Questions/Answers 2017


     On Sunday, January 08, 2017, I posted the following questions and answers.



0001.  Rear leg typo?

In Q# 932 you wrote: "The rear leg does not push backward. It drives the entire pitching arm side of your body forward without the rear foot off the ground."

Should "without" be replaced with "with?"


     Nope, "without" is the correct word.

     When the heel of the front foot contracts with the ground, the rear side of the pitching arm side of the body moves diagonally across the front knee without the rear foot applying any backward force.

     Whenever people walk and the heel of their front foot contacts the ground, the rear foot is off the ground and moving forward.

     The rear foot starts the rotating of the hips and shoulders forward together over their front foot to aim the acromial line at the strike zone, not push backward.


0002.  Rear Foot

I'd like to explore the role of the rear foot in your pitching motion. Pitchers can only apply as much force toward home plate as they can apply toward second base.

Is Sir Isaac Newton happy with you?

You seem to be making a point lately that pitchers stop applying force toward home plate with their rear foot once the front (glove) foot heal touches the ground. Thinking through this it seems self-evident that you would no long apply force toward second base once the glove foot lands, but it seems to me that you don't want any type of force applied toward second base with the rear leg at any time.

I suspect the laws of Applied Anatomy (Shoulder Joint Plioanglos muscle contraction) are overruling Sir Isaac, but wouldn't less power toward second base with the rear leg eventually effect the velocity toward home plate?

Do you still want a power walk off the pitching rubber?

Are you saying that you don't want any effort to "kick" the front leg forward?

I want to make sure I'm not missing a message here.


     The pull back of the front forearm to the front shoulder is mioanglos, not plioanglos.

     I do not want any front foot 'kick,' I want the heel of the front foot to contact with the ground.

     The heel of the front foot propels the forward rotation of the hips and shoulders together.

     When I realized that if my baseball pitchers were to power walk off the rear foot, then they would prevent the hips and shoulders from rotating which is necessary for aiming the acromial line at the strike zone.

     The two forces that my baseball pitchers need for aiming their pitching arm down the acromial line at the strike zone are the powerful pull-back of their front forearm back to the front shoulder and the powerful stabile pull backward that rotates the pitching arm side of their body diagonally forward in front of the front knee.

     In addition to aiming the acromial line at the strike zone, I want my baseball pitchers to always be within the same distance from the baseball such that my baseball pitchers are able to maximally apply force to the release of their baseball.

     Without changing the force that my baseball pitchers are able to apply, my baseball pitchers increase their velocity from 5 to 8 mph at release.

     If you read the 1971 study of the acceleration curve of my three camera views, you will find that when I bent forward at the waist, I realized that I have not bent forward, I would have increased my release velocity 5 to 8 mph.

     It is in my 1971 study.

     Unfortunately, when I lost 24 degrees of my pitching elbows ranges of motion due to releasing my breaking pitches (slider) over the top of my Index finger, instead of releasing my breaking pitches under the Middle finger, I lost those release velocity.

     An orthopedic surgeon studied the difference ranges of extension and flexion in the pitching elbow versus their non-pitching elbow in the minor league pitchers in the Cardinal organization. They found that all these baseball pitchers lost 8 degrees of extension and 8 degrees of flexion ranges of motion.

     Banging the olecranon fossa against the olecranon fossa destroys the pitching elbow. If you do not believe it, how many bone spurs do 'tradition' baseball pitchers suffer.

     The general manager of the New York Mets said that nearly all of their baseball pitchers eventually suffer bone spurs.

     My baseball pitching motion eliminates bone spurs and increases release velocity.

     It is time for someone to understand the difference between Pectoralis Major muscle and the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     'Traditional' baseball pitching coaches prohibit their baseball pitchers from mastering my baseball pitching motion.

     I am the only professional baseball pitcher that used the Latissimus Dorsi muscle and that is how I pitched 208 innings in 106 appearances and 27 innings in 13 consecutive games.


0003.  What does the rear leg do after the heel of the front foot lands?

So, with your sentence construction you are saying, the rear foot stays on the ground when the heel of the glove foot lands.

That is confusing to me.

I would think you would not want to drag the back foot.


     Instead of "Rear leg typo," I wrote a new question:

     What does the rear leg do after the heel of the front foot lands?


     The back foot starts to move forward.

     Think of the phases of walking.

     My baseball pitchers start with the heel of the front foot landing.

     What happens after the heel of the front foot lands?

     The answer: The rear leg has to move forward.

     In the Marshall pitching motion, the acromial line has to point at the strike zone.

     If the rear foot pushed backward, then my baseball pitchers will be not able to aim the acromial line at the strike zone.


0004.  Marshall's Training Video

I got your video.

Thank you so much.

I'll have plenty of questions, but will want to watch it a few times before I ask them.

I was struck by how clean his pitching motion is.

1. Are you planning on having him start with his front foot in front of the rubber on all pitches?

2. Is he planning on pitching with these mechanics in games?

3. Is there supposed to be audio in the video?

I can barely hear you at times. It might be my old computer.

I loved his warmup routine.


01. My baseball pitchers are able to have their front foot in front of the pitching rubber or behind it.

     However, when my baseball pitchers have their front foot behind the pitching rubber, they try to use the rear leg to move their body forward, which will prevent aiming their acromial line at the strike zone.

02. I like the set position.

     Everything is smooth and powerful.

03. I provided the list of what my baseball pitchers need to perform every day.

     Get to work.


0005.  Former local pitcher returns to help with pitching clinic as young players learn basics
The Seymour Tribune
December 17, 2016

Winter sports are in full swing, but last week the boys of summer gathered at Seymour High School to work on pitching techniques during the school’s third annual winter pitching camp.

Over 50 youths used Christmas break to learn more about pitching from two teachers that know a thing or two about throwing from the mound.

Zack Brown, a 2013 graduate of Seymour and pitcher in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, and Elvis Hernandez, Seymour’s pitching coach that spent time in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, led the two-day camp that focused on exercises and techniques last week in the school’s auxiliary gymnasium.

The camp is organized by the high school team to help build excitement for the sport and to give youth something to focus on to improve their skills.

Jeremy Richey, Seymour High School varsity coach, said he thinks the camp is always a great way for kids to remain interested in baseball, learn some techniques and get to spend some time around a professional pitcher.

“It’s a good time to get kids to throw a little bit over break, and some of them will start practice with their travel clubs after the first of the year and it kind of gives us a chance to show them some things they can do on their own,” he said. “It kind of gets them moving and thinking about baseball.”

Richey said the camp also serves as an opportunity to get young players interested in pitching, something the program needs each season because of its size and schedule.

“The goal is to get as many kids able to pitch as possible and to progress them as they go through,” he said. “We’re really excited about this year because we are incorporating some of the drills our high school kids do.”

Those drills include strength training that uses heavy balls and plyo balls.

Richey said the team is teaching the kids the exercises without the weighted balls so they can get the experience and then build up to using heavier balls.

“As they keep getting older, they have done these drills and when they reach that level, they can use the heavier balls to increase some strength in areas they haven’t had before,” he said. “That will incorporate what we do and help them when they’re older.”

Brown played for Richey and is a pitcher in the Milwaukee Brewers organization and recently finished up his first year in professional baseball. He also left the University of Kentucky a year early to pursue a professional career.

In a couple of weeks, Brown will fly to Arizona to meet with his farm director and work out with trainers at they Brewers’ athletics complex outside Phoenix for five days. Then spring training will begin, and he will find out where he will be assigned at the conclusion.

Some of the drills and techniques Brown will work on in Arizona are the very ones he shared with participants in the camp. “They’re starting to use velocity training here at the high school and, honestly, the things I’m showing these kids are the same things I’m doing in my offseason program,” Brown said. “These kids are throwing early, and it’s going to be better for them, and just the main thing I want to show them is the routines and mechanics of pitching.”

Brown said he thinks the winter camp is a great for Seymour’s baseball program because it shows excitement for baseball during the offseason.

“That’s a huge thing for these kids,” he said. “It’s fun because every kid is different and you have to deal with each of them differently, and it’s fun to help them with something I love and see that they love baseball too.”

Richey hopes the kids enjoy working with Brown because of his ability to pitch professionally.

“I hope that’s pretty cool for them,” he said. “For them to work one-on-one with him is something that’s pretty special, and I think it really validates what we’re doing.”

Christopher Pumphrey of Seymour, 6, had a simple reaction to learning from Brown.

“It was really cool,” he said between drills. Pumphrey said he enjoys playing.

Eli Reasoner, 8, also seemed to be taking in the experience of learning from professional pitchers.

“It’s awesome,” he said before returning to the drills.

Richey said Hernandez also is an important piece of the pitching camp.

Hernandez, originally from the Dominican Republic, pitched in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, making it up to AA Springfield before a career-ending injury.

“There’s no doubt he would have pitched in the big show (MLB) if he would not have been injured,” Richey told kids at the end of the first session.

Hernandez said he looks forward to the camp each year because baseball is what he loves and it is a great way to help kids in the community learn more about the sport he loves.

“It’s my passion, and it’s helping my community,” he said. “So the same thing they did in my country, I want to bring it here.”

Hernandez said he wants kids to be introduced to the mechanics of pitching early and they need to use them to get improve.

He only requests a few simple things from each participant.

“The only thing I ask them is to work hard and do what you need to do and you will be all right,” Hernandez said. “I think they also need to have fun.”

This year, the National Federation of High School Sports set regulations on pitch counts and rest.

The rule is if a player pitches 120 pitches, he must sit out for four or five full days of rest. Richey said the new regulations will not affect his team because they sit players out longer than what they’ve been regulated to do.

“If they pitch that much, we rest them for a week,” he said.

Richey said he was uneasy about the thought of NFHSS limiting the pitch count to a certain number, such as 100.

“At 100 pitches, if somebody is throwing well, they can still be effective shortly thereafter,” he said. “They cut it off at 120, so for us it changes nothing, and that’s something I’m proud of because the way our staff treats the arms on our team.” This has been a practice in the program for some time.

Richey recalled a game during Brown’s senior season when he could have used him in a big game at the end of a week, but he had let Brown go over 100 pitches earlier in the week.

He did not use Brown in the second game, to the surprise of a reporter in Columbus.

“He was surprised, but I told him I wasn’t going to do that to a kid,” Richey said.

Richey said he hopes the kids had fun at the camp and most importantly that they learned something to use on the mound.

The professional pitching experience will lead to more fastballs on diamonds throughout the area at the lower levels.


     The article said:

01. "Over 50 youths used Christmas break to learn more about pitching from two teachers that know a thing or two about throwing from the mound."
02. "Zack Brown, a 2013 graduate of Seymour and pitcher in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, and Elvis Hernandez, Seymour’s pitching coach that spent time in the St. Louis Cardinals organization, led the two-day camp that focused on exercises and techniques last week in the school’s auxiliary gymnasium."
03. "The camp is organized by the high school team to help build excitement for the sport and to give youth something to focus on to improve their skills."
04. "Jeremy Richey, Seymour High School varsity coach, said he thinks the camp is always a great way for kids to remain interested in baseball, learn some techniques and get to spend some time around a professional pitcher."

     They can have all the pitching clinics and they would continue to destroy baseball pitchers of all ages.

     Until baseball coaches understand how to release their breaking pitches under the Middle finger, baseball pitchers will destroy their elbow.


0006.  Rehabbing Dodgers pitcher to train in Japan
Yonhap News
January 03, 2017

SEOUL, Jan. 04 (Yonhap): Los Angeles Dodgers' left-hander Ryu Hyun-jin will continue his rehab from elbow surgery in Japan, his agency said Wednesday.

Seoul-based A-Spec Corp. said Ryu will depart for Okinawa on Friday to set up camp with his former Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) teammate, Hanwha Eagles' right-hander Jang Min-jae.

"Ryu will be working out on his own for three weeks," the agency said. "He wants to get into better form before leaving for Arizona in late January."

Ryu, who made his big league debut in 2013, has appeared in just one game over the past two seasons due to injuries. He missed the entire 2015 season after a shoulder surgery in May that year. He returned to action on July 7 last year against the San Diego Padres, but was touched for six earned runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. That would be the only start he'd make in 2016, as lingering pain sidelined him again.

Ryu then underwent a left elbow debridement procedure in September, with hopes of joining the Dodgers' spring training at 100 percent.

The former KBO MVP won 14 games in each of his first two major league seasons as the team's No. 3 starter behind two Cy Young Award winners, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.

Ryu, 29, signed a six-year, US$36 million deal before the 2013 season. He is under contract through 2018 but can opt out in 2017 if he pitches 750 innings combined from 2013 to 2017. He's stuck at 344 innings.


     The article said:

01. "Ryu Hyun-jin underwent a left elbow debridement procedure in September."
02, "Mr. Hyun-jin has hopes of joining the Dodgers' spring training at 100 percent."
03. "Mr. Hyun-jin won 14 games in each of his first two major league seasons as the team's No. 3 starter behind two Cy Young Award winners, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke."

     Until Mr. Hyun-jin learns how to release his breaking pitches under the Middle finger, Mr. Hyun-jin will continue to debride his elbow.


0007.  Rotation durability is key to a Nationals' World Series run
January 04, 2017

The Washington Nationals disappointed many with their failure to make a deep playoff run. But, that was partially due to injuries late in the season including catcher Wilson Ramos and pitcher Stephen Strasburg. They were both huge blows to the Nationals World Series hopes.

If the Nationals want to make a World Series run in 2017, they will need Strasburg, as well as the rest of their rotation, to remain healthy.

In 2016, the Nationals rotation was loaded with elite arms such as now two-time Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer and lifelong National Stephen Strasburg. However, Strasburg suffered a devastating elbow injury mid-season.

His elbow woes were a huge blow to the Nationals World Series aspirations, starting only 24 games in 2016.

It was the second straight year that Strasburg couldn’t crack 25 starts. He’s struggled to stay on the field. Whether it’s his workload, his offseason training, his training staff, or even if he’s just unlucky, Strasburg has to be healthy enough to crank out at least 30 starts, and pitch in the postseason. He isn’t the only Nationals starter who’s health is key to their 2017 success.

Fellow righty Joe Ross is another key component to the Nationals success.

Last year Ross got off to a hot start, looking like one of the game’s best young arms, but then injury hit, which kept him of the field for over two months. When he returned he was okay, but not great. He never pitched at or over six innings in his return. He also didn’t show up in a big way in his postseason start against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Ross surrendered four earned runs in just 2.2 innings pitched. His absence from the field was a big reason for his postseason struggles and, in order to pitch well next Fall, he needs to remain healthy.

Ross’ ability to stay on the field is just as crucial as Strasburg’s, especially when you take into account the mega-deal the Nationals made at this year’s Winter Meetings.

At the 2016 Winter Meetings, the Nationals made a very controversial deal for Chicago White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton. Eaton is a more than serviceable outfielder, who is on a very team friendly deal, but the package the Nationals had to surrender for him was very alarming.

They dealt top pitching prospects Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez, as well as Dane Dunning. Was Eaton worth a package of that magnitude? Probably not, but the Nationals felt that they needed to get another outfielder, and they did just that. But, they’re now in a very worrying situation with their rotation.

While the Nationals rotation will feature the same five as last year (Scherzer, Strasburg, Roark, Gonzalez, Ross), the Nationals are now forced to ponder whether Strasburg and/or Ross will undergo yet another injury which could be detrimental to a deep postseason run.

If that does transpire, the Nationals would have to turn to either A.J. Cole or Erick Fedde (who hasn’t yet made his major league debut) to take their spot in the rotation. An injury to Strasburg or Ross could put the Nationals in the same worrying predicament as last year.


     The article said:

01. "In 2016, the Nationals rotation was loaded with elite arms such as now two-time Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer and lifelong National Stephen Strasburg."
02. "However, Strasburg suffered a devastating elbow injury mid-season."
03. "Mr. Strasburg's elbow woes were a huge blow to the Nationals World Series aspirations, starting only 24 games in 2016."
04. "It was the second straight year that Strasburg couldn’t crack 25 starts."
05. "Mr. Strasburg has struggled to stay on the field."
06. "Whether it’s Mr. Strasburg's workload, his offseason training, his training staff, or even if he’s just unlucky, Strasburg has to be healthy enough to crank out at least 30 starts, and pitch in the postseason."
07. "Mr. Strasburg isn’t the only Nationals starter who’s health is key to their 2017 success."

     Until Mr. Rizzo takes the orthopedic surgeons out of the clubhouse and hire me, the Nationals will continue to suffer.


0008.  Searage: 'I'd say no' to Pirates pitchers asking about WBC
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
January 04, 2017

Ray Searage isn’t anti-World Baseball Classic, per se. He’d just prefer it if none of his pitchers participated.

That’s what Searage, the Pirates’ pitching coach, said on Wednesday. Maybe Jameson Taillon took his advice.

“I am not one of the guys that is in favor of the WBC. And the reason being, I’ve seen it over the years before on guys cutting short their rest periods for the winter and their workout routines and speeding it up,” Searage said.

“Now, this doesn’t hold true for everybody. It’s just in my opinion, I just think that you’re speeding up the process and that you’re leaving yourself open to an injury during the season, because now all of a sudden instead of April where you’re firing off, now you’re firing off in March, which is a couple of weeks before you should be.”

Makes sense; the Olympics are an issue for NBA and NHL teams, and the WBC is ... not the Olympics. No sense in jeopardizing the bigger prize for a tournament still in the “we’re forcing ourselves to care about this” stage.

Plus, Searage has been burned here before; back in 2013, Jason Grilli (Italy) and Wandy Rodriguez (Dominican Republic) pitched in the WBC and wound up on the disabled list with arm issues during the season. Ironically, Rodriguez’s forearm tightness in June cleared the way for Gerrit Cole to make his debut, and Gerrit Cole is better than Wandy Rodriguez, but ... point taken.

“I think it’s great for baseball. I really do,” Searage said. “It’s like that Catch-22 thing, you’re danged if you do and danged if you don’t. If [any] of my pitchers asked me, I’d say no.”

Even though starter Ivan Nova (Dominican Republic) and reliever Felipe Rivero (Venezuela) seem like potential candidates, the most obviously relevant name would be Taillon. Despite growing up in suburban Houston, Taillon’s parents are Canadian, which gives him dual citizenship and eligibility to pitch for Canada.

Taillon cashed in on that four years ago, allowing one earned run in one four-inning start. He was a prospect then, though; now Searage and the Pirates need a whole bunch out of him. Taillon went 5-4 with a 3.38 ERA in 104 innings as a rookie last season and figures to start 2017 as their second starter.

He’s not going to participate this time around, though; in 2014, he had Tommy John surgery and pitched more than 165 innings overall last season. That’s a significant injury history and a significant workload bump, and it’s enough to keep Taillon away, as he told Jon Morosi on Nov. 29. His coach must be pleased.


     Pirates baseball pitching coach, Ray Searage, said:

01. “I am not one of the guys that is in favor of the WBC."
02. "And the reason being, I’ve seen it over the years before on guys cutting short their rest periods for the winter and their workout routines and speeding it up.”
03. “Now, this doesn’t hold true for everybody."
04. "It’s just in my opinion."
05. "I just think that you’re speeding up the process and that you’re leaving yourself open to an injury during the season, because now all of a sudden instead of April where you’re firing off, now you’re firing off in March, which is a couple of weeks before you should be.”

     At least Mr. Searage admits that he has only an opinion, not a fact.

     Mr. Searage does not know what the Latissimus Dorsi muscle does.


0009.  CIAC hones new pitch-limit rules
Meriden Record-Journal
January 05, 2017

CHESHIRE: The CIAC baseball committee has adjudicated on a pitch-limit rule for the state’s high school pitchers that goes into effect this spring.

A chart that metes out the number of days’ rest required per number of pitches thrown in a given outing was the focal point of the committee’s directive.

A pitcher will be able to pitch on successive days if his pitch allotment is 25 or below. If it ranges from 26 to 50, one calendar day or rest is required.

For 51 to 75, two days of rest are necessary. Three days will be compulsory if the pitcher throws from 76 to 110 and five are mandatory should he throw more than 110.

Veteran Sheehan baseball coach Matt Altieri, who has studied the issue thoroughly, is among the multitude who approve of the ruling. However, he believes there are intangibles to diminishing arm injuries that simply counting pitches does not address.

“It’s not just the amount of pitches,” Altieri said, underscoring the conditions and mental strain under which a pitcher is throwing. “If he throws 30 pitches in the first inning, does a team give him rest by scoring a few runs or do they go out 1-2-3 and he’s right back out there? It can be a whole different 30 pitches. It’s not just the number of pitches, it’s the intensity.”

Altieri has read the book by Jeff Passan entitled, “The Arm: Inside the Billion Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports.” Altieri also cites the opinion of former scout Paul Reddick: that poor mechanics rather than overuse are at the core of the issue.

Altieri said offering his advice to the CIAC committee has been futile.

“I didn’t think we needed legislation beyond what we had, the outs limit,” he said. “I think that was restrictive enough.”

The rule in the CIAC’s 2016 tournament packet states: “The pitcher may not pitch more than 10 innings in any three consecutive calendar days. To determine the eligible number of innings that a pitcher may pitch on game day, total the number of innings pitched during the two previous calendar days and subtract from 10. Ten innings are equal to 30 outs.”

The new rule accounts for only legal pitches. Throws as a result of batted balls, warm-up pitches or pitches that are considered illegal — when timeout has been called, for instance — will not count. Pitchers will be allowed to complete the process of pitching to a batter should the pitch limit be surpassed during the plate appearance.

Pitch counts in games that are subsequently stopped – for weather, darkness or forfeit purposes, for example — will be applied to the rule.

Coaches will be required to list the pitchers who are unavailable per the pitch-limit rules on the back of the lineup card exchanged with the opposing coach and umpire-in-chief prior to each game. The use of a pitcher deemed ineligible by this rule will result in a forfeit.

CIAC baseball tournament chairman Fred Balsamo has corroborated Altieri’s conviction that medical findings, which led the National Federation of High Schools to sanction the measure, are behind the sweeping decision.

“A lot of this is coming from national research that is being accumulated with the medical profession,” Balsamo said.

“Research indicates more shoulder and arm surgeries, but it’s not specific to high school athletics. I’d like to think, especially in Connecticut, that we do not have as significant a problem as statistical data would indicate. Connecticut doctors tell us they’re doing more than ever before, but we don’t regulate American Legion or if a kid gets into fall league, not just because of what he did in high school.

“If you overthrow all year, sooner or later you’re going to need surgery.”

Teams are responsible for counting their own pitches, which ostensibly opens the door to manipulation, seeing that a pitcher who throws 49 pitches must rest for one day, but if he throws 51 must rest for three.

Altieri said the integrity of the coaches he knows, primarily those around the SCC, are beyond reproach.

“We have a pitching chart that we use. We keep it specifically to coach the kids, things I like to do to instruct our pitchers on how to manage a game,” he said. “Is it ripe for the possibility of cheating? The answer is yes, but I have faith in coaches. We have a culture in our conference where you just wouldn’t do that to another coach.”

The CIAC regulation indicates that pitch-count disagreements will not be addressed on a per-inning or per-game basis and shall only affect the following game on the schedule. The CIAC requires a spread-sheet tally at the end of the season with the notation of pitch counts and days of rest for the purpose of further evaluating the rule.

The rule acknowledges the integrity and common sense of state coaches in its question-and-answer segment where it states, “In Connecticut there is no maximum pitch count per day because we have faith in our coaches to protect and preserve the safety and welfare of the baseball athletes.”

The procedure is also expected to be observed in sub-varsity games.

The CIAC ruling is less stringent than the one enacted in October by the American Legion for its Senior Division (19 and under).

Beginning this summer, the Legion will prohibit pitchers from exceeding 120 pitches in a single day. The cap for Junior Division hurlers will be 105. In both cases, pitchers surpassing those totals will be permitted to finish an at-bat.

Throwing 1-45 pitches on a given day will necessitate one day’s rest. From 46-60 will require two days’ rest, 61-75 three days and 76 or more four days.

According to a Legion press release, its rule mirrors the one sanctioned by USA Baseball in its Pitch Smart mission.

Pitch Smart follows the recommendations of its advisor, noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews, the founder of American Sports Medical Institute.


     The article said:

01. "Veteran Sheehan baseball coach Matt Altieri, who has studied the issue thoroughly, is among the multitude who approve of the ruling."
02. "However, he believes there are intangibles to diminishing arm injuries that simply counting pitches does not address."
03. "Mr. Altieri has read the book by Jeff Passan entitled, “The Arm: Inside the Billion Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports.”"
04. "Mr. Altieri also cites the opinion of former scout Paul Reddick: that poor mechanics rather than overuse are at the core of the issue."
05. 'Mr. Altieri said offering his advice to the CIAC committee has been futile."

     Until these gentlemen learn how to release their breaking pitches under the Middle finger, nothing else will save baseball pitchers of all ages.


0010.  Blue Jays brass hoping third time's a charm for Floyd
January 05, 2017

The Toronto Blue Jays have re-signed right-handed pitcher Gavin Floyd to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, Floyd, 34, is working his way back from a partially torn lat muscle that ended his season early last year in late June. Prior to his injury, Floyd pitched well for the Blue Jays, posting a 4.06 ERA with 30 strikeouts and eight walks in 31 innings of work out of the bullpen.

The question with Floyd has never been about talent, it’s been about whether his arm can make it through the grind of a big league season. Since undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2013, Floyd has only pitched in 98 2/3 innings. While he’s posted a solid 3.10 ERA during that span, he’s also been plagued by more injuries, including a fracture in his elbow and shoulder issues.

Even as a short reliever, you have to wonder if Floyd’s arm is capable of making it through a full season. Based on how determined Floyd is to come back, I’d say he plans on throwing until his arm falls off, or until doctors tell him he can’t pitch anymore. You have to admire his tenacious desire to keep pitching, but if you’re the Blue Jays, you can’t expect much from Floyd. If you get 40 quality innings this year, great. But they could also get nothing from him.

Despite that possibility, I think it’s fair to say that Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins are big fans of Floyd’s and they firmly believe he can make a comeback. After all, they have signed Floyd in each of the past three offseasons (with Cleveland in 2015 and Toronto in 2016 and 2017).

Overall, it’s another low-risk, high-reward move, which is something I think fans are tired of hearing, but, hey, at least we have some Toronto Blue Jays news.


     The article said:

01. "The question with Gavin Floyd has never been about talent."
02. "It’s been about whether his arm can make it through the grind of a big league season."
03. "Since undergoing Tommy John surgery in May 2013, Floyd has only pitched in 98 2/3 innings."
04. "Mr. Floyd has posted a solid 3.10 ERA during that span."
05. "Mr. Floyd has also been plagued by more injuries, including a fracture in his elbow and shoulder issues."

     The only thing that orthopedic surgeons can do is cut.

     One off-season with me and Mr. Floyd will pitch without pain or injury.


0011.  How will Lance Lynn hold up?
St. Louis Post Dispatch
January 05, 2017

Lance Lynn scoffs at the mention of an innings limit. He dismisses the notion that his surgically repaired elbow will deter him from daring opponents to hit the fastball everyone knows is coming. Lynn is back, and his edge has only been sharpened during his recovery from the Tommy John surgery.

A case can be made that the Cardinals missed Lynn's bite last season. They certainly missed his production and durability. Did I mention it's a contract year for him? He has plenty of motivation -- and one major concern. Tommy John surgery always creates an unknown.

Lynn said recently that his throwing program was going great. It should help that it's been more than a year (November 2015) since he went under the knife. Proving he has regained his pitch control would be a great spring-training sign.


     The article said:

01. "Lance Lynn scoffs at the mention of an innings limit."
02. "Mr Lynn dismisses the notion that his surgically repaired elbow will deter him from daring opponents to hit the fastball everyone knows is coming."
03. "Mr. Lynn is back, and his edge has only been sharpened during his recovery from the Tommy John surgery."

     To prevent injury to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres muscle contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent injury to the bones in the back of elbow, baseball pitchers need to release their breaking pitches under the Middle finger.


0012.  Lifting for Baseball Pitchers?

1) what, if any, lifting can help a pitcher?

2) what type of running, if any, should a pitcher do?


     My Wrist Weight exercises and heavy balls to throw is all that baseball pitchers need to lift.

     Jogging one and one-half miles in twelve minutes is all that anybody needs.


0013.  Heavy Ball?

1. So, with the heavy ball drills should I just replicate what you are doing now with the wrist weights?

2. Pitchers don't squat when they pitch. I realize it's not weight bearing squats but why did you add them to your warmup routine?

3. How long did it take him to get to this skill level?  It is really amazing how smooth he looks. He doesn't even remotely bring his arm beyond his Acromial Line during the Preparation Phase or at Release.


01. To throw the heavy balls, throw them on the ground with old carpet and have someone throw them back.

02. As long as they are not bouncing up and down with only their body weight gently, baseball pitchers are able to squat beyond the horizontal once.

03. The gentleman practiced with me for four days in December 2015 and again for four days in December 2016.

     When he had questions, he would send me emails.

     Imagine if we were able to teach them every day.


0014.  Arm Rotation without Wrist weights

The young man does arm rotations without wrist weights and does many of them quite aggressively.

In one instance, he does some wrist weight exercises, takes the wrist weights off, does some more overhead rotations then continues his wrist weight exercises.

1. Are these arm rotations something new?

2. I'm assuming it's for blood flow, but what is the purpose of the free form arm rotations?

3. Is he using 20 lb. WW's?


     We start by practicing the 'Slingshot.'

     The 'Slingshot' has the upper arm vertical with the forearm horizontal behind the elbow at forty-five degrees from pointing at home plate.

     To perform the 'Slingshot,' we throw the forearm inward practicing.

     I call the action, 'horizontal rebound.'

     We gently strain the tendon of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle over several years.

     We start without the wrist weights and minimum intensity and gradually increase the intensity.

     When my baseball pitcher is ready, he straps on the wrist weights and with minimum intensity and gradually increase the intensity.

     The 'Slingshot' action uses the 'horizontal rebound,' the 'force-couple' and the 'pronation snap' release.

     My baseball pitcher has moved up from 15 lb. wrist weight.

     When I trained, I built up to 30 lb. wrist weights and stayed there from 1972 on.



     On Sunday, January 15, 2017, I posted the following questions and answers.



0015.  Wrong Foot Slingshot

On the Wrong Foot sling shot drills why do you wait until the pitching arm side foot lands before you extend your elbow?


01. The Wrong Foot body action teaches my baseball pitchers to use the front foot to pull and drive the pitching arm side of their body across the front of the front foot. Landing on their rear foot gives my baseball pitchers time to aim their acromial line at the strike zone.

02. The No Glove Foot Step body action teaches my baseball pitchers how far forward they have to be to drive the pitching arm side of the body across the front of the front foot. Not landing on their rear foot gives my baseball pitchers less time to aim their acromial line at the strike zone.

03. The Front Foot Heel Strike body action teaches my baseball pitchers that they have to immediately rotate their hips and shoulders forward together. The immediate driving of their rear arm side of their body aligns the acromial line with the strike zone.

     We only teach two pitching and glove arms actions: Slingshot and Pendulum Swing.

     Hopefully, my drills teach my baseball pitchers to never push back with the rear leg.


0016.  Dr. Wright did nothing with the research

You are right.

Eric and I were just visiting about this over the weekend. He has compiled statistics showing that in 2016 24% of all MLB pitchers lost days of work due to injury. MLB owners wasted over $300,000,000.00 in pitchers salaries over the lost days of productivity. About one third of all pitching time lost to injury was due to UCL injury alone!!!

If a particular industry TRULY needs solutions to lost productivity, it is the MLB pitching industry for sure. Eric has estimated that 90% of the pitching injuries that occur at the MLB level could be 100% prevented by employing your principals! He has tables and stats he has compiled that he can provide for you if you wish. He just started a new day job this week so he is a little pre-occupied now. But he is still working with Winchester during the evenings and working with young pitchers during the weekends.

If any business is ripe for a total paradigm shift in it's thinking, it's Professional Baseball Pitching Instruction. If I were an MLB owner, I would be searching high and low every day to find ways to keep my pitching staff healthy! A healthy pitching staff would add literally millions of dollars to each teams bottom line without doing anything else!


     When baseball pitchers lose the extension range of motion, it means that they are banging the olecranon process into the olecranon fossa.

     To prevent banging the olecranon process into the olecranon fossa, baseball pitchers need to learn how to 'horizontally sail' the square Lid.

     In 1967, I learned how to prevent banging the olecranon process into the olecranon fossa.

     In 2017 (50 years), we have to start a total paradigm shift.

     If one owner were to understand the problem, then all owners would understand the problem.


0017.  Front of shoulder pain

I have a college pitcher about a week into your training.

He's using 10 lb. WW and 6 lb. IB.

He's had the normal discomforts, but he reports that the discomfort in the front of his shoulder is pretty significant.

I've told him to continue training at a reduced level if necessary.

I show a picture where he points to the discomfort. I'll guess Subscapularis or Deltoid.

Is there any chance this could be the attachment of his Latissimus Dorsi muscle?


     The glove foot is the same as the front foot.

     The rear foot indicates the pitching foot.

     When the heel of the glove foot lands, my baseball pitchers have to use the Pectoralis to move the upper arm forward, then upward and the Latissimus Dorsi muscle 'locks' the upper arm in front of the acromial line.

     At no time should my baseball pitchers allow the upper arm to move behind the acromial line.

     The cause of this young man's front of the shoulder pain is because he is using the rear foot to push backward.

     When the heel of the glove foot lands, my baseball pitchers have their rear foot off the ground and the entire pitching arm side of their body moves across the glove foot.

     This is the problem that I explained about walking.

     The rear foot never pushes.

     Instead, the front foot pulls the body forward.


0018.  Is it finally time for Dylan Bundy to shine in Baltimore
Fanrag Sports
January 07, 2017

If he wasn’t before, Dylan Bundy is definitely a member of the Baltimore Orioles’ starting rotation now.

The Orioles traded starter Yovani Gallardo to the Seattle Mariners on Friday for “outfielder” (more reasonably designated hitter) Seth Smith, freeing up space in the rotation for whoever was credibly on the outside looking in — probably Bundy, who has done his most effective work in the majors as a relief pitcher, and was competing for a job in the rotation with the likes of Wade Miley, whose services the Orioles have somewhat inexplicably prioritized retaining.

Ubaldo Jimenez, Gallardo, and Miley were a spectacularly unimpressive back of the rotation in 2016; adding Bundy in there instead at least gives Orioles fans the faint hope of upside to hang their hats on.

Gallardo’s time in Baltimore was a disaster from the beginning — another late-winter signing the Orioles made at the hypothetical lowest point of his value that somehow didn’t even manage to clear the basement-dwelling expectations that come from being the fourth pitcher in one of the worst rotations in baseball. He started the year throwing five or six miles per hour slower than he had the year before in Texas, and never really got his effectiveness back across his trips to the DL and rehab stints in the minor leagues. It may be that he finds success in Seattle that he never found in Baltimore; it’s probably not a coincidence that Gallardo stopped being able to throw strikes around the same time he became an Oriole, as Baltimore’s pitching staff led the AL in walks surrendered last year and was near the top of the league in 2015 as well.

But with his departure, Bundy will be pretty much guaranteed a shot in the rotation no matter what happens in Spring Training, barring injury. This is more or less something Orioles fans have been anticipating for a comically long time; Bundy made his major league debut in 2012 during Baltimore’s improbable romp toward the postseason, pitching 1.2 innings in relief at a dazzling upper-nineties velocity with a fastball that moved all over the place (if not with the greatest command in the world). Then he disappeared for three years into the minors, needing Tommy John surgery, coming back from that, and never throwing very much at all — only 41.1 IP in 2014 and 22 in 2015.

When he finally made his way back to the majors in 2016 — he had to, as he was finally out of minor league options and he had to either be on the major league roster or designated for assignment — he was a bit of a different pitcher. He threw a bit slower and no longer threw the slider he had been fooling around with in 2012, though he continued to not show the greatest command; his 3.4 BB/9 wasn’t atrocious — it was positively heartening next to Gallardo’s 4.7 and Jimenez’s 4.6 — but combined with a less electric fastball than he’d had when he was drafted, it left Bundy feeling less like the super-phenom Orioles fans had dreamed on when he was selected and more like a solid, comfortable, reliable (but never great) middle-of-the-rotation starter.

The thing is, Orioles fans would do unspeakable things to ensure their team was capable of routinely turning out middle-of-the-rotation starters again. The last reliable starting pitcher the Orioles developed from draft to the majors before either Bundy or Kevin Gausman (presuming they make good on the promises of their 2016) was Erik Bedard in 2007, whom they immediately traded to the Mariners for the building blocks of their current roster. Before that, you have to go all the way back to Mike Mussina. Mike Mussina, you might be aware, is currently eligible for the Hall of Fame, and it’s not his first year on the ballot. Most younger Baltimore fans only know him as a New York Yankee. It’s almost been a full generation since the Orioles were able to capably turn draft picks into good starting pitchers.

So Bundy is probably not going to become an ace. The safe pick for what he’ll do next year is something like 160 IP, 4.00ish ERA, which should be a 105-110 ERA+. Even odds on whether that relatively low innings total is due to injury or overprotection by manager Buck Showalter, but Bundy’s jump to 109.2 IP last year was huge and it’s not reasonable to expect he doubles that next season.

But, if he does become an ace, it’ll probably be because there will be a new pitch in his arsenal next season — a new pitch which is actually a very old pitch. When Bundy was drafted, his best single pitch was his cut fastball…which the Baltimore organization immediately forbade him to use. The thinking of then-pitching director Rick Peterson was that the cutter was both unsafe on the arm and inhibited the development of a prospect’s four-seam fastball, both of which are opinions well outside the bounds of normal belief in the industry. This bizarre dictate was what prompted Dan Duquette to famously and bafflingly denigrate the cutter as just “a fastball that moves” — which is true! The cutter is a fastball that moves! That is, in fact, the entire point of the pitch. And as Mariano Rivera showed, if you’ve got a great cutter, you can get away with not having a great anything-else.

Peterson, thankfully, parted ways with the organization earlier this offseason, and what do you know, Bundy’s now talking about working the cutter back into his pitch selection. Will it be what turns Bundy from a question mark into a solid MLB rotation fixture? We’ll have to wait and see on that. But he’ll have the chance now to make his impact, and if the Orioles want to head back to the postseason, Dylan Bundy will have to make the most of it.


     As long as Dylan Bundy releases his breaking pitches over the top of his Index finger, Mr. Bundy will always have elbow injuries.


0019.  Tigers' Zimmerman reportedly throwing pain-free
Detroit Free Press
January 07, 2017

Last season, it was Anibal Sanchez.

This season, the ‘X’ factor of the Tigers’ starting rotation is Jordan Zimmermann.

And at this point of the winter, the veteran right-hander is throwing pain-free, according to a report from MLB Network’s Jon Paul Morosi earlier in the week.

Morosi reported Zimmermann, who was hampered by a myriad of injuries last season – most notably a right neck strain that kept him shelved for the majority of the second half – has been throwing long toss at 180 feet.

Zimmermann, 30, is entering the second year of a five-year, $110 million deal signed last off-season. If he pitches to his capabilities and stays healthy, the Tigers should boast one of the best starting rotations in the American League.

In 2016, Zimmermann had a career-worst season, in all aspects. He hit the 15-day disabled list for the first time since undergoing elbow ligament reconstruction surgery in 2009 and posted a 4.87 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in 19 games (18 starts).

It was revealed at the Major League Baseball winter meetings in early December that Zimmermann received neck injections this off-season from a specialist recommended by team trainer Kevin Rand, to block the areas that pained him last season.

“He’s feeling very good right now and so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that that carries into spring training, into the season and that fixes everything,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said at the time.

So far, so good, apparently.

With Zimmermann, the team will have a top three of Juston Verlander, Michael Fulmer and Zimmermann, followed by Daniel Norris and a trio of pitchers competing for the final spot in the rotation. If he can bounce back to anywhere close to his form last April – when he won the AL Pitcher of the Month Award – the team will be in good hands.


     As long as Jordan Zimmermann releases his breaking pitches over the top of his Index finger, Mr. Zimmermann will always suffer elbow injuries.


0020.  Sadlet healthier, working way back from surgery
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
January 10, 2017

BRADENTON, FL: Standing on a sun-splashed field at Pirate City, Casey Sadler glanced at the scar on his right elbow and tried not to think about what he missed last season.

Racked by injuries and ineffectiveness, the Pirates burned through 32 pitchers from April to October. Five guys made their big league debuts. Twelve made at least one start. Even backup catcher Erik Kratz tossed an inning as a reliever.

It would have been a perfect spot for Sadler, who made seven outings for the Pirates in 2014-15, to help out. He couldn't, though, because he spent the entire year rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

“It was difficult, knowing there wasn't anything I could do to try to contribute,” Sadler said. “But it was really cool to see those young guys come up and get their opportunities.”

On Tuesday, the second day of the team's voluntary minicamp, Sadler fired 20 fastballs off the mound during a bullpen session. He also threw some changeups and sliders on flat ground.

“I'm really pleased,” Sadler said. “I'm just trying to take it easy and get my timing back, not doing anything crazy. I'm definitely ready to get back into things.”

Two other pitchers in minicamp — Brandon Cumpton and Angel Sanchez — also are trying to come back after Tommy John surgeries.

Sanchez threw his first post-op bullpen session Tuesday. Cumpton, who had a shoulder operation after his elbow work, is not ready to pitch off a mound.

“It would've been great to have (Sadler and Cumpton) last year,” general manager Neal Huntington said.

Sadler last pitched in a competitive game June 21, 2015, when he was with Triple-A Indianapolis. His numbers at that time — 4.22 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and a 1.92 strikeout-to-walk ratio — were OK, but he was bothered by persistent forearm soreness.

In July 2015, Sadler saw specialist Dr. James Andrews and got a platelet-rich plasma injection. When Sadler tried to resume pitching six weeks later, the pain returned. He had reconstructive surgery in October and sat out last season.

Sadler does not regret his decision to have the surgery.

“Physically, I haven't felt this good in a very long time,” Sadler said. “I pitched with a bit of discomfort for a while, so it was nice to get it fixed. Mentally, I struggled a little bit right after surgery, which I think everybody does when you go from playing to ‘Holy crap, I'm in a cast.' But you take it day by day, do what you're supposed to do, and get through it.”

Sadler and his wife have a house near Bradenton, which made it easier for Sadler to cope with the drudgery of his rehab. “At the end of every (workout) day, I checked out,” Sadler said. “My rehab was done, so I went home and did normal, everyday stuff. That made it go pretty good.”

Sadler participated in Instructional League last fall and worked his way up to throwing a full bullpen session, using all of his pitches. After taking a couple of weeks off, he began a throwing program in minicamp.

“I've been pretty much the only one here at Pirate City the last 3 1?2 weeks,” Sadler said. “It's nice to see some of the guys and catch up.”

If all goes well the next couple of weeks, Sadler will throw live batting practice in late February. He hopes to pitch in at least a couple of Grapefruit League games near the end of spring training.

“All I can do is show them I'm healthy,” Sadler said. “If they need me, they'll let me know. You can't really look too far ahead.”

Still just 26 years old, Sadler will begin next season in the minors to work off the rust. Although he worked as a starter before his injury, Sadler now figures in the Pirates' plans as a reliever.

“Whatever they need, I'll be there,” Sadler said. “I'll be ready, and my body will be ready.”


     To prevent injury to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, Casey Sadler needs to pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres muscle contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.


0021.  Keuchel, McCullers say arm feels good
Houston Chronicle
January 10, 2017

The health and performances of Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers could be the key to the Astros' 2017 season. Perhaps it's fitting, then, that the two have spent the offseason as workout partners.

They have been mainstays at Minute Maid Park since November, running, lifting and, more recently, throwing in preparation for spring training.

Most importantly for the Astros, both starting pitchers, whose 2016 seasons ended prematurely, on Tuesday reported "feeling good" as they ready their arms for the coming season. A level of uncertainty will surround them until they prove their health in games, but each sounds confident the injuries he dealt with last season are in the past.

"I've been telling some of the guys it kind of feels weird to actually feel good," said Keuchel, who missed the final five weeks of last season because of a shoulder injury. "First time in a long time that I feel 100 percent, and that's just exciting. And I know Lance feels the same way."

Keuchel is two weeks into his offseason throwing program, having on Dec. 27 thrown for the first time since he was shut down in early September, an unceremonious end to a struggle-filled season in which he had a 4.55 ERA in 26 starts. The 29-year-old lefthander's current routine calls for catch every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. He plans to increase his throwing to four or five days a week as the calendar creeps closer to February and then to a daily basis by spring training.

Keuchel said he will probably throw his first bullpen session around Feb. 1, giving himself a full two months to build up his arm for the start of the season on April 3. Pitchers and catchers report to the Astros' new facility in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Feb. 14, with their first workout scheduled for the following day.

McCullers said he hopes to have at least three to four bullpen sessions under his belt by the start of spring training. An elbow sprain cost him the final two months of last season, though by late September the hard-throwing righthander had progressed enough to pitch in a simulated game.

Now a full-time Houston resident, the 23-year-old McCullers began his offseason throwing program about three weeks ago. He said he is "feeling strong" and that "nothing's bothering me" physically.

"We're kind of just progressing like a normal offseason," he said. "Good to go."


     To prevent shoulder injuries, Dallas Keuchel needs to turn the back of his upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate his hips and shoulders forward together over his glove foot.


0022.  McCullers preparing for 2017 through 'normal offseason'
San Antonio News-Light
January 10, 2017

Despite finishing last season on the disabled list because of an elbow sprain, Astros righthander Lance McCullers on Tuesday described his current training regimen as that of a typical offseason.

McCullers said he began his throwing program about three weeks ago. Although he didn't make a start after Aug. 2 last season, he did progress to the point of throwing off the mound in late September, in bullpen sessions and in a simulated game.

Now living full-time in Houston, McCullers has since the start of November worked out at Minute Maid Park with fellow starter Dallas Keuchel and second baseman Jose Altuve.

"Feeling good. Feeling strong. Nothing's bothering me," McCullers said Tuesday after working out with the two aforementioned teammates as well as pitching prospect David Paulino. "We're kind of just progressing like a normal offseason. Good to go."

McCullers said he's hoping to throw at least three or four bullpen sessions before spring training. Astros pitchers and catchers report to the team's new facility in West Palm Beach, Fla. on Feb. 14 with the first official workout scheduled for the following day.


     As long as Lance McCullers releases his breaking pitches over the top of his Index finger, Mr. McCullers will always suffer elbow injuries.


0023.  Maness a trailblazer? New surgery for elbow repair cut recovery time
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 11, 2017

When Seth Maness shut his eyes before a surgeon opened his right elbow, the former Cardinals reliever was not sure what awaited him on the other side of sleep. The troublesome ligament in his throwing arm had to be fixed and a complete reconstruction would mean missing an entire season.

He went under unsure.

He woke up a potential trailblazer.

Maness is a week away from returning to the mound and expects to be ready for opening day, just 7½ months after surgery, because Dr. George Paletta performed a repair that could eventually prove to be an alternative to Tommy John surgery for select big-league pitchers. Until the St. Louis-based orthopedic surgeon saw inside Maness’ elbow, he wasn’t sure if Maness was a candidate to be the first established major-league pitcher to receive the new procedure, Paletta said.

Now, the doctor and his patient are eager to watch as Maness’ first time toeing the rubber could be, in their words, “a significant step forward” for the industry. Another doctor who performs the repair surgery, Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, said there is “cautious optimism.”

“It was a game-time decision,” said Maness, a free agent. “I’m going into it sort of expecting Tommy John and hoping for the other one. You go from looking at missing a whole season to possibly being back at the start of the year — that’s a big relief. When Dr. Paletta told me, it was like this little ray of light: There’s a chance.”

Maness, 28, completed three sets of throws at a distance of 90 feet on Friday in the John Burroughs School gymnasium. He is scheduled to take the mound next week for the first time since his Aug. 18 surgery. He has been encouraged by how his arm feels at every stride in his rehab, which is accelerated from the usual Tommy John timetable. The Cardinals did not offer him a contract in early December, making him a free agent — one of the leading groundball relievers now available to any team. Sooner than expected.

The surgery Maness had, called “primary repair,” doesn’t have the sexy name. It doesn’t have the brand recognition of Tommy John. But it also doesn’t have the lengthy recovery time of its famous forefather. It is a repair and buttressing of the existing ligament at the bone, not Tommy John’s reconstruction of the ligament. The scar Maness has on the inside of his right elbow is the familiar arc of a Tommy John recipient. (Two of the Cardinals’ five starting pitchers have the same scar.) And the medical code assigned by Major League Baseball to Maness’ profile for interested teams is the same as Tommy John. As a result, so are the assumptions about the righthander’s availability for 2017. The surgery he had is too new to have its own code.

“It has that potential to be big,” Paletta said.

“People are watching this and it’s an interesting thing for all of us,” said Dugas, a managing partner at the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala. “There is a lot that we need to learn from Seth, a lot that we need to learn from all of the guys (who have had it). We need the data. There are still so many hurdles to go over, but we’re excited to watch what is going to happen because of what is possible. We’re going to follow him very closely.”

“Everyone in baseball should be following this,” said Jeff Berry, Maness’ agent and co-head of CAA baseball. “He was an outstanding major-league reliever. He was hurt in 2016, was never right. He has this surgery and he needed the ligament repaired, but he’ll be ready for spring training, not out for the entire season. Imagine that. Think about the economic impact that has for the game. Think about what it means to his career.”

'Scary Little Thing'

Tommy John, pioneered by Dr. Frank Jobe and named for the first big leaguer to receive it, is a complete reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament using a graft. Since its first use, in 1974, Tommy John has been improved but remained largely unchanged as it became the industry standard for treating tears of the UCL. The year absence required for rehab has become as familiar and commonplace in baseball as the one-inning closer and interleague play.

Major League Baseball has been unnerved in recent years by a spike in Tommy John surgeries. By 2015, the proliferation of Tommy John, or TJS, was referred to as an “epidemic,” and baseball commissioned a study to understand why the rate of elbow injuries had increased at all levels the game is played, including high school. In 2014, 31 major-league pitchers had UCL reconstruction – twice as many as the average from the previous decade. Its ubiquity in the game led to misconceptions, prompting the American Sports Medicine Institute to stress how “10 percent to 20 percent of pitchers never make it back to their previous level after Tommy John surgery.”

Major-league pitchers know this reality well.

They sense it with every twinge.

“It’s that scary little thing. It’s always in the back of your head,” Maness said. “You know anything in that area and automatically you want to avoid assuming any elbow pain is it. Because, oh man, it’s a career. Today, it’s not a career-ender, but really for a reliever it throws a little wrench into the scheme of things. I’m expendable. Things can happen.” Paletta, a partner at The Orthopedic Center of St. Louis, is one of the nation’s leading Tommy John surgeons, with around 600 performed. He has done many of the Cardinals’ elbow reconstruction surgeries of this era, and this winter the team announced that he would return as its Head Orthopedic Physician. That came a few months after Maness’ surgery. Maness gave Paletta permission to speak to the Post-Dispatch about the specifics of his surgery. 'The Right Pitcher'

About two years ago, Paletta also started doing the “primary repair” option for elbow injuries that qualified. He has performed more than 50 of these surgeries, and he is working on a paper about his findings. There have been no failures, he said. Dugas, at Dr. James Andrews’ practice, performed his first “UCL repair with internal brace construction” in August 2013. Dugas has done around 150 of these surgeries and does not know of one that had to be redone or led to Tommy John.

For both surgeons, the average time of recovery has been 6½ months instead of Tommy John’s 12 months or more. Paletta said 32 of the pitchers who he helped with a “primary repair” surgery have now pitched two seasons since the procedure.

Mitch Harris and Maness are two of the three pitchers with major-league experience who qualified for and received the alternative procedure. Dugas described how the surgery has advanced cautiously from prep players to college players and for it to make this next leap to a major-league pitcher “it has to be the right pitcher, the right situation.”

“In select cases of UCL tears, with this technique, they have the real potential to not miss the next year,” Paletta said. “This is potentially a huge stride forward in three ways. First, early results show a high success rate. Second, a return to play is cut by 40 percent. That’s a huge factor. We are able to accelerate the return-to-throwing (rehab) program for the athletes. With this technique at the end of 2016 we have a pitcher who is ready to pitch in games by opening day.

“And the third way,” Paletta continued, “as a consequence of this, in the right setting, one would feel more confident moving to surgery early on.”

Paletta had to see during surgery the condition of Maness’ ligament before being certain he did not need complete reconstruction. The integrity of the tissue is essential, and sometimes a big-league pitcher’s aged and worn ligament can be as solid as wet toilet paper. The location of the tear is also an indicator for “primary repair.” A rupture in the middle of the ligament requires Tommy John. But if the tear is at either end of the ligament, where it attaches to a bone, then the “primary repair” is possible.

The “UCL repair with internal brace construction” – its full clunky name – begins with repairing the ligament and anchoring to the bone. A bracing system is then constructed out of tape to help promote healing in the area. That’s the recent advancement, one made possible by Arthrex tape. Paletta said he and others are borrowing from procedures used to repair ankles and knees to address an injury in the elbow. The clear benefit of this “primary repair” is that it addresses the native ligament, and thus doesn’t require a graft and the time that takes for a rebuilt ligament to assimilate.

“We’re repairing the existing ligament and reinforcing it with a scaffold that provides increased strength for healing from time zero,” Paletta said. “From the get-go.”

That also allows for a quicker return to pitching.

'The Maness'

Three weeks ago, Paletta cleared Maness to begin throwing. For Tommy John pitchers, the long toss program is eight to 10 weeks. For Maness, it was four. Tommy John pitchers won’t begin their throwing program until five months or more after surgery; Maness started four months after surgery. Lance Lynn missed all of last season recovering from November 2015 Tommy John surgery, and he and Maness are both expected for opening day.

From 2013-15, Maness was one of the leading strike-throwing relievers in the majors. Of the 178 relievers in that time who had at least 100 appearances, Maness ranked seventh in walk rate (4.4 percent) and third in double-play rate (12.91 percent). He led all relievers by stranding 144 of the 215 runners he inherited.

The next closest was 91.

Throughout 2016, however he felt his arm sag and his results follow. He watched “as my game just slowly fizzled away,” Maness said, and blamed his mechanics until the damage in his right elbow was discovered. Paletta outlined several options for him – and one was the dreaded Tommy John, the vaporization of a year, and the uncertain future. The other was a mouthful, a surgery that didn’t have the snappy name but offered the possibility of a quicker return.

With each throw, Maness is helping baseball study the new technique’s potential.

It just needs a catchier name.

“Does he need Tommy John,” Berry suggested, “or a Maness?”


     As long as Dr. George Paletta prefers to cut, Seth Maness will always suffer elbow injuries.

     To prevent injury to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, Seth Maness needs to pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres muscle contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.


0024.  Front Foot Heel Strike Body action

What is the difference in action and purpose between your Front Foot Heel Strike Body action and your No Front Foot Step Body action drills?


     With the Front Foot Heel Strike, my baseball pitchers move their Front (glove) foot forward and land the heel.

     With the No Front Foot Step, my baseball pitchers start with their Front Foot already in place.

     My baseball pitchers have to keep the distance from the pitching rubber to the proper heel landing distance.

     If my baseball pitchers step farther or push off the rear foot, then they will not be able to aim the acromial line at the strike zone.



     On Sunday, January 22, 2017, I posted the following questions and answers.



0025.  Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Dr Marshall. I hope you enjoy your day.

Do you ever reflect on the fact that a kid from a small town like Adrian MI could pretty much single handedly find a way to eliminate all baseball pitching injuries and save countless children so much needless pain?

Aristotle called it a life well lived.


     When throwing breaking pitches baseball and the baseball pitchers use the Pectoralis Major muscle to pull their pitching arm along a curved pathway, all of those baseball pitchers will bang the bones in the back of their elbow and destroy their elbow.

     That means almost 100% of baseball pitchers throwing breaking pitches will destroy their pitching elbow.


0026.  Phillies prospect Anderson draws attention after arm surgery
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 12, 2017

There will be no pitcher in Phillies' camp this spring with less professional experience than Drew Anderson, a Tommy John survivor who has not yet graduated from A-ball or earned a passing mention on the myriad prospect rankings consumed by the modern baseball follower. Anderson has pitched just 70 innings since a surgeon opened his right arm, 70 innings that were enough to convince the Phillies he must be added to the 40-man roster.

Evaluations from both inside and outside the organization pegged Anderson as one of the better arms in a deep system. One scout from another club saw Anderson's fastball reach 97 mph and sit in the mid 90s with decent command. Internal scouting reports grouped Anderson as one of the better arms in a deep system, said Joe Jordan, the team's director of player development.

"Some guys," Jordan said, "have him as our best guy."

Not until the Phillies protected Anderson from the Rule 5 draft did the 6-foot-3 righthander understand his place.

"Just hearing that, it caught me by surprise," Anderson said. "I had no idea what my potential was."

Anderson, who turns 23 in March, is far enough from the majors to render any projection volatile. Bad things can happen to young pitching prospects, especially young pitching prospects with a history of arm trouble. But the arduous recovery from Tommy John surgery can force a man to reevaluate everything; Anderson said he matured mentally and physically during the process.

The results, albeit in a brief period, showed. He posted a 2.70 ERA in those 70 innings (15 starts) with 78 strikeouts and 22 walks across single-A Lakewood and Clearwater. He improved as he distanced himself from the surgery and climbed levels.

Scouts from other organizations noticed and put Anderson on a short list of possible Rule 5 draftees. The Phillies were well aware; Jordan said the debate on whether to protect Anderson was nonexistent.

Anderson, a 21st-round pick in 2012 from Galena (Nev.) High School, was regarded as a decent control pitcher before the surgery. He hurt his elbow in June 2014, and the Phillies attempted to fix it with conservative treatment. He came to spring training the next year, felt more pain in his elbow, and knew what was next. Anderson underwent Tommy John surgery on April 2, 2015 — "I remember it because I didn't want it on April Fool's Day," he said — and entered the solitary life of a rehabbing pitcher.

Barred from throwing, he gained strength elsewhere.

"I think I did legs every single day," Anderson said. "I was squatting a lot. I'm outside all the time, hiking and mountain climbing. My legs are real strong."

Anderson lives in Reno, Nev., and Lake Tahoe is a 30-minute drive. That is where he sometimes found refuge. But most of his rehab time was spent in Clearwater, at the Phillies' training complex, under the watchful eyes of team athletic trainers.

The surgery, Anderson said, provided some needed motivation. The odds of achieving his ultimate goal were longer. He embraced the grind of rehab, the 6 a.m. alarms for monotonous workouts.

"I think they noticed that," Anderson said.

He spent some of his free time watching baseball. "I started evaluating myself," Anderson said. "I watched pitchers. I watched batters. I learned the game, more than just learning pitching." The pitcher he liked to analyze most was Jacob deGrom, the young Mets' pitching star, a Tommy John survivor himself.

Anderson lived in the low 90s before his surgery; better conditioning and improved lower-body strength helped him add velocity in 2016. He is likely ticketed for a return appearance at single-A Clearwater in 2017, with a chance to crack double-A Reading and the crowded rotation depth chart the Phillies have in their upper minors.

"I'm excited to see what big-league camp is about," Anderson said.

His time there will be short, but Anderson has yet to celebrate the two-year Tommy John anniversary, and so much has happened since. Now he's on the radar.


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injury, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres muscle before, during and after the acceleration phase.


0027.  Mets not sure what to expect from Harvey
The Record
January 15, 2017

It's one of those lazy, perfect afternoons in spring training that comes straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting - sunny, warm and full of hope. That's what everyone dreams about when they hear January's three most-blessed words: pitchers and catchers.

But don't be fooled. The setting in Port St. Lucie, Fla., will be anything but laid back on the day Matt Harvey takes the mound. The Mets are awaiting the verdict on just how far the Dark Knight has progressed in the six months since surgery to correct symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

To say the organization is curious barely covers it.

No pitcher in camp will be more closely scrutinized than Harvey, starting with the first time he throws in the bullpen. He'll graduate to live batting practice 10 days after and if all goes well, the former ace will appear in a Grapefruit League game in mid-to-late March.

The blueprint is fluid, however, because like everyone else, the Mets have no idea what to expect. That includes Harvey himself, although he recently cited progress, telling ESPN, "The ball is coming out really good right now ...; obviously I don't have a crystal ball. (But) the way things are feeling now, the way the body feels, I'm feeling great."

Harvey has already been given a clean bill of health; the surgery was a clinical success. Dr. Robert Thompson removed Harvey's uppermost rib, which has relaxed the muscles that were constricting a nerve bridging the neck and shoulder. As a result, not only does Harvey's delivery feel freer, he's regained the feeling and warmth in his right hand, which had gone numb at times last summer.

That's great news for everyone. You don't have to be a Mets fan to root for Harvey to resume his career - the entire industry prospers when a super nova gets back on his feet. But there's a wide gap between Harvey returning to the rotation and actually resurrecting his 2013 arsenal.

And therein lies the mystery: No one really knows what's in store in 2017, if only because his injury is so rare in baseball. Unlike the data points that can guide a pitcher through recovery from Tommy John surgery, Harvey is on his own rehabbing from TOS. Remember: The Dark Knight is missing a rib. His torso has essentially been reconstructed. Harvey has to prove he's durable for 30 starts.

These are important questions for a hurler who'll be a free agent in just two more years. The right-hander earned a modest raise from the Mets on Friday, avoiding arbitration by settling on a $5.125 million deal, up from $4.325 million last year. But given his injury, Harvey can almost certainly forget about a long-term contract before he tests the market in 2018.

And until then? Since the Wilpon family has to find the money to lock up Noah Syndergaard and a presumably healthy Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz in the same time-frame, there's a compelling argument to trade Harvey before he bolts. Don't think the possibility hasn't occurred to the front office.

But none of these scenarios can be explored until the Mets get a better read on how Harvey's shoulder responds to repeated stress. Even if he has an injury-free spring, more important tests await. Will Harvey still have the arm-speed to launch that swing-and-miss slider that terrorized hitters in 2013? Will he ever find that high-90s four-seam fastball again?

And what about his demeanor on the mound? Harvey was more than just an opening-day starter - he made the Mets feel invincible. The Dark Knight was vain and egotistical, but he had the blow-away stuff to back up his blinged-out personality.

Harvey's descent brought out another side of him, too. He hid from the media after getting destroyed by the Nationals last May and turned down all interview requests in the days after. Harvey was no leader at that point; he just looked small and frightened. The Mets had to pressure the right-hander to grow up and face the public.

We'll see if Harvey carries himself differently now. His career has yet to take off the way he imagined, which might explain his immaturity last summer - the Dark Knight wasn't wired to explain failure. One season later, Harvey has to know the Mets have moved on.

It's Thor's explosive fastball that carries them now. That and deGrom's proven skill to pitch without his best heat. If Matz can stay healthy and Zack Wheeler is ready as well, the Mets will consider any contribution from Harvey as a bonus. Not a necessity.

The Dark Knight is returning to a lower profile and the muted expectations, even though Scott Boras says, "We expect him to come back and be the Matt Harvey of old." That's what agents are paid to say. It would've been news had Boras said anything to the contrary.

It's the Mets who are painting a truer picture. When asked about Harvey's ceiling in 2017 and beyond, GM Sandy Alderson said, simply, "We don't know."


     To prevent nerve injuries through the Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, baseball pitchers need to aim their pitching arm down their acromial line.


0028.  Boras: Sanchez 'can be one of the most prominent Blue Jays in history'
January 16, 2017

Scott Boras joined Bob McCown and Elliotte Friedman on Sportsnet 590 The FAN’s Prime Time Sports on Monday evening to discuss his new client, Toronto Blue Jays' starter Aaron Sanchez.

Boras, the well-known MLB player agent and president of the Boras Corporation, represents several top young pitchers including Stephen Strasburg, who signed a seven-year, $175 million extension with the Washington Nationals prior to the 2016 season.

“The fortunate aspect of Toronto and Aaron Sanchez is that he’s very young and very talented,” Boras said, giving particular attention to the potential that the Blue Jays have organizationally, especially with Sanchez. “They are one of the top six or seven franchises in the game. They have have success, they have an ownership structure, and they have a 40-million fan base.”

Sanchez, 24, overcame a potential mid-season move to the bullpen in 2016, pitching 192.0 innings in the regular season and an additional 11.2 in the playoffs. This increased workload from his previous career totals could be an even bigger part of the conversation with Boras entering the equation.

Matt Harvey's career is a prominent example of Boras' involvement when it comes to inning totals, and the friction that created with the New York Mets is well documented. Boras did cite the Mets, who he believes were forced to push their bevy of young pitchers beyond their ideal workloads due to the "mandate of winning" in recent seasons.

Unlike some other agencies, the Boras Corporation has built a complex set of data and guidelines for handling young pitchers based on the input of medical professionals and experts in the field.

"We collect this information, meet with doctors, do a lot of research, and then our job is to share that information with the teams. Frankly, it's been received very well by ownership and everyone involved because I think everyone wants the best available information and in this case... it's not an opinion that's based upon anything from our offices, it's a collection of medical expert opinion we've provided. We've put the doctors on the phone with the teams, we have discussions."

Though Boras would not reveal any details on potential negotiations with the Blue Jays on a possible extension, he did say that the two sides sat down for a long discussion after Sanchez joined his agency.

"Aaron Sanchez has the tools to be someone who can be one of the most prominent Blue Jays in history," Boras said. "He has that kind of ability, and we certainly want to do everything we can to build the foundation to allow that to happen."


     Scott Boras has no idea.

     Nearly 100% of professional baseball pitchers release their breaking pitches over the top of their Index finger.

     When baseball pitchers bang the olecranon process into the olecranon fossa, they destroy their pitching elbow.

     Nearly 100% of my baseball pitchers release their breaking pitches under the Middle finger.

     When baseball pitchers do not bang the olecranon process into the olecranon fossa, they do not destroy their pitching elbow.


0029.  Cartwright to miss season after second surgery
Baton Rouge Advocate
January 17, 2017

LSU head coach Paul Mainieri confirmed that his team will be without right-handed reliever Alden Cartwright this season. Cartwright was a long shot to compete after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the spring. But he needed additional surgery on his shoulder this fall.

"He's definitely out for the season," Mainieri said. "He had Tommy John surgery last April, and then as he was doing his rehab, his shoulder was giving him trouble, so he had to have surgery on his shoulder."

This means that the Tigers will start the season with a 34-man roster, one under the NCAA maximum. That doesn't concern Mainieri.

"Last year we went through the season with 33 or 32 guys," Mainieri said. "We rarely have an entire 35-man roster because of injuries or a guy deciding to transfer in the middle of the year. I'm not overly concerned with it. I think we've got enough players and quality personnel to be able to compete favorably during the season."


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injury, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres muscle before, during and after the acceleration phase.


0030.  deGrom hoping that 2017 is year all Mets starters stay healthy
January 17, 2017

Will 2017 finally produce a starting rotation with all five of the Mets’ heralded pitchers? Jacob deGrom, a big part of that group, is intrigued as anyone else.

“We love to go out there and compete, we’re all very good friends,’’ deGrom said Tuesday from DeLand, Florida, where he has been throwing for several weeks after late-season surgery to move the ulnar nerve in his right elbow. “We’re all rooting for each other. We’re definitely excited. Hopefully this is the year that happens."

DeGrom, 28, said he is healthy and expects a normal spring training routine when pitchers and catchers report Feb. 13. He had surgery last September after experiencing elbow pain and numbness in his fingers.

“I’ve been throwing for five or six weeks now,’’ he said. “The plan is to be off the mound a couple of times before spring, then I think just a nice and easy introduction to a slope and then be ready to go when spring training is here."

Getting all five in the same rotation has been elusive. Matt Harvey is coming back from shoulder surgery. Steven Matz had what was termed a “massive’’ bone spur removed from his left elbow and also had a cranky shoulder. Noah Syndergaard pitched with a bone spur in his right elbow. Perhaps the biggest question mark remains Zack Wheeler, who has missed the last two years with setbacks in his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

Seth Lugo, who was 5-2 with a 2.67 earned run average in eight starts last season, could start the season in the rotation with Wheeler working in the bullpen.

Of the numerous injuries, deGrom said, “I think it’s obvious and we don’t need to talk about it. Harvey going down, Wheeler trying to recover from Tommy John. It’s like, man, can we catch a break? I think everybody wants to stay healthy but we haven’t been able to. Hopefully this is the year that we do. It’s just wishing everybody the best and hoping that they’re healthy for this year."

DeGrom recently agreed to terms with the Mets on a 2017 salary of $4.05 million.

“Yes I was happy with it,’’ he said. “If we wouldn’t have been happy with it then I think we would have been going to arbitration. It’s tough being injured and then going into your first year of arbitration not having a complete season and then going to try to say you’re worth this amount. That makes it difficult having been hurt. Definitely as a starting pitcher you have to reach 162 innings to even qualify for the ERA, what was I at, 148? That’s considered not a full year for a starter so I definitely think that was a factor. I knew that going in."

The Mets righthander went 7-8 with a 3.04 ERA and 143 strikeouts in 148 innings last season.

DeGrom said he wants to remain with the Mets long term and is open to discussing a multi-year deal.


     Unless Jacob deGrom learns how to release his breaking pitches under the Middle finger, Mr. deGrom will continue to suffer.


0031.  Hefner retires from baseball
The Oklahoman
January 17, 2017

Jeremy Hefner is ending his comeback.

After spending last season in Triple A trying to make his way back to the major leagues following two Tommy John surgery, the right-handed pitcher from Perkins-Tryon officially retired Tuesday evening.

Hefner, 30, announced his decision on Facebook. He said he’s dealing with a partial tear in his rotator cuff that may require surgery.

Hefner starred at Perkins-Tryon before playing at Seminole State College and Oral Roberts.

He was selected in the fifth round of the 2007 draft by the San Diego Padres, but he broke through to the majors with the New York Mets. From 2012-13 he made 50 appearances — 36 starts — and went 8-15 with a 4.65 ERA over 224 1/3 innings.

After missing 2015 due to his elbow surgeries, Hefner signed a minor league contract with St. Louis for 2016. He spent the season with Memphis and went 3-6 with a 5.25 ERA in 18 starts.


     Unless Jeremy Hefner learns the Marshall baseball pitching motion, Mr. Hefner is better off quiting.


0032.  Kopech hit 110 MPH during his first max-velocity workout of the year
January 17, 2017

When the White Sox acquired Michael Kopech as part of the package for Chris Sale, they knew they were getting a pitcher with a blazing fastball. Kopech usually sits at 96-98 mph and can even hit triple digits.

They probably weren't expecting 110 mph, though.

Now, sure, he wasn't throwing off a mound, but: a) it's Jan. 17, so still a month away from when pitchers and catchers report;
b) it was still over four MPH faster than any throw in the Majors this year; and
c) it's still 110 mph!

Plenty to dream on there Sox fans.


     The only way that Michael Kopech is able to add 12 mph is to rotate the hips and shoulders over his glove foot.


0033.  Tommy John: Baseball, parents have wrong when it comes to preventing arm injuries
Hartford Courant
January 17, 2017

Former Yankees pitcher Tommy John sees how Major League hurlers are reined in today, often having seasons or important games cut short as preventative measures against arm injuries.

He envisions how that sort of innings limit scenario would be a flashpoint instead of a solution for him.

"If they would have told me that, I would have had a fist-fight with my manager," John, the former manager of the Bridgeport Bluefish, said recently. "My job was to pitch, and I pitched."

John, now 73, is speaking as more than just an old codger of the sport defending the toughness of his generation.

He has perhaps the ultimate soapbox on the topic. Under different circumstances, John might be best remembered as a great pitcher. Instead, he is the face and name of perhaps the most famous procedure in the history of sports.

Tommy John surgery.

It's an operation that replaces the damaged ligament in a pitcher's elbow with a tendon from his opposite forearm.

John was the pioneer subject of that surgery, in 1975. He was pitching for the Los Angeles Dodgers at the time and went on to have a long and successful career afterwards.

Today the procedure is commonplace, even approaching status as simply the price to pay for strong, young flame-throwers advance in their careers.

But it doesn't have to be, and John sees it as part of his responsibility to help steer the sport away from such damage.

John implores parents to not let their young children throw year-round and to stop seeing travel baseball, which he sees as having taken over the game, as a ticket to college scholarships and a pro career.

"Let your kid be a kid," John said. "Let them have fun. Your arm can only take so much, even if you're an accomplished pitcher."

Once a prospect approaches that maturity level, John advocates building up young arms, then maintaining them with a capacity workload. It means teaching youngsters the craft of pitching — not necessarily airing it out at 100 mph — and then letting the natural strengthening process take hold through a regular workload.

"If I want to train for a marathon, I don't train by running 100-yard sprints," he said. "I train by running miles. I call what baseball is doing now the public school system of baseball. They are dumbing it down. Throw a lot. The more you experience, the stronger your arm will get. The stronger your arm gets, the better you'll pitch."

John isn't advocating any course he didn't follow. He tossed 207 innings for the Dodgers in 1976, the year after returning from his surgery.


     Tommy John threw side arm with a dip at the end.

     Mr. John also released his breaking pitches over the top of his Index finger.

     I thought of teaching TJ my pitching motion, but I can't see TJ pronating his elbow.


0034.  Pronated Curve Ball

Wow, I thought it was the arm falling away that made it look like your curve ball was released at an upward angle. I don't recall you ever saying any pitch was thrown at an upward angle.

1. Is your screwball also released at an upward angle?

I try to look at your material as objectively as possible.

At frame 6:06 Jeff releases his curve ball. At 3:09 he releases his fastball. These are side views.  If he releases his curve ball at an upward angle then it looks like his fast ball is also released at an upward angle.

2. Is your fastball released at an upward angle?

I am a big fan of your lid throws. You want pitchers to throw the lids the entire distance from the pitching mound to home plate.

3. I never took note of this but are the lids release at an upward angle to reach home plate?

4. Getting back to your curve ball, is this a conscious teach to tell pitchers to release your curve at an upward angle to throw it in the strike zone?


     I am the only baseball pitcher that threw the Maxline True Screwball.

     The Maxline Pronation Curve that Jeff threw needed eight feet high release.

     I teach that my baseball pitchers release every at the highest strike height.

     I included the side view with 500 frames per second to see whether my baseball pitchers aligned their acromial line.

     Jeff rotated his hips beyond perpendicular, but the shoulders rotation lacked Front forearm pull-back.

     Next time, how about the front view of the 500 frames per second for the quickness of the pronation action.


0035.  My Former College Baseball Pitcher has data

I recently threw a bullpen with Trackman technology. This measures the spin rate, spin efficiency, spin axis, and miles per hour.

Here are my numbers:

torque fb at 81.2 mph and 3254 rpms (spin rate) Sinker at 69.1 and 3577 rpms
4 seam fb at 86.7 and 3083 rpms
Curve ball 68.7 mph 3471 rpms

I topped out at 87.3 mph

I'm fine with these numbers considering I was throwing at 8:30 a.m on a small indoor mound with no one around and zero adrenaline.

The hardest I've ever thrown in a bullpen is 87 mph The hardest I've thrown in the game is 95 mph.

My spin rates on my pitches are through the roof though.

Especially the maxline Curve and torque fb.

How do I add more spin on my fastballs and curve ball?

Will the fastball spin rate go up as the miles per hour increases?

The average fastball in the major leagues currently is 93 mph and 2226 rpms

The average curve ball is 78 mph and 2307 rpms

My goal is to top out at 88-89 next Bullpen.

What are your thoughts?


     The only variable I have not seen you do is throwing the heavy ball.

     You need to Middle Fingertip spin the heavy ball whenever you are able for thirty minutes every day.

     In addition, I would throw the heavy ball when I threw my pitches; Torque Fastball, Maxline Fastball, Maxline Pronation Curve and Maxline True Screwball, 12 pitches at time.

     Like with the 'horizontally rebounding,' you need to start the heavy ball gently.

     Jeff Sparks said that he did not have the Middle finger from every angle power he needed until he threw the 15 lb. lead ball.

     Like throwing the football to master the rotation for the four basic pitches, you have to master the four pitches with the heavy balls.

     You should start with the Torque Fastball, then the Maxline Fastball, then the Maxline Pronation Curve and then the Maxline True Screwball.

     Don't forget to use athletic tape to wrap the heavy ball and make a high seam with rolled up tape that enables a tight grip with the four releases.


0036.  Appropriately Sized Footballs

I have been practicing the first drill in your sequence of five.

Most of my throws are sticking in the strike zone.

How should I determine what is an appropriately sized football to learn your pitching grips?

If you are amenable to it, I can also send you video of me performing the drill, so you can analyze whether or not I am ready to graduate to the footballs.


     The size of the football for the rotation drills depends on the size of the hand.

     Give me your address and I will send you a disk to follow.


0037.  How to learn the Marshall pitching motion

This is very much how I and Eric trained.

I have told students that they can go online and read your entire doctoral thesis if they chose, or they can do the digested version.

You have digested the training portion to the point it does not "feel" overwhelming to pitchers.


     Leave the thinking aside, teach what they see.

     Do what the disc shows our baseball pitchers?

     You guys are able to copy my disc.

     I know that I have sent you the drills, but I want every baseball pitcher to read it.


0038.  How to 'lock' the upper arm

Seems to me that if a pitcher rushes the motion, he cannot achieve lock and thereby greatly reduces the use of his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to accelerate the ball.

If a pitcher:

(1) properly times his pendulum swing with his glove foot walking step forward (not racing off or over-striding);
(2) keeps his weight back sufficiently to effect "stand tall and rotate"; and
(3) drives his back hip and pitching knee forward he will allow enough time for the arm to pendulum swing down, back and up and achieve "lock".

This position will allow the pitcher to maximally use his core muscles, Latissimus Dorsi, and Triceps.

Is that correct?


     You are right on the button.

     Nothing happens until the heel of the Front (Glove) foot lands.

     At that moment, our baseball pitchers pull-back hard with the Front heel, pull-back hard with their Front forearm and forwardly drives the Rear Hip and Pitching Knee diagonally across the front of the Front knee.

     During these actions, my baseball pitchers 'throw' their upper arm forward and upward, such that my baseball pitchers turn the back of their upper arm to face toward home plate.

     The Latissimus Dorsi muscle (1) places the upper arm pointing at home plate.

     The Latissimus Dorsi muscle (2) 'throws' the horizontal forearm toward the side of the head.

     When the 'horizontal rebound' inwardly rotates the upper arm, our baseball pitchers will spring off the elbow.

     When the forearm is perpendicular to the line to home, the Triceps Brachii extends the elbow joint by reaching as high as they are able to reach.

     Through all of the acceleration phase, the Pronator Teres muscle contracts before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     Please give me your address and I will send you a copy of my disc.


0039.  Heavy ball training

The last two days I've done around 500 middle finger spins with the heavy ball. I feel like this will help a lot.

Here are some videos of me throwing the heavy ball along with spinning it.

Please don't post these to the public.

Am I doing the middle finger spins correctly?

What are your thoughts on the videos?


     I thought that you were rushing your body.

     A little slower until you are driving down the acromial line.

     You might try fewer, but you know how many middle finger spins are too many.


0040.  How to 'lock' the upper arm

It feels like 'lock' is consequence of doing things right vs. a deliberate action.



     Once again, you are right on the button.

     'Lock' happens half way through the upper arm moving upward.

     The Pectoralis Major muscle moves the upper arm forward.

     The Latissimus Dorsi muscle (1) raises the upper arm to vertical.

     The Latissimus Dorsi muscle (2) inwardly rotates the upper arm.


0041.  Research and signings

I'll start by saying I'm a big fan of your research into pitching injury reduction and your expertise in this field.

While I don't know all ins-and-outs of your field of kinesiology, I DO know that non-experts in the field who think they know about pitching injury reduction don't have a great track record and your work will produce a breakthrough.

Changing gears a bit, I know that you've done a few autograph signings.

I'm wondering who I should contact for your next one since the last person who you did one with (I think his name is Chris) isn't available anymore.

I'd be thrilled to have your name on a few things given your baseball and academic credentials.


     I have no interest in signing.

     My interest is in pitching injuries.

     With the 'traditional' pitching motion, baseball pitchers bang their olecranon process into the olecranon fossa and destroy their elbow.

     Nearly 100% of professional baseball pitchers destroy their elbow.

     Read those two articles and understand why these baseball pitchers suffer bone spurs and much more.


0042.  Hi Jeff,

     I have given you all you need to prevent all pitching injuries.

     Let's start with Dr. Wright's research.


     Dr. Rick W. Wright evaluated thirty-three professional baseball pitchers for elbow range of motion.

     Dr. Wright determined that these professional pitchers lost 7.9 degrees of extension range of motion and lost 5.5 degrees of flexion range of motion.


     Let's read what Dr. Wright had to say.

01. “On average, pitchers had an 8 degree loss of the ability to straighten their elbow when compared to the elbow in their non-dominant arm.”
02. “But despite the fact that they lose range of motion, we’ve been unable to show that there’s a functional impact."
03. “Once we looked at all of the data and did the statistical analysis, we could not find a correlation between increased age, innings pitched or injuries."
04. “We could not find anything that explained why range of motion was inhibited in the pitching elbow."
05. "By the time they reached this level, a lot people have been eliminated who didn’t have elbows that could stand up to these stresses."
06. “These players definitely have shown that their elbows are made for pitching.”
07. “At this time of year, I recommend that pitchers shut it down as far as throwing a baseball.”
08. “They need this time to rest and to work on basic strengthening and stretching."
09. "In December or January, they’ll restart a throwing program with the goal of being ready when Spring Training begins."


     Dr. Wright is an orthopedic surgeon, but he has no idea what caused the baseball pitchers to lose 8 degrees of extension and 5 degrees of flexion ranges of motion.

     Baseball pitchers lost 8 degrees of extension range of motion because they banged the olecranon process of the Ulna bone into the olecranon fossa of the Humerus bone.

     The reason they banged the bones in the back of their elbows was because the Biceps Brachii muscle outwardly rotated the Ulna bone.

     With the upper arm inwardly rotating and the forearm outwardly rotating, the baseball pitchers develop:

01. break loose pieces off the olecranon fossa
02. loose pieces leave openings in the hyaline covering enabling bone spurs to grow through the openings
03. the banging on the olecranon process fractures.

     To prevent these elbow injuries, baseball pitchers need to inwardly rotate their forearm.

     That is where the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion destroys the elbow.

     The Pectoralis Major muscle pulls the upper arm along a curved pathway to release, such that it is impossible to inwardly rotate the forearm.

     The Latissimus Dorsi muscle drives the upper arm in straight lines to release, such that the Pronator Teres is able to inwardly rotate the forearm and flex the elbow joint.

     I have known this problem since 1967 and I fixed it.

     The ignorance of orthopedic surgeons and 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches has caused these elbow injuries since August 14, 1866.

     It is 150 years of unnecessary pain.

     What team owner wants his baseball pitchers to be injury-free?




     Is there anybody here?


0043.  My Former College Baseball Pitcher has a question

Okay I will be patient with my delivery.

How do I engage my Tricep muscle into throwing?

You said it has the most fast twitch muscles I believe.


     The Triceps Brachii muscle does have the highest percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers.

     After the 'horizontal rebound,' the Latissimus Dorsi (2) muscle starts the inward rotation of the upper arm.

     When your upper arm is perpendicular to driveline, you combine the Latissimus Dorsi muscle with the Triceps Brachii muscle for the straight drive down your acromial line.

     Then, as the elbow straightens to as high as you are able to reach, you force-couple and finish with the 'pronation snap' into the strike zone.

     Done correctly, your elbow will pop-up with a recoil like a rattlesnake getting ready for another strike.

     The Pronator Teres muscle contracts before, during and after the acceleration phase.


0044.  150 years of ignorance
By Jeff Passan

This, my friend, goes back to what it always has: The re-training of pitchers who have thrown a particular way thinking it's right for their entire lives is next to impossible. Not because the body prevents it, per se, but because you simply won't find a dozen pitchers open minded enough to consider it.

I know you're as dogmatic as ever about your method, and it's one of the things I appreciate about you. I really do wish there were a way you could teach your principles to those who need it most without being intimidated by everything it entails.

For the longest time, Doc, you have shouted and shouted and shouted the same thing because you believe it with such conviction. But there are hard truths about it. The terminology is confusing to the general public. The delivery is off-putting to the general public. And while I know you've never given a single shit about the general public, the widespread recognition of your methodology is not just dependent upon you doing so but upon your willingness to compromise when it comes to implementation.

I hate to say you need to dumb it down, but you need to dumb it down. Someone with your conviction may see this as selling out; I can understand that perspective. I also know that some of the world's greatest ideas have come from modified versions of the original, modified because the original idea was simply too wonky, too -- to steal an appropriate term -- inside baseball.

What you've sent me is red meat ... for me. But I spent years looking at this and am fascinated by it. Most kids want to know how to throw hard and stay healthy. What they don't know is that they want to do it with a certain sort of classic aesthetic. And that's where you make your choice, Doc: Do you want your life's work to remain on the fringes because you know better and others won't adapt to you, or do you want the recognition you deserve not just as the godfather of pitching mechanics but the person who finally helped slow down this frightening injury rate.

Part of that, I think, is the acknowledgment that injuries can happen for reasons other than delivery. You are a doctor. You know everybody is different, that to judge someone physiologically takes more than just seeing how breaking balls spin off their fingers. This is what I mean. There is some humility involved, some reaching out to the mainstream, and if that's not something you're interested in, I understand. But I know this for a fact: The more analytically inclined major league teams get, the less likely they are to believe someone who says he knows everything.

I hope you know I, personally, and so many others in the community, appreciate everything you've done. I did not say you were the godfather lightly. Baseball is better because of you -- your curiosity, your intellect, your contributions. I'm just greedy. I think the world deserves to know, and I think you can make that happen.


     Baseball pitchers should enjoy pitching, not have surgery.

     We have an alternate pitching motion that teams should consider, not ban this pitching motion.

     I appreciate the time you took.


0045.  Dallas Keuchel's recovery and the hopeful return of velocity
January 19, 2017

Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers are two Astros hurlers that experienced an up-and-down 2016 season. But the pitcher that I want to concentrate about today is that certain bearded southpaw.

If you may begrudgingly recall, Keuchel’s 2016 season was one of disappointment. Fresh off winning a Cy Young award the previous season, the expectations were high. Of course it was unrealistic to expect the left-hander to replicate that kind of performance. But that is besides the point. The idea was that Keuchel would once again anchor a playoff-caliber rotation. It was actually an understandable position to take when you consider Keuchel’s success the previous two seasons.

2014 pitching metrics: 2.93 ERA, 3.21 FIP, 3.20 xFIP, 0.50 HR/9 in 29 starts

2015 pitching metrics: 2.48 ERA, 2.91 FIP, 2.75 xFIP, 0.66 HR/9 in 33 starts

Those are numbers reserved for the best starting pitchers in baseball. However, baseball is baseball. And one’s good fortune can quickly be turned on its head.

2016 pitching metrics: 4.55 ERA, 3.87 FIP, 3.53 xFIP, 1.07 HR/9 in 26 starts

These weren’t exactly terrible numbers. But when you expect for a pitcher to lead your rotation, they are not quite optimal numbers.

Of course, we have to consider that the league did raise the strike zone up. That likely had an impact on Keuchel’s results as he previously relied upon called strikes in the bottom portion of the zone. Once certain calls stop coming then that changes the way a pitcher goes about his business. A snowball effect in other words.

Then there was his shoulder injury that prohibited Keuchel from completing the season last year. The subsequent recovery as we all know would be imperative to his 2017 season. And so far it appears that his recovery has gone well.

The key for Keuchel likely lies in the return of velocity in general. But he needs it the most in two of his pitches: the sinker and slider.

For a pitcher like Keuchel, any lost velocity is a damaging factor to his arsenal. While some pitchers can get by with a drop of 1-2 MPH, there are some that can’t accomplish the same feat. I’m afraid that could be the case with the Astros southpaw.

Look back at his 2014 velocity as a starting point, which was his “breakout” season. Keuchel’s sinker velocity was averaging out to 90.49 MPH. His slider, the second-most used pitch in arsenal, averaged out to 80.42 MPH. Then 2015, his Cy Young campaign, we see similar results with an average sinker and slider velocity of 90.39 MPH and 80.17 MPH, respectively.

Then we enter last season, which was the disappointing follow up to an exciting 2015 season. And we witnessed Keuchel’s average velocity dipped even further as his average sinker and slider velocity dropped to 89.26 MPH and 78.84 MPH. That’s not good.

This trend of declining of velocity is quite worrisome. Like I stated before, Keuchel is the type of pitcher that you don’t want to see an ongoing decrease in overall velocity. He doesn’t have much to spare in the first place.

The shoulder injury appears to have inhibited Keuchel by some extent all season long last year.

That very issue could be the culprit behind his decreased velocity. But we will likely have to wait until the early portion of the season to know for sure one way or another in regards to his velocity issues.

You also have to consider that the shoulder issues may have originated from his extensive use the previous two seasons, including the playoffs. The time off from essentially last August through the winter could be the trick to return him to previous levels of efficiency. That also includes his velocity.

Once all factors are summed (decreased velocity, raised strike zone, shoulder injury), then it is easier to understand why Keuchel struggled. All the factors that could go against him basically did, and he still somehow managed a 2.7 WAR last year. But if his velocity returns and he remains relatively healthy, then the odds could be favorable for a Keuchel comeback in 2017. Just remember though that a repeat of 2016 simply won’t do as the Astros aim for postseason glory.


     The article said:

01. "Then there was his shoulder injury that prohibited Keuchel from completing the season last year."
02. "Keuchel most needs two of his pitches: the sinker and slider."
03. "We witnessed Keuchel’s average velocity dipped even further as his average sinker and slider velocity dropped to 89.26 MPH and 78.84 MPH."

     To prevent shoulder injuries, baseball pitchers need to turn the back of their upper arm to face toward home plate.

     To prevent lost slider velocity, baseball pitchers have to release his slider under the Middle finger.


0046.  Elbow woes lead Josh Johnson to retire at 32
January 19, 2016

Pitcher Josh Johnson, one of the most dominant starters in the major leagues during his peak seasons with the Florida Marlins, is retiring from baseball at age 32, his agent, Matt Sosnick said.

Johnson, who underwent three Tommy John surgeries on his right elbow during his career, signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants in early November. But he decided to retire with less than a month to go before the start of spring training.

Johnson posted a career 58-45 record with a 3.40 ERA for the Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays. During the 2009-2010 seasons, he went a combined 26-11 with a 2.80 ERA in 61 starts for the Marlins. He made two straight National League All-Star teams and finished fifth in the 2010 National League Cy Young Award balloting.

The Marlins sent Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Jose Reyes to Toronto as part of a 12-player trade in November 2012. Johnson went 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA for the Blue Jays in 2013 before undergoing his second elbow reconstruction in April 2014. He attempted a comeback with the San Diego Padres, but was never able to make it back to the majors.


     The article said:

01. "Josh Johnson underwent three Tommy John surgeries on his right elbow during his career."
02. "In early November, Mr. Johnson signed a minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants."
03. "But, Mr. Johnson decided to retire with less than a month to go before the start of spring training."

     To prevent elbow injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with their Pronator Teres muscle contracts before, during and after the acceleration phase, stand tall, turn the back of their upper arm to face home plate, rotate their hips and shoulders forward together over their Front foot and aim their pitching arm down the acromial line into the strike zone.


0047.  Former Giant Tim Lincecum not ready to call it quits
San Jose Mercury News
January 20, 2017

Tim Lincecum couldn’t reestablish himself as a productive major league pitcher with the Los Angeles Angels last season, but the two-time Cy Young Award winner and Giants legend hasn’t given up on recapturing his previous form.

Although he doesn’t have a contract for 2017 and spring training is barely more than three weeks away, Lincecum “is throwing and getting ready for the season,” according to his agent, Rick Thurman.

Lincecum, 32, was an enigma at this time last year, when he was rehabbing from left hip surgery in Sept. 2015 and preparing to throw a showcase session off a mound for scouts. He ended up pushing back that session until May, and signed a minor league contract with the Angels because they offered the best opportunity to claim a rotation spot.

Then Lincecum went just 2-6 with a 9.16 ERA in nine starts for the Angels while allowing 68 hits in 38 1/3 innings – leading to doubts about whether the right-hander who pitched the Giants to two World Series titles and threw two no-hitters would ever compete again in the big leagues.

But Lincecum is not calling it quits, nor is he entertaining offers to pitch overseas. He continues to look for a big league opportunity, Thurman said.

It’s possible that Lincecum will relent and consider opportunities to pitch in relief – a long predicted role in his career arc, and one in which he excelled while helping to pitch the Giants to a championship in 2012.

But given his struggles since 2012, and his inability to return to form following surgery last year, it’s hard to envision him getting anything more than a minor league contract.

Don’t expect Lincecum to return to the Giants. Their bullpen appears to be full.

There will be interest from around the league, though. After all, teams were continuing to give Dontrelle Willis minor league contracts and work with him on the back fields more than a decade after the former NL Rookie of the Year had lost his competitive form.

Lincecum still has the changeup and curveball that can get hitters out, and perhaps his diminished fastball might play up if used in short bursts.


     The article said:

01. "Tim Lincecum he was rehabbing from left hip surgery in September 2015."
02. "In May 2016, Mr. Lincecum signed a minor league contract with the Angels."

     To prevent Front hip surgery, baseball pitchers need to stand tall and step forward with the Front foot and rotate their hips and shoulders forward over the Front foot.


0048.  Different teams, same philosophy regarding health
Golden Isles News
January 22, 2017

In recent years, pitching coaches and amateur baseball players are talking more and more about elbows.

There was a time in baseball when pitchers were like workhorses, and managers rode their horses from late February to May, boom or bust.

That was, perhaps, before coaches and players were wary of the irreparable damage they were causing to elbows and shoulders. Modern medicine has the power to repair torn ulnar collateral ligaments — the triangular band in the elbow that flexes in a pitcher’s throwing motion — with Tommy John surgery, but the recovery process is long, monotonous and there is no guarantee the pitcher’s velocity or movement will be the same as it was pre-surgery. There are some quick-fix strategies, including Cardinals pitcher Seth Maness’s recent UCL repair that is to reportedly take just half the recovery time of Tommy John, but there is still uncertainty surrounding the results and permanence of that procedure as well.

For Brunswick baseball coach Al Otte, winning is important, but he feels responsible for delivering his seniors with collegiate potential healthy. He points to the success stories of a couple of his former players.

“Kyle Bialousz and Austin Guest are pitching in college,” Otte said. “We wanted to make sure when those guys leave us they’re healthy and ready to go.”

Brunswick pitching coach Nathan Harsh, who was a former Pirate, pitched four seasons at the collegiate level. During his senior season at Kennesaw State, he tore the labrum in his throwing shoulder. During his sophomore season, six of his teammates went down for Tommy John surgery. With no foolproof way to prevent the wear and tear from building up in the throwing arm, pitching coaches like Harsh devise programs to keep the workload light through the first few weeks of practice. Harsh said his bullpens are usually about 18 pitches per pitcher.

“Arm care has definitely taken a forefront,” Harsh said. “The speed of the game has evolved so much. It’s not natural to throw a baseball, so something is going to go wrong eventually.”

In early January, pitchers are trying to build a rapport with their catchers, learn new sign systems and get a feel for the pitchers they can command and in what counts to throw them. Down the road at Edo Miller Field, Glynn Academy pitching coach Jim Horton worked in the bullpen with his varsity pitchers. For Horton, a pitcher whose arm has been active during the offseason is better suited for higher pitch counts in bullpen sessions.

Varsity pitchers who have been trowing regularly in the summer and fall will increase their pitch counts to 40 and 50 pitches over the coming weeks and junior varsity pitchers throw 15 to 20 pitches in early practice, and they’re hardly going for full velocity to start.

“A lot of them played fall ball but haven’t thrown a whole lot,” Horton said. “Just building the arms up making sure they’re in the right shape and no one gets hurt.”

Some new GHSA rules are taking arm abuse out of the equation. According to a report from Macon Telegraph, a GHSA rule passed in August 2016 will limit pitchers to 110 pitches in one game, or just over 110 pitches if the current at-bat is not complete. Pitchers who reach 86 pitches must make their next appearance on at least three days’ rest. The 61-pitch mark requires two days’ rest, and 36 pitches require at least one day of rest.

This new rule will have an effect on how coaches construct their rotations. Otte previously used three regular starters in his rotation with two spot starters or relievers to eat innings when necessary. Now Otte suspects lots of teams will be adopting a sort of “piggy back” strategy, in which a starter throws about three innings and two relievers split the last four, depending on the pitch count. This takes the work off the staff ace, while ensuring he’ll be available on time for his next scheduled start.

“Pitching is about trust,” Otte said. “You have some of the small schools and they don’t have as many players and as many arms. You have kids that have potential and they have arm injuries. A lot of this stuff is based on some of the best doctor’s in the country.”

The preparation for a healthy season starts in the offseason, and Otte and his staff have a fitness program for pitchers to follow that is based on recommendations from medical professionals like Dr. James Andrews and other successful coaches and trainers.

Pitchers practice proper throwing mechanics and torso rotation, believed to be a healthier way to increase velocity than increasing arm speed, and they strengthen their arms by throwing weighted pummel balls and using elastic bands for various exercises.

“We stretch it out a lot,” Pirates senior right-handed pitcher Jacob Benton said.

Despite all of the preventative measures pitchers and coaches take, Pirates’ junior lefty Anthony Cleveland said he usually experiences some routine soreness during the season. Cleveland and his teammates aren’t thinking about injury during preseason, they’re thinking about the competition and prospects of the new season ahead. While science tries to catch up to the pace of the game, the best thing Cleveland can do is prepare.

“We have to throw strikes and get ready for the season,” Cleveland said. “It’s a grind, throwing bullpens, pummels, hammers, a lot of medicine ball throwing.”


     Until baseball pitchers learn how to release their breaking pitches under the Middle finger, all 'traditional' baseball pitchers will destroy their elbow.


0049.  Rick Peterson thinks he has the solution to the injuries that have plagued Mets pitchers
New York Daily News
January 24, 2017

As a starting rotation the Mets collectively light up the radar gun like no one else in baseball. But do they need to dial down the velocity a bit to improve their chances of staying healthy?

The question has never been more timely, with four starters coming back in 2017 from some type of surgery, and the other, Noah Syndergaard, having established himself as the hardest-throwing starting pitcher in baseball.

Rick Peterson, the former Mets pitching coach and famous for years as being a student of biomechanics, says he believes the Mets’ starters could benefit from easing off the gas pedal a bit in the interest of decreasing further injury risk.

“I’m sure that Syndergaard, for example, could dominate a game at 95-96 MPH," Peterson says. “I’d like to see him try that because if he did dominate while throwing with maximum effort only occasionally, the way pitchers did in the past, he’d increase his chances of being on time with his delivery."

Peterson believes that being “on time" is the key to staying healthy, and he’ll gladly explain what he means in exacting detail if you ask.

But first let’s put this in some context: after making a name for himself as an innovative pitching coach/coordinator for the A’s, Mets, and Orioles, in part because of what he learned about biomechanics in the performance lab of noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews, Peterson is making such observations from a distance at the moment.

Instead of coaching he’s on the corporate speaking trail these days, after co-authoring a newly-published business/leadership book, but he is captivated by the saga of the Mets’ young guns and where the story goes in 2017.

In fact, he sees them as something of a test case in an era when baseball is searching desperately for answers to try to keep pitchers healthy.

“I have every reason to think they’ll bounce back from their injuries last year," Peterson said Tuesday. “But it’s fascinating to me because by the nature of power pitching, the greater the power, the faster you move in time and space, and from a biomechanics standpoint, the more at risk of injury you are.”

If that sounds ominous, it’s because the Mets in some ways personify the new generation of pitchers that grew up trying to light up the radar gun by throwing with maximum effort, as opposed to past eras when adding and subtracting fastball velocity was more in vogue.

John Smoltz has talked a lot about that, telling me last year that he never threw with maximum effort, and believes that’s why he avoided Tommy John surgery until he was in his 30s, despite throwing one of the nastiest sliders in the game.

Peterson believes in that theory as well, and how maxing-out makes it more difficult to, again, be “on time, which primarily refers to the position a pitcher’s arm is in when his landing foot hits the ground.

“When the timing is off, that’s when a pitcher is at risk of injury,’’ Peterson said. “Think about it this way: there’s a point in time when the arm is fully externally rotated, and the next moment is when you begin the acceleration phase with your arm.

“There’s a brief moment when the ball almost comes to a stop. From that moment until the ball comes of your hand, that ball — let’s take Syndergaard — is then traveling to 99-100 mph in a time-frame of .02 seconds.

“I did a presentation on that once, and afterward a doctor of physics asked me, ‘Do you know what that means in G-Force?’ He said if your entire body traveled at that rate of speed for over a minute, you would die.

“So when you talk about maxing out for an entire game, your timing is going to be off on multiple different pitches, and that’s where the injury factor comes in.

“In Smoltz’s day, a lot of guys pitched at 80% effort level, and you only saw their best fastball when the money was on the table.

“Pitchers today, to their credit, are strong enough and conditioned enough that they can pitch with the gas pedal down to the floor for the whole game, but the risk is in the timing."

That’s why Peterson would like to see the Mets’ starters learn to pitch with less effort. In addition to reducing the risk of injury, he says it makes it easier for pitchers to hit their spots, which he says is what pitching at the major-league level is all about, regardless of velocity.

“Harvey’s a great example," said Peterson. “When he was struggling last year, his stuff was still there. He just wasn’t making pitches. When you don’t locate, you don’t pitch well."

Peterson says he always tried to teach that philosophy in the simplest way, citing a story he tells in his book, which is titled: “Crunch Time: How To Be Your Best When it Matters Most.”

He recalled going to the mound as the A’s pitching coach when ex-Met Jason Isringhausen was trying to close out playoff game with a 2-0 lead against the Yankees in 2001.

Isringhausen had given up a leadoff double to Bernie Williams and a walk to Tino Martinez, and Peterson went to talk to his pitcher just as Jason Giambi came over as well from first base.

“I get out to the mound, I put my hand on Izzy’s shoulder, and he’s literally shaking. I said, ‘Izzy are you ok?’

“He said, ‘Rick, I can’t feel my legs.’

“I said, ‘OK, well, the good news is we don’t need your legs to kick a field goal right now. Giambi starts laughing, Izzy smiles and you could feel the tension come out of him. I said, ‘Hey Izzy, just hit the glove. That’s all, just hit the glove.’"

Isringhausen got the next three outs but Peterson said the point is that it’s all about how you deliver the message to “re-frame’’ the situation for pitchers dealing with stress.

“Sometimes it can be that simple: just hit the glove," Peterson said. “Syndergaard is a guy who can locate while pitching at max effort, but not a lot of guys can do that.

“Even so, I believe he could be just as effective if he learned to throw that 99-100 mph fastball maybe seven to 10 times a game, when the money is on the table, the way guys like Smoltz and Tom Seaver did during their day.

“And if he pitched at 94 to 96 the rest of the time, the likelihood is that he’d be on time with his mechanics at a higher percentage."

In any case, Peterson said he hopes for the best for these Mets pitchers, partly because it reminds him of his days with the A’s coaching the Big Three of Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito.

“It’s totally fascinating to me,’’ he said. “With Syndergaard, Harvey, and deGrom, everybody wants to rank those guys. When I coached Hudson, Mulder, and Zito, people would ask me, ‘Who’s the best?’

“And my answer always was: ‘Whoever’s pitching that night.’ And with the Mets, (Steven) Matz isn’t too far from being a No. 1, and Wheeler still has that potential. I’m just hoping they can stay healthy. I love watching them pitch.”


     Rick Peterson said:

01. “I have every reason to think they’ll bounce back from their injuries last year."
02. “But it’s fascinating to me because by the nature of power pitching, the greater the power, the faster you move in time and space, and from a biomechanics standpoint, the more at risk of injury you are.”

     Until Mr. Peterson learns how to teach baseball pitchers how to release their breaking pitches under the Middle finger, Mr. Peterson will continue to destroy his baseball pitchers.


0050.  Saving Careers
January 26, 2017

On March 5, 2014, Virginia Tech was trailing William & Mary 6-0 at English Field when Hokie head coach Patrick Mason made the move. He decided to bring in Andrew McDonald, a 6-foot-6-inch freshman from Cincinnati, Ohio, to throw the final two innings. The freshman walked the first batter, but then got a strikeout and a double play to end the inning. In the ninth, he walked a batter and gave up a run-scoring triple before getting out of the frame.

McDonald’s collegiate career was officially underway. Just as most college athletes do, he remembered his debut.

“I was a little nervous,” he said. “I got hit that time, too. I took a one-hopper right off the leg. It was a funny way to release some tension.”

McDonald earned three varsity letters while in high school, winning the Ohio High School Division 1 Player of the Year honor prior to arriving in Blacksburg. His freshman year at Tech featured ups and downs, but the future looked bright.

That all changed in 2015 when he found his career in jeopardy. During a bullpen session in the fall, he felt something wrong in his arm and didn’t pitch for the remainder of the fall. He tried to come back during the offseason, but the discomfort came in waves.

Eventually, he went to a doctor, and the news was every pitcher’s worst nightmare. The ulnar collateral ligament [UCL] in McDonald’s elbow had ruptured, leaving holes in the ligament. That required him to miss the season and undergo what many know today as “Tommy John” surgery. He became a statistic in the rising epidemic of UCL injuries sweeping across all levels of baseball.

“Everywhere around my arm, I had some kind of pain,” he said. “There were times that it was a constant ache. I would throw some pitches, and as soon as I would release the ball, it would hurt.”

The surgery usually requires taking a ligament from the wrist to replace the torn ligament, but McDonald was born without the ligament in both wrists. So the surgeons took a hamstring graft from his left hamstring to replace his UCL.

“They drill a hole through one of your bones, tie a knot in the ligament and put it through and wrap it around everywhere else it needs to go,” McDonald said.

Anyone around the game knows that Tommy John surgery serves as the main way to repair such injuries. Doctors continue to perfect the procedure to get athletes back on the field faster. They also look for new ways to decrease the recovery time without putting the athlete in danger. Pitchers like McDonald are sharing their experience and providing valuable insight into the issue.

After strenuous rehab and conditioning, McDonald made his return Feb. 23, 2016 – about 12 months after the surgery. He started against East Tennessee State, threw four shutout innings and earned the win. After the game, Mason talked about McDonald’s road back.

“He’s come a long way, worked really hard to put himself in a position to even be ready to throw now,” Mason said.

McDonald completed the season in good health. He made eight appearances, starting four games.

Nic Enright, another Tech pitcher who actually was drafted out of high school by the New York Mets and chose to go to college over the big leagues, shared a similar experience, undergoing Tommy John surgery in May of 2016. In high school, he was a four-year varsity player and named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia. The right-handed ace from Richmond featured a fastball that topped out in the lower 90s. He made 12 appearances in 2016 and encountered some early struggles, but seemed to settle in as the season went along.

In late April in a game against Duke, Enright tried to pitch through discomfort in his arm. On May 1, he threw five innings and gave up four unearned runs against Boston College. The next day, he couldn’t pick up his backpack.

Yet Enright never felt the “pop” that some guys feel.

“For me, it was more of a gradual thing,” he said. “It makes me wonder if it could have started months before, and finally, over the course of a 55-game season, it took its last blow. It started off as a dull pull in my elbow and eventually progressed into the sharp stabbing pain.”

He ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery. Four months later, he started throwing a baseball and expects to pitch this upcoming season. Tech pitching coach Jamie Pinzino is optimistic.

“He’s in the training room a couple hours a day,” Pinzino said. “We’re certainly hoping to have him back for the spring.” Advances made in the medical field over the past 25 years now make the recovery process faster. In the early stages following Tommy John surgery, players more likely faded out of the league than recovered and prospered. But Dr. Frank Jobe turned the tables in 1974 when he performed surgery on Tommy John, a major league pitcher at the time and for whom the surgery is named.

Using a healthy tendon from John’s forearm, Jobe replaced the torn ligament. The tendon serves as stability for the elbow joint. Surgeons drill holes in the humerus and weave a tendon through by using a figure-eight pattern. With that procedure, Jobe sparked a movement that has saved the careers of countless pitchers. John went on to win 164 more games over the course of 14 years. Other notable pitchers to thrive following the surgery include John Smoltz, Tim Hudson and Adam Wainwright.

Today, doctors perform Tommy John surgery almost every day. Dr. Timothy Kremchek, the Cincinnati Reds team doctor, performed the surgery on McDonald and Enright. On the day of McDonald’s surgery, he performed four or five Tommy John surgeries, according to McDonald. Kremchek told McDonald that the surgery used to last four hours, but now only takes a shade more than an hour.

The stance on Tommy John surgery has changed drastically over the years. In fact, some parents think their kids need to get Tommy John surgery early to increase arm strength. According to the American Sports Medicine Institute, 25-50 percent of amateur players, coaches, and parents believe this theory.

Brett Griesemer, the athletic trainer for the Tech baseball team, said some parents think the surgery guarantees their kids come back stronger – a common misconception.

“It’s become quite a hysteria,” he said. “You have these teenage kids, and they’re having some elbow pain, and they [parents] want to just get the Tommy John surgery over with.”

According to the institute, 10-20 percent of pitchers never make it back to their previous level after having the surgery. Major League Baseball and the institute conducted a study that examined professional pitchers who underwent Tommy John surgery. It showed no differences in pitching biomechanics.

The institute called the rise in injuries an epidemic. There has been a sharp increase in the amount of UCL tears since the start of the century, and the institute attributed these changes to young pitchers doing more with their arms before they reach their 20s than a pitcher who played 12 years ago.

Some players overuse their arms on the mound, and others play multiple positions instead of giving their arms a break. Poor mechanics and conditioning are other possible reasons for the rise in UCL injuries.

“I think the biggest reason is because guys are training more,” Griesemer said. “They’re able to throw harder. They’re throwing 90 mph in high school. Over time, that puts a lot of stress on the elbow.”

Athletes specializing in one sport also give cause for concern. With scholarships increasing in value and sports becoming more competitive, high school athletes believe they should focus on one sport to receive a scholarship.

“I think it’s the specialization of sports that has led to more injuries,” Griesemer said. “Guys that play baseball year-round are probably more at risk than back in the day when everyone played every sport. Now college scholarships are a big deal, so if you want to specialize in baseball, then you throw year-round.”

Coaches try to do their part to make sure their pitchers aren’t dealing with a lot of stress on the mound. Inning limits and pitch counts have been implemented, though there is no magic number. Pinzino said that he takes into account other factors in addition to pitch count.

“The No. 1 indicator is leaving balls up in the zone,” he said. “If I’m getting tired, it’s not just my arm, but my whole body getting tired. Typically, the mechanics can slow down a tad bit. Most pitching coaches want pitchers to work quickly. Sometimes you see the pace slow down quite a bit. That’s a fairly common indicator.”

“I do believe pitching them less is safer,” Mason said. “I don’t have a number, and neither does anybody else because, if somebody had that perfect number, they would be extremely rich. You have to have a good relationship with your pitcher. You have to have an honest dialogue with your pitcher.”

Other ways to decrease an athlete’s odds of injuring the arm include the forbidding of throwing a curveball at a young age, as many young pitchers still lack the ability to throw a curveball with the proper mechanics. Also, young pitchers need to limit the amount of “full-effort pitching.” This means playing different positions or different sports.

Tech’s sports medicine staff always tries to be proactive in dealing with injuries. This group, led by Griesemer, implemented a system hoping to decrease the chances for injury.

“We have all of our pitchers come in, and we measure them,” Griesemer said. “We look for different ranges of motion in the wrist, shoulder and elbow. We look at grip strength. We put those all in a spreadsheet and compare their numbers to see if guys gave deficits in the internal rotation of their shoulder, extension of the elbow, or extension of the wrist, which may put increased risk on their shoulder or elbow. We have a designed program for them to come in here and do some corrective exercises.”

Schools throughout the ACC compare notes and hold conferences throughout the year. This creates an open discussion, and ideas get shared. Protecting the next generation of pitchers remains a top priority, and it starts with creating a dialogue between the athletes and doctors.

There may never be a universal answer as to why the UCL tears. So many variables make it difficult to pinpoint a single reason. It can happen on one pitch or over time. In the cases of McDonald and Enright, neither had dealt with previous arm issues. Doctors and scientists continue to flood the field with studies and ideas in search of an answer because they know that athletes will continue to develop and throw harder.

The rehab following the injury remains the hard part. Athletes must work to get back on the mound. McDonald and Enright put in that work.

“Both guys are pretty militant when it comes to doing their rehab,” Griesemer said. “They’re in here every day. They do their extra work, and they don’t try to push past what we recommend to them. Both are extremely hard-working kids.”

McDonald and Enright didn’t let Tommy John surgery end their careers. Now, they have their eyes set on the future.


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injury, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres muscle before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     That is the easy stuff.

     Until baseball pitchers stand tall, turn the back of their upper arm to face toward home plate, rotate their hips and shoulders forward together over their Front foot and aim their pitching arm down the acromial line into the strike zone and learn how to release their breaking pitches under the Middle finger.


0051.  Wichita State pitchers learn 'Down is good' as  part of the daily routine
Wichita Eagle
January 26, 2017

Wichita State’s Ben Hecht re-learned how to pitch by playing shortstop.

The Shockers are working with new pitching coach Mike Steele, who is introducing his language, his routines and his theories to a receptive group. Count Hecht, a junior transfer from Lincoln Land (Ill.) College, among those who enjoy Steele’s methods.

“Half the time when you spike a fastball in the dirt, he loves it,” Hecht said. “You’re supposed to feel what he’s trying to teach you. If you do what he’s teaching you and the pitch isn’t there, he doesn’t care.”

WSU begins its full-team practice sessions on Friday. Steele’s makeover of a pitching staff that ranked last in the Missouri Valley Conference in ERA (5.79) last season started in the fall and continued through the winter’s limited practice time.

Steele, who spent the past two seasons at Long Beach State and seven as an instructor and scout with the Pittsburgh Pirates, replaced Brent Kemnitz, who resigned in June after 38 seasons. Steele’s personality and emphasis on a calm mind reminds returners of many of Kemnitz’s tactics. Steele is also described as “part philosopher and part MMA fighter,” and his pitchers enjoy his enthusiasm and his emphasis on conditioning and health.

“He’ll come up behind you sometimes and wrestle with you if you’re not paying attention,” senior Willie Schwanke said. “A good way to put it is MMA fighter, because he doesn’t mess around with anything that’s non-competitive or aggressive.”

Hecht came to WSU with a pitching form that started with his arm almost straight over his shoulder. When he watched video from high school with Steele, he noticed that he threw with his arm extended more horizontally than vertically. Over the years, his arm crept up. He didn’t notice until Steele diagnosed the form as potentially harmful to his performance and health.

“His delivery was awful,” Steele said.

To fix it, Hecht returned to his roots as a position player. He threw more naturally, more from the side, after fielding a groundball. On the mound, his technique changed. Now Hecht is comfortable with his old, new, arm slot and notices improved accuracy and power.

“For my throwing program, everyone else was over there working on stuff and he was hitting me groundballs at shortstop,” Hecht said. “It wasn’t but a couple days of doing it and everything felt natural again. I was balanced. The small adjustment like that brought everything together.”

That is what Steele wants.

“Somewhere along the line, all these guys played a position,” he said. “We try to put them in positions to just go out and do some athletic, unobstructed throwing, where they’re not trying to do a pitching delivery or they’re not trying to do something somebody told them they needed to do to pitch. It shows me what an unobstructed view of their throwing motion should look like.”

Steele’s lessons start with “Down is good,” words written on the whiteboard in his office at Eck Stadium and in the brains of every Shocker pitcher. During some bullpen sessions, a string crosses the shinguards of the catcher to give pitchers the target.

“He says that every day,” Schwanke said. “Below that string … you won’t get hurt.”

Steele wants pitchers to throw low in the strike zone and produce groundballs. Last season, Steele said, WSU recorded 44 percent of its outs in play on groundballs.

“I don’t care what you do in your delivery — get the ball down,” Steele said. “Balls that are down, don’t go out of the ballpark. We need to shorten pitch counts. We need to shorten at-bats. We need to keep the defense ready to go. We need to pick the ball up off the turf. It all goes to ‘Down is good.’ ”

He wants the Shockers around 60-65 percent groundball outs. Pitchers who rely on movement and deception more than strikeouts need to be around 65 percent. Strikeout pitchers can get away with fewer groundballs.

“Keep the ball down and, for the most part, everything is good,” sophomore Connor Lungwitz said.


     The article said:

01. "The Shockers are working with new pitching coach Mike Steele."
02. "Mr. Steele is introducing his language, his routines and his theories to a receptive group."
03. "Count Hecht enjoy Steele’s methods."

     Unfortunately, Mr. Steele has no idea to eliminate pitching injuries.



     On Sunday, February 05, 2017, I posted the following questions and answers.



0052.  My Former College Baseball Pitcher has questions

Thanks for your reply.

I am working on the horizontal rebound drill every day and expecting it to come naturally over time.

When I do this drill with the wrist weights, I set up in slingshot position with my throwing elbow out and my forearm perpendicular to the driveline. Then I throw my pitching elbow in and let my forearm swing out and then pronate hard.

When I throw a baseball with my delivery, do I use this same approach as I do with the horizontal rebound drill?

Do I try to throw my elbow out then in?

Or do I not worry about throwing the elbow out and just focus on showing the back of my throwing elbow towards home plate and try to elbow someone like a wrestler like you said?

What's the difference between these two cues?

Which one should I focus on when throwing a baseball?

(Throwing the pitching elbow out then in versus throwing the back of the upper arm straight up like a wrestler elbowing someone)



     When the heel of the Front foot lands, you start rotating your hips and shoulders diagonally forward.

     When the knee of the Rear leg crosses the knee of the Front foot, you throw the elbow inward toward the head, that gives you the start of the 'horizontal rebound.'

     Now you aim your upper arm the acromial line, first by inwardly rotating the upper arm.

     When the forearm is perpendicular to the driveline, you lean forward to drive the baseball the full length of your body for more velocity.

     With the pitching arm reaching vertically as high as is possible, your recoil force-couple the upper arm and forearm then 'pronation snap' finish reaching as far forward as possible.

     You want to end with your body as far forward as possible, reach as high as possible and as reach as far forward as possible.

     You want to wait until you are as far down the acromial line as possible then recoil force-couple and 'pronation snap' with your pitching hand in the strike zone.


0053.  Oklahoma State's Cobb dealing with elbow soreness, out through at least opening weekend
January 27, 2017

With opening day three weeks away, the Oklahoma State baseball team is preparing without one of its top arms.

Senior right-hander Trey Cobb is dealing with elbow soreness, coach Josh Holliday told the O’Colly, and will miss at least the Cowboys’ season-opening series against Grand Canyon, which begins Feb. 17 in Phoenix.

“There’s not a lot of detail at this point,” Holliday said. “He’s just going through rehab trying to get back on track. We’ll know more how he feels here in the next couple weeks.”

Cobb was one of two Cowboys with 100 strikeouts in 2016, posting a 3.09 ERA. After spending the majority of the season in OSU’s rotation, Cobb served as the Cowboys’ closer during their College World Series run. Holliday confirmed Cobb has met with a doctor and is not throwing. Cobb, who returned for his senior year after the Cubs selected him in the 12th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, tweeted Jan. 20 about the injury.

“Thanks for the concern and prayers,” the tweet read. “Received good news yesterday and I hope to be healed and on the mound at some point this season#gopokes”

Holliday said the situation is similar to last season when the arms of left-hander Garrett Williams and right-hander Conor Costello were slow in getting season-ready. Williams did not make his 2016 debut until March 25 against Kansas State, and Costello didn’t pitch until the Cowboys faced West Virginia on April 1.

A late-March return for Cobb could mean he would make his debut in OSU’s first Big 12 series against TCU, beginning March 24 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Holliday said he didn’t know when Cobb began experiencing soreness, saying it’s often difficult to determine when an injury like Cobb’s occurs.

“I think it’s probably just part of the grind of throwing over time,” Holliday said. “Throwing’s a violent act.”

Cobb’s injury will give more opportunities to younger pitchers early in the season, Holliday said. With Cobb out, the Cowboys will begin the season with only five pitchers who threw more than 10 innings a year ago, having lost four such pitchers, including Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Thomas Hatch, in June’s draft.

Senior right-hander Tyler Buffett, a Collegiate Baseball Preseason Second-Team All-American, is among the returners. Buffett, like Cobb, saw time as a starter and reliever in 2016, closing during the regular season before exchanging roles with Cobb for the postseason. The Astros’ seventh-round draft pick, Buffett finished with nine saves and a 2.81 ERA in 37 appearances, an OSU record.

Pitching coach Rob Walton will likely employ Buffett as a starter to begin 2017, Holliday said, though roles could change as they did last season.

The Cowboys are using the first couple of weeks back from winter break to evaluate players and what they retained during break before ironing out roles for them.

Holliday said he’s excited to see how younger pitchers jump at their opportunities with Cobb out indefinitely.

“It’s part of a season,” Holliday said. “Is it ideal? No, of course not. But it is what we deal with, and it’s why we have a team, and it’s why we have a staff. It’s why we’ve got to continue to evolve and grow all of our players, so that if you do lose one or you’re without one for a period of time, you can overcome it.

“He’s certainly a huge part of our team and a key performer, all of those things, for sure. But that’s just part of the nature of a season. It’s just a next-guy-up mentality.”


     The article said:

01. "Senior right-hander Trey Cobb is dealing with elbow soreness.
02, "Mr. Cobb will miss at least the Cowboys’ season-opening series."
03. "Mr. Cobb was one of two Cowboys with 100 strikeouts in 2016, posting a 3.09 ERA."
04. "Mr. Holliday confirmed Cobb has met with a doctor and is not throwing."

     To prevent injuries to the elbow, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres muscle contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase and/or release their breaking pitches under the Middle finger.


0054.  Dodgers' Buehler faces innings limit in 2017
January 28, 2017

Pitcher Walker Buehler will face an unspecified innings limit in 2017, his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery.

He says he is 25 pounds heavier than he was prior to undergoing UCL surgery in August of 2015, as he was able to focus on conditioning and strength training during his year off from pitching.

While he only logged five innings across rookie ball and Low-A after returning late last season, he wowed scouts with three potentially plus pitches in his fastball, cutter and curveball, while also flashing a potentially average changeup.

The innings limit will mean Buehler may not rise past Double-A this season, but if the training wheels come off in 2018, he could cruise to the majors next summer.


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injury, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres muscle contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.


0055.  Hunting for a 200-inning pitcher
Twins Daily
January 30, 2017

Pitching continues to evolve as teams try to find the right balance between starting pitching and relief pitching. During last year's playoffs, pitchers like Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman took on even more important roles. For the first time in the World Series, no starting pitcher threw more than six innings.

0 With pitching continuing to change, the hunt for a 200 inning pitcher can seem like trying to find Bigfoot.

When the Twins Winter Caravan stopped in Fargo, ND last week, the focus of much of the discussion was on the Twins finding a pitcher to toss 200 innings. Current television announce Bert Blyleven was one of the guests along with right-handed pitcher Jose Berrios.

Blyleven is from a bygone baseball era when Tommy John surgeries weren't commonplace and starting pitchers threw well into the late innings of games. Berrios has spent his professional career in a time when pitchers seem to get hurt more often than in the past and some go through multiple major surgeries.

Over most of the last decade the number of pitchers throwing over 200 innings has steadily declined. From 2010 through 2016, there were 227 pitchers who reached the 200 inning mark. Two of those players, Phil Hughes and Carl Pavano, wore a Twins uniform.

The downward trend in numbers of 200 inning pitchers continued through most of the 21st century. From 2000-2006, there were 298 pitchers with seasons of 200 innings or more. This means there were 71 more pitchers reaching this mark in the first seven years of the century than in the last seven years.

0 Throughout Twins history there have been 97 occurrences of pitchers throwing at least 200 innings. Bert Blyleven accounts for six of the top 12, including a team record 325 innings in 1973. Jim Kaat and Dave Goltz are the only other Twins pitchers to surpass 300 innings in a season.

0 In recent Twins history, 200 inning pitchers have been few and far between. Phil Hughes pitched almost 210 inning through his record-breaking 2014 campaign. Before that, Carl Pavano had back-to-back seasons when he threw over 220 innings. Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn both topped 200 innings in 2009, the Metrodome's final year. And Johan Santana had a stretch of three seasons (2005-2007) when he averaged over 228 innings.

A young Johan Santana isn't walking into Target Field. Does this mean the Twins won't have another 200 inning pitcher?

Ervin Santana was the closest Twins pitcher to 200 innings last season. Across 30 starts, he threw over 180 innings. In five of his 12 big league seasons, he has thrown over 200 frames so there is a chance for him to hit that mark again in 2017.

Phil Hughes is coming off major surgery and no one knows what version of the pitcher will arrive in spring training. He's the most recent Twins player to accomplish the feat but 2017 doesn't seem like a year where he will be able to pitch enough to reach the 200 mark.

Other pitchers, perhaps Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson, could make a run at 200. Berrios has never pitched more than 166.1 innings during his professional career. A jump to 200 would be quite the leap for 2017 but it could be a reasonable expectation for the following year. Gibson threw almost 195 innings in 2015 so it's not out of the question for him to get back to that level.

Minnesota's pitching staff has struggled for multiple seasons, so a lot of miles have been put on bullpen arms. In the long run, a 200 inning pitcher might not be the most important thing in the world, but in any event the Twins need starters to pitch further into games to take some strain off the relievers. If a 200 inning pitcher (or two) emerges, consider it a bonus.

Will the Twins have a 200 inning pitcher again? Who do you think could be the next player to accomplish the feat?


     Until baseball pitchers learn how to stand tall, turn the back of theie upper arm to face toward home plate, rotate their hips and shoulders forward together over their Front Foot, release their breaking pitches under the Middle finger and aim the pitching arm down the acromial line inot the strike zone.

     When baseball pitchers are able to pitch on a four pitcher rotation, baseball pitchers will have forty starts and pitch 240 innings.


0056.  Medlen returns to Braves
Savannah Morning News
January 31, 2017

ATLANTA, GA: Right-hander Kris Medlen has agreed to a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves as he attempts to revive his career with his original team.

The 31-year-old would get a $1 million, one-year contract if added to the 40-man roster as part of the deal the team confirmed Tuesday.

He began his career with Atlanta in 2009 and had his best season in 2012, when he was 10-1 with a 1.56 ERA in 12 starts and 38 relief appearances. He won 15 games in 2013 but missed the 2014 season following his second Tommy John surgery. He spent the last two seasons with Kansas City and was limited to six big league games last year because of shoulder problems.

“He will get an opportunity,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said. “We love the person and the talent.”

Atlanta agreed to contracts with free agents Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey earlier this offseason and acquired Jaime Garcia in a trade.

Julio Teheran returns as the staff ace. Mike Foltynewicz, Matt Wisler, Josh Collmenter and Aaron Blair will be among others competing for a rotation spot.

Medlen was 1-3 with a 7.77 ERA with Kansas City last season. He is 41-25 with a 3.25 ERA in 75 big league starts and 98 relief appearances.


     The article said:

01. "Kris Medlen began his career with Atlanta in 2009 and had his best season in 2012."
02. "Mr. Medlen won 15 games in 2013 but missed the 2014 season following his second Tommy John surgery."
03. "Mr. Medlen spent the last two seasons limited because of shoulder problems."

     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injury, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres muscle contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent shoulder problems, baseball pitchers need to stand tall, turn the back of their upper arm to face toward home plate, rotate their hips and shoulders forward together over their Front Foot, release their breaking pitches under the Middle finger and aim the pitching arm down the acromial line into the strike zone.


0057.  Burdi changes arm slot in hopes of staying healthy
Pioneer Press
January 31, 2017

Despite coming off a season to an unusual arm injury, Nick Burdi was in surprisingly good spirits at TwinsFest last weekend.

“I feel good,” the hard-throwing right-hander said. “I threw my first bullpen last week, and I’m just getting ready for the season now.”

Limited to just three innings at Double-A Chattanooga after an impressive stint in his first big-league camp, Burdi, 24, was diagnosed with a bruised humerus. The ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow was deemed sound, but there aren’t many test cases for how to deal with upper-arm bone bruises for a pitcher.

“They said it was a rare injury,” Burdi said. “Not too many people (in baseball) have had it. When I talked to Dr. (James) Andrews, he had never really seen it before.”

According to, the most common causes of a bruised humerus are blunt injury, mechanical trauma and a fall on an outstretched hand. Burdi was told his injury likely was caused by his max-effort delivery, which produced a peak velocity of 103 mph in the Cape Cod League during his days at the University of Louisville.

With the Twins, Burdi has consistently worked in the high-90s with his four-seam fastball, although he spent extra time honing his two-seamer before hitting the shelf.

“They just said it was from throwing, and the way I was throwing may have caused it,” he said. “But most of the time it’s just a stress-related injury that just happens over time.”

A second-round pick in 2014, Burdi dominated the Arizona Fall League with eight scoreless outings in 2015. He was back throwing bullpen sessions by August and on into the fall instructional league. First, however, he had tweak his mechanics.

“To take some stress off my arm, I changed my arm slot,” Burdi said. “It’s just a little bit faster instead of getting so long (in back). A little quicker. So we’re getting there.”

After piling up 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings through 95 professional innings, Burdi is a stealth pick to reach the majors at some point this season. But first he must stay healthy and rebuild the career momentum lost in 2016.

Left off the list of non-roster invitations to big-league camp, Burdi will report to Fort Myers, Fla., for minor-league spring training on March 7.


     The article said:

01. "Despite coming off a season to an unusual arm injury, Nick Burdi was in surprisingly good spirits."
02. "After an impressive stint in his first big-league camp, Mr. Burdi was diagnosed with a bruised humerus."
03. "There aren’t many test cases for how to deal with upper-arm bone bruises."

     To prevent bruised Humeruses, baseball pitchers must release their breaking pitches under their Middle finger with a very powerful pronation.


0058.  Tommy John surgery sidelines McKinney for 2017
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
February 02, 2017

FAYETTEVILLE, AR: Arkansas will be without one of its most experienced pitchers in 2017.

Junior right-hander Keaton McKinney will undergo Tommy John surgery on his elbow and will miss the season, Razorbacks coach Dave Van Horn said in a statement Thursday. McKinney, a freshman all-American in 2015, was expected to contend for a weekend starter job this year.

"We expect him to make a full recovery following his surgery and look forward to having him back on the field as soon as he is healthy and ready to return," Van Horn said.

McKinney is eligible for a redshirt season, but it's unclear when he will be able to pitch again. Recovery for Tommy John surgery typically is at least 12 months for pitchers, although the timeline can fluctuate based on the severity of the injury.

McKinney also is draft-eligible this summer. The Ankeny, Iowa, native was listed as one of Baseball America's 80 best prospects in 2014, but wasn't drafted until the 28th round by the New York Mets because of a high asking price to skip college.

When Arkansas opened preseason practice last Friday, Van Horn said he was optimistic McKinney had turned a corner after more than a year of struggling with injuries. McKinney was unable to pitch for the Razorbacks in the College World Series two years ago and underwent hip surgery shortly after his freshman season when he led the SEC with two complete games, including a shutout at Alabama.

He struggled to recover from the injury, however, and his production dipped as a sophomore when he recorded a 6.66 ERA in 12 starts and a relief appearance.

McKinney struggled during the Razorbacks' early portion of fall practice, too, but Van Horn said he had been encouraged by a couple of bullpen sessions in January.

“(Keaton) threw a couple good innings here and there toward the end of fall ball where you’re going, ‘Wow, that kind of reminds us of the guy we had as a freshman,’ except he is throwing a little bit harder,” Van Horn said last Friday. “He’s a lot bigger, more physical."

It's unclear whether the Tommy John surgery was required because of an injury sustained in practice or was the result of a lingering injury. He had thrown as recently as a scrimmage last Saturday.

"He looks like the old Keaton again," Arkansas sophomore pitcher Blaine Knight said last month. "It's good to see that again because of the struggles, and the ups and downs he went through last year."


     The article said:

01. "Keaton McKinney will undergo Tommy John surgery on his elbow."
02. "Mr. McKinney was expected to contend for a weekend starter job this year."
03. "Mr. McKinney is eligible for a redshirt season."

     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injury, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres muscle contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.


0059.  Pitch counts won't make hurlers healthier
Elmira Star Gazette
February 02, 2017

Spent plenty of evenings with clicker in hand during the summer of 1986.

That’s what we called the pitch counter used by my American Legion team. It made an audible click each time a pitch was recorded.

As a reserve outfielder, counting pitches was perhaps my most important job. Not surprisingly, I was terrible. I’d get talking to the guy next me and miss entire at-bats, sometimes entire innings. If the coach asked, I’d check the inning, multiply by 15 and then add or subtract one or two to make it sound believable. Coach asks in the fifth inning, I look at the clicker and confidently report, “77.”

Then I’d show the clicker to a teammate – a number revealing far fewer than 77 -- and we’d laugh.

Funny thing is, during that summer none of our pitchers asked about counts. No one cared. If our pitcher was getting guys out, that’s all that mattered.

Pitch counts started to enter baseball’s consciousness in the 1980s. By the 1990s, people began taking them seriously. By the 2000s, they became an obsession. Today, they’re the be-all and end-all of discussions regarding pitchers.

It’s all about protecting arms.

Last week, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association adopted pitch-count rules for varsity, junior varsity and modified baseball teams that will go into effect this spring. During the regular season, varsity pitchers will be limited to 105 pitches. If they throw between 96-105, they’ll need four days’ rest before their next outing. The maximum rises to 125 in the postseason. Other restrictions are in place and the maximum numbers drop for JV and modified hurler.

Well, we can forget about arm injuries now. They’ll be a thing of the past.

Or will they?

Since it’s hard to find statistics regarding high school players, let’s look at the number of Tommy John surgeries performed on major league players from 1974 – when the surgery’s namesake had the first one to repair an injured ligament to his left elbow – through 2015. Four-hundred such surgeries were performed on major-league players in that time, 90 percent on pitchers.

The T.J. surgery breakdown: From 1974-85: Eight; 1986-95: 44; 1996-2005: 123; 2006-2015: 225. Nearly one-third of the operations were performed from 2011-15. In 2015, 25 percent of big-league pitchers (98 of 382) and 15 percent of minor-leaguers (341 of 2,324) had Tommy John surgery.

Notice any trends?

As baseball focused on limiting pitches, more pitchers suffered elbow injuries. Granted, that’s a simplistic reading of the numbers. There might be 50 other factors that contributed to the rise in elbow blowouts. At bare minimum, we can glean that big-league pitchers haven’t benefited from throwing fewer pitches or getting more rest between starts.

The Daily News’ Bill Madden wrote a column in 2014 that focused on the alarming number of pitchers on the disabled list.

In that piece, Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan said: “It’s because pitchers simply don’t throw as much as we did. That’s the real issue here. When I pitched, we pitched every fourth day and guys would pitch 300 innings and it wasn’t considered a big deal. If you don’t get on the mound and develop stamina, you’re risking injury. This whole thing with the 100-pitch count limit — I have a real problem with that. Pitchers are all different and when you put standard limitations on them, you’re not utilizing their talent.”

Agree with both points. Pitchers need to throw more, not less, and it makes no sense to treat a 6-foot-4, 220-pound senior the way you’d treat a 5-11, 140-pound sophomore.

But NYSPHSAA disagrees and now we’re stuck with uniform rules for everyone.

We’ll see guys replaced on the mound, not necessarily because they’re struggling or tired but because of a number in a scorebook. We’ll see hitters looking to extend at-bats against quality pitchers to get them out of a game. We’ll see pitchers get ahead 0-2 in a count and stay aggressive in the strike zone to keep their pitch counts down. We’ll see 20-18 scores in May, when teams are playing five games a week and no experienced pitchers are available. We might even see arguments between coaches if their pitch counts don’t jibe.

And we’ll be told this is a good idea, a necessary and responsible action.

Here’s another idea: Encourage kids to throw. Get them outside, play catch with them, teach proper mechanics and they’ll be less likely to develop sore arms.


     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers need to stand tall, turn the back of their upper arm to face toward home plate, rotate their hips and shoulders forward together over their Front Foot, release their breaking pitches under the Middle finger and aim the pitching arm down the acromial line into the strike zone.



     On Sunday, February 12, 2017, I posted the following questions and answers.



0060.  I recently saw that Jeff Passan published a pitching book.

I am not sure what it entails, however, it seems as though Mr. Passan is looking for baseball pitching answers in all the wrong places.

You clearly explained in your e-mail to Mr. Passan what the causes of injuries are and yet I am not sure he understands the simplicity of how pitching using the correct anatomy in the proper sequence can help eliminate what Dr. Wright’s research has found.

What is even more frustrating is this research that Dr. Wright has done is exactly what you learned about your own pitching arm in 1967.

You weren’t able to shave your own face anymore from the loss of elbow flexion.

Your explanation to Mr. Passan makes way more sense to me than Dr. Wright’s.

"At this time of year, I recommend that pitchers shut it down as far as throwing a baseball."

"They need this time to rest and to work on basic strengthening and stretching."

These conclusions by Dr. Wright have zero substance and are not of any help to any baseball pitcher looking to stay injury free.

In my short career so far as a physical therapist, I have made a generalized observation that orthopedic surgeons are really good at repairing injuries, but not all are good at knowing how to prevent injuries.

Please let me know if Mr. Passan has an answer for your question regarding what team owner wants pitchers to be injury-free.


     As a student of Kinesiology, you are able to understand the causes of injuries, but not the thinking of orthopedic surgeons.


0061.  01/28/2017 Letter to Jeff Passan

Thanks for the update and pitching study.

I find it interesting that they concluded that the decrease in elbow range of motion and zero effect on pitchers on the mound and in their activities of daily living.

As stated before you had trouble shaving with the loss of elbow flexion and to me it seems like a pitcher would lose their potential to throw at their best potential with the loss of active range of motion when pitching.

I am glad that there is a way to actually teach pitchers to prevent this from happening.

Unfortunately, the gentlemen in the study do not.


     If I had lost 24 degrees of range of motion in the knee, the orthopedic surgeon would immediately recognize that I was a crippled.

     But, with 24 degrees of range of motion in my elbow, the orthopedic surgeon thought nothing of it.

     Somehow, I managed to succeed with 75 degrees of functional use.

     Now, we have to stop teaching the 'traditional' pitching motion and start using my pitching motion.


0062.  My former college baseball pitcher wants information

I've been training every day. My spin velocity on my pitches have gone up tremendously. I can especially tell when I throw the footballs.

My curve ball is getting very good. It's gotten harder and sharper with no hump at all. I finally got to throw to catcher recently and threw about 15 curves in a 40 pitch bullpen and through every single one of them for strikes pretty much both torque and maxline.

Also my dad pointed out that I've been having my palm supinated too much like a pronation curve ball while I throw torque and maxline fastballs with wrist weights.

When I throw my elbow in, I've been keeping my forearm too outwardly rotated on my fastballs.

I understand I only need to be fully supinated with my forearm on the curveball.

This also has been affecting the screwball as well because it's kind of fighting it since I should be fully pronated with that pitch.

I think it has been holding back velocity on my fastballs because it feels like I'm pushing the baseball when I'm too supinated.

Now I can throw my elbow in while getting my forearm in the right position to execute the pitch with max force.

Another thing I recently discovered is that I've been landing on my front foot with too much weight on the left side of my foot.

So I'm not landing stable and can't pull my mass through. I understand I need to land on my heel being stabled so I can get the full walking reflex. This is going to help a lot.

I also need to stop pulling my pitching arm down at release to get a good force-couple.

When I don't let my arm come below my chest, I am able to force-couple much easier and better.

What are your thoughts?


     When you pendulum swing your pitching arm to driveline height with the palm of the pitching hand facing away in one, smooth and continuous movement, you move into the 'Loading the Slingshot' position.

     When the heel of the Front Foot lands, you move your pitching arm from 'Loading the Slingshot' position to the 'Slingshot' position with six separate hand positions.

1. To throw the Torque and Maxline Pronation Curves, you need maximum forearm/hand supination; the back of the pitching forearm/hand should face upward.

2. To throw the Torque Slider, you need the back of your pitching forearm/hand facing away.

3. To throw Torque Fastball, you need the palm of your pitching forearm/hand facing slightly turned inward.

4. To throw the Maxline Fastball, you need the palm of your pitching forearm/hand slightly facing away.

5. To throw the Maxline Fastball Sinker, you need the palm of your pitching forearm/hand nearly fully facing away.

6. To throw the Maxline True Screwball, you need the palm of your pitching forearm/hand is totally fully facing away. Therefore, to get pronation rotation, you have to use the upper arm/hand inward rotation.


0063.  My former college baseball pitcher want to reach high

From watching some of your cd's, I don't think I do a good job at driving my wrist weight horizontally forward when I throw them.

How do I drive my wrist weight and heavy led ball horizontally forward without dropping my elbow?

When I do these drills, I try to release as high as possible.


     To release the pitches as high as you are able, imagine that you are throwing your wrist weights as though you are dunking a basketball and your pitching elbow pops up over the rim.


0064.  Mets hope to start season with healthy spring
Associated Press
February 09, 2017

NEW YORK, NY: A healthy start. That's the main thing the New York Mets are hoping for this spring.

With four-fifths of the projected rotation coming off surgery, the Mets return mostly the same roster from the 2016 team that overcame a rash of critical injuries to claim an NL wild card. So with slugger Yoenis Cespedes re-signed for $110 million to anchor the lineup again, they simply figure better luck — and less time on the disabled list — should put them back in pennant contention.

Hard-throwing ace Noah Syndergaard is the only established starting pitcher on the club who made it through a full season last year.

Matt Harvey had surgery in July for thoracic outlet syndrome. Jacob deGrom underwent a September operation on the ulnar nerve in his right elbow, and left-hander Steven Matz had bone spurs removed from his pitching elbow and a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left shoulder.

Zack Wheeler hasn't made it back yet from Tommy John surgery in March 2015.

All are expected to be ready to throw when camp opens Tuesday in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Together, they could form one of baseball's most fearsome rotations.

But oh, doctor, that's a long list of ailments to worry about in a young and talented group that's been physically fragile so far. With fingers crossed, the prized starters will be monitored closely, every little twinge a potential red flag.

"Am I confident they're all going to be 100 percent? Well, that would be probably unrealistic to believe, but I do think we're going to be in a much better position with our starting pitching coming out of spring training (this) year than we have been," general manager Sandy Alderson said.

Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman, the unheralded rookies who rescued a depleted rotation down the stretch last year, remain possible replacements or bullpen options.


     As long as baseball pitchers release their breaking pitches over the top of their Index finger, the baseball pitchers will destroy their pitching elbow.


0065.  New form of training paying off for Taillon
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
February 06, 2017

A week from today, Jameson Taillon will take the field during the first spring training workout for pitchers and catchers. Preparation for his first full season in the majors will begin. In a sense, though, it began last winter, when Taillon re-learned how to stand and move as part of a new offseason program.

Taillon is nearing the end of his second winter of training at Fairchild Sports Performance, a training facility in his hometown of Houston. Last year, after two surgeries had meant two missed seasons, Taillon began training at Fairchild with an emphasis on improving posture and quality of movement. The foundation laid, Taillon this winter has put on eight to 10 pounds, adding some propulsive mass and strength to the equation.

“I think he’s going through an absolute metamorphosis in terms of his physical understanding, how to really manage his body over the course of a 162-game season, what the greatest red flags are for him that could sideline him or take him down,” said Ben Fairchild, the owner of FSP.

Fairchild dabbled in low-level arena football after college, but eventually put his sports science degree from Nicholls State to use running an NFL draft preparation program in New Orleans with longtime trainer Mackie Shilstone. Shilstone imparted to Fairchild the need for a business-like approach to training.

“Not just hey, this is a fun sexy exercise, let’s go flip a tire at random, push a truck in neutral, things that frankly have nothing to do with enhancing his pitching capability but they might look good on social media,” Fairchild said.

When Hurricane Katrina put Fairchild’s house under 10 feet of water, he relocated to Houston, home to many professional athletes and lacking an appropriate number of quality training centers. Taillon, 25, came to FSP after the 2015 season. Tommy John ligament replacement surgery had wiped out 2014, and an inguinal hernia, which happened just as he was ready to return to minor league games, canceled the rest of 2015.

“I don’t know that I’ve seen a pitcher of his prospectus at his young age that had endured so much severe injury, frankly,” Fairchild said.

Taillon was healthy by that point, but years of repetitive overhand throwing had left behind issues with his kinetic chain and movement patterns. Fairchild said he can tell a lot about a pitcher’s physical capabilities and injury risks by looking at his posture. They started simple — where his pelvis was when standing on one foot, how his shoulder rotated as he took his arm back — and ingrained the habits with lots of repetition.

Taillon debuted for the Pirates last summer. In 18 starts, he had a 3.38 ERA.

“He is one of our favorite subjects to teach because he is so professional,” Fairchild said. “Honestly, I think being around [Mark] Melancon, as he’ll reference sometimes, really kind of rubbed off on him.”

Melancon also trains with Fairchild in Houston. He pitched for the Pirates for parts of the past four seasons before they traded him at last summer’s deadline, and he signed with the San Francisco Giants as a free agent this winter.

This year, pitcher Nick Kingham joined Taillon at Fairchild. Prospects Barrett Barnes, an outfielder, and Brandon Waddell, a pitcher, also train there.


     The article said:

01. "Jameson Taillon is nearing the end of his second winter of training at Fairchild Sports Performance, a training facility in his hometown of Houston."
02. "Last year, after two surgeries had meant two missed seasons, Taillon began training at Fairchild with an emphasis on improving posture and quality of movement."
03. "The foundation laid, Taillon this winter has put on eight to 10 pounds, adding some propulsive mass and strength to the equation."

     Unfortunately, the Fairchild Sports Performance owner has no idea what he is doing.

     Mr. Taillon continues to release his breaking pitches over the top of his Index finger.


0066.  Wheeler's emphatic message to Mets: Don't keep me as a reliever
New York Post
February 07, 2017

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL: There are self-doubts. Two years of being sidelined following Tommy John surgery will do that to even the most strong-willed pitcher.

But there is also relentless determination from Zack Wheeler to earn back his starting spot in the rotation.

The Mets right-handler returned to practice Tuesday with his teammates at voluntary camp with but one goal in his sights.

It’s not in the bullpen.

“I know I belong in the starting rotation, there’s no question about that,’’ Wheeler told The Post as he stood behind the cluster of practice mounds known as the six-pack. “I’m a starter. I want to be a starter."

There is zero doubt about that.

Wheeler, 26, is aware that he has to run the pitching gauntlet to get back home to the rotation, which probably means a bullpen stint, but there is no way Wheeler wants to fall into the bullpen trap.

He has seen it happen too many times.

“I feel that guys that go to the bullpen get stuck in the bullpen, and I don’t want to do that," Wheeler said. “Because either you are doing bad and you stay in the bullpen because you can’t be a starter, or you are doing really good and they can’t afford to move you out of the bullpen. So you are going to get stuck there, and that’s why I’m trying to let everybody know that I’m not a bullpen guy, I’m a starter."

It’s clear.

And, truth be told, Wheeler (49 major league starts, no relief appearances) doesn’t even know if he can handle the bullpen. Forget about back-to-backs.

“I don’t even know if I could do every other day in the bullpen," Wheeler said. “It was a struggle for me to get every fifth day. That’s because I’ve started my whole life.

“It’s the mindset, it’s physical, it’s what you’ve been doing your whole life.

“I know at some point I will have to go to the bullpen thing just because of the innings," Wheeler said. “I hate innings limits, but I guess that is part of the game these days. You’ve got to do what they say. They’re the boss."

Wheeler said he talked to GM Sandy Alderson about the situation this winter, and the conversation “re-assured me."

He knows the Mets are looking out for him.

He’s had Tommy John surgery, stitches that didn’t dissolve and PRP injections. He’s had too many false starts, but it’s finally go time.

“It’s been fun watching these guys from a distance,” he said of the Mets’ talented starters, Noah & Co. “It’s going to be fun to see if I still got it against big league guys, that’s the way I look it, but I know I still do.

“I just don’t want to get my hopes up too high."

First things first, he has to reestablish himself in his own mind.

This has been the longest of roads back for Wheeler, who admitted: “You start to second-guess yourself when you start having some complications. I was supposed to come back last year a couple different times and that didn’t happen, so you start to second-guess yourself. But at the same time you have that trust and believe in yourself where you can sort of push through that every day."

Wheeler has been pushing that boulder up the hill since March 2015. Pushing, pushing, pushing, only to see it roll back down again.

“I know I will really be back when I’m starting again and hitting on all cylinders," Wheeler said.

“I let it loose this offseason, it’s coming out good, I feel good. But the real test will be when I throw off the mound here and put that last little bit on it, because that’s when it was barking last year."

There has been much too much pain. Now is the time to begin to gain back his spot in the rotation.


     Zack Wheeler, said: “I know I will really be back when I’m starting again and hitting on all cylinders."

     Mr. Wheeler remains lost.


0067.  Wilson eyeing return as knuckleball pitcher
Yahoo Sports
February 08, 2017

Brian Wilson intends to resume his pitching career as a knuckleballer.

Yes that Brian Wilson, now 34 years old, beardless and having just gone a month eating nothing but guacamole, which probably isn’t quite as great as it sounds.

On a muddy mound at USC on Wednesday morning, wearing high-top spikes and a Hawaii-themed cap, Wilson threw a 30-minute bullpen session. Of those dozens of pitches, all but a handful were knuckleballs.

“That right there,” Wilson said while pulling off his muck-caked shoes, “was an MVP-Cy Young knuckleball. You can write that down, too. No joke.”

He smiled.

“I can already see myself out there,” he said, “throwing up some waffles.”

Wilson is nearly 2 ½ years removed from his last professional pitch, thrown for the Los Angeles Dodgers at the end of the 2014 season, when they released him in spite of owing him $9.5 million for 2015. He continued to throw while also taking on real estate projects in Los Angeles, content in a career that spanned nine seasons and netted 172 saves, three All-Star appearances and two World Series titles, mostly with the San Francisco Giants.

He hadn’t, however, intended to retire. His elbow – saved twice by Tommy John surgery – felt strong. His shoulder, too. And several months ago he decided to spend more time with the knuckleball, a pitch he taught himself as a 12-year-old and toyed with ever since. In San Francisco, he said, coaches had asked him to refrain from the knuckleball in deference to the health of catchers Mike Matheny, Bengie Molina and Buster Posey. The pitch can be savage on a catcher. Besides, Wilson was pushing triple digits with his fastball and his slider was borderline unhittable. A 74-mph knuckler seemed, to the Giants, unnecessary.

Two summers had passed. Wilson missed the game. He missed the teammates, the fans who loved and despised him, the heartache of some of those losses and the joy of the rest. Could he again throw 95 with a disappearing slider? Maybe. Could he throw a fluttering somethin’-somethin’, throw it for a strike, throw it for five or six or seven innings, and have a great time doing it?

He has thrown for at least two teams in the past couple weeks.

“It was kinda good to lay back and figure out what I wanted,” Wilson said. “It feels like a new leaf.”

Besides, he said while holding a Whole Foods bag stuffed with lettuce and fruit and sparkling water, so clearly off the guacamole diet, “I may be 34, but I’m actually 26 biologically.”

So there you go.

He’ll be 35 in March.

R.A. Dickey, who came to the knuckleball when he was about 30, is 42 and will make $8 million pitching for the Atlanta Braves in 2017. Steven Wright of the Boston Red Sox turned to the knuckleball in his mid-20s and had a breakout 2016, when, at 32, he won 13 games. Noted recent knuckleballers Tim Wakefield and Tom Candiotti pitched well into their 40s.

A reliever for nearly all his professional career, when he was fastball-slider reliant, Wilson likely would focus on being a starter as a knuckleballer. What’s left to determine is whether the knuckleball is good enough for the big leagues. Wilson said he threw it a few times during spring training with the Dodgers in 2014.

What would seem different about Wilson’s knuckler is that he throws it from several arm angles. Also, he grips it with the tips of his fingers, so does not bury his fingernails into the ball, and then does not push the ball as much as he throws it as he would a fastball. On Wednesday morning, he changed speeds with it, commanded it on both sides of the plate, up and down, threw it over the top and sidearm, and generally beat the hell out of the guy trying to catch it. The rest will be left for the hitters to decide, assuming Wilson gets into a team’s camp, which shouldn’t be so hard.

“I always said that once my career was over I was coming back as a knuckleballer,” he said. “I’m good with it. Man, I get to play a game. It’s going to be pretty fun.”


     The new thing that Brian Wilson needs to learn is how to use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.


0068.  Bailey has surgery to remove bone spurs in elbow
Cincinnati Enquirer
February 08, 2017

Cincinnati Reds right-hander Homer Bailey hasn't pitched a full season since 2013. That streak will continue for another year.

On Wednesday, the Reds announced that Bailey had surgery to remove bone spurs from his surgically repaired elbow. He is expected to be shut down for 4-6 weeks, and will likely start the season on the disabled list. It's the latest in a long line of elbow troubles for the 30-year-old, all of which have prevented the Reds from getting much return on their nine-digit investment.

Bailey signed a six-year, $106 million extension before the 2014 season. He's pitched just 180 innings since then, including just 34 1/3 the last two seasons. He's still owed $68 million, of which $19 million will be paid this season.

"It’s been a long road," said Dick Williams, the team's president of baseball operations. "He’s worked hard to get back on the field. I know he’s feeling frustrated, and I know he’s still committed to getting back out there as quick as he can.”

Late in the 2014 season, Bailey required flexor mass surgery. He pitched only 11 innings in the 2015 season before tearing his ulnar collateral ligament, requiring Tommy John surgery. He was expected back from that procedure in May of last season, but suffered a setback related to the nerve in his elbow and didn't debut until July 31.

He pitched 23 innings over six starts before his arm started barking at him again, this time with fatigue. The Reds shut him down, although he was in the process of building back up to return to action when the season ended. He was expected to have a normal offseason.

But in the last month, Bailey complained of discomfort while increasing his throwing workload as he prepared for spring training. He saw Dr. David Altchek in New York, with whom he'd sought a second opinion on his elbow after his setback earlier in the 2016 season. Exams revealed that his flexor mass and UCL both are healthy, but also revealed the bone spurs. Altchek performed the surgery to remove them Wednesday.

Bailey's recovery will delay his debut by at least the amount of time he'll be held back from throwing, making his best-case scenario a mid-May return. That may be optimistic, and any timeline will have to take into account how Bailey reacts to his rehab. But Williams doesn't expect 2017 to be another lost season.

“I think it’s fair to say we expect to get the majority of the season," Williams said. "I really can’t get more specific. I really don’t know yet."

Losing Bailey thins a rotation that was already lacking reliabilty. Only left-hander Brandon Finnegan and right-handers Anthony DeSclafani and Scott Feldman have rotation spots at the moment. The Reds have a host of young pitchers vying for major-league shots -- Robert Stephenson, Cody Reed, Amir Garrett, Nick Travieso, Sal Romano, Rookie Davis and Tyler Mahe, to name several -- but none have proven themselves capable of handling a 200-inning load in the big leagues.

The rotation was one spot deeper last month, before the Reds traded righty Dan Straily to the Miami Marlins. Straily was the team's most reliable starter in 2016, but the Reds wanted to capitalize on his value for the return of three players, pitchers Luis Castillo and Austin Brice and outfield prospect Isaiah White. The Reds signed Feldman soon after moving Straily.

Williams doesn't want a redo on that trade in the wake of Bailey's latest injury setback.

"That decision in a vacuum would not have been affected by Homer," Williams said. "In other words, if Homer’s down, we wouldn’t have kept Dan to replace Homer. Now, we need to make a decision on if we need to do anything to address the fact that Homer will be out for a while now.”

The Reds aren't rushing out to the clearance aisle for one of the remaining free agent pitchers. Flush with young pitching, Williams would rather see how his prospects perform in spring before bringing in anyone from the outside.

The Reds are expected to sign veteran and familiar face Bronson Arroyo to a minor-league deal this week, but he comes with injury issues of his own. Arroyo hasn't pitched consistently since 2014, when he had an elbow injury of his own, and may be able to handle only relief work.

Williams also said there are no plans to move former starters like Michael Lorenzen or Raisel Iglesias back into the rotation.

"There will be an opportunity for the guys who are coming to assert themselves," Williams said. "I think it’s fair to say we’ll at least look around to see if there are some options."


     The article said:

01. "On Wednesday, the Reds announced that Homer Bailey had surgery to remove bone spurs from his surgically repaired elbow."
02. "He is expected to be shut down for 4-6 weeks, and will likely start the season on the disabled list."
03. "It's the latest in a long line of elbow troubles for the 30-year-old, all of which have prevented the Reds from getting much return on their nine-digit investment."

     Until Mr. Bailey learns how to release his breaking pitches under his Middle finger, Mr. Bailey will continue to destroy his pitching elbow.


0069.  My former college baseball pitcher has some ideas

From slow motion video analysis my dad and I discovered that I've been pulling my upper arm down before release.

This is because my trunk comes down.

I think it's from actively tilting my shoulders too much which makes me do a somersault action instead of rotating my shoulders and hips over my glove foot.

I will now just scrape the top of my cap and let my shoulders tilt naturally instead.

We also put a 2x4 block in between my feet from the set position in front of the rubber. This is helping me get a shorter stride and have my pitching leg up at release instead of dragging my pitching leg.

I need to rotate faster and tighter when I pitch and my velocity will get much better.


     This all sounds good.

     Now, take your time until it is time for you to quietly explode your release.


0070.  As spring training begins, pitchers enter Tommy John danger zone
USA Today
February 09, 2017

All along the coasts of Florida and in the heart of Arizona, Major League Baseball teams are preparing for the start of spring training. Soon, the camps will be populated by hundreds of players ready to start their preparation for the 2017 season. And when pitchers and catchers officially report this month, they will begin the weekslong shuttle to ready their arms for Opening Day.

It is a rite of spring and for those involved in keeping those pitchers healthy, these first few days of spring training are a cause of serious worry.

“The first week of camp, for us internally in baseball,” says Mike Reinold, a former head trainer for the Boston Red Sox, is always the worst week of the year.”

As baseball puts increasingly more scrutiny into how to protect arms and lower Tommy John rates, they have considered pitch counts and innings thrown and many other factors, but anecdotal and empirical data shows that spring training is a problem of its own. To keep those pitchers off the disabled list and operating table, teams must first navigate the landmines of February and March.

Over the last five years, 27 percent of all Tommy John surgeries have occurred in March and April -- according to Jon Roegele’s Tommy John database. It is a staggering amount when you put it in context with the rest of the year. Last year, 26 of 81 total surgeries were undergone in those two months and just 32 over the last six months of the year. In 2015, there were 38 in February and March and 43 from July 1 on. In 2014, there were seven more Tommy John surgeries in the spring than there were after the end of June.

It puts an uneasy tint to the next few weeks. Surely, it is good to see baseball again, but there is a foreboding sense that more pain and surgeries are on their way.

Some of the surgeries, experts say, are unavoidable. They are the result of an offseason of hoping by teams and players. Pitchers who felt the pain and discomfort in their throwing elbows at the end of the 2016 season will go under the knife because an offseason of rest and rehab did not do them enough good.

But there are plenty of new injuries too and as a result of the stress of spring.

“It’s a combination of the business, the physiology, the biomechanics and just the situation of who’s making the decisions,” Eric Cressey, a trainer who works with pitchers, including former Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber, in the offseason, said. “That’s the challenging thing about baseball is there isn’t that one easy thing we can do to modify stuff.”

Still, the prescription to curb the injury rate seems to center around two changes -- one that could break through baseball dogma and the other a change in philosophy.

Alan Jaeger, a long toss guru, sees the way major league teams approach their bullpen schedule as a serious issue. The norm, he says, is for pitcher to throw a bullpen session every other day, trying to build up their arms and endurance quickly enough to pitch in exhibition games by early March and then to be around the 90 pitch threshold in April. He believes it makes little sense.

“That could be the single biggest problem with an arm breaking down – the first 10 days,” Jaeger said. “That’s how important it is.”

Taking just one day off becomes a “brutal” stress on the arm, he says, especially when pitchers are exerting themselves to try to impress and make the team. Cressey and Reinold agree that having just one day off between throwing sessions, whether it’s a bullpen or live batting practice, is not in the pitcher’s best interest.

And, Reinold notes, with pitchers throwing harder all the time, it puts more force on the elbow. Pitchers who regularly throw in the mid-to-high 90’s as their are at greater risk.

“You gotta question why tradition is taking precedent over a modern-day approach to pitching,” Reinold said. “I don’t want to come across as being a conservative viewpoint. Times have changed and we’re throwing harder.”

Without an extra day, at least, for the arm to recover, Jaeger says, the arm does not get to recondition and build strength. Which leaves it hampered.

“The first 10 days are not modern,” Cressey said. “It’s just different. There’s too many guys trying to make the club. There’s too many guys throwing really, really hard nowadays that it problematic and probably unnecessary. But something that I feel like is just happening because of tradition.”

Moving away from such a compact schedule, Jaeger says, would be beneficial for pitchers. It would also break from tradition, though he has noticed that some teams have already made a change. Just as vital would be putting pitchers on an individualized regimen instead of a cookie-cutter approach.

With increasing knowledge that every pitcher and every arm is different, treating everyone the same way, no longer makes sense.

“What it all comes down to: Are you going to adapt to what the players are doing to be what they are,” Jaeger said. “Or are you going to oppose it?”

Every pitcher undergoes a different offseason training program and teams, they say, should respond to what that pitcher needs and what has worked for them in the past.

For instance, Cressey says he pushed Kluber’s workload back this offseason because of the long and arduous season he had with Cleveland as they made a World Series run. Teams should be just as respondent in spring.

“I don’t think the solution is to make spring training longer – the season is already long enough,” Cressey said. “I think it’s more just a matter of in that early stage of spring training maybe just tapering back a little bit on how much bullpen stuff is actually taking place. Maybe not bringing guys along so quickly… I don’t think we need to coddle baseball guys – I think we’ve done enough of that – but I do think there’s a place for mixing stress so it’s not always off the mound.”


     To prevent injuries to their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arms downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres muscle contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.


0071.  Angels banking on healthy pitching staff
February 10, 2017

For the Angels, the perfect season begins with a healthy and effective pitching staff. In 2016, the Halos' rotation was ravaged by injuries, which proved to be the primary culprit in the club's struggles.

Ace Garrett Richards, left-hander Andrew Heaney and Nick Tropeano suffered torn ulnar collateral ligaments in their pitching elbows, with the latter two electing to have Tommy John surgery; C.J. Wilson didn't throw a single pitch due to shoulder issues; Tyler Skaggs didn't return to the mound until July following a nearly two-year absence from Tommy John surgery; and Matt Shoemaker underwent emergency brain surgery in September after being hit in the head with a line drive.

All told, the Angels deployed a total of 15 starters who combined to post a 4.60 ERA, which ranked 20th in the Majors.

The injuries also extended to the club's bullpen. Closer Huston Street underwent season-ending knee surgery in August, while Cam Bedrosian's breakout season was cut short by surgery to remove a blood clot in September.

The Angels are hoping a healthier pitching staff will allow the club to rebound from its 74-88 finish last season and become contenders in the competitive American League West. Baseball Prospectus projects the Angels to win 78 games in 2017 and finish behind the Astros, Rangers and Mariners, but they have the pieces to potentially surprise in the division and return to the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

Much of that hope revolves around Richards, the Angels' only true top-of-the-rotation arm who appears to have avoided Tommy John surgery through an alternative stem-cell treatment. The Halos are also counting on comebacks from Skaggs and Shoemaker and continued effectiveness from Ricky Nolasco, who recorded a 3.21 ERA in 11 starts after being acquired from the Twins at the Trade Deadline.

The Angels also improved their rotation depth by signing veteran Jesse Chavez to a one-year, $5.75 million contract. Chavez is expected to compete for the fifth spot in the Angels' rotation this spring, though he could also move to the bullpen if he falters. They're pinning their hopes for a bounce-back season on the arms of their pitchers. If they can contribute solid innings and stay healthy, Los Angeles will be a team to watch in 2017.


     To prevent injuries to their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arms downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres muscle contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent banging the olecranon process into the olecranon fossa, baseball pitchers need to release their breaking pitching under the Middle finger.

     To prevent pitching shoulders injuries, baseball pitchers need to stand tall, turn the back of their upper arm to face home plate, rotate their hips and shoulders forward together over their Front foot and aim their pitching arm down the acromial line into the strike zone.


0072.  Collins hopes to keep rotation healthy
Associated Press
February 13, 2017

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL: Terry Collins has his projected top five starting pitchers together in spring training for the first time in two years. Now the New York Mets manager hopes they stay healthy.

"You see them feeding off one another. They're sitting there, five lockers next to one another. You keep those guys healthy and run them out there as much as we can and they're going to get people out and we're going to win baseball games," Collins said Monday as pitchers and catchers reported. "If you can get 30 starts (each) out of those five guys, I'll take my chances."

Likely opening day starter Noah Syndergaard, the only one of the quintet who has avoided surgery, spoke Sunday after arriving, and Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler gave medical updates Monday.

Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen have cut back on their workload early in camp.

"When you're talking about the injuries that occur to pitchers, a lot of has to with the fact that perhaps we throw too much too early. We're not going to do that this year," Collins said. "You'll see tomorrow. There will be no throwing in drills. Dan and I sat down and figured out we can save a hundred throws a day by not having them throw in drills."

Harvey missed 2014 following Tommy John surgery, was a dominant presence as the Mets won the NL pennant in 2015, then struggled to a 4-10 record last season before surgery in July to repair a thoracic outlet syndrome injury.

"I was able to (get into) my normal offseason program. That made a difference rather than when I had the Tommy John surgery and had the whole offseason off," Harvey said.

He threw early Monday morning.

"I saw the fire I've seen in the past," Collins said. "He wants to be back on top. He likes to be the No. 1."

The lone lefty, Matz is on a normal scheduled after he had bone spurs removed from his pitching elbow and a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left shoulder.'

"Not pushing it too soon is kind of the idea, but I don't think anything's different," Matz said. "I'm coming into the spring, in my mind, like it's a normal spring training."

DeGrom was hurt in camp last spring training and struggled to get his velocity back. Wheeler had Tommy John surgery in March 2015 and his minor league injury rehabilitation assignment last summer was cut short after one inning.

"I'm not getting my hopes up for one second. I hope I'm good; I hope I'm ready. I've done everything I've could," Wheeler said. "It hasn't been fun, I tell you that, down here watching these guys play on TV every day."

Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo are also candidates for the No. 5 rotation spot. Collins knows he will have Wheeler for a limited number of innings; the manager said he would rather have Wheeler, who may appear in the bullpen, at the season's end rather than the beginning.

"We're going to get him ready to start," Collins said. "We certainly think we're going to make a good run, and we'd like to have those innings late in the season when they're going to mean so much."


     Until these baseball pitchers learn how to release their breaking pitches under the Middle finger, they will continue to bang the olecranon process into the olecranon fossa.


0073.  Rodriguez, Pomeranz, Wright undergoing specialized routines at start of spring training
Providence Journal
February 14, 2017

FORT MYERS, FL: Eduardo Rodriguez (knee) did not take part in pitchers' fielding practice during the first official Red Sox workout of spring training on Tuesday, instead going through agility drills on the side.

Rodriguez will throw a bullpen session on Wednesday, Boston manager John Farrell said.

Fellow starters Drew Pomeranz (elbow) and Steven Wright (shoulder) took part in Tuesday's fielding drills but won't throw bullpen sessions until next Monday, Farrell said.

All three are competing for the final two spots in Boston's starting rotation — and all three have begun spring training a step behind the rest of the pitchers on the staff.

Spring training began four days earlier this year relative to Opening Day, a consequence of the need for pitchers participating in the World Baseball Classic to prepare themselves. Those extra days, to Farrell, give the Red Sox a chance to take things slow with Rodriguez, Pomeranz, and Wright.

"This first five or six days on the field, we've got some specialized routines for (them) individually," Farrell said. The fact that Rodriguez came through the first day of spring training healthy was an improvement on a year ago.

Last year's first workout saw Rodriguez dislocate his kneecap, an injury that kept him off the mound in the major leagues for almost two months and prevented him from pitching to his capabilities until mid-July.

Rodriguez suffered a minor injury to his knee while pitching in winter ball in Venezuela in December, an injury that raised red flags but does not appear to be serious.

Though he's coming along slowly with the Red Sox, Rodriguez still hasn't ruled out pitching in the World Baseball Classic. He was named to Venezuela's "Designated Pitcher Pool," meaning he's not active in the first round of the tournament but could be added in later rounds.

"I've got to see if the doctors will let me go," the young lefty said before Tuesday's workout. "I'd go, but, if not, I'll just stay here."

Relief pitcher Carson Smith, still working his way back from the Tommy John surgery he underwent last season, took part in fielding drills but will not throw off a bullpen until around March 10, Farrell said.


     Until baseball pitchers stand tall and rotate their hips and shoulders forward together over their Front foot, these baseball pitchers will continue to unnecessaryly twist the Rear foot.


0074.  Tillman on shoulder rehab: 'I want to do it right, I'm not going to rush it'
Baltimore Sun
February 15, 2017

Chris Tillman entered the offseason hoping the right shoulder injury that resulted in a rare trip to the disabled list for three weeks late last season was behind him. But when the Orioles ace felt discomfort in his shoulder in mid-December, his attention immediately turned to ensuring he could resolve the problem before it lingered into 2017.

This year’s extended spring training — a result of the World Baseball Classic — will give him more time. But the Orioles’ timetable for Tillman’s return after a platelet-rich-plasma injection projects that he will be unable to make a fourth consecutive Opening Day start on April 3 against the Toronto Blue Jays; instead having him return to the rotation shortly thereafter.

The injection, which Tillman received in late December, pushed his offseason preparation back three weeks. Even if it meant the start of his season would be delayed, he had the shot because he wanted to open his year with the peace of mind that he was healthy going into the season.

“It didn’t feel right,” Tillman said before Wednesday’s spring training workout. “Every pitcher in here, there’s probably something clinical. And you can read into that or you don’t. I just wanted to get it behind us and do it the right way. I think that’s why we’re taking our time with it. We could go much faster, which would probably be the wrong way to do it. We sat down and we want to do it right and get this thing in the rear-view mirror.

“It never really bothered me. It just never felt how I would want it to in the offseason. I took the option of rest at the end of the season. It got better. It got much better. I wanted it to feel perfect.”

Tillman began his rehabilitation in Sarasota — where he owns a home in the offseason — three weeks after the injection, and Tuesday’s workout marked the “fourth or fifth” time he has played light catch.

“It’s gone really well,” Tillman said. “It’s feeling strong, it’s feeling better, but you’ve got to do it right. I don’t want to do it wrong and just say, ‘I’m going to go out there. I’m feeling better.’ I want to do it the right way and get it behind us. That way, it’s not an issue going forward.

“There’s a lot of hurdles to get over. I think most of them are mental. ... I’ve talked to many doctors in the last couple months and they are all optimistic and all positive. … I want to do it right. I’m not going to rush it out there just to get out there and have two more starts.”

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said the forethought Tillman showed in addressing the shoulder early is an example of the pitcher’s maturity over the past four years as he became the club’s most consistent starter and a valued rotation leader.

“I think he trusts us and knows us,” Showalter said. “A lot of guys don’t feel comfortable coming to somebody and saying that. They just [think], ‘Oh, that will go away. I’ll work through it,’ and all of a sudden it’s April 1 and we’ve got a problem. Then the team has a problem and that’s all you need to know about Chris.

“The biggest thing he wants is to be there for his team, regardless of what it might mean for him. If you know Chris, he’s the kind of guy who says, ‘If things ended today, I’m a real lucky guy and I’m in great shape for the rest of my life.’ So the team doing well and [him] being a contributor is a driving force for him doing what he’s doing. I’ve found through the years that those guys really get a return for having that type of approach.”

Tillman said the feeling in his shoulder was comparable to the shoulder inflammation that landed him on the disabled list for three weeks in late August and early September last year, his first stint on the DL since 2013.

“It was similar, but what I was feeling in August, I was pitching,” Tillman said. “In the offseason, I wasn't doing much. I was letting it rest and do day-to-day stuff. Not that it was hurting in the offseason. I could have pitched in the offseason; just that I’ve never pitched with really any problems before and I want to get this normal for me.

“The whole thing in the offseason is that I hadn’t picked up a ball yet. I wanted to feel real good before I did. I’ve been throwing here recently, and I’m going to throw again today [Wednesday]. It’s been feeling real good throwing, and it’s getting stronger, and it’s feeling better every day. I haven’t really felt it much. It’s definitely much, much better than when I was sitting at home not doing much.”

Tillman has been the club’s most consistent starting pitcher and the rotation’s workhorse for the past four seasons, averaging 32 starts, 190 innings and 14 wins. Over that span, he ranks 12th among American League starting pitchers with 11.7 wins above replacement (WAR).

This will be also Tillman’s final season before reaching free agency and he would be one of the top starting pitchers on the market next offseason with a strong showing.

“That’s what I mean by [when] I say I want to do this right,” Tillman said. “I don’t want to rush just to try to have a good year this year to set something up. I want to do this right. No matter how long it takes, I want to get this behind me and not rush back into it. The urge is definitely there to go out and throw every day and do the [pitchers’ fielding practice] because I feel like I can, but I want to do it right.”

The Orioles were 22-8 in games started by Tillman last season, and he won 14 of his first 16 decisions last year, going 14-2 with a 3.18 ERA over his first 21 starts. He ended that by posting a 1.29 ERA during a four-start span in which he allowed just four runs over 28 innings.

But after Tillman’s fourth straight seven-inning, one-run start on July 21 at Yankee Stadium, something went awry. He posted a 5.44 ERA over his final nine starts of the season, a span that included his three-week DL stint. Tillman allowed a .291 batting average and an .841 OPS during that season-ending stretch. He also started the AL wild-card game loss, but was pulled after just 74 pitches over 4 1/3 innings with the game tied at 2.

“I think there’s a big adjustment that I had to make to feel good to pitch,” Tillman said about pitching through the end of the season. “I was able to pitch, I really was. It was just the bullpen and I had to take it a little differently, take a different mindset. Getting ready to throw was a little different, but I was fine to pitch and I think I’ll be fine to pitch when the lights turn on. It’s just getting it strong enough and healthy enough to where I don’t want to have to worry about it. I want to get it behind us.”

Tillman left the door for Opening Day slightly open, but said he would see the greater goal if he was unable to start a fourth straight season opener on April 3 against the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards.

“I think it’s always a disappointment, but I kind of have a good feeling for where this thing is at right now,” Tillman said. “I wouldn’t be hugely disappointed at this point because I want to do it the right way. I think if we were to stick to a strict schedule, I don’t think that would put [Opening Day] there. The whole back end of our schedule is in pencil. This stuff right now is in pen. We’re going to stick to it. The back end of it is not written in pen, yet.”

Showalter said he’d like to avoid placing Tillman on the DL to open the season because then he wouldn’t be eligible to return until April 9. The fact that the Orioles have three days off over the first eight days of the season means Showalter won’t need a fifth starter until April 15, so the team could still carry Tillman on the Opening Day roster if he’s close.

“We might do that and still have him available to be one of the first five pitchers, which allows some flexibility with the roster to start the season,” Showalter said. “ … We’re just trying to build up the arm strength to put him back on the schedule he would have been on if he had been if he didn’t take those two or three weeks off.”


     To prevent pitching shoulders injuries, baseball pitchers need to stand tall, turn the back of their upper arm to face home plate, rotate their hips and shoulders forward together over their Front foot and aim their pitching arm down the acromial line into the strike zone.


0075.  Bad news on Reyes throws competition for starters job open
St. Louis Post Dispatch
February 16, 2017

An off-speed pitch attempted last week in New Jersey by a 22-year-old with one of the most promising arms in baseball instantly reshaped the Cardinals’ season days before it officially began.

Rookie Alex Reyes will miss the entire season after rupturing a ligament in his right elbow. Five days after Reyes felt pain spiral through his pitching arm, the Cardinals confirmed Wednesday the diagnosis they feared: Their young righthander will have Tommy John surgery as early as Thursday in Jupiter. His sudden and complete absence from this year’s rotation throws wide open a competition that will see two former All-Stars, a revitalized Michael Wacha or repurposed Trevor Rosenthal, make their claim to the fifth starter’s job.

“Clearly he was someone who we had talked about competing for that fifth spot,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “So now we have one less. I don’t think it’s a panic mode by any means where we have to go out and fill. Overall, I still feel we have that depth, and that’s why you collect it.

“As you look at the depth question, now it’s a great opportunity.”

Reyes entered spring training as the No. 1 pitching prospect in the game and a favorite for the National League Rookie of the Year award, but not a certain starter for the Cardinals. The club expected him to have an impact in that role at some point this season, even for the majority of the season. The idea was to pit him against Wacha and others for the starting job to open the year. That changed this past Friday when, during a throwing session near his home in Elizabeth, N.J., he tried to throw an offspeed pitch.

Discomfort bolted through his elbow, and he notified the Cardinals. Travel delays meant that he did not see the team’s medical staff until Tuesday, the first official workout day of spring training. An MRI later that day revealed a complete tear of his UCL, and there was no other option but Tommy John surgery. Rehab requires at least a year.

The Cardinals told Reyes on Wednesday morning.

“Apparently this is what has to happen,” Reyes said. “It was just the kind of pain throughout my elbow that I haven’t felt before. The thoughts that have been going through my head is, ‘It (stinks).’ … That’s something you never want to go through, and unfortunately it’s here.”

The injury happened while Reyes was on the major-league roster so he will spend the entire year on the major-league disabled list gathering service time. This year will count for the six years he needs to become a free agent.

The Cardinals have little interest at this point at pursuing a starter from outside the organization. The available free agents are not inspiring.

Cardinals officials commented on Reyes’ surgery shortly before several of the candidates for the No. 5 spot took the mounds nearby for their first throws in front of coaches.

Three years removed from arriving at spring as a sensation like Reyes, Wacha got his first chance to show the Cardinals the work he put in to build up strength and prevent what has become a chronic shoulder concern. While Reyes’ youth and efficiency were questions he brought into the season, the Cardinals are without many certainties on the starting staff. Adam Wainwright is coming off the most frustrating season of his career, Mike Leake had his struggles heightened by a faulty defense, and Lance Lynn is coming back from Tommy John surgery after missing the entire 2016 season.

Carlos Martinez, the Cardinals’ leading pitcher last year, carries the least concern, while challengers to Wacha all have some hurdle to clear. Like Wacha, Rosenthal had an injury last year that led to troubles. Rosenthal had his elbow examined out of concern for a severe injury. Tyler Lyons and Marco Gonzales, two lefties, are both coming back from surgery, and righthander Luke Weaver strayed from his strengths in spot major league starts last year. Weaver, Lyons, Wacha and Rosenthal all threw bullpen sessions Wednesday.

Wacha’s “was as good as I’ve seen him throw in a long time,” manager Mike Matheny said. “The base. The fluidity of it. Right now, we don’t look so much at the end results but how all the components look. He looked to me as right as I’ve seen him in a long time.”

Wacha spent the winter building strength in and around his shoulder, throughout his core, and even into his legs. He did not arrive at spring training more musclebound, but with “the right muscles firing in the position they need to be to throw a baseball the correct way.” Two of the three previous years have been interrupted by a stress reaction in his scapula, and this winter he geared his workouts around alleviating the stress that causes the unusual injury.

The Cardinals have expanded the tests they use to determine weaknesses that could lead to future injury, and Wacha has continued to take those.

In 2013, Reyes received treatment for a partial ligament tear in his right elbow, one that at the time did not require surgery. He had shoulder troubles in 2015, and in recent years, the Cardinals revealed, had missed some time with flexor irritation. In January, when the Cardinals examined players, Reyes did not have any issues. He said the soreness emerged while he was throwing Friday, and the Cardinals said it’s possible the rupture was an “event” injury, not wear over time.

“Both times I’ve been hurt I’ve come back and I’ve felt 100 percent,” Reyes said. “We treat it when we feel it. Those injuries have never come back until my elbow started bothering me now.”

Reyes said he did not increase or hasten his preparation for spring because of his possible role in the World Baseball Classic next month. The Dominican Republic’s team had him on their taxi squad of pitchers.

A year ago, closer to the end of spring, the Cardinals learned that shortstop Jhonny Peralta would start on the disabled list with a hand injury, and that upended the Cardinals’ planned infield. Reyes’ injury comes early in spring at a position where the Cardinals have advertised their depth, and still it causes a familiar sinking feeling. In 2011, Wainwright’s elbow gave way in the first weeks of spring training, and the presumed ace missed the entire season. In 2013, both closer Jason Motte and starting shortstop Rafael Furcal had elbow injuries that required reconstruction and cost them the season.

In 2011, Kyle McClellan moved into the rotation for 17 starts before a midseason trade keyed the Cardinals for their World Series title run. Pete Kozma took over for Furcal in 2013 and struggled at the plate but was one of the league’s best fielders, and Edward Mujica would eventually get 37 saves in the ninth as Motte’s replacement.

“It’s obviously very disappointing. We had very high expectations for (Reyes),” Mozeliak said. “It’s a frustrating injury any time you lose this type of talent. … We have lost some key pitchers on day one. We have to remain optimistic and positive. In this game, there are injuries, and when you think about timing, sure it’s not great, but when is it ever great?”


     To prevent injuries to their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arms downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres muscle contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.



     On Sunday, February 19, 2017, I posted the following questions and answers.



0076.  My former college baseball pitcher has an idea

In the game I tend to get to amped up and over stride which affects my delivery.

I know I should be patient and wait till I land and point my acromial line until I explode with full intent.

I've always been a max effort guy and I know that's why I get a long stride in the game and lean to early.

To still throw hard I should wait till I get in front of my glove foot and still explode with full intent as hard as I can max effort... correct?

This has always been a problem in the game with getting too tense early wanting to throw hard resulting in a long stride.

What are your thoughts?


     Differential tension control means to take out all tension that you do not need and quietly use all the muscles that do need.

     Great athletes do not grimace and grind.

     Instead, they take all tension out of all muscles that do not help.

     With every pitch, you need to practice taking the stress out of your face and any part of your body that does not help your pitching motion.

     Now, take your time until it is time for you to quietly explode your release.


0077.  Winkler optimistic in comeback from second elbow surgery
Atlanta Journal Constitution
February 20, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL: Dan Winkler has gone through more injury-rehab sessions in 2 ½ years than most pitchers endure in a long major league career. But the Braves reliever keeps plugging away, keeps believing his time will come and that his twice-surgically-repaired right elbow is going to hold together.

Winkler, 27, is coming back from a fractured elbow, a rather gruesome injury that occurred when he threw a pitch April 10 in just his fifth major league game since a year-plus rehab for Tommy John elbow surgery in 2014 – back when he was a promising strikeout machine in the Colorado Rockies organization.

Winkler had retired seven of eight batters he faced in the first week of the 2016 season, striking out four of the eight, before he threw a pitch and felt a horrible snap. A small bone on the underside of his elbow broke, and the surgery repair required a screw several inches long to re-attach the piece and assure (hopefully) it would remain stable.

Fortunately for him, the ligament wasn’t damaged again. Still, the particular fracture that Winkler had is rare and he only one or two players he was aware of have come back from a similar injury.

“Tommy John (rehab) was different,” said Winkler, who had to sit around for the rest of the season, completely resting his arm while the bone healed. “I could do more (soon after TJ surgery), I could stress it more. I could go golfing. But with this, I just had to sit and do nothing. It was driving me crazy. I didn’t even want to watch baseball. Every time I watched baseball it was like, how can I heal this bone faster?”

He began a throwing program again in early winter, and Winkler’s advanced to throwing from a distance of 120 feet. He hopes to get approval to begin throwing off a mound in one month (March 20), a timetable that could presumably have him ready to pitch in games by early summer. But there aren’t any timetables and he’s not getting ahead of himself with expectations of his return date.

Winkler just knows his arm feels good and he’s optimistic that he will be able to resume a career that has twice been abruptly halted just as it was beginning to ascend.

“We’ll see how that goes. I feel great,” said Winkler, who used his down time and first months back to make adjustments to his previously funky delivery. “I kind of changed my arm swing a little bit, shortened that up, to be more efficient. Not lose the deceptiveness, but be more connected in my mechanics. Trying to take a lot of stress (off elbow) and use my body more, not so much arm all the time.”

After talking to present and past Braves pitching coaches and physical therapists, the consensus was “that my arm swing was too long, my body was getting out in front and my arm was dragging. Just putting way too much stress on my elbow.”

Braves manager Brian Snitker said, “That (April injury) still makes you want to cringe a little bit. It was pretty traumatic what he went through, and it was a shame because he was throwing so well.”

If he makes it back, and assuming the Braves keep him, Winkler would have to remain on their 25-man major league roster for nearly two months once he’s activated, per Rule 5 draft rules. If they don’t keep him on the 25-man roster for that length, the Braves would have to offer him back to the Rockies for half of the original $50,000 claiming price.

Before Winkler’s Tommy John surgery in 2014, he had a 1.41 ERA in 12 starts that season the Rockies’ Double-A affiliate, with 71 strikeouts and 17 walks in 70 innings. He made the Braves’ opening day roster in 2016 after totaling 17 strikeouts with no walks in 11 innings at spring training.


The article said:

01. "Dan Winkler had from a rather gruesome fractured elbow.
02. "Mr. Winkler felt a horrible snap."
03. "A small bone on the underside of his elbow broke."

     To prevent fracturing the elbow, baseball pitchers need to release their breaking pitches under the Middle finger.

     In addition, all baseball pitchers should never use their Pectoralis Major muscle to release their breaking pitches.


0078.  How Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio is fixing four pitchers who could be hidden gems
Sports Illustrated
February 21, 2017

MESA, AZ: The Cubs’ defense of their world championship begins in a laboratory here. Though it includes plenty of math and physics, there are no beakers, test tubes, microscopes or white smocks. What you will find are adjoining 10-inch mounds of clay and dirt that slope one foot for every inch. Welcome to the lab of Cubs pitching coach Chris Bosio, where on these bullpen mounds at the team’s training complex, the failed and the anonymous begin to be transformed.

"I know I’m listening to him," said one of his latest lab students, Alec Mills, a 25-year-old righthander who was traded to Chicago by the Royals earlier this month. "He’s had a little bit of success, wouldn’t you say? We already did some special drills this morning."

Including the postseason, the Cubs rolled up 114 wins last year, 113 of which were credited to pitchers they acquired from other organizations. Team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer have keen eyes for finding pitchers on the cusp of breaking out. Often the key to realizing that leap forward happens in Bosio’s lab.

The lab may well be the key to Chicago's chances of repeating as champions. For all the acclaim given to All-Stars such as Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Jon Lester, Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell, the season might swing on pitchers who walk the grounds here without even the most fervent fans recognizing them: Mills, Brett Anderson, Eddie Butler and Casey Kelly. Combined 2016 production of the four anonymous starters: 3–10 and 13 starts.

The Cubs got lucky last year. I’m not talking about the Giants’ bullpen imploding three outs away from getting the NLDS to ace Johnny Cueto, or injuries to Indians starters Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco that forced Cleveland to become only the second team in a quarter century to use starters on short rest four times in the World Series, or—good heavens—17 blissful minutes of a restorative rain delay on the edge of blowing Game 7. Chicago had freakishly good health when it came to its veteran starting pitching.

Four pitchers in their 30s made at least 29 starts last year for the Cubs (Arrieta, Lester, John Lackey and Jason Hammel). It marked only the 11th time so many starters so old worked so often, and the first time in the 12 seasons with penalties for PEDs. Overall, Chicago used 30-something pitchers to start 122 games—also the most since 2005.

What are the odds such luck happens again? Hammel is gone, after Chicago allowed him to pursue free agency and an eventual job with Kansas City. Lester (now 33), Arrieta (who turns 31 next month) and Lackey (38) started 92 regular-season games for Chicago last year. The team played .663 baseball when they started (61–31) and .609 baseball when they didn’t (42–27).

Keeping Lester, Arrieta and Lackey healthy and rested is a priority for the Cubs. The plan to do so includes slow-playing them in spring training—none will work in the first handful of spring training games—and occasionally using a six-man rotation during rigorous portions of the schedule.

Mike Montgomery, 27, figures to replace Hammel in the rotation. (He has never thrown 160 innings in any of his nine pro seasons.) A 2016 graduate of the lab, Montgomery typifies how Chicago finds and improves pitchers. Epstein saw the stuff of a potential 15-game winner buried in middle relief for Seattle. Bosio worked on improving Montgomery's confidence and how he uses his stuff, using Pitch FX data to double the lefthander's curveball usage and dial back his cutter use against righthanders. Montgomery wound up getting the last out of the World Series.

No organization has been better than the Cubs at acquiring and improving pitchers. The list of the lost-and-found in recent years includes Arrieta, Trevor Cahill, Justin Grimm, Kyle Hendricks, Hector Rondon and Pedro Strop. It’s a credit not only to Epstein, Hoyer and Bosio, but also to catching coach and game-planning guru Mike Borzello and run prevention coordinator Tommy Hottovy, the latter of whom synthesizes analytical and scouting information.

This year Chicago will need rotation depth. (Lester and Arrieta combined for 72 starts and 458 innings last year, playoffs included, so beware fatigue.) Here are the four students in Bosio’s lab who are most likely to be the next success story for the Cubs (presented in alphabetical order). And who knows? Maybe one of them might be the next one to get the last out of the World Series.

Brett Anderson

The big-bodied lefthander once looked like an ace in the making. In 2009, he set the Oakland franchise rookie record for strikeouts in a season with 150. At ages 21 and 22, in his first two seasons, Anderson went 18–17 with a 3.57 ERA in 49 starts. Alas, in six years since then, he has made only 66 starts and averaged only 66 innings per year. The guy simply can’t stay healthy. He has been sidelined because of Tommy John surgery (2011), an oblique strain ('12), a stress fracture in his right foot ('13), a broken index finger and surgery to repair a herniated disk ('14) and another surgery on the same disk ('16). The next back surgery, he said, would end his career.

Epstein signed Anderson for $3.5 million, with incentives that could earn him another $6.5 million. When healthy, Anderson’s package of pitches—low-to-mid 90s sinker, slider, curve and change—is still impressive.

The first thing Bosio noticed about Anderson was that he was landing on the side of his right foot—probably a bad habit caused over the years by compensating for his broken foot and bad back. The flaw would put Anderson in a compromised position at release. His fingers stayed behind the baseball, causing him to "push" the ball toward the plate. Bosio immediately worked with Anderson on getting back to landing in the preferred manner: softly on the ball of his front foot. That change immediately allowed Anderson to get his fingers on top of the ball just prior to release, generating more life and spin on his pitches.

Moreover, as he did with Mills, Bosio made sure he put Anderson in the best possible training group of pitchers this spring: the one with Lester, another big-bodied lefthander.

Eddie Butler

This is a familiar story about why pitchers don’t develop in Colorado. The Rockies picked Butler in the first round of the 2012 draft (No. 46 overall) out of Radford University. They immediately changed him from a sinkerball pitcher to a four-seam pitcher. The next year they raised his release point five inches. They stressed the importance of pitching repeatedly to the low-and-outside area as a way of combating the effect of altitude on fly balls. Altitude also sapped the bite on his slider and curve.

"Consistency was the biggest problem," he said. "The ball moves three inches at home and six inches on the road, so you find yourself constantly adjusting to what your ball is doing. It’s hard to be consistent."

Butler posted a 7.92 ERA at Coors Field and a 5.40 ERA elsewhere. Last month, the Rockies designated him for assignment, taking away the roster spot of a 25-year-old former first-round pick to make room for Greg Holland, a 31-year-old reliever who did not pitch last season because of Tommy John surgery. Epstein quickly snapped him up in a trade.

The first thing Bosio did with Butler was to tell him he wanted him be himself—to be comfortable pitching in the style that had made him a first-round pick. That meant returning him to a lower release point and to having him use his sinker, not his four-seamer, as his primary fastball. In Chicago, unlike in Colorado, that also means pounding fastballs inside.

If this story sounds familiar, it is. In 2013, Bosio took a former fifth-round pick who needed a change of scenery because his organization kept changing how he threw and returned him to his more natural way of throwing. That organization was Baltimore, and that pitcher was Arrieta, who went on to win the 2015 NL Cy Young Award. Bosio also turned around Strop, who was acquired in that same deal with the Orioles, after he noticed he pitched from the first base side of the rubber during the 2013 World Baseball Classic; Baltimore had him pitching from the third base side.

"You pay attention," Bosio said. "You work with what’s comfortable for a guy."

Casey Kelly

"This guy may be the most exciting one of all after all is said and done," Bosio said.

The Red Sox, under Epstein, drafted Kelly in 2008 in the first round, 30th overall. It took $3 million to convince Kelly to pass up a chance to play quarterback at Tennessee and a promise to allow Kelly to pitch and play shortstop. In 2009 at Class A Greenville, Kelly posted a 1.12 ERA in the first half of the season before switching to shortstop, when he hit .222. After the season, he decided to concentrate on pitching.

The next year, Epstein traded Kelly and Rizzo to get first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego. Kelly’s career never took off. He was sidetracked by Tommy John surgery—which robbed him of two to three miles per hour off his fastball—followed by a conversion to the bullpen and then a trade to the Braves, where he spent most of last year in Triple A. Once ranked by Baseball America as the ninth-best pitching prospect in the game, Kelly is now 27 years old with a career major league record of 2–8 and a 6.39 ERA.

(To show you how fickle prospect rankings can be, especially for pitchers, the eight pitching prospects ranked ahead of Kelly in 2010 were Stephen Strasburg, Brian Matusz, Neftali Feliz, Madison Bumgarner, Martin Perez, Jeremy Hellickson, Aroldis Chapman and Tyler Matzek, with Kyle Drabek ranked just behind Kelly. Half of the top 10 have had Tommy John surgery. Further, 19 of the 33 top-ranked pitching prospects from 2010 have had Tommy John surgery—58%—and only four of them are current major league starters who have not had the surgery: Bumgarner, Hellickson, Shelby Miller and Julio Teheran.)

Epstein, who signed Kelly originally, and Hoyer, who traded for him in San Diego, signed Kelly in January as a minor league free agent.

"The one thing we’d like to do with him is create some deception," Epstein said.

A righthander, Kelly throws from the first-base side of the rubber with a high three-quarters release point and a front side that opens up early. That means he releases the ball close to the middle of the rubber—he creates almost no angle on his pitches—and "shows" the ball early to the hitter. He might be better served pitching from the third-base side of the rubber and staying closed longer.

Moreover, like Butler, Kelly should re-think how he uses his fastballs. Kelly throws four-seamers twice as often as he does two-seamers, but he may want to reverse that rate. That’s because Kelly is a short-strider with low spin rate on his four-seam fastball—a bad combination. His four-seam fastball has below-average velocity (91 mph), but because of his short stride and low spin, the perceived velocity of the pitch (88.9 mph) is even further below average. A short stride, in which a pitcher throws over a firmer front leg, and a low spin rate are actually preferential for a sinkerball pitcher.

Alec Mills

Mills never was anybody’s idea of a hot prospect. The righthander walked on at Tennessee-Martin, was drafted in the 22nd round in 2012 by Kansas City, blew out his elbow in '13 and throws with average velocity, in the mid-90s. The Royals designated him for assignment after they signed Hammel.

"I got designated at 4 o’clock and traded to the Cubs at 6 o’clock," he said. "Everything happened so fast."

Bosio quickly heard from people he knew in the Kansas City system who told him, "I can’t believe you got him."

The first thing Bosio did with Mills was to ask him a question.

"Did you watch the World Series last year?"

"Sure," said Mills, a Cubs fan growing up.

"Who do you see yourself most like?"

"Kyle Hendricks. I think my stuff is similar. I like to pitch off of changing speeds. But nobody’s ever showed me how."

The next thing Bosio did was to assign Mills to shadow Hendricks in the same pitching group in spring training.

"I’ll be watching and asking questions," Mills said.

The minor league version of Mills actually has been a bit better than the minor league version of Hendricks, whom Epstein stole in a 2013 trade with Texas. In a similar amount of career minor league innings, Mills posted better rates than Hendricks in walks per nine innings (1.9, 2.0), strikeouts per nine (8.6, 7.7) and strikeouts to walks (4.44, 3.76). In 2015, Mills struck out 111 and walked only 14.

Now Bosio is showing Mills how to change speeds effectively. The key: pounding sinkers in, which opens up the outside of the plate and the occasional elevated four-seamer.


     The article said:

01. "For all the acclaim given to All-Stars such as Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Jon Lester, Anthony Rizzo and Addison Russell, the season might swing on pitchers who walk the grounds here without even the most fervent fans recognizing them."
02. "Mills, Brett Anderson, Eddie Butler and Casey Kelly might produce."

     The only baseball pitcher that releases his breaking pitches under the Middle finger.

     With the others continuing to bang the olecranon process into the olecranon fossa, they are more likely to destroy their elbows.


0079.  How baseball players are trying stem cells to avoid Tommy John
Yahoo Sports
February 21, 2017
by Jeff Passan

TEMPE, AZ: On the day he hoped would save his elbow, Garrett Richards laid face down on a table with his back exposed. A doctor guided a needle into the iliac crest of his pelvic bone and began to extract bone marrow. Richards was wide awake, the blessing of local anesthesia saving him from physical pain but not the anxiety that crept into his head: Is this really going to work?

Within a few minutes, the harvested marrow was hurried to a centrifuge, spun to separate the good stuff, mixed into a slurry of platelet-rich plasma and readied to inject into Richards' damaged right elbow. Rather than the standard tear across his ulnar collateral ligament, Richards’ ran lengthwise along the middle of his UCL, a rare manifestation of an increasingly commonplace injury that almost always ends with Tommy John surgery. Not in this case. While he could have chosen that route, he wanted to explore first the efficacy of the aforementioned good stuff: stem cells.

Today, Garrett Richards is darting 98-mph fastballs again. “I feel as good as I ever have throwing a baseball,” he said Monday from Tempe Diablo Stadium, where the Los Angeles Angels, perhaps the most Tommy John-addled team in baseball, expect to break camp with Richards as their opening day starter. The 28-year-old is the latest player to turn to orthobiologics, the class of treatments that includes stem cells and PRP, in hopes of healing an injury. While clinical studies have shown great success with those who use orthobiologics, they are not yet a panacea for the pervasive elbow injuries in baseball for two reasons: They work only on partial ligament tears, like Richards’, and medical studies have yet to validate their efficacy independent of other treatments run concurrently.

The lack of knowledge as to how orthobiologics work inside the body – while the proteins in stem cells and platelets are believed to regrow damaged tissue, doctors have yet to isolate best practices for particular injuries – speaks to the difficulties in true medical advances. Still, the desire of Richards and others to avoid surgery lends orthobiologics enough credence to warrant further studies.

“I truly think this kind of treatment has significant potential,” said Dr. Neal ElAttrache, a longtime orthopedic surgeon at the Kerlan-Jobe clinic in Los Angeles who introduced orthobiologics to Major League Baseball when he injected PRP into the elbow of Dodgers reliever Takashi Saito in 2008. “There’s no question biologics are here to stay and biologic manipulation is the frontier of treatment in what we’re doing. The problem, as I see it, is that the marketing and clinical use has far exceeded the science behind it.”

Translation: Once the use of PRP and stem cells found traction in the media, pro athletes and weekend warriors alike sought their use, even if the success stories skewed anecdotal. Bartolo Colon resurrected his career after a stem cell injection in 2010 and is still pitching today at 43. Others did so without the fanfare or publicity. Richards faced a choice after being diagnosed with a partially torn UCL last May: Undergo Tommy John surgery and, at earliest, return following the 2017 All-Star break or follow the advice of Dr. Steve Yoon, a partner of ElAttrache’s at Kerlan-Jobe, and try to salvage the ligament with stem cells.

“Science, bro,” Richards said. “I’m a believer now.”

Two weeks before Richards began his treatment, teammate Andrew Heaney had looked to avoid Tommy John via stem cells. Richards figured they’d rehab together every step of the way and be back in time for the fall instructional league. Then at the end of June, a scan showed Heaney’s elbow wasn’t healing, and he would need reconstructive surgery. Already Tyler Skaggs had taken nearly two years to return from his 2014 surgery, and six weeks after Heaney’s, starter Nick Tropeano went down. Like Heaney, he is expected to miss the 2017 season.

It made Richards’ recovery that much more imperative. His first checkup, six weeks in, showed regrowth in the torn area via ultrasound. By August, he started throwing, and come October, when instructional league was in full bloom, so too was Richards. He didn’t hesitate to pump his fastball and rip off one of his spin-heavy breaking balls. As far as pure, raw stuff goes, few in baseball can match Richards.

He was convinced science was working, bro, though the skepticism about orthobiologics generally remains, and understandably so, in the medical community. In May 2013, a paper published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine found 30 of 34 overhand throwers with partial UCL tears who used PRP had returned to their previous level of competition. This was reason for celebration. If a player could avoid the 14-month-plus recovery from the surgery, better for him as well as the team.

Another study arrived in 2016 that didn’t cast doubt on the value of orthobiologics so much as offer a different avenue: rest. The 28 players used everything from electrical stimulation, ultrasound, laser therapy, massage and other soft-tissue work. And when paired with rest, their return to previous level came in at 84 percent. It was almost exactly as effective as PRP.

This reinforced ElAttrache’s concern: Neither of those studies had a control group against which to measure, so the numbers, while impressive, could not isolate what helped and what didn’t. This chicken-or-egg question struck ElAttrache just the same when Saito returned and went on to pitch five seasons.

“Maybe it was the injection,” ElAttrache said. “Or maybe it was that we shut him down and let him heal.”

He doesn’t know, and that’s an important distinction as orthobiologics grows exponentially. In 2004, voters in California pledged to provide $3 billion for stem-cell research and create the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. It remains a benefactor for an industry trying to find its place in the United States.

Across the world, stem cells have far greater potency. U.S. law prevents doctors from manipulating the cells in any way. They are extracted and put back into patients’ bodies as is. In Switzerland, for example, doctors will harvest stem cells, manipulate them to promote greater healing capacity and then inject them. At least one star pitcher this offseason sought a stem cell injection in the United States, according to sources, while another veteran traveled halfway across the world to Zurich, seeking the comparative lack of regulations just as Peyton Manning did in 2011 to help heal a neck injury that eventually needed surgery.

The future of orthobiologics domestically doesn’t end with the FDA loosening rules on stem cell usage. Doctors see significant promise in stem cells from a baby’s umbilical cord or a mother’s placenta, both of which can be frozen. Already they’re capable of harvesting stem cells from old patients and engineering the cells into an immature state. The possibilities going forward are endless.

For right now, they’re going to play themselves out in Anaheim. The danger zone for re-injury after using orthobiologics tends to fall between April and June, though Richards can’t imagine falling prey again. In addition to the 13-week break from throwing he took over the summer, Richards spent 10 more weeks in the offseason letting it heal further.

During his down time, Richards studied his own delivery to find even the slightest inefficiencies. He had three numbers in mind. The first was 85. That’s the percent at which he said he’ll throw his fastball, though because of improved mechanics he expects it won’t hinder his velocity. The second is 100. That’s the pitch limit the Angels will foist on Richards, and he’s not one to fight. The third is 200. That’s the number of innings Richards wants to pitch this season. He did it in 2015 and sees no reason he can’t again.

If he can throw 85 percent, keep his pitch count below 100 and get those 200 innings, it will play publicly as another validation of orthobiologics. Just the same, if Richards’ elbow gives out eventually, his association with stem cells could perhaps give those considering it pause. Richards pays no mind to this. He just wants to be great.

So much so, in fact, that it’s going to cost him. Inside the Angels’ clubhouse, a chart, labeled 1 through 13, is taped to the side of a locker. It’s a list of shame with the price buying lunch for the entire team. Players, coaches, P.R. directors, even manager Mike Scioscia are on there. Next to No. 6, it read: “G. Rich – Ace.” He had made the mistake of saying aloud what he believed to be true: that he’s the ace of the Angels.

Fulfilling that depends on plenty of things, none as important as his elbow, and Richards knows that. He’ll do everything he can to take care of it, to nurture it, to fight against its natural gift of velocity that puts him at such risk. To make sure that next time he’s on a table in the doctor’s office, it’s not with his elbow opened up and another season lost.


     The article said:

01. "The harvested marrow hurried to a centrifuge, spun to separate the good stuff, mixed into a slurry of platelet-rich plasma and injected into Gerrett Richards' damaged right elbow."
02. "Rather than the standard tear across his ulnar collateral ligament, Mr. Richards’ ran lengthwise along the middle of his UCL."

     Platelet-rich plasma does not prevent banging the olecranon process into the olecranon fossa.


0080.  Should Nola have an innings limit in 2017
Outside Pitch Sports Network
February 22, 2017

It is a topic that really is not up for discussion. The manager and front office make the decisions and rarely anyone else. The Philadelphia Phillies plan on limiting starting pitcher Aaron Nola in 2017. He is a young arm, fresh off an elbow injury that cut him short last year. On top of that, he is expected to grow into the ace of the future.

So the number of arms available to replace him is not a problem. And the Phillies are not expected to compete for a playoff spot, at least not yet. Although surprises could always happen. So far in Spring Training, Nola looks good.

He is sporting new long hair, a fresh look for a new fresh season. The real test for Nola will be when he finally pitches in live game action next week, but so far so good in bullpen sessions. Nothing but sunshine and daisies to report. Truthfully, the health of his elbow is definitely one of the biggest questions facing the team. No doubt the Phillies will be better with him rather than without him. It just comes down to that elbow.

No surgery was needed for Nola, as he instead opted to just get an injection and rehab. The 23-year-old is a perfectionist who can spot his pitches better than most in the entire league, but he only pitched 111 innings a year ago. Some surmise he pitched some of those hurt as well. Because of that fact, it would not look wise to push Nola to almost 200 innings. In a league where one in every four pitchers now get Tommy John surgery, being cautious is not a negative.

There has been no specific statement on what the innings cap will be. A lot of it can be decided from how Nola performs and how much he feels he can push it. On the flip side, the team management and team physicians will surely be in constant communication. In the end, somewhere between 130 and 150 innings is a good bet.


The article said:

01. "Aaron Nola is a young arm, fresh off an elbow injury that cut him short last year."
02. "On top of that, Mr. Nola is expected to grow into the ace of the future."
03. "The health of his elbow is definitely one of the biggest questions facing the team."
04. "No doubt the Phillies will be better with him rather than without him."
05. "It just comes down to that elbow."
06. "No surgery was needed for Mr. Nola, as he instead opted to just get an injection and rehab."

     To prevent injurying the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers need to contract their Pronator Teres muscle before, during and after the acceleration phase.


0081.  Hanrahan returns as Pirates minor league coach
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
February 23, 2017

BRADENTON, FL: Former Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan is back at Pirate City. The club announced Wednesday Hanrahan has rejoined the organization as assistant pitching coach for Class A short-season West Virginia.

Hanrahan, 35, had 100 saves over seven major league seasons. He was traded to the Pirates by the Washington Nationals at the trade deadline in 2009 with outfielder Lastings Milledge for left-hander Sean Burnett and outfielder Nyjer Morgan. He made 238 appearances for the Pirates from 2009 to 2012 with a 2.59 ERA and 82 saves.

The Pirates sent Hanrahan to the Boston Red Sox on Dec. 26, 2012, with outfielder Brock Holt for a package that included Mark Melancon, who later became the Pirates closer, right-hander Stolmy Pimentel, outfielder Jerry Sands and outfielder Ivan De Jesus.

Hanrahan played only one more year in the majors, posting a 9.82 ERA in nine appearances for Boston in 2013. He had Tommy John surgeries in 2013 and 2015 before officially retiring in November.


     To prevent injurying the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers need to contract their Pronator Teres muscle before, during and after the acceleration phase.


0082.  My baseball pitcher has some comments

Great, I will take all the tension out.

I was having trouble locking out my arm.

I fixed it by trying to get my elbow higher than my hand at driveline height, but my elbow and hand stay at the same level which is what I want correct?

I use the cue of getting my elbow higher than my hand at the end of pendulum swing to stay in lock.

I also noticed the only way to really lean back through release and force couple is if my shoulders are turned.

Also I imagine that there is an acromial line and that I should drive the baseball right down it.

Things I need to get better at are rotating faster and tighter along my acromial line and not veering off towards my glove side.

What are some ways to rotate faster and tighter?


     At the end of your pendulum swing, you want the palm of your pitching hand facing away from your head at driveline height. The upper arm is at shoulder height and the forearm angled upward to the hand.

     When the heel of your Front foot lands, you move the upper arm forward and upward pointed forty-five degrees from at home plate.

     Driveline height is the vertical height of the elbow in 'Slingshot.'

     Between moving the upper arm forward and upward, you 'lock' your pitching arm in front of the acromial line.

     When you rotate your hips and shoulders forward together over your Front foot, you drive your upper arm from forty-five degrees outside to slightly inside of the line toward home plate.

     After your 'horizontal rebound,' you drive your body and pitching arm as far forward as you are able.

     You need to keep your body tight and on the acromial line.

     To rotate faster, you need to stand tall while moving your body along the straight line to the center of the strike zone.

     Staying on the acromial line at the strike zone is essential.

     Stick your body and your pitching hand in the center of strike zone.

     If you drop step, then you drive straight forward for your Maxline pitches without wobbling.

     If you cross step, then you drive straight forward for your Torque pitches without wobbling.

     Be mindful of keeping your balance when the heel of your Front foot lands whether drop or cross.


0083.  My baseball pitcher needs a better description

When you say: "When you rotate your hips and shoulders forward together over your Front foot, you drive your upper arm from forty-five degrees outside to slightly inside of (acromial) the line toward home plate."

This means just barely throw my elbow inside the acromial line correct?

Inside the acromial line is on the throwing side of the line?


     When you rotate your hips and shoulders forward together over your Front foot, you need to drive the center of your hips and shoulders as far down the acromial line as possible.

     At the same time, you need to move your upper arm from forty-five degrees from outside of the acromial line to as far down the acromial line as you are able to move your upper arm.

     Basically, we need to you to move your rotating hips and shoulders as far down the acromial line as possible as well as moving the upper arm in line with the acromial line.

     When you are moving down the acromial line, you need to control your body as far as possible before you explode your release.

     This is easier to show you what to do than write what we want you to do.



     On Sunday, February 26, 2017, I posted the following questions and answers.



0084.  Update

I hope all is well!

I wanted to update you with some good news.

I was just accepted an offer to be the next Head Baseball Coach at SUNY Cobleskill.

It is a brand new program, Division 3, starting next year.

While I couldn't be more thrilled for the opportunity, I've got a lot of work ahead of me with recruiting and preparing for next year.

I've been in touch with Steve Sullivan over the years as I know he's been one of your strongest advocates.

I picked his brain but also wanted to ask you if you have any contacts for any former players or people who might want to get into coaching.

While I've been a pitching coach for the past 6 seasons, one piece of advice I've always heard is find a good pitching coach.

Steve also mentioned you've made some changes to the pitching motion.  Mentioned a video.

I'd love to see them if you have them available.

I haven't really derived from the mechanics you taught me 10 or so years ago but I would love to see where things are at now.


     Give me your address and I will send you a pitching workout disc.

     I will also insert other material.


0085.  Tommy John: Pitch counts are 'good first step' at preventing injuries
State Journal-Register
February 24, 2017

Tommy John, the former Major League Baseball pitcher synonymous with the most groundbreaking surgery in the sport, says what most often leads athletes, particularly younger athletes, to the operating table is overuse.

John, a 288-game winner who pitched for five organizations spanning a 26-year career, said there are other culprits -- like pay-to-play travel teams, one-sport specialization and radar guns that measure pitching velocity -- that are leading young athletes to get the "Tommy John surgery," in which tendons are grafted from another part of the body onto the damaged elbow.

John and Dr. George Paletta Jr., head orthopedic physician for the St. Louis Cardinals, are in town this weekend as guests of the Springfield Clinic Sports Medicine Department for a symposium at the Memorial Center for Learning and Innovation. The two also are presenters at an event Friday at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum.

John said that a "pitch count" being implemented for this spring's baseball season for the first time by the Illinois High School Association is "a good first step" at addressing the overuse problem. There are no such "pitch counts" for summer and fall travel teams, however, said John, which exacerbates the problem.

"Travel ball is the culprit of the country," insisted John, in a phone interview. "If you could eliminate travel ball, that would be good, but it's a multimillion-dollar business.

"Name me a pitcher in (Major League Baseball) who throws all year-round."

John was a star athlete running track and playing basketball at Gerstmeyer High School in Terre Haute, Indiana, before going on to Indiana State University. He's maintained that forcing kids into one sport at an early age is also a detriment to their development.

John said he would also get rid of radar guns that are particularly relied upon by scouts but don't paint an accurate picture of how good a pitcher can be.

"The only way you're going to get scouted is if you throw 95 to 100 (miles per hour)," he said. "How hard did I throw? I don't know.

"(Hall of Famers) like (Tom) Seaver and (Steve) Carlton threw in the low 90s. Pitching that hard at such a young age is putting more force on your arm than your muscle can absorb."

Local coaches

Some local high school baseball coaches, like Springfield High's Jim Steinwart, weren't immediately sold on the new IHSA "pitch count" rules.

Those rules limit a pitcher to 105 pitches per game. Additionally, there's a sliding scale for rest a pitcher is required to have. A pitcher who throws 76 to 105 pitches, for example, won't be allowed to pitch for four days. That same pitcher can throw up to 90 pitches in a second game in a seven-day period.

"I like to think coaches are educated and take care of their kids," said Steinwart. "As I've heard more about it, I think it's a good idea, But you also have kids with different body types throwing at different velocities.

"The thing that bothers me is that it's a one-size-fits-all."

While he supports the spirit of the rule, James Range acknowledged that smaller high school programs, like Lutheran High School where he coaches, might be hampered more by the "pitch count" rule.

Range pointed out that Lutheran has three or four front-line starters while several others can do relief work. With rainouts and limited game dates, that situation can get tricky, said Range.

"We'll have to adapt to it the best we can," he said.

Range, who grew up in Highland and pitched at Southwest Community College and the University of Illinois Springfield, said he pitched in travel ball from middle school on.

"I threw a lot, but my parents did a good job of not overdoing it," said Range.

Kids at a younger age, he added, also are throwing specialty pitches like change-ups and sliders.

Range agreed that young athletes should be playing more than one sport.

"I've seen kids better than me in baseball work their way up college, then they give it up because they're tired of it," said Range."You have kids who are throwing all year-round now," noted Steinwart. "I say play the other sports and use the other muscles."

Surgical pioneer

John, 73, had his surgery in 1974 in the middle of a breakout year with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then-team doctor Frank Jobe, John's close friend who died in 2014, recommended the surgery that Jobe had only previously done on polio patients. Even then, recalled John, Jobe gave the surgery a less than 5 percent chance of working.

John said he also didn't have a regimented rehab and that he simply threw six days a week, at first to his wife, and then to a neighbor as the velocity kicked in.

"I did exercises as if I had a good shoulder," said John. "Ben White (a Dodgers scout) saw me throwing and said, 'You're going to make it back (to the majors) because you're throwing free and easy.'"

John, who pitched 13 more seasons after the surgery, said kids and their parents need to be more realistic about professional baseball.

"There are 10 million kids between the ages of 8 and 18 playing baseball. There are 30 Major League Baseball teams with 12 pitchers on staff. That's 10 million kids looking for 360 jobs.

"You have to be so talented, so lucky and so blessed to make it. I tell them get a scholarship, go to college, maybe play baseball there and then go on with the rest of your life."


     With 10 to 16 year old baseball pitchers, parents should practice skills, not compete.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, Triceps Brachii muscle and the Pronator Teres muscle.

     I know of one professional baseball pitcher that threw pitches throughout the year, me.


0086.  LSU's Norman to have Tommy John surgery
February 27, 2017

LSU feared the worst when junior reliever Doug Norman dropped to one knee Sunday after he threw a pitch Sunday against Maryland.

On Monday, those fears were confirmed. The right-hander will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament suffered when he threw a pitch in the seventh inning of LSU's 9-5 victory that secured a series sweep, coach Paul Mainieri said.

Norman told Mainieri he felt something pop as he released a 92 mph pitch that caused Norman to step off the mound and drop to one knee, the coach said. That was the last of the 20 pitches Norman threw Sunday.

Mainieri said Norman showed no sign of discomfort before then, even as he gave up three hits and two runs in two-thirds of an inning.

The pitcher told his coach he felt fine up until the pitch before his final one, when something didn't feel right as he released a changeup for a ball.

Although Mainieri indicated Sunday the injury could keep Norman out for an extended period, the coach said "you hold out hope and you pray it's not what you fear it is." Those fears were confirmed with an MRI conducted Monday morning.

"I know Doug and I know what a great competitor the guy is," Mainieri said. "He's a little down in the dumps now and he'll get ready for this challenge he is going to face and he'll meet it head on. He's got a long rehabilitation process ahead of him."

Norman has made 47 career appearances with the Tigers, posting a 6-2 record with a 2.82 ERA in 70.1 innings.

Mainieri said Norman figured to play a key part out of the bullpen this season. "We were counting on him to be our main setup man," the coach said.

The injury to Norman puts him out for the season alongside senior Alden Cartwright, ruled out before the season due to an elbow injury suffered in 2016.


     Year after year, LSU head baseball coach, Paul Mainieri had baseball pitchers after baseball pitchers suffered through Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.

     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres muscle contracting during the acceleration phase.

     In seven years of coaching college baseball pitchers, not one suffered any pitching injury.


0087.  New Reds bullpen a reboot of an old idea
Cincinnati Enquirer
February 28, 2017

GOODYEAR, AZ: For baseball’s oldest franchise, it’s fitting that a new idea is really an old one in disguise. That’s the case when it comes to how the Cincinnati Reds plan to close out games.

Reds manager Bryan Price has talked about it since the middle of last season. He doesn’t want to get “cliché” with his bullpen, he said. And with a pair of young former starters ready to take over the late innings in Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen, the Reds are poised to have a set of alternating, multi-inning closers.

Compared to the staid bullpen deployment of the last decade, with relievers slotted firmly into single-inning roles, it’s an interesting way of attacking the final innings of games. Both right-handers could theoretically wind up with more than 100 innings out of the bullpen, many of them in high-leverage situations.

It feels new, but it’s not.

“We may set back the clock,” said Price, “and say there are more ways than one to skin a cat.”

An old method

Hundred-inning relievers are not unheard of in baseball. In fact, it’s been accomplished 343 times, most recently by Scott Proctor in 2006. But what about two 100-inning relievers in one bullpen? Not that uncommon either.

Before bullpens were modernized and bullpen roles specialized, plenty of teams had guys who pitched the final few innings of games. There have been 33 instances in baseball history where a team has produced two 100-inning relievers, spanning from 1962 to 1999. It happened five times in 1982 alone.

It’s not even that old of an idea for the Reds. Cincinnati has done it twice, first in 1986 with John Franco and Ron Robinson, who combined for 217 2/3 innings and 84 games finished. The Reds are also the most recent team to do it – in 1999, Scott Sullivan and Danny Graves pitched a combined 224 2/3 innings and together finished 72 games.

Baseball moved away from that model as teams realized they could more efficiently attack the final outs of games by using specific pitchers in specific roles. But now teams might be finally willing to break out of that role.

For the Cleveland Indians last year, that meant pitching their best relief arm – left-hander Andrew Miller – in tough spots earlier in the game. In the playoffs, it meant frequent multi-inning appearances from Miller, then-Chicago Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman and Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.

The latter two in that list got paid this offseason, pulling in a combined $166 million over the next five years. Miller will make $9 million over the next two years, and will probably hit the jackpot on the free agent market after that.

It shows teams are paying for more than just three outs in the ninth these days.

“I think we’re seeing the lines between starter and reliever blurred a little bit,” said David Stearns, general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. “We certainly saw that this offseason with the valuations that were placed on premium relievers. They were valuations that were similar to those placed on very good starting pitchers. We’re recognizing the impact that relievers can make on wins and losses.”

Modern challenges

When it comes to bullpens, doing something different presents challenges. Even if it’s an older idea made new again. Baseball players are notorious for being creatures of habit, and relievers may be the most resistant to change. As several managers and general managers said when asked about the Reds’ bullpen model, you have to have the right personnel.

And the Reds just might have the right two guys to do it. Lorenzen and Iglesias check a lot of boxes. They are young – 25 and 27, respectively – incredibly talented, and were starters as recently as a year ago. Not only are they adept at pitching multiple innings at a time, they’ve never had to be a reliever in any other fashion.

“From a health standpoint and from just an emotional standpoint, it is important that you’re not changing the way someone’s done things for a long time,” said David Forst, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics.

A particular sticking point could be how the arbitration system overvalues or undervalues relievers. Counting stats like saves may not tell much of the story as to who are the game’s best relief arms, but they do determine hefty salary bumps once a player reaches three years of service time. Young relievers often want to close because it’s perceived to be atop the bullpen pecking order, but also because it ultimately pays more.

But the Reds may be fortunate to avoid that trap. Iglesias has never been promised the closer’s role. He’s also on a long-term deal that offers him financial security but also allows him to opt into arbitration at any point. Lorenzen is several years away from worrying about arbitration and wants to be on the cutting edge anyway.

“I like being innovative, I like taking chances and being a little different,” he said. “Not necessarily doing what everyone else is doing just because that’s what everyone else is doing. I think we’re taking a step in the right direction.”

If the players buy in, the final hurdle is keeping them healthy for an entire year. That may be Price’s biggest challenge. Teams may have run relievers out there for triple-digit innings all throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but pitchers can’t be ridden that hard anymore without running into arm problems.

Lorenzen and Iglesias will need rest. That means limiting how many time they get hot without coming into a game and being regimented with their rest. When asked, Iglesias said through interpreter Julio Morillo that he’d likely need two days of rest whenever he pitched two innings or more. Other relievers like Blake Wood, Drew Storen and Tony Cingrani will have to pick up the slack when both Lorenzen and Iglesias are down.

It’s possible the Reds get to the end of the season and find themselves with a terrifying, 200-inning closer tag team. They’re not the only ones eager to see what happens.

“I do think they have really good candidates,” Forst said. “I’m as curious as anyone to see how it plays out.”


     To be able to pitch two innings in two of three appearances for a season, baseball pitchers have to be able to throw fastballs that move to both sides of the plate, slider and sinkers to the appropriate sides of the plate and curves and screwballs.

     Only the Marshall baseball pitching motion enables baseball pitchers to never suffer pitching injuries and throw a wide variety of high-quality pitches.


0088.  Price has MRI, will see Dr. Andrews due to elbow soreness
Boston Herald
March 02, 2017

FORT MYERS, FL: David Price’s second year in Boston is off to a very concerning start.

Price is planning to visit with Dr. James Andrews, the orthopedic surgeon well known for performing Tommy John surgery, and Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who operated on Tom Brady's knee, to get a second opinion on his sore throwing elbow. Price first started feeling the soreness on Wednesday after throwing a simulated game on Tuesday.

Red Sox manager John Farrell said Price had an MRI on Wednesday and the results were sent to Dr. Peter Asnis that night. But, according to Farrell, the doctor was in surgery all day and had yet to go over them as of Thursday morning.

Price has been scratched from his scheduled start on Sunday, when he was supposed to make his Grapefruit League debut.

“He came out of a sim game the other day with increased soreness, so we’re holding him out,” Farrell said. “He’s gone through some soreness in the forearm/elbow area in previous spring trainings, but this one has a little more intensity to it.”

Price reported feeling improvement on Thursday — “an encouraging sign,” Farrell said — but he left JetBlue Park before talking to reporters.

“We’re taking every precaution,” Farrell said. “We have a little history here with David, with what his progression through spring training has been. He’s battled this seemingly in every spring training. We will acknowledge that this one has a little more intensity to it. That’s why we’re taking every step and scratching him for Sunday.”

The news is particularly surprising considering how impressive he was during his simulated game on Tuesday, when pitching coach Carl Willis said it was the best cutter he’s seen Price throw since he signed with the Red Sox.

“His bullpens all spring training have been powerful and crisp,” Farrell said. “His delivery has been clean. Much was talked about last year about stride direction, hand separation. Those have been cleaned up. His stride is on line. He delivered the ball the other day with three defined pitches. No restrictions of any kind.Went through his normal post-exercise routine in the training room, as all our pitchers do, and didn’t feel anything. He came in the next day and felt the soreness.”

Dr. Andrews and Dr. ElAttrache are at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, so the Red Sox aren’t sure when Price will be able to meet with them.

The Sox will take an extended look at Hector Velazquez, the right-hander they just signed out of Mexico for $30,000, and expect he might be able to help the big league club, if needed.

Velazquez will now start Saturday in place of Brian Johnson.

"He's a 28-year-old guy who's logged more than 200 innings multiple years in the Mexican League," Farrell said. "There may be some adjustments coming to pitch in the States here. We'll take a long look at him in spring training and get an idea of where he prefs out in our depth starters.

"He's a strike-thrower. It's a simple delivery. He can throw the ball over the plate without too much issue."


     Mr. Price bangs his olecranon process into his olecranon fossa. As a result, Mr. Price has lost several degrees of extension and flexion range of motion. Next will come loose pieces, bone spurs and the possible olecranon process fracture.

     Only the Marshall baseball pitching motion prevents these pitching injuries and all other pitching injuries.


0089.  Bundy says his arm feels good on day after using "cutter-slider"
Baltimore Sun
March 02, 2017

Starting pitcher Dylan Bundy said Thursday he has experienced no discomfort after adding his “cutter-slider” to his pitching repertoire for his first exhibition start Wednesday, but he knows manager Buck Showalter is going to be watching him closely to make sure he doesn’t re-injure his elbow.

Showalter said after Bundy threw two innings against the Red Sox that he would be discussing how much Bundy uses the pitch sometime in the next few days.

“We’ve talked about it before," Bundy said. “I’m sure he just wants to know how I’m feeling.”

Bundy tried to add the pitch to his fastball/curveball/changeup repertoire in 2015, but abandoned it after experiencing some discomfort at the Arizona Fall League, where he was working his way back from a shoulder issue in 2015.

“After the shoulder calcification, I went to the Fall League and I was throwing it and felt it up in here (pointing to upper forearm). It wasn’t like it hurt. It was more just tightening and cramping up on the mound. So, last year, I didn’t throw it. I wanted to get through a full season healthy and then I could get strengthened all of this up again for a full season and then I could throw it this year. And so far, it has worked.”

Showalter admits he’s still “a bit” apprehensive about the impact the pitch might have on Bundy’s long-term health, but knows that a fourth pitch could make Bundy more effective.

“It’s something he’s always had, but he took it out last year to be on the safe side,’’ Showalter said. “He had a little discomfort in his forearm and he thought that was it. He wasn’t throwing it properly. A little too much movement instead of throwing through the ball. [Pitching coach Roger McDowell] is aware of it. We’ve talked about it. He feels real good physically.”


     Soon, Mr. Bundy will bang his olecranon process into his olecranon fossa. As a result, Mr. Bundy will lose several degrees of extension and flexion range of motion. Next will come loose pieces, bone spurs and the possible olecranon process fracture.

     Only the Marshall baseball pitching motion prevents these pitching injuries and all other pitching injuries.


0090.  Thanks for the four days of Marshall training

You're a great guy Dr. Marshall.

We appreciate everything you do for the betterment of baseball.


     Your son will become the best baseball pitcher ever.

     No other eighth grader can throw my drop step Maxline Pronation Curve like your son can.


0091.  What causes fluid in elbow joint

What would cause fluid build up in a pitcher's elbow?

Since fluid protects joints I would think the cause would be banging the bones in the back of the elbow together.


     Like knee joints and shoulder joint, banging the bones in the joints irritates the bursa in the elbow joint.


0092.  Young Marshall Pitchers

The thing that strikes me with your pitcher in video is that his weight may actually help propel the ball forward.

In other words, his weight enhances his velocity.

Therefore with adult pitchers your way would clearly be superior to the traditional pitching motion.

Youth pitchers don't have much weight to them.

So would youth pitchers have more trouble generating force with your short glove step pitching motion?


     More weight enables baseball pitchers to generate more force to the baseball, but baseball pitchers with high percentages of fast-twitch muscle fibers is able to generate more force.

     In addition, perfect skill performance in my baseball pitching motion will generate more force.



     On Sunday, March 12, 2017, I posted the following questions and answers.



0093.  My baseball pitcher changing from off-season to in-season

For season how many reps should I be doing for my training? This past offseason I was doing:

96 20lb Wrist weights
12 10lb horizontal rebound drill wrist weights
24 football throws
12 bucket lid snaps
12 bucket lid throws
24-48 baseball throws
24 12lb led ball throws

I believe you said in an earlier email to cut that in half, so:

48 20 lb wrist weights
6 10lb horizontal rebound drill wrist weights
24 football throws
12 bucket lid throws
(Daily throwing with the team)
12 12 lb led ball throws

Are these reps and weight proper for my 2017 season?

I've been doing good and feel great. Looking forward to the upcoming season.


     Always start slow with less intensity, no rush.

     When training, you work on the skills, not power.

     12lb. lead ball Middle Finger spins for 15 minutes before or after your workout.

     12 repetitions of your 25lb. wrist weights.

     12 10lb. 'horizontal rebound' are optional.

     12 Bucket Lid throws.

     12 12lb. lead ball throws.

     12 football rotations for 3 each Maxline Pronation Curves, Torque Fastballs, Maxline Fastballs and Maxline Screwballs (sinkers).

     When throwing with the team, start easy.

     When you start to feel frisky, slowly increase the intensity.

     On the mound, have your sequence ready and beat them with the skills.


0094.  Strasburg might ditch windup while 'trying to simplify'
Associated Press
March 03, 2017

WEST PALM BEACH, FL: Stephen Strasburg might emulate closers and pitch only from the stretch this season.

In his first appearance of spring training, Strasburg avoided a windup for all 23 of his pitches in a 2-1, 10-inning loss by a Washington Nationals split squad to St. Louis on Friday.

"I'm not trying to reinvent myself, but just trying to simplify things as much as I can and be able to repeat my mechanics," Strasburg said

"I feel like as I've gotten older, for whatever reason, the windup's just been an issue as far as getting that right feeling of staying on the mound, not drifting too much toward [the] first- or third-base side on my leg kick, and sticking the landing a little bit better."

Strasburg, 28, came up with the idea after watching Texas' Yu Darvish and Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco. He approached pitching coach Mike Maddux with the idea at the start of spring training.

"If you can keep and repeat your arm slot, theoretically it's supposed to put less stress on your arm," Strasburg said.

He didn't rule out a return to the windup.

"I feel like I've always been able to maintain my stuff out of the stretch even when I would just slide step exclusively," Strasburg said.

On a gloomy afternoon with a 20 mph wind, Strasburg retired the side in order on 10 pitches in the first, striking out Tommy Pham swinging and Randal Grichuk looking.

Jhonny Peralta managed a one-out line-drive single in the second, but Strasburg promptly induced a one-hop comebacker from Jose Martinez that turned into an inning-ending double play.

"I didn't think it was a big deal, really," Washington manager Dusty Baker said of Strasburg pitching from the stretch. "As long as he feels comfortable, and as long as he was throwing strikes -- it looked like it didn't change his velocity, and his location was actually better."

Strasburg threw 16 strikes.

"I pounded the strike zone," he said. "That's what I wanted to go out there and do."

The right-hander has managed to make at least 30 starts only twice in his seven major league seasons, and his 15 wins last year matched his big league best.

Strasburg won his first 13 decisions last year, but a partially torn tendon in his forearm caused his seventh trip to the disabled list and limited him to 24 starts.

"We just want him healthy, because had he not gotten hurt, we might be talking about him as the Cy Young instead of  Scherzer or one-two in the voting or something," Baker said. "Yeah, we definitely need him."


     Until Stephen Strasburg learns how to release his breaking pitches under his Middle finger, Mr. Strasburg will continue to destroy his pitching elbow.


0095.  Youth pitchers are commonly overworked
Waynesville Daily Guide
March 04, 2017

Youth league baseball teams are getting ready to crank up their seasons. I had a discussion with my doctor a few weeks ago. His son is an eighth-grader who can throw the pill and plays on a very good competition team. We both feel that little league has become an enormous industry in this country. His dad realizes how careful his son's coaches need to be with the number of pitches they allow a young kid throw as his body is developing. He suggested I read a book written by Jeff Passan entitled the "The Arm".

I picked it up and highly recommend that every parent and coach at any level of youth baseball read this book. Hall of Famer and Cy Young Award winner John Smoltz stated, "This is the most important baseball book in years."

Many people understand that repeatedly pitching a baseball at a high rate of speed can be a difficult task for the body. The problems begin to develop when a youth pitcher with talent is asked to be extended past his known limits. It is enticing for a young pitcher with great talent to be lured into believing that they have a potential million-dollar arm and are headed to the big leagues.

Major League Baseball spends more than $1.5 billion every year on pitchers. The NFL spends five times less than that for all quarterbacks combined. It is partially responsible for the $8 billion-dollar industry that youth baseball has grown in to. Every young person who can throw a baseball at all, can visualize themselves as the one special person who can defy all odds and become the next Nolan Ryan.

It becomes crucial for adults responsible for the future of these youth to be knowledgeable about the art and mechanics of pitching. Too many believe they understand pitching but one stupid mistake could cost a promising young pitcher their future.

One of the passages in this book really drives home the importance of a deep understanding of pitching. "The American Sports Medicine Institute, the baseball industry's foremost think tank, followed nearly 500 youth league pitchers for a decade starting in 1999 and found that kids who pitched more than 100 innings in a calendar year were 3 1/2 times more likely to get injured than those who didn't.

In 1997, Dr. James Andrews, the famous orthopedic surgeon who had founded ASMI in Birmingham, Alabama, was performing Tommy John surgery on one or two high school kids per year. Today, he estimates he does 80-90 a year.

He stated, "Hell, I've got four to do tomorrow," during an April 2015 conversation with the book's author. He also stated that he fears worse news is coming at the major-league level. If they don't get involved in it from a prevention standpoint at the youth level, he said, they're not going to have anybody to draft out of high school or college who hasn't had their elbow operated on.

"This got my attention as it came from the most famous surgeon in this area of the country. It is way past time for people involved in the game of baseball to focus on the statistics that are rising every year in youth baseball. It is garbage that more throws strengthen the arm.

Of further consequence is the trend for young pitchers to be allowed to participate in baseball only all year long. It increases the likelihood that they may be pitching 12 months a year. Medical statistics produce evidence that repetitive sport injuries from participating in a single sport are common in young athletes.

Tommy John surgery is not a cure for a pitching. It is serious surgery that can affect an athlete for the rest of their life. The medical profession is afraid that Tommy John surgery has become so common, it is no longer respected for the difficulty in coming back from it.

It is beneficial to play in different sports, in particular those that do not involve throwing, as it offers a chance to rest the arm. Most of the medical community acknowledges that it can make you a better athlete. It is all about the right amount of pitches combined with the right amount of rest.

Youth league gurus can get caught up in winning a showcase tournament and forget that their star pitcher has only a human arm. A friend, Randy Dowell, reminded me that a little league coaching record is not engraved on a tombstone. I would recommend that anyone interested in the game of baseball and pitchers read "The Arm"


     The article said:

01. "Youth league baseball teams are getting ready to crank up their seasons."
02. "I had a discussion with my doctor a few weeks ago."
03. "His son is an eighth-grader who can throw the pill and plays on a very good competition team."
04. "We both feel that little league has become an enormous industry in this country."
05. "His dad realizes how careful his son's coaches need to be with the number of pitches they allow a young kid throw as his body is developing."
06. "He suggested I read a book written by Jeff Passan entitled the "The Arm".
07. "I picked it up and highly recommend that every parent and coach at any level of youth baseball read this book."
08. "Hall of Famer and Cy Young Award winner John Smoltz stated, "This is the most important baseball book in years."

     A doctor talked with someone.

     His dad realized how careful his son's coach counts his pitches.

     Jeff Passan wrote a book titled 'The Arm.'

     Hall of Famer and Cy Young Award winner, John Smoltz, said that Mr. Passan's book is the most important baseball book in years.

     My Baseball Pitching Instructional Video came out in 2006 and teaches skills that prevents all baseball pitching injuries.

     Until baseball pitchers release their breaking pitches under this Middle finger, all baseball pitchers will continue to destroy their pitching elbow.


0096.  Two Arkansas pitchers 'probably done for year,' Van Horn says
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
March 07, 2017

FAYETTEVILLE, AK: Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said Tuesday the Razorbacks probably have lost two more pitchers to season-ending injuries.

Sophomore right-handers Isaiah Campbell and Cody Scroggins are "probably done for the year," Van Horn said following a 12-3 win over ULM. "As far as 100 percent, I think I need to get a little more info and release all that, but that's what I'm thinking."

Van Horn said an official release could come later this week with more information on the players' injuries. A team spokesperson said he was unsure when that would be.

Campbell has pitched only once this season because of soreness in his pitching arm, while Scroggins injured his elbow last Wednesday at Louisiana Tech.

"I won't be able to tell you about it until later," Van Horn said when asked if Scroggins would require surgery on his elbow. "I can't tell you (anything) right now."

Asked to specify Campbell's arm injury, Van Horn said, "It's always been the exact same thing it is; just haven't been able to tell you."

If Campbell and Scroggins are unable to pitch Arkansas would be down three pitchers less than a month into the season. Junior right-hander Keaton McKinney underwent Tommy John surgery in the preseason.

Campbell was expected to be Arkansas' Friday or Saturday starter after a strong offseason. He was an all-star in the Coastal Plains League in North Carolina last summer and had been one of the Razorbacks' best pitchers during fall practice last September and October.

Campbell struggled in his only appearance this season. His velocity was down and he allowed three runs on three hits, walked a batter and threw a wild pitch in a two-out relief outing against Bryant on Feb. 25.

"His arm has been bothering him for a while, so he kind of had an idea that maybe he might not pitch this year," senior pitcher Dominic Taccolini said.

Scroggins has been used three times as a reliever and has a 3.86 ERA. The Bentonville native converted from an infielder to a pitcher late last season.

"He just kind of threw a pitch and he felt something that didn't feel too good," Taccolini said of Scroggins' last outing. "I feel like he might be taking it a little bit harder because this is his first (full) year pitching and for this to happen this early in the season when he's throwing well, it kind of sucks."


     The article said:

01. "He just kind of threw a pitch and he felt something that didn't feel too good."
02. "I feel like he might be taking it a little bit harder because this is his first (full) year pitching and for this to happen this early in the season when he's throwing well, it kind of sucks."

     That feeling is the result of releasing his breaking pitches over the top of his Index finger.

     Until Isaiah Campbell and Cody Scroggins learn how to release his breaking pitches under their Middle finger.


0097.  University of Florida researcher studies risks for young pitchers
Gainesville Sun
March 07, 2017

In warmer weather states like Florida, baseball is an attractive sport to play year-round.

But throwing a baseball has its limitations, especially for younger athletes. As players pick up their gloves for a new season of competition, coaches and parents are advised to consider those limitations.

"I've had a 9-year-old with a stress fracture in his arm," said Dr. Jason Zaremski, a non-operative musculoskeletal and sports medicine physician for the University of Florida and the Co-Medical Director for the High School Outreach Program. "And he kept throwing through it."

With the rise in serious throwing injuries in pitchers, resulting in such surgeries as Tommy John (reconstruction of the ulnar collateral ligament of the elbow), there are real concerns as to reasons why they happen.

After all, the surgery named after the former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher's 1974 surgery has steadily risen since the late 1990s and affects not just Major League Baseball players, but those in college, high school and even youth.

Those surgeries could end a season and possibly severely affect the growth in young pitchers' arms.

Pitch Smart guidelines, which MLB announced in November 2014 and were endorsed by such famed orthopedic surgeons as Dr. James Andrews, has been recommended by the National Federation of High Schools for all states. The Florida High School Athletic Association has implemented it this baseball season, joining 47 other states.

Zaremski, a former college baseball player at Emory University in Atlanta, is conducting a new study that tracks total pitches thrown that day by high school players, and not just game pitches.

"When someone throws a pitch it is only counted in the game," Zaremski said. "Warmup pitches and bullpen, which could be 20 to 40 pitches or more, are not counted. We are theorizing or hypothesizing that if someone throws 70 pitches in a start, they may actually be throwing 110, 120, 130."

Knowing with precision how many pitches high school players are throwing will help researchers know how to better train them to prevent injuries, he said.

In the Pitch Smart guidelines, total pitches thrown in a game are clearly spelled out for age groups ranging from 7 to 22. Required rest days are also indicated in relation to the number of game-pitches thrown.

For example, a 17- or 18-year-old can throw a maximum 105 pitches in a game. But if he throws more than 75 pitches, he would be required to rest for the maximum four days. Between 61 and 75 pitches would call for three days rest; 46-60 pitches, two days; 31-45 would require a one-day rest and 30 or fewer pitches would not require any rest.

In Zaremski's study, which began at the start of this high school baseball season, 10 researchers are going to area games and charting total pitches. Two weeks in, they've got 19 games' worth of data.

"They sit in the stands like fans," he said. "They have a pitch counter. As soon as the pitcher goes to the bullpen, they start the counter and basically check the number of pitches. They do all the warmup pitches as well. And the live-game pitches. We do not interact with the players or coaches, we are there as fans."

The early findings show those throwing 50-70 pitches in a game are actually throwing 120 or more pitches, when bullpen and warm-up pitches are included.

"That could explain why there are so many overuse injuries, particularly early in the season," Zaremski said.  Ron Brooks, head baseball coach at Buchholz, went through Tommy John surgery his freshman season at Tallahassee Community College in 1995.

"I'm always looking out for the players' best interest," Brooks said. "I think it (FHSAA pitch-count policy) is a great idea. Most coaches here and around the state do a good job in looking after pitchers' arms.

"It's great to have a suggested road map to follow," he said.

The onus on keeping track of pitches thrown is on the coaches. Under the FHSAA policy, if a player exceeds the maximum number of pitches listed in the chart, he will be required to rest seven days and not be permitted to pitch during that time period. He could play another position during the mandatory rest period.

But no one is consistently counting pitches in warm-up.

"It is not only the coaches that need to be educated, the players and parents need to be involved," Brooks said. "Travel ball coaches need to be aware. My job as high school coach is to make sure I know who they are playing for and what they are doing.

"Communication is key, it's what I instill in my kids. A lot of kids want the ball in their hands. Back in 1995, I wasn't going to say no. It's great to have a competitive attitude, but you have to take care of your arm — what you should be feeling, what you shouldn't be feeling. It's good for the kids to understand the differences."

Williston coach Scott Hall, who coached UF freshman Austin Langworthy in high school, said he loves the idea but wonders who will enforce it.

"I have never had a pitcher throw more than 80 pitches a week," said Hall, whose Red Devils, with Langworthy, won back-to-back Class 1A state titles in 2014 and 2015. "Langworthy last year, he only pitched once a week and on occasion would pitch over 80 pitches in a game.

Come district tournament time, you are going to have some arguments because of the discrepancy between two coaches on a pitcher's pitch count. I love the idea, I just don't know how it will be enforced, especially if you have coaches who disagree with pitch counts.

Either way, he said, player safety is the most important thing.

"We can affect their lives and for what, a high school win?"

Dr. Paul Gardner, communications director for Gainesville Youth Baseball, said Babe Ruth Baseball, which used innings pitched as a barometer for years, is transitioning to Pitch Smart perimeters.

He said players are being limited to eight warmup pitches for the game and five warmup pitches if they return to the mound. With Gainesville Youth Baseball, which has 350 kids, players 9-10 years old are limited to 75 pitches a game while 11- and 12-year-olds are kept to 85 pitches. Maximum pitches will result in maximum rest, which is four days.

"We are limiting innings and limiting pitch count," Gardner said. "The league has really grown. We want to protect our players' arms."

The league starts Saturday.

Zaremski said his study will be completed when baseball season ends. He will then collect the data and report his findings either late summer or in the fall.

Players should not compete on multiple teams simultaneously, he said.

"It has been shown, objectively, to be a significant risk in favor of an overuse throwing injury in your dominant arm," he said. "If you pitch, you shouldn't catch on the same day. You should not be playing eight games a week."

A true pitch count shows that overuse has become common, even among major leaguers.

"You always hear about Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers left-handed pitcher) has a 90-pitch limit, but how much has he thrown?" Zaremski asked. "He threw a 40-pitch bullpen, he throws five pitches between every inning, and his 90 live pitches. That is a little different than just 90 pitches."

Zaremski stresses younger athletes should be playing multiple sports and not specializing in just one sport all year. That's a problem sports medicine physicians are dealing with across the country, he said.

Playing one sport only from the time one is young is a recipe for a physical breakdown, he said.

"There are a lot of overuse injuries that can be prevented. Play multiple sports, take three to four months off a year from throwing," he said. "Otherwise, at some point, you may have to see a surgeon.


     The article said:

01. "Pitch Smart guidelines, which MLB announced in November 2014 and were endorsed by such famed orthopedic surgeons as Dr. James Andrews, has been recommended by the National Federation of High Schools for all states."
02. "The Florida High School Athletic Association has implemented it this baseball season, joining 47 other states."
03. "Communication is key, it's what I instill in my kids."
04. "A lot of kids want the ball in their hands."
05. "Back in 1995, I wasn't going to say no."
06. "It's great to have a competitive attitude, but you have to take care of your arm — what you should be feeling, what you shouldn't be feeling."
07. "It's good for the kids to understand the differences."

     Dr. James Andrews does not understand what cause pitching injuries.

     Counting pitches does not cause pitching injuries.

     Until baseball pitchers of all ages need to master releasing their breaking pitching under their Middle finger.

     The answers are in my Baseball Pitchers Instructional Video.


0098.  Braves prospect Minter slowed by nerve inflammation in forearm
Atlanta Journal Constitution
March 08, 2017

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL: After going through more than a year of rehab following Tommy John surgery, then excelling while pitching on a strictly monitored schedule pitching and rest during the 2016 season, Braves left-hander A.J. Minter looked forward to being let loose this year to really show what he could do.

He’ll have to wait a little longer.

Minter has inflamed nerves in the outer, upper part of his left forearm and hasn’t been permitted to throw since a live batting-practice session one week ago. He had tingling his hand and fingers after that session, symptoms he’d experienced the previous couple of weeks but in this instance worse than before.

“It started acting up the first day I got (to spring training),” Minter said. “I’ve been pitching on it. It feels fine pitching, it’s just kind of after the fact, it kind of gets irritated. So they’re just taking it slow.”

Minter, 23, underwent several tests in an examination and said he was diagnosed with radial tunnel syndrome, which is caused by pressure on the radial nerve, usually at the elbow. It’s not considered a serious injury among pitchers, typically treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medication and rarely requiring surgery.

Minter has been on daily anti-inflammatories – a “dose pack” – for five days and said he had begun to feel improvement and was scheduled to do some light throwing in the next day or two. He said he fully intends to be ready when the season begins at whichever minor league level he’s assigned.

“I threw a live BP, which went good, it was just afterward, the next day, it was a little tight,” he said. “Nothing too serious, just kind of taking it slow…. I’m Starting to feel (the anti-inflammatories), it should clear up right away.”

Selected by the Braves in the second round of the 2015 draft out of Texas A&M, Minter completed his rehab under the Braves’ watch the rest of that year and during the early months of 2016, then posted a 1.30 ERA with 47 strikeouts and no homers allowed in 34 2/3 innings during 31 relief appearances last season at three levels from low Single-A to Double-A. In 18 games at Double-A Mississippi, he had 31 strikeouts with six walks in 18 2/3 innings.

When spring training began last month, Minter said, “Tommy John (rehab) is a long process, something that you can’t rush. Yeah, it’s hard – every outing, I had to wait two days (to pitch again) – so I was definitely itching to get out there some more and throw some more innings. But I completely agree with the way they handled my situation. I couldn’t be happier.”

His mid- to upper-90s velocity had returned and Minter said, “My arm feels 10 times greater than it’s ever felt before. I’m just excited for this year.”

The aggressiveness and confidence that attracted the Braves to Minter were also readily apparent at the outset of his first major league camp.

“Obviously the ultimate goal is to be a major league pitcher,” he said. “But I want to be the best pitcher in major league baseball. That’s my goal and my attitude and that’s what I strive for. Yeah, hopefully sometime this year I’ll get the call up, but that’s something out of my control. I can only get better each and every day, and take this spring training to my full advantage and just get better and soak up everything here.”


     The article said:

01. "A.J. Minter, 23, underwent several tests in an examination and said he was diagnosed with radial tunnel syndrome, which is caused by pressure on the radial nerve, usually at the elbow."
02. "It’s not considered a serious injury among pitchers, typically treated with rest and anti-inflammatory medication and rarely requiring surgery."
03. "Mr. Minter has been on daily anti-inflammatories – a “dose pack” – for five days and said he had begun to feel improvement and was scheduled to do some light throwing in the next day or two."
04. "He said he fully intends to be ready when the season begins at whichever minor league level he’s assigned."

     The best long-term answer is to move the Ulnar nerve from the groove behind the Ulna bone to the front of the forearm.


0099.  Is fastball mania putting young baseball arms on the brink?
San Jose Mercury News
March 08, 2016

Even a terrific fastball hitter like Buster Posey has a speed limit. Not long ago, the Giants catcher quizzed a few older ballplayers about the recent invasion of flame-throwing heat monsters.

“I’ll ask them. ‘Is it just me?’ I mean, I’m about ready to move the mound back a little bit,” Posey cracked.

“You have middle-relief guys coming in throwing 100 mph. And I’m like, ‘Wait, I thought 100 mph was supposed to be one or two guys across the league.'”

It’s not just you, Buster. Triple-digit radar gun readings, once the sole provenance of legends like Nolan Ryan, now make for a crowded expressway.

A record 31 big league pitchers touched 100 mph on the radar gun last season, according to PITCHf/x data, and two pitchers — Aroldis Chapman and Mauricio Cabrera — averaged at least 100 mph for the season.

There is more heat in the forecast. Baseball America documented another 71 prospects clocked at 100 mph in the minor leagues last year.

The fastball fixation is nothing new. You can fairly trace pitching history through baseball’s rapidly spinning seams, from Walter Johnson to Bob Feller to Bob Gibson to Nolan Ryan to Aroldis Chapman.

But it’s becoming increasingly clear that baseball’s best arms are cruising at dangerous speeds. Pitchers are getting injured at record rates, and a recent wave of studies demonstrates a relationship between increased velocity and increased risk in Tommy John surgeries.

There are apparently only so many Newton-meters of torque a human elbow can take.

“We’re seeing so many young kids coming up throwing 95-98. They throw as hard as they can for a full season,” A’s catcher Stephen Vogt said, “and they come back the next season and their arm is gone.

“I think it’s become the mentality of a lot of organizations: ‘Well, let’s just use this guy until he can’t pitch anymore and next in line.’ I’m not a big fan of that.”

Velocity has gone up or held steady in 14 of the past 15 seasons. In the bullpen, especially, it’s as if everyone suddenly comes equipped with a Rich Gossage fastball. It’s not just Goose anymore, it’s geese: The top 20 relievers last year averaged 96.72 with their heaters, according to numbers collected from

Better training, more sophisticated throwing programs and advances in medicine have paved the way for this generation of young, hard throwers. But there’s no way to strengthen an elbow ligament, leaving the UCL to bear the brunt of this unprecedented fastball force.

Stan Conte, the former Giants and Dodgers trainer, last year was the first to report that while shoulder injuries are on the decline in major league baseball, the number of elbow injuries continues to rise.

The trend of mega-velocity has been described as baseball’s Faustian bargain: Throwing hard will get you drafted and could make you a star — and then, almost certainly, it will destroy you.

“Our bodies are not designed to withstand that kind of velocity,” Vogt said. “If you can, you’re a freak.”

* * *

It wasn’t always this way.

In its infancy, baseball deliberately tried to keep pitchers from throwing too hard. The hurler threw underhanded, stiff-wristed pitches that borrowed from cricket’s early days.

In the first surviving rules of baseball, drafted in 1845, Article 9 states:  “The ball must be pitched, not thrown for the bat.” The goal was to maximize the interaction between the fielders and hitters.

As John Thorn, the official historian for major league baseball, wrote “(the pitcher and batter) were not adversaries but very nearly allies, each doing his utmost to put the ball in play for the valiant barehand fielders.”

The dynamic changed in the 1880s as the game transitioned to overhand pitching and, soon, flame-throwers like Amos Rusie were heating up. The National League in 1893 moved the pitching mound back from 50 feet (where it had been since 1881) to 60 feet, 6 inches (where it has stayed, whether Posey likes it or not).

For most of baseball history, the fastest pitcher debate has been waged through anecdotes and one-liners. In that regard, it’s tough to top Negro Leagues catcher Biz Mackey, who suggested that Satchel Paige’s fastball sometimes burned up upon reentry.

“They say the catcher, the umpire and the bat boys looked all over for that ball, but it was gone,” Mackey claimed. “Now how do you account for that?”

No balls get lost now, not with high-tech equipment monitoring not just the velocity but the spin rate of every pitch. And it’s easy enough to settle who’s throwing the hardest.

In 2008, the PITCHf/x system was installed in all 30 ballparks, creating a generation of rubberneckers who swivel to see the MPH on the scoreboard.

“Oh, I feel like that’s the main thing that you look for,” A’s right-hander Jharel Cotton said. “If I throw a pitch and I think it’s hard, I’ll look back and say, ‘OK, that’s pretty cool.”’

Chapman, of course, is the reigning king of pop.

According to MLB’s Statcast, the left-hander threw the 30 fastest pitches in the majors in 2016, with the swiftest coming on a 105.1 mph fastball on June 18 against Baltimore.

Pitchers are so reliant on stadium readings that opponents have been known to pull a fast one (at least before MLB cracked down on the antics). Kevin Towers, the former Padres general manager, said his team used to intentionally dial the gun down whenever Brad Penny of the Los Angeles Dodgers took the mound in San Diego.

“He liked velocity. He’d stare at the board,” Towers told the Arizona Republic in 2011. “He was throwing 95-96, but we’d have it at 91 and he’d get (ticked) off and throw harder and harder and start elevating.”

Long before that, back when radar guns at the stadium were a mere novelty, teammates used to mess with A’s right-hander Steve McCatty.

“They had me looking up at the board in Texas one day, and I said, ‘I’m throwing 101,'” McCatty told Bleacher Report. “Then it was 103. And then I realized it was the temperature.”

That was a good gag for the old days, but those numbers no longer seem so laughable.

In 2010, the average fastball for a qualified major league starter was 90.5. Last year, it was up to 91.76.

* * *

Why are pitchers throwing harder than ever?

“Because they’re trying to,” deadpanned one injury expert, paraphrasing the great George Mallory.

The expert wasn’t being sarcastic. It was a perfect four-word summation for a world gone mad for mph. From the youth leagues on up, the gun is god.

Players recognize from an early age that velocity gets you the college scholarship. Kids know a good heater gets you drafted. Vogt sees the cult of the radar gun every time he agrees to catch a high school kid during the offseason.

“They’ll come out and they’re throwing as hard as they can. And I’m diving for the ball” Vogt said, shaking his head. “I’ll ask, ‘Hey, what are you working on?’ And they’ll say, ‘I’m just trying to throw hard.”’

When young pitchers go to a showcase where scouts are watching, they aren’t trying to paint the outside corner. They’re trying to light up the gun.

It should be no surprise, then, the biggest rise in Tommy John surgeries is among 15- to 19-year-olds. The surgery rate for that age range rose 9.1 percent per year between 2007-11 according to one study.

Overall, the trend among young pitchers has been enough to prompt noted sports surgeon James Andrews to make a plea for keeping radar guns away from the youth league fields.

Good luck with that, though. For aspiring big leaguers (and, more to the point, for their aspiring parents), velocity readings are a siren call.

The youthful yearning for more mph explains the emergence of places like Driveline Baseball, a pitching mecca on the outskirts of Seattle. Owner and founder Kyle Boddy has created a stir across baseball by incorporating weighted baseballs and mini-medicine balls known as PlyoCare balls. The controversial movement has been featured in USA Today and in Jeff Passan’s heralded book, “The Arm.”

A’s pitcher Daniel Mengden understands the lure of anyone offering a few more upward ticks to the fastball.

“It was all about it for me growing up,” Mengden said. “Maybe there’s a guy out there who is 89-92 with good stuff, but scouts are way more excited about the kid who throws 95-97 and is all over the place.

“You can teach someone to pitch, but you can’t teach velocity.”

Cotton, a big leaguer at 5-foot-11, knew he’d have to get the most out of his frame growing up, so his workouts were done with an eye toward the kinetic chain. “I would kill my legs. I feel like I had to build from the ground up,” he said. “With scouts, all they wanted to see was your radar reading. How hard are you throwing?”

Only after he was drafted did Cotton begin to seriously address the rest of his repertoire, refining the change-up that has become his signature pitch.

Mike Reinold, a former Boston Red Sox head trainer and current Chicago Cubs consultant, is among those urging for cooler heads when it comes to high heat.

Reinold, the founder of Champion Physical Therapy and Performance in Boston, has emerged as one of the leading voices when it comes to the care and feeding of young arms.

He’s open to new training methods but said the problem is that “the internet has gone crazy.” Reinold said young pitchers are seeing eye-popping videos online and rushing to put their blind faith into programs yet to be backed up by data.

To help science catch up, Reinold teamed with Andrews for a study on the effects of using weighted baseballs to increase velocity. Their findings remain preliminary, but appear to fall in line with baseball’s larger trend.

The good: 86 percent of Reinold’s participants added 4 percent to their mph readings.

The bad: 27 percent of the participants wound up injured. And Reinold said that was with an extremely conservative approach over a mere six-week program.

What really raised red flags for Reinold during the study was that they found using weighted balls yielded almost immediate physiological changes. Participants developed more external rotation in their shoulder, which is good for velocity but also correlates with higher injury risk. These arms were being pushed past their limit.

Troubled by the landscape, Reinold not long ago wrote a cautionary tale on his blog: “We have enough evidence to know that weighted ball training helps to increase pitching velocity.  We’ve known this for decades. But at what cost?

“I hear this comment all the time from injured baseball players: ‘I started a weighted ball training program this winter, gained 3-5 mph on my fastball, and then hurt my arm for the first time during the season.’ I can’t tell you how common that is.”

* * *

As pitchers reach for anything to give their fastballs a boost, hitters are forced to keep pace. At what point does a pitcher throw so hard it’s unhittable?

Is it 108 mph? 110? 115?

None of the above, Giants outfielder Hunter Pence said.

“No matter how hard you throw, it’s hittable,” Pence said. “There’s no one with a 0.00 ERA. There are some tremendous pitchers out there, but there are also good hitters. It’s just the nature of competing against the best.”

The 2016 documentary “Fastball” asked physicists to explain the difference between a good heater and a great one. A 90 mph fastball takes 450 milliseconds to reach home plate. A 100 mph fastball takes 396 milliseconds.

But, impossibly, hitters still manage to get the timing just right. Even mighty Chapman can be had. A’s outfielder Rajai Davis, who played for Cleveland last season, blasted a 97.1 mph four-seamer from Chapman into the seats during Game 7 of the World Series last year.

Less remembered, except in the A’s clubhouse, is what Vogt did against Chapman on Aug. 7. Vogt fell behind 0-and-2 in the count.

“Everyone in the world knows that you’re going to strike out,” Vogt recalled this spring. “In a situation like that, you just kind of hope that he throws it in the zone. Because at 104, there’s no way to determine if it’s a ball or a strike. And that’s the honest truth.”

So Vogt banked on getting a fastball and decided if it was anywhere near the strike zone, he’d take a rip. The result was a single against a 103.9 mph rocket. At the time, it was the fastest recorded pitch ever to be returned for a base hit. (Francisco Cervelli got Chapman at 104.2 a few weeks later.)

What if Chapman had thrown Vogt a slider?

“Had it been a slider,” he said, “I would have screwed myself into the ground and laughed my way back to the dugout.”

Such is life for hitters in this era. Batters are so accustomed to gearing up for the heat that so-called “soft throwers” — merely in the low 90s — now find it easier to exploit the art of pitching.

“They’re always looking to hit the fastball, and I personally think that’s helped my game,” Giants reliever George Kontos said. “A little bit of movement — whether it’s a sink or a cut or a good change-up — will have guys mis-hitting the ball just off the sweet spot.”

A’s reliever Sean Doolittle, who has spent his career in the 95-mph range, is finding new ways to approach hitters as he works his way back from injuries.

“The hitters have adapted. It’s just weird how it works,” Doolittle said. “It’s not about just throwing hard anymore. It’s more, ‘Can you cut it? Can you sink it? Can you have some deception in your delivery to make it seem harder than it is?'”

* * *

There’s a common phrase in major league clubhouses these days: “Go until you blow.” The mentality is to throw as hard as you can for as long as you can because there is always more gas out in the bullpen.

Pitchers used to pace themselves, or at least vary the speeds of their fastballs. Tug McGraw called his hardest pitch a “John Jameson” fastball — that was a straight, hard one named after the Irish whiskey. But McGraw also threw a Peggy Lee, a slower one in honor of her song, “Is That All There Is?”

These days? Every pitch is a power ballad. Hunter Strickland was the hardest throwing Giants pitcher last season. His four-seam fastball averaged 97.7 mph.

“I’ve learned very quickly that you can’t just throw a ball by somebody. But at the same time, you can’t shy away from who you are,” Strickland said this spring. “So I still stick with my strengths, no matter what.”

Strickland is an example of a modern medical miracle. He said he was never considered a flame-thrower growing up. But a shoulder surgery and a Tommy John surgery put him on a new path. He went through an extensive, closely monitored rehabilitation process and emerged throwing harder than ever.

He isn’t throwing harder because of Tommy John surgery (that’s been repeatedly proved a myth), but rather because strengthening the rest of his body under the guidance of a physical therapist helped him add more mph by the time he was back on the mound.

But, perversely, robust conditioning is also part of the problem. Pitchers can strengthen the legs, core, scapula and rotator cuff, but eventually all that increased force will be transferred to the elbow.

The increased velocity means increased stress on the UCL, and pitchers are operating near the breaking point on every pitch.

In Conte’s study, published last spring in the American Journal of Orthopedics, he found that from 1998-2006, the ratio of shoulder surgeries compared to elbow surgeries was about 2-to-1. In recent years, the number has flipped — it’s now 2-to-1 in favor of elbow surgeries.

“It suggests that the kinetic chain is breaking down in the elbow,” Conte said in an interview this spring.

Nolan Ryan pitched for 27 seasons, keeping the fastball fire burning until his elbow gave out at age 46. But for mere mortals, the risk of injury is real with every triple-digit pitch. The motto for this hard-throwing generation ought to be live fast, die young, leave a beautiful radar gun reading.

“The time of relief pitchers lasting 15-20 years is going away,” Vogt said. “It’s getting younger and younger. And it’s, ‘Come in and throw as hard as you can.’ Because if you can’t throw it 95, you’re not going to make it.”


     The article said:

01. "A record 31 big league pitchers touched 100 mph on the radar gun last season, according to PITCHf/x data, and two pitchers — Aroldis Chapman and Mauricio Cabrera — averaged at least 100 mph for the season."
02. "There is more heat in the forecast."
03. "Baseball America documented another 71 prospects clocked at 100 mph in the minor leagues last year."
04. "But it’s becoming increasingly clear that baseball’s best arms are cruising at dangerous speeds."
05. "Pitchers are getting injured at record rates, and a recent wave of studies demonstrates a relationship between increased velocity and increased risk in Tommy John surgeries."
06. "The youthful yearning for more mph explains the emergence of places like Driveline Baseball, a pitching mecca on the outskirts of Seattle."
07. "Owner and founder Kyle Boddy has created a stir across baseball by incorporating weighted baseballs and mini-medicine balls known as PlyoCare balls."
08. "The controversial movement has been featured in USA Today and in Jeff Passan’s heralded book, “The Arm.”"
09. "Jharel Cotton, a big leaguer at 5-foot-11, knew he’d have to get the most out of his frame growing up, so his workouts were done with an eye toward the kinetic chain."
10. "“I would kill my legs. I feel like I had to build from the ground up.”"
11. "“With scouts, all they wanted to see was your radar reading."
12. "How hard are you throwing?”
13. "To help science catch up, Michael Reinold teamed with Andrews for a study on the effects of using weighted baseballs to increase velocity."
14. "Their findings remain preliminary, but appear to fall in line with baseball’s larger trend."
15. "The good: 86 percent of Reinold’s participants added 4 percent to their mph readings."
16. "The bad: 27 percent of the participants wound up injured."
17. "And Reinold said that was with an extremely conservative approach over a mere six-week program."
18. "Troubled by the landscape, Reinold not long ago wrote a cautionary tale on his blog:"
19. "“We have enough evidence to know that weighted ball training helps to increase pitching velocity.""
20. ""We’ve known this for decades.""
21. ""But at what cost?""
22. "In Conte’s study, published last spring in the American Journal of Orthopedics, he found that from 1998-2006, the ratio of shoulder surgeries compared to elbow surgeries was about 2-to-1."
23. "In recent years, the number has flipped — it’s now 2-to-1 in favor of elbow surgeries."
24. "“It suggests that the kinetic chain is breaking down in the elbow,” Conte said in an interview this spring.""

     The only way to maximize release velocity without suffering pitching injuries is to stand tall, turn the back of their upper arm to face home plate, rotate their hips and shoulders forward together over their Front foot and aim the pitching arm down the acromial line.

     When the body rotates with the pitching arm, baseball pitchers are able to continue to apply force to the baseball through release.


0100.  Coming Back From Broken Collar Bone

Hope you are doing well, just like everyone else want to say thanks again for the great content.

6 weeks ago I broke my clavicle in my collar bone.

My doctor last week told me I could start throwing again, and slowly been tossing it from last week until now.

However, I continue to feel a "creaking" feeling, in my body, as if two bones are just rubbing back and forth when I throw.

I know your PhD is in kinesiology and you are not an orthopedic, however considering my doctor said I should be 100% now back to normal, feel that he may not understand the movements of throwing. So I thought:

1) Perhaps, Dr. Marshall, you could tell me why I am experiencing this discomfort when throwing, it's not a pain, just a feeling of two bones rubbing. Don't worry, as I said recognize you are a Dr. in kinesiology, not an orthopedic, just want to hear your opinion from a pitching coach/kinesiology perspective.

2) What could I be doing to help rehab and get back to my previous throwing condition? I am a position player, yet still took pride in my arm, yet despite just lightly tossing lately cannot get much power throwing. From the bone rubbing feeling to just what feels like a deterioration in muscle. Part of it might be a mind game as well as I am in constant fear of damaging it worse/again.

Any help or advice is much appreciated.

Thank you for your time!


     First, what did you do to your clavicle that caused it to fracture?

     In general, when baseball pitchers bend forward, the pitching shoulder and the clavicle grind on each other.

     How can the pitching arm move without stress when the clavicle is perpendicular to the to the Humerus bone.

     My answer is for you to learn the Marshall pitching motion.

     In my pitching motion, the baseball pitchers stand tall, turn the back of the upper arm to face toward home plate, rotate their hips and shoulders forward together over their Front foot and aim their pitching arm down the acromial line.

     To learn the Marshall pitching motion, you need to watch my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     I recommend that you watch section 08. Football Training Program, it will teach you how to 'horizontally sail' the square Lid from a four-gallon bucket and how to impart rotation to the four baseball pitches.

     Master this pitching motion and you will never suffer any pain.


0101.  My baseball pitcher has some last questions

My delivery felt very good being patient facing live batters.

It's something you have to trust that the velocity will be there. I was able to command all pitches in the zone.

One thing I do need to get better at is rotating the hips and shoulders at the same time.

This will help me get my throwing side through better and help me throw better quality pitches all around.

How do rotate my hips and shoulders at the same time better?

How do I keep my foot on the rubber until I land without jumping out making me drag my pitching leg?


     Instead of thinking of rotating your hips and shoulders, you simultaneously throw your upper arm inward and Rear knee down your acromial line.

     Instead of from dragging your Front foot, you need to keep your head level and on the acromial line from start to finish.

     You should look like a 'power walker' in the Olympics.

     Whether you are 'drop stepping' of 'cross stepping', instead of using your Rear leg to push backward off the pitching rubber, you use your Front foot to pull your Rear knee down the acromial line.



     On Sunday, March 19, 2017, I posted the following questions and answers.



0102.  Coming Back From Broken Collar Bone

Thanks for the response, sir.

I broke it unrelated to baseball, in an outdoor accident.

So you are saying this grinding feeling is slightly natural to the "traditional" baseball throwing motion?

I chose not to respond until I attempted your throwing motion yet I still feel this rubbing between my neck and shoulder where I broke my collar bone.

Could it be me not performing the motion correctly, not fully healed yet despite what the doctor said, or is it just natural?

Any thoughts are appreciated, you are a great guy.

On a personal note, do you hold any resentment towards organized baseball?

As we all know baseball is a traditional game, to some degree that is its appeal and attraction, however as you preach it sometimes can be destructive.

Do you believe your theories and practices will grow and progress further into the game?

For what it is worth, it is my belief that baseball will one day widely accept your ideas, and once people look back you will be noted as a pioneer in Cooperstown.


     When I first teach baseball pitchers how to horizontally sail the square Lid, I have them stand as though they were throwing darts at the target with their Rear foot in front of the Front foot in line with the target and not moving the body with their pitching arm in my 'Slingshot' position.

     In the 'Slingshot' position, my baseball pitchers raise their upper arm to vertically beside their head with their forearm behind the elbow pointing backward.

     To throw the Lid, you point the elbow at the target and inwardly rotate the upper arm, extend the elbow joint at the target and inwardly rotate the forearm ending with the thumb of the hand facing downward.

     When you master the standing still 'Slingshot' action, you will be ready to use my Wrong Foot body action and 'Slingshot' pitching arm action.

     I do not resent professional baseball, I pity the pain baseball pitchers suffer.

     My baseball pitching eliminates all pitching injuries and maximizes the release velocity.


0103.  Do We Need the Wrong foot drill?

I'm wondering if you really need your wrong foot body action drills. In this drill you step forward with the back (pitching) foot. This would imply that you are applying force with your back foot.

In your actual pitching motion it is my understanding that you don't want any force applied with the back foot off the rubber. So is the Wrong Foot body action counter productive?

I wonder if I should simply use your No Glove step drill since, to me, rotating over the glove foot is the key to your pitching motion.

Is the juice worth the squeeze with the wrong foot drills?


     To answer your question, 'yes.'

     Instead of dropping the 'Wrong Foot' drill, I am adding another drill. I call it the 'Dart Throw' drill.

     Now the first drill is the 'Dart Throw' body action; 'Slingshot' glove and pitching arm actions. This drill teaches my baseball pitchers to horizontally sail the Lid where the body is still and their Rear foot points at the center of the strike zone with the Front foot is in line.

     The second drill is the Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill. The Wrong Foot body action teaches my baseball pitchers to drive the pitching arm down the acromial line.

     The third drill is the No Front Foot Step body action; Slingshot or Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions.

     The fourth drill is the competitive set or wind-up body action; Slingshot or Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions. Until my baseball pitchers have perfect body balance, I prefer that my baseball pitchers use only the Set Position.


0104.  Toll on pitchers at WBC is a concern for Girardi
March 14, 2017

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL: Don’t quote Joe Girardi on this, but we definitely got the sense that the Yankees’ manager was relieved it was the Mets’ Jeurys Familia — and not his own Dellin Betances — who was used on consecutive days at the World Baseball Classic this past weekend.

Giradi is a fan of the tournament, and like commissioner Rob Manfred, believes the Classic is important for the sport. But Girardi also thinks the WBC has potentially dangerous flaws, which is why he suggested Tuesday the first two rounds should be pushed back a week, with the semifinals and championship played at midseason, in the days leading up to the All-Star Game.

“Because he’s got his country here,” Girardi said, pointing toward his right ear, then added, while gesturing to his left, “and he’s got all the other mangers here.” Splitting the Classic into two halves, spaced more than three months apart, may sound radical. But to Girardi, subjecting pitchers to the current WBC workload, at this stage of spring training, is the less logical strategy. And the pressure on the Classic’s managers, such as the Dominican Republic’s Tony Pena (also Girardi’s first-base coach) makes their job nearly impossible.

That’s the internal tug-of-war Pena probably experienced Sunday, when he chose to send out Familia for the 11th inning, with the D.R. ahead 10-3 after using him to save Saturday night’s intense 7-5 win over Team USA. Problem was, Pena had Familia up anyway to pitch the bottom of the 11th — before it turned into a blowout — and the Mets’ closer only threw 11 pitches the previous night, fewer than his other choices.

As Girardi pointed out, if the Dominican team had lost Sunday’s game, and needed to play a Monday tiebreaker, Pena’s pitching staff would have been seriously taxed. “He might have had to forfeit,” Girardi said. “That’s our concern about pitchers. You’ve got to make sure they’re brought along slowly.”

Familia pitching on consecutive days, and three times in four, is not ideal this early in spring training. But it didn’t violate any WBC rules, which stipulate a pitcher can go back-to-back as long as he gets a day off afterward. Otherwise, 50 or more pitches require a minimum of four days rest between outings; 30 or more, one day. For the first round, each pitcher is on a 65-pitch limit, followed by 80 for the second and 95 for the championship.

Therein lies the issue for Girardi, who would prefer to see the first round moved to this week, which would allow starters to be stretched out more — and give relievers more time to build arm strength. In his view, the current schedule puts the WBC managers in an impossible spot.

“You hope that guys don’t necessarily have to throw two days in a row this early,” Girardi said. “But you get an extra-inning game, and then you can only use so many guys, and it becomes tough.”

As for the WBC’s Final Four, Girardi’s blueprint calls for extending the All-Star break to a full week — maybe by having three fewer regular-season games, or starting three days earlier — and then playing the semis on Tuesday, the championship on Wednesday, followed by Thursday’s All-Star workout and the game itself on Friday. The season would resume the following Monday.

“Then you have guys that are built up,” Girardi said. “You’re not worried about them going two days in a row. I think they’re more prepared. Maybe teams think it’s more risky, but more Tommy John [surgeries] happen in the month of April than any month. So now you put them in a competitive situation in March, and there’s concerns. I think they have a better chance of being hurt in March.”

Girardi has faith in Pena, a catcher for 18 years in the majors who also has plenty of managerial experience. But he’ll also be holding his breath every time Betances takes the mound for the D.R. And remains grateful that Masahiro Tanaka, his No. 1 in the midst of a terrific spring, opted not to play for Japan.

“I think that when it comes down to it, you want to give your players the opportunity,” Girardi said. “But you don’t have a problem when they say no.”


     With my pitching motion, my baseball pitchers are able to spend thirty minutes every day to keep the skills and fitness sharp ready in two weeks of spring training.


0105.  Schafer's bid to be a two-way player ends with elbow surgery
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 14, 2017

After weeks of busily trying to prove himself as both a lefty reliever and an outfielder this spring, Jordan Schafer has one mission as of Tuesday.

He must heal.

Schafer will have surgery Friday on his left elbow to address a tear in the ligament, and the recovery will cost him this season. The damage was discovered late Monday during an MRI, and after consulting with the team’s physicians Schafer decided Tuesday to take a surgical approach. At the time of surgery, Dr. George Paletta will determine if Schafer requires a complete reconstruction of the ligament or if he’s a candidate for “primary repair.”

Schafer, 30, signed a minor-league contract with the Cardinals this past winter and came to spring training as a non-roster invitee trying to pull off an unusual bit of multitasking. The Cardinals were willing to consider him as both a lefthanded pitcher and a fourth or fifth outfielder, or the “25.5 man” on the 25-man roster, as general manager John Mozeliak said. The concern the team had was how much that would tax the former top prospect’s body.

The lefty began feeling some discomfort and tightening in his left forearm during his previous two appearances. He also, in those same starts, felt the command of his offspeed pitches come undone. He pushed through the soreness in his appearance Sunday, suggesting afterward that he was “out there to compete.” He insisted it wasn’t “anything serious.”

“I haven’t had any arm problems at all,” Schafer said. “I just think I’ve been kind of pushing myself and I did a lot here early on. I think I just need to let it cool down.”

Schafer appeared in five games for the Cardinals and allowed four runs in 3 2/3 innings. He struck out five, three of them in one of his first appearances.

If Schafer needs a complete reconstruction of the ligament — or Tommy John surgery – then his rehab will take at least 12 months, less if he attempts to return as a position player. Once inside his elbow, the surgeon can determine if Schafer is a candidate for “primary repair,” an alternative that has not been done often. The ligament must be in good condition and the tear located at the bone for a “primary repair” to be done, but if it’s possible, the recovery time is shorter. Royals reliever Seth Maness and Cardinals reliever Mitch Harris are two of the three pro pitchers to have had primary repair.

Both are pitching this spring, less than a year after surgery.


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0106.  Turlock's Treadwell feels pop in elbow, will have Tommy John surgery
Modesto Bee
March 14, 2017

Turlock High’s Damon Treadwell will have Tommy John surgery this week after experiencing discomfort in his elbow while pitching at the Area Code Games in August.

The tall right-hander will have surgery Wednesday in Walnut Creek with a doctor that works closely with the Oakland A’s organization.

He is nervous, but ready for the road ahead.

“I was definitely bummed,” said Treadwell, who also pitches for NorCal Valley, a club that has helped several Stanislaus District athletes achieve their college dream.

“Missing my senior year … that’s the season kids look forward to the most. But it’s just another bump in the road. I’ve got to work a little harder now, but I have no problem with that.”

Treadwell was slated to be the Bulldogs’ ace this season. He was 5-2 with a 2.48 ERA in 2016, striking 52 batters in 42-plus innings.

Turlock won the Central California Conference and was eliminated in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I tournament.

“It’s a shame that anybody has to have that kind of injury during the upswing of their career,” said Turlock coach Mark de la Motte, who traveled to Long Beach to watch his ace pitch in the Area Code Games. “He’s one of the best pitchers in our area.”

Treadwell didn’t realize the significance of the injury until January, when he began his buildup for the high school season. He said there was an unusual “pop” while pitching at the Area Code Games.

“When I felt that first pop, I figured something was wrong,” Treadwell said. “Elbows shouldn’t pop like that.”

His doctor, however, advised rest and strength-building exercises. An MRI wasn’t scheduled.

After about three months of rest, Treadwell felt another “pop.” This time, an MRI revealed the severity of the injury: a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

Even with today’s advancements, Treadwell understands the cut-throat nature of Tommy John surgery. He could be throwing in four months or never again.

“It really just depends on the person and how the body reacts,” Treadwell said. “You have to have confidence you can comeback from something like this, especially when it’s the sport you love.”

While the injury will cost Treadwell his senior season, de la Motte said the University of the Pacific remains committed to the 6-foot-4, 210-pound right-hander. Treadwell was coach Mike Neu’s first official recruit in August of 2015.

Dallin Tilby will fill Treadwell’s void in the starting rotation. De la Motte likes Tilby’s athleticism – he also plays football and basketball – and upside.

The junior gave up two runs on seven hits in his first start, a no-decision.

“He’s very good now,” de la Motte said, “and he will only get better.”

Tilby is in good hands.

Pitching coach Rob Mendonca is responsible for developing the Bulldogs’ pitchers. Mendonca is a former head coach at Turlock and the uncle of Tommy Mendonca, a professional baseball player who led Fresno State to the 2009 College World Series championship.

“He played for me and was the head coach when I was at Stanislaus. Now he’s the pitching coach,” de la Motte said of Mendonca. “He does a great job with our young pitchers.”

Treadwell said he’ll remain a fixture around the yard. Until Wednesday, he could be spotted playing catch left-handed.

“I have all the confidence in the world in my coaches and the players,” Treadwell said. “Turlock, they always find a way.”


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0107.  Carrasco has swelling in right elbow, will likely miss start
Cleveland Plain Dealer
March 14, 2017

GOODYEAR, AZ: Carlos Carrasco, a key component to the Indians' starting rotation for 2017, has swelling in his right elbow and will most likely miss his next start.

Manager Terry Francona told reporters Tuesday that an MRI revealed the swelling.

"Everything is OK," said Francona, after the Indians' 6-5 Cactus League loss to the Giants. "He's got a little swelling in there, but nothing structurally is (wrong) or anything like that.

"There's a pretty good chance we're going to bump him back a start. We're just trying to work through some stuff. His wife (Karelis) is expecting in about a week to 10 days. We're trying to figure out between bumping him back and him leaving to be with his wife -- we're still working our way through that."

Carrasco allowed eight runs on eight hits in the second inning Monday against the White Sox. Afterward he told reporters that he threw 90 percent fastballs because he wanted to work on that pitch. He said he kept waving catcher Yan Gomes off when he called for another pitch.

Now, with word of the swelling in Carrasco's elbow, perhaps he didn't want to throw his breaking balls because they hurt his elbow.

Carrasco suffered a broken right hand on Sept. 17 when he was hit by an Ian Kinsler line drive. He missed the run to Game 7 of the World Series, but was thought to be an important part of the rotation this year.

Last season Carrasco went 11-8 with a 3.32 ERA in 25 starts despite his broken hand and a strained left hamstring that put him on the disabled list at the end of April.


     To prevent swelling in the elbow, baseball pitchers need to release their breaking pitches under the Middle finger.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0108.  LSU's Cartwright ending playing career after elbow and shoulder surgeries
The Advocate
March 13, 2017

LSU pitcher Alden Cartwright, who sustained a complete tear of his ulnar collateral ligament last spring and needed Tommy John surgery, has ended his playing career, he announced on Twitter Monday afternoon.

Cartwright, a senior from Baton Rouge, suffered the elbow injury during a relief outing against Auburn last April. As he was rehabilitating from the Tommy John surgery, the right-hander began experiencing shoulder problems.

He underwent rotator cuff surgery this fall, but he estimated that he was dealing with both elbow and shoulder problems well before either surgery, often just pushing through the pain. Cartwright approached LSU coach Paul Mainieri with the news Monday, but his retirement was something he had been considering for about 12 weeks.

"My heart started to be out of it, and it would almost do a disservice to the team because I’ve always been a team guy – anything I can do for the team to help," Cartwright told The Advocate. "I just wasn’t at that level anymore, and I can look at myself in the mirror and say I was OK with ending my career."

Any chance Cartwright would pitch in 2017 was already uncertain prior to the shoulder surgery, but Mainieri began to doubt if he would be able pitch next season either.

"I just think Alden is one of those pitchers that got the most out of his ability," Mainieri said. "He was really versatile and quality pitcher for us, but it didn’t come easy for him. It was a lot hard work, and he had to maximize his ability to be an effective pitcher for us. Now having to rehabilitate two different surgeries on his arm at the same time and hope to come and regain the form that he once had was going to be really, really difficult.

"I’m grateful to have had Alden in the program," Mainieri continued. "I think that he’s a terrific young man that loves the LSU baseball program so much. His enthusiasm was very contagious among our team, and I’ll miss having him around."

Prior to his elbow injury at Auburn, when he was "probably pitching the best I had in my career," the Runnels High product held a 2.32 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 15.1 innings on the mound. For his career, primarily as a reliever, Cartwright registered a 4-1 record with a 3.00 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 69.0 innings.

"When we lost him last year, I thought it had an adverse effect on our team," Mainieri said. "We lost a quality pitcher out of the bullpen. I was sorry for him, but I was also sorry for our team.”


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0109.  Twins lose May to torn elbow ligament
Pioneer Press
March 11, 2017

FORT MYERS, FL: For the second time this month, the Twins have received knee-buckling news regarding the elbow health of one of their core performers.

Three days after 2016 first-round pick Alex Kirilloff underwent Tommy John surgery, the Twins announced Saturday that right-hander Trevor May also has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow. Dr. Pearce McCarty made the season-ending diagnosis after reading the magnetic resonance imaging exam.

May, who had overcome a season-ending stress fracture in his back suffered last summer, will seek a second opinion next week but was still gathering information along with his agent before selecting the orthopedist for that exam.

“It’s a big blow, especially with how last year went and trying to get back to where it was,” May said. “I was excited. Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to do that this year.”

May, 27, said he felt “a little grab” in his elbow while making an 0-2 pitch to Andrew McCutchen in the second inning of his last start on Wednesday night against Team USA. May ended up walking McCutchen but rebounded to throw 34 more pitches in a 58-pitch outing over four effective innings.

“I downplayed it in my head,” he said. “I thought it was some tightness in my flexors, something I’ve felt before. A lot of times it’s a coin flip for whether or not it’s nothing or it’s bad.”

He was his usual upbeat self afterward while meeting with the media, but when his elbow remained inflamed over the next few days he decided to seek medical evaluation.

May, a valued part of the Twins bullpen the past season and a half, was making inroads on regaining a spot in the starting rotation. Through three starts, he had posted a 3.52 earned-run average across 7 2/3 innings; he had allowed six hits, four walks, a wild pitch and a hit batter while striking out five.

Originally acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies in a trade for Ben Revere after the 2012 season, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound May had never missed a single day with an arm injury of any consequence since beginning his professional career in 2008.

“I’ve literally never missed a day of baseball activity because my arm hurt,” he said. “You hear these stories all the time, especially with Tommy John. It’s just, ‘One day I showed up and it happened.’ We don’t know exactly what causes these things, and still don’t.”

If May requires Tommy John surgery, he would likely be out 12 to 14 months, which would put his availability in question through the early part of the 2018 season. He will consider all options, including modified Tommy John, which former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Seth Maness is attempting to return from; and platelet-rich plasma injections, which Garrett Richards (Los Angeles Angels) and Aaron Nola (Philadelphia Phillies) have used within the past year to avoid surgery.

May’s injury removes him from a widespread competition for the fifth rotation spot that still includes Jose Berrios, Tyler Duffey, Adalberto Mejia, Ryan Vogelsong, Nick Tepesch and Rule 5 pick Justin Haley. Vogelsong, 39, will get his first start of the spring on Sunday in a split-squad game at the Pittsburgh Pirates, with whom he spent two prior stints.

“I’m here competing for a spot, and I thought I made a statement that I’m supposed to be throwing in that capacity as a starter,” May said. “That vision I had for this season was starting to manifest itself. That makes the blow a little bit harder to take.”

May, eligible for salary arbitration for the first time next winter, had been experimenting with different grips on his curveball and had made changes to his workout program and delivery in order to take stress off his lower back. In addition, he had bounced from starting to relieving roles since the first conversion in July 2015, after which his velocity spiked to 98 mph.

“There’s a lot factors that were different, let’s just put it that way,” he said. “Maybe the ball came out of my hand a little wrong. Sometimes when you rely too much on your UCL, that’s what it is. You can’t take that much stress, and it goes. That’s why you have everything else in your arm.”

Twins general manager Thad Levine said he and chief baseball officer Derek Falvey were impressed by May’s confidence in an early spring meeting, where his stated goal was to start a postseason game for the Twins this fall.

“That just goes to show the drive he had coming into camp,” Levine said. “I think we view this as that goal doesn’t change, that viewpoint doesn’t change, just maybe the year changes in which he’ll get to achieve it.”


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0110.  New IHSA pitch limits can help save competitive pitchers from themselves
Chicago Tribune
March 8, 2017

Pitching in his fourth game in three days, Matt Blaney headed back to the mound for the last two innings of a travel-league championship game because that was where his competitive drive steered him.

It didn't matter that Blaney's Chicago-area team led 9-0. It didn't matter that Matt's father, Tom, kept trying to make eye contact with his son in the dugout to give him the signal to stop throwing. It didn't matter that, at the time, Matt was 14.

This was baseball life as the Blaneys knew it. This is the reality many families of promising pitching prospects live, a dangerous mindset that plagues all levels of the sport and contributed to Illinois becoming one of 44 states to impose pitch limits on high school hurlers.

"I'd motion to Matt with my fingers to my neck, like, 'OK, cut it off now,' and he would shake his head no,'' recalled Tom, who accepted responsibility for not being more assertive. "On the way home from games like that, we'd get ice on his shoulder and arm. He'd be like, 'Dad, I'm not coming out. If they want me to go, I'm going.' I was like, 'You're going to hurt your arm.' ''

Tom's words proved prophetic in August 2015 when his worst fears were realized. At a summer-league game on the Illinois-Chicago campus, Matt struggled with command. The right-hander's 85-mph fastball lacked its normal zip, suspicions confirmed by the ever-present radar gun that registered 78. At a tournament in Kentucky a week later, the wildness continued.

"My body felt I was throwing hard, but there just wasn't any velocity,'' Matt said. "It really dipped. Something was wrong.''

A recommendation landed Matt in the capable hands of Mark Cohen, a surgeon at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush respected for his experience dealing with elbow problems. Cohen advised six months of rest, with the hope of avoiding surgery, but an MRI after the layoff confirmed the inevitable. If Matt ever wanted to pitch again, he would require Tommy John surgery — which replaces the elbow's ulnar collateral ligament with a tendon harvested elsewhere in the body.

"My dad and I looked at each other and thought, 'Oh, God' …more devastation than anything,'' said Matt, who underwent surgery May 10, 2016.

Facing such calamitous news has become almost commonplace for teenage pitchers. According to a 2015 study conducted by some of Cohen's partners and published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, 57 percent of Tommy John surgeries from 2007 to 2011 were done on 15- to 19-year-olds. Each year, the surgery rate for that age group rose 9.1 percent.

"When I started 24 years ago, we'd see one or two (teenage Tommy John patients) a year, but now we'll see four or five in a week every summer,'' Cohen said.

The surgery has evolved into such a popular, proven alternative that Cohen knows of young pitchers who have sought the procedure to improve their performance. He chuckled at the recollection.

"The myths are incredible and, yes, we have parents and kids coming to essentially become bionic and see the surgery as almost a rite of passage,'' Cohen said. "They all know one of three major-league pitchers has had Tommy John surgery, so it's something they perceive as advantageous. Of course, it's all false. You don't throw harder after Tommy John surgery. You throw back to your potential.''

Matt Blaney's pursuit of his own potential continued this week back at practice for Lincoln-Way East. A 5-foot-9 senior hoping for appointment to the Naval Academy, Blaney expects to slowly build back arm strength by pitching in relief by the end of the month before working his way back into the rotation.

"It will be long-awaited,'' he said.

A 6-inch scar on his right elbow serves as a constant reminder for Blaney, the first to admit the ordeal strengthened more than his arm. He credits the mental toughness necessary for rehabilitation for making him a better student and a smarter pitcher who learned to throw to contact. He blames nobody but himself for piling up innings that eventually converted him from pitcher to patient.

"I don't think I was overused; I was a competitor,'' he said. "I wanted to stay in games. I always wanted to go the next inning. Coaches would let me keep pitching, but they were only doing what I asked to do.''

Hopefully, the new IHSA rule making emotion moot and limiting the number of pitches to 105 per game — with four days' rest mandated after throwing the maximum — results in a trickle-down effect. Too much glory surrounds extreme examples such as Illinois State pitcher Brady Huffman throwing 167 pitches for Genoa-Kingston High in a 10-inning game last spring. The legend of Kerry Wood's 175-pitch outing for Grand Prairie, Texas, in a 1995 high school regional always should be more instructive than entertaining.

"I'd like to see the rule applied to every level of youth baseball,'' Lincoln-Way East coach Paul Babcock said of pitch limits. "Most high school coaches would agree.''

Not to mention surgeons.

"Nowadays, there's such a premium placed on winning that you hope the people making these decisions respect the parameters,'' Cohen said. "We need coaches, families and kids on board. Guidelines are only as good as the people who follow them.''

The IHSA implementing more to protect young arms represents a quality start.


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0111.  Tommy John surgery ends Tominaga's season
The Beacon
March 07, 2017

University of Portland Pilots’ baseball senior pitcher Davis Tominaga underwent Tommy John surgery earlier today and will redshirt his senior season to recover.

Tominaga felt a pop in his right elbow and started feeling tightness and pain half way through the fall semester. The coaches rested him by November and he felt good after the Christmas break. But all of a sudden, he says, he felt the pain again and it had gotten worse.

“One day, I just woke up and couldn’t throw,” Tominaga said. “The pain was just too much.”

Tominaga went to a doctor. His fear was confirmed: He had a tear on his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his elbow and needed to have Tommy John surgery to repair the ligament.

The UCL is located on the inside of the elbow and connects the bone of the upper arm (humerus) to a bone in the forearm (ulna). The surgery— named after former Major League pitcher, Tommy John, who received the procedure in 1974— is common among pitchers and studies estimate that between 70 and 80 percent of players return to their competition level. The most common cause of a UCL tear is arm overuse.

Tominaga was a part of Portland’s four-man rotation last year, so head coach Geoff Loomis will need to find someone to fill his slot. Right now, he’s looking at a rotation of freshman Grady Miller, junior Corbin Powers, junior Jordan Horak, and sophomore Kevin Baker.

Last season, Tominaga went 4-10, with a 4.75 E.R.A, 57 strikeouts and led the team in innings pitched (85.1).

“Davis was a starting pitcher in our rotation last year, so not having him is a serious concern,” Loomis said.

Tominaga is optimistic that the injury won’t end his career.

In 2008, Atlanta Braves pitcher Tim Hudson had Tommy John surgery on his pitching arm. He remained hurt in the 2009 season, but in 2010, he was fourth in Cy Young voting for the National League and was an all-star. Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright also underwent Tommy John in 2011, but finished second and third in Cy Young voting in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and was an all-star in both years.

Recovery time for Tommy John surgery is typically around 14 to 18 months.

“The coaching staff is completely supportive of me having surgery and redshirting this season,” Tominaga said. “The coaches have been awesome in helping me through it.”

For Tominaga, it’s all about the rehab and the process. He wants to just keep his mind focused on the recovery process and stay optimistic.

“Our baseball players are around each other every day, so it does have an impact when a player gets injured,” Loomis said. “For them, it’s like a brother getting injured. That’s how close they are. The friendship these guys have goes beyond the field, so when a player gets sidelined, the guys and our staff rally around them, just like a family would.”

The Pilots have gotten off to a rocky start this spring, as they are just 1-9 and are currently riding an eight-game losing streak.

Portland will have their first game at Joe Etzel Field on Thursday, March 9 for the tip off of a four-game series with Northwestern.


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0112.  My baseball pitcher has questions

In my recent outing, I was missing with a lot of balls high. That's usually the only place I ever miss.

How do I get that ball down and have better command of my fastballs?

Things I know I need to do to make adjustments for getting the Ball lower are:

01. Drive the Ball down my acromial line at a downward angle.
02. Get my pitching leg through.
03. Get a shorter stride.

How do I do a better job at driving the baseball down my acromial line at a downward angle to get throw the baseball lower.

Still unable to get my pitching leg through over my landing leg and up at slingshot position due to compromising with traditional pitching movements.

Still trying to learn how to get a shorter stride with lifting my leg and striding out.

Do you know of anyways to get a shorter stride pitching with a traditional leg lift?

Or any different ways to get my pitching leg through so I can drive the baseball down my acromial line.

Thanks a lot

Your responses mean a lot and help me every time.


     To keep your release position on a downward angle, you have to step such that you do not lower your head and drive all pitches at the top of the strike zone for all types of pitches.

     Instead of lifting the front leg, use the front leg slide action to get baseball to home plate quickly. Tell them that you want to keep the same rhythm with and without base runners.

     If you lift your front foot, then you lose the rhythm and cannot get in front of the front foot.

     You could tell pitching coaches that when you get in front of the front foot, you are able to apply force to the baseball longer down the 'acromial' line. You don't have to say 'acromial' line.


0113.  My baseball pitcher thanks me

I like that cue a lot not letting my head drop.

I’ve definitely been letting my head drop by collapsing my back leg.


     Short step with heel landing, stand tall, turn the back of the upper arm to face toward home plate, rotate the hips and shoulders forward together over the Front foot, aim the pitching arm down the acromial line, reach high and drive the baseball downward at the high strike position.


0114.  My baseball pitcher is making great gains

Doing my wrist weights, heavy balls, footballs, and lids recently, for the first time I was able to throw in front of my landing foot like you want me too.

I was able to get in front of my foot then explode with the snap pronation. It felt great and powerful. It also felt like I've never used some of the muscles before.

I was able to get in front of my landing foot, but wasn't able to extend my landing leg knee while pulling my mass through.

I know if I am able to perform this in my delivery, it will add some more velocity to my pitches and help me drive better down my driveline all the way through release.

What are your thoughts?


     You are making great strides.

     Being able to get your body in front of your landing foot is great.

     That means that you have rotated your hips and shoulders beyond perpendicular to the driveline.

     To get your hips and shoulders beyond perpendicular means that you are moving your center of mass farther down the acromial line.

     Keep your head high and release your pitches as high as you are able to reach on a downward slope.

     Keep trying to release your pitches as later as possible.



     On Sunday, March 26, 2017, I posted the following questions and answers.



0115.  My baseball pitcher needs help

Yes, I will work on this stuff every day and hopefully I can get it to transfer to the game.

I also need to stop looping and lock out my pitching upper arm. I have a bad case of grabbing when I get in the game.

I also need to work on not coming across at all and finishing on my throwing arm side every single pitch.

What are your thoughts?


     When you move your upper arm forward and upward into 'lock', you should only think about moving your elbow to forty-five degrees in front of your head.

     The only time that you should think about what you are doing with your pitching hand is when you are setting the position for throwing curve balls, torque fastballs, maxline fastballs and screwballs during the 'horizontal rebound' and during your 'pronation snap' your release.


0116.  The pitching coach is giving my baseball pitcher bad information

When you say "turn your pitching hand to face away from your head" you mean to towards third base... correct?

Also the main thing that is holding me back is not being able to just step out on my pitching motion. Instead they want me to stride out with a closed hip.

It's harder to implement your correct movements striding out traditionally.

I need to do a better job at getting in front of my landing leg and turning my pitching hip and leg along with my upper arm at the same time.

I stride out and my pitching foot stays on the rubber but right before I land I swing my glove foot up higher than it originally started. Sort of like Tim Lincecum. This gives me an extra unwanted length to my stride. It pulls my pitching hip open. It drags my foot off the rubber and takes my hips too early. Therefore I can't get my mass into the ball and drive my pitching hip, leg, and upper arm down my acromial line at the same time like we want.

This swinging of my glove foot happens when I open it up, so if I learned to stride out and land with a closed glove foot I could keep my pitching foot on the rubber. But I also don't want to hurt my knee or leg landing with a more closed foot.

I just need to eliminate that swinging of my glove foot. I know a quick easy fix would to just use your motion and step out.

Also have been pitching very well and racking up a lot of strike outs.



     When you 'turn your pitching hand to face away from your head,' you prevent the pitching hand from 'floating' behind your body.

     When the heel of your Front foot contacts the ground, you focus on the pitching elbow and positioning your pitching hand for throwing the breaking pitches, torque fastball, maxline fastball and reverse breaking pitches.

     You can smile and do what we do or you can tell the pitching coaches that you feel better with your hips and shoulders open and you are able to release your pitches farther forward.


0117.  True Marshall Curve Ball

To throw your pronated curve ball pitchers have to release their pitch under the ring finger side of their middle finger.

Even for guys knowing what they are trying to do this is more difficult than it sounds.

Most of the time the pitch might be pronated, but it is released under the index finger.

1. Do you agree with this assessment?

It seems to me that to release the pitch under the ring finger side of the middle finger pitchers either have to flex their wrist or bend their elbow more.

2. Is their any cue you give your pitchers to help them release your curve ball correctly?


     To throw Maxline Pronation Curveballs, baseball pitchers have to drive the ring finger side of the Middle finger horizontally through the top seam of the baseball.

     By tightly holding the Index finger against the Middle finger, the Middle/Index fingers increased the force through the top seam of the baseball.

01. Therefore, I do not agree.

     As throwing the Lid shows, to throw the Maxline Pronation Curve, my baseball pitchers need to ulnar flex the wrist.

     As a result, the back of the pitching hand faces upward throughout the drive and the release.

02. The cue is to horizontally sail the Lid.

     For years, I held an appropriately-sized football vertically in my hand and had my baseball pitchers drive their Middle/Index combination horizontally through the top point of the football.

     When I saw one of my baseball pitchers release the football over the top of the Index finger, I immediately grabbed the square Lid from a four-gallon bucket.

     When this baseball pitcher threw his first Lid, the Lid fluttered to the ground.

     With this baseball pitcher threw his second Lid, he horizontally sailed the Lid and he had a great Maxline Pronation Curve from then on.


0118.  Several arm surgeries have complicated thing for Mississippi State
Jackson Clarion Ledger
March 17, 2017

STARKVILLE, AR: Andy Cannizaro chuckled when he heard the question. Then he repeated the inquiry back to himself: Who is going to be tomorrow’s starter? He looked around for a moment and posed a question of his own.

“Can any of you guys pitch?” the Mississippi State first-year skipper jokingly asked a group of mostly out-of-shape media members surely past their respective primes.

There were no volunteers.

“I know (MSU pitching coach) Gary Henderson is going to see if he can get out on the mound tomorrow,” Cannizaro added with a laugh.

This was last Monday, after Mississippi State beat Columbia to complete a four-game series that was wrapped up a day late because of rain. The Bulldogs had used 12 different pitchers in the series and still had to play Arkansas Pine Bluff on Tuesday. Cannizaro suggested that he may need to use several pitchers and ask each to pitch one inning or two in order to get through the game.

He wasn't joking at that point.

That is the situation MSU (12-6) is in. The Bulldogs entered this season with only Konnor Pilkington set as an obvious starter along with question marks for middle relief roles, and things haven’t been any easier since.

Why? Ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction known as Tommy John surgery.

Pitchers Jared Padgett, Ethan Small and Keegan James underwent Tommy John surgery over the summer. That was after MSU announced last April that pitcher Noah Hughes needed the surgery. Blake Smith, who would likely be the team’s closer, has been out since Feb. 21, and while the school has yet to announce it, sources said Smith needed the surgery as well. Lefty middle reliever Kale Breaux is the latest MSU pitcher to undergo the surgery, and got it done last week after appearing in only one game this season.

Reliever Parker Ford rejoined the bullpen after having Tommy John surgery in November 2015. He has made two appearances and has allowed three runs and three hits without recording an out.

Is that normal?

On average, a college program will have one player undergo Tommy John surgery every three years, according to Dr. Glenn S. Fleisig of the American Sports Medicine Institute. LSU, for example, has only one pitcher currently out after needing Tommy John surgery.

Dr. Larry Field of Mississippi Sports Medicine and Orthopeadic Center isn’t surprised by MSU’s problem, however, because of the sheer rise in surgeries recently. During the 2000s, an average of 16 major league pitchers underwent the procedure each year, yet there were then a record 36 such operations performed in 2012, according to data from

“They are epidemic in our country now, and for one program to have five athletes that require Tommy John reconstruction in one year is really, honestly, not out of the realm of normal,” Field said. “I would argue it’s even typical of big programs like Mississippi State. It’s very common and can be very disruptive to a program.”

MSU has had three different pitching coaches in three years. Wes Johnson, a velocity guru, replaced Butch Thompson last season. Henderson replaced Johnson ahead of this season. While doctors said any time mechanics are changed, there is concern, Field argued specialization in sports, especially at a young age for pitchers, is likely the primary problem.

“I don’t even bother ask athletes and parents when the season ends because it seemingly never does with special teams and pitching instruction,” Field said. “There are consequences to that highly repetitive activity and the demanding nature of that activity, i.e. trying to throw a baseball as fast as possible.”

Field knows of 12-year-olds who have needed Tommy John surgery and said that more awareness needs to be raised to discontinue the trend.

“I would suggest that a significant percentage of these athletes that are high-level pitchers that go to high-level programs like Mississippi State come with a history of elbow problems,” Field said. “They may not have had a previous Tommy John ligament tear, but there are changes that are commonly present in these athletes' elbows that are there even much, much younger than college.”

Regardless of how common it is and regardless of the reasons for the surgeries, this is the reality for MSU and that’s partially how SEC batting champion and sophomore centerfielder Jake Mangum made his first start since high school on the mound in that game against Arkansas Pine Bluff.

While Canizaro suggested Mangum would pitch before the season, he figured it would be in a middle-relief role--not as an emergency starter.

MSU opened its SEC schedule against Arkansas on Friday night. With playing three-game series instead of series featuring four games, the Bulldogs are in better shape to fill innings, but the headaches remain.

With Riley Self out last weekend with an arm issue and Ryan Rigby battling a groin injury this season, the juggling act became even more difficult. Spencer Price remains as a solid late inning reliever, but MSU doesn’t have many reassuring options after that.

Relievers are being used as starters. Starters are being used as relievers. The results haven’t been pretty.

MSU has used seven different starters already and it used eight all of last season. MSU also has issues closing games, with the game against Morehead State on Feb. 21 in which the Bulldogs used five pitchers in the ninth inning and allowed 10 runs serving as the most obvious example. The Bulldogs’ team ERA is 4.55.

Pilkington, who has a 1.73 ERA, started Friday night and is counted on as the Bulldogs’ ace — now more than ever.

“I never know if I am going to go three innings, one inning or seven or eight,” Pilkington said. “I just go out there and give it everything I've got every game. With the bullpen, you've got to rely on them because you’re not going to throw nine innings and a shutout every time.”

Peyton Plumlee will start Saturday and has provided quality innings with a 1.88 ERA and 2-0 record.

So what about Sunday’s starter? That wasn’t known when Cannizaro spoke with the media on Wednesday. A long conversation amongst the coaches followed. For Cannizaro, the talks are becoming too familiar.

“Sometimes they last all night,” Cannizaro said. “We’ll leave the building sometimes with something in mind and then somebody will have an idea, and then it’s usually some kind of group text message, late-night talks, that kind of thing. We’re just doing everything we can to get through this thing right now.”

For MSU, that means playing defense and continuing to produce well offensively. It is unknown, of course, what guys such as Padgett, Small, Hughes and James would have provided for MSU, but at the very least they would’ve likely had formidable roles in the bullpen.

In turn, that likely would have led to fewer instances of Cannizaro being asked who tomorrow’s pitcher is.

“It’s frustrating, but it’s the hand that you’re dealt,” Cannizaro said, “and you just make the most of it.”


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0119.  Gonzalez expected to undergo Tommy John surgery
Denver Post
March 17, 2017

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: Rayan Gonzalez, a 26-year-old minor-league prospect pitching impressively in his first major-league spring training, left Wednesday’s game in considerable pain with an apparent elbow injury.

Gonzalez, whom the Rockies added to their 40-man roster in November to protect him from being poached by other teams, injured his arm in the eighth inning on a pitch to Milwaukee’s Dustin Houle. He called to the dugout for help, pointing to his forearm as he tried to make a fist.

“I’m concerned about this one,” Colorado manager Bud Black said. “It was elbow discomfort. He was feeling some pain.”

The Rockies will evaluate Gonzalez into Thursday, but fear surfaced immediately that Gonzalez might need Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.

Gonzalez was walked off the field by Black, bullpen coach Darren Holmes and head athletic trainer Keith Dugger. He never went to the bullpen, instead walking straight to the clubhouse.

Gonzalez struck out a batter and was charged with Houle’s walk. In 3 1/3 innings this spring, he allowed one earned run and struck out six against one walk. At Double-A Hartford last season, he struck out 49 in 46 appearances, with a 3.12 ERA.


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0120.  How many pitches is too many pitches?
St. George Daily Spectrum
March 18, 2017

On a cold night in November 2015, Brecken Lewis felt a pop in his right elbow.

The Dixie State freshman felt the familiar searing pain that many across the country in all levels of baseball have felt over the years.

One doctor told him it was a nerve problem, which explained the tingling sensation Lewis felt whenever he pitched. So he tried to throw again.

“I got on the bullpen mound and same thing, let one go and could feel another pop,” he said.

The diagnosis from a second doctor in Las Vegas confirmed Lewis had a torn ulnar collateral ligament, or UCL, in the elbow that required Tommy John surgery.

It's a procedure in which the UCL is replaced by a tendon from the patient's own body and usually requires around 12 months of rehabilitation.

Lewis, a former All-State and All-Region pitcher at Cedar High, had his surgery last May. First his elbow was in an immobilizing brace.

Then came the rehab process, starting with physical therapy.

It eventually graduated to where Lewis was washing cars for a summer job and worked out his shoulder that way.

Fast forward to last Tuesday, when Lewis pitched against live hitters for the first time since the surgery, his purple scar on the inside of his elbow visible in the sunlight.

His long and sometimes boring recovery hit a huge milestone.

Lewis' situation could be mitigated — or avoided altogether in the future — after the National Federation of State High School Associations passed a rule last June requiring each state high school association, like the UHSAA, to adopt new pitching restrictions based on the amount of pitches thrown.

Under the UHSAA's rules, a pitcher must rest for one day if he throws 36-60 pitches, two days for 61-85 pitches and three days for 86-110 pitches with 110 being the maximum.

Dixie head coach Danny Ipson said most high school coaches agree that pitch count limits are a good thing for players' health.

"Anything we can do to err on the side of preserving the health and longevity of the athlete, I think we’re certainly all for that," he said.

But prep coaches around Southern Utah also share another feeling about the limits, specifically why they were introduced.

“We’re getting beat up over something that’s not really caused by us,” Enterprise coach Kyle Bundy said. “I think most of the problem right now stems from travel ball, such as summer ball.”

Southwest Baseball Academy in St. George and the Marshall Gates Foundation in Kearns, which sponsors the Utah Marshalls (former Pine View standout Dakota Donovan played for the Marshalls last summer) and Utah Bucks (Lewis played for the Bucks two summers ago) are a few of the more well-known travel baseball teams in Utah.

The issue the high school coaches have with travel ball is the clubs aren't mandated to adhere to pitch count limits.

Several coaches, including Bundy, Ipson, Snow Canyon coach Reed Secrist and Desert Hills coach Chris Allred, say that leaves the door open to club coaches overusing kids, which can lead to fatigue and injuries.

“I’ve got a freshman that had Tommy John surgery ... Talking to him he felt like he threw too much in travel ball and coaches wanted him to keep going and throw more and throw more,” Cedar baseball coach Eric Fieldsted said.

The club teams don't have to adhere to pitch count limits because there's no governing system or league — something like the UHSAA — that can punish a coach for breaking the rules, according to Michael Gargano, who coaches at SBA and Dixie State.

Gargano said it’s up to the individual clubs to implement their own pitch count limits and adhere to those, which is what he said SBA has.

For its pitch count, SBA uses an algorithm that’s based on a player’s age, size and how experienced the player is baseball-wise, he said.

Gargano, who coached Pine View baseball to the 2015 state championship, said the new pitch counts aren't the absolute solution.

“The pitching count is a good first step, but I think they need to add more in to, ‘You need to look at fatigue, body type, don’t catch the same day,’ there’s gotta be more into it than just pitch count in my opinion,” he said.

Baseball players, especially pitchers, have always been more susceptible to non-contact elbow and shoulder injuries than a typical sport.

But the sheer amount of arm injuries across baseball has many, including MLB and USA Baseball's 2014 initiative "Pitch Smart," pointing the finger at overuse when pitchers are younger.

“Obviously overuse will do it, but overuse leads to fatigue and that just increases the risk for that injury too,” he said. Overuse can occur many ways: a coach keeping a pitcher on the mound for more pitches than he can effectively throw, a pitcher throwing without adequate rest, or even a pitcher being taken off the mound and slotted in as catcher, where the arm doesn't get a break.

Sometimes a pitcher just doesn't want to come out of the game. Allred says it happens frequently with little kids who want to impress their coaches be "being tough."

The responsibility ultimately falls on coaches to recognize when a pitcher is getting fatigued and to not irresponsibly pitch a kid more than he can handle, the pitchers themselves to also recognize their fatigue and no pitch when tired, and parents to make sure their children are following proper arm care procedures and make sure their pitching output isn't excessive.

In 2014, USA Baseball and MLB partnered to launch the "Pitch Smart" initiative. According to MLB's Pitch Smart website, it's a series of "practical, age-appropriate guidelines to help parents, players and coaches avoid overuse injuries and foster long, healthy careers for youth pitchers."

Citing decades of research and opinion by doctors, Pitch Smart lists several reasons for the apparent rise in shoulder and elbow injuries. The single biggest factor is "daily, weekly and annual overuse."

Overuse was why Thunder pitching coach Brandon Turley had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder.

Turley pitched in high school and then in college at Southern Virginia University. He threw at SVU from 2000-01 and had his surgery following the '01 season.

"What the doctor said was because of the overuse (the labrum) had frayed from the overuse, it wasn’t a one-time thing. That’s what caused it," he said.

Coaches, athletic trainers and pitchers alike all say that no matter how often you throw, properly attending to an arm is essential.

This isn't a groundbreaking development, and as such, local schools already have guidelines for what their pitchers need to do in warmup, cooldown and off days to promote proper arm care.

Lewis hopes the high school pitch count limits can prevent some injuries from happening. His advice? Don't overlook warmup.

“Every kid’s different in how they warm up, but I know a lot of kids in high school warm up in an improper way,” he said. “We were always told to warm up to throw, not throw to warm up. We were always taught to break a sweat.”

Pitching coaches and athletic trainers recommend a warmup consisting of stretching, dynamic stretching and using elastic arm bands before gradual throwing. Again, this isn't anything new and most schools have their pitchers do some form of this.

It's the same with the cooldown after a game. Often you see pitchers jogging in the outfield for several minutes after a game. That's important, as is applying ice to the elbow and/or shoulder.

After practice last Tuesday, Lewis drove to the athletic training facility under the football stadium.

There, the baseball athletic trainer Kaz Sakita stretched Lewis’ shoulder out on a table for several minutes before heavily wrapping Lewis' shoulder and elbow in battle armor-esque ice bags and pads.

“Not once did I ever ice in high school and, who knows, maybe that could be another long-term effect thing,” he said.

Lewis is fortunate that his recovery has gone smoothly. His plan is to competitively pitch again next season.

Others in all levels of baseball have seen their baseball careers go downhill or end altogether as a result of such elbow and shoulder injuries.


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.

     With my pitching motion, baseball pitchers are able to throw as many pitches as his substrate.


0121.  Gonzalez' s injury another blow to Rangers' homegrown pitching woes
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
March 19, 2017

SURPRISE, AZ: A lot of internet bandwidth and dead trees have been wasted each spring, speculating on who will be the Texas Rangers’ fifth starter.

It’s the bane of every baseball beat writer and columnist.

We weigh the candidacies. We scrutinize the performances. We troll the manager for insights.

One constant remains:

The Rangers are certain to float the notion that the multiple off-days in April will allow them to hide their fifth-best starting pitcher.

Thus, we sat last season through a four-inning, seven-run spot start by Kyle Lohse. And we noted that in fifth starter Nick Martinez’s five starts in mid-June he allowed 32 hits, 20 runs and seven homers, all in 23-plus innings.

And we noticed that the No. 5 starter tag-team of, at various times last season, Martinez, Lohse, Cesar Ramos, Lucas Harrell and Chi Chi Gonzalez combined to start more games (18) than Yu Darvish.

To suggest, therefore, that the fifth starter is merely a placeholder betrays the reality. Those two dozen pitching starts still count.

Some teams, not necessarily the Rangers, are far too cavalier about the identity of their No. 5 guy. And that’s my point. Games handed away by ill-chosen No. 5 starters in April and May become victories a team has to recompense in August and September.

Rangers manager Jeff Banister says he hasn’t decided yet who this April’s No. 5 starter will be. But things have a way of working themselves out.

Martinez hasn’t pitched well in nearly three weeks. Knuckleballer Eddie Gamboa, who was Sunday’s starter in a 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners, is still more a curiosity than a viable rotation candidate.

And then there is the regrettable tale of Chi Chi Gonzalez, the franchise’s first-round pick in the 2013 draft.

At 25 years old, Gonzalez has struggled to show the Rangers that he is a bona fide major league pitcher. The numbers increasingly suggest otherwise.

When team physician Dr. Keith Meister informed Gonzalez over the weekend that he had a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament, the news should not have been met with surprise. Chi Chi had pitched so badly, something had to be wrong.

The Rangers have advised a conservative treatment plan that involves no surgery. Gonzalez said he will meet with Phoenix physician Dr. Michael Lee and get a second opinion.

“I thought it was just typical soreness,” Gonzalez said. “It was the days in-between.

“The bullpen days were the hardest. It just wasn’t getting any better and kept staying the same, and I figured I should say something. I wasn’t thinking anything was wrong with my elbow. I was just thinking maybe I’ll get a day off, get some rehab, and it should be good."

If the elbow doesn't respond to a stem-cell injection, Gonzalez may have to undergo Tommy John surgery, which would sideline him for at least an entire year.

But truth be told, Chi Chi Gonzalez, the 23rd player selected in the 2013 draft, wasn't pitching like a guywho was banging on the door of a big league rotation.

A.J. Griffin and Dillon Gee are, in varying degrees. Both pitched well amid gridiron dimension over the weekend at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

If I had to make an educated guess, those two will follow No. 3 starters to the mound in the season's first week.

The cavalry may be coming, but pitcher Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross are still recovering from injuries and confined to bullpen sessions.

How did this team 's pitching cupboard become so bare of options?

Answer: Trades for veterans. Tanner Roark. Kyle Hendricks. Carl Edwards. Jerad Eickhoff.


Homegrown Rangers pitching is thriving--somewhere else.


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0122.  Anderson needs Tommy John surgery
Lake County News Herald
March 20, 2017

Indians pitcher  Cody Anderson needs Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, the Tribe announced on March 20.

The surgery means Anderson will miss the entire 2017 season. Anderson was not in the plans to be part of the starting rotation this year, but the baseball season is long. Over six months and 162 games, the Indians are bound to lose a starter somewhere along the way. Anderson would have been a candidate for promotion from Columbus to be part of the rotation at least temporarily.

Dr. Keith Meister, who also examined Tribe second baseman Jason Kipnis, examined Anderson and confirmed the diagnosis of a UCL sprain along with a mild flexor strain. Anderson elected for the surgery with the hope of bouncing back in 2018.

“It can be a really difficult decision,” Tribe manager Terry Francona told reporters in Goodyear, Ariz. “I think through the medical people and the doctors, Cody made a really mature decision. This way, it’s all in front of him. Knowing the way Cody works, he’ll come back even better because he’ll work so hard in other areas and he’ll have the rest of his career in front of him.”

Anderson, 26, was 7-3 as a rookie in 2015, but he struggled last season. He was 2-5 over nine starts and finished with a 6.68 ERA.


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0123.  Cluster of injuries opens questions about Red Sox' methods
March 21, 2017

It seems like every arm the Red Sox pick up in the Dave Dombrowski era ends up breaking, or at least bending the wrong way at some point.

Injuries can be coincidence and freak developments. But as health questions dominate Red Sox camp, it's fair to start to wonder how well the Sox are evaluating medicals before adding players.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said he doesn’t detect anything abnormal this spring when it comes to the number of injuries.

“I think you probably have health questions because you’re focusing on our camp. That’s why. They’re normal,” Dombrowski said before the most recent concern to a Red Sox pitcher, a tight triceps for Drew Pomeranz, arose. “I don’t find anything that’s been abnormal this spring compared to any other spring I’ve ever been.

"We’ve focused a great deal on medical. But we’ve been doing that for years and we continually look at that all the time. So I don’t think there’s anything abnormal.”

But the worries are nonetheless numerous.

David Price, the biggest Dombrowski acquisition of all, has an elbow injury and is to be re-evaluated on Tuesday.

Dombrowski reiterated recently that when the team signed Price, his medicals were reviewed in depth.

“It’s very thoroughly discussed," Dombrowski said. “Of course, you don’t want him to go down at this point. You know, any pitcher that’s in that position, that’s pitched a lot, has some wear and tear. But I’ve also been around pitchers that are 37 or 38 and continue to pitch and have been fine.”

Power reliever Tyler Thornburg, a Dombrowski acquisition, has had trouble with his shoulder -- trouble that appears rooted at least in part in a misunderstanding about how to go about his offseason conditioning program. The Milwaukee Brewers, Thornburg’s previous team, had a different program.

Shouldn’t someone have made sure Thornburg understood exactly what to do? Or is more at play here?

Thornburg is to throw in a simulated game on Tuesday before potentially returning to Grapefruit League action.

In Pomeranz, the Sox have what might be a bellwether situation.

The team had multiple opportunities to return the lefty to the Padres because of his medical condition last summer, after the Sox dealt pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza to San Diego straight up for Pomeranz.

A tight triceps on Sunday gave way to feelings of optimism Monday, when Pomeranz said he felt better and plans to make his next start.

But that doesn’t change Pomeranz’s history of injuries. He went for a stem-cell shot to promote healing in his throwing arm over the winter.

The Sox were between a rock and a hard place when they learned last summer the Padres had not been forthcoming with Pomeranz’s medical records. They needed an arm, and Pomeranz was healthy enough to pitch, so they chose not to rescind the deal.

But Pomeranz was acquired for his future value as well as his 2016 value.

If the Sox didn’t have a strong grasp on the condition of his arm, that’s a potentially big misevaluation. And if they did foresee what seems like perpetual worry with Pomeranz, then Espinoza was a mighty big piece to surrender for uncertainty.

The list goes on.

There's Carson Smith, the righty reliever Dombrowski traded for in his first winter with the Red Sox. Smith is expected back midseason after Tommy John surgery last summer.

A pitcher who came over in the same deal with the Mariners as Smith, Roenis Elias, has a strained oblique and is in the middle of a three-week shutdown period.

Don’t forget Hector Velazquez. The righty was signed out of the Mexican League this spring and thrown into the fire too quickly in Fort Myers.

The Red Sox had to ease off Velazquez's workload as he felt some stress on his elbow -- a situation that sounded avoidable, had the Sox been more cognizant of the routine change Velazquez was facing and his prior workload.

Per's count, Velazquez threw 246 2/3 innings in 2016. Were he in spring training in Mexico, he said he would have rested longer.

“Well, who’s going to prevent Elias from [hurting] an oblique?” Dombrowski said. “Thornburg, I talked to him, he’s fine.

You’re going to go through those with some pitchers in spring training. I haven’t had a [time] where you haven’t. I mean, David [Price's] situation you’re not anticipating it. But I’d have been surprised we made it through the year and someday didn’t have something.

“But, I bet you if you looked, 90 percent of the teams, maybe 100, 95, have some problems. That’s just pitchers’ arms. That’s just the way it is . . . I could tell you and I have said this before, and I know everybody else would say this: with the sophistication of the medical industry nowadays, I don’t know the last time I’ve traded for somebody or signed somebody: nobody has a pristine arm. Nobody. I can’t even tell you the last time -- it doesn’t exist.

"So you’re going to know that that’s just part of the equation. And then you have to weigh what type of risk you’re willing to take. And so we spend a lot of time on that.”

All the injuries to Dombrowski acquisitions could be one big coincidence. But the Sox are doing themselves a disservice if they don’t question whether something else might be at play, whether there’s a process to be improved, whether they're spending time on all the right things.


     To prevent elbow injuries, baseball pitchers need to pronate the releases of all types of pitches, especially the breaking pitches.

     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0124.  New rule will make pitch counts a must this spring
Yakima Herald
March 21, 2017

YAKIMA, WA: Jake Fife was a strike-thrower. He was also a consummate competitor, a baseball player with a whatever-it-takes mentality who, as he proudly recalls, “left it all out on the field.”

And even though the Selah High School, Yakima Valley College and Central Washington University pitcher-infielder developed trouble with his throwing (right) elbow during his college days, and even though as the first-year head coach at Naches Valley he understands the impetus behind the WIAA’s new pitch count rules, he doubts they would have altered his situation.

“I’m not a hundred percent for it or a hundred percent against it,” Fife said. “I think the thing with me was just wearing down over a long period of time. Just throwing as hard as I did for as long as I did, from when I was a little kid on, it just sort of took a toll.”

The rules, formulated by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and approved by the WIAA’s executive board last January, are intended to protect high school and middle school pitchers from overuse and the sometimes ire consequences that result.

As such they have been welcomed by most of the area’s prep coaches.

“This is long overdue,” said Cle Elum’s Colby Sherrill. “It’s ridiculous with high school freshmen having Tommy John surgery.”

Key among the rules, which replaced pitching limitations based on innings, is that three calendar days of rest is required for someone throwing 76-105 pitches, two calendar days for 51-75 pitches, one calendar day for 31-50 pitches and no days for 1-30 pitches. The limit for a single calendar day is 105.

Every pitch thrown from the mound to a hitter will count. Warmup pitches or pitches thrown during a game delay will not count.

And the home scorekeeper — the official scorekeeper — will be charged with keeping count while coordinating that effort with the visiting scorekeeper.

Umpires will not be involved either in counting pitches or enforcing rules. All pitch count concerns will be addressed by the league.

If a pitch count is determined by the league to have been exceeded, the result will be that of a team using an ineligible player — meaning forfeiture.

“I like it,” said Ellensburg’s Todd Gibson. “I guess the old school of thought is that we (coaches) can take care of our kids’ arms, and I’ve never — knock on wood — had a kid with arm trouble.”

Said Kittitas’ Eric Sorensen, “It wasn’t necessarily a matter of coaches asking kids to do too much. But with small schools like ours, now we need to find other kids and teach them how to pitch.”

Selah coach Mike Archer, meanwhile, said the rules assume that all pitchers are created equal, from a physical standpoint, and that they aren’t is something he and his coaching staff have taken into consideration.

“We’re always aware of our guys,” Archer said. “Some guys are more physical or more mature than others, and therefore they’re capable of handling more without any danger of a problem developing. But I get it. I think the pitch count is reasonable.”

Fife, mentioning that his 100-percent mentality traced back to his youth, had arthroscopic surgery on his elbow after his prep career.

“They told me it might last for two years, or it might last for five or 10,” he said. “I got two more good years out of it, and was thinking about having another surgery.

“But then I thought, you know what, it might be a good idea to bear down on my schoolwork and move on with my life. And now I’m in pretty good shape.

“I can still throw BP (batting practice) and I can still reel in a salmon, so that’s good enough for me.”


     With my pitching motion, baseball pitchers are able to throw as many pitches as his substrate.

     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0125.  Kline has follow-up elbow surgery
Frederick News-Post
March 22, 2017

Branden Kline, a pitching prospect for the Baltimore Orioles, underwent a follow-up arthroscopic procedure on his right elbow last week.

Kline, 25, was recovering well from the Tommy John surgery he underwent in October 2015, but he felt some discomfort prior to spring training, the network reported.

The Orioles sent him to see Dr. James Andrews, who cleaned some soft tissue out of Kline’s elbow. The pitcher could resume throwing in three or four weeks.

Kline has not pitched in an official game since May 2015 for the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He was 3-3 with a 3.66 ERA in eight starts for the Baysox before experiencing tightness in this throwing arm that led to Tommy John surgery.

This most recent surgery represents the latest setback for Kline as he attempts to climb the ladder in the Orioles’ organization.

In May 2013, he took a bad step in a conditioning drill and broke his right leg, costing him the rest of that season for the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds.

Kline returned the following season to pitch for his hometown Frederick Keys. He went 8-6 with a 3.84 ERA in 23 starts for the High-A Keys in 2014 before being promoted to Bowie toward the end of the season.

He was 0-2 with a 6.06 ERA in three starts for the Baysox at the end of the 2014 season before becoming a regular member of their starting rotation for the start of the 2015 season.


     To prevent elbow injuries, baseball pitchers need to pronate the releases of all types of pitches, especially the breaking pitches.

     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0126.  Smith injures UCL
San Jose Mercury News
March 22, 2017

Giants lefthander Will Smith will see Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles as he gathers information before making a decision about how to treat his sprained elbow ligament.

While a UCL sprain used to mean an automatic Tommy John surgery, doctors at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic have been at the forefront of a procedure that involves taking bone marrow from the hip and injecting stem cells directly into the ligament. Angels pitcher Garrett Richards avoided Tommy John surgery when he was shut down in May of last season, and reportedly is throwing 98 mph this spring.

However Smith and the Giants choose to proceed, the club expects to be without the left-hander for several months at the least.


     To prevent elbow injuries, baseball pitchers need to pronate the releases of all types of pitches, especially the breaking pitches.

     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0127.  Reds prospect Hanson to undergo Tommy John surgery
SB Nation
March 23, 2017

Reds righthander Nick Hanson will undergo Tommy John surgery. Hanson, the Reds' 3rd round pick from last June's draft, is still just 18 years of age, and he was signed for an over-slot amount of $925,000 to entice him to forgo his commitment to play for the University of Kentucky.

A 6-5 righty out of Minnesota, Hanson pitched sparsely after being drafted last season, throwing just 16.2 innings in 8 games with the AZL Reds in Goodyear. Still, he's an extremely projectable pitcher from a location not necessarily known as a hotbed of pitching production, and it's obvious the Reds held him in high regard for quite some time.

For the Reds, it's not just a setback, but another gut punch in a somewhat alarming trend. Four of their last five 3rd round draft picks  have been pitchers and Hanson now joins each of Wyatt Strahan (2014), Mark Armstrong (2013), and Dan Langfield (2012) as pitchers who have missed entire seasons due to major surgery. Each of Strahan and Armstrong have recently dealt with Tommy John surgery themselves.


     To prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries, baseball pitchers need to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth and continuous movement with the Pronator Teres contracting before, during and after the acceleration phase.

     To prevent pitching injuries, baseball pitchers of all ages need to master my baseball pitching motion.


0128.  15 year Old Elbow Pain

I’m attempting find the cause of pain in my son’s distal bice/forearm that he suffered from early last season.  Last year he grew 3+inches and this year 2.5 inches, so I’m assuming this may be part of it.  His pitching history has been I did not let him pitch regularly until last year as a high school freshman.  He also typically plays 3rd base, has an athletic has and throws average speed for his age, low 70s and last year low to mid 60’s.

He was able to make it through last HS season, but his AAU, summer season and fall ball season he could not pitch.  This year he is only doing high school.  We started the season in January with a pitching clinic for 10 weeks, once a week for 1 hour leading to the season, pain free.  However once captains practices started some slight pain arrived. A week of rest and then pain again.  Both time this pain was from throwing a bullpen of 25 pitches.  The pain now become present in his fielding throws and slightly when hitting.  However, the pain goes away with rest and ice, but quickly becomes aggravated to a point where it is unbearable for him.

He throws in the 3/4 arm slot with elbow at shoulder height and is 5-11, 155 lbs.

We have seen a baseball PT and pitching specialist, locally in Boston.  The result were distal bicep concern and the thought of messaging the rear rotator cuff as he felt a reaction in the bicep by massaging the rear rotator cuff as well as quadrup breathing to adjust the body (PT recommended) and strengthening of the scapular muscles and decelerator leg muscles (pitching coach recommended).  My thought would be to get back with the pitching coach but the pain is too bothersome.

I contacted the PT and he mentioned getting him in for the rotator cuff massage and voodoo threading (which I’m skeptical on, not know much behind it other than a bunch of internet posts).  I have started him on bicep strengthening doing negative curls with 5 lbs dumbells for a 5 count during the drop phase.

Hopefully, though your medical background as well as dealing with numbers of baseball players, you may be able to shed some light on what may be happening, as baseball is his first love of sport.


     Your son needs to learn my baseball pitching motion.

     To start, your son has to learn how to horizontally said the square Lid from a four-gallon bucket.

     In my pitching motion, the baseball pitchers stand tall, turn the back of the upper arm to face toward home plate, rotate their hips and shoulders forward together over their Front foot and aim their pitching arm down the acromial line.

     To learn the Marshall pitching motion, you need to watch my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     I recommend that you watch section 08. Football Training Program, it will teach you how to 'horizontally sail' the square Lid from a four-gallon bucket and how to impart rotation to the four baseball pitches.

     Master this pitching motion and you will never suffer any pain.






Happy pitching.

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