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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Buschmann: The real reason why pitchers get injured (INSIDER)

The writer, Matt Buschmann, is currently a starting pitcher for the Athletics top minor league affiliate.

I’ve been in professional baseball since 2006 and every year there seems to be a rash of injuries that plague pitchers. This inevitably leads to an eclectic mix of baseball people comprising a panel trying to explain the injury epidemic on local and national baseball television shows. Each time I catch one—and there were several in 2014 due to a slew of spring training injuries—I’m left shaking my head in frustration….

This sudden realization that locating pitches is paramount leads to a lot of young pitchers making mechanical changes. Their once athletic motion built around throwing fastballs with some giddy-up morphs into whatever motion that allows them to throw the ball where they want. As a result, the built-in mechanisms of an athletic motion to protect the arm (for instance, take stress off the elbow and shoulder) slowly disappear. The shoulders begin to level out and the head has less movement and begins to take a more linear path down to the glove. Instead of the hips leading the head, it starts to become the other way around. While these little adjustments will lead to more consistent command down in the zone, they also hang the arm out to dry.

It is at this intersection of velocity and control where the highest risk for injury seems to occur. The pitchers whom have the best of both worlds seem to be the ones breaking down. It’s also no secret that these pitchers are the highest paid and most successful, therefore creating more high-profile injuries. When promising phenoms like Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez and Stephen Strasburg go down with injuries, people want explanations. They talk about factors like pitch count and overuse, but I don’t think that’s the root of the problem. It masks the underlying issues.


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 11:48 AM | 10 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, mechanics, pitch counts, pitcher injuries, velocity

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 13, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4770389)
the built-in mechanisms of an athletic motion to protect the arm (for instance, take stress off the elbow and shoulder) slowly disappear.

There are no built-in mechanisms that protect the arm from throwing overhand as hard as you can. It would be nice if there were.
   2. BDC Posted: August 13, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4770396)
The real reason why pitchers get injured (INSIDER)

I assume it's because they didn't try the ONE WEIRD TRICK OF PITCHING ARM HEALTH.
   3. madvillain Posted: August 13, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4770485)
If you're gonna post insider stuff kinda makes it hard to RTFA. Anyone with insider want to give an executive summary? Looks like the writer is a Milb player and a Vandy grad, not sure what makes him an authority otherwise.
   4. Walt Davis Posted: August 14, 2014 at 01:16 AM (#4770763)
Pitchers get hurt because God hates your fantasy team.
   5. PreservedFish Posted: August 14, 2014 at 02:17 AM (#4770783)
Is it true that pitchers with crappy control are less likely to get injured?
   6. Everybody Loves Tyrus Raymond Posted: August 14, 2014 at 02:30 AM (#4770785)

I assume it's because they didn't try the ONE WEIRD TRICK OF PITCHING ARM HEALTH.

   7. The District Attorney Posted: August 14, 2014 at 02:43 AM (#4770786)
Your labrum is ready, my lord.
   8. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: August 14, 2014 at 03:06 AM (#4770787)
Is it true that pitchers with crappy control are less likely to get injured?

Nolan Ryan issued more walks than any pitcher ever. QED.
   9. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: August 14, 2014 at 09:41 AM (#4770851)
I don't know...intuitively it kind of makes sense. There was a discussion the other day about proper mechanics and whether it's a good thing that there's far less variation today than there was 30 years ago, and I argued that there isn't necessarily an ideal form for throwing a baseball or swinging a bat. When you're young you just kind of fling it in a motion that feels natural, and maybe forcing pitchers to conform to a "proper" motion is causing problems.
   10. BDC Posted: August 14, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4770865)
Speaking of improper motions, a 22-year-old named Alex Claudio made his MLB debut for Texas last night. He's a skinny lefthander who stands at the edge of the rubber and tosses the ball sidearm with something of a hestitation to his delivery. He was actually throwing slower than JP Arencibia, who relieved him, but Claudio threw a perfect inning and had all three Rays hitters off balance. He's done nothing but get people out in the minors, but who knows how long before major-league hitters time his deliveries and re-establish the wisdom of a proper pitching motion :)

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