x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Pitching problems

The alarming number of pitchers suffering arm problems and injuries points to a bigger problem – how are they being handled and is there something in their training they are doing, or not doing.

No easy salve for the rash of pitching injuries

Perhaps major-league baseball teams should spend a little less money on mediocre free agent pitchers and untested draft picks, and instead fund studies to determine how to keep healthy the pitchers they already have.

In the past week, three pitchers were found to need tendon-transplant surgery - more commonly known as "Tommy John surgery" - on their pitching elbows.

Rich Hill and Daisuke Matsuzaka underwent the procedure within 24 hours of one another.

In between, the Yankees right-hander Joba Chamberlain was also found to be in need of the operation.

Hill, Matsuzaka and Chamberlain runs the total of pitchers needing the surgery to 14 since the start of the season - or more than enough to field an entire team's pitching staff.

As alarming as that is, it doesn't include pitchers who are facing surgeries for shoulder issues.

At a time when teams are more protective than ever of pitchers - because of the monetary investment and the dearth of quality arms - more and more are headed to see surgeons. Old school scouts and executives have said the uptick of injuries was the direct result of coddling pitchers, leading some to question if it is better to push pitchers more, to strengthen them against breakdowns?

Baseball needs to find the answer.