Questions/Answers 2011

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     On Sunday, January 02, 2011, I posted the following questions and answers.

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001.  Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science Atlantic, November 2010

This is an excerpt from a long article the Atlantic dedicated to John Ioannidis, and his work in investigating and revealing the faulty research and wisdom on which physicians base much of modern medicine.  To me, Mr. Ioannisdis echoes your sentiments.  Would you say that his work and thinking correlate with your work?

"John Ioannidis is what is known as a meta-researcher.  He has become one of the world’s foremost experts on the credibility of medical research.

Mr. Ioannidis and his team have shown, again and again, and in many different ways, that much of what biomedical researchers conclude in published studies, conclusions that doctors keep in mind when they prescribe antibiotics or blood-pressure medication, or advise us to consume more fiber or less meat, or recommend surgery for heart disease or back pain is misleading, exaggerated, and often flat-out wrong.  Mr. Ioannidis charges that as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed.

His work has been widely accepted by the medical community; it has been published in the field’s top journals, where it is heavily cited; and he is a big draw at conferences.  Given this exposure, and the fact that his work broadly targets everyone else’s work in medicine, as well as everything that physicians do and all the health advice we get, Ioannidis may be one of the most influential scientists alive.

Yet, for all his influence, Mr. Ioannidis worries that the field of medical research is so pervasively flawed, and so riddled with conflicts of interest, that it might be chronically resistant to change or publicly admitting that there’s a problem."

I also have a couple questions for you:

1.  What type of regimen would you recommend for someone seeking to improve their sprinting and then, seeking to maintain their sprinting at their peak performance?

2.  Is a level of calcium intake important for athletes in training?

3.  Do you have a weight exercise for the rear arm for an athlete training in your batting motion?

I have 4 year old twins.

4.  Do you have any exercise recommendations for me to implement with them that just encourage age appropriate good health and athletic good health?

5.  Any general conjecture or hypothesis as to why besides yourself, not one other sport or exercise training program designer in any sport seems to have a sufficient mastery of the required technical subjects?

6.  Or, because others must have acquired the education that you have, why, besides for yourself, nobody else proposes ideas that are scientifically sound?

As always, thanks for reading and responding to these queries.  Without fail, I follow your posts weekly.


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     Thank you for the excerpt in the Atlantic about John Ioannidis.  It sounds as though he is doing a great public service.

     The part of the excerpt that caught my eye was "Mr. Ioannidis and his team".

     Without others to help and money to do the research, naysayers will dismiss whatever Mr. Ioannidis says.

01.  With regard to sprinting:

     As with all athletic skills, athletes have to perfect the proper force application technique and complete a properly designed interval-training program.

     To perfect the proper force application for sprinting, athletes have to satisfy Sir Isaac Newton's three laws of motion.

     A properly designed interval-training program requires athletes to start below their fitness level and gradually increase the stress.

02.  Calcium plays an important role in muscle contraction.

03.  With regard to the rear arm in baseball batting, athletes first have to learn how to properly apply force to control the center of mass of the baseball bat.

     I use the 'underload' principle to help athletes learn how to properly apply force to their swinging implement.  That is, broom and shovel handles with whiffle and tennis balls.

     Because baseball batters need to stand upright, I do not use weight as an overload.  Instead, I use time.  That is, I have my baseball batters swing twenty-four times as quickly as they can without impacting on the quality of their swings.

04.  The first motor skills that youngsters need to learn are tumbling and locomotion skills.  With their heads proportionally larger than adolescents, we have to take great care to protect their neck.

05.  I have met some Exercise Physiologists and Kinesiologists that understand the science.  Unfortunately, when discussing baseball pitching, without any supporting research, they mouth the 'traditional' ideas that have proven to injure athletes.

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002.  12 year old pitchers

I am a coach of a 12u travel baseball team.  I have read numerous articles about the use and abuse of young arms each saying something different.  I would like to ask you some questions.

1.  What rules should we follow with our pitchers?

Last year, as an 11u team, we tried to keep each pitcher under 75 pitches per appearance and give them 4 days of rest in between appearances.  It was more important to us to develop the kids and keep them healthy, as opposed to winning every game.

Some parents didn't agree with that philosophy, but we politely told them they could find another team to play on, if winning was all that they were interested in.

However, in some tournaments, certain fathers pushed to use their son on back to back days regardless of how many pitches they had thrown.  While we did allow it on some occasions, we did not make this the norm.  In hindsight, we probably shouldn't have allowed it at all.

We start our indoor winter workouts next week.

2.  What do recommend as a pitching program over the next 2-3 months until we get outdoors?


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01.  When youth baseball pitchers are biologically thirteen years old, the growth plates at the elbow end of the Humerus bone of their pitching upper arm are completely mature.  This means that competitive baseball pitching will not alter the development of these two growth plates.

     However, the four other growth plates in the pitching elbow do not completely mature until youth baseball pitchers are biologically sixteen years old.

     Therefore, for sixty consecutive days per year, I recommend that biological thirteen year old youth baseball pitchers competitively pitch no more than two times through the line-up and one time through the line-up each week.

     When youth baseball pitchers are biologically sixteen years old, for one hundred and twenty consecutive days, I recommend that youth baseball pitchers competitively pitch no more than three times through the line-up and one time through the line-up each week.

     At nineteen biological years old, all growth plates in the entire pitching arm completely mature.  At this time, adult baseball pitchers can and should train and/or competitively pitch every day.

02.  With regard to a pitching program for youth baseball pitchers:  Until youth baseball pitchers are biologically sixteen years old, half-way between the end of their previous sixty day season and the start of their next sixty day season, I recommend that they complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

     In the three weeks before the start of their next sixty day season, I recommend that, with one-half of the number of repetitions, youth baseball pitchers use the training programs from the last two days of my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

     The most important prevention of altering the growth and development of the growth plates in the pitching elbow and other baseball pitching injuries is to stop using the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     To do that, I recommend that youth baseball pitchers learn how to perfectly perform the four drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     To learn how to perform my drills, I direct you to my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, which is on my website for all to watch without charge.

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003.  Royals sign Miner to Minor League deal
MLB.com
December 23, 2010

The Royals announced on Friday that they have inked right-hander Zach Miner to a Minor League contract.Royals sign Miner to Minor League deal: Right-handed reliever spent four years with Tigers MLB.com December 23, 2010 The Royals announced on Friday that they have inked right-hander Zach Miner to a Minor League contract.  Miner, 28, who has spent four years in the Majors, all with the Tigers, missed the entire 2010 season with a right elbow injury; he underwent surgery on the elbow in May.

In 2009, Miner made 51 appearances, including five starts, compiling a 4.29 ERA. Miner has a career 4.24 ERA in 157 appearances, of which 35 were starts.  Miner, a fourth-round selection by the Braves in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft, was shipped to Detroit in 2005 in a deal that sent reliever Kyle Farnsworth to Atlanta.


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     In 2000, Mr. Miner became a professional baseball pitcher.  In May 2010, Mr. Miner had pitching elbow surgery and missed the entire season.

     Unfortunately, the article does not tell us what type of elbow surgery Mr. Miner had.

     If Mr. Miner only had pieces of hyaline cartilate removed, then we would expect him to have been able to pitch at least by August.  If Mr. Miner had had Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery, then we would expect that he would need eighteen months to rehabiliatate.

     At 28 years old, Mr. Miner should have several more years of pitching.  But, without knowing what the orthopedic surgeon did to his pitching elbow, I cannot predict whether he will be in that small percentage of surgically altered baseball pitcher that are able to return to their previous release velocity.

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004.  Beckett is still a key to Red Sox’ fortunes
Boston Globe
December 26, 2010

There isn’t one baseball expert who doesn’t believe the key to the Red Sox’ success in 2011 is how well Josh Beckett pitches.  “Can they win the AL East without Beckett?" said an American League executive.  “Sure they can.  They won 89 games without the real Beckett last season.  But, if you want this staff to really click, Beckett needs to be Beckett."

A widespread opinion is that Beckett, who went 6-6 with a 5.78 ERA in 21 starts last season, is kind of the captain in the starting rotation and must take that role seriously.  He is well-respected on the team, given what he’s accomplished in big moments (2-1 with a 1.16 ERA in three World Series games and 7-3 with a 3.07 ERA in the postseason).

But while he has shown stubbornness with his fastball and has had consistency issues with his breaking pitch, the real issue is health.  Beckett battled back issues and a dead arm for parts of last season.  He came off the disabled list and started to find a rhythm that worked at times, but to say Beckett was Beckett?  Not really.

So, spring training will be huge for Beckett, who starts the four-year, $68 million extension he signed at the beginning of the 2010 season.  He will be 31 on May 15, so he is young enough to play up to the contract and turn his fortunes around.  Beckett certainly doesn’t lack competitiveness, and the Sox are hoping his pride overcomes whatever has ailed him.

“Without Beckett at the top of his game, it makes it tough for the Red Sox," said the executive, “even with all they’ve done with that offense with Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, to be considered the team that can win it all.  “If Beckett is Beckett, they stand out more than any team in the game right now."


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     Since 'Pathomechanics' got ahold of Mr. Beckett and Mr. Papelbone before the playoff series with the Tampa Bay Rays three years ago, both have steadily gone downhill.

     Unless Mr. Beckett learned how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, he will continue his downward spiral to oblivion.  Mr. Matsuzaka will be right beside Mr. Beckett and Mr. Papelbon.

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005.  Phils, Romero agree on one-year deal
MLB.com
December 27, 2010

PHILADELPHIA, PA:  The new left-hander in the Phillies bullpen is the same as the old left-hander in the Phillies bullpen.  A source confirmed Monday morning a CSNPhilly.com report that J.C. Romero has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Phillies, pending a physical.

Terms are unknown.  The Phillies had declined a $4.5 million club option on Romero following the 2010 season. They paid him a $250,000 buyout instead.  The Phillies were prepared to play without Romero in 2011, agreeing on a $1.1 million contract with left-hander Dennys Reyes.  But the deal fell apart after Reyes flew into Philadelphia for his physical and the Phillies turned to Romero with few external options available.

Romero went 1-0 with a 3.68 ERA in 60 appearances last season, but has walked more batters (42) than he has struck out (40) the past two seasons.  Romero joins other left-handed relievers on the 40-man roster like Antonio Bastardo, Mike Zagurski and Sergio Escalona.  The Phillies also have left-hander Dan Meyer coming to big-league camp in February.

It is unknown how Romero's deal might affect right-hander Chad Durbin's chances of returning next season, although Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. had said recently they had little wiggle room to sign more players after signing Cliff Lee to a $120 million deal.  But the Phillies would free up salary if they trade right-hander Joe Blanton, who is making $17 million over the next two seasons.


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     Before I offer my comments, my stats guy, Brad Sullivan has some information to consider.

     In slightly over 11 years, Mr. Romero has pitched in 628 games and thrown 624 2/3 innings with 22 starts.  Mr. Romero has 7 saves and 26 blown saves.

01.  In 2001, Mr. Romeros missed 6 games with low back pain.
02.  In 2003, Mr. Romero missed 4 games with groin trouble.
03.  In 2005, Mr. Romero missed 3 games with an ankle injury.
04.  In 2009, Mr. Romero missed 50 games after testing positive for a banned substance and missed 66 games with a forearm injury.
05.  In 2010, Mr. Romero missed 14 games with an elbow injury and one playoff game with lower back pain

     I see one inning pitchers as a waste of valuable major league learning innings.  Instead of career one-inning pitchers, professional teams should have at least three successful minor league starters pitching one time through the line-up twice a week.

     After one year of pitching one time through the line-up twice a week and teams will know whether these three pitchers will become quality starters.  If so, then they could replace less successful major league baseball pitchers, thereby giving the team trade opportunities. If not, then teams should give these guys more time to find another way to earn a living.  In the long run, it is the kindest thing to do.

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006.  Brewers agree to one-year deal with Saito
Associated Press
December 27, 2010

MILWAUKEE, WI:  The Milwaukee Brewers have agreed to a one-year deal with right-handed relief pitcher Takashi Saito.  Saito was 2-3 with a 2.83 ERA in 56 appearances for the Atlanta Braves last season.  He has a 17-13 career record with a 2.19 ERA in five major league seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston and Atlanta.

The 40-year-old native of Japan also has 84 career saves, including 81 with the Dodgers from 2006-08.  Saito, who is expected to fill the setup role for closer John Axford, joins a radically remade Brewers pitching staff.

The team made two significant trades for starting pitching earlier this month, acquiring 2009 Cy Young winner Zack Greinke from Kansas City and Shaun Marcum from Toronto.


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     Before I offer my comments, my stats guy, Brad Sullivan has some information to consider.

     In five seasons in the major leagues, Mr. Saito pitched 299 1/3 innings in 292 games.  With his 84 careere saves, Mr. Saito had 13 blown saves.

01.  In 2007, Mr. Saito had minor shoulder and hamstring problems.
02.  In 2008, Mr. Saito missed 52 games with an elbow injury
03.  In 2010, Mr. Saito missed 26 games last year with shoulder and hamstring problems.

     Mr. Saito is a career one-inning pitcher.

     I see one inning pitchers as a waste of valuable major league learning innings.  Instead of career one-inning pitchers, professional teams should have at least three successful minor league starters pitching one time through the line-up twice a week.

     After one year of pitching one time through the line-up twice a week and teams will know whether these three pitchers will become quality starters.  If so, then they could replace less successful major league baseball pitchers, thereby giving the team trade opportunities. If not, then teams should give these guys more time to find another way to earn a living.  In the long run, it is the kindest thing to do.

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007.  SI.com
December 27, 2010

It shouldn't be such a surprise that Brandon Webb made a deal with the Rangers, as their team doctor Keith Meister is the one who surgically repaired Webb's shoulder.  Meister predicted good things for Webb even last year, but that didn't turn out, so there's a bit of pressure on the doctor this time.


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     In August 2009, orthopedic surgeon, Keith Meister, opened Mr. Webb's shoulder, found nothing wrong and did nothing.

     That Dr. Meister predicted good things for Mr. Webb shows that he knows nothing about the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     The Gleno-Humeral Ligaments in Mr. Webb's pitching shoulder have lengthened.  Therefore, Mr. Webb's pitching shoulder does not have the stability that Mr. Webb's Pectoralis Major pull 'traditional' baseball pitching motion needs.

     Unless Mr. Webb learns how to use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, Mr. Webb will never successfully competitively pitch again.

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008.  Brewers, Capuano part ways
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
December 27, 2010

General manager Doug Melvin told me today that both sides agreed to break off negotiations with left-hander Chris Capuano after the Brewers added Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke to the starting rotation in recent weeks.  Melvin had extended an incentive-laden offer to Capuano shortly after the season, but the pitcher preferred to explore the market as a first-time free agent.

“Chris wants to be a starting pitcher and we don’t see a match at this time,” said Melvin.  “We like Chris a lot, but we both decided it was best he look elsewhere.  I heard teams are showing interest.”

Capuano, 32, completed a two-year comeback from his second Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery to pitch again for the Brewers in 2010, finishing the season in the starting rotation.  In 24 outings, including nine starts, he went 4-4 with a 3.95 ERA.  As a starter, Capuano was 3-3 with a 4.14 ERA.


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     If Mr. Capuano learned how to pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, then he could continue to improve.  However, if not, then he will not.

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009.  Plenty of interest in Fuentes
MLB.com
December 28, 2010

Relief pitching remained at the forefront of the free-agent arena on Tuesday, as discussion of the market for left-hander Brian Fuentes occupied an otherwise slow news day.  There's still a large contingent of teams that have at least some interest in Fuentes, including the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rays, Rockies, Mariners, Twins, Pirates, Phillies, Brewers, Yankees and Mets, SI.com's Jon Heyman tweeted on Tuesday.

Many of those teams could have filled their need for relievers in recent days, however, including the Yankees (Pedro Feliciano), Brewers (Takashi Saito) and Rockies (Matt Lindstrom).  In addition, the price tag for Fuentes could be prohibitive for some of those teams, if he indeed is seeking a deal comparable to Scott Downs' three-year, $15 million pact with the Angels, as Ken Rosenthal suggested last week.


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     My stats guy, Brad Sullivan asks 'Why are teams interested in Mr. Fuentes?  Were they impressed with the 24 games he missed with a back injury last year?  Do they like that, in 551 career appearances, Mr. Fuentes has pitched 525 innings?  Do they like Mr. Fuentes career ERA of 3.41?

     To me, Mr. Fuentes is another one-inning pitcher that prevents major league baseball from developing quality baseball pitchers.

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010.  Six teams after Qualls?
Yahoo Sports
December 29, 2010

Relievers have been a popular target among teams in the off-season thus far, and it appears that Chad Qualls will soon get to take his turn signing somewhere.  Alan Hendricks, Qualls' agent, tells the Bay Area News Group that six teams are after the reliever, and the Oakland Athletics are one of them, though no "substantial" talks have taken place with them yet.

Qualls turned down arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays this off-season so the folks in Florida will get an extra draft pick if he signs elsewhere.  The 32-year-old Qualls pitched in 59 innings for the Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks last season, going 3-4 with a 7.32 ERA and 49 strikeouts.  He had 11 holds and 12 saves, but also blew four save opportunities with the D-Backs.


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     Mr. Sullivan says that, in 460 appearances, Mr. Qualls has pitched 468 2/3 innings with a career earned run average of 3.82.

     In 2009, Mr. Qualls missed the last month with a knee injury.

     My comments start with Mr. Qualls 7.32 earned run average and finish with Mr. Qualls is another one-inning pitcher sucking the life blood out of the quality of major league pitching.

     The kindness action that these 'interested' teams can take is to allow Mr. Qualls to get on with his life outside of professional baseball.

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011.  Blue Jays agree to one-year deal with Dotel
MLB.com
December 29, 2010

The Blue Jays have reportedly finalized a one-year, $3.5 million contract that includes a club option for 2012 with reliever Octavio Dotel, according to FOXSports.com. Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos declined to comment on the report, citing team policy.

Dotel's contract will pay him $2.75 million in 2011, and it includes a $3.75 million club option with a $750,000 buyout for the 2012 season.  The deal will not become official until Dotel passes a physical, which likely won't take place until the new year.

During the 2010 season, Dotel posted a 4.08 ERA and 22 saves with the Pirates, Dodgers and Rockies.  The 37-year-old experienced a decline in velocity but still throws in the low-to-mid 90s, and he recorded 75 strikeouts in 64 innings in 2010.

The Dominican native likely will become the early favorite to replace closer Kevin Gregg.  The 32-year-old Gregg recorded a career-high 37 saves for Toronto in 2010, while posting a 2-6 record with a 3.51 ERA.  He also struck out 58 batters over 59 innings, but at times, struggled with his control and allowed 30 walks.

The Blue Jays' search for a closer officially began last month when the club declined to pick up a pair of options on Gregg's contract.  Toronto could have exercised a one-year club option worth $5.25 million or a two-year club option worth $9.5 million.

Dotel will be thrown into the mix to replace Gregg, but it's doubtful the Blue Jays will annoint him as the official closer prior to Spring Training.  Dotel will also receive competition from right-hander Jason Frasor and left-hander David Purcey.  It's a similar situation to last year when Gregg battled it out with Frasor and left-hander Scott Downs.

"Everybody would like to have a clear-cut guy, but last Spring Training we had a competition for that role and we ended up with a guy who had 37 saves," Anthopoulos said Tuesday prior to Dotel's reported signing.  "I think everyone would tell you they'd like to have someone in a defined role, but if it ends up being a competition we're OK going into Spring Training with that scenario."


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     Mr. Sullivan says, since 2001, Mr. Dotel has pitched 624 innings in 561 games, including 4 starts.  With Mr. Dotel's 105 saves, Mr. Dotel has 45 blown saves.

01.  During 2005 and 2006, Mr. Dotel missed 240 games with a elbow injury.

02.  In 2007, Mr. Dotel missed 45 games with an oblique muscle strain and 39 games with a shoulder injury.

     I find it interesting that Blue Jays general manager, Alex Anthopoulos praised Mr. Gregg for his 37 saves, yet refused to pick up his options.

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012.  Mariners' David Aardsma to undergo hip surgery
Seattle Times
December 30, 2010

Any attempts by the Mariners to trade closer David Aardsma are on hold as the pitcher prepares for surgery to repair a torn hip labrum.  The team made a surprise announcement Thursday that Aardsma will undergo surgery Monday with specialist Dr. Mark Phillipon in Vail, CO, Aardsma said he'll be sidelined four weeks, but expects to be ready to open the season.

"I know I'll be throwing by then (spring training), which is a good thing," Aardsma said by phone from his home in Arizona.  "It's not like I'm a starter and I need the whole spring to build up innings.  We have some time here, so that even if there is a setback or something, I could still make it to opening day on time."

The Mariners have had trade discussions with other teams about Aardsma since the season ended. Seattle is in a bit of a budget squeeze and by dealing Aardsma, who could earn roughly $4.5 million in arbitration, the club would save money and get talent in return.  Aardsma said he's been bothered by pain in his left hip area since the end of the season.  The Mariners didn't allow him to pitch the final week, figuring a problem with his oblique muscles in his side was causing pain.

But as the winter progressed, nothing changed.  "When I started doing my throwing program, it became clear to me that it wasn't an oblique," he said.  "If it was an oblique, it would have gone away on its own."

Aardsma had it checked by a doctor, who suggested it was more than an oblique issue.  The pitcher immediately contacted the Mariners, who had team medical director Dr. Edward Khalfayan and head trainer Rick Griffin consult.  The Mariners had Aardsma see Phillipon, who recommended the procedure.  Phillipon performed hip surgery on Alex Rodriguez two years ago.

Aardsma, 29, saved 31 of 36 opportunities last season, but went 15 for 16 after mid-July while posting a 0.81 earned-run average.  The Mariners also have one-time closer Brandon League and are expected to bring up Dan Cortes and possibly Josh Lueke this spring.  Both Cortes and Lueke are young relievers who have the potential to become closers.  Having hard throwers to replace the more expensive Aardsma was why many believed Seattle would try to trade him.  Plus the escalating cost of free-agent relievers could make Aardsma a more cost-effective commodity for other teams.

Last week, a report out of Colorado said the Rockies had discussed an Aardsma trade, but balked because the Mariners asked for "an impact bat."  Any further trade talks likely will be stalled until Aardsma gets back on a mound in spring training.


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     The farther beyond second base that 'traditional' baseball pitchers reverse rotate their hips, the sooner that they tear the labrum that surrounds where the head of the Femur bone joins the hip.

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     On Sunday, January 09, 2011, I posted the following questions and answers.

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013.  University of the Incarnate Word Presentation I was able to upload your UIW presentation to Youtube.com.  The presentation is split up into seven parts.  Here are the links if any of your readers are interested.

1)  Part 01

2)  Part 02

3)  Part 03

4)  Part 04

5)  Part 05

6)  Part 06

7)  Part 07

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      I watched the first part of the seven parts of my presentation to the Kinesiology students at Incarnate Word University.

     While I occasionally did not speak as clearly as I should have and walked out of frame, I believe that interested watchers will be able to understand what I was trying to explain.

     I appreciate that you took the time and made the effort to make this presentation available to those interested in eliminating pitching injuries.

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014.  Query

Do baseball batters wishing to improve their performance need to increase substrate storage and capillarization?  If so, what advantage accrues to baseball batters who have increased substrate storage and capillarization?


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     To be able to throw three times through the line-up every third day, baseball pitchers need to maximize their substrate storage and blood flow.  However, because baseball batters only need to swing the bat four or five times per game, they do not need to maximize their substrate storage and blood flow.

     However, to master the skills of my baseball batting technique, baseball batters need to daily complete 4 twenty-four swing sessions in the batting cage, another twenty-four swing session of one step crow-hop position player batting practice and twelve pitcher batting practice for a total of 130 high-intensity swings per day.

     Therefore, because muscle fatigue ruins motor skill, baseball batters need to increase their substrate storage and capillarization.

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015.  Pitching Advice

I'm currently training as a pitcher.  Prior, I threw about 40 mph, but, with mechanics, I jumped to mid-sixties.

I was just wondering if it was possible to jump even higher to mid 70's or even 80 mph.


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01.  How old are you?

02.  What training program are you using?

03.  What baseball pitching motion are you using?

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016.  Pitching Advice

1.  I am 20 years old.

2.  I am training with one of my college's starting pitchers.  I am not on any specific training program, but we are going over some fundamentals.

3.  The pitching motion I am using is sort of in resemblance to Tim Lincecum, an overhand motion with the chest meeting the knee as the follow-through.


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     To recap:

01.  Before you started training as a baseball pitcher, you threw about 40 miles per hour.

     That the fastest you threw before your started training was 40 miles per hour indicates that you do not have fast-twitch muscle fibers in your pitching arm.

02. After some fundamental training with one of your college's starting pitchers, you now throw in the mid-60 miles per hour.

     That you increased your release velocity to the mid-60 miles per hour indicates that you never pitched before you started this training.

03. You are trying to mimic the pitching motion that Mr. Lincecum uses, which you believe has an overhand pitching arm action and a body action that requires that you have your chest touching your glove arm side knee after you release your pitches.

     That you are trying to mimic Mr. Lincecum's baseball pitching motion means that you will eventually injure your pitching arm and/or your lower back.

     I recommend that you complete my 280-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training program that is on my website for all to download without charge.

     To learn how to perform the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion, I recommend that you watch my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video that is on my website for all to watch without charge.

     If you want to mimic a baseball pitcher that uses my baseball pitching motion, then you need to watch the Jeff Sparks 2008 video I have in the Analyses of Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitchers file that is on my website for all to watch without charge.

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017.  Query

1.  Will you please describe the following:  One step crow-hop position player batting practice and twelve pitcher batting practice?

2.  Are you current baseball batting trainees also performing any of your baseball throwing training programs and/or your speed-up, two/one or 3/2 base running drills?

If so, are they experiencing any problematic fatigue, regression or other discomfort?  If they are not performing throwing and running interval training or maintenance programs, why not?


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01(a).  One step crow-hop throwing motion

     a.  To perform a one step crow-hop, baseball players start with their pitching arm side leg one step behind their glove foot.

     b.  To initiate the one step crow-hop, baseball players simultaneously step/hop forward with their pitching arm side leg and start to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward.

     c.  When their pitching arm side foot lands one step in front of their glove arm side foot, baseball players should have their pitching arm pointing vertically downward beside their body.

         1)  To throw my Torque Fastball, baseball players should cross-step with their glove arm side foot and raise up on their glove toes and drive the baseball toward the glove arm side of home plate.

         2)  To throw my Maxline Fastball, baseball players should drop-step with their glove arm side foot and raise up on their glove toes and drive the baseball toward the pitching arm side of home plate.

     d.  When their pitching arm side foot contacts the ground, baseball players should step forward with their glove arm side foot.

     e.  When their glove arm side foot lands, baseball players should have their pitching arm at driveline height with their pitching arm pointing straight behind them.

     f.  Immediately after their glove arm side foot lands, baseball players should raise their pitching upper arm to vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching upper arm facing toward home plate.

     g.  With their pitching arm in the Maximum Pitching Forearm Acceleration position, baseball players should drive the entire throwing arm side of their body forward.

     h.  Lastly, using their glove arm side foot as a pivot, baseball players should powerfully inwardly rotate their throwing upper arm, extend their throwing elbow and pronate (inwardly rotate) their throwing forearm.

01(b).  Instead of twelve pitcher batting practice, I meant to write twelve pitch pitcher batting practice.

02.  With the two guys I am teaching my baseball batting technique, I am only teaching my baseball batting technique.

     However, with every skill that athletes learn for which they do not have fitness equal to the intensity they are performing, the new level of intensity will cause them to go into a training regression during which they are mobilizing the resources required to perform at higher intensities.

     The reason why I am not having them work on base running is that we are using a batting cage I build in my back yard, not at a baseball field that has bases around which to run or room to run or want to take more time away from everything else I have to do.

     The only reason I agreed to teach them my baseball batting technique is the hope that they will learn how to perform the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball batting technique sufficiently well enough that I could use video of their efforts to make my Baseball Batting Instructional Video.

     At this point, with their inappropriate attempts to level the bat, straighten their front arm, hook with their rear arm, block with their front leg and so on, we still have a lot of work to do.

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018.  Pitcher injury screenings?

Our local high school is offering pre-season injury prevention screenings (see attachment).  What types of questions should I be asking?

-------------------------------------------------

Memorandum

To:  Minnesota Baseball Coaches
From:  Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists
Date:  December 2010
Re:  Pre-season Baseball Injury Prevention Screenings

Subject:  Annual Pre-season Baseball Injury Prevention Screenings

Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists will be providing injury prevention screenings to high school and collegiate baseball players on Saturday, January 8th from 9:00am-noon.  These will be held at our Edina clinic, 8100 West 78th Street, Suite 230, Edina, MN 55439.

In addition to the clinical evaluations, we will be conducting core strength testing as well as demonstrating appropriate rotator cuff and scapular stabilization exercises to each of the players.  Our research has found that by identifying shoulder deficiencies early and getting the players on the appropriate exercise program we can prevent shoulder and elbow injuries and also enhance their performance.

There is not a cost associated with these evaluations as our physicians want to offer this service free of charge to you and your teams.  Focusing on injury prevention for baseball players is a high priority for our physicians and they have a special interest in the overhead and throwing athlete.

To schedule appointments for your players or if you, any of your student athletes or their families have any further questions regarding the screening process, please do not hesitate to contact me at 952-914-8586 or by email at Brent.Millikin@allina.com

Brent B. Millikin, ATC, M.Ed.
Manager of Sports Medicine Services
Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists
www.sportsandortho.com
Sports and Orthopaedic Specialists
Allina Hospitals and Clinics


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01.  Mr. Millikin wrote that sports and orthopedic specialists will test core strength on high school and college baseball players.

     That means that they will evaluate how well baseball players do exercises that involve that muscles that rotate the upper body.

     They will have baseball players throw medicine balls by rotating their upper body and measure how far they throw.  Because the athletes will not move their feet, this action has nothing to do with throwing baseballs.

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, when baseball pitchers release their pitches, the upper leg of their pitching arm side leg is about forty-five degrees behind vertical.  This means that 'traditional' baseball pitchers forwardly rotate their hips about 45 degrees in front of the front edge of the pitching rubber.

     With my baseball pitching motion, when my baseball pitchers relear their pitches, the upper leg of their pitching arm side leg is vertical.  This means that my baseball pitchers forwardly rotate their hips about 90 degrees in front of the front edge of the pitching rubber.

02.  Mr. Millikin wrote that sports and orthopedic specialists will demonstrate appropriate rotator cuff exercises.

     This means that they will have baseball players bend their throwing elbow at ninety degrees and teach them to inwardly and outwardly rotate the Humerus bone of their throwing upper arm.

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers use their Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.  The Pectoralis Major muscle does not inwardly rotate the shoulder joint.

     This means that 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not use the rotator cuff muscles to inwardly or outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     With my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to vertically extend and inwardly rotate the Humerus bone of their pitching arm.

     This means that my baseball pitchers powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     In addition, because the throwing elbow fully straightens at release, to train baseball pitchers to inwardly and outwardly rotate their 90 degree bent pitching elbow has nothing to do with throwing baseballs.

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers use their Brachialis muscle to prevent the bones on the back of their pitching elbow from slamming together.

     With my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers use their Triceps Brachii muscle to extend their pitching elbow and their Pronator Teres muscle to pronate (inwardly rotate) their pitching forearm.

     Because, in addition to pronating the pitching forearm, the Pronator Teres muscle also flexes the pitching elbow, my baseball pitchers do not need to use their Brachialis muscle to prevent the bones in the back of their pitching elbow from slamming together.

03.  Mr. Millikin wrote that sports and orthopedic specialists will demonstrate appropriate scapular stabilization exercises.

     The Rhomboid Major and Minor muscles and the Trapezius muscle move the Scapula bone toward the spinal column.

     The Levator Scapula muscle moves the Scapula bone upward.

     The Pectoralis Minor muscle tilts the corocoid process of the Scapula bone forward.

     The Latissimus Dorsi muscle moves the Scapula bone downward.

     The Serratus Anterior muscle moves the Scapula bone away from the spinal column.

     This means that the above muscle stabilize the Scapula bone.  These guys are going to teach baseball pitchers how to contract these muscles.

     To throw baseballs, baseball players contract their Serratus Anterior muscle.  As a result, the Scapula bone moves as far laterally away from the spinal column as possible.  That is all there is to stabilizing the Scapula bone.

     These sports and orthopedic specialists do not understand what actions in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion injure baseball pitchers.

     This means that for anybody to attend this Annual Preseason Baseball Injury Prevention Screenings is a waste of their time.

     Here are some questions that I would ask these sports and orthopedic specialists:

01.  What action in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament and what do baseball pitchers have to do to prevent this injury?

02.  What action in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion causes baseball pitchers to lose their extension range of motion and what do baseball pitchers have to do to prevent this injury?

03.  What action in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion causes baseball pitchers to lose their flexion range of motion and what do baseball pitchers have to do to prevent this injury?

04.  What action in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion injures the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle and what do baseball pitchers have to do to prevent this injury?

05.  What action in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion tears the labrum in the pitching shoulder and what do baseball pitchers have to do to prevent this injury?

06.  What action in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion injures the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments in the pitching shoulder and what do baseball pitchers have to do to prevent this injury?

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019.  Pitching Advice

I took a look at both your instructional videos and your 280 day training program and they were both very helpful.  Thank you very much once again.

I'm going to share both of them with my friend/trainer and see what he thinks.

But, I do have one more question, my school's team is a small division 2 school and because of the level of competition, as a pitcher you can get on with a mid 70's fastball.

With your training, can I reach that point or even all the way to 90? or is that unrealistic?


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     With my baseball pitching motion and interval-training program, baseball pitchers will achieve their genetic maximum release velocity.

     However, if baseball pitchers want to get baseball batters out, they need to master a wide variety of high quality pitchers.  This means that fastball velocity has little to do with getting baseball batters out.

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020.  better than records

As a baseball fan/historian (first noted in writing in "A Little Pretty Pocket-book" by John Newbery, 1744), I continue to tell people about this amazing pitcher.  The only one to ever pitch over 100 games in a season; stocky, former shortstop (kinesiology).

But, the most amazing moment for me was in a Dodger game in which you were playing the Cubs.  You were on second base (now for any of the modern baseball fans, who find this hard to believe, yes, a pitcher) and there was a bunt and you freakin' scored.

NOT YOUR AVERAGE BASEBALL PLAYER

YOU belong in the hall.


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     If you liked that play, then you might enjoy the story behind that play.

     We (the Dodgers) were on an extended road trip and not doing well.  When we started that game against the Cubs, we had lost six consecutive games to the Mets and Pirates.

     The date was August 19, 1974.  It was another beautiful day game in Wrigley Field with every seat filled with Cub fans.

     I entered the game at the start of the seventh inning with the score tied 7-7.

01.  On a three ball, one strike count, Morales bounced a slider over Ron Cey's head at third base for a single.

02.  Madlock bunted Morales to second base.

03.  On a one ball, no strikes count, I threw a Maxline Fastball inside to Swisher that broke his bat and he grounded out to shortstop.  Morales did not advance.

04.  The three screwballs I threw to Sperring struck him out.

     The Dodgers did not score in the top of the eighth inning.

     In the bottom of the eighth inning, Frailing flied to left, Grabarkowitz grounded to third and Cardenal popped to first.

     The Dodgers did not score in the top of the ninth inning.

     In the bottom of the ninth inning, Williams grounded to first, Thornton flied to left and Morales struck out.

     The Dodgers did not score in the top of the tenth inning.

     In the top of the tenth inning, Madlock grounded to third, Swisher struck out and Frailing grounded to third.

     The Dodgers did not score in the top of the eleventh inning.

     In the top of the eleventh inning, Ward struck out, Grabarkowitz struck out, Cardenal singled to left and Williams grounded to first.

     In the top of the twelfth inning, I lead off and singled to center.  Lopes bunted me to second.  Auerbach hit a swinging bunt toward first base.

     Immediately, I remembered a strategy that Gene Mauch told me when I played for the Montreal Expos.  Gene said that, if, during the sixties, Sandy Koufax pitched against his team and he had a base runner on second base, then he would send the base runner and have the batter push bunt the baseball toward the first/second base hole.

     Gene said the push bunt would force Sandy to cover first base.  Sandy would catch the baseball with his right hand running away from home plate.  Then, to throw the baseball to home plate, Sandy would have to touch the base, stop running, make a one hundred and eigthty degree reverse pivot and throw the baseball to home plate.

     Gene said that, with the running start, his second base runner could make the turn at third and beat Sandy's throw to home plate.

     With that image in mind, I took off.  With my head down, I rounded third base and headed for home plate.  When I was about thirty feet from home plate, to see what waited for me at home plate, I raised my head.

     I expected the catcher to be looking at first base waiting for the throw.  When I played minor league shortstop, I faced similar situations several times.      If the catcher would have the baseball in time for the tag, then, to be able to get my hands on the catcher's glove and pull the baseball loose, I would slide sideways into the catcher.

     If I and the baseball arrived together, then, to make the catching the baseball difficult for the catcher, then I would grab his glove as I slid by.

     However, I saw nothing.  Swisher was standing thirty feet down the first base line.  He had fielded Auerbach's swinging bunt.  I only had to avoid getting hit by the baseball that Thornton threw at me.

     In the bottom of the twelfth inning, Thornton grounded to third, Madlock flied to center, Swisher single to center and Mitterwald grounded to first.

--------------------------------------------------

     Chicago sportswriter, Jerome Holtzman, wrote:

     "Not in recent years, certainly, has there been a major league player with the versatility, stamina and competitive vigor of Mike Marshall, The Iron Man of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Marshall did it all at Wrigley Field Monday.  He (1) pitched, (2) batted and, in a remarkable display of base running daring (3) ran the Dodgers out of a six-game losing streak to an 8-7 win over the Cubs.

     Marshall was not only the winning pitchers, but he also scored the winning run in the 12th inning.  He hoofed it in all the way from second base, a 180-foot dash, on all things, a topped roller down the first base line which the Cubs handled for the second out.

     The Cubs were so paralyzed by Marshall's daring that they left home plate uncovered which is precisely what Marshall was gambling on, that nobody would be at home plate to take the throw.  And just as surely as Marshall was the hero, there were two goats, pitcher Oscar Zamora and third baseman Bill Madlock, either of whom could have covered the plate.  Neither did.

     This was the situation:  Top of the 12th inning, score tied at 7-7, with one out and Marshall at second, having reached on a single up the middle.  Rick Auerbach was the batter and hit a swinging bunt down the first base line.  Catcher Steve Swisher and pitcher Zamaro sprinted in pursuit.

     Swisher, wonderfully aggressive, reached the ball first and pegged to first baseman, Andy Thornton for the putout.  Most base runners on this play, would have stopped at third base, but Marshall rounded third at full speed and continued home.

     Thornton, seeing Marshall's dash for the plate, threw the ball home, but nobody was covering.  The ball sailed through, unattended, and Marshall scored without a slide."

--------------------------------------------------

     Years later, 1974 Dodger catcher, Steve Yeager, appeared in a movie that had a catcher bunt a base runner on second base to home plate.  I wonder from whom he got that idea?

     It appears that Hall of Fame voters do not believe that the unique skills and strategies that I used in this game and many other games, such at pitching 11 1/3 closing innings in one day, as worthy of their consideration.

     Instead, they say that my unique abilities show that I am a physical freak.  I believe that what I could do sets me apart and above the rest.  Therefore, without me in the hall, all other closers have no credibility.

     You should note that, Mr. Holtzman's article did not include any comments from me.  This was the first game of a three game series against the Cubs, but neither after this game nor before nor after the next two game, neither Mr. Holtzman nor any other Chicago nor Los Angeles sportswriter interviewed me.

     Did the sportswriters think that, by ignoring and minimizing what I did, they kept me from receiving the credit I deserved?  Do they believe that present and future Hall of Fame closers did or can do what I did?

     Thanks for the memory.

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021.  Pitching

Our 18 year old son will be 19 this April. He is a freshman in college and will be pitching this spring.  Last year at this time, his height was 6'3" exactly.  His weight was 183 lbs.

I measured him this week before he reports back to school this weekend and his height is 6' 3 1/2" and his weight is 187 lbs.  He eats enough for two people and does all the prescribed fitness drills plus some.  He and I are concerned that he does not build more mass.

I was always told that until a young man completely quits growing and all his growth plates close, he will not add his adult mass to his body.  I have never had his skeleton X-rayed.  Since over the last year he grew aboyt 1/2".

1.  Is it possible he still has open growth plates?

2.  Does that make a difference in building muscle mass?


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01.  The body will use it's resources as it needs most.  Growing supercedes muscle mass.

02.  However, when skeletal growth stops, appropriately-designed interval-training programs stimulate bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles to hypertrophy.

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022.  New forearm discomfort

Yesterday was my Day 41 (MTSc/ MFB) of your Iron Ball Recoil Program.  For whatever reason, my pronation snap was the finest it has ever been.  I was very happy with myself, but in the back of my mind, I expected to feel some discomfort before the Day 42 workout.

Today is Day 42 (MC/ TFB).  I was expecting my Pronator Teres to be barking.  While the discomfort in my Pronator Teres, is slightly more than what I've experienced before, the prominent discomfort is in what I think is my Flexor Digitorum Profundus.

When I raise my middle finger, I can pinpoint the discomfort.

I have never felt any discomfort in this part of my forearm before.  However, this discomfort did not stop me from completing the day's scheduled workout.

I felt absolutely no discomfort during the workout.  However, shortly after throwing, the discomfort came back.  It isn't nearly as intense as it was early this morning, so I'm not worried about it.  Nevertheless, I am eager to hear your thoughts on my new-found muscle soreness.


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     The tendons of the Flexor Digitorum Profundus muscle attaches to the distal phalange of digits 2-5.  Baseball pitchers are only as good as the strength and skill of the tip of the middle finger of their pitching hand.

     That you feel discomfort when you apply pressure against the tip of the middle finger in your pitching hand indicates that your iron ball throws have stressed the portion of the Flexor Digitorum Profundus muscle that serves the tip of the middle finger in your pitching hand more than you had previously.

     That this discomfort does not prevent you from training indicates that, while the stress is stimulating a physiological response, the current stress level is below injurious.

     Nevertheless, you need to make sure that you start your iron ball throws gently and gradually increase the intensity.

     Until this discomfort subsides, I recommend that you do not release your iron balls with full tip of the middle finger intensity.  Then, when it subsides, I recommend that you gradually increase the intensity to full intensity.

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023.  Beat reporter Anthony DiComo answers Mets fans' questions
MLB.com
January 02, 2011

1.  Jim R., Richmond, MA:  With "up-and-coming" starters Mike Pelfrey and Jon Niese having stretches of dominance followed by stretches of cluelessness, what is so special about pitching coach Dan Warthen that he made the cut?  . DiComo:  Let's not forget that despite their myriad struggles and injuries last season, the Mets still managed to rank seventh in baseball with a 3.70 ERA.  Attribute some of that to R.A. Dickey, who came out of nowhere to become a rock for the staff.  But credit most of it to Pelfrey and Niese who, despite their aforementioned periods of struggle, both took significant steps forward in 2010.

Though Pelfrey did follow up his torrid start with a poor month of July, Warthen helped boost him out of that funk to finish 5-3 with a 2.78 ERA over his final 11 starts.

It would hardly be fair, also, to pin Niese's late-season struggles on his pitching coach.  It was manager Jerry Manuel's decision, not Warthen's, to continue trotting a clearly-fatigued Niese out to the mound every five days.

Plus, even taking those periods of struggles into account, both Pelfrey and Niese still easily outperformed their pre-season expectations.  So praise Warthen for the gains of those two, along with the major contributions that the Mets received from scrap-heap relievers such as Elmer Dessens and Raul Valdes.  Statistically speaking, Warthen did nothing in 2010 to warrant a dismissal.

Nor are those the only reasons he is one of two holdovers from Manuel's coaching staff.  Warthen, known for his forthcoming style and sense of humor, is also a clear favorite amongst the team's pitchers.  I asked Pelfrey about Warthen last month, and here's what he had to say:

"I thought it was very, very important for him to come back.  For the most part, the pitching staff did a good job last year.  We improved on the walks, especially early in the year.  We had a good ERA.  We're going to have some young guys, so it's going to be important because Dan's a good communicator.  It will be nice for those guys to have a pitching coach who communicates the way Dan Warthen does.  That will help them a lot."


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     Mr. Pelfrey says that Mr. Warthen communicates very well.

     What does Mr. Warthen communicate?  Does he explain what baseball pitchers have to do to eliminate pitching injuries, to have the fitness to pitch a complete season, master the variety of pitches they need to succeed against all four types of baseball batters and so on?

     Did Mr. Warthen teach Mr. Dickey how to throw his knuckleball?

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024.  Reliever Cordero signs with Blue Jays
MLB.com
January 03, 2011

TORONTO, ON:  The Blue Jays signed right-hander Chad Cordero to a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training on Monday afternoon.  Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has not commented on the news, but the signing was confirmed by Cordero's agency, Reynolds Sports.

The 28-year-old Cordero was limited to just nine Major League games in 2010 as he worked his way back from labrum surgery in his right shoulder.  The California native also made 34 appearances in the Minor Leagues, posting a 1-2 record with a 3.03 ERA and 36 strikeouts over 35 2/3 innings.

Cordero's best season came in 2005, when he recorded 47 saves with a 1.82 ERA over 74 1/3 innings with the Washington Nationals.  He was an All-Star that season and finished fifth in voting for the National League Cy Young Award.

Cordero will compete for a spot in the bullpen, and if he is able to regain some of his old form, it's possible he could enter the competition for the closer's role.  Over his seven-year career, Cordero has a 20-15 career record with a 2.89 ERA and 128 saves.


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     In 2005, the Cy Young Award voters decided that Mr. Cordero was the fifth best baseball pitcher in the National League.

     To qualify for the earned run average title, baseball pitchers have to pitch 162 innings.  Mr. Cordero pitched 74 1/3 innings.

     Mr. Cordero was not the best baseball pitcher on his team.  By definition, the number one baseball pitcher on every major league team is their number one starter.

     Those that pitch the last inning in one of every three or four games when their teams have at least a one run lead do not deserve Cy Young Award consideration.

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025.  Beat reporter Carrie Muskat answers Cubs fans' questions
MLB.com
January 03, 2011

1.  Pete W., Ellsworth AFB, S.D.:  I've always been a fan of Wood and glad the Cubs brought him back.  I was wondering, though, how many years did Ryan Dempster pitch in relief before going back to being a starting pitcher?  Is there any chance we could see Wood attempt to return as a starter?


Muskat:  Dempster was primarily used in relief from 2004-07.  He was coming off Tommy John surgery in August 2003, and eased back into action in '04 out of the bullpen.  But, he began the '05 season in the rotation and was switched to closer after six starts because the Cubs needed help.  Dempster became a full-time starter in '08.

Wood's situation is different.  He not only had elbow surgery, but also had issues with his right shoulder.  He was switched to the bullpen because he had trouble going deep into games, and right now, he's best suited for relief.

In case you're wondering, Wood has started 178 games in his career and has a 71-55 record, a 3.69 ERA and 1,282 strikeouts in 1,116 2/3 innings.  In 203 games as a reliever, he has a 3.45 ERA, 62 saves and 237 strikeouts in 203 2/3 innings.

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     When baseball pitchers cannot get batters out the second time that batters face them, they are not good enough to start.  This means that they are also not good enough for Cy Young Award consideration and certainly not for Hall of Fame consideration.

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026.  Rays among several teams interested in Manny Delcarmen
WEEI.com
January 03, 2011

According to a baseball source, the Tampa Bay Rays are one of “several teams” to express interest in former Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen, who became a free agent in December when the Colorado Rockies elected not to tender the right-hander a contract.  Delcarmen, who had emerged as a key reliever for the Sox in 2007 and 2008, struggled with injuries in 2009 and 2010 while watching his numbers get worse across the board.  He posted a 4.99 ERA in 2010 (4.70 with the Red Sox, 6.48 with Colorado after being traded to the Rockies on August 31 for Single-A starter Chris Balcom-Miller), and both his strikeout rate (6.5 per nine innings) and walk rate (5.5 per nine) were the worst of his career.

That said, he is young (28), and not far removed from being one of the top relievers in the AL East.  In 2007-08, he had a 2.81 ERA in 117 appearances.  The Sox believed that Delcarmen’s arm strength remained fine, and that his struggles in 2010, which began in spring training, were due to a known mechanical issue.

“When he was good, he had the ability to get left and right-handers out, which was huge.  It gives you that guy, kind of like an Oki, when he’s going good, who really makes your bullpen a little deeper.  He’s a local kid, who, he had times when he had some runs when he was pretty good.  And there were some times when it didn’t go as planned.  It’s not always perfect,” Sox manager Terry Francona said when Delcarmen was dealt.

“When he would leave the rubber too quick, there were stretches where he just couldn’t get his arm to catch up on time.  And he knew itbut he couldn’t make the adjustment during his outing.  John Farrell would go out to the mound, and he’d say, ‘Yeah I know’.  When everything was working on time, it worked good.  But when it wasn’t, it took him a little while to make the adjustment.”


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     Red Sox manager, Terry Francona, said “When he (Mr. Delcarmen) would leave the rubber too quick, there were stretches where he just couldn’t get his arm to catch up on time. And he knew itbut he couldn’t make the adjustment during his outing."

     To have release consistency, position players use the one step crow-hop body action to get their throwing arm to driveline height at the same time that their glove arm side foot lands.

     To have release consistency, baseball pitchers have to have their pitching arm at driveline height ready to enter the Maximum Pitching Forearm Acceleration Position when their glove foot lands.

     Therefore, Mr. Delcarmen needs to learn how to pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height to arrive at the same time that his glove foot lands.

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027.  Mets add pitchers Capuano, T. Buchholz
MLB.com
January 03, 2011

NEW YORK, NY:  Continuing to execute their strategy of low-risk acquisitions on a static budget, the Mets on Monday announced that they have signed veteran pitchers Chris Capuano and Taylor Buchholz, both of whom have undergone Tommy John surgery in recent years.  To clear the necessary space on their 40-man roster, the Mets designated right-handed reliever Ryota Igarashi for assignment.

Capuano, 32, a former NL All-Star and the more established of the two new pitchers, signed a one-year deal worth a reported $1.5 million.  A left-hander who once won 18 games for the Brewers and twice threw more than 219 innings in a season, Capuano returned to the big leagues last season after injuries kept him sidelined for all of 2008 and 2009.  He finished 4-4 with a 3.95 ERA in 66 innings.

In his best season in 2005, Capuano went 18-12 with a 3.99 ERA for the Brewers, three years after undergoing the first of his two Tommy John surgeries.  The second of those operations came three years ago, in May 2008.

Buchholz, 29, underwent Tommy John surgery a year later, in 2009.  A right-hander who has spent most of his career as a reliever after beginning it as a starter, Buchholz returned to the Majors last season and posted a 3.75 ERA in nine appearances split between the Blue Jays and Rockies.  His one-year contract is reportedly worth a non-guaranteed $600,000.

Once a top prospect in the Phillies and Astros organizations, Buchholz did not flourish in the big leagues until the Rockies converted him to a full-time reliever in 2007.  The following season, Buchholz posted a 2.17 ERA, held opposing batters to a .188 average and struck out more than three times as many batters as he walked over a career-high 63 appearances.

The moves are the latest in new general manager Sandy Alderson's strategy of dipping into a pool of low-risk players, specifically once-successful pitchers who have been derailed by injuries.


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     Mets general manager, Sandy Alderson, searches for low risk, once-successful baseball pitchers that injuries have derailed.

     In 2002, Mr. Capuano had his original Ulnar Collateral Ligament replaces with the tendon of his Palmaris Longus muscle.  In 2008, Mr. Capuano had his Ulnar Collateral Tendon replace with the tendon from inside of his knee.

     That does not sound like 'low risk.'  Instead, that sounds like 'total risk.'

     Besides, Mr. Warthen communicates.  Mr. Warthen does not do injury prevention.

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028.  Dodgers sign Redding to Minor League deal
MLB.com
January 03, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA:  The Dodgers signed journeyman right-handed pitcher Tim Redding to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League camp.  Redding, 33 next month, has pitched for five Major League teams, most recently the Mets in 2009.  Last year, he pitched in the Minor Leagues for the Rockies and Yankees and in August was released to pitch in Korea.

A starting pitcher who most likely would provide insurance at Triple-A, Redding has a career mark of 37-57 with a 4.95 ERA.  He was a 10-game winner with the Astros in 2003 and with the Nationals in 2008.


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     After failing in triple-A with the Rockies and Yankees, journeyman pitcher, Mr. Redding pitched in Korea.  Now, he signs with the Dodgers.

     Today's baseball scene is wonderful.

     After ten years of minor/major league baseball, in 1971, I pitched my first full major league season.  With a 4.28 earned run average, I also was a journeyman pitcher.

     The difference between Mr. Redding and me was that I was at the end of a journey to become the baseball pitcher I wanted to be.  In 1972, I had an 1.78 earned run average.

     For every journey to succeed, we need a plan.  What is Mr. Redding's plan?

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029.  Indians acquire minor league pitcher
Associated Press
January 04, 2011

CLEVELAND, OH:  The Cleveland Indians have acquired reliever Joe Martinez from the Pittsburgh Pirates for cash considerations.  The 27-year-old right-hander split time last season between Triple-A and the majors for both Pittsburgh and San Francisco.  He went a combined 0-1 with a 4.12 ERA in nine games.  He has two minor-league options left, giving the Indians some roster flexibility.  He had a 3.12 ERA in five games for Pittsburgh.


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     Mr. Sullivan reminded me that, in April 2009, a line drive hit Mr. Martinez directly in his head.  Mr. Sullivan then wondered whether, to understand the long term affect of line drives hitting baseball pitchers in their head, Mr. Martinez had read the Herb Score story.

     I believe that, until Mr. Martinez understands why the line drive hit him in the head and what he can do to prevent another line drive from hitting him in the head, he will not be able to successfully pitch.

     To prevent line drives from hitting baseball pitchers in their head, baseball pitchers must have their pitching foot solidly planted on the ground before the baseball enters the hitting zone.

     With both feet securely planted on the ground and their eyes on the baseball and baseball bat, baseball pitchers will be able to move their head and body out of harm's way.

     Feet on the ground enables athletes to move.

     When 'traditional' baseball pitchers raise their pitching arm side leg high off the ground after they release their pitches, they are not able to move their head and body out of harm's way.

     Because I teach my baseball pitchers to move the entire pitching arm side of their body and their center of mass forward through release, when the baseball enters the hitting zone, they have both feet planted and their eyes on the baseball and baseball bat.

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030.  better than records

Doctor Mike, baseball wizard.

  Thank you tremendously for that story.  You have supplied the substance to an answer that I always knew was true.  Mike Marshall was one of the greatest.

  I won't even ask why a guy as talented as you, is not being sought after.  If I had a baseball team, you would be one of my coaches for life.

  I salute you as one of the true masters of the game of baseball.


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     Thank you.

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     On Sunday, January 16, 2011, I posted the following questions and answers.

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031.  Query

1. What is twelve pitch batting?

2.  From recent answers have provided in your question and answer file, I have come to believe that 130 swings per day is the maximum daily number of swings to which batters progress in your interval batting program.  Am I correct in this?  If so, I would conclude that 65 swings would be the maintenance level.

3.  At maintenance for batting, how are those swings divided up between one-arm and two-arm swings?

4.  Will you describe the hooking of the rear hand and arm that you advocate?


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01.  Twelve pitches pitcher batting practice means that I had my college baseball pitchers throw twelve pitches to my baseball batters.

     When I coached college baseball, the typical daily batting program included:

     a.  24 front arm only swings half and half to the opposite and pull fields in the batting cage.

     b.  24 rear arm only swings half and half to the opposite and pull fields in the batting cage.

     c.  24 both arm only swings to the opposite field in the batting cage.

     d.  24 both arm only swings to the pull field in the batting cage.

     e.  24 one step crow-hop position players batting practice through four infielders in the base lines on the baseball field.

     f.  12 pitches pitchers batting practice on the baseball field.

02.  Therefore, the total pitches per day that my baseball batters received was 132.

03.  When the NCAA forbided team batting practices, my baseball batters completed their swings in the cages and on the field on their own.

04 . I teach my baseball batters to punch their rear arm in straight lines to the baseball.

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032.  Torn rotator cuff and labrum

My friend who plays high school baseball and pitches (I believe) has torn his labrum again.  This is the third in a line of pitching related injuries for him.  I suspect he hyper-abducts, but I am not sure.

He has also torn his rotator cuff.  He tore his labrum several years ago and his rotator cuff in (I believe) 8th grade.

I am fully aware that the traditional pitching motion is injurious.  However, this same person also has an affinity for weight lifting and believes that the arm produces the velocity (as do most high school players).

What effect will his surgically repaired labrum and rotator cuff have on his pitching?  I imagine he will lose velocity and perhaps some control.


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     When 'traditional' baseball pitchers take their pitching arm behind their acromial line, the head of their Humerus bone can rub against the cartilaginous ridge the encircles the Glenoid Fossa.

     Therefore, to eliminate this injury, baseball pitchers need to not take their pitching arm behind their acromial line.

     The journal put out by the association that orthopedic surgeons join reports a very, very low success rate from labrum surgery.

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033.  Neck pain

So, today, I was throwing live to batters and really fell off the mound and flew open on one pitch and immediately felt whiplash type symptoms.

I felt a pounding headache and I feel loopy.  I have not recently been hit in the head.

Is it possible to jerk your head and have one pitch trigger something like whiplash or a concussion?


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     When baseball pitchers stride seventy to ninety percent of their standing height, to throw the baseball, they have to bend forward at their waist.  Therefore, when they straighten upright, they have to stop the forward movement of their head.  This is whip lash.

     That you also fell only increased the intensity of the whip lash.

     When the brain moves forward and the head moves backward, the rebound slams the brain against a ridge on the inside of the back of the skull that short-circuits brain activity.

     Isn't the body action of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion wonderful?  It is like boxers taking 100 jabs to the face.

     With my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers move the center of mass and, therefore, their head continuously forward through release and their pitching foot lands with the pitching arm side of their head facing forward.

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034.  Straight line force

I keep thinking about your writings and I was looking at Bob Gibson and Juan Marichal and they seem to be the only pitchers that kind of apply a straight line force with the pitching leg and not leave it behind dragging.

Could you comment on these 2 pitchers mechanics as they apply to Newton's 3 laws of motion?

Lastly, I will see the Swiss baseball board at the end of January and I will ask them if it is possible to invite you as a quest to talk about pitching.  Is that okay for you?


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     While I do not have video of Mr. Marichal, I can see an argument that his pitching arm action did not have significant side to side movement.  However, the video I do have of Mr. Gibson shows a considerable amount of side to side movement.

     I would very much enjoy presenting my materials to the Swiss Baseball Board.

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035.  Pitcher injury screenings?

They pretty much did a few group tests on range of motion, flexibility and core.  Then, they made a few stretching suggestions nothing that we had not heard before from a guy with the Twins that we take occasional pitching lessons from.

They said they thought his rotator cuff seemed a little loose, but nothing of concern and sent him off with a few stretches to do.  But, he is not very good at taking the initiative to do the exercises/stretches unless we or his coach harp on him to do them.  They said the reason for the shoulder and elbow injuries are due to repetitive motion in a way the arm really isn't meant to go.

Have you heard of either of these 2 baseball tournaments?(good or bad)  We are considering sending our son to Vero Beach with his winter ball team, but we are undecided since 5 of the players are out with injuries.  4 of the injuries are arm injuries.

1.  Elite Championship tournament baseball over president day in Vero Beach at former Dodger town.

2.  USSSA All-American games Osceola stadium in August.


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     Thank you for the report.

     Apparently, these physical therapists missed the report on the value of 'stretching' that the Center for Disease wrote.  You and they can find it in my Special Reports file.  The CDC said that they could not find any benefit from 'stretching.'

     I know nothing about the Elite Championship tournament baseball over president day in Vero Beach at former Dodger town or the USSSA All-American games Osceola stadium in August.

     Nevertheless, I will bet that somebody makes a lot of money from it and the athletes learn very little about how to become more skilled baseball players.

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036.  Torn rotator cuff and labrum

According to some sources, the success rate can be between 85 to 95 percent.  However, I believe this refers to a first surgical repair and not a second.  Personally, I would be amazed if this person could ever throw with anything resembling decent velocity again.


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     I wonder whether these sources have read the report that the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine wrote.  I provide that report in Question/Answer #806 in my 2010 Question/Answer file and in my Special Reports file.

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037.  Franco disappointed by lack of Hall support
MLB.com
January 05, 2011

NEW YORK, NY:  After he had taken the first couple of hundred flights in his 21-year big league career, John Franco understood what little control he had over at least one critical factor in his life.  He put it into words Wednesday evening.  "When you're in a plane, you're in the hands of the pilot," Franco said.  "You have no control."

It is with that sense of "What can I do?" that Franco viewed his brief and already complete run as a candidate for the Hall of Fame.  The former Mets closer, who has the fourth-most saves in big league history (424) and the most by a left-hander, was named on merely 4.6 percent of the ballots cast by veteran members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America in the Hall balloting.  As a consequence, he has lost eligibility for future consideration after his first year on the ballot.

The pitcher who finished 774 games is ... well, finished.  "It is disappointing," Franco said from his home.  "I was hoping for at least 5 percent.  I thought I'd get five.  Anyone who has the fourth-most of anything -- hits, RBIs, wins, saves -- you figured it had to mean something.  But it's another one of those things that you have no control over.  So you just have to take it.

"Everyone has their opinion of a player and the job that he's done."

Until a finger on his pitching hand betrayed him in the summer of 1999, Franco's job was to save victories for the Mets. He had 416 saves in his career, 268 with the Mets at that point.  No Met was remotely close to him then.  Franco saved eight games in four subsequent seasons with the Mets.  With 276, he has 116 more than runner-up Armando Benitez.

The only pitchers with more career saves are Trevor Hoffman (601), Mariano Rivera (559) and Lee Smith (478).  Billy Wagner has retired with 422.  "I know there are a lot of guys who vote who have problems with saves. ... the saves rule," Franco said.  "But you have to be a pretty good pitcher to become the closer.  And saves are the only thing we have to measure how a closer does.  "I know I had a good career.  I'm proud of what I accomplished.  I'm proud I was on the ballot."


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     Mr. Sullivan, my stats guy, says that Mr. Franco pitched 1,245 2/3 innings in 1,119 appearances.  Mr. Franco allowed 8.4 hits, 3.6 walks and 7 per nine innings.

     Mr. Franco averaged 1.11 innings per appearance.  In his 21 year major league career, Mr. Franco averaged 53.28 appearances per year.  Nevertheless, a 21 year major league career is remarkable.

     Mr. Franco said, "Saves are the only thing we have to measure how a closer does."

     I disagree.

     First, the difficulty of saves differ considerably.  For example, starting the ninth inning at home with more than a one run lead is an easy gig.  However, starting the seventh inning on the road with a one run lead is a difficult gig.  Therefore, until statisticians learn how to appropriately value the difficulty of saves, the number of saves closers have mean little.

     Second, closing for teams that regularly win 90 games is a lot easier than closing for teams that regularly win 70 games.  Therefore, until statisticians learn how to appropriately account for the number of save opportunities, the number of saves closers have mean little.

     Third, I believe that, if, as Mr. Franco says, baseball pitchers "have to be pretty good to become a closer," then why do closers only pitch one inning and only pitch when their team has a lead?  I believe that wins are more valuable than saves.

     Therefore:

01.  Show me closers that pitch when the score is tied.

02.  Show me closers that average 2 innings per appearance.

03.  Show me closers that pitch five innings, single and score from second base on an infield out.

04.  Show me closers that pitch the last three scoreless innings of the first game in a double-header and pitches eight and one-third innings in the second game of that double-header.

05.  Show me closers that appear in 106 games in a season.

06.  Show me closers that pitch 208 1/3 closing innings.

07.  Show me closers that pitch 27 plus innings in 13 consecutive games, including winning three consecutive games.

08.  Show me closers that finish 83 and 84 games.

09.  Show me closers that finish first, second, fourth, fifth and fifth in the Cy Young Award.

     Pardon me if I agree with Mr. Sullivan when he wrote, "Pardon me if I yawn over Mr. Franco's lack of Hall of Fame support."

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038.  Prior excited about possible return to Majors
MLB.com
January 05, 2011

NEW YORK, NY:  Why me?  It's the rhetorical question you'd expect to run constantly through the mind of Mark Prior, who had it all, money, talent, promise and drive, but lost it quickly due to injury, which struck his golden right arm with the same ferocity with which his fastballs were once delivered.  Prior often wondered why he couldn't catch a break.

Not anymore.  "One of the things that happened a long time ago is I stopped asking the question, 'Why?'" he said in a recent phone interview with MLB.com.  "The answer doesn't really matter.  I don't need to know why I'm getting hurt; I just need to know how to get healthy, and that was the answer I was searching for."

Prior, despite repeated setbacks, somehow believes he has found that answer for good.  Now 30 and strictly a reliever, he hasn't pitched in a Major League game since 2006, but the one Minor League inning he hurled since then put the finishing touches on his belief that he could be a big league pitcher again.

That came this past September, when Prior had just completed a successful one-month stint with the Orange County Flyers of the independent Golden Baseball League, then got a chance to pitch against professional hitters via the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate.  Shortly thereafter, Prior was offered Minor League contracts by the Yankees and Rangers, and he wound up choosing New York because he felt the makeup of its bullpen gave him the best shot at returning to the Majors.

"That's my first goal, to get back to the big leagues; earn my way back," he said.  "I don't expect to get handed anything and know that I'm not going to get handed anything."

Prior was handed a lot 10 years ago, when he was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2001 First-Year Player Draft by the Cubs and secured a then-record $10.6 million signing bonus (a mark recently surpassed by Stephen Strasburg).

It didn't take long for Prior to prove his worth.  In his first full season two years later, he went 18-6, finished third in National League Cy Young Award voting and, with the help of rotation mate Kerry Wood, put the Cubs one win away from the World Series.  Prior's last start in that 2003 season came during the infamous Steve Bartman incident in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series, when a 23-year-old Prior carried a shutout against the Marlins into the eighth inning before everything collapsed at Wrigley Field.  That night, the curse continued for the Cubs, who last went to the World Series in 1945.

Soon after, a different curse made its way to Prior.  He went on the disabled list on six separate occasions, four of those times because of right arm issues, from 2003-06, then had major shoulder surgery each of the following two seasons and never pitched.  Then, after working his way back from a second arduous rehab, Prior almost called it quits in April 2009, when he suffered another setback in his second season with the Padres and was lost for the year yet again.

"He was ready to do it," said agent John Boggs, who has represented Prior his entire pro career.  "He was ready to throw in the towel.  He said, 'I guess this is it.'  That's when we talked."

Surgery wasn't an option at that point, so Boggs recalls telling Prior to give rehab another shot, except this time, to go about it slowly, make sure everything is right and return on his own terms.  No more schedules, no more deadlines.  "Any time people laid out a timeline and he didn't meet the timeline, it was a feeling as though he had failed," Boggs said.  "From the onset, what we came together on, based on all the adversity he had, was that we're going to throw away the timelines."

In September, after being released by the Padres, Prior methodically began the process of working his way back under the much-needed solace of an empty campus where he was once hailed as a legend: the University of Southern California.  This time, there would be no fanfare, no real outside interest and, thus, no pressure.

At first, Prior couldn't successfully throw the ball 20 feet.  But he slowly climbed the ladder and became someone Boggs now calls "the poster child of perseverance."  "It was good to get back out there," Prior said.  "I really had to start from the basics and really build a foundation for my shoulder to kind of work its way back up to where it was ready to go and ready to handle that intensity and workload."

After holding a tryout in front of a handful of skeptical scouts, Prior signed with the nearby Orange County Flyers in August and put up a very captivating stat line: one unearned run, 22 strikeouts and five walks in 11 innings.  Along the way, he regained confidence in his arm, established a better routine and got his passion for baseball back.

"That month, five weeks that I spent in independent ball, with the guys and the team, it was about as much fun as I've had playing baseball in my entire career, and I mean dating back to high school and college," Prior said.  "I think getting that taste of competition again really just kind of reaffirmed that I really want to play."

The Yankees had been trying to sign Prior the last two or three years, and they finally did in mid-December, on a deal that includes an invitation to Spring Training and the possibility to make as much as $1.5 million in 2011.  They're not looking at Prior as any sort of savior or even a guaranteed piece to their bullpen.  They just felt he was someone worth taking a shot on.  Nothing more, nothing less.

"I caught Mark Prior a long, long time ago, and he was special when I caught him," Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who was with the Cubs during Prior's rookie year in 2002, said last month.  "It's an opportunity for him to get back to where he was.  I know he knows how to pitch, and I know he knows how to work. We just have to see how he's physically doing."

Prior's velocity is slower, from mid-90s to low-90s, his delivery is shorter and his arm can't sustain the workload of a starter.  "But I still have late life," Prior contested.  "I still have a good breaking ball, when it's sharp, it's got good tilt."  Still, he'll admit this much: "I don't know if I'll ever be that guy that I was in '03."

For that, some have blamed mechanics.  Others, though not Prior, have questioned the amount of innings he threw at such a young age.  And many will simply chalk it up to bad luck.

Why me?  Prior doesn't know, and he stopped asking because, as he put it, "I just realized I wasn't getting the answer."  So he started looking forward instead.

"I think all things have worked out for a reason, and I'm very content and very happy with where my career is," Prior said.  "Would I have liked it to have been maybe down a different road?  Absolutely.  Was that my dream and vision early on in my career?  Absolutely.  But I'm very happy with where I'm at right now, and I'm ready to kind of take the next step forward in what my career is going to be."


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     Mr. Prior said, I don't need to know why I'm getting hurt; I just need to know how to get healthy, and that was the answer I was searching for."

     For Mr. Prior to get healthy, he has to understand why he was getting hurt.

     Mr. Prior's agent, John Boggs said, "Any time people laid out a timeline and he didn't meet the timeline, it was a feeling as though he had failed.  From the onset, what we came together on, based on all the adversity he had, was that we're going to throw away the timelines."

     Mr. Boggs is absolutely correct.  Rehabilitation takes whatever time it takes.  Until baseball pitchers have the skills they need and the fitness to pitch every day without discomfort, they should not even think about competitively pitching.

     Mr. Prior said, "I really had to start from the basics and really build a foundation for my shoulder to kind of work its way back up to where it was ready to go and ready to handle that intensity and workload."

     I am very interested in how Mr. Prior trained.  Unless he has learned how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, I have concern for Mr. Prior.

     One thing that I know for sure, for Mr. Prior to work again for Mr. Rothchild will not help him.

     As Mr. Sullivan wrote, "Who wouldn't be excited about returning to get more advice from one of the guys who destroyed his arm in the first place."

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039.  Information on 10 year old's pitching

My husband and I recently saw you on MLB network.

We have 2 boys who are very involved in baseball at 9 and 10.  They both are on travel teams and both pitch occasionally.  Our concern is with our 10 year old son who will be 11 on March 20 of this year.  He plays centerfield and occasionally pitches.  He complains of pain in his elbow.  After pitching, his arm may be swollen for a week or two afterward.

We saw his pediatrician.  We tried heat cold therapy and Aleve.  His pediatrician ordered X-rays and we were told that they came out normal.

After hearing you on TV, I am concerned that he may have done something wrong to his arm.  I know that you can submit X-rays for your opinion specifically within 2 weeks of their birthdays, but I’m wondering if you could give me an opinion on his X-rays from November.

We are getting ready to start into the baseball season here again and, although he doesn’t pitch every game, he does love to play the game and I’m concerned that even throwing the ball from center field at this point could be bad for him.


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     The concern with nine and ten year old youth baseball pitchers is the development of the growth plates in their pitching elbow.  Unfortunately, because these injuries take time to appear, such as premature closure, they are difficult to quantify.

     At ten years old, the olecranon process at the elbow end of the Ulna bone of the forearm is all cartilage.  What will eventually become their lateral epicondyle has not begun to develop.  This means that these growth plates are at their most critical development stage.

     If you click on Baseball Pitching Instructional Video on my home page and open my 05. X-rays of Youth Baseball Pitchers file, then you will see X-rays of what competitive youth baseball pitching does to these growth plates.

     To help you understand the developmental timeline for these growth plates, I will explain the biological ages associated with these growth plates.

01.  At biological age eleven, the ossification center for the olecranon process appears.

02.  At biological age twelve, the ossification center for the lateral epicondyle appears.

03.  At biological age thirteen, the growth plates at the elbow end of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm completely mature.

04.  At biological age fourteen, the growth plate for the lateral epicondyle completely matures.

05.  At biological age fifteen, the growth plate for the olecranon process completely matures.

06.  At biological age sixteen, the growth plates for the head of the Radius bone of the pitching forearm and the medial epicondyle completely matures.

     The point is, until youth baseball pitchers are biologically sixteen years old, baseball pitching can permanently alter their growth plates.

     This is why I recommend that, until youth baseball pitchers are biologically thirteen years old, they do not competitively pitch at all.  Instead, these youth baseball pitchers should take this time to master the skills of baseball pitching that they will need to succeed when their growth plates can tolerate the stress.

     This means that, until youth baseball pitchers are biologically thirteen years old, I recommend that they complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.  In this program, youth baseball pitchers will learn the drills that I use to teach the skills of my injury-free baseball pitching motion and the variety of baseball pitches that they will need to succeed.

     Then, when youth baseball pitchers are biologically thirteen years old, I recommend that they competitively pitch for two consecutive months per year and, with four months between to learn other sport and recreational skills, repeat 60-Day program.

     Then, when youth baseball pitchers are biologically sixteen years old, I recommend that they complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program and, with two months between, competitively pitch for four consecutive months.

     I volunteer to read X-rays of both elbows of youth baseball pitchers to help parents and youth baseball pitchers to safely master the skills of baseball pitching, not to assess the damage they do.

     Therefore, instead of getting ready to start into the baseball season, I suggest that you and your sons complete my 60-Day program and leave pitching until they are biologically thirteen years old and have mastered my baseball pitching motion and the variety of pitches I teach.

     If your sons learn my one step crow-hop body action and the throwing arm action that I teach, then they will not injure their growth plates throwing the baseball from center field.

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040.  Query

1.  In your answer to question 17 in your 2011 Question and Answer file, you wrote that you are spending considerable instructional effort on teaching your baseball batting trainees to "hook with their rear arm."

Will please explain what it means for baseball batters to "hook" with the rear arm?

2.  Although I am sure it depends somewhat on the talent and skill of each batter, how much of your swing do batters complete when taking a pitch, that is, not swinging?

I am trying to visualize a snapshot image of this, and reckon your baseball batters should complete the subtle reversion rotation, stride and rotation of the back foot on every pitch, regardless if it results in a swing or not.

3.  There are many baseball batting self-proclaimed experts these days who say baseball batters can achieve additive properties to the swing's energy by "winding" or "stretching" the upper against the lower body, creating "resistance" between the halves that will eventually be broken by momentum, or something, causing the barrel of the bat to accelerate suddenly and with more speed than if such a technique were not utilized.

Is this quackery, or is there something to it?


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01.  In Question/Answer #17 of my 2011 Question/Answer file, I wrote, "At this point, with their inappropriate attempts to level the bat, straighten their front arm, hook with their rear arm, block with their front leg and so on, we still have a lot of work to do."

     When I wrote, "their inappropriate attempts," I was saying that they were not doing what I want them to do.  I do not want my baseball batters to 'level their bat,' 'straighten their front arm,' 'hook with their rear arm' or 'block with their front leg.'

     a.  Instead of leveling their bat, I want my baseball batters to keep the center of mass of their baseball bat above their hands.

     b.  Instead of straightening their front arm, I want my baseball batters to keep their front arm tightly bent.

     c.  Instead of flaring their rear elbow and hooking the baseball bat around their body, I want my baseball batters to drive the center of mass of the baseball bat straight toward and through the pitched baseball.

     d.  Instead of using their front foot to apply force toward the baseball pitchers, I want my baseball pitchers to use their front foot to satisfy Newton's law of reaction.

02.  I teach my baseball pitchers to start and stop their baseball bat with their rear arm.  Therefore, unless my baseball pitchers decide that they should 'punch' their rear arm at the pitched baseball, on every pitch, my baseball pitchers do everything except start their swing.

03.  Quackery.  As with baseball pitching, baseball batters should drive the entire rear arm side of their body through contact with the pitched baseball.

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041.  Blue Jays claim Ledezma off waivers from Bucs
MLB.com
January 5, 2011

The Blue Jays announced on Wednesday afternoon afternoon that it had claimed left-handed reliever Wil Ledezma off waivers from the Pirates.  The Venezuela native struggled in the Majors this past season, going 0-3 with a 6.86 ERA in 27 appearances for Pittsburgh, but did do well at Triple-A Indianapolis, where he posted a 0.94 ERA in 35 appearances.

Ledezma, who also pitched in the Venezuelan Winter League this off-season, hasn't played in the American League since 2007, but he spent the first four-plus years of his career in the AL with the Tigers.  Ledezma, who turns 30 later this month, is 15-25 with a 5.26 ERA in 187 career appearances, 40 of them starts.


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     According to my stats guy, Brad Sullivan, in his 27 appearances with the Pirates last year, Mr. Ledezma pitched 19 2/3 innings.  In those 19 2/3 innings, Mr. Ledezma lost three games and gave up 6.86 runs per nine innings.

     With an earned run average of 6.86, I cannot understand how Mr. Ledezma lost three games.  With an earned run average of 6.86, Mr. Ledezma should never pitching in a game where the Pirates were ahead.  Therefore, that the manager put Mr. Ledezma in games where the Pirates had leads tells me that either Mr. Ledezma gave up some cheap runs or the general manager wanted to humiliate and destroy Mr. Ledezma.

     How Mr. Ledezma pitched in Triple-A may give us a clue.  If Mr. Ledezma pitched in Indianapolis after he pitched in Pittsburg, then that he had a 0.94 earned run average in 35 appearances indicate that Mr. Ledezma is talented.  Therefore, the Pirates manager put him in games that the Pirates were ahead and Mr. Ledezma gave up runs that lost the game indicates cheap runs.

     That the Blue Jays claimed Mr. Ledezma off waivers indicates that they believe that Mr. Ledezma has talent.

     Nevertheless, Mr. Ledezma needs something, probably a reverse breaking pitch, to become a quality major league baseball pitcher.

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042.  Bailey staying focused during rehab: A's closer remains patient in return from elbow surgery
MLB.com
January 06, 2011

OAKLAND, CA:  Andrew Bailey's ascension into the big leagues is no ordinary tale.  That's why his story, struggling Double-A starter turned Arizona Fall League phenom turned Spring Training sensation turned American League Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star closer, has been told time and time again.

Bailey relishes and appreciates his good fortune, no doubt.  But he's ready to illustrate a new chapter, one that builds on those that came before.  And so, the first step in jump-starting that process is getting healthy.  The A's right-hander was shut down two weeks before the end of the 2010 campaign to undergo cleanup surgery on his previously repaired right elbow, and he was recently cleared to begin throwing again.

Such progression has Bailey on track to regain the club's closer role by Opening Day.  Before then, though, he has to clear multiple hurdles, including throwing from 120 feet pain-free so that his doctors can essentially release him into Oakland's care again.  Thursday marked his final day at 60 feet, and Bailey's intent on reaching the 120-foot mark at or around the time pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to camp February 12 in Phoenix.

"I'm actually surprised about how good I feel, in terms of my extension," Bailey said by phone Thursday while driving home from a workout with teammate Craig Breslow in Connecticut.  "I was at a negative-25 degree extension before surgery, and I was pitching like that for three years, and now I'm below 10 degrees.  I've never seen my arm go that straight, which is a good thing."

With rehab comes patience, both with which Bailey is familiar.  The 26-year-old righty underwent Tommy John surgery while in college, a time during which he spent a year away from game action.  He's hoping to begin throwing off the mound and taking part in long toss not too long after his Arizona arrival, but at the same time realizes he can't create his own timetable for such things.

"You pick up a baseball and think, 'I don't even know what to do with this.  How am I ever going to pitch again?'" he said.  "Going through Tommy John and knowing what it took to overcome that, with a year of rehab, a couple months this time around weren't really anything.  Knowing that a lot of guys have had the procedure I've had done, you can't be paranoid about it because it will ruin your experience and give you a bad mindset going into everyday rehab and the throwing program.  I was always open-minded through the process and want to push the limits but not overdo it."

The 24-year-old version of Bailey would've already surpassed the limit.  That's because he would have been fighting for a job.  This time around, he's got the security, as well as the support from the A's organization, particularly Ron Romanick, former bullpen coach and current pitching coach.

"I spoke to Romanick today," Bailey said, "and he told me, 'You don't have to come into camp like you did a couple years ago where you had to impress and come full bore and game-ready.  Once you get to Spring Training, you still have a month and a half to be game-ready.  You don't have to come throwing your hardest.  Just do what you need to do to come ready for Spring Training.'

"We'll be working together over the next couple of weeks as I get out to greater distances.  We'll be in contact weekly.  He is a true student of the game, a student of the throwing programs.  He's always modifying rehab programs and making it comfortable for each and every person.  It's great.  It's comforting to know you have someone working hard on the other side of things to make sure that you're healthy enough to be on the field and play the game."

Bailey's late-season elbow injury marked his second time being sidelined in 2010, as he missed nearly a month while stationed on the disabled list with a right intercostal strain beginning in late July.  Both setbacks meant he was not afforded the chance to match or surpass his save total of 26 garnered in his rookie season.  Yet, Bailey still managed to compile a 1.47 ERA, 25 saves and a 0.96 WHIP in 47 appearances.

Personal accolades and numbers are all well and good, but Bailey is ready to prioritize his dreams.  He made it to the big leagues, glided through his rookie year and avoided the sophomore slump with a second straight All-Star appearance.

"It's about winning the division and everything that comes after that," he said.  "That becomes the dream and hopefully the reality.  "I'm at a point where I'm not over the awe of being in the big leagues, because I don't think that will ever go away.  But I think I've come to terms with this being my job and understanding that this is going to be my livelihood.  I want it to be my livelihood, and the work and dedication that I put into that is important.

"Instead of just thinking I made it to the big leagues and it's a dream come true, the dream is still there, of course, you realize it's a job, but making it to the playoffs and winning the World Series, those are the dreams you start to think about instead of just getting to the big leagues."

"For myself, I'd like to stay healthy the whole year and build on what we did last year," Bailey said.  "With the bullpen guys we had last year, I think we can come back and do the same, if not better, with everyone healthy."

While overcoming a slew of injuries, the A's bullpen still performed admirably in 2010.  Oakland's relief corps ranked third in the AL in save percentage (74.5 percent) and fourth in inherited runners to score (27.1 percent).  Bailey was around plenty to aide in those numbers, but not enough for his liking.

"Hopefully all my injuries are behind me," he said.  "I've done a lot this off-season to get myself into good shape.  It always stinks when you have to have an arm injury, but going into this year with a clean bill of health, I'm excited about all of the possibilities."


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     Two weeks before the end of the 2010 season, Mr. Bailey had surgery cleanup his pitching elbow.

     Before his 'cleanup' surgery, Mr. Bailey had a negative 25 degree pitching elbow extension range of motion.  After his 'cleanup' surgery, Mr. Bailey has only a negative 10 degrees.

     Mr. Bailey said, "I was pitching like that (negative 25 degree pitching elbow) for three years.  I've never seen my arm go that straight."

     After my 1967 season, I had a negative 12 degree pitching elbow.  To find out why that happened, I took X-rays and high-speed film of my baseball pitching motion.  I determined that supinating the release of my slider caused me to bang the bones in the back of my pitching elbow and that banging the bones in the back of my pitching elbow together calcified the hyaline cartilage in the olecranon fossa of the Humerus bone of my pitching upper arm.  As a result, I could not straighten my pitching elbow.

     If what Mr. Bailey is true, then this surgery removed at least some of the calcified hyaline cartilage in the olecranon fossa of the Humerus bone in his pitching upper arm or removed a piece of lodged hyaline cartilage.

     From what little I know about bone development, I do not believe that this is possible.  My understanding is that if surgeons removed calcified hyaline cartilage from the olecranon fossa, to heal the insult to the olecranon fossa, then, in its place, the bone's osteoblast cells would build more bone in its place.

     When orthopedic surgeons 'cleanup' pitching elbows, they remove the pieces of loose hyaline cartilage that are lodged or floating in the joint.  If a lodged piece of hyaline cartilage prevented Mr. Bailey from fully extending his pitching elbow and surgeons removed it, then Mr. Bailey would regain whatever range of motion that that piece of hyaline cartilage prevented.

     I would love to read the surgical report.

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043.  Yankees pursue Justin Duchscherer
ESPN.com
January 11, 2011

The New York Yankees, still in the market for pitching help, are stepping up their pursuit of free agent Justin Duchscherer, a baseball source told ESPN.com.  Duchscherer, 33, has a career record of 33-25 with a 3.13 ERA in eight seasons with the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers.  He made the American League All-Star team as a reliever with Oakland in 2005 and again as a starter in 2008.

Duchscherer, who suffered from clinical depression during his time in Oakland and ultimately overcame his struggles, has thrown only 28 innings over the past two seasons because of a variety of injuries.  The Yankees have recently been linked to Jeremy Bonderman and Jeff Francis, two other free agents who, like Duchscherer, are coming back from injuries that disrupted promising careers.


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     I believe that formerly successful injured major league baseball pitchers are well-worth the time and money to rehabilitate.  However, nobody correctly rehabilitates them.

     The critical issue in rehabilitating injured baseball pitchers is to eliminate the injurious flaw that caused their injury.  Until injured baseball pitchers eliminate their injurious flaws, no amount of throwing, weight-lifting, stretching or anything else will help.

     If some major league team were serious about mining this gold mine, then I would be happy to show them how to do it.  I am certain that a majority of formerly successful injured major league baseball pitchers could return to their previous abilities and master additional pitches that would make them more successful.

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044.  McClure tasked with retooling Royals' staff
MLB.com
January 12, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO:  Bob McClure's sixth season as the Royals' pitching coach will be his first without Zack Greinke on the staff.  It's a loss, of course, because McClure had a big role in Greinke's Cy Young Award season of 2009.  "I'll miss him," McClure said.  "When you've been around somebody as long as we've been around each other and gone through a lot of things, ups and downs, goods and bads, part of you is kind of missing."

But McClure, who broke in as a pitcher with the Royals in 1975, has been around long enough to know that's the way baseball goes.  And he's eagerly looking ahead to Spring Training where he'll refurbish a pitching staff and sort through a glorious glut of hot young prospects.  "We're just starting the era where the farm organization is coming into its own," McClure said, "and now it's up to the kids.  It's up to them to show what they could do, 'Hey, we're here to win championships.'"

The Royals' Minor League system has been surging with notable successes, including titles the last three years at the Double-A level with Northwest Arkansas and in the previous two years with Class A teams.  "Some of them, all they've done is win in the Minor Leagues.  They're used to winning," McClure said.  "When I was with Kansas City when I first started, that's how it was with us.  So when we came to the big leagues with Kansas City, we were already used to winning.  You take the game differently, you take losses differently because you're not used to that.  You don't accept that and you keep pushing harder.  So a lot of these kids are coming from winning attitudes, so their expectations should be high."

Coming to the Major League camp are Aaron Crow, Everett Teaford, Danny Duffy, John Lamb, Mike Montgomery, Blaine Hardy and others with high potential.  Some of them might have a shot at the starting rotation with Greinke traded to Milwaukee, Brian Bannister headed for Japan, Bruce Chen still a free agent and Gil Meche switching to the bullpen.  Others could fit into the bullpen.  "Last I counted, and there may be more by now, there are at least 11 that we're bringing in that have a chance to make the ballclub," McClure said.  "If you come in and show us poise and maturity and accuracy, you've got as good a chance as anybody.  You've got to be good, competitive and able to do what you're supposed to be doing to make this club.  Very few guys now that you can say are sure things, there are four or five of them and that's it.  There are possibly six or seven openings."

There are 19 pitchers on the 40-man roster and 13 more invited to camp as non-roster players.  The Royals still are sifting through the market place for pitchers, preferably starters, but for now, the rotation presumably includes Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies, Vin Mazzaro and Sean O'Sullivan.

1.  When the first official workout is held on February 15 in Surprise, AZ, Hochevar would stand in the No. 1 spot although he was only 6-6 last season, making just 17 starts because of a lingering elbow ailment.  He's had an odd career, with some big-inning blastings tempered by tantalizing games of sheer brilliance.  "I thought it was happening just before he got hurt," McClure said.  "He was starting to dominate more consistently.  He was getting to the point where 'Here it comes.'"

2.  Davies, still battling fastball control issues (80 walks, fifth most in the league), seemed to make progress late in the season.  "I think he got to 180 innings, and there were some spurts where he had us in some games and he had a chance to win a lot more games than he did [eight]," McClure said.

3.  Mazzaro came from the Athletics in the deal for outfielder David DeJesus, and McClure said:  "He's got a chance to be a pretty good pitcher.  He's shown sparks of being real good at times with Oakland."

4.  O'Sullivan, obtained from the Angels for third baseman Alberto Callaspo, was 3-6 with a 6.11 ERA after joining the Royals and gave up 14 home runs in 14 games.  "He's got to pitch at the bottom of the zone more at that velocity.  To change eye levels is OK, but you can't pitch up there all the time," McClure said.  "You throw too many balls up there at 91 mph, let me tell you something, you ain't gonna be able to use those balls anymore.  You don't get those back."

"The only way that you really learn is being able to get out there and play," McClure said.  "It's always tough when you lose a No. 1 guy that's been around and knows what he's doing.  It's tough at first, but it's a great chance for these kids to see what they can do."

There'll be a lot of that in Royals camp this year, especially on the mound.  "I'm going to do my best to organize them in a fashion where we get to see them all pitch enough," McClure said.  "That's the main thing, get 'em in there, get their feet wet, get 'em some innings, and with the ones that it looks like it's going to happen, you continue pitching them."

The kids that fall behind will be backed off and eased over into the Minor League camp, which begins later.  "I don't know who's ahead of who right now," he said.  "I really don't.  I've got to see them in person and see them live against hitters at this level."


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     Mr. McClure is the Royals major league baseball pitching coach.

     I do not know who is the Royals minor league baseball pitching coordinator.

     Nevertheless, to me, the person that makes the decision of which minor league baseball pitchers are ready to pitch major league baseball is the minor league baseball pitching coordinator.

     That the Royals do not have major league baseball pitchers ready to step into their starting rotation shows that they did not have the three best minor league starters from 2009 pitching one time through the lineup twice a week during their 2010 season.

     Of the four baseball pitchers that the Royals are considering for their starting staff; Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies, Vin Mazzaro and Sean Sullivan, only Mr. Hochevar and Mr. Davis pitched for them in 2010 and neither should be their top three starters.

     Whoever is the Royals minor league baseball pitcher coordinator has not done his job.

     Nevertheless, instead of throwing the Royals three best minor league baseball pitchers into situations for which they are not prepared, they should have them pitch one time through the line-up twice a week.

     With Mr. Hochevar, Mr. Davies, Mr. Mazzaro and Mr. Sullivan getting their butts hammered, these three best minor league baseball pitchers will learn what they need to be able to do to successfully pitch major league baseball pitchers.

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045.  WW exercises

My son is on day 10 of his 3rd year of the 60 day program.  He is using 2.5 lb WW.  The 2.5 lb WW do not appear to be providing enough resistance.  Should he go to 5lb WW?  He is 11 YO.


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     On his eleventh birthday, I determined that your son's biological age was eleven and one-half years old . Six months later, I believe that his biological age is at least twelve years old.

     Therefore, if, during the first fifteen days, your son slightly decreases his intensity, then should be able to increase his wrist weights to five pounds without injuriously stressing the growth plates in his elbows.

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046.  Hitting Report

I can't seem to find the compilation of your hitting ideas on your web site anymore.  I thought it was in your special reports file.  Did you remove it from your web site?


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     My Baseball Batting Instructional Video will replace it.

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047.  Tigers, Penny come to terms on one-year deal
MLB.com
January 12, 2011

DETROIT, MI:  The Tigers and Brad Penny have agreed to terms on a one-year contract, MLB.com has learned.  The deal is pending a physical.  The one-year deal, first reported by Foxsports.com, is reportedly worth $3 million in base salary, plus incentives that could add on another $3 million.  The Tigers have a policy of not confirming an agreement until a physical is completed.

Penny tweeted on Monday night that he was "getting closer to finding my new home.  Should know by the end of the day."  He did not tweet which team, but a source later confirmed that he has decided on the Tigers.  By Tuesday afternoon, he was already in the fold.  "Thanks everyone for all the positive messages," Penny tweeted.  "Go Tigers."

The possibility of Penny in Detroit seemed dim on Monday, when the team released the list of non-roster invitees who were expected to finalize its Spring Training roster.  Detroit's chances at adding a starting pitcher abruptly improved on Monday evening, when Penny closed in on a decision.

The Tigers' interest in Penny has been known since last month.  They also had been linked to free-agent starters Jeremy Bonderman, who pitched for Detroit the past eight years, and Freddy Garcia, but always appeared more focused on Penny.  Talks never progressed far on Garcia or Bonderman.

Penny, who has seen his Twitter following more than double since the beginning of the year, ranked among the better free agents left on the market in these final weeks of the off-season.  He certainly has a familiarity factor in the Detroit front office.  President/general manager Dave Dombrowski gave Penny his first shot in the big leagues more than a decade ago as GM of the Florida Marlins, who acquired Penny from Arizona in a trade for Matt Mantei in 1999 and put him in their rotation a year later.

Since then, the right-hander has spent all but 24 starts of his 11-year career in the National League, including nine solid starts last year with the Cardinals before a strained right lat and back issues in late May persisted into a season-ending injury.

Penny, who had signed with St. Louis on a one-year deal and worked with renowned pitching coach Dave Duncan, ran off a string of seven quality starts to begin what ended up being a lost season.  He finished with a 3-4 record and 3.23 ERA, averaging better than six innings per start.

Penny's lone American League experience was a stretch in 2009 with the Red Sox, for whom he posted a 7-8 record and 5.21 ERA before getting his release and promptly finding his form in a late-season stint for the Giants.

Still, as long as he's healthy, there are good reasons to believe the 32-year-old is more than an NL pitcher with AL struggles.  First, the AL experience was less than a full season in Boston, with a hitter-friendly home ballpark and a selection of formidable lineups in the AL East.  His .487 slugging percentage allowed with the Red Sox was by far the highest of his career, while his .838 OPS allowed in the same stretch was 97 points above his career number in that category.

Just as important, at this point in his career and coming off injury, he fits the profile of a low-risk/high-reward signing that fits the Tigers' needs.  Dombrowski said last week that any signing the Tigers made would most likely be with a one-year contract.  That would especially follow for starting pitching as long as they hold on to top prospects Andy Oliver and Jacob Turner, both of whom could be ready for the big leagues by season's end and compete for rotation spots in 2012.

The deal with Penny is expected to finish the Tigers' off-season dealings.  Detroit is believed to be set with its position players, including invitees, barring an unforeseen development.  They briefly had interest in Fred Lewis earlier this off-season as a reserve outfielder, but talks never progressed.


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     I remember how glowingly Mr. Penny talked about the 'Pathomechanics' program that the Boston Red Sox have and how they would end his injury problem.

     As this article chronicles, when Mr. Penny pitched for the Boston Red Sox, he suffered his worst season only to pitch well for the Giants at the end of that season.

     Mr. Penny did very well early with the Cardinals, but, after seven starts, lower back pain and an alledged Latissimus Dorsi injury ended his season.

     As my stats guy, Brad Sullivan reminded me, the Tigers are Mr. Penny's fifth team in the past four seasons.

     Mr. Penny has a way of being just good enough to keep teams interested, but always suffers mysteriously non-quantifiable injuries.

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048.  Howell aiming for early-season return to 'pen
MLB.com
January 12, 2011

The Rays' bullpen may have taken a hit this off-season with the departure of several key relievers, but it could get a major arm back sooner rather than later in rehabbing left-hander J.P. Howell.  Howell, who was at Tropicana Field on Wednesday as part of the club's Winter Development Program for Minor Leaguers, is making strong progress in his rehab from left shoulder (labrum) surgery last May.  Howell will be working at a decreased workload in Spring Training, but believes he can be ready as early as late April.

"They want me to go down [to the Minors] and get my feet on the ground, I'm sure," Howell said.  "If it was up to me, I'd be with them out of the gates.  I feel like I can, but they've done this rodeo before and I haven't, so they're kind of holding my hand along the way.  If it was up to me, obviously I'd be there Opening Day.  Me being healthy and pushy, I think late April; if they get their way, mid-May."

Leading up to Spring Training, Howell is putting in the hours to get back on the mound as soon as possible.  So far, it's yielded positive reports and the workouts haven't yielded any setbacks despite pushing himself at times.

"It's actually a lot easier now," Howell said. "When I got here in early January, it's Monday-Wednesday-Friday throw days, Monday-Friday bullpen, and [now] I'm doing a lot of maintaining and shoulder workouts.  I'm putting in legs and back, and just maintaining everything.

"I'm throwing about 75 percent; sometimes I'll bump it up to 90 on about five throws to see.  So far, it's all been good."  Howell, who has gained 25-30 pounds since last season, suggested he feels better than he did in 2008 or '09 now that his shoulder is finally feeling healthy.  "Everything feels good," he said. "I haven't had any setbacks, and that's a big deal."


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     So, the Tampa Bay Rays rehabilitation program for Labrum surgery is:

1.  Have pitchers throw on Monday-Wednesday-Friday with Monday-Friday bullpens.

2.  Do a lot of maintaining and shoulder workouts.

3.  Maintain the legs and back.

     Mr. Howell did say anything about eliminating the injurious flaw that injured his Labrum?

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049.  Rays close to one-year deal with Farnsworth
MLB.com
January 12, 2011

The Rays are trying to rebuild their bullpen, and they are getting close to a one-year contract with Kyle Farnsworth, according to a baseball source.  The deal would be worth $3.25 million.

Tampa Bay's bullpen has taken a hit in the off-season as Joaquin Benoit, Randy Choate and Dan Wheeler have left for other teams via free agency.  Rafael Soriano and Grant Balfour remain free agents.

Farnsworth went 3-0 with a 2.42 ERA in 37 appearances with the Royals last season before being traded to the Braves, with whom he struggled.  He went 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 23 games with Atlanta, which won the National League Wild Card.

Besides Farnsworth, the Rays signed right-hander Joel Peralta in the off-season to help replenish the 'pen.


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     The Tampa Bay Rays lost Joaquin Benoit, Randy Choate, Dan Wheeler, Rafael Soriano and Grant Balfour to free agency.

     What a wonderful system.  Teams spend years developing players and, when they have matured into major league players, other teams take them.

     In exchange for eliminating free agency and salary arbitration, if only major league baseball agreed to have the Major League Baseball Players Association distribute salaries to its members, then teams could keep the players they sign and develop.

     Without major league teams spending one penny more than they presently do for player salaries, the money that the players receive would increase by the amount of money players presently pay their agents.  That would be about five percent of the players salary pool or around 400 million dollars.

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050.  Belisle avoids arbitration by inking one-year deal
MLB.com
January 12, 2011

DENVER, CO:  Rockies right-handed pitcher Matt Belisle avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.35 million contract.  A source with knowledge of the deal confirmed SI.com's report on Wednesday night.

Belisle, 30, was a workhorse reliever for the Rockies last season, appearing in a career-high 76 games and going 7-5 with a 2.93 ERA.  He racked up 8.98 strikeouts per nine innings. Belisle will go into 2011 as a key right-handed reliever, part of a right-handed setup triumvirate that also includes Matt Lindstrom and Rafael Betancourt.


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     My stats guy tells me that Mr. Belisle averaged about about 1 1/3 innings per appearance.

     I noticed that Mr. Belisle won seven games.  That means that either Mr. Belisle gave up tying runs and his team scored winning runs or Mr. Belisle pitched in tie games.

     If the seven wins came from pitching closing innings in tie games, then Mr. Belisle deserves more credit than guys that start ninth innings with leads and get three outs.

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051.  Save statistic could be more meaningful than current formula
MLB.com
January 12, 2011

The past 16 seasons have reaffirmed what all of us knew and many of us have repeated, that records live in peril.  They are displaced from time to time.  Two Yankees icons, Mr. Gehrig and Mr. Ruth, have been toppled, the Iron Horse by another workaholic, and the Babe by a player whose very mention stirs ambivalence in most of those who treasure the game and its history and the integrity of the record book.

Who's to say another Yankees icon won't fall?  All we need is a player with the combination of talent, stamina, durability, nerve, focus and ability to block out all the poop and circumstance that would develop were he to approach Mr. DiMaggio's 56.  But Pete Rose is retired.

At the same time, we now can anticipate a current icon of the Bronx establishing a career record that someone is bound to classify as untouchable if it does come to pass.  The retirement of Trevor Hoffman allows us to calculate what is required of Mariano Rivera to become the all-time leaders in saves.

The Yankees' No. 42 needs 42 saves to equal Hoffman's record total.  Based on his six most recent seasons, which include two saves totals greater than 42, Rivera probably will need to pitch into 2012 to exceed Hoffman's 601, so he would be 42 when, and if, it happens.  But enough numerology.

Rivera doesn't need another inning, much less another save, to be considered one of the elite closers of all time.  In my mind, the elite include only Mo, Eck and Sutter (More numerology: Uniform Nos. 42, 43 and 42, respectively).  Then come Rollie Fingers, John Smoltz, Rich Gossage, Hoffman, Billy Wagner, Dan Quisenberry, Sparky Lyle, Lee Smith, Jonathon Papelbon, Dick Radatz, Tug McGraw, John Franco, Randy Myers, Francisco Rodriguez, Jeff Reardon, Dave Righetti and Robb Nen in some order.

Of those 20 men, four have been inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Rivera will make it five if he ever winds down and retires.  He's automatic.  If a sixth, strong closer candidate exists, it's Smoltz.  But his work as a starter and as a most formidable postseason force would make him a hybrid Hall of Famer, like Eck.

Then who?  Because Hoffman put his total well beyond the reach of so many other acclaimed closers and was the first to push past 600, he will attract votes.  Wagner might too because of the velocity he maintained throughout his career, even after elbow surgery, his performance and all he overcame.

Smith has six years of eligibility remaining.  Depending on the other names on the 2012-17 ballots, he has a fighting Blyleven chance.

No other closer with eligibility remaining, that includes active pitchers, appears to be anything better than a Hall of Fame wannabe.  And the one-and-done candidacies of John Franco (424 saves), Jeff Reardon (367), Randy Myers (347), John Wetteland (330), Rick Aguilera (318), Nen (314), Tom Henke (311), Jeff Montgomery (304) and Doug Jones (303) make the pending candidacies of K-Rod, Joe Nathan, Papelbon and their contemporaries appear rather compromised.

Franco, disappointed by his showing in the voting results announced last week, made an intriguing remark:  "Anyone who has the fourth-most of anything, hits, RBIs, wins, saves, you figure it had to mean something."

Franco's 424 saves are the fourth-most overall and the most by a left-handed pitcher.  Only Hoffman, Rivera and Smith have more than 424.  Yet Franco was named on merely 4.6 percent of the ballots cast by the voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Not knowing the reasons why he was omitted from 95.4 percent of the ballots, I only can assume voters found more fault with the saves rule than with Franco.  I certainly do.  The save is the most flawed and fickle of the statistics we regularly use.  Even with Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee doing what they can to restore the complete game to our consciousness, saves are as much a part of the game as innings.

A dichotomy exists in the bullpen.  Earning the role of closer is a far greater challenge than earning saves.  And the save is the primary means of assessing a closer's performance.  Blown save opportunities, inherited runner who score and those who don't enter into it, but there is more that can be considered and used to enable us to distinguish between Joe Nathan and Joe NinthInning.

Stuff, command, nerve, moxie and the ability to eliminate bad memories as quickly as an Etch-a-Sketch erases are essential for quality closing.  But achieving the last out on a fly ball to the wall in a three-run game can warrant the same credit, one save, as striking out the 3-4-5 batters with the bases loaded in a 23-22 game with the wind blowing out at Wrigley.

The save rule needs to be amended in a way so we can measure the degree of difficulty or the challenge involved.  Saves ought to be weighted, i.e., a save achieved in a three-run game would be worth one point, a save achieved in a one-run game would be worth three points, a two-run save would warrant two points.

More could be done involving the number of outs required, inherited runners vis-a-vis the score.  But simply weighting the saves, by itself, probably would produce a greater disparity in the save-points totals than the disparity that exists now when 12 closers have between 35 and 45 saves.  So we'd likely see a conspicuous difference between the 33 saves Closer A achieved and the 35 Closer B earned.

When the credibility of saves is the issue, I routinely refer to the Tigers' dreadful 2002 season.  Juan Acevedo, a pitcher with stuff and more stuff and mostly modest results, was the closer.  In a season in which the Tigers won 55 games, Acevedo saved 28.  My sense of it is that if Acevedo could save 28 games with that team, then we shouldn't even discuss save totals until pitchers reach 30.  And when we do discuss, we ought to know the circumstances in which they were achieved.


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     The article says, "Saves ought to be weighted, i.e., a save achieved in a three-run game would be worth one point, a save achieved in a one-run game would be worth three points, a two-run save would warrant two points.

     Weighting saves with degrees of difficulty.  Interesting idea.  I wish that I thought of it.  Oh yeah.  I did.

     What about wins?  Do not closers that pitch with the score tied deserve extra credit?

     Instead of saves, we need to evaluate the difficulty of every inning that closers pitch.

     That way, closer that pitch more closing innings receive the credit they deserve.

     The writer compares closers getting saves for: getting the last out on a fly ball to the wall in a three-run game with striking out the 3-4-5 batters with the bases loaded in a 23-22 game with the wind blowing out at Wrigley.

     I wonder how he would evaluate pitching five shutout innings in Wrigley, getting a hit and scoring from second base on an infield out and winning the game.  What weighting would that performance deserve?

     As the guy that holds many closer records and five top five finishes in the Cy Young Award, including the first closer to win the Cy Young Award, how did this guy not include me in his list of great closers?

     I'm just asking.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, January 23, 2011, I posted the following questions and answers.

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052.  labrum

I read your comment regarding historic come back success after labrum surgery.

I had the surgery and was useless until I started your program 4 years ago.  Now, I throw harder than I did before surgery (90 or better).  It is amazing what your training and methods can over come.

Readers who have had the injury should know that historic patterns will not apply to them if they follow your lead.  No reason to give up hope, unless they stick to their old ways.

And I know of other folks that throw harder now after labrum surgery because they went with your training and mechanics.


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     Thank you for your testimony.

     The Labrum is cartilage that surrounds the Glenoid Fossa.

     Unlike ligaments, the Labrum does not hold bones together.

     Unlike muscles, the Labrum does not move bones.

     The Labrum does not keep the head of the Humerus bone from dislocating from the Glenoid Fossa.

     The Labrum has no structural purpose.

     Therefore, baseball pitchers do not need their Labrum.  That torn Labrums end pitching careers is ridiculous.  Rather than reattaching torn Labrums, orthopedic surgeons should remove torn Labrums.

     However, rather than wait until baseball pitchers tear their Labrums, baseball pitching coaches should teach baseball pitchers how to eliminate the injurious flaw that tears the Labrum.

     To not tear their Labrum, baseball pitchers need to keep the head of their Humerus bone from moving laterally behind and in front of their acromial line.

     Therefore, I teach my baseball pitchers to pendulum swing their pitching upper arm toward second base, such that the Humerus bone aligns with their acromial line, and drive their pitching upper arm straight toward home plate, such that the Humerus bone aligns with their acromial line.

     With this technique, at every moment in my baseball pitching motion, the Humerus bone aligns with the acromial line.

     This means that the head of the Humerus bone never moves anteriorly or posteriorly in the Glenoid Fossa.  Therefore, the head of the Humerus bone never touches the Labrum.  As a result, even baseball pitchers with torn Labrums can pitch without pain or further damage to their Labrum.

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053.  Wind-up with shakedown drill

I have attached a video of my son doing the Wind-up with Shakedown drill.

I appreciate any comments you might have.

Wind-up with Shakedown drill

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     In my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition, I call this drill, Wind-Ups with Shakedowns.  I should call it, Drop Out Wind-Ups with Shakedowns.

     The body position from which I want my baseball pitchers to start this drill is:

01.  The pitching foot is on the pitching rubber.

02.  The glove foot is one step behind the pitching rubber.

03.  Pitchers have their hands together in front of their body at their waist.

04.  The pitchers stand as tall as they can.

     To start the drill, I want my baseball pitchers to drop their pitching hand out of their glove hand down the pitching arm side of their body.

     When their pitching arm is forty-five degrees behind their body, my baseball pitchers should step forward with their glove arm side foot.

     Your son starts the drill with his glove foot in front of his pitching foot.

     Therefore, he waits until his pitching foot is in front of his glove foot to drop his pitching hand out of his glove hand.

     To learn the one step crow-hop pitching rhythm, I want my baseball pitchers to start with their pitching foot on the pitching rubber and their glove foot one step behind the pitching rubber and start their Drop Out Wind-Up with the pitching arm action, not walking forward.

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054.  Wrist Weight drill

I have attached a video of my son doing the Wrist Weight drill.

I appreciate any comments you might have.

Wrist Weight drill

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     Your son does a very nice Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     However, since this is the third years that your son has done my 60-Day program.  I would like to advance this skill.

     Therefore, at the start, instead of pointing his pitching elbow straight forward, I would like your son to point his pitching elbow forty-five degrees to the pitching arm side of home plate.

     Then, when he steps forward with his pitching foot, I want your son to drive his pitching elbow inward toward his head.

     Then, when his pitching elbow points straight forward, I want your son to drive his pitching forearm horizontally straight toward home plate.

     Your son does a nice job of driving his pitching forearm horizontally straight forward with a strong pronation action.

     With this change, your son will learn how to 'Horizontal Pitching Forearm Bounce' his pitching forearm.

     At the beginning, your son should 'horizontally bounce' his pitching forearm gently.  Nevertheless, he should experience some normal training discomfort.

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055.  Iron Ball drill

  My son is having difficulty rotating his body.  Instead, he leans forward.

I appreciate any recommendations you might have.

  Iron Ball drill

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     When your son drives the pitching arm toward home plate, he should simultaneously pull his glove forearm backward and stand tall.

     When I see my baseball pitchers not pulling their glove arm backward and standing tall, I tell them to throw and turn their back to face home plate and arch their back.

     To prevent the ball from coming back at them and hitting them, I have another pitcher catch the ball.

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056.  Bucket lid throw

  My untrained eye really likes this one.  What do you think?

Bucket lid throw

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     To get the lid to sail, my baseball pitchers have to release the lid as close to horizontally as possible.  Your son is releasing the lid vertically.

     Therefore, your son needs to get his pitching forearm more horizontally over his head and lean the line across the top of his shoulders toward his glove side.

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057.  Mark Prior out to pitch in for Yankees as ex-Cubs ace makes comeback after injuries derailed career
New York Daily News
December 26, 2010

On the other end of the phone, Mark Prior chuckles softly.  He knows it must sound strange for him to say, "I'm very happy with where I'm at right now," considering how injuries ravaged his once-golden arm, forcing him into the lonely toil of surgery rehab and the frustrating slog of a comeback attempt that is now more than four years old.

He knows he is no longer one half of "Chicago Heat," which is what Sports Illustrated dubbed him and Kerry Wood when the duo posed for the magazine's cover clutching flaming baseballs back in 2003.  But he once was the game's most promising young pitcher, a Strasburg-esque phenom for his time, years before anyone had heard of Stephen Strasburg.  No more.

"I think a lot of people wonder if I'm bitter," Prior says in a telephone interview from his native San Diego.  "But I'm not.  I'm blessed to have three healthy kids, a loving family and friends.  When I was a rookie, did I have a vision of what my career would be?  Absolutely.  Has it gone that way?  Absolutely not.  But that's life.

"I think I've proved, at least to myself, that I've been able to overcome a lot.  I'm looking forward to this next chapter in my career.  I knew back then that I was getting to the big leagues, but there are no guarantees at this phase.  Now I'm hoping to turn the page and reclaim my baseball career."

His chance at a second act comes with the Yankees, the team that drafted him 43rd overall out of high school in 1998, but failed to sign him.  He went to college instead.  Earlier this winter, the 30-year-old Prior signed a minor-league contract with the Yanks that will pay him $750,000 if he makes the team with the chance to earn $750,000 more in incentives.

The expectations will be greatly tempered, he will not carry the hopes of a beleaguered fan base hungry for its team's first title since 1908, the load he and Wood toted in Chicago.  Nor will there be the hype he received when he came out of USC as one of the greatest college pitchers in history, the No. 2 pick in the 2001 draft who got $10.5 million.

Instead, Prior, who hasn't pitched in the majors since August 10, 2006, will try to make the Yankees in spring training as, of all things, a reliever.  Not so glamorous for a pitcher who was 18-6 for the Cubs in 2003 and finished third in the National League Cy Young voting, helping Chicago reach Game 6 of the NL Championship Series, but enough.

"The endurance of starting, I don't know if that's still in the cards for me," Prior says.  "I'd have to find that out after being healthy for a year or two.  I'm still learning (to pitch in relief), the nuances."

Prior is ready for anything after what he's been through.  He has endured bizarre injuries, he was hurt in a collision running the bases in 2003 and was hit on the pitching elbow by a liner in 2005.  His shoulder trouble started in 2006, leading to the first of two operations, and some blamed his injuries on high pitch counts.

"Did I have a high workload? Yes," Prior says.  "But did I have freak injuries?  Yes.  Did those have a role?  Probably.  Maybe not.  I got out of the business of asking.  I don't think anyone has the answer.  I was arguing to stay in those games.  If I knew then what I know now, would I have argued?  Maybe.  What competitor says take me out?  People get hurt.  It's part of the game."

Prior had a third shoulder injury in 2009 but opted for rest instead of surgery.  "We threw the calendar away," says Prior's agent, John Boggs.  "We said, 'You heal and then we take it slow.'"  After rest and rehab, Prior says, his arm "started to come around."

Baseball players, used to the immediate results that games provide, often chafe during the slow process of rehab and Prior describes the mental challenges of it as perhaps as difficult as the physical ones.  "You can't judge it hour to hour or day to day," Prior says.  "It took me a long time to learn that.  Coming back from injury, it's not immediate, and you have to push through barriers.

"It hasn't been easy.  I'd be lying if I said there weren't times I said, 'Enough is enough.'  In 2009, I thought long and hard about it. I had done everything I could for two years and it wasn't working.  But I didn't want to be 35 and say, 'Man, if I had given myself extra time, I could've gotten healthy.'  It's worth being patient now rather than having regrets."

Last summer, Prior, looking for a place where scouts could see him pitch in games, signed with the Orange County Flyers of the independent Golden Baseball League.  After striking out half of the 44 batters he faced in nine scoreless outings, he signed a minor-league contract with the Rangers and threw one scoreless inning in Triple-A.

The Yankees were watching the whole time.  They have followed his rehab for years, says Billy Eppler, the Yanks' director of pro personnel.  Last summer, their scouts saw Prior's velocity and arm speed tick upward.  "Small indicators," Eppler says, "but nonetheless indicators that he was getting better.

"He was getting up to 92 (miles per hour) and was averaging 90," Eppler adds.  "With his pitching IQ, he's going to be able to get hitters out if he's able to throw at that velocity.  He's got a chance to make the club."

Prior should be pretty comfortable instantly; Joe Girardi caught him in Chicago in 2002, including his first major-league start.  Larry Rothschild was his pitching coach his entire time in the majors.

And Prior is doing as much as he can to be ready.  "I haven't stopped throwing since I left Oklahoma City (the Rangers' Triple-A team) in September," Prior says.  "I'm not really sure why.  "Maybe I had a fear that if I stopped, I wouldn't start again."

--------------------------------------------------

The article also includes this list of his many injuries:

Mark Prior seemed destined to become a Cubs' ace and end the North Side's title drought.  But injuries derailed his career, though he's hoping for a comeback as a Yankees' reliever.  Here's a look at his sometimes-bizarre injury history:

1.  2002:  On DL for two weeks after hurting hamstring running bases.

2.  2003:  Misses three weeks after suffering bruised right shoulder in a collision with Atlanta's Marcus Giles while running the bases.

3.  2004:  Misses two months with right Achilles tendon injury.

4.  2005:  Starts season on DL with inflamed elbow and suffers broken pitching elbow in May when hit by a Brad Hawpe liner.

5.  2006:  Starts season on DL with shoulder strain, makes nine starts for Cubs and then goes back on DL for rest of season.  Also spends time on DL for a strained oblique suffered while taking batting practice.

6.  2007:  Arthroscopic shoulder surgery in April; misses entire season.

7.  2008:  Surgery to repair the shoulder capsule in June; misses entire season.

8.  2009:  Suffers another shoulder setback, but rest and rehab allow him to pitch in independent ball in 2010 and then for Texas' Triple-A team.


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     Here we are in January 2011 and I am including a December 2010 article.  My reason is that the Mark Prior story exemplifies what is wrong with major league baseball.

     When asked whether his high pitch counts caused his pitching injuries, Mr. Prior said, "Did I have a high workload? Yes.  "But did I have freak injuries?  Yes.  Did those (high pitch counts) have a role?  Probably.  Maybe not.  I got out of the business of asking.  I don't think anyone has the answer."      During his adolescent years, Tom House taught Mr. Prior how to pitch.  Mr. House said that Mr. Prior had the 'perfect' baseball pitching motion.  Mr. House exclaimed the virtues of Mr. Prior's 'fast pitching arm action.'

     If Mr. Prior had the 'perfect' baseball pitching motion, then, by definition, the number of pitches that he threw would not cause pitching injuries.  He might exhaust his substrate storage and not be able to contract the muscles associated with his baseball pitching motion as powerfully.  However, he would not injure the ligaments that hold the bones in his pitching elbow and shoulder together.  Those injuries result from improper force application.  In short, Mr. Prior trusted Mr. House and Mr. House destroyed his pitching arm.      After Mr. Prior injured himself, he sought help from Dr. Andrews and Biomechanist, Glenn Fleisig.  After two surgeries and several biomechanical analyses of Mr. Prior's baseball pitching motion, Mr. Prior quit baseball.

     That is when Mr. Prior said, "People get hurt.  It's part of the game."

     Now, his agent, Mr. Boggs says, "Heal and then we take it slow."

     Mr. Prior said, "After rest and rehab, my arm started to come around.  You can't judge it hour to hour or day to day,  It took me a long time to learn that.  Coming back from injury, it's not immediate, and you have to push through barriers."

     Mr. Prior said, "I had done everything I could for two years and it wasn't working."

     When injured baseball pitchers come to me for help, after two weeks, they no longer have pain.  The reason is simple.  After two weeks, they learn how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  That removes all pitching elbow and pitching shoulder pain.

     In ten months, my baseball pitchers are not only pain free and can pitch every day, they know what they have to do to master the wide variety of high-quality pitches that they need to succeed.  In two years, without stress, they can do my wrist weight exercises with thirty pound wrist weight and throw fifteen pound iron balls and they should have mastered the wide variety of high-quality pitches.

     I wish Mr. Prior every success.  However, like the high school baseball coach that, at 35 years old, pitched major league baseball with Tampa Bay, Mr. Prior may have some short term success, but, because he has not eliminated the injurious flaws in his baseball pitching motion, he will again leave the game injured and unfulfilled.

     Mr. Prior.  Tom House, Dr. Andrews and Glenn Fleisig lied to you.  They know who I am.  They know that I know what causes pitching injuries and how to eliminate them.  Instead of caring about you, they only care about themselves.

     Baseball pitchers do not have to get hurt.  Pitching injuries do not have to be part of the game.  You have listened to the wrong people.  That includes Larry Rothchild and all the other 'traditional' baseball pitchers.

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058.  Maxline Pronation Curve

I have attached two videos of my son throwing Maxline Pronation Curves.

My concern is that he may be extending his forearm too high.

I am also concerned that, in the first video, he may not pronate his release.

I appreciate your comments.

1.  Maxline Pronation Curve

2.  Another Maxline Pronation Curve

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     It is not possible for my baseball pitchers to extend their pitching forearm too high.  At release, I want them to stand on their tippy-toes and reach as high as they can.

     However, with their wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws, I want them to drive their pitching forearm as horizontally inside of vertical as they can; especially when they throw my Maxline True Screwball and Maxline Pronation Curve.

     On both pitches, I did not see enough inward rotation of his pitching upper arm or pronation of his pitching forearm.  To increase these actions, he needs to keep his pitching elbow slightly bent.

     After he releases his pitches, he should have his pitching elbow move upward.  Instead, he is pulling his entire pitching arm downward.

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059.  Batting

I have attached a video of my son batting.

Are his hands and the angle of the bat in his stance what you want?

His footwork is way off, partly do to the fact that he has no shoes on.

Batting

P.S.:  The 5 lb WW are proving to provide much more of a workout.  My son has been huffing and puffing the past two days.


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     Because the first movement your son makes is to straighten his front arm, he uses his front arm to pull his baseball bat forward.

     My baseball batters use their rear arm to drive their baseball bat forward.

     As with my baseball pitching motion, I want my baseball batters to drive their baseball bats forward, not pull.  The front arm pulls.  The rear arm drives.  Pulling is weak.  Driving is strong.

     Therefore, the only force that the front arm contributes is when it stops the forward movement of the handle of the baseball bat. Otherwise, it does nothing.

     Your son also allows the center of mass of his baseball bat to drop below his hands.  For pitches that are waist high and above, my baseball batters keep the center of mass of their baseball bat above their hands.

     With the swings that I watched, he would do better if he took his front arm completely off the baseball bat.

     Then, with his rear arm, he has to drive his rear arm straight toward the pitched baseball, not flare his rear elbow and 'hook' his rear arm in a circle.

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060.  Padres closing in on reliever Qualls
MLB.com
January 13, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA:  After jettisoning four relievers over two trades this winter, Padres general manager Jed Hoyer expressed interest recently in adding at least one more piece to one of the best bullpens in baseball.  It appears right-hander Chad Qualls is that pitcher, as a source confirmed Thursday that the Padres are close to agreeing to a deal for the 32-year-old, who has a 3.82 ERA over seven Major League seasons.

Qualls split last season between Arizona and Tampa Bay, compiling a 7.32 ERA in 70 games. He began the 2010 as the closer for the D-backs but was traded to the Rays on July 31 after posting an 8.29 ERA in 38 innings with four blown saves.  Qualls was 2-0 with a 5.57 ERA and three blown saves in 27 appearances following the trade and became a free agent this winter.

Qualls had 24 saves and a 3.63 ERA in 2009 for the D-backs.  Prior to the 2010 season, he had 3.32 career ERA in four seasons with the Astros and two with the D-backs.  Qualls certainly wouldn't be the first pitcher to sign with the Padres looking for a bounce-back performance in one of the most pitcher-friendly ballparks in the Major Leagues.  Qualls made $4.185 million last season.


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     With apologies to Mr. Qualls, after the season Mr. Qualls had in 2010, that a major league team would sign him shows how pathetic the quality of available major league baseball pitchers is.

     This story shows that professional baseball has no plan for developing baseball pitchers.

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061.  Yankees agree to terms with reliever Soriano
MLB.com
January 13, 2011

It appears that Mariano Rivera has a new setup man and the Yankees have a future successor to the long-occupied closer role in the Bronx.  Jon Heyman of SI.com and MLB Network reported via Twitter that the Yankees have made a big free-agent splash, agreeing to terms with reliever Rafael Soriano, pending a physical, on a three-year contract worth approximately $35 million. The Yankees have not confirmed the report.

The "deal is creative and provides for flexibility," with Soriano eligible to opt out of the contract "after either one year or two years," according to Heyman.  Soriano was widely considered the best available talent remaining on the Hot Stove market.  The Yankees will lose their first-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft to the Tampa Bay Rays because of Soriano's Type A free-agent status.

It seems likely that the Yankees will gauge Soriano's performance in New York as the legendary career of Rivera, 41, winds down, with hopes of promoting Soriano to the closer's role when Rivera retires.  Soriano figures to enter the Yankees' 2011 mix as the eighth-inning man while Rivera, with 559 career saves, goes after the recently retired Trevor Hoffman's all-time record of 601.

Meanwhile, the Yankees are getting a very talented closer-in-waiting.  Soriano, 31, led the American League in saves with 45 last year while pitching for the Rays and posted a 1.73 ERA, an .802 WHIP and 57 strikeouts in 62 1/3 innings.


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     My stats guy, Brad Sullivan, says that, in 2005, Mr. Soriano ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament and, in 2008, due to an elbow injury, pitched only 14 innings.

     At 31 years old, Mr. Soriano broke into the major leagues in 2002.  Over the last nine years, Mr. Soriano pitched 395 innings.  That averages slightly over 40 innings per year.

     To lead the American League in saves lat year, Mr. Soriano pitched 62 1/3 innings.  For that effort, the Yankees will pay Mr. Soriano $35 million dollars for three year.

     This story shows how desparate major league baseball is for baseball pitchers that show any evidence of pitching quality.

     If we add the number of innings that Mr. Soriano and Mr. Rivera pitched in 2010 together, then we will see that that total is less than the 162 innings required to qualify for consideration for the earned run average title.

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062.  Strasburg hopes to throw off mound soon
MLB.com
January 13, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC:  Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg said Wednesday night that he is in "the best shape of my life," and he hopes to start throwing off a mound in a few weeks.  Strasburg is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and the Nationals are hoping he will pitch in a Major League game by the end of the 2011 season.

"[The elbow] is doing great," Strasburg told CBS' Ted Robinson during a college basketball game between San Diego State and UNLV.  "I'm well into the rehab process.  I have another three or four weeks before I start throwing.  Once you start throwing, it's going to be a long process just getting your strength back.  I feel great about it.  I have a really good feeling I'm going to come back 100 percent."

Strasburg also talked about hosting the inaugural Stephen Strasburg 5K Walk & Fun Run with Tony Gwynn, which takes place at his alma mater on Saturday.  The San Diego State event benefits the Aztecs' baseball program.  "It's going to be a great event," Strasburg said.  "We have around 1,200 participants, and we are hoping to get a lot more.  It's going to benefit San Diego State baseball.  We need all the help we can get."


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     To be in the 'best (baseball pitching) shape' of his life, then Mr. Strasburg would be throwing baseballs as hard as he can without discomfort.  That Mr. Strasburg hopes to start throwing in a few weeks shows that he is in the worse baseball pitching shape of his life.

     That his agent's crack rehabilitation team has not eliminated the injurious flaws in his baseball pitching motion means that Mr. Strasburg will never be in the best baseball pitching shape he could be.

     Remember, Mr. Strasburg did not rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Therefore, he does not did not have Ulnar Collateral Ligament surgery.  Instead, the orthopedic surgeon only laid a tendon over top of his partially torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     That pain that resulted in Mr. Strasburg's surgery resulted from pulling and supinating his breaking ball, not from tearing connective tissue fibers in his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  The pain that Mr. Strasburg felt came from his Pronator Teres muscle, not his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Ligaments do not have pain sensors.

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063.  Cards sign Batista, Snell to Minors deals
MLB.com
January 14, 2011

The Cardinals announced via their Twitter feed on Friday that veteran right-handers Miguel Batista and Ian Snell had signed Minor League contracts with invitations to big league Spring Training camp.

Batista, 40 next month, and Snell, 29, would earn base salaries in the neighborhood of $750,000 if they win spots on the Major League roster, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  The newspaper also reported that Batista can opt for free agency if not assured a job with the Cardinals by the final week of Spring Training and that Snell has a similar option for June 1.

The Cardinals would be Batista's ninth big league team since making a one-game debut for the Pirates in 1992.  He has extensive experience both as a starter and a reliever, but pitched almost exclusively in relief over the past two seasons, including a 2010 with the Nationals in which Batista posted a 3.70 ERA in 57 appearances out of the bullpen and one start.

Snell spent 2010 with the Mariners, and it was a forgettable season.  He had a 6.41 ERA in eight starts and four relief appearances, the last of which came June 14 against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.  He was demoted to the Minor Leagues after that and later was shut down with an elbow injury.


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     With a properly designed baseball pitcher development plan, the Cardinals would not waste valuable spring training innings on baseball pitchers from outside of their organization.

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064.  A's agree to deal with Balfour to bolster bullpen
MLB.com
January 14, 2011

OAKLAND, CA:  A Major League source confirmed Friday that the A's and right-handed reliever Grant Balfour have agreed on a two-year deal with a club option for 2013, pending a physical.  The A's have not announced the deal and won't do so until the physical is complete, though the Associated Press reported that Balfour is set to earn $3.75 million in 2011 and $4 million in 2012.  His club option for 2013 is worth $4.5 million and includes a $350,000 buyout.

Balfour, 33, is a seven-year veteran who most recently posted a 2.28 ERA and 1.08 WHIP while averaging 9.1 strikeouts and 2.8 walks per nine innings spanning 55 1/3 frames for the Rays last year.  He has tallied 207 strikeouts in 181 innings over the past three seasons, numbers that represent the third-best strikeout ratio of any American League reliever over that time period.

The Australian native is classified as a Type A free agent, so Oakland, whose first-round pick is protected, will have to hand over a second-round choice to Tampa Bay once the deal is finalized.  The club will also have to trim its 40-man roster by one to make room for Balfour.


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     My stats guy tells me that:

01.  In 2004, Mr. Balfour missed 51 games with a shoulder injury.
02.  In 2005, Mr. Balfour missed the entire season with a forearm injury.
03.  In 2006, Mr. Balfour miss the entire season with elbow problems.
04.  In 2010, Mr. Balfour missed 33 games with a rib injury.

     In 261 career appearances, Mr. Balfour has pitched 273 2/3 innings.

     In 2010, Mr. Balfour pitched 55 1/3 innings.  In 2008, 2009 and 2010, Mr. Balfour pitched 181 innings; averaging 60 1/3 innings per season.

     These one inning pitchers are destroying major league baseball.  That professional baseball teams waste time with these guys prevents potentially quality baseball pitchers from developing.

     The minimum that major league baseball pitchers should pitch in a season is once through the line-up twice a week.  At six games per week for twenty-seven weeks, major league baseball pitchers should pitch at least one hundred innings.

     At 9 innings per game for 162 games, major league teams have to pitch at least 1458 innings. If 5 relief pitchers pitch 500 innings, then 5 starters have to pitch 958 innings.  If relief pitchers only 55 1/3 innings, then major league teams have to have 9 relief pitchers.

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065.  Royals add lefty Francis on one-year deal
MLB.com
January 14, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO:  The Royals' probable starting rotation looked more complete on Friday with the signing of free agent Jeff Francis, a 6-foot-5 left-hander.  Francis signed a one-year contract for 2011 at $2 million plus performance bonuses, pending a physical examination.  He missed the entire 2009 season after surgery to his left shoulder, but returned last year to pitch 20 games for the Colorado Rockies.

He's expected to step into a rotation that was left with a big gap when Zack Greinke was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers last month.  Francis, 30, had spent his entire seven-year Major League career with the Rockies, compiling a 55-50 record with a 4.77 ERA in 150 games.  He was the ace of the Rockies' 2007 World Series club with a 17-9 record in 34 starts.

"Our medical team is comfortable with where he is," general manager Dayton Moore said.  "He pitched last year and finished the season on the active list.  Your first year back you're always going to have some potential uncertainties, but those fears have been removed and we're very comfortable moving forward and having him as part of our rotation."

In his return to the Rockies last year, Francis made 19 starts and finished with a 4-6 record, a 5.00 ERA and "a bit of shoulder soreness" at the end.  But he reported that the shoulder is fine now.  "I've been feeling really good," Francis said.  "I've been able to do everything I wanted to up to this point in the off-season, so I'm where I'd want to be in any other year."

His superb 2007 season was part of the Rockies' dramatic rush to the World Series.  Including the playoffs, they won 21 of their last 22 games before losing four straight to the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.  Francis started the first game of all three post-season rounds, finishing 2-1.  From 2005-07, Francis won 44 games in three seasons for the Rockies.

"He has a lot of pitching skills and has a history of keeping the ball down and disrupting the timing of the hitters," Moore said.  "He's a very good competitor and has been a part of championship teams.  We expect him to fit in and take the ball every fifth day."

He figures to join a rotation that, at the moment, includes four right-handers in Luke Hochevar, Kyle Davies, Vin Mazzaro and Sean O'Sullivan.  "It fits in well, and obviously, [pitching coach] Bob McClure has a long relationship with him from their past time in Colorado," Moore said.  McClure formerly coached in the Rockies' organization and had Francis at the Triple-A level.

Francis counts McClure, also a left-hander in his playing days, as a prime reason for his development.  "I think Mac was a similar type of pitcher, so when I got to work with him, he offered a lot of help, not only with mechanical things, but the way a game evolves and the approach a pitcher needs to take on the mound," Francis said.  "Mac can take the game to another level."

"It's a great addition to rounding out our rotation," McClure said.  "Being left-handed is a definite attribute, too, because there are a lot of good left-handed hitters in the league."  McClure believes that Francis also will have a positive influence in the clubhouse which, in Spring Training, will be populated by a large number of young left-handed pitching prospects.

"Getting good character people that can really compete is a huge step, I think, as far as rounding out a baseball club," McClure said.  "You're always going to have your renegades here and there, but the more character guys that are all pulling on the ropes the same way, the faster your organization steps toward winning."


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     In an earlier article, I discussed how, because of a lack of a baseball pitcher development program, the Royals have unprepared starting pitchers.  Now, they are adding Mr. Francis to that list.

     Mr. Francis credits Mr. McClure with his success.  The question becomes is Mr. McClure also to blame for the pitching injures that Mr. Francis has suffered.  That the only thing that Mr. McClure talks about when he talks about Mr. Francis is what a great guy Mr. Francis is in the clubhouse is not a good sign.

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066.  Zumaya agrees to one-year deal with Tigers
MLB.com
January 14, 2011

DETROIT, MI:  The Tigers agreed to terms on a one-year contract with reliever Joel Zumaya on Friday, inking another of their arbitration-eligible players as they try to wrap up their off-season to-do list.  The deal has been expected for a while.  Zumaya said earlier this off-season he wasn't going to be greedy as he looked for a contract.  With free agency coming for him next winter, he knows his big payday should come shortly if he can come through with a healthy 2011 season.

That, of course, has been the problem.  His elbow fracture on the mound in a game last June ended his 2010 season at 31 appearances, yet it was his highest total since his rookie season of 2006.  Zumaya went 2-1 with a 2.58 ERA and one save, striking out 34 batters over 38 1/3 innings.  He made $915,000 last year, but just missed a $20,000 bonus had he pitched in 35 games.

When healthy, Zumaya has the chance to be a valuable piece in the bullpen, even with the depth the Tigers have built up in their relief corps this winter.  His ability to get swings and misses in big situations with a fastball around 100 mph is extremely difficult to replace, and his willingness to work on his secondary pitches bodes well for improvement.  He also has the potential to work two innings, which could make him a must-have bridge between Tigers starters and their late-inning tandem of setup man Joaquin Benoit and closer Jose Valverde.


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     Last year, Mr. Zumaya broke the olecranon process of the Ulna bone in his pitching forearm.  I have not seen any article that talks about this injury.  This article says nothing about the injury.  How can the Tigers sign someone that suffered such a severe pitching injury without understanding what caused the injury?

     Mr. Zumaya broke the elbow end of his Ulna bone because he slammed the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together.  That is, Mr. Zumaya has severe 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' and supinates his breaking pitch.

     Therefore, until Mr. Zumaya eliminates his 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' and learns how to pronate the release of his breaking pitch, that he can throw 100 mph fastballs is meaningless.

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067.  Mets medical staff clears Johan for rehab
MLB.com
January 14, 2011

NEW YORK, NY:  Johan Santana visited Mets medical staff in New York this week and has been cleared to begin a rehab program "which will have him throwing before the start of Spring Training," according to a team spokesman.

Santana, 31, had been sidelined since undergoing September surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder.  His original rehab schedule called for him to begin playing catch in January, leading the spokesman to say, "It's about where we're supposed to be."

General manager Sandy Alderson and Santana's agent, Peter Greenberg, did not return telephone messages seeking comment.

In the third season of his six-year, $137.5 million contract, Santana finished 11-9 with a 2.98 ERA before missing the season's final month with his shoulder injury.  Though there is no concrete timetable for his return, the Mets do not expect him back until around mid-season.


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     Mr. Santana tore the anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder.  To do that, Mr. Santana has to take his pitching arm laterally behind his head.  Therefore, Mr. Santana moved the head of his Humerus bone anteriorly in the Glenoid Fossa.  As a result, the head of his Humerus bone pinched and tore his anterior capsule.

     To be able to pitch again without discomfort, Mr. Santana has to learn how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     Unfortunately, the Mets medical staff cannot spell Latissimus Dorsi.

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068.  Age to start pitching

If you consider 13 years old the beginning age to safely begin pitching, won’t that kill youth baseball off?

I don’t believe that kids are going to be interested in continuing to play t-ball, or with pitching machines, etc. until they reach 13.

But, if they really are injuring their bodies, I realize that is the sacrifice that needs to be made.  I have seen many hard throwing young pitchers have arm problems in junior and senior high, so I am very concerned.

T-ball or pitching machines are incredibly boring to watch, worse than slow pitch softball.  Many people owe their interest in major league baseball to the baseball they played as a kid before they quit, so if they don’t play at all, will that eventually diminish the interest in baseball in general?


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     I said thirteen biological years old, not thirteen chronological years old.

     In Chapter Five:  Variability of Adolescent Male Maturation Rates of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, I provide a table that compares chronological age (CA) with an estimate of skeletal age (ESA), which is biological age.

     At twelve chronological years old, adolescent males have the following percent that are biologically eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen and fifteen years old.

01.  Eleven biological years old ----- 20.7 percent
02.  Twelve biological years old ----- 47.9 percent
03.  Thirteen biological years old --- 23.0 percent
04.  Fourteen biological years old --- 06.9 percent
05.  Fifteen biological years old ---- 01.4 percent

     This means that thirty percent of chronologically twelve year old youth baseball pitchers are biologically thirteen, fourteen and fifteen years old.

     In Chapter Eleven:  1955 Little League Baseball World Series Player of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, I provide a table of the 112 Little League Baseball participants, where 19 averaged 12.65 biological years old and 51 averaged 13.79 biological years old.

     This means that to qualify for the Little League World Series, teams need to have as many chronological twelve year old players that at biologically thirteen, fourteen and fifteen years old as they can find.

     At thirteen chronological years old, adolescent males have the following percent that are biologically eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen years old.

01.  Eleven biological years old ----- 01.8 percent
02.  Twelve biological years old ----- 25.1 percent
03.  Thirteen biological years old --- 38.5 percent
04.  Fourteen biological years old --- 26.9 percent
05.  Fifteen biological years old ---- 06.8 percent

     This means that thirty-two percent of chronologically thirteen year old youth baseball pitchers are biologically fourteen, fifteen and older years old.

     In Chapter Twelve:  Youth Baseball Programs of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, I provide my recommendations.

     To benefit all participants equally and to teach baseball’s skills and strategies, I recommend these general rules.

01.  Twelve players on teams, but teams can play with fewer.
02.  All players bat in every inning and wear helmets.
03.  Players play six full innings.
04.  Defensive players rotate positions after one-half of the batters bat.

01.  Seven and Eight Chronological Year Olds

     Bases are thirty feet apart.  The outfield fence is 110 feet from home plates.  Batters hit off batting tees.  All hits are singles.  Base runners stand on their bases and advance only one base per hit or non-force plays.  Base runners may not slide, but they can run through all bases without penalty.

02.  Nine and Ten Chronological Year Olds

     Bases are forty-five feet apart.  The outfield fence is 165 feet from home plate.  Umpires pitch to both teams, but they do not field batted balls.  Batters have two strikes in which to hit fair balls.  All hits are singles.  Base runners stand on their bases and may advance only one base per hit or non-force plays.  Base runners may not slide, but they can run through all bases without penalty.

03.  Eleven and Twelve Biological Year Olds

     Bases are sixty feet apart.  Pitching rubbers are forty feet from home plate’s back tips.  The outfield fence is 220 feet from home plate.  Pitchers pitch one inning to teammates.  A four-foot wide screen protects pitchers from batted balls.  Batted balls hitting this screen are outs.  Batters have three pitches in which to hit fair balls.  All hits are singles.  Base runners stand on their bases and may advance only one base per hit or non-force plays.  Base runners may not slide, but they can run through all bases without penalty.

04.  Thirteen and Fourteen Biological Year Olds

     Bases are seventy-five feet apart.  Pitching rubbers are fifty-five feet from home plate’s back tips.  The outfield fence 275 feet from home plate.  Pitchers pitch one inning to opponents.  Two strikes earn a strike out.  Three balls earn a base on balls.  However, batters do not walk.  Every ball three advances all base runners one base.  If there are no base runners, then every ball three advances batters an extra base should they reach base safely.  Adult baseball rules govern all remaining plays.

     These games are not boring and the participants learn the skills of baseball without the skeletal development problems.

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069.  Gregg excited about O's despite undefined role
MLB.com
January 14, 2011

Why did Kevin Gregg choose to sign with the Orioles this off-season?  The 32-year-old reliever immediately cited two specific reasons during a Friday morning conference call.  "Potential," was the first word he used when asked the question.  The second was "opportunity."

As a closer for the division-rival Blue Jays last season, Gregg had an up-close look at an Orioles team that struggled with injuries to its pitching staff, but displayed several promising young arms.  Now, he's joining a bullpen mix that manager Buck Showalter hopes will greatly improve with better health and new additions, and one Gregg surely believes can.

"I really liked what I saw last year in the team," said Gregg, one day after his two-year, $10 million contract became official.  "I know early on, the wins weren't coming at the pace that they wanted, but I saw a lot of potential with the team.  And then once Buck took over, I noticed a change in attitude and direction.  Along with all the moves that have been made this off-season so far, I just wanted to be a part of it.  I know a lot of people are probably wondering what's going to happen, but I like it."

Showalter still isn't sure where he'll slot Gregg, an eight-year veteran with 122 career saves, but after the Orioles finished 24th in the Majors in bullpen ERA in 2010, he likes his new reliever.  "Do I think he has potential to be our closer? Of course I do," Showalter said.  "Do I hope Koji tells me [he's ready to close], just like Kevin does, and it makes us have a better bullpen?  We'll see.  We get down in Spring Training here in about three weeks, and we'll start the process.  But I like Kevin's chances."

In his first year with the Blue Jays last year, Gregg posted a 3.51 ERA, a 1.93 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a career-high 37 saves in 63 games.  Toronto held two options for Gregg moving forward, a $4.5 million one for 2011, or a $8.75 million one for 2011-12, but declined them both, making him a free agent.  Gregg said he was "surprised" the Blue Jays let him go, but "it was a personal decision on their part, an organizational decision with the direction they were going, and they just didn't want to commit that much money into the back end of their bullpen."

The Orioles then made Gregg an offer at the Winter Meetings, but the veteran was still weighing his options because, as he put it, "I had a lot of interest all over the board."  Ultimately, he chose Baltimore, even though he isn't guaranteed the closer's spot.

"I know what I want to do, I know what I can do," Gregg said.  "I think given the circumstances, it will play out the way it needs to play out.  But the bottom line is the best interest of the team is what we need to go with.  I like my chances of being a closer, but I also like the other guys, too.  We have great guys back there with good experience in the back end of the bullpen, which is great, because that'll allow one of us to take a day off without feeling anything or any pressure with anybody else going into that role."

Gregg has never been one of the most well-known closers in baseball, nor does he boast some of the most explosive stuff, and in no way is he the demonstrative type.  But the Oregon native has pitched in every role imaginable in his career, from starter to long relief to setup man to closer, and has had a knack for getting it done.

He is one of only seven pitchers, with the others being Mariano Rivera, Francisco Rodriguez, Jonathan Papelbon, Francisco Cordero, Bobby Jenks and Jose Valverde, who have saved at least 23 games in each of the past four seasons.  During that time, he has a 3.79 ERA while appearing in an average of 70 games per year.

"I think we all know Kevin's background as a closer," Showalter said.  "Last time I looked, there wasn't anybody on our club who had the success rate over a long period of time in the American League East like Kevin has, and that's one thing that was intriguing about him.  Another thing is I just continue to hear great things from everybody that's been around him, whether it be a pitching coach, a strength and conditioning coach, a teammate and we knew that would be a good fit for us in the bullpen."


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     My stats guy says that, in the last four years, Mr. Gregg failed in 26 save situations.

     In those same four years, Mr. Gregg averaged 70 games per year with a 3.79 earned run average.

     While I do not know how many innings he averages per year, his 3.79 earned run average indicates that Mr. Gregg does not have the variety of pitches that he needs to get all four types of batters out.

     Therefore, Mr. Gregg needs to determine the batting averages against for the four types of baseball batters.  With that information, to succeed against all four types of baseball pitchers, Mr. Gregg will know what pitches he needs to add.

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070.  Phils add former No. 1 overall pick Anderson
MLB.com
January 14, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA:  The Phillies had nothing to lose when they signed right-hander Matt Anderson to a Minor League contract.  Anderson, who was the first overall pick in the 1997 First-Year Player Draft, will report to Minor League camp in Spring Training in Clearwater, FL.  He spent parts of seven seasons in the big leagues with the Detroit Tigers (1998-2003) and Colorado Rockies ('05), but has not pitched professionally since '08, when he had a 5.60 ERA in 15 relief appearances with Triple-A Charlotte.

Anderson, 34, last pitched in the big leagues with the Rockies on July 1, 2005.  Phillies scout Del Unser saw Anderson a few times in Arizona and liked what he saw.  "He's not the 100-mph pitcher he once was, but he's in the 91-to-94-mph range," Phillies director of pro scouting Mike Ondo said.  "He's in great shape, and the people he's working with have raved about his work ethic and dedication."

Anderson is 15-7 with a 5.19 ERA and 26 saves in 257 appearances in his Major League career.


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     Wow.  Mr. Anderson hasn't pitched in almost three years and has a career 5.60 earned run average.  Yet,the Phillies sign him to a minor league contract.

     Clearly, in the hope of finding baseball pitchers that can get batters out, professional baseball will sign anybody.  Unfortunately, after they sign these pitchers, they have no idea how to help them to become the best that they can be.

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071.  Pitching Questions

I've been an avid baseball fan my entire life and I came across your website while researching 'different' types of styles of pitching.

I've been playing since I was 4 years old and I am 23 now.  I found the research and theory that your website provided very interesting although I had a couple of questions.

I have been pitching most of my life, and one thing that comes across as very different about your style is the release point.  Without any direct training, obviously, I tried throwing the ball similarly to what I had seen based on your instructions and videos.  What I had noticed is that I am able to get an interesting variation of spin on the ball that one normally doesn't see.

The windup is incredibly different and after some repetition it would take getting used to.  However, back to the release point, what I had an immense amount of trouble with is creating an accurate pitch with a consistent release point.

Is this a common problem, or am I way off in my technique.  Also, the spin on the ball is still there but I have lost a good deal of velocity as well.  I noticed that none of your videos incorporate any sort of 'speed' being recorded and it's difficult to tell the actual velocity of the pitches are.

I personally believe that deceit and movement of the pitch most important in effective pitching, but the rest of america has fallen in love with the radar gun.

Any suggestions for different grips that would help add to release points and accuracy?

What is the highest speed achieved with the Maxline Fastball or Torque Fastball? Has there been any recorded success, ie. AA-MLB pitchers who have been trained from your theories?


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     In my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, I explain how to perform the drills with which I teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.  If after you watch the eleven sections of my video, you have questions, then please email me.

     I teach my baseball pitchers to release their pitches with their pitching forearm vertical as high as they can reach.  Vertical pitching forearms at release help baseball pitchers to throw pitches equally well to both sides of home plate with pitches that release over the end, inside and outside of the tips of their index and middle fingers.

     I can see how difficult it is to learn how to walk forward off their pitching rubber and use the crow-hop throwing rhythm rather than, unlike any throwing motion that non-pitching baseball players use, twisting your body backward while standing on one leg with the other leg raised to at least waist high and striding so far that you have to bend forward at the waist.

     I also teach my baseball pitchers to apply force to the baseball in straight lines toward home plate.  That you had an immense amount of trouble throwing the baseball toward home plate shows that you were not able to apply force to the baseball in straight lines toward home plate.

     If you watch the 2008 video of Jeff Sparks, then you will see that my baseball pitchers learn a wider variety of high-quality pitches that move far more dramatically than 'traditional' pitchers could ever throw.

     Even though Mr. Sparks was in the beginning stages of mastering my pitches, the James Jeffrey Sparks section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video will give you some idea of how effectively my baseball pitches deceive major league batters.

     In the Baseball Training section of my video, I explain the proper grips, drives and releases for my baseball pitches.

     With my baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers can achieve their genetic maximum baseball release velocity, whatever that is.  Even though I have never trained draft quality baseball pitchers, several of my baseball pitchers have thrown fastballs in the mid-nineties.

     And, even though, when I pitched my fourteen years of major league baseball, I did not know how to do everything that I teach today, with a lower quality version of my baseball pitching motion, I did reasonably well.

     Very shortly, I will post the Jeff Sparks 2008 video with a very thorough analysis of my baseball pitching motion.  That should make it easier for interested baseball pitchers to learn how to achieve their genetic maximum release velocity and throw a wide variety of high-quality pitches with excellent release consistency every day without discomfort.

     You should start by completing my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

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072.  Heilman returns to D-backs with eye on rotation
MLB.com
January 17, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ:  Aaron Heilman will be back in an Arizona Diamondbacks uniform in 2011, but he may not return to the bullpen.  The right-hander, who was signed to a one-year deal on Tuesday, will compete for a spot in the starting rotation after pitching in relief for the past five seasons.  In 2010, he appeared in 70 games for the D-backs and was 5-8 with six saves and a 4.50 ERA.

Heilman is the only pitcher in Major League Baseball to appear in at least 70 games for the past five seasons, but he began his career with the Mets in 2003 as a starter and has long wanted to return to that role.  The 32-year-old's last start was May 15, 2005, against the Cardinals.


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     My stats guys tells me that, for the past five years, Mr. Heilman has averaged one inning per appearance.

     Therefore, in his 70 appearances last year, Mr. Heilman pitched only 70 innings.  However, that Mr. Heilman won five games and lost eight games shows that the manager put Mr. Heilman into games when the game was on the line.  If I knew how many games Mr. Heilman won or lost were road games, then I could better evaluate his efforts.

     Nevertheless, that Mr. Heilman has not started a game since May 15, 2005 does not bode well for Mr. Heilman earning a starting pitcher job.  Still, that somebody with the Diamondbacks wants to give him that opportunity means that Mr. Heilman has the ability to pitch more than one inning and hide in the clubhouse.

     It is too bad that, when Mr. Heilman arrived in the major leagues, he did not get to pitch one time through the line-up twice a week for at least one season.  If he had, then he would not have had to wait five years to see whether he could successfully pitch more than one time through the line-up.

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073.  Royals' Meche cites health for retirement
MLB.com
January 18, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO:  For Gil Meche, it wasn't about the money.  It was about his doubts that his cranky right shoulder could hold up through another season.  So Meche on Tuesday announced that he'd walk away from the $12 million remaining on his Kansas City contract, abandon his plan to join the Royals' bullpen and retire as a player.  "A lot of people might think I'm crazy for not trying to play and make this amount of money," he said, "[but] I don't think I'm going to regret it."

This would have been the final season under the five-year, $55 million contract he signed with the Royals prior to the 2007 season.  Health issues, with his back and then with his shoulder, plagued him the last two seasons.  "I didn't want to go try it again for another season and be the guy making $12 million and doing absolutely nothing to help this team," he said.

There is no settlement, no nothing for Meche as he walks away from the guaranteed money.  "I think it really reaffirms and validates why we signed Gil Meche, the integrity and the class and the respect that he's displaying, not only for his name, but for the game of baseball and this organization and we appreciate it very much," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said.  In his experience, Moore couldn't recall a player forfeiting such a big salary haul.

Meche's decision to retire is a complete turnaround from his attitude in the final week of the 2010 season, when he talked about his eagerness to continue his career in the bullpen.  His aching shoulder limited him to nine starts in April and May and he was 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA.  The figures hurt as bad as the shoulder.

For a time, he appeared headed for shoulder surgery, which would have knocked him out of the 2011 season entirely and possibly for his career.  "I opted out of the surgery because I knew I probably wouldn't come back from that, no matter what, not only next year but for my career," Meche admitted on Tuesday.

Even so, at the time, he felt his shoulder could hold up with the shorter bullpen appearances and that this was the only way he could fulfill his desire to pitch in the final year of his contract.  After various medical meditations and rehabilitation rehearsals, he joined the Royals' bullpen for September and October.  Results: 11 games and one loss but a 2.08 ERA.  He faced 50 batters in 13 innings and gave up nine hits and four walks with 11 strikeouts.  He looked pretty darn good and manager Ned Yost was encouraged.

Yet, after returning home to Louisiana this off-season, Meche began to have second thoughts.  "Being home this off-season, it kind of sunk in," he said.  "At this time, I just felt my kids were important in my life and I needed to spend more time with them.  Yeah, I know it'd been only maybe eight more months of trying to pitch, but I didn't think I was going to be able to do it.  Mentally and physically, I thought it was the best decision for me."

He remembered a soul-searching session with his parents in mid-December, figuring his dad would object.  "I thought he was going to wring my neck and say, 'Are you kidding me? This is your dream.  I know you've played a long time but it's still there,' " Meche recalled.  "But he was kind of on my side and so was my mom."

About a week ago, Meche decided to make his decision known to the Royals.  Meche's career included 243 Major League starts and more than 1,400 innings in 10 seasons.  He steps away with a record of 84-83 and a 4.49 ERA in a total of 258 games with the Royals and the Seattle Mariners.

"He was a terrific pitcher for us for 2 1/2 years," Moore said.  "He always took the ball and always competed.  In my view, our signing Gil in the off-season of 2007 and the way he went about his business, it took the pressure off Zack Greinke where he could just blend in."

Meche was the Royals' Opening Day starter for his first three years with the club and it was his first start in 2007 that he remembers fondly.  Meche walked off the field after 7 1/3 innings with a 7-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox in hand and got a standing ovation from 41,257 fans at Kauffman Stadium.  "That was pretty cool," he said. "I'd had some standing ovations at times in Seattle, but to come into a new city with the expectations I was putting on myself and the fans and the amount of money I signed for, and all that stuff, pitching against Boston, that was a pretty special moment, not only as a Royal but for my whole career."

One of his best games, a 5-0 shutout over Arizona on June 16, 2009, also turned out to be controversial.  He made a career-high 132 pitches, convincing then-manager Trey Hillman to finish the game despite the five-run cushion.  After that he wasn't nearly as effective, winning just twice in his next nine games with his ERA jumping from 3.31 to 5.09.  A sore shoulder ended his season in late August and some observers blamed the long outing for his decline but not Meche.

"That game had nothing to with my shoulder," he said.  "To me it wasn't a big deal.  This had nothing to with Trey Hillman.  That was something I wanted, he saw that.  Complete games don't come around that often, especially for a guy like me who throws kind of hard, lot of foul balls, high pitch counts.  So I wanted that game and when I came out after the eighth inning, I looked at him and said, 'This is mine.'  I know he's the manager and it's his call, but, to me, it wasn't even an issue.  And it got blown all out of proportion."

"The money wasn't ever, ever a factor in my decision," he said.  "It was a matter of me missing baseball and hanging out with the guys.  That's going to be one of the things I'll miss most."


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     Mr. Meche said, "I don't think I'm going to regret it."

     That means that Mr. Meche will regret it.

     Mr. Meche said, ""The money wasn't ever, ever a factor in my decision," he said.  "It was a matter of me missing baseball and hanging out with the guys.  That's going to be 'ONE' of the things I'll miss most."

     I understand Mr. Meche missing pitching major league baseball, especially as a result of an injury.  However, Mr. Meche said that he will miss hanging out with the guys?

     Mr. Meche also said, "At this time, I just felt my kids were important in my life and I needed to spend more time with them."

     I am sure that Mr. Meche meant to say, 'My family is always most important in my life.  Now, that I have secured their financial future, all my time is available for them."

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074.  KC's Davies signs one-year contract
MLB.com
January 18, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO:  Right-hander Kyle Davies, expected to step it up as part of the Royals' rotation this year, signed a one-year contract for 2011 on Tuesday and avoided salary arbitration.  Davies signed for $3.2 million, a sizable increase over the $1.8 million he earned last year.

Davies made a career-high 32 starts last season, just one fewer than staff leader Zack Greinke, and posted an 8-12 record with a 5.34 ERA.  Now Davies is tasked with helping to fill the void left by Greinke's trade to the Milwaukee Brewers.

"Kyle continues to develop more consistency and we think he's going to potentially take a big step forward in 2011, that's what we expect," said Royals general manager Dayton Moore.  He has all the ingredients to be a very consistent quality starting pitcher, and we expect him to have a standout performance for us this year."

At age 27, Davies last year made progress in his annual battle to control his fastball, especially late in the season after making some adjustments in his delivery.  "Over a period of time, he was one of our more consistent pitchers," Moore said.  "He's commanding his pitches and he's got an outstanding curveball, a slider and changeup and enough fastball to get by most hitters if located properly.  It's all there for Kyle to be a very good pitcher."

Davies was acquired from the Atlanta Braves on July 31, 2007, and since has a 28-35 record with a 5.15 ERA in 86 starts for the Royals.  His overall big league mark is 42-56 with a 5.49 ERA in 138 games.

For his part, Davies believes the Royals have been able to bulk up their rotation since trading Greinke.  "I just saw that we signed Bruce [Chen] back and then getting [Jeff] Francis in.  So, where it looked like we wouldn't have as many veteran starting pitchers, now we have a lot of them, and two left-handers," he said.  "So there's a big difference right there.  I think by getting some of the young guys that were cost-effective from the Greinke deal, we were able to get two left-handed starting pitchers.  So that's a plus."

Davies changed his delivery last season to lean forward more, which improved his balance and helped his control and the life of his pitches.  "What made it work was that I was able to command the ball a lot better and that's what's going to be continued to be worked on and refined and done," he said.  "This off-season I've been really, really hounding on repeating that delivery that I was doing at the end of the year and looking forward to bringing it into Spring Training."

Davies pitched 183 2/3 innings, a career high last season, and has now logged 706 2/3 in his career.  He's at the stage of his career where many pitchers hit a productive high.  "They say the peak for pitchers is like, what, 27 to 33 or something like that," Davies said.  "For a starting pitcher in the Major Leagues, it takes a lot of innings.  You look at Zack.  How many innings did he pitch before it clicked?  Look at a lot of people, just about everybody.  There's not a whole lot of people that come into the league like Tim Lincecum that goes right away."

Davies said his goal is to go deeper into games this season and pitch at least 200 innings.


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     In Mr. Davies' major league career, he has 42 wins and 56 losses with a 5.49 earned run average.  In 2010, Mr. Davies had 8 wins and 12 losses with a 5.34 earned run average.

     That Mr. Davies said that having two left-handed starters will make a big difference indicates that Mr. Davies has difficulty with left-handed batters.

     According to his general manager, Mr. Davies throws an adequate fastball, an outstanding curve, a slider and a change-up.

     By leaning forward more, Mr. Davies improved his release consistency, such that he throws more strikes.  This off-season, Mr. Davies is working hard on repeating this new delivery.

     That Mr. Davies is using his off-season to improve his game is great.  That is what every professional baseball player should be doing.

     Depending on how many injurious flaws Mr. Davies 'traditional' baseball pitching motion has, spending the off-season repeating his new delivery may be good or it may be bad.  Without high-speed film of Mr. Davies, I cannot predict whether he will injure himself.

     However, a simple analysis of the batting averages that Mr. Davies has against the four types of baseball batters, that is, pitching arm side pull hitters (PASPH), pitching arm side spray hitters (PASSH), glove arm side pull hitters (GASPH) and glove arm side spray hitters (GASSH) will determine whether Mr. Davies has a sufficiently wide variety of high-quality pitches to succeed.

     Mr. Davies incredibly high career and 2010 earned run averages of 5.49 and 5.34 show that Mr. Davies does not have a sufficiency wide variety of high-quality pitches.

     I suspect that Mr. Davies needs a reverse breaking pitch.

     It is too bad that the Kansas City Royals general manager, Mr. Moore, does not have someone in charge of developing their baseball pitchers that knows how to determine what their pitchers need to succeed and how to teach them those pitches.

     Spring Training is four and one-half months too late to start.

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075.  Mets making intelligent pitching decisions
MLB.com
January 18, 2011

The New York Mets are signing people who know how to pitch for relatively little money.  This is nothing less than an organizational breakthrough and should signal better days ahead.

It is true that there are significant health questions surrounding the pitchers in question.  But if there weren't, they wouldn't have come relatively cheaply, would they?  And the Mets, who are in a financial holding pattern until some huge salaries come off their books at the end of 2011, might not have been in a position to sign them.

The Mets, under the new administration of general manager Sandy Alderson, are attempting to do the right thing.  That attempt is indicated by the signing of two veteran starters, both of whom are known as craftsmen and both of whom have significant success on their resumes.

Earlier this month, the Mets signed left-hander Chris Capuano, 32, to a one-year deal for a reported $1.5 million.  Once a National League All-Star, Capuano had his best season in 2005, when he went 18-12 for the Brewers.  He's a control pitcher, with a changeup that can be very effective against right-handed hitters.

On the downside, Capuano has had two Tommy John surgeries.  But, he came back in 2010 from the second one and, reinserted into the Brewers' rotation late in the season, was consistently impressive, with a 2.37 over six September starts.  In that month, in starts against Philadelphia, Cincinnati and St. Louis, two division winners and a legitimate contender, he gave up four earned runs over 18 innings.

Capuano's velocity returned, and his command was once again excellent.  But, with the Brewers remaking their rotation by trading for Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum, he became expendable.  But, he is a highly reasonable signing for the Mets.

A similar set of circumstances surrounds the Mets' latest signing, Chris Young, who has reportedly agreed to terms pending the results of a physical.  Young, now 31, was an extremely effective starter for the Padres in 2006 and 2007, but he has not pitched a full season since because of a series of injuries.  A strained right shoulder sidelined him for the majority of the 2010 season.

But like Capuano, Young returned to pitch, and pitched very well late in the season.  In three September starts for the Padres, he had a 1.29 ERA, although he did not go beyond five innings in any of those starts.

Young's uneven health record led the Padres to decline his $8.5 million option for 2011.  That was an understandable decision, but it doesn't negate Young's potential.  The 6-foot-10 Young is one of the tallest players in the history of the game, but he has the necessary athleticism for this line of work.  He played both baseball and basketball at Princeton, and he once scored 20 points against perennial power Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse.  He is far from an overpowering pitcher, but given his height and delivery, his fastball appears to close in on hitters in a hurry, and his breaking pitches have been effective.

Again, the condition of Young's right shoulder will be a question, but this is not a high-risk proposition for the Mets.  His contract is reportedly heavy on incentives.

Assuming good health, the Mets, while waiting for the return of Johan Santana from shoulder surgery, will start the 2011 season with a rotation of Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey, Jonathon Niese, Capuano and Young.  This would be a competitive group.  It would not be the Phillies' rotation, but then, there are 28 other franchises suffering from that same shortcoming.

Much will be made of the fact that there should be a considerable amount of brainpower in this rotation.  Capuano was Phi Beta Kappa at Duke.  Dickey was an academic All-American at Tennessee.  Young is a Princeton graduate.  This must be a good thing.  If the NL East tiebreaker ever comes down to a debate between rotations, the Mets would be the clear favorites.

But, what is emerging with these signings is also an intelligent approach by the Mets' new baseball administration.  Finding themselves in constrictive economic circumstances, the Mets are searching for bargains, and they have uncovered at least two pitching possibilities in Capuano and Young.  Both could sustain injuries again, but both could also pay large dividends on relatively small investments.

Paying a relatively small amount of money for someone who knows how to pitch beats the alternative, paying a large amount of money to someone who doesn't know how to pitch.  The Mets have been there, but they appear to have moved to a more functional way of doing business.


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     The sportwriter wrote, "Paying a relatively small amount of money for someone who knows how to pitch beats the alternative, paying a large amount of money to someone who doesn't know how to pitch.

     Is the writer saying that the baseball pitchers that know how to pitch are injured?  Or, is he saying that non-injured baseball pitchers not know how to pitch?

     Whichever it is, clearly, the Mets do not have anybody that knows how to teach baseball pitchers how to pitch or how to not injure themselves.

     Therefore, instead of spending money on injured baseball pitchers, they might better spend money on learning how to teach baseball pitchers to pitch and how to keep baseball pitchers from injuring themselves.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, January 30, 2011, I posted the following questions and answers.

*********************************************************************************************** -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

076.  Newcomer Fuentes likes A's chances in West
MLB.com
January 19, 2011

OAKLAND, CA:  Brian Fuentes' search for his next baseball home ended with the Oakland A's, who are situated about 100 miles northeast of his Merced, CA, residence.  The left-hander's vision of Oakland's potential for 2011 extended just a few miles farther, across the Bay Bridge.

Praising the balance between offense and pitching that the A's appear to have achieved with their off-season moves, Fuentes said that an American League West title appears possible for his new club, which officially announced its agreement with him on a two-year, $10.5 million contract Wednesday.

"The pieces are in place," Fuentes said on a conference call.  "Management has gone out and quietly put together a really strong team.  I see a lot of San Francisco in this team.  San Fran wasn't thought too highly of going into Spring Training last year, but they have pitching and some really good role players. It seems like there's a lot of that in this Oakland team, too. It's a little premature to say that we're going to win the West, but the opportunity's there." The A's figure to have strengthened that opportunity -- as well as an already impressive-looking bullpen -- by acquiring Fuentes, a four-time All-Star. After establishing the Colorado Rockies' all-time saves record with 115 between 2002-08, Fuentes led the Majors with 48 saves for the Angels in 2009.  He propelled himself into free agency last year by limiting opponents to a .181 batting average, fifth-lowest among AL relievers, while finishing 4-1 with a 2.81 ERA and 24 saves for the Angels and Minnesota Twins.

Despite amassing 20 or more saves every year since 2005, Fuentes insisted that he'll embrace a setup role with Oakland if Andrew Bailey remains the team's closer.  Bailey is expected to recover from an injury to his right (throwing) elbow, but if he encounters a setback, Fuentes could receive more chances to close than he might expect.

"I was told that he's the closer," said Fuentes, 35.  "So there's no competition in my mind.  If there comes a time when they need me to take the ball, I will.  [Bailey has] done a tremendous job.  He's electric, man.  When he's healthy, he's really, really good.  It's going to be a healthy environment."

Fuentes, whose deal includes a club option for 2013, reportedly had drawn interest from multiple teams, including the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.  But the prospect of playing for the ballclub closest to his Merced home, the team he rooted for in his youth, was too attractive to pass up.  "It definitely played a factor.  Not only that, but I was coming into a good situation.  It was a good fit overall," said Fuentes, who has 187 saves and a 3.41 ERA in 551 appearances spanning 10 Major League seasons.

Meeting at a Mexican restaurant last Friday in Merced with Oakland's braintrust, general manager Billy Beane, assistant GM David Forst and manager Bob Geren, cemented Fuentes' preference for the A's.  "It always helps to see someone in person and shake someone's hand, look someone in the eyes and get a feel for what they're all about," Fuentes said.  "They had a great sales pitch, because, you know, I'm here."


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     This article did not say that Mr. Fuentes has been injured.

     From 2002 to 2008, Mr. Fuentes had 115 saves.

     In 2009, Mr. Fuentes led the Majors with 48 saves.

     In 2010, Mr. Fuentes won 4 games, lost 1 game and saved 24 games with a .181 batting average against.

     I have seen Mr. Fuentes' pitching motion.  Mr. Fuentes uses his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching arm forward.  Mr. Fuentes takes his pitching arm well beyond second base, strides closed and throws side arm.  Mr. Fuentes throws very hard.

     With all the side-to-side movement, Mr. Fuentes unnecessarily stresses the front and back of his pitching shoulder.  Therefore, I would expect Mr. Fuentes to have lengthened his Gleno-Humeral Ligaments.  If so, then Mr. Fuentes should lose release velocity and consistency.

     Unfortunately, this article did not tell us how many innings Mr. Fuentes has pitched.  I suspect that Mr. Fuentes does not pitch more than one inning.  However, the 4 wins last year could mean that Mr. Fuentes pitched with the scored tied.

     Because Mr. Fuentes throws side arm, he cannot throw pitches that move to the pitching arm side of home or significantly downward.  Nevetheless, Because Mr. Fuentes throws hard and is left-handed, he would give left-handed batters great difficulty.  However, if right-handed batters sat on either his fastball away or his slider in, they should get a good look at Mr. Fuentes pitches.

     As another one inning per appearance pitcher, Mr. Fuentes prevents the development of starting pitchers.  Therefore, even though Mr. Fuentes appears to have been highly successful, in the long term success of the team, Mr. Fuentes' positives do not exceed his negatives.

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077.  Cardinals Inbox:  Which relievers can start in a pinch?
MLB.com
January 19, 2011

Aaron P. of Washington, MO asked, "If there was a situation in which a starting pitcher, such as Kyle Lohse were injured, would someone from the bullpen likely fill in for that injured pitcher?  If so, who?

Spring Training will reveal some of this, because there are several candidates. P.J. Walters, Lance Lynn and Miguel Batista would seem to be the leading candidates to be the "sixth starter" at this point, and it's also possible that Ian Snell could pitch his way into consideration.

Another factor would be how long a stint they were looking at; just one start versus something in the longer term.  I don't doubt that Batista could take a spot start.  However, Batista has only one start in the past two years.  So, if it were a matter of weeks or months, they might instead turn to someone more conditioned as a starter.


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     This is why one inning pitchers should not be on major league rosters.

     One inning pitchers are freak pitchers that cannot pitch more than one inning before major league batters hit them hard.

     The first one inning freak pitcher I saw in major league baseball was Bruce Sutter.  If batters faced Mr. Sutter a second time in a game, they hit his split-finger pitch very hard.

     That realization convinced major league teams to not allow batters to see their relief pitchers more than one time in a game.

     In today's game, after the starter does his best to go three times through the line-up, the relievers try to hide their inadequacies for one inning each.

     As as result, major league teams are always searching for pitchers that batters cannot hit if they see them a second time in a game.

     The only way for major league teams to develop baseball pitchers that can pitch more than one inning is to have them pitch one time through the line-up twice a week.

     While, when one time through the line-up does not have baseball pitchers pitch to batters more than once, these baseball pitchers have to pitch to more glove side batters.

     Baseball pitchers that succeed against glove side batters become successful starting pitchers.

     When baseball pitchers pitch one time through the line-up twice a week, they become sufficiently conditioned to pitch two times through the line-up.

     Therefore, when major league teams recognize the need for another starting pitcher, they can have the best of these one time through the line-up relief pitchers to start pitching two times through the line-up twice a week.

     The point is: to have relief pitchers pitch one inning two or three times a week will never develop starting pitchers.  Because starting pitchers pitch two-thirds of the innings major league teams pitch, major league teams need to continuously train pitchers to be starting pitchers.

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078.  Two-year deal brings Pavano back to Twins
MLB.com
January 19, 2011

Carl Pavano is officially a member of the Twins' rotation once again.  The club announced Wednesday that it agreed to terms with the veteran starter on a two-year, $16.5 million deal.  He will earn $8 million this year and $8.5 million in 2012, with an opportunity to earn $500,000 more in incentives for the latter season based on innings pitched.

Pavano, who turned 35 on January 08, was considered to be the top remaining starter on the free-agent market.  He went 17-11 with a 3.75 ERA for the Twins in 2010 and led the team in both wins and innings pitched (221).  "We're just so excited, the family is," Pavano said in a conference call.  "It's pretty cool.  I'm getting texts from all my teammates, so obviously it shows me that they were waiting to hear what was going to happen, and they're all excited.  So that obviously makes you feel pretty good." Pavano is 22-15 with a 3.97 ERA in 44 starts for Minnesota since August of 2009.  Although he had four injury-plagued seasons in New York from 2005-08, Pavano has proved to be quite durable with the Twins and Indians in the two seasons since.  Over that stretch, he is 31-23 and averaged 210 innings a season.  Pavano tossed a career-high seven complete games, including two shutouts, last season, which tied with Cliff Lee for second in the Majors.

But, it was more than just Pavano's on-field performance that caused the Twins to make a push to re-sign him.  The right-hander has been valuable to the Twins for his leadership in the rotation.  "As we said when we first got him, we wanted him to be that accountable guy, to show the others how it's done, and that's what he did," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.  "He came in and showed the staff that this is what happens if you pitch.  He's no-nonsense.  He's accountable, good or bad, and he has no excuses.  That's why you love the guy.  He's a bulldog.  He doesn't want to come out of the game.  That's what we want our young guys to see.  I think they have all learned from him and we're excited to have him back."

Other teams were reported to have interest in Pavano at times throughout the winter, and he turned down a one-year offer from the Yankees and a multiyear offer from the Pirates to re-sign with the Twins.  The news that the Yankees were one of the teams interested might seem surprising to some, but Pavano said that a mutual respect has remained for both sides despite his previous disappointing stint in the Bronx.  "I always had great respect for [Yankees general manger] Brian Cashman," Pavano said.  "I still, through the years, have had contact with him, and we've stayed in touch.  When they won the World Series, I called him to congratulate him because he was nothing but a class gentleman when I was there.  He treated me with a lot of respect, and that shows a lot, that he was going to stick his neck out there for me if something was going to work out."

Pavano had options in terms of where he could have signed this winter.  The Brewers spoke with Pavano's agent, Tom O'Connell, prior to acquiring Zack Greinke, and the Nationals also spoke with O'Connell during the Winter Meetings last month.  But the decision to return to Minnesota was based largely on what his heart was telling him.  "I couldn't put aside the emotions, the feelings and the energy that I have for this team, the guys that I played with and our staff," Pavano said.  "I just couldn't put it aside, so thank god we were able to come up with a deal and work things out.  "I'm where I need to be."

Now the Twins have Pavano back to help form what they believe is a strong 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation with Francisco Liriano.


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     From 2005 through 2008, Mr. Pavano had four injury-plagued seasons for the New York Yankees.

     In 2010, Mr. Pavano pitched 221 innings, won 17 games and lost 11 games with a 3.75 earned run average.  In his two years with the Twins, Mr. Pavano pitched 420 innings.

     I want to know what Mr. Pavano did differently with the Twins.

     According to my stats guys, the incentives that the Twins gave Mr. Pavano are:  $100,000 for 190 innings; $100,000 for 200 innings; $150,000 for 210 innings and $150,000 for 220 innings.

     I was the first major league player to negotiate a two-year contract.

     When the Montreal Expos traded me to the Los Angeles Dodgers, I told the the Dodgers that, instead of what offered me for 1974, for income tax purposes, I preferred to staircase the next two year salaries.  Therefore, I signed for less in 1974 with a higher minimum for 1975.

     I was also the first major league player to have defered compensation.

     After 1974, the Dodgers offered me $150,000.00.  I told them that, to enable me to meet my family's long term finacial needs, I prefered to loan $100,000.00 to the Dodgers at two percent below what they borrow money to pay salaries.

     Unfortunately, the other major league players did not get interest on their defered compensation.

     I also tried to be the first major league player to have an incentive bonus.

     During my negotiations for my 1974 contract, I asked Mr. O'Malley (Walter) whether, if I won the 1974 Cy Young Award, he would consider paying me twice the minimum to which he agreed for my 1975 salary.  Mr. O'Malley laughed and agreed.  Instead of insisting that we include my contract, I trusted Mr. O'Malley.

     When, after I won the 1974 Cy Young Award, Mr. O'Malley reneged, our relationship changed.

     When, I joined the Dodgers for 1974 spring training, the players elected me their player representative.  To discuss how to best resolve any issues, Mr. O' Malley asked me to meet with him.  We talked for over an hour and Mr. O'Malley suggested that we talk regularly.  As we talked through the season, our conversations broadened.  We became business friends.

     However, in 1975, our conversation lost their collegial atmosphere.

     In early 1976, the Dodgers traded me.

     A few years later, during spring training, I received a message to telephone Mr. O'Malley's secretary.  She told me that Mr. O' Malley wanted to meet with me.

     Therefore, I took a day off and drove to Vero Beach.  Mr. O' Malley and I visited for more than an hour and the atmosphere was again collegial.

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079.  Query

Thank you again for your generous advice.

The Incarnate Word presentation was very informative.

Many tennis players exhale loudly and verbalize an audible vocal noise as they strike the ball.  Karate folks seem to like this too.

1.  Is there anything to it in terms of aiding performance?

2.  In your rear-arm punch batting method, over what linear distance does the punch travel, in general terms?

On the one hand, punching over a long distance satisfies Coach Newton.  On the other, hitters benefit from waiting and judging as long as possible.

Bruce Lee said he could knock fools out cold with a "one-inch" punch.

Can we knock heck out of horsehide with a similar punch, or do we want to extend?


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01.  To have a solid chest from which to powerfully use their arms, athletes hold their breath.  Then, after they apply their force, they exhale.

02.  Force equals mass times acceleration.  Acceleration equals a change in velocity divided by the time required to make that change in velocity.  Velocity equals the change in displacement divided by the time required to make that change in displacement.

     I doubt that, in one inch of displacement, anybody can move their fist in such a short time as to generate sufficient velocity to generate sufficient acceleration to generate sufficient force to cause harm.

     Therefore, to accelerate the center of mass of their baseball bat to their genetic maximum contact velocity, baseball batters have to move the center of mass of the baseball bat through their genetic maximal displacement in the shortest time period they can.

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080.  Rizzo: Wang will be ready for Spring Training
MLB.com
January 19, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC:  Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Wednesday that right-hander Chien-Ming Wang will be ready for Spring Training.  Wang missed the entire 2010 season because of right shoulder problems.  After he was non-tendered, Wang re-signed with Washington last month.  He will be one of eight starters competing for a spot in the rotation.

The Nationals are hoping that Wang, who is working out in Arizona, will be the pitcher who won a combined 38 games for the Yankees in 2006 and '07.  "He is coming in at the beginning of Spring Training.  He is throwing off the mound, working out," Rizzo said.  "He is throwing as we speak.  He is not in rehabilitation mode right now.  He is in preparation mode for Spring Training."


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     When baseball pitchers have shoulder problems, it is because they use their Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull their pitching arm forward.  While straightening the driveline decreases the unnecessary stress to the Glen-Humeral Ligaments on the front of the pitching shoulder during the acceleration phase, it does not prevent the stress to the Teres Minor muscle in the back of the pitching shoulder during the deceleration phase.

     To eliminate all pitching shoulder problems, baseball pitchers have to learn how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     To learn how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, baseball pitchers need to practice my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

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081.   Nationals grant Martin unconditional release
MLB.com
January 19, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC:  To make room for new first baseman Adam LaRoche, the Nationals gave right-hander J.D. Martin his unconditional release.  Martin appeared in nine games last season, going 1-5 with a 4.13 ERA before having lower back surgery in August.  He had his first bullpen session this past Friday and is expected to be ready for Spring Training.


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     Surgery cannot repair degenerated intervertebral disks.  The only way that baseball pitchers can eliminate lower back problems is to stand tall and rotate.

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082.  Francis expresses excitement to join Royals
MLB.com
January 19, 2011

KANSAS CITY, MO:  While snow pelted Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, it was all warm and cozy and upbeat inside the Royals' home.  Left-hander Jeff Francis checked in after passing a physical exam to finalize his $2 million contract and he shook hands with manager Ned Yost, who was in town for staff meetings and the Royals FanFest.

Yost was encouraged that his club signed both Francis and fellow lefty Bruce Chen within the past few days to beef up the starting rotation.  "Before we signed Bruce and Francis, we were a little thin, we were an injury away from having to count on one of the young guys," Yost said.  "It was big to sign those last two guys because they have experience, they've both had success."

Francis, just meeting Yost in passing, didn't have time to discuss anything other than the weather.  So the ex-Colorado pitcher isn't sure where he'll fit in the rotation.  He's just sure that he'll fit in pretty well.  "My health record the past few years hasn't been great, but I feel good about where I am," Francis said.  "As long as I can go out there and pitch, I feel like they're going to give me that chance."

The surgically repaired left shoulder that kept him out of the 2009 season got an OK from the doctors in Kansas City.  "They kind of whisper behind my back, but I hear that everything is OK and they're going to let me go out and pitch," Francis said.  "I haven't had any problems since mid-season.  I finished the season healthy and I've gone through the offseason doing everything I wanted to do."

Yost remembered being impressed when he saw Francis pitch in a rehab start in the Minors last season, and again when he beat the Royals for the Rockies last May 22.  Francis went 6 1/3 innings and held the Royals to five hits in a 3-0 victory.  "What he did in the past wasn't a fluke. He knows how to pitch," Yost said.

Francis is best remembered for his 17-9 record as the Rockies' reached the 2007 World Series. He feels confident he can return to that form.  "A lot of things have to go right for a pitcher to win 17 games," he said.  "I had a lot of guys score a lot of runs for me and a lot of guys in the bullpen save leads for me.  So I'm not sure I can say that I won 17 games, but certainly I think I can be as consistent a pitcher as I was.  "I'm confident I can go out this year and make 30-plus starts."

That would be big for Yost, who sees the possible influx of the two left-handers into the rotation as a plus.  "They're both guys that are tough on left-handers," Yost said.  "Bruce is a guy that left-handers don't see.  He changes his arm angle, he changes speeds, he can work up and down in the zone.  And Jeff is truly a pitcher out there. He keeps the ball down, he moves the ball in and out.  He changes speeds, so they complement each other, and it's nice to have them balance some righties in the rotation."

With the addition of Francis and the re-signing of Chen, Yost believes the 2011 rotation will be strong.  "There's a lot of numbers there, and that's good," Yost said.  "When you go into Spring Training, your goal is to create competition and to create depth, and I think we've done a good job of that.  We've got a lot of good people to look at, including the young guys."

The Spring Training arrival of a platoon of top pitching prospects and other rising players has both Yost and Francis invigorated, curious and optimistic.  "I've been on a team like this before, and I saw pretty amazing things happen," Francis said, referring to the Rockies' rise to World Series contenders.  "Whether that's in the immediate future or not while I'm here this year is yet to be seen, but it's certainly an exciting time for an organization.  From what people have told me, it's the real deal."


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     Mr. Francis said, "My health record the past few years hasn't been great, but I feel good about where I am.  As long as I can go out there and pitch, I feel like they're going to give me that chance."

     Clearly, Mr. Francis does not know why he suffered his injury or whether he will be able to pitch.

     That is why those that claim to rehabilitate injured baseball pitchers have to take high-speed film, determine the injurious flaw, show the baseball pitchers their injurious flaw, teach them how to eliminate their flaw and train them to withstand the stress of competitively pitching.

     Mr. Francis has shoulder problems.  Therefore, Mr. Francis needs to learn how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

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083.  Healthy Arredondo ready to help Reds' bullpen
MLB.com
January 20, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH:  By the virtue of alphabetical order, reliever Jose Arredondo's name is the first one Reds fans can see on the pitchers' portion of the 40-man roster.  Because he missed all of last season and has yet to throw a pitch for Cincinnati, he also might be the most mysterious.

The Reds signed Arredondo to a big league contract last winter, knowing full well he would need Tommy John surgery after he blew out his right elbow playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic.  They figured he'd be worth the wait.  "If he is healthy, he'll contribute very well," said Bill Bavasi, the vice president of scouting, player development and international operations for the Reds.

During his rookie season with the Angels in 2008, Arredondo was 10-2 with a 1.62 ERA in 52 appearances.  He allowed 42 hits and 22 walks in 61 innings, with 55 strikeouts and a .190 opponents' batting average.

The elbow issues began in 2009, as he split the season between the Angels and Triple-A while bothered by a sprained ligament.  He had a 6.00 ERA in 43 big league appearances, and he had 47 hits and 23 walks in 45 innings.  The Angels did not include him on their post-season roster.

Arredondo had his Tommy John surgery last February 02 and spent the entire season rehabilitating.  "He's a talented guy, one of those young guys with a lot of skills," Bavasi said.  "The surgery, off-time and rehab really opened his eyes to what the game is all about.  What little I saw in the instructional league, he's coming along like Edinson Volquez."

Volquez came back throwing 94-97 mph after his return from Tommy John surgery, but he also had some inconsistency.  However, he was also a starting pitcher thrust into the middle of a pennant race while working off the rust.  Arredondo will have the benefits of a full Spring Training and the need of fewer innings.  Like Volquez, Arredondo is also still quite young.  He will turn 27 on March 12.

Despite the departure of free-agent lefty Arthur Rhodes, the Reds have few openings in their bullpen.  Arredondo could fill the void left by Rhodes, even though he's a right-handed pitcher.  "Look at his numbers vs. left-handed hitters, they're exceptional numbers," general manager Walt Jocketty said.  "I think with the lefties we have and this guy, we should have enough to address left-handers out of the bullpen."

Left-handed hitters batted .185 vs. Arredondo his past two seasons, compared to .264 for right-handers.  The Reds have lefties like Aroldis Chapman and Bill Bray, and should have Dontrelle Willis, Matt Maloney and Daniel Ray Herrera vying for spots.

Leading up to closer Francisco Cordero, Cincinnati already has right-handers Nick Masset, Logan Ondrusek, Jared Burton and Jordan Smith.  Arredondo could wedge his way into a role with a successful spring.  "The last I saw him in instructional league, he looked real solid," Bavasi said.  "A large percentage of that surgery for pitchers is a success, so we're excited."


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     Mr. Arrendondo did not suddenly rupture a healthy Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Mr. Arrendondo spent years tearing the connective tissue fibers in his Ulnar Collateral Ligament that his body healed.  When Mr. Arrendondo started tearing more connective tissue fibers than his body could heal, his Ulnar Collateral Ligament lengthened.

     With his Ulnar Collateral Ligament longer, Mr. Arrendondo's pitching elbow became less stable and his release velocity decreased.

     Eventually, Mr. Arrendondo ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Ulnar Collateral Ligament surgury gave Mr. Arrendondo a stable pitching elbow.  However, his body cannot heal his replacement Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

     Therefore, when Mr. Arrendondo tears the connective tissue fibers in his new Ulnar Collateral Tendon, it will rupture in a much shorter time than his born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Bill Bavasi, the vice president of scouting, player development and international operations for the Reds said.  "A large percentage of that surgery for pitchers is a success, so we're excited."

     Apparently, Mr. Bavasi is unaware that, unless these baseball pitchers learn how to pendulum swing their pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, they will rupture their Ulnar Collateral Replacement Tendon.

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084.  Muscle memory nuclei

Could you comment on the following story?

I know you talk about motor engrams forming when we perform activities several times.  My understanding is that these motor engrams form in the brain.  This article suggests that muscles obtain nuclei from physical activities and these nuclei never go away.

Is this seems at odds with your motor engram belief?

--------------------------------------------------

No More Gym?  Don't Worry, Your Muscles Remember
By NPR Staff
All Things Considered
August 22, 2010

You know that friend who used to be a jock and now seems kind of lazy, but annoyingly, all he has to do is exercise for a month to get ready for a triathlon?

Well, new research says there's a reason for that.

Muscles actually have a memory of their former strength, and that memory may last indefinitely, University of Oslo physiologist Kristian Gundersen tells NPR's Audie Cornish.  Gundersen's team just released a study that has good news for those of us who used to be fit.

Muscles Have A Mind Of Their Own

The study challenges the idea that muscles go back to their starting condition when you stop strength training.  "Our findings suggest that there are permanent structural changes in the muscle," says Gundersen.  "We don't know if they're really permanent, but they're very long-lasting in animals, at least."

The researchers put mice through strength training on their hind legs.

Building muscle generates new muscle nuclei, which Gundersen calls the "small factories that will produce new muscle."  Then the researchers took the mice off their training regimen.

Gundersen observed their nuclei directly with specialized microcameras, and found that although the mice lost muscle mass, they still maintained the muscle nuclei.  Those nuclei give the muscle a head start when training resumes.

The Earlier You're Fit, The Better

Although the muscle might bounce back, Gundersen says its ability to develop memory does seem to weaken over time.  "We know that to get these new nuclei, it's much easier when you are young," he said.  "To me, that suggests that you should then train while you are still young and when it is still easy to recruit these nuclei, and you might benefit from that when you get older."

The only bad news from Gundersen's study might be for athletes who dope.  Steroids also give you more muscle nuclei.  "And if those are permanent," he says, "then the benefits that you have gotten from your cheating might also be permanent.  "And then, I guess, it's reasonable to suggest that exclusion time after [a] doping offense should be forever."


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     Your understanding is correct.  Engrams form in the Motor Cortex of the brain.

     When highly trained athletes perform their skills, they send instructions from their Motor Cortex.  When these instructions come from Engrams, the motor unit contraction and relaxation sequences perform automatically.

     The difficulty occurs when athletes form engrams of inappropriate motor unit contraction and relaxation sequences.

     This article discusses a simplistic research design with mice.  They exercised the rear legs of their mice subjects.  They found that the training generated new muscle nuclei.  Then, the stopped training the mice.  They found that although the mice lost muscle mass, they kept the new nuclei that they generated.

     This is not new.  In the 1960s, we (the researchers at Michigan State University) found the same thing.  In addition, we found that these muscle nuclei moved to the outer edge of the muscle cell and divided into two nuclei that developed another muscle fiber.

     The stressor that we (the researchers at Michigan State University) used was swimming.  Along with Dr. Michael Greenisen, NASA's Director of Exercise Counter-Measures, early every morning over the Christmas break, I stood over the water tank making sure that none of our lab rats drowned from their swim or die training.

     We (the researchers at Michigan State University) also found that physical training early in the life of lab rats protected them against physical stresses later in their life.

     The finding that steroids increase the number of muscle nuclei is new to me.  However, it does not surprise me that these new nuclei do not disappear.

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085.  What's the major culprit?

Last night, I was reflecting back many moons ago, to the time when I threw with the traditional pitching delivery.

I recalled a few of the "normal" issues I would face from time to time, mainly pitching-side Rhomboid (Major) discomfort, and what I perceived to be a burning, stretching feeling at the distal end of my Biceps Brachii muscle.  Thinking about those two "nuisances," and the fact that I do not have any discomfort like that anymore, made me appreciate the work I've done to learn your throwing motion.

The Rhomboid issue seems pretty clear cut as to why that happened.  The Biceps Brachii discomfort (which I'm thinking was a Brachialis issue now) is a little foggy.

I understand that, despite a pendulum swing that I was taught at an early age, I kept my pitching hand on top of the ball.  But, when my pitching hand reached shoulder height, I passively rotated my pitching hand so that my the palm of my hand (and the baseball) to face the first baseman (as I am right handed).

I'm sure that set up quite a few flaws including late forearm turnover, bending my elbow to ninety degrees, looping, and forearm flyout.

I should also note that I was always taught to slap my back with my pitching hand.

However, throughout my entire pitching career, I threw, at the very most, 15% curve balls/ sliders.  I was primarily a fastball, sinker, change up pitcher.  So, I did not spend too much time supinating the release of very many pitches.

Also, the discomfort was easily more prevalent the day after pitching on a hot and humid day, or in games that required the highest quality pitches more often (Close games, men on base, etc.).

So, my questions to you are:

1.  Which one of my flaws was the major factor in my Biceps Brachii/ Brachialis discomfort?

I'm thinking forearm flyout, but I can't help but wonder if the back-slapping "follow through," encouraged me to supinate my pitching forearm.

2.  Would the back slapping cause me to supinate, even after I pronated the release of my fastball, sinker, and change up?


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     You did not mention how far laterally behind your body that you took your pitching arm.  Nevertheless, to unnecessarily stress your Brachialis muscle, you had to have generated force to the pitching arm side of your body that you needed to decelerate before you could throw the baseball toward home plate.

     That means you had some form of 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'

     That you bent your pitching elbow to less than ninety degrees before your started pulling your pitching upper arm forward means that you have a 'Loop' in your pitching forearm action.  'Looping' also causes 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'

     If you pendulum swung your pitching arm up to driveline height, even with the palm of your pitching hand facing downward, you did not have 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.'  'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover' leads to 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'  From what you wrote, I do not believe that you had 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     What you did was a result of poor timing.  After baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm to driveline height, baseball pitchers have to position their pitching forearm to throw the various pitches that they throw.

     I teach my baseball pitchers to arrive at driveline height with the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body.  When your pitching arm arrived at driveline height, you had the palm of your pitching hand facing downward.

     That means that, to catch up, you had ninety extra degrees of pitching forearm rotation to complete.

     With the palm of the pitching hand facing away from their body, to throw reverse breaking balls, including circle change-ups, my baseball pitchers do not have to change their position their pitching forearm.

     With the palm of the pitching hand facing away from their body, to throw breaking balls, my baseball pitchers have to rotate their pitching forearm from having the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body to facing toward their body.

     That forearm action is supination.  The Supinator and Biceps Brachii muscles supinate the forearm.  The Biceps Brachii muscle also flexes the elbow.  Therefore, when baseball pitchers throw their breaking pitches, they will likely bend their pitching elbow.  Bending the pitching elbow causes 'Looping.'

     With the extra ninety degrees to complete, you increased the likelihood that you would flex your pitching elbow.  Then, because you had to hurry, you increased the unnecessary stress.

     The 'Back Slapping' drill that you did made certain that you used your Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull your pitching arm forward.  Therefore, I am surprised that you did not have problems with the front and back of your pitching shoulder.

     At the least, you should have lengthened your Gleno-Humeral Ligaments and suffered from a 'tired pitching shoulder.'

     However, I do not believe that your 'back slapping' contributed to your Biceps Brachii and/or Brachialis muscles discomfort.

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086.  Making and uploading your DVD Test

To see whether you were able to make and upload your DVD, I went to your website and opened your new Watch Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion file.  And, I found the video that you were trying to upload.

I like how you have the baseballs marked with stripes or circles so the rotation is more obvious.

My guess is that, for YouTube, you don't need to make the file full-size.

The .AVI we created was full size for how it would be watched on a TV.  I was able to open your file at full-screen on my computer and it looked great.

As discussed earlier today, I really don't know anything about YouTube and I upload my videos to my site at a much smaller size so they transfer more quickly.

The bottom line is that the higher the resolution and screen size, the larger the file and, therefore, the longer time it will take to upload.  If you do it overnight, then you won't have any down time waiting for the upload to complete.

The audio is little tinny, but that's a minor issue.  It could be due to your microphone or, more likely, the sound card in your computer.  It could also be a setting in Windows, but I'd have to see it.

I like your voiceover.  You could do play-by-play (or at least color analysis). :-)

Congratulations.  This is a major step forward for your work.


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     Thank you for taking the time to watch the video.

     For several reasons, that video is a major step forward.

     First, now I can make and upload my videos myself.  That will greatly expedite my ability to get information to those that visit my website.

     Second, it has motivated me to finish and upload at least a dozen of videos that are in various degrees of completion.

     Third, I have other videos that visitors have asked me to make, namely my Baseball Batting Instructional Video, my Baseball Fielding Instructional Video and my Baseball Base Running Instructional Video.

     Now that I know how to complete every step of the video making process myself, I will get to work.

     The only delay in my efforts is that I also have to spend time earning money on which to live and to pay the costs involved in making videos.

     Once again, I greatly appreciate your help.  Without your guidance, I never would have clicked on Media and made the .AVI file, never would have used DVDMaker to make the DVD and never would have tried to upload the .AVI file.

     While I only care that visitors can hear what I am saying, I would like to remove anything that distorts my words.  If the 'tinny' sound does not interfere with what visitors hear, then I am fine with that.  However, if visitors could better hear what I say if it were not 'tinny,' then I would like to fix that.

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087.  Hello Dr. Marshall!

Many, many, Moons ago, you visited my school to show us a new-fangled thing called Kinesiology.

You made it fun and it was very different from anything we had seen before.  I was a fifth grade student at Red Cedar Elementary School in good ol' East Lansing.  That was a unique and special day for us, there are not too many days I remember so absolutely and clearly and that says a lot!  It could have been yesterday.

The next year, I was at Hannah Middle School, also in East Lansing and we had an assembly to hear you speak.  That was even more memorable for me because prior to your presentation you happened to sit down right next to me and I asked you for an autograph.  You politely declined and I hope you are still doing that!  That was shocking and hurtful for an 11 year old fan, but for only 5 minutes or so!

You proceeded to the stage and explained to us that teachers, parents, and doctors are the real heroes and that we should be asking them for autographs.

It's funny now, but you know what?  You could have signed that notebook page I had ready and I would have forgotten about it years ago.  Instead, I learned something that has lasted for over 30 years.

I don't know about you, but there's not too many Junior High assemblies I can still recall, or athletes/role models who today wouldn't take the money and move on without a second thought, who would have taken the time to share a life lesson I can share with my children.

I truly wish you all the best and I believe the ideas you had then and have now are still ahead of their time.


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     That you and the other students permitted my to share some time with you was very kind.

     I appreciate that you took the time to email me.

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088.  Rotator cuff injuries

I have recently taken a sports medicine class that focused a portion of the time on the "traditional" pitching motion.  Of course, this course did not call the "traditional" motion by that title.

According to that course (and the professor, actually a PE teacher) the traditional pitching mechanics causes injury to the rotator cuff when moving the ball from the pendulum swing to driveline height.

Is this accurate?

From my experience, your material does a better job explaining than my teacher.


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     The rotator cuff involves the attachment of the Subscapularis muscle anteriorly, the Supraspinatus muscle superiorly, the Infraspinatus muscle slightly posteriorly and the Teres Minor muscle posteriorly.

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, the Pectoralis Major muscle horizontally pulls the pitching arm forward.

     Pitching arm actions start with the Shoulder Girdle (Scapula bone movement), then go the Shoulder Joint (Humerus bone movement), the Elbow joint (Ulna bone movement), the Forearm Joint (Radius bone movement), the Wrist Joint (Carpal bone movement), Hand Joint (Metacarpal bone movement and Finger Joints (Phalange bone movement).

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, what researchers call Inward Rotation of the Shoulder Joint takes place after baseball pitchers release their pitches.

     Therefore, the rotator cuff muscles do no inwardly rotate the Humerus bone.

     Furthermore, real inward rotation of the Humerus bone occurs during the acceleration phase of the baseball pitching motion when baseball pitchers generate powerful forces that, when applied improperly, results in injuries to the involved bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

     Therefore, during the preparation phase of pendulum swinging the pitching arm, when baseball pitchers are not generating powerful forces, baseball pitchers do not injure anything.

     To answer your implied questions:

01.  'Traditional' baseball pitchers injure their tiny because the tiny Teres Minor muscle is not sufficiently strong enough to decelerate the pitching arm.

02.  The injury that 'traditional' baseball pitchers suffer as a result of moving the baseball from the pendulum swing to driveline height actually occurs at the very beginning of the acceleration phase when the glove foot of 'traditional' baseball pitchers lands and they start to horizontally pull their pitching arm forward.

     Unfortunately, they have not moved their pitching forearm into the proper position from which to move forward.  As a result, 'traditional' baseball pitchers generate a powerful force that tears the connective tissue fibers in their Ulnar Collateral Ligament that eventually ruptures that ligament.

     As do all orthopedic surgeons, your Sports Medicine Professor needs to visit my website.

     By the way; did this professor say how baseball pitchers could eliminate this injury?

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089.  What's the major culprit?

As I was writing the first email, I was visualizing how far laterally I took my pitching arm behind my body.  I do not know why I didn't include it.  Nice catch.

Believe it or not, I never suffered any type of discomfort to my shoulder despite my Forearm Flyout, and 'Back Slapping' finish.  I do not know if I have lengthened my Gleno-Humeral Ligaments.

1.  Is there a way I can perform a self test to find out?

Actually, I wanted to mention two points about shoulders.

One of the tests each newly drafted minor league ball player had to perform during the initial physical after signing (with the organization I was with), involved putting our hands behind our backs, and seeing how high we could raise our hands (thumbs first) up our backs.  I could tell that my glove thumb was considerably higher than my pitching thumb.

I asked if that was normal.  The trainer asked me if I was a pitcher before I was drafted.  After I answered 'yes,' he told me that my test result was typical of all the pitchers they tested.  He didn't (or couldn't?) tell me anything else.

2.  Can you?

Along with my traditional throwing flaws, I also spent time in the weight room, performing traditional bodybuilding exercises.  One of those, of course, was the bench press.  I became very proficient at the bench press and loved the exercise.  (If only the mirror I stared at in between sets could tell me the exercise was doing nothing for me as a baseball player!)

One night, while laying on the floor watching TV, my roommates (both pitchers) pointed out that with my elbows at shoulder height and bent at ninety degrees, my forearms did not externally rotate and lay flat and the floor.  In fact, despite being in a relaxed state, my forearms were only slightly past perpendicular to the floor.  They proceeded to show me how easy it was for them to do what I couldn't.

I knew that bench pressing was the factor, and I eventually stopped barbell bench pressing altogether.   It's been well over five years since I've performed a barbell bench press, and I can almost lay my forearms flat on the floor in the position described above.

I've asked "intelligent" people for an answer to this, and all say the same thing:  "Your shoulders were tight."

3.  Can you give me the real answer?


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     'Traditional' baseball pitchers lengthen the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments in their pitching shoulder when they take their pitching arm laterally behind their body and horizontally pull their pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of their body, circularly forward toward home plate, across the front of their body and beyond to slap the glove side back of their body.

     Dontrelle Willis is the poster child of this injurious flaw.

01.  To determine whether baseball pitchers have lengthened their Gleno-Humeral Ligaments, you would hold the Glenoid Fossa still and anteriorly and posteriorly move the head of the Humerus bone.

     However, to make any sense, we would have to know the unlenghtened range of motion.

     Therefore, I prefer to stop using the Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull the pitching arm forward and teach baseball pitchers how to use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to vertically drive their pitching upper arm forward.

02.  The ability of baseball pitchers to move their pitching and glove arms behind their backs and maximally bend their elbows has nothing to do with baseball pitching.

     However, the fact that they cannot move their pitching thumb high indicates that they have appropriately increased the muscle mass in their Teres Major muscle.

03.  You are asking what limits the ability of athletes to supinate their forearms.  I am confident that they have not alters the head of their Radius bone.  Therefore, they must have developed a muscle such that it limits their outward rotation range of motion of the Radius muscle.

     In the forearm joint, does bench pressing train supination muscles or pronation muscles?  Fully extending the elbow joint requires that the forearm joint pronate.

     That would indicate that the Pronator Teres muscle limits the supination range of motion.  However, the Pronator Teres muscle also flexes the elbow joint.

     Maybe wrist joint muscles can influence the ability to supinate the forearm.  Bench pressing trains the wrist joint flexor muscles.  The wrist joint flexors muscles are the Flexor Carpi Radialis and Flexor Carpi Ulnaris muscles.  These muscles and the Pronator Teres muscle attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone.

     Therefore, I believe that the development of these three muscles limited the supination range of motion in your pitching forearm.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, February 06, 2011, I posted the following questions and answers.

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090.  This is Colin Carmady

I have been pitching very well.

Today, I pitched one inning in an intra-squad game.

1.  RHB: TF/MA-s, TFSl/LA-c, MF/HI-b, MFSI/ML-b, TFSl/LA: Nasty (Ks)
2.  LHB: MFSI/MA-c, MF/HA-b, TF/MI: (F9)

We had umpires call the game. The Head Coach asked the umpires to see if my Drop Out Wind-Up pitching motion with base runners on first and/or second base is a balk.

The umpires took about 10 minutes.

Then, I pitched to next batter.

3.  LHB: TF/HI-b, TFSl/ML-b, MF/MH-b, MFSi/dirt: (BB) Then, he was thrown out trying to steal.

I also pitched yesterday.

1.  RHB: TFSl/MA-c, TF/MA-s, TFSl/LA: (Kc)
2.  RHB: TFSl/HA-b, MF/MI: (F7)
3.  RHB: TFSL/MM-c, TF/MA-s, MF/HI-b, TF/LA: (Kc)

I am throwing in a set position now.  I feel really comfortable and I am throwing my MFSi for a strike and my MTSc better.  I believe it is because I am getting my foot down before the center of mass of my body is moving forward.

I am still unable to regularly throw the MPC for a strike, but I still throw it in the bullpen.

As for the set position:  All I am doing is putting my glove leg in front of my pitching leg with both feet pointing towards home plate.  The only issue I have this the set position is that I do not feel that I throw as hard.  I feel a little bit more juice in the windup, but I just started trying the set 3 or 4 days ago.

When I "play catch" Mike, we both do the drills that I was doing over Christmas break at our house all the way up to pitching to a hitter.  I save that for when I throw my bullpen before I go out onto the mound to pitch.

We do not have anymore inter-squads, but we will be throwing live BP to hitters sometime this coming week.

When I was warming up today, I threw just MF and MFSi and I started to feel the MFSi at the same intensity as my MF.  Only when I stuck my arm in the place I wanted to throw it versus to pulling the pitch as I usually do.

I hit myself in the head five times with my pitching arm shoulder today.  As insane this might be for anyone else to read, I am proud of myself for doing so.  At the same time, I am disappointed it didn't happen more.

I'll keep you updated.


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     I am disappointed that they forced you to use the Set Position.  The reason why you feel a loss of release velocity is that you lose is about of foot and one-half of momentum.

     On the other hand, the Set Position decreases the amount of body movement, which decreases the likelihood that your body movements will decrease your release consistency.

     You have earned the right to have fun pitching baseball.  Enjoy.

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091.  Your kinesiology work

I just learned about your work from a friend.  We play senior softball together.

Does your work have applications to people with Parkinson's?

For example, when I start to run after hitting the ball, it looks like I am running in place, and then, I finally get going.  This does not happen at all if I run sprints on a track.

If I miss a ball at second base and chase after it into right field, I usually do not slip at all.  But, when I move back on a fly ball (or trying to reverse lateral direction fielding or running), it is usually a comical misadventure.

After watching part of your first video, I imagine you would need to film me to provide complete answers, but I am wondering if you have any simple suggestions.


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     If athletes with Parkinson's are not able to learn motor skills, then Kinesiology cannot help them.

     To move back on fly balls, athletes have to learn how to half reverse rotate backward to both sides while running and keeping their eyes on the ball.

     To start, you should try walking backward and turning sideways to both sides and keeping your head still.

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092.  What's the major culprit?

I'm sorry.  I did not mean to ask about the range of motion of the supinating muscles in my forearm.  I was referring to the range of motion in my shoulder.

During the time when I was bench pressing, I was unable to fully externally rotate my Humerus bone, when my elbows were at shoulder height, and my arms were bent at ninety degrees.  (Similar to a referee making the made field goal signal, only my elbows are bent at ninety degrees, and my palms are facing forward.)

In a relaxed state and lying on the floor in the position I described, my forearms would be practically perpendicular to the floor.

My thought:  My Anterior Deltoids were significantly more developed than my Posterior Deltoids, and would not allow "normal" range of motion.

As I mentioned in the previous email, once I stopped heavy bench pressing, and barbell bench pressing altogether, the range of motion has gradually returned to close to "normal."

This question is coming from way out of left field:

If a pitcher did have Forearm Bounce, but had limited external rotation of their Humerus bone, would they be less susceptible to Ulnar Collateral Ligament damage than a pitcher with a full range of motion?

(I'm not suggesting that a limited range of motion is a good thing, nor am I attempting to rationalize having injurious flaws.  I'm sure this scenario would lead to other problems.)  Like I said, way out of left field.


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     During the preparation phase of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, to move their pitching forearm from pointing downward to pointing upward, baseball pitchers outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     When their glove foot lands, they start to pull their pitching upper arm forward.

     Unfortunately, with their pitching forearm short of pointing upward or pointing upward, this pull of their pitching upper arm forward causes their pitching forearm to move backward and/or downward.

     These two actions result in the pitching forearm having to come to a sudden stop or 'bounce.'

     While the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' takes place at the very beginning of the acceleration phase, it has nothing to do with accelerating the baseball.

     That is why I say that, during the acceleration phase, 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not inward or outward rotate the Humerus bone of their pitching upper arm.  Instead, they use their Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull their pitching arm forward.

     In the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, the Pectoralis Major muscle horizontally pulls the Humerus bone forward.  The Pectoralis Major muscle does not inwardly rotate the Humerus bone.

     To answer your question:

01.  Unlike the flexion and extension ranges of motion of the elbow joint, where structural changes in the bones cause the loss of range of motion, the loss of range of motion in the shoulder joint is more likely to be muscle-related.

     That, since you stopped bench pressing, your inward and outward rotation has increased, confirms that the problem is muscle-related.

     The Anterior and Posterior Deltoid muscles primarily abduct (raise) the Humerus bone laterally to shoulder height.  They have minimal influence on inward and outward rotation.

     By wrapping around the underside of the head of the Humerus bone, the Latissimus Dorsi and Teres Major muscles are perfectly situated to powerfully inwardly rotate the shoulder joint.

     As shown in the 'Watch Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion' file, my baseball pitchers inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm and pronate their pitching forearm so powerfully that they turn the palm of their pitching hand to face upward.

     The question is:  What muscle(s) attach(es) to the Humerus bone is perfectly situated to decelerate this powerful inward rotation?

     In this extremely inwardly rotated position, the Posterior Deltoid, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor muscles become the best situated muscles to decelerate inward rotation.

     However, as I said, during the acceleration phase, 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

02.  To eliminate injury to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers have to eliminate 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     The question is:  Does a limited outward rotation range of motion increase or decrease the force or the downward bounce that injures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament?

     When baseball pitchers have limited outward rotation range of movement, then, before the downward force of the pitching forearm would stress the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, it would stress whatever structure limits the outward range of motion.

     If that structure decelerates and stops the downward force of the pitching forearm before it can stress the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, then I can see how 'traditional' baseball pitchers with limited outward rotation range of motion would prevent Ulnar Collateral Ligament injury.

     As you noted, this scenario would lead to injury to whatever limits the outward rotation range of motion, which is probably the Pectoralis Major muscle.

     Oh yeah, bench pressing does train the Pectoralis Major muscle.

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093.  Rotator cuff injuries

My sports medicine teacher did not discuss prevention of pitching injuries.

However, overuse was brought up as the contributing factor in most injuries.

I find that people who do not want to face the truth often say injuries are caused by overuse.


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     With regard to baseball pitching:  I do not agree that overuse is the primary cause of pitching injuries.

     Instead, I believer that misuse is the primary cause of pitching injuries.

     I understand that performing the same movement, even when kinesiologically perfectly performed, will eventually wear out the involved structures.  That is what old age is.

     However, that is not true of the sixteen year old youth baseball pitchers that rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament or tear their Labrum and so on.

     Incorrectly performing the skill of applying force to their pitches causes their pitching injuries.

     I agree with you that most baseball coaches do not face the truth that that how they teach baseball pitchers to apply force causes pitching injuries.

     Therefore, to eliminate pitching injuries, baseball pitchers have to learn the proper way to apply force to their pitches.

     In my 'Watch Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion' file, I show how baseball pitchers can apply force to their baseball pitches with even greater force and, except for when they are sixty or more years old when they finally wear out the involved structures, they will not suffer pitching injuries.

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094.  My son on day 22 of his 60-Day program

I have attached a video of my son throwing a MTSc with a 3 lb. iron ball.

I don't think I understand the horizontal pitching forearm bounce.  Is my son performing your horizontal pitching forearm bounce correctly?

Youngster throwing a screwball with a 3 lb. iron ball

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     To generate the 'Horizontal Pitching Forearm Bounce' action of my baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers, in my 'Slingshot' glove and pitching arm actions position, have to start with their pitching forearm pointing forty-five degrees short of pointing straight toward home plate.

     Then, as they step forward with their pitching foot, they move their pitching upper arm toward their head such that their pitching forearm points at home plate.      This action moves the pitching hand horizontally away from their body.

     When their pitching hand is outside of their pitching forearm, my baseball pitchers have to inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm to stop that sideways movement.  That is the 'Horizontal Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     The 'Horizontal Pitching Forearm Bounce' lengthens the contracted Latissimus Dorsi muscle, actually the connective tissue fibers of its tendon.

     This is what plyometrics is supposed to do.  The problem with typical plyometric drills is that the muscle they intend to lengthen is not contracting when they apply the force.  As a result, if the force is greater than the muscle can withstand, the connective tissue tears.

     That is why jumping down from heights too high ruptures the Achilles Tendon.

     Even with the intended muscle contracting, I recommend that my baseball pitchers start gently and very gradually increase the stress.

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095.  My son on day 22 of his 60-Day program

I have attached is a video of my son doing a MTSc with his 5 lb. WW.  Can you please comment?

  Youngster throwing a screwball with his 5 lb. Wrist Weights

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     In this wrist weight video, your son correctly pointed his pitching forearm forty-five degrees short of pointing at home plate.  Then, he moved his pitching upper arm close to his head, which caused his pitching hand to move horizontally away from his body.  Then, by inwardly rotating his pitching upper arm, he drove his pitching arm inwardly straight toward home plate.

     That was my 'Horizontal Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     I like that he did the 'bounce' action with minimal intensity.

     As he very gradually increases his bounce intensity, he will strengthen the tendinous attachment of his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to the head of the Humerus bone of his pitching upper arm.

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096.  My son on day 22 of his 60-Day program

I have attached is a video of my son throwing a MTSc with a football.  Can you please comment?

  Youngster throwing a screwball with his appropriately-sized football

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     Other than continuing the rotation of his body until he points his acromial line well beyond straight forward, your son threw a very nice screwball with his appropriately-sized football.

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097.  Bottom hand swings

To me my son should be finishing with the bat hitting him in the rear.  It appears he is finishing too high.  Any comments?

Youngster swinging with only his front arm

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     What you call the bottom hand, I call the front arm.

     Where the rear arm finishes determines whether baseball batters applied force to the center of mass of their bat in straight lines to the thrown baseball.

     The front arm provides the oppositely-directed force to the straight line drive of the rear arm.

     Therefore, to properly perform my front arm only drill, the front arm must come to a complete stop and the swinging implement continues forward to contact the ball.

     Your son pulls his front arm all the way around the front of his body.

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097.  Top hand swings

It looks to me like my son is casting his top hand not going straight to the ball.  Any comments?

Youngster swinging with only his rear arm

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     What you call the top hand, I call the rear arm.

     To answer this question, I would have to write the dialogue for my Baseball Batting Instructional Video.

     Your son's body action prevents him from swinging correctly.

     His body action makes your son hook his rear arm.

     His body action prevents your son from controlling the center of mass of his striking implement.

     Where your son finishes his swing shows that his body action prevents him from driving the center of mass of his striking implement directly at the ball.

     And so on.

     The scientific principles that govern the proper body action in baseball pitching applies equally to baseball batting.

     When the batters I am training can perform my baseball batting technique sufficiently well enough that I can take the videotape that I need, I will make a DVD in which I can explain everything in insufferably great detail.

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098.  Two handed swings

I have attached a video in which my son is doing two handed swings.  Do you still see him pull the front arm?

Youngster swinging with both arms

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     The movement that tells whether baseball batters use the front arm to pull their baseball bat forward is whether, just before they swing, they straighten their front arm.

     The first movement that your son makes is to straighten his front arm.

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099.  Question on your evaluation of Chris Young and furthering my understanding

I feel as if my eyes have been opened.  Since November 2010, I have been on the website daily and have purchased your pitching instructional video.

I've become familiar with terms and I feel as if I'm becoming familiar with concepts and their application.

I've also realized that I need to invest much more time in understanding biomechanical terms and concepts, exercise physiology, motor skills development and anatomy.  It might be years before I'm proficient (forget about mastering them) in these disciplines, but I look forward to the challenge.

Well, the main reason I'm emailing you is because I wanted your feedback on a misapplication of mine of your pitching motion in how pitchers engage the Latissimus Dorsi.

In your Q & A sections of 2010 (663 & 755) you mentioned that Chris Young's continued discomfort and lack of ability to come back and pitch competitively from his shoulder injury is due to not engaging the Latissimus Dorsi muscle and forearm flyout.

Also in 2010 and 2011 Q & A posts, you've mentioned that Brandon Webb (who is suffering from shoulder problems) needs to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle as well.

When I see video clips of Brandon Webb, I can see how he takes his arm laterally behind him and uses the Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his arm with a lateral release and can see how it stretches the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments.  Well, at least I think I can.

With Chris Young, I made a different diagnosis than you did because of a misunderstanding of how to engage the Latissimus Dorsi.  Now that I have a little taste of education, I've tried to break down video clips of pitchers and try to evaluate their injurious flaws and predict future injuries/problems/areas of concern in an attempt to understand your pitching motion, biomechanical flaws, and injurious flaws better.

Anyways, I was under the assumption that pitchers that do not have a vertical or near vertical release point have to use their Pectoralis Major muscle and pull.  And, if pitchers have a vertical or near vertical release, they are using their Latissimus Dorsi muscle because of trying to get to the vertical release they have to inwardly rotate their shoulders.  Kind of like, you can't have one without the other.

With Chris Young, I saw a vertical release and I actually thought he would pass as a pitcher that used his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to accelerate his arm because of his vertical release.

And his reason for tearing up his shoulder was because he didn't pendulum swing his arm back and (from the video angle that I included in this email) that he basically keeps his arm very close to the midline of his body which increases the stress on his shoulder when he flips his forearm over so late.  Also, I thought he was better then most at protecting his elbow at release.

Could you explain how to engage the Latissimus Dorsi muscle and my possible misapplication/bad assumption/etc?

I know I was long winded, but I wanted you to see where my beginner's mind is and how I perceive your motion and maybe you could have some insight on how I screwed it up.  Also, if I screwed this up, possibly others have done the same.

  Here is the link of a Chris Young clip:

Chris Young

  P.S.:  As I re-read this email in an attempt to make sure it makes sense, I'm thinking that you might state that because he strides out so far and can't rotate his shoulder 180 degrees might have something to do with it.


  -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Your P.S. comment is correct.  Nice catch.

     In Question/Answer #663 in my 2010 Question/Answer file, the article said that Mr. Young had a 'strained pitching shoulder,' that, in August 2009, Mr. Young had loose fragments removed from his pitching shoulder and immediately after his April 06, 2010 outing, soreness in his pitching shoulder prevented Mr. Young from lifting his pitching arm.

     I recommended that Mr. Young learn how to use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm.

     In Question/Answer #756 of my 2010 Question/Answer file, the article said that Mr. Young had been 60-day disabled list due to pitching shoulder inflammation, began playing catch on June 18, but had shut down his throwing program on June 29 because of soreness.

     I wrote that 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' causes pitching shoulder inflammation.  When Mr. Young stops the 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' injurious flaw, he will pitch without pain.

     'Pitching Forearm Flyout' injures the front and back of the pitching shoulder.  To eliminate 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' baseball pitchers have to use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive their pitching arm straight toward home plate and to decelerate their pitching arm.

     To determine whether baseball pitchers engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, I look at six movements.

01.  When their pitching forearm is horizontally behind their pitching elbow (Maximum Pitching Forearm Acceleration Position), does their pitching upper arm face toward home plate?

02.  In their Maximum Pitching Forearm Acceleration Position, does their pitching elbow stop moving forward?

03.  From their Maximum Pitching Forearm Acceleration Position to Release, does their Triceps Brachii muscle vertically extend their pitching elbow?

04.  Immediately after they release their pitches, does their pitching elbow point upward?

05.  When their pitching forearm horizontally points toward home plate, is the palm of their pitching hand facing upward?

06.  At the end of the deceleration phase, baseball pitchers 'stick' their pitching hand into the strike zone, such that their pitching arm does not cross the midline of their body.

     To see all six of these criteria, we need to have five hundred frames per second high-speed film from the front and side views.

     However, with two hundred and fifty frames per second video from the front view, like you provided, we can determine:

01.  Whether baseball pitchers turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face home plate,

02.  Whether baseball pitchers use their Triceps Brachii muscle to vertically extend their pitching elbow,

03.  Whether, immediately after baseball pitchers release their pitches, their pitching elbow faces upward and

04.  Whether, at the end of their deceleration phase, their pitching arm remains on the pitching arm side of their body.

     When I watched the two hundred and fifty frames per second video of Mr. Young, I paused the video:

01.  When he had his pitching arm in the Maximum Pitching Forearm Acceleration Position,

02.  When he extended his pitching elbow,

03.  Immediately after release,

04.  When his pitching forearm horizontally pointed at home plate and

05.  When he stopped the forward movement of his pitching arm.

     Here is what I found.

01.  While Mr. Young did not have the back of his pitching upper arm fully turned to face home plate, he did turn the back of his pitching upper arm toward home plate.

02.  Because the video clip that you provided only shows the front view of Mr. Young's pitching motion, I could not determine whether Mr. Young stops the forward movement of his pitching elbow.

03.  Mr. Young uses his Triceps Brachii muscle to vertically extend their pitching elbow.

04.  Mr. Young points his pitching upper arm upward.

05.  The palm of Mr. Young's pitching hand faces upward.

06.  Mr. Young's pitching arm moves across the midline of his body.

     Therefore, I agree with you.  To accelerate his pitching arm toward home plate, Mr. Young engages his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     However, as I noted in 06 above, when I freeze-framed the video at the end of his deceleration phase when his pitching arm stopped moving forward, Mr. Young's pitching arm had moved across the front of his body.

     This means that, to decelerate his pitching arm, Mr. Young does not engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle and powerfully pronate his pitching forearm before, during and after release.

     The problem is that Mr. Young is using the pitching arm action that I recommend with the body action of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     Because he leaves his pitching foot near the pitching rubber, he cannot drive his pitching arm down his acromial line.

     Therefore, he cannot use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to decelerate his pitching arm.  Instead, he uses the tiny Teres Minor muscle to decelerate his pitching arm. As a result, he will have back of his pitching shoulder problems.

     To see the body action that enables baseball pitchers to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to accelerate and decelerate their pitching arm, please open my 'Watch Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion' and watch how beautifully Mr. Sparks:

01.  Turns the back of his pitching arm to face home plate, (Front view)

02.  Stops his pitching upper arm from moving forward, (Side view)

03.  Uses his Triceps Brachii muscle to extend his pitching elbow, (Side view)

04.  Points his pitching elbow upward, (Side view)

05.  Turns the palm of his pitching hand to face upward and (Front view)

06.  By not moving his pitching arm across the front of his body, 'sticks' his pitching hand into the strike zone. (Front view)

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100.  Dodgers' pitchers heading off to minicamp
MLB.com
January 24, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA:  The Dodgers hold their second "Young Guns" pitching minicamp this week at the Camelback Ranch-Glendale training complex.  The voluntary camp opens Monday, with 10 pitchers from the Major League roster expected.  They are Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, Kenley Jansen, Blake Hawksworth, Scott Elbert, Travis Schlichting, John Ely, Jon Link, Javy Guerra and Luis Vasquez.  Of those, Kershaw, Billingsley, Elbert, Link and Ely participated last year.  The group will be joined by most of the top pitching prospects on the Minor League side, among them Rubby De La Rosa, Chris Withrow, Ethan Martin and Josh Lindblom.

The Dodgers held the camp last Spring with only Major League roster pitchers because they had so many young pitchers vying for big league staff jobs.  Major League pitching coach Rick Honeycutt said the difference this year is that most of the pitchers pitched for the Dodgers last season.  "Last year we were able to see where they were arm-wise before Spring Training started, as well as their conditioning," said Honeycutt.  "We also did a lot of video work, addressing areas where improvement was needed.  It was a combination of physical and mental.

"What I like about the way we've set it up this time is that the veteran guys will work alongside the young guys, who can watch the veterans and see how they go about things.  If we're going to push guys through the system, we think they'll benefit by incorporating what they see.  "They'll see Billingsley and Kershaw, who reached the Majors after only a couple years in the Minors.  Jansen will tell them his experiences, switching positions and getting to the big leagues fast.  It will be a sharing opportunity and you hope the young guys pick up from the older guys."

Honeycutt said each pitcher will be scheduled for two or three bullpen sessions.  Honeycutt will be joined by Dodgers bullpen coach Ken Howell, as well as Minor League pitching coordinator Rafael Chaves and staffers Jim Slaton, Chuck Crim and Matt Herges.

Honeycutt said the concept is a spinoff from his playing days, when the January workouts at Chavez Ravine took advantage of the mild weather to give players a jump-start on baseball conditioning before Spring Training started.  "I remember what it was like, how it helped us be ready for Spring Training," he said.  "We're basing this off that.  It's nothing drastic we're doing, just more preparation.  And it gives us a chance to get to know people we don't know."


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     On Monday, January 24, 2011, the Dodgers started a mini-camp for ten major and minor league baseball pitchers.  The article did not say how many days the mini-camp would last.  The purpose is to take video and make appropriate adjustments to their pitching motions.

     First, less than one month before the start of Spring Training is too late to tell baseball pitchers to make appropriate adjustments to their pitching motions.  Motor skill acquisition takes much longer than two months.

     Second, I doubt that Mr. Honeycutt or any of the other 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches have any idea of what appropriate adjustments these ten major and minor league baseball pitchers need to make.

     For example:  Do they understand how to teach their baseball pitchers how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle?  Do they know that baseball pitchers have a Latissimus Dorsi muscle?  Do they even know how to spell Latissimus Dorsi?

     Therefore, while I agree that, to improve their skills, major league teams need to have knowledgeable baseball coaches work with their baseball players in the off-season, January is too late and, in memory of Al Campanis, their coaches do not have the "necessities" with which to do their job.

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101.  Parker's potential makes him a Top 50 Prospect
MLB.com
January 25, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ:  Jarrod Parker did not use an alarm clock to get up Tuesday morning for his first throwing session at Chase Field.  "I woke up excited, ready to go," said Parker, who returned to the Phoenix area Monday to start getting ready for Spring Training.

After spending that last 15 months rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Parker does not take any opportunity to throw for granted.  "It's going to be awesome going into Spring Training 100 percent healthy and being around the guys, playing baseball and competing," the 22-year-old said.  "I missed that."

It speaks to Parker's immense potential that despite having his 2009 season cut short and missing 2010 completely, he is still ranked 29th on MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects list.

The 2007 first-round pick seemed to be on the fast track to the Majors before he experienced discomfort in his elbow during a start for Double-A Mobile on July 30, 2009.  After trying to strengthen the area for a few months, he finally had surgery in early October.  From then on, it was all about rehab for Parker, who spent a lot of that time at the club's rehab facility in Tucson, AZ, far away from his Indiana home and separated from his teammates.

Known for his competitive nature on the field, Parker threw himself completely into the rehab process and drew praise for his approach from the organization's medical staff.  "It was something I didn't want to have any doubt about whether or not I had put in the full effort," Parker said.  "I gave it everything I had.  I learned a lot of other things around the game during that time about having a game plan, hitter recognition and attention to detail.  It helped me develop a little more of a mental approach and become more in tune with my body, my arm and what I need to do to stay healthy."

The effort paid off as Parker was able to pitch in some instructional league games last fall, which whet his appetite for 2011.  Following his instructional league stint, Parker took some time off from throwing before coming to Phoenix on Monday.  He played catch Tuesday and is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session Friday.  That will likely be around 20-25 pitches, mainly fastballs and changeups.  "I feel good, I feel strong," Parker said.  "Just building up my strength and endurance right now."


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     It appears that the Dodgers are not the only team to have baseball pitchers in for a January mini-camp.

     Mr. Parker said that he learn about having a game plan, recognizing hitter weaknesses and attending to details.  He developed a little more of a mental approach, become more in tune with his body and pitching arm and what he needs to do to stay healthy.

     My question is:  Does Mr. Parker know what caused him to rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament?

     If Mr. Parker did not learn the cause, then Mr. Parker cannot eliminate that cause.

     Therefore, Mr. Parker is doomed to reinjuring his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     This means, like with the Dodgers mini-camp, everybody that attends is wasting their time and the team's money.

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102.  Duchscherer at full strength, in body and mind
MLB.com
January 25, 2011

BALTIMORE, MD:  Free-agent right-hander Justin Duchscherer, considered one of the best starting pitchers still on the market, said on Tuesday evening that physically he feels "pretty much 100 percent" and shot down the notion that his previous depression issues would prevent him from playing in New York.  "I find it funny that people say I can't pitch in that environment, but I've pitched in New York before," Duchscherer said.  "As far as my mind, I have no problem being anywhere.  Physically, it's a matter of [finding] the best situation for me."

The 33-year-old Duchscherer, an All-Star in 2008, told MLB.com in a phone interview that he has thrown for five Major League teams and is scheduled to toss a bullpen session for the Orioles on Friday.  A former 10-game winner, Duchscherer had his 2010 campaign in Oakland cut short, making just five starts before undergoing his second left hip surgery, which involved shaving down some of the bone to make room for cartilage.

"Honestly, I feel like I've proven [that] when I'm healthy, I'm a very good Major League pitcher," he said.  "The only thing I have to prove is [whether] I can do it over the long term.  My first two years in the big leagues as a reliever [with Oakland], I think I threw the second-most innings.  I just want to get back to that, where I'm healthy and I'm feeling like that."

Duchscherer has thrown two full bullpen sessions off the mound already this winter, with favorable results, and is quick to point out that despite his "injury-prone" label, his arm has proven to be durable.  "The one [surgery] on my elbow was very minor," he said of the arthroscopic procedure he underwent at the start of the 2009 season.  "It's not like I had Tommy John [surgery] or anything."


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     Mr. Duchscherer said when I'm healthy, I'm a very good Major League pitcher.

     Mr. Duchscherer said, "The one [surgery] on my elbow was very minor," he said of the arthroscopic procedure he underwent at the start of the 2009 season.  "It's not like I had Tommy John [surgery] or anything."

     My questions are:  Does Mr. Duchscherer know what caused him to injure his pitching hip and does Mr. Duchscherer know what causes him to have the injury that required aththroscopic surgery?

     If Mr. Duchscherer did not learn these causes, then Mr. Duchscherer cannot eliminate these causes.

     Therefore, Mr. Duchscherer is doomed to reinjuring his pitching hip and pitching elbow.

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103.  Yankees sign Colon to Minor League deal
MLB.com
January 26, 2011

NEW YORK, NY:  The Yankees are rolling the dice with a former American League Cy Young Award winner, signing right-hander Bartolo Colon to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.  Colon, 37, did not pitch in the big leagues last season, but he showed the Yankees enough while working in the Dominican Winter League that the team decided to offer him a deal.


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     I understand how major league players can have personal and/or professional problems that negatively their performances.

     Therefore, I think that it is great that Winter Leagues and summer Independent Leagues enable over-the-hill major league baseball pitchers can reinvent themselves and get another chance.

     In early June 1980, the Twins released me.  For fourteen months, personal problems prevented me from even training to pitch.  However, in August 1981, with two weeks of training, I tried out for the New York Mets, immediately joined the team, pitched in 22 games and won 3 games with a 2.60 earned run average.

     I wish Mr. Colon similar success.

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104.  Competition awaits Blevins
MLB.com
January 26, 2011

OAKLAND, CA:  Jerry Blevins is well aware of the whispers surrounding the 2011 version of the A's.  "I was on the treadmill the other day watching TV," he said this week, "and Larry Bowa picked us to win the West."  Bowa's not the only one. Oakland's elite pitching staff along with its noticeably upgraded lineup have many expecting the A's to stay in contention all year.

And Blevins, who underwent surgery in October to repair a labrum tear in his left hip, very much wants to be included in the party.  "My hip is better than expected at this point," he said.  "It's coming along. It was a little sore the first day out because it hadn't been active, but it already feels better now than it did at the end of last season, so that's a plus.

"It's more about how much pain you can take.  I have a pretty high pain tolerance, so it's just one of those things you have to be careful and not push yourself too much.  You've got to know your limits to a point where you can be comfortable with what you're doing."  The 27-year-old Blevins will be on a more structured schedule monitored by pitching coach Ron Romanick throughout camp but, he's not expecting any setbacks.


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     Mr. Blevins said, "It's more about how much pain you can take.  I have a pretty high pain tolerance, so it's just one of those things you have to be careful and not push yourself too much.  You've got to know your limits to a point where you can be comfortable with what you're doing."

     My question is:  Does Mr. Blevins know what caused him to injure his pitching hip?

     If Mr. Blevins Duchscherer did not learn this cause, then Mr. Blevins cannot eliminate that cause.

     Therefore, Mr. Blevins is doomed to reinjuring his pitching hip.

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105.  Alderson: Johan not throwing baseball yet
MLB.com
January 26, 2011

NEW YORK, NY:  Nearly two weeks after left-hander Johan Santana was cleared to begin throwing again, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Wednesday that, to his knowledge, his ace hadn't actually begun tossing a baseball yet.  On January 14, the Mets announced that Santana had been cleared by doctors to resume throwing as part of his rehabilitation from left shoulder surgery last September.  That step hasn't been taken yet, Alderson said following a news conference to introduce utility infielder Chin-lung Hu.

"To my knowledge, he's not throwing at this point," Alderson said.  "But again, that's his own decision and based on how he feels.  I think the [physical therapists] recommended that he continue to do certain exercises, and when he feels like he's ready to toss, he will.  He's medically cleared, but to my knowledge, he hasn't actually started throwing yet."

Alderson wasn't willing to speculate other than the club's previous rough target of June to July.  "I wouldn't try to kid you that any of us can accurately predict," Alderson said.  "And certainly adding or subtracting days from what is otherwise a pretty loose projection I think would be probably misleading on my part."


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     What?  The Mets are paying Mr. Santana $22 million dollars and Mr. Santana is not living near the Mets Spring Training Complex, where he can receive physical therapy and complete whatever silly rehabilitation program that their crack Medical staff has conjured?

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106.  Former Tigers hurler Maroth, mainstay during Detroit turnaround, set to retire

MLB.com
January 26, 2011

Former Tigers starting pitcher Mike Maroth is ready to retire after a roller coaster of a career that spanned six Major League seasons. After posting a 6-10 record in his rookie campaign, Maroth became infamous in 2003, when he lost 20 games finished the year with a 9-21 record as the Tigers went 43-119.

However, the Tigers would complete an about-face over the next few years and Maroth became a vital cog in Detroit's rotation.  From 2004-2007, Maroth started 76 games.  He won 11 games in 2004, 14 in '05 and 5 in '06, when he pitched in only 13 games due to an elbow injury.  Maroth compiled a career record of 50-67 and a 5.05 ERA in 161 games (150 starts).

Maroth's final Major League appearance was in 2007.  Hampered with shoulder and knee injuries that would require surgery, Maroth pitched minor league baseball for the Royals in '08 and Blue Jays in '09.  In '10, he pitched for Minnesota's Triple-A affiliate in Rochester in '10 before undergoing surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow.  His made a final attempt at a comeback with Mayaguez in the Puerto Rican Winter League last December.

"I've given myself every opportunity to come back.  It's just to a point where it's time to move on," Maroth said.


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     After six major league seasons, Mr. Maroth spent three years pitching Triple-A baseball, during which he suffered pitching shoulder, pitching knee and pitching elbow injuries.  In addition, apparently without success, he spent this past off-season pitching in Puerto Rico.

     Nine plus years of pain is enough.

     Mama don't let your baby son grow up to be professional baseball pitchers.

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107.  Penny hopes history repeats itself with Tigers
MLB.com
January 27, 2011

DETROIT, MI:  "I was probably leaning towards Detroit [after the Winter Meetings]," Penny said.  "I had a few offers that I had to consider. I had a few offers to close for some teams.  I still want to start."

The closer option, he admitted, was partly a product of his injury history, a ledger that includes two seasons of less than 20 starts in the last three years.  He lasted just nine starts last season with the Cardinals, when what was expected to be a minor oblique injury near the end of May turned into a season-ending ordeal.

The injury didn't happen in his last outing against the Angels, he explained, but the start before that at Cincinnati.  The Reds rocked him that day for seven runs on 13 hits over five innings, ending his streak of seven straight quality starts.  Five days later, he prepared to take the mound against the Angels and sensed something wasn't right.  He lasted three innings and 48 pitches, giving up four runs, and saw a doctor afterward.

The initial diagnosis, Penny said, was a minor tear of a lat muscle that shouldn't have stopped him from pitching five days later.  That turned out to be overly optimistic.  But when the Cardinals put him on the disabled list later, they still hoped to have him back in the minimum 15 days.  "It never got better," he said.  "For me, it was frustrating."

Whether he was throwing live batting practice or warming on the mound, Penny said that he'd feel a twinge.  Eventually, he sought another opinion from Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister, who characterized the pull as something more severe, enough to keep him out three months.

"I was throwing at the end of the year," Penny said.  "I probably would've been able to pitch in the playoffs [had the Cards made it].  Yeah, it was frustrating.  I didn't know what was going on, really."


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     How does an Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle injury become a Latissimus Dorsi muscle injury?  The answer:  It doesn't.

     Because Mr. Penny does not use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, he injured his Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle.

     However, rather than tearing muscle fibers, Mr. Penny tore the connective tissue fibers that attach to the cartilages of the last three ribs.  With far fewer capillaries serving connective tissue fibers, these injuries require much longer to heal.

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108.  Mariners Expect David Aardsma By April
Fanhouse.com
January 27, 2011

The Seattle Mariners are hoping that they can get closer David Aardsma back by the middle of April.  Mariners trainer Rick Griffin said Thursday that Aardsma, who had hip surgery just after the new year, is on crutches and is likely to be there for a total of 8-10 weeks.

That would mean he wouldn't be ready to walk on his own until about the first of March, one-third of the way through spring training.  "He's doing a lot of therapy work," Griffin said.  "And he is doing shoulder exercises.  The doctors are saying that he should be ready the second week of the season."


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     Have you noticed that a lot of major league baseball pitchers injure their pitching hip?

     Like the shoulder joint, the hip joint does not like the head of the Femur bone to move laterally in the hip fossa (Acetabulum).

     Therefore, to eliminate this injury, baseball pitchers have to stop rotating their hips beyond second base.

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109.  Marlins ink righty Hill to Minor League deal
MLB.com
January 29, 2011

MIAMI, FL:  Seeking to add as much pitching depth as possible, the Marlins have signed veteran Shawn Hill to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.  Hill, 29, will earn $600,000 if he makes the big league team.  The 29-year-old right-hander was 1-2 with a 2.61 ERA for Toronto last year, throwing 20 2/3 innings.

Hill has the most big league experience of Florida's non-roster invites among starting pitchers.  Hill broke in with the Montreal Expos in 2004, and the veteran also has pitched for the Nationals and Padres, before joining the Blue Jays in 2010.  Hill has a career record of 9-18 with a 4.74 ERA in 44 big league starts.


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     My stats guy, Brad Sullivan tells me that Mr. Hill has had two Tommy John surgeries.  I wonder why this article did not mention that relatively important information?

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110.  Stellar pitching the driving force behind Cardinals' success
MLB.com
January 31, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO:  The Cardinals have invested heavily in their rotation, and the expectations for that group are as high as they've been in recent memory.  "It's really neat to go into the season knowing we've got five guys that we have a chance to win every single night," said Chris Carpenter, who has finished first, second and third in the Cy Young balloting within the past six years.  "There's no question the abilities that we all have.  We're pretty good.  We have a chance."

Wainwright is coming off the best season of his career, for the second consecutive year.  The righty, who turns 30 in August, posted career-bests in wins (20), ERA (2.42), strikeouts (213) and complete games (five), all while issuing his fewest walks in a full season of starting.

Carpenter, meanwhile, went 16-9 with a 3.22 ERA, 179 strikeouts and 63 walks, all while answering questions about why he was less consistently effective than he'd been the year before.

Westbrook came over in July in a trade from Cleveland and looked every bit like the pitcher the Cardinals had coveted for years.  Garcia emerged from a competition for the fifth spot to turn in an outstanding season.

Making 12 starts after the deal, Westbrook did everything he could to make a controversial trade look good.  He averaged 6.25 innings per start with a 3.48 ERA, striking out 55 against 24 walks and allowing just five home runs in 75 innings.

Then there's Garcia, who had to dazzle in Spring Training simply to earn a rotation spot in 2010.  All he did was continue to dazzle throughout the regular season, finishing third in Rookie of the Year voting with one of the best rookie seasons by a starter in franchise history.  When your No. 4 starter is coming off 163 1/3 innings of a 2.70 ERA, you have to like your chances.

Lohse comes into camp as the fifth starter, though the veteran found 2010 every bit as frustrating as the year before.  He finally had surgery for a forearm condition that had bothered him for a year, but even upon his return, he had difficulty finding his form.

If there's a question about this group, it's health.

1.  Wainwright was bothered by some elbow discomfort late in the year, though he insists that it's all gone now.
2.  Carpenter has never posted three consecutive seasons of more than 190 innings.
3.  Westbrook looked healthy and durable in '10, but he underwent surgery on his non-pitching shoulder in the off-season.
4.  Garcia was shut down late as a preventative measure, and nearly any 24-year-old starter is something of a health worry.
5.  And Lohse has yet to fully find his form since that forearm injury.


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     It is too bad that the Cardinals' Medical staff and baseball pitching coach do not know how to eliminate pitching injuries.

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111.  Mets hire Viola as Class A pitching coach
MLB.com
January 31, 2011

NEW YORK, NY:  The Mets brought another former player back to the organization Monday, hiring Frank Viola to be the pitching coach at Class A Brooklyn.  Viola, 50, will coach professionally for the first time since retiring from baseball in 1996.  In parts of three seasons with the Mets over a 15-year career, the 1988 American League Cy Young Award winner was 38-32 with a 3.30 ERA.

At Brooklyn, he will serve under Rich Donnelly, who was named the Cyclones' manager.  Donnelly, 63, has spent more than 30 seasons as a professional coach, most recently working as a roving instructor for the Pirates.  Donnelly will replace Wally Backman, who was promoted to manage Double-A Binghamton.

"We are excited to welcome our new staff to MCU Park," Cyclones general manager Steve Cohen said in a statement.  "It's a wonderful thing to have a Cy Young Award winner like Frank Viola guiding our young pitchers, and we look forward to a great 2011 season with all of our coaches."


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     Wow.  From winning the 1988 American League Cy Young Award to Class A pitching coach in just 13 short years.  Now, I have reason to dream.

     Unfortunately, I cannot put 'Tommy John surgery' on my resume.

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112.  Garcia, Yankees reach minor league deal
Associated Press
January 31, 2011

NEW YORK, NY:  Free agent pitcher Freddy Garcia and the New York Yankees have reached agreement on a minor league deal, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Monday night.

The 35-year-old Garcia went 12-6 with a 4.64 ERA in 28 starts last season for the Chicago White Sox.  Garcia bounced back from three injury-interrupted season to pitch well for the White Sox last season.  The Yankees got a close-up look at him when he threw seven impressive innings to beat them in Chicago on August 27.

Garcia enjoyed successful, durable years early in his career with Seattle.  He went 17-8 as a rookie in 1999 and was 18-6 with an AL-leading 3.05 ERA and 238 2-3 innings in 2001.  He was an All-Star for Seattle in 2001 and 2002.  In seven of his first eight seasons, Garcia made at least 30 starts and pitched at least 200 innings.

However, from 2007-09, before showing flashes of his old self last year, Garcia won a total of five games for the Phillies, Tigers and White Sox.


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     Twenty-eight starts with twelve wins and a 4.64 earned run average should mean more than a minor league contract.  But, Mr. Garcia did end last season with a back injury.

     With all these hip and back injuries, especially with regards to older major league pitchers, isn't it becoming clear that the 'traditional' body action is as big an injury problem as the pitching arm?

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113.  Isringhausen throws for Reds
MLB.com
January 31, 2011

CINCINNATI, OH:  Reliever Jason Isringhausen had a throwing session for the Reds on Monday, but it remains to be seen if the club will sign the right-hander.  Isringhausen threw for Reds pitching coach Bryan Price in Arizona.  He is seeking a Minor League contract with the club and an invite to Spring Training.

"He threw the ball fine, well enough to feel optimistic that with a Spring Training to build his arm strength, he could get back to being productive again," Price said.  "That is if he can stay healthy, which is a top concern for anybody coming off an arm injury."  Isringhausen threw about 30-35 pitches, according to Price.

Isringhausen, 38, signed a Minor League deal with the Reds on July 22 and posted a 9.53 ERA in seven appearances with Triple-A Louisville.  He had to be shut down on August 16 with a strained right elbow and did not return.  It was the same elbow that required Tommy John surgery in June 2009 while Isringhausen was with the Rays, the last time he pitched in the big leagues.


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     Mr. Isringhausen should talk with Mr. Maroth.  Turn out the lights, the party is over.  Time to move on.

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114.  Betancourt, Rockies agree on contract extension
MLB.com
January 31, 2011

The Rockies and right-hander Rafael Betancourt on Sunday agreed to a one-year contract extension with a mutual option for 2013.  The extension, first reported by ESPNdeportes.com, is pending a physical.  A source confirmed the deal to MLB.com on Monday.  A formal announcement of the agreement has not been made by the Rockies.

Already signed through 2011 for $3.77 million, Betancourt will earn $4 million in 2012 and could earn $4.25 million in 2013 if both sides pick up the option.  He would receive a $250,000 buyout if the Rockies decline the option, and the buyout becomes guaranteed if Betancourt is traded, the Denver Post reported.

The 35-year-old went 5-1 with a 3.61 ERA in 72 appearances last season, striking out 89 and walking eight in 62 1/3 innings.  This will be his ninth Major League season.


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     In 72 appearances, Mr. Betancourt pitches 62 1/3 innings.  That he struck out 89 batters in 62 1/3 innings for an average of 12.86 batters per nine innings is outstanding.

     I would like to see how well Mr. Betancourt would do if he pitching two innings twice every week of the season.

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115.  Sox just want Beckett to be Beckett
Boston Herald
February 01, 2011

During each of his off-season communications with Josh Beckett, Red Sox manager Terry Francona has tried to impart a simple message to explain what he expects from the right-hander this season:  Be yourself.

Beckett’s 2010 season was an unmitigated disaster in every possible way.  He went 6-6, his lowest win total since 2002; he missed nine weeks with a back injury after slipping on a wet mound at Yankee Stadium; he finished with a 5.78 ERA and 1.535 walks/hits per innings pitched, both career-worsts; opponents batted .292 against him with an .848 on-base/slugging percentage.

It all has prompted questions about whether Beckett, who turns 31 in May, is capable of turning things around without reinventing the way he pitches.  Francona believes Beckett can.  In fact, Francona partially attributed Beckett’s problems last season to making too many changes.  “I think he had time to sit when he was hurt, and he was watching (left-hander Jon) Lester and (righty Clay) Buchholz throwing those cutters.  All of a sudden, he started doing that,” Francona said last night before a NESN-televised, town hall-style meeting with fans.  “He’d throw one good one, then he’d throw three bad ones.”

Overall, Beckett threw his cut fastball 15.3 percent of the time, according to the statistical database FanGraphs.com.  His previous high was 5.1 percent in 2009.  As a result, he threw his curveball only 18.2 percent of the time last season, down from 25.5 percent in 2009 and 23.7 percent in 2008.

General manager Theo Epstein said last night that Beckett has been “attacking the off-season.”  Beckett hired a personal trainer, altered his workout routine near his Texas home, and based on a recent visit from athletic trainer Mike Reinold, the Red Sox have received positive reports on the pitcher’s progress.  “He’s raring to go,” Epstein said.  Just like Epstein and Francona expected.  After last season, Epstein and Francona were sure Beckett would be on a mission once again.

“If I called him with a pep talk, he’d panic,” Francona said.  “He knows that I trust him.  Work ethic has never been an issue.  It was hard for him last year.  We can either penalize him or try to show confidence in a guy and hope he bounces back.”

In two weeks, when pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Fort Myers, the Red Sox will begin to get a better idea of whether Beckett can in fact bounce back.


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     Mr. Beckett has not pitched well since their 2008 playoff series against the Tampa Bay Rays.

     During the 2008 season, Mr. Reinhold bragged about the work that he was doing with Mr. Beckett and Mr. Papelbon.

     Therefore, why should anybody believe that the off-season training program, approved by Mr. Reinhold, that Mr. Beckett is doing will accomplish any more than in 2010?

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116.  Medical staffs can mean millions for baseball teams handling injuries
SI.com
by Will Carroll
February 01, 2011

I'm shamelessly stealing the title of Po Bronson's great book to illustrate the difficulty that MLB teams have in keeping players healthy.  Over the last decade, teams have spent more than a billion dollars on players that were on the DL.  That's billion with a B, all spent on players shelved for injuries that could be preventable.

Certainly there will always be injuries in sports, which keeps me employed, but there doesn't have to be quite so many and they don't have to be quite so serious.

Many will ask how I know this to be true, and I'll direct you to look at the massive gap between the best teams and the worst teams when it comes to keeping players healthy.  This isn't a flukish statistic, but one based on a decade of numbers.

Looking back through 2002, the gap between the best and the worst teams is almost $100 million dollars.  In fact, the team that saved the most money over that time period, the Chicago White Sox, saved almost exactly enough money to have bought their entire 2005 roster.

You might remember them as the team that won the World Series.  Thanks to Herm Schneider and his staff, the Sox got that one for free.  You can think of a good medical staff like a "Buy 9, get the tenth free" deal at Costco.

On the other side, there are teams that lost significantly more than expected, costing their teams as much as $30 million.  My data was normalized, so don't think that giant payrolls like the Yankees skew things that much.

Using my Injury Database, we took all the lost DL dollars, adjusted them to the average, and then used a percentage above average to create the rankings.  Using that average, a very meaningful number encompassing over 300 team seasons, we were able to then generate the savings.

Teams with larger payrolls do have more opportunity to save "real" dollars," especially with big ticket players, but this levels the playing field for that, not that it always works out that way in the real world.

In fact, it's "smaller market" teams that often lose huge dollars to poor signings like Erik Bedard or Ben Sheets.  Some teams seem to "buy" injuries, taking risks on players that have known problems.  The Rangers did this with Brandon Webb, who's gone from perennial Cy Young contender to missing the last two seasons due to a shoulder injury.  The Rangers feel they can take this kind of risk because of their solid medical staff and the fact that team ortho Keith Meister did the surgery on Webb in the first place, giving them an information advantage.

When the A's signed Sheets, they not only didn't have the information advantage, they were also handing him over to a medical staff that had its hands full with chronically injured players already on the roster.  (The A's have since made a change, bringing in a new head trainer, Nick Paparesta.  Paparesta comes over from the Rays, who have ranked in the top five among medical staffs over the last decade.)

A majority of teams are around average over the last decade.  Many of these have major fluctuations, a year in which they're good, followed by a year where the injuries hit more.  Most around baseball would call that "part of the game" or "luck."

While it's essentially random around the average for teams that allow it to be that way, the fact that some teams consistently stay at the top or the bottom suggest that there's more to it than mere randomness.

The Brewers have been second only to the White Sox in preventing injuries over the past decade, in part because they've decided that random isn't good enough.  They made the unusual move of putting their medical staff under the direction of assistant GM Gord Ash.  Ash has focused effort, resources and thought onto his medical staff, leading to a reduction in injuries and a better understanding of the intersections of health, performance and development.

The team has used this "one page" approach, aligning the scouting, medical and minor league departments to generate results.  From Roger Caplinger's major league staff down to the Single-A level, the Brewers seem not only to be able to acquire good young pitching, but to keep it healthy.  The team has certainly had challenges at every level, but players such as Mark Rodgers, Manny Parra and Rickie Weeks show how well the team can limit injuries, rehab players and get the most out of their available resources.

Not every team buys into this type of program.  Teams such as the Nationals, Orioles and Mets have had below average results for the studied period.  (There are no accurate records of injuries before 1997.)

Some teams, like the Blue Jays, show solid results, but have had difficulty over the past three years keeping pitchers healthy.  In 2009, the Jays were a bit better than average overall, but broken down by pitchers and position players, there was a huge divide.  The team couldn't seem to keep pitchers healthy at any level.  There was no pattern.  The injuries happened to different body parts.  They happened at different levels.  They happened to starters and relievers.  They happened to American and Latin players.

There was no pattern, just flukish results.  The Jays stabilized to a more normal level with pitcher injuries in 2010, but while teams like the Mets improved over a horrendous '09 campaign that reached historic injury levels, they only made it back to below-average.  How bad can it be?

The Orioles lost over $30 million more than average over the last 10 years.  The Nationals were worse, but they had that whole Montreal situation in there that I can't fairly adjust for.

What's clear is that player movement can be affected by the team context.  A player moving from a weaker team to a better team in terms of medical results isn't guaranteed a change, but the data shows that his risk does go down significantly.

It allows a team like the Brewers to make a deal for Shaun Marcum, knowing that even with his significant injury history, he's more likely to stay healthy in Milwaukee's rotation than in Toronto's.

Interestingly, there's no clear trend to show that players or their agents have figured this out.  Players with significant injury histories don't tend to move toward the better medical teams, though when they do, there's a notable increase in health over predicted levels.

For the fantasy player, health is key.  I can't tell you how many fantasy teams I've had that have been crushed by injuries, and I know I'm not alone.  Understanding the risks of player health won't prevent injuries from taking their toll on our teams, but we can better understand the risks and use them to value players more properly.

It's one thing to buy Jose Reyes at $50 and see him lost to a series of hamstring injuries and another to find a risky player like Carlos Beltran and be able to fairly value him heading into next season.  Is Tim Lincecum really a freak that can ignore workload issues or will he succumb to the kind of forces that have caused Brandon Webb, Josh Beckett and other Cy Young candidates to falter?

Fantasy players seem intensely curious about this, but teams?  Not so much.  No team has a research budget that reaches seven figures.  MLB's research grants are going unclaimed, largely because teams don't have the proper personnel to conduct valid scientific studies.  Moreover, they don't want to share any advantages they might find.

The last decade has seen the smartest minds in baseball go to teams (that what?). Keith Woolner, Sig Megdal, James Click, and Tom Tango are all doing work for teams, and yet the most basic sabermetric principles are still ignored in favor of baseball orthodoxy.  Until that changes, the next 10 years will likely look a lot like the last 10.  That means lots of time lost to the DL and dollars burned on players who are sitting, not playing.

Let me give one last piece of encouragement to MLB teams to start spending on medical staffs and research:  Teams that are in the top 10 over the last 10 years also won more.  It's easy to see why and harder to understand why more teams aren't trying to raise that part of their game.


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     Mr. Carroll wrote, "The last decade has seen the smartest minds in baseball go to teams, Keith Woolner, Sig Megdal, James Click, and Tom Tango are all doing work for teams, and yet the most basic sabermetric principles are still ignored in favor of baseball orthodoxy.

     Basic sabermetric principles do not eliminate pitching injuries.

     Therefore, while Mr. Wooler, Mr. Megdal, Mr. Click and Mr. Tango might be the smartest minds in sabermetric principles, they have no idea what causes pitching injuries and how to eliminate them.

     This means that whatever Mr. Carroll finds with his 'Injury Database,' he will not prevent one pitching injury.

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117.  More force, less velocity

I just finished reading a blog where Will Carroll said that ASMI found that your pitchers generated more force than other pitchers, but threw baseballs with less velocity.

That does not make sense to me.

Could you explain how that happened?


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     If you open my Special Reports file and click on 'My Evaluation of ASMI's Biomechanical Analysis of Four of my Baseball Pitchers' report, then you will see why the American Sports Medicine Institute's director, Dr. Glenn Fleisig, makes such outlandish statements.

     When biomechanists analyze human movements, the first information that they need is displacement.  Displacement is the distance something moves.  The second information they need is the time period that that displacment took to move.  From these two pieces of information, biomechanists can determine the average velocity for that time period.

     For example, suppose that, a baseball moved three feet in one-tenth of a second.  Three feet divided by 0.1 seconds equals 30 feet per second.  Therefore, biomechanists can say that over that one-tenth time interval, that baseball had an average velocity of 30 ft/sec.

     If we suppose that, during the next one-tenth of a second, the average velocity were 60 ft/sec, then we could determine the average acceleration over the time interval between the two mid-points of the two average velocities.

     Now that we have determined the average acceleration over a time period, we can calculate the force that generated that acceleration.  Acceleration equals the change in velocity divided by the time required to make that change.

     Average acceleration equals final velocity minus initial velocity divide by the time period.  In this example, 60 ft/sec minus 30 ft/sec divided by 0.1 sec equals 30 ft/sec squared.

     Force equals mass times acceleration.

     Mass equals weight divided by gravity.  Baseballs weigh 5.25 ounces or 5.25 divided by 16 (which is the number of ounces in a pound) or 0.328 pounds.  The average gravity force is 32 ft/sec squared.  0.328 divided by 32 determines that the mass of a baseball is 0.010.

     But, the mass of a baseball is constant.  This means that force increases only when the rate of acceleration increases.

     Dr. Fleisig found that my baseball pitchers applied more force than 'traditional' baseball pitchers.  That means that my baseball pitchers accelerated the baseball faster than 'traditional' baseball pitchers.

     Then, Dr. Fleisig said that, even though my baseball pitchers accelerated the baseball faster than 'traditional' baseball pitchers, they released their pitches at lower velocities.

     That is a scientifically ridiculous statement.

     Release velocity is a result of how fast baseball pitchers accelerate their pitches.  It is impossible to accelerate the baseball faster than 'traditional' baseball pitchers and not achieve faster release velocities.

     That Will Carroll uses Dr. Fleisig's ridiculous statement as a criticism of my baseball pitching motion shows that Mr. Carroll is not sufficiently educated to evaluate biomechanical research.

     However, the greater ignorance is that a supposedly educated biomechanist made that ridiculous statement.

     I know that my evaluation of Dr. Fleisig's biomechanic methodology is scientifically daunting.  But, whether people read it and understand it or not, that Dr. Fleisig would make such a ridiculous statement should, at least, make everybody question everything that Dr. Fleisig says.

     Wasn't it Dr. Fleisig that concluded that youth baseball pitchers could safely throw curves?

     That ridiculous statement shows that Dr. Fleisig only considers the numbers that his computers generate.  Dr. Fleisig has no idea of the how baseball pitchers generate and apply force that how that force acts on the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles associate with baseball pitching.

     Dr. Fleisig has never pitched.  Dr. Fleisig has never taught baseball pitchers how to pitch.  Dr. Fleisig has never rehabilitated injured baseball pitchers.  All Dr. Fleisig has is numbers that his computer generates.

     Dr. Fleisig does not know the requisite applied anatomy for baseball pitching.  Dr. Fleisig is the epitome of the professor in the Ivory Tower.  Dr. Fleisig earned a degree, but learned nothing useful.

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118.  Phillies ace Halladay focuses on healthy season
February 01, 2011
Philadelphia Daily News

Even if the Phillies training staff had to reinforce his groin with duct tape, Roy Halladay was going to pitch in the World Series.  This city learned enough about the 2010 NL Cy Young winner during his first season in town to know that he would not let a muscle strain on the lower half of his body prevent him from performing on the game's biggest stage.

But, if there is a silver lining to the Phillies' upset loss to the Giants in the National League Championship Series, it lies in the 2 weeks of rest their undisputed ace was afforded to recuperate.  "After 2 weeks, I felt good and it was back into the regular off-season program," said Halladay.  "After that 2 weeks, it was really completely gone as far as I could tell."

Now, the focus is on maintaining his health. Anybody who follows baseball knows that destiny can be undone with one fateful slip of a disk or tear of a muscle.  Even one serious injury still will leave the Phillies with three starters capable of starting Game 1 of a playoff series.  But for Halladay, Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt to achieve the history that many are forecasting, good health could be the great decider.

With that in mind, Halladay has added extra focus toward building strength and flexibility in his lower body and core.  In addition to the NLCS, the 34-year-old righthander battled a groin strain during the 2009 season.  Factor in the career-high 272 2/3 innings he logged during the regular season and post-season, and the month of off-season he lost with his first-ever trip to the playoffs, and Halladay finds himself in unchartered waters for one of the few times in his 12-year career.

That said, nobody seems too concerned.

Halladay resumed his workouts in Clearwater on December 01.  He and his family live within a 15-minute drive of the Phillies' spring training complex and ,since then, he has worked nonstop.

While his off-season schedule has included stops at awards banquets in New York and Philadelphia, he said the extra commitments haven't interrupted his legendary preparation. While in town this past week, he worked out daily at Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies will open the regular season in exactly 2 months.

"Surprisingly, it's been very easy," Halladay said.  "We did a lot of our stuff early on this winter when there wasn't a lot of stuff going on and I could kind of manage it.  Then obviously New York and coming here, it was a nice break being able to spend a week here and go into the stadium and work out there and kind of continue things instead of going to the spring-training facility every day.  It was a nice mix. It's been an easy winter for us.  We got a lot out of the way early and made it nice."


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     During his 2009 season, Mr. Halladay 'battled a groin strain.'

     In the 2010 playoffs, Mr. Halladay pitched with an injure groin.

     The groin is layman speak for the Adductor Brevis muscle.  The Adductor Brevis muscle arises from the the outer surface of the inferior ramus of the Pubic bone and inserts into the line extending from the lesser trochanter to the linea aspera of the Femur bone.

     When the Adductor Brevis muscle contracts, it moves the Femur and Pubis bones closer together.  This means that the Adductor Brevis muscle moves the pitching upper leg toward the midline of the body.

     To eliminate this injury, Mr. Halladay needs to not use his Adductor Brevis muscle to move his pitching upper leg to the midline of his body.

     I recommend that, instead of his Adductor Brevis muscle, Mr. Halladay use his Rectus Femoris muscle to move his pitching upper leg to the midline of his body.

     To do this, Mr. Halladay needs to turn his pitching foot to forty-five degrees toward home plate and, to move his pitching leg forward off the pitching rubber, instead of the outside of his pitching foot, Mr. Halladay should push off the pitching rubber with the front of his pitching foot.

     By the way, that Mr. Halladay lives within fifteen minutes of the Phillies Spring Training Headquarters shows how serious Mr. Halladay is about his professional baseball career.

     However, I suspect that Mr. Halladay lived where he presently lives because it was close to the Toronto Blue Jays Spring Training Headquartes in Dunedin, FL, which is less than fifteen minutes from Clearwater, FL.

     Nevertheless, Mr. Halladay is trying to maximize his professional baseball career.

     If I owned a major league baseball team, then I would strongly recommend that all my baseball players and coaches spent their off-seasons living near to their Spring Training Headquarters working on improving their playing and coaching skills and maintaining their fitness.

     It is considerably better to maintain fitness that it is to regain fitness.

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119.  Tigers close door on bringing Bonderman back
MLB.com
February 01, 2011

DETROIT, MI:  What little opening the Tigers left for Jeremy Bonderman to return has now officially closed.  Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit News that the club will not re-sign it right-handed rotation member for the past eight years.  "We are not signing Jeremy Bonderman," Dombrowski told the paper.

Had Bonderman returned to camp with the Tigers, he would've been an extra pitcher on the outside looking in on the rotation, more likely battling for a long-relief spot.  The opening he could find on other clubs simply wasn't here.  Yet at age 28, he hasn't exactly been an aging pitcher struggling to hold on.

Bonderman went 8-10 with a 5.53 ERA in 29 starts and a relief appearance for Detroit last year.  It was a successful comeback from two years of injuries and surgery to relieve a circulation condition in his shoulder.


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     Since when is a 5.53 earned run average a successful comeback?

     Mr. Bonderman suffered through two years of injuries and surgery to relieve a circulation condition in his pitching shoulder.

     This circulation condition occurs when the Clavicle and First Rib on the pitching arm side of the chest rubs against the Subvclavian Vein returning blood to the heart.

     When baseball pitchers also have clotting issues, this becomes a life-threatening problem.  The solution is to remove the first rib.

     It also helps for baseball pitchers to learn how to drive their pitches down their acromial line.  In other words, baseball pitchers have to learn how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  That's L, a, t, i, s, s, i, m, u, s and D, o, r, s, i.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, February 13, 2011, I posted the following questions and answers.

*********************************************************************************************** -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

120.  Query

In your answer to question 103 of your 2011 question and answer file, you stated that in 1981 you pitched major league baseball after 14 months without training.

1.  During the two weeks that you did train, what program did you use?

2.  Your record for the period is good, but how did you feel while competing after so long without training?

3.  How long did it take you to regain the fitness level that you had attained prior to ceasing training?

4.  Which of your interval training programs did you use during the next off-season?


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01.  Every day, I did my Second Base pick-off body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.  Today, I call that drill, Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

02.  It felt like riding a bike after years of not riding a bike.  I felt uncoordinated at first, but gradually settled into my former form. Of course, I did not have the release velocity.  But, I had great movement.

     With a wide variety of pitch sequences designed to maximize my success against the four types of hitters, except for a couple of quality pitch mistakes, I kept batters from hitting the baseball hard.

     As evidence, I did not have my usual percent of strikeouts. But, I worked very hard never to get behind in the count.

03.  I was with the Mets for only forty-four games.  While I still had the capilarization, muscle nuclei and other benefits from years of training to help me regain my fitness, I still needed several months of daily training.

     Unfortunately, the Mets released me, my ex and her lawyer were delaying the final hearing of our divorce until they had exhausted all my guaranteed 1981 salary at a four to one ratio in her favor and refused to agree to exclude any future baseball earnings, so, to try to expedite the final hearing, I again stopped training.

04.  By 1974, I had completed all my Interval-Training programs.  Therefore, from 1974 on, every off-season, I repeated my 30 lb. Wrist Weight and 16 lb. Iron Ball Recoil Interval-Training Programs.

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121.  Elbow issues in HS pitchers

I received this email with a link to an article you might want to look at.  The article describes a study done by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

I found it particularly interesting that the study mentioned that the 23 high school-aged pitchers were considered "uninjured," yet they aside from three of the twenty-three pitchers, every pitching arm had some sort of elbow abnormality.

I don't know about you, but words like edema, osteophyte (bone chips?), sclerosis, and chondromalacia, is not something I would want to hear if I thought I had a healthy elbow.

It should also be mentioned that ten out of the twenty-three pitchers had multiple abnormalities, or half of the "abnormal pitching elbows."

Below is what the "emailer" said about the article.

The subject line in the email: "Does a Normal Elbow Really Exist?"

(Note: "Recent Research," is a link to a study done on shoulder range of motion.)

"For me, the 35% with the osteophytes (and chondromalacia) are the biggest concern.  Thickening of the ulnar collateral ligament isn’t surprising at all, but marked osseous (bone) abnormalities is a big concern.

Also, as a brief, but important aside, this study was done at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, which isn’t exactly the hotbed of baseball activity that you get down in the South.

Recent research also shows that players in Southern (warm weather) climates have decreased shoulder internal rotation range of motion and external rotation strength compared to their Northern (cold weather) climate counterparts.

In other words, I’ll be money that the numbers reported in this study are nothing compared to the young pitchers who are constantly abused year-round in the South."

I understand what would cause the osteophytes and chondromalacia, but what would cause the Ulnar Collateral Ligament to thicken?


-------------------------------------------------

Here is the link:

Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Throwing Elbow in the Uninjured, High School–Aged Baseball Pitcher

Wendy J. Hurd, PT, PhD, SCS (wjhurd2001@yahoo.com) Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, Sarah Eby Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, Kenton R. Kaufman, PE, PhD Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, Naveen S. Murthy, MD Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Abstract

Background:  Tissue adaptations in response to pitching are an expected finding during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evaluation of the throwing elbow of adult pitchers.  These changes are considered normal in the absence of symptom complaints.  It is unclear when during the playing career these tissue adaptations are initiated.

Hypothesis:  Abnormalities in the appearance of the throwing elbow compared with the non-throwing elbow would be visible during MRI assessment of this asymptomatic population of high school–aged throwers.

Study Design:  Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods:  Twenty-three uninjured, asymptomatic male high school–aged baseball pitchers (mean age, 16 years) with no history of elbow injury were recruited for the study.

Participants had a minimum of 3 years’ experience with pitching as their primary position (mean experience, 6 years).

Bilateral elbow MRI examinations were performed using a standardized protocol including fast spin-echo proton-density (axial and coronal), T1-weighted (sagittal), and T2-weighted fat-saturated (axial, sagittal, and coronal) sequences.

Osteoarticular, ligamentous, musculotendinous, and neural structures were evaluated and compared bilaterally.

The images were reviewed by a musculoskeletal radiologist who was blinded to all the gathered data on these athletes, including limb dominance.

Results:

1.  Three participants (13%) had no abnormalities.

2.  Fifteen individuals (65%) had asymmetrical anterior band ulnar collateral ligament thickening, including 4 individuals who also had mild sublime tubercle/anteromedial facet edema.

3.  Fourteen participants (61%) had posteromedial subchondral sclerosis of the ulnotrochlear articulation, including 8 (35%) with a posteromedial ulnotrochlear osteophyte, and

4.  4 (17%) with mild posteromedial ulnotrochlear chondromalacia.

5.  Ten individuals (43%) had multiple abnormal findings in the throwing elbow.

Conclusion:

1.  Thickening of the anterior band of the ulnar collateral ligament and posteromedial subchondral sclerosis of the trochlea are common findings in the high school–aged pitcher and may be considered normal clinical findings in the absence of symptom complaints.

2.  Other changes in tissue appearance of the throwing elbow are uncommon in this age group and should be regarded with a higher level of caution when evaluating for the presence of injury.

An understanding of the MRI appearance of the uninjured youth pitcher is necessary for clinicians to distinguish between normal adaptations and the presence of injury.

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     The emailer had a point about northern youth baseball pitchers versus southern youth baseball pitchers. Southern youth baseball pitchers throw many more pitches per year than northern youth baseball pitchers.

     That this research group not only did not account for this difference, much less mention it, shows that they are new to researching the affects of youth baseball pitching on the skeletal structures in the pitching elbow.

     This research group recruited 23 uninjured, asymptomatic male high school–aged baseball pitchers (mean age, 16 years) with no history of elbow injury.

     As you pointed out, except for three youth baseball pitchers, twenty youth baseball pitchers showed signs of skeletal deformities.  This means that twenty youth baseball pitchers were injured and symptomatic.

     The problem is bones and ligaments do not have the pain sensors found in muscle and connective tissue.

     In their conclusions, the research group said that, in the absence of symptom complaints, thickening of the anterior band of the ulnar collateral ligament and posteromedial subchondral sclerosis of the trochlea are normal clinical findings.

     That youth baseball pitchers do not complain does not mean that these changes have no long-term consequences.

     However, I would agree that thickening of the anterior band of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament is a result of the stress of baseball pitching and could be a desirable result.

     Unfortunately, MRIs do not show tears in connective tissue and the Ulnar Collateral Ligament does not have pain sensors that would cause youth baseball pitchers to complain.

     All in all, in 1965, Dr. Joel Adams did a much better and more through study of the changes in growth plate development in the pitching elbow that youth baseball pitching causes.

     In Chapter Nine:  Research into Adolescent Pitching Arm Injuries of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book and Section 5: X-rays of Youth Baseball Pitchers, I provide more complete research into what the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion does to youth baseball pitchers.

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122.  After tommy john surgery

Did tommy john change his delivery after he was operated on.  I seem to remember when he pitched for the white sox that his delivery was different from when he was with the dodgers.


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     I do not believe that Mr. John took the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand on top of the baseball.  Therefore, I do not believe that 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Instead, I believe that Mr. John suffered this injury as a result of the 'knife clasp' reflex.  In the 'knife clasp' reflex, the spinal cord neurons determine that the stress is too great for the accelerator muscles to withstand and shut down these muscles.

     As a result, Mr. John's Ulnar Collateral Ligament received the full force of the mass of his pitching forearm.

     Not only did Mr. John rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, but he pulled the entire muscle mass that attaches to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of his pitching arm detached.

     When I saw Mr. John in the training room immediately after he left the game, he had a large ball in the middle of the anterior surface of his pitching forearm.

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123.  Batting

In an effort to demonstrate to my son that the top hand is stronger/more powerful than the bottom hand, I had him do your one handed swings while swinging his bat at a heavy bag.  He immediately recognized the difference in the power generated by the top hand.

When I did the exercise, I noticed that especially with the bottom hand after I made contact with the bag and force my way past the resistance my wrist immediately supinated and the barrel of the bat hit me in the gluteus maximus.

Do you see any benefit or harm in doing this exercise?


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     Strength without technique does not improve skill.

     In my baseball batting method, the front arm only provides the oppositely-directed force.  Therefore, to use the front arm to provide the same force that the rear arm can provide more powerfully diminishes the influence of the rear arm.

     The key to the maximum force that the front and rear arms can provide lies in force-coupling.  Therefore, baseball batters have to practice how to use the front arm to stop the forward movement of the striking implement, not drive it forward.

     As a result, the striking implement should contact the ball after the front arm stops moving forward, not when the front arm is moving forward.

     However, it is good that the angle of the striking implement resulted in hitting you in your gluteus maximus.  At least, you are not dropping the center of mass of the striking implement below your front hand.

     My two baseball batting trainees do have days when they do my baseball batting method very well.  Unfortunately, they still have more days when I cannot stand to watch most swings.

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124.  After tommy john surgery

Wow

I understand the palm being on top of the ball after the ball is taken out of the glove, but how do you recognize the knife clasp reflex?


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     Kinesiologists call the muscle that athletes want to contract, the 'agonist' muscle and that muscle's opposite muscle, the 'antagonist'

     When baseball pitchers are trying to throw baseballs as hard as they can, to get the most out of the agonist 'accelerator' muscles, their antagonist 'decelerator' muscles must not also contract.

     When 'agonist' and 'antagonist' muscles simultaneously contract, Kinesiologists call this, 'Co-contraction.'

     Depending on the strength of the co-contraction, co-contractions can tear muscle fibers.

     If the joint angle does not change, as when body builders pose, then 'agonist' and 'antagonist' muscles can co-contract without injury.

     However, when the joint angle change, especially at high velocities such as sprinting, co-contraction tears muscle fibers.

     This is what causes 'hamstring' pulls.

     The short head of the Biceps Femoris muscle of the 'Hamstring' muscle group remains contracted at the same time that the 'Quadriceps' muscle group contract.  As a result, muscle fibers in the short head of the Biceps Femoris muscle tear.

     To prevent co-contraction mistakes, when the motor cortex sends the signal to contract an 'agonist' accelerator muscle, the central nervous system sends a do not contract signal to the 'antagonist' decelerator muscle.

     Kinesiologists call this central nervous system 'do-not-contract signal, 'Reciprocal Inhibition.'

     In Tommy John's situation, I believe that a Sodium-Potassium imbalance cramped the muscles that attach to his medial epicondyle.  Therefore, when their 'antagonist' muscles contracted, the force he generated tore these medial epicondyle muscles from their attachment and ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     When the central nervous system determines that the 'accelerator' force is too great for the 'decelerator' muscle to withstand, it will inhibit the 'decelerator' muscles from contracting.

     Kinesiologists call this, the 'Knife Clasp' reflex.

     While Tommy John's injury does not precisely fit the 'Knife Clasp' reflex, it explains 'agonist' and 'antagonist' muscle co-contraction.

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125.  Durbin: Looking for right fit
FoxSports.com
February 07, 2011

Right-hander Chad Durbin, the best remaining free-agent reliever, is not without offers.  But, after making the playoffs three straight years with the Phillies, Durbin wants to continue playing for a competitive team.

His offers thus far are from projected non-contenders, according to major league sources.  Durbin, 33, is holding out for a club with a better chance to reach the post-season, and two or three such teams are showing interest, sources say.

The Rays are the most notable contender still looking for bullpen help, but their interest in Durbin is not known.  The Marlins, Brewers and Twins are among the other contenders that may want to add another reliever.

Durbin posted a 3.62 ERA in his three seasons with the Phillies, though his opponents’ OPS increased in each of the past two years.  Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said recently that the team is “probably not” going to re-sign Durbin.


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     This is the 'trickle down' effect.  Mr. Durbin is competing for a job against pitchers in every organization that teams evaluate as equally skilled and the money they have to pay.

     Since, over the last two years, Mr. Durbin's OPS has increased, his skills have decreased.  Therefore, to get a job, Mr. Durbin has to increase his skills or accept less money.

     Mr. Durbin should chose to increase his skills.

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126.  Sox's Peavy shooting for Opening Day
Chicago Tribune
February 08, 2011

Jake Peavy hopes his arm strength can match his confidence in the next two months.  The White Sox's pitcher spoke optimistically Tuesday about his chances of making a full recovery from right shoulder surgery by the end of spring training.  This despite management's plea for him to be as deliberate as possible to prevent a setback.  "I hope to be ready to go very soon," Peavy said after throwing 40 pitches off a mound at about 60 to 70 percent speed in 68 degree weather near his San Diego-area home.

Peavy, 29, who suffered a detached latissimus dorsi muscle, recently completed a throwing program that started in November.  He will throw off a mound two more times before heading to Arizona in preparation for the Sox's first spring workout for pitchers and catchers February 17.

Peavy expects to undergo an MRI soon that could dictate his schedule for the rest of the spring.  He admitted that "it has been a tough winter" while trying to complete a long rehab and coping with the recent illness of his father in Semmes, AL.  He noticed the biggest difference in his rehab has been the length of time it takes him to prepare before throwing off a mound, sometimes up to 30 minutes of stretching.

"I can noticeably tell my arm isn't as strong as I'd like it to be," said Peavy, adding he expects to regain the strength in spring training.  But, he has experienced only normal soreness, adding there is no discomfort in his surgically repaired area.  "I've pushed it as much as I can while listening to my body," said Peavy, noting his rehab has consisted of playing catch every day, even on Christmas.

"I want to be ready for Opening Day.  That's me.  I want to come to camp and be like the other guys and feel like I can do that.  "I'll be the ringleader, try to push the envelope and make sure I'm ready as soon as possible.  I'm sure they will play devil's advocate."

Peavy is fully aware of the club's cautious approach, as general manager Ken Williams said last month the Sox are prepared to start the regular season without Peavy for up to the first 30 days despite optimistic text messages Peavy sent to him.  "Kenny tried to put the brakes on hard, to his credit," Peavy said.  "… And I pushed right through those brakes and said, 'Kenny, I'm going good.  Let me go.  Let me start.'"

Peavy also is aware of the plans to prepare prized left-hander Chris Sale as a starter until they're convinced Peavy is ready.  "If I miss a time or two, that's what it is," he said.  "But I certainly realize me in there (in the rotation) and Chris Sale at the back of the bullpen, we're a deep staff."

The Sox's fifth game isn't until April 6 against the Royals in Kansas City, so the Sox could buy time early for Peavy.  But manager Ozzie Guillen jokingly interrupted and sent a message to Peavy during the conference call.  "You better be ready for spring training, or I'm going to get fired," Guillen quipped.

"Tell him I'll be ready," Peavy replied after learning of Guillen's comments that were barely audible.  "I certainly expect things to be smooth.  I'm going to get ready and I want to be a guy Ozzie and the rest of the staff knows I can be sooner rather than later.  I can promise you that."


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     The orthopedic surgeon said that Mr. Peavy detached his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  I assume that Mr. Peavy detached the insertion of his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to the inside of the bicipital groove near the head of the Humerus bone in his pitching upper arm.

     The question is:  How did Mr. Peavy put so much stress on this insertion that he detached it from the bone?

     Did co-contraction play a role?

     Are the muscles that outwardly rotate the Humerus bone be powerful enought to overwhelm the extremely powerful Latissimus Dorsi muscle?

     Until recently, I did not believe that any baseball pitchers other than those I train even use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     However, recent high-speed videos I received of Tim Lincecum and Chris Young show that, although inappropriately, both engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     The moment in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that generates the most injurious stress is during the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     Is it possible that Mr. Peavy used his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to abruptly stop the outward rotation of his 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover?'

     Is it possible that Mr. Peavy's Latissimus Dorsi muscle cramped such that the outward rotation force detached the insertion of his Latissimus Dorsi muscle?

     What training could Mr. Peavy have done that would over-work his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to the extent that it would remain contracted?

     During this training, does Mr. Peavy sweat a lot and not replace his Potassium or does Mr. Peavy eat a Sodium high diet?

     I don't have an answer.  I'm just thinking.

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127.  After tommy john surgery

That's IMpressive information.  How do I explain to a parent that or a student that he is co-contracting, in a language that an egotistic jock red neck can understand? Can you give some examples?


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     Pulling a hamstring is the only co-contraction injury with which coaches need to concern themselves.

     For athletes to have a co-contraction injury as a result of a Sodium/Potassium imbalance, they have to wear rubber sweat inducing jackets or eat Sodium high diets.

     When they do, their muscles will remain tight.  When not in use, properly trained muscles will be flaccid.

     That is why, before every game that they start, I check the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of their pitching upper arm of my baseball pitchers for tightness.

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128.  This is Colin Carmody

I pitched the 8th inning today right after we scored our 4th run to go ahead 4-3.

1)  RHB: TFSL/MA-c, TF/MM: (F7)
2)  RHB: TFSL/MA-c, TF/MA: (+9)
3)  RHB: TFSL/MA-c, TFSL/HA, TFSl/MA-c, MF/LI, TFSL/MI: (F2)
4)  RHB: TF/MA-c, TFSL/MA-c, TFSL/LA: (Kc)

A parent from the stands and a player on my team were sitting in the stands and said I threw my fastballs at 88-89 MPH.

I started the last batter of with TF because they were taking first pitch and they were sitting fastball on 2nd pitch and took my TFSL pretty much ever time.

I didn't throw my MFSI at all because I wasn't throwing it for a strike and I was pulling it or it was high and inside on right-handed hitters.  So, I went with TFSL.

I will have to get my MFSI down to be more successful.


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     Thanks for the update.

     For the first time that they see you, starting four right-handed batters with sliders sounds like a good plan.

     That the second batter hit a no-ball, one strike fastball to right center indicates that he was looking for a fastball.  He is definitely a spray hitter.  So, you will have to throw him sinkers, Maxline Fastballs and Maxline Pronation Curves inside.

     That the fourth batters took three consecutive sliders for called strikes indicates that he was sitting on fastballs.

     That you threw only one pitch that moved to the third base side of home plate could become problemmatic.

     The next At Bats, after the slider, the sinker would be nice.  However, a Maxline Fastball after a sinker, especially to that second hitter, would also work.

     Did you pitch the eighth inning in the first or second game against Angelo State?

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129.  Papelbon: Others can do the thinking
ESPNBoston.com
February 08, 2011

FORT MYERS, FL:  He is in his free-agent year, which already makes this season unlike any other that has preceded it.  He is coming off his worst season, one in which he blew eight saves, most in the American League.  He will no longer be the only closer in town with a World Series ring when camp opens on Sunday, the Red Sox having signed Bobby Jenks over the winter.  He was pretty much shocked into laughter when he heard the Sox had tried to sign his idol, Mariano Rivera, leaving him even more uncertain where he fit into Red Sox plans.

He expects that the first time he blows a save, there will be people calling for Terry Francona to switch closers, the way the Red Sox manager did back in Texas on the first weekend of the season a few years ago, ousting Keith Foulke for the brash kid from Mississippi State who had shown no fear ever since he threw at Sammy Sosa in spring training.  He, Jonathan Papelbon, obviously has a lot to think about this spring, doesn't he?
Says you.  "They don't pay me to think," Papelbon said here Monday morning, one of the early arrivals in camp.  "If I'm a thinker, then I'm not a closer.  That's the way I look at it, man.  I don't think, man, I just do.  Sometimes that gets me into trouble."

A closer, Papelbon insists, does not have the luxury of thinking, which might come as news to Dr. Mike Marshall, who once held a Ph.D and closed for the Dodgers.

But while he may like to perpetuate the image of a mindless chowderhead with a Southern drawl, it isn't that simple.  It never is.  Papelbon was smart enough, for example, to win a high-stakes game of not settling for the security of a long-term deal to go year to year in salary arbitration, leaving him with an annual intake this season of $12 million, which puts him very close to the ceiling of players at his position.

It is that salary that almost certainly guarantees this will be his last season in a Red Sox uniform, especially when the Red Sox now have two cheaper alternatives going forward: Jenks, who helped the White Sox win a World Series in 2005, and Daniel Bard, who throws even harder than the young Papelbon did.

Papelbon understands this.  "I realize my situation," he said.  "I realize the possibilities that could and could not happen, and I accept them and I move on.  I'll go out and try and win a championship.  When that's all said and done, whatever happens, happens."

Talk long enough to Papelbon, and you quickly learn that he thinks about plenty, that in order to avoid repeating the disasters of last season, for example, he's going to have to adjust his approach to hitters, who in 2010 had the upper hand in that eternal cat-and-mouse game between pitcher and batsman.

"You'll see a difference right off the bat," he said.  "I will be throwing a lot more off-speed.  I'll be throwing my split a lot more, my slider, I'll be throwing a heck of a lot more.  The last couple of years, I've been able to develop those pitches, and the biggest thing I've gained from game experience is to learn what not to do with them.  "There will be a lot of situations where, instead of pitching off my fastball, I'll be pitching off my split, pitching off my slider, earlier in the count."

Where the thinking must stop, he says, comes to those things he can't control, though he confesses that the news that general manager Theo Epstein had signed Jenks to a two-year deal did cause him a few moments of uncertainty.  "Yeah, I think it's natural, man, it's human," he said.  "'OK, well they're signing another great closer and, you know, what are they planning to do with him, what are they planning to do with me, blah, blah, blah.  I think your natural instincts, you ask yourself questions, but I think a day later they were all answered.

"At first I didn't know what to think, but Theo left me a voice mail, I talked with Tito.  I think they did a real good job with that.  Theo did a real good job of saying, 'This is the bullpen I've got, that I'm putting together.  This is the bullpen I'm going to try and win a World Series with.'  You can't fault anybody for that."

Does he really expect Jenks, who has closed since his rookie season, to be willing to accept a lesser role, especially when the money is in closing, not in being a setup man?  "I wouldn't say it's a lesser role," Papelbon said.  "I'm sure Bobby thought about it before he signed.  He's coming to a ballclub he knows made big strides this off-season and has a lot of pieces of the puzzle to go win another World Series for himself.

"He's going to have a big role, a huge role.  A huge role," Papelbon added.  "And who's to know what the future holds for him?"  Papelbon said he and Jenks have not been in touch since Jenks signed with Boston, but said they were "tight."  "We got to know each other at All-Star Games, from being in the same league," he said.  "We even talked about contract situations a couple of times.  We told each other what we were going to try and get."

Papelbon said it bothered him to know that some of Jenks' personal problems had spilled into the public arena, most recently when the son of White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen tweeted about him.  "He's a good dude, a really good guy," Papelbon said.  "I guess the media have exploited some issues he's had, but you know what, who doesn't?  Who doesn't have [issues]?  Show me the guy with the perfect life, the perfect wife, the perfect family, the perfect whatever and I'll tell you to kiss my [derriere].  That's not the way it works."

Papelbon said he fully anticipates that the first time he stumbles, Jenks or Bard will quickly become the darlings of the talk shows and columnists demanding that Francona make a change.  He saw what happened to David Ortiz last spring.  "I understand that," he said.  "It doesn't bother me.  I don't worry about those things.  I don't know why.  It's not that I don't care.  I guess I'm just confident enough in my own ability.  I can go get the job done in Boston with a great group of guys, or in Japan if I have to.  I'm just that way."

Still, it came as a jolt to hear that the Sox had also taken a run at Mariano Rivera, the great Yankees closer, offering him a two-year deal.  New York, which had hoped to re-sign its 41-year-old icon for one more season, had little choice but to match the Sox's offer.  Papelbon suspects the Red Sox were playing a little gamesmanship with the Bombers. Still.  "I laughed.  I did," he said.  "And I laughed because it was like, 'Wow, this is getting kind of crazy.  Oh my God, what's going on here?'  But that's part of the business side of things.  That was a pretty high-intensity week.  "Would Mo have ever accepted? I don't know, man, you've got to ask Mo.  Who knows?"

Papelbon acknowledges that it's not out of the question he could still be traded, though he considers it unlikely.  "I don't know if it would make much sense," he said.  "Then again, maybe there's a scenario out there that does make sense that I don't know about.  "It's not my job.  It's Theo's job, and l think he's done a damn good job this off-season," Papelbon said.  "You've got to give credit where credit is due.  I think he looked at the whole picture, 'Where are my gaps, where are my holes?' and he filled them.

"What more can you ask for from your boss than allowing you to go out and do the best job you can do.  You go out and do your job, and things will fall in place.  That's what I'm going to do.  If I do my job, everybody else is going to do their job and hopefully at the end of the season we'll be raising a couple of trophies."  Now that's something worth thinking about.


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     When batters start hammering the fastball, it is a nice idea to throw something other than fastballs.  Therefore, that Mr. Papelbon worked on a slider and a splitter was a good idea.  Now, he only needs to whom he should throw which pitch when.

     I only included this article for the, "A closer, Papelbon insists, does not have the luxury of thinking, which might come as news to Dr. Mike Marshall, who once held a Ph.D and closed for the Dodgers" part.

     However, I once closed for the Dodgers, not once held a Ph.D.

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130.  Yankees said to void Vizcaino's contract
MLB.com
February 09, 2011

The latest in a string of injuries for right-handed reliever Luis Vizcaino apparently will cost him more than just another season on the sidelines.  The 36-year-old pitcher, who signed a Minor League contract with the Yankees in December, had the deal voided by the organization on Wednesday, according to the New York Post.  Vizcaino tore his Achilles tendon during the Winter League season and is not expected to pitch in 2011.  He also missed all of the '10 season and almost all of the '09 campaign because of arm trouble.

The deal Vizcaino signed with the Yankees would have paid him $750,000 if he had made the big league roster this season.

The Yankees were impressed enough with the way Vizcaino pitched for Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League this season, allowing just one run in 11 2/3 innings (0.77 ERA), that they signed him to a Minor League contract that included an invitation to Major League camp.


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     Whoops.  I failed to mention this co-contraction injury.

     Rupturing the Achilles tendon, like tearing the hamstrings and Tommy John ripping the medial epicondyle muscles away from the bone, is a co-contraction and a Knife Clasp injury.

     Only muscles tear muscles.

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131.  Ohlendorf wins arbitration hearing
MLB.com
February 09, 2011

The Pirates and starter Ross Ohlendorf went to an arbitration hearing this week, and a club official confirmed Wednesday that the three-man panel of arbiters sided with Ohlendorf, who will make $2.025 million in 2011.

Ohlendorf made $439,000 last season and was eligible for arbitration through "Super Two" status.  The Pirates had countered his demands with an offer of $1.4 million, and the two sides were unable to reach an independent agreement.

"While disappointed with the result, we respect the process and the work that the arbitrators do for the parties," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said.  "We look forward to a healthy and winning season from Ross in 2011."

The hearing, which was held Tuesday, marked the first time the Pirates have reached that stage of arbitration with one of their players since 2004, when Jack Wilson won his argument.

Ohlendorf, 28, went 1-11 with a 4.07 ERA in 21 starts for the Pirates this year.  He was hampered by back and shoulder injuries.  In 2009, Ohlendorf went 11-10 with a 3.92 ERA in 29 starts.  The Pirates acquired Ohlendorf in a 2008 trade that sent Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady to the Yankees.


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     My stats guy, Brad Sullivan, tells me that, in 2010, Mr. Ohlendorf missed 29 games with back spasms, was hit in the head by a line drive, then missed the last 37 games with shoulder trouble.

     That that season deserved a five-fold raise surprises me.

     The way that I understand salary arbitration works is that both sides submit the salary that they believe is appropriate and the arbitrators chose one.

     Therefore, the arbitrator felt that $2,025,000.00 was more appropriate than $1,400,000.00 for a baseball pitcher that earned $439,000.00 and missed 66 games with injuries.

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132.  Rothschild: Burnett in a good place to start
Associated Press
February 10, 2011

TAMPA, FL:  New Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild says pitcher A.J. Burnett is positioned well heading into the start of spring training next week.

Burnett is coming off a disappointing season in which he went 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA in 33 starts, including 4-13 with a 6.48 ERA over the final four months and 1-7 from August 01 on.

“His arm is healthy and his head is in a good spot,” Rothschild said Thursday.  “There’s a lot of positives there.  Where it goes from here we’ll see.  I think he’s coming in with the right intention in mind and that’s a good place to start.”

Rothschild and Burnett worked together for two days this winter, with mechanics a focal point.  “I think to get him right mechanically and get him to throw the ball the way that he can, I think you’ll see a different presence on the mound,” Rothschild said.  “He’s got a good attitude about things.”


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     Mr. Rothchild said that Mr. Burnett is 'positioned well.'

     Mr. Rothchild also said, “I think to get him right mechanically and get him to throw the ball the way that he can.  I think you’ll see a different presence on the mound.  “He’s got a good attitude about things.”

     This is baseball pitching coach double-talk.  It shows that Mr. Rothchild has no idea what mechanical adjustment Mr. Burnett has to make.

     It appears that the innovative hiring technique that the Yankee general manager used to hire their new baseball pitching coach failed.

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133.  Tigers close door on bringing Bonderman back
MLB.com
February 01, 2011

DETROIT, MI:  What little opening the Tigers left for Jeremy Bonderman to return has now officially closed.  Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski told the Detroit News that the club will not re-sign it right-handed rotation member for the past eight years.  "We are not signing Jeremy Bonderman," Dombrowski told the paper.

The Tigers had left open the possibility of bringing back Bonderman on a Minor League contract this winter, but it has been known for a while that Bonderman has been seeking a Major League deal, something he might well be getting with another club.  At the heart of the issue, the Tigers had already moved on, having filled out their rotation by signing free agent Brad Penny and trading Armando Galarraga.

Had Bonderman returned to camp with the Tigers, he would've been an extra pitcher on the outside looking in on the rotation, more likely battling for a long-relief spot.  The opening he could find on other clubs simply wasn't here.  Yet at age 28, he hasn't exactly been an aging pitcher struggling to hold on.

Bonderman finishes his Tigers tenure with a 67-77 record and a 4.89 ERA in 207 appearances, 193 of them starts.  Fifty of those wins came in a four-year stretch from 2004-07, including his career-best 14-8 record and 4.08 ERA for the 2006 American League champions.

Bonderman went 8-10 with a 5.53 ERA in 29 starts and a relief appearance for Detroit last year.  It was a successful comeback from two years of injuries and surgery to relieve a circulation condition in his shoulder.

He badly wanted to turn that into a new contract in Detroit, the only city he has called home as a Major Leaguer.  But as his promising first half turned into second-half struggles -- he went 3-4 with a 6.50 ERA after the All-Star break, his chances of sticking around seemed increasingly remote.  He suggested in late July that he might retire if he wasn't back, but those comments were simply out of frustration.

Bonderman did not respond to a text message Tuesday.


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     This is the players' conundrum.

     Professional baseball teams require that their players do what their coaches and Medical staff tells them to do.

     Then, when what the coaches and Medical staff told them to do does not work, they get rid of the players, like it is the players' fault.

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134.  This is Colin Carmody

I gave up 4 earned runs today.

1.  LHP: MFSi/LA-c, MF/MA-s, TFSL/MI: (-3) Ground ball to first flipped ball to me and I stepped on first and umpire called out.  I picked him off first and the umpire called him safe.

2.  RHP: TFSL/MA-c, TF/MA, MTSC/ML, MF/MI-s, TFSl/MA, MF/MI: (BB) I walked him on a pitch in the glove on middle 3rd.

3.  RHP: TF/MA (+9) Double to right.  I beat the guy and he one-hopped walk.

4.  RHP: TFSL/MA-c, TF/MA, MF/MI-c, MTSC/ML, TFSL/LA: (-7) Ball hit in the 6-5 hole.

I threw my pitches very well and I got smashed.

I threw 78-84 TFSl, 90-92 mph fastballs.

I don't understand how I'm getting pounded.


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     I did not understand everything that you wrote.

     Nevertheless, when baseball batters get hits, it is always about pitch sequencing.

     Therefore, we always have to analyze the pitch choices for each batter separately.

01.  LHP: MFSi/LA called strike.  Great choice.
       MF/MA swinging strike.  Great choice.
       TFSl/MI grounded to first. Bad, bad choice.

     You had the batter no balls/two strikes and you threw him a minus ten pitch that he could put in play.  Whether it was bad fielding or a bad call or not, you had to throw a pitch that he could not hit.  You should have thrown a MPC, then a TF/MA, then a MTSc, then a MPC.  You did not challenge yourself.  You gave him a chance to hit the baseball and he got on base.

02.  RHP: TFSL/MA called strike.  Great choice.
       TF/MA ball.  Great choice.
       MTSC/ML ball.  You needed strike two.  This pitch was too much.  The best choice would have been MFSi.
       MF/MI-s swinging strike.  Bad choice.  You needed this pitch for a two strike count.
       TFSl/MA ball.  Two strike minus tens are poor choices.  MPC best choice.  MTSc second best choice.
       MF/MI ball.  Depending on the preceding minus twenty pitch, the opposite minus twenty pitch would have been the best choice.

03.  RHP: TF/MA double to right field.  Bad, bad choice.

     You cannot give into having walked the previous batter and throw a wish pitch.  You needed to throw a minus ten.  That this guy hit the baseball to right field indicates that he might be a spray hitter.  If so, then you should have thrown a MFSi.

04.  RHP: TFSL/MA called strike.  Great choice.
       TF/MA ball.  Good choice
       MF/MI called strike.  Okay choice, MFSi better.
       MTSC/ML ball.  Great choice.
       TFSL/LA ground ball in 6-5 hole.  Bad, bad choice.

     You should never throw a minus ten pitch in a two strike count.  Once again, you gave the batter a chance to put the baseball in play.  This is the time for minus twenties or the opposite fastball.  However, because you threw the opposite fastball on the third pitch, you could not throw it on the fifth pitch.  That is the two different pitches between rule.

     In conclusion:  You did not get pounded.  Instead, you made some bad choices.  When you make the correct choices, they will not hit your pitches.  But, you have to challenge yourself to throw the correct pitches and never, never give in to your fear of failure.

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135.  Baseball Video

When can we expect your baseball video?

Thank You.


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     I recently finished and uploaded my Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video.

     I am close to finishing my Causes of Pitching Injuries video.

     When I finish that video, I will start on my Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm drill video.  Because I have the basics of that video done and only need to write the script for the voice-over, I expect to take about a week to finish that video.

     When I finish that video, I will start on my Pick-Offs video.  Because I have the basics of that video done and only need to write the script for the voice-over, I expect to take about a week to finish that video.

     Then, I hope to start videotaping and possibly high-speed filming the baseball batters with whom I am working.  If I get what I want, then I will start to put the video together, write the script and do the voice-over.  Usually, that process takes me about a month.

     All this supposes that I do not have to stop for to many income earning requirements and other daily obligations and pleasures.

     I also want to put videos together that explain how to perform fielding and base running skills.

     I would like to put these baseball pitching, batting, fielding and base running videos together into a coaching guide for youth baseball coaches.

     Thanks for asking.  It helps me to know that my readers want to see my videos.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, February 20, 2011, I posted the following questions and answers.

*********************************************************************************************** -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

136.  This is Colin Carmody

That makes sense.  But, I can't not throw minus 20 pitches anywhere near the plate.  Not even close to anything resembling a strike.  That is why I do not throw them.

But, because I am getting rocked, I will try to throw my MTSc.

As for the MPC:  Because of my TFSL. I can not release the MPC appropriately.  I will work on it.


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     You did not get rocked.  You threw one Torque Fastball on the first pitch and a right-handed spray hitter hit it like right-handed spray hitters are supposed to hit fastballs away from them.

     He might have also have hit a TFSl to the opposite field well.  That is why you watch the opposition take batting practice.  You have to determine whether batters can hit the baseball well to the opposite field, such that you do not throw them pitches that they are supposed to hit well.

     The other two hits you gave up were ground balls.  Somehow the ground ball to first got messed up.  Therefore, while the TFSl was not the best pitch selection, it was the extreme opposite of the two-strike pitch.

     However, the ground ball in the hole is what right-handed pull hitters supposed to do to sliders (TFSl).  On the other hand, right-handed pull hitters are supposed top hit sinkers (MFSi) on the ground to third baseman.

     You said that you want to be better than Alfredo was in his second year.

     In Alfredo's first year, he thought that he could just throw his fastball past hitters.  He quickly found out that he could not.  I told him that he had to get ahead of batters with minus ten pitches and he had to finish batters with his Maxline Pronation Curve.

     Because you have the two minus ten pitches, you are better than Alfredo was in his first year.  However, in Alfredo's second year, he also learned how to throw his Maxline Pronation Curve for strikes.  That is why he smiled when things looked bad.  He knew that he could humiliate batters.

     Until you can throw the Maxline Pronation Curve for strikes, you cannot humiliate batters.  Instead, you can only hope that they do hit your minus tens where fielders can field them.  That means that, when you have two strikes on batters, your only hope is to throw the extreme opposite of the previous pitch without throwing the same pitch without two different pitches in between.

     That is what you did to the lead-off left-handed batter.  With no balls and two strikes and the pitch on which you got the second strike was a MF, you threw a slider (TFSl).

     Without the Maxline Pronation Curve, the extreme opposite pitch was the TFSl.  You threw it and got the ground ball to first that left-handed pull hitters are supposed to hit.  Unfortunately, something got messed up.

     If he had not hit the TFSl on the ground to first base, then the extreme opposite pitch that you should throw next is the MFSi.  Or, if you want to challenge yourself, you could throw a MTSc.  If one of those two pitches does not end the At Bat, then, with two pitches in between, you again throw the MF.  If that pitch does not end the At Bat, then you throw the TF.

     To the fourth batter, a right-handed pull hitter, you threw a TFSl for a called strike, a TF for a ball and a MF for strike two.  As I said in the earlier email, the one ball/one strike pitch should have been a MFSi.

     However, after getting strike two on the MF, the extreme opposite pitch was either the MFSi, the MTSc or the TFSl.  But, because, when they have two strikes on them, right-handed pull hitters hit sliders (TFSl) in the hole between the third baseman and the shortstop, you should not throw the TFSl.  With two strikes and only with two strike counts, but not with a full count, right-handed pull hitters are supposed to hit sinkers (MFSi) on the ground to the third baseman.

     You chose to go for the strikeout and threw the MTSc.  Unfortunately, you missed.  But, I liked the effort.

     Now, the extreme opposite pitch is either the MPC or the TF.  Unfortunately, because you apparently did not know that right-handed pull hitters hit a TFSl on the ground between the third baseman and the shortstop, you threw a TFSl and, as right-handed pull hitters as supposed to do, he hit it on the ground between the third baseman and shortstop.

     If, because you are afraid to throw the MPC, you had thrown the TF, then, at best, the right-handed pull hitter would have hit a fly ball to right or center field.

     Therefore, you made a bad choice.  He did not 'rock' you.  You made a bad choice.  Now you know that, when they have two strikes on them, right-handed pull hitters hit sliders on the ground between the third baseman and the shortstop.

     Therefore, you will never again a two strike slider to a right-handed pull hitter.  After you get two strikes on right-handed pull hitters, sliders are the worst pitch selection and sinkers are the best.  When in doubt, after you get two strikes on right-handed pull hitters, throw sinkers or Maxline and Torque Fastballs, whichever you did not throw last.

     I understand the difficulty throwing MPC and TFSl.  That is why, instead of throwing sliders, I taught you to throw the two-seam Torque Pronation Curve.  The only difference between the two-seam Torque Pronation Curve and the Maxline Pronation Curve is the side of the pitching rubber on which you stand and that, with the two-seam Torque Pronation Curve, you have to turn the driveline to the glove arm side of home plate.

     To make the Maxline Pronation Curve easier to learn, you can use the Torque cross step from the glove arm side of the pitching rubber.  This way, when you drive your pitching knee sideways over the glove foot, you can still drive down your acromial line.  Then, you only have to make sure that you get your pitching forearm horizontally inside of vertical.

     When you can throw the Maxline Pronation Curve for strikes whenever you want, then you will be better than Alfredo was his second year and the best that you can be.  You have to master that pitch and, unless you have the winning base runner on third base, you have to use it only when you get two strikes on batters.

     Against the first batter in your last game, a left-handed batter, you went MFSi and MF for strike one and two.  After that, you should have thrown MPC, TF, MTSc and MPC.  That means that you only needed to throw one MPC for a strike and the At Bat was over.  Or, if you threw either the TF or MTSc for a strike, then you would have also struck him out.  On the no ball, two strike count, you only needed to throw the MPC.  Throw the MPC.

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137.  Blast from the Past!

This is a former student, sir!  I hope you are doing so very well!  It is so great to see you and hear your voice again on your website.

I am extremely happy I found your website so I can justify now some of the things I have been trying to tell these other coaches that I coach with for the 11 and 12 year old level.

I can not express enough how thankful I was and still am to have been trained by you for the short period of time that we did and how you rehabilitated my arm back in less than a month from a serious injury.

I did learn a lot from you on the mechanics of pitching which I have tried to relay to 11 and 12 year olds that I coach.  But, I always remembered you telling me that kids up until about 15 or 16 were too young to use your program because of the growth plates in their arms and how pitching too much at an early age can hurt them.

Do you have exercises or a program similar to the one I was on to teach these kids how to at least take some if not all of the stress off their arms at an earlier age?

I would love any good advice or input that you have and it will be great to speak with you again real soon.

Have a great day and I look forward to hearing back from you.


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     It is great to hear from you.

     In my Baseball Pitching Interval-Training Programs file, I include my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.  In that program, I use the same drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion to adult baseball pitchers.

     I recommend that, until youth baseball pitchers are biologically sixteen years old, once every year, they complete my 60-day program.

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138.  Biceps pain

My son is 14 and has been pitching for 4 years.  He has had a few minor injuries to his arm, but no pain in his elbow or shoulder.

For over a year now, he has had pain in his biceps.

We have seen several doctors about this and went through a number of throwing and strengthening programs with no success.

The doctors have done an MRI and taken X-rays, but they do not see anything.

We have had a few pitching coaches look at him for major flaws in his mechanics.  They do not see any.

Do you know what may be causing this pain?


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     Yes.

     Your son takes his pitching arm laterally behind his body.

     Then, your son pulls his pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of his body.

     Then, to prevent the bones in the back of his pitching elbow from banging together, he reflexively flexes his pitching elbow.

     The pure elbow flexor muscle is the Brachialis muscle.  It lies under the Biceps Brachii muscle.

     That is why the doctors believe that he has pain in his Biceps Brachii muscle.

     Orthopedic doctors have no idea what causes pitching injuries.

     'Traditional' baseball pitching coaches teach this injurious flaw and many others that will eventually cause your son much more pain.  That is why they do not see that your son has this and many other major injurious flaws.

     To eliminate this and the other injurious flaws, your son needs to learn how to perform the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     He should complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

     On my website, drmikemarshall.com, without charge, I have provided my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and other video files for visitors to watch, my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, Question/Answer files and other text files of visitors to read and my Baseball Pitchers Training Programs for visitors to copy and complete.

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139.  This is Colin Carmody

I am pulling my MPC and MTSC straight into the ground and across my body.  I should do the 2nd base pick-offs. But, I still throw crappy pitches.  I will continue to try.

I plan on throwing the MPC when I get ahead and nobody is on base.


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     To learn how to stop pulling the Maxline Pronation Curve and Maxline True Screwball into the ground, you need to do the Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill from the pitching rubber every day with at least six throws each for as long as it takes.

     Instead of throwing the Maxline Pronation Curve when you get ahead in the count and do not have any base runners, you should stop pitching in games until you learn how to throw strikes with all pitches, especially the Maxline Pronation Curve.

01.  Make sure that you are driving along the acromial line.
02.  You have to 'stick' your pitching hand into the strike zone.
03.  Keep your pitching arm on or behind your acromial line.
04.  Get your pitching hand inside of vertical.
05.  Pull the baseball straight forward.
06.  Stand tall.
07.  Turn the back of your pitching upper arm to face home plate.
08.  Show your back to the batter.
09.  Watch Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion.

     After only five months of every day practice in my back yard, a fifteen year old youth baseball pitcher throws the Maxline Pronation Curve and Maxline Screwker into the strike zone from both sides of the pitching rubber.

     But then, he is not trying to simultaneously pitch competitively and he only throws a total of forty-eight pitches.  That means that fatigue does not cause him to develop bad habits.

     After I finish my Causes of Pitching Injuries and my How to Eliminate Pitching Injuries videos, I will finish my Half Reverse Pivot video that shows you and Joe reasonably correctly performing this drill.

     Rather than, like 'traditional' baseball pitchers that use their Pectoralis Major muscle to pull their pitching arm in large predominantly horizontal circles toward home plate, my Half Reverse Pivot drill teaches baseball pitchers how to use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive their pitching arm in vertical straight lines toward home plate.

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140.  This is Colin Carmody

Are you saying that, when I get 2 strikes, I should throw pitches only to the 3rd base side of home plate?

And, until I have 2 strikes on batters, I should throw pitches only to the first base side of home plate?


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     Baseball pitchers should throw my Maxline Pronation Curve, Maxline True Screwball and Maxline Fastball to the pitching arm side of home plate.  However, they should throw my Torque Fastball to the glove arm side of home plate.

     That means that, because right-handed baseball pitchers throw three of the four four-seam pitches to the third base corner of home plate, with base runners on first base, they have two infielders that can field ground balls to the pull side of the infield.

     And, unlike baseballs hit down the right field line to the fence, baseballs hit down the left field line to the fence are rarely three base hits.

     This means that it is better to be a right-handed baseball pitcher that a left-handed baseball pitcher.

     Until baseball pitchers get two strike on batters, they should throw only two-seam pitches.

     They should throw two-seam Maxline Fastballs and Maxline Fastball Sinkers to the pitching arm side of home plate.  They should throw two-seam Torque Fastballs and Torque Fastball Sliders and/or Torque Pronation Curves to the glove arm side of home plate.

     Whether these pitches go to the first base side of home plate or the third base side of home plate depends on whether the baseball pitchers arm right or left-handed.

     Because your are a right-handed baseball pitcher, two of these four pitches will go to the first base side of home plate and two of these four pitches will go to the third base side of home plate.

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141.  Maxline fastball

I have attached are two videos of my son performing two of your MFB drills.  I am concerned that he is not engaging his Latissimus Dorsi.  Can you please comment?

Wrong Foot Loaded Slingshot Maxline Fastball ball throws

Wrong Foot Loaded Slingshot Maxline Fastball ball throws 2

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#01:  It looks as though your son is turning the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     However, he is not rotating his shoulders to point his acromial line as close to home plate as possible or stick his pitching arm straight into home plate.  To do that, he has to continue to rotate his shoulders after he releases his pitches.

     If you watch 'Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion,' then you will see how, when Jeff's pitching foot lands, he has his back facing home plate, such that he has to look over his pitching shoulder to see the baseball cross home plate.  That is what your son needs to learn how to do.

     When performing Maxline pitches, with my Wrong Foot body action, he needs to step at forty-five degrees to the glove side of his body.  That will enable him to point his acromial line closer toward home plate.

     To 'stick' his pitching hand straight into home plate, he needs to feel as though he is pushing his pitching hand horizontally straight forward and pronating his pitching forearm as powerfully as he can.

#02:  The second video looked the same as the first video.

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142.  Screwball

I have attached are two videos of my son performing MTSc drills.  Can you please comment?

Wrong Foot Loaded Slingshot Maxline True Screwball ball throws

Wrong Foot Loaded Slingshot Maxline True Screwball wrist weight throws

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#01:  His forearm push action looked good.  His pitching hand action looked good.  I could not see the rotations that he got.

#02.  His wrist weight screwball throws were very good.  Apparently, the extra weight makes him to continue to rotate his shoulders and powerfully pronate his release.  That his pitching elbow popped upward shows very clearly that he engaged his Latissimus Dorsi.

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143.  Sinker grip

If you (baseball pitchers) gripped the baseball with a screwball grip, but they threw it like a fastball, would the baseball sink?

I saw the clip where you noted that Stephen Strasburg was throwing your sinker.  To me, his middle finger positioning running along the inside seem seemed very much like the positioning of the middle finger for your screwball.

Am I off base?


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     The spin axis of the baseball determines how baseballs move on their way to home plate.

     While grips are important, to throw reverse breaking pitches well, baseball pitchers have to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, turn their pitching upper arm to face home plate, get their pitching forearm horizontally inside of vertical and powerfully pronate their releases.

     Therefore, I doubt that Mr. Strasburg is throwing my sinker.

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144.  Concurrent weight training

What do you suggest for players that are on your throwing program, but play another sport and do conventional weight lifting as well?

Can it hurt a player at all?  I am speaking about players that are 16 years old and up.


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     All weight training should be specific to the skills of the sport.  The training drills that I designed for baseball pitching will only improve the skills of baseball pitching.

     While doing weight training programs for other skills may not interfere with the benefits of weight training for baseball pitching, the body has limited resources with which to physiologically respond to additional training overloads.

     Therefore, athletes should weight train for only the skills of one sport at a time.

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145.  Marshall Pitching Motion

At about the 5:25 minute mark of your new installment, Dr Mike Marshall's Pitching Motion, you make an interesting statement.

You say something to the effect that Jeff, to throw a good curve, maximally supinates his forearm.

I have to believe you are referring to the position of his forearm in Maximum Forearm Acceleration Position.  Because supination at release is injurious it seems to me that your statement has to be a little clearer.

I have to wonder if the average viewer would know that.

Very interesting voice over.  Thank you.

Thanks for all you do.


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     Here is the voice-over that I used to describe how Jeff threw my Maxline Pronation Curve.

-------------------------------------------------

     Maxline Pronation Curve

(Rear view video at regular speed)
01.  Jeff throws an incredible curve.

(Rear view video at one-quarter speed)
02.  Striding far does not increase release velocity.
03.  Pendulum swinging eliminates Tommy John surgery.
04.  Until his pitching foot lands, Jeff continues to rotate his shoulders.

(Front view video at regular speed)
05.  Right-handed pull hitters cannot hit his curve.

(Front view video at one-quarter speed)
06.  Drop stepping releases his Maxline pitches outside of home plate.
07.  Standing sideways helps him charge bunts.

(Front view high-speed film)
08.  Standing tall and rotating eliminates glove knee injuries.
09.  To throw curves, he maximally supinated his forearm.
10.  The Triceps Brachii muscle has the most fast-twitch muscle fibers.
11.  His pronated palm faces outward.
12.  Inward rotation protects his pitching shoulder.
13.  His curve rotates beyond twelve to six.
14.  It rotated twenty-one times.

(Side view high-speed film)
15.  Bending his pitching elbow stops the baseball’s forward movement.
16.  His pitching forearm points at home plate.
17.  Watch how Jeff releases his curve.
18.  At 6’03”, he releases his curve about 8’ high.
19.  He forwardly rotates his hips, shoulders and pitching arm 180 degrees.

-------------------------------------------------

     During the front view high-speed film, I said:

(Front view high-speed film)
08.  Standing tall and rotating eliminates glove knee injuries.
09.  To throw curves, he maximally supinated his forearm.
10.  The Triceps Brachii muscle has the most fast-twitch muscle fibers.
11.  His pronated palm faces outward.
12.  Inward rotation protects his pitching shoulder.
13.  His curve rotates beyond twelve to six.
14.  It rotated twenty-one times.

     In my opinion, those seven statements very powerfully explain why my baseball pitching motion is far superior.

01.  It eliminates glove knee injuries.
02.  It explains how to properly position the pitching forearm for the Maximum Pitching Forearm Acceleration Position.
03.  It defines the benefit of using the Triceps Brachii muscle.
04.  It showed how that Jeff pronated the release of his curve.
05.  It tells how to protect the pitching shoulder.
06.  It indisputively shows the superior spin axis that my pronation release achieves.
07.  It indisputively shows the superior spin velocity that my pronation release achieves.

     By the way, how about the eighteenth statement:

18.  At 6’03”, he releases his curve about 8’ high.

     In the 1967 high-speed film of my 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, I released my slider at the standing height of my nose.  Jeff released his curve with his pitching arm reaching as high as he could reach.

     My pitching motion not only eliminates pitching injuries, it redefines baseball pitching.  There is a baseball game out there that is far beyond what is played today.

     The beauty of the high-speed film and the freeze-frames that I use is that, at the same time that I say something, the video shows what Jeff is doing.

     When I said, "To throw curves, he maximally supinated his forearm," Jeff was rotating his pitching forearm into the proper 'Pitching Forearm Acceleration Position.'  My point was to show that, when baseball pitchers throw curves, they have to move the palm of their pitching hand from facing away from their body to facing toward their body.

     That one hundred and eighty degrees of pitching forearm rotation is very difficult to properly time and causes many baseball pitchers to tightly bend their pitching elbow.

     However, with regard to your concern, two sentences later, just after Jeff released his Maxline Pronation Curve, I said, "His pronated palm faces outward."

     I believe that that statement clarified that Jeff powerfully pronated the release.

     I greatly appreciate that you took the time to tell me of your concern.

     In the last sentence of my Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion, I wrote:  "If visitors have questions or comments about this video, then please email them to me."

     To this date, your email is the only one that I have received about the video that took a couple of hundred hours to make and years to teach someone to perform this well.

     It is very difficult to work in a vacuum.  I am not interested is sycophantic comments.  However, I need to know how visitors receive the information.  To do this, my visitors have the obligation if they do not understand something, to ask me questions and to comment on what I did not do well or maybe tell me what I did well.

     I am not sure that "Very interesting voice-over" means I did good or it was just different.  With 194 different descriptive phrases, I hope I said something informative.

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146.  Heavier Joba OK with Yankees role
New York Post
February 10, 2011

TAMPA, FL:  A bigger Joba Chamberlain is not worried about a smaller role on the Yankees.  The 25-year-old pitcher showed up at the team's minor-league complex yesterday to prepare for the 2011 season.  The Yankees' failure to sign Cliff Lee this winter and the retirement of Andy Pettitte has re-ignited the debate of whether Chamberlain would be more valuable as a starter or reliever.

Chamberlain appeared to be about 10-15 pounds heavier than last season.  That is going to cause alarms to go off in the Yankees universe, but Chamberlain said he feels as if he's in shape.  He even built a gym at his home in Nebraska.  "I actually feel better," said Chamberlain, who said he did not know his weight.  "My weight feels stronger.  I feel great."

When asked whether he still hopes to be a starter, Chamberlain did not answer the question.  "I worry about whatever today is," he said.  "I worry about getting through today.  If that comes up in the future, then we'll answer that question.  As of right now, you can't think about it."

The expectations he raised with his memorable arrival in 2007 have decreased each year.  Still, Chamberlain feels he learned a lot last year.

"Just to continue to pitch off your fastball," he said when asked the main lesson.  "Sometimes when your other stuff is good, you kind of fall in love with it.  You have to understand that a located fastball is still probably the best pitch in baseball.  If you can continue to pitch off that, it's going to keep your pitch count down and continue to get you ground balls."


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     In golf, they say, "Drive for show, putt for dough."  In baseball pitching, they should say, "Throw hard for show, make it move for dough."

     To Mr. Chamberlain, I suggest that he does not pitch off his fastball.  Instead, he should pitch off his sinker and slider, which, unfortunately, he does not have.

     Of course, in his memorable 2007 arrival, he threw a humiliating curve.  But, with the help of the Yankees' pitching coach, he can no longer throw that pitch.

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147.  Strasburg begins tossing a ball around
MLB.com
February 10, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC:  A week ago, Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty was on his way to his son's basketball game in Michigan when he received a call from right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who told his coach that he started soft tossing a ball without any problems.

It was the first time Strasburg threw a ball since last August, when he tore his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, an injury that forced him to undergo Tommy John surgery. Strasburg is not expected to pitch in the Major Leagues until September.

"He didn't say what kind of ball he threw, but I know he is tossing a ball around," McCatty said in a phone interview with MLB.com.  "He said [the arm] felt really good."

Strasburg is expected to arrive in Viera, FL, for Spring Training next week and will not be rushed to get on the mound, according to McCatty.  Strasburg will go through similar workouts that right-hander Jordan Zimmermann went through last Spring Training.  Zimmermann missed most of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he returned to the Major Leagues in September.

"It will be like Zimmermann," McCatty said.  "Stephen will start throwing a short distance, stretching it out and then eventually getting on the mound.  There will be a certain amount of pitches [per session]."

For McCatty, the most important part of his job is to convince Strasburg not to rush back to the big leagues.  "It's important to tell Stephen not to rush it," McCatty said.  "They feel good, they want to throw hard.  When guys are doing the rehab and they are told, 'We want to throw 25 pitches at 50 percent,' they really don't know what 50 percent is.  They have to hold it back and I have to visibly watch them and say, 'All right.  Too much.'  I had to do that with Zimmermann a bunch.  They have to adhere to the program and you really have to stay on them."


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     Let's get this story straight.

     In August 2010, Mr. Strasburg felt pain on the inside of his pitching elbow.  Mr. Strasburg's MRI indicated that he had a partially torn Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Nobody can say with certainty that Mr. Strasburg partially tore his Ulnar Collateral Ligament that day.

     However, since Mr. Strasburg felt pain and ligaments do not have pain sensors, I doubt that Mr. Strasburg partially tore his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Instead, on the previous pitch, Mr. Strasburg lock-out his pitching elbow.  Then, on the next pitch, he injured his Pronator Teres muscle.

     Nevertheless, whatever injury that Mr. Strasburg suffered, he did not rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     In early September, Mr. Strasburg has holes drilled in the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of his pitching upper arm and in the coronoid process of the Ulna bone of his pitching forearm.  Through these holes, the orthopedic surgeon threaded the tendon from his Palmaris Longus muscle, hopefully from his glove forearm.

     In nine weeks, osteoblastic cells should have completely closed the holes around this tendon.  Therefore, at nine weeks after surgery, Mr. Strasburg's pitching elbow was a strong as a healed broken bone.

     However, nine weeks of inactivity means that they bones have lost a lot of bone density.

     Therefore, the second order of business after adjusting his pitching motion to eliminate the injurious flaws that caused Mr. Strasburg to injure his pitching arm is for Mr. Strasburg to increase the bone density in the Humerus and Ulna bones of his pitching arm.

     The best interval-training programs, as my NASA friend said, are my wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws, not tossing the five and one-quarter ounce baseball around with the same pitching motion that injured Mr. Strasburg.

     In an identical situtation, nine weeks after surgery I trained a baseball pitcher with my program.  After two months, his bone density returned and by February, he was throwing pitches every day at competitive intensity.

     Unfortunately, when spring training starts in the middle of February, Mr. Strasburg's crack medical staff will start Mr. Strasburg by throwing a short distance, stretching it out and then eventually getting on the mound with a certain amount of pitches [per session].

     Good luck with that, especially since Mr. Strasburg has not eliminated the injurious flaw that caused his injury.

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148.  Indians’ Sowers has surgery
Associated Press
February 11, 2011

CLEVELAND, OH:  Indians minor league left-hander Jeremy Sowers has had surgery to repair a tear in his rotator cuff.  The former first-round draft pick spent last season at Triple-A Columbus, pitching with soreness. He spent the off-season on a physical therapy program before opting for surgery.

Team physician Dr. Mark Schickendantz performed the operation Monday at the Cleveland Clinic.  Sowers said he has already started a rehab program.


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     This article demonstrates the inepitude of the rehabilitation programs that professional baseball teams use.

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149.  Wang doesn't expect to be ready by opener
MLB.com
February 14, 2011

VIERA FL:  Nationals right-hander Chien-Ming Wang said Monday that he most likely will not be ready by Opening Day.  The righty still needs to build up strength in his shoulder and pitch more innings before returning to a big league mound.  Wang hopes to be ready by late April or sometime in May.  He already has had four bullpen sessions this spring.

Wang missed the entire 2010 season because of right shoulder problems.  After he was non-tendered, Wang re-signed with Washington in December.

"I need to build up the innings and the pitch count.  It will take one or two months," Wang said.  "The Nationals will tell me when I can pitch."  "I'm getting much better than last year," Wang said.  "I'll try to get in a [Spring Training] game."


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     The dateline is from Viera, FL.  Oh boy, the writers are in spring training and have to write something every day.

     This article demonstrates the inepitude of the training programs that professional baseball teams use.

     While Mr. Wang was missing the entire 2010 season, what the hell did they have him doing?  Clearly, it was nothing productive.

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150. Lackey sheds pounds, seeks better results
MLB.com
February 14, 2011

FORT MYERS, FL:  If you were looking for John Lackey over the winter, one of the most likely spots to find him was at one of the several cardio machines at the gym where he worked out in Southern California.  Sure, he is still the big righty.  But Lackey took the initiative to amp up his running routine, and the results are evident on first glance.

"I ran a lot more this off-season," said Lackey.  "I worked with a different trainer this offseason and did a lot more cardio stuff.  I was probably 252, 254 [pounds], something like that last year.  I think I was like 241 or 242 [pounds] today, something like that."

The Red Sox didn't tell Lackey to shed some pounds.  It was his idea.  "I was looking to lose maybe five, 10 pounds and just kind of come in a little bit lighter, because, you know, I just thought I needed to a little bit," said Lackey.  "I'm just trying to give myself the best chance possible to stay healthy and maintain a high-level performance throughout the year, because I think we're all pretty excited about this season and wanting to be part of it."

In 2010, Lackey went 14-11 with a 4.40 ERA. The overall results fell a little below expectations after he signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract.  "There's definitely room for improvement," Lackey said.  "I think experience of a year here will help.  I think I did some good things in the second half and hopefully I'll just kind of keep that moving."

It's no secret that what plagued Lackey the most was facing the heavy-hitting competition of the AL East so much more often.  Against the AL East, he had a 4.99 ERA.  "I was expecting a little bit of a change.  It took some adjustments and I think I made some of those towards the end," said Lackey.  "Mentally, you've got to be focused, going through lineups.  You've got to know when, there's certain situations, to pitch around a guy with a base open.  There's a lot more game-planning, I would say, because the lineups are deeper."

Lackey sees no reason he can't pitch the same way he did when he was considered the ace of the Angels.  "I've done it before, I don't see why not," Lackey said.  "No, I mean, I still feel strong.  I feel capable of doing that, for sure, yeah."

And Lackey's quest to win his second World Series ring figures to be a little more exciting than the monotony of the treadmill.  "I'd do mostly machines, so I'd do 20 [minutes] on one machine, 20 [minutes] on another, 20 [minutes] on another.  I'd do about an hour a day of cardio stuff," said Lackey.  "That's why I went to three machines.  It gets boring after about 20 minutes on one machine, and you've got to switch to another one.  I watched a lot of SportsCenter."


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     Wow.  You have to like Mr. Lackey's initiative.  Now, he looks better in his uniform and can run faster to back up bases.

     It is too bad that he did not spend some of those twenty minutes on the treadmill going nowhere learning how to throw the wide variety of pitches that he needs to get quality baseball batters out.

     Also, I wonder how Mr. Lackey does his game planning.  Does he understand pitch sequencing?

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151.  Well developed 12 year old

I would like to thank you for your contributions made by posting your professional advice related to pitching.

Moreover, I would be remiss by not mentioning to you how much I enjoyed watching you play.

You see, as a boy, growing up in LA, it was my dream to pitch.  But, I was told that such was an impractical thought.  So, the closest I came, outside of playing in little league and a pony-like league, was to come to the games and watch you and the other Dodger greats perform at Chavez Ravine.  What memories I have!

This said, I am blessed with a very precocious, just turning 12 year old son, 5'7, 146#, who has an interest in pitching professionally, should his arm hold up.

I have read that you believe that competitive pitching should not begin before biological age 13.  Is there is any objective way to determine whether my son is possibly be mature enough to "begin earlier."

We would also be happy to be part of your Study Group.


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     Whether your son's pitching arm holds up depends on how he is taught to apply force to his pitches.

     If he learns the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, then, as my Causes of Pitching Injuries video details, he will destroy his pitching arm and much more.

     However, if he learns my baseball pitching motion as demonstrated in my Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video, then he will not suffer any pitching injuries that improper force application causes.

     I recommend that youth baseball pitchers should not competitively pitch until they are biologically thirteen years old and, then, they should not pitch competitively for more than two consecutive months.

     To determine your son's biological age, within one week of his birthday, you need to have side and front view X-rays taken of his glove and pitching elbows from the middle upper arm to the middle forearm.  Then, send copies to me.

     From those X-rays, I will determine his biological age.

     When the growth plates at the elbow end of the Humerus bone of his pitching upper arm have completely matured, without regard to his chronological age, your son will be thirteen biological years old.

     Until your son is biologically thirteen years old, he needs to master the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.  To do that, every year from now until he is biologically sixteen years old, your son needs to complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

     Whether your son becomes the best injury-free, highly-skilled baseball pitcher that he can be is in your hands.

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152.  Twins' Baker taking it easy after minor setback
MLB.com
February 14, 2011

FORT MYERS, FL:  Scott Baker had never undergone a surgery in his professional baseball career prior to having bone chips removed from his right elbow this past October.  So, when his elbow was feeling really good following his rehab, Baker continued to prepare normally for Spring Training.  It's something that, in hindsight, the Twins right-hander believes might have been a case of "a little too much too soon."  On Monday, Baker said that he endured a slight setback in his recovery earlier this month when he battled some inflammation in his elbow.

"When I started to ramp up the intensity, it was a little more sore than I expected," Baker said.  "I talked to the trainers and the doctors and everybody agreed that I should just back off a little bit.  Even though it was minor surgery that I had, it was still surgery.  So I allowed [the inflammation] to calm down and it feels much better now."

The right-hander said that it was right after TwinsFest, which took place Jan. 28-30, when he realized that perhaps he was going a little too fast with his preparation for Spring Training.   Baker stressed that what he felt in his elbow after throwing a couple bullpen sessions was nothing like what he felt last season, when he needed two cortisone shots in the second half to continue to pitch.

He was assured by the trainers and doctors that the discomfort he was feeling is not uncommon following surgery and Baker said he's not concerned about his elbow heading into the start of camp.  "You know that structurally everything is good in there, so you know nothing is wrong," Baker said.  "It's just a little frustrating that everything doesn't go as quickly as you'd like sometimes."

Known as a notoriously hard worker in the off-season, Baker often arrives at camp a little farther along in his throwing program than other pitchers.  But, Twins pitching coach, Rick Anderson said that it's important for Baker not to push himself too hard early in spring.  "He's one of those types that goes all out during the off-season and when he comes to camp, he's in better shape and ready to throw innings," Anderson said.  "But he's just got to remind himself to keep it slowed down a bit."

And for now, Baker said he's trying to take a lighter approach heading into Friday's first workout for the Twins' pitchers and catchers.  "I feel right now I might be where everybody is," Baker said.  "I'm just not at the point I'm used to being.  I'm going to let the [staff] know that I think I'm fine and can do what I normally do, but I'm going to leave it up to them to figure out the best program for me early on."


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     'Slow it down a bit' starts the downward spiral to oblivion.

     Mr. Baker has 'bone' chips removed from his pitching elbow.  Those pieces of 'hyaline cartilage' were getting between the ends of the Humerus bone of his pitching upper arm and the Radius and/or Ulna bones of his pitching forearm.

     As soon as the orthopedic surgeon removed those pieces of 'hyaline cartilage,' Mr. Baker only had to wait until the irritation that those pieces caused to subside.  A couple of weeks would be more than enough time.

     The soreness that Mr. Baker is experiencing now is the result of Mr. Baker continuing to bang these bones together, not training too hard.

     When Mr. Baker eliminates his 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' he will stop the pain.  Otherwise, he will rest for two weeks, reinjure his elbow, rest for two weeks, reinjure his elbow and so on into oblivion.

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153.  Harang hopes return to roots revives career
MLB.com
February 15, 2011

PEORIA, AZ:  It's highly unlikely that you'll ever catch Aaron Harang -- or, any other pitcher for that matter, referring to spacious PETCO Park as a house of horrors, even though he might well have just cause.  Going from one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in baseball (Great America Ball Park in Cincinnati) to PETCO Park this season could potentially be a boon for Harang, who in December signed a one-year deal worth $4 million.

But, a return to his native San Diego also means that Harang will pitch most of his games in a ballpark that was the site of his undoing with the Reds in 2008, when his right arm was taxed for 166 pitches (not including warmup tosses) in a four-game series.

All told, Harang estimates that he threw close to 400 pitches, including warmup pitches, during a fitful eight-day stretch that started in San Diego with a 103-pitch start followed by a 63-pitch, four-inning relief outing three days later in an extra-inning game.  "That's not normal," Harang said.

Neither was Harang's recovery from throwing so many pitches in a short period of time.  Encumbered with a sore shoulder thereafter, Harang attempted to change his mechanics to alleviate the pain in his shoulder.  In July, he landed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm.

"I'm such a competitor, I was like, 'Just give me the ball, I'll get through it.'  But it wore me out," Harang said.  "I just never recovered from that.  The next thing you know is my shoulder is fatigued and I'm changing arm slots.  My mechanics were different."

In his estimation, Harang hasn't been right since.  He had an appendectomy in 2009 and missed the final 42 games of the season and had two stints on the disabled list last year with back spasms.

Harang, who won 16 games in 2006 and again in 2007, went a combined 18-38 over his last three seasons with the Reds.  In November, the Reds declined his $12.75 million option and he became a free agent.

Enter the Padres, the team Harang grew up watching and rooting for while first pitching at Patrick Henry High and later San Diego State University.  Harang even attended one World Series game in 1998 at Jack Murphy Stadium, now Qualcomm Stadium.  "It's awesome," said Harang, who has essentially been beaming since signing with the Padres.  "Just to be able to have that 'San Diego' across my chest means a lot to me.

Even before he arrived in Peoria, Harang had several phone conversations with pitching coach Darren Balsley about his mechanics and getting him back to the arm slot that he had during the time when he was successful for the Reds.  They've also had talks about shortening his stride in his delivery.

"I feel good. And the first thing he said to me was he wanted me to get back to the old Aaron," Harang said.  "I'm looking forward to a fresh start.  I get to work with a good staff that wants me to get back where I was."


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     Mr. Harang estimated that, including warmup pitches, during a fitful eight-day stretch that started in San Diego with a 103-pitch start followed by a 63-pitch, four-inning relief outing three days later in an extra-inning game, he threw close to 400 pitches.

     Thereafter, Mr. Harang pain in his pitching shoulder.  To eliminate the cause of his shoulder pain, Mr. Harang changed his 'arm slots.'

     That means that Mr. Harang changed the angle of the line across the top of his shoulder, which had absolutely nothing to do with his shoulder pain.

     Shoulder pain results from taking the pitching upper arm laterally behind the acromial line.

     Unfortunately, I do not share Mr. Harang's enthusiasm that pitching coach Darren Balsley getting him back to the arm slot that he had during the time when he was successful for the Reds.

     I know for sure that shortening Mr. Harang's stride will not fix Mr. Harang's shoulder problems.

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154.  Bailey believes elbow injury is behind him
MLB.com
February 15, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ:  A handful of A's pitchers reported to camp Tuesday in a noticeably trimmed-down fashion, a scene that had manager Bob Geren raving about his club's readiness for a season with an overload of expectations.  Much of that focus rested on Andrew Bailey, who admittedly lost between 12 to 15 pounds this winter while rehabbing from a September elbow procedure.  "I wouldn't say it was so much about losing weight," he joked, "just restructuring weight."

Either way, Bailey's 6-foot-3 frame appears primed for a big league mound again.  The A's closer, embarking on his third big league season, threw his first bullpen session on Monday in a successful manner, tallying 20 fastballs along the way.  "I think the elbow issue is, in my mind, behind me," Bailey said.  "It's just kind of maintenance right now, trying to keep up on it and doing everything I need to do to keep it healthy."

Bailey's late-season elbow injury marked his second time being sidelined in 2010, as he missed nearly a month while stationed on the disabled list with a right intercostal strain beginning in late July.  The surgery removed three bone spurs and three chips and added 15 degrees to his elbow extension range of motion.


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     Mr. Bailey sais, "I think the elbow issue is, in my mind, behind me.  It's just kind of maintenance right now, trying to keep up on it and doing everything I need to do to keep it healthy."

     In 2010, Mr. Bailey strained an intercostal muscle in the pitching arm side of his rib cage.  That means that Mr. Bailey leaves his pitching leg within inches of the pitching rubber.

     In 2010, orthopedic surgeons removed three bone spurs from Mr. Bailey's pitching elbow.  That means that Mr. Bailey bangs the bones in his pitching elbow together and breaks loose pieces of hyaline cartilage that enables bone tissue to grow through those openings into the elbow joint.

     That the orthopedic surgeons also removed three pieces of 'hyaline cartilage,' means that bone spurs are starting to grow through those openings in the hyaline cartilage on the ends of the bones in his pitching elbow.

     It might be a good idea if Mr. Bailey learned how to stop banging the bones in his pitching elbow together.  All he needs to do is stop his 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'

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155.  Willis must prove himself in bullpen
MLB.com
February 15, 2011

GOODYEAR, AZ:  Inside a spacious Reds Spring Training clubhouse, pitcher Dontrelle Willis laughed heartily upon being asked if he could make the transition from starter to reliever.  "Well, I hope so," Willis said Tuesday, between chuckles and a huge smile.  For Willis to make Cincinnati's 25-man roster out of camp, the lefty knows he has to.

During an off-season, when the Reds' front office did little roster tinkering, the addition of Willis via a Minor League contract in November was an eye catcher.  Although his past few seasons have been lousy, he is still a former Rookie of the Year and All-Star starting pitcher.

But, this Spring Training invitation is a chance for Willis to resurrect his career as a reliever.  The 29-year-old already realizes the landscape he's entered.  "They already have a good bullpen without me," Willis said.  "They have a good staff without me.  They're coming off of a great year and great season.  They want to do it again.  They like the energy I bring, and [Reds pitching coach Bryan Price] said, 'We want you to be you, not someone else.'  I feel good just about being here.  It's always good to be wanted."

Not long after signing with the Reds, Willis hooked up with Price, a fellow Scottsdale, AZ, resident, and commenced a working relationship and throwing program.  In an interview last month, Price was pleased overall with what he saw.  "He doesn't look like he lost anything.  I'm scratching my head on why he struggled in Detroit," Price said at the time.

Willis came away with great respect for Price and his approach to pitchers.  "I worked hard for him, and we had a good time doing it," Willis said.  "He just wants me to have fun.  You beat yourself up so much about this and that.  It's not just the mechanics.  It's the personality of it, having fun and confidence in yourself and putting it all together."

Partly because he is a local resident, Willis was one of the earliest arrivals to Reds camp, well ahead of Wednesday's report day for pitchers and catchers.  He's come with plenty of enthusiasm about being with the team and at its state-of-the-art spring complex.  "As soon as they started their prospect mini-camp a couple of weeks ago, I started driving over here," Willis said.  "Nothing gets you ready for baseball stuff than baseball stuff, doing PFPs [pitchers' fielding practice], shagging balls and getting yourself ready for a long haul."


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     Mr. Willis is the poster child for 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'

     This means that Mr. Willis has lengthened the Superior, Middle and Inferior Gleno-Humeral Ligaments.  Therefore, Mr. Willis has lost the stability of his pitching shoulder.  As a result, Mr. Willis has lost release velocity and consistency.

     Mr. Willis uses the Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull his pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of his body, toward home plate and across the front of his body.  Therefore, Mr. Willis will contine to lengthen his Gleno-Humeral Ligaments and continue to lose release velocity and consistency.

     The only hope that Mr. Willis has of ever pitching well again is to learn how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     However, the fact that Mr. Willis releases his pitching at the standing height of his belly button means that, for him to release his pitches as high as he can standing tall and reaching upward as high as he can is next to impossible.

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156.  Bell sidelined for few days with strained left calf
MLB.com
February 15, 2011

PEORIA, AZ:  Heath Bell, the Padres' two-time All-Star closer, will be sidelined for a few days after suffering a strained left calf.  Bell said he suffered the strain during Monday's workouts at the Peoria Sports Complex, the first day of workouts for San Diego pitchers and catchers.  "It should only be three or four days," said Bell, who had his calf heavily wrapped Tuesday morning.  "It feels a lot better today than it did yesterday."


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     Those Pitchers Fielding Practice (PFPs) are hell on 'calf' muscles.  During the off-season, it might have been a good idea for Mr. Bell to have trained chasing chickens around his back yard.

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157.  Slimmed-down Berken says shoulder is healthy
MLB.com
February 15, 2011

SARASOTA, FL:  Super Bowl Sunday was one of the best days of the off-season for Orioles reliever Jason Berken, and it wasn't just because the Wisconsin native watched the Green Back Packers hoist the Lombardi Trophy.  Earlier that day, Berken threw his first bullpen session with no problems, a critical test in evaluating his progress in rehabbing a season-ending right shoulder injury.

"Any time you have the uncertainty in the back of your mind, it weighs on you after a while," said Berken, who was shut down in mid-August after an MRI revealed right rotator cuff fraying and some tearing of the labrum.  "Now, I can just focus on being healthy. My arm feels great.  [It feels] 100 percent."

Berken has also dropped about 30 pounds from his frame, which invoked some good-natured ribbing from players in the clubhouse last season.  Although there are always performance concerns when a pitcher loses that much weight, Berken said any talk of his improved shape having a negative effect is "bogus."

"Thirty pounds sounds like a lot of weight, which it is, but I put on a lot of bad weight last year being on the [disabled list], too," Berken said.  "I don't see how it's going to be detrimental in any aspect of things.  For me, it made sense to do it."

"He looks great," manager Buck Showalter said after watching Berken's bullpen session on Monday.  "It's good to see young guys getting their arms around things like that so they don't become an issue.  There are enough challenges between the lines.  [Losing weight] just became a priority for him; it shows you something."

Tuesday's session was Berken's fourth bullpen session, and he has no limitations in Spring Training.  The right-hander, who was arguably the Orioles' best reliever in the first half of 2010, is ready to get back to the form that saw him pitch to 1.95 ERA in 32 appearances prior to the All-Star break.  "I feel like I'm at the point now where whatever route I need to go from this point on, I'm ready for, whether it be long relief, one inning, multiple innings, whatever it is," Berken said.


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     Mr. Berken needs to read the 'American Orthopaedic Society Report on How Poorly Baseball Pitchers Recover From Surgery.'  He can find it in my Special Reports file.

     According the the American Orthopaedic Society, the chances of Mr. Berken returning to previous performance levels is not very good.  Of course, like Mr. Webb's orthopedic surgeon, he can hope that his orthopedic surgeon stitched up the surgical opening without doing anything.

     But then, like Mr. Webb, Mr. Berken needs to learn how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

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158.  Beckett focused on this season, not 2010
MLB.com
February 15, 2011

FORT MYERS, FL:  Call last year a huge disappointment.  Call it injury-plagued.  Call it stunning.  You can call it whatever you want.  All Josh Beckett knows is that 2010 is history, and he has no plans to rehash it.

Where Beckett was viewed as the ace of the Red Sox at this time last year, now he needs to pitch himself back to that level.

But Beckett is, and has always been, accountable.  He doesn't play the "bad back" card when discussing his disappointment.  Beckett went back to his ranch in Texas and strengthened his back, hoping it will hold up far better this season than it did last.

"It feels good," Beckett said of his back.  "We did some core stability stuff, just some stuff to strengthen up the back a little bit.  Everything else was kind of the same.  We mixed in a couple of new exercises.  Mostly, we focused on core stability."

Does Beckett still have that 2007 ability in him?  "Yeah, why not? Beckett said.  "I'm only 30.  Thirty is the new 20, isn't it?  Somebody told me that.  Yeah, absolutely."


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     This article says that Mr. Beckett is accountable.

     If that were true, then Mr. Beckett would own up to the fact that his pitching shoulder is shot.  Mr. Beckett does not discuss his back pain.

     That is strange.  When Mr. Beckett said, "It (his back) feels good.  We did some core stability stuff, just some stuff to strengthen up the back a little bit.  Everything else was kind of the same.  We mixed in a couple of new exercises.  Mostly, we focused on core stability," it sounded as though he was discussing his back pain, making excuses.

     If Mr. Beckett's back is bothering him, then why didn't he go the the Red Sox former Dr. Andrews Physical Therapist that teaches 'Pathomechanics.'  I am sure that he can fix Mr. Beckett's back as well as he fixed his pitching shoulder.

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159.  Rejuvenated Palmer has redesigned delivery
MLB.com
February 15, 2011

TEMPE, AZ:  Having turned back his body clock about six years, Matt Palmer feels like a new man.  His movement no longer is restricted to his darting two-seam fastball.  He feels it in his core, in a more flexible lower body and a redesigned delivery that is providing more arm extension and leg thrust.  "This is the best I've felt in a long time," Palmer said upon arrival at the Angels' Spring Training camp.  "I'm ready to go."

Shut down last May with an injured clavicle after nine appearances before returning in September to finish strong, he settled into his winter home in Queen Creek, AZ, at season's end to rehab the right shoulder.  When he began working out, going through standard conditioning exercises, he discovered some swelling in his right knee.

Next thing he knew, he was undergoing surgery on October 12 to clean out the knee.  Two months later, he was back on the mound with new-found range of motion and mobility, enabling him to drop lower in his delivery and get fuller arm extension.  The new flexibility in his core took him back a half-dozen years to when he was a prospect in the Giants' organization.

"I'm just excited because my hip and back aren't tight anymore.  My release point is there.  I'm not trying to throw 100 miles an hour anymore, or 95, but I'll let my fastball run and use what I've got."

"The biggest thing for me is controlling my lower half, to get the balance I need," Palmer said.  "It was what my body wanted to do but wasn't allowed to do because of restrictions in my lower back and hip area.

"With this delivery, it's more natural.  It allows me to stay back longer and come through with my leg drive and extension.  The past five or six years, with a back injury I had, I was going across my body.  It wouldn't let me do it the natural way."

Palmer initially struggled to find a comfort zone with his altered delivery.  "It was a pretty big change," he said.  "I felt like my whole body was opening up.  I'd been so closed up for so long, it didn't feel right.  But once it came to me, I really felt the difference.

"I threw on flat ground for three weeks, starting around December 10, and then progressed to throwing bullpens. I've done seven coming into camp, and I'm up to 50-, 60-pitch bullpens now."

Last year, the shoulder made everything difficult for the big man from Missouri State University.  "When my clavicle was hurt, my strike percentages were way down," Palmer said.  "When I came back in September, I was able to get my extension back and throw strikes again.

"Now, with the new delivery, if I'm throwing 50 pitches, I'm missing three or four times.  It's nice and easy.  It's helped my changeup and curve.  I'm feeling more like I did in my younger days, when I had more leg drive and my body was going toward home plate.


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     On October 12, 2010, Mr. Palmer had knee surgery.  Two months later, Mr. Palmer was back on the mound with new-found range of motion and mobility.  As a result, Mr. Palmer can now drop lower in his delivery and get fuller arm extension.

     Dropping lower caused Mr. Palmer to injure his pitching knee.

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160.  Early in camp, Astros in good health
MLB.com
February 16, 2011

KISSIMMEE, FL:  The Astros made it through their first day of workouts without any new injury concerns.  General manager Ed Wade said on Wednesday that the only pitcher not on the program is right-hander Sammy Gervacio, who had shoulder surgery last month after missing most of 2010 with arm problems.

Right-hander Alberto Arias, who missed all of last year after undergoing extensive right shoulder surgery in April, reported to camp healthy and is on the regular throwing program.  Jeff Fulchino, who had surgery to remove inflamed tissue and a bone spur from his right elbow in October, was also good to go.


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     Okay.

     Now, I know that, when one surgically-repaire pitcher is not able to participate in the normal pitching workout and two surgically-repaired pitchers that have rehabilitated sufficiently to participate in the normal pitching workout, that pitching staff is in good health.
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161.  A's to reduce workload of arms early this spring
MLB.com
February 16, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ:  The workload that was thrust upon the A's pitching staff last season has influenced a change in plans this spring, with hurlers throwing once every three days as opposed to every other day for at least the first couple of weeks of camp.

The switch, constructed by new pitching coach Ron Romanick, will afford the team's pitchers an extra day off between sessions in an effort to avoid much of the wear and tear and, often times, injury that comes along with the lengthy season, as was the case last year when multiple arms landed on the disabled list.

"It was a total common sense thing," manager Bob Geren said, "in knowing that we have a really good pitching staff and having a pretty good idea of who is going to be on this team with the exceptions of a few spots.  We're going to get our guys ready slowly and make sure they're good to go Opening Day.  We don't want to push anyone, so it fits into that scheme.  It's a great idea."

Throwing every other day from the start translates into a mile-high innings total by season's end, and several A's pitchers racked up career-high innings totals last year.


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     Less training equals better fitness.  Professor Heusner is spinning in his grave.

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162.  Tigers counting on dedicated Penny
MLB.com
February 16, 2011

LAKELAND, FL:  Tigers manager Jim Leyland walked into the weight room around 7 a.m. expecting to get in a quiet workout.  He found Brad Penny already well into his workout.  Consider Leyland impressed.  "He's working his [tail] off," Leyland said.  "I went up to him and said, 'You're a young guy yet.'"

The 32-year-old Penny didn't raise an argument.  He isn't doing any special workout regimen for last year's injury; he says the back-muscle pull he had is fine now.  It's just part of his general routine that he has been doing for several years.  "When you get into your routine, it makes it a lot easier," Penny said.


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     Is this the same 'general routine' that Mr. Penny used with the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals?

     When Mr. Penny signed with the Boston Red Sox, he said that he did so because they had a great training program for baseball pitchers.

     Is this 'general routine' the 'Pathomechanics' routine?

     What is doing the same 'general routine' and expecting a different result a sign of?

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163.  Webb excited for fresh start with Rangers
MLB.com
February 16, 2011

SURPRISE, AZ:  Philip Webb, 58, uses a left-handed catcher's glove to catch his son.  Even though he is left-handed, he used to wear a right-hander's glove that Brandon Webb got when he was 11 years old.  But Brandon had Rawlings fix his dad up with a left-handed glove just a few years ago.  "I guarantee you he liked the old glove better," the younger Webb said.  "It takes a long time to break in a new glove."

The father still catches the son after all these years, and he did this winter back home in Kentucky.  Brandon Webb started his off-season throwing program on December 15, and it has gone well every step of the way.  Now, he is in Rangers camp ready to go through the same routine as all other pitchers after missing the past two seasons with a right shoulder injury that required surgery.

"I'm excited," Webb said Wednesday morning as pitchers and catchers officially reported to Spring Training.  "I'm excited just to be back on the field, excited to be with the rest of the team.  It's a new team, fresh start.  Being healthy and doing what everybody else does, being a normal player.  It's great."

Webb was signed by the Rangers to a one-year contract in the offseason and he said expects to be ready to go on Opening Day.  "That's for sure the goal," Webb said. "I want to be ready and I definitely feel that's realistic.  I'm hoping things go great and I'm expecting things to go great." But this off-season has been close to his old routine, and he threw off the mound three times to his father back home in Ashland, Ky.  "It went really good," Webb said.  "The first one was OK.  I said, 'OK, not bad.'  The second one, I was super-excited after that one.  I thought, 'Not only am I going to be able to go back out there, but I can go out there and be pretty good.'  The third one was pretty good, just not as good as the second one."

Rangers pitchers normally begin Spring Training by throwing live batting practice to their own hitters. Webb hasn't mapped out a plan with pitching coach Mike Maddux, but doesn't expect any limitations.

He just wants to use caution.  The Rangers don't need a rush job, because Webb represents their best hope of plugging the hole in the rotation that was left when Cliff Lee signed with Philadelphia.  The club has plenty of candidates for its rotation, but none with Webb's history of success at the big league level.

Webb said he pushed too hard last spring with the D-backs and it cost him a second missed season.  He does not want to make the same mistake this year.  That's something he spoke to assistant general manager Thad Levine and head trainer Jamie Reed about when he arrived in camp.

"They are all about finishing the year," Webb said.  "We don't want to rush and have setbacks like last year.  I pushed too hard and too quick to get back on the mound and get into Spring Training like the other guys.  It didn't work out.

"I didn't give it enough time.  It's usually a year after the surgery and we were doing it on a six-month program.  It didn't work out."

One good sign came from his catcher.  Webb was home last August for a funeral and threw off the mound to his father.  It didn't go very well.  But the winter throwing sessions were different, according to his personal catcher.  "Totally different," the right-hander said.  "[My dad] could tell there was a huge difference.  The throwing has been great and my arm feels good."

Never argue with a left-handed catcher, especially one who can use a right-handers's glove to catch a Major League pitcher throwing 90-plus mph and what was once the best sinker in the game.


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     Mr. Webb is not throwing 90-plus mph.

     That Mr. Webb's 58 year old father can catch him means that Mr. Webb is throwing much, much less with very little movement.

     Mr. Webb did not have surgery.  The orthopedic surgeon arthroscopically entered the shoulder joint, found nothing wrong and closed up without doing anything.

     Therefore, Mr. Webb did not need two weeks much less than a year to recover from the surgery.

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164.  Anderson has the look of maturing pitcher
MLB.com
February 16, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ:  Brett Anderson is coming off a shortened 2010 season, one that saw him make just 19 starts as a result of two separate DL stints stemming from elbow issues.  Those are seemingly resolved now, but they've left Anderson, who lost 10 pounds this winter, heeding a new goal entering the 2011 campaign.

"Normally, there are certain things you set out to do or work on," he said, "but none of that really matters if you're not healthy.  That's my No. 1 priority this season, to stay healthy.  When I've been healthy, I've performed.  I had a pretty good first year, and I think that carried over into last year during the times I wasn't injured.  So if I'm healthy, I'll throw up decent numbers.  I'm focused on making 28 or 32 starts."

General manager Bob Geren said, "Brett had a couple injuries last year, so the big thing is to change his routine between starts to try to keep him healthy and reduce the chance of him getting injured."


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     I wonder what change in Mr. Anderson's routine between starts the Athletics plan to make to enable Mr. Anderson to keep him healthy and reduce the chance of getting injured.

     Could it be, less training equals better fitness?

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165.  Zavada reports to D-backs camp
MLB.com
February 16, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  D-backs left-hander Clay Zavada reported for work Wednesday morning and said his absence from camp the past few days was due to a personal matter.

Zavada's agent, Barry Meister, said Tuesday that his client had experienced some discomfort in his shoulder, which was the reason for his absence.  Zavada underwent Tommy John surgery last May and is scheduled to throw off a mound for the first time later this week.

When asked about his shoulder, Zavada said, "Well, I mean everybody has a little discomfort. Spring Training, that's what it's all about, getting ready."

"I think the rehab process is often difficult for guys," general manager Kevin Towers said Tuesday.  "And the last week or so throwing the ball, he probably didn't feel right and wasn't real happy with where he was at and was contemplating whether he should go through the grind of the rehab process.  And I think the more he had time to think about it, he decided he's going to give it a shot.

"[He] probably had a 24- to 48-hour period where he had some doubts, but it sounds like he's focused on coming here and continuing the rehab process and hopefully pitching in the big leagues again."

"It's a real patient process, and patience is something I need to work on," Zavada said.  "I'm a ramped-up, amped-up guy and I really just want to come back and kick some butt.  Gibby's (Diamondback field manager Kirk Gibson) great.  He's got a good attitude and it's good to be around.  The sun is shining, the balls will be flying.  It's good to be here and I'm happy.  I don't have anything else to say."

Zavada struggled with his command during Spring Training 2010 and, after being sent down to the Minors, struggled in April before being diagnosed with a torn ligament in his left elbow.


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     Orthopedic surgeons and Physical Therapist designed the 'rehab process' for Ulnar Collateral Ligament surgery.  Neither has the slightest idea about the pitching motion or Exercise Physiology.

     Nine weeks after surgery, X-rays should show completely closed holes through which orthopedic surgeons threaded the Palmaris Longus tendon.  From then on, these surgically repaired baseball pitchers can train every day.

     All this take it slow nonsense delays the strengthening process.  I understand why Mr. Zavada does not want to do it.

     The best thing that Mr. Zavada can do is master the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion and complete my 280-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

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166.  Aardsma still on crutches
MLB.com
February 16, 2011

PEORIA, AZ:  Mariners closer David Aardsma tested his recovering hip again Wednesday but remains on crutches as he continues rehabilitating from labrum surgery.  Aardsma indicated earlier this week he'd hoped to get off the crutches soon, but said now that will only happen when he's able to put 60 percent of his weight on the hip.  He started out that process at 30 percent on Wednesday and will increase the process about 10 percent a day.

"When I get to 60 percent, then I can walk 26 steps without the crutches," he said.  Told that was going to make for a long, slow walk from the bullpen, Aardsma laughed.  "We can always use a cart," he said.

"Right now I'm not worried about a timetable," he said.  "I'm just worried about how I feel and today was good.  I'm not going to focus on timetables because the only thing that does is push you too fast or leave you disappointed."


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     What should leave Mr. Aardsma disappointed is the body action of the 'traditional' baseball that injured his pitching hip.

     To understand what he did that injured his pitching hip, Mr. Aardsma will need to wait for Part Two of my Causes of Pitching Injuries video.

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167.  Bedard throws well again
MLB.com
February 16, 2011

PEORIA, AZ:  Veteran Erik Bedard threw his second bullpen session on Wednesday and looked sharp again, a welcome sign for the Mariners given his history of shoulder problems the last three years.  Bedard, who sat out all of last season, threw free and easy again in his 10-minute session.  He'll have Thursday off, then be back on the mound for another bullpen on Friday.

Manager Eric Wedge said everything looked fine from the 31-year-old.  "I didn't notice him throwing any harder, but he looked good again today," Wedge said.  "I just look at how smooth he is, the way his arm is working and the way the ball is coming out of his hand and approaching home plate.  "It all looks good.  It's good to see and I think he feels good."


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     What 'looks good' to Mr. Wedge, I cannot stand to watch.

     If I could take high-speed film of Mr. Bedard and slow it down, then Mr. Wedge would also see why he should not be able to stand to watch Mr. Bedard's pitching motion.

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168.  Rockies closer alters early preparation to help avoid injury
MLB.com
February 16, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  It's hard to separate the crazy nature of the Rockies' 2010 season from the roller-coaster ride that was closer Huston Street's year.  The Rockies lost 30 one-run games.  A third of those occurred before June 22, when Street came off the disabled list after missing 69 games because of shoulder tightness, plus a groin strain he suffered during Minor League injury rehab.

The reasons Street couldn't conduct that role during the early going are remembered well as the Rockies embark on 2011.  After his strong 2009, Street decided to push hard to be even better.  He planned to throw with intensity from his first Spring Training workout.  Not long into camp, the shoulder problems flared and it took months to get him back to the mound.

Street insisted it was just an ill-fated plan.  "It was just an effort level, stepping out there on day one and going full, or game, speed like it was September.  This year, it's a more gradual approach."  Toward that end, the Rockies have pitchers throwing a set number of pitches, rather than under a time limit that could encourage pitchers to work faster and throw more than they should.  "My arm didn't react well in camp last year, and I missed too many games," said Street, who threw his first bullpen session Wednesday.

"We didn't have the guy for 11 weeks," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said.  "When he came back to us, strike one and strike two was not the problem.  The put-away pitch.  I'm not advocating strike everybody out, because that's not the type of pitcher he is.  But, the quality of the two-strike pitch that completely took the sting out of the bat or at times they would miss it, he was misfiring that pitch."

"The less-is-more adage is applicable," Street said.  "If I stay healthy, everything else will take care of itself."


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     The 'groin' is the Adductor Brevis muscle.

     If Mr. Street wants to know what injurious flaw injures the Adductor Brevis muscle, then he will have to wait until I upload Part Two of my Causes of Pitching Injuries video.

     Until then, good luck with the less training equals better fitness program.

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169.  Nathan feeling good heading into camp
MLB.com
February 16, 2011

FORT MYERS, FL:  So far, though, things have progressed as well as Nathan could have hoped following the Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery that he had on March 26 last year.  He's now almost 11 months removed from the surgery, and when Twins pitchers and catchers hold their first workout on Friday, he'll be there to take part in every drill with his teammates.

Wednesday morning marked the first bullpen session of the spring for Nathan, 36, and the first that he had thrown in front of Anderson in nearly a year.  Nathan called the session, which was about 50 pitches, "a nice step" physically in his recovery.  And the reports from Anderson afterward were glowing.

"I told Joe, 'That's the freest and easiest that I've seen your arm,'" Anderson said.  "That's kind of what you look for.  The ball came out of his hand good, and the biggest thing is he feels great.  He looked really good, not favoring anything.  It just looked free and easy."

Nathan said that he'll be on a regular program with the rest of the pitchers when workouts begin officially on Friday.  He's been throwing bullpen sessions recently and has even faced a few live hitters when he was working out at home in Knoxville, TN.  The next big test, Nathan said, will come when he starts throwing in games for the first time.

"When we get into game situations and there's a little extra adrenaline going, I'm sure they'll watch me then," Nathan said.  "And we might have to give me a day extra, but a far as leading up to games, everything is going to be a full go."

Nathan, who threw in the bullpen for about 8-10 minutes on Wednesday, seemed happy with the progress that he's made since the surgery.  Although there are always question marks coming off a surgery like Tommy John, Nathan feels comfortable with where he's at heading into the first workout.

"I'm pretty satisfied with where I'm at for February 16, with where my command is right now," Nathan said.  "I don't need to be super sharp at this point.  I'm right where I need to be, if not a little ahead for this time."


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     Mr. Nathan has not eliminated the injurious flaw that ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Therefore, it is only a question of how long it will take for Mr. Nathan to rupture his replacement Ulnar Collateral tendon.

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170.  A's shut down Harden with lat stiffness
MLB.com
February 17, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ:  Rich Harden's journey toward a healthy 2011 campaign has endured an early setback, as the right-hander has officially been shut down for at least a couple of weeks because of stiffness in the lat area of his pitching arm.

The optimistic Harden also finds a positive in knowing that his return from the injury in 2008 was followed by the best performance of his career, a 10-2 record with a 2.07 ERA in 25 combined starts with the A's and Cubs.

"I came in here, felt like I was in good shape, felt strong," Harden said.  "I've got some time, so I have to be positive about it.  Obviously, with the year I had last year, it was even more exciting coming into this season, working with [pitching coach] Ron Romanick and feeling good, feeling how I was in '08.  That's the best I've felt."

Romanick, who served as the A's bullpen coach during the 2008 season, has closely worked with Harden since the time he was drafted by Oakland in '00.  His help, along with the work of new head trainer Nick Paparesta, has Harden feeling geared for a successful rehab process.

During his time with the Rangers, as well as with the Cubs, Harden underwent a series of changes to his mechanics.  Thus, he believes his injury may be a result of throwing correctly again and, subsequently, using muscles differently than he has in the past two years.

"I've been back to getting good extension, a lot more than I have the last couple of years," Harden said.  "Obviously, the body needs to adjust to it.  "I just have to focus on getting healthy and building up.  The hard part is not pushing things.  All I can control is what I can do on a daily basis to get better.  It's frustrating, but I still feel like I can go out there and do well.  I'm hopeful to come back strong and get ready for the season."


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     When the article said, 'stiffness in the lat area of his pitching arm,' it meant the Latissimus Dorsi area of the back from under the armpit to the hip.

     However, the Serratus Anterior muscle is also found under the armpit.

     I doubt that Mr. Harden uses his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     Therefore, without personally putting Mr. Harden through some movements, I have no idea what his problem is.

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171.  Nationals phenom Strasburg has ‘good’ 1st workout
Associated Press
February 17, 2011

VIERA, FL:  As happy as Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg was to be on the practice field Thursday, he made one thing perfectly clear: He’s in no rush to make it back to a major league mound.

The former No. 1 pick did some light tossing and also participated in fielding drills, stretching and other calisthenics with his fellow Nationals’ pitchers.  It was all part of his first spring workout since undergoing ligament replacement surgery on his right elbow last September.

Strasburg was sporting a leaner frame and said he’s progressing well since beginning the throwing portion of his rehabilitation program on January 31 near his home in California.  “It was just another day,” Strasburg said of the two-hour workout for pitchers and catchers.  “I felt good.  I felt really good.  I’m gonna just keep going from there and take it one day at a time.  “As long as there were not setbacks, I was supposed to be throwing by now.  There hasn’t been so far and we’re all working hard to try and keep it that way.”

Strasburg had his surgery on September 03 and said that doctors have told him that he’s still progressing within the normal 12to18 month rehab schedule.  He said that when he started to throw two weeks ago there was an initial adjustment period.  “The first couple of throws were bad, kind of really low,” he said.  “Then, slowly I started to get that release-point back and now it seems like every single time I go out there my control is coming back a little better.  With more throws it feels good and hopefully it keeps going that way.”

Washington manager Jim Riggleman said that the team is approaching Strasburg’s rehab with caution and hasn’t entertained thoughts about the 22-year-old not being able to return to his breakout form of 2010.  “I haven’t gotten into any of those conversations” about when Strasburg might return, Riggleman said.  “I think it’s one of those things where it’s not gonna do us any good to worry about it.  We’re gonna see where he is.

“Some guys have actually come back and felt better than they ever did before.  Some guys come back the same and some guys come back and trouble with it a little bit.  Only the process will tell us where he’s gonna be and he’ll let us know exactly how he feels and we’ll see the results.  We just have to try to let it play out and let those months go off the calendar and then we’ll know.”

Strasburg’s teammate, Jordan Zimmerman, had Tommy John surgery in August 2009 and returned to the majors August 26 last year.  He made seven starts and had a 4.94 ERA in 31 innings.

“It’s just something he’s gonna have to do,” Nats pitching coach Steve McCatty said.  “Zim did it last year.  You’ve just got to hold back and you feel pretty good, but you gotta have somebody stand there and watch him the whole time and say ‘cut back a little bit, take your time.’  It’s a long process and he’s very mentally tough.  And I’m sure he’s gonna be fine with it.”

Strasburg is ready for whatever is next.  “It’s out of my control,” he said.  “All I can do is really is do the throwing program, execute the schedule.  And if they feel like I’m ready by the end of the year and go out there and pitch—awesome, that’s gonna be great.  But that’s gonna be a decision they’re gonna have to make.”


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     Mr. Strasburg did not have Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.  Mr. Strasburg still has his born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Mr. Strasburg had his overlap surgery on September 03, 2010.  On November 05, 2010, nine weeks after his surgery, Mr. Strasburg should have started training every day.

     February 17, 2011 is one day short of seventeen weeks after Mr. Strasburg should have started training every day.  That is 118 days.

     That means that, if, as I recommended, Mr. Strasburg had started my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, then he would be two days from completing my program.

     That means that Mr. Strasburg would be able to pitch to catchers every other day for a week, pitch to batters every other day for a week, pitch in simulated games every other day for a week and pitch in spring training games every third day until the season starts.

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172.  Marshall Pitching Motion

I consider myself an avid student of your pitching motion.  In that regard, I thought this film presentation was very interesting.  I say that because you cover virtually everything that you have been saying in your letters.  With the timing of you words with the film, it makes it easy to understand for me.

When I watched the video, my thought was that it was a collection of bullet points for your ideal pitching motion.  As I viewed it, however, I was wondering who your target audience was.

My comment that the new voice over was very interesting was in regard to the fact that everything was there that you talk about repeatedly in your letters.

If the viewer has not read your letters, however, I wonder if all these bullet points would overwhelm him or her.  It is generally not your style to speak in bullet points.  You calling card is the exacting detail that you give to subjects.  It seemed like a different presentation style for you.

Who was your target audience for this video?

In my opinion, you indirectly talk about the forearm going from a supinated position when the baseball gets to driveline height to a pronated position at release.

If the palm of the baseball is pointed outward when it gets to driveline height, the forearm is supinated.  You rarely, however, use the term supinated when describing this position.

In your letters, whenever the word supination comes up, it is almost always in a pejorative sense.  So, when you used the word in a positive sense, I wondered if the casual viewer would be confused.

I look at your work from the prism of someone (me) who started out having a tough time understanding inward and outward rotation of the humerus bone.  I see you as someone who has tried and tried and tried to make your pitching motion easy to understand.

That has been great for me, but I did a fair amount of work.  While films like this are enormously helpful, I don't think the average coach or parent will ever understand what you are saying without putting in some work reading your materials and asking you questions.


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     As always, I greatly appreciate the time that you put into understanding my materials, editing what I write and commenting on my Question/Answer files and videos.

     As you noted, typically, to evaluate how well my baseball pitchers perform the drills I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion, I would ask a series of questions that I want my readers to understand.  Then I would say whether they satisfied that criteria or not.

     With the same body action for the six basic adult baseball pitches I teach, that method quickly becomes monotonous.

     Therefore, I decided to evaluate Jeff's performance and provide information that readers have to understand, such as raising both arms over head does not increase release velocity.

     The length of the video timeline in these performance videos is fixed.  Therefore, I have to synchronize my voice-over with the video. That limits me to very short comments.

     Nevertheless, I felt that, with six different pitches, I could use six different comments on the same subject to explain critical information.  For example, with my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers use the Triceps Brachii muscle to actively extend the pitching elbow.

     I showed where Jeff contracted his Triceps Brachii and explained that the Triceps Brachii has the most fast-twitch muscle fibers and so on.

     I also challenged several misconceptions, like as I said above, raising both arms overhead does not increase release velocity.  Lifting the glove leg does not increase release velocity.  Striding far does not increase release velocity.  And, so on.

     I know that the first time or lazy visitor does not understand the science behind those statements, but, at least, they heard someone say it.

     If they disagree, then I want them to say so and open a dialogue wherein we can remove these misconceptions.

     From the first day that I opened my website, visitors have asked me to show them my baseball pitching motion.

     Unfortunately, when I pitched major league baseball, I did not use this pitching motion.

     As you know I answer every time that someone challenges me on this subject, I answer that, if I had used this pitching motion, then I not only would not have suffered the injuries I suffered, but I would have been a far superior baseball pitcher than I was.

     Without an example of my baseball pitching motion, at first, visitors had to fight their way through my explanations and videos of the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     Then, I started to show the baseball pitching motions of the young men that trained with me.  Unfortunately, they did not perform my baseball pitching motion well enough.

     I desperately needed someone to master my baseball pitching motion.

     The critical skill that I could not get my baseball pitchers to do was to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     From 1972 on, I engaged my Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  However, I did not have high-speed film to show it.

     Within two weeks of training with me, with their Wrist Weight exercises, my baseball pitchers learned how to engage the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     However, when they pitched, they did not raise their pitching upper arm to vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching upper arm facing home plate.

     Jeff told me that, to master my baseball pitching motion, he would complete all six of my 72-Day each of my three Wrist Weight and three Iron Ball Recoil Cycles.  That required Jeff to train every day for four hundred and thirty-two days or one year and sixty-seven days.

     After Jeff completed my 15 lb. Iron Ball 72-day Recoil Cycle, with a minimum of non-injurious flaws, he mastered my baseball pitching motion.

     That is when I took this high-speed film of Jeff.  It was his thank you gift to me.

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173.  Pitching injuries video Pt 1

I just noticed your new Causes of Pitching Injuries segment on your web site.

I thought your Jeff Sparks voice-over may be overwhelming for the average viewer, but awesome for your more studied followers.

I think, with this video, you hit a home run.  I think the casual observer of the baseball scene can get much out of this video.

Here's what I liked:

1.  Maybe it is my imagination, but the quality of the video seemed much better.  It appeared crisper to me.

2.  I liked your presentation of the knee problems in the traditional pitching motion.  I am well aware of your views on the knee, but I did not realize that the knee can not rotate.  That should open some eyes.

3.  I liked your demonstration of the acromial line.  That is something the casual viewer can clearly understand.  I know it took me awhile to understand the acromial line.

4.  You addressed labral issues much more thoroughly than you did in your original video if I recall correctly.

5.  You address the gleno-humeral ligament issue, which I don't recall you doing on film to this extent, if at all.

What I did not like:

1.  I found your section in the Pectoralis Major muscle totally confusing.  This may be more due to my lack of understanding.

I know you say that traditional baseball pitchers pull the baseball forward using the Pectoralis major muscle rather than driving behind the baseball with their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

My understanding was that pulling the baseball forward injured the front of the shoulder.  I always assumed these front of the shoulder muscles were the subscapularis and anterior deltoid muscles.

In your new video, you say using the pectoralis major muscle injures the pectoralis major muscle.  I view the pectoralis major muscle as a well vasculated muscle that would be difficult to injure.

Also, I can't ever recall reading about a major league pitcher injuring their pectoralis major muscle.  If you could elaborate on this I would appreciate it.

I think it is almost impossible for you to satisfy the casual viewer and the well-informed in the same setting.  I think you accomplished this with this video.

Finally, this is this a general observation, but I think the traditional baseball world that has studied your work concedes your baseball motion is safer.  They believe, however, that you are sacrificing performance (primarily velocity) for safety.

I think you need a video like this one specifically addressing the facts that prove your pitching motion leads to better performance in terms of velocity, control and movement.

Traditionalists say that neither you nor Jeff Sparks used the pitching motion you now endorse.  I think the video should include the parts of your current pitching motion that you and Jeff did use.

Thanks for all you continue to do.


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     Wow.  I greatly appreciate that you took the time and made the effort to critique Part One of my Causes of Pitching Injuries.  You were very thorough.

     You caught me.  With my explanation of the role of the Pectoralis Major muscle in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, I tried some movie making tricks.

     That means that I repeatedly interspersed the illustration of the Pectoralis Major muscle with video of the pitching upper arm moving from well behind the armorial line sideway to the pitching arm side of the body.

     This is a critical injurious flaw that I need everybody to understand.

     To raise the baseball from waist high to driveline high, 'traditional' baseball pitchers have to outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm and the pitching forearm attached to the pitching upper arm.

     When the pitching forearm synchronously outwardly rotates, Kinesiologists call that action, supination.  Supination means that the Radius bone rotates away from the Ulna Bone.

     What is critical is that to move the Radius bone away from the Ulna bone, the muscles that attach to the lateral epicondyle of the pitching elbow have to contract.

     Therefore, from the moment that the pitching upper arm started to move the pitching upper arm sideways from far behind the acromial line to the pitching arm side of the body, the muscles of the pitching upper arm and forearm were outwardly rotating.

     To move the pitching upper arm sideways to the pitching upper arm to the pitching arm side of the body, 'traditional' baseball pitchers contract the Pectoralis Major muscle.

     I agree that the Pectoralis Major muscle is a powerful, well-vascularized muscle and very, very difficult to injure.  Therefore, while this injury does happen, it is seldom and quickly resolved.  Nevertheless, it is a moment of great unnecessary stress that, at least, decreases release velocity.

     As an analogy, think of drag race cars that spin their wheels at the start of their race.  They will never achieve their best quarter mile time.

     More importantly, when the Pectoralis Major muscle abruptly stops the outward rotation of the pitching upper arm, the pitching forearm is contracting the muscles that attach to the lateral epicondyle.

     Therefore, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament has to withstand the stress of the entire mass of the pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball.

     With regard to the Subscapularis muscle:  With the Pectoralis Major muscle contracting, the Subscapularis muscle does not offer meaningful assistance, if at all.  Nevertheless, this is a subject for thoughtful discussion.

     Therefore, even though when the head of the Humerus bone is way behind the acromial line, the Subscapularis muscle is maximally lengthened, without being the only muscle capable of moving the Humerus bone forward, I cannot say that this action injures it.

     With regard to sacrificing release velocity for injury prevention:

     Injury prevention does not sacrifice release velocity.

01.  Straight line force application prevents injury and increases release velocity.

02.  Contracting the Latissimus Dorsi muscle prevents injury and increases release velocity.

03.  Contracting the Triceps Brachii muscle prevents injury and increases release velocity.

04.  Standing tall and rotating prevents injuries and increases release velocity.

     And so on.

     This is another subject for thoughtful discussion.

     Once again, I greatly appreciate your email.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, February 27, 2011, I posted the following questions and answers.

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174.  Marshall mechanics full version Christopher A.

I just had to show you this.  Awesome.

Check out this video on YouTube:

Young Marshall Youth Baseball Pitcher

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     Thank you.

     The thought of thousands of pre-adolescent males practicing my baseball pitching motion on dirt mounds built in their basements warms my heart.

     Now, if this young man would drop step, turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face home plate, drive down his acromial line and 'stick' his pitching hand into the strike zone, then I could watch him without wanting to adjust his force application technique.

     What was almost as much fun was to see all the other video clips that I could click on of other youth and adult baseball pitchers.  Unfortunately, while much, much better than the best 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, to become all they can be, they also need to correct their non-injurious flaws.

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175.  Sir Isaac Newton

Since Sir Isaac Newton is a big factor in your pitching ideas, I thought your readers might enjoy this article.

Sir Isaac Newton

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     Thank you.

     I enjoyed reading more Sir Isaac Newton, the person.

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176.  New website material

I like the new material you recently uploaded to the website.

I especially appreciate the two videos entitled “Causes of Pitching Injuries 1 and 2”.

Even though the information in these videos is not new, your narration gives a digested, yet detailed, rapid fire type account of just how many injuries a baseball pitcher can cause to himself using a traditional pitching motion.

It’s very easy to direct someone, who is a skeptic, right to this page and in about 15 minutes they will see all the hazards encountered with traditional pitching motions.

A well done piece indeed.


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     Thank you.

     Now that skeptics, if they want to, can understand the causes of pitching injuries, the next step is to discredit the myth that baseball pitchers have to accept pain as an unavoidable result of pitching.

     While I am doing that, I will also discredit the idea that, by eliminating pitching injuries, baseball pitchers cannot achieve the same release velocities.

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177.  Pitching injuries video Pt 1

I would like to explore your answer in terms of the Subscapularis muscle.

You replied:  "With regard to the Subscapularis muscle: With the Pectoralis Major muscle contracting, the Subscapularis muscle does not offer meaningful assistance, if at all.  Nevertheless, this is a subject for thoughtful discussion."

It seems to me the Subscapularis muscle has taken a decreasing role as a culprit for front of the shoulder pitching arm injuries over the years.  I recall back in the early days of your web site you often writing that taking the pitching arm beyond the acromial line leads to Subscapularis injuries.

This may not be scientific, but I went back and did a word search of Latissimus Dorsi, Pectoralis Major and Subscapularis.

1.  In 2000, Latissimus Dorsi appears 8 times and they appeared primarily due to questions about that specific muscle from readers.  In 2001, Latissimus Dorsi appears one time.

2.  In 2000, Pectoralis Major appears 3 times.  In 2001, Pectoralis Major appears 3 times.

3.  In 2000, Subscapularis appears 36 times and constantly in regard to bringing the baseball beyond the acromial line.  In 2001, Subscapularis appears 41 times.

When we jump ahead to 2010, Latissimus Dorsi appears 281 times, Pectoralis Major occurs 118 and Subscapularis only 9 times.

So, there seems to have been a major shift in your thinking about what causes front of the shoulder pitching injuries over the years.

If that is the case, what changed your thinking?

As a layman, it was pretty easy to visualize how bring the baseball beyond the acromial line place unnecessary stress on the Subscapularis muscle.

Your quote I cite above seems to downgrade the importance of the Subscapularis muscle.


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     You are correct.  I have recently greatly increased my use of Latissimus Dorsi.

     When I introduced my Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions, I chose to not explain that that force application technique engages the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     Instead, I said that I want my pitchers to drive their pitching upper arm forward, not pull it.

     In 2008, I took high-speed film of Jeff Sparks where, for the first time, a baseball pitcher assumed my Slingshot pitching arm position.

     However, I was still not ready to get into detail of his ground-breaking accomplishment.  So, I put the Jeff Sparks 2008 video online and waited to see what skeptics had to say.

     They questioned the length of the driveline and said that Jeff could not field his position.

     In January 2011, I was finally ready to show what Jeff had accomplished.  Therefore, I released the Jeff Sparks 2008 video as the best example I have of my baseball pitching motion.

     The center piece of my baseball pitching motion is engaging the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     As you note in your email, in 2010, I started to lay the groundwork for Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video.

     For every baseball pitcher with shoulder problems, I said that the solution was engaging the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     That is the secret that enabled me to pitch every day without stiffness, soreness and, certainly, without injury.

     Unfortunately, I did not have high-speed film of me engaging my Latissimus Dorsi muscle and video is too slow to show that I turned the back of my pitching arm to face toward home plate.

     With regard to the Subscapularis muscle:

     My continuing research has convinced me that I was wrong.

     When baseball pitchers outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, they do not use their Subscapularis muscle.  Therefore, the Subscapularis muscle remains flaccid.  Until flaccid muscles reach the limits of their relaxed length, they do not suffer injuries, if then.

     Since, as my 1967 high-speed film shows, the Pectoralis Major muscle moves the pitching upper arm back to the pitching arm side of the body when the pitching forearm is vertical.

     The question then becomes: When the pitching forearm is vertical, has the flaccid Subscapularis muscle reached it relaxed length limit?

     My answer is no.

     Therefore, since the Pectoralis Major muscle is very powerfully inwardly rotating the pitching upper arm, I do not see that the Subscapularis muscle can contribute much if anything to inwardly rotate the pitching upper arm.

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178.  60 Day Training

I have two questions:

1.  My son reset his start date when he increased the wrist weights to 5 lbs.  Should he stop at 60 days or continue through the entire program?  He would have completed 70 days at that point.

2.  After completion of the program, should he continue to throw your four basic pitches with a baseball or just throw maxline fastballs?

My son has watched the new Jeff Sparks video multiple times.

He loves the way Jeff Sparks can make the ball "explode".   Being from the northeast, my son has not been able to throw baseballs from a distance greater than 15 ft.  He is excited to see how much his hard work has paid off.

Thank you for all that you continue to do for my son.


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01.  I doubt that an extra ten days would cause any problems.  Nevertheless, let's stop at sixty days.

02.  If I were to choose one pitch that I would want my baseball pitchers to practice, then I would choose my Maxline True Screwball.  However, I am always mostly interested in motor skill acquisition.  Therefore, I recommend that baseball pitchers practice all pitches.

     I recommend that all baseball pitchers regularly watch Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video.  With every additional viewing, they will see something new.  In the end, I want my baseball pitchers to 'feel' how Jeff applied force to his pitches.

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179.  Leadership qualities

Thank you for agreeing to answer questions that I have about leadership.

I will submit it as an assignment in a class I am taking.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

01.  What is your definition of leadership?


     Leaders establish environments wherein everybody becomes the best that they can be.

02.  When you were growing up, was there a particular leader that you wanted to be like?


     No.  But, I had leaders that prevented me from becoming the best I could be.  They convinced me that their leadership model does not work.

03.  Do you have a personal leadership style?


     Yes.  I make it clear that every person knows that I am only interested in them becoming the best they individually can be.

04.  How this style fits/doesn’t fit with your organization?


     The individuals with whom I work love it.  However, my supervisors have not.

05.  What is your opinion of the new paradigm of leadership?


     I do not know what the new paradigm of leadership is.

06.  How does/doesn’t this work for you?


     I cannot imagine anything better than watching people becoming more skilled and more confident.

07.  In which ways have you practiced moral leadership?


     Tell the truth.

08.  What kind of difficulties you have encountered with the practice of moral leadership and how you addressed these difficulties?


     Some people cannot handle the truth.

09.  What is your strategy for managing up?


     I do not understand the question.

10.  In which ways do you, as a leader, motivate your followers or team?


     When everybody improves their skills, everybody individually and collectively benefit.

11.  Also, how you do as a leader empowers them?


     A major part of creating environments wherein everybody becomes the best that they can be is giving individuals permission to innovate.

12.  What is your “secret” to effective communication and why this works for you?


     I carefully explain what everybody has to do to become the best that they can be.

13.  What is your leader’s experience with managing teams including your formula for successful team facilitation?


     I carefully explain the strategy with which the team will succeed and give permission to everybody to decide how they can best contribute to that strategy.

14.  What has been your leadership experience with diversity in the workplace?


     Everybody has strengths.  I make sure that everybody contributes what they do best.

15.  In what way do you manage vision and strategic intent in our ever-changing global economy?


     In the light of the global economy, some would consider what I contribute is insignificant.  I do not.

16.  Can you please specify, any ethical issues that you had has to face?


     Whether I should sacrifice individual needs for the common good.

17.  Would you please give me some advice, on how to deal with ethical issues in the workplace?


     Tell the truth.

18.  Have you had any specific legal issues which you have faced?


     When I tried to give services without charge, local code enforcement officials interfered.

19.  Any advice about how one should deal with legal issues in the workplace?


     Tell the truth.

20.  Do you have any recommendations on how I can obtain a professional leadership position in these challenging times?


     Become the best that you can be.

21.  Can you tell me your personal story, on how you maintained your current leadership position and how you continue your professional development?


     When we cannot get jobs for which we are qualified, we have to become qualified for jobs that we can get.

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180.  Leadership qualities

It took me over two weeks to write these questions.  But, it took you two minutes to answer these questions.

I love it.


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     It may have taken me minutes to write down my answers to your thoughtful questions, but it took me decades to learn them.

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181.  Causes of Pitching Injuries-Part 1

Back in the day, you used to lament that reporters were not more specific when the mentioned that a pitcher had rotator cuff surgery.  In other words, you wondered which of the four rotator cuff muscles had been injured.

These days, you seem to key in on the Teres Minor.  Therefore, do you now also believe that the Supraspinatus and infraspinatus muscles do not have a big role in shoulder injuries?


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     During 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor muscles outwardly rotate the pitching upper arm.

     When the Pectoralis Major muscle starts to pull the upper arm forward, the pitching forearm has only moved from pointing downward to horizontal.  To get into the Maximum Pitching Forearm Acceleration Position, the pitching forearm has to outwardly rotate another one hundred and eighty degrees.

     So, what we have is the Pectoralis Major muscle pulling the pitching upper arm back to the pitching arm side of the body and the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor muscles continuing to outwardly rotate the same pitching upper arm.

     Obviously, the Pectoralis Major muscle is not the antagonist muscle to Suprapinatus, Infraspinatus or Teres Minor muscles. The spinal cord co-contraction reflex would not allow that.

     Therefore, at the same time that the Pectoralis Major muscle is pulling the pitching upper arm back to the pitching arm side of the body, the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor muscles continue to outwardly rotate the pitching arm into the Maximum Pitching Forearm Acceleration Position.

     However, the outward rotation of the pitching upper arm moves the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle to the outside of the bicipital groove from facing toward home plate to facing upward to facing second base.

     When the glove foot lands, baseball pitchers start to forwardly rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm more powerfully.

     With the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle facing toward second base, the Pectoralis Major muscle not only pulls the pitching upper arm forward, but now it also inwardly rotates the pitching upper arm.

     This means that the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor muscles are outwardly rotating the pitching upper arm and, when the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle faces second base, the Pectoralis Major muscle is concurrently inwardly rotating the pitching upper arm.

     The much more powerful Pectoralis Major muscle wins this tug of war and abruptly stops the outward rotation action.

     Without the spinal cord co-contraction inhibition reflex, the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor muscles escape injury.

     However, to stop outward rotation and continue to pull the pitching upper arm forward places considerable unnecessary stress on the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle.  Therefore, it is possible for this action to injure the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle.

     During outward rotation of the pitching upper arm, the muscles that outwardly rotate the pitching forearm also have to contract.  These are the muscles that attach to the lateral epicondyle of the pitching elbow.

     Due to spinal cord co-contraction inhibition, the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle cannot contract.

     Therefore, when the Pectoralis Major muscle abruptly stops the outward rotation of the pitching upper arm, the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle are not contracting.

     Without the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle contracting, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament has to withstand the same considerable unnecessary stress that the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle withstood.

     However, ligaments do not contract.  This means that, to counter the 'bounce' force, ligaments cannot apply force.  Therefore, the 'bounce' tears some connective tissue fibers in the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     To directly answer your question:  The Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor muscles are the cause of the injuries to the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle and to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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182.  Causes of Pitching Injuries: Part 1

So, when we now hear that a pitcher us having rotator cuff surgery, would it be fair to surmise that the muscle involved is the Teres Minor?

And, with that said, if a pitcher has back of the shoulder discomfort that the culprit is the Teres Minor?  The only other muscle I can think of would be the Posterior Deltoid.

Also, after watching part to of the causes of Pitching Injuries on your web site, I don't see where you treat front of the shoulder injuries.  What muscles are causing front of the shoulder pain.

You were mentioning the Anterior Deltoid for a while, but you don't mention that muscle as often these days.  If the Subscapularis isn't a factor, however, the only other muscle I can think of is the Anterior Deltoid.


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     Well.  The only rotator cuff muscle that the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion injures is the Teres Minor muscle.  But, who knows what orthopedic surgeons are operating on.

     Yes.  When 'traditional' baseball pitchers complain of back of the pitching shoulder discomfort, it is the Teres Minor muscle.

     Every time that I encounter a pitching shoulder problem, I say the same thing.  To prevent pitching shoulder injuries, baseball pitchers have to learn how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     This means that pain in the front of the pitching shoulder comes from the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle to the lateral lip of the bicipital groove in the head of the Humerus bone.

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183.  Maintenance before the season

I just finished my last Interval Training Cycle before the season starts.

I have 32 days before the first official game.  I know you have answered this question is the past, but I need to clear up the details about maintenance.  I know that I am cutting back on the number of repetitions for each one of the exercises to one half of the base number.

1.  Do I still train my Maxline pitches separately from my Torque pitches?

(I realize that cutting back on the number of reps makes it hard to train all of the pitches in one day, so maybe I've already answered my question.)

That question leads me to my next question about bullpens.

2.  How do I work them in leading up to the start of the season?

On a completely different note:

3.  How would you recommend a right-handed first baseman make the throw to second base, as he comes off the bag in order to turn a double play?

I'm stuck somewhere in between something that looks like a quarter-reverse pivot, and another that after the first baseman pivots his footwork resembles your drop out step.  (The drop out step would be toward third base.)

Oh one last bit of info...

4.  This past weekend I met a catcher with a gigantic scar running up the back of his upper arm.  When I asked what had happened, he said he broke his arm throwing a baseball.

I knew that it was a spiral fracture of the humerus bone, and surprised the catcher when I asked if that was indeed what happened.  I asked if he had ever pitched, and he said no.

He tried to rationalize the injury by saying his doctor told him he could have had a stress fracture there to begin with.  Then he picked up his twelve ounce baseball and started having a catch.

I only share this short story to point out to any readers thinking your arm action is solely for the benefit of pitchers.


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01.  You do 24 wrist weight exercises, 24 iron ball throws, 6 football throws and 36 baseball throws, six of each of the six adult baseball pitches that I teach.

02.  You throw every day.  Bur, every third day, you do a full intensity bullpen.

03.  To position their body for throwing, all position players should rotate to the throwing arm side of their body.

04.  The catcher broke his throwing upper arm the same way that baseball pitchers break their pitching upper arm, 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     Damn, I forgot to add this injury to my Causes of Pitching Injuries video.  It belongs with the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle and Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries.

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184.  Causes of Pitching Injuries-Part 1

1.  So, with that said, would it be fair to say that the only surgery that should take place as it pertains to the shoulder would be to the attachment to the Teres Minor muscle as the Pectoralis Major muscle is a powerful well vasculated muscle?

2.  If your pitchers did not start using their Latissimus Dorsi muscle until relatively recently, how do you account for the fact that none of your pitchers injured the front of their pitching shoulder?


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01.  No.  Except for a detached Latissimus Dorsi muscle to the lateral lip of the bicipital groove in the head of the Humerus bone, I cannot think of any reason for orthopedic surgeons to operate on the pitching shoulder.

02.  Despite not engaging their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, my baseball pitchers avoided pitching shoulder injuries because I taught them how to apply force in straight lines toward home plate and powerfully inwardly rotate (pronate) their pitching forearm before, during and after release.

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185.  Causes of Pitching Injuries-Parts 1 and 2

Dear Sir,

     It has been awhile since we have spoken.  I hope everything is going well for you.

     Today’s ESPN show mentioned that one of your pitchers injured his pitching elbow.

     Over the weekend, I finished and uploaded my Causes of Pitching Injuries video on my website, drmikemarshall.com.

     The two parts take about fifteen minutes to watch.

     Two things:

01.  If this young man has ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, then I have a dissertation Doctoral Degree Exercise Physiologist-designed rehabilitation program that would enable him to competitively pitch in nine months, instead of the non-thesis Masters Degree physical therapist-designed eighteen months program.

02.  In addition, instead of re-rupturing his repaired Ulnar Collateral Ligament, like another baseball pitcher on your team did, this dissertation Doctoral Degree Applied Anatomist would teach this young man the simple force application adjustment that he has to make to avoid repeating his injury.

     Whoops, my bad.  I just learned that, in 2004, this young man ruptured his born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Therefore, after this second surgery, he will have run out of tendons of his two Palmaris Longus muscles with which to tie his elbow bones back together.  This means that the orthopedic surgeon will have to take a tendon from one of his knees.

     Therefore, before this young man runs out of knee ligaments to use, for a fraction of the millions of dollars that the team owner will have to pay this young man for not pitching for the next two years, this Ph.D. will show your young man and your Medical staff how to properly train this young man and how to eliminate this injurious flaw.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall


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186.  Causes of Pitching Injuries-Part 2

I'm not just being an ass-kissing, sycophantic, kool-aid-drinking, yes man when I say, it was great.  Very clear, conversationally-paced and interesting.  I liked the "But, let's take a closer look" invitation.

It's also interesting in that you criticized the baseball pitcher that demonstrated your pitching motion.

Great job.  Don't let up for a minute.


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     I appreciate that you took the time to email me.

     Now, if I can receive emails from those that don't know that they don't know, but believe that I don't know, then we can have crucial conversations.

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187.  In Question/Answers #128, #134, #136, #139 and #140, you exchanged emails with Colin Carmody. In #128, Colin did well and you basically praised his effort.

In #134, Colin said he got pounded and you told him that he did not do well because he did not use proper pitch sequencing.

In #136, Colin refused to throw his curve in games and you rehashed his pitch sequences and explained how he can pitch without his curve.

In #139, Colin explained what he needed to do to learn how to throw strikes with his curve.  You also chided him about a fifteen year old being able to throw strikes with his curve.

In #140, Colin asked when he should throw pitches to which side of home plate and you explained when and why he should throw pitches to both sides of home plate.

1.  Why are you so adament about not throwing first pitch fastballs?

2.  Why have we have not heard from Colin for a couple of weeks.


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     Like everything that I learn, I had to learn the hard way.

     In 1969, I started a game in Boston and pitched well until, in the late innings, I threw a first pitch fastball to Carl Yastremski.

     The next meaningful opportunity to show that I was a quality major league baseball pitcher came on May 20, 1971.

     With the score tied, 3-3, I entered the game in the bottom of the ninth inning at the Atlanta Fulton County Stadium launching pad.

9th Inning

01.  Jackson (LHB): Sc/HA, F/LI, F/LM-c, F/MI-s, F/MI-s, Sc/MA-c: (Kc)
02.  Garr (LHB): Sc/HA, Sl/HI, F/HM, F/LI-c, Sc/MI: (BB)
03.  Millan (RHB): Sl/HM-s, Sc/MI-s, Sl/HM, F/MI-s: (3-6-1)

10th Inning
04.  Cepeda (RHB(: Sl/MA-s, F/HI, Sc/LI, Sl/HM, Sc/LM: (6-3)
05.  Boyer (RHB): Sc/LM-c, F/HI, Sl/HA, Sl/MA-c, Sl/MM-s: (Ks)
06.  Lum (LHB): Sc/LA, Sl/HA, Sl/LI-s, Sc/LA, Sc/MA: (BB)
07.  Didier (LHB): Sc/MI-c, F/MI-s: (-8)
08.  Aaron (RHB): Sc/LA-c, Sc/LM, Sc/MM-s: (F-8)

11th Inning
09.  Williams (RHB): Sc/LM, Sl/MA, Sc/LM-c, Sc/HM-s: (1-3)
10.  Jackson (LHB): Sl/LI, F/HI, F/HM, F/LM-c, F/MM-c, F/MI-s, Sc/MA-c: (6-3)
11.  Garr (LHB): Sc/MA, Sl/LI-s: (F-3)
12th Inning

12.  Millan (RHB): Sl/HM, Sl/MA-s, Sc/LM, Sl/LA-s, Sc/HM-s, Sc/HI, Sl/LM-s: (-8)
13.  Cepeda (RHB): Sc/LM, Sl/MA-c, Sl/MI, Sc/LM-s, F/MI-s, Sl/MM-s, Sc/LM-s: (6-4-3) 14.  Boyer (RHB): Sl/LM-s: (F-8)

13th Inning
15.  Baker (RHB): Sl/LM, Sl/HM, Sl/MA-s, Sl/LA-s, Sl/HM-s: (-7)
16.  Didier (LHB): F/MI-s: (5-4 sac)
17.  Garrido (RHB): Sl/LA, Sl/LA-s: (6-3)
18.  Staele (LHB): Sl/MI-s: (3-U)

14th Inning
19.  Jackson (LHB): Sl/HI, F/MI-c, Sl/LI-s, S/LI-s, F/LI-c: (Kc)
20.  Garr (LHB): Sl/HA-s, Sl/LA-s, F/HI-s, Sc/MM-c: (Kc)
21.  Millan (RHB): Sl/HA, Sl/MM-s: (F-8)

     How many first pitch fastballs did I throw?

     One.  That was to Mr. Didier with a base runner on first base and nobody out.  I knew that he was going to sacrifice bunt and I wanted him to give me an easy out.

     This means that, with one out and a base runner on second base, I only had to get two of the next four batters out.  Therefore, I could throw whatever pitches I wanted without concern that I would walk three batters and lose the game.  For sure, I was not going to throw any pitches batters could hit hard.

     In addition, I had two three balls, one strike counts and threw screwballs and walked both batters.  It is better to walk batters than throw fastballs they are expecting and could hit hard.

     After getting a ground ball to the first baseman, Colin walked the second batter.  Then, with base runners on first and second bases and no outs, Colin threw a first pitch fastball that the batter hit hard to the wall down the right field line.

     When he threw the first pitch fastball, he gave the batter a chance to hit the baseball hard and he did.  Colin deserved the loss.

     In 2000, Jeff Sparks was pitching for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.  He was pitching well.

     Then, Jeff received a meaningful opportunity to show that he could be a quality major league baseball pitcher.

     Jeff started the ninth inning in a game in Anaheim, CA with the score tied.

     Unfortunately, Jeff threw a fastball in a fastball count and gave up the home run that lost the game.

     Jeff never got another meaningful opportunity to show that he could be a quality major league baseball pitcher.

     When the Cardinals invited Joe Williams to extended spring training, during his two weeks in camp, Joe pitched in eight games, struck out a bunch and gave up few hits.

     When the Cardinals sent him to their Double-A team, Joe gave up two home runs on fastballs in fastball counts, one in his first game and the other in his fourth and last game.  Therefore, by not following my advice, Joe wasted the only meaningful opportunity that he would ever get to show that he could be a quality major league baseball pitcher.

     As far as I am concerned, Jeff and Joe got what they deserved.

     Other than these experiences, the best evidence that I can provide about not throwing fastballs in fastball counts is the win-loss percentage of the greatest fastball pitcher in the history of baseball, who holds the lifetime strikeout record and pitched the most no-hitters in the history of baseball.

     If you look up Nolan Ryan's major league lifetime win-loss percentage, then you will learn how challenging batters with fastballs in fastball counts loses games.

     When Colin learns to throw his Maxline Pronation Curve for strikes, then he will get another meaningful opportunity to show that he could be a quality baseball pitcher.  To do this, Colin needs to read and re-read Question/Answer #139.

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188.  Causes of Pitching Injuries-Part 1

So, you are saying that a pitcher can unnecessarily stress the Teres Minor muscle, but you can't see why the muscle would need to be operated on.

Does that mean that you don't believe it is possible to detach the Teres Minor from the head of the humerus bone in the traditional pitching motion?


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     Yes.  I do not believe that baseball pitchers can tear the attachment of the Teres Minor muscle from the back of the head of the Humerus bone.

     As evidence, I offer the fact that 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches recommend that their baseball pitchers slap their back with their pitching arm.  I have watched 'traditional' baseball pitchers do this without suffering injury.

     Even in my 1967 high-speed fil from the front view, we can see that my pitching arm continues around the glove arm side of my body.

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189.  Self-proclaimed pitching injury prevention wannabee

When I opened your Causes of Pitching Injuries file, this guy's video was one of the other videos associated with your topic.  So, after watching your video, I opened his video.

I’ve been engaged in a back and forth conversation with this “kid,” (he’s 30 yrs old actually, but it’s like talking to a kid) on YouTube the last few days.  He claims to think that he knows how to prevent arm injuries.

I watched his little video on YouTube, and all he does is blabber on about his instructional DVD/CD video, and that you’ll learn everything you need to know from that.  Basically trying to scam people into buying his worthless crap!!

Nevertheless, I felt bored and up for a little fun, so I figured I’d play along with him and pretend like I don’t have a clue about anything related to preventing arm injuries.  Basically, I was trying to get him to tell me the reasons why guys get Tommy John surgery, and why people lose extension range of motion in their elbows.  I even asked if he could personally guarantee 100% that nobody would ever get hurt doing what he told them, and he guaranteed it.  I thought to myself “..This should be good.”

That just set the stage for the bombardment of questions I was getting ready to ask him!  We’ve been sending messages back and forth and he kept mentioning things about if your “hip flexors are tight” that will cause your arm to hurt.  I almost fell off my chair in laughter!  Finally, he gives me this reason.

....He is referring to doctors in the statement below….& referring to some MLB guy he helped …(at least that’s what he said, I don’t believe it thought)

“ ……What they don’t realize is that when the hip flexors and psoas muscle is tighter (since pitching is a one sided sport and most of the time there are imbalances) it will tighten his arm.  Once he (was) doing what I said, everything was cool.  He throws 97-100mph.  The psoas is the only tendon muscle that connects from the hip and ends up the whole spine into the neck and shoulder.  When that gets tight it tightens the whole side of the pitcher throwing him off.  When you learn this stuff you will find out a lot more.  See I have studied this.  I don’t mind helping you but I discern you're hard to deal with…..”

I looked up that Psoas Major and Minor muscles, and nowhere did I find any place where it originates or inserts anywhere into the neck or shoulder.  Those muscles help to flex and laterally rotates the thigh at your hip, and helps flex your torso.  I kept asking him what or how these muscles have anything to do with why somebody would injure their arm, and his best response was that “…He’s studied this stuff…..”  And that I “need to research more about the hips and soon I will find the truth about arm injuries”

The only muscle that I can even think of that would make sense, where it attaches near your hip, and shoulder would be your Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

I felt inclined to tell him the real reasons for those injuries, but then I realized after what he just told me that, I don’t want his brain to explode with too much information.  Therefore, I corrected his kindergarten Anatomy Lesson he tried to give me, with the actual function & location of those muscles (psoas) and told him that he should ask for his money back for his Anatomy lessons he received…

Since I’ve been writing this email to you he has responded with to me with the following

He’s still trying to make sense with this psoas muscle.

“…Not inserting in the shoulder but shifting the alignment causing the arm to feel tight.  (If you) stretch the hips and the arm is looser.  You(r) trying to teach me is like a 9-5 Joe walking into a hospital to perform surgery.

You’re not qualified.  Since you know so much how come you're not doing anything but watching videos asking me questions while I actually bring results around the world.  I know exactly what I’m talking about compared to you just copying and pasting something from the internet.

I messed up on a term.  But, I work with the NY Yankees and Giants trainers.  And believe me we know a lot more than you or we wouldn’t be where we are.  You fall into the category of people I talk about in my book that thinks they have a degree in pitching because they watch some videos and take all these doctrines and create their own without any evidence of their teaching.  I know exactly what mechanics cause injury from the arm action.  You're still a rookie…”

If you only knew how long it took me to edit his responses for spelling and grammar.  I feel sorry for the editor who has to proofread his website and had to edit his book, probably spent some long hours on the job.

It’s a shame that these are the people we are dealing with, think they actually know something just because they work with the NY Yankees and SF Giants Trainers.  What do those trainers on those teams know.  Not a thing (besides putting ice in a zip-lock bag, and using some athletic tape, oh and my favorite, telling guys to 'Go Rest!')

It is funny how all his blabbering on trying to explain this crap to me, all originated from me asking him one question.  What is the cause of Tommy John Surgery?  Maybe tomorrow, I’ll get a reasonable answer from this guy, but I won’t hold my breath!


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     What is the difference between this guy and Dr. Glenn Fleisig?  Both do not eliminate pitching injuries, but his guy sounds nuts.

     I look forward to his explanation of Ulnar Collateral Ligament rupturing.

P.S.:  You have too much free time.

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190.  Pronation of all pitches

I am a baseball pitcher of approximately 15 biological years old.

I was just cut from my high school junior varsity team.

If a man of your size could have a successful major league career, then I have hope.

How can I pronate the release of every pitch?

I have watched your Baseball Pitchers Instructional video.  Yet, I do not understand.

Other "professional coaches" that I have asked through e-mail have been unable or unwilling to explain.


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     Until I complete a video on how to master the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion, other than watching the Wrist Weight Training Program section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, the best that I can offer is for you to watch Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video.

     If, by watching that video, you can copy what that baseball pitcher does, then you will learn much more than how to pronate the release of every pitch.

     To learn how to pronate the release of my Maxline Pronation Curve, you need to watch the Football Training Program section.  Throwing the lid correctly will teach you how to pronate the release of my Maxline Pronation Curve.

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191.  Boy left deaf in one ear after line drive
Chicago Sun-Times
December 08, 2010

Jake Schutter lost hearing in one ear after he was hit by a ball.  It was just another Little League game.

The pitcher had just thrown two strikes.  But, when the next pitch was hurled, the batter smashed it and sent a line drive straight into the pitcher.

For 11-year-old Jake Schutter of Mokena, the moment forever changed his life.

Standing on the pitcher’s mound, the ball crashed into the left side of his head.  He dropped to the ground and began to vomit.

He later learned he would be permanently deaf in one ear.  And his family is still unsure of the full extent of cognitive damage the incident caused, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court Tuesday.

Jake’s family blames not the batter, but the bat.  It was an Easton BT265, and most signficantly, it was metal.

In their lawsuit targeting Easton, his family argues that the wildly popular metal bats are designed to send balls off the bat at such great velocity, young players don’t have a chance to react.

Easton would not comment on the lawsuit.

Aluminum bats are the bats of choice for most youth baseball players.  While they can easily cost $300 each, some coaches say they’re more economical than wooden bats that can splinter and need repeated replacement.

The so-called “trampoline effect” of a metal bat that sends the ball sailing and makes them so popular is the very reason the family’s lawyer, Antonio M. Romanucci, says they’re dangerous.

“They advertise these bats as hitting balls through cement walls,” says Romanucci, himself a longtime opponent of metal bats.  Romanucci unsuccessfully pushed the Chicago City Council in 2009 to outlaw the use of metal bats.  “They have tremendous exit speed.  These bats are being put in the hands of some kids who are strong.”

Because kids vary in size so much in their developing years, it puts smaller athletes in harm’s way, Romanucci argues.

He says New York City and other states have banned them and wants Illinois to do the same.  The family plans a news conference today to discuss the issue, which has long been controversial in Illinois and across the country.  Jake played for the Mokena Blaze and was injured in a game in May.

Longtime baseball coach Steve Libman, who coaches the Glenview Blaze, an elite baseball organization, said he’s seen manufacturers work to dampen that trampoline effect over the years.  He says he’s not sure wooden bats are much safer when compared to metal bats.

“When a good batter hits a ball and hits it off the sweet spot, you’re going to get the same kind of injury to the pitcher,” Libman said.  Practically speaking, he says, wooden bats are too heavy for young kids to swing and the balls don’t go anywhere.

“It takes a lot of excitement and scoring out of the game and I’m not sure you can tie the metal bats to safety,” he said.

The Illinois High School Association and NCAA have approved metal bats, he said.  “If you think about the amount of pitches that are thrown in the United States, in the Dominican, overseas, in every age group and you see the injuries, your chances of getting hit by lightning are greater.”


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     Wow.  Talk about your metal bat apologist.

     If we could legislate against lightning strikes, then we should do so.

     Mr. Libman needs a batted baseball to hit him in the ear.  The word is empathy.

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192.  16-year-old catcher dies after pitch hits chest protector
CNN.com
December 08, 2010

Authorities were examining the chest protector and awaiting the autopsy results Wednesday of a 16-year-old baseball catcher who collapsed and died last week after being hit in the chest by a pitch during an after-school practice in Paterson, New Jersey, police said.

Thomas Adams, 16, was practicing indoors in the gym of Blessed Sacrament School when he was struck by a pitch, stood up and said, "I can't breathe," authorities said.

"It's an M.E.'s [Medical Examiner's] case now," said Paterson Police Lt. Ronald Humphrey.  "There appears to be nothing suspicious."

Police Capt. Heriberto Rodriguez said Wednesday afternoon that the boy was practicing in a league that attracts youths from different nearby towns.  Adams didn't attend the school, and the youths were practicing indoors to stay warm, Rodriguez said.

"We don't see anything remotely illegal on this," Rodriguez said.  "It just happens to be a freak accident."

The medical examiner will be examining the boy's heart and possibly taking toxicology tests, authorities said.

The boy had been dropped off for baseball practice by his father at 6:15 p.m. last Friday, police said.

Experts say such accidents do occur in prep sports, but it's critical that practice sites have first aid equipment on the scene.  It was unclear whether the school had a defibrillator nearby and whether such equipment could have helped the boy, authorities said.

"It's unfortunate.  Bottom line is, these things do happen," said Jon Almquist, spokesperson for National Athletic Trainers' Association.

Parents need to know that kids are going to get hurt playing sports, but it's prudent that an organized team or league should have "all their ducks in a row" by having emergency care equipment present, Almquist said.

Dr. Jon Drezner, an associate professor of family medicine at the University of Washington and team physician for pro football's Seattle Seahawks, said blunt trauma to a child's chest can send the heart into an abnormal rhythm.

"The other side of prevention is awareness.  Parents of children who are at risk, baseball, softball, hockey and lacrosse, they should be aware [of such trauma] so in the unlikely circumstance someone collapses, they begin immediate CPR with chest compressions," Drezner said.

"Begin a response as if this is worst case scenario," Drezner said.  "Do we have defibrillators?  At the college level, this is standard."


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     What about suing the makers of chest protectors?  Clearly, this chest protector did not protect this young man.

     I am sure that we can make a chest protector that absorbs the force of a baseball sufficiently not to send the heart into an abnormal rhythm.

     I would recommend that they place tumbling mat material in the area of the chest protector over the heart.

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193.  Too Many Pitches Strike out Youth Athletes Early
ScienceDaily.com
February 02, 2011

For years, sports medicine professionals have talked about youth pitching injuries and the stress the motion causes on developing bones and muscles.  In a new, 10-year study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Sports Medicine, researchers showed that participants who pitched more than 100 innings in a year were 3.5 times more likely to be injured.

"The study proved a direct link between innings pitched in youth and adolescent baseball and serious pitching injuries.  It highlights the need for parents and coaches to monitor the amount of pitching for the long-term success and health of these young athletes.  We need to all work together to end the epidemic of youth sports injuries, and education through campaigns like STOP Sports Injuries is in excellent first step," said lead researcher, Glenn S. Fleisig, PhD, of the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, Alabama.

The study followed 481 pitchers for 10-years (1999-2008).  All were healthy, active youth (aged 9 to 14 years) baseball pitchers at the beginning of the study.  Every year each participant was asked whether he played baseball in the previous 12 months and if so what positions, how many innings pitched, what types of pitches he threw, for what teams (spring, summer, fall, winter), and if he participated in baseball showcases.  Each player was also asked every year if he had an elbow or shoulder injury that led to surgery or retirement from baseball.

During the 10-year span, five percent of the pitchers suffered a serious injury resulting in surgery or retirement.  Two of the boys in the study had surgery before their 13th birthday.  Only 2.2 percent were still pitching by the 10th year of the study.

"It is a tough balancing act for adults to give their young athletes as much opportunity as possible to develop skills and strength without exposing them to increased risk of overuse injury.  Based on this study, we recommend that pitchers in high school and younger pitch no more than 100 innings in competition in any calendar year.  Some pitchers need to be limited even more, as no pitcher should continue to pitch when fatigued," said Fleisig.

The study also looked at the trend of playing pitcher and catcher in the same game, which did appear to double or triple a player's risk of injury but the trend was not statistically significant.  The study also could not determine if starting curveballs before age 13 increases the risk of injury.


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     Once again, with his questionnaire research methodology, Dr. Glenn Fleisig has muddied the water.  Questionnaire research might have some value in Sociological study, but not in science.

     This study did not prove a direct link between innings pitched in youth and adolescent baseball and serious pitching injuries.

     The question is:  Do youth baseball pitchers that pitch less than 100 innings in a year injure themselves?

     The answer is, 'Yes.'

     Therefore, the number of innings youth baseball pitchers pitch in a year is not a direct link.

     To find the direct link for pitching injuries, scientific researchers, which Dr. Fleisig is not, have to collect scientific data.

     To do this, scientists have to investigate the cause of every pitching injury that youth baseball pitchers in their research study suffer.

     481 youth baseball pitchers participated in this study.  If Dr. Fleisig used those questionnaires to identify the injured youth baseball pitchers, then asked those pitchers to come in for X-rays, MRIs and high-speed filming.  Then, Dr. Fleisig could look for the direct cause of pitching injuries.

     In 1965, Dr. Joel Adams use X-rays to investigate the changes in the bones in the glove and pitching arms as a result of youth baseball pitching.  That was scientific research

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194.  Misguided Public Perception on What Tommy John Surgery Can Do Apparent in New Study
ScienceDaily.com
February 19, 2011

Despite known risks and outcomes of the common elbow procedure known as Tommy John surgery, parents, coaches and players still have incorrect assumptions regarding player performance, say researchers presenting their study at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's Specialty Day in San Diego, CA on February 19th.

"Despite the recognized risk of pitch type and amount of pitches, nearly a third of those we surveyed did not believe pitch counts were a risk factor for injury.  Even more disturbing was that fact that a quarter of players and coaches thought that a pitcher's performance could be enhanced by having a Tommy John surgery," said lead author of the study, Christopher S. Ahmad, MD of Columbia University's, Center for Shoulder, Elbow and Sports Medicine.

During the spring of 2010, researchers surveyed 189 players, 15 coaches and 31 parents through either one-on-one interviews or a mail-in questionnaire.

1.  An alarming 51% of high school athletes believed surgery should be performed in the absence of injury with the sole intention to improve performance.

2.  Thirty-one percent of coaches did not relate pitch type with injury risk.

3.  Twenty-eight percent of players did not relate pitch type with injury risk.

4.  Twenty-five percent of parents did not relate pitch type with injury risk.

5.  Thirty-one percent of coaches did not believe that the number of pitches thrown was a risk factor for injury to the elbow ligament.

6.  A substantial percentage also believed that control and velocity of pitches would be improved by having a Tommy John Surgery performed.

The study also determined that individuals from each group underestimated the time required to return to competition at nine months.  (Typical return-to-play is a year).

In addition, identification of the surgical details of repairing the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) and rehabilitation needs were poor among all the groups surveyed.

"Recent studies suggest an alarming rise in UCL injuries in young players, with the implementation of breaking pitches at an early age, fatigue, overuse, showcases and single sport specialization being the key aspects of injury rate increases.

While this is the first study to analyze public misperceptions related to elbow UCL injury, several other organizations are working to increase the awareness of overuse injuries and help prevent injuries, including the STOP Sports Injuries campaign and USA Baseball.

Our research supports their efforts and we advocate with them to correct these public misperceptions," said Ahmad.


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     Oh boy, we have another questionnaire pseudo-scientific research study.

     They sent questionnaires to 189 players (what ages), 15 coaches (at what level) and 31 parents.

     If they had sent the same questionnaire to major league general managers, the orthopedic surgeons associated with major league teams and the athletic trainers that work for major league teams, the percent of ignorance would have been much higher.

     But, these guys have the perfect excuse.  They get their information directly from Dr. James Andrews and Dr. Glenn Fleisig.

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195.  This is your stats guy, Brad Sullivan.

Since four years should be more than enough time to develop and injury-proof pitchers using your training methods, I thought I would look at the 17 pitchers drafted in the first round of the 2007 draft.

Four have already had Tommy John surgeries.  Another missed an entire year with shoulder trouble>

01.  David Price:  1st pick in the draft.  In a 2008 spring training game, he had elbow tightness, but he has not suffered any injury.

02.  Daniel Moskos:  4th pick in the draft.  In 2007, he pitched relief.  In 2008 and 2009, he started and won half of his decisions.  In 2010, he pitched relief.  In Double-A, he was impressive.  But, after they promoted him to Triple-A, he was terrible.

03.  Ross Detwiler:  6th pick in the draft.  In 2010, hip injuries caused him to miss 99 games.

04.  Casey Weathers:  8th pick in the draft.  When pitching in the 2008 Arizona Fall League, he ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

05.  Jarrod Parker:  9th pick in the draft. Had Tommy John surgery after blowing out his arm on July 30, 2009. 06.  Madison Bumgarner:  10th pick in the draft.  After averaging 140 innings in 2008 and 2009, in 2010, he pitched a combined 214 1/3 innings.  He has not suffered any pitching injury.

07.  Phillipe Aumont:  11th pick in the draft.  In 2008, a sore elbow caused him to miss over a month.  In 2009, he pitched relief, but broke his hand punching a wall when he blew a save opportunity.  In 2010, he started.  Bur, in 2011, he will again pitch relief.

08.  Blake Beavan:  17th pick in the draft.  In March 2008, a line drive injured an ankle.  Otherwise, he has avoided injury.

09.  Joe Savery:  19th pick in the draft.  After four seasons with a 28-31 record, including 1-12 in 2010, he will try to place first base.

10.  Chris Withrow:  20th pick in the draft.  In 2008, he cut his index finger prior to spring training, missed time, came back and had elbow problems for much of the year.  Since then, in 49 starts and 52 appearances, he won 12 of 29 decisions with a 5.29 ERA and averaged less than five innings per outing.


11.  Tim Alderson:  22nd pick in the draft.  During this off-season, his high school coach told him, "You were a better pitcher when you were a freshman in high school."

12.  Nick Schmidt:  23rd pick in the draft.  In 2007, after pitching seven innings of minor league game, he had Tommy John surgery.

13.  Michael Main:  24th pick in the draft.  In 2008, he had two stress fractures in his ribs.  He was 0-3 in Double-A with a 13.83 ERA.  He averages less than five innings per start.

14.  Aaron Poreda:  25th pick in the draft.  In 2001, he sissed a month with a "tender arm."  Since then, he has remained healthy.

15.  James Simmons:  26th pick in the draft.  He missed all of 2010 with shoulder troubles.  At mid-season, he had "cleanup" surgery.

16.  Rick Porcello:  27th pick in the draft.  In 2009, with a 14-9 win/loss record, he had an impressive rookie season.  In spring training 2010, he left his last spring training start last year with shoulder stiffness.  In 2010 regular season, he had a 10-12 recored where his ERA increased by a run.  Also in 2010, he was hit by two line drives in a game against the Dodgers, but was able to avoid another line drive in the same game.

17.  Andrew Brackman:  30th pick in the draft.  The Yankees drafted him even though they knew that he would need Tommy John surgery.  In his two lower minor league seasons, he is 12-23 record with a 4.77 ERA.

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     I do not watch major league baseball enough to know how many of these guys pitched major league baseball.

     Because I live near Tampa, FL, I know that David Price has done very well.

     You mentioned that Mr. Detwhiler pitched for the Nationals and that Mr. Porcello pitched against the Dodgers.

     Do any of the other fourteen show signs of becoming a quality major league pitcher?

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196.  Rangers’ Webb making progress with arm strength
Associated Press
February 24, 2011

SURPRISE, AZ: Brandon Webb is making progress for the Texas Rangers.  Manager Ron Washington says Webb threw 60-65 pitches off flat ground during a 17-minute session Thursday, and that the “ball was coming out of his hand real good.”
The Rangers decided they wanted the right-hander to build up arm strength before getting back on a mound after his short bullpen session during the first workout a week ago.  The former NL Cy Young Award winner hasn’t pitched in a major league game since the 2009 opener for Arizona because of shoulder surgery.

Washington says Webb’s arm strength “is certainly picking up” and that he could throw off a mound Sunday or Monday “if everything keeps progressing.”  Webb is set to throw again Friday.


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     Are you kidding me?

     Mr. Webb last competitively pitched on opening day in 2009.  In the twenty-two months over 660 days, Mr. Webb never bothered to work on strengthening his pitching arm.

     Had he trained with me, he would be throwing thirty pound wrist weights and fifteen pound balls without drawing a deep breath.  He would also be able to throw 120 pitches at his maximum release velocity every day.

     These ignorant orthopedic surgeons and athletic trainers are ruining baseball pitching.

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197.  Slimmer CC feels difference in energy level
MLB.com
February 24, 2011

TAMPA, FL:  Even the early-morning workouts are a little less taxing now for CC Sabathia, who showcased his more svelte form in a batting practice session on Thursday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.  Now 25 pounds lighter thanks to an exercise and diet regimen that included giving up boxes of his beloved Cap'n Crunch cereal, Sabathia threw to hitters and said that his winter weight loss has boosted his energy level on the mound.

"In years past, I would get a little gassed in my bullpens once I got 30 to 40 pitches in, but I felt pretty good," Sabathia said.  "I was able to keep my mechanics together and work on stuff that I need to work on."

The Yankees' ace threw in front of a group that included manager Joe Girardi, pitching coach Larry Rothschild and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, a spring instructor with the club.  "CC is not a guy that's really had a problem [with] distance, but improved stamina can help the consistency of your stuff," Girardi said.

Sabathia said that the weight loss was the result of his desire to take pressure off a surgically repaired right knee.  While the quality of his pitches don't feel like they've changed, he may be prepared for the season more quickly.


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     If Mr. Sabathia wants to take the pressure off his surgically repaired pitching knee, then he needs to turn his pitching foot to at least forty-five degrees toward home plate and push off the pitching rubber with the front of his pitching foot.

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198.  Tight left elbow shuts down Doubront
MLB.com
February 24, 2011

FORT MYERS, FL:  The Red Sox will put the brakes on Felix Doubront for a bit, as the left-hander has been experiencing some tightness in his throwing elbow.  "Doubront has exhibited a little bit of a tight elbow, which he has had in the past," said manager Terry Francona.  "We're going to take a little bit of a cautious approach and shut him down for 10 days to two weeks.  You won't see him out there for the near future."


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     At his present level of fitness, Mr. Doubront cannot withstand the stress of throwing the baseball.  After they shut him down for ten to fourteen days, he will need fifteen to twenty-one days of training to get back to his present level of inadequate fitness.

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199.  Acta stressing aggressiveness on basepaths
MLB.com
February 24, 2011

GOODYEAR, AZ:  Indians manager Manny Acta wants his club to gain a reputation for being aggressive on the basepaths.  It is an area of emphasis this spring and one in which Acta hopes to see great improvement in the season ahead.  "Once you get the rep, then you put some pressure on the defense," Acta said.  "The defense changes. The outfielders rush to balls and sometimes rush into mistakes.  We're pushing the guys to play the game that way."

Acta stressed that stealing bases is not the only way to get better in that regard.  The manager noted that the team needs to get better as a whole at taking an extra base, whether that means advancing from first to third on a hit or stretching a single into a double.

In the second inning of Thursday's intrasquad game at Goodyear Ballpark, Indians first baseman Matt LaPorta drilled a ball to left field for what could have been a single. Instead, LaPorta hustled around first and slid ahead of the throw at second for a double.  "He's heard enough in five days about that," Acta said with a grin.

Acta wants to see more plays like that this season.  "We did some good things swinging the bat and running the bases," Acta said of Thursday's game.  "We moved guys over and took the extra bases, which is something that we're emphasizing this year in camp.  "We got in the middle of the pack last year in our base-running and our goal is to continue to get better and push, push, push until we can put some pressure on other people.  We just want to be aggressive and smart."


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     To steal bases, base runners have to get from first base to second base in 3.4 seconds or better.  How many guys in the top ten on base percentages can run that fast?

     Therefore, the only way to aggressively run bases is to have baseball batters that do not strikeout or hit fly balls.

     Then, in fastball counts, managers can put their base runners in motion and not worry about strike outs and throw outs or fly balls and go backs.

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200.  Shields tweaks mechanics in hopes of rebound
MLB.com
February 24, 2011

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL:  Looking back at 2010 isn't something James Shields does to build self-esteem.  The 29-year-old entered the season as the Rays' No. 1 starter, and he limped home maligned by Tampa Bay fans.  Particularly disturbing were the months of June and September, when he had ERAs of 7.67 and 7.00, respectively.  And there were the home runs, 34 in 203 1/3 innings.  All of it added up to a 13-15 mark with a 5.18 ERA, giving the right-hander his most disappointing season since making the jump to the Major Leagues in 2006.

So how does Shields approach what he sees in the rearview mirror?  "You look back at last year and forget about it, that's over with," he said.  "You obviously try to make adjustments to fix what you might have done wrong and try to implement those adjustments in Spring Training so that you can start the season off strong.  I had great off-season workouts and my body feels tremendous now.  I just need to move forward.  I feel really good."

In essence, the biggest part of the problem was the home runs.  "I think more or less my ball was up," Shields said.  "Most of the home runs were balls that were up.  My mechanics weren't as flawless as I wanted them to be, and I wasn't able to execute my pitches when I needed to."

Picking apart his mechanics, Shields pinpointed that falling off the mound during his delivery and landing on the outside of his plant foot contributed to the ball arriving high and fat.  Thus, he incorporated some different things during his off-season workouts to address his mechanics.  "I implemented a little more of the biomechanics of my pitching and just really worked on the strength of my core and the stability of my legs," Shields said.  "I think that's going to help out a lot."

Shields' toolbox is equipped with a four-seam fastball, changeup, cutter, curveball and a two-seamer.  He isn't concerned about the number of pitches he uses.  "I don't think you can ever have too many pitches, particularly with the way the American League East is winding up right now," Shields said.  "As long as you're efficient and you throw the pitches at the right time, you'll be OK."

Thus, locking in his mechanics, making sure he has the right arm slot and being able to repeat his delivery will be the focus of Shields' work this spring. Manager Joe Maddon believes Shields will bounce back in a positive direction this season.  "I really think he's a very good bet," said Maddon.  "If you look at those numbers last year, here's a guy who did pitch with some bad luck.  I know [executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman] has related to me different things that we researched that he did have some bad luck.  The home run was not bad luck, that was on him, but if you look at his strikeouts, 187 strikeouts, almost a strikeout an inning, that's pretty good.

"I really believe he's going to have a big bounce here.  He's motivated.  He's well.  He's been successful before.  He's maturing as a pitcher, too.  He understands himself better, he's got a variety of pitches and he's learning how to utilize all of them.  I really have a lot of faith in him going into this season."

Part of the equation for Shields coming back strong will be determined by how easily he can put last year behind him.  The fans rode Shields hard in 2010, which can work on a player's psyche.  Maddon believes Shields is strong enough mentally to move forward.  "I really think he's mentally tough enough to get past all of that," Maddon said.  "I just see him very focused and motivated right now.  He normally clowns around a little bit, but I can see his work as being definitely geared to a higher level right now.  He's always been a great worker, always."

Shields allowed that 2010 was tough to deal with, but he has resolve about the future.  "I've been around a little while," Shields said.  "This is my 11th professional season since I got drafted, and you're going to have some ups and downs in your career.  If that's going to be the down of my career, I'm fine with that.

"Every year you have something to prove, no matter if you're David Price last year, second in the [AL] Cy Young [Award] voting.  You always have something to get better on.  I remember a long time ago, there was a quote that said, 'You're always learning, and the time when you stop learning, you're retired.'"

Maddon holds a high opinion of Shields, noting that Shields was the guy who brought a work ethic to his pitching staff.  "I just believe he's going to try and fix what went wrong last year, and I think he will," Maddon said.  "I truly believe you're going to see a lot better version of him this year."


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     Mr. Shields said that he 'really worked on the strength of his core and the stability of his legs.'  His core strength and leg stability will not improve giving up a home run every six innings.

     Mr. Shields throws a four-seam fastball, changeup, cutter, curveball and a two-seamer.

     What does Mr. Shields do differently with his two-seamer than with his four-seamer?  Do these two pitches move to opposite sides of home plate or to the same side of home plate?  Because Mr. Shields also throws a cutter, I assume that his two fastballs move to the pitching arm side of home plate.

     That means that Mr. Shields cannot throw a fastball to the glove arm side of home plate.  Glove side pull hitters must like Mr. Shields.

     With no slider, pitching arm side pull hitters must also like Mr. Shields.

     Since pull hitters hit the most home runs, I understand why Mr. Shields gives up so many home runs.

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201.  Outman delivers positive intrasquad outing
MLB.com
February 24, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ:  Before undergoing Tommy John surgery in June of 2009, lefty Josh Outman sported stirrups and a hard-throwing presence with solid secondary stuff and excellent command.  Nearly two years and several setbacks later, on a warm day in the confines of Phoenix Municipal Stadium, all of the above were finally present again.  Well, almost all of the above.

"I hadn't done this in so long that they forgot to get me stirrups," a smiling Outman said following a 20-pitch intrasquad outing.  Outman settled on long, yellow, green-striped socks, "Like the ones you wear in Little League," he noted, and proceeded to allow just one hit, a Coco Crisp single up the middle, during his 20-pitch affair.

"After everything he's been through, it's good to see him do that," A's manager Bob Geren said.  "His velocity was pretty good, and he had a pretty good changeup."

Outman reached 92 on the radar gun five times and was admittedly throwing at a 90 percent exertion level.  Reaching the 100 percent level, he explained, is something he's working toward as spring progresses, mindful of the time-consuming setbacks he endured during his lengthy rehab process over the last two years.

"I'm still trying to feel comfortable letting it all go," he said.  "I'm pitching without pain, but there's still a little bit of hesitation to throw 100 percent.  Finishing pitches, that's something I'm slowly getting used to again."


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     I remember when Mr. Outman draped his pitching arm across the back of his shoulders and pitched from there.  That was how his father prevented injury to his son's Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     However, as soon as the Phillies got ahold of him, they demanded that Mr. Outman used their 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' and all.

     In June 2009, Mr. Outman underwent Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.

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202.  Rockies want to push on basepaths
MLB.com
February 24, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  Rockies manager Jim Tracy has challenged not only his players, but himself, to return to the aggressiveness the team displayed when going to the playoffs in 2009.  In 2009, the Rockies stole 106 bases in 161 attempts.  The team ranked fifth in the National League in successes and actually led the league in being caught.  Last year, the team's stolen-base total dropped to 99, still sixth.  The 42 times they were caught ranked fifth.

But, last season, having fewer players caught stealing actually was a signal of a negative, a lack of aggressiveness.  It showed up in other ways, such as tentativeness on balls hit in play and especially a lack of willingness to advance on pitches in the dirt that don't necessarily elude the catcher.

Tracy called the willingness to push 90 feet a "separator for our club in 2009."  Tracy began that year as bench coach under Clint Hurdle, now the Pirates' manager.  Hurdle asked Tracy to implement his program for having runners take off on balls in the dirt.  Tracy said the only way it could work is if players aren't chewed out for being thrown out.

Tracy said last year he and the staff didn't drive the message home effectively.  Then, because the team hit .226 on the road, a feeling set in that if a runner were thrown out, there might not be another.  "I'm the one that's held accountable for that, and I take full responsibility for that," Tracy said.


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     Advancing on pitches that hit in the dirt depends on whether the catcher goes to his knees.

     The key is to not start moving toward the next base to fast.  However, when base runners recognize that the pitch will be in the dirt, they have to side hop toward the next base, such that when they see the catcher go to his knees, they can turn and sprint to the next base.

     If they do not have the center of mass of their body moving toward the next base when the catcher goes to his knees, then they cannot advance.

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203.  Cards add two pitchers to Major League camp
MLB.com
February 25, 2011

JUPITER, FL:  Adam Wainwright's elbow injury and subsequent surgery will have some far-reaching consequences on the Cardinals' starting rotation, and perhaps the bullpen as well.  However, Wainwright's situation also has some more immediate implications.

For the early part of Spring Training, the Cardinals simply need bodies. Wainwright was slotted to throw a certain number of innings in the early games of Grapefruit League play, and someone now needs to throw those.  As a result, the club added two pitchers to Major League camp on Thursday.

"We have innings to cover, so we asked the [Minor League staff]," manager Tony La Russa said.  "There's a minicamp starting Saturday and we asked them to look at who was readiest, and it turns out both those guys have been throwing a lot.  So we're going to eyeball them and then see when we can safely play them in a game, and if we can, we will.  We need the innings covered."


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     In 2004, Mr. Wainwright ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Mr. Carpenter has ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament twice.  Did the Cardinals not understand that the odds were that Mr. Wainwright would rupture his Ulnar Collateral replacement ligament?

     Because I told them, I know that they knew the odds.  But then, what do I know?  They have a sabermetrics expert on their payroll.

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204.  Shoulder soreness delays Padres' Thatcher
MLB.com
February 25, 2011

PEORIA, AZ:  Padres reliever Joe Thatcher, who last season was one of the top left-handed specialists in the National League, has developed soreness in the back of his left shoulder and will miss at least his first scheduled Cactus League appearance on Monday.  "We're going to slow him down just a touch," Padres manager Bud Black said.  "Better safe than sorry."

Thatcher said on Friday that he would likely back off throwing for the foreseeable future.  "It's bothering me again in the same spot," Thatcher said.  Thatcher said it's the same area that affected him a year ago during Spring Training, an injury that was termed a shoulder strain.  He was limited to only two innings of work last spring because of the injury.

Thatcher subsequently began the regular season on the disabled list before joining the Padres on April 22 upon completing a rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Portland.  In 2010, Thatcher had a 1.29 ERA in 65 games.


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     A suggestion.

     Last year, Mr. Thatcher started the regular season on the disabled list, but, after a rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Portland, joined the major league team on April 22.

     Therefore, let's back date the same appropriate of days, such that Mr. Thatcher can be on the disabled list the same number of days as last year, complete a rehabilitation stint with Triple-A Portland during spring training and join the major league team on opening day.

     I am not kidding.  When some guys train with major league teams, they try so hard that they injure themselves.  However, when they train with minor league teams, they get ready without injuring themselves.

     Wait and see if some major league pitchers go down in the first month of the season and some minor league guys will come up and be ready to go.  It happens all the time.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, March 06, 2011, I posted the following questions and answers.

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205.  Stiff front leg

How do you convince a coach that he should not pitch off a stiff front leg, but you should only hit off a stiff front leg.


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     You need to tell the coach to watch my Causes of Pitching Injuries videos.

     After he watches those videos, you need to tell him that, when he teaches baseball pitchers to stride so far that they cannot continue to move the center of mass of their body forward through release, he is knowingly injuring their glove knee, their pitching knee and their lower back.

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206.  Conversation with a father of 15 year old you are training

I am from the northeast.  While on vacation near Tampa, FL, I met a father of a 15 year old pitcher you are training.  We had a great conversation about you and your style of pitching among other things.

I also have a 15 year old son who pitches and a 9 year old son.  I’ve been coaching my kid's teams for about 8 years and I’m very curious to find out more ways to teach, not only my kids, but pass it on to others.

The one thing that always worries a parent/coach is having a child get injured while pitching.  Let me know the best way to pass this info onto the kids.

My son would love to throw curve balls on every pitch, if I would let him, but it’s not the best thing for his arm.  He has a good fastball and an okay change-up.

I try to have him place his fastballs all over the strike zone and outside to keep the hitters guessing.  He throws his curveball at anytime in the count and has no problem throwing it even on a 2-0 or 3-0 counts.

He had about 4-5 complete games last year (7 innings) and would throw in consecutive games or days if needed.  I’m not saying he’s unbelievable or anything like that, but I think he has the size, ability, confidence and willingness to at least get a scholarship for college in a few years, if he doesn’t get hurt!

What can I do for him now?


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01.  We need to know the biological ages of your sons.

      For research purposes, I prefer that the X-rays be taken within one week of their birthdays.  However, to see where they are before this season starts, as soon as possible is okay.

     We need front and side view X-rays of their glove and pitching arm from mid-forearm to mid-upper arm.  Send copies to me and I will determine their biological ages and whether their growth plates have suffered any damage, especially to your fifteen year old son's olecranon fossa and coronoid process.

02.  We need to teach them how to correctly perform the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     After I finish my Eliminate Pitching Injuries video, Half Reverse Pivot drill video, Pick-Offs video and Baseball Batting Instructional video, I plan to make my Four Drills that Teach the Skills video.

     Until then, you should use the Wrist Weight Training section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional video to teach the drills that teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     I expect that your fifteen year old son will refuse to complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program before he pitches competitively this year.  Therefore, to prevent further damages to his pitching elbow, you can try to teach him how to throw my Maxline Fastball Sinker and Maxline Pronation Curve pitches.

     You can find the descriptions of their grips, drives and releases in the Baseball Training section.

     Then, during his off-season, he should complete my 120-Day program.

     With your nine year old, until he is biologically thirteen years old, I strongly recommend that he does not pitch competitively at all.  Instead, every year until he is biologically thirteen years old, I recommend that he complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

     In addition, you and your sons need to watch my Causes of Pitching Injuries and Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion videos.

     On my website, drmikemarshall.com, without charge, I provide my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and other video files for visitors to watch, my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, Question/Answer files and other text files for visitors to read and my Baseball Pitchers Training Programs for visitors to copy and complete.

     If you have any questions, then please email me.

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207.  This is your stats guy, Brad Sullivan

To answer Question #195, here is the breakdown of the pitchers listed by the highest level they've reached:

1.  Reached majors (5): David Price, Ross Detwiler, Madison Bumgarner, Rick Porcello, Aaron Poreda

2.  Reached AAA (4): Daniel Moskos, Blake Beavan, Joe Savery, James Simmons

3.  Reached AA (7): Casey Weathers, Jarrod Parker, Phillipe Aumont, Chris Withrow, Tim Alderson, Michael Main, Andrew Brackman

4.  Reached A (full season) (1): Nick Schmidt

5.  Weathers, Parker, Schmidt and Brackman have already had Tommy John Surgery.

6.  Savery has switched to first base after failing as a pro pitcher.

7.  Detwiler missed more than half the 2010 season with hip problems.

8.  Bumgarner is being watched this year after pitching 214.3 innings in 2010.

9.  Simmons missed all of last year with shoulder troubles.

As far as whether any of the 17 pitchers listed will become quality pitchers, my guess would be that Price, Porcello and Bumgarner would be the top group of candidates, and, if Parker returns from TJS, he is still considered a top prospect.

Brackman supposedly improved during the latter part of last season, while Detwiler has been average thus far with the Nationals.

Aumont has been shifted between starter and reliever in each of the last four seasons, but could excel if they quit bouncing him back and forth.

Thus, as many as seven of the 17 first rounders from 2007 MIGHT turn out to be quality pitchers, but only three of them have shown success in the majors thus far.


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     As always, you have provided very valuable information.

     For example, paraphrased, you said, 'After four years of professional baseball, four required Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery and only three of the very best amateur baseball pitchers are able to have success pitching major league baseball.'

     As I will show in my Eliminate Pitching Injuries video, if all baseball pitchers would take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball, no baseball pitcher will ever ruptured their Ulnar Collateral Ligament again.

     That I have explained this for over the last decade and the rate of Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgeries continue to escalate shows that 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches do not care that they destroy their baseball pitchers.

     If I were to train the baseball pitchers that one professional organization signed in one year, then they all would become the best, injury-free, highly-skilled baseball pitchers that they can be and, in four years, those that master the strike zone will be quality major league baseball pitchers.

     If, in four years, none of the baseball pitchers I trained did not become major league baseball pitchers, then I would not accept five percent of their salaries, paid by the team, as my compensation.

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208.  Terminal velocity
ESPN The Magazine
Februrary 09, 2011

Out of answers, Tim Alderson chose questions.  Where do you go when there's nowhere to go?  What do you try when you've tried everything?

Alderson decided to go back to the beginning, where everything made sense, where everyone knew who he once was and what he could still be.  He needed, mostly, to escape the cacophony of advice that overlapped and contradicted until it became just an unintelligible hum in his head.  He needed to rid himself of the frustration and helplessness that swarmed around him when his body refused to act as it once did.

The rigors of professional baseball seemed to have drained all his natural athleticism, and he needed to ask one question of a man, maybe the only man, who could provide an answer.

Like much of this story, the path to this question was painful, even heartbreaking. As he stood on the mound last fall at Horizon High in Scottsdale, AZ, a former first-round draft pick who was once handed a bonus check for more than $1 million as down payment on the future of his right arm, he asked his high school coach, Eric Kibler, a simple question:  "Will you be honest with me?"

Coach Kibler said that he would, and Alderson began to throw.

The righthander is a sculptor's idea of a pitcher: 6'6" and 217 pounds, with long limbs and big hands.  According to Kevin Rhoderick, a Horizon teammate and Cubs farmhand, as a high school pitcher, Alderson was "an absolute beast."

Alderson threw as hard as 93 mph, with a big hammer curve and the command of a vet.  The combination caused one scouting report to ask, "Big league closer?"  The Giants selected him 22nd overall in the 2007 draft.  He went 13-4 in his first full year of pro ball and was traded to the Pirates in 2009 straight up for All-Star second baseman Freddy Sanchez.

Coach Kibler was now faced with the task of exhuming that guy.

As Alderson threw, Kibler looked for a reason to believe the solution to Alderson's poor 2010 season, which included a 6.03 ERA and a demotion from Double-A Altoona to Class-A Bradenton, could be found by mining the success of his past.

Alderson was back because he could no longer fool himself.  His 2010 season was not a fluke; it was part of the gradual erosion of his effectiveness and velocity.  His motion, once quirky but fluid, now resembled the movement of an awkward kid learning a complicated dance step.  Runners would be on base, and he'd find himself fretting about the placement of his feet or the height of his leg kick.

"I couldn't even play catch without feeling uncomfortable," he says.

And, on those occasions when he threw a pitch that felt pretty good, he'd steal a glance at the radar-gun reading and see "84" cackling down at him.

Sadly, Alderson's situation is not unique.  The path that brought us to him started with a question:  Why do so many of baseball's highly prized young pitchers, free of health problems, lose significant velocity during their first few years in professional baseball?  Madison Bumgarner, Andrew Miller, Brad Lincoln, Rick Porcello, even Tim Lincecum, all lost zip as young pros.  Some have adapted and recovered, some have not.

As a prep star, Alderson cruised at 92-93 mph.  He struggled to reach 87 last year.  "At 86-87, there's no fear in the mind of the hitter," Alderson says.  "At 93, guys have to respect your fastball, so your breaking stuff works better.  It's a whole different mentality."

And so, he came home to throw for the man who always had answers, and Kibler's heart broke a little more with each pitch.  Gone was the explosiveness that had scouts and general managers buzzing four years ago at this very same field.  His fastball had almost no life, and his curveball was flat.

Frustrated, sad, angry, Kibler didn't say much.  Inside, he thought, I know they'll say I'm just a high school coach, but I'll never understand it:  Why do they take the athlete out of the athlete?

Alderson finished his bullpen session.  The look he gave Kibler suggested he knew what was coming.  "The truth?" Kibler asked.  "The truth."  "You were a better pitcher when you were a freshman in high school."

That may seem like rough treatment for a 22-year-old, but Alderson knew he could no longer live in denial.  "It was so hard to go back and throw for Coach Kibler," Alderson says.  "Everything we'd worked for, everything he developed is gone.  It's hard to look at myself and think, I was a better pitcher when I was 15."

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     Since Coach Kibler apparently did not meet Mr. Alderson until Mr. Alderson was fifteen years old, he did not teach Mr. Alderson how to pitch.

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THERE IS NO shortage of theories to explain the lost-velocity trend among young power pitchers.  The reflexive response is to blame increased workload.  Although some college coaches overuse big arms, for the most part, amateur pitchers make one start per week.  In comparison, pro hurlers start once every five days, which compresses recovery time.

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     Unlike professional minor league baseball pitchers, amateur 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not start every five days for 150 games.  However, it is not the increased workload that loses velocity, it is how 'traditional' baseball pitchers apply force to their pitches, that is misuse abuse.

--------------------------------------------------

Pirates minor league pitching coordinator Jim Benedict says physical maturity is the main impediment to Alderson's velocity: "He's heavier now, and the way he threw wasn't going to fit a bigger man.  He had a unique delivery in high school.  It was way away from fundamentals and way away from the foundation we teach.  It wasn't going to work anymore."

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     I do not believe that a 22 year old Mr. Alderson could not throw the same way that Mr. Alderson threw as a fifteen year old.  However, I do believe that his professional baseball pitching coach would not permit him to throw the way he did when he was fifteen.

     Pirates minor league pitching coordiator, Jim Benedict said, "He (Mr. Alderson) had a unique delivery in high school.  It was way away from fundamentals and way away from the foundation we teach.  It wasn't going to work anymore."

     Finally, from the horse's ass, we learn what really happened to Mr. Alderson.  Mr. Benedict dictated how Mr. Alderson should throw.

     As a result, Mr. Alderson suffers from paralysis from analysis.

     Mr. Alderson said it himself, "I couldn't even play catch without feeling uncomfortable."

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Scouts use the term "projectable" to define a body like the young Alderson's, long and slender, with room to grow.  Projectable bodies fill out and get stronger, and the weight and muscle bring a stronger torso and more velocity.  Is it possible that Alderson's projectability could have been so badly misjudged?  Or could it be that professional baseball is behind the times when it comes to training pitchers?

"These organizations have convinced themselves a loss of velocity is normal," says Alan Jaeger, an independent pitching coach who trains some of the biggest arms in pro and amateur baseball.  "It's built into their thinking:  Draft a kid who's throwing 93-94 and assume he's going to be 90-91 after his first year.  I contend he should be 95."

Jaeger's training includes a long-toss program that encourages pitchers to play catch from as far away as 350 feet before "pulling down" to 60 feet.  Perceived by some traditionalists as extreme, Jaeger's methods have gained traction over the past few years with professional organizations.  Jaeger worked with the Rangers' minor leaguers in the Dominican Republic, and the team, led by Nolan Ryan, then extended his program to everyone.  The Rangers' recent success in developing young power arms has earned Jaeger an audience with several big league clubs.

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     I have discussed Mr. Jaeger's program before.

     I agree with Mr. Jaeger that, after even 'traditional' baseball pitchers regularly throwing 350 feet for several months, when baseball pitchers pitch competitively, they maintain and, maybe even, increase their release velocity.

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Most organizations, the Pirates included, employ a structured, one-size-fits-all throwing routine commonly known as the 120 program.  Each day begins the same way, with pitchers lining up next to cones that are 60 feet apart.  They throw for 10 minutes from each of three distances: 60, 90 and 120 feet.  Throws are to be kept on a line to mimic game conditions.  The Pirates adhere to the 120 program, but Benedict says there is room for individualization if a pitcher presents a compelling reason.

Jaeger says it shouldn't matter because the 120 program defies logic:  "It's the baseball equivalent of getting Michael Phelps out of high school or college and then telling him, 'Okay, Michael, here's the deal:  You get to do one 50-meter breaststroke and one 50-meter freestyle.  That's it.'  It makes no sense."

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     Mr. Jaeger's comparison of baseball pitchers throwing baseballs 350 feet and swimmers swimming 50 meters does not work.

     The value of throwing 350 feet is that it forces baseball pitchers to throw at their maximum intensity.

     Likewise, 50 meter swimming events force swimmers to swim at their maximum intensity.

     This means that it is not the distance that strengthens the pitching arm, it is the force application technique and the increased intensity.

     So, why does not Mr. Jaeger tell baseball pitchers to throw as hard as they can at 60 feet?

     The answer is simple.

     When baseball pitchers throw 350 feet, they use the crow-hop body action that enables them to continuously move the center of mass of their body forward through release.

     However, when baseball pitchers throw 60 feet, they use the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion body action, also called the 'balance position' body action that prevents baseball pitchers from continuously moving their center of mass forward through release.

     If Mr. Jaeger taught his long tossers to use the same body action on the pitching mound that they use to throw the baseball 350 feet, then Mr. Jaeger's baseball pitchers would definitely increase their release velocity.

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1.  Alderson threw long toss several times a week in high school.

2.  Miller, a prized lefthander from the University of North Carolina recently signed by the Red Sox as a reclamation project, threw 97 mph and was known for long toss in college.  Last year, he barely topped 90.

3.  And Lincecum, who hit 98 on the radar gun routinely at the University of Washington, credits a return to a long-toss routine for saving his season (and for putting 3-4 mph back on his fastball) after a difficult August.

Critics of extreme distance throwing contend that it puts undue strain on the arm and say the upward arm angle needed to throw a ball 350 feet alters a pitcher's mechanics.  "Believe me, if long toss were the answer, we'd have everybody throwing 500 feet," Benedict says.

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     Really, Mr. Benedict.  Fast-twitch muscle fibers determine how fast baseball pitchers accelerate their pitching arms, not how many times they throw the baseball 350 feet.  Duh.

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But, evidence suggests that rather than being dogmatic about one method over the other, throwing programs should be as individual as the pitchers themselves.

4.  Jaeger disciple Mark Rogers threw 100 mph as a Maine high schooler and was taken by the Brewers with the fifth pick of the 2004 draft.  After two years in the Brewers' 120 system, Rogers had two shoulder surgeries and missed the 2007 and 2008 seasons; after rehabbing and resuming the 120 program, he topped out at 87 mph.

At that point, he consulted the Brewers and asked to be free to resume Jaeger's program.  "After my second surgery, I had to take my career into my own hands," Rogers says.  "To get the most out of my arm, I needed to throw more.  I was lucky the Brewers allowed me to individualize my workouts so I could get back to the highest level."

While the other pitchers in the Brewers organization, along with hundreds of other hurlers throughout baseball, throw from the cones for a time dictated by a stopwatch, Rogers works his way out to more than 300 feet.  Almost two years later, he is once again the Brewers' top prospect and made his major league debut at the end of last season.

In a minor league game, he threw 101 mph.  "I don't know how you gain velocity throwing from 120 feet," Rogers says.  "I know it works for some guys but not me.  You can't push the ball 300 feet.  You have to get extension, use your body and use your legs, all the things that make you a pitcher."

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     As a research scientist, I reject all anecdotal stories.

     Nevertheless, if we assume that the velocities in Mr. Rogers story are true, then this is interesting.

     According to the story:

01.  As a high school baseball pitcher, Mr. Rogers threw 100 mph.

02.  After two years in the Brewers' 120 system, Rogers had two shoulder surgeries and missed the 2007 and 2008 seasons.

03.  After rehabbing and resuming the 120 program, he topped out at 87 mph.

04.  After two years of long tossing over 300 feet, in a minor league game, Mr. Rogers threw 101 mph.

     To give this story merit, I have to see how Mr. Rogers long tosses 300 feet and how he competitively pitches from the pitching mound.

     As I said earlier, even when baseball pitchers use the 'traditional' body action from the pitching mound, but use the crow-hop body action when they long toss, I agree that long tossing maintains and maybe increases release velocity.

     What I have not yet explained is the way to achieve even better results.

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The 120 program is more structured at the minor league level than in the big leagues, and one of its supposed benefits is to preserve the health of valuable young arms.  In the Pirates' case, it appears to have had paradoxical effects.

In a nine-year span (1999 to 2007), the club selected seven pitchers in the first round, and five of them suffered major arm injuries.  In contrast, the Rangers are on record as saying their injuries are down since they adopted Jaeger's program.

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     The Rangers did not say that Mr. Jaeger's long tossing program eliminated all pitching injuries.

     The Rangers said that Mr. Jaeger's long tossing program reduced their pitching injuries are down.

     With regard to Mr. Jaeger's long tossing program, I need to know:

01.  How many Ranger baseball pitchers participated in this program?

02.  How many Ranger baseball pitchers suffered pitching injuries.

03.  What pitching injuries their baseball pitchers suffered.

     Whatever the answers to these questions, it is clear that Mr. Jaeger's long tossing program does not eliminate pitching injuries.

     I suspect that, given enough time, all of Mr. Jaeger's long tossing participants will suffer pitching injuries.

     While long tossing strengthens the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles of the pitching, because of the misuse abuse in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, all 'traditional' baseball pitchers will suffer the injuries that I described in my Causes of Pitching Injuries video.

--------------------------------------------------

There is talk that some agents may discourage 120 teams from drafting their long-tossing clients.  And over the past two years, by Jaeger's estimate, 12 organizations have loosened restrictions and adopted some form of distance throwing.  "For the first time in 20 years, I'm sensing progress," he says.

BACK IN SCOTTSDALE, Alderson spent a good part of the off-season throwing with Rhoderick, another link to his dominant past.  (Alderson has also been playing basketball to regain the athleticism he feels he lost while adhering to Pittsburgh's strict throwing regimen.)  And like Kibler, Rhoderick was on the receiving end of one of Alderson's questions during their first workout:  "Will you tell me what you see?"

The first time they threw, it took Rhoderick fewer than 10 throws to answer the question.  "Dude, it's obvious," he said.  "You're pushing the ball.  Relax and pretend you're throwing darts."

They continued to throw, no cones or stopwatches, and Rhoderick watched as Alderson relaxed and began to resemble the guy he knew in high school as he aired it out.  "I could just tell he's getting back to that stage where he thinks, No one can touch me."

Alderson didn't betray much emotion while throwing, but later that night he called Rhoderick.  He was excited, and it was clear he had something important to tell his friend.  Rhoderick had one thought:  He must have met a new girl.  Instead, a nearly breathless Alderson said, "Dude, I can throw a baseball again."


--------------------------------------------------

     Whoops, there it is.

     "Relax and pretend you're throwing darts."

     When throwing darts, athletes turn their acromial line to point directly at the target, raise their throwing upper arm vertically beside their head, turn the back of their throwing upper arm toward the target and extend their throwing forearm in straight lines toward the target.

     To see how to do this, watch Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video.

     Therefore, to maximally benefit baseball pitchers, the training program that they should use includes:

01.  Learning how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

02.  Learning how to engage their Triceps Brachii muscle to powerfully extend their pitching elbow.

03.  Learning how to engage their Pronator Teres muscle to powerfully pronate their pitching forearm.

     In short, after they master the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers need to:

01.  Do my Half Reverse Pivot throws from 120 feet for my two fastballs and from 60 feet for my curve and screwball.

02.  Do my one step crow-hop body action for their maximum distance fastball throws.

03.  Do my baseball pitching motion that uses the one step crow-hop body rhythm.

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209.  14 year old youth baseball pitcher

First, let me just say the lecture you gave on How Kinesiology Changed My Life broadcast on YouTube is a must see for everyone.  It made so much of your on line information come to life for me.  I recommend everyone watch this.

I am hoping you can help me with a question.  Attached is a link to a video of my son (14) pitching, I am hoping you can review.  One of his coaches took this video which is why there is a red line (apparently their thought is the shoulders should stay parallel more).

14 year old youth baseball pitcher

He has been doing your wrist weight training program for 4 years.  While he never has any elbow or shoulder joint pain or tightness, he does get tightness in his tricep the day after pitching.

1.  I am wondering if you can tell what is causing this “day after” tightness (it is in the biggest/meaty part of the tricep)?

While he does not take the ball out palm up, he does not take the ball past lateral (I watch for this constantly), and pronates at finish.  I am at a loss as to why he gets tricep tightness the day after pitching.

2.  Are you able to tell if it is something in his motion or if he just needs to strengthen this muscle more?


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     In his wind-up, your son turns his pitching foot to parallel with the pitching rubber.  He raises his glove leg above waist high and turns his back about forty-five degrees to the batter.

     Your son does take the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand on top of the baseball.  However, does not have the classical Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.  Instead, he gets the baseball to shoulder height at the same time that his pitching upper arm reaches shoulder height.

     He pendulum swings his pitching arm laterally behind his body.  However, because the camera is about thirty degrees to the first base side of home plate, I cannot see how far.

     When the baseball reaches shoulder height, the palm of his pitching hand still faces downward.  Therefore, to get the palm of his pitching hand facing forward, he has to outwardly rotate his pitching upper arm and supinate his pitching forearm.

     He strides short and closed, which prevents his hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm from rotating forward.

     He dramatically leans his shoulders to the glove side of his body.  At release, his head is horizontal, his pitching arm is slightly outside of vertical and his pitching foot is very close to the pitching rubber.

     Because he does not turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate, he uses his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching arm forward.

     Because I cannot see how far laterally behind his body your son takes his pitching upper arm, I cannot determine how far laterally he has to pull his pitching upper arm.

     However, because he leans his shoulders so dramatically to his glove side, he does minimize the amount of sideways force he has to overcome.

     Without 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' your son probably does not have 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'  Therefore, I doubt that he is injuring his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     How far laterally behind his body that he takes his pitching arm and the amount of sideways force he generates to return his pitching arm to the pitching arm side of his body determines whether he has 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'

     If your son has 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' then, to prevent the bones on the back of his pitching elbow from slamming together, a spinal cord reflex contracts his Brachialis muscle.

     If your son does not have 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' then he can contract his Triceps Brachii muscle to extend his pitching elbow.

     While not the best view and insufficiently high-speed, I suspect that he is contracting his Triceps Brachii muscle.  If so, then the reason he experiences discomfort in his Triceps Brachii is because he is insufficiently fit to withstand the stress.

     Discomfort in the Triceps Brachii muscle is a good thing.

     Your son needs to do my Half Reverse Pivot drill.  I hope to have my Half Reverse Pivot drill video done immediately after I upload my Eliminate Pitching Injuries video

     If you watch Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video, then you will see that your son does nothing that resembles my baseball pitching motion.

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210.  Subscapularis muscle

What injurious flaw tears the attachment of the Subscapularis muscle?

Is it coiling such that the upper arm goes beyond the acromial line, reverse forearm bounce, or both?


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     With the Pectoralis Major muscle returning the pitching upper arm back to the pitching arm side of the body, even with the pitching upper arm forty-five degrees behind the acromial line, I do not believe that the Subscapularis muscle experiences any stress.

     Therefore, I doubt that any injurious flaw tears the attachment of the Subscapularis muscle.

     Instead, I believe that, abruptly stopping the outward rotation of the pitching upper arm, tears the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle.

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211.  Without having seen your pitching motion, I have to rely on Dr. Glenn Fleisig's measurements of your four pitchers.  The numbers seem to say that you are going beyond over-the-top, inside of the optimal throwing vectors.

The result?  A loss of force and a lower velocity at release.  Also, excessive strain on the stride leg.


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     On the home page of my website, I have my Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video.

     With regard to Dr. Glenn Fleisig's numbers on four of my baseball pitchers:  In my Special Reports file, you need to read, 'My Evaluation of ASMI's Biomechanical Analysis of Four of my Baseball Pitchers.'

     For example, Dr. Fleisig claims that my baseball pitchers outwardly rotate their pitching arms as much as 'traditional' baseball pitchers.  The truth is that not only do my baseball pitchers not outwardly rotate their pitching arm at all, 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not inwardly rotate their pitching arms at all.

     What Dr. Fleisig mistakes as inward rotation of the pitching arm is the Pectoralis Major muscle abruptly stopping outward rotation as a function of horizontally pulling the pitching arm back to the pitching arm side of the body.

     In short, you should not believe either the numbers that Dr. Fleisig produces or anything that he says.

     With regard your comment that my baseball pitchers go beyond over-the-top, which is inside of the optimal throwing vectors:

     I have no idea what you believe the optimal throwing vectors are or why you believe that, but, to achieve maximum release velocity, baseball pitchers have to apply force in straight lines with the most powerful pitching arm muscles available.

     Through release, my baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, their Triceps Brachii muscle to powerfully extend their pitching elbow and their Pronator Teres muscle to powerfully pronate their pitching forearm.

     With regard to excessive strain on the stride leg:

     I teach my baseball pitchers to step forward only as far as they can continue to move the center of mass of their body forward through release.

     By pivoting on the glove arm side foot, my baseball pitchers minimize the stress on the glove arm side leg.

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212.  14 year old youth baseball pitcher

I know my son is not performing your pitching motion.  But, your help in avoiding the major traditional motion flaws and performing appropriate strength training is incredibly valuable.

I am very thankful that you take the time out of your busy day to provide this amazing assistance.

Thank you!


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     My wrist weight and iron ball training strengthens the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles associated with baseball pitching.  However, proper force application technique eliminates unnecessary stress and maximizes the result.

     Do not allow 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches to bully your son into being less than he can be.  Contrary to their opinion, they are not the boss of you, your son or anybody else.

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213.  Subscapularis muscle

Thanks.

How do you believe I suffered a full thickness tear of my Subscapularis muscle?  I am pretty sure it was throwing related.


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     You said, "I am pretty sure it was throwing related."

     That means that, when you tore the attachment of your Subscapularis muscle from the lesser tuberosity of the head of the Humerus bone, you did not do so while throwing a baseball.

     Attachments of muscles to bone have pain sensors and you would have immediately known that you tore it from its bony attachment.

     A more likely cause would be rope climbing or some similar activity where a sudden force from slipping or losing your balance would shock that attachment.  You would have to be in some position where the Pectoralis Major muscle could not respond to that force or some type of co-contraction occurred that shut down Subscapularis and Pectoralis Major muscles.

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214.  New York Times article

I thought you might be interested in the New York Times article, "For Tendon Pain, Think Beyond the Needle".

It seems the latest clinical trials show cortisone shots to be more harm than good and that resting and injured joint does nothing to help it get better.

I wonder where I've heard all this before.

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For Tendon Pain, Think Beyond the Needle
February 28, 2011
By JANE E. BRODY

Two time-honored remedies for injured tendons seem to be falling on their faces in well-designed clinical trials.

The first, corticosteroid injections into the injured tendon, has been shown to provide only short-term relief, sometimes with poorer long-term results than doing nothing at all.

--------------------------------------------------


     In an earlier discussion of what corticosteroid shots do, I provided a research paper that found this result over fifty years ago.  In my Special Reports file, please read, 'Cortison Shots Make Injuries Worse.'

     The fact that orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists choose to ignor that research speaks to their not having the right answer and their money-grubbing laziness.

--------------------------------------------------

The second, resting the injured joint, is supposed to prevent matters from getting worse.  But it may also fail to make them any better.

--------------------------------------------------


     That orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists do not understand the simple basis physiological function of atrophy speaks to their academic ignorance.

     Rest decreases fitness.

--------------------------------------------------

Rather, working the joint in a way that doesn’t aggravate the injury, but strengthens supporting tissues and stimulates blood flow to the painful area may promote healing faster than “a tincture of time.”

--------------------------------------------------


     To recover from injuries, athletes have to start below the intensity that injured them and gradually increase their intensity to levels that stimulate the body to make a physiological adjustment.

     But, as the emailer wrote, for over forty years, I have explained this in great detail.

--------------------------------------------------

And researchers (supported by my own experience with an injured tendon, as well as that of a friend) suggest that some counterintuitive remedies may work just as well or better.

A review of 41 “high-quality” studies involving 2,672 patients, published in November in The Lancet, revealed only short-lived benefit from corticosteroid injections.  For the very common problem of tennis elbow, injections of platelet-rich plasma derived from patients’ own blood had better long-term results.

--------------------------------------------------


     Well, that is the answer.  For everybody that injures a tendon, doctors only need to inject platelet-rich plasma that they derived from the patient's own blood.  NOT!

     That sounds like an excuse for blood doping aerobic athletes.  Who knows whether the plasma injection also contained steroids?

--------------------------------------------------

Still, the authors, from the University of Queensland and Griffith University in Australia, emphasized the need for more and better clinical research to determine which among the many suggested remedies works best for treating different tendons.

My own problem was precipitated one autumn by eight days of pulling a heavy suitcase through six airports.  My shoulder hurt nearly all the time (not a happy circumstance for a daily swimmer), and trying to retrieve something even slightly behind me produced a stabbing pain.

Diagnosis: tendinitis and arthritis. Treatment: rest and physical therapy.

Two months of physical therapy did help somewhat, as did avoiding motions that caused acute pain.  The therapist had some useful tips on adjusting my swimming stroke to minimize stress on the tendon while the injury gradually began to heal.

The following spring, although I still had some pain and feared a relapse, I attacked my garden with a vengeance.  Much to my surprise, I was able to do heavy-duty digging and lugging without shoulder pain.

Could the intense workout and perhaps the increased blood flow to my shoulder have enhanced my recovery?  A friend, Richard Erde, had an instructive experience.

--------------------------------------------------


     The author said, "The therapist had some useful tips on adjusting my swimming stroke on the tendon whiel the injury gradually began to heal."

     Then, the author said, "The following spring, although I still had some pain... ."

     That does not sound as though the physical therapist helped.

     The author said, "Could the intense workout and perhaps the increased blood flow to my shoulder have enhanced recovery."

     Duh.

     If athletes injure themselves and rest, then, when they try to do whatever injured them, they will still feel the pain.  The only way to eliminate the pain is to judiciously train at gradually increasing intensities through the pain until the involved tissues can withstand the stress.

     Of course, if inappropriate force application techniques contributed to the injury, then, while they are judiciously training at gradually increasing intensities, the athletes must adjust their force application technique.

--------------------------------------------------

An avid tennis player at 70, he began having twinges in his right shoulder while playing.  Soon, simple motions like slipping out of a shirt sleeve caused serious pain.

The diagnosis, based on a physical exam, was injury of the tendon that attaches the biceps muscle of his upper arm to the bones of the shoulder’s rotator cuff.

He was advised to see a rheumatologist, who declined to do a corticosteroid injection and instead recommended physical therapy and rest.

“I stopped playing tennis for a month, and it didn’t help at all,” Mr. Erde told me.  “The physical therapist found I had very poor range of motion and had me do a variety of exercises, which improved my flexibility and reduced the pain somewhat.”

After two months, he stopped the therapy.  Then several weeks ago, after watching the Australian Open, he thought he should do more to strengthen his arm and shoulder muscles and decided to try playing tennis more vigorously.

“The pain started to drop off dramatically,” he said, “and in just 10 days the pain had eased more than 90 percent.”

--------------------------------------------------


     As I have repeated said, anecdotal information does not satisfy research requirements.  While they can be interesting, without controlled research environments, other than to stimulate proper research, they are of little value.

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A Frustrating Injury

Tendinopathies, as these injuries are called, are particularly vexing orthopedic problems that remain poorly understood despite their frequency.  “Tendinitis” is a misnomer: rarely are there signs of inflammation, which no doubt accounts for the lack of lasting improvement with steroid shots and anti-inflammatory drugs.  They may relieve pain temporarily, but don’t cure the problem.

--------------------------------------------------


     The article said, They may relieve pain temporarily, but don’t cure the problem.

     Nevertheless, doctors still prescribe them and people waste millions of dollars.  What part of money-grubbing laziness do they not understand?

--------------------------------------------------

The underlying pathology of tendinopathies is still a mystery.  Even when patients recover, their tendons may continue to look awful, say therapists who do imaging studies.  Without a better understanding of the actual causes of tendon pain, it’s hard to develop rational treatments, and even the best specialists may be reduced to trial and error.  What works best for one tendon, or one patient, may do little or nothing for another.

Most tendinopathies are precipitated by overuse and commonly afflict overzealous athletes, amateur and professional alike.  With or without treatment, they usually take a long time to heal, many months, even a year or more.  They can be frustrating and often costly, especially for professional athletes and physically active people like me and Mr. Erde.

--------------------------------------------------


     Athletes injure themselves as a result of lack of fitness or inappropriate techniques.  Therefore, when coaches teach force applications that eliminate injurious flaws and design interval-training programs that enable the involved bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles to withstand stresses greater than they could ever generate during competitions, they will never injure themselves.

--------------------------------------------------

In a commentary accompanying the Lancet report, Alexander Scott and Karim M. Khan of the University of British Columbia noted that although “corticosteroid injection does not impair recovery of shoulder tendinopathy, patients should be advised that evidence for even short-term benefits at the shoulder is limited.”  Like the Australian reviewers, the commentators concluded that “specific exercise therapy might produce more cures at 6 and 12 months than one or more corticosteroid injections.”

--------------------------------------------------


     The article said, "... specific exercise therapy might produce more cures at 6 and 12 months than one or more corticosteroid injections.”

     That sounds as though somebody is reading my stuff.

     The non-specific exercises that Physical Therapists recommend will never properly prepare athletes for competition.  All training must be specific.

     In my Special Reports file, I have included 'Specificity of Interval-Training by Professor William W. Heusner.

     Orthopedic surgeons and physical therapists might want to read what Professor Heusner has to say.

     If they still do not understand, then they can email me for clarifications.

     But, whatever they do, stop spreading your worthless rehabilitation nonsense.

--------------------------------------------------

Treatments to Try

Now the question is:  What kind of physical therapy gives the best results?

Most therapists prescribe eccentric exercises, which involve muscle contractions as the muscle fibers lengthen (for example, when a hand-held weight is lowered from the waist to the thigh).  Eccentric exercises must be performed in a controlled manner; uncontrolled eccentric contractions are a common cause of injuries like groin pulls or hamstring strains.

Marilyn Moffat, professor of physical therapy at New York University and president of the World Confederation for Physical Therapy, prefers “very protective” isometric exercises, at least at the outset of treatment until the tendon injury begins to heal.  These exercises involve no movement at all, allowing muscles to contract without producing pain.  For example, in treating shoulder tendinopathy, she said in an interview, the patient would push the fists against a wall with upper arms against the body and elbows bent at 90 degrees.

In another exercise, the patient sits holding one end of a dense elastic Thera-Band in each hand and, with thumbs up, upper arms at the sides and elbows bent at 90 degrees, tries to pull the hands apart.

“The stronger the shoulder muscles are when the tendinopathy calms down, the better shape the shoulder is in to take over movement without further injury,” Dr. Moffat said.  “You don’t want the muscles to weaken, which is what happens when you rest and do nothing.  That leaves you vulnerable to further injury.”

--------------------------------------------------


     At least, Dr. Moffat said, “You don’t want the muscles to weaken, which is what happens when you rest and do nothing.  That leaves you vulnerable to further injury.”

     Nevertheless, everything that she recommended is nonsense.

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215.  Military press

Can you tell me if doing a military press (with a bar, not dumbbells) and coming down behind the neck instead of in front, is potentially hazardous to the shoulders?

Also, my son almost broke my nose with a Maxline Fastball the other day.  His Maxline Fastball used to have a long slow bend, but not anymore.  This one started to my right, and broke so hard to my left at the last minute that I was only able to deflect it with my glove.  It would be an amazing out pitch against a lefty pull hitter.


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     With the bar behind the neck, the Pectoralis Minor muscle is the only shoulder girdle muscle and the Subscapularis muscle is the only shoulder joint muscle that prevent the weight from falling backward.

     If your son loses his balance, then he would either fall backward or injure the attachment of his Pectoralis Minor muscle to the corocoid process of the Scapula bone and/or the attachment of his Subscapularis muscle to the lesser tuberosity of the head of the Humerus bone.

     Thank you for the question.  I should have thought of this scenario for the guy that said he tore his Subscapularis muscle attachment to the head of the Humerus bone.

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216.  Causes of Pitching Injuries Part 1

You replied:  "02.  Despite not engaging their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, my baseball pitchers avoided pitching shoulder injuries because I taught them how to apply force in straight lines toward home plate and powerfully inwardly rotate (pronate) their pitching forearm before, during and after release."

I believe you have written that in the Kinetic Chain for your pitchers that the elbow joint conserves the momentum from the shoulder joint.  This means that the action of the shoulder joint precedes the action of the elbow joint.

Therefore, how does the action of the forearm joint now affect the shoulder joint?

For me, there is a disconnect here.


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     You are correct.  The joint actions of the pitching arm move from proximal to distal.

01.  All pitching arm movements start with the Shoulder Girdle actions.
02.  Shoulder Joint actions build off the Shoulder Girdle actions.
03.  Elbow Joint actions build off the Shoulder Joint actions.
04.  Forearm Joint actions build off the Elbow Joint actions.
05.  Wrist Joint actions build off the Forearm Joint actions.
06.  The Hand Joints actions build off the Wrist Joint actions.
07.  The Finger Joints actions build off the Hand Joint actions.

     Therefore, it is not possible for the Forearm Joint action to come before or meaningly influence the Shoulder Joint actions.

     When I teach my baseball pitchers to drive the baseball toward home plate in straight lines, I am trying to minimize sideways forces.

     Because sideways forces injure the front and back of the pitching shoulder, by keeping the driveline straight toward home plate, the powerful pitching forearm pronation action prevents injuries to the pitching shoulder.

     When I teach my baseball pitchers to powerfully pronate their pitching forearm before, during and after they release their pitches, I am trying to keep their pitching arm moving in straight lines toward home plate.

     The position of the pitching upper arm that maximizes the power of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle is when the back of the pitching upper arm faces home plate with the pitching upper arm as vertically beside the head as possible.

     Nevertheless, although it introduces sideways forces, when the back of the pitching upper arm is not turned to face home plate and is not as vertical as I want, baseball pitchers can still drive their pitching arm in reasonably straight lines toward home plate.

     Therefore, to move from my Loaded Slingshot pitching arm position to my Slingshot pitching arm position, all baseball pitchers contract their Pectoralis Major muscle.

     However, if they do not take their pitching arm laterally behind their body, then all baseball pitchers can drive their pitching arm in relatively straight lines toward home plate.

     To get the extra inward rotation kick that the Latissimus Dorsi muscle provides, baseball pitchers have to turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face home plate and raise the pitching upper arm to vertically beside their head.

     This means that powerfully pronating the pitching forearm does not retroactively make the Shoulder Joint inwardly rotate.  Instead, powerfully pronating the pitching forearm enables baseball pitchers to drive their pitching arm in straight lines toward home plate through release.

     To satisfy the requirements for a Kinetic Chain, every joint action from the Shoulder Girdle to the Finger Joints have to provide force that accelerates the baseball.

     Because to prevent the bone in the back of the pitching elbow from slamming together, a spinal cord reflex contracts the Brachialis muscle, the elbow joint action does not provide force that accelerates the baseball.  Therefore, the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion is not a Kinetic Chain.

     Conversely, because, to extend the pitching elbow which accelerates the baseball, my baseball pitching motion contracts the Triceps Brachii muscle, my baseball pitching motion is a Kinetic Chain.

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217.  Subscapularis muscle

Hmmm.  Could be.  The injury occurred at a time when I was routinely climbing 11 stories on a vertical ladder.

Next question:

My torque FB is about 5 MPH slower than my maxline.

I was surprised to learn that.  Is that difference normal or am I likely doing something that is siphoning off my velocity when throwing torques?


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     The Maxline Fastball has a longer straight driveline.  However, the Torque Fastball drives down the acromial line better.

     I suspect that, when you throw your Torque Fastball, you do not continue to forwardly rotate your shoulders after release.

     To see what I mean, please watch Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video and compare the rotation of the shoulders for my Maxline and Torque Fastballs.

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218.  Back in States, Kroon eyes Giants 'pen
MLB.com
February 26, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  Marc Kroon's saga will lend itself to a compelling screenplay someday.  For now, articles such as this one will have to suffice.

Kroon entered professional baseball 20 years ago as a New York Mets Draft selection.  He has made just 26 Major League appearances since then, all in relief.  But Kroon's journey, personally and geographically, can't be defined by statistics.

After displaying Nuke LaLoosh-like tendencies and enduring two elbow surgeries, Kroon was told by doctors in 2002 that he would never pitch again.  Two years later, he was back in the Majors.  That was followed by a successful six-year stint as a closer in Japan, where he provoked awe by throwing a fastball clocked at 101 mph.

Now Kroon finds himself in big league camp with the Giants as a non-roster invitee, competing for a bullpen opening that may not exist. San Francisco's seven relievers from last year's postseason roster have returned, and that contingent doesn't include Dan Runzler or Jeff Suppan, both legitimate candidates to make the Opening Day roster.

"It's an opportunity to put a uniform on one more time," Kroon said on Saturday.  "You never know what can happen, so I accepted this job, knowing they're the World Series champs and their bullpen is set.  Just come out here and have a little bit of fun."

Kroon, 37, fell in love with the game while growing up in New York City and watching Dwight Gooden of the Mets perform at the apex of his skill.  "He was God to me," Kroon said.

Kroon shared Gooden's searing fastball.  "He was power, power, power," said Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery, who managed Kroon in 1994 at San Diego's high Class A Rancho Cucamonga affiliate.  "He could throw hard."

But, Kroon lacked Gooden's command.

That '94 season was a typical one for Kroon, who finished 11-6.  He amassed 153 strikeouts in 143 1/3 innings but also walked 81, an average of 5.1 per nine innings.  Describing his pitching approach, Kroon said, "It was one of those things where you kind of just let it fly and not really pay attention to the importance of trying to locate your pitches."

In a 1998 outing with Cincinnati, he threw 82 pitches in two innings.  "That's probably still a Major League record," Kroon said.

Kroon's erratic pitching mechanics made arm trouble inevitable.  A partial tear in his right elbow limited him to four appearances in 2000 and led to Tommy John surgery the following year. He underwent another procedure in 2002 to re-route nerves in his elbow, prompting the diagnosis that he should forget about baseball.

Kroon retired from the game, but didn't forsake it.  A resident of Phoenix, he gave pitching lessons to aspiring ballplayers.  But, his surgeries left him unable to throw, so his tutelage was exclusively verbal.  His younger son, Matt, would relay baseballs to students when necessary.

An acquaintance of Kroon's happened to be the brother-in-law of Mike Butcher, then the Angels' roving Minor League pitching instructor.  That led to a tryout for Kroon, who hadn't thrown a ball in a year and a half.  His muscular memory must have remained intact, because the Angels signed him to a Minor League contract on January 30, 2003.  Kroon began the season in extended Spring Training and ended it in Triple-A.

Kroon recorded 20 saves for Colorado's Triple-A outpost in '04 and pitched six games for the Rockies.  But just as he had ended his six-year absence from the Majors, he accepted an offer to pitch for Yokohama in the Japanese Central League.  Kroon proceeded to accumulate 177 saves for Yokohama and the Yomiuri Giants, reaching a high of 41 in 2008 with the latter squad.

During that season, Kroon uncorked his 101-mph heater, the fastest pitch ever recorded in Japan.  "I've just been blessed with the arm," Kroon said.  "It's one of those things I've always done, so I don't really think too much about it."

Kroon, who said that his fastball's current maximum speed is around 95 mph, has supplemented his repertoire with a forkball that sinks wickedly.  Right-hander Ryan Vogelsong, another non-roster invitee who spent 2007-09 in Japan, said that Kroon essentially outperformed the natives in this respect.

"Every Japanese guy throws a forkball or a split.  That's kind of like their bread-and-butter pitch there," Vogelsong said.  "So to see a foreigner throw a forkball that's comparable or better than what the Japanese guys throw speaks volumes."

Having been paid handsomely in Japan, $13 million, according to one report, Kroon is financially secure.  "I could retire right now and never play again," he said.  This makes it easier for him to savor the experience of being in a big league camp again.  "To be my age and still have a uniform on after all these years is definitely a blessing," he said.


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     I could talk about his partial tear Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.  I could talk about how he had to go to Japan to pitch.  I could talk about why the Japanese love the the forkball, split finger fastball or sinker whatever they want to call it.  They all move the same.  I could talk about how, at 37 years old and financially stable, he wants to travel with a major league baseball team.

     However, what I really want is to see how he applies force to his pitches.  To successfully throw this pitch, baseball pitchers have to drive the baseball in straight lines and powerfully pronate the release.

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219.  Harden's return delayed at least a week
MLB.com
February 26, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ:  Rich Harden's return to the mound will likely have to wait at least another week, as the A's look to make sure he's completely ready before allowing him to resume the battle for the fifth starter's spot.

There was speculation that Harden, sidelined since February 15 with stiffness in his pitching arm, might begin throwing again as soon as Sunday or Monday.  But manager Bob Geren said Saturday morning that it's best he's given the necessary time to strengthen his arm before picking up a ball again.

Geren noted that there have been no other setbacks with the right-hander.  The A's are simply all about taking precautionary steps with their players with guidance from new trainer Nick Paparesta this spring, particularly following three seasons that resulted in a team total of 65 disabled list stints.

"Never say never," he said. "[Harden] was in pretty good shape before the setback. When he's ready, we're definitely not counting him out."

The veteran hurler, who was up to 40 pitches in his bullpen sessions before being shut down, believes his rehab process was rushed in 2008 and is hopeful that not pushing it this time around will have him back on a mound sooner rather than later.


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     I wonder whether A's manager, Bob Geren, and/or A's new trainer, Nick Paparesta read the New York Times.  If they do, then they would understand that all this rest and non-specific exercises are not helping Mr. Harden.

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220.  Elbert looking for fresh start at Dodgers camp
MLB.com
February 26, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ:  In the case of Scott Elbert's mysterious disappearance last year, he can clear up at least this:  It wasn't drugs, it wasn't alcohol, it wasn't a brush with the law.  It was life itself.  It was a 25-year-old trying to live up to expectations, trying to be a professional baseball player, trying to be a loving husband and father of two.  It was a small-town Midwesterner on a bumpy road to who-knows-where, six years after signing for a $1.575 million bonus, three years after needing surgery on his shoulder and then watching fellow first-rounders Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley sail on to stardom.

It was, in Elbert's words, the pressure.  "The pressure is the hardest part," said Elbert, who left the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes last June (after a one-game callup to Los Angeles) to address what the club called "personal issues."

Elbert said he came to camp this spring a better man.  Without offering many details, Elbert said his head is now clear and his arm is sound and he's ready to take on those expectations, for better or worse.  "I'm a better person, better for my family and everything like that, more pleasant to be around, instead of worrying about staying in the big leagues," said Elbert.  "If it happens, it happens.  A lot of people are made for it and cope with it.  For some guys, it's easy.  Some guys like me have to learn how to deal with it.  Playing the game is the easiest part.

"It was an eye-opener for me and made me realize the importance of life.  I just had to get my life straightened out.  There was no other way of dealing with it, to get the help I needed.  Maybe the little things were too hard to handle.  Now I know how to handle certain situations and cope with certain things.  You can look at a lot of careers and there are bumps in the road.  It's not a perfect life for anybody."

Elbert credits assistant general manager Logan White, who drafted the lefty in the first round in 2004, with an assist.  "Logan got me who I needed to be with," Elbert said, choosing not to elaborate.  "He cares a lot about us.  We're like kids to him."

White said a key for Elbert is backing away from his tendency to beat himself up.  "He's such a perfectionist, he wants to be great in every phase, as a pitcher, as a husband, as a father," said White.  "That's the problem with the perfectionist mentality, it carries over to the personal life.  His intentions are admirable.  He feels the family is more important than anything.  When Scotty left last year, it was to make sure his family was OK, and he needed time to himself to get mentally in order.

"This game, you can get out of your comfort zone.  It can be tough for a small-town kid to go into the glare of this or that.  Then he sees Clayton and Bills doing great and he knows he's got the ability and he's hard on himself.  It's all about Scotty Elbert mentally not being a house divided against himself."

Elbert simply left the Isotopes on June 9 and went home to Arizona.  He tried to return to the field by working out at the Dodgers' Camelback Ranch-Glendale in time to rejoin the team in August, only to be shut down with shoulder tendinitis.  He recovered and pitched for Don Mattingly in the Arizona Fall League, developing a personal rapport with the new manager while reminding the club why it drafted him out of Seneca, MO.

The club, in turn, decided Elbert should pitch exclusively out of the bullpen, instead of the yo-yo handling of past years when he would start in the Minor Leagues, but be used in relief during his six Major League callups over the last three seasons.

In a one-inning appearance on Saturday against the Angels, Elbert showed the good and bad, striking out two, but also walking two in a scoreless inning.  He's trying to win a job as the second lefty reliever behind Hong-Chih Kuo (if the Dodgers keep two), with non-roster lefty Ron Mahay his top competition.

"It's a lot easier to throw 15 pitches per day than 110, 120 every five days," said Elbert.  "I like to throw every day.  I'm a maximum-effort guy.  I think relief suits me well.  I was made to be a relief pitcher in reality because of my high pitch counts as a starter.  Now that I know, I can focus on that, worry about getting three outs and not 27."

White wants Elbert to stop worrying.

"Scotty's always been blessed by physical ability, a first-round pick, the money, has a beautiful wife, two wonderful kids," White said.  "He's also from a small town in the Midwest and he comes to L.A. with the limelight and even in the Minor Leagues with the travel and he's missing his family.  One thing he needed to understand is that he can be all those things, be on the road, still be a good husband and father.

"We sacrifice a lot in this business, traveling, missing watching our kids grow up.  To the outside world, it all looks wonderful.  But we have people we want to be with that we miss, normal stuff that other people get to do.  Scotty's tough on himself.  You never fail in school, you're always the star, always get it done, the kid everybody can count on.  You can carry that weight on your back.  You're the one everybody expects everything from, even carrying the weight of your community.  There's pressure not wanting to let anyone down.  He's learning that nobody is perfect."


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     Except for the moments I stood on a major league pitching mound, I hated everything associated with playing professional baseball.

     I frequently said that, if I could get a line-up of major league batters to drop by my home town every day and allow me to pitch to them, then I would have had a perfect life.

     As I do, Mr. Elbert will come to resent his decision to continue to play professional baseball.

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221.  Batting question

I recall you repeatedly informing your readers that the triceps brachii have the highest percentage of fast twitch muscles in the arm and thus they are better to engage, by pronation, when pitching.

Wouldn't it also be best to pronate while hitting as well?

The customary grip of the bat would have to change to have your thumbs together, like you have a paddle when you are rowing a boat, but I'm not aware of any rule that prohibits this.

In trying it myself, while admittedly only swinging at air, the only drawback seems to be too much swing velocity such that it is almost hard to keep hold of the bat.

Any testing that you've done on such a modification?

Thanks and keep up your research.


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     When baseball pitchers take the baseball laterally behind their body, to return the baseball to the pitching arm side of their body, they have to generate a sideways force laterally away from their body.

     At the spinal cord level, this sideways force triggers a reflex that contracts the Brachialis muscle, the pure flexor of the elbow joint, to prevent the bones in the back of the pitching elbow from slamming together.

     Another spinal cord reflex inhibits simultaneous contractions of antagonistic muscles.  Therefore, the pure extensor of the elbow joint, the Triceps Brachii muscle cannot contract.

     Therefore, to contract the Triceps Brachii muscle to extend the pitching elbow, baseball pitchers have to not take the baseball laterally behind their body.

     Of all the muscles associated with the pitching arm, the Triceps Brachii has the highest percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers.  This means that the Triceps Brachii muscle can move the Ulna bone away from the Humerus bone very fast.

     Where the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion cannot contract the Triceps Brachii muscle at all, with my baseball pitching motion powerfully contracts the Triceps Brachii muscle.

     Except that the force application technique for baseball batting is horizontal instead of vertical, baseball batting uses the same principles.

     This means that the rear arm must powerfully contract its Triceps Brachii muscle.  To do this, baseball batters must not generate a sideways force laterally away from their body.

     In other words, when baseball batters forwardly rotate their acromial line to perpendicular to where they want to hit the pitched baseball, they must not allow the centripetal momentum of the center of mass of the baseball bat to plioanglosly contract the muscles that flex the rear arm.

     The front arm must prevent the center of mass of the baseball bat from moving away from the body or forward.  Then, when the acromial line is perpendicular to where baseball batters should hit the baseball, the rear arm drives the center of mass in straight lines to contact.

     When baseball batters do this, they can contract their Triceps Brachii muscle to powerfully extend their rear arm.

     With regard to the positions of the front and rear hands on the baseball bat:

     Because, during the forward rotation of the acromial line preparatory phase, the front arm prevents the center of mass of the bat from laterally moving away from the body, the palm of the hand must face downward, such that the second through fifth digits can powerfully contract.

     Because, during the straight line force to contact acceleration phase, the rear arm drives the center of mass of the baseball bat horizontally toward the pitched baseball, the palm of the rear hand will face upward, such that, when the Triceps Brachii muscle powerfully extends the rear elbow joint and the Pronator Teres muscle plioanglosly pronates the rear forearm, the heel and thumb of the hand drives the baseball bat horizontally forward.

     Recently, in the same way that the four gallon bucket lid throws accelerated my baseball pitchers ability to learn how to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve, we have had a pedagogical break-through that appears to have accelerated the learning curve for teaching my baseball batting technique.

     Therefore, instead of the eight years I needed to have one of my baseball pitchers perform my baseball pitching technique sufficiently well to post Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video, after only six months of training, I have hope that I will have baseball batters capable of performing my baseball batting technique sufficiently well to post Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Batting Technique.

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222.  Webb throws first bullpen session in 10 days
MLB.com
February 27, 2011

SURPRISE, AZ:  The world-wide Webb watch was in full force on Sunday at the Rangers' complex.  Even club president Nolan Ryan was in attendance to watch Brandon Webb throw off a mound for the first time in 10 days.  Webb threw about 28 pitches in 10 minutes.  That constitutes a light session, but Webb was thrilled with the results.  "It was good," Webb said.  "Zero issues.  Real good.  I was a little wild, but I guess that's expected.  I felt fine, I didn't want to stop."

The Rangers stopped him.  Just getting back on the mound was a significant step for Webb, and the Rangers decided to declare victory and call it a day.  "He got on a mound," pitching coach Mike Maddux said.  "That's what we wanted to do."

This was the first time Webb had been on a mound since February 17.  He had been throwing off the mound back home in Kentucky before coming to the camp, but the Rangers stopped that after his first session here.  Maddux didn't like Webb's arm strength and mechanics, so they opted for a 10-day long-toss program.  They accomplished what they wanted in that program, so Webb was able to climb the hill on Sunday.

"We found some things in long toss, now he has to find himself on the mound," Maddux said.  "He needs to break off the knots and rust.  We built a program so that when he gets on a mound, he feels good about everything.  "We want him to come back one time.  That's the program."

There are still no concrete targets for Webb to pitch in a game, and the Rangers are making no predictions about him being ready for Opening Day.  But they are preparing for the possibility that he will need more time in the Minors once the regular season begins.  "You have to feel like anybody not pitching on the normal time frame, you have to have concerns about being ready for Opening Day," Ryan said.  "If they need extra innings, they can do that at Triple-A or Double-A.  You need to think in the best interests of him and the club.  We'll continue to monitor it."

"You have to build up like everybody else, up to 100 pitches and go from there," Maddux said.

"Everybody is different," said Ryan, who spoke with Webb after his session.  "It's hard for me to predict.  Today was the first day I've seen him throw.  It's just a matter of how much progress he makes between now and Opening Day."  "We're going to come back one time," Maddux said.  "That's the program."

Webb will be doing his work on the back fields for the time being.  But Sunday's mound session was a good start.  "Definitely a step in the right direction," Webb said.  "Movement was good, location was good, changeup was good.  I just need to get on a mound."


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     Before Mr. Webb came to camp, he regularly threw off a Kentucky pitching mound.

     However, after Mr. Webb's first bullpen session in the Rangers spring training camp, because Texas Rangers pitching coach, Mike Maddox, did not like Mr. Webb's arm strength, he forced Mr. Webb to stop throwing off a pitching mound and complete a 10-day long toss program.

     This must be the Jaeger program that I discussed in Q/A #208.

     Mr. Maddox said, ""We found some things in long toss, now he has to find himself on the mound."

     As I said in Q/A#208, the short-coming of long toss is that baseball pitcher do not bring the crow-hop pitching rhythm to the pitching mound.

     Nevertheless, long tossing does increase the fitness of the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles associated with throwing baseballs.

     However, physiological adjustements require a minimum of twenty-one days of daily training.  Mr. Webb did not do twenty-one days of daily long tossing.

     Therefore, either as a fitness program or a motor skill acquisition program, Mr. Webb will not benefit from this 10-Day long toss program.

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223.  Meredith to get MRI results on elbow Monday
MLB.com
February 27, 2011

VIERA, FL:  Nationals right-hander Cla Meredith will not get the results of the MRI taken on his right elbow until Monday, when the team doctors arrive in Florida.  Meredith thought his elbow was feeling better until he started playing catch Friday.  This past off-season, Meredith had bone chips removed from the elbow.  Meredith also has back issues, but it's not considered serious.


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     At last, now everybody can bow and relax.  The team doctors will arrive tomorrow.

     All the Nationals pitchers that had Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery and other surgeries should stand on both sides of the entrance to the clubhouse with pitching arms raised to form the welcoming tunnel through which their saviors can walk.

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224.  Putz taking it slow
MLB.com
February 27, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  D-backs closer J.J. Putz will not appear in a Cactus League game until March 7, but manager Kirk Gibson said there was nothing to worry about.  "He's great," Gibson said of Putz, who was signed to a two-year deal this winter.  Gibson said Putz has a good feel for how long it takes him to get ready for a season and that the veteran participates each day in the pitching drills in the morning.

"He's probably only going to throw seven times, maybe eight innings," Gibson said of Putz's Cactus League action.  "He knows what he has to do, he's throwing the ball great, he's lights-out.  He's going to do bullpens and he likes to do a lot of long toss.  He wants to build his arm strength.  Different people like to do it different ways."


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     Mr. Putz likes to do a lot of long toss.

     During the in-season maintanence program after my baseball pitchers complete my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, my baseball pitchers do 24 wrist weight exercises, 24 iron ball throws, 12 football throws, 24 Half-Reverse Pivot throws, 12 one step crow-hop throws and 36 baseball pitches every day with every third day a maximum intensity bullpen, batting practice, simulated game or competitive game.

     This means that my baseball pitchers are ready before spring training starts.

     Gene Mauch once said to a enquiring sports reporter, 'I don't worry about Mike arriving at spring training late, he could pitch on Christmas day.  He is never not ready to pitch.'

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225.  Duchscherer's sore left hip feeling better
MLB.com
February 27, 2011

SARASOTA, FL:  After a morning in which Justin Duchscherer seemed as if his season was once again on the brink of ending, the 33-year-old right-hander was remarkably more upbeat just before noon Sunday after a workout in which he said he threw "90 feet, no problem."  "It felt fine," said Duchscherer, who had soreness in his left hip earlier in the day.  "It's a situation where we'll have to treat symptomatically." Duchscherer created some stress when he talked extensively early Sunday morning about his point of contention with the ailment.  "Of course, I'm concerned considering the different surgeries I've been through," Duchscherer had said before he spent time during workouts tossing from 90 feet.  "It's a 10 out of 10 on the frustration level."

The two-time All-Star, who has had two surgeries on his right hip and one on his left, was acquired in the offseason as a veteran piece for the rotation.  Despite having had his 2010 season end in June with surgery on the left hip, Duchscherer said his health was the best "in probably five years" during a February conference call shortly after the former A's pitcher signed a one-year deal.

After the flare-up in his hip Saturday, Duchscherer sounded as if the recent pain might be a cause for alarm.  "There's a little residual pain there and I don't want to push it," said Duchscherer.  "I've been through it three times, so I know when I need to shut it down and this is the time to do so."

A former 10-game winner, Duchscherer had his 2010 campaign in Oakland cut short, making just five starts before undergoing his left hip surgery, which involved shaving down some of the bone to make room for cartilage.  He missed nearly all of the '09 season after undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on his right elbow and being diagnosed with depression, but given that he has spent the winter auditioning for teams, Duchscherer is actually ahead of his typical off-season program.

Duchscherer was scheduled to pitch on Wednesday in Clearwater, FL, against the Phillies, but all signs point to him not being able to make the outing.  "I'm not even thinking about that right now," Duchscherer said. "I'll wait until [Monday] to see how it feels."


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     Mr. Duchscherer has had two surgeries on his right hip and one on his left hip.

     Is Mr. Duchscherer able to walk and run?

     If he can, then he can pitch without pain in his hips.

     All he has to do is use my baseball pitching motion.

     I teach my baseball pitchers to walk off the pitching rubber and continually move the center of mass of their body forward through release.

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226.  Kazmir encouraged by feeling of first start
MLB.com
February 27, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ:  Early in the spring, if you know yourself and your craft and understand what has made you successful, it's all about how you feel, not how you do.  Scott Kazmir nodded in emphatic agreement.  "All in all," the Angels' southpaw said, having yielded three runs and five hits in two innings on Sunday against the Dodgers at Camelback Ranch, "I felt great."

Mr. Kazmir said, "I feel like I'm not manipulating myself.  I've got good direction again.  The problem last year is that I would fly open.  Everything is compact, together.  In a perfect world, everything would have [gone] right.  That's how the baseball world is.  It's going to humble you.  It's nothing I wasn't prepared for.  I've got to get more aggressive with two strikes.  I'm thinking ground ball instead of strikeout.  On a 10-scale, Kazmir gave himself "a seven or eight."  Once again, he knows others will grade him much lower.  I felt like I did my work.  I'm not putting too much pressure on myself in Spring Training.  If I got caught up in what everyone else is saying, I'm not sure what I'd think.  I feel like I'm getting that whip back, free and easy.  Someone can tell me all they want about direction, where I need to be.  I've got to get that feel.  Toward the end of December, I felt I was where I needed to be."

Manager Mike Scioscia said, There were a lot of positives out there.  He's already throwing the ball better than at any time last spring.  There are still some things he needs to clean up, but he looked good.  As he gets confident with his command, I think he'll get in counts where he puts guys away.  Eventually, he'll get to that command.  When your command is spotty, you tend to waste pitches and let hitters get back in counts.  When he has his command, he can get deeper in games."

Kazmir spent the winter in Arizona working on his conditioning and ironing out his delivery under the supervision of the club's training staff and pitching coach Mike Butcher.


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     After 'traditional' baseball pitchers lengthen their Gleno-Humeral Ligaments, they have a lot of reasons why they cannot throw like they used to.  Unfortunately, none of the reasons are true.

     As with all front and/or back of the pitching shoulder problems, Mr. Kazmir has to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  A couple of months of Half Reverse Pivot throws will determine whether Mr. Kazmir will ever pitch well again.

     As they showed last spring training, the club's training staff and pitching coach Mike Butcher have no clue.

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227.  Cain scratched with inflamed elbow
MLB.com
March 02, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  Matt Cain was scratched from his scheduled start against the Rockies on Thursday after an MRI revealed inflammation in his right elbow.  "He felt a little soreness there after his last outing and had a little inflammation," manager Bruce Bochy said.  "We're going to let it calm down.  He's going to miss a start."


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     Okay, Mr. Cain will miss a start.  But, what is going to do to get ready for the start after that?

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228.  Cook's shoulder to be checked by team doctor
MLB.com
March 03, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  Rockies pitcher Aaron Cook, who hasn't appeared in Cactus League action because of a sore right shoulder, said he is scheduled for an evaluation from Rockies medical director Dr. Thomas J. Noonan on Friday.

Cook, the Rockies' one-time No. 1 pitcher and expected to be a veteran rotation leader, has been either inactive or limited to playing catch for the last 10 days.  The injury is being called inflammation for now, with simply time being the remedy.  But, the evaluation is to make sure.  Noonan will arrive in Scottsdale on Thursday night.

"I asked 'Doogie' today, how could inflammation hurt the way it does?" Cook said Thursday.  "It's inflammation in that joint up there that's taking awhile to go away."

"It's tough, but I also consider myself smart," Cook said.  "I'm not going to go out there and do something that can be more detrimental for my career.  Let's take the time we have in Spring Training to get it under control and make sure it's healthy, and that I'll be ready for the season."


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     Who is 'Doogie?'

     Whoever 'Doogie' is, you have to like his answer.  "It's inflammation in that joint up there that's taking awhile to go away."

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229.  Uehara shut down for few days following shot
MLB.com
March 03, 2011

SARASOTA, FL:  Orioles closer hopeful Koji Uehara received a cortisone injection in his right elbow Thursday and will be shut down for the next few days.  Uehara, speaking through interpreter Jiwon Bang, said that the issue is arm fatigue, and he expects to be back pitching within a week.  "It's not even serious," Uehara said.  "I'm not concerned about it."

Orioles manager Buck Showalter echoed that sentiment and downplayed the shot, which Uehara has reportedly received before.  Still, any minor injury to Uehara, who has made four trips to the disabled list in two seasons, is something that Baltimore will closely monitor.


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     Somebody with the Orioles needs to be concerned.  Cortisone shots not only do not heal injuries, they make injuries worse.

     Does Baltimore receive the New York Times?

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230.  Causes of Pitching Injuries video Part 1

You wrote:  "This means that pain in the front of the pitching shoulder comes from the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle to the lateral lip of the bicipital groove in the head of the Humerus bone."

Not a whole lot of times, but I have had the opportunity to apply finger pressure where baseball players say they have front of the shoulder pain.  I usually pressed the area where the Subscapularis muscle attached to the lesser tuberosity of the humerus bone.  They said that is where they felt the pain.  In any event, I think we can agree that many pitchers have front of the shoulder pain.

I am including a picture of the Pectoralis Major muscle.  Given that it attaches well down the humerus bone I don't see how irritating this attachment would cause front of the shoulder pain.  As you can see the attachment is nowhere near the head of the humerus bone.

What am I missing?


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     That is a great illustration of the Pectoralis Major muscle.  I wish that you had also included an illustration of the Subscapularis muscle.  Unfortunately, my readers will not be able to see the illustration.

     I do agree that baseball pitchers have front of the shoulder pain.  Since ligaments do not have pain sensors, the pain must come from tendons, muscles or connective tissue.

     Nevertheless, with the powerful action of the Pectoralis Major muscle, I do not believe that the Subscapularis muscle meaningfully contributes to inwardly rotating the pitching upper arm.

     The Subscapularis muscle arises from the under/anterior surface of the Scapula bone and inserts into the lateral lip of the Humerus bone.  Therefore, it moves the lateral lip of the Humerus bone toward the under/anterior surface of the Scapula bone.

     When pitching, baseball pitchers horizontally move their abducted Humerus bone forward, not toward the under/anterior surface of the Scapula bone.

     Therefore, the only movement that the Subscapularis muscle could contribute to baseball pitching is to inwardly rotate the Humerus one.

     With the Humerus bone outwardly rotating, co-contraction prevents the Subscapularis muscle from contracting, but not the Pectoralis Major muscle.

     During the last one-half of the 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' the Pectoralis Major muscle abruptly stops the pitching upper arm from outwardly rotating.  At this moment, the Subscapularis muscle is flaccid.

     Unless the Humerus bone is twisted backward well beyond horizontal, I cannot see a scenario where a flaccid Subscapularis muscle will receive any injurious stress..

     Of course, the most powerful inward rotation muscle is the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     In any case, I do not see even the horrendous 'traditional' baseball pitching motion can tear the attachment of the Subscapularis muscle off the lesser tuberosity of the head of the Humerus bone.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Thursday, March 10, 2011, I posted the following questions and answers.  My wife and I are visiting John Maley in San Antonio, TX.  I will be watching Incarnate Word baseball games.

     When we return on Sunday, March 13, 2011, I will answer the questions that I receive while I am gone and go through the articles that Brad Sullivan sends me and post those as quickly as I can.


*********************************************************************************************** -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

231.  Causes of Pitching Injuries-Part 1

I am not disputing your belief that the Subscapularis does not contribute to front of the shoulder injuries.

My question is:  If the Pectoralis Major muscle is the culprit, why the pain isn't originating at the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle?

We both agree that pitchers have front of the shoulder pain.  I simply can't understand why the muscle causing the pain attaches nowhere near the source of the pain.  As a layman, that doesn't make any sense.

Also, in your book (Chapter 14) you say that the Subscapularis attaches to the lesser tuberosity of the head of the humerus bone.  To me that would be the medial surface, not the lateral surface of the head of the humerus bone as you write.

So, my precise question is:  Why is the source of the pain nowhere near the muscle causing the pain?

I have included an illustration of the Subscapularis muscle.


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     The Subscapularis muscle illustration is very nice.

     However, I know where the lesser tuberosity of the head of the Humerus bone is.  While I never say that I never mis-speak or mis-write, I doubt that I would ever thoughtfully say that the Subscapularis muscle inserts into the lateral surface of the head of the Humerus bone.

     If I did, then the Subscapularis muscle would be more susceptible to outward rotation injury, not less.  That the lesser tuberosity is medial means that outward rotation of the Humerus bone would affect it less than the Pectoralis Major muscle, which inserts into the lateral lip of the bicipital groove on the head of the Humerus bone.

     The injurious flaw that causes injuries in the front of the pitching shoulder is moving the Humerus bone behind the acromial line.  This action lengthens every muscle that arises from the anterior surface of the body and inserts into the Humerus bone.

01.  The Subscapularis muscle inserts into the lesser tuberosity, which is inside of the bicipital groove.
02.  The Pectoralis Major muscle inserts into the lateral lip of the bicipital groove.
03.  The Anterior Deltoid muscle inserts into the lateral side of the Humerus bone.
04.  The Coraco-brachialis muscle inserts into the middle of the medial border of the Humerus bone.

     My point is that and taking the Humerus bone well behind the acromial line negatively influences many muscles, blood vessels and nerves.

     With regard to the actions of the Pectoralis Major and Subscapularis muscles, the injurious flaw that I was discussing was abruptly stopping the outward rotation of the Humerus bone.

     I believe that, as a result of 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' when 'traditional' baseball pitchers abruptly stop the outward rotation of the Humerus bone, the Subscapularis muscle is not contracting.  Therefore, it does not suffer injury.

     If this action were to injure any muscle, then the injured muscle would be the Pectoralis Major muscle.

     To guess as to what 'traditional' baseball pitching motion injurious flaw would negatively influence the Subscapularis muscle, I would say pulling the window shade down to throw a 'traditional' supination curve.

     But, whatever the injurious action, the Subscapularis muscle would have to either be contracting to make the movement or erroneously co-contracting, which is very unlikely.

     I never said that the Pectoralis Major muscle is the source of every pain that baseball pitchers have in the front of their pitching shoulder.  I only said that, with regard to abruptly stopping the outward rotation of the Humerus bone, the Pectoralis Major muscle receives all the unnecessary stress, which makes it most likely to suffer injury.

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232.  ASMI long toss study

ASMI recently conducted a long toss study.  As you are probably aware long toss has many ardent proponents.  I'm not sure if this study adds anything new to the debate.

I'd appreciate any comments but was wondering if you had any thoughts on why elbow extension velocity would be greater when throwing longer distances.

Could it be that they actually use their Triceps muscle when throwing longer distances?


-------------------------------------------------

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2011 Jan 5. [Epub ahead of print] Biomechanical Comparison of Baseball Pitching and Long-Toss: Implications for Training and Rehabilitation. Fleisig GS, Bolt B, Fortenbaugh D, Wilk KE, Andrews JR.

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:  Controlled laboratory study.

OBJECTIVES:  Test for kinematic and kinetic differences between baseball pitching from a mound and long-toss on flat ground.

BACKGROUND:  Long-toss throws from flat ground are commonly used by baseball pitchers for rehabilitation, conditioning, and training.  However, controversy exists about the biomechanics and functionality of such throws.

METHODS:  Seventeen healthy college baseball pitchers pitched fastballs 18.4 m from a mound to a strike zone, and threw 37 m, 55 m, and maximum distance from flat ground.  Participants were instructed to throw 37m and 55m "hard, on a horizontal line," whereas no constraint on trajectory was given for maximum distance throws.  Kinematics and kinetics were measured with a 3-dimensional automated motion analysis system.  Repeated measures ANOVA with post-hoc paired t-tests were used to compare the 4 throw types within pitchers.

RESULTS:  At foot contact, the shoulder line was nearly horizontal for pitching and became progressively more "uphill" as throwing distance increased.  At arm cocking, the greatest amount of shoulder external rotation (mean ± SD: 180±11°), elbow flexion (109±10°), shoulder internal rotation torque (101±17 Nm), and elbow varus torque (100±18 Nm) were measured during the maximum distance throws.  Elbow extension velocity was greatest for the maximum distance throws (2573±203°/s).  Forward trunk tilt at the instant of ball release decreased as throwing distance increased.

CONCLUSIONS:  Hard, horizontal flat-ground throws have similar biomechanical patterns as pitching and are therefore reasonable exercises for pitchers.  However, maximum distance throws produce increased torques and changes in kinematics; caution is therefore advised for use of these throws in rehabilitation and training.  J Orthop Sports Phys Ther, Epub 5 January 2011. doi:10.2519/jospt.2011.3568.

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     As I recall, meters are 3.2808399501312 feet long.

     Therefore, 18.4 meters are 18.4 times 3.2808399501312 equals 60.367454 feet long.

     That appears to be close, but 0.13246 feet (1.58952 inches) shorter than the 60 feet 6 inches from the front of the pitching rubber to the back tip of home plate.

     Don't you just love pompous pseudo-scientists?

     It appears that Dr. Fleisig asked 17 college baseball pitchers to:

01.  Throw baseballs to a strike zone from a pitching mound, probable that three feet wide plastic pitching mound in his laboratory,

02.  Throw baseballs 37 meters (121.39108 feet) to 55 meters (180.44619 feet) on a horizontal line and

03.  Throw baseball the maximum distance that they could throw without regard to the take-off angle of the throws.

     Dr. Fleisig's laboratory does not have room for the 120 to 180 feet horizontal throws and, certainly not room for maximum distance throws.

     I wonder how Dr. Fleisig was able to biomechanically analyze the 120 to 180 foot throws and maximum distance throws.  Like the Milwaukee Brewer team orthopedic surgeon, does Dr. Fleisig also have a portable biomechanics lab?

     Amazingly, Dr. Fleisig found that, to throw baseballs 120 to 180 feet and maximum distance throws, baseball pitchers raised the take-off angles of their throws.

     Wow.  I never would have thought that.

     Dr. Fleisig concluded that raising the take-off angles produced increased torques and changes in kinematics (force application techniques).

     Wow, once again, I never would have thought that.

     With ground-shaking research like this, Dr. Fleisig will soon understand how to prevent pitching injuries.

     Dr. Fleisig failed to report:

01.  With what throwing motion did these college baseball pitchers throw their pitches into the strike zone?

     My guess is:  With their 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

02.  With what throwing motion did these college baseball pitchers throw 120 to 180 feet on a horizontal line?

     My guess is:  With the one step crow-hop throwing motion.

03.  With what throwing motion did these college baseball pitchers throw their maximum distance throws?

     My guess is:  With the three step running crow-hop throwing motion.

     Therefore, without describing their force application techniques, Dr. Fleisig concluded that long tossing requires adjustments in the take-off angle and some undefined changes in their 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     I wonder what would happened if these baseball pitchers used the same long toss force application technique for all three distances?

     The answer:  They would be using my baseball pitching motion.

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233.  List of Current Major League and Minor League Pitchers Who Have Undergone Tommy John Surgery

Here is a link to the current pitchers in professional baseball who have ulnar collateral ligament surgery:


Tommy John Surgery Tracker

originally posted in September 2010; last updated 3/5/11 5:56 PM PST
by Jason Martinez

Scroll to the bottom of the page for a full list of players that are currently recovering from, or very likely to undergo Tommy John surgery.  I'll remove them from the list once they pitch again in a regular season game.

You can add Stephen Strasburg, the guy who many argue is the greatest pitching prospect of all-time, to the list of baseball players who have undergone or will require Tommy John surgery, known in medical practice as Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction.

Many have recovered from the procedure to become successful major league pitchers.  It just takes awhile.  Typical recovery is 12-18 months for a pitcher (usually less time is necessary for a position player).

Edinson Volquez of the Reds was a rare exception, returning to the majors 10 months after surgery, although his command has come and gone in his eight starts since he was officially activated from the DL on July 17th.  The 27 year-old was terrific in four starts, awful in the other four.  That's typical.  He's was moved to the bullpen and then optioned to Lo-A Dayton where he will try to get it together in time to help the team down the stretch.

Another recent example of a pitcher making a fairly quick return from TJ Surgery is Jordan Zimmermann of the Nationals.  He made his 2010 debut last week, allowing 5 ER's and 7 hits in 4 IP, approximately 12 months after undergoing surgery.  Unlike Volquez, his team is not in a pennant race so they can afford to let Zimmermann work on finding his command during a few late-season starts.

Braves pitcher Kris Medlen, who underwent TJ surgery on August 18th, will be blogging about his recovery at krismedlen.blogspot.com.  The 24 year-old was 6-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 107.2 IP for the first-place Braves when he injured his elbow on August 4th.  Now he'll be lucky to be back on the 25-man roster before September 2011.

Check out a few other interesting links regarding Tommy John surgery:

'Inside Tommy John Surgery': Will Carroll, formerly of Baseball Prospectus, posts an article by San Francisco writer Tom Gorman, that Carroll says 'still holds up remarkably well' despite being written five years ago.

'Want to save arms from blowing out?  Don't put them in coach': Gregg Doyel of CBSSports.com argues that the damage is being done early on, as kids are now more likely to play baseball year round.

'Tommy John Surgery has come a long way': AP Baseball Writer Jon Crawczynski wrote this piece that was posted on stltoday.com in August 2010.

'Tommy John Surgery - Wikipedia': This page has a list of every baseball player who has undergone the surgery.

I'm going to take it one step further and provide a current list, which I have put together to the best of my ability, with the approximate surgery date and updates on how the player is progressing.

Players are listed in order of the date of surgery so the players at the bottom of the list are furthest along in their recovery.

Some of the minor leaguer injuries fly under the radar so please let me know if I'm missing anyone.  I will post updates as often as necessary.

Players on Major League Rosters

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01.  Cla Meredith, RHP - WAS: UPDATE 3/2/11 - will undergo TJ surgery
02.  Adam Wainwright, RHP - STL: UPDATE 2/28/11 - underwent TJ surgery
03.  Jamie Moyer, LHP - Free Agent: UPDATE 11/29/10 - will undergo TJ surgery on Wednesday
04.  Justin Maxwell, OF - WAS: UPDATE 10/13/10 - underwent TJ surgery (non- throwing elbow); expected back in April 2011
05.  Hector Ambriz, RHP - CLE: UPDATE 9/29/10 - will undergo TJ surgery on Friday
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06.  Stephen Strasburg, RHP - WAS: UPDATE 9/03/10 - underwent TJ surgery
07.  John Baker, C - FLA: UPDATE 9/03/10 - underwent TJ surgery
08.  Shawn Kelley, RHP - SEA: UPDATE 09/01/10 - underwent 'partial' TJ surgery; could begin playing catch in four months
09.  Manny Corpas, RHP - COL: UPDATE 9/01/10 - will undergo TJ surgery on Wednesday September 7th
10.  Erick Threets, LHP - CWS: UPDATE 8/29/10 - will undergo TJ surgery in September
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11.  Kris Medlen, RHP - ATL: UPDATE 8/18/10 - underwent TJ surgery
12.  Ben Sheets, RHP - OAK: UPDATE 8/9/10 - underwent TJ surgery
13. Kyle Blanks, 1B/OF - SD: UPDATE 7/30/10 - underwent TJ surgery; expected to miss 7-10 months
14.  Zach Miner, RHP - DET: UPDATE 5/28/10 - underwent TJ surgery
15.  Chris Coste, C - Free Agent: UPDATE 5/21/10 - underwent TJ surgery
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16.  Clay Zavada, LHP - ARI: UPDATE 5/21/10 - underwent TJ surgery
17.  Joe Nathan, RHP - MIN: UPDATE 3/26/10 - underwent TJ surgery
18.  Omar Poveda, RHP - FLA: UPDATE 3/3/10 - underwent TJ surgery
19.  Jose Arredondo, RHP - CIN: UPDATE 2/1/10 - underwent TJ surgery
20.  Josh Outman, LHP - OAK: UPDATE 6/30/09 - underwent TJ surgery
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21.  Anthony Reyes, RHP - CLE: UPDATE 6/15/09: underwent TJ surgery
22.  Joey Devine, RHP - OAK: UPDATE 4/22/09 - underwent TJ surgery
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Players on Minor League Rosters

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01.  Matt Gorgen, RHP - ARI: UPDATE 3/5/11 - will undergo TJ surgery
02.  Scott Gorgen, RHP - STL: UPDATE 10/18/10 - will undergo TJ surgery
03.  Vincent Velazquez, RHP - HOU: UPDATE 9/22/10 - underwent TJ surgery
04.  Hector Rendon, RHP - CLE: UPDATE 8/26/10 - underwent TJ surgery
05.  Michael Ynoa, RHP - OAK: UPDATE 8/24/10 - underwent TJ surgery
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06.  Tyler Henley, OF - STL: UPDATE 7/20/10 - underwent TJ surgery
07.  Jack McGeary, LHP - WAS: UPDATE 6/10/10 - underwent TJ surgery
08.  Donald Veal, LHP - PIT: UPDATE 6/4/10 - underwent TJ surgery
09.  Justin Lehr, RHP - CIN: UPDATE 5/28/10 - underwent TJ surgery
10.  Arnold Leon, RHP - OAK: UPDATE 5/26/10 - underwent TJ surgery
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11.  Stephen Matz, LHP - NYM: UPDATE 5/18/10 - underwent TJ surgery
12.  Luis Lebron, RHP - BAL: UPDATE 5/11/10 - underwent TJ surgery
13.  Christian Garcia, RHP - Free Agent: UPDATE 4/20/10 - underwent TJ surgery
14.  Junichi Tazawa, RHP - BOS: UPDATE 4/6/10 - underwent TJ surgery
15.  Juan Jaime, RHP - ARI: UPDATE 4/1/10 - underwent TJ surgery
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16.  Jeff Bianchi, SS - KC: UPDATE 3/20/10 - underwent TJ surgery
17.  Samuel Freeman, LHP - STL: UPDATE 3/9/10 - underwent TJ surgery
18.  Jarrod Parker, RHP - ARI: UPDATE 10/28/09 - underwent TJ surgery
19.  Tyler Yates, RHP - PIT: UPDATE 7/15/09 - underwent TJ surgery
20.  Mason Tobin, RHP - Hi-A Rancho Cucamonga (LAA): UPDATE 4/15/09 - underwent TJ surgery
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     Thank you.

     Imagine, if all these baseball pitchers would only take the baseball out of their glove with their hand under the baseball, then they would not have needed to have their Ulnar Collateral Ligament replaced.

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234.  Sports Illustrated online.

Mechanical flaw will be red flag for Strasburg even after return

JUPITER, FL:  The next time Washington right-hander Stephen Strasburg pitches in the big leagues, "possibly" at the end of this season, according to Nationals GM Mike Rizzo, he will be 23 years old and no longer a phenom.  But, can Strasburg 2.0 be the same pitcher after blowing out his elbow last season and undergoing Tommy John surgery September 03?  And, should he be the same pitcher?  The growth of the Nationals franchise just might depend on those answers.

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     If Mr. Strasburg rehabilitated with me, then he would be pitching right now.

     Although Mr. Strasburg did not injure his Ulnar Collateral Ligament in the last game that he pitched and did not need surgery, Mr. Strasburg will never be the pitcher that he was in his first major league game.

     The reason is simple.

     In his first major league game, he had stopped pulling his pitching arm across the front of his body as he did in college.  Instead, he was driving his pitching arm in straight lines toward home plate.  That was how his fastball moved to the pitching arm side of home plate.  And, Mr. Strasburg was pronating the release of his curve.

     However, after his first major league game, something happened.  I don't know whether Mr. Strasburg was not able to maintain this new pitching motion or somebody changed it.  Whichever it was, the quality of Mr. Strasburg's pitching lessened with every game he pitched thereafter.

     Finally, when he force application degraded to the point where he was supinating and pronating the release of his curve, he injured his Pronator Teres muscle, not his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     After that, orthopedic surgeons took over and put Mr. Strasburg on that downward spiral to oblivion.

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The Nationals promise you will see a different Strasburg, but not in the mechanics of how he throws a baseball.  Those mechanics are a source of some controversy that the Nationals dismiss as insignificant, even though a leader in the field of pitching biomechanics told me a very specific glitch in a delivery, one that applies to Strasburg, "is risky and dangerous.  That's a red flag.  Definitely."

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     Mr. Verducci is quoting a "leader in the field of pitching biomechanics."  Humm.  I wonder who Mr. Verducci believes is a leader in the field of pitching biomechanics?  Could it be someone who believe that supinating the release of curve is not harmful?  Mr. Verducci should admit that he is quoting Dr. Glenn Fleisig.

     But, let's read on.  I am sure that it will become clear who told Mr. Verducci that Mr. Strasburg has a 'very specific glitch' in his delivery.

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Firstly, consider the changes the Nationals do endorse, including one that already has taken place.  Rizzo said Strasburg "dropped 18 pounds of baby fat."  It's the hidden benefit of Tommy John surgery:  Pitchers, at least those with a strong work ethic, work on fitness and conditioning when they can't throw.  Some pitchers throw harder post-surgery, but that is often due to the time developing their legs, core and shoulder more than it is the rebuilt elbow ligament.

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     Wow.  This shows that Mr. Rizzo did not understand what I was explaining to him during our spring training meeting in Lakeland, FL.

     Among lots of other things, I explained that at least ninety percent of release velocity comes from the pitching arm.  The other ten percent comes from lengthening the distance over which the pitching arm applies force.

     My research design was simple.

     I determined the release velocities of my baseball pitchers when their threw with their wind-up and with my Half Reverse Pivot drill.  The result was that everybody threw at least ninety percent as hard with my Half Reverse Pivot drill.

     Therefore, Mr. Rizzo, losing weight and developing shoulder, leg and abdominal muscles do not increase release velocity.

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"Guys like Stephen and Joe Nathan are competitors," Rizzo said.  "And if they can't compete on the mound they are going to compete in their conditioning."  Like Nathan, the Twins' closer who had his own Tommy John surgery last year, Strasburg has returned to throwing, though he is simply playing catch at a distance of 70 feet.  Every time he tosses a baseball a trainer is watching.  When he does get back on a mound and in a competitive environment, the Nationals want to change how he attacks hitters, not the way he throws the ball.

For instance, despite throwing harder than any starting pitcher in baseball last year (average fastball velocity: 97.3), Strasburg threw his fastball only 58 percent of the time. He has the fastball of Nolan Ryan and yet he uses it less often that do soft-throwing lefties Zach Duke and J.A. Happ.  "We'd like to see him use his fastball more," Washington manager Jim Riggleman said.  "Somewhere along his development he noticed that his changeup became a wipeout pitch for him.  I can't tell you whether the catcher was calling for it or he was shaking to it.  But we would like to get him back to a higher percentage of fastballs. I think he feels that way, too."

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     National's field manager, Jim Riggleman believes that Mr. Strasburg should throw more fastballs.  That is what most non-former baseball pitchers believe.

     Unpredictable pitch sequences get batters out.  I could discuss the statistical research that shows this, but I know that most people prefer a simple anecdotal story.

     How about this.  Which Hall of Fame baseball pitcher has the better lifetime win-loss percentage, Mr. Nolan Ryan, the greatest fastball pitcher of all time, or Mr. Greg Maddox, the greatest pitch sequencer of all time?

     Mr. Riggleman:  Guess who's major league lifetime win/loss percentage is .526 and who's major league lifetime win/loss percentage is .633.

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Strasburg also relied on his curveball often.  He threw the 11th highest percentage of curveballs among pitchers who pitched at least 60 innings (25.5 percent).  But trying to link his injury to curveballs is rooted in myth that is not supported by vast medical research.  The curveball, despite long-held speculation, is not more stressful on the arm than high-velocity fastballs.  A 2009 study of college pitchers found no difference in elbow and shoulder loads between curveballs and fastballs, and studies in 2008 and in 2009 of youth pitchers found greater joint loads associated with fastballs rather than curveballs.

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     This is Dr. Glenn Fleisig's research.  As always, Dr. Fleisig does not understand the rest of the story.

     I agree that, whether baseball pitchers throw pronation-released fastballs or supination-released curves, the elbow and shoulder loads that they generate are insignificantly different.

     The point that it appears everybody does not understand is that the injuries that baseball pitchers suffer as a result of throwing supination-released curves has nothing to do with elbow and shoulder loads.

     Instead, the injury that baseball pitchers suffer as a result of throwing supination-release curves is that they bang the bones in the back of their pitching elbow together and/or lengthen the coronoid process of the Ulna bone.

     Ask Mr. Brent Strom and Joel Zumaya how much they enjoyed breaking the olecranon process of the Ulna bone off the shaft of the Ulna bone.

     When will everybody understand that Dr. Fleisig is not qualified to do biomechanical research, much less voice his opinions?

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While the Nationals want Strasburg to use more fastballs, they also want him to dial back on the intensity of those fastballs.  "He doesn't need to be throwing four-seamers at 98 miles an hour all the time," Rizzo said.  "We think he can get more outs with 95, 96 miles an hour two-seamers.  He can get those groundball outs early in counts.  Getting those mis-hits will make him more efficient with his pitches."

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     Oh boy.  Now, we descend deeper into the ignorance of professional baseball.

     When baseball pitchers throw four-seam and two-seam fastballs with the identical force application techniques, which means that they both have the same release velocity, with its fewer seams colliding with the air molecules the two-seam fastballs maintain their release velocities longer.

     To get more ground all outs, two-seam fastballs have to have a different spin axis than the horizontal spin axis typically assigned to four-seam fastballs.

     When that happens, baseball pitchers are no longer throwing fastballs; they are throwing sinkers.

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The pursuit of "early-count grounders" at the expense of strikeouts is a strategy the Mets deployed, to some controversy, with a young Dwight Gooden.  Strasburg, despite the strikeouts, is not an especially high-pitch count guy.  He averaged the same number of pitches per inning last year as Matt Cain (15.7).  His rate of pitches per plate appearance (3.92) was just two percent above league average.

Strasburg never threw 100 pitches in his 12 starts last year.  Indeed, with the ubiquity of pitch counts and media coverage, the development of Strasburg probably was the most closely-watched and conservative development of any star pitching prospect in baseball history, and he still blew out at age 22.

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     Despite the anecdotal information that the Mets botched the job of teaching Mr. Gooden how to properly grip, drive and release a sinker, Mr. Strasburg did not blow out his pitching elbow at age 22.

     Mr. Strasburg partially tore his Ulnar Collateral Ligament during the years before he made the change in his pitching motion that enabled him to throw his first 100 mph fastball.

     Since then, Mr. Strasburg has contracted the medial epicondyle muscles to protect his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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The answer to why Strasburg blew out, and why his future is a risky one, may lie in his mechanics.  Several pitching coaches quietly predicted Strasburg was at risk before he broke down.  He will continue to bear risky loads on his elbow and shoulder unless he changes the way he throws.  To understand the danger of the glitch, first you must understand the most critical point of a pitcher's delivery.

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     For the record, I did not predict that Mr. Strasburg would rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  My concern was for the front and back of his pitching shoulder.  Mr. Strasburg had a 'loop' at the start of his acceleration phase that, eventually, would have caused him problems.

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The pitching motion is a kinetic chain of events, carefully calibrated and timed, like a Formula One car's engine, for maximum efficiency.  But, above all others one link of the chain is most important: the "late cocking phase," or the phase during which the shoulder reaches its maximum external rotation with the baseball raised in the "loaded" position (typically, above the shoulder) and ready to come forward.

"The late cocking phase appears to be the critical point in the pitching motion," according to a conclusion from a study by Dr. Brandon Bushnell of Rome, GA, and colleagues and published last year in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, "where higher levels of torque at the shoulder and elbow can result in increased risk of injury.  Manipulation of pitching mechanics to alter these torque levels or using these measures to identify pitchers at risk may help decrease injury rates."

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     Only my baseball pitching motion is a kinetic chain of sequential joint actions.  Because 'traditional' baseball pitchers trigger a spinal cord reflex that contracts the Brachialis muscle, the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion is not a kinetic chain.

     The 'late cocking phase,' more properly called, 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' is not when baseball pitchers injure their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     As a part of the 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' that the lateral epicondyle muscles are contracting in the pitching elbow does contribute to the moment that injures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     The moment at which baseball pitchers injure their Ulnar Collateral Ligament is when the Pectoralis Major muscle abruptly stops the pitching upper arm from outwardly rotating.

     Dr. Bushnell concluded that high levels of torque in the shoulder and elbow increase the risk of injury.  Talk about self-evident.  What an insight.  To suffer injuries, baseball pitchers have to do more than soft toss.

     Then, Dr. Bushnell said that baseball pitchers need to manipulate their pitching mechanics to decrease these torque levels.  Or, baseball pitching coaches can use these torque measurement to identify pitchers at risk.

     Then, Dr. Bushnell said that identifying baseball pitchers at risk may help decrease injury rates."

     Gee, thanks Dr. Bushnell.  Those conclusions will prevent all pitching injuries.

     Hey, Tom, can't you find anybody that has a clue?

     I cannot believe that I suffered through two paragraphs before I responded.

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Here is the key to managing the torque levels in the late cocking phase: timing.  The ball should be loaded in the late cocking phase precisely when the pitcher's stride foot lands on the ground.

"If he's too early or too late he winds up with more force on the shoulder and elbow," said Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D., research director for the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, AL.  "The energy gets passed to the arm before it was ready, or after."

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     What!  Did Mr. Verducci just say that baseball pitchers need to synchronize when their pitching arm reaches driveline height with when the glove foot lands?  Are you kidding me?

     I am the only baseball pitching coach that says that and I have been saying that for forty years.

     The reason why I know that no other baseball pitching coach has ever said that is because no other baseball pitching coach know that to synchronize when the pitching arm reaches driveline height and when the glove foot lands, baseball pitcher have to use the crow-hop throwing rhythm and I am the only baseball pitching coach that knows how to teach baseball pitcher to do that.

     I have seen baseball pitching coaches have their baseball pitchers do one step crow-hop throws from the pitching rubber, but their baseball pitchers did not synchronize when their throwing arm reached home plate with when their glove foot lands.

     If these guys do not understand the variability between one step crow-hop throws, then how can they know whether their pitching arm reached driveline height at the same time that their glove foot landed.

     For me to determine whether my baseball pitchers could do this, I took high-speed film.  It cannot be done by eye or with 30 frames per second video cameras.

     Dr. Fleisig said, "If he's too early or too late, he winds up with more force on the shoulder and elbow.  The energy gets passed to the arm before it was ready, or after."

     That is not true.  Like always, Dr. Fleisig does not understand the rest of the story.

     The key to Ulnar Collateral Ligament injuries is the combination of the pitching upper arm and forearm outwardly rotating when the Pectoralis Major muscle abruptly stops that outward rotation.

     Therefore, if baseball pitchers are not contracting their Pectoralis Major muscle when they are outwardly rotating their pitching upper arm and forearm, then they will not injure their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     This means that when baseball pitchers raise their pitching arm to driveline height before their glove foot land, because they are no longer outwardly rotating their pitching upper arm and forearm, they will not injure their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     However, with regard to injuring the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, more important than whether baseball pitcher properly time when their pitching arm reaches driveline height at the same time that their glove foot lands, are the angle at which baseball pitchers have their pitching elbow bent and from what height baseball pitchers start their 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.'

     With regard to the angle at which baseball pitchers have their pitching elbow bent:

     The lethal joint action position is ninety degrees bent.

     At this angle, when the Pectoralis Major muscle abruptly stops the pitching upper arm from outwardly rotating, the entire weight of the pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball lands on the unprotected Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Therefore, when baseball pitchers have their pitching elbow tightly bent or nearly fully extended, the weight brought to bear on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament is far less.

     With regard to the height from which baseball pitchers start their 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover:'

     The lethal height from which baseball pitchers start their 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover' is below waist high.

     From this height, the outward rotation muscles have more distance over which to build momentum.  Therefore, when the Pectoralis Major muscle contracts, the outward rotation velocity has greatly increased.  As a result, when the outward rotation abruptly stops, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament receives a powerful jolt.

     To prevent injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers have to eliminate their 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.'(incorrectly labeled, 'late cocking phase').  Pitching arms do not 'cock;' pistols cock.

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Without the energy from the rest of the body, the shoulder and elbow must bear higher levels of torque in what in even optimum circumstances is a maneuver that taxes the physical limits of what an arm can bear.  How important is this specific timing?  I spoke with a key decision maker for one club last week who, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said his club will not consider any pitcher, by draft, trade or free agency, who does not have the baseball in the loaded position at the time of foot strike.

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     Loaded position?  What baseball pitching coach named the pitching arm position where baseball pitchers are ready to accelerate the pitching arm forward, 'Loaded Slingshot?'

     Mr. Verducci said that he spoke with a key decision maker with the Washington Nationals that would only talk with him if Mr. Verducci promised to never tell anybody who told him the following national security secret:

     The Washington Nationals will not draft, trade for or sign via free agency baseball pitchers that did not synchronize when their pitching arm arrived at driveline height with when their glove foot landed.

     This is Woodward and Berstein stuff.  The pulitzer cannot be far behind.

     Of course, they could have simply read my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book or watched my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video or read my twelve years of Answers to the Questions that readers emailed me.

     Rather than not signing these violators of synchronizes baseball pitching, they could teach them.

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It is during this critical moment of the throwing motion when Strasburg fails.  Most pitchers, after taking the ball out of their glove, swing the ball down and away from the body and then raise it in a way in which the throwing hand raises and then the elbow and shoulder follow.  Think about the way you would draw back a whip before cracking it.

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     Did Mr. Verducci just say, "Most baseball pitchers, after taking the baseball out of their glove, swing the baseball down and away the body and then raise it in a way in which the pitching hand raises and then the elbow and shoulder follow?"

     Mr. Verducci could have said that, with the palm of the pitching hand under the baseball, baseball pitchers should pendulum swing their pitching arm vertically downward, backward and upward to driveline height toward second base in one, smooth, continuous movement.

     Thirty years ago, I used the bullwhip analogy, but I changed to the javelin throw analogy.  Try it Mr. Verducci, anatomically it works better.

--------------------------------------------------

However, once Strasburg takes the ball out of the glove, down and away from his body, his right elbow, not his right hand, literally takes the leading role.  Like re-writing a script, the roles in the kinetic chain are switched.  Now it is the elbow that raises higher than the shoulder and the hand.  There is one moment in this sequence when both of Strasburg's elbows are higher than his shoulders, as if he were locked in medieval village stocks.  Many people have frozen that moment of his delivery and assigned it as the point of risk.  That's not entirely true.

--------------------------------------------------


     Mr. Verducci is using the old inverted W argument.  Some advice, for the time being, forget about what the glove arm should be doing.  Let's keep it simple.

     Those readers that have watched my Causes of Pitching Injuries and Prevent Pitching Injuries videos understand that, when baseball pitchers take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of the pitching hand on top of the baseball understand that when they pendulum swing their pitching arm downward and backward, their pitching shoulder reaches shoulder height before the pitching hand does.

     I figured this out back in 1967.  Happy to see that, after over forty years, Mr. Verducci has some minimal understanding of this injurious flaw.

     However, I have watched video of Mr. Strasburg's pendulum swing.  When his pitching upper arm reaches shoulder height, his pitching hand is also at or near shoulder height.  That means that, when he turns his pitching forearm over, he does so over a minimal distance.

     Mr. Strasburg also has his pitching elbow nearly fully extended.  This means that the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' force that he generates is also minimal.

     These two facts mean that, even if Mr. Strasburg contracts his Pectoralis Major muscle when he is outwardly rotating his pitching upper arm and the lateral epicondyle muscles are contracting, Mr. Strasburg does not generate enough force to injure his unprotected Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Sorry, Mr. Verducci, while I strongly recommend that Mr. Strasburg properly perform my pendulum swing technique, the pendulum swing the Mr. Strasburg uses does not injure his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     However, what Mr. Strasburg does causes his pitching forearm to 'loop' backward and outward, but, unlike Mr. Zamaya, not too much.  Therefore, Mr. Strasburg only loses some release velocity and consistency.

--------------------------------------------------

The problem is the timing associated with that move, not the move itself.  When Strasburg gets his elbows above his shoulders and the baseball is below or about even with his right shoulder, his stride foot is hitting the ground.  The ball should be in the loaded position at that point, but because Strasburg uses the funky "high elbow" raise, he still has to rotate his arm above his shoulder to get it there.  The energy from landing on his stride foot has passed too early to the shoulder and elbow, before the joints are ready to use it.

--------------------------------------------------


     Look.  When the glove foot lands, ready or not, the stability of the glove foot on the ground initiates the rotational muscle of the body to forwardl rotate.  Even with 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover, the Pectoralis Major muscle has already started to return the pitching arm to the pitching arm side of the body.

     The centripetal momentum from the forward movement of the pitching upper arm will move the pitching foream to horizontally behind the pitching elbow.  That is position that the Washington Nationals deep throat calls 'Loaded.'

     The glove foot landing does not provide energy to the pitching arm.  The glove foot landed provides stability from which baseball pitcher can forwardly rotate their body.

     With the hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm forwardly rotating, the pitching arm has no choice but to go along.  This means, ready or not, the pitching arm will get into the 'Loaded' position.

     How far behind their acromial line baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm determines how much damage to the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments of the pitching shoulder suffer.

     But, this has nothing to do with the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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"It's not a case of too much armpit angle," Fleisig said, referring to the moment when the elbows are raised.  "It's that the arm hasn't rotated yet."  Fleisig spoke in general about the glitch some pitchers have with the raised elbow, not Strasburg in particular.  When I asked him if this glitch puts pitchers at greater risk of injury, he said, "Totally.  It is risky and dangerous.  That's a red flag.  Definitely."

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     Dr. Fleisig said, "It's a case of too much armpit angle."

     With his sexy injection of 'armpit angle, Dr. Fleisig is trying to say that baseball pitchers raise their pitching upper arm above horizontal to the line across the top of their shoulders.

     However, unless Dr. Fleisig knows of a muscle that arises from above the pitching arm side ear and inserts half-way down the lateral surface of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm, nobody, not even major league baseball pitchers can raise their upper arm above horizontal to the line across the top of the shoulders.

     Dr. Fleisig said, "It's that the arm hasn't rotated yet."

     What Dr. Fleisig should have said is that the pitching upper arm has not finished outwardly rotating yet.  As soon as the pitching upper arm reaches shoulder height, to raise their pitching arm to driveline height, baseball pitchers started to outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm and forearm.

     Then, when Mr. Verducci asked Dr. Fleisig whether not having their pitching upper arm fully outwardly rotated puts baseball pitchers in greater risk of injury, Dr. Fleisig said, "Totally, it is risky and dangerous."

     As usual, Dr. Fleisig does not consider the height of the pitching forearm when the pitching upper arm reaches shoulder height or the angle of the pitching elbow.

     While is it better for baseball pitchers to be contracting the medial epicondyle muscles when their glove foot lands, in Mr. Strasburg's case, with the minimal unnecessary stress his 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' the he produces, his Ulnar Collateral Ligament will be fine.

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I asked Riggleman and Rizzo if they considered Strasburg's mechanics put him at risk of injury and whether they intend to alter his mechanics when he returns to the mound.  Neither one expressed much concern.

"I don't know much about the mechanics end of it," Riggleman said.  "I'd be interested in talking to Tommy John himself.  I do know that it would be a big challenge to try to change the way somebody throws.  I don't know that it makes sense to change and I don't know that you could do it."

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     I know and love Tommy and Sally, but that he ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament does not give him the academic credentials to explain why he ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Besides, my readers know that I taught Tommy how to pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height and he did my wrist weight exercises.

     But, I have been holding out on my readers.

     What is revolutionary about this article is that Mr. Verducci is saying that, before injured baseball pitcher return to competitively pitching, they should eliminate the injurious flaw from their baseball pitching motion.

     For years, medical doctors have told their injured patients, 'Don't do that anymore."

     Did orthopedic surgeons and physical therapist miss that class?

     Therefore, I want to congratulate Mr. Verducci for his revolutionary insight.  He will change baseball pitching forever.

     Imagine, professional baseball will now assemble the best minds in the county to charge forward with research into the learning the causes of pitching injuries and what adjustments to their pitching motion that baseball pitchers have to make to prevent pitching injuries.

     Or, they could watch my Causes of Pitching Injuries and Prevent Pitching Injuries videos.  If this assembled greatness has any questions, then they can email me.

--------------------------------------------------

Rizzo did not draw a connection between Strasburg's mechanics and his injury.  He called the tearing of the ulnar collateral ligament "a freak accident."

(Medically, this is highly unlikely.  When people tear ligaments suddenly, in car accidents, for example, the tear is as clean as if cut with sharp shears.  When pitchers, however, tear ligaments, the tear is worn and frayed.

That's because every time a pitcher throws a baseball he incurs tiny tears in the ligament.  The body, with proper recovery, constantly works to repair those tiny tears.  Over time, and especially as the rate of incurring tears outpaces the rate of recovery, tears can lengthen and become even more frayed; think of what happens to that rip in your old pair of blue jeans.

That's why the surgeons who perform Tommy John surgery, once they open up the elbow, find the tear of a UCL to be frayed and not cleanly cut.)

I then gave Rizzo a lengthy list of pitchers with the same mechanical glitch as Strasburg and what happened to them:  Mark Prior (Tommy John surgery), Kerry Wood (Tommy John), B.J. Ryan (Tommy John), Joel Zumaya (fractured elbow), Jeremy Bonderman (shoulder), Shaun Marcum (Tommy John), Anthony Reyes (Tommy John), Jake Peavy (torn back muscle), Jordan Zimmermann (Tommy John) and, most recently, Adam Wainwright (Tommy John).

None of them, at least those with enough of a post-surgery history, were ever quite the same pitchers again.  Smoltz might come closest, but he had his surgery at age 33 and, because a switch to closing was considered to keep him healthier, pitched only three more seasons as a full-time starter.

--------------------------------------------------


     Be still my heart.

     It is not enough that Mr. Verducci knows that it takes years to rupture an Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Now, Mr. Verducci knows that, after they have Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery, they do not return to previous levels.

     Could somebody hand me a hanky?

     Next, Mr. Verducci is going to list all the Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement recipients that ruptured their replacement Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

--------------------------------------------------

Rizzo mentioned that I could probably find another subset of pitchers who threw in a similar manner and have not been hurt.  I admit my list is anecdotal and not meant to be comprehensive. But, now that Wainwright has gone down, it's very hard to come up with anybody who throws that way and is a beacon of durability.

--------------------------------------------------


     Damn.  Mr. Rizzo trumped Mr. Verducci when he hypothesized that Mr. Verducci could probably find another subset to pitchers that returned to the pitching motion that ruptured their Ulnar Collateral Ligament and never injured their replacement Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

     It is almost impossible to out debate such rapid fire comebacks.

     If only Mr. Verducci had hit Mr. Rizzo with the long list of second Ulnar Collateral Tendon ruptures.

     Wait.  Mr. Verducci did.  Mr. Verducci said, "But, now that Wainwright has gone down, it's very hard to come up with anybody who throws that way and is a beacon of durability."

     Yeah.  Mr. Wainwright ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Tendon.  That should educate Mr. Rizzo.

--------------------------------------------------

(Some guys, such as Carlos Marmol of the Cubs, lead with their raised right elbow and may appear to be symptomatic, but manage to have the arm rotated up and into the loaded position by the time of foot strike.  Young guys who get to the loaded position late who bear watching include Aaron Crow of Kansas City, Kyle Drabek of Toronto and Mark Rogers of Milwaukee, who already has had shoulder problems this spring.)

The good news for Strasburg is that he is progressing well with the many incremental steps in returning from Tommy John surgery.  Pitchers typically return anywhere from 12 to 15 months after surgery.  Nearly 90 percent of Tommy John surgery patients return to pitching, though to what level and for how long is the often unspoken or unmeasured gray area of such recovery.

--------------------------------------------------


     Mr. Verducci said, "The good news for Strasburg is that he is progressing well with the many incremental steps in returning from Tommy John surgery."

     What?  Up to this goofy statement, although relying more on anecdotal information too much, Mr. Verducci was exposing the ignorance in professional baseball.

     This shows that Mr. Verducci feels incompetent to take on Dr. Fleisig and Dr. Andrews.

     That is too bad.  The rest of this article will descend into the ignorance of the "MEDICAL STAFF."  When I capitalize, you need to hear the deep, resonating, loud voice of Darth Vadar.

--------------------------------------------------

Rizzo said Strasburg "possibly" could pitch in the big leagues before the end of this season, but that would be a best-case scenario that is getting too far forward.  Washington doesn't have an exact timetable for Strasburg; that will become apparent much later as he proceeds increment by increment.

Until Strasburg blew out, he was a legitimate phenomena and exactly what baseball needed for years: a true drawing card at home or on the road, perhaps the biggest one since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, unless you count the more notorious appeal of Barry Bonds.  It will never be that way again, not in exactly the same way.  Part of Strasburg's appeal was his lack of experience.  The kid introduced himself with a cloud of smoke.  He blew the ball by big league hitters from his very first day.

The element of the unknown helped make him such a sensation.  Was he really this good? Did he really throw that hard?  Greatness is never so captivating as when it first arrives, like the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, before the cartographers of fame have arrived with their sextants and verniers to tell us so much that the unknown becomes so familiar.

In Strasburg's case, a little bit of mystery remains, though this time it concerns his second impression, the comeback tour, if you will.  Can he be that drawing card again?  And if so, after we pay our money and marvel at the sequel, this time, unlike the first, will we also wonder how long the show can last?


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     Damn.  Mr. Verducci played the 'Beetles' card.  Now, I have 'Imagine' playing in my head.

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235.  Billingsley positive after outing vs. Cubs
MLB.com
March 06, 2011

MESA, AZ:  Chad Billingsley hit his 60-pitch limit during the fourth inning and came out of Sunday's game against the Cubs with the Dodgers trailing, but he considered it a positive outing in two respects.  "I was horrible warming up in the bullpen and I really struggled a little in the first inning," he said after the Dodgers' 5-3 loss.  "But I was able to make the corrections, and the last couple innings were good. And I got Jeff Baker on a 3-2 changeup."


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     On a three balls, two strikes count, Mr. Billingsley took a chance on walking Mr. Baker and threw a change-up.

     I'll bet that the Dodger general manager, field manager and pitching coach have filed that away for the time when he misses with that change-up to jump him for putting their team at risk.

     Mr. Billingley has some nerve.  Nice going.

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236.  Light goes off for Lee, who fixes delivery
MLB.com
March 06, 2011

CLEARWATER, FL: - Cliff Lee noticed a kink in his delivery following his first Grapefruit League start last week.  He fixed it Sunday. He allowed two hits and struck out five in four scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Rays at Bright House Field.  Lee looked good, pounding the strike zone and baffling hitters along the way.  "I've been making the same mistakes over and over a little bit on some things," Lee said in the Phillies' clubhouse afterward.  "I think I figured out why and I tried to apply them today and it worked."

Lee's plant foot had twisted slightly as he moved toward the plate.  It should remain square against the rubber.  Lee said he figured it out between warming up in the bullpen and taking the mound in the top of the first inning.  Did he see a vision?  A bright light?  "I saw a light," Lee said.  "It told me to do something and I did it.  Bam!  It's amazing.  It's why I didn't want to tell you about it.  I don't think you'd really believe it."


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     Bam, Mr. Lee, Mr. Lee.  Wow, an insight.

     When baseball pitchers land with their glove foot parallel with the front of the pitching rubber, they prevent their body from forwardly rotating.

     This means that Mr. Lee cannot forwardly rotate his hips, shoulder and pitching upper arm.

     Therefore, to throw the baseball toward home plate, all Mr. Lee can do is pull his pitching arm across the front of his body.

     I wonder how long it will be until the front and/or the back of his pitching shoulder gives out?

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237.  Cubs plan on being threat to steal bases
MLB.com
March 06, 2011

MESA, AZ:  The Cubs aren't exactly a speed team, ranking next to last in the National League in stolen bases last season.  That may change.  "We can run," outfielder Marlon Byrd said.  "It's about enforcing it now and getting comfortable on the bases.  [First-base coach] Bobby Dernier is like, 'Hey, it's time to go guys, time to run.'"

That is Dernier's message to the team. Who knows, Aramis Ramirez could be stealing bases.  "They don't pay any attention to me, I know that for a fact," Ramirez said.  "We'll see what happens during the season."

"More than anything, we want to be a threat to run," Dernier said.  "We want to steal at a high percentage.  Seventy-five percent is nice.  What it does is create an environment where if the pitcher has to split his attention just because we're a threat, it helps your teammates.

"So, if [Kosuke] Fukudome does it, it helps [Starlin] Castro, and if Castro does it, it helps Byrd, and if Byrd does it, it helps Ramy," Dernier said. "Ramy, surprise attack.  Maybe [Tyler] Colvin helps [Geovany] Soto or [Alfonso Soriano] helps Colvin or [Blake] DeWitt helps Fukudome.  If we have that kind of personality, the personality of the team changes."

Ramirez has 15 career stolen bases and has been caught stealing 14 times.  He was going to steal a couple times last year, but Soriano fouled the ball off, so Ramirez didn't run.  He has asked manager Mike Quade if he has the green light.  "He's all fired up," Quade said about the third baseman.  "He's ready to roll.  I told him, 'Ask me April 1.'  We'll leave that out of the mix right now this spring. I'm so happy with his approach this spring, don't change a thing."

The Cubs are counting on Ramirez to drive in runs, not steal.  On Saturday, Fukudome was on the run but was caught stealing in the third.  He was successful in the fourth inning and advanced on an error.  "It'll be dictated as much by what they're giving us as us forcing the issue," Quade said.  "A kid like [Fernando] Perez, he can force the issue, that's what he does.  We're not blessed with a lot of those guys."

Perez is a legit threat to steal.  But Byrd said the Cubs may surprise some people.  "[Quade] is going to let us run a little bit with all the athleticism we have on the team," Byrd said.  "Fuky can run, I can run, Sori can run.  We didn't show it last year, and now it's time to pick it up a little bit."

Jeff Baker can run.  He's 8-for-8 in stolen base opportunities in the big leagues.  Even 6-foot-5, 240-pound Bryan LaHair can run.  He had three stolen bases last year and was caught once.  His nickname?  The Rabbit.  Get it?  La Hare.  "We won't be known for 150 stolen bases, that's not who we are right now," Dernier said.  "But we can be known as a threat.  If you don't do your work against us, we might get you.  "Any pitcher will tell you it creates that distraction just enough that they're not quite in their normal rhythm."

Quade will test guys this spring to see who can and can't run.  "We need to run intelligently," he said.  "We fooled around and did some things [Saturday] just to get some guys going because we haven't done much of that.  It's definitely something we want to look into.  We don't have a bunch of fliers on this club, but we want to take advantage of situations."

Ramirez does not qualify as a flier.  "I can steal five or 10," Ramirez said.  "I don't think you need to be a fast runner to steal bases.  I don't think [Albert] Pujols is fast.  He stole 15, 20 bags.  Even [Yadier] Molina isn't fast."  Pujols swiped 14 last year, Molina eight.  So, should we expect 15 stolen bases from Ramirez this year?  "I don't know if I'll make it that far," he said, laughing.  "At least 15 tries."

The other reason Dernier wants to see the Cubs on the move?  "Hey, it's fun," he said.


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     Unless, when base runners are stealing, the Cubs make their batters take pitches and, when, those like Pujols, steal, their batters hit fastball pitches on the ground, they will quickly discontinue their stolen base fantasy.

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238.  Pitching Camp?

I read "hints" on the Web that you run a pitching camp.  But, I can't seem to see any precisions.  Do you run a pitching camp?  Will begin following your Web site more.  Saw you on MLB Network last year and only now had the time to check out your site.


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     Two years ago, after ten years, I closed my Baseball Pitching Research/Training Center.

    Nevertheless, to help baseball pitchers and coaches, I recently uploaded my Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion, Causes of Pitching Injuries and Prevent Pitching Injuries videos.

    More to come.

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239.  Query

In your question and answer files for March 2011, you stated that you grew to resent playing professional baseball.  Why did you grow to resent playing professional baseball, when did such feelings originate, and what specifically led to such feelings?


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     I believe that I said that, except for when I was on a major league baseball mound, I did not enjoy anything else about playing major league baseball.

     I have never felt or believed that playing major league baseball was the best use of my life.

     Unfortunately, the fact that I played major league baseball with so much success has prevented me from having the opportunity to make the best use of my life.

     Therefore, to fulfill part of what I believe is the best use of my life, I am trying as hard as I can to show how baseball can be much better than it is and no baseball pitcher ever has to suffer injuries.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, March 20, 2011, I posted the following questions and answers.

*********************************************************************************************** -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

240.  Pitching Coaches Camp?

Thank you for getting back.  I will go back up on your site and visualize some of your work.  I will contribute too.

In the absence of your pitching camp, is there a good "Manager/Coach Training" camp available for adults such as myself.  Baseball experience only goes so far.  24/7 visualization of baseball videos only goes so far.

I had the notion that San Diego State has such a camp.  I believe it's associated with the Tony Gwynn family.  I would like to find such a camp that is primarily oriented for Pitching Coaches, but am open to all suggestions.

[Note:  I am a Little League baseball coach, soon to be an assistant high school coach, and, primarily, an advocate for "safe" baseball.  It's not surprising there are so many arm injuries out there:  coaches teaching curve balls; no pitch counts for the young men, etc.  I'm a terror on the field with opposing coaches who over-pitch their young players!]

In the absence of a good "Manager/Coach Training" camp, can you point me toward a handful of individuals who might be interested in giving me "private coaching" lessons.

  P.S.:  And since I got your attention:  an observation on the lead pitching knee.

The majority of the Little League young men with whom I work still throw baseball like shot-puts, that is they use a reduced arm and throw from, unfortunately, just above the shoulder.  I've started an exercise with them that I call "The Pink Flamingo" where they stand on one leg, their rubber leg, and lift their lead leg as high as it will possibly go and they hold it.  With their throwing arm, I have them reach backwards as far as they can go and hold it.  Only when I say "go," do I let them throw the ball.  I've had pretty great results.

However, one thing I am absolutely stuck on, and I wonder if you agree.  The lead leg knee is essential to good pitching.  Every (assured) Hall of Famer that I observe lifts their knee up to (sometimes) past their chin.  Koufax, Palmer, Ryan, and even the ailing Jake Peavy (coincidently, he is terribly inconsistent with his lead knee).  There have been many many great pitchers of course who didn't do this knee thing, but those truly excellent ones that I observe must have a broken nose for all the times that they've hit themselves with that knee.

I remember you being a thick, smoker when you pitched, so I don't know if you buy into this knee observation.  But, in all cases, I appreciate the opportunity to talk, if only briefly, pitching with you.


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     Thank you for taking the time to email me.

     On my website, drmikemarshall.com, without charge, I have provided my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, my Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video, my Causes of Pitching Injuries video, my Prevent Pitching Injuries video and other video files for visitors to watch, my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, Question/Answer files and other text files of visitors to read and my Baseball Pitchers Training Programs for visitors to copy and complete.

     I recommend that you watch and read those materials and, if you have any questions, then please email me.

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241.  I am a brother of one of the young men that trained with you

We have met once before when I visited my brother when he began training with you and on a day when Tommy John visited your facility.  So, it is an amazing trip that I will never forget.

From time to time, I ask my brother how things are progressing with you and your program and, recently, he told me that this year was possibly your last year of offering the program.  This leads me to what I would like to discuss with you.

I believe, like you, that the contemporary mechanics of pitching are what cause most, if not all, arm problems and shortened baseball careers.  I also believe that for whatever reason you and your program have not been given a fair chance to explain your approach and even when you have it has not been received with an open mind.

I can cut to the chase now as this email can easily be longer than it needs to be since I feel very passionate about this topic.

What I do for a living is make videos and specifically I make documentaries.  I want to make a documentary about you and your program.

Since my brother still lives in Florida and he told me about your facility possibly ending soon, I feel compelled to make this.

I would like to spend a couple weeks filming your participants everyday, interviewing them and their process.  I would also like to film you coaching and interacting with these participants and interviewing you as well.

This would really only be the beginning for me in making this film, but I wanted to hear feedback from you and to see if this is something you are open to do.

I am not asking for any money to make this, as I will be filming and editing everything myself and would stay with my brother each night.

Hope all is well and I hope to hear back from you soon so that we can discuss more about the project I have in mind.


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     Two years ago, I closed my Baseball Pitching Research/Training Center.

     Recently, I added three critical new videos to my website; Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion, Causes of Pitching Injuries and Prevent Pitching Injuries that should explain why 'traditional' baseball pitchers injure themselves.

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242.  Pectoralis Major muscle

You replied:  "I never said that the Pectoralis Major muscle is the source of every pain that baseball pitchers have in the front of their pitching shoulder.  I only said that, with regard to abruptly stopping the outward rotation of the Humerus bone, the Pectoralis Major muscle receives all the unnecessary stress."

Would it be correct to say that if a pitcher experienced pain from the unnecessary stress to the Pectoralis Major and had no stress from any other muscle then the pain would not be felt in the front of the shoulder?


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     Since the Pectoralis Major muscle crosses the front of the shoulder, if it is injured, then that is where baseball pitchers will experience discomfort.

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243.  Training center

I am 45.  I live in the midwest.  I have a near 8 year old boy who is getting into baseball.  I have always been a huge baseball fan though was not good enough to play high school.  I played mostly sandlot growing up.  I want to learn about coaching.  I am a volunteer for my son's league as a coach.

There are some clinics for the coaches run by local high school coaches.  I am also going to shadow those coaches a few times.

I have read about your work for years, first reading your online book and watching the videos a few years ago.  I do have some trouble processing a lot of it through my own limited ability.

I see you have your training center near St. Petersburg.  Do you have any clinics for teaching how to coach pitching?

I would really be interested in a clinic where I could learn first hand how you throw and teach throwing the various pitches.  It will be a few years before my son reaches the age of 10, but I would have some time to 'practice' myself.  Do you ever have such clinics?

I get to FL for work sometimes.


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     Two years ago, I closed the Baseball Pitching Research/Training Center that I operated in Zephyrhills, FL, thirty miles northeast of Tampa.

     However, on my website, drmikemarshall.com, without charge, I have provided my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, my Dr. Mike Marshall’s Baseball Pitching Motion, my Causes of Pitching Injuries video, Prevent Pitching Injuries video and other video files for visitors to watch, my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, Question/Answer files and other text files of visitors to read and my Baseball Pitchers Training Programs for visitors to copy and complete.

     For chronological eight year olds, I recommend that once a year until youth baseball pitchers are is biologically sixteen years old, they complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

     At sixteen biological years old, I recommend that once a year until high school baseball pitchers are biological nineteen years old, they complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     At nineteen biological years old, I recommend that adult baseball pitchers complete my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     Thereafter, for as long as they want to continue to pitch competitively, I recommend that, every off-season, they repeat my 72-Day Thirty Pound Adult Baseball Pitchers Wrist Weight Recoil Interval-Training Program and my 72-Day Fifteen Pound Adult Baseball Pitchers Iron Ball Recoil Interval-Training Program.

     If, after you familiarize yourself with this new information, you still have questions, then please email them to me.

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244.  My 11 year old son

I have attached two videos.

My son's footwork does not look good.

I am also concerned that he may be supinating his MPC.

It is the first time that we have been able to throw outside.  I am hoping that that excitement is what caused his technique to suffer.

Can you please comment?

Youth baseball pitcher throwing a Maxline Pronation Curve

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Video #1:  Youth baseball pitcher throwing a Maxline Pronation Curve.

     While I do not remember teaching a wind-up pitching motion that has baseball pitchers taking a step backward with their glove arm side foot, I reasonably enjoyed watching your son throw his rendition of my Maxline Pronation Curve.

01.  Although he did not point his glove arm at the glove side batter, he had a nice pendulum swing and pronated his release.

02.  However, he did not drop step at forty-five degrees to his glove side, rotate his acromial line to point toward home plate or drive down his acromial line.  Nevertheless, had he not pulled his arm inward, he would have thrown a nice pitch.

Video #2:  Youth baseball pitcher throwing a Maxline True Screwball.

01.  He had a nice pendulum swing and a very nice release with excellent rotation.

02.  Again, with the step back and he did not drop step at forty-five degrees.  However, he nicely rotated his acromial line forward and drove the baseball beautifully down his acromial line.

     I loved it.

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245.  Training center

I know you are busy.  Just wanted to thank you for the quick response.  No further reply needed.


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     I hope that, with all I have given you and your son, you will teach your son how to become the best baseball pitcher that he can be.

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246.  Pectoralis Major

You say the Pectoralis Major muscle crosses the front of the shoulder so unnecessary stress would be felt as pain in the front of the shoulder.

My question relates to how laymen look at pictures of muscles.

I am including a picture of the Pectoralis Major muscle I sent you the other day.  As I looked at the muscle it does not appear to cross the front of the shoulder.

In the photo you can see that there is space in the area between where the muscle crosses over to attach to the humerus.  This well below the armpit.  Obviously that is not a real world representation of the muscle if it crosses the front of the shoulder.  I have wondered about this with other muscles as well.

So here are my questions:

1.  Should I think of this muscle with the shoulder upwardly rotated?

If I look at it that way the muscle crosses the front of the shoulder.

2.  Do you think this is an accurate representation of the muscle?

To me the muscle crosses below the armpit so it can't be a correct representation.

I can see how important it was for you to work on a cadavers.


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01.  The bicipital groove goes through the head of the Humerus bone.  The Pectoralis Major muscle inserts into the lateral lip of the Humerus bone.

     When you look at the Humerus bone in its entirety, you will see that the Pectoralis Major muscle crosses the front of the pitching shoulder.

     When baseball pitchers abduct their pitching upper arm to horizontal, the insertion of the Pectoralis Major muscle crosses even higher up the shoulder joint.

     When the Humerus bone outwardly rotates, the insertion of the Pectoralis Major muscle crosses even higher up the shoulder joint.

02.  As you recognized, it is anatomically impossible for the Pectoralis Major muscle to cross below the armpit.  Therefore, because the Pectoralis Major muscle has to get to the Humerus bone by crossing above the armpit, it must cross the front of the pitching shoulder.

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247.  My 11 year old son

I have attached two videos.  Can you please comment?

When my son threw today, he worked on starting with his hands lower.  It appeared that he did not reverse rotate as much, and his glove arm did not come across his body as much.  He will continue to try to improve.

Maxline Fastball #1

Maxline Fastball #2

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01.  Your son needs to stop stepping backward with his glove foot and he needs drop step to his glove side and point his glove arm toward the glove arm side batters box.

    If he does these things, then he will be able to forwardly rotate his acromial line to point toward home plate and drive his pitching arm down his acromial line.

     Nevertheless, he did not hunch his shoulders forward.  This means that he tried to forwardly rotate the entire pitching arm side of his body forward through release.

     Basically, he did very well.

02.  With the second Maxline Fastball, it looks as though he changed the location of home plate.  In the first video, he threw to the left of the camera.  This time, he threw directly at the camera.

     Therefore, when he started, he looked as though he was drop stepping to his glove side.  However, when, instead of throwing to the left (pitching arm side) of the camera, he threw straight at the camera, he did not drop step.

     However, his pendulum swing and glove arm action made it appear as though he was throwing to the left of the camera.

     Now, if he could look as though he is going to the right (glove arm side) of the camera, but he throws at the camera, then he would have the proper body action.

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248.  Stretching Before a Run Does Not Necessarily Prevent Injury
ScienceDaily.com
February 20, 2011

According to a study presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), stretching before a run neither prevents nor causes injury.

More than 70 million people worldwide run recreationally or competitively, and recently there has been controversy regarding whether runners should stretch before running, or not at all.

This study included 2,729 runners who run 10 or more miles per week. Of these runners, 1,366 were randomized to a stretch group, and 1,363 were randomized to a non-stretch group before running.

Runners in the stretch group stretched their quadriceps, hamstrings, and gastrocnemius/soleus muscle groups. The entire routine took 3 to 5 minutes and was performed immediately before running.

The study found that stretching before running neither prevents nor causes injury.  In fact, the most significant risk factors for injury included the following:

1.  History of chronic injury or injury in the past four months;
2.  Higher body mass index (BMI); and
3.  Switching pre-run stretching routines (runners who normally stretch stopping and those who did stretch starting to stretch before running).

"As a runner myself, I thought stretching before a run would help to prevent injury," said Daniel Pereles, MD, study author and orthopaedic surgeon from Montgomery Orthopedics outside Washington, DC.

"However, we found that the risk for injury was the same for men and women, whether or not they were high or low mileage runners, and across all age groups."

"But, the more mileage run or the heavier and older the runner was, the more likely he or she was likely to get injured, and previous injury within four months predisposed to even further injury," he added.

Runners who typically stretch as part of their pre-run routine and were randomized not to stretch during the study period were far more likely to have an injury.

"Although all runners switching routines were more likely to experience an injury than those who did not switch, the group that stopped stretching had more reported injuries, implying that an immediate shift in a regimen may be more important than the regimen itself," he added.

The most common injuries sustained were groin pulls, foot/ankle injuries, and knee injuries.

There was no significant difference in injury rates between the runners who stretched and the runners who didn't for any specific injury location or diagnosis.


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     It is too bad that they did not have a group that gently increased the blood flow to the running muscles with walking, fast walking, easy jogging and so on until they were properly repeating the proper motor unit contraction and relaxation sequence.

     Then, until the blood flow stabilized, they could take a minute or two of walking and start their run competitive or not.

     But, the point is:  Muscles do not stretch!

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249.  Wireless Device Helps Athletes Get the Most out of Exercise
ScienceDaily.com
February 16, 2011

New research at the University of Essex could help athletes train to their maximum potential without putting undue pressure on their muscles.

A special wireless device, called the iSense, has been devised which is capable of predicting and detecting the status of muscles during training and can be adapted to any sport.

"It is all about being able to train safely and smartly," explained PhD student Mohamed Al-Mulla who has devised the iSense.

Until now, athletes have to rely on their own perception of muscle fatigue when training.  However, the iSense helps optimise performance by building the bridge between what the brain is telling the athlete and what the muscles are actually doing.

The iSense device is attached by sensors and takes signals from the muscles based on the tiny electrical signals they produce when contracting.  Mr Al-Mulla is now hoping to attract investment to make the isense device a commercial product.

Whilst muscle fatigue can be beneficial to body-builders wanting to push their bodies to the extreme to promote muscle growth, it can cause serious injury when the level of fatigue is high.  When muscle fatigue is not detected soon enough, it can often lead to pain and injuries.  The system will guide the user during training to act as a warning device, to avoid unnecessary strain on the muscle and avoiding injury.

The device can not only benefit sports enthusiasts but the elderly and disabled who can often suffer muscle fatigue by sitting in the same position for too long.  It can also be used for preventing muscle fatigue in work-related settings.

The research, published in the journal Sensors, is already moving towards an improved device which is smaller, more portable and can be connected to an iPhone.


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     This sounds like electromyography.  Electromyography uses the same methodology as cardiology, which displays the electrical activity in the heart muscle.

     Therefore, this iSense device displays the electrical activity in skeletal muscle.

     However, unless the iSense device takes blood samples and measures lactic acid levels, it cannot determine when muscles will fatique.

     Besides, proprioception is the key to highly skilled performances.  Therefore, the iSense device would interfere with the most important factor in skilled athletes, that is, their proprioception of body position and speed of their movements.

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250.  Haren, Santana pitching smarter with less zip
MLB.com
March 06, 2011

TEMPE, AZ:  Dan Haren doesn't throw as hard as he once did. Neither does Ervin Santana.  What they've lost in a few miles per hour they've compensated for in fuel efficiency and an understanding of the value of quick outs with superior command.  "Haren was 93, 94 [mph on the radar gun] in Oakland," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.  "Here, he's at 90, 91 with better command.  He's evolved into more of a pitcher than a guy with dominant stuff.

"This guy, mentally, he's as tough as any pitcher I've seen.  His ability to command the ball lowers some pitch counts for him.  And he works harder to bounce back.  With most Major League pitchers, they have that mentality."

Santana, at 28, generally keeps his fastball in the 91-94 mph range, down from 93-97 in his youth.  Two years younger than Haren, he has made 170 career starts compared to Haren's 222.  Santana is 76-55 with a 4.39 ERA, Haren has gone 91-74 with a 3.66.

"Ervin in '06, when he had the power fastball, one of his flaws was he was trying to strike guys out in an 0-0 count," Scioscia said.  "He wanted everybody to swing and miss.  He understands now that good command and good counts lead to fewer pitches.  He still has a good fastball with good command, and he's evolved into a more efficient pitcher as he moves forward."


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     If baseball pitchers can throw 93-94 or 93-97 as Mr. Scioscia says that Mr. Haren and Mr. Santana could, then they should continue to throw those velocities.

     Where I agree with Mr. Scioscia is that they should not throw their best fastball on the 0-0 count.

     Instead, baseball pitchers should set the batter's bat speed with their minus ten mph pitches; the true sinker and slider.

     Then, to change speeds on batters, after the first pitch, baseball pitchers should either take ten mph off their minus ten mph pitches or put ten mph on their minus ten mph pitches.

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251.  D-backs need to work on holding runners on
MLB.com
March 06, 2011

TEMPE, AZ:  If the D-backs want to work on their ability to slow down the opposition's running game, the ultra-aggressive Angels are the team for them to play.  Holding runners closer and preventing stolen bases has been a huge point of emphasis early in camp for the D-backs, and it appears to be an area where they still need a lot of improvement.

The Angels stole three bases in Sunday's 7-2 win over the D-backs.  That two of them came against catcher Henry Blanco, known for his ability to throw out runners, strongly suggests that the pitchers were not doing a good enough job holding runners on.

"We've got to slow that down," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.  "We've been talking about it, but we didn't do a very good job of that.

"They're very, very aggressive, which if you execute things right, they run right into trouble themselves, and we didn't do a very good job of that today.  We didn't give Henry a chance at all.  We missed a couple of signs and stuff like that, so we have to tighten that up.  They're a good team to play for us, for that reason."


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     Mr. Gibson said, "We missed a couple of signs and stuff like that."

     This means that Mr. Gibson gave the catcher the pitch out sign, but either he or the baseball pitcher missed the sign.

     When baseball pitchers throw pitch outs, they release the baseball as quickly as they can and, to help the catcher release his throw as quickly as he can, baseball pitchers throw the baseball high and away from the baseball batters.

     Three things:

01.  Because, for baseball pitchers to release their throws as quickly as they can, they have to use an entirely different throwing rhythm and motion.  Base runners recognize this different pitching motion and do not run.

02.  Because of the different throwing rhythm and motion, baseball pitchers do not accurately throw the baseball.

03.  Because of the different throwing rhythm and motion, baseball pitchers do not properly throw their next pitch.

     The fact that the catchers and/or the baseball pitchers did not throw pitch outs worked out better than if they had.

     Therefore, the question is:

     What should baseball pitchers do to prevent base runners from stealing bases?

     The answer is in the definiition of how to perform pitch outs.

     "When baseball pitchers throw pitch outs, they release the baseball as quickly as they can and, to help the catcher release his throw as quickly as he can, baseball pitchers throw the baseball high and away from the baseball batters."

     Baseball pitchers and catchers have to 'release the baseball as quickly as they can.'

     Therefore, the next question is:

     What do baseball pitchers have to do to release the baseball as quickly as they can?

     Typically, 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches teach their baseball pitchers to 'slide step.'

     This means that, instead of raising their glove leg off the ground and reverse rotating their body beyond second base, they teach their baseball pitchers to keep their glove foot low and not reverse rotate their body.

     As a result, 'traditional' baseball pitchers can get the baseball to their catchers is about 1.6 seconds.

     Then, if catchers can get baseball out of their glove and to second base in 2.0 seconds, they have a chance of getting base runners that get to second base in 3.6 seconds.

     Of course, these 'traditional' baseball pitchers have completely altered the timing of their baseball pitching motion, such that, if base runners do not recognize this dramatic change in the pitching motion and do not run, the odds are that the 'traditional' baseball pitchers will throw the baseball somewhere that the catcher cannot easily catch and throw.

     During his extended spring training with the St. Louis Cardinals, the coaches timed Joe Williams regular time to home plate at 1.2 seconds.

     This means that, under the same circumstances, base runners had to get to second base in 3.2 seconds or they are out.

     Therefore, the best defense to base stealing in my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion.

     I already have the video in the time line.  All I need to do is put voice-over into my Marshall Pick-Off Moves video.

     I will do that after I finish my Four Drills that Teach the Marshall Skills video.

     However, after two months of sitting at my video computer, I am taking a month off to build a deck in my back yard.

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252.  Coaching bullies

That baseball coaches at all levels continue to black ball your baseball pitching motion takes me back to when I first met you about 10 years ago.

Walking out of your research center after seeing your baseball pitchers do their wrist weight exercise, throw their iron balls, footballs and baseballs, I remember thinking that it would take 4 years for your pitching motion to become the primary way to pitch.

I always thought success was around the corner, but alas.

So, where are you at with your efforts?

I see you have removed your Certified Pitching Instructors from your web site.  Do you feel now that the job has to be done by you or it will not be done at all?


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     Since I am not longer coaching baseball pitchers, I do not feel as though I have to do the job or it will not be done at all.

     I removed the list of Certified Marshall Baseball Pitching Coaches because I believe that the years that I had the list on my website was sufficient for each of them to establish their coaching credentials.

     On my website, without charge, I have provided everything that baseball pitchers and/or baseball pitching coaches need to master my baseball pitching motion.  Whether they do or not is up to them.

     To make their learning curve as steep as I can, I will continue to make DVDs that explain why baseball pitchers should use my baseball pitching motion and the drills that teach the skills that baseball pitchers need to learn.

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253.  My 11 year old son

My son experienced two things today that have not occurred before.

First, while doing his MPC baseball throws he had a tingling feeling in the web of skin between his thumb and his palm.  It did not occur on every pitch, but did occur on 3 or 4 pitches.

Second, he said that he had a cramp in his latissimus dorsi.

Later in the evening, he said it hurt him, in the same spot, to lift his arm as if doing the pendulum swing.  He referred to the feeling as pain.  My best guess is that the pain is in the lower third and in the middle of the latissimus dorsi.

He has improved his footwork in the past two days by drop stepping and not stepping back to start his motion.  He is on day 50, so his work load has also increased.  He also took an hour of fielding practice 3 hours after his workout.

Your thoughts.


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01.  The tingling feeling between his thumb and palm indicates that your son has irritated the Median Nerve that passes through the wrist.

     This is the carpal tunnel nerve that bothers typists.

     However, unless, in addition to pitching baseballs, your son is typing or twittering eight hours a day, this discomfort should not be problematic.

02.  That he had a cramp in his Latissimus Dorsi muscle indicates that he is properly using his pitching arm.  However, it also means that he is doing too much too soon.

     As I recall, he did increase the weight of the wrist weights that he is using.  At this point, his Latissimus Dorsi does not have the fitness it needs to do the work that he is asking it to do.

     To allow his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to catch up, he should decrease his intensity.

     Fielding practice is good, but he should not be throwing the balls back.  And, fifteen minutes is more than enough for this early in the season.

     It all sounds like too much too soon.  Fatigued muscles cannot learn.

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254.  Peavy feels soreness 'only in right spots'
MLB.com
March 06, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ:  The morning after a very public milestone on his unprecedented comeback trail, Jake Peavy had an even bigger watershed moment in total privacy.  Peavy awoke Saturday morning feeling soreness "only in the right spots" from having pitched two hitless innings with the mended latissimus muscle behind his right shoulder.

"I feel OK.  Some general soreness in all the right spots, nothing too bad," said Peavy, who had been alerted by the doctor overseeing his rehab to be on the alert for certain day-after warning signs.

"He told me that if I felt certain stiffness, I should 'back off.'  But I don't feel any discomfort in any areas.  Nothing is tender," said an obviously gratified Peavy.  "I feel blessed, to be on the way back from such a traumatic injury."

Less than 20 hours after having needed 26 pitches to set down six of the seven Angels he had faced in Friday's game, Peavy conceded sensing "a little soreness in the back of the lat."  "But, as of today," he added, "there is no setback."

That means he will pitch a simulated game on Sunday, then take his next regular Cactus League turn on Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants.

Thus continues the 29-year-old's inspiring and experimental return from an extraordinary injury, climaxed thus far by his efficiency against the Angels 233 days after having lain on Dr. Anthony Romeo's operating table in Vail, CO.

Peavy has made such steady and encouraging progress, he may need to place a "Whoa!" sign in his locker.  "At this point, we still have such a long way to go.  I'm not trying to be a hero," Peavy said.  "If I can break camp with the team, that would be something to get excited about.  But that's not the goal.

"The goal is to be back in a part of the season where I can contribute to the success of the team.  Missing the first couple of starts wouldn't be a big deal.  Sure, I'd like to be able to make all 35 starts, but making 28 to 30 would be good, too."

That would also exceed the expectations of everyone, including the renowned surgeon who operated on Peavy's shoulder.  Before Peavy took the mound on Friday, Romeo had told the Chicago Tribune that his "hopeful" projection for his patient was "15 to 20 starts."  Furthermore, Romeo reflected that as the rehabilitation process began, his "conservative" goal was "to get [Peavy] back one year after surgery."  The surgeon's original best-case scenario, thus, was for Peavy to return by July 14, coincidentally the first day after the All-Star break.

The veteran would appear to be considerably ahead of that timetable.  This is where caution and patience will begin playing a big part.  "I have to be careful to not rush it," Peavy said.  "There is a schedule to stay on.  We cleared a big hurdle [with Friday's outing] but now we have to get back to reality."

Every day, Peavy's new reality appears brighter.  Friday was no exception.  "I took a good step in the right direction," he summed up.  "It was a big day for me."


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     'Traditional' baseball pitchers do not use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  My baseball pitchers do use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, but only to inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     Rock climbers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to pull their body up vertical walls.  Firemen use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to pull their body up ladders.  Gymnasts use their Latissimus Dorsi to pull themselves up on the still rings and other gymnastic equipment.  Everybody does pull-ups.

     But, something went wrong with Mr. Peavey's motor unit contraction and relaxation sequence.  Somehow his Latissimus Dorsi muscle remained contracted when he accelerated his fateful pitch toward home plate.

     All baseball pitchers use their Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally flex their pitching upper arm.

     As best as I can determine, the Teres Major muscle horizontally extends the pitching upper arm.

     The Latissimus Dorsi muscle inserts just inside of the Teres Major muscle on the medial side of the bicipital groove of the head of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm opposite to the insertion of the Pectoralis Major muscle on the lateral lip.

     I cannot make sense of this injury.

     Nevertheless, orthopedic surgeons regularly reattach detached tendons.  In general, reattach tendons are similar to broken bones.

     That is, the key to success is the bone growing around the tendon to make it part of the bone.

     In the same way that supinating the release of my slider caused the coronoid process in my pitching elbow to significantly lengthen, as Mr. Peavey contracts his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, the bony attachment to the medial lip of the bicipital groove will strengthen.

     But, how is Mr. Peavey rehabilitating his reattachment?

     Because Mr. Peavey does not use the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to apply force to his baseball pitches, I would have Mr. Peavey pulling down on bars with pulleys.  I would have Mr. Peavey start with very low weight and very low repetitions and gradually and gently increase the number of repetitions and weight.

     With an appropriate rehabilitation program, I see no reason why Mr. Peavey should not be able to return to his previous performance level.

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255.  Coaching Bullies

Fair enough.

Although I think you forget the last thing you said to us at the seminar was "at least, you will do no harm".

I think anyone contacted on that list could, at a minimum, give the parent the basics and reassure them that they have seen you in action. Otherwise you make a valid point.

I guess I would change your sentence to making the effort for parent LESS steep because of what you are continuing to do.


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     I have no doubt that everybody on my Certified Marshall Pitching Coaches list would give parents the basics and prevent pitching injuries.

     As you said, I also have no doubt that my recent videos give parents the basics and prevent pitching injuries.

     Therefore, instead of looking for someone to work with their youth baseball pitchers, I want them to work with them.

     When I say a steep learning curve, I am saying that they learn what they need to learn very quickly.  A flat learning curve means that they are not learning at all.

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256.  My 11 year old son

To clarify, my son was part of a clinic with four players.  He did not take infield for an hour by himself.


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     On my growing list of videos to make is my Fielding Skills video.

     With my infielder ground balls fielding drill, fielders learn the reflexive skills of fielding ground balls in less that five minutes per day in the own back yard.

     To have four youth baseball players stand around for an hour is a waste of time.

     More importantly, I am sure that the 'alligator' technique that they learn is not only ineffective, but scary and too often painful.

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257.  Hellickson's hamstring holds up nicely
MLB.com
March 06, 2011

CLEARWATER, FL:  Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson threw 34 pitches in a successful bullpen session Sunday in Port Charlotte, FL, manager Joe Maddon said at Bright House Field.  Hellickson has been nursing a strained left hamstring since the beginning of Spring Training.  Maddon said Hellickson will throw another bullpen session in two days.  If that goes well, the hurler could pitch Friday against the Pirates in Port Charlotte.

Hellickson's performance last season fueled speculation he could win a spot in this year's rotation.  Subsequently, the team gained enough confidence in him and traded Matt Garza to the Cubs.  Tentatively, the right-hander is penciled in as the No. 5 starter.  The 23-year-old doesn't see anything changing his spot in the rotation.  "I don't think I'll be missing any games," Hellickson said last week.


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     The 'hamstring' muscle to which this article refers is the short head of the Biceps Femoris muscle that is the only true hip extensor muscle in the upper leg.

     Because the other three 'hamstring' muscles receive innervation from a different motor nerve, sometimes the reciprical inhibition reflex arrives too late such that the short head of the Biceps Femoris muscle remains contracted when the Rectus Femoris muscle contracts to flex the hip joint.

     The resulting co-contraction tears the muscle fibers in the short head of the Biceps Femoris muscle.

     While the article does not say how Mr. Hellickson injured his short head of the Biceps Femoris muscle, I suspect that he did so running his poles or worse, some enterprising coach threw baseballs that pitches had to chase and catch.

     This means that 'hamstring' tears occur as a result of improper motor unit contraction and relaxation sequences after not running, especially with sudden increases in intensity after an off-season of not running with sudden increases in intensity.

     My 'speed-up' drill prevented my baseball players from ever suffering this injury.

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258.  Did I read the Verducci article correctly?

It sounded like Dr. Fleisig now agrees with you.  In his Biomechanics of Elbow Injuries report, he said that pitchers injure their UCL during inward rotation.

Am I right?


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     Mr. Verducci wrote:  "But, above all others one link of the chain is most important: the "late cocking phase," or the phase during which the shoulder reaches its maximum external rotation with the baseball raised in the "loaded" position (typically, above the shoulder) and ready to come forward."

     Mr. Verducci wrote:  "Here is the key to managing the torque levels in the late cocking phase: timing.  The ball should be loaded in the late cocking phase precisely when the pitcher's stride foot lands on the ground.

     Mr. Verducci wrote:  "If he's too early or too late he winds up with more force on the shoulder and elbow," said Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D., research director for the American Sports Medicine Institute in Birmingham, AL.  "The energy gets passed to the arm before it was ready, or after."

     Therefore, Dr. Fleisig did not precisely say that baseball pitchers injure their Ulnar Collateral Ligament during outward rotation.

     Instead, Mr. Verducci quoted Dr. Fleisig as saying that, to avoid injury to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers have to precisely time when their pitching upper arm is ready to move forward with when the glove arm side foot contacts the ground.

     In his Biomechanics of Elbow Injuries During Throwing report, Dr. Glenn Fleisig wrote:  "From the cocked position, the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) pulls the forearm forward with the rotating upper arm."

     That Dr. Fleisig wrote:  "pulls the forearm forward with the rotating upper arm" indicates that the pitching upper arm is moving forward."

     Therefore, as you concluded, we can say that Dr. Fleisig believed that baseball pitchers injure their Ulnar Collateral Ligament during inward rotation.

     Still, Dr. Fleisig is nothing if not imprecise.  It is impossible to pin Dr. Fleisig down.  He keeps his options open.

     Let me dissect Dr. Fleisig's Biomechanics of Elbow Injuries During Throwing comment more closely.

     To repeat, Dr. Fleisig wrote:  "pulls the forearm forward with the rotating upper arm."

     As I unequivically explain in my Causes of Pitching Injuries video, baseball pitchers injure their Ulnar Collateral Ligament at the moment when the Pectoralis Major muscle abruptly stops the outward rotation of their pitching upper arm.

     The Pectoralis Major muscle horizontally flexes the pitching upper arm.

     The Pectoralis Major muscle does not inwardly rotate the pitching upper arm.

     With the Pectoralis Major muscle's attachment to the lateral lip of the bicipital groove wrapped around the head of the Humerus bone in the pitching upper arm, the action of horizontally flexion abruptly stops the Humerus bone from outwardly rotating more, and, until the attachment of the Pectoralis Major muscle faces forward, which amounts to about ninety degrees of inward rotation, the Pectoralis Major muscle does rotate the pitching upper arm.

     However, as the fact that the pitching elbow never points upward, this is not meaningful inward rotation.  The only muscle that inwardly rotates the pitching upper arm so powerfully that the pitching elbow points upward is the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     In an attempt to engage Mr. Verducci in a 'critical conversation' about what injurious flaw injures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, I clicked on "Mechanical flaw will be red flag for Strasburg even after return" and clicked on "Email Tom Verducci"

     That was over one week ago and Mr. Verducci has not returned my email.

     Either Mr. Verducci does not respect me, does not want to eliminate this pitching injury or cannot stand the truth or who knows.

     However, if my readers agree that it is time to end the Andrews/Fleisig pitch count, psuedo-research nonsense, then I invite you to also email Mr. Verducci or his superiors.

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259.  Felix Hernandez avoids liner
Associated Press
March 07, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ:  Mariners ace Felix Hernandez was fortunate to get through his first batter of spring training.  Hernandez, the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, shook off a line drive by A’s leadoff hitter David DeJesus that just missed hitting him in the head.“I was like ‘Whoa, first game, man, you’re gonna do that?”’  Hernandez said he told DeJesus in jest.  “It was scary.”


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     Until 'traditional' baseball pitchers learn how to get both feet on the groung before the baseball crosses home plate, they will not be able to move out of the way of batted baseballs hit back at them.

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260.  Rangers' Feliz more comfortable as a closing act
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
March 07, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  Feliz tossed two scoreless innings in his Cactus League debut Thursday, and will be stretched out to three innings Wednesday after suffering only a bruise when struck by a line drive Sunday while throwing live batting practice.


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     Until 'traditional' baseball pitchers learn how to get both feet on the groung before the baseball crosses home plate, they will not be able to move out of the way of batted baseballs hit back at them.

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261. Easton-Bell hopes 'The Dome' will prevent sudden injuries
San Jose Mercury News
March 07, 2011

SCOTTS VALLEY, CA:  As he slipped on the helmet that could some day be standard equipment for youth baseball leagues, Gunnar Sandberg had a message for those who thought it looked uncool.  "Wouldn't you rather wear this than be in the hospital for two months?"

Sandberg, who recently returned to the diamond for Marin Catholic High School, nearly died from a line drive off his skull a year ago.

Monday, a representative from the Easton-Bell sporting goods company gave him an early anniversary present:  the prototype of a "pitchers helmet" inspired by Sandberg's near fatal accident.

Armed with an increasing body of alarming medical research on the scope of brain injuries, the sports world aggressively has begun to confront the issue of improved safety equipment for the head, whether it's for NFL players or youth sports athletes.  The goal not only is to prevent sudden injuries, like the one Sandberg suffered, but also limit unseen brain trauma that might not become apparent for decades.

That's why Monday's presentation of a new helmet innovation was attended by the national president of Little League Baseball as well as the executive director of CIF, the governing body for California's high school sports.

Standing in the lobby of the Easton-Bell technology center in Scotts Valley, Sandberg and his parents demonstrated how the so-called "pitchers helmet" works.  It's essentially a padded band that slips comfortably over a baseball cap.  The prototype weighs about 5½ ounces and has the look and feel of a bicycle helmet with the top cut off.

The helmet is designed to protect the pitcher from line drives that come screaming back from the batter's box.  (Sandberg said the ball that nearly ended his life was traveling 130 mph.)

During the creation of the pitchers helmet, designers at Easton-Bell's helmet technology center, known in-house as "The Dome," studied film of more than 5,000 pitchers from delivery to follow-through with an eye toward which parts of the head were most vulnerable to injury.

The challenge was to create something that did not impede performance or weigh down a pitcher toiling under the summer sun.  There is more work to be done.  Paul Harrington, Easton-Bell's chief executive officer, said he hopes the pitchers' helmet will hit shelves this fall at a price to be determined.

SAVING LIVES

Among those tracking its development is Stephen Keener, the president and chief executive officer for Little League Baseball.  Keener said the helmet will be considered for mandatory use in Little League depending on the results of future field tests.  Noting that his own son is now a college pitcher, he said "I hold my breath when he's out there on the mound."  "What we're talking about is saving kids' lives," Keener said.  "These injuries are rare.  When they do happen, they are very traumatic, catastrophic."

Marie Ishida, the executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation, said she envisions the day pitchers helmets are mandatory equipment in high school baseball.

She pointed toward the new standards for composite metal bats, which have been tamed to perform more like wooden bats.  The Marin County Athletic League, in which Sandberg plays, has taken it a step further by mandating the use of wooden bats.

And now, there's a pitchers helmet to add to the equation.  In touting the new product Monday, several executives in suits took turns at the podium.  But they couldn't make the case any better than the shy 17-year-old who spent less than 30 seconds behind the microphone.  "I don't want this to happen to anyone else," Sandberg said.

BACK IN PLAY

During a scrimmage against De La Salle a year ago, Sandberg delivered a pitch that was blasted right back up the middle.  The ball struck Sandberg just above the right ear.  His mother, Lisa, said a blow to the temple would have been fatal.

As it was, Sandberg spent two weeks in a medically induced coma.  Doctors removed part of his skull to relieve the swelling in his brain.  He is back on the field, serving as a designated hitter and first baseman during his senior season at Marin Catholic, but effects of the injury remain.

Sandberg is still dealing with short-term memory loss.  School work is more of a challenge.

His saga inspired the designers at Easton-Bell.  "It kind of galvanized the entire group to come up with a better solution," Harrington, the CEO.  Designers at The Dome had kicked around the idea of a pitchers helmet before, but reasoned that while close calls were plentiful actual injuries were rare.

That changed after Sandberg's accident.  "One injury's too many," Harrington said.  "For Gunnar to be here today, standing here trying this on, is truly an inspirational story."

In the Scotts Valley center, the pitchers helmet suddenly became a priority project.  The 55,000-square-foot facility represents Easton-Bell's helmet research headquarters for eight sports, including football, hockey and cycling.  (Their display case features the helmet Lance Armstrong wore at his last Tour de France.)

For the pitchers protection, designers eventually came up with a product made of expanded polystyrene polycarbonate and secured in the back with an elastic strap.  Keener, the Little League president, said he hoped that someday the helmet will be so widespread that grabbing them before heading to the mound will be as automatic as reaching for the cap and glove.

Bjorn Sandberg hopes so.  He said Gunner has been playing baseball since he was 10 and recalled the countless times a parent would exhale after a wicked line drive and say, "Thank god that didn't hit somebody.  "At the same time, I buried my head in the sand like everyone else," Bjorn Sandberg said.  "But no more, not after what we went through this year.  "It doesn't need to happen anymore."

Not everyone agrees that helmets for pitchers are the way to go.  Bob Kittle, the baseball coach at Cabrillo College in Aptos, wrote in an e-mail to the Sentinel."  "I think this is overkill.  Pitchers do not need to wear helmets, especially with the new regulations of the bats which measure exit speed."

Kittle said he sympathizes with injuries that result from the game, but believes there are inherent risks in playing any sport.  "In today's society, people seem to overreact to serious and really infrequent injuries.  I have been coaching and our playing for 27 years (over 2,000 games) and I have never seen a pitcher get hit in the head."


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     When baseball pitchers throw fastballs and/or sliders low and away from pitching arm side baseball batters and fastballs and/or sinkers low and away from glove arm side baseball batters, they greatly increase the possibility of line drives back at them.

     Therefore, to avoid getting hit in the head by a line drive, they could only throw pitches inside to baseball batters.  But then, they greatly increase the possibility of hitting baseball batters in the head and losing baseball games.

     For many years, until some enterprising visiting locker room person stole it, I wore a plastic baseball cap liner in my baseball cap.  I have no idea whether it would prevent serious injury from a batted line drive, but I felt safer with it.

     Nevertheless, the first skill that baseball pitchers have to learn is how to get both feet on the ground before the baseball crosses home plate.

     It is also important that, like baseball batters, baseball pitchers should stand sideways to the batted baseball.  Standing sideways enables baseball pitchers to bend forward and get out of the way of line drives at their heads.

     This does not mean that I disagree with youth baseball pitchers wearing this protective head gear, especially since it weighs only one-quarter ounce more than the baseball that could hit them.

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262.  Tests reveal no damage in Zumaya's elbow
MLB.com
March 08, 2011

LAKELAND, FL:  Joel Zumaya has no structural damage in his sore right elbow, Dr. James Andrews determined from an examination and a battery of tests performed on Monday.  However, both the renowned orthopedic surgeon and Tigers doctors are still trying to determine what's causing the inflammation that has sidelined the hard-throwing reliever since February 27.

"We're still trying to trigger what's causing it," Zumaya said on Tuesday morning.  "Initially, they thought it was scar tissue.  Right now, Dr. Andrews and [team doctor Stephen Lemos] are trying to pinpoint what's causing this."

Zumaya visited Andrews on Monday at the doctor's offices in Birmingham, AL.  Tests included an MRI, X-rays and a CAT scan.  Zumaya has been advised not to throw for another two weeks.  He'll spend that time strengthening his arm. If the inflammation hasn't subsided by then, doctors will take another look.

"It could be as simple as [the elbow] adapting to the stress of throwing again," head athletic trainer Kevin Rand, "but we don't know."

It's far from the worst-case scenario feared when the news came out about Zumaya being examined again.  Still, he has to get healthy first, and the timetable all but eliminates his readiness for Opening Day.  Two weeks of no throwing would leave him only a week to work back into pitching shape before camp breaks.

"I don't really know, man," he said.  "It's already seeming to me like I'm not going to be there."  Rand agreed.  "Obviously that timetable is in jeopardy," he said, "because I haven't got him throwing yet.  The most important thing is we have to get the guy pain-free, functional and throwing again."

If Zumaya has to miss the first couple of weeks or so to get his arm right and give himself the best chance at pitching the rest of the season, he'll take it.  "I'm not even worried about it. It could be a lot worse," he said.  "I could be ticked off.  I could be not talking to you guys.  But I'm really positive.  They say it's a little hump you have to get over."

It's the first major hurdle Zumaya has encountered since starting his rehab process from the surgery he had on his right elbow last summer after he fractured a bone at the tip of the elbow while pitching in a late-June game at Minnesota.  The surgery included the insertion of a screw at the site of the fracture.

Zumaya was originally expected to miss a few days after scar tissue broke loose from the elbow during his first spring outing, against the Blue Jays on February 27.  But the inflammation hasn't disappeared, and he won't be cleared to throw again until he's pain-free.
At this point, though, he is intent on keeping a positive outlook.  "I'm not even frustrated.  That's the crazy thing," he said.  "I was a little flustered yesterday afternoon, a little flustered early last night."

Andrews knows Zumaya's situation well.  Two years ago, he performed surgery to repair a stress fracture in Zumaya's right shoulder, an unusual injury for a baseball player, and had positive results.  Zumaya has conferred with Andrews more than once.  "I feel like he worked a miracle on my shoulder," Zumaya said.  "He said, 'Don't worry about this.  Work out, and then we'll see.'"


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     When my stats guy, Brad Sullivan, sent me this article, he wrote:  "The "renowned orthopedic surgeon" can't figure out the problem, but I can.  What's wrong with this picture?"

     Mr. Sullivan is absolutely correct.

     The article said, "Andrews knows Zumaya's situation well.  Two years ago, he performed surgery to repair a stress fracture in Zumaya's right shoulder, an unusual injury for a baseball player, and had positive results.  Zumaya has conferred with Andrews more than once."

     That, after Dr. Andrews performed his miracle cure of a stress fracture in his pitching shoulder, Mr. Zumaya fractures his Ulna bone shows that Dr. Andrews does not understand why Mr. Zumaya continues to injure himself.

     From the ruptured Flexor Digitorum Profundus tendon on the middle finger of his pitching hand to his fractured Ulna bone, I have understood why.  I have repeatedly written why and what Mr. Zumaya needs to do to become injury-free.

     Yet, despite his twenty year record of failure, professional baseball continues to ask Dr. Andrews how to rehabilitate.

     I have sent injured baseball pitchers to Dr. Andrews for surgery and I am very grateful for his immediate responses.  However, I would never ask Dr. Andrews anything related to the baseball pitching motion or how to rehabilitate or traing baseball pitchers.

     Now, despite research evidence to the contrary, Dr. Andrews advises Mr. Zumaya to rest.  Dr. Andrews prescription of rest and cortisone shots shows that he has not idea what he is doing.

     Mr. Zumaya needs to have high-speed film taken and analyzed.  I live twenty miles from Joker Marchant Stadium.  I will take the film for free and provide a DVD of his pitching motion and the pitching motion adjustments that I recommend Mr. Zumaya makes.

     Or, like Mark Prior and many others Dr. Andrews and Dr. Fleisig have helped, Mr. Zumaya can watch his professional baseball career spiral down the road to oblivion.

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263.  Reds are well-acquainted with life after Tommy John surgery
SI.com
March 08, 2011

GOODYEAR, AZ:  Just 11 months removed from his August 2009 Tommy John surgery, Reds starter Edinson Volquez was back pitching in the majors.  Two months after that, manager Dusty Baker named Volquez his Game 1 starter in last October's National League Division Series against the Phillies.  At the dawn of spring training, Baker announced that Volquez would be Cincinnati's Opening Day starter, a job that only stood to be threatened by lingering visa issues that now appear to be resolved after the pitcher returned to his native Dominican Republic.  And there's this statement, delivered by Reds pitching coach Bryan Price on Monday morning:  "It's a given that [Volquez] has some of the best stuff in the league from what I saw before he got hurt and what I've seen since."

Talk about confidence in a 27-year-old who has made only 70 career starts over six seasons, exceeding 12 only once, even if it was a dazzling 2008 campaign in which Volquez went 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA.  He has thrown just 113 1/3 innings since, including 62 2/3 innings with a 4.31 ERA in 2010.  But, as an organization the Reds are one of baseball's best-equipped clubs in the treatment of pitchers with catastrophic elbow injuries.  About a dozen pitchers in the Reds organization have had Tommy John surgery, including four in big-league camp:  Volquez, Jose Arredondo, Bill Bray and Justin Lehr.

In fact, Reds chief medical director Dr. Tim Kremchek, who performs some 100 to 150 Tommy John procedures each year (20 to 25 on pro ballplayers), said that he recently reviewed data from his past 700 ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgeries, the procedure's proper name, and found that a staggeringly high 96 percent of them return to the same level of competition where they were before the operation.  That figure, he said, may even be higher for major league pitchers.

That gives Baker, Price and the rest of the Reds staff the confidence to anoint Volquez their ace despite his relatively modest recent track record at the big league level.  The team's medical staff has pronounced Volquez to be 100 percent healthy and restriction-free this season.  And though many critics have pointed fingers at Baker for the arm injuries to young phenoms Mark Prior and Kerry Wood under his watch when he was manager of the Cubs, Reds fans can rest easy knowing that the franchise employs a more collaborative effort in determining usage, meaning that the club's left-handed fireballer, Aroldis Chapman, is unlikely to be burned out by overuse.

Chapman will pitch out of the bullpen for a second straight year before likely being transitioned to the rotation next season.  Price said that he has made only a minor tweak to Chapman's delivery, by getting the lefty to not crouch so much before delivering the ball.  The forward-spring action from his legs can threaten to get too far ahead of his body and damage his arm if it's dragging behind.

It's a longstanding belief in baseball circles that pitchers return from Tommy John surgery better than before the operation.  The predominant theory is that the work done on the UCL strengthens the elbow and allows a pitcher to throw harder than before the operation.  But that's not really the case.  Sometimes a pitcher's apparent velocity gain can be explained by the idea that they are simply returning to the level they should have been at all along.  Pitchers who need Tommy John suffer from a slow deterioration of the UCL, which weakens the elbow and reduces their velocity.

Kremchek also noted that many injured pitchers hadn't properly adhered to a strengthening program but that the aggressive, year-long rehab program after the operation can add velocity.  "Most guys who have been through this and missed a year of the game do it," he said, referring to the tough rehab.  "They are so afraid to go through it again and what it would do to them, they live the program."

In having performed the operation as often as he has, Kremchek has made some discoveries that counsel the conditioning programs he prescribes.  Namely, he says that training of the core muscles, both the flexibility and strength of the abs and the lower back, which the club measures for each pitcher in spring training, is of the utmost importance.  Pitchers with a history of back problems are more likely to develop elbow problems.

Kremchek has also noticed another trend:  Players who begin pitching early in their lives are actually less likely to later need surgical repair, which seems counterintuitive.  One might assume that the extra years of wear and tear would take their toll, but, the doctor noted, if a pitcher starts early enough, his body adapts.  "We know that a young man who started pitching at a young age, that's like seven, eight, nine years old, has less tendency of injury in his shoulder and elbow than somebody who started pitching at an older age," Kremchek said.  "The adaptation and anatomic changes around the shoulder are significant and can mold to a thrower's shoulder.  "A lot of times Latin American kids have great arms but never pitched until 17, 18, 19 years old, and they have a higher tendency of injury."

All of this information instructs how the Reds handle young pitchers and even trickles into decisions of whom they draft.  Kremchek said he reviews every prospect's medical history.  He, Price, many of the organization's minor league pitching coaches and front office staff collaborate in deciding on a case-by-case basis whether an amateur with high-risk mechanics would be worth drafting.  They weigh whether changing his mechanics would lessen his performance or if it's worth leaving him alone in hope that his unorthodox delivery isn't a risky one.  When it comes to the pitchers on staff, "we're very proactive," Kremchek said of the Reds' preventive care.

Price classified the organization's minor league pitch-count limits as "strict" but said that he'd like the major league staff to go deeper into games, "Even if the starter's going six, the game doesn't shorten to seven," he quipped, which would require preparation at the early levels of the minor leagues.  He said that farm systems have perhaps become "too democratic" and that more attention (and more innings) should be allotted to the star prospects more likely ticketed to the majors.  "I want to go back to the days where we have guys on your staff with 10 or 15 complete games and go 250 innings if they're your horse," Price said, "but you can't take them from Point A to Point Z without going through the rest of the alphabet to get there."

And while naturally healthy pitchers will always be sought first, the high rate of success with Tommy John allows the Reds to take calculated risks.  Last off-season, they signed former Angels reliever Jose Arredondo, who went 10-2 with a 1.62 ERA in 61 innings in 2008, despite knowing that he needed Tommy John.

Before Lehr, a 33-year-old right-hander with only 148 1/3 career big-league innings, went under the knife in May 2010, he called Reds general manager Walt Jocketty and explained that it would be harder to return from a major procedure without support from the club in rehab.  Lehr, who had gone 5-3 with a 5.37 ERA in 11 major league starts in 2009 (among 42 total starts including Triple-A and winter ball), provided helpful depth, and he said that Jocketty gave him verbal assurance that he would be brought back.  While rehabbing, Lehr also assisted with the player development office.  Now Lehr is a week away from pitching in spring-training games and said that his arm feels great.  If anything, he regrets not having the operation sooner.  Of his 2009, he said, "I was at an alltime low as far as my stuff goes, I won games with nothing."

Knowing that pitchers have a strong chance to perform at a high level, however, does not equate to instant success.  Though the physical act of recovery is often about one year, Tommy John surgery is often described as a two-year injury because of the mental hurdles that a pitcher must clear to regain confidence in his arm.

Volquez's return to the majors wasn't smooth. After making eight starts with the Reds in July and August, averaging only 4 1/3 innings per outing and sporting a 6.10 ERA, the club sent him down to Triple A for two weeks at the end of August to work out some kinks and refocus his efforts.  He had a 1.95 ERA in four starts upon his return, logging nearly seven innings per turn and averaging more than a strikeout per inning.  "When he came back last year, I thought he was really focusing on the velocity aspect of the game, and his mechanics suffered because of it," Price said.  "He got to the point where he came up [to the majors] and pitched, but we sent him back to make a couple of starts in Dayton.  He came back with a better understanding of where we wanted him to go with his delivery."

The radar gun, while entertaining for fans and the source of the awe-inspiring 105-mph fastball released from the left arm of Chapman last year, can be detrimental to pitchers.  Price acknowledges that it can help some pitchers keep an eye on the speed separation of their fastball and off-speed pitches, but mostly it can mess with a hurler's mechanics, as he strains to throw blazing fastballs rather than pitch strikes.

Kremchek's distaste for the gun goes even farther.  "I think the radar gun, especially for the young guys, is horrible because they pitch to the gun," he said.  "These guys are revving up maybe when they shouldn't in order to hit a certain speed."  But Kremchek understands a young pitcher's motivation because a guy with a 92-mph fastball is roughly average, while a fastball that reaches 95 can signal to scouts that they may have discovered a phenom.  And it is that pursuit of the next great thing that will surely push the arms of young pitchers to the brink again and again.  That won't ever stop, but some clubs, like the Reds, are doing their best to improve their odds.


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     The article said, "About a dozen pitchers in the Reds organization have had Tommy John surgery."

     The article said, "Dr. Tim Kremchek, who performs some 100 to 150 Tommy John procedures each year."

     The article said that Dr. Kremchek believes that 96 percent return to the same level of competition where they were before the operation."

     Reds pitching coach, Mr. Prices said, "By getting Chapman to not crouch so much before delivering the ball," he prevented damage to his pitching arm.

     The writer of the article said, "The predominant theory is that the work done on the UCL strengthens the elbow and allows a pitcher to throw harder than before the operation.  But that's not really the case.

     When baseball pitchers do not recover well for his surgeries, Dr. Kremchek blames the injured pitchers for not adhering to his strengthening program.

     Dr. Kremchek said, "Training of the core muscles, both the flexibility and strength of the abs and the lower back is of the utmost importance." and "Pitchers with a history of back problems are more likely to develop elbow problems.

     Dr. Kremchek believes that "Pitchers who begin pitching early in their lives are actually less likely to later need surgical repair."

     Are these guys messed up or what?

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, March 27, 2011, I posted the following questions and answers.

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264.  Pitching phenom

You seem to have removed all references to a young pitching phenom from your 2010 Q&A.  Did you feel your analysis was incorrect?  I can't recall you ever removing something from your past Q and A's.

I like to think I respect people privacy so simply ignore my question if you prefer.


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     I removed my Amazing Twelve Year Old Baseball Pitcher file because Jeff Sparks also showed that baseball pitchers can move the center of mass of their body in front of their glove foot.

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265.  Article

I've seen this a few times.  I thought you might be interested.  I copied and pasted the link.


Dr. Bagonzi

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     Others have sent me quotes from Dr. Bagonzi.  I have commented on some of what he says.  But, mainly, I have left him alone.

     I think that he is a good guy that is trying to help.  Unfortunately, he does not understand all that he needs to know.  Nevertheless, because he is basically benign, I leave him alone.

     However, if he would ever want to discuss what he says I would gladly participate.

     Of course, he got one thing right.  I did throw the greatest screwball in the history of major league baseball.

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266.  Jogging 2 miles daily

I know you recommend that adults walk or jog a couple of miles every day as I do.  When you coached did you require your players to jog 2 miles per day?

I know this might not precisely fit into your paradigm of Specificity of Training, but it seems to me that having a base level of fitness is important before you get to Specificity.  It also would perhaps start baseball players on the path to daily jogging.


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     While my position players practice the proper way to run the bases, I have my pitchers run foul pole to foul pole.

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267.  Comments on Marshall Pitching Motion 01.  pb07pb:  Too bad the bass is so visible that any major league hitter would rack it.  While this may be the best mechanics for not injuring an arm, it can’t be used in the majors.

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     Thank you for taking the time to comment on my video.

     The best view from which to determine whether batters can determine which pitch baseball pitchers are throwing is the front view 30 fps video.  I believe that, without knowledge of which pitch my baseball pitcher is throwing, if you watched all six front views, then you would not be able to correctly determine the pitch type in time to successfully hit the baseball.

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02.  dirtberry:  Outstanding!  I can see that the back step has been shortened?  I can see this will help the forwards glove side drop step.

Is it more desirable to lift the glove above the head the way Mr. Sparks performs it?

My clients love performing these mechanics and have been dominating when given the ball.  The batters say it looks like the ball comes out of nowhere.

I can’t wait until you post the final ½ reverse training elements here at YouTube.

Congratulations!


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     Thank you for taking the time to comment on my video.

     While I included my pseudo-traditional wind-up, I prefer my drop out wind-up.  My drop out wind-up enables pitchers to get the baseball to their catchers very quickly without and with base runners.

     To keep base runners close, I will soon post my Marshall Pickoff Techniques.

     I agree that, with the baseball hidden behind the head, batters cannot see the baseball at all until we release our pitches.

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268.  Comments on Prevent Pitching Injuries video

01.  Dirtberry:  Incredible comparative scientific analysis!

This production helps explain much better what you want and what we need to perform to eliminate pitching injuries and help all who wish to compete at a high level.

Thank you.


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     Thank you for taking the time to comment on my video.

     With this video, pitchers can choose which pitching injuries that they are willing to suffer in the name of using the ‘traditional’ pitching motion.

     No longer can ‘traditional’ pitching coaches hide behind their ignorance that what they teach destroys their pitchers.

     With my pitching motion, with their genetic maximum velocities, all pitchers can become the best injury-free, highly-skilled pitchers they can become.

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269.  Coaching

At 57 years old, I am contemplating what to do with the rest of my life.  I think I know your materials pretty well.  I would enjoy working with young men.  I think there is much from my business experience that I could pass on.

Therefore, I have applied to a couple of colleges for coaching positions.  The idea would be to implement your ideas.  I state this in my cover letter>  Obviously, I don't have your level of skill and experience, but I do think I am more qualified than any traditional coach out there.

My selling point will be my ability to bring real science onto the baseball field.  We have a huge problem in this country in getting our young men interested in science.  Since you are retired, someone has to pick up the torch.  So, I figured, why not me?

Do you think it is a crazy idea?


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     Unfortunately, it does not take much to be more qualified than every 'traditional' baseball coach out there.  However, the major difficulty that qualified baseball coaches encounter is that those that select baseball coaches are even less qualified than 'traditional' baseball coaches.

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270.  Finger injuries

Here is an explanation to someone's common finger injury in climbing.  My friend, I believe injured his ring finger while doing what is called a "crimp".

Typically, when someone performs a crimp they bend all the fingers, with exception of the thumb, at what I believe is the PIP joint between the proximal and middle phalanges.

It is a perfect to get power when holding the rock, but a lot of people, including myself, tend to get pain in the proximal phalanx on the anterior face of your hand (the palm).

Let me know what you think of this explanation a gentleman wrote about this potential injury this kid has.

"If you were latching a crimp when it happened and it's the ring finger, then you most likely injured your A-2 tendon pulley, which is by far the most common finger injury associated with hard climbing.

It's a weak link because the ring finger and the middle finger share part of the same pulley system, which is why it's so hard to bend your middle finger without your ring finger moving.

The tendon pulley is a ring of tendon that encircles the primary flexor tendon in your finger, so it's what makes your muscles bend you finger instead of just bowing your tendon out from between your elbow and the tip of the finger.

Be really careful, I blew that bad boy out once and the rehab took a long time.  I know it sucks, but you need to not climb at all for at least 3 weeks.  If you don't let it heal right, it'll just get more and more prone to injury."


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     First, let's all open Grant's Atlas of Anatomy and turn to illustration #69:  Synovial Sheaths of the Long Flexor Tendons of the Digits.

     Then, let’s read.

     "These sheaths of tubular bursae are lubricating devices that envelop the long digital tendons where they pass through osseofibrous tunnels.  There are two sets:

01.  proximal or carpal, behind the flexor retinaculum and
02.  distal or digital, behind the fibrous sheaths of the digital flexors.

     The carpal synovial sheaths of the flexors of the fingers, though developmentally separate, unite with one another to form a common flexor sheath, and the carpal sheath of the thumb tendon usually communicates with it.

     This common flexor sheath extends one-half to one inch proximal to and distal to the flexor retinaculum, varying distally with the extent of the site of the friction and with the degree of mobility or the corresponding metacarpal bone.

     These are the greatest in the marginal digits (thumb and little finger).

     Further, the marginal metacarpals being the shortest, the common flexor sheath extends to, and is continuous with, the digital sheaths of thumb and little finger.

     In the case of the thumb, union always occurs; the little finger usually.

     Each digital sheath extends from the proximal end of the palmar ligament or plate (figures 72 and 96) that covers a metacarpal head to the base of the distal phalanx.

     Fluid injected into the digital sheath of the little finger will, therefore, usually flow through the common flexor sheath and on into the digital sheath of the thumb.

     The flexor tendons play across the very prominent anterior border of the inferior articular surface of the Radius bone; hence the common flexor sheath extends further proximally behind the tendons (broken line) than in front of them.

     The Median nerve (thrown down in the figure), not requiring lubrication, had no sheath. The tendon of the Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle has a sheath, not injected in this specimen."

     This means that the pulley system to which this gentleman refers is the synovial sheaths of the long flexor tendons of the digits.

     The tendons of the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis and Profundus muscles pass through these sheaths to attach at the middle and distal phalanges, respectively.

     Clearly, when climbers tear the synovial sheath between the middle and distal phalanges, they lose the anchor that separates the action of the Flexor Digitorum Profundus muscle on the distal phalange from the action of the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscle on the middle phalange.

     While I believe that an appropriately-designed interval training program would strengthen these synovial sheaths individually and collectively, because they are connective tissue, they would require a much longer program than muscle tissue.

     In any case, it appears that, once ruptured, they will never be as good as they could have been.

     I can find nothing that supports the contention that the ring finger and middle finger share the same synovial sheath.  I cannot see how these two fingers differ in any way from any other finger.  However, because of the double side attachments to the middle finger, I would expect the middle finger to be the dominant climbing finger.

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271.  Webb takes next step in comeback
MLB.com
March 09, 2011

SURPRISE, AZ:  Brandon Webb threw 62 pitches during a live batting practice session on Wednesday morning. That was the easy part.  The hard part came afterward: the usual post-throwing conference with the media in which every pitch is dissected, progress is assessed and timetables are discussed.  Little is actually decided except this:  Webb is 100-percent healthy, but is still putting his overall game back together again after missing almost two complete seasons because of a shoulder injury.

"I don't know timetables.  I don't know much," Webb said.  "All I know is I felt good and this was another step forward."

The Rangers know that Webb will pitch for them this season, and they know it will be sooner than later.  They know he was a Cy Young winner in 2006 and a 22-game winner for the D-backs in 2008.  They know that he once had the best sinker in baseball.  They know he is not ready yet.  They know he is worth their patience and they weren't expecting him to light up the morning while throwing to actual hitters for the first time since Instructional League in September.

"Some good, some not so good," manager Ron Washington said after the session was over.  "That's to be expected.  He couldn't find any consistency.  The more he throws, the more he'll find that consistency.  "He did show sink and that's his game.  But I don't think the sinker he had out there today will be the sinker he will have when his arm is ready.  The sink was there, it just wasn't heavy."

That means his sinker isn't diving off the table and getting batters to hit weak ground balls.  He said he's not throwing the curveball for strikes and not getting many swings and misses on the changeup.  But, this is a pitcher who missed two years and is basically three to four weeks behind other pitchers.  The bottom line is Webb is healthy and has his whole package back together, now he has to fine-tune everything, pitches, delivery, mechanics, before he is ready to get Major League hitters out for real.

Throwing live batting practice was the third step of a process that began with a long-toss program to build up arm strength and then graduated to throwing off a mound in the bullpen.  This was his first batting practice session of the spring throwing to live hitters.  "I thought everything went pretty well today," Webb said.  "I was more in the strike zone.  I figured once we got hitters in there, that would straighten me out.  I felt good.  I have been a little inconsistent in the 'pen, but I was a little better today.  It wasn't the best I've thrown, but it wasn't the worst either."

The plan now is for a long-toss session on Thursday, light throwing on Friday and another live batting practice session on Saturday.  Webb casually mentioned that he might be ready for a real game after a couple more live batting practice sessions, but nothing has been set in concrete.  The Rangers refuse to speculate beyond the next step.  They know Webb won't be ready for the start of the season, but aren't circling any dates on the calendar in April or May.

"We're going to go at whatever pace we need to go so when Brandon is back, he'll be ready to pitch," Washington said.  "He's still building up.  It's going to be a process, so we're going to wait as long as it takes."


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     The Rangers field manager, Ron Washington said, The sink was there, it just wasn't heavy."

     Mr. Webb throws a pull sinker.  This means that he pulls his pitching arm across the front of his body.  To get his sinker spiral spin, he pulls his middle fingertip across the top of the baseball.

     Without powerfully pronating his release, he cannot generate high spin velocities.  Therefore, while the sink was there, it cannot be sharp.

     The only way to get 'heavy' down movement, baseball pitchers have to have their pitching forearm vertical at release and powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm and pronate their pitching forearm.

     With his lengthened Gleno-Humeral Ligaments, Mr. Webb cannot generate sufficient sinker spiral spin velocity to throw 'heavy' sinkers.

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272.  Kid born to be a sports star?
Associated Press
March 09, 2011

CHICAGO, IL:  Was your kid born to be an elite athlete? Marketers of genetic tests claim the answer is in mail-order kits costing less than $200.  Some customers say the test results help them steer their children to appropriate sports.  But skeptical doctors and ethicists say the tests are putting profit before science and have a much greater price tag — potentially robbing perfectly capable youngsters of a chance to enjoy activities of their choice.

"In the `winning is everything' sports culture, societal pressure to use these tests in children may increasingly present a challenge to unsuspecting physicians," according to a commentary in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Scientists have identified several genes that may play a role in determining strength, speed and other aspects of athletic performance.  But there are likely hundreds more, plus many other traits and experiences that help determine athletic ability, said Dr. Alison Brooks, a pediatrician and sports medicine specialist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Brooks and University of Michigan physician Dr. Beth Tarini wrote the commentary to raise awareness about the issue.  A handful of companies are selling these tests online.  In some cases, the tests screen for genes that are common even among non-athletes.  As science advances, Brooks said, "My guess is we're going to see more of this, not less."

Bradley Marston of Bountiful, Utah, bought a test online a year ago for his daughter Elizabeth, then 9.  She's "a very talented soccer player," and Marston wanted to know if she had a variation of a gene called ACTN3, which influences production of a protein involved in certain muscle activity.

One form of the gene has been linked with explosive bursts of strength needed for activities such as sprinting and weight lifting.  The ACTN3 test sold by Atlas Sports Genetics was developed by Genetic Technologies Limited, an Australian firm.  Atlas' $169 kit consists of two swabs to scrape cells from the inside of the cheek.  Customers return the used swabs to the Boulder, CO company and receive an analysis several days later.

Elizabeth Marston's test showed she has a sprinting-related gene form, results her father hopes will help her get into elite sports programs or win a sports scholarship to college.  Marston said he ordered the test partly out of curiosity, but approached it cautiously and talked with Elizabeth to make sure she could handle it.  "She told me, `Well, Daddy, I just have to try harder"' if the results came back negative, Marston said.  Elizabeth has loved soccer since age 4 and said she's happy with the results.  But even at age 10, she knows it will take more than genes to reach her goal of playing in the Olympics.  "I think I would have to train hard," she said.

Nat Carruthers, operations president for Atlas Sports Genetics, says the company has sold several hundred test kits since it began marketing them in 2008.  "Our goal is to help people become the athlete they were born to be," not to exclude kids from certain sports, Carruthers said.  He said critics have misrepresented the test "to sound like we're telling parents what their kid should do and how good their kid will be.  That's not at all our claim or desire," he said.

CyGene Laboratories, based in Coral Springs, FL sold a similar $100 swab test online for different sports-related genes until last fall, but it has suspended operations.  CyGene also sold kits online advertised as testing for human diseases, but Mark Munzer, the company's former president, said that industry is reeling from a Food and Drug Administration crackdown last year on efforts to sell disease-related gene tests in retail pharmacies.

The FDA scheduled a hearing on Tuesday to receive feedback from an expert panel on how the agency should be regulating direct-to-consumer genetic tests that make medical claims.  Marketers of sports gene tests that don't make medical claims aren't FDA regulated.

University of Maryland researcher Stephen Roth, a specialist in exercise physiology and genetics who has studied the ACTN3 gene, said the science of how genes influence athletic ability "is in its infancy" and that marketers' claims are based on "gross assumptions."  Roth said roughly 80 percent of people worldwide have the ACTN3 gene that has been linked with explosive force.  The fact that few of them become elite athletes underscores that it takes more than genes to make a sports star.  Also, about 20 percent of people have a gene variation that inhibits production of the protein involved in explosive force.  That doesn't mean they can't excel in sports, Roth said, citing a Spanish long jumper who made it to the Olympics despite lacking that protein.

Dr. Lainie Friedman Ross, a medical ethicist and pediatrician at the University of Chicago, said the tests raise ethical questions when used in children because they're too young to understand the possible ramifications and to give adequate consent.  "This is recreational genetics with a real serious potential for harm," Ross said.  "People are going to think, `If my kid has this, I'm going to have to push real hard.  If my kid doesn't have it, I'm going to give up before I start," she said.  Instead, Ross said, parents should "let kids follow their dreams."  "While parents have the authority to make health care decisions about their children, this type of genetic testing is elective at best and should actively involve the children in the decision-making process," Ross said.


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     Genetics are important, but not as important as the ability to learn motor skills, which is not as important as someone that knows the proper force application techniques for whatever skills athletes need to master.

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273.  Peavy's surgery a first among baseball players
MLB.com
March 09, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  After having a crucial tendon and muscle reattached to his right shoulder by a series of stitches and titanium anchors, Jake Peavy is on the path to full recovery, the doctor who conducted the surgery said this week.

Peavy, the 29-year-old White Sox right-hander, made his second start of Spring Training on Wednesday, this one against the defending World Series-champion Giants at Scottsdale Stadium.  He threw 49 pitches, leaving in the fourth inning of a 4-2 loss after allowing a homer to Aubrey Huff and walking Buster Posey.  He had previously retired 11 batters in a row, running his spring-opening hitless streak to 5 2/3 innings.  "It wasn't as free and easy as the other day," Peavy said.

But, he'll take it.  Peavy is months ahead of schedule because of experimental surgery performed on his right shoulder by Dr. Anthony Romeo in Chicago this past July 14.  Peavy completely ruptured the tendon that holds the latissimus dorsi muscle to the rear of the shoulder.  The stitches and anchors now adhere the tendon to the bone.

Romeo said that despite the dramatic and violent motion of a pitcher placing constant stress on the shoulder, there was little risk of any further damage.  "There's no risk of [the anchors] coming out of the bone," Romeo said.  "It can't happen.  They have a reverse barb on them, like a fish hook.  Once they go into the bone, you can't really pull them back out.  They fill the bone, so there's not a weak spot in the bone anymore.  There's no risk that even throwing a baseball is going to lead to a crack in the bone."

Peavy is the first Major League pitcher to undergo this procedure, blazing the trail for others who will surely come after him.  The surgical technique, devised only recently by Romeo, had previously been performed on other athletes such as wrestlers and rock climbers.  The point can't be reiterated enough: no pitchers.  "That injury has been diagnosed in pitchers before, but it's never been treated with surgical repair," Romeo said in an extensive phone interview from Chicago on Tuesday.  "With Jake, we had the diagnosis right away.  We knew what he had done, and it was our opinion that the most likely way he'd be able to come back long-term without any restrictions was to do the surgery."

So far, so good.  Peavy threw 26 pitches over the course of two scoreless innings this past Friday against the Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium and left the mound on a high.  On Monday, Peavy appeared to be merely content with another step in the process.  To the observer, he appeared to be throwing free and easy like the Peavy who once dominated the National League, winning the Cy Young Award and the pitching Triple Crown in 2007 for the Padres.  That year, Peavy led the NL with 19 wins, a 2.54 ERA and 240 strikeouts.

On Monday, Peavy complained about a knot in his right hamstring and a certain amount of uneasiness as the ball came out of his hand.  "I probably was more calm than I was the other day [against the Angels]," Peavy said.  "I was more excited.  Had a little more juices flowing.  Today, I was just trying to weather the storm and get through it.  I had a little hamstring tightness.  We had that going on and wrapped up.  My arm didn't feel great.  I just didn't want to go out there and push it, push it, push it."

If there's some creeping self-doubt, that would be natural.  Romeo told Peavy that it might be a year from the surgery before he'd be back on the mound.  He also warned Peavy that the surgery came with some risks:  Because the tendon had snapped from the bone, the affected muscle had furled more than five inches from the original attachment site.

To get to it, the incision couldn't be done arthroscopically, because of the location of the tendon and the real danger of nerve or blood vessel damage.  Small incisions had to be made in two places, so the surgeons could grab the tip of the white tendon with a clamp.  This is the most risky portion of the surgery, Romeo said, and it was accomplished through a one-inch incision.  "There are very important nerves that go to the lower arm and hand that, if they were injured, he would not have been able to grip or throw a baseball," Romeo said.  "So doing the surgery, we had to be very, very careful."

Once that hurdle was passed, high-density polyester synthetic stitches were used to tie the tendon back to the bone using the anchors.  Romeo described those anchors as "like a molly bolt that is used for plaster, except that it has a little loop on the end of it."  He said that six stitches were tied to the loops of those three anchors, two stitches attached to each anchor, which are so tiny they individually fit into three, 3-millimeter holes.

Peavy also has this going for him: Although he's experienced consistent shoulder problems throughout his nine-year career, there was no damage to the latissimus dorsi muscle, the rotator cuff, the labrum or any of the other critical functioning parts of the shoulder.  "If that happened when I was playing," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said after Peavy's first start. "[He's] gone."  Even five years ago, Peavy would've been a goner. Now, thanks to surgery Dr. Romeo performed on Jake Peavy, there's a decent chance it saved his career.


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     The article said, "Peavy completely ruptured the tendon that holds the latissimus dorsi muscle to the rear of the shoulder.  The stitches and anchors now adhere the tendon to the bone.

     One of the tendons of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle inserts into the medial lip of the bicipital groove on the anterior surface of the head of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm, not the rear of the shoulder.  The other tendon of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle inserts into the inferior angle of the Scapula bone.

     The article quoted Dr. Anthony Romeo, the orthopedic surgeon that repaired the insertion of the tendon of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle into the medial lip of the bicipital groove of the head of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm said, "There's no risk of [the anchors] coming out of the bone.  It can't happen.  They have a reverse barb on them, like a fish hook.  Once they go into the bone, you can't really pull them back out.  They fill the bone, so there's not a weak spot in the bone anymore.  There's no risk that even throwing a baseball is going to lead to a crack in the bone."

     Wow.  What a marvelous explanation of the surgical technique and why this attachment is even better than before the rupture.  Thank you, Dr. Romeo.

     The article said, "Peavy is the first Major League pitcher to undergo this procedure, blazing the trail for others who will surely come after him."

     Baseball pitchers do not apply force to their pitches in the same way that rock climbers pull their body up the sides of cliffs.

     'Traditional' baseball pitchers do not use their Latissimus Dorsi attachment to the Humerus bone at all.  However, to keep their Scapula bone from moving upward over their shoulder, they do use the Latissimus Dorsi attachment to the inferior angle of the Scapula bone.

     However, I cannot see how pulling their Scapula bone downward would stress the attachment of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to the Humerus bone.

     Therefore, I doubt that any baseball pitchers will need this surgery.

     Dr. Romeo said that, before Mr. Peavey, he had performed this surgical technique only on wrestlers and rock climbers.'

     Dr. Romeo said that someone had diagnosed this injury, (Ruptured Latissimus Dorsi tendon attachment to the Humerus bone in baseball pitchers) before, but nobody had ever surgically repaired the rupture.

     If other baseball pitchers had ruptured the attachment of the Latissimus Dorsi tendon to the Humerus bone and pitched again without surgical repair, then, to apply force to their pitches, that proves that 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not use the attachment of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to the Humerus bone.

     Therefore, I doubt that other baseball pitchers ruptured this tendon.

     Dr. Romeo said that, with Mr. Peavey, he had the diagnosis right away.  He knew what he had done, and it was his opinion that the most likely way he'd be able to come back long-term without any restrictions was to do the surgery.

     While I can only speculate what Mr. Peavey did to rupture this tendon, I doubt that he uses this tendon in his 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     However, to inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, I have no doubt that my baseball pitchers powerfully use this attachment.

     Therefore, to properly rehabilitate this attachment, Mr. Peavey needs to do the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion; especially my wrist weight exercises.

     Dr. Romeo said that the tendon snapped from the bone, such that the tendon had retracted more than five inches from its attachment site.

     Wow.  That the tendon retracted five inches shows how much tension that attachment has even in the anatomical position.

     Dr. Romeo said that the anchors that, except that it has a little loop on the end of it, the anchors look like molly bolts that drywallers use to secure sheets of drywall."  He said that six stitches were tied to the loops of those three anchors, two stitches attached to each anchor, which are so tiny they individually fit into three, 3-millimeter holes.

     Wow.  Once again, Dr. Romeo has provided graphic details into surgical procedures.  Thank you again, Dr. Romeo.

     I believe that, if Mr. Peavey can get past his concern for future injuries to this attachment, then, given that his skills have decreased since his Cy Young season, he should be able to return to his more recent levels of competition.

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274.  Dodgers RHP Garland exits with pain in left side
Associated Press
March 09, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ:  Already minus one pitcher, this was not what the Los Angeles Dodgers wanted to see: Starter Jon Garland taking himself out early with pain in his left side.  Garland left after one pitch to Josh Wilson with two outs in the second inning and will get examined, another setback for the Dodgers during their 9-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday.

Garland, projected as the Dodgers' fifth starter, may have injured his oblique, manager Don Mattingly said.  "I don't think he's willing to say that until he gets the results, but he seemed to be leaning that way," Mattingly said.  And, he added, oblique injuries generally are "not a two-week thing, for sure."  Rather, they normally take longer to heal.


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     In my Causes of Pitching Injuries video, I explain that, when baseball pitchers leave their pitching leg at the pitching rubber during their final forward rotation of their shoulders excessively stresses the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle on the glove arm side of the Rib Cage.

     In my Prevent Pitching Injuries video, I explain that, to eliminate this injury, baseball pitchers have to shorten how far forward they move their glove foot such that they can rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body forward through release.

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275.  Cueto leaves start early
Associated Press
March 11, 2011

SURPRISE, AZ:  Reds starter Johnny Cueto cut short his start because of tightness in his right forearm and the Cincinnati Reds tied the Texas Rangers 5-5 Friday.  “It wasn’t near his elbow, which is a good sign,” Reds trainer Paul Lessard said.  “We took him out for precautionary reasons.  We didn’t want it turn into something.  It isn’t something that we think needed to be seen right away.”

Scheduled to pitch four innings, Cueto went only two, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk with two strikeouts.  He is not expected to miss any time.  “I felt it when I threw breaking balls,” Cueto said.  “I felt it in the bullpen.  I’m fine.”

Reds manager Dusty Baker said it was no big deal.  “It was a little tightness in his forearm muscle,” Baker said.  “That’s why we took him out.  We have had very few health problems.  We knew we’d have something but, knock on wood, we’ve had very little trouble health-wise.”


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     That damn forearm muscle.  But, at least it is not the forearm muscle near the pitching elbow.

     I agree with taking Mr. Cueto out of competition, but not out of continuing to train.

     This sounds like a fitness problem.  This muscle is not ready for prime time competition.  It needs more bullpen and batting practice work.

     My guess is the Flexor Carpi Ulnaris muscle, AKA: the curve ball muscle.

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276. Vazquez has mild soreness in pitching elbow
MLB.com
March 13, 2011

JUPITER, FL:  Nagging ailments are beginning to surface for the Marlins.  On Sunday afternoon, the team announced that mild right elbow soreness will prevent right-hander Javier Vazquez from making his scheduled start on Monday.  "He has mild elbow soreness, but he should be OK for his next start," Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said.  "He said he wanted to make sure that he would be ready for the regular season.  He will have three more starts before the season starts, so he should be fine."

"If something is going to happen, this is a good time to deal with that," Rodriguez said.  "At this point, we just want to make sure everybody is going to be all right for Opening Day.  So that's why we're not taking any chances."


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     During spring training, mild pitching elbow soreness usually means lack of fitness.  If Mr. Vazquez continues with bullpens and pitching batting practice, then he will become fit.  However, if the Medical Staff decides to rest Mr. Vazquez, then he will become less fit, such that, when he pitches again, he could badly injure this unfit muscle.

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277.  Santana says shoulder progressing as expected
MLB.com
March 13, 2011

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL:  A tad miffed and mystified, Johan Santana said Sunday he was unaware of any detours, in place or pending, in his rehabilitation from surgery on his left shoulder, and he went so far as to say those responsible for the report had lied.  The Mets ace took exception with a dual byline report in The Record of North Jersey that stated the club was close to altering or suspending his throwing program due to a lack of progress.  No Mets personnel were quoted by name in a report that included a passage in which the club's internal take on Santana's return was that it would be "lucky" to have the pitcher back and functional this season.

Santana's characterization of his rehab contradicted the report.  "There's nothing new," Santana said.  "We're keeping track of everything.  After I'm done working, I'm fine.  It takes time.  I know that.  I still have to go slow, because whatever you want to do, regardless, you're arm is going to tell you something else.  That's why this process is very slow."

The report said his program would be interrupted if he didn't respond well to a specific day of throwing.  But, no particular day was mentioned.  Santana was not slated to throw Sunday and is not scheduled to throw Monday.  The days off were part of schedule established early in the week.  His program now includes throwing 25 times from 60 feet twice a day as many as four days a week.

"How can anyone who isn't me know how I feel and say I'm behind?" Santana said.  "How can I be behind if there's no timetable?  All we know is that it takes a long time.  And no one is sure how long or how I will react to the program.  Other people have had this, and they're not me."

Santana underwent surgery late last summer to repair a torn anterior capsule.  The newspaper noted that former Cubs pitcher Mark Prior and one-time Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang had undergone the same procedure and not returned.  "But they're not me," Santana had said earlier in the week when discussing his circumstances.  "If I never get back, I'll be surprised.  But I have a long way to go."

Santana turned 32 Sunday.  As he joked, he spoke about the end of his career, only in the most generic terms, adding he wants to pitch as long as he can, but not discussing his retirement in terms of his rehabilitation.  He also said, "Whoever is saying that I'm not ready, I think, is lying.  We are all on the same page here.  And I've been doing my job and doing my rehab and everything the way it's supposed to be done.

How can I have a setback at this point, where I'm just beginning to throw? I haven't even been on a mound. I haven't even forced my body to try to throw hard.  I know there are going to be days I feel good.  There are going to be days I don't feel as good.  But that doesn't mean I'm done.  "I've had pain before. I know the difference between pain and soreness.  As of now, you go through a process where you have to build everything up, and your arm, your shoulder, is weak.  You know you have to overcome that.  But it takes time."


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     The Mets Medical Staff designed a rehabilitation program that has Mr. Santana throwing 25 baseballs from 60 feet twice a day as many as four days a week.

     It takes 25 throws to sufficiently increase the blood flow to the working muscles such that Mr. Santana can throw with meaningful intensity.

     Athletes should never train twice a day.  During the first workout, athletes exhaust the substrate storage in the involved muscles.  The body does not replenish their substrate needs by eating lunch.  Instead, it takes a night's sleep for the body to resupply their working muscles.

     Every off-day requires a day and one-half of training to return to the fitness level before he took the day off.  This training program is the proverbial one step ahead and one and one-half steps backward.

     With this program, Mr. Santana will not only never eliminate the injurious flaw that injured his anterior capsule, but he will never become sufficiently fit to competitively pitch.

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278.  Beckett struggles in 5th as Red Sox lose
Associated Press
March 13, 2011

BRADENTON, FL:  Josh Beckett was happy with his outing, until the fifth inning.  Beckett failed to record an out in Pittsburgh’s six-run fifth as the Boston Red Sox lost 9-4 to the Pirates on Sunday.  “It’s a shame that a whole outing gets ruined by one inning, but that’s kind of the case,” Beckett said.  “I feel like I pitched well in the middle three innings.”

Beckett worked four-plus innings and allowed five runs on four hits, walked two and struck out five.  He threw 76 pitches.  He faced four batters without getting an out in the fifth. Four of the Pirates’ six runs in the inning were charged to him.  “That’s not how it’s supposed to end, because I was feeling good,” Beckett said.

It was Beckett’s third outing of spring training.  On February 28, he had mild concussion symptoms after being struck in the head by a ball during batting practice.  “I think I’ve caught back up completely from the concussion,” Beckett said.  “I didn’t feel tired.”


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     In four innings plus four batters, Mr. Beckett put six batters on base, including all the four plus batters.  That means that in the four innings, Mr. Beckett put only two batters on base.  Therefore, in the four innings, Mr. Beckett faced fourteen batters.

     So, in his unsuccessful fifth inning, Mr. Beckett pitched to the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth batters in the Pirates line-up for the second time and they all reach base.

     I believe that, in general, baseball batters hit pitches hard only when they correctly anticipate pitches.  Unfortunately, we do not know whether Mr. Beckett walked two of these four batters.  If so, then Mr. Beckett could have given up hits to only two of these batters.

     If Mr. Beckett walked two batters and gave up hits to two batters, then he was tiring and not properly sequencing his pitches.

     Until Mr. Beckett does not walk batters that he should not walk and throws pitch sequences that batters cannot anticipate, we cannot evaluate the quality of Mr. Beckett's pitches.

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279.  Comeback hopefuls struggling with mechanics
MLB.com
March 13, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ:  Josh Outman and Joey Devine have essentially walked hand in hand on the Tommy John comeback trail for nearly two years, so it's no surprise that they're hitting yet another bump in the road at the same time.  Awry mechanics, seemingly the result of increased exertion, are standing in the way this time, as evidenced by less-than-stellar numbers.  The pair has combined to allow 13 runs, 19 hits and 15 walks in 12 innings this spring.

Devine, whose command went by the wayside, resulting in a large handful of walks in his most recent two appearances, is dealing with a stiff arm that, in turn, is affecting his mechanics.  "I'm doing stuff that my body hasn't done in two years, so my arm's reacting a little different," Devine said.  "I've been gripping the ball too much, too hard, and it's causing me to lock up.  I have to get back to strengthening the biceps back up and throwing with a smoother delivery.

"My biceps, it's almost like it shut down.  I guess, self-consciously, when the arm wasn't working, I thought I had to grip the ball harder.  Well, that just causes bad habits, because I couldn't feel my release point, and I was going all over the place."

Devine, who is looking to again prove his worth in a big league bullpen following a lengthy rehab journey, has at least found comfort in the fact that he knows what's at the root of his struggles.  The right-hander took an off-day Sunday and resumes throwing Monday, possibly live batting practice, before putting a game on his schedule again.  "It's just tight right now," he said.  "I just thought it was something I could throw through, and it would eventually subside, but it wasn't going away.  It kept getting worse, and it ultimately affected my mechanics and gave me bad habits.  That's why we have to stop it now, so that the habits don't continue that way."

With help from pitching coach Ron Romanick, Devine turned to video several times to study his wrongdoings.

Outman, though, doesn't need the rewind button to remind himself, or even to understand why, that he's not quite right at the moment.  "I haven't really watched any video because I don't want to relive those outings," he said, offering a smile.  The southpaw is looking for answers elsewhere, anything to help him rebound from his past two performances, games in which he relinquished eight runs, 12 hits and four walks over 4 1/3 innings.  Unlike Devine, he has no soreness to blame, just bad habits resurfacing.

"We've talked about bad habits I've had in the past, and Ron has noticed me doing a few things here and there all of a sudden," Outman said.  "It's really nothing major, just a few details out of order.  I've been out there every morning, and things are slowly coming back."

Outman, who underwent Tommy John surgery two months after Devine in June 2009, believes he may have been putting too much pressure on himself, always trying to outdo his previous outing while making good on a fifth-starter opportunity.  As a result, he hasn't really felt relaxed or gained any sense of rhythm.

His chances of landing a rotation spot are thinning, given two weeks of camp remain and other candidates, Tyson Ross, Bobby Cramer and Brandon McCarthy, are pitching well.  "I don't really know if I'm in competition," Outman said.  "For me, I just want to be healthy and get back into competing mode.  After that, I'll worry about where I'll be pitching.  Right now, it's about taking the right steps, even if they're small, and feeling good.

"I think I've accepted the fact that that [Triple-A] may be where I need to start the season.  There are obviously a lot of talented guys here battling for that final spot.  If that's where I need to be to get my work in and get back on track, I'm fine with that."  Echoing Devine, Outman said his arm still feels great and is of no worry at the moment.  It's simply about fine-tuning the mechanical mishaps.  "Hopefully, this next outing, everything clicks and I'll be able to roll from here," Outman said.  "It's just a matter of having everything on the side work its way out into the games.  I'm ready to pitch like I did before I got hurt."


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     Finally, the truth about Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.

     Baseball pitchers do not have the surgery, throw harder and live happily ever after.

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280.  Orioles’ Duchscherer feels discomfort in hip
Associated Press
March 13, 2011

SARASOTA, FL:  Orioles right-hander Justin Duchscherer was unable to throw a simulated game Sunday because of discomfort in his left hip, putting his place in the starting rotation in doubt.  Duchscherer signed with the Orioles as a free agent last month, but the hip injury has limited him to one appearance, two scoreless innings against Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Manager Buck Showalter had scheduled Duchscherer to pitch in a simulated game before Baltimore’s scheduled game against Detroit.  Showalter said Duchscherer would be examined by team doctors.  The 33-year-old made just five starts due to a hip injury last season for Oakland after missing all of 2009 because of an elbow injury and clinical depression.


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     Mr. Duchscherer felt discomfort in his glove hip.

     When baseball pitchers have discomfort in their pitching hip, the cause is that they reverse rotate their hips beyond second base and/or they use their Tensor Fascia Latae muscle to sideways move their body forward into a sideways split position.

     The excessive reverse hip rotation injures the back of the hip socket and the sideways split position injures the top of the hip socket.

     So, what is causing Mr. Duchscherer's glove arm side hip?

     I believe that, when 'traditional' baseball pitchers stride closed and turn their stride foot sideways to, rather than pointing at home plate, they twist the head of their Femur bone backward in the hip socket.

     To eliminate this injury, Mr. Duchscherer has to stride shorter, stride straighter and land with his stride foot pointing at home plate.

     Because every body movement affects the pitching arm, Mr. Duchscherer would also have to make sure that, when his glove foot lands, he has his pitching arm at driveline height in my 'Loaded Slingshot' position ready to accelerate toward home plate.

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281.  Wang, Ramirez likely to start season on DL
MLB.com
March 13, 2011

JUPITER, FL:  Nationals manager Jim Riggleman indicated that right-handers Elvin Ramirez and Chien-Ming Wang will not be ready for Opening Day.  Both players are experiencing shoulder problems.

Ramirez, who has yet to play in a Spring Training game, will not be throwing the ball for about a week.  He came from the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft in December and most likely will start the season on the disabled list with Washington.  "If we can't get him on the mound, we can't evaluate him," Riggleman said.  "I don't see him getting on the mound for another week."

As for Wang, he had a first bullpen session on Saturday.  It was his first mound appearance since pitching one inning in a Minor League intrasquad game more than a week ago.  He pitched one inning Saturday and had to stop throwing because of shoulder stiffness.  "There is no way we can get him ready for Opening Day at this point," Riggleman said.  "He is a starting pitcher.  There is no way to get him stretched out."


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     Clearly, the Nationals crack Medical Staff missed the research that shows that rest makes pitching injuries worse.  If they want to read that research, then all they have to do is go to my Special Reports file and open Rest Makes Injuries Worse report.

     Then, while they are on my website, they might as well watch my Causes of Pitching Injuries and Prevent Pitching Injuries videos.

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282.  Duke sidelined four weeks with broken hand
MLB.com
March 13, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  It was certainly not the news Zach Duke was hoping to hear.  The D-backs left-hander found out Sunday morning that he has two broken bones in his left hand and will not be able to throw a baseball for at least four weeks.  Duke was struck on the hand by a line drive off the bat of Rockies rookie Charlie Blackmon during his start Saturday night and was optimistic when he left the ballpark that no bones were broken.  On Sunday morning just prior to having X-rays taken, he was still hopeful.  "It was very sensitive in the area, but I'm kind of surprised that there's two broken bones in there," Duke said.  "Can't change it, just gotta deal with it."

Duke was clearly dispirited by the news, but vowed that he would get something productive out of the four weeks he waits for the bones to heal.  He plans on working with the team's medical staff on strengthening other areas of his body, such as his shoulder and elbow.  "Like I said, I can't change it so I'll try to find the positive in it," Duke said.  "I just have to make sure I'm ready whenever I have the opportunity to go out there and throw again.

One positive is that the bones were not displaced, which means that Duke will not require surgery to have pins put in the hand.  "It's about as good as I could ask for if they're broken," Duke said.  "I'm going to shoot for as short a recovery as possible.  Obviously the bones will tell me how much time it's going to take.  I'm going to be optimistic for sure."  Duke will undergo X-rays each week to determine how the bones are healing.


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     Until 'traditional' baseball pitchers learn how to get both feet on the groung before the baseball crosses home plate, they will not be able to move out of the way of batted baseballs hit back at them.

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283.  Phillies closer Brad Lidge held out with sore arm
Associated Press
March 14, 2011

KISSIMMEE, FL:  Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge has a sore arm that will keep him off the mound for a few days.  Lidge was supposed to pitch Monday against the Houston Astros, but did not make the trip to Kissimmee because of tendinitis in his right biceps.  Pitching coach Rich Dubee said that while Lidge typically has soreness during the spring, Phillies management would err on the side of caution.

General manager Ruben Amaro said Lidge had “muscle soreness” and would be pushed back a couple of days.  Dubee said the injury doesn’t necessarily throw Lidge off track, because the right-hander has “already got more innings than he usually has in the spring.”  Dubee said Lidge’s arm strength isn’t where it needs to be, but added that nobody’s is this time of year.


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     For the past three seasons, Mr. Lidge has not been healthy.  Every spring training, Mr. Lidge has some soreness.  Why can't the Phillies Medical Staff design a training program that has Mr. Lidge ready to pitch in spring training?

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284.  Wang to throw another 'pen session this week
MLB.com
March 14, 2011

VIERA, FL:  Nationals head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz said Chien-Ming Wang's ailing right shoulder is making progress.  Over a week ago, Wang pitched in an intrasquad Minor League game, throwing one inning before leaving with a sore right shoulder.  Kuntz insisted that it wasn't a setback.  The team is being cautious because of the extensive surgery Wang had in 2009.  He hasn't pitched in a Major League game since '09 with the Yankees.

Since leaving that intrasquad game, Wang already had one bullpen session, will have a second one this week and is working on improving his pitching mechanics.  "When we determine that he is ready to throw in a game, we will discuss it as a staff and he will go back in a game," Kuntz said.  "He is making progress.  He continues to get better.  He is doing all the things that he needs to do.  "We have not shut him down.  We haven't taken anything away from him.  We are just being cautious on how we proceed, especially when you get it up to game speed.  We have to see how his body reacts."


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     It is good that the Nationals have not shut Mr. Wang down.

     However, if Mr. Wang suffers soreness in his pitching shoulder after pitching an inning in an intrasquad game, then Mr. Wang is not ready to pitch in an intrasquad game.

     Until Mr. Wang can throw high-intensity bullpens without discomfort, high-intensity fastball batting practice without discomfort and high-intensity pitchers batting practice without discomfort, Mr. Wang should not pitch in high-intensity intrasquad games.

     Mr. Kuntz said that Mr. Wang is improving his pitching mechanics.

     When 'traditional' baseball pitchers suffer shoulder pain, it means that they have too much side-to-side movement in their force application technique.

     If, by improving his pitching mechanics, Mr. Kuntz means that Mr. Wang is getting better at timing when his pitching arm reaches driveline height with when their glove foot lands, then that is an improvement.

     Howver, until Mr. Wang also eliminates that side-to-side forces in his force application technique, he will not stop unnecessarily stressing his pitching shoulder.

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285.  Chamberlain and Mitre have side muscle injuries
Associated Press
March 14, 2011

TAMPA, FL: Yankees pitchers Joba Chamberlain and Sergio Mitre will be sidelined for a few days because of muscle soreness on the left side of their upper bodies.  New York manager Joe Girardi on Monday said both could pitch again later this week.

Mitre was scratched from his scheduled start in Monday night’s game against Boston in Fort Myers.  He first felt the soreness on Sunday.  It is in a different spot than a strained left oblique that sidelined Mitre for 32 games last season.  “A little bit sore and tight yesterday,” Mitre said.  “Woke up today and I feel good.  They don’t want to chance it.  I pulled an oblique on the same side last year, so we’re trying to figure out if it’s related.”

“The regular season, we’d probably try to give it a go,” Girardi said. “Now, with the history of the oblique strain last year, we just said shut it down a few days and see where you’re at. It’s not going to sway our decision one way or another.” Chamberlain is part of what appears to be a strong bullpen that includes closer Mariano Rivera and eighth-inning setup man Rafael Soriano.  Girardi didn’t rule out Chamberlain pitching Wednesday or Thursday.  “Better to take a day now than in the season,” Chamberlain said.  Chamberlain added that he felt fine after working out on Monday.


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     When 'traditional' baseball pitchers do not forwardly rotate their hips to, at least, perpendicular to the driveline toward home plate, they unnecessarily stress the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle on the glove arm side of their Rib Cage.

     This injury signals the start of Spring Training.

     Unfortunately, this injury also signals several injuries that will not rear their ugly head until after their careers end; including, but not limited to pitching hip replacement, pitching knee replacement and L5-S1 intervertebral disk destruction.

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286.  Mariners Team Report
Yahoo! Sports
March 14, 2011

The Mariners have had their hearts broken by Erik Bedard before.  Or, more exactly, by the vagaries of his body, which has required three surgeries in the last three seasons.  It might now, finally, be the time for Seattle to get a little payback for all the time he has missed the last three seasons.  The left-hander pitched pain-free in his first three starts during the Cactus League, and he was looking more like the Bedard of old.

He allowed just one run in 5 2/3 innings as he attempts to return to the big leagues with Seattle for the first time since July 25, 2009.  “His delivery is clean; he’s making the baseball do what he wants it to do,” manager Eric Wedge said.  And that is more important than the actual numbers he puts up, to pitch pain-free and to recapture his delivery, his curve and his fastball.

“The arm feels really good,” Bedard said. “Results are second, the arm is first.  If it feels good, it is a positive. Hopefully it continues like this, and right now, it is.”  Bedard said he is feeling as good now as at any time since the Mariners traded with Baltimore to land him in February 2008.  “I feel like that,” Bedard said.  “We will see during the season, but right now, health-wise and stuff-wise, I feel like before.”

He also said he doesn’t think about his reconstructed shoulder except when he’s questioned about it.  “It doesn’t even cross my mind,” he said.


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     Mariners manager, Eric Wedge, said that Mr. Bedard's delivery is clean.

     To me, that means that Mr. Bedard's pitching motion looks like the typical 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, which is not good.

     Mr. Bedard had his pitching shoulder surgically reconstructed.  That is never good.  However, if Mr. Wedge has said that Mr. Bedard has no side-to-side movement in his pitching arm, then Mr. Bedard might be able to get through a season without shoulder pain.

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287.  Robertson to have surgery on left elbow
MLB.com
March 14, 2011

PEORIA, AZ:  Veteran left-hander Nate Robertson will have arthroscopic surgery on his left elbow Wednesday and be out for at least four weeks, the Mariners announced Monday.  Robertson, 33, is a non-roster invitee who was competing for the fifth spot in the Mariners' starting rotation.  He will have surgery in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal El Attrache, the Dodgers' team orthopedist who has performed previous surgeries on Robertson's elbow.  Robertson said the elbow has bothered him in his last two outings, and tests showed bone chips that need to be cleaned out.  He's had three prior surgeries on the same elbow, the last in 2009.

Robertson said the Mariners have told him they want him to stay with the organization and see if he can come back and help the club upon his return, which he estimates will be June before he's ready to compete at the Major Level.  "It's terrible timing for me trying to make the club, but I'm in good hands," Robertson said.  "Everybody is on the same page about still wanting me to be here, still believing I can help, understanding it's not a career-threatening surgery.  Once I get healthy, then that evaluation process starts.  And hopefully it starts soon."


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     I wonder whether Mariners manager, Eric Wedge, thought that Mr. Robertson's delivery was clean?

     If Mr. Robertson learned how to powerfully pronate the release of his pitches, then he would not bang the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together.  As a result, he would not have any bone (hyaline cartilage) chips to have removed.

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288.  Strasburg gradually regaining arm strength
MLB.com
March 14, 2011

VIERA, FL: - Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg continues to make progress following Tommy John surgery last September.  He is now throwing 90 feet on flat ground and his arm strength is slowly coming back.  The next time he throws on flat ground, Strasburg hopes to throw 15 feet further than before.  There is no timetable as to when Strasburg will throw off the mound.

Once he is healthy and ready to pitch in the Major Leagues, Strasburg wants to be the ace of Washington's staff.  Before he hurt his elbow in August, Strasburg was clearly Washington's best starter.  In 12 games, Strasburg was 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 68 innings.  There is a possibility he could return to action sometime in September.

"My goal is to be the horse in this rotation," Strasburg said.  "I want to go 200-plus innings every year, so it's something I'm working hard for.  Physically, I feel I'm on the right track to get back.  "I have to no choice [but to be patient].  I can't just wake up the next morning expecting to get on the mound.  It's a slow gradual process.  It's about the slow steady progress.  It has to take its time and let the body heal naturally."


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     The body responds to the training stress it generates every day.

     With a properly-designed interval-training program, the body can make incredible physiological changes.  However, throwing on flat ground from 90 feet, then increasing to 105 feet will not enable Mr. Strasburg to pitch 200 plus innings.  But then, who would want to start 33 games and pitch only 6 innings per game?

     A more appropriate goal would be to start 40 games and pitch 280 plus innings.  I can make that happen.  I certainly would not waste Mr. Strasburg's time with 90 foot flat ground throws.

     Mr. Strasburg would strap on wrist weights, throw iron balls and much more.  When he completes my program, he will want to start 50 games and pitch 350 plus innings.

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289.  Cardinals’ Wainwright reports for elbow rehab
Associated Press
March 16, 2011

JUPITER, FL:  Adam Wainwright reported to the St. Louis Cardinals’ spring training for elbow rehab less than three weeks after undergoing reconstructive surgery.  Before undergoing exercises Wednesday designed to improve range of motion, the 20-game winner was optimistic that he’ll be ready to go next spring.  Wainwright plans on being with the team throughout the season.

“I should be better than new,” Wainwright said.  “Think about it.  You get a year off to strengthen your body in every way, you get a year to think about the things you could have done differently, and you’ve got an all-new ligament in your arm.”

Wainwright strained the elbow last fall and missed his final start, and said that may have been a warning signal.  He speculated that may have blown out the elbow last fall if the Cardinals made the post-season and he had kept pitching.  “It probably would have popped,” Wainwright said.  “And I would have been fine with that.”

Four members of the rotation have undergone elbow reconstruction.

Wainwright said he’s lost 6 to 7 pounds since surgery on February 28 due to forced inactivity, and said he won’t be able to resume conditioning for another two weeks.


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     Four of the Cardinals starting pitchers have undergone elbow reconstruction.  What is their Medical Staff doing?

     Mr. Wainwright said, “I should be better than new.  I have an all-new ligament in my pitching elbow arm.”

     This is Mr. Wainwright's second Ulnar Collateral replacement surgery.  I assume that the orthopedic surgeons used the tendon of his Palmaris Longus muscle in his pitching forearm to replace his ruptured born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Therefore, Mr. Wainwright does not have a new ligament.  Instead, he has a new tendon.

     As a result, Mr. Wainwright has the tendon of the Palmaris Longus muscle in his glove forearm replacing the tendon of the Palmaris Longus muscle in his pitching forearm.

     Mr. Wainwright will not be better than new.  Instead, like he did with his last tendon, he will immediately start to tear this new tendon.

     However, if Mr. Wainwright would take the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand under the baseball, then Mr. Wainwright would not need a new replacement tendon.

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290.  A’s closer Bailey gets good news about elbow injury
Reuters
March 16, 2011

PHOENIX,AZ:  The Oakland Athletics breathed a sigh of relief on Wednesday when closing pitcher Andrew Bailey was cleared of serious injury, although he may still miss the start of the Major League Baseball season.  Bailey left the mound at a spring training camp in Arizona on Monday clutching his arm in pain, raising fears he was badly hurt just two weeks before the regular season begins.

The two-time All-Star was examined by Alabama surgeon James Andrews on Tuesday and tests showed he had only strained his forearm.  “That’s about as good of news as you can expect,” Oakland manager Bob Geren told the MLB’s official website.

The A’s had feared the worst given Bailey’s injury history, which including a Tommy John surgery, a procedure where elbow ligaments are replaced by tendons, in 2005.  The 26-year-old right-hander was brought along slowly this spring after undergoing cleanup surgery, done by Andrews, on his troublesome two weeks before the end of last season.


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     In 2005, Mr. Bailey ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  In 2010, Mr. Bailey had his pitching elbow cleaned up.  In spring training 2011, Mr. Bailey strained a muscle in his pitching forearm.

     This sounds like dark ages medicine.  Nobody understands what causes injuries.  Nobody knows how to prevent injuries.  Everybody becomes hysterical with the slightest discomfort.  Then, they call in their witch doctor that puts on his mask and dances around and everybody feels good.

     These are not difficult diagnoses.

     First, where is the discomfort?  Second, what is the involved tissue?  Third, why was the involved tissue unable to withstand the stress?

     A strained muscle in the pitching forearm would be very tight and painful to pressure.  The Ulnar Collateral Ligament lies under the Pronator Teres muscle, but, since it does not have pain sensors, if injured, it will not emit pain.

     Therefore, Mr. Bailey strained his Pronator Teres, Flexor Carpi Ulnaris or Flexor Digitorum muscle.  This injury is the result of the muscle not being able to withstand the stress of competitively pitching.  This is, this muscle was not properly trained.

     To become able to withstand the stress of competitively pitching, Mr. Bailey needs to train daily at less than injurious levels until the injured muscle becomes sufficiently fit to withstand the stress.

     Of course, if Mr. Bailey had not sat on his butt for several months after last season thinking that rest and atrophy is good, then he would not be in this predicament.

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291.  Cards can walk away from Wainwright's contract
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 17, 2011

JUPITER, FL:  Standing in almost the same spot where three years earlier he fielded questions about the injury clause in his new contract, Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright, his arm in an articulated brace, conceded the hypothetical has become reality.  And he insisted he's still content with his contract, including its $21-million two-year option that hinges on his health.

"I'm actually really happy that I have that option, that I have that clause in there right now," Wainwright said Wednesday morning at the Cardinals' spring training clubhouse.  "One way or the other, if I'm hurt and I can never come back, I would feel bad taking that much money from a team I couldn't help.  If (the Cardinals) don't want to pick it up, then I'll be a free agent sooner."

Wainwright returned to the Cardinals' spring training facility for the first time since having Tommy John surgery on February 28 to rebuild his right elbow.  He said he's back in Florida to begin his rehab.  He'll miss all of the 2011 season, and the standard recovery from Tommy John is at least 12 months.  He had the cast removed Monday and that allowed him to travel and begin do some mild exercises to regain strength.

His running is even limited because doctors used a tendon from his left hamstring string to replace the frayed and split ligament in his elbow.  Wainwright has the two-scar Tommy John, with the signature scar running down the back side of his right elbow and another scar slashed beneath his left knee.

Wainwright's recent activity has been limited to iPad surfing.  "Very, very uneventful," Wainwright said of his two weeks since surgery.  "I've lost all of my muscle.  The term is atrophy.  That's happened.  I'm Mr. Atrophy right now."

Wainwright plans to start his rehab here in Jupiter and then travel to St. Louis, where he'll do his rehab within arms reach of the team.  His hope is to be around the club and with the other Cardinals all season, as much a cheerleader as teammate.  He joked that he could be "a pitching coach that no one listens to."  He was greeted Wednesday in the clubhouse with mock applause and sincere hugs from the teammates who didn't travel to Lakeland, FL for the game.

He and a few other pitchers who had Tommy John surgery compared scars.  "What kind of person goes into Tommy John rehab thinking about setbacks?" Wainwright said later.  "I'm not thinking about setbacks.  I'm thinking about getting ready.  I'm thinking about helping this team next year."  He then paused.  "Helping some team next year."

And that's the rub.  Wainwright's second-place finish in the Cy Young Award voting last year vested the $21-million option for 2012 and 2013.  Both years must be exercised at the same time, but the club has an escape clause built into the deal signed in March 2008.  If Wainwright finishes 2011 on the disabled list, which he will because of the elbow surgery, the team can elect not to take the option.  Wainwright, who will be 30 when this current contract expires, would be a free agent.

The Cardinals must choose between guaranteeing $21 million to an ace, who will make $9 million the season after Tommy John surgery, or letting him go into the open market.  A third option would be to renegotiate Wainwright's deal to guarantee him the same money over an extension with some protection for the team.  In March 2008, Wainwright urged his agent to agree to the deal because he felt the discussions were clouding his preparation.  He wanted the security of a multi-year deal, the certainty of not dealing with arbitration, and he was willing to shoulder the possibility of having an injury erase the big money years.

He figured at worst he'd be a free agent who nearly won a Cy Young.  But before where he'll pitch in 2012 becomes clear, getting healthier by the end of 2011 is the priority.  Rehab "is pretty important, not just for my career but for my family," Wainwright said.  "There's a lot of money resting on me coming back healthy next year.  I've got a pretty nice option that I'm waiting to see what happens with.  If not, I'll be a free agent.  Either way, I need to be healthy.  "I plan on being really good after this."


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     Very interesting.  The Cardinals want to back out of Mr. Wainwright's contract.

     The Cardinals required that Mr. Wainwright complete the baseball pitchers training program that their Medical Staff designed and use the baseball pitching motion that the team's pitching expert, Dave Duncan, recommends.

     If, as evidenced by the fact that four of their starting five baseball pitchers have had at least one Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery, Mr. Wainwright is smart enough to know that the Cardinals Medical Staff and pitching coach have no idea what they are doing, then the Cardinals will terminate Mr. Wainwright's contact.

     On February 28, 2011, Mr. Wainwright had his second Ulnar Collateral Tendon replacement surgery.  This time the orthopedic surgeon used a tendon from his knee.

     Nine weeks later, on May 02, 2011, osteoblasts will have filled the holes through which the orthopedic surgeon threated this knee tenson, such that the pitching elbow is fully capable of withstanding appropriate levels of stress.

     If, on that day, Mr. Wainwright starts my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, then on August 30, 2011, Mr. Wainwrigth would be ready to throw high-intensity bullpens.

     With six months of daily off-season work, Mr. Wainwright would be in the best non-atrophied baseball pitching physical fitness in his life, without the injurious flaw that keeps tearing his Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

     Unfortunately, the Cardinals will not allow Mr. Wainwright to make that decision.

     After my 1967 major league season, I figured out that neither the Tigers Medical Staff or pitching coach had any idea what they were doing.  Instead of stupidly continuing to listen to them, I searched for somebody that knew what to do.  When I found nobody, I did the research myself.

     All Mr. Wainwright and other injured baseball pitchers have to do is go to my website.

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292.  Bailey relieved after meeting with Andrews
MLB.com
March 17, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ:  An upbeat Andrew Bailey sat on the top ledge of the A's dugout, a swarm of media members surrounding him while teammates underwent their normal morning workouts.  The A's closer, fresh off a visit with noted surgeon Dr. James Andrews, graciously fielded questions left and right about his strained right forearm, the next step forward and the friend he playfully now refers to as "Doc" while addressing reporters for the first time since exiting Monday's contest with discomfort in his elbow and forearm.  "Andrews is a great guy," Bailey said on Thursday.  "I told him, 'I love you, Doc, but I don't want to see you anymore.'"

Oakland's two-time All-Star is unfortunately all too familiar with Andrews, who performed Bailey's 2005 Tommy John surgery and his September cleanup procedure.  This time, though, the orthopedic surgeon assured Bailey that he suffered no structural damage and, thus, does not need another operation.  Rather, Bailey believes he'll be throwing again in a matter of days.  "Dr. Andrews is very optimistic about me this year and my future," Bailey said.  "He said the MRI showed that the ACL ligament is healthy.  He reiterated the fact that the ligaments he puts in are stronger than ones you originally get.  He said they looked normal, like you've been pitching for five years, so I'm very optimistic about that.

"I felt a ripping sensation," Bailey said.  "That really scared me.  As a pitcher, that's your livelihood.  It all happened so fast, whereas in 2005, I kind of felt it coming a little bit.  This one, everyone saw it was right then and there." The feeling, Andrews explained, was the result of scar tissue tearing, a common occurence for pitchers a few months after they've had surgery.  That dose of news lent Bailey, who deemed his trip "a nerve-racking experience," great peace of mind.  "You have to go through that to get to where you want to be," Bailey said.  "It's just kind of bad timing to have it happen now, [rather] than when I'm throwing in the off-season."

"It's really important to tackle this early on," Bailey said.  "We're going to do big things with or without me, and I just hope to be a part of it.  "I'd love to be a part of that group, but these guys are more than capable of handling the workload without me in there.  Hopefully I can join them and get the troops going."

Dr. Andrews said that Baileyneeds to be pain-free with no tightness before he picks up a ball again.  He believes he'll likely throw in an extra day of rest thereafter to play it safe.  In the meantime, he'll keep up with his normal elbow and shoulder exercises to maintain his arm strength.  "Dr. Andrews said to make sure you take the time now," Bailey said.  "It's one of those situations [where] you don't want to miss time down the road.  For me, it's important we give it the time."

Even if that means starting the season on the disabled list, where Bailey was stationed for more than a month last year, the 26-year-old righty couldn't be more pleased with the diagnosis he received from the surgeon "who knows me better than any other doctor out there."  "Usually it's not good news for me there, either, but this time it was awesome," he said.  "It was very welcome news."


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     The witch doctor has danced.  Dr. Andrews said that Mr. Bailey only tore scar tissue.  Nonsense.

     In September 2010, Mr. Bailey had his pitching elbow cleaned out.  That does not cause scar tissue in forearm muscles.

     The witch doctor says that Mr. Bailey should not start training until he is pain-free with no tightness.  Rest is the witch doctor's cure.  Nonsense.

     After twenty years of Dr. Andrews promises of eliminating pitching injuries only to see the number of pitching injuries steadily increase, why does anybody ask Dr. Andrews' opinion about how to apply force to their pitches or train?

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293.  Jonathan Papelbon Not Concerned About Latest Rocky Outing Against Mets
NESN.com
March 17, 2011

FORT MYERS, FL:  For the second time in three outings, Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon has been unable to get through an inning. With more than two weeks left in spring training, he is not concerned.  "Nope, not one bit," Papelbon said when asked if he was worried with his recent results.

The right-hander gave up three runs on one hit, three walks and a hit batter in just one-third of an inning last week at Minnesota.  After a solid showing against the New York Yankees on Monday, he failed to get the last three outs on Thursday after entering the ninth inning of an 8-1 game against the New York Mets.

Papelbon hit the first Met he faced before getting two quick outs.  Consecutive walks loaded the bases and a double by Justin Turner drove in all three runners.  Another double made it 8-5 and Papelbon was pulled before he could throw too many more pitches.

With the ugly line, Papelbon's spring ERA has soared to 12.60.  He has walked five and hit two batters in the span of five innings.  He said he was locked in early in camp, in fact earlier than he had ever been locked in, but now is seemingly dealing with a mechanical issue.  "No, I don't feel like I've fallen out of it.  I still feel very locked in," Papelbon said.  "For me, right now, I'm just a tick off on my mechanics.  I'm not searching, I know exactly what's going on.  I can feel it in my delivery.  For me it's not a big deal at all because I know it's just a minor detail."

His manager seemed to agree.  "I thought today he just got out in front, a little quick in his delivery," Terry Francona said.  "Everything flattened out a little bit and his fastball wandered a little bit." The closer will next be sent to the minor league camp to get a two-inning outing.  Both he and Francona are confident that the session will do him some good.  "I'm just trying to find my delivery and iron out the kinks," Papelbon said.  "That's basically it."


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     When 'traditional' baseball pitchers lenghen their Gleno-Humeral Ligaments, they feel great, but they cannot compensate for the delay that the added length causes.  Next, Mr. Papelbone will talk about 'tired shoulder.'

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294.  Soriano avoids division foes in spring
MLB.com
March 17, 2011

TAMPA, FL:  Rafael Soriano told the Yankees in January that he doesn't like to pitch against division rivals, so the right-hander had been surprised to see his name listed for Wednesday's game against the Orioles.  "I pitch different," Soriano said.  "I don't like to pitch the same way I pitch in the regular season.  It's not easy when you have to play 18 games against the same team.  I don't like that."

Soriano reminded manager Joe Girardi and pitching coach Larry Rothschild of his unique program, something that he said he has followed with the Braves and Rays.  "I've been doing that the last four years," said Soriano, who led the American League with 45 saves last season.  "It works for me, so I'm not going to change."

Girardi and Rothschild switched Soriano to throw instead in a Minor League game at the Yankees' Himes Avenue complex on Thursday afternoon, but the outing didn't go particularly well.  "I didn't feel really good [with] my command, especially my fastball and my slider," Soriano said.  "I don't feel like I have everything down.  I don't know why, but that's what I feel today."

Soriano said he threw 21 pitches in an inning of work against Yankees Minor Leaguers, issuing a walk and allowing a double.  "That doesn't count," Soriano said.  "The only reason I like to go there is that I can throw my pitches and see how I feel."


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     During spring training games, Mr. Soriano does not like opposing batters to see him.  Apparently, Mr. Soriano feels that the more often opposing batters see him, the less chance he has of getting them out.

     Mr. Soriano said that he throws a fastball and a slider.  With only two pitches, it is very difficult to keep batters from sitting on one or the other pitch and hitting it hard.

     Perhaps, Mr. Soriano should think about adding another pitch.

     However, for many years, Mr. Rivera has pitched with only one pitch.  That means that either baseball batters cannot hit Mr. Rivera's pitch or opposing managers do not understand which type of baseball batters can hit that pitch.

     Mr. Rivera's cut fastball moves to the first base side of home plate.  Pitching arm side spray hitters and glove arm side pull hitters hit that pitch.  Therefore, opposing managers should send these two types of batters to the plate and tell them to sit on Mr. Rivera's cut fastball to the first base corner.

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295.  Sox complete rotation
MLB.com
March 17, 2011

FORT MYERS, FL:  A day after announcing that Jon Lester would pitch Opening Day for the Red Sox, manager Terry Francona revealed who would fill in behind him.  John Lackey is the No. 2, followed by Clay Buchholz, Josh Beckett (whose drop to No. 4 could be considered the lone surprise) and Daisuke Matsuzaka.  If the schedule remains intact, Lackey would pitch the Red Sox's home opener on April 8 against the Yankees.

"We feel like Lack has a way of matching up with whoever he's pitching against, whether it's a No. 1 or No. 5," Francona said Thursday morning at City of Palms Park.  "You look up in the seventh and you have a chance to win, which we really like.  Buch did so good, I think we feel like having Buch come out third just enhances our chance to win a little bit.  Buch's numbers would say that he could pitch anywhere.  "Ultimately, if they pitch like they should, it's not going to matter.  And if they don't pitch like they should, it's not going to matter."

If the Red Sox wanted, they could skip Matsuzaka's first start of the season and have Lester go on regular rest because of an off-day on April 4, after their opening three-game series in Texas. Boston heads to Cleveland for a three-game series afterward.  Francona didn't indicate Thursday he wanted to go in that direction, though.

As for Beckett, few would've batted an eye if he'd been named the No. 2. Francona said Beckett's in the fourth spot because he feels better about Beckett pitching against the Indians than the American League champion Rangers.  "Just watching the way last year unfolded, we want to get him off to a good start," Francona said.  "We'll pitch him that game in Cleveland.  I think that's a good place for him to start."

In talking on Thursday about how happy he was for Lester, Beckett called the Opening Day start "a sacred thing."  He said he supported Francona's decision to drop him to No. 4 because Francona supports him, but he never said he agreed with it.  "Those are his decisions, and just like I would feel like he would always back me up, I back him up on his decisions as well," Beckett said.  "It is what it is. I don't get paid to make those decisions.  Tito makes those decisions.  I don't want that job. I'll never want that job."

Francona said he's had the rotation set in his mind for some time, but he wanted to inform all his pitchers first.  Beckett said he found out Wednesday.  The last to know was Matsuzaka, to whom Francona said he spoke with Thursday morning.  "I just wanted guys to know before I tell you guys.  I think that's just respectful," Francona said.  "I don't want them to read in the paper where they're starting."

As for Tim Wakefield, who's always taken whatever role he has been asked to fill, Francona said only, "Wake knows his job right now."  That means relieving and spot starts when needed.


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     Most teams like to have their best starter pitch against the best starter on the opposing team.  Most teams like to have their second best starter pitch against the second best starter on the opposing team.  And so on.

     However, when teams do not believe that their best starter can beat the best starter on the opposing team, they move their best starter down the list to where they believe that their best starter is better.

     Under this circumstance, their best starter can have an outstanding season.  However, pity the number three or four starter that has to pitch against the best starters on opposing teams.

     At number four, you would expect Mr. Beckett to have an outstanding season.  But, if he does, then should sports writers consider him for the Cy Young Award?

     The answer: No.  Those that select Cy Young Award winners should only consider number one starters.

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296.  Pirates’ Lincoln hit in arm by liner
Associated Press
March 18, 2011

CLEARWATER, FL:  Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Brad Lincoln has been hit in his pitching arm by a line drive and has left the game with a bruise.  Lincoln was struck by Jimmy Rollins’ liner in the third inning of Friday’s game against Philadelphia.  He recovered in time to field the ball near the first-base line and tag out Rollins.

Lincoln flexed his arm a few times and left with a trainer without throwing any practice pitches.  The bruise is just below his elbow and Lincoln says there’s no reason now to rule out his next start.


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     Until 'traditional' baseball pitchers learn how to get both feet on the groung before the baseball crosses home plate, they will not be able to move out of the way of batted baseballs hit back at them.

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297.  Cortisone shot sets back Beltran's schedule
MLB.com
March 18, 2011

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL:  Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran had a cortisone injection in his left knee Friday, setting back his schedule, but not necessarily ruling him out for Opening Day.  Shortly after taking his first left-handed swings of the week in a batting cage, Beltran had the injection, which will sideline him for roughly 24 hours.  The shot was delivered to his left knee, the source of his recent bout of tendinitis, not to his surgically repaired right knee.

But according to general manager Sandy Alderson, the shot was in response to general inflammation in the back of Beltran's left knee, and unrelated to the tendinitis that has sidelined him for most of the past two weeks.  "It helped, but I still have a little bit there," Beltran said of the injection's effect on his inflammation.  "Hopefully the cortisone will take that away and allow me to do what needs to be done in order to get ready."


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     Apparently, the Mets Medical Staff missed the memo that cortisons shots do not help.  Met fans should tell that Medical Staff to read the Cortison Shots Make Injuries Worse report that I have in my Special Reports file.  While they are at it, they should also read the Rest Makes Injuries Worse report.

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298.  Former Angels hurler Shields opts to retire
MLB.com
March 18, 2011

TEMPE, AZ:  Scot Shields, one of the premier setup artists of the past decade, announced his retirement on Friday.  "I am very thankful to have had the privilege and opportunity to play this great game at the Major League level," Shields said in a statement issued by the Angels.  "I retire with memories and experiences I will carry with me the rest of my life and for that I am extremely grateful.  "I do not think it's possible to express my respect and admiration for so many teammates I had the privilege to play with through the years.  The lifetime friendships created are one of the great rewards of my career."

Shields, 35, endured two injury-disrupted seasons after reigning supreme in the eighth inning from 2004-08 after converting full-time to the bullpen.  After starting 13 times and appearing in relief in 31 other games in '03, he became a setup man with few equals, turning things over to Troy Percival and Francisco Rodriguez for Angels teams that won five American League West titles in six years.  Starting in 2005, Shields led the American League for four consecutive seasons in holds with 33, 31, 31 and 31.

"Scot evolved into the gold standard for what setup men are," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.  "What impressed us about Scot is he could have gone to a lot of places and been a closer, but he was committed to this organization, and the organization committed to him.  "He accepted that role and became the best at it.  Scot was about winning.  If he had to take the ball in the seventh inning and pitch the ninth, he would have done it.  Thirty years ago he would have been getting two-plus, three-inning saves.  That's how good he was."


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     Mr. Scioscia said that Mr. Shields could "take the ball in the seventh inning and pitch the ninth, he would have done it.  Thirty years ago he would have been getting two-plus, three-inning saves.  That's how good he was."

     Yet, my stats guy, Brad Sullivan says that, in 2008, Mr. Shields eight games due to forearm and rib injuries, in 2009, he missed the last four months due to a knee injury and, in 2010, he missed the last 23 games due to an elbow injury.

     That does not sound like he would have been getting two-plus, three inning saves.  Nevertheless, had he not lead the league in holds for four consecutive seasons, Mr. Percival and Mr. Rodriguez would not have received the big contracts they got for pitching one inning with a lead.

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299.  Closer Wilson mildly strains left oblique
MLB.com
March 19, 2011

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  Brian Wilson's checkered spring continued Saturday with another ominous development:  A mildly strained left oblique muscle (side) that will sideline the Giants' closer for an indefinite period, thus casting into doubt his availability for Opening Day.  Said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, "It's a setback, but hopefully we'll find out it's not too big of a setback."

At the earliest, a prognosis for Wilson won't emerge until Monday, when he's expected to be re-evaluated by Giants' physicians.  Bochy indicated that Wilson, who felt soreness in his side after pitching a scoreless inning against the Los Angeles Angels last Thursday, will be prohibited from throwing until at least Tuesday.  Admitting that Wilson's condition aroused his concern, Bochy said, "I can tell you exactly how concerned I am" after Monday's exam.

Wilson, who began Spring Training with a stiff back that kept him out of Cactus League competition until March 06, downplayed his latest ailment.  "I'm fine," he said. "Just another crappy nuisance to deal with.  I can't get down; I can't get mad.  Just treat it and get it over with."

Recovery from oblique injuries isn't always that simple, due to their volatile nature.  Even Wilson said, "Everything's different."  He should know.  The right-hander strained the same left oblique in his Major League debut at Colorado on April 23, 2006, and wasn't activated again until May 20.  Wilson insisted that his condition had improved since he injured himself.  He replied, "Of course," when asked if he thought he'll be ready for the March 31 season opener at Los Angeles.  "I feel a lot better than I did Thursday," he said.  "I'll feel a lot better tomorrow. Monday, we'll take it from there."


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     Two spring training staples: Oblique Internus Abdominis and lower back muscle discomfort.

     Both are the products of the stride seventy to ninety percent of standing height nonsense.

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300.  Thatcher gets good news on sore shoulder
MLB.com
March 19, 2011

PEORIA, AZ:  Padres reliever Joe Thatcher got some "peace of mind" Friday when the results of an MRI on his sore left shoulder showed no structural damage.  "It's just a matter of getting the inflammation out of there, and hopefully we'll be ready to go," Thatcher said Saturday morning.  "We'll continue to rehab but there's peace of mind there's nothing wrong."

Thatcher was officially shut down from throwing Friday following a throwing session on flat ground the previous day which led to continued discomfort in his shoulder.  Thatcher, who has already had a cortisone shot this spring, was set to receive another on Saturday.  There's no timetable as to when he'll resume throwing, but he's certain to start the regular season on the disabled list again.


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     Oh boy, the Padres Medical Staff not only rests their injured baseball pitchers, but they also repeatedly give them cortison shots.  These are the dark ages of sports medicine.

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301.  Parra pleased after playing catch Saturday
MLB.com
March 20, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ:  Manny Parra is finally making progress as he tries to get his stalled spring moving.  Parra has been bothered by a stiff back and has not been able to participate in any baseball activities, but after a cortisone shot earlier in the week, he was cleared to play catch from 75 feet Saturday, and he was pleased with the results.

"It went really well," Parra said.  "I'm feeling better.  There's a slow, day-to-day, tentative progression.  Try to get what we can in without aggravating anything.  Move slow.  Come in every day and assess where we're at.  That's what it sounds like."

Manager Ron Roenicke said that Parra would play catch again Sunday, and if all goes well, he'll move on to long toss.  Parra is eager to get back on a mound, but he's keeping his focus on whatever he's scheduled for when he arrives at the ballpark each day.  "It seems like any time I want to get too far ahead of myself, it's a waste," Parra said.  "I've been set back a couple times already.  But since I've had this shot, I've felt a significant difference in my back.  I just hope it continues to feel that way."


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     Ah, the road to oblivion: rest, flat ground catch at 75 feet, long tossing and lots and lots of cortisone shots.

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302.  DiFelice fine after taking liner to pitching hand
MLB.com
March 20, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ:  The only lingering effect from Mark DiFelice's early departure from Saturday's 6-6 draw with the Dodgers was the regret he felt when he didn't record an out.  DiFelice faced one hitter, Trent Oeltjen, and left the game when Oeltjen's line-drive single grazed the knuckles on his pitching hand as he followed through on his delivery.

"It was a backdoor cutter that he just sat on."  DiFelice said.  "He gave a good swing.  If you ask me, I should have caught it."

It would have been a lucky catch, as the hard liner clocked in at 115 mph and went to center field for a lead-off single.  DiFelice left the game with a contusion on his ring finger and a cut on his middle finger, but he was fine by Sunday and shouldn't miss any time.  "We iced it yesterday," DiFelice said.  "The doctor took a look at it.  The bones are intact, and the ligaments are fine.  No pain today.  I'm going to play catch and be good to go tomorrow."


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     Until 'traditional' baseball pitchers learn how to get both feet on the groung before the baseball crosses home plate, they will not be able to move out of the way of batted baseballs hit back at them.

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303.  Wright making transition to sidearmer
MLB.com
March 20, 2011

KISSIMMEE, FL:  Left-hander Wesley Wright has been working closely with Astros pitching coach Brad Arnsberg in the last week to lower his arm slot and make the transition into a sidearm pitcher.  Wright, who had given up eight earned runs in six innings this spring before Sunday, has tinkered with the new arm slot in one Grapefruit League game and will continue to work closely with Arnsberg to complete the transition.

"The results haven't been great the last couple of seasons for Wesley," general manager Ed Wade said.  "There was internal discussion, even during the winter, of the possibility of dropping him down.  Wes and Arnie got together probably 10 days ago and talked about it, and in one of his relief appearances he dabbled in it and threw a few good pitches.  "He got hit around overall and came out of it, and he and Arnie got together again and decided to make the full commitment to it.  Arnie's very excited about the potential that Wesley shows at the lower arm angle.  He's got good sink, and it's certainly something that if Wesley is comfortable throwing then we think he's got a chance to be very successful."

"Wesley is a very intelligent guy and he's got good stuff," Wade said.  "He's been hit around the last couple of years, and Arnie particularly is a big proponent of him doing this because we think with the stuff that he's got he can be very, very effective from the lower arm slot."


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     When left-handed baseball pitchers throw sidearm, that means that they become one left-handed batter pitchers that opposing teams pitch hit right-handed batters.

     If Mr. Wright is actually an intelligent guy that has good stuff, then, unless he wants to have a meaningless major league career, he would find other employment.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, April 03, 2011, I posted the following questions and answers.

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304.  Queries

1.  Will you please describe the pedagogical breakthrough that you referred to in answer No. 221 of your 2011 Question and Answer file?

2.  Will you please clarify the following sentence, from answer No. 303 of your 2011 Question and Answer file?

"When left-handed baseball pitchers throw sidearm, that means that they become one left-handed batter pitchers that opposing teams pitch hit right-handed batters."

3.  If you were in a position of advising professional baseball players, at what point would you suggest they begin searching for alternate employment?

4.  Do you believe that many former professional baseball players continue their careers at the amateur level after retirement?

If not, why?

That is how they started their baseball careers.


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01.  In 2011 Question/Answer #221, I wrote, "Recently, in the same way that the four gallon bucket lid throws accelerated my baseball pitchers ability to learn how to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve, we have had a pedagogical break-through that appears to have accelerated the learning curve for teaching my baseball batting technique.

     Therefore, instead of the eight years I needed to have one of my baseball pitchers perform my baseball pitching technique sufficiently well to post Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video, after only six months of training, I have hope that I will have baseball batters capable of performing my baseball batting technique sufficiently well to post Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Batting Technique."

     I could spend a couple of hours trying to describe my new front arm only drill, but, without video, readers would interpret my words in dozens of different ways.

     Therefore, when I feel that my students are sufficiently skilled to meaningfully demonstrate the drills with which I teach the skills of my baseball batting technique, to minimize misinterpretations, I will take video and high-speed film and put it together with my dialogue.

02.  In 2011 Question/Answer #303, I wrote, "When left-handed baseball pitchers throw sidearm, that means that they become one left-handed batter pitchers that opposing teams pitch hit right-handed batters.

     One left-handed batter pitchers are left-handed baseball pitchers that managers bring into the game to pitch to one left-handed batter.

     Then, unless the opposition manager does not care about giving away an out, they will substitute a right-handed batter for the left-handed batter, such that the left-handed baseball pitcher ends up pitching to a right-handed batter anyway.

03.  When the teams on which professional baseball players determine how they will use players and players disagree with how they will use them, the players need to start searching for teams that share their self-evaluation.

     For example, in 1977, Braves field manager, Dave Bristol, decided to use me only against left-handed batters.  Therefore, Mr. Bristol had me and a right-handed baseball pitcher warm-up together.  I told Mr. Bristol, the general manager and the owner that, under those circumstance, I would not pitch for them.

     They said that they decide how they will use me, not me.  I said; let's see how that works for you and left.

     In 1978 and 1979, for the Minnesota Twins, I finished fifth twice in the American League Cy Young Award balloting and earned the 1979 Fireman of the Year Award and set a couple more major league records.

     About a month after I left, the Braves fired Mr. Bristol and the owner became manager-for-a-day.

04.  After my release in 1981, because I loved to pitch, I pitched amateur baseball in up to 80 games a year until 1999, when I injured my pitching arm when I stupidly tried to stop a free standing closet I was moving from falling.

     Therefore, I believe that when former professional baseball players do not play amateur baseball after their professional careers, they either physically cannot play baseball anymore or they do not love to play baseball.

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305.  Response to the Verducci Sports Illustrated article

     The Verducci article stimulated some debate.  Unfortunately, it only muddies the water.

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Questions about Stephen Strasburg's delivery have no sure answers
By Adam Kilgore
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 10, 2011; D03

JUPITER, FL:   On Wednesday morning in Viera, FL, Stephen Strasburg played catch with a Washington Nationals trainer in the outfield of Space Coast Stadium.   He focused only on his next throw, one careful toss after the next, the monotonous churn that will eventually return him to a major league pitching mound.   Strasburg paid no attention to the lingering questions about what happens when he does.

Those questions, about what went wrong last year and what kind of pitcher he will be following his recovery from Tommy John surgery, drew new attention Tuesday, after Sports Illustrated published on its Website, an article detailing a specific mechanical movement that, the piece asserted, led to Strasburg tearing the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.   Nationals officials have said they will not change Strasburg's mechanics upon his return.

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     Unfortunately, the Washington Nationals management do not understand that, for baseball pitchers to prevent re-injuring themselves, they have to eliminate the injurious flaw that caused the injury.

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The SI story relies on the findings of biomechanist Glenn Fleisig, Ph.D., to suggest they should.  Despite Fleisig's definitive assertion, there are no consensus answers.  Other experts have watched Strasburg's mechanics and found no reason for concern.

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     The first mention of the critical moment in Mr. Strasburg’s injurious flaw came from Dr. Brandon Bushnell. Dr. Bushnell and colleagues published a study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine wherein they started that “where higher levels of torque at the shoulder and elbow can result in increased risk of injury.”

     Unfortunately, Dr. Bushnell’s article failed to state when, in the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion, this higher level of torque occurs.

     Next, Mr. Verducci wrote:   “Here is the key to managing the torque levels in the late cocking phase:  timing.  The ball should be loaded in the late cocking phase precisely when the pitcher's stride foot lands on the ground.”

     Mr. Verducci did not identify from whom he received that quote.

     The only person I know that says that baseball pitchers should have their pitching arm arrive at driveline height at the same time that their glove foot lands is me.

     In the next paragraph, Mr. Verducci quoted Dr. Fleisig, "If he's too early or too late he winds up with more force on the shoulder and elbow.   The energy gets passed to the arm before it was ready, or after."

     That sounds to me that Mr. Verducci asked Dr. Fleisig about the importance of baseball pitchers getting their pitching arms to driveline height at the same time that their glove foot lands.

     I do not believe that Dr. Fleisig would ever say that baseball pitchers should do this.  Instead, Dr. Fleisig would provide the degrees in the outward range of motion of the pitching shoulder that his Elite group of baseball pitchers have.

     The next paragraph tells us from whom Mr. Verducci received the idea that baseball pitchers should have their pitching arm at driveline height ready to accelerate toward home plate at the same time that their glove foot lands.

     Mr. Verducci wrote, “How important is this specific timing?  I spoke with a key decision maker for one club last week who, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said his club will not consider any pitcher, by draft, trade or free agency, who does not have the baseball in the loaded position at the time of foot strike.”

     Therefore, Dr. Fleisig is not the source of this concept.  A key decision maker for the Washington Nationals is the source.  Mr. Kilgore needs to get his facts straight.

     Now, the question is:   From whom did this key decision maker receive this concept.

     While only that key decision maker knows, I know that, during spring training 2009, I met with the Washington Nationals, then interim general manager, Mike Rizzo, and I told him and his assistant, Bob Boone, that, to avoid injuries to the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, baseball pitchers have to have their pitching arm at driveline height ready to accelerate toward home plate at the same time that their glove foot lands.

     I call the timing of this pitching rhythm, the crow-hop pitching rhythm.

     Therefore, contrary to the Washington Post staff writer, Adam Kilgore, Dr. Fleisig had nothing to do with this concept.

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The Nationals believe Strasburg's ligament tore because of a single pitch, not the accumulation of wear.

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     The research is unquestionable.  ‘Traditional’ baseball pitchers repeatedly tear the connective tissue fibers that make up the Ulnar Collateral Ligament until that final tear ruptures the ligament.

     If the Washington Nationals medical staff believes otherwise, then they have never seen a ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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Fleisig may very well be correct that Strasburg's mechanics ensured his elbow ligament would tear.  But there is no certain answer to why Stephen Strasburg broke.

"I'm not sure that there's a universal, 100-percent thought that, 'This is the reason,'" said Cincinnati Reds team doctor Tim Kremchek, who performs more than 100 ligament-replacement surgeries per year.   "I think that's impossible.  I think that there are good theories.  Who's to say it's not true? I think that's okay.  But you got to be real careful.  I'm not going to say it's right or wrong.  I'm going to say it's dangerous to hang your hat on one thing."

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     The reason why Dr. Kremchek believes that there is no universal, 100 percent thought about what injurious flaw causes baseball pitchers to rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament is that those in charge of determining the cause of Ulnar Collateral Ligament ruptures; that is, orthopedic surgeons study surgery, biomechanists study numbers and major league pitching coaches study nothing.

     However, there is this focus group of one that has a doctoral degree in Exercise Physiology with specialities in Applied Anatomy and Biomechanics that has researched the causes of pitching injuries for over forty years and, by setting pitching endurance records, has demonstrated that he knows the causes of pitching injuries, including what ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  Me.

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In the Sports Illustrated piece, written by Tom Verducci, Fleisig outlines the problems with Strasburg's motion.

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     As I already proved, Dr. Fleisig did not outline the problem with Mr. Strasburg’s motion.  An undisclosed key decision maker in the Washington Nationals organization did this.

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A pitcher's foot should land precisely when his arm reaches maximum external rotation, which occurs when a pitcher cocks his arm to throw, that split second that divides wind-up from release.

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     It is not the split second that divides wind-up from release.  It is that split second between the end of the pendulum swing and when the pitching upper arm starts to accelerate toward home plate.

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When Strasburg removes the ball from his glove, he leads by yanking his elbow backward rather than swinging the ball downward.  That maneuver delays Strasburg's arm action during his delivery and leads to what Verducci's piece describes as the crucial flaw. Strasburg finishes cocking his arm only after his front foot lands, timing that places a hazardous amount of force on the shoulder and elbow.

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     Nowhere in the Verducci article did anybody say that baseball pitchers should swing the baseball downward.

     Pendulum swinging the baseball downward, backward and upward to driveline height toward second base in one, smooth, continuous movement to arrive at the same time that their glove foot lands is my concept.

     Although Mr. Kilgore failed to cite the source of this concept, although not complete, I still thank Mr. Kilgore for correctly stating my pendulum swing concept.

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Verducci also cited an unnamed team official who refuses to draft or otherwise acquire pitchers whose mechanics include the glitch.

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     This is the key Washington Nationals d