Questions/Answers 2012

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     On Sunday, January 08, 2012, I posted the following questions and answers.

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0001.  To start 2012, I want to provide an example of the value of interval-training.

     In Q/A #1445 of my 2011 Question/Answer file, on December 04, 2011, I received the following email and gave the following answer.

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1445.  Distance running training

My daughter is a very good HS 1 and 2 mile runner.  She is drawing interest as a Junior for some D1 schools.  She's a very focused and hard worker.  She won her high school conferences cross country championship.

She wants to get faster in all times and is very willing to do the work.

How would you go about training my daughter?


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     I would design interval-training programs specific to the competitive distances that she runs.

     To understand what she needs to do, you need to purchase:

Fox, E. L. and Mathews, D. The Physiological Basis of Physical Education and Athletics. Philadelphia. W. B. Saunders Co., 3rd edition, 1981.

     In this textbook, you and she need to read pages 273-280 about interval-training and pages 613-618 that provides a sample interval-training schedule for long distance running.

     To design interval-training programs for the specific distances that your daughter runs, we might have to adjust the distances and time intervals, but the basic program is the same.

     For complete programs for running as well as for most exercise modes, this text recommends:

Fox, E.L. and Mathews, D.: Interval Training: Conditioning for Sports and General Fitness. Philadelphia, W. B. Saunders Co., 1974.

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0002.  Distance running training:  December 19, 2011

At the conclusion of my daughter's fall cross country season last month, she immediately began training anaerobically, as she had essentially done no such training since last June.

(Even then, it was spotty and not very specific)

The basis for my daughter beginning to train anaerobically last month was due to your writings and recommended readings.

I am writing to thank you for the information you provided to a mutual friend with regards to proper training for running competitive 1600 and 3200 meter races.

Of course, moving forward from here, her training will be much more specific due to the information you were kind enough to relay to him and from him to me.

My daughter is very excited about applying this information.

She has already seen positive results from the somewhat irregular anaerobic training she has performed since late November.

My daughter ran her first set of eight 100 meter runs yesterday and we are working towards the proper rest intervals based on your recommendations.

Yesterday, she did the 100's all in the 16.5 - 17.5 seconds range with a rest of 40 seconds between each repetition.  She wasn't breathing hard at all and her heartbeat quickly recovered to 120 BPM within about 20 seconds of her last 'work' interval.

She will reduce the 'rest' periods to approximately 30 seconds today and we will continue to reduce them from there.

I do have one concern which I would like to ask your opinion about:

My daughters's High School track team has practices Monday through Friday, in which, on various days, the coaches require the 1600/3200 meter runners to perform a combination of 4-6 mile road runs, one mile track repeats, or a combination of 800 and 400 meter intervals.

I fully understand, based on your information, that these workouts are far inferior to the proper 100 meter interval training.

1.  My question:  In your opinion, is my daughter risking over-training by performing the High School workouts in addition to her 8 - 100 meter repeats at a high intensity?

Thank you again, and we look forward to sharing my daughter's progress with you.


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     Interval-training is a very valuable training method.

     However, we have to take precautions.

     First, we have to make sure to not start the 'work' interval too aggressively.

     My rule of thumb is that, for the first day, the athletes, individually, need to train at a stress level well below what they can withstand.

     You set her 'work' interval at 17.0 seconds for 8 - 100 meter runs and her 'rest' interval at 40 seconds.

     During her rest interval, she should be walking at a comfortable, non-lactic acid producing pace.

     That your daughter completed 8 repetitions of 100 meter runs with a 40 second rest interval without breathing hard shows that she easily withstood the stress of her 'work' intervals.

     However, rather than immediately adjust her 'work' and 'rest' intervals, I prefer that she complete at least 4 consecutive days without any discomfort.

     After she has not had any discomfort for 4 consecutive days, she should decrease her 'rest' interval.  To decrease it by 10 seconds seems pretty aggressive.  But, since she was not breathing hard with her 40 second rest interval, she might be okay.

     However, the same rule applies, before any changes in her 'work' or 'rest' intervals, she must have no discomfort for 4 consecutive days.

     For base runners, I start at one-half intensity and have them run home to first base three times, home to second base twice, first to second base three times, first to third base twice, second to third base three times and second to home plate twice.

     For anaerobic training, I prefer a 1:6 ratio of 'work' to 'rest.'  That means that their 'rest' interval lasts six times the length of the 'work' interval.

     After four days of no discomfort, I increase the intensity to two-thirds.  Unfortunately, with two dozen base runners, I cannot individualize the times that they run these different distances.  Therefore, I have to train for the least fit base runners.

     If you do not mind, until I am sure that she is not doing too much too soon, I would like daily reports.

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0003.  Distance running training:  December 20, 2011

Thank you for the additional guidance, and I will be pleased to provide you with daily reports of my daughter's early training.

My daughter trained today prior to me reading your recommendation regarding 4 consecutive days at her initial rest period.  Hence, today was her second day of running eight 17 second 100 meter intervals with a 30 second rest period.  She continues to feel no discomfort and isn't breathing very hard at the conclusion of the set.  Per your guidance, she will remain at this training level for at least of 2 more days.

Albeit, not at this current intensity, daughter has been performing some interval training (including some 100 meter intervals) over the past 3 weeks, which may have helped prepare her somewhat for these specific sets she has performed over the past 3 days.

Her next High School track meet isn't until January 6th.


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     January 06, 2012 is only 16 days away.

     That only gives us four 4 day cycles of adjustments to her 'work' and 'rest' intervals.

     Typically, athletes should not try to increase the level of fitness during their competitive season.

     However, with the skill enhancement aspect of running relatively minimal, we can focus on the physiology.

     In my last email, you asked whether your daughter completing both her high school workouts and the interval-training program simultaneously is too much.

     The answer is yes.

     4-6 mile runs do not increase her Anaerobic Threshold.  One mile track repeats do not increase the Anaerobic Threshold.  800 and 400 meter runs are too long to meaningfully influence the Anaerobic Threshold.

     The biggest problem is that these distances exhaust the substrate she will need to compete.

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0004.  Distance running training:  December 21, 2011

Thank you for the information regarding the risk in regards to my daughter's possibly over training by also performing the workouts prescribed by her high school coaches.

My daughter's first priority is to perform the training you have prescribed.  Hence, she will perform your prescribed training daily and very minimally, the school workouts.  I do understand that ideally she should not do any other training, however the realities won't permit that at this time.

I regards to her meets:

All roads, so to speak, lead to her school Conference and State meets, which are in early to mid-February.

Track athletes ideally want to perform at their peak during such meets.  The meets leading up the Conference and State meets are somewhat less important to the athletes.  However, as you no doubt know, one of the many beauties of track is that posting a strong time at any meet during the season is a very good thing.

Today was day three for daughter at the 17 second 100 meter intervals with 30 seconds rest.


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     The only physiological variable with which distance runners need to improve is their Anaerobic Threshold.

     The Anaerobic Threshold is that percent of maximum running velocity at which athletes can run before they start producing lactic acid.

     To increase the percent of their maximum running velocity that they can achieve without producing lactic acid, distance runners have to gradually increase their running velocity above their Anaerobic Threshold.

     The best field test of when distance runners run above their Anaerobic Threshold is breathing hard.

     That your daughter is not breathing hard after running 100 meters in 17 seconds indicates that she is not producing lactic acid.  Until she produces lactic acid, decreasing her 'rest' interval time is not relevant.

     This means that we have to find the time for her 100 meter runs that produces lactic acid.

     If running 100 meters in 17 seconds does not produce lactic acid, then she should try running 100 meters in 16 seconds.

     How much time that she needs to recover tells us how much lactic acid she produced.  To metabolize that lactic acid, she needs to walk at a pace that does not produce more lactic acid.  And, when she stops breathing hard, she can run another 100 meters.

     You need to time not only how long she takes to run 100 meters, but also the time she takes to stop breathing hard.

     She should focus on her interval-training and waste as little energy as possible with the school workouts.

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0005.  Distance running training:  December 22, 2011

My daughter ran the 100 meter intervals today in the 16 - 16.5 second range and was breathing harder than her previous training sessions.  I would describe it as she was breathing fairly hard at the conclusion of the each repetition.

She "recovered" in about 25-30 seconds, then ran the next repetition.

I would explain the "recovery" as she was able to carry on a conversation, but had not recovered to normal breathing before repeating.

Please let me know if this sounds about right.


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     That sounds perfect.

     If it were not for the required running that your daughter's track coach requires, then we could design a far more effective running program.

     However, even though to complete 8 repetitions of 100 meter runs takes less than 10 minutes, I am still concerned that, when combined with the coach's program, she will exhaust her substrate.

     There is no reason why her distance training program should take more than 30 to 45 minutes every day.

     Therefore, we have to make sure she eats plenty of glucose (carbohydrates) and the appropriate triglycerides (plant fat).

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006.  Distance running training:  December 23, 2011

The goods news is that my daughter eats quite well, all 103 pounds of her, and I will continue to stress the importance of good nutrition with her.

More good news is that she will only be subjected to two school "practices" over the next 10 consecutive days (counting today) due to the holidays.

1.  In those 8 days of no school practices, would it be prudent to augment her 100 meter intervals with anything additional?

Today, she will be performing the intervals, the same as she did yesterday.


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     Do you have a copy of the Fox and Mathews text titled The Physiological Basis of Physical Education and Athletics?

     If you do, then turn to page 613.

     You will read that, the distance running interval-training protocols that they recommend for the first day of training for unconditioned athletes is:

01.  8 and 4 repetitions
02.  110 and 220 yard training distances
03.  16.5 and 0.33 seconds work interval times

     8 repetitions at 16.5 seconds totals 132 seconds
     4 repetitions at 33.0 seconds totals 132 seconds
     Combined, this protocol requires 264 seconds of work

04.  With a 1:3 rest interval, this protocol requires 3 x 264 or 792 seconds of rest.

     Therefore, to complete this protocol, athletes work for 264 seconds and rest for 792 seconds for a total training time of 1056 divided by 60 equals 17.6 minutes.

     For the first day of your daughter's distance running interval-training protocol, I recommend:

01.  8 repetitions
02.  100 meter training distance
03.  A training time determined by the race time she wants or 16.5 seconds 04. a rest period determined by her respiratory recovery time or 33 seconds.

     8 - 100 meter work repetitions at 16.5 seconds totals 132 seconds
     8 - 100 meter rest intervals at 33.0 seconds totals 264 seconds
     Combined, this protocol requires 132 seconds of work and 264 seconds of rest for a total of 396 seconds or 6.6 minutes.

     Because of the excessive non-productive training requirements imposed by her coach, I cannot recommend more interval-training adjustments.

     However, with 8 days without the coach's program, we need to add more 'work' and 'rest' intervals.

     Therefore, on these 8 days, I recommend:

01.  8 - 100 meter work/rest intervals of 16.5 and 33.0 seconds (6.6 minutes)
02.  4 - 200 meter work/rest intervals of 33.0 and 99.0 seconds (8.8 minutes)

     This workout takes 924 seconds or 15.4 minutes.

     To make sure that she is not doing too much too soon, I will need daily reports of how your daughter responds to this training increase.

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0007.  Distance running training:  December 24, 2011

I picked up that text a couple weeks ago.

I did read the information on the rest periods in relation to the time of the intervals.  You then, of course, were good enough to provide more specific information.

Today, daughter ran eight 100 meter intervals between 15.8 and 17 seconds; working to get as close to 16.5 as she could.  It is windy and cold today.

Her rest period was 33 seconds between repetitions.  She was breathing fairly hard after each interval.  The rest period between repetitions 6 and rep 7 was closer to 80 seconds because she changed her shoes from running trainers to track spikes.

She wanted to run a couple intervals wearing the spikes in order to allow her body to begin adjusting to the different shoes.  My daughter is convinced that she is able to perform better in track spikes than she is in shoes without spikes, hence her reasoning to try to get her legs used to them.  She ran rep 7 and 8 wearing her track spikes.

After completing the eight 100 meter intervals today, my daughter ran three 200 meter intervals ranging from 33.5 - 35.5 seconds with 99 seconds of rest between them.

Repetition #1 was in her spikes, repetitions #2 and #3 were in her trainers/non-spiked shoes.

We had to stop her workout after her third 200 interval due to daughter suffering from calf discomfort.

Regarding my daughter's calves:

My daughter began suffering from somewhat chronic calf discomfort during her recent fall cross country season.  Prior to this fall, she had experienced no calf discomfort.

The discomfort began in September when daughter started to train/compete in her cross country shoes which contain spikes.  She had worn spikes in previous seasons with no discomfort at all.  She then wrestled with the calf discomfort the rest of the cross country season.

During this current indoor track season, she has been wearing mostly shoes with no spikes and experiences no calf discomfort.

The two instances this season, including today, in which she switched to spikes, she quickly experiences calf pain.

Common sense tells me that for whatever reason, her calves cannot withstand the stress of her wearing spikes, hence the discomfort.  The shoes with spikes are very light with no heel to speak of.  I imagine no heel and running more on her toes, contributes to the pain.  The discomfort is such that she is forced to run slower.

She would seem to have two choices.  She can either not wear spikes or she can strengthen her calves to the point they no longer hurt while wearing spikes.

1.  If she chooses to try to strengthen her calves, do you suggest any specific training she could do for them?

2.  Is too late to effectively strengthen her calves in order to avoid this discomfort for this track season?


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     You are correct.

     Your daughter's calf problem results from absorbing the landing force with her toes.  Distance runners cannot run on their toes.  Distance runners must minimize their landing force.  Distance runners must land on their heels and roll across the entire length of their feet.

     In addition to eliminating the up and down movement of the center of mass of her body, your daughter needs arch and heel support.

     You may need to individualize her arch and heel supports.

     As well as eliminating the excessive stress on her Achilles Tendon area, you need to eliminate any side-to-side movement of her foot action.

     High-speed film is best.  But, if you focus on her feet when they land, you should be able to see whether her feet land smoothly and move straight forward.

     I needed to reverse my arch supports.  That is, to prevent my feet from rolling over the outside of my feet, especially my left foot, I put my left arch support in my right shoe and my right arch support in my left shoe.

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0008.  Distance running training:  December 25, 2011

My daughter ran her eight 100's in a 16.2 - 17 second range today and her four 200's in a 34.3 - 35.3 range.

She felt good and her breathing recovered well during her prescribed rest periods.

Her warm-up consists of approximately 400 meters in which she walks to a sprint, then back to a walk, which she does about 5 or 6 times and it takes about 2 minutes.

She wore her training shoes today and felt a just little calf discomfort towards the end of the workout, which was likely residual from yesterday and her spikes.

We will get her some foot supports before she runs in her spikes again.  Then, we will start slow to insure they work well for her.

I have access to a high speed video camera.  So, I will be able and videotape my daughter's running and examine her foot strike.


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     The two minute pre-training power walking and jogging speed-ups 'warm-up' program is perfect.

     I assume that she is also walking, but at a recovery pace, during her 'rest interval' and after her last 'work' interval.

     That your daughter felt good and was able to breathe normally before she started her next 'work' interval is great.

     We need to cushion her heel and support her arches.

     I will be very interested in how her feet absorb their landings.

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0009.  Distance running training:  December 26, 2011

Yes, as prescribed, daughter is walking during recovery from the interval repetitions.

She performed the 100 and 200 meter intervals today, as prescribed.

She commented that her current 34-35 second 200s feel about like the 37-38 second 200 meter intervals she was running earlier this indoor season, prior to beginning your suggested training.  She continues to feel good.

The weather here is continuing to allow my daughter to train outdoors uninterrupted.

We are looking into the heel and arc supports today.


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     I am always concerned about trying to do too much too soon.  However, your daughter is responding so well to the increases in her program that I believe that we are still below her appropriate starting level.

     Therefore, I want to gently increase her 'work' interval.

     At present, she is doing 8 - 100 meter runs and 4 - 200 meter runs.

     I want to keep the total of 12 runs, but gradually decrease the number of 100 meter runs and replace them by increasing the number of 200 meter runs.

     Therefore, to start this process, in her next workout, let us see how she responds to doing 7 - 100 meter runs and 5 - 200 meter runs.

     To start the process of minimizing stress on her heels, Achilles tendons and arches, try Scholl's gel pad and/or arch supports.

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0010.  Distance running training:  December 27, 2011

My daughter completed the seven 100s and five 200s today.

Her legs felt more tired and heavy as the sessions progress.  However, she recovered well during the rest period and is able to maintain her speed and form during all the repetitions.

She completed all 5 of her 200s today between 34 and 35 seconds.

My daughter wore Scholl's gel heel pads in each shoe during her entire workout today.

She is back to a school practice tomorrow.  So, we will plan to ratchet back down to just the 100s tomorrow, so she isn't at risk of overtraining.


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     That your daughter's legs felt more tired and heavy as she progressed through her work/rest intervals indicates a blood flow deficit.  That means that we have finally reached her beginning physiological fitness level.

     If she were to continue with the work/rest intervals we have designed, then the involved tissues, namely arterioles and venioles, would make the physiological adjustment that she needs to increase her Anaerobic Threshold.

     That she now has to add the school practice regimen to our work/rest intervals will negatively affect these physiological adjustments.

     Unfortunately, if the coach is not happy with what she is doing, then she might not get the opportunities to compete that she needs.

     Instead of 8 - 100s, I recommend that she complete 7 - 100s and 1 - 200.

     Then, on the next day that she does not have to also complete the school program, I recommend that she complete 6 - 100s and 6 - 200s.

     If she were able to continue with only our work/rest intervals, then, from the pattern that we are following, you can see that we would stay with the 12 work-rest intervals, but increase the distances until, without breathing hard, she is able to complete 8 - 400s and 4 - 800s.

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0011.  Distance running training:  December 28, 2011

I understand the goal of getting to the 8 - 400s and 4 - 800s.

1.  When you write "without breathing hard", does that mean having recovered from breathing hard during her rest interval before beginning the next repetition?

2.  Also, am I correct in the assumption that as she progresses in the training, her intervals should always be at a faster pace then her goal mile time?

3.  Also, providing she is doing well with the training, would you recommend adjusting the intervals by one each training session?

Example:  If there were no school practices, is the below correct?

Tue:  7 - 100s, 5 -200s
Wed:  6 - 100s, 6 - 200s
Thu:  5 - 100s, 7 - 200s
Fri:  4 - 100s, 8 - 200s
And so on

Then:

12 - 200's
11 - 200s, 1 - 400
10 - 200s, 2 - 400s
09 - 200s, 3 - 400s
And so on

Then:

12 - 400's
11 - 400s, 1 - 800s
10 - 400, 2 - 800s
09 - 400s, 3 - 800s
08 - 400s, 4 - 800s


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1.  Yes.

     Before your daughter starts her next 'work' interval, she has to have completely recovered from breathing hard during every 'rest' interval.

2.  No.

     Once we set the pace at which we want your daughter to achieve for the entire race, we maintain that pace in every 'work' interval.

     This means that, for every succeeding season, we set a new pace and train her to achieve it.

3.  No.

     Now that we have established her beginning physiological fitness, we need to carefully adjust each increase in repetitions and distances.

     In general, I prefer to keep athletes at the same number or repetitions and distances for a minimum of four consecutive days.  However, how athletes respond to the increases in distances determines whether we increase the distances again.

4.  No.

     The schedule that you wrote is very aggressive.  The mandatory school practices will prevent us from increasing the distances even if she were able to increase every four days.

     The best that we can do is for you to tell me what training she did every day and how she responded to that training.  With that information, I can recommend whether we stay at our present 6 - 100s and 6 - 200s.

     Were your daughter not required to also do the school practices, the 8 - 400s and 4 - 800s would be her final goal.

     If she were able to increase every four days would take 23 x 04 = 92 days.

     With a 1:3 work/rest ratio, her pace for 400s would be 66 seconds of work and 198 second of rest for a total of 198 per 400 and her pace for 800s would be 132 seconds of work and 396 of rest for a total of 528.

     8 x 198 = 1584 and 4 x 528 = 2112 for a total of 3696/60 = 61.6 minutes.

     Therefore, without the school program, the idealized training program that I would recommend for this year is:

01.  06 - 100s and 06 - 200s for at least four consecutive days
02.  05 - 100s and 07 - 200s for at least four consecutive days
03.  04 - 100s and 08 - 200s for at least four consecutive days
04.  03 - 100s and 09 - 200s for at least four consecutive days
05.  02 - 100s and 10 - 200s for at least four consecutive days
06.  01 - 100s and 11 - 200s for at least four consecutive days
07.  00 - 100s and 12 - 200s for at least four consecutive days
08.  11 - 200s and 01 - 400s for at least four consecutive days
09.  10 - 200s and 02 - 400s for at least four consecutive days
10.  09 - 200s and 03 - 400s for at least four consecutive days
11.  08 - 200s and 04 - 400s for at least four consecutive days
12.  07 - 200s and 05 - 400s for at least four consecutive days
13.  06 - 200s and 06 - 400s for at least four consecutive days
14.  05 - 200s and 07 - 400s for at least four consecutive days
15.  04 - 200s and 08 - 400s for at least four consecutive days
16.  03 - 200s and 09 - 400s for at least four consecutive days
17.  02 - 200s and 10 - 400s for at least four consecutive days
18.  01 - 200s and 11 - 400s for at least four consecutive days
19.  00 - 200s and 12 - 400s for at least four consecutive days
20.  11 - 400s and 01 - 800s for at least four consecutive days
21.  10 - 400s and 02 - 800s for at least four consecutive days
22.  09 - 400s and 03 - 800s for at least four consecutive days
23.  08 - 400s and 04 - 800s for at least four consecutive days

     Then, for next year, after maintaining this training regimen every day between competitions, for her next training cycle, she would start at this finishing program and increase the pace that she wants to achieve.

     However, however, however, how your daughter responds to her training every day determines when she is ready to increase her distances.

     Unfortunately, the school program controls how your daughter trains.

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0012.  Distance running training:  December 29, 2011

Thank you for the clarification to my earlier questions.

I now understand the ideal training program consists of 4 consecutive training days at one interval level before increasing the work load, on how well my daughter adjusts to each level and the reality my daughter faces regarding the school training.

My daughter was feeling a bit lethargic today and it was quite cold.  So, she wanted to remain at the 7 - 100s / 5 - 200s training level, which she completed fine.

She has a school practice tomorrow, so she'll likely move to the 6 - 100s / 6 - 200s on Saturday.

I am still trying to better understand how to properly set her interval pace.

Please correct me if I have misunderstood.  My daughter's current interval pace is based on her current goal of running a 5:20, or better, 1600 meters this indoor season.  My daughter ran a competitive 5:28.25 in a meet on 12/16/11.

Working through this, so I better understand it.

A 5:20 1600 meter time converts to an average 20 second 100 meter and an average 40 second 200 meter.  My daughter has been running approximately 16.5 -17 second 100 meter intervals and 34 - 35 second 200 meter intervals.  Her current interval pace makes sense to me since she is training at a faster pace than her current goal of a 5:20 1600 meters.

1.  Should my daughter remain at this current interval pace throughout her current indoor track season which ends on approximately February 11th?

Her outdoor track season begins in late March and concludes in early June.


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     Physiological systems love routine.  That is, physiological systems work best when eat, sleep, train, compete and so on at the same times every day.

     This means that the physiological systems associated with your daughter's distance running does not like having to accommodate the school program.  Therefore, without the needed regularity, her physiological systems will not make all the physiological adjustments she needs.

     As a result, we have to carefully monitor how she responds to each day's training and adjust the workouts accordingly.

     Your daughter needs to understand what she is trying to do and how interval-training works.  That your daughter listened to her body yesterday is exactly how, every day, she needs to adjust her workout accordingly.

     To determine the pace at which your daughter should train, your daughter ran 4 - 100s.  That she needed only double her 'work' interval time during her 4 'rest' intervals told us that she could train that that pace.

     Once she sets the pace for the interval-training program, she stays on that pace for the entire season.

     After the season, she runs another 4 - 100s at whatever pace she can do and completely recover during her 4 'rest' intervals.  Then, as this new faster pace, she follows the same interval-training program again.

     Hopefully, the next time she will not have to accommodate a 'school program.'

     If your daughter is able to increase her 'work' interval every four days, then she needs approximately 3 months days in which to complete this program.  Then, to maintain her fitness between meets, she does the same 1 hour training program every day.

     That 1 hour of training, like the 1 hour I spent every day completing my baseball pitching interval-training program for almost thirty years, will be her time to be with only herself where she can serenely take her thoughts wherever she wants.  She will be peacefully free to be at one with herself to day by day plan her life.

     Hopefully, like me, although slowing the pace as her body tells her to do, she will spend this hour with herself every day forever listening to her body and herself.

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0013.  Distance running training:  December 30, 2011

As you can imagine, there certainly won't be much routine with the school practices.  Today, they played dodgeball, jumped rope and ran about 2 miles on the road.  However, she enjoyed it.

After practice, my daughter went over to the track with 2 teammates and completed 6 interval 100s and 1 200.

She said she stayed within the prescribed pace and rest periods and felt good.  She said she could still do some 200's later in the day, but I suggested she had done enough.  So, she won't do any further training today.

No school practice this Saturday or Sunday, so my daughter will plan to conduct 6 / 6 both days.

Question:

1.  High temperatures in the 20s are forecast for next week.  Provided a runner is properly clothed and warmed up, is there any danger in training in those temperatures?

Side note:  The fastest high school girl's 1600 meter time so far this season in our state is 4:57.


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     Playing dodge ball, jumping rope and a two mile road run do sound like fun. However, these non-specific training activities will not increase your daughter's anaerobic threshold.

     However, 6 - 100s and 1 - 200 with 5 - 200s later will also not get the results your daughter needs.  Unless your daughter is sick or physiologically unable to complete the program, her interval-training regimen for yesterday was 6 - 100s and 6 - 200s.

     Breathing in extremely cold air can damage the aveoli of the lungs.  However, 20 degree temperatures are well above that level.  Nevertheless, to breathe air warmed by her body, your daughter could cover her nose with the front of her T-shirt.

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0014.  Distance running training:  December 31, 2011

My daughter ran 6 - 100 and 6 - 200 meter intervals today and did well.

She was feeling quite fatigued towards the end of the training session, but she maintained her form very well through each repetition.  She will plan to do the same workout tomorrow.

Thanks for the information on breathing in extreme cold temperatures.


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     You wrote that your daughter ran 6 - 100s and 6 - 200s and did well.  I assume that means that she recovered her breathe within her 'rest' intervals.

     Then, you wrote that your daughter felt quite fatigued toward the end of the training session.

01.  Does that mean that she recovered her breathe, but she did not maintain her energy level through the end of the training session?

     If so, then you and she need to examine her sleep/wake cycle, her nutrition, the time of day that she trains, her monthly cycle and any other factor that would affect her energy level.

     Tomorrow marks two weeks that you have sent me daily reports.

     Therefore, after you answer my energy question later today, unless something unusual happens with your daughter's training, weekly reports are fine.

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0015.  Distance running training:  January 01, 2012

My daughter's breathing recovers well during her rest periods in between the interval repetitions.

I believe the fatigue (heavy legs and some muscle burning) during her workouts is nothing more than a normal reaction associated with an effective training session.

She is definitely working hard during these sessions, which I would think is imperative in order to make the physiological advancements she desires.

My daughter ran the 6 - 100s and 6 - 200s today and it went well.  Back to the school practices tomorrow.

Thank you again for the help with getting her set up with a proper interval training program and I will plan to check in once week with her progress.

In regards to the suggested training the day before she competes in a meet:

1.  Do I understand it properly that she should do 50% of her regular interval reps and at a 75% intensity?

At her current level, that would be 3 - 100s and 3 - 200s, at approximately 75% of her normal training intensity.


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     That your daughter recovers well with during her 'rest' intervals means that she is not doing too much too soon.  That and her discomfort reports are essential for keeping the stress of her 'work' intervals at their proper levels.

     Yes.  On the day before competitions, athletes need to do maintenance workouts.  To maintain their fitness, athletes only need to do one-half of their 'work/rest' intervals.

     However, distance runners have to maintain their pace.

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0016.  Happy New Year Q/A Critique

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1523.  Rangers win rights to Darvish with record bid

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You wrote, "Still, if the Rangers sign Mr. Darvish, then the Japanese team gets $51.7 million dollars."

They're all nuts.

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1525.  Corpas signs one-year deal with Cubs

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You wrote: "With a simple adjustment, professional baseball could eliminate this injury."

You would think that every professional pitching coach would learn the few adjustments necessary to eliminate pitching injuries.  They would look like geniuses to their organizations.  If they did, would major league pitchers take their advice?  Or just ignore them?

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1532.  Pitching Mechanics

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You wrote: "If you and/or Tyler want and are able, I will gladly spend a day or so evaluating your force application technique and pitches here in beautiful Zephyrhills, FL. We have bedrooms that you and/or he could use."

Does he know Tyler?  It wasn't clear from his email.  At what level does he pitch?  More details would have added interest.  As a full grown man, is it surprising that he has little training discomfort from his limited reps and weights?

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

     I don't know whether Mr. Matzek also trains at the new facility at which Lon works.

     I know he name, but nothing else.  I could do some research, but, since I would never disclose who he is, I see no reason to do so.

     I am not sure what Lon has this young man doing.  Hopefully, he is learning the drills with which I teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     Nevertheless, I believe that this young man was referring to throwing baseballs.  That he is surprised that he cannot make his pitching arm sore means that his former pitching arm action made his pitching arm sore.

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1533.  Successful young closers becoming trend

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You wrote:

"01. All baseball pitchers have to know what pitch sequences they used for every At Bat against every batter to whom they pitched.

02.  They need to study the successful and unsuccessful results.

03.  They have to watch the opponents batting practices.

04.  They have to understand what each of the four types of baseball batters can and cannot hit.

05.  They have to master the wide variety of high-quality pitches that they need to succeed.

Otherwise, for the rest of their careers, they will wish that they were rookie baseball pitchers and it is again the first time that baseball batters batted against them."

I enjoyed the way you broke this down.  Very readable and concise.  And obviously, good advice.

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1534.  Twins ink veteran Marquis to one-year deal

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You wrote: "My Maxline Pronation Curve is just what he needs."

Using the off-season to learn a new skill?  Sounds like a good idea.

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1535.  Red Sox announce 2012 coaching staff

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You wrote: "But, maybe he can keep the pitching staff in the dugout for every inning of every game."

I always get a kick out of your 'closer look' at what someone says.  He said nothing.  I used to read these kinds of quotes and write it off as some type of metaphysical concept that only a professional baseball person could understand.  Now, through you, I know they know about as much as I do.

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

     That is insulting ..... to you.

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1539.  Joba Chamberlain hopeful he can open 2012 with Yankees after Tommy John surgery

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You wrote: "I assume that, if Dr. Andrew's crack rehabilitation staff knows why Mr. Chamberlain ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, they would have told him.

How can Dr. Andrew's crack rehabilitate Mr. Chamberlain when they do not know what caused Mr. Chamberlain to rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament?

Do they not understand that, if Mr. Chamberlain continues to do what ruptured his born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligament, then he will also rupture his replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament?"

This was an absolute b-slap.  Fun stuff.  After they regain consciousness, maybe they will give you a call and get set straight.  Not.

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1540.  Yankees, Alex Rodriguez have six painful years left on big contract as injuries mount

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You wrote: "To withstand the physiological stresses of competition, athletes have to complete a properly designed interval-training program every day."

Let's see, the Yankees even allowed A-Rod to opt out and then resigned him for more.  Idiots.  However, baseball seems to be full of people who think they can bet against the laws of physics and Father Time.  I predict Pujols will be in the same boat.

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1541.  Wainwright expects to excel

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You wrote: "As Mr. Wainwright again starts tearing the connective tissue fibers in his new tendon and they are not able to repair themselves, Mr. Wainwright's fastball will lose that imagined sharper sink action."

Again, someone who has no idea.

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1542.  Red Sox close deal for Bailey

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You wrote: "Unfortunately, Mr. Bailey has to rely on Dr. Andrew's crack rehabilitator, Mike Reinold, to prevent his injuries.  As the Red Sox disabled list shows, Mr. Reinold's 'Pathomechanics' program for baseball pitchers does not work."

Injuries are always accidents.  That 'label' relieves responsibility.  It's nobody's fault.  They use ignorance as their defense and they chose to remain ignorant.

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1543.  Yanks, Okajima agree on Minor League deal

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You wrote: "I don't know what the Red Sox have against Mr. Okajima, but the Yankees appear to have found a veteran baseball pitcher that can pitch some important innings for them."

So you think that a personality conflict could impair judgment in professional baseball?  That's blasphemy.

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0017.  Substrate

I would appreciate learning more about substrate.

I just finished re-reading your 'special report' on the 'science of energy expenditure'.

I remember telling you about the coaches warming my sixteen year old son up four times before having him relieve in a game.  You commented that they had used up his substrate.

1.  What are the mechanisms for increasing it?

I know you designed your program with this as a goal.

2.  How long does it take to recover to pre-exercise levels?

3.  Does it recover differently for ballistic vs aerobic/anaerobic activities?

In a probably related question:  You always say that you have to 'throw hard to learn to throw hard'.

4.  Does doing the IB's, then WW's, then BB's help or hurt that goal?

I would imagine that you can throw faster if the BB's are first and so maybe it's best to start with those.

5.  Does the order matter?

I know you did the IB's in the morning, the throws during the day and the WW's at night prior to going to bed.


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     All muscle cells store substrate.  Substrate is to muscle contraction as gasoline is to car engines.  That is, to contract their myofibrils, muscle cells metabolize substrate.

     Fast-twitch glycolytic muscle cells metabolize glycogen.  Glucose molecules combine to form glycogen.  Athletes eat glucose (carbohydrates).

     Slow-twitch oxidative muscle cells metabolize glycogen and triglycerides.  Triglycerides molecules are fat. Athletes eat fat, preferably plant fat.

     I got a headache from reading my 'special report' on the 'science of energy expenditure'.  To write that report, I had to go into the special pure science center of my brain.  As soon as I finished writing that report, I forgot what I wrote.

     While athletes rest and/or sleep, their Liver releases glycogen into their circulatory system and their muscle cells fill their glycogen tank.  This is when athletes fill their muscle cell glycogen tank.  When athletes metabolize all the glycogen in their glycogen tank, they cannot metabolize glycogen for muscle contraction.

     To have baseball pitchers repeatedly prepare to competitively pitch exhausts the glycogen in their glycogen tank.

01.  To increase the amount of glycogen in their glycogen tank, athletes do exercises that require more glycogen.

02.  For athletes to recover to pre-exercise levels of glycogen, they have to eat glucose, store that glucose in the Liver and allow time for their Liver to release glycogen into their circulatory system with which muscle fill their glycogen tanks.

03.  Fast-Twitch Glycolytic muscle cells metabolize only glycogen.  To do anaerobic activities, athletes primarily use Fast-Twitch Glycolytic muscle cells.

     Slow-Twitch Oxidative muscle cells metabolize both glycogen and triglycerides.  However, Slow-Twitch Oxidative muscle cells only metabolize glycogen for the first minute to four minutes depending on the efficiency of their oxygen uptake.

     I designed my 'Recoil' cycle interval-training program to increase substrate storage.  When my baseball pitchers perform 96 repetitions of either their wrist weight exercises or iron ball throws for 60 consecutive days, they gradually increase their substrate storage.

     To achieve their genetic maximum release velocity, baseball pitchers have to perfectly perform my baseball pitching motion in highly competitive situations.

     This means that baseball pitchers have to pitch to highly-skilled baseball batters in win or lose competitive situations.

04.  Every day that my baseball pitchers do my training program, they start with my wrist weight exercises, throw their iron balls and throw their baseballs.

     However, every day that my baseball pitchers competitively pitch, they perform one-half of their wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws at decreased intensity and rest for a few hours before their competitively pitch.

    During that rest, their muscles cells refill their glycogen tanks.

05.  Therefore, because baseball pitchers rest for a few hours before they competitively pitch, it does not matter that they threw their iron balls early in the morning and did their wrist weight exercises before they go to bed or any other times.

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0018.  How to evaluate the 4 different types of hitters

1.  Could you provide some insight into how you would attempt to determine an opposing hitter's type by watching batting practice (arm side and glove side hitters that are pull or spray)?

Any information or hints on evaluating an opposing hitter's force application technique to help determine the opposing hitter's type would be very helpful.

Thank you for you for all that you do.


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     In general, the four types of baseball batters have the following traits.

01.  Pitching arm side pull hitters stand close to home plate with an open stance and a more vertical start to their swing.

     With this stance and baseball bat start of their swing position, PASPHs to hit low and inside pitches.  Therefore, baseball pitchers should throw my Torque Fastballs that are outside and my Maxline Fastballs that are high and inside and horizontally moving non-fastballs, which, with this type of batter, means Torque Fastball Slider.

02.  Pitching arm side spray hitters stand away from home plate with a closed stance and a more horizontal start to their swing.

     With this stance and baseball bat start of their swing position, PASSHs to hit high and outside pitches.  Therefore, baseball pitchers should throw my Maxline Fastballs that are inside and my Torque Fastballs that are low and outside and vertically moving non-fastballs, which, with this type of batter, means my Maxline True Screwball and Maxline Pronation Curve.

03.  Glove arm side pull hitters stand close to home plate with an open stance and a more vertical start to their swing.

     With this stance and baseball bat start of their swing position, GASPHs to hit low and inside pitches.  Therefore, baseball pitchers should throw my Maxline Fastballs that are outside and my Torque Fastballs that are high and inside and horizontally moving non-fastballs, which, with this type of batter, means Maxline Fastball Sinker.

04.  Glove arm side spray hitters stand away from home plate with a closed stance and a more horizontal start to their swing.

     With this stance and baseball bat start of their swing position, GASSHs to hit high and outside pitches.  Therefore, baseball pitchers should throw my Torque Fastballs that are inside and my Maxline Fastballs that are low and outside and vertically moving non-fastballs, which, with this type of batter, means my Torque Pronation Curve.

     In Chapter Twenty-Eight: Pitch Sequences for Youth, High School, College and Professional Pitchers of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book that I have on my website for all to read and download without charge, you will find pitch by pitch selections for the first three At Bats for the four types of baseball batters.

     In addition to these resources, I recommend that you record every pitch sequence to every baseball batter to whom you pitch in competitive games.  For those game and individual sheets, you need to go to Chapter Twenty-Three: Data Collection of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book that I have on my website for all to read and download without charge.

     I also recommend that you watch the opposing team batting practice and take notes about where they hit the baseball.

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0019.  Thank you

I would like to thank you for taking time out of your schedule last Thursday, December 29, 2011 to meet with me.

The four things that you gave me to work on helped me out drastically and got me back on the right track again.  I am now more able to powerfully drive the ball in straight lines towards home plate thus allowing me to also pronate all of my pitchers much more powerfully.


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     I am always happy to help baseball pitchers that are trying to perfect my baseball pitching motion.  Please feel free to email me with any questions that you have.

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0020.  This is Ruben Corral reporting from the OC Xtreme Baseball Training Academy in sunny Southern California.

I'm writing to update you on the progress of our Marshall arm-strength program.

Lon Fullmer built a fabulous rebound wall in the facility and pitchers are coming in Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to perform their exercises.  Although we would like them to work everyday, their schoolwork and athletic activities, including baseball practice, keep them from attending workouts more often.

We began the program on October 1 with five 15 year old pitchers, 2 lefties and 3 righties.  Needless to say, the parents were skeptical at first, especially after they researched the internet and found all the closed-minded naysayers that trash your findings and ignore your research.  Luckily, I have a long track-record with these parents, and they acquiesced to my better judgment.

One particular pitcher came into October (and throughout September), with pain in the ulnar region of his throwing elbow.  They had taken the previous 2 months of summer off to "rest" the elbow as their doctor prescribed, but the pain still remained.  After starting the strength program, he no longer to this day feels pain in his pitching arm and has learned the maxline sinker and screwball and is close to nailing the maxline pronation curve.

I will be sending you some videos of their bullpens.  Though they are hybrids, they are now starting to understand vertical forearm through release.

The largest hurdle we've had so far is getting pitchers to understand that the drive comes from the glove leg after foot plant.  All of them have been taught that a longer glove leg stride inhibits their ability to properly rotate their body and apply straight line force towards the plate.

Through video taken of them during their bullpens, and your Jeff Sparks videos on your website, the boys are beginning to understand more and more about timing, rhythm and the release of their pitches.

All of the pitchers have learned the maxline fastball and sinker.  Three of the pitchers have learned the maxline screwball as well, and all of them have enhanced their curveballs tremendously.

Two of the pitchers have experienced training discomfort in the tendon attachment of their Triceps Brachii muscle to the olecranon process of the Ulna bone of their pitching forearms.  They have since been instructed to pay attention to powerfully pronating their releases and have seen no more discomfort in their pitches.

We now have 1 professional pitcher and soon two catchers that will be starting the program to develop strength and proper arm mechanics through their throws.

I look forward to sharing more with you soon.


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     I appreciate that you took the time to tell me how your baseball skills school is doing.

     I understand the misinformation and hard-core baseball coach arrogance obstacles that you have to overcome.

     Nevertheless, take solice in teaching baseball pitchers how to eliminate their pain and experience the joy that baseball pitching should be.

     Back in 1967, I was amazed that my Kinesiological research showed me that almost everything that my baseball pitching coaches taught me was one hundred and eighty degrees the opposite of what they should be teaching.

     Because your baseball pitching trainees have never used their Triceps Brachii muscle to extend their pitching elbow before, they experience discomfort in its olecranon process attachment.

     While using the Triceps Brachii muscle to extend the pitching arm is important, the key to pitching success is pronating the pitching forearm.

     Therefore, having your trainees pay attention to pronating their releases not only takes unnecessary stress off the Triceps Brachii, but it also is the enables them to throw the wide variety of high-quality pitches they will need to succeed.

     I wish you many trainees and them happy pitching.

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0021.  Shoulder Rehabilitation Update

My injured shoulder is coming along slowly.  Most of the aching or discomfort now is the front part of the shoulder when throwing.  I only feel the discomfort when doing the WW exercises.

I am currently doing 15 lb. WW Wrong-Foot Pendulum Swing Throws.  That is the original drill you used to utilize.  I believe you recently changed this to your half-reverse pivot drill or step back pendulum throws.  I don't do those because I don't feel like I perform them correctly.  I know I could learn them if there was a video, but I'm sure that is on your long list of things to do.

To update you on my progress:

am currently up to 36 repetitions of your 15LB WW Wrong-Foot Pendulum Swing Throws.  In a couple days which would be 6 days doing it, I'm going to increase it to 48 repetitions.  I will stay with this progression of increasing 12 reps every 6 days until I get to 96 repetitions.

This maybe a little slow, so I may try increasing 24 repetitions depending how it feels.

Then, I'm going to increase to 20LB WWs and do the same thing until I get to where I left off before my injury.  Once I get there, I will start increasing the IB throws and work up to using the 12 pound Lead ball again.  If you have any suggestions to this plan please critique it.

The discomfort I feel is only when I step forward too soon and my upper-arm is not at driveline height or I fail to lock it with the body.  The pain is a dull, tight pain and sometimes it can get sharp, but nothing that lingers and it radiates down the pectoral and stops just before the armpit.  This leads me to believe I may have strained my subscapularis muscle or attachment.

1.  Do you think, if I partially tore the subscapularis muscle, I would be in more pain?

When I do a windmill motion with my throwing arm I hear two pops right at the top of the humerus bone where I fell on it.  I think there maybe some unstableness still.

2.  Do these types of things tighten back up with time, meaning when you strain ligaments and tendons?


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     I like my Half Reverse Pivot drill.  However, as you said, it is complicated and requires considerable practice and probably a video demonstration with more detailed instruction before my baseball pitchers can use it properly.

     Therefore, until then, my Wrong Foot body action is the better beginning body action with which my baseball pitchers can learn how to drive their pitching arm down their acromial line.

     It sounds as though you are progressing well.

     With the discomfort you are experiencing with your wrist weight exercises; your number of repetitions is great.

     That you feel ready to throw a 12 lb. iron ball is also great.

     The silver lining of your injury is that, to avoid discomfort, you have to perform my baseball pitching motion perfectly.

     If you injured the attachment of your Subscapularis muscle, the discomfort would be on the front of your shoulder near the head of the Humerus bone.

     And, you are correct.  If you injured this attachment, then you would have considerable discomfort and overnight aching.

     I am not concerned with popping sounds.  They indicate swollen hyaline cartilage.  When the swelling subsides, the popping will go away.

     While ligaments do not have the blood flow with which to heal quickly like muscle tears, ligaments do heal their tears.  However, unlike muscles and their tendons, ligaments do not contract.  Therefore, I do not believe that ligaments tighten up.

     However, because muscles and their tendons do contract and because muscles and their tendons overlay all bone to bone ligaments, with regard to moving the bones, whether ligaments tighten up is irrelevant.

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0022.  Incorporating your recommendations into my Marshall pitching motion

After being present during the personal instruction you gave my son last week, I immediately made the same adjustments to my motion that you instructed him to make after we got home.

1.  The brushing the little finger past the pant leg.

2.  Landing on my heel and walking forward up onto my toes.

3.  Raising the elbow higher and closer to my head.

4.  Rotating and driving my pitching arm side past my glove side in an effort to point my acromial line as close to home plate as possible before release.

As I worked on executing these moves properly, I have noticed my release velocity is directly dependent upon how properly I reproduce your motion.

After 6 days of working on it, I believe I am very close to reproducing the motion you prescribe.  I have also found that my velocity has increased to levels above anything I threw at any time during my Roy Hobbs League season last year!

Another interesting by-product of properly executing your motion is the "feel" in how the throwing arm is connected to and interacting with the upper torso is significantly different in a positive way.

The best I can explain is, when I use an arm action that is closer to what we know as "traditional", there is always a feeling that the throwing arm is trailing behind the torso.  It feels like I am dragging the arm, as if the shoulder joint is in a position of weakness or vulnerability.  There is a sense that the shoulder joint is not in a good anatomical position to effectively deliver 100% of the force being applied to it from the upper torso to the humerus.

I hear traditional pitching coaches use the term "velocity leak" when trying to explain delivery flaws.  I don't think they are really aware of what they are saying, because if they were, they would change the shoulder and arm positioning.

On the other hand, I believe I am now, for the first time in the 5 years I have been viewing your website, actually "locking" as you say, my pitching shoulder.  The feeling is as if my shoulder joint is a solidly powerful extension of my upper torso, ready to transfer 100% of any amount of force my body can possibly apply to it.

With this arm and shoulder positioning coupled with greater body rotation that points my acromial line closer to home plate, I have found it is easier to engage my latissimus dorsi to quickly drive my elbow forward faster than I have in years.  Plus, the range of movement on my shoulder throughout the entire force application phase feels comfortable and natural.

I do not have any feeling of hyper-extension or weakness in my shoulder area like I have felt during "traditional" throwing mechanics.  My arm has never felt better.

We arrived home late last Friday night.  I started diligently working on mastering your motion the very next day.  I have thrown 60 game intensity pitches every day from Saturday through Tuesday, then 100 game intensity pitches Wednesday with increases in velocity as I get the hang of it.

I have no pain or discomfort in either my elbow or shoulder joints.  I have some muscle stiffness and slight discomfort in forearm flexors and pronator teres, triceps brachii, latissimus dorsi.  But, those discomforts are subsiding quickly.

So, in the last 5 days, I have thrown at least 340 game intensity pitches and I am ready to throw again tonight.  I would have never thought it was possible.

I threw my 100 pitches last night at a facility of a gentleman who is the father of a major league pitcher.  He and his son were there last night.  We are starting to get acquainted.  It will be interesting to see if our relationship can progress to the point that we can visit further about your program.

I told my personal story to the father, so he knows that I partially ruptured my UCL, damaged the hyaline cartilage in my elbow, plus had labrum issues and tore my teres minor, all back when I was in college.  I told him I have been following your program.

Then, he saw me, at age 52, throwing as hard as the high school pitchers that were there last night, and do it for 25 minutes at 4 pitches per minute.


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     It is always a pleasure when my baseball pitchers do not compromise my baseball pitching motion with the doubts and fear of retribution that 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches put in their head.

     You are another example of why my over-40 guys continue to get better and better and throw harder and harder.

     Is it not interesting that you can so dramatically improve your technique, release velocity and stamina and your son is still compromising my baseball pitching motion as a result of the rantings of his Junior College baseball coach?

     Imagine, with his exceptional gifts, if, as you have done, he were to give himself permission to perform my baseball pitching motion exactly how I teach it.  He would become a Monster baseball pitcher.

     Your description of 'locking' the pitching upper arm with the body is better than anything that I have written.

     I also like the description, 'velocity leak.'  That is exactly what happens to 'traditional' baseball pitchers when the inertial mass of their pitching arm causes their pitching upper arm to plioanglosly move behind their acromial line.

     That is why baseball pitchers that do not engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle will not only never achieve their genetic maximum release velocity, but, as you did in college, will lengthen the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments on the front of their pitching shoulder and injure their Teres Minor muscle.

     As you correctly wrote, only by engaging their Latissimus Dorsi muscle can baseball pitcher transfer 100% of the rotational force that they generate toward home plate to their pitching arm before their powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, extend their pitching elbow and pronate their pitching forearm.

     Does not it feel tremendous, as it did with me, every day during my 1974 major league season, to throw as hard as you can every day without any discomfort?

     That feeling is the result of eliminating all unnecessary stress.

     This means that, when those naysayers, that destroy their baseball pitchers, say that my baseball pitchers may not injure themselves, but they cannot throw as hard as they can, do not understand that eliminating unnecessary stress that causes injuries increases release velocity.

     At least until they suffer the injuries that the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion causes, 'traditional' baseball pitchers throw harder than the baseball pitchers that I train because they have higher percentages of fast-twitch muscle fibers that enable them to move their bones faster.

     If these high fast-twitch muscle fiber percentages baseball pitchers were to master my baseball pitching motion, they would dramatically increase those high release velocities that they achieve before their downward spiral to oblivion begins.

     Congratulations.  Keep up the good work.

     I love it when my baseball pitchers understand enough of what I teach that they can take my simple recommendations, such as brush the pitching arm side of your pants with the little finger of your pitching hand, and make dramatic improvements in release velocity and quality of their pitches.

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0023.  Orioles expected to hire Rick Peterson, Chris Correnti
Baltimore Sun
January 02, 2012

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has been focused on pitching since he took over the club in November, and he’s also been doing things slightly differently than in the past.

Looks like both trends are continuing.

This week, Duquette is expected to finalize two interesting hires; Rick Peterson and Chris Correnti, men Duquette has worked with in the past who have been lauded for their use of pitching biomechanics.  Neither hire is official, and therefore has not been announced by the club.

Peterson, 57, is a renowned former big league pitching coach (Oakland A’s, New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers) who has been nicknamed, “The Professor,” for his merging of psychological philosophies with biomechanical research and findings.

He has interviewed twice with the Orioles this off-season, including meeting once with manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair.  Peterson would technically fill the Orioles’ vacant minor league pitching coordinator position, though it likely will be re-titled and include additional responsibilities.

Specifics of the job are still being worked out.  But Peterson, who was fired by the Brewers last off-season when there was a managerial change, is expected to agree to a deal within the next few days with the Orioles, the team that drafted him out of a Pennsylvania high school in the early 1970s (he did not sign, and eventually pitched in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization).

Also expected to agree to a yet-to-be-named position is Correnti, who spent more than a decade with the Boston Red Sox, much of it under Duquette, as an assistant athletic trainer and rehabilitation coordinator.

Correnti, 45, likely will assume similar responsibilities with the Orioles, working primarily with pitchers and their mechanics in an attempt to maintain health and build strength.  Specifics of Correnti’s role have not been finalized but it is expected he will work in concert with the club’s current athletic trainers, Richie Bancells and Brian Ebel, and strength and conditioning coach Joe Hogarty.

Correnti joined the Boston Red Sox organization in 1994 and worked with them through 2005, receiving credit for implementing a workout program that was praised by pitchers such as Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling.

A certified athletic trainer and strength coach, Correnti worked specifically as Martinez’s personal trainer in 2006 and then joined the Mets, at Martinez’s urging, in 2007.  He was let go after the 2010 season by the Mets as part of their financial downsizing.  Last year, he assisted several big league pitchers, but was not associated with a team.

Correnti and Peterson worked together with the Mets.  They also both were with the Red Sox organization in 1995 when Duquette was general manager.  MASNsports.com first reported that Peterson interviewed with the Orioles.


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     Wow.  I have never read so much misinformation in one article.

     The article said, "Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has been focused on pitching since he took over the club in November, and he’s also been doing things slightly differently than in the past."

     While Mr. Duquette is looking in the wrong places, Mr. Duquette may be focusing on pitching.  However, he is not doing things slightly different than he did in the past.

     That Mr. Duquette plans to hire Rick Peterson and Chris Correnti again means that he is doing things exactly as he did in the past.

     The article said, "Peterson, 57, is a renowned former big league pitching coach (Oakland A’s, New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers) who has been nicknamed, “The Professor,” for his merging of psychological philosophies with biomechanical research and findings."

     Rick Peterson is a renowned big league pitching coach.  Nonsense.  Mr. Peterson destroys baseball pitchers.

     Somebody nicknamed Mr. Peterson, 'The Professor.'  Nonsense.  Mr. Peterson cannot teach the baseball pitching motion to anybody.  Using buzz words does not make someone a professor.  Give me fifteen minutes of asking Mr. Peterson questions.

     The article said, "Correnti, 45, likely will assume similar responsibilities with the Orioles, working primarily with pitchers and their mechanics in an attempt to maintain health and build strength."

     Mr. Correnti will work with pitching mechanics.  Mr. Correnti does not understand 'Specificity' of training.  That means that he does not know how to rehabilitate injuries.  He certainly does not know how to teach a safe baseball pitching motion.

     The article said, "... Peterson, who was fired by the Brewers last off-season when there was a managerial change ..."

     Mr. Peterson was supposed to work with the team orthopedic surgeon with the mobile 'biomechanics' lab to improve their baseball pitchers mechanics and eliminate pitching injuries.  That several Brewer pitchers suffered injuries and surgeries is why the Brewers fired Mr. Peterson, not a change in manager.

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0024.  Red Sox sign Carlos Silva to minor-league deal
CBS Sports.com
January 03, 2012

After spending 2011 in the Yankees' farm system, former Mariners and Cubs right-hander Carlos Silva has signed a minor-league deal with the Red Sox, the team announced on Tuesday.

Silva was one of 12 players signed to minor-league contracts.  The team also signed eight other pitchers, including Rich Hill, who pitched with the Red Sox last year.

Silva is really the only reason we're writing this, despite my love of knuckleballers like Haeger, as Silva's had success in the past and the Red Sox are hoping to get lucky with him, kind of like the Yankees did with Freddie Garcia and Bartolo Colon.  Silva, 32, went 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA at Double-A and Triple-A with the Yankees last season after being released by the Cubs.

Chicago had acquired him in a swap of bad contracts after the 2009 season, sending Milton Bradley to Seattle.  He had a nice bounce-back season in 2010, going 10-6 with a 4.22 ERA, but had a disastrous spring training and was released at the end of March.

Hill, 31, had Tommy John surgery in June after nine scoreless outings out of the bullpen for the Red Sox in 2011.  The left-hander pitched for the Red Sox in 2010, as well.  His best season came in 2007, when he went 11-7 with a 3.92 ERA for the Cubs.


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     In my Special Reports file, under 'Surgery Makes Pitching Injuries Worse,' I include a report published in the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine that:

01.  "A key finding of the study was that players returning after elbow surgery were more likely to comeback to the same or higher playing level than those who had shoulder surgery.  Thirty-five of the players were pitchers with 43 percent returning to the same or higher playing level."

     This means that 'Tommy John surgery' does not enable all baseball pitchers that ruptured their Ulnar Collateral Ligament are better than they were when they had an uninjured Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Therefore, it is not only ridiculous for youth baseball pitchers to have their uninjured Ulnar Collateral Ligaments replaced, 43% of those that ruptured their Ulnar Collateral Ligaments and had them replaces do not return to their previous performance levels.

     Therefore, the Red Sox have a 43% of recouping the money that they are giving Mr. Hill an invitation to spring training.

     However, were the Red Sox to teach Mr. Hill how to pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, then they would increase the percentage of Mr. Hill returning to his previous performance level increases dramatically.

02.  "The researchers found that overall, only 20 of the 44 players (45 percent) returned to the same or higher level of professional baseball.  For ballplayers at the major league, AAA, or AA level, the study found only 4 of 22 (18 percent) were able to return to the same or higher level."

     This means that only 18% of all surgically-repaired professional baseball pitchers return to previous performance levels.  Considering that 43% of the baseball pitchers with surgically-repaired elbow, this means that a very, very low percentage of baseball pitchers with surgically-repaired pitching shoulders return to previous performance levels.

     However, if baseball pitchers with surgically-repaired pitching shoulders were to learn how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, then their ability to return to the same of higher performance levels would also dramatically increase.

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0025.  Liriano makes Dominican winter ball debut
MLB.com
January 04, 2012

After initially being told to remain idle for the off-season, Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano was permitted to participate in winter ball and made his debut on Wednesday night.

Liriano started and pitched 1 2/3 innings for the Escogido club in the Dominican Republic.  The southpaw gave up one earned run on two hits and one walk while striking out a pair.  He was slated to pitch two innings against Licey.

The last time Liriano pitched in the Dominican was 2010, as Minnesota did not allow him to pitch last winter.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Twins general manager Terry Ryan wanted to limit Liriano's innings total and not let him pitch again this winter.

Ryan yielded on his initial stance under the condition that Liriano be limited to 20 innings over the rest of the Dominican season.

"He'll probably go three [innings] the next outing," Ryan told the Star Tribune.  "He knows that we don't want him to go more than 20, and their season's coming to an end here.  We're trying to get him ready for Spring Training."

Liriano, 28, took a step back last season for the Twins, posting a 9-10 record and 5.09 ERA in 26 games, including 24 starts.  He walked 75 and struck out 112 in 134 1/3 innings.


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     The article said, "Liriano, 28, took a step back last season for the Twins, posting a 9-10 record and 5.09 ERA in 26 games, including 24 starts.  He walked 75 and struck out 112 in 134 1/3 innings."

     This means that Mr. Liriano is tearing the connective fibers in the tendon that the orthopedic surgeon used to replace his ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Unless Mr. Liriano learns how to pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, Mr. Liriano will rupture the tendon that the orthopedic surgeon used to replace his ruptured born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Minnesota Twins general manager, Terry Ryan said, "He'll (Francisco Liriano) probably go three [innings] the next outing,  "He knows that we don't want him to go more than 20, and their season's coming to an end here.  We're trying to get him ready for Spring Training."

     After they complete all my 'Recoil' interval-training cycles, with my baseball pitchers, the best way for them to get ready for spring training is to continue to pitch during the off-season as they pitched during the season.

     The major reason why the strength and skills of major league baseball pitchers deteriorate is because of not continuing to do every day during the off-season what they did every day during the season.

     Physiological systems thrive on daily routine.  Altering daily routines weaken physiological systems.

     Were I a major league general manager, I would stock some winter league team with all my properly-prepared major league and minor league baseball pitchers and have them pitch exactly how they pitched during the season.

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0026.  Incorporating your recommendations into my Marshall pitching motion

Thank you Doc.

My son doesn't go back to college for another week, and every day he and I discuss and train with your program together.  He is building up a silent resolve to use your motion without compromise.

He knows it will not be easy.  But, he also knows that as he comes closer to perfecting your full motion, he finds velocity he didn't know he had.  Plus, he says that his hand and fingers are in a better position to drive through all the pitches he throws.

Deep down inside he is convinced of the validity of your program.  He knows he will have to have an armor-plated will to resist the "traditional" world when he gets back to his Junior College.  That will be up to him.

As for me, you ask me how it feels to throw every day without pain.

It feels so good it doesn't seem real!  I have found velocity I didn't think I could ever produce again.  I can't wait to throw every day.

There were high schoolers throwing in the cages beside me and no one was throwing harder than me.  I will be 53 this year and I have no doubt I was throwing between 75 and 80.  I had gotten really slack on my wrist weights and iron balls, but now I am getting serious about them again.

I know you have a 40 something fellow throwing 90+ now.  Perhaps, soon I will be the 50 something fellow throwing 80+.  I am fairly sure it's attainable.

Has he given you permission to share his email address?

I would like to correspond with him.

When I was in college, I could hit 94 mph occasionally.  After all the arm problems I listed in my previous email occurred, I couldn't throw a baseball across my living room.

If I had used your program back in 1980, I would have had high 90's stuff with incredible breaking pitches and NO pain.  Of course, back then, you were the only guy using your methods.

I think that's why today, us older guys have absolutely no reservations about using your full motion.  There are a few key reasons why:

1.  It's pain free
2.  It more powerful and I can throw harder
3.  I'm not concerned about any possible ridicule because of points 1. and 2.
4.  Every teammate my age has throwing pain and is much more receptive and accepting.

That's it.  You should offer a throwing seminar to the Roy Hobbs League.


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     I sympathesize with your son.

     The ignorance and delusional arrogance of the 'traditional' baseball pitching coach bullies know no bound.  They never accept the responsibility for their actions.  They destroy baseball pitchers and blame the pitchers.

     When, after my 1967 season, I changed from the 'traditional' sinker/slider to a Maxline Fastball, Maxline Fastball Sinker, Maxline True Screwball and Torque Fastball Slider baseball pitcher, the Tigers farm director told me that I could not throw screwballs to right-handed batters and they would never use me to pitch to left-handed batters.

     That was his idea.  I had a different dream.  It took me seven years, but, when, in 1974, I earned the Cy Young Award, as a major league baseball pitcher, I became more than I ever thought I could be.

     Your son needs to set his dreams higher than he ever thought he could be.

     If, unlike I did, he masters the wide variety of high-quality pitches that I teach today and gets batters out and finds a four year college with coaches that care more about their players than themselves, the he has a chance to be more than he ever thought he could be.

     Reading your story made my heart ache.  The 'traditional' baseball pitching motion robbed you of the joy of baseball pitching that you should have experienced.

     In college, you threw 94 mph.  As you said, if you had used my baseball pitching motion, you would have thrown as much as 10 mph faster and done so every day without discomfort.

     With what you can do today, you would have been what I call, a Monster baseball pitcher.  You could have demanded to start twice a week and pitch three times through the line-up.  As a result, you would have started 50+ major league games every year for 20 years.  You would have averaged 25+ wins a year.  And, at 53 years old, you would still be able to pitch in the Roy Hobbs League.

     How do you like that dream?

     I don't know who runs the Roy Hobbs League, but if they would like me to give a baseball pitching seminar and you would help me demonstrate my training regimen, then I would be happy to do so.

     With regard to the 40+ baseball pitcher that throws in the 90s:  I will send him your email and he can decide whether to correspond with you.

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0027.  Hitting

You always say to 'make it your own,' so here's what we're doing lately to make your hitting technique ours.

I tell my sixteen and twelve year old sons to shift their weight and pretend to stride but then not to.

Like you, they kind of reposition the front foot a little and shift weight onto it to hit.  The technique is working well.  They are dynamically shifting weight without striding.

I hope my explanation is clear.  I can only say that I believe you would be happy with their Wrong Foot body action foot work.

In terms of the swing, I have them position the top hand and bat as you advocate (able to touch the ear with the top hand thumb, with the elbows down and relaxed and the bat essentially level).  But, I have them only rest the bottom hand, with a flat palm, on top of the bat.

I have them grab the bat with their bottom hand only when they force-couple and then immediately let it go.  I also hope this description is clear.

As I wrote before, in our batting cage, from 15 feet, from behind an L-screen, I stand and throw tennis balls at about 25 miles per hour.

Today, my twelve year old was on fire.  I could not get a tennis ball by him even throwing my controlled hardest which, I estimate at about 35 mph.

He was using the flat-palmed bottom hand technique.  I believe that this technique helps to ensure rear arm drive and the accompanying straight drive line.  And, as we know, your rear arm drive swing is so incredibly efficient and effective.

I explained to him and he completely understood, I think for the first time, that whatever time he needs to 'stride' is that much less time he has to judge and react to a pitch.

I asked him to think about batters on TV who get badly fooled.

He understood that, when they stride, they have to start their swings early enough to get their stride foot on the ground before they can start their swing.  Then, if the pitch is an off-speed pitch, their body momentum is gone.  With your body action, batters never lose their body momentum.

Anyway, they are doing great.  They hit lots of line drives and have fun.  They are looking forward to March when their teams will start to practice.

My sixteen year old is throwing really well and working hard.

As always, thanks a million for all your help.


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     Everything that you are teaching your sons about my baseball batting technique sounds good.

     You are the King and innovator of my new front arm only drill.  You gave me the key that unlocked the power of the rotation of the body through contact.

     Maybe in a year or two, your boys will be sufficiently skilled that we can take video and high-speed film and show what real baseball batting can be.

    When we do, only my baseball pitchers will have a chance to get these batters out.

     At present, I believe that baseball batters get themselves out far more than baseball pitchers get them out.  The weak quality of pitches that major league baseball pitchers throw with which they get batters out verifies my belief.

     Wouldn't it be interesting to watch baseball batters that do not have to correctly anticipate what pitches that baseball pitchers are going to throw to hit all pitches hard?

     Keep up the good work.

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0028. Red Sox RHP Jenks has second spinal procedure
Associated Press
January 05, 2012

BOSTON, MA:  Boston Red Sox reliever Bobby Jenks has undergone a second spinal decompression procedure that could delay the start of his spring training.

Jenks, 30, is in the second year of a two-year, $20-million contract.  He appeared in just 19 games last season with lingering back pain.

The procedure was first reported by the Boston Globe, which said the normal recovery time is eight weeks. Spring training begins for pitchers and catchers on February 19, 2012.


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     Every orthopedic surgeon tells their back pain patients to bend their legs, not their backs when they lift heavy objects.

     However, the orthopedic surgeons that work for major league baseball teams do not say a word about baseball pitchers bend their back with every pitch that they throw.

     Instead, they believe that, when baseball pitchers stride 90% of their standing height or more, they increase their release velocity.

01.  Striding 90% of their standing height or more violates Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion, the Law of Reaction, which says: Every action force has an equal and oppositely-directed reaction force.

     This means that, when baseball pitchers stride 90% of their standing height or more, when their stride foot lands, it applies force toward home plate.

     With their pitching arm, baseball pitchers apply force to the baseball toward home plate.  That is the 'Action Force' of baseball pitching.

     To apply the 'Reaction Force,' baseball pitchers have their non-pitching arm, their pitching arm side leg and their glove arm side leg.  To maximize release velocity, these extremities must apply as much force as they can toward second base.

     Therefore, when baseball pitchers use their glove arm side leg to apply force toward home plate, they decrease their 'Reaction Force.'

     As a result, these baseball pitchers cannot achieve their genetic release velocity.

02.  Striding 90% of their standing height or more forces these baseball pitchers to bend forward at their waist.

     Repeatedly, powerfully bending forward at their waist destroys the L5-S1 intervertebral disk.

     That is the cause of the second spinal compression surgery that Mr. Jenks recently had.  Mr. Jenks will never be the baseball pitcher he could have been.  And, Mr. Jenks will suffer back pain every day for the rest of his life.  And, Mr. Jenks will need someone to help him tie his shoelaces.

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0029.  Gaudin says he has minor-league deal with Marlins
CBSSports.com
January 05, 2012

Pitcher Chad Gaudin says he has reached agreement on a minor-league deal with the Miami Marlins and received an invitation to spring training.

The 28-year-old Gaudin said in an email Wednesday to the Associated Press that he is joining the Marlins for the 2012 season.  The well-traveled right-hander, who joins his eighth team entering his 10th season, went 1-1 with a 6.48 ERA in 10 outings and only 8 1/3 innings in an injury-shortened 2011 season.

The Nationals released Gaudin on July 21, two days after he came off the disabled list and was designated for assignment.

Gaudin missed 75 games after being placed on the DL in April with right shoulder inflammation.


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     Isn't the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion wonderful?

     All the delusional, sadistic, bully 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches love it.

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0030.  D-Backs open to adding depth to end of rotation
MLB.com
January 05, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ:  With Spring Training a little more than a month away, D-backs general manager Kevin Towers is still open to adding another starting pitcher to his staff.

Right now, the Arizona rotation consists of Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Trevor Cahill and Josh Collmenter, with the fifth spot to come from a group of young pitchers within the system.

Ideally, though, the D-backs would like to add a veteran arm as insurance in case one of the younger pitchers is not ready to fill the fifth spot.  Arizona had hopes of signing right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, and the club made a significant offer to the right-hander.

Kuroda, however, took his time making a decision, and the D-backs elected to use the money instead to improve the lineup, signing free-agent outfielder Jason Kubel.

While the D-backs would seem to be pretty close to their payroll limit for this season, ownership in recent years has shown a willingness to spend extra money on a player who is considered to be a difference maker.

With Cahill in the fold and the team's desire to not block its young pitchers by signing a veteran free agent to a long-term deal, any addition now will likely be a modest one.

"We're kind of just bottom-fishing, trying to buy low and hopefully catch lightening in a bottle on a guy that's maybe coming off a bad year or somebody that's left out there with no real job that sees an opportunity," Towers said.

"We're not very close on anything. We've touched base on a few free agents and told them if they want to compete with [the young pitchers], great."


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     I'm not a fisherman, but I don't think that bottom fish are considered better fish than not-bottom fish.

     With that attitude, I can understand why Mr. Kuroda took his time making his decision.

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0031.  Rays ink veteran Rodney to one-year deal
MLB.com
January 05, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG, FL:  The Rays bolstered the back end of their bullpen Wednesday by signing veteran reliever Fernando Rodney.

Rodney signed a one-year, $1.75 million deal, and the Rays hold a $2.5 million option for 2013, with a $250,000 buyout.

The 5-foot-11, 220-pound right-hander will join incumbent closer Kyle Farnsworth and Joel Peralta to give Tampa Bay several formidable options at the end of the game.

"The manager, Joe Maddon, allows the players to be themselves and play well, and all the players play hard for Maddon and I'm very excited to be playing for the ballclub," Rodney said through a translator on a conference call.  "And that motivated me to sign with Tampa Bay."

Rodney, 34, went 3-5 with a 4.50 ERA in 39 appearances for the Angels in 2011. He is 22-38 with a 4.29 ERA and 87 saves in a nine-year Major League career.

"Fernando's pure stuff is top-notch and can beat hitters both in and out of the strike zone," said Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.  "We feel he will be able to maximize his ability with us to further strengthen our bullpen."

Building their bullpen from the back end is hardly a new philosophy for the Rays.  Veteran closer Troy Percival was brought in prior to the 2008 season, and Rafael Soriano was acquired prior to the '10 campaign.  In both cases, Tampa Bay emerged as American League East champions.

"Physically and mentally, I am ready for any role that is handed to me," Rodney said.  "Whether it's the sixth, seventh, eighth or ninth inning, it doesn't matter. I'm going in with the attitude that whatever the manager wants me to do, that's what I'm going to do."

Rodney's best season came with the Tigers in 2009, when he posted 37 saves in 38 opportunities over 73 appearances.  That season also earned the Samana, Dominican Republic, native notoriety when he threw a ball from the field into the Tropicana Field press box after he recorded the final out of the game.  That episode cost him a three-game suspension.

Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times is the chairman of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America and had been the one to email MLB detailing the episode afterward.  Prior to Wednesday's conference call, Rodney called Topkin to apologize for what happened, telling him that what he did was a result of his being frustrated.

Rodney, who missed 35 games last year with a strained upper back, has had only 17 saves in the past two seasons for the Angels, the team with which he signed a two-year, $11 million deal following the 2009 season.

Rodney sounded confident about reaching his old form.

"The way I feel physically and mentally at this point, if I'm given the opportunity to go out there and throw the ball the way I have in the past, due to how well prepared I feel physically and mentally, I certainly can go back to those days," Rodney said.  "They just have to give me the ball and allow me to pitch."

Rodney becomes the third off-season addition to the Rays' bullpen.  Earlier this winter, the team acquired right-handers Josh Lueke and Burke Badenhop in trades with Seattle and Miami, respectively.


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     Apparently, Rays executive vice president of baseball operations, Andrew Friedman, did not tell Troy Percival, Rafael Soriano or Fernando Rodney that they were 'bottom fish.'

     But then, after saving a game in a visiting baseball park, a major league pitcher would throw the last baseball into the press box shows lack of emotional control, but some spunk.

     But, with a 22-38 win/loss record and a lifetime 4.29 ERA, to say, "They just have to give me the ball and allow me to pitch," is delusional.

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0032.  Johan three weeks into throwing program
MLB.com
January 05, 2012

NEW YORK, NY:  Mets pitcher Johan Santana is three weeks into his normal off-season throwing program, general manager Sandy Alderson said Thursday, throwing off flat ground on consecutive days from a distance of 75 feet.

Santana is now 16 months removed from the left shoulder surgery that forced him to miss all of last season.

"He's in a normal progression for Spring Training," Alderson said on a conference call Thursday to introduce new relievers Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch.  "We expect to see him in Spring Training, and he should be ready to go at that point."

Though reports toward the end of last summer suggested that Santana was close to regaining his old form and velocity, the true test will be his ability to recover between outings as he settles back into a five-day schedule.

Alderson raised eyebrows last month when he called Santana "a question mark" heading into Spring Training, given the struggles of similar pitchers who have undergone anterior shoulder capsule surgery, most notably Mark Prior and Chien-Ming Wang.

"I didn't want to set off alarms the last time I talked about this, but we are talking about somebody who's coming off a long rehab," Alderson said.  "I think ultimately the questions are going to be answered in Spring Training, not beforehand."

Santana, whom the Mets owe no less than $54.5 million over the next three years, has compiled a 40-25 record and 2.85 ERA in three seasons since joining the club.  He is scheduled to report to Spring Training on or before February 20, the deadline for Mets pitchers and catchers.


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     Maybe, Mets general manager, Sandy Alderson, read the 'Surgery Makes Pitching Injuries Worse' report from the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine that only 18% of baseball pitchers that have surgery on their pitching shoulder return to their previous performance levels.

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0033.  Distance Running Training: January 07, 2012

My daughter's training overall went fine this week.

She is still running the 6-100s and 6-200s since she has to navigate around the school practices.

For example:  Wednesday, the high school coach had the distance girls run 8 - 400s, so my daughter did no further training that day.

She ran the 1600 meters in a meet today and her time was 10 seconds slower than her 1600 meter time in a meet 3 weeks ago.

While there are certainly no doubt numerous potential factors which can effect a runner on any given day, I believe poor pacing negatively impacted her today.

She ran the first 400 meters today at a pace approximately 35 seconds faster (extrapolated over 1600 meters) than her previous best 1600 meter time.

At the 400 meter mark, her calves began to tighten up, thus slowing her down dramatically for the remainder of the race.

She and I have discussed the pitfalls of starting a race too fast, but she still at times has difficulty not doing so.

My thought is that by starting too fast today, her body began producing lactic acid way too early for a 1600 meter race, then she was unable to get back to aerobic.

We have an appointment next week to have my daughter's running filmed with a high-speed camera so we can better evaluate her foot strike to see if we can get to the bottom of her calf discomfort.


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     At what pace did your daughter run those 8 - 400s?

     If you check the schedule that we designed (Q/A #0011of my 2012 Question/Answer file), then you will see we do not have your daughter run even 1 - 400 until a minimum of 32 days into the program.

     She would not do 8 - 400s until a minimum of 60 days into our interval-training program.

     That the high school coach had the distance girls run 8 - 400s three days before a meet when they had not trained the minimum of 60 at that distance put these girls into a training regression.  This sudden increase in training intensity was way too much too soon.

     That daughter's calves (Gastrocnemius, Soleus and Plantaris muscles) began to tighten up shows that these muscles had not make the physiological adjustment to running 8 - 400s.

     In other words, the high school coach changed your daughter's daily routine and did not allow time for her physiological system to adjust.

     In my baseball pitchers' interval-training program, that would be the same as having my baseball pitchers start a 'Recoil' cycle where they go from completing 24 wrist weight repetitions to performing 96 wrist weight repetitions three days before the season starts.

     When distance runners run races at paces faster than the paces at which they train, they will not switch-over from using their Fast-Twitch Glycolytic muscle fibers to using their Slow-Twitch Oxidative muscle fibers.

     This means that, at the start of her race, your daughter had to be breathing hard for a much longer time than when she does the interval-training program we designed.

     That switch-over from metabolizing glycogen to metabolizing triglycerides is what enables the Krebs Cycle to resynthesize Adenosine-Tri-Phosphate many times more efficiently.  This is when distance runners get that feeling of limitless energy kicks in and their breathing becomes regular and easy.

     Well trained distance runners switch to metabolizing triglycerides within a few minutes, such that they feel as though they can run at that pace forever.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Thursday, January 12, 2012, I posted the following questions and answers.  From Thursday through Sunday, I will be in Texas presenting my materials to the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association in Waco, TX.

***********************************************************************************************
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0034.  January 01 through January 08, 2012 Question/Answer critique

0001.  To start 2012, I want to provide an example of the value of interval-training.

        In Q/A #1445 of my 2011 Question/Answer file, on December 04, 2011, I received the following email and gave the following answer.

0002.  Distance running training:  December 19, 2011
0003.  Distance running training:  December 20, 2011
0004.  Distance running training:  December 21, 2011
0005.  Distance running training:  December 22, 2011
0006.  Distance running training:  December 23, 2011
0007.  Distance running training:  December 24, 2011
0008.  Distance running training:  December 25, 2011
0009.  Distance running training:  December 26, 2011
0010.  Distance running training:  December 27, 2011
0011.  Distance running training:  December 28, 2011
0012.  Distance running training:  December 29, 2011
0013.  Distance running training:  December 30, 2011
0014.  Distance running training:  December 31, 2011
0015.  Distance running training:  January 01, 2012


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

Loved all the running info.  I had taken the e-mails Clay had forwarded to me and created my own running interval training document.  Glad that you posted the questions for all to see.  Think it should become a 'special report'.

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0017.  Substrate

Should this be added to the 'science of energy.... special report?

This was great.  I have a word document where I've kept track of all the things you written or told me about reading hitters.  I'll add this to it.

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0018.  How to evaluate the 4 different types of hitters

You wrote: "With this stance and baseball bat start of their swing position, PASPHs to hit low and inside pitches.  Therefore, baseball pitchers should throw my Torque Fastballs that are outside and my Maxline Fastballs that are high and inside and horizontally moving non-fastballs, which, with this type of batter, means Torque Fastball Slider."

Not torque curves too? Or does the vertical bat allow them to get to them?  What would be the humiliator pitch?

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

Yes. With vertical bat hitters, the non-fastballs must move laterally.

With PASPHs, there is no definitive humiliator pitch. They will golf the Maxline True Screwball and Maxline Fastball Sinker out of the park. However, if my baseball pitchers could throw a Torque True Screwball, like I threw Tony Perez in my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, that might work.

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

You wrote: "With this stance and baseball bat start of their swing position, GASPHs to hit low and inside pitches.  Therefore, baseball pitchers should throw my Maxline Fastballs that are outside and my Torque Fastballs that are high and inside and horizontally moving non-fastballs, which, with this type of batter, means Maxline Fastball Sinker."

Not also maxline curves and screwballs?  Or does the vertical bat allow them to get to these?  What would be the humiliator pitch?

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

With GASPHs, we have the same problem as with PASPHs. With vertical bats, we have to throw laterally moving non-fastballs. We should not throw vertically moving non-fastballs. However, if I were to give it a shot, I would throw my over-spin Maxline Pronation Curve. But, if it moves toward the GASPHs, then good bye.

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0022.  Incorporating your recommendations into my Marshall pitching motion

Very fun question and answer.

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0023.  Orioles expected to hire Rick Peterson, Chris Correnti

Classic.

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0024.  Red Sox sign Carlos Silva to minor-league deal

Always good to get the truth about the surgeries out there.  You never know who will be reading this for the first time.

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0026.  Incorporating your recommendations into my Marshall pitching motion

Good question and answer.  Hopefully, the son will at least adopt the simple injury-proofing techniques.

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0027.  Hitting

Hitting every day, the boys start with their hands 6+ inches apart and really smack the ball.  Much faster and smoother than I would have thought possible.  Then, about 3 inches apart with the 'flat palm bottom hand' technique and finish with their game swing.

Can't get a tennis ball by them and they 'wait' for an off speed throw without a problem.

I realize it's nothing like facing a real pitcher but it seems good.  Very happy with the progress.

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0028.  Red Sox RHP Jenks has second spinal procedure

There's no short of 'stupid' in MLB.  Maybe pitching coaches could also become economists.

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0031.  Rays ink veteran Rodney to one-year deal

He'll fit right in and probably manage down the road.

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0033.  Distance Running Training: January 07, 2012

Her calves have been hurting for months.  She has tried to 'train through it.'  She's having high speed film of her running on a tread mill done tomorrow.  Her father will get a copy to you.

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0035.  Distance Running Training: January 08, 2012

Thanks for the reply.

My daughter told me that she ran the 4-800s at practice last week in the 1:16 a 1:19 range with approximately 3 minutes of rest between them.

As you can imagine, it's quite frustrating dealing with the ignorance of the school coaches.

I maintain that most track runners who do well, do so in spite of their coaches.

Once, during her cross season last fall, her coach had all the girls run 12 - 200s after essentially doing no interval/speed work the entire season.

I knew enough at the time that that was likely a very counter-productive thing to have them do.  My daughter hurt herself a little bit as a result of running all those 200s at the pace the coach wanted.

My daughter has another meet tomorrow.  It is rare to have two meets so close to one another.

She will continue to do the best she can in spite of her coaches.


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     It is never a good idea to increase the fitness of a physiological system during the competition season.  During the competition season, athletes should only maintain the fitness of their physiological system.

     Nevertheless, when, during their off-season, coaches have not designed the proper interval-training program for athletes to complete, athletes need to introduce their physiological system to the daily training routine with which they will be able to increase its fitness.

     When, after this competitive season ends, your daughter has the required time with which to complete the appropriate interval-training program for distance runners, she will maximally increase her distance running fitness.

     In her meet tomorrow, she needs to start the race at the pace at which she trains and stay at that pace for as long as her substrate storage permits her to do so.

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0036.  Ligaments

In question #21 today you answered in part:  "However, because muscles and their tendons do contract and because muscles and their tendons overlay all bone to bone ligaments, with regard to moving the bones, whether ligaments tighten up is irrelevant."

I found this answer surprising.  I believe you have often written that pulling baseballs forward with the Pectoralis Major muscle causes the Glenohumeral ligament to lengthen (stretch).  Once stretched, these ligaments do not tighten back up.  This causes shoulder instability and loss of velocity.

Given your above statement it would appear irrelevant if the ligament lengthened.

What am I missing?


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     Great point!

     If muscles that overlay the joint do not prevent ligaments from lengthening, then the ligaments will lengthen.

     In the pitching elbow, the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyly that overlay the Ulnar Collateral Ligament do prevent the Ulnar Collateral Ligament from lengthening.

     Unfortunately, the force of the inertial mass of the pitching arm that is several feet behind the body when 'traditional' baseball pitchers explosively start the forward rotation of their hips and shoulders is too much for the Pectoralis Major muscle to prevent the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments on the front of the pitching shoulder from lengthening.

     Clearly, I should have qualified my statement.

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0037.  Valsalva Effect

In Q&A #582 from 2011, your answer began as follows:  ""Continually contracting muscles dramatically increases blood pressure.  Researchers call this, 'Valsalva Effect.'  The 'Valsalva Effect' ruptures blood vessels in the brain."

1.  Does the Valsalva Effect happen only if muscles are being subjected to stress at or near their capacity?

Or might it occur even under more "mild" scenarios such as these:
1)  Moving furniture that was well below the weight the person could handle.
2)  Remaining in a half-knee bend.


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     When muscles sustain powerful muscle contractions for several seconds, that action compresses the blood vessels in the involved muscles.  As a result, blood flow through those muscles stop.

     However, the heart continues to pump blood into the head.

     Therefore, since a powerful muscle contraction has stopped blood flow, the blood in the circulatory system backs up such that it cannot flow through the brain.

     The pressure of that backed up blood places considerable stress on the blood vessels in the brain.

     That is why I strongly recommend that we never sustain powerful muscle contractions for several seconds.

     In their research on muscle fitness, Hettinger and Mueller recommended that we powerfully contract every muscle in our body and hold that massive contraction for six seconds.

     For example:  They recommended that people sitting in chairs place their hands under the seat of the chair and try to lift that chair off the ground.

     As a result, during the 1950's when isometrics was a popular quick fitness program, several out of shape 50-somethings died in their office chairs.

     The 'Valsalva Effect' requires a powerful continuous total body muscle contraction of sufficient magnitude to block the continuous flow of blood through the brain.

     That is why I recommend that everybody that uses 'Isometrics' hold their powerful continuous total body muscle contraction for no longer than one second.

     The only positive purpose for athletes to use 'Isometrics' is to learn the proper position of their limbs and body to apply force to a very strenuous activity.

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0038.  Posts 0012 & 0033 (Distance running training)

Part of Question #0033 of 2012 stated as follows (labels added for ease of reference):

A)  "She ran the 1600 meters in a meet today and her time was 10 seconds slower than her 1600 meter time in a meet 3 weeks ago."

B)  "While there are certainly no doubt numerous potential factors which can effect a runner on any given day, I believe poor pacing negatively impacted her today."

C)  "She ran the first 400 meters today at a pace approximately 35 seconds faster (extrapolated over 1600 meters) than her previous best 1600 meter time."

Part of Question #0012 of 2012 stated as follows:

D)  "My daughter's current interval pace is based on her current goal of running a 5:20, or better, 1600 meters this indoor season.  My daughter ran a competitive 5:28.25 in a meet on 12/16/11."

E)  "My daughter has been running approximately 16.5 -17 second 100 meter intervals and 34 - 35 second 200 meter intervals."

From (D), I surmise that daughter's best time for 1600 meters is somewhere in the 5:20s, say 5:25.  This would imply that the pace of her first 400 meters mentioned in (C) would scale to around 35 seconds faster than 5:25, or around 4:50 for 1600 meters.

I'll assume that daughter's pace was consistent over the first 400 meters.

The 35-second 200-meter intervals from (E) scale to 280 seconds or 4:40 for 1600 meters.

This suggests that daughter's pace in the first 400 meters in (C) (scaling to roughly 4:50 for 1600 meters) was very close to (and perhaps only slightly slower than) her present training pace that scales to 4:40 for 1600 meters.

I guess my question is, given that daughter's interval training is targeted to a considerably faster pace than she can presently sustain for 1600 meters (presumably, even in the absence of the deleterious 800-meter practice runs three days prior). 1.  What would be the best race pace for her?

2.  Would the answer differ according to whether one were trying for the best race times in the short term or the long term (e.g., might starting a race at the interval pace help the body become accustomed to it, even if that pace could not yet produce the best 1600-meter time)?


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     In point D) of your email, the father tells us that, on December 16, 2011, his daughter ran a competitive 5:28.25 in a meet.  This meet took place on January 06, 2012, only 21 days later.

     Her high school coach had her run 8 - 400s three days before this race.

     From that December 16, 2011 meet, they decided that they wanted to run the 1600 meter race in 5:20:00.

     To determine the pace at which she should train, she ran her 100s at the pace that would enable her to run a 5:20:00 race.  However, at that pace, she did not need the 1:3 work to rest ratio to recover.

     Therefore, until she needed three times the time of the work interval to recover from the work, she ran faster paces.  As a result, she ran at a pace that would enable her to run a 4:50:00 race.

01.  Distance runners should run their races at the pace at which they train.

     The question is whether they have sufficient substrate stored in the involved muscles.

     Unfortunately, she has not trained at that pace over the increased distances to significantly increase the substrate storage in the involved muscle fibers.

     While running 6 - 100s and 6 -200s does not increase substrate storage sufficiently to run 1600 meters at the same pace, she has to start somewhere.

     Nevertheless, that the high school coach had the women's distance running team suddenly without proper training preparation run 8 - 800s overwhelmed their physiological system.

02.  All training is specific.

     That means that the involved bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles will become fit to perform at whatever pace they train.

     Therefore, if she to start this race at a pace slower than the pace at which she trained, then, when she increased her pace to the pace at which she trained, she would have had to make another physiological adjustment.

     The key to aerobic activities is for athletes to switch from anaerobic to aerobic metabolism as quickly as possible then wait to see whether they have sufficient substrate storage to complete the race at that pace.

     Between exhausting her substrate storage by completing 8 - 400s three days before competition and starting the race at a pace higher than at which she trained, she had no chance of running the race at the pace at which she trained.

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0039.  An italian baseball player

I'm a young italian pitcher.

First of all, sorry for my bad English.

I just read that an american person will be the manager of grosseto baseball, a famous italian club.  His name is Mike Marshall.

ARE YOU THAT PERSON?

Thank you for your answer.


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     If you think your English is bad, you should hear my Italian.

     If Mike Marshall is going to be the manager of an Italian baseball team, it is the other Mike Marshall that played for the Los Angeles Dodgers a few years after I played for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

     If, several years ago, I had known how to apply for manager of an Italian baseball team, then I would have done so.

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0040.  Day 32

Can you please comment on the following videos?

My primary concern is that my son is not getting to driveline height.

Should he go back to loaded slingshot or possibly reduce the weight?

Is there a coaching point that will reinforce the feeling of reaching driveline height?


Eleven year old wrist weight exercise

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     Your son is not pendulum swinging his pitching hand to driveline height.

01.  I do not believe that he needs to decrease the weight of his wrist weights.  I also do not believe that he needs to return to my Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.

02.  I recommend that you tell your son that, from the end of his pendulum swing to the start of the extension of his pitching elbow, he needs to drive his pitching elbow horizontally forward.

     In this video, your son's pitching elbow moved from low in back to high at the start of the extension of his pitching elbow.

     What is important is that, from the end of the pendulum swing to the start of the extension of extension of the pitching elbow, his pitching elbow does not move either upward or downward.

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0041.  Day 32

Eleven year old throws iron ball

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     As with his wrist weight exercise, your son started with his pitching elbow too low.

     He needs to pendulum swing his pitching hand to driveline height.  Then, he needs to raise his pitching elbow to driveline height.  Then, when he starts to extend his pitching elbow, he needs to have his pitching elbow at driveline height.

     The idea is to keep his wrist weight, iron ball and baseball moving horizontally forward from the end of the pendulum swing to the start of the extension of the pitching elbow.

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0042.  Day 32

Eleven year old does wrist weight exercise

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     At the end of his pendulum swing, your son does not have his pitching hand at driveline height, but his pitching elbow is at shoulder height.

     Since we want him to horizontally drive his pitching hand from the end of his pendulum swing to the start of the extension of his pitching elbow upward, he needs to start with his pitching hand at driveline height.

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0043.  Day 32

Eleven year old throws iron ball

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     Once again, your son does not pendulum swing his pitching hand to driveline height.  Therefore, from the end of his pendulum swing to the start of the extension of his pitching elbow, he drives his pitching hand upward.

     From the start of the extension of his pitching elbow to release, he is supposed to drive his pitching hand vertically upward to as high as he can release his pitches.

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0044.  Slight discomort in shoulder

For the last few weeks my son has had a slight discomfort and feeling of "tightness" in the front, top portion of his pitching shoulder when he is not throwing.

He says that after doing some iron balls and wrist weights it's gone.  Normally he never notices any real discomfort when he is throwing.  If it shows up, it is very slight and it doesn't negatively effect his ability to throw.

The discomfort appears to manifest in the front and near the top of his shoulder.  He visited our chiropractor this past week and he said his latissimus dorsi was so dramatically developed that it may be causing his supraspinatus muscle to be slightly impinged, causing some inflamation.

Just to be clear, this is only very minor discomfort at worst.  After he warms up and throws he says he doesn't normally feel any discomfort.  Later, after cool down, it tends to come back.

As for me, I feel lots of little twinges and areas of slight discomfort around my shoulder joint when I am at rest or during normal daily routine activities.  It's never anything that inhibits my range of motion or shoulder strength.

When I work out or throw baseballs, the discomfort goes completely away.  I think that's why I like throwing so much.  That's when my arm feels its best.  And my back loosens up and feels good again.  I just attribute it to the aging process for me.

I am simply looking for your opinion about my son.


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     First, the idea that the development of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle would in any way cause the Supraspinatus muscle to impinge on anything is nonsense.  It is impossible for the head of the Humerus bone to contact the underside of the acromial process.

     That your son is finally raising his pitching upper arm to vertically beside his head with the back of his pitching upper arm is great.  The discomfort that he feels is the proper training response to correctly performing my pitching arm action.

     When the involved muscles complete the physiological adjustment to this new skill, he will no longer have any discomfort.  Physiological adjustments, if my baseball pitchers continue to train every day, usually require three weeks.

     That, when you and your son start training, the discomfort goes away means that everything is as it should be.

     If the discomfort does not go away when you start training, then you need to decrease the intensity of your training.  However, you still need to train every day with perfect technique.

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0045.  Groin

My son is playing goalie in hockey and so far has had no serious musculoskeletal problems.

However, he appears to be built similarly to me and I have a history of adductor problems (all three lengths) on both sides.  I think I’ve had them intermittently all my life but during athletic activities like running, jumping and kicking the pain becomes substantial.

I used to try ice, heat and stretching etc. but after reading the CDC report on stretching I abandoned that and simply “played through” the injuries.  It always heals in time and the pain, or injury, never detracted much from my ability.

1.  That having been said, should I prepare Scott to play through these injuries or do you have an idea that may help us prevent them?


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     Like when baseball pitchers have their pitching foot parallel with the pitching rubber with their Tensor Fascia Latea muscle, the three Adductor muscles have to prevent the legs from going into a full sideways split position.

     However, hockey goalies are supposed to go into full sideways splits.

     You could design a sideways split drill that could enable these Adductor muscles to withstand the stress.

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0046.  This is Colin Carmody

I would like to thank you for the opportunity you gave me with baseball and everything you taught me over the two and half years I spent with you.

I experienced so much and learned so much.  The most valuable thing I learned from you was the importance of education and the opportunity it would open for me.

I have decided to pursue a pharmacy school.

I will be graduating in the fall of 2012 with a kinesiology degree and I will be staying 3 more semesters to get my bachelors degree in chemistry as well as a minor in Chinese.  Next summer, I am obtaining my pharmacy tech degree and personal training degree as well as traveling to China to study abroad.

Currently, I am taking 23 hours followed by 14 hours over the summer and 23 hours in the fall.

Depending on where I get accepted for pharmacy school, I will graduate at age 29 or 30 and then I am contemplating opening an official Dr. Mike Marshall training facility teaching only Dr. Mike Marshall pitching and hitting.

Due to the fact that I will be working as a pharmacist during the week, I will be unable to run the facility during the week so I have contacted Jason to see if he would be interested in running it for me Monday-Friday and on Saturday and Sunday I plan on running it and bringing in speakers/former players who can share their knowledge and experiences to customers.

This past summer at my tryout I threw 86 mph - 89 mph with my TF, 80-84 with TFSL, and 78-80mph with MFSi.  Due to the radar gun, I was unable to get a contract worth anything.


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     You have an ambitious plan that I am confident that you can achieve.

     A year ago, during the spring baseball season at the University of Incarnate Word, didn't you throw 92 mph fastballs?

     To increase release velocity, baseball pitchers have to competitively pitch to high-quality batters that force baseball pitchers to maximally increase their intensity.

     Therefore, that radar readings less than 90 mph prevent baseball pitchers to competitively pitch to high-quality pitchers that force baseball pitchers to maximally increase their intensity is the baseball catch-22.

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0047.  Groin

Of what, would a sideways split drill designed for this purpose consist?


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     Gymnasts train to do sideways splits.

     While they believe that they are increasing the lateral range of motion of their hips, what they are actually doing is strengthening the three Adductor muscles to withstand the stress with fewer contractile units.

     If your ice hockey goalie son wants to be able to do a full sideways split, then he has to start at whatever sideways split position he presently has and daily gently train his Adductor muscles to withstand the stress of slightly increasing the width of his sideways split.

     However, if he increases the width of his sideways split too much too soon, then he will injure himself.  He must be very cautious and he needs to use a bar support to control the amount of stress.

     I cannot emphasize the danger in these 'stretching' drills too much.  Your son has to be patient and increase very little over several weeks or months.

     Under no circumstance, while he is training this new skill, should anybody else lay hands on him.  He must be in full control of the amount of stress he applies to these muscles.

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0048.  Professional Pitcher Learning My Pitching Mechanics

First of all, sorry for the late reply to your response email.  I appreciate the quick response and the advice you gave to me.

I'm still throwing the 6 lb. iron ball and 10 lb. WW, but went up in reps:  WW-24reps/ IB- 28 reps.  I do agree that I should be throwing a heavier ball, but was trying to reach 32 reps first.

1.  Would that be better or go ahead and start the 8lb. and at how many reps?)  Using the WW at 24 reps is a bit challenging at the moment, that makes me feel that the weight and reps of the WW's are at good numbers.

2.  Would you agree or should I go less reps higher weight?

The soreness on my pitching arm usually is equal and in same locations as my non-pitching arm.  It's refreshing to be able to do all the drills then throw a 50+ pitch bullpen to be able to wake up the next day feeling as if I could do it all over again compared to not wanting to pick up a baseball from throwing traditionally.

I am very interested in continuing to learn all the details of the style you teach to do for myself and to be able to eventually teach.  I began to study Kinesiology in college, but have decided to finish my degree once I finish playing baseball.

My reason to study Kinesiology was to study the true science of pitching, so when I was introduced to your pitching style I grew anxious to begin learning and doing what you teach.

What I love most about your style of pitching is the way the body reacts to it; especially the pitching arm.

One thing I did notice is tenderness in the short head of my bicep femoris.

3.  Could this be due to me using my glove arm side leg to powerfully rotate my body forward?

I have never done before.  I wonder because my other training has never affected this area.  I feel when pushing off of the glove arm side leg to powerfully rotate the body that the movement can cause tenderness in that area not being familiar with being used in this way;  which I feel isn't a bad thing at all.

The different pitches are starting to improve as well.

I haven't tried the two seem maxline or torque fastballs yet, but have been working on the four seem (Torq/Max), Maxline Screwball, Maxline Sinker, and Maxline Pronation Curve.

I am struggling with the Torque Pronation Slider a bit, but have been doing the Half Reverse drill to try and learn the proper flexion and release of the pitch with a baseball.

P.S.:  I am very thankful for what I have learned by others from what you teach.  I truly feel this is remarkable and can reduce if not fully eliminate all serious pitching injuries.

I would love to be able to come out, but with leaving so soon it would be difficult to do it this year.  If the offer is still available next year I would love to be able to take the trip out to Florida.

Also, would it be possible for you and/or me to contact one another via phone?

I would love to talk on a more one on one basis for direction in the rest of my degree and to talk about a few points that would make it easier for me to understand than through email.


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01.  For this off-season, you should train with 10 lb. wrist weights and a 6 lb. iron ball.  However, at the end of this off-season, you should maintain your new-found fitness with 15 lb. wrist weights and an 8 lb. lead ball.

     To maintain your new-found fitness, you continue to train every day, but you only do one-half of the repetitions.

02.  I agree that you should train at 10 lb. wrist weights and a 6 lb. iron ball. However, after that training ends, you should maintain with 15 lb. wrist weights and an 8 lb. lead ball.

     With my baseball pitching motion, you apply force to your pitches without unnecessary stress.  Therefore, the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles do not have to recover from the unnecessary stress.  As a result, the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles can make the physiological adaptations that the proper stress stimulates.

     You should think of the glove arm side leg action as power walking. When the glove arm side foot lands, to initiate the explosive rotation of the entire pitching arm side of the body, my baseball pitchers simultaneously powerfully pull their glove arm and their glove foot straight backward toward second base.

     While, with the glove foot planted, to move the body forward, the Gluteus Maximum muscle pulls the Femur bone straight backward (hip joint extension), the Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus, long head of the Biceps Femoris and the short head of the Biceps Femoris pull the lower leg backward (knee joint flexion).

     The Semimembranosus and Semitendinosus muscles insert into to the medial condyle of the Tibia bone (inside of the knee).

     The long and short head of the Biceps Femoris muscles insert with a shared tendon into the lateral condyle of the Tibia bone (outside of the knee).

03.  Yes.  The reason why your 'Hamstrings group' of muscles is sore is because, with the body action of my baseball pitching motion, these muscles are critical to powerfully rotating the entire pitching arm side of the body forward.

     Except that you are driving the entire pitching arm side of your body diagonally across the front of your body, you should think of this action as long jumping off the take-off board, but with only a one step start.

     You are correct.  This is an appropriate response to training.  As these muscles make the physiological adjustment that your train is stimulating, this training discomfort will go away.

     Except that you rotate the baseball ninety degrees to where you have the short two seams horizontal the same as when you have the four seams, you throw my two-seam fastballs exactly the same as you throw my four-seam fastballs.

     To master my Torque Fastball Slider, you should draw a circle in one of the four loops, then, in your grip, place that circle on the top, front of the baseball and throw the baseball such that that circle rotates stays on the top, front of the baseball throughout its flight toward home plate.

     Because the Half Reverse Pivot drill requires a lot of movement, for beginners, I recommend they use my Wrong Foot drill.

     But, I prefer that my baseball pitchers only practice their Torque and Maxline Fastballs, Maxline Pronation Curves and Maxline True Screwballs with those drills.

     To start to learn how to throw my Torque Fastball Slider, I recommend that beginners start with a two-seam Maxline Pronation Curve with a Torque Fastball body action drive and release.

     After beginners master my two-seam Torque Pronation Curve, instead of horizontally driving the ring finger side of their middle finger through the top of the baseball, to make the baseball spiral, they need to diagonally drive the ring finger side of their middle finger through the side of the baseball.

     Other the three hours I spend answering emails in the early morning, I spend very little time in my office.  Therefore, while I will gladly talk with you about any questions you have, it would be best if you emailed me some times when you would like to talk and I will do my best to be available at that time and confirm by email.

     If you let me know when you would like to visit, I will do my best to be available and confirm by email.  At any time I am home, you and/or Tyler are welcome to visit and stay in my guest quarters.

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0049.  Slider

My twelve year old son has always had a knack at throwing torque fastballs.

In his mind, he simply throws with his finger pointing horizontally inward.  Just like he's supposed to, his hand goes one way and the ball goes the other.  It's fun to watch.

When throwing today after school, he asked how a slider is thrown.

I told him to throw a torque fastball, but instead of pushing off the tips of his two horizontal fingers, to push horizontally with the ring side tip of his middle finger.

He threw a terrific slider for a strike.

1.  Was my simplistic description adequate?


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     Provided that baseball pitchers powerfully pronate the release, whatever description that results in a Torque Fastball spiraling toward home plate with the circle of friction on the top, front of the baseball works for me.

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0050.  Boston.com
December 15, 2011

According to a source familiar with the situation, the Red Sox will name Rick Jameyson as their head trainer, replacing Mike Reinold, who will be reassigned with the organization.  Reinold will focus on rehab work, while the 41-year-old Jameyson will handle the day-to-day training duties, a role he had been filling with the Cleveland Indians.

Jameyson had been in the Indians' organization since graduating from Baldwin-Wallace College in 1992, having been with the big league club for the past 10 seasons as both the assistant and head trainer.

Reinold, who joined the Red Sox organization in 2006, had been serving as the team's head trainer since 2010, having taken over for Paul Lessard.  Prior to his promotion he had served as the Sox' assistant trainer and rehab coordinator.

It is the latest move in a series of shake-ups in the Red Sox' medical and conditioning staffs since the conclusion of the 2011 season, with the team firing strength and conditioning coach Dave Page, while eliminating the position of medical director, previously held by Dr. Thomas Gill.


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     My stats guy, Brad Sullivan reminded me that the Red Sox appointed Mr. Reinold as their Rehabilitation Coordinator.  Now, Mr. Reinold is not their head trainer, but is supposed to focus on rehabilitation work.      The Red Sox also fired their strength and conditioning coach and eliminated their medical director position.

     Clearly, the injury list for the Red Sox baseball pitchers required a change in how their baseball pitchers trained.  However, now it appears they have nobody in charge of teaching and training their baseball pitchers.

     Nevertheless, nobody in charge is better than someone in charge that causes pitching injuries.

     It has taken ten years, but the shine on Dr. James Andrews, Dr. Glenn Fleisig, Mike Reinold and the American Sports Medicine Institute and their goofy ideas about how to teach and train baseball pitchers is gone.

     It took twenty years of failure for the Red Sox in particular, but professional baseball in general to understand that these guys have no idea of how to prevent pitching injuries.

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0051.  Cooper eager to help White Sox staff take shape
MLB.com
January 06, 2012

CHICAGO, IL:  White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper will begin to call his 2012 charges at some point in the next week or so, giving them the work schedule going into Spring Training and presenting his "spiel" for the upcoming year.

A few of the key players have changed, with organization staple Mark Buehrle moving to the Miami Marlins via a four-year, $58 million deal, and Sergio Santos now closing for the Blue Jays.  Tax brackets have been adjusted on others, with John Danks moving to the top of the White Sox rotation through his five-year, $65 million extension.

The overriding goal for Cooper and the intangibles expected from his hurlers never move, though, as the White Sox pitching coach for the past decade explained.

"There's a certain bar we have set," Cooper said.  "That bar is for starting pitchers, as an example, to go out there and pitch 200 innings, give us a chance to win, compete, quality starts and quality efforts to give us a chance to win.

"From a public perspective and fan perspective, they might get wrapped up in pitchers now [earning] this or not doing that.  It's not a control of mine and not a concern of mine.

"Our concerns are always the same: attack, first-pitch strikes, get ahead, make quality put-aways, get the first guy each inning, get ground balls and hold other team after we score.  With all of that stuff, nothing changes."

As the White Sox starting rotation stands presently, Danks would be joined by Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd, Chris Sale and Philip Humber.  Sale, who turns 23 on March 30, has talked about feeling more comfortable as a starter since arriving with the White Sox as the 13th overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

Starting was the job Sale held throughout his baseball career, before excelling in the relief transition over the past two years.  The 2012 starting plan remains the same for the talented southpaw, even with Santos traded to the Blue Jays and Sale having previous closing experience, and Cooper looks forward to helping Sale achieve this particular vision.

"He wants to be a starter and we want him to be a starter," Cooper said of Sale, who has a 2.58 ERA in 79 career relief appearances, with 111 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings.  "There's some work ahead of us, but I like challenges like that.  I go into that saying we are going to get it done."

Humber, 29, comes off of a career breakout effort in 2011 during which the right-hander was one of the White Sox most consistent starters with a 3.69 ERA in 26 starts.  He was 8-5 with a 3.10 ERA and a .218 opponents average against in the first half, but dipped to 1-4 with a 5.01 ERA and .287 average against after the All-Star break.

Trying to surpass his first-half showing is not the goal Humber should have in mind for this upcoming season, by Cooper's estimation.

"Just be more and more consistent with the stuff we are doing," Cooper said of Humber.  "He started off like a ball of fire and really did have a game or two in the second half where he was a pitch or hit away from a nice ballgame but didn't win like the beginning.  Then again, we weren't playing great baseball, so it's tough to grade anyone on how many games you won.

"Right now, we have five starters.  And if they are healthy, those guys are going to be our starters."

Cooper mentioned openings on the staff for long and middle relief, but Zach Stewart, Dylan Axelrod and Hector Santiago are young candidates with whom the White Sox already have knowledge.  And the closer situation will be a Spring Training work in progress, with veterans Jesse Crain and Matt Thornton and rookie Addison Reed all in the mix.

While Cooper isn't sure if general manager Ken Williams has any more trades in the works for the team's current modified rebuilding process, he also wouldn't rule out the addition of a veteran such as Humber in 2011 who could get his chance to shine on the South Side.

"I'll say this: I do believe Kenny Williams knows the types of pitchers we can do things with and the guys we can do stuff with, where we can take them from where they are to another level," Cooper said.  "Listen, you know what, I'm ready for everything.

"My job is the pitching coach.  I'm in charge of coaching and player development, not player procurement.  I really don't concern myself with anything else that goes on.  I've said this for many years:  When we get on the plane leaving Arizona for Texas, I'll have 12 guys.

"So, the mind-set is roll up our sleeves and do work from Day One to day final.  Get the most out of each and every guy and see if we can improve and individually and collectively do the job to win Major League games."


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     White Sox pitching coach, Don Cooper said, "My job is the pitching coach.  I'm in charge of coaching and player development."

     However, Mr. Cooper will begin to call his 2012 charges at some point in the next week or so, giving them the work schedule going into Spring Training and presenting his "spiel" for the upcoming year.

     That is three months too late.

     Until professional baseball and baseball pitchers understand that professional baseball pitching is a 365 day a year job and that the off-season is when they work the hardest to increase their fitness and master the wide variety of pitches they need to succeed, they will continue to suffer injuries and fail.

     Mr. Cooper said, "There's a certain bar we have set.  That bar is for starting pitchers, as an example, to go out there and pitch 200 innings, give us a chance to win, compete, quality starts and quality efforts to give us a chance to win."

     Wow.  Mr. Cooper believes that when starting pitchers pitch 200 inning in 162 games, they have succeeded.

     My vision has starting pitchers averaging 7 innings per game with 50 starts.

     Dream small, fail.  Dream big, live large.  Don Cooper dreams small.

     Mr. Cooper said, "Our concerns are always the same: attack, first-pitch strikes, get ahead, make quality put-aways, get the first guy each inning, get ground balls and hold other team after we score.  With all of that stuff, nothing changes."

     The critically important part of this statement is "nothing changes."

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0052.  Chatwood excited to be part of young rotation
MLB.com
January 06, 2011

DENVER, CO:  Right-handed pitcher Tyler Chatwood spent most of last season in the Majors at 21, some say before his time. But after being acquired by the Rockies in a trade with the Angels last month, Chatwood suddenly finds himself with pitchers close to his age, all trying to prove that young is not too young.

The pitcher the Rockies hope will be the ace of rotation, Jhoulys Chacin, turns 24 on Saturday.  Left-hander Drew Pomeranz and right-hander Alex White, who arrived in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade with the Indians last year, will be 23 when the season starts.  With lefty Jorge De La Rosa missing most or all of the first half as he recovers from elbow surgery, no healthy starter on the current 40-man roster has reached his 30th birthday.

"It's definitely exciting," Chatwood said.  "To get a chance to be around young guys, pick their brains to see what they're thinking.  We can go through the same stuff, and see if we can help one another out.  It'll be pretty cool."

Forced into the Angels' rotation at the start of last season because of injuries, Chatwood made 25 starts, appeared in 27 games, and finished 6-11 with a 4.75 ERA.  Chatwood's first 15 Major League starts went well; 5-4, 3.64 ERA, but struggled in his final 10 starts (1-7, 6.62).  The Angels sent him to Triple-A Salt Lake City in August, but he finished the season in the Majors.

Chatwood logged 142 Major League innings.  His major challenge was command.  He finished with 71 walks and 74 strikeouts.  Part of it was that Chatwood, a second-round selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, had thrown all of one game at the Triple-A level and just 309 2/3 innings before last season.  Chatwood went into the year trying to shore up his changeup, and he added a pitch, a cut fastball, that he worked on while facing Major League hitters.

Angels teammates saw a pitcher who was imperfect, but never overwhelmed.

"Tyler's a confident guy," Angels infielder Howard Kendrick said last season.  "You can tell in his demeanor.  He's definitely not intimidated by anything.

"At this stage, he's predominately a fastball pitcher.  When he gets more confident with his breaking ball and changeup, I think he's going to be unbelievable.  He spots that fastball in and out, and he's hitting that corner.  He's got a chance to be something really special."

The Rockies were drawn to Chatwood because of his mental toughness.  He will always face doubts because of his size.  He is listed at 6-foot and 185 pounds, and a long-held adage that less-than-tall right-handers are an injury risk.  Of course, undersized right-handed power pitchers can be special.  Two examples are the Giants' Tim Lincecum and the pitcher to whom Chatwood is most often compared, former Astros and Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt.

"I embrace being compared to Roy Oswalt," Chatwood said.  "He's one of the top pitchers.  I've followed him since I was growing up.  He has a bulldog mentality.  He goes after it.  Here it is, hit it.  It's an honor to be compared to him."

The Rockies believe Chatwood can grow in their environment.

Chatwood said the message he received from manager Jim Tracy and pitching coach Bob Apodaca was not to change what made him successful, just hone it.  The Rockies also are willing to be creative with Chatwood or any of their young arms.

Other than Chacin and De La Rosa, when he is healthy, the Rockies aren't opposed to using any of their pitchers out of the bullpen and for spot-starts.

The Rockies saw righty Jason Hammel, 29, overcome a slump by pitching out of the bullpen late in the season.  Juan Nicasio, 25, and Esmil Rogers, 26, are two strong-armed pitchers who have had some big league moments and could work in the rotation or out of the 'pen.  The Rockies also acquired the Twins' Kevin Slowey, who turns 28 on May 4, who has had more success as a starter than a reliever, but is a candidate for both.

"We really think we've got a lot of good arms," Colorado general manager Dan O'Dowd said.  "It's been an organizational effort.  Not only good arms, but we've got a tremendous amount of competitive, athletic guys.  With that comes inexperience.  With inexperience is going to come some tough times, some ups and downs.  We knew we were on that path when we traded Ubaldo last year.

"We'll bring guys to camp and see how the whole thing flushes out."

Chatwood made two relief appearances in the Majors and just one in 66 Minor League games, but he isn't opposed to bullpen work if necessary.  He is happy the Rockies recognize his competitiveness.

"I've been that way ever since I was a little kid," Chatwood said.  "My family raised me to be that way.  Compete to the best of your ability.  Even if you don't have your best stuff, you do what you've got to do to stay in the game and help your team get a win out of it.  You have to compete and try to get your team through it.  You're not going to have your best stuff every game.

"We definitely have a core of great guys and great players, a lot of young talent, and some veterans who have a lot of talent and know how to win.  I'm excited.  It'll be a good experience, and we have a good chance to win a lot of games this year."

But as this potential rotation stands, Chatwood, who turned 22 last month, suddenly isn't a baby-faced anomaly.


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     Colorado general manager, Dan O'Dowd, said,  "We'll bring guys to camp and see how the whole thing flushes out."

     Talk about a Freudian slip.  Mr. O'Dowd subconsciously chose the correct verb.

     If the Rockies are counting on a 22 year old that, in his final 10 starts of 2011 had 1 win and 7 losses with a 6.62 earned run average, then down the commode is the proper analogy.

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0053.  Red Sox sign Cook to minor-league deal
MLB.com
January 09, 2011

Aaron Cook, the starting pitcher the Red Sox defeated in the decisive win of the 2007 World Series, has agreed to join Boston on a Minor League deal, according to multiple reports Sunday night.

Cook, who turns 33 in February, finished a three-year, $29.5 million deal with the Rockies with one of the worst seasons of his career, as health issues again plagued him.  The right-hander did not pitch in a big league game last year until June because of shoulder issues and a freak accident with a door that broke a finger on his throwing hand.

Cook went 3-10 with a 6.03 ERA in 97 innings, striking out 48 while walking 37.

If Cook can put together a bounce-back effort, it would give the Red Sox some much-needed starting pitching depth.

Colorado is the only Major League organization Cook has played for, pitching in the big leagues for the last 10 seasons after being drafted in the second round in 1997.

Besides Cook's loss to the Red Sox in Game 4 of the '07 Fall Classic, he let up three earned runs on three hits over six innings in Boston's 4-3 win, there is some familiarity for both parties.  New Sox pitching coach Bob McClure worked in the Rockies' organization from 1999-2005.

Lifetime, Cook is 72-68 with a 4.53 ERA in 238 appearances (206 starts).  He's been a full-time starter since pitching mostly out of the bullpen in 2003, his sophomore season.


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     In 2007, Mr. Cook pitched for the Rockies against the Red Sox in the World Series.  The new Red Sox pitching coach, Bob McClure, worked in the Rockies from 1999 through 2005.

     What did Mr. McClure do for Mr. Cook that enable Mr. Cook to pitch 97 innings with 3 wins, 10 losses and a 6.03 earned run average last year?

     Today's general managers are products of fantasy baseball.  To believe that Mr. McClure will enable Mr. Cook to give the Red Sox some much-needed starting pitching depth is a fantasy.

     Because Mr. Cook has shoulder issues and a freak accident with a door, Mr. Cook did not pitch in a big league game last year until June.

     How does Mr. McClure plan to enable Mr. Cook to overcome his shoulder issues?

     If Mr. McClure knew what to do to enable Mr. Cook to overcome his shoudler issues, then he is 3 months too late.  Without meaningful help, Mr. Cook's minor league season will be more of what he achieved at the end of last season.

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0054.  Unsigned Lidge playing the waiting game
MLB.com
January 09, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA:  Three years ago, Brad Lidge was the most celebrated reliever in baseball.  The Phillies right-hander didn't blow a save during the regular season or playoffs.  He went 47-for-47 overall, including dropping to his knees after recording the final out of the 2008 World Series as an entire city stood and cheered.

Monday, he was just one of several free agents still looking for a job.

What makes his story interesting, though, isn't what he was when he played such a big role for the 2008 World Series champions.  It's that in a what-have-you-done-lately business, he has done pretty darn well.  In his last 51 appearances, Lidge has a 1.02 ERA.

Granted, that's a body of work that has been separated by more than a half a season spent on the disabled list with both shoulder and knee problems at the beginning of the 2011 regular season.  Yet that doesn't seem to be the biggest reason he still hasn't caught on with a team, even though Spring Training is just a little more than a month away.

From all outward appearances, the reluctance is connected to the fact that while his fastball used to routinely hit 95-96 mph, it's now more typically in the 90-91 range.

"It shouldn't matter, but it does for some reason," Lidge acknowledged with a wry grin.  "At the beginning of my career, I would have said, 'Who cares? I throw hard.'  At this point, I'm not throwing as hard.  But I know how to pitch a lot more now.  I know how to effectively use what I have.

"You'd think it would just be production.  But it's not.  It's bizarre to me because I still have a very high swing-and-miss percentage.  I think velocity is so important for some teams, and the prototype closer throws hard.  So if you're not throwing as hard, suddenly you're not a closer.  And I don't understand that totally.  But it is what it is."

It also hasn't helped that there were a boatload of late-innings relievers available this winter.  Jonathan Papelbon (Phillies) and Heath Bell (Marlins) cashed in with big free-agent contracts, but Joe Nathan (Rangers), Jonathan Broxton (Royals), Darren Oliver (Blue Jays) and Andrew Bailey (traded from the A's to the Red Sox) were added for considerably less payroll commitment.

"This has just not been a great year to be a closer, period, because there are closers everywhere this year," Lidge said.  "It just so happens that [this year] there are closers everywhere that can be had at a lower price than an elite closer."

By the time Lidge was activated from the DL last season, Ryan Madson had established himself as manager Charlie Manuel's go-to guy in save situations.  Lidge understood the situation and accepted it without complaint.  He would still like to close, however, but realizes he may not have the opportunity to open the 2012 season in that role, as there are still free-agent closers available, including Madson.

"At this point, I probably could have taken some offers," Lidge said.  "At the same time, they weren't quite right for me.  It is always a little surprising when you feel like you can still close and you're still going to be a good closer and the market out there is not such [that you get a chance].

"There are a lot of teams that want you to be there in case their young guys doesn't do well, to be a setup guy.  And that's great. We'll kind of see how that plays out.  That might be what I have to do.  But at the same time, when you feel really good and you're still putting up good numbers and you know you can close games, it's tough.  Because it doesn't matter how good you feel, it just matters how teams think."

Lidge hopes to make a decision soon.  The Phillies are still looking to add bullpen depth, they have recently been rumored to have talked to Kerry Wood, and their onetime closer said no doors have been closed on his return yet.

In the meantime, Lidge and his family have returned to Philadelphia after spending the holidays at their Colorado home.  He works out daily at the park and hopes for the best.  It's a lot different than it was in 2008, when the Phillies gave him a three-year, $33.5 million extension at midseason to keep him off the free-agent market.

"I guess I've been fortunate.  I never had to pay any attention to that prior to this year," he said with a smile.  "But obviously, at this point you do have to pay attention to it.  I don't know if anybody can not pay attention to it when January rolls around and you're not officially with a team.

"It's been interesting.  It's a little unsettling at times.  Sometimes it's fun when you're talking to teams.  It's a very unique experience."


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     The article failed to mention that the two and one/half years between Mr. Lidge's remarkable World Series season and the last 51 appearances of last season, Mr. Lidge was either on the disabled list or pitching poorly.

     Nevrtheless, with a 1.02 earned run average in 51 appearances, even though not in closing situations does mean something.

     Mr. Lidge might enjoy pitching the lower pressure innings.

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0055.  JJ's return a key for Marlins
MLB.com
January 09, 2012

MIAMI, FL:  For all the key additions the Marlins have made this offseason, perhaps the club's biggest need is for Josh Johnson to stay healthy.

If he does, Miami likes its chances of contending in the National League East.  The team says all indications are the two-time All-Star will be ready to go when Spring Training begins on February 22.

"He's been throwing and doing his long-toss program," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said.  "By mid-month, he will be on the mound, making his progression, like our other pitchers.  The shoulder strength is good.  I think his spirits are good.  Everything is pointing in the right direction.  We can keep our fingers crossed that the injuries of last year are behind him, because we need him to lead our rotation."

  Johnson missed a majority of 2011 with right shoulder inflammation.  The plan is for the 6-foot-7 right-hander to be at full speed, with no restrictions, when pitchers and catchers begin workouts at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, FL.

Johnson has been throwing off flat ground at his Las Vegas-area home since early December.  He should be on a mound in another week or two, getting ready to lead the staff at the end of next month.

"I think he's going to be fine," Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire said.  "You've got to be careful putting up too many restrictions, because if you do, then he doesn't get into shape.  The way you get into shape is by throwing.  If you don't throw much, then it will be kind of hard to get back in shape."

Johnson made just nine starts in 2011, and his season was shut down in mid-May after just 60 1/3 innings.

St. Claire received a medical update on Johnson shortly before the holidays, and he expects to touch base with the team's ace in a few weeks.

"That's what I'm hearing, that he's throwing, and he's feeling good and he started throwing earlier than last year, which would be expected," St. Claire said.  "He wants to be strong and rebuild his arm strength and all of those things."

When healthy, Johnson is among the best pitchers in the game.  After he went down last year, the Marlins' season began to unravel.  Without Johnson, the team went 5-23 in June and it tumbled out of the playoff race.

To have a realistic shot at making the playoffs, the Marlins will be counting not only on Johnson but the rest of the rotation to stay on schedule.

"Keeping everybody healthy, that's how you win," St. Claire said.  "If you have the guys and you keep them healthy, then you've got a chance.  When your key guys get hurt, it makes it tough on everybody else."


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     Marlins president of baseball operations, Larry Beinfest, said "We can keep our fingers crossed that the injuries of last year are behind him, because we need him to lead our rotation."

     So now, keeping their fingers crossed substitutes for teaching and training injury-free baseball pitchers.

     Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is reality.

       Marlins pitching coach, Randy St. Claire, said:

01.  "I think he's going to be fine."
02.  "You've got to be careful putting up too many restrictions, because if you do, then he doesn't get into shape."
03.  "The way you get into shape is by throwing."
04.  "If you don't throw much, then it will be kind of hard to get back in shape."
05.  "That's what I'm hearing, that he's throwing, and he's feeling good and he started throwing earlier than last year, which would be expected."
06.  "He wants to be strong and rebuild his arm strength and all of those things."
07.  "Keeping everybody healthy, that's how you win."
08.  "If you have the guys and you keep them healthy, then you've got a chance."
09.  "When your key guys get hurt, it makes it tough on everybody else."

     By their own words, Mr. Beinfest and Mr. St. Claire confess that they have no idea how to keep Mr. Johnson or any other baseball pitcher healthy.

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0056.  Cubs continue to work on deal with Wood
MLB.com
January 09, 2012

CHICAGO, IL:  The Cubs are still trying to negotiate a deal with Kerry Wood, who sounds as if he may be moving on.

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday talks are continuing with the free-agent reliever.  "We continue to want Kerry back in Chicago and we've offered him a substantial raise and we certainly hope it gets done," Hoyer said.

On Monday night, Wood appeared on WGN Radio's Sports Night and said he wants to keep pitching and seemed to indicate he may leave the Cubs.  "Regardless of what happens, we're still in Chicago, we're dedicated to the city," Wood said on Monday.  "Things will work out for me in the city of Chicago because we're dedicated to the city, we're dedicated to the community, we're dedicated to helping children and again, we're staying here, we're raising our family here.

"I'm a Texas boy, but I feel like I've become a Chicagoan, so we're happy to be here whether I finish here or whether I don't, we plan on being here a long time."

Last year, Wood unveiled the Wood Family Foundation, dedicated to helping children in the Chicago area.  On Friday, he will host "Woody's Winter Warmup" at Harry Caray's on Navy Pier, a fundraiser for his foundation.  Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, was scheduled to attend.

Wood has spent most of his professional career with the Cubs since he signed at 18, and understands the fans want him to stay.  "There's always time for change and there's always room for it, so we'll just have to wait and see," Wood said.

Last week, Epstein said the team was negotiating with Wood's agents about a new deal.  "Kerry Wood is exactly the type of guy we want to build a winning culture here in Chicago," Epstein said.  "I would be greatly, greatly disappointed if we're not able to bring him back."

On Tuesday, Hoyer said the Cubs' new front office is well aware of Wood's history with the team.  The right-hander gave the Cubs a hometown discount last year when he signed a $1.5 million deal to return to Chicago.  Apparently, he's not agreeable to another discount.  There were reports Wood's agents were looking for a $4 million deal.

"We both understand the history of the organization and understand which players mean a lot to the fans and the fan base and Kerry is one of them," Hoyer said Tuesday.  "That's something we're aware of.  Fresh eyes are one thing, but that doesn't mean you ignore the rich past the Cubs have."

Wood went 3-5 with a 3.35 ERA in 55 games last season, which ended in mid September after he suffered a torn meniscus in his left knee.  He had surgery in October and is expected to be ready by Spring Training.


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     During the few healthy months each season when Mr. Wood can pitch one inning every three days, Mr. Wood gives up over one run every three games.

     It reads to me as though Mr. Wood should be in the community involvement division of the Cubs front office, not on the field.

     The Cubs should give Mr. Wood's few innings to someone that might help the Cubs on the field for several years.

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0057.  Cubs sign free-agent lefty Maholm
MLB.com
January 09, 2012

CHICAGO, IL:  Paul Maholm said he wasn't trying to "scoop" the media with his Twitter announcement that he had signed with the Cubs.  He was just excited to share the news.

The free-agent left-hander tweeted Monday night that he was switching National League Central teams, leaving the Pirates to sign a one-year, $4.25 million deal with the Cubs with a club option of $6.5 million in 2013, or a $500,000 buyout.

"I hope to get to continue some things when I visit [Pittsburgh] during the year and start some great things as I start my Cubs career," Maholm wrote.

"Obviously, I'd known for a few days, and [Monday] I passed the physical," Maholm said Tuesday.  "It's tough just sitting around and not being able to say anything.  I'd talked to [Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer] earlier in the night and everything was official.

"I wasn't trying to scoop any of you guys or anything," he said on the conference call with the media.  "The night before, I took a bunch of beatings [on Twitter] for saying congrats to [Tim] Tebow for beating the Steelers.  It seems most of the Chicago fans are looking forward to me coming to the city.  It was something good to get to see the fans' reaction through Twitter.  [Twitter] is good and bad, and for the most part, I try to use it for good stuff."

The Cubs are hoping for good things from Maholm, the second left-hander added to the club's 2012 rotation, joining Travis Wood, who was acquired in a deal with the Reds.  Maholm, 29, who has spent his entire career with the Pirates, gives the Cubs more depth.  The team did not want to be short-handed as it was last season when both Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells were hurt after their first starts of the season.

"We're very comfortable with the names that we have," Hoyer said.  "You never know what will happen over the course of the winter, what's going to be available to us.  A huge priority was building depth and we feel we've done that.  You can never have enough pitching.  The minute you think you have enough pitching, you don't.  We're happy with the depth we've built up over the course of the winter.  It's a dangerous thing to say you're ever done."

Maholm missed all of September because of a pulled muscle in his left shoulder but passed his physical Monday and has been throwing.  He could start bullpen sessions next week.  In 185 career starts with the Pirates, Maholm went 53-73 with a 4.36 ERA, including a 6-14 record last season.

"His won-loss record doesn't reflect his ability," Hoyer said.  "He's pitched on some teams in Pittsburgh that have struggled.  He's been a guy who takes the ball, eats a lot of innings and really has kept his team in games his whole career."

The candidates for the rotation now include Maholm, Wood, Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Chris Volstad, Wells and Casey Coleman.  Jeff Samardzija also will be stretched out in Spring Training, although he most likely will wind up in the bullpen.

  With all the additions, the Cubs may have a surplus.  There has been interest in Garza this off-season by teams such as the Tigers, Yankees and Blue Jays.

"This Maholm contract, and the fact you can look and say we have six starters now, this deal is not a precursor to anything," Hoyer said.  The Cubs did want more variety in the rotation, and adding another lefty helps.

"You don't want a homogenous pitching staff where every starter looks sort of the same and the opposing team knows what they'll expect when they come in to play the Cubs," Hoyer said.  "Lefties are, by definition, more efficient than righties.  They hold runners better.  It's always important to have some lefties in your rotation.  You don't want to run into a team that can stack its lineup with all lefties and really hurt you for a three-game series.  We like the mixture we have."

A ground-ball pitcher, Maholm likes the idea of pitching in Wrigley Field, where he is 6-2 with a 5.48 ERA in 11 career starts.

"I've had success there," he said of Wrigley.  "I've got some good memories of taking the mound. I'm looking forward to doing whatever I can to help the team."

His agent had talked to other teams, but Maholm said that, after January 01, he made it clear he wanted to pitch for the Cubs.  The NL Central will definitely have a different look this year.

"With Albert [Pujols] and Prince [Fielder] probably heading out, for a pitcher, I think that's obviously a positive," Maholm said of the two sluggers.  "To go to the [American League], it would have had to be a really good match, and it's not something that we found."

Maholm also has heard good things about new Cubs manager Dale Sveum and pitching coach Chris Bosio.  Pirates manager Clint Hurdle helped the lefty last season when he offered some things his former team, the Rockies, had learned.  Maholm expects Sveum to do the same.

Last season, the Cubs went 8-8 against the Pirates; in 2010, Chicago was 5-10.  What gives?

"Obviously, the guys who are there have the ability to win," Maholm said.  "For whatever reason it wasn't happening.  With Sveum coming in and his staff, I think he's put together a good staff.  With Dempster and all those guys on the pitching staff, if we go out and do our job, the bullpen will be set up well.

"If everybody has their normal years, you don't have to do anything great, just go out there and play hard and expect to win, I think the Central will be competitive," Maholm said.  "I think there's not one huge clear-cut favorite.  I think we can make our way up."


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     The article said, "The candidates for the rotation now include Maholm, Wood, Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster, Chris Volstad, Wells and Casey Coleman.

     Excuse me, did I see Kerry Wood's name included in the list of candidates for the Cubs 2012 starting rotation?

     Cubs general manager, Jed Hoyer, said, "Lefties are, by definition, more efficient than righties."

     I don't know what definition to which Mr. Hoyer subscribes, but left-handed pitchers are not more efficent that right-handed baseball pitchers.

     Left-handed baseball pitchers cannot get right-handed batters out better than right-handed pitchers.

     Right-handed baseball pitchers with reverse breaking pitches can keep the baseball on the left side of the baseball field.  This means that these right-handed baseball pitchers do not give up triples down the right-field line and not give up singles to right field that enable base runners on second base to score more easily.

     If right-handed baseball pitchers have quality reverse breaking pitches, then I cannot think of any reason to have any left-handed baseball pitchers.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, January 22, 2012, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0058.  January 09 through January 12 Critique

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0035.  Distance Running Training: January 08, 2012

I continue to immensely enjoy learning more about interval training.

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0036.  Ligaments

You wrote:  "Unfortunately, the force of the inertial mass of the pitching arm that is several feet behind the body when 'traditional' baseball pitchers explosively start the forward rotation of their hips and shoulders is too much for the Pectoralis Major muscle to prevent the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments on the front of the pitching shoulder from lengthening."

Clearly written.

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0037.  Valsalva Effect

Good to know.

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0038.  Posts 0012 & 0033 (Distance running training)

You wrote:  "Between exhausting her substrate storage by completing 8 - 400s three days before competition and starting the race at a pace higher than at which she trained, she had no chance of running the race at the pace at which she trained."

I thought that the liver would re-supply the substrate within 24 hours?  Why is 3 days prior a big deal?

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

     You are correct.  Overnight the Liver releases its glycogen into the circulatory system and the Fast-Twitch Glycolytic and Slow-Twitch Oxidation muscle fibers remove the glycogen from the blood stream and store it.

     Unfortunately, when the activity is way beyond what athletes have trained to withstand, the FTG and STO muscle fibers cannot fully replenish their glycogen stores.

     I don't know whether the FTG muscle fibers are not able to remove sufficient glycogen to fully replenish their glycogen stores or the Liver does not store sufficient glycogen to replenish what the athletes metabolized.

     However, the research into completing depleting glycogen stores shows that athletes are not able to replenish their glycogen stores.

     During training, athletes should never completely deplete their glycogen stores. Athletes should only deplete their glycogen stored during competitions.

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0044.  Slight discomfort in shoulder

All classic Marshall, but still good.

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0046.  This is Colin Carmody

Colin is a character, but I love him and wish him well.  He didn't get a full opportunity at UIW.  I never understood how he could throw 400 feet from the outfield with crow hops and not consistently be over 90 when he pitched.

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

     The answer is simple.  When Colin throws 400 feet from the outfield, he points his acromial line at home plate.  When, to look 'traditional,' he raised his glove arm side leg off their ground, he does not point his acromial line at home plate.

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0049.  Slider

My twelve year old son very strongly and naturally drives his pitching hand horizontally through the ball.  He has always been able to effortlessly throw torque fastballs.  I told him 'horizontally' in regards to his fingers because I wanted to minimize that chance of supination.  Yesterday, he was spiraling his curves.  I noticed the strong torque arm action.  I had him exaggerate the cross step and he threw a nice topspin curve.

Was that a good adjustment?

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

     When my baseball pitchers spiral their Maxline Pronation Curves, instead of having their middle finger horizontal, their middle finger is vertical.

     As a result, their vertical middle finger drives the top seam downward which spirals the baseball.

     To achieve a horizontal spin axis, baseball pitchers have to drive the top seam of the baseball horizontally forward.

     While my Torque cross step body action helps baseball pitchers to turn their body more powerfully to the glove arm side of their body, it does not help baseball pitchers drive the top seam of the baseball horizontally forward.

     To drive the top seam of the baseball horizontally forward, baseball pitchers have to drive their pitching forearm horizontally inside of vertical with their middle finger pointing downward.

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0052.  Chatwood excited to be part of young rotation

You wrote:  "Talk about a Freudian slip.  Mr. O'Dowd subconsciously chose the correct verb."

Funny line.

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0055.  JJ's return a key for Marlins

I always enjoy this writing technique of yours.  It clearly and crisply makes your points.

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0057.  Cubs sign free-agent lefty Maholm

You wrote: "If right-handed baseball pitchers have quality reverse breaking pitches, then I cannot think of any reason to have any left-handed baseball pitchers."

This was interesting and so very classically Marshall in that it is so different from the mainstream and yet so logical.

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0059.  Re: My twelve year old son

My email regarding my son's throwing sinkers wasn't well written on my part.

I agree, of course, with everything in your response, but I'm not sure I made myself clear.

The wrong foot 'stationary' and 'step' throws work well with all arms actions.  In my experience, when going to the competitive drop out wind-up, players tend to over rotate and not get their pitching arm to the correct positions and their bodies fully rotated.

I know you know all this.  There is nothing new for you in regards to pitching.

My twelve year old son throws great from the wrong foot (stationary and step).  But, when I have him perform the drop out wind up, he frequently outwardly rotates and bends his arm until it points horizontally toward the first base line.

In an attempt to create an son-specific transitional step, I had him standing with both feet on the pitching rubber pointing straight forward, and using the loaded slingshot arm position.

From there, he stepped forward with his glove foot.  He couldn't easily over-rotate easily and his driveline was forced to be straight.  The quality sinkers were a direct result. The seemingly simple pendulum swing movement somehow trips him up.  It shouldn't, but it does.

I'm hoping that this new drill will help him feel what he needs to do to allow him to go to the full drop-out wind up.


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01.  With my Wrong Foot Pendulum Swing drill, where their pitching arm side foot lands before they release their pitches, my baseball my pitchers always point their acromial line directly at home plate through release.

02.  To be able to do my Wrong Foot Pendulum Swing drill and release their pitches before their pitching arm side foot lands, my baseball pitchers have to add a hip flip to their pitching arm side leg action.

03.  With my step forward with their glove arm side foot before they do my Wrong Foot Pendulum Swing drill, where their pitching arm side legs lands before they release their pitches, my baseball pitchers also always point their acromial line directly at home plate through release.

04.  With my step forward with their glove arm side foot and release their pitches before their pitching arm side foot lands, my baseball pitchers have to also add a hip flip to their pitching arm side leg action.

     I prefer that, with my step forward with their glove arm side foot first Wrong Foot drill and Drop Out Wind-Up, my baseball pitchers have their pitching arm side foot on the pitching rubber and their glove arm side foot one full step behind the pitching rubber.

     You wrote that, when my baseball pitchers do my Drop Out Wind-Up Pendulum Swing motion, my baseball pitchers 'tend to over rotate' and not get their pitching arm to the correct position and their body's fully rotated.

     I assume that you mean that they tend to over 'reverse' rotate their body.

     You wrote that your son 'frequently outwardly rotates and bends his arm until it points horizontally at first base.'

     I call this action, 'pitching forearm float' or 'grabbing.'

     To prevent 'pitching forearm float,' I teach my baseball pitchers to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height with a slight bend in their pitching elbow and keep the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body.

     Unfortunately, your son is bending his pitching elbow too much and he is turning the palm of his pitching hand to face upward.

     With regard to the position of the palm of the pitching hand:  My baseball pitchers do not turn their palm of their pitching hand to face upward until they raise their pitching upper arm to vertically beside their head.

     To correct this problem, you need to have your son do my Wrong Foot Loaded Slingshot and my Drop Out Wind-Up Loaded Slingshot drills where he keeps the palm of his pitching hand facing away from his body (toward third base) until he raises his pitching upper arm to vertically beside his head.

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0060.  Texas High School Coaches Association

How did your presentation go?


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     They had a big crowd at the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association.

     I presented second after the head baseball coach at Oklahoma State University.  He titled his presentation, "Pitching.'

     When he started to discuss 'mechanics,' he said I don't think that Dr. Marshall will agree with what I am about to say.

     It turned out that he was the pitching coach at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX and my year team at West Texas A&M University played them in Lubbock.

     Before the game, he came over to me and introduced himself and asked me what I was doing with my baseball pitchers.  I had them doing their wrist weight exercises together in the bullpen area.

     I took a few minutes to explain a few things to him.

     After he spoke, I told him that, for a 'tradition' baseball pitching coach, he got a lot of things right. That was when he reminded me about our conversation and he used what I told him.

     Unfortunately, after his and my presentations, the organizers of the convention had us move to another room to meet with those interested in asking questions.  Therefore, he did not attend my presentation.

     Also, after my presentation, the next speaker, Dr. Keith Meister, the orthopedic surgeon and head doctor of the Medical staff for the Texas Rangers greeted me and told me that he would like to talk with me about pitching injuries and gave me his card. I told him that I would email him.

     Unfortunately, I had to go to another room to answer questions and did not get to attend his presentation and could not get away for over two hours.

     I thought that my presentation went well.  However, the questioners' main concern was how to get their pitchers to do something so different.  In other words, I wasted my time.

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0061.  Pitching Inquiry

In reading the blog at the first URL below wherein you are referenced, I was reminded of your long-ago analysis of pitcher Bruce Sutter on NBC's Game of Week during the late 1970s.

Mysteries of the Single Finger Screwball

If distant memory serves me, I believe that you correctly determined that the split-finger fastball was in essence a single-finger screwball whereby the index digit slipped from the ball allowing the middle finger to generate friction imparting a counter-clockwise spin on the baseball.

1.  Leaving aside for the moment the efficacy of the splitter versus your sinker and screwball, I haven't been able to find your opinion of whether the single-finger fastball a.k.a. 'The Splitter' (as thrown by Sutter then, and by Jose Valverde today) is safe for the arm and shoulder?

I am aware that some pitchers have tried to hybridize the splitter and forkball into something commonly referred to as the "spork" or "splitty", which lacking pronation, is most definitely a prescription for Tommy John surgery.

Can baseball pitchers achieve the same release velocities in their Set and Wind-Up motions

In regularly reading your postings and from watching your DVDs, I am aware that long strides in the traditional pitching motion can put undue stress on the Anterior Cruciate Ligament of a pitcher's glove knee and on their L5-S1 inter-vertebral disk and the extensor muscles of their lower back (when decelerating).

You are certainly correct in stating that stretch pitching avoids a decrease in velocity when compared to a traditional "knee-lift" pitching motion as the study at the URL below makes clear.

What I'm wondering is what is the impact of speeding your delivery method?

In other words, if a pitcher were to utilize your delivery with a push-off from either the throwing-side foot, or the glove side foot starting from behind the rubber; would the additional momentum generated by the body affect a faster pitch velocity?

In testing such a hypothesis, I noticed that since the pitching arm side foot is the last to land in your motion, the glove side hip stress seems minimal when speeding your style of delivery.

Your comments would be most welcome.

Does the American Sports Medicine Institute Increase of Decrease Pitching Injuries

You wrote:

        "This question shows that ASMI believes that, when baseball pitchers lift the glove foot off the ground, they achieve higher release velocities.  It also shows that ASMI assumes that all baseball pitchers use the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion.

        However, when ‘traditional’ baseball pitchers have fast base runners on base, they frequently use the ‘slide step’ technique, which means they do not raise their glove foreleg.  Yet, they still achieve the same release velocity.

        On a bulletin board in the ASMI lab, I saw a photograph of a baseball pitcher with his raise glove foreleg highlighted to indicate that it contributes to the Kinetic Chain of baseball pitching.         In the ‘traditional’ baseball pitching motion, the glove foreleg does not contribute to the Kinetic Chain of baseball pitching.  To demonstrate, I offer the high-speed film that I took of myself in 1967 that I include in the Research Begins section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

        When we stop the action at the point where the glove foot lands, we can see that the baseball is actually moving backward.  Therefore, whatever force I applied with my glove leg did nothing to accelerate the baseball toward home plate.

        However, when the glove foot of my baseball pitchers contacts the ground, the baseball is already moving toward home plate.  Therefore, in my baseball pitching motion, the glove foreleg does contribute to the Baseball Pitching Kinetic Chain.’

        Therefore, because this question fails to provide any useful information, I recommend that ASMI gets rid of it."


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     Yes, I did correctly determine that Mr. Sutter's split-finger pitch rotated like reverse breaking pitches rotate.  Therefore, however, he gripped the baseball and however he mistakenly thought he released the baseball, the rotation of the baseball showed that the pitch was a reverse breaking pitch.

     Mr. Sutter did not invent this pitch.  Because Mr. Sutter could not get batters out in the minor leagues, a Cubs minor league pitching coach taught him this pitch.  Unfortunately, I cannot remember the pitching coach's name.  I believe that he became a major league pitching coach and taught his split-finger pitch to many other pitchers.

     Unfortunately, the split-finger pitch is a short term success pitch.

     The reason why Mr. Sutter could not maintain his success after his first 390 major league innings was not only because he had no other pitch than his split-finger.  And, the split-finger pitch has a fatal injury flaw.  That fatal injury flaw in the split-finger pitch is the grip.

     Mr. Sutter and all others grip the baseball with their index finger on one side of the baseball and the middle finger on the other side of the baseball.

     To throw a high-quality split-finger pitch, during release, baseball pitchers have to squeeze the baseball very tightly.

     Try this:  Put a tennis ball between your index and middle fingers and squeeze it tightly.  Now, put a tennis ball between your middle and ring fingers and squeeze it tightly.

     Clearly, with the baseball between their middle and index fingers, baseball pitchers can squeeze the baseball very tightly.

     However, the problem is not simply that the Interossei Dorsales are more powerful between the middle and index fingers; the problem is that, eventually, placing the baseball between the index and middle fingers weakens the index finger muscle.

     That is why Mr. Sutter and other split-finger pitches cannot sustain the quality of the pitch.

01.  You asked whether the split-finger pitch is safe for the pitching arm and shoulder.

     That depends on whether baseball pitchers take the baseball out of their glove with their pitching hand on top of the baseball, take the baseball laterally behind their body and supinate the release.

     Mr. Sutter pronated the release of his split-finger pitch.  Therefore, he did not slam his olecranon process into its fossa.

     However, Mr. Sutter took the baseball out of his glove with his pitching hand on top of the baseball and he did take the baseball laterally behind his body.

     Therefore, Mr. Sutter had 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' and 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'

     That is why Mr. Sutter ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament and lengthened his Gleno-Humeral Ligaments.

     I made a copy of the blog to which you referred wherein the blogger mentioned my analysis of Mr. Sutter's split-finger pitch.

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mysteries of the single-finger screwball
by lboros
Dec 29, 2005

with so many opinions circulating about bruce sutter's hall-of-fame worthiness, line 'em up one two three and four, i figured i'd chime in w mine.

the article is recycled from my old blog, one of the very earliest posts and hence read by almost no one.  so pretend it's fresh and composed this very day with great care.

sutter does not merit inclusion, imho, even though he made a revolutionary contribution to the game:  he was the first guy to perfect the now-ubiquitous split-finger fastball.

there was no such thing before he came along.

there was the forkball, a similar pitch, but hardly anybody threw it (diego segui for one, i recall).

the split-finger was a great mystery at the time. nobody could figure out the physics of the thing, or explain why it dropped so sharply just as it reached the plate.  it was as if sutter were practicing a form of sorcery, employing a power no one understood.

i remember watching a segment on nbc's "game of the week" pregame show in which ex-dodger relief pitcher mike marshall stood next to sutter during a bullpen session and tried to figure out how he cast such a spell on the baseball.

marshall (whose career stats are comparable to sutter's, by the way) scrutinized his subject the way old-time anthropologists used to study contortionists or tribal medicine men;

nbc shot some super-slow-motion video of the session, and marshall pored over that too.  he concluded that sutter was throwing not a split-finger fastball, but rather (as he called it) a single-finger screwball.

the super-slo-mo revealed all:

as the ball left sutter's hand his index finger fell completely away, and the ball rolled off his middle finger in a tight clockwise twirl, so that it broke toward right-handed hitters and away from lefties, the opposite of the typical break from a right-handed pitcher.

hence the mystery. batters had never seen anything like it from an rhp before.  (a similar sense of awe and disbelief apparently attended carl hubbell's invention of the classic screwball in the 1930s.)

sutter had stumbled upon a gimmick pitch. and once hitters figured it out, the jig was up.

in his first three and a half seasons as closer (1976-79), he struck out 9.6 men per 9 innings and held hitters to an avg below .200, they could barely lay bat on ball.

but they eventually adjusted, and in his next six seasons (1980-85), until injury basically ended his career, sutter whiffed only 5.9 per 9 innings, with correspondingly weaker eras, hits-per-innings, avg allowed, etc etc. though sutter remained a very effective pitcher, he was no longer a dominant one.

and 400 innings of dominance does not a hall-of-famer make, in my estimation.


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     I have no idea who 'lboros' is.  However, while he got the end of his story correct, that is, that I did correctly analyze Mr. Sutter's pitch, he failed in the details.

     Mr. lboros said, "i remember watching a segment on nbc's "game of the week" pregame show in which ex-dodger relief pitcher mike marshall stood next to sutter during a bullpen session and tried to figure out how he cast such a spell on the baseball."

     I did the segment during one of the early games of the Cardinal/Brewers World Series in Milwaukee, WI.

     Mr. Sutter did not do a bullpen session with me.

     Mr. lboros said, "nbc shot some super-slow-motion video of the session."

     NBC did not shoot super slow-motion film.

     Instead, a year earlier, at my suggestion, the guy that does NFL films, took high-speed film of Mr. Sutter throwing his split-finger, Nolan Ryan throwing his fastball and curve, Phil Neikro throwing his knuckleball and Tug McGraw throwing his reverse breaking ball and sent me a copy.

     Therefore, I provided the high-speed film of Mr. Sutter throwing his split-finger pitch that NBC ran during that segment.

     However, as Mr lboros said, "the super-slo-mo revealed all."

"as the ball left sutter's hand his index finger fell completely away, and the ball rolled off his middle finger in a tight clockwise twirl, so that it broke toward right-handed hitters and away from lefties, the opposite of the typical break from a right-handed pitcher."

     Then, Mr. lboros said, "batters had never seen anything like it from an rhp before."

     Mr. Sutter's split-finger pitch has the same rotation as my Maxline Fastball Sinker.

     Therefore, for all of my fourteen major league seasons, batters got to see my Maxline Fastball Sinker and my Maxline True Screwball, both of which are reverse breaking pitches.

     After the first three and one-half years of Mr. Sutter's nine year career, the quality of Mr. Sutter's reverse breaking pitch severely decreased.

     After my first three and one-half seasons of my fourteen year career (1967 through 1979), from 1972 through 1979, I finished 4th, 2nd, 1st, 5th and 5th in Cy Young Awards.

     Mr. lboros correctly determined that "400 innings of dominance does not a hall-of-famer make."

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     In the order of their likelihood of injury, striding farther than baseball pitchers can continue to move the center of mass of their body forward through release injures:

01.  The L5-S1 intervertebral disk
02.  The Medial Collateral Ligament of the pitching knee.
03.  The Labrum of the pitching hip.
04.  The lateral aspect of the pitching knee.
05.  The Anterior Cruciate Ligament of the glove knee.

     In addition, striding far significantly decreases release velocity and exposes baseball pitchers to injuries as a result of baseball batters hitting baseballs back at them.

     With regard to lifting the glove leg adding power to the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion:

     As my 'Causes of Pitching Injuries' video clearly shows, when my glove foot landed, the baseball was not moving forward.

     This means that lifting my glove leg did not increase my release velocity.  Therefore, baseball pitchers have no force application reason to lift their glove leg off the ground.

     When, to prevent base runners on first base from stealing second base, instead of lifting their glove leg off the ground, 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches teach their baseball pitchers to use a 'slide' step and these baseball pitchers achieve their normal release velocities shows that lifting the glove leg off the ground does not contribute to release velocity.

     You stated that the following study compared the 'traditional' "knee lift" pitching motion with the 'slide' step baseball pitching motion and found the release velocities comparable.

     I uploaded that article.

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Does the stretch cost a pitcher fastball speed?
by Mike Fast
April 20, 2010

Earlier today, Rob Neyer wrote about Ubaldo Jimenez's no-hitter at his Sweet Spot blog at ESPN.  He linked to an article by Thomas Harding about Jimenez's switch of pitching deliveries mid-game:

It was after the fifth-inning leadoff walk that Apodaca mentioned the idea that saved the game and set up Jimenez for history.

At the start of innings, Jimenez, like every starting pitcher, was throwing with a full windup.  Throughout his career, Jimenez has been far more effective from the windup than from the stretch, the side-to-the-plate stance pitchers use with men on base.  But Saturday, he was more effective from the stretch.  That meant less of a leg kick and, on Saturday, more control of his body.

"I talked to him between innings and he said he just felt lost," Apodaca said.  "To me, it was night and day the way he was executing pitches.  His timing, as far as getting the ball out of his glove, and his delivery to the plate were all sharper out of the stretch.

That's certainly fascinating to me, but what struck a researcher's nerve with me was Rob's comment about this all:

It's often said that the stretch costs a pitcher 2-3 miles an hour off his fastball, and (considering how easy that is to check), I'll assumed that's roughly accurate.

It is very easy to check, and it turns out that it's not accurate at all.

A pitcher's fastball speed turns out to be almost identical with runners on base as compared to his average fastball speed with the bases empty.  If anything, the average starting pitcher throws about 0.1 mph harder with runners on base.

Of course it could be that a typical pitcher bears down more and tries to throw harder when there are men on base in order to get the batter out and keep them from scoring.

But if pitching from the stretch was a significant hindrance to fastball speed, you'd think we'd see it reflected in the data anyway, even if the pitcher was trying to throw harder.

I doubt that the baseball adage that Rob mentioned was merely saying that pitchers end up throwing the same speed from the stretch as from the windup because they're trying harder.

I realize that runners on base vs. bases empty does not correspond exactly to pitching from the stretch vs. the windup for every pitcher.  But it should be close to enough to reveal any major differences between the two.

I looked at the time period 2008-2009, first at all pitchers who had thrown at least 1000 fastballs, which would include quite a few relievers, and then those pitchers who had thrown at least 2000 fastballs, which should be mostly starting pitchers.

The results were not markedly different between the two groups.

What about Jimenez in particular?

He has averaged 95.7 mph with the bases empty and 95.6 mph with runners on base.

Who are the two starting pitchers who really crank it up with men on base?

That's Justin Verlander; 94.1 mph with the bases empty and 95.4 mph with runners on and Ted Lilly; 86.2 mph with bases empty and 87.7 mph with runners on.


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     Rather than a research study, I would call this report anecdotal information.  Nevertheless, it does appear to support my statement that lifting the glove leg does not increase release velocity.

02.  You asked whether, in my Drop Out Wind-Up Pendulum Swing competitive baseball pitching motion, pushing off with the glove foot from one step behind the pitching rubber and pushing off with the pitching foot from the pitching rubber added momentum to my baseball pitchers body action that increases their release velocity.

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, after their baseball pitchers reverse rotate their hips and shoulders as far as they can, they rotate their hips and shoulder forward as fast as they can.

     This means that, during the beginning of their pitching motion, 'traditional' baseball pitchers maximally rotate their hips and shoulders forward.

          "As a result, because their pitching arm starts so fast that 'traditional' baseball pitchers cannot apply additional force at the end of their acceleration phase, 'traditional' baseball pitchers cannot achieve the release velocities that their genetics enable them to achieve."

     Conversely, with my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers use their glove and pitching legs to 'walk' forward.

     This means that, during the beginning of my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers do not rotate their hips and shoulders forward at all.

     However, in my baseball pitching motion, after their glove foot lands, my baseball pitchers maximally rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body diagonally forward through release.

     As a result, because their pitching arm is 'locked' with their shoulders, my baseball pitchers save the force application of their pitching elbow and forearm until they accelerate the baseball through release.

     This means that my baseball pitchers apply additional force with their pitching arm through release.

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0062.  Wrist Weight Torque Fastball

Can you please comment.  I think my twelve year old son is getting close.

Twelve year old doing the wrist weight Drop Out Pendulum Swing exercise

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     You are correct.  Your son performed my Drop Out Wind-Up Pendulum Swing competitive baseball pitching motion very well.

     At the end of his pendulum swing, your son very nicely raised his pitching upper arm to shoulder height and his pitching hand to driveline height.

     Then, he rotated his acromial line to point at home plate through release and powerfully extended his pitching elbow and pronated his pitching forearm.

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0063.  Q/A #0035

In Q/A #0035 the father wrote:  "My daughter told me that she ran the 4-800s at practice last week in the 1:16 a 1:19 range with approximately 3 minutes of rest between them."

There is no way his daughter did these times.

Let's assume he meant to say that she did 8-400's at a 1:16 -1:19 pace.  While it hurt her in her recent 1600 event, these practice times are outstanding.

The girl's goal is to do a 5:20 - 1600 meter.  Her goal should be much more ambitious.  If she sets her goal on a 5 minute 1600, then, in February, she will achieve it.  To do 5 flat for a 1600 requires a 1:15 pace.

If she can do 8 - 400's at 1:16-1:19 pace with only a 3 minute rest interval, then she should easily do a 5:00 1600.

The only thing holding her back is her goal.

I really enjoy the dad's reports.


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     Unfortunately, I did not question the distance and times.

     When she runs 100s, her pace is 16.2 to 17.0 seconds.

     When she runs 200s, her pace is 34.3 to 35.3 seconds.

     At the same pace, she should run 400s at a pace of 68.6 to 70.3 seconds or 1:10:03 minutes.

     Obviously, his daughter did not do 800s in 1:16 to 1:19 minutes.

     Nevertheless, as you correctly stated, if she maintains her interval-training pace for 1600 meters, then she would run close to a 5:00 minute race.

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0064.  This is Lon Fullmer, OCXtreme training group

I wrote this report on November 29, 2011, but I did not send it until today (January 16, 2012).

We now have 8 students with varying participation ages, which includes an infielder and a catcher aged 14, 15 and 16.  Six of them are doing 32 reps. At the jump from 24 to 32 reps, they started getting discomfort.  But all made the adjustments within one week.

Depending on the situation, we will stop increments now and stay at 32 reps for 2 to 3 more weeks.  Then, when their spring teams meet for practices, we will ask the boys to cut back to 16 reps.  At that point, although most of them have had the luxury of catchers all fall, they can start throwing to catchers.

They all understand maintenance and the reasons why we shut them down until spring and early summer have concluded.  But we still have coordinate with their High School coaches.

I’m not even sure if I should recommend continued maintenance for clients whom I do not know their skeletal situation.

1.  What do you recommend?

2.  Should the catchers and infielders be performing their fingertip flips the same as the pitchers?

I had an opportunity to talk to an ex-MLB catcher who coaches one of the minor league teams and works with the catchers at OCXtreme in the fall and winter.  He watches our training program He said that he was in an organizational meeting where they discussed you.

One of his minor league pitchers is always sore.  Now, this pitcher works with our training group and, to his delight and disbelief, he has discovered the torque game!

He no longer had discomfort and would like to carry it further with his professional handlers.  He told me last Friday the new head trainer called him in and went over his off-season training requirements.  The kid he mentioned you and asked the trainer to look into your program.

The trainer told the kid to go ahead with what he was doing: probably because his minor league team coach watched your program fo r6 weeks before his pitcher started training with us.

The minor leaguer is so impressed with his improvements that he is going to push for a rebound wall at the spring training facility.  I’m not holding my breath on that one.

I watched a video of him during a game last season.  He was amazingly close to many of our tenets of alignments and arrivals already (Ruben Corrals helped him in the past.) I’m sure he will send you a copy soon.  He is the professional pitcher that has been e-mailing you.

I am also running into many baseball establishment people at all levels who are listening and learning.  They think our materials are peaking their curiosity.  Hopefully, they will start accepting our program.  It’s coming on faster and faster.  I just wish it involved you.

Tyler Matzek report:

During the Fall, Tyler worked a team oriented training regimen (agilities and free weights) mixed with your sport specific program.

In early fall, as usual, some of his handlers might have asked him to shut it down for a while and told to take a break, especially after seeing him train after 3 hard weeks straight and maximally with your program.

I told them the minute competition was over, he needed to extend your program into the recoil program.  They might not have processed this from that short exposure.  It’s strange that they then ask them to perform at instructs with their now reduced fitness.

November 29, 2011

Tyler called me today for the first time since I worked with him for one day, which was 3 days before he left for fall instructs.  I will meet with him on Tuesday to find out what he has been doing and what he plans on doing.

I will again give him my recommendations and see what he thinks.

I hope they have not warned him to train in our manor.  But, I don’t know.  I know the 2 visitors that watched him train in those 4 weeks I trained him last summer sounded alarmed and concerned (Bo McGlophlen and others), but one a graduate Kinesiologist scout was not!

When Tyler works out, he goes all out: especially in front of the Rockie guys.  He was chucking the 6 lb’er like it was a whiffle ball.

I believe I’m seeing the iron ball move laterally.

December 12, 2011

Tyler called me and said he was training with 15 lb. wrist weights and throwing his 6 lb. ball with his High School catcher, Nolan Clarke.  Tthis is a good thing.  I trained Nolan Clarke as a batter and some defense.  He knows your material very well and is one of the reasons why Tyler kept on track during his senior year.  Nolly is tough on Tyler about alignment and pronation effort and Tyler really respects him and their friendship.  Too bad Nolly plays for the Phillies.

I guess Tyler thinks he has this figured out and wants to put together a plan that satisfies his advisers, acquaintances, etc. evenly.

December 12, 2011

By now you might know that Colorado promoted Bo McGlophlen from pitching development coordinator to AAA pitching coach.  I’m hoping he gets the big league job next.  He watched Tyler do your program.

Tyler called and asked if he could come over and demonstrate the training elements with his new head of development coordinator Doug Linton.  I told him yes and set up a time.

Tyler showed up early and we set up.  I asked him questions about if he is in shape enough to do this demonstration with quality and effort.  He said, "Let’s go."

Doug popped in and we started.

While I explained to Doug what was happening and why, Tyler warmed up and started the wrist weight routine.  He was impressed with Tyler's strength.

After wrist weights, Tyler started with the heavy ball and I explained why we use such heavy balls.  We finished with bucket twirls and fingertip flips. Next, he did his football throws and I explained why.

Next, he did his half reverse pivot bullpen warm-up from the mound and I explained why. I also explained Tyler does half reverse pivot long tosses, bullpens and heavy ball throws. Doug just said, yeah.

After he trained with me last season, Tyler bet with teammates that he could stand on the stadium mound and do a half reverse pivot as though he was going to pick a base runner off second base and, instead throw the baseball over the center field wall.  He made a lot of money.

Next, Tyler threw a bullpen and he and I explained why.  Tyler was impressive with his explanation of some of the principles and feels that he is experiencing.

After an hour and a half of seeing and talking about this, Doug said he was fine with whatever Tyler wanted to do to train and needed to perform team strategies.

His biggest concern was Tyler commanding the fastball low.  I said he has been doing that since he was 10 to both sides of the plate and with movement to either side.  I’m sure he was responding to the problems Tyler has in his early season games.

Although he said Tyler can do whatever he wants, I would rather he said I will support logistically whatever Tyler wants and build him a rebound wall.

But, Doug did not.  Although Doug is more understanding of what we are doing now, he has to overcome this information shock and how to proceed.

I know Doug has a lot on his plate.  I told Doug that if he want to be the best development coordinator that you can be, then he should go to your website and start reading and watching the video.  we will see!

December 28, 2011

I called Tyler to ask him to come over and demonstrate for my OCXtreme group.  He accepted.  He trained with the group and showed them the maximal nature and perfect alignment effort of how we want the routines performed.  Tyler really put on a show with the iron balls and footballs.  This will help with my group's enthusiasm.

Tyler said he has been doing the routine with Nolan and felt great.  He looked robust.  I left a key for him to get in to the my shop and work out there, instead of at their favorite training gym.  He said he was going in the mornings with my big 8 lb. iron ball.  (I don’t like this ball because of its size).  He says he is throwing at his High School with Nolan.

He says, when he starts to throw bullpens to enter spring, he will come in.  He has an alumni game coming up next month.  I suspect I will hear from him just before then.

January 09, 2012

Tyler came in to pen Saturday morning.  We talked about what he has been doing and he told me he has been training on his own at his girlfriend's mother's house.  He assured me that he has got it down and still using his new 15 lb. WW.

I wanted him to get as much out of the bullpen as I could.  So, he warmed up with wrong foot throws of each pitch before he threw a sequence-oriented bullpen.

He is fit and weighing in at 235 much; heavier than in past years.  He is working hard on attaining overspin and got there 2 times.  If he throw overspins in a game, this pitch is nuts.

His torque game is very good and he does bring the sinker.  His change up needs to improve.  But, he likes the circle grip.  So, his screwball is weak.  There goes half of his vertical movement game.

I believe that, with his incredible speed, his coaches go there too much and it prevents his expanding his lateral movement game and produces a lesser sequenced mixed game.

He said he threw a 3 and 2 bases loaded 2 out change up at the end of the last year that buckled the batter.  He gave his pitching coahd, Joey Ichen, the kudo.

I told him he needs the 15 lb. WW and 8 lb. lead ball for during season maintenance.  I told him to give me a call when he wants to come in and left it at that.

I feel good that Tyler has taken steps to proceed on his own and take the bull by the horns.

January 14, 2012

Tyler's mother called to change her other son's batting session.  She said Tyler's girlfriend;s mother called and said her back yard was all torn up.

Until later, all the best.


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     As always, you wrote an incredible report.

01.  With regard to the skeletal development of 14, 15 and 16 year old infielders and catchers:

     Until adolescent males are biologically sixteen years old, they have open growth plates in their throwing elbows.

     The primary growth plate of concern is the growth plate for the medial epicondyle to which the five critical pitching forearm baseball pitching muscles attach.

     Therefore, I recommend that you regularly squeeze the medial and lateral epicondyles tightly together.  If the boy's squeal, then they have an irritated growth plate and they need to stop training.

02.  With regard to whether catchers and infielders should do my middle fingertip spins the same as pitchers do:  Yes.

     I agree that Mr. Matzek is falling prey to the Rockie's personnel bad advice to rest.  Mr. Matzek needs to pack every off-season with completing the rest of my interval-training programs.

     Until Mr. Matzek complete my 30 lb. wrist weight and 15 lb. lead ball 'Recoil' interval-training programs, he will not master the complete game he needs to maximally succeed at the major league level.

     Only baseball pitchers that get out glove arm side batters succeed as they should succeed.  Therefore, he needs the Maxline game.  He needs my Maxline True Screwball.  His circle change grip has to go.

     The next time that you talk with Mr. Matzek, tell him that, if he wants to win multiple major league Cy Young Awards, then he should talk with someone with far less genetic gifts than he about, how he, nevertheless, finished first, second, fourth and fifth twice in Cy Young Awards and set numerous relief pitching records.

     That Mr. Matzek threw a circle change in a game losing situation shows that he has the self-confidence to succeed.  However, after he does this once in the major league, batters will sit on his mediocre-quality circle change and hammer it.  Therefore, he needs to master the reverse breaking pitches that destroy baseball batters, even when they sit on them.

     If Mr. Matzek could arrive before noon one day and leave after noon the next day, then I could give him an idea of what he has to do to become the best baseball pitcher that he can be.  And, I will teach him how to 'horizontally bounce' his pitching upper arm.  That will increase his release velocity even more and make the Rockies leave his alone.      Thanks again for the incredible report.

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0065.  For your Venders file.

This is Lon Fullmer

Hausmann wrist weights

I have run across a manufacturer of wrist weights that have 10, 12, 15 and 20 lb. wrist weights There name is Hausmann.  Tyler Matzek used their 15 lb WW.


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     Thank you.

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0066.  Texas High School Coaches Association

That the Texas High School Coaches ignored what you presented is good news.  The more pitching coaches that ignore you, the better for me.  I realize that makes me a selfish bastard, but what the hell, my sons are doing great.

Anyway, on a serious note, today, I had my twelve year old son throw "correct foot loaded slingshots".  He stepped with the glove foot.  After he had a good rhythm going, I had him 'pull back' with his glove foot.

Anyway, he started throwing sinkers.  Son of a gun.  Tthe black circle was dead straight forward.  With every throw, his spin velocity improved.  On about the 6th throw, his sinker broke downward like a curve.  It was wicked.  He was quite pleased with himself.

We talked about the fact that 'it's all simple,' if he keeps it simple and what is possible with a straight driveline.

1.  Why is it so damn hard for baseball pitchers to not over rotate, get to the loaded slingshot position and drive it straight?

The pendulum swing should be so easy, but we all seem to make it complicated.


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01.  Baseball pitchers have to have absolutely no difficulty performing my Wrong Foot body action with 'Slingshot,' 'Loaded Slingshot' or my 'Pendulum Swing' glove and pitching arm actions.

     Then, my baseball pitchers will easily drive their pitching arm down their acromial line straight toward home plate.

02.  They also have to have absolutely no difficulty stepping forward with their glove foot and then performing my Wrong Foot body action with my 'Slingshot,' 'Loaded Slingshot' or 'Pendulum Swing' glove and pitching arm actions.

03.  The final step is to do the second step drill, but, instead of landing with their pitching arm side foot, baseball pitchers have to flip their pitching arm side hip sideways forward, such that they release their pitches before their pitching foot lands.

     Congratulate your son for me for throwing great sinkers.

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0067.  Indoor Training

Here is something which you may or may not find interesting.

I thought that I would point-out a training aide that I utilize with youngsters in order to help develop your pitches.  The URL shows something called a "Learningcurve" baseball.  The instructions with device are miserable in that they recommend pitchers to supinate.

In any event, as an indoor tool in our chilly, rainy northwest climate, both the coach and the prospective pitcher are able to see whether the proper spin is being applied to the ball from a distance as short as 15 to 20 feet.

The ball is soft enough to avoid damage to wallboard, yet firm enough for light pitching practice, even in a large family room.

This is a great tool by which to receive immediate feedback on the Maxline True Screwball, in particular the subtleties of release that provide more-or-less sideways, or downward motion.  As you have stated, achieving a beautiful downward motion on a screwball is something that Jeff Sparks and few other of your students have achieved.

The fins on the ball slow the velocity and allow me as a catcher time to observe the wind-up, arm-slot, and pronation of the thrower, along with rotation.

All in all, a seemingly good compliment (for those of us on a limited budget) to your off-season training material on the DVDs.

Learning Curve Baseball

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     Fitness and skill training are specific.  That means that how athletes train is the fitness and skill that they achieve.  Therefore, I rarely use non-specific devices.

     For fitness and skill training of baseball pitchers to release my Maxline True Screwball, I use appropriately-sized footballs.

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0068.  Onion Sports Network Article

Orion Sports Network
Cy Young Marshall to Help Saints Pitchers
April 25, 2008

ST. PAUL, MN:  Thirty years ago Dr. Mike Marshall sat down with Bill Veeck and discussed his theory on pitching.  Veeck told Marshall that he could be his “pitching coach for life.”  On Saturday, April, 26, Veeck’s son, Mike, will bring out Marshall to impart his wisdom on the St. Paul Saints pitching staff.

The 65-year-old Marshall has developed his own pitching methods that he believes could completely eradicate pitching-arm injuries and is now using his knowledge to help young pitchers today.  He will attend the Saints workout on April 26 and explain his methods and ideologies to the pitching staff.  One of Marshall’s protégés, left-handed pitcher Joe Williams, has been invited into camp by manager George Tsamis.

“Mike Marshall was ahead of his time 30 years ago and the fact that he is still ahead of his time is a signal that we should pay attention to him now,” said Saints President Mike Veeck.  “With the increasing salaries of Major League pitchers, organizations need to find ways to keep pitchers on the mound and off the disabled list.”

Marshall began his research in 1967 and used his findings to help him during his career.  That knowledge led to an impressive career with some mind-boggling numbers.

Marshall finished in the top seven in the Cy Young Award balloting five times during his 14 seasons, including winning the award in 1974.  He holds Major League single-season records for most appearances (106), most closing innings pitched (208), most consecutive appearances (13) and most games finished (84).

Attending Michigan State University, Marshall received three degrees, including a PhD in kinesiology.

“I know the injurious flaws in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion and how to eliminate all pitching injuries,” said Marshall.  “I also know the mechanical flaws in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that decrease release velocity, release consistency and the variety and quality of pitches pitchers can throw and how to correct these mechanical flaws.”

Marshall spent time with eight Major League teams including substantial time with the Montreal Expos, Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins.


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     Thanks.  I have never seen this article.

     Unfortunately, the manager, who pitched, decided that the team had better things to do.

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0069.  Analysis of The Marshall Mechanics of Josh Collmenter

The Marshall Mechanics of Josh Collmenter

Damox Sports
Sports gossip from the front lines
May 05, 2011

Dr. Mike Marshall is something of an outcast in the baseball world.  He was a durable relief pitcher back in the 1970?s and even won a Cy Young Award, but since his retirement nearly 30 years ago he’s been rubbing a lot of people the wrong way.  Marshall developed a new way to throw a baseball, and nobody is quite sure what to make of it.

Dr. Marshall studied physiology and knows a lot more about the human body than the average professional baseball coach, or even the average pro trainer.  It was through his study of the human body that he developed a method of training and throwing that minimizes injury while maximizing velocity.

Marshall promotes heavy pronation of the arm (in essence, turning the forearm inside out) during a throw, even on breaking balls.  This is something many pitchers, including Roger Clemens, have done for decades.  Perhaps the most eye-catching part of Marshall’s mechanics is the way the hips are squared to the plate.

Marshall does not promote the huge stride with hips and shoulders turning quickly from facing third base (for a righty pitcher) to facing home plate right before the throw.  He’s shown that pitchers can achieve the same or better velocity without having to turn their bodies.

The professional pitchers who typically work with Marshall are those who have had a catastrophic arm injury and are considered “finished” by most scouts.  Marshall’s training program claims to heal and strengthen the arm quicker than drastic surgeries like the one that has become known as “Tommy John surgery”.  That’s quite a claim, but Marshall has the living evidence to back it up.

Marshall’s bigger problem is the fact that very few of his students have gone on to have much success on the pro level.  Some have claimed the Marshall mechanics don’t disguise the deliver well-enough, so even with good velocity the hitter feels like he’s hitting of a hitting machine.

I do believe, however, that the Marshall mechanics can work at the major league level with the right amount of tweaking.  I also have evidence to back this up, and his name is Josh Collmenter.  In 12 1/3 innings for the Diamondbacks this season, Collmenter has given up just 2 earned runs.  Let’s take a look at his motion:

Notice how his plant foot actually comes back in toward his body before it lands.  The knee straightens and the upper body rolls forward over this leg.  The motion reminds of a trebuchet.  Here’s a view of Collmenter from behind home plate:

I don’t know if Collmenter has ever worked with Dr. Marshall, but his motion certainly indicates he’s aware of him.

There is a fundamental difference in the way Collmenter throws a ball and the way 99% of other pitchers do it.  Note that he’s not twisting his torso forward to bring his arm around his body.  His torso rolls forward over his hips, and this forward energy is then transferred to the throwing arm.

The difference might be subtle to some, but it’s clear if you look at his shoulders in relation to his hips.  Notice they are always facing the same way.  Most coaches preach “separation”, which means rotating the hips first and then the shoulders, and using that stretch in the torso when hips and shoulders are separated to gain energy, like stretching back a rubber band.

Only time will tell whether Collmenter’s mechanics can survive in the long run in the majors, but I think this is the first great test of a way of throwing that professional coaches have said will never work.


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     This is another article that I had not seen.

     That this article came out on May 05, 2011 and I never heard of it surprises me.  I would expected my readers to tell me before January 2012.

     Thank you.

     Now, let's scrutinize what the writer had to say.

01.  The writer wrote that I am something of an outcast in the baseball world and I rub a lot of people the wrong way.

     That is what I get for sharing how I did what nobody else understands.

02.  He wrote that I developed a new way to throw a baseball and nobody is quite sure what to make of it.

     That is different from being an outcast and rubbing the wrong way.

03.  The writer wrote that I studied physiology, that I know a lot more about the human body than the average professional baseball coach, or even the average pro trainer and that I used what I learned about the human body to develop a method of training and throwing that minimizes injury while maximizing velocity.

     I studied Exercise Physiology, Physiological Psychology, Kinesiology and Motor Skill Acquisition.  Otherwise, everything else he wrote was correct.

04.  The writer wrote that I recommend that baseball pitchers powerfully pronate their pitching forearm through release even with breaking pitches and that many pitchers, including Roger Clemens, have powerfully pronated their release for decades.

     Roger Clemens never pronated his breaking ball releases.  Actually, Mr. Clemens threw very few breaking pitches.  He preferred the single finger screwball that Mr. Sutter threw.

05.  The writer wrote that I teach my baseball pitchers to point their hips and shoulders at second base, that I have shown that pitchers can achieve the same or better velocity without having to turn their bodies, that I teach my baseball pitchers to turn their body. Instead of turning their body backwards, I teach my baseball pitchers to turn their body forward, toward home plate and that I typically work with baseball pitchers that suffered catastrophic arm injuries and considered “finished.”

     Actually, except for the three seriously injured minor league baseball pitchers that the Cincinnati Reds sent me to rehabilitate, I typically worked with high school and junior college pitchers that were insufficiently talented to pitch junior college and four year college baseball, respectively.

06.  The writer wrote that I claim to heal and strengthen the arm quicker than drastic surgeries like the one that has become known as “Tommy John surgery” and that I have the living evidence to back it up.

     That is correct, including, Tommy John.

07.  The writer wrote that my bigger problem is that very few of my students have gone on to have much success on the pro level.

     I trained Jeff Sparks who struck out 41 batters in 30 1/3 major league innings.  That sounds like success.

     Otherwise, several of the baseball pitchers had great success in college, but, after their minor league 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches, like the Rockies' pitching coaches with Tyler Matzek, they cannot get anybody out.

08.  The writer wrote: "Some claim that my baseball pitching mechanics don’t disguise the delivery, such that hitters feel as though they are batting against batting practice machines.

     The 41 batters in 30 1/4 innings that Mr. Sparks struck out did not believe that they were batting against a batting practice machine.

09. The writer wrote: "With the right amount of tweaking, the Marshall mechanics can work at the major league level."

     Damn.  I wish that I knew how to 'tweak' my pitching motion to work at the major league level.  Oh, that's right, I already did.  That is how I finished fifth and better in the Cy Young Award five times.

10.  The writer wrote: "I have evidence to back this up, and his name is Josh Collmenter."

     Isn't Mr. Collmenter from my home state? (Michigan)

     The writer's evidence is that, in 12 1/3 innings for the Diamondbacks this season, Collmenter has given up just 2 earned runs.

     At this point, the online article has rear and front view videotapes of Mr. Collmenter throwing a tailing fastball.

11.  The writer wrote that Mr. Collmenter's plant foot comes back in toward his body before it lands.

     When I watched the rear view of Mr. Collmenter's baseball pitching motion, I was struck with how Mr. Collmenter pendulum swung his pitching arm back toward second base, how Mr. Collmenter turned the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and how vertical his pitching forearm was at release.

12.  The writer wrote: "The knee straightens and the upper body rolls forward over this leg."

13.  The writer wrote:  "I don’t know if Collmenter has ever worked with Dr. Marshall, but his motion certainly indicates he’s aware of him."

     The pitching arm action that Mr. Collmenter uses very closely resembles the pitching arm action that I teach.  That is, Mr. Collmenter engages his Latissimus Dorsi muscle and uses his Triceps Brachii muscle to actively extend his pitching elbow.

     However, as evidenced by the fact that Mr. Collmenter slightly pulls his pitching arm across the front of his body, Mr. Collmenter does not powerfully pronate his releases.

14.  The writer wrote:  "There is a fundamental difference in the way Collmenter throws a ball and the way 99% of other pitchers do it."

     I would say 99.999%. Mr. Collmenter and Mr. Lincecum are the only major league baseball pitchers, other than me, to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

15.  The writer wrote:  "Note that he’s not twisting his torso forward to bring his arm around his body.  His torso rolls forward over his hips, and this forward energy is then transferred to the throwing arm.

     I agree that Mr. Collmenter does not reverse rotate his body as much as 99.999% of the 'traditional' major league baseball pitchers do.  I also agree that Mr. Collmenter rotates the entire pitching arm side of his body forward farther and faster than 99.999% of major league baseball pitchers do.

     However, Mr. Collmenter strides farther than he is able to continue to move the center of mass of his body forward through release.  The proof is in the fact that, to continue to apply force to the baseball, Mr. Collmenter has to bend forward at his waist.

     If Mr. Collmenter were to step forward only as far as he can power walk, then Mr. Collmenter would not have to bend forward at his waist.  Therefore, Mr. Collmenter would be able to continue to move the center of mass of his body forward through release and he would rotate the entire pitching arm side of his body forward even farther and faster.  As a result, Mr. Collmenter would significantly improve his release velocity.

16.  The writer wrote:  "The difference might be subtle to some, but it’s clear if you look at his shoulders in relation to his hips. Notice they are always facing the same way."

     I agree.  Mr. Collmenter's body action resembles that body action I teach.  But, more importantly, his pitching arm action is the pitching arm action that I teach.

17.  The writer wrote:  "Most coaches preach “separation”, which means rotating the hips first and then the shoulders, and using that stretch in the torso when hips and shoulders are separated to gain energy, like stretching back a rubber band."

     I agree.  'Traditional' baseball pitching coaches wrongly believe that powerfully rotating the hips from pointing just short of the base on their glove arm side to forty-five degrees in front of perpendicular to the front edge of home plate while leaving the shoulders and pitching upper arm well behind is good.

     The truth is that the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle alone on the glove arm side of the lower Rib Cage cannot overcome the inertial mass of the upper body and pitching arm sufficiently to rotate the upper body and pitching arm at the same rotational velocity as they rotated their hips forward.

     Therefore, after the explosive start of the forward rotation of their hips, the forward rotation of their shoulders drags behind.

     However, whether the Oblique Internus Abdominus muscle tears or not is not the issue.

     The critical element in the baseball pitching motion is the pitching upper arm.

     The explosive forward rotation of the hips and the inertial mass of the pitching arm causes the pitching upper arm to plioanglosly (eccentrically) behind the acromial line.

     This action lengthens the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments on the front of the pitching shoulder. After thousands of high-intensity pitches, lengthening the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments destabilizes the pitching shoulder.

     This is the cause of 'Dead Arm.'

     By gradually destabilizing the pitching shoulder, 'traditional' baseball pitchers gradually decrease their release velocity.

     Conversely, by engaging his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, as evidenced by the fact that Mr. Collmenter turns the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate, Mr. Collmenter 'locks' his pitching upper arm with his shoulders.

     This action prevents the forward rotation of his shoulders from destabilizing his pitching shoulder.

18.  The write wrote:  "Only time will tell whether Collmenter’s mechanics can survive in the long run in the majors, but I think this is the first great test of a way of throwing that professional coaches have said will never work."

     I agree.  And, with everything else that 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches teach, turning the back of the pitching upper arm to face toward home plate will prove that 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches have no idea what they are doing.

     Nevertheless, I congratulate and appreciate the writer for the very thoughtful analysis and somewhat understanding a critical difference between what I teach and what 'traditional' coaches teach.

     I tried unsuccessfully to email the writer.  If somebody knows how I can email the writer, I would like to send the writer a copy of this Q/A.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, January 29, 2012, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0070.  January 13 through 22, 2012 Critique

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0060.  Texas High School Coaches Association

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

You wrote: "After he (the former baseball pitching coach at Texas Tech University) spoke, I told him that, for a 'tradition' baseball pitching coach, he got a lot of things right.  That was when he reminded me about our conversation and he used what I told him."

See, you didn't waste your time.

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

     That conversation took place in 1994, seventeen years ago.  He parlayed that conversation into becoming the head baseball coach at Oklahoma State University for the last nine years.

     The reason why I feel as though I wasted my time talking to the Texas High School Coaches Association is because they want to know how they can incorporate my concepts into the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion without the baseball pitchers and their parents objecting.

     What they should be doing is proudly scraping the 'failed' 'traditional' baseball pitching motion entirely and teaching the pure Marshall baseball pitching motion.

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers"

01.  Reverse rotate their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm well beyond second base, which injures their pitching hip and pitching knee.

02.  Have the palm of their pitching hand on top of the baseball when they take the baseball out of their glove, which injures their Ulnar Collateral Ligament in their pitching elbow and their Gleno-Humeral Ligaments and Labrum in their pitching shoulder.

03.  Take the baseball as far laterally behind their body as they can, which injures the bones in the back of their pitching elbow.

04.  Laterally push their body sideways toward home plate, which injures their pitching hip, the medial and lateral aspects of the pitching knee and the Adductor Brevis muscle of their pitching upper leg.

05.  Stride so far that, to continue to move their pitching arm forward, they have to bend forward at their waist, which injures their glove knee and the L5-S1 intervertebral disk.

06.  Start their forward rotation as powerfully as they can, which injures the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle on the glove arm side of their Rib Cage.

07.  The sideways force of their hips, shoulders and pitching upper arm slings their pitching forearm laterally away from their body, which decreases the flexion range of motion of their pitching elbow.

08.  Supinate the releases of their breaking pitches, which decreases the extension range of motion of their pitching elbow.

     All baseball pitchers that use the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion suffer pitching injuries that not only cause pain, but severely deform their pitching arm.

     All 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches should suffer the same pain and disfigurement that they cause and probably have.

     Therefore, instead of asking me how they can 'fool' high school baseball pitchers and their parents into using my baseball pitching motion, they should tell their pitchers and parents the truth.

     The 'traditional' baseball pitching motion is a failed baseball pitching motion.  Therefore, they should ban their baseball pitchers from using it.

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

You wrote, "I thought that my presentation went well. However, the questioners' main concern was how to get their pitchers to do something so different.  In other words, I wasted my time."

I doubt you wasted your time.  You continually find that out that more of it stuck than you think.

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

     I agree that part by part, 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches are changing the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.  Some are teaching their baseball pitchers to"

01.  Take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball.

02.  Pendulum swing their pitching arm backward toward second base.

03.  Drive their pitching arm straight toward home plate.

04.  Pronate their releases, including breaking pitches.

     Nevertheless, they refuse to understand that changing some of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion still leaves many other injuries for their baseball pitchers to suffer.

     And, the most irritating stupidity that defenders of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion say is that, my baseball pitchers may not suffer injuries, as though that is not a big deal, but my pitching motion does not enable baseball pitchers to throw as hard as they would if they used the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     What nonsense.  What stupidity.

     Injures result from improper force application techniques.  When baseball pitchers eliminate these injurious flaws, they are able to apply more, not less, force to they pitches.

     When baseball pitchers eliminate injurious flaws, they not only do not suffer injuries, by removing these improper force application techniques, they increase their release velocity.

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0061.  Pitching Inquiry

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

Interesting stuff.  Wow, what a Q & A this has been, and it's only one Q.  And there's more to come.

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

God help me, I just love the 'rest of the story'.

You wrote: "As a result, because their pitching arm starts so fast that 'traditional' baseball pitchers cannot apply additional force at the end of their acceleration phase.

It seems like there should be another sentence after this one that more fully explains the first statement.

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

     You are correct.

     The entire sentence should have read:

     "As a result, because their pitching arm starts so fast that 'traditional' baseball pitchers cannot apply additional force at the end of their acceleration phase, 'traditional' baseball pitchers cannot achieve the release velocities that their genetics enable them to achieve."

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0064.  This is Lon Fullmer, OCXtreme training group

You wrote: "Therefore, I recommend that you regularly squeeze the medial and lateral epicondyles tightly together.  If the boys squeal, then they have an irritated growth plate and they need to stop training."

Everybody who helps pitchers should know this test.

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

I always enjoy Mr. Fullmer's report.  First of all, he is on the front lines.  I always admire front liners.  Secondly, he has major league connections.  We think it's awesome that he and a player of Tyler Matzek's ability is opening doors for the rest of us.

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0069.  Analysis of the Marshall Mechanics of Josh Collmenter

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

You wrote: "That is what I get for sharing how I did what nobody else understands."

Yep, no good deed goes unpunished.

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

You wrote: "03. The writer wrote that I studied physiology, that I know a lot more about the human body than the average professional baseball coach, or even the average pro trainer and that I used what I learned about the human body to develop a method of training and throwing that minimizes injury while maximizing velocity."

Wow, you know more than the 'average'... .?  Does this mean you don't know more than the 'above average'... .?

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

You wrote: "06. The writer wrote that I claim to heal and strengthen the arm quicker than drastic surgeries like the one that has become known as “Tommy John surgery” and that I have the living evidence to back it up.

That is correct, including, Tommy John."

I tell this story often, how you warned Tommy John that he was heading for trouble, diagnosed him on the field and rehabilitated him and changed his delivery to remove the injurious flaw.

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

You wrote: "The 41 batters in 30 1/4 innings that Mr. Sparks struck out did not believe that they were batting against a batting practice machine."

I believe that batter's rarely swing when my sixteen year old son pitches because they have no idea where the ball is coming from because of its EXTREME disguise.

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

You wrote: "09. The writer wrote: "With the right amount of tweaking, the Marshall mechanics can work at the major league level."

Damn.  I wish that I knew how to 'tweak' my pitching motion to work at the major league level.  Oh, that's right, I already did.  That is how I finished fifth and better in the Cy Young Award five times."

Classic.

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

You wrote: "At this point, the online article has rear and front view videotapes of Mr. Collmenter throwing a tailing fastball."

There are several other videos of him throwing on line including an MLB.com game video vs. the Dodgers where the announcer say's "these pitches are fun to watch".

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

You wrote: "However, as evidenced by the fact that Mr. Collmenter slightly pulls his pitching arm across the front of his body, Mr. Collmenter does not powerfully pronate his releases."

Hope he reads this line.

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

You wrote: "If Mr. Collmenter were to step forward only as far as he can power walk, then Mr. Collmenter would not have to bend forward at his waist.  Therefore, Mr. Collmenter would be able to continue to move the center of mass of his body forward through release and he would rotate the entire pitching arm side of his body forward even farther and faster.  As a result, Mr. Collmenter would significantly improve his release velocity."

Hope he reads this line too.

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

You wrote: "The truth is that the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle alone on the glove arm side of the lower Rib Cage cannot overcome the inertial mass of the upper body and pitching arm sufficiently to rotate the upper body and pitching arm at the same rotational velocity as they rotated their hips forward."

You have probably written this before, but I was interested to read and learn the reason for the 'separation'.

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0071.  Distance Running Training

Your reader was correct.  My daughter ran 400 meter intervals at her practice, not 800 meters.  Sorry.

My daughter's nagging calf discomfort has not subsided and it has gotten to the point that she can no longer compete.  She can generally run at a moderate pace with no calf discomfort, but it can become debilitating while competing at fast speeds.  We recently had her gait and foot strike analyzed with high speed film , which has revealed that she is landing somewhat on the outside of her foot and rolling to the inside (over pronating).

Thanks to you, my son has been over- pronating his baseball pitches since he was 9 years old (he is now 13), but I do know over pronating for a runner can result in problems.  In my daughter's situation, this appears to be the case.

We are having custom orthotics ( fairly priced) made for her which will help alleviate this over pronating and she is doing additional core strengthening exercises.  Her gait analysis also uncovered some imbalance in her core which has resulted in inefficiencies with her muscle use while running.

She is doing well and looking forward to continuing her training.


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     That your daughter's Gastrocnemius, Soleus and Plantaris (calf) muscles have discomfort is because they are not able to withstand the increase in stress placed on them.

     I believe that, to run faster, rather than moving the center of mass of her body horizontally forward, she moves the center of mass of her body vertically up and down.

     Landing on the toes, instead of the heel, increases stress on these muscles that extend (dorsally flex) the ankle joint.

     The solution is to gently absorb the landing force with the Calcaneus bone.  To do this, during each stride, she must not move her head up and down.  She must learn to keep the top of her head at the same level throughout the race.

     To decrease the landing stress on her Calcaneus bone, she needs padding under her heel.  To also support her arch is good.

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0072.  Major League Baseball

I keep reading your Q and A section containing articles about MLB and its pitchers and pitching coaches.  It is getting literally preposterous!  You can cut the incompetence with a knife.  When is somebody going to look for something different?

It has been 19 days since I got home from our visit.  17 of those days I have thrown weights and baseballs at game intensity.  At least 60 baseballs per day and sometimes as much a 100.  The two days I missed are because I literally was not home and couldn’t.  It wasn’t because my arm was feeling poorly.

My arm still feels great.  In fact after some initial “weak” feeling, it is coming back stronger and is getting quicker.  Also, since I tweaked my motion according to your instructions, the discomfort I was having in pectoralis major or possibly minor, (I’m not sure which one, it’s hard to locate the discomfort) is almost completely gone.  My arm feels the best it feels in years.

On the other hand, Eric has developed what he can best describe to me as a “tightness” somewhere in the supraspinatus or deltoid area.  He can’t pinpoint it.  But he says it feels tight and there is some discomfort in that area, and he also has the feeling that the gleno-humeral joint is “loose”.  That’s the best he can describe it.

He says when he “nails” your motion perfectly its fine.  But when he “misses” even a little, these are the feelings he has.  He says it is just nagging.  He has the feeling he wants to try to stretch the stiffness out, but he knows that really wouldn’t work.  I should have him email you.  Perhaps he can be more precise.  But, can you offer a clue as to what might be happening?


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     Everything is good.

     I taught your son how to 'horizontally bounce his pitching forearm.'  As a result of this new critically-important technique, your son added stress to his pitching motion.

     He is plioanglosly contracting the muscles that inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm.  This is good.

     When, in about three weeks. these muscles make their physiological adjustment to this new stress, your son will be able to inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm faster than before.

     That means that he will increase his release velocity.

     However, to achieve his genetic maximum release velocity, your son has to complete all my 'Recoil Cycles.'

     Until your son can 'horizontally bounce his pitching forearm' as powerfully as he can with thirty pound wrist weight strapped to his glove and pitching wrists with the perfect Marshall baseball pitching motion, he will never achieve his genetic maximum release velocity.

     However, this is a long term process.  When training, athletes must follow every step.  If they try to do too much too soon, then they can injure themselves and have to start over at the beginning.

     Tell me when the discomfort goes away and he throw harder than he did when we meet in my backyard.

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0073.  Speaking engagement

We visited before about your speaking engagements/demonstrations schedule.

The man’s league I play in is in St. Louis.  It’s called the St. Louis Baseball Forever League.

Forever League teams

I approached them about you providing a seminar/demonstration on throwing/pitching safely.  The league has about 200 players all no younger than 45.  Several are in their 60’s.  About 65 pitch, but they are all interested in how to keep their arms healthy and strong.

They have an interest in hearing you.  They would like to know what the costs are.


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     If two hundred guys contributed twenty dollars each, then my wife and I could fly to St. Louis, spend a fun weekend and I could talk as long as every contributor had questions.

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0074.  Follow up

I have a correction on my son’s shoulder discomfort.

He was home from college and I went with him to the doctor.

First, he said he has been throwing bullpens at school.  He has employed the full pendulum swing you advised and is brushing his little finger past his pant leg.  He says it feels great when he throws.  The “loose” feeling in his shoulder that he reported earlier is suddenly completely gone.  His velocity is also greater. His catchers are commenting on how hard he is throwing now.

The only thing he has is after he has completed his bullpen and has cooled down, he gets some stiffness and discomfort in the back of his shoulder, not the front.  That was my mistake.

At the doctor’s office yesterday, the doc had him pinpoint the area that was giving him some trouble.  I watched him show the doc, and he localized it to the infraspinatus near the attachment to its fossa.  I asked the doc if it could possibly be the teres minor. He said it was not.  When he found the point of discomfort with his thumb, Eric let him know, and he said it was definitely the infraspinatus.

He said it’s nothing serious at all.  Just some minor irritation.  He deep tissue massaged that area and Eric said it felt really good when he did it.  He had seen the Doc about 3 weeks ago, and he said that my son was doing better now.  He believes that he should be fine in a couple more weeks.

I know that discomfort of this type is because a muscle/tendon’s fitness level is not quite up to withstanding the forces being put upon it.

1.  What would be your recommendations concerning his use of iron balls and wrist weights now?

Their first game is only 5 weeks away.  I believe he should be in maintenance mode now.

2.  Correct?

Thank you.


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     Guess what muscle overlays the Infraspinatus muscle that arise from the infraspinatus fossa of the lower half of the Scapula bone, thereby making it impossible to diagnose whether that muscle or the Infraspinatus muscle has discomfort.

     Your son has learned how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     The magic of how my baseball pitching motion uses the Latissimus Dorsi muscle is that, by extending and inwardly rotation the pitching upper arm, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle accelerates the pitching shoulder and by extending the pitching upper arm, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle also decelerates the pitching shoulder.

     Never fear.  The Latissimus Dorsi muscle is a very, very powerful muscle.

     Nevertheless, your son needs to not do too much too soon.

     However, to physiologically adjust to the new stress of 'horizontally bouncing his pitching forearm,' your son needs to continue to train every day.

     I thought that your son was already doing his maintenance program. All I changed was to add the 'horizontal pitching forearm bounce.'  That change stressed his Latissimus Dorsi muscle. But, he had two months before his season started and his Latissimus Dorsi muscle needs only about three weeks to make its physiological adaptation.

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0075.  A few questions & comments

1.  If a team has just one Marshall-type starter, could it win with him working consistently on 2 days rest, while the other non-Marshalls pitch around him--albeit in rotation?

2.  Would your batting methods be equally effective for fast-pitch softball?

From A#892 (2011):  "With my 72-Day Wrist Weight and Iron Ball Recoil Interval-Training Cycles that I have my baseball pitchers complete, my baseball pitchers throw a minimum of 144 up to a maximum of 192 wrist weight exercises, iron ball throws, football and lid throws and baseballs every day for 72 days."

3.  If someone throws the maximum (192) every day, does the "120 pitches every three days" get elevated, or is the 120 set in stone?

It appears the maximum number of starts a pitcher could have (assuming a THREE-man rotation) after being Marshall-proofed would be 58.

It seems only natural that if a Marshall-type pitcher is making 144 throws a day (52,650 per year), or even a smaller amount around 40,000, that their control would improve simply by repetition.

I recall reading a quote from Joe DiMaggio about how he was able to consistently throw out runners from the outfield.  He said he simpley practiced it every day.

Of course now, players would be fearful of ruining their arms by consistently practicing it, but, if they Marshall-proofed their arms, it could become a simple 10-15 minute drill every day.


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01.  If only one starter had the fitness and skills with which to successfully pitch twice a week, then I would start this pitcher every Tuesday and Saturday.

     Then, I would have my other three starters fill in around his schedule.

02.  My baseball batting technique works best when batters have the least time in which to respond to pitched balls.  Therefore, my baseball batting technique is perfect to fast pitch softball.

03.  I determined that 120 baseball pitches is sufficient for my baseball pitchers to pitch three times through the line-up.  That is an average of 4.4 pitches per batter.  Therefore, I do consider 120 pitches per game as the maximum I would ask my starters to throw.

04.  I agree that, with more repetitions, baseball pitchers would improve their motor unit contraction and relaxation sequences.  I consider the ability of my baseball pitchers to throw every day without discomfort a huge advantage.  As you calculated, my baseball pitchers practice their skills more in one year than 'traditional' baseball pitchers do in five years.

05.  The injurious flaws in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion prevent 'traditional' baseball pitchers from throwing as much as my baseball pitchers can.  With every pitch that 'traditional' baseball pitchers throw, they are destroying their pitching arm and their lower back, pitching hip, pitching knee and glove knee.

     Only the severity of their injurious flaws enables some 'traditional' baseball pitchers to pitch longer than other 'traditional' baseball pitchers.

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0076.  The Next Tim Lincecum, but Lefty?

The Next Tim Lincecum, but Lefty?

Does this guy use his Triceps?


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     Yes.  His Triceps Brachii muscle is the strength of his force application.

     However, until I can tell whether he engages his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, I cannot evaluate how powerfully he inwardly rotates his pitching upper arm.  That he does not pronate his pitching forearm very powerfully indicates that he does not powerfully inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm.

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0077.  Shoulder Rehab Update

Tomorrow will be exactly 8 weeks since my shoulder injury.

Never did I think I was going to recover from that injury this quick if at all.  All pain is gone during and after training.

I am going full intensity with 15 lb. WW and 8 lb. Lead Ball.

I am currently doing your drop-out windup motion 48 WW repetitions, 24 LB throws, and 48 baseball throws.

The only discomfort I have is when I swing a bat.  Even that is getting better, my pitching arm is the bottom hand on the bat.  I bat lefty or when I try and sleep on my pitching arm side.

  My plan of action:

In two more training days, I will have completed the above for 12 days in a row.  I am going to increase my WW's to 20 lbs. and do the recoil program.  I will increase to 10 lb. Lead ball throws, but only do maintenance reps.

If you think I should skip the 20lb WW recoil (Did that last off-season) and concentrate on building up to 25 lb. WW's, which was where I was before the injury please feel free to say this.

I don't want to waste time if the best course of action is to get to where I was before the injury.

1.  Does that make any sense?

I'm just wondering if the fitness I lost because of the injury warrants working my way back up to the 25 lb. recoil program or if I was able to keep the fitness because I kept working out.


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     Congratulations on successfully completing your rehabilitation program without any setbacks and faster than if you had rested for a month then trained with an expensive physical therapist with non-specific exercises.

01.  Because you worked so hard to rehabilitate the injury from your fall, I agree that you should not add more training to this off-season.

     Therefore, stay where your are weight-wise and do maintenance trainin.

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0078.  Glove side step

Ever since our visit, my son and I have been concentrating on your motion with renewed enthusiasm.

By the way, that discomfort my son has that I told you about is beginning to wane.  I believe by his first games in late February it will be nothing but a memory.

Now that I and he are feeling comfortable with keeping the elbow high, closer to our heads, thereby extending the latissimus dorsi as much as possible so it can contract with as much power as possible, I have moved on to concentrating on my glove foot step.

After experimenting with various stride/power step distances, I have concluded that I, just like so many others have been striding too far with my glove side foot.

When I shortened my “stride” down to what you describe as a “power step”, which is an accurate description, I found it inherently introduced new dynamics into the entire motion.

What I mean is, when a baseball pitcher traditionally “strides”, it is really more of a “lunge” or “power fall” if you will.  Either way, whether you stride, fall, or lunge, the result is to completely stop all forward motion with that side of the body after foot landing.

We know before our glove foot travels that 5 ½ to 6 ½ foot distance we will not generate enough forward center of mass speed to overcome that wide of a chasm and continue forward motion.

So, we “plant” our glove foot.

With our glove knee behind our glove side foot, all we can do is try to “stiffen” our glove side leg from our foot to our hip and try to flip the throwing side hip past it as best we can.  We use our spinal column as a type of fulcrum to create some force coupling.

However, just today, while working out, I started shortening my stride down to the power walk you prescribe.

I found that at around 3 to 3 ½ feet, my body comfortablely rotated the throwing side of my body farther toward pointing my acromial line toward home plate.  Because my glove side knee traveled to being directly over or slightly ahead my glove side ankle, just as in a normal walking motion, I was able to extend my glove side knee.  Extending my glove knee and adding toward home plate just before release.

As a result of this added force, my arm felt the least amount of throwing stress yet.  It felt as if I was barely throwing and the ball just popped out of my hand.

I wondered if this is what we are looking for.  So, I logged on your website and watched the guys you videotaped.

They all come to the point in their power walk where they can get their glove knee either directly vertical over their glove foot or slightly ahead.  As I felt, they all added force toward home plate with glove side leg action.

I am not a doctor, kinesiologist, or even related to the medical field, but from what I learned today, it appears to be physically impossible for a human to add powerful forward motion force with their legs unless they stride such that when their foot is making contact with the ground, the knee must get into a forward of vertical position in relation to the ankle.

If I stride or lunge so far that my forward momentum is killed, because my glove knee stays behind my glove foot and my center of mass stops moving forward, then I have “leaked” as the traditional coaches say.  It’s just that they never see the leak in that part of their motion.

It is as you said, the solution is to plugging that “leak” is decreasing the distance my glove side foot travels.  With the shorter step, I am able to position my glove side knee in front of its ankle.  This shorter step does not stop my center of mass from moving forward.  Instead, it adds force to my pitches.

I have heard you say this hundreds of times.  I have even watched the videos of your guys dozens of times.  But now that I have experienced its benefits, it all becomes very clear.

I believe the biggest obstacle that people have to adhering to what you teach is, when they see your motion executed as closely to what you teach as we can get right now, they can’t help but run it through their traditional pitching “filter.”

That is what they have been accustomed to all their lives.

When observed through the “traditional pitching mechanics filter,” your motion does not appear to them that it would produce superior force.  99.9% of people stop there.  From that point on they don’t give it serious scrutiny.

When the subject comes up again, they will take the easy route and label it quackery without ever giving your program any serious trials.

Even after studying your website, DVD’s and practicing as well as teaching my son for the last 5 ½ years, my “traditional” subconscious mind still filtered out information that it rejected, and I was not aware.

If pitchers want to achieve their maximum pitching potential, they must LITERALLY forget EVERYTHING they thinks they knows about pitching and start from scratch.

I know now I must always be on guard against the “monster of tradition” who wants to constantly refute what I am learning, and does so without any evidence to back up his claims.  I am going to make sure my son knows this as well.

Thank you.


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     Your explanation of the force application benefits of the body action that I teach and why admirers of the body action of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion cannot see its injurious and mechanical problems is much better than anything that I have written.

     Thank you.

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0079.  Speaking engagement

I would love to have 200 guys there.  That would be great for them and you.  The simple fact of the matter is, we know we can't get 100% turnout.  The board has asked me to contact you back to see if you can offer some relief.

So, my point blank question to you is:  Is $4000 your lowest amount for a speaking engagement, or is there bargaining room.


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     I was not asking for four thousand dollars.  I was trying to find a way to provide information that your guys want from me without my wife and I taking valuable time away from our lives and spending our limited resources.

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0080.  Niemann leaves Mets for job with Boston
MLB.com
January 09, 2012

NEW YORK, NY:  Longtime Mets coach Randy Niemann has accepted a job with the Red Sox, according to a person familiar with the situation, in what is believed to be an assistant pitching coach position.  The new role ends Niemann's nearly quarter-century run with the Mets.

Niemann, who spent last season as New York's rehabilitation pitching coordinator and helped oversee portions of Johan Santana's rehab from left shoulder surgery, will reunite with former Mets manager Bobby Valentine on Boston's staff.  The two were also together from 1997-99 in New York.

The Red Sox have not yet officially introduced Niemann onto their staff.

A member of the Mets' big league staff from 2009-10, Niemann became the organization's pitching rehab coordinator during a coaching shakeup last winter.  Previously, he had been the club's bullpen coach.

Niemann spent three total stints as New York's bullpen coach throughout his 24-year Mets tenure, also serving multiple seasons as rehab coordinator.  In addition, Niemann coached at every Minor League level in the organization during his 24 years, from rookie ball to Triple-A.

Rarely the center of attention during his tenure on the big league staff, the 6-foot-4 Niemann gained some level of notoriety for his confrontation with then-closer Francisco Rodriguez during a game against the Yankees in May 2010, though both sides publicly defused the issue later that week.

Over the years, Niemann had become something of an institution with the Mets.  Though Niemann and hitting coach Howard Johnson both lost their jobs when the team overhauled its coaching staff after the 2010 season, both men were both offered new positions within the organization. Johnson rejected his and is no longer with the team.

Appearing 30 times as a reliever and once as a starter for the 1986 World Series champion Mets, Niemann spent two of his eight Major League seasons in New York's bullpen.  A second-round Draft pick of the Yankees in 1975, Niemann broke into the big leagues with the Astros four years later, before moving on to the Pirates, White Sox, Mets and Twins.

While still rare, the position of assistant pitching coach is gaining traction around the league.  Royals bullpen coach Steve Foster, for example, has spent the last two seasons effectively serving in that role under Bob McClure, now Boston's pitching coach.  Foster will assume the same responsibilities next season under McClure's replacement in Kansas City, Dave Eiland.

The Reds also recently hired an assistant pitching coach and the Pirates employed one for a time in 2010.  Likewise, assistant hitting coaches are becoming equally common.

Since the Red Sox hired him as manager late last year, Valentine has sprinkled his coaching staff with plenty of New York flair.  Already, Valentine has hired two men with Mets ties, first-base coach Alex Ochoa and Niemann, and elevated another, Tim Bogar, from third-base coach to bench coach.


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     Now, major league pitching and hitting coaches have assistants.  I suppose that, when pitching coaches leave or are fired, it makes the transition easier.  Teams hire the coach that assisted the pitching coach that left or they fired.

     Otherwise, other than having a sounding board buddy, I cannot see value in pitching and hitting coaches having assistants.

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0081.  For Reed, closing games is the ultimate goal
MLB.com
January 10, 2012

CHICAGO, IL:  The man who would be or could be White Sox closer in 2012 and beyond has a much more pedestrian goal to begin this next season.

"My thought process is to go to Spring Training and put myself in the best possible position to make the team," rookie hurler Addison Reed told MLB.com during a phone interview from his home in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.

"Whatever happens after that is great," Reed added.  "Right now, there's no guarantee I'll make the team out of camp, but eventually, I hope to close games."

It's understandable that the 23-year-old, third-round pick from the 2010 First-Year Player Draft hasn't exactly anointed himself as the new last line of White Sox pitching defense with Sergio Santos now closing for the Blue Jays.  After all, Reed has just two years of professional baseball experience overall and a mere 7 1/3 innings at the big league level.

But Reed sells himself way short if he doesn't believe a roster spot is awaiting for this upcoming season.  Despite potentially holding six years of affordable control on Santos, the White Sox moved the hard-thrower primarily because of receiving Minor League starter Nestor Molina in return.

They also made the call on Santos because it was a deal from bullpen strength.  Matt Thornton, who didn't exactly have the greatest luck behind his ill-fated April 2011 closer run, and Jesse Crain stand as the veteran leaders for this 2012 position, assuming the roster remains the same.  Reed emerges as the long-term option.

With a fastball touching 98 mph coupled with a slider and changeup, Reed posted video game-like Minor League statistics over parts of the 2010 and 2011 campaigns.  The right-hander produced a 3-1 record with a 1.41 ERA and six saves in 56 games covering 108 1/3 innings and stops at all levels:  Great Falls Kannapolis, Winston-Salem, Birmingham and Charlotte.  He fanned 155, walked just 20 and gave up 60 hits.

Here's another interesting fact concerning Reed, aside from his mound dominance.  Since he was a Little League hurler, becoming a closer stood out as his lone baseball dream.  Reed wanted to be Trevor Hoffman as opposed to Greg Maddux.

"I don't know what it is, but I've always just liked the pressure that the guy has in the last inning, up by one or two runs," said Reed of wanting to be a closer.  "It has been my life-long dream ever since I started pitching, especially to close in the big leagues."

Growing up as an Angels fan, Reed looked at Troy Percival and Francisco Rodriguez as his favorite closers.  He loved the electricity built up in the stadium whenever Percival ran through the bullpen gates into the game.  Even at this inexperienced state of his career, Reed also understands the professionalism and accountability always on display from Percival, even when he blew an occasional save.

"People always remember the bad stuff and stuff that went wrong," Reed said.  "As a player as a whole, you have to have a short memory.

"That's especially important as a closer.  You could blow a four- or five-run lead in one game and be in that same situation the next night.  If you think about what happened the night before, things are not going to go your way.  I usually think about what happened after the game, and let it go after about 20 minutes.  There's nothing you can do to change the outcome, so why let it bother you?"

The closer's job wouldn't be taken on by Reed without any previous experience.  He closed during the 2008 and 2009 seasons for San Diego St., finishing off games for Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg, among others.  Reed had 20 saves and a 0.65 ERA during 25 games in 2009, before moving to the starting rotation in 2010.

In that closer's role, Reed enjoyed the adrenaline rush and feeling of being the best in recording the opposition's final three or four outs, shutting down the game for the pitchers who worked before him.  Even with this desire and destiny to close, Reed didn't assume anything when hearing of the Santos deal.

"Like I said before, I'm going into Spring Training trying to put myself in the best possible position to make the team and then get that closing job," Reed said.  "I want to be up in the big leagues the entire year."

Said White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper: "You know what?  I'm not going to sit here and name a closer.  They will show us in Spring Training.  They will show us who the 12 guys are that need to be on the plane [to Texas for Opening Day]."

While Reed intends to exhibit the same fortitude shown by Percival, he laughed when asked if he has a planned celebratory closing move such as K-Rod did during his Angels days.  First up for Reed is making the White Sox, for whom he posted a 3.68 ERA in six September games last year.

Then, he'll worry about trying to earn the position he was born to handle in his first Major League Spring Training.

"If I'm closing, whether we are rebuilding, winning or losing, I'll be a happy guy," Reed said.  "My mindset and my heart are all about closing."


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     In 56 minor league games, Mr. Reed pitched 108 1/3 innings in which he walked 20 batters, gave up 60 hits and struck out 155 for an 1.41 ERA.

     If I had baseball pitchers with those statistics, then I would want them to pitch more than 108 1/3 innings.  These guys should pitch 300 innings.

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0082.  A's arms ready to battle it out for rotation spots
MLB.com
January 11, 2012

OAKLAND, CA:  The departures of All-Star hurlers Gio Gonzalez and Trevor Cahill perhaps left more than a few A's fans heartbroken, maybe angry or annoyed.

But even though Oakland enters the 2012 season without the duo, pitching depth remains one of the club's biggest strengths, thanks, in part, to some of the return goods acquired in the Gonzalez and Cahill trades.

Nearly 10 pitchers figure to be in the mix for a rotation job come spring.  Just a couple are assured of one, whereas the rest figure to duke it out in the weeks leading up to the season opener, against the Mariners in Japan on March 28.

Here's a look at all of the players involved:

1.  Brandon McCarthy: The right-hander is coming off the best season of his six-year Major League career, having posted a 3.32 ERA in 25 starts, five of which were complete games.  He also struck out 123 against just 25 walks in 170 2/3 innings.  Those numbers have catapulted him to the top of the rotation, especially with Brett Anderson out until midseason and Dallas Braden on the mend as well.  Health has been an issue for McCarthy in the past, but if he can pitch his way through Spring Training without any bumps or bruises, count him as a candidate for the Opening Day job.

2.  Braden: Rehab couldn't be going better for Braden, who underwent surgery on his left shoulder in May.  There's a good chance he could be ready by Opening Day, barring any setbacks.  And if that's the case, he'll slot into the middle of the rotation and look to make up for lost time, having taken the mound just three times last year.

3.  Guillermo Moscoso: Moscoso was something of an afterthought for a starting job last spring, but he is very much a part of the picture this year following a breakout 2011 campaign.  The right-hander began the season at Triple-A Sacramento but ultimately made 21 starts, going 8-10 with a 3.38 ERA in 23 total appearances spanning two stints.

4.  Josh Outman: Pitching in his first season since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2009, Outman made 17 starts for Sacramento and also appeared in 13 games with Oakland, all the while battling control issues, a problem not too uncommon for pitchers recovering from that procedure.  If Outman can prove that control is of no concern come spring, he could find his way into the rotation.  If not, a bullpen job isn't out of the question.

5.  Tyson Ross: Ross has a chance to grab a starting job if he can stay healthy and showcase control of his mechanics, both were struggles last season. He did well in Oakland at the start, posting a 2.75 ERA in nine games, six of them starts, before hitting the disabled list with an oblique strain.  Following a rehab stint, he spent the remainder of the year in the Minors and, in nine starts with Triple-A, struggled to a 7.61 ERA.  He fared better in the Arizona Fall League, fanning 13 and walking only five in 16 2/3 innings.

6.  Graham Godfrey: Godfrey proved to be the ace of Sacramento's staff last year, winning a team-high 14 games and recording a 2.68 ERA.  He allowed more than two runs only four times in his 19 appearances and gave up just six homers in 107 1/3 innings.  He fared well in two stints with the A's and most recently compiled a 3.31 ERA in 16 1/3 innings for Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Winter League.

7.  Tom Milone: Acquired from Washington in the Gonzalez trade, Milone is very much big league-ready, having posted a 3.81 ERA in five starts for the Nationals last season.  He also compiled a 3.22 ERA with 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings in 148 1/3 frames in Triple-A.  General manager Billy Beane has said that of all the pitchers reeled in through trades, Milone could be closest to making an impact in 2012.

8.  Brad Peacock: Also brought over in the Gonzalez trade, Peacock went a combined 15-3 with a 2.39 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A last year before being promoted to Washington, where he allowed just one run in 12 innings down the stretch. Along with a plus-fastball, Peacock has an impressive breaking ball and changeup.  He turned heads in a relief stint in the Arizona Fall League, fanning 17 in 12 innings, but figures to be in the mix for a rotation spot.

9.  Jarrod Parker: The highly regarded right-hander, the key player acquired from Arizona in the Cahill trade, bounced back nicely in 2011 after missing the entire 2010 season while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.  He posted a 3.79 ERA in 26 starts for the D-backs' Triple-A club, striking out 112 in 130 2/3 innings.  He made his Major League debut in late September, quickly making an impression by tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his one start.


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     As my stats guy, Brad Sullivan reminded me, five of these nine baseball pitchers have suffered pitching injuries and the fired 2011 Boston Red Sox baseball pitching coach now trains the 2012 Athletics baseball pitchers.

     Where did this baseball pitching coach work in 2010?

     The writer wrote: "General manager Billy Beane has said that of all the pitchers reeled in through trades, Milone could be closest to making an impact in 2012."

     With five formerly injured baseball pitchers and only one baseball pitcher that is 'close to making an impact,' this baseball pitching coach has work to do.  The fact that he could not keep his Red Sox pitchers in the dugout indicates that he does not knows what he is doing.

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0083.  Hawksworth has surgery on elbow
MLB.com
January 11, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA:  Dodgers right-handed reliever Blake Hawksworth underwent arthroscopic surgery on his elbow Wednesday to remove a bone spur and scar tissue only five weeks before the opening of Spring Training, the club announced.

The surgery went as planned, the club said, with an estimated recovery time of four to six weeks.

The 28-year-old had a decent first season with the Dodgers after being acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals for Ryan Theriot.  He went 3-5 with a 4.08 ERA in 49 appearances, with one stint on the disabled list with a strained groin muscle.

Hawksworth served as a middle and long reliever for the Dodgers.  Because he is out of options, he was considered likely to make the Opening Day roster.

Nonetheless, the Dodgers have a solid group of right-handed relievers ahead of him, Javy Guerra, Kenley Jansen, Mike MacDougal, Matt Guerrier and Josh Lindblom.


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     Bone spurs and scar tissue result from baseball pitchers slamming the bones in the back of their pitching elbow together.  'Pitching Forearm Flyout' and Supination Releases cause the bones in the back of the pitching elbow to slam together.

     If Mr. Hawksworth wants to stop slamming the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together, then he needs to stop taking his pitching arm laterally behind his body and pronate the releases of all his pitches.

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0084.  Hopeful Mets see Johan's tank as half-full
MLB.com
January 12, 2012

NEW YORK, NY:  Relinquishing his air-conditioned quarters in favor of a sweltering September afternoon, Mets manager Terry Collins trudged down to Sun Life Stadium's visitors' bullpen in Miami, eager for the spectacle to begin.  Members of Collins' training and coaching staffs were already there.  By the time Johan Santana began throwing his warmup pitches, several teammates had joined the burgeoning audience.

Clustered toward one end of a near-empty stadium, this was hardly the largest crowd to watch Santana on his road back from left shoulder surgery, but it was easily the most entranced.  These were the folks with the most invested in Santana's shoulder.  These were the folks most eager to see him succeed.

These were the folks without answers.

In the half-year since that exhibition in Miami, evaluations of Santana's health have ranged from hopeful to doubtful to hazy to hazier.  Because so little historical data exists regarding anterior capsule surgeries, and because Santana has suffered multiple setbacks over the first 16 months of his rehab, no one knows for sure if the two-time American League Cy Young Award winner will be ready in time for Opening Day against the Braves on April 5.

More importantly, no one knows for sure if Santana will ever be the same caliber of pitcher again.

"How close is he going to be to where he was?  I don't know if anyone can tell," Collins said in a telephone interview earlier this week.  Not the Mets.  Not his doctors.  Not even Santana himself.

"But there are intangibles with Johan Santana," Collins said.  "If he's even close to where he was during his heyday, you've still got a heck of a pitcher on your hands."

Santana, for his part, spoke to the media via conference call on Thursday and relayed how some of his preseason work has gone.  Santana has been able to throw long toss from 90 feet, and he expects to increase that to 120 feet on Friday.  The left-hander said he hasn't spoken to other big leaguers about his recovery and said that he hopes to be healthy in time for the start of the exhibition season.

"That's what I'm looking forward to," Santana said of being ready to throw a bullpen session at the start of Spring Training.  "That's why we're here right now, to prepare for that. . As of right now, this is the first time I've started throwing so early in the year, to get ready for Spring Training.

That tells you I'm getting ready for whenever Spring Training starts.  That's what we're focusing on.  That doesn't mean it will happen."

So as Collins and his staff watched that day in Miami, they endeavored to view Santana through a most fundamental prism, the way his arm whipped around his body, the way the ball zipped out of his hand, the way he joked and laughed as he threw.

They did not allow themselves to hope too strongly, because even now, six months later, clear answers are difficult to find.

"The beginning of next season is going to be telltale," said Dr. Jonathan Glashow, a shoulder expert and co-chief of sports medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan.  "After a long winter's rest, if he's not back to his level by Spring Training or beyond, I would be somewhat more pessimistic that he'll ever get it."

For Santana, that period of rest began in early October, after the left-hander scrapped his final instructional league outing in favor of one last side session.  This was nothing new for Santana, who, to his credit, has maintained modest levels of caution since his operation in September 2010.

"I'm very excited to be here right now; it's been a long process for me," Santana said on Thursday of preparing to pitch again.  "At the same time, I'm trying to prepare real well to make sure that in Spring Training I'm able to do everything I have to do to make the team.  Time will tell.  I cannot tell you what will happen five or six weeks from now.  I'd be lying to you.  We have to take it one day at a time."

Originally, the Mets believed Santana would return to the Majors around June or July of last season, but pockets of shoulder discomfort prompted him to slow his rehab, before fatigue forced him to cut short his initial Minor League assignment in early August.  After another period of rest, Santana resumed throwing but ultimately ran out of boxes on the calendar; by the time he was ready to begin a second rehab assignment, he found himself at the mercy of a sporadic Minor League playoff schedule.

One of Santana's agents, Chris Leible, said that if the season had spilled into October, Santana likely would have completed his journey back to the Majors.  As it was, the left-hander saw no need to press the issue with a long offseason looming.

"He's extremely bright, and I think he's very aware of everything," Leible said.  "He's not going to put himself at risk, and he didn't.  That's the reason why he didn't come back.  Maybe he could have come back, and maybe it was nothing.  But at the end of the day, I think he did the smart thing.

"I don't think he's the kind of guy that had to prove to himself that he can do it.  He knows he can do it.  That's his mentality."

But knowledge and physical capability are two different things. Glashow describes the anterior shoulder capsule as a rope-like piece of cellophane that keeps the arm tethered to its socket.  Because that tissue material is not particularly robust, the healing process is not as predictable as, say, a more common labrum tear.

The game's two most prominent recent case studies, Mark Prior and Chien-Ming Wang, experienced varying levels of success in their rehabs.  Prior, whose capsule surgery was just the latest in a long string of shoulder operations, never made it back to the Majors.  Wang did last summer (and with all but the last few ticks of his old fastball velocity in tow), but it took him two full years to complete the comeback.  The two-year anniversary of Santana's operation will not arrive until September.

Still, every case is unique.  According to Glashow, Santana's shoulder should be biologically healed now that he is more than 16 months removed from surgery.  But because Santana has not pitched competitively in more than three months, it is impossible to say how his shoulder will respond to the demands of a normal Spring Training throwing program.

"The fact that he's had these setbacks or recurring pain certainly aren't positive things to hear," Glashow said.  "But on the other hand, as often happens that when you come back from an injury like this, that learning process for the brain to instruct the muscles how to fire sequentially and properly could take a long time."

Like Glashow, the Mets believe Santana's shoulder should be completely healed heading into Spring Training.  Both Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson expect the left-hander to report to Port St. Lucie, FL, no different than any other pitcher, ready to begin preparing for a 162-game season.  Leible insists that Santana "is not going to be a shell of himself."

That said, the Mets also know how important it is to be cautious with Santana, by far their best hope for a quick return to competitive baseball.  Collins, who would like to see his ace throw in Port St. Lucie prior to the start of Spring Training, expects to speak daily with Santana regarding the lefty's health, much as he did with rehabbing outfielder Carlos Beltran last spring.

"We've got to do this right," Collins said.  "If he has to skip a day in Spring Training, it's not a big deal.  We've got a lot of time."

"Right now, we expect him to go through a normal Spring Training," Alderson said earlier this month.  "But I think the ultimate test is going to be how he responds and whether he's able to come back on normal days' rest.  I don't think that's anything we can predict with any accuracy."

What all parties can guarantee is that if Santana does suffer further setbacks, it will not be for lack of effort.  Santana's backers point to the fact that he once pitched one of the best games of his life with a torn meniscus in his right knee, nearly single-handedly willing the Mets into the playoffs down the stretch in 2008.  Leible recalls a once-overlooked pitcher who has defied long odds throughout his career.

"It's a tough surgery, and as has been well documented, it's a tough one to come back from," the agent said.  "But we've represented Johan for 13 years now, and he's a guy who says what he does and does what he says.  I've never doubted him.  He's always told me what was going to happen, and he's always been right.  So I've got to believe him when he tells me he's going to be himself."

When Santana is "himself," he is one of the best pitchers in the National League.  Despite concerns about diminishing velocity and a deteriorating supporting cast around him, Santana has posted a 40-25 record and a 2.85 ERA in three seasons since joining the Mets.  He came within spitting distance of a third Cy Young Award in 2008.

So forgive the Mets if, while watching Santana's bullpen session that September day in Florida, they allowed themselves to envision their best pitcher and spiritual leader once again doing it on a Major League mound.

"We're on the right track right now," Santana said that afternoon, shortly after his audience dispersed.

The Mets had, and continue to have, no choice but to believe him.


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     Last season, Chien-Ming Wang, after two full years of rehabilitation, with some lost release velocity, pitched well for the Nationals.

     However, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine found that only 18% of professional baseball pitchers that have this surgery return to their previous abilities.

     I believe that these baseball pitchers take so long to recover from this surgeries is because they continue to use the baseball pitching motion that caused the injury.

     I believe that if these baseball pitchers were to learn how to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, then all of these baseball pitchers would return to their previous abilities in the 724 days of my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program require.

     Then, in addition to never injuring themselves again, they would not only return to their previous abilities, they would become better than their previous abilities and be able to successfully pitch many more years.

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0085.  Veteran reliever Proctor signs with Korean club
MLB.com
January 12, 2012

Veteran right-handed reliever Scott Proctor is headed to South Korea after inking a one-year, $300,000 deal to play for the Doosan Bears, according to The Associated Press.

The 35-year-old finished his 2011 campaign with the Yankees after being released by the Braves in August.  He compiled a combined 2-6 record and 7.14 ERA in 39 appearances.

Proctor was originally selected in the 17th round of the 1995 First-Year Player Draft by the Mets, but decided to attend Florida State.  He made his Major League debut for the Yankees in 2004 and became a fixture in Joe Torre's bullpen over the next three-plus seasons.

Proctor pitched for the Yankees in the American League Division Series in 2005 and 2006.  He made a career-high 83 appearances in 2006 and equaled that number in 2007.

After struggling during June 2007, Proctor drew attention for burning his equipment outside of the dugout on the field at Yankee Stadium after a loss to the A's.  He was dealt to the Dodgers for third baseman Wilson Betemit at the July 31 Trade Deadline that year.

Proctor made 41 appearances for the Torre-managed Dodgers in 2008 and inked a deal with the Marlins in 2009, but didn't pitch in the Majors that year.  He signed with the Braves in November 2009 and made six appearances in 2010 and 31 in 2011 before being released.  He returned to the Yankees in August but struggled, posting a 0-3 record with a 9.00 ERA in eight appearances.

Proctor compiled an 18-16 record and one save with a 4.78 ERA in 307 appearances in parts of seven Major League seasons.


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

     In 2009, Mr. Proctor did not pitch major league baseball.  In 2010, he made only six major league appearances.  In 2011, he made only eight appearances.

     I wonder what makes Mr. Proctor thinks that he will pitch better in South Korea.  I hope that he has improved the quality and variety of his pitches.

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0086.  Speaking engagement

I am sorry.  I misinterpreted your meaning.

I said 200 players in our organization, and you simply said $20 per head.  The rest was mistaken assumptions I made.  As the kids say, "My bad".

Of course our organization would never want you to be out-of-pocket for your time and trouble.  You are bringing valuable information that can not only help our players, but most have sons and grandsons that play baseball.

We understand you traveling from Zephyrhills, FL.  There is travel and lodging overhead.  Your time is valuable, and your information is valuable.

Please allow me to get this info to the board and come back with a proposal.


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     With your hard work to understand what I teach, like you have done with your son, I believe that you could teach them the basics.  After that, if they want some final tutoring, then they could consider having me work with them.

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0087.  Extra Review of Q/A #0061 In the Mike Fast article portion of Q/A #0061:

You wrote: "However, in my baseball pitching motion, after their glove foot lands, my baseball pitchers maximally rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body diagonally forward through release."

Does diagonally forward mean with a forward lean?


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

     No.

     If my baseball pitchers were to drive the pitching arm side of their body straight toward home plate, then they could not point their acromial line at home plate.

     Therefore, whether with my drop step on my Maxline pitches or my cross step with my Torque pitches, my baseball pitchers have to drive the pitching arm side of their body diagonally across their pivoting glove arm side foot.

     After release, I want my baseball pitchers to turn their back toward home plate and watch the baseball cross home plate over the top of their pitching arm side shoulder.

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

You wrote: "As a result, because their pitching arm is 'locked' with their shoulders, my baseball pitchers save the force application of their pitching elbow and forearm until they accelerate the baseball through release."

How did the pitching arm get to lock?

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

     To 'lock' their pitching upper arm with their shoulders, after their glove foot lands, my baseball pitchers throw their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward toward their head.

     As a result, when the backward force of the glove foot force-couples with the forward force of the pitching arm side of the body, my baseball pitchers have their pitching upper arm vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching upper arm facing toward home plate.

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0088.  Jobe to honored at annual scouts gala
MLB.com
January 13, 2012

Dr. Frank Jobe, the surgeon who performed the historic 1974 elbow operation on Tommy John, resulting in a career-saving surgery that bears the former pitcher's name, will be honored Saturday during the annual Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation gala in Los Angeles.

John, who returned from the ligament-replacement surgery to pitch another 14 seasons in the Major Leagues, finishing a 26-year career with 288 victories, will join Hall of Famer Dave Winfield in presenting the Winfield Humanitarian Award to Jobe.

Since Jobe's revolutionary surgery, nearly 200 other Major League pitchers and players, and more than 1,800 athletes in all sports, have undergone the procedure.  According to one recent estimate, one out of nine pitchers in today's Major League starting rotations have benefited from it.

"He did me a favor, he got well," Jobe said in a phone interview earlier this week.

When the disconsolate southpaw came to visit Jobe late in the 1974 season, there seemed a likelihood his career was over.

"I was ready to sign his papers for retirement," Jobe recalled, but then he thought back to the remarkable work of army surgeons he witnessed as a member of the medical corps during World War II (Jobe himself was briefly a prisoner of war in Germany, but escaped out of the back of a truck).  He told John that a transplant of a tendon from his right arm to replace the frayed ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow had perhaps a one percent chance of success.  "Let's do it," John responded.

The current success rate of Tommy John surgery is close to 90 percent, and the recovery period is much shorter than the year and a half John missed, if the patient is dutiful in rehab.  Jobe stressed that though it won't help a pitcher throw harder, devotion to rehabilitation can make an athlete's elbow virtually as good as new.

Jobe also saved the career of Orel Hershiser, another Dodgers pitcher, in 1989 with a shoulder reconstruction that took advantage of arthroscopic advancements that minimized the damage to healthy tissue.  Jobe's achievements have led many to believe that he should be a candidate for Cooperstown.  At the moment, though, according to Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson, there is no category by which he could be elected.


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

     I locked next to Tommy John.  TJ and his wife are fabulous people.  Frank Jobe is a kind and generous man.  That these three people are friends has enriched my life.

     While I will never discredit Tommy John or Frank Jobe, I need to clarify some misconceptions about the Ulnar Collateral Ligament surgery that writers call, Tommy John surgery.

     The writer wrote: "Nearly 200 other Major League pitchers and players, and more than 1,800 athletes in all sports, have undergone the procedure."

     We should be ashamed that over 2000 athletes have suffered the pain that rupturing their Ulnar Collateral Ligament caused both in the rupturing and the rehabilitaion.

     Do we celebrate the guy that invented the iron lung that keeps Polio patients alive or the guy that cured Polio?

     Instead of celebrating the surgery that Tommy John had to have, we should be teaching baseball pitchers and all other athletes that rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament how to not rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     For over forty years now, I have explained that to prevent ruptures of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, all baseball pitchers have to do is take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball and pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous, flowing movement.

     The writer wrote: "According to one recent estimate, one out of nine pitchers in today's Major League starting rotations have benefited from it."

     Unfortunately, the writer did not tell us, how unlike Tommy John, that these baseball pitchers did not continue their careers as they should have had they not ruptured their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     In fact, many Tommy John surgery baseball pitchers rerupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament and, despite the misinformation that current success rate of Tommy John surgery is close to 90%, most never return their previous abilities.

     Dr. Jobe said, "He (Tommy John) did me a favor, he got well."

     The writer wrote that the recovery period is much shorter than the year and a half John missed.

     During the surgery, Dr. Jobe crimped Tommy John's Ulnar Nerve.  As a result, Tommy John's Ulnar Nerve died.  The Ulnar Nerve serves several muscles below the pitching elbow that baseball pitchers need.  Crimping the Ulnar Nerve is a rookie surgeon mistake.

     Fortunately, the Ulnar Nerve is a mylinated nerve.  This means that the Ulnar Nerve travels through a sheathing that surrounds it.  This sheathing enables nerve tissue to grow down it's length.  However, that regenerated nerve can only function at 60% of the born-with Ulnar Nerve.

     Therefore, the reason why Tommy John had to rehabilitate longer was Dr. Jobe's crimping his Ulnar Nerve.

     Why, after his Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery, did Tommy John pitched another 14 years?  The answer is: I taught Tommy John how to do my wrist weight exercises and how to pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height.

     Basically, pendulum swinging the pitching arm to driveline height eliminates the need for Tommy John surgery.  This means that Dr. Jobe's surgery had nothing to do with Tommy John pitching for another 14 years.

     The writer wrote that Dr. Jobe told Tommy John that his Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery had "perhaps a one percent chance of success."      This shows that Dr. Jobe does not understand that the Ulnar Collateral Ligament does not apply force and that the Pronator Teres, Flexor Carpi Radialis, Palmaris Longus, Flexor Carpi Ulnaris and Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscles overlay the Ulnar Collateral Ligament and, thereby, removes all stress from the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     The writer wrote that Dr. Jobe said that Tommy John surgery will not enable baseball pitchers to increase their release velocity.

     That is not true.

     Ulnar Collateral Ligaments do not suddenly rupture.  Instead, Ulnar Collateral Ligaments tear one connective tissue fibers that make up the Ulnar Collateral Ligament at a time, thousands of times.  Therefore, after the rupture, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament appears as a frayed rope.

     As these connective tissue fibers fray, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament lengthens.

     As the Ulnar Collateral Ligament lengthens, the stability of the pitching elbow joint decreases.

     As the stability of the pitching elbow joint decreases, release velocity decreases.

     Therefore, when surgeons tie a replacement tendon between the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm to the Ulna bone, the pitching elbow joint temporarily becomes much more stable.

     As a result, surgically-repaired baseball pitchers temporarily increase their release velocity.

     The writer wrote that Dr. Jobe said that devotion to rehabilitation can make an athlete's elbow virtually as good as new.

     That is not true.

     When baseball pitchers continue to use the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that ruptured their born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligament, they will rupture the connective tissue fibers that make up their replacement Ulnar Collateral tendon.

     Unfortunately, this replacement Ulnar Collateral tendon does not have the blood supply that the born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligament had.  Therefore, the Ulnar Collateral tendon cannot repair the connective tissue fiber tears like the born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligament could.

     As a result, these baseball pitchers will re-rupture their new Ulnar Collateral tendon much faster than they ruptured their born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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0089.  Santana not allowed to pitch in winter ball
MLB.com
January 13, 2012

ANAHEIM, CA:  Starter Ervin Santana recently asked the Angels for permission to pitch for the Licey Tigers of the Dominican Winter League, but they declined, general manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed.

The reason is simple:  The Angels don't think it's a good idea for a starter they're going to rely on for 200-plus innings to crank it up for a one-month stretch in January, then shut it down and start back up again in Spring Training shortly thereafter.

Shortstop Erick Aybar, who's arbitration-eligible and also an contract-extension candidate, was allowed to play for Licey when he asked at about the same time.  But in this case, a starting pitcher and a position player are "a different animal," Dipoto said, adding that the decision to keep Santana from winter ball was in no way health related.

"From Ervin's perspective, and quite frankly if Dan Haren or Jered Weaver or C.J. Wilson want to play winter ball, that would be an easy no-brainer [to say no]," Dipoto explained.  "But in Erick's case, this is him tuning up.  He's going to play maybe three times a week, and get himself in game shape and get himself ready.  It's not as taxing on him and doesn't put us in a bad situation."

"As a general rule," Dipoto said, "I'm a big advocate of winter ball and believe it's a good thing for players.  But sometimes you have to be smart enough to understand that cranking a pitcher up in early-to-mid January and then shutting him down and then cranking him up again is probably not the best way to make sure that pitcher stays healthy."


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

     Anaheim Angels general manager, Jery Dipoto, said, "... cranking a pitcher up in early-to-mid January and then shutting him down and then cranking him up again is probably not the best way to make sure that pitcher stays healthy."

     I agree.

     Instead of shutting Mr. Santana down from the end of the Dominican Winter League season (mid-January) to the start of spring training (mid-February), I recommend that Mr. Santana continues to train every day of the year.

     To repeatedly 'crank' baseball pitchers up is 50% more stressful than maintaining their fitness every day.

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0090.  Reliever Romero settles supplement lawsuit
MLB.com
January 13, 2012

J.C. Romero, suspended for 50 games while with the Phillies in 2009 after a positive test for a banned substance, has settled a lawsuit against the creators and distributors of a supplement that he said caused him to fall astray of the league's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Romero, a veteran left-handed reliever who signed as a free agent with the Cardinals last month, told the New York Daily News of the settlement.

"I didn't cheat," Romero told the newspaper.  "Some other people were being negligent, and I had to pay the price.  But I've been using this to educate other players.  I haven't been able to be the same since I was suspended.  I didn't believe the suspension could affect me the way it did."

Romero tested positive for androstenedione in August 2008, and he requested a hearing to contest the matter.  Romero had been using a product called 6-OXO Extreme, and after testing, it was confirmed that the supplement was tainted.

That finding wasn't enough to prevent the suspension, which Romero served at the start the 2009 season.  He subsequently filed suit against GNC, The Vitamin Shoppe and two companies, Ergopharm and Proviant Technologies, linked to the manufacturing of the supplement.  Both of the latter companies were once operated by Patrick Arnold, a chemist who served time in prison for his involvement in creating products for Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative, more widely known as BALCO.

Howard Jacobs, an attorney who represents Romero, told the Daily News that the case had advanced enough to have a trial date.  He declined to discuss the terms of the settlement.

"J.C. said he was going to fight this, and he did," said Jacobs.  "And now the matter is resolved."

Romero, who won two games in the 2008 World Series prior to his suspension, said he felt vindicated.

"The amount of money [in the settlement] isn't relevant," he said.  "What is relevant is that people know my side.  Some fans questioned my integrity.  Now there is some closure, and I can say the 2008 World Series was legit.  Now I can focus on dominating for another five years, hopefully."


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     I disagree with Mr. Romero that the 2008 World Series was legit.

     However, I agree with Mr. Romero that he did not intend to violate the ban on using performance enhancing drugs.

     Nevertheless, that Mr. Romero used anything than food that all can buy in the supermarket shows that, rather than hard work, Mr. Romero was trying to gain benefits chemically.

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0091.  Another question in regards to determining hitter types

Thank you for your prior response.

1.  Considering that they even exist, could you provide any information on determining hitter types when glove side and arm side hitters that fall out of the general characteristics that you described in the earlier email?

  For example:

     a.  A pitching arm side hitter that stands close to the plate with an open stance, but has a horizontal start to his swing.

     b.  A pitching arm side hitter that stands not close or far from the plate with a stance that is not open or closed but even and has a vertical start to his swing.

2.  How would you approach and determine hitters like these that have one general characteristic of being a PASPH (stance), but also a PASSH characteristic (start of swing), vice versa, or that just has one characteristic like in example #2?

3.  When hitters fall outside the general characteristics like example #1, is this an advanced hitter that can take advantage of hitting inside pitches because of his open stance, but also be able to hit high and outside pitches as well because he has a horizontal start to his swing?

4.  Are these the type of hitters that you have described in earlier question and answers as the hitters that you have to play the cat and mouse game of pitching with?


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

01.  Pitching arm side pull hitters stand close to home plate.  Therefore, to hit pitches close to their body, they have to hold their baseball bat vertically.

02.  Pitching arm side spray hitters stand away from home plate.  Therefore, to hit pitches away from their body, they have to hold their baseball bat horizontally.

03.  Most baseball batters are either PASPH or PASSH. However, some can be both, but not at the same time.  That is, if they believe that pitchers will throw pitches that PASSH hit better, then they can switch from PASPH to PASSH.

04.  As I wrote in 03., only a few baseball batters can be both types of hitters.  Therefore, they are advanced hitters.

     These advanced hitters require pitch by pitch adjustments.  The key to success against these hitters is reading their tells.  Usually, they will shift something, their feet or shoulder position.  However, some are good at faking their tells.

     My solution was to throw only pitches with twenty miles per hour velocity differences and sequence them in very unpredictable sequences.

     It is always better to walk these guys with unhittable high-quality pitches in unpredictable sequences than intentionally walking them.

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0092.  "Dynamic Tension" (Isometrics)

I was just wondering if you could elaborate more on your thoughts of isometrics or any sort of exercise using 'internal resistance."

From your posts, I understand you're aware of Hettinger and Mueller's research.

1.  But, what about the idea of applying tension with movement?

For example, like doing a basic "curl" applying maximum tension contraction on the positive movement, relaxing, then the same on the negative.

The benefits from what I understand, in terms of resistance against resistance, was that the tendons received the most benefit and that the incidents you spoke of were mainly due to holding the breath or amongst weightlifters using too much weight for too long of a period and being on steroids.

From what I read, these factors ended the isometrics era.

However, there's been a recent interest/revival in isometrics.

The idea is that exercise using "internal resistance" can mimic weight lifting movements.

I was wondering if you could shed some light on it and how the two compare and contrast.

Also, fitness "gurus" are pushing something they call "dynamic inertia" where you vigorously shake an object from a certain angle and the vibration makes the muscles contract and relax at a rapid rate.

2.  Is there any value of these exercises?


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

     'Isometrics' means that athletes contract muscles that perform a joint action, such as the muscles that flex the elbow joint, against a bar that prevents any joint movement.

     Whereas, from their starting resting state, the muscles do shorten.  Only the positions of the involved bones do not change.

     I have no idea what 'Internal resistance' means.

     During the 1960s, I read every report that Hettinger and Mueller wrote.  I also read research that discredited their work.

01.  When athletes apply (muscle) tension with movement, they are changing the positions of bones.

     When you write 'positive movement,' I think that you mean that athletes are shortening the distance between the bones to which the contracting muscles attach.  I call this, 'mioanglos' joint action.  Kinesiologists call this, 'concentric' muscle action.

     When you write 'negative movement,' I think that you mean that athletes are lengthening the distance between the bones to which the contracting muscles attach.  I call this, 'plioanglos' joint action.  Kinesiologists call this, eccentric muscle action.

     However, because, after the 'mioanglos' joint action, the athletes stop contracting muscles, what you called 'negative movement' could also mean that athletes contracted the antagonist muscles.

     To use your 'curls' example: Athletes start with the muscles that flex the elbow joint, and then finish with the muscles that extend the elbow joint.

    'Resistance against resistance' means that athletes contract muscles that perform one joint action against an immoveable resistance.  That the position of the involved bones does not change means that this is an 'isometric' contraction.

     'Iso' means same.  'Metrics' means distance.  Therefore, isometrics means that the position of the involved bones does not change.

     When muscle contract, the entire muscle, that is the muscle fibers and the connective tissue that make up the tendon equally benefit.

     You wrote that "internal resistance" training mimics weight lifting movements.

     With regard to weight training, I have no idea what 'internal resistance' means.

     If athletes are not lifting weights, then they are not stressing the involved bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

     'Dynamic' means that athletes are moving something.  'Inertia' means the resistance of the mass of that something to movement.

     To lift 500 lbs. vertically upward off the floor requires athletes to overcome the inertia of 500 lbs.

     Whenever athletes move anything, they have to overcome the inertial resistance of whatever they are moving.

    When athletes vigorously shake objects, they contract antagonistic muscle groups.

     For example, to use your 'curl' example, athletes would rapidly alternate contracting the muscles that flex and extend the elbow joint.

     This activity trains the motor unit contraction and relaxation sequences. Because to shake something does not stress the involved bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles, this exercise would have very little fitness benefit.

2.  Is there any value of these exercises?

     I could see where bartenders might improve their skill at shaking alcoholic beverages and adolescent dating themselves.

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0093.  Howell's body and mind clear of obstacles
MLB.com
January 13, 2012

ST. PETERSBURG, FL:  J.P. Howell could do no wrong during the 2008 and '09 seasons.  Fans loved the quirky Rays left-hander, who painted the black on a regular basis and became one of the team's most valued commodities in the bullpen.

Then Howell missed all of 2010 due to left shoulder surgery.  And when he returned in '11, Howell encountered some bumps in the road.  With those bumps came the inevitable chorale of boos, something Howell had never encountered during his halcyon days with the team.

"You know, that's the way the business goes, but experiencing it is a different thing," Howell said.  "I saw in '08 I was loved, and in '09, I couldn't go anywhere without somebody loving me.  And I kind of noticed that, because it was the first time at the Major League level where that happened."

Howell felt jilted at the time, but he has now had the chance to put the experience in perspective as he prepares for the 2012 season.

"What happened [with the fans] last year didn't really affect me, but it kind of bummed me out," Howell said.  "That gave me a lot of power to shut out outside things, because it doesn't really matter.  Even when I'm doing good and someone is telling me I'm doing good, it doesn't matter.

"It's what I think.  If I'm not working hard, that's when I have a problem personally, because I put more pressure on myself than the fans.  I expect way more of me than probably the fans expect.  So I have to pretty much shut off the positive and the negative."

Howell posted ERAs of 2.22 and 2.84 in 2008 and '09, respectively.  Last season, he came in at 6.16. However, the numbers within the numbers tell a different story about what Howell really accomplished in 2011.  After returning from the disabled list on May 20, one year and one day after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum, Howell posted a 10.32 ERA over his first 15 appearances.  After that, he had a 3.72 ERA in 31 outings.

"I pretty much look at this way," Howell said.  "To start the year, I had about two innings and an 18.00 ERA.  By the time my ERA was at the lowest was at the very end.  My last outing, my ERA was the lowest it had been all year.  So when you look at that, there was a lot of progress, if you compare the beginning to the end.

"My goal initially was to just get back, just to be able to throw again in the big leagues and get outs, throw some quality strikes in the zone and be competitive, which I was.

By the end of the season, Howell maintained it was the "most proud I've ever been" of a 6.16 ERA.

"It's one of those things where I know the fans don't get to see, no one really gets to see, the true path from going to rehab to pitching in the games," Howell said.  "It's a little different than having an offseason to prepare and getting my body into great shape and pretty much make it a machine.  I have the luxury to do that this off-season, which is going to be a big benefit for me."

While Howell's left shoulder came through with flying colors, the 28-year-old identified mental toughness as the missing element from his game, particularly in the Rays' July 1 game against the Cardinals at Tropicana Field.  Howell retired the first two batters he faced in the eighth inning before yielding a home run to Colby Rasmus.  At the time, Howell felt like the umpires had been squeezing him on calls.  Rasmus' home run then tilted the scale, prompting Howell's temper to boil over in the form of a tantrum that resulted in his getting ejected.

"That St. Louis game was a clear sign of desperation," Howell said.  "When that happened, that's a sign of desperation, a mental matter.  That's it, straight up.  It's a matter of being locked in and being mentally strong enough to move on.

"I want to be a pitcher [who], when I feel I'm not getting the calls, I still get outs.  I get squeezed on two pitches and I still get the guy out.  I don't want to have a thousand excuses, like in that St. Louis game.  That's an excuse to fail, and that's not good enough in the big leagues.  My arm was strong, but mentally, I was very weak."

After the 2011 season, Howell resisted getting started on his off-season conditioning until Novrmber 04, letting his body rest in anticipation of being able to prepare like a healthy player prepares for a season.

"I needed that month to mentally shut down and start my new process for the new season and create a new journey to chase a ring," Howell said.  "It was good to kind of finalize my rehab trail, in a way.

"I've been working out, which I think is going to be extremely beneficial when compared to last year, when I had to go from rehab to the games.  That's just part of the deal.  Now, it will be a little more of a fair fight."

Howell can't wait for Spring Training.  His body and mind are ready.

"I have a kind of rejuvenated attitude," Howell said.  "I had that in '08 and '09.  I didn't have that last year.  I couldn't handle adversity as well as I should have been able to or as well as I can, and it comes down to mental [strength].

"I was consistently fighting the season, and that's now how I usually do things.  Normally, I accept what happens and move on.  I wasn't doing that.  I was fighting.  And you saw what happened, and that was the difference."


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     Mr. Howell said that he was 'going to rehab to pitching in the games."

     This is a failure of the Rays Medical Staff.

     Baseball pitchers must never rehabilitate and competitively pitch.

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0094.  Toronto depending on Cecil, Rasmus
MLB.com
January 13, 2012

TORONTO, ON:  The Blue Jays are inching closer to the start of Spring Training, and they appear relatively comfortable with the 25-man roster currently in place.

General manager Alex Anthopoulos recently indicated that his club was likely done with its off-season shopping.  He continues to search for possible upgrades to the starting rotation, but at this point, Anthopoulos appears content with the status quo.

That means Toronto will rely on an upgraded bullpen and comeback seasons from a pair of players who suffered through disappointing 2011 campaigns as ways to get back to the 90-win plateau usually associated with playoff teams.

"There are two guys internally that I think will go a long way in doing that," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said of his post-season aspirations.  "That's Brett Cecil and Colby Rasmus.  That's not to put the onus on them; I think they're very well aware of it.

"They're very well aware of where they stand and the things that took place last year.  But last year, we came in, and it was Adam Lind and Aaron Hill as two guys that could give us a huge boost toward making that next step.  This year, it's Brett and Colby."

The 2011 season is likely one that both Cecil and Rasmus would like to forget.  Cecil went through a surprising demotion to the Minor Leagues and a mysterious loss in velocity, while Rasmus never seemed to get on track in either the National League or American League.

Rasmus entered this past season as one of the rising young stars in the game.  The 24-year-old center fielder was coming off a season in which he hit .276 with 24 homers and 66 RBIs in 144 games and was expected to be a major component of a St. Louis organization with lofty goals for 2011.

The success never seemed to carry over from one year to the next, though.  Rasmus struggled in 94 games with the Cardinals, managing to hit just .246 with 11 homers.  Those subpar numbers prompted a midseason trade to the Blue Jays.

St. Louis was able to use the deal to upgrade its starting rotation and bullpen en route to a World Series championship.  Rasmus, on the other hand, saw his struggles continue with Toronto, as he had difficulty adjusting to a new league and proceeded to hit just .173 while battling a sprained right wrist and new surroundings.

Farrell hopes that Rasmus can put last season in his rearview mirror, but the manager also doesn't want 2011 to be completely forgotten.

"I hope last year was a great teaching tool for him, and I wouldn't write it off," Farrell said.  "I think there's a reason those things happen.  Hopefully, he is better for it as a player and as a more consistent performer.  The challenge is not going to change; the big leagues are still the big leagues, regardless of whether it's St. Louis, Toronto or anywhere else.

"He's going to get challenged like everyone in uniform will be, and I think coming into Spring Training and feeling like he's a member of the Blue Jays rather than someone in transition last year will go a long way."

Rasmus faces a situation similar to what shortstop Yunel Escobar went through in 2010.  The promising Cuban player struggled during the early stages of that season and was eventually traded from Atlanta to Toronto.  Escobar's woes continued for the rest of that season, but in 2011, he bounced back in a big way by hitting .290 with 11 homers and 48 RBIs.

Toronto will need similar improvement from Rasmus in 2012 if it wants to improve its production out of center field.  Last year, the Blue Jays ranked 29th in the Majors out of the center-field position with a .213 average and 71 runs scored and dead last with a .255 on-base percentage.

The one area of Rasmus' game where little improvement is needed can be found on the field.  The native of Columbus, GA, provides well-above-average defense and showed an uncanny ability to track down long fly balls in the gap.  That should go a long way to helping Toronto's pitching staff, which was held back by arguably the worst defensive outfield in baseball in 2011.

The 25-year-old Cecil could be a major benefactor of Rasmus' everyday presence in center.  Cecil is a fly-ball pitcher who's coming off a season, his third in the big leagues, in which he went 4-11 with a 4.73 ERA.

Cecil has reportedly lost upward of 30 pounds this off-season as he looks for a bounce-back year.  The left-hander will be trying to regain some of his 2010 form, which helped him lead the club with 15 wins.  According to No. 1 starter Ricky Romero, Cecil is ready for the challenge.

"Obviously, I have confidence in my guys," Romero said.  "Talking with Brett Cecil, talking with Henderson Alvarez, they're ready.  I don't think I've ever seen Cecil as motivated as he is right now, just talking with him, his demeanor, just the stuff that he has been telling me.  Not too long ago, I received a tweet that he was coming after me this year.  That pumps me up.  This guy wants it, and that shows a lot."

The weight loss should help improve Cecil's athleticism on the mound, which could go a long way toward helping the native of Maryland repeat his delivery on a consistent basis.  But it remains to be seen what improved athleticism will do for Cecil's velocity, which was widely talked about during Spring Training last year.

In 2011, Cecil went from throwing his fastball in the low-90s to the mid-80s.  He also had difficulty keeping the ball down in the zone, and the result was an unexpected stint with Triple-A Las Vegas that lasted more than two months.

While at Triple-A, Cecil worked on some mechanical changes to his delivery, and Anthopoulos felt that while there is still work to be done, plenty of positives could be taken from the lefty's start on June 30, when he returned to the big leagues to stay.

Not surprisingly, Anthopoulos also believes that Rasmus will play a role in making sure that improvement continues.

"For as slow as he started, if you look at what he did after he came back from being demoted, I think he put up a 4.37 ERA, and the year before, I think it was around 4.20 over the course of a full year," Anthopoulos said of Cecil.  "I think he went at least six innings in all of his starts.

"You combine that with, obviously, no surprise to anybody that our outfield defense last year was not our strong suit.  Now, I think with a full season of Colby in center, Jose Bautista staying in right and whoever ends up in left, I think our outfield defense will be significantly stronger, and that will help guys like [Brandon] Morrow and Cecil."


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     In his third season in the big leagues, Brett Cecil went 4-11 with a 4.73 ERA.

     Due to a mysterious loss of release velocity during the 2011 spring training, after winning 15 games in 2010, the Blue Jays demoted Mr. Cecil.

     To win 15 games and get demoted out of the following year's spring training tells me that the Blue Jays want to extend the time before Mr. Cecil is eligible to become a free agent.

     Even after his two months in Triple-A, Mr. Cecil's release velocity went from throwing the low-90s in 2010 to to the mid-80s in 2011.

     The Blue Jays blame Mr. Cecil's loss of release velocity on his inability to repeat his delivery.

     However, loss of release velocity almost always results from the decrease in joint stability.

     Mr. Cecil's solution was to lose 30 pounds.

     15 wins in 2010 to 04 wins and 11 losses in 2011 is a dramatic downward spiral to oblivion.

     Mr. Cecil has joined a long list of left-handed pull pitcher that, after appearing to be All-Star quality major league baseball pitchers, downwardly spiral to oblivion.

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0095.  Wainwright on track for normal spring training
MLB.com
January 14, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO:  It could well turn out that ten-plus months from now, when the Cardinals sit back to reflect upon their 2012 season, they will point out that the biggest boost of this off-season came not from some external addition, but rather from the return of an All-Star arm.

The formidability of the club's rotation depends largely on the return of Adam Wainwright, who 10 1/2 months ago was undergoing season-ending Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

At the time of the procedure, St. Louis remained optimistic that Wainwright would recover in time to enjoy an uninterrupted 2012 season.  And certainly, a best-case scenario has since followed.

Without a setback to mar his rehab process, Wainwright is on track to carry a normal Spring Training load and to take his spot in the big league rotation the first week of the season.  In fact, the only thing set to suffer over the next year is Wainwright's home garden, which became an important place of refuge during the rehab process.

"I'm not ashamed to brag about my gardening skills," Wainwright joked on Saturday after his appearance at the organization's Winter Warm-Up event.  "One of the many ways I kept myself sane last year was that garden.  It was my sanity garden.  It seemed to work."

Now sanity is once again found on the mound.

Wainwright recently moved his rehab work to the Cardinals' complex in Jupiter, FL, where he threw his first session off the mound on Thursday.  He's been throwing long toss for a while now and already reintroduced breaking pitches into his repertoire.

The results have been overwhelmingly encouraging.  No discomfort.  No problems regaining velocity or command.  Not a single setback.  If there's any concern, it would be only that Wainwright is too far along in the buildup process.

"[I got] a great report from his first bullpen [session] the other day," general manager John Mozeliak said.  "[It's] very encouraging."

The Cardinals will certainly keep a close eye on Wainwright's load this spring, though the right-hander intends to go at full effort until he is told differently.  In fact, Wainwright was taken aback a bit on Saturday when informed that Mozeliak estimated 150-170 regular-season innings as a reasonable workload expectation for him in 2012.

Since becoming a member of the Cardinals' rotation in 2007, Wainwright has thrown fewer than 202 innings just once.  That was in '08, when a finger injury limited him to only 20 starts.

"One hundred and fifty innings sounds like half a season to me," Wainwright said.  "Any pitcher that is out there competing [his] tail off and is decent at what he does should throw more than 150 innings.  That would never ever be a goal of mine.  I kind of refrain from setting inning goals, especially this year."

Knowing that it might be necessary to temper expectations, Wainwright has already taken time to talk with other pitchers who resumed successful careers following the same Tommy John surgery.  Next on Wainwright's call list is Tim Hudson, who went 17-9 and finished fourth in the National League Cy Young voting in his first full season back from the procedure.

For the Cardinals, the chance to plug a pitcher with Wainwright's résumé into the rotation behind Chris Carpenter should lessen some of the lingering concerns about the how this organization is prepared to move forward without Albert Pujols.  As for Wainwright, there is simply comfort in the prospect of a return to normalcy.

"The biggest thing I've learned is that I really love to pitch and I'm not ready to quit," Wainwright said.  "I miss competing.  I would say the thing I learned was that I really love baseball.  I've got it good here."


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     After his seoond Ulnar Collateral Ligament/Tendon replacement surgery, a St. Louis Post Dispatch sportswriter gave Mr. Carpenter a copy of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     The next season, Mr. Carpenter pendulum swung his pitching downward, backward and upward to driveline height and pronated the releases of his breaking pitches.  As a result, he had a great season.

     Unfortunately, Mr. Carpenter has lost that loving feeling for my Maxline Pronation Curve, but he still pendulum swings his pitching arm.

     If Mr. Carpenter share the pendulum swing technique with Mr. Wainwright and he and St. Louis minor league pitching coordiator, Brent Strom, share my Maxline Pronation Curve technique, then Mr. Wainwright might have the same immediate success that Mr. Carpenter enjoyed.

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0096.  Dipoto is betting Angels' bullpen won't blow up again
The SportsXChange
January 14, 2012

The Angels tied for the American League lead with 25 blown saves in 2011 including 10 by rookie closer Jordan Walden, who tied Cubs left-hander Carlos Marmol for the major-league lead in that category.

And yet, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto has made only one minor change to the makeup of the team's bullpen this winter, adding veteran setup man LaTroy Hawkins on a one-year contract.

"Our stance is the same as it's been from the start, just try to be opportunistic," Dipoto said of his stance on upgrading the bullpen.  "We're still trying to find the guy who can add to the mix, give us a different dimension or a different look and give us depth, and that depth needs to go beyond the six or seven guys in the major-league bullpen at any given time.

"With the guys we have coming back, Walden and (Scott) Downs and Hawkins and Rich Thompson, (Hisanori) Takahashi, (Bobby) Cassevah, and adding guys like Michael Kohn and Kevin Jepsen into the mix, the comfort level right now is pretty high."

The Angels have only been on the fringes when it came to possibly landing spots for established closers on the free agent market like Heath Bell, Ryan Madson and Francisco Cordero, never making an aggressive effort to sign any.

Bell signed with the Marlins and Madson the Reds.  Cordero remains unsigned.

But Dipoto said this week the Angels are "very unlikely" to make any more significant additions of free agents and said he did not feel replacing Walden as closer was something that needed to be done this winter.

"With that particular spot at this point, we've supported and I've supported Jordan Walden," Dipoto said.  "He has earned that with his performance last season and he has earned that opportunity to be the anchor again."


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

     If Mr. Dipoto is the former general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the I met him in Los Angeles after a ceremony that the Dodger Cy Young Award winners had their photographs painted on the outfield fence.

     The soon to be former owner of the Dodgers sought me out and introduced his sons to me.  This owner asked me how I was able to pitch every day without injury or loss of pitch quality.

     After a short conversation, the owner called Mr. Dipoto over to join the conversation.

     For months thereafter, Mr. Dipoto exchanged emails about how to eliminate pitching injuries.

     The following spring training in Florida, Mr. Dipoto invited me to visit with him.  During our meeting, Mr. Dipoto asked me to demonstrate the adjustments that eliminated pitching injuries.

     After my demonstrations, I told Mr. Dipoto that, the preceding year's National League Cy Young Award winner, would rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament unless he learned how to pendulum swing his pitching arm.

     After that closer ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, I never heard from Mr. Dipoto again.

     In this article, Mr. Dipoto said, "We're still trying to find the guy who can add to the mix, give us a different dimension or a different look and give us depth, and that depth needs to go beyond the six or seven guys in the major-league bullpen at any given time."

     Mr. Dipoto's relief pitching theory is to find baseball pitchers that have a different dimension or look.

     What is wrong with finding baseball pitchers that master a wide variety of high-quality pitches with which they throw in hitter specific pitch sequences that pendulum swing their pitching arm.?

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

0097.  Towels and Stretching Bands - Why?

I need to understand the use of towels and stretching bands for the training of baseball pitchers.

I have been using your training methods for my son, and appreciate your thoughtful application of medical science to pitching mechanics.  Since you don’t use towels and stretching bands, there’s probably a very good reason.

1. Could you comment?


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     All training is specific.

     If baseball pitchers use towels to sweep the ground in front of them, then they will become good at sweeping the ground in front of them with towels.

     Stretching bands only makes baseball pitchers good at stretching bands.

     To train the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles to throw baseballs, baseball pitchers need to precisely replicate the force application required to throw baseballs.

     With my four drills, I teach the skills required for baseball pitchers to maximally apply force to their pitches.  With wrist weights and iron balls, I train the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles to withstand the stress of maximally applying force to their pitches.

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0098.  "Dynamic Tension" (Isometrics)

Thanks for the reply.

Yes, I guess antagonistic exercises would be the term I meant in regards to internal resistance.

So basically, again with the curl, the flexor muscles are contracted in resistance to the extensor muscles.

1.  So, I was wondering how that stress differs than performing the same movement with a weight?

Another example being your pitching motion and having the pitcher contract the muscles involved.  The question again being how the stress of performing the movement with the wrist weights differs than performing it by merely tensing the muscles involved and perhaps others.

I'm aware of all the superstitions people had of weights in that time.  It's easier to sell a course without apparatus.  I thought the tensing principle is interesting and since everyone had an agenda, you could be the voice of reason of the value of that form of exercise.


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

     When athletes move bones, 'reciprocal inhibition, prevents them from co-contracting antagonistic muscles.  Therefore, with bone movement, it is impossible for athletes to contract flexor muscles as resistance to contracting extensor muscles.

     Therefore, internal resistance is impossible and has nothing to do with 'isometrics.'

     Training that does not require athletes to overcome inertia will not increase the ability of the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles to withstand competitive stress.

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0099.  Weight training for hockey players

Thank you for the training suggestions to strengthen the adductor muscles.

Again, I am going a little south of the pitching arm in asking for advice.  My son, as a defensive lineman, is facing a regimen of squatting in the weight room.

I never did more than high rep, low weight squatting when I was younger but the whole process of squatting heavy weights makes me wonder about joint damage.

I do know that power lifters sometimes have hip replacements in their thirties and forties.

1.  Is there a correlation between joint damage and heavy squatting?
2.  Do you consider this a safe exercise?
3.  Are there any parameters that would make it/keep it safe?
4.  Are there more safe alternatives?


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     Whenever athletes train with weights, they should never bend their knees beyond ninety degrees.  That means they should never squat.

01.  Yes.
02.  No.
03.  Have chairs under the athletes that prevent them from bending their knees beyond ninety degrees.
04.  Yes.  Athletes should lie on their back and place their feet under a weight platform that slides up and down on poles with blocks on the poles that prevent the weight platform from forcing the athletes to bend their knees beyond ninety degrees.

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0100.  Could you take a quick look at my pitching mechanics?

14 year olds 'traditional' pitching motion

This is my second year pitching.  I haven't had a pitching instructor yet.  I'm new to "pitching mechanics".

I only throw around 71.  I want more velocity. I'm 14.  I haven't had any arm pain.

1.  Could you give me some tips to increase velocity and improve my mechanics?


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     You are using the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.  Eventually, you will suffer injuries.  In addition, the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion is inefficient.

     Nevertheless, I did like how you pendulum swung your pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

     However, that your used your Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull your pitching arm forward is not good.  You need to use your Latissimus Dorsi muscle to vertically drive your pitching arm forward.  To do this, you need to get your pitching upper arm vertical and turn the back of your pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     Also, you should not turn your pitching foot to parallel with the pitching rubber.  Instead, you should face home plate and point your pitching foot at home plate.

     I recommend that you watch the videos that I have placed on my website for all to watch without charge and master the four drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     If, after you watch my videos, you have more questions, then please email them to me.

     While I did not like your pitching motion, I enjoyed watching your video.

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0101.  Morton hopes to be ready when season starts
The SportsXChange
January 14, 2012

  RHP Charlie Morton engaged in light exercises at the Pirates' voluntary minicamp in Bradenton, FL.  He expects to be ready for the start of the season after having October hip surgery.  "Everything I do is done on the side of caution.  But I think I can get back on time."


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     If Mr. Morton were to stop doing what he did that injured his pitching hip, then Mr. Morton would have a chance to 'get back on time.'

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0102.  Carpenter working hard to maintain strength
MLB.com
January 14, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO:  Unfazed with the heavy workload he carried in 2011, Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter has progressed through this off-season like any other.  That meant making no substantial changes to his routine and beginning his throwing program almost immediately after the start of the new year.

His initial assessment on the whole process?  All is just fine.

"I feel good," said Carpenter, who tossed a combined 273 1/3 regular season and post-season innings last year.  "I have worked my butt off, and I'm going to continue to work my butt off.  That's why I train the way I do, so I can throw those innings and recover properly."

Still, the workload Carpenter undertook last season is uncharted territory for the 14-year veteran, and it has left some curious to see how Carpenter, who will be 37 in April, will bounce back.  There remains the possibility that St. Louis will tread a little more carefully with Carpenter's innings during Spring Training.  But any changes in Carpenter's routine between now and Opening Day should be nothing more than minor tweaks.

In addition to providing an update on his own off-season work, Carpenter also took some time on Saturday to speak more broadly about the organization's off-season transition.  He endorsed Mike Matheny as a more-than-capable replacement for Tony La Russa, and he noted that Derek Lilliquist's transition into the pitching coach role should be fairly seamless given how long he has been in the organization.


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

     I doubt that Mr. Carpenter volunteered his opinion about Mr. Matheny or Mr. Lilliquist.  Instead, I believe that the writer asked him whether Mr. Carpenter agreed with hiring Mr. Matheny as field manager and Mr. Lilliquist as pitching coach and Mr. Carpenter respectfully responded.

     I am positive that Mr. Carpenter did not telephone the writer for this interview.

     In response to 'how you doing,? Mr. Carpenter said that he began his throwing program almost immediately after the start of the new year.  That is two months later than he should have started preparing for the next season.

     It would have been much, much easier for Mr. Carpenter to maintain the high level of fitness he had at the end of the World Series than, after two months of detraining, it will be for Mr. Carpenter to regain that high level of fitness.

     That Mr. Carpenter will be 37 year old in April 2012 means that he needs to work harder, not easier.  Therefore, the new manager should not 'tread a little more carefully with Carpenter's innings during Spring Training.'

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0103.  Is pitching depth good enough?
The SportsXchange
January 14, 2012

The Cubs have a lot of quantity now in their starting rotation.  The question is whether that quantity translates into quality.

Their latest acquisition was left-hander Paul Maholm, signing the former Pirate to a one-year deal worth $4.25 million.  Maholm, 29, joins newcomer Travis Wood as the second lefty in a rotation that also includes right-handers Matt Garza, Ryan Dempster and Chris Volstad.

The Cubs also said they'll stretch right-hander Jeff Samardzija out to stretch as a starter in spring training, but it's likely he'll end up in the bullpen.  Young holdover Casey Coleman also is in the mix to start.

From the beginning of their tenure in Chicago this past fall, president Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have stressed that they want to be eight or nine deep with starting pitchers in case of injury.

"As a club, I think we're very comfortable with the names that we have," Hoyer said.  "You never know what's going to happen over the course of the rest of the winter, what's going to be available to us.  A priority, as I said many times, was building depth.  The minute you think you have enough pitching, you probably don't."

The acquisition of Maholm, Hoyer said, was not a precursor to any other deal.  Garza's name has been talked about all winter as a candidate to be traded, but the Cubs have set the price extremely high for the 28-year-old Garza, who figures to be the ace of the staff if he's still here come April.


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     The writer wrote, "In case of injury, Cubs president, Theo Epstein, and general manager, Jed Hoyer have stressed that they want to be eight or nine deep with starting pitchers.

     Mr. Hoyer said, "The minute you think you have enough pitching, you probably don't."

     Wouldn't make their jobs easier if they knew that their baseball pitchers would not suffer pitching injuries?

     I do not understand why learning how to eliminate pitching injuries is not the more important knowledge that team presidents and general managers must have.  Shouldn't these guys at least search for someone that knows how to eliminate pitching injuries?

     If they were to type, 'How to eliminate pitching injuries' into the Google search box, most of first page only includes materials with which I am associated.  Give me a call.  I won't bite.

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0104.  Lilliquist will step into Duncan's shoes
The SportsXChange
January 14, 2012

First, manager Tony La Russa left.  Then, first baseman Albert Pujols.  And now longtime Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan won't be in the dugout this season as he cares for his ailing wife, Jeanine.

Mike Matheny has replaced La Russa.  Lance Berkman will move to first base from right field and outfielder Carlos Beltran has signed.

Meanwhile, bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist will come in from the outfield to replace Duncan in the dugout, as he did on an interim basis for the last two months of the 2011 regular season when Duncan was on a leave of absence.

Lilliquist said he would keep it simple.

"I don't see a reason to come in and change things around," said Lilliquist, whose first year as a major league coach was last year.  "What Dunc advocates has been proven to work, so why would you not maintain that philosophy?

"I know the guys and believe the guys know me.  It's a very professional group.  They know their responsibility and take it very seriously."

Right-hander Kyle Lohse, the staff's leading winner with 14 victories last year, said he thought the transition would be relatively seamless.

"I think anybody will tell you you're not going to replace Dunc," Lohse said.  "You're not going to replace Tony.  You're not going to replace Albert.  But Lilly showed last year when he stepped in that he was capable of doing what needed to be done.

"It wasn't like we got lost when he was the guy in the pitchers' meetings.  He definitely seemed like he had an idea of what he wanted to get done.  It will be a big step for him the first part of the year but I believe it's a solid situation."


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     The writer got another solicited opinion.  What did he expect Mr. Lohse to say?  I believe that Mr. Carpenter has more influence on the pitching staff than Mr. Duncan had or Mr. Lilliquist will have.

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0105.  Nicasio on the mend from broken neck
The SportsXChange
January 14, 2012

The Rockies are keeping their fingers crossed on pitcher Juan Nicasio for two reasons.

First, his return after suffering a broken neck would be nothing short of remarkable, particularly if he's ready to start the season.  And, second, since the Rockies have not added a dependable veteran pitcher to their rotation this winter, Nicasio, despite a major league resume that includes just nine starts, could enhance a rotation that will have plenty of promise but in some cases will lack experience.

Nicasio, 25, suffered a fractured C1 vertebrae August 05 when he was hit in the right temple by a line drive off the bat of Washington's Ian Desmond.

  Nicasio, who is from the Dominican Republic, has been working out there at the Rockies complex in Boca Chica.  He has been throwing to hitters behind a protective L screen (which pitchers use during early batting practice sessions in spring training and which coaches use when throwing batting practice during the season and spring training).  Nicasio has been throwing only fastballs and changeups, which is common for this time of year.

Rolando Fernandez, the Rockies director of international scouting, said Nicasio is doing well.  If he encounters no setbacks, Nicasio will throw to hitters without a screen to protect him before spring training.  Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Rockies camp in Scottsdale, AZ, on February 19, 2012.

Nicasio is in uncharted water, since a fractured C1 vertebrae, according to Rockies trainer Keith Dugger, is seen in automobile and diving accidents but not in baseball.  Nicasio has two screws in the vertebrae and a small plate in the back of his head, all of which is permanent hardware, and has not encountered any loss of mobility.  He will face a big psychological hurdle when he throws to hitters without the protective screen.

Nicasio went 4-4 with a 4.14 ERA last year after starting the season at Double-A Tulsa and was particularly effective at home.  Indeed, at Coors Field, Nicasio went 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA compared to 0-3 with a 7.04 ERA on the road.  Nicasio has had very good velocity this winter, which is obviously encouraging.

There is no guarantee Nicasio will be ready to start the season.  Spring training will provide a measure of his progress and if he's ready to pitch in the big leagues again in early April or make a few starts in the minor leagues or extended spring training.  And there's no certainty that Nicasio, if he is ready to be in the Rockies rotation on Opening Day, will pitch effectively.  But if he can do so, last season Nicasio showed a mid-90s fastball, a very good changeup and a work-in-progress slider with the ability to throw strikes, it could impact a Rockies rotation where little help has been brought in from the outside this winter.


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     The writer wrote: "Nicasio, 25, suffered a fractured C1 vertebrae August 05 when he was hit in the right temple by a line drive off the bat of Washington's Ian Desmond."

     If Mr. Nicasio's pitching foot were on the ground before the baseball crossed home plate, then Mr. Nicasio would have had time to more his head out of the way of the batted baseball.

     The long stride of 'traditional' baseball pitching motion forces baseball pitchers to bend forward at their waist.  That not only leaves the pitching leg well behind their body such that baseball pitchers cannot get their pitching foot on the ground before the baseball crosses home plate, but it also force baseball pitcher to quickly snap their body and head back upright.

     This quick snap-back action of the head will considerably stress Mr. Nicasio's C1 (Atlas) vertebrae.

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

0106.  Adams "might be a week behind" teammates
MLB.com
January 14, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX:  Relief pitcher Mike Adams had surgery to repair a hernia a few weeks ago, and said Saturday he'll start Spring Training behind his teammates. Pitchers and catcher report February 22, 2012.

Adams said he'll start throwing in Corpus Christi next week.  He said he had back pain during the season and was surprised to learn of the hernia after a visit to the doctor.

"Hopefully, by the time games start I should be ready to go and able," Adams said.  "I might be a week behind, but I don't see it in any way affecting me beyond mid-March."


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     Hernias are openings in the abdominal wall.

     Powerfully compressing the abdominal contents stresses the abdominal wall.

     The bending forward at the waist action of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion forces baseball pitchers to powerfully compress their abdominal contents.

     However, my stand tall and rotate body action does not powerfully compress the abdominal contents.

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0107.  De La Rose seems to be progressing after surgery
The SportsXChange
January 14, 2012

RHP Rubby De La Rosa is healing on schedule from Tommy John surgery.

He's throwing free and easy on flat ground from 60 feet and is optimistic for a return to the majors late in July or early in August.  If he does return this year, it would be as relief pitcher.  The Dodgers still believe he's a starting pitcher over the long haul.


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     Add Mr. De La Rosa's name to the long list of baseball pitchers that suffered preventable baseball pitching injuries.

     Palm under the baseball.  Pendulum swing the pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.  No more Tommy John surgeries.

     The Dodgers, with Dr. Jobe right around the corner, still injure their baseball pitchers.

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0108.  Yanks have best of problems: Too many arms
MLB.com
January 15, 2012

NEW YORK, NY:  All things considered, this is the problem that the Yankees would prefer to have.  After spending most of the winter worrying about the depth of their starting pitching, they now have too many arms to fit into their available slots.

By shattering their winter silence with the acquisition of electric right-hander Michael Pineda from the Mariners and signing veteran right-hander Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $10 million deal, the Yankees ensure that they will have competition in camp and important decisions to make.

Until Friday night, the course of their off-season was set by issuing a contract extension to ace CC Sabathia, and none of the new transactions, still pending the results of physicals and not officially announced by the clubs, will dislodge Sabathia from his No. 1 spot.

Pineda could be manager Joe Girardi's natural choice to slide into the No. 2 slot behind Sabathia, giving the Yankees an impressive one-two punch to compete in the American League East.

Pineda, who turns 23 next week, was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA in 28 starts last year with Seattle, and did so largely behind his high-90s fastball and a hard, biting slider.

Girardi could consider Kuroda, who turns 37 in February, as either his No. 3 or No. 4 starter.  At the very least, the Yankees have a good idea about what they'll be getting from Kuroda, who was 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA in 32 starts for the Dodgers last year.

Of course, it remains to be seen how Pineda and Kuroda adjust to pitching both in the AL East and in Yankee Stadium.  But given the other questions that need answers, the Yankees are prepared to deal with those situations when they get there.

The moves now create a logjam at the back of the rotation, and though these issues often can be settled by injuries and performance as early as Spring Training, they are difficult to decipher five weeks from the report date to Tampa, FL.

Ivan Nova won 16 games last season in a breakout rookie campaign and could have slotted behind Sabathia if not for Friday's moves, but moving him further back could reduce the pressure for a followup season for the young right-hander.

Until a forearm strain knocked him out of Game 5 of the AL Division Series, an injury that has completely healed, not much seemed to bother Nova in 2011, including a July demotion to Triple-A with the purpose of creating room for Phil Hughes in the rotation.

Nova told the Yankees he'd never give them a reason to send him down again, showcasing a confident demeanor that impressed many, including Sabathia, who had no qualms about heading into the playoffs with Nova as his right-hand man.

"[I've been impressed by] his confidence," Sabathia said in September.  "He's gotten better each time out.  That's definitely exciting to see.  Him learning how to pitch at the big league level, I think his confidence was never a problem.  He came up and had the confidence, had the stuff.  It was learning how to pitch; throwing the slider. He's been dominant."

Barring another trade, that leaves A.J. Burnett, Freddy Garcia and Hughes to slug it out for New York's No. 5 rotation spot, with possible spillover into long relief.

Burnett, 35, has two years and $33 million remaining on his contract, but Friday's moves are a clear-cut signal that the Yankees have no hopes of him returning to Sabathia's side as the one-two punch they envisioned before the 2009 season.

It has been reported that the Yankees would be willing to pick up as much as $8 million of Burnett's contract in a trade, but takers have been difficult to come by.

Burnett was 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA in 33 appearances for New York last year, and despite a dip in his velocity, he was able to harness his repertoire to give the Yankees an ALDS Game 4 win in a do-or-die game.

A deal may be more likely for Hughes, 25, who fought through an injury-marred season and was 5-5 with a 5.79 ERA in 17 appearances (14 starts).

But that might be a case of selling low.  The Yankees have been pleased by reports that Hughes is working out hard near his California home, following a similar training regimen to the one he used before 2010, when Hughes won 18 games for New York.

It is also possible that the Yankees could consider using Hughes out of the bullpen, where he showed flashes of dominance late in the season and during the ALDS against Detroit.

"We consider him a starter," Girardi said of Hughes earlier this off-season, "but he's got to get back to the form he had in 2010 to continue to stay in our rotation.  That's something he'll work very hard at this winter."

A long-relief role, filled for much of 2011 by Hector Noesi, one of the ingredients in the Pineda trade, could also fall to Garcia, the soft-tossing 35-year-old who signed a one-year, $4 million contract last month.

Garcia went 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA in 26 games (25 starts) last year, and showed a certain unflappable nature in dealing with an early-season spate of rainouts, suggesting he could adapt to such a role.

Girardi mentioned often that he likes how Garcia gives New York's rotation a different look from the likes of Sabathia, Nova and Burnett, though that is a void that could also be filled this year by Kuroda.

"I've just got to go in and pitch," Garcia told the Newark Star-Ledger on Friday from his home in Venezuela.  "That's all I can do."


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     How many believe that 16 game winner, Ivan Nova, needed the July demontion to triple-A?  Is it possible that they Yankees sent Mr. Nova to the minor leagues to get another year out of him before he qualified for salary arbitration?

     With regard to the overflow of pitching arms the Yankees have:

     I see a lot of wish and hope.  Where are the highly-skilled baseball pitching coaches teaching and training these baseball pitchers this off-season?

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0109.  Interval Training Program - Distance runner

I have a question on the young runner's interval training program.

The mantra you usually preach as it concerns training is the Principle of Specificity.

This young lady has a goal of performing a 1600 meter (or mile?) in a specific time.  While I understand your goal of increasing the gal's anaerobic threshold, I am surprised that there does not seem to be any 1600 meter runs in her training.

You like to say doing jumping jack makes you good at doing jumping jacks.  In this case, you appear to be saying to be good at a 1600 meter race you do lots of things, but never a 1600.

Running a competitive 400 meter is different from running a competitive 800 meters and running a competitive 1600 meters is much different than running either a 400 or an 800 meter race.

The other thing to address is the element of a finishing "kick".  Usually a winner of a 1600 meter race has a good "kick" at the end.

You appear to be training this gal to run the same pace from start to finish.

I realize you have to take into account her team's practice schedule.  So, if you were solely training this gal, would you have any 1600 meter runs in her interval training program?

As far as the "kick":  I would imagine adrenaline would play a role.  But, does you interval training program account for the need for a burst (kick) at the end of the race?


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     To have athletes perform the same amount of work in training as they have to do in competition is a good test of their competitive fitness.

     However, exhausting their substrate means that they will need a few days to be able to return to their interval-training program.

     My interval-training program does not require 1600 meter runners to run competitive 400 meters races.  Instead, my interval-training program requires 1600 meter runners to run 400 meters at the pace they will run their 1600 meter races.

     If this young woman had completed the 1600 meter interval-training program I designed, then I would regularly schedule trial races.  Until then, to have her run 1600 meter trial races is too much too soon.

     During all but the end of distance races, athletes cannot produce lactic acid.  Lactic acid inhibits muscle contraction.  Therefore, the challenge at the end of the race is to precisely calculate how long it takes for the lactic acid build-up to prevent muscle contraction.

     That is another function of practice 1600 meter runs.

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0110.  YouTube video.

Sixteen year old throws his iron ball

Could you comment on my son's motion?


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     I enjoyed watching your son throw his iron ball.  Congratulations on learning how to post video on YouTube.

     Your son times the arrival of the iron ball at driveline height with when his glove foot lands, drives the iron ball straight toward home plate, flips his pitching hip and pronates very powerfully.

     However, from the side view, I cannot determine whether he turns the back of his pitching upper arm as far as he can to face home plate and whether he 'horizontally bounces' his pitching forearm.

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0111.  Righty Padilla agrees to deal with Red Sox
MLB.com
January 16, 2012

BOSTON, MA:  The Red Sox have added another name to their fifth-starter derby, agreeing to terms with veteran right-hander Vicente Padilla on a Minor League deal.

Boston's interest in Padilla had been heating up in recent days, and MLB.com and MLB Network's Peter Gammons reported the agreement on Monday.  The contract is worth $1.5 million, with performance bonuses potentially pushing the value to $4.5 million.

The Red Sox have signed a couple of other veteran pitchers to similar agreements in recent weeks, including righties Carlos Silva and Aaron Cook.  Alfredo Aceves, who was invaluable for Boston in a swingman role last year, is also in the running for a rotation spot.  The Red Sox also have the big three of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz, plus Daniel Bard, who is trying to make the transition from reliever to starter.

Padilla pitched just nine games last season for the Dodgers, all out of the bullpen, before being shut down with neck woes.

When Ben Cherington was hired as general manager, he said the Red Sox needed to "hit" on some pitchers this winter like they did with Aceves last year.

This is a similar signing.  The only reason Aceves was available to Boston is because injury problems in 2010 and a bike accident in the off-season forced the Yankees to non-tender him.

Padilla pitched in Nicaragua this winter to prove his health to teams.  Apparently, the Red Sox liked what they saw.

The 34-year-old Padilla is 104-90 with a 4.31 ERA in 330 career appearances, 237 of which have come as a starter.

He has pitched for the D-backs, Phillies, Rangers and Dodgers.  Padilla was a 15-game winner for the Rangers in 2006 and has recorded 14 wins in three different seasons.


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     That is the problem with 'fantasy baseball' general managers.  Everything is a 'fantasy.'

     Red Sox 'fantasy baseball' general manager, Ben Cherington, said that the Red Sox needed to "hit" on some pitchers this winter like they did with Aceves last year.

     Maybe, Mr. Padilla can give him nine starts.  Mayber Mr Silva and Mr. Cook can give him nine starts each.  Maybe Mr. Aceves will repeat his 2011 season.  Maybe Mr. Bard can start.

     Instead of wasting time and money with 'fantasy baseball pitchers,' professional teams should teach and train baseball pitchers how to become high-quality pitchers that never suffer injuries.  Unfortunately, to Mr. Cherington, that is the 'fantasy.'

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0112.  Once-flooded well of closers has run dry
MLB.com
January 17, 2012

With Jonathan Papelbon, Heath Bell, Ryan Madson and a handful of other closers hitting the open market, this off-season was bound to see a fair amount of movement among back-end bullpen arms.

And now, with a month to go before pitchers and catchers report, we've wound up with a bona fide closer carousel, a mix of free-agent signings, big trades and even a move to the rotation.

Eight of the 30 pitchers who recorded at least 15 saves last year have changed uniforms, and Francisco Cordero will likely make it nine out of 30, including five of the 19 who saved 30 games or more.  But with Cordero the only attractive option left on the market, the merry-go-round of high-leverage relievers finally appears to be closing down.

To recap:

Papelbon signed a four-year deal with the Phillies in November.  That created an opening in Boston, so the Red Sox went on to acquire Andrew Bailey from Oakland.

Not long after Papelbon jumped to Philadelphia, the Rangers signed Joe Nathan, moving closer Neftali Feliz, and his 72 saves since 2010, into the starting rotation.

The Marlins picked up Bell, who left San Diego for Miami for a three-year deal during the Winter Meetings.  Two days later, the Padres filled Bell's shoes by trading with the Rockies for Huston Street.

Also at the Winter Meetings, when the closer carousel seemingly whirred at roughly the speed of a Feliz fastball, the Blue Jays dealt for Sergio Santos, coming off a 30-save season with the White Sox.  Shortly thereafter, the Mets signed Frank Francisco and Jon Rauch, who shared closing duties in Toronto.

That left Madson and Cordero, and Madson recently settled on a one-year deal with the Reds.

Where does that leave Cordero and any other hopeful closers still looking for work?  A quick look around the Majors, by division, reveals few, if any, opportunities.

Boston and Toronto entered the off-season looking for ninth-inning arms, but neither had to resort to free agency, acquiring Bailey and Santos, respectively, via trade.  Boston also dealt for Mark Melancon, who saved 20 games for the Astros, to be a potential setup man.

The rebuilding Orioles could use a veteran in the bullpen but will likely hand the job to Jim Johnson, who converted all of his seven save opportunities in September.  The Rays figure to once again build their bullpen around closer Kyle Farnsworth.  And Mariano Rivera is still Mariano Rivera, so there won't be any changes on that front in the Bronx.

The Braves (Craig Kimbrel) and Nationals (Drew Storen) will return their young closers.  With Bell closing, the Marlins can move Juan Carlos Oviedo (who had been playing under the name Leo Nunez and was their closer last year) into a setup role.  The Phillies replaced Madson with Papelbon, and the Mets have plenty of options with Francisco, Rauch, Bobby Parnell and Ramon Ramirez.

The White Sox, like the Orioles, are rebuilding and could hand the job to Matt Thornton or Jesse Crain while young Addison Reed waits in the wings.  The Tigers have Jose Valverde, last year's Major League saves leader, and the Indians return Chris Perez.  The Twins re-signed Matt Capps, and the Royals will bring back Joakim Soria, with Jonathan Broxton primed for a setup role.

Now that the Reds have Madson, there isn't a clear opening in the NL Central aside from Houston, which hardly is in a position to spend on a closer after a 56-106 season.  The Cardinals will return Jason Motte, as will the Cubs with Carlos Marmol, the Pirates with Joel Hanrahan and the Brewers with John Axford and high-priced setup man Francisco Rodriguez.

The Angels have made plenty of noise this off-season, so in that regard, it wouldn't be surprising to see them make a play for Cordero or a veteran with closing experience like Brad Lidge.  But amid reports linking his club to Madson, general manager Jerry Dipoto said acquiring a closer wasn't a priority with young Jordan Walden returning.

The A's could replace Bailey, but given their rebuilding efforts, it seems more likely they will start the year with Grant Balfour or Brian Fuentes as their closer.  Nathan should round out the Rangers' deep bullpen, and Seattle's Brandon League is coming off a strong season.

J.J. Putz was a revelation for Arizona's rebuilt relief corps a year ago, recording 45 saves with a 2.17 ERA and 0.91 WHIP.  Brian Wilson headlines San Francisco's dominant bullpen, and San Diego replaced Bell with Street.  The Rockies have Rafael Betancourt, and the Dodgers will return Javy Guerra and Kenley Jansen.

To put it more briefly:

Every closer spot is either accounted for or open on rebuilding clubs with enough powerful young arms to fill the role.

Where does all of that leave a pitcher like Cordero, who has more saves than anyone in the Majors over the past five seasons?  At this point, quite possibly as a setup man hoping for a midseason trade or a newly opened closer's job come 2013.

Aside from the huge deals dished out to Papelbon and Bell, teams seem to be shying away from big contracts to acquire someone with experience closing games, choosing instead to move a pitcher into that role or promote from within the organization.

For all the spinning and spiraling it did earlier this off-season, the closer carousel might not have another go-around left in it.


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     Closers have become the 'rock stars' of professional baseball.

     However, when they are really good, like Mr. Feliz and Mr. Bard, they become starters.

     That means that closers are pseudo-rock stars.  The real 'rock stars' are the #01 starters.

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0113.  GM Luhnow's front-office staff mostly in place
MLB.com
January 17, 2012

HOUSTON, TX:  Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Tuesday he has assembled most of his key front-office personnel in anticipation of the 2012 season.

Luhnow has reworked the baseball operations department since he was hired in December, including the hiring of Sig Mejdal from the Cardinals to become the Astros' director of decisions sciences.  Houston has also hired a new amateur scouting coordinator, as well as adding several new positions to the front office.

"We're done with the major positions," Luhnow said.  "We are still looking at hiring some resources, Sig to fill out his group and help him.  Other than that, we feel we have a pretty good group in place going forward into next year for the major functional areas."

Charlie Norton, who had been with the organization for 10 years, has been let go by the club.  He was named director of baseball research/pro scouting coordinator two years ago and had served in a variety of roles, including assistant director of baseball operations (2005-07).

Last week, Luhnow hired Dan Radison (special assistant to the general manager/player development), Mike Elias (special assistant to the general manager/scouting) and Matt Sinatro (Major League catching and advance scouting coordinator).

Stephanie Wilka, who was hired as coordinator of amateur scouting, took the job previously occupied by Mike Burns, who left to become a scout with the Blue Jays.


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

     Sig Mejdal was the 'Moneyball Yale statistician' guy for the St. Louis Cardinals.  I heard that he attended my Sabrmetrics Convention presentation in St. Louis.

     My St. Louis Dispatch reporter friend told me that Mr. Mejdal liked what I had to say.

     Mr. Mejdal is the Astros' director of decisions sciences.

     This is the first time I have heard of 'Decision Sciences.'  It sounds as though it would be part of Business Analysis.  I would like to know more.

     Astros' special assistant to the general manager/scouting, Mike Elias, graduated from an Ivy League school.  He visited my Baseball Pitching Research/Training Center.  After I explained the scientific basis of my baseball pitching motion and my interval-training programs, he appeared to understand and appreciate my program.

     Now, Mr. Luhnow has to find people that can teach and train baseball players to perform the skills of the offensive and defensive strategies that Mr. Luhnow wants the Astros to use.

     I wonder whether that is part of 'Decision Sciences?"

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

0114.  Peterson agrees to join Orioles organization
MLB.com
January 17, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD:  Rick Peterson officially agreed to join the Orioles organization on Monday and is expected to serve as pitching development coordinator, a newly created position that is a hybrid of the Minor League pitching coordinator position and that will provide added responsibilities in areas of players development and the farm system.

The long-rumored announcement was reported as a done deal by MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette and confirmed by a baseball source to MLB.com.  The news ends a lengthy negotiation process in which Peterson was interviewed several times over a month-and-a-half period before the one-year deal was reached.

Dan Duquette, Baltimore's executive vice president of baseball operations, was optimistic throughout the process, saying last week that he felt the two sides would be able to reach a deal.  The patience and persistence paid off, netting the Orioles a highly respected pitching guru who is known for implementing techniques that focus on reducing injury risk.

  A former pitching coach with the Athletics, Mets and most recently the Brewers, Peterson was let go after the 2010 season when Milwaukee made a managerial change.

Peterson takes the place of Alan Dunn, who left the organization in June 2011 to accept the job as pitching coach for Louisiana State University, although the exact details of his new title and additional responsibilities are still a work in progress.


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

     The writer wrote that Mr. Peterson is a highly respected pitching guru.  Nonsense.

     The writer wrote that Mr. Peterson is known for implementing techniques that focus on reducing injury risk.  Nonsense.

     I starting listening to a YouTube video titled, 'Prevent Pitching Injuries and Improve Performance' in which Jim Duquette asked Mr. Peterson questions.

     In the comments section, one of my Certified Marshall Baseball Pitching Coaches, Lon Fullmer, wrote: "The traditional centripetal mechanics produce injuries at every joint, not pitch counts.

     What have your changed in these mechanics?  Nominalizing injurious mechanics will produce the same results as witnessed in all traditional mechanics year after year.  What have I missed?  Can you name one MLB pitcher who represents what you think are non-injurious mechanics?  Please go on record for what you believe."

     This alleged 'video' is nothing more than a sales pitch.  Mr. Peterson has no idea what he is doing.  Rick Peterson and Jim Duquette, the Orioles' general manager, Dan Duquette's brother have duped the Orioles into giving Mr. Peterson this job.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, February 05, 2012, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0115.  Sunday, January 22 to Saturday January 28, 2012 in Review

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0071.  Distance Running Training

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I'm still enjoying learning more about distance running.  I hope the father keeps up his reports during the spring season.

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0074.  Follow up

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These reports from this father, who obviously understands your motion well, have been fun.  I'd like to see some video of them both throwing.

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0078.  Glove side step

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I don't know if this was better 'than anything you have written,' but it is always good to read accurate interpretations of your motion written in laymen's terms.  That the gentlemen took the time to write such a well thought out and detailed analysis was also appreciated.  As you know, it's a lot of work.

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0081.  For Reed, closing games is the ultimate goal

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Are a fastball, slider and change up enough to face batters more than once?

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

     Even though these three pitches are not the best of each of the three types of pitches, that is, fastball, breaking pitches and reverse breaking pitches, they are three differently moving pitches.

     However, the slider and change-up are only 10 mph slower than the fastball.

     With three differently moving pitches, pitchers should be able to sequence the pitches well enough to take away the batters power.  However, even when batters do not correctly anticipate these pitches, with only 10 mph difference in velocity, they will make contact.

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0082.  A's arms ready to battle it out for rotation spots

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If the overpaid, pampered Red Sox pitchers didn't have enough respect for the team, the game or themselves to stay in the GD dugout what was the pitching coach, or Terry Francona supposed to do?  Multi-year guaranteed contracts take away a lot of disciplinary leverage.

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0084.  Hopeful Mets see Johan's tank as half-full

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

You wrote: "Last season, Chien-Ming Wang, after two full years of rehabilitation, with some lost release velocity, pitched well for the Nationals.

However, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine found that only 18% of professional baseball pitchers that have this surgery return to their previous abilities."

Wow.

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0085.  Veteran reliever Proctor signs with Korean club

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However, the batters won't be as good.

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0088.  Jobe to be honored at annual scouts gala

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Enjoyed this Answer.  Lots of interesting behind the scenes stuff plus the technical.

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0089.  Santana not allowed to pitch in winter ball

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To repeatedly 'crank' baseball pitchers up is 50% more stressful than maintaining their fitness every day.

How did you arrive at the 50%?

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

     On page 333 of The Physiological Basis of Physical Education and Athletic, Professors Fox and Mathews has a section on 'Maintenance.'  I read it.  They cited several research reports. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

0090.  Reliever Romero settles supplement lawsuit

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I disagree with Mr. Romero that the 2008 World Series was legit.

Me too.  What a self-serving comment.  By the way, did you think that this years NL MVP Ryan Braun should have been stripped of his award?

I read in SI that the BBWAA said that because they had allowed Alex, 'the Cheater" Rodriguez to keep his 2003 MVP after admitting steroid use, had set a precedent.

Why don't the clubs negate cheaters' contracts on the basis of misrepresentation and fraud?

It makes me think that some MLB owners are also complicit.

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

     I think that major league baseball should strip every award winner that ever failed Performance Enhancing Drug test or admitted to using Performance Enhancing Drug.

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0091.  Another question in regards to determining hitter types

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You wrote: "It is always better to walk these guys with unhittable high-quality pitches in unpredictable sequences than intentionally walking them."

Can you remember any that you used against specific hitters?

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     Because I did not have today's Torque Fastball and Maxline Pronation Curve, I could only sequence my Maxline Fastball and Maxline True Screwball.

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0093.  Howell's body and mind clear of obstacles

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You wrote: "Baseball pitchers must never rehabilitate and competitively pitch."

Why can't they do both?

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     The body does not have the resources with which to do both.

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0095.  Wainwright on track for normal spring training

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

You wrote, "If Mr. Carpenter (share) the pendulum swing technique with Mr. Wainwright and he and St. Louis minor league pitching coordinator, Brent Strom, share my Maxline Pronation Curve technique, then Mr. Wainwright might have the same immediate success that Mr. Carpenter enjoyed."

I guess I thought that I'd read that Mr. Wainwright was also using your MPC.  No?

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

     I do not remember seeing Mr. Wainwright throw curves.

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0096.  Dipoto is betting Angels' bullpen won't blow up again

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You wrote, "What is wrong with finding baseball pitchers that master a wide variety of high-quality pitches with which they throw in hitter specific pitch sequences that pendulum swing their pitching arm?"

Apparently. they want guys that look different while injuring themselves.

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0099.  Weight training for hockey players

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You wrote: "03.  Have chairs under the athletes that prevent them from bending their knees beyond ninety degrees."

A simple, but great idea.

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0102.  Carpenter working hard to maintain strength

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

You wrote: "That Mr. Carpenter will be 37 year old in April 2012 means that he needs to work harder, not easier. Therefore, the new manager should not 'tread a little more carefully with Carpenter's innings during Spring Training."

All Classic Marshall.  Did Secretariat teach us nothing?

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0103.  Is pitching depth good enough?

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

You wrote: "Wouldn't make their jobs easier if they knew that their baseball pitchers would not suffer pitching injuries?  No."

They would have too much free time on their hands and not be able to justify their salaries.

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0107.  De La Rose seems to be progressing after surgery

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

You wrote: "The Dodgers, with Dr. Jobe right around the corner, still injure their baseball pitchers.

Ironic, isn't it."

1.  Does Dr. Jobe ever contact you?

2.  Weren't you brought in to consult with the Tommy John situation?

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

01.  No.

02.  No.  Tommy John telephoned me and asked me why he could not feel the little finger on his pitching hand.

     After I explained that Dr. Jobe crimped his Ulnar Nerve, whenever he had questions, TJ contacted me.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 0108.  Yanks have best of problems:  Too many arms

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You wrote: "How many believe that 16 game winner, Ivan Nova, needed the July demotion to triple-A? Is it possible that they Yankees sent Mr. Nova to the minor leagues to get another year out of him before he qualified for salary arbitration?"

Do teams ever play games with players like that?

Does the Player's Union get involved in things like that or is he still too small of a potato?

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

     Absolutely.

     No.

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0109.  Interval Training Program - Distance runner

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Keep the running QA's coming.  Really fun stuff.

This reader seems to know a lot about running.  I hope he/she continues to write in.

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0113.  GM Luhnow's front-office staff mostly in place

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This is an evolving and interesting story.

Maybe more of your ideas will get into MLB.

Hopefully, the Astros will contact you.

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0114.  Peterson agrees to join Orioles organization

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The writer wrote that Mr. Peterson is a highly respected pitching guru.  Nonsense.

Mr. Peterson has a very high opinion of Mr. Peterson and he is a insufferable self-promoter.

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0116.  My Junior College Sophomore son

My son says he has zero discomfort now in his shoulder.  He and I were discussing the concept of “horizontal bounce” you describe.  It is something he and I both are striving to perfect now because it is something that, when executed properly, results in instant velocity increase benefits.

His college team has been working out indoors.  He says his velocity and movement during his bullpens is above where it was at this time last year.  His pitching coach is basically leaving him alone.  This suggests to me that he is doing well and they don’t wish to rock the boat.

As a side note, he and his coach have received positive recruiting phone calls from Delta State University as well as the University of North Alabama.  Also unbeknownst to my son, West Virginia University has seen him and is actively recruiting him.  It’s all good.

As for me, I have been throwing indoor BP to a young man who has been invited to St. Petersburg in a few weeks for MLB spring training.  Last week we had some spare time and an open full length pitching cage so I threw a bullpen to him.  It was the first time I had thrown 60’ 6” to a catcher since last year September.  My velocity increase even surprised me.

It’s obvious I am pointing my acromial line straighter and utilizing my latissimus dorsi more than before.  Both he and I estimated I was throwing at least 80 if not a little higher.  I am probably throwing conservatively 3 to 4 mph faster than last year.

It was kind of awkward when the high school players working in the cage next to me stopped what they were doing to watch me throw because I was throwing harder then they were.  I can tell now that with additional iron ball/wrist weights and continued perseverance in throwing down my acromial line there is more to come.

I never would have thought so before, but I honestly now believe, even at my age, approaching my mid 50’s, I am capable of throwing in the mid 80’s or possibly higher.  It is my intent to do that.  I have told many people about you and your website.  If I prove it physically they can’t help but take notice.


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     The 'horizontal pitching forearm bounce' action loads the 'Slingshot' in the same way that pulling back on the rubber bands of slingshots load slingshots.

     Contracting muscle fibers shorten.  Therefore, when baseball pitchers apply force to contracting muscle fibers that lengthen the muscles, the tendons lengthen.  Researchers call this technique, 'Plyometrics.'

     Lengthening contracting muscles is dangerous.

     That is why I teach my baseball pitchers to use their wrist weight exercises to gently 'horizontally bounce' their pitching forearm every day.

     I agree that the 'horizontal bounce' results in instant release velocity gains.  However, it takes several months of 'horizontally bounce' training for the involved muscles to withstand the plioanglos stress.

     'Plioanglos' is my word for lengthening the angle between two bones when contracting muscles are trying to shorten that angle.

     This is why, before my baseball pitchers competitively pitch, I prefer that my baseball pitchers complete my entire interval-training program through my 30 lb. wrist weights and 15 lb. heavy balls 'Recoil' interval-training program.

     If you think that you are seeing great results from one month of wrist weight 'horizontal bounce,' then you should see the results after my 724-Day program.

     Of course you are capable of throwing in the 80s. As another 40+ pitcher said, although when he was young, he could only throw in the mid-80s, he now throws 90+.

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0117.  Iron Ball Throws - Rear View

Rear view of sixteen year old throwing eight pound lead balls

Would you please evaluate my son's body and pitching arm action?


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     Your son is beautifully accelerating through release.

     If all my baseball pitchers could use the body action with their baseball throws as they do when they throw wrist weights and heavy balls, then they all would achieve their genetic maximum release velocity.

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0118.  Pitching

Thank you for taking the time to look at my mechanics.

I have a lot to work on and I'll keep looking at your website and practicing.

I'm going to work on them one by one and the first one I'm working on is pronation.

1.  When do you pronate?

2.  Am I pronating properly?

Fourteen year old's 'traditional' baseball pitching motion

3.  Is pronating making your palm face third base after release?

That is what I was trying to do.


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     I will answer these questions this time.  However, as I wrote in response to your first email:

        "I recommend that you watch the videos that I have placed on my website for all to watch without charge and master the four drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

        If, after you watch my videos, you have more questions, then please email them to me."

01 . Pitching arm actions move from the Shoulder Girdle (Scapula bone) to the Shoulder Joint (Humerus bone) to the Elbow Joint (Ulna Bone) to the Forearm Joint (Radius bone) to the Wrist Joint (Carpal bones) to the Hand (Metacarpal bones) to the Finger Joints (Phalanges).

     Therefore, the first action that baseball pitchers make is to move the Scapula bone of their Shoulder Girdle laterally away from their spinal column.

     After my baseball pitchers abduct their Scapula bone, they move their Humerus bone of their Shoulder Joint forward and upward to vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching upper arm facing home plate.

     After my baseball pitchers horizontally flex and abduct their Humerus bone, they move their Ulna bone of their Elbow Joint vertically upward through release.

     After my baseball pitchers extend their Ulna bone, they move their Radius bone closer to their Ulna bone through release.

     This is when my baseball pitchers pronate their pitching forearm.

     I watched your video.  However, because the film speed is 30 frames per second, it is not easy to evaluate your pitching arm action.

     To evaluate your Shoulder Joint action, I need to see a front view.  I am looking to see whether you raise your pitching upper arm to vertically beside your head and whether you turn the back of your pitching upper arm to face home plate.

     I needed several attempts to pause your front view video to the frame that shows the position of your pitching upper arm just before you released your pitch.

     When I succeeded, I saw that your pitching upper arm was barely above horizontal, not vertical, and the inside of your pitching upper arm faced toward home plate, not the back of your pitching upper arm.

     As I said in my earlier email, you use your Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull your pitching upper arm forward.  Eventually, this action will injure the front and/or back of your pitching shoulder.

     Because your use your Pectoralis Major muscle, you pull your pitching forearm across the front of your body.

     Nevertheless, if you powerfully pronate your pitching forearm, then you can stop pulling your pitching forearm across the front of your body as much as you do.

     When my baseball pitchers pronate their pitching forearm, they turn the thumb of their pitching hand downward. After release, my baseball pitchers have the palm of their pitching hand facing upward.

     To see this, you need to watch my Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video.

02.  Therefore, to answer your question, no, you do not pronate properly.

03.  Yes.  When right-handed baseball pitchers pronate their pitching forearm, they rotate the palm of their pitching hand to face third base and upward.

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0119.  Iron Ball Throws - Rear View

The back of the arm position and the horizontal bounce are okay?

I'm guessing that's what you mean by 'accelerating through release'.  Though I suppose continuing to rotate is also a factor.


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     I'm sorry.  I forgot that the point of you taking rear view video was for me to evaluate your son's 'horizontal pitching forearm bounce.'

     What you need to look for is how close Brian moves his pitching elbow to his head.

     You should see that Brian moves his pitching elbow very close to his head.  This means that your son is 'horizontally bouncing' his pitching forearm very well.

     Then, after you see his pitching elbow close to his head, you want to see whether his pitching hand moves across the front of his body.

     Your son does not move his pitching hand across the front of his body.

     This means that your son powerfully inwardly rotates his pitching upper arm and pronates his pitching forearm.

     With his heavy ball throws, your son uses almost perfect Marshall baseball pitching motion techniques.

     Now, the challenge is to do exactly the same with his baseball throws.

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0120.  Horizontal Bounce

I know that my video is a crappy little thing I did with an iphone, but by posting it on youtube, I am able to quickly click the play/pause control.

Using that technique, I'm able to see something we've talked about in the past, but I'm not sure I adequately described.  Now, I have video.

From the rear view, it seems to me that when my son comes to driveline height, his arm is at basically an 'L', with his upper arm parallel to the ground.  From there, he swings the elbow rapidly up and in to your classic slingshot position.

For myself, I find going from the driveline 'L' to the slingshot 'L' easier than getting to the slingshot from a straighter arm in the loaded slingshot.  If I understood correctly, you have concerns that this would create some vertical inconsistencies.

I don't think I see that on the video and am wondering if (a) the weight of the IB stops the vertical issue and, if so, is fooling me or (b) is this an OK arm action.  From the naked eye, I have always felt that Brian threw his best when 'flipping' the 'L'.

Sorry for the lame explanation and wording, but I'm hoping the video makes up for a multitude of language issues.


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     You saw what I saw.

     I have no problem with what you call, the driveline 'L.'

     My concern is that pendulum swinging the pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height with the pitching elbow bent at 90 degrees could take the pitching hand laterally away from his body and/or above driveline height.

     The weight of the heavy ball does prevent both actions.

     The question is whether, when he throws baseballs, does he take his pitching hand laterally away from his body and/or above driveline height.

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0121.  Braves ink Moylan to Minor League deal
MLB.com
January 17, 2012

ATLANTA, GA:  Peter Moylan will have a chance to prove he is healthy and regain his spot in the Braves' bullpen.

Moylan has signed a Minor League contract with Atlanta and accepted an invitation to compete for a job in Spring Training.  The veteran right-handed reliever missed most of the 2011 season while recovering from back surgery.  After he returned in September, Moylan was forced to undergo right shoulder surgery.

With uncertainty surrounding Moylan, the Braves could not tender him a contract last month.  By doing so, they would have had to guarantee him a salary of about $2 million.

Moylan will now make the prorated portion of a $1 million salary based on the amount of time he spends in the Majors in 2012.  His contract also includes incentives based on appearances and innings pitched.

Moylan was traveling back to the United States on Tuesday after spending the past couple of months in his native Australia.  He has been encouraged with the way his shoulder has responded since he began some light throwing exercises earlier this month.

After repairing Moylan's labrum and rotator cuff in September, noted surgeon James Andrews said that Moylan would likely need four to six months of rehab.  This has given the sidearm reliever hope he will be pitching during the early portion of the upcoming season.

Moylan made his Major League debut with the Braves in 2006, the same year he had been found while pitching for Team Australia during the inaugural World Baseball Classic.  Before impressing with his sidearm delivery during the Classic, Moylan had served as a pharmaceutical representative who played baseball on what was essentially a club team in Australia.

After making 80 appearances for the Braves in 2007, Moylan blew out his elbow in April 2008 and had to undergo Tommy John surgery.  He returned earlier than expected and set a franchise record with 87 appearances in 2009.  He fell just short of matching that total when he made 85 appearances in '10.


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     This is a very interesting story.

     While working as a pharmaceutical representative, Mr. Moylan was pitching for a club baseball team in Australia.  Somehow, Mr. Moylan made Team Australia and pitched in the inaugural World Baseball Classic.

     In 2007, Mr. Moylan made 80 appearances for the Braves.

     However, in April 2008, Mr. Moylan ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     In 2009, Mr. Moylan made 87 appearances for the Braves.

     In 2010, Mr. Moylan made 85 appearances for the Braves.

     After the 2010 season, Mr. Moylan needed back surgery.  However, Mr. Moylan returned in September, but then, he needed shoulder surgery.

     After the 2011 season, Dr. James Andrews repaired Mr. Moylan's labrum tear.

     Can anybody else see a pattern here?

     It appears as though Mr. Moylan's baseball pitching motion is hazardous to Mr. Moylan's health.

     That 'traditional' baseball pitchers suffer injuries indicates that how they apply force to their pitches is not appropriate.  Injuries prove that baseball pitching motions are not the appropriate force application method.

     Appropriate force application methods not only do not injure baseball pitchers, they also increase the appropriate force that they apply to the baseball.

     Assuming that baseball pitchers complete a proper interval-training program, this means that the only way that baseball pitchers will ever achieve their genetic maximum releast velocity will be to use a baseball pitching motion that does not injure baseball pitchers.

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0122.  Rox sign Moyer to Minor League deal
MLB.com
January 18, 2012

DENVER, CO:  The Rockies and veteran left-handed pitcher Jamie Moyer have agreed on a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, the club announced on Wednesday evening.

Moyer missed last season because of Tommy John surgery in his throwing elbow, but vowed to attempt a comeback this season at age 49.  Before the injury in 2011, Moyer went 9-9 with a 4.84 ERA in 19 starts for the Phillies.  Each season from '07-09, Moyer reached double figures in wins with the Phillies.

If he makes the club, Moyer will return to his post as his league's oldest player, a distinction he has held in five of the last eight years.

The Rockies are hoping Moyer can be a veteran anchor for an extremely young staff.  In addition to a 24-season career during which he has made 686 appearances (628 starts), Moyer has been considered one of baseball's most respected humanitarians.  He won the Major League Baseball Hutch Award, the Roberto Clemente Award and the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 2003, and the Branch Rickey Award, as presented by the Rotary Club of Denver, in 2004.


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     Really?

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0123.  Veteran Perez inks Minors deal with Mariners
MLB.com
January 18, 2012

SEATTLE, WA:  Nine-year Major League veteran pitcher Oliver Perez has signed a Minor League deal with the Mariners and will be a non-roster invitee to big league Spring Training, the club announced Wednesday.

According to a source, Perez will earn close to $13,000 per month if he pitches in the Minors and can make $750,000, plus incentives, if he earns a spot on the Major League roster.

Perez, 30, was a 15-game winner for the Mets in 2007 and has a career 58-69 record with a 4.63 ERA with the Mets, Padres and Pirates.

The left-hander struggled after signing a three-year, $36 million deal with the Mets in '09 and was released last year with $12 million still owed after going 3-9 with a 6.81 ERA the previous two seasons.

Perez didn't pitch in the Majors last season, spending the entire year in the Nationals organization with Double-A Harrisburg, where he went 3-5 with a 3.09 ERA in 16 games, including 15 starts as he worked on regaining his control.

He pitched 23 games in relief for Tomateros de Culiacan in the Mexican Winter League this off-season, going 0-2 with a 0.63 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .157 average.


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     I suppose that 19 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings with a 0.63 earned run average and a .157 opposing batting average in the Mexican Winter League is worth a look-see.

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0124.  Equilibrium

I think it was you who told me that, when babies are born their heads are bigger than their body size and until their bodies grow and match the size of their heads, their equilibrium and balance will be off-centered.

Anyway, what is the correct scientific category or title for this condition I wan t to look it up and get more info on the subject?


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     At birth, with regard to its proportion to their entire body, the length of the head of infants has its highest percentage.  From that moment until completed skeletal maturation, the proportion of the length of the head to the total length of the body decreases.

     As a result, because of the proportional size of their head, toddlers have considerable difficulty with balancing their head over the center of mass of their body.

     Any child growth and development textbook would have this information.

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0125.  Glove foot pull back

Side view video of 16 year old using my Drop Out Wind-Up to throw his heavy ball

I put side and rear view videos of my 16 year old son performing his iron ball throws.

1.  Does my 16 year old son pull back with his glove foot pull back at the right time to accentuate the horizontal bounce (bringing the elbow to vertically alongside the head) or the pronation snap?

It feels better to me timed with the bounce.


Rear view of 16 year old using the Drop Out Wind-Up to throw his heavy ball

It appears to me that the my 16 year old son's elbow, in its inward, upward path, move faster than his shoulders.

2.  Is this an additional source of velocity?

Front and rear views of 13 year old doing the wrong foot loades slingshot drill

3.  Does my 13 year old son 'horizontally bounce' his pitching forearm correctly?

Front and rear views of 13 year old doing the Drop Out Wind-Up Shakedowns drill

4.  Do the wrist weights throw my 13 year old son's body around too much?

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     Your 16 year old son beautifully drives forward off his glove arm side foot.

01.  Until their glove arm side foot lands, baseball pitchers cannot meaningfully rotate their body forward.  As soon as the glove arm side foot lands, I want my baseball pitchers to pull backward with their glove arm side leg.

     This backward force enables my baseball pitchers to continue to move the center of mass of their body forward through release.

     When the glove arm side foot lands, I want my baseball pitchers to throw their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward such that their pitching upper arm ends up vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching upper arm facing home plate.

     When the glove arm side foot lands, the acceleration phase of the baseball pitching motion begins.

     'Traditional' baseball pitchers explosively start their acceleration phase and end their acceleration phase with decreasing velocity increases.

     My baseball pitchers quietly start their acceleration phase and end their acceleration phase with increasing velocity increases.

02.  Your 16 year old son beautifully 'horizontally bounces' his pitching upper arm.  However, he does not drop step.

     With an explosive start of their acceleration phase, 'traditional' baseball pitchers cannot overcome the force of required to move the inertial mass of their pitching arm forward.  This means that the pitching upper arm of 'traditional' baseball pitchers plioanglosly (eccentrically) moves behind their acromial line.

     With a quiet start to their acceleration phase, my baseball pitchers easily overcome the force required to move their inertial mass of the pitching arm forward.  This means that their pitching arm never moves behind the acromial line.

     With the explosive start, 'traditional' baseball pitchers cannot add force to their pitches through release.  Instead, like a ballistic rocket, their pitching forearm simple goes along for the ride.

     This means that 'traditional' baseball pitchers have to use their Brachialis muscle to prevent banging the bones on the back of their pitching elbow together.  Therefore, the Brachialis muscle plioanglosly (eccentrically) flexes the pitching elbow.  This action does not increase the force that 'traditional' baseball pitchers apply to their pitches.

     With the quiet start, my baseball pitchers are able to add force to their pitches through release.

     This means that my baseball pitchers are able to use their Triceps Brachii muscle to actively extend their pitching elbow.  Therefore, the Triceps Brachii muscle mioanglosly (concentrically) extend their pitching elbow.  This action increases the force that my baseball pitchers apply to their pitches.

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion where the baseball pitchers explosively start their acceleration phase, the inertial mass of the pitching arm plioanglosly moves the pitching upper arm behind their acromial line.

     Therefore, 'traditional' baseball pitchers cannot use their pitching upper arm to apply force to their pitches.

     With my baseball pitching motion where my baseball pitching quietly start their acceleration phase, the inertial mass of the pitching arm mioanglosly moves the pitching upper arm in front of their acromial line.

     Therefore, my baseball pitchers use their pitching upper arm to apply force to their pitches.

03.  Your 13 year old son beautifully 'horizontally bounces' his and uses great body action.

04.  Your 13 year old son beautifully throws his pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside his head.

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0126.  45 degree angle

You write that you want your pitchers to step at a 45 degree angle to the glove side with the glove foot on your maxline pitches.  I would like to understand exactly how a pitcher arrives at a 45 degree angle.

1.  Where would the vertex that forms the angle be?

In my mind, it would be the point on the ground directly below the umbilicus.  This would put the vertex behind the pitchers plate and 3-4 inches to the glove side of home plate if you drew a straight line from the vertex.

2.  What direction would the zero degree line go?

3.  Does it go from the vertex straight ahead?

This would have the line pass about 3 inches to the glove side of home plate.  Or does the line go straight to the middle of home plate.  This would lessen the amount the left leg would have to step to the glove side to get to 45 degrees.

The reason I ask is that I think 45 degrees is too wide to step as I understand 45 degrees.  If you stepped directly to the glove side with the glove foot that would form a 90 degree angle.  If the zero degree line went directly to three inches to the glove side of home plate that would make the 45 degree angle between those two points.

To step that far to the glove side would move the center of mass to the left.  Then you would have to redirect the center of mass to the pitching arm side to throw toward home plate.  For me, this redirects the force application which would reduce release velocity.

It seems to me that you could power step to the glove side of the pitchers plate at about a 25 degree angle to accomplish your goal of rotating the acromial line toward home plate.

As an aside, I thought the description of the power step written by your reader in Q #78 was superb.  That question sparked this question because it dawned on me that you can't keep the glove ankle below the glove knee if you power step the 45 degrees that I see.


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     The difficulty my baseball pitchers have when I ask them to drop step at a 45 degree angle to their glove arm side it that they try to keep their body moving straight toward home plate.

     To correct this misconception, I tell my baseball pitchers to imagine that their catcher is 45 degrees to the glove arm side of home plate such that they stand on the pitching rubber with their body turned 45 degrees to the glove arm side of home plate.

     This means that I want my baseball pitchers to move the center of mass of their body 45 degrees to the glove arm side of straight forward.

     When their glove arm side foot lands, I want my baseball pitchers to continue the center of mass of their body at a 45 degree angle to the glove arm side of home plate.

     However, when their acromial line points at home plate, I want my baseball pitchers to drive their Maxline pitches down their acromial line straight toward home plate.

     To practice this skill, I start with my baseball pitchers throwing at the net that is 45 degrees to the pitching arm side of straight forward.  I call this, my cross-panel drill.

     An 80 foot batting cage with supports every 16 feet provides for 5 sixteen foot wide panels into which my baseball pitchers can throw.

     I have my right-handed baseball pitchers stand on the mound for the extreme left side of these five panels and throw into the panel to the extreme right side of these five panels.  I call this drill, the extreme cross-panel drill.

     The trick is for my baseball pitchers to learn how to step 45 degrees to their glove arm side of home plate and throw as they threw with my extreme cross-panel drill.

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0127.  Twins finalize one-year deal with Zumaya
MLB.com
January 19, 2012

Joel Zumaya won't be picking up his comeback with the Tigers, but he'll be staying in the American League Central.  The hard-throwing, injury-troubled reliever signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins, the club announced on Wednesday.

The two sides spent Saturday putting together a deal that could pay Zumaya anywhere from $800,000 to $1.7 million if he reaches appearance-based incentives.  The deal became official on Wednesday after Zumaya passed a physical earlier in the week, and he'll be joined by Twins general manager Terry Ryan in an introductory conference call with reporters on Thursday morning.

Zumaya weighed what he called "good offers" from three other clubs, but he said the Twins included guaranteed money rather than a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite.  He and his agents, Alan and Randy Hendricks, were negotiating with multiple clubs until Saturday morning, when Zumaya decided to accept the Twins' standing offer.

"That's where I'm gonna be," Zumaya told MLB.com in a phone interview.  "I'm going to be seeing Detroit a lot."

If he's healthy, Zumaya will be throwing off the same mound at Target Field where he last threw a Major League pitch.  He fractured his elbow throwing for the Tigers against the Twins on June 28, 2010.

As it turns out, that was the right-hander's last appearance in a Detroit uniform.  Though the Tigers had an offer out to Zumaya for a Minor League contract with a non-roster invitation to Spring Training, they made it clear they weren't going to guarantee him a spot.  Zumaya told MLB.com in November he was most likely moving on.  In the end, the Tigers were not on his final list of teams.

If Zumaya's healthy, he has that potential.  Though he hasn't topped 32 games or 40 innings in a season since his impressive rookie season of 2006, Zumaya has been an effective reliever when he hasn't been hurt.  He was showing flashes of his old form in 2010 before getting injured, striking out 34 batters over 38 1/3 innings while allowing 32 hits and posting a 2.58 ERA.

Zumaya underwent surgery after that July injury to repair a fractured bone at the tip of his elbow, a procedure that included inserting a screw to hold the elbow together.  He had to undergo a follow-up surgery to replace the screw after complaining of elbow pain last Spring Training.

The surgery cost Zumaya the entire 2011 season.  He threw for up to 20 interested teams last month and reportedly hit the mid-90s on the radar gun.  Since then, Zumaya and his agents have been talking with clubs, including the Twins, trying to land a Major League contract in a situation where he could fit into a good bullpen role.  The Red Sox made a hard push early on, and the Rangers, Yankees and Mariners offered Minor League contracts with Spring Training invites.

"We had multiple teams talking," Zumaya said.  "That's why I waited this long."

Those offers were intriguing, Zumaya said, and he felt confident he could bet on his health and make a team out of a camp.  However, the guarantee and the roster spot were important to him.

Zumaya said his arm feels good.  He plans on heading to his Florida home in the coming days to start preparing for camp. Twins pitchers and catchers will report to Fort Myers, FL, on Sunday, February 19.  Coincidentally, the Twins travel to Lakeland, FL, for a Spring Training matchup with the Tigers on March 21.


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     The next time that Mr. Zumaya slams the olecranon process of the Ulna bone in his pitching forearm into its fossa, the screw will probably prevent a re-fracture.

     However, because Mr. Zumaya has not eliminated the 'Looping,' 'Pitching Forearm Flyout' and 'Supination Release' injurious flaws in his 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, Mr. Zumaya will continue to suffer injuries.

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0128.  Nicasio ready to take big step in recovery
MLB.com
January 19, 2012

DENVER, CO:  The Rockies' Juan Nicasio lived one of the worst nightmares for a baseball pitcher, a line drive off his head August 05 while pitching at Coors Field.  The horror worsened when his tumble to the mound resulted in a fractured C-1 vertebra.

But not long after the surgery, which was preceded by touch-and-go moments when he wasn't sure he'd walk again or if his career was snuffed out after just 13 Major League starts, Nicasio, 25, fell asleep and found himself in a beautiful dream.

"The first week after the surgery, I dreamed that I won 20 games.  I won 19, and the last game we were in Philadelphia and I won," Nicasio said Thursday afternoon at Coors Field, with a bright smile that had more to do with what has happened since the dream.

  Broken vertebrae are not exactly common in baseball.  Head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said at the time of the injury he didn't know of another one.  His recognition of a neck injury has been called by others a possible lifesaving maneuver.  So it's understandable that the Rockies call his progress since the injury a miracle.

At the Rockies' complex in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, Nicasio was throwing bullpen sessions and approaching his top-end velocity last month.  Lately, he has been facing hitters while pitching behind an L-screen, the screen that has a space for the pitcher to throw and protects him after the follow-through.

The next gigantic step comes next week.  Nicasio will return to the Dominican Republic on Monday and shortly thereafter will face hitters at the complex without the protection of the screen.

A little more than five months ago, Nicasio needed surgery to piece the vertebra together.  Incredibly, at the start of 2012, he will have a chance to be one of the five starters in the Rockies' rotation.

"I'm going to Spring Training ready to go and work hard," Nicasio said.  "I say I don't care, No. 5, No. 1, whatever.  I'm working for the rotation."

If the progress so far is considered a miracle, words might not be sufficient to categorize a successful return to the Majors.  He will have to overcome the understandable apprehension of a ball being whipped off the bat and careening toward him.  If he can, the Rockies believe they have a possible gem.

Last season, Nicasio dominated Double-A competition at Tulsa to the tune of 5-1 with a 2.22 ERA and 63 strikeouts to 10 walks in 56 2/3 innings.  The Rockies promoted him in to the Majors in May, and he went 4-4 with a 4.14 ERA.  The performance had typical growing pains, but with 58 strikeouts to 18 walks, he showed he didn't fear big league hitters.

Now teammates are giving him a better-than-even chance against an even more frightening opponent than a cleanup hitter.

"I've got so much respect for that guy," Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said.  "I always knew he was a tough kid.  Coming up at the beginning, I always said I liked his presence on the mound.

"But to go through what he's gone through and to say, 'I'm already throwing bullpens and I'm all ready to go,' I don't even know if I could even do that.  I hope he has a great year and he'll be a great story."

Nicasio said he had a ball whiz near the screen during his last session facing hitters and didn't feel endangered.  He knows he is lucky to be pitching, but he also knows he was extremely unlucky when the ball bounced off his head.

"It's not every day ... only one time in six years," Nicasio said, still smiling.

Of course, there were moments that don't make him smile.  He remembers the ball hitting his head.  The split-second before he hit the ground is a blank, but he remembers laying on the mound and talking to Dugger.  He also worried when he had "no power over my body."  And the 20-win dream often ended with him dreaming he could rise from bed and go to the bathroom, only to wake up to searing pain.

When he returned to the Dominican, he said many of his friends were surprised he wasn't in much worse shape.  Now he wants to surprise folks even further.

"It's unbelievable," he said.  "A lot of people in the Dominican told me, 'You're going to be scared when you go to the mound.'  I don't want to change my mind.  I want to throw strikes in.  I want to compete in the game.

"I feel lucky.  Thank you, God.  I got lucky.  I feel good.  Everything is the same.  Now I'm ready to go."


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     The writer wrote: "The horror worsened when his tumble to the mound resulted in a fractured C-1 vertebra.

     I thought that the whiplash of Mr. Nicasio's head fractured hie C1 vertebrae.  That Mr. Nicasio fractured his C1 vertebrae when his head contacted the ground means that the snapback action of the head in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion probably will not affect him.

     The writer wrote:  His (Rockie head athletic trainer, Keith Dugger)recognition of a neck injury has been called by others a possible lifesaving maneuver.

     Absolutely.

     If Mr. Dugger had not prevented Mr. Nicasio from moving his head, then Mr. Nicasio might have severely damaged his spinal cord.

     Nice job, Mr. Dugger.

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0129.  Byrd uses Muay Thai to get ready for season
MLB.com
January 19, 2012
CHICAGO, IL:  Playing baseball requires balance, coordination, skill and some kicks, according to Marlon Byrd.  Also some sparring with his elbows and knees.

Byrd, 34, has added a martial arts workout called Muay Thai (pronounced "moy tie") to his off-season program.  The intense sessions, which he does three to four times a week, plus a dramatic change in his diet has helped the Cubs center fielder go from 255 pounds, which he weighed at the end of last season, to 215 now.  That's the same weight he was his senior year in high school.

"Now, he's a lean, mean, fighting machine," said Robert Cole, Byrd's instructor at L.A. Boxing in Chicago and a retired national champion from England.

The first step in the transformation regarded Byrd's diet, and he saw New York nutritionist Robert Pastore in New York on the recommendation of Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth.  Tests revealed Byrd was allergic to milk and wheat, and very close to having celiac disease.  His wife, Andrea, had the same allergies.  Pastore advised the Byrds to change their diet and both saw instant results.

"The fat started melting away," Byrd said Wednesday. "No more bloating, no more food sensitivities.  My body just kicked into high gear and I was able to keep it revved up."

He used to box when he was younger, and also when he was in Philadelphia at Joe Hand Gym.  But this off-season, Byrd was looking for more.

"I wanted a change of pace," said Byrd, who spent the winter in Chicago.  "I did the boxing and I wanted to throw the kicks in.  I heard about 'Muay Thai' training and I thought it was very intense."

It is.  Muay Thai evolved from hand to hand tactics of the Thai army.  A form of martial arts, it features punches, kicks, elbows, knees, standing grappling, and head-butts to wear down the opponent.

The workout begins with jumping rope.  Then, Byrd and either Cole or Aaron Swenson, a three-time U.S. national champion, will do some sparring in the ring.  It's three minutes of kicking and punching, then one minute of rest, and another three-minute workout, a pace they keep up for one hour.  That session can burn about 800 calories.

But they're not done.  There's more work on technique, some "clenches" which involve trying to hold the other man's head.  Then, Byrd and his instructor add shin guards and mouthpieces, and do another, more intense, more violent round of sparring.  "I'm thinking he should use his legs for batting," Cole said.

They finish with more kicks and punches to a heavy bag.  If a fighter goes from a workout with the bag into the ring, it has almost the same effect as a batter using a weighted donut on the bat and then stepping into the batter's box.

"Guys in the game are using this to get in shape," Byrd said of martial arts.  "I don't know how many guys are taking it to this level but I love it."

Byrd isn't learning kicks and punches for the game.  His training provides other benefits.

"If you look at throwing a punch or a kick, it's the same [as baseball]," Cole said.  "You have to turn your whole body.  When you're hitting, you have to go through the ball with your body.  It's the same kind of physics."

  It's just a part of his daily drill. By the time he arrives for his Muay Thai workout, Byrd has already done some weight lifting, and he follows his sessions with Cole and Swenson with hitting and throwing.

"I'm 34 years old now and I'm not getting any younger," Byrd said, "but at the same time, when people watch me play, they don't know my age.  I have to keep up with these young studs who are coming up.  Brett Jackson is full of energy, and Tony Campana, he keeps me young.  These guys work hard and I'm trying to keep up with them."

Byrd got positive feedback in early January when he attended a mini camp in Mesa, AZ.

"Everything is working in conjunction now," Byrd said.  "You're thinking, 'Check a kick, throw a punch,' or 'throw an elbow,' or 'throw a kick and follow with an elbow, then the knee' [in Muay Thai].  In baseball, you have all these moving parts."

Watching him deliver right crosses or kicks, one can see how improved flexibility, balance and strength should have positive results.

"All around, it makes me a better athlete," Byrd said.

The Cubs can only hope everyone on the team is training as hard for 2012.  Campana has added some good weight working out in Mesa, as did second baseman Darwin Barney, who put on 18 pounds of muscle.  Byrd, entering the final year of his three-year contract with the Cubs, is hoping his changes affect the others.

"If I'm out there and they see me slow and sluggish and a little bit behind them, they're not going to listen to me at all," he said.  "When I'm the guy out front and when I'm the guy pushing them, that shows leadership.

"It's like I'm passing the torch," he said.  "These guys are going to be the future of this organization and by the time I leave this organization, whenever that is, a year from now, three years from now, four years from now hopefully, this organization will be better."

Part of the reason for the extra effort to improve his stamina is because of all the day games the Cubs play, which can wear down players.

"My energy coming in, I always had that energy," Byrd said.  "But am I going to have the same amount of energy in August and September?

"Talking to Theo [Epstein], talking to Dale [Sveum], talking to Rudy [Jaramillo], we have to figure out a way to turn day games into a home field advantage," he said.  "When guys come in here, they should not be beating us on our turf.  The 1:20 [p.m.] games, noon games, those should be 'W's' all the time.  This will get me ready."

  Epstein, the Cubs president of baseball operations, plus Sveum, the new manager, and Jaramillo, the hitting coach, should all be happy to hear that.

Byrd wants to play all 162 games.  That was his goal last season before he was hit in the face by a pitch in May by Boston's Alfredo Aceves.

  "I'm very, very honored that I'm the oldest center fielder in baseball," he said.  "Somehow I have to keep [center field] before they kick me out and move me to the corners.  As long as I'm out there, I'll be running around like a wild man and this gets me ready to go all out, every day, for nine innings."

Martial arts is all in the family for Byrd.  His 4-year-old son, Marlon Jr., is learning Jiu Jitsu, and Andrea also has been learning Muay Thai.

Cole, 39, admitted he didn't know Byrd was a professional baseball player when he first met him.

"He's a lighter, fitter, stronger, faster man now," Cole said.  "Hopefully, he'll be knocking out ball after ball."


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     Muay Thai instructor, Rober Cole, said: "If you look at throwing a punch or a kick, it's the same [as baseball].  You have to turn your whole body.  When you're hitting, you have to go through the ball with your body.  It's the same kind of physics."

     No, it is not.

     The writer wrote:  "Byrd wants to play all 162 games.  That was his goal last season before he was hit in the face by a pitch in May by Boston's Alfredo Aceves.

     Until baseball batters get their front arm side foot on the ground, they cannot swing the baseball bat or move their face out of the way of pitched baseballs.

     Therefore, to not have to wait until their front foot lands to swing their baseball bats or move their face out of the way of pitched baseballs and to generate move straight line force through contact, baseball batters have to use my wrong foot body action.

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0130.  Velocity increase

I got to throw live indoors to batters tonight.

With the greatly improved motion you showed us, my fastball velocity is topping in the mid 80’s!  I am so amazed!

But, it’s one of those things that, until you execute it correctly, you don’t realize the benefits.  But, once you do execute correctly, you will NEVER go back to any of the old throwing habits.

My son is throwing so hard at 100 feet with your “crow hop” playing catch that his teammates are having trouble catching him.

On the mound, he has vowed to completely discard all aspects of the traditional “balance point” in favor of the full Marshall Motion.  Great!

Finally, in his mind, he is 100% convinced that your way is the most efficient, effective generation and transfer of throwing power there is.

I am feeling relief now, because I suspected there were still little nooks and crannies of his mind that were subconsciously resisting parts of your motion.

I am looking forward to his success now.


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     The two factors contribute to release velocity are skill and fitness.

     The increase in release velocity that you and your son are experiencing is a result of skill.

     The only reason why you and your son are increasing your release velocity is that you and your son have discarded the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.  You make my heart sing.

     I am pleased that your son no longer appeases his Junior College baseball coaches.  However, I am concerned that their ignorance and the ignorance of the other 'traditional' coaches that he encounters will not allow him to use the Pure Marshall baseball pitching motion.

     Until 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches stop imposing their ignorance on those that use my baseball pitching motion, pitching injuries and less than genetic maximum release velocities will continue.

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0131.  45 degree angle

1.  When your pitchers step forward 45 degrees, does the pitching arm is moving forward at 45 degrees as well?

2.  You say that only the straight line force toward home plate that counts toward release velocity.  Therefore, how does moving the body 45 degrees to the glove side contribute to release velocity?

3.  Is it because they drive the center of mass 45 degree to the glove side, then redirect it back toward home plate?

4.  In terms the release velocity formula:  Does the distance that you apply straight line force toward home plate start when you begin driving the baseball down the acromial line?

5.  If #4 is correct:  Does that mean you would apply force over a longer distance with your Torque fastball than you would your Maxline fastball?


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01.  When, to throw my Maxline pitches, my baseball pitchers move their body 45 degrees to their glove arm side, they do not decrease the force that they apply to their baseball pitches during the rotation of the entire pitching arm side of their body to when their pitching upper arm points at home plate.

     Instead, with the drop step, my baseball pitchers are able to point their pitching upper arm more directly at home plate, when they drive their pitching arm down their acromial line, they are able to apply more force to their pitches during the pitching upper arm inward rotation, pitching elbow extension and pitching forearm pronation finish to my baseball pitching motion.

02.  Only the straight line force that baseball pitchers apply to their pitches increases their release velocity.

     When, to throw my Maxline pitches, my baseball pitchers step 45 degrees to the glove arm, they are able to rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body and their pitching upper arm to point more directly at home plate than they are able to do when they step straight toward home plate.

     Therefore, my baseball pitchers lengthen the time and distance over which they apply straight line force to my Maxline pitches.

03.  When my baseball pitchers step 45 degrees to the glove arm side of their body, even though the center of mass of their body moves forward at a 45 degree angle before it moves straight forward, the center of mass of the body moves closer to home plate at release than it would were my baseball pitchers to step straight forward.

04.  When my baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm to driveline height and simultaneously move the center of mass of their body forward during the step forward 'preparation phase,' my baseball pitchers enter their 'acceleration' phase with the baseball moving forward, not stilled or backward like 'traditional' baseball pitchers.

     Therefore, my baseball pitchers enter their 'acceleration' phase with a positive velocity.

     After their glove arm side foot lands, all baseball pitchers start their 'acceleration' phase.

     However, because 'traditional' baseball pitchers pull their pitching arm forward, 'traditional' baseball pitcher only apply force to their pitches with the rotation of their body forward.

     Conversely, because my baseball pitchers 'lock' their pitching upper arm with their shoulders, my baseball pitchers apply force with the rotation of their body forward and with the inward rotation of their pitching upper arm, the extension of their pitching elbow and the pronation of their pitching forearm.

05.  With the drop step, my baseball pitchers are able to point their acromial line more directly toward home plate than the cross-step of the body action for my Torque pitches.

     Therefore, the length of my Maxline driveline is longer than the length of my Torque driveline.  However, because the body and pitching arm action for my Torque pitches is easier to learn than the body and pitching arm action for my Maxline pitches, most of my baseball pitchers never master the body and pitching arm action for my Maxline pitches.

     Nevertheless, the body and pitching arm action of for my Maxline pitches produces a wider variety of high-quality pitches with higher release velocities and enables my baseball pitchers to humiliate the critical glove arm side baseball batters.

     Even though not perfectly skilled with the body and pitching arm actions for my Maxline pitches, during his brief major league career, the 49 glove arm side batters were able to only get a ground ball up the middle of the infield hit.

     Right-handed baseball pitchers that allow one hit in 49 At Bats against glove arm side baseball batters are worth their weight in gold.

     Unfortunately, Chuck LeMar and Larry Rothchild were only interested in keeping my baseball pitching motion out of the major leagues.

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0132.  Red Sox unveil newly aligned medical staff
MLB.com
January 19, 2012

BOSTON, MA:  After two seasons in which the Red Sox experienced health issues throughout the stretch run, there was a determination from the organization to make its medical staff run more efficiently.

With that in mind, the Sox unveiled their realigned medical staff for 2012 on Thursday.  The staff will no longer include a medical director, the position Dr. Tom Gill held for the last seven seasons.

Instead, the Red Sox have installed a team of seasoned doctors.

Larry Ronan will continue as the Sox's head team internist, a position he has held since 2005.  Peter Asnis has been promoted to head team orthopedist after serving as a Red Sox team physician since 2005.  Asnis is the head physician for the Boston Bruins and also works for the New England Patriots.

"First of all, Tom Gill, our prior medical director, provided a lot of leadership over the last seven years," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said.  "The department came a long way, and we got to a point where we felt like we needed to make some changes to bring it to the next level."

What are the Red Sox trying to accomplish?

"There are really two primary objectives, and that's to increase the level of clinical care in the clubhouse, and at the same time while we're doing that, provide the players with the traditional day-to-day needs that they have to go out on the field and play," Cherington said.  "We think this staff combines the best of both the traditional baseball world and the next wave, next generation of methodology in clinical care.

"So we're excited that we put this staff together.  They've been working together for a few weeks now.  We were crossing T's and dotting I's to get the release out, but the team's been together for a few weeks, and they've been working with players and visiting players.

Ultimately, we hope this staff gives the players everything they need and does it in a way that the players see they're out for them and only for them.  Hopefully that turns into our guys being on the field more and performing."

There are also changes on the training staff.  Rick Jameyson has come over from the Indians to serve as head athletic trainer.  Mike Reinold, who held that role the last two years, is now the head physical therapist.  Pat Sandora will take Dave Page's place as strength and conditioning coach.

New positions have also been created for the training staff.  Dan Dyrek, who was instrumental in prolonging the career of basketball legend Larry Bird, has come on board as a clinical consultant.  Mike Boyle was hired as strength and conditioning consultant.


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     The write wrote: "After two seasons in which the Red Sox experienced health issues throughout the stretch run, there was a determination from the organization to make its medical staff run more efficiently."

     What health issues throughout the stretch run?

     Are they referring to the injuries to their baseball pitchers?

     To make their medical staff run more efficiently, they removed Dr. Tom Gill as the team medical director, but kept Dr. Ronan sas team internist and promoted Dr. Asnis to head team orthopedist.

     Red Sox general manager, Ben Cherington, diplomatically said that Dr. Gillprovided a lot of leadership over the last seven years, but the Red Sox needed to make some changes."

     Mr. Cherington hopes that this staff keeps the Red Sox players on the field more and performing well."

     To serve as head Red Sox athletic trainer, Mr. Cherington replaced Mike Reinold, Dr. Andrews' Physical Therapist expert, with Rick Jameyson and demoted Mr. Reinold to head physical therapist.  Pat Sandora is the new strength and conditioning coach.

     In newly created positions, Mr. Cherington hired Dan Dyrek to be the Red Sox clinical consultant and hired Mike Boyle to be a strength and conditioning consultant.

     Unfortunately, none of these people have any idea how to eliminate pitching injuries.

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0133.  Velocity increase

I now believe that my Junior College sophomore son has developed a stronger resolve than ever before.

He has become dedicated to performing the motion as correctly as possible and to developing his fitness level to his maximum.  At some point he will be using 30lb wrist weights and 15 lb iron balls.

He knows it will be a battle of wits against the establishment, but he also knows he cannot be his best by giving in.


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     As long as his baseball coaches allow him to competitively pitch, with his increased release velocity and wide variety of high-quality pitches, your son will very easily get batters out.

     I can only hope that, if your son gets to the major leagues and strikes out 41 batters in his first 30 1/3 innings, unlike the Tampa Bay Rays, they do not release him.

     I am rooting for him and will help in any way possible.

     Have you and/or your son read the Trevor Bauer and/or Tyler Matzek stories on my website?

     If not, then search for their names and see how they are fighting and winning the same battle.

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0134.  Boundary Layer Effects on a Pitched Baseball...?

In his Physics of Baseball book, Robert K. Adair wrote: "Baseball science isn't rocket science; it's a lot harder."

The URL below links to a super slow-motion video of MLB pitcher Freddie Garcia throwing a split-finger fastball.

Slow-motion video of Freddie Garcia's split-finger pitch in its flight to home plate

Despite the fact that Mr. Garcia pronates after releasing the splitter, his career might be extended by using your mechanics and pitches with the Marshall effect.

I thought that the poster's comments, which I have recorded below, might be of interest to you as they were to me.

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

Comments of youtube video posting individual...

"Take a look at this high-speed .avi video of NYY Freddie Garcia throwing a split-fingered fastball from a game on April 29, 2011.  Look particularly at how the ball is spinning and the direction of the break.  For a normal Magnus effect on a spinning baseball, the ball breaks in the direction that the front edge of the ball is turning--in this case, to the pitcher's right.  However, the ball actually breaks to the pitcher's left, presenting an interesting mystery."

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

When looking at the flight of the ball toward the plate, the person who posted the video expected the ball to move toward the pitching arm side of the plate.  Perhaps, he thought this from his understanding of the Magnus effect (similar to a fastball thrown from a three-quarter arms-slot).  The ball however, undertakes a pronounced downward movement toward the (pitcher's) glove-side of the plate.

I'm guessing that due to the reduced rotation of the pitched ball, what we are seeing is in effect related to Prandtl's boundary theory effect which are commonly discussed in the physics of knuckle balls and fork balls.

I'm aware that you eschew the teaching of reduced-rotation pitches.  However, the path of the ball in the video is a bit of a quandary to lay-people like me.

Rather than the screwball-like rotation seen on Bruce Sutter's splitter as taught to him by the late Fred Martin of the Cubs organization, Garcia seemed to have managed to slow the splitter's rotation enough such that boundary layer physics effects from the seams became the guiding (or chaotic) force for the movement of the baseball.

What do you think is happening when watching the pitch?


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     Baseball science is not harder than rocket science.  The only other knowledge base that baseball scientists need to have to understand the skills of baseball is Applied Anatomy.

     The person that commented on this video said, "For a normal Magnus effect on a spinning baseball, the ball breaks in the direction that the front edge of the ball is turning--in this case, to the pitcher's right.  However, the ball actually breaks to the pitcher's left.

     The Magnus Effect applies only to four-seam rotating baseballs.  The Marshall Effect applies to two-seam rotating baseballs.

     Mr. Garcia's pitch is a two-seam rotating baseball.

     How baseball pitchers grip baseballs does not determine what pitch they throw.

     Instead, how the baseball rotates on its way to home plate determines what pitch they throw.

     In this case, the baseball that Mr. Garcia threw has a two-seam rotation with the circle of friction that causes the baseball to move to the glove arm side of home plate is on the underside of the pitching arm side of the baseball.

     Therefore, Mr. Garcia threw an undercut cut fastball.

     Mr. Garcia did not pronate the release of this pitch.  To do that, he would have had to have his pitching thumb turning downward before release, not after.

     That Mr. Garcia's pitching hand thumb quietly turns downward after release is not pronation.  Instead, it is the result of the Pectoralis Major muscle pulling his pitching upper arm across the front of his body.

     Quality cut fastballs have the circle of friction on the side or slightly above the middle of the pitching arm side of the baseball.

     The only thing that the split-finger grip did for Mr. Garcia's split-finger pitch was to decrease the release velocity.  As a result, despite the slowness of the movement, the combination of the movement and the change of pace caused the batter to swing early and miss the baseball.

     When pitching arm side spray hitters and glove arm side pull hitters correctly anticipate this pitch, they will hit the baseball very hard.

     I greatly enjoyed the high-speed video of Mr. Garcia's split-finger pitch.  Thank you for sending me the link.

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0135.  Norris looks to build on progress made in '11
MLB.com
January 20, 2012

HOUSTON, TX:  Astros starting pitcher Bud Norris certainly made some strides in his second full season in the Major Leagues in 2011, setting career highs for innings pitched, starts and strikeouts while lowering his ERA by more than one run per game.

The numbers were an improvement, but still not where Norris wanted them to be at the end of this season, nor where the Astros needed them to be.  He finished 2011 with a 3.77 ERA in 31 starts, 176 strikeouts and a 6-11 record that was the result of inconsistency and poor run support.

The issue of run support, the Astros lost four of Norris' starts last season by a 1-0 score, is out of the 26-year-old's hands, but gaining more consistency each time he takes the mound is a primary goal for Norris when Spring Training begins in a month.

"I definitely made some strides in the right direction, but as far as I'm concerned, I've got to keep doing that," he said.  "That's kind of what it's all about, getting better year in and year out and learning more of the ropes.  I had a pretty good season last year, a decent season.  I want to get better and I know what I need to improve on, and I need to keep that consistency and kind of build off of that."

Norris, one of the few Astros Draft picks from 2005-07 to reach the Majors, has been working out at Minute Maid Park this off-season with several of his teammates in an effort to be ready when pitchers and catchers begin playing catch in Kissimmee, FL, on February 20, 2012.

Norris amassed 186 innings last season and missed his final start because of biceps tendinitis, but, after some initial trepidation, he says his arm is in good shape.

"I was a little worried," he said.  "There's definitely that [concern of injury] in the back of my mind.  I feel really good now.  The trainers have been great, Rex [Jones] and Nate [Lucero], and have been giving me a lot of arm exercises to make sure it's extra strong.  I started my throwing program early this year to make sure the shoulder's 100 percent, and I'm happy where I'm at right now."

The Astros aren't expected to contend this year as they continue to rebuild, but Norris is an important piece of the future.  He's under Houston's control for four more years, so there's no reason to believe he won't be one of the anchors of the rotation when the team is ready to make noise in the American League West.

With that in mind, this will be an important year for Norris.  He understands he needs to find more consistency.  He walked 3.39 batters per nine innings a year ago, which was the 10th-highest total in the National League.

"You need to manage the walks," he said.  "Your ultimate goal is to get to 200 innings, and consistency is a huge part of that in order to reach that goal.  Just keeping my confidence and staying consistent is going to be part of that."


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     Mr. Norris missed his final start because of biceps tendinitis.

     To determine whether Mr. Norris had Biceps Brachii or Brachialis muscle discomfort, he only needs to raise both arms to shoulder height and maximally bend and extend both arms.

     If Mr. Norris cannot fully straighten or bend his pitching elbow, then he has Brachialis discomfort.

     To prevent this silent injury, Mr. Norris only needs to learn how to pronate the releases of all his pitches, especially his breaking pitches.

       Mr. Norris said: "The trainers have been great, Rex [Jones] and Nate [Lucero], and have been giving me a lot of arm exercises to make sure it's extra strong.

     The non-specific exercises that the Astros trainers gave Mr. Norris have absolutely nothing to do with strengthening the pitching shoulder for baseball pitching.

     My wrist weight exercises and heavy ball throws are the only baseball pitching specific interval-training program that strengthen the pitching shoulder.  However, they only strengthen the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles for my baseball pitching motion.

     If Mr. Norris does not stop supinating the release of his breaking pitches, then his 'biceps tendinitis will return.

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0136.  Slimmer CC plans to watch diet more closely
MLB.com
January 20, 2012

TAMPA, FL:  Off-season training and in-season conditioning might have been the furthest things from CC Sabathia's mind Friday as he enjoyed a round of golf to help raise funds for Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation, but the Yankees' big left-hander has spent plenty of time this winter thinking about how to stay fit next season.

Participating in Jeter's annual celebrity golf tournament on a picturesque day at the Avila Golf and Country Club, Sabathia appeared to have slimmed down a bit and said he was already planning adjustments to his routine that will help him stay strong down the stretch.  One of those things, he said, is constantly monitoring his diet.

Sabathia lost about 30 pounds last winter and entered Spring Training in excellent shape, but he appeared to have put that weight back on by the end of the year.  After posting a 2.72 ERA and 1.160 WHIP the first half of the season, he went 6-4 with a 3.44 ERA and 1.331 WHIP the rest of the way.

It's worth noting that Sabathia struck out more batters per nine innings after the All-Star break than he did before (10.2 compared to 7.8), but his hit and walk numbers were up, as was his ERA.  Some might just call it bad luck, he allowed an abnormally high batting average on balls in play in August (.402) and September (.387), but he still allowed 31 earned runs in 68 2/3 innings over the last two months of the regular season.

Whether it was the actual reason behind his struggles, many pointed to Sabathia's conditioning, or lack thereof, as the problem.  For his part, Sabathia said he tried to take that criticism in stride and not get frustrated with it.

"I'm a big guy.  I'm always going to have to deal with it," Sabathia said.  "When I pitch bad, then I'm fat.  When I pitch good, then I'm a good size.  "I'm used to it, and I've been dealing with it my whole career.  It's nothing.  It's just up to me to get in shape and be able to pitch and help my teammates out."


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     The writer wrote that Mr. Sabathia was already planning adjustments to his routine that will help him stay strong down the stretch, including constantly monitoring his diet.

     The writer wrote that Mr. Sabathia lost about 30 pounds last winter and entered Spring Training in excellent shape, but, by the end of the year, he appeared to have put that weight back on.

     To tie Mr. Sabbathia's weight to his second half poor performance, the writer wrote that, after posting a 2.72 ERA and 1.160 WHIP the first half of the season, Mr. Sabbathia had a 3.44 ERA and 1.331 WHIP in the second half of the season.

     During the second half of the season, Mr. Sabathia struck out 10.2 batters per nine inning.  During the first half of the season, Mr. Sabbathia only struck out 7.8 batters per nine innings.

     During August and September, Mr. Sabbathia's balls in play batting average was .402) and .387, respectively and Mr. Sabbathia gave up 31 earned runs in 68 2/3 innings.

     Mr. Sabbathia said: "I'm a big guy.  I'm always going to have to deal with it," Sabathia said.  "When I pitch bad, then I'm fat.  When I pitch good, then I'm a good size.  "I'm used to it, and I've been dealing with it my whole career.  It's nothing.  It's just up to me to get in shape and be able to pitch and help my teammates out."

     First, for his long term health, Mr. Sabbathia needs to take responsibility for his weight.

     Mr. Sabbathia has to change his eating habits.  He has to stop eating what he likes and start eating what he needs.  Mr. Sabbathia is fat because he eats fat.  Worse, the fat that Mr. Sabbathia is eating is animal fat.  Animal fat will shorten his life.  However, plant fat is good.  Therefore, to consume the 25% of his diet of fat, Mr. Sabbathia should eat plant fat.

     Then, for the 15% protein of his diet, Mr. Sabbathia should eat non-fat foods.  Fish, skinless chicken and turkey are good.  Plants also have protein.  But, Mr. Sabbathia needs to avoid red meat fat.  When he eats red meat, he should have it ground and rinse the meat with hot water.

     Now, how did Mr. Sabbathia strike out more batters, but give up more hits on baseballs that opposing batters put in play?

     In general, baseball batters get hits when they correctly anticipate pitches and strike out when they do not correctly anticipate high quality pitches.

     Therefore, for more of the baseballs that baseball batters put in play went for hits means that, even when baseball batters did not correctly anticipate the pitch, they were still able to put the baseball in play.  This means that Mr. Sabbathia did not throw the same high-quality pitches to them as he did to baseball batters that he struck out.

     From this data, I believe that Mr. Sabbathia worked harder to get strike outs when he had two strikes on the batters than he did when he did not have two strikes on batters.

     In addition, when baseball pitchers have worse second half statistics than first half statistics, the problem is that the baseball batters changed the pitches that they anticipate and the baseball pitchers did not.  Therefore, Mr. Sabbathia needs to study the pitch sequences that he used to get batters out and, as the season progresses, he needs to change them.

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0137.  Honeycutt helped guide Kershaw on Cy trail
MLB.com
January 20, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA:  The Clayton Kershaw World Tour, with earlier stops in Africa and California, and points in between, rolled into the Big Apple on Friday, as the lefty visited the New York Stock Exchange before he accepts his National League Cy Young Award at Saturday night's Baseball Writers Dinner.

Meanwhile, as a token of his appreciation, Kershaw is flying in Dodgers pitching coach Rick Honeycutt from Tennessee as his guest for the awards dinner, a fitting gesture to one of the most successful pitching gurus in the game.

In Honeycutt's six years as pitching coach, the Dodgers staff has the lowest composite ERA (3.84), the second-lowest opponents' batting average (.250, trailing the Giants) and the second-highest strikeout total (7,489, trailing the Cubs) in baseball.

With bullpen coach Ken Howell, Honeycutt oversaw the rebuilding of the relief staff on the fly last year when Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo and Vicente Padilla went wrong, replacing them with rookie right-handers Javy Guerra, Kenley Jansen and Josh Lindblom, along with lefty Scott Elbert.

The 57-year-old Honeycutt, however, is reluctant to take credit for Kershaw and the Cy Young.  "With Clayton, it's just not about me.  I don't have to do a whole lot," Honeycutt said.  "I just mention something I see and he processes it.  These guys still have to do it.  It's a process.  You see with Clayton over time he's gotten better and better.  You want to see that each month and each year.  When they don't continue to get better, I take it hard.  It's like I failed these guys.  All guys are good or they don't get to this level.  But he's different.  To separate himself like he has, he's really special."

Kershaw was already special when the Dodgers made him a first-round Draft pick in 2006, but even special players hit bumps in the road and Honeycutt recalls a turning point for Kershaw in the 2009 season.  In his seventh start of the year, Kershaw was roughed up in Philadelphia, the loss dropping his record to 1-3 and raising his ERA to 5.21.  Honeycutt, then-manager Joe Torre and hitting coach Don Mattingly called Kershaw in for a meeting.

"It had become a battle for him," Honeycutt recalled.  "Before that meeting I talked to Donnie, asked him to look at a few games.  Donnie said if he was coaching opposing hitters, he'd tell them to spit on all the off-speed stuff and look for the fastball.  I wanted Clayton to hear that from a hitter's perspective, what the scouts were telling the hitters to do against him, so he would understand what was happening and what he had to change.

"He wasn't consistently throwing strikes.  His breaking ball was not finishing high enough to get called strikes, and he was missing down and away to left-handers.  So, I brought that info to Joe and we put our heads together to find the best way to adjust.  The talent was there.

"Since that time, the info goes in and he digests it.  Before that, maybe it was just too early for him.  Maybe he needed some failure before it's like, 'Can I get better?  What do I need to do?'  That has to happen.  He made some adjustments.  He moved to the other side of the mound, he took a different approach to his bullpen sessions, and the slider made a world of difference.  It acts as a change of speed.  He's got a great touch.  He can make it break straight down or run it hard into a right-hander."

Said Kershaw:  "My first two years I was called into the principal's office too many times.  They told me to pitch better or get shipped out, in so many words.  I finally got less stubborn and figured it was time to figure something out, rather that just go with what I had."  Kershaw essentially taught himself the slider in a bullpen session two days after the Philly debacle.

"He tried it in the bullpen at Wrigley Field and took it right into his next start," said A.J. Ellis, who caught that breakthrough session.  "That pitch took him from a really good pitcher to a great pitcher."

Kershaw won the Cy Young Award off a 21-win season with a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts, accomplishing the pitching Triple Crown by leading the league in all three categories.

Perhaps more impressive is that, since the 2009 meeting in Philadelphia, he's 41-20 with a 2.46 ERA, 606 strikeouts and 206 walks.

Perhaps the most telling statistic is that Kershaw's strikeout-to-walk ratio has improved each year, from less than 2-to-1 his rookie year to almost 5-to-1 last year.  No surprise to Honeycutt.

"I think back to the first batter he faced in a spring game, he homered," Honeycutt said.  "And Clayton then loaded the bases, but he struck out three guys and he came back to the dugout with the biggest grin on his face like, 'Wow, got that out of the way.'  He was 19 and just having a good time.  Not a lot of guys would come back smiling.  That's what I like about him.  He's just so different.

"Look at last year.  So many games he'd have a rough spot in the first three or four innings and then all of a sudden he's like a different guy.  He had a game with about 60 pitches the first three innings, then 40 pitches the next four.  You don't see that often.  He's just putting everything together in his mind.  There's never panic.  It's just a joy to see it.

"You know, when the season is going on, you know he's having a good year.  But when it was over and you reflect on the numbers, wow."


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     In 2012, Mr. Kershaw will receive his 2011 National League Cy Young Award at the Baseball Writers Dinner in New York.

     In 1975, I received my 1974 Cy Young Award before a game in Los Angeles against the Montreal Expos.  I guess that, in 1975, the Baseball Writers did not have a dinner.

     The writer wrote: "With bullpen coach Ken Howell, Honeycutt oversaw the rebuilding of the relief staff on the fly last year when Jonathan Broxton, Hong-Chih Kuo and Vicente Padilla went wrong ... ."

     Maybe, it is just me, but, isn't the first job of baseball pitching coaches to make sure that their baseball pitchers do not go 'wrong'?

     In Mr. Kershaw's seventh start of 2009, the Phillies roughed him up.  After that game, Mr. Kershaw had 1 win and 3 losses with a 5.21 ERA.  After that games, Mr. Honeycull decided to have Mr. Kershaw meet with Joe Torre, field manager and Don Mattingly, hitting coach.

     Maybe, it is just me, but isn't the second job of baseball pitching coaches to design game plans for their pitchers such that they don't get roughed up?

     Mr. Honeycutt wanted Mr. Kershaw to understand how opposing batters approached hitting against him.  Hitting coach, Don Mattingly, said that because Mr. Kershaw did not throw off-speed pitches for strikes, opposing batters knew that they would eventually get a fastball to hit.

     Wow.  Stop the presses.

     Maybe, it is just me, but isn't the third job of baseball pitching coaches to teach their baseball pitchers the wide variety of high-quality pitches that they need to succeed.  Rules #1:  Throw non-fastball pitches for strikes early in the count.  Rule #2:  When the count favors the batters, do not throw fastballs.

     As a result of this insightful meeting, Mr. Kershaw made some adjustments.

01.  Mr. Kershaw moved to the other side of the mound.

02.  Mr. Kershaw took a different approach to his bullpen sessions.

03.  Mr. Kershaw taught himself how to throw a slider that he can make break straight down or run it hard into a right-hander.

     Mr. Kershaw recalled that:

01.  The Dodger brain trust called in into the manager's office too many times.

02.  The Dodger brain trust told Mr. Kershaw, in so many words, that he had to pitch better or they would ship him out.

03.  As a result of this healing psycho-therapy, Mr. Kershaw decided to become less stubborn.  This meant that, rather than go with the pitches he had, Mr. Kershaw decided, two days after he lost to the Phillies, to teach himself a slider and use it in his next game.

     Mr. Kershaw learned that, when baseball pitchers throw minus ten mph non-fastballs (sliders and sinkers) for first pitch strikes, baseball batters cannot wait for a fastball to hit.

     That is baseball pitching coach genius.

     The writer wrote: "Perhaps the most telling statistic is that Kershaw's strikeout-to-walk ratio has improved each year, from less than 2-to-1 his rookie year to almost 5-to-1 last year.

     If baseball pitching coaches want their baseball pitchers to throw non-fastballs for strikes in fastball counts, then they must never talk about walks.

     Dodger pitching coach, Mr. Honeycutt said that Mr. Kershaw has a lot of games in which he has trouble in the first three or four innings, but, after about 60 pitches, he would pitch much better.

     Mr. Honeycutt attributed this sudden improvement during Mr. Kershaw's games to Mr. Kershaw 'putting everything together in his mind.'

     Maybe, it is just me, but isn't the fourth job of baseball pitching coaches to teach their baseball pitchers how to sequence their pitches the first time through the line-up?

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0138.  Cherington confident about Red Sox' rotation
MLB.com
January 20, 2012

BOSTON, MA:  The Boston Baseball Writers' Association of America dinner, which took place Thursday night, is always the first hint that Spring Training is finally in the not-too-distant future.  And when it comes to the 2012 Red Sox, it was also a reminder that the team has far less certainty with regard to the starting rotation than in years past.

Get ready for Camp Competition in Fort Myers, FL.

Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are the givens.  Daniel Bard will try to make the transition to starting pitcher, but the club is still open to keeping him in the bullpen.

The fifth spot?  It could be filled by anyone from Vicente Padilla to Aaron Cook to Carlos Silva to Alfredo Aceves.

Do the Red Sox have enough pitching to compete in the American League East?

"I think we have more questions right now than Tampa Bay and New York, for example," said general manager Ben Cherington.  "There's probably less competition for the rotation on those two teams.  The Yankees made some moves to strengthen their rotation.  Tampa Bay has had a strong rotation.  Ultimately, the answer will be written on the field."

Even though he doesn't necessarily know who all the quality innings will come from, Cherington is confident he's assembled enough depth to enable some people to step up.

"Well, we've done a lot of math on that, trying to add it up," Cherington said.  "It'd be nice, I suppose, to have five perfectly healthy guys that you knew for sure would give you 200 innings every year.  I'm not sure we've ever had that, and this year's no different.  As I said, we feel really good about the front of the rotation.  We feel like we have a collection of guys that can win jobs and help us and fill spots.

"We feel confident that both Bard and Aceves are capable of doing it.  That's not to say they'll both definitely be in the rotation, but they're both capable and they'll be coming to Spring Training as starters.  We've got other options, and we'll keep our eyes open as we get closer to Spring Training or even into Spring Training if there are ways to strengthen the rotation."

There's always the chance Cherington could make another move that would free up enough payroll to bring in another proven starter, like a Roy Oswalt.  But at this stage, it doesn't seem like there will be any big changes before pitchers and catchers report to camp on February 19.

"If Spring Training were to start tomorrow, we'd feel good about where we are and [we'd be] ready to put the team together," said Cherington.  "We think we have a lot of options to fill our pitching staff.  There will be competition in camp, obviously, both in the rotation and in the bullpen.  We think we have some options.


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     Red Sox general manager, Ben Cherington said, "It'd be nice, I suppose, to have five perfectly healthy guys that you knew for sure would give you 200 innings every year.

     Did Mr. Cherington say, "I suppose?"      Maybe, it is just me, but isn't it the job of general managers to do everything that they can to have five perfectly healthy starting baseball pitchers that can pitch 200 innings every baseball season?

     I suppose.

     Mr. Cherington also said, "... we feel really good about the front of the rotation."      The buck stops with the general manager.  There is no "we."

     Mr. Cherington said, "We feel like we have a collection of guys that can win jobs and help us and fill spots.

     Who is this "we?"

     Mr. Cherington recently revamped the Red Sox Medical and Fitness Staff.  Are these guys the "we' that decides whether the Red Sox have the pitching they need?  No.  Then, who is this "we" that Mr. Cherington is talking about?  Could he mean his field manager and pitching coach?

     If so, then I understand why Mr. Cherington said, "I suppose."

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0139.  45 degree angle

In terms of the Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion vides:

1.  Is Jeff Sparks stepping at 45 degree angle on his Maxline pitches?

While he does a nice job turning his acromial line toward home plate, he actually releases the baseball when his pitching leg is beside or slightly ahead of his glove leg.  I realize this is better than traditional pitchers, but all the rotation he attains after he releases the ball does not count toward release velocity.

2.  Is this now the closest you feel your pitchers can release the ball toward home plate?

You say the length of the Maxline driveline is longer than the Torque driveline.  While the Torque driveline for Jeff may be shorter, he releases the baseball with his pitching leg vertically beside his glove leg.

3.  So, in Jeff's case in terms of when he releases the baseball, do the different drivelines matter?

I'm talking strictly about the time over which he applies force at release, not movement.

I wanted to compare Jeff's video with his 2007 video, but the link does not work.  In fact, several of the links do not work.

So, I looked at Colin Carmody's 2009 video.

It was interesting to note that Colin did not get his pitching leg vertically beside his glove leg as Jeff does.  I think it is because he strides too far.  The lack of a drop step prevents Colin from getting his pitching leg vertically beside his glove leg.


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01.  When, in this video, Mr. Sparks throws my Maxline pitches, rather than stepping with his entire body at a 45 degree angle to his glove side, I would say that Mr. Sparks moves his glove leg at a 45 degree angle to his glove side.

     While, stepping with his entire body at a 45 degree angle to his glove side would enable Mr. Sparks to rotate the entire pitching arm side of his body forward farther, Mr. Sparks greatly improved how far forwardly he rotated his body.

02.  Rather than use the position of Mr. Sparks' pitching upper leg as the determinant of how far forward Mr. Sparks rotated the entire pitching arm side of his body forward, I prefer to use the acetabular line of the hips.

     At release, I clearly see that Mr. Sparks has rotated his acetabular line considerably beyond perpendicular.  My estimate is about 30 degrees beyond perpendicular or 120 degrees in front of the front edge of the pitching rubber.

     In my 1967 side view high-speed film, I estimate that, at release, I rotated my acetabular line only about 45 degrees in front of the front edge of the pitching rubber.

     I consider Mr. Sparks' 75 degree farther forward rotation of his acetabular line a tremendous improvement.

     Because, as my 1967 side view high-speed film shows, baseball pitchers are able to rotate their acromial line about 45 degrees farther forward than they can rotate their acetabular line.

     Therefore, adding 45 degrees to 120 degrees, we find that Mr. Sparks was able to rotate his acromial line to 165 degrees in front of the front edge of the pitching rubber.

     This means that Mr. Sparks rotated his acromial line to within 15 degrees of pointing directly at home plate.

     Nevertheless, because when my baseball pitchers perform my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion with their wrist weights and heavy balls, my baseball pitchers are able to release their pitches with their acromial line pointing directly at home plate, I believe that they can do the same when they throw baseballs.

03.  With the body action that I teach when my baseball pitchers throw my Torque pitches, I ask my baseball pitchers to step on or to the pitching arm side of the line from their pitching arm side foot's position on the pitching rubber straight forward.

     Therefore, to throw the baseball to the glove arm side of home plate, my baseball pitchers turn their driveline from toward the pitching arm side of home plate to the glove arm side of home plate.

     As a result, rather than apply force in a straight line toward home plate, with my Torque body action, my baseball pitchers abruptly turn the driveline.  That sideways force decreases the toward home plate force and shortens the length of the driveline.

     While, with my one hand chest pass pitching arm action, my baseball pitchers do drive their pitching hand down their acromial line during the finish their driveline, redirecting the driveline decreased the length of their driveline and straight forward force, which decreases release velocity.

     With my Maxline body action, with my straight forward jump-shot pitching arm action, my baseball pitchers drive the baseball straight toward home plate.

     Therefore, when my baseball pitchers also drive the baseball down their acromial line, because they do not redirect the Maxline driveline, the Maxline driveline is longer and more powerful.

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0140.  Marshall Football Throws

Sixteen year old using the Drop Out Wind-Up competitive pitching motion to throw footballs

1. How is my son's body action?


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     Your son does a great job of waiting until he has rotated his acromial line to point at home plate before he inwardly rotates his pitching upper arm, extends his pitching elbow and pronates his pitching forearm.

     The visual cue is the forward lean angle of his body through release.

     To move the center of mass of his body forward through release, your son is clearly pushing backward with his glove arm side foot.

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0141.  Reds, closer Madson complete one-year deal
MLB.com
January 20, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH:  Going into this offseason, there were few indications that the Reds and free-agent closer Ryan Madson would be a match.  The club has been watching its budget closely for years and Madson was seeking a large multiyear deal.

Yet on Friday, Madson was officially signed and sealed as the new closer in Cincinnati.  After Madson passed a physical, the two sides finalized a one-year contract that will pay the right-hander $6 million in 2012.  There is an $11 million mutual option for 2013 that carries a $2.5 million buyout.  Some of the money in the deal will be deferred.

"It was an interesting off-season, as everybody knows," Madson said on a media conference call.  "The opportunity came late.  It was for the role I wanted, to close, which were few and far between at that time.  To get the opportunity to close and close for a team that has a really good chance to be in the playoffs, that's where you want to be as a player."

A deal was first agreed to on January 10, but Madson was away on vacation and could not get to Cincinnati for the physical until Friday.  There was initially a cavalcade of closers on the open market this winter, including former Reds closer Francisco Cordero.  Early on, Madson was close to signing a reported four-year, $44 million deal to return to the Phillies before the club decided to sign Jonathan Papelbon instead.

Then both the Reds and Madson waited, and waited.  Madson and agent Scott Boras were hoping to get another multiyear deal.  The Reds simply let the market come to them after several other closers found jobs.

Finally, it was down to Cordero and Madson.  The Reds had maintained a dialogue all off-season with Cordero, who was also seeking a multiyear contract.  But Reds general manager Walt Jocketty was not willing to go beyond a one-year deal with an option.  As Cordero's side balked at the offer, the Reds turned around and commenced serious talks with Madson and Boras.

"I'm very excited to come and start a new chapter," said Madson, who made $4.8 million last season with Philadelphia.  "I just want to bring all the energy and the winning and anything as a small part of me to the team and continue that.  I know it's a great bunch of guys.  I've faced them for a while.  I could use a break from [facing] a lot of those guys."

With the one-year contract, Madson could have the opportunity to re-enter the free-agent market and try his luck next winter.

The 31-year-old Madson was 4-2 with a 2.37 ERA and 32 saves in 34 chances in 2011, his first-full year as the Phillies' closer.  In 60 2/3 innings, he allowed 54 hits and 16 walks (including eight intentional) while striking out 62.

Madson finished the season with 17 consecutive scoreless appearances, a stretch that included nine saves.  Of his 62 appearances, 53 were scoreless outings.

"I was taking the pressure off of myself and giving it to the hitter," Madson said.  "That's a big thing in the ninth inning if you can do that.  That was a big difference for me, trusting my stuff and not trying to be perfect.  I knew when to throw strikes and when not to throw strikes.  But I can't give you all my secrets."

A former setup man, Madson first took over as closer on a limited basis for an injured Brad Lidge in 2009-10.  In 2010, Madson had 10 save chances and only converted five of them.

"I thought I was going to be perfect and I rushed into it.  That's not how you do it, as I learned," Madson said.  "I had some really smart baseball people tell me that's not the way to do it.  Once I tried it their way, it worked for me and it worked all year.  I was very comfortable with that idea and just ran with it."

Although Cordero was coming off a very strong year for Cincinnati and had 37 saves in 43 chances, the expectation is that Madson will be an upgrade as closer.  Madson is over five years younger than Cordero and averages more strikeouts.  Cordero's strikeouts-per-nine innings ratio dipped to 5.4 last season while Madson was at 9.2.  Cordero gave up fewer hits last season, however.

Madson is also post-season tested and appeared in the World Series for the Phillies in 2008-09.  His former home stadium, Citizens Bank Park, is small and hitter friendly like his new dwelling, Great American Ball Park.

Last season, Madson gave up only two homers, with one of them coming at home.  Of the four long balls he surrendered in 2010, just one came at home.  He's allowed four homers in Cincinnati over his career.

"It's normal once you're around something enough," Madson said of small ballparks.  "You know it's going to happen eventually, as far as the home runs.  It's one of those things where you have to make pitches.  The results you can't control. All you can control is the pitch you're going to make.  Then go from there."


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     One year contracts with an option for the next year is not only good for the major league teams, they are good for the players.

     However, rather than individually negotiating these contracts, I prefer that the Major League Baseball Players Association use the previous year's statistics to distribute salaries.

     I do love strike outs.  However, I like baseball pitchers that do not give up hits more.

     Therefore, for a one year contract and an option for the next year, I give more weight to hits per nine innings than strike outs per nine innings.

     In 2011, in 60 2/3 exhausting innings, Mr. Madson gave up 54 hits and struck out 62 batters.

     Unfortunately, other than to say that, in 2011, Mr. Cordero gave up fewer hits and struck out 5.4 batters per nine innings, to determine which basebal pitcher I would have offered a contract,I need to know Mr. Cordero's innings pitched and hits per nine innings.

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0142.  A's agree to one-year deal with righty Colon
MLB.com
January 24, 2012

The Athletics have agreed to a one-year deal with right-handed starting pitcher Bartolo Colon, the club announced Tuesday.  According to a source, the deal is worth nearly $2 million, and could include a signing bonus.

Colon, 38, has played 14 seasons in the big leagues, most recently with the Yankees.  He proved to be reliable at the back end of New York's 2011 rotation, winning eight games with a 4.00 ERA.

The right-hander did not pitch in the big leagues in 2010, and had not won more than six games since his 2005 campaign with the Angels, when he won 21 and was the recipient of the American League Cy Young Award.


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     Mr. Colon had a great start to his surprising 2011 season.  I thought that he won more than eight games.

     Perhaps, Mr. Colon needed some in-season blood doping treatments.

     Nevertheless, I always wish older guys good luck.  Typically, they live large when things are going well.  As a result, they need those last couple of years to not live under highway bridges.

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0143.  Craftsmen get it done without bringing heat
MLB.com
January 24, 2012

Baseball fans from all winter climates had their hearts warmed last week when this item rolled across the news wire: "Rockies sign Moyer to Minor League deal."

The Moyer, of course, was Jamie, who at 49 years of age and with a brand-spankin'-new ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, will try to break back into the Majors in Colorado and resume his pursuit of the 33 wins he needs to reach the 300 mark.

With a rebuilt wing, you have to figure Moyer will be back to his bedeviling best.  In other words, he should easily, or, most likely, barely, be able to clear 80 mph with his fastball, and that makes his changeup, well, his changeup.

There might not be a more fun exercise to take part in as a baseball observer than witnessing Moyer at his best.  This dinosaur paints corners and punches out players less than half his age with mid-70s changeups.  And then there's the mere spectacle of his victims, who curse at themselves, at Moyer and at life in general as they corkscrew their bodies into the dirt before suffering the shame of those slow walks back to the dugout.

But Moyer, whose average fastball, according to Fangraphs.com, sat at a Major League-slow 80.9 mph when we last saw him on a mound in 2010, won't be the only one getting by with less-than-average zip on the Old No. 1.

In fact, there are plenty of Major League starters whose average fastballs clock in under 90 but do something, anything, really, to make up for it and get hitters out.

Here are seven more of these genuine craftsmen who succeeded in 2011 and who are worth watching in 2012:

1.  Jered Weaver, Angels:  Is it hard to believe that a guy who finished second to Justin Verlander for 2011 American League Cy Young honors doesn't have a lot of heat on his heater? Not when you look at Weaver's deceptive delivery, complete arsenal and composure.  Weaver's fastball averaged 89.1 mph last year, but he still went 18-8 with a 2.41 ERA, 1.010 WHIP and 198 strikeouts in 235 2/3 innings and started the All-Star Game.

2.  Aaron Harang, Dodgers:  Harang went 14-7 with a 3.64 ERA last year for the Padres, striking out 124 batters in 170 innings, and he did it all with a fastball that Fangraphs had at an average of 89.8 mph.  It was good enough to land the 6-foot-7 right-hander a two-year, $12 million deal to be the No. 4 starter in Chavez Ravine.

3.  Shaun Marcum, Brewers:  The Brewers were lauded for the trade that pried this righty out of Toronto, and for good reason.  With his 86.7-mph cheese, Marcum went 13-7 with a 3.54 ERA and struck out 158 in a career-high 200 2/3 innings.  Marcum only threw his fastball 34.3 percent of the time, according to Fangraphs, which makes him one of the craftiest of this bunch.

4.  Josh Tomlin, Indians:  He wasn't supposed to do much, if anything at all, in the Cleveland rotation last year, but Tomlin, armed with a fastball averaging 87.9 mph that he only threw 42.3 percent of the time, was one of its stars.  He went 12-7 with a 4.25 ERA and 1.077 WHIP, giving himself another good shot at the Tribe's starting five in 2012.

5.  Mark Buehrle, Marlins:  The new contract, four years, $58 million, in Miami was huge, but the Marlins knew what they were paying for: consistency.  Buehrle might only get it done with a fastball that averaged 85.6 mph in 2011, but he got it done.  The veteran southpaw, who will turn 33 in March, went 13-9 with a 3.59 ERA and extended his streak of double-digit-victory seasons to 11.  He also threw 205 1/3 innings, making it 11 straight years in which he's cracked the 200 mark.

6.  Jason Vargas, Mariners:  After a few questionable years because of injuries, Vargas reinvented himself and has become a stalwart in the Seattle rotation, even with a fastball that averaged 87.4 mph.  He led Seattle with three shutouts in 2011 and surpassed the 200-inning mark for the first time in his career.  The key?  A dirty changeup, which he threw 28 percent of the time, according to Fangraphs.  Only two other pitchers in the Majors, AL Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson of Tampa Bay and the Mets' Chris Capuano, threw changes more often than Vargas.

7.  R.A. Dickey, Mets:  This one is almost unfair, but so is Dickey when his hard knuckleball, 76.1 mph on average last year, is on.  Talk about reinvention.  After his traditional complement of pitches had him in Triple-A, Dickey learned his knuckler and has put up ERAs of 2.84 and 3.28 in his past two seasons as a Mets rotation regular.  His 208 2/3 innings in 2011 were a career-high total, by a lot.


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     All major league baseball batters time their foot plant to the expected velocity.

     This means that release velocity is mostly irrelevant.

     Whether the release velocity is 80 or 95 mph, baseball batters time their front foot plant to the release velocity that they expect baseball pitchers to throw.

     Until baseball batters plant their front foot, they cannot rotate their body forward.  Until baseball batters are able to rotate their body forward, they cannot swing their baseball bat.

     To drive these slow fastball pitchers out of the major leagues, all baseball batters have to do is to not move their front foot forward.  Instead, they should rotate their body forward by driving forward off their rear foot.

     Because, while they are moving their front foot forward, baseball batters cannot swing their bat, especially with high-release velocity pitchers, baseball batters should rotate their body forward by driving forward off their rear foot.

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0144.  Mariners ink Millwood to Minor League pact
MLB.com
January 24, 2012

A day after finalizing the trade that cleared Michael Pineda's spot in their starting rotation, the Mariners signed a possible replacement in veteran right-hander Kevin Millwood.

Millwood, who turned 37 on Christmas Eve, agreed to a Minor League contract and received an invitation to Spring Training.

Word of an agreement between the Mariners and Millwood came Sunday via his own family, through a posting on Facebook by his sister Erika. The Mariners announced the signing on Tuesday.

"Kevin brings a great deal of experience as a veteran pitcher and will compete for a spot in our starting rotation," executive vice president and general manager Jack Zduriencik said.  "His leadership and experience will be a benefit for our young pitchers and we look forward to seeing him in Spring Training."

Millwood went 4-3 last season in nine starts for the Rockies, who returned him to the Majors in mid-August after he had spent most of the year in the Minors in the Yankees and Red Sox organizations.

The Mariners would be the seventh club of Millwood's Major League career, during which he has compiled a record of 163-140 with a 4.10 ERA.  He also has a no-hitter to his credit, against the Giants on April 27, 2003 while with the Phillies.

A two-time 18-game winner with the Braves in 1999 and 2002, Millwood reportedly had a chance to remain with Colorado on a $1 million contract with an additional $1 million in incentives.


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     That Mr. Millwood won 4 games in nine starts for the Rockies at the end of the 2011 season makes this signing reasonable.  I wonder why the Rockies did not ask Mr. Millwood back.

     Hopefully, Mr. Millwood earns the two million dollar maximum of this contract.  That would keep Mr. Millwood from under highway bridges for awhile.

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0145.  Nats bring Lidge on board with one-year deal
MLB.com
January 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC:  The Nationals agreed to terms with reliever Brad Lidge on a one-year, $1 million contract Thursday.

Teams such as the Rockies and Phillies expressed interest in Lidge, but he joined the Nats after having great conversations with general manager Mike Rizzo.

"The process gets kind of long-winded at times," Lidge said via telephone.  "Sometimes teams take their time responding to you, but Mike Rizzo did an outstanding job of communicating to me that he wanted me and wanted to talk to me.

"I think the Nationals are a team that is very close to being a playoff-caliber team.  To me, it was a great fit.  I really enjoy playing in Washington.  Besides that, it's a team that is going in the right direction.  I think that is pretty obvious."

Lidge has spent the past four seasons with Philadelphia.  Last year, Lidge spent time on the disabled list because of shoulder problems.  When he returned to action, Lidge appeared in 25 games and had a 1.40 ERA.

As recently as 2008, Lidge was one of the best closers in baseball, helping the Phillies win their first World Series title since 1980.

Lidge, who went to the University of Notre Dame, started his Major League career with the Astros in 2002.  He has saved 223 games with a 3.44 ERA during his career, and his best season was in '08, when he saved 41 games and had a 1.95 ERA.

Lidge is a two-time National League All-Star (2005, '08) and was named the NL Comeback Player of the Year in '08.  Lidge did not suffer a single blown save in 48 chances that year, including the post-season.

Lidge has tallied 30 or more saves in a season four times, and his 157-strikeout campaign of 2004 established a new NL single-season mark for strikeouts in relief.


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     That Mr. Lidge appeared in 25 games at the end of the 2011 season with a 1.40 ERA is worth a one million dollar contract.

     Another oldie will not live under highway bridges for awhile.

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0146.  Corpas outrighted to make room for Wood
MLB.com
January 26, 2012

CHICAGO, IL:  The Cubs opened a spot on the 40-man roster for Kerry Wood on Thursday when they outrighted pitcher Manny Corpas. Corpas now will be a non-roster invitee to Spring Training.

Wood agreed to a one-year, $3 million contract with an option for 2013 on January 13, but at that time, the Cubs' 40-man roster was full.

Corpas, 29, is coming back from Tommy John surgery, which he had in September 2010.  He had signed a split contract with the Cubs, which means he will make a certain amount of money if he's on the Major League roster, and another amount if he's in the Minor Leagues.  Those amounts are prorated based on days of Major League and Minor League service during the particular contract.

In parts five seasons with the Rockies, Corpas was 12-16 with 34 saves, 51 holds and a 3.93 ERA.  He was Colorado's closer midway through the 2007 season, and went 4-2 with 19 saves and a 2.08 ERA in 78 relief appearances.  If healthy, he could provide some experience to the bullpen.


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     Kerry Wood wanted to stop pitching.

     The Cubs made him an offer that he not only could not refuse, but they should not have offered.

     Mr. Wood felt satisfied with his 2011 season.  Now, he has to fight his way through another season and, hopefully, feel satisfied.

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0147.  Orioles' off-season focus is on health
SportsXchange
January 26, 2012

Player development and injury prevention.

The two aspects that have plagued the organization in years past were a focal point in recent hires by Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette.

Duquette tabbed Brady Anderson his special assistant and gave the former Orioles All-Star outfielder the role of overseeing conditioning organization-wide.

Anderson has worked closely with current Orioles during the off-season the last two years, drawing rave reviews from those players for the results they saw.

Rick Peterson officially joined the organization as the director of pitching development.  A veteran of 12 years as a major league pitching coach, Peterson is a noted advocate of proper mechanics and biomechanics analysis.

The hires were part of an overall reorganization of the front office, announced days before the club's Fan Fest.

The club also welcomed back former Orioles reliever Alan Mills as a minor league pitching coach.


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     My stats guy, Brad Sullivan, wrote: "This is a joke, right?"

       I do not know whether Mr. Anderson has any credentials other than former Oriols All-Star outfielder, but rave reviews from current Oriole players with whom he worked the past two seasons does not convince me that he knows what he is doing.

     The record of pitching injuries suffered while Mr Peterson trained them indicates that, despite his Preventing Pitching Injuries discussion on YouTube, I knoe that Mr. Peterson has no idea what he is doing.

     At least with Mr. Peterson's hiring, I do not think that this is a joke.  Instead, Mr. Duquette's brother swindled the Orioles.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, February 12, 2012, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0148.  Sunday, February 05, 2012 Review

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0116.  My Junior College Sophomore son

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This is exciting stuff.

It's great to hear about someone who has done the work required to really take advantage of the Marshall Motion.  It looks like the father lead the way and provided the positive example for his son.

To have the two of them enjoying the shared adventure is also great.

Obviously, I'm also very interested in how the college coaches react.

I don't remember you writing that Jeff Sparks experienced a similar increase in velocity.  I know that he completed your full program and learned to horizontally bounce in his mid-thirties.

1.  What is the story behind that?

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     Without my knowledge, as a favor to me, Jeff decided to complete all of my 'Recoil' interval-training programs.  Therefore, I never showed Jeff the new method with which I teach my baseball pitchers how to 'horizontally bounce' their pitching forearm.

     As a result, even though Jeff turned the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate, he never 'loaded' his slingshot.

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0117.  Iron Ball Throws - Rear View

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You wrote:  "Can anybody else see a pattern here?

It appears as though Mr. Moylan's baseball pitching motion is hazardous to Mr. Moylan's health."

I guess he's just trying to make as much cha-ching as he can before his arm falls off.  Then he can tell his war stories.

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0122.  Rox sign Moyer to Minor League deal

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I think it's great.  Moyer is the poster child for 'velocity is not the answer'.  He pretty much just throws that curve just off the plate until the umps and batter's get bored doesn't he?  Kind of like your favorite, Tommy Glavine.

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0125.  Glove foot pull back

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You wrote:  "Therefore, my baseball pitchers use their pitching upper arm to apply force to their pitches."

Nice explanation.  Video sure does make understanding some of these concepts easier.

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You wrote:  "03.  Your 13 year old son beautifully 'horizontally bounces' his and uses great body action.

04.  Your 13 year old son beautifully throws his pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside his head."

My son was very happy to hear that he's doing a good job.  He seems to be handling the 10 lb. wrist weights just fine.

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0126.  45 degree angle

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You wrote:  "I have my right-handed baseball pitchers stand on the mound for the extreme left side of these five panels and throw into the panel to the extreme right side of these five panels.  I call this drill, the extreme cross-panel drill.

The trick is for my baseball pitchers to learn how to step 45 degrees to their glove arm side of home plate and throw as they threw with my extreme cross-panel drill."

These last two sentences summed it up very nicely.

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0129.  Byrd uses Muay Thai to get ready for season

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You wrote:  Therefore, to not have to wait until their front foot lands to swing their baseball bats or move their face out of the way of pitched baseballs and to generate move straight line force through contact, baseball batters have to use my wrong foot body action.

I don't remember you saying it like this, but I really like it.  It's a perfect description.  I'll take some video soon of my thirteen year old son.  He appears to do just that.

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0130.  Velocity increase

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You wrote:  "Until 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches stop imposing their ignorance on those that use my baseball pitching motion, pitching injuries and less than genetic maximum release velocities will continue."

We are loving this story and wishing them all success.

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0131.  45 degree angle

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You wrote:  "When, to throw my Maxline pitches, my baseball pitchers step 45 degrees to the glove arm, they are able to rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body and their pitching upper arm to point more directly at home plate than they are able to do when they step straight toward home plate."

Nicely worded.

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

You wrote:  "Conversely, because my baseball pitchers 'lock' their pitching upper arm with their shoulders, my baseball pitchers apply force with the rotation of their body forward and with the inward rotation of their pitching upper arm, the extension of their pitching elbow and the pronation of their pitching forearm."

When I read this line, of which I have seen similar, many times in other places, I don't see the upper arm's contribution.  That's what made me think the best the upper arm could achieve was 'lock' with the body's rotation.  That is why I asked the question after seeing my son's rear view iron ball throws.

Am I missing something?

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     I know that the only pitching shoulder action that I mention is inward rotation.  However, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle also extends the shoulder joint.

     Therefore, with the pitching upper arm vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching forearm facing toward home plate, my baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to move the Humerus bone from vertical to 45 degrees forward.

     This action not only increases the straight line force toward home plate, it also enables the pitching elbow to function as the fulcrum for the force-coupling of the snap back of the pitching upper arm and the parallel and oppositely directed pitching forearm force toward home plate.

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

You wrote:  "Nevertheless, the body and pitching arm action for my Maxline pitches produces a wider variety of high-quality pitches with higher release velocities and enables my baseball pitchers to humiliate the critical glove arm side baseball batters."

What wider variety?

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     I teach five Maxline pitches that move to the pitching arm side of home plate:  Four Seam Maxline Fastball, Two Seam Maxline Fastball, Maxline Fastball Sinker, Maxline True Screwball and Maxline Pronation Curve.

     I teach only four Torque pitches that move to the glove arm side of home plate:  Four Seam Torque Fastball, Two Seam Torque Fastball, Torque Fastball Slider and Torque Pronation Curve.

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0132. Red Sox unveil newly aligned medical staff

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Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss.

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0134. Boundary Layer Effects on a Pitched Baseball...?

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Isn't a split-finger pitch supposed to be essentially 'no spin'?  If it has no spin, why do splitters sink?

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     Bruce Sutter thought that his split-finger pitch had a horizontal spin axis like my Maxline Pronation Curve.  However, the truth is that Mr. Sutter released his split-finger pitch off the ring finger side of his middle finger.  As a result, Mr. Sutter's split-finger pitch rotated like my Maxline Fastball Sinker.

     Most baseball pitchers that threw or throw split-finger pitches release their pitch pretty much the same as Mr. Sutter did.

     However, I have seen baseball pitchers use the split-finger grip to throw knuckle ball type pitches.

     The high-speed video of Freddie Garcia throwing his split-finger pitch showed that Mr. Garcia released a cut fastball.

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0136.  Slimmer CC plans to watch diet more closely

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Lots of great information here.  It's always fun when you expand beyond mechanics.

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0137.  Honeycutt helped guide Kershaw on Cy trail

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You wrote:  "In 1975, I received my 1974 Cy Young Award before a game in Los Angeles against the Montreal Expos.  I guess that, in 1975, the Baseball Writers did not have a dinner."

Funny and interesting.

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You wrote:  "Maybe, it is just me, but, isn't the first job of baseball pitching coaches to make sure that their baseball pitchers do not go 'wrong'?"

Nope.

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You wrote:  "Maybe, it is just me, but isn't the second job of baseball pitching coaches to design game plans for their pitchers such that they don't get roughed up?"

As usual, you don't get it.

One of my favorite Marshall reads is when you dissect an article and expose the nonsense.  This was an especially good one.

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0138.  Cherington confident about Red Sox' rotation

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Another Doc expose.  Fun.

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0139.  45 degree angle

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You wrote:  "01. When, in this video, Mr. Sparks throws my Maxline pitches, rather than stepping with his entire body at a 45 degree angle to his glove side, I would say that Mr. Sparks moves his glove leg at a 45 degree angle to his glove side."

An interesting distinction.

This reader did a terrific job of staying with his question, allowing you to very fully explore the Maxline drop step.  This whole series was a great read and very appreciated.

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0143.  Craftsmen get it done without bringing heat

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You wrote:  "Because, while they are moving their front foot forward, baseball batters cannot swing their bat, especially with high-release velocity pitchers, baseball batters should rotate their body forward by driving forward off their rear foot."

Is driving off the rear foot the best a traditional-style hitter can do?

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     When baseball batters use their front arm to pull their baseball bat forward, they cannot respond to pitches that they do not anticipate whether they step forward with their front foot or drive off their rear foot.

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0144.  Mariners ink Millwood to Minor League pact

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You wrote:  "Hopefully, Mr. Millwood earns the two million dollar maximum of this contract.  That would keep Mr. Millwood from sleeping under highway bridges for awhile."

A second bridge reference.

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0145.  Nats bring Lidge on board with one-year deal

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Another oldie will not live under highway bridges for awhile.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have found this week's theme song.

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0146.  Corpas outrighted to make room for Wood

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You wrote:  "Mr. Wood felt satisfied with his 2011 season.  Now, he has to fight his way through another season and, hopefully, still feel satisfied."

$3 million is helpful to the family budget.

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0149.  Around the Horn: Cards' starting rotation
MLB.com
January 27, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO:  It's the kind of rotation you can dream of.  It's also the kind of rotation that a nervous person might worry a little bit about.

When the Cardinals report to Spring Training, they'll do so with their starting five settled.  Five starters know they have jobs.  All five of those starters can pitch at a high level and help a team to the post-season.  And nearly every one of those five starters comes with some sort of question mark attached.

1.  Chris Carpenter is a former National League Cy Young Award winner who will be 37 in April and pitched a career-high 273 1/3 innings between the regular season and the playoffs in 2011.

2.  Adam Wainwright is a two-time Cy Young Award contender who is recovering from reconstructive elbow surgery.

3.  The organization thought highly enough of Jaime Garcia to commit to a new four-year contract last summer, but Garcia saw his ERA skyrocket in the second half of 2011.

4.  Kyle Lohse led the staff in wins and ERA, but lost the two previous seasons to injury and injury-related ineffectiveness.

5.  And Jake Westbrook, a former All-Star, is coming off the least effective full season of his career.

At their best, they can be world-beaters.  If they're less than their best, it could be a challenging season.

They'll have to fare without their long-time sensei, Dave Duncan.  The Cardinals' pitching coach stepped aside to help his wife, Jeanine, recover from brain surgery.  He's handing over the reins to Derek Lilliquist, who was the bullpen coach in 2011.  Dyar Miller takes over Lilliquist's old job.

Going without Duncan won't be easy.  There's plenty of confidence, but it's still an unknown how things will go without him.

"He has instilled so many things in a lot of us that I'm not sure we'll ever forget," Carpenter said.  "We know what we're doing.  We know what his philosophies are.  We know what we have to do to be successful.  That said, Lilli has been around Dunc forever, too.  Lilli knows what's going on, also.  Lilli knows what Dunc's philosophies are and how to go about things."

Among the pitchers, there's no greater variable than Wainwright.  Over four years as a starter, he established himself as one of the game's best.  Then his elbow gave out on him last spring.  Twelve months after the surgery, he'll start throwing in Grapefruit League games.

If he's the same pitcher that opposing hitters got sick of seeing, he's an ace.  If he's not right, it's a concern.  The truth will likely be somewhere in between in 2012.  Wainwright likely won't suddenly return to '10 form without some fits and starts.

"We'll have to wait and see," Wainwright said.  "I'm going to feel fresh and ready to go, and they're probably going to pull the reins on me a little bit at the beginning.  If I'm throwing low-impact innings, then you can go a lot longer than if you're out there grinding."

Carpenter is less of an unknown, but nonetheless another variable.  At his best, he's a great pitcher, a workhorse and a massive presence in the clubhouse.  Of the six seasons he's made at least 28 starts for the Cardinals, St. Louis has made the post-season five times.  But he's never pitched as much as he did in 2011.  Despite the heavy load, he's excited about what's ahead of him.

"Everything feels good," Carpenter said.  "You can't control what happens.  I've worked my butt off and I'm going to continue to work my butt off.  Everything feels good.  I'm excited to go into this season."

Behind them are more Rorschach tests.  Garcia was brilliant in the first half of 2011, building a case for an All-Star bid, but he faded in the second half.  Questions remain about his ability to remain at peak effectiveness for a full season.

"There's always room to get better," Garcia said.  "I'm just really excited to have two full years behind me.  Physically, this is the best I have felt.  This off-season, I have been working really hard.  Having the playoff experience, having the full seasons, knowing what to expect and feeling great physically, I'm just real excited."

The forgotten man in the rotation, it seems, is Lohse.  Frustrated for two years as he battled a rare forearm injury, he returned with a bang in 2011.  Lohse has been effective whenever he's been healthy with the Cardinals.

Yet the Cards heard offers for Lohse during the Winter Meetings.  Nothing came to fruition, and Lohse would have to approve any trade, but the uncertainty reflects a perception in some quarters in St. Louis that doesn't really mesh with how well Lohse has pitched.

And his fellow veteran Westbrook is coming off a year in which he stayed healthy but not much else went right.  Westbrook's ERA and baserunner ratio were his highest since 2002.  He managed to top 180 innings, and secured the win in relief in Game 6 of the World Series, but on a personal level, it wasn't the best year for the former All-Star.

Still, just about every team has questions at the back of its rotation.  If the biggest problem for the Cardinals' starting five in 2012 is Westbrook pitching 180 innings at a less-than-expected level, it will be a very good year.

The Cardinals haven't ruled out additions.  They've reportedly been in contact with the representatives for Edwin Jackson and Roy Oswalt, but neither looks very likely at this time.  Lohse and Westbrook both have total no-trade protection, and neither is in any hurry to leave St. Louis.  So while a super-cheap deal on one of the free-agent veterans can't be ruled out, it's also not likely.

If, once the year starts, there are needs in the rotation, the likely candidates to step in are relievers Lance Lynn, Marc Rzepczynski and Kyle McClellan, and perhaps Triple-A right-hander Brandon Dickson.  Later in the year, top prospect Shelby Miller could be an option, but he likely won't figure in at the start of the year.

Miller's ETA, rather, is likely 2013, after Lohse and Westbrook are no longer under contract.  That could also be the year Lynn returns to starting.  A year or two after that, another top prospect may be on the way in the person of Carlos Martinez.

The future is bright, and the present should be, as well.  But nothing is a given, especially when it comes to pitching.


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01.  Chris Carpenter ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament twice.

02.  Adam Wainwrigth ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament last spring.

03.  In the second hald of the 2011 season, Jaime Garcia's ERA skyrocketed.

04.  Kyle Lohse lost his 2009 and 2010 seasons to injuries and injury-related ineffectiveness.

05.  After rupturing his Ulnar Collateral Ligament when he was with the Cleveland Indians, in 2011 with the St. Louis Cardinals, Jake Westbrook had the least effective full season of his career.

     Now, these five baseball pitchers are going to have to fare without their long-time sensei, Dave Duncan.

     Thanks for all the pain, suffering and ineffectivenes.

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0150.  Red Sox sign former Mets hurler Maine
MLB.com
January 27, 2012

BOSTON, MA:  John Maine has signed with the Red Sox on a Minor League deal, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com on Friday night.

The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star of Virginia first reported the story.

"[The Red Sox are] going to look at him out of the bullpen," Maine's agent Rex Gary told the newspaper.  "They know he can start, but they think he can be a heck of a reliever in the American League East."

Maine, 30, has been out of the big leagues since 2010, when he made nine starts for the Mets.  He underwent shoulder surgery that July before pitching for the Rockies' Triple-A team in 2011, posting a 7.43 ERA with two more walks (37) than strikeouts (35) in 46 innings.

Maine has had big league success in the rotation, going 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA for the 2007 Mets a season after he posted a 2.89 ERA over two playoff starts for New York.  But before he was sent for surgery, Maine's relationship with New York's coaching staff appeared strained.  The right-hander's velocity was down, and pitching coach Dan Warthen believed at the time that Maine wasn't being forthcoming about his condition.

"If he's throwing that way, then there's got to be something incorrect in that arm," Warthen reportedly said in May 2010.  "Something's not feeling correct.  John's a habitual liar in a lot of ways as far as his own health.  He's a competitor and a warrior.  He wants to go out there and pitch.  But we have to be smart enough to realize this guy isn't right, the ball's not coming out of his hand correctly."

Last season, Maine left Colorado's Triple-A team in June.

"He just needed to get away," Gary told the Free Lance-Star. "[Retirement] may have been an option, but I don't think it seriously entered his mind."  Gary told the paper Maine had other suitors this winter, and that the Red Sox showed their interest by flying Maine to Boston.


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     Maine's agent, Rex Gary, said, "They know he can start, but they think he can be a heck of a reliever in the American League East."

     In 2010, Maine had shoulder surgery.

     In 2011, Maine pitched for the Rockies' Triple-A team.

     In June 2011, Maine left Colorado's Triple-A team.

     In 46 innings, Maine walked 37 batters, struck out 35 batters with a 7.43 ERA.

     Last season, Maine left Colorado's Triple-A team in June.

     Why would the Red Sox think that Mr. Maine would be a heck of a reliever in the American League East?

     With all the help that Mr. Maine received from the Met's former pitching coach, Jon "the lie detector" Warthan, why would Mr. Maine want to suffer more pain?

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0151.  High School Pitcher's Dead Arm

My son is a High School pitcher he is getting ready to go into his senior year.  This past spring 2011 he was being clock in the high 80’s and was being recruited by a lot of D-1 schools.

He threw around 80 innings his junior year of high school and at the beginning of summer travel ball his fastball dropped to the low 80’s and at that time the D-1 schools started backing off.

Original thought was dead arm so they decided to rest him and used him in relief some.  Then, late summer, it was back up to mid 80’s.

At that point, we decided to go see Dr. Krimchek the Reds team Dr. and his opinion was his scapula had dropped compared to his left scapula and that therapy would take care of it.

He has been doing therapy for a few months now and we aren’t seeing any change in his fastball.  He says he feels great no pain at all, but there just isn’t any pop on his fastball.

1.  Do you have any suggestions?

2.  Should we start throwing more and have him throw more long distance?

He has never had an arm problem is whole life.  Now, he gets to the most important year and this happens.  He is very disappointed and frustrated.

Let me know your thoughts and thanks for your time.


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     'Dead Arm' has nothing to do with fatigue.  'Dead Arm' is a result of the loss of stability in the pitching elbow and/or pitching shoulder.

     If he takes the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand on top of the baseball, then he is tearing the connective tissue fibers of his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.  As the connective tissue fibers of his Ulnar Collateral Ligament tear, the Ulnar Collateral Ligament lengthens.  As a result, the stability of his pitching elbow decreases.

     If he take the baseball laterally behind his body, then, when uses his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching upper arm back to the pitching arm side of this body, the inertial mass of his pitching arm opens the front of his pitching shoulder and tears the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments that hold the front of the pitching shoulder together.  Therefore, his Gleno-Humeral Ligaments lengthen. As a result, the stability of his pitching shoulder decreases.

     To re-stabilize his pitching elbow, your son needs to take the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand under the baseball, pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement straight backward toward second base.

     To re-stabilize his pitching shoulder, your son needs to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.  To do this, from the end of his pendulum swing, your son needs to throw his pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside his head with the back of his pitching upper arm facing toward home plate. In this position, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle stabilizes the pitching shoulder.

     To learn how to do this, your son needs to master the four drills that I teach in my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     Everything that you and he needs is on my website for all to watch and read without charge.

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0152.  Tom House's Harmful Advice in a Video and More

I'm aware that you and Tom House have differing opinions.  You might find Mr. House's video analysis for ESPN, at the first ULR link below, somewhat egregious.

I have included some URLs of two other foreign-born high-dollar young men who are probably in the process of ruining their pitching careers.

I watch so many high school kids with great velocity imitating the harmful mechanics.  These same kids often lose velocity between their junior and senior years of high school.  The boys are gradually (or speedily) hurting themselves with every pitch, and I believe that House's video in an important way, reinforces the harm.

In the video clip for ESPN, former MLB pitching coach Tom House (PhD in Psychology) advocates for a pitcher turning past the acromial line.

The pitcher in the clip is Aroldis Chapman. Given Chapman's "over-turn" in his pitching motion, we are less than surprised that the young man's pitching duties had to be lessened during the 2011 season due to shoulder pain.

As you have repeatedly stated, turning past the acromial line leads to undue shoulder stress as the pitcher endeavors to combat forearm-flyout.

Tom House video clip for ESPN

House states in the video, "80% of the velocity comes from hip and shoulder separation."

Nowhere does he acknowledge what, even Dr. James Andrews and people employed in MLB have stated, that the pitching radar guns in places like Cincinnati and Detroit are inaccurate, easily 5-mph faster than correctly calibrated radar in a laboratory.

Mr. Chapman's motion is seemingly so harmful that the Reds organization has admitted that Aroldis cannot throw enough pitches to become a starter.  The Reds, in an effort to salvage their $30-plus million investment are hoping to squeeze innings out of him as a one-inning closer.  Chapman's pitching efforts have been shut-down for the winter as the article at the URL below makes clear.

Article on Chapman's off-season issues

I remember a few years ago when the baseball world was praising Mark Pryor's "perfect" mechanics, while you presciently expressed wariness on a possible shoulder injury.

As you have probably noticed, the latest overseas sensation Yu Darvish, exhibits similar pitching motion flaws vis-a-vis Chapman, and perhaps to Pryor.   Early in his pitching career, Mr. Darvish exhibited a fairly straight acromial line in his pitching motion.

By the 2011 season, he seemed to have become a believer in Tom House method of pitching, as the upper-body over-turn has become increasing evident in his throwing motion.  The lack of pronation on his breaking-ball as shown in the second video suggests that the Texas Rangers expensive star might begin to experience elbow problems.

Yu Darvich throwing cut fastballs

Skip to 14-seconds into this video to see Darvish over-turn his hips and upper-body.

Side view high-speed film of Daisuke Matsuzaka

For those who have forgotten, here at 20-seconds into the video, was the previous Japanese sensation, Daisuke Matsuzaka exhibiting an even more pronounced violation of the acromial line (along with supination).  Mr. Matsuzaka underwent 'Tommy John' surgery during the 2011 season.

P.S.:  I have successfully convinced the inventor of the 'LearningCurve' practice baseball to advise pronation on every pitch, both in the product literature, and on his website.  The product literature had advised supination for the curve-ball.

I sent him links to your online literature, and he became a believer.

I'd like for him to be a full advocate for Marshall mechanics, but that may take more time and effort.  I am hoping that he will link to your website.

At the least, take solace in knowing that one more small victory has been achieved in the effort to prevent pitching injuries.


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     With advocates, such as you, spreading the word, we will educate the ignorant and end pitching injuries.  I greatly appreciate your efforts and you bringing these videos to my and my readers' attention.

01.  The ESPN video

     First, ESPN should be ashamed.  Their so-called experts might be able to produce interesting numbers, but they have no idea the consequences of these numbers.  They are worse than Dr. Fleisig.

     The idea that "80% of the velocity comes from hip and shoulder separation" is ridiculous.  With my Wrong Foot body action, which has no hip and shoulder separation, my baseball pitchers throw over 90% of their maximum release velocity.

     I do not disagree with the numbers that this video provides.  However, I strongly disagree with advocating the force application technique the Mr. Chapman uses.

     a.  Mr. Chapman takes the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand on top of the baseball.  As a result, he has 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' which results in his 'Pitching Forearm Bounce.'  Eventually, Mr. Chapman will rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     b.  Mr. Chapman takes the baseball considerably laterally behind his acromial line.  Therefore, Mr. Chapman is lengthening the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments of the front of his pitching shoulder.  As a result, Mr. Chapman is decreasing the stability of his pitching shoulder.

     Mr. House's avocation of Mr. Chapman's force application technique shows why his baseball pitchers destroy their pitching arms.

     a.  Reverse rotating the pitching hip destroys the hip and knee joints.

     b.  Taking the pitching arm laterally behind the acromial line destroys the front of the pitching shoulder.

     c.  Striding 120% of standing height destroys the pitching knee and lower back.

     This 'traditional' baseball pitching motion is the most injurious baseball pitching motion that I have ever seen; Dontrelle Willis included.

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02.  Article on Mr. Chapman

MLB Off-Season Injury News: Aroldis Chapman
by BJ Maack
November 22, 2011

Can these mechanics allow him to be a starter in 2012?

Let's talk hard-throwing Cubans for a second.  As you may recall, the Cincinnati Reds have as a part of the master plan, the notion to transform Aroldis Chapman from a reliever to a starter.

The 23-year-old was 4-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 54 games as a reliever in 2011, with 41 walks and 71 strikeouts in 70 innings.  But the Reds want him to be a full-fledged part of their starting rotation in 2012.  The idea was for him to pitch in winter ball this off-season in order to build up arm strength.

So where are they with this?  Not far along at all.

He has been completely shelved from any official starts all winter.  He did get in 2 2/3 innings in the Arizona Fall League, but had to be shut down due to shoulder inflammation.

Now, the Reds are saying that the shoulder is weak, and needs all off-season to get his arm strong again.

An ideal situation would have been for Chapman to get in 5-6 starts this winter, going deeper each start to get his arm ready for spring training.  But as it is now, Chapman will have to start from scratch in spring training.

He is currently in Florida doing a specific off-season strengthening plan under the Reds' medical staff's attention.  This way, GM Walt Jocketty is assured of knowing exactly what is going on with him all winter, with no surprises.

The Reds say this setback does not alter their plans to convert Chapman to a starter, it's just going to take them a little longer to do so. You can look at this in two ways:

1.  This will wind up being a good thing.  By going very slow, Chapman will be able to develop arm strength, as well as rest, he can show up 100% ready to begin a mound progression program, hoping to be ready by mid-April (my guess).  Then, you have Chapman as a starter at 100% for the season.

2.  This is a bad omen.  Is his arm capable of 80-100 pitches every 5 days?  Does he have the stamina?  Or is his body/mechanics made specifically to be a reliever?  I'm not sure of the answers to these questions, but I do know that spring training is going to be a nervous time for the Reds, wondering if this project will pan out.  My hesitation in being optimistic with the conversion plan is that, simply put, the best way to strengthen a pitcher's arm is to pitch. And he's not going to do that until spring.

All this to say, I'm not sold yet that he has what it takes to be a starter right now.  There's also the notion that he will have to adjust the way he pitches as a starter vs. as a reliever.  I doubt, even healthy, he can expect to bring that heat inning after inning.  Does he have those critical extra pitches to handle hitters two and three times in a game?  I worry about his overall arm health for the duration needed for a starter, regardless of how this off-season training program goes for him.  My opinion is that you can expect a shoulder, or even an elbow issue, at some point in 2012 with Chapman.

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     With his pitching upper arm so far behind his acromial line, of course Mr. Chapman's pitching shoulder is inflamed.  His Gleno-Humeral Ligaments are also tearing.  It will not be long before Dr. Kremchek diagnoses Mr. Chapman as having 'Dead Arm.'

     The Red's medical staff's off-season strengthening plan is not specific and will not help Mr. Chapman at all.  Unless and until Mr. Chapman completely changes how he applies force to his pitches, Mr. Chapman is on the downward spiral to oblivion.

     Mr. Chapman has absolutely no chance of lasting as long as Dontrelle Willis lasted.

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03.  Yu Darvish video

     Mr. Darvish has 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.'  Therefore, he also has 'Pitching Forearm Bounce.'  This means that Mr. Darvish is tearing the connective fibers in his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     However, Mr. Darvich does not take his pitching arm much behind his acromial line.  Therefore, he is not tearing the connective tissue fibers in his Gleno-Humeral Ligaments.

     Mr. Darvich does not strongly pronate the release of the three 'cut' fastballs that this video shows.  However, in this video, I do not see any supination.

04.  This very, very long video shows Mr. Darvich throwing tailing fastballs, some outstanding 'pronation' curves, some pull, supination breaking pitches and over-powering fastballs and what looked like a circle change that moved downward and toward the pitching arm side of home plate.

     If Mr. Darvich learned how to pendulum swing his pitching arm and more powerfully pronate his releases, then he would remain injury-free and have a very long highly-successful major league career.

05.  This side view high-speed video of Mr. Matsuzaka shows a moderately harmful 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover' and 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' and very weak body action where he blocked his pitching arm side from moving forward at all.

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0153.  This is Ruben Corral at the OCX Training Academy with the Marshall Training Program

Just wanted to send a link to our training facility.  You can see about 8 pitchers working their WW and IB drills and bucket lid throws.

OCX Training Academy

Things are goin well.  I just thought you’d like to see.


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     Thank you for the glimpse into your training center.  I enjoyed watching so many young men doing the drills that teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

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0154.  Sixteen year old's Trapeziuses?

The muscles on the right and left of where my sixteen year old son's neck meets his body have been barking hard for a week.  When I press down on them with my thumbs he really feels it.  They appear very tight.

I'm guessing they are the Trapezius or the Levator Scapulae from the scientific website link on your site.

1.  What would cause that?

I told him 2 more weeks to go to make whatever physiological adjustment he's making.  He's really trying to 'throw the elbow up and in toward the head".

And, may I say, as we are really finally starting to understand and perform that skill.  What an apt description it is of the technique.  And I'm thinking that might be the cause.

My thirteen year old son is doing a great job of bringing his 'loaded slingshot' WW arm action to his baseball throws using the 'static' wrong foot position.  The velocity is terrific.   He couldn't do it from his drop out wind up, but I think he's making very nice progress with the horizontal bounce.

Today, as my sixteen year old son warmed up doing static wrong foot loaded slingshots (which he does very well), he commented on how, when he successfully gets his arm to horizontally bounce, how accurate he feels his throws are.


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     All training discomfort results from increasing stress.  While, depending on how much more stress than usual your sixteen year old son applied, this discomfort is typically temporary.

     Your sixteen year old son stressed his Trapezius and/or the Levator Scapulae muscles.  If he continues to train daily at the same intensity, then in three weeks, these well-vascularized muscles will physiologically adjust.

     That your thirteen year old son used his pitching arm correctly is great.  Now, he needs to get his body in the same position with his Drop Out Wind-Up body action.

     My Wrong Foot body action enables the pitching arm to powerfully accelerate the baseball.  That is why my college pitchers wanted to use the Wrong Foot body action in games.

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0155.  My Junior College Sophomore son

Today, after baseball practice, my son broke out his wrist weights and heavy ball and started his routine in front of his coach.  When his coach saw what he was doing he stopped him and asked him how much all of his appliances weighed.

When he told him how much they weighed and how many repetitions he does, his coach said that there was no doctor in the country that would advise him to ever use weights that heavy.  My son said, 'Oh yes there is, and he lives in Florida.'

He then told his coach he has been following this routine for over 3 years and is working his way up to much heavier weights.  His coach was speechless.

It will be interesting to see if you hear from his coach.


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     I doubt that his coach will contact me.  I would be amazed if he visited my website.

     Your son's junior college baseball coach believes that MD physicians know more about the physics of baseball pitching and training methodologies that a PhD doctor that majored in Exercise Physiology and Kinesiology.

     As long as your son's baseball coach does not prevent your son from pitching, everything will be good.  However, when professional and senior college scouts visit, you can be sure that he will tell them about this crazy, injurious training technique your son is using.

     I hope that the high-quality pitches with which your son humiliates baseball batters will convince them to ignore what his coach says.

     As long as your son throws the pitches that he wants to throw, I will not worry.  However, when the coach forces your son to throw fastballs in fastball counts, I will worry.  Even in junior college, some batters, like blind pigs finding acorns, will be able to hit even great fastballs.

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0156.  Sixteen year old

Side view video of sixteen year old performing a Marshall Drop Out Wind-Up Torque Fastball Slider

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     During the pendulum swing preparatory phase, I prefer a vertical pitching arm.  Your son takes his pitching hand back horizontally.

     Your son landed on the heel of his glove arm side foot.  However, he needs to roll across the entire length of his glove arm side foot and rise up on his glove arm side toes, pivot his body sideways and stand erect.

     At the end, he has his pitching arm side upper leg too horizontal.  To pivot his body as fast as he can, he needs to keep his pitching arm side upper leg vertical such that his pitching arm side knee brushes across the front of his glove arm side knee.

     Otherwise, everything else that I can see at 30 frames per second looks okay.

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0157.  Sixteen year old

Front view video of sixteen year old throwing footballs with the Marshall Drop Out Wind-Up baseball pitching motion

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     Your son needs to land on the heel of his glove arm side foot, roll across its entire length and rise up on it toes and pivot his erect body with his pitching arm side knee brushing his glove arm side knee.

     In this video, your son does a much better job of keeping his pitching arm side upper leg vertical and brushing his glove arm side knee with his pitching arm side knee.

     However, he is not landing on the heel of his glove arm side knee and, with his Maxline pitches, he is not moving the center of mass of his body as far as he needs to the glove arm side of straight forward.

     Your son's pitching arm action for his Maxline Fastball, Maxline True Screwball and Torque Fastball look good.  However, on his Maxline Pronation Curve, because he is not rotating his acromial line to point directly at home plate, he is not driving his pitching arm down his acromial line.  Instead, especially on his first and third Maxline Pronation Curves, he is pulling his pitching arm inward and downward.

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0158.  Ventura envisions Humber taking the fifth
SportsXchange
January 27, 2012

RHP Phil Humber is the leader for the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation, according to new manager Robin Ventura.  That doesn't mean Ventura will simply hand it to Humber, who was a breakout pitcher for the White Sox last season.

Humber posted an 8-5 record and a 3.10 ERA, holding opponents to a .218 average in the first half of the season.  He did seem to hit a wall after the All-Star Game, spending a stint on the 15-day disabled list, and then going 1-4 with a 5.01 ERA.

Humber will join RHPs Jake Peavy and Gavin Floyd, as well as LHPs Chris Sale and John Danks in the rotation.  "Phil would be that leader heading into the clubhouse," Ventura said of Humber.  "I don't see anything changing with that at this point.  We will see during spring training, but I'm confident in Phil in doing that No. 5 position."


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

     After the All-Star game, Mr. Humber had an 5.01 ERA.  Mr. Humber also went on the 15-day Disabled List.

     The article does not tell us what injury Mr. Humber suffered.  Therefore, we do not know whether the injury or baseball batters knowing what pitches Mr. Humber will throw caused the 5.01 ERA.

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0159.  A's Braden progresses to throwing from mound
MLB.com
January 29, 2012

OAKLAND, CA:  Leave it to A's lefty Dallas Braden to shake up the holiday calendar.

"Tomorrow's Christmas for me," Braden said Sunday.  "Get to bed early, leave cookies and milk out on the table, see what happens."

The quirky A's pitcher will wake up to a different kind of a gift on Monday, the chance to take the mound for the first time since undergoing shoulder surgery in May.  He's slated to throw 25 pitches, all fastballs, at the University of the Pacific in his Stockton, CA, hometown. "Buy a ticket," he joked.

Braden was in good spirits while addressing the media at A's FanFest, much thanks to improved physical health and the prospect of maintaining it through spring.  He noted he's well ahead of his own rehab schedule, but perhaps slightly behind that of his pitching mates.

The 28-year-old southpaw won't pitch in the club's two-game Opening Series in Japan.  "I don't want him to have to worry about that," manager Bob Melvin said.  But Braden still has hopes of being ready by April 6's stateside opener in Oakland.

Though a realistic time frame may read more like mid-April, Braden simply wants to make sure that "when I hit the ground, I want to hit the ground running.  I don't want to hit the ground face first."

Upon his return, Braden is expected to slide behind right-handers Brandon McCarthy and Bartolo Colon in a rotation that has two spots up for grabs.  He'll be looking to rebound from a shortened 2011 campaign that included just three starts.

"There's nothing like being back on the field, feeling the grass beneath your feet, smelling the field, smelling baseball and being around other guys on your team," he said.  "It doesn't get replaced.

"I feel great.  I feel really strong.  It's nice to know all the hard work we put into the off-season and the days you didn't want to get up and the days you didn't want to push through, you now understand why it's important to do so."

And Braden assured there were plenty of those days.

"I had to hide every belt and shoelace in my closet so I could stay alive through this timetable," he joked.  "It was just an absolute mental struggle, and I knew that coming into it, having been down that road before.  I had to sit here and watch my teammates play baseball, and that's absolutely brutal.  I had to wear it for a year."


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     Shoulder surgeries are rarely (18%) successful.

     If Mr. Braden continues to use his Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching upper arm forward, then he will become one of the 82% that do not return to their previous performance levels.

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0160.  Braves won't rush Hudson back to full strength
MLB.com
January 30, 2012

ATLANTA, GA:  Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell is confident that both Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson will be at full strength when Spring Training begins.  But he is also approaching this year's camp with the understanding that Tim Hudson might be a little behind schedule.

Hudson has made steady progress since undergoing back surgery in late November to repair a herniated disk.  Still, while there is a chance that the 36-year-old right-hander could be ready for the start of the regular season, the Braves are not going to rush his return.

In other words, there is a chance Hudson could be a few weeks behind this year and in line to make his regular-season debut during the second half of April or early May.

"We'll progress as the doctors say he can progress," McDowell said.  "Whether it's the middle of April or first of May, we'll probably be a little more cautious so that we can have him at the end.  There's no reason to rush things and then have a setback."


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     Mr. Hudson ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament and herniated his L5-S1 intervertebral disk.

     It appears that the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that Rick Peterson taught Mr. Hudson isn't working too good.

     I wonder how the other two Athletics baseball pitchers that Mr. Peterson taught are doing?

     Did the biomechanical analyses that Mr. Peterson had Dr. Glenn Fleisig of the American Sports Medicine Institute keep them healthy and productive?

     Note to Orioles baseball pitchers:  Ignore Mr. Peterson.

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0161.  Dice-K making progress, throws bullpen session
MLB.com
January 31, 2012

BOSTON, MA:  Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka on Monday threw his first bullpen session since he underwent Tommy John surgery in June, according to the Japanese outlet Kyodo News.

Working out at the team's Spring Training complex in Fort Myers, FL, Matsuzaka threw his first 11 pitches with a catcher standing in front of home plate and then another 10 with the catcher crouched.  Matsuzaka is scheduled for long toss Wednesday and another bullpen session Friday if all goes well, according to the report.

"Today is like a warm up," Matsuzaka told Kyodo News.  "I think I'll throw harder next week."

Dice-K went 3-3 with a 5.30 ERA in 37 1/3 innings before last season's surgery.  This is the last year of a six-year contract for Matsuzaka, a deal which started well but has been derailed by injuries.  A mid- to late-season return to the Majors is possible for the 31-year-old Matsuzaka.


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     When Mr. Matsuzaka pitched in Japan, he threw one step crow-hops all the time.  He never had any pitching arm problems. After Mr. Matsuzaka arrived in Boston, the Red Sox medical and pitching coach staffs forced Mr. Matsuzaka to stop throwing so much.

     Mr. Matsuzaka had a slight ‘Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.’  However, in Japan, Mr. Matsuzaka threw enough one step crow-hop throw to repair the connective tissue that he tore.  Without his one step crow-hops, Mr. Matsuzaka could not repair the connective tissue tears.

     I prefer that baseball pitchers eliminate their ‘Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.’

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0162.  Rockies playing it safe with De La Rosa
MLB.com
January 31, 2012

DENVER, CO:  Rockies pitcher Jorge De La Rosa tried to act natural and hide the fact the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow was at the snapping point, even if it meant stretching the truth to the breaking point during his second start of last season.

"It was real cold that day in Pittsburgh, and I felt something in my arm," said De La Rosa, the Rockies' best pitcher during a tough early going of last season.  "I said it was a blister and they took me out of the game.  I told them I would be OK.  But I was not.  It was weakness.  The next day, I felt pain when I woke up."

De La Rosa toughed out eight more starts, until May 24 when his elbow went during a start against the D-backs at Coors Field.  He tried telling Rockies manager Jim Tracy and head athletic trainer Keith Dugger that the problem was his groin, but this time no one was fooled.  Shortly thereafter, De La Rosa underwent season-ending Tommy John ligament transfer surgery.

Now De La Rosa, no longer burdened with harboring a secret impossible to keep, stacks up as the Rockies' secret weapon in 2012.  The Rockies have De La Rosa, who turns 31 on April 5, on a strict rehab schedule and he is not expected to throw his first Major League pitch until late May or sometime in June.  But if the Rockies, expected to hang their early-season hopes on a mostly young rotation, are able to hang close in his absence, De La Rosa's return could spur them into contention in the National League West.

Between being obtained in a trade with the Royals in 2008 and the end of the 2010 season, De La Rosa went 34-24 with a 4.49 ERA and 434 strikeouts in 436 2/3 innings.  The Rockies rewarded the performance with a two-year, $21.5 million contract that also has a player option for 2013 worth $11 million and, if De La Rosa exercises his option as expected, an $11 million club option for 2014.

Before the injury last season, De La Rosa, pitching in pain, was 5-2 with a 3.51 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 59 innings.  Even with the expected ups and downs that come with returning from Tommy John surgery, De La Rosa could give the Rockies a much-needed lift.

"If some other things play out and we're in a good position, you're adding a pitcher of this type and you know full well that you don't have to give up half your farm system to get him," Tracy said.  "A pitcher like that coming back to you is like making a trade at the Deadline."

But the Rockies are willing to wait as long as it takes for De La Rosa to return.

Fortunately, the Rockies do not believe De La Rosa's insistence on pitching through the pain did any permanent damage.  Dugger noted that pitchers often pitch through ligament fraying or tearing.  It's not even clear exactly when the injury occurred, since De La Rosa does not recall a specific pitch.

Now the Rockies are making sure the gritty attitude that led De La Rosa to hide his injury doesn't work against him in his comeback.  De La Rosa is under orders to follow a conservative plan set forth by the Rockies.

De La Rosa reached a landmark in his recovery Tuesday, when he began mixing his changeup with his fastball at the Rockies' Spring Training complex in Scottsdale, AZ.  He threw 15 fastballs, then five changeups, and after a brief rest threw the same proportion but mixed the pitches.  De La Rosa will have the same pattern in his next bullpen session Friday, then will be ordered to rest from pitching for a week.

Starting February 10, he will gradually work up to 75 pitches before facing hitters, which will occur in the middle of March.  When camp breaks, De La Rosa will continue working against Minor Leaguers.  Dugger said if all goes well, De La Rosa could begin a 30-day Minor League rehab assignment in late April or May.

This time, De La Rosa understands that trying to defy his injury is not in his best interest.  "It's hard because when I'm throwing bullpens, I feel good," De La Rosa said.  "I know I can't rush myself.  I've got to make sure I'm completely OK."


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     In his second start of the 2011 season, Mr. De La Rosa said that he 'felt something in his pitching arm.'  The next day, when he woke up, Mr. De La Rosa said that he felt pain.

     On May 24, 2011, in his eighth start, Mr. De La Rosa said that his pitching elbow went.  Shortly, thereafter, Mr. De La Rosa had Ulnar Collateral Ligement replacement surgery.

     Mr. De La Rosa does not recall the specific pitch that ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     In 2011, in 59 innings over 8 starts (7.375 innings per start) Mr. De La Rosa won 5 games, lost 2 games, struck out 52 batters with a 3.51 ERA.

     The pain Mr. De La Rosa felt was not from his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Eight months after his UCL surgery, Mr. De La Rosa is throwing two sessions 15 fastballs and 5 change-ups.

     To rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, Mr. De La Rosa has to have a 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'  However, that he was able to pitch so well in eight games indicates that he uses the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle to protect his Ulnar Collateral Ligament on some pitches.

     I suspect that, when he throws his fastball and change-up, Mr. De La Rosa contracts his Pronator Teres muscle.

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0163.  Astros' Mejdal takes on unique role
MLB.com
January 31, 2012

HOUSTON, TX:  Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow wasn't on the job very long in Houston when he announced he was bringing aboard Sig Mejdal to become the team's director of decision sciences, a role which immediately gave Mejdal one of the most unusual titles in baseball.

At first read, the title would make more sense if Mejdal were hired to work on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley, and certainly not at Minute Maid Park.  That's the place, after all, where players spit seeds and slap high fives and where fans yell, scream and throw peanut shells on the floor.

Who needs a director of decision sciences?

Welcome to the world of the new Astros, who are under a fresh regime that's embracing the concept of data analysis and sabermetrics like never before.  In many ways, Mejdal's role will be one of the most vital to helping Astros management turn around a franchise that lost 106 games last year.

In layman's terms, Mejdal's job is to use all the data and information available and combine it in a systemic way to aid those in charge of making decisions.  You wouldn't do your taxes without a calculator, so why not use one when making multi-million-dollar decisions?

"In a general sense, perhaps what any decision maker in baseball has, is they have this overwhelming amount of information from different sources with different degrees of certainty associated with each," Mejdal said.  "Some are subjective evaluations from the experts, some are well-measured fastball velocities, [and] some information comes from the player's resume and on-field performance."

The information Mejdal has been put in charge of analyzing goes beyond statistics like batting average and ERA.  There are biological factors and psychological tests, as well as third-party descriptions of the players.  His goal is to try to make sense of the attributes of each player and give the scouts and the front office as much help as possible when making decisions.

"Sig brings some unique skills to the front office and has been working in baseball now over five years and has a good understanding of how scouts and coaches think, and [he] complements that with analytical ability," Luhnow said.  "He's going to be instrumental in us figuring out everything."

Mejdal, 46, came from the Cardinals, where he had worked since 2005 and was most recently the team's director of amateur Draft analytics.  Mejdal was involved with modeling, analysis and data-driven decision making throughout all levels of the Cardinals organization and was a key contributor in Draft decision processes.

Mejdal grew up in the Bay Area of California as a fan of the Oakland A's and was always interested in baseball stats.  As a kid, he even had a membership in the Society for American Baseball Research.  He earned two engineering degrees at the University of California-Davis and later completed advanced degrees in operations research and cognitive psychology/human factors.  He has also worked at Lockheed Martin in California and for NASA.

It wasn't until he read Michael Lewis' groundbreaking book "Moneyball" in 2003 that it occurred to him that a Major League team could use somebody with an analytical background.  He packed his bags and went to the Winter Meetings in New Orleans that year in an effort to try and sell himself to an industry that wasn't quite ready to completely embrace his philosophies.

"The A's were doing it for a few years in my backyard and I didn't know, so when that book came out I naively thought the teams were going to hurry up and hire somebody with a quantitative background, and I knew I would kick myself if I didn't give it a try," he said.  "So I started, also naively thinking I would have a job by the end of the week.  I kept at it and it was a long journey, perhaps about a year and a half of a lot of effort, an even then it was good luck that it lined up with Jeff Luhnow and [owner] Bill Dewitt with the St. Louis Cardinals."

The Cardinals drafted 24 eventual Major League players in the 2005-07 amateur Drafts, which is the most of any team during that time frame.  The Astros, by contrast, produced four in that span, Brian Bogusevic, Tommy Manzella, Chris Johnson and Bud Norris, and have been trying to claw their way out of the hole it created in their Minor League system.

"It was tough to leave St. Louis," Mejdal said.  "We had a lot of skilled people and we had very supportive management and ownership, and we had perhaps 16-18 person years of work dedicated to creating these decisions aids.  To come to a team that hasn't embraced it quite as much as St. Louis certainly makes you realize what you don't have, but then on the other side it doesn't take long to realize the opportunities to get excited about that and imagine having success here again."

Luhnow and Mejdal are still working towards putting together an analytical staff.  Last week, the Astros hired Baseball Prospectus analyst Mike Fast to assist Mejdal, and they will continue to add more number crunchers to try and set the standard when it comes to data management.

But Mejdal says his job is more than just numbers.  It's about getting information that will help predict what the players will become, whether it's looking at fastball speed, the reports of the hard-working scouts, the player's score on a psych test or the number of home runs they hit in college.

"The information available now is different than what it was a generation ago, and even a few years ago," Mejdal said.  "The more progressive teams aren't arguing or putting their energies in whether this data matters or belongs in the hands and of decision makers, but instead figuring out exactly how to combine it."

And it's all in a day's work for the director of decision sciences.


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     Mr. Mejdal earned advanced degrees in operations research and cognitive psychology/human factors.

     Mr. Mejdal found that Jeff Luhnow and [owner] Bill Dewitt with the St. Louis Cardinals wanted his skills.

     With Mr. Mejdal's work, in the 2005-2007 amateur drafts, the Cardinals drafted 24 eventual Major League players; more than any other professional team.

     Mr. Mejdal says his job is getting information that will help predict what the players will become.  To do this, Mr. Mejdal looks at fastball speed, scouting reports, psych test scores, home runs hit in college and much more.

     Mr. Mejdal says, "The information available now is different than what it was a generation ago, and even a few years ago.  The more progressive teams aren't arguing or putting their energies in whether this data matters or belongs in the hands and of decision makers, but instead figuring out exactly how to combine it."

     I love statistics.  I credit much of my success from analyzing pitch sequences for the four types of baseball batters.

     Unfortunately, Mr. Mejdal does not do this kind of research.

     Instead, Mr. Mejdal and other like him in professional baseball only statistically analyze the qualities that baseball players presently have.  That they include more than on base percentage and walks, hits and innings pitched is good.

     However, Mr. Mejdal et al miss the most important quality that professional baseball players must have to succeed:  Motor Skill Acquisition.

     My ability to improve the motor skills that I needed to succeed against major league baseball batters enabled me to set untouchable closer pitching records.

     The reason why Mr. Mejdal et al do not include Motor Skill Acquisition in their list of variables to include is because major league baseball teams do not have people that know how to teach the skills their players need to succeed in professional baseball.

     Even when Mr. Mejdal et al, including Jeff Luhnow, encounter someone that knows how to teach professional baseball players the skills that they need to succeed in major league baseball, their academic training does not include the ability to know how to evaluate those that the professional team hire to teach their players the skills to succeed.

     In 2006, Mr. Mejdal attended the SABR convention in St. Louis.  Mr. Mejdal listened to my presentation.  Unfortunately, Mr Mejdal did not understand what I presented.

     In 2009, I had Joe Williams and Colin Carmody demonstrate my Half Reverse Pivot Pendulum Swing drill to the St. Louis Cardinals minor league baseball pitching coaches and Jeff Luhnow.  They were amazed at how far my guys could throw the baseball with only their pitching arms.  Unfortunately, Mr. Luhnow also did not understand what I presented.

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0164.  Labrum tear surgery

1.  A player of mine just got an MRI done and he gave me a copy of his MRI report and I was wondering if you could diagnose him?

The doctor is telling him that they need to scope his shoulder and will either fix a labrum tear (if they find one) or just clean him and clear some stuff out.

2. What would you suggest?

The doctor has said that he needs surgery because his arm hasn't responded to the non-specific rehab exercises well that he has been on for about 2 weeks.

The findings were:

1.  No evidence of full-thickness rotator cuff tears

2.  Mild tendinopathy of the supraspinatus tendon.  There is irregularity of the anterior aspect of the supraspinatus tendon near the insertion on greater tuberosity suggesting tine undersurface tear at this level.

3.  Mild bone marrow edema in the acromion process.  Findings may represent osseous contusion or could be related to overuse syndrome.  Acromioclavicular joint appears intact.

4.  Intra-articular portion of the long head of the biceps tendon is not clearly visualized.  Findings could represent sequelae of previous disruption.

5.  Irregularity of the anterior superiour labrum.  Findings could represent a normal variant, such as a sublabral foramen at this level.  Given the irregularity and minimal fluid signal intensity adjacent to the superior labrum on the STIR images, findings could represent a labral tear at this level as well.

I know from your website, that all shoulder issues mean that this player (a catcher) has side to side movement.  Since it is in the front of the shoulder, then he has issues with taking the arm laterally behind him.

3.  Would this be a correct assessment?

4.  Do you think he has other issues with his arm and body action that has caused these findings?

Also, he is a year removed from Tommy John surgery.

This whole past fall semester, I worked with him extensively to pendulum swing his arm to driveline height and not lead with his elbow up and he now has an arm action that protects his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

But then, over the past few months, his pain began in December; he went home for X-mas vacation and probably didn't throw at all and he came back in January and it started hurting again within the first week and a half of practice.

The pain was enough that he went to the trainers and they got involved and took over.

I took film, not good, 30 frames per second, of him and attempted to work with him taking the baseball straight out instead of laterally behind.  The results show that I failed him.  He is on his way to surgery.

Over the past few weeks, they have stopped him from throwing and are now putting him through non-specific Physical Therapy.  Now, he is getting scraped twice a week.

Once they cleared him to throw, I had him throw next to a wall that would not let him take the ball laterally behind.

One of the big problems is that he feels a high amount of pain doing that from just 30 feet.

I already know your answer.  I must get him to fully engage his lat. I cannot let him take the baseball laterally behind and pull with his pectoralis major which causes all this unnecessary stress.

He has no desire to do the wrist weight exercises or the weighted ball throws because it is painful.

I am not sure if I violated Hippa laws by providing you the information.  If I did, I am truly sorry for putting you in this position.

I just feel helpless against the world and nobody is going to listen to the coach when doctors, trainers, etc are telling him otherwise.

I prefer that you wouldn't post this on Q & As, especially considering that I am so ignorant to the Hippa laws and I don't even know if I put you in a difficult predicament by providing you that information.  But I'm desperate and just disappointed and now that I have been awakened to your system "the truth."

I am responsible for this.  I know everything you say is 100% legit.

We have all our pitchers on the wrist weights and they throw weighted balls and they throw everyday.  The results have been unbelievably remarkable.

I know you would not be happy that I am only doing a "partial-Marshall" version of your arm and body actions.  But, even only having our pitchers do partial and just focusing on pendulum swinging in straight lines, pronating all releases, and rotating 180 degrees has improved fitness, velocity, pitch quality, performance and many others that you already know.

  Anyways, thank you for all that you do.


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     As soon as athletic trainers and orthopedic surgeons get involved, baseball pitchers have no chance of returning to their previous performance levels.

     That this young man is a catcher should lessen their involvement.

     You have done everything right.

     Labrum tears are like hang-nails.  When the hang-nail catches something, it hurts.  Unfortunately, unlike hang-nails where doctors remove the tear, with labrum tears, doctors try to suture the labrum back to the bone.

     My solution is to not allow the labrum tear to catch anything.

     To do this, baseball pitchers have to stop taking their pitching upper arm laterally behind their acromial line where the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm contacts the posterior rim of the Glenoid Fossa.

     When baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching upper arm straight backward toward second base, they keep the Humeral head in the middle of the Glenoid Fossa.  Therefore, they do not have contact between the Humerus bone and the Glenoid Fossa.

01.  Your assessment is correct.

02.  That this young man ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament shows that he has all the injurious flaws of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     You wrote: "I worked with his extensively to pendulum swing his arm to driveline height and not lead with his elbow up."

     If, like most catchers do, this young man took his pitching upper arm backward with his elbow up, then he put a lot of stress on the front of his pitching shoulder.

     The purpose of the pendulum swing is to remove all stress from the front of the pitching shoulder.

     As soon as this young man complained to the athletic trainer, his chance of pitching this year disappeared.  The only chance he has of ever pitching again is when the athletic trainers and orthopedic surgeons are no longer in charge.

     If I were you, I would tell this young man that when the athletic trainers and orthopedic surgeons are done with him, then you will be happy to work with him.

     This surgery will not help him.

     Until he can put his throwing arm in my 'Slingshot' pitching arm position, he will never throw without pain.  He must learn how to raise his pitching upper arm to vertically beside his head and turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     This means that I would start at the beginning.

     This young man should complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, sans my non-fastballs.

     This young man must master in order the four drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

01.  My Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.

02.  My Wrong Foot body action; Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.

03.  My Wrong Foot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

04.  Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     This young man must learn how to never allow his pitching upper arm to go laterally behind his acromial line!

     You have not violated this young man's privacy.  I have no idea who he is.  What you are doing is seeking advice.

     You wrote that this young man is not going to listen to what you have to say when athletic trainers and orthopedic surgeons are telling him what to do.

     Therefore, until what the athletic trainers and orthopedic surgeons fail to help him, you cannot help this young man.  By then, the damage that the orthopedic surgeons will do to him will prevent him from ever pitching again.

     You wrote, "We have all our pitchers on the wrist weights and they throw weighted balls and they throw everyday.  The results have been unbelievably remarkable."

     That shows that you have done everything that you could to help your baseball pitchers.  Unfortunately, this young man either refused to do what you were teaching or the 'traditional' catcher throwing motion had already destroyed his throwing shoulder.

     Either way, until the athletic trainers and orthopedic surgeons discard him, he is a lost cause.

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0165.  Minicamp gives Dodgers early look at hurlers
MLB.com
February 02, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA:  The latest "Young Guns" pitchers minicamp concluded to rave reviews from Dodgers assistant general manager De Jon Watson.

"It went great.  The best in the three years we've held it," said Watson, whose program has quickly matured from a trial into an off-season staple that prepares pitchers for the upcoming start of Spring Training while giving management a sneak peak at each pitcher's current condition.

The camp, held at the Dodgers' Camelback Ranch-Glendale complex in Arizona, not only is overseen by five Minor League coaches and instructors, but also Major League pitching coach Rick Honeycutt and bullpen coach Ken Howell.

In addition to working with pitchers on the Major League roster such as Javy Guerra, Kenley Jansen, Nathan Eovaldi, Scott Elbert and newly signed free agent Chris Capuano, they also had a chance to see some of the unfamiliar youngsters the Dodgers hope will soon make an impact in Los Angeles.

"They've heard of these kids but probably haven't seen them when they get here," said Watson.  "But if we run a body over for a Spring Training game, there will be a higher comfort level and a familiarity.

Among those attending the camp that were recently added to the 40-man roster were Chris Withrow, Michael Antonini, Stephen Fife and Josh Wall.  Rubby De La Rosa, who parlayed last year's camp into a big league call-up before blowing out his elbow, is throwing at 90 feet in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, Watson said.  De La Rosa could return to game action by mid-season.

Watson also was excited about some of the other touted arms that could arrive quickly, including Minor League Pitcher of the Year Shawn Tolleson, Allen Webster, Garrett Gould and former first-round Draft picks Zach Lee, Aaron Miller and Chris Reed, as well as the lesser-known youngsters like Scott Barlow, Red Patterson, Jon Michael Redding, Matt McGill and Andres Santiago.

"One of the best things about this camp is that the [35] youngsters get to work alongside with the Major Leaguers," said Watson.  "They watch their bullpens and soak it in.  We had seven coaches there, breaking down deliveries from the beginning of last season to the middle to the end.  Management was able to come in and see them throw.  It was awesome."

The minicamp concept, Honeycutt said last year, is reminiscent of his playing days, when the January workouts at Dodger Stadium took advantage of the mild weather to give players a jump-start on baseball conditioning before Spring Training started.

Watson's department has taken that to a more thorough and organized level, utilizing the organization's Arizona facility, where some of the pitchers will remain to continue training right up until pitchers and catchers report in three weeks.

"I remember what it was like, how it helped us be ready for Spring Training," Honeycutt 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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     Three years ago, the Dodgers assistant general manager, De Jon Watson started a 'Young Gun" pitchers minicamp.

     This minicamp takes place at the Dodgers' Camelback Ranch-Glendale complex in Arizona.

     Five minor league coaches and instructors and major league pitching coach, Rick Honeycutt, and major league bullpen coach, Ken Howell, oversee this minicamp.

     Thirty-five minor league and ten major league baseball pitchers attended.

     Have these forty-five baseball pitchers properly prepared for this minicamp?

     Unless these baseball pitchers started training the day after the season ended, they were not properly prepared for high-intensity bullpens.

     Last year, Mr. Honeycutt said that the January workouts at Dodger Stadium jump-started their off-season conditioning.

     The article said that Mr. Watson has taken that (jump-starting the off-season conditioning) to a more thorough and organized level."      If the five minor league coaches and instructors and the major league pitching and bullpen coaches are not actively teaching and training these baseball pitchers, then how is this minicamp idea more thorough and organized?

     The article also said that some of the pitchers will remain to continue training right up until pitchers and catchers report in three weeks.

     Now, we are talking.

     The day after their competitive seasons end, at their team' spring training facilities, professional baseball players should start their off-season skill development and fitness programs.

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0166.  Nationals agree with Jackson on one-year deal
MLB.com
February 02, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC:  The Nationals have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Edwin Jackson on Thursday, pending a physical.

Jackson, 28, went a combined 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA last season with the White Sox and Cardinals.  Jackson registered a double-digit win total for the fourth consecutive season.  He is one of only 23 starting pitchers who can currently make that claim.  In the same four seasons, Jackson is one of 20 starters to average at least 12 wins and 200 innings per year.

Jackson has been in the league for nine years and has a career record of 60-60 with a 4.46 ERA with the Rays, Dodgers, White Sox, D-backs, Cardinals and Tigers.  Jackson's best moment came on June 02, 2010, when he pitched a no-hitter as a member of the D-backs against the Rays.

"We saw an opportunity to acquire a young hard-throwing, power-pitching, eating-innings type of starting pitcher," general manager Mike Rizzo said in a conference call.  "We thought it was a good value and a good term.  You can never have enough good quality starting pitching.  We felt it was a good enough value to make him a National."

The Nationals feel Jackson can be a better pitcher by tweaking his delivery.  For example, when Jackson pitched from the stretch in 2011, opposing hitters hit .239.  When he pitched from the windup, opposing batters had a .339 batting average against him.

"Last year, he was a different pitcher out of the windup than he was from the stretch," Rizzo said.  "We feel that there are certain tweaks we can make to his delivery, which will make [the pitches] more difficult to see.  If you look at the splits between runners on base and runners not on base, his numbers are really surprising."

Jackson will join a rotation that will include Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez.  Before acquiring Jackson, Rizzo felt there was a shortage in the rotation because Strasburg, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, will be limited to 160 innings.  Zimmermann has never pitched a full season in his big league, while Chien-Ming Wang hasn't pitched a full season since 2007, when he was with the Yankees.  Wang has missed a lot of time in the past four years because of injuries.

"We felt we had an innings shortage," Rizzo said.  "You do the research.  Of the eight playoff teams last year, six of those eight teams have two 200-plus-innings pitchers on the team.  We felt we had an innings shortage.  This not only fixes the innings shortage, but it also gives us a quality standard to compete with anyone in the division."

Rizzo has had interest in acquiring Jackson since 2010.  That year, Rizzo tried to trade for Jackson, who was with the D-backs at the time.

With Jackson on the roster, the Nationals will more than likely try to trade left-hander John Lannan for a position player.  It's not a secret that Washington is looking for a center fielder for the long term.

On Thursday, the Nationals learned that a three-person panel ruled in their favor in the arbitration case against Lannan, who will earn $5 million in 2012.

The arbitration hearing took place in St. Petersburg, FL.  On Wednesday morning. Lannan and the Nats were $700,000 apart, according to The Associated Press.  Lannan asked for $5.7 million, while the club offered $5 million.

"We are certainly open to make a deal that makes sense for us, if it can improve the ballclub," Rizzo said.  "We did not acquire Edwin Jackson to trade another starting pitcher in Spring Training or before Spring Training.  If a deal comes up that we can't pass up, we will be open minded about it.  We know we have depth in the rotation.  We have good, quality, hard-throwing power pitchers that we are going into camp with.

"If all are healthy and we have an opportunity to make a trade to improve somewhere else, we'll certainly look into it.  I like the competition aspect of it.  There is going to be a lot of good pitchers out there in Spring Training this year.  The best 25 guys will go north."


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     "The Nationals feel Jackson can be a better pitcher by tweaking his delivery."

     "When Jackson pitched from the stretch in 2011, opposing hitters hit .239.  When he pitched from the windup, opposing batters had a .339 batting average against him."

     Nationals general manager, Mike Rizzo, said "Last year, he was a different pitcher out of the windup than he was from the stretch.  We feel that there are certain tweaks we can make to his delivery, which will make [the pitches] more difficult to see."

     What is Mr. Jackson doing that enables baseball batters to increase their batting average against him .100 points when he uses his Wind-Up body action?

     The simple solution is to have Mr. Jackson always use his Set Position body action.

     My solution is also to have my baseball pitchers use only one body action.  The difference is that I want my baseball pitchers to always use my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion.

     With my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers get the baseball to the catcher faster than 'traditional' baseball pitchers can with their Set Position body action.

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0167.  Elbow injury

I had lost flexion range of motion in my pitching arm from the traditional motion.  Then, I have lost more when I hyperflexed my elbow when doing curls.

The orthopedic surgeon says that it's hard to tell from the MRI arthrogram if I have bone spurs.  But, he says there is the beginning of arthritis (simply as inflammation in the joint).

He thinks that he can help it, especially if it is bone spurs or a floating body.

I remember you writing that impingements in the shoulder were not a real thing.  But, the doctor says I could have an impingement in my elbow.

I think that the surgeon means there is something that is "pinching" cartilage or something else in the joint.

Please let me know your thoughts on that also.


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     When 'traditional' baseball pitchers have 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' they use their Brachialis muscle to prevent the olecranon process from slamming into its fossa.  The Brachialis muscle inserts into the coronoid process of the Ulna bone.  As a result, the coronoid process lengthens, such that they cannot bend their elbow as closely.  This loss of elbow flexion range of motion is permanent.

     If you lengthened your coronoid process, then bouncing your elbow curl exercise would slam the coronoid process into its fossa.

     To remove bone spurs or dislodged pieces of hyaline cartilage is a simple arthroscopic procedure.  Arthritis is not surgically treatable.  Instead, if painful to move the joint, then you take anti-inflammatory drugs.  When I experience joint inflammation, I take a doctor prescribed anti-inflammaory and I do whatever I want without discomfort.

     Impingement means that, when bones move, they rub against (impinges) tendons.  It is not possible to raise their Humerus bone to contact with the underside of the acromial process.  Therefore, it is impossible to 'impinge' the tendon of the Supraspinatus muscle.

     The elbow joint is the articulation of the Humerus bone of the upper arm and the Ulna bone of the forearm.

     The Humerus and Ulna bones do not 'impinge' on anything.

     The two bones of the pitching forearm, the Radius and Ulna bones, do not 'impinge' on tendons either.

     When the Radius bone rotates toward the Ulna bone, no matter how powerfully, they will not squeeze anything between them.  Therefore, it is impossible for anybody to have an impingement in their forearm.

     If I were you, I would get as far away from these guys as I could.

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0168.  Josh Collmenter

After reading the article about Josh Collmenter in your recent posting, I found the following link to an earlier article.

Deceptive delivery helps Arizona Diamondbacks prospect Josh Collmenter
The Arizona Republic
By Nick Piecoro
February 27, 2011

Diamondbacks right-hander Josh Collmenter always has felt normal throwing a baseball, no different from anybody else.  It wasn't until his mom broke out a video camera during his senior year in high school that he realized there was very little normal about his delivery.

Collmenter isn't entirely sure how he began to throw with such an unusual, straight over-the-top delivery.  But when he thinks back to his childhood, he wonders if the time he spent with his brothers throwing tomahawks at tree stumps in the woods might have had something to do with it.

Wait, tomahawks?  Really?

"Yeah," he insists.  "We would throw tomahawks, do some competitions.  I don't know if it developed from that, but that's the way my arm naturally works.  I know it's different from everybody in this room, but it's still been effective."

When seeing him pantomiming a tomahawk thrower, his theory doesn't sound as crazy.  His hand and arm run along the side of his head, sort of like he's throwing darts, and when he pitches, his arm action isn't too dissimilar.

Collmenter, 25, doesn't throw hard, but his funkiness has put him on the cusp of the big leagues.  After reaching Triple-A last season and pitching well in the Arizona Fall League, the Diamondbacks added him to their 40-man roster.  He's expected to begin the season in Triple-A Reno's starting rotation.

Listening to hitters who have faced him, it's as if he's a magician pulling a rabbit out from behind his head.

When going through his delivery, Collmenter looks normal until his he turns his hips and his pitching hand and glove break.  Suddenly, he rocks backward, almost off-balance, and thrusts his shoulder and glove skyward, like he's climbing a staircase.

Then comes the strangest part, his arm angle.  Instead of throwing from about 10 o'clock, like most right-handed pitchers, he's at nearly 12 o'clock, allowing him to hide the ball as long as possible.

"A lot of people consider me a right-handed lefty," he said.  "They say it comes out from the side where a lefty should throw."

That deception is the reason he's able to get by with a fastball that sometimes barely cracks 85 mph.  That, and a change-up that further confounds hitters, coming from the same arm slot and dropping like a rock just before reaching home plate.  Teammates call it an "invisiball."

"He's the funniest guy to catch just listening to what hitters have to say," said catcher Konrad Schmidt, who has paired with Collmenter in the minors.  "The first time they see a change-up they're like, 'What was that?'  They'll say, 'Was that a screwball?'  Just off-the-wall stuff."

Diamondbacks prospect Collin Cowgill, who because of a quirk got to face Collmenter in a minor-league All-Star Game, said he's one of a kind.  "You don't ever see somebody throw that far over the top," Cowgill said.  "And he throws all his pitches from the same spot."

Growing up in tiny Homer, MI, he'd go out into the woods toting BB guns with his brothers, and around age 10 or 11 he started throwing tomahawks.  He said he never won any competitions, but he has to imagine it helps explain his throwing motion.

"I'd thrown (a baseball) before, so I don't know when it happened or if I'd throw different otherwise," he said.  "But I guess that's a part of the story."

Collmenter has encountered plenty of doubters within baseball, but as long as he keeps getting outs.  He has a career 3.52 ERA in the minors with 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings.  He'll keep moving up.

"I've always had to prove people wrong, prove that I can get people out at every level," he said.  "That's something I wanted to prove to the organization, that no matter where you put me I can work hard and still be able to do my job well."


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     Thank you for sending me the link to this article.

     The best part of this article is the photograph of Mr. Collmenter just after he released his pitch.

     Instead of pulling his pitching arm across the front of his body, like I teach my baseball pitchers, he keeps his pitching elbow high and drives his pitching hand horizontally straight toward home plate.

     That means that Mr. Collmenter engages his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     If Mr. Collmenter learned how to 'horizontally bounce' his pitching forearm, then Mr. Collmenter would significantly increase his release velocity.

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0169.  Marshall Iron Ball Throws - Pitching Arm Side View

Side view of sixteen year old using my Drop Out Wind-Up to throw his heavy ball

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     What I like most about this video is the rhythm of your son's force application.

     He walks forward, starts his acceleration phase under complete control and, when he moves the center of mass of his body in front of his glove arm side foot, he explosively rotates his body and puts his entire body weight into the 10 lb. lead ball.

     When he uses the same rhythm with baseballs, as his fitness increases, he will apply more and more force, which means that he will achieve higher and higher release velocities.

     I really love how, after he releases the heavy ball, his pitching forearm moves horizontally to the pitching arm side of his body, especially on his second throw.

     This is good stuff.

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0170.  Horizontal Bounce

You said: "The weight of the iron balls and WWs helps to propel the upper arm."

That explains why, when they do their wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws, it's so much easier for your baseball pitchers to get 'their upper arm vertically alongside the head.'

It reemphasized to me that 'throwing' the elbow has to be timed so that the body's rotational forces help the bounce, not prevent it.

I think my sixteen year old son was fighting himself and that cause his Trapezius I discomfort.  He also has a tendency to tilt his shoulders upward toward home plate.

I believe, that in his efforts to aggressively horizontally bounce, he was messing up the timing sequence.  His bad timing forced him to try to overcome centripetal momentum with brute strength.

It is like the old song, 'I fought the centripetal momentum law and the centripetal momentum law won'.

Today, he and I discussed the idea of using positive momentum to facilitate and accentuate the horizontal bounce.  That is, 'throwing the elbow' up and in toward the head.

I told him that he can't overcome the 'flyout' momentum.  Instead, he needs to 'flow into' the horizontal bounce by not rotating too hard too fast.  To benefit from the rotational forces, he has to delay his aggressive turning until he has his upper arm is in a position, not fight to overcome them.

I don't know if my explanation is very clear, but my son threw very hard today.  He also had terrific movement on his maxline fastballs and greatly decreased his Trapezius I discomfort.

Also, your suggestion of focusing on pronating as hard as possible really helped him to stay inside of vertical on his curves, which were the best of the week.

He brought these concepts to his IB throws today.

I thought that he threw them especially hard.  Of course, the weight of the IBs themselves forces him to wait until his upper arm is ready.

Like you always say, pitchers get the WWs before they get the IBs before they get the BBs.

1.  Would a light WW, say 1 lb, while throwing BBs, would help to provide similar bio-feedback.


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     I call the pitching arm action of my baseball pitching motion, 'Slingshot.'

     To propel 'shots' with a real slingshot, slingshotters grasp the 'shot' holder with their thumb and index finger, gently maximally lengthen the elastic bands, aim the slingshot at the desired target, hold the slingshot still and release the 'shot' holder.

     Therefore, my baseball pitchers need to gently maximally lengthen the muscles that extend and inwardly rotate the Humerus bone of their pitching upper arm.

     The trick is to throw the pitching elbow upward and inward with sufficient intensity to sling their pitching hand outward to parallel with the line between home plate and second base.

     You wrote:  'My son has to time throwing his pitching elbow inward with the forward rotation of the pitching arm side of his body.'

     When the glove arm side foot lands, I teach my baseball pitchers to immediately raise their pitching upper arm to vertically beside their head.

     When my baseball pitchers to throw their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward, the force of that action initiates the forward rotation of the entire pitching arm side of their body forward.

     You wrote:  'The forward rotation of the pitching arm side of his body helps horizontally bounce the pitching forearm.'

     The forward rotation of the pitching arm side of the body points the acromial line at home plate.  This action does move the longitudinal line of the pitching forearm from parallel with the line between second base and home plate to outside of that line.

     Rather than lengthen the Latissimus Dorsi muscle, I believe that the Latissimus Dorsi muscle isoanglosly maintains its length.

     You wrote:  'In his efforts to aggressively horizontally bounce, my son tries to overcome centripetal momentum with brute strength.'

     Isoanglosly maintaining the length of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle does require force.

     However, what you are getting at is: When should your son change from isoanglosly maintaining to mioanglosly shortening?

     To maximize their release velocity, before my baseball pitchers powerfully apply backward backward with their glove arm side leg and glove forearm and powerfully apply forward force with their pitching arm, my baseball pitchers have to wait until the center of mass of the body has moved in front of the glove arm side foot and their acromial line points at home plate.

     That is the timing to which you referred.

     With their center of mass moving forward and their acromial line pointing toward home plate, my baseball pitchers have the 'positive momentum' that facilitates the explosive forward rotation of the body and the powerful inward rotation of the pitching upper arm, extension of the pitching elbow and pronation of the pitching forearm.

     You wrote:  'My son should not try to overcome the 'flyout' momentum.'

     I agree that my baseball pitchers need to quietly allow the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to plioanglosly lengthen.

     With my baseball pitching motion, to increase their release velocity, my baseball pitchers plioanglosly lengthen the proper muscle.

     'Flyout' describes the situation when baseball pitchers plioanglosly lengthen an improper muscle.  An improper muscle does not contribute to the force that accelerates the baseball.

     'Traditional' baseball pitchers plioanglosly lengthen their Brachialis muscle.  The Brachialis muscle flexes the pitching elbow.  Baseball pitchers need to extend their pitching elbow.

     Therefore, my term, 'flyout' does not apply to this situation.

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0171.  Quiet Acceleration

In re: Q #125 you write:  "When the glove arm side foot lands, the acceleration phase of the baseball pitching motion begins.  'Traditional' baseball pitchers explosively start their acceleration phase and end their acceleration phase with decreasing velocity increases.  My baseball pitchers quietly start their acceleration phase and end their acceleration phase with increasing velocity increases."

When your baseball pitchers power step toward home plate with their glove foot, they start moving the baseball toward home plate.

1.  Are you calling the time from the glove foot stepping forward until it lands the Preparation phase?

2.  Does the Preparation phase include the period when you take the ball out of the glove until you step forward or do you have a different name for this phase?

I assume you are talking about your pitchers and traditional pitchers when you say the Acceleration phase begins when the glove foot lands.

Therefore, my question concerns your statement that your pitchers "quietly start their acceleration phase".

I was always under the impression that you want your guys to explode the entire pitching arm side of their body once the glove foot lands (i.e., when the Acceleration phase begins).

3.  Have you made a change that I missed?


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01.  Everything prior to the glove arm side foot landing is 'Preparation Phase.'

02.  Everything from standing still on the pitching rubber to the glove arm side foot is part of the 'Preparation Phase.'

     During the 'Preparation Phase,' my baseball pitchers move the center of mass of their body forward at a uniform positive velocity.

     When the glove arm side foot lands, the first thing that I have my baseball pitchers do is to simultaneously throw their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head and pull back with their glove arm side foot and glove forearm.

     These actions start the forward rotation of the entire pitching arm side of their body.

     The definition of acceleration is increasing velocity.

     Therefore, from the moment that the glove arm side foot lands, I want my baseball pitchers to uniformly accelerate the baseball.

     To do that, my baseball pitchers have to uniformly move the center of mass of their body forward through release.

     The force-coupling of the pitching upper arm toward home plate and the glove foot and forearm pullback toward second base rotates the acromial line to point toward home plate.

     When the center of mass of the body moves in front of the glove foot and the pitching upper arm has forwardly rotated to point at home plate, the force-coupling of the pushback of the glove foot and the forward drive of the inward rotation of the pitching upper arm, extension of the pitching elbow and pronation of the pitching forearm uniformly accelerates the baseball through release.

     Uniform acceleration means that the velocity of the baseball increases at the same rate throughout the acceleration phase.

     When baseball pitchers begin their forward rotation explosively, they cannot uniformly accelerate the baseball. This is what the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion does.

     That is why 'traditional' baseball pitchers cannot use their pitching upper arm, pitching elbow and pitching forearm to increase the velocity of the baseball through release.

     An appropriate analogy would be drag car racers that spin their wheels at the start versus the drag car racers that do not. In drag car racing and baseball pitching, uniform acceleration achieves the maximum velocity.

03.  No.  I have always described the 'Acceleration Phase' of my baseball pitching motion as having two stages:

     a.  A pitching upper arm stage.

     b.  A pitching forearm stage.

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0172.  Order plus donation

I sent you an order with a cashiers check for another copy of your video.  You should get it soon.  Here is a copy of the letter I enclosed with it.

Please send me your Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and the Coaching Baseball Pitchers book.

I bought one from you last fall and gave it to a friend of mine: a doctor who deals with injured athletes and veterans.  He watched it, wanted it for himself and said he thought it made complete sense.

I've also just sent a $100 donation via paypal for your work.


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     I appreciate your contribution.  It will keep my website online for over two months.

     Since the day that I put the eleven sections of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video online for all to watch without charge, I have not made any more copies.

     I don't have any more copies.

     However, I tell everybody that have copies to make as many copies as they want and give them to everybody they can.

     I will immediately return your check.

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0173.  Chamberlain throws off half-mound
Wall Street Journal
February 03, 2012

TAMPA, FL:  New York Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain has started throwing off a half-mound as part of a rehabilitation program after elbow ligament replacement surgery.

Chamberlain threw at the Yankees' minor league complex in Florida on Friday.  The right-hander said the session on the 5-inch mound, which New York pitching coach Larry Rothschild and team vice president Billy Connors watched, went well.

Chamberlain went 2-0 with a 2.83 ERA in 27 relief appearances last season before surgery on June 16.  He is expected to rejoin the Yankees at some point this 2012 season.


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     Damn.  Now I have to build five inch high pitching mounds.

     This stupidity is a result of Dr. Glenn Fleisig's ridiculous finding that throwing off flat ground is less stressing than throwing off a ten inch high pitching mound.

     The difference is using the one step crow-hop pitching rhythm versus the balance position pitching rhythm; not the height of the pitching mound.

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0174.  Hanson feeling good as Spring Training nears
MLB.com
February 03, 2012

ATLANTA, GA:  As the holiday season neared, Tommy Hanson did not seem overly concerned about his right shoulder.  Since starting his throwing program in early January, the Braves pitcher has gained more reason to believe he will not have any limitations when Spring Training begins.

"It feels better now than it did [in December]," Hanson said.  "I'm definitely a lot more optimistic now than I was even last month."

Hanson has remained encouraged while throwing off the mound multiple times over the past month.  While visiting Turner Field on Thursday, he did not seem to have any problems playing long toss.

"I'm on a normal schedule right now and I feel good," Hanson said.  "I highly doubt that will change."

Hanson missed almost all of the final two months of last season because of right shoulder discomfort that gradually worsened over the course of the 2010 and 2011 seasons.  Dr. James Andrews evaluated him in September and only found normal wear and tear around the shoulder.

Hanson spent a month this off-season working with Braves physical therapist Troy Jones at the club's Spring Training complex in Lake Buena Vista, FL.  While there, he focused on strengthening his back muscles with the hope this will place less strain on his shoulder.

"I think it's going to be a constant thing with my back," Hanson said.  "It's not bothering me now.  I'll just have to keep doing all my exercises and everything else they've been having me do.  It seems to help."

Hanson admits that he entered this off-season feeling somewhat uncertain about his shoulder.  But the past couple of weeks have given him the confidence that he could enter this upcoming season feeling better than he has during most of the past two seasons.

"I had no idea what was going to happen or how I was going to feel," Hanson said.  "I'm definitely happy that I feel good now and that everything has been going good.  I feel like I'm going to be on a normal schedule."


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     I love the 'wear and tear' diagnosis.  It means inevitability.  As in, nothing can be done.

     Nevertheless, the Braves physical therapist, Troy Jones, spent a month making Mr. Hanson do some completely irrelevant back exercises.

     But then, I do not consider the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to be a back muscle.

     If Mr. Hanson learned how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, then he would be on the road to becoming the best baseball pitcher that he could be.

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0175.  Boston Globe
February 05, 2012

Mark Prior will likely attempt one more comeback.

He spent some of last season with the Yankees.  His rebuilt arm held up well and his velocity got into the low 90s.

But Prior, who was the Stephen Strasburg of his day, has a new problem.

After many weeks of trying to figure out what was wrong with the lower half of his body, he had surgery for a sports hernia.  But, the surgery did not completely correct his problem.

He is working out near his home in San Diego, trying to figure it out.  He will likely work out for teams as early as March.


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     The answer is simple.  Mr. Prior uses the body action of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion where baseball pitchers separate the forward rotation of the hips and shoulers.

     If Mr. Prior learned to rotate the entire pitching arm side of his body forward together, then he would not have any problem.

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0176.  Veteran right-hander Penny to play in Japan
MLB.com
February 05, 2012

Right-hander Brad Penny is headed to Japan's Pacific League after 12 seasons in the Majors, The Associated Press reported Sunday morning.

The SoftBank Hawks, based in Fukuoka, announced the signing on their website.

Penny, 33, posted an 11-11 record, 5.30 ERA, 74 strikeouts and 62 walks last season with the Tigers, his fifth team in the past four seasons.  He was expected to arrive in Japan on Wednesday.

If Penny does not return to the Majors, his career line will include a 119-99 record and a 4.23 ERA between six teams, primarily the Marlins and Dodgers.


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     Over those last four seasons, Mr. Penny looked to Mr. Reinold's 'Pathomechanics' rehabilitation and Dave Duncan's hand-written notebooks for the answer.  Now, he is trying the Japanese methods.

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0177.  Pirates to renew emphasis on conditioning
MLB.com
February 06, 2012

  When the Pirates stream into their Bradenton, FL Spring Training camp; beginning with pitchers and catchers a week from Saturday, there is a pretty good chance they will find a new wardrobe item waiting in their lockers.

Courtesy of designer Clint Hurdle, the T-shirts might read "Finish What You Start," or some similar message.

"We need to finish.  That will be our rallying cry," the Pirates manager said recently.  "We want to have sustained success.  We had a season with two different sides."

The circumstances have been beaten to death:  First place on July 25, implosion thereafter.

A myriad of factors influenced the dour finish, but the club has taken steps to guard against a lack of conditioning possibly contributing to a repeat.

The Bucs have hired not one but two strength and conditioning coaches, a position that technically did not even exist last season, although Frank Velasquez filled the analogous role of conditioning coordinator.

Ben Potenziano, the Giants' strength and conditioning coach the previous six seasons, has taken over as the Pirates' assistant athletic trainer.  And Brendon Huttman, the Dodgers' strength and conditioning coach since 2008, has assumed the same position with the Pirates.  Completing the makeover, Todd Tomczyk, also formerly with the Dodgers, is the club's new head athletic trainer.

Huttman is a 33-year-old graduate of the University of Kansas who previously had worked in the Royals, Rockies and Indians organizations.  Following his hiring in late October, he hit the ground running, when not driving on it or flying over it.

Huttman has been one of the principals responsible for an often-overlooked challenge faced by smaller-market, cold-weather teams:  Riding herd on players scattered throughout the country, monitoring their off-season conditioning to ensure they arrive in camp in the best possible shape.

With the exception of Pittsburgh native Neil Walker, none of the Pirates makes his off-season home in the city.

"I've been on the move all offseason," Huttman said.  "Been to Pittsburgh four times, to Pirate City three times, the Winter Meetings [in Dallas]; I've spent a ton of nights on the road, just focused on seeing as many players as I can, to be a positive influence on their preparations."

Proper conditioning alone does not win games, but it definitely helps in the preparation to play winning baseball.

One of the fallouts from the Boston Red Sox's notorious September collapse was the retroactive questioning of their conditioning.

The Pirates are making sure to avoid any such possible second-guessing.  Given the club's streak of 19 consecutive losing seasons, it certainly isn't newsworthy that they haven't had a winning record over a season's last two months since 1992, either.

However, the string has been particularly gnarled over the last four seasons: 74-154 in August-September, a winning percentage of .324.

Doubtless, Hurdle was taking mental notes as the Pirates were going 18-38 after July, and participated in designing the off-season programs.

"It's a multi-dimensional approach involving the whole medical department.  We all participate in following up with the players," said Huttman, who spent his first weeks on the job "gathering information on each player."

Then he was ready to assign "homework."

"Every player, on the Major and Minor League levels, was given an individualized program, basically for every day, with highlighted calendars all the way to Spring Training.  Weights, core work, agility drills; all the elements of an off-season routine.

"Every organization has its unique challenges and its benefits.  One of the main things with the Pirates is that, as an organization, we can bring into Pirate City as many players as we want [during the off-season] and oversee some of the more specialized work they need to do."

Huttman is as happy as the most baseball-hungry fan that Spring Training is just around the corner.  For him, it'll mean being able to check on players by going locker to locker, rather than city to city.


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     Former Dodger strength and conditioning coach, Brendon Huttman, said that, during the off-season, the Pirates can bring as many players as we want to Pirate City in Bradenton, FL to oversee the more specialized work that their players they need to do.

     To become the best baseball players that they can be, every baseball player in the Pirates organizaton needs specialized work.

     Unfortunately, neither Mr. Huttman, Mr. Potenziano, nor Mr. Tomczyk have any idea how to design the skill and fitness programs that they need.

     Therefore, instead of "Riding herd on players scattered throughout the country, monitoring their off-season conditioning to ensure they arrive in camp in the best possible shape," the Pirates should require that every baseball player in their organization spend every day of their off-season in Pirate City working to become the best professional baseball player that they can be.

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

***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, February 19, 2012, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0178.  February 12 Look-see

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0149.  Around the Horn: Cards' starting rotation

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All is forgiven; if you win the World Series.  Collateral damage, that's all.

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0150.  Red Sox sign former Mets hurler Maine

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Hey Mr. Maine, call the only REAL pitching Doctor.  Make a few simple adjustments.  Get back to the bigs.  Make $10 million.  Enjoy your post-baseball life.  I'm just sayin'.

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0152.  Tom House's Harmful Advice in a Video and More

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It's amazing that Mr. House continues to get anyone to listen to him.  But even pitchers who have been hurt by him still drink his Cool-Aid.  He must use purified water to mix it up.

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02.  Article on Mr. Chapman

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You wrote:  "Mr. Chapman has absolutely no chance of lasting as long as Dontrelle Willis lasted."

You can't make this stuff up.

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0159.  A's Braden progresses to throwing from mound

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Those damn freak injuries.

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0161.  Dice-K making progress, throws bullpen session

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You wrote:  "Mr. Matsuzaka had a slight ‘Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.’  However, in Japan, Mr. Matsuzaka threw enough one step crow-hop throw to repair the connective tissue that he tore.  Without his one step crow-hops, Mr. Matsuzaka could not repair the connective tissue tears."

Is this because of the increased non-injurious blood flow?

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     When baseball pitchers do one step crow-hop throws, they stimulate the involved tissues to make physiological adjustments without injury.  If the body repairs the torn connective tissue as fast as the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion tears them, then they do not rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     However, the better solution is to learn how to pendulum swing the pitching arm and use the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle to protect the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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0163.  Astros' Mejdal takes on unique role

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This was a helluva Q/A.  Wish I could contribute something, but it is a 'stand alone'.

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0164.  Labrum tear surgery

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I feel bad for the coach.  He obviously deeply cares.

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0165.  Minicamp gives Dodgers early look at hurlers

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You wrote:  "The day after their competitive seasons end, at their team' spring training facilities, professional baseball players should start their off-season skill development and fitness programs."

The last sentence sums it up.  Skill development and fitness.

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0171.  Quiet Acceleration

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You wrote:  "Therefore, from the moment that the glove arm side foot lands, I want my baseball pitchers to uniformly accelerate the baseball."

I have never liked 'uniformly'.  Could you include some other words too?

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     Uniformly means at the same rate.  Graphically, the slope of the acceleration line would be horizontal, which means that the velocity line is also straight.

     In my 1971 high-speed film study of my acceleration line, from when my glove foot landed, my acceleration line went steeply upward then downward through release.

     This acceleration line showed that, at the beginning of my acceleration phase, the explosive rotation of my body rapidly accelerated the baseball, but, through release, my rate of acceleration rapidly decreased.

     With my baseball pitching motion, the acceleration rate remains uniform through release.

     Uniform acceleration is a good thing.  You should like it.

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You wrote:  "The force-coupling of the pitching upper arm forward and the glove arm side foot and glove forearm pull back forwardly rotates the acromial line to point toward home plate."

This sentence was a bit cumbersome.

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     Okay.  How about this sentence?

     The force-coupling of the pitching upper arm toward home plate and the glove foot and forearm pullback toward second base rotates the acromial line to point toward home plate.

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You wrote:  "Uniform acceleration means that the velocity of the baseball uniformly increases its velocity."

Does uniformly mean continuously?

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     No.  Uniformly means at the same rate.

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0173.  Chamberlain throws off half-mound

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Why do Dr. Fleisig's finding have validity and yours do not?  Is it because he didn't also win a Cy Young?

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     I think that, because the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI) is the research wing of Dr. Andrews' orthopedic surgery practice, professional baseball people believe what ASMI says has credibility.

     Unfortunately, professional baseball people do not understand biomechanical analysis. Therefore, they accept without verifying.

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0175.  Boston Globe

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Between the Peter Principle, Murphy's Law and Einstein's definition of insanity, no one has a chance.

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0176.  Veteran right-hander Penny to play in Japan

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Between the Peter Principle, Murphy's Law and Einstein's definition of insanity, no one has a chance.

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0177.  Pirates to renew emphasis on conditioning

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Between the Peter Principle, Murphy's Law and Einstein's definition of insanity, no one has a chance.

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     It appears that you have the theme for this week.

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0179.  Early throwing program showing a Brave new world
SportsXChange
February 08, 2012

Players have been coming into the clubhouse at Turner Field for the last month, at least, but January 30 marked the first official day of the traditional early throwing program.

It's voluntary and open also to the organization's minor-leaguers, who are always amazed that pitching coach Roger McDowell spends as much time with them as with the established pitchers.

Because right-handed prospects Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado attract so much attention, it's easy to forget that right-hander Brandon Beachy and left-hander Mike Minor are young pitchers, too.

As are left-hander Jonny Venters, right-hander Craig Kimbrel and even, for that matter, right-handers Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson.

"It's going to take some patience and some bumps in the road," McDowell says.

Of Beachy and Minor, specifically, McDowell added:  "They're still young at their craft.  The experience that they gained last year was a tremendous asset.  You can't replace that in the minor leagues.  The atmosphere that they were in the last month of the season, they were able to contribute."

Beachy doesn't take a lot of consolation in that, of course, saying:  "I pitched poorly in September.  But it wasn't because of anything conditioning-wise or being tired or anything I could have done in the weight room.  I just didn't execute.

"That's going to be what I have to work out on the mound in those bullpen sessions.  The consistency of throwing more and more."

Meaning, hitting his spots.  "Just being able to throw it outside when I want it outside and inside when I want it inside."

When he didn't do that last season, his pitch count soared and he didn't last more than five or six innings.  Going deeper in games is his goal, not only for himself but to save the bullpen.

But, if any pitcher can't make it out of the fifth inning, McDowell and manager Fredi Gonzalez are planning to send right-hander Kris Medlen into the breach, saving left-hander Eric O'Flaherty, Venters and Kimbrel to wrap up the close games.


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     The Braves open their Atlanta facilities to their players.

     January 30th is the official day of the traditional early throwing program.  However, some players started using these facilities after New Year's day.

     The facilities are also open to minor-leaguers.

     The Braves pitching coach, Roger McDowell, attends these voluntary workout.  Mr. McDowell spends as much time with the minor league pitchers m as he does with the major league pitchers.

     In September 2011, the Braves promoted minor league baseball pitcher, Brandon Beachy, to the major leagues.  Mr. Beachy uses the Braves' Atlanta facilities.

     Mr. Beachy said, "I pitched poorly in September.  But it wasn't because of anything conditioning-wise or being tired or anything I could have done in the weight room.  I just didn't execute."

     Mr. Beachy knows that he needs skill development.

     Mr. Beachy said, "That's going to be what I have to work out on the mound in those bullpen sessions.  The consistency of throwing more and more.  Just being able to throw it outside when I want it outside and inside when I want it inside."

     How quickly athletes master motor skills varies.  Baseball pitching is a highly complex motor skill.  Highly complex motor skills require considerable more time for athletes to master.

     Therefore, Mr. Beachy should have started his skill training immediately after the season ended.

     What I find more interesting is that so many Braves major and minor league players and Mr. McDowell live in Atlanta.

     To properly teach and train professional baseball players, coaches and players need to live in the city where their teams have their spring training facilities.

     However, teams will not provide housing for their players to spend their off-seasons in the city where their teams have their spring training facilities.

     I was lucky.  Every day of my off-seasons, my baseball pitching coach taught me the skills I needed to succeed and the fitness I needed to pitch at the same high-quality level every day.

     Unlike Mr. Beachy, I did not 'just be able to throw baseballs outside when I want them outside and inside when I want them inside.'

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0180.  Finally healthy, McGowan will get a chance to start
SportsXChange
February 08, 2012

RHP Dustin McGowan is ready to compete for a spot in the rotation.

He returned to the majors late last season for the first time in more than three seasons after twice undergoing shoulder surgery.  He was good enough to earn a chance this spring training to make the rotation.

"If I'm healthy, I've always felt like I can win a job," McGowan told the Toronto Star.

"I think this off-season was the time to rest my arm up and let it heal completely.  The plan is to go as if it was a normal season."

McGowan did some throwing off a flat surface at the minor league complex in Dunedin, FL and the Blue Jays were encouraged by the results.

McGowan was 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA in five games, including four starts, with Toronto in 2011.


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     I do not believe that 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA in five end of the season games is good enough to earn a chance this spring training to make the Blue Jays starting rotation.

     However, that how Mr. McGowen threw off flat ground in Dunedin, FL encouraged the Blue Jays is good.

     After two shoulder surgeries in three years, Mr. McGowen needed to train throughout the off-season, not 'rest my arm up and let it heal completely.'

     Rest does not heal pitching arms.  Rest weakens pitching arms.

     With an 18% possibility that Mr. McGowen will return to his previous performance level, Mr. Mc Gowen needed all the skill and fitness training he could get.

     The most important skill development Mr. McGowen needs is how to eliminate the injurious flaw that required that Mr. McGowen have two surgeries on his pitching shoulder.

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0181.  Suppan gets minor league deal
SportsXChange
February 08, 2012

RHP Jeff Suppan, who spent all of last season in the minor leagues, signed a minor league deal with the Padres and will attempt to make the team in spring training.

Suppan, 37, went 11-8 with a 4.78 ERA in 28 games (27 starts) for the Royals' Class AAA Omaha affiliate in 2011.

His last major league action came in 2010, when he went a combined 3-8 with a 5.06 ERA in 30 games (15 starts) for the Brewers and Cardinals.


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     Mr. Suppan either did not invest his major league earnings properly or he has nothing better to do.

     A 4.78 ERA in Triple-A does not a major league pitcher make.

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0182.  Weeding out pitchers will be a process for Orioles
Baltimore Sun
February 08, 2012

The deal that sent Jeremy Guthrie to the Colorado Rockies for two more right-handers increased the number of pitchers on the 40-man roster to 21, and the number arriving at the Ed Smith Stadium for the first workout on February 19 could top 30 when you add in all the non-roster invitees.

New executive vice president Dan Duquette made it his top priority to bolster the Orioles' organizational pitching depth, so none of this should be particularly surprising, but there has been so much turnover this winter that it's fair to wonder how much might be too much.

Of course, any old-school baseball type will tell you that you can never have enough good pitching, but that kind of begs the question.  How many of these guys really are good pitchers and how many are the kind of guys whom bad teams pick up hoping to get lucky and end up with some champagne for the price of light beer?

The Orioles will certainly need some extra arms to get through the first week or two of pre-season games.  They are scheduled to open the exhibition season with a pair of split-squad games against the Tampa Bay Rays and Pittsburgh Pirates on March 5, which means that they might need as many as 25 pitchers just to get through three games the first two days, since only a few of those pitchers will throw more than one inning the first time out.

The herd will have to be thinned pretty quickly, however, since Showalter and pitching coach Rick Adair are going to need a lot of innings to audition the dozen or so candidates for the starting rotation.

That should be interesting.  Duquette has thrown out a wide net to accumulate enough starters for at least two full rotations.  He has talked up Dana Eveland and Taiwanese left-hander Wei-Yin Chen and the just-acquired Jason Hammel.  He has signed Armando Galarraga, the classy fellow who pitched the perfect game that wasn't, to a minor league contract. It would be no surprise at this point if he hopped a jet to the Dominican Republic and talked Pedro Martinez out of retirement.

C'mon, how many teams go to Spring training with enough rotation-eligible starting pitchers to begin jury selection?

Orioles fans are understandably skeptical, since they waited out the entire Andy MacPhail rebuilding project and ended up watching the youth-infused starting rotation come unraveled last year because of the mysterious downfall of Brian Matusz, the elbow problem that limited the effectiveness of Jake Arrieta and the slower-than-expected development of Chris Tillman.

Duquette arrived in town determined to make sure that the team isn't caught short in either the rotation or the bullpen again, but fans have a right to be unimpressed with the quality of the arms he has stockpiled so far.

He may end up looking like a genius if Chen takes the American major leagues by storm and Hammel pops and Eveland finally blooms with his seventh major league team in eight years, but doesn't it seem like somebody around here is saying something like that at about this time every year?

The only way the O's are going to achieve Duquette's goal of reaching .500 this season is if some of those things happen and the young nucleus of the rotation takes the big step this year that MacPhail and Showalter were banking on last spring.  It's not a good thing when you have to depend on a best-case scenario just to be average.

The Orioles are coming out of another winter without a dynamic free-agent acquisition.  They just traded away their most experienced veteran starter for a pair of unheralded pitchers who may be in for a rude awakening in the AL East.  This team does not appear, on paper, much more prepared to compete in their brutal division than it was at this time a year ago…or four, for that matter.

So, we enter another season waiting to be surprised.  We can only watch and hope that Duquette knows something we don't.


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     Not to worry.  Mr. Duquette hired Rick Peterson.  Mr. Peterson has from the start of spring training to the start of the major league season to whip these guys into quality major league pitchers.

     If I did not get at least the entire off-season to teach and train baseball pitchers, then I would have not accepted the job.

     Even if Mr. Peterson knew what he is doing, he cannot make quality major league baseball pitchers in that short time period.

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0183.  DVD copy

In Q/A #0172 Order plus donation, the readers asked for another copy of your Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, but you don't have any.

If he would like a copy, I have your 2006 DVD and can make a copy for him.  It would be OK if you gave him my email address.


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     That is very kind of you.  I will send him a copy of your email.

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0184.  New Front arm only drill

In Q/A #0027 you answered your reader:  "You are the King and innovator of my new front arm only drill."

1.  Can you please describe this new drill?


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     I don't know whether I can do justice to describing with words how to perform my new front arm only drill.

     Let me start with a purpose statement.

     The front arm does not start the forward movement of the center of mass of the baseball bat.  Instead, the rotation of the entire rear arm side of the body starts the forward movement of the center of mass of the baseball bat.

     This means that the front arm does not change its position relative to the body.

     When my baseball batters do my front arm only drill, the inertial mass of the baseball bat causes the baseball bat to continue beyond when the entire rear arm side of the body stops rotating forward.

     I teach my baseball batters to stand vertically erect and have the baseball bat horizontal on their rear shoulder.

     Therefore, when they explosively rotate the entire rear arm side of their body forward, the center of mass of their baseball bat moves horizontally forward.

     This means that, with my front arm only drill, my baseball batters make contact most easily with pitches that are the same height at where the center of mass of their baseball bats starts.

     To make contact with pitches lower than the height at which the center of mass of their baseball bats starts, my baseball batters have to squat vertically downward.

     This means that my baseball batters have to keep their axis of rotation vertical.  If my baseball batters bent forward at their waist, then the center of mass of the baseball bat would move downward then upward, which would greatly decrease the possibility of contact with the pitched baseball.

     I hope that understanding the theory helps you to understand the force application technique.

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0185.  Sidearm pitching

I have a son who is a sophomore pitcher at a mid-major Division I college.

He has decided to start throwing sidearm.  He has been doing so since the fall of 2011.

He has always been a 3/4 arm angle pitcher and had great success through High School.  He was an 85-89 mph pitcher.

He seemed to lose some velocity during his freshman year and decided to try the new arm angle. He achieved some early success especially with the movement, but has recently had trouble with location and consistently throwing strikes and starting to lose confidence.

1.  How long does it usually take to master such a drastic change for a pitcher?

Any other advice is welcome.


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     I strongly disagree that throwing sidearm will improve your son's baseball pitching performance.

     To maximize release velocity and consistency, baseball pitchers have to apply force in straight lines toward home plate and release their pitches with a vertical pitching forearm through release.

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0186.  Marshall Batting Technique

Thirteen year old practicing the Marshall batting technique with both hands

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     Your thirteen year old son did a decent rendition of my baseball batting technique.  Rather than critique each swing, I will leave it at about two-third of the swings needed adjustments.  Nevertheless, he did fine.

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0187.  Signing of Hernandez gives Astros a deep six in rotation
SportsXChange
February 08, 2012

Despite where the Astros sit relative to the rest of baseball, spots in the rotation will not just be handed out this spring.  That was assured when a sixth extremely viable candidate was added to the rotation mix with the signing of veteran workhorse Livan Hernandez.

Hernandez, 36, signed a minor league contract complete with an invitation to major league spring training, where he will have a legitimate shot to make the opening day roster.  It would be his 17th season in the major leagues for the 1997 World Series MVP.

"He gives us a veteran presence and it gives us flexibility so we don't have to push some young guys into roles if they're not ready for them," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said.

The most obvious young arm is attached the body of Jordan Lyles, who debuted at age 20 with a 5.36 ERA last year as the Astros' top prospect.  He had in some eyes been penciled into a rotation with Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, Bud Norris and J.A. Happ after the Astros let most of the off-season pass unable to move the veterans in that rotation.

Henry Sosa and Kyle Weiland also figured into the equation, which became a lot more complicated in the sunset of the off-season.  Not only was Hernandez acquired, but also Zach Duke, who comes to camp on a minor league deal.

Should Hernandez make the rotation, the Astros are counting on him to pitch a lot of innings.  He pitched 175 1/3 for the Nationals last year before being shut down to give some of their young pitchers a chance to pitch in September.

Hernandez has passed the 200-inning mark 10 times in his career.


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     If Mr. Hernandez pitches the innings that Mr. Lyles needs to become a quality major league pitcher, then hiring Mr. Hernandez delays Mr. Lyles development.

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0188.  Wainwright says he feels 'danged good'
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
February 09, 2012

JUPITER, FL:  Projections are cheap this time of year, especially for a pitcher less than a year removed from surgery.  Approaching the anniversary of his elbow ligament transplant, Adam Wainwright has his own ideas about determining how much he can give the Cardinals this spring and this season.

"I plan on letting my arm do my lobbying," Wainwright said Wednesday morning within an otherwise empty clubhouse at Roger Dean Stadium.

Sixteen months after finishing as runner-up to National League Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay and three years after finishing third in controversial balloting to Tim Lincecum and teammate Chris Carpenter, Wainwright arguably represents the most significant addition within the NL Central.

The Cardinals won 90 games and a World Series title without their former 20-game winner.  As part of a healthy rotation, Wainwright strongly believes last season could serve as a warm-up act even given the absence of three-time NL Most Valuable Player Albert Pujols.

"I think we ought to be better," Wainwright insisted.  "You can't say you're going to be better than a team that won the World Series, because that's the eventual goal.  But in the day-in, day-out process in a 162-game season I think we'll be better.  That's not because Albert is gone.  That's because the other roles on this team have gotten drastically better.  I feel like our bullpen is much more experienced, much more comfortable in big spots.  The experience of winning a World Series is enormous for a young player."

Wainwright delivered the final pitch of the 2006 NLCS and World Series as the Cardinals' makeshift closer.  He moved to the starting rotation in 2007 and had emerged as one of the league's top three starters before his elbow ligament snapped while throwing live batting practice last February.

Elbow ligament replacement, aka Tommy John, surgery is now considered a mere speed bump within a pitcher's career.  Wainwright virtually promised after last year's procedure that he would be ready by opening day 2012.  And while he is throwing from a mound, he has also resumed facing hitters since arriving in south Florida on January 12.

"I expect to be the complete pitcher I had become," Wainwright said about his early-season goals.  "I expect to compete every time I go out there.  I expect to have my location.  I expect to be healthy because I've been feeling pretty good."

Wainwright estimates he is throwing his fastball with 90 percent effort.  He is ecstatic about his mechanics and the easy velocity he is creating.  The last year has allowed him to gain weight and strengthen his lower body. Since arriving in camp he has thrown about every third day and has yet to experience a setback.

"I've definitely gotten stronger," said Wainwright, who threw 471 innings in the two seasons prior to his surgery.

Wainwright, 30, is aware of the organization's guarded projections for the upcoming season's workload.  General manager John Mozeliak underscored a conservative approach last month.  Wainwright was listening but doesn't necessary subscribe.

"I just think it's impossible to call out innings in spring training," he said.  "The competitor I am is not going to allow me to talk about 150 innings.  That's not a goal.  It's not to say the boss is not in charge.  But that's not a reasonable goal for me.  And neither is 200 innings.  I'd feel bad saying something on the high end.  I don't think you can set that now."

Wainwright can't envision a scenario in which he is not part of the opening day rotation.  Nor does he see a reason why he wouldn't make at least 32-33 starts. (He made 67 total in his last two healthy seasons.)

"My expectation is to make it very hard for them to keep me out of games," he said.

His own clubhouse offers support.  Chris Carpenter required ligament replacement surgery in 2007.  Jaime Garcia needed the same in 2008.  Examples abound of pitchers who have returned to dominance after the procedure.

"I look at Tim Hudson, Jaime, Carp and Josh Johnson.  Those guys were able to throw the ball outstanding after they were done with this," he said.  "Where you look at it, the guys who were really good before they had Tommy John (surgery) were just as good or better when they came back.  Why would I look anywhere else than that?"

Wainwright carries a career 2.97 ERA and 66-35 record.  He finished in the top five in innings pitched, ERA, wins and strikeouts in each of his last two healthy seasons.  He won a Gold Glove in 2010 and has allowed one earned run in 17 2/3 post-season innings.  Now Wainwright brandishes a new elbow and the same old confidence.

"I just feel really good," Wainwright emphasized.  "I feel strong.  I feel ready to go.  It's one of the things where the power of understatement can be really great.  But at the same time Cardinal fans should know that I'm feeling pretty danged good."


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     The writer wrote:  "Chris Carpenter required ligament replacement surgery in 2007.  Jaime Garcia needed the same in 2008."

     Adam Wainwright said, ""I look at Tim Hudson, Jaime, Carp and Josh Johnson.  Those guys were able to throw the ball outstanding after they were done with this."

     Why bother to turn the palm of your pitching hand from facing downward to facing upward?

     You can keep the palm of your pitching hand facing downward, rupture your Ulnar Collateral Ligament, not have to pitch for a year and still get paid.

     Oh by the way, didn't Mr. Carpenter rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament twice?

     If Mr. Wainwright does not turn the palm of his pitching hand to face upward, then it will not take as long to rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament a second time.

     The best gift that Mr. Carpenter ever received was a copy of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.  Mr. Carpenter has Tom Wheatley, then sportswriter for the St. Louis Dispatch, to thank for the rest of his career.

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0189.  Harden hopes surgery leads to comeback
MLB.com
February 09, 2012

It had gotten to the point where it simply wasn't fun.

"It seemed as if I was always hurt," says Rich Harden.  "I kept my mouth shut and tried to fight through it, but my shoulder was never right."

Harden could have gotten a contract and gone off to Spring Training next week for another try.  He did strike out 91 in 82 2/3 innings for the Athletics last season, but he was limited to 15 starts, and when he was essentially traded to the Red Sox at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, Boston's medical staff felt there were too many red flags to recommend the deal.  Harden tried one more off-season of rehab, but it didn't get better.

"I was tired of my shoulder never being right, tired of feeling as if I were letting my teammates down, tired of not having fun playing a game I love," Harden says.

So rather than signing one more contract and giving it one more try knowing it wasn't right, Harden last week went to Pensacola, FL, where Dr. James Andrews performed surgery on his torn capsule.

"I understand that I have to sit out this season as I rehab the shoulder," says Harden, who turned 30 in November.  "That's fine.  I know what I have to do, and I am hopeful that at this time next year, I'll be healthy and ready to try to come back with someone.  To be honest, I'm relieved to have it over and move forward.  It's been a long time since I felt the way I should.  It's been five years of inconsistency."

There were physical ups and downs in the early stretch of Harden's career.  He came up with Oakland in 2003, many times demonstrating electric stuff.  He threw 189 2/3 innings in 2004.  In 2005, Harden was limited to 128 innings, but won 10 games and struck out 121.  He threw only 46 2/3 innings in 2006, striking out 49, but the injury that led to this recent surgery occurred in 2007.

"I reached for a ball hit back through the middle and felt something go," Harden says.  "It was never right again.  The next spring, I actually worked on some things in my delivery with Ron Romanick [then Oakland's Minor League pitching coach] and found ways to get by."

Getting by meant going 5-1 with the Athletics, then being traded to the Cubs and also going 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 71 innings.

"I found ways to pitch," Harden says.  "But I knew it wasn't right."

What Harden did in 2008 should speak volumes about who he is.  But as his career dwindled, he made 26 starts and totaled 141 innings for the Cubs in 2009, 18 starts and 92 innings in 2010 for Texas and 15 starts and 82 2/3 innings last season for Oakland.  Some questioned his toughness.  Some questioned whether or not he really liked the game.

"That eats at me," Harden says.  "That's all part of why I felt I had to have the surgery."

Toughness?  The guy was once described as a goon in junior hockey in British Columbia.

"I absolutely love baseball," he says.  "But there was no consistency.  The last couple of years, no matter what I did, I'd have problems getting loose.  I'd get out there in the first inning, trying to throw as hard as I can, and it would come out at 86 or 87 mph.  After I got loose, a lot of times I'd get it up to 93-94.  But if I sat down and had a lot of time between innings, it might be 86-87 again.

"That's no way to play, not fair to my managers or coaches, not fair to my teammates.  It's my nature not to talk a lot about it, so people thought what they were going to think."

So, finally, Rich Harden has had the surgery to repair his shoulder.

"Some people may think there's risk involved, but this is what's right for me," he says.

He hopes that he will be ready to pitch in the Major Leagues in 2013, at the age of 31.

"I hope and believe that if I do the work and everything Dr. Andrews tells me to do," says Harden, "I can have the game be fun again."


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     Mr. Harden is looking for love in all the wrong places.

     Surgery makes pitching injuries worse.

     Capsules do not apply force to baseball pitches.

     Ligaments do not apply force to baseball pitches.

     Labrums do not apply force to baseball pitches.

     The solution to Mr. Harden's problem is not in Pensacola, FL.

     The solution is on my website.

     Using the Pectoralis Major muscle to pull the pitching upper arm forward causes shoulder injuries.  Minimizing the amount and intensity of the side-to-side movement helps, but the proper cure is to engage the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     If Mr. Harden spends 120 days completing my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Programs and masters the drills with which I teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion, then he will never ever have any pitching arm discomfort.

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0190.  Doctor's advice

We have a high school pitcher with some discomfort in the forearm.  No pain at the attachment area of medial epicondyle, but about four inches down in the area of the pronator teres or Flexor carpi radalis.

Our head coach has not allowed throwing for a month or exercise (mistake I know.)  He goes to a doctor who advises him no throwing for another six weeks.  Now we are stuck knowing better, but have a doctor's excuse in hand.

I recommended a second opinion.

Assuming we get clearance for which I know is a combo of improper mechanics and muscles not fit enough to handle workload, what would you recommend?


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     You write that the discomfort is four inches below the elbow joint on the medial epicondyle of the forearm.  That would make the improperly trained muscle, the Flexor Carpi Ulnaris.

     The Pronator Teres muscle inserts into the Radius bone about halfway down the lateral epicondyle side of the forearm.  The Flexor Carpi Radialis muscle also inserts on the lateral epicondyle side of the forearm.

     This is not a pitching injury.  This is a lack of proper fitness training.

     Adding six weeks of rest to the problem means that it will take three months of proper fitness training to get this muscle sufficiently fit to competitively pitch.

     I recommend that this young man immediately start my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.  He must master the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     Until this young man converts his body action from Wrong Foot and Half Reverse Pivot to Drop Out Wind-Up, he will do just fine.  By then, he will have long ago forgotten about this discomfort.

     By summer, with whatever hybrid body action he decides to use, he will be able to competitively pitch without discomfort, but, because of his silly body action, he will had control difficulties.

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0191.  10 lb IB for 16 year old

I enjoy the videos of the 16 year old using your training program.  However, I am quite surprised that you are okay with a 16 year old training with a 10 lb iron ball.

Re:  Q/A #0169. Marshall Iron Ball Throws - Pitching Arm Side View

On a percentage basis, that is quite a step up from your recommended 6 lb iron ball.

1.  Why that much weight?


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     When this young man was starting to pitch youth baseball, he had considerable discomfort in his pitching elbow.  From personal experience, his father knew that the problem was the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.  Therefore, he searched for someone that knew how to eliminate pitching injuries.  He not only found me online; he flew to Florida with his son.

     I cannot remember his son's age at that time, but I think he was around eleven years old.

     I taught him the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.  He started with the wrist weight and iron ball weighs that I recommend for that age.

     Over the years and several visits to Florida, the son continued to annually complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.  He mastered my drills and physiologically adjusted to his wrist weights and iron balls.

     I cannot remember the exact ages, but, over the years, he outgrew the wrist weight and iron ball weights.  When he had performed my 60-Day program for two years with the same weights and said they were too light, while monitoring his discomfort, I okayed a step up in weights.

     When his glove and pitching elbows X-rays showed that the growth plates had completely matured, I okayed another step up in weights.  Now, he uses twenty pound wrist weights and throws a ten pound heavy ball.

     Every few months during the years that I have known this young man and his father, I have made certain that this young man performed my force application technique without any injurious flaws or beyond his fitness level.

     What the X-rays and his performance have shown is that, when properly monitored, it is possible to cautiously increase the resistances without prematurely closing growth plates.

     Nevertheless, I would never trust a father and son that I did not monitor to do the same.  One wrong step could irreparably damage the pitching elbow and/or shoulder.

     Also, over the years, this young man's junior and senior high school coaches have tried to change his pitching motion.  When these coaches forbid my pitching motion, instead of doing what the junior and senior high school coaches wanted, his father removed his son from the baseball team and continued to follow my training programs.

     The biggest danger to this young man and others that learn my baseball pitching motion is the ignorance of the junior and senior high school coaches.

     Like Ron Wolford told Trevor Bauer:  My baseball pitchers have to fight like a 'junk yard dog' against changing my pitching motion.  This is exactly what this father and son are doing.

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0192.  Head Shot

Today, when throwing, we focused on pronating as hard as possible.  No matter how hard my sixteen year old son pronated, I said "more" (pretending to be you).

Well, after his throws, as we were both practicing your motion, with no ball, just the arm action, I finally felt like I was "punching horizontally forward," as you've described to me many times.

I mention that to my son and he said he felt it too.

He picked up a few more baseballs and threw sinkers with that focus.  The break was sharper.

I also noticed that I whacked myself upside my head a few times.

Obviously, you have preached powerfully pronating forever.  It seems clear now that, when combined with forcefully horizontally bouncing the pitching forearm, maximally pronating the pitching forearm is a head injury waiting to happen.  And, that is what we've been working toward.


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     Years of slapping the pitching side of my head with my pitching shoulder explains a lot.

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0193.  Shoulder Rehab Update

I had a set back a couple weeks ago when I stopped my 6-year old daughter from falling down the stairs.  My shoulder was tender in the previous place of my initial injury, but it didn't stop me from doing my baseball pitching training at full intensity.

I have no discomfort when I train now and it does not hurt to do push ups, swing a bat, or snap throw a baseball and so on.

The times it does hurt is when I do an upper-cut movement with resistance.

It barks when I do middle-finger tip spins, although that's not that bad.  I can't bend over to pick up my daughter (you know how people bend over and pick up children by placing each hand under the child's armpit and then they lift them off the ground).  It will bark at me if I put my key in the door to unlock and push it open.  I still can't sleep on my pitching arm side and, if I lean on my elbow to help myself get up off the floor or couch, it hurts.

At times, if I reach across the dinner table to grab a dish or something that's not even heavy, it will bark at me.  It also bothers me if I were to use a resistance band, pin my elbow to my hip and pull the band across my body.  Yet, there is no pain if I do the opposite and extend out.

YET, I am throwing harder than I ever have which I believe is a direct result from improving my driveline and mechanics.

1.  Does this all seem to be on par with this type of injury?

I'm pretty positive I suffered some damage to the Coracoclavicular Ligament and Coracoacromial ligament because there is deformity which I read is normal when one suffers a separated shoulder.

2.  Are these symptoms I am having just residual pain from the trauma suffered or do you think I suffered a subscapularis injury?

I have zero pain when I do your pronated swings, so I would think if I had subscapular issues I would feel it doing those swings, but I don't.

3.  What are your thoughts?


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     That you did not injure yourself with an improper baseball pitching force application technique meant that you would relatively quickly return to throwing baseballs without discomfort.

     However, the stress of your fall on the ligaments that hold the Clavicle and Humerus bones to the Scapula bone would require considerably more time.  These tissues do not have the blood flow that the tissues associated with your baseball force application have.

     The years of wrist weight exercises and iron ball throws have laid the ground work for rapid physiological adjustments.

     Because you cannot similarly train the tissues associated with your fall, these tissues will require a considerably longer time to physiologically adjust, if ever.

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0194.  Indians, Garland reportedly working on deal
MLB.com
February 13, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH:  The Indians continue to search for as many contingency plans as possible.  Cleveland's latest attempt to strengthen its depth comes in the form of experienced starting pitcher Jon Garland.

On Monday, the Indians and Garland reportedly were working on a Minor League contract that would include an invitation to attend Spring Training with the big league club.  The deal would be pending a physical, which would likely be held later this week at the team's Spring Training site in Goodyear, AZ.  The Indians have not confirmed the reports.

Garland, who is coming off an injury-shortened 2011 campaign, would provide the Indians with a veteran arm for a rotation that is beset with question marks.  Given the uncertain status of the pitcher known to date as Fausto Carmona, depth is a must for the Tribe's starting staff.

The Garland talks, reported first by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, act as a potential low-risk, high-reward move for Cleveland.  While the starter is coming off a shoulder injury, his 2,083 1/3 innings and 132 wins since 2000 rank 12th and 16th, respectively, among all Major League pitchers.

Garland, 32, went 1-5 with a 4.33 ERA in nine outings with the Dodgers last year before undergoing a season-ending shoulder surgery in July.  His recovery period was expected to last at least six months, making him a comeback candidate for Cleveland.

Over the course of 12 seasons in the Major Leagues, Garland has had stints with the White Sox, Angels, D-backs, Padres and Dodgers.  He is 132-119 overall with a 4.32 ERA across 353 games in the big leagues.  Garland has won at least 12 games in a season seven times and he has topped 190 innings nine times.


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     Unfortunately, the article did not explain what kind of shoulder surgery Mr. Garland had.  Nevertheless, the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine report says that only 18% of professional baseball pitchers that have surgery on their pitching shoulder return to their previous performance level.

     However, it took 12 years of major league pitching for the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion that Mr. Garland uses to destroy his pitching shoulder.

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0195.  Millwood taking things slowly early at camp
MLB.com
February 13, 2012

PEORIA, AZ:  With 35 pitchers in camp, the Mariners have all kinds of arms on display this week as Spring Training gets under way for the first Major League team in action.

There are the young guns like 19-year-old Taijuan Walker and 21-year-old Erasmo Ramirez and top prospects like Danny Hultzen and James Paxton looking to open eyes.  There is newly signed free agent Hisashi Iwakuma and trade acquisition Hector Noesi wanting to make a good first impression.

And then there is Kevin Millwood, the 37-year-old veteran who has played 15 Major League seasons for six different organizations.  Millwood didn't try to wow anybody in his first bullpen session on Monday, knowing that neither games nor jobs are won or lost in the initial days of camp.

"For the most part, I'm just getting my feet under me," said Millwood, who signed a Minor League deal with the hope of landing a starting spot with the Mariners this spring.  "I try to hit spots, spin a few breaking balls.  I'm not trying to throw it through the catcher or throw as hard as I can.  I'm just feeling my mechanics out and trying to throw the ball where I want to."

Millwood has a 163-140 record and 4.10 ERA in 423 games in the Majors.  He went 4-3 with a 3.98 ERA in nine late-season starts with the Rockies last year.  The Mariners hope he still has some mileage left on an arm that has logged 2,559 1/3 innings, the fifth-most of any active Major League pitcher.

The Mariners want Millwood in part for his veteran presence.  And if the youngsters were paying attention Monday, they saw a guy who wasn't trying to do too much, too soon, as he builds up his arm strength.

"I've thrown off the mound a few times before I got here, but it was nice to get one outdoors and closer to when it means something," he said.  "But it is a long process.  And it seems like it's gotten longer as the years go by."


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     Mr. Millwood said, "But, it is a long process.  And, it seems like it has gotten longer as the years go by."

     Mr. Millwood also said, "For the most part, I'm just getting my feet under me.  I try to hit spots, spin a few breaking balls.  I'm not trying to throw it through the catcher or throw as hard as I can.  I'm just feeling my mechanics out and trying to throw the ball where I want to."

     At 37 years old and trying to make a major league roster, Mr. Millwood should have come into spring training in mid-season form and fitness.

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0196.  Delivery adjusted, Hanson no longer hits pause
MLB.com
February 13, 2012

ATLANTA, GA:  Tommy Hanson was hesitant when Braves Minor League physical therapist Troy Jones suggested that he alter his awkward delivery.

But, after thinking about it for a couple of months, Hanson returned to Turner Field during the early days of January and told pitching coach Roger McDowell that he wanted to make the change.

"It's not drastic, but it's definitely different," Hanson said after working out at Turner Field on Monday morning.

Instead of performing a complete makeover, Hanson has simply focused on removing the momentary pause that had previously created a snapping-like motion in his delivery.  The adjustment should lessen the stress placed on his right shoulder and finally provide some defense against stolen bases.

"I'm really just cutting out that pause," Hanson said.  "I felt like I was throwing with all arm.  Also, by changing, I could kill two birds with one stone as far as cutting down the running game.  Somebody gets on and they have just run all day.  I think it's going to help both."

Hanson entered this off-season with some uncertainty surrounding his right shoulder.  He had battled discomfort dating back to the 2010 season and missed the final two months of the 2011 season.

While helping Hanson strengthen his back and shoulder muscles at the club's Spring Training complex this off-season, Jones suggested the delivery be altered.  The 25-year-old right-hander initially balked at the thought of altering the delivery that had brought him to the Majors as a heralded prospect in 2009.

But, given a couple of months to think about the suggestion, Hanson determined the change could help his shoulder and reduce the frustration he has encountered with men on base.  Hanson has allowed 81 stolen bases in his career, the most by any pitcher dating back to his June 7, 2009, Major League debut.

Opponents have been successful on 90 percent (63 of 70) of stolen-base attempts against Hanson the past two seasons.  Ted Lilly (94.8), Josh Beckett (90.7) and Randy Wolf (90.6) are the only pitchers with a worse percentage, with far fewer attempts against them.

"The biggest thing this will do is make him quicker to the plate and help him hold runners," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.  "Instead of 1.8 [seconds] or 1.9 to the plate, they're going to have to respect him a little bit."

Hanson believes he will find a dramatic difference if he can just shave a few fractions of a second off the amount of time it takes him to begin his delivery from the stretch and get the baseball to the catcher's mitt.

"If I could just get to 1.5, that will help," Hanson said.  "I don't want to be at 1, but I don't want to stay where I was either."

So far, Hanson has found greater comfort with his altered delivery while throwing from the stretch.  At the same time, he is confident he will find more consistent comfort throwing from the windup during Spring Training.

Hanson does not seem concerned that his altered delivery will have a significant effect on his command or the action of his pitches.  He said the action on his slider and curveball have essentially been the same during his recent bullpen sessions.

"It's not like I'm changing my arm slot or anything like that," Hanson said.  "I'm just separating my hands later.  That way, my arm doesn't get up too soon and then you have that pause.  My legs and the timing aspect are what I need to get the most comfortable with, because it is a little different in terms of how the timing goes."


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     Mr. Hanson changed his pitching motion to help his shoulder and to prevent stolen bases.

     Since June 07, 2009, Mr. Hanson has allowed 81 stolen bases.  With 63 successful steals out of 70 attempts, Mr. Hanson's stolen base success percentage is 90%.

     Instead of taking 1.8 seconds to get the baseball to the catcher, Mr. Hanson hopes to decrease his time to 1.5 seconds.

     During his two week extended spring training stint with the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the baseball pitchers I trained, Joe Williams, using my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion, regularly required only 1.2 seconds.

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0197.  Choosing universities which has Kinesiology

My English is not that well, please don't mind.

I live in Taiwan.  I am a pitcher (S/S).  I throw three-quarter and Set Position.

I am going to go to the university.  I am interested in Kinesiology because I love pitching very much.

For playing better, I started to find the universities which have kinesiology.

I have found two universities.  The first university I found is the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  But, it only has Master's degree program.

So, I found the next university, Michigan State University.  It has some undergraduate degree programs.

1.  Should I choose Exercise Science if I want to pitch better?

I found that you are an alumnus of MSU in Wikipedia and you have gotten the doctor degree of Kinesiology.

2.  Can you give me some propose?

     In addition, I started to pitch just for a few weeks.

3.  If I want to pitch better than Pat Venditte, what can I do?

4.  Is that a good idea to buy Nolan Ryan's Pitcher's Bible and follow it?

5.  Does this book talk about Scapular Loading? 6.  Have you ever met Tom House or any famous pitcher who still in MLB?


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     When I attended Michigan State University, Professor William Heusner taught the Kinesiology course.  He was an outstanding teacher.  However, he died several years ago.  Therefore, I cannot recommend Michigan State University as a place that has a great Kinesiology professor.

     To become the best baseball pitcher that you can be, you need to master the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.  To do that, you need to complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     On my website, I have my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.  In that video, I show how to master the drills that teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     I also provide a video of a skilled performer using my baseball pitching motion.  I call that video, Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion.

     In addition, I provide a video that explains the causes of pitching injuries.  I call that video, Causes of Pitching Injuries.

     But, that is not all of the videos that I provide.  I also provide a video that explains how to prevent pitching injuries.  I call that video, Prevent Pitching Injuries.

     Neither Mr. Ryan nor Mr. House have any idea what they are talking about.

     Scapular Loading will destroy the front of your pitching shoulder.  Never scapular load.

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0198.  Pronation

My sixteen year old son pronated very hard yesterday and said his arm felt 'dead' today.  But, he focused on pronating with full effort again and his throws were strong.

I said that it shows he wasn't pronating hard enough and that he needs to keep it up.

1.  If one of your pitchers goes from, let's say, 50% pronation effort to 100% pronation effort, what does he gain?

I have some guesses but am very interested to hear the answer.


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     The two forces that accelerate the baseball are the rotational velocity of the shoulders and the extension of the pitching elbow.

     To accelerate the baseball, 'traditional' baseball pitchers only use the rotational velocity of their shoulders.

     In addition to extending the pitching elbow, my baseball pitchers also accelerate the baseball by inwardly rotating their pitching upper arm and pronating their pitching forearm.  The more powerfully my baseball pitchers pronate their pitching forearm, the more powerfully they inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     I have no idea how to individually quantify how much force the rotational velocity of the shoulders provides, the extension of the pitching elbow provides, the inward rotation of the pitching upper arm provides and the pronation of the pitching forearm provides.

     Nevertheless, I am confident that the percentages would be in the descending order that I wrote them.

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0199.  The driveline L

You answered Q/A #0120 partly as follows:  "I have no problem with what you call, the driveline 'L.'  My concern is that pendulum swinging the pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height with the pitching elbow bent at 90 degrees could take the pitching hand laterally away from his body and/or above driveline height.

The weight of the heavy ball does prevent both actions.  The question is whether, when he throws baseballs, does he take his pitching hand laterally away from his body and/or above driveline height." I believe that the next iteration on the journey of the traditionalists will be recommending that pitchers get to driveline height when the glove foot lands with the baseball at driveline height, but in this L position.

I am a little surprised you say you are okay with this.

1.  Are you okay with this with traditional pitchers as well?

2.  In their quest to get into this L position, many pitchers have the glove foot land with the baseball well above driveline height as you note.

3.  How injurious is this relative to the 24-69 degrees above horizontal that ASMI currently recommends?

It seems to me that you could still have a significant forearm bounce, if you pull the upper arm forward from this position with the baseball way above the head.

The more important question.  You may recall that in your critique of ASMI you wrote:  "Therefore, after their glove foot lands, those members of ASMI’s Elite group have outwardly rotated their pitching forearm to only 24 above horizontal.  Therefore, to get their pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball to vertical, they still have to outwardly rotate the Humerus bone of their pitching upper arm 66 more degrees.

        Then, to get their pitching forearm, wrist, hand, fingers and baseball to horizontally behind their pitching elbow, they have to outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm 90 more degrees.  As a result, after their glove foot lands, these Elite baseball pitches have to outwardly rotate their pitching upper arm total of 156 degrees more."

It is that 90 more degrees that pitchers have to rotate (from this L position) that interests me.  I interpret your being okay with landing in the L position as a change in sentiment.  I still see that final 90 degrees causing a significant bounce.

4.  Have you changed your position in regard to this final 90 degrees?


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     When the emailer talked about the driveline L, he meant that, from the moment that he took the baseball out of his glove to when he arrived at the Maximum Pitching Forearm Acceleration Position, the baseball pitcher kept his pitching elbow at ninety degrees.

     With their pitching elbow bent at ninety degrees throughout the pendulum swing, baseball pitchers cannot:

01.  Pendulum swing their pitching hand vertically downward, backward and upward to driveline height.

     Instead, they have to take their pitching hand laterally away from their body.  This action results in them taking their pitching hand laterally behind their body.

02.  With their pitching elbow bent at ninety degrees, when the pitching hand reaches driveline height, they have abducted their pitching upper arm to shoulder height.

     If baseball pitchers have the line across the top of their shoulders parallel with the ground, then that is the proper position for the pitching upper arm.

     However, with their pitching elbow bent at ninety degrees, the pitching hand is well above driveline height.

     With the pitching hand well above driveline height, when baseball pitchers move their pitching upper arm from parallel with the ground to vertically beside their head, their pitching hand has to move downward.

     This action causes baseball pitchers to vertically loop their pitching forearm.  Vertically looping the pitching forearm decreases release velocity and consistency.

     Baseball pitchers that have their pitching arms at the Maximum Pitching Forearm Acceleration Position, they have their pitching arm in my 'Slingshot' position.

     In my 'Slingshot' position, my baseball pitchers should have their pitching upper arm vertical with their pitching forearm horizontally behind.  This is when having their pitching elbow bent at ninety degrees is appropriate.

     When 'traditional' baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm horizontally behind their pitching upper arm, their pitching upper arm is not vertical.

     Instead, depending on the amount of body lean to the glove side of their body, their pitching upper arm can be anywhere between below horizontal with the Kent Tekelve sidearm to what 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches call, the 3/4 slot.

     The critical difference between the position of the pitching upper arm that I teach and what 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches teach is that my baseball pitchers have the back of their pitching upper arm facing toward home plate.

     Also, with my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers can get their pitching forearm vertical at release.

     Interestingly, when my baseball pitchers get their pitching forearm vertical at release, they do not have their pitching upper arm at the same angle as their pitching forearm.

     With regard to Dr. Fleisig's folly:  The degrees to which I referred have to do with the position of the pitching forearm when the glove foot lands.

     In Dr. Fleisig's magical world of 'Elite' baseball pitchers perfect baseball pitching motions, his baseball pitchers all have 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.'

     This means that, when his baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm at 24 degrees above horizontal, Dr. Fleisig's 'Elite' baseball pitchers are pointing their pitching forearm toward the front of their body.

     That means that, Dr. Fleisig's 'Elite' baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm 66 degrees away from pointing vertically upward, much less pointing at second base.

     I teach my baseball pitchers to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height.

     Therefore, except for a brief moment at the start of the downward phase of the pendulum swing that I teach, my baseball pitchers never have their pitching forearm pointing toward home plate at 24 degrees above horizontal.

     When my baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm to forty-five degrees behind their body, which is when my baseball pitchers gently turn the palm of their pitching hand to face away from their body, they have their pitching forearm pointing toward second base forty-five degrees below horizontal.

     It is not possible to 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' pitching forearms that point at second base.  Only pitching forearms that point at home plate can have 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

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0200.  Pronation

I also assumed that, due to the inward rotation of the pitching upper arm, the more powerful the pronation of the pitching forearm, the straighter the driveline.  Therefore, the better the spin, accuracy and arm protection.

You wrote:  "To accelerate the baseball, 'traditional' baseball pitchers only use the rotational velocity of their shoulders."

I do not understand this.

1.  Do their pitching arms contribute nothing?


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     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, the acceleration muscles of the pitching arm isoanglosly contract.  That means that 'traditional' baseball pitchers use almost all the force that their pitching arm can generate trying to catch up with the body.

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0201.  Choosing universities which has Kinesiology

Thank you very much for your propose.  It helps me a lot.

I will definitely complete your 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program and surf all the information on your website first.

Then, I will go to a university to get more experience and learn hard on Kinesiology.

I will make you see me someday on MLB, NPB or in a Kinesiology graduate school as soon as I can.

1.  Is that a good idea to film my movement and research the film?

Your maybe the first native-born Asian student.


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     If you want, you can take video of you performing the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion, put them on YouTube and send me the link.

01.  Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill with 10 lb. wrist weights.

02.  Wrong Foot body action; Loaded Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill with 10 lb. wrist weights.

03.  Wrong Foot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill with 10 lb. wrist weights.

04.  Half Reverse Pivot body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill with 10 lb. wrist weights.

05.  Drop Out Wind-Up body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arm actions drill with 10 lb. wrist weights.

     I will analyze your performances and recommend any adjustments that you need to make.

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0202.  The driveline L

You answered:  "Interestingly, when my baseball pitchers get their pitching forearm vertical at release, they do not have their pitching upper arm at the same angle as their pitching upper arm."

1.  I'm not sure what you mean here.

You wrote:  "This means that, when his baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm at 24 degrees above horizontal, Dr. Fleisig's 'Elite' baseball pitchers are pointing their pitching forearm at home plate."

2.  I disagree with this.  I believe their pitching forearm is pointing toward the pitching arm side not toward home plate.  I assume we are talking about when their glove foot lands.

You wrote:  "That means that, Dr. Fleisig's 'Elite' baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm 66 degrees away from pointing vertically upward, much less pointing at second base."

3.  I believe the traditionalists are starting to teach pitchers to get into this L position when the glove foot lands.  So, they avoid this 66 degrees of upward rotation after the glove foot lands.  This is the crux of my interest.

You wrote:  "It is not possible to 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' pitching forearms that point at second base. Only pitching forearms that point at home plate can have 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'"

4.  So, if a traditional pitcher has his elbow bent at 90 degrees with his pitching forearm pointing vertically upward when his glove foot lands, can he have RPFB? In my view, his forearm will go to pointing upward to pointing at second base, never pointing at home plate.

What confuses me is the way you consider the forearm pointing.

I look at it as an arrow going from the elbow through the hand.  Therefore, from the time a traditionalists' glove foot landed, I can't see how the forearm ever pointed toward home plate.  At the time of the bounce I consider the forearm pointing at second base.


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01.  When I wrote, "Interestingly, when my baseball pitchers get their pitching forearm vertical at release, they do not have their pitching upper arm at the same angle as their pitching upper arm," I had a senior moment.

     I meant to write: "Interestingly, when my baseball pitchers get their pitching forearm vertical at release, they do not have their pitching upper arm at the same angle as their pitching forearm."

     This means that, when my baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm vertical at release, they do not also have their pitching upper arm vertical at release.  Therefore, my baseball pitchers do not have their pitching upper arm at the same angle as their pitching forearm.

02.  You have a point.

     With their pitching arm laterally behind their body, when 'traditional' baseball pitchers start their 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' they are not pointing their pitching forearm at home plate.  Instead, they are pointing their pitching forearm toward the pitching arm side of the body.

     However, for me to write that 'traditional' baseball pitchers point their pitching forearm toward the pitching arm side of their body loses the symmetry of my comparisons with my baseball pitchers.

     When my baseball pitchers pendulum swing their pitching arm downward and backward to forty-five degrees behind their body, they are pointing their pitching forearm at second base, not to the glove arm side of their body.

     While, for clarity, when I talk about 'traditional' baseball pitchers, I will say toward the front or back of their body.  Nevertheless, when comparing two things, it is always better to explain the differences with the same criteria.

03.  You wrote:  "Now I believe the traditionalists are starting to teach pitchers to get into this L position when the glove foot lands.  So they avoid this 66 degrees of upward rotation after the glove foot lands.  This is the crux of my interest."

     When their glove foot lands, if baseball pitchers have their pitching arm bent at ninety degrees with their pitching upper arm parallel with the ground, then they will decrease the injuriouis force of their 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

04.  You wrote:  "So if a traditional pitcher has his elbow bent at 90 degrees with his pitching forearm pointing vertically upward when his glove foot lands can he have RPFB?"

     Compared with having their pitching forearm 24 degrees above horizontal when their glove foot lands, having the pitching forearm pointing vertically upward greatly decreases the injurious force of the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'

     You wrote:  "In my view, his forearm will go to pointing upward to pointing at second base, never pointing at home plate."

     'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover' precedes 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.'  During 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' 'traditional' baseball pitchers point their pitching forearm toward the front of their body, which, for symmetry, I say toward home plate.

     If 'traditional' baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm at 24 degrees above horizontal when their glove foot lands, then they are 66 degrees away from pointing their pitching forearm vertically upward.

     If 'traditional' baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm pointing vertically upward when their glove foot lands, then they are 90 degrees from their pitching forearm pointing horizontally at second base, or toward the back of their body.

     You are correct.  The only way that baseball pitchers can 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' their pitching forearm is when they point their pitching forearm toward second base or toward the back of their body.

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0203.  Lefty Sherrill still being held back
MLB.com
February 15, 2012

PEORIA, AA:  Veteran left-handed reliever George Sherrill again was the only Mariners pitcher to not throw on Wednesday as the club completed its second round of bullpen sessions for the 35 candidates in camp.

Sherrill, who signed a one-year deal as a free agent after pitching for Atlanta last year, likely won't crank it up until full-squad workouts begin this weekend.

"We're going to get him out here in the next 3-4 days," manager Eric Wedge said.  "I'm just really aware of the workload he's had and the fact he's a left-hander.  With those guys, as a manager you can get them up every night if you want to.  So there has to be a certain discipline with how you use those guys, especially with George being a veteran and a guy you know you're going to go to.  He knows himself well, so there's no reason to rush that."

Pitching coach Carl Willis noted that Sherrill "fatigued a bit toward the end" of last season and has plenty of time to work himself into shape this spring, with the Mariners being the first Major League team to report by a full week due to their early season opener in Tokyo.

"We're here a long time, so there's no reason to get him started right away," said Willis.  "We'll get him going here in the next few days."

Willis said the first four days of camp, which have now seen all the other pitchers throw two bullpen sessions apiece, have gone well.

"It's always an important step, that second bullpen when guys come in," he said.  "As much as you tell them not to get too giddy that first time out, they want to show you what they can do and they're excited.  But everyone now has gone through two sides and physically they seem to be where they need to be, so we'll keep moving forward."


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     What criteria did the Mariners pitching coach, Carl Willis, use to come to the conclusion that Mr. Sherrill 'fatigued a bit toward the end?'

     If he used fastball velocity, then his statement may have some merit.  However, if he used opposition batting average, then his statement has little merit.

     Whatever the criteria, it is not in Mr. Sherrill's best interest to not train at least as vigorously as the other 34 baseball pitchers.

     To prevent end of the season fatigue, baseball pitchers need to train more vigorously, not less.  With regard to end of season fatigue, the appropriate criteria is how quickly the body recovers from work.

     To decrease the time period that athletes require to recover from competition, athletes have to increase the number of capillaries that supply the muscles that perform their competitive activity.

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0204.  Off-season learning will be key to Jacob Turner's development
Detroit Free Press
February 15, 2012

Tigers ace right-hander Justin Verlander made two starts in his rookie year of 2005.  Both times he was knocked around, allowing four-plus runs and seven-plus hits.  "Those 100-mph fastballs were going out just as fast," general manager Dave Dombrowski said last week.  "But he learned from it."

Second-year right-hander Jacob Turner made three starts in his rookie year last season.  Twice he was knocked around, allowing four-plus runs and seven-plus hits.

Starting Monday, when pitchers and catchers report in Lakeland, FL, the Tigers will begin to see whether Turner, 20, learned from his experience in the big leagues as quickly as Verlander did.

Dombrowski said that he has seen young minor league pitchers fail during their first season, but respond well in the off-season.  "All of a sudden, in the wintertime, they digest that, they come back and they pitch very well," he said.

Turner is the Tigers’ highest-ranked prospect.  He was No.15 on Kevin Goldstein’s recent Top 101 prospects list for Baseball Prospectus.  Goldstein later wrote in a tweet that he thought Turner projected as a No. 2 pitcher.

"Some of the keys for him are going to be using all of his pitches and not overthrowing," Dombrowski said.

According to FanGraphs’ PitchFX, Turner threw fastballs 44 percent of the time last season, but he threw only 241 pitches.

Will he be a successful big-league pitcher this year?

"I’m not really sure if he’s ready or not," Dombrowski said.  "And I don’t know that we’ll know that until we get down there and see him perform."


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     Tigers general manager, Dave Dombrowski, said that he has seen young minor league pitchers fail during their first season, but respond well in the off-season.  "All of a sudden, in the wintertime, they digest that, they come back and they pitch very well."

     Would it not be better if the major league pitching coach went over every At Bat that Mr. Turner pitched the day after the game and discussed why each At Bat was successful or not?

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0205.  JJ at full strength, eager to lead Marlins' staff
MLB.com
February 15, 2012

MIAMI, FL:  If the Marlins are indeed going to contend for a playoff spot, they know their starting pitching must hold up.  The key to the rotation is Josh Johnson.

The two-time All-Star was sidelined last May with right shoulder inflammation, and he missed the remainder of the year.  Without the club's ace, the season unraveled, resulting in a 72-90 record.

With Johnson, the Marlins were on the heels of the Phillies for first place in the National League East the first two months of the 2011 campaign.  In nine starts in 2011, Johnson was 3-1 with a 1.64 ERA.

Along with Johnson, the Marlins also were without three-time All-Star Hanley Ramirez, who underwent left shoulder surgery and missed the final two months.

After an off-season of adding the likes of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, Mark Buehrle and Carlos Zambrano, the organization feels foremost it needs to keep its star players on the field.

"The biggest thing is health with this team now," president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said.  "We like the team.  But in order to perform at the level we'd like for it to perform, we have to stay healthy.

"I think there are 29 other teams probably saying the same thing.  But when you lose Hanley and lose Josh Johnson, it's a big deal.  We need those guys to stay healthy."

The encouraging news for Miami is Johnson appears to be at full strength.  Since mid-January, Johnson has been throwing pain-free off the mound.

He started off working out at his home near Las Vegas.  More recently, he has been in Jupiter, FL, at the club's Roger Dean Stadium Spring Training complex.

Johnson is throwing off the mound on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  The fact that he is not recovering from surgery is a plus, and his shoulder feels strong.

When the Marlins' pitchers and catchers begin Spring Training on February 22, Johnson will be throwing without any restrictions.  "I feel great.  No problems," Johnson said.  "I don't feel anything in there."

Asked if he will be held back in any way, he responded:  "As far as I know, no.  We haven't sat down and talked about it or anything.  So I'm good to go."

Based on how he's handled his rehab, Miami is expecting Johnson to be ready.  "We're confident at this point," Beinfest said.  "He feels good.  He is in Jupiter working out now.  Everything is on schedule.  He will get his work in, and hopefully Ozzie will pencil him in Opening Night against the Cardinals, and we'll work backward from there to get him ready."

In terms of pure stuff, the 6-foot-7 Johnson is among the best in the game.  He has a career record of 48-23 with a 2.98 ERA.  The hard-throwing right-hander was off to a terrific 2011 before experiencing tightness in his shoulder during a May 16 start against the Mets in New York.

Johnson was unable to work his way back into a regular-season game.  The closest he got to game action was throwing batting practice against hitters in Jupiter at the end of the year.  That session didn't gain too much notoriety, but it gave Johnson some peace of mind that his shoulder was sturdy entering the off-season.

Now, after months of rest and building up for Spring Training, Johnson is ready to accept his place as ace of the staff.

Johnson understands his importance to the team.  With him, the Marlins have realistic playoff hopes.  Without him, their chances are greatly diminished.

"I like to have that on myself," Johnson said of the pressure to perform.  "I pride myself on going out there and getting outs for this team.  I hope I can stay healthy and do it the whole year."

Miami feels it has a formidable rotation with Johnson, Buehrle, Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco and Zambrano.  In a new ballpark, and with a payroll that's beefed up to a team-record $96 million, the Marlins are confident they will be a force in the division.

"We've always expected a lot from ourselves," Johnson said.  "People have written us off kind of early [in the past].  Even at the end of the season last year, we were playing good baseball.  Add the new guys, and you have a pretty good team."


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     President of the Marlins baseball operations, Larry Beinfest said, "The biggest thing is health with this team now.  We like the team.  But, in order to perform at the level we'd like for it to perform, we have to stay healthy."

     Marlins baseball pitcher, Josh Johnson said, "I pride myself on going out there and getting outs for this team.  I hope I can stay healthy and do it the whole year."

     Mr. Beinfest has no idea how to keep his baseball pitchers healthy and Mr. Johnson hopes that he can stay healthy.

     That sounds like a recipe for pitching injuries.

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0206.  Shoulder will slow Britton at start of camp
MLB.com
February 15, 2012

SARASOTA, FL:  Orioles pitcher Zach Britton will likely be limited in his activities at the start of Spring Training because he's been dealing with lingering left shoulder inflammation since August, but the 24-year-old still expects to compete for a rotation spot.

An MRI taken earlier this winter on Britton's shoulder showed no structural damage, and the plan is for him to throw Thursday from approximately 90 feet at the team's Spring Training complex.  That session will take place under the supervision of head athletic trainer Richie Bancells, and they will form a throwing progression from there.

"Honestly, I think this is a minor issue," said Britton, who started experiencing problems with shoulder inflammation again when he began a throwing program in mid-December.  "Obviously, the issue with me is not my strength, it's getting into my arm slot [without the inflammation].  If I can get into that arm slot tomorrow and not feel anything, I'm good to go as far as I'm concerned.  Obviously, they are going to want to build me up, but I don't think I'll be that far behind."

Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said the club is "currently monitoring" Britton, one of a handful of players already in Sarasota, and the expectation is the club will have a better idea of his prognosis in the next few days.

Britton admitted previously that he showed up to last year's camp overprepared, and he tired considerably down the stretch of his rookie season.  The lefty won five of his first six Major League starts and carried a 2.93 ERA into June, emerging as a legitimate American League Rookie of the Year Award candidate.  But Britton won just one of his 14 starts that followed, and his ERA was 7.78 over a nine-start stretch that ended with him going on the DL.

Britton said Wednesday that the shoulder inflammation never really went away when he returned, but it wasn't enough of a problem to prevent him from making his final eight starts.

Britton sat down with team orthopedist Dr. John Wilckens after the season, and the theory was that his inflammation would probably calm down with the winter's rest.  But it came back when Britton started throwing, and it began to prevent him from getting loose, particularly when he tried throwing on consecutive days, leading him to drop his arm slot.  He flew to Baltimore to see Wilckens again and also began working with Dr. Keith Meister, who works with the Texas Rangers, at TMI Sports Medicine.  After Britton's MRI, he also started taking stronger anti-inflammatories, which he hadn't been on when he started throwing in December.

"I've felt great since," said Britton, who flew down to Sarasota early to continue his program with Bancells.  "My range of motion is back, and I'm excited to throw [on Thursday] and see what it feels like.  If it feels good, I think we can catch up on the bullpen [sessions] and stuff pretty quickly."

Britton expects to compete for a rotation spot this spring. Since pitchers and catchers won't hold their first official workout until this weekend, he has the luxury of time in making sure everything with his shoulder is 100 percent.

"This is something we've known about and just kind of kept to ourselves, because it wasn't ever a big issue," Britton said of his injury.  "It was just something that we were dealing with.  It was inflammation, and that's something that happens when you pitch.  For some reason, mine was staying a little bit longer throughout the off-season.  Now we're just making sure that's all out of there and we take care of it before I get up on the mound again."

MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette was the first to tweet about Britton's shoulder inflammation on Wednesday morning, saying the lefty would be limited to start camp.  Britton won't be the only Oriole who is expected to be slowed in Spring Training.  Right fielder Nick Markakis, who had abdominal surgery last month, is expected to be limited through the first week of March.


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     Orioles baseball pitcher, Zach Brittone said, "Honestly, I think this is a minor issue."

     Whenever somebody starts a sentence with 'honestly,' they are not telling the truth.

     Mr. Britton also said:  "Obviously, the issue with me is not my strength."

     Whenever somebody starts a sentence with 'obviously,' the answer to the problem is not obvious to them.

     Mr. Britton said that the answer to his shoulder inflammation is getting his pitching arm into his arm slot.  "If I can get into that arm slot tomorrow and not feel anything, I'm good to go as far as I'm concerned."

     Wow.  Mr. Britton is completely lost.

     Then, Mr. Britton said:  "Obviously, they are going to want to build me up, but I don't think I'll be that far behind."

     "Obviously."

     The article said that, after the season, Mr. Britton sat down with Marlins' team orthopedist, Dr. John Wilckens, where Dr. Wilckens said that, with the winter's rest, Mr. Britton's shoulder inflammation would probably calm down.

     Unfortunately, the article also said that, when Mr. Britton began a throwing program in mid-December, Mr. Britton's shoulder inflammation returned.

     Obviously, Dr. Wilckens does not understand that rest makes pitching injuries worse.

     As a result of the return of his pitching shoulder inflammation, Mr. Britton flew to Baltimore to see Dr. Wilckens again.  After Mr. Britton's MRI, Dr. Wilckens had Mr. Britton start taking stronger anti-inflammatories.

     Concurrently, Mr. Britton began working with Texas Ranger orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Keith Meister.

     On Friday, January 13, 2012, I presented my materials to the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association.  I was the second presenter of the morning.  Dr. Keith Meister was the third presenter of that morning.

     In the few minutes between our presentations, Dr. Meister introduced himself to me and said that he found my presentation very interesting.  Unfortunately, because the director of the Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association had me move to another room to answer questions.

     The article said that MLB.com analyst, Jim Duquette, tweeted that the Orioles would limit Mr. Britton's throwing.

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0207.  Clay Buchholz pitches camp early
Boston Herald
February 16, 2012

FORT MYERS, FL:  Clay Buchholz knows the drill. He’s going to spend the next couple of weeks answering questions about two topics: beer and his back.  The beer questions should die down soon enough.  Buchholz hopes to silence the ones about his back through his actions.

The Red Sox right-hander arrived at Jet Blue Park yesterday a few days ahead of the official report date for pitchers and catchers.  He proclaimed his back healthy, said he spent the winter working out with second baseman Dustin Pedroia and then handled questions about last season’s collapse swimmingly.

“It is what it is,” Buchholz said.  “I think that stuff is over and done with.  I know we’re going to have to answer some questions here early.  For the most part, either we didn’t hit or we didn’t pitch and if you don’t do either one of those things in a single month, it’s not going to turn out well.  I think everyone knows that.  “I think a lot of guys have come here with a chip on their shoulder about it.  We want to do well and we want to do it in October, too.”

To get to October, the Sox will need a healthy season out of Buchholz.  He was limited to just 14 starts last year by a sore back that was eventually revealed to actually be a series of tiny fractures.  He worked to return at the end of last season, but fell just short.  He then took off for instructional league, where he felt healthy, and he said he has since thrown “eight or nine” bullpen sessions with no ill effects.

“I feel pretty good,” he said.  “I started a little bit earlier this off-season than I usually do just for the simple fact that I wanted to make sure everything came together OK.”  Buchholz would like to make his regular 32 starts.  “I think it’s big,” he said.  “It’s what I want to do every time I come into spring.”

Buchholz had some particularly interesting things to say about new manager Bobby Valentine and admitted that the team could benefit from his firm hand, particularly in light of the way last year ended.

“He seems like he likes to have control of everybody and I think that’s something that we need,” Buchholz said.  “Then again, he’s a relaxed person, too, so it’s going to fit in well with this clubhouse.

“Everybody here is a grown man.  Everybody can take care of themselves.  But sometimes when you veer off the path that you need to take, you need someone there to tell you, ‘Hey this is where we need to go and I see you doing this.’  In that aspect, it’s going to be good for us.”

Which brings us back to the beer and chicken.  Buchholz said it actually happened more in past seasons, but no one knew or cared because the team was winning.  Regardless, what’s important now is to man up, admit mistakes, and just move forward.

“The main issue is we didn’t make the playoffs and that was just something for people to talk about,” he said.  “I didn’t let it bother me too much.  When you’re in an off-season and people are still wanting to talk about things that happened four months ago that don’t have anything to do with what you’re doing now, I think that bothered a couple of people.  But it comes with the territory.

“We’re major league baseball players playing for the Boston Red Sox.  You’re going to have to fess up to your mistakes and go from there.”


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     I knew that the 'beer and chicken' during games did not start in 2011.  That kind of activity starts secretly.  As long as nobody disagreed with the activity, the activity becomes more public.

     Unfortunately, nobody took charge.  Somebody had to tell Mr. Beckett to stay in the dugout.

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0208.  Bobby V: Spring regimen draws frown
ESPN.com
February 16, 2012

Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said Wednesday that his spring training regimen he laid out has so far been met with some grumbling from players who aren't used to his more demanding style.

"When I look at the program we devised, I don't think of it as tough.  But it seems it's different because a lot of people are frowning.  I just asked them to give (it) a few days," Valentine said, according to The Boston Globe.

"We all know that nobody likes change except for those who are making other people change to do what they want them to do.  I happen to be one of those guys who likes change because guys are doing what I want them to do," Valentine said, according to the report.  "I would bet there will be 100 guys who won't really like it because it's change for them.  But they'll get used to it."

Red Sox workouts under former manager Terry Francona in recent seasons had been more relaxed.  Valentine, meanwhile, has a reputation for pushing his players.  In fact, Valentine wants to make the club's games against Northeastern and Boston College nine innings instead of seven.  He also wants to add a couple of games to the team's spring training schedule.

"The more we see (the pitchers) the easier it's going to be for us to know what we have," Valentine said, according to the Globe.  "It can be played anywhere.  I'd like the other guys to have different uniforms and I'd like to be able to see it if possible."

Those games are likely to either be split-squad games or intrasquad games played on a practice field.  He said there weren't as many of those types of games in spring training anymore "because there's a lot of lazy people in the game today."

"Everyone says (spring training) is too long.  I think that's baloney," Valentine said.  "To get guys really ready, I think everyone's working the deadline to get a starter with 30 innings and five (starts).  The numbers just don't compute."

Valentine's comments Wednesday were his first public remarks from the team's new spring training facility in Fort Myers, FL.  He begins his first camp as Red Sox manager with the team coming off a 7-20 September collapse and a messy aftermath that revealed some pitchers were drinking in the clubhouse on their off days.

Starting pitcher Clay Buchholz, for one, said Wednesday that he thinks the structure and rigorous workouts are just what the Red Sox need.

"Sometimes when you veer off the path that you need to take, you need someone there to tell you, 'Hey this is where we need to go and I see you doing this,' " he told the Boston Herald.  "In that aspect, it's going to be good for us."

Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said Wednesday that he expects a changed atmosphere under the traditional hard-liner Valentine, whom he met with in Boston last week.

"One of the things I really like is that in spring training we're going to pay attention to a lot of details," Gonzalez said in an interview on ESPN Radio.  "Not just doing things for the sake of doing them, but actually doing them to get something out of it.  Spring training is going to be a little more lengthy.  That's where it's going to start and it's going to go from there.  Spring training is something that is really going to set the tone for the rest of the season, I think."


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     Red Sox field manager, Bobby Valentine, said, "Everyone says (spring training) is too long.  I think that's baloney."  To get guys really ready, I think everyone's working the deadline to get a starter with 30 innings and five (starts).  The numbers just don't compute."

     Mr. Valentine is correct.

     Spring training is about six weeks.  To have five starts every five days of six innings and be ready to start their first competitive game requires thirty days.  That leaves twelve days or two appearances.

     It takes three weeks for the involved tissues to make a physiological adjustment to increased levels of stress.  This means that whatever stress baseball pitchers put into their fourth spring training start is the fitness with which they will start the season.

     The best way for baseball pitchers to pitch their first competitive season start with the same skill and fitness with which they pitched their last competitive season start of the previous season is to maintain that skill and fitness throughout the off-season.

     To maintain a level of skill and fitness requires about one-half of the training intensity that athletes need to return to the season ending skill and fitness.

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0209.  Choosing universities which has Kinesiology

I don't have enough money to buy a Casio EX-F1.

But, before I found your website, I learn something on http://www.chrisoleary.com/.  I try to use their way to pitch and bat.

1.  Can I decomposition my pitching movement, then take pictures for every decomposition movement and send to you?

Of course, I modify some of them by learning your method.  Maybe that will make you waste less time.

I can't totally understand your 120 day program.

2.  Where can I find more details?


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     Mr. O'Leary does not have the credentials to teach anybody how to apply force to their pitches or bat.

     Therefore, you need to ignore whatever he says to do.

     The baseball pitching motion has four phases.

01.  The Preparation Phase during which baseball pitchers get their pitching arm to driveline height at the same time their glove foot lands.

02.  The Acceleration Phase during which baseball pitchers apply as much force at the same rate from the first movement toward home plate to release.

03.  The Deceleration Phase during which baseball pitchers slow and safely stop the forward movement of their pitching arm.

04.  The Recovery Phase during which baseball pitchers assume the safest position from which to protect themselves against batted baseball hit hard at them.

     I have no idea what 'decomposition' means.  Other than it sounds like a dead person lying out in the Sun.

     In my Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Programs file, I include my 120-ay High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     When readers click on that file, you will find a general statement of what baseball pitchers need to do plus a day by day schedule.

     To learn how to perform the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion, you need to watch the sections of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     If, after you have done your personal copy of my 120-Day program and watched my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and you have questions, then please email those questions to me.

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0210.  Choosing universities which has Kinesiology

1.  If I use your method as basic, center of gravity shifting is totally not important?

2.  And even he is Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay and Chris Carpenter, he doesn't pitch right?


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     Imitating 'traditional' baseball pitchers is a sure way to suffer pitching injuries.

01.  To learn what causes pitching injuries, watch my Causes of Pitching Injuries video.

02.  To learn how to prevent pitching injuries, watch my Prevent Pitching Injuries video.

03.  To learn how to apply force to the baseball pitches that I teach, watch Dr. Marshall's' Baseball Pitching Motion video.

     Until you have watched and read everything on my website, please do not send me questions.  I do not want to rewrite my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book just for you.

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0211.  Marshall Crow Hop Throws - Side View

Side view of sixteen year old performing Dr. Marshall's One Step Crow-Hop throws

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     When I watch baseball pitchers perform my One Step Crow-Hop body action; Pendulum Swing glove and pitching arms action drill, I look for:

01.  The timing between when the pitching arm reaches driveline height and the glove foot lands.

     Your son timed these two activities very well.

     a.  I look at the position of the pitching foot.  I want the pitching foot pointing straight forward.

     Your son points his pitching foot very close to straight forward.

     b.  I look at where the glove foot lands.

     Your son's glove foot lands straight forward from where it starts.

     If your son is throwing Maxline Fastballs, then his glove foot should land forty five degrees to the glove arm side of straight forward.

     If your son throwing Torque Fastballs, then his glove foot should land on or to slightly to the pitching arm side of straight forward of his pitching foot.

     c.  I look for whether my baseball pitchers land on the heel of their glove foot, roll across the entire length of their glove foot and push powerfully backward through release.

     Your son does not land on the heel of his glove foot.

02.  After the glove foot lands, I look for how quickly my baseball pitchers move their pitching upper arm to vertically beside their head and turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     I was able to freeze frame one of the videos at release.

     Your son's glove foot pointed behind the pitching arm side batter.  As a result, he was not able to rotate his hips beyond perpendicular to the driveline to home plate.

     While your son stood tall through release, he did not point his acromial line anywhere near home plate.  As a result, he pulled his pitching upper arm across the front of his body and downward.

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0212.  Mioanglos Wrist Action for the Screwball (a.k.a. "Flexion")..?

I have two questions:

1.  An apparent misprint in Chapter 18 of 'Coaching Baseball Pitchers' book.

2.  The role of wrist flexion, if any, for imparting a horizontal spin axis to a baseball. My flexion question to you has to do with the proper method for obtaining a horizontal spin access on the Maxline True Screwball.  I refer to a pair of short video clips to illustrate the catalyst of my inquiry.

Fernando Valenzuela

At 1 minute and 42 seconds of the first video, we see Fernando Valenzuela release what appears to be a screwball with dramatic downward movement.

Granted, most of Mr. Valenzuela's screwballs had a great deal of movement toward the glove-side of home plate, and less of a straight, downward motion.

Utilizing a 3/4 arm slot as did Valenzuela (and many other screwball pitchers), allows the pitcher to more easily (not to be confused with more correctly) impart a horizontal spin with due to the fact that the pitching arm wrist has more mioanglos flexion than does the wrist in my observation of your Maxline True Screwball video(s).

For this particular pitch in the video, Mr. Valenzuela seemed to have achieved by other means, what you described to Jonah Keri, back in 2002, as the omega point of Maxline True Screwball training.

Baseball Prospectus interview

"Then we have a True screwball.  You want the ball moving at a horizontal spin axis, so that if you put a stick through it, the stick would be horizontal.  The only pitcher I've seen who's been really good at it is Jeff Sparks.  Others throw more of a vertical axis screwball."  Prospectus Q&A:  Dr. Mike Marshall (Part Two) by Jonah Keri

Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion by Jeff Sparks

When I watch theis clip that I believe was on your old VHS version of pitching instruction, at 1 minute and 4 seconds into the video we see Jeff Sparks throwing a Maxline True Screwball without any apparent mioanglos flexion (bending) of the wrist.  Your comment on the video was, "Instead of rotating, his screwball spirals."

I accept your statement quoted above, that Mr. Sparks can throw a Maxline True Screwball with a horizontal spin axis.  Please do not infer that I am questioning the veracity of your teaching.

The "spiral" of the ball in this video is however in my estimation, akin to a vertical axis screwball.  In both your older literature regarding the "Torque" screwball, and the latter "Maxline True" screwball, you stated, "Pitchers must maximally pronate their forearms, wrists, hands and fingers."

If a pitcher follows those instructions, in a literal sense, from the high arm-slot of the Marshall delivery, pronation alone (without added wrist flexion) will tend to impart a spiraling screwball, rather than a screwball with a horizontal spin axis.

To clarify my terms, the horizontal type has sharp downward direction with minimal glove-side movement, while the screwball with a high-degree of horizontal spin has more movement toward the glove-side of home plate along with (typically) less of a downward drop.

Since the video at the URL below was taken, what did Mr. Sparks add to his screwball delivery to arrive at a horizontal spin axis?

In order to achieve a horizontal spin axis on the Maxline True Screwball from the high arm-slot of the Marshall delivery, on occasion my 19-year old son invokes a great deal of mioanglos wrist flexion (flexes his wrist to approximately 80 degrees) as he brings his upper arm past his ear.

Rather than the spiraling motion seen on the old video with Mr. Sparks, the ball achieves a horizontal (forward) spin that approaches the spin axis of a Maxline Pronation Curve.

In other words, via a combination of pronation and wrist flexion, my son's middle finger "cuts-through" the top of the baseball in a horizontal plane (horizontal to the ground), imparting a more true horizontal spin axis to the ball than one can seemingly achieve through pronation alone.

I worry however, that the wrist flexion, when combined with pronation, could somehow lead to elbow stress, and to medial epicondylitis.

My investigation into the nuances of imparting horizontal spin to a Maxline True Screwball has been somewhat confused by online copies of Chapter 18 of your 'Coaching Baseball Pitchers' book.

In the online source of the book that I provide below, you will notice that at the point where you are about to expound upon the use of the hand and finger joints for the Maxline True Screwball.  The text instead suddenly segues to the "Maxline Fastball."  The same issue occurs on the following subject, the "Maxline Pronation Curveball," which repeats the wording of the "Maxline Fastball."

I believe that many of us who endeavor to prevent pitching injuries via your methods, would appreciate an update to 'Coaching Baseball Pitchers" clarifying the details of your preferred technique for imparting maximal horizontal spin to the Maxline True Screwball.

In summary what I would hope to learn is:

1.  Is wrist flexion the proper and safe method for imparting a horizontal spin axis to the Maxline True Screwball?

2.  If wrist flexion is improper for the screwball, is the horizontal spin axis to be generated solely by way of mioanglosly flexing (squeezing the baseball) the middle and distal phalanges of the middle finger?

3.  Perhaps my question can also be applicable to the Maxline Pronation Curveball.

I teach kids the Maxline Curveball can be release with a horizontal spin axis, without any need for wrist flexion.

I have been confronted with teenagers claiming that by adding approximately 10 degree flexion to their wrists during delivery, their Maxline Curveball has (using a clock analogy) a truer 12-to-6 downward drop, than without the flexion.

For pitchers with average, or shorter finger lengths, by way of cursory observation I find their contention of a better curveball by way of adding slight flexion, seems to be accurate.

But is it safe?

With great appreciation for your counsel.


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     Six page emails with multiple topics take a lot of time to answer.  If I failed to answer all your questions, please ask me again.

01.  I watched the video of Mr. Valenzuela pitching.  Unfortunately, none of the video clips were clear enough of slow enough to see the spin axis that Mr. Valenzuela achieved.

     However, after the Dodgers released Mr. Valenzuela, Mr. Valenzuela's agent flew me to Los Angeles to work with Fernando for about a week.

     Mr. Valenzuela pulls his pitching arm forward with his Pectoralis Major muscle.  That means that Mr. Valenzuela could not get his pitching forearm vertical at release.

     Therefore, with his pitching forearm at about forty-five degrees short of vertical, the best spin axis that Mr. Valenzuela achieved was vertical.  This means that Mr. Valenzuela's screwball rotated from side to side with the spin axis pointing vertically upward or slightly forward, more like a sinker.

02.  As I said in the Prospectus interview: My Maxline True Screwball has a horizontal spin axis.  This means that the baseball rotated from top to bottom.

     In Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video, Mr. Sparks threw a Maxline Screwball that, instead of rotating from top to bottom, it rotated from side to side, but with a horizontal spin axis that pointed toward home plate.

    Instead of Maxline True Screwball, I would call Mr. Sparks' screwball a Maxline Scruker or half-way between a sinker and a screwball.

03.  I teach my baseball pitchers to powerfully pronate the releases of all pitches.

     However, because, at the start of the driveline, my baseball pitchers have their pitching thumb facing toward home plate, they cannot pronate the release of my Maxline True Screwball.

     This means that, when baseball pitchers have their pitching thumb facing toward home plate, they have already moved the Radius bone as close to the Ulna bone as they can.

     Therefore, to pronate the release of my Maxline True Screwball, my baseball pitchers have to powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     To powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, my baseball pitchers have to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     Mr. Valenzuela did not engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle. Therefore, he could never powerfully inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm.

     To determine whether baseball pitchers engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, we need only to take high-speed film of the front view of baseball pitchers throwing a screwball.

     In Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video, the front view high-speed film of Mr. Sparks throwing my Maxline True Screwball, Mr. Sparks has turned the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     This means that Mr. Sparks engaged his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     However, because, during his pendulum swing, Mr. Sparks moves his pitching forearm horizontally behind his head, Mr. Sparks cannot get his pitching forearm vertical at release.  I call the action, 'Grabbing,'

     As a result, instead of throwing a True Maxline Screwball, Mr. Sparks threw a Maxline Scruker.  Nevertheless, Mr. Sparks 'scruker' is far superior to Mr. Valenzuela's sinker.

03.  Kinesiologists define 'wrist flexion' as moving the metacarpal bones closer to the carpal bones.

     Therefore, my baseball pitchers only flex their wrist joint when they throw my Maxline and Torque Fastballs.

     When my baseball pitchers try to throw my Maxline True Screwball, they radially flex their pitching wrist.  This means that they attempt to move their pitching thumb closer to the radial side of their wrist.

     To throw my Maxline Pronation Curve, my baseball pitchers ulnarly flex their pitching wrist.  This means that they move the little finger side of their pitching hand toward the ulnar side of their wrist.

04.  Radial flexion of the pitching wrist is the proper and safe way to achieve a horizontal spin axis the points laterally away from the body.

05.  Inwardly rotating the pitching arm with maximum ulnar flexion and a vertical pitching forearm at release enables my baseball pitchers to rotate their screwball from top to bottom.

06.  To apply horizontal force to the top seam of the baseball, the easier anatomical way is to turn the back of their pitching upper arm and the back of their pitching hand to face toward home plate, such that just before release, with their pitching fingers pointing downward, my baseball pitchers powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm and pronate their pitching forearm.

     With the back of their pitching hand facing home plate, my baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm maximally supinated.  Therefore, unlike my Maxline True Screwball, where my baseball pitchers cannot pronate their pitching forearm at all, with my Maxline Pronation Curve, my baseball pitchers can maximally pronate their pitching forearm.

     That is why, with my Maxline Pronation Curve, my baseball pitchers achieve spin velocities superior to the best curve that major league baseball pitchers can achieve.
07.  With regard to Chapter 18 of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book:  I apologize, but, at this time, I do not have time to investigate the problem.  I suspect that, when I uploaded that file, I either uploaded the wrong file of something interrupted the upload.

     I have made a note to look at Chapter 18.

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***********************************************************************************************
     On Sunday, February 26, 2012, I posted the following questions and answers.

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0213.  February 19 Reviewarama

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0182.  Weeding out pitchers will be a process for Orioles

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Maybe Mr. Peterson can offer some rum and cigars to Jo-Bu.  In the movie, 'Major League,' Jo-Bu is the voodoo statute that Cerrano worships.  That'll speed things up.

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0188.  Wainwright says he feels 'danged good'

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We have read it before, but I would still like to have read the 'rest of the story'.

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     The St. Louis Dispatch sports department assigned Mr. Wheatley to write something about me speaking at the 2006 Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) convention in St. Louis.

     Mr. Wheatley googled me and found my website. After six hours on my website, Mr. Wheatley telephoned me and asked if he could write a book on my attempts to eliminate pitching injuries.  I said I would be happy to help him.

     Mr. Wheatley not only attended my SABR presentation, he also drove to Chicago for a presentation I made with Joe Williams and flew to Houston for the Strom/Wolforth clinic presentation I made with Jeff Sparks.

     Unfortunately, shortly thereafter, as part of downsizing, Mr. Wheatley lost his job at the St. Louis Dispatch.  Then, he decided to teach writing in a local Community College.

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0191.  10 lb IB for 16 year old

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You have the ages correct.  My sixteen year od switched to the 20 and 10 on November 1.  He will be 17 on March 28.

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0196.  Delivery adjusted, Hanson no longer hits pause

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Would have been fun here to read more of your base stealing numbers, like the 2.6 from first base lead to second etc…

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     When my college base runners can get to second base in under 3.6 seconds, until these base runners steal second and third bases, I do not let batters swing at pitches.

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0204.  Off-season learning will be key to Jacob Turner's development

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1.  When major league pitchers 'sequence', what are they doing?

2.  Do they move the fastball around and the change speeds a little?

3.  What would you say the average major league pitcher is thinking about in terms of getting a hitter out?

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     Major league pitchers throw fastballs in fastball counts and non-fastballs in non-fastball counts. They do not sequence.

     In professional baseball, the major concern is walks.  Therefore, to get ahead in the count, managers and pitching coaches require first pitch fastballs.

     Until I buried batters with sinkers and sliders on first pitches, I never threw first pitch fastballs.  The concept is simple.  Never throw pitches that batters think you are going to throw.

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0206.  Shoulder will slow Britton at start of camp

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Obviously and honestly, I always enjoy the breakdowns about what is 'really' being said.

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0211.  Marshall Crow Hop Throws - Side View

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As always, thank you for the information, and, as always, we will get right to work correcting the problems.

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0212.  Mioanglos Wrist Action for the Screwball (a.k.a. "Flexion")..?

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You wrote: "However, after the Dodgers released Mr. Valenzuela, Mr. Valenzuela's agent flew me to Los Angeles to work with Fernando for about a week."

What?  And this is the first I'm hearing about it?  Stop holding back!

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You wrote: "To powerfully inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm, my baseball pitchers have to engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle."

And that's why it's so difficult to throw a good one.

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This was a great question and answer.  The reader put a lot of thought and effort into his question.

You provided all kinds of terrific information that was very accessible.

I really liked the breakdown of the differences between your curve and screwball.

The members of my local baseball circle have asked me several times why they need a screwball if a maxline curve moves the same way?

How would you answer them?

I say it's a matter of disguise but I'm sure there's more to it.

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     Without my four-seam Maxline True Screwball, my two-seam Maxline Fastball, four-seam Maxline Fastball, the two-seam Maxline Fastball Sinker sequence is incomplete.

    To batters, the releases of these four pitches are identical. Therefore, to throw the three velocities that baseball pitchers need to take advantage of the timing of the batters' stride, baseball pitchers need my Maxline True Screwball.

     Without my four-seam Torque Pronation Curve, my two-seam Torque Fastball, four-seam Torque Fastball, two-seam Torque Fastball Slider pitch sequence is also incomplete.

      Like with my Maxline True Screwball, baseball pitchers that do not engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle cannot throw my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     This means that my Maxline Pronation Curve is an aberration that I designed to prevent pitching arm spray hitters from hitting two-seam Maxline Fastballs out of the park.

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0214.  What now?

My thirteen year old son completed the sixty day program.

My question is:  What now?

He has 2 months before his first game.


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     After completing my interval-training programs, to maintain their improved skill and fitness levels, I want my baseball pitchers to decrease the repetitions by one-half and intensity to only a few at full intensity and continue their daily workouts.

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0215.  Twelve year old

Slow motion glove arm side view of thirteen year old performing my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion to throw my Maxline True Screwball baseball pitch

Is my son positioning his forearm too early?


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     This is not 'fool the expert.'  Please provide a full description of what I am about to watch.  Otherwise, just to determine what I am watching, I have to watch it several times.  I do not have the time to waste.

     Yes, your son is positioning his forearm too early.

     From his hooked pitching wrist position during his pendulum swing, batters will know that he is going to throw screwballs.

     Without regard for the type of pitch, my baseball pitchers should complete their pendulum swing exactly the same for all pitches.

     At the same time that my baseball pitchers move their pitching upper arm to vertically beside their head and turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate, my baseball pitchers should reposition their pitching forearm for the type of pitch that they are going to throw.

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0216.  Twelve year old

Slow motion front view of thirteen year old performing my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive pitching motion to throw my Torque Fastball baseball pitch.

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     Other than it appeared that your son started on the glove arm side of the pitching rubber, he threw a very nice Torque Fastball.

     When I freeze-framed the moment of release, your son had his pitching forearm horizontally inside of vertical.

     While he tried to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate, because he did not 'Horizontally Bounce' his pitching forearm, he was not able to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to totally face toward home plate.

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0217.  Twelve year old

Slow motion pitching arm side view of thirteen year old performing my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion throwing something.

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     From the cross-step of his glove foot, I assume that your son threw a Torque Fastball.

     When I freeze-framed his release, I saw that his pitching upper leg pointed forty-five degrees backward.  This means that he is not properly rotating the entire pitching arm side of his body forward.

     He lands on the heel of his glove foot, but, because he steps too far, he cannot move the center of mass of his body in front of this glove foot.

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0218.  Twelve year old

Regular speed pitching arm side view of thirteen year old performing my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion to throw something

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     It looks the same as the Slow motion of the previous video, only in regular speed.

     Regular speed is good for front view when you want to show the movement of pitches.  Otherwise, regular speed does not show what I need to see.

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0219.  Twelve year old

Slow motion front view of thirteen year old performing my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve

I want to be certain that he is pronating the release of his MPC.  Is he?


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    The clarity of the video does not enable me to determine whether he pronated his release.

      However, that your son does not point his acromial line anywhere near home plate makes it impossible for him to consistently throw a Maxline Pronation Curve.

     This pitch appears to be a Torque Fastball Slider.

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0220.  Twelve year old

Regular speed front view of a thirteen year old performing my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve

Same as the last video.  Is he pronating his MPC?


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     The direction and quick downward movement of the pitch tells me that your son pronated the release of this pitch.

     That your son was trying to throw this pitch in the previous video shows that this pitch was a fluke.

     While, to point his acromial line toward home plate, your son still needs to rotate the entire pitching arm side of his body farther forward, your son drove his pitching arm to the pitching arm side of his body.

     This pitch was a quality Maxline Pronation Curve.  The previous pitch was not.

     However, when he learns how to point his acromial line toward home plate, he will throw his Maxline Pronation Curve with greater consistency and at higher release velocities.

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0221.  Opening day

Our son’s college baseball season opened this past weekend February 18th.  That is the earliest date I have EVER attended a baseball game.  It was 39 degrees, windy and overcast.

We played a Community College that finished fourth nationally last year.  At the start of this season, they are ranked 6th nationally.  They have played several games indoors before they came to play us.  My son’s team had not even been outdoors yet.

The teams played 3 games.  It was not even fair.  In the 3 games, they hit 12 home runs and scored 32 runs.  They destroyed our pitching staff, except one pitcher.

My son started the second game.  The coach schedules him to pitch 4 innings.  My son was the only pitcher to finish his innings.

In 4 innings, my son gave up 1 hit and struck out 3 batters.  The other nine outs came on infield pop-ups and weak infield grounders.

My son looked as though he could have pitched a complete game.  He had a good pendulum swing, good slingshot loading and horizontal bounce.  He varied his pitch sequencing.  He was an example of the difference between “pitchers” and “throwers.”

I am looking forward to the rest of the season.


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     Does your son record his At Bats?  If not, then he needs to start.

     In Chapter Twenty-Three: Data Collection of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, I provide my Pitch-By-Pitch game and my Individual Hitter sheets.

     After I pitched innings, on a small notepad I kept at the end of the dugout, I wrote down: the type of batter, the pitch sequence and the At Bat result.

     Before your son faces batters for the second At Bat, he needs to remember what he threw during the first At Bat.  Then, he should decide on the pitch sequence he will use for the second At Bats and so on.

     If you attend his games, then you could also write down the pitch sequences.  After the games, you and your son need to study each At Bat and decide what he did right and what he needs to do differently.

     With this exercise, your son will learn what to throw to each of the four types of batters and which batters can make adjustments.

     If you have questions, then I would be happy to offer my thoughts.

     In general, your son needs to challenge himself to throw pitches batters least expect.  He should never challenge batters with pitches that they expect.

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0222.  Okajima fails physical, won't be at Yanks' camp
MLB.com
February 17, 2012

TAMPA, FL:  Hideki Okajima failed his physical and will not report to Spring Training with the Yankees.  Okajima, 36, had signed a Minor League contract with a spring invitation in late December, hoping to bounce back to the effective form he showed in his first few seasons with the Red Sox.  WFAN 660 AM in New York first reported on Friday that Okajima would not be in camp.

The Yankees had interest in Okajima as a left-handed specialist to help out behind Boone Logan in their bullpen, casting a wide net of low-risk players to evaluate in the spring.

Okajima fell out of favor with the Red Sox and spent most of last season at Triple-A Pawtucket, limited to seven big league outings in April and May, when he was 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA in 8 1/3 innings.

The Red Sox did not recall Okajima when rosters expanded in September, despite a 2.29 ERA in 34 appearances at Triple-A, spanning 51 innings.

Okajima came to the Major Leagues in 2007 after pitching with the Yomiuri Giants and Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan.  He compiled a big league record of 17-8 with six saves and a 3.11 ERA in 261 appearances with Boston, holding left-handed batters to a .218 batting average.


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     In 34 triple-A games, Mr. Okajima had a 2.29 ERA.

     Every baseball pitcher in the Yankees spring training camp should have the pitching arm problem that he has.

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0223.  Dipoto's quick ascent began with painful end
MLB.com
February 17, 2012

ANAHEIM, CA:  It was the very first live batting-practice session of the spring in 2001.  Jerry Dipoto, at that point an important reliever for the Rockies, fired a pitch to Ron Gant, then promptly collapsed onto the grass in excruciating pain.

"It felt like my head popped off," Dipoto remembered.

It wasn't that bad, but about as close as one can get.

One year removed from a bulging disc in his neck that caused him to miss almost the entire season, and a few months after surgery to repair what eventually became a herniation, Dipoto had broken the two vertebrae that sat above and below a metal plate that was basically helping his neck stay in place.

Doctors told him he could try to keep playing, but there was a good chance he'd never even walk again if he did.

So, after battling back from thyroid cancer in 1994 and surviving a blood clot that temporarily stopped his heart four years later, Dipoto, at 31, with no pain in his right arm and entering what could've been his prime, was basically forced to retire.

"I literally went from being 100 percent in the middle of what should've been the best years that you have as a player, and it just got pulled out from under me," said Dipoto, who finished an eight-year Major League career with a 4.05 ERA for three teams.

"It just stopped.  The good part of it is that there really was no gray area that you could say, 'Well, maybe I could, maybe I should.'  I just knew it was done and you had to move on."


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     Mr. Dipoto's professional baseball career ended because he could not get his pitching foot on the ground before his pitches crossed home plate and because, instead of standing tall and rotating his body vertically, Mr. Dipoto strided so far that he had to bend forward at his waist.

     In an earlier discussion of Mr. Dipoto's situation, I said that the sudden deceleration of the forward bending action would put considerable stress on the cervical vertebrae.  Unfortunately, orthopedic surgeons do not understand the results of forces that the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion generates and that rest atrophies bone tissue.

     Their ignorance cost Mr. Dipoto a major league career.  No thanks to his orthopedic surgeons, Mr. Dipoto is lucky that the vertebral fractures did not severe his spinal cord.

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0224.  Joba progressing in rehab from elbow surgery
MLB.com
February 17, 2012

TAMPA, FL:  There is a puffy violet scar on Joba Chamberlain's right elbow, peeking out from underneath a shredded long-sleeve T-shirt, and it serves as a daily reminder of how his 2011 season ended.

But as Chamberlain follows his road back from the Tommy John surgery he had performed in June, the Yankees reliever said that he has been able to look back and appreciate that setback in a positive light.

"This injury was the greatest thing that could ever happen to me.  I was able to see my son's first day of school," Chamberlain said on Friday.

"There's no amount of money or world championships that can compare to watching my [Karter] walk into school for the first time.  I wouldn't have been able to do that if it wasn't for this surgery.  That, I'm very thankful for."

It's safe to say that when an MRI examination revealed Chamberlain's torn elbow ligament, he wasn't quite so chipper.  But Chamberlain has experienced no issues as he progresses, and the Yankees will have him throwing 35 pitches from a half-mound three times next week.

"I've been very blessed to not have anything go wrong," Chamberlain said.  "I've got to give credit to Dr. [James] Andrews and his staff.  I moved down to Pensacola, FL and they challenged me every day with something different.  I can't thank them enough for what they did for me."

Chamberlain lived in Pensacola from September to December and said that it was a refreshing change.  While there, he said that he rehabbed with a wide variety of athletes, from pro football players to high school soccer players and weekend warriors.

"It was fun for me because I got to see a different dynamic," Chamberlain said.  "When you're getting treatment, it's always your teammates and your friends.  It's something you get used to.  It was nice to get away from the environment, just chill out and get my work in."


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     Let me get this right.  After Mr. Chamberlain watched his son walk into school, Mr. Chamberlain moved to Pensacola, FL for four months.  Did his young son go to school in Pensacola, FL?

     Mr. Chamberlain said: "I've been very blessed to not have anything go wrong.  I've got to give credit to Dr. James Andrews and his staff. I moved down to Pensacola, FL and they challenged me every day with something different.  I can't thank them enough for what they did for me."

     Yeah right.  Dr. Andrews and his staff challenged him every day with everything that he needed to know.  How to eliminate the injurious flaw that ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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0225.  Johan feels 'really good' after mound session
MLB.com
February 17, 2012

NEW YORK, NY:  It was a small step in a long process, a minor achievement from a baseball perspective.  But symbolically, Johan Santana's bullpen session Friday gave the Mets their greatest reason yet for optimism heading into the 2012 season.

"I finally had a chance to get on the mound and throw to a catcher and I felt really good," Santana told reporters following his session in Port St. Lucie, FL.  "The approach that we had from the beginning was to do everything like I always do to get ready for the season.  For me, it's about time to get on the mound and start throwing.  And I was able to throw all of my pitches, and it felt good after that."

In his first mound action since last season, Santana threw 25 pitches, mixing in fastballs, changeups and curves.  He is scheduled to throw off a mound again on Tuesday.

The Mets are operating under the assumption that Santana will be able to assume a regular spring workload and be ready for Opening Day.

"I'm not afraid of anything," Santana said.  "I'm actually excited about being out on the mound and being able to start competing."

After Santana underwent anterior capsule surgery in his left shoulder in September 2010, the Mets expected him to return by the 2011 All-Star break.  But multiple setbacks blocked his path, and Santana ultimately shut himself down for the season last October following a second Minor League rehab stint.

Santana has gone 40-25 with a 2.85 ERA since joining the Mets prior to the 2008 season.  He has two years and $54.5 million of guaranteed money left on his contract, with a $25 million team option for 2014.

If healthy, Santana is the heavy favorite to start Opening Day for the Mets, anchoring a rotation that also includes R.A. Dickey, Jon Niese, Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee.


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     Mr. Santana said: "I'm actually excited about being out on the mound and being able to start competing."

     Had Mr. Santana not included the 'actually' qualifier, then I would be more hopeful for his return.

     That Mr.Santana shut himself down for the season last October tells me all I need to know.  Mr. Santana's pitching shoulder is shot.  Unless Mr. Santana learns how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, Mr. Santana is done.

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0226.  Opening day

Yes, I kept a pitch sequence chart.

After the game, my son and I went over it.  Of course, he doesn't get to select his own pitches.  The pitching coach does that.  We felt that the pitching coach didn't allow my son to throw enough sinkers.

We feel that, if my son selected his own pitches, then my son would have held them to no hits through his 4 innings.

One thing concerning me is I feel sure he is in the most fit form to pitch and stronger than ever.  But, his velocity is not where it was last year at this time.

His motion is smoother and more powerful looking than last year.  The batters are not reacting well to his pitches at all.

My son says that he feels great and the ball seems to explode out of his hand.  He looks better to me than he did last year.  But, his fastball velocity is off about 4 to 5 mph from this time last year.  He is around 83 mph when at this time last year he was sitting at 87.

My son says that nothing hurts or feels weak.  Everything he does looks powerful and quick.  I can't explain it.  I believe that with more game intensity pitching and some warmer weather, his velocity will pick up.

The strange thing is he can throw a baseball farther than any other player on the team.  I have seen him throw the ball 315 feet.  He does it all the time.  No one else has done that.

This weekend, most of the other pitchers were in the 84 to 91 mph range.  Yet, he was the only one who didn't get hit.

To the naked eye, he looks like he is throwing pretty hard with sharp movement.  In fact, with late movement on his fastball, it gives the illusion that he is throwing harder than someone with a flatter fastball but a higher gun reading.

On the one hand, my son is very pleased with the "life" all his pitches have.  But on the other, he really wants to see that reading come up.


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     When coaches require baseball pitchers to throw the pitches that they want their baseball pitchers to throw, they take away the preparation time that baseball pitchers need to program the pitch that they want to throw.

     Baseball pitching is an initiator skill.  That means that baseball pitchers initiate the action and batters react to their action.  This means that, before every pitch that baseball pitchers throw, they need time to visualize the pitch and mentally practice throwing the pitch.

     Before baseball pitchers tell the catchers what pitch they are about to throw, baseball pitchers have to go through the same type of rehearsal activity that golfers use.

     When baseball pitchers have to wait until catchers tell them what pitch the coach wants them to throw, they are not able to do their rehearsal activity.  As a result, even when baseball pitchers agree with the pitch selection, they will never perform those pitches to the best of their ability.

     If coaches want their pitchers to throw the best pitches that they can throw, then coaches should explain to their baseball pitchers what pitches they believe that their baseball pitchers should throw when and why.  Thereafter, baseball pitchers should tell catchers what pitches they are going to throw.

     Release velocity physiological adjustments require a minimum of three weeks of training at maximum competitive intensity.  To achieve their maximum competitive release velocity for their fitness levels, baseball pitchers have to competitively pitch to high-quality batters through several physiological adjustments.

     In general, for adult baseball pitchers, baseball pitchers need a minimum of three months to achieve the maximum competitive release velocity for their present fitness and skill level.

     What is your son's fitness level?

     If his fitness level is 15 lb. wrist weights and 6 lb. heavy ball, then that fitness level determines his maximum genetic competitive release velocity for this fitness level.  When his fitness level is 30 lb. wrist weights and 15 lb. heavy ball, then that fitness level will determine his maximum genetic competitive release velocity for that fitness level.

     What is your son's skill level?

     If his skill level is 60% of perfection of the force application technique that I teach, then he will achieve 60% of his maximum genetic competitive release velocity.  When your son perfects the force application technique that I teach, then he will achieve 100% of his maximum genetic competitive release velocity.

     By the way, when you and your son visited me in late December, I adjusted his force application technique.  Less than two months is not sufficient time for the new motor units that he is using to make their physiological adjustments.

     It is not strange that your son can throw farther than others yet not achieve higher release velocities.  The One Step Crow-Hop throws drill trains entirely different motor units than baseball pitchers use when they competitively pitch.  The only long distance throwing drill that uses the same pitching arm motor units as competitive baseball pitching is my Half Reverse Pivot Pendulum Swing drill.

     When your son can stand on the pitching rubber and perform my Half Reverse Pivot Pendulum Swing drill and throw the baseball over the center field wall, he will have properly trained the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles associated with the pitching arm motion that I teach.

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0227.  Anterior Deltoid

I’m trying to strengthen my son’s anterior deltoids prior to football season.  I’m going to have him do upright rows with dumbbells.

In videos that I’ve seen of this exercise being performed, the lifter usually brings the humerus above the horizontal plane.  In other words, the plane of the humerus is lifted to create a 100-120deg angle with a vertical plane.

Rattling around in the back of my head is something you said once about never wanting to extend beyond 90 deg in this situation.  I can’t remember why, but I’d swear I got that from you.  Am I “mis-remembering”?


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     The Anterior Deltoid muscle horizontally flexes the Humerus bone.  Push-ups train the Anterior Deltoid.

     The Middle Deltoid muscle abducts the Humerus bone.

     However, the Middle Deltoid muscle can only abduct the Humerus bone to a line that is parallel with the line across the top of the shoulders.

     To move the Humerus bone above parallel with the line across the top of the shoulders, athletes have to upwardly rotate the Scapula bone.  To do this, athletes have to use the Trapezius I muscle.

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0228.  Too much starting pitching should not be a problem for the Nationals
Washington Post
February 19, 2012

For now, let’s not focus on problems the Washington Nationals could encounter with their starting rotation.  They have plenty of time to determine where all the pieces fit.

When a franchise that historically has had too few effective starters for the first time seems to have too many, that’s mostly a good thing.  On the eve of spring training, Washington is different because of its rotation.  General Manager Mike Rizzo built a strong foundation on a potentially formidable group, which is groundbreaking here.

There are durability questions.  And no one knows whether everyone will step forward together.  But the Nationals’ rotation should be different.  It should be very good.  And if it is, Rizzo deserves a lot of the credit.

Rizzo and Manager Davey Johnson have no doubts.  The Nationals, who begin workouts Monday afternoon in Viera, FL, will “run our big four against anybody in the league,” Rizzo told me last week before traveling to Florida.

Johnson has playoff aspirations.  “I’m still a little too superstitious to say the ‘P’ word,” Rizzo said.  “But I understand what Davey is thinking.”

It’s not inside baseball stuff.  It’s common sense for anyone who has watched Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Jackson at their best.

With those four, the Nationals expect quality starts.  They envision a lot of great ones, too.  It’s reasonable for Washington to believe that, in a high percentage of their outings, Strasburg, Zimmermann, Gonzalez and Jackson will provide a stable bridge to one of baseball’s best bullpens.

Even the “B” group of John Lannan, Chien-Ming Wang, Ross Detwiler and Tom Gorzelanny provide better options for a fifth starter and rotation depth than Washington has ever known.  The Nationals simply aren’t used to having so much talent in such an important area.

“Hopefully,” Rizzo said, “those days where we have 14 guys start for us over the season are behind us.”

Washington will limit Strasburg to 160 innings in his first full season in the majors following his Tommy John surgery in 2010.

Still, the Nationals can’t temper fan excitement about Strasburg, 23, who has already achieved stardom despite his uncooperative pitching elbow.  Now,Strasburg wants to begin a long, uninterrupted stretch of doing what drives him.

The Nationals followed the post-surgery textbook with Zimmermann, 25, who underwent the same surgery in 2009.  He ranked 10th in the National League in earned-run average last season while pitching 161 1/3 innings.  Is Zimmermann ready to reach the 200-inning mark?  Possibly.

Smartly, Johnson won’t push it.  Zimmermann will determine how far he’ll go.

If the Nationals, whose everyday lineup hasn’t changed much from 2011, have Strasburg and Zimmermann at the front of the rotation for the majority of 2012, they have a chance to improve on last season’s 80-81 record.  Gonzalez and Jackson could push the chances much higher.

Rizzo wanted the possibility of something big, so he utilized the Nationals’ farm system, the best in the game, according to Baseball America, trading prospects to the Oakland Athletics for Gonzalez, 26.  In adding Gonzalez, who had ERAs of 3.23 and 3.12 the past two seasons, Rizzo assembled a playoff-caliber rotation.

Then he strengthened it with the surprising move for Jackson, 28, persuading the Lerners to spend $11 million on a fourth starter.

That was new for them.  But the Lerners believe in Rizzo.

Although Jackson has had command issues (he had a 149-pitch no-hitter in 2010) throughout his career, the Nationals got someone capable.  The coaching staff quickly identified a problem with Jackson’s delivery, “in the windup, he shows the ball too easily and [hitters] get too good of a look at him,” Rizzo said.  That should help him.

The best teams have above-average starters-in-waiting, and that’s a role Lannan would provide in the bullpen.  Of course, it probably wouldn’t be much fun for Lannan.

In a best-case scenario for Washington, Lannan would work in long relief and make few starts, if any, at least until Strasburg is shut down.  Obviously, trades are a possibility, and not everyone will make the opening-day roster.

“It’s a great problem to have,” Rizzo said.

Washington’s rotation was awful when Rizzo took over the entire baseball operation in 2009.  Its farm system had been ranked last just a couple of years earlier.

Team officials used to joke that the Nationals “were rated 30th because there were only 30 teams.  We should have been 38th or 40th,” Rizzo said.

Through strong scouting and evaluation, Washington suddenly has a window for success.  Starting pitching, as always, is the key.

“We’re gonna put it on the players this year,” Rizzo said.  “We’ve done our part.  We’ve spent the money.  We’ve developed the players.  “We put in the work.  Now, it’s time for you guys to take a little ownership of this thing.  It’s time to win some games.”

The Nationals definitely have enough starters who could.


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     Mr. Rizzo said that he would 'run our big four against anybody in the league.'

     The Nationals' big four are:  Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmerman, Gio Gonzales and Edwin Jackson.

     Mr. Strasburg gets to pitch 160 innings.  at 6 innings a start, Mr. Strasburg will get 27 starts.  That is 16.6% of the Nationals games.

     In 2011, Mr. Zimmerman pitched 161 1/3 innings.  If he had pitch 2/3 innings more, then he would have qualified for the ERA title.  If he matches his 2011 season, then, like Mr. Strasburg, he will start 16.6% of the Nationals games.

     The top two Nationals will start 33% of the Nationals games.

     Even if they win twenty games between them, they will not win more than 80 games.

     The likelihood that Mr. Strasburg and Mr. Zimmerman will suffer repeat injuries is more likely than winning twenty games between them.

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0229.  Have you seen this article?

Carl the Cabbie

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     Yes.

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0230.  Opening day

You have put it in a very insightful way that finally makes sense.

You use the word "preparation time".  That is so vitally important.  My son's coach doesn't call his pitch sequences anything close to what either I or my son would use.  And, the coach does not allow my son to shake off calls or issue walks.  If he occasionally hits a batter by working inside he hears about that.

Plus, if my son happens to not spot one type of pitch just once where the coach wants it, the coach is reluctant to call for that pitch again.

This makes my son feel he has to be "perfect" on every pitch.  If he misses, he may not get a second chance.  These factors constantly act to keep him "off balance" so to speak.

My son tells me he simply feels like a puppet out there, as if he is supposed to check his brain at the door.  When he is pitching, he looks good, yet, his entire motion looks, the word I would use is "tentative".  Not full 100% effort.  He is so preoccupied with "not making any mistakes."  He looks like he is subconsciously holding back.

We looked at some video I had taken of him 2 years ago in high school.  You could see he threw with a lot more "freedom" in his entire delivery than now.  He was throwing in the mid to upper 80's then.

His fitness level is the best its been now.  He is stronger and more able to powerfully execute force application to the ball than ever.  He just looks like to me he is applying about 85% of the effort he is capable of.

When he is playing flat ground catch, the ball explodes with velocity and movement.  His teammates can hardly catch him.  We have a friend who is currently a minor league shortstop and he played catch with him once.  The friend said he didn't want to play catch with him again because he is "scary".  Yet, when he goes to the mound, I can visualize all this "baggage" that has been heaped upon him.

Thanks for your input.  This really helps.


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     This coach is an egotistical bully.  Instead of helping his baseball pitchers to become the best they can be, he is only interested in himself.

     In 1971, until the All-Star break, I suffered at the hands of an egotistical bully catcher.

     On rare occasions, my manager would call my pitches.  To indicate that my manager called a pitch, the catcher would show me four fingers on his chest protector.  That meant that I could not shake off a sign.

     However, during the All-Star break, my manager told me that he stopped calling pitches for me over a month earlier.

     From then on, I chose my own pitches.  As a result, over the remaining season, my earned run average was about 1.00.

    Until your son chooses his pitches and throws every pitch at his maximum intensity, he will never become the best baseball pitcher that he can be.

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0231.  Abdominal Injuries in Baseball Players

I have copied below an article about the American Journal of Sports Medicine and their study of baseball players.

It is interesting because all I have heard from personal trainers and athletic trainers of sports teams is the need to strengthen the "core", yet in baseball it does not seem to be working and is leading to injuries.

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

SOURCE: bit.ly/xEWk9j American Journal of Sports Medicine, online January 19, 2012.

Abdominal strains common in pro baseball players
Mon, Feb 20 2012
By Genevra Pittman

NEW YORK, NY:  (Reuters Health) More Major League Baseball players are being sidelined with abdominal muscle strains, according to a new study that suggests there may be too much focus on building strength and not enough on stretching and flexibility in the pros.

The injuries, also known as side strains, typically occur with twisting or pivoting, such as during a pitcher's throwing motion or a batter's swing, and are also common in tennis and golf.

"Part of this is just, you're doing something that's not a natural motion.  So, the body takes a beating," said Dr. Joshua Dines, from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, who worked on the study.  If you keep doing those motions over and over, he said, your body is going to break down at some point.

"I think there's also a balance between working out and also staying limber, a lot of this is dependent on flexibility," Dines told Reuters Health.

"It's great to work out, great to do your core stuff.  But make sure you stretch."

Dines and his colleagues looked back at 20 years worth of records from Major League Baseball's disabled list, which includes athletes that are sidelined for 15 days or more.  By placing players on the disabled list, or DL, teams open up a spot on their rosters for healthy athletes to fill in.

From the 1991 through 2010 seasons, 8,136 players were placed on the DL, according to findings published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. Abdominal strains accounted for 393 of those injuries, or about five percent.

Strains kept pitchers out for an average of 35 days, and position players for an average of 27 days.

That's in comparison to more common sore arms and shoulders that typically only require a week or two of rest, said Kevin Wilk, a physical therapist who treats professional athletes at Champion Sports Medicine in Birmingham, Alabama.

"These don't happen all that often," said Wilk, who wasn't involved in the new research.  "But when they happen, you're out for a while."

The research team noticed an increasing trend in abdominal injuries over the study period, and found that the overall rate of abdominal strains was 22 percent higher in the 2000s than in the 1990s.  The most strains came in 2007, when 29 out of 1,278 pro players suffered the injury.

Athletes were most likely to strain muscles early in the season, in late March and April.

That could be because the weather is colder in those months and it's harder to get muscles loose, or because players aren't in as good shape as they are by mid-season.

"Our best guess is, (players are) just not ready yet for the demands of the baseball season," Dines said.

He added that the study can't explain the general increase in abdominal strains over time, but that elevating strength training above stretching and flexibility exercises may be throwing off the balance that helps prevent muscle injury.

Lack of adequate prevention could also be why the researchers found that one in eight athletes who had an abdominal strain during the study ended up on the DL multiple times with the injury.

That's probably an underestimate of the true number of re-injuries, Dines said, because it doesn't include the players with more minor strains who were out for less than two weeks the second time around.

Rehabilitation for abdominal strains typically involves rest, ice, painkillers and a gradual return to normal activity levels.

Researchers agreed that stretching is one of the key ways for athletes to prevent a first-time abdominal muscle strain, or a repeat strain.

"I think the mindset is changing a bit," Wilk told Reuters Health.  "We want (athletes) strong but we want them stable and we want the flexibility and the endurance."

That includes improving flexibility of the leg and hip muscles, which, when they're tight, make the abdominals work extra hard and increase the chance of a strain, said Dr. W. Ben Kibler, medical director of the Lexington Clinic Sports Medicine Center in Kentucky, who wasn't involved in the study.

"Because of the number of days it takes to get back and the amount of money we're talking about, it's a fairly expensive thing and it really does affect the performance a lot more than it should," Kibler told Reuters Health.

"A lot of these should be preventable problems."


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     I appreciate that you took the time to send me a copy of this research article.

     Obviously, these people have not read the Center for Disease Control report that they titled, 'Stretching Causes Muscle Injuries,' wherein the Director of the Epidemiology Program said, "We could not find a benefit."

     The article said: "The injuries, also known as side strains, typically occur with twisting or pivoting, such as during a pitcher's throwing motion or a batter's swing, and are also common in tennis and golf."

     In baseball pitching, trainers call this injury, 'Oblique,' which is short hand for Oblique Internus Abdominis.  This means that 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches tear the muscle fibers of their Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle on the glove side of their Rib Cage.

     Dr. Joshua Dines, from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City said:

01. "Part of this is just, you're doing something that's not a natural motion.'

     The Oblique Internus Abdominis muscles arise from the anterior two-thirds of the middle lip of the iliac crest on both sides of the Rib Cage and insert into the cartilages of tenth, eleventh and twelfth ribs to the Pubic bone.

     When the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle on the glove side of the Rib Cage contracts, the tenth, eleventh and twelfth ribs move closer to the glove side iliac crest.

     Because human beings have these Oblique Internus Abdominis muscles and can voluntarily contract these muscles, the action of this muscle is completely appropriate and natural.

02. "If you keep doing those motions over and over, he said, your body is going to break down at some point."

     Exercise physiology tells us that, unless the activity places unnecessary stress on the muscles to move the associated bones, the more frequently that baseball pitchers perform an activity, the more fit and skilled they become for performing that activity.

     In this case, after 'traditional' baseball pitchers reverse rotate their hips and shoulders well beyond second base, they explosively rotate their hips forward. When their glove foot lands, 'traditional' baseball pitchers try to pull their pitching shoulder and arm forward.

     This action maximally lengthens the Oblique Internus Abdominis muscle on the glove side of their Rib Cage.  This maximally lengthened starting position is the definition of 'unnecessary stress.'

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0232.  Inside elbow discomfort

I am an experienced adult amateur pitcher who is approximately 100 days through your 120-day pitchers program, with 15 lb. wrist weights and 8 lb. iron ball.  (I also have some prior experience with your program and exercises before that, but I never really progressed beyond wrong-foot throws).  This is me in early December of last year:

1.  Semi-front view of adult male performing my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion with wrist weights

2.  Semi-front view of adult male performing my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion to throw a baseball

I've had some front-of-the-shoulder issues in the past, but I've never really had any elbow problems at all.  However, I started experiencing discomfort in the medial area of my elbow for just over the last two weeks.

I've attached a photo to show the points where it's been sore.

It first appeared right after a couple of workouts where I felt very, very good and strong.  At times it seems to be vaguely in the ulnar nerve groove, both above and below the bony process on the inside of my elbow.  But there has been no numbness or tingling at all.  I also at times feel distinct soreness where my index finger is pointing in the photo.

After the initial injury, I continued at full reps and intensity for a couple of days and did ok but would get quite sore afterwards and into the next day.  So I've backed off.

There is no pain on palpation in the ulnar nerve area, but at times there is a little bit when I push on the index finger location.  But not much.  I can do pretty well when warm and could likely be effective in a competitive setting.

But even when warm, I will feel pretty substantial discomfort since the date of injury when I put my hands out in front of my chest, elbows bent at about 90 degrees (like a "praying position"), and I push the bases of my palms together.  That aggravates it.

I'm hoping and suspect that I have a muscular strain.  So I've continued the program during the last week or so but at reduced number of repetitions (24 each ww, ib, bb) and significantly reduced intensity.

It seems to be going pretty well, but the issue is still distinctly there.  I've also been doing the "praying" position as a sort of isometric exercise during the day to the point of stressing it and causing some pain, to flex and then relax the muscles in the affected area.

(1)  Am I on the right track with what I'm doing?  Any changes to suggest?

(2)  When would you recommend that I resume the program at something close to full intensity?

(3)  Would you recommend that I see an orthopedist at this time to assess whether I've injured my UCL?

If not yet, how much longer should I give the injury to resolve before going to see someone?


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     I could not open the photograph that you sent me.  However, I know where you have discomfort and why.

     You have not injured anything.  You do not need to see a doctor.

     With the pendulum swing that you are using, you are contracting the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle of the Humerus bone of your pitching elbow and insert into the Radius bone, the radial side of the wrist, the ulnar side of the wrist, the Palmar aponeurosis and the middle phalanges of the 2nd through 5th digits.

     This means that these muscles are holding the medial epicondyle of your Humerus bone in your pitching upper arm tightly against the coronoid process of your Ulna bone of your pitching elbow.

     The discomfort that you have is great.  This discomfort is exactly what you should have.

     I watched your videos.

     In the first video, you are performing my Drop Out Wind-Up competitive baseball pitching motion with wrist weights.  Your technique was very good.

     However, in the second video, some of your former 'traditional' baseball pitching techniques showed up.

01.  Instead of pendulum swinging your pitching arm straight backward, you went over a foot laterally behind your body.  This means that you actively reverse rotated your hips and shoulders beyond second base.

     With the baseball laterally behind your body, before you could apply force toward home plate, you had to return the baseball to the pitching arm side of your body.  This action forced you to apply force in a curved pathway.  Therefore, to overcome the sideways force that slings your pitching forearm laterally away from your body, you had to unnecessarily stressed the front and back of your pitching shoulder.

02.  Instead of stepping forward only as far as you can power walk, you stepped forward so far that you were not able to continue to move the center of mass of your body forward through release.  As a result, you had to bend forward at your waist.  I want my baseball pitchers to stand tall, rotate and continue to move the center of mass of their body forward through release.

     I could not see your feet.  Therefore, I could not see whether you stepped straight forward, toward the pitching side of your body or toward the glove side of your body.  I also could not see whether you landed on the heel of your glove foot, rolled across the entire length of your glove foot and raise up on the toes of your glove foot.

     This means that I also could not determine whether you used your glove foot to move the entire pitching side of your body forward.

     Nevertheless, after you make these relatively minor adjustments, you will be able to apply force in straight lines over as long of a driveline as you can.

03.  With regard to your pitching arm action:  To maximize the force that you generate, at the start of the acceleration phase, you need to throw your pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward toward your head and turn the back of your pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     If you look closely at your second video, then you will see that you turned the back of your pitching upper arm slightly toward home plate.

     I call the first pitching arm position that I teach my baseball pitchers, 'Slingshot.'  In the Slingshot pitching arm action, my baseball pitchers have their pitching upper arm vertical with their pitching forearm horizontal behind their pitching upper arm and the back of their pitching forearm facing completely toward home plate.  That is the position you need to get your pitching arm when you start to inwardly rotate your pitching upper arm, extend your pitching elbow and pronate your pitching forearm.

     It is from this pitching arm position that you 'slingshot' your pitching forearm toward home plate.

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0233.  Fix Matsuzaka?

I remember reading about you years ago in the LA TIMES when you were with the Dodgers.

Daisuke Matsuzaka has had pitching problems, related to injuries, if I remember correctly.

Do you think your work in kinesiology could help him regain his pitching form?

My apologies if I guessed incorrectly.  I'm no expert.  At most, I'm a half hearted baseball follower (namely Dodgers).  After reading about Daisuke Matsuzaka's problems, your name come to mind.


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     My work in Kinesiology helps baseball pitchers of all ages and abilities.  It is too bad that my name did not come to the Red Sox's mind.

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0234.  Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong injures his back
Associated Press
February 19, 2012

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  San Francisco Giants right-hander Ryan Vogelsong strained his back earlier this month while lifting weights and said Sunday he will miss at least the first 10 days of spring training workouts while he recovers.

The pitcher realizes it's worth being cautious at this stage so that he's healthy for the long haul.  "It's not too bad but we want to make sure we're cautious," Vogelsong said before Giants pitchers and catchers went through their first workout at Scottsdale Stadium.  "I'd say probably, cautious side, 10 days maybe just to make sure I'm feeling good and don't go out there and try to throw and tweak it again and come back in here.  We're just going to go really conservative right now."

Vogelsong, who became an unlikely All-Star last year in a comeback season, said he was squatting on a balance ball with 70-pound dumbbells, weights he had used all winter, on February 7 when he got hurt.

"Just a regular workout, trying to do a little bit too much weight wise," he said.  "Right now, we want to make sure I'm 100 percent ready to go before I go out there and try to start throwing and running around again."

Manager Bruce Bochy said the Giants might hold Vogelsong out for two weeks.  He underwent an MRI exam.

Last month, Vogelsong received an $8.3 million, two-year contract to give him some job security.  The 34-year-old Vogelsong set a career high for wins last season while going 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA in 30 games and 28 starts.

At this stage, the Giants believe Vogelsong will bounce back in plenty of time to be ready for opening day.  Eric Surkamp will be preparing as a starter, so there is insurance.

"He in such good shape anyway," general manager Brian Sabean said of Vogelsong.  "He was ahead of schedule."


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     Mr. Vogelsong said that, he injured his back when he was squatting on a balance ball with 70 lb. dumbbells.

     This is the result of this 'core training' nonsense.

     The upper body sits precariously on the Hip Girdle.  The weak link in the human body is the intervertebral disk between the fifth Lumbar vertebrae (L5) and the first Sacral vertebrae (S1).

     This is a structural weakness.  When the vertebral column is not in vertical alignment with the Hip Girdle, the L5 vertebrae and S1 vertebrae pinch the nerves that exit the spinal column between those two vertebrae.

     No amount of strengthening the muscles that flex and extend these vertebrae can prevent these two vertebrae from pinching these nerves.  When these nerves become inflammed, the pain is excruciating.

     To prevent this excruciating pain, baseball pitchers need to only never pinch these nerves.

     To never pinch these nerves, baseball pitchers need to only never bend forward.  Baseball pitchers must always keep their vertebral column vertically aligned with their Hip Girdle.

     Squatting on a balance ball with 70 lb. dumbbells does not keep the vertebral column vertically aligned with the Hip Girdle.

     Mr. Sabean needs to fire the ignorant athletic trainer that came up with this nonsense.  It reminds me of the athletic trainer fool that the Yankees fired several years ago as a result of an epidemic of 'hamstring' pulls.

     After Mel Stottelmeyer got the Yankees to release Jeff Sparks during the 2001 spring training, I convinced the Milwaukee Brewers to sign Jeff Sparks to a triple-A contract.

     After training with me during the next off-season, Jeff was ready.  In the triple-A intersquad games, Jeff did great.  The Brewers had Jeff pitch an inning in an major league exhibition game.  Jeff did great.

     Jeff did the major league workout.  It included two guys standing back to back twisting from side to side handing a medicine ball back and forth.

     This injurious 'core' training injured Jeff's back.  After three weeks of severe back pain prevented Jeff from throwing, to break camp with the major league team, Jeff rushed his rehabilitation.

     Too much too soon tightened the muscles that attach to the medial epicondyle of Humerus bone of his pitching upper arm.  An unnecessary MRI exposed irrelevant calcium deposits in Jeff's Ulnar Collateral Ligament from tearing its connective tissue fibers in high school and twice at Texas Lutheran College.  The Brewers released Jeff.

     All 'core' training is injurious.  The only 'core' training that baseball pitchers need is to stand tall and rotate.  Baseball pitchers must never, never bend forward at the waist.

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0235.  Lefties Anderson, Braden throw off mound
MLB.com
February 20, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ:  From afar, it appeared to be just another ordinary spring scene in the desert a pair of pitchers throwing off the mound with a handful of coaches and a couple of fans and media members watching on.

And it would have been, had the pitchers not been lefties Brett Anderson and Dallas Braden.

For the former, it marked his first bullpen session since undergoing Tommy John surgery in July.  And, for the latter, it was his fifth following a May shoulder procedure.  Each threw 25 pitches; 10 from the front of the mound and 15 off the rubber.

Anderson gave his efforts an "A-plus," while Braden said, "Whatever one step above that is, I was that."

That's encouraging news for the A's, who are poised to have Braden back in the rotation by early May and Anderson in tow in August.

"Today was good," Anderson said.  "I didn't know what to expect from throwing off the mound for the first time.  Adrenaline was raised and I probably threw a couple too hard, but for the most part, I probably couldn't ask for a better first time off the mound.  The true test will be to see how the body reacts tomorrow, but for the first time it was about as good as you can feel."

And look, apparently.

"I don't want him to read this," manager Bob Melvin said, "but it looked like he was rehabbing a knee and not his arm.  I didn't expect the ball to come out of his hand like that on the first day.  It certainly seems like everything's tightened up in there pretty good, and the credit goes to him for how well he's rehabbed."

The plan for Anderson, as well as Braden, is to throw one bullpen a week until further notice.

"I feel like every day we're making progress in terms of being able to stretch it out a little farther, put a little more on it, and the biggest area of focus is the bounceback," Braden said.  "Everything has been positive thus far in terms of that.  I've continued to get stronger."

The A's southpaw has yet to throw a changeup, since his goal is to resume fastball arm speed.  That's currently a work in progress, at a pace the ultra-competitive Braden would hasten if given the chance.

Said the lefty:  "We've had a couple of sit-down meetings on how Dallas needs to approach his effort level, and I tell [Melvin], 'Look, I got lucky.  I never threw 95, so it's not like I'm going to get back to throwing 95.  Why don't you just let me muscle up my 88 at any point in time?,' and they're going, 'No, no, you're 88 could hurt you right now.'"

So, Braden will keep to doctor's orders, all the while acting as a rehab buddy to Anderson.

"Him and I have kind of unconsciously come closer together just because of going through this process together," Braden said.  "We have those days where we give each other that internal high five, and then look at each other when it doesn't go so good and give that internal, 'I hate life right now,' and we each understand, so it's nice."


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     Mr. Anderson and Mr. Braden threw 25 pitches, 10 from in front of the pitching mound and 15 from the pitching mound.

     The plan for Mr. Anderson and Mr. Braden, is to throw one bullpen a week.

     These are the critical details in rehabilitation from surgery.

     Athletics field manager Bob Melvin said:  "It certainly seems like everything's tightened up in there pretty good."

     Not for long.

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0236.  Beckett: 'I had lapses in judgement'
WEEI.com
February 20, 2012

FORT MYERS, FL:  Starter Josh Beckett, in his first extended conversation about the Red Sox' September collapse and his role in it, discussed the disappointment of missing the playoffs and acknowledged that he had "lapses in judgment" in terms of his clubhouse conduct.

At the same time, while acknowledging that he did gain weight over the course of last season, he said that physical conditioning was not an issue for him last year, and that he "was ready to pitch every time" he took the mound, including a September stretch in which he went 1-2 with a 5.48 ERA in four starts (he missed two due to injury).

"Nobody was more disappointed than the players were.  I didn’t pitch well.  That was the bottom line.  My last two starts against Baltimore, they weren’t good," said Beckett.  "I’m not saying we didn’t make mistakes because we did make mistakes in the clubhouse.

But the biggest mistake we made was, the biggest mistake I made was not pitching well against Baltimore.  I was prepared to pitch every time I went out there.  I just didn’t execute pitches when I needed to."

Beckett, who had his first child shortly after the end of the season, said that he was "distracted" during the season.  He declined to elaborate, but said that he would not let that issue recur.

"I had things going on.  I got distracted," said Beckett.  "That was the biggest thing that, going forward, I would definitely change, is not to be distracted."

In terms of his own conditioning, Beckett said, "I never missed a workout.  I was ready to pitch every time I pitched.  I didn't execute pitches in my last two starts," referring to a pair of losses against the Orioles in which he allowed 12 runs in 13 1/3 innings.

While taking accountability for his lapses in ownership, Beckett also made clear that he was unhappy with the fact that internal clubhouse matters, presumably including suggestions of his lack of conditioning as well as the consumption by Red Sox starting pitchers of beer and fried chicken in the clubhouse, were aired.

"I'm upset with myself for the lapses in judgment, but there's also some ill feelings towards some people," said Beckett, who declined to identify specific parties towards whom he felt thusly.

Asked if he understood fan outrage towards the Sox, Beckett did not hesitate.

"Absolutely.  I've been a fan of things, too.  It stinks whenever things don’t go the way they're supposed to go.

We were a really good team.  We were the best team in baseball for about five months.  It sucks the way things ended.  We’re just as let down as they are.  That doesn’t make it right, but we were very let down as well," said Beckett.  "We need to earn that trust back.  I think that they're the best fans in baseball.  There's some good, there's some bad, but they're the best fans in baseball.  I mean, I definitely think we need to earn that trust back, and the way we've got to do that is just go about our business the way we have in previous years.  Just earn it back and win ballgames."


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     When I heard about the chicken and beer and not sitting in the dugout, I knew who the instigator was.

     Mr. Beckett said:  "... to earn that trust back, and the way we've got to do that is just go about our business ... ."

     That Mr. Beckett said, 'just,' convinced me.

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0237.  This is Ruben Corral with a status report from the OCX Baseball Training Academy in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

Since we have instituted your arm strength program, we have over 10 hybrid pitchers and 2 catchers that have completed or starting the 120-day interval training program.

7 are in high school and 5 are 14 year old 8th graders.  All pitchers have shown dramatic improvement in their accuracy, velocity and movement of their new pitches.  Most of the pitchers are now in a maintenance phase.

Our pro pitcher will go to spring training this year with 8 pitches and the ability to throw without soreness or injury.  This winter, he added a sinker and screwball, changed the curve from a decently sharp 1-7, to a deadly 12-6, and, after two years of trying to throw a supinated slider, now has the torque slider.

There are two pitchers, both high school sophomores, one lefty and one righty that definitely have potential to someday pitch in professional baseball.  Both pitchers will surely be 90-plus throwers and one has already received interests from scouts, though I preach college is the better choice.

All of my pitching lessons and mostly all pitchers that pitch on my 7 teams now have hybrid mechanics that emphasize a vertical upper arm through release and engaging their latissimus dorsi muscle.

They understand pronation and more importantly, they understand how the human body works and is meant to throw objects.

They throw all pitches from the same release point.  They all have sharper curves (some with over-spin, except for the young ones) and/or screwballs.  Some have learned sinkers and all have increased their ability to perform well for their teams.

As soon as their competitive schedules die down, all pitchers will start either your 60-day motor skill acquisition or 120-day interval-training program.

As hybrids, the most noticeable difference in my pitchers is a front leg lift that follows the direction of their toes so they do not counter-rotate their hip.

My pitchers preset their pitching foot at a 45 degree angle against the front edge of the rubber and point their glove foot toes towards their target during their stride.

Another noticeable difference is that they do not move their center of mass enough as Full Marshall pitchers do.  They are still discovering that it’s better to point your toe, step towards the glove side and allow the hips and shoulders to explode towards the plate.  I tell them to rotate so their pitching shoulder and hip point at the target through release.

As baseball season has now begun, the feedback I hear from my player's coaches for their respective teams have been mixed.

Some have vehemently questioned it.  Others have not said much if anything at all.

All my pitchers are performing excellently in their games.

I communicate with scouts and former major leaguers on a consistent basis.  While some have questioned the “weirdness” of it, many have kept an open mind.

The most controversial so far has been the angled pitching foot against the rubber.  Interestingly, some of the critics of this came from former professional players.

It strikes me funny when people don't seem to realize the reason the rubber is there in the first place and why they would want to do the splits on the mound.

One coach tried to bully the player, but the parents stepped in and said that this is the way their son will pitch.

So far, all coaches have acquiesced and the young pitchers are throwing the way they want to.

I have a reputation in the area for knowing and teaching the game.  So, I don't get a lot of negative feedback for teaching "Marshall Mechanics".

I feel that it’s all in how it's presented.

Parents are amazed when they come to bring their sons in for hitting practice and see my pitchers driving iron balls into our BEAST (Lon's rebound wall).

They become curious and are positively amazed by my explanation of the drills and mechanics.

I feel, after discovering your research in 2001 that there is no other way to deliver the baseball than utilizing the methods that you have identified.  Hybrid or not, my pitchers are the better for it.

As I see it, you have proven that MECHANICS are finite.

"Traditional" mechanics are more about STYLE.

We are built to move only one way and throw objects only one way and "traditional" pitching STYLES flies in the face of our natural anatomy.

Pitchers that throw across their body may be trying to achieve deception.  But, nothing is as deceptive as all pitches being released from the same slot.  From that same release, our pitches move in 3 different directions, not to mention change of speeds.

By incorporating the vertical upper arm, lat dorsi, pronating releases, et al, hybrid or not, we are having great successes in bringing your mechanics into this talent-rich area.  More people are now taking notice of what we are doing and the successes our pitchers are having with it.

I'd like to think we've been able to create a "marriage" between MECHANICS and STYLE.  Only time will tell.

Thanks and I will keep the updates coming.


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     I love your updates.

     Knowledge is power.

     When baseball pitchers of all ages understand "how the human body works," they will become as skillful and fit as their love of baseball pitching enables them to be.

     You are giving a gift that will last their lifetimes.

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0238.  Associated Press
February 20, 2012

FORT MYERS, FL:  After getting booed out of Target Field more times than he'd care to remember in 2011, it would be understandable if Minnesota Twins closer Matt Capps grabbed the first airplane out of the Twin Cities and never looked back.

Instead, Capps couldn't say yes fast enough when the Twins gave him a chance to return.

Much to the chagrin of many Twins fans, general manager Terry Ryan re-signed Capps to a one-year, $4.75 million contract after Joe Nathan left for the Texas Rangers.  Now, after perhaps the worst season of his career, the closer's job is all his.

"I feel like I let a lot of people down last year, myself, the fans, especially (former GM) Bill Smith and the organization when they made the trade that they made," Capps said.  "They expected me to perform at a level higher than what I did last year and that didn't happen."

The right-hander saved just 15 games, the fewest since he became a closer in 2007, and he blew seven other chances.  He went 4-7 with a 4.25 ERA and lost his job when Nathan finally returned to full strength from Tommy John surgery.

He didn't look like the same pitcher who was acquired from Washington at the trade deadline in 2010 for prized catching prospect Wilson Ramos.  Capps came over to a new league and stabilized the back end of the Twins' pitching staff with 16 saves and a 2.00 ERA to help them make the playoffs.

Some minor injuries zapped some of the life from his pitches, and Capps thinks he'll be back to normal this season.

"When the opportunity came about for me to come back here, I jumped on it as quick as I could," Capps said.

After losing longtime closer and clubhouse pillar Nathan to the defending AL champions, manager Ron Gardenhire was delighted to see Capps return.  The old-school Gardenhire is big on personal accountability and professionalism, two traits Capps has in abundance.

"Letting people down? No," Gardenhire said.  "I think you let people down when you don't give it everything you have.  And that's never been the case with Matt Capps, so he didn't let people down.  Maybe he didn't get the job done that he was asked to do.  But he didn't let people down.  He gave it everything he had.  His full heart and courage and everything he has is into it."

This time around, Capps and the Twins coaching staff are hoping a more defined role will help him return to form.

Last spring, Nathan was dubbed the closer right off the bat even though missed all of 2010 because of the surgery.  He struggled early in the regular season and had to be sent down for another rehab stint, moving Capps from a setup man back into the closer's position.

Poor defensive play and inconsistent starting pitching taxed the Twins' bullpen heavily, forcing Gardenhire to use Capps for more than one inning far too often, something the manager likes to call "the domino effect."

The struggles were weighing heavily on the closer, and Gardenhire could see it every time he had to make that long walk from the dugout to the mound to pull him.

"I'm not used to walking and taking a closer out of a game," he said.  "I haven't done that too many times in my career.  You could see that he was battling it out there and a couple times I had to do that."

Capps pitched a second inning nine times last season.  If the starters can pitch deeper into games and the defense plays better behind them, the Twins hope to trim that number significantly this season.

"I'm certainly not going to shy away from throwing multiple innings if that's what they want me to do and that's what they need me to do," Capps said.  "But we need to prepare for that and use this time in spring training to prepare for that.  That's something we didn't do last year."

In past springs, Capps said he would try to get one or two long outings, sometimes as many as three straight innings, to build up strength in his arm and have him ready for longer appearances.  Pitching coach Rick Anderson said that won't be a problem and that they'll do whatever they need to do to make sure he's comfortable to start the season.

"I certainly felt like I wanted to come back here and do better by everybody," Capps said.  "That's the bottom line.  That's why I'm here."


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     I don't know whether it was his minor injuries, not having the fitness to pitch two innings nine times or changing from closing to setting up that caused Mr. Capps' problems.

     However, at the end of 1981, I pitched two months with the New York Mets and watched Ron Gardenhire play baseball.

     Mr. Gardenhire did not have genetic gifts.  But, he always worked hard.

     Therefore, it does not surprise me that Mr. Gardenhire is a successful manager.  While I do not believe that Mr. Gardenhire knows how to improve the skills of his baseball players, I do believe that he knows how to get them to work as hard as he did.

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0239.  Moylan progressing in rehab, won't rush return
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
February 20, 2012

After coming back from major elbow surgery three years ago and back surgery early last season, Braves reliever Peter Moylan is treating prudence as a virtue in his recovery from late-September shoulder surgery.

The Aussie sidearmer listening to the doctors and trainers and not rushing any step in his comeback, which he hopes will have him back in the bullpen “absolutely” before the All-Star break and perhaps as soon as late May.

“You don’t know how it’s going to respond at all of these levels [of increased throwing],” said Moylan, who had no problems when he did three sets of 25 throws from 90 feet on Saturday, at what he estimated to be 60-percent exertion.

“If it feels good all the way through, who knows when I’m going to be ready.  But there is no real, ‘This is the day we want you back.’  Which is good, because there’s no pressure.  There’s no rushing.”

Moylan said that stable of talent makes it easier to stay on pace and not rush his recovery.  “Maybe if someone is struggling in the ‘pen they might want me to get ready quicker,” he said.  “But if the ‘pen is going great, I can’t imagine them going, ‘Well come on, hurry up.’”

Moylan, 33, had arthroscopic surgery for rotator-cuff and labrum tears.  After making $2 million in 2011 and being limited to 13 appearances, he was non-tendered by the Braves.

They re-signed him as a free agent to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training and a $1 million salary on a prorated basis for any time spent in the majors.

Moylan has pitched in 80 or more games in three of the past five seasons for the Braves.

He had elbow surgery one month into the 2008 season and missed the rest of the year, after posting a 1.80 ERA in 80 games as a 28-year-old rookie in 2007.

After returning with a a 2.84 ERA in a franchise-record 87 appearances in 2009, he finished 2010 season with a 2.97 ERA in 85 appearances.

  Moylan is one of the more improbable recent success stories in the major leagues.  He was out of American professional baseball for eight years, working as a pharmaceutical salesman at home in Australia and playing for a club team on weekends, when he was invited to pitch for his country in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

When he switched to a sidearm delivery because of a previous back injury, he gained 10 miles per hour on his fastball.  The Braves signed him after seeing him pitch for Australia in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

The heavily-tattooed, dry-humored Aussie has become quite popular among Braves fans and teammates.

Moylan was asked Sunday if it were harder to recover from shoulder surgery now, at 33, than it might have been when he was 23.  “I was a pharmaceutical rep, so I would have had some help,” he cracked.


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     It is possible for sidearm pitchers to apply force to their pitches in straight lines toward home plate.  However, the injuries that Mr. Moylan has suffered shows that he does not.

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0240.  Nationals say Strasburg won't skip starts despite limit on innings
CBSSports.com
February 20, 2012

VIERA, FL: - Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says Stephen Strasburg's innings limit won't cause the pitcher to skip starts this season.

The 23-year-old missed most of last season while recovering from elbow-ligament replacement surgery.  He returned for five starts in September.

Rizzo says:  "There's not going to be a whole lot of tinkering going on.  We're going to run him out there until his innings are done."

The GM added Monday:  "He's a young pitcher that's still learning how to pitch in the big leagues.  I think it's unfair to get him ramped up in spring training and start the season on a regular rotation and then shut him down or skip him.  We're just going to make him comfortable."


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     Five man starting rotations have 32.4 starts in a season.  If, in those 32.4 starts, Mr. Strasburg averaged 4.9 innings, then he would pitch 160 innings.  That would means that, Mr. Strasburg would pitch twice through the lineup.

     I agree with Mr. Rizzo, that would be the best way for Mr. Strasburg to pitch those 160 innings.

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0241.  Burnett blames Yankees for tinkering with him
New York Post
February 21, 2012

BRADENTON, FL:  No more excuses for A.J. Burnett and no more Yankee thoughts.

Burnett the Pirate took some blame for his failures with the Yankees yesterday at Pirate City, but also said he may have let too many people in pinstripes mess with his mechanics.

“Without getting too far into it,’’ Burnett explained, “I would just say I let a few too many people tinker with me and when you let that happen, you get out there, you start doubting yourself sometimes, like, ‘Am I doing it right?  Is this the way it is supposed to feel?’

“In ’09 nobody messed with me,’’ Burnett said of the Yankees’ World Series championship season.  “I was able to do what I wanted to do on the mound, whether it was turn all the way around, close my eyes; pitch upside down, whatever it was.  Then you have a few bad games and you start changing and listening."

The past two Yankees pitching coaches Dave Eiland and Larry Rothschild tried their best to get Burnett straightened out on the mound, with input from Joe Girardi but, in the end, for Burnett, it was too much tinkering.

Asked by The Post his view of the Yankees staff, Burnett responded:  “Without sounding too arrogant, I don’t care, they’re good dudes over there and they got a good leader in CC [Sabathia], but I need to get over here and learn my staff and I’m looking forward to that."

Keeping Burnett on task is not an easy job as the Yankees learned.  Burnett has moved on and so have the Yankees.  All that energy that was directed toward Burnett by coaches and teammates can now be focused on younger pitchers like Michael Pineda, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos.  This was a trade that had to be made.

“It was fun the first couple of years," Burnett said of his time with the Yankees.

He expects to have a ton of fun with ex-Met Rod Barajas and the no-pressure Pirates.  Barajas was Burnett’s catcher in Toronto in 2008 when Burnett went 18-10.

“He’s one of the best catchers I’ve ever thrown to, it’s going to be fun," Burnett said.

Barajas said he has the same personality as Burnett and that makes it easier to communicate with him, and when Barajas “tinkers’’ with Burnett, the right-hander gladly takes his advice.

For example, when Burnett starts going side to side in his windup, instead of just pointing to Burnett to keep his front shoulder closed, the catcher would look him directly in the eye and make a motion with both hands to come straight “towards me" as if he were telling a truck driver to back straight up.

“You can keep your shoulder in and still go side-to-side.  So I made it clear to come towards me.  We had little hand signals," Barajas said of when to throw the two-seamer or the four-seam fastball.  “A.J. may be more of a visual guy when it comes to information."

That is the game inside the Burnett pitching game.

Can Burnett regain any of that success with a struggling team at the age of 35?  Only time will tell, but there is no doubt Barajas thinks Burnett can be successful with Pittsburgh.

“A.J. was involved, he was great in the clubhouse, we had a lot of fun together on and off the field," Barajas said.  “It was a great relationship.  It was tough seeing him leave.  I don’t see any reason why he can’t pitch here the way he did in Toronto."

The Pirates need help.  Burnett needs help on the mound.  Barajas will be there for him.

What made Burnett successful in 2008 with Barajas?  “I wish I knew," Burnett said.  “I think it was him being able to block my curve ball.  He’s a hard worker, he keeps you on track."


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     Catchers are critical to the success of baseball pitchers.  However, when baseball pitchers think about whether they are closing their front shoulder or anything else, they cannot pitch.

     Unlike Ruben Corral, 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches do not know "how the human body works and is meant to throw objects."

     Until baseball pitchers also know how the human body works and is meant to throw baseballs, they cannot make their baseball pitching motion their own.

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0242.  Jenks has a long way to go
Boston Globe
February 21, 2012

FORT MYERS, FL:  The Chicago White Sox released Bobby Jenks after the 2010 season, deciding his many physical issues and frequent disputes with manager Ozzie Guillen outweighed his merits as a closer.  Former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein provided a money-stuffed pillow for Jenks to land on, giving him a two-year contract worth $12 million.  Of the many free agent mistakes Epstein made, Jenks may prove one of the worst.

According to manager Bobby Valentine, Jenks is not likely to pitch in spring training and if he does return, it would not be until the middle of the season.  “Bobby said he’d like to take one week at a time," Valentine said.  “That means he’s a long way about thinking baseball activities.  He’s really had a terrible off-season health-wise.  He’s a real back-burner guy.  I don’t think we’ll see him in baseball activities for quite a while if at all this spring."

Jenks made 19 appearances last season and had three stints on the disabled list, once for a biceps strain and twice for a back injury.  He did not appear in a game after July 7 and was terrible when he did pitch, posting a 6.32 ERA and a 2.23 WHIP.

He was found to have a pulmonary embolism late in the season, which required medication to dissolve.  He then had two surgeries on his back to correct a spinal issue.


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     It sounds as though the Society for American Baseball Research guys forgot to include biceps strain, back injury and pulmonary embolism in their list of significant performance variables.

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0243.  Brian Wilson said he was hurting for most of 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
February 21, 2012

Closer Brian Wilson revealed Monday that he pitched through pain in his hip and right elbow for most of 2011, which means his arm was not right long before he strained it in mid-August, effectively ending his season.  Wilson offered this confession three hours after his first regular bullpen session of spring training, which ended with a few humped-up fastballs that he had kept in his back pocket for most of the session.

Watching keenly were manager Bruce Bochy, pitching coach Dave Righetti, bullpen coach Mark Gardner, head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner and orthopedist Dr. Ken Akizuki. Wilson's catcher was coach Bill Hayes.

"I feel like I'm right on schedule," Wilson said.  "We have a pretty detailed map of bullpens and throwing.  This was just another check off the checklist.  Standard bullpen.  I'm not really going to look deep into it.  As far as pain, there are no ailments, no tweaks, no inflammation."

That was not the case last year, Wilson said when asked why some of his peripheral numbers were off even though he converted 88 percent of his save chances.  His WHIP rose from 1.179 in the World Series year to 1.473.  His walks increased from 3.1 per nine innings to 5.1 and his strikeouts dropped from 11.2 per nine innings to 8.8.

"You can blame a lot of things," Wilson said, "but I'm the one throwing the ball.  If I'm not 100 percent, I should be the one who does something about it."  For Wilson, "something" did not include sitting out a few days to calm the elbow.  "A lot of people in the locker room would be OK with (him resting), but I'm not OK with that," he said.  "I'm not OK with taking days off."

When he strained the elbow while blowing a save in Atlanta on August 15, the decision was taken from Wilson.  The Giants placed him on the disabled list and sent him to top orthopedists to ensure he did no structural damage.

That Wilson looked "free and easy" Monday, as Hayes put it, suggests the arm-strengthening and body-flexibility work that Wilson undertook over the winter paid dividends.  His back and hip, which bothered him as early as last spring training, are fine now, too.  "I'd say the last seven, eight, 10 pitches, he let it go," Hayes said.  "He had better rotation on his fastball, and his cutter had the right 'dot' on it," meaning it moved the way it was supposed to move.

Bochy said Wilson threw better than he did three days earlier and should feel good about Monday's session.  Bochy continues to believe Wilson can pitch by the second week of exhibitions.  Wilson concurred, saying, "I don't think there will be any hiccups."

Though Wilson's fastballs rose in velocity toward the end ("Just testing the waters"), they were no match for the high-90s heaters that prospect and potential future closer Heath Hembree was throwing on the adjacent mound.  Wilson had his back to Hembree as he went into his stretch.  That might have been a good thing.

"The last thing you want (Wilson) to do is compete in the first bullpen to see who's throwing harder," Bochy said.  He wasn't joking.


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     Arm strengthening and body flexibility will not eliminate the causes of Mr. Wilson's 2011 pitching injuries.

     Until Mr. Wilson pendulum swings his pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, he will reinjure the inside of his pitching elbow.

     Until Mr. Wilson stops reverse rotating his pitching hip well beyond second base, he will reinjure his pitching hip.

     Then, Mr. Hembree can start his downward spiral to oblivion.

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0244. CC Sabathia's Weight
February 21, 2012

TAMPA, FL:  By late last season, Joe Girardi and the Yankees were insisting that our eyes were deceiving us, that CC Sabathia wasn’t as overweight as he looked.  Now we know better.

It wasn’t just that Brian Cashman revealed on Sunday that he arranged a sit-down with Sabathia over the winter that included Girardi and trainer Steve Donahue to talk about the lefthander’s weight.  It was also that he called the undertaking of such a task “tough” and “awkward,” making it clear just how important he felt that it be done.

Matter of fact, you got the feeling that Cashman was awfully tempted by September of last season to confront Sabathia and demand to know if he was back on the Cap’n Crunch.  And maybe he should have, considering the way his ace finished the season, unable to dominate lineups the way he did for a long stretch at midseason.

Was the extra weight the reason? On Sunday.  Sabathia said it wasn’t, but Cashman also revealed that the big lefthander had knee problems over the second half of the season, which may or may not have been related to his weight gain.

In any case, Cashman’s instinct may have been to intervene.  And the GM has proven he’s willing to play the bad-cop role in doing what he feels is best for the organization, yet in Sabathia's case he was no doubt conflicted for a couple of reasons.

For one thing, he loves everything about Sabathia, from his toughness on the mound to his friendly, easy-going manner that has helped unify the Yankee clubhouse during his three seasons in pinstripes.

And then there was the matter of Sabathia’s opt-out clause.  Cashman wasn’t going to do anything that might have jeopardized the Yankees’ chances of re-signing his ace.

So while it sounded as if Cashman made his concerns known inside the organization last season, he didn’t take the step that George Steinbrenner might have taken in his day and ordered Sabathia to go on a diet.

“I let our trainers carry the ball on that during the second half of the season,” was the way Cashman put it on Sunday.  “And then I got involved.”

In truth, it was probably the best way to handle a potentially delicate matter.  Sabathia didn’t flinch at questions about his weight here on his first day in the spring training clubhouse, but he didn’t seem thrilled when they quickly became the focus of his press session.

Even so, Sabathia pledged to keep the weight off this season.  Like last year, he arrived obviously lighter than he’d been at the end of the season.  This time he didn’t joke about losing the weight by getting off the Cap’n Crunch cereal, but he admitted he needed to do a better job of “getting on a routine during the season” and sticking to it.

Sabathia says he’s still not sure why he wasn’t sharp late in the season or in the playoff series against the Tigers.  He did concede that he didn’t like being forced to pitch on extra rest in September as Girardi used six starters for a few weeks, but said “it’s no excuse.”

Mostly he seemed willing to make the effort to make his weight a non-issue.

“It’s up to me to take away any possible factors,” he said, “and be ready and strong the whole year.”

Cashman said he didn’t mention a word about the weight while negotiating a new deal that added a year and an extra guaranteed $30 million to Sabathia’s contract.  His experiences with past Yankees such as Bob Wickman and Jim Leyritz convinced him not to force a weight clause into the new contract, noting that players would go to such lengths to make weight, even “sticking their fingers down their throat” to induce vomiting, during in-season deadlines that it affected their performance.

Instead, Cashman is counting on Sabathia’s maturity, his sense of responsibility to his teammates, to make sure he stays in shape in 2012 and beyond.  It’s no small matter, especially as Sabathia gets into his mid-30s with a knee that has already twice required surgery.

In truth, you could make a case the Yankees could have taken a tougher stance regarding Sabathia’s opt-out, rather than giving him what is now a five-year, $122 million deal that will take him to age 37.

Except the Yankees’ need for an ace made it worth the risk.  They have plenty of young pitching, and perhaps a future ace in newly acquired Michael Pineda, but chances are they aren’t winning a championship in the next couple of years without Sabathia pitching the way he did in the 2009 post-season.

With all of that in mind, Cashman asked his ace nicely, rather than demand he keep the weight off.  Sabathia’s track record says he earned such respect, but if Cashman has to ask again he’ll know he made a mistake.


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     Mr. Sabathia's glove knee cannot withstand the pounding of stopping his body weight.

     However, losing weight is not the answer.

     Don't misunderstand.  For Mr. Sabathia's long term health, I agree that Mr. Sabathia has to dramatically alter his eating habits.  However, even were Mr. Sabathia to have less than 10% body fat, he is a big person and his glove knee cannot withstand the stress.

     Mr. Sabathia has to learn how to continue to move the center of mass of his body forward through release.

     This means that Mr. Sabathia has to make his glove leg a pivot leg, not stop-the-mass-of-his-body-from-moving-forward leg.

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0245.  Pitchers slowed
Boston Globe
February 21, 2012

Righthander Ross Ohlendorf, who was signed to a minor league deal last week, is on a rehab program because of a shoulder injury.

Aaron Cook also may be held back for the same reason, although he did throw 35 pitches in the bullpen yesterday.  “Aaron Cook has had shoulder issues in the past where he’s come back too soon," Valentine said.  “He’s done the step-forward and two-step-back thing and we’re trying to prevent that from happening again.  We’re trying to get him to cruise on through.  He’s not hurt, just trying to learn from the past."

Righthander Daisuke Matsuzaka and lefthander Rich Hill, who are coming back from Tommy John surgery, will not appear in any games this spring, as was expected.  They could start minor league rehab assignments in May or June.


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     Not to worry.  The new general manager reorganized the Medical Staff.

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0246.  Bundy wows observers during bullpen session
MLB.com
February 22, 2012

SARASOTA, FL:  It's not often you see a crowd assembled to watch an early-spring bullpen session on the back fields, and it's rarer still for that marquee event to involve a 19-year-old wearing uniform No. 82.

But nothing about Dylan Bundy, the Orioles' top pitching prospect, is normal, a fact evidenced again by Wednesday's display, during which Bundy put on an impressive show.  Bundy, Baltimore's first-round pick in last year's First-Year Player Draft, threw to catcher Brian Ward at what he estimated to be about "90-92 percent," an effort that still produced frequent loud pops from the catcher's mitt and one that left little doubt about the validity of the scouting reports on Bundy.

"He wasn't even trying to throw hard; he can throw a lot harder than that," Ward said of Bundy, who has been clocked at 100 mph.  "It was a heavy ball, it was firm.  He's real polished."

While Bundy admitted he had some nerves during his first bullpen session Monday, which was closed to the media because it started with director of pitching development Rick Peterson's biomechanical analysis, he was the picture of poise Wednesday as part of the last group of pitchers to throw.

"The biggest thing that's going to help him is he's got a good head on his shoulders," said catcher Matt Wieters, who was among the group that lingered to watch Bundy and Steve Johnson finish up their workout.

"[Bundy is] just sort of going about his business in camp, trying to get better.  And that arm ... so many things can happen in baseball, but his arm and his head on his shoulders, he's got a good chance."

"He had command off all his pitches and knew exactly what he was doing with them.  [He was throwing to] both sides of the plate," added Ward, who also singled out Bundy's composure.  "You don't really see that from a 19-year-old."

Bundy estimated he threw between six and eight bullpen sessions in Oklahoma before arriving in Sarasota for his first Major League camp, and his locker is situated right next to Jake Arrieta, with Zach Britton and Brian Matusz nearby.  As the youngest player in camp, Bundy also has the disadvantage of being right next to the refrigerator holding drinks on his left, a fact that, like everything else, he seems to be taking in stride.

"It's just baseball," Bundy said of adjusting to the big league atmosphere.  "It's a bigger locker room with bigger names in it.  I mean, it's the same stuff as high school basically, except it's a lot bigger, lot faster game and a lot bigger people."

Regarded as the best high school pitcher in the 2011 Draft, Bundy went 11-0 with a 0.20 ERA and 158 strikeouts in 71 innings as a senior at Owasso (OK) High School.  Signed to a Major League deal, Bundy automatically got an invite to Major League Spring Training as a member of the Orioles' 40-man roster.  And while his stay in camp doesn't figure to be long, particularly since Baltimore will want to monitor him closely in his first season as a pro, his presence has already generated buzz in an otherwise sleepy first few days of camp.

"It's part of the job description," manager Buck Showalter said of the media attention given to Bundy.  "It's not like Dylan slipped in here under the radar screen or anything.  It's a story.  I understand it for the right reasons, because he's well thought of, the potential there.  But there's a lot of bridges to cross."


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     Mr. Bundy's day started with the Director of Pitching Development Rick Peterson's biomechanical analysis.

     Rather than a biomechanical analysis, I would have taken side and front view high-speed film and back and front view video.

     Where Mr. Peterson will have charts and numbers that will mean nothing to him, I would have freeze-frame evidence of where Mr. Bundy is inappropriately applying force to his pitches.

     To be of any value, Mr. Bundy has to understand how the human body works and is meant to throw objects.

     Unfortunately for Mr. Bundy, Mr. Peterson does not know anything about applied anatomy.  Therefore, Mr. Peterson will not help Mr. Bundy eliminate the injurious flaws in his baseball pitching motion.

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0247.  Tim Lincecum sits with stiff back
San Jose Mercury News
February 22, 2012

SCOTTSDALE, AZ:  Tim Lincecum skipped his scheduled bullpen session Tuesday because of a stiff back, but the minor setback wasn't enough to concern manager Bruce Bochy.  "It's a pretty normal thing in spring training," Bochy said.  "I don't see this being an issue at all."

Bochy said Lincecum threw off flat ground and was "pretty stiff," but it's not something the Giants' ace hasn't dealt with before.  Bochy chalked it up to players standing around for long periods early in the spring as they go through drills.

"Timmy had this last year," Bochy said.  "(Brian) Wilson did.  Mine is stiff now, to be honest."

Ryan Vogelsong is dealing with a back strain, and Bochy said there is more concern with Vogelsong than with Lincecum.  But Vogelsong still is expected to return before exhibition games begin March 03.


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     This is not discomfort as a result of lack of fitness.  This is discomfort as a result of inappropriate stress.

     Striding farther than baseball pitchers can continue to move the center of mass of their body forward through release forces baseball pitchers to bend forward at their waist.

     Eventually, the explosive bending forward and straightening back upward will destroy the L5-S1 intervertebral disk.

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***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, March 04, 2012, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0248.  February 26 Petite Critique

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0221.  Opening day

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I have read this suggestion before, but this one struck me as particularly clear.  I will insist on my sixteen year old son doing it.

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0222.  Okajima fails physical, won't be at Yanks' camp

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What aspect of the physical did he fail?

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     Because Mr. Okajima pitched so well in Triple-A, I cannot think of anything physical caused him to fail his physical.

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0223.  Dipoto's quick ascent began with painful end

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Wow, this story is another poignant wake-up call that will be disregarded as a fluke injury.

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     I agree that this was a fluke injury.  However, it was an avoidable fluke injury.

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0224.  Joba progressing in rehab from elbow surgery

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I don't think Mr. Chamberlain will be bringing the potato salad to the MENSA picnic anytime soon.

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0225.  Johan feels 'really good' after mound session

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The definition of insanity rears its ugly head once again.

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0226.  Opening day

You wrote: "When coaches require baseball pitchers to throw the pitches that they want their baseball pitchers to throw, they take away the preparation time that baseball pitchers need to program the pitch that they want to throw."

You wrote: "Baseball pitching is an initiator skill. That means that baseball pitchers initiate the action and batters react to their action. This means that, before every pitch that baseball pitchers throw, they need time to visualize the pitch and mentally practice throwing the pitch."

Great Points.

You wrote: "Before baseball pitchers tell the catchers what pitch they are about to throw, baseball pitchers have to go through the same type of rehearsal activity that golfers use."

Just the other day, talked to Brian and Andrew about how golfers 'shape' their shots and visualize them.

You wrote: "When baseball pitchers have to wait until catchers tell them what pitch the coach wants them to throw, they are not able to do their rehearsal activity. As a result, even when baseball pitchers agree with the pitch selection, they will never perform those pitches to the best of their ability."

Wow.

This was an awesome answer; chock-full-of-information.  I stopped commenting during because every line was a 'nugget'.  As usual, this father asks great questions and articulated them well.  I have had similar experiences with my sixteen year old son and so these Q/A's really hit home.

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0227.  Anterior Deltoid

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Interesting stuff.  I always enjoy learning more about how muscles work.

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0230.  Opening day

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I love this guys' Q/A's.

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0231.  Abdominal Injuries in Baseball Players

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Great information.  It’s always sobering (and scary) to hear doctors make dumb statements.

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0234.  Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong injures his back

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You wrote: "After Mel Stottelmeyer got the Yankees to release Jeff Sparks during the 2001 spring training, I convinced the Milwaukee Brewers to sign Jeff Sparks to a triple-A contract."

Why did Mr. Stottelmeyer do that?  Did he talk to you at all?  You were Jeff's agent, right?

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     Jeff's new bride decided that she and Jeff should take a two week honeymoon trip.  Unfortunately, she wanted the trip to be during the two weeks immediately before spring training started.

     During those two weeks, Jeff was not able to train.  As a result, Jeff performed poorly.

     Nobody with the Yankees contacted me.  They simply gave Jeff his release.

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If it weren't for 'bad luck,' Jeff wouldn't have had any.

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0236.  Beckett: 'I had lapses in judgment'

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Could you elaborate?  Why was the 'just' so significant to you?

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     It will take more than winning games this year to overcome the betrayal the fans feel from last year.  To me, the word, 'just' shows that Mr. Beckett does not care.

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0249.  Jenks staying positive after two back surgeries
MLB.com
February 23, 2012

FORT MYERS, FL:  At the time of year when most players feel rejuvenation and excitement at the prospect of getting ready for another season, Red Sox reliever Bobby Jenks is literally just getting back on his feet again.

He has been through an ordeal nobody really imagines.

Last season, his first season with Boston, was tough enough for Jenks.  The righty didn't pitch well, and he then developed one baseball injury after another and had the harsh scare of a pulmonary embolism.

The blood clot that developed last summer forced Jenks to delay back surgery until December 12.  But, in a cruel twist of fate, that procedure went way off track, and Jenks, after developing an infection in his spine, was right back on the operating table 18 days later.

"I went in, had that fixed and have been pretty much laid up for the last two months," Jenks said.

As if the pulmonary embolism from 2011 wasn't enough to jar Jenks, there were more complications that transcend what an athlete usually goes through while trying to overcome an injury.

The plan for the initial surgery, performed at Massachusetts General Hospital, was to remove bone spurs from his spine.

"I don't know whose fault it was, but there was an error done inside.  I had four bone spurs basically on my spine, and we had talked about taking the top two out and the third one was started and not finished, so basically there was like a serrated edge," said Jenks.

"It sliced me open in two different spots and I was leaking spinal fluid, and it just pulled up the bottom of my incision and just kind of blew up on me, which caused an infection that climbed up that incision wound, so now I had an infection in my spine.  It was just kind of a combination of everything that could have gone wrong went wrong."

Following the first surgery, Jenks had headaches that probably made a migraine seem mild.

At that point, back at his home in Arizona, he got medical attention in time to prevent his condition from getting a lot more severe or, worse yet, fatal.

"After the first procedure, he stayed in Boston for a short amount of time," said general manager Ben Cherington.  "He returned to Phoenix and appeared to be recovering, and then he had increased symptoms and was in touch with our medical staff, and that's when we had him seen again in Phoenix.

That's when it was determined he needed a second procedure.  The second procedure seems to have resolved the issue, and now he's in recovery and understandably frustrated that he's not further ahead.  But we still feel he can help us this year."

Almost immediately after seeing doctors, Jenks had his follow-up surgery performed on December 30.

"Yeah, if I didn't have it done immediately, the infection could have gotten into my spinal fluid and up to my brain, and who knows what happens then.  Obviously I could not be here right now," Jenks said.

Jenks has already been placed on the 60-day disabled list and will be rehabbing in Fort Myers until June.

"He had a difficult year and difficult offseason, and he's frustrated by where he is physically," said Cherington.  "He is making progress and has made progress even in the last few weeks.  We're going to do whatever we can to help him get back to pitching, and we remain hopeful that he can help us this year.  It was a difficult ordeal for him last season and over the offseason."

After signing a two-year, $12 million contract to come to Boston in December 2010, Jenks could never have imagined all that would ensue.

"[It's] so frustrating," Jenks said.  "Obviously coming here, I never expected to have a season like this.  I just feel bad that coming here as a free agent, choosing to come here, wanting to come here, and this is what the team is getting from me right now.  This is just disappointing and frustrating."

One silver lining for Jenks is that he has lost a ton of weight from cardio work, something that should help him once he gets back on the mound.

It looks like Jenks might have lost 30 to 40 pounds, but he didn't divulge a number.

"Enough," Jenks said.  "Basically from the middle of last season until December, I had nothing to do but work out, so that's all I did.  I popped a movie on during the winter for the kids and would just sit behind the couch and ride the bike all day."

So picking up a baseball, which used to feel as natural as riding a bike to Jenks, is something he hasn't been able to do for months.

"The worst part about it was having the two surgeries so close together," Jenks said.  "Everything was still barely healing and we had to slice through it all open again.  The second one was just very, very painful, and that's why I got laid up for so much longer the second time.  After the first one, at the two-and-a-half week mark, I was feeling great.  I was on track to where I was supposed to be.  And then that happened.  The second one, my muscles were just so torn open that I was basically laid up in bed and just couldn't function."

Now he is easing back into being a baseball player again.

"Right now?  I'm just basically trying to get my motion back," said Jenks.  "I'm working on trying to strengthen up the muscles around the incision.  [I'm doing] just very tedious, light stuff right now."

Jenks is hoping that the second surgery was successful and that baseball can once again be a big focus in his life.

"I've got to stay strong and positive right now," said Jenks.  "Mentally, I'm still very strong and willing and hopeful to make sure I am back at that level."


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     The body action that 'traditional' baseball pitchers use caused Mr. Jenks developed four bone spurs on his spine.

     The article did not say where these bone spurs developed.

     As Mr. Dipoto's fractures of his cervical vertebrae show, the L5-S1 intervertebral disk is not the only part of the vertebral column at rist from the body action of the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     One of those bone spurs had a serrated edge that sliced the lining of Mr. Jenks' spinal cord in two places.  Non-sterile surgery infected Mr. Jenks' spinal cord.

     If Mr. Jenks used the body action that I teach my baseball pitchers, then he would not only not have had two back surgeries, but he would have not had developed bone spurs and the resulting spinal cord infection.

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0250.  Arroyo anxious to prove down year was a fluke
MLB.com
February 23, 2012

GOODYEAR, AZ:  Even when he landed at the airport in Phoenix for Spring Training, Reds starter Bronson Arroyo was still thinking about how bad 2011 turned out.  The numbers still nag and sting like a paper cut rubbed with lemon juice.

A 9-12 record with a 5.07 ERA is what will live on the back of Arroyo's baseball card forever.  While he can't change that fact, he did everything in his power this offseason to ensure that it does not happen again.

"For me, every single day of this off-season was getting back here," said Arroyo, who turns 35 on Friday.  "I've never been so antsy to get back into a baseball uniform my whole career.  I've seen a lot of guys vanish from this game at the age I'm at, even if they've had productive years previously.  I'm antsy to get back and show I can win 15 games each of the next five years straight, and not disappear to nowhere and it'd be like, 'What ever happened to that guy?  He was pretty good prior to 2011.'"

Often when his records haven't been the prettiest, Arroyo could always still hang his hat on being consistent and productive.  Before last year, he had six straight seasons of 200 innings pitched, and came tantalizingly close to that figure in 2011 with 199 innings pitched.  From 2008-10, he won at least 15 games, including a career-best 17 for the division-winning Reds in 2010.

Last season, Arroyo led the Majors with a club-record 46 home runs allowed, four shy of the single-season record and a whopping 11 more than the No. 2 pitcher.  He also led the National League with 119 runs allowed, 112 of which were earned -- and was third with 227 hits allowed.

Although the homers mark is dubious, Arroyo gave up only 45 walks and was only the second pitcher in MLB history to allow at least 40 HRs while issuing fewer than 50 walks.  Robin Roberts did that twice in 1956 and '57.

"He never complained, and he never [had an] alibi about nothing," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.  "He took his lumps.  We took our lumps along with him.  We need him to return to form.  He's big in the equation."

If Arroyo did make an excuse, he would have a good one, at least from the beginning of the season.  During Spring Training he was diagnosed with energy-sapping mononucleosis, but he never missed a turn in the rotation.

"Perhaps it was more serious than anybody knew about," Baker said.  "You think about mono as a teenage disease."

After Arroyo's energy improved, he was still lacking velocity and location, hence the high runs and home runs totals.  A pitch that normally can reach 90-91 mph, he was lucky to get up to 86-88 mph at times last season.  He was already someone with a thin margin for error because he's not a power pitcher.

As soon as the season ended, Arroyo didn't waste time getting back to work.  And it wasn't the type of training he was accustomed to doing.

"I totally retooled my entire workout program and did things I've never done before," Arroyo said.  "A lot of lunging, a lot of back exercises I've never done before to try and strengthen my back so I can use my legs.  Over time my lower back has gotten to the point where it inhibits me from doing squats, and I haven't been able to use my legs.  My flexibility has gotten worse in the whole hip region.  I worked on that the whole off-season, as well as the regular things like my scapula and shoulder.  That was a huge transition for me, a lot of core work and a lot of back work."

Through only two bullpen sessions, the latest coming on Thursday, it's too early for Arroyo to tell if he's got zip back on the ball.  More will be known once exhibition games begin.

"I feel as good as I'm going to feel," Arroyo said.  "But if I'm throwing 85-88 consistently this year, then Bronson Arroyo is going to pitch that the rest of his career, because that's all there is in the tank."

If that's all that is left, it won't be because of lack of effort.  While he's never been a runner and has never needed to ice his arm, Arroyo is considered one of the hardest working pitchers on the club and takes good care of his body.  A Major Leaguer since 2000, he has never spent time on the disabled list.

Arriving during Spring Training in 2006 from the Red Sox in a lopsided trade for Wily Mo Pena, Arroyo is the longest tenured member of the Reds.  He is also signed through the 2013 season as part of a three-year, $35 million extension that he signed in December of 2010.

  "He's a great example for the young guys on how to go about your business," Baker said.  "Everybody sees him as this fun-loving, guitar-playing dude, but this cat works hard.  I've never seen a dude not take an All-Star break off.  He comes to the stadium and works out.  Or when he comes in for Redsfest, he's working out and throwing.  He takes his career very seriously."

Where Baker will slot Arroyo in the rotation remains a mystery, but it would seem likely to be either third, fourth or fifth.  He pitched in the third spot last season, and his ability to eat innings can bridge a gap among the younger pitchers on the staff.

"Taking the ball every fifth day is one thing I'm proud of, but that's not the end of the story," Arroyo said.  "You also have to be productive in that consistency, to be able to stick around in this game for 10-12 years.  I've always enjoyed being the guy that you know what you're going to get."


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     In 199 innings, Mr. Arroyo gave up 46 home runs.  That is one home run for every 4.3 innings.

     In 199 innings, Mr. Arroyo gave up 227 hits.  That is 1.14 hits per inning.

     In 199 innings, Mr. Arroyo walked 45 batters.  That is one walk every 4.4 innings.

     Mr. Arroyo throws pitches that the batters anticipate.

     Mr. Arroyo needs to walk more batters.

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0251.  Trevor Bauer

Overhead video of Trevor Bauer's 'traditional' baseball pitching motion

You have had a bit of praise for Trevor Bauer.

I gather he has been influenced by Ron Wolforth, who I feel has been influenced by you.  I'm not sure you have actually seen him pitch.

I see nothing to like about this overhead shot of Mr Bauer.

My questions:

1.  Do you see anything you like?

I have an interest in being able to identify whether a pitcher engages his Latissimus Dorsi or not.

2 . In this clip, does Mr Bauer engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle?

3.  Is it possible to simultaneously contract the Latissimus Dorsi and Pectoralis Major muscles?

That is what I see here.

It looks like he has turned his humerus bone to face home plate.  But, it looks more horizontal than vertical.  Please comment.

4.  Does Mr. Bauer 'scapular load?'

I believe he does because he appears to pinch both arms together.  I think you believe both arms have to be involved to have scapula loading.


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     Before this video, the only video of Mr. Bauer that I watched was on ESPN when they showed clips of the top baseball pitchers in last year's draft.

     The video of Mr. Bauer showed him throwing a curve.  From the movement of the pitch, I believe that he reasonably powerfully pronated his release.  It also appeared as though Mr. Bauer drove this pitch down his acromial line.

     My praise for Mr. Bauer basically resides in his attitude toward 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches.

     Mr. Bauer believes that the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion injures baseball pitchers.  Therefore, Mr. Bauer refuses to change his baseball pitching motion.

     Mr. Wolforth is a plagiarizing idiot that knows absolutely nothing about the science of applying force to baseballs.

     However, Mr. Wolforth appears to have told Mr. Bauer to never allow 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches to change Mr. Bauer's baseball pitching motion.  Mr. Wolforth used 'junk yard dogs' as his example of the tenacity with which Mr. Bauer should refuse to change.

     With regard to this overhead view of Mr. Bauer throwing a baseball:

01.  Mr. Bauer reverse rotates his hips and shoulders well beyond second base.

02.  Mr. Bauer takes the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand on top of the baseball.

03.  Mr. Bauer strides way too far.

04.  At release, Mr. Bauer's pitching upper leg points backward at about 45 degrees.

     I do not see anything that I like.

     To determine whether and how much baseball pitchers engage their Latissimus Dorsi muscle, we need to have front view high-speed film with sufficient clarity to freeze-frame on when baseball pitchers have their pitching forearm horizontally behind their pitching elbow.

     The Pectoralis Major muscle horizontally flexes the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.

     The Latissimus Dorsi muscle extends and inwardly rotates the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm.

     When the Humerus bone is vertically beside the pitchers' head, the action of extending the Humerus bone blends smoothly from horizontal flexion.

     This means that, when the Pectoralis Major muscle ballistically moves the Humerus bone forward, upward and inward to vertically beside the head, it stops contracting and the Latissimus Dorsi muscle starts contracting.

     In the same way that using the Pronator Teres muscle to flex the pitching elbow and prevent slamming the bones in the back of the pitching elbow together, using the Latissimus Dorsi muscle prevents the Humerus bone from plioanglosly moving behind the acromial line.

     In a nutshell, using these two muscles prevents all injuries to the pitching elbow and shoulder.

     If the Humerus bone is not vertically beside the head, then the Latissimus Dorsi muscle cannot engage.

     As you correctly recognized, Mr. Bauer's Humerus bone is only slightly above horizontal.  That means that Mr. Bauer is using his Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull his Humerus bone forward.

     That, with his 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' Mr. Bauer takes his pitching hand somewhat laterally behind his head means that, when Mr. Bauer starts to return his pitching hand to the pitching arm side of his body, he generates force toward the pitching arm side of his body.

     This force slings his pitching forearm laterally away from the pitching arm side of his body.  I call this action, 'Pitching Forearm Flyout.'

     This sideways force and the 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' that results from his 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover,' appears to plioanglosly inwardly rotates the Humerus bone.

    As a result, it appears as though Mr. Bauer has turned the back of his pitching upper arm to face somewhat toward home plate.  However, because Mr. Bauer did not engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, he cannot actively inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm.

     With the possible exception of the moment when 'traditional' baseball pitchers are simultaneously 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bouncing' and starting to pull their pitching upper arm to the pitching arm side of their body could anybody make the case that 'traditional' baseball pitchers inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm.

     However, because these two forces act in opposite directions, whatever apparent inward rotation force that they generate does not increase the force that they apply to the baseball toward home plate.  Instead, these opposing forces tear the connective tissue of their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Because Mr. Bauer take his pitching upper arm only slightly laterally behind his body, Mr. Bauer generates minimal sideways force that he has to overcome to redirect his force toward home plate.

     While, after several attempts, I was not able to freeze-frame this video at the moment maximal pronation of Mr. Bauer's pitching forearm immediately after release, I could see enough to recognize that Mr. Bauer tries to powerfully pronate this release.

     As a result, Mr. Bauer starts to apply force to the baseball straight toward home plate earlier in his driveline than most 'traditional' baseball pitchers.

     Mr. Bauer says that he long tosses every day.  When Mr. Bauer long tosses, Mr. Bauer uses the one step crow-hop body action.  The one step crow-hop body action removes the injurious flaws caused by the body action of Mr. Bauer's 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     Therefore, like with Mr. Matsuzaka, these one step crow-hop throws stimulate the bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles of his pitching arm to repair the injuries that he suffers from his 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     This means that, if Mr. Bauer successfully refuses to stop throwing long tosses no matter what his pitching coaches, trainers and team doctors say about the benefits of resting, then Mr. Bauer will require many more 'balance position' throws to rupture his born-with Ulnar Collateral Ligament, if at all.

     Nevertheless, Mr. Bauer has to constantly balance the tears and repairs.  As Mr. Bauer ages, his tears will take longer to repair.

     Regarding 'Scapular Loading:'

     The position of the upper arms of the glove and pitching upper arms is the result of baseball pitcher taking their pitching upper arm laterally behind their body and pulling their glove forearm laterally behind their body.

     'Scapular Loading' does not load anything.

     Instead, until baseball pitchers engage their Pectoralis Major muscle, 'scapula loading' tears the connective tissue fibers of the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments on the front of the glove and pitching shoulders.

     After baseball pitchers engage their Pectoralis Major muscle, 'scapular loading' lengthens the insertion of the Pectoralis Major muscle into the head of the Humerus bone.  In this weak leverage position, 'scapular loading' tears the connective tissue fibers of the Pectoralis Major muscle.

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0252.  Yellow Hammer

I am a young 13 year old baseball player with heart to the game.

I heard of a pitch called the yellow hammer.  I believe you talk about it in you videos somewhere.

I would like to know how to throw this pitch.  So, if you know, can you please show me how to?

If you think that there is a better breaking ball pitch that I can use, please tell me that.


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     "Yellow Hammer" is an old time term for a curve ball that dramatically moves downward.

     I teach a Maxline Pronation Curve technique that causes basebals to move downwardly more dramatically than all other curveball techniques.

     Except for my Maxline Pronation Curve, the Maxline True Screwball that I also teach also moves downwardly more dramatically that any other pitch.

     To see how these pitches move, you need only to watch Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video.

     To learn how to throw these pitches, you only need to watch my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     Everything on my website is free for all to watch and read.  Have fun.

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0253.  Yellow Hammer

Thank you for telling me that was a term.

I was on your website and could not find the video that tells you how to throw the pitches.

1.  Could you maybe give me the address to the video?

Thanks for telling me this stuff.  I greatly appreciate it.


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     My website address is: drmikemarshall.com.

     On my home page, you will find: Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.  That video will teach you how to throw all the pitches that I teach.

     On my home page, you will also find: Watch Dr. Mike Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion.  That video will show you how the pitches that I teach move; including my Maxline Pronation Curve.

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0254.  Trevor Bauer Training

Trevor Bauer promoting Dynamic Sports Training

I have attached a video clip of Trevor Bauer touting his training facility.  It's fairly long, but, at the 3:56 mark, he talks about his ankle, knee and hip problems.  I'm sure this does not surprise you.

My Question:

1.  How do you determine if an injury with these guys is from the pitching or the non specific weight training?

It would be easy to say his knees bother him because of his long stride, but he also is doing squats and who knows what else.

2.  Is there a way you determine one from the other?

I see Mr Bauer's velocity going below 90 mph fairly quickly.  I hear he throws 92 mph now.


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     You are correct.

     Athletes that do what these athletic trainers have them do will injure them and decrease their ability to perform their sport skills.

     This video showed Mr. Bauer doing two baseball pitching drills.

01.  In the first drill, Mr. Bauer started with pulley handles in both hands facing the pulley machine as though he was in the Set Position.

     To start the drill, Mr. Bauer rotated his body 90 degrees to face toward home plate and simultaneously pulled his glove forearm straight backward toward second base and drove his pitching arm straight toward home plate.

     Mr. Bauer will get very strong doing this drill.  However, it will not help Mr. Bauer pitch baseballs.

02.  In the second drill, Mr. Bauer was hopping along a track with his pitching leg imitating a hurdle action.

     Mr. Bauer will become skilled at doing this drill.  However, it will not help Mr. Bauer pitch baseballs.

     The athletic trainers at Dynamic Sports Training have no idea what they are doing and those that train at these facilities are not only wasting their time, but they are also jeopardizing their careers.

     Non-specific training makes pitching injuries worse.

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0255.  Tim Hudson won't be ready until at least early May
The Sporting News
February 19, 2012

Atlanta Braves righthander Tim Hudson confirmed Sunday that he will miss at least the first month of the season as he recovers from off-season back surgery.

Hudson underwent a disk fusion procedure November 28, and the Braves were publicly optimistic their ace would be ready for opening day.  Hudson estimated his recovery time to be between three and six months.

"Me getting back for the start of the season was never really a possibility, just from a timeline standpoint," Hudson told MLB.com.  "Five months puts me at May 1."

Hudson pitched through back pain in 2010 and 2011, relying on anti-inflammatory medication, according to MLB.com's report.  He put off surgery before relenting in November.

Now that Hudson has gone under the knife, he's optimistic he can pitch a few more seasons.

"I feel like I can play a really long time," Hudson said.

"I don't have any pressure to get back early or back on time," Hudson told MLB.com.  "One thing that makes it a lot easier for me is that we have guys who can fill in and be just fine."


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     Mr. Dipoto's surgeons put metal braces on his injured cervical vertebrae.  This diverted the stress to the vertebraes immediately below.  After Mr. Dipoto powerfully bent forward at his waist, when Mr. Dipoto snapped his head back upward, he fractured the vertebrae immediately below.

     Mr. Hudson's surgeons fused two vertebrae in his lower back; probably L4 and L5.  Therefore, these two vertebrae will act as one vertebrae.  Therefore, Mr. Hudson will have less range of motion in his lower back.  As a result, Mr. Hudson will not be able to bend forward at his waist as far as he did before.

     If Mr. Hudson tries to bend forward as far as he did before, then the L3-L4 intervertebral disk will receive more stress.

     Mr. Hudson said, "I feel like I can play a really long time."

     Unless Mr. Hudson learns how to stand tall and rotate, Mr. Hudson will not play for a really long time.

     That is why the Partial Marshall will not enable baseball pitchers to become the best that they can be.

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0256.  Deep Squats

Will you please explain, using anatomical phraseology, what happens when we apply force to extend a joint that is bent greater than ninety degrees?

Intuitively, thinking about different kinds of levers and such it makes sense to not do it.  Unfortunately, my intuition doesn’t carry much weight with misinformed coaches who insist that my son go waaay beyond ninety on his squats and power cleans.

I would like to adequately explain the dangers of this to them and explain it couched in the proper terminology.

I refuse to let him do it and, of course, he would never do it anyway.  But, yet again, we are up against conventional wisdom; certainly not an unfamiliar position for us (!), but you know how that pressure grates on the nerves.


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     The muscles that extend the knee joint (Rectus Femoris, Vastus Lateralis, Vastus Intermedialis and Vastus Medialis) insert into the Tibial tuberosity on the front of the lower leg.

     This means that, when athletes squat with the angle of their knees less than ninety degrees, they have the entire weight of their upper legs, hips, torso, head and arms pushing downward and the common tendon wrapped around the anterior surface of the knee.

     This maximally lengthened position of these four muscles places the entire weight of their body on the common insertion into the Tibial tuberosity.

     Not only is the common insertion maximally stressed, the position is structurally inefficient, ineffective and unnecessary.

     Except to 'clean and jerk' barbells with weights from the floor to over head, I cannot think of a sport activity that requires this position.

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0257.  Kershaw's back 'fine' after session
MLB.com
February 24, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ:  Clayton Kershaw's delayed bullpen session went off without a twinge on Friday.

Kershaw, whose scheduled workout on Wednesday was scratched because of mild back tightness, threw 36 pitches to new backup catcher Matt Treanor and pronounced himself healthy.

"I'm fine," said the left-hander, who seems reluctant to talk about his health.  "Got everybody out."

Kershaw is scheduled to make his first exhibition start on March 09 against the Rangers, putting him on a schedule that would allow a quick return to Los Angeles to receive the Sportsman of the Year Award from the Los Angeles Sports Council on March 15.

The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner has already been named the Dodgers' Opening Day starter for the second successive season by manager Don Mattingly.


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     Injuries result from improper force application techniques.

     Discomfort preceeds injuries.

     That Mr. Kershawn had mild back tightness means that, like all 'traditional' baseball pitchers, Mr. Kershawn will eventually have serious lower back problems.

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0258.  Eppley searching for way to stay
MLB.com
February 24, 2012

SURPRISE, AA:  Reliever Cody Eppley is trying to add to his arsenal of pitches in order to enjoy a longer stay in the Major Leagues.  Eppley, who throws sidearm, appeared in ten games for the Rangers last year from April 23 to May 19 and allowed eight runs on 11 hits and five walks in nine innings.

At the time he was relying mainly on a sinker and a slider.  Now he is making progress on a changeup that will help his ability to change speeds and be more effective against left-handed hitters.  He is also trying to throw more straight fastballs inside against left-handers to keep them from leaning over the plate.

"At the end of last year and working in Mexico, my changeup came a long way," Eppley said.  "It will be interesting to see how that feels here."

Eppley was 1-1 with a 3.10 ERA and seven saves in 20 relief appearances for Obregon in the Mexican League during the winter.  A 43rd round pick out of Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008, he enjoyed his breakthrough season in 2010 when he was 5-2 with a 2.08 ERA and 16 saves combined at three Minor League levels.

He began last year at Triple-A and was scoreless in six appearances before being promoted to the Major Leagues.  He started off well, allowing just one run in his first 6 2/3 innings over five appearances, before giving up six runs in an outing against the Yankees on May 8.

He had four more appearances before he was sent back down, and the Rangers' acquisitions of Mike Adams and Koji Uehara in July dashed any chance of Eppley returning to the Majors in the second half.  He was in the PCL All-Star Game but a 5.66 ERA in the second half at Round Rock killed his chances of being a September callup.

"It was a good experience," Eppley said of his first chance to pitch in the Majors.  "It's definitely a whole 'nother ballgame up here. After the same time, it's still a matter of throwing the ball over the plate with movement and letting guys make plays.  But there were a couple of times I let my nervousness get in the way and that didn't go too well."


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     The article said that, to be more effective against left-handed hitters side-armer Cody Eppley is making progress on a changeup and fastballs to the glove side of home plate.

     Nowhere in this article did the writer tell us that Mr. Eppley throws right-handed.  Nevertheless, that Mr. Eppley needs to be more effective against left-handed hitters indicates that he throws right-handed.

     All baseball pitchers need to be more effective against glove arm side batters.

     Glove arm side spray hitters see the pitches that side-arm baseball pitchers throw very well and hit those pitches up the middle and to the opposite field.

     The best way for baseball pitchers to be effective against glove arm side spray hitters is to release their pitches with their pitching forearm vertical at release, such that they can make their pitches move equally well to both sides of home plate.

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0259.  Accardo's split-finger the ticket into Tribe's pen
MLB.com
February 24, 2012

GOODYEAR, AZ:  The bulk of the Indians' bullpen is established, and the relievers in the fold have formed a tight-knit group over the past two seasons.  That said, there is a casting call for two relief roles this spring.

Jeremy Accardo, one of four relievers in camp that was a non-roster invitee, is hoping to earn his way into the Opening Day mix.

"From what I can tell so far, they seem great," Accardo said of the bullpen arms.  "They've all got good stuff. It makes for a good spring when you know you have to bring your 'A' game from the get-go and get ready."

Joining Accardo in camp on Minor League contracts are Dan Wheeler, Chris Ray and Robinson Tejeda.  Manager Manny Acta said earlier this week that right-hander Frank Herrmann has a bit of a leg up for one of the available spots, but there are no guarantees and plenty of alternatives on hand.

For Accardo, he feels that the key for him is fnding the split-finger fastball that has served him well in the past.  In 2007, when Accardo posted a 2.14 ERA and saved 30 games as a fill-in closer for the Blue Jays, the right-hander featured a sharp splitter that was taught to him in San Francisco by pitching coach Dave Righetti.

In the four years since that solid showing for Toronto, Accardo has put up a 5.09 ERA with five saves in 78 games for the Blue Jays and Orioles.  Last season, when he had a 5.73 ERA in 31 games in his only season with Baltimore, Accardo threw more sliders and fewer splitters than at any point in his career.

"For some reason, I fell in love with [the slider]," Accardo said.  "I just kept throwing them and throwing them and throwing them, instead of going to the pitch where I know I can get swings and misses."

In his meeting with Acta and general manager Chris Antonetti this week, Accardo was asked why he turned away from the splitter.  His pitch velocity with the pitch has remained relatively similar over the past five years, but the reliever has turned to the pitch at a decreased rate.

"Manny asked me, 'What happened?'" Accardo said.  "He said, 'You were such a big fastball-split guy.  What happened?'  I don't know what it was. I just kind of got away from it and I just kind of lost it when I had arm soreness in 2008.  That's a pitch you've got to throw with conviction.  That's something I'm going to try to get back to doing."


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     Mr. Arccardo said: "For some reason, I fell in love with the slider.  I just kept throwing them and throwing them and throwing them, instead of going to the pitch where I know I can get swings and misses."

     Where is Mr. Accardo's pitching coach?  This is pitching coach 101.

     I not only recorded every pitch that I threw every major league batter I faced, during every college game my team played, I recorded every pitch that my college baseball pitchers threw.

     From these pitch sequences and At Bat results, I determined the next pitch sequence I would use.

     With my college baseball pitchers, during the game, we went over every pitch sequence and agreed on what their next pitch sequence they should use.

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0260.  Dodgers expect Capuano to fit well in rotation
MLB.com
February 24, 2012

GLENDALE, AZ:  The Dodgers are utilizing statistical analysis more now than at any time in Ned Colletti's tenure as general manager, and Exhibit A is new fifth starter Chris Capuano.

The Dodgers signed Capuano to a two-year, $10 million free agent deal after newly hired front-office number-cruncher Alex Tamin determined that the lefty fly-ball pitcher was a double fit in the club's tight payroll and spacious ballpark.

Capuano, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Duke, couldn't argue with the analysis.

  "I thought, with that stadium, it's a perfect fit and it was a happy decision in the end," said the 33-year-old.  "I'm not into all the stats, but my dad (Frank), who played in the New York-Penn League for the Seattle Pilots, he has a passion for the game and he tells me about the numbers.

"I mean, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know Dodger Stadium is a good park to throw in.  Not only is Dodger Stadium a pitchers' park, but the NL West historically is up for grabs every year.  Put together a good team and you can win the West in a given year."

To that end, Colletti signed Capuano and fellow free agent Aaron Harang (two years, $12 million) for the combined 2012 salary he would have had to pay departing starter Hiroki Kuroda.

Capuano comes with a checkered history.  He's one of the few Major Leaguers to return from a second Tommy John surgery, the first in 2002 as a Minor Leaguer, the second in 2008 while with Milwaukee.

In between, he was an 18-game winner in 2005 and an All-Star in 2006, but was saddled with a Milwaukee-record 13-game losing streak that lasted more than three years.

He returned from the first operation in time to make his Major League debut one year to the day, but encountered significant setbacks after the second procedure and was sidelined nearly 2 1/2 seasons.

He credits Milwaukee pitching coach Rick Peterson for getting him back on track in 2010.

"He works a lot with biomechanics and he gave me a long-toss program to free up my torso and take the pressure off my elbow," Capuano said.  "We tweaked my mechanics and my velocity came up.  I'm throwing as hard as ever and it's made my changeup better and I feel I can attack more.  I give him a lot of credit."

In 2010, Capuano was ready for the big leagues by the end of May, finishing up that year 4-4 with a 3.95 ERA, starting nine of 24 games.

He left the Brewers that winter and signed with the Mets, who put him in the rotation and let him pitch every five days.  He went 11-12 in New York with a 4.55 ERA and threw 186 innings, his high since 2006.

Doubters will say his effectiveness tailed off after the second time through the lineup and only 14 of his 31 outings were quality starts.  The Dodgers will counter that improvement in his strikeout stats mirror the improvement that led to his finest season of 2005.

His career stats in NL ballparks isn't pretty:  4-9 with a 12.93 ERA and 11 homers in 86 1/3 innings.  Last year it improved to 1-2, 2.89 and one homer in 18 2/3 innings.

"My feeling is that the last couple years, you can notice the metrics are a lot like '05 and '06 when I had my best years," Capuano said.

"What that told me confirmed what I was feeling, I feel as strong or better as when I was 25.

"When I heard the Dodgers were interested early on I was really hoping I had a good shot to sign there.  I've had a good feeling about this from day one.  People think these decisions are always scientific.  But I sit and close my eyes and imagine myself in the uniform, and if it feels right, I do it.  This feels right."


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     The Dodgers front office number cruncher, Alex Tamin, determined that left-handed fly ball baseball pitchers have success in spacious ballparks.

     As a result, the Dodgers signed Chris Capuano to a two-year, $10 million free agent deal.

     I love statistics.  But, to get a lot of fly ball outs, baseball pitchers have to throw a lot of high fastballs.

     When baseball pitchers get a lot of ground ball outs, they can pitch anywhere.  Like I told Gene Mauch, stop playing defense to the size of the ballpark, play defense to the size of the types of batted baseballs that I get.

     In 2002, as a minor league baseball pitcher, Mr. Capuano had his first Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.  In 2008, as a major league baseball pitcher with the Milwaukee Brewers, Mr. Capuano had his first Ulnar Collateral Tendon replacement surgery.

     It does not surprise me that Mr. Capuano ruptured his Ulnar Collateral Tendon.  It surprises me that Mr. Capuano took him six years.

     That indicates that either Mr. Capuano's 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' did not generate much injurious force and/or Mr. Capuano did one step crow-hop throws where he did not generate any injurious force, which stimulated some of the torn connective tissue fibers to heal.

     In 2010, Milwaukee pitching coach, Rick Peterson, gave Mr. Capuano a long-toss program.  Mr. Capuano said: "We tweaked my mechanics and my velocity came up.  I'm throwing as hard as ever and it's made my changeup better and I feel I can attack more.  I give Mr. Peterson a lot of credit."

     To strenghten the pitching arm, I teach my Half Reverse Pivot drill.  However, for fun, I also have my baseball pitchers do my One Step Crow-Hop drill.

     Therefore, while not as effective or efficient, I agree that long tossing helped Mr. Capuano.

     However, I want more information about how Mr. Capuano 'tweaked' his mechanics.

     Did Mr. Capuano eliminate his 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce?'

     Six years between ruptures indicate that Mr. Capuano's 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' did not generate significant injurious force.  However, to return to previous release velocity numbers, Mr. Capuano had to eliminate his 'Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce' and add turning the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     The Dodger front office number cruncher, Mr. Tamin, noted that Mr. Capuano's 2010 strike out stats approached Mr. Capuano's 2005 strike out stats from 2005, when Mr. Capuano won 18 games.

     To get strikeouts, baseball pitchers have to throw pitches that baseball batters do not anticipate with sufficient movement or change in velocity as to make the pitches difficult to even touch.

     If his new change-up is the pitch with which Mr. Capuano struck out more batters, then, even though Mr. Capuano is facing National League batters, after one time through the league, this strike out improvement will not continue.  Change-ups are only 10 mph slower than fastballs.  Strike out non-fastballs need to be 20 mph slower than fastballs.

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0261.  Former 'pen pitchers out to write new stories
MLB.com
February 24, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ:  Oakland's resident ace heading into 2012, Brandon McCarthy, was a member of Texas' rotation the first time he saw a strapping prospect named Neftali Feliz ease into a smooth delivery and unleash his fastball.

He didn't have a bat in his hands, but McCarthy was blown away.  "There are only so many guys you get around who can do something that's truly unique," McCarthy said.  "Him throwing a baseball is kind of like Josh [Hamilton] hitting a baseball.  There's just something different about it."

Feliz, Daniel Bard, Aroldis Chapman and Chris Sale are four of a kind this spring: power pitchers with size, looking to make the transition from short relief to the multiple demands of starting.

With the right tools, no problem with these guys, and the proper physical and mental preparation, it can be done.  In most cases it's a matter of regaining the endurance and swagger almost all pitchers develop as kids when they're better than everyone in town and rarely even consider relieving.

"Everything's both, mental and physical, in this game," said C.J. Wilson, who made the move so successfully he became the Rangers' ace in 2011 and drew a $77.5 million free-agent deal from the Angels in December.  "It's not like a pitcher never started before.

"Physically, you have to do much more starting in terms of volume.  Mentally, you keep yourself calm.  I can give up a run starting and still win a baseball game.  As a closer or setup guy, you give up a run and it's over."

In 2009, his fifth season in the Rangers' bullpen, Wilson made 74 appearances, with 14 saves and 19 holds in 73 2/3 innings.  A former starter (and hard-hitting outfielder) at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, he lobbied for a spot in the Rangers' rotation and was given the opportunity in '10.

He impressively reached 204 innings in the Texas heat, going 15-8 with a 3.35 ERA. He was even better last season, replacing Cliff Lee as the Rangers' ace.  Stretching it out to 223 1/3 innings in an American League-high 34 starts, he went 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA.

The trick in making the transition click, Wilson found, was creating a closing mind-set for the duration of a start.  In his early professional seasons as a starter, he'd focus on the whole game, holding something in reserve.  When he was moved to the bullpen, he understood the urgency in making every pitch count.

"Now," he said, "I feel like a reliever for eight or nine innings.  It's taking that same approach pitch by pitch."

The physical demands of starting can be daunting.  Feliz, Bard, Chapman and Sale all have great stuff, meaning that innings will be extended by foul balls.  Duress placed on the lower body mounts, in addition to unavoidable arm stress.

If starting pitchers often seem to be in bad moods during Spring Training, there's a good reason.  It takes energy and mental discipline to get up early in the morning and prepare a balking body for all the tasks ahead.

There is no guarantee that any of the big four will open the season in his team's rotation.  Each could return to the bullpen if the transition doesn't go as smoothly as hoped and others emerge as viable starting options for their club.

Following is a look at the quartet facing a microscope, along with hitters, as they take on this new challenge in Arizona and Florida.

1.  Neftali Feliz, Rangers

Feliz's move is the most dramatic of the four, given that he closed for AL championship teams the past two seasons.  But in one sense, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-hander faces less severe pressure than the others.

Having signed Yu Darvish to replace Wilson, Texas remains rich in starting candidates.  Alexi Ogando, who flourished in the rotation in 2011, could return to a setup role to accommodate Feliz.  But Ogando also is bringing a starter's mentality to camp should Feliz, 23, falter.  The veteran Scott Feldman also is in the wings.

The big question with Feliz, a Pedro Martinez fan, like most kids growing up in the Dominican Republic, is whether he can expand his repertoire, a la Pedro.  In 2011, Feliz threw 80 percent fastballs, averaging 96.3 mph, while mixing in occasional curves, sliders and changeups.  He'll need a better balance as a starter.

"It's a lot better knowing I don't have to worry about that," Feliz said, referring to the closer's role, which has been transferred to the veteran Joe Nathan.  "It's a lot easier knowing I'm coming in as a starter.  The hardest part will just be getting used to the innings and the higher pitch counts."

Feliz was a starter in the Minor Leagues, with a high of 127 1/3 innings in 2008. He has 74 saves as a closer over the past two-plus seasons.  Felix and Martinez met for the first time this winter over dinner and had a lengthy conversation.  "He gave me advice about mental things and toughness," Feliz said.  "He was sincere with me. He said, 'Be patient and don't get anxious.  You'll get adjusted to it.'"

Feliz's emphasis this spring will be on refining his changeup and gaining more trust in his off-speed stuff.  "He'll probably need a third pitch to go with the fastball and change," McCarthy said, "but if your two pitches are good enough, you can do it.  [Roy] Halladay and Lee can rely on a fastball and get through a whole game.  It comes down to locating it."

  Best-case scenario:  Feliz graduates to between 160 and 180 innings in 2012 and becomes a full-service, front-end starter in '13.  If that doesn't happen, he gives manager Ron Washington the luxury of two established ninth-inning options.

2.  Daniel Bard, Red Sox

The primary setup man for Jonathan Papelbon the past two seasons, Bard also could end up back in the bullpen if that's where he's needed.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine clearly loves Bard's potential as a starter but will remain flexible about where the 26-year-old right-hander will make the most impact on the staff.  "Daniel Bard, I can tell you right off from the get-go, is drawing a lot of attention," Valentine said this week in Boston's camp in Fort Myers, FL.  "[I] love what we see and love what we're thinking about."

What Valentine and his staff see is an arm that unleashed fastballs averaging 97.3 mph in 2011, accompanied by a biting slider and changeup.  The full assortment is there, but Bard, like the three others, hasn't made a start in the Major Leagues.  He expressed a willingness to take whichever role Valentine carves out for him.

Valentine appreciates Bard's "team first" attitude, adding, "He's going to get innings as a starter would in Spring Training.  He's going to be penciled in to be one of those guys who works going from his bullpen to pitching two innings to pitching four innings to pitching six innings."

Drafted in the first round in 2006 out of the University of North Carolina, Bard, who carries 215 pounds on a 6-foot-4 frame, had serious control issues (78 walks in 75 innings) in his first professional season at two Class A stops in '07.  Moved to the bullpen, he found his groove and jumped on the fast track to Fenway Park, arriving in '09.

Best-case scenario:  Bard holds his overpowering stuff and gives the Sox a much-needed rotation force.  If that doesn't happen, he returns to the bullpen, setting up for new closer Andrew Bailey.

3.  Aroldis Chapman, Reds

Chapman is the wild card.  The 6-foot-4, 195-pound lefty from Cuba has struggled commanding his electric stuff with consistency in the Reds' bullpen.  The hope is that a return to a starting role will restore his mojo and enable him to approach his potential with that triple-digit heater.

"I am mentally and physically prepared to be a starter," Chapman said through interpreter Tomas Vera this week.  "I feel I've worked real hard to do this.  I am thinking like a starter, and feel like I will be able to pitch all the innings they want me to pitch here in Spring Training."

A setup man in 2011, Chapman will need to show he can dislodge someone from a rotation featuring Mat Latos and Johnny Cueto, an all-right-handed rotation with Bronson Arroyo, Mike Leake and Homer Bailey filling it out.  Chapman would bring balance from the left side.

It's rare that a five-man rotation stays intact for a season.  Sometimes it doesn't even enter the season as a group, with lingering springtime ailments not uncommon.

"We are going to stretch him out to see, and to see if there is time," Reds manager Dusty Baker said.  "If there is not time, or not quality, then you can always put the guy back in the bullpen."

Shoulder stiffness prevented Chapman from getting an early start in the Arizona Fall League, and he was shut down after 2 2/3 innings.  Chapman resumed a throwing program in South Florida and arrived in camp 2 1/2 weeks early.  The Reds are hoping to get dividends on the six-year, $30 million contract he signed in January 2010, months after he defected from Cuba.

He made 13 starts for Triple-A Louisville and has been a reliever since.  He broke in with a bang and a 2.03 ERA in 15 appearances in 2010 and went 4-1 with a 3.60 ERA in 54 games last season.

In terms of raw talent, Chapman is in the class of Stephen Strasburg.  A higher comfort level, both personally and in a starting role, could help iron out a few command kinks.

"There's nothing I can do in my mind except to prove I can be a starter," Chapman said.  "But if they make the decision at the end that I can't, I will be ready to be in the bullpen and continue to work hard to prove I can be a starter."

Best-case scenario:  Chapman puts it together and gives the rising Reds a dominant starter.  If he can't crack the rotation, he can either return to Triple-A to build stamina or serve as a bullpen option.

4.  Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox

Sale is basically in the same position as Bard, without the inflated pressures of New England.  Not much is expected of the White Sox this season, which gives the southpaw with the live arm space to develop at his pace.

The issue with Sale is concern over "too much too soon."  At 22, he's 6-foot-6 and 180 pounds, still filling out.  He doesn't have the solid physical foundation of the other three, yet.

New White Sox manager Robin Ventura and pitching coach Don Cooper will monitor Sale closely.  In 2011, his first full season, Sale threw 71 innings in 58 appearances, converting eight saves in 10 opportunities, with 16 holds.

"We're going to give this kid just enough work experience, let him go," Cooper said.  "And as the season's going, we'll continue to assess where he's at.  We'll sit and talk about him.

"What's the worst thing that could happen to Chris Sale?  He gets hurt.  So we're going to do everything in our power not to let that happen.  We have control over that to a large degree.  We'll make sure, throwing in-between starts, innings and pitches in a game, how many innings he has as the season goes.  It's going to be a continuing assessment.  The No. 1 goal for all of our players is stay healthy.  If they do stay healthy, then they're going to go out there and do the things we envision them doing."

Sale has made no secret of his desire to start.  He hasn't been in that role since the spring of 2010 at Florida Gulf Coast University, where 101 of his 103 innings came as a starter, and he posted a 2.05 ERA.  Taken by the White Sox in the first round of the First-Year Player Draft, he made it to Chicago later that summer after two Minor League stops and a total of 11 relief appearances.

"There's going to be uncertainty in any guy's first year starting in the big leagues, because it's a huge challenge," Cooper said.  "But he has pitched as a starter his whole career."

Sale, who has taken to swimming to build endurance, is being welcomed with open arms, and loads of wisdom, by veteran starters Jake Peavy, Gavin Floyd and John Danks.  "I'm excited to see Sale in particular," Danks said.  "If he can be half of what he was out of the bullpen, we are in pretty good shape."

Best-case scenario:  Sale holds up for 160 to 180 innings, gaining the experience needed to emerge as a front-end starter.  Like Chapman, he can fall back comfortably to the bullpen or gain more stamina at the Triple-A level.


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     Former Rangers pitcher, C.J. Wilson said: "Everything's both, mental and physical, in this game.  It's not like a pitcher never started before.  Physically, you have to do much more starting in terms of volume.  Mentally, you keep yourself calm.  I can give up a run starting and still win a baseball game.  As a closer or setup guy, you give up a run and it's over."

     Mr. Wilson explained that to move from relieving to starting he kept his make every pitch count mentality for the duration of a start.  Mr. Wilson said: "Now,"I feel like a reliever for eight or nine innings."

     Before pitching is mental, pitching is physical.  Whether pitching once through a line-up or three times through a line-up, baseball pitchers have to have the wide variety of pitches that enable them to successfully pitch to the four types of baseball batters.

     The pitches that get Pitching Arm Side Pull Hitters and Glove Arm Side Spray Hitters will not get Pitching Arm Side Spray Hitters and Glove Arm Side Pull Hitters out.

     Therefore, the first order of business for all baseball pitchers is to master the wide variety of pitches that they will need to succeed.

     Next, baseball pitchers need to learn the pitch sequences that succeed best against the four types of baseball batters.

     The mistake that professional teams make is that they believe that