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Fri May 16, 2014, 06:10 PM

Baseball wonders why pitchers' elbows keep tearing

All of baseball is focused on a most precious 2 1/8 inches — the average length of the ulnar collateral ligament.

This year, more than a dozen major league pitchers already have undergone Tommy John surgery — which involves replacing the elbow ligament with a tendon harvested from elsewhere (often the non-pitching elbow or forearm) in the patient's body. All-Stars Patrick Corbin, Josh Johnson and Matt Moore have had the surgery, and NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez was scheduled to have his operation Friday.

"It's a problem. There's no question about it," baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said. "I'm almost afraid to pick up the paper every day because there's some bad news."

The surgery forces a player to miss at least a full season, but many power pitchers — including Chris Carpenter (2007), Stephen Strasburg (2010) and Adam Wainwright (2011) — threw as hard with their repaired elbows as they did before. Matt Harvey is still recovering from surgery last year.

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Reply Baseball wonders why pitchers' elbows keep tearing (Original post)
Strange Luck May 2014 OP
Sasquatch Buckeye May 2014 #1
calliope_muse May 2014 #2
Bronxbomber May 2014 #3
PRW May 2014 #4
Ajax May 2014 #5

Response to Strange Luck (Original post)

Fri May 16, 2014, 06:32 PM

1. Because they're now noticing it more then 10-20 years ago.

Here, Keith Olbermann explains it better than I.

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Response to Strange Luck (Original post)

Fri May 16, 2014, 11:07 PM

2. Ivan Nova, this month as well...nt

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Response to Strange Luck (Original post)

Sat May 17, 2014, 03:12 AM

3. Pitchers are pampered way too much these days.

When I started following baseball as a kid in the late 1970's, teams still used the four-man rotation and pitch counts were unheard of. Guys like Catfish Hunter, Jim Palmer, Nolan Ryan, Ferguson Jenkins, Gaylord Perry and Tom Seaver all threw easily between 250-300 innings a year (sometimes more). Knuckleballers were even more durable. Guys like Phil Niekro & Wilbur Wood would routinely throw 330+ innings a year.

And yet, pitchers today, who are bigger and stronger than their 1970's counterparts, crumble like a stale matzoh throwing just 90-100 pitches every five days....and this despite having access to superior technology, therapeutic techniques and medicine. In addition, unlike pitchers of old, today's pitchers throw very little between starts and appearances. It almost seems counter-intuitive that pitchers today throw so little comparatively speaking but break down far more than pitchers did 40 years ago.

Jim Kaat, who was a great and very durable pitcher himself back in the 1960s-70s and a Yankee broadcaster for over 10 years, used to always say that if pitchers today wanted to avoid arm injuries they should simply throw more between starts to keep their arms perpetually loose & rubbery, like he did, and they should return to the full wind up. I agree with him 100%. Too many pitchers today either pitch from the stretch exclusively (even with the bases empty) or they "turn and burn", as they say. A full wind up forces pitchers to use their legs more, putting less strain on their throwing arms. There were even guys like Tom Seaver who used to "drop & drive", letting their legs do most of the work for them. You just don't see that any more.

Oh well...

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Response to Bronxbomber (Reply #3)

Sat May 17, 2014, 04:46 PM

4. Well, today you have ...

... teenagers on travel teams playing what amounts to professional schedules, to where pitchers already have tons of wear on their arms before they get to pro ball. And situations like the high school kid I read about who threw 194 pitches in a game. Did the rubber arms of the past face stuff like that BEFORE they got to pro ball? I know they were used and abused once they got there.

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Response to PRW (Reply #4)

Sun May 18, 2014, 11:32 AM

5. I think you're right

Most of the best pitchers don't get an off-season any more when they are kids. They pitch all year, and rack up tons of innings before they are 18. Ligaments wear out. They always have. It just happens sooner now.

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