senior sign wanted to go?" another MLB agent said, referring to the drafted college seniors who are usually given signing bonuses of around $1000 and are usually eager to prove their worth to a new organization. "He has to forfeit his signing bonus to attend?"

As for the major leaguers, paying for the right to attend the workout is less of a financial hardship than it is a possible violation of the collective bargaining agreement they have, thanks to the advantage of a working union. (The minor leaguers are unrepresented by anyone.) Multiple people in baseball I spoke to described this workout as a potential violation.

"Paying for workouts has got to be a CBA issue, right?" one agent said. "There are rules in place for 40-man [roster] guys." Issues raised ran the gamut from the length of the workouts (no more than seven days in a row permitted) to who can attend (only members of the 40-man roster) to the issue of just how voluntary they are.

I reached out to Greg Bouris, spokesperson for the Major League Baseball Players Association, who said, "We are aware of this and we're looking into it."

So in an effort to gin up excitement for the team, the Mets replaced the more traditional winter pastime of other teams, the acquisition of new players, with the more cost-effective one of showing the players already under contract working out early, possibly in violation of league rules. Which makes sense, apparently, only to the Mets.

"I know everybody wanted Sandy to do this or do that to get something," Jeff Wilpon said in Kernan's piece, "but keeping your strength is important as well."


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     Mets owner, Jeff Wilpon, said:

01. "I know everybody wanted Sandy to do this or do that to get something."
02. "But, keeping your strength is important as well."

     Mr. Wilpon knows that rest is atrophy.

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0069.  Plastic Bucket Lid

Where can I obtain a four-gallon bucket lid, so I can learn my pitching arm action mechanics?

The hyperlink that you have posted to your website is not valid.

Where else can I find the four-gallon bucket lid?


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     I'm sorry that the link for four-gallon buckets and their lids did not work.

     To find another location, I typed Lid of four-gallon buckets in the Google search box and I found that you can buy a four-gallon square lid for $1.08 plus shipping.

     I have my baseball pitchers also buy the four-gallon bucket in which to store 24 baseballs, the six pound shot put and the ten pound wrist weights.

     For $6.38 plus shipping, you can own the four-gallon bucket and the square lid.

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0070.  Dale Mahorcic

Dale Mahorcic tied your 13 consecutive game pitching, and set the record for 13 consecutive relief appearances.

See link:  Dale Mohorcic's consecutive games record

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     Thank you for the link.

     Here is the write up on Mr. Mohorcic's record.

     Dale Mohor?i? (born January 25, 1956 in Cleveland, Ohio) is a former relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played from 1986 to 1990.

     Mohorcic was a star at Cleveland State University. After playing on farm teams for the Toronto Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates, Mohorcic signed with the Texas Rangers in 1985.

     His first two years, Mohorcic pitched well, having an ERA under 3.00.

     He holds a major league baseball record of 13 consecutive team games with a relief appearance, which he set from August 6–20, 1986.

     He was traded on August 30, 1988 to the New York Yankees for Cecilio Guante.

     His last year was with the Montreal Expos in 1990.

     He shares the Major League record for most consecutive games pitched at 13 with Mike Marshall.

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0071.  The Little Leaguer's Epidemic
Visalia Times
January 16, 2015

It can happen to anyone.

The moment is commonplace and seemingly innocent. The natural reaction is not only widely accepted, but often praised." Rub some dirt on it and get back out there," you say encouragingly to your kid when he comes off the pitcher's mound complaining of a sore arm.

There is, after all, no crying in baseball.

This is the situation Dr. Bruce Le faced several years ago when his son gave that exact complaint during a summer league game. Le didn't say if the boy did indeed rub any dirt on it, but his son did follow his dad's advice and continue playing.

Not long later a noticeable dip in velocity led to X-rays revealing a fractured growth plate. The boy had suffered an injury commonly known as "Little Leaguer's shoulder."

"I was embarrassed," said Le, a surgeon for Orthopedic Associates in Visalia who specializes in shoulder surgery and sports medicine. "Even in an expert's hand these things can happen."

It can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, these days it's happening more and more. The second annual Kaweah Delta Health Care District Throwing Wise Camp will address this issue by educating student athletes and their parents on how to prevent throwing injuries.

Concerning Trends

A recent spike at the major league level in surgeries to reconstruct the elbow's ulnar collateral ligament — the groundbreaking procedure first performed on former MLB pitcher Tommy John by Dr. Frank Jobe in 1974 — drew attention to some long established underlying problems at the youth level. Quite simply, today's young pitchers are using improper mechanics to throw too hard and too often over periods of time that are too long.

These concerning trends are becoming more widespread with the increased popularity of travel club teams creating the rise of the year-round, specialized ball player. The classic three-sport athlete is now a dying breed as parents and coaches push their kids to focus on excelling at one sport.

"We all think our kids have capacity to play pro sports or at least land a D-1 scholarship," Le said. "It's not like we're trying to hurt our kids."

Hurt our kids, however, is precisely what this relentless quest for roster spots, scholarships and draft slots does. While Le said athletes under the age of 16 don't typically need to go under the knife for "Tommy John surgery," it ironically is a delayed consequence for the specialized pitcher if his baseball career is continued by attaining those very goals.

But not all the consequences are delayed.

Fractured growth plates and strained rotator cuffs are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to common throwing injuries young athletes can sustain well before their high school years.

Common Injuries

"Little Leaguer's shoulder" happens because the growth plate — a thin bar of cartilage at the top of the humerous (upper arm bone) — is softer and weaker than bone, making it vulnerable when exposed to the extreme torque generated by an overhead throwing motion followed by a rapid deceleration. As the weakest link in the kinetic chain, the growth plate fractures, causing pain, swelling and impaired mobility.

"Little Leaguer's elbow" happens when repetitive throwing creates an excessively strong pull on the tendons and ligaments of the elbow, tearing them away from the bone. As described by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, this process can also pull away tiny bone fragments like soil clinging to an uprooted plant. At its worst, the condition can disrupt normal growth and result in deformity.

Also at risk is the growth plate near the outer elbow. Dr. Ian Duncan, a surgeon for Orthopedic Associates, said that bone will usually break before ligament tears in young kids because they haven't pitched long enough to create enough wear and tear on the ligament. Symptoms include elbow pain, restricted range of motion and locking of the elbow joint.

Rest is the most common prescription, but surgery can be required depending on the severity.

Dangerous Game

Even the correct mechanics involved in throwing a baseball create excessive amounts of torque on a player's arm.

Repeatedly placing all that torque and stress on an arm still growing and developing creates a recipe for disaster when it happens year-round without a proper rest period.

"There are multiple stages of throwing," Duncan said. "Each stage has potential downfall."

The late cocking and follow-through phases generate the greatest amount of force on the shoulder. As described by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, bringing your arm and hand up behind your body during the late cocking phase creates extreme external rotation. This forces the head of the humerus forward and places significant stress on the ligaments in the front of the shoulder.

The follow-through phase begins after the arm accelerates, rapidly rotates internally and releases the ball. The ligaments and rotator cuff tendons at the back of the shoulder must handle significant stress to decelerate the arm and control the head of the humerus.

Over time the ligaments loosen and other structures take on extra stress to compensate, leading to a wide range of injuries. The rotator cuff and labrum are most vulnerable.

Pinpointing Pitfalls

Repeatedly throwing a baseball becomes even more hazardous when done incorrectly because poor throwing mechanics only increase the torque and stress placed on an arm. Le, Duncan and Visalia Cal Ripken coach Frank Durazo all identified the same mistake when asked about the subject: dropping elbows.

"The worst thing players can do is dropping their arm," Le said. "When your hand is too low it puts a lot of stress on the UCL. That's when we see excessive force on the shoulder growth plate."

The doctors and coaches also collectively harped on curveballs.

Correctly throwing a curveball or slider at a young age does not create any additional risk for the player's arm, but these advanced pitches tend to be where mechanics most often break down.

"Throwing a special ball can lead to further injury because the techniques involved put a lot of torque on the shoulder, elbow and wrist," Le said. "Youth coaches are volunteering their time. They're not educated and attuned to proper mechanics. They try to teach kids best as they can, but it's not the same experience as trainers."

Velocity can also be an issue at advanced levels. Dr. James Andrews, an orthopedic surgeon renowned for his work on professional athletes, said that throwing more than 85 mph puts additional stress on elbow joints that are still developing.

"I think they should outlaw the radar gun," Andrews told ESPN.com. "Young pitchers, coaches, scouts and parents put so much emphasis now on throwing hard that these kids are hurting their elbows and their shoulders."

Duncan noted that young athletes could probably get away with bad throwing mechanics if they weren't pitching so much because mechanics and frequency compound each other to cause injuries. The problem is that kids these days are throwing more than ever before.

Specialized Athletes

Durazo remembers starting Visalia's first travel baseball team with former pro Jim Wohlford roughly 25 years ago for their 9-year-old sons.

Now he says there are at least three travel teams in town for every age group starting as early as age 7.

"I'm not really in agreement with kids playing as much as they do. You can tell parents that but they have it in their head that the more you play the better you will be. With some parents they just want to make sure that their child is one of the top players," Durazo said. "I don't see where it will lessen. It seems to just be increasing."

Those top players assume the greatest risk. Youth baseball starts up in January and can extend into July for players on an All-Star team advancing deep into the postseason. Then travel teams begin their schedules in October.

That doesn't leave much time for much needed rest.

Duncan and Dr. Kevin Bartel, a physical therapy supervisor for Kaweah Delta, both recommend pitchers rest their arms for 2-4 months at a time every year. For the year-round ball player that means spending a season off the pitcher's mound. Ideally, however, it means playing a completely different sport.

"There is value in cross-training and doing different activities," Bartel said. "Being more well-rounded makes a better athlete. A lot of times parents and players don't want to hear that."

Durazo, who has taken six Cal Ripken All-Star teams to a World Series before making his first trip to the Xtreme Baseball World Series last summer, finds himself in the difficult crosshairs of trying to field the most competitive team possible while also fostering the health of his players.

"It's really tough right now," Durazo said. "I encourage kids to play basketball. Even if we have offseason workouts, if you're playing basketball I tell them that's your first priority."

But properly protecting young athletes requires much more than simply taking breaks or playing multiple sports.

Prevention

Little League shoulder and elbow certainly aren't epidemics in the traditional sense of the word. These are not contagious bugs that can be caught like swine flu or the measles.

While no vaccine will ever help this outbreak of injuries, however, there are other preventative measures to be taken.

All three doctors emphasized the importance of improving core strength, posture and shoulder stabilizers to help prevent shoulder injuries.

"In the clinic I see kids who don't adequately strengthen their scapular stabilizers and rotator cuff," Bartel said. "Knowing proper moving mechanics is important too. Kids from a young age just start throwing the ball."

Bartel likened the shoulder, arm and hand to the end of a whip with the kinetic chain of a throwing motion beginning at the legs and moving up through the trunk before snapping off a pitch. Even when dealing with specific and isolated arm injuries, athletes need strength throughout their entire body to function safely.

"If you don't have a strong core, your body will try to compensate," Duncan said. "The majority of force generated in any sport comes from the legs and core. If that foundation isn't set right, you're going to have to make up for that with your arm. This predisposes you to injury."

Don't know how to strengthen all these different body parts? Don't know whether or not your kid is pitching properly? Don't worry, the doctors are here to help.

Throwing Wise

Kaweah Health Care District will host its second annual "Throwing Wise Camp" from 1-3 p.m. on Feb. 7 at Recreation Park to educate local parents and players on precisely this subject.

Young athletes ages 10-15 proceed through four stations. Former pro Ron Robinson and coaches from Chamberlain Baseball Academy will teach proper throwing mechanics. Therapy specialist professionals will instruct separate stations teaching strength exercises for upper and lower extremities. A fourth station administers a functional movement screen.

While the kids are busy with all of that, Le, Duncan and Bartel will give a series of short lectures to the parents lasting 30-45 minutes. Duncan will discuss the mechanics of a throwing motion and how that leads to injury. Le will discuss the specific types of shoulder injuries that arise when those mechanics are poor. Bartel will discuss ways to prevent and rehabilitate those throwing injuries.

"We want to educate the parents as well as players on the effects throwing has on the shoulder, especially at a young age," Bartel said.

"The whole family is involved in trying to prevent injuries," Le added. "Our ultimate goal is to protect kids from injuring arms and needing surgeries."

That means learning how to throw wisely.


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     Dr. Bruce Le, a parent and orthopedic surgeon for Orthopedic Associates, destroyed his son's pitching shoulder.

     Dr. Ian Duncan, another surgeon for Orthopedic Associates, joined with Dr. Le to teach parents how to prevent injuries in their youth baseball pitchers.

     Dr. Kevin Bartel, a physical therapy supervisor joined with Dr. Le and Dr. Duncan to a series of short lectures to the parents lasting 30-45 minutes.

     Dr. Duncan will discuss the mechanics of a throwing motion and how that leads to injury.

     Dr. Le will discuss the specific types of shoulder injuries that arise when those mechanics are poor. Dr. Le said: "The whole family is involved in trying to prevent injuries. Our ultimate goal is to protect kids from injuring arms and needing surgeries."

     Dr. Bartel will discuss ways to prevent and rehabilitate those throwing injuries. Dr. Bartel said: "We want to educate the parents as well as players on the effects throwing has on the shoulder, especially at a young age." That means learning how to throw wisely.

     These guys have no idea what they are doing.

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0072.  Massive contract for starting pitchers almost never work out
USA Today
January 16, 2015

Pitchers and catchers will report to spring training in a month, but two of this offseason’s most coveted free-agent pitchers still don’t know where they’ll go.

Two-time All-Star Max Scherzer lingers on the market, and very few substantive rumors have emerged linking him to pursuing teams. Scherzer reportedly turned down a six-year, $144 million extension from the Tigers last year and is presumably seeking a deal at least as large as the six-year, $155 million haul that Jon Lester got  the Cubs earlier this offseason.

James Shields, a consistently good pitcher and one of the game’s most durable arms, is expected to sign a nine-figure deal somewhere. But it’s not at all clear which team will be signing those paychecks.

So what gives?

There’s no doubt that top-flight starting pitching remains valuable in baseball even as run scoring decreases around the league. But massive contracts for starting pitchers have so rarely worked out well for the acquiring teams that general managers are likely — and understandably — gun-shy about allocating such a huge portion of their payroll to a pitcher in his 30s.

Per Baseball Prospectus there have been 16 contracts for starting pitchers worth $100 million or more. Half of them are less than three seasons old and difficult to judge. Of the others, only one has paid somewhat consistent dividends to the team over its length.

Here’s a look at the history of nine-figure contracts for starting pitchers, broken down into four categories:

1. Too Soon to Tell

Homer Bailey, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Jon Lester,Masahiro Tanaka and Justin Verlander have all signed deals worth more than $100 million in the last couple of years. Some look better than others, but all seem too new to assess in any reasonable way.

All of them correspond with boon times for the baseball economy, as payrolls and contracts skyrocket thanks to massive influxes of TV money in markets large and small. So it’s important to note — obviously — that a $105-million deal for Homer Bailey in 2014 is a heck of a lot different than the $105-million deal Kevin Brown signed with the Dodgers before the 1999 season. Guys just get paid more now, so Bailey’s salary represents a smaller portion of his team’s payroll and less risk than it would have a decade ago.

But it’s hardly nothing, of course. Every GM in baseball would prefer to have $15 million or so in free payroll than an ineffective or injured pitcher in the back-end years of a massive contract.

The deals for Bailey and Verlander are off to shaky starts. The deals for Hernandez and Kershaw — needless to say — look significantly better right now, and those guys are good enough in the early part of their contracts that they might provide enough surplus value to make up for later years when they will certainly be less effective.

That seems like the wisest approach to all free-agent deals, really: Pay a guy for what he’ll provide you in the immediate future and hold out hope that he proves something less than a full-blown disaster in the late years of his contract. Retooling teams with an eye on 2017 contention should want no part of pitchers like Scherzer and Shields.

The Good One

Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies: Lee left bigger offers on the table to sign a five-year, $120 million pact with the Phillies before the 2011 season. Lee suffered an elbow injury that limited him to 13 starts in 2014, but he was so good from 2011-2013 that his contract will look pretty good (by the standards of pitcher contracts) even if he doesn’t throw a pitch in Philadelphia in the final year of the deal this season.

Since inking with the Phillies, Lee has thrown 747 2/3 innings, yielded a 2.89 ERA and amassed 21.2 Wins Above Replacement (WAR). Though the Phillies have reached the postseason only once in Lee’s second go-round with the club, no big pitcher contract anywhere close to completion matches Lee’s in terms of its average annual return.

Lee does have a $27.5 million option for 2016 that will vest if he throws more than 200 innings this season. But he’s been so consistently good that if he’s on track to throw more than 200 innings this season, he’ll likely prove a valuable trade chip for the rebuilding Phillies even with the pending option year attached.

The OK

Kevin Brown, Los Angeles Dodgers: The then-record seven-year, $105 million contract Brown signed before the 1999 season is often cited as one of the worst in baseball history, but that might have more to do with the pitcher’s general surliness and unpopularity than his actual performance in its duration. It was hardly a good deal, especially considering its size relative to the rest of the league at the time. But Brown made two All-Star teams during the contract, amassed 22.9 WAR, and brought the Dodgers back the useful but unspectacular Jeff Weaver when he was dealt to the Yankees in late 2003.

Which is to say that the widely reviled Kevin Brown contract actually holds up pretty well compared to some of the other nine-figure deals signed by starting pitchers.

Johan Santana, New York Mets: When the Mets traded a group of young players to the Twins for Santana in early 2008, they earned an exclusive negotiating window to sign the lefty ace to a contract extension. They settled on a six-year, $137.5-million deal, and Santana got his Mets career off to an excellent start with a Cy Young-caliber year in 2008 and a couple of good — albeit somewhat short — ones in 2009 and 2010.

Then Santana endured major shoulder surgery and made only 21 starts in the remaining three years of the contract. One of them happened to be the Mets’ first and only no-hitter in franchise history. But despite that highlight, Santana’s huge contract became something of an albatross when the Mets started slashing payroll in the wake of ownership’s losses in the Bernard Madoff scandal.

CC Sabathia, New York Yankees, pt. 1: The large left-hander actually signed two of the 16 total nine-figure deals here, but cut the first of them short with an opt-out clause he invoked three seasons into the seven-year, $161 million contract he signed following the 2008 season.

This was a tricky one to categorize, and probably should not qualify as a $100-plus million contract since it only paid him about $65 million. He was real good for all three years of the deal and spectacular in the postseason during the Yankees’ 2009 championship run, but the opt-out ultimately forced the Yankees to tack on at least another year and $30 million to the one that was in place. And it now looks like they should have just walked away.

Not Looking Great

Matt Cain, San Francisco Giants: This one’s sort of a tweener, and it feels unfair to call Cain’s six-year, $127.5 million deal a bad one for a club that has won two World Series since signing it. Plus, Cain’s a popular, homegrown star and still young enough at 30 that he could very well make the contract look better by the end of next year.

But since signing the extension, the righty has had one good year, one lousy one, and one cut short by an ankle injury. He has provided the Giants 4.5 WAR, or an average of 1.5 a year. The trend isn’t great, but an ankle injury isn’t damning for the long haul like shoulder surgery would be. And Cain made at least 30 starts in every full season of his career before 2014.

CC Sabathia, New York Yankees, pt. 2: If we’re counting Sabathia’s current deal as separate from the one he signed before the 2009 season — and we are, here — then it’s a five-year, $122 million pact with a vesting option for a sixth season. Since the extension, Sabathia has had one good year, one bad one, and one ruined by a knee injury that required season-ending surgery. He has been worth an average of 1.1 WAR per year to the Yanks since 2011.

Now Sabathia is 34, has endured a drastic decline in his fastball velocity, and is under contract for at least the next two seasons plus a 2017 option that will vest as long as he doesn't injure his left shoulder in 2016. There’s still time for him to turn it around, but it’s hard to figure how he’ll be good enough moving forward to make the contract seem like a shrewd one on the Yankees’ side.

Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants: Zito hit free agency at age 28 and coming off an All-Star season in Oakland. The Giants rewarded him with an astonishing seven-year, $126 million contract that he could never live up to. He mustered an even 3.0 WAR in his tenure in San Francisco, or just above 0.4 a season.

Only a few things keep Zito’s deal out of the next category: For one, he mostly stayed healthy — for better or worse — and made 197 starts over his seven years with the club. For another, he pitched pretty well in the postseason in 2012 en route to the Giants’ World Series win, and flags fly forever.

And I included an asterisk because Zito and his wife, Amber, became the subjects of one of the coolest sports photos of all time as the Giants celebrated their 2012 NLCS win in the rain. Maybe that picture alone isn’t worth $126 million, but it seems shockingly close. EASTER EGG: Young Madison Bumgarner in the background.

The Truly Abysmal

Mike Hampton, Colorado Rockies: After helping the Mets to a World Series berth in 2000, Mike Hampton signed a then-record eight-year, $121 million free-agent contract with the Rockies. Hampton cited area schools among the reasons he took the massive paycheck to pitch at altitude, but rumors swirled that he wanted to hit home runs and apparently didn’t consider why going to a place where he would be able to do that might be a bad idea for a starting pitcher.

Hampton made 62 starts for the Rockies in 2001 and 2002 and yielded a 5.75 ERA. The Rockies pawned him off on the Braves (via the Florida Marlins) and his fortunes improved, but not nearly enough to justify his paycheck. And injuries cost him the entire 2006 and 2007 seasons. Hampton amassed 2.9 WAR over the eight years of the contract, or an average of just under 0.4 WAR a season. You can find a 0.4 WAR pitcher for the league minimum, almost always.


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     When baseball pitchers use the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, they will eventually destroy their pitching arms and more.

     The only way to not eventually destroy their pitching arms and more is to use my baseball pitching motion.

     Unfortunately, to keep their jobs, 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches refuse to allow baseball pitchers to use my baseball pitching motion.

     To get along, those that want to use my baseball pitching motion try to make my baseball pitching motion to look like the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     The compromises that my baseball pitchers make diminishes the quality of my baseball pitching motion and eventually causes body injuries.

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0073.  Harvey needs to downshift
Bergen Record
January 16, 2015

The image of Matt Harvey standing on the mound on opening day is nothing short of an intoxicant to Mets fans, the ones starving for a savior. Harvey’s comeback from Tommy John surgery is nothing short of a rescue mission. Let’s put it this way: The right-hander isn’t just taking the ball in 2015, he’s being asked to take the Mets out of a decade-long stone age.

There’s been a torrent of good news out of Port St. Lucie, Fla., where Harvey is putting the finishing touches on a 16-month rehab. His interview with SNY, which aired Thursday night, was sprinkled with language that should’ve raised the metabolic rate of the entire Mets family.

“I’m good to go,” Harvey said, adding that as far as mechanics, follow-through and control within the strike zone, “[things are] right where they were before surgery.”

No wonder the Mets are talking seriously about October, although it’s worth noting Harvey has yet to air out his fastball, nor has he unleashed that monster slider, either. Those are the weapons that made him the National League’s most devastating pitcher two years ago – the four-seamer that averaged better than 95 mph, coupled with the slider’s 88-mph downward break that overwhelmed hitters. Incredibly, Harvey induced a swing and miss on one out of every three sliders.

There’s no reason to think Harvey won’t be just as good in 2015, especially because his elbow ligament is stronger than ever. Medically, his surgery was a success. Physically, Harvey should be capable of a million whiffs again, almost as if he’d never been injured.

But there’s a potential downside to returning to the maxed-out warrior ethos that made Harvey so lethal – the risk of re-injury. No one knows this better than John Smoltz, who, like Harvey, blew out his elbow in 2000 at the height of his career with the same fastball-slider combination at exactly the same velocity readings.

Smoltz was surgically reassembled, just like Harvey, and went on to a historic career. He became the first pitcher to notch 200 wins and 150 saves and the first Tommy John patient to make it to Cooperstown. But Smoltz admits he was never quite the same after surgery, even if his numbers don’t reveal it.

The right-hander learned how to preserve his arm, how to avoid the stresses that tore his ligament in the first place. Smoltz learned what “cruising speed” meant in the aftermath of his operation, and how it saved him from a second blowout.

And therein lies the message to Harvey, as well as the Marlins’ Jose Fernandez and the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg: Breathe deep, exhale slowly and just chill.

“Harvey has a chance to become a better pitcher because he’ll understand he doesn’t have to throw 98 [mph],” Smoltz, now an MLB Network analyst, said by telephone Thursday. “He’ll understand that his stuff is good enough and that the freedom of being healthy again will allow him to become a more complete pitcher.”

Smoltz concedes this is no easy lesson for a 20-something like Harvey. It requires patience and restraint. It means weaning oneself off the high of destroying the middle of the opposing team’s lineup with pure heat, the very calling card of Harvey’s arsenal.

Smoltz had trouble embracing the new philosophy, even though he was 33 at the time of his surgery. But he quickly realized his famed slider “wasn’t the same” upon his return in 2001.

“I had to learn a different slider because I couldn’t get back to the pitch that had been so easy for me [before surgery],” he said. “I learned a different grip, an easier release.”

Again, Smoltz isn’t saying Harvey has to give up his signature slider or even tweak it. But it would be wise for him to think about his future and how to preserve that brilliant arm into his 30s.

That’s easier said than done, of course, especially with so much of the Mets’ credibility riding on their performance in 2015. Harvey is at the epicenter of that rebirth.

He’s the equalizer who can soften the public’s rage at the Mets’ absurd $96 million payroll. The Wilpons obviously are too broke to find and pay a real shortstop, too cash-poor to have built on the signing of Michael Cuddyer. The fact that the Mets are relying on the essence of their 2014 roster — at a time when the Braves are in full retreat — is maddening.

But a healthy Harvey is capable of changing the equation, and not just once every five days.

He emboldens the fans and supercharges the rotation the way Doc Gooden did in 1985 and 1986. Harvey makes it possible for loyalists to love the Mets and forget who owns the team – a miracle in its own right.

That’s not just magic, it’s practically impossible. You don’t have to ask if Harvey minds the responsibility, though: It’s his oxygen. No one in New York loves attention more than Harvey, and that’s not a bad trait. If anyone can single-handedly deliver the Mets to the postseason, it’s Harvey.

But that weight comes with a surcharge. Actually, it’s a warning. The incredible arm speed likely is what got Harvey in trouble in the first place. The slider’s trajectory, unhittable as it was, likely created too much stress on his arm. Tommy John surgery can rebuild an elbow, but no medical procedure can force a pitcher to become wiser. Hopefully Harvey has learned he can pitch at 80 to 90 percent and still qualify as a beast, just like Smoltz.

“The one thing about Tommy John,” Smoltz said, “is that you don’t ever want it to happen again.”


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

     The articles said:

01. "There’s a potential downside to returning to the maxed-out warrior ethos that made Harvey so lethal – the risk of re-injury."
02. "No one knows this better than John Smoltz, who, like Harvey, blew out his elbow in 2000 at the height of his career with the same fastball-slider combination at exactly the same velocity readings."
03. "But that weight comes with a surcharge."
04. "Actually, it’s a warning."
05. "The incredible arm speed likely is what got Harvey in trouble in the first place."
06. "The slider’s trajectory, unhittable as it was, likely created too much stress on his arm."
07. "Tommy John surgery can rebuild an elbow, but no medical procedure can force a pitcher to become wiser."
08. "Hopefully, Harvey has learned he can pitch at 80 to 90 percent and still qualify as a beast, just like Smoltz."

     Mr. Smoltz and Mr. Harvey release their slider over the top on their Index finger.

     The stress that these men experience is from trying to prevent the bones in the back of their pitching elbow from banging together.

     Without the Pronator Teres muscle contracting, the other muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle cannot withstand the stress. As a result, that stress tears the connective tissue fibers that make up the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Unless Mr. Harvey learns how to pronate the release of his slider, Mr. Harvey, like Mr. Smoltz, injure his replacement Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

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0074.  Wainwright, Wacha emphasize progress after injuries
MLB.com
January 18, 2015

ST. LOUIS, MO: Should the Cardinals refrain from adding to their rotation before the start of the season, it would serve as affirmation of their confidence in healthy seasons ahead for Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha. On Sunday, both pitchers were bullish about the forecast of staying on the field.

Describing his elbow as "fixed now," Wainwright was able to recover from late October surgery quickly enough to begin an offseason throwing program on the same date he did a year ago. He took the mound last week for the first time, and he expects to have no restrictions when Spring Training starts.

The same will be the case for Wacha, who described himself as "extremely healthy" and "feeling good and strong." He underwent an MRI Sunday morning, and it showed full healing in his right shoulder, which was compromised by a stress reaction last summer.

"[I'm] getting some good results in those scans and everything, and my arm feels great," Wacha said. "Hopefully I'll just keep building up the muscles around my shoulder, and hopefully I can stay healthy."

Wacha does not expect to keep scheduling follow-up exams as long as his shoulder continues to feel uncompromised.

"I feel like I'll probably start glowing now if I don't stop getting those X-rays," Wacha joked.

Hindered by the shoulder injury, Wacha was limited to 107 innings over 19 starts in 2014. His season then ended with Travis Ishikawa tagging him for a game-winning homer following the right-hander's 20-day layoff.

Wacha insists that he was feeling strong physically when he came out of the bullpen at AT&T Park that night, but he nevertheless acknowledged that "it took a little while" for the sting to fade.

Hesitant, for competitive reasons, to disclose the degree of discomfort with which he was pitching last season, Wainwright revealed on Sunday how inhibiting various injuries were throughout his 20-win season. He illustrated that point with an anecdote:

"The story [my wife] tells is I was holding a Sprite can on the plane and I went to open it and I had to kind of grab it sideways because I couldn't support the weight of a Sprite can," Wainwright said. "Jars were not happening either because anything that required my arm twisting wouldn't work. I had to hand it to my wife."

Wainwright's injury travails began with a hyperextended right knee in April, forearm soreness shortly after that and elbow discomfort that then lingered. By the end of the year, Wainwright had particular trouble getting full extension with his arm, which explains the heavy reliance on cutters and curveballs. His plunking of Yasiel Puig in Game 1 of the National League Division Series was illustrative of how the elbow problems affected command.

"I knew it was the right pitch," Wainwright said. "I couldn't execute it. To Adrian Gonzalez's point, I normally don't hit people like that. But I'm normally not hurt either."

While Wainwright does not intend to request a reduced workload this year, the Cardinals have already internally discussed ways of being more vigilant about Wainwright's innings given that he has thrown a Major League-most 520 since the start of 2013.


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

     The article said:

01. "Adam Wainwright's injury travails began with a hyperextended right knee in April, forearm soreness shortly after that and elbow discomfort that then lingered."
02. "By the end of the year, Wainwright had particular trouble getting full extension with his arm."
03. "Mr. Wainwaright relied on cutters and curveballs.

     Mr. Wainwright's trouble getting full extension of his pitching elbow resulted from supinating the releases of his breaking pitches.

     Until Mr. Wainwright learns how to pronate the release of his breaking pitches, Mr. Wainwright's problem of getting full extension will get worse.

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0075.  Dodgers sign Bedard to Minor League Contract
MLB.com
January 18, 2015

LOS ANGELES, CA: The Dodgers have signed veteran left-hander Erik Bedard to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Bedard, 36, went 4-6 with a 4.76 ERA in 15 starts during the 2014 season for Tampa Bay, which was run by new Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.

Bedard was designated for assignment by the Rays in late July.

Bedard's best season was 2007, when he went 13-5 for Baltimore and finished fifth in the American League Cy Young Award voting. But since 2009, Bedard has been plagued by shoulder problems and he missed the entire 2010 season.


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

     I guess that earning $30 million will not keep Mr. Bedard from wanting to continue pitching.

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0076.  No limitations for Wood heading into spring
MLB.com
January 20, 2015

ATLANTA, GA: As Alex Wood has spent the past few months going through his normal offseason preparations, he has not been given any reason to be concerned about the left forearm soreness that led the Braves to scratch him from starting their regular-season finale in September.

"I think once you have played baseball long enough, you kind of know if something is serious or not," Wood said. "I took two or three weeks off before I started lifting [weights] and all of that stuff. Once I got back into it, I waited another two weeks before I did a ton of upper body [workouts]. After about three weeks or a month, I was feeling normal."

While history has provided skeptics reason to view forearm soreness as a precursor to Tommy John surgery, Wood has already undergone the procedure -- before his freshman season at the University of Georgia -- and he does not equate what he felt in September to what he was feeling before going under the knife a little more than five years ago.

Wood continues to maintain he was simply scratched as a precautionary measure at a time when the Braves had already been eliminated from the postseason picture.

"It's never easy to tell me that I'm not going to pitch," Wood said. "But I think I've done enough stupid things in my life, especially when I was in high school and even in college. Now there's a bigger picture. At that point, making my last start just to make my last start wouldn't have made sense."

Wood has played catch in pain-free fashion since he began his throwing exercises approximately a month ago. The 24-year-old hurler gained even more encouragement on Monday, when he threw off the mound for the first time this year.

"I feel good, and I'm excited to get to Spring Training," Wood said while participating in the Braves Country Caravan on Tuesday morning.

This year's Spring Training will be a little different than the previous two that Wood has experienced. For the first time, he will be coming to camp knowing that he is all but assured to begin the season in Atlanta's rotation. He was battling for the fifth spot last year before multiple injuries decimated the rotation and assured him a place on the Opening Day roster.

"You're never really safe or secure," Wood said. "You still have to perform, but it's nice going in that you pretty much have a job and all you have to do is what you're capable of and the rest will take care of itself. From that standpoint, it eases your mind a little bit. After you've been in the league for a little time, you realize you just have to keep getting better."

Wood has certainly impressed en route to a 2.84 ERA through the first 35 starts of his career. After spending some time in the bullpen during his rookie season in 2013, he would have likely remained in Atlanta's rotation throughout this past season if a team-imposed innings limit hadn't led to him serving as a reliever throughout most of May and June.

"You've got to look back on each year and see where you've grown," Wood said. "I think the biggest thing for me, from a starter's standpoint, was seeing swings and figuring out what [opposing batters] were trying to do against me. Everybody has got good stuff. The biggest thing -- especially as a starter -- is the mental part. It's kind of like you're playing a chess match against every guy that gets in the box. I think from that standpoint, I really started to grow last year."


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

     The article said:

01. "Alex Wood has spent the past few months going through his normal offseason preparations."
02. "The Braves did not give Mr. Wood any reason for scratching him from starting their regular-season finale."
03. "Soreness in Mr. Wood's pitching forearm led the Braves to keep Mr. Wood off the mound.
04. "Before Mr. Wood's freshman season at the University of Georgia, Mr. Wood had Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery."
05. "Mr. Wood does not equate what he felt in September to what he felt before going under the knife a little more than five years ago."

     Pitching forearm soreness most likely results from supinating the releases of breaking pitches.

     We will have to wait and see.

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0077.  Dylan Bundy, coming off Tommy John surgery, has chance to start season im majors
Tulsa World
January 20, 2015

CLAREMORE, OK: Baltimore pitching prospects Dylan and Bobby Bundy were together at the 10th annual Claremore Field of Dreams Baseball Banquet at Rogers State’s Centennial Center Monday.

However, since leading Sperry to a 2008 state title, they haven’t been teammates during the baseball season.

“I can’t wait for the box score to say Bundy, Bundy even if it’s in Double-A the first time,” said Dylan Bundy, a 2011 first-round draft choice from Owasso who is one of the top prospects in the minors. “If it’s in the big leagues that would be even better.”

The Bundy brothers have pitched for a few of the same teams in the Orioles’ farm system, including Aberdeen in the New York-Penn League last year, but not at the same time. However, that could change in April — they each could wind up in Double-A Bowie.

But older brother Bobby is expecting for Dylan to start 2015 at a higher level.

“He is looking good, at this point I’m not going to wish him being at Bowie,” Bobby said.

Both are excited about the upcoming season after rehabbing from Tommy John-elbow surgeries. For Dylan Bundy, he will report to spring training on Feb. 15 with a chance to open the season in the majors. He pitched in his first two major league games at the end of the 2012 season and had a chance to open ’13 in the major league starting rotation before being sidelined.

“My arm feels great,” Dylan said. “I’ve had a full offseason, I’ve never had this much time off before. I’m ready to throw bullpens next week and get after it, and then ready to kick it into gear in spring training.”

Dylan Bundy, 22, didn’t pitch in an official game in 2013 and the first two months of last year. He was 1-3 with a 4.78 ERA in six starts at Single-A Frederick after making three starts at Aberdeen. His stats, however, were a misleading indicator of how his comeback was progressing.

“I’m happy I got to throw last year and I was happy with the way I felt,” he said. “My arm came back after every start. I’m really pleased with the way last year went. I can’t wait to see what happens this year.

“I’m going to go to camp to break camp with the team.”

Bobby Bundy, 25, was at Bowie in 2012 before missing almost two full seasons with injuries. He returned last August and made six appearances for short-season teams. Bundy said the Orioles have indicated he may open the season as a reliever, but could eventually move back as a starter.

At the banquet, the Bundy brothers compared their rehabs with another local pitcher who underwent Tommy John surgery — Perkins-Tryon graduate and former Oral Roberts pitcher Jeremy Hefner. After pitching for the New York Mets in 2012-13, he underwent the surgery, but then had to undergo that same procedure again last October after he felt pain during a rehab start last summer in the Single-A Florida State League.

“I felt something wasn’t right so I pulled myself out of the game,” Hefner said.

“Everyone I had talked to who had Tommy John said you would get to the point and it’s just scar tissue, you’ll take two weeks off and you’ll be fine.

And so that’s what I thought it was. I thought I would go to New York, take a couple of weeks off and go back to Florida. “The ligament was fine, but I fractured the bone where they put the graft in the first surgery. And the only way to fix that was to have Tommy John surgery again for a second time in 12 months. It was frustrating because I thought that was the end of my career.”

But after talking it over with his wife, he decided to undergo the second surgery and continue his career. So this year will be a new experience for Hefner, 28, who is a free agent after not being re-signed by the Mets.

“I am going to do all my rehab (at EOOC), stay home here this summer, go back to ORU finish and my degree, and continue to get healthy in hopes of getting healthy for spring training 2016. My rehab is going better after three months than after the first surgery.

“It will definitely be a different year for us, but hopefully it will be fun and I’ll get to take my son, Jace, to Drillers games, and do all those things I normally don’t get to do.”


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

     The article said:

01. "The Bundy brothers compared their rehabs with Mets baseball pitcher Jeremy Hefner."
02. "In 2013, Mr. Hefner underwent Ulnar Colleral Ligament replacement surgery."
03. "Then, Mr. Hefner felt pain during a rehab start last summer."
04. "Mr. Hefner fractured the bone where they put the graft in the first surgery."
05. "The only way to fix that was to have Tommy John surgery again.”

     When the orthopedic surgeons drill two holes in the Humerus and Ulna bones, they weaken the bones.

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0078.  Dodgers lefthander Anderson on track for Spring Training
MLB.com
January 21, 2014

LOS ANGELES, CA: For all the advanced analytics known to the baseball world, pitcher Brett Anderson's projections can pretty well be summed up in two words:

If healthy.

So Dodgers fans will be relieved to hear that Anderson, the club's projected fifth starter, said on Wednesday that he's healing nicely from back surgery and expects to be healthy when Spring Training opens in a month.

Anderson, who signed a one-year contract for $10 million plus $4 million in incentives, has been working his way back from a herniated disk with noted Scottsdale, Ariz., rehab therapist Brett Fisher, who also has Anderson gaining flexibility in his hips.

"He rehabbed Randy Johnson from the same surgery, and Johnson won a couple [National League Cy Young Awards], so I just told him to give me the same rehab program," said Anderson, who had the surgery in August.

Anderson said he has been playing catch (with new National Max Scherzer) at up to 150 feet, has begun spinning breaking balls from flat ground and will graduate to a mound next week.

"I feel good and hope, with no setback, I should be good to go for Spring Training," he said.

Anderson said he blew out his back on one pitch, in keeping with a career that has seen the talented left-hander sidetracked repeatedly by what he calls "fluky," "sporadic" and "random" injuries he believes he's now past.

Anderson became a free agent when the Rockies, concerned about his health, bought him out of a $12 million contract for 2015 with a $1.5 million payment.

Anderson missed three months in 2014 after fracturing his left index finger while batting, requiring the insertion of four pins. Then he missed the final six weeks of the season with surgery for a herniated disk in his back. He went 1-3 with a 2.91 ERA in only eight starts.

Since winning 11 games in his rookie season of 2009, Anderson has never won more than seven games or pitched more than 112 1/3 innings. He had a fractured foot in 2013 (when he was Oakland's Opening Day starter) and underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in 2011.

A former second-round Draft pick of the D-backs in 2006, Anderson was sent to Oakland in the 2007 trade that included Carlos Gonzalez, and was moved to the Rockies after the 2013 season in the Drew Pomeranz trade. His career record is 27-32 with a 3.73 ERA.

Anderson joins Brandon McCarthy in the back end of the Dodgers' starting rotation headed by Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. McCarthy signed a four-year, $48 million contract earlier this month. Anderson and McCarthy played in Oakland when Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi was in the A's front office.

Anderson said his familiarity with McCarthy and Zaidi were factors in his decision to sign with the Dodgers, but not more important than the chance to win and join a loaded rotation that will allow him to "show what I'm capable of doing."

"It'll be awesome," Anderson said. "In Oakland, I was an Opening Day starter and was a front-line starter traded to Denver, but this one, it's not often they pay $10 million for a fourth or fifth starter in the rotation. And the track record at the top, you can't ask for a whole lot better than those two guys every day. Top to bottom, a tremendous rotation."

Anderson said he met Greinke once, a chance meeting at an Arizona State game. But he and Kershaw were teammates on Team USA's 18-and-under squad in 2005, "right before he became Clayton Kershaw."

"It was the summer between his junior and senior year," Anderson said. "He was like our third or fourth starter on the team, and the next thing you know, he's the Clayton Kershaw we know, arguably the best in the last decade or so. It was kind of cool to watch. And I remember him and Shawn Tolleson being just as nice as they could be. I couldn't imagine being as nice. That was my takeaway from that."

Anderson said he's also looking forward to reconnecting with McCarthy, as they share a "social media springarcasm" that can be found almost daily on Twitter.


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

     The article said:

01. "In 2011, Mr. Anderson underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.

02. "In 2013, Mr. Anderson fractured a foot." 03. "In 2014, Mr. Anderson fractured his left index finger while batting." 04. "Brett Anderson has been working his way back from surgery on a herniated disk."
     No wonder that Mr. Anderson qualified his expectations with 'If healthy.'

     To overcome his lower back problems, Mr. Anderson will have to stand tall and rotate his hips and shoulder forward over his glove foot.

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0079.  Rehabbing is the new normal for Anderson
Los Angeles Daily News
January 21, 2015

For Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson, this is a normal offseason. He hasn’t begun throwing off a mound yet, but that’s merely part of the drill.

Three winters ago, he was recovering from Tommy John surgery. Two winters ago, it was a right abdominal strain. This time last year, he needed to build up arm strength after finishing the 2013 season as a reliever ? the Oakland A’s moved Anderson to the bullpen after he missed four months with a fractured bone in his foot.

“I don’t really know what a normal offseason is,” Anderson said. “I started a couple weeks early to test out the back. I’m either right on par with what I normally would be or even a couple weeks ahead.”

Only 26 years old, Anderson already has a long injury history to overcome. He signed a one-year, $10 million contract with the Dodgers in December. An additional $4 million worth of incentives await if Anderson pitches 200 innings.

Since Anderson has never pitched more than 176 innings in a season, and never more than 113 since his rookie season of 2009, the Dodgers were willing to gamble the extra $4 million on his health.

Here’s why Anderson is optimistic: surgery last August on the herniated disk between his L4 and L5 vertebrae seems to have worked. He’s throwing up to 160 feet on flat ground without pain and expects to begin throwing off a mound next week. By spring training, Anderson believes he’ll be on a normal routine ? normal for healthy pitchers, that is.

Like most of his injuries, Anderson was told his back shouldn’t be a recurring problem.

“If it’s recurring (injuries) with my arm I might be more concerned,” he said. “But the fact that it’s random, sporadic injuries, I feel good.”

Anderson is slotted to be the Dodgers’ fifth starter. If injury strikes ? his next trip to the disabled list will be his seventh in five years ? Joe Wieland, Mike Bolsinger, Zach Lee, Juan Nicasio, Carlos Frias and non-roster invitee Erik Bedard are lining up to be his replacement.

In 43 1/3 innings last season for the Colorado Rockies, Anderson went 1-3 with a 2.91 ERA. He had an $8 million club option for 2015 and wasn’t sure if the Rockies would pick it up. When they didn’t, Anderson said he had five or six “legitimate” free agent offers waiting for him ? a strong testament to his perceived potential.

The statistical models that analysts use to project a player’s performance aren’t kind to Anderson. Since he’s pitched so little the last few years, there really isn’t enough data to predict how he would perform over a full season’s worth of starts.

Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said in December that the results of Anderson’s physical put the club at ease.

“With all the additional information we have,” Zaidi said at the time, “we feel confident.”

Anderson cited money as one factor in his decision to sign with the Dodgers. So were his relationships with Zaidi and pitcher Brandon McCarthy, both of whom knew Anderson from their time in Oakland. Anderson was actually ahead of Clayton Kershaw in a starting rotation once, on Team USA’s under-18 squad in the summer of 2005.

“It was kind of right before he became Clayton Kershaw,” Anderson recalled. “He had some hype. That summer between his junior and senior year, he had a tremendous arm. He flipped that switch. Next thing you know, he’s the Clayton Kershaw we all know now.”

In a way, Anderson is in a similar position now. If there’s a “healthy” switch, he can become a different pitcher by flipping it on ? one whose narrative focuses more on talent and less on potential.

“I’m trying to be proactive, put this all past me,” Anderson said. “Just pitching, not worrying about being in the training room and all that auxiliary stuff.”


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

     The article said:

01. "Brett Anderson is optimistic: surgery last August on the herniated disk between his L4 and L5 vertebrae seems to have worked."
02. "Mr. Anderson is throwing up to 160 feet on flat ground without pain."
03. "Mr. Anderson expects to begin throwing off a mound next week."
04. "By spring training, Mr. Anderson believes he’ll be on a normal routine."

     When baseball pitchers have lower back pain, it usually involves the disk between the fifth Lumbar vertebrae and the first Sacral vertebrae.

     We will have to wait to see whether a repaired herniated disk between the fourth Lumbar vertebrae and the fifth Lumbar vertebrae will relocate the stress to between the fifth Lumbar vertebrae and the first Sacral vertebrae.

     Since making his major-league debut in 2009, Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson has watched more games from the disabled list (534) than he’s pitched (92).

     A list of the injuries that have sent him to the DL:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
| # |Date                  |Games missed| Injury                          |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
|01.|April-May 2010        |     30     |Strained flexor tendon           |
|02.|June-July 2010        |     46     |Elbow inflammation               |
|03.|June-September 2011   |    102     |Tommy John surgery recovery      |
|04.|March-August 2012     |    120     |Tommy John surgery recovery      |
|05.|April-August 2013     |    104     |Fractured navicular bone in foot |
|06.|April-July 2014       |     83     |Fractured index finger           |
|07.|August-September 2014 |     49     |Bulging disk in back             |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
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***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, February 01, 2015, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0080.  Maxline & Torque

Can you specify what maxline motion actions and torque motion actions look like in relation to baseball pitches?

For example, which direction does a maxline fastball move, which direction does a torque fastball move, or the maxline screw & curveballs?


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     My Maxline Fastball moves to the pitching arm side of home plate.

     My Torque Fastball moves to the glove arm side of home plate.

     In the Football Training Program section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I explain how to drive and release appropriately-sized footballs to get the movement that you need.

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0081.  Throwing

I know how to throw a Frisbee from playing ultimate with some people I know (about once or twice a week for the summers, for two years: estimate about one hour a week from May-August.

I also threw the javelin competitively for my high school track team for one spring season during my senior year of high school in 2008.

Given this throwing experience, plus eight years of playing baseball (t-ball @ age 5 thru babe Ruth @ age 13), would you still recommend that I start with the four-gallon plastic bucket lid pronation curve?

Remember that I am 24 at present, and haven't had a consistent regimen for about 2.5 years.


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     In the Football Training Program section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I show how to grip, drive and release the square lid from a four-gallon bucket.

     To start, you need to use my Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     As the 'Slingshot' name implies, I want my baseball pitchers to 'snap-back' the releases.

     The throwing arm action to throw Frisbees underhand has nothing to do with the overhand lid throw.

     Throwing javelins teaches baseball pitchers to start their acceleration phase with their throwing arm extended backward with the throwing elbow at driveline height and how to apply force straight forward.

     Therefore, your competitive javelin throwing should transfer to how I teach my baseball pitchers to apply force to baseballs.

     After you master the Lid throws for my curve balls and the appropriate-sized footballs throws for my Maxline fastballs, Torque Fastballs, curve balls and screwballs, then you can start my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     To learn the four drills that I include in my 120-Day program, you will need to watch the Wrist Weight Training section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

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0082.  forearm flyout force coupling

Please explain as if you are talking to an idiot what forearm flyout is and also force coupling.


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     'Pitching Forearm Flyout' results from baseball pitchers taking their pitching arm laterally behind their body and reverse rotate their hips and shoulders well beyond second base.

     Then, from this excessive reverse rotation and pitching arm well beyond second base, baseball pitchers explosively rotate their hips and shoulders forward over their pitching arm foot toward home plate.

     The power of the rotation of their hips and shoulders forward causes baseball pitchers to 'sling' their pitching forearm laterally away from their body.

     To eliminate injuries to the pitching elbow when their pitching elbow forcibly extends, I teach my baseball pitchers to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement straight backward toward second base.

     With their pitching upper arm at shoulder height and their pitching hand slightly higher than the top of their head, my baseball pitchers do not 'sling' their pitching forearm laterally away from their body.

     To extend the driveline and continue to move their body forward through release, I teach my baseball pitchers to rotate their hips and shoulders forward over their glove foot, thereby eliminating reverse rotating the hips and shoulders.

     With regard to baseball pitching, 'Force-Coupling' happens when my baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive their pitching upper arm straight toward home plate.

     Then, when their pitching elbow reaches as far forward as possible, my baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     Because, at this moment, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle moves the pitching elbow backward and inwardly rotates the pitching upper arm, the Triceps Brachii applies force straight toward home plate.

     Therefore, with the pitching elbow moving backward and the pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball are moving forward, the parallel and opposite forces add together to increase release velocity.

     If you watch the side high-speed film of any of my pitches in my Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Video, you will see the pitching elbow stop or slightly move backward when their pitching forearm moves forward.

     This technique is how my baseball pitchers increase their release velocity by ten mph.

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0083.  Throwing

Can you define "wrong foot?"

Is it the glove foot or the pitching arm foot?


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     If you are able to watch the Football Training Program section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, then you will be able to watch some of my baseball pitchers demonstrate the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     By stepping forward with the wrong (pitching) foot, my baseball pitchers learn how to apply force down their acromial line straight lines toward home plate.

     The acromial line is a line that goes through the two tips of the shoulders.

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0084.  DAngelo136 replied to Dr. Marshall's comment

Dear Dr.Marshall,

I have followed your career as a pitcher in MLB and have followed up on your theories on pitching.

As such, I have followed the subsequent debates and criticisms by the responders.

To which I would offer my take; they are constantly "moving the goal posts", that is when you present your ideas that will prevent injuries and increase velocity, your detractors engage in arguments over who "pronates" rather than "supinates".

The bottom line to me is that for over 100 years the traditional...


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Dear Sir,

     Unfortunately, I could not find your complete comment on YouTube. Therefore, I did not receive your entire comment.

     However, that you wrote: when you present your ideas that will prevent injuries and increase velocity, your detractors engage in arguments over who "pronates" rather than "supinates," indicates to me that you believe that I am making a difference.

     That you wrote: "The bottom line to me is that, for over 100 years the traditional...," indicates to me that you understand that professional baseball continues to teach their baseball pitchers to supinate the release of their breaking pitches.

     When baseball pitchers pronate the release of their breaking pitches, those baseball pitchers do not bang the bones in the back of their pitching elbow together.

     The Pronator Teres muscle not only pronates (inwardly rotates) the pitching elbow, it also flexes the pitching elbow.

     By flexing the pitching elbow, the Pronator Teres muscle prevents the olecranon process from banging into the olecranon fossa.

     Therefore, to prevent injuries to the pitching elbow, the first skill baseball pitchers must master is how to pronate the release of their breaking pitches.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0085.  Brewers sign Dontrelle Willis to Minor League deal
Baseball Essential
January 21, 2015

Free-agent left-handed pitcher Dontrelle Willis trying to make another comeback attempt to the major leagues, as he has signed a minor-league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, which includes an invitation to big league spring training next month.

Over the past three seasons, the 33-year-old southpaw has pitched in the Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Giants‘ organizations, though his 2014 minor-league campaign came to an abrupt ending after four appearances with the Giants’ Triple-A affiliate at Fresno, as he was cut after a left elbow injury.

He tried to continue his season with the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League (Independent Ball), but failed to gain much traction, only pitching in two games for the ball club. In his last stint in the majors back in 2011 with the Cincinnati Reds, Willis pitched to a 1-6 record, along with a 5.00 ERA in 13 starts.

Beginning his career with a 58-39 record, along with a 3.44 ERA, for the Miami Marlins in his first four major-league seasons (2003-06), he accomplished the feat of winning the National League Rookie of the Year back in 2003. Willis also went on to make two All-Star game appearances with the Marlins. However, injuries would limit him to only 78 appearances over the next five seasons, recording a 14-30 record, along with a 5.65 ERA.


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

     Instead of continuing to use the same baseball pitching motion that enabled Mr. Willis to play in two All-Star games, Mr. Willis needs to eliminate the injurious flaws in his baseball pitching motion.

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0086.  As long as club's run total increase, Astros OK with strikeouts
MLB.com
January 22, 2015

HOUSTON, TX: While the Astros have unquestionably added a lot of power to their starting lineup in the last week with Evan Gattis and Colby Rasmus, they've also added a pair of guys who strike out at a high clip to a team that already has a high whiff rate.

Adding that much punch to a lineup that needed it comes at a cost, and for the Astros it's the strikeout. It should be all worth it, general manager Jeff Luhnow said, if the Astros can produce more runs and put themselves in position to win more games in 2015.

"At the end of the day, we're going to produce 27 outs each game no matter what," he said. "There's a fixed number of outs, and we know we've got players that have powerful swings and do have some swing-and-miss potential. That's part of it. It's going to be up to [manager] A.J. [Hinch] and the hitting coaches to figure out how to minimize the negative effects and maximize the positive. The positive are guys that strike out a lot tend to drive the ball."

Five of the nine hitters in the Astros' 2015 lineup were among the top 20 in the Majors in strikeout percentage a year ago (minimum 300 plate appearances): Jon Singleton 37 percent (first), George Springer 33 percent (seventh), Rasmus 33 percent (ninth), Chris Carter 31.8 percent (14th) and Jason Castro 29.5 percent (19th).

The Astros struck out 1,442 times last year, which was the fourth-most in history. But it was an improvement over 2013, when they set a Major League record by striking out 1,535 times. The Astros ranked third in the American League with 163 homers last year, up from 148 in '13.

"Two years ago, we struck out a lot and didn't hit quite as many home runs and doubles as we should have given the strikeouts," Luhnow said. "Last year, we struck out a lot, but we did hit a lot more home runs. This year, we're going to strike out a lot, but we're probably going to increase our run production, and overall the net value to our wins should be there."

Carter, whose 212 strikeouts in '13 were the third-most in baseball history, last year led the Major Leagues with a homer every 13.7 at-bats, while dropping his strikeout rate from 36.2 percent in '13. He expects those numbers to keep trending in the right direction.

"We've got a lot more veterans in the lineup, and it will be good for the younger guys to feed off each other and there's more protection in the lineup," Carter said Thursday at an Astros Caravan stop in Friendswood, Texas. "It will be fun to watch this year."

When asked about the strikeout potential, Hinch quipped: "We haven't struck out yet."

Still, strikeouts are a price of doing business when a lineup is built for power.

"Talking about what these guys did in 2014 is relative to a point, but we're not going to obsess over it," Hinch said. "It's part of the game and part of the power production that can be on offense. It's something we're going to have to pay attention to, but in January I'm not too worried about it."

The bottom line for the Astros is their lineup has gotten more dangerous with the additions of Rasmus (19.22 at-bats per homer) and Gattis (16.77) to thumpers Carter (13.7), Springer (14.75) and Singleton (23.85).

"When I look at [the lineup], I think damage," Rasmus said.


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

     Astros general manager, Jeff Luhnow, said:

01. "At the end of the day, we're going to produce 27 outs each game no matter what."
02. "There's a fixed number of outs, and we know we've got players that have powerful swings and do have some swing-and-miss potential."
03. "That's part of it."
04. "It's going to be up to [manager] A.J. [Hinch] and the hitting coaches to figure out how to minimize the negative effects and maximize the positive."
05. "The positive are guys that strike out a lot tend to drive the ball."
06. "Two years ago, we struck out a lot and didn't hit quite as many home runs and doubles as we should have given the strikeouts."
07. "Last year, we struck out a lot, but we did hit a lot more home runs."
08. "This year, we're going to strike out a lot, but we're probably going to increase our run production, and overall the net value to our wins should be there."

     Powerful swings that make solid contact are great.

     To make solid contact, baseball batters have to use their rear arm to start and finish their swings.

     What Mr. Luhnow wants Mr. Hinch and the batting instructors to do is teach their baseball batters to stop swinging under the pitched baseballs and missing or hitting pitched baseballs upward.

     Rear arm baseball batters strikeout much less than front arm baseball batters.

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0087.  Marquis signs Minor League deal with Reds
ABC News
January 22, 2015

CINCINNATI, OH: The Cincinnati Reds signed former All-Star pitcher Jason Marquis to a minor league contract that includes an invite to spring training.

The 36-year-old Marquis did not pitch in the major leagues last season after having Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2013. He did pitch in eight games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, going 3-1 with a 4.63 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings pitched.

During his last big league season in 2013 with the Padres, Marquis started 20 games, compiling a 9-5 record with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP before being shut down because of his elbow injury at the end of July.

During his 14 major league seasons, Marquis has pitched for eight different teams, producing a 121-114 record with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.

The Reds have two openings in their starting rotation after trading away Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon. Marquis is expected to compete for one of those spots against Tony Cingrani, David Holmberg, Raisel Iglesias, and Anthony De Sciafani.


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

     The article said:

01. "During his 14 major league seasons, Marquis has pitched for eight different teams, producing a 121-114 record with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP."
02. "Before being shut down because of his elbow injury at the end of July, during his last big league season in 2013 with the Padres, Marquis started 20 games, compiling a 9-5 record with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP.
03. "After having Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2013, the 36-year-old Marquis did not pitch in the major leagues last season."
04. "He did pitch in eight games for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, going 3-1 with a 4.63 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings pitched.

     After pitching 14 major league seasons, Mr. Marquis injured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament?

     Now, when baseball pitchers complain about pitching elbow soreness, orthopedic surgeons immediately perform Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.

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0088.  Throwing

I hate to keep pestering you, but I have several questions as they pertain to the pitching delivery you have invented.

How does the pronator teres flex the pitching elbow through release?

It seems to me that the act of pronating the entire arm in an effort to drive the ball towards home is an extension motion.


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

     If you have questions, then please permit me to give you my answers to those questions.

     The key to prevent injuries to the pitching elbow starts with understanding the wonder of the Pronator Teres muscle.

     The Pronator Teres muscle arises from (attaches to) the medial epicondylar ridge of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.

     When we hold our arms horizontally in front of us with the palm of the hand facing upward, Kinesiologists call this the Anatomical Position.

     Therefore, in the Anatomic Position, the medial epicondyle is the bony knob on the inside of (Little finger) side of the pitching elbow.

     It is important that you understand that the Pronator Teres muscle attaches above the elbow joint.

     The Pronator Teres muscles insert into (attaches to) the middle of the lateral (outside) surface of the Radius bone (thumb side) of the pitching forearm.

     Therefore, in the Anatomic Position, the lateral surface of the Radius bone is on the outside of (Thumb) the pitching forearm.

     This means that the Pronator Teres muscle starts on the medial side of the Humerus bone and ends on the lateral side of the Radius bone.

     Therefore, when baseball pitchers contract their Pronator Teres muscle, they move the lateral surface of the Radius bone inward toward the Ulna bone that is on the Little finger of the pitching forearm.

     In other words, in the Anatomical Position, the Pronator Teres muscle rotates the pitching forearm such that they turn the thumb from pointing outward to pointing inward.

     When baseball pitchers use the Pronator Teres muscle to release their pitches, they turn the thumb of their pitching hand from pointing upward to pointing downward.

     Kinesiologists call this action, pitching forearm pronation.

     The magic of the Pronator Teres muscle is that, when the Pronator Teres muscle pronates the pitching forearm, the Pronator Teres muscle simultaneously flexes the pitching elbow.

     Therefore, no matter how powerfully baseball pitchers straighten their pitching elbow, the Pronator Teres muscle prevents the bones (olecranon process and olecranon fossa) in the back of their pitching elbow from banging together.

     The olecranon process is the elbow end of the Ulna bone of the pitching forearm.

     The olecranon fossa is the elbow end of the posterior side of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.

     When baseball pitchers do not pronate their pitching forearm through release, the olecranon process bangs into the olecranon fossa.

     When baseball pitchers bang their olecranon process into the olecranon fossa, they damage the hyaline cartilage on the surface off the olecranon fossa.

     As a result, baseball pitchers that do not pronate their pitching forearm decrease their extension range of motion, break pieces of hyaline cartilage loose through which chips and bone spurs.

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0089.  Pitching Questions

I just discovered your website, and I plan to carefully examine it over the next few weeks.

My reason for writing at this time is to ask where you currently live and whether you might by chance be in the Phoenix area during spring training, where I now spend the winter (Ann Arbor in the warmer months).

If so, I'd very much like to meet you and talk about optimal utilization of pitchers in today's MLB.

One of my neighbors here is Ben Ogilvie, whom I recently met and discussed pitching with from a hitters point of view. I hope to pick his brain a bit more on the subject this winter.

For many years I have been interested in understanding baseball from an analytic point of view.

This started with an article I read back in the late fourties-early fifties by Branch Rickey where he discussed OBP and other esoteric (to me at the time) statistics.

This was followed by reading Percentage Baseball by Earnshaw Cook and the early (and later) Bill James work. So my approach was (and is) analytical.

Unfortunately, my baseball playing career topped out about 9th grade, when I saw my first serious breaking ball, but my interest in the game has only increased.

About 20 years ago I attended a Cubs fantasy camp, and my career highlight occurred when my coach, Ron Santo, introduced me as "someone who really knows how to play the game" (unfortunately opposed to "being ABLE to play the game").

Ultimately, my analytic nature led me to a Stanford Ph.D. in mathematical psychology, from which I transitioned to clinical work in the early 70's (and an interest in the mental aspect of baseball).

Upon my recent retirement I decided to pursue several interests that I had postponed during work and family years, and among them was a return to understanding baseball, and in particular the optimal construction of a roster.

I quickly began to question the role of a 60- inning relief pitcher as a misuse of 25-man resources. But, as I understood virtually nothing about the physical demands of pitching, I put on my research hat and was surprised to find virtually nothing on the subject in the public domain.

That is, until I found your website.

As I said above, I plan to examine it carefully, and if you have other thoughts about how I might efficiently proceed, please let me know.


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     My wife and I live in Zephyrhills, FL twenty-five miles northeast of Tampa.

     In 1978, I earned my doctoral degree from Michigan State University.

     To understand the baseball pitching motion, I recommend that you start with my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     Next, you need to watch my Causes of Pitching Injuries, Prevent Pitching Injuries and Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion videos.

     I look forward to our conversations.

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0090.  hitting

I got the forearm flyout on your pitching motion and force coupling also.

But how about hitting golf and baseball?

Fforearm flyout is responsible for every bad golf shot and miss hit in baseball.

And force coupling can add power to these 2 swings?


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     With regard to hitting baseballs and golf balls, force-coupling significantly increases contact velocity.

     To force-couple, athletes have to apply parallel forces in opposite directions on either side of a fulcrum.

     The rear arm starts and stops the bat and golf club.

     When the rear arm is in the final acceleration to contact, the front arm stops and pulls the handle side of the baseball bat or golf club backward.

     The two forces are in opposite directions. By applying force on opposite sides of the fulcrum, the two forces add together to increase the contact velocity.

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0091.  Eovaldi aiming to build repertoire with Yankees
MLB.com
January 22, 2015

NEW YORK, NY: The last handful of starts for Nathan Eovaldi in a Marlins uniform represented a workshop of sorts, allowing the right-hander to make tweaks and prepare for the next steps of his career. The Yankees hope they will be the beneficiary of those experiments.

Acquired from Miami in a five-player trade on Dec. 19, Eovaldi said that he has started throwing some light bullpen sessions and is excited to report to camp with the Yankees, where he sees a bright opportunity as a member of the club's starting rotation.

"I'm real excited to be in that division," Eovaldi said. "The Yankees, they either love you or hate you, so I'm looking forward to it. I've been throwing really well this offseason, and hopefully I'll be able to repeat last year and have some more wins and a better ERA while keeping the innings up there."

Eovaldi, 24, was 6-14 with a 4.37 ERA in 33 starts for the Marlins, establishing career highs in starts, innings pitched (199 2/3) and strikeouts (142), while leading the National League with 233 hits allowed. He described it as a year of ups and downs, but he hopes to bring some of the positive aspects to the Bronx.

"My goal was to try and get as many innings as I could and cut down on my amount of walks [43]," Eovaldi said. "I was able to achieve both of those goals, but my ERA was a lot higher. I didn't have as many wins as I would have liked, but I was able to get more strikeouts than I've accomplished before. The main goal was just to stay healthy throughout, and I was able to make all my starts without any issues."

General manager Brian Cashman has said that he does not view Eovaldi as a finished product, and so the Yankees plan to dispatch pitching coach Larry Rothschild and catcher Brian McCann to assist Eovaldi's development in the months to come. He has already heard from both, as well as manager Joe Girardi and Chris Capuano, a former teammate with the Dodgers.

According to Eovaldi, Rothschild expressed interest in fine-tuning the hurler's changeup and getting his slider down in the zone more this spring. Wanting to move away from a predictable fastball-slider combination, Eovaldi said that he has made the changeup an important project this winter.

"It's pretty much No. 1 right now," Eovaldi said. "My goal toward the end of the season, my last two or three games with the Marlins, I was working on a changeup -- kind of like a split-finger [fastball], in a way. It's been feeling great. I felt comfortable with it toward the end of the season last year, and this offseason, I've been able to pick up pretty much where I left off."

Eovaldi throws hard -- he ranked fourth among all starters in average fastball velocity (95.7 mph), according to FanGraphs.com -- but it has yet to translate into gaudy strikeout numbers. Eovaldi would like to use his curveball and changeup to accomplish that in 2015.

"Especially now, because I've learned how to limit my walks, I have to put hitters away a lot quicker and more efficiently," Eovaldi said. "To be able to get those strikeouts when I need to -- I'm a power pitcher, and I've worked on my offspeed pitches a lot this offseason. I definitely feel like they'll be there this year, where I need them to be."

Eovaldi finished the year with a 1-10 record and a 5.51 ERA in his last 14 outings, which he attributed to mechanical issues. His last two outings for Miami were quality starts, holding the Nationals to a total of four runs in 13 combined innings.

It was not until after the season, Eovaldi said, that he looked over his numbers and realized that he had permitted as many hits as he did. He believes that trend will be corrected in 2015.

"I feel like in a way, because I rely on my fastball so much and my walks were down, batters were starting to be more selective and wait for the fastball," Eovaldi said. "Toward the end of the season, I started moving the ball in and out a lot better, and I'll continue that this year, mixing in offspeed pitches. I think it'll be a different year, for sure."


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     Yankees baseball pitcher, Nathan Eovaldi, said:

01. "My goal was to try and get as many innings as I could and cut down on my amount of walks [43]."
02. "I was able to achieve both of those goals, but my ERA was a lot higher."
03. "I didn't have as many wins as I would have liked."
04. "But I was able to get more strikeouts than I've accomplished before."
05. "The main goal was just to stay healthy throughout, and I was able to make all my starts without any issues."
06. "In 33 starts, Mr. Eovaldi pitched 199 2/3 innings for a 4.37 ERA with 142 strikeouts and 233 hits and 43 walks."
07. "Yankees pitching coach, Larry Rothschild expressed interest in fine-tuning the Mr. Eovaldi's changeup and getting his slider down.

     Mr. Rothchild should teach Mr. Eovaldi pitches that baseball batters are not able to hit when they are expecting the pitches.

     As Mr. Eovaldi said, when baseball batters expect his fastball, they hit them hard.

     When baseball batters expect change-ups, baseball batters also hit them hard.

     When baseball batters expect sliders, baseball batters are able to put the baseball in play.

     Mr. Eovaldi needs my pronation curve and my power sinker.

     The only statistic that Mr. Eovaldi should remember is hits per nine innings. At 233 hits in 200 innings, Mr. Evoldi gives 1.167 hits every inning.

     I expect that Mr. Eovoldi also gives up a high percentage of extra base hits.

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0092.  Running for pitchers

Where do you fall on running for pitchers?

Some believe in distance running some in sprints.

I was curious your thoughts.


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     In the 1970's, Dr. Ken Cooper's research showed that those athletes that could run 1.5 miles in 12 miles were aerobically fit.

     Therefore, while my position players ran 3/2s, i.e., three sprints from home plate to first base and two sprints from home plate to second base, three sprints from first base to second base and two sprints from first base to third base and three sprints from second base to third base and two sprints from second base to home plate, I had my baseball pitchers run as far as they were able in 12 minutes.

     At 102 years old, Larry Lewis was still able to run 6.7 miles in 37 minutes in Golden State Park.

     At my age, I am happy that I am still able to jog 1.5 miles.

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0093.  Tigers' Krol learning from mistakes after poor work ethic proves costly
MLive.com
January 23, 2015

DETROIT, MI: Ian Krol blames nobody but himself for last year's collapse.

He messed up. He admits it. But he's determined not to let it happen again.

When the season opened last year, Krol was viewed within the Detroit Tigers organization as a key piece in the bullpen -- a valuable left-handed specialist who could be called upon in late innings to get critical outs.

Acquired in the four-player trade that sent former Tigers starter Doug Fister to Washington, Krol lived up to the hype in April and May, allowing just five earned runs in his first 19 1/3 innings. But success quickly turned to disaster when Krol gave up 23 hits and 13 runs in his last 13 1/3 innings with the Tigers.

Once considered a crucial late-inning reliever, Krol ended the season in Triple-A Toledo and was ultimately left off the Tigers' postseason roster.

Krol could've blamed shoulder inflammation, which forced him to the disabled list last June. He could've blamed the heavy workload in the first half, which likely led to the inflammation in his throwing shoulder. But he didn't. He blamed himself. "I slipped up in my workouts," Krol said Thursday at Comerica Park. "In season, my work ethic wasn't as hard as it is in the offseason."

The solution?

"One thing I'm trying to get a grasp on is being consistent throughout the season," Krol said. "I need to have a workout regiment throughout the week throughout the season to keep me healthy.

"I don't think the workload was too much. I just think it was my fault by not catching up or keeping up with my arm exercises or getting in the gym."

To correct last year's mistake, Krol said he's added nearly 15 pounds to his 6-foot-1 frame in an effort to withstand a heavier workload and add velocity to his fastball.

"Now that I've been there, and I've been in those situations, it's all about my work ethic, man," Krol said. "It's getting my work in and pretty much being patient with my arm."

The 23-year-old worked out in Chicago with personal trainer Mike Niklos for nearly three months this offseason, focusing mostly on lifting, before receiving permission from the Tigers in early January to work out at a sports academy in Bradenton, Fla.

"It was an easy decision to go down there and get some work in before spring training starts," Krol said.

With a bullpen spot up for grabs this spring, Krol said he's worked hard this offseason to correct last year's mistakes and put himself in position to compete for a left-handed relief spot this spring. But he's knows it won't be an easy challenge.

Krol will likely be competing for one of two left-handed spots in the bullpen this spring, and will be fighting for a spot against nearly a half-dozen lefties. Among the southpaws vying for a roster spot this spring include Blaine Hardy, Kyle Lobstein, Kyle Ryan and non-roster invites Omar Duran and Joe Mantiply.

"It's going to be a tough spring training fighting for a spot, obviously," Krol said. "I think everybody we have can pitch at that level. It's going to interesting."

Tom Gorzelanny, who signed a one-year, $1 million deal with the Tigers earlier this month, has seemingly cemented his spot on the opening day roster and is likely viewed as a long reliever. The Tigers may choose to include Gorzelanny as one of two lefties on the roster, or they could decide to add another to the mix.

Whatever Tigers manager Brad Ausmus decides, Krol said he's ready to compete.

"I feel like I put myself in the right position to, hopefully, break with the club," he said. "This is a very important year for me."


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     The article said:

01. "Detroit baseball pitcher, Ian Krol could've blamed shoulder inflammation, which forced him to the disabled list last June."
02. "Mr. Krol could've blamed the heavy workload in the first half, which likely led to the inflammation in his throwing shoulder."
03. "But Mr. Krol didn't."
04. "Mr. Krol blamed himself."

     Mr. Krol is not blamed for in poor season.

     The Detroit Tigers baseball pitching coach failed to teach Mr. Krol what he has to do to prevent pitching injuries and how to train to remain fit throughout the season.

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0094.  Doolittle to miss start of season
San Francisco Chronicle
January 23, 2015

All-Star closer Sean Doolittle has a slight rotator-cuff tear in his left shoulder and he will miss the start of the regular season, according to A’s assistant general manager David Forst.

Doolittle, 28, is not expected to need surgery; Forst said that the orthopedists who have seen Doolittle believe that rest and a strengthening program will allow him to pitch without the need for any repairs. Forst said that the injury also could have been termed a shoulder strain, and typically it is something that is manageable.

“If there are positives, it’s that this is something that a lot of guys pitch with and probably something Sean pitched with during the season last year,” Forst said.

Doolittle missed time late last season with an intercostal (ribcage strain) but he did not report any arm trouble. Forst said that the issue cropped up as Doolittle began his offseason throwing program last month, and Doolittle has received a platelet-rich plasma injection for “a considerable amount” of inflammation and irritation.

Doolittle will be re-evaluated before beginning a rehab program, so there is no timetable for his return. The fact that Doolittle is a reliever will help him return more quickly once he gets back on the mound, because he will not need as many innings in a rehab assignment The A’s will determine a fill-in closer during spring training, Forst said.

There are several candidates, including All-Star Tyler Clippard, acquired from the Nationals last week for shortstop Yunel Escobar,  and set-up man Ryan Cook, who was the A’s closer during the first half of the 2012 season and who made the All-Star team that year.

Left-hander Eric O'Flaherty also is a possibility. O’Flaherty was sidelined by discomfort in his surgically repaired elbow at the end of last season but he was medically cleared the following month and he is expected to be at 100 percent for spring training.

Doolittle is a converted first baseman whose career as a position player was ended by knee and wrist injuries; a former college pitcher, Doolittle began throwing off the mound in 2011, pitched in instructional leagues that fall and he made his major-league the following June, an extraordinary progression. He signed a long-term deal that takes him through the 2018 season, and the A’s hold team options on him for 2019 and 2020.


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     Athletic’s assistant general manager David Forst, said:

01. "Sean Doolittle is not expected to need surgery."
02. "The orthopedists who have seen Doolittle believe that rest and a strengthening program will allow him to pitch without the need for any repairs."
03. "The injury also could have been termed a shoulder strain, and typically it is something that is manageable.

     Rest will make the injury worse.

     A non-specific training program will not prevent the continuous pain.

     Mr. Doolittle needs to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

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0095.  Palmaris Longus muscle

Can you explain how the palmaris longus is involved in acting in the Ulnar Collateral Ligament's stead when a Tommy John surgery is performed?

I understand that a tendon is being threaded in place of a muscle, but I do not understand how that surgical "cut" is made because I cannot find a good diagram of the palmaris longus.

To me it looks like a long tendon that is sheathed by muscle near the elbow joint.

Where does the tendon attach to the muscle, and how does the tendon get threaded past the muscle?

Does the muscle get cut out of the forearm entirely so the tendon can be threaded?


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     The Palmaris Longus muscle arises from the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone and inserts into the palmar aponeurosis.

     When contracted, the Palmaris Longus muscle tightens the palm of the hand.

     Orthopedic surgeons cut only the tendon portion of the Palmaris Longus muscle, drill holes in the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone and in the coronoid process of the Ulna bone and thread the tendon through these holes.

     Although the Palmaris Longus muscle does not insert into a bone, the Palmaris Longus muscle is a powerful wrist flexor muscle and a helpful forearm pronator.

     To eliminate injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers only need to turn the palm of their pitching hand to face upward in their glove pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

     Then, from this 'Ready' position, baseball pitchers are able to contract the five muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone, such that the these muscles are able to tightly hold the Humerus bone against the Ulna bone.

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0096.  1975 Mike Marshall

In 1975, I was a young teen and was a standout pitcher in little league. I was fascinated by your motion, your focus and pitching style and wanted to learn how to throw a screwball. I found out the Dodgers were coming to town and I went to the Waldorf Astoria  in NYC where the Dodgers were staying.

There were a handful of kids standing around waiting to get the Dodger Players to sign their various products. I mentioned to the other Kids I was waiting for Mike Marshall and wanted to ask him a couple of questions. They looked at each other and all started laughing and asked me if I was kidding.

They told me that not only will he not sign any of their products, but, he hates people, especially kids. Said he won't even look at us and is never with any of the other players. One of the kids asked one of the Dodger players why is Mike Marshall so mean and the player said, he is not mean, he is just different.

Sure enough 15 minutes later you came walking by and none of the kids acknowledged you, nor you acknowledged them. Soon later my arm started hurting (later found out it was a torn rotator) and I went to first base and lost interest in baseball soon after.

I see that you like to help young kids not get hurt pitching and actually do it for free in a day when former athletes get paid for breathing.

Was just curious why you wouldn't sign those kids books and chit chat with them in the summer of "75" who admired your skills.


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     Teachers are important people in the lives of young boys and girls, professional athletes are not.

     Had you sent me a letter asking your questions, then I would have gladly answered your questions.

     To prevent injuries to the pitching shoulder, baseball pitchers need to turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     My Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion shows how to properly use the pitching shoulder.

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0097.  Perkins, recovered from arm injury, prepared for camp
MLB.com
January 25, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS, MN: Twins closer Glen Perkins said he's fully recovered from his left forearm injury that saw him miss the last two weeks of the 2014 season, and he'll be ready to go for Spring Training.

Perkins, who was diagnosed with a left forearm strain and secondary nerve irritation on Sept. 19, said he took two weeks off after the season to let the injury heal and underwent another precautionary MRI exam to make sure the injury wasn't serious.

Perkins, who was an All-Star for a second straight season in 2014, was able to start his throwing program on time, and he will ramp it up once he heads to Fort Myers, Fla., on Tuesday. Perkins is getting an early start in Florida, as Twins pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 22 with the first workouts set for Feb. 23.

"I took two weeks off and started doing shoulder stuff as part of the rehab to strengthen it and everything went well," Perkins said at TwinsFest on Sunday. "I started throwing again in mid-December. The way I've been able to ramp up throwing, everything has been good."

Perkins was also excited to meet new pitching coach Neil Allen, who was brought over from the Rays' organization and replaces Rick Anderson. Perkins was able to get a feel for what to expect in Spring Training from Allen, and the closer came away impressed by him.

"He seems awesome," Perkins said. "It's not going to be the same old thing going down to Spring Training this year. It's new players and a new staff. So it's going to be fun."


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

     The article said:

01. "Twins closer Glen Perkins said he's fully recovered from his left forearm injury that saw him miss the last two weeks of the 2014 season."
02. "Mr. Perkins will be ready to go for Spring Training."
03. "The Twins Medical Staff diagnosed Mr. Perkins with a left forearm strain and secondary nerve irritation." 04. "Mr. Perkins took two weeks off after the season to let the injury heal."
05. "Mr. Perkins was able to start his off-season throwing program on time."
06. "Once Mr. Perkins heads to Fort Myers, FL on Tuesday, Feb 03, 2015, Mr. Perkins is getting an early start."
07. "Twins pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 22 with the first workouts set for Feb. 23."

     We will see what happens when Mr. Perkins starts throwing competitive intensity breaking pitches.

     Mr. Perkins needs to pronate the releases of his breaking pitches.

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0098.  Bulked-up Weaver looks to pitcher deeper in games
Los Angeles Times
January 25, 2015

Fans of Angels ace Jered Weaver will have a little more to love in 2015. The lanky 6-foot-7 right-hander, whose weight dipped to as low as 199 pounds last season, has bulked up to 224 pounds this winter, six pounds heavier than he’s ever been.

Numbers wise, it was all right,” Weaver said of a 2014 season in which he went 18-9 with a 3.59 earned-run average, striking out 169 and walking 65 in 213 1/3 innings. “But from a personal standpoint, me being ultra-competitive, I want to get deeper in games.

“The bullpen helped me a lot last year. I just want to gain some strength. I went on a different weight-lifting program last year, and it’s been paying off. I’m going to stick with it.”

The average velocity of Weaver’s fastball dipped to a career-low 86.3 mph last season, but Weaver, 32, said his plan to add — and hopefully maintain — more weight was motivated by endurance, not speed.

He averaged a little more than six innings a start in 2014 and has thrown just one complete game in the past two seasons after throwing seven complete games in 2011-2012.

“I don’t care about velocity — I just want to be stronger for the whole nine innings,” Weaver said. “If velocity comes along, so be it. I think I’ve shown I can pitch from 83 to 93 mph.”

Weaver, who was in Anaheim on Sunday night to bowl in Eddie Guardado’s “Stars and Strikes” fundraiser to help children with autism, threw his first bullpen session in preparation for spring training.


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     The article said:

01. "Last season, Mr. Weaver's weight dipped to as low as 199 pounds."
02. "In the off-season, Angels ace Jered Weaver bulked up to 224 pounds.
03. “Mr. Weaver went on a different weight-lifting program."
04. "Mr. Weaver plans to stick with it.”

     Unless the weight gain resulted from pitching-specific training, Mr. Weaver will not benefit from his training.

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0099.  Santana shut down in winter ball due to shoulder
FoxSports.com
January 26, 2015

Two-time American League Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana won't pitch during the rest of the Venezuelan Winter League season because of stiffness in his pitching shoulder.

The 35-year-old left-hander retired six straight batters for Magallanes on Jan. 13 in his first outing since tearing his left Achilles tendon while pitching for Baltimore last June in extended spring training.

Magallanes manager Carlos Garcia tells Associated Press on Monday that Santana's left shoulder has been slow to recover from that outing.

Magallanes trails Caribes of Anzoategui state 2-0 in the best-of-seven finals for a berth in the Caribbean Series.

Santana, 139-78 in 12 major league seasons, has made just 21 big league appearances in the last four seasons due to a pair of shoulder operations and the foot injury. He has not pitched in the big leagues since 2012.


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     The article said:

01. :Johan Santana retired six straight batters for Magallanes on Jan. 13 in his first outing since tearing his left Achilles tendon."
02. "Magallanes manager Carlos Garcia tells Associated Press on Monday that Santana's left shoulder has been slow to recover from that outing."

     Mr. Santana continues to do the same baseball pitching motion and expecting a different result.

     Unless Mr. Santana learns how to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulders over his glove arm side foot, Mr. Santana will continue to suffer pain and shoulder injuries.

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0100.  Time for hitters to counter defensive shifts
MLB.com
January 27, 2015

New Commissioner Rob Manfred certainly wasn't speaking in binding terms when he floated the possibility of eliminating or limiting the defensive shifts that have become so prevalent in baseball. In fact, he was simply replying to a question about any "radical" changes he might consider. That said, the impact of shifting is a topic many executives, coaches and players have bandied about in the office or locker room at a time when offensive production is at its lowest levels in decades.

But as is the case with so many of the game's evolutions in circumstances and strategy, the players themselves will probably dictate the direction taken here. Shifts, after all, are the byproduct of historical data, and they inherently create present and future areas of vulnerability on the field. And so it is incumbent upon the hitters to disrupt the data with revolutionary results.

As it stands, when you don't put the ball in play, the shift is the least of your worries.

First, a bit of background.

Teams shifted 13,296 times in 2014, per Baseball Info Solutions. That's not a perfect calculation, of course, because some teams (the Pirates, for example) use some sort of outfield shading or infield repositioning on just about every pitch of every game. But BIS' own interpretation of what constitutes a shift has been consistent over the years, and the analytics company has calculated an incredible 440-percent rise in the use of shifts since 2010 (2,464 shifts).

Thanks, Joe Maddon!

Though it's difficult to draw a distinct causal link between the rise of advanced shifting and the shrinkage in batting averages (the .251 mark last year was the lowest in the designated-hitter era) and run production (the 4.07 runs per team per game last year was the lowest mark since the strike-shortened 1981 season), there's no question the shift has succeeded in getting in the heads of some hitters, and it has been murder on those with pull-side tendencies.

Courtesy of FanGraphs.com, check out the pull-side batting averages on balls in play (BABIP) in the past five seasons:

2010: .304
2011: .299
2012: .292
2013: .296
2014: .290

Maybe that decline is not all attributable to the shifts, but the shifts certainly haven't helped. In fact, BIS calculated a record 195 runs saved by shifts last season.

Then again, it stands to reason that the number of runs saved would be at an all-time high when the number of shifts employed is at an all-time high. What's interesting, though, is that the number of runs saved per shift in 2013 was 0.0165, whereas in '14 it was 0.0147 -- an admittedly modest decrease, but a decrease all the same.

One wonders, then, if the overall effectiveness of shifts does, in fact, has its limits. After all, the more players see them, the more opportunities they'll have to counter them.

The obvious way to counter them is to effectively demonstrate you can consistently hit (or bunt) to the opposite field -- to keep the defense honest, as they say.

By and large, hitters are not doing this nearly enough. They are not taking great enough advantage of a statistic such as this…

Opposite-field BABIP, by year:

2010: .273
2011: .270
2012: .285
2013: .284
2014: .283

So guys who went the other way in 2014 were generating hits at a clip 10 points better than those who did the same five years earlier, when the shift was 440-percent less prominent.

Perhaps the biggest question entering this season, then, is whether hitters, at large, are ready to exploit those openings more consistently.

"I think you're about ready to see -- because the game always makes its own adjustments -- and I think right now the hitters are still in that mode of swinging like they're hitting it out of the ballpark but not necessarily doing that anymore," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I think you'll see a segment of hitters using the whole field a little more. The game has a way of evening itself out."

Perhaps Francona is right, but we haven't even gotten to the primary point, which is that shifts themselves have arguably been nowhere near as effective in limiting offensive production as the decline in contact.

Last year, according to FanGraphs' data, the Major League contact rate was 79.4 percent -- the lowest it has been since the site first began compiling such data in 2002 (it was 78.8 percent that year). The swing percentage outside the strike zone (31.3 percent) was the highest it had been in that 2002-14 time frame.

Little wonder, then, that the league-wide strikeout rate was one for every 4.91 plate appearances -- the worst such mark in recorded history.

Also little wonder that last year's World Series featured a Royals team that struck out in a league-low 16.3 percent of its regular-season plate appearances and a Giants team that made contact on nearly 80 percent of its swings in the Wild Card, Division Series and League Championship Series rounds of the playoffs.

In a world of strikeouts, contact is king.

Shifts are based on analytical intelligence, but so is the approach each hitter and pitcher bring to the table in a given at-bat. And the rise in data and the decline in production would certainly indicate that when it comes to implementing this intelligence, the pitcher has a distinct advantage -- especially at a time when managers are trotting out so many hard-throwing relievers to swing the mid-inning matchups in their favor.

Take it from Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who sees the data work against him at the plate and for him behind it.

"I think [the shift] is a tough thing to blame for the decline in offense," he said in a text. "ERAs are down [0.12 points between 2013 and '14 and 0.72 points over the past decade], so that means pitching is better. Why is pitching better? The wealth of information we have when calling games is a very large amount. If they wanted to increase offense, then they should take away the information we get. That won't happen, because teams use this same information in trades, free-agent signings, etc. Honestly, I can think of times when the shift works for us and times when we were burned by them. So I don't think they are the issue."

Again, causal links are difficult to discern. No doubt the shifts are having an impact on the game (with 13,296 used last year, how could they not?), but they are merely one component -- perhaps even a small one -- in the game's overall offensive decline.

So until hitters more frequently test opposing defenses and the limits of shifting and prove they can utilize those wide-open spaces left available to them in the opposite field, they've really got little reason to complain.

With unorthodox defensive positioning the new standard, it's time for the hitters to shift their strategies.


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     The article said:

01. "The shift has succeeded in getting in the heads of some hitters."
02. "It (the shift) has been murder on those with pull-side tendencies."
03. "Baseball Info Solutions (BIS) calculated a record 195 runs saved by shifts last season."
     Indians field manager, Terry Francona, said:

01. "I think right now the hitters are still in that mode of swinging like they're hitting it out of the ballpark."
02. "I think you'll see a segment of hitters using the whole field a little more."
03. "The game has a way of evening itself out."

     Front arm hitters cannot hit outside pitches to the opposite field. Therefore, the defense has to shift to the pull side of the infield to cover the ground where they hit the baseballs. Therefore, baseball pitchers need to throw pitches away, such as sinkers away.

     Rear arm hitters cannot hit inside pitches to the pull field. Therefore, the defense has to shift to the opposite side of the infield to cover the ground where they hit the baseballs. Therefore, baseball pitchers need to throw pitches inside, such as slider inside.

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0101.  Angels still 'optimistic' about Garrett Richards' rehab
Orange County Register
January 27, 2015

With just over three weeks to go before the start of spring training, Garrett Richards is still moving forward in his rehab from knee surgery, leaving general manager Jerry Dipoto "optimistic" about his progress.

The Angels remain hopeful that Richards will be ready for opening day. If Richards is not ready by the April 6 opener, the Angels expect him to be active sometime in April.

Dipoto said by text on Monday afternoon that Richards is "steadily increasing his running" on a treadmill, and he "continues to work through his throwing program with no issues to report." Richards is throwing five times a week at a distance of 125 to 150 feet, Dipoto said.

Richards underwent left knee surgery in August, with an initial prognosis of a six- to nine-month rehab period.


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     The article said:

01. "In August 2014, Garrett Richards underwent left knee surgery.
02. "With just over three weeks to go before the start of spring training, Garrett Richards is still moving forward in his rehab from knee surgery."

     Mr. Richards pitches with his right arm. Therefore, Mr. Richard injured his glove arm side knee.

     With all their backward and forward hips and shoulders rotations over their pitchinga arm side knee, most baseball pitchers injure their pitching arm side knee.

     When baseball pitchers injure their glove arm side knee, they injure the Anterior Cruciate Ligament where the Femur bone slides forward over the Tibia bone.

     To prevent this injury, baseball pitchers need to land on the heel of their glove arm side foot and absorb the stress over the length of their glove arm side foot.

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0102.  Tanaka says elbow feels good, says report
Newark Star-Ledger
January 28, 2015

Masahiro Tanaka says his elbow feels just fine as the 26-year-old ace readies for spring training, according to a report from the Japan Times.

Tanaka worked out with his old team, Japan's Rakuten Golden Eagles, last week and reported no pain his the elbow, the report said. The elbow has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament and could someday -- possibly in the near future -- require Tommy John surgery that would sideline him from between 12 and 18 months.

"So far so good -- including that (the elbow)," Tanaka was quoted saying.

Tanaka missed most of July, all of August and most of September while rehabilitating the elbow. After starting the year as a Cy Young candidate, he made two starts to close out the season -- one unspectacular, the other bad, lasting just 1 2/3 innings.

The Yankees signed Tanaka to a seven-year, $155-million deal with a fourth-year opt-out claus last offseason. They hope he can lead a rotation filled with other health question marks.

CC Sabathia (knee) and Michael Pineda (shoulder) each missed significant time last season due to injuries, and Ivan Nova (elbow) isn't expected to return until late May or early June.


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     The article said:

01. "Masahiro Tanaka missed most of July, all of August and most of September 2014."
02. "After starting the year as a Cy Young candidate, he made two starts to close out the season."
03. "One start was unspectacular."
04. "In the other start, Mr. Tanaka lasted just 1 2/3 innings."
05. "Mr. Tanaka worked out with his Japan's Rakuten Golden Eagles last week and reported no pain his the elbow."
06. "Mr. Tanaka's pitching elbow has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament."
07. "In the near future, Mr. Tanaka may require Tommy John surgery that would sideline him from between 12 and 18 months.

     Unless Mr. Tanaka injured the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle, Mr. Tanaka will not feel pain.

     This means that Mr. Tanaka may be continuing to tear the connective fibers of his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Mr. Tanaka 'reverse bounces' his pitching forearm.

     Until Mr. Tanaka learns to pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline in one, smooth, continuous movement, such that, when he starts the acceleration phase of his baseball pitching motion, Mr. Tanaka will contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle, thereby, eliminating all stress on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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0103.  Moore throws off mound for first time since April
MLB.com
January 28, 2015

Rays left-hander Matt Moore has reported no setbacks throughout his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and he's targeting a return to the big league mound in June.

After reportedly throwing off the mound Tuesday for the first time since the operation, nothing's changed. And in this case, no news is good news for Moore and the Rays. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Moore threw 15 times from about halfway up the bullpen mound at Tropicana Field on Tuesday, and he told the Times he felt "pretty good."

Moore told reporters earlier this month that his regimen hasn't changed throughout the rehab process, but Tuesday was still a step forward. He made two starts in 2014, exiting his April 7 start in Kansas City with left elbow soreness. Tests revealed damage to the ulnar collateral ligament, requiring season-ending surgery for Moore on April 22.

The 25-year-old lefty -- an All-Star while going 17-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 2013 -- spoke to reporters during Tampa Bay's annual Winter Development Camp, and Moore called June "probably the conservative date" for his return to the Rays' rotation.

After taking the mound once, the next few weeks should provide a clearer image of Moore's progress.

"Just the way that we went with taking a couple of extra weeks on each little hurdle to make sure that we're not trying to meet some guideline, some cookie-cutter thing; that we're actually being consistent that as soon as we get to this target date, we're not just going because it says go," Moore said recently. "But I hope June, [to pitch] in a Major League game. I think that's about right -- 14 months [after the surgery]. So we should know a lot more in the next month as I start to get on the hill and things have a chance to respond."
br>
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     The article said:

01. "Matt Moore told reporters earlier this month that his regimen hasn't changed throughout the rehab process."
02. "But, Tuesday Mr. Moore took a step forward."
03. "In 2014, Mr. Moore made two starts."
04. "On April 07, 2014, Mr. Moore left the game pitching elbow soreness."
05. "Tests revealed damage to the ulnar collateral ligament."
06. "On April 22, 2014, Mr. Moore had Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery."

     Until Mr. Moore learns to pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline in one, smooth, continuous movement, such that, when he starts the acceleration phase of his baseball pitching motion, Mr. Moore will contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle, thereby, eliminating all stress on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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0104.  Free agent Beachy to decide team closer to camp
MLB.com
January 29, 2015

While Brandon Beachy is reportedly "getting stronger" coming off a second Tommy John surgery, his agent told FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal that the free-agent right-hander intends to wait until closer to Spring Training to make a decision about signing with a club.

"Brandon has decided not to sign a contract at this time," Beachy's agent, Rob Martin, told Rosenthal. "With each day his arm is getting stronger and he's feeling even more confident about his progress. Thus, he is going to continue with his throwing program and make a decision closer to Spring Training."

Beachy, 28, has not pitched in the Majors since Aug. 20, 2013. Over the course of four seasons with the Braves, he is 14-11 with a 3.23 ERA in 46 starts.


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     As a result of a botched Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery, Brandon Beachy had a second Ulnar Collateral Tendon replacement surgery.

     That means that the surgeon had to drill two more holes and take a tendon from another location his his body.

     Until Mr. Beachy learns to pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline in one, smooth, continuous movement, such that, when he starts the acceleration phase of his baseball pitching motion, Mr. Beachy will contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle, thereby, eliminating all stress on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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

     On Sunday, February 08, 2015, I posted the following questions and answers.

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0105.  Phillies add pitching depth with Billingsley signing
MLB.com
January 29, 2015

PHILADELPHIA, PA: The Phillies need to protect themselves in the starting rotation in the event somebody is injured or they trade Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee or both.

They hope Chad Billingsley can be that guy.

The team announced Thursday night it signed Billingsley, 30, to a one-year, $1.5 million contract, which includes performance bonuses. Billingsley has pitched just 12 innings in the big leagues over the past two seasons because of elbow injuries, but he passed his physical and the Phillies hope he could be in the big leagues by late April.

"He's a bounce-back candidate," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "We're cautiously optimistic that it's a good risk. If healthy and if he bounces back close to where he has been in the past, he's a very solid middle-to-upper-rotation-type pitcher."

If everybody is healthy and nobody is traded by Opening Day, the Phillies' rotation is expected to include Hamels, Lee, Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams and David Buchanan. Billingsley could bump Buchanan at some point. And if Billingsley pitches well, who knows? The Phillies might be able to spin him off to a contending team in July.

Again, all that is only if he is healthy and returns to prior form.

Billingsley had Tommy John surgery in April 2013 and surgery to repair his right flexor tendon last June. But before that, his 73 wins from 2007-12 ranked 20th in baseball. His 3.65 ERA ranked 27th out of 89 qualifying pitchers.

"We're going to make sure that we take our time with him," Amaro said. "We want to make sure he's healthy when he's pitching in Philadelphia. We're not going to rush him. If he continues in a straight line, we're hopeful that by late April or early May he's ready to pitch for us."


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     The article said:

01. "The Phillies signed Chad Billingsley to a one-year contract."
02. "Over the past two seasons, Mr. Billingsley has pitched just 12 innings."
03, "Mr. Billingsley had elbow injuries."
04. "Nevertheless, Mr. Billingsley passed his physical exam."
05. "In April 2013, Mr. Billingsley had Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery."
06. "In June 2014, Mr. Billingsely had surgery to repair the flexor tendon in the medial epicondyle."

     Until Mr. Billingsley learns to pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline in one, smooth, continuous movement, such that, when he starts the acceleration phase of his baseball pitching motion, Mr. Billingsley will contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle, thereby, eliminating all stress on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     To prevent injury to the flexor tendon in the medial epicondyle, Mr. Billingsley needs to learn how to pronate the releases of his breaking pitches.

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0106.  Redshirt freshman Stallings wows LSU coaches
New Orleans Advocate
January 29, 2015

A ballpark in Alexandria became a meeting place for prominent LSU baseball figures one night last summer.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri found himself two hours northwest of Baton Rouge to watch a pitching prospect take the rubber. Mainieri took his seat in the stands, soon realizing that he wasn’t the only person with LSU ties in the audience. Russ Springer, an Alexandria native who pitched for LSU in the late 1980s before beginning an 18-year MLB career, happened to be sitting next to the Tigers coach.

Mid-conversation, Springer brought up one member of the 2015 Tigers’ pitching staff: redshirt freshman right-hander Jesse Stallings.

If that kid is healthy, Springer said, he’s a really good pitcher.

“I never forgot that he told me that,” Mainieri said.

When the conversation occurred, Mainieri didn’t have a strong evaluation of his second-year pitcher.

He has more of an idea now.

Fully recovered from shoulder surgery that forced him to miss his true freshman season, Stallings is impressing during the first portion of LSU’s preseason practice. At a recent scrimmage this week, he showed a fastball that was clocked at 94 mph and a variety of breaking balls that had a few hitters baffled.

Earlier this month after an individual workout, Mainieri said he could only think of Stallings on his drive home from Alex Box Stadium.

The redshirt freshman is leaving those kinds of impressions. He’s battling for a spot in a bullpen cluttered with young talent as the Tigers complete their first week of preseason practice.

“I’m excited about that young man. He’s a wonderful kid and an intelligent young man with the greatest attitude you ever saw,” Mainieri said. “I think he’s going to help us.”

It’s been a long route to this point. Just in the last year or so he had to re-learn how to walk, for instance.

When the season arrives Feb. 13, he’ll have his chance to live out a childhood dream that seemed impossible about 2½ years ago.

Stallings, a valued prospect while at Grant High School, felt his elbow pop on his second pitch at a Perfect Game tournament in Houston in September 2012. LSU pitching coach Alan Dunn was in attendance scouting him. Stallings threw 12 pitches but was unable to lift his arm when he returned to the dugout.

Dunn saw everything he needed in Stallings’ one healthy pitch.

“That’ll work,” Dunn said he told him.

He suffered the elbow injury and six months later decided to have Tommy John surgery — a procedure that typically involves a yearlong recovery. Mainieri still recruited Stallings, and the Colfax native took a medical redshirt in 2013-14.

“It gave me tremendous confidence (to still be recruited by LSU),” Stallings said. “I knew they were interested, and I’ve always dreamed of coming to LSU since I was a little kid.”

Following his surgery, Stallings began the rehab process, working specifically on shoulder, elbow and forearm exercises. He also had to rehab his left leg — a piece of his hamstring was used to replace his ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow.

Stallings gained 10 pounds during his recovery, and he had to re-learn how to walk. He began his throwing program in late July 2013. He took a mound for the first time five months later.

On May 30, 2014, Stallings made his first game appearance in two years when he entered a game for the Acadiana Cane Cutters.

“As long as it had been, I really forgot how it felt,” Stallings said. “I forgot how to warm up before the game. I didn’t know how to prepare myself. And when I finally got on the rubber, I was definitely nervous.”

Stallings made 12 appearances, including six starts, for the Cane Cutters, finishing 1-3 with a 4.02 ERA.

He said he wasn’t concerned about his numbers over the summer. He knew every delivery he made was progress.

“I didn’t really pay attention to the stats or anything because I knew this was just the process of learning how to pitch again,” Stallings said. “I hadn’t done it in so long, so I had kind of a grey area in my head.”

He returned to LSU in the fall with three pitches and a healthy arm. Stallings wanted to add a fourth to his arsenal, though.

Throughout high school, Stallings never knew how to throw a changeup. He immediately started working with Dunn to add the off-speed pitch.

“I just believe that the fastball and changeup are two important pitches that, if you can command both of those pitches, then you can pitch anywhere in baseball,” Dunn said. “Pitching is about controlling the timing of the hitter ... so it’s a very big pitch.”

Stallings has seen a jump in his velocity, too. His fastball has hit 94 mph on the gun this spring. His previous high was 92 mph.

“Immediately, that’s a power arm for you,” Mainieri said. “The bottom line on it is that strength of arm is not the only factor that makes a pitcher successful, but the guy who throws harder is going to be tougher to hit for the other team.”

Stallings said he knows his adrenaline will be pumping the moment Mainieri motions for the Colfax native to head to the bullpen. Stallings did yoga over the summer, often visualizing himself taking the mound for the first time in Alex Box.

The right-hander said he’ll be ready, and he’s prepared to win and keep a spot on the roster.

“I want to show (Mainieri) that I have the fire in me,” Stallings said. “I don’t want to tell him that I can earn it.”

“I want to go out there and get on the mound and show him that I can earn it.”


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     The article said:

01. "Fully recovered from shoulder surgery that forced him to miss his true freshman season, Jesse Stallings is impressing during the first portion of LSU’s preseason practice."
02. "At a recent scrimmage this week, Mr. Stallings showed a fastball that was clocked at 94 mph and a variety of breaking balls that had a few hitters baffled."
03. "while at Grant High School, Mr. Stallings felt his elbow pop on his second pitch at a Perfect Game tournament in Houston in September 2012."
04. "LSU pitching coach Alan Dunn was in attendance scouting him."
05. "Mr. Stallings threw 12 pitches but was unable to lift his arm when he returned to the dugout."
06. "Mr. Stallings suffered the elbow injury and six months later decided to have Tommy John surgery."
07. "Following his surgery, Mr. Stallings began the rehab process, working specifically on shoulder, elbow and forearm exercises."
08. "Because the orthopedic surgeon used a piece of his hamstring to replace his ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, Mr. Stallings also had to rehab his left leg."

     Sounds like Mr. Stallings is not far from more pitching injuries.

     LSU leads in pitching injuries.

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0107.  Billy White comments on Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion

PURE QUACKARY!


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Dear Sir,

     Could you be more specific?

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0108.  Presentation

This is a presentation that I put together in high school, before I understood your developments.

Can you give me feedback on Coefficient of drag, turbulence, and the magnus force (i.e. are my explanations on the right track.)? I realize that the leg kick info actually disrupts the kinetic chain.

But, I think the "whipping the arm towards home plate" metaphor is accurate.


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     In Chapter Nineteen: Daniel Bernoulli of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, I explain the Magnus Effect and how the seams collide with air molecules cause the baseball to change directions.

     In Chapter Twenty: Gravity of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, I explain the relationship between the downward force of gravity and the horizontal force baseball pitchers apply to their pitches.

     In Chapter Twenty-One: Atmosphere of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, I explain how air molecule density, barometric pressure and temperature influences baseball pitches.

     In Chapter Twenty-Two: Maximum Falling Velocity of Baseballs of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, I explain the integrated final velocity formula, the falling baseball final velocity calculation, the drag formula, the maximum falling velocity formula and the maximum falling velocity calculation.

     The pitching arm applies all the force to the pitched baseball.

     If baseball pitchers continue to move the center of mass of the body forward through release, then the legs might add five to eight miles per hour.

     However, the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion stops the forward movement of the center of mass of the body before the pitching arm applies its force.

     To make the tip of a whip to accelerate to maximum velocity, the handle of the whip has to move backward.

     With my baseball pitching motion, when my baseballs pitchers extend their pitching hand through release, the pitching elbow moves backward.

     This means that my baseball pitching arm motion uses the 'crack the whip' principle.

     Raising the glove leg off the ground causes baseball pitchers rotate their hips and shoulders forward over their pitching arm side leg, which not only destroys the pitching knee and lower back, but also prevents moving the center of mass forward through release.

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0109.  Singh looks to continue his improbable journey
Fansided.com
January 29, 2015

Back in 2008, there was a reality television show in India called Million Dollar Arm. In the program, contestants tried to win $100,000 and the chance to train as a pitcher, in hopes that they could earn a major league contract. Two pitchers from the program, winner Rinku Singh and runner up Dinesh Patel, both javelin throwers, ended up being signed by the Pirates, playing in their minor league system.

It was a nice story, and if it ended there, both pitchers would still have been trailblazers in their country. While Patel returned back to India in hopes of playing on their national team after two years of struggles, Singh actually performed quite well during his time in the minors.

Based on his performance, Rinku Singh would appear as though he could have a future as a reliever. In his minor league career, Singh has posted a 10-6 record with a 2.99 ERA and a 1.256 WHiP. In his 147.1 innings of work, Singh has struck out 126 batters against 41 walks. Why is it that he has not pitched above the South Atlantic League?

Unfortunately, Singh has struggled with injuries since the end of the 2012 season. He did not pitch during the 2013 season, yet was invited to the Pirates Major League Spring Training camp. Unfortunately, Singh injured his elbow, needing to undergo Tommy John surgery and costing him another season.

If he is to achieve his goal of pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates at the major league level, Rinku Singh will have made yet another amazing journey to reach the big leagues. Going from someone that had never seen a baseball game before he turned 19 to a major league pitcher would be remarkable in its own right, but to do so after a Tommy John surgery would be even more impressive. As it is, Singh has already accomplished more in the minors than could have likely been expected.

Chances are, if he is healthy, Singh will likely renew his minor league career with the Bradenton Marauders, the next step up the ladder. He still has a long way to go, but if Singh can stay healthy and perform like he did before the injuries, he could find himself in Pittsburgh some day.

Most reality television stars are forgotten about the moment their show ends. Rinku Singh, however, could continue to make an impact and be an inspiration in his home country.


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     The article said:

01. "Since the end of the 2012 season, Rinku Singh has struggled with injuries."
02. "Mr. Singh did not pitch during the 2013 season."
03. "Yet, the Pirates invited Mr. Singh to the Pirates Major League Spring Training camp."
04. "Unfortunately, Mr. Singh injured his elbow."
05. "Mr. Singh had Tommy John surgery that costing him another season."
06. "Chances are, if he is healthy, Mr. Singh will likely renew his minor league career with the Bradenton Marauders."
07. "If Mr. Singh can stay healthy and perform like he did before the injuries, he could find himself in Pittsburgh some day."

     Had I trained Mr. Singh, Mr. Singh would have never suffered a pitching injury.

     That Tom House trained Mr. Singh insured that Mr. Singh would suffer a pitching injury.

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0110.  Rockies' Anderson still battling elbow problems
Denver Post
January 29, 2015

DENVER, CO: The Rockies' pitching staff has taken a hit, and spring training is still three weeks away.

Left-hander Tyler Anderson, considered one of the franchise's top prospects, will be a limited participant in spring training because of a troublesome elbow injury. The Rockies confirmed Thursday that Anderson, 25, will not be ready to pitch when pitchers and catchers begin spring training workouts on Feb. 21 in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"We are taking our time with this and we think it's best to take a conservative approach," head training Keith Dugger said. "He will participate in camp, but he won't pitch. We think the prognosis is good for the long term."

General manager Jeff Bridich said there is not a specific timetable for Anderson's recovery.

"We are going to do what's best for Tyler's long-term future with our club," Bridich said.

Anderson was selected by the Rockies in the first round (20th overall) of the 2011 draft out of Oregon. He received a $1.4 million signing bonus.

The 6-foot-4 southpaw battled injuries early in his professional career — including a stress fracture in his elbow in 2013 while pitching for High-A Modesto (Calif.) — but was outstanding while pitching for Double-A Tulsa in 2014 when he was named a Texas League all-star and the league's pitcher of the year.

Anderson went 7-4 with a 1.98 ERA, 40 walks and 106 strikeouts in 23 starts. He went 4-1 with a 1.01 ERA in 11 starts after the all-star break. His season ended during the playoffs because of a elbow soreness.

In November, the club added Anderson to its 40-man roster to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 draft at baseball's winter meetings in December. To make room for Anderson, the Rockies designated right-hander Juan Nicasio for assignment, and then traded Nicasio to the Dodgers for a player to be named later or cash considerations.

At that time, Bridich said Anderson's rehabilitation was going well and said it was "conceivable" that Anderson could be in the mix to make the 25-man roster coming out of spring training.

That's all changed now.

Anderson is under the care of Dr. Elliott Schwartz, a bone specialist based in Northern California who has treated other athletes who have stress fractures. According to Dugger, Schwartz recommended that the Rockies take a conservative approach in bringing Anderson back.


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     The article said:

01. "Because of a troublesome elbow injury, left-hander Tyler Anderson will be a limited participant in spring training."
02. "Mr. Anderson will not be ready to pitch when pitchers and catchers begin spring training workouts on Feb. 21."
03. "In 2013, Mr. Anderson developed a stress fracture in his pitching elbow."
04. "However, in 2014, Mr. Anderson was a Texas League all-star and the league's pitcher of the year."

     A stress fracture indicates that Mr. Anderson supinates the release of his breaking pitches.

     To prevent injuries to his pitching elbow, Mr. Anderson has to learn how to pronate the release of his breaking pitches.

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0111.  Billy White replied to Dr. Marshall

Your throwing motion is pure Quackary! ALL OF IT! Show me 1 high level player that does it?


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Dear Sir,

     I would rather talk about all the science in my baseball pitching motion, but if you need to see someone that uses my baseball pitching motion in the major leagues, I direct your attention to section 11: James Jeffrey Sparks in my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video. Mr. Sparks increased his release velocity from 81 mph to 96 mph. Rudy Seanez increased his set position release velocity from 88 mph to 102 mph. There are more, but that is enough for now.

     Then, there is me. I finished 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th and 7th in the Cy Young Award.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0112.  Presentation

Can you please stipulate the purpose of each of your five football training drills?

I've got the four basic grips of your pitches (max screw, max fast, max pron curve, torque fast), and I understand that one can practice throwing any of these four pitches for each drill that you've listed.

However, I need to understand the purpose each drill serves so I'm not performing it blindly and can relate it to the complete physiological motion that I will be progressing towards.

So far, the only one I understand is wrong foot body action slingshot glove and pitching arm actions, which is to drive the ball down the acromial line towards home.

The other five I will guess at and have you correct me.

Drill Question List:

Drill 1: (Pickoff Step Body Action; Slingshot Glove and Pitching Arm Actions) Is the point to point the forearm horizontally at second base?  Clarification needed.

Drill 2: (Wrong Foot Body Action; Loaded Slingshot Glove and Pitching Arm Actions):

Drill 3: (Wrong Foot Body Action; Pendulum Swing Glove and Pitching Arm Actions): Learn the pendulum swing and get body mass moving in opposite direction of ballistic pitching arm action. Right/Wrong?

Drill 4: (One Step Crow-Hop Body Action; Pendulum Swing Glove and Pitching Arm Actions): Practice pitching leg motion, perfect upwards section of pendulum swing action. Right/Wrong?

Drill 5: (Wind-Up Body Action; Pendulum Swing Glove and Pitching Arm Actions): can you clarify what you mean by reverse rotation of the shoulders.  I understand that the motion is generating a force in the opposite direction of the ballistic action, but the mechanics of "reverse rotate" remain unclear to me. What is that action supposed to look like.

Drill 6: (Set Position Body Action; Pendulum Swing Glove and Pitching Arm Actions): What mechanical function does "hopping" on the glove foot serve?  I am unsure what you mean by "hopping on the glove foot."  Of all six drills, I understand this one the least.


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

     For your first drill, you can use either my Second Base Pick-off Step body action or my Wrong Foot body action.

     The purpose of using either body action is to teach you to rotate your shoulders such that you have your pitching shoulder pointing at home plate and your glove shoulder pointing at second base. Because Anatomists call the tips of your shoulders acromial processes, I want you to learn how to drive your pitching arm down your acromial line.

     By having your pitching upper arm starting at forty-five degrees to the pitching arm side of home plate, my Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions teaches my baseball pitchers how to 'horizontally rebound' their pitching forearm.

     From this forty-five degree position, my baseball pitchers 'throw' their vertical pitching upper arm inward, such that the pitching hand moves outward into a straight line toward home plate.

     When their pitching hand stops moving laterally, my baseball pitchers 'snap' their pitching hand in straight lines toward home plate.

     Done correctly, through release, your pitching elbow should move upward and backward.

     This 'recoil' action generates the force-coupling of parallel and opposite forces summate to increase the rate of acceleration through release.

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, the rate of acceleration decreases through release.

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

     The only difference from drill #01 is that, instead of starting with your pitching arm forty-five degrees to the pitching arm side of home plate, you point your pitching arm at second base with your pitching hand at driveline height, Driveline height is the height of the pitching hand when you have your pitching arm in the Slingshot position.

     The Loaded Slingshot position teaches you how to 'throw' you pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside your head into the 'horizontal rebound' action. Then, when your pitching hand stops moving laterally, you 'snap' your pitching hand in straight lines toward home plate.

03. Wrong Foot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     The only difference from drill #02 is that, instead of starting with your pitching arm pointing at second base, you pendulum swing your pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height. When your pitching arm is forty-five degrees behind your body, you need to step forward with your pitching foot, such that when your pitching foot lands, your pitching hand has reached driveline height and your pitching arm is in Slingshot position.

04. Drop Out Competitive Pitching Motion; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     The only difference from drill #3 is that, instead of stepping forward with the pitching foot, you step forward with your glove foot.

     For now, do not use the Crow-Hop or Set Position drills.

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0113.  Growth plate fracture

I've spoken to you several times on your stance against competitive youth pitching.

I think you made a terrible mistake not going with Dr Joel Adams' recommendation to allow 2 innings of pitching at the youth level.

Eliminating yourself from youth pitching has done far more harm than good in my opinion.

I get amused when I see you trying to become part of this so called Committee of Experts.

Do you really think these guys are going to let someone who wants to blow up the gravy train that is Little League Baseball onto any committee?

You must have missed the movie, All the Presidents Men. "Follow the Money".

In any event, I recently spoke with a dad whose 13 year old son fractured his growth plate last season after pitching only 5 innings as a 12 yo.

Now I do not know how much he pitched in prior years or how he pitched or his biological age, etc but it was eye opening.

So while I still think you should have gone with Dr Adams' two innings, I think your readers should know that we really don't know how much it takes to fracture a growth plate.

My question is: Would this youngster have fractured his growth plate if his father had ever heard of Dr Mike Marshall (he hadn't) and learned how to avoid bouncing his son's forearm?

We will never know.


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     If I believed that youth baseball pitchers could use my baseball pitching motion without injuries to the pitching elbow, then I would say that my baseball pitching motion prevents injuries in baseball pitchers of all ages.

     Five muscles, including the Pronator Teres muscle, arise from the ossification center of the medial epicondyle.

     As powerful as I want my baseball pitchers to pronate their pitching forearm, I cannot claim that youth baseball pitchers would not injure the ossification center of the medial epicondyle.

     Therefore, I recommend that youth baseball pitchers that are between thirteen and fifteen biological years old pitch twice and once through the line-up every week for eight consecutive weeks.

     However, even with these restrictions, I cannot guarantee that youth baseball pitchers will not suffer pitching injuries.

     Nevertheless, if youth baseball pitchers master my baseball pitching motion and are able to throw my Maxline Fastball, Torque Fastball, Maxline Pronation Curve and Maxline Fastball Sinker for strikes, then I believe that these skilled youth baseball pitchers would suffer fewer pitching elbow injuries with less damage.

     I do not know how Major League Baseball structured the research into injuries to the pitching elbow.

     Unfortunately, if MLB gives money to researchers to determine the causes of pitching elbow injuries, then Major League Baseball will fund research for several years.

     Instead of funding research, I recommend the MLB offer significant cash awards to those that determine the causes of each type of pitching elbow injury and how to prevent them.

     I want to be a member of the 'Committee of Experts' to challenge the group to explain what causes baseball pitchers to lose the extension and flexion ranges of motion in their pitching elbow.

     I assume that this youth baseball pitcher fractured the ossification center of the medial epicondyle.

     Rather than fracturing the ossification center of the medial epicondyle, 'reverse bouncing' the pitching forearm ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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0114.  Growth plate fracture

You completed your answer by writing: "Rather than fracturing the ossification center of the medial epicondyle, 'reverse bouncing' the pitching forearm ruptures the Ulnar Collateral."

In question 41 you wrote: "'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' unnecessarily stresses the growth plate of the medial epicondyle,...."

1. Which is it?

I understand the stress that reverse bouncing places on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament. I thought reverse bouncing could avulse or fracture the Medial Epicondyle growth plate.

It is my view which I thought was your view that the weakest structure gives way first. This is why I've always thought it highly unlikely that a youngster with an open Medial Epicondyle growth plate would ever rupture an Ulna Collateral Ligament. The growth plate would rupture or avulse first.

2. Is the Ulnar Collateral Ligament any more vulnerable with an open Medial Epicondyle growth plate than a fused one?


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01. When baseball pitchers 'reverse bounce' their pitching forearm, they do not contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle. Therefore, in Q/A #0041., I was wrong. 'Reverse Bouncing' the pitching forearm ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Thank you for catching my error.

     I have changed the last paragraph in Q/A #0041 to:

04. Powerfully contracting the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle stresses the growth plate of the medial epicondyle. Therefore, when youth baseball pitchers wince with pressure on the medial epicondyle, I advise parents to immediately stop their youth baseball pitcher from competitively pitching.

     Dr. Adams gave me X-rays of growth plate injuries including one that showed a fractured ossification center for the medial epicondyle. I might have included it in my X-ray section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     The fracture was horizontally through the middle of the ossification center.

     That made me think that the muscles that arise from the lower half of the medial epicondyle cause the fracture.

     The lower two muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle are the Flexor Carpi Ulnaris and the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis.

02. No.

     When the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle contract, they prevent injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament. The ossification center for the medial epicondyle receives all the stress.

     When the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle do not contract as when the youth baseball pitcher 'reverse bounces' their pitching forearm, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament receives all the stress.

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0115.  Rehabbing Arroyo discusses comeback
MLB.com
January 19, 2015

Bronson Arroyo was limited to just 14 starts last season before being shut down in order to have Tommy John surgery, the first time he has landed on the disabled list in his 15 years in the Majors. It snapped a streak of him making at least 29 starts every year since '04.

"It was definitely tough for me," Arroyo said. "I've made my career in this game by my durability."

Arroyo, who will turn 38 in February, is signed through 2015 with a team option for '16. When Arroyo was healthy in '13, he had a 3.79 ERA in 32 starts for Cincinnati.

Arroyo has been rehabbing in Arizona, and he was scheduled to play catch for the first time on Monday. He hopes to return to the mound this summer, with June being an optimistic date, but reasonably in July sometime before the All-Star break.

"I've been beat up and found a way to get on the mound," Arroyo said. "I'm not really worried about it."


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     The article said:

01. "In 2014, Bronson Arroyo started only 14 games. "
02. "Since 2004, Mr. Arreoyo started at least 29 starts every year."
03. "In 2014, Mr. Arroyo had Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery."
04. "In his 15 years in the Majors, this was the first time Mr. Arroyo he has landed on the disabled list."

     I know that 'reverse bvouncing' the pitching forearm tears the connective tissue fibers of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament bit by bit.

     But, to have fifteen years of bit by bit tears before rupturing the Ulnar Collateral Ligament seems improbable.

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0116.  Hochevar eager to return to action with Royals
MLB.com
February 02, 2015

KANSAS CITY, MO: One might think the Royals' magical run to the World Series in 2014 was nothing more than a cruel joke for right-hander Luke Hochevar.

After all, Hochevar, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, had witnessed as many Royals losses as any player on the roster. And then, when the team took the baseball nation by surprise and made the playoffs for the first time since 1985, Hochevar could only observe from the sidelines.

Tommy John surgery shelved Hochevar last March, forcing him to miss the entire season. And all the fun.

But Hochevar is far from bitter.

"It's one of the toughest things I've done because it's what you dream about," he said. "When you get drafted, that's your vision. It's what you see yourself doing, pitching in the World Series.

"But I'd rather experience what we experienced last year like I did, than never experience it at all. It's like I've said before -- I'd rather experience it hurt than never experience it healthy. If my role was to put on my pom poms every night and lose my voice, so be it. It's the stinking World Series. It was great."

And as Hochevar worked through his recovery and pondered his pending free agency, he had little doubt that he wanted to return to the Royals. That deal -- a two-year, $10 million contract -- was finalized in early December.

Hochevar admits now he never really thought about playing for another organization.

"It's all that I know and it's all that I need to know," he said. "When you get to free agency, it's a business, and everything would seem to be greener on the other side. But I knew better. I knew what I had here in Kansas City."

Hochevar's comfort level with general manager Dayton Moore also made the decision to stay that much easier.

"Just knowing Dayton and the type of person he is and how I know he'll put the right people in place [for us to win] made it easy," Hochevar said. "Seeing his vision come to fruition last year was big. I know he's the right general manager and [Ned Yost] is the right manager. Easy decision."

So with that decision behind him, Hochevar has focused on his rehab. He is throwing off the mound now in 30-pitch stints.

"Mostly fastballs and changeups," he said. "I'll probably start throwing curves once we get to spring.

"I'm conditioning my arm. Once Spring Training comes around, they're going to monitor me for a little while, but once they cut me loose, I'll be a regular guy again."

And how long has Hochevar ached to be a "regular guy" again?

"I wanted to nine months ago," he said, laughing. "It's like a pregnant woman -- she wants to get it out, and I want to get back on the mound again."

Hochevar is eager to return to the role he excelled at in 2013, when a shift to the bullpen produced stunning results -- a 1.92 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 70 1/3 innings. He'll help bolster what already is perhaps the strongest bullpen in baseball.

And he vows his arm will be ready by Opening Day.

"To be honest, it feels better than before the surgery," Hochevar said. "It was a daily grind before the surgery. It was always cranky trying to get the arm loose. But now it feels better. It really does feel better than it ever has."


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     The article said:

01. "Luke Hochevar was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft."
02. In March 2014, Mr. Hochevar had Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.

     That it took eight years of bit by bit tearing the connective tissue fibers of his Ulnar Collateral Ligament before Mr. Hochevar ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament seems improbable.

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0117.  Changeup has benefitted Rodon
MLB.com
February 03, 2015

CHICAGO, IL: The exact amount Carlos Rodon threw his changeup over three years at North Carolina State checks in somewhere between never and hardly ever.

With the dominant fastball and wipeout slider possessed by the southpaw, a third pitch wasn't imperative at that particular collegiate level. Then Rodon became the third overall pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, and six of his nine Minor League appearances to follow that same season in the Minor Leagues came as a starter.

Rodon needed to make a change with his repertoire, and his changeup ended up being better than expected.

"I didn't know it was that good until I started throwing it. Then I built confidence with it," Rodon told MLB.com recently of his newly added pitch, which he worked on more directly last year with the Wolfpack and then during bullpens with the White Sox before taking the mound. "You have to throw the pitch. Who knows how many times [Justin] Verlander has thrown his fastball. It's how comfortable he is with it. That's the way you've got to be with the changeup. You throw it as much as you can and you get the feel for it."

"It's a better pitch than people realize," said White Sox director of player development Nick Capra of Rodon's change. "He's a very confident kid. If he needs to master something, he's going to do it. I don't think it's going to be a problem for him."

Stops with the White Sox Rookie League team and at Class A Advanced Winston-Salem and Triple-A Charlotte weren't necessary for Rodon to realize the significance of a third pitch, especially if he has the big league starting rotation targeted for as soon as 2015. It's the difference in Rodon's mind between doing everything he could just to win in college to winning but also developing his talent in the Minors.

Pushing for a fourth pitch certainly isn't a must in Rodon's mind. Not with a slider that can get up to 88-90 mph or drop down to 83-86 mph, where it gets big.

"So, I mean, you shorten it up and you lengthen it," said Rodon of his slider. "It's up to whatever I want to do with it. The slider is almost two pitches in one, essentially.

Too much usage of the slider isn't ideal for a pitcher's arm, which makes the changeup important. Ultimately, it's possessing that big league attitude in the absolute best way, a stark difference from the laid-back Rodon off the field, that might propel the pitcher.

"That's the way I've always been. Just real mellow, sit back and relax," Rodon said. "You and I are having a conversation. I'm not going to jump at you, scare you. I'm not one of those guys. But once I step in between those lines, it's just a different guy."

"You don't want a deer in the headlights," said Capra of Rodon's positive bravado. "You want a guy who has confidence, who stares at the catcher, gets his signs, knows what he's going to do and throws the ball. That's the kind of mentality you want in a kid."


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     White Sox director of player development, Nick Capra, said:

01. "It (change-up) is a better pitch than people realize."
02. "Carlos Rodon is a very confident kid."
03. "If he needs to master something, he's going to do it."
04. "I don't think it's going to be a problem for him."

     When baseball batters anticipate Mr. Rodon's change-up, Mr. Rodon's change-up is a ten mph slower fastball.      To consistently get baseball batters out, baseball pitchers have to throw pitches that, when baseball batters anticipate their baseball pitches, baseball batters are still not able to hit their pitches hard.

     Instead of change-ups, baseball pitchers need to throw reverse breaking pitches.

     That Mr. Rodon throw sliders at slower release velocities with more or less movement means that Mr. Rodon has 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'

     If, as I suspect, Mr. Rodon supinates the release of his slider, then, eventually, Mr. Rodon will have problems with his Pronator Teres muscle and with the loss of the extension and flexion ranges of motion and 'bone' chips and bone spurs.

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0118.  Diamondbacks' Ziegler has Opening Day roster in sights
MLB.com
February 04, 2015

PHOENIX, AZ: Lost amid the rash of Tommy John surgeries that plagued the D-backs' pitching staff last year was the left knee injury that cost veteran reliever Brad Ziegler the final four weeks of the season.

After pitching through the pain for more than two months, Ziegler underwent microfracture surgery in September.

"It's going well," Ziegler said of his rehab. "Dr. [Michael] Lee told me that as far as the microfracture surgeries he's done, I'm further along at the point that I'm at than anyone else that he's been checking up on. So I guess that means ahead of schedule. Hopefully I'll be ready for Opening Day, but if not, barring a setback, it should be shortly after that."

Ziegler has been the most consistent reliever the D-backs have had since he came over in a midseason trade in 2011. He posted an ERA of 1.74 that season in Arizona, and followed it up with a 2.49 mark in 2012 and 2.22 in 2013.

Ziegler will not be ready to throw off a mound when Spring Training begins, but he does hope to be able to participate in some of the early drills.

"I'll do as many drills as I can early on, because with a new manager this year, our bunt plays are going to be different, our pickoff plays are going to be different, so I want to be out there so I'm not behind on that stuff," he said.

As far as his usual throwing program, Ziegler is not that far off. He has been able to play catch overhand, but the challenge will come when he starts to throw from his usual submarine delivery.

While the submarine delivery can put less stress on an arm, it puts more stress on the pitcher's plant leg, which in Ziegler's case is his surgically repaired left one.

So far, Ziegler's cardio work has been limited to jogging on an underwater treadmill and some riding of a stationary bike. Since he's unable to do his usual offseason workout routine, he has worked hard to cut down his usual calorie consumption so as not to gain weight and put even more stress on his legs.

Last year, Ziegler noticed himself falling out of shape after injuring his knee, because the injury prevented him from doing his normal running.

"One of the things that the training staff is really big on is that any time you intake sugar, you're essentially just putting inflammation in your body, and then you have to work extra hard to get it out of there," Ziegler said. "More than anything, I'm just trying to be a lot more conscious about what I'm putting in my body and trying not to gain weight. The whole second half of the season, I just gradually felt like my strength was deteriorating, my conditioning was deteriorating, because I just couldn't physically do the stuff I would normally do in July, August and September."


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     The article said:

01. "Brad Ziegler missed the final four weeks of the 2014 season with his left knee.
02. "Mr. Ziegler pitches with his right arm."
03. "Therefore, Mr. Ziegler injures his glove arm side knee."
04. "After pitching through the pain for more than two months, in September, Mr. Ziegler underwent microfracture surgery."
05. "While the submarine delivery can put less stress on an arm, it puts more stress on the pitcher's plant leg."

     Pitching underhandedly does not decrease the stress on the pitching arm.

     Because underhanded baseball pitchers release their pitches close to the ground, underhanded baseball pitchers have to pull their pitching upper arm across the front of their body and they cannot pronate the release of their breaking pitches.

     However, the sportswriter was right that throwing underhandedly places considerable extra stress on the glove arm side knee.

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0119.  Braves head to camp with rotation questions
MLB.com
February 04, 2015

ATLANTA, GA: Given that they essentially entered this offseason with just three Major League-ready starting pitchers in their entire organization, the Braves are comfortable with the fact that they will be challenged to find Spring Training innings for all of the rotation hopefuls they will bring to camp later this month.

When the Braves began their roster reconstruction process in October, they counted Julio Teheran, Alex Wood and Mike Minor as the only organization members they could reliably place in their rotation to begin the upcoming season. At the same time, they had to account for the fact that Minor had battled left shoulder discomfort the previous six months and had been scratched from what would have been his final start.

Minor said he has been pain-free since beginning his normal preseason throwing program a few weeks ago. But given that the shoulder proved to be a lingering problem all of last year, Atlanta cannot responsibly assume Minor will be in the club's rotation to start the year until he shows he can pitch on a regular basis during Spring Training.

There is also a hint of uncertainty surrounding Wood, who missed his final start after he began feeling some left forearm discomfort during September's final week. But as Wood has consistently thrown at Turner Field over the past week, he has strengthened his assertion that his arm was pain-free just a few weeks after the regular season concluded.

With this being said, the Braves had a definite need to spend the past couple of months gaining the insurance they lacked when Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy were both forced to undergo a second Tommy John surgery during last year's Spring Training.

Atlanta is now dealing with the lingering effect of these elbow injuries suffered by Medlen and Beachy, who will both go elsewhere with the hope that they will beat the odds and prove to be effective pitchers at the Major League level again.

Braves president of baseball operations John Hart and assistant general manager John Coppolella began aggressively addressing their rotation in November, when they acquired potential front-line starter Shelby Miller from the Cardinals.

While the Braves have a decent feel for what they might get from Miller, they will head to Spring Training with an open mind about the other rotation candidates they gained through either trades or free-agent signings this winter.

Veteran Eric Stults, who signed a Minor League contract last week, and top pitching prospect Mike Foltynewicz are the early favorites in the battle to win what is currently the only available spot in Atlanta's rotation.

Stults compiled a 4.10 ERA while logging 379 2/3 innings over 65 starts for the Padres the past two seasons. But the 35-year-old southpaw finished last year strong, posting a 2.74 ERA in his final 11 starts.

Foltynewicz became the Braves' top pitching prospect after he was acquired from the Astros in January. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound flamethrower has tremendous potential, but he has never served as a starter at the Major League level. Time will tell whether he might benefit from the chance to return to the Minors for a little more seasoning and the chance to harness his command.

If Minor or Wood experience any lingering discomfort during Spring Training, there is a chance Stults and Foltynewicz could both begin the season in a rotation that is projected to also include Teheran and Miller.

Atlanta also plans to take a look at Manny Banuelos, who was a highly regarded Yankees prospect before he became injury-plagued in 2011 and ended up missing the '13 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Banuelos seemingly could benefit from more time at the Minor League level. But the Braves have not completely ruled out the possibility of placing him in their rotation to begin the season.

Veteran Wandy Rodriguez will also come to Atlanta's camp as a non-roster invitee. If Rodriguez proves he has distanced himself from the injuries that plagued him the past two seasons, he might win a rotation spot or possibly be used as a trade piece during Spring Training.
br>
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     How are general managers supposed to build pitching staffs when they have no idea what causes pitching injuries?

     The answer is they can't.

     Since 1974, major league general managers have turned their pitching staffs over to orthopedic surgeons.

     How is that plan working?

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0120.  On road to recovery, Withrow looking forward to health
MLB.com
February 04, 2015

LOS ANGELES, CA: Chris Withrow isn't yet healthy enough to play with his toddler, never mind playing with the Dodgers.

The reliever blew out his elbow late last May trying to pick up the slack when Brian Wilson was hurt and inconsistent. Withrow underwent Tommy John reconstruction June 3, then while rehabbing the elbow, a chronic herniated disk in his lower back worsened, and on Dec. 2, he had another operation to fix that.

So the 25-year-old can't even pick up his 17-month-old son and is out indefinitely, perhaps for the entire 2015 season. During last Saturday's FanFest, while his teammates were preparing for the start of Spring Training, Withrow was facing the monotony of double physical therapy and the cheerleading that comes with injuries.

The silver lining, as Withrow sees it, is that just maybe he'll come out of this orthopedic nightmare fully healthy. He can't even remember what that feels like or how long it's been.

Withrow concedes that even before he imploded in a May 17 game at Arizona, his elbow was barking, but manageable. Coming into that game, he had compiled a microscopic 0.95 ERA. He actually had thrown a no-hitter against left-handed hitters, retiring 27 of them without allowing a hit. He finished the season with a 2.95 ERA and opponents' batting average of .143.

But there were telltale signs of trouble, specifically 18 walks in 21 1/3 innings, which was more alarming than the 28 strikeouts were impressive. His walks-per-nine-innings ratio ballooned from 3.4 in 34 2/3 innings in 2013 to 7.6 last year (5.0 throughout his Minor League career).

Withrow said he never felt the elbow go on one specific pitch, but he was tagged for five earned runs against the D-backs (after allowing only two in 18 previous outings). He pitched once more for the Dodgers in New York, then was optioned to Triple-A, but was shut down when he got there and ultimately had the Tommy John surgery.

"The elbow is something I've dealt with for as long as I can remember," said the former first-round Draft pick, who had been pitching with a partially torn ligament. "The MRI told me it had gotten to the point where I couldn't throw anymore. I don't want to use it as an excuse that I pitched hurt, but I will say it will be really nice not having something nagging, something I always had to maintain."

Withrow began a throwing program in November and got good and bad news.

"When I began tossing Nov. 2, my arm felt incredible," he said. "But you know the back has bothered me off and on for years and it had gotten significantly worse. We just felt it made sense to get it taken care of as long as I was already out."

Withrow said a return to competition by the end of the season "I assume is the best-case scenario."

Withrow's absence added to the bullpen's season-long setup woes. Wilson, the quirky former closer, kept getting the ball to set up Kenley Jansen, but without a fastball he became a smoke-and-mirrors junkballer. The Dodgers decided to eat the remaining $10 million on his contract rather than bring him back.

Chris Perez set up well in April, then lost his command and the confidence of the staff. He was left off the postseason roster and is a free agent.

By the end of the season, manager Don Mattingly held a cattle call for right-handed setup relievers, and his lack of confidence in his middle relief presumably set the stage for Clayton Kershaw's two postseason catastrophes.

Withrow's continued health concerns contributed to new management's focus on rebuilding the bullpen during the winter with trades for setup candidates Chris Hatcher, Joel Peralta and Juan Nicasio.


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     The article said:

01. "Chris Withrow blew out his elbow late last May."
02. "Mr. Withrow had been pitching with a partially torn ligament."
03. "On June 03, 2014, Mr. Withrow underwent Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery."
04. "On December 02, 2014, Mr. Withrow has surgery to fix a chronic herniated disk in his lower back."

     Dodger baseball pitchers, Chris Withrow, said:

01. "The elbow is something I've dealt with for as long as I can remember."
02. "The MRI told me it had gotten to the point where I couldn't throw anymore."
03. "I don't want to use it as an excuse that I pitched hurt, but I will say it will be really nice not having something nagging, something I always had to maintain."

     To prevent further discomfort with his pitching elbow, Mr. Withrow needs to pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement and learn how to pronate the release of his breaking pitches.

     To prevent further discomfort in his lower back, Mr. Withrow needs to stand tall and rotate his hips and shoulders forward over his glove foot.

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0121.  Prior gets promotion with Padres
MLB.com
February 04, 2015

SAN DIEGO, CA: Mark Prior was named as the Padres' Minor League pitching coordinator as part of several Minor League staff announcements.

Prior was an assistant in the Padres' baseball operations department last season after officially retiring from the game.

In his first year with the Padres, he was involved in various aspects of baseball operations, including amateur and professional scouting. He also saw several of the team's Minor League clubs. Last fall, he sat down with Preller, who asked him what he wanted to do next.

"I loved what I did, and enjoyed amateur scouting, pro scouting, but I think the one thing I didn't touch on last year was the development side," Prior said. "That's where the dialog started. Things progressed from there."

Prior will be in Arizona when pitchers and catchers report to camp on Feb. 19.


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     My stats and articles guy, Brad Sullivan wrote: "This is how you blow out your arm."

     It does not make any sense for Mr. Prior to teach baseball pitchers how to apply force to their pitches. But, he will be no better or worse than those that were the Minor League pitching coordinators before.

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0122.  Eyeing first full-time rotation spot, Walker faces tough battle
MLB.com
February 04, 2015

SEATTLE, WA: Taijuan Walker remains one of the top young right-handers in baseball, but there is nothing being handed to the talented 22-year-old as the Mariners approach what should be a competitive Spring Training for their final rotation spot.

Walker wrapped up last season on a high note, allowing just four hits and one run over eight innings in his final outing in Toronto. But the Mariners are hoping to see a consistent and healthy Walker from the start this year as they bring eight candidates to battle for five rotation berths when pitchers and catchers report to Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 20.

Manager Lloyd McClendon has indicated four starting spots are solid in his mind. And while he declined to name names, it's pretty clear that Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma, J.A. Happ and James Paxton will open the year in the rotation if things go as planned this spring.

That leaves Walker competing with Roenis Elias, who went 10-12 with a 3.85 ERA in 29 starts last year as a rookie, and Erasmo Ramirez, who allowed just one earned run in 30 innings (0.30 ERA) in the Venezuelan Winter League after a tough 2014 with the Mariners.

"We have several candidates for one spot, in my mind," said McClendon. "Competition is a good thing. You hope at the end of the day in Spring Training, you have real tough decisions to make."

After going 3-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 outings (eight starts) in several stints with Seattle over the past two years, Walker is ready to push for a full-time shot this spring and says the situation is similar to previous years.

"I feel like since I've been drafted, there's always been a lot of depth," said Walker, who was Seattle's supplemental first-round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft out of Yucaipa (Calif.) High School. "We've had a lot of really good arms every year. It's fun competition. You want to go out there and do your best. Pitching against other guys and fighting for that spot brings out the best in everyone."

After Walker arrived at camp with a sore shoulder last spring, the Mariners took steps to slow down the eager youngster this offseason and have him ready when the time comes.

"The thing about Taijuan is he's still growing," said trainer Rick Griffin. "He's still very young. When he lifts weights, he gets big very quickly and he learned that last year. He didn't do anything wrong. His body type is just such that when he lifts weights, he gets big quickly. So we completely changed his routine this offseason.

"He's doing things that basically center around his core, his legs and his cardio. He's not doing a lot of lifting for his upper body other than things he needs to do to maintain his flexibility and his shoulder strength. We feel going into spring that he'll be a lot better off in that way."

Walker made two strong starts in the Arizona Fall League, then chose to shut things down and get rested and ready for 2015. He's back at it now, having thrown several bullpen sessions already and proclaiming everything is on target.

"I'm very excited, especially after last year," he said. "I finished strong, the team looked really good. And with the additions of Nelson Cruz and J.A. Happ, I think this is going to be a fun year."


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     The article said:

01. "Last spring training, Tiajuan Walker arrived at camp with a sore shoulder."
02. "The Mariners took steps to slow down the eager youngster this offseason."

     Mariners athletic trainer, Rick Griffin, said:

01. "The thing about Taijuan is he's still growing."

02. "He's still very young."
03. "When he lifts weights, he gets big very quickly."
04. "He didn't do anything wrong."
05. "His body type is just such that when he lifts weights, he gets big quickly."
06. "So we completely changed his routine this offseason."
07. "He's doing things that basically center around his core, his legs and his cardio."
08. "He's not doing a lot of lifting for his upper body other than things he needs to do to maintain his flexibility and his shoulder strength."
09. "We feel going into spring that he'll be a lot better off in that way."

     Because Mr. Walker cannot prevent his pitching upper arm from moving behind his acromial line, Mr. Walker has front of his pitching shoulder problems.

     To prevent injuries to his pitching shoulder, Mr. Walker needs to learn how to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulders forward over his glove foot.

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

     On Sunday, February 15, 2015, I posted the following questions and answers.

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0123.  Broken bone

Why humerus bone break in pitchers?


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     On May 27, 1999, Tampa Bay Devil Rays baseball pitcher, Tony Saunders, broke the Humerus bone in his pitching upper arm. After Mr. Saunders's broken Humerus bone healed, Mr. Saunders broke the Humerus bone in his pitching upper arm again. This time, Mr. Saunder's fracture was next to his previous fracture.

     Baseball pitchers break the Humerus bone in their pitching upper arm when they take their pitching arm backward with their pitching hand on top of the baseball.

     With their pitching hand on top of the baseball, baseball pitchers are not able to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

     These baseball pitchers are able to only pendulum swing their pitching arm downward and backward to forty-five degrees behind their body.

     To move their pitching hand and baseball to driveline height, these baseball pitchers have to raise their pitching hand and baseball vertically upward.

     When these baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm pointing vertically upward, these baseball pitchers explosively start rotating their hips and shoulders forward.

     With their hips and shoulders explosively rotating forward, their pitching elbow tries to keep up with their shoulders.

     The explosive shoulder rotation causes the pitching forearm to involuntarily move downward.

     I call this injurious flaw: the 'Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     When baseball pitchers combine the 'Pitching Forearm Bounce' with releasing their breaking pitches over the top of their Index finger, such that the pitching hand moves downward, backward and away from their body forming a 'looping' action, these baseball pitchers put considerable stress on the middle of the Humerus bone.

     To prevent fractures to the Humerus bone, baseball pitchers need to take the baseball out of the glove with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball and pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement and release their breaking pitches under their Middle finger.

     To learn how to release their breaking pitches, you need to watch my Football Training Program in my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and master throwing the square lid off a four-gallon bucket such that the lid horizontally toward home plate.

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0124.  A's pointing to June returns for Parker, Griffin
MLB.com
February 08, 2015

OAKLAND, CA: The A's pitching depth undoubtedly figures to be one of their biggest strengths this season. As many as six pitchers will be in competition for just three rotation spots behind Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir, and that group doesn't even include Tommy John patients Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin, who combined for 26 wins in 2013.

On Sunday, manager Bob Melvin and assistant general manager David Forst reiterated that June remains a potential timetable for their returns, barring any setbacks.

But if it was up to Griffin, "I'd be out there right now," the right-hander said on Sunday.

"I don't think I'll be pitching in any games in Spring Training, but I'm just excited to get back out there with the guys and be a ballplayer again."

Griffin will begin throwing bullpen sessions again this week and, to this point, he has been pleased with his progression.

Both Griffin and Parker missed all of 2014 after undergoing Tommy John surgery during Spring Training. Parker was not in attendance at FanFest on Sunday, but Melvin noted they'll be particularly careful in bringing him back, since this is Parker's second time through this process.

"If you have to go through this," said Griffin, "it's good to have someone right there with you who's going through the same thing. It's been good to have him with me during the process."


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     Athletics baseball pitcher, A.J. Griffin, said:

01. "I'd be out there right now."
02. "I don't think I'll be pitching in any games in Spring Training, but I'm just excited to get back out there with the guys and be a ballplayer again."
03. "If you have to go through this, "it's good to have someone right there with you who's going through the same thing."
04. "It's been good to have Jarrod Parker with me during the process."

     Better yet, if Mr. Griffin and Mr. Parker had baseball pitching coach that explained what causes injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, then Mr. Griffin and Mr. Parker could have avoided the Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement.

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0125.  For Tanaka, Elbow Remains a Sore Subject
Wall Street Journal
February 08, 2015

TOKYO, JP: Masahiro Tanaka hasn't been reluctant to talk about what ails him this winter.

The Yankees’ star pitcher spent his off-season barnstorming across television studios and concert stages in Japan. During one appearance, he sought advice for coping with some of the difficulties he has encountered with life in America: the jet lag that comes from playing in four time zones and the need to recover quickly when pitching in a five-man rotation rather than the six-man rotations that he was accustomed to in Japan. He seemed to like one suggestion of eating more inari sushi—a clump of rice stuffed in a pocket of deep-fried tofu—for a quicker recovery. Although Tanaka lamented that it is hard to find in New York.

Amid all the openness, however, there has been little talk of the question that is truly on the minds of Yankees fans: How is his right elbow?

In his debut season last year in New York, Tanaka compiled a 12-4 record before exuberance turned to angst in July when he left a game in Cleveland with elbow pain. He was diagnosed with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament, an injury that often requires reconstructive Tommy John surgery.

Hoping to avoid a procedure that would sideline him 12 to 18 months, he chose a rest and rehabilitation program along with a technique called platelet-rich-plasma therapy. He proclaimed his elbow “fine” and returned to make two starts in late September. But the ulnar collateral ligament cannot repair itself and the PRP therapy is too new and its long-term effectiveness has yet to be determined. This means a cloud of anxiety that he could severely reinjure the elbow will hover over Tanaka every time he steps on the mound.

But as the Feb. 20 spring-training report date for pitchers and catchers nears, there has been little public conversation surrounding Tanaka’s elbow.

The 26-year-old pitcher spent the first half of January working out with some former teammates from the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Okinawa, but the sessions were closed to the media. When he returned to Rakuten’s home city of Sendai to continue training, he invited the media.

Strangely, the elbow received only minimal attention. After a Jan. 22 workout, Tanaka offered his first public comments of the new year, with the local sports dailies reporting that he merely said, “Everything, including my elbow, feels great. I’m confident and ready to go.”

No follow-up questions regarding his elbow were reported but Tanaka did reveal plans to throw less in his second Yankees camp. “Right from the beginning of camp last year, all the pitchers were throwing in the bullpen, but they were just easing into it, so there’s really no reason for me to push myself to throw full throttle before I even get there this time.”

Among the goals Tanaka had for this coming season were to start 30 or more games, pitch 200 innings, and win 12 more games than he loses. All would be tremendous improvements on his injury-shortened rookie season of 20 starts, 136 1/3 innings and a record of eight wins over .500, at 13-5.

But while his words may convey confidence, most observers here give more scrutiny to actions. They either view Tanaka’s willingness to barnstorm as a sign that the elbow feels fine or criticize him for being too flamboyant because he hasn’t yet put up a full season in America.

The Yankees’ failure to make the playoffs last season, coupled with a much later spring-training start in America than in Japan, makes the 146-day layoff the longest off-season Tanaka has ever experienced. He spent his time traveling the country, appearing on no fewer than eight different television programs in the final days of 2014.

One appearance Tanaka made was on a nationally televised sports challenge show designed to flaunt his pitching control.

Inside one of Japan’s many airplane hangar-like indoor practice diamonds, a giant board comprising six rows with six squares each, numbered 1 to 36, was placed behind home plate. Dressed in a mock pinstripe uniform, Tanaka announced in advance which number he was targeting and then pitched off a mound trying to strike it. He began with the self-assurance of a showman, choosing square No. 36 as his target.

The tile was about shin height, the last one on the right of the bottom row—a spot he might aim for if trying to brush a right-handed batter off the plate. He missed, plunking No. 24 instead, two tiles immediately above. He sighed in disappointment, but it was close enough, as were all his misses but one, that the audience of celebrity commentators was impressed.

Tanaka plunked his target with five of his first 15 pitches, but needed his last six tries to hit the bottom-left tile, No. 31. He raised his arms in relief when he finally thumped it, defeating his opponent, a star pitcher from one of Japan’s domestic teams.

While lots of laughs have been a common theme on Tanaka’s off-season circuit, which included an appearance on Japan’s blowout New Year’s Eve TV extravaganza, another has been silence on last year’s injury.

But for all the relief Tanaka may derive from inari sushi, it will take a lot more to put the Yankees and their fans at ease over the health of his right elbow.


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     The article said:

01. "In his debut season last year in New York, Masahiro Tanaka compiled a 12-4 record before exuberance turned to angst in July."
02. "After a game in Cleveland. the Yankees Medical Staff diagnosed Mr. Tanaka with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament."
03. "To avoid Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery, Mr. Tanaka chose a rest, undergo platelet-rich-plasma therapy and rehabilitate his pitching elbow."
04. "However, every time Mr. Tanaka steps on the mound, Mr. Tanaka could severely reinjure his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     That Mr. Tanaka partially tore his Ulnar Collateral Ligament and has not eliminated the injurious flaw in Mr. Tanaka's baseball pitching motion means that Mr. Tanaka is likely to rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Mr. Tanaka needs to pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement and, during the acceleration phase of Mr. Tanaka's baseball pitching motion, Mr. Tanaka needs to contract the muscles that arise from his medial epicondyle.

     In addition, Mr. Tanaka needs to pronate the release of his breaking pitches.

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0126.  Cain upbeat about his ability to bounce back
MLB.com
February 08, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Matt Cain's encouraging self-scouting reports regarding his early attempts to throw bear plenty of credibility. Because Cain can sound sharp as well as supportive about himself.

Joining numerous Giants who participated in media interviews Friday, one day before FanFest, Cain pondered his 10-17 record and 4.06 ERA since the start of the 2013 season. Having preceded that with three All-Star Game selections and a perfect game in 2012 against Houston, Cain refused to accept mediocrity.

"I've underperformed the last year and a half," Cain said. "That's something I don't want to do again."

He might not have to. Cain was mostly upbeat about his recoveries from right elbow surgery, which limited him to 15 starts last year, and a minor procedure on his right ankle. He was especially pleased with his elbow, the site of multiple chips and spurs, which somehow rarely bothered him during his professional career -- until last season.

Cain, who planned to throw 30 pitches Friday at about 60 to 70 percent of his usual effort, considered his situation a "new beginning."

Said the right-hander, "I have the same the range of motion that I had as a kid when I signed with these guys when I was 17."

"You're just excited to be able to contribute," Posey said.

Cain has begun throwing off a mound and expects to be nearly able to participate fully in drills when Spring Training starts.

"That's the longest time I've ever gone without throwing," said Cain, who underwent his elbow surgery in August. "It was a little bit different."

Cain believes that his stuff won't be different when he resumes throwing regularly. Repeating his delivery, a must for any pitcher seeking consistency, will be his top priority.

"Velocity," he said, "is not going to be an issue."


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     The article said:

01. "Matt Cain pondered his 10-17 record and 4.06 ERA since the start of the 2013 season."
02. "With three All-Star Game selections and a perfect game in 2012 against Houston, Mr. Cain refused to accept mediocrity.
03. "Mr. Cain was mostly upbeat about his recoveries from right elbow surgery."
04. "Mr. Cain had multiple chips and spurs in his pitching elbow.
05. "In addition, Mr. Cain had a minor procedure on his right ankle."

     To have multiple pieces of loose hyaline cartilage and multiple bone spurs growing through the openings in the hyaline cartilage, Mr. Cain has repeatedly slammed his olecranon process into its olecranon fossa.

     Unless Mr. Cain learns how to pronate the release of his breaking pitches, Mr. Cain will continue to bang these bones together.

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0127.  Doolittle making progress with shoulder rehab
MLB.com
February 08, 2015

OAKLAND, CA: Rehabbing A's closer Sean Doolittle is encouraged by his progress from a left shoulder injury, but he is still expected to miss the start of the 2015 season.

The southpaw, diagnosed with a slight rotator cuff tear last month, received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection to alleviate inflammation and irritation, and Doolittle told reporters at FanFest on Sunday, "I feel a lot better now than I did."

Doolittle has entered the beginning stages of a strengthening program, doing several range-of-motion stretches as he prepares to throw again. There's no timetable on when that will happen, or when he'll be ready to step on the mound in a regular season game.

"Everything so far has gone really smoothly," Doolittle said. "We're optimistic, but we haven't set a timetable because, based on what the doctors and trainers have said, every issue is kind of different. With PRP, it's all about how your body reacts to it."

In the meantime, all eyes will be on his potential temporary replacement. Tyler Clippard, Eric O'Flaherty and Ryan Cook are the obvious candidates, and manager Bob Melvin said he'll let the competition play out in Spring Training.

"There's a good chance Sean will miss the early part of the season, but boy, we have some depth down there," Melvin said. "You look at the moves we made, depth has been important for us the last few years, and now when you have a guy like Sean that is going to miss some time, to have a Clippard, have an O'Flaherty, have a Cook, a bunch of guys that have done that before, we're in a pretty good spot to not have to rush Sean."

"We've got options," Doolittle added. "There's a ton of depth there, just like there was last year. Obviously the addition of Clippard is going to be huge. He brings quite an impressive track record. We're all really excited about bringing him on board. You look at the guys we're bringing back, too, there's plenty of depth, as much as it hurts to say I might not be missed as much as I thought I was going to be."

Doolittle said he never experienced pain in the shoulder last season, though he was told by doctors and trainers that the anti-inflammatory medicines he utilized for a late-season oblique strain could've potentially masked an issue with his shoulder.

"I start throwing right after New Years, just like normal, and I can't get the ball 90 feet," Doolittle said. "After three or four times of that, it's not just knocking the rust off. Something else is there. That was the really frustrating part.

"It's always scary going through the process of an MRI, because you never know what they're going to find, but it was a big relief that the doctors felt very optimistic and very confident about being able to treat it without surgery."


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     The article said:

01. "Sean Doolittle is encouraged by his progress from a pitching shoulder injury."
02. "Last month, the Athletics Medical Staff diagnosed Mr. Doolittle with a slight rotator cuff tear."
03. "To alleviate inflammation and irritation, the Athletics Medical Staff recommended platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections."
04. "In addition, the Athletics Medical Staff recommended a strengthening program and several range-of-motion stretches.

     Unless Mr. Doolittle learns to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulders forward over his glove foot, Mr. Doolittle will continue to injure his pitching shoulder.

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0128.  Rotation may be among best, but depth an issue
MLB.com
February 09, 2015

ST. LOUIS, MO: Though returning a potential stalwart starting staff, the Cardinals still enter 2015 peppered with questions -- and for some, concerns -- about the depth of those rotation options.

Organization depth has been paramount in the Cards' recent run of four consecutive postseason berths. It helped the club stave off regression when Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Michael Wacha and others were lost for extended periods of time. This club, however, may lack that luxury.

The need to pursue more offense this winter cost St. Louis one established starting pitcher (Shelby Miller) and another (Tyrell Jenkins) on the rise. The Cardinals later explored adding a front-line starting pitcher through the free agent or trade markets before eventually opting to stand pat.

That's because they are bullish on the health of their returning starters and the upside of a pair of young arms. But is that sufficient coverage?

Wainwright, a third-place finisher in the National League Cy Young Award voting after a 20-win 2014, returns to anchor the staff. Behind him sits Lance Lynn, whose recent three-year extension rewarded the right-hander for emerging as a rotation workhouse. John Lackey adds another veteran presence, while Wacha hopes to prove himself as more than an October wunderkind.

Carlos Martinez assumes pole position for the final rotation opening, though Marco Gonzalez and a healthy Garcia could give strong pursuit of that same job. For Martinez, this will be his second straight spring immersed in a starting competition. Last year, he lost out to Joe Kelly, who was traded to the Red Sox in the Lackey deal.

"I feel mentally, emotionally really good that I've had that chance to work real hard there and bring that to Spring Training," said Martinez, who recently wrapped up a winter ball stint in the Dominican Republic. "I feel really good about it."

While high in their hopes for Martinez and Gonzales, the Cardinals must also be realistic. The two have made a combined 18 Major League starts, and neither is ready to carry a full starter's load at that level for an entire season. For Martinez, efficiency issues have stalled his previous attempts to establish himself as a regular starter. He has averaged less than five innings in his eight career starts while posting a 4.86 ERA and a 1.703 WHIP.

While that fifth-starter spot brings some intrigue, health will likely determine how successful this rotation becomes. Wainwright is coming off elbow cleanup surgery and has thrown 519 2/3 innings over the last two seasons. The Cardinals are prepared to back off on the workload.

Wacha returns amid questions about how his right shoulder healed following a stress reaction injury, and Garcia has to prove he can stay healthy after combining for only 16 starts the last two seasons.

"I don't want to be that guy who has to be shut down at a certain point," Wacha said. "I want to be the guy that they can lean on and trust every fifth day to go out there and get a win."


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     The article said:

01. "Adam Wainwright is coming off elbow cleanup surgery."
02. "Mr. Wainwright has thrown 519 2/3 innings over the last two seasons."
03. "The Cardinals are prepared to back off on the workload."

     That Mr. Wainwright needed to clean up his pitching elbow means that Mr. Wainwright supinates the release of his breaking pitches.

     Unless Mr. Wainwright learns how to pronate the release of his breaking pitches, Mr. Wainwright will have medial epicondyle problems and continued loss of extension and flexion ranges of motion.

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0129.  Sabathia hopes to make 30 starts in 2015
MLB.com
February 09, 2015

NEW YORK, NY: CC Sabathia said that his surgically repaired right knee is continuing to feel good through his rehab, and the veteran left-hander is ready to arrive at the Yankees' Spring Training complex in Tampa, Fla., next week.

"It's been forever," Sabathia told ESPN. "Just watching the team last year battle through a lot of injuries, and it was [Derek Jeter's] last year, not being there for the team was really tough. I'm looking forward to getting down to Tampa and getting started."

Sabathia, 34, was limited to just eight starts last year, going 3-4 with a 5.28 ERA before having season-ending surgery in July. The workhorse did not pitch after May 10, but he has been working out regularly at Yankee Stadium and aims to rejoin a rotation that projects to also include Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Capuano.

"That was the shortest year, having my year cut short by injury last year," Sabathia said. "Hopefully this year I can go out and try to make 30 starts and just be healthy and try to help the team win."

Sabathia told ESPN that the Yanks do not necessarily need to name a new captain following Jeter's retirement, and he also said that the team should have no issues welcoming Alex Rodriguez back into uniform after his season-long suspension.

"In the clubhouse, I think he'll be fine," Sabathia said. "Hopefully getting back in the lineup, he can help and produce for us, but I think we'll welcome him with open arms coming back in the clubhouse."

The Yankees have missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, but Sabathia said that there could be October baseball in the Bronx again if players are able to remain on the field and productive.

"I just hope that we can stay healthy," he said. "If we can get everybody healthy and playing all together, I think we'll have a chance to make the playoffs. I think that's our first goal. The goal here is always to get to the World Series and win the World Series, but I think we just have to simplify it and get back to the playoffs first."


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

     Yankee baseball pitcher, CC Sabathia, said:

01. "It's been forever."
02. "Just watching the team last year battle through a lot of injuries was really tough."
03. "I'm looking forward to getting down to Tampa and getting started."
04. "I just hope that we can stay healthy."
05. "If we can get everybody healthy and playing all together, I think we'll have a chance to make the playoffs."
06. "I think that's our first goal."
07. "The goal here is always to get to the World Series and win the World Series."
08. "But, I think we just have to simplify it and get back to the playoffs first."

     I just hope. I think. Get everybody healthy.

     Not much confidence.

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0130.  Logical Order

I have the four gallon plastic bucket lid.

I've chosen to begin with the "Pickoff Step Body Action, Slingshot Glove and Pitching Arm Actions" Drill.

I would like step by step instructions on how to establish the new engram.

Which aspect of the arm sling should I focus on first?  Reverse shoulder rotation?  Being inside of vertical?  Pronating after release and "slinging" the wrist forward?

I want to focus on one thing at a time and make sure I fully understand what I am doing before I end up with a jumbled and confused motion.


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     To make the lid less erratic, you need to wrap duct tape the edges and surfaces of the Lid.

     With my Second Base Pick-off Step body action; Glove and pitching arm actions drill, you start in the 'traditional' set position with your pitching foot parallel with the pitching rubber and your glove foot one step in front of the pitching rubber also parallel with the pitching rubber.

     To start, you raise both arms to shoulder height pointing away from your body.

     Next, you bend your pitching elbow to ninety degrees and raise your pitching upper arm to point vertically upward.

     Next, you turn your shoulders ninety degrees to face toward second base.

     Next, as you step toward second base, you point your pitching forearm forty-five degrees to the pitching arm side of home plate and reach as far backward with your pitching forearm as you are able.

     Next, when your pitching foot lands, you 'throw' their vertical pitching upper arm inward, such that the pitching hand moves outward into a straight line toward home plate.

     Next, when your pitching hand stops moving laterally, you simultaneously 'slingshot' your pitching hand in a straight line toward home plate and you move your glove hand to tightly against your glove shoulder such that you reverse rotate your glove shoulder away from second base.

     I call the 'slingshot' action, the 'horizontal rebound.'

     You need to drive your pitching arm down your acromial line.

     Done correctly, after you extend your pitching elbow, your pitching elbow should move upward and backward.

     This 'recoil' action generates the force-coupling of parallel and opposite forces summate to increase the rate of acceleration through release.

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0131.  Cunningham key to Coastal Carolina' success
MyrtleBeachOnline.com
February 11, 2015

CONWAY, AR: Alex Cunningham has thrown only 30 innings in his collegiate career, has pitched in only nine games and none since April of 2013.

But the hard-throwing right-hander enters this baseball season as one of the most pivotal and important players on the Coastal Carolina roster as he prepares to take the mound for the Chanticleers’ opener Friday afternoon against Old Dominion inside new Springs Brooks Stadium.

Chants coach Gary Gilmore admits he doesn’t have the pitching puzzle entirely figured out yet – and with so many unproven options and so few known commodities on this team, well, those answers may take weeks or months still – but he knows he needs Cunningham to be a big part of it.

Simply put, if Coastal Carolina is going to have a bounce-back season this year, its newly minted ace needs to as well.

“We simply don’t have a person at this point that’s better than him, that has better stuff than him, that has any experience at all,” Gilmore said this week. “So even though he’s one of the lesser experienced guys to a large degree because of the injury, his stuff is very good. He needs to be able to do the job to a certain level for us, and my whole thing with him is he hopefully learns from things that don’t go right and we get better every time out.”

That injury, a fracture at the tip of his pitching elbow, cost Cunningham one and a half seasons and has kept the Coastal Carolina coaches waiting to see his full potential come to fruition.

Of course, though, nobody has been more frustrated about that than Cunningham himself.

“It’s been a long time coming. I’ve been out for more than a year. Just to get back out on the field with everybody, it’s a good feeling,” he said Tuesday before practice. “I’m real excited about it, I’m excited about getting in this new stadium.”

The Chants in general are looking for a fresh start in their new ballpark after going 24-33 last season and missing the NCAA tournament for the first time in eight seasons.

As for Cunningham, he too is ready to turn all his focus forward.

He was off to a solid start as a rookie two springs ago, posting a 2-1 record and 3.30 earned-run average in five starts and four relief appearances. Pitching against Liberty in his last game before the injury, he had taken a no-hitter into the fifth inning. He’d allow a one-out hit and finish the inning before exiting the game, and he’s been waiting his chance to get back into action ever since.

Cunningham underwent surgery on the elbow in June 2013 and later suffered an infection from the screws holding the bone together. That cost him five to six extra months of recovery and removed any chance of him returning late last season as initially hoped.

The third-year sophomore ramped up his throwing program over the summer, though, felt strong through fall practice and says he’s hitting 94 on the radar gun again and feeling like he did before the injury – both physically and mentally.

“I feel I’m 100 percent now,” he said. “By the end of fall intrasquads, I was feeling pretty good, had my confidence back, had the velocity back, had the endurance back. So I feel pretty good.”

Regaining that confidence, he said, was the biggest part of the process.

“It was hard, but you could see him grow as a kid and I think he found out if he really loved it or not,” Chants pitching coach Drew Thomas said. “And throughout that process, he found out that he really did.”

For his part, Gilmore says he has plenty of confidence in the right-hander as well. And while it may be a lack of options that has him throwing the relatively inexperienced starter into a marquee role this spring, he believes that same potential the coaches have always seen in the former Byrnes High School standout and his big arm is still ready to emerge.

More to the point, Gilmore feels that’s what needs to happen for this team to shore up its rotation and get back to the program’s more familiar winning ways.

“He was a guy as a freshman that would have been an heir apparent guy if he had been able to follow suit health-wise,” Gilmore said. “He’d have been probably our Sunday starter last year. Missing the whole year, it’s frustrating for him and for us that experience-wise he’s not at that point right at this moment. But health-wise, his arm is very sound and very good, he’s been throwing the ball pretty well.

“He’s been around the program for three years now so he’s watched and seen a lot, but still until you get out there and experience some of it and deal with the things that go on, we’ll just have to see. [But] I have all the confidence in the world in him. He’s a great competitor. He’s a strike thrower for the most part and he competes. I can’t say anything more complimentary than the fact that he competes.”

As for the rest of the rotation, Gilmore and Thomas said they plan to go with sophomore righty Chase Adkins as the Saturday starter initially. Adkins was 1-5 with a 4.24 ERA in 57 1/3 innings last season, but he at least has some experience in the role.

The only pitcher on the roster to start at least five games last year and post an ERA under 4.00 is senior lefty Austin Kerr, who was 2-3 with a 3.41 ERA in eight starts and 11 relief appearances. And Gilmore wants to use his most experienced arms, like Kerr, to fortify the bullpen and try to borrow from the formula the Kansas City Royals used to reach the 2014 World Series.

So beyond Cunningham and Adkins, at least initially, the Chants will mix and match their available pitchers in deciding who starts on Sundays and midweek games.

“Sunday starter and Tuesday starter, they’re just going to be ‘TBA’ all year until some guys get some innings under their belt and we figure out who can get it done in a real game,” Gilmore said. “It’s one thing to come out here in intrasquads and play; we just don’t have anyone right at this moment with a track record on the pitcher’s mound of having great success as a starting pitcher. Between injuries and turnover, that’s just kind of where we’re at at this moment. It doesn’t mean we don’t have great ability.”

So the Chants will send Cunningham to the mound Friday afternoon and hope he can take the first step toward answering at least one of the questions facing Gilmore and this young team.

And for what it’s worth, he believes he’s ready to do just that. After all, he’s been waiting more than a year and a half for this.

“I just want to be the rock for my team, I want to get the weekends started off right every Friday … hopefully with a win,” Cunningham said. “Whether it goes on my record or someone else’s, I just want to contribute to a win that day and just be a rock, be the guy that everyone’s looking up to.


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     The article said:

01. "Alex Cunningham was off to a solid start as a rookie two springs ago."
02. "Mr. Cunningham posted a 2-1 record and 3.30 earned-run average in five starts and four relief appearances."
03. "Pitching against Liberty in Mr. Cunningham's last game before the injury, he had taken a no-hitter into the fifth inning."
04. "Mr. Cunningham had allow a one-out hit and finish the inning before exiting the game."
05. "Mr. Cunningham has been waiting his chance to get back into action ever since."
06. "That injury, a fracture at the tip of his pitching elbow, cost Mr. Cunningham one and a half seasons."
07. "In June 2013, Mr. Cunningham underwent surgery on the elbow."
08. "Later, Mr. Cunningham suffered an infection from the screws holding the bone together."
09. "That cost Mr. Cunningham five to six extra months of recovery."

     In Q/A #0123, I answered a question about what causes baseball pitchers to break the Humerus bone in their pitching upper arm.

     In this article, a college baseball pitchers broke the elbow end of his Ulna bone.

     Over the past few years, several major league baseball pitchers have suffered the same broken bone.

     In all these broken bones, these baseball pitchers supinated the release of their breaking pitches.

     Releasing breaking pitches over the top of the Index finger causes baseball pitchers to decrease the extension and flexion ranges of motion, removes hyaline cartilage from the olecranon fossa, causes bone spurs and breaks the Humerus and Ulna bones.

     That is why I say that the first skill baseball pitchers have to master is how to pronate the release of the breaking pitches.

     Mr. Cunningham does not know how to pronate the release of his breaking pitches.

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0132.  Richards hoping to be cleared for bullpen sessions
MLB.com
February 11, 2015

ANAHEIM, CA: Angels starter Garrett Richards ran with his full body weight for the first time on Tuesday, then did it again on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the 26-year-old right-hander will visit with Angels doctors in hopes of getting cleared to throw his first bullpen session on Monday, three days before pitchers and catchers report for their physicals.

"He had an ear-to-ear smile," physical therapist Keith Kocher said. "He said he felt like a baseball player again."

Richards is in the final stages of his recovery from a ruptured left patellar tendon, which he suffered while covering first base on Aug. 20, and has been rehabbing with Kocher at Physiotherapy in Tempe, Ariz., since the second week of October.

Richards started playing catch in early December and has been running on an anti-gravity treadmill since the second week of January, continually using more of his own body weight until he ran without any assistance on Tuesday.

Richards is targeting a return by Opening Day, but the Angels will be cautious with him in Spring Training.

Getting off the mound will be his big test, and could present a major mental hurdle.

"At first, I thought landing on my landing leg was going to be a problem and thought it was going to take a lot of getting used to," Richards said last week. "But since I've been playing catch for the last few months, it's only progressively gotten easier. It's gotten more comfortable. Areas where I felt I was weak have become stronger.

"It's going to be a little weird from the get-go, but I don't think it's going to affect me in the long run, I don't think it's going to take very much time for me to get back there and do what I do."


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

     The article said:

01. "Garrett Richards is in the final stages of his recovery from an injured patellar tendon."
02. "While covering first basae on August 20, 2014, Mr. Richard rupture his pateller tendon in his glove knee."
03. "Since the second week of October 2014, Mr. Richards has been rehabbing with physical therapist, Keith Kocher at Physiotherapy in Tempe, AZ."

     The patellar tendon includes tendon from the Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Medialis and Vastus Intermedialis muscles.

     It is a very powerful tendon.

     However, like the Achilles tendon and the short head of the Biceps Femoris muscle, a co-contraction causes the Patellear tendon to rupture.

     That is why athletes need to regularly practice what seem to be simple skills.

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0133.  Rice pitcher Stephens takes big step in Tommy John recovery
Houston Chronicle
February 11, 2015

Rice has taken a cautious approach in bringing along top pitcher Jordan Stephens from reconstructive elbow surgery.

Stephens threw off a mound Tuesday night for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last spring.

“He threw beyond anything we could have possibly hoped for the first time out,” coach Wayne Graham said.

Stephens averaged 92 miles per hour on his velocity, topping out at 94 in the session that did not include facing any hitters. Graham said the report on Stephens’ bullpen was that his curveball was “excellent.”

“He didn’t even throw that hard (before the injury),” Graham said.

The Owls have not set a timetable for Stephens’ return, although he was not expected to be available before April.

Even after Tuesday’s encouraging outing, Graham said he’s still not sure when the pitcher will make his season debut.

“We don’t know,” Graham said. “It’s all up to him and his doctors. I’m not going to hold him back if he’s ready to go.”


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     The article said:

01. "For the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last spring, Jordan Stephens threw off a mound Tuesday night.
02. "Mr. Stephens averaged 92 miles per hour on his velocity."
03. "Mr. Stephens topped out at 94 miles per hour."
04. "Coach Wayne Graham said that Mr. Stephen's curveball was “excellent.”

     When baseball pitchers release their breaking pitches over the top of their Index finger, they cannot contract their Pronator Teres muscle.

     Therefore, even if these baseball pitchers contract the other muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle, they can injure their Pronator Teres muscle or their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Once again, we learn why the first skill baseball pitchers need to master is pronating the release of their breaking pitches.

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0134.  Wildcats' pitcher Troupe adjusting to life after Tommy John surgery
SBNation.com
February 11, 2015

One of the faces of the 2012 National Champion Arizona Wildcats team was closer Mathew Troupe. The hard-throwing freshman had his distinctive look, and the stuff to back it up as he finished games en route to the school's fourth national championship.

Well, three years later, now an experienced, more mild-mannered senior, Troupe is back, and has a new elbow ligament as well.

After undergoing Tommy John Surgery just a couple of weeks into the season and missing basically all of 2014, the senior is back on the mound, with a new delivery, but the same stuff.

The former closer-now-setup-man faced live hitting for the first time on Tuesday, February 3rd, and has now pitched to batters three times, including a dominant inning against the NC Dinos this Tuesday.

"The main thing about that first outing was being able to let the ball go without reserving myself," Troupe said. "And it went well. I was hitting 91 (MPH) pretty consistently. So that was a great sign in that aspect."

Troupe was a guy who sat in the low 90s in his pre-TJ surgery days, so not losing any velocity on his fastball in his first live session is very impressive.

"It was a very weird feeling. It felt like I hadn't been there in six years."

Troupe's elbow injury last season was just one of many things that didn't go Arizona's way early in the 2014 season. The coaching staff was kind of counting on him to be a guy in the weekend starting rotation. A lot of leadership went away when Troupe was unable to pitch anymore as well.

He actually suffered the injury in October of 2013, but he opted to go the rehab route instead of immediately getting surgery, sort of like Mets pitcher Matt Harvey.

But the time came in February when it was obvious he wasn't going to be able to work through it and opted to have the surgery.

"It wasn't easy," Troupe said of that decision. "It almost felt like I was quitting on the team, even though that obviously wasn't the case. What can you do when you have a torn elbow? But that really was the feeling. Those first few weeks were tough. That first month really did hurt. Just the fact that I couldn't fight with them. I've gotten my butt kicked a lot here at this school, but at that point, you kind of miss it, because at least you're out there, you're trying. You're on the mound helping the team, and I physically couldn't do it. So that first month, it definitely was not easy."

"We struggled obviously, but then I kind of took it as a challenge."

Part of the rehab process for Troupe has been relearning pitching mechanics, with the help of teammate Xavier Borde.

"Borde has been digging deep into the pitching mechanics for a while, and I used to just brush it off," Troupe joked. "And he would tell me 'You're doing some things wrong' and I would say 'No, I've been having success, I don't need to listen to you.' And that was extremely ignorant on my part."

"As a pitcher, there are certain mechanical things you have to do to stay healthy," Borde explained. "After my freshman year I went up and learned a few things at this camp I went to, and I was enlightened with how much I learned there, and how I could throw and throw and throw and my arm never got sore. And I saw (Troupe)'s mechanics, and I knew he'd be prone to becoming sore and hurting his arm, which he eventually did. So once I filled him in on that, and when he got hurt, he was like wow, maybe I was right."

"So he kind of listened to me more and started buying into what I was teaching him," Borde said through a smile. "As he was rehabbing I tried to help him out and show him mechanical things that could help him. And he's doing 'em and he says he feels great and his arm's not hurting him."

"So ever since then, I've been talking to him, and he's really opened my eyes to some of the pitchers like Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens," added Troupe. "There's reasons that they pitch so long into their careers without significant arm issues. So just breaking down those guys' mechanics."

"I fixed a lot of stuff," Troupe continued. "I really dug deep and learned, learned how to actually pitch. Not just go up there and throw as hard as I can. So with that aspect, I think it'll make me better."

"His arm was kind of late," added Borde. "But now it's clean and looks really good now. But when his front foot would land, his arm was not in the healthy position to throw. I kind of compare it to lifting in the weight room. There's proper ways to exercise. A lot of these guys that hurt their shoulders and tear their Tommy John ligaments, they're doing something that is causing that. It's not always an overuse issue. Usually it's a combination of many things. And that's kind of what I saw with Troupe."

Tyler Crawford, another pitcher on the Arizona staff, tore his elbow ligament this fall, and had to opt for surgery. And he went straight to the source for what decision needed to be made.

"He asked me, and this is the situation I'm in, and I've been through it, and what do I do," recalled Troupe of the conversation they had. "And I told him you don't want to be on that mound not pitching at a hundred percent. In hindsight, I probably should have gotten surgery in October, so I knew that feeling. And I told him, you don't want to be in that position. Mentally it's going to kill you, knowing that you don't have it. Yeah, you're being competitive and being tough, but it's just not the smart thing to do. So I said you need to get it sooner than later."

There's a little Tommy John club on the Arizona team now, as freshman righty Kaleb Roper from New Orleans came into this season after having the surgery last year.

"All three of us have our little Tommy John posse," Troupe said while laughing. "Not too proud of it, but we've got our little clique. But we get to help each other out and bounce some stuff off each other which is nice."

The plan is to use Troupe one inning at a time early in the season, and if the opportunity presents itself, he will pitch during this first weekend against Eastern Michigan. Less than a year after undergoing the surgery, and with new mechanics, the senior will be out to prove that he is back, and out to show MLB scouts that he's worthy of being drafted high in this year's MLB Draft.


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     The article said: 01. "After undergoing Tommy John Surgery just a couple of weeks into the season and missing basically all of 2014, senior Mathew Troupe is back on the mound, with a new delivery, but the same stuff."

02. "Mr. Troupe suffered the injury in October of 2013, but he opted to go the rehab route."
03. "But the time came in February when it was obvious he wasn't going to be able to work through it>" 04, "So, Mr. Troupe opted to have the surgery."
05. "With the help of teammate Xavier Borde, Mr. Troupe has been relearning pitching mechanics."
     Wildcat baseball pitcher, Mathew Troupe, said: 01. "Mr. Borde has been digging deep into the pitching mechanics for a while." 02. "I used to just brush it off." 03. "Mr. Borde would tell me 'You're doing some things wrong' and I would say 'No, I've been having success, I don't need to listen to you.'" 04. "That was extremely ignorant on my part."

     Wildcat baseball pitcher, Xavier Borde, said:

01. "As a pitcher, there are certain mechanical things you have to do to stay healthy."
02. "After my freshman year, I went up and learned a few things at this camp I went to."
03. "I was enlightened with how much I learned there, and how I could throw and throw and throw and my arm never got sore."
04. "I saw (Troupe)'s mechanics, and I knew he'd be prone to becoming sore and hurting his arm, which he eventually did."
05. "So once I filled him in on that, and when he got hurt, he was like wow, maybe I was right."
06. "So he kind of listened to me more and started buying into what I was teaching him."
07. "As he was rehabbing, I tried to help him out and show him mechanical things that could help him."
08. "And he's doing 'em and he says he feels great and his arm's not hurting him."
09. "His arm was kind of late."
10. "But now, it's clean and looks really good now."
11. "But, when his front foot would land, his arm was not in the healthy position to throw."
12. "I kind of compare it to lifting in the weight room."
13. "There's proper ways to exercise."
14. "A lot of these guys that hurt their shoulders and tear their Tommy John ligaments, they're doing something that is causing that."
15. "It's not always an overuse issue."
16. "Usually it's a combination of many things."
17. "And that's kind of what I saw with Troupe."

     So, Mr. Troupe did not 'reverse bounce' his pitching forearm.

     It was just a combination of many things.

     Got it.

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0135.  Corbin sticking to Diamondbacks' program in elbow rehab
MLB.com
February 11, 2015

PHOENIX, AZ: D-backs ace Patrick Corbin has been playing catch from a distance of 105 feet as he continues his recovery from last spring's Tommy John surgery.

Corbin, who is back in Arizona working out at the team's Spring Training facility at Salt River Fields, actually began playing catch toward the end of last season, before taking a planned two months off and starting up again in January.

"When I first started throwing, it wasn't feeling the best, there was just different things in there," said Corbin. "But after I took those two months off, when I started up again, everything felt great. Now when I throw, it feels good."

Whereas the recovery time from Tommy John surgery is commonly around 12 months, the D-backs are taking things a bit slower with their pitchers after watching Daniel Hudson suffer a re-tear of his ulnar collateral ligament in 2013. Now, the club looks at it as more of a 15-month recovery period.

"[Head athletic trainer] Ken Crenshaw is always telling us that even if you're feeling great, just stay normal and stay at the same pace and not overdo it," Corbin said. "So that's something to always keep in mind."

Corbin was diagnosed with the torn ligament the day before the D-backs departed for Sydney, Australia, for their 2014 regular-season opener against the Dodgers. Corbin had been set to start Opening Day after going 14-8 with a 3.41 ERA in 2013.

This spring, rather than preparing for an Opening Day start, he'll be continuing his long-toss program, moving back 15 feet each week until he gets to 150 feet. Then he might be able to throw flat-ground bullpen sessions.

After that, well, Corbin is trying not to get too far ahead of himself.

"I honestly don't know the schedule and what the next steps are, other than just every week we're going back in distance," he said. "When it gets a little closer to when I'm on the mound, I think that's when I'll start asking those questions. I'm just trying to follow the program. Everybody is telling me that they're going to take it slow and it will be somewhere around June. We'll just see how it starts going when I actually get back on a mound."


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     The article said:

01. "The day before the D-backs departed for Sydney, Australia, the Diamondback Medical Staff diagnosed Patrick Corbin with the torn ligament."
02. "After going 14-8 with a 3.41 ERA in 2013, Mr. Corbin had been set to start Opening Day."
03. "Whereas the recovery time from Tommy John surgery is commonly around 12 months, the D-backs are taking things a bit slower."
04. "In 2013, Daniel Hudson re-tore of his ulnar collateral ligament."
05. "Now, the club looks at it as more of a 15-month recovery period."

     If Mr. Hudson has completed my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, then Mr. Hudson would have not only not re-tore his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, Mr. Hudson would have been ready to competitively pitch in six months.

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

     On Sunday, February 22, 2015, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0136.  Logical Order

I have begun the lid throws.

However, they seem to be sailing vertically as opposed to horizontally.

1. Is the bottom of the lid supposed to face upwards as it sails?

It seems so from the video but since the film is not slowed, it is difficult to tell.


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01. No, you throw the Lid with the top of the Lid on top.

     To 'horizontally sail' the Lid, you start with the tip of your middle finger into one of the four corners on the top of the Lid.

     After you 'horizontally rebound' your pitching forearm, you drive your pitching forearm horizontally over the top of your head, such that the Lid barely misses the top of your head.

     To do this action, you start by inwardly rotating your pitching upper arm.

     When your pitching forearm is perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate, you extend your pitching elbow.

     When you are about to release the Lid, you powerfully drive the tip of your middle finger through the top of the Lid, such that you inwardly rotate (pronate) your pitching forearm.

     Done correctly, after you release the Lid, your pitching elbow should 'pop' upward and the palm of your pitching hand should face away from your body.

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0137.  Ottavino used metrics to improve last season
MLB.com
February 12, 2015

DENVER, CP: The metrics tell Rockies right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino to go for the high hard one.

Appearing on "MLB Now Presented by the U.S. Army" on MLB Network, Ottavino said he learned over the course of last season that the Coors Field mantra, "Keep the ball down," has its limits. Ottavino finished last season 1-4 with a 3.60 ERA in 65 innings over 75 appearances, with a solid season marred by a 10.80 ERA during a June slump. Part of Ottavino's righting himself came with an adjustment he made after studying some trends.

"I started pitching a little up [in the strike zone] more in the second half, especially above the zone with two strikes, and I felt like it paid off well for me," Ottavino said.

Ottavino, who recently signed a one-year contract worth $1.3 million to avoid arbitration, said he still believes in pitching down in the zone, which was preached to him early in his career with the Cardinals and now with the Rockies. With a strong slider, Ottavino will continue to work the bottom of the zone. But with hitters -- especially left-handers --- anticipating low strikes in recent years, Ottavino used observation and modern research tools to devise a counter plan.

"My fastball was just getting hit too much and I felt like I've always been a pitcher that succeeds actually with my fastball up in the zone," Ottavino said. "First I researched online. I think I read an article on Fangraphs about [the Athletics'] Sean Doolittle utilizing the high fastball, saw some quotes from some hitters saying they just couldn't get on top of it. I tried to implement that into my game.

"I also paid attention to guys like Lance Lynn and Jordan Zimmermann. They're doing similar things. That area, that's like a strike, but just a little bit too high. It yields a lot of weak popups and swings and misses."

Statistically, Ottavino said he self-evaluates based on stats such as strikeouts, strikeout percentage, line-drive percentage and walk percentage.

"Those to me really dictate how you're pitching and how the league is responding to your pitches," Ottavino said.

On pitching at Coors Field, where the atmosphere can affect a pitcher's grip, Ottavino said he sees no reason for pitchers not to be allowed to use pine tar because it just helps with grip but doesn't actually affect the flight of the ball.


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     The article said:

01. "Adam Ottavino learned over the course of last season that the Coors Field mantra, "Keep the ball down," has its limits."
02. Mr. Ottavino had a solid season."
03. "However, a 10.80 ERA in June marred his season."
04. "Mr. Ottavino righted himself by studying some trends."
05. "Mr. Ottavine started pitching a little up [in the strike zone] more in the second half, especially above the zone with two strikes.

     Baseball batters that swing under high fastballs are baseball batters that use their front arm to start and finish their swing.

     Baseball batters that start and finish their swings with their rear arm will hit the high fastball far.

     Mr. Ottavino needs to watch the opponents batting practice and learn which batters use their rear arm to start and finish their swings and not throw them high fastballs.

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0138.  Coach and players discuss injury
Florala.net
February 12, 2015

Much like the sport of football deals with concussions, the sport of baseball deals with an increasing number of elbow and shoulder injuries among pitchers. The most common and most well-known of these injuries is the tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in the elbow.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews labeled the increase in UCL injuries as an “epidemic.” Before the first month of the 2014 baseball season ended, 14 major league pitchers required surgery to repair the torn ligament in their elbows. And the number only increased as the season went along.

“We feel (a pitcher has) so many throws in his arm and if they have thrown a lot of innings in travel ball, league play then high school, eventually the arm will break down,” said head coach Mike Keehn. “Because they are not resting or specializing, they are throwing more pitches than needed.”

To repair the UCL, pitchers must undergo a procedure known as Tommy John surgery. Pitchers have dealt with elbow injuries since the beginning of baseball, but it was not until 1974 that a procedure was developed to repair a torn UCL.

That year, orthopedic surgeon and Los Angeles Dodgers team physician Dr. Frank Jobe performed the first successful reconstructive surgery on pitcher Tommy John, whom the surgery is named after.

Since Jobe, the leading orthopedic surgeon in reconstructive surgeries has become Andrews who has written multiple books, prepared various studies, and made many speeches about the increasing wear and tear on pitchers’ arms.

Andrews, also the founder of the American Sports Medicine Institute, performed Tommy John surgeries on many high-profile pitchers: C.C. Sabathia, John Smoltz, Matt Moore and Matt Harvey.

Andrews, through the American Sports Medicine Institute, released a statement in July of 2014 regarding the institute’s stance on the increase in elbow injuries.

Research has shown the amount of competitive pitching and pitching while fatigued are strongly linked to injury, according to the Institute.

Andrews said young pitchers are throwing too hard and too often. The amount of pitches thrown by young pitchers today is wearing down the arms to the point of extreme injury.

Major League teams and orthopedic surgeons are not the only ones concerned with the spike in Tommy John surgeries. The injuries have increased at the high school and college levels as well.

“(Pitchers) have to stick to the protocol and not do more than you’re supposed to do on that particular day,” said junior pitcher Austin Carpenter. “We have to be patient.”

Parents pushing kids’ arms too hard and too fast is also contributing to the increase in injures, Keehn said.

“We also feel that with the radar gun, parents are obsessed with kids’ velocity. So they are throwing max effort all the time, and anything you do at its maximum every day will break down,” he said.

Young pitchers throwing particular pitches before their arms have matured is also a concern of Keehn’s and Andrew’s.

“Another factor is pitchers throwing curveballs before they have matured and are not being taught the correct way to throw a curveball,” Keehn said. “Dr. Andrews, who is the best orthopedic surgeon in the world, says no player should throw a curveball until they can shave.”

Unless youth league coaches and parents begin to understand the problem, the problem will not go away, officials said.

“Dr. Andrews has been putting information out regarding overuse and rest and limiting playing time in all youth programs. The problem is the parents and coaches are not adhering to his advice,” Keehn said. “(Parents and coaches) are convinced (players) have to specialize at a young age in order to play at the collegiate or professional level. The information indicates the multisport athletes do better and that develops the body much better than just working on one sport year round.”


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     Head coach Mike Keehn, said:

01. “We feel (a pitcher has) so many throws in his arm and if they have thrown a lot of innings in travel ball, league play then high school, eventually the arm will break down.”
02. “Because they are not resting or specializing, they are throwing more pitches than needed.”

     I don't know Mike Keehn is or what his credentials are, but what Mr. Keehn says is wrong.

     Saying that, in their lifetimes, baseball pitchers have only so many throws in the pitching arm is like saying long distance runners have only so many miles in their lifetimes.

     Baseball pitchers injure themselves with how they apply force to their pitches.

     If baseball pitchers eliminated those injurious flaws, then these baseball pitchers are able to throw baseballs as long as they have the substrate needed for muscle contractions.

     Rest means atrophy of fitness. Instead of resting, baseball pitchers need to throw baseballs every day much like long distance runners go for a jog every day.

     The article said:

01. "To repair the UCL, pitchers must undergo a procedure known as Tommy John surgery."
02. "Pitchers have dealt with elbow injuries since the beginning of baseball."
03. "But, it was not until 1974 that a procedure was developed to repair a torn UCL."
04. "That year, orthopedic surgeon and Los Angeles Dodgers team physician Dr. Frank Jobe performed the first successful reconstructive surgery."
05. "Orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews labeled the increase in UCL injuries as an “epidemic.”
06. "Before the first month of the 2014 baseball season ended, 14 major league pitchers required surgery to repair the torn ligament in their elbows."
07. "And the number only increased as the season went along."

     In 1974, only one major league baseball pitcher ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Therefore, all the recommendations that Dr. Andrews and other have made to prevent injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament have increased injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     The article said:

01. "Parents pushing kids’ arms too hard and too fast is also contributing to the increase in injures."
02. "Young pitchers throwing particular pitches before their arms have matured is also a concern."
03. "Unless youth league coaches and parents begin to understand the problem, the problem will not go away."

     Until youth baseball pitcher become sixteen years old biologically, the growth plates in their pitching elbow remain vulnerable to injury.      Therefore, until youth basebase pitchers are biologically sixteen years old, I recommend that youth baseball pitchers competitively pitch twice and once through the line-up per week for two consecutive months per year.      Until youth baseball pitchers are biologically thirteen years old when the growth plates at the elbow end of the Humerus bone have matured, I recommend that youth baseball pitchers complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Acquisition program to master my injury-free baseball pitching motion and the variety of pitches youth baseball pitchers need to succeed in youth baseball games.

     Head baseball coach, Mike Keehn, said:

01. “Another factor is pitchers throwing curveballs before they have matured."
02. "Youth baseball pitchers are not being taught the correct way to throw a curveball.”
03. “Dr. Andrews says no player should throw a curveball until they can shave.”

     Coach Keehn has no idea what the correct way to throw a curveball is.

     Adolescent males do not develeop facial hair until they are biologically sixteen years old.

     However, when youth baseball pitchers are biologically sixteen years old, these young baseball pitchers will still injure their pitching elbow and more.

     I recommend that pre-teen future baseball pitchers master my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     When baseball pitchers of all ages learn how to pronate the release of their curveball, they will not injure the pitching elbow.

     To summarize, Dr. Andrews has no idea what he is talking about. Therefore, Coach Keehn has no idea what he is talking about.

     Until those that teach baseball pitchers of all ages teach my baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers will continue to suffer pitching injuries.

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0139.  Braves reliever Simmons has elbow surgery
Atlanta Journal Constitution
February 12, 2015

Braves rookie reliever Shae Simmons is expected to miss the entire 2015 season after having Tommy John surgery for a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow.

Simmons, 24, had a 2.93 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings last season before going on the disabled list July 29 with a sore shoulder. The promising right-hander didn’t pitch again last year.

When he ramped up his offseason throwing program about 10 days ago, it was his elbow and not the shoulder that became sore.

An MRI revealed the UCL tear and Simmons was operated on Thursday by Dr. James Andrews at his clinic outside Pensacola, Fla.

The hard-throwing Simmons was expected to compete for a setup role in a revamped Braves bullpen. After he notified the Braves of his elbow soreness, the team quickly signed three more veteran relievers to minor league contracts, including former closers Jose Veras and Matt Capps.


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     The article said:

01. "In 21 2/3 innings last season, Shae Simmons had a 2.93 ERA and 23 strikeouts"
02. "On July 29, Mr.Simmons went on the disabled list with a sore shoulder."
03. "Mr. Simmons didn’t pitch again in 2014."
04. "Ten days ago, Mr. Simmons ramped up his offseason throwing program.
05. "This time, instead of a sore shoulder, Mr. Simmons had a sore elbow."
06. "An MRI revealed that Mr. Simmons has a tear in his Ulnar Collateral Ligament."
07. "On Thursday, Dr. James Andrews operated on Mr. Simmons."

     If Mr. Simmons has not ruptured, but just partially tore his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, then Mr. Simmons did not need a replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament.      Instead, Mr. Simmons only needs to take the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand under the baseball and pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement that forces baseball pitchers to contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle of his pitching elbow.

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0140.  Post Tommy John duo ready for ULM opening weekend
The News Star
February 12, 2015

Most pitchers’ goals are simple.

Become the ace or a shutout closer and have as low of an ERA as possible doing it.

Usually the ace means getting the ball on Opening Day — or night.

When junior right hander Brandon Bell takes the mound for ULM Friday night against Indiana State, the goals are bigger and the feat is sweeter.

Bell expected to be on the pitcher’s mound at Warhawk Field last season — not necessarily as the Friday night starter, but helping ULM a lot more than what he became … a dugout cheerleader in a sling following Tommy John surgery in the fall of 2013.

“I’ve been waiting for a long time,” Bell said. “I’ve thought about it since last year, watching the guys play and how much fun they were having even through the ups and downs and the little part I had cheering them on in the dugout. All that stuff just added more and more to this Friday that’s coming up.

“Working through Tommy John and being able to do it on Friday night, it’s surreal. It’s amazing.”

The last game action Bell saw came in 2013 when he pitched for North Central Texas College and posted a 2.39 ERA in 49 innings of work, striking out 45 batters and tossing two complete games that season.

If there is a silver lining to Tommy John surgery, it’s that Bell has discovered his curve ball isn’t the only strong pitch he has in the arsenal.

“My loopy curve ball … I could throw it and set it up with a fast ball,” Bell said. “When I came in it had a big drop it, but I couldn’t slide anything left so they got me working on my slider before surgery and after pushing forward. It’s become my main pitch to go to. It’s made me more confident and having three other pitches I can throw for strikes it makes it all better.”

Bell joined the Warhawks in the fall of 2013 and even though his debut was postponed, he had the right type of teammates to get him through Tommy John, including junior pitcher Alex Hermeling.

The fellow right hander will get the start Saturday against Central Arkansas as part of an opening weekend round robin among four teams at Warhawk Field.

“It’s not like Bell’s 1 and Herm’s 2,” ULM head coach Bruce Peddie said. “It’s a better match up with Bell on Friday night, and Herm controls the running game better with Central Arkansas.”

Hermeling does not seem to mind when he takes the mound, as long as he does opening weekend.

Two years ago, the Illinois native was revved up to go as he came off his own Tommy John surgery and the energy does not seem to have let up.

Hermeling had his best outing last season in his final appearance last May when he threw a complete-game against Western Kentucky in the Warhawks’ win during the Sun Belt Conference Tournament and is ready to pick up where he left off.

“Herm’s got the experience. You can’t trade experience,” Peddie said. “I know for Herm it’s more of a mental thing. He was drafted out of high school and now it’s like ‘When is it going to come together?’ It did at the end of year and it carried over through summer then fall and spring. He knows it’s an important year personally for him.”

Hermeling’s experience is not just on the mound either. Bell is just one of a hand full of players to lean on Hermeling through their own Tommy John surgeries. The Warhawks lost their potential closer recently when junior college transfer and Riverfield Academy graduate Chase Cater learned he needed Tommy John. He will have surgery next week.

“I’m not a doctor, but I told them I will help you in any way I can,” Hermeling said. “The biggest thing I can help them with is the pain. When you come back, you expect to be perfect. You’re going to feel stuff, but it’s a procedure that’s been perfected over many years It’s going to hold up. You’ve got to have that mental ability to push through it and the more you throw the better it will get.”

More than anything, though, Hermeling just wants to be a part of a team that can return to where ULM was when Hermeling was a freshman — with a Sun Belt Conference championship and an NCAA Regional bid.

“Everyone in the program and anyone who follows us saw that we were starting to turn the page towards the end of last year,” Hermeling said. “We were playing competitive baseball. At the time when we unfortunately got eliminated, everyone was eager to get back — get back to school and start over with the new program.

“From Day 1, I wish we didn’t have to go through the fall. As important as it is, we are all just waiting for the lights to be turned on Friday night.”


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     The article said:

01. "Two years ago, Alex Hermeling had Tommy John surgery."
02. "One year ago, Brandon Bell had Tommy John surgery."
03. "This year, Junior college transfer and Riverfield Academy graduate, Chase Cater learned that he will have Tommy John surgery next week."

     One Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery every year.

     ULM head coach Bruce Peddie does a great job teaching his pitchers.

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0141.  Specificity

One of the things that struck me about Dr Huesner's report, Specificity of Interval Training, is his belief that slight deviations from a perfectly specific motor pattern with drills can have a significant impact (I am paraphrasing). I suspect you would agree.

With that as a backdrop, my question concerns the final phase of your Acceleration phase through release with your wrist weight and iron ball throws.

I believe you want the wrist weight and iron balls to stay at driveline height throughout the Acceleration phase through release. Because of the weight of the implements, that is possible.

However when we pitch baseballs, you want your students to release the baseball as high as possible with the forearm vertical.

1. Wouldn't it be better to train with wrist weights and iron balls in the same manner?

Besides it being more specific, it seems to me that your Triceps would get a much stronger workout. It might reduce the workout the Latissimus Dorsi got but it would be more specific.


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01. No.

     Keeping the pitching elbow bent at ninety degrees would shorten the driveline. Therefore, we want the Triceps Brachii muscle to fully extend the pitching elbow.

     Because we move the pitching upper arm to vertically beside the head, when the Triceps Brachii muscle fully extends the pitching elbow, the pitching forearm is vertical at release.

     The critical element of the pitching arm's driveline is that baseball pitchers drives their pitching arm in straight lines between second base and home plate. Unlike side-to-side movement, upward movement does not decrease release velocity or consistency.

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0142.  Aardsma added as Dodgers' non-roster invitee
MLB.com
February 15, 2015

LOS ANGELES, CA: The Dodgers have added right-handed pitcher David Aardsma to the list of non-roster players invited to Spring Training.

The 33-year-old Aardsma, who had back-to-back 30-plus save seasons with Seattle in 2008-09, had Tommy John surgery in 2011 and has struggled since. He spent 2014 in the Cardinals Minor League system. He pitched in 43 games for the Mets in 2013 with a 4.31 ERA.

Aardsma joins another former closer, Sergio Santos, among non-roster invitees attempting to make the Dodgers' bullpen, which already will have a dramatic new look.


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     So much for Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery making Mr. Aardsma better than he was before.

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0143.  Richards takes big step with first bullpen session
MLB.com
February 16, 2015

ANAHEIM, CA: Angels starter Garrett Richards threw his first bullpen session from the club's Spring Training complex in Tempe, Ariz., on Monday, throwing 20 fastballs from the stretch and reportedly coming out of it just fine.

Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher, who oversaw the workout, said Richards "looked good, felt good" in his first time off a mound since rupturing his left patellar tendon last August.

The 26-year-old right-hander, who will hit the six-month mark of his recovery by the end of the week, was 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA in 26 starts before his knee buckled while covering first base at Fenway Park on Aug. 20.

Richards has been playing catch since early December, began running with his full body weight on Tuesday, threw off a slope -- not quite as steep as the traditional pitcher's mound -- on Friday and completed his biggest step three days later.

The Angels aren't sure when Richards' next bullpen session will be -- "day by day," Butcher said in a text -- but they'll ease him along cautiously throughout Spring Training.

Richards has been targeting Opening Day since surgery.

"When I heard the words 'six months,' I instantly thought, 'Hey, Opening Day can be a real possibility,'" Richards said in a recent interview. "So that's kind of been my target since Day 1. Once we get to Spring Training, the way I progress is kind of going to dictate things. But I feel good right now, and hopefully when I get to Spring Training, it'll only get better."


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     Isn't Mike Butcher the guy that was going to fix Scott Kazmir?

     But then, this time Mr. Butcher is coaching how to not injure the glove arm side knee when covering first base.

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0144.  Tanaka arrives at camp, plays long toss
MLB.com
February 17, 2015

TAMPA, FL: Masahiro Tanaka's second season with the Yankees officially got underway on Tuesday as the right-hander reported to camp and played long toss at the team's Minor League complex.

The 26-year-old is looking to improve upon a debut campaign that saw him dominate through his first 17 starts before sustaining a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in July. On the advice of four doctors, Tanaka rehabbed the injury and was able to return for two late September outings.

"That's unbelievable," said Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova. "I didn't know that he would be able to do it like he did it. At the end of the season, to be able to pitch two more games and then come here like nothing happened, it's awesome."

There is no guarantee that Tanaka will be able to avoid Tommy John surgery, but the Yankees are encouraged because he was able to go through a normal offseason training program in Japan and has reported no issues.

Tanaka plans to address the media on Friday, when Yankees pitchers and catchers are due to report. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild said that it is possible Tanaka could be given a similar Spring Training workload to last year with no limitations.

"You have to be aware of it, but we'll be aware to put schedules together and things like that to try to keep him healthy," Rothschild said. "So far, everything has been good. That doesn't mean that it will be going forward, but we're going to do everything we can to make sure that hopefully it is."

Tanaka made 20 starts in his first big league season, going 13-5 with a 2.77 ERA, and he was named to the American League All-Star team via the player ballot. He left Japan last week and made a brief stop in New York, where he stopped by Yankee Stadium -- playing catch in the tunnel outside the clubhouse because the field was covered with snow -- before beginning the Florida portion of his spring.

"We won't rush him into it; I want to see what he's done," Rothschild said. "I know what he's done [in Japan], I just want to see how much effort and force he's using, and then we'll go from there."

On Tuesday, Tanaka tossed across a practice field with his interpreter, Shingo Horie, and worked out before departing the complex. Nova, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and aims to return in June, said that it is encouraging to see how quickly Tanaka seems to have bounced back.

"He was throwing. I wasn't expecting to see that," Nova said. "He looked like the same guy, smiling all the time."


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     Yankee baseball pitching coach, Larry Rothschild, said:

01. "It is possible that Masahiro Tanaka could be given a similar Spring Training workload to last year with no limitations."
02. "You have to be aware of it."
03. "But, we'll be aware to put schedules together and things like that to try to keep him healthy."
04. "So far, everything has been good."
05. "That doesn't mean that it will be going forward."
06. "But, we're going to do everything we can to make sure that hopefully it is."
07. "We won't rush him into it."
08. "I want to see what he's done."
09. "I know what he's done [in Japan]."
10. "I just want to see how much effort and force he's using."
11. "Then, we'll go from there."

     Mr. Rothschild should teach Mr. Tanaka to pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward in one, smooth, continuous movement, such that when Mr. Tanaka starts the acceleration phase of his baseball pitching motion, the starting position forces Mr. Tanaka to contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of his pitching upper arm.

     It would also benefit if Mr. Rothschild teaches Mr. Tanaka how to pronate the release of his breaking pitches.

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0145.  Hochevar recovery on schedule
MLB.com
February 18, 2015

SURPRISE, AZ: Right-hander Luke Hochevar is right on schedule.

Hochevar, coming off Tommy John surgery last March, threw 35 pitches off the mound on Sunday, and threw roughly the same amount on Wednesday with no setbacks.

"Still feeling very strong," Hochevar said.

Hochevar, who is being counted on to supplement the Royals' vaunted trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland in the bullpen, said he mainly is throwing fastballs and change-ups.

"I probably won't be throwing any breaking balls until we get to live BP in a couple weeks," he said. "We're just taking everything very slowly, very cautiously."

Hochevar admits he still has a few reservations still about really cutting loose with the fastball.

"There's really no point right now," he said. "I'm not about to let [the fastball] eat right now. It's not necessary. I'm not thinking about velocity."

Hochevar expects to be ready by Opening Day.

"I'm hopeful," he said. "But if it's not the case and I have to start the season [in Triple-A] then that's OK. I don't want to have to rush things and then have something happen and wind up back at Triple-A anyway."


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     Diamondback baseball pitcher, Luke Hochevar, said:

01. "Still feeling very strong."
02. "I am mainly is throwing fastballs and change-ups."
03. "I probably won't be throwing any breaking balls until we get to live BP in a couple weeks."
04. "We're just taking everything very slowly, very cautiously."
05. "I still has a few reservations still about really cutting loose with the fastball."
06. "There's really no point right now."
07. "I'm not about to let [the fastball] eat right now."
08. "It's not necessary."
09. "I'm not thinking about velocity."
10. "I expect to be ready by Opening Day."
11. "I'm hopeful."
12. "But, if it's not the case and I have to start the season [in Triple-A] then that's OK."
13. "I don't want to have to rush things and then have something happen and wind up back at Triple-A anyway."

     Let's see,

     Mr. Hochevar is not throwing fastballs as hard as he is able.

     Mr. Hochevar is not throwing breaking pitches.

     Nevertheless, Mr. Hochevar expects to be ready by Opening day.

     If Mr. Hochevar had started training nine weeks after the surgery and completed my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, then Mr. Hochevar would be throwing his fastballs as hard as he is able and also be throwing my Maxline Pronation Curve as hard as he is able.

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0146.  Lincecum enters camp with renewed confidence
MLB.com
February 18, 2015

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: There were times this winter when the father had to step outside for a cigarette, figuring it better to rip a heater than to let an argument with his son get too heated. And in those moments, the son would air out his own frustration by firing fastballs at an empty net.

This was how the Lincecum men -- father Chris and son Tim -- learned how to let their differences dissolve as quickly as they'd arise. A quick smoke break for dad, and then it was back to the business of repairing a two-time Cy Young Award winner who had lost his way.

"We both like to butt heads," Tim Lincecum said Wednesday, "and we both like to argue. My dad's always right, and I can't ever convince him that he's wrong. So I'm not going to take that away from him."

What the son instead took away from his offseason was a renewed appreciation for his father -- the man who essentially crafted the unorthodox mechanics that made Tim a "Freak" in both name and numbers -- and a renewed confidence in his mechanics and mindset.

What the father took away from 2 1/2 months' worth of work (49 throwing sessions in all) with his prodigal son was a sense that we're going to see a much different Tim Lincecum in 2015 than we did in 2014.

"This is the most he's ever worked in the offseason since he's been in the Majors," Chris said. "I love the fact that he was so diligent about being there. He wanted to be there, even when he didn't want to be there, when he was tired or sleepy or whatever. This is the first time I've seen him with that chip on his shoulder."

That Timmy, now 30, reported to Scottsdale Stadium on Wednesday in great shape and has let his hair grow long again and is optimistic about the year ahead makes him the typical first-day-of-Spring-Training tale.

Yet the father-son element -- a sort of Springsteenian repairing of relations between two men who were "too much of the same kind" -- adds nuance and substance to the story.

Shortly after Tim opened up to a group of reporters on the afternoon of the defending champs' pitchers and catchers report date, his dad sat in the grass outside the stadium, chain-smoking Winstons and talking about those throwing sessions at N-S Performance in Seattle. Some people -- mostly professional pitching coaches -- will shiver at the thought of a guy throwing 49 times in the wake of a full-season slate, but the elder Lincecum has always believed in throwing more, not less.

Certainly, his thoughts on pitching have long been considered unorthodox (he likes to say he believes only in icing his Bourbon and Sevens, not the throwing arm), but who among us could possibly argue with where those philosophies took young Timmy?

With his career at a low point at the end of '14, when the Giants essentially made a championship run without him, Lincecum himself could no longer argue with the obvious, either. Like so many of us, he had valued his independence in adulthood. He wanted to be his own man. And that meant turning his back on his dad. They'd talk on the phone after his starts, but they hadn't actually worked together since Lincecum was at the University of Washington. And Tim hinted that he let the personal relationship go astray, too.

Chris didn't seem to mind the personal differences nearly as much as the baseball separation.

"Yeah, I'm his father, and that's one hat I wear," he said. "But I'm the guy who taught him how to pitch. That's the other hat. Why not come back to the source that knows? If that was his next-door neighbor or some old coach in high school or whoever, why wouldn't he go back to that source? Well, it's because -- as I'm sure is the case with anybody and their parents -- there's that breaking away or rite of passage. But if he was [mad] at the dad, that's one thing. He shouldn't have stayed away from the coach."

Timmy said going back to his dad a couple weeks after the Giants' third parade in five years was one of those "tail between the legs" moments we all have in life, but it was worth it. His dad is a stickler for detail, documenting and videotaping every pitch thrown in that Seattle gym and making it known to his son every time the delivery was even slightly awry. That discipline was something Lincecum freely admits was lacking, and the stats from his last three seasons -- a 4.76 ERA and adjusted ERA+ 27 points below league average -- make it clear something had to change in order for Lincecum to return to his old numerical norms.

"[Chris] knows my mechanics even better than me," Lincecum said. "They've been out of whack for a while now. I think repetition is the big thing for me. Going out there and continuing to do the right mechanics and knowing why they're doing it is another big thing for me. Growing up with my dad, we talked about how it was more that I listened to what he said as opposed to knowing what he meant, and I think this year I got a bigger understanding of my mechanics and why my body needs to be in certain positions."

Lincecum might actually be the biggest question mark of them all, and the ongoing question among some evaluators is whether he, too, might be better suited to a relief role at this stage of his career. But the Giants -- publicly, anyway -- have been adamant all winter that Timmy is and will be in the rotation, and the work he was putting in behind the scenes adds some credence to that confidence.

We'll see if this sappy spring storyline morphs into regular-season reality, if Lincecum's winter work is as positive in public practice. But it was hard not to listen to father and son alike on Wednesday and not come to the conclusion that "The Freak" is in a really good place -- physically, mentally, mechanically and emotionally.

Once again, Chris was lighting up a cigarette outside the building where his son goes to work. Only this time, this wasn't a timeout because the two were butting heads. In fact, on the subject of Lincecum's 2015 potential, father and son are very much in agreement.

"This," Chris said, "is a good year for him."


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     The article said:

01. "Some people, mostly professional pitching coaches, will shiver at the thought of a guy throwing 49 times in the wake of a full-season slate."
02. "But, the elder Lincecum has always believed in throwing more, not less."

     If the elder Lincecum teaches the younger Lincecum injurious flaws, then throwing 49 times in the off-season will eventually breakdown Tim Lincecum's pitching arm and/or body.

     Whatever the elder Lincecum taught his son as a youth baseball pitchers worked very well in his early major league years.

     The most fragile aspect of baseball pitching is retaining the 'feel' of the baseball coming off the tip of the Middle finger. Therefore, like the elder Lincecum advocates, baseball pitchers have to practice those skills and feelings.

     Whether the elder Lincecum knows why, in his early major league days, Tim Lincecum turned the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     Listening to the Giants baseball pitching coach gradually changed Tim Lincecum from turning the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and replaced it with the pitching upper arm involuntarily moving behind his acromial line.

     Tim Lincecum still releases his breaking pitches over the top of his Index finger.

     To determine how badly banging the bones in the back of his pitching elbow, I would have to see Mr. Lincecum raise both arms to shoulder height with the palms of their hands facing upward.

     If Mr. Lincecum fully extends both arms and Mr. Lincecum cannot fully extend his pitching elbow, then Mr. Lincecum bangs the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together.

     In that case, Mr. Lincecum needs to learn how to release his breaking pitches under his Middle finger.

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0147.  Vertical

Most of my throws are sailing completely vertically.

I estimate that only 15-18 percent of my throws are sailing maxline horizontally like the motion and pronation grip are designed for.

What could be the cause of this?

I feel as if I am leaning.

Also, I am attempting to achieve the highest velocity I can.

Should I ease up and be doggedly devoted to form?

Or is there a way to prompt form and velocity at the same time?


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     In my Slingshot pitching arm position, you need to have your pitching upper arm as close to vertically beside your head as possible. That requires that you lean your upper body to the glove arm side of your body.

     You need to use my Second Base Step-off body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm action drill to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve over and over and over as hard as you are able until you are able to horizontally sail the Lid straight toward home plate.

     I suspect that, when you start and finish throwing the Lid, you have the palm of your pitching hand facing inward.

     You need to have the palm of your pitching hand facing downward.

     Throughout the throw, you need to keep the palm of your pitching hand facing downward.

     During release, you need to drive the Ring finger side of your Middle finger horizontally through the top seam of the baseball, such that the thumb side of your pitching hand moves from facing away from your body to facing toward your body.

     After release, the thumb of your pitching hand shoulder point downward with the palm of your pitching hand facing away from your body.

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0148.  Broken humerus while pitching

I am a 29 year old right handed pitcher.

When I was 25, I was pitching in a competitive men's league and broke my humerus.

I had open reduction/internal fixation where they had to install a metal plate and fifteen screws.

I went through physical therapy and am good to go for every day life.

However, when lifting heavy objects, I feel a little soreness in my arm.

Also, any time I lift my arm above my head, my shoulder pops (not painful).

I had decided at the time that my pitching career is over.

However, I have a strong desire to pitch again.

1. Is this possible?

2. Did I wait too long to start rehabbing/throwing?

3. If it is possible for me to return to pitching, what type of rehab would you suggest?

4. What are the chances of it happening again?


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01. Absolutely.

02. It is never too late.

03. To rehab, you need to do everything that I show you to do. Everything you need to know is in the eleven sections of my Baseball Pitchers Instructional Video.

04. Zero.

     To break the Humerus bone of your pitching upper arm, you had to have 'reverse bounced' your pitching forearm, looped your pitching arm inward, backward and outward away from your body and released the baseball over the top of your Index finger that caused the bones in the back of your pitching elbow banged together.

     To prevent 'reverse bouncing' your pitching forearm and 'looping' your pitching arm, you need to take the baseball out of your glove with the palm of your pitching hand under the baseball and pendulum swing your pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveling height in one, smooth, continuous movement such that, when you start the acceleration phase of your baseball pitching motion, you are forced to contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle (knob on the inside of the pitching elbow) throughout every throw.

     The first skill that your need to master is 'horizontally sailing' the square lid off a four-gallon plastic bucket.

     To learn this skill, you need to click on my Baseball Pitchers Instructional Video and open the Football Training Program.

     I use appropriately-sized footballs to teach baseball pitchers how to release the four basic pitches that I teach.

     However, before your work with your appropriately-sized football, you need to watch me and my guys use my Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill to learn how to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     Let me know when you have the square Lid and are practicing 'horizontally sailing' the Lid straight toward home plate.

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0149.  Law Review Article

The reason I am reaching out to you is that I am writing a law review article.

But, I went to college on a baseball scholarship and played with Prior, Reyes, etc.) on the duties of youth baseball coaches in relation to arm care and in the context of volunteer coaching vs. paid-for travel ball coaching.

My motivation for writing this article comes from witnessing many travel ball and rec ball coaches teach poor throwing mechanics, or teach none at all, then push these young kids to the breaking point.

I don’t understand how one goes from selling carpet or driving a truck during the day to “professional travel ball coaching” by dusk.

A major issue I am seeing is that some young kids are throwing with a low elbow typically because they already have impingement with anterior instability.

I have read many journal articles from Dr. Andrews, Glenn Fleisig, and others, as well as your site.

I need some literature I can cite to for the proposition that in a youth baseball player throwing with the throwing-elbow significantly out of plane with both shoulders leads to unreasonable stress in the shoulder by adding another fulcrum…or something similar.

This article will be controversial and will not speak well of coaches who do not educate themselves with a basic minimum knowledge regarding warming up, throwing mechanics, and arm usage.

If you would prefer that I do not cite your work I will absolutely respect and honor that decision.

My goal with a JD and this article is to provide some incentive, through the legal system, for coaches at the lowest level to become more informed which in turn will hopefully lead to less arm injuries.

I have had two arm surgeries and I know all too well the psychological pain of feeling broken that comes from an arm injury at an early age.

Jan Fronek put me back together after my career ended at USC and through a lot of hard work I can now throw precise BP to both my boys (ages 6 and 9) and their teams.

Any help or guidance on this endeavor would be greatly appreciated.


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     If you tell me what surgeries you suffered, I will explain what you needed to do to not have those surgeries.

     For sure, we need to make sure that your 6 and 9 year olds never suffer any pitching injury anywhere in their body.

     For over forty years, I have tried to educate baseball pitchers about the injurious flaws in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     Before youth baseball pitching coaches teach any youth baseball pitchers, these coaches need to understand what causes pitching injuries and how to prevent these injuries.

     Until youth baseball pitchers are biologically sixteen years old, these youth baseball pitchers have open growth plates in their pitching elbow that not only suffer from injurious flaws, but also suffer when they competitively pitch more than these growing bones can withstand.

     When youth baseball pitchers are biologically thirteen years old, the growth plates at the elbow end of the Humerus bone mature.

     Viewing front and side view X-rays of the glove and pitching elbows fully flexed and extended within one week of their birthday easily determines their biological age.

     Therefore, until youth baseball pitchers are biologically thirteen years old, I recommend that youth baseball pitchers spend their early years mastering my baseball pitching motion and the four basic pitches that they will need to succeed in competition.

     To master these skills, early youth baseball pitchers should complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program once a year starting at ten chronological years old.

     Between biologically thirteen and sixteen years old, I recommend that the skilled youth baseball pitchers competitively pitch twice and once through the line-up per week for two consecutive months.

     Let's start our discussion about pitching injuries with the most common and egregious pitching injury.

     This pitching injury results from baseball pitchers releasing their breaking pitches over the top of the Index finger.

     When baseball pitchers release their breaking pitching over their Index finger, the bones in the back of the pitching elbow (the olecranon process of the Ulna bone of the pitching forearm and the olecranon fossa of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm) bang together.

     The first sign of negative result of this injurious flaw is when baseball pitchers are not able to fully extend (straighten) their pitching arm.

     If you stood before a mirror with both arms extended at shoulder height with the palms facing upward, are you able to straighten your pitching arm as much as you are able to straighten glove elbow?

     Therefore, to prevent decreasing the extension range of motion in the pitching elbow, breaking 'bone' chips loose and bone spurs growing in the elbow joint, baseball pitchers of all ages need to learn how to release their breaking pitches under the Ring finger side of their Middle finger.

     That is right, the first baseball skill that youth baseball pitchers need to master is how to throw breaking pitches.

     To learn how to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve, I direct you to my Baseball Pitchers Instructional Video and open my Football Training Program. I use the tips of the football to teach baseball pitchers how to master the spin axes of the pitches that I teach youth and high school baseball pitchers.

     In that section, I and some of my guys show how to 'horizontally sail' a Lid off a four-gallon bucket.

     Until youth baseball pitchers are able to use my Wrong foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill to 'horizontally sail' the Lid in straight lines toward home plate, youth baseball pitchers should not practice any other baseball pitching skill>

     Obviously, I expect you to learn how to 'horizontally sail' the Lid.

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0150.  Nebraska reliever Hohensee sidelined with arm injury
Lincoln Journal Star
February 17, 2015

Nebraska pitcher Jake Hohensee, who enjoyed a strong effort out of the bullpen this past weekend, will be sidelined indefinitely with an arm injury, Husker coach Darin Erstad said Tuesday.

The issue is with his forearm and elbow, the coach said.

"The MRI is still being read," Erstad told reporters before practice at the Hawks Championship Center. "We'll see where it's at. But he won't be available any time in the near future."

A graduate of Lincoln East, Hohensee took over for starter Chance Sinclair in the sixth inning Friday night and tossed 2 1/3 innings of no-hit relief behind a career-high five strikeouts, as Nebraska defeated UNLV 2-0 in the Huskers' season-opening game. The Runnin’ Rebels won the last two games of the series.

Hohensee pitched again Sunday, throwing about 30 pitches, and felt pain in the final few pitches.

"The forearm locked up on him, and we're just going to take it day by day," Erstad said.

Erstad called the injury a forearm strain, although there hasn't been an official diagnosis.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Hohensee, a sophomore right-hander, is a key part of Nebraska's bullpen. He pitched in two games last May in the NCAA Stillwater Regional, tossing a perfect inning of relief against Cal State Fullerton. Last February, he topped off Nebraska’s 9-2 win against top-ranked Oregon State by throwing a scoreless ninth inning.

He finished last season 0-3 with a 5.08 ERA. He allowed 30 hits and 16 earned runs in 28 1/3 innings, striking out 22 and walking 18.


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     Husker baseball coach, Darin Erstad, said:

01. "The issue is with his forearm and elbow."
02. "The forearm locked up on him."

     Jake Hohensee is banging his olecranon process into his olecranon fossa.

     Mr. Hohensee needs to get the Lid.

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0151.  UNLV pitcher Qualls to miss about a month because of arm injury
Las Vegas Review-Journal
February 18, 2015

The injury to UNLV starting pitcher Zak Qualls’ throwing arm isn’t as serious as initially feared, and coach Tim Chambers said Wednesday that Qualls shouldn’t be sidelined longer than a month.

Chambers said Qualls’ left bicep essentially went into spasm Friday night after he threw only five pitches in the Rebels’ season opener against No. 23 Nebraska at Wilson Stadium.

Qualls, a junior from Rancho High School, was making his first appearance since 2012 because of academic and off-field issues and had earned the opening-night start.

“We’ll bring him back slowly,” Chambers said. “We’re not just going to throw him out there.”


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     UNLV baseball coach, Tim Chambers, said:

01. "Zak Qualls’ left bicep essentially went into spasm."
02. "Mr. Qualls shouldn’t be sidelined longer than a month."

     Baseball pitchers use their Biceps Brachii muscle to supinate their pitching forearm.

     Therefore, Mr. Qualls needs the Lid.

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0152.  Diamondbacks pitcher Hudson readies for comeback with open mind
FoxSports.com
February 19, 2015

History isn't kind to major league starting pitchers who have twice undergone Tommy John surgery.

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Daniel Hudson won't overlook those statistics, but it doesn't mean he won't begin spring training with a framework of a plan and some expectations to go with it.

The 27-year-old missed more than two years of action after undergoing surgeries on his right elbow in 2012 and again in 2013, and though Hudson is preparing for spring training like a starter, he's not focused on how the D-Backs will use him.

It's about Hudson doing everything to play one inning, two, maybe three at a time when the regular season hits. If it becomes more, all the better.

For now, Hudson is feeling good and relishing something he's not tasted through two long rehabs.

"You feel like a player again, to be honest with you," Hudson said Thursday, when pitchers and catchers officially reported to Salt River Fields for spring training. "(When injured) you're just going through the motions and going to watch five innings and leave, with no chances of getting in the game. You're going to break camp on the DL. Just knowing that stuff, it's tough mentally.

"Doing it two years in a row was even worse. I'm just excited to get out there and actually go through the monotony with the guys -- and in a week we're going to be dog-cursing in the (pitcher fielding practices) and the covering first."

The worst parts of spring training don't compare to the worst parts of wondering when he can throw a baseball in a major league game again.

D-Backs Manager Chip Hale said Hudson looked strong throwing side sessions and believes that the team will find a place for him. Discussions regarding Hudson's future have been ongoing between Hale, Hudson, general manager Dave Stewart and chief baseball officer Tony La Russa. Hale stressed that Hudson will always have a say in such conversations.

"Daniel is a special guy on this team," Hale said. "We're going to do everything we can to help him be healthy all year. That's his goal, our goal, is to pitch all season. Is he a starter? We don't know. Is it as a reliever? We don't know."

The pitcher's inclusion in Arizona's deep, murky group of starting pitcher candidates to begin spring training is more about feeling things out. It's "easier to build up and go back down" if the starting group workload is too much, Hudson said.

Where Hudson and the D-Backs go from there remains a mystery.

"It's more guinea pig, guess-and-test type of thing," Hudson said. "We've thrown some ideas around. I'm going to start off on the starters routine. We'll just go for that, a couple weeks in, see how I feel and reevaluate from there."

Hudson is realistic -- he won't be able to pitch 200-plus innings this season --but he's also optimistic. Hudson made three appearances toward the end of last season to shake the rust off, and that helped him get over a mental hurdle months ahead of spring training.

"I felt good in September," he said. "You can't simulate a major league game. There was a little bit of soreness, but at the same time it was good to get that under my belt."

Asked about the battle for the starting pitching spots to begin spring training, Hale couldn't help but chuckle. As many as 14 pitchers could be realistic options to start, Hale said, but Hudson stands out because, well, he's still standing.

And once again, finally, he's throwing.

"Most of the time you say, hey, if you can't do these things we really can't have you on the club," Hale said. "He is so special, he could come in one night and throw the last three innings of a game and if Addison Reed was down and finished the game, that's the stuff (Hudson) has. It's not a perfect world and we know that, and we're going to do whatever we can do to keep him healthy."


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     Daniel Hudson had two Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgeries.

     Mr. Hudson has four holes drilled in his pitching elbow.

     Mr. Hudson used tendons from his wrist and from his knee.

     That Mr. Hudson ruptured his born-with and his Ulnar Collateral Tendon replacement means that Mr. Hudson does not contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle.

     All Mr. Hudson needs to do is take the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand under the baseball and pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement such that, when he starts the acceleration phase of his baseball pitching motion, he is forced to contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle of his pitching elbow.

     With no stress on the Ulnar Collateral Tendon replacement, Mr. Hudson will be able to pitch for as long as he trains to keep those muscles fit.

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0153.  Missouri Western pitcher has chance to throw again
The Griffon News
February 19, 2015

Like most Griffon athletes, Kyle Kelly is a pretty normal guy. He likes hunting, fishing, trucks and spending time with his family. One thing Kelly can do that most of us “normal guys” can’t is command a breaking change-up. Or come back from Tommy John surgery. 

Kelly graduated from Lathrop High School in 2011 and signed on as a freshman to play baseball for Missouri Western. He was redshirted the 2012 season, his first season on campus. Then in the 2013 season, he got a chance in the Griffon bullpen, making 17 appearances with two starts. In that time on the mound, he made the most of it going 3-1, having a 2.45 ERA, pitching 40 innings and making the MIAA honor while helping the Griffons win the MIAA championship that season.

Coming into the 2014 season, Kelly was very optimistic, but in his first three appearances things didn’t go too well, with him only pitching 1.1 innings and giving up four runs when disaster struck. Kelly had torn the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, requiring the pitcher to go under the famous Tommy John surgery. The surgery is a graft procedure where a tendon form elsewhere in the body is placed in the elbow. The procedure is called “Tommy John” for the MLB pitcher who was the first to have the surgery. Kelly’s graft came from his left wrist and was placed in his right elbow.

“It definitely sucks when it happens, but I was optimistic about it. Not that I would see any gain from it, but that I would get to throw again,” Kelly said. Kelly mentioned the gain because it is a common misconception that pitchers get better after the Tommy John surgery. The real reason that some pitchers come back better after the surgery is because of the off-time spent working on their mechanics and strengthening their other pitching muscles.

After Kelly had the infamous surgery, he dove right into training to get back on the mound. Kelly said it was six months before he could pick up a baseball, and 12 months for full recovery. At the time of this interview he was only ten months out and almost to a full recovery. He started locked in a full cast where he couldn’t move his arm out of a 90-degree angle. So the first section of his recovery was just getting range of motion back. During that, he spent time strengthening his back and legs.

“It was a lot of resistance training, a lot of work with bands and balance balls; I couldn’t do any weight lifting,” Kelly said.

By the time Kelly could move his arm again he was in a very strict throwing regiment. Kelly explained it as “all very detailed, the number of throws at this distance, then a number of throws and 5 minutes off, then throw the same amount again.”

He explained some of his struggles during that time.

“The biggest thing for me was finding my release point; I had lost a lot of my timing. Getting that feel for the ball on your fingertips is different,” Kelly said.

Kelly went on to explain that before this injury he had not gone this long without throwing a ball or any kind of arm movement since before tee-ball. Kelly also said that technology was a big part in getting him back.

“Coach would use his iPad and slow down exactly what I was doing and examine exactly what my body was doing in that point of my pitching motion,” he said.

He said this was the biggest factor in getting his mechanics back.

The home series facing off against Emporia is set to be Kelly’s return to the field. That date is rapidly approaching and there is still a lot to be done before Kelly gets called out of the bullpen. Kelly said he is still trying to get back the velocity on his fastball that he once had. In previous seasons, Kelly touched 87 mph on his fastball – he says now he is sitting around 84 mph. This doesn’t worry Kelly, though. He says it just means he needs to be more creative with his pitches. He also says accuracy with his pitches is a must now.

“84 on the black will get hit, but 84 in the middle of the plate is going over the wall,” Kelly said.

He said he had set a goal to be back by the opening series of the season this year, he felt like he could go, but the training staff had him stay in St. Joseph to give more time for his arm.

“Watching your teammates leave without you is killer,” Kelly said.

Kelly said he is excited but nervous for the Emporia game.

“Yeah, I’ll be a little nervous because I haven’t done it in a while, but if you aren’t nervous before a game even if you have been healthy, you are doing something wrong,” Kelly said. “If you think you’re that good that you can’t be beat, something is wrong.”

Kelly talked about when he hoped to be back to the large role he had been in the 2013 season.

“By the Lindenwood series, I’ll be back to where I was. Maybe, but I think I can be throwing more than one inning by then,” he said. “It’s a buildup process.”

Kelly talked more about his excitement leading up to the Emporia series.

“I will probably be able to sleep – I am pretty good about that, but yeah, I’ll be like a kid in a candy store,” Kelly said. “Even if I don’t get to pitch, I get to put on a Griffon uniform again, and that’s probably the most exciting part.”


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     The article said:

01. "Coming into the 2014 season, Kyle Kelly was very optimistic."
02. "But, in his first three appearances, things didn’t go too well."
03. "Mr. Kelly pitched only 1.1 innings and gave up four runs."
04. "Then, disaster struck."
05. "Mr. Kelly tore the ulnar collateral ligament."
06. "Mr. Kelly’s graft came from his left wrist and was placed in his right elbow."
07. "The Missouri Western head baseball coach used his iPad and slow down to see exactly what Mr. Kelly did."

     Too bad that the Missouri Western head baseball coach failed to explain that Mr. Kelly needs to contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle before, during and after Mr. Kelly throws his pitches.

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0154.  Is it time for the six-man rotation?
FoxSports.com
February 19, 2015
by C.J. Nitkowski

Talking to reporters in Florida this week, New York Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild threw out the possibility of the Yankees using six starters early in the season. He wouldn’t call it a six-man rotation, though essentially that’s what it would be, even if just temporary. The Yankees have a tough stretch of 30 games in 31 days starting in mid-April and they already have a rotation that is littered with recent injury and performance history. Using six starters early could alleviate some of the stress on fragile arms in that Yankee rotation.

Had you asked me if I thought a six-man rotation was a good idea when I was wearing the uniform, I would have told you it was a dumb idea and that you were overthinking the game. In light of recent trends in baseball though, the concept warrants some examination.

The Tommy John epidemic is real, and searching for an absolute answer as to why elbow ligaments are snapping at an alarming rate has escaped even the best orthopedic doctors in baseball. Pitchers are throwing too much, pitchers are throwing too little, there’s too much long toss, not enough, guys are training too hard, velocities are too high, kids are pitching too much, too soon, mechanics aren’t right, the hard cutter and slider are elbow killers and so on and so on. All are possible culprits, but there is no one single smoking gun.

And while an answer to the question is not so simple, I can’t help but wonder if the six-man rotation would at least alleviate some of the injuries plaguing pitchers in this generation. Let’s take a look at some positives and negatives of using a six-man rotation.

The Positives

1. A full season of a six-man rotation would drop games started for a full-time starter to 26-27 over the current 33-34. Six or seven less starts means anywhere from 35-50 less innings.

2. Less starts over the course of the season theoretically means top starters should be stronger for the postseason. Last postseason we saw Clayton Kershaw run out of gas late in both of his NLDS starts, allowing a combined nine runs in the seventh inning of both games. In 2013, Kershaw threw 259 innings over 37 combined starts in the regular and postseason.

3. The five days off between starts (sometimes six) means more recovery time. This should mean stronger, healthier pitchers.

4. With long-term deals for pitchers almost never working out by the end of the term, the odds of a team getting a stronger long-term return on their big investments should increase.

5. Pitching is deeper than ever and some teams (not all) have the depth to use six starters.

The Negatives

1. If I’m paying a starting pitcher north of $20 million per season, do I really want to use him 18 to 20 percent less than I am now?

2. You need your top starters to win a division or secure a wild card spot. Falling a game or two short knowing you could have thrown your ace a few more times that season would be tough to swallow.

3. Asking pitchers to change their routines and sit around an extra day is not an easy sell. Pitchers are creatures of habit, and some hate the extra day of rest due to something like a team off day, a rain out or the All-Star break. Not all would resist, but many would.

An interesting candidate for the full season six-man rotation in 2015 would be the Washington Nationals. They currently have six starters who have won 10 or more games in 2014, as well as posted ERAs in the range of 2.41 - 3.57. It’s likely that Tanner Roark is headed to the bullpen to start the season.

Washington signed Max Scherzer to a seven-year, $210 million contract this winter that will take him through his age-36 season. I wonder if the Nats would prefer the idea of Scherzer making 27 regular season starts over the seven years as opposed to leaving things as is and making the 32+ starts like he has done the past four seasons. Probably not.

Another candidate would be the New York Mets. It appears that Dillon Gee might be squeezed out of a rotation that already includes Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, Bartolo Colon and Jonathon Niese. Top prospects Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaard could also see some major-league time this season. With Harvey making a return from Tommy John surgery, the six-man rotation provides the Mets the perfect opportunity to control Harvey’s workload without shutting him down early or giving him any extended periods of rest during the season.

In researching this idea I assumed the performance numbers would support the concept. They don’t. Take a look at this MLB starting pitcher data from 2010-2014 via Stats, Inc.

-------------------------------------------
| # |Days rest|Starts|ERA |BAA |CG %|IP/GS|
-------------------------------------------
|01.|    4    |11,855|4.00|.259|03% | 6.0 |
|02.|    5    |08,021|4.04|.259|03% | 6.0 |
|03.|    6+   |04,073|4.15|.261|01% | 5.2 |
-------------------------------------------
Generally we stay away from ERA and batting average against as indicators of pitcher performance, but when we are up over 4,000 starts, I find it usable.

The data is rather surprising. There are no signs of improved performance with extra days of rest and if anything, we have seen a slight tick down with more off days in between starts from 2010-2014.

We don’t have any usable data on how five or six days rest would affect starting pitchers over the course of a season in regard to injuries because we have never done it in MLB.

They have done it Asia, however. Yu Darvish suggested last season that MLB teams should consider going to a six-man rotation like they do in Japan and Korea in an effort to reduce arm injuries. The problem with the notion of “they do it Asia” is that in the four years I spent pitching in both Korea and Japan, I saw more arm injuries than I did here. I remember one day sitting in the bullpen and looking around at my teammates, every one of them had a significant arm injury at some point in their professional career. The frequency in which they throw away from games is an easy answer as to why.

The problem in assessing the Asian angle to the six-man rotation idea is that pitchers in Asia throw considerably more in spring training, in between starts, in the off-season and as amateurs. I tell these stories often but I have seen bullpens in spring training where pitchers threw 151 pitches, 247 pitches and then the final topper in 2009, 300 pitches. That is insanity.

The conclusion is this: We likely won’t see a six-man rotation anytime soon. We’ll see it at times, for a small portion of the season, maybe one or two times through the rotation, but never for a full year. There is just too much at stake when you ask pitchers to change. Too much at stake and too much fear in an organization that isn’t putting their best arm on the mound as often as possible. It’s an interesting idea, but it’s a risk not worth taking.


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     Mr. Nitkowski wrote:

01. "The Tommy John epidemic is real."
02. "Searching for an absolute answer as to why elbow ligaments are snapping at an alarming rate has escaped even the best orthopedic doctors in baseball."
03. "Pitchers are throwing too much."
04. "Pitchers are throwing too little."
05. "Tthere’s too much long toss."
06. "Not enough long toss."
07. "Guys are training too hard."
08. "Velocities are too high."
09. "Kids are pitching too much, too soon."
10. "Mechanics aren’t right."
11. "The hard cutter and slider are elbow killers."
12. "All are possible culprits."
13. "But, there is no one single smoking gun."

     With regard to baseball pitchers snapping their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, there is one smoking gun.

     When baseball pitchers 'reverse bounce' their pitching forearm and cannot contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle before, during and after baseball pitchers throw their pitches, these baseball pitchers put all that 'downward bounce' force on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Eventually, these baseball pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     With regard to baseball pitchers injuring their pitching elbow when they throw hard cutters and sliders:

     When baseball pitchers release their breaking pitches over the top of their Index finger, they bang their olecranon process into their olecranon fossa.

     To prevent this injury, baseball pitchers need to release their breaking pitches under the Ring finger side of their Middle finger.

     With proper force application and training, three baseball pitchers would be able to start every Monday/Friday, Tuesday/Saturday and Wednesday/Sunday for the duration of the championship season.

     Therefore, four baseball pitchers are easily able to pitch every fourth day.

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

     On Sunday, March 01, 2015, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0155.  Dear Mr. Marshall

I am a 29-year old baseball fan.

You accomplished so much in your baseball career, making the All-Star game twice, winning the NL CY Young award, leading MLB in saves three times, and holding the single season record for most games pitched, and you have a lot to be proud of.

I went through a long period of depression in my life that lasted about sixteen years, with everything from school to women to lack of jobs getting me down.

But, I am happy to tell you that just a little over a couple of years ago, I found happiness in my life inside of me, and I am VERY happy with my life now.

Thank you so much for the great memories you have given me and my family in your baseball career!


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     When you are happy with you, everybody is happy with you.

     Congratulations.

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0156.  Specificity

Let me rephrase the question.

2. From the start of the Acceleration phase through release, you do not want the pitching hand to go above Driveline Height. Correct?

3. Therefore your wrist weight and heavy ball drills don't perfectly replicate your pitching motion. Correct? And if correct why?

1. In your baseball pitching motion, you want the elbow as high as possible with the forearm vertical at release. Correct?

With your perfectly performed wrist weight and heavy ball drills, you do not have the forearm vertical at release. The reason I ask is that kids always extend there elbow upwardly when first doing the wrist weights. That actually to me seems like what they should do.

Then, I tell them that from the Maximum Forearm Acceleration position to inwardly rotate their Humerus bone such that their hand does not go above their elbow.

It seems to me that if your pitchers do that (with wrist weights and heavy balls) they they are not using their Triceps muscle.

In other words, why don't your pitchers extend their elbows upwardly with their wrist weights and heavy balls?


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     I rearranged your questions.

02. Correct.

03. Correct.

01. Incorrect.

     From the start of the acceleration phase until the end of the recovery phase, I want my baseball pitchers to drive their pitching hand in straight lines toward the strike zone.

     After their 'horizontal rebound,' I want my baseball pitchers to drive their pitching forearm horizontally inside of vertical toward home plate.

     When my baseball pitchers do their wrist weight exercises, they drive their pitching forearm horizontally inside of vertical toward home plate.

     However, when my baseball pitchers throw their baseballs, they are not able to drive their pitching forearm horizontally inside of vertical, but they will say that they are.

     That is when I came to the realization that as long as baseball pitchers do not have side-to-side movement from the start of the acceleration phase to the end of the recovery phase, my baseball pitchers do not lose release velocity.

     Because 'traditional' baseball pitchers bend forward at their waist and release their curve balls over the top of their Index finger, baseball batters two looks at the baseball, once when their curve ball moves upward out of their pitching hand and a second look when the baseball moves downward.

     However, because my baseball pitchers stand tall and release my Maxline Pronation Curve pitch under the Ring finger side of their Middle finger, my baseball batter release their pitches as high as they are able.

     Therefore, baseball batters get only one look of my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     You wrote: "It seems to me that if your pitchers do that (with wrist weights and heavy balls) they they are not using their Triceps muscle."

     In the Maximum Acceleration Position, my baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm is horizontally behind their pitching elbow.

     To keep their pitching forearm horizontally behind their pitching elbow, baseball pitchers have to contract their Triceps Brachii muscle.

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0157.  Law Review Article

Thank you for quickly responding.

I had an arthroscopic Bankart procedure and an orthoscopic cleanup.

My first arm injury came at 11.

I threw upper 70's and had the bright idea to create a new curve ball by releasing it with my palm facing me. It was a remarkable curve. but after a few games my inner elbow started to hurt. An x-ray revealed that my inner elbow bone was detaching.

Then, when I was 12, I threw a complete 6-inning game on a Thursday followed by another one on a Friday. I threw through sharp pain shooting down side of triceps and where bicep attaches. I had impingement with anterior displacement. My arm was never the same again.

Luckily, I ended being able to hit 500'+ home runs.

After being ranked the 7th best prospect for 99' draft and an All-American, I broke my hip playing football. Then, in college, I kept pulling hamstrings.

I was literally in physical therapy from ages 11-22.

Hopefully this cursory view of my career will explain my passion for preventing injuries.

I appreciate your work and would like to cite to portions in my law review article that I will be looking to publish.

My school of Law has encouraged me to write about the youth arm injury epidemic.

I recently became involved in our local little league and am appalled at the misinformation that is being pushed on some of these kids who already have arm injuries.

My wife was also an All-American (college softball). We have a turf infield at the house and 2,000 sq./ft. cage that she does lessons out of. You would be amazed, or maybe you wouldn't, at the amount of kids (softball and baseball) who have shoulder injuries at a young age.

The common mechanic I am seeing that is leading to shoulder injury is that throughout the throwing motion the elbow is significantly lower that both shoulders. Put another way, the elbow is way out of plane with the shoulders.

In your Injurious Flaws video at 12:10, you say that it is anatomically impossible for pitchers to raise their pitching arm above parallel with their shoulders.

On that note, I am seeing arms significantly below parallel and some above. However, the above ones are limited to youth under 10. I am hoping to find something I can cite to in my article for the proposition that teaching or allowing an out of parallel arm leads to unreasonable risk of injury. My research has not lead to any finding on this issue as most research is aimed at mechanical issues in adolescents and above. In that age group, the arm out of plane doesn't seem to be an issue.

My article argues different duties for the various levels of coaching (little league and paid for travel ball).

There is an issue I have to deal with in order to impose liability on volunteer coaches under the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997. The Volunteer Protection Act of 1997 raises the bar on negligence to a gross negligence standard.

Ironically, one of the ways to limit little league's liability would be through contract and a certification program for the coaches. I will be pushing a baseline mandatory certification program that covers the basics of arm care and throwing mechanics as a solution to this predicament.

I greatly appreciate the dialogue with you and also want to be clear that I have your permission to cite your work regarding youth arm injuries.

The article will be controversial. I will be advocating for bringing law suits against little league, volunteer coaches, travel ball organization and their coaches for not meeting a minimum standard in supervising and instructing youth who become injured.

Assuming I get your permission, I would send you a draft of my work before publication to ensure that nothing is misquoted and that you are comfortable with what it is I am saying.

From what I have gathered about you, I believe our interests are aligned in that we want these injuries to stop. Considering your background, I couldn't imagine a better expert witness should some of these cases go to trial.

I will definitely work on my Lid sailing skills before teaching it to my boys so I can instruct employing the language of feel rather than rely solely on the language of sight.


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     You wrote: "I had the bright idea to create a new curve ball by releasing it with my palm facing me. It was a remarkable curve. but after a few games my inner elbow started to hurt. An x-ray revealed that my inner elbow bone was detaching."

     To have the palm of your pitching hand facing you at release means that you released your curve ball over the top of your Index finger.

     As I said in our earlier email, releasing the curve ball over the Index finger causes the bones in the back of the pitching elbow to bang together.

     The simple preventive change for banging the bones in the back of the pitching elbow is to release the breaking pitches under the Ring finger side of the Middle finger.

     You wrote: "Then, when I was 12, I threw a complete 6-inning game on a Thursday followed by another one on a Friday. I threw through sharp pain shooting down side of triceps and where bicep attaches. I had impingement with anterior displacement. My arm was never the same again."

     As a result of the pitching upper arm not being able to keep up with the explosive forward rotation of you r hips and shoulders, your pitching upper arm involuntarily moved behind your acromial line.

     The acromial line extends through the tips of the shoulders.

     To prevent injuries to the pitching shoulder, baseball pitchers need to:

01. Simultaneously step forward their glove side foot and move the pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head with the back of the pitching upper arm turned to face home plate.

02. When the heel of the glove foot lands, baseball pitchers need to simultaneously use pull backward with their glove foot, pull backward with their glove arm and rotate their hips and shoulders forward over their glove foot.

03. When their pitching elbow reaches as far forward as possible, baseball pitchers simultaneously drive their pitching knee diagonally across the front of their glove foot and inwardly rotate the pitching upper arm, extend the pitching elbow and inwardly rotate (pronate) the pitching forearm before, during and after release.

     You wrote: "I will be pushing a baseline mandatory certification program that covers the basics of arm care and throwing mechanics as a solution to this predicament."

     Your youth baseball pitching experience has proven that the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion injures baseball pitchers of all ages.

     Therefore, you will need to require youth baseball coaches to stop teaching the injurious flaws in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

01. To protect their pitching elbow, I recommend that baseball coaches stop teaching youth baseball pitchers to release their curve balls over the top of their Index finger. Instead, baseball coaches need to teach youth baseball pitchers how to release their curve balls under the Ring finger side of their Middle finger.

02. To protect their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, I recommend that baseball coaches stop teaching youth baseball pitchers to pendulum swing their pitching arm backward with the palm of their pitching hand on top of the baseball. Instead, baseball coaches need to teach youth baseball pitchers how to pendulum swing their pitching arm backward with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball.

03. To protect their Coronoid process, I recommend that baseball coaches of youth baseball pitchers stop taking their pitching arm laterally behind their body. Instead, baseball coaches need to teach youth baseball pitchers how to move their pitching arm directly backward toward second base.

04. To protect their pitching shoulder, I recommend that baseball coaches of youth baseball pitchers stop using their Pectoralis Major muscle to curvilinearly pull their pitching upper arm forward. Instead, baseball coaches need to teach youth baseball pitchers to how to use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to recti-linearly drive their pitching upper arm forearm.

     I would gladly put together a video that shows baseball coaches how to teach youth baseball pitchers how to teach these injury-free baseball pitching skills.

     I look forward to your report on 'horizontally sailing' the square Lids off four-gallon buckets.

     To find your Lid, you need to write: 'Square Lids off four-gallon buckets' in the Google search box.

     U.S. Plastic Corporation sells them at $1.08.

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0158.  Cardinals plan to limit Wainwright's workload
Associated Press
February 20, 2015

JUPITER, FL: The St. Louis Cardinals intend to limit Adam Wainwright's workload during the spring and perhaps into the season, something their ace isn't completely confident should be a goal.

Wainwright averaged 222 innings the past three seasons. He went 20-9 last year, then had surgery to remove torn cartilage from his right elbow after St. Louis was eliminated by the Giants in the NL Championship Series.

Manager Mike Matheny said Friday the most noticeable change this spring may be the number of starts Wainwright gets. Matheny didn't specify a limitation for Wainwright, who made five spring starts last year.

"It will just be him continuing to get the work, but it just might not be work on the game field," Matheny said.

Wainwright said he could probably be ready for the opener with four starts, but wasn't as sure about his sharpness if he made just three starts.

But, he added, "As long as we are talking about limiting starts now and not in the regular season I'm fine with it." Wainwright already throws a less vigorous bullpen session between starts than many starters. He pointed out that the Cardinals won the Central by two games last season so every one of his starts counted.

"If I take starts off we may not get to the post season," Wainwright said. "And getting there, to me, seems pretty important."

Wainwright joked that the answer to scaling the workload back may be a matter of being more efficient.

"I'm getting paid to play every five days as it is, not every day," Wainwright said. "If I'm skipping my one every five days, good Lord, what am I getting paid for?"

The Cardinals realize keeping the ball out of Wainwright's hand isn't going to be easy.

"He's our ace, he's going to want to pitch," general manager John Mozeliak said.

The 20-game winner was among those throwing off a mound on the first official workout for pitchers and catchers. He spent part of a short session working on his cutter.

The 20-game winner was among those throwing off a mound on the first official workout for pitchers and catchers. He spent part of a short session working on his cutter.

It was the third time Wainwright has thrown off a mound since arriving in Florida a few weeks early.

Wainwright isn't the only pitcher the Cardinals are watching closely because of an injury suffered in 2014. Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia also threw Friday.

Wacha missed much of last season with a stress reaction in his shoulder and Garcia was limited to seven starts before undergoing surgery to relieve nerve compression. A healthy Wacha's spot in the rotation is secure while Garcia, who hasn't pitched in more than 20 games since 2011, isis fighting for the fifth spot in the rotation.

"He's a guy that's never been a doubt about his stuff," Matheny said. "He's going to have to show durability and I don't know if there's enough time through spring training to actually show that."
br>
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     The article said:

01. "Adam Wainwright averaged 222 innings the past three seasons."
02. "Mr. Wainwright went 20-9 last year."
03. "Then, after the Giants eliminated St. Louis the NL Championship Series, Mr. Wainwright had surgery to remove torn cartilage from his right elbow."
04. "This spring, the 20-game winner was among those throwing off a mound on the first official workout for pitchers and catchers."
05 "Mr. Wainwright spent part of a short session working on his cutter."

     Mr. Wainwright had surgery to remove torn cartilage from his pitching elbow.

     By cartilage, the surgeon means the hyaline cartilage that lines the olecranon fossa.

     This means that Mr. Wainwright is banging the olecranon process into the olecranon fossa.

     Mr. Wainwright needs to learn how to pronate the release of his breaking pitches.

     Learning to pronate the release of his cutter is the pitch most likely to tear hyaline cartilage.

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0159.  Orthopedic Surgeon Referred Injured Baseball Pitcher to Me

     On Friday, February 20, 2015, I (Dr. Mike Marshall) received a telephone call from the mother of a injured high school junior baseball pitcher.

     The mother told me that a well-knowned Tampa orthopedic surgeon referred the injured high school junior baseball pitcher to me.

     I scheduled a meeting for 10:00AM on Sunday, February 22, 2015 at my house in Zephyrhills, FL.

     When the young man and his father arrived, we sat at a table on the patio in the front of my house.

     After introductions, I asked the young man to stand and laterally raise both arms to shoulder height with the palms of his hands facing upward and fully extend both elbows.

     Whereas the young man's glove elbow extended about five degrees beyond straight, his pitching elbow was straight.

     This means that the young man has lost five degree of his extension range of motion in his pitching elbow, never to be recovered.

     Next, I asked the young man where he had discomfort. He pointed to the back of his pitching elbow.

     Next, I asked the young man to show me how he releases his breaking pitches. He showed me that he releases his breaking pitches over the top of his Index finger.

     Next, I told the young man and his father that the young man needed to learn how to release his breaking pitches under the Ring finger side of his Middle finger.

     Next, I told the young man and his father that I have a drill that will teach the young man how to release his breaking pitches under the Ring finger side of his Middle finger.

     Next, I asked the young man and his father to follow me into the back yard where I still have a mound and a net into which baseball pitchers can safely throw.

     On the way, I picked up my Lid and my appropriately-sized football.

     To start to teach the young man how to release his breaking pitches, I stood ten feet away from the net.

     Next, I used my Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arms action drill to horizontally sail the Lid into the net.

     I emphasized the 'horizontal rebound' and the 'Slingshot Snap' of my pitching arm action.

     With my first throw, I threw the Lid as hard as I could.

     I made sure to powerfully 'Slingshot snap' my pitching forearm, such that my pitching elbow popped up and my entire arm recoiled.

     I even said 'kapow.'      Next, I threw the Lid as hard as I could several more times.

     Next, I told the young man and his father that, with my 'Slingshot Snap' pitching arm action, baseball pitchers do not have to start by lobbing the Lid. Instead, they can throw the Lid as hard as they are able on the first throw.

     Next, I showed the young man how to grip, drive and release the Lid.

     As expected, with the young man's first Lid throw, the young mans did not 'horizontal rebound' his pitching forearm or 'Slingshot Snap' his pitching elbow.

     As the young man continued to throw the Lid, I showed the young man how to 'horizontally rebound' his pitching forearm, 'slingshot snap' his pitching elbow, stop bending forward at his waist, stand tall and rotate his hips and shoulders forward over his glove foot and drive his pitching hand straight down his acromial line.

     After 25-30 throws, I started moving the young man back until he was throwing off the pitching mound into the net.

     I sat behind the net with my hands his target.

     Without proding, the young man continued to throw the Lid as hard as he could from the pitching mound for about 30 more minutes.

     Next, I showed the young man how to use my Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arms action drill to grip, drive and release my Torque Fastball with an appropriately-sized football.

     Lastly, I told the young man and his father that as long as the young man inwardly rotates (pronates) his pitching foream before, during and after release, the young man will never again have pain in the back of his pitching elbow.

     Now, all we need is for the nine orthopedic surgeons on the Major League Baseball's 'Committee of Experts' to refer injured professional baseball pitchers to me.


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0160.  Barry Zito

I've read where Barry Zito was signed by the Oakland A's to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training.

Apparently, Mr. Zito has been working with Ron Woolforth with the hopes of rehabilitating his career in the same manner that Scott Kazmir did with the A's last year.

Mr. Zito has been clocked at 88 mph on his fastball.

I looked at fangraphs.com and in 2013 (his last year pitching in the majors) his average fastball looks to be in the low 80's.

Also, Mr. Woolforth has had Mr. Zito eliminate hooking the ball behind his body in his motion.

My question is does Mr. Woolforth have his pitchers use iron balls and wrist weights?

I know you have interfaced with him in the past.


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     In 2007, I and Jeff Sparks showed Mr. Wolforth and Brent Strom how to use the wrist weights, iron balls, bucket Lids and appropriately-sized footballs.

     I don’t know whether Mr. Wolforth uses my drills or not. I do know that he does a lot of non-baseball pitching activities.

     After learning how to pronate the release of their breaking pitches, I teach baseball pitchers to have the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball when they pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward in one, smooth, continuous movement with the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body.

     During my presentation, Brent Strom said that he learned how to pronate the release of my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     Like Trevor Bauer, Mr. Wolforth and Mr. Strom taught Mr. Kazmir how to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and pronate the release of his breaking pitches.

     In Q/A #0201 in my 2014 Question/Answer file, Scott Kazmir said:

01. "I had to learn how to fix myself."
02. "I looked at video."
03. "I threw in my backyard."
04. "I did drills, hoping something would click."
05. "Once I identified the problem and learned how to balance myself out, everything began to come back."
06. "I was throwing 94, 95 again."
07. "My slider came back in the second half."
08. "I developed a change almost by accident."
09. "I developed a curveball, a cutter."
10. "A five-pitch repertoire clearly beats two pitches."

     If Mr. Kazmir trained with me, then he would not have had to hope for something to click.

     In an hour, I can teach baseball pitchers how to become the best baseball pitchers they can be.

     The problem is the 'traditional' baseball pitching coach bullies will not allow baseball pitchers to use my baseball pitching motion.

     Nevertheless, Mr. Bauer and Mr. Kazmir turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     That is me.

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0161.  Danny Duffy revamps physique in hopes of pitching 200 innings for Royals in 2015
Kansas City Star
February 20, 2015

Surprise, AZ: The offseason schedule of Danny Duffy was once marked by extremes.

A typical day often involved slipping into sneakers and disappearing on 10-mile jaunts from his home in Lompoc, Calif. He ran until his toes touched the sand of the Pacific Ocean. The mini-marathons compensated for In-N-Out binges on Double-Doubles, animal style, that caused him to eat “like I was a 5-year-old kid,” he said.

The combination clicked — up to a point. Duffy ascended to the majors because his left arm was able to support a mid-90s fastball despite the frame of a distance runner and the diet of a drive-thru junkie. He emerged as a mainstay of the Royals’ pitching staff last summer. Then a ribcage injury reduced him mostly to a spectator during the club’s October escapades.

To avoid a repeat scenario, to become a pitcher capable of logging 200 innings, Duffy sought to reshape his physique. He refined his diet, reduced his running and reported to camp in a condition that caught the eye of his superiors.

“He’s in great shape,” manager Ned Yost said. “He’s in, by far, the best shape I’ve ever seen him in.”

At this juncture of the season, there is no more banal cliché. Yet the Royals saw the changes as critical. Before the winter began, team officials instructed him to focus on increasing the muscle mass in his legs and his core. The result? Duffy said he weighed in at his physical on Friday at 212 pounds, a 17-pound gain over his usual size of 195.

Above the neck, Duffy still looks the same. He flaunted a mangy beard, complete with a bushy hairdo, a Biblical pairing he joked was fashioned after John the Baptist. But his offseason alterations allowed him to draw a comparison with Alex Gordon, the club’s pinnacle of fitness.

“I’m not trying to sit here and look like Gordo,” Duffy said. “But I’m definitely trying to be more filled out, and have a little more (strength) behind the ball.”

As the Royals forecast the coming year, they require increased contributions from Duffy and Yordano Ventura. Each excelled at times in 2014. Neither threw 200 innings. With the departure of workhorse James Shields, the burden shifts to the two youngest members of the rotation.

Less than two years removed from Tommy John surgery, Duffy tantalized with his performance in 2014. After he moved to the starting rotation in May, he posted a 2.55 ERA in 25 starts. He curtailed his walk rate to a career-best 3.2 per nine. He ranked second on the pitching staff in Baseball-Reference’s version of wins above replacement, a catch-all metric that measures a player’s value compared to a Class AAA equivalent.

“We’re very, very pleased with the way he pitched,” pitching coach Dave Eiland said. “More than we could have expected, actually.”

Yet there was still reason for concern. A bout of shoulder inflammation alarmed him in September. An MRI affirmed the structural integrity of his arm, but he still missed two weeks. In his last start of the season, Duffy felt a twinge in his side. He thought it was an intercostal strain. It turned out to be a stress reaction, a crack on the outside of the bones of his rib cage.

Neither Duffy nor the Royals revealed the injury until after the seventh game of the World Series. It created an uncomfortable scenario as team officials tried to explain why one of their best pitchers appeared in only three postseason games. Duffy never complained about his plight. Instead he resolved to ready himself for the coming season.

After the season ended, Duffy sat down with team officials. Eiland stressed the necessity of fortifying his lower half. Ryan Stoneberg, the strength and conditioning coach, scripted a program focused on his legs and abdominal muscles.

“As good an arm as he has, we just thought he was a little weak in those areas,” Eiland said.

Duffy embraced the changes, as painful as they might be. He admitted he saw himself as “frail.” His diet offered plenty of room for reform. Inside the clubhouse, a can of Red Bull is his consistent companion. His habits away from the ballpark were even less impressive. “Dude,” he said, “I used to crush fast food.” This winter, he insisted, he “could count on one hand” the number of times he indulged like that.

His eating did not affect his appearance because he conditioned himself like a cross-country competitor. Duffy views running as an emotional release, an outlet to distance himself from the stresses of everyday life. He understood he could no longer utilize this method.

He cut the distances of his runs to two miles, down from double digits. He ran every other day. He pushed himself by sprinting in intervals for a more functional workout. He bought a bike and rode hills in exercises designed to improve his explosiveness. Inside the weight room, Duffy again strove for a more practical purpose.

“It was light, but it was a lot of reps,” Duffy said. “Back when I was 22, 21, I would just try to max everything out, because I thought that was how you did things. But you need to slowly, but surely, ease into it.”

He took the same approach with his throwing. Duffy eased into the bullpen sessions he conducted at his alma mater of Cabrillo High School. When he starts throwing here this week, he said, he will still be “holding back.”

No longer does he need to win a job in the Cactus League. His goal has become loftier: To report for duty every fifth day and record 200 innings. Duffy believes his revamped physique can carry him there.

“I just feel healthier,” he said. “I feel, overall, just better. I don’t feel like I’m wiry anymore. I feel like I’m filled out and ready to go.”


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

     The article said:

01. "Less than two years removed from Tommy John surgery, Danny Duffy tantalized with his performance in 2014."
02. "In 25 starts, Mr. Duffy posted a 2.55 ERA."
03. "Yet there was reason for concern."
04. "In September, a bout of shoulder inflammation caused Mr. Duffy to miss two weeks."
05. "In his last start of the season, Mr. Duffy felt a twinge in his side."
06. "Mr. Duffy cracked the bones on the outside of his ribcage."
07. "After the season ended, Royals pitching coach, David Eiland stressed the necessity of fortifying his lower half."
08. "Royals strength and conditioning coach, Ryan Stoneberg, scripted a program focused on his legs and abdominal muscles."
09. "Mr. Duffy cut the distances of his runs to two miles and he ran every other day."
10. "For a more functional workout, Mr. Duffy sprinted in intervals."
11. "Mr. Duffy bought a bike and rode hills in exercises designed to improve his explosiveness."
12. "Inside the weight room, Duffy again strove for a more practical purpose."
13. "Mr. Duffy eased into his bullpen sessions."
14. "When Mr. Duffy starts throwing here this week, Mr. Duffy will still be “holding back.”"

     Mr. Duffy had Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery. Has Mr. Eiland explained why Mr. Duffy injured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament? To prevent future injury to his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, Mr. Duffy needs to pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

     Mr. Duffy had inflammation in his pitching shoulder. Has Mr. Eiland explained why Mr. Duffy has inflammation in his pitching shoulder? To prevent inflammation in his pitching shoulder, Mr. Duffy needs to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     Mr. Duffy cracked ribs. Has Mr. Eiland explained why Mr. Duffy cracked ribs? To prevent cracking rubs, Mr. Duffy needs to rotate his hips and shoulders forward over his glove foot.

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0162.  Garcia ready to resume starting role
St. Louis Post Dispatch
February 20, 2015

JUPITER, FL: After years measured mostly by elusive health and the surgeries needed to rewire his left arm, Cardinals pitcher Jaime Garcia began what will be a defining season for him by asserting a constant from his career.

He may be a question for the Cardinals, but he has no question about his role.

“I’m a starting pitcher. I’m a starting pitcher and I came in prepared for that,” Garcia said Thursday, the mandatory report date for the team’s pitchers and catchers. “I’ve been a starting pitcher my whole career. And obviously what happens is out of my control. I’m coming in this year like I did (five) years ago and made the team in my first full year — as a starting pitcher. Mentally, I’m the same exact guy. I’m coming in, trying to make the team, trying to earn a spot, but I am a starting pitcher.”

The Cardinals, most of whom have been buzzing around Roger Dean Stadium all week, officially open their 2015 spring training Friday morning with the first workout for pitchers and catchers. The team had all of its catchers in camp on Thursday and it expected all of the pitchers to report to Jupiter, Fla., by the end of the day. More of the major-league roster has already been in camp for several days than hasn’t. The biggest difference Friday will be the Cardinals taking the field in their complete spring uniform and Garcia taking the mound.

It will be the first time any Cardinal in uniform has seen him throw since last fall.

Officials have heard how his recovery has gone. They have read that he’s been cleared to enter spring on a normal schedule. Friday they get to see it.

“We’ve been here before, right?” manager Mike Matheny said. “When he’s healthy he’s very good, so it’s just a matter of getting that health. He’s kind of been the ‘oh, and …’ (pitcher) and that’s a different spot for him. It happens to a lot of people throughout their careers, especially when you’re an uncertainty with health. Not ideal for anybody. We’ll watch him throw, see how he responds.”

The Cardinals enter spring with an opening in the rotation and seven weeks to fill it. There is a favorite to win it (Carlos Martinez), there is an obvious challenger (Marco Gonzales), and — the “oh, and” Matheny mentioned — there’s Garcia. There isn’t a pitcher on the roster who has a broader spectrum of outcomes this spring than the former 13-game winner and Rookie of the Year candidate. Garcia, 28, could end spring anywhere from on the disabled list to in the rotation, from on a rehab assignment in the minors to the bullpen in the majors.

Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist has mapped out the schedule for his pitchers, and most of the big-league starters will get five exhibition starts during Grapefruit League play. Ace Adam Wainwright said “at least four is preferable” for him, and he will likely see his spring work dialed back. His first start of spring will come in the latter part of the first week.

Veteran John Lackey said he wouldn’t mind appearing in six games to get ready, and Lilliquist called Lance Lynn the team’s “Belgian draft horse” who will carry innings whenever he gets them. Michael Wacha is set for five starts.

That still leaves plenty of openings for other pitchers to score starts. Martinez and Gonzales will not share games, Lilliquist said, each getting a start.

The schedule is awaiting Garcia.

“He’s going to do the work and he’s going to have to show he’s ready for it,” Lilliquist said. “We have to see him pitch. We haven’t. We want to see him compete. We want to see him stay healthy. And we want to see him get to where we know he can be.”

A 22nd-round pick in 2005, Garcia was a revelation during 2010 spring training — a young lefty with a vile curveball and one of the liveliest fastballs on the staff. His peers still contend that he, overall, has the best stuff on the staff. Garcia won 26 games, had a 3.17 ERA and pitched 358 innings during 60 starts his first two seasons in the majors. He had already lost a season to rehab from elbow surgery, and shoulder troubles would follow. The lefty was limited to 16 starts and 99 innings over the previous two seasons, and eventually Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Garcia had become “a hard guy to count on.”

Garcia sought surgery and eventually received an extensive one last summer.

The procedure Garcia had to correct thoracic outlet syndrome is not one that guarantees a return, and it has signaled the end of pitching careers, including Chris Carpenter’s.

“I’m glad I had the surgery,” Garcia said. “There is no worry in my mind, right now. There was never one doubt that I was going to come back from this really tough surgery, really tough injury. You guys know (it) has ended careers in the past. I know it was going to be a tough challenge, just like my Tommy John (surgery) and my shoulder. But there was not one doubt in my mind that I was going to come back from it.”

Garcia has thrown at least five times off the mound already this offseason, and he has been talking regularly with the team’s rehab coordinator. On Thursday, Matheny confirmed after talking to the trainer that Garcia begins spring without limitations.

The Cardinals’ search for their fifth starter is not confined to Martinez and Gonzales, Lilliquist cautioned Thursday. There are pitchers like Tyler Lyons and newcomer Carlos Villanueva who have to be considered, the Cardinals say. And there’s Garcia. The lefty is entering the final guaranteed year of an extension he signed during the sunny days of 2011. He is owed $9.25 million in 2015 and a $1 million buyout on two option years. Knowing the promise Garcia had to land that contract, the Cardinals are eager to welcome back a healthy lefty. They’d be delighted if the soreness in his shoulder has been replaced by a chip on it.

He was emphatic with the role he intends to win.

During an interview Thursday, Garcia asserted he’s a “starting pitcher” seven times.

“I can tell he was probably pretty clear with what his expectations are,” Matheny said. “And I think we’re pretty clear with ours. Every guy who walks in here has an opportunity to impress us. … Come in here and compete. Make it obvious that it’s yours.”


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

     The article said:

01. "During 60 starts in his first two major league seasons, Jaime Garcia pitched 358 innings and won 26 games with a 3.17 ERA."
02. "Mr. Garcia has already lost a season to rehab from Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery."
03. "Shoulder troubles came next."
04. "Over the previous two seasons, Mr. Garcia was limited to 16 starts and 99 innings."
05. "Mr. Garcia sought surgery to correct his thoracic outlet syndrome."

     Mr. Garcia had Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery. To prevent future injury to his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, Mr. Garcia needs to pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

     Mr. Garcia had Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery. To prevent Thoracic Outlet Syndrome problems, Mr. Garcia needs to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

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0163.  Orioles pitcher fights back from injury
CSNBaltimore.com
February 20, 2015

SARASOTA, FL: After a lost 2014 season, Steve Johnson is back to try and recapture what he found in the great year of 2012.

Johnson was injured much of the season, and last September, underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his right shoulder. He was outrighted after the season, and after contemplating offers from other teams chose to sign a minor league contract with the Orioles.

“I knew this was a place I felt comfortable and that if no one else really blew me away, this would probably be a place I'd come back to,” Johnson said.

“I like being here. I'm comfortable with everybody, all the coaches. I think what helps is that they know what I can do when I'm healthy and that's just mainly what I'm trying to be and just staying on the field."

Johnson said that he’s in good shape this spring, having worked out in Baltimore before coming down south about two weeks ago.

"I told them when I came down that I threw a couple bullpens at home and felt pretty good. I said I'll continue with what everyone else is doing until I feel anything that says I can't. So far so good and I'm scheduled to be right on pace,” Johnson said.

‘I usually throw a little bit more. I said mainly I'm trying to be ready for opening day and make sure that happens, but if everything goes well I don't see myself holding back at all. I might not have thrown as much before I got here, but I may not have needed all that. I might just be fine the way I am right now."

Johnson will probably start the season in Norfolk, but he isn’t ruling out leaving camp with the Orioles.

“I’m going to try to make the team. If there’s an opening and I’m pitching well, I know there’s a possibility. If not, I’ll head to Norfolk and work my way up,” Johnson said.

“I’ve been a starter. Hopefully continue to be a starter. If they need me to relieve, I’ll relieve. I don’t think it’s really my call. Whatever they think is best to get back to the big leagues.


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     The article said:

01. "Steve Johnson was injured much of the 2014 season."
02. "Last last September, Mr. Johnson underwent surgery to remove bone chips from his pitching shoulder."
03. "Mr. Johnsons said that he’s in good shape this spring."
04. "Mr. Johnson worked out in Baltimore before coming down south about two weeks ago."

     To have 'bone chips' (hyaline cartilage,' two bones have to bang together.

     Therefore, Mr. Johnson must have banged the head of his Humerus bone into the Glenoid Fossa of the Scapula bone.

     To prevent shoulder problems, Mr. Johnson needs to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulders forward over his glove foot.

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0164.  Sabathia comfortable with added weight in 2015
MLB.com
February 21, 2015

TAMPA, FL: The best seasons of CC Sabathia's career had him tipping the scales heavier than most Major Leaguers, and so as the big left-hander reported to his seventh Spring Training with the Yankees, he showed up comfortable with his weight.

Sabathia said that he put on 10 pounds during the offseason, and though he declined to give his exact weight, he said that he expects to pitch this season between 295 and 305 pounds. At this time in 2014, the 6-foot-7 Sabathia weighed 275 pounds.

"I think last year I came in a little too light," Sabathia said. "By the end of the year last year, I felt good where I was at."

Sabathia's weight has fluctuated during his career, marked down as heavy as 315 during his days with the Indians. In 2011, Sabathia said that he lost 25 pounds just by cutting Cap'n Crunch from his diet -- of course, Sabathia acknowledged he had been eating the breakfast cereal an entire box at a time.

Sabathia has talked about the struggle of keeping the pounds off, particularly in tempting road cities like Chicago and Kansas City, but his weight-loss efforts coming into 2013 could have had unexpected consequences on the mound. Sabathia believes his trimmer form had something to do with that disappointing season (14-13, 4.78 ERA).

"I lost a bunch of weight drastically, pretty quick, two years ago, and kind of was off balance, and didn't know really how my body was working," Sabathia said. "So just talking to Dr. [Chris] Ahmad and to the trainers, I feel like this is a good weight."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Sabathia seemed to be 100 percent coming off right knee surgery, and that his weight has not been a topic of discussion for the coaching staff.

"There was no conversation about that," Girardi said. "Obviously he went through the knee injury, and he's probably had success at a lot of different weights. We're comfortable with where he's at. The big thing for us is to keep him out there. That's what we have to do on a consistent basis, so he can build off of each start. I have no concerns about that."

Sabathia threw a 25-pitch bullpen session on Saturday at George M. Steinbrenner Field, and he said that he already feels more like himself.

"I feel a little stronger," Sabathia said. "I feel my legs under me being a lot stronger, and being able to push off the mound."


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

     Yankees baseball pitcher, CC Sabathia, said:

01. "I think last year I came in a little too light."
02. "By the end of the year last year, I felt good where I was at."
03. "I lost a bunch of weight drastically, pretty quick, two years ago."
04. "I was kind of was off balance."
05. "I didn't know really how my body was working."
06. "So just talking to Dr. [Chris] Ahmad and to the trainers, I feel like this is a good weight."
07. "I feel a little stronger."
08. "I feel my legs under me being a lot stronger."
09. "I am able to push off the mound."

     Mr. Sabathia's glove arm side knee cannot withstand the force of stopping his body from moving forward.

     To prevent the force of stopping his body from moving forward, Mr. Sabathia needs to shorten his step and rotate his body over his glove arm side foot.

     Mr. Sabithia's pitching shoulder is not able to keep his pitching upper arm from involuntarily moving behind his acromial line.

     To prevent his pitching upper arm from involuntarily moving behind his acromial line, Mr. Sabathia needs to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

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0165.  Kluber to keep to regular Spring Training routine
MLB.com
February 21, 2015

GOODYEAR, AZ: Corey Kluber logged more innings last year than he had in any other season in his career, but the 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner does not want to change his Spring Training program too much. Cleveland's staff does not see any issue with letting the pitcher stay the course.

"It's kind of hard for us to really want to do anything different," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "The way he works and the way he conditions himself, and his routines, he tolerated last year. He looks great."

Last season, the 28-year-old Kluber went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA and 269 strikeouts in a career-high 235 2/3 innings. His 2014 innings total was a 47-percent increase over his '13 total (159 2/3), and the most innings the righty had thrown in a season prior to last year was 188 1/3 innings (2012), which came between the Major and Minor Leagues.

One thing Francona said the Indians may attempt is to decease the intensity of the innings Kluber does throw early in camp. That might mean having Kluber pitch in Minor League games, rather than in some Cactus League contests.

"When you're on the backfield without the scoreboard and things like that," Francona said, "I do think it helps maybe limit the intensity. Or, if a guy wants to work on a particular pitch, when you have that scoreboard sitting there and people are paying to get in, they always try to make pitches instead of throwing the pitch they need to work on."

"Things are good," Kluber said after a bullpen session Saturday. "This early in spring, you're not going to be locked in, but physically everything feels good. I'm happy with that."


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

     The article said:

01. "In 2014, Corey Kluber pitched a career-high 235 2/3 innings."
02. "Mr. Kluber went 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA and 269 strikeouts."
03. "In 2014, Mr. Kluber had a 47-percent increase in innings over his 2013 total (159 2/3)."
04. "In 2012, Mr. Kluber threw 188 1/3 Major and Minor League innings."
05. "Mr. Kluber was selected the 2014 American League Cy Young Award winner."
06. "Mr. Kluber does not want to change his Spring Training program too much."
07. "Cleveland's staff does not see any issue with letting the pitcher stay the course."

     Whatever Mr. Kluber is doing, he needs to continue to do.

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0166.  Hultzen fully cleared, feels like he has a new arm
MLB.com
February 21, 2015

PEORIA, AZ: A long year of waiting for Danny Hultzen came to an end on Saturday as the talented young hurler finally was back on the practice field with the rest of his Mariners teammates, sporting a fully recovered left shoulder.

Following surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and labrum, the second overall selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft began Spring Training with full medical clearance. He took part in fielding drills and normal first-day activities on Saturday, and Hultzen will throw his first bullpen session Sunday.

The Mariners don't have any expectation of Hultzen being part of their Major League plans this year, given he didn't play at all last season and threw just 35 2/3 innings in 2013 while fighting initial shoulder problems. The goal now is to get the 25-year-old left-hander back on the mound, let him build his arm strength in the coming months and see how things play out.

But for Hultzen, who is ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Mariners' No. 13 prospect just being part of the team again is a welcome change after spending all last season working out at the Peoria facility.

"I'm very excited," the former Virginia standout said. "I'm just really happy to be able to play again. The rehab went well. It was tough watching these guys last year, but I'm glad to be here now."

Hultzen pitched in controlled situations in a handful of instructional league games at the end of last season, then spent the offseason at home before resuming throwing in late November. All things considered, he said his year of rehab wasn't as bad as expected.

"The whole process went smoother than I thought, having talked to people who'd had arm surgeries and gone through a lot of ups and downs," he said. "Luckily I never really went through that, knock on wood. I felt good the entire time and didn't have any major setbacks or anything like that."

And now? Hultzen threw five bullpen sessions prior to camp and felt great. He fired full out in fielding drills on Saturday without a flinch.

"I'm good to go. There's no restrictions or anything," he said. "I'm treating myself like I'm fully healthy, which I am. I don't think there'll be any reservations about being in a game or holding back or anything like that. I feel like I have a completely new arm, which is great."


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

     The article sai:

01. "A long year of waiting for Danny Hultzen came to an end Saturday."
02. "Mr. Hultzen was back on the practice field with the rest of his Mariners teammates."
03. "Mr. Hultzen sported a fully recovered pitching shoulder."
04. "Following surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and labrum, Mr. Hultzen began Spring Training with full medical clearance."
05. "Mr. Hultzen took part in fielding drills and normal first-day activities."
06. "On Sunday, Mr. Hultzen will throw his first bullpen session."
07. "Prior to camp, Mr. Hultzen has already thrown five bullpen sessions."
08. "Mr. Hultzen said he felt great."
09. "Mr. Hultzen fired full out in fielding drills without a flinch."

     If Mr. Hultzen threw on the pitching mound as he did in the fielding drills, then Mr. Hultzen might not involuntarily move his pitching arm behind his acromial line.

     When Mr. Hultzen throws off the pitching rubber, Mr. Hultzen needs to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulders forward over his glove foot.

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0167.  Bulked-up Weaver says weight won't affect delivery
MLB.com
February 21, 2015

TEMPE, AZ: A big part of Jered Weaver's greatness comes from his length and flexibility. The Angels' ace doesn't throw particularly hard, but he has pinpoint location and creates deception with a wiry, 6-foot-7 frame that allows him to pitch across his body and be a nightmare for opposing right-handed hitters.

Thing is, Weaver isn't so wiry anymore.

In an effort to be stronger once he starts getting into the triple digits with his pitch count, the 32-year-old right-hander bulked up over the offseason and reported to Spring Training at 221 pounds, 22 pounds heavier than his lightest point in 2014.

Weaver doesn't believe the added muscle will impact the flexibility that's so valuable to his delivery.

"I've always had good range of motion upper body-wise, so I don't think it's going to take away as far as that goes," Weaver said. "I'm just trying to feel stronger towards the end of the game. I think I got a little fatigued and wasn't getting as deep as I'd like to last year. I'm just trying to gain some strength and maintain it over the course of a long season."

Weaver committed himself to an arduous stretching and massage regimen last offseason. He did it again this past winter, and believes he can benefit by adding a little muscle to it.

"Flexibility is a big part of my game, with deception and stuff like that," Weaver said. "It's about trying to find that happy medium of flexibility and strength and trying to make that come together."


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     The article said:

01. "Over the offseason, Jared Weaver reported to Spring Training 22 pounds heavier than his lightest point in 2014."
02. "Over his previous offseason, Mr. Weaver committed to an arduous stretching and massage regimen."
03. "Mr. Weaver believes he will benefit by adding a little muscle."

     How does a massage regimen increase Mr. Weaver's body's muscle mass?

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0168.  Chacin retools offseason routine in hopes of healthy 2015
MLB.com
February 21, 2015

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: The Rockies didn't see nearly enough of right-handed pitcher Jhoulys Chacin last season -- just 11 starts (1-7, 5.40 ERA) because of rotator cuff and labrum damage. So they rarely let him out of their sight this winter.

Chacin scrapped plans to pitch winter ball in Venezuela and lived in Scottsdale so that he could properly rehab damaged muscles and tissue at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Multiple motion and resistance exercises with light weights were introduced to his routine. He admits it was painful, but now he understands.

"I told Eddie Butler [a top prospect who battled shoulder woes last year] and a couple other guys, I used to be like you guys -- grab a ball and throw it," Chacin said. "But I said if they can do what I'm doing now, they can stay away from injuries like mine. It was really bad and scary for me.

"Now I can be myself."

Chacin will have to faithfully continue the routine, since the Rockies' rotation could depend on it.

Chacin went 14-10 with a 3.47 ERA in 2013 and seemed poised to be part of a 1-2 punch with lefty Jorge De La Rosa last season. De La Rosa had a solid 2014 (14-11, 4.10) but the injuries to Chacin and righty Tyler Chatwood (who hopes to pitch late this year after undergoing Tommy John surgery last July) were part of the reason the rotation struggled and the Rockies went 66-96.

Chacin has gone from doing a small set of arm exercises after each start to a specific program whether he is pitching in a game, throwing a bullpen or playing catch, all to avoid a potentially extensive surgery. He'll need good fortune, since arms are unpredictable. Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said Chacin gives himself the best chance to avoid surgery if he is "consistent year 'round, because once you slack off, it takes a lot longer to catch up."

Chacin is aware of worst-case scenarios but says, "If something happens, it's because God says that's going to happen. I'm not worried about that right now."

De La Rosa sees a bright future if Chacin sticks with the routine.

"He's young, only 27, so he's got a lot more years, if he works like he did this offseason," De La Rosa said.

Chacin is earning $5.5 million in his final year of arbitration and is a free agent at year's end. But he's not thinking that far ahead.

"Every season, even if you're not going to be a free agent, is big for you," Chacin said. "I just want to prove that my arm is fine and I can pitch like I did two years ago. I always want to be here, pitch for the Rockies and go to the playoffs for the Rockies. People in Denver will get crazy if we go to the playoffs."


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     The article said:

01. "In just 11 starts in 2014, Jhoulys Chacin  had 1-7 win-loss record on a 5.40 ERA."
02. "Mr. Chacin had rotator cuff and labrum damage."
03. "To properly rehab his damaged muscles and tissue, Mr. Chacin lived in Scottsdale."
04. "Rockies head trainer, Keith Dugger introduced Mr. Chacin to multiple motion and light weight resistance exercises."
05. "Mr. Chavin said that the workout was painful."
06. "Mr. Chacin went from doing a small set of arm exercises after each start to a specific program."
07. "To avoid a potentially extensive surgery, Mr. Chacin trained after pitching in a game, throwing a bullpen or playing catch."
08. "Mr. Dugger said that for Mr. Chacin to avoid surgery, Mr. Chacin needs to train year 'round.'
09. "Once Mr. Chacin slacks off, Mr. Chacin will have to train a lot longer to catch up."

     If, every day, Mr. Dugger has Mr. Chacin doing my wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws with the four drills that I use to teach my baseball pitchers how to perform the skills of my baseball pitching motion, then Mr. Chacin might avoid surgery.

     What is interesting is that Mr. Dugger said that rest atrophies.

     Mr. Dugger sounds as though he has read my materials.

     Mr. Dugger is a member of the 'Committee of Experts.'

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0169.  Hanrahan cuts first bullpen short
MLB.com
February 21, 2015

LAKELAND, FL: Joel Hanrahan now has a baseline for where he's throwing in his comeback attempt. It's not what he wanted at this point.

"It didn't go as I'd hoped," Hanrahan said Sunday morning after he cut short his first bullpen session of Spring Training on Saturday with soreness.

That echoes what Tigers manager Brad Ausmus cautioned on Friday when asked about Hanrahan, the former All-Star closer trying to return to pitching after missing most of the past two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Hanrahan was among the pitchers scheduled to throw off the back mounds at Tigertown on Saturday morning, but it was a relatively short session.

"He said he didn't feel his best today," Ausmus said Saturday. "He'll come back in a couple days, see how it goes."

He's not shutting it down, but he's coming to the realization that he's further away from pitching in games than he might have hoped after an offseason of rest and rehab.

"We're maybe a little further out than I had hoped," Hanrahan said.

That could change if something clicks, which he's hoping happens at some point this spring. It could be scar tissue breaking or it could be a mechanical slot that feels comfortable.

As long as he's experiencing soreness and not pain, Hanrahan is still throwing. If it takes more time than he has in this camp, he's willing to keep trying. He has talked with team officials about the possibility of staying in Tigertown for extended spring camp if he runs out of time to be ready for the start of the season.

"Opening Day would probably be a little bit of a surprise," he said.


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     The article said:

01. "After missing most of the past two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery, Joel Hanrahan is trying to return to pitching."
02. "Sunday morning, Mr. Hanrahan cut short his first bullpen with soreness."
03. "Mr. Hanrahan is not shutting it down."
04. "However, after an offseason of rest and rehab, Mr. Hanrahan realizes that he's further away from pitching in games than he might have hoped."

     Rest and non-specific exercises will never prepare major league baseball pitchers ready to competitively pitch.

     Mr. Hanrahan needed to spend his off-season completing my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

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

     On Sunday, March 08, 2015, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0170.  Oblique Internus Abdominis

I recently spoke to a young right handed professional baseball pitcher. He has hit 92 MPH but sits at about 88 MPH. He complained of pain in the left side of his lower back a few inches up from the top of his hip.

I suspect he is trying to increase his velocity by separating his hips from his shoulders. What gives me pause is I thought you would feel the pain from injuring the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle in the front or side of the stomach area.

1. Can you feel Internal Oblique pain in the lower back?


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     Four muscles enable baseball pitchers to backwardly and forwardly rotate their hips and shoulders.

     The two Oblique Internus Abdominis muscles on each side of the lower Rib Cage and the two Quadratus Lumborum muscles on each side of the lower back.

     Therefore, the pain in the lower back emits from one of the Quadratus Lumborum muscles.

     To prevent injuries to the Oblique Internus Abdominus and thee Quadratus Lumborum muscles, baseball pitchers need to rotate their hips and shoulders forward over their glove foot.

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0171.  ‘Leadoff’ role has fit well for Shuta
Altona Mirror
March 01, 2015
By Steve Sampsell

It's been 16 years, and the secret to success for "Leading Off with Joe Shuta" remains rooted in two things: people and preparation.

Shuta has made the hour-long show that airs at 6 p.m. Wednesdays on WFBG-AM (1290) something special. It's the longest-running program of its kind in the market, and every sports-talk radio show in the country should be lucky to have such a dedicated host.

Shuta, who retired as a Spanish teacher at Altoona Area Junior High School in 2010, brings passion and sensibility to the show.

"It's once a week, in the middle of the week, so it's not my job, and it's not the show to try and catch people or create controversy," Shuta says. "It's just nice to be able to have a conversation."

Shuta's love for baseball drives many of his guest selections, and he relies on personal connections built through the years to help open doors for potential interviews. Best of all, the show basically amounts to a series of conversations.

From Hall of Fame baseball players and Pittsburgh Pirates greats to NFL flameout Tony Mandarich and local high school coaches, Shuta invariably builds a nice mix of guests. He also spends a month each spring training visiting the Pirates and Orioles, amassing a series of fairly evergreen interviews he can use as baseball season begins.

Shuta consistently works his network of contacts, getting interviews with people like former Pirates catcher Jason Kendall, for example, based at least in part on a good word from others. Still, Shuta does not connect with people just to make contact. Again, it's about people and relationships matter to him.

Along with that, he's not afraid to take a chance. The interview with Mandarich - an All-America offensive lineman at Michigan State and the No. 2 overall NFL draft pick in 1989 who played just 86 games in the NFL - was the result of a cold call to Mandarich's photography studio in Arizona. Shuta still ranks that interview as one of his favorites.

His preparation and why-not approach define Shuta in general.

He spent 38 years as a Spanish teacher, owned a baseball card shop for a decade and a half, served as public address announcer at Mansion Park and crafted impressive credentials as a long-distance runner. In fact, during his annual trips to Florida for spring training, he continues to stop along the way to run a half or full marathon before he arrives on the Gulf Coast.

That's the kind of diversity of endeavors and richness of experiences Shuta continually promoted to the thousands of students he touched during his career.

Best of all, it's that kind of dedication and variety he brings to the radio show. So, he might be retired, but he's still getting his message across - and his listeners benefit as a result.

Booth bye-bye

Diehard Penn State baseball fans (and there must be a few) will be missing a familiar and passionate voice this season because Loren Crispell apparently will not have a spot on the broadcasts.

Crispell, a Penn State alumnus and an energetic and passionate university employee, has full-time duties as the lead marketer for Penn State basketball and several other sports. He's an integral part of the athletic department.

He also enjoys doing play-by-play work, and it's a shame he will not get to do that for the baseball team again this season. It's hard to imagine that him working a few games hampers his basketball marketing efforts (the team winning games would be most important anyway) and it's a shame that whomever made the call does not appreciate the value of giving an employee a chance to broaden his skill set and still serve the department.

It will be an even bigger loss if Crispell's lack of on-air opportunities extends to Penn State football next fall.

His energy and presence as a sideline reporter improved those broadcasts in recent seasons - especially in an atmosphere that was not initially all that receptive to a third voice on the sideline.


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     Joe Shuta and I have talked during most of those sixteen years.

     Last spring, Joe stopped by my house.

     Joe loves sports and wants to share that love with the people he interviews and his listeners.

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0173.  Danks lowers angle, maintains high expectations
MLB.com
February 21, 2015

GLENDALE, AZ: John Danks has lowered his arm angle and lowered his leg kick upon pitch delivery. But his expectations for the 2015 season are riding high as Spring Training begins for the White Sox at Camelback Ranch.

Danks actually made these changes late last season, helping produce a 3.94 ERA over five September starts, after posting a 5.15 ERA in July and a 6.75 ERA in August. The southpaw also allowed just one home run over those 29 2/3 innings in September as part of his 25 yielded overall.

Prior to Saturday morning's workout, Danks explained the desired effect coming from these specific adjustments.

"The lower arm angle is intended to help me get some sink on the fastball, which keeps me down in the zone, gets me more ground balls," Danks said. "It keeps the ball in the ballpark, and you know, it's feeling great right now.

"I'm excited about it. It's only going to help and it feels like it's closer to my consistent arm angle.

"Our thought [on the lower leg kick] was to cut out as much movement, just because when I get my leg up high, it gives me a chance to fly open, get off balance, which hurts my command," Danks said. "And it flattens the ball out, which we both have seen isn't a good thing."

In spending much of the offseason in Nashville with his wife, Ashley Monroe, Danks was able to further work with pitching Don Cooper on refining this new approach. It's now about what Danks still has in his repertoire, which helped produce 20 quality starts and 193 2/3 innings in 2014, as opposed to a tick or two he's missing velocity-wise after arthroscopic shoulder surgery on his left shoulder in August 2012.

General manager Rick Hahn quipped that Cooper talked up his pitchers as if he had four Cy Young candidates on staff after Friday's opening bullpen sessions. The truth is Danks doesn't have to be a Cy Young candidate to help the White Sox achieve success.

Throwing 200 innings and keeping his team in games stands as the baseline goal for Danks, who has the longest White Sox tenure of any player on the active roster. Danks had a 3.06 ERA over his 11 victories in '14 and a 3.48 ERA in 10 no-decisions. His ERA skyrocketed to 7.97 during his 11 losses, with the arm angle and delivery changes employed to lessen these rough efforts.

"Just trying to kind of go about less is more for me a little bit," said Danks, who has a career 4.28 ERA over 213 career starts. "It's good. I'm very comfortable with it. It was something that came pretty quick, that came pretty easy. We were both kind of surprised and happy with that."

"He made a lot of good strides, and I felt like the second half, he was much more efficient being able to go deep into games. Walking less guys, attacking the zone, changing speeds," said White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers of Danks. "His command got a lot better in the second half. I knew he felt confident, too. Once you can trust that you feel healthy again, that eases your mind a lot where you can put your full attention on the things you need to put your full attention on."

Health is not a remote concern for Danks, not two full seasons removed from surgery. His sole focus becomes trying to help the back end of the rotation stand as strong as the front three.

"Where I sit right now, I understand there's three guys ahead of me and Hector [Noesi] and I are neck and neck. I could arguably be the No. 5, and I'm OK with that. That doesn't matter to me," Danks said. "I've never really been an ego guy. As long as I'm getting an opportunity to throw every fifth day, and if I'm getting that, it means I'm giving us a chance to win and eating innings which saves the bullpen and keeps them fresh for the situations when we need them the most.

"As many innings as I can eat, as many quality innings as I can eat, quality starts, giving us a chance to win, that's the name of the game for starting pitchers. The bar hasn't been lowered by any means."


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     White Sox baseball pitcher, John Danks, said:

01. "The lower arm angle is intended to help me get some sink on the fastball."
02. "Sink keeps me down in the zone, gets me more ground balls."
03. "It keeps the ball in the ballpark."
04. "I'm excited about it."
05. "It's only going to help."
06. "It feels like it's closer to my consistent arm angle."
07. "Our thought [on the lower leg kick] was to cut out as much movement."
08. "When I get my leg up high, it gives me a chance to fly open, get off balance, which hurts my command."
09. "And it flattens the ball out, which we both have seen isn't a good thing."

     With a low arm angle release, baseball pitchers are not able to drive the inside of the baseball downward.

     Therefore, the low arm angle prevents high spin velocity.

     With low spin velocity, the baseball will not move dramatically downward.

     With the very high spin velocity, my Maxline Fastball Sinker dramatically moves downward..

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0174.  Romo unconcerned about sore shoulder
MLB.com
February 21, 2015

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: Giants reliever Sergio Romo believes the mild discomfort in his throwing shoulder soon will be just a memory.

"I think I'll be throwing off a mound by sometime next week," Romo said Saturday.

San Francisco's top right-handed setup man has been able to play catch on flat ground and perform simulated throwing exercises during three days of Spring Training workouts for pitchers and catchers. As a seven-year veteran, Romo has the luxury of preparing for the regular season at a deliberate pace.

"At this point, I don't have to come in throwing 100 miles an hour. I'm ready physically," said Romo, who ranks sixth on the franchise's all-time list with 405 appearances since the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958. Romo trails Gary Lavelle (647), Greg Minton (552), Randy Moffitt (459), Juan Marichal (458) and Rod Beck (416).

Romo, who turns 32 on March 4, said he devoted himself to conditioning during the offseason. He pointed out he trimmed his body-fat content yet gained five pounds of muscle. So when Romo's shoulder began bothering him about a month ago, he continued to exercise.

"It was really cranky," Romo said. "But I didn't think anything of it."


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     The article said:

01. "Sergio Romo believes the mild discomfort in his throwing shoulder soon will be just a memory."
02. "During three days of Spring Training workouts, Mr. Romo has been able to play catch on flat ground."
03. "During the offseason, Mr. Romo devoted himself to conditioning."
04. "About a month ago, Mr. Romo's shoulder began bothering him.

     When baseball pitchers' pitching upper arm involuntarily moves behind their acromial line, these baseball pitchers will have pitching shoulder discomfort.

     To orevent the pitching upper arm from involuntarily moving behind their acromial line, baseball pitchers have to turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate their hips and shoulders forward over their glove foot.

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0175.  Angels to 'turn the dial a little bit more' on shifting in 2015
MLB.com
February 22, 2015

TEMPE, AZ: The Angels followed the recent trend throughout baseball last season and incorporated a lot more shifting to their defense.

In 2015, they'll take it to a new level.

The Angels won't just be shifting depending on each hitter; they'll start shifting within counts.

"I think we saw enough success with it last year that everybody's ready to take that next small step," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said, emphasizing that the Angels won't "recreate the wheel" and will only do what Mike Scioscia and his players are comfortable with.

Heading into the 2014 season, the Angels hired Rick Eckstein to be their player-information coach and head a team of statistical analysts who pored through spray charts to help set up the Angels' defensive alignments for each series. Rico Brogna took over the role when Eckstein left for the University of Kentucky in the middle of August, and Brogna is back again.

The key is to incorporate the concepts slowly.

"We don't want to teach them to swim by throwing them into the deep end of the pool with no floaties," Dipoto said. "We want to teach them along the way, where they learn to trust the process, learn to trust the importance."

The Angels acquire spray charts from a Baseball Info Solutions program called "Bis-D" and present it to the coaches, who cross-reference it with the internal spray charts compiled by video coordinator Diego Lopez, as well as their own baseball acumen.

First-base coach Alfredo Griffin and bench coach Dino Ebel are in charge of moving the position players in-game, but the pitchers have to cooperate by attacking hitters based on the shift.

Teams throughout baseball shifted a lot more last year, and the Astros, Indians and Blue Jays were among the American League teams that took it to the next level by incorporating it within at-bats. When there was a 3-1 count on Mike Trout, for example, the Astros would play him to pull by moving their second baseman towards the shortstop hole.

The Angels are seemingly moving in that direction.

"Last year, we took it to the next level, and we started incorporating it based on spray charts and our opponents," Dipoto said. "This year, you have the chance to turn the dial a little bit more. We know more about our competition, we know more about how to read the numbers, we know more about the comfort zones with our players."


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     Baseball batters are predominately pull or spray hitters.

     Baseball pitchers pitch away to pull hitters and in to spray hitters.

     With two strikes, baseball batters try to pull the baseball in play, which means up the middle.

     Therefore, baseball pitchers pitch either away or in until they get two strikes on the batter, when they squeeze the middle.

     This is nothing new.

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0176.  Willis mounts another comeback, this time with Brewers
MLB.com
February 22, 2015

PHOENIX, AZ: Dontrelle Willis starts talking, and the volume in the Brewers Spring Training clubhouse begins to rise. Everyone forgets that it's 8:30 a.m., that it's been a dozen years since a 21-year-old Willis strutted to the World Series with the Marlins and that his famous smile hasn't graced a Major League field for more than three years.

Willis starts talking about his latest comeback bid with the Brewers, how he's healthy and having fun and not feeling any pressure, and everyone around him smiles, too.

"I'm going to let it all hang out and be me," Willis said. "And the day I don't feel like [a Major League-caliber player], I'll go. There's too many other people who deserve a chance, and I've had my chance. But right now, I feel healthy and that I can compete with the best in the world.

"If I don't, then trust me, I'll be back on the 101 [freeway]. I'm not going to sugarcoat anything, and I don't want anybody to sugarcoat anything for me. I think I'm ready to play."

He unleashes one of those smiles. "Now, ask me again tomorrow," he says, and cracks up.

Willis is 33 years old and by the nature of his non-roster status, a long shot to break camp with the Brewers. After racking up double-digit win totals with the Marlins in each of the first five seasons, Willis is 4-15 with a 6.15 ERA in only 43 Major League appearances over six years. In 2012, he retired. In 2013, he changed his mind and signed a Minor League deal with the Cubs, only to suffer a shoulder injury. In 2014, an elbow injury ended a Minor League stint with the Giants.

Willis opted to give it another shot in 2015, so his agent organized a throwing session in Phoenix in January. Willis says 25 teams sent representatives, including the Brewers, who were in the market for left-handed pitchers and had an opening for a long reliever. Milwaukee's pitching coach is Rick Kranitz, who had the same job with the Marlins for Willis' final two seasons there.

He signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to big league camp on Jan. 21 and immediately began reporting to Maryvale Baseball Park.

"They looked me right in the eye and said I was going to get a fair shot," Willis said, "and that's all any man in here wants."

The Brewers have kept their word before. Just last year, another former All-Star left-hander reported to Brewers camp as a non-roster longshot and pitched his way onto the team. Zach Duke parlayed his big season into a three-year, $15 million deal with the White Sox.

Where would Willis fit?

"He can be a situational guy, but he can be a long guy, also," manager Ron Roenicke said. "We'll see what he looks like first, and then see how that fit is. Long guy is something we need. A spot starter. We don't have Marco [Estrada] around, so we may occasionally need a guy to spot start.

Willis last pitched in the Majors for the Reds in 2011, going 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 13 starts. But he says he's healthier now than he was then, and he laughed when asked how he's kept his spirits up amid injury troubles in recent years.

"I live a great life. I just am a [lousy] baseball player," Willis said. "You know what I mean? Excuse my language, but I'm being very honest. I live a very great life, I have beautiful children and God has a way of humbling people into seeing what's really important.

"At the same time, I'm very thankful for this opportunity. I busted my tail off to get to this position, and it would be shame on me not to enjoy every minute of it."

If it doesn't work out, Willis will ride the 101 freeway back to his North Scottsdale home and figure out what's next. He and new neighbor Randy Johnson live in a community with a private golf course, so there is plenty to do.

"I have to tell people, I'm a member at the DC Ranch Country Club, and that was harder to get into than this team. Trust me!" Willis said, laughing again. "But all jokes aside, I was ecstatic when I got a chance to throw for teams. After I threw I was like, 'There's no more I can do. If no one calls, then I'll tip my cap and go hit a fungo.'

"I'm not scared of the next life. I'm not scared if this doesn't work out."


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     The article said:

01. "In 2012, Dontrelle Willis retired."
02. "In 2013, Mr. Willis changed his mind."
03. "The Cubs signed Mr. Willis to a Minor League deal."
04. "Mr. Willis suffered a shoulder injury.
05. "In 2014, Mr. Willis ended a Minor League stint with the Giants with an elbow injury."

     Mr. Willis used to take his pitching arm three to four feet laterally behind his body.

     When Mr. Willis pulled his pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of his body, Mr. Willis placed considerable stress on the front of his pitching shoulder and, when Mr. Willis released his breaking pitches over the top of his Index finger, Mr. Willis banged the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together.

     Mr. Willis has some of the worse injurious flaws that will continue to cause more pitching injuries.

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0177.  Strong-armed Rodriguez wants to prove worth to A's
MLB.com
February 22, 2015

MESA, AZ: Fernando Rodriguez is nearing the two-year anniversary of his Tommy John surgery, and the celebration is already underway. After throwing a bullpen Sunday, the A's right-hander said his arm hasn't felt so strong since college.

"Even before the surgery, I could feel it was tugging at me," said Rodriguez, now entering his 13th professional season. "There's no pain now. It's strong. Really strong. It feels like an iron chrome arm."

The hard-throwing Rodriguez is a likeable bullpen option among sundry right-handers but seemingly has more to prove than most because he's not on the 40-man roster. The A's consider themselves lucky, though, that he's even in their organization, after he cleared waivers upon being designated for assignment in December.

Rodriguez says the feeling is mutual.

"Having the opportunity to come back after Tommy John to get to the big leagues, even though I didn't throw a lot, I want to pay it back to them," he said. "I want to thank them for the opportunity by doing something for them, and I would love to pitch in Oakland. Playing there, in that stadium, that atmosphere, I love that feeling."

Barely a month had passed since Rodriguez came to Oakland with Jed Lowrie from Houston in a trade when Rodriguez learned he needed Tommy John surgery, forcing him to miss all of 2013. His rehab took him through several months of 2014 as well, before he made his A's debut in May. The 30-year-old pitched well, allowing just one earned run in nine innings, but his stay was a short one because of a numbers crunch, and he spent most of the remaining months in Triple-A, where he had a 1.97 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 45 2/3 innings.

"I think he's got a little extra chip on his shoulder this spring to go out there and prove himself, because he's not on the roster yet, did everything that we asked of him last year and pitched well," said A's manager Bob Melvin. "Hopefully he has a good spring, because he has the ability to do it."

"It always comes down to being able to throw strikes," said Rodriguez. "Right now, feeling the way I feel, it's a lot easier to control my pitches. That's something every pitcher wants to feel, where it just comes easy. I was really happy with everything today.

"Everything pretty much was working, especially my curveball. That was something I didn't really use last year because it was such a feel pitch and I would lay off it because would bother me once in a while."


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     The article said:

01. "Barely a month had passed since Rodriguez came to Oakland with Jed Lowrie from Houston in a trade when Rodriguez learned he needed Tommy John surgery."
02. "Mr. Rodriguez missed all of 2013."
03. "Mr. Rodriguez's rehab took him through several months of 2014."
04. "In May, 2014, Mr. Rodriguez made his A's debut."
05. "Mr. Rodriguez pitched well."
06. "In nine innings, Mr. Rodriguez allowed one earned run."
07. "Mr. Rodriguez spent the remaining months in Triple-A."
08. "In 45 2/3 innings, Mr. Rodriguez had a 1.97 ERA with 53 strikeouts."
09. "2015 is Mr. Rodriguez's 13th professional season."

     Athletics baseball pitcher, Fernando Rodriguez, said:

01. "Even before the surgery, I could feel it was tugging at me."
02. "There's no pain now."
03. "It's strong."
04. "Really strong."
05. "It feels like an iron chrome arm."
06. "Having the opportunity to come back after Tommy John to get to the big leagues, I want to pay it back to them."
07. "I want to thank them for the opportunity by doing something for them."
08. "I would love to pitch in Oakland."
09. "Playing there, in that stadium, that atmosphere, I love that feeling."
10. "It always comes down to being able to throw strikes."
11. "Right now, feeling the way I feel, it's a lot easier to control my pitches."
12. "That's something every pitcher wants to feel, where it just comes easy."
13. "I was really happy with everything today."
14. "Everything pretty much was working, especially my curveball."
15. "That was something I didn't really use last year."
16. "It was such a feel pitch and I would lay off it."
17. "Once in a while, the curve would bother me."

     With 12 professional seasons under his belt and 45 2/3 innings with a 1.97 ERA and 53 strikeouts, Mr. Rodriguez should have received several offers.

     After a trade, Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery and one run in nine innings, Mr. Rodriguez has no reason to be grateful.

     Mr. Rodriguez says that his curve is working.

     What has Mr. Rodriguez changed from the curve that would bother him and he did not have command?

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0178.  Elbow bends beyond straight

In Q #159 you mentioned a pitcher that could extend his elbow 5 degrees beyond straight.

1. What happens with the structure of the elbow that makes this possible?

I recently ran across a youngster who is a very good baseball player. He also can extend his elbow beyond straight.

2. Does the ability to extend your elbow beyond straight give a player an advantage?

It seems to me that you would be able to apply force an additional 5 degrees to your throws.

P.S.: I was asked for your email address recently. A guy who has a cable tv show wants to highlight your pitching work. It sounded legit.


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01. Genetics.

02. With 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' and 'Supination Releases,' I suppose that baseball pitchers with elbow hyperextension gets more degrees of extension before their olecranon process bangs into their olecranon fossa.

     I did not know that my email address was that difficult to find.

     I am always available to explain the causes of pitching injuries and how to prevent them.

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0179.  Strong body and mind fuel Cubs' Arrieta
MLB.com
February 22, 2015

MESA, AZ: One day during his sophomore year at Texas Christian University, Jake Arrieta and his baseball teammates found themselves in a dark room, lying on the floor, their eyes closed.

"I was like, 'What are we doing here?'" Arrieta said about his introduction to sports psychology. "But as soon as you start to accept it, you understand the importance of it. With the dark room and the voice in the corner, it was all about visualization and being able to see things happen before they do."

The voice belonged to noted performance coach Brian Cain, who had started working with the TCU program that year.

"Everybody here has the ability to throw a fastball down and away or throw a breaking ball in the dirt for a swing and a miss," Arrieta said. "But are we able to stay in that moment and understand what we're trying to accomplish, and see it in our mind before we execute and then make the pitch? If you can see it before you execute, that only increases your chance for success."

Now entering his second full season with the Cubs, Arrieta embraced the importance of strengthening his mind as well as working on mechanics. In his sophomore season in 2006, he led the nation with 14 wins, compiled a 2.35 ERA in 19 appearances, and he followed that up with a spot on Team USA, where he was 4-0 and helped his squad win a gold medal in Cuba.

TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle saw the change in Arrieta and the rest of his players after the sessions.

"The saying is, 'You can't be in control of your performance until you're in control of yourself,'" said Schlossnagle, who was in Phoenix for a baseball series against Arizona State. "That's really helped all of our players. Jake's learned from that, and he's smart enough to learn that applies at the Major League level, too."

Arrieta applied the lessons last season with the Cubs and went 10-5 with a 2.53 ERA in 25 starts. He carried three no-hit bids into the seventh inning. Strong body plus strong mind equals good results.

"Sports psychology or mental training has been viewed as a weakness, and I think that's a pretty silly way to look at it," Arrieta said, echoing a message manager Joe Maddon relayed to the Cubs.

"There's so many things running through your mind," Arrieta said. "If you can formulate a game plan that works for you and allows you to block outside distractions and get to what matters, that's how the talent is able to come out. Really being able to harness my mental approach has kind of taken me to the next level, and obviously maturing as a player and a teammate and as a person. Those are things that are necessary to achieve success in this game. There's no other way around it."

Schlossnagle was looking for any edge when he brought in Cain, who has helped several college programs and is a disciple of sports psychologist Ken Ravizza, who the Cubs have hired as a consultant.

"It's become such a part of the culture of our program that guys buy into it pretty quick," Schlossnagle said Saturday. Arrieta did. He can identify the "yellow lights" that warn things are starting to go in a negative direction.

"The yellow light is, say, a leadoff walk and then a guy hits a double," he said. "Then it's, 'OK, how do I assess the situation before it gets to a 'red light,' where everything hits the fan, and before you know it you're in the dugout after giving up five runs and saying, 'How … did that happen?'"

Some pitchers write reminders under the bill of their cap. Arrieta has a couple. One is "ACE," which stands for "Acting Cures Everything."

"If you don't feel good, act like you feel good," he said. "You don't want to present to the opposition, 'This guy is unsure of himself.' If you show that before the game starts, you're already beat."

Another reminder is "GOYA," which is "Get Off Your [behind]." That translates into a lot of things, including taking charge of a situation and making something happen.

Schlossnagle remembers the first time he saw Arrieta. The coach was scouting a relief pitcher at Weatherford Junior College. Arrieta was the starter that day.

"I called my assistant coach and said, 'I don't know about the guy I'm supposed to see, but this guy [Arrieta] is really darn good,'" Schlossnagle said.

The Orioles made Arrieta their fifth-round pick in 2007, and he eventually became their Opening Day starter in '12. The Cubs acquired him in July 2013.

Before coming to Arizona for Spring Training this month, Arrieta took part in a TCU alumni game and talked to the pitchers. The topic? Stay focused on what you do on the field.

"The hype surrounding the Draft in college baseball is something that can kind of deter you from what your goals are, and I fell victim to that," Arrieta said. "As a college player, it's hard not to get caught up in it, because it's exciting. Their season is something they need to experience each moment as passionately as they can, because it'll be gone before they realize it."

Schlossnagle welcomed the advice.

"It's easy for a 44-year-old college coach to tell them that, but they all want to reach the ultimate goal," Schlossnagle said. "Sometimes players can end up pitching for the [Major League scouts] behind home plate instead of the guys on your team. Jake went through that a little bit his junior year. His junior year wasn't as good as his sophomore year, so he's a really good example of how to do a better job handling that."

Arrieta isn't the only big leaguer who supports TCU. So do alumni like the Cardinals' Matt Carpenter, the Padres' Andrew Cashner and the Royals' Brandon Finnegan who last year became the first pitcher to appear in the College World Series and the World Series in the same season.

"We take pride in being a former Frog," Arrieta said.

Arrieta won't forget what he learned at TCU, both on the field and in that dark room.

"I think it's part of my job to continue to help them and progress that program," Arrieta said. "Whatever I can do, I feel I need to do to help because of what TCU did for my career."


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     The article said:

01. "One day during his sophomore year at Texas Christian University, Jake Arrieta and his baseball teammates found themselves in a dark room, lying on the floor, their eyes closed."
02. "The voice belonged to noted performance coach Brian Cain, who had started working with the TCU program that year."
03. "TCU head baseball coach, Jim Schlossnagle was looking for any edge." 04. "Coach Schlossnagle brought in Cain, who has helped several college programs and is a disciple of sports psychologist Ken Ravizza, who the Cubs have hired as a consultant."

     In 1929, Dr. Edmund Jacobson invented a way to help patients with anxiety. Dr. Jacobson called the technique, Progressive Relaxation and wrote 'You Must Relax' to help the readers to treat themselves.

     When I finally reached the major leagues and traveled to Chicago on a regular basis, I went to Dr. Jacobson's offices and we struck up a life-long friendship.

     On Dr. Jacobson's advice, when I started my doctoral degree studies, I studied Physiological Psychology as my minor degree.

     Later, Professor Arthur Steinhaus joined the teaching staff in the Physical Education Department at Michigan State University.

     Professor Steinhaus had worked with Dr. Jacobson and investigated the use of Neuromuscular Relaxation in education.

     I took every class that Professor Steinhaus offered.

     I wrote: 'How Tension Control Relates to Athletics.'

     The brain continually receives nerve impulses from every sensory organ and internally generates more nerve impulses. When sensory nerve impulses bombard the brain, athletes are not able to perform complex motor skills. To successfully perform complex motor skills in situations of high sensory input, athletes have to eliminate tensions that interfere with their performances.

     I taught Differential Tension Control, where athletes recognize muscle tensions that athletes need to perform and the muscle tensions that athletes do not need to perform and eliminate the tensions that they do not need.

     Visualization works only after athletes are able to differentiate between necessary tensions and unnecessary tensions.

     This means that 'noted' performance coach, Brian Cain, and Sports psychologist, Ken Ravizza, do not know how to teach athletes to recognize good and bad muscle tensions and how to control them.

     For example: Consider 100 yard dash sprinters. Sprinters that only use muscles necessary to run fast perform at their genetic best. Sprinters that tighten unnecessary muscles cannot perform at their genetic best.

     For major league baseball pitchers to perform in tension-filled moments, before they visualize the pitches they are about to throw, baseball pitchers first need to eliminate unnecessary muscle tensions.

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0180.  My Graduated College Pitcher Has Pro Tryouts

I wanted to let you know that my son has been invited to a few Pro tryouts with the first one coming up near the end of March. I believe he is ready.

I am sure you remember late last September he had that tryout with the Diamondbacks. He was the only amateur player there. He faced Independent League All-Stars and ate them up.

His velocity was in the upper 80's. His pitches handcuffed them like wiffle balls.

They told him they liked everything he did. They just want him to sit at 90 or better.

Since he came home from college in December, he has been working out and throwing the 15 lb. lead ball. The power increase in his releases has translated into more velocity and spin on his pitches this winter.

He had an offer to play in the 2 year old Independent Pecos League in southern Texas, but the D'backs scout said he would like to see him in the Frontier League. In his opinion, it is the most competitive Indy League in the country right now.

His first tryout is in a couple weeks with the pitching coach of the Gateway Grizzlies of the Frontier League. It is a private tryout with just my son throwing a bullpen for the coach. If he makes that roster he is to contact the D'backs scout and they will track his progress.


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     Since your son returned home from college in December, he has thrown a 15 lb. lead ball. It will take more than two months for he completes his physiological adjustment.

     'Marshall' baseball pitchers use their pitching upper arm to move their pitching elbow as far forward as they are able and then 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.

     Therefore, the 'Marshall' baseball pitching arm action has three stages of force application.

01. In stage one, my baseball pitchers move their pitching upper arm forward and upward and to vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching upper arm facing home plate and their pitching forearm is horizontally behind.

02. In stage two, my baseball pitchers 'throw' their pitching upper arm inward and their pitching forearm moves laterally away from their body.

03. In stage three, my baseball pitchers inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, extend their pitching elbow and pronate their pitching forearm.

     In stage three, the pitching elbow moves backward and the pitching forearm and hand move forward . These two parallel and oppositely-directed forces add together and increase the release velocity. This is force-coupling,

     To benefit from force-coupling, your son needs to 'horizontally rebound' his pitching forearm to beyond pointing toward second base from which your son inwardly rotates his pitching upper arm, extends his pitching elbow and pronates his pitching forearm.

     As a result of these parallel and oppositely-directed forces, the pitching elbow pops upward and moves backward and the pitching hand move straight toward the strike zone.

     To master this force-coupling skill, your son needs to use my Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     To start, your son needs to repeatedly 'snap release' the Lid.

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0181.  Nathan finds fountain of youth in regimen change
MLB.com
February 22, 2015

LAKELAND, FL: Joe Nathan spent the offseason changing his training regimen to feel younger, a difference he can feel this spring before he gets to the park.

"Getting up is a lot easier. I'm ready to go," the Tigers closer said.

He can feel the difference in his arm, he said. Now comes the matter of translating that difference into his pitching.

Nathan said he has spent his early bullpen sessions focusing more on commanding his pitches on both sides of the plate. It's not necessarily a big difference for him, but it's an earlier priority.

While much was made of Nathan's velocity last season at age 39, including a fastball that averaged 91.6 mph, Nathan also had a drop in the percentage of fastballs in the strike zone, falling from 50.5 percent in 2013 to 48.9 percent last year. Part of that likely resulted from a drop in swings and misses, but Nathan also struggled to spot the fastball on the corners as opposed to the plate.

Though Nathan's runs, batting average and BABIP allowed dropped down the stretch last year, his walk rate did not. He walked more batters after the All-Star break (15) than before (14), but three of the second-half walks were intentional.

Manager Brad Ausmus said Nathan's pitches looked crisp so far in early sessions, settling into the arm slot he found late last year.

Sunday was Nathan's second bullpen session this Spring Training. He'll have at least three more before games begin March 2. Ausmus said the process of gearing up Nathan this spring will be similar to last year, pointing out that Nathan had to prove he was ready.

"I don't think Joe will be handled any differently in Spring Training," Ausmus said. "We've got to make sure he's at full strength once the season starts. He looked good the other day."


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     The article said:

01. "Joe Nathan said he has spent his early bullpen sessions focusing more on commanding his pitches on both sides of the plate."
02. "It's not necessarily a big difference for him, but it's an earlier priority."

     Fastballs work better when baseball pitchers are able to throw hard non-fastballs for strikes in fastball strike situtations.

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0182.  No discomfort for Tanaka after second 'pen session
MLB.com
February 22, 2015

TAMPA, FL: There are plenty of eyes fixed upon Masahiro Tanaka with each windup, watching his face cautiously for any hint of a grimace. Thus far, there has been no reason for the Yankees to be concerned.

Tanaka threw his second bullpen session of the spring on Sunday afternoon at George M. Steinbrenner Field, firing 35 pitches to catcher Austin Romine. He said that he felt "absolutely good," with no discomfort.

"I think I was able to throw a little bit better than the last time," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "I think the No. 1 thing is, I'm throwing a little bit harder than last time."

Tanaka said that he made an effort to work in more breaking balls this time. In a 21-pitch bullpen on Thursday at the Yanks' Minor League complex, Tanaka said that he threw two splitters.

"The overall number of pitches I threw were more than last time, so I threw more breaking balls." Tanaka said. "I'm trying to build that in right now."

The Yankees are hopeful that Tanaka's right elbow will have no more issues after rehabbing a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament. Tanaka said he is scheduled to throw at least one more bullpen session before facing live hitters.

"I thought he was good," manager Joe Girardi said. "He threw 35 pitches, threw everything and had no issues. That was encouraging."


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     The article said:

01. "Masahiro Tanaka said that he made an effort to work in more breaking balls this time."
02. "In a 21-pitch bullpen on Thursday at the Yanks' Minor League complex, Tanaka said that he threw two splitters."

     Splitters are not breaking pitches.

     Two non-fastballs in 21 pitches is not working in more breaking pitches.

     My bet is that Mr. Tanaka releases his breaking pitches over the top of his Index finger.

     To avoid injuring his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, Mr. Tanaka needs to pronate the release of his breaking pitches.

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0183.  Developing secondary pitches is Eovaldi's spring goal
MLB.com
February 22, 2015

TAMPA, FL: Nathan Eovaldi's fastball sizzled as advertised on Sunday, missing bats in a simulated game at George M. Steinbrenner Field. The first-year Yankee hopes that his electric stuff will translate into strikeouts against the tough lineups of the American League East.

Eovaldi popped the catcher's glove in a 25-pitch morning session that was closely tracked by manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild, among others. Eovaldi's goal this spring is to complement that high-octane heater by fine-tuning his splitter, slider and changeup.

"That's one of the big issues I've had, is not being able to finish the batters and trying to do too much," Eovaldi said. "I've got to have better consistency of the offspeed pitches. I think that split is going to help out a lot."

Despite a fastball that ranked fourth in velocity (95.7 mph) among qualified big league starters last year, according to FanGraphs.com, Eovaldi permitted a National League-leading 223 hits with just 142 strikeouts in 199 2/3 innings.

Eovaldi completed the season with a 6-14 record and a 4.37 ERA, and he was swapped to New York in a five-player December deal. Yankees executives are intrigued by his potential, as well as the durability he has already shown in eating innings.

"We've talked about developing his repertoire and having him establish confidence in all his pitches in all the counts," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's one thing to have three or four pitches, but it's another thing to have the confidence to throw them at any time."

The 25-year-old Eovaldi said that he and Rothschild have been working on a tendency to rush to the plate, as well as that splitter, which he picked up from Marlins pitching coach Chuck Hernandez and showcased during his last two starts with Miami.

Eovaldi said that his high hit total from last season was largely due to missing spots and falling behind in counts with his offspeed pitches, then having to rely on his fastball to get back in the count.

"It's just getting ahead, pitching efficiently," Eovaldi said. "You don't want to go out there and [throw] curveball, curveball, curveball, you're 3-0. You've got to be able to get back in the count, stay ahead, command the count."

Yankees catcher Brian McCann spent part of the winter reviewing video of Eovaldi's starts, and he believes the team is looking at someone who will fit at the top of a big league rotation in future years.

"His ceiling is as high as it can be," McCann said. "You throw 96 mph and you're an uncomfortable at-bat. Then you start learning the ins and outs of pitching, what you can and can't do in certain situations, and when to elevate, when not to elevate, when to bounce a slider. You learn those things, with his stuff, I think the sky is the limit."

Eovaldi is looking forward to working with McCann, and he said that he is "super excited" to take on those levels of expectations.

"The Yankees are rebuilding in a way; a lot of guys are leaving, and we're starting to get a lot more of the younger guys coming in here too," Eovaldi said. "With the Marlins last year, that whole group was young. It's exciting to be part of the Yankees."


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     The article said:

01. "Despite a fastball that ranked fourth in velocity (95.7 mph) among qualified big league starters last year, Nathan Eovaldi permitted a National League-leading 223 hits with just 142 strikeouts in 199 2/3 innings."

02. "Mr. Eovaldi said that his high hit total from last season was largely due to missing spots and falling behind in counts with his offspeed pitches, then having to rely on his fastball to get back in the count."
03. "Mr. Eovaldi's goal this spring is to complement that high-octane heater by fine-tuning his splitter, slider and changeup."

     With an average fastball at 95.7 mph, Mr. Eovaldi should throw a splitter or slider in every fastball count.

     If Mr. Eovaldi throws a strike with a non-fastball, then the At Bat is over.

     If Mr. Eovaldi throw a ball with a non-fastball, then Mr. Eovaldi has a better chance of batters missing his fastball.

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0184.  A's take measures to slow opponents' running game
MLB.com
February 23, 2015

MESA, AZ: The A's inability to control their opponents' running game haunted them too often last season, and no time more so than in their final game, displayed under the microscope of a national audience.

The Royals stole a postseason-record seven bases under Oakland's watch in the American League Wild Card Game, a 12-inning escapade the A's lost, 9-8. It was the continuation of an ugly regular-season trend they're ready to halt this spring.

Oakland allowed 100 stolen bases in 2014, tied for fourth-most in the AL, and caught just 22 percent of attempted basestealers, the third-worst total in the league.

"When you're deficient in an area, it's my job to make sure we concentrate on that," A's manager Bob Melvin said Monday. "It's something that we're paying particularly close attention to, and once we get into games, it will remain that way."

The A's have an extra hand to help the process this year. During the offseason they added Marcus Jensen to their coaching staff as an assistant hitting coach and catching instructor, and it's in the latter role he's helping a group of backstops understand what they can do on their end to alleviate this issue.

"A lot of times," he said, "what ends up happening, you'll recognize there's a guy that's fast on the bases and you'll try to do more than you're capable of, and as a result of that you'll rush your throw and make a poor throw, which compounds the problem."

The A's do have several above-average arms among their catchers in camp, including Stephen Vogt and Josh Phegley, and the responsibility doesn't fall solely with the men behind the plate.

A's pitchers are beginning each workout with "game awareness" drills, specifically aimed at managing the running game.

"It starts with the pitcher's delivery and time to home plate, and then us being able to make a good, solid throw on the bag, not try to make up for time, not try to be too quick and obviously know who are the threats and be able to contain the ones that we should be able to have a high percentage of throwing out," said Jensen. "The burners are going to get their bases. It's the other guys we need to contain."


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     The article said:

01. "The A's have an extra hand to help the process this year."
02. "During the offseason, they added Marcus Jensen to their coaching staff as an assistant hitting coach and catching instructor."
03. "It's in the latter role he's helping a group of backstops understand what they can do on their end to alleviate this issue."
04. "The A's do have several above-average arms among their catchers in camp."
05. "The responsibility doesn't fall solely with the men behind the plate."
06. "A's pitchers are beginning each workout with "game awareness" drills."
07. "These drill specifically aim at managing the running game."

     First, catchers have to use my two-step throw. With the two-step throw, catchers step forward with their throwing side foot, catch the pitch, step to the base and throw the baseball. The two-step throw shortens the catcher to infielder by one-third.

     Second, baseball pitchers have to shorten their first step and rotate their hips and shoulders forward over their glove foot. These adjustments not only shorten the pitcher to catcher time, but also enables baseball pitchers to get both feet on the ground before the pitch enters the hitting zone.

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0185.  Padres prospect Kelly slowed by strained groin
MLB.com
February 23, 2015

PEORIA, AZ: Pitcher Casey Kelly remained sidelined Monday with a strained groin, though he felt a bit encouraged that the injury won't keep him away from the mound for long.

"It feels a little better today than it did yesterday," Kelly said Monday morning.

Kelly was held out of workouts on Sunday after he reported the strain. It wasn't one specific incident that led to it, he said.

"It was kind of a gradual thing," Kelly said. "It just got tighter and tighter. Right now, we're just getting treatment on it."

There's no timetable to when Kelly will be able to resume workouts, including throwing off the mound.

Kelly, who had Tommy John surgery in 2013 and was limited to 20 1/3 innings last season in the Minor Leagues when his rehabilitation hit a snag, threw a bullpen session on Friday and came out of that fine, he said on Saturday.

Kelly is expected to get stretched out as a starting pitcher in camp and then begin the season with one of the team's Minor League affiliates, starting every fifth day.

"This is going to be a slow process with Casey, but the key thing with him is that when he did throw his side [Friday], he felt great," said Padres manager Bud Black.


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     The article said:

01. "After Casey Kelly reported that he had strained groin, Mr. Kelly was held out of workouts."
02. "Mr. Kelly said that one specific incident injured his groin."
03. "Mr. Kelly remained sidelined Monday with a strained groin."
04. "Although Mr. Kelly felt a bit encouraged that the injury won't keep him away from the mound for long."

     If, instead of turning his pitching foot parallel with the front of the pitching rubber, Mr. Kelly turns his pitching foot to forty-five degrees and walk forward off the pitching rubber, then Mr. Kelly could throw a bullpen today.

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0186.  Search it: Aardsma credits web for rebirth
MLB.com
February 23, 2015

GLENDALE, AZ: What if you could search, "Fix my pitching mechanics," and it really worked? What if we ask David Aardsma?

"That's pretty much how it happened," Aardsma said after reporting to the Dodgers' Major League spring camp.

Aardsma is in the clubhouse on a Minor League contract, but he said he feels just about the way he did in 2009-10, when he saved 69 games as Seattle's closer. Although he hasn't saved a big league game since, Aardsma said he was confident of making this club's bullpen -- even before it lost closer Kenley Jansen to foot surgery.

Based on the attention Aardsma was getting from manager Don Mattingly and pitching coach Rick Honeycutt during his first bullpen session, who's to say he won't?

Aardsma shows up with a high-tech comeback story. He ought to secure the domain for www.resurrect-a-career.com.

And the career needed saving. After the 2010 season, Aardsma had left hip labrum surgery. Favoring the healing hip in 2011, he blew out his right elbow and had Tommy John reconstruction. Last season, otherwise spent effectively at St. Louis' Triple-A affiliate, was interrupted for surgery to repair a torn adductor muscle.

The three operations took the fast off Aardsma's fastball and convinced him to go back to the drawing board -- or, actually, the keyboard.

When the 2014 season ended, the 33-year-old started surfing the Internet for video of pitchers who maintained fastball velocity through their mid-30s. He watched videos of Mariano Rivera, Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan.

One of the videos had a link that led Aardsma to another video of Cuban flamethrower Aroldis Chapman. The video was housed on the website of Brent Pourciau, who was demonstrating to a college pitcher how Chapman's flawless mechanics leveraged his throwing movements into the highest velocity.

Pourciau, among other things, has been a biomechanics consultant for the Tampa Bay Rays, former employer of new Dodgers president Andrew Friedman.

Intrigued by the video demonstration, Aardsma contacted Pourciau, and they agreed Aardsma would be best served by working intensely at his clinic, Guerilla Baseball Academy.

But as with many Internet connections, logistics was an issue. Pourciau's clinic is in New Orleans. Aardsma -- along with wife Andrea and young sons DZ and JD -- lives in Scottsdale, Ariz.

"My wife told me to go," Aardsma said. "She said, 'It's your career. It can save your career.' I went there for four months. I moved in with one of the trainers. I recognized I had a problem and I wasn't going to give up, and I found somebody to help and I have a family willing to allow me to."

So Aardsma went to New Orleans and went all-in. Aardsma said Pourciau broke down and reconstructed his pitching mechanics, stressing leg drive and hip and shoulder rotation, while rebuilding his body through Olympic lifting.

"He was able to articulate how to emulate the other pitchers' mechanics," Aardsma said.

On Feb. 11, Aardsma held a workout for about 25 scouts. Four days later, the Dodgers announced his signing.

"At my best, I was a high-90s [mph] guy," Aardsma said. "Last year, even though I got outs, I was 86-89, and I knew that wasn't good enough. In the tryout, I was back up to 92. I think there's more there."

So do the Dodgers. That said, Aardsma is far enough removed from those 30-plus save seasons that he isn't insulted to be fighting for a role.

"I've always had the mindset that I have to earn a job," he said. "I'm confident in what I've done during the offseason that I've put myself in position to control my own destiny. All I ask for is the chance to show what I can do, and they'll make the decision."

And when baseball is over, Aardsma has a plan for that, too. While rehabbing from his Tommy John surgery, he served an internship with the Yankees focused on studying advanced analytics. More recently, Aardsma served an internship in sports management and events at the Fairmont Princess Hotel in Phoenix.

Aardsma has a few more classes to fulfill his degree requirements at Rice University, where he helped the Owls win the 2000 College World Series. To that end, last year he took a course in sports analytics -- online.


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     The article said:

01. "One of the videos had a link that led Aardsma to another video of Cuban flamethrower Aroldis Chapman."
02. "The video was housed on the website of Brent Pourciau."
03. "Mr. Pourciau was demonstrating to a college pitcher how Chapman's flawless mechanics leveraged his throwing movements into the highest velocity."
04. "Among other things, Mr. Pourciau has been a biomechanics consultant for the Tampa Bay Rays."
05. "Intrigued by the video demonstration, Aardsma contacted Pourciau."
06. "Mr. Aardsma agreed to train at Mr. Pourcoiau's Guerilla Baseball Academy in New Orleans."
07. "Mr. Pourciau broke down and reconstructed Mr. Aardsma's pitching mechanics."
08. "Mr. Pourciau stressed leg drive and hip and shoulder rotation and rebuilding his body through Olympic lifting."

     Rear leg drive and hisp and shoulder rotation over the pitching rubber with non-specific heavy lifting will not help Mr. Aardsma's baseball pitching motion.

     Too bad that Mr. Aardsma did not find my website, he could have stayed at home and fixed his baseball pitching motion. Start with the Lid.

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0187.  Reds refute Latos' comments about club's medical staff
MLB.com
February 23, 2015

GOODYEAR, AZ: The Reds emphatically responded Monday to published comments from former starting pitcher Mat Latos, who criticized the team's medical staff and clubhouse culture.

In a story published Sunday, Latos -- now with the Marlins -- told FOX Sports that the Reds rushed him back from his arthroscopic left knee surgery last year. Latos was injured the day before Spring Training 2014 opened, and he later suffered a setback while rehabbing, as he strained the flexor mass tendon near his right elbow.

Members of the Reds defended the medical staff, including Dr. Tim Kremchek and head trainer Paul Lessard.

"We have a top-shelf training and medical staff, and have had them for years," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "Their credibility is undeniable. It's a non-issue. It's unfortunate that we even have to address it. We would not compromise the health of our players to win a baseball game. I couldn't be more supportive of what we do here from a medical standpoint."

"It's kind of obvious when you're looking at it and the [physical therapist] is looking at it, and this knee looks like a water balloon and this knee looks like a regular knee," Latos said in the story. "Don't you think you would say, 'Hey, let's get some of that swelling down before we do anything?' But there's nothing I can do about it. I went along with it because I wanted to be out there. I figured they knew what they were talking about."

Reds starting pitcher Homer Bailey, currently rehabbing from surgery to repair a torn flexor mass tendon near his right forearm, also has had injuries in the past.

"I never have [been rushed]," Bailey said. "I always felt like our medical staff has done an outstanding job from Day 1 -- all the way from Dr. Kremchek to all the way down. I couldn't say enough good things about Paul, our PT staff, [assistant trainer] Steve Baumann. I don't know what kind of experiences Mathew had. I'm sorry he feels that way."

Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco spent time on the disabled list last season, including at the season's start because of a strained left oblique muscle.

"I fought and fought and fought to say, 'Hey, I wanted to play Opening Day.' And they kind of held me back," Mesoraco said. "They wouldn't let me get to the point, just because they knew how much time it took to heal. For him to say that they're rushing people to get back into the game couldn't be any further from the truth. They really had to hold me back just because I wanted to be in there so bad."

"We follow very strict protocols after surgeries, rehabbing and so forth with the physical therapists," Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. "We treat everyone the same to make sure they are ready to go. We don't rush anybody. If anything, I've always had a philosophy that if a guy says he's ready, you wait an extra day or two just to make sure."

In June, when Latos had his rehab assignment extended instead of being activated, he actually had expressed his displeasure. "It's pretty bogus I've got to go on another rehab assignment, but it is what it is," Latos said on June 7. "I'll go down there and throw 100 fastballs and call it a day, and [I'll] come back up here and we'll assess what's going on."

As for the Reds' clubhouse, Latos used the term "circus," with the FOX Sports report saying the club's veteran leadership was missing without players like Scott Rolen and Bronson Arroyo. Latos described teammates lying down in the video room on phones during games, players "buying stuff" on computers instead of being on the bench and "a closer in there sleeping until the seventh inning," referring to Aroldis Chapman.

Latos was traded to the Marlins on Dec. 11 for pitcher Anthony DeSclafani and Minor League catcher Chad Wallach. Miami is his third club since his big league debut in 2009. Cincinnati acquired Latos in a four-for-one trade with the Padres before the 2012 season. He was often a polarizing figure for comments made to reporters and behind the scenes.

"The best thing I can say is if this was a court of law, the cross examination would probably go after the credibility of the witness," Bailey said.


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

     The article said:

01. "In a story published Sunday, Mat Latos, now with the Marlins, told FOX Sports that the Reds rushed him back from his arthroscopic left knee surgery last year."
02. "Mr. Latos was injured the day before Spring Training 2014 opened."
03. "Mr. Latos later suffered a setback while rehabbing."
04. "Mr. Latos strained the flexor mass tendon near his right elbow."
05. "The Reds emphatically responded Monday to published comments from former starting pitcher Mat Latos."
06. "Mr. Latos criticized the team's medical staff and clubhouse culture."

     When Medical Staffs are not able to explain what causes injuries and how to prevent them, baseball pitchers have no confidence in what they say and do.

     Unfortunately, Mr. Latos' experience is no different from anybody else.

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0188.  McCatty preaching excellence one pitch at a time
MLB.com
February 23, 2015

VIERA, FL: Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty hears it all the time. He is often told how great his pitching staff is going to be this season. After leading the Major Leagues with a 3.03 ERA last season, the Nationals fortified their rotation by adding right-hander Max Scherzer last month.

It all looks good on paper, but as McCatty points out, the Nationals have to play the games in order to get great results.

"There is always some sort of injury, something happens. You have to make sure that the baseball gods are on your side to have a great season. We'll see how it plays out," McCatty said. "Am I excited? Yeah. I'm excited every day just to see the growth of the pitchers from last year to this year."

McCatty has been Washington's pitching coach since June 2009. It seems like yesterday when the Nationals had the worst pitching in the league. McCatty would sometimes yell at his pitchers to throw strikes. Six years later, throwing strikes is the least of McCatty's worries. As good as they are on paper, McCatty doesn't feel pressured to win every game this year.

"That's a nice thing," McCatty said. "Everybody says you guys have the lowest ERA. That's cool. Do I have pressure that we have to do it again this year? No. That's pretty dumb because we aren't shooting at numbers. When you shoot for a number, that's awfully hard to do. Until I'm done doing this job, I will say it every day: We play one game, one pitch, one hitter at a time. It's not tomorrow's game. It's not yesterday's game, it right here and it's now. Right now, we are getting ready for the season."

The Nationals currently have six starters, including Tanner Roark. McCatty doesn't hesitate to mention right-hander Blake Treinen as a possibility for the rotation. McCatty loves the depth the Nationals have entering the regular season.

"You have other options. But right now, we have six guys in the rotation for five spots. Come April 6, obviously, you will have an idea who is going to be in, but providing the normal things -- the aches and pains-- who knows what's going to happen. We'll see where we are at."


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

     The article said:

01. "Steve McCatty has been Washington's pitching coach since June 2009."
02. "It seems like yesterday when the Nationals had the worst pitching in the league."
03. "Mr. McCatty would sometimes yell at his pitchers to throw strikes."
04. "Six years later, throwing strikes is the least of McCatty's worries."
05. "As good as they are on paper, McCatty doesn't feel pressured to win every game this year."

     I expect field managers to yell, 'Throw strikes.' Pitching coaches should know better.

     Nationals baseball pitching coach, Steve McCatty, said:

01. "There is always some sort of injury, something happens."
02. "You have to make sure that the baseball gods are on your side to have a great season." 03. "We'll see how it plays out."
04. "Am I excited? Yeah."
05. "I'm excited every day just to see the growth of the pitchers from last year to this year."

     That Mr. McCatty relies on baseball gods means that Mr. McCatty has no idea what causes pitching injuries.

     With all the injuries that the Nationals baseball pitchers has suffered, Mr. McCatty deserves no credit.

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

0189.  Bailey hoping to make Yankees' investment pay off
MLB.com
February 24, 2015

Tampa, FL: The Yankees have preached patience with Andrew Bailey, hoping that the former All-Star closer will be able to take advantage of their facilities and pay big dividends down the line. That time may be quickly approaching.

Bailey has been throwing at the Yankees' complex for nearly a month and will soon advance to facing live hitters. Nearly all the way back from July 2013 surgery to repair a torn labrum and shoulder capsule, Bailey believes he can crack the team's Opening Day roster.

"Everything feels great," Bailey said. "I'm with the team and doing everything as I would normally and if I need a little extra work here or there, that's fine, too. I'm here to compete and earn a spot."

Bailey threw 30 pitches on Tuesday, firing fastballs, curveballs and cutters while drawing the attention of manager Joe Girardi and pitching coordinator Gil Patterson. Bailey has recorded 89 saves over his five big league seasons, including 51 during back-to-back All-Star campaigns with the A's in 2009-10.

"Compared to where he was last year to where he is, there's significant improvement," Girardi said. "I don't know exactly what we'll see as far as games, and his bullpens are a little more spread out than some of the other relievers, but that's on purpose right now. Our hope is that we can catch him up and keep him healthy."

Bailey last pitched in the Majors with the Red Sox in 2013, posting a 3.77 ERA in 30 appearances while finishing 17 games. The Yankees signed Bailey to a Minor League contract in February 2014, with general manager Brian Cashman saying at the time that it was more of an investment toward the '15 season.

By mid-September, Bailey had appeared in simulated games but setbacks prevented him from getting into Minor League games, prompting the Yankees to shut him down. The Yanks declined a 2015 option on Bailey's contract, but he quickly re-signed, saying he was not tempted to look elsewhere.

"Knowing the long shot of me potentially pitching last year and having the respect to sign me, knowing what I went through, I give them a lot of credit," Bailey said. "It's awesome they gave me the shot, and I'm looking forward to a healthy season."


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

     The article said:

01. "Andrew Bailey has been throwing at the Yankees' complex for nearly a month."
02. "Soon, Mr. Bailey will advance to facing live hitters."
03. "Mr. Bailey is nearly all the way back from July 2013 surgery to repair a torn labrum and shoulder capsule."
04. "Mr. Bailey believes he can crack the team's Opening Day roster."
05. "Mr. Bailey threw 30 fastballs, curveballs and cutters."

     Unless Mr. Bailey turns the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotates his hips and shoulders forward over his glove foot, Mr. Bailey's pitching shoulder will continue to fail him.

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0190.  Anthopoulos: Filling Out Blue Jays rotation first a priority
MLB.com
February 24, 2015

DUNEDIN, FL: General manager Alex Anthopoulos said on Tuesday that Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada and Daniel Norris could all be in the mix for both the Blue Jays' starting rotation and the bullpen this spring.

"Your priority is the starting rotation," the GM said. "You build everything else off that."

Sanchez, last season's surprise who posted a 1.09 ERA after arriving in July, could be the closer or a starter. Estrada could start or relieve, depending upon how Norris fares this spring in his bid to win a place in the rotation.

It all depends on how they and some of the other pitchers in camp perform this spring.

Anthopoulos acknowledged the Blue Jays face a number of uncertainties after making a number of changes this offseason.

"We've moved some things around," Anthopoulos said. "We love talent. We just want to win. We want to win as many games as we can every year."


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

     Unless Mr. Anthopoulos has someone to teach and train baseball pitchers, the Blue Jays will not win.

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0191.  Bradley banking on knuckle curve to land job with Diamondbacks
MLB.com
February 24, 2015

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: In Spring Training last season, Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect Archie Bradley started a split-squad game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In that outing, he gave up two hits in 3 1/3 innings and didn't allow a run while striking out three.

While Bradley earned the win, he remembered one strikeout with a special pitch.

Superstar slugger Albert Pujols stepped into the box for his first at-bat against Bradley, who got ahead in the count 1-2 and then struck Pujols out looking.

The pitch that sent the Angels' future Hall of Famer walking back toward the dugout was a knuckle curveball, a rare pitch for any hurler to throw at any level, let alone in the big leagues. Bradley is hoping that pitch can help carry him to the Majors in 2015.

"For a knuckle curve, you're not throwing it like a normal curveball where you're snapping your arm," Bradley said. "I was able to throw it at a young age, and it's just something that has been successful for me in pro ball."

Bradley learned to throw the pitch when he was 9 years old, growing up playing in Oklahoma under coach Michael Houser, the father of Houston Astros prospect Adrian Houser. The elder Houser didn't want his players straining their arms throwing a normal curveball, so he taught the pitch to relieve stress.

Now 22, Bradley can successfully throw the pitch for strikes, and it has made him the No. 1 pitching prospect in the D-backs organization.

"It's a pretty unique pitch," Bradley said. "When I'm throwing it well, it has some pretty hard 12-to-six break. Sometimes I'll get on the side with it and make it go a little sideways, but for the most part, I just try to keep it the same and just keep going."

Bradley was taken with the seventh overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. Since then, he's been up and down in the Minors. Last season, Bradley struggled in Double-A and Triple-A, posting a 4.45 ERA in 83 innings. According to D-backs manager Chip Hale, who has been impressed with his performance in the first few days of Spring Training, Bradley has put that behind him.

"The workouts and everything that he has done so far have been fantastic," Hale said. "He's been very professional about his work and his bullpens are getting better and better."

Bradley's bullpen sessions with a knuckle curveball can be tricky. The pitch is one of the hardest to throw. It isn't easy to command, because there isn't a lot of surface tension between the fingers and the baseball.

The grip involves placing the middle finger to the left of the long seam and then spiking up the index finger similar to a normal knuckleball. The idea is to get the pitch on a downward trajectory with topspin.

It's high-risk, high-reward.

"When it doesn't move, it just stays out over the middle of the plate," Bradley said. "You don't really get out front with it and can leave it up. If you leave it up like that, it's pretty easy to hit. So you've got to make sure you really stay behind it."

The difficulty of the pitch makes the fraternity of pitchers who throw a knuckle curve in the Major Leagues extremely small. Only a select few -- Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett and Mike Mussina -- have thrown it successfully at a high level.

"I've watched some film of them," Bradley said. "I've seen the way they throw it, seen the way they use it and be successful with it, so I feel like I can, too."


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

     Diamondback baseball pitcher, Archie Bradley, said:

01. "It's a pretty unique pitch."
02. "When I'm throwing it well, it has some pretty hard 12-to-six break."
03. "Sometimes I'll get on the side with it and make it go a little sideways."
04. "But, for the most part, I just try to keep it the same and just keep going."

     The article said:

01. "Archie Bradley learned to throw the pitch when he was 9 years old."
02. "Michael Houser, the father of Houston Astros prospect Adrian Houser taught Mr. Bradley."
03. "The elder Houser didn't want his players straining their arms throwing a normal curveball."
04. "So, Mr. Houser taught the pitch to relieve stress."
05. "Mr. Bradley's bullpen sessions with a knuckle curveball can be tricky."
06. "The pitch is one of the hardest to throw."
07. "It isn't easy to command."
08. "There isn't a lot of surface tension between the fingers and the baseball."
09. "The grip involves placing the middle finger to the left of the long seam and then spiking up the index finger similar to a normal knuckleball."
10. "The idea is to get the pitch on a downward trajectory with topspin."

     The stress to which Mr. Houser referred is supinating the release of breaking pitches.

     The knuckle curve does eliminate supinating the release.

     However, as Mr. Bradley said, 'When I'm throwing it well.'

     Mr. Bradley would be better served to learn how to pronate the release of his breaking pitches.

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

0192.  Astros taking health of their players to another level
MLB.com
February 24, 2015

KISSIMMEE, FL: Before the Astros take the mound for their first bullpen sessions of the spring or step onto the field to run the bases for the first time, the club puts the players through a comprehensive medical evaluation to make sure they're in the best position to compete.

In addition to the routine medical physicals each player undergoes each spring, the Astros and Houston Methodist Hospital, their long-time health care provider, this year are introducing a new sports medicine assessment designed to help prevent injuries and speed up recovery time when players are banged up.

Astros medical director, Dr. David Lintner of Houston Methodist, said the process is more extensive than the standard preseason testing and evaluation.

"We're really looking for any possible warning signs that someone might be on the verge of an injury or vulnerable to an injury," he said. "As you might imagine this time of year, they come in very healthy and strong and excited and energetic. And so we have physical testing going on, not just a routine physical exam, but athletic functional testing to very closely look for signs someone might have a tendency to get hurt this season."

Astros pitchers and catchers went through the process last week, and the position players did the same Tuesday. Methodist has a number of physical therapists, sports medicine fellows and physicians assisting the Astros' strength and conditioning staff and athletic training staff.

"Technology and statistics are progressing and advancing, and as we learn more and understand more about injury risks then we can look for things preemptively," Lintner said. "We have a much more extensive testing program this year. The front office of the Astros has been very supportive about embarking on this to gather data, not just each individual, but also collectively across the organization, to be able inspect that very closely [and] to look for problems. This is on a scale beyond what we've done in the past and beyond what most any team does currently."

The staff from Methodist takes various measurements on a number of upper and lower body joints. The measurements are retained in a private player file and can help the Astros' medical staff diagnose and treat player injuries throughout the year.

"The material we find, we'll be able to focus on guys who need extra help or some extra strengthening, range of motion, whatever it may be," head athletic trainer Nate Lucero said.

Strength and conditioning coach Jake Beiting said the assessments help paint a more complete picture beyond the body composition tests and functional movement tests.

"We're getting pretty exact answers on what issue a guy is having, and hopefully we can take steps to correct them afterwards," he said.

Matt Holland, a physical therapist with Methodist, said the goal is to limit the likelihood of an injury and find things that could give the team a competitive advantage as well.

"It's been a great opportunity for us because it allows us to catch all the guys before they get going," he said. "It's pretty important for a lot of the shoulder measurements be done before they start ramping up their throwing programs and really getting after it out there… We look at things we know will be helpful to avoid potential for injury."

As comprehensive as the Astros attempt to be with each of their Major League and Minor League players physically, there will always be things that are missed. But Lintner said teams understand the workings of players' bodies much more than in the past.

"Years ago, the preseason evaluation would basically be asking the players, 'How you feeling? You feel good? Are you in shape? OK, go get them,'" he said. "Now we're going to get some objective data and things that can be measured very closely, and they essentially have to prove it, that they're physically sound. People can get into bad habits they might not be aware they're doing so, and we're going to try to find those things that make them prone to an injury."


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

     The article said:

01. "The staff from Methodist takes various measurements on a number of upper and lower body joints."
02. "The measurements are retained in a private player file and can help the Astros' medical staff diagnose and treat player injuries throughout the year."
03. "As comprehensive as the Astros attempt to be with each of their Major League and Minor League players physically, there will always be things that are missed."
04. "But, Dr. Lintner said teams understand the workings of players' bodies much more than in the past."

     If Dr. Lintner's staff measured the extension and flexion ranges of motion in the baseball pitchers' pitching elbow, then Dr. Lintner has to explain what caused the loss of range of motion and how to prevent it.

     The loss of range of motion in baseball pitchers' pitching elbow is the basis of all pitching elbow injuries.

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

0193.  Santana continues evolution into four-pitch pitcher
MLB.com
February 24, 2015

FORT MYERS, FL: Ervin Santana knows the perception of him is that he's a pitcher who relies heavily on his four-seam fastball and slider, but in reality the right-hander has added a changeup over the years and has worked to mix in a two-seamer.

Santana, who joined the Twins on a four-year deal worth $55 million this offseason, said he's fine with the characterization that he only throws fastballs and sliders, as he believes it's helped him surprise hitters in recent years.

The right-hander threw his four-seamer a career-low 50.7 percent of the time last year while with the Braves, while throwing his changeup a career-high 13.5 percent of the time, according to Pitch/FX data on Fangraphs.com. He also saw his use of sliders slightly decrease from his career average of 35 percent to 33.8 percent, while mixing in his two-seamer 1.8 percent of the time.

"Before I used to just throw those two all the time," Santana said of his fastball-slider combo. "But now I have more confidence and more command of my changeup and my two-seam. I started doing that in Anaheim, but everyone just says I'm fastball-slider. So I'm like, 'All right. It's just fastball-slider. This is good.'"

Santana's four-pitch mix helped him last year in Atlanta, as he posted a 3.95 ERA with 179 strikeouts in 196 innings. He's evolved over the years, but has been durable above all else, as he's made at least 30 starts in six of the last seven years to go with a 3.94 ERA.

Santana, 32, said he doesn't feel any extra pressure this year despite being on a new club with a sizeable contract and that he already feels comfortable. He also threw his first official bullpen session on Tuesday without any issues.

"I feel great," Santana said. "Everything was coming pretty good. I was able to keep the ball down for the most part. I threw a couple sliders and a couple of changeups that were very good. So I was happy."


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

     The article said:

01. Ervin Santana knows the perception of him is that he's a pitcher who relies heavily on his four-seam fastball and slider."
02. "But, in reality, Mr. Santana has added a changeup over the years and has worked to mix in a two-seamer."
03. "Last season, Mr. Santana threw his four-seamer a career-low 50.7 percent of the time."
04. "Mr. Santana threw his changeup a career-high 13.5 percent of the time."
05. "Mr. Santana threw his sliders 33.8 percent of the time, while mixing in his two-seamer 1.8 percent of the time."

     If Mr. Santana is throwing a circle change-up that acts like a reverse breaking pitch and learns how to get some reverse movment on his two-seam fastball, then Mr. Santana should throw his four pitches equally.

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

0194.  Chamberlain returns to Tigers' bullpen on one-year deal
MLB.com
February 24, 2015

LAKELAND, FL: On the day the Tigers began full-squad workouts, they saw a familiar, unexpected face sneak in to help fill out their bullpen.

Joba Chamberlain doesn't have the beard anymore, and he doesn't have the eighth-inning setup role he handled in Detroit for much of last season. But after an offseason on the free-agent market, the right-hander is back in the Tigers' bullpen, officially returning Tuesday on a one-year deal to the team with which he revived his career in 2014.

Chamberlain passed his physical and stepped into the Tigers' clubhouse early Tuesday morning. The 29-year-old will make a $1 million base salary plus the same appearance-based incentives as he had last season, which could earn him another $500,000, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

"I had a lot of other teams interested," Chamberlain said, "but at the end of the day, we did what was best for my family and myself. We always talked. We obviously knew the situation, dollars-wise, but in the end, it just worked perfectly.

"This isn't about money. This isn't about anything. This is about the fact that I get to play for this group of guys and this coaching staff, [team owner Mike Ilitch] and [club president and general manager] Dave [Dombrowski] and everybody. I love playing for them. I love being part of Detroit and the history."

Chamberlain was a free-agent find a year ago for the Tigers, who had signed him to a one-year deal banking on a rebound in his second year removed from Tommy John elbow surgery. The former Yankees phenom helped keep Detroit's bullpen together for much of last season, filling the setup void left by Bruce Rondon's season-ending right elbow injury.

A heavy workload caught up with Chamberlain down the stretch, culminating in his struggles during Detroit's American League Division Series sweep at the hands of the Orioles. He finished the regular season with a 2-5 record and a 3.57 ERA, allowing 57 hits in 63 innings with 24 walks and 59 strikeouts.

"I feel like I didn't finish the season the way I wanted to," Chamberlain said. "We have unfinished business as a team, and I personally do."

That finish seemed to linger into his offseason. While the market blossomed for non-closing relievers, peaking during the Winter Meetings in December, Chamberlain was among the last of the free-agent relievers still on the market.

Tigers officials had kept tabs on Chamberlain through his agent, Jim Murray, but had moved on. Dombrowski said they were open to his return, but they weren't pursuing it.

"We liked the job that Joba did for us last year," Dombrowski said. "Really, it was more of a situation, adding Joakim Soria last year and having Rondon, we felt very comfortable with the guys that we had. But we stayed in contact.

"I just assumed ... that something would work out somewhere else. But it just didn't, for whatever reason. I do know at the end, he had some other offers."

Dombrowski indicated that Chamberlain turned down more lucrative offers from other clubs. Chamberlain was comfortable in Detroit, and by pitching in the Midwest, he was able to see his family during trips to Chicago and Kansas City, both within driving range of his home in Nebraska.

To make room for Chamberlain on the 40-man roster, the Tigers designated fellow reliever Chad Smith for assignment. The 25-year-old right-handed sinkerballer pitched in 10 games in a midseason stint for Detroit, allowing seven runs on 15 hits over 11 2/3 innings, sandwiched between stops at Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo. Detroit has 10 days to trade, release or outright Smith to the Minors, unless another team claims him on waivers.


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

     Tigers baseball pitcher, Joba Chamberlain, said:

01. "I had a lot of other teams interested."
02. "But at the end of the day, we did what was best for my family and myself."
03. "We always talked."
04. "We obviously knew the situation, dollars-wise."
05. "But in the end, it just worked perfectly."
06. "This isn't about money."
07. "This isn't about anything."
08. "This is about the fact that I get to play for this group of guys and this coaching staff, team owner Mike Ilitch and club president and general manager, Dave Dombrowski, and everybody."
09. "I love playing for them."
10. "I love being part of Detroit and the history."

     I wish Mr. Chamberlain well.

     New York did not treat him well.

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0195.  Greinke throws in bullpen, feel 'same as I did last year'
MLB.com
February 24, 2015

GLENDALE, AZ: After throwing his first bullpen session since a Thursday elbow injection, Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke said he has no more concern about his health now than he did a year ago.

"It's the same as I did last year, at the end of the year, at the beginning of the year, in the offseason and the last time I talked to you guys," said Greinke. "There's always a little bit of concern."

In what was described by the club as a planned and preventative measure, Greinke received a lubricating injection of hyaluronic acid, which he has received in previous springs. The lubrication is generally used to supplement natural synovial fluid in arthritic joints.

Greinke made 24 pitches Tuesday, all fastballs, which he said was "normal bullpen percentage" intensity, working on "form and locating pitches. Once I get that down, move to other things. You try to do that right away and don't really move forward."

He said he expects to pitch at least one more bullpen session before throwing live batting practice, saying he's "maybe three or four days behind some people. That's not a big deal."

Greinke said preparing for this season should be easier than last year, when the Dodgers started Spring Training early because of the season-opening set in Australia, which Greinke missed with a strained calf.

"That caused trouble with a lot of pitchers, maybe not hitters," he said. "Having to get ready extra fast and be ready before everyone else, it was just a weird situation last year."


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

     The article said:

01. "After throwing his first bullpen session since a Thursday elbow injection, Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke said he has no more concern about his health now than he did a year ago."
02. "In what was described by the club as a planned and preventative measure, Greinke received a lubricating injection of hyaluronic acid, which he has received in previous springs."
03. "The lubrication is generally used to supplement natural synovial fluid in arthritic joints."

     Orthopedic surgeons love to make their patients addicted to whatever they want to sell.

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

0196.  Bailey nearly ready for mound work in recovery from surgery
MLB,com
February 25, 2015

GOODYEAR, AZ: Reds right-hander Homer Bailey is continuing to make solid progress with his rehabilitation from surgery and could be working off a mound soon.

Bailey, who had surgery Sept. 5 to repair a torn flexor mass tendon near his right elbow, came to camp slightly behind from where he would have been after a typical offseason.

"We've actually got a throwing protocol in place. We've earmarked a date for his first bullpen, which we'll wait to announce," Reds manager Bryan Price said Wednesday. "He hasn't had any setbacks. We anticipate seeing him on the mound the next several days. He'll be on the mound, and if everything goes well with that, he'll follow a bullpen protocol that will eventually lead to live batting practice, and that will lead to his first Spring Training game."

Bailey, slated to be Cincinnati's No. 2 starter in the rotation, has been long-tossing and pitching from flat ground. His readiness for Opening Day remains a question mark. A report by The Associated Press said the Reds expected Bailey to begin the season on the disabled list. However, Price and general manager Walt Jocketty denied that it was accurate and said no such decision has been made.

"He's well on his way, and we have complete faith he'll be able to go at some point in time fairly early in the season," Price said. "I don't know if it's going to be Opening Day, but I don't imagine we'll be talking about May, either."


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

     The article said:

01. "Reds baseball pitcher, Homer Bailey, is continuing to make solid progress with his rehabilitation from surgery."
02. "Mr. Bailey could be working off a mound soon."
03. "On September 05, 2014, Mr. Bailey had surgery to repair a torn flexor mass tendon near his pitching elbow."
04. "Mr. Bailey came to camp slightly behind from where he would have been after a typical offseason."

     Mr. Bailey injured the inside of his pitching elbow by supinating the releases of his breaking pitches.

     To prevent re-injuring the inside of his pitching elbow, Mr. Bailey needs to pronate the releases of his breaking pitches.

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

0197.  Overcoming elbow injuries, Floyd gets new start with Indians
MLB.com
February 25, 2015

GOODYEAR, AZ: As the pain intensified within Gavin Floyd's right arm in his final start last season, the pitcher looked to the heavens for help. Floyd was in the midst of a shutout against the Nationals, but felt he was potentially approaching a point of no return.

"I prayed to God," Floyd said.

One pitch into the seventh inning, Floyd's season with the Braves was finished.

What had been a successful return from Tommy John surgery ended abruptly for Floyd with a fractured elbow in that June 19 outing in Washington, D.C. The right-hander underwent his second surgery in as many years and embarked into mostly uncharted waters in terms of the type of injury he sustained on that summer night in the nation's capital.

For the second year in a row, Floyd is on the comeback trail, but he is doing so as the newest member of the Indians' rotation this time around. Cleveland monitored the veteran's progress over the winter, took in one of his offseason throwing sessions in Florida and felt his upside was worth the risk of a one-year contract worth $4 million (plus another $6 million possible through incentives).

Floyd's latest injury is rare, so there is not much of a blueprint to follow for his rehab. So far this spring, though, he has already been working off the mound, mixing in all his pitches and showing no signs that last season's nightmare is lingering into '15.

"It's not something that's very common," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "I'm sure it's hard for the training staff to know exactly what to do. ... So, they're trying to go on how he feels every day, and I'll do the same with his throwing.

"But so far, there's been no hesitation at all. He's letting it go, and every bullpen gets even better."

Technically speaking, the 32-year-old Floyd fractured the olecranon, which is the prominent bone of the elbow joint. Detroit reliever Al Albuquerque suffered a stress fracture in the same bone in '11, and former Tigers pitcher Joel Zumaya fractured his olecranon in '10. On Cleveland's own staff, right-hander Corey Kluber had a stress fracture of that bone while he was in high school.

Floyd believes he might have had a stress fracture in the weeks leading up to the fateful curveball to Jayson Werth that generated the season-ending pop. Floyd said he pitched with discomfort in the two outings prior to June 19 last season but noted that the soreness would subside while he was throwing. It was only in the start against Washington that the pain did not go away.

"About the fourth inning is when I started feeling it," Floyd said. "That's when I was concerned. I told the trainer, 'I'm starting to feel something, and it's not going away.' He did all the tests on the ligament because of my [Tommy John] surgery [in 2013], and there was no give. It was rock solid."

That the ligament remained strong was good news. Dr. David Altchek, who performed both elbow surgeries on Floyd, also told the pitcher that the bone would likely be stronger after the healing process from the fracture. Sure enough, as Floyd began working through a six-week throwing program through October and November, the joint strengthened.

As Floyd moved deeper into his throwing schedule, he and Altchek were both surprised at what they saw in follow-up exams.

"In theory, putting stress on the bone when you're healing it is actually a good thing," Floyd said. "When I was throwing, and reading the X-ray afterward, you could see so much growth had occurred through the throwing process because it was stressed out."

One of the reasons Floyd said he signed with the Indians is the team's recent history of helping players recover and return from injuries.

When he was on the mound last year, Floyd did have success, spinning a 2.65 ERA in nine starts and posting his highest fastball velocity (92.87 mph) since '07. The Indians also like Floyd's past history of durability (prior to the elbow issues). Across the '08-12 campaigns, he averaged 31 starts and 190 innings per year with the White Sox.

With the Indians, Floyd could slot in as high as No. 2 in the rotation, according to manager Terry Francona.

"I think he's going to do just fine," Francona said.

Of course, Floyd knows there are no guarantees. One elbow injury, followed by another, made that very clear.

"You question a lot of things and look at your future," Floyd said of getting hurt. "And then when it happens again ..." Floyd paused.

"My faith in God has definitely kept me strong through this," he said.


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

     The article said:

01. "As the pain intensified within Gavin Floyd's right arm in his final start last season, the pitcher looked to the heavens for help."
02. "Mr. Floyd was in the midst of a shutout against the Nationals."
03. "But, Mr. Floyd felt he was potentially approaching a point of no return."
04. "One pitch into the seventh inning, Floyd's season with the Braves was finished."
05. "What had been a successful return from Tommy John surgery ended abruptly for Mr. Floyd."
06. "On June 19, 2014, Mr. Floyd fractured his pitching elbow."
07. "Mr. Floyd underwent his second surgery in as many years."
08. "Mr. Floyd embarked into mostly uncharted waters in terms of the type of injury he sustained."
09. "Technically speaking, Mr. Floyd fractured the olecranon process of the Ulna bone in his pitching forearm."
10. "In 2010, Tigers pitcher Joel Zumaya fractured his olecranon process.
11. "In 2011, Detroit reliever Al Albuquerque suffered a stress fracture in the same bone."
12. "While he was in high school, Cleveland Indian baseball pitcher, Corey Kluber, had a stress fracture of his olecranon process."

     I have been telling everybody who would listen (few) what causes baseball pitchers to fracture the olecranon process of the Ulna bone in the pitching forearm. 'Supinating the releases of their breaking pitches.'

     I have also explained how baseball pitchers are able to prevent fracturing their olecranon process. 'Pronating the releases of their breaking pitches.'

     Mr. Floyd needs to get a square lid off a plastic four-gallon bucket and learn how to 'horizontally sail' that Lid into the strike zone.

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0198.  Back stiffness keeps Ryu out of workouts
MLB.com
February 25, 2015

GLENDALE, AZ: Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu was held out of workouts Wednesday because of mid-back stiffness, manager Don Mattingly said.

Ryu threw a normal bullpen session Tuesday, but Mattingly said the discomfort came on afterwards.

Before leaving Camelback Ranch, Ryu told Korean reporters that the discomfort was minor and he expected to resume practicing Thursday, the first day of full-squad workouts.

Ryu came to Arizona in January to work out early with Korean team LG in hopes of avoiding shoulder fatigue that plagued him last year.

Ryu is the third of the five Dodgers starting pitchers with some medical issue this spring. Zack Greinke had a precautionary elbow injection last week and has resumed his bullpen work. Fifth starter Brett Anderson is coming off back surgery and is getting an extra day of rest between bullpen sessions, but has had no discomfort.


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

     The article said:

01. "Dodgers starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu was held out of workouts Wednesday because of mid-back stiffness."
02. "Mr. Ryu threw a normal bullpen session, but the discomfort came on afterwards."

     To prevent back problems, baseball pitchers have to stand tall and rotate their hips and shoulders forward over their glove foot.

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0199.  Fiers not letting Stanton beanball affect pitching style
MLB.com
February 25, 2015

PHOENIX, AZ: Brewers pitcher Mike Fiers still thinks about the wayward fastball that struck Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton in the face last September, but said he must continue to pitch inside if he's to remain successful in the Major Leagues.

"It's obviously still in my head. You get flashbacks every once in a while," Fiers said. "That moment was really tough for a lot of people, but it's definitely behind. I had to put it behind me pretty quick, you know? We were in a tough situation, in a playoff race. I didn't want to be the one where I hit somebody and I was scared to pitch again, especially with this team needing quality starts going into that last month of the season.

"[Stanton] knows it was definitely an accident. Me pitching the way I do, I have to pitch up, I have to pitch in, I have to pitch everywhere."

Fiers wasn't surprised when the Marlins made Stanton baseball's first $300 million man. The slugger, recovered from the facial fractures and lacerations he suffered last Sept. 11 at Miller Park, inked a 13-year, $325 million contract with the Marlins on Nov. 19 that represents the richest deal in North American sports history.

"Everyone knew that was coming," Fiers said. "The player he is, I've never in my career faced a player like that, who had pretty much every tool in the book."

The two could meet again this season, since Fiers is penciled into Milwaukee's Opening Day rotation for the first time. He's overcome his own personal challenges, mostly during a 2013 season in which his mother passed away from complications of Lupus, and Fiers suffered a broken forearm on a comebacker.

He recovered in 2014 to post a 2.56 ERA in 17 starts at Triple-A before going 6-5 with a 2.13 ERA in 14 games -- 10 starts -- for the Brewers, including a six-inning, 14-strikeout game against the Cubs in August. In three outings following the Stanton incident, Fiers posted two quality starts and a 3.00 ERA.

"Pitching 'in' is huge," said Fiers, who figured that out, "even before I got to pro ball, especially with those [aluminum] bats they use. If you threw in, you had to throw in off [the plate], and then go back away. But they had to respect that pitch in. You can't just sit there and throw away, away, away. Even the lower-level hitters are going to adjust."


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

     Brewers baseball pitcher, Mike Fiers, said:

01. "Pitching 'in' is huge."
02. "Mr. Fiers figured that out even before I got to pro ball."
03. "Pitching in was especially important with those [aluminum] bats they used."
04. "If you threw in, you had to throw in off the plate."
05. "Batters had to respect that pitch in."
06. "You can't just sit there and throw away, away, away."

     That is what I thought in the 1974 World Series when I threw my tailing fastball six inches inside.

     The batter guessed what I was going to do and stepped open and hit my fastball out of the park.

     Therefore, instead of throwing fastballs inside off the plate, I recommend that baseball pitchers learn how to throw my over-spin Maxline Pronation Curve that starts at the pitching arm side baseball batters' head, but moves back over the inside of home plate.

     To see the pitch in action, open section 11 of my Baseball Pitchers Instructional Video and watch my baseball pitcher pitch to the Tigers baseball batters.

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0200.  Stiff neck leads to startling discovery by Milone
MLB.com
February 25, 2015

FORT MYERS, FL: Once the 2014 season ended, Twins left-hander Tommy Milone received a cortisone shot in his neck to help him with the stiffness that bothered him late in the season, and figured his neck would feel better with rest.

But instead of getting better, the neck never improved and got to the point where Milone couldn't even turn his head. He figured something wasn't right and saw a specialist that discovered a benign tumor in his neck, requiring surgery on Dec. 4. Milone felt a difference right away after the surgery, and was able to get back to throwing roughly two weeks later.

"I felt like 20 times better immediately," Milone said. "I couldn't even move my neck before the surgery. So I'm grateful the issue is behind me and that I can move forward and compete for that fifth spot."

Milone started his throwing program a bit later than usual, but said it caused him to improve his focus this offseason and that he feels he was able to get ready for Spring Training without any issues.

"I'm ready to go," Milone said. "I'm prepared this year more than the last couple years. I don't know if it was just getting a late start on working out or throwing this year because of the neck issue. So I felt like I needed to turn it on double-time once I got healthy."

Milone, 28, is competing for the fifth spot in the rotation along with Mike Pelfrey, Alex Meyer, Trevor May and Tim Stauffer. He's considered the favorite in that race, but said he knows not to take it for granted.

"I don't ever come into Spring Training thinking I have a spot in the rotation," Milone said. "So I'm just going to treat it the same way. And obviously I don't and it's not a lock. There are a few guys going for it. So you just have to compete."


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

     The article said:

01. "Once the 2014 season ended, Twins left-hander Tommy Milone received a cortisone shot in his neck to help him with the stiffness that bothered him late in the season and figured his neck would feel better with rest."
02. "But instead of getting better, the neck never improved and got to the point where Milone couldn't even turn his head." 03. "Mr. Milone figured something wasn't right and saw a head and neck specialist."
04. "The head and neck specialist discovered that Mr. Milone had a benign tumor in his neck."
05. "On December 04, 2014. Mr. Milone had surgery that remove the tumor."
06. "Right away, Mr. Milone felt a difference."
07. "In roughtly two weeks, Mr. Milone was able to get back to throwing."

     Orthopedic surgeons give worthless cortison shots when head and neck specialists remove tumors.

     I wish Mr. Milone all the best.

     In 2007, when I felt something strange in my neck, I immediately saw a head and neck specialist and he removed my tumor. Eight years later, I am still cancer free.

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0201.  Cardinals relieved that Wainwright's injury not serious
MLB.com
February 26, 2015

JUPITER, FL: Adam Wainwright's visit to a St. Louis-area specialist Thursday brought some relief to Cardinals camp, as they learned soon after that the staff ace is dealing with an abdominal strain that should not keep him from being ready for the season opener on April 5.

General manager John Mozeliak called the diagnosis "good news," adding that Wainwright is cleared to continue throwing while he allows the abdominal area to heal. Nevertheless, the Cardinals will have Wainwright "take it slow for about four or five days" with an eye on then having him at full strength in a couple of weeks.

"Based on all the different studies and what the doctor saw, he feels that this is probably the best news we could have gotten," Mozeliak said. "My understanding is he's still going to be able to throw, so it shouldn't change the start of the season outlook at this point. But time will tell."

Wainwright shared an update on his Twitter account, saying, "Good news Cardinal fans. The doc says I'll still be able to do all my dugout dances in a couple weeks! Thanks for all the prayers!"

Wainwright, who will return to Cardinals camp Friday, will still wait some time before returning to the mound.

"I think we can take the foot off the gas a little bit on the bullpen session," Mozeliak said. "But we'll get with [manager] Mike Matheny and [pitching coach] Derek Lilliquist and discuss what that strategy looks like in conjunction with the medical staff."

Ideally, the Cardinals hope to get Wainwright on a schedule where he could make four Grapefruit League starts. Mozeliak acknowledged that three could also potentially be enough.

The visit with Dr. Michael Brunt ruled out a sports hernia or more serious injury for Wainwright, who started feeling discomfort near his beltline after a Feb. 16 incident in the weight room. Wainwright said he made an awkward motion replacing a 45-pound weight that morning. Though he continued to throw in the days after the incident, the right-hander still felt some pain when running and lunging.

The Cardinals did not believe the injury to be serious, but chose to send Wainwright back to St. Louis in order to get a firm diagnosis.

"I wasn't overly concerned earlier, but obviously when you're sending somebody to see a specialist, it's something you have to worry about," Mozeliak said. "In the end, I feel good about what we know. And I know Adam is relieved."


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

     It sounds as though Mr. Wainwright strained his Rectus Abdominis muscle.

     The Rectus Abdominis muscle is big and well-vascularized.

     Therefore, backing down and taking an anti-inflammation medication should work.

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0202.  Santana signs minor league deal with Blue Jays
MLB.com
February 26, 2015

Johan Santana is back in baseball as the Blue Jays signed the two-time Cy Young Award winner to a Minor League contract on Thursday.

Santana injured his shoulder in 2013 and hasn't pitched in the Majors since '12.

The left-hander began his comeback over the offseason and was pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League, but was shut down with shoulder stiffness.

The 35-year old went 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 2012 with the Mets and is 139-78 with a 3.20 ERA across 12 Major League seasons.

The Blue Jays are looking at Santana as a starter, but it's unclear if he will be fully healthy by the time Opening Day rolls around.

If Santana is indeed healthy, he'll be competing with Marco Estrada and Daniel Norris for the fifth spot in the Blue Jays' rotation.


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

     The article said:

01. "Johan Santana began his comeback over the offseason."
02. "Mr. Santana pitched in the Venezuelan Winter League."
03. "Due to stiffness in his pitching shoulder, Mr. Santana stopped pitching."
04. "It's unclear if Mr. Santana will be fully healthy by Opening Day."

     That the Blue Jays signed Mr. Santana last Thursday indicates that Mr. Santana showed that he could still pitch.

     Best wishes, Mr. Santana.

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

0203.  Scherzer reportedly adding cutter to his arsenal
MLB.com
February 26, 2015

The newest member of the Nationals' star-studded rotation doesn't seem to be resting on his past success, not even after signing a $210 million contract this offseason.

Right-hander Max Scherzer is adding a cutter to his existing four-pitch repertoire, The New York Times reported on Thursday, and former Major League pitchers Al Leiter and Ron Darling discussed the news during a Diamond Demo segment on MLB Network.

"The cool thing is, you've got a guy who won a Cy Young, just signed for a boatload of cash," Leiter said, "and he's saying, 'How do I get better? How do I improve? How do I make some changes?'"

Scherzer already throws a four-seam fastball, a changeup, a slider and a curveball, which he implemented before winning the American League Cy Young Award for the Tigers in 2013. However, Leiter pointed out on video at least one instance of the 30-year-old throwing what looked like a cutter during the '14 season.

Making the pitch a significant part of his game could give Scherzer even more of an advantage over hitters. While they managed only a .238/.294/.368 line against him last season, they did bat .314/.486/.559 when ahead in the count.

"The great thing about a cutter is that when you get in bad counts -- 2-1, 3-1 -- you can go to that pitch because you get just enough movement to run up the bat," Darling said.

The only potential problem, according to Leiter, is that pitchers who develop cutters sometimes can become "cutter-happy," and lose the right feel for their regular fastball.

But a good cutter also can be a tremendous weapon, with Leiter pointing to the example of longtime Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who became a 13-time All-Star thanks in large part to that pitch. Leiter himself used one during his 19-year career in the big leagues, and he and Darling demonstrated different ways to grip and deliver the pitch.

"The difference is, in the cutter and the slider, is that the cutter looks just like a fastball," Leiter said. "Mariano Rivera made a career out of it, where they see fastball, fastball, fastball, and it cuts."


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

     The article said:

01. "Max Scherzer already throws a four-seam fastball, a changeup, a slider and a curveball."
02. "In 2013, Mr. Scherzer won the American League Cy Young Award."

     Mr. Scherzer supinates the releases of his sliders and curves.

     Now. Mr. Scherzer will supinate the releases of his cut fastballs.

     Mr. Scherzer needs to learn how to pronate the releases of his sliders and curves and use my technique for my Torque Fastball.

     Mr. Scherzer needs to change his circle change-up to a true Maxline Fastball Sinker.

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0204.  Rockies embracing Coors Field advantage
MLB.com
February 26, 2015

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: The Rockies are embracing Coors Field.

"I've talked to our guys," said manager Walt Weiss. "We've got the best home-field advantage in baseball. I don't know if there is a close second. Teams feel vulnerable when they come to our place. We need to take advantage of that."

Yes, the game is different at altitude.

No, it's nothing to be ashamed about.

Forget about media suggestions of moving back the fences or raising the fences.

"Let's embrace it," said Weiss, "and use it to our advantage."

The success the Rockies have enjoyed in the two decades of Coors Field has started with capitalizing on home-field advantage.

The Rockies' nine best home-field records have encompassed the team's eight winning seasons. The exception was in 2003, when they were 49-32 at Coors Field, a .605 home winning percentage that ranks as the seventh best in franchise history, but their 25-56 road record kept them below the break-even mark.

"We have to win 50-plus games at home," said Weiss. "We have to be more successful on the road, too, but it starts with what we do at home."

The Rockies have won 50-plus home games four times, including 51 games in 2007, when they made the only World Series appearance in franchise history, and 2009, when they advanced to the postseason for the third time.

They were 44-28 at Coors Field in 1995, the year the Rockies opened the stadium and made their first postseason appearance, but that campaign was reduced to 144 games because a players strike delayed the start of the season.

The last four seasons overall, the Rockies are a combined 277-371, a .427 winning percentage that is the fourth-worst in baseball, ahead of only the Astros (232-416), Twins (265-383) and Cubs (271-377).

They are a combined 163-161 at Coors Field the last four seasons and have suffered an overall losing record in each season. It's their least successful four-year stretch at Coors Field, well below 2007-10, when they were 197-128 at Coors Field and enjoyed three winning seasons overall, twice claiming a Wild Card berth.

Now the Rockies are looking to regain that feeling of dominance. And to do that they have to get the pitchers to buy into the concept.

It's an easy sell for hitters, whose production is enhanced. Pitchers, however, are a different story. If they spend too much time studying their stat sheet it can be intimidating. That, however, isn't what the game is all about.

"That's why I am here," said first-year bullpen coach Darren Holmes, the Rockies' original closer. "I love Coors Field. I loved pitching there. As a staff, we just have to figure out how to pitch there. It's about adjustments, not with mechanics but in the way you look at things."

A member of the expansion Rockies in 1993, Holmes pitched two seasons at Mile High Stadium before the team moved to Coors Field. In his first two appearances at Mile High Stadium, he retired one of 18 batters, gave up nine runs and had a 243.24 ERA.

"They put it on the front page of USA Today," he said. "But you know what? I finished the season with 24 saves and a [4.05] ERA."

Holmes spent five seasons with the Rockies and had a composite 4.42 ERA, highlighted by a 3.24 mark in the first year of Coors Field.

"What we realized was you throw ERA out the window. The focus is about quality outings. You might give up five runs in a game at Coors Field and might not even get an out, but it's not five runs you gave up. It is one non-quality outing that you have.

"You have to have the mindset that what counts is if you have 75 appearances you want to have at least 64, 65 quality outings. If you get caught up in ERA, you are trapped."

When the Rockies claimed the NL Wild Card in 1995 -- advancing to the postseason in their third year of existence, which at the time was the quickest for an expansion team -- they had a 6.17 ERA at Coors Field but had a best-in-baseball 44-28 home record, tied with NL West champion Cincinnati and NL East champion Atlanta.

The Rockies had a 4.34 home-field ERA in 2007, but their 51 wins matched the Brewers for the most in the NL, and in 2009, with a 4.41 ERA at Coors Field, they won 51 home games, one fewer than the Giants, who led the NL with 52 home victories. Holmes said with teammates like Steve Reed, Bruce Ruffin, Kevin Ritz and Pedro Astacio in the early years of the Rockies, pitching at Coors Field was a badge of courage.

"What Coors Field does is it weeds out the weak," he said. "There's only one stat that you focus on if you play at Coors Field -- it's wins, not wins you as an individual may have, but the wins that the team has.

"If you play the game for the right reasons, if the focus is on what you can do to help the team then you can pitch at Coors Field."

Holmes knows. He did it.

"Nobody said it was going to be easy," he said. "That's why being a part of a team that has success at Coors Field is so rewarding."

It is a challenge the Rockies are embracing.


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

     Mr. Weiss read what I said about pitching in Coors Field.

     That is that visiting baseball pitchers will not be able to throw their non-fastballs and get outs.

     With the thin air, breaking pitches do not break as much, especially for teams at sea level.

     Therefore, Rockies baseball pitchers have to change speeds and locate everything low in the strike zone or out of the strike zone high.

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0205.  Casilla OK after batting practice mishap
MLB.com
February 26, 2015

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: Santiago Casilla and the Giants survived a scare Thursday morning when the reliever escaped with a bruise after a batted ball struck him on his left shin.

Casilla, the Giants' closer, was pitching live batting practice to Casey McGehee who smacked a low line drive up the middle that hit Casilla. After lying nearly motionless on his side for almost a minute, Casilla rose to his feet and walked off the field under his own power, following assistant athletic trainer Eric Ortega.

X-rays were negative, showing no fracture. Casilla might have to rest a day or two but isn't expected to be absent much longer than that.

Casilla declined to pitch behind a protective screen.

"I wanted to feel like it was a real game," he said.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy joked that Casilla tempted fate by playfully taunting McGehee and Hunter Pence, who struggled to make contact.

"He's a very strong Christian, so we told him about the baseball gods," Bochy said.

Casilla admitted, "I was talking too much on the mound."

McGehee, who has barely begun his tenure as a Giant, wasn't offended by Casilla's hooting.

"It was all in good fun," McGehee said. "I'm just glad he's OK. I wish [a batted ball] had a steering wheel on it sometimes."

Bochy revealed that right-hander Sergio Romo, who has been striving to recover from a sore right shoulder, was hit on his throwing hand by a batted ball Wednesday while running in the outfield. However, Bochy said Romo should be able to throw off a bullpen mound for the first time this spring within a few days. Romo's hand wasn't seriously injured, and the reliever's shoulder was "getting stronger and stronger," Bochy said.


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

     The article said:

01. "Santiago Casilla and the Giants survived a scare Thursday morning when the reliever escaped with a bruise after a batted ball struck him on his left shin."
02. "Mr. Casilla was pitching live batting practice without a screen when a low line drive up the middle that hit Casilla."
03. "After lying nearly motionless on his side for almost a minute, Mr. Casilla rose to his feet and walked off the field."

     With his glove foot planted and his pitching foot off the ground, Mr. Casilla could not move his glove leg.

     If Mr. Casilla rotated his hips and shoulder forward over his glove foot, then Mr. Casilla would have had both feet on the ground before his pitch crossed home plate.

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0206.  Fleisig: Fatigue a factor in Tommy John injuries
MLB.com
February 28, 2015

BOSTON, MA: Glenn S. Fleisig, a leading expert in pitcher injuries, made a couple of simple but forceful points on Saturday morning: Too much pitching leads to injury. And pitching when you are fatigued does as well -- even more so.

Fleisig addressed the annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in a presentation called "Analytics of the Tommy John Injury Epidemic." He discussed some of the causes and risk factors, as well as some potential preventative measures, for the major elbow injury that leads to "Tommy John" reconstructive surgery.

The two primary culprits he identified were pitching too much -- either too long in a game or for too much of the year -- and pitching while fatigued.

As a partner of renowned Dr. James Andrews at the American Sports Medicine Institute, Fleisig (who has a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering but is not a medical doctor) is one of the foremost authorities on the Tommy John procedure. He focused largely on risk and prevention in youth baseball, but he also discussed the injury as it relates to college and professional ball.

Occurrences of the surgery, which is the replacement of the ulnar collateral ligament with a tendon from elsewhere in the body, have been climbing rapidly in the past 20 years. Both 2012 and '14 saw spikes, and Fleisig said that approximately 16 percent of all professional pitchers have undergone the procedure.

One rather encouraging point that Fleisig made was that pitchers who have come back from the surgery look perfectly typical.

A study of Minor League pitchers who had returned to professional pitching after the surgery showed them to be hard to discern from pitchers who had never suffered the UCL injury.

"Once they make it back, they have the typical flexibility and typical mechanics," Fleisig said. "So they're back to normal.

This is really good.

"It means that when it works, it works. You make it back, you're back to normal."

Even so, he made it abundantly clear that the best thing is to avoid needing the surgery in the first place. And he presented some striking data to show how baseball can begin to help make that happen.

Citing a study of youth pitchers over an extended period of time, he said that youth pitchers who had pitched 80 or more pitches in a game were four times more likely to have had the surgery. Those who pitched more than eight months of the year were five times more likely.

Yet those paled in comparison to the big one: youth pitchers who said that they had "often pitched" when fatigued were a staggering 36 times more likely to have needed surgery.

"Of all my studies I've done," Fleising said, "this is the biggest result I've found."


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

     The article said:

01. "The two primary culprits he identified were pitching too much, either too long in a game or for too much of the year, and pitching while fatigued."
02. "One rather encouraging point that Fleisig made was that pitchers who have come back from the surgery look perfectly typical."
03. "A study of Minor League pitchers who had returned to professional pitching after the surgery showed them to be hard to discern from pitchers who had never suffered the UCL injury."

     Director of the American Sports Medicine Institute, Dr. Glenn S. Fleisig, said:

01. "Once they make it back, they have the typical flexibility and typical mechanics."
02. "So they're back to normal."
03. "This is really good."
04. "It means that when it works, it works."
05. "You make it back, you're back to normal."

     Unfortunately, Dr. Fleisig fails to understand that how baseball pitchers apply force to their pitches causes pitching injuries.

     The injurious flaw that causes baseball pitchers to injure their Ulnar Collateral Ligament is 'Recerse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     When baseball pitchers have the palm of their pitching hand on top of the baseball, these baseball pitchers are not able to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

     Instead, these baseball pitchers are able to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward and backward to forty-five degrees behind their body.

     From forty-five degrees behind their back, these baseball pitchers have to move their pitching forearm from pointing forty-five degrees downward and behind their body to pointing vertically upward.

     Then, at the moment when baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm pointing vertically upward, these baseball pitchers explosively pull their pitching upper arm forward.

     As the pitching upper arm explosively move forward, the vertical pitching forearm involuntarily moves downward.

     When the pitching forearm stops moving downward, the inertial mass of the pitching forearm stresses the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, such that the 'reverse bounce' tears the connective tissue fibers of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Eventually, these baseball pitchers rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     This is where Dr. Fleisig says: 'When repaired baseball pitchers make it back, they are back to normal.'

     They may be pitching like they pitched before, but the way they pitched before ruptured their Ulnar Collateral Ligament ruptured.

     Dr. Fleisig may have a doctoral degree in biomedical engineering, but Dr. Fleisig does not understand the functions of ligaments and muscles.

     The only way for baseball pitchers to hold the Ulna bone tightly against the Humerus bone is by contracting the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone and insert into bones below the elbow.

     When baseball pitchers 'reverse bounce' their pitching forearm, the medial epicondyle muscles are not contracting.

     As a result, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament receives all the stress from the downward force of their pitching forearm.

     Pitching too much or pitching when fatigued does not injure the Ulnar Collateral Ligament. But, fatique does decrease release velocity and consistency.

     Dr. Glenn S. Fleisig has no idea what causes pitching injuries.

     Dr. Glenn S. Fleisig is not "a leading expert in pitcher injuries."

     Dr. Glenn S. Fleisig has never coached baseball pitchers and has never competitively pitched.

     Dr. Glenn S. Fleisig is a baseball pitching injuries researcher fraud.

     Questionnaires ask for opinions. Scientific research requires scientific answers.

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0207.  Hips don't lie: Gyorko working on swing
MLB.com
February 28, 2015

PEORIA, AZ: While many Padres hitters are spending the first few days of live batting practice tracking offerings from pitchers, second baseman Jedd Gyorko is trying something different.

He's getting his hacks in.

"Personally, I like to go in there and swing," Gyorko said. "I feel I'll get my timing down better if I'm swinging. I think it's harder to get your timing down by just looking at pitches."

Gyorko, coming off a season that was cut short to 111 games because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot, is intent on improving on his offensive numbers from 2014, when he struggled at the start of the season and didn't find his swing until returning from the disabled list.

He finished with a .210/.280/.333 line with 10 home runs and 51 RBIs, down from the 23 home runs he hit his rookie season. Gyorko was in San Diego some this winter to work with new hitting coach Mark Kotsay, and he has continued that work in Arizona.

One area of emphasis for Gyorko, a right-handed hitter, is working to keep his hips closed or aligned, not allowing them to open up, leaving him susceptible to pitches away.

"We're making sure the hips stay in so they don't come out like they did at the beginning of last year to make sure everything is working in the right direction," he said. "It allows me to see the ball a little longer and a little better.

"It will allow me to hit the ball the other way with power or just shoot it the other way, and gets me on time to pull the ball so I don't get jammed."

Gyorko worked on hitting balls to right field during Saturday's round of batting practice, hitting several over the fence on the team's main practice field.


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     Padre baseball batter, Jedd Gyorko, said:

01. "We're making sure the hips stay in."
02. "We don't want the hips to come out like they did at the beginning of last year."
03. "We want to make sure everything is working in the right direction."
04. "It (keeping his hips in) allows me to see the ball a little longer and a little better."
05. "It will allow me to hit the ball the other way with power or just shoot it the other way."
06. "And, keeping the hips in gets me on time to pull the ball so I don't get jammed."

     Not rotating the hips beyond perpendicular to the line to the opposite field works only when baseball batters start and finish their swings with their rear arm.

     The article said:

01. "One area of emphasis for Mr. Gyorko is working to keep his hips closed or aligned, not allowing them to open up, leaving him susceptible to pitches away."
02. "Mr. Gyorko worked on hitting balls to the opposite field."
03. "Mr. Gyorko hit several over the fence on the team's main practice field."

     That Mr. Gyorko hit several baseballs over the opposite field fence indicates that Mr. Gyorko uses his rear arm to start and finish his swing.

     Unfortunately, to be able to hit baseballs to the pull field, Mr. Gyorko has to rotate his hips to perpendicular to a line to the pull outfield.

     Mr. Gyorko cannot use his rear arm to start and finish inside pitches. The best he can expect is forty-five degrees off the pull foul line.

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0208.  Santana looks to complete comeback in Toronto
MLB.com
February 28, 2015

DUNEDIN, FL: Despite everything two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana has been through over the years, he hasn't given up the dream of returning to Major League Baseball.

Santana has been forced to deal with a seemingly endless list of injuries and surgeries dating all the way back to 2010.

There have been issues with his left shoulder, ankle, Achilles' and he hasn't even pitched in the big leagues since 2012. But there has never been any questioning his desire.

The 35-year-old knows all too well that there are plenty of people out there who don't think he will make it back, but that's not what matters to him. The goal all along has been to resume his playing career and that's something Santana hopes to accomplish in a Blue Jays uniform.

"As long as my arm is still attached I'm going to give it a chance," Santana said on Saturday morning after undergoing a physical and reporting to camp. "I know there are going to be a lot of good and bad things out there, but the reality is I have to do it myself.

"I'm still doing it, I love what I do and if I'm able to, it will be great. But if it doesn't happen, at least I tried my best to come back. That's what I've done through all the years and I'm looking forward to it."

Santana signed a Minor League deal with the Blue Jays on Thursday. The four-time All-Star will earn $2.5 million if he makes the big league roster. But the deal also includes a series of bonuses based on number of starts and time spent on the active roster.

The contract also includes an opt-out date of April 28, but that's the last thing on his mind right now. Santana recently began a throwing program and is expected to take a very cautious approach to his rehab from a stiff shoulder. It seems highly unlikely that he will be ready for Opening Day and there's an emphasis on taking things slow to avoid possible setbacks.

It has been a long road to recovery and the journey is not going to end any time soon. But Santana never had any doubt that he would be giving it at least one more shot.

"I'm always positive about everything that I do and the way I think," Santana said. "I never give up. Last year I was close and everything was good and unfortunately [the torn Achilles'] happened, it had nothing to do with my arm.

"So I had to bounce back, I went to Venezuela and tried to play in winter ball. I worked out there, I was able to pitch one game, I felt good, but [it was] a lot of things, they were in the middle of playoffs, I was [just] beginning [to] pitch. Now I'm here, trying to regroup, trying to put everything together and that's what I'm going to do. Hopefully I'll be able to come back and help."


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     Blue Jays minor league baseball pitcher, Johan Santana, said:

01. "As long as my arm is still attached, I'm going to give it a chance."
02. "I know there are going to be a lot of good and bad things out there, but the reality is I have to do it myself.
03. "I'm still doing it."
04. "I love what I do and if I'm able to, it will be great."
05. "But, if it doesn't happen, at least I tried my best to come back."
06. "That's what I've done through all the years and I'm looking forward to it."
07. "I'm always positive about everything that I do and the way I think."
08. "I never give up."
09. "Last year, I was close and everything was good and unfortunately [the torn Achilles'] happened."
10. "So I had to bounce back."
11. "I went to Venezuela and tried to play in winter ball."
12. "I worked out there."
13. "I was able to pitch one game."
14. "I felt good, but [it was] a lot of things."
15. "They were in the middle of playoffs."
16. "I was [just] beginning [to] pitch."
17. "Now I'm here, trying to regroup, trying to put everything together."
18. "That's what I'm going to do."
19. "Hopefully I'll be able to come back and help."

     The only way that Mr. Santana would be able to competitively pitch in the major leagues is if Mr. Santana learned how to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulders forward over his glove foot.

     To do this, Mr. Santana needs to 'horizontally sail' the square Lid off a four-gallon bucket.

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0209.  Healthy again, Masterson seeking career reboot with original team
MLB.com
February 28, 2015

FORT MYERS, FL: It's easy to look like a former All-Star in live batting practice.

Justin Masterson threw the ball free and easy Saturday in his first shot against hitters, and he said after that it was a positive step toward reestablishing himself. Masterson, an All-Star in 2013, was plagued by injuries with Cleveland and St. Louis last year before signing with Boston in December.

Masterson is healthy again and he's back with the team that drafted and developed him, but he's not sure whether he's throwing at peak velocity. The right-hander threw 25 fastballs against Pablo Sandoval and Shane Victorino on Saturday and came away happy with his performance.

"I feel a lot better. I feel more flexible, I'm getting more rotation and things are going better," said Masterson, evaluating his condition. "I just wasn't in a good spot last year, and I was trying to battle real hard through some stuff. This year, I'm much better, but I'm still working and still fighting."

Masterson, drafted by the Red Sox in 2006 and traded to Cleveland in '09, said he's thrilled to be back among familiar faces. The 29-year-old said that many of the coaches he worked with in the Minor Leagues are still in the organization, which affords him a chance to get comfortable quickly.

The veteran struggled with an oblique injury last winter and with a knee ailment during the season, and he posted an ERA (5.88) more than two runs higher than he managed in 2013 (3.45). Those numbers are in the past, though, and Masterson is eager to start a new season with a new team.

Masterson said he won't start throwing his slider until the second or third Spring Training game, and he said his fastball felt good. Only one player -- Sandoval -- hit a ball hard against Masterson, but the pitcher said you can't really read much into that result.

"The hitters always start off slow and crank it up at the end. Pitchers always have the upper hand when it comes early on," he said. "For me, it's nice to see reactions -- to see poor swings or whatever -- but it's also, 'Well, the ball isn't coming in that hard and there's some movement here.' They're just seeing things. They don't want to hit one too hard because they don't want to take off your forehead."

Masterson got a typical result four times in his brief session: A bouncer right back to the mound. The veteran fielded each of them cleanly and threw to first base even though there was nobody there to cover, and he said afterward that getting so many ground balls is a good sign.

"When I'm pitching well, that's what I always get," said Masterson. "They hit about four or five back to me; throw it over to first and get some double plays. That's my pitching career right there."

Masterson, indeed, has lived and died with the ground ball, logging a career ground-ball percentage of 56.6. He was still getting grounders in 2014 -- nearly 65 percent, according to FanGraphs.com -- but his walk rate was a full walk (4.83) higher than his career average (3.71).

Now, with Spring Training games starting next week, Masterson is hoping to begin his rebound.

"Like every guy, he's getting his timing in," Boston manager John Farrell said. "I thought the second half of his BP session was more crisp. The sinker and the action of his pitches were on the plate more consistently. He's just following the progression towards games here next week."


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     The article said:

01. "Last winter, Justin Masterson struggled with an oblique injury and, during the 2014 season, with a knee ailment."
02. "Mr. Masterson posted an ERA (5.88) more than two runs higher than he managed in 2013 (3.45)."
03. "Those numbers are in the past, though, and Masterson is eager to start a new season with a new team."

     The article did not say which knee bothered Mr. Masterson during the 2014 season.

     Nevertheless, I suspect that Mr. Masterson injured the meniscus in his pitching knee.

     To prevent this injury, Mr. Masterson has to stop reverse rotating his hips and shoulders over his pitching foot and turn his pitching foot to forty-five degrees to the front of the pitching rubber.

     To prevent injury to the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle, Mr. Masterson needs to rotate his hips and shoulders forward over his glove foot.

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0210.  Bauer taking nothing for granted as refines repertoire
MLB.com
February 28, 2015

GOODYEAR, AZ: Over the winter, pitchers often retreat to indoor batting tunnels to run through their mound workouts. In the early stages of Spring Training, they advance to bullpen sessions at their team's training complex. Live batting practice is the next step in the annual march to the regular season.

On Saturday morning, Trevor Bauer was among the Indians pitchers who went through live BP sessions for the first time this year, giving them their first testing ground with batters standing at the plate. At this time of year, the pitchers are always ahead of the hitters, but that does not make things any less strange out on the mound.

"[It was] weird, like always," Bauer said. "The first time you face hitters, no matter how your bullpens have gone or anything like that, it's just different. But it went well. I was pleased with how it went."

The 24-year-old Bauer is out of Minor League options and assured a spot in the Opening Day rotation, barring any unforeseen setbacks. In his first live BP workout of the year, the right-hander worked on all of his pitches, including the two-seamer and splitter he refined over the winter, and said he felt like he could have thrown longer than he did.

Even though Bauer is a virtual lock, Indians manager Terry Francona said the pitcher's focus has not wavered.

"Regardless of what you tell him, I think he has his own things that drive him every time he goes out," Francona said. "There's maybe a different purpose every time, but there's something he's trying to strive for. I don't think he really picks up a ball very often without a goal. Sometimes, I know he even charts it, just because it keeps him motivated to do the things he's aiming for."

Last season, Bauer went 5-8 with a 4.18 ERA in 26 starts for Cleveland, striking out 143 and walking 60 in 153 innings. Before last season, the righty had just eight starts in the Major Leagues across the 2012-13 seasons, and he said finishing last season in the big leagues led to some changes to his offseason program leading up to this year.

"This is the first time I've finished a year in the big leagues, so I had a month extra of season," Bauer said. "So that's one less month of the offseason. I'm used to targeting about the middle of February to be ready to go in games, so when I come to Spring Training I'm at peak level to try to make the team. That was really tough to do this offseason, just because I couldn't start throwing until Nov. 1.

"Usually I start throwing before that. It's nice to have an extra six weeks to kind of try to get to that peak performance level."


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     The article said:

01. "Last season, Bauer went 5-8 with a 4.18 ERA in 26 starts, striking out 143 and walking 60 in 153 innings."
02. "Before last season, the righty had just eight starts in the Major Leagues across the 2012-13 seasons."
03. "Mr. Bauer said finishing last season in the big leagues took one month away from my off-season work."
04. "Mr. Bauer used the short off-season to refine his two-seamer and splitter.

     Mr. Bauer needs fastballs that move to opposite sides of home plate.

     Mr. Bauer needs sliders and curves.

     Mr. Bauer needs sinkers and screwballs.

     Two-seam fastballs are poor sinkers.

     Splitters are poor screwballs.

     Until Mr. Bauer has these six pitches, Mr. Bauer will continue to have losing win-loss statistics.

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0211.  Henderson on road to recovery
MLB.com
February 28, 2015

PHOENIX, AZ: Unless Mother Nature has other ideas, Brewers reliever Jim Henderson will encounter a milestone on Sunday, when he is scheduled to face hitters for the first time since last year's right shoulder surgery.

It's only live batting practice, but Henderson views it as a notable step in his comeback bid.

"We'll see how it feels after that, and then once the games start, I'll be curious for sure. Then I'll be able to see how far away we are. Right now, it feels good, it feels strong, it feels healthy, but I've always been a velocity guy, so [seeing those numbers] will tell me how far I need to go."

The Brewers do not employ radar guns in these early camp sessions because velocity isn't the point just yet. Beginning Wednesday, when the Brewers play their first exhibition game against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the seats behind home plate will be populated by scouts taking down readings.

In 2012, when Henderson took over as Brewers closer and logged 28 saves with a 2.70 ERA, his average fastball velocity was 95.3 mph. Last year, with his shoulder compromised, it fell to 93.9 mph.

"I feel like I'd be in the low to mid-90s if I wanted to let one go right now, but I really have no idea," Henderson said. "It's hard to tell without a hitter. For me, even when we're in season, I'll throw my last warmup pitch and look at the radar gun and it says 91 [mph]. Then the first pitch to a hitter will be 95 [mph]. So it's hard to tell with me."

If Henderson avoids setbacks, the Brewers could have as many as four former closers in their bullpen. The team re-signed Francisco Rodriguez this week to handle closer duties, pushing Jonathan Broxton to a set-up role. Former Indians closer Chris Perez is also in camp on a Minor League contract, trying to make the team.

To complete his own comeback, Henderson, 32, would have to overcome the second shoulder surgery of his career. He had a major surgery in 2008 with the Cubs that nearly derailed his career.

"I look at it two ways," Henderson said. "Second surgery, this could be difficult to come back from. But you can also look at it as even when I was hurting last year, I was still getting up to 96, 97 [mph] at times with a bad shoulder. So since it was just a cleanup, I should be able to get back there."


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     The article said:

01. "Brewers baseball pitcher, Jim Henderson underwent surgery in August to remove bone spurs, and repair the damage those spurs had done to his labrum and rotator cuff."
02. "In 2008, Mr. Henderson had a major surgery that nearly derailed his career."
03. "This surgery was just a cleanup."

     That is a lot of damage.

     Mr. Henderson needs to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulders over his glove foot.

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0212.  Reed likely needs two weeks before taking mound
MLB.com
March 01, 2015

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: D-backs closer Addison Reed said it will likely be around two weeks before he gets back on the mound again after experiencing some soreness in his right shoulder just before camp opened.

Tests done on his shoulder showed no injury and Reed has been playing catch without any discomfort.

"Feels like nothing ever happened," Reed said. "If anything, my arm feels stronger because of all the work I've been doing in the training room."

Now it's just a matter of working his way back up to throwing bullpens before he can get into games.

"I'd say by the 20th [of March] I'm for sure off the mound," he said.

If that's the case, Reed said he would have no problem being ready for the April 6 opener, but manager Chip Hale said the club would err on the side of caution.

"We want him ready and the worst thing we can do is say, 'Hey you're going to throw two or three times and now we're going to open the season,'" Hale said. "If that's the case, he may have to start on the DL, but we're a long way away from that."


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     The article said:

01. "D-backs closer Addison Reed said it will likely be around two weeks before he gets back on the mound again."
02. "Just before camp opened, Mr. Reed experienced some soreness in his pitching shoulder."
03. "Tests done on his shoulder showed no injury."
04. "Mr.Reed has been playing catch without any discomfort."

     When baseball pitchers play catch, they use the one-step crow hop body action.

     The one-step crow hop body action enables baseball pitchers to move their body forward through release.

     When baseball pitchers use the 'balance position' body action, they do not move their body forward through release.

     Mr. Reed can expect his shoulder soreness to return.

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0213.  Wojciechowski pumped up to be healthy, competing
MLB.com
March 01, 2015

KISSIMMEE, FL: Right-hander Asher Wojciechowski may have been one of the most excited players to hit Astros camp this year, for no other reason than he was finally healthy after missing all of last year's camp with a strained right lat muscle.

Wojciechowski, 26, suffered the injury throwing in the bullpen prior to Spring Training, and he wound up opening the season on the disabled list. He started for Triple-A Oklahoma City on May 21 and strained a forearm flexor and missed nearly a month.

"I'm just excited to be healthy and be able to throw," he said. "Last year was pretty upsetting, but this year it's just feeling great and it's just awesome just to be able to be healthy and just compete."

When he finally got on the mound, Wojciechowski appeared in 15 games (14 starts) at Oklahoma City and was 4-4 with a 4.74 ERA, including 3-1 with a 3.11 ERA in his final six starts. That set him up to come to camp competing for a spot in the Astros' rotation.

"It was tough, especially when I felt like I was gaining ground to be able to get healthy and throw, and I would have a setback and start back to where I was and not be able to do anything," he said. "It's pretty frustrating, but compared to now, I'm very excited to be able to throw and play baseball."

Wojciechowski, acquired in a trade with Toronto in 2012, is competing with Dan Straily, Roberto Hernandez, Brad Peacock, Alex White, Jake Buchanan and Samuel Deduno for the fifth spot in the rotation, though Hernandez has yet to report and Peacock is recovering from an injury.

"I just kind of control what I can control, and that's what I do," Wojciechowski said. "We had a great group of guys here and just happy to be here and excited for whatever's in store, and I'm just going to work hard and see what happens."


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     The article said:

01. "After missing all of last year's camp with a strained right lat muscle, Asher Wojciechowski is about coming into this year's Astros camp this year healthy."
02. "Mr. Wojciechowski suffered the injury throwing in the bullpen prior to Spring Training.'
03. "Mr. Wojciechowski wound up opening the season on the disabled list."
04. "On May 21, 2014, Mr. Wojciechowske started for Triple-A Oklahoma City and strained a forearm flexor."
05. "Mr. Wojciechowski missed nearly a month."
06. "Mr. Wojciechowski started 14 game, the last six of which he won 3 games and lost 1 with a 3.11 ERA."

     That is the trouble with resting an injury.

     Rest weakens the uninjured areas, such as the forearm flexor.

     Therefore, instead of rest, baseball pitchers needs to eliminate the injurious flaw and decrease the intensity, but train.

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0214.  Holland scratched from Spring Training game
MLB.com
March 01, 2015

SURPRISE, AZ: Derek Holland has been scratched from Sunday's intrasquad game because of what the Rangers said was normal Spring Training soreness in his left shoulder.

"There are no alarm bells," general manager Jon Daniels said. "He had it a couple of years ago. It's normal spring soreness for a pitcher. He wants to throw, but we took it away from him. We're going to push him back a day or two."

Holland said he has been feeling great all winter and insisted that this wasn't a big deal.

"It's just precautionary," Holland said. "Don't freak out. I've got to respect their decision. They just want to take the day off. It's not a big deal, I promise, so let's not get too far ahead of ourselves."

Holland missed the first five months of last season while recovering from surgery on his left knee. He returned in September and was 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in six outings.

Holland came to camp eager to "make a statement." He might have tried to go too hard early in camp, but the Rangers still aren't concerned.

"He is in great shape mentally and physically," Daniels said. "I'm not worried about Derek."


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     The article said:

01. "Derek Holland has been scratched from Sunday's intrasquad game."
02. "Mr. Holland had soreness in his pithcing shoulder."
03. "Mr. Holland felt great all winter."
04. "Last season, Mr. Holland missed the first five months recovering from surgery on his pitching knee."
05. "In September 2014, Mr. Holloand was 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in six outings."

     Is the soreness from training or from an injurious flaw?

     If Mr. Holland's pitching upper arm involuntarily moves behind his acromial line, then the soreness is from an injurious flaw.

     To prevent his pitching upper arm from involuntarily moving behind his acromial line, Mr. Holland needs to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulder forward over his glove foot.

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0215.  Hochevar straight forward on throwing curveballs
MLB.com
March 01, 2015

SURPRISE, AZ: Right-hander Luke Hochevar remembers the exact pitch that he blew out his elbow on last Spring Training -- a curveball.

"I remember throwing it and I felt a pop and burn," Hochevar said on Sunday. "I didn't think a whole lot about it at the time because I'd been battling tightness and soreness since 2010 really. Then, I threw a cutter to get the final out of that inning and got back to the bench, and I started to wonder what was going on.

"At first I thought it was just some scar tissue being ripped away. But then, I woke up the next morning and it was the size of a grapefruit."

Hochevar was on his way to having Tommy John surgery.

Almost a year later, Hochevar is back throwing off the mound and, yes, throwing curveballs.

"It's not like you're scared when you start spinning curves again," he said. "You know your elbow is fixed. But still you think about it. You have to sort of stare down your demons."

Hochevar has been throwing curves during his last two side sessions.

"The curve is feeling good and looking good," he said. "I haven't been told yet when I can start throwing cutters, but I'm sure that will be fairly soon. I'm just going at whatever pace they want me to. Everything is feeling great."

On Monday, Hochevar will face hitters for the first time off the mound.

"I'm really pumped about that," he said. "Can't wait."

Hochevar remains on schedule to start the season in the Royals' bullpen.


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     Royals baseball pitcher, Luke Hochevar, said:

01. "I remember throwing it (a curve) and I felt a pop and burn."
02. "I didn't think a whole lot about it at the time because I'd been battling tightness and soreness since 2010 really."
03. "Then, I threw a cutter to get the final out of that inning and got back to the bench, and I started to wonder what was going on."
04. "At first, I thought it was just some scar tissue being ripped away."
05. "But then, I woke up the next morning and it was the size of a grapefruit."

     For Mr. Hochevar's pitching elbow to swell to the size of a grapefruit, Mr. Hochevar had to tear the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle.

     The article said:

01. "In last year's spring training, Mr. Hochevar remembers the exact pitch that he blew out his elbow, a curveball."
02. "Mr. Hochevar was on his way to having Tommy John surgery."

     Throwing a supinated curveball eliminates the Pronator Teres muscle from contracting and protecting the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.      Royals baseball pitcher, Luke Hochevar, said:

01. "It's not like you're scared when you start spinning curves again."
02. "You know your elbow is fixed."
03. "But still you think about it."
04. "You have to sort of stare down your demons."
05. "The curve is feeling good and looking good."
06. "I haven't been told yet when I can start throwing cutters,"
07. "But, I'm sure that will be fairly soon."
08. "I'm just going at whatever pace they want me to."
09. "Everything is feeling great."

     Mr. Hochevar still supinates the release of his curveball and will supinate the release of his cutters.

     Therefore, Mr. Hochevar will reinjure his Pronator Teres muscle and may injure his replacement Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

     To prevent these injuries, Mr. Hochevar needs to pronate the releases of his breaking pitches.

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

     On Sunday, March 15, 2015, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0216.  Dodgers sign veteran reliever Adams
MLB.com
March 01, 2015

GLENDALE, AZ: The Dodgers added veteran right-hander Mike Adams to their list of non-roster invitees on Sunday.

Adams, 36, was 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 22 games for Philadelphia last year.

He has battled shoulder problems since 2009 and had three knee operations before that. But he also spent four years with the Padres when he was one of the most effective and durable middle relievers in the game.

"We just look at it as high-upside," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "When this guy has been healthy, he's really, really good. We'll get a chance to take a look at him at camp, see what he looks like and go from there."

Adams joins a group of non-roster relievers that includes David Aardsma, Sergio Santos and David Huff. Also competing for jobs are new signees Chad Gaudin and Dustin McGowan.

Adams said he worked out with his younger brother Jason, a trainer, during the offseason to clean up his mechanics and "as of right now," his health is good.


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

     The article said:

01. "Last year, Mike Adams was 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 22 games for Philadelphia."
02. "Since 2009, Mr. Adams battled shoulder problems."
03. "Before that, Mr. Adams had three knee operations."
04. "During four years, Mr. Adams was one of the most effective and durable middle relievers in the game."
05. "During the offseason, Mr. Adams worked out with his younger brother Jason, a trainer."
06. "The Adams brothers cleaned up Mike Adams mechanics."
07. "As of right now, Mr. Adams' health is good."

     To prevent pitching shoulder injuries, Mr. Adams needs to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulders over his glove foot.

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0217.  Fernandez feels a push to return
USA Today
March 02, 2015

Matt Harvey will pitch one of the first five games of the season for the New York Mets, according to manager Terry Collins' plan.

The No. 1 starter for a team that believes it's a playoff contender – in large part because Harvey is back from Tommy John surgery – should be first in a line of returning pitchers who could be race-changers through the 2015 season.

"I'm here to compete," says Harvey, now more than 16 months past his surgery. "There's no easing into it for me. I prepared just like a normal season. I'm moving on from the surgery and I'm good to go."

While Harvey indeed is just about at the point where Tommy John survivors will tell you they're at or near 100%, other marquee pitchers will have to balance their teams' playoff-race needs with the healing and strengthening they can't speed up.

Miami Marlins star Jose Fernandez had his surgery last May 16 and he's aiming for a mid-season return. He says doctors told him July 16 could be realistic but he's even thinking about June.

"I want to pitch tomorrow in the big leagues, are you kidding me?" Fernandez says. "I think you have to be smart. It's not, 'Oh, I'm 22. I can do whatever I want. My arm is of steel. I've thrown 100 mph before.' It's not just all you. My teammates are counting on me."

Somewhere between Harvey and Fernandez, key rotation pieces could provide their teams with boosts not unlike a mid-season trade.

Tampa Bay's Matt Moore had his surgery last April 22. The 1-2 punch in the gut that hit Oakland last spring had Jarrod Parker under the knife March 24 and A.J. Griffin on April 30. Do that math: Even conservatively, they're all mid-season candidates.

"You'll be back. But will you be back?" says Nathan, who missed the 2010 season. "It's one thing to be back and competing. But to come back 100% - and by 100% I mean you're not thinking about it – that's when then the surgery is behind you."

Even best-case scenarios will be handled with care.

The Mets have no plans to put an innings limit on Harvey, but Collins says, "The goal is to make sure that in September and October, Matt Harvey is still pitching."

They've studied how several pitchers have fared in full seasons following surgery but will avoid a concrete plan.

"If we have to corral some of the things he does, it might be just to back him down innings wise," Collins says. "It might be better than giving him two weeks off. We're going to manage that as best we can but we don't have anything written down on a calendar."

That doesn't mean this season won't have a few key dates.


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

     Mets field manager, Terry Collins, said:

01. "The Mets have no plans to put an innings limit on Harvey."
02. "The goal is to make sure that in September and October, Matt Harvey is still pitching."
03. "We've studied how several pitchers have fared in full seasons following surgery, but will avoid a concrete plan."
04. "If we have to corral some of the things he does, it might be just to back him down innings wise."
05. "It might be better than giving him two weeks off."
06. "We're going to manage that as best we can, but we don't have anything written down on a calendar."

     As long as Mr. Harvey takes the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand under the baseball and pendulum swings his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, Mr. Harvey will do well.

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

0218.  Tigers bullpen shows relief is elusive
USA Today
March 02, 2015

LAKELAND, FL: It's a tiny portion of the Detroit Tigers' clubhouse, but it contains just about all you need to know about Tommy John surgery, especially as it affects relievers.

Four pitchers, 655 major league saves, 14 30-plus save seasons and five Tommy John surgeries spread out over more than a decade.

The current focus is on Bruce Rondon, who has just one of those saves but is a 24-year-old who will reach the 12-month mark in his recovery just before Opening Day.

"There are no restrictions, we've been told," says manager Brad Ausmus. "We're just going to take a little extra time. We're handling him a little bit with kid gloves."

Joel Hanrahan, at the locker next to Rondon, wholeheartedly agrees. He's 33 and pushing 21 months since his surgery, which came shortly after saving 76 games in two years for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I had to tell him a lot that (the recovery) was going to feel like taking baby steps," says Hanrahan, who carries the added burden of having had his flexor tendon repaired and bone spurs removed the same time doctor were transplanting the ligament.

He's still not 100% and is coming to grips with the possibility he might never pitch again.

"I can help him by telling him what I've been through," Hanrahan says. "You can't make it go any faster than it's going to go. Trust me, I've tried."

Even sticking to the rehab protocol can trick a pitcher.

Tigers closer Joe Nathan missed the 2010 season and came back the next spring ready to reclaim his Minnesota closing job.

"I found out once the season started that it wasn't there yet," he said of converting his first three save opportunities in the first seven games of the season. He blew his next two chances, allowed seven runs in less than three innings over three appearances before stepping back to set-up man and the disabled list.

His next save came after the All-Star break.

"It was around the 15-month mark when you're not thinking about it," Nathan says. "It's back to just something you do."

But when something you do is pitch the ninth inning, job security is limited. It's one spot where managers are likely to gamble with immediately reinstating a recovered pitcher.

The New York Mets hope to have Bobby Parnell back by mid-season. The ninth-inning job he took over in 2013 was filled by Jenrry Mejia last season.

Manager Terry Collins says he told Parnell to prepare as if he'll be the closer when he returns but added a qualifier: "If we start the season with Jenrry as the closer and he's dealing, he's going to be the closer."

If Rondon, who two years ago clearly was considered Detroit's closer of the future, wants more encouraging reinforcement, he need just look to the other side of his locker. Joakim Soria's seven-year run as closer in Kansas City and Texas was interrupted by the surgery in 2012. The remarkable part of Soria's story is that he's back in a key set-up role despite that operation being his second Tommy John.

Both recoveries have been uneventful and Soria attributes that to a nine-year gap.

"You're always scared when they go in," says Soria, "especially because there aren't many people who have had two Tommy Johns."


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

     Whether baseball pitchers have had one, two, three or more Ulnar Collateral Ligaments replacement surgeries, when these baseball pitchers stop taking the baseball out of their glove with the palm of the pitching hand on top of the baseball, they will not need an Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     With the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball, these baseball pitchers are able to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

     From this position, these baseball pitchers are forced to contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle.

     Because the muscles that arise from the medial epicondye, when they contract, they eliminate the stress on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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

0219.  Big innings don't always equate to struggles next season
MLB.com
March 02, 2015

At some point between the final out of the World Series and that time a photo of Madison Bumgarner and an ox went viral, the question emerged: Was the big Giants lefty's huge postseason on top of a career-high innings load too much of a great thing?

The answer may be evident in the relative similarity in size between the man and an actual beast of burden, but really it will be proven by how Bumgarner performs in 2015. And before we find out, charting it up a bit shows that his total of 270 innings between Opening Day and Game 7 was the most in zero years, ranked fifth in the past five seasons and wouldn't have rated in the Majors' top 10 for just the regular season many years in the 1960s and '70s.

Besides, it's not as though either the Giants organization or Bunyan, er, Bumgarner himself has much concern about last year's workload as Spring Training games begin. "But, I couldn't pay any less attention to it than I do now. After 2010, it was the same deal," Bumgarner said upon his arrival in Spring Training, referencing his 214 1/3-inning rookie total through that October in his age-20 season.

What Bumgarner, now 25, did particularly in October last year was amazing, but as a full year's load, it wasn't even the biggest in a calendar year. Last spring, it was the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright coming off a huge regular season followed by a full October, an effort that stands as the highest innings total in the past five years.

As for the following year, Wainwright pitched 227 innings in the regular season and another 16 in October in 2014, finishing third in the National League Cy Young Award Award voting with a 2.38 ERA and 20 wins -- in short, another stellar season. While sidelined with an abdominal strain as Spring Training begins, there's no questioning Wainwright's place as the workhorse of the Cardinals' rotation once the regular season begins.

Meanwhile, Justin Verlander's dominance has faded since his dual American League MVP Award and AL Cy Young Award winning season, but he remains among the game's elite pitchers heading into 2015, and both Chris Carpenter and Roy Halladay posted their numbers toward the end of their careers.

Bumgarner set a postseason record with 52 2/3 frames, including those historic last five in Game 7. That came after a career-high 217 1/3 (12th in Majors) in his fifth regular season and age-24 season. Overall, Bumgarner is No. 1 for 2014, but he's not the only pitcher returning to action in 2015 after a full slate of innings last year.

Of course, those totals are relatively tame compared to many years in the past, even just for the regular season. On the other hand, as Bumgarner showed to the max in 2014, the potential for huge innings in October has been increased. With a Wild Card Game (a complete-game shutout for Bumgarner in 2014) and the rest of the current postseason setup, undeniably high-intensity innings are available at the end of a long regular season of work. And, regardless of era, that's where Bumgarner's 2014 performance stands out, right down to the final popup of the World Series, etching his name in the Fall Classic's mound lore.

Some of that innings lore from recent and not-so-recent World Series winners:

The Dynamic Duo, 2001

Curt Schilling, ARI: 256 2/3 IP + 48 1/3 postseason IP (No. 2 all-time) = 305 total IP
Randy Johnson, ARI: 249 2/3 IP + 41 1/3 postseason IP = 291 total IP

Orel's amazing season, 1988

Orel Hershiser, LAD: 267 IP + 42 2/3 postseason IP = 309 2/3 total IP

Fernando at age 20, 1981

Fernando Valenzuela, LAD: 192 1/3 IP + 40 2/3 postseason IP = 233 total IP

The last 300-IP regular season, 1980

Steve Carlton, PHI: 304 IP + 27 1/3 postseason IP = 331 1/3 total IP

A Hall of Famer at age 24, 1970

Jim Palmer, BAL: 305 IP + 24 2/3 postseason IP = 329 2/3 total IP

Entering 2015, Bumgarner's career innings pace vs. his age is in line with several of today's top rotation heavyweights. The 1,000-innings milestone is in sight well before his 26th birthday in August, with 47 1/3 frames to go. Of course, with a total of 88 1/3 in postseason baseball under his belt, he's already past the 1K mark in innings that count, just not as reflected in career totals.

A look at active pitchers who hit the 1,000-innings mark at an early age:

Felix Hernandez: 24 years, 72 days
Clayton Kershaw: 25 years, 56 days
Matt Cain: 25 years, 180 days
Rick Porcello: 25 years, 212 days
CC Sabathia: 25 years, 302 days

As certainly Kershaw and Hernandez have shown in their rapid rise to 1,000 innings and beyond, it's not just about racking up innings, but what you do with them. Kershaw hit the traditional innings minimum for career numbers in May 2013 at a 2.73 ERA, the lowest ever by a starter -- now down to 2.48. And after Hernandez reached the innings milestone in his 2010 AL Cy Young Award winning season, he soon became the fourth-youngest pitcher to record 1,000 strikeouts.

Heading into 2015, Bumgarner is right there on pace with them after a particularly fulfilling 2014 campaign, carting a 3.06 ERA and 896 K's into another season, ready for more work -- a horse among horses.

Or ox, whatever.

Most innings pitched in 2014
-------------------------------------------
| # |Name          |IP     |Post. |Total  |
-------------------------------------------
|01.|Bumgarner     |217 1/3|52 2/3|270    |^
|02.|David Price   |248 1/3|08    |256 1/3|
|03.|James Shields |227    |25    |252    |
|04.|Johnny Cueto  |243 2/3|--    |243 2/3|
|05.|Wainwright    |227    |25    |243    |*
-------------------------------------------
^ led Majors
* did not pitch in postseason

Most innings pitched in last five seasons
----------------------------------------------
| # |Year| Name      |IP      |Post. |Total  |
----------------------------------------------
|01.|2013|Wainwright |241 2/3^|35^   |276 2/3|
|02.|2011|Carpenter  |237 1/3 |36^   |273 1/3|
|03.|2010|Halladay   |250 2/3^|22    |272 2/3|
|04.|2011|Verlander  |251^    |20 1/3|271 1/3|
|05.|2014|Bumgarner  |217 1/3 |52 2/3|270    |
----------------------------------------------
^ led Majors


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

     Clearly, the five man rotation has greatly decreased inning pitched and appearances.

     It is very difficult for baseball pitchers to win 20 games when they start only 33 games.

     With my pitching arm and body actions and training, my baseball pitchers could pitch twice during a week, which means they could easily start 50 games and pitch 350 innings.

     Then, the starters would win from 20 to 30 games every year.

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

0220.  Archer plans to keep plenty in his tank for stretch run
MLB.com
March 02, 2015

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL: Starting pitchers have a two-fold task during Spring Training: build up endurance while leaving some gas in the tank for the season.

Rays right-hander Chris Archer understands that to meet the ultimate goal of pitching through the season and finishing strong, he must temper what he does during the offseason and in Spring Training.

"I don't want to overwork myself," said Archer, who is one of the top-conditioned players on the team.

Makes sense. After all, striking out nine Pirates in five innings at McKechnie Field on March 15 doesn't mean much in the final tally. A pitcher wants to have those pitches in reserve for September and, hopefully, October.

"I'm hoping to throw more [this season]," Archer said. "So I don't want to overdo it whenever I'm feeling super fresh now." Archer is in a different place than where he used to reside during Spring Training. As a main cog of the rotation, he is afforded the luxury of being able to work on his terms rather than having to compete to make the team with every spring outing.

"In years past, it wasn't like that," Archer said. "I did what they told me to do because I wanted to get on the mound and show them that I could compete as much as I could. So this year, just more comforting.

"This is my eighth Spring Training. If I don't have an understanding of how to work my body now, I never will. And there's always going to be small, fine-tune adjustments. But I'm just looking forward to getting Spring Training rolling and getting into the season."

In addition to working while also conserving, Archer is trying to improve against the running game and refine his change-up.

"Last year at the end of Spring Training, I felt completely comfortable throwing my changeup," Archer said. "But when there are runners on base and it was a changeup situation, I didn't feel comfortable going to that because my other two pitches are my bread and butter.

"Hopefully I can get to the point where I can have my three pitches. Throw my slider less and my changeup more. That makes my slider better because they see it less frequently."

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash likes the idea of Archer being armed with an improved changeup.

"It can be another weapon," Cash said. "He's got such a great feel with the other two, I don't think him working on a changeup or focusing on it a little bit more during Spring Training is going to hurt anything."


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

     The article said:

01. "Rays right-hander Chris Archer understands that to meet the ultimate goal of pitching through the season and finishing strong, he must temper what he does during the offseason and in Spring Training."
02. "Makes sense."
03. "After all, striking out nine Pirates in five innings at McKechnie Field on March 15 doesn't mean much in the final tally."
04. "A pitcher wants to have those pitches in reserve for September and, hopefully, October."

     If baseball pitchers train and throw less in the off-season than during the season, then they will be able to only do what they did in the off-season.

     Instead of training and throwing less during the off-season, baseball pitchers need to train more often and throw more.

     Remember, rest atrophies the bones, ligaments, muscles and tendon and deteriorates the motor unit contraction and relaxation sequences they need to throw their best quality baseball pitches.

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

0221.  Spring may bring final chance for Aumont
MLB.com
March 02, 2015

CLEARWATER, FL: Phillippe Aumont seems to have made a few thousand adjustments to his delivery since he joined the Phillies following the Cliff Lee trade with Seattle in 2009.

Aumont changed his arm slot. He stood more upright. He tried this. He tried that.

"I've just had so many changes," Aumont said Sunday. "I try to not even think about it."

All those coaching tips led to what could be Aumont's final chance with the Phils, who open their Grapefruit League season Tuesday afternoon against the Yankees at Bright House Field. The right-hander is out of options, so he must be exposed to waivers if he does not make the Opening Day roster. If Aumont is claimed, Philadelphia will have nobody left from the Lee trade.

Aumont said he has not thought much about it.

"If it's not here, it's going to be somewhere else," Aumont said. "I want to play here. This is a great opportunity for guys like me, young guys, to step up. But I don't think about if I mess up ... if it happens, it happens.

"That's the business side of the game. I don't worry about that. I just try to go out there, have fun and be a good teammate. Whatever happens is going to happen."

Aumont, 26, has a big arm, but he has been unable to throw strikes consistently. He has averaged 8.8 strikeouts and 6.1 walks per nine innings in 45 appearances with the Phillies over the past three seasons. Aumont has a 6.13 ERA in that time.

The strikeout/walk averages have not been much better in Triple-A.

Aumont could benefit from a change of scenery, which has helped players in the past. The moment the Phils traded Gavin Floyd to the White Sox in 2005, he seemed destined to turn things around.

Floyd went 7-5 with a 6.96 ERA in 24 games (19 starts) with Philadelphia from 2004-06. He went 63-61 with a 4.20 ERA for Chicago from 2007-12.

"Yeah, I mean, it crossed my mind," Aumont said about a change of scenery. "But at the moment, I'm here, so I want to compete for this team. If it ever comes down to that and I go somewhere else, then I'll think about it when I'm there. But right now, the Phillies are giving me that opportunity, and I'm taking it and I'm going for it."

Aumont allowed three hits and one run in one inning in Sunday's 6-2 exhibition loss to the University of Tampa.

"I feel much better this spring," Aumont said. "I feel like I caught on to some stuff that I've been working on. This is my eighth, ninth Spring Training. I know how to throw a baseball. I'm not doing it maybe perfectly, but I know how to do it."


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

     To throw baseball pitches into the strike zone, baseball pitchers have to drive their pitching hand in straight lines toward home plate.

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

0222.  Madson saga shows surgery not perfect
USA Today
March 02, 2015

The success rate of Tommy John surgery has reached such a high point, with 80% of the pitchers who undergo the procedure returning to their previous level of competition for at least a game, it's easy to forget that still means one of every five cases fail.

Ryan Madson and Cory Luebke are two such examples, though for different reasons.

Madson signed with the Cincinnati Reds to become their closer in 2012, after saving a career-high 32 games for the Philadelphia Phillies the year before. He never pitched a game in a Reds uniform, tearing his ulnar collateral ligament in spring training in what was the beginning of an unexpected odyssey.

After sitting out the season, Madson signed a one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels, who figured he'd return close to his old self as a top reliever sometime in the 2013 season. It didn't happen.

Madson did the standard rehab and seemed to be progressing well, but every time he cut loose and tried to throw above 90 mph, he would feel pain in the area below the incision. Rest would take care of the problem until he fired up high-velocity fastballs, and then the elbow would hurt again.

"It was pain, not just soreness, but pain, where I had to shut it down,'' Madson said. "I kept going back and forth with that, and seeing doctors and them saying, 'Everything looks fine.'"

What Madson eventually found out is that even while pitching well for the Phillies, his mechanics had gone askew, to the point he ended up blowing out the elbow. The wayward mechanics put too much stress on the joint when he tried to reach his old speed.

Once he discovered the problem, Madson rebuilt his pitching motion to get back to the way he used to throw, using more of his lower body. Madson said he even hit 93 mph painlessly during a tryout for teams in February 2014, but by then the ordeal had taken a huge toll on him.

He had become so desperate that the year before he spoke out in favor of players being allowed to use human growth hormone to recover from injuries, which he now says was just the frustration getting the better of him.

"I felt like I got it back, but that journey had been so long and so draining that I wanted to go home,'' Madson said of his decision to skip the 2014 season. "That journey was so tough and the battle was insane. The same thing kept happening over and over again. It was so frustrating that I got burnt out and I didn't want to throw the ball anymore."

Madson regained his enthusiasm for the game while working out with a high school prospect in the fall, and now he's trying to make the Kansas City Royals as a non-roster player. Manager Ned Yost raved about his early bullpen sessions, but there are no guarantees.

That's what Luebke learned after his first operation in May 2012. The San Diego Padres left-hander kept having setbacks and eventually was told the graft didn't take. It's a rare development, and it meant he would need a second such operation if he wanted to return to pitching. He had his re-do in February 2014.

"The biggest relief was having the second one and starting to throw again, realizing things were never really right the first time,'' said Luebke, who turns 30 on Wednesday. "It was like a night-and-day difference with how the throwing felt from the get-go."

Luebke had a 3.25 ERA over parts of three seasons from 2010-2012, including 17 starts in 2011. He seemed on the way to becoming a mainstay of the rotation for years but hasn't pitched since April 12, 2012, and knows the odds are not in his favor, though he remains optimistic.

Initially he expected to return to action in a year. Now the goal is to get on the mound again.

"Dr. (James) Andrews and everybody repeats, hey, it's a 12-18-month recovery,'' Luebke said of the orthopedist who did his second operation. "There are guys who are back at 12, but I guess those are the lucky ones. No situation is the same."


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

     The article said:

01. "At 80% success rate, the Tommy John surgery has reached a high point."
02. "It's easy to forget that still means one of every five cases fail."
03. "Ryan Madson and Cory Luebke are two such examples."
04. "Mr. Madson did the standard rehab and seemed to be progressing well."
05. "But every time Mr. Madson cut loose, Mr. Madson hsd feel pain in the area below the incision."
06. "Mr. Luebke learned that the graft didn't take."

     That is why instead of surgery, baseball pitchers need to eliminate the injurious flaw that ruptures their Ulnar Collarteral Ligament.

     Amazingly, when baseball pitchers eliminate the injurious flaw, they do not need an Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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

0223.  Patients to patience: Tommy John pitchers take on 2015
USA Today
March 02, 2015

The stitches on the elbow are long gone by the time a pitcher gets back on the mound following Tommy John surgery, and yet the stitches on the ball still don't feel right.

The patient is technically cured, his reconstructed elbow capable of allowing him to launch baseballs at the same speed as before, but in many cases he's merely a thrower, not a pitcher.

Baseball faced a startling rash of torn ulnar collateral ligaments last season, resulting in 31 major leaguers undergoing the procedure known as Tommy John surgery. That was the second-highest total ever, and twice the average of 15.8 from 2000-2011.

Now most of those pitchers are on the way back, and their performances not only figure to have an impact on the playoff races, but also on the game's overall appeal as young All-Stars like Jose Fernandez of the Miami Marlins, Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays and Patrick Corbin of the Arizona Diamondbacks try to return to their old form.

And that's where it gets tricky.

A study conducted last year by the American Sports Medicine Institute at MLB's behest confirmed that Tommy John surgery has an 80% success rate, as measured by a player's ability to return to his previous level of competition, usually within 12 months.

However, being back in the majors is one thing. Excelling is another. The knack for spotting a two-strike slider just off the plate or for delivering a changeup that plummets at the last moment, the skills that can mean the difference between a scoreless inning and a three-run uprising, often arrive much later.

"The ability to get control, ball movement, good placement – what makes elite pitchers elite – that's the probably the hardest thing to return,'' said orthopedist Lyle Cain, who has performed more than 1,000 UCL reconstructions and is the lead author of the seminal paper on the subject. "Because it takes a combination of control, repetition, proper mechanics and having the velocity to make the ball move like it should."

Pitchers regularly report feeling more like their old selves the second year after surgery, making it difficult for clubs to anticipate what they can expect from their returning pitchers this season.

"When things go well, like for the 80% of pitchers, in about 12 months you're back playing pro baseball,'' said Glenn Fleisig, ASMI research director. "But you're not as good as you were until about 18 months."

The Marlins hope Fernandez can come back as the Cy Young Award candidate he was as a rookie in 2013 before blowing out his elbow in May. The New York Mets are relying on Matt Harvey to help them return to contending status. The Oakland Athletics think Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin can give their uncertain rotation a midseason boost after they had the procedure five weeks apart last spring.

But there are no certainties.

"It's an art more than a science in returning to playing competitively,'' said noted orthopedist James Andrews, who does the majority of TJ surgeries to major leaguers. "There's some science, but it's still an art."

Harvey stands the best chance of fulfilling his potential this year because his surgery took place in late October 2013, so he'll be 17 months removed from it when the season starts. That's not only preferable but closer to the new norm. More pitchers are also starting on a throwing program around the six-month mark, two months later than before.

Mindful of the future value of pitchers, especially young ones, teams have become more conservative in bringing them back.

"The trend right now, particularly at the major league level, is to make sure they're a year and a half out before we move them along competitively,'' Andrews said.

With the increase in torn UCLs, Andrews, Cain and others have turned to stem cells as a possible healing agent that could speed up the recovery process and reduce the re-injury rate, which has been climbing. Parker is among a large group of pitchers trying to bounce back from a second reconstructive surgery.

Some surgeons believe the two-time patients may benefit the most from stem-cell treatment, which is still in the trial-and-error phase, although clearly all pitchers who go through the lengthy, tedious rehab would be happy to see it go on a faster track.

Even when the recovery goes smoothly, though, the message they're increasingly getting is to resist their competitive instincts. And slow down.

"We're always reminded that even if it feels great, don't overdo it,'' Corbin said. "It's going to take time."


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

     When I met Jeff Sparks, he said that he had torn his Ulnar Collateral Ligament three times.

     When the Brewers took a MRI of Jeff's pitching elbow, the MRI confirmed that Mr. Sparks had torn his Ulnar Collateral Ligament three times.

     Despite that Mr. Sparks had pitched major league and pitched well in spring training, the Brewers released Jeff.

     As a result, for other professional teams to consider Jeff, in September, Jeff had Dr. James Andrews perform Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement.

     After nine weeks the holes that Dr. Andrews drilled had closed.

     Therefore, after nine weeks, in November, Jeff started doing his wrist weight exercises, iron ball throws and baseball throws.

     When, in January, visited Dr. Andrews, Jeff showed Dr. Andrews the workouts that he was doing.

     By April, Jeff regained his release velocity, consistency and the six high-quality pitches he threw.

     Jeff could train so quickly because Jeff had the palm of his pitching hand under the baseball and pendulum swung his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, such that the muscles that arise from his medial epicondyle firmly held his pitching forearm tightly against his pitching upper arm.

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0224.  Two-time victims have brighter outlook
USA Today
March 02, 2015

It's not a flattering term: Two-timers.

Kris Medlen, Jarrod Parker, Josh Johnson, Brandon Beachy and Cory Luebke are among the growing ranks of pitchers who have undergone Tommy John elbow surgery twice, and they're trying to make it back this season.

It's a testament to the talent and results demonstrated by Medlen, Johnson and Beachy that they landed contracts as free agents despite still being in the process of recovering from the operation, whose success rate dwindles from 80% to 40% when done a second time.

Medlen was perhaps the National League's top pitcher in the last two months of the 2012 season – two years after his first TJ surgery – going 9-0 with a 0.97 ERA in his final 12 starts to help the Atlanta Braves reach the playoffs.

He had another strong season in 2013, throwing a career-high 197 innings, before a second tear of his ulnar collateral ligament and subsequent surgery in March ended his 2014 season before it began. Medlen and Beachy were sidelined on back-to-back days and compared their respective MRIs. In December, the Braves non-tendered both.

Medlen, 29, said he wasn't concerned about his market as a free agent, and in fact drew interest from several clubs but chose the Kansas City Royals in part because of the positive reviews he'd heard about their training staff. He has endured much less tightness than after the first operation, and said the way his arm feels is "night and day'' by comparison.

"People may say, 'Oh, he's a two-timer,' but on the plus side, I feel completely different,'' said Medlen, who signed a backloaded two-year, $8.5 million contract and could help the Royals as a starter or reliever when he comes back.

Medlen had been out 13 months following his first TJ surgery when he returned for two late-September games in the heat of the 2011 playoff chase, even getting the call in the ninth inning of the 162nd game of the season, which the Philadelphia Phillies won in 13 innings to deny Atlanta a chance at a wild-card spot.

He didn't get his stuff back until the next season, which he started in the bullpen, and wonders about the wisdom of pitchers returning to action without all their weapons.

"Yeah, you can go back and pitch in a game after one year, but how effectively?'' Medlen said. "If it takes one-and-a-half years or two years to feel normal, shouldn't that be the timeline? But I know economics come into play.'"

Orthopedist James Andrews, who did the second reconstruction for Medlen, Parker, Johnson and Luebke, said the recovery program for second-timers goes slower – they don't begin throwing until after six months – and is fraught with more complications and scar tissue. Although the success rate is lower, it is improving.

And it helps if the patient is young.

That's one of the advantages for Parker, the Oakland Athletics right-hander who won a total of 25 games in 2012 and '13 before his elbow gave way for a second time in March. Parker, 26, knows the routine from his October 2009 operation, which gives him some comfort. He has also been able to provide guidance for teammate A.J. Griffin, who had the procedure five weeks later.

What neither could do was contribute to the A's attempt at winning a third consecutive AL West title, a quest that fell short, although they did earn a wild-card spot.

"That's the toughest part,'' Parker said. "You just feel helpless.'"

While Parker has already pitched in three different postseasons, he has yet to earn a big payday. Johnson, 31, sits at the opposite end. The two-time All-Star has made about $50 million in his eight-year career, but has yet to taste the playoffs.

Johnson's TJ surgery on April 24, 2014, is a little less than seven years removed from the first one. He said the mental aspect has been easier.

Whereas Johnson was back on a major league mound with the then-Florida Marlins 11 months after that 2007 operation, he will go by feel this time. There's no guaranteed spot in the San Diego Padres rotation waiting for him.

"I'm at a point in my career where I just want to win,'' Johnson said. "All I wanted to do since I was 3 years old was win the World Series. I went to the Minnesota Twins' World Series parade when I was 3 years old and said, 'That's what I want to do. I want to have a parade someday.' So whatever's going to help the team win."


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

     The article said:

01. "It's a testament to the talent and results demonstrated by Medlen, Johnson and Beachy that they landed contracts as free agents despite still being in the process of recovering from the operation."
02. "When done a second time, the success rate dwindles from 80% to 40%.
03. "Orthopedist James Andrews did the second reconstruction for Medlen, Parker, Johnson and Luebke."
04. "Dr. Andrews said the recovery program for second-timers goes slower."
05. "Second-timers don't begin throwing until after six months."
06. "Rehabitations of second-timers is fraught with more complications and scar tissue."
07. "Although the success rate is lower, it is improving."

     When MLB asked the American Sports Medicine Institute to determine the success rate after Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery, did Dr. Fleisig include second-timers?

     What Dr. Fleisig does not understand is when these baseball pitchers return to competitive pitching, with every pitch that they throw, they are once-again tearing the connnective tissue fibers of the replacement Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

     If Dr. Fleisig evaluated these surgical baseball pitchers for five years, then Dr. Fleisig would find the result is far less than even those that had a second surgery.

     Dr. Fleisig does not understand that how these baseball pitchers apply force to their pitches that causes these baseball pitchers to injure their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Somebody should provide the success rate for the surgically-repaired baseball pitchers five years after they rehabilitate from their surgery.

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0225.  Coleman helping White Sox craft new identity
MLB.com
March 02, 2015

GLENDALE, AZ: The hallway between the White Sox clubhouse and the players' dining room is lined with large photos from their recent past, with an emphasis on the 2005 World Series team. One of those captures Scott Podsednik with the swing of a lifetime.

Podsednik is seen hitting the 12th-inning homer that won Game 2, a homer that, oddly enough, was only the second home run he hit that season. It would have been far more fitting had Podsednik been pictured sliding into second with a stolen base or sprinting around third to score from first on a double.

Podsednik disrupted games with his legs that season, setting the tone for a team that figuratively went from 0-to-60 as quick as Vince Coleman in his prime. But that was a long time ago, and aside from getting a league-high 68 stolen bases from Juan Pierre in 2010, the White Sox haven't scared anyone with their speed.

Enter Coleman.

One of only four Major League players to steal 100-plus bases in a season, the former Cardinal has joined the White Sox as a baserunning instructor to work with players throughout the organization. In just the first 10 days of Spring Training, he has already begun to change the culture, and he promises that his work will make a major difference over the course of 2015.

"We're going to paralyze the opposition," Coleman said on Monday.

Oh, that's all?

General manager Rick Hahn admits that the White Sox left "room for improvement" in their baserunning in recent years. Manager Robin Ventura says that the teams built around the hitting of such guys as Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn and Jose Abreu tended to be "lumbering."

Both Hahn and Ventura hope that Coleman's impact will be felt on a roster that added Adam Eaton as a leadoff man a year ago and should gain more speed with Emilio Bonifacio and perhaps Micah Johnson (who had a Minor League-leading 84 stolen bases in 2013).

The White Sox were ninth in the American League in steals last season, with 85. That's 229 fewer bases than Whitey Herzog's Cardinals had in 1985, when Coleman stole 110 and four teammates added 30-plus.

"Back in '85, '87, when teams came in to play us, they were nervous, they were scared, they were paralyzed," Coleman said. "They played on their heels. That's the type of atmosphere you want to create."

Baserunning was a lost art back then, with teams slugging their way to the postseason. It has become a bigger part of the game these days, although statistical analysts become critical when teams give up outs on the bases or by bunting over runners.

The Royals emphasized the speed game while rolling to the World Series last October, but Coleman points to the 2002 Angels as a team that showed how baserunning can be a weapon, always pushing to take extra bases.

"You turn the whole ballgame around when you show aggressiveness," Coleman said. "[When] Mike Scioscia got the managing job over with the Angels, his first thing when he got to Spring Training was [aggressive baserunning]. They were going first to third. Remember the World Series? That's the mind-set he started in Spring Training, because he remembered playing against the Cardinals. He used an example of Vince Coleman, Willie McGee, Ozzie Smith and Tommy Herr [going] from first to third all day long. That was our mind-set."

Coleman spent the past two seasons working with Houston's prospects. He changed the way Jose Altuve ran, from a crouch to a more upright style, while helping such players as George Springer, Delino DeShields Jr., Brett Phillips and Carlos Correa. Although it's Correa's bat that has him rated as one of the game's most promising players, he went 20-for-24 in stolen-base attempts in 62 games before being injured last season.

While getting to know the White Sox personnel, Coleman has been putting them through drills designed to help them get better leads and remain on the balls of their feet, always ready to break for a base if a pitch gets away from a catcher.

His philosophy is simple.

Every base hit, think about turning it into a double. If it's a double, think about making it a triple. Hit every base as hard and fast as you can and anticipate a mistake by the fielder.

"Every opportunity that presents itself, the teams that go first to third, that take advantage of extra bases every time they're offered, win more ballgames," Coleman said. "Lots of people underrate baserunning. Nobody pays attention to the detail of baserunning. You know every year during the playoffs and World Series, the only thing [announcers] talk about is how bad the baserunning is. I'm pushing the envelope every day on leads and jumps and tracking the ball off the bat."

Alexei Ramirez's 21 stolen bases led the White Sox last season. That's surprising given that it's the speedy Eaton who is the leadoff man and instigator. His speed was compromised at times by injury last season, but he often played it conservatively on first base in deference to Abreu's power.

Coleman believes that a baserunner limits himself when he worries about getting caught stealing.

"Out of the 750 bases I stole throughout my career, there wasn't one time I was scared," Coleman said. "It's like a guy breaking into a house. He ain't worrying about getting caught."

Bonifacio stole 26 bases between the Cubs and Braves last season. Johnson, who is trying to win the second-base job, had his steals total cut to 22 last year as he battled hamstring problems, but he is healthy and ready to wreak havoc again on the bases, as he did in 2013.

"He's so cocky, which I love," Coleman said. "He reminds me of myself. He's a student. I love his energy."

Coleman sets the bar high for his newest baserunning students, and he believes the return could be far beyond what most in the White Sox camp are envisioning.

"When you find a good baserunner -- because they're hard to find -- they're worth their weight in gold," he said. "You potentially have four guys here who can steal 50 or more bases. That in itself is exciting. It puts me on the edge of my seat and makes me want to be there for every ballgame, not miss anything. To share my knowledge, trade secrets, craft, I'm thrilled to help build that identity. That's what we want to have, a new identity."

How about the Chicago Paralyzers? Sounds a little more like indoor football, but it'll be fun to see if Coleman can make it stick.


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

     The article said:

01. "Alexei Ramirez's 21 stolen bases led the White Sox last season."
02. "That's surprising given that it's the speedy Eaton who is the leadoff man and instigator."
03. "His speed was compromised at times by injury last season."
04. "He often played it conservatively on first base in deference to Abreu's power."

     The biggest mistake coaches of base stealing is thinking that the batter behind the base stealers will not take pitches.

     As a result, these base runners get to jog back to their base because the next batter fouled off the pitch.

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0226.  Buchholz's delivery adjustments show positive results
MLB.com
March 03, 2015

FORT MYERS, FL: Clay Buchholz only threw 13 pitches in his spring debut Tuesday, but he was pleased with the results. Buchholz faced three batters in Boston's 2-1 win over Northeastern University, and he said that his offseason work on his delivery has already begun to pay dividends.

Buchholz, who went 8-11 with a 5.34 ERA last season, said that he believes he's found a way to improve the command of his offspeed stuff. The Red Sox helped him make a minor adjustment with his kick leg designed to improve the accuracy of his changeup against right-handed hitters.

And though it was just a brief test, Buchholz was happy with the results.

"They feel natural," he said of his mechanical adjustments. "I've been working a lot on it. It's basically the only thing I worked on in the offseason and throughout camp. It's pretty much to the point of being second nature. I don't have to remind myself. It's more or less just a checkpoint. If I finish a certain way, I know what I'm doing and I can correct it rather than it lingering through an inning or a game."

Buchholz, a two-time All-Star, has never thrown 200 innings in the big leagues, and he said his goal this season is to make every start. Every pitch was moving the way he wanted it to and he came away from his one inning against college hitters with a full sense of accomplishment.

Boston manager John Farrell was every bit as pleased with the performance. Farrell said that Buchholz worked down in the strike zone and elaborated on the right-hander's mechanical adjustment.

"I don't know how specific he got with the direction of his lead leg, but the last pitch he threw was a very good changeup to a right-hander," said Farrell. "When he's staying behind his arm, that pitch stays on the plate, which was the case and has been the case all through camp. This has been a continuation from the end of last year through his offseason bullpens. He's been able to execute so far."


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

     The article said:

01. "Clay Buchholz believes he's found a way to improve the command of his offspeed stuff."
02. "The Red Sox helped him make a minor adjustment with his kick leg."
03. "The adjustment with his kick leg was designed to improve the accuracy of his changeup."

     Kick leg?

     Red Sox field manager, John Farrell, said:

01. "I don't know how specific he got with the direction of his lead leg."
02, "But, the last pitch he threw was a very good changeup to a right-hander."
03. "When he's staying behind his arm, that pitch stays on the plate, which was the case and has been the case all through camp."
04. "This has been a continuation from the end of last year through his offseason bullpens."
05. "He's been able to execute so far."

     Okay, when they say, 'Kick leg,' they mean the lead leg.

     Mr. Farrell questioned now specific Mr. Buchholz got with the direction of his lead leg.

     I suppose that, to throw change-ups for strikes to right-handed batters, Mr. Buchholz needs to step straight toward home plate.

     A short lift height and a straight stride would minimize the amount of body action.

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0227.  Hanrahan to undergo second Tommy John surgery, released by Tigers
MLB.com
March 04, 2015

LAKELAND, FL: Joel Hanrahan's comeback attempt is over. The former All-Star closer and invitee to Tigers camp will undergo another Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

When Dr. Keith Meister performs the procedure March 18 at his office in Texas, it'll be Hanrahan's second Tommy John surgery in less than 24 months. Hanrahan isn't calling this a career-ending procedure, but he'll have an even tougher path to try to come back than he did the first time.

"It's going to be a slow rehab," said Hanrahan. "[Meister] told me he wants me to go nine months without picking up a ball, and usually that's four [months]. I'm going to give it what I've got, do the rehab and see where it leads. Hopefully I'll be able to make it through and hopefully get back on the field someday."

Hanrahan had been trying to get back to pitching since last April, when the Tigers signed him to a Major League contract after watching him throw for teams. He spent the summer rehabbing in Lakeland, but he never got to a point where he could pitch off a mound pain-free.

After repeated attempts to throw last summer ended with the same soreness, Meister told him that he might require a second Tommy John surgery before noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews suggested Hanrahan rest his arm and start throwing again in January. The Tigers were willing to take another shot, signing the right-hander to an incentive-laden Minor League contract with a non-roster invite to camp, but they never got their hopes up about adding Hanrahan to their bullpen.

The Tigers unconditionally released Hanrahan on Wednesday.

Hanrahan threw off a mound twice and cut short his bullpen session Feb. 21 due to soreness in his elbow. He'd played catch since then, but never got back on the mound.

Hanrahan had been hoping the problem was scar tissue. When the soreness didn't go away, Hanrahan went back to Meister.

"He kind of basically told me the same thing this time," Hanrahan said. "At that point [last summer], I didn't believe it, because it didn't hurt that bad and I don't know what blowing out your ligament feels like necessarily. I thought there was no way that was true. I was still throwing, and some days I could throw pretty good, and some days I couldn't."

Once his arm started hurting in non-baseball activities, Hanrahan realized it was time.

"Trying to play in the [clubhouse] ping pong tournament, I realized, 'Yeah, that needs to get fixed,'" Hanrahan said.

At that point, it became a quality-of-life issue. Even if Hanrahan never pitches again, he was going to need the surgery in order to do basic non-baseball activities.

"I can't golf," Hanrahan said. "I can't pull back the strings on a bow. I can't play ping pong. I've got a 2-year-old son that I look forward to having a lot of time with. It's one of those quality-of-life things."


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

     The article said:

01. "When Dr. Keith Meister performs the procedure, it'll be Hanrahan's second Tommy John surgery in less than 24 months."
02. "Joel Hanrahan isn't calling this a career-ending procedure."
03. "But, he'll have an even tougher path to try to come back than he did the first time."
04. "After repeated attempts to throw last summer, Mr. Hanrahan ended with the same soreness."
05. "Noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews suggested Hanrahan rest his arm and start throwing again in January."
06. "Dr. Meister told Mr. Hanrahan might require a second Tommy John surgery."
07. "On Wednesday, the Tigers unconditionally released Hanrahan."

     Is it enough for an orthopedic surgeon to do a surgery and not explain what caused his injury and how to prevent it?

     That is why Dr. Andrews started the American Sports Medicine Institute.

     Unfortunately, Dr. Fleisig has not found the causes of pitching injuries, let alone how to prevent pitching injuries.

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0228.  Minor scratched Sunday with left shoulder tightness
MLB.com
March 04, 2015

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL: After spending this winter concerned about Mike Minor's health, the Braves gained some encouragement as he impressed through the first two weeks of Spring Training. But the club's initial fear was realized on Tuesday when Minor's left shoulder began bothering him again.

Minor was scratched from Sunday's scheduled Grapefruit League season debut with left shoulder tightness, and it now appears he will likely begin a second consecutive season on the disabled list. The Braves are currently calling this a precautionary move. But given how problematic this same left shoulder proved to be last year, there is definite reason for concern.

"I don't think any of us are envisioning this is a season-ending thing, but it does throw up a red flag," Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said. "Obviously, if you miss some time, it's going to set you back and you might not be ready to start [the season]."

Given the concern that persisted throughout the winter, Minor stood as one of the most encouraging developments during this early portion of Spring Training. As he completed his bullpen sessions and threw live batting practice, coaches said he looked like he had during his successful 2013 season.

But as Minor went through these same exercises again on Tuesday, he felt some of the same shoulder discomfort that plagued him all of last year, when he posted a 4.77 ERA over 25 starts that proved agonizing from both a physical and mental perspective.

"It's early, but we don't want to go through what he went through last year," Hart said. "He doesn't want to go through what he did last year. So, I think we're taking more of a proactive approach and erring on the side of caution."

Multiple MRI exams performed last year showed no structural damage in Minor's shoulder. Hart indicated the 27-year-old pitcher will soon undergo further evaluation that could determine whether his back might be causing the lingering shoulder ailment that the team has simply diagnosed as tendinitis.

"[Minor] worked very hard this winter with all the things he was going to do," Hart said. "He came into camp in great shape and threw the ball well. There was never even a trainer's report."

The Braves revealed Minor's latest setback a couple hours after watching fifth-starter candidate Wandy Rodriguez labor through the one inning he completed in Wednesday's Grapefruit League season opener against the Mets.

Rodriguez, Eric Stults, Mike Foltynewicz and Manny Banuelos are all considered candidates to fill a spot in Atlanta's rotation. But before Minor's shoulder began bothering him again, the Braves were planning to fill just one available spot with a member of this group.

"There is some strength in numbers," Hart said. "We did a lot of things this winter to try to give ourselves some protection. We were hoping it was going to be for a fifth guy. You don't want it to be for a fourth or fifth guy."


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

     The article said:

01. "After spending this winter concerned about Mike Minor's health, the Braves gained some encouragement as he impressed through the first two weeks of Spring Training."
02. "But, the club's initial fear was realized on Tuesday when Minor's left shoulder began bothering him again."
03. "Mr. Minor was scratched from Sunday's scheduled Grapefruit League season debut with left shoulder tightness."
04. "Now it appears he will likely begin a second consecutive season on the disabled list."
05. "The Braves are currently calling this a precautionary move."
06. "But, given how problematic this same left shoulder proved to be last year, there is definite reason for concern."

     After only two weeks of Spring Training, Mr. Minor has tightness in his pitching shoulder.

     Tightness in the pitching shoulder results from the pitching upper arm involuntarily moving behind the acromial line.

     Therefore, to prevent tightness in the pitching shoulder, baseball pitchers have to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulders forward over their glove foot.

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0229.  Royals bullpen hopeful Collins exits with tight left elbow
MLB.com
March 04, 2015

SURPRISE, AZ: Left-hander Tim Collins, in a battle for one of the final spots in the Royals' bullpen, left the club's Cactus League opener against the Rangers on Wednesday because of tightness in his elbow after facing just four hitters.

Manager Ned Yost said that Collins may have an MRI on Thursday, if an exam can be scheduled.

Collins said after the game that his concern level was pretty low, however.

"I just felt it get a little tight," he said. "It wasn't one specific batter or pitch. It's just a little tightness. It could be fine, and the type of thing everyone goes through once in awhile.

"They'll just re-evaluate me in the morning, is what I was told."

Collins is in a position battle in the bullpen with rookie Brandon Finnegan, Franklin Morales and Joe Paterson, among others.


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

     Royals baseball pitcher, Tim Collins, said:

01. "I just felt it (pitching forearm) get a little tight."
02. "It wasn't one specific batter or pitch."
03. "It's just a little tightness."
04. "It could be fine, and the type of thing everyone goes through once in awhile."
05. "They'll just re-evaluate me in the morning."

     If I knew that Mr. Collins threw a breaking pitch just before his pitching forearm tightened, then I could be certain of the cause of the injury.

     Whether Mr. Collins supinates the release of his breaking pitches or not, Mr. Collins needs to master my 'Slingsht' pitching arm action and learn how to pronate the releases of his breaking pitches.

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0230.  Nearly one year later, Chapman showing no signs of trauma
MLB.com
March 05, 2015

GOODYEAR, AZ: Nearly one year after being hit in the head by a line drive that could have killed him, almost all signs of the trauma are gone from Reds closer Aroldis Chapman. The scar from the surgical staples that dotted the top of Chapman's head is covered by hair. Only a small bump remains above his left eyebrow that indicates anything might have happened at all.

"Even though you guys can't see, I'm still feeling it," Chapman said of the scar though the translation of catcher Brayan Pena.

It was a surreal and scary scene at Surprise Stadium on the night of March 19, 2014. There was Chapman lying on the mound, surrounded by teammates, after his 99-mph fastball to Royals batter Salvador Perez was crushed up the middle and back to the mound, striking the left-handed pitcher flush on the face.

Pena was behind the plate and the first person to reach the mound after Chapman collapsed.

"He was bleeding from his nose and his eyes, you know? So I got super scared," Pena said. "My thought was, 'We lost him.' He was calling his daughter's name over and over and then I saw his dad jump in there.

"His dad said something in Spanish like, 'I got you.. ... I'm never going to let you go.' It was very emotional to see one of your teammates, one of my best friends, going down like that."

Reds manager Bryan Price was also among those who tended to Chapman.

"The one thing about it that I remembered was, 'Who was this strange man in the sweater that's on the mound?'" Price recalled on Thursday. "Maybe it was … the on-call doctor for the game or whatever. It was Aroldis' father. I didn't learn until after we had been on the field for a couple of minutes with Aroldis. I was realizing his dad was there to witness it and had to be there and see his son in such agony and a lot of fear. That's unforgettable for sure."

Amid stunned silence inside the ballpark, Chapman was carted off of the field with his father, Juan Carlos, by his side and taken to the hospital. The game, which was in the sixth inning, was immediately called off. Chapman needed surgery the following day that repaired fractures above the left eye and nose. A metal plate was inserted to stabilize his injuries.

Perez was among those concerned for Chapman, but he doesn't like thinking back to that night.

"I don't want to remember that. I don't want to talk about it," said Perez, who helped Kansas City reach the World Series in October.

Remarkably, Chapman not only made a full recovery but went on to enjoy one of the more dominant seasons of his five-year career with the Reds.

While becoming a National League All-Star for the third straight year, Chapman had a 2.00 ERA over his 54 appearances with 36 saves in 38 chances. He struck out 106 with 24 walks in 54 innings and his stunning 17.67 strikeouts per nine innings ratio set a Major League record. He also became the first pitcher to average 100 mph with his fastball (100.3 mph) since Pitch F/X data became available.

"After that, he came back even stronger. He had such a great season," Pena said. "Me personally, I wasn't expecting him to do it the way he did, but he believed in himself. He made sure everybody knew he was coming back stronger and better than he was. The rest is history."

In August, Chapman established a new Major League record for relievers by striking out at least one batter in 49 straight appearances -- dating back to the 2013 season. It broke the previous record of 39 games by Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter in 1977.

"I think with the way that he rebounded, beyond the fact that he came back and pitched beautifully, is that it allowed us to get past the memories of reflecting back terribly often on the events of that game in Surprise against the Royals," Price said. "It didn't become necessarily an afterthought, but it wasn't at the forefront. If he struggled … I think we'd end up talking a lot more about it."

Chapman didn't believe it was that difficult to both recover from his injuries and regain his form on the mound.

"It wasn't so hard for me, because I believe in myself. I trust myself," Chapman said. "I was confident enough to come back stronger than the way I was. I have very positive thoughts. I took that with me."

Helping Chapman dominate wasn't only his fastball. In the offseason before 2014, he made adjustments to his slider on the advice of soon-to-be Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez. Chapman also developed his offspeed stuff with a better changeup and improved command of all of his pitches.

"Even though everybody knew his fastball was coming 80 percent [of the time], he was throwing the offspeed," Pena said. "I think he got hit just one time with the changeup all season."

The Reds will be back in Surprise on Saturday to face the Royals, but Chapman is not scheduled to pitch. He is getting two days off after his first spring game on Thursday vs. the Indians. Following a leadoff walk in the third inning, Chapman struck out the side.

Since last year, Chapman never appeared traumatized by his experience, nor did it seem to affect him on the mound.

"I don't feel anything," Chapman said. "The only time that I remember it is when you guys in the media come ask me."


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

     The article said:

01. "On the night of March 19, 2014, it was a surreal and scary scene at Surprise Stadium."
02. "There was Aroldis Chapman lying on the mound surrounded by teammates."
03. "Royals batter Salvador Perez crushed Mr. Chapman's 99-mph fastball back to the mound striking Mr. Chapman flush on the face."
04. "Remarkably, Chapman not only made a full recovery, but enjoyed the most dominant season of his five-year career."
05. "In 54 appearances, Mr. Chapman had 36 saves in 38 chances with a 2.00 ERA."
06. "Mr. Chapman struck out 106 batters for a stunning 17.67 strikeouts per nine innings."
07. "Mr. Chapman became the first pitcher to average 100 mph with his fastball (100.3 mph)."

     If Mr. Chapman been able to get his pitching foot on the ground before his fastball crossed home plate, then Mr. Chapman would have been able to move his head out of the way of the batted baseball.

     To do that, Mr. Chapman needs to rotate his hips and shoulders over his glove foot.

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0231.  Crain progressing toward live batting practice
MLB.com
March 05, 2015

GLENDALE, AZ: Jesse Crain is scheduled to throw his third bullpen session of the week on Friday, marking his seventh time working off the mound since the start of Spring Training. If all goes well, the veteran right-handed reliever believes the next step becomes live batting practice next week.

"It's exciting and I've been feeling really well, but in the meantime, I'm not going to get too high until I get out there," said Crain, who last pitched in a big league game for the 2013 White Sox and has been recovering from a right shoulder injury. "When I face hitters, it will be a good test, because I'll be letting it go even more than I have. I'll wait to get too excited until I know exactly how I feel.

"Everything is just kind of in pencil right now. We'll see how things go and move on from there."

Crain, 33, understands there will be a few live batting-practice sessions before moving on to that next step. But if this progress continues, and remember Crain already has thrown off the mound as much as he did all of last year, he's hoping to get into an actual game before Spring Training ends.

"We still have a month left, pretty much a month from now," Crain said. "Even after two weeks of throwing to hitters, we still have two weeks left of camp. I'm not going to put any timetables on anything. But if I keep progressing like I am, there's a good chance I can hopefully get into a couple or few games.

"The key is taking it slow. Taking my time to get to the point where I'm ready, and get ready to pitch in the season."


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

     Jesse Crain is recovering from pitching shoulder injury.

     Most pitching shoulder injuries result from their pitching upper arm involunatarily moving behind their acromial line.

     To prevent this pitching shoulder injury, Mr. Cranin has to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulders over his glove foot.

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0232.  Reynolds briefly sidelined with sore right oblique
MLB.com
March 05, 2015

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: After missing the entire 2014 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, D-backs left-hander Matt Reynolds was looking forward to a smooth Spring Training.

Yet on the day he was supposed to throw his session of batting practice, he found himself back in the trainer's room, this time with a sore right oblique muscle.

"I'm like, 'I'm in here again, I can't get out of this darn room,'" Reynolds said.

The good news, though, is he's had no issues with his elbow and should be back on the mound again soon.

"My elbow feels real good," he said. "It feels strong."


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

     Matt Reynolds strained his Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle on the lower glove side of his Rib Cage.

     To prevent injury to the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle, baseball pitchers have to rotate their hips and shoulders forward over their glove foot.

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

0233.  Nationals' wealth of arms could be key to October success
MLB.com
March 05, 2015

VIERA, FL: Max Scherzer got the ball first. His manager, Matt Williams, cautioned against reading too much into it. After all, the Washington Nationals have potential No. 1 starters here, there and everywhere. As problems go, it's the kind every manager would love to have.

So rather than sweating the small stuff, let's sit back and enjoy what could be an amazing little ride.

"The message is that this organization is going for something big," said Gio Gonzalez, one of Washington's six -- yes, count 'em six -- proven starting pitchers.

Over the past three seasons, the Nationals have won more regular-season games than any team in baseball. But in two trips to the postseason, they've been unable to get past the National League Division Series.

Baseball players who've been there will tell you that October baseball is way different than June or July baseball.

"Totally different," Nats first baseman Ryan Zimmerman said. "Being able to get to the playoffs gives you respect for teams like the Giants or the Yankees, or even the Patriots and other teams that consistently win championships or get to the championship game. You realize how hard it is to do that on a yearly basis."

In 10 years, Zimmerman has been one of the cornerstones of a franchise that has been transformed from a consistent loser to a huge winner. Playing deeper in October is what 2015 is about.

When Nationals president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo looked at his club after last season, he made an interesting decision. His 2014 starting rotation led the Major Leagues in ERA (3.04) and had three guys pitch at least 198 2/3 innings.

And Rizzo decided to make it better. To a group that already had Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister, Tanner Roark and Gonzalez, he plucked Scherzer from the free-agent marketplace for $210 million over seven years.

With Scherzer on board, the Nats have five of baseball's top 26 starting pitchers in terms of ERA. Innings? Four of the top 39. Strikeouts? Four of the top 42, including two of the top five (Scherzer and Strasburg).

If at first you don't succeed, hammer 'em with more starting pitching. These Nationals are so good that Roark, who won 15 games and had a 2.85 ERA in 2014, may open the season as a long reliever.

"It's a bummer that someone has to go to the bullpen," Zimmermann said, "but I'm excited. It's going to be a fun year if we all do what we're supposed to do."

Scherzer's debut with his new team was about as routine as can be. In two innings against the Mets on Thursday evening, he allowed two hits, including a John Mayberry Jr. home run, and struck out two.

"It's good to get out there," Scherzer said. "You've been working hard for the past several months. It's nice to get on the mound and pitch to a batter."

As for fitting in, Scherzer said it couldn't have gone smoother.

"It's not been hard at all," he said. "They have a great clubhouse. It's fun to come to the park and watch these guys pitch, because they're so talented."

Rizzo signed Scherzer with an eye on the future since Fister and Zimmermann are in their walk years. Their status has led to speculation that Rizzo might trade one of them to open up a spot for Roark.

And Rizzo is clearly willing to listen if someone overwhelms him. On the other hand, having been disappointed in October 2012 and '14, the idea of a super rotation is also appealing.

"To be part of this is something special," Fister said. "We've got a lot of work to do, but the potential is there. We've just got to go out there and play."

In these early days, Williams has been paying attention to the interaction among the six starters.

"I know from being around them, they talk amongst each other a lot, which is great," he said.

Williams has heard them talking about how to pitch to certain hitters, but there's something even more important at work.

"They enjoy each other's company," he said. "They razz each other quite a bit. That builds camaraderie, that builds chemistry, all the intangibles you want to see."

Great rotations feed off one another in terms of preparation, pitch selection and competitive fire.

"We do learn from each other," Fister said. "We do push each other. But we definitely are feeding off one another."

For the third straight season, the Nationals will begin the season widely considered one of the three best teams in baseball, if not the best team. Best of all, they've played enough October ball to begin to understand just how different it is.

"Yeah, the experience is there," Zimmermann said. "Now we just have to play our best ball at the end of the year."


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     The article said:

01. "With Scherzer on board, in terms of ERA, the Nats have five of baseball's top 26 starting pitchers."
02. "In terms of innings, the Nats have sour of the top 39 starting pitchers."
03. "In terms of strikeouts, the Nats have four of the top 42."
04. "Scherzer and Strasburg are two of the top five."
05. "If at first you don't succeed, hammer 'em with more starting pitching."
06. "These Nationals are so good that Roark may open the season as a long reliever."
07. "In 2014, Mr. Roark won 15 games and had a 2.85 ERA.

     When something is too good to be true, somehow that something fails to be too good to be true.

     At least this time, Mr. Rizzo will permit to pitch through the season and after if something turns out to be too good to be true.

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0234.  New mechanics fare well for Cahill in spring debut
MLB.com
March 05, 2015

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: D-backs starter Trevor Cahill debuted his new mechanics for the first time in a game and pitched well, allowing two hits and one walk over two scoreless innings in a 4-3 win Thursday over the Rockies at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Cahill, who struggled mightily last year and is competing for a spot in the rotation, has tweaked his mechanics to throw more over the top in hopes of improving his command.

"I could definitely tell there is some stuff," Cahill said when asked if there was a difference with his new delivery. "Just where I have to set my sights on pitches has to change a little bit, because the ball doesn't run as much."


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     The article said:

01. "Trevor Cahill struggled mightily last year."
02. "Now, Mr. Cahill is competing for a spot in the rotation."
03. "Mr. Cahill has tweaked his mechanics to throw more over the top in hopes of improving his command.

     To throw over top, Mr. Cahill needs to move his pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to beside his head.

     With the back of his pitching upper arm facing toward home plate, Mr. Cahill is able to drive his pitching forearm in straight lines toward home plate.

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0235.  Darvish not concerned after exiting spring debut
MLB.com
March 05, 2015

SURPRISE, AZ: Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish felt some tightness in his right triceps muscle warming up in the bullpen before Thursday's start against the Royals.

He still went out and pitched, but the muscle never loosened up. Darvish exited his first start of the Cactus League after just one inning and 12 pitches with tightness in his triceps. Darvish threw 10 fastballs but the highest was 92 and they averaged 89 miles per hour.

Darvish will be re-evaluated Friday by Dr. Keith Meister. He missed the final seven weeks of the 2014 season with mild inflammation in his right elbow.

"This is nothing to worry about," Darvish said.

Darvish faced four batters. Alcides Escobar led off with a single and was forced at second by Jarrod Dyson's grounder. Eric Hosmer lined out to left field and Darvish struck out Kendrys Morales to end the inning.

"I was working on my location," Darvish said in a limited press conference afterward. "It didn't affect my location or the command of my pitches. I felt it warming up and didn't think too much of it. But it never loosened up."

Darvish is the second Rangers starter to have a physical issue. Derek Holland has been sidelined for the past week with soreness in his left shoulder. Holland is also expected to be examined by Meister on Friday.


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     The article said:

01. "Yu Darvish missed the final seven weeks of the 2014 season with mild inflammation in his right elbow."
02. "Mr. Darvish felt some tightness in his right triceps muscle warming up in the bullpen."
03. "Mr. Darvish still went out and pitched."
04. "But, the muscle never loosened up."
05. "Mr. Darvish exited after just one inning and 12 pitches."
06. "Mr. Darvish 10 fastballs but the highest was 92 and they averaged 89 miles per hour."

     Mild inflammation in the pitching elbow. Tightness in the Triceps Brachii muscle.

     Mr. Darvish might have misdiagnosed olecranon fossa inflammation for tightness in his Triceps Brachii muscle.

     Olecranon fossa inflammation indicates that Mr. Darvish supinates the releases of his breaking pitches.

     Not being able to contract the Pronator Teres muscle brings the Ulnar Collateral Ligament into the picture.

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0236.  Cecil scratched with left shoulder soreness
MLB.com
March 06, 2015

DUNEDIN, FL: Toronto left-hander Brett Cecil is dealing with a sore shoulder, and likely won't pitch for at least a few more days.

Cecil was originally scheduled to throw during Friday afternoon's game against the Orioles, but never made it into the game. He does not appear on the Blue Jays' list of probable pitchers until Monday's game against the Astros.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons confirmed that Cecil had been checked out, but declined to get into specifics beyond saying it was sore.

"His shoulder's a little tender," Gibbons said. "We don't think it's a big deal, but no use pushing it right now."

Cecil's never had to miss time in his Major League career because of a shoulder issue. He technically missed four games in August 2013 because of shoulder inflammation, but in the end that was more tied to left elbow inflammation that eventually ended his season a couple of weeks later.


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     The article said:

01. "Brett Cecil has never had to miss time in his Major League career because of a shoulder issue."
02. "Technically, Mr. Cecil missed four games in August 2013 because of shoulder inflammation."
03. "But, in the end, that was more tied to left elbow inflammation."
04. "Nevertheless, Mr. Cecil eventually ended his season a couple of weeks later."

     Shoulder inflammation results from baseball pitchers involuntariy moving his pitching upper arm behind their acromial line.

     After years and years of using their Pectoralis Major muscle to curvi-linearly pulling their pitching upper arm forward, the laxity in the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments increases and the Pectoralis Major muscle cannot withstand the stress.

     To prevent Mr. Cecil from involuntarily moving his pitching upper arm behind his acromial line, Mr. Cecil needs to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulders forward over his glove foot.

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0237.  Indians embrace Bauer's scientific approach to pitching
MLB.com
March 06, 2015

GOODYEAR, AZ: The Indians have raved about the strides Trevor Bauer as made in keeping the club looped in on the things he is researching in order to improve his pitching. The give and take with Bauer over the past three years has even led to changes within Cleveland's own programs for its young arms.

Since Bauer joined the organization via trade prior to the 2013 season, the Indians have implemented a long-toss program and introduced weighted-ball drills for its Minor League pitchers. Bauer's teammate, Danny Salazar, is among the pitchers who have also bought in to using a shoulder tube, which is a long, flexible pole used for muscle strengthening.

"We want Trevor to be the best pitcher he can be and I want him to get all the information he wants," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "And, actually, by him looping us in, we've learned a lot. ... So, him going out and researching, and then us being aware of what he's researching, has really made us a better organization. I think we help each other."

The 24-year-old Bauer spends a lot of time studying the biomechanics and physics behind pitching in order to improve his mechanics and performance. For example, the righty analyzed the axis of spin on his various pitches, using high-resolution, slow-motion video during the process.

Bauer also dedicates a lot of his time to studying training methods to maintain health.

Since coming to Cleveland, Bauer has appreciated the team's open-mindedness when it comes to his methods. He also likes that the Indians not only allow him to pursue his own research, but that the organization has taken some of his work and applied it to the farm sytem.

"Obviously, I believe in it and I think it has a place in development," Bauer said. "To see that they're open to it enough to let me do it, and then research it and make a decision that they want to try it out with other guys is good. Hopefully, I can go out and pitch well enough and kind of be an example of how this stuff does work, because I think a lot of the injuries and a lot of the struggles that we have in professional baseball can be helped with some of this stuff."


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     The article said:

01. "The Indians have raved about the strides Trevor Bauer as made in keeping the club looped in on the things he is researching in order to improve his pitching."
02. "The give and take with Bauer over the past three years has even led to changes within Cleveland's own programs for its young arms."
03. "Since Bauer joined the organization via trade prior to the 2013 season, the Indians have implemented a long-toss program and introduced weighted-ball drills for its Minor League pitchers."
04. "Mr. Bauer's teammate, Danny Salazar, is among the pitchers who have also bought in to using a shoulder tube, which is a long, flexible pole used for muscle strengthening."

     Doing one-step crow hop throws make sure that baseball pitchers move their center of mass forward through release.

     If, by using weighted-ball drills mean using 7 ounce baseballs insteak of 5 ounces, then the minor league baseball pitchers will injure their pitching arm.

     A long flexible pole does nothing to help baseball pitchers.

     If the Indians want to research baseball pitching, then they should find someone with major league success that earned a doctoral degree in Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology and Motor Skill Acquisition.

     Mr. Bauer has not had major league success nor earned a degree in the basics of baseball pitching research.

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0238.  Kelly relieved to get back to throwing
MLB.com
March 07, 2015

PEORIA, AZ: While Padres pitcher Casey Kelly wasn't thrilled with the prospect of missing two weeks of throwing because of a groin strain, he did find one glimmer of positivity in it all.

This period of inactivity had nothing whatsoever to do with his surgically repaired right elbow.

"The elbow was great the whole time. That's a big relief to have that out of my mind, to know that's 100 percent," Kelly said Saturday.

Kelly returned to his throwing program Friday, throwing 30 pitches off a mound two weeks after his first bullpen, satisfied the groin strain that sidelined him last month is behind him.

"It's just something I have to keep in mind, [keep] getting treatment on it," Kelly said. "... I want to keep feeling good every day."

Kelly hopes to throw another bullpen session Monday, which again likely will entail all fastballs with a focus on mechanics as he continues to build up strength in his arm.

"It was definitely good to get back out there and throw off the mound," he said. "I feel good today. We'll take it day by day, but I felt good coming out of it."

It's too soon to know if Kelly, limited to 20 1/3 innings last season recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2013, will remain in extended spring training when camp breaks April 2 or head out to a Minor League affiliate where he could pitch every fifth day.

"Casey felt so great prior to Spring Training, so the groin injury was a little bit of a setback. But better now than later in spring," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Again, we're going to have to monitor his work, even when the season starts. He'll be fine."


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

     The article said:

01. "While Padres pitcher Casey Kelly wasn't thrilled with the prospect of missing two weeks of throwing because of a groin strain, he did find one glimmer of positivity in it all."
02. "This period of inactivity had nothing whatsoever to do with his surgically repaired right elbow."

     Instead of rest, Mr. Kelly should do some wrong foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions throws.

     To prevent injury to the Adductor Brevis muscle (groin), Mr. Kelly needs to turn his pitching foot to forty-five degrees toward home plate.

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0239.  Healthy Hultzen continues working toward game action
MLB.com
March 07, 2015

PEORIA, AZ: Danny Hultzen's long road back from left shoulder surgery continued Saturday, as the Mariners promising left-hander threw his second session of live batting practice this spring and moved a step closer to being game ready.

Hultzen hasn't thrown in an official game since Sept. 1, 2013, when he tossed two innings in an abbreviated start for Triple-A Tacoma while trying to come back from his initial bout of shoulder issues that had sidelined him since June of that year.

He wound up undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff in October 2013 and spent all of last season rehabbing. But Hultzen, the second-overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, has looked strong this spring and says he's feeling 100 percent healthy.

The Mariners aren't expecting anything out of the 25-year-old at the Major League level this season, looking instead to build him back up in the Minors and get him ready to compete for a spot in 2016.

But Hultzen is just taking things day by day now, and Saturday was a good one as he threw 30 pitches to Minor League hitters on one of the Mariners practice fields at their Peoria Complex and spent time refining his breaking ball after struggling with that in his first live BP.

"I threw it for strikes and hopefully I can keep doing that," Hultzen said. "It felt better. I think the first time I was a little amped up, trying to make it do too much. I kind of relaxed a little bit and it worked out better."

Hultzen said he had no idea what his next step will be, but manager Lloyd McClendon has talked about the possibility of getting the former Virginia standout into a Cactus League game for an inning of relief at some point next week.

"That would be great," Hultzen said. "That would be the first time in a really, really long time that I've been in a real game, which would be great. I'm looking forward to that if that happens."


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

     The article said:

01. "In October 2013, Mr. Hultzen wound up undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum and rotator cuff."
02. "Mr. Hultzeb spent all of last season rehabbing."
03. "Danny Hultzen's long road back from left shoulder surgery continued Saturday."
04. "The Mariners promising left-hander threw his second session of live batting practice this spring."
05. "Mr. Hultzen moved a step closer to being game ready."
06. "But, Mr. Hultzen has looked strong this spring and says he's feeling 100 percent healthy."
07. "Mr. Hultzen spent time refining his breaking ball."

     To refine his breaking ball, Mr. Hultzen needs to use my Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill to throw the square lid off a four-gallon bucket.

     When Mr. Hultzen is able to 'horizontally sail' the Lid, Mr. Hultzen will learn how to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulders forward over his glove foot.

     Once Mr. Hultzen masters my pitchng arm action, Mr. Hultzen will never again suffer pitching shoulder pain.

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0240.  Baseball's arm epidemic is getting worse and Yu Darvish is just the latest
Yahoo Sports
March 07, 2015
by Jeff Passan

Earlier this week, the Japanese Orthopaedic Society revealed the results of a massive survey of elementary-age baseball players. More than 10,000 children were asked a series of questions about pain in their throwing arms, and the results were staggering, particularly for a country that prides itself on building strong arms through endless repetition.

Nearly 6,000 kids reported feeling pain in their throwing arms. Among pitchers, 49 percent said they experienced a shoulder or elbow injury. Not even 5 percent of those in pain bothered visiting an orthopedist, the specialist trained to treat such injuries. The report suggested wholesale changes in the Japanese baseball establishment.

Such criticism tends to find as much traction in Japan as worn-down sneakers on wet blacktop. What resonates there, particularly among the children, are the fortunes of the stars who leave Japan for Major League Baseball. Perhaps now, with Saturday’s news that Yu Darvish's ulnar collateral ligament is damaged and almost assuredly will require Tommy John surgery, Japan will recognize the depth of the arm epidemic plaguing baseball.

It is no longer folly to call it that, not when the elbows of baseball’s best and brightest young pitchers continue to fail. The scary part, too, is that the scourge of the UCL knows no prejudice. American, Dominican, Venezuelan and even Japanese fall prey in almost equal proportions, which points to a fundamental failing of the modern game and the environment in which pitchers today grow.

This is a worldwide problem, and it’s only going to get worse.

And that frightens MLB, which last season started devoting more time and resources to spreading the word of the doctors who for years have warned of the coming onslaught of elbow injuries. MLB didn’t ignore the increasing number of Tommy John surgeries so much as it didn’t concern itself with them. Pitchers tended to return healthy from UCL reconstruction, and that was that.

Over the last five years, that truism has been tested time and again. A deluge of repeat surgeries hit, the latest Joel Hanrahan’s diagnosis this week that his Tommy John 22 months ago never took and he needed a revision. Among Hanrahan, Atlanta reliever Shae Simmons, Kansas City reliever Tim Collins and Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, damaged UCLs once again are at the forefront of spring-training news.

The Darvish diagnosis dwarfed them all, a gut punch similar to when Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez and Stephen Strasburg needed Tommy John. Darvish is 28 years old, seemingly past the danger zone of the early to mid-20s that ensnared most of the pitchers whose UCLs tore last year, and yet his injury illustrates that nobody is immune.

While Darvish certainly threw more growing up than almost every American pitcher, his usage paled compared to those of Masahiro Tanaka, the New York Yankees ace trying to pitch through a partially torn UCL, and Daisuke Matsuzaka, whose legendary 300-pitch bullpen sessions predated the Tommy John surgery that for all intents and purposes ended his career in the major leagues. For a Japanese player, Darvish was considered a safe bet.

By now, we know that’s an oxymoron when it concerns pitchers. When you think it can’t get any worse, it does. For the Rangers, who follow an injury-plagued season by almost assuredly losing the one player they couldn’t afford to lose, and probably until May or June 2016. And for baseball, which keeps losing stars for a year and sits around waiting for more bad news after that, knowing that data shows the likeliest player to suffer an arm injury is one who has suffered a previous arm injury.

Modern baseball has been barreling toward this moment for the past 20 years, and it’s not going away anytime soon. All of the perils that harmed the current generation – overuse as children, max-effort delivery on every pitch, increasing velocity, poor training methods, moral hazard among adults tasked with handling kids – have, if anything, gotten worse. There won’t be a day when every pitcher wears a zipper scar on his elbow. But the ones who don’t will be the lucky few.

Darvish’s injury reinforces the susceptibility of every pitcher and is yet another sounding of the clarion call that goes ignored again and again. For baseball to slow down the prevalence necessitates a top-to-bottom overhaul of its development structure.

The league’s PitchSmart initiative is a good start. For now, that’s all it is. Because baseball needs buy-in from the lowest levels, from moms and dads, from coaches, from swaths of people who simply aren’t interested in listening to an authoritative body tell them how to handle their kid, no matter how rooted in science and logic the suggestions may be.

It’s not just here, either. In August, at the Space 11 Darvish Museum in Kobe, Japan, a man with a vested interest in baseball thought about the swelling rate of injuries in his country and wondered what would stop it.

“Who is to change this?” Farsad Darvish said. “I suppose only time can.”

Farsad is Yu Darvish’s father, and much as he tried to limit the amount his son threw as a child, he couldn’t deny what feels more and more like an inevitability. Whether it’s usage or mechanics or genetics, there’s a reason nearly 60 percent of boys’ elbows in Japan hurt after they threw, a reason Yu Darvish eventually will join the Tommy John club, a reason this keeps happening again and again.

Baseball is broken. Only time – and a sport-wide cultural change – can help fix it.


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     Youth baseball programs rush youngsters into competitive pitching before they have mastered the skills they need to eliminate pitching injuries and the pitches they need to succeed.

     Until youth baseball pitchers become biological thirteen years old, I recommend that youth baseball pitchers complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

     From biological thirteen years old to biological sixteen years old, I recommend that youth baseball pitchers continue to complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program and competitive pitch once through the line-up and twice through the line-up per week for two consecutive months.

     After youth baseball pitchers become biological sixteen years old, I recommend that these youth baseball pitchers complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program and competitive pitch once through the line-up and three times through the line-up per week for four consecutive months.

     After biological nineteen years old, I recommend that adult baseball pitchers complete my 72-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Recoil Interval-Training Programs.

     My baseball pitching programs teach baseball pitchers of all ages how to apply maximum force to their pitches without any pitching injuries.

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0241.  Dodgers' Ryu 'confident' he'll be ready
AFP
March 07, 2015

Los Angeles (AFP) - Dodgers pitcher Ryu Hyun-Jin pitched two innings of batting practice on Saturday and said he's "very confident" he'll be ready for the start of the Major League Baseball season.

Ryu, who has been battling mid-back stiffness, said he felt "great" after the session at the Dodgers' training facility in Arizona.

If Ryu comes out of the workout without a setback, he is tentatively scheduled to make his first Spring Training start on Thursday against San Diego.

Facing minor-league hitters, Ryu made 36 pitches and said his balance was "a little off" in the first inning, but he was happy that most of his pitches were low in the strike zone.

Ryu had been held out of workouts early in training camp with stiffness in his back.

The South Korean pitched 192 innings in 2013, his first season in the majors, but was limited to 152 innings last year, as he was sidelined for extended periods with a strained buttock muscle and irritated left shoulder.


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     The article said:

01. "In 2013, Ryu Hyun-Jin pitched 192 innings."
02. "In 2014, extended periods with a strained buttock muscle and irritated left shoulder limited Mr. Hyun-Jin to 152 innings."
03. "This Spring Training, Mr. Hyun-Jin has been battling mid-back stiffness."

     Mr. Hyub-Jin needs to stand tall and rotate his hips and shoulders over his glove foot.

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0242.  Skaggs encouraged by Harvey's strong return
MLB.com
March 07, 2015

TEMPE, AZ: Mets ace Matt Harvey made his first post-Tommy John surgery start on the East Coast on Friday, and Tyler Skaggs was wishing there was a TV in the Angels' clubhouse. Skaggs, the 23-year-old left-hander who will sit out the 2015 season after undergoing his own Tommy John surgery, seeks inspiration from guys like Harvey and Marlins sensation Jose Fernandez.

"I want to see how they do," Skaggs said. "I would like to think that I'd come back stronger, better. I want to see if these guys are going to do that."

Skaggs remembers watching an interview with Harvey, who spoke about how he was fully recovered from Tommy John surgery -- done in October 2013 -- by last September but the Mets shut him down until the start of the following season.

"I think that's what the Angels want to do with me," Skaggs said. "We'll see."

As soon as Skaggs went under the knife last August, the team announced that he would be out until the start of the 2016 season, not even giving Skaggs the possibility of returning in 12 months because his arm is so young and the procedure is so rigorous.

Skaggs understands that. His hope is to pitch in a Minor League game before the season is over, then come back like Harvey, who threw two perfect innings and threw his fastball at 99 mph in his return against the Tigers.

"I think that's realistic," Skaggs said. "But I think they're going to try to take it as slow as possible. I don't know. This year, it's going to be weird. I know when I start throwing again, I'll get a better feel for everything. I think the All-Star break will be the tell-tale sign of where I'm going to be at."


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     After the holes drilled in the Ulna and Humerus bones become solid bone again, then these surgically-repaired baseball pitchers are able to start training.

     The first skill these baseball pitchers need to master is how to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement with the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body.

     From this starting position, these baseball pitchers will contract the muscles that hold the Ulna bone tightly against the Humerus bone through the acceleration and deceleration phases of the baseball pitching motion.

     Completing my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program will teach the skills and train the bones, ligaments, muscles and tendon to withstand competitive pitching.

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0243.  Darvish has pitched better when given extra rest
MLB.com
March 07, 2015

TEMPE, AZ: During the All-Star Game festivities a year ago, Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish was quoted by members of the Japanese media as being uncomfortable with the five-man rotation used in the Major Leagues, preferring instead having an extra day or so between starts, which is customary in his homeland.

Shortly after that, Darvish was shut down for the final seven weeks of last season because of elbow inflammation. Darvish came out of his first start of spring Thursday, following one inning, and it was announced Saturday that Darvish has a sprained right elbow ligament, which could result in Tommy John surgery.

There have been plenty of American-born pitchers who have undergone Tommy John surgery, but it is interesting that only five of the 16 starting pitchers from Japan who have appeared in the big leagues have had a season of 32 starts and 200 innings pitched.

Hideo Nomo did it four times, and Hiroki Kuroda three times. Darvish, Daisuke Matsuzaka and current Mariners pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma have done it once each.

In his three big league seasons, Darvish is 29-22 with a 3.42 ERA when working on four days of rest or less, compared with 10-3 with a 2.58 ERA in 15 starts on five days of rest or more. He was 6-2 with a 1.49 ERA with the extra rest in the last two seasons compared with 17-14 with a 3.21 ERA on three or four days of rest.


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     The article said:

01. "Members of the Japanese media quoted Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish as being uncomfortable with the five-man rotation."
02. "In Japan, baseball pitchers pitch every six days.
03. "Mr. Darvish wants that extra day of rest between starts."
04. "Shortly after his quote, Mr. Darvish shut down for the final seven weeks of last season."
05. "Mr. Darvish had inflammation in his pitching elbow."
06. "This Spring Training, Mr. Darvish came out of his first start."
07. "The Rangers announced that Mr. Darvish has a sprained ligament in his pitchng elbow."
08. "Mr. Darvish could require surgery."

     The extra day of rest does not prevent injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     'Reverse bouncing' the pitching forearm injuries the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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0244.  Darvish has UCL sprain, could need surgery
MLB.com
March 07, 2015

SURPRISE, AZ: Rangers staff ace Yu Darvish has a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and could be heading to season-ending Tommy John surgery.

Darvish underwent an MRI on Friday, which revealed the sprain in the ligament. The right-hander has discussed potential options with team orthopedist Dr. Keith Meister and is expected to consult other surgeons in the coming days before making a decision.

"We got the MRI results yesterday evening. Dr. Meister met with Yu at that time and we just all got together this morning and talked through the options, effectively, that there are three options for Yu at this point," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "One is to attempt to pitch through it, which is not a great option. Two, would be an effort for rest and rehab. I think the sentiment is that is effectively what we did in the fall and in the winter and up until two days ago, we had very good results with it. He looked very good but obviously that did not pan out as desired. The third option would be Tommy John surgery."

Darvish, who missed the final seven weeks last season due to mild inflammation in his right elbow, exited his spring debut on Thursday after just one inning. He felt some tightness in the arm while warming up in the bullpen before Thursday's game. "I will be disappointed if I have to miss the season, but I want to look at all options, including getting a second opinion, before I make a final decision," Darvish said in a statement. "In the meantime, my heart is with my teammates, and our focus remains on accomplishing our goals for the season."

Daniels said MRIs on Darvish's elbow in November and January came back clean, but Friday's MRI revealed "damage to the fibers." The general manager estimated it would be four months before Darvish pitches in a game and six weeks without throwing if the pitcher chose to rest his arm. Darvish could be ready "at the beginning of next year," if he chooses to have Tommy John surgery, the general manager said.

Daniels expressed concern about "delaying the inevitable" if the pitcher chose to rest and rehab his elbow instead of surgery.

"That's where we are as far as the process and making that call, which is ultimately Yu's to make," Daniels said. "We'll discuss it. First things first, you hurt for the guy. He's worked so hard to come back. He looked as good as he as ever looked early on in bullpens, live BPs, intrasquad game. Just yesterday, it didn't feel right for him. We feel for him on a personal level."

The Rangers will look to Nick Tepesch, Nick Martinez, Lisalverto Bonilla and Alex Gonzalez to replace the hole vacated by Darvish. The club could also look outside the organization.

"We're not going to sugar coat it," Daniels said. "It's not the news we wanted. That being said, we are not the only club that is going to have an injured player this year and you have two choices. You can hang your head and dwell on it or do everything you can to get him the right care and get him back to where he needs to be and get the other 25 guys ready to roll. That's the response and attitude we are going to take with this thing."

The Rangers were hit hard by injuries last season, losing pitchers Matt Harrison, Tanner Scheppers and Martin Perez during the first two months of the 2014 campaign. Darvish also spent significant time on the disabled list.

"You never feel good about any athlete anywhere in any sport that has some issues, some obstacles to overcome," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "But on the bigger picture, I have 62 other players in that clubhouse that I need to lead also, so I allow our medical staff and our trainers to do their job and make the decisions. Today, I sat down with Yu, shook his hand, listened to him and told him however this goes, whatever direction this goes, he has a group of teammates who care about him and are ready to open their arms and wrap their arms around him and take care of him."


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     Rangers general manager, Jon Daniels, said:

01. "We got the MRI results yesterday evening."
02. "Dr. Meister met with Yu at that time."
03. "We just all got together this morning and talked through the options."
04. "At this point, we have three options for Yu."
05. "One is to attempt to pitch through it."
06. "Two, would be an effort for rest and rehab."
07. "Three, would be Tommy John surgery."
08. "The sentiment is that what we did in the fall and in the winter and up until two days ago."
09. "We had very good results."
10. "But obviously, that did not pan out as desired."

     A fourth option would be to pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.      That starting position forces Mr. Darvish to contract the muscles that hold his pitching forearm tightly against his pitching upper arm, thereby removing the need for an Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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0245.  Lee out with renewed left elbow soreness
MLB.com
March 08, 2015

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL: Something has gone wrong for a team that needs a lot to go right this season.

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced before Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park that left-hander Cliff Lee is experiencing discomfort in the same area of his elbow that bothered him last season. That strained flexor tendon ended his season on July 31.

Lee will miss his next scheduled start against the Tigers at Bright House Field.

"I just don't have any idea where we're going to go from there," Amaro said. "Hopefully he'll be able to make his following start, but I'll talk with [pitching coach Bob McClure] and [manager Ryne Sandberg] and with Cliff and we'll see how he feels moving forward to see how altered his schedule will be. But it will depend on how he feels when he starts throwing again."

According to Amaro, Lee felt fine during his first spring outing against the Astros on Thursday in Kissimmee. It was during his workout the following day that he began to feel something.

"Very mild," the general manager said. "But because of what happened last year, we have to be hypersensitive."

Lee was examined by club physician Michael Ciccotti in Clearwater. A static ultrasound and enhanced MRI were ordered. The MRI photos have been forward to renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.

Amaro described the steps as precautionary and said the tests showed no damage to the UCL.

"None of the area that is supposed to be affected has changed. There's no change from the last MRI we did. And he had thrown so much since then without really feeling anything until this last outing. We shouldn't say it's not alarming because it is of concern. It's the same area. But there's no increase in the original affected area," the general manager explained. "It's very, very small, a very pinpointed area. And again there's very little swelling or fluid in that area. But any time it's the elbow you've got to be concerned about it."

Said manager Ryne Sandberg: "First of all, there are still some positive signs. When he does warm up, he feels fine. I'm anxious to watch him play catch and see how he progresses the next few days and see if he makes a start from there. There is concern."

Amaro said all the doctors consulted last season recommended against surgery, but couldn't guess if that's now an option.

"A lot of it will depend on what Dr. Andrews says, but everybody has kind of been on the same page with this," he said. "That if they do have to do a surgery and have to clean away some of the 'bad stuff' in there, it's a real small area. If it ends up having to get repaired it's six to eight months.

"So I don't know. I think ultimately it'll be a decision for Cliff later on. But a lot of it will depend on how he's feeling when he starts throwing again."

In the short run, this is a potential setback on more than one level. If Lee is healthy and pitching well, the Phillies are obviously a better team. And if he pitched well enough to be traded, it could help accelerate the franchise's rebuilding process.

"It could affect the bigger picture," Amaro agreed. "If he can't perform, of course it's going to affect us whether he pitches for us or somebody else."


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     The article said:

01. "The Phillies announced that Cliff Lee is experiencing discomfort in the same area of his elbow that bothered him last season."
02. ")n July 31, 2014, that strained flexor tendon ended Mr. Lee's season."

     Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., said:

01. "I just don't have any idea where we're going to go from there."
02. "Hopefully he'll be able to make his following start."
03. "But I'll talk with pitching coach Bob McClure, manager Ryne Sandberg and with Cliff."
04. "We'll see how he feels moving forward to see how altered his schedule will be."
05. "It will depend on how he feels when he starts throwing again."
06. "Very mild."
07. "But because of what happened last year, we have to be hypersensitive."
08. "None of the area that is supposed to be affected has changed."
09. "There's no change from the last MRI we did."
10. "Until this last outing, Mr. Lee had thrown so much since without really feeling anything."
11. "We shouldn't say it's not alarming because it is of concern."
12. "It's the same area."
13. "But there's no increase in the original affected area."
14. "It's very, very small, a very pinpointed area."
15. "There's very little swelling or fluid in that area."
16. "But, any time it's the elbow you've got to be concerned about it."
17. "A lot of it will depend on what Dr. Andrews says."
18. "But, everybody has kind of been on the same page with this."
19. "That, if they do have to do a surgery and have to clean away some of the 'bad stuff' in there."
20. "It's a real small area."
21. "If it ends up having to get repaired it's six to eight months."
22. "So, I don't know."
23. "I think ultimately it'll be a decision for Cliff later on."
24. "But, a lot of it will depend on how he's feeling when he starts throwing again."
25. "It could affect the bigger picture."
29. "If he can't perform, of course it's going to affect us whether he pitches for us or somebody else."

     Mr. Amaro said: "A lot of it will depend on what Dr. Andrews says."

     Dr. Andrews knows nothing about the causes of pitching injuries.      Therefore, Dr. Andrews will recommend surgery.      Mr. Lee has irritated his Pronator Teres muscle.      Mr. Lee releases his breaking pitches over the top of his Index finger.

     Mr. Lee needs to release his breaking pitches under his Middle finger.

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0246.  Lynn strains hip flexor, will be re-evaluated Monday
MLB.com
March 08, 2015

JUPITER, FL: Lance Lynn's first spring start ended prematurely when the righty was forced out of Sunday's game vs. the Marlins after suffering a left hip flexor strain.

The Cardinals will re-evaluate Lynn on Monday, at which time the team will issue an update on his status. But Lynn didn't appear to be anticipating any bad news, saying after his early exit that he expects to make his next spring start as scheduled and be uninhibited as he prepares for the season.

"Pretty sure in two days I'll be able to throw my bullpen and be ready to throw my start after that," Lynn said. "There's nothing. It's just tightness. I just need to make sure the tightness isn't there tomorrow. If we can get through that, I'll be able to get through my normal plan."

Because this is Spring Training, the Cardinals will likely alter Lynn's schedule, even if just slightly. Being overly cautious at this time of the year is the norm and is why manager Mike Matheny intended to remove Lynn from the game before he ever consulted with the right-hander.

Lynn, projected to be the Cardinals' No. 2 starter this season, breezed through his first inning of work on nine pitches. He said he felt some tightness in his hip during that frame, but the discomfort increased after he sat for a break between innings. Lynn never could loosen up.

He walked the first two batters before an error by Jhonny Peralta allowed the Marlins to load the bases. Lynn threw one more pitch -- his 24th of the afternoon -- and looked uncomfortable doing so. Catcher Yadier Molina noticed and went to the mound. Matheny followed.

"He looks strong so far this spring, so hopefully this will just be a little slowdown and he'll get right back into that," Matheny said. "At this time of year, if we have to go out there, then there is no sense in [keeping him in]."

Of the 15 pitches Lynn threw in the second, only six were strikes.

The Cardinals had mapped out a spring schedule which was to have Lynn make five starts before the regular season, though he wasn't scheduled to pitch every fifth day just yet anyway.

Lynn is also the most likely Opening Day replacement for starter Adam Wainwright (abdominal strain) if the Cardinal ace isn't ready to start against the Cubs on April 5. Had this issue popped up during a regular-season game, Lynn said: "I would have figured it out."


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     The article said:

01. "Lance Lynn's first spring start ended prematurely."
02. "A hip flexor strain forced Mr. Lynn out of the game."
03. "Mr. Lynn felt some tightness in his glove arm side hip."
04. "The discomfort increased after Mr. Lynn sat between innings."
05, "Mr. Lynn never could loosen up."

     The Rectus Abdominis muscle flexes the pelvis.

     The Rectus Femoris muscle flexes the upper leg.

     That the discomfort increased while Mr. Lynn sat indicates an irritated nerve.

     I recommend my 'knee drop' exercise.

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0247.  Nate Jones sticking to White Sox recovery plan
CSNChicago.com
March 08, 2015

GLENDALE, AZ: Nate Jones would love nothing more than to fast-track his recovery from Tommy John surgery and re-join his teammates as quickly as possible, but the right-hander has to be realistic.

While Jones has been encouraged by his rehab work — and the lack of any setbacks — he’s still targeting a return to the White Sox bullpen sometime around the All-Star break. In other words, in about four months.

“It’s hard to be patient because you see the potential the team could have, and I want to be a part of that right away, as soon as possible,” Jones said. “But patience during this rehab process is a big thing because even on the days you feel good you have to stick to the program. You don’t want to push it because that’s when you start getting into setbacks and stuff like that, maybe you pushed it too hard. It is tough, but like everybody else I’m very excited to see what this team will do.”

Jones will begin throwing long toss from 135 feet on Monday, the next step in a painstaking, necessarily slow recovery process. He’s built up to 25 throws from 90, 105 and 120 feet so far.

When healthy, Jones and his powerful repertoire — an upper-90s fastball and wipeout slider — produced a 3.31 ERA with 154 strikeouts, 58 walks and nine home runs allowed over 149 2/3 innings of relief in 2012 and 2013. If all goes well, the 29-year-old could provide the White Sox with a strong mid-season bullpen reinforcement, the kind that usually takes a prospect or two to acquire via a trade.

“It feels good — I’ve been blessed with that so far,” Jones said of his surgically repaired elbow. “Everything that I’ve done we’ve been able to check off, nothing’s going on too crazy, it hasn’t got too sore where we’ve had to back off or anything like that. Just hopefully it keeps going like that.”


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     The first skill that Nate Jones needs to master is how to stop 'reverse bouncing' their pitching forearm.

     To do that, Mr. Jones needs to pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

     From that starting position, Mr. Jones will contract the muscles that will hold the Ulna bone of his pitching forearm tightly against the Humerus bone of his pitching upper arm, thereby eliminating all stress from his Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement.

     The second skill that Mr. Jones needs to master is how to 'horizontally sail' the square lid off a four-gallon bucket.

     This skill will enable Mr. Jones to prevent the bones in the back of his pitching elbow from banging together.

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0248.  Rockies to ease Brothers into game action
MLB.com
March 08, 2015

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: The Rockies and left-hander Rex Brothers are taking a little more time before testing his recent improvements in Cactus League play.

In Saturday's 7-5 victory over the Cubs, potential late-inning relievers LaTroy Hawkins, John Axford, Adam Ottavino and Boone Logan made their first spring appearances. Brothers is not hurt, but after posting a 5.59 ERA in 74 games last season, on the heels of a 1.74 ERA in 72 games the previous year, he is tweaking his mechanics.

"We're just working on some mechanical things and wanted to get a few more sides in before he went out there in the game," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said of Brothers, who threw a side session Saturday.

The Rockies have not announced when Brothers will appear in a Cactus League game. They are using a similar strategy with right-hander Chad Bettis, who is being converted from reliever to starter and has needed extra side sessions to hone his mechanics and fastball location. It also isn't clear when Bettis will be deemed game-ready, but both are expected to pitch in games soon.

Brothers fell behind in the count too often last season. During his 2013 breakout, opponents who were ahead hit .290 with a .968 slugging percentage in 69 at-bats. However, when Brothers ended the count ahead in 91 at-bats, he held hitters to a .110 batting, .264 slugging. Last season, there were more at-bats with the hitter ahead (73) than with Brothers ahead (71). Brothers held hitters to .225/.239 when ahead but was 315/.589 when behind.

Brothers figures an aggressive mindset will correct the stats.

"I'm always looking to locate down in the zone; I don't know how that correlates with the numbers," Brothers said. "I just want to go out there and attack, but with a good approach. I'm not changing the approach. I want to attack early and get ahead. I'm not going to back away from that."


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     The article said:

01. "Rex Brothers is not hurt."
02. "But, last season, Mr. Brothers posted 5.59 ERA in 74 games."
03. "The previous year, Mr. Brothers posted an 1.74 ERA in 72 games."
04. "This spring training, Mr. Brothers is tweaking his mechanics."
05. "Last season, Mr. Brothers fell behind in the count too often."
06. "Mr. Brothers figures an aggressive mindset will correct the stats."

     Mr. Brothers needs to learn how to throw a wide variety of high-quality pitches and throw the pitch that Mr. Brothers believes that batters are not expecting.

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0249.  Dad's help pays off as Lincecum rediscovers form
MLB.com
March 08, 2015

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: Though Cactus League activity barely has begun, it's legitimate to suggest Tim Lincecum has regained at least some of his dominant form.

Lincecum struck out five batters in two innings during the Giants' 7-6 exhibition loss Saturday to the Padres. That hiked his Cactus League total to seven strikeouts in three innings. Lincecum also allowed two runs, including Wil Myers' fourth-inning, opposite-field drive to right field. Overall, however, the right-hander recalled his glory days, when he led the National League in strikeouts from 2008-10.

Lincecum attributed much of his early success to his offseason collaboration with his father, Chris. The elder Lincecum tinkered with his son's pitching mechanics and helped him regain a consistent delivery.

"I feel positive about the progress I've been able to make, in spite of the two runs," Lincecum said. He pointed out that even his deviations from his form represented a step forward, due to "the fact that I'm able to feel it and know the difference."

Lincecum has continued to jump ahead of hitters on the count, instead of struggling from behind as he repeatedly did in recent years.

"It's not like I'm coming back from 2-0, 2-1, 3-1," he said. "Pound the zone and go from there. Make them go on the defensive."


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     Giants baseball pitcher, Tim Lincecum, said:

01. "I feel positive about the progress I've been able to make."
02. "I'm able to feel the difference when I deviate."
03. "Instead of struggling from behind, I am getting ahead of hitters on the count."
04. "It's not like I'm coming back from 2-0, 2-1, 3-1."
05. "Pound the zone and go from there."
06. "Make them go on the defensive."
07. "In three innings, I have seven strike outs."

     When baseball pitchers throw pitches that baseball batters are not expecting, the baseball batters should take or swing and miss these pitches.

     When baseball pitchers throw pitches that baseball batters are expecting, the baseball batters should be able to make contact, not drive.

     That Wil Myers hammered an opposite-field drive to right field shows that when baseball batters anticipate Mr. Lincecum's pitch, they will hit the pitch hard.

     Mr. Lincecum needs to increase the quality of his pitches, not just throw strikes.

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0250.  Dr. Marshall's throwing drills by my eleven year old son

It was an honor and a pleasure speaking with you this afternoon.

I thought you may be interested to see two videos I recently posted of my son.

To allow our Marshall pitching instructor, I regularly take videos. The videos enable him to critique his progress.

We call the first one a "Changeup" drill, even though it's a curveball drill.

We do this because he's not allowed to throw curve balls in his LL.

The Second is his fastball.

His technique isn't perfect yet, but it does possess a lot of the techniques we've learned from our Marshall pitching instructor.

I look forward to meeting you some day.


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     Thank you for taking the time to tell me about your son and my baseball pitching motion.

     I greatly enjoyed watching your son's videos.

     Unfortunately, I could not figure how to put the videos in this question/answer.

     The most important skill that baseball pitchers of all ages must learn first is how to pronate the releases of curves.

     Therefore, I recommend that your son throws my curve in practice and when warming up to pitch.

     After other youth pitchers and their parents see your son throwing my curve, you can explain why throwing my curve not only does not injure the pitching elbow, but also teaches baseball pitchers how to use their pitching arm to throw all pitches.

     I agree with banning the 'traditional' curve ball technique. High school baseball, college baseball and Major League Baseball should also ban the 'traditional' curve ball technique.

     With the 'traditional' curve ball technique, baseball pitchers of all ages bang the bones in the back of the pitching elbow together. Banging these bones together cause a loss of extension range of motion, fracturing the olecranon process of the Ulna bone, breaking pieces of hyaline cartilage loose from the olecranon fossa, bone spurs and contributing to Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries.

     However, there is no reason to ban my curve ball technique.

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0251.  Wainwright, Lackey prepping with late season in mind
MLB.com
March 08, 2015

JUPITER, FL: Three hours before Lance Lynn threw the first pitch of Sunday's official game, a crowd of Cardinals fans gathered a few hundred yards behind the ballpark to watch another two members of the Cardinals' rotation work. There they found both Adam Wainwright and John Lackey simulating two innings by taking turns facing a group of St. Louis batters.

For Wainwright, the occasion marked his first live batting practice session of the spring and another indication of forward progress as he works back from an abdominal strain. Lackey has not been slowed by any health setback, but rather by his own preference to save pitches for games that actually count.

So instead of pitching in a Grapefruit League game as the Cardinals take one turn through a rotation of starters, Lackey chose the extra time on the backfields.

"I was glad with the progress through the pitches," said Lackey, who threw about 30 pitches. "Sitting back down and getting back up is a big deal the first couple times in Spring Training and being able to get loose again, especially as you get a little bit older. But I felt great the second inning. That's a good sign, and I'll probably be ready to go in a game next time."

The Cardinals haven't announced when Lackey's first start will be, but with his desire to make four of them before the regular season opens, Lackey is expected to make his debut this week.

He'll likely be ahead of Wainwright, who said he expects to throw live BP again before moving onto game work. He's building up arm strength without issue, but still hasn't been cleared to participate in fielding drills or run. He engaged in a few light drills prior to taking the mound on Sunday, only so he'd be prepared to react to a comebacker. None came.

Wainwright expects to undergo another round of tests early this week to seek clearance for increased activity. He estimated that he threw about 35 pitches over his two simulated innings, giving him his first chance to gauge how hitters were reacting to his pitches.

"Today, I know I got some good late action on my sinker and my slider and my cutters," Wainwright said. "I threw a couple really good changeups. But I also found out that I need to work on my fastball command a bit. When I'm commanding that, everything else falls into place."

With the Cardinals four weeks away from their Opening Night matchup with the Cubs, Wainwright may only have time for three spring starts if he wants that Opening Day assignment. Already subscribing to the less-now-is-more-later philosophy, Wainwright isn't bothered by the decreased workload.

"We're out there with a purpose," Wainwright said, including Lackey in his assessment. "We throw as few of pitches as we can to get the exact same work that we need done and then we don't mess around after that. When you save pitches between games, it does make a difference at the end of the season."


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Cardinals baseball pitcher, John Lackey, said:

01. "I prefer to save pitches for games that actually count."
02. "I was glad with the progress through the pitches."
03. "Sitting back down and getting back up is a big deal the first couple times in Spring Training and being able to get loose again, especially as you get a little bit older."
04. "But I felt great the second inning."
05. "That's a good sign, and I'll probably be ready to go in a game next time."

Cardinals baseball pitcher, Adam Wainwright, said:

01. "We're out there with a purpose."
02. "We throw as few of pitches as we can to get the exact same work that we need done and then we don't mess around after that."
03. "When you save pitches between games, it does make a difference at the end of the season."

     As an Exercise Physiologist, I am certain that working less hard does not make a positive difference at the end of the season.

     However, by releasing their breaking pitches over the top of their Index finger, the more times that they bang their olecranon process into their olecranon fossa, the less able they will be to pitch hard through a full season.

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0252.  Smyly dealing with tendinitis in his shoulder
MLB.com
March 08, 2015

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL: Drew Smyly is being held back due to tendinitis in his left shoulder.

The Rays left-hander's shoulder issue comes after an offseason in which he strained a tendon in his left middle finger that limited his throwing for about a month.

"I think every pitcher kind of goes through it a little bit," Smyly said. "I think I ramped my throwing program up a little too quick to try and catch up to everybody. And it's nothing serious. I'm just taking a couple of days off and then I'll re-evaluate it tomorrow or Tuesday."

Rays manager Kevin Cash said the Rays' current actions in relation to Smyly are precautionary.

"But we're not exactly sure," Cash said. "It's kind of on him and how he feels from this point forward. ... It's just, more or less, we're going to wait and see. He's a big part of what we're doing. So we want to make sure that he's good to go before we ramp it up."

Smyly injured his finger shortly after beginning his offseason throwing program in December. He had to take a month off from throwing due to the finger injury, which he said is now fine.

"It hasn't bothered me since February," said Smyly when asked if his finger injury had affected his shoulder. "The only thing you can relate it to is maybe since it put my offseason throwing program behind schedule I maybe tried to escalate everything too quickly and that can cause shoulder issues.

For the time being, Smyly's status is on hold.

"Yeah, it depends on how he comes in every morning," Cash said. "Working with Port [head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield] and getting his treatment and stuff like that."

Smyly's shoulder began to act up while throwing a bullpen on Friday. He finished his bullpen, but knew he needed to tend to his shoulder.

"It's just tight," Smyly said. "I've got a lot of knots in it. I'm just getting treatment. I'll probably start playing catch again in a couple of days."

Cash could not say whether Smyly will be out for the start of the season.

"We just don't know yet," Cash said. "I think it's fair to say there's a concern. But it's so early, we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves. The shoulder is improving daily. Like I said, he's a big part of what we're doing, so we want to be precautionary and cautious in how we get him ramped up here."

Meanwhile, Nathan Karns will make his second start of the spring on Monday against the Yankees, rather than Smyly. Cash noted that fifth-starter candidate Alex Colome not being in camp -- coupled with Smyly's setback -- has not put the Rays in a panic mode, which might prompt them to bring another pitcher into camp.

"No, I don't think we're at that point," Cash said. "But you're always concerned about guys getting through Spring Training and stuff. So we're happy with the guys we have competing in camp. We're cautiously optimistic that Colome will be here soon.

"The good thing about Colome, he's coming in and will be ready to go, from all of our reports. So it should be pretty seamless getting here, his transition to getting on the mound."

Cash said the team is "stretching out" about 10 pitchers for starting roles at this point.


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     The article said:

01. "Drew Smyly is being held back due to tendinitis in his left shoulder."
02. "The Rays left-hander's shoulder issue comes after an offseason in which he strained a tendon in his left middle finger that limited his throwing for about a month."
03. "Mr. Smyly injured his finger shortly after beginning his offseason throwing program in December."
04. "He had to take a month off from throwing due to the finger injury, which he said is now fine."
05. "Mr. Smyly's shoulder began to act up while throwing a bullpen on Friday."
06. "He finished his bullpen, but knew he needed to tend to his shoulder."

     Every day during the off-season, baseball pitchers need to do my 'Middle Fingertip Heavy Ball Spins.'

     Mr. Smyly's pitching shoulder tendinitis results from Mr. Smlyy involuntarily moving his pitching upper arm behind his acromial line.

     To prevent Mr. Smyly from involuntarily moving the pitching upper arm behind his acromial line, Mr. Smyly must turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulders over his glove foot.

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0253.  Howell puts workouts on hold after groin tightness
MLB.com
March 08, 2015

GLENDALE, AZ: Dodgers reliever J.P. Howell skipped his bullpen session Sunday and will back off workouts for a couple of days as a precautionary measure after developing mild left-groin tightness.

Howell said he noticed it after pitching an inning on Friday. He said the discomfort is typical for him after a first game appearance. He said he expects to throw a bullpen session later in the week and be back in a game by next weekend.

Howell's importance is magnified with closer Kenley Jansen out until May and an all-comers competition in Spring Training for late-inning relief. Also, reliever Joel Peralta is behind schedule after reporting with shoulder stiffness.


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     When lay-people call the 'groin' is actually the Adductor Brevis muscle.

     When baseball pitchers have their pitching foot parallel with the pitching rubber and use their Tensor Fascia Latae muscle to sidewardly move their body forward as far as they are able, these baseball pitchers do a sideways 'split.'

     The sideways 'split' put considerable stress on the Adductor Brevis muscle.

     To prevent injury to the Adductor Brevis muscle, baseball pitchers have to turn their pitching foot to forty-five degrees to the pitching rubber and use their Rectus Femoris muscle on the front of their pitching upper leg to forwardly move their body forward.

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0254.  Pineda hoping to put together strong healthy season
MLB.com
March 09, 2015

TAMPA, FL: The beaming smile says everything about how Michael Pineda is feeling this spring. It has been enough to encourage club officials that this can be the year he provides the full, dominant workload they have been dreaming of.

Pineda made his spring debut on Monday, hurling two scoreless innings in the Yankees' 4-3 victory over the Rays. After a series of false starts that stalled his first few seasons in pinstripes, the right-hander believes he is poised to put it all together in 2015.

"This is what I want," Pineda said. "I'm working hard everyday to be healthy and make it a good year, and help my team."<

Perched in the dugout for Monday's outing, Alex Rodriguez said that his first thought was that he was happy not to be holding a bat. Rodriguez was especially impressed by a power changeup on a 2-2 count to Evan Longoria, a pitch that Rodriguez compared to the tough offerings once fired by Roger Clemens and Curt Schilling.

Pineda has long been talked about as having that level of front-line ability, beginning with his All-Star campaign in 2011 for the Mariners. Health has been a stumbling block, but Pineda's arsenal and demeanor have always made him a tough at-bat, Rodriguez said.

"His hat is sideways, so you don't know if he's looking at you," Rodriguez said. "I remember [Derek] Jeter and I would say, 'We're facing this guy? He's not even looking at home plate. He's like looking behind us.' I said, 'What kind of stuff does this guy have, Jeet?' He said, 'Very uncomfortable.'"

When Pineda was on the mound last year, he was excellent. In 13 starts, he posted a 1.89 ERA to go along with a 5-5 record. His strikeout-to-walk ratio of 8.43 was the highest in history to be posted by a Yankees pitcher with a minimum of 75 innings, shattering Mariano Rivera's 2001 mark of 6.92, and he held opponents to a paltry .219 on-base percentage -- the lowest among a pitcher with at least 13 starts.

The problem, as it has been during Pineda's three years in the organization, was the time on the shelf. Following the embarrassing April incident in which he was discovered to have pine tar on his neck, Pineda injured his right shoulder while serving a 10-game suspension and did not return to a big league mound until Aug. 13.

"Last year was a hard season, especially for me," Pineda said. "I learned a lot from a couple of mistakes I made last year. It helped me for this year. I grew a lot. I'm a better person."

Pineda said that he liked his command and off-speed pitches in Monday's outing, noting that his changeup and slider felt good coming out of his hand. The Yankees could tell; when Pineda is on his game, his body language speaks volumes.

"The gyrations, the smiling, all of it -- it's entertainment," manager Joe Girardi said. "But he feels good about where he's at physically, and if you think about it, it's the first winter he didn't really have to rehab. He was able to have a normal winter, which I think has probably helped him."

Girardi said that Pineda was able to use some of last year's rehab time to clean up his mechanics, which could carry over into this season.

"I thought he looked great," catcher Brian McCann said. "The ball's coming out with the same velocity, with some cut. He threw a couple of changeups that were really nice that had some good action. His slider was there as well. When he has all three of those things -- I keep repeating myself -- but he's as tough to hit as anybody."


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     The article said:

01. "The problem, as it has been during Pineda's three years in the organization, was the time on the shelf."
02. "Following the embarrassing April incident in which he was discovered to have pine tar on his neck, Pineda injured his right shoulder while serving a 10-game suspension."
03. "Mr. Pineda did not return to a big league mound until Aug. 13."
04. "When Mr. Pineda was on the mound last year, he was excellent."
05. "In 13 starts, he posted a 1.89 ERA to go along with a 5-5 record."
06. "His strikeout-to-walk ratio of 8.43 was the highest in history to be posted by a Yankees pitcher with a minimum of 75 innings."
07. "Mr. Pineda held opponents to a paltry .219 on-base percentage, the lowest among a pitcher with at least 13 starts."

     Once baseball pitchers have injured pitching shoulders, they always have injured pitching shoulders.

     To stop injuring their pitching shoulders, baseball pitchers have to turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate their hips and shoulders over their glove foot.

     Mr. Pineda supinates the releases of his breaking pitches.

     To prevent back of the pitching elbow problems, Mr. Pineda needs to learn how to pronate the releases of his breaking pitches.

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0255.  Defensive shifts leading to a shift in philosophy
Yahoo Sports
March 08, 2015

SARASOTA, FL: Here’s the thing about looking out from the batter’s box and seeing no holes, and putting the bat barrel on the ball and getting no satisfaction, and being this large human who once hit 53 home runs in a single summer, but also standing there hitting a buck-ninety-six and eye-balling all the wonderful open space in the other direction, calling for you, inviting you, “Bunt, Chris, bunt.” It’s just not that easy.

Sure, maybe the mechanics of it, with some practice. Maybe the logic of it, were one to consider the chances of threading a ball past four or five guys happily camped in the heart of one’s spray chart. But, seriously, square around and surrender a roller that’ll barely clear your own shadow? Reach out and Judy some 12-hopper through the left side that might just find the one guy over there anyway?

Well, Chris Davis, maybe conflicted but far from stubborn, has a notion about these extreme defensive shifts and the men – mostly left-handed power hitters – who hate them: “There’s no ego when you’re hitting .196.”

Hell, bunt that sucker. Accept the charity.

You know, sometimes.

It’s complicated.

The game is so ridiculously cruel that it’ll bring a thigh-high fastball, the one you’d hit 475 feet to Eutaw Street (and win you a ballgame and earn you an extra few bucks come arbitration time), only to find you standing there in perfect bunting posture.

The game brings shifts and now at, say, 28 years old, you’re going to change your swing, change your game, change the way you think – change everything that put you in that box making millions of dollars a year – all because the third baseman is playing shortstop, the shortstop is playing second base and the second baseman is playing rover.

Or, you could spend the next few years of your life hitting wicked one-hoppers at the rover and getting in your wind sprints.

“I’m just waiting for Commissioner Manfred to outlaw shifts,” said Davis, which certainly is a strategy.

Batting averages on opposite-field balls in play are up. On the pull side, they’re down. Bunts play. Did you know that one American League team actually had an internal conversation about defending Miguel Cabrera this way: Pitch him away, shift him away, and hope all he’d do was hook grounders through the left side or try? Alas, it hasn’t come to pass. Yet.

So, what do you do? Change everything? Keep swinging for those 30 homers? Go back to school for that MBA?

“It’s a wonderful question,” said Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister, who has Prince Fielder to think of. “I grew up in a day and age you knew where infielders were going to play you. There was a certain element to hitting – you moved the ball around the ball yard. You weren’t always in your power stroke. Do that and you keep that shortstop on the other side of the bag.”

Or …

“As long as they can’t put a guy in the bleachers …,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter offered.

A healthy mix of old guard and new ideas, Showalter did ponder the question of old habit and new shifts, and then what hitters were left with. He said, “That’s the tough part. Why does nobody run the wishbone anymore? Because defenses caught up.”

He seemed to be suggesting it would be the hitters who stanched the trend, if not as a group then singularly. Davis, who runs well, worked on his bunting all winter, not off pitching machines but against live arms. At the outset of his batting practice Saturday, rather than lay a bunt to each foul line – as all hitters do – Davis put both on the third-base line. He estimated he lost 30 hits to the shift last season. He won’t get them all back by bunting toward a largely vacant left side, but he’d get a few, and maybe drag the third baseman a few steps toward his usual spot.

“You’d be a fool,” Davis said, “not to make some kind of adjustment.”

Part of the notion of the shift, beyond taking sure hits away, is to dare the hitter to come out of his comfortable area. Thus, the Miguel Cabrera idea that, granted, never actually saw the field. Thus, the limo ride to first base if a red-hot David Ortiz – or, for that matter, Chris Davis – wants to feather a bunt to the left side.

Joe Maddon, who hardly created the notion of radical defensive alignments – he was about 60 years late – but did plenty in Tampa to bring them back into style, said the key for the bigger hitters is organizational understanding. You’re a big fella with pop, the important numbers, he said, are slugging and home runs. So keep doing that.

“The number that’s going to take the dive is the batting average,” he said. “They need support from us, ‘Don’t worry about your batting average.’ It’s not easy, man.

“Like Matt Joyce. Matt was trying to do all this stuff through the left side and he’d end up fouling out to the third baseman. I don’t want that. I’d rather you put your A-hack on it.”

Maybe it’s not for everybody, but Torey Lovullo, Boston’s bench coach who also is in charge of the team’s bunting, said he’s explained it like this: Say you get so good at bunting against the shift that it’s good for eight hits in 10 at-bats over a season. That’s picking the right time and place, executing it, and getting to first base at a reasonable rate. What are you giving away in those 10 at-bats if you’d swung away? A couple hits? At best a home run?

“I ask, in that case, ‘Would you do it?’” he said. “And, of course, they answer the same way. ‘Absolutely.’” Fellow players often ask Davis why he doesn’t bunt more often. Last summer, a fan screamed repeatedly for Davis to bunt. Davis looked at him quizzically. He had two strikes on him.

But, you know, tough pitcher, tough shift, eighth inning, leading off, two-run deficit, that just might be Davis’ time.

“For me, take the ego out of it,” he said, “and win a baseball game.”


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     Instead of practicing bunting all off-season, Chris Davis needs to practice swinging with his rear arm only and hitting the ball down the opposite infield line.

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0256.  Strength guru Barwis helps motivate Mets
MLB.com
March 09, 2015

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL: For the briefest of moments, I swear I see something resembling sympathy in Mike Barwis' eyes. Barwis had just made us lug weight plates twice the size of our heads across the gym, then run -- always running, never walking -- back and forth and back and forth, a new exercise waiting at the end of each lap. There are more weights, then hurdles and benches. There are resistance bands and medicine balls.

Finally, we are afforded a measure of relief -- stretch time -- and Barwis catches my eye as I struggle to contort my body into an unfamiliar formation.

Barwis knows I'm no athlete. He doesn't care.

This, I understand, is nothing compared to the workouts that roughly 30 Mets subjected themselves to on a daily basis this offseason, about one-third of them repeat customers from the year before. It is certainly nothing compared to what the dozens of disabled patients who relearned how to walk under Barwis' tutelage endured. And yet I can't shake this overwhelming feeling, this growing urge, this primal reflex that I want to collapse.

I ignore it for now and get to my feet as Donny Vanker, one of the men working overtime to transform Barwis' fitness system into a multifaceted empire, shoots me a glance.

"That was just the warmup," Vanker said.

* * * * *

Wilmer Flores remembers the first time he saw snow.

Stepping out of Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport last winter, Flores realized the depth of his commitment when he noticed the snow banks piled high on each side of the road. The Mets had told him it would be good for his career to attend a four-week fitness camp that they were sponsoring in Michigan, and Flores, who did not have a clear position or career path, listened.

Rather than relax in the warmth of Venezuela, Flores, Juan Lagares, Lucas Duda and several others trudged through snow the first day of camp, then through the most difficult series of drills and stretches any of them could imagine.

"I had never worked out like that before," said Flores, who grew more agile over the four weeks. Duda lost 10 pounds. Barwis gained traction within the Mets community.

Barwis and Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon met in 2008 at the University of Michigan, and they kept in touch and began looking for ways to collaborate. The initial Michigan program proved successful enough -- Flores established himself as a shortstop candidate, Duda hit 30 home runs, Lagares won a National League Gold Glove Award -- that the Mets opened an unused portion of their Port St. Lucie complex and rented it to Barwis.

Weight machines now line one wall, with a plot of cheery green artificial turf in the center. Around it sit various torture instruments -- hurdles, medicine balls, resistance bands, box jumps and so forth. Near the entrance are shelves lined with Barwis' branded merchandise, including workout gear and dietary supplements.

Barwis' influence leaks into the rest of the Mets' facility, where trainers zip around on golf carts, toting water bottles full of bright-pink Barwis protein shakes. In addition to authoring workouts for roughly 30 Mets this offseason, Barwis wrote up nutrition programs as well. David Wright now eats a salad every day for lunch. Flores loads up on some variation of the same thing: breakfast is oatmeal, eggs, brown bread and yogurt; lunch is chicken and brown rice; that's followed by more chicken and sweet potatoes for dinner.

"You have to make the sacrifice," Flores said. "It's not only just hard work, hard work, hard work at the gym. I really realize now that being a successful baseball player is not easy."

Not all Mets players have bought into the system. Though Zack Wheeler reported to Port St. Lucie early, for example, he did not want to pay Barwis thousands of dollars when he could work out at the Mets' regular facility for free. (Union chief Tony Clark said Sunday that he has no problem with the facility's setup.)

Veterans such as Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson, accustomed to their own programs, largely stayed away. The Mets did subsidize the cost of Barwis' camp, with some Minor Leaguers paying as little as $2,000, but the cost varied based on the length of the program. The club subsidy was smaller for big leaguers, meaning they paid more for the same program. And while the Mets encouraged their players to attend, no one was forced to take part. The players didn't have to be forced into attending. For most, the pull of peer pressure was enough.

With Spring Training now in full swing, the Mets' front office and clubhouse staffs have also begun popping into the facility, many of their members participating in less-intensive tri-weekly classes. Players' wives have their own sessions. Even some of Barwis' independent clients, including Seattle Seahawks lineman James Carpenter, have traveled to Florida to continue training. During one of Carpenter's recent workouts, Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon walked in alongside president Saul Katz, raising his eyes as the Seahawks lineman knocked a boxing glove clean off Barwis' hand.

"I love science and even teaching," Barwis said. "But that environment's a little different than me. I like excitement. I like energy. I like inspiring people to achieve. I don't like negative things. I only like positive things. And that's really why I'm here, because it's a positive, explosive environment."

* * * * *

Among the most dastardly exercises Barwis throws at me is a pushup drill. Bryan Wright, a former University of West Virginia running back who followed Barwis first to Michigan and then to Port St. Lucie, positions us in a circle on the turf. At first, his commands are easy -- up, down, up down. Then Wright starts pausing, alternating the flow for a second. Three seconds. Six. Two. Five.

We stop in the "up" position for a moment and hold it, and Wright, who is directly in my line of vision, stares me down. There's that look of sympathy again -- or is it mischief? The line seems so thin. My arms are visibly shaking, but Wright is a statue, no longer moving or barking commands. Finally, I collapse, and he goes through a few more rotations with the survivors before moving on to a different exercise. At this point, my upper body feels numb. "Halfway done!" Barwis yells from across the gym.

* * * * *

Barwis likes to tell the story of Brock Mealer, the brother of a Michigan football player, whom doctors gave a 1 percent chance of walking after a car accident on Christmas Eve in 2007. Two years later, once his medical insurance ran out, Mealer turned to Barwis, who developed a rehab program based on his knowledge of neuromuscular systems and biomechanics. (Barwis has a bachelor's degree in exercise physiology from the University of West Virginia, a master's in athletic coaching and a truckload of certifications. He practices what he calls "neurological re-engineering," developing exercises in the hopes of retraining the brain.)

"Everything that I've devised is based on science and how the body is engineered," Barwis said.

The happy story ends with Mealer, unassisted, leading the Michigan football team onto the field for their 2010 season opener. And that is where the latest chapter of Barwis' story begins. Taking the blueprint he developed for Mealer and expanding upon it, Barwis began focusing on helping injured and paralyzed patients walk again. His website is littered with testimonials from spinal cord injury victims and paraplegics.

One recent Saturday, a woman named Ashley Moberly rolled into the facility on the wheelchair she has used full-time since 2010, when a horse-riding accident robbed her of the ability to walk. Finding little relief in physical therapy back home, Moberly turned to Barwis and walked a few steps the first day. On this occasion, she walks nearly half the football field without assistance, as employees gather around and shout encouragement.

"It's so life-changing," Moberly said. "It's stuff that a neurologist wouldn't understand. I've been to every therapist in Monroe [La.], I've driven two hours there and back to get to therapy, and it's a joke. They lift my leg three times and say, 'OK.' But this is just like being struck by lightning. You just have to believe."

* * * * *

An old hamstring injury begins taunting me about 40 minutes in, as I balance my legs on a medicine ball with my arms on the ground and my torso in the air. We're supposed to roll from side to side, which is agonizing on the scar tissue colonizing my left leg. So when Bryan Wright, the trainer supervising us, looks away, I cheat a little. I take a break. He looks back and I try to make sure he doesn't see, before he looks away again and I collapse. Then Barwis comes over and I make sure to summon whatever reserves of strength I have left, so he doesn't see me resting on the ground.

And that's when I get it -- I don't want to disappoint this guy. I'm not athlete and I may never see him again, but I'm going to finish this workout. There's just something about Barwis I don't want to let down.

* * * * *

Two days later, David Wright laughs at the experience. "He loves putting a hurting on you," Wright said of Barwis. "On us, too. He loves seeing you when you're at a breaking point."

There are other things that Barwis could be doing with his life. He recently starred in the reality show "American Muscle," alongside some of the highest-profile athletes he trains. He's looking to make his supplements and clothing line profitable, and his relationship with the Mets has already been lucrative. With the knowledge he's gained, he could go teach exercise physiology somewhere and make a nice living.

Barwis, however, prefers his one-on-one interactions with clients, from professional athletes to paralyzed patients such as Moberly.

In Port St. Lucie, he is now a significant piece of what the Mets are trying to accomplish. Around the time Wilpon met Barwis back in 2009, the Mets experienced such a historic rash of injuries that they emblazoned signs with the words "Prevention and Recovery," posting them throughout their Spring Training complex. They never want to go through that again. Over the offseason, the Mets parted way with strength coach Jim Malone and hired Dustin Clarke, a hand-picked Barwis disciple who will work with the Mets on a daily basis. Barwis will continue to consult, while working full-time on his other endeavors.

Barwis' employees describe him as whip-smart, driven and one of the leaders of his industry. He describes himself as "just a guy." And it's true that Barwis' methods -- he brands them his Barwis Methods, capital "B" and capital "M" -- are unconventional. His paralyzed clients cannot typically use medical insurance on his services, as they would for physical therapy, because what he does is so far removed from the industry standard. Recently, Barwis established a foundation to help more paralyzed patients use his services, and to train new associates.

Barwis is, in other words, here to stay. So the Mets will keep sending players his way, because they're certain his unconventional enterprise is working.

"Look -- I have an excellent trainer that I use back at home," Wright said. "I've got an excellent trainer back in New York that I use during the offseason. When I'm out on the West Coast, I have a guy I use that I really like. But there's nothing they can do to simulate what we do here. I can't get this anywhere else."


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     Baseball pitchers and batters need skill specific training.

     Mr. Barwis' non-specific training is not only a waste of skill practice, it also is not sustaining as their years go by.

     I recommend that baseball pitchers and batters stay as far away from Mr. Barwis as possible.

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0257.  Eovaldi focusing on turning heat into more strikeouts
MLB.com
March 09, 2015

TAMPA, FL: Blessed with a fastball that consistently lit radar guns in the high 90s last season, Nathan Eovaldi believes that gift can still translate into some gaudy strikeout totals at the big league level. It's something that the Yankees would love to see.

Eovaldi has been talking with pitching coach Larry Rothschild about elevating his pitches, which should allow him to better use the upper portions of the strike zone. Ringing up five strikeouts in three innings on Monday against the Rays, Eovaldi sees some progress.

"Hopefully, yeah," Eovaldi said. "Just working ahead in the counts, I think, for the most part was the big key today."

Acquired from the Marlins in December, Eovaldi's fastball ranked fourth among all starters in average velocity (95.7 mph) last season, according to FanGraphs.com. But heat isn't everything, as his other numbers indicated.

Eovaldi was 6-14 with a 4.37 ERA in 33 starts for Miami, establishing career highs in starts, innings pitched (199 2/3) and strikeouts (142), while leading the National League with 233 hits allowed. He is just 25 and the Yankees are betting on his potential, which catcher Brian McCann sees clearly.

"I think he's close," McCann said. "With every year, you're going to get more comfort with yourself and what you can and can't do. With that stuff, it's just going to be a matter of putting it all together and elevating when he needs to elevate and put it in the dirt when he needs to put it in the dirt, because he's an uncomfortable at-bat for anybody."

Eovaldi said that he rushed some of his off-speed pitches, giving him something to work on next time out. Other than that, he was trying to throw first-pitch strikes while honing his splitter, guessing that he threw seven to Tampa Bay hitters. His slider served as the reliable strikeout weapon on Monday.

"That always helps. Weak contact is not the worst thing either," manager Joe Girardi said. "It's just hard contact you want to stay away from. Sometimes when you try to pitch to swing and miss, you throw 100 pitches in five innings, and we don't want that."

Quick outs are the preferred currency, whether the ball is put in play or not, and McCann said that continuing to elevate the ball should help Eovaldi take the next steps to get plenty more.

"When you can pitch at the top of the zone effectively, it's going to keep the hitter in attack mode," McCann said. "He's going to have to attack, and once you get him on attack, then you can drop the slider in the dirt and they're committing to swing. Changing eye levels is huge, and execution. It's how many times can you do it, over and over?"


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

     The article said:

01. "Nathan Eovaldi said that he rushed some of his off-speed pitches."
02. "Other than that, Mr. Eovaldi was trying to throw first-pitch strikes."
03. "Mr. Eovaldi is honing his splitter."
04. "Mr. Eovaldi's slider served as the reliable strikeout weapon."

     Mr. Eovaldi releases his breaking pitches over the top of his Index finger.

     Therefore, Mr. Eovaldi is banging the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together.

     Eventually, Mr. Eovaldi will suffer pitching elbow problems.

     When Mr. Eovaldi throws his splitter, Mr. Eovaldi uses his Index finger to impart the reverse rotation of the baseball.

     Eventually, Mr. Eovaldi will injure the second Dorsal Interossei muscle between the proximal phalange of the Index finger and the middle phalange of the Middle finger.

     Mr. Rothchild will have ruined another Yankee baseball pitcher.

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0258.  Cumpton undergoes Tommy John surgery
MLB.com
March 10, 2015

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL: Right-hander Brandon Cumpton, one of pitching's first responders last season who again was expected to provide the staff with depth, underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday.

The elbow ligament replacement operation was performed by Dr. James Andrews, who on Monday had examined Cumpton after he was shut down after experiencing elbow pain while throwing batting practice on Feb. 28.

"Brandon has begun the normal recovery progression," said general manager Neal Huntington, alluding to the typical 12-18-month recovery period.

The Pirates split Cumpton's 10 starts in 2014, when he also made six relief appearances and overall went 3-4 with a 4.89 ERA. In parts of two seasons with the Bucs, he is 5-5 with a 4.02 ERA in 22 games, including 15 starts.


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     The article said:

01. "Brandon Cumpton underwent Tommy John surgery on Tuesday."
02. "The Pirates expected Mr. Cumpton to provide the staff with depth."
03. "Dr. James Andrews performed the elbow ligament replacement operation."
04. "Dr. Andrews examined Mr. Cumpton after he experienced elbow pain while throwing batting practice on Feb. 28."

     Where is the 'Committee of 'Experts?'



     Was this Ulnar Collateral Ligament a rupture or a partial tear?

     If it was a partial tear, then Mr. Cumpton could learn how to protect the Ulnar Collateral Ligament by contracting the muscles that hold the Ulna bone tightly against the Humerus bone.

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0259.  Lee to try throwing through discomfort' surgery next option
MLB.com
March 10, 2015

CLEARWATER, FL: The prognosis is not good for Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee.

Multiple doctors, including orthopedist Dr. James Andrews, still see the same tear in the common flexor tendon in Lee's left elbow, which continues to cause him problems. They agree Lee should resume his throwing program to see if he can minimize the discomfort, even though it appears to be a long shot.

If he cannot, surgery is the next option.

"We're not terribly optimistic, but there is still the possibility he can come back and throw, and throw with a minimal amount of discomfort," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Tuesday at Bright House Field. "It got worse the last time [he tried to pitch through it], so the probability of that happening again is probably pretty high, but we don't know that, and we probably won't know it until he starts to throw and goes through his progressions."

Lee has attempted to rehab twice from the injury. He tried unsuccessfully last summer and again in the winter.

"It's not a good sign, obviously," Lee said. "It's not good."

Lee pitched two innings Thursday against the Astros in Kissimmee, Fla., and said afterward he felt normal. But the following day, he felt a return of the discomfort he initially experienced last season.

Simply put, the discomfort has not gone away with rehab.

Recovery from surgery would take six to eight months, which Lee acknowledged could end his career. Lee is in the final year of his five-year, $120 million contract. He has a $12.5 million buyout on a $27.5 million club option for 2016, but Lee has hinted in the past that he might not pitch beyond this deal.

"I've got a family at home, and I've been away from them for a long time, so that is part of the equation," Lee said. "If I were to have the surgery, am I going to go through all that to try to pitch again, or am I going to shut it down? That's a decision that I'll have to make once that time comes, if that times comes."

It might not take long to see if Lee can minimize the pain.

"It may take a couple of days," Amaro said. "If he feels discomfort, then he might have to shut it down. He threw today and felt OK. Really didn't feel anything different. It's a very, very mild sensation he's got in there."

"There's no timeline," Lee said. "I'm just going to keep doing what I've been doing and do it as long as I can. I'm not going to go out there in pain to where something bad can potentially happen. That doesn't make sense to me. So I'm going to play as long as I comfortably can. When it's uncomfortable to play and it hurts to play, then it's not worth it."

Lee said he is comfortable with his baseball career if he cannot pitch again.

"It's not just results," he said. "I feel like I've done everything I could in my career to give myself the best chance. If it happens to be nearing the end, it is what it is. I don't have any regrets. So that's the main thing. Just as long as I can look back and comfortably say, 'I didn't cheat this or cheat that. I wish I would have done this or would have done that.' As long as I don't do that, I can live with anything."


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

     The article said:

01. "Multiple doctors still see the same tear in the common flexor tendon in Lee's pitching elbow."
02. "They agree Lee should resume his throwing program to see if he can minimize the discomfort."
03. "Mr. Lee pitched two innings and said afterward he felt normal."
04. "But, the following day, he felt a return of the discomfort he initially experienced last season."
05. "Mr. Lee said, if he cannot pitch again, he is comfortable with his baseball career."

     If Mr. Lee learned how to pronate the releases of his breaking pitches, then Mr. Lee will not have common flexor tendon pain.

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0260.  Floyd reinjures elbow, might need surgery again
MLB.com
March 10, 2015

GOODYEAR, AZ: The worst-case scenario for Indians starter Gavin Floyd merged Tuesday with the announcement from the club that he has reinjured the stress fracture in his right elbow that ended his 2014 season.

Floyd, who originally sustained the injury last June while with the Braves and underwent surgery to repair the damage, will work with the Indians' medical staff to determine the best option for the right-hander, which might include another surgical procedure.

"That was a tough pill for him to swallow this morning, I'm sure," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He had done his rehab so diligently. He did everything, came out early, worked hard. He was so ready, and I think he felt really good about things. So it's kind of like you get punched in the stomach."

Signed to a one-year, $4 million deal plus incentives as a free agent this winter, the 32-year-old Floyd was going through his throwing program this spring, but he shut down his most recent session. Things had been going smoothly to start the spring, which was encouraging since Floyd had undergone surgery June 25 to stabilize the fracture in his elbow, sustained June 19 in a start for the Braves against the Nationals.

After Floyd reported "vague" discomfort in the arm that was being felt in different spots, it was determined that he should undergo an MRI, which revealed the fracture.

"I think we were hoping that the MRI would maybe show that you're starting to get your arm loose, some aches and pains of Spring Training, and here, go get 'em," Francona said. "To see that, I think, caught us all off guard."

The news obviously changes the competition for the last one or two spots in the rotation, moving everyone up a notch with Floyd being out "for the foreseeable future," as the club put it.

Pitching depth is something the Indians have in stock, with Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco now the top three and Danny Salazar, T.J. House, Zach McAllister and Josh Tomlin as well as non-roster invitee Bruce Chen the candidates for the other two spots. Tomlin had been dealing with a "cranky" shoulder for a couple of days, but Francona said Tuesday he'll resume throwing Wednesday and could be ready to go this weekend.

"When you think you have a lot [of pitching] in December or too much, go get more. It's kind of the nature of the game," Francona said.

Floyd was signed and developed by the Phillies, making his Major League debut with them in 2004 before being traded to the White Sox in '06, becoming a mainstay of the Sox rotation the next several years. He'd been making a comeback from 2013 Tommy John surgery after signing with the Braves last year, but his injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Floyd left the complex Tuesday after hearing the news and was not immediately available for comment.

"Signing Gavin, we knew there had been some things in his arm before, so you always run that risk," Francona said. "From a team standpoint, I think we'll be just fine. Today's a day where you're thinking more personally about Gavin than other things."

What Francona thinks, and hopes, is that Floyd will get through this latest injury battle and return to the mound.

"You take your breath away for a minute, but then it comes back, and I think in his case, it'll come back," Francona said. "It's a lot to ask, but I think if he wants to pitch in the Major Leagues -- and I think he does -- he'll conquer this."


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     The article said:

01. "The Indians Medical Staff announced that Gavin Floyd reinjured the stress fracture in his pitching elbow."
02. "Mr. Floyd originally sustained the injury last June."
03. "Mr. Floyd underwent surgery to repair the damage."
04. "The Indians' medical staff is trying to determine the best option."
05. "Mr. Floyd might mean another surgical procedure."

     Last week, I telephoned the Indians at (623)302-5678 to offer Mr. Floyd another option.

     All Mr. Floyd has to do is stop banging his olecranon process into his olecranon fossa.

     To stop banging his olecranon process into his olecranon fossa, Mr. Floyd only needs to pronate the release of his breaking pitches.

     Where is all the scientific stuff that Mr. Bauer has brought to the Indians pitching coach?

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0261.  Cole putting emphasis on prevention of injuries
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
March 10, 2015

BRADENTON, FL: In the offseason, Gerrit Cole paddles out from Southern California beaches and rides Pacific waves as an amateur surfer. The hobby is also something of a preventative health measure as pitching analyst Doug Thorburn said he has never seen a bad-armed surfer.

The idea is paddling strengthens back-side shoulder muscles, which decelerate the arm. A balance of front- and back-side strength is critical.

Cole had never had a history of injury until last season. The Pirates ace also had never tried to pitch through a full major league season until last year. The 70 days he spent on the disabled list, the 11 turns missed in the rotation due to shoulder fatigue and a back strain were flashing alarms.

The injuries were an urgent reminder that to take the next step toward ace-hood, Cole does not need to add another pitch or trick. He struck out 10.3 batters per nine innings and walked only 1.8 in the second half last season, he simply needs to stay healthy. The injuries were an incentive for Cole to become more serious about preventative care.

"There was nothing structurally wrong with me. " I was fortunate," Cole said. "After I came off the rehab, I just kept that routine through the end of the season. I didn't deviate. It's what got me healthy, and it's what kept me healthy along with the mindset change."

There is renewed focus on shoulder maintenance in the sport.

The Tampa Bay Rays have an unparalleled track record of keeping pitchers healthy and a shoulder exercise program that is mandatory and monitored. Former Rays pitcher James Shields liked the program so much he took it Kansas City after he was traded there.

"(Trainers) always say the rotator cuff is like bicycle brakes, and you have a V-12 engine in the front," Cole said. "You have to do maintenance on those things and be able to keep them in shape to slow the arm down."

The programs are not just for injury prevention. Former Pirates pitcher Bryan Morris credited his turnaround last season to a shoulder-strengthening program he learned from Toronto reliever Steve Delabar, who used the program to return to pro baseball after substitute teaching.

"The shoulder maintenance programs have changed a whole lot," Morris said. "They have gotten a lot more in depth."

Cole is perhaps at an elevated risk for injury because of his velocity.

Cole's average fastball last season, 96.7 mph, ranked third in baseball. Cole was also among the top 10 hardest throwing pitchers in 2013 and only two on that list, Cole and Garrett Richards have avoided Tommy John surgery.

To prevent injury this spring Cole prefers what is called a "manual" exercise program in which he works with a trainer who offers resistance on different parts of Cole's body.

"There is a little human error in which way they push and it's up to you to stay disciplined and use the right muscles," Cole said. "I'm using it as a tool to stay healthy. " I know everything is connected. When your shoulder is weak or not balanced it can put more stress on the elbow."

The next step Pirates manager Clint Hurdle wanted to see last season from Cole is the same one he wants in 2015: a full season. The Pirates don't need a better Cole this season; they need a healthy one.


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     The article said:

01. "Until last season, Gerrit Cole had never had a history of injury."
02. "Until last year, Mr. Cole had never tried to pitch through a full major league season."
03. "Mr. Cole spent 70 days spent on the disabled list."
04. "Mr. Cole missed 11 starts due to shoulder fatigue and a back strain."
05. "The Tampa Bay Rays have an unparalleled track record of keeping pitchers' shoulders healthy."
06. "Former Rays pitcher James Shields took the Rays shoulder program to Kansas City."
07. "The programs are not just for injury prevention."
08. "Former Pirates pitcher Bryan Morris credited his turnaround last season to a shoulder-strengthening program he learned from Toronto reliever Steve Delabar."
09. "To prevent injury this spring, Mr. Cole with a trainer who offers resistance on different parts of Cole's body."

     When baseball pitchers use their Pectoralis Major muscle to pull their pitching upper arm forward during the explosive rotation of their hips and shoulders forward over their pitching foot, they involuntarily move their pitching upper arm behind their acromial line.

     Eventually, the pitching shoulder loses its stability.

     The only permanent cure to shoulder injuries is to step forward off the pitching rubber and use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive their pitching upper arm straight toward home plate and rotate their hips and shoulders forward over their glove foot.

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0262.  Angels will pass on former draft pick Locker
MLB.com
March 10, 2015

TEMPE, AZ: The Angels will pass on Jake Locker, thank you very much.

Locker, still only 26, announced his retirement from an injury-plagued career as an NFL quarterback on Tuesday. The Angels selected Locker in the 10th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, signing the two-sport star for $300,000 even though he was focused primarily on football because they'd hold his rights as a baseball player until August 2015.

But Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, who didn't arrive until November 2011, doesn't see a fit.

"We're not interested in him as a baseball player," Dipoto said. "We're going to focus on the guys we have. We have enough going on."

Locker was a star pitcher, outfielder, quarterback and defensive back at Ferndale High School in Washington. The Angels originally drafted him in the 40th round in '06, but Locker didn't sign so he could play quarterback at the University of Washington. They drafted him again three years later, even though Locker hadn't played baseball regularly since high school.

Locker considered baseball merely as a fallback option, so he remained in college for two more seasons, was drafted eighth overall by the Tennessee Titans in 2011, started only 12 games from 2013-14 and hung it up while in the early stages of free agency.

The Angels signed Locker under former GM Tony Reagins, while Dipoto was working in the D-backs' front office.

"I knew his background only because he was a baseball prospect, football guy," Dipoto said. "We weren't really on him when I was in Arizona. Generally with the two-sport guys who we don't think they have interest in being a baseball player we don't waste our time."


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     This is good news for Mr. Locker.

     Otherwise, the pitching coaches would destroy Mr. Locker's pitching elbow and shoulder.

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0263.  Experiencing 'general discomfort,' Edgin undergoes MRI
MLB.com
March 10, 2015

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL: A potential bullpen injury is threatening to weaken the Mets in an already thin corner of their roster.

Josh Edgin, the Mets' only left-handed reliever with legitimate job security, had an MRI on Tuesday to diagnose what he described as general elbow "discomfort." Manager Terry Collins said after Monday's game that he was concerned about Edgin's fastball velocity, which sat in the upper 80s. Experiencing a similar velocity drop last spring, Edgin rebounded to average more than 92 mph on his fastball in the regular season.

"When Josh Edgin is pitching good, he's throwing 93 mph," Collins said. "That's enough to throw it by somebody, and now his slider becomes more effective. If the hitter doesn't worry about you getting your fastball by him, they settle on his offspeed stuff."

The Mets were still awaiting the results of Edgin's MRI as of late Tuesday afternoon.


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     The article said:

01. "Josh Edgin had an MRI to diagnose what Mr. Edgin described as general elbow "discomfort."
02. "Field manager Terry Collins is concerned about Mr. Edgin's fastball velocity."
03. "Mr. Edgin's fastball is sitting in the upper 80s."
04. "Last spring, Mr. Edgin rebounded to average more than 92 mph."

     If Mr. Edgin 'reverse bounces' his pitching forearm, then Mr. Edgin's velocity has decreased as a result of a lenghtened Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Mr. Edgin needs to contact the muscles that tightly hold his Ulna bone against his Humerus bone.

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0264.  Stroman tears ACL in left knee, out for season
MLB.com
March 10, 2015

DUNEDIN, FL: The Blue Jays were dealt a devastating blow on Tuesday afternoon when it was announced that Marcus Stroman tore the ACL in his left knee and is expected to miss the entire 2015 season.

Stroman suffered the injury while taking pitchers' fielding practice on the back fields at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium early Tuesday morning. He went to cover first base on a bunt, felt a pop in his knee and later underwent an MRI which revealed the damage.

The Blue Jays won't announce an official time frame for Stroman's return until later this week, but general manager Alex Anthopoulos fully admitted that the expectation is the promising young starter will not pitch at all in 2015.

"Marcus Stroman was doing a bunt play today, Josh Donaldson called him off on the play," Anthopoulos told reporters at a mid-afternoon news conference. "He planted his feet, felt a pop in his left knee, did an MRI and it confirmed a torn ACL.

"He's going to see Dr. [James] Andrews to get a second opinion, but pretty confident that's what it's going to be. He would ultimately be out for the year, but we would expect a full recovery."

The injury sent waves through the Blue Jays' clubhouse, with players noticeably downcast about the news. Even if Stroman didn't receive the Opening Day start, he was being viewed as the potential ace for a team with aspirations of making the postseason for the first time since 1993.

Expectations couldn't have been higher this season, and there was good reason for all of the pressure. Stroman added a sinker to his repertoire midway through last season, and it turned him into a completely different pitcher. The 23-year-old went 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA, while striking out 111 over 130 2/3 innings in his rookie season and showing as much upside as anyone in the game.

Stroman wasn't available to talk to the media after the news was released, but Anthopoulos spoke to him earlier in the day and said the product of Duke University was having difficulty coming to grips with the freak accident.

"Crushed, probably a good way to put it," Anthopoulos said. "But it just goes to show you what kind of teammate he is, what kind of guy he is. We all know the energy he brings, how badly he wants to win and be part of this team.

"It's just one of those things. He's probably the best athlete on the team, as good of shape as anybody you're going to have, the last guy you would expect for that to happen. Just a freak thing and we move forward."

Stroman also added his thoughts on Twitter by saying: "Beyond devastated. Not being able to compete with my brothers each and every day is extremely disappointing. Still can't believe it."


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     The Anterior Cruciate Ligament prevents forward sliding of the Femur bone, hyperextending the knee and, when the foot is fixed on the ground, limits the medial rotation of the foot.

     When baseball pitchers run from the pitching mound to first base, they have to medially rotate their left knee.

     To prevent tearing the Anterior Cruciate Ligament when making the turns necessary to cover first base, baseball pitchers need to plant their right foot.

     That is true, baseball pitching coaches need to teach their baseball pitchers how to plant their outside foot to make the turns enroute to first base from the pitching rubber.

     Who was the Blue Jay baseball pitching coach is charge of teaching his baseball pitchers how to cover first base?

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

     On Sunday, March 22, 2015, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0265.  Appel ready to go after bout with tight forearm
MLB.com
March 10, 2015

KISSIMMEE, FL: Astros top pitching prospect Mark Appel will throw at least one time in the bullpen in the next couple of days before getting back on the mound in a Grapefruit League game, manager A.J. Hinch said on Tuesday.

The Astros sent Appel to see a doctor on Tuesday morning, one day after he experienced some tightness in his forearm while warming up to pitch. Appel proclaimed on Tuesday that he was ready to pitch in a game after playing catch in the outfield in the morning.

"He was very happy and liked how he threw," Hinch said. "The next step for him will be a bullpen and we'll continue to reevaluate as we go. All signs point towards a bullpen."

Appel, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, was warming up to pitch in relief against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla., when he informed a trainer he had some tightness. Hinch then decided to take Appel out of action.

After playing catch on Tuesday morning, Appel said he was fine.

"I feel just as good as yesterday," he said. "I'm going to let them know I can pitch today, I can pitch tomorrow. Whenever they need me, I'll be ready."

Appel was asked if he regretted telling the team he was feeling discomfort because it wound up not being anything to be worried about.

"They just want to be overly cautious," he said. "It is what it is. The way I see it, I'm either healthy to where I can pitch or I can't pitch and I'm not healthy. I'm healthy and I can pitch. I'm ready to go."

Appel worked two innings and allowed three hits and one run, while striking out two batters on Thursday against the Phillies in his first spring outing. It was his first game action since last fall, when he pitched well for the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League.


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     The article said:

01. "The Astros sent Mark Appel to see a doctor on Tuesday morning, one day after he experienced some tightness in his forearm while warming up to pitch."
02. "Mr. Appel proclaimed on Tuesday that he was ready to pitch in a game after playing catch in the outfield in the morning."

03. "Mr. Appel was asked if he regretted telling the team he was feeling discomfort because it wound up not being anything to be worried about."

     Everybody in Major League Baseball is afraid.

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0266.  Minor has shoulder inflammation, no structural damage
MLB.com
March 10, 2015

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL: As Mike Minor appears destined to remain out of Atlanta's rotation until at least late April because of all-too-familiar left shoulder discomfort, the Braves are maintaining hope that his current ailment is different than the one that plagued him throughout last year's disappointing season.

The Braves gained some encouraging news when Dr. James Andrews did not find any structural damage when he examined Minor's shoulder on Monday. Andrews provided an anti-inflammatory injection and prescribed two weeks of rest after determining Minor's discomfort was a product of inflammation around the rotator cuff.

While this determination paralleled previous diagnosis -- including one made last week by team physician Dr. Xavier Duralde -- Andrews also suggested that Minor should focus on strengthening his shoulder through a variety of stretching exercises.

"[Dr. Andrews] said there is not really anything wrong structurally," Minor said. "It's more of a, 'Let's see if this works.' Hopefully, the stretching and shoulder exercises really help. I'll knock those out every day for the next two weeks."

There is certainly some reason to be skeptical about the possibility that a few weeks of rest will prove to be the solution. After dealing with left shoulder discomfort for most of 2014, Minor had three months of rest during the offseason and then had to be shut down after throwing his second live batting-practice session of the year last week.

But after determining the MRI exam that was performed on Monday was as clean as the two Minor underwent last year, Andrews provided a new suggestion by advising the 27-year-old pitcher to avoid any upper-body workouts over the course of the next two weeks.

Minor will instead attempt to keep his shoulder strong via stretching exercises aimed at loosening both his back and shoulder.

"I've been tight my whole life," Minor said. "But I guess maybe the innings are catching up and the shoulder doesn't want to react the way it used to."

If Minor's shoulder reacts in a favorable manner, he will likely be cleared to resume his throwing program during the final two weeks of Spring Training. While this scenario would not provide him enough time to be ready for the start of the season, Minor might progress to the point where he is cleared to begin building innings in games during the early part of April.

This would put Minor on a schedule similar to the one he experienced last year, when his left shoulder shut him down during the first week of Spring Training and prevented him from joining Atlanta's rotation until May. He then proceeded to post a 4.77 ERA while battling lingering discomfort over 25 starts.

"I don't want to put any timetable on this because we're not really sure," Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said. "We're kind of managing this. … We'll be cautious with him."


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     The article said:

01. "After dealing with left shoulder discomfort for most of 2014, Minor had three months of rest during the offseason."
02. "Dr. Andrews determined that Mr. Minor's discomfort was a product of inflammation around the rotator cuff."
03. "Dr. James Andrews provided an anti-inflammatory injection and prescribed two weeks of rest.
04. "Dr. Andrews also suggested that Minor should focus on strengthening his shoulder through a variety of stretching exercises."
05. "Dr. Andrews advised Mr. Minor to avoid any upper-body workouts for the next two weeks."

     Dr. Andrews is going to 'rest' Mr. Minor out of baseball.

     Mr. Minor needs to learn how to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulder forward over his glove foot.

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0267.  Darvish expected to undergo Tommy John surgery
MLB.com
March 10, 2015

SURPRISE, AZ: Yu Darvish has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, and although the Rangers have yet to make a final decision, all signs are pointing toward Tommy John surgery.

"Things are likely headed down the path to surgery," general manager Jon Daniels said Wednesday. "There are no real surprises, no real change there, but the final decision has not been made. I would expect a final decision by the end of the week and then a timeline for surgery, if in fact that's the final call, early next week."

Darvish missed the final month and a half of the 2014 season with elbow inflammation and left his first Spring Training outing last week after just one inning.

Team orthopedist Keith Meister originally evaluated Darvish, and then the 28-year-old right-hander flew to New York, where he met with Dr. David Altcheck, the Mets' medical director, for a second opinion.

"Where it's cut-and-dry, if the ligament is totally severed, that's kind of the easy one," Daniels said. "When you've got a damaged ligament, that's where you lean on the experts, and we've spoken to several, two of the best in the world. I feel very confident in their recommendations."

The doctors came to the same conclusion and recommended surgery, but the Rangers plan to send Darvish's MRI to Dr. James Andrews for a third opinion. However, Daniels isn't expecting anything to change when Andrews looks over the MRI.

"I think it's more of, 'Why not?'" Daniels said when asked why the team is getting a third opinion. "It's a big decision for [Darvish] and the organization. Nothing's lost; we're talking about three of the best surgeons [and] doctors in the world."

The Rangers signed Darvish to a six-year, $56 million deal prior to the 2012 season. The three-time All Star is 39-25 with a 3.27 ERA in his three seasons with Texas.

"Given the circumstances, I think he's in very good spirits, very clear-headed," Daniels said. "Assuming no new information comes along, which at this point I don't expect, we'll go ahead and do the surgery and get the rehab underway."


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     Rangers general manager, Jon Daniels, said:

01. "Things are likely headed down the path to surgery."
02. "There are no real surprises, no real change there, but the final decision has not been made."
03. "I would expect a final decision by the end of the week."
04. "Then a timeline for surgery, if in fact that's the final call, early next week."
05. "Where it's cut-and-dry, if the ligament is totally severed, that's kind of the easy one."
06. "When you've got a damaged ligament, that's where you lean on the experts."
07. "We've spoken to several, two of the best in the world."
08. "I feel very confident in their recommendations."

     Orthopedic surgeons are not experts on the causes of pitching injuries.

     By listening to the orthopedic surgeons, professional baseball wastes money and careers.

     To prevent injury to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, all baseball pitchers need to do is contract the muscles that hold the Ulna bone tightly against the Humerus bone.

     That makes the Ulnar Collateral Ligament irrelevant.

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0268.  Despite hamstring strain, Parnell could debut this weekend
MLB.com
March 11, 2015

JUPITER, FL: A minor left hamstring strain has sidetracked Bobby Parnell's return to the mound, but the Mets believe their former closer could appear in his first game since Tommy John surgery as soon as this weekend.

Manager Terry Collins said Parnell is as few as "three or four days" away from making his Grapefruit League debut, which was originally scheduled to occur Wednesday. The Mets never expected Parnell to be ready for Opening Day, with his latest setback making that even more of a certainty.

"He's made such great progress, we certainly aren't going to rush him right now," Collins said. "So we backed him down."

Parnell, 30, last pitched on Opening Day 2014, blowing a save and learning the next day that he had a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He underwent Tommy John surgery later in April, and he expects to be back late next month or early in May. Once Parnell returns, the Mets will need to decide if they want to reinstall him as closer or keep Jenrry Mejia in that role.

Despite his hamstring strain, Parnell has been throwing off flat ground regularly at Mets camp. He should return to a mound soon to make his spring debut.

"It's actually getting very close with him," pitching coach Dan Warthen said. "[He's] playing catch and there's no pain right now, so we're getting to that time where we're going to attack the mound again."


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     The article said:

01. "Bobby Parnell last pitched on Opening Day 2014."
02. "The next day that Mr. Parnell learned that he had a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament."
03. "In April 2014, Mr. Parnell underwent Tommy John surgery."
04. "Mr. Parnell expects to be back late next month or early in May."
05. "A minor left hamstring strain has sidetracked Mr. Parnell's return to the mound."

     To prevent injury to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, all baseball pitchers need to do is contract the muscles that hold the Ulna bone tightly against the Humerus bone.

     That makes the Ulnar Collateral Ligament irrelevant.

     All these partially-torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgeries are not necessary.

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0269.  Morton's rare lapse of control calls for adjustments
MLB.com
March 11, 2015

CLEARWATER, FL: Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton knew it would take some time to master his new arm action, to have it feel natural while he's trying to get hitters out.

Wednesday was the first time Morton felt off -- actually, he said, the first time he's ever felt "off" during Spring Training -- but a conversation between innings with pitching coach Ray Searage and special assistant Jim Benedict helped him find his timing again.

Morton gave up a run on two hits and a walk over three innings in the Pirates' 3-2 loss to the Phillies at Bright House Field. He walked Phillies leadoff man, Ben Revere, the final pitch of the at-bat skipping past catcher Francisco Cervelli and all the way to the backstop. He uncorked a wild pitch while facing Ryan Howard, allowing Grady Sizemore to advance to second.

Morton got out of what he called a "brutal" inning without allowing a run, but he was clearly not happy with how he felt on the mound.

"It's a quick fix, but it's kind of what I was actually expecting," he said. "Once I got into games, I thought timing might get a little bit messed up just because of the competition."

That adjustment is a shortened arm action. Morton made the tweak in an attempt to simplify his delivery, making it easier to repeat and therefore making it easier for him to command his pitches.

The change hadn't caused any issues before Wednesday. Morton said his most recent bullpen session was "awesome," in fact. But his arm now travels a shorter path than it used to, and in his second Grapefruit League appearance, he found early on that his arm was getting ahead of the rest of his body.

When that happened, Morton struggled to finish his pitches. As a result, he was "yanking" a lot of flat pitches toward the plate.

Morton fixed the problem between the first and second innings. He gave up a run in the third on two singles, a bunt and a groundout but felt much better about his delivery in his final two innings.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he expects Morton will grow more comfortable with his adjusted mechanics, eventually getting to the point where he can correct himself on the mound.

"I think he'll have checkpoints, and he'll have little reminders. The catcher will also take ownership of it, and he might be able to trot out there and share something. We're going to see more," Hurdle said. "We'll just keep an eye out so we can pick it up early, the catcher can pick it up early.

"Hopefully there'll be a time, and we believe there will be, where Charlie will be able to make those adjustments on his own."


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     The article said:

01. "Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton knew it would take some time to master his new arm action."
02. "That adjustment is a shortened arm action."
03. "Mr. Morton made the tweak in an attempt to simplify his delivery."
04. "The change hadn't caused any issues before Wednesday."
05. "Mr. Morton said his most recent bullpen session was "awesome."
06. "But, his arm now travels a shorter path than it used to."
07. "Me. Morton found early on that his arm was getting ahead of the rest of his body."
08. "Mr. Morton fixed the problem between the first and second innings."
09. "Mr. Morton gave up a run in the third on two singles, a bunt and a groundout."
10. "But, Mr. Morton felt much better about his delivery in his final two innings."

     Did pitching coach, Ray Searage, and special assistant, Jim Benedict, start changing Mr. Morton's baseball pitching motion this spring training?

     They should have taken the entire off-season.

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0270.  Maxline Fastball Sinker

Will you clarify for me which way the baseball seam horseshoe faces when throwing your sinker?

Also, where the tip of the middle finger ends up?

Is in on a seam?

I am having trouble following your write up in your book about the circle of seams on glove side of baseball and run side of middle finger diagonally along the loop until the tip of the middle finger touches the circle.


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     To throw my Maxline Fastball Sinker and Maxline True Screwball, baseball pitchers have to have their pitching forearm