Baseball Blog: Lost Arms

Alex O'Lear, reporter

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Within the past decade we’ve seen more arm injuries in pitchers than ever before. It’s not age and the body wearing out either; it’s happening at a young age. A “Tommy John” Surgery is very common now for pitchers and has been used since the 1980’s. Major League Baseball and others have tried helping the issue by creating pitch count limits or innings limits but that’s not the issue. It’s the way they pitch and what the professional scouts looks for that injures these players.

Over the past 20-30 years we have seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of pitchers that have to proceed with this dreaded surgery. In this time, pitchers have thrown harder and harder because that’s what the scouts look at now, instead of teaching kids simply how to pitch rather than how to throw hard. Ever since I was young I never focused on blowing kids away with a fastball; I used all my pitches to make the batter get himself out. Doing this, it puts much less stress on your arm. When you’re up there on the mound trying to throw as hard as you can to impress, it leads to injury and you become a busted arm baseball player.

As a very simple solution to this problem, coaches in high school and up need to teach their kids how to pitch, not how to throw hard. Some great pitchers as examples would be Greg Maddux, Kyle Hendricks, and Justin Verlander. Maddux was the master of pitching. He threw high 80s but had such great control and a variety of pitches. That’s how pitching should be, not seeing who can throw the hardest. Justin Verlander is the complete package. He has a fastball that can reach near the 100 mph mark, but doesn’t use it all the time. Instead, Verlander uses all his pitches, and throws the heater when he needs this. If he was just using the fastball, he’d be injured a long time ago and probably in the bullpen by now. With all the injuries there could possibly be a shortage of pitchers, but with coaching changes, there could be a lot of great pitchers.

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Baseball Blog: Lost Arms