Questions/Answers 2014

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     On Sunday, January 05, 2014, I posted the following questions and answers.

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0001.  Bill Paxton will be playing none other than Tom House:
"Million Dollar Arm" to open on May 16
Yahoo.com
December 23, 2013

In "Million Dollar Arm," Jon Hamm plays J.B. Bernstein a down-on-his-luck sports agent who invents a reality show that aims to turn to cricket players from India into big-league pitchers in America.

This based-on-a-true-story film is out May 16, but the trailer hit the Internet on Monday. Brad Pitt, Jon Hamm ... Hollywood sure has been nice in its casting of baseball movies in recent years.

Hamm isn't as dark and conflicted here as when he's playing Don Draper on Mad Men which is good because this is a Disney movie and it has to be inspiring and uplifting, telling us we can all overcome the odds.

The baseball story here is one some of you may know. It's about Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, the winner and runner-up, respectively, of the "Million Dollar Arm" reality show. They came to America looking to score a spot on an MLB team. Spoiler alert: They did. Would this be a movie otherwise?

They both signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, each playing in the minor leagues. Patel lasted parts of two seasons and Singh is still active. He missed 2013 with injuries, but he has a 2.99 ERA across four seasons. He last pitched in Single-A.


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     The article said:

01. "Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization."
02. "Mr. Singh and Mr. Patel played in the minor leagues."
03. "Mr. Patel lasted parts of two seasons."
04. "Mr. Singh is still active."
05. "Mr. Singh missed 2013 with injuries."

     A baseball pitcher that Tom House coached missed the entire 2013 with pitching injuries.

     That sounds like a great movie.

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0002.  White Sox claim pitcher Surkont from Giants
DailyHerald.com
December 23, 2013

The Chicago White Sox claimed left-handed pitcher Eric Surkamp off waivers from the San Francisco Giants on Monday.

While Baseball Prospectus projected Surkamp as a back of the rotation starter in 2012 before he had elbow surgery, Scoutingbook.com said the lanky lefthander is "clearly ready for the Majors right now." He doesn't have a great fastball, but Scoutingbook.com likes his ability to locate his pitches and rated his breaking pitches as a plus.

Here are the career details on Surkamp provided by the White Sox:

Surkamp, 26, combined to go 7-1 with a 2.80 ERA (27 ER/86.2 IP) and 71 strikeouts over 16 starts between Class A San Jose and Class AAA Fresno last season. He limited left-handers to a .219 average (16-73), while righties hit just .208 (48-231).

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Surkamp also made one start with San Francisco on July 23 vs. Cincinnati. He began the season on the disabled list after missing the entire 2012 season following ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery on his left elbow on July 24, 2012.

The Cincinnati, Ohio native made his major-league debut on Aug. 27, 2011 with the Giants. He went 2-2 with a 5.74 ERA (17 ER/26.2 IP) over six starts in his first season in the majors.

His best season came in 2011 when he was 11-4 with a 1.94 ERA (32 ER/148.1 IP) and 178 strikeouts over 24 games (23 starts) with San Jose and Class AA Richmond. He led the Eastern League in ERA (2.02) and WHIP (1.08), ranked second in strikeouts (165) and tied for fifth in wins (10).

Surkamp has gone 33-14 with a 2.84 ERA (153 ER/484.2 IP), four complete games, one shutout and 541 strikeouts in 87 career games (83 starts) over six seasons in the San Francisco organization. He has been named to the EL mid and postseason (2011) and California mid and postseason (2010) All-Star Teams.


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     The article said:

01. "On Aug. 27, 2011, Eric SurkampThe Cincinnati made his major-league debut.

02. "On July 24, 2012, left-handed baseball pitcher, Eric Surkamp had ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery on his pitching elbow."
03. "Mr. Surkamp doesn't have a great fastball."
04. "Mr. Surkamp locates his pitches and has plus breaking pitches.
05. "In 2013, Mr. Surkamp won 7 games and lost 1 with a 2.80 ERA."
06. "In 16 starts between Class A San Jose and Class AAA Fresno, Mr. Surkamp limited left-handed batters to a .219 average and right-handed batters to a .208 average.

     In the first year after baseball pitchers have Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery, baseball pitchers have a stable pitching elbow joint.

     However, unless they eliminate the injurious flaw that caused them to rupture their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, repeatedly 'reverse bouncing' their new Ulnar Collateral Tendon tears the connective tissue fibers that make up the Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

     As a result, their pitching elbow becomes less and less stable.

     Since Mr. Surkamp already does not have a great fastball, he will shortly have an even worse fastball.

     Nevertheless, I do like baseball pitchers that are able to get glove arm side batters out better than pitching arm side batters.

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0003.  Tanaka may prove to be high-yield investment
MLB.com
December 26, 2013

Even in this off-season of wild spending, the bidding for Masahiro Tanaka may make all those other deals look like warmup acts. That's because there has seldom been a 25-year-old pitcher with top-of-the-rotation stuff enter free agency. Tanaka may not be perfect. He may not be the next Yu Darvish or Max Scherzer, but those guys aren't available. So the bidding could get insane.

Speaking of Scherzer -- and Clayton Kershaw and David Price -- take careful notes, fellas. This is going to be a very enjoyable few days as your own dances with free agency approach.

To the people who think giving long-term contracts to pitchers is foolish, take a deep breath and deal with it. This bidding is about a handful of teams -- the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Rangers, others -- seeing Tanaka as giving them an immediate chance to play deep into October.

First, let's pause to look at this guy and why scouts have been effusive in their praise of him. Again, Tanaka is 25 years old. Even the most cautious evaluators believe he'll be at his best for at least the next three or four years if he stays healthy.

After that, Tanaka will have to make an adjustment to pitching with diminished velocity. But there's every reason to think he can do this. While Tanaka's fastball has been clocked in the 92-95 mph range, he has an array of other pitches.

Tanaka has a nasty splitter and a decent slider. He throws a curveball too, a passable one. But the thing that really excites scouts is that Tanaka seems to know how to utilize all those weapons.

In 212 innings this season, Tanaka walked 32 and struck out 183. Those numbers tell you he has command of the strike zone and that he trusts his stuff. There's almost certain to be an adjustment period in the United States. Will Tanaka still pitch confidently when he's roughed up a couple of times?

Almost every pitcher deals with "trusting your stuff" issues at various points in their careers. Sometimes, it's something as simple as changing teams that triggers it. Other times, it's signing a big contract and then trying to justify its. It was painful watching Darvish go through a tough stretch two years ago, when he was either unwilling or unable to throw strikes.

Darvish seemed to get over the hump after a tough-love talk with Rangers manager Ron Washington in which the message was, "Be yourself." (It was a bit more colorful than that, but you get the message.)

Because Tanaka's delivery is so smooth, because his stuff is so good and because he knows how to command his fastball while working other pitches into the mix, there's a consensus among talent evaluators that he'll be good from day one.

Since we've seen less of him, our expectations almost certainly will be off the charts. And Tanaka will have to deal with a dizzying number of changes, from the quality and strength of opposing hitters to life in a foreign land, and new teammates, umpires, ballparks, etc.

That adjustment period is why plenty of people believe the Rangers have a huge advantage. Since Tanaka and Darvish are workout partners, Tanaka could have an immediate comfort level in Texas. Still, the Yanks remain the consensus favorites to land him because he's so critical to their off-season.

Now about the money. If you're looking for a comparable, think Felix Hernandez. Actually, there isn't a true comparable, but King Felix is close. He was 26 years old when he signed a deal worth $175 million over seven years with the Mariners earlier this year.

Hernandez was a year older than Tanaka, but he'd also won 98 big league games and an American League Cy Young Award. Having proven himself on the game's biggest stage, Hernandez rightfully got a contract that became one of the gold standards for others.

Verlander was four years older than Tanaka when he re-upped with the Tigers for $180 million over seven years. Zack Greinke was also 29 when the Dodgers signed him for $147 million over six years. Cole Hamels was 28 when the Phillies re-signed him for $144 million over six years.

Darvish is another interesting comparable. Like Tanaka, he was 25 when he entered free agency. Darvish ended up with a six-year, $56 million deal, but the circumstances were different.

The Rangers spent $51 million on a posting fee that gave them exclusive negotiating rights. The team that gets Tanaka will have a $20 million posting fee cap, but be in a true free-agent bidding war with every other team willing to spend the $20 million.

Verlander's contract averaged out to $25.7 million per season, which is slightly more than Hernandez's $25 million, Greinke's $24.5 million and Hamels' $24 million.

It'll be fascinating to see where the bidding opens and how the $20 million posting fee figures into the process. Given that the Yankees typically are aggressive when they make signing a guy a high priority, it probably won't serve competitors to be timid.

That's why the bidding could go anyplace. The Yanks would like to make Tanaka an offer that closes the bidding process before it really begins. And every other team will be thinking the same thing.

If you're on the outside looking in, the numbers will seem crazy. But what's a trip to the World Series worth in terms of ticket sales, sponsorships, international visibility, broadcast contracts and the like?

Teams will see signing Tanaka not as a seven-year deal, but as a chance to make an immediate impact and then follow up with a trip to the playoffs in 2014. By seeing the deal simply as an investment, it's easier to understand. The bottom line is that at a time when most teams don't let their best players reach free agency, Tanaka is seen as a difference-maker. In other words, a bunch of teams believe he'll be worth the investment.


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     The article said:

01. "Masahiro Tanaka has a 92-95 mph fastball, a nasty splitter, a decent slider and a passable curveball."
02. "Mr. Tanaka knows how to utilize all of his pitches."
03. "In 212 innings this season, Tanaka walked 32 and struck out 183."
04. "Mr. Tanaka has command of the strike zone and that he trusts his pitches."
05. "Mr. Tanaka has a smooth baseball pitching motion."

     I watched the YouTube Best of Masahiro Tanaka video.

     In Mr. Tanaka's baseball pitching motion, Mr. Tanaka:

01. Takes the baseball out of his glove with the palm of his pitching hand on top of the baseball. (Frame 2.07)
02. Stops his pitching arm behind his body. (Frame 2.08)
03. Hooks his wrist. (Frame 0.25)
04. Vertically raises his pitching forearm from pointing downward and backward to pointing upward. (Frame 2.08)

     Mr. Tanaka 'reverse bounces' his pitching forearm. Therefore, Mr. Tanaka is likely to injure his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Mr. Tanaka applies sideways force to his pitching forearm and supinates the releases of his breaking pitches. Therefore, Mr. Tanaka bangs the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together. As a result, Mr. Tanaka breaks pieces of hyaline cartilage off the ends of these bones. Eventually, Mr. Tanaka will has bone spurs grow in his pitching elbow.

     By using his Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull his pitches, Mr. Tanaka is destablilizing his pitching shoulder. Therefore, Mr. Tanaka will gradually decrease his release velocity and consistency.

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0004.  ASMI's report

In Q/A # 1889, you took parts of Dr. Fleisig's report and commented on them. How about showing us the entire unedited version?


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     Gladly. To make is easier to read, I will provide each sentence separately.

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01. The data did not support the hypothesis that the Marshall style of pitching produces less risk of injury but without comparable ball velocity as traditional pitching.

02. While the current study provides no direct measurement of injury risk, the biomechanical data do provide shoulder and elbow kinetic parameters.

03. Cadaver and mathematical modeling have linked total force and torque to loads on individual tissues, like rotator cuff tendons and ulnar collateral ligaments (see references).

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Cited References:

Dun S, Loftice J, Fleisig GS, Kingsley D, Andrews JR. A Biomechanical Comparison of Youth Baseball Pitches: Is the Curveball Potentially Harmful? Am J Sports Med 36(4):686-692, 2008.

Dun S, Kingsley D, Fleisig GS, Loftice J, Andrews JR. Biomechanical Comparison of the Fastball from Wind-Up and the Fastball From Stretch in Professional Baseball Pitchers. Am J Sports Med 36(1):137-41, 2008.

Dun S, Fleisig GS, Loftice J, Kingsley D, Andrews JR. The Relationship Betwen Age and Baseball Pitching Kinetics in Professional Baseball Pitchers. Journal of Biomechanics 40:265-270, 2007.

Escamilla RF, Barrentine SW, Fleisig GS, Zheng N, Takada Y, Kingsley D, Andrews JR. Pitching Biomechanics as a Pitcher Approaches Muscular Fatigue During a Simulated Game. Am J Sports Med 35:23-33, 2007.

Fleisig GS, Kingsley D, Loftice JW, Dinnen K, Ranganathan R, Dun S, Escamilla RF, Andrews JR. Kinetic Comparison Among the Fastball, Curveball, Change-Up and Slider in Collegiate Baseball Pitchers. The American Journal of Sports Medicine 34(3):423-430, 2006.

Zheng N, Fleisig GS, Barrentine SW, Andrews JR. Biomechanics of Pitching. In Hung GK, Pallis JM (eds), Biomechanical Engineering Principles in Sports, Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, PP 209-256, 2004.

Fleisig GS, Barrentine SW, Zheng N, Escamilla RF, Andrews JR. Kinetic and Kinetic Comparison of Baseball Pitching Among Various Levels of Development. Journal of Biomechanics 32(12):1371-1375, 1999.

Zheng N, Fleisig GS, Andrews JR. Biomechanics and Injuries of the Shoulder During Throwing. Athletic Therapy Today 4(4):06-10, 1999.

Escamilla RF, Fleisig GS, Barrentine SW, Zheng N, Andrews JR. Kinetic Comparisona of Throwing Different Types of Baseball Pitches. Journal of Applied Biomechanics 14(1):01-23, 1998.

Fleisig GS, Escamilla RF, Andrews JR, Matsuo T, Satterwhite Y, Barrentine SW. Kinematic and Kinetic Comparison Between Baseball Pitching and Football Passing. Journal of Applied Biomechanics 12(2):207-224, 1996.

Fleisig GS, Andrews JR, Dillman CJ, Escamilla RF. Kinetics of Baseball Pitching With Implications About Injury Mechanics. The American Journal of Sports Medicine 23(2):233-239, 1995.

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04. Thus, elbow varus torque coupled with elbow flexion has been correlated with tension in the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

05. Shoulder internal rotation torque coupled with shoulder external rotation angle has been correlated with Superior Labral Anterior-Posterior (SLAP) tears and internal impingement of the Infraspinatus in the shoulder capsule.

06. Shoulder proximal force has been linked with rotator cuff tensile and Superior Labral Anterior-Posterior (SLAP) tears.


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     I have taught and trained over 150 college and professional baseball pitchers.

     Not one of these over 150 baseball pitchers have ever:

01. Ruptured their Ulnar Collateral Ligament,

02. Torn the insertion of the Biceps Brachii muscle to the superior lip of the Glenoid Fossa (SLAP tear) or

03. Injured the attachments of the Subscapularis, Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus or Teres Minor muscles (rotator cuff).

     As Dr. Fleisig wrote in his second sentence: "While the current study provides no direct measurement of injury risk, the biomechanical data do provide shoulder and elbow kinetic parameters."

     When 'real' researchers do not find direct measurements of injury risk, they do not further speculate on what might happen.

     To make these suppositions, Dr. Fleisig has to have biomechanically analyzed baseball pitchers that had simular numbers that my baseball pitchers had that at some time after their biomechanical analysis suffered these injuries.

     That Dr. Fleisig was not able to recognize that, instead of using their Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull their pitching upper arm curvi-linearly forward, my baseball pitchers used their Latissimus Dorsi muscel to vertically drive their pitching upper arm recti-linearly forward shows that Dr. Fleisig does not have the requisite anatomical knowledge to determine the causes of pitching injuries.

     The still photographs in the four biomechanical analyses that Dr. Fleisig provided clearly shows that my baseball pitchers turn the back of their nearly vertical pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     For thirty plus years, Dr. Fleisig's ineptitude has increased and extended the epidemic of pitching injuries that today's baseball pitchers of all ages suffer.

     Dr. Andrews reported that the number of youth baseball pitchers rupturing their Ulnar Collateral Ligaments has increased 700 percent. With his recommendations, Dr. Fleisig contributed to the pitching injuries problem.      In 1975, at the Southern California AAU Sportsmedicine Seminar in Los Angeles, CA, I presented "Longitudinal Effects of Adolescent Throwing Injuries."

     With regard to injury-free baseball pitching techniques, to prevent injuries to the pitching elbow, I emphasized 'pitching forearm pronation,' and to prevent injuries to the pitching shoulder, I emphasized 'pitching upper arm inward rotation.'

     In numerous presentations throughot the remainder of the 1970 decade, I repeatedly explained how to pitch every day without fatigue or injury.

     Unfortunately, to their detriment, baseball pitchers continued to use the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     Until 'BASEBALL' makes the adjustments that I recommend, the epidemic of pitching injuries will continue.

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0005.  Feedback wanted

I e-mailed you about this last month.

This (attached) is an example of the product I make for a couple of ML pitchers. This is an example I made for a major league pitcher against a major league hitter that has hit four homers against him.

As for the four types of hitters you describe, this major league hitter is certainly a RHPH of the power variety.

I agree with you that you have to feed guys pitches they don't want to see or hit in the first/second pitch of at-bats, and that's what I aim to do with my information page (behind the strike zone page) with data on first pitch tendencies.

The strike zone depictions show take zones in green, while the black or grey shaded zones outside of the strike zone are chase areas. A blue or red ring indicates weak or hard contact if contact is made outside of the zone.

Anyway, I am an intelligence officer in the military.

70% of intelligence we give to our troops and commanders is derived from an "open source", meaning unclassified means.

Similarly, you can dig and dig and come up with this information, but my best skills are in writing and presenting baseball information in a customized format based on my pitcher's pitches.

I was hoping for some feedback since you're accessible and like to discuss baseball and statistical analysis.

Today's ML pitchers are difficult to get in touch with, and I'm thankful to have one steady customer.

I'd like to add more because this pays me well.

Anything is appreciated.


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     My computer was not able to open your attachment.

     To sequence their pitches, baseball pitchers have to be able to throw fastballs, breaking balls and reverse breaking balls.

     To succeed, baseball pitchers have:

01. To throw these three types of pitches for strikes with significant velocity and movement.
02. Determine which of the four types of batters every batter is.
03. Throw the first three pitch sequences that provide in Chapter Twenty-Eight: Pitch Sequences For Youth, High School, College and Professional Pitchers.
04. Keep pitch by pitch records of every pitch and location for every baseball batters to whom they pitch.

     After the first three At Bats, baseball pitchers have to determine which six pitch sequence that they believe will keep every batter off balance.

     Major league baseball pitchers have to be impossible to contact. Otherwise, hundreds of people that want some of their money will pester them.

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0006.  Training with heavy objects

In your book you wrote:

"Throwing footballs does not train pitchers to pitch baseballs. Footballs weigh more than baseballs. Increased football weights increase throwing arm resistances and decrease throwing arm velocities. Throwing footballs sixty miles per hour does not train pitchers to throw ninety-five miles per hour."

If training with footballs decreases throwing arm velocities, then why doesn't training with much heavier wrist weights and heavy balls decrease throwing arm velocities?


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     I wrote my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book in 1979. As needed, over the years, I have updated parts that were not clear or where training baseball pitchers every day for 280 days taught me better ways to teach and train.

     Other than to master the releases of my pitches, I would never use footballs to train baseball pitchers.

     Footballs weigh about 3 lbs. That is not sufficient resistance to stimulate a physiological response. I prefer a minimum of 6 lb. iron balls and 10 lb. wrist weights.

     The football throwing motion uses technique for only my Torque Fastball Slider release.

     Nevertheless, when I read: "Increased football weights increase throwing arm resistances and decrease throwing arm velocities," I wondered what point I was trying to make.

     When I wrote, 'Increase football weights,' I was saying that football weigh more than baseballs. This meant that, when compared with throwing baseballs, throwing 3 lb. footballs increase the resistance that the throwing arm must overcome.

     When I wrote, 'decreases throwing velocities,' I was saying that the overload of throwing 3 lb. footballs would put the throwing arm in regression. I prefer a more regulated overload method.

     In 1984, I started coaching college baseball pitchers, I started with 5 lb. wrist weights and doing my three movement deltoid wrist weight exercise and 6 lb. iron ball throws.

     In 1968, when I started my wrist weight and heavy ball throws, I used much higher weight and much higher numbers of repetitions.

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0007.  Motte continues comeback
St. Louis Post Dispatch
January 01, 2014

Shortly after he announced who would get the call for the ninth inning at the start of next season, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny made a call to another member of the bullpen.

He wanted Jason Motte to hear from him first that Trevor Rosenthal would be the closer.

“This is what I said, ‘I get it. Makes sense,’” Motte recalled. “There’s nothing certain with me. We’re not 100 percent sure when I’ll be back. If you asked me, and he didn’t, who should close, I’d say, ‘Rosey did a heck of a job.’”

A year and one elbow surgery removed from leading the National League with 42 saves, Motte enters the New Year focused more on reclaiming his health than his role. The righthander had Tommy John surgery in May to repair a ruptured ligament in his right elbow, and his rehab will continue going into spring training. Motte took a break from throwing during the holidays and is scheduled to pick up a baseball and begin a throwing program in the coming weeks. He plans to relocate to the club’s Jupiter, Fla., complex more than three weeks before pitchers and catchers must report in mid-February.

A steady progression toward games awaits him there.

“It’s not a normal spring,” Motte said. “It will be modified. I won’t be there Day 1, firing bullpens. Everything we’ve done so far has been when I’m ready, one step at a time. We’re not going to go too far, too fast now. The idea is to still build up. We don’t want to push it, have a problem, and then have to go back two weeks as a result. We’ve been following the natural progression and we’ve gotten this far.”

Motte eased into a series of bullpens in November before stopping his throwing, as planned, just before Thanksgiving. His first few bullpens were completed at 50 percent effort, he said, to “get a feel for the mound.” By his last bullpen, he’d ramped up to 75 percent. His arm recovered well each time. He does not know the specifics of the schedule that awaits him in spring. It is always subject to change. But he expects to be behind the normal pitcher schedule, working toward games possibly in mid-March. His availability and effectiveness will guide the Cardinals’ use of him — and his late-inning role.

The Cardinals have said that lefty Jaime Garcia (shoulder surgery) and outfielder Oscar Taveras (ankle surgery) will be ready for Grapefruit League play, with few, if any, restrictions. General manager John Mozeliak allowed that Motte “may be at this point only a week or two behind.” For a reliever, Mozeliak added, “that sort of can get (accelerated) together real quick.”

Motte’s recovery and Rosenthal’s emphatic finish as closer made Matheny’s decision obvious. At a year-end press conference to review the 2013 season and the Cardinals’ National League pennant run, Matheny stated that Rosenthal would close. Questions about whether Rosenthal, a rookie last summer, would get a chance to start like he has craved prompted Matheny’s announcement. Rosenthal, the team’s 23-year-old flamethrower, set a club record with 108 strikeouts as a reliever in 2013, finishing with a 2.63 ERA in 75 1/3 innings. He moved into the closer role late in the year as Edward Mujica faltered and had four saves and a win during the postseason.

Rosenthal did not allow a run in the playoffs, and he has yet to allow a run in 20 1/3 postseason innings during his career.

“Rosey did an amazing job in that role,” Motte said.

He had a good seat to watch the rookie develop.

Although unable to throw a pitch for the Cardinals after his elbow came apart during spring training, Motte remained with the team. Matheny invited him on several road trips, and he maintained his rehab schedule at Busch Stadium, instead of returning home to Memphis.

“My job this past year was rehabbing and getting my arm better,” Motte said. “But that was only part of it. I wasn’t going to sit there and mope and be, ‘Poor me.’ No one wants to hang out with you then anyway, right? That’s not being a good teammate.”

Taking cues from how Adam Wainwright was around the team as a self-proclaimed cheerleader during his Tommy John rehab in 2011 or how Chris Carpenter remained a presence despite missing all of 2013 with nerve trouble, Motte situated himself as support for the young relievers. The Cardinals leaned toward youth with rookies Seth Maness, Kevin Siegrist, Carlos Martinez and Rosenthal all playing prominent roles.

Motte would start the game in the bullpen, alongside the relievers. By the fourth or fifth inning, he would move to the dugout. He wanted to be there when the relievers came off the field — and figured it would be that point or later.

“I was in their situation not too long ago,” said Motte, 31. “You come up (from the minors) and try to do your job. We’d talk after good days. We’d talk after bad days. We would talk out in the bullpen, and sometimes it wouldn’t even be about baseball. Mike has done a heck of a job instilling that confidence in them — ‘You’ve got this’ — and tried to help.”

The impact he had on young relievers was apparent through the season and will be recognized with an honor from his peers at the 56th St. Louis Baseball Writers’ dinner on Jan. 19. The clubhouse, in a players-only vote, named Motte for the Darryl Kile Award. The honor was founded in 2004 for the Cardinals pitcher who died during the 2002 season. Matheny received the first Kile award. Wainwright and Carpenter have both been honored. Motte will be the 11th to receive the Kile.

But he’s the first Kile honoree not to have thrown a pitch or taken a swing in the season his teammates selected him as an inspirational and integral part of the club.

Like Rosenthal, Motte’s first turn as closer came late in the season as a fellow reliever tired and faded. In 2011, Motte had nine saves, all of them coming after the Cardinals were 10½ games out of the playoffs and as the Cardinals made their mad dash for October. Motte had five more saves in the postseason, and he threw the final pitch of the Cardinals’ 2011 World Series championship. One of the first calls Matheny had as manager was naming Motte closer long before the next spring training, just as he did for Rosenthal. Motte converted 42 of 49 save opportunities in 2012 and was rewarded with a two-year, $12-million contract. A few innings into his first spring as the highest-paid closer since Jason Isringhausen, Motte’s elbow unraveled.

The next few weeks of the New Year, the year of his return, will be spent running and working out at the University of Memphis. Within a few months — Tommy John often has a 12-month recovery calendar — the idea is for his job of getting healthy to end. He can then go about the job he mentioned a half dozen times during a phone interview last week: getting outs.

It doesn’t matter when or what inning, just that he does.

“The end is not necessarily in sight, but I know where I need to be, what I need to be ready,” Motte said. “I’m not going to help anybody at 50 percent or at 75 percent regardless of the inning I’m in. When it comes down to it, I have to be healthy and then I have to prove I can do my job and get guys out. Those are the next steps.”


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     The article said:

01. "A year and one elbow surgery removed from leading the National League with 42 saves, Motte enters the New Year focused more on reclaiming his health than his role."
02. "The righthander had Tommy John surgery in May to repair a ruptured ligament in his right elbow, and his rehab will continue going into spring training."
03. "Motte took a break from throwing during the holidays and is scheduled to pick up a baseball and begin a throwing program in the coming weeks."
04. "He plans to relocate to the club’s Jupiter, Fla., complex more than three weeks before pitchers and catchers must report in mid-February."

     If Mr. Motte received proper rehabilitation information, Mr. Motte would not have taken a break during the holidays and Mr. Motte would be learning how to pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

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0008.  Bauer's winter workouts encouraging for Indians
MLB.com
January 01, 2014

CLEVELAND, OH: All the world sees are the numbers. The Indians are counting on much more than that when it comes to pitching prospect Trevor Bauer. The data from last season was not pretty, but the club knew from the moment it traded for Bauer last winter that this was going to be a project.

Cleveland has had evaluators in Texas this offseason to monitor Bauer's mound workouts. Pitching coach Mickey Callaway has checked in with the youngster from time to time via text messages. Bauer has sent the front office and coaching staff videos of the progress he has made this offseason.

The information received has convinced the club to express confidence.

"I saw some video of him the other day, and he was good," Indians manager Terry Francona said during the Winter Meetings. "He's making key adjustments. It's exciting. Hopefully, we'll see some results in Spring Training."

Bauer was working on adjustments with his delivery from spring through fall last year, and it resulted in a setback in terms of statistics. The right-hander took on the changes, however, with the big picture in mind. He wanted to be more efficient immediately and in a position to remain healthy for many years on the mound.

"He wanted to make sure that his body was able to withstand 220 innings," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "Or, if you ask Trevor, 250 innings during a Major League season, and thousands of innings over the course of a career."

Getting comfortable with the tweaks led to diminished command and subpar numbers across the board in both the Majors and Minors last year.

This spring will present the first chance for the public to get a glimpse of what a year of tinkering has produced for Bauer, who is being touted as a candidate for the fifth spot in the Indians' rotation. As things stand, he will be up against Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin and Shaun Marcum. Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar and Zach McAllister are front-runners for the first four jobs.

After viewing footage of Bauer's winter work at the Texas Baseball Ranch in Montgomery, Texas, the Indians have taken an optimistic stance.

"He's kind of getting back to his old delivery," Callaway said. "It looks really good. It looked like his command is getting better and there's some more deception. I would say it's a more refined delivery. It's the same mechanics but a little more refined, and it looks a little more repeatable. It's a little less violent."

These are potentially great developments for the Tribe.

Of course, seeing is believing, and what the organization saw last year was a pitcher possibly biting off more than he could chew. Bauer has a reputation for being extremely analytical, taking in as much information as he can in order to implement elements that can improve his biomechanics and on-field performance.

Cleveland knew this was the case when it acquired Bauer from Arizona as part of a three-team, nine-player trade in December 2012. The Indians also understood that they were receiving Bauer in the midst of a personal transformation. In his 2012 stint with the D-backs, Bauer dealt with lower leg and groin issues, so he tackled ways to potentially avoid such problems in the future.

"I think it's one thing to know what you want to do, and it's another thing to be able to accomplish it," Antonetti said. "Pitching at a high level is really hard to do. I think Trevor got to a level pitching one way and was very successful doing it, but he undertook considerable delivery adjustments that he initiated last offseason.

"I think maybe we and he, if anything, underestimated the magnitude of those adjustments and maybe how long it would take him to get to the point where he's comfortable executing that delivery consistently."

In 22 games last season for Triple-A Columbus, Bauer posted a 4.15 ERA in 121 1/3 innings with 106 strikeouts and 73 walks. Bauer has seen his walk percentage increase from 10.1 percent to 11.1 percent to 13.3 percent in the Minors in each of the past three years. Additionally, his strikeout rate per nine innings dropped from 15.1 to 10.8 to 7.9 in that same span.

Bauer's showing last season was a drastic drop-off from 2012, when he went 12-2 with a 2.42 ERA in 130 1/3 innings, compiling 157 strikeouts against 61 walks between Double-A and Triple-A in Arizona's system.

At the big league level, Bauer has a 5.67 ERA and a 0.97 strikeout-to-walk ratio in eights starts over the 2012-13 seasons. He is one of 262 pitchers to log at least eight starts over that two-season period. Among that group, he ranks last in average walks per nine innings (7.83) but 31st overall in opponents' batting average (.234).

That last number holds the key to what Callaway believes can help Bauer turn a corner in 2014.

"He doesn't have to be too fine," Callaway said. "Really, just throw the ball over the plate. His stuff is good enough that it's tough to hit. The games that he pitched for us, it was tough to get a hit off of him. His stuff is good. He was sometimes having to throw a lot of strikes behind in the count, and they still weren't hitting it."

Bauer, who will turn 23 years old on Jan. 17, gained a reputation for being stubborn during his days with the D-backs, who selected him in the first round (third overall) of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. The righty's unique workout regimen, which includes a rigorous long-toss routine, has been heavily scrutinized. After last season, questions arose about whether the pitcher was too analytical or difficult for coaches.

Callaway did his best to shoot down such perceptions.

"I don't think he's stubborn or unwilling to work with anybody," Callaway said. "He takes information, and he uses it just like anybody should. He takes the stuff he thinks is going to work, and lets the other stuff go out the other ear. That's what you should do when you're listening to a coach. If every player would've taken everything that every coach said and tried to use it, they would've been a mess.

"I think he goes about it the right way and takes coaching the right way. I just think he got on the wrong path last year, and it just didn't work out. I think he's on the right path this year, and, hopefully, we'll see a different Trevor."


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     The article said:

01. "Bauer was working on adjustments with his delivery from spring through fall last year, and it resulted in a setback in terms of statistics."
02. "The right-hander took on the changes, however, with the big picture in mind."
03. "He wanted to be more efficient immediately and in a position to remain healthy for many years on the mound.
04. "Bauer has a reputation for being extremely analytical, taking in as much information as he can in order to implement elements that can improve his biomechanics and on-field performance."
05. "In his 2012 stint with the D-backs, Bauer dealt with lower leg and groin issues, so he tackled ways to potentially avoid such problems in the future."

     Indians general manager, Chris Antonetti, said:

01. "I think it's one thing to know what you want to do, and it's another thing to be able to accomplish it."
02. "Pitching at a high level is really hard to do."
03. "I think Trevor got to a level pitching one way and was very successful doing it."
04. "But, he undertook considerable delivery adjustments that he initiated last offseason."
05. "I think maybe we and he, if anything, underestimated the magnitude of those adjustments and maybe how long it would take him to get to the point where he's comfortable executing that delivery consistently."

     Indians pitching coach, Mickey Callaway, said:

01. "I don't think he's stubborn or unwilling to work with anybody." 02. "He takes information, and he uses it just like anybody should." 03. "He takes the stuff he thinks is going to work, and lets the other stuff go out the other ear." 04. "That's what you should do when you're listening to a coach." 05. "If every player would've taken everything that every coach said and tried to use it, they would've been a mess."
06. "I think he goes about it the right way and takes coaching the right way." 07. "I just think he got on the wrong path last year, and it just didn't work out." 08. "I think he's on the right path this year, and, hopefully, we'll see a different Trevor." 09. "He's kind of getting back to his old delivery."
10. "It looks really good."
11. "It looked like his command is getting better and there's some more deception."
12. "I would say it's a more refined delivery."
13. "It's the same mechanics, but a little more refined."
14. "It looks a little more repeatable."
15. "It's a little less violent."

     In an earlier article, Mr. Bauer thanked Brent Strom and Kyle Boddy for their help.

     In an I-told-him-so moment, last off-season, I wrote that the adjustments that he was making would decrease his release velocity and consistency.

     Indians pitching coach, Mickey Callaway, said that Mr. Bauer is getting back to his old delivery.

     That's a start.

     Now, Mr. Bauer needs to learn how to 'horizontally rebound' his pitching forearm.

     Unfortunately, neither Mr. Strom, who taught Mr. Bauer how to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve, nor Mr. Boddy, who tries to teach what I teach and gratiously credits me, understand how to teach and train baseball pitchers how to take full advantage of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     To learn that, Mr. Bauer needs to contact me.

     Nevertheless, I wish Mr. Bauer success.

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0009.  Feedback wanted

Here is the same file in PowerPoint. Hopefully, it will open this time.

I agree with you that they need to be hard to contact.

The difficult part of that for me is that I know I have a good product that fits for 90% of ML pitchers.

Because I have one who feels it is worth enough to pay me $500 a start to produce it.

I'm in with an agent now who has three big lefties. I'm hoping to pick up one or two of them.


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     Thank you. My computer was able to open your attachment.

     With regard to the colorful diagram of where your client should throw his 4 seam fastball (4SFB), 4 seam fastball/sinker (4SFB/SNK), sinker (SNK), cutter (CUT) and change-up (CH):

01. Which way does this pitcher's 4-seam fastball move?

02. What is the difference between his 4-seam fastball/sinker and his sinker?

03. Does this pitcher throw a circle change-up that moves to the pitching arm side of home plate and downward or is it a change-up with backspin like a fastball, but 10 mph slower?

04. Is his cutter like a slider or a fastball with the circle of friction turned slightly toward the glove arm side of home plate?

05. Does this pitcher pronate the release of his cutter? If not, then he will bang the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together. As a result, he will lose significant amount of his extension and flexion range of motion in his pitching elbow and develop bone spurs.

06. Does this pitcher throw a four seam curve ball and/or a two-seam slider?

     Pitchers should throw 4-seam fastballs that move to both sides of home plate, such that they start their fastballs in the middle of the strike zone and allow the small circle of friction to move the baseball toward the glove and pitching arm sides of home plate.

     As with cutters, sinkers are laterally moving pitches. Because these pitches are only 10 mph slower than fastballs, even when batters are looking fastball, batters are able to get a piece of these pitches.

     Without a straight downward moving pitch, such as my Maxline Pronation Curve or Maxline True Screwball (see my Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion Video), this baseball pitcher will not freeze horizontal bat batters for called strikes.

     With only laterally moving sinkers, this pitcher could has some success only against vertical bat Glove Arm Side Pull Hitters.

     This pitcher has insufficient variety of pitches to succeed against the four types of hitters.

     This graph asks too much of the pitcher. Major league baseball pitchers should throw every pitch for the center of the strike zone and allow the change in velocity and the different movements to keep the batters from making hard contact if any.

     With regard to your write-ups for the various pitches:

01. Most batters are either pull or spray hitters. Pull hitter are front arm hitters. As a result, they prefer low and inside pitches. They swing vertical bats. Spray hitter are rear arm hitters. As a result, they prefer high and outside pitches. They swing horizontal bats.

02. This is way too much information.

03. You should provide what is the safest first pitch to throw. Then, after that first pitch, what is the safest second pitch to throw. And, so on.

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0010.  Spiralling Screwball

Do you see any problems with the throwing of a screwball that spirals in the Maxline Pseudo Traditional Windup?

I have been able to view El Duche' Orlando Hernandez throwing the slow slider to injurious affect.

Would there be any correlation to that type of an injury to those who throw the spiral screwball?


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     The beauty of throwing spiraling screwballs is that even 'traditional' baseball pitchers have to pronate the release.

     Therefore, while they do not get explosive straight down movement, they get a combination of downward and lateral movement. Pronating releases prevents the bones in the back of the pitching elbow from banging together.

     The horror of throwing spiraling sliders is that 'traditional' baseball pitchers supinate the release.

     When combined with taking their pitching arm well beyond second base, supinating the release of pitches causes baseball pitchers to bang the bones in the back of their pitching elbow. As a result, they lose extension and flexion ranges of motion and, eventually, develop bone spurs.

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0011.  quikspyda commented on your Marshall Pitching Motion video

I don't think you will see any Division 1 pitcher in college be using these mechanics with success.


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     'Traditional' baseball pitching coaches do not permit their baseball pitchers to use the body action of my baseball pitching motion. Instead, the body action that they permit causes lower back and inside of the pitching knee injuries. In addition, bending forward at the waist decreases in the rate of acceleration of the baseball through release.

     After surgery to remove my L5-S1 intervertebral disk and surgery to replace my pitching knee, I consider these injuries significant and who doesn't want the rate of acceleration to continue to increase through release.

     In seven years of coaching college baseball pitchers, none of my baseball pitchers have ever suffered any pitching arm injury.

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0012.  Pitching Coach Services

I am currently an undergrad (majoring in food science; minoring in Biology).

I am very interested in your expertise about pitching especially in terms of kinesiology and injuries.

I was hoping we could set up a brief phone call so I could discuss and ask you some questions about this.

Does Monday the 6th work?


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     I wish that I had time to answer your questions on the telephone. Unfortunately, my time is so tightly scheduled, I prefer email.

     Therefore, please email me with your questions.

     I look forward to emailing with you.

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0013.  Outman on the Decelerator muscles

Hi Dr. Marshall

I believe that, as pieces of your training and pitching philosophy enter the mainstream, you are going to see varying interpretations of what you believe.

As far as I know, Fritz Outman came to his pitching motion due to his own research.

I suspect that, in his dealings with others, he came across the notion of training the decelerator muscles to enhance release velocity.

However, Mr Outman did not get the correct reason for training the decelerator muscles.

Anyway, in the following article, he has some interesting things to say about decelerator muscles, the Trapezius muscle and Scapular Leading.

I suspect you will disagree on much of this.

I appreciate you thoughts.

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

"Strengthening Braking Muscles Does Not Result in an Increase in Velocity of the Pitched Baseball"
By Fritz Outman
Thursday, December 26, 2013

1.

To the point, applying the properly functioning brakes on a moving vehicle does not cause that vehicle to gain speed.

Neither does nor can strengthening a muscle that is thought strictly to be involved in braking, in decelerating the pitching-arm contribute in any way, shape or form to the production of accelerating force resulting in an increase in the velocity of the pitched-baseball regardless of the relative state of conditioning of that muscle; regardless of the relative level of strength of that muscle!

It simply is not possible for anything that strictly performs a braking/decelerating function to contribute in any way, shape or form to an increase in speed or velocity. Any notion to the contrary is plainly incorrect for the simple fact that braking/decelerating and gaining speed/accelerating are antithetical one to the other, are contrary one to the other.

Therefore, if you set about strengthening a muscle or muscles that you believe are strictly involved in braking, in decelerating the pitching-arm and, in result, you experience a correspondingly verifiable increase in the velocity of the pitched baseball, then; you have not strengthened a muscle that is or muscles that are strictly involved in braking, in decelerating the pitching-arm.

You have, in fact, strengthened a muscle that is or muscles that are also involved in the production of accelerating force to be applied to the surface of the baseball by the fingers of the pitcher at the release-point of the baseball from the hand of the pitcher!

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


     Baseball pitching is a ballistic activity.

     In ballistic activities, an agonist muscle explosively moves a bone and, to prevent damage to the involved joint, an antagonistic muscle stops the bone.

     The analogy that I use to explain ballistic activity is drag racing with a limited time to stop.

     Imagine that at the finish line, drag race car drivers had had a limited distance before they hit a solid brick wall.

     In this scenario, to achieve higher velocities before the finish line, these drag race cars need more powerful brakes.

     When athletes explosively extend their elbow joint, either eccentrically or concentrically, to prevent banging the bones in the back of their pitching elbow from banging together, a flexion muscle 'reflexively' contracts.

     'Reflexively' means that the Central Nervous System governs the velocity at which athletes move bones.

     To increase this velocity, athletes have to build bigger brakes or like I did, use muscles that accelerate and decelerate movement of the same bone.

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

2.

There is no mystery regarding this topic, Folks. There is no amazing scientific breakthrough. There is no profound, heretofore, unknown, not understood discovery. There is no true enigma.

Strengthening strictly braking/decelerating muscles does not, cannot produce an increase in the velocity of a pitched baseball.

So, store the following in the forefront of your mind.

It is highly likely that virtually every muscle in the body of a pitcher employed to pitch a baseball (from the soles of the feet to the tips of the fingers) is a dual function muscle that, within its individual sphere of operation, is first involved in the production of accelerating force followed by involvement in braking/decelerating, which braking/decelerating action can be in relationship to the pitching-arm or to the body of the pitcher in general.

For the record, I employ the term “virtually” because I do not know for a fact that every muscle in the human body employed for pitching a baseball performs the dual functions both of contributing to the production of accelerating force and of braking/decelerating.

Again, if strengthening a muscle involved in pitching a baseball results in a correspondingly verifiable increase in the velocity of the pitched-baseball, that strengthened muscle is involved in the production of accelerating force to be applied to the surface of the baseball by the fingers of the pitcher at the release-point of the baseball from the hand of the pitcher.

Moreover, it is the involvement of that strengthened muscle in the production of accelerating force that accounts for any increase in velocity of the pitched-baseball regardless of whether that strengthened muscle is or is not involved in braking, in decelerating the pitching-arm.

Therefore, and again, strengthening a muscle that is strictly involved in braking/decelerating does not, cannot contribute in any way, shape or form to the production of accelerating force and a resultant increase in the velocity of the pitched baseball.

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


     Mr. Outman said: "I do not know for a fact that every muscle in the human body employed for pitching a baseball performs the dual functions both of contributing to the production of accelerating force and of braking/decelerating."

     Except for one muscle, no muscle is able to accelerate and decelerate.

     Therefore, every agonist muscle has an antagonist muscle. An antagonist muscles does the opposite movement of an agonist muscle. Agonist muscle initiate movement. Antagonist muscle stop that movement.

     Otherwise, if we were in space, then what would move our arms from overhead to beside our body or from beside our body to over our heads?

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

3.

Consider the Trapezius muscles.

Are the Trapezius muscles (with particular reference to the pitching-side Trapezius muscle) involved in braking/decelerating the pitching-arm? I would say “Yes”, but to a lesser degree than, for example, the pitching-side Latissimus Dorsi muscle (which in correct execution of Finalized Outman Methodology™, together with the glove-side Latissimus Dorsi muscle) is also involved in the production of accelerating force.

Are the Trapezius muscles involved in the production of accelerating force when pitching a baseball? Absolutely! They are certainly involved in the production of accelerating force in correct execution of Finalized Outman Methodology™. So-called “Scapular Loading” comes to mind. Moreover, the Trapezius muscles are involved in and contribute far more to the production of accelerating force than to braking/decelerating.

So, then, how do the Trapezius muscles contribute to the production of accelerating force when pitching a baseball?

Explosive contraction of the Trapezius muscles facilitates, contributes to the achievement of maximum external rotation (MER) of the rotator cuff of the pitching-shoulder. The greater the maximum external rotation of the rotator cuff of the pitching-shoulder, the greater the productive physical space through which the pitching-arm, pitching-hand and baseball travel toward the release-point of the baseball from the hand of the pitcher.

Explosive contraction of the Trapezius muscles (by drawing the pitching-shoulder rearward in physical space as part of so-called “Scapular Loading”) contributes to the creation of productive physical space through which the pitching-arm, pitching-hand and baseball travel toward the release-point of the baseball from the hand of the pitcher.

Productive physical space is that space through which the pitching-arm, pitching-hand and baseball travel during which accelerating force is being applied to the pitching-arm, pitching-hand and baseball as they travel toward the release-point of the baseball from the hand of the pitcher.

The greater the productive physical space through which the pitching-arm, pitching-hand and baseball travel, the longer accelerating force is applied to the pitching-arm, pitching-hand and baseball.

The longer accelerating force is applied to any object, the greater will be the velocity of that object after accelerating force ceases to be applied (to the baseball, in relationship to this topic).

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


     Muscles of the Shoulder Girdle elevate and depress, upwardly rotate and downwardly rotate, forward tilt and backward tilt and adduct and abduct.

     The Trapezius muscle is a Shoulder Girdle muscle,

     The Trapezius I muscle upwardly rotates the Scapula bone.

     The Trapezius II, III and IV adducts the Scapula bone.      The Trapezius muscle does not accelerate or decelerate the pitching arm.

     At no time does the Trapezius muscle outwardly rotate the Humerus bone. Inwardly and outwardly rotating the Humerus bone is a Shoulder Joint activity. The Trapezius muscle does not arise from or insert into the Humerus bone.

     'Scapular Loading' is the result of the forward rotation of the hips and shoulders over the pitching rubber overwhelming the Pectoralis Major muscle such that the pitching upper arm eccentrically moves behind the acromial line.

     'Scapular Loading' is the injurious flaw that destabilizes the pitching shoulder.

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

4.

During the process of achieving "Scapular Loading" (so-called), the Trapezius muscles are contracted, which simultaneously results in other muscles and muscle-groups of the body involved in the production of accelerating force to be applied to the pitching-arm, pitching-hand and baseball to be stretched, to, in a manner of speaking, have slack removed.

Being stretched, those slack-removed muscles provide greater individual length through which explosive contraction of those muscles can be accomplished producing, thereby, greater accelerating force.

Correspondingly, the moment that the Trapezius muscles are contracted explosively, peak "Scapular Loading" (so-called) is achieved, which, in essence, constitutes the trigger for the correctly-timed explosive contraction of all other accelerating force producing muscles in the process of executing each pitching-delivery.

That is how the Trapezius muscles (most definitely in correct execution of Finalized Outman Methodology™) contribute to, are involved in the production of accelerating force...more greatly than to braking/decelerating the pitching-arm and, most certainly, not strictly, not exclusively involved in braking/decelerating the pitching-arm.

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


     'Scapular Loading' takes place during the forward rotation of the hips and shoulders.

     Therefore, to move the Scapula bone forward with the pitching upper arm, the Serratus Anterior muscle is contracting.

     The Serratus Anterior muscle abducts the Scapula bone (Moves the Scapula bone forward around the side of the Rib Cage).

     'Scapular Loading' is an eccentric activity (Lenghening the contracting muscle).

     Reciprocal Inhibition prevents all Shoulder Girdle muscles that adduct the Scapula bone from contracting.

     The Shoulder Girdle muscles that adduct the Scapula bone are antagonistic to the Serratus Anterior muscle.

     The eccentric movement of the Humerus bone behind the acromial line makes it appear that the Scapular bone is moving away from the back. However, no Shoulder Girdle muscle has the ability to move the Scapula bone away from the back.

     The Rhomboid Major, Rhomboid Minor and Trapezius muscles are able to adduct the Scapula bone (Move the Scapula bone closer to the vertebral column), not move the Scapula bone backwardly away from the back.

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

5.

There exists, of course, a physical limitation to the degree of “Scapular Loading” (so-called) that can be achieved.

However, if, as in the case of the Trapezius muscles, for example, strengthening a muscle or muscles enables that muscle or those muscles explosively to contract to a greater degree than previously capable (to a degree that was short of the physical limitation), an improvement in the capacity of the muscle or muscles in question explosively to contract (by reason of strengthening) could, quite naturally, result in an increase in velocity of the pitched baseball owing to an increase in accelerating force, which, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with braking/decelerating.

In correct execution of Finalized Outman Methodology™ the Trapezius muscles are actively employed and so-called “Scapular Loading” is achieved to the most efficient and effective degree possible.

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


     The limit to 'Scapular Loading' is how far the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments have lengthened. The more that the Gleno-Humeral Ligaments lengthen, the greater the instability of the shoulder joint.

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

6.

Finally, a brief note in general about strengthening and conditioning the muscles of the human body employed for pitching a baseball.

The absolute very best way functionally to condition and to strengthen every muscle of the human body involved in pitching a baseball is, in fact, to pitch, to execute lots and lots and lots of pitching repetitions. That is equally true both for the production of accelerating force and for braking/decelerating.

If a pitcher is employing Finalized Outman Methodology™, it is possible to pitch sufficiently frequently and to execute sufficiently high pitch-counts (during the off-season particularly) to derive conditioning and strengthening benefits from pitching-practice (Well over 100 pitches executed per session multiple times per week is required. Also, see “Accumulating Pitch-Count” & “12,686 Pitches Plus 372 Throws Logged”).

While it is true that pitching is the best means of conditioning and strengthening every muscle of the human body involved in pitching a baseball, other means of conditioning and strengthening can be beneficial if that other means of conditioning and strengthening is functional.

Since my opportunities to pitch are severely negatively impacted by weather conditions, my “Outman Methodology™ Sport of Baseball Pitcher-Specific Functional Conditioning & Training Regimen”, in which I have now been engaged for over one year, has been very beneficial to me.

Pitchers employing one of the manifold variations on the theme of the conventional mechanical approach for pitching a baseball are essentially limited to “other means of conditioning and strengthening” owing to restricted pitch-counts and to pitching less often than more often to avoid damage and injury to the elbow of the pitching-arm and to the pitching-shoulder.

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


     When the underlying principles have no merit, the suppositions thereafter also have no merit.

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

7.

Don’t forget: If you strengthen a baseball pitching-related muscle in your body and you experience a correspondingly verifiable increase in the velocity of the pitched ball, the muscle you have strengthened likely is involved in braking/decelerating to one degree or another. That muscle, however, Is not strictly involved in braking/decelerating to one degree or another. That muscle is also involved in the production of accelerating force.

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


     Mr. Outman has no idea what he is talking about.

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

Copyright 12-2013
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
St. Louis, MO USA
Fritz Outman at 10:12:00 AM


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0014.  How will Tanaka's workload impact his MLB value?
by Tom Verducci
SI.com
December 27, 2013

As the free agent market begins for pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, the key question for Major League teams when they assign value to him is not how good he can be, but how many good years can he provide? That question is particularly vexing because Tanaka has thrown more innings at a young age than anybody in the majors in the past 35 years.

This reveals a clash of pitching cultures. Had Tanaka been raised in the American way of pitching, there's no way that he would have been allowed to throw 1,315 innings by his age 24 season -- which he did in Japan. The last pitcher to work that much in the majors at such a young age was Frank Tanana from 1973-78. Tanana made the All-Star team in three of those seasons. But in his age 25 season Tanana hurt his shoulder and, though he pitched 15 more seasons, never made another All-Star team.

But baseball in the 1970s was so different than baseball today that even that comparison doesn't hold up well.

  Think of it this way: we never have seen a major league pitcher with Tanaka's workload since specialized bullpens, pitch counts and innings limits have become industry standards in the past 20 or so years. Though Tanaka is now 25, an age which invites a major league team to dream on a contract of six or seven years, the calculus of his long-term value is complicated because his workload is so unusually high.

"Everyone is acting like it's a no-brainer all-in just because he's 25," said one club executive. "He's still a pitcher and he's still got serious miles on him. [Tanaka is a] very attractive player nonetheless but a real risk ... as with basically all pitchers."

Let's examine the rarity of Tanaka's workload. In addition to Tanana, only two other pitchers since 1961 have thrown 1,315 major league innings through age 24: Larry Dierker (1964-71) and Bert Blyleven (1970-75).

But what's even more rare is that he carried an unusually high burden as a teenager. At ages 18 and 19 with the Rakuten Eagles, Tanaka threw 359 innings. Only two pitchers in major league history ever threw more innings as a teenager and they did so ages ago: Bob Feller (1936-38) and Pete Schneider (1914-15).

Feller became a Hall of Famer, though his early workload was mitigated when he missed his age 23, 24 and 25 seasons while serving in World War II. Schneider, bothered by injuries and control problems, was finished pitching at age 23.

(As a comparison, Archie Bradley of Arizona, one of the top pitching prospects today, threw 138 innings in the minors at ages 18 and 19 combined.)

Remember, too, that Tanaka had a prolific high school career, which included throwing 742 pitches in five games in the famed Koshien tournament.

Why is this early workload so important? Any organization will tell you that just about the most dangerous thing you can do with a young pitcher is build up too many innings too soon. Biomechanical research has shown that the two greatest influences on injury risk are overuse and poor mechanics. Those influences especially come into play with young pitchers, who have not yet developed their full strength.

Pitch counts and innings limits have little influence in Japan. Tanaka had nine complete games as a teenager in Japan. Only 13 pitchers in major league history completed nine games as a teenager -- none of them in the past 48 years. The most "recent" teens allowed to complete that many games were Dierker (1964-66), Wall Bunker (1963-64), Mike McCormack (1956-58) and Chuck Stobbs(1947-49).

Japanese coaches believe in throwing more than do American pitching experts. However, their pitchers throw with more days of rest (generally every sixth or seventh day rather than the fifth day) in a shorter season against less imposing lineups. Tanaka, for instance, for all of his many innings, never made more than 28 starts in a season for the Eagles.

When pitchers leave Japan for the majors, the more rigorous schedule and lineups tend to exact a toll on them after two or three seasons. Eleven pitchers born in Japan have made 25 starts in a major league season. Only two of them were able to do so more than three times: Hideo Nomo and Hiroki Kuroda.

If you raise the bar to 30 starts -- and Tanaka will be expected to be that kind of pitcher with the money he will get -- Nomo and Kuroda are the only ones to do so more than twice. And Nomo is a more of a cautionary tale: a two-year wonder followed by 10 years a journeyman.

Tanaka, like Nomo, should be able to make an immediate impact. He features outstanding control and stuff, especially a wipeout slider. His mechanics are good, if slightly quirky. (He hooks his wrist with the ball after taking it behind him and raises his right elbow before rotating the ball to the loaded position.) He should be a high-strikeout, low-walk pitcher immediately.

The long-term investment in Tanaka, however, is a bigger leap of faith, if only because he has no few comps based on his workload. I'll give you the two best comps to Tanaka, based on age and innings. Here is the first, with their stats through the age 24 season:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
| # |Pitcher             |  Years  |  G  |   IP   |  W-L  |  ERA | CG | BB  |  SO  |
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
|01.|Fernando Valenzuela |(1980-85)| 176 | 1285.1 | 78-57 | 2.89 | 64 | 455 | 1032 |
|02.|Masahiro Tanaka     |(2007-13)| 175 | 1315.0 | 99-35 | 2.30 | 53 | 275 | 1238 |
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Again, we're going to the Wayback Machine to find a comparison. Valenzuela's workload from ages 19-24 was heavy even for the 1980s. He put up another big year in 1986 at age 25: 21 wins and 20 complete games. Valenzuela completed 84 of his first 200 starts -- a ridiculous rate of throwing a complete game in 42 percent of his starts from ages 19-25. Valenzuela essentially was done as an impact pitcher after that. After age 25 he never made another All-Star team and went 74-85 with a 4.23 ERA.

The second comparison for Tanaka is Darvish, who just completed his second season with the Rangers after pitching seven seasons in Japan. Here is how Darvish's stats in Japan through age 24 compare to those of Tanaka:

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| # |Pitcher         |  Years  |  G  |   IP   |  W-L  | ERA  | CG | BB  |  SO  |
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|01.|Yu Darvish      |(2005-11)| 167 | 1281.1 | 93-28 | 1.99 | 55 | 333 | 1250 |
|02.|Masahiro Tanaka |(2007-13)| 175 | 1315.0 | 99-35 | 2.30 | 53 | 275 | 1238 |
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There's a lot of similarity there. Darvish has made an immediate impact in the majors, earning Cy Young Award votes each year and winning a strikeout title. But the story only has begun. He only now is approaching the kind of wall that Nomo hit, but Kuroda avoided.

Also, because he signed under the old posting system which allowed him to negotiate with only one team, Darvish signed for "only" $56 million over six years. Texas did win his rights with a posting bid of $51.7 million, bringing the club's total investment to $107 million over six years. That's still a bit of a bargain compared to six-year deals for Matt Cain ($127 million), Cole Hamels ($144 million) and Zack Greinke ($147 million).

What does the new posting system, with a fee capped at $20 million, mean for Tanaka? He'll likely to get more than $100 million over six years, which will put the required investment in Tanaka in line with what the Giants gave Cain and in the ballpark of what the Phillies gave Hamels and what the Dodgers (in a free agent market) gave Greinke.

But is Tanaka worth what players like Cain, Hamels and Greinke earn? His worth is a product not only of his ability, but the timing of the change in the posting system and the inflation that hit the free agent market this winter because of increased television revenues. His timing is excellent. Now he can create a bidding war that includes the richest clubs in the game, especially the Yankees, Dodgers, Angels, Rangers and Cubs.

Every long-term signing of a pitcher carries risk, but this one carries more than most, because there are so many unknowns for so much money. Cain, Hamels and Greinke had established track records in the majors and familiar workloads when they signed their contracts. Tanaka has never pitched in the majors and has thrown more innings than anything we've seen in the modern game. A major league team will fork over more than $100 million for a pitcher who was developed and used in ways that never would have happened in the United States.


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     Sports Illustrated reporter, Tom Verducci, wrote:

01. "Biomechanical research has shown that the two greatest influences on injury risk are overuse and poor mechanics."
02. "Those influences especially come into play with young pitchers, who have not yet developed their full strength."
03. "Tanaka, like Nomo, should be able to make an immediate impact."
04. "He features outstanding control and stuff, especially a wipeout slider."
05. "His mechanics are good, if slightly quirky."
06. "He hooks his wrist with the ball after taking it behind him and raises his right elbow before rotating the ball to the loaded position."

     Biomechanical research has not shown that overuse and poor mechanics are the two greatest causes of pitching injuries.

     Biomechanical research produces tables of numbers that signify nothing.

     It is uninformed opinions that says that overuse causes pitching injuries.

     Injurious flaws in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion causes pitching injuries.

     When Mr. Verducci wrote: "Mr. Tanaka hooks his wrist with the ball after taking it behind him and raises his pitching forearm vertically upward before rotating the ball to the loaded position," Mr. Verducci was describing the injurious flaw that ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     It pleases me that Mr. Verducci is able to describe the injurious flaw that ruptures the Ulnar Collateral Ligament. I wonder from whom Mr. Verduccit learned to do this?

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0015.  Don Cooper confident White Sox can find closer
Chicago Tribune
December 28, 2013

Don Cooper already is starting to pull together his spring training plans, compiling schedules and work groups for Feb. 15, when White Sox pitchers report.

The Sox signed three new pitchers and traded two in the last month, so Cooper will be presented with new faces and new obstacles when he begins his 12th full season as Sox pitching coach. He took some time to talk about them Friday.

"We're trying to get ourselves back together," said Cooper, who is back on his feet and helping pitchers after having surgery for diverticulitis in October. "We have some real challenges ahead. I look at every pitcher we have as a challenge. Every pitcher we have is trying to get to the next level, whether it's Chris Sale or Erik Johnson or Scott Downs at 37 (years old)."

One of the bigger questions Cooper and the Sox will face in spring training surfaced recently when they traded closer Addison Reed to the Diamondbacks for third base prospect Matt Davidson.

Cooper seemed confident the Sox will be able to pinpoint a replacement for Reed, who had 40 saves in 48 opportunities in 2013. Cooper pointed to Reed and former Sox pitcher Sergio Santos as proof that the club can develop a closer from the tools they have.

Among the top candidates Cooper listed were Nate Jones and recently re-signed Matt Lindstrom. But Cooper also said Ronald Belisario, the former Dodgers pitcher who was signed as a free agent this month, and prospect Daniel Webb could fill the role.

"We have guys we feel can get the last out for us," Cooper said. "I've always been a believer of this — and if you look at the closers we've had since 2005 — we'll find the guys. They'll show you, through how they're throwing the ball and what they're doing, when they need to pitch.

"The last three outs are obviously very important, but you have to be mentally and physically strong in any of the roles at the big league level to get anybody out any time. We have options with guys."

Lindstrom spent some time as a closer for the Marlins and the Astros earlier in his career. Jones, who has a fastball that can hit 100 mph, is also a logical candidate, and Cooper said he has seen the 27-year-old improve every year. Jones has gone 12-5 with a 3.31 ERA and 154 strikeouts in two major league seasons with the Sox.

"Everybody in the American League knows who he is and what he possesses," Cooper said. "Now it's just the consistency of those pitches. Nate has plenty of physical (tools) to get people out. Now we have to maximize that physical (ability) by commanding it more and more and throwing to more and more desired locations. That's a process with everybody."

Cooper said he has studied video on newcomers Belisario, Downs and Felipe Paulino. He said Belisario is a "sinkerball guy" whose forte is inducing ground balls and who has a 95 mph fastball.

Paulino, who was signed as a free agent from the Royals, spent 2013 recovering from surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. But Cooper said he could be penciled in as one of the Sox starters as spring training gets underway. The Sox will need to settle on a new starter after trading left-hander Hector Santiago to the Angels earlier this month.


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     Give credit where credit is due.

     Athletics general manager, Moneyball Billy Beane, recognized that getting one inning saves is the easiest statistic to for baseball pitchers accummulate. Then, Mr. Beane trades the easiest to accummulate statistic baseball pitcher for players with statistics that are difficult to achieve.

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***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, January 12, 2014, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0016.  Pitching Coach Services

Thanks for your timely response. I really appreciate it.

Firstly, I am very interested in injury prevention in high levels of sports, and I'm considering graduate school in kinesiology.

I have read scientific articles (relating to Anthropology as well as Sports Medicine) that claim that, although throwing is not injurious, eventually "accumulated micro-trauma" from the large torques and forces at shoulder and elbow will lead to overuse injuries in throwing athletes.

You have said on your website, "With my baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers never suffer injuries to the bones, ligaments, muscles or tendons."

Q #1: Is it fair to say you disagree with this accumulated micro-trauma claim?

Q #2: Do you believe all injuries due to repetition and so-called overuse can be prevented with the mechanics you promote- or is that an oversimplification?

Q #3: Do you believe someone using the motion you promote today could attain the level of success of, say, an all-star caliber pitcher in the majors?

It's clear injuries are an epidemic among pitchers, even ones with good traditional mechanics and innings limits (ex- Matt Harvey).

Q #4: So why do you think no major league team has ever been interested in your services and expertise?

Lastly, and I realize this question is a probably difficult question to answer.

Q #5: Would you say hard and fast modern innings limits and pitch counts are not effective and may even be detrimental in terms of preventing overuse injuries with pitchers with traditional mechanics?

Thanks so much for your time.


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A #01: Athletes suffer 'micro-traumas' as a result of improperly designed training programs, improper force applications or both.

01. Properly designed training programs enable the associated bones, ligaments, muscles and tendon to make physiological adjustments that not only withstand the stress of the training, but make desired physiological adjustments.

     When training programs stress the associated bones, ligament, muscles and tendon at levels greater than their physiological systems are able withstand, they break down.

     Therefore, the first requirement of training programs is to start below the stress level that the associated bones, ligaments, muscles can tendon are able to withstand and gradually increase the stress.

     In my Baseball Pitcher Interval-Training Program file, I provide baseball training programs for baseball pitchers of all ages that do not apply more stress than the associated bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons are able to withstand and make the appropriate physiological adjustments.

02. Properly designed force application techniques enable the associated bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons to make desired physiological and neurological (motor unit contraction and relaxation sequences) adjustments without injuries.

     If a properly designed training program causes injuries, then the force application techniques are improper.

     The challenge is to be able to differentiate between appropriate training discomfort from improper force application technique.

     With my interval-training programs, in the first two days of the six day cycle of training at a new stress level, my baseball pitchers experience training discomfort. However, by the last two days, they do not have any training discomfort.

     The benefit of training expires after 36 hours. Therefore, to continue to benefit, athletes need to train again before the 36 hour benefit of training expires. That is why I have my baseball pitchers train every day for as long as they want to benefit from their training.

     When athletes take a day off, they require two days to get back the fitness they had before they took the day off.

     With my baseball pitching motion, my baseball pitchers do not suffer 'micro-traumas' as a result improper force application technique.

A #02: After completing my interval-training programs, my baseball pitchers have made the proper physiological and neurological adjustments necessary to be able to throw baseballs every day without discomfort. The only way that they will lose their ability to throw baseballs every day is to stop training every day.

A #03: If my baseball pitchers master the skills required to throw the wide variety of pitches that I teach that are necessary to succeed against the four types of baseball batters and their genetic maximum release velocity is sufficient, then they could become an All-Star major league baseball pitcher. Without all the pitches that I teach today, at 5' 08 1/2," I did.

A #04: In 1978, White Sox team owner, Bill Veeck came to my house and spent the day learning how I took a back-injured double-A shortstop into a Cy Young Award winning major league baseball pitcher. At the end of that day, Mr. Veeck offered me a lifetime contract to train his baseball pitchers. As, at the time, I was a free agent, I signed a three year contract to pitch and told Mr. Veeck that, after that contract, I would sign with him. Unfortunately, three years later, Mr. Veeck no longer owned the White Sox.

     Today's owners do not have Mr. Veeck's hands-on baseball experiences.

     Several years ago, the owner of the St. Louis Cardinals asked the general manager to find the baseball pitching coach that knew how to eliminate pitching injuries. The general manager assigned a young employee to interview a long list of baseball pitching coaches, including me.      After watching me train baseball pitchers at my Baseball Pitching Research/Training Center, answering his questions about the causes of pitching injuries and how to prevent them and listening to the baseball pitchers that I was training, this young St. Louis Cardinal employee asked me whether I could join the Cardinals in spring training. When the general manager learned of his recommendation, he rejected me.

A #05: Until baseball pitchers master my baseball pitching motion and stop taking days off, they will never become the best injury-free, highly-skilled baseball pitchers that they are able to be.

     If baseball pitchers that I teach and train master the wide variety of high-quality pitches I designed, they would be able to pitch three times through a major league team line-up twice a week.

     In 1974, I pitched 208 closing innings in 106 championship season, including 27 innings in 13 consecutive days, and when I did not pitch the night before, I threw batting practice to the extra hitters before the next game.

     I know how to teach and train baseball pitchers.

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0017.  Michael Stokes on my Maxline True Screwball

The Maxline True Screwball is really a trust your stuff pitch for me. I know that with your demonstration of that particular pitch is extremely easy to learn.

The problem that I had was pronating the screwball because it spiraled and moved laterally and down.

Your Maxline Screwball is really an insane pitch. If I overthrow that pitch it explodes laterally.

I started pointing the spiral in the down and forward planes. It is magic. If it is spiraling it is really where you live.

  You alone made relievers important.

The imprimatur is that you used screwballs and fastballs to great effect.

Every pitch seems to have your signature location. Up. The movement is the vast improvement even with my old stuff.

Establishing the Maxline True Fastball as pure high octane opens directionality for all your pitches.

I always tried to watch you pitch from the time I learned you were in  Montreal and then your time with Dodgers. The batter against you ever had a real chance against your strategies.

Your pitches would approach home plate and then move at the very last few feet. I never saw that before from those greats.

I was referring to those batters you faced and all they could do was to look at your pitches, then shake their heads. Directionality with you on the mound is dominant stuff.

The movement at the end of your pitches is baffling. Your pitching was the greatest of all time.

I have discovered through due diligence the Maxline True Screwball. I learned by pitching off the glove side leg 12/6 Maxline True Curveball. I pitched the ball from behind and over my wrist inside the index fingertip. I see the pitch in front of me as a learning aid. Up and over my wrist after the release.

I see the brachioradialis over the baseball at the release point going to and down the Acromial Line over the back side of my wrist. I achieved your recommended maximum wrist pronation by sticking my hand inside the strike zone.

Up and over the back side of my wrist means that I haven't over-pitched my screwball. At the end of the pendulum swing, my wrist is inside vertical. It's velocity is very unique.

My release point is well over eight feet high.

I use my fast stride walk as my stride to home plate and everything is on the downward and forward planes.

Your fastball in your heyday was awesome stuff. I never saw so many batters shake their heads and just stare at your pitches.

Your Maxline True Screwball is the imprimatur pitch. I just hope those kids will trust it.


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     Thank you for your treatise on my Maxline True Screwball treatise.

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0018.  Astros sign Houston product Crain to bolster bullpen
MLB.com
December 30, 2013

HOUSTON, TX: After watching his team struggle to hold leads late in games last season, especially following the trade of closer Jose Veras to the Tigers, Astros geeneral manager Jeff Luhnow had no bigger assignment this offseason than improving the bullpen.

With that in mind, the Astros signed veterans Chad Qualls and Matt Albers -- both of whom were drafted by the team -- earlier this month, and on Tuesday put the wraps on 2013 by agreeing to terms on a one-year contract with right-hander Jesse Crain, who played at the University of Houston and lives in the area with his family.

"It's exciting," Crain said. "I don't know what I'm getting myself into with family friends and all that. We're real excited to spend time at home. Having three young kids definitely played a huge decision in signing here."

Crain was an All-Star in a 2013 season in which he posted a 0.74 ERA in 38 games with the White Sox, striking out 46 and walking only 11 batters in 36 2/3 innings, including a 29-innings scoreless streak. He didn't pitch after being traded to the Rays on July 29 because of biceps tendinitis that eventually required surgery, but he could be ready for Opening Day.

"I think there's a chance," he said. "But obviously that would be awesome if I could do that. Like I said, having this [signing] past us and getting a contract, I'm going to work on being healthy and moving on from there. It's better to take your time up front and make sure you're healthy instead of trying to rush through it."

Crain said he'll start throwing in the next two weeks.

"I feel good about the time table he's on, and he'll be able to contribute for a vast majority or all of the season," Luhnow said.

Crain, 32, will join Qualls, Albers, Anthony Bass, Darin Downs and Raul Valdes as newcomers to an Astros relief corps that has been revamped over the course of the last few weeks. In 2013, the Astros ranked last in the Majors with a 4.92 bullpen ERA, and their 29 blown saves tied for the most.Crain said he'll start throwing in the next two weeks.

"When [Crain] is healthy, he's as good as it gets out of the bullpen," Luhnow said. "This definitely shores up one of our big weaknesses of the team last year, which was the bullpen. I like our young guys, but I feel adding experienced relievers will help with their development and help them mature and help us win some games."Crain said he'll start throwing in the next two weeks.

The Astros got an extended look last season at several rookie relievers who will be competing for spots next spring -- a list that includes Josh Zeid, Kevin Chapman, Chia-Jen Lo and Josh Fields. Unlike last year, the Astros will have depth and experience in the bullpen, but it remains to be seen who will close games.

Crain was the closer at UH in 2002 and closed throughout the Minor Leagues, but he never got the chance at Minnesota with Joe Nathan entrenched in that role.

"That's something I always wanted to do," he said. "I did it all the way up until I came to the big leagues … Sometimes when you're good at a role, they don't want to kind of take you out of it, and that's where I was with the White Sox, and I never got a chance to do that. If you look at my career, I've thrown two or maybe three times in the ninth inning in save situations. It's something I would love to get an opportunity to try."

Fields and Lo briefly handled the closer's role last year, and none of the veterans the team has obtained have much experience as closers in the Major Leagues.

"I think it will take all spring to figure that out," Luhnow said. "We'll leave that up to [manager] Bo [Porter] and has staff. There's certainly plenty of innings to go around, and we have some good arms. There should be a good, healthy competition, and that includes the young guys from last year."

In 10 Major League seasons with the Twins (2004-10) and White Sox (2011-13), Crain has posted a 45-30 record with four saves in 532 appearances (all in relief) with a 3.05 ERA and a .229 opponents' average. His 45 wins in relief since his debut in 2004 are tied with Qualls for tops in the Majors in that span.

"As far as the last three or four years, I feel like I've gotten better every single year," Crain said. "Last year, I started throwing my curveball more and showed some good results. Before, I had my slider, and that's usually what I was known for. I was in the AL Central for 9 1/2 years, which is a long time, so you try to do new things and show something different. That's what I tried to do last year."

Crain played at both San Jacinto Junior College in Houston and UH, earning all-conference honors at both schools. He was taken in the second round of the 2002 Draft by the Twins and made his Major League debut two years later.


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     The article said: "Jesse Crain said he'll start throwing in the next two weeks."

     Astros general manager, Jeff Luhnow, said:

01. "I feel good about the time table Mr. Crain is on."
02. "He'll be able to contribute for a vast majority or all of the season."
03. "When [Crain] is healthy, he's as good as it gets out of the bullpen."

     Didn't the Tampa Bay Rays trade for an injured Mr. Crain last season with the belief that their training program would fix him and it did not work?

     What does Mr. Luhnow know that the Rays did not know?

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0019.  Michael Stokes comments

Tom Seaver loudly proclaimed that pitchers are creatures of the ground.

So, I thought it would be fun to show the young guys that, like Kareem Abdul Jabbar, they too may have a SkyHook.

Mine is the SkyHook in Maxline Technologies.

We bring terror to the mound with every pitch.

Very Truly!!!


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     Yep.

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0020.  Wrist Weight Exercises and Maxline Pronation Curve

I have questions on two topics unrelated to each other:

Wrist Weight Exercises question:

Q #1: Is there any reason that one should not perform the wrist weight portion of your program early in the morning and then the iron/lead ball throws, football throws, and baseball throws in the afternoon/evening?

That is what I'm contemplating due to my work/family schedule.

Q #2: If it is ok to split the program up like that, then would it be a good idea to do another round of pronated swings with the wrist weights in the afternoon as a warm up before proceeding to the bucket twirls, fingertip spins, IB throws, etc.?

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

Maxline Pronation Curve question:

Q #3: In throwing your maxline pronation curve, when exactly in the delivery should you adjust the position of your forearm, wrist, and hand to have the "pinkie" side facing towards home plate?

You teach that a pitcher should have his hand underneath the ball as he take it out of the glove and transitions it up in one smooth motion to driveline height prior to the upper arm starting to accelerate forward.

My understanding is also that the forearm should be in a pronated position when ball reaches driveline height and the upper arm starts accelerating forward so that the forearm muscles attaching to the medial epicondyle are engaged so as to take the stress off of the ulnar collateral ligament.

However, as interpret I your instructions on how to throw the maxline pronation curve, the release is such that the forearm goes from what is an essentially fully supinated position with the pinkie side of the hand facing towards home plate to a fully pronated position through release, thereby preventing the bones of the elbow from banging together, as would occur when pitches are thrown with a supination release.

Q #4: If that is the case, doesn't that mean that you have to go from full pronation at the instant the upper arm starts forward and then transition the forearm, hand, and wrist to a supinated position in preparation for a pronation release?

Q #5: Otherwise, if the arm is in a supinated position before that, i.e., when you start your upper arm acceleration, your hand is already in position to throw the pitch, but wouldn't that prevent the muscles of the medial epicondyle from engaging to protect the UCL at the instant the upper arm starts forward?


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A #1: No. You can do your wrist weight exercises at any time during the day that works for you.

     During my playing years in season, I did my wrist weight exercises before I went to bed.

A #2: Yes, you can use your wrist weight exercises as a warm-up (increasing blood flow to the affected muscles) before you do your heavy ball throws.

     However, do only one-half of the wrist weight warm-up exercises and decrease the intensity. All you want to do is stimulate blood flow to training level.

A #3: You are correct. Before my baseball pitchers start the acceleration phase, I teach my baseball pitchers to:

01. Drop the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their pitching hand under the baseball,

02. Then, pendulum swing their pitching arm downward and backward to forty-five degrees behind their body directly at second base with the palm of their pitching hand facing home plate,

03. Then, while turning the palm of their pitching hand from facing toward home plate to facing away from their body, pendulum swing their pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

     When their pitching arm reaches driveline height, I teach my baseball pitchers to have the palm of their pitching hand facing away from their body. This means that the thumb side of their pitching hand faces upward.

     When, at forty-five degrees behind their body, my baseball pitchers turn the palm of their pitching hand from facing toward home plate to facing away from their body at driveline height, my baseball pitcher rotate their Radius bone away from the Ulna bone.

     When baseball pitchers rotate their Radius bone away from their Ulna bone, they are supinating the pitching forearm.

     When my baseball pitchers pitching arm reaches forty-five degrees behind their body, my baseball pitchers not only start to rotate the Radius bone away from their body, they also start to step forward with their glove foot.

     This means that, although only at a walking pace, my baseball pitchers start their acceleration phase when their pitching arm reaches forty-five degrees behind their body.

     During their step forward, my baseball pitchers 'throw' their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head, such that, when their glove foot lands, they have turned the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     During this action, to hold the pitching forearm to their pitching upper arm, except for their Pronator Teres muscle, my baseball pitchers contract the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle.

     At the same time that my baseball pitchers 'throw' their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head, my baseball pitchers realign their pitching forearm for whichever of my baseball pitchers that they are going to throw.

     To throw my Maxline Pronation Curve, during this action, my baseball pitchers rotate their Radius bone as far away from their Ulna bone, such that when the back of their nearly vertical pitching upper arm faces toward home plate, the back of their pitching hand faces upward with their little finger facing inward toward their head.

     This means that, at the start of the explosive acceleration phase, to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve, my baseball pitchers have maximally supinated their pitching forearm.

A #4: No. During the step forward phase of their acceleration phase, to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve, my baseball pitchers rotate their Radius bone from slightly supinated to maximally supinated.

     Again, during the 'throw' action of their pitching upper arm, except for the Pronator Teres muscle, the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle are contracting.

A #5: No. Even when my baseball pitchers have maximally supinated their pitching forearm, to hold their pitching forearm tightly against the Humerus bone of their pitching upper arm, my baseball pitchers contract their Flexor Carpi Radialis, Palmaris Longus, Flexor Carpi Ulnaris and one-third of their Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscles.

     When, to throw my Maxline Pronation Curve, the beauty of starting the explosive phase with their pitching forearm maximally supinated, during the drive through release, my baseball pitchers are able to explosively pronate their pitching forearm through the maximum pronation range of motion.

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0021.  Throwing lighter and heavier baseballs

While there is no doubt that guys like Boddy and Wolforth have been influenced by your work, they clearly either don't understand your work or have decided to take your work in a different direction.

Wolforth has his crazy Connection ball and Boddy has his rationale for heavy and light ball training.

I suspect these guys will be like ASMI and not publish any injury reports of their students.

That's really too bad because these guys are attracting a lot of youth pitchers.

It would be interesting to see the effect of their work on undeveloped growth plates and general injury reports, if any.

Here is a link to Mr Boddy's rationale for using overweight and underweight balls. For me this does not mimic anything you teach. Mr Boddy uses heavy balls to promote arm speed and light balls to promote arm strength.

Kyle Boddy's Supramaximal Training with Weighted Baseballs

I would rethink calling these guys plagiarists because that gives the impression that they are doing what you endorse.

I appreciate your thoughts.


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     You are correct.

     When I call these guys are plagiarists, readers might believe that they are doing what I teach.

     Because these guys bastardize what I teach, I should call these guys bastardizers.

     To enable the bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons associated with the force application technique that I teach to withstand the stress of competitive pitching , I have my baseball pitchers overload these bones, ligaments, muscles and tendon with drills that specifically replicate the force application technique that I teach.

     To stimulate the desired physiological adjustments, I start my adult baseball pitchers with 10 lb. wrist weights and a 06 lb. iron ball.

     With this much weight, my baseball pitchers are not able to throw their wrist weights and iron ball anywhere near that they are able to throw proper-weight baseballs.

     With my training programs, the bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons associated with the force application technique significantly hypertrophy.

     The more that these tissue hypertrophy, the more stress they are able to withstand.

     This training injury-proofs my baseball pitchers.

     However, to achieve their genetic maximum release velocity, all baseball pitchers have to throw baseballs as hard as they are able, which means that they need to competitively pitch against high-quality baseball batters.

     What these bastardizers do not understand is that the benefits of training are highly specific to the training.

     This means that throwing heavier and lighter baseballs only trains baseball pitchers to throw heavier and lighter baseballs.

     That baseball pitchers are able to throw lighter baseballs faster than they are able to throw proper-weight baseballs does not mean that they will throw proper-weight baseballs as fast.

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0022.  Michael Stokes comments on YouTube

Maxline Technologies is dead cold vicious.

A batter never has a chance.

A cold day in Hell's where Maxline Technologies resides.

Spread the terror.


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     Yep.

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0023.  Padres finalize two-year contract with Benoit
MLB.com
December 30, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA: Ten days after agreeing to a two-year contract with free-agent relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit, the Padres officially consummated the deal on Saturday.

In addition, the club designated right-handed pitcher Adys Portillo for assignment.

Benoit, a 36-year-old right-hander, will earn a guaranteed $15.5 million over the next two seasons -- $6 million in 2014 and $8 million in '15. The deal also includes an $8 million option for '16 -- which will kick in if Benoit finishes 55 or more games in '15 -- or a $1.5 million buyout.

The deal was first reported as done, pending a physical, on Dec. 18. The Padres and Benoit's agent have had discussions about a deal going back to the Winter Meetings earlier this month.

As for Benoit, the Padres feel they've landed a top-notch reliever who continues to get better with age, one who will handle the eighth inning in setting up closer Huston Street.

"He's obviously a late bloomer. He's had four good years in a row. Relievers hold up through advanced age, hopefully he can continue," Padres general manager Josh Byrnes said. "He has a fastball and a devastating change. He doesn't rely on his fastball to get his outs. He pitches to both sides of the plate. That was one of the things that made him attractive to us."

Benoit spent the last three seasons with the Tigers, compiling a 2.89 ERA over 205 games. He had a 2.01 ERA in 66 games last season with 24 saves. Since missing the 2009 season after having surgery on his rotator cuff, Benoit has a 2.53 ERA and a 164 ERA+ over that span.

The Padres looked at other free-agent relievers, but several indicated that they wanted the chance to close. The Padres, with Street, didn't need a closer. But Benoit, Byrnes said, liked the situation with the Padres.

"We were looking for a quality guy who has shown he can pitch effectively in these [late-game, high-leverage] situations. He embraced that and embraced coming here," Byrnes said. "For a guy who has been in the postseason four years in a row, he believes he can help us take our next steps as a team."

As for Portillo, the right-hander was originally signed by the Padres as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2008. Over parts of five Minor League seasons in the Padres organization, he compiled a 14-38 record with a 4.86 ERA. He was limited to 9 1/3 innings in 2013 due to triceps tenderness and a strained lat muscle.

"There's some upside to him, but he hasn't made up enough ground toward the upside," Byrnes said. "He hasn't had success above [Class] A ball yet. He still might. But right now, he has the greater distance to the Major Leagues of guys on the 40-man roster."

The Padres will have Benoit handle the eighth inning, but this deal also gives the club coverage in the ninth, especially since Street has landed on the disabled list three times in the past two seasons.

Benoit also gives the Padres coverage at the back end of the bullpen in 2015, as the team holds a $7 million club option on Street in '15.

So who will close for the Padres in 2015?

"We have given ourselves two good choices," Byrnes said.


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     The article said:

01. "In 2009, Mr. Benoit had rotator cuff surgery."
02. "Since then, Mr. Benoit has had a 2.53 ERA."
03. "The Padres feel that Mr. Benoit continues to get better with age."

     Mr. Benoit is the rare pitching shoulder surgery success story.

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0024.  Feliz hopes to find permanent place as closer
MLB.com
December 30, 2013

ARLINGTON, TX: The biggest moment in Rangers history took place three years ago at the Ballpark in Arlington. On a warm October night, Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez came to the plate with two outs, nobody on and the Rangers leading 6-1 in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.

With the count 1-2, Rangers closer Neftali Feliz threw a breaking ball that buckled Rodriguez at the knees, and broadcaster Eric Nadel made his legendary call on the radio: "Strike three called! The Rangers are going to the World Series!"

The Rangers ended up going to two straight World Series and Feliz was a huge part of that as their closer. Now, after an ill-fated attempt to move Feliz into the rotation and a long recovery from Tommy John surgery, the hard-throwing right-hander is back in the bullpen with the clear goal of regaining the prominent role he filled so well during the Rangers' pennant-winning seasons.

Feliz, who is only 25 years old and has 74 career saves, is determined to be the Rangers closer again in 2014.

"It is very important for me," Feliz said from the Dominican Republic through interpreter and Rangers broadcaster Eleno Ornelas. "I have been a closer already. Nobody will take it away from me ... because I want to go back to a World Series and win it. I think this is our year to do it."

Technically the job is open after Joe Nathan left as a free agent and signed with the Tigers. There is also potential competition for the job. The Rangers have Joakim Soria who is a former All-Star closer with the Royals, and they have Tanner Scheppers, who did a superb job as Nathan's setup reliever in 2013.

Rangers manager Ron Washington has been non-commital when asked about who will be his closer next season, preferring to wait until Spring Training before making that decision. But there would seem to be little doubt that if Feliz returns to the level he was at in 2010-11, the closer's job would be his to lose going into the season.

"Well, I can't answer that question right now because we haven't told Feliz he got the job as the closer," Washington said. "So the only thing we're concerned about is he makes it through winter ball healthy. If his arm makes it through winter ball healthy, we'll deal with that in Spring Training."

Feliz had a productive winter season for Toros del Este in the Dominican Winter League. He pitched in 10 games -- the last one on Dec. 18 -- and went 1-1 with a 2.79 ERA. In 9 2/3 innings, he allowed six hits and two walks while striking out 11.

"Thank God, I feel 100 percent after the surgery, finally," Feliz said. "I feel like me again."

When Feliz is 100 percent and feeling like "himself," he overpowers hitters with a fastball that averages 96 mph and can hit 100 on occasion. His breaking ball is also devastating when he throws it for strikes and he was working hard on improving his changeup to become more effective as a starter.

Feliz was off to a good start in the rotation in 2012, going 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA in his first eight games before coming down with the elbow problems that led to Tommy John surgery. The operation was performed on Aug. 1, 2012, and Feliz was out for 13 months. He made eight rehab appearances in the Minor Leagues before being activated by the Rangers at the beginning of September this past season.

Feliz did not allow a run in six appearances, although his fastball averaged 93.6 mph, three mph less than in 2011. Feliz also pitched just twice in the last two weeks as the Rangers tried to stay alive in the Wild Card race. His last outing was on Sept. 20, when he entered a 1-1 game with the bases loaded and two outs against the Royals. He walked Alcides Escobar on four pitches, was replaced by Joseph Ortiz and did not pitch the rest of the season.

"I think I did a decent job at the beginning," Feliz said. "But late during the month, I did not have enough chances to pitch ... because we were trying to make it to the playoffs."

Spring Training will be the next test, but remember Feliz has held opponents to a .178 batting average, the third lowest career average among active pitchers with at least 200 innings pitched. His 1.01 WHIP is the seventh lowest in that group of pitchers.

It's all a matter of regaining what he once possessed when he was the closer for two pennant-winning teams.

"This has been a big test in my career," Feliz said. "I have been working hard. I want to be back as I was. I thank God for being with me every day I've been working to be back. Also I thank all the trainers that have been guiding me in my journey to pitch again -- to be ready and be back and pitch in the World Series and win."

He also wants to do it as a reliever. If it's left up to Feliz, the debate about whether he should be a starter or a reliever should be over.

"Yes, I want to be a reliever the rest of my career," Feliz said. "A closer."


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     The article said:

01. "Naftali Feliz was off to a good start in the rotation in 2012."
02. "In his first eight games, Mr. Feliz won 3 games and lost 1 with a 3.16 ERA."
03. "Then, Mr. Feliz had problems with his pitching elbow."
04. "On August 01, 2012, Mr. Feliz had Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery."
05. "Mr.Feliz was out for 13 months."
06. "In September 2013, the Rangers activated Mr. Feliz."
07. "In six major league appearances, Mr. Feliz did not allow a run."
08. "However, Mr. Feliz's fastball averaged 93.6 mph, three mph less than in 2011.

     Mr. Feliz said: "I want to be a closer for the rest of my career."

     It took Mr. Feliz only eight games as a starter to rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     By closing, Mr. Feliz will last longer.

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0025.  Are top Orioles pitching prospects off limits for trades?
Baltimore Sun
December 30, 2013

The Orioles still hope to add another hitter this offseason, and they have discussed acquiring first baseman Ike Davis from the New York Mets, according to an industry source.

Those talks, however, apparently hit a roadblock because the Mets were asking for left-handed pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez in a potential deal.

While the 20-year-old pitcher is not untouchable, the Orioles would need a to be blown away by a deal in order to consider trading Rodriguez, who made significant strides this past season. He came to his first major league camp with some raw skills but has become more polished and had success at two levels -- he was 10-7 with a 3.41 ERA at Class-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie -- as well as the Arizona Fall League in 2013.

Having said that, if the Orioles hope to acquire an impact player by trade – I’m not saying Davis, who had a major dip in production in 2013, falls under that category – it likely means unloading prospects, particularly pitchers.

The Orioles’ top four prospects, according to Baseball America, are all pitchers – right-hander Dylan Bundy, right-hander Kevin Gausman, Rodriguez and right-hander Hunter Harvey – and they don’t look to be going anywhere unless the Orioles are overwhelmed by a deal. After being drafted this year, Harvey couldn’t be traded anyway. Having said that, if the Orioles hope to acquire an impact player by trade – I’m not saying Davis, who had a major dip in production in 2013, falls under that category – it likely means unloading prospects, particularly pitchers.

Seeing the money being spent on signing free-agent pitchers – like the three-year, $30 million deal that former Orioles right-hander Scott Feldman received from the Houston Astros – these young pitchers could be more valuable than ever, both to the Orioles and on the trade market.

That takes you to right-hander Mike Wright, the organization's No. 8 prospect. But the club would like to see what he does at the next level after pitching well at Double-A last season. Left-hander Tim Berry was just added to the 40-man roster, but he might be the fastest riser in the organization as the club's No. 6 prospect.

The Orioles have recently shown that they're not afraid to deal prospects to improve the club.

Last year, the Orioles dipped into the farm system to make in-season trades, dealing infielder Nick Delmonico, outfielder L.J. Hoes, left-hander Josh Hader and outfielder Xavier Avery to acquire the combination of Francisco Rodriguez, Bud Norris and Michael Morse. Only Norris remains on the Orioles’ current roster.

The team hesitantly dealt Hader, a local product with tremendous upside, to Houston in July in order to acquire Norris. There's belief that unloading the 19-year-old pitcher could eventually come back to hurt them.

Combine that with the fact that the organization's pool of second-tier prospects is now diluted, and the Orioles could be much more hesitant to make a trade involving any one of their pitching prospects this offseason.


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     My stats and articles guy, Brad Sullivan correctly wrote:

     "Maybe the Orioles should be willing to trade their young pitchers. Rick Peterson doesn't have a clue how to develop them."

     Mr. Peterson convinced the Orioles general manager that he could find the 'red flags' of impending pitching injuries, not teach and train baseball pitchers how to become highly-skilled baseball pitchers.

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0026.  Hoffman set to impart wisdom to upper-level arms
MLB.com
December 31, 2014

SAN DIEGO, CA: As he looks ahead to 2014 and his new new role as the Padres' upper-level pitching coordinator, Trevor Hoffman said recently he only feels the slightest twinge of anxiety.

Not so much in tackling a new role, which also includes being a special assistant to general manager Josh Byrnes, but how he's going to tackle the logistical aspect of it -- bouncing between all of the Padres' Minor League affiliates.

In other words, how lonely is that drive on I-10 between Padres' affiliates in El Paso and San Antonio? And, should I fly instead?

"That's the biggest thing, right now -- figuring out how to get from place to place," Hoffman said, laughing. "I'll probably be on the ground with each affiliate for four or five days."

Hoffman, 46, has been a part of the Padres' front office as a special assistant since retiring following the 2010 season. He's learned different aspects of the organization from player development: He also sat in on preparation for the First-Year Player Draft; has been in uniform during Spring Training; and has offered advice to Minor League players in the system during the summer.

But this new role will be far more specialized, as Hoffman will focus more on helping pitchers down on the farm -- particularly at Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso -- and even at the big league level.

"It will be similar to before, where I'm in big league camp and available to the guys," Hoffman said. "I'll go back and forth once Minor League camp starts. It's going to be a great opportunity. There's a little of the unknown, and it's going to be a learning process for me -- like how do I communicate what I'm seeing to them, things like that."

San Diego manager Bud Black, who managed Hoffman in 2007-08, said the role suits the former all-time saves leader and is needed, as the job of watching over the arms in the system has become much bigger than one man can handle.

"This is something that I think is a great thing, because I think it's going to get Trevor more involved on a daily basis," Black said. "He's going to be in contact more with our players, our upper-level pitchers. He will be in contact with our front office. He's going to get [involved with] the big league team. I think it's great.

"It's becoming so specialized. You're talking 75, 80 pitchers in the Minor Leagues, one coordinator and some pitching coaches. To really get accomplished what you want to accomplish, you sort of [need to] divide that responsibility up."

Hoffman has been busy this winter, as well. He's taken part in several of the Padres' charitable endeavors in and around San Diego County.

Hoffman and his wife, Tracy, have established a newly endowed fund of $500,000 with the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation to provide funding for children of Marines in Southern California.

"It came from both of our parents being Marines, and we wanted to find a way to be involved," Hoffman said. "The Scholarship Foundation has helped us find these kids."

Before he knows it, Hoffman will be back in Spring Training with the Padres, in a uniform, embracing his new role. He can't wait.

"I'm definitely excited about really being more integrally involved with guys pushing [toward] the big league level," Hoffman said. "... It's about finishing some guys off, filling their toolbox with more information, so that they can reach the Major League level."


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

     The article said:

01. "Since retiring following the 2010 season, Trevor Hoffman has been a part of the Padres' front office as a special assistant."
02. "Mr. Hoffman has learned different aspects of the organization from player development."
03. "Mr. Hoffman has also sat in on preparation for the First-Year Player Draft."
04. "Mr. Hoffman has been in uniform during Spring Training."
05. "Mr. Hoffman has offered advice to Minor League players in the system during the summer."
06. "Now, as Mr. Hoffman's new job is as the Padres' upper-level pitching coordinator."
07. "Mr. Hoffman will bounce between the Double and Triple-A teams.

     Teaching and training new skills makes baseball pitchers more effective, not stories.

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0027.  Triceps contraction

In Q#13 you wrote: "When athletes explosively extend their elbow joint, either eccentrically or concentrically, to prevent banging the bones in the back of their pitching elbow from banging together, a flexion muscle 'reflexively' contract"

It is my understanding that, in the traditional pitching motion, the Brachialis muscle reflexively contracts to prevent the bones in the back of the elbow from banging together. This lengthens the Coronoid Process of the Ulna bone which limits the flexion range of motion of the pitching arm.

Your pitching motion uses the Triceps Brachii muscle to extend the pitching elbow. As I reflect on your above quote, this means that the antagonist muscle to the Triceps, the Brachialis, must contract to stop the force of the Triceps.

Therefore, in this case, why doesn't the contraction of the Brachialis muscle lengthen the Coronoid Process and, thus, effect your pitchers flexion range of motion?

I understand that the extension range of motion would not be effected with your pitchers due to contraction of the Pronator Teres.


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     To bang the bones in the back of the pitching elbow, baseball pitchers have to supinate the releases of their breaking pitches.

     As you correctly wrote, when 'traditional' baseball pitchers eccentrically (plioanglosly) extend their pitching elbow, the Brachialis muscle reflexively contracts. As a result, 'traditional' baseball pitchers lengthen the coronoid process of their Ulnar bone and lose some flexion degrees of motion.

     When my baseball pitchers concentrically (mioanglosly) extend their pitching elbow, because to the Latissimus Dorsi muscle powerfully inwardly rotates the pitching upper arm, the Pronator Teres muscle reflexively inwardly rotates (pronates) the pitching forearm.

     Try to powerfully inwardly rotate your pitching upper arm and outwardly rotate (supinate) your pitching forearm and you will see that it is impossible. Like the walking reflex of the Rectus Femoris muscle of the rear leg, humans teach themselves reflexes (motor engrams).

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0028.  Humerus pain

My soon to be 59 year old wife was moving some boxes around for an extended period of time about 4 days ago. She has been experiencing severe pain from what I would describe as the lower portion of the deltoid area down the lateral (but close to anterior) side of her entire humerus bone. The pain includes her elbow but does not go below her elbow.

Since the pain radiates through the entire area I thought it might be her radial nerve, but I know that nerve goes all the way to the wrist. Then I thought it might be at the attachment of the Deltoid tuberosity, but the pain goes further down the arm. So if I had to guess I'd say it is the Biceps muscle but the pain is not going down the anterior of her humerus bone.

Any help in what this is and what she can do to alleviate the pain would be greatly appreciated.

Now to relate this to pitching. I think you have written that injuries to pitchers happen where the structure is the weakest and can't handle the stress. Therefore my view is that the pain pitchers experience is in a localized area.

Do pitchers ever get injuries that would radiate over such a wide area?

The only thing I can think of is the Ulna nerve. My wife's injury seems to be a case where a muscle could not handle the stress, but it radiates over a wide area.


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     Clearly, your wife exceeded the ability of the involved muscles to withstand the stress of moving boxes around for an extended period of time and four days is not sufficient time for these muscles to recover.

     Moving boxes involves the Shoulder Girdles muscles that Upward Rotate and Elevate the Scapula bone, the Shoulder Joint muscles that Abduct the Humerus bone and the Elbow Joint muscles that Flex the Ulna bone.

     Therefore, your wife over-whelmed her Trapezius I muscle, the Middle Deltoid muscle and the Brachialis and Biceps Brachii muscles.

     If she would repeat that activity at lower intensities and resistance, then she would increase blood flow to the involved muscles that would accelerate her recovery.

     When baseball pitchers have taken several months off from throwing, they frequently start throwing at intensities in excess of the ability of the involved muscles to withstand.

     It is always easier to maintain a level of fitness than it is to increase a level of fitness.

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0029.  Lou Brock discusses base running
Sports Illustrated
August 1977

"When discussing base stealing, his language seems more indebted to computer science than to business. He is as technical on this topic as might be expected of one who has spent years putting the stopwatch and the movie camera to his adversaries, the pitchers and catchers.

About as quickly as a pitcher can throw to his catcher and have his catcher throw to second is 2.9 seconds," says Brock. "I know I can get to second in 3.4 seconds or less. I am daring them to make that play in 2.9 and be on target. I know I'll always be there in my 3.3 to 3.4.

I can't outrun the ball, but a catcher can't throw it until he gets it. That 2.9 is predicated on a fastball. A breaking pitch, especially a sinker, increases the runner's advantage.

I use a straightforward, pop-up slide—nothing fancy.

My theory is not like Maury Wills'. He believed in taking a maximum lead. I don't.

With a big lead, you have to be just as concerned with getting back to first as with getting to second. And if there is a throw to first, you must dive back into the bag. I refuse to dive back. It has to do with wear and tear on the body. The diving takes its toll, and who wants to be beaten up by some big first baseman? Willie McCovey hit me on the head with a tag once that had me seeing stars for three days.

With a shorter lead, I have to run 80 to 82 feet to reach second. Maury would run 75 feet. But he used the hook slide. He'd go three feet past the bag and catch it with his back foot.

With my straight-in slide, I make up the distance I lose with the shorter lead.

Everything revolves around acceleration, reflexes based on repetition. I use body language. By taking a shorter lead and looking relaxed, my body is telling the pitcher I'm not going to run. Standing there, relaxed, upright, I'm causing doubts.

All people who sprint start from a low position. The pitcher associates a low stance with running. He's conditioned to believe it's impossible to run from a straight-up position. I do. Of course, now they all assume I'm running no matter what I look like."

Brock's angelic disposition is disrupted by only a few of life's irritations, chief of which are the perpetuation of his reputation as a poor fielder, his not being voted the Most Valuable Player after his record-breaking 1974 season and the unwritten canon of baseball etiquette that holds that stealing bases when the thief's team is well ahead is not only bad form but the act of an unrepentant self-aggrandizer.

"Before 1920 the whole game was based on running," says Brock. "After that, the attitude was 'Why run? We'll get the long ball to knock you home.' There seemed to be a gentlemen's agreement not to run.

Well, I didn't agree to it. And I've paid a price for it. I've been sucker-punched in fights on the field, and I've taken more knockdown pitches than I like to think about. Oh, I've heard all the criticism, too. You know, I'm out there just to build up my own stats.

But that attitude is changing. Now running is totally acceptable. Everybody does it. The bigger ball parks have changed all this. The ball parks and the success the Dodgers and we had with our running teams in the '60s.

I also found pitchers who would fight for me—Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton. They're the kind who would say, 'Do anything you want as long as you're scoring runs.'"


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     I agree with most of what Mr. Brock said.

     While I agree with Mr. Brock that, when their team has a lead, base runners should continue to try to steal bases, I disagree with his reason why.

     Mr. Brock talks about stealing when his team has leads for the sake of stealing bases.

     Base runners should steal bases when their teams have leads because their baseball batters will get more fastballs to hit.

     Stealing bases is not for gaining 90 feet, stealing bases is for baseball batters getting more fastballs to hit.

     Until base runners are able to steal home from second base, a single off a fastball scores the base runner on second base.

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0030.  Update my College Senior Baseball Pitcher

My son has been home for the winter break and heads back to college today.

Two days ago, my son had an opportunity to throw an indoor bullpen for a MLB scout.

The guy is the Director of Amateur Scouting for a major league team.

A mutual friend asked this Director of Amateur Scouting to watch my son throw.

After visiting with me and my son, this scout watched my son throw a fastballs only bullpen. The scout was impressed.

He told my son that he is personally going to go to his college this spring to watch him pitch. He is interested.

The man did not bring a radar gun, but he said he didn’t need one to see that my son has a very strong throwing arm.

He wants to see my son pitch in game situations.

He had nothing but good things to say.

He said he wasn’t expecting to see someone that fit throwing that hard in January with a foot of snow on the ground.

So, my son heads back to school with a renewed spirit.


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     My thanks to your mutual friend and congratulations to you and your son.

     This opportunity is another reason why baseball pitchers need to train every day. They are always ready for the unexpected.

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0031.  Mark Mulder gets minor league deal with Angels
ESPNLosAngeles.com
January 02, 2014

Pitcher Mark Mulder has reached agreement on a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Angels that includes an invitation to the team's big league spring training camp, Mulder's agent confirmed Wednesday.

If Mulder makes the big league roster and achieves all his incentives and award bonuses, the deal could be worth more than $6 million, according to a baseball source.

"Mark chose the Angels because he has an opportunity to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. Along with the Angels being a championship-caliber club, that made it a good fit," agent Brian Charles of Big League Management Company said.

Mulder, 36, is 103-60 with a 4.18 ERA in nine seasons with theOakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals. He hasn't pitched since 2008 because of shoulder issues, and has been working as an analyst with ESPN since 2011.

Mulder began his comeback in Arizona in November and auditioned for the San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks and numerous other clubs before reaching agreement with the Angels.


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     Unless Mr. Mulder turns the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate, Mr. Mulder's pitching shoulder will continue to fail him.

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0032.  White Sox' Omogrosso recovering from triceps strain, team still interested
Sportsinjuryalert.com
January 04, 2014

For Chicago White Sox pitcher Brian Omogrosso, 2013 was a season to forget. Omogrosso spent the second half of it on the disabled list with strained right triceps, hitting the DL on June 29 and remaining there until the season ended.

He appears on the mend, and the White Sox have a some interest in re-signing the right-hander, who will turn 30 at the end of April.

Omogrosso had a poor season even before the injury: 0-2, 9.37 ERA, 2.265 WHIP in 16.1 innings in 12 relief appearances.

Since he had a far better debut season in 2012 (0-0, 2.57 ERA, and 1.381 WHIP in 21 innings in 17 appearances), his poor 2013 could have very likely stemmed from the elbow problems.

Omogrosso has missed significant time in two other seasons while in the Minor Leagues. The reasons are undisclosed according to Baseball Prospectus, but he had DL stints of 56 days in 2008 and 69 days in 2009.

Should he show himself healthy, then the White Sox could likely sign him to a contract very close to the $492,000 he made in 2013, but they would certainly want performance more like 2012. There is no indication yet whether or not Omogrosso will be ready for Spring Training, but he is working his way back.


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     The article said:

01. "In 2013, Brian Omogrosso spent the second half of it on the disabled list."
02. "Mr. Omogrosso strained his pitching arm's triceps."
03. "On June 29, 2013, Mr. Omogrosso went on the Disabled List and remained there for the rest of the season.
04. "Mr. Omogrosso also missed significant time in two other minor league seasons."
05. "Unfortunately, according to Baseball Prospectus, the reasons are undisclosed."
06. "In 2008, Mr. Omogrossoa was on the disabled list for 56 days."
07. "In 2009, Mr. Omogrosso was on the disabled list for 69 days."

     My stats and articles guy, Brad Sullivan, said the Mr. Omogrosso's pitching injury was also for a strained triceps for which he had surgery.

     If Mr. Omogrosso's injured Triceps Brachii was at the attachment of the tendon to the end of the olecranon process, then Mr. Omogrosso did not injure the tendon of the Triceps Brachii muscle, but the pain of banging the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together.

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0033.  Baseball coaches have golden opportunity
Beckley Register-Herald
January 06, 2013

Brent Strom has been a pitching coach for 23 years, both on the minor league and Major League levels. His teaching was a vital part of the rise of the current staff of the St. Louis Cardinals, who will report to spring training in 37 days to start defense of their National League championship.

Before that, he played for the Mets, Indians and Padres in a career that was derailed in the 1970s by elbow problems that led to him being the second player ever to have Tommy John surgery — right after the procedure’s namesake, of course.

Strom has been around the block, to say the least. No doubt he has been influenced by things he was taught even as a young player growing up in California in the 1950s and 1960s. But those influences are not forever etched in Strom’s subconscious as if they were crayon marks on a wall, resistant to even the most abrasive of cleaners.

You don’t send the likes of Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha and Joe Kelly to the World Series through stagnant teaching.

No, the opposite is true of Strom, a 65-year-old matter-of-fact speaker whose ability to adapt his methodology has made him a successful teacher and, in turn, his students successful pitchers.

Strom, who in October was hired by the Houston Astros to be their pitching coach, knows what he’s talking about. Later this month, area coaches will have a golden opportunity to benefit from his knowledge.

Strom will be one of several guest speakers at a coaching symposium at Upper Deck Training Center in Beckley. The four-day event is set for Jan. 24-27.

“Basically I want to look at ways pitchers can throw with the idea of staying as healthy as they can,” Strom said in a recent phone interview. “I want (coaches) to get an idea of what to look for as far as velocity and that sort of thing, and adding a few different pitches. ... We want to negate some of the myths they may be teaching. A lot of coaches are teaching what they were taught, and there is no guarantee that it works.

“My teaching has had to change and that is what I am still doing. I’ll talk to them about the same things I talk to the big leaguers about. I won’t hold anything back.”


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     Astros baseball pitching coach, Brent Strom, said:

01. “Basically, I want to look at ways pitchers can throw with the idea of staying as healthy as they can.”
02. “I want (coaches) to get an idea of what to look for as far as velocity and that sort of thing, and adding a few different pitches."
03. "We want to negate some of the myths they may be teaching."
04. "A lot of coaches are teaching what they were taught, and there is no guarantee that it works."
05. “My teaching has had to change and that is what I am still doing."
06. "I’ll talk to them about the same things I talk to the big leaguers about."
07. "I won’t hold anything back.”

     So, after destroying baseball pitchers for the Royals, Expos and Nationals and getting fired, Mr. Strom has changed his teaching.

     Now, Mr. Strom looks at way pitchers can throw without injures, increases their release velocity and add a few different pitches, especially my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     I guess that my December 2007 three hour inside and outside discussions with Jeff Sparks demonstrating my wrist weight, iron ball, lid and appropriately-sized football drills and throwing my Maxline Fastball, Maxline Fastball Sinker, Maxline True Screwball, Maxline Pronation Curve, Torque Fastball and Torque Fastball Slider off the Houston rich high school's pitching mound changed Mr. Strom's thinking.

     I am happy for Mr. Strom, but more happy for the baseball pitchers that learned how to throw a wide variety of pitches with increased release velocity and consistency without suffering pitching arm injuries.

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0034.  Indians sign righthander Atchison to minor league deal
Akron Beacon Journal
January 06, 2014

The Indians today announced the club has signed free agent Scott Atchison to a minor league contract with a non-roster invitation to big league spring training camp.

The 37-year old veteran owns a career major league record of 10-10 with one save and a 3.64 ERA in 205 big league appearances. Over 255 innings, he's struck out 192 batters, while issuing 71 walks since his debute with the Seattle Mariners in 2004.

Atchison spent the 2013 season with the New York Mets, appearing in 50 games and finishing third on the club with 10 holds despite two Disabled List stints for a right elbow strain and a right groin strain.

His best season was 2012 with the Boston Red Sox where he had the fourth-lowest relief ERA (1.58 in 42 games) in the majors among relievers with at least 50 innings pitched.

Atchison began his professional career in 1999 after being the Mariners 49th round of the '98 draft out of Texas Christian University.


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     The article said:

01. "Scott Atchison spent the 2013 season with the New York Mets."
02. "Mr. Atchison appeared in 50 games and finishing third on the club with 10 holds."
03. "In 2013, Mr. Atchison was on the Disabled List twice for straining his pitching elbow and his pitching arm side groin.

     Lack of fitness caused Mr. Atchison to strain the inside of his pitching elbow.

     Pushing sideways off the pitching rubber caused Mr. Atchison to strain his groin (Adductor Brevis muscle).

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0035.  Twins' third base prospect Miguel Sano still might need Tommy John Surgery
St. Paul Pioneer Press
January 07, 2014

Tommy John surgery has not been ruled out for Miguel Sano, Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Tuesday.

Sano, who had received an encouraging report several weeks ago on his right (throwing) elbow, arrived in Fort Myers, Fla., late Monday night. An additional exam on Sano's strained ulnar collateral ligament will be performed, Ryan said of the power-hitting third baseman.

Asked if the Twins were confident Sano, 20, could avoid surgery on a problem that caused his Dominican Winter League season to end after two games in late October, Ryan expressed optimism but not certainty.

"That would be our hope," Ryan said. "Right now we don't think it is (going to require surgery), but I can't tell you for sure until we crank him up a little more."

Sano, outranked only by consensus minor league player of the year Byron Buxton among Twins prospects, also was plagued in July by what the Twins termed "arm fatigue." Sano still managed to bash a combined 35 home runs between Class A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain.


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     It is rare for position players to injure their Ulnar Collateral Ligament. The one step crow-hop throwing rhythm requires position players to have their throwing arm at driveline height when their glove foot lands.

     Therefore. their throwing arm is in position to drive the baseball forward without any 'reverse throwing forearm bounce.

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0036.  Brewers release righthander Nick Bucci
SB Nation
January 07, 2014

There's a saying around baseball, often abbreviated as TINSTAAPP: "There is no such thing as a pitching prospect."

So many things can happen to a young pitcher before they reach the majors, the argument goes, that counting on a young pitcher to develop is akin to counting your proverbial eggs before they've hatched.

The Brewers lent a little evidence to that philosophy today when they released Canadian right hander, Nick Bucci, just a few weeks after releasing fellow former 40-man pitcher Cody Scarpetta. Bucci is 23 years old and has appeared in just eleven professional games since Opening Day 2012.

The Brewers selected Bucci out of high school in the 18th round of the 2008 draft and pushed him pretty hard up the organizational ladder, allowing him to make his professional debut in his age 17 season in 2008 and continuing to elevate him one level per season through 2011, when he pitched a career-high 150 innings for Brevard County at age 20 and posted a 3.84 ERA.

Bucci was also active in international tournaments, pitching for Canada in the 2009 and 2011 Baseball World Cups and the 2011 Pan American Games.

In fact, those last two tournaments may have marked the beginning of the end of his Brewers tenure. Both tournaments were played in October of 2011, immediately following the longest season of Bucci's young career.

He was added to the 40-man roster that winter, but was unable to pitch in camp the following spring and appeared in just ten games for the AZL Brewers and Brevard County that season.

He also missed nearly all of the 2013 season, recording just two outs in his lone AZL appearance.


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     It appears that the Brewers took the 'throw him in the water and see whether he swims or sinks.'

     Mr. Bucci sunk.

     Where was the Brewer's prehabilition program?

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0037.  Offseason throwing for baseball and softball players
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 08, 2014
by Brian Cammarota MEd, ATC, CSCS, CES

Throwing a baseball or softball is one of the most difficult activities in sports and requires extreme accuracy and skill. It is also one of the most unnatural motions in sports and leads to many injuries, especially among baseball pitchers.

The speed of the pitching shoulder in baseball has been shown to reach 6900 degrees per second in youth pitchers (and higher speeds in adult pitchers). That is equivalent to spinning your arm in a circle approximately 19 times in 1 second (or about half the time it took to read this last sentence).

With speeds that fast, it is no surprise that shoulder and elbow injuries are common. One way to decrease injury risk is to perform an off-season throwing program that gradually builds arm strength and prepares a thrower or pitcher for their season.

Two common mistakes among baseball and softball players are:

1) Too little rest time in between seasons (at least 3 months is recommended),

2) Throwing bullpens or from a mound too quickly once resuming their off-season throwing.

Although each player is different and may require different amounts of time to recover, long tossing for at least 6-8 weeks prior to strenuous throwing (i.e. pitching from a mound or playing a position in a game) is necessary to build proper arm strength.

The following are general off-season throwing programs and can be used as a guide. Days can be adjusted as needed. If there is soreness, do not progress your throwing program—stay at the same distance or back off slightly until the soreness subsides. If at any point you experience pain while throwing, consult a physician.

Good mechanics are always essential and cannot be sacrificed.

Baseball or Softball players - 60 ft. bases:

Week 1: Throw Monday, Wednesday, Friday (50 throws up to 45 ft)
Week 2: Throw Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday (60 total throws, 10-25 @ 60 ft, remainder at45 ft)
Week 3: Throw Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday (70 total throws, 10-25 @ 75 ft, remainder at 45-60 ft)
Week 4: Throw Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday (75 total throws 10-25@ 90 ft, remainder at 45-75 ft)
Week 5: Throw Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday (80 total throws, 10-25 @ 120 ft, remainder at 45-105 ft) Week 6: Throw Monday and Thursday, (85 throws, 10-15 @ 120-150*ft); Tuesday and Friday (85 throws, 10 @ 90-120ft); Wednesday (50 throws, 20 @ 60 ft). Remaining throws at less than max distance.
Week 7: Monday and Thursday (90 throws, 15-20 @ 120-150*ft) Remaining throws at less than max distance; Tuesday and Friday (Throw 20-25 pitches from the mound after warming-up at 90-120 ft) Wednesday and/or Saturday (light throwing days 60-90 ft or take off from throwing). (If not pitching, progress to normal game activity.)
Weeks 8 and beyond: Progress bullpens by 5-10 pitches per session until comfortably throwing 40-45 pitches in a bullpen (or from mound). At that point it should be safe to begin throwing in games.

*If the thrower is unable to throw at 150 ft, it is OK to remain at 120 ft with good mechanics.

Baseball players - 90 ft bases

Week 1: Throw Monday, Wednesday, Friday (50 throws up to 45 ft)
Week 2: Throw Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday (60 total throws, 10-25 @ 60 ft, remainder at 45 ft)
Week 3: Throw Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday (70 total throws, 10-25 @ 90ft, remainder at 45-75ft)
Week 4: Throw Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday (80 total throws 10-25 @ 120 ft, remainder at 45-105 ft)
Week 5: Throw Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday (90 total throws, 10-25 @ 150 ft, remainder at 45-120 ft); Wednesday (50 throws, 20 @ 60 ft)
Week 6: Throw Monday and Thursday, (100 throws, 10-15 @ 150-180* ft); Tuesday and Friday (100 throws, 10 @ 120-150 ft) remaining throws at less than max distance; Wednesday (50 throws, 20 @ 60 ft).
Week 7: Throw Monday and Thursday(100 throws, 10-15 @ 120-150ft); Tuesday and Friday(100 throws, 10 @ 180 – 210* ft); Wednesday (50 throws, 20 @ 60 ft), Saturday (100 throws 25 @90-120 ft).
Week 8: Monday and Thursday (100 throws, 15-20 @ 180-210* ft); Tuesday and Friday (Throw 20-25 pitchesfrom the mound after warming-up at 120-150 ft); Wednesday and/or Saturday (light throwing days 50-75 total throws, 20-25 @ 90-120 ft).
(If not pitching, progress to normal game activity.)
Weeks 9 and beyond: Progress bullpens by 5-10 pitches per session until comfortably throwing 40-45 pitches in a bullpen (or from mound). At that point it should be safe to begin throwing in games. * If the thrower is unable to throw at 180 or 210ft, it is OK to remain at 150 ft with good mechanics.

Progress pitches in games slowly and make sure to follow USA baseball rules for maximum number of pitches. It is not normal to have regular daily soreness from pitching or throwing, if this occurs, it is a sign of injury and indicates the player needs to reduce their current workload and/or consult a medical professional.

Although cold winter temperatures make baseball and softball season seem a long time away, spring will be here soon. With proper preparation, you can reduce your injury risk and have a healthy productive season.


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     Athlete trainer, Brian Cammarota, wrote:

01. "It (baseball pitching) is the most unnatural skill and leads to many injuries.
02. "The speed of the pitching shoulder in baseball has been shown to reach 6900 degrees per second in youth pitchers (and higher speeds in adult pitchers)."
03. "That is equivalent to spinning your arm in a circle approximately 19 times in 1 second."
04. "With speeds that fast, it is no surprise that shoulder and elbow injuries are common."
05. "One way to decrease injury risk is to perform an off-season throwing program."

     Mr. Cammarota has a lot of capital letters after his name.

     Unfortunately, obtaining those letters failed to teach Mr. Cammarota anything of value.

     My baseball pitching motion is natural and non-injurious.

     Dr. Fleisig's statement that the Humerus bone rotates at over 7,000 revolutions per second is nonsense.

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, the pitching arm is maximally extended.

     With the Pectoralis Major muscle horizontally pulling the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm, there is no muscle to rotate the Humerus bone at all, let alone at 7,000 revolutions per second.

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0038.  Red Sox seeking right path for pitching prospects
Boston Herald
January 08, 2014

The first steps were the most difficult.

Before the Red Sox could conceive of having seven pitching prospects who may be poised to graduate to the major league rotation within the next 15 months, they had to dispatch a militia of scouts to acquire them, either through the draft or, in the case of Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa, an August 2012 blockbuster with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then, they entrusted minor league coaches to oversee their development.

But now, with Webster, De La Rosa, Anthony Ranaudo (2010, supplemental first round), Brandon Workman (2010, second round), Matt Barnes (2011, first round), and lefties Drake Britton (2007, 23rd round) and Henry Owens (2011, supplemental first round) having reached at least Double A, Step 3 is no less complicated. The Sox must determine which prospects are most ready for the majors and devise a plan to integrate them while also staying competitive enough to defend their World Series crown.

If recent history is any guide, it won’t be easy. The Sox’ last three homegrown starters — Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront — endured “hiccups,” as general manager Ben Cherington calls them, ranging from health issues to ineffectiveness before becoming rotation regulars. So, when it comes to this new generation, Cherington says bringing them to the majors with minimal growing pains is “something we are seriously focused on in the coming months.”

“It seems likely that, at some point, one of these young guys is going to get a shot this year,” Cherington said. “That’s important in the long run because at some point, in this next year or two, we’re going to probably need to integrate another young pitcher in the rotation, and in order to do that, they’re going to have to have an opportunity.”

The Red Sox could create that opportunity by making a trade. And because they have a half-dozen starters with major league experience, there has been speculation that they will deal a veteran, likely Jake Peavy or Ryan Dempster, both of whom have one year left on their contracts.

But it has not yet happened, and an industry source said last week that the Sox are “unlikely” to add or subtract a prominent starting pitcher before the start of spring training. As much as ever, they seem wary of trading a starter, realizing that even the most enviable pitching surplus can morph into a scarcity as quickly as you can say “Tommy John surgery.”

When it comes to creating a spot for a touted prospect, the Sox appear inclined to let it happen “naturally,” Cherington says, when an inevitable injury occurs. But Cherington also copped to studying the Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals, both of whom have had success assimilating young pitchers while remaining in postseason contention year after year.

The Rays, in particular, have systematically added at least one rookie to their rotation in each of the last five seasons. David Price and Jeff Niemann got their turns in 2009, followed by Wade Davis in 2010. Jeremy Hellickson was named Rookie of the Year in 2011 before Matt Moore and Alex Cobb came along in 2012. Chris Archer joined the group last season, and Jake Odorizzi may be next up this year.

A homegrown pitching pipeline has been essential to the low-budget Rays’ success, which includes four postseason appearances in six years. But Tampa Bay also exhibits patience. Save for Price, each of the aforementioned pitchers logged at least 400 innings in the minors, a mark reached only by Webster (599) and Britton (451) among the Sox prospects.

The Cardinals have taken a different approach. Although starters Adam Wainwright, Jaime Garcia, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Michael Wacha are products of the farm system, they all served feet-wetting apprenticeships in the bullpen after getting called up, a path St. Louis appears to be following with hard-throwing Carlos Martinez.

“They’ve done it a little bit differently,” Cherington said of the Rays and Cards, “but in a way, there’s similarity because they’re getting young pitchers as much experience as possible before asking them to be members of the rotation. That’s worked, so it is something we’ve looked at and talked about.”

Workman and Britton were called up last season to work out of the bullpen, with Workman taking a high-leverage role in the playoffs. But manager John Farrell said Workman will go to spring training as a starter, an indication the Sox still envision him as a future piece of the rotation.

The same can be said for Webster and De La Rosa, who likely will open the season back in Triple A. Ranaudo and Barnes need more seasoning, too, and while Owens has the highest ceiling of the group, he has pitched only 2362?3 innings in the minors, including just 301?3 in Double A.

So, even though the prospects are getting closer, most aren’t here yet. And there’s no sense in rushing them. Not with a fully stocked rotation giving the Sox time to decide how best to bring them along.

“I don’t think we’ve truly figured this out yet,” Cherington said. “The three starters we’ve integrated successfully all had hiccups early in their careers, so I’d say it’s a work in progress.”

And something to monitor as this season evolves.


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

     Red Sox general manager, Ben Cherington, said:

01. "We are seriously focused on bringing young prospects to the majors with minimal growing pains.”
02. “It seems likely that, at some point, one of these young guys is going to get a shot this year.”
03. “That’s important in the long run because at some point, in this next year or two, we’re going to probably need to integrate another young pitcher in the rotation."
04. "In order to do that, they’re going to have to have an opportunity.”
05. “They (Tampa Bay Rays and St. Louis Cardinals) have done it a little bit differently.”
06. "But, in a way, there’s similarity because they’re getting young pitchers as much experience as possible before asking them to be members of the rotation."
07. "That’s worked, so it is something we’ve looked at and talked about.”
08. “I don’t think we’ve truly figured this out yet.”
09. “The three starters (Jon Lester, Clay7 Buchholz and Felix Doubront) we’ve integrated successfully all had hiccups early in their careers."
10. "So, I’d say it’s a work in progress.”

     Mr. Cherington convinced me that he has no idea how to teach and train baseball pitchers to become the best injury-free, highly-skilled baseball pitchers that they can become.

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0039.  Rodriguez encouraged by first throwing session
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
January 08, 2014

BRADENTON, FL: Pitching coach Ray Searage wanted to get a thorough look at left-hander Wandy Rodriguez during a long-toss session Tuesday, but the weather did not cooperate.

The sky was sunny and blue above Pirate City on the second day of minicamp, but the temperature hovered only in the mid-30s with a stiff wind that made it feel several degrees colder. To cut down on the risk of injury, Searage told his pitchers to scale back their workouts.

Rodriguez missed most of last season due to forearm pain, a persistent injury that dogged him for three months before he was shut down in September. He resumed throwing soft toss in early December.

Tuesday, Rodriguez threw for about 10 minutes from about 70 feet (instead of the usual 90 feet) as Searage looked on intently.

“He looked like the Wandy of old — at 70 feet and in a small sample size,” Searage said. “Hopefully, it warms up (Wednesday) so we can get a better assessment.”

Although Rodriguez has not yet thrown from a mound, he believes he can be on his normal routine by the start of spring training Feb. 13.

“I feel good,” Rodriguez. “My mechanics are OK. But let me wait (before saying more) until I start to throw hard. I hope I can start throwing bullpens in a couple more weeks.”

Will Rodriguez be in the starting rotation on Opening Day?

“I'm confident he could be there,” Searage said. “As he starts to throw and gets longer with his distance and stuff, we'll reassess and see how he feels. He'll go through his normal achiness, building up his arm strength. But, right now, it looks promising.”

Francisco Liriano figures to be the Opening Day starter and Gerrit Cole likely will be in the No. 2 spot. Having a healthy Rodriguez in the third slot and Charlie Morton fourth would give the Pirates a left-right-left-right pitching lineup.

“The main thing is, we know we have a better chance of winning with Wandy in the rotation than when he's out of it,” Searage said. “Where his positioning comes up, we'll assess that during spring training.”

Rodriguez, who will turn 35 on Jan. 18, triggered his $13 million contract option to rejoin the Pirates this year. The Houston Astros, who traded him in July 2012, will pay $5.5 million of Rodriguez's salary.

In 25 outings (24 starts) for the Pirates, Rodriguez is 11-8 with a 3.66 ERA and 1.199 WHIP. He made 12 starts last season before the injury. Doctors did not recommend surgery.

“All I had to do was rest my arm a lot,” Rodriguez said. “That's it.”

In early December, Rodriguez was cleared to test his arm with some soft toss. While he was eager to get started, Rodriguez admitted there was some anxiety.

“I was thinking in my mind, ‘Is the pain still there?' “ Rodriguez said. “I threw nice and easy and didn't feel anything. It was a relief. Right now, I think my arm is good.”


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     Pirates baseball pitcher, Wandy Rodriquez, said:

01. “I feel good.”
02. “My mechanics are OK."
03. "But, let me wait (before saying more) until I start to throw hard."
04. "I hope I can start throwing bullpens in a couple more weeks.”
05. “All I had to do was rest my arm a lot."
06. “That's it.”
07. "I was thinking in my mind, ‘Is the pain still there?'"
08. "I threw nice and easy and didn't feel anything."
09. "It was a relief."
10. "Right now, I think my arm is good.”

     Mr. Rodriguez knows that rest does not prevent pitching injuries.

     "Right now, I think my arm is good."

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0040.  Bobby Parnell cleared to pitch
ESPNNewYork.com
January 09, 2014

New York Mets closer Bobby Parnell, who underwent Sept. 10 surgery in California for a herniated disk in his neck, has been fully cleared for baseball activities.

Parnell was examined by Dr. Robert Watkins, who had performed the procedure.

Watkins cleared Parnell for full baseball activities. Parnell is expected to resume closing games for the Mets this season. He converted 22 of 26 chances last season.

"He looked terrific -- toned, strong, limber," said one person who recently saw Parnell.

Parnell had lost roughly 30 pounds while dealing with the herniated disk.


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

     Unless Mr. Parnell learns how to stand tall and rotate through release, Mr. Parnell will continue to unnecessarily stress the disk that Mr. Parnell herniated in his neck.

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0041.  Maddux used methodical approach to get to Cooperstown
Washington Post
January 09, 2014
by Thomas Boswell

When Greg Maddux was in his pitching prime, I spent several days in spring training talking with him about pitching and watching his baseball habits. Almost everything he said was new to me. He was elected to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, yet I have never heard any other pitcher mention his basic insights about pitching. What he did and why his keen mind had chosen to do it that way are largely unexplored.

This week, many will celebrate Maddux's 355 wins, the second-highest total in the last 100 years. His dual personality will get a knowing nod from friends: an average-sized nondescript everyman who could pass for a math teacher, but a tenacious Mad Dog on the mound. In a clubhouse ex-Braves president Stan Kasten said, “He’s funny; he’s totally nuts.” We’ll never know the frat-house anecdotes that caused the most laughs or head shakes.

Maddux should be one of the most-copied pitchers ever, yet few would even know where to begin, because he seldom opened up about what he believed about pitching and why.

First, Maddux was convinced no hitter could tell the speed of a pitch with any meaningful accuracy. To demonstrate, he pointed at a road a quarter-mile away and said it was impossible to tell if a car was going 55, 65 or 75 mph unless there was another car nearby to offer a point of reference.

“You just can’t do it,” he said. Sometimes hitters can pick up differences in spin. They can identify pitches if there are different releases points or if a curveball starts with an upward hump as it leaves the pitcher’s hand. But if a pitcher can change speeds, every hitter is helpless, limited by human vision.

“Except,” Maddux said, “for that [expletive] Tony Gwynn.”

Because of this inherent ineradicable flaw in hitters, Maddux’s main goal was to “make all of my pitches look like a column of milk coming toward home plate.” Every pitch should look as close to every other as possible, all part of that “column of milk.” He honed the same release point, the same look, to all his pitches, so there was less way to know its speed — like fastball 92 mph, slider 84, change-up 76.

One day I sat a dozen feet behind Maddux’s catcher as three Braves pitchers, all in a row, did their throwing sessions side-by-side. Lefty Steve Avery made his catcher’s glove explode with noise from his 95-mph fastball. His curve looked like it broke a foot-and-a-half. He was terrifying. Yet I could barely tell the difference between Greg’s pitches. Was that a slider, a changeup, a two-seam or four-seam fastball? Maddux certainly looked better than most college pitchers, but not much. Nothing was scary.

Afterward, I asked him how it went, how he felt, everything except “Is your arm okay?” He picked up the tone. With a cocked grin, like a Mad Dog whose table scrap doesn’t taste quite right, he said, “That’s all I got.”

Then he explained that I couldn’t tell his pitches apart because his goal was late quick break, not big impressive break. The bigger the break, the sooner the ball must start to swerve and the more milliseconds the hitter has to react; the later the break, the less reaction time. Deny the batter as much information — speed or type of last-instant deviation — until it is almost too late.

But not entirely too late: Maddux didn’t want swings and misses for strikeouts, but preferred weak defensive contact and easy outs. He sought pitches that looked hittable and identical — getting the hitter to commit to swing — but weren’t. Any pitch that didn’t conform to this, even if it looked good, was scrapped as inefficient.

“Greg was the only pitcher I’ve ever seen who never practiced from the wind-up between starts — only from the stretch,” Kasten said. “He said, ‘From the wind-up, I only try to keep the ball in the park. I’m good at that. But the only time I have to really pitch is from the stretch with men on base. So that’s all I practice.’”

Kasten wondered, “Why hasn’t anyone else thought of that?”

When available, Maddux studied tape of every home run hit in the big leagues the previous day. That’s all: homers. Where were the danger zones — location, location? Though he didn’t try to maximize velocity or break, just late movement, Maddux did believe that almost perfect control of every pitch was the one essential gift for him. And he was a fanatic on command.

One day he pitched alone on an empty field except for his catcher. I’ve never seen a pitcher use an entire empty field for practice. And I have never seen one show much emotion in a supposedly meaningless practice period.

With no one to distract him, Maddux concentrated like an actual game. He might throw a dozen pitches and show nothing. But on the next, if he missed his spot badly, he would rip the air with a curse, his head snapping with the violence of his yell. Always the same word, like a gunshot; perhaps it hurt his throat, like self-punishment. But in a second, he was calm.

The final pitching product was one of the most elegant, intelligent and fierce self-creations in American sports. Maddux left hitters with an “I-am-stupid, kick-me” sign on their backs. He pitched complete games in much less than two hours without ever throwing one eye-popping pitch. Hundreds of pitchers could do it — in theory. No one else ever has. The sequence, the mind, the command, the intuition, the hauteur was all.

Few pitchers ever worked so quickly or showed such understated arrogance, like his dismissive snag of a shot back through the box or a third-out strut-off third strike — called — on a changeup or swing-back fastball.

From ages 26 to 32, he started 226 games, walked just 222 unintentionally with a 2.15 ERA and a 127-53 record (.706). How could he always seem so certain?

After retiring from the military, Maddux’s father moved his family to Las Vegas, where he became a casino blackjack dealer. Growing up, Greg asked his dad if he worried about the large sums of money he might lose for his boss if someone got hot and went on a run. Might it cost him his job?

His father explained there were basic rules for a dealer: when to take a hit and when to hold. He simply had to do what he’d been taught. The odds were in favor of the casino, “the house.” Dad might have a bad night or bad week, but he told his son “in the end, the house always wins.”

Greg Maddux figured out early, and never forgot, that his next pitch was actually the next turn of the (baseball) card. With several pitches, four strike zone quadrants and many changes of speed, the variations were vast. Know their strengths; avoid them. The rest belonged to you — a stacked deck.

But behind every Maddux success was his utter confidence that, with a selection of masterfully controlled pitches that looked identical until the last second, hitters were fundamentally and forever at such a basic disadvantage that he was in complete command of his long-term fate.

"My dad never worried. He was 'the house,' Maddux said.

After a nice little pause, a slight change of speeds, his sly hole-card grin snuck out.

“I am the house,” he said.


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

     Damn. I wish that I had thought like Mr. Maddux thought.

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***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, January 19, 2014, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0042.  Matthew Neil comments on my Marshall Pitching Motion video

I'm sure there are a ton of people that have commented saying how ridiculous this is, and I will add to that list, and soon have my comment deleted.

But Dr. Marshall, you have very poor understanding of how the body functions, and Kinetic chains to create power and movement on pitches.

Just look at your own video and see what positions you are putting the pitcher in. No Tiene sentido.


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

Dear Mr. Neil,

     I appreciate that you took the time to comment on my Marshall Pitching Motion video.

     My baseball pitching motion satisfies the criteria for the Kinetic Chain.

     My baseball pitchers triple the rotational velocity on the non-fastball pitches I teach.

     By satisfying Sir Isaac Newton's laws of motion and using the Latissimus Dorsi, Triceps Brachii and Pronator Teres muscles, my baseball pitchers achieve their genetic release velocity without pitching injuries.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0043.  NY Times Article About Science and Pitching

This New York Times article is from several months ago, but as always your analysis of its contents is very much appreciated.

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

As Game Changes, Science Can Lengthen a Pitcher’s Career
New York Times
August 27, 2013
By TYLER KEPNER

The image of the everlasting ace, strong and sturdy, firing fastballs and churning through innings while never giving in to pain, is the exception in baseball history. The elbow injury to the Mets’ Matt Harvey, who has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament that may require reconstructive surgery, is really nothing new.

“Back in my era,” said Jim Palmer, who pitched for the Baltimore Orioles from 1965 to 1984, “do you think Matt Harvey would know he had a torn ligament?”

It was a rhetorical question. Throwing a baseball at high speeds is an inherently unnatural act, and pitchers have always gotten hurt. But this is an era of such heightened caution that Harvey said he was shocked to learn the severity of his problem after a magnetic resonance imaging exam Monday. He felt no pop, no shooting pain. Years ago, he probably would have just kept pitching.

On the career list for innings pitched, you have to scroll down to Mike Mussina, at 66th, to find a pitcher who made his debut in the last 25 seasons. Yet despite the smaller workloads, more pitchers are missing significant time with elbow injuries.

About one of every three major league pitchers has had Tommy John surgery, in which the ulnar collateral ligament is replaced by a tendon from another part of the body, compared to roughly one of every nine pitchers a decade ago. More pitchers seem to be throwing harder now, which could partly explain the phenomenon, and with the rise of amateur travel teams, young pitchers may be throwing more innings. But, mostly, the surgery is overwhelmingly effective.

“The technology is such that we know more, and in the case of an elbow, we also know, ‘Gee if it’s fixed, there’s a 90 percent chance that it’s really fixed,’” said Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson. “In fact, I’ve heard of situations where high school pitchers have come and said they wanted Tommy John surgery. They didn’t even have an elbow problem, but they figured they would throw harder after the surgery than they did before.”

Harvey, who led the National League in strikeouts at the time of his injury, was placed on the disabled list and will miss the rest of the season. He wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that he would be back on April 1, but Alderson said that was news to him. Surgery remains a strong possibility, which would put Harvey in good company.

Adam Wainwright, A. J. Burnett, Matt Thornton, Scott Downs, Jonny Venters, Jordan Zimmermann, Ryan Vogelsong, Jason Grilli, Ryan Dempster, Scott Feldman, Eric O’Flaherty.

Imagine a day when Stephen Strasburg simply vanishes, said Will Carroll, a leading expert on sports injuries who writes for Bleacher Report. All the hype, all the early success, and then suddenly, he stops pitching well, complains of a sore arm, and never pitches again.

“Take four pitchers off every roster,” Carroll said. “What would that look like?”

Years ago, it happened all the time. Fans remember outliers like Nolan Ryan (fifth on the career innings list), Steve Carlton (ninth), Tom Seaver (19th) and Palmer (43rd). But for each of those Hall of Famers, there were many other pitchers who could have lasted much longer with the benefit of medical advancements.

When Palmer signed with the Orioles, in 1963, the team was stocked with elite young pitching. Wally Bunker, who tossed a shutout at age 21 in the 1966 World Series, was finished at 26 with shoulder problems. Chuck Estrada, who led the American League in wins as a rookie in 1960, was all but done three years later because of his elbow.

“He probably tore his ulnar collateral ligament, but nobody knew,” Palmer said. “It was just, ‘He has a bad elbow.’ Was it treatable? Nobody ever knew. You just tried to pitch through it and when you couldn’t get anybody out, your career was over.”

Palmer, like Bunker, threw his own shutout in the 1966 World Series, at age 20. Hampered by problems with his biceps and then his rotator cuff, Palmer managed only nine starts the next two seasons.

He recovered to have a long career, helped by exceptional athleticism and the lessons he learned by pitching without his best stuff while injured. Palmer’s opponent in the World Series, Sandy Koufax, was 30 and never pitched again.

Dr. Frank Jobe performed the first reconstructive elbow operation on John, a different Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander, in 1974. Koufax’s arm gave out eight years early.

Tim Hudson, Joe Nathan, Joel Hanrahan, Bruce Chen, Neftali Feliz, Jaime Garcia, Kris Medlen, Jarrod Parker, Mark Melancon, Jorge De La Rosa, Joba Chamberlain.

The last pitcher to work 300 innings in a season was Carlton, for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1980. His manager was Dallas Green, who managed the Yankees nine years later and allowed a young left-hander, Al Leiter, to throw 163 pitches in his second start of the season.

The Yankees traded Leiter to Toronto a few weeks later, and from that point through 1992, Leiter threw only 15 2/3 innings in the majors. Leiter needed two elbow operations — although not reconstruction — and rebuilt his delivery with a coach, Gil Patterson.

Leiter also took an interest in biomechanics, becoming more aware of what worked for him physically, and why. He retired in the spring of 2006, at age 40, and said teams would someday embrace advanced science to keep their pitchers healthier. But some are skeptical.

“This is what scares people about getting involved in this: it’s not the end-all,” said Leiter, who now works for MLB Network and YES. “Even if you create the perfect mechanics, that’s still not going to stop, for some, the inevitable.”

The Mets, like most teams, do not submit their pitchers to individual biomechanical evaluations. But Alderson said the team was using TrackMan, a 3D radar system that measures, among other things, release point and arm extension. The Mets also use biomechanical video evaluations on draft prospects, and are developing a proprietary system that would identify possible risks for their pitchers.

The rest is guesswork.

“We’ve said, ‘Look, we’re not going to increase our guys by more than 30 or 40 innings per season,’ and that’s where we get our innings limit,” Alderson said. “Now, is there any science behind that? There’s no real science behind it. It’s really about historical reference, what you see that some young pitchers have done from one year to the next, and whether they’ve gotten hurt or not gotten hurt. It’s not scientific, but you’re trying to learn from history.”

Plenty of young, hard throwers, like Justin Verlander, have avoided injury while working more innings at a younger age than Harvey. The Mets do not know why that is, and they may never know.

“It could be physiology, it could be the DNA and the molecular structure of his ligament as opposed to somebody else’s,” Alderson said. “Somebody has 10,000 innings in their elbow or shoulder and somebody else has 1,000. If you treat everybody like he’s only got 1,000, you don’t have a baseball team. On the other hand, if you treat everybody like they’ve got 10,000, you don’t have a baseball team, either.”

Strasburg, Chad Billingsley, Grant Balfour, Fernando Rodney, Francisco Liriano, Gavin Floyd, John Lackey, Jake Westbrook, Darren Oliver, Mike Pelfrey, Jason Motte.

Carroll, the injury expert, said pitch counts and innings limits make sense as primitive protective measures for amateurs. But in the majors, he said, with coaches, trainers and video technology, they are ridiculous. Because each pitcher is different, Carroll said, teams should invest more in uncovering each pitcher’s physical limitations.

Yet even a detailed report on a pitcher’s danger points might not make a difference. Pitchers tend to fall back on comfortable mechanics, even if they might be the wrong ones.

“The occasional thing we see is that we can’t make changes,” Carroll said. “Let’s say we knew that Felix Hernandez’s weird head movement was bad, and there was a 50 percent chance that he would blow out or go on the shelf, would you change it? He’s really effective now. Would you want to be the guy who messed him up?”

Harvey’s simple, smooth mechanics gave the Mets no cause for alarm, and his forearm issues were never serious enough to require a magnetic resonance imaging exam before Monday.

The important thing, Alderson said, is that Harvey did not try to compensate for his forearm discomfort by putting added strain on his shoulder. Pitchers with serious shoulder injuries rarely come back the same. Pitchers with U.C.L. tears usually do.

“If we did an M.R.I. on all of our pitchers every year, how many of those guys do you think would have a partial tear? A lot more than we know have it now,” Alderson said. “Then the question is, ‘OK, now that we know that, what do we do?’”

Decades ago, the Mets would have never known the specific injury and Harvey might have fizzled out. Whatever course they choose now, they know, almost certainly, that Harvey will regain his dominance.

It just might take a while.


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     New York Times sportswriter, Tyler Kepner, wrote:

01. "Throwing a baseball at high speeds is an inherently unnatural act."
02. "Pitchers have always gotten hurt."
03. "After a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam, Matt Harvey was shocked to learn the severity of his problem."
04. "Mr. Harvey felt no pop, no shooting pain."

     The 'traditional' baseball pitching motion is inherently injurious. Using the Pectoralis Major muscle to pull the pitching upper arm forward is inherently injurious. Releasing breaking pitches over the top of the Index finger is inherently injurious.

     Using the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive their pitching upper arm forward is natural and non-injurious. Releasing breaking pitches under the Middle finger is natural and non-injurious. My baseball pitching motion is non-injurious and more powerful.

     Ligaments do not have pain sensors. Therefore, when baseball pitchers are tearing their Ulnar Collateral Ligament, they do not feel pain. The pain of rupturing the Ulnar Collateral Ligament results from the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle of the pitching elbow having to take over the job of holding the Ulna bone tightly against the Humerus bone.

     New York Times sportswriter, Tyler Kepner, wrote:

01. "About one of every three major league pitchers has had Tommy John surgery."
02. "Orthopedic surgeons replace the ulnar collateral ligament with a tendon from another part of the body."
03. "A decade ago roughly one of every nine pitchers a decade ago had Tommy John surgery."
04. "That more pitchers seem to be throwing harder now could partly explain the increase in Tommy John surgeries."
05. "But, mostly, the surgery is overwhelmingly effective."

     When baseball pitchers take the baseball out of their glove with the palm of their hand on top of the baseball, to move their pitching hand to driveline height, they have to vertically raise their pitching hand. I call this action: 'Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.' Others call it: 'maximum external rotation in the late cocking phase.'

     With their pitching upper arm pointing vertically upward, these baseball pitchers use their Pectoralis Major muscle to explosively accelerate their pitching upper arm forward. As a result of this action, the pitching forearm moves downward behind their pitching elbow.

     When the pitching forearm stops moving downward, the stress tears the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Mets general manager, Sandy Alderson, said:

01. “We’ve said, ‘Look, we’re not going to increase our guys by more than 30 or 40 innings per season.’"
02. "That’s where we get our innings limit.”
03. "Is there any science behind that?"
04. "No, there’s no real science behind it."
05. "It’s really about historical reference."
06. "What you see that some young pitchers have done from one year to the next, and whether they’ve gotten hurt or not gotten hurt."
07. "It’s not scientific, but you’re trying to learn from history.”

     That is correct. Innings limits has no scientific basis. It is all guesswork.      Mets general manager, Sandy Alderson, said:

01. “It could be physiology."
02. "It could be the DNA."
03. "It could be the molecular structure of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament."
04. "Some have 10,000 innings in their elbow or shoulder and somebody else only has 1,000."
05. "If you treat everybody like he’s only got 1,000, you don’t have a baseball team."
06. "On the other hand, if you treat everybody like they’ve got 10,000, you also don’t have a baseball team.”

     Professional baseball needs to get orthopedic surgeons out of the clubhouse and ignore Will Carroll and biomechanists. They are the reason why, in the last decade, the number of baseball pitchers having Tommy John surgery has increased from about one in nine to one in three.

     I am the only researcher that knows how to eliminate all pitching injuries. Unfortunately, professional baseball does not have anybody that can spell, Latissimus Dorsi, Triceps Brachii and Pronator Teres.

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0044.  Relationship between humeral torsion and injury in professional baseball pitchers.
Am J Sports Med. 2013 41(9):2015-21
Polster JM, Bullen J, Obuchowski NA, Bryan JA, Soloff L, Schickendantz MS.

BACKGROUND: High levels of humeral torsion allow baseball pitchers to achieve maximum external rotation in the late cocking phase of pitching with lower twisting and shear forces on the long head of the biceps tendon and rotator cuff tendons.

HYPOTHESIS: Humeral torsion is inversely related to the incidence and severity of shoulder injuries and other upper extremity injuries in professional baseball pitchers.

METHODS: A total of 25 professional pitchers from a single Major League Baseball organization were prospectively recruited into this study.

Computed tomography (CT) was performed on dominant and nondominant humeri, and image data were processed with a 3-dimensional volume-rendering postprocessing program.

The software program was then modified to model a simplified throwing motion and to measure potential internal impingement distances in a small subset of players.

Players were followed for 2 years after CT, and the number of days missed from pitching activities was recorded as a measure of injury severity and incidence.

RESULTS: The mean dominant humeral torsion was 38.5° ± 8.9°; the mean nondominant humeral torsion was 27.6° ± 8.0°.

The difference between dominant and nondominant torsions was significant (P < .0001).

Among the 11 pitchers (44%) injured during follow-up, 5 players had shoulder injuries, 7 had elbow injuries, and 2 had finger injuries.

Dominant humeral torsion was a statistically significant predictor of severe injuries (?30 days; P = .048) but not of milder injuries.

Among injured players, higher numbers of days missed because of injury were strongly correlated with lower degrees of dominant humeral torsion (r = -0.78; P = .005) and smaller differences between dominant and nondominant humeral torsions (r = -0.59; P = .055).

There was no significant association between the incidence of shoulder injury and minimum glenoid-tuberosity distance in the dominant or nondominant shoulder or degree of dominant glenoid version.

CONCLUSION: A strong relationship was found between lower degrees of dominant humeral torsion and more severe upper extremity injuries as well as a trend relating lower side-to-side differences in torsion with more severe dominant upper extremity injuries.

In addition, there was a higher incidence of severe injuries in players with lower degrees of dominant torsion. If future studies confirm these results, humeral torsion measurements could play a role in risk assessment in pitchers.


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     Isn't reading a research paper fun?

     Let me simplify.

     In the Background section, the researchers wrote: "High levels of humeral torsion allow baseball pitchers to achieve maximum external rotation in the late cocking phase of pitching with lower twisting and shear forces on the long head of the biceps tendon and rotator cuff tendons."

     The key phrase is: "late cocking phase."

     I call the 'late cocking phase': Late Pitching Forearm Turnover.

     Late Pitching Forearm Turnover precedes Reverse Pitching Forearm Bounce.

     Therefore, this research confirms that 'reverse bouncing' the pitching forearm is an injurious flaw.

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0045.  Fly Fishing Arm Action

I can't remember if you told me this analogy, but could we compare your arm action to casting a fly rod?

In casting a fly rod, it's important to move the tip of the rod in straight lines and bring the tip to a stop at the end of the forward swing and then let the line fly out.

The rod is the Humerus, the tip is the elbow and the line is the forearm.

The analogy breaks down at the end because the line can't add force, whereas the forearm can.

But it's an interesting way to conceptualize the force-couple and where it occurs.

What do you think?


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     Any overhead throwing skill that applies force in straight lines works.

     With regard to force-coupling, cracking the whip works well. Just before the tip of the whip fully extends, whipcrackers pull back on the whip's handle.

     The side view of Jeff Sparks releasing his pitches shows that, just before release, Jeff pulls the tip of his pitching elbow backward.

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0046.  Verlander undergoes successful core muscle surgery
MLB.com
January 09, 2014

Tigers ace Justin Verlander underwent successful core muscle repair surgery on Thursday morning in Philadelphia after injuring himself during his offseason conditioning program.

According to a team release, Verlander will undergo physical rehabilitation for the next six weeks before he's reevaluated. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Tigers' Spring Training camp in Lakeland, Fla., on Feb. 14.

"We fully anticipate Justin to participate in Spring Training and be in a position to compete at the beginning of the 2014 season," Tigers' general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a statement.

The 2011 American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Award winner has been ultra durable in his nine-year career with the Tigers, starting at least 30 games in each of his full eight seasons. He has logged at least 200 innings in each season since 2007.

Verlander went 13-12 with a 3.46 ERA last year.


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     The article said:

01. "During an off-season conditioning program, Justin Verlander injured a core muscle."
02. "The severity of the injury required surgery."

     Non-specific training exercises not only do not increase the fitness of athletes to perform their skills, but they also stress muscles beyond their ability to withstand.

     We can only hope that the muscle Mr. Verlander injured is not his Cremaster.

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0047.  Darvish staying home in Japan to prep for season
Associated Press
January 08, 2014

ARLINGTON, TX: Yu Darvish is staying home in Japan instead of traveling to Texas later this month to accept his award as the Rangers' pitcher of the year.

Darvish said in a statement issued by the team Wednesday that he "unfortunately" won't be able to attend the team's awards dinner Jan. 24, 2014.

The pitcher says his top priority is preparing for the season and that traveling roundtrip from Japan would be too difficult at this point in training. He thanked fans for their understanding.

Darvish was 13-9 with a 2.93 ERA in 32 starts last season. He led the majors with 277 strikeouts and was second in the AL Cy Young Award voting.

He dealt with inflammation from nerve irritation in his lower back the last six weeks of the season.


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     I wonder whether, if the situation were reversed, then would the Japanese understand a star American player not attending an award ceremony?

     Sorry, Mr. Darvish, but when you work for an American company and earn an award, you need to show your appreciation and attend the award ceremony in your honor.

     By the way, unless you stop bending forward at your waist, that cervical nerve irritation that you suffered last season will still be there next season.

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0048.  Holland to miss start of season after knee surgery
MLB.com
January 10, 2014

ARLINGTON, TX: Rangers pitcher Derek Holland underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage behind his left kneecap on Friday and is expected to be out until midseason.

Holland sustained the injury during a fall at his home on Tuesday.

"I am devastated by this injury," Holland said in a statement released by the team. "It was a freak accident at home, resulting in a hard fall on my knee. As upsetting as it is, my goal is to begin rehab and get back on the mound as soon as possible."

Holland was expected to be in the Rangers rotation. General manager Jon Daniels said the club is looking for starting depth, but this could also provide an opportunity for an internal candidate to step up.

Daniels suggested the Rangers aren't likely to acquire a significant pitcher from outside the organization.

"I don't think that's realistic," Daniels said in a conference call on Friday afternoon.

The Rangers are among the teams monitoring Japanese free-agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. There are still several attractive free-agent starting pitchers on the market -- including right-hander Matt Garza, who was 4-5 with a 4.38 ERA in 13 starts for the Rangers after being acquired from the Cubs on July 22.

Nick Tepesch who was 4-6 with a 4.84 ERA in 17 starts and two relief appearances as a rookie for the Rangers last season, is the leading candidate to fill Holland's spot. The Rangers have also re-signed pitcher Colby Lewis to a Minor League contract. Lewis has not pitched in the Major Leagues since July 18, 2012, while recovering from surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right elbow. Lewis also had surgery on his right hip in August but is still expected to be ready for Spring Training.

The Rangers have also signed veteran pitcher Jose Contreras to a Minor League contract, and they are expected to give left-handed reliever Robbie Ross a chance to start. The Rangers' top Minor League pitching prospect is right-hander Luke Jackson, who is the #10-ranked prospect in the organization. The Rangers have also signed pitchers Justin Germano and Ryan Feierabend to Minor League contracts. Both have experience as Major League starters.

"We have been looking for pitching depth, and I expect we will add somebody," Daniels said. "I expect it will be more in the depth category, rather than somebody at the front of the rotation. This is an opportunity for somebody to step up and seize the opportunity."

Holland was 10-9 with a 3.42 ERA in 33 starts for the Rangers last season. He is entering the third season of a five-year, $28.5 million contract signed on March 30, 2012. Right now, the Rangers' rotation includes Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando and Martin Perez, with the fifth spot now up in the air. Harrison is recovering from two back operations last season and also had surgery on his right, non-throwing shoulder. He said this week he expects to be at full strength for Spring Training.


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     The article said:

01. "In a freak accident at home, Ranger starting pitcher, Derek Holland, tripped over his dog and and fell hard on his pitching knee."
02. "As a result, Mr. Holland tore cartilage behind his pitching arm side knee cap."
02. "Mr. Holland required surgery to repair the torn cartilage."
03. "Mr. Holland will not be able to competitively pitch until midseason.

     More accidents happen near or in the home than anywhere else.

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0049.  Willis gets Minor League deal from Giants
MLB.com
January 10, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote that there are no second acts in American lives. The famed author would have retracted that remark if he stuck around long enough to see Dontrelle Willis.

An industry source confirmed Friday that the Giants have agreed with Willis, who turns 32 on Sunday, on a Minor League contract. This marks the ninth time Willis has switched organizations since injuries and ineffectiveness nagged him. It's also his second stint with the Giants.

It's uncertain whether Willis, whose deal was initially reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, will be in Major League camp. The Giants will evaluate Willis and determine what role is best for him, assuming the left-hander can harness his control and achieve consistency with his pitching mechanics, which were once distinguished by a high-kicking, corkscrewing delivery.

Last year, the Oakland native who graduated from Alameda's Encinal High School finished 5-4 with a 2.57 ERA in 14 starts with Long Island of the independent Atlantic League. The Angels then gave Willis a chance with their Triple-A Salt Lake City affiliate, where he went 2-1 with a 6.43 ERA in five games (four starts).

Willis last pitched in the Majors in 2011, when he finished 1-6 with a 5.00 ERA in 13 starts for Cincinnati. One year earlier he signed a midsummer contract with the Giants and recorded a 6.14 ERA in eight relief appearances for Triple-A Fresno and the organization's Rookie-level club in Arizona.

That sequence has typified Willis' struggles since he compiled a 68-54 record and a 3.78 ERA in five seasons (2003-07) with the Florida Marlins. He won the National League Rookie of the Year award in 2003 and finished second in the NL's Cy Young Award balloting in 2005, when he finished 22-10 with a 2.63 ERA. He also topped the Majors with five shutouts and seven complete games that year.

Willis slumped to 12-12 in 2006 and 10-15 in 2007, then was included in an eight-player trade with Miguel Cabrera that sent them to Detroit. Since 2008, Willis has gone 17-18 with a 3.71 ERA in 63 Minor League games, including 50 starts. His record in the Majors during that span is 4-15 with a 6.15 ERA in 43 games (40 starts).


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     This only makes sense if Mr. Willis has changed his baseball pitching motion. Mr. Willis needs to use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to vertically drive his pitching upper arm straight toward home plate instead of using his Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull his pitching arm forward.

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0050.  Verlander out six weeks after surgery
MLB.com
January 10, 2014

Durability has been a keystone for Justin Verlander's success on the mound, but even the Tigers ace has his limits. A preexisting abdominal injury finally resulted in surgery on Thursday, shelving the pitcher for at least the next six weeks. If there is a silver lining for Detroit, it is the timing of the operation.

Verlander is still on pace to be ready for Opening Day.

"In some ways, we're fortunate that we found out now," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said. "Eventually, this was going to happen based upon where he was [with the injury]."

Dr. Bill Meyers successfully performed core muscle repair surgery on Verlander on Thursday morning in Philadelphia after examining the pitcher on Wednesday. Meyers indicated to the Tigers that the operation was likely necessary after reviewing the results of an MRI exam taken by the Detroit medical staff in Lakeland, Fla., on Tuesday.

The injury flared on Verlander during conditioning drills in late December, but Dombrowski said the right-hander did not initially believe it was a serious issue. Verlander was given medication to fight the soreness, but the pain persisted through Tuesday, when Verlander alerted the team's staff while working out at the Spring Training complex.

Without going into specifics, Dombrowski said Verlander's core injury has existed for some time.

"This was not an acute injury that just happened all of a sudden," Dombrowski said. "It's one of those that has been a build up. So throughout the years this is something that was wearing down for him. I can't even say how much it's bothered him, because I've never really heard him say that before.

"But, it's been there in the past. It's not something that just, boom, happened. But the doctor, when he looked at it, he said it was a build up."

Dr. Meyers also performed surgery on Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera in late October to repair the groin and abdominal injuries that hindered the reigning American League Most Valuable Player Award winner through September and into the postseason. Dombrowski indicated that Verlander's injury is similar to the one suffered by Cabrera, who reported feeling 100 percent again after six weeks of rehab following surgery.

The Tigers have a similar hope for the 30-year-old Verlander, who will go through six weeks of rehabilitation before being reevaluated. That timetable extends to Feb. 20, which is two days after Detroit's first full-squad workout this coming spring. The Tigers' first Grapefruit League game is scheduled for Feb. 26 against the Braves, and the club opens the regular season at home against the Royals on March 31.

Detroit is not certain how much, if at all, Verlander's spring throwing program will be delayed.

"All those things I do not know as of yet," Dombrowski said. "When they say six weeks, they think he'll be 100 percent in six weeks."

Last season, Verlander endured a rough season by his standards, going 13-12 with a 3.46 ERA over 34 starts (218 1/3 innings) for the AL Central champion Tigers. Across the previous four campaigns, including his MVP and Cy Young Award-winning season in 2011, Verlander went a combined 78-31 with a 2.95 ERA and an average of 238 innings per year.

Verlander is known for his strong work ethic, and the Tigers know the pitcher will do everything in his power to be recovered and ready as soon as possible.

"There's some questions about whether he'll be able to begin throwing a little before that," Dombrowski said of the six-week rehab timetable. "We don't know that answer as of yet, but he should be ready to go full bore at six weeks and then proceed from there.

"If you proceed from there, you get really close to the beginning of the season for being ready."


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

     This injury is a result of the nonsensical workout program that Mr. Verlander demonstrates in his 'Real Workout: Justin Verlander workout video.

     The Tigers need to fire their Strength Coach.

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0051.  Mulder's retooled delivery impresses Angels
MLB.com
January 10, 2014

ANAHEIM, CA: Countless times throughout the course of his 16-year career as a scout, Tim Huff has arrived at an abandoned field in the middle of the winter to point his radar gun in the direction of a former pitcher attempting a comeback.

Sometimes he's there as a favor to the player, or to his agent, or to some general manager somewhere. And a lot of times, just before hopping back into his rental car, he feels compelled to tell them why it may be best to give it up.

Nov. 25 was different.

That was the day the Angels' special assistant joined representatives from the D-backs and Giants to watch Mark Mulder -- five years removed from his most recent professional appearance, 89 months removed from his most recent Major League win and even further removed from his days as a two-time All-Star -- throw two sets of 25 pitches off a mound.

About 10 pitches in, Huff turned to the other scouts and said, "Which one of us is going to get on the phone faster and call our GM first?"

And now, less than a week after the Angels finalized a Minor League contract with the 36-year-old left-hander, Huff sees a realistic chance for Mulder to complete a comeback few, if any, ever have.

"You can tell that he's on a mission to do this," Huff said. "I think he really believes he's going to come in and earn a spot in our rotation, and I think he has a chance to do that."

Mulder calls his decision to pitch again "a flat-out fluke." Some may call it divine intervention.

It happened on a random October night in the living room of his Phoenix home, when Mulder watched Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez pitch, acted out what it would feel like to separate his hands much higher upon his delivery, and came away intrigued.

A couple nights later, he grabbed a rubber baseball, went out to his backyard, handed his wife a cell phone and had her record footage of him repeatedly throwing pitches against the wall.

"And I was amazed that my arm was working the right way," Mulder said. "I never gave it a thought of coming back before then -- furthest thing from my mind, to be honest with you."

The last time Mulder had played catch was in March with Kyle Lohse while his former Cardinals teammate was still waiting to get signed, and Mulder could barely throw. On the morning of Oct. 27, hours before attending a joint birthday for their daughters, Mulder shot Lohse a text message: Bring your glove.

"He basically laughed at me, like, 'What are you talking about?'" Mulder recalled. "And I'm like, 'Just humor me.' I was at like 150, 200 feet, and he was like, 'You gotta be kidding me. What's going on here?'"

That was all the validation Mulder needed.

On Nov. 1, he consulted his former physical therapist with the A's, got the go-ahead and went to work, hitting the gym hard, reaching out to several current and former players for advice and throwing off the mound every two to three days for the next four weeks, sometimes ramping it up to 70 pitches in one session. He was shocked at how easily it all came.

"I haven't had the ball come out of my hand like this in a very long time, and it's fun," Mulder said. "I never threw like this in all my years in St. Louis. And I mean that. It was smoke and mirrors that first year in St. Louis. It was just sinker or split, because I had nothing else. My arm action was kind of deteriorating. And I'm gonna run with it. I'm gonna see what happens."

Mulder's deal with the Angels includes a Spring Training invitation and no other guarantees. He'll earn $1 million if he makes the team and can earn about $5 million more in incentives, though he'd basically have to be in the rotation an entire year to maximize the contract.

The Angels signed Mulder because they have very little depth behind the five current members of their rotation. They signed him because they met all the requirements, as a West Coast team with a potential opportunity. And they signed him because Huff, jaded by the process after years of witnessing failed comeback stories, came away so impressed.

At the end of these sessions, Huff will usually just shoot his general manager an email or a text.

This time, he made sure to call.

"Really, there is no downside for us," Angels GM Jerry Dipoto said. "This is all upside for us, and it's really all upside for Mark Mulder. Hopefully it's going to end up being one of the really cool stories of the year."

The Angels aren't really counting on Mulder, and they aren't even sure he'd accept an assignment to Triple-A if he doesn't make the big league team out of Spring Training. Heck, they may never need him if they add Masahiro Tanaka or Matt Garza. But it's a no-risk move.

While seeing video of Mulder's throwing sessions, Dipoto noticed "a pitcher executing a good delivery with a clean arm stroke, and the ball was coming out of his hand pretty easy."

"What that all means, I don't know," Dipoto cautioned. "I don't want to read anything into it other than I'm excited for Mark to make a comeback.

"I don't have unrealistic expectations. I know it's been a long while since Mark has competed aggressively at this level of play. But what I do know is you're getting a high-level athlete who's still in great shape, you're getting a high-level competitor who hasn't lost his competitive edge, and you're getting a guy who really wants to do what he's doing and is driven to do it."

Mulder calls the 2008 season finale "one of the best days ever, because I didn't have to go to the field the next day and work for nothing."

His final start that year -- and still his most recent start in any sort of competitive environment -- came on July 9 at Citizens Bank Park and lasted only 16 pitches.

Mulder had been the second overall pick by the A's in 1998, had won 21 games in 2001 and had established himself as one of the game's premier left-handers over a five-year period in Oakland and -- for one solid season -- St. Louis. But he pitched only 12 2/3 innings from '07-08 -- his left shoulder relenting to two rotator cuff surgeries -- and the game stopped being fun.

"I was so miserable the last few years of St. Louis because I knew that no matter what I did, it wasn't getting better," Mulder said. "So each day I'd go to the field, working as hard as I could, with me knowing deep down inside I wasn't coming back. I really knew that I wasn't coming back."

At 31, Mulder had basically moved on. He tried his hand at professional golf, became an analyst for ESPN and, for the better part of a half-decade, never even dreamed of a comeback.

"I didn't miss the game," Mulder said. "I really didn't. I missed the guys. I missed that hangout. I missed the dinners on the road. Those kind of things, I missed. I think it would've been different if I left the game because I wasn't any good anymore. I think that would've been harder than the way I went out, because I went out because I physically couldn't do it."

Huff saw Mulder throw one more time, on Dec. 18, but got all the validation he needed during his second set of 25 pitches on Nov. 25. For most guys who haven't pitched in a while, their stuff has a tendency to erode after taking a break. Mulder's velocity stayed the same; his command and precision got better.

Mulder's fastball sat between 89-92 mph in that first showcase, a few ticks faster than where he was at the tail end of his career, and Huff felt Mulder commanded five pitches. His changeup, a pitch the lefty hardly ever utilized in the past, has become his second-best pitch, just behind the sinker. And the new delivery is working wonders.

Mulder was inspired by watching Rodriguez, who vaults his throwing hand in the air just before firing a pitch. But unlike Rodriguez -- or, similarly, former Angels pitcher Tommy Hanson -- Mulder doesn't really have a hitch in his delivery. It's a lot smoother, easier to repeat, and puts more pressure on his lower half than his shoulder.

"He's able to get extension and finish pitches, which he really wasn't able to do the last three or four years of his career," said Huff, who's in his second year with the Angels after spending seven years each in the Rays' and Blue Jays' scouting departments. "It's allowing him to do things with the baseball that he wasn't able to do previously."

On New Year's Day, shortly after his deal with the Angels was finalized, Mulder's command finally returned.

Now, he's pushing his arm to new limits.

On Sunday, Mulder threw an intense simulated game at Chad Moeller's baseball facility in Scottsdale, Ariz., consisting of four 25-pitch sessions in which he told hitters what was coming. On Saturday, he'll do it again. Five days after that, he'll do another one. Then he'll back off and give his arm a break for the start of Spring Training, when he'll look to make a comeback befitting a Hollywood script.

"I don't know what's going to come of it," Mulder said, "but I just know that I'm very confident in what I'm doing, and I'd like to think that when the Angels people see me throw, I'm going to hopefully turn some heads."


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     The article said:

01. "On a random October night in the living room of his Phoenix home, retired baseball pitcher, Mark Mulder, watched Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez pitch."
02. "Mr. Mulder realized that Mr. Rodriguez separated his hands much higher in his delivery.
03. "Mr. Mulder decided to try Mr. Rodriguez's take-away."

     By shortening his pendulum swing, Mr. Rodriguez gets his pitching arm to driveline height earlier in his body action.

     While I prefer a deeper pendulum swing, baseball pitchers must coordinate when their glove foot lands with when their pitching arm reaches driveline height.

     If Mr. Mulder were to also turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate, then Mr. Mulder will overcome the pitching shoulder problem that lead to his retirement.

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0052.  Phillies prospects Morgan and Watson likely out until August
MLB.com
January 10, 2014

PHILADELPHIA, PA: If Phillies prospect Adam Morgan had remained healthy last season, he almost certainly would have joined the big league rotation.

But he suffered a left shoulder injury which ultimately required surgery this month.

Phillies assistant general manager Benny Looper said Morgan might not be back until August, at the earliest. Fellow prospect Shane Watson is scheduled to have right shoulder surgery shortly. He also is expected to be out until August.

Morgan, the No. 6 prospect in the Phils' system, suffered shoulder problems early last season, but after an MRI exam, doctors prescribed rest.

"He took off the time we wanted him to and the doctors wanted him to," Looper said."But then he started his throwing program and it still bothered him, so he had it looked at again and the decision was made that it was best to have surgery."

Morgan impressed Phillies officials last spring in Clearwater, Fla., and it seemed only a matter of time before he would join the big leagues.

"He was a guy that was close," Looper said. "I know it's hard for us, because it decreases our starting-pitching depth, but it's more of a blow for him. He loses a year here. And really, including last year, he loses a year plus."

The Phillies selected Morgan in the third round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft. He went 2-7 with a 4.04 ERA in 16 starts with Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season. The Phillies selected Watson, ranked No. 8, in the first round in 2012. He went 4-6 with a 4.75 ERA in 16 starts with Class A Lakewood.


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     The article said:

01. "Phillies prospect, Adam Morgan had pitching shoulder problems early last season."
02. "After an MRI exam, doctors prescribed rest."
03. "But, after Mr. Morgan injured his pitching shoulder, the doctors operated on Mr. Morgan's pitching shoulder this month.
04. "Phillies assistant general manager, Benny Looper, said Morgan might not be back until August, at the earliest."
05. "Fellow prospect, Shane Watson, is scheduled to have pitching shoulder surgery shortly."
06. "Mr. Watson is also expected to be out until August."

     Clearly, the Phillies baseball pitching coaches are teaching pitching shoulder injurious flaws.

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0053.  Gray raring to get first full big league season going
MLB.com
January 10, 2014

OAKLAND, CA: That disheartening, yet eerily familiar feeling felt in Oakland following another Game 5 loss to Justin Verlander and the Tigers was compounded by news that Sonny Gray had broken his left thumb.

That was three months ago. Gray has since relived that game through video. He's also had surgery to repair the fracture in his thumb, undergoing 10 weeks of rehab.

And now?

"I was just telling my mom about five minutes ago," Gray said Thursday afternoon from his Nashville, Tenn., home, "that I'm ready to go to Arizona right now. If I could, I'd get in the car and drive out there right now. I'm super excited to get started."

Gray was given the clear for all baseball activity nearly a month ago, and he's about a week away from ramping up his throwing program. The right-hander has already been playing catch for a handful of weeks, every day in fact, with throwing partner David Price.

The Rays hurler, like Gray, attended Vanderbilt University, and that's where they gather each morning at 9 a.m. local time alongside another 15 or so big leaguers, including the Braves' Mike Minor and Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates, to clock in for hours worth of strength work.

This offseason is the first of its kind for Gray, and that's because the 24-year-old is gearing for his first full season in the Majors. Last year, he walked into big league camp simply wanting to make a good enough impression to get a callup before season's end.

Gray would only have to wait until July for that to happen, and he's since gone from top prospect to ace in the making. That was clear when his name appeared on the bill for Game 2 of the American League Division Series, and again for Game 5. This after just 12 Major League appearances, 10 of them starts, and only two years removed from Draft day as a first-round pick. Gray had turned in a 2.67 ERA in those games, with 67 strikeouts next to 20 walks in 64 innings.

"For him to know that we have confidence in him to produce in those situations, for a guy that was here for 10 starts, those are rare guys that you're able to bring up that quickly and have that kind of impact and see that kind of confidence right away," manager Bob Melvin said earlier this offseason. "It's pretty impressive."

Gray wowed the world in October, keeping pace with Verlander and ultimately beating him in Game 2, before the A's stumbled in Games 4 and 5. Still, Gray's performance was perhaps the biggest takeaway from the series.

"I watched both games when I came back home," Gray said, "and it was nice to see that and see yourself be successful. I still haven't really thought of it any differently than any other game, and I don't know if I ever will. I know my adrenaline was going so fast, but it never really sunk in that it was the playoffs and all. Maybe that's just how I deal with it."

Gray is set to join Jarrod Parker and veteran Scott Kazmir in leading an A's rotation that includes as many as five other candidates for the remaining two spots. A.J. Griffin and Dan Straily seem to be the favorites, but Drew Pomeranz, Tommy Milone and Josh Lindblom are also in the mix.

Gray doesn't exactly set personal goals at each year's beginning, but he did mention he'd like to ensure he remains in the rotation for the whole season.

The A's are more than on board with that idea.

"That's a great thought," said Melvin. "He was the crown jewel of all the guys in the Minor Leagues and came up and made an incredible impact right away. He has a very bright future ahead of him."


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     The article said:

01. "In Game 5 of the American League playoff, Sonny Gray broke his glove arm side thumb.

02. "Mr. Gray had surgery to repair the fracture in his thumb." 03. "Mr. Gray underwent 10 weeks of rehab."

     This is what happens when teams do not allow pitchers to play 'Pepper.'

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0054.  Blue Jays' Perez undergoes minor elbow surgery
Jays Journal
January 10, 2014

You can file this one under the slow news day feature, but the Toronto Blue Jays announced on Friday that relief pitcher Luis Perez underwent successful surgery to remove scar tissue from his pitching elbow.

The surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews, and Perez is expected to be ready for Spring Training. The surgery was related to his 2012 Tommy John surgery.

Perez was one of three Blue Jays pitchers that spent 2013 rehabbing from the dreaded elbow surgery, joining Kyle Drabek and Drew Hhutchison on the comeback trail. However, various setbacks held Perez to just 6 appearances at the Minor League level in 2013, and results were mixed in those six appearances.

Over a span of 9.2 innings split between Dunedin and Buffalo, Perez posted a 1.86 ERA but suffered with control issues with a 1.50 K/BB ratio.

His results were also mixed when he received a late-season call-up in September. In six appearances with the big club, Perez managed a 5.40 ERA and a 10.8 K/9 ratio over 5 innings of work.

The 28-year-old southpaw will come to camp in February hoping to make the Blue Jays bullpen, but the competition for lefties will be fierce. Aaron Loup and Brett Cecil are all but guaranteed spots in the pen for 2014, unless either is traded beforehand, and rookie Rob Rasmussen will also be looking to make the leap after struggling at Triple-A with the Dodgers in 2013. Toronto may also have to find a home for J.A. Happ should he be bumped from the rotation by any other moves the team makes this winter.


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

     The article said:

01. "In 2013, Luis Perez, Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison rehabbed from Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery."
02. "In 9.2 innings in the minor leagues and 5.0 innings in the major league, Mr. Perez had mixed results."
03. "Last Friday, Dr. James Andrews surgically removed scar tissue from his repaired Ulnar Collateral Ligament."
04. "Dr. Andrews expects Mr. Perez to be ready for Spring Training."

     When orthopedic surgeons cut into ligaments, muscles and tendons, nobody knows how these tissues will respond.

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0055.  Rotator cuff surgery still eluding modern science
Philadelphia Inquirer
January 03, 2014

Mark Mulder is coming back to baseball, and here come the feel-gooderies.

"It's fitting that it's with the Angels too, one of the teams in baseball so obviously linked to a film. Because if Mulder, 36, can pull this off, it will be a tale for the movies. Even if he doesn't, it'll still be the most intriguing comeback story of the 2014 baseball season."

Mike Oz, Big League Stew

It's a bit of a stretch to compare Joseph Gordon-Levitt just wanting his family back, Danny Glover rage-throwing a rack of bats, and Mark Mulder returning to baseball in real life, but it’s a comeback story! It doesn’t need to make sense!

Anxious as we are to begin threading the narratives for 2014, Mark Mulder hasn’t quite had his story optioned by a studio just yet, though with his minor league deal with the Angels, he is closer to pro ball than a lot of us thought he would ever be again.

When news surfaced that the 36-year-old Mulder who packed in his chewed up rotator cuff and left baseball in 2008, was planning a return, the obvious jokes flew that the Phillies were interested in the starter, having a need for pitching and an endless soft spot for veterans with injury-riddled histories.

Just before Christmas, Mulder worked out for a small gathering of teams, one of which was, in fact, the Phillies.

So, what can an aging hurler staging an improbable comeback expect to accomplish? What can the team who signed him look forward to – and how glad should we be that it wasn’t the Phillies?

The rotator cuff is the name given to the collective of muscles surrounding the bones and nerves in the shoulder that make the arm move away from and back toward the body, which, if you’ve ever seen a pitcher throw, is paramount to the basic principles of their profession.

Therefore, tearing it is hugely detrimental to a career. While baseball players are common victims of the malady, it shows up in anybody whose career involves a lot of repetitive arm waving, from cheerleaders, to weight lifters, to orchestra conductors. But in any case, a rotator cuff tear, like a recurring night terror, is something people just simply don’t want to talk about.

"The cuff is made up of muscles, tendon… you can’t fix it as well as Tommy John," says Justin Shaginaw, a Philadelphia physical therapist and athletic trainer. "A lot of times they’ll have to reconstruct. Those sort of surgeries [Tommy John] tend to go a lot better."

Here’s a story on rotator cuff surgery – which Mulder has undergone twice – that is simply titled "You don't want this."

Even the the handful of baseball executives who they got to stomach an interview on the topic couldn’t avoid grimacing.

"It's frightening to hear those words… when I hear rotator cuff tear, obviously you get really worried and you're concerned about a guy's future. It's definitely a very severe injury now as much as it was in the past." – Former Astros GM Tim Purpura.

"The statistics show pitchers often don't return to their customary level." –Royals GM Dayton Moore.

The most alarming part is that, unlike a UCL (Ulnar Collateral Ligament) issue in the elbow requiring Tommy John surgery, rotator cuff surgery remains too complex a notion for modern science to catch up.

"If you look at those two areas, with respect to the elbow, in terms of the nature of the injury, the UCL is the ligament with a very good blood supply to it," says the Phillies' team physician, Dr. Michael Ciccotti. "That good blood supply can help that to heal."

The shoulder, where the rotator cuff lives, does not have as plentiful a blood supply, limiting the healing capabilities after surgery.

Dr. Ciccotti has not only been with the Phillies for two decades, but also served as the head of the MLB Team Physician Association, while being very involved with research in this area. His findings have helped uncover something even more alarming: depending on how the injury happens, a rotator cuff issue may lull a player into a false sense of security, as it can initially improve their pitching.

"What we think is that some of the changes that occur in the rotator cuff, partial fraying or straining or even partial tearing, may actually be adaptive," he says. "Some of the changes that we see in these structures allow that pitcher more shoulder flexibility; that allows them to throw a ball with greater velocity."

32-year-old Jesse Crain, also recovering from rotator cuff surgery, has gotten a deal with the Astros for 2014. Crain's got a few years on Mulder, and half the rotator cuff surgeries, but he's recent proof that comebacks aren't impossible from this deceptive ailment. Mulder's return, however, was said to require a more "creative" contract with a Major League team.

As we reach into the baseball void of mid-winter and pull out threads connected to nothing, "comeback stories" look all the more inspiring. But Mulder's just may not last very long, given the nature of his injury.

"Somehow he’s defying the odds, because they are definitely stacked against him," Shaginaw says. "He was changing his mechanics, so whether it’s that, whether he did rehabilitation to correct some underlying problems that were causing this shoulder issue, or he’s just really lucky... My guess is if he comes back and pitches, it’s not going to last very long. He’s reached the mileage on that shoulder, and even if he comes back, it'll be for maybe a season."

There is a reason Mulder is a low risk - with incentives, his deal will be around $6 million. The Angels, simultaneously in mid-pursuit of Masahiro Tanaka, have space and money to gamble.

The Phillies are pushing their aging core for the win in 2014, once again blaming injury, not decline, as the reason for an offensive slip in 2013 (and 2012). Of course, failing to acknowledge that an increase in injuries is a likely sign of decline is a bit of willful ignorance, but... hey. They are also no stranger to the injury. Pitching prospect and former 2014 rotation contender Adam Morgan was diagnosed with a small rotator cuff tear in June, and continues to recover.

Fortunately, while the rotator cuff stays ahead of the curve, Dr. Ciccotti says that science isn't far behind.

"We're learning more and more about the injuries that occur in these athletes putting huge forces through their elbow and their shoulder," he says. "We're learning how to hopefully better diagnose them, better treat them non-operatively, or if they need surgery, better surgically treat them, and how to rehabilitate them post-surgery more thoroughly. But ultimately, we might be able to prevent them from occuring by identifying them early on so that we can eliminate the need for any surgical treatment and a long absence from a sport."

"The results of our treatment are improving because we have a better concept of this whole amazing activity of throwing the ball," Dr. Ciccotti concludes.

"Rotator cuff" remains, for the time being, a phrase any GM should be wary of, and teams' interest in Mulder despite his past injuries is a testament to his initial talent. It's a great story, but for now, medical science seems to know how it ends.


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

     Phillies' team physician, Dr. Michael Ciccotti, said:

01. "If you look at those two areas, with respect to the elbow, in terms of the nature of the injury, the UCL is the ligament with a very good blood supply to it."
02. "That good blood supply can help that to heal."
03. "What we think is that some of the changes that occur in the rotator cuff, partial fraying or straining or even partial tearing, may actually be adaptive."
04. "Some of the changes that we see in these structures allow that pitcher more shoulder flexibility; that allows them to throw a ball with greater velocity."
05. "We're learning more and more about the injuries that occur in these athletes putting huge forces through their elbow and their shoulder."
06. "We're learning how to hopefully better diagnose them, better treat them non-operatively, or if they need surgery, better surgically treat them, and how to rehabilitate them post-surgery more thoroughly."
07. "But ultimately, we might be able to prevent them from occuring by identifying them early on so that we can eliminate the need for any surgical treatment and a long absence from a sport."
08. "The results of our treatment are improving because we have a better concept of this whole amazing activity of throwing the ball."

     Typically, the insertions of the Subscapularis and the Teres Minor muscle is the injured rotator cuff muscles.

     The solution is not surgery. The solution is to teach baseball pitchers how to not use their Subscapularis or Teres Minor muscles to accelerate and decelerate their pitching arm.

     Can Dr. Ciccotti say: Latissimus Dorsi?

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0056.  Applying your pitching motion to infielders and Quarterbacks to prevent injuries

I am a 25 years old guy from Shanghai, China that currently plays amateur baseball and football. I stumbled across your studies on one of the episodes of MLB Tonight.

I have suffered two shoulder injuries. I was diagnosed with Superior Labrum Anterior to Posterior syndrome and minor Rotator Cuff tear.

Because of I live in a country that very few people knows about throwing a baseball and football, I never had proper instructions and have to teach myself how to do it by reading stuff on the internet.

Sometimes, my inner shoulder will feel pain (when I first playing baseball, my inner elbow will also feel pain). So I have been desperately seeking answers on the web to look for ways to prevent them.

Aside from paying attention to warm up and conditioning. Some of the tips that I picked up when comes to baseball are:

- Showing the ball to 3B (1B for lefties).
- Keeping their elbows below their shoulders.
- Not reverse-rotating their shoulders.
- Not leaving their Pitching Arm Side foot on the rubber.
- Go "Thumbs Up" After Breaking Your Hands
- separate your hands early

When comes to throwing a football, I learned on the internet is that your elbow have to hit ZERO position, which I quoted:

Is an orthopedic term which is roughly six inches forward of your shoulder in a slot called the angle of the scapula or in line with your shoulder blade curving around from the back.

It is described as the safest, strongest position for the arm to be in, as there is no stress on the shoulder joint muscles, the front or the back.

you can find out more about this theory here:

Improve the Quarterback Throwing Motion

I’ve tried different ways to tweak my throwing mechanics in the past years but still I can’t really find a perfect motion that can protect yourself and the same time deliver the ball with good accuracy and velocity.

So my questions are:

1) Are the above tips, both football and basic, that can supposed to help a player prevent injuries really effective? Or even harmful?

2) Do you think it’s possible for infielders and QBs to use your motion to throw the ball? For example, keep your throwing arm horizontal (toward 2nd Base) and not cocking it, inward rotate your elbow, don’t throw side arm/ rotary and etc.?


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01. No. Paul Nyman's Scapular Loading is an injurious flaw that injures the front of the throwing shoulder.

02. My pitching arm action not only works for baseball position players and quarterbacks, it works for all other maximum velocity overhead arm actions, including tennis serving, volleyball spiking, javelin throwing, tomahawk throwing and so on.

     Here are some of my tips:

01. Never allow your throwing upper arm to move behind the line between the tips of your shoulder (acromial line).
02. Do not reverse rotate your hips and shoulders beyond pointing at second base.
03. Rotate your body forward over your glove foot.
04. Turn the back of your throwing upper arm to face toward your target.
05. Always pronate your throwing forearm as hard as you can.

     You need to watch all eleven sections of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and my Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video.

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0057.  Betancourt makes progress in elbow rehab
Denver Post
January 10, 2014

Rafael Betancourt couldn’t live with the uncertainty. There was path to retirement after he he tore his right elbow ligament last Aug. 22.

“But I didn’t want to wonder what if?” Betancourt said on Friday morning.

The 38-year-old elected to undergo surgery and said Friday that his recovery is advancing as planned. He will visit Dr. James Andrews next week, and should begin throwing soon after the exam. Betancourt plans to visit the Rockies for two weeks in spring training in March, and hasn’t given up on pitching during the 2014 season. The Los Angeles Dodgers contacted him as a free agent, but he’s committed to returning with Colorado.

“If I pitch again, it will be with the Rockies. I can’t see myself anywhere else at this point in my career. I have really enjoyed five years there,” Betancourt said.

Betancourt has talked with Rockies pitcher Jorge De La Rosa and former teammate Felipe Paulino about the wrinkles in the recovery from Tommy John surgery.

“They both said that at nine and 10 months you feel really strong again. I feel good. It feels better every day,” Betancourt said.

The Rockies declined the right-hander’s $4.25 million contract option following the injury. They signed La Troy Hawkins and Boone Logan as free agents to bolster a bullpen that struggled mightily when Betancourt was hurt with groin and elbow injuries.

Betancourt has posted a 3.08 ERA with 57 saves in 264 appearances with the Rockies.


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     At 38 years old, the short time that Mr. Betancourt will have before he ruptures his replacement Ulnar Collateral Tendon does not make much of a difference.

     Or, Mr. Betancourt could complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program and pitch deep into his forties.

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0058.  Scheppers told to be prepared to start
FoxSports.com
January 11, 2014

Tanner Scheppers could be in for a big change too this season. He was a dominant set-up man for the Rangers last year but has been told to be prepared to start this spring.

Scheppers proved to be worthy of his role as a set-up man last season, as he posted a 1.88 ERA in 76 games and tied the club record for most holds with 27.

As good as Scheppers was in the bullpen, he could find his way into a starting rotation that figures to be a starter short for the first half of the season because of the knee injury to Derek Holland. Of course the Rangers also have a vacancy at closer with the departure of Joe Nathan and Scheppers could fit in that mix with both Neftali Feliz and Joakim Soria.

I'm just going to go in the best shape of my life, ready to throw, whatever they need," Scheppers said. "I've been asked to possibly be ready for both (starter or closer) so I'm going to go in ready for whatever. I feel like my body is feeling good, healthy."

Scheppers isn't sure that his chances of starting have increased because of the Holland injury.

"It opens the door for someone," Scheppers said. "There's going to be an opportunity out there. There's a lot of talented guys out there. We've got Colby Lewis that we signed back. We've got Robbie Ross who went to the winter leagues and worked out. There are a lot of great candidates for that."


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

     Instead of 'Willie Pipped,' Mr. Holland got 'Wrigley the dogged.'

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0059.  Axford's short stint with Cardinals was pivotal and profitable
National Post
January 12, 2014

TORONTO, ON: On John Axford’s first day with the St. Louis Cardinals, his new coaches sat him down for a meeting. We’ve been scouting you for five years, they said. And by the way, you might be interested in one thing we know about you: You’re tipping your pitches.

Axford was stunned. In that moment, his mind raced back to certain games he had pitched against the Cardinals while with the Milwaukee Brewers.

“I recall, sitting in that room when they told me that, a few different games running through my mind, including blown saves, and thinking, ‘Maybe that’s why they didn’t swing at that slider that was just out of the zone,’ ” he said.

No one knows how many other opponents had matched the Cardinals’ detective work. But after a grand 2011 season – 1.95 ERA, 46 saves for Milwaukee – the tall Canadian had twice lost his closer’s job and logged a cumulative 4.97 ERA before the trade.

His fortunes turned when the Cardinals acquired him last Aug. 30. After he made “one little adjustment” in his delivery, batters no longer knew what to expect. Axford posted a 1.74 ERA in 13 games for St. Louis and topped it off with a 1.59 mark in six post-season games, including two scoreless outings against Boston in the World Series.

Then came free agency and a contract with Cleveland. His $4.5-million salary could climb to US$6.25-million if he meets a series of performance incentives based on the number of games finished. Yes, he is a closer again.

So Axford’s short St. Louis sojourn was pivotal and profitable. Once he stopped tipping his pitches, opportunities blossomed.

“I obviously wouldn’t have been in the World Series, and I don’t think I would be in the position I’m in right now with the Cleveland Indians if I wasn’t traded [from Milwaukee],” he said Saturday before Baseball Canada's annual awards banquet.

“[The St. Louis] coaching staff really helped me out, picking that up and helping me along the way for those two months. And pitching well, and pitching well in the playoffs – I think that’s what really catapulted the opportunity for me to be a closer again.”

Axford was born in Simcoe, Ont. and lives with his wife and two young sons in Ancaster, hard by Hamilton. Cleveland is a 4 ½-hour drive from home. That was one of the attractions.

There were others too. He likes the resurgent team. He likes Terry Francona, who came across as an “upfront” manager who had all the right answers to his questions, he said. Cleveland felt like a good fit.

“It’s a young team, it’s a close team, and it seems like a tight clubhouse, and that’s kind of what I like,” he said. The icing on the cake?

“Being able to get into the closer’s role. That was very important to me,” he said.

A 6-foot-5 right-hander who sits in the mid-90s and can hit 98 when he needs to, Axford lost the Milwaukee closer’s job for a while in 2012 and permanently last April when he got off to a rough start after pushing himself to get ready for the World Baseball Classic. The Brewers’ new closer: Jimmy Henderson, another 6-foot-5 Canadian and a close friend of Axford.

A Calgary native, Henderson is a late bloomer whose arm injuries forced him to start at the bottom twice in the minors. It took a decade before he finally made it to the majors in 2012.

He became the Brewers’ go-to guy when Axford and Francisco Rodriguez struggled to preserve ninth-inning leads in 2012. This past season, he saved 28 games, struck out 75 in 60 innings and posted a 2.70 ERA.

Both Axford, 30, and Henderson, 31, had pitched for Canadian national teams, but not at the same time. They did not meet until Henderson joined the Brewers.

“When I got called up, he took me under his wing,” Henderson said. “It’s a big adjustment you have to make from the minor leagues to the big leagues. He taught me the ways on and off the field. When he got traded, I sat down and thanked him for everything he’s done for me, and he was real appreciative.”

A modest right-hander with a 95-mile-an-hour fastball, Henderson recalls that exchange as Axford was packing his bags for St. Louis.

“He said to me, ‘Maybe now you can take this closing job and run with it,’ ” Henderson said. “I said to him, ‘Throughout my time closing so far, I feel like I’ve been just holding the position temporarily, waiting for you or K-Rod.’

“He said, ‘That’s a great attitude to have going forward. Just get in there and get those three outs. Don’t look over your shoulder but just know that there is competition, and don’t take it for granted.’ I think that’s the best advice he gave me.”

They were back together Saturday night, towering over their Canadian baseball brethren as they chatted during the pre-banquet reception, each with his own closer’s job now.


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     Indians baseball pitcher, John Axford, said: “I recall, sitting in that room when they told me that, a few different games running through my mind, including blown saves, and thinking, ‘Maybe that’s why they didn’t swing at that slider that was just out of the zone.’

     After every game that professional baseball pitchers pitch, they should write down every pitch and the results.

     Then, instead of waiting until the Cardinals traded for Mr. Axford to learn that he tipped his pitches, Mr. Axford would have realized that the opposition knew what pitches he was going to throw.

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0060.  Holland undergoes microfracture surgery on left knee
MLB.com
January 14, 2014

ARLINGTON, TX: The Rangers revealed that pitcher Derek Holland underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee last Friday during an operation to repair torn cartilage behind the kneecap.

Microfracture surgery, designed to stimulate the blood flow behind the kneecap, is more serious than a regular operation for torn cartilage, and it is why Holland could be out until the All-Star break.

Holland injured the knee falling on the stairs at his house while playing with his dog, and he will be on crutches for six weeks until he can begin a full rehabilitation program.

Holland was expected to be in a rotation that includes Yu Darvish, Matt Harrison, Martin Perez and Alexi Ogando. Nick Tepesch, who began last season as the Rangers' fifth starter, is the leading candidate to replace Holland. The Rangers also re-signed pitcher Colby Lewis to a Minor League contract and will also consider moving either left-hander Robbie Ross or right-hander Tanner Scheppers out of the bullpen.


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Macrofracture Surgery
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Microfracture surgery is an articular cartilage repair surgical technique that works by creating tiny fractures in the underlying bone. This causes new cartilage to develop from a so-called super-clot.

Microfracture surgery has gained popularity in sports in recent years; numerous professional athletes including members of the NBA (most notably Andrew Bogut, Anfernee Hardaway, Jason Kidd, Greg Oden, Allan Houston, Kenyon Martin, Tracy McGrady, Chris Webber, and Amar'e Stoudemire), MLB (Jeff Clement), NFL and NHL have undergone the procedure.

The surgery is quick (typically lasting between 30-90 minutes), minimally invasive, and can have a significantly shorter recovery time than an arthroplasty (knee replacement).

Background

Chronic articular cartilage defects do not heal spontaneously[1]. However, acute traumatic osteochondral lesions or surgically created lesions extending into subchondral bone, e.g. by Pridie drilling,[2] spongialization,[3] abrasion, [4] or microfracture causing the release of multipotent mesenchymal stem cells from the bone marrow, may heal with repair tissue consisting of fibrous tissue, fibrocartilage or hyaline-like cartilage[5].

The quality of the repair tissue after these "bone marrow stimulating techniques" depends on various factors including the species and age of the individual, the size and localization of the articular cartilage defect, the surgical technique, e.g., how the subchondral bone plate is treated, and the postoperative rehabilitation protocol[6].

Development

The surgery was developed in the late 1980s and early 1990s by Dr. Richard Steadman of the Steadman-Hawkins clinic in Vail, Colorado. Steadman slowly refined the procedure through research (including tests on horses)[7]. The surgery was soon called "controversial" by many sportswriters, due to a lack of studies on the long-term effects and the fact that an unsuccessful surgery could end an athlete's career[8]. Dr. Steadman has also adapted the surgery into a treatment to help reattach torn ligaments (a technique he calls the "healing response")

Procedure

The surgery is performed by arthroscopy, after the joint is cleaned of calcified cartilage. Through use of an awl, the surgeon creates tiny fractures in the subchondral bone plate[9]. Blood and bone marrow (which contains stem cells) seep out of the fractures, creating a blood clot that releases cartilage-building cells. The microfractures are treated as an injury by the body, which is why the surgery results in new, replacement cartilage[10]. The procedure is less effective in treating older patients, overweight patients, or a cartilage lesion larger than 2.5 cm.[10] Further on, chances are high that after only 1 or 2 years of the surgery symptoms start to return as the fibrocartilage wears away, forcing the patient to reengage in articular cartilage repair.

The effectiveness of cartilage growth after microfracture surgery is thought to be dependent on the patient's bone marrow stem cell population and some think increasing the number of stem cells increases the chances of success. A couple of physicians are promoting an alternative treatment implanting autologous mesenchymal stem cells directly into the cartilage defect, without having to penetrate the subchondral bone[11][12][13].

Microfracture Reports

Studies have shown that microfracture techniques do not fill in the chondral defect fully, forming fibrocartilage rather than hyaline cartilage. Fibrocartilage is not as mechanically sound as hyaline cartilage; it is much denser and unable to withstand the demands of everyday activities as well as the original cartilage and is thus at higher risk of breaking down[14]. The blood clot is very delicate after surgery and needs to be protected. In terms of time, the clot takes about 8 weeks to 15 weeks convert to fibrous tissue and is usually fibrocartilage by about four months post surgery, holding implications for the rehabilitation[14].

Chondrocyte Implantation procedures (CCI), a cell based articular cartilage repair procedure that aims to provide complete hyaline repair tissues for articular cartilage repair, have been posed by some as an alternative to microfracture surgery.

In February 2008, Saris et. al published a large-scale study claiming that CCI results in better structural repair for symptomatic cartilage defects of the knee than microfracture surgery. According to the study, one year after treatment, the tissue regenerate associated with CCI is of better quality than that of microfracture surgery[15].

Use in professional sports

There have been many notable professional athletes who have undergone the procedure. Partially because of the high level of stress placed on the knees by these athletes, the surgery is not a panacea and results have been mixed. Many players' careers effectively end despite the surgery.

However, some players such as Jason Kidd, Steve Yzerman, John Stockton, Kenyon Martin and Zach Randolph[16] have been able to return at or near their pre-surgery form while players Ron Harper, Brian Grant, Chris Webber, Allan Houston, Penny Hardaway, and the late Derek Smith never regained their old form[9].

Others such as Jamal Mashburn and Terrell Brandon never recovered and retired.

Portland Trail Blazers rookie Greg Oden underwent the procedure on his right knee in early September 2007 and missed the entire 2007-2008 NBA season. At only 19 at the time of the surgery, doctors were confident that he would return to at or near full strength by the 2008-2009 season; he had a second microfracture surgery, this time on his left knee, in November 2010. Subsequently, Oden did not play in the NBA for over four years, missing the entirety of the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 NBA seasons[17].

The San Antonio Spurs player, Tracy McGrady also underwent microfracture surgery, doctors were confident that the 2 time scoring champion will return to full strength. As of 2012 he has not had the same speed and jumping ability as he formerly did.

In October 2005, young star Amar'e Stoudemire of the NBA's Phoenix Suns underwent one of the highest-profile microfracture surgeries to date. He returned to the court in March 2006 and initially appeared to have made a full recovery, but subsequently started feeling stiffness in both knees (his right knee had been overcompensating for the injured left knee).

He and the team doctor decided he needed more time to rehab and he did not return until the 2006-2007 NBA season[18]. During the 2006-2007 season, Stoudemire returned to form, averaging 20.4 points and 9.6 rebounds per game while playing in all 82 regular-season games and the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. His recent success has brought positive publicity to the procedure, further distancing it from a previous reputation as a possible "career death sentence" in the sports world, though he was one of the youngest of the aforementioned players to undergo the surgery[19].

In June 2010, Grady Sizemore of the Cleveland Indians underwent microfracture surgery after injuring his left knee while diving back to first base earlier in the season. Sizemore was re-activated as the Indians center fielder in April 2011, ending an 11-month stretch of being disabled due to his injury. In his first game back on April 17, 2011 Sizemore showed no signs of slowing down as he had 2 hits in 4 AB which included a double and Home Run. Currently, Sizemore is the only player in MLB history to come back from knee microfracture surgery and play centerfield[20].

Recovery

One study has shown a success rate of 75 to 80 percent among patients 45 years of age or younger[21][22]. It is an outpatient procedure and causes only small discomfort. The harder part is the restrictions that are placed on the patient during the post-operative recovery period. This can be a major challenge for many patients.

For optimal re-growth of joint surface, the patients need to be very patient and also extremely cooperative. They usually need to be on crutches for four to six weeks (sometimes longer). Sometimes a brace is needed. This all depends on the size and/or location of the joint surface defect that is being repaired or regenerated.

The patients are encouraged to spend approximately 6–8 hours a day on a CPM (Continuous Passive Motion) machine that helps with optimal re-growth of joint surface. The procedure is so painless that some patients avoid these critically important steps and expose the knee to physical activity before the joint fully heals.

Steadman cites the significance of a patient's natural joint alignment in addition to disciplined rehabilitation in recovery from the procedure[9].

References

1. Hunter W (1743) "On the structure and diseases of articulating cartilages." Trans R Soc Lond 42B:514-21
2. Pridie K (1959) A method of resurfacing osteoarthritic knee joints. J Bone Joint Surg Br 41-B(3):618-619
3. Ficat RP, Ficat C, Gedeon P, Toussaint JB (1979) Spongialization: a new treatment for diseased patellae. Clin Orthop Relat Res (144):74-83
4. Johnson LL (1986) Arthroscopic abrasion arthroplasty historical and pathologic perspective: present status. Arthroscopy 2(1):54-69
5. Key JA (1931) Experimental arthritis: The changes in joints produced by creating defects in the articular cartilage. J Bone Joint Surg Am 13(4):725-739
6. Alford JW, Cole BJ (2005) Cartilage restoration, part 2: techniques, outcomes, and future directions. Am J Sports Med 33(3):443-460
7. Dr. Richard Steadman: Pioneer in Cartilage Regeneration interview by Neal Patel, Knee1.com, July 31, 2000
8. Bills looking for more balance on offense , Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com, August 5, 2003
9. Microfracture knee surgery and its impact on the NBA , Austin Kent, The Good Point July 26, 2010
10. Older Knees Now Have New Option , Vicky Lowry, New York Times, April 5, 2005 (reprinted with permission in Steadman-Hawkins Research Foundation newsletter, Vol 11 (Fall-Winter) 2005-06)
11. Centeno CJ, Busse D, Kisiday J, Keohan C, Freeman M, Karli D Increased knee cartilage volume in degenerative joint disease using percutaneously implanted, autologous mesenchymal stem cells. Pain Physician. 2008 May-Jun;11(3):343-53.
12. Christopher Centeno, Dan Busse, John Kisiday, Cristin Keohan, Michael Freeman Increased knee cartilage volume in degenerative joint disease using percutaneously implanted, autologous mesenchymal stem cells, platelet lysate and dexamethasone http://www.amjcaserep.com/index.php?/archives/article/855038
13. Chondral Injury & Microfracture . North Yorkshire Orthopaedic Specialists. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
14. "Articular cartilage repair of the knee" by Karen Hambly. www.cartilagehealth.com/acr.html
15. Characterized Chondrocyte Implantation Results in Better Structural Repair When Treating Symptomatic Cartilage Defects of the Knee in a Randomized Controlled Trial Versus microfracture, The American Journal of Sports Medicine volume 36 number 2, pp 235-246. February 2008.
16. Stoudemire
17. "Greg Oden undergoes microfracture surgery"
18. Amaré back in Valley , Paul Coro, The Arizona Republic, March 30, 2006
19. 10 Drops of NBA Knowledge , Marc Stein, ESPN.com, March 17, 2007
20. "Sizemore’s running and Indians are winning"
21. Outcomes of microfracture for traumatic chondral defects of the knee: Average 11-year follow-up , Steadman et al., Arthroscopy: The Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery, Vol 19, No 5 (May–June), 2003: pp 477–484
22. Orthopaedic Surgeon Performs Innovative Microfracture Procedure On Arthritic Knees Avoiding Knee Replacement Surgery , Medical News Today, February 26, 2006

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     We need to understand this surgery.

     Badly broken bones activate the osteoblast cells to repair the break. Typically, broken bones heal in about six weeks.

     Unfortunately, small stress breaks frequently do not activate osteoblasts cells.

     This procedure is to stimulate the osteoblast cells to heal the stress-caused microfractures and the surgeon-causes microfractures.

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0061.  Applying your pitching motion to infielders and Quarterbacks to prevent injuries

Thank you for the detailed explanation.

I've just gone through all of your material, and have some questions that I hope you can shed some light on.

You mentioned last time that, as I quoted, "My pitching arm action not only works for baseball position players and quarterbacks, it works for all other maximum velocity overhead arm actions, including tennis serving, volleyball spiking, javelin throwing, tomahawk throwing and so on."

So, for an infielder who's going for a bunt, or a Quarterback facing defenders charging toward him, he won't have enough time to go through the entire pitching arm motion.

Q #1: How do I condense the motion while still benefit from the injury-free motion of yours?

Q #2: How do I teach your motion to young college kids and 20 something adults who have never throw a baseball/ football before in their lives?

As I told you last time that I live in China, so these are really exotic sports here. I am not a coach by any means, but I don’t want them to suffer the same rotator cuff and labrum injuries that I had.

Q #3: Do I start with using the drills in your “Wrist weight training program” as a fundamental (maybe without wrist weight)?

Q #4: How do I implement your motion when they play catch or just tossing ball around?

I believe that your motion is injury-free, but for me or those who have suffered injuries already due to improper throwing technique in the past.

Q #5: Do you recommend any exercises or workout to condition the shoulders and the arms?

When I watch Jeffrey Sparks pitch in the video, he’s motion is not entirely like the pitching mechanics that are presented in your other drills. His arm is not vertical, but more like a three-quarter release; he doesn’t really lean back when he finishes the delivery; his feet is still parallel with the rubber and etc.

I don’t know if it’s because he had to keep a traditional look to make his pitching coach satisfied, or the coaches force him to reverse back to the traditional mechanics.

Q #6: Do you think a modified or “hybrid” mechanics like Sparks’ is injurious?

Q #7: If not, will the true Maxline pitching mechanics be more superior?

PS: I have read quite a few articles about you since our first email correspondence, and I am very sad to see that the mainstream Baseball in America refuses to accept your ideas; Especially the case with Mr. Sparks who had a 1.5 ERA and a 1.71 AVG in 1999 season. I hope someday people will wake up and use your mechanic to teach future baseball players.

Again, thank you for your time reading this.


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A #01: The key to quick releases is the getting the glove/front foot on the ground.

     When infielders need a quick release, they should catch the ground ball when stepping forward with their pitching/rear foot, then during their short step forward with their glove/front foot, they use a shallow pendulum swing such that, when their glove/front foot lands, they have their throwing arm at driveline height.

     Quarterbacks should hold the football above shoulder height by their head. Then, when they short step toward their target, they reach straight backward and drive off their throwing/rear foot through release.

Q #2: To teach my throwing motion, you start with my Second base pick-off body action, Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill and have them throw the square lid off a four gallon bucket. When they learn how to horizontally 'sail' the lid, they will be using the throwing arm action that we want.

Q #3: Yes, you should use the drills in my Wrist Weight Training Program section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     You need to teach yourself and your students how to properly perform the drills in my Wrist Weight Training Program.

     If they are less than 16 years old, they should complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program. If they are 16 years old and older, they should complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program. Whatever their age, they need to use age-appropriate wrist weights and iron balls.

Q #4: Until you and your students master throwing the lid and the appropriate-sized football, they should not throw baseballs. Therefore, you need to also learn how to perform the football and lid throws that I show in the Football Training Program section of my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

Q #5: Because my baseball pitching motion uses different muscles than the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, even injured baseball pitchers should be able to perform the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     You are correct.

     Mr. Sparks does not perform my baseball pitching motion perfectly. Nevertheless, in the front view high-speed clip, you can see that Jeff turns the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     The reason why Jeff cannot get his pitching forearm vertical at release is because, just before Jeff starts his pitching upper arm forward, Jeff moves his pitching hand laterally behind his head. I call this, 'Grabbing.'

     For Jeff, this is a life-long habit. Even with a slight 'Pitching Forearm Flyout,' Jeff throws very high-quality pitches. Nevertheless, Jeff's grab does cost him release velocity and consistency.

Q #6: Jeff's 'Grab' is not injurious flaw.

     Despite his 'Grab,' Jeff properly uses his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to extend and inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm, his Triceps Brachii muscle to extend his pitching elbow and his Pronator Teres muscle to pronate his pitching forearm, just not in the absolute straight line of perfection.

Q #7: You are correct.

     If Jeff drove his pitching hand in an absolutely straight line, then Jeff would not have to waste force trying to keep the baseball in line with home plate. But, with the sideways circle that 'traditional' baseball pitchers use, they not only cannot keep their pitches in line with home plate, they destroy their pitching shoulder trying.

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0062.  Bundy: "I'm throwing without pain for the first time in a year"
MASN.com
January 14, 2014

Sarasota, FL: Dylan Bundy has set June 28 as his target date to pitch in a "competitive" game, exactly one year after undergoing ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow.

Bundy, regarded in some circles as the Orioles' top prospect - slightly ahead of pitcher Kevin Gausman - is throwing from 60 feet and said "everything's great."

"I'm throwing without pain for the first time in a year, so that's always a positive," Bundy said after participating in today's mini-camp in Sarasota. "I'm up to 60 feet now. It feels great. Now it's just a progression to get out to 200 feet and then get on a mound. I think the plan is hopefully to be on a mound or a half-mound at the end of spring training.

Asked whether he's ahead of schedule, Bundy replied, "It's a tough question, whether you're ahead of schedule or not on schedule, because different players come back at different times. It just kind of depends on your work ethic and whether you have setbacks when you get back on a mound. But I'd say I'm on schedule so far and I'm happy with it."

And that schedule could allow him to make his first non-rehab start, most likely at Double-A Bowie, since 2012. He didn't pitch last season.

"They say 10 to 12 to 14 months, something like that," he said. "I had surgery on June 28, so really my plan is to be in a game competitively by June 28. Hopefully, the plan is to be pitching in sim games or these games down here in the GCL for a little bit by June. That's the plan. Plans change, though."

Bundy was asked what he's learned during his time away from baseball.

"Go to the trainers," he replied. "If you've got a little bit of pain, no matter if it's a small thing, maybe there's a chance they can take care of it earlier. That's a little piece of advice. I tried to throw through it because that's just my mentality. If I think I could have gotten through it, I tried it, especially down in the minor league camp, and it didn't work for me. We tried different processes - rehab, rest and then the platelet rich plasma thing - and that didn't work. I wish I had it done earlier so I could come back earlier this year, but that's just how things go.

"That first month after surgery was hard, seeing everybody playing and I'm just sitting on the couch resting. It was hard. But after I started doing my shoulder exercises and stuff like that, seeing progress helped."

Bundy has been focusing on lower-body exercises and ones designed to strengthen his shoulder.

"I've never done so many shoulder exercises in my life," he said. "In high school, I didn't know a whole lot of shoulder stuff. I just worked out and long tossed and did some mini-band stuff for my shoulder. Right now, we're doing a lot of exercises and definitely my shoulder feels a lot stronger than it has been, so I know coming back that if I keep doing these exercises, it should feel great."

The Orioles want Bundy to adjust his offseason workout routine and eliminate the chance of a setback.

"There are some things we've already changed, as far as what I've done in the offseason," he said. "As far as workout-wise, there's some stuff that I've changed that I don't do anymore. It could be for the better. You learn as you go. I changed some stuff last year in my offseason program that might have hurt me, might have not. You never know. But as you get older, your body changes. You've got to change with it.

"Not so much less lifting. I mean, yes, we're doing less upper body, just because I'm still six months out, but mainly some of the exercises I did back then, because I told them what I did in the offseason. You know, communication is huge between us. I was being honest with them and telling them what we were doing. We cut some of it out. But we also do some of the stuff I have been doing, which mainly is legs for me."

Bundy, 21, is rehabbing under the supervision of minor league medical coordinator Dave Walker, who played catch with him earlier in the day.

"Right now, he told me the main thing is throwing," Bundy said. "That's what my job is, to pitch, so the main thing it throwing. Before I started throwing, the main thing is getting your shoulder exercises done every day - and elbow exercises, whatever you're doing that day. That was the main goal, to do that right and do it correctly and stay on it. And now every other day, it's throwing. That's the main goal. That's what you want to accomplish every other day and do it right and get good use from it."

It's possible that Bundy will be able to pitch for the Orioles in the second half, though he's not looking that far ahead. "I look at it like I want to be competing by mid-June, something like that, and hopefully no setbacks happen," he said. "As far as getting back to the big leagues, that's their decision. That's up to Buck (Showalter) and the front office people. However it goes, that's how it goes. I can't really predict the future."

Bundy's older brother, Bobby, could arrive in Sarasota next month to continue rehabbing from his own Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in August after having bone chips removed from his elbow two months earlier. He's not likely to pitch in 2014.


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     When asked what Mr. Bundy learned from rupturing his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, Dylan Bundy, said:

01. "Go to the trainers."
02. "If you've got a little bit of pain, no matter if it's a small thing, maybe there's a chance they can take care of it earlier."
03. "That's a little piece of advice."
04. "I tried to throw through it because that's just my mentality."
05. "If I think I could have gotten through it, I tried it, especially down in the minor league camp, and it didn't work for me."
06. "We tried different processes - rehab, rest and then the platelet rich plasma thing - and that didn't work.
07. "I wish I had it done earlier so I could come back earlier this year, but that's just how things go."

     As I recall, at first, Dr. Andrews did not believe that Mr. Bundy needed surgery to replace his ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligament. So, what does going to the trainers early help?

     When asked what, to eliminate the chance of setbacks, Mr. Bundy has changed in his off-season workout, Dylan Bundy, said:

01. "There are some things we've already changed, as far as what I've done in the off-eason."
02. "As far as workout-wise, there's some stuff that I've changed that I don't do anymore."
03. "It could be for the better."
04. "You learn as you go."
05. "I changed some stuff last year in my off-season program that might have hurt me, might have not."
06. "You never know."
07. "But, as you get older, your body changes."
08. "You've got to change with it."
09. "Not so much less lifting."
10. "I mean, yes, we're doing less upper body, just because I'm still six months out, but mainly some of the exercises I did back then, because I told them what I did in the off-season."
11. "You know, communication is huge between us."
12. "I was being honest with them and telling them what we were doing."
13. "We cut some of it out."
14. "But, we also do some of the stuff I have been doing, which mainly is legs for me."

     All Mr. Bundy needs to do every off-season is to do my 120-Day Hight School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     With the comment, "It could be for the better," Mr. Bundy knows that what the trainers have him doing is not helping.

     Orioles minor league medical coordinator, Dave Walker, is supervising Mr. Bundy's rehabilitation from his Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery. Earlier in this interview day, Mr. Walker played catch with Mr. Bundy.

     When asked about what Mr. Walker wants 21 year old Orioles baseball pitcher to do, Dylan Bundy, said:

01. "Right now, he told me the main thing is throwing."
02. "That's what my job is, to pitch, so the main thing it throwing."
03. "Before I started throwing, the main thing is getting your shoulder exercises done every day - and elbow exercises, whatever you're doing that day."
04. "That was the main goal, to do that right and do it correctly and stay on it."
05. "And now every other day, it's throwing."
06. "That's the main goal."
07. "That's what you want to accomplish every other day and do it right and get good use from it."

     It is too bad that Mr. Walker cannot explain to Mr. Bundy what Mr. Bundy did that caused his Ulnar Collateral Ligament to rupture and how to prevent rupturing his replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Unless Mr. Bundy learns how to properly pendulum swing his pitching arm to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement, in a few years, Mr. Bundy can look forward to rehabilitating his second replacement Ulnar Collateral Tendon surgery.

     At 21 years old, Mr. Bundy could have several of these surgeries. So far, the record is three.

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0063.  Brewers minor leaguer suspended 100 games
Associated Press
January 14, 2014

NEW YORK, NY: Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Will West had been given a 100-game suspension for violations of baseball's minor league drug program, a penalty that will be added to the 50-game ban from last summer that he hasn't completed.

Major League Baseball said Tuesday that the 21-year-old left-hander tested positive for an amphetamine and had a third positive test for a drug of abuse. He was suspended on Aug. 5 for a drug of abuse and has 30 games remaining to serve.

West made two starts and one relief appearance last summer for the Arizona League Brewers, compiling a 5.06 ERA.

There have been six suspensions this year under the minor league program.


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     In 1967, the major league trainers gave 'red juice' to whoever wanted it.

     When did taking amphetamines compare with using steroids?

     Can they drink several cups of caffine-laded coffee or 5-hour 'red juice.'

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0064.  Braden retires due to continuing shoulder troubles
MLB.com
January 15, 2014

Former A's pitcher Dallas Braden said on Tuesday he is retiring from Major League Baseball after multiple surgeries have rendered his left shoulder a "shredded mess."

The 30-year-old Braden is best known for authoring the 19th perfect game in Major League history on May 9, 2010 -- Mother's Day -- in a 4-0 Oakland victory over Tampa Bay.

"There is nothing left in there, it's just a shredded mess," Braden told the Chronicle. "I left my arm on the mound at the Coliseum, and I'm OK with that."

Braden finishes his career 26-36 with a 4.16 ERA in five seasons, all with the A's. He last pitched in the Majors in 2011. Braden said he was working out this offseason in hopes of a comeback but suffered a setback. An MRI showed his shoulder was too damaged to fix, he said.

"I wasn't in a position to repeat my delivery, to pitch with any intention," Braden told the newspaper. "That's OK, I understood the odds I was facing. You have to face your mortality one day, and I have been so blessed in this game. If I take 10 minutes to be hacked off about it, it would be nine minutes too long. You can't ask for more than I've been given, coming where my grandmother and I are coming from."

His biggest moment will be that perfect game on Mother's Day. Braden's mother, Jodie Atwood, died of cancer when he was a teenager but his grandmother, Peggy Lindsey, was in attendance for the perfecto.

"That game will always define the one solid day of work I had and the fact that I got to share it with my grandmother, only a few people appreciate the magnitude of that," Braden said. "That was living the dream."


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     Orthopedic surgeons and whoever taught Mr. Braden how to 'Scapular Load,' also known as taking the pitching upper arm forty-five degrees behind his acromial line, rendered his pitching shoulder a 'shredded mess.'

     If someone had taught Mr. Braden how to properly use his Latiisimus Dorsi muscle, then Mr. Braden and his grandmother would have lived the dream several times.

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0065.  shoulder trouble

First of all, thank you for your work.

I first read your book and contacted you in 2003, and in the eleven years since then my son, who is now 18, and I have enjoyed countless hours together following your training programs at each age and learning about the proper pitching motion. The time we’ve spent has been special to both of us, and I thank you for that.

As much as I wanted my son to understand and enjoy pitching, I took your advice from 2003 and tried to always make sure that he was getting as good as he wanted to be, not as good as I wanted him to be. That was good advice, and by the time he was 14, my son had really developed an appreciation for the throwing motion and a pride in what he was able to do.

Unfortunately, over the  next couple of years. he became increasingly frustrated with baseball coaches trying to “coach” him away from the proper mechanics, despite the success he was having with his four pitches. I did my best to coach the coaches, but I was not a very effective preacher. They just didn’t care to hear it.

Living in Texas, the influence to also play football was very strong, and my son found that football coaches in high school don’t care about critiquing your throwing mechanics, they just care about the results.

He was able to take the torque fastball mechanics, apply them to a quarterback in the pocket, and the results were outstanding. Because he was throwing correctly, he was able to throw 100-150 times at practice every day and he heard nothing but compliments and encouragement from his coaches, who didn’t care how he did it. He enjoyed his superior velocity and accuracy, and every day during the football season I saw his enjoyment of football increase.

Last July, my son went to college on a football scholarship. Although he started out well, in late August, he sustained an injury to his throwing shoulder. He initially said that he just woke up one morning to a lot of pain inside his shoulder on the top and back.

He has always had a pretty high pain threshold and he is not a complainer, so it was a couple of days before he said anything about it to his coaches or trainers. His range of motion was affected and he was not throwing the ball as hard.

The initial diagnosis was that he had pinched a nerve while sleeping, and he started icing his shoulder and getting stim treatments several times each day.  That treatment, plus his desire to play, enabled him play the entire 2013 season.

My son had a great freshman season, but he says that, although the pain is much less, his shoulder still doesn’t feel quite right when he throws.

He is experiencing a “catch” sometimes and some pain in his upper bicep tendon. When he makes the proper motion and his driveline is correct, he has no pain. But, I notice that the strength has still not returned even though we are five months since he first reported the problem.

I know that physical therapists usually recommend therapy and surgeons usually recommend surgery.  Even though we’re talking about a quarterback instead of a pitcher, I would appreciate your thoughts regarding this shoulder trouble and any suggestions you might be willing to make.

Again, thank you for all that you’ve done for my son just by caring enough to make the effort to help all kids who have a dream of playing ball.


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     You wrote:

01. "In late August, your son sustained an injury to his throwing shoulder."
02. "Initially, you son said that he just woke up one morning to a lot of pain inside his shoulder on the top and back."
03. "Your son lost some range of motion and was not able to throw the football as hard."
04. "Someone diagnosed the cause of your son's pain was that he pinched a nerve while sleeping."
05. "Several times every day, your son iced and 'stimed' his throwing shoulder."
06. "Those treatments, plus his desire to play, enabled your son to play the entire 2013 season."
07. "Your son had a great Freshman football season.
08. "Your son said that, although the pain is much less, his shoulder still doesn’t feel quite right."
09. "Sometimes, your son feels a “catch” and some pain in his upper bicep tendon."
10. "When your son uses the proper throwing arm action and his driveline is correct, your son has no pain."
11. "However, five months since his injury, your son's throwing arm has not regained its strength."

     Is your son doing my wrist weight exercises every day?

     Pain on the top and back of his throwing shoulder indicates the insertion of the Supraspinatus muscle. An MRI should determine whether your son has injured this attachment.

     The Supraspinatus muscle moves the throwing upper arm from hanging downward beside his body to horizontally at shoulder height. If the insertion of the Supraspinatus muscle is intact, then my One Step Crow-Hop with Shakedowns drill will strengthen that insertion.

     To learn how to properly perform my One Step Crow-Hop with Shakedowns drill, please open the Wrist Weight Exercises in my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     Your son should practice all of the drills that I use to teach the skills of my throwing motion. Your son should practice the throwing arm action for my Torque Fastball. You and your son should watch my Wrist Weight Training Program once a week until he is able to perform these drills perfectly and powerfully.

     I recommend that your son do these wrist weight exercises with at least ten pound wrist weights starting with 12 repetitions and gradually increase the repetitions until he is able to easily complete 48 repetitions and stay there.

     He could follow the daily routine in my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     The key is for your son to learn how to throw his throwing upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside his head with the back of his throwing upper arm facing toward his target and drive his throwing hand down his acromial line.

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0066.  shoulder trouble

My son's MRI shows normal rotator cuff, AC, biceps tendon and supraspinatis - no problems and no atrophy.

We are being told that there is evidence of a possible labrum and possible SLAP (superior, lateral, anterior to posterior) tear.

I'm being cautious, having lived through the 70's when it seem as if everyone hyperventilated. Then, a few years later, everyone needed knee surgery. Followed, a few years later, by everyone needing rotator cuff repair. And, in the past couple of years, so many needing to repair tears of the labrum.

I don't know if each of these periods was the result of advances in medicine - or a bandwagon mentality.

My son is in his football off-season. So, if surgery is the only option, now would be the time.

But, if we can follow your 120 day training and strengthen his shoulder, while giving his labrum time to heal, that would be our preference.

I would appreciate your thoughts.


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     In your first email, you wrote: "In late August, your son sustained an injury to his throwing shoulder."

     How did your son sustain his injury?

     To injure the shoulder socket Labrum, the head of the Humerus bone has to move laterally behind his acromial line.

     In your first email, you also wrote: "When your son uses the proper throwing arm action and his driveline is correct, your son has no pain."

     This means that, when your son throws the football, he does not move the head of his Humerus bone laterally behind his acromial line.

     The key to preventing the head of the Humerus bone from moving laterally behind the acromial line is to use the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     When your son does my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, the first drill is the Wrong Foot body action; Slingshot glove and pitching arm actions drill.

     To do the Slingshot glove and pitching arm action, your son has his throwing arm vertically beside his head with the back of his throwing upper arm facing toward his target. In this position, your son has engaged his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     As long as your son engages his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, he will not move the head of his Humerus bone laterally behind his acromial line. Therefore, he will not contact the Labrum.

     The reason why shoulder surgeries fail is because those athletes continue to use their Pectoralis Major muscle.

     As long as your son has his throwing upper arm vertically beside his head with the back of his throwing upper arm facing toward his target, he will not move the head of his Humerus bone laterally behind his acromial line.

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0067.  shoulder trouble

We had an MRI on my son's throwing shoulder on Saturday.

I have attached the report image.

The doctor said that his shoulder looks good (thanks to your Free Book), but that he suspects a torn labrum.

He said that a tear requires surgical repair and now wants to inject dye and do MR arthrography to get a better idea of the damage.

If my son's labrum does indeed need surgical repair, he needs to have it soon since he is in off-season.

However, I am not a fan of unnecessary surgery. We want to be sure that surgery - if prescribed - is the best course of action.

While there have been amazing advances in diagnosis and treatment of athletic injuries in recent years, I know that sometimes people tend to just jump on whatever medical bandwagon is currently popular.

None of your wrist weight training exercises cause my son any discomfort or pain.

Your pitcher training programs, coupled with my son's love for the game, have allowed him to develop into a top-tier passer.

We want to choose the treatment option that gives him the best chance to have a strong, stable shoulder and arm six months from now as he continues to pursue his dream.

If time, proper rehab, and training would enable the labrum to heal naturally and properly while he continues to exercise his arm, that is certainly the route we would like to take.

I would appreciate your thoughts and any recommendations you might have regarding our course of action.


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     I had a minor league baseball pitcher come to me with the same problem. Because of the low rate of shoulder surgery success, he did not want to have Labrum surgery.

     I taught him how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

     From then on, he pitched without pain.

     Therefore, I am confident that if your son always engages his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, he will not have pain.

     However, the pitcher did not have pass rushers grab his throwing arm.

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0068.  My Safe Pitching Motion

I'm now pitching in a 45+ baseball league.

I didn't think I had the time to retrain my arm to throw as you advise, but I do think you may like what I'm doing.

My Safe Pitching Motion

It's a cross between Jim Kaat and Kent Tekulve. At least, that's what I'm going for.

I'm trying to have my leg drive coincide with forward arm motion.

Do you that's possible to achieve?

Would it be a good idea?

I have pitched 24 innings this month, including two complete games with no problems. I haven't seen any other pitcher in my league throw more than four, maybe five innings.


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     I see, by the rest of your email, that I analyzed your former overhead pitching motion.

     Now, you have decided to throw sidearm.

     Did you do this because your shoulder bothers you?

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0069.  Alabama Workout Program

I know at one time you had designs on being a high school football coach. I am a big believer in your mantra of Specificity of Exercise, but have often wondered how to apply it to many positions in football.

For example, it seems like lineman rely on brute strength over technique.

In other words, could a 250 lb. defensive lineman handle a 350 lb. offensive lineman who lifts weights as shown in the attached video?

I'm curious what you think of Coach Saban's overall approach, but, mainly, what you think of the non-specific weight training they do?

Alabama Workout Program

Do you think there will be long term health ramifications from these programs?

If you disagree with this workout program, what is the solution?

These types of Strength and Conditioning programs are working their way in college baseball.


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     Every football position has specific skills.

     Therefore, for every position, I would design interval-training programs that teach those skills and make the athletes able to more powerfully perform those skills.

     Non-specific training wastes time and does not prevent game-type injuries.

     Skills and strategy wins.

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0070.  Royals, pitcher Brad Penny agree to deal
Wichita Eagle
January 15, 2014

Two-time All-Star pitcher Brad Penny has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, although the deal hasn’t been finalized.

Penny, who was out of baseball in 2013 to rest his throwing shoulder, is a 13-year veteran who last pitched for the Tigers and Giants in 2012.

Part of his recovery occurred in Kansas City. On his twitter account, @bradpenny, he thanked Kansas City Fieldhouse, a workout facility in Lenexa.

“I’m ready,” Penny said. “I’ve been working hard for a while. I’m just going to go out and do the best I can. I feel like I've got a lot left.”

Penny sees himself competing for the back of the Royals’ rotation.

Penny, a right-hander who turns 36 in May, has pitched for six teams and won World Series rings with the Marlins in 2003 and Giants in 2012.

He was the winning pitcher for the Marlins in both of his World Series starts against the Yankees.

The best seasons for Penny were 2006 and 2007, when he combined to go 32-13 in All-Star seasons with the Dodgers.


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

     The article said:

01. "In 2013, to rest his throwing shoulder, Brad Penny stayed out of baseball."
02. "In 2012, the 13-year veteran last pitched for the Tigers and Giants.

     Instead of rest, Mr. Penny needed to complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitching Motion.

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0071.  Mets' Parnell blazing the comeback trail
Wall Street Journal
January 16, 2014

In the mind of Mets reliever Bobby Parnell, the neck surgery he underwent last September hasn't changed his status with the team.

"In my head, I feel like I'm still the closer," Parnell said Thursday. "I'll go along with that until told otherwise."

It's no certainty that he'll be healthy and back to form to begin the coming season,, but he'll be the best option the Mets have when they open the season against Washington on April 2 at Citi Field.

With David Aardsma and LaTroy Hawkins not returning, the Mets lack other relievers with closer experience. Parnell, who is 29, saved 22 games in 2013 while posting a 2.16 ERA before persistent neck problems forced him to the disabled list, and then to the operating table.

Parnell lost weight as a result of the surgery to repair a herniated disk. Manager Terry Collins said Parnell lost 30 pounds. Parnell said it was more like 18. He has not been able to work out his legs in the same way he once did.

"Obviously, I haven't been able to lift weights like I would have in years' past," he said.

For a fireballer like Parnell, that could mean a loss of power in the early season. But he said he will have enough time to get everything in order.

He is already in Florida, a month before spring training, to do as much running, throwing and weightlifting as his body will allow.

"I feel like there's plenty of time to get into baseball shape," Parnell said. "I don't think that there's any question that I will be ready."

When he returns, he'll rejoin a bullpen that will be among the team's strengths in 2014. Second-year pitcher Vic Black could seize the role of setup man, while lefty Scott Rice and righties Carlos Torres and Gonzalo Germen should provide capable middle-relief work.


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

     If Mr. Parnell learns how to stand tall and rotate his body through release, then Mr. Parnell will not injure the intervertebral disks on either side of the repaired disk.

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0072.  McGowan looking to turn corner with Blue Jays
MLB.com
January 17, 2014

LONDON, ON: Dustin McGowan has officially been given the go-ahead to once again work toward becoming a starter for the Blue Jays.

Effective out of the bullpen for the club north of the border last season, posting a 2.45 ERA through 25 games and 25 2/3 innings with 26 strikeouts, the right-hander expressed a desire late in the year to someday pursue a spot in the starting rotation.

"I have been [preparing] all winter as a starter, but I wasn't sure until recently if it was going to happen or not," McGowan said. "Now that I've gotten the OK to try it, I've been doing a little more. There's not much difference. I still do the same workouts. It's just a little bit more running now to try to be able to last a little bit longer in the game."

The big concern for McGowan's move is, of course, the threat of injury.

Since signing with the Blue Jays in 2000, the Georgia native has had Tommy John surgery, a knee operation, multiple shoulder surgeries and a bout of plantar fasciitis.

Because of his injury woes, in the five years preceding last season, McGowan appeared in just five big league games. After each injury, the righty has had to make adjustments, but he believes he's figured it out now.

"There have been a lot of changes," McGowan said. "I might not throw bullpens in between games now just so that my arm can bounce back, and I don't know if I'm going to ever be able to do that again. That's one thing that I still tinker with every now and then and it just depends on how I feel.

"A little bit changes each time; it just depends on how I feel that week. Like after a start if I'm real sore, I won't throw. If I'm not, I will. It's kind of important sometimes to find it; to work on stuff in between."

The biggest change in McGowan's routine since the beginning of last season has been his work with Jamie Evans' Velocity Program.

While the goal of the weighted-ball training program is most often to increase a pitcher's velocity, it strengthens the muscles around the shoulder as the means to that end, which McGowan has found incredibly helpful.

"It's been great for me," McGowan said. "My whole thing about doing it was -- people do it to gain velocity. I had the velocity. I knew it was in there. My whole thing was just feeling good. I wanted to feel good. And the training has helped with that."

Though there have been times over the years when McGowan has felt strong, the oft-injured pitcher has never felt better than he did during the most recent season.

"I actually felt pretty good last year," McGowan said. "When I was pitching out of the bullpen -- that was the first time I've stayed strong and felt good, pretty much, kind of the whole season."

Reluctant to place too much emphasis on his short bout of success for "pretty much, kind of" an entire year, it's much easier for McGowan to realize how many doubts he's overcome.

"I've had a lot of [unsure] moments," McGowan said. "After each surgery, in the back of your mind there's always the 'what if' thoughts -- what if my arm doesn't come back, or what if there's still pain? But I've gotten through that so far."

The 31-year-old's confidence has certainly been helped by the support of his family, but McGowan knows that in any other organization, he might not have been fortunate enough to be granted all of the opportunities that Toronto has given him.

"Sure has helped," McGowan said. "I don't think any other team would have been putting up with it, but they've been pretty good about it."

Without any outside additions to the Blue Jays' starting staff this offseason, the rotation has yet to be determined, which could potentially open up a spot for McGowan if all goes well as he ramps up his workingload.

"I don't think it puts pressure on," McGowan said. "I've still got to see if I can even [be a starter] again. We're going to go at it slow and there are no guarantees that it will work, but if I can do it, then it will put a little pressure on me. Then I've got to start competing and try to win a spot."

McGowan won't be on the same timeline as other starters, in terms of innings. Instead, he will be working his way up at a much slower pace. And if it doesn't work out, he is confident he can continue his success in the back end of Blue Jays games.

"Not in spring," McGowan said. "We talked about going as slow as possible, just like crawling before you start walking. There's no sense in even rushing. It's a long spring so if we go slowly and it works, we can build up to where we need to be by the time the season starts. But if not, it's easier to transition back to the bullpen."


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

     The article said:

01. "Since signing with the Blue Jays in 2000, the Georgia native has had Tommy John surgery, a knee operation, multiple shoulder surgeries and a bout of plantar fasciitis."
02. "Because of his injury woes, in the five years preceding last season, McGowan appeared in just five big league games."
03. "After each injury, the righty has had to make adjustments, but he believes he's figured it out now."

     "In five years preceding last season, Mr. McGowen appeared in just five big league games." Wow. How did Mr. McGowen stay in professional baseball?

     Blue Jays baseball pitcher, Dustin McGowen, said:

01. "There have been a lot of changes."
02. "I might not throw bullpens in between games now just so that my arm can bounce back."
03. "I don't know if I'm going to ever be able to do that again."
04. "That's one thing that I still tinker with every now and then."
05. "It just depends on how I feel."
06. "A little bit changes each time."
07. "It just depends on how I feel that week."
08. "Like, after a start, if I'm real sore, I won't throw."
09. "If I'm not, I will."
10. "It's kind of important sometimes to find it; to work on stuff in between."

     These are not changes to eliminate pitching injuries.

     The article said:

01. "The biggest change in McGowan's routine since the beginning of last season has been his work with Jamie Evans' Velocity Program."
02. "While the goal of the weighted-ball training program is most often to increase a pitcher's velocity, it strengthens the muscles around the shoulder as the means to that end, which McGowan has found incredibly helpful.

     Blue Jays baseball pitcher, Dustin McGowen, said:

01. "It's been great for me."
02. "My whole thing about doing it was, people do it to gain velocity."
03. "I had the velocity."
04. "I knew it was in there."
05. "My whole thing was just feeling good."
06. "I wanted to feel good."
07. "And the training has helped with that."

     Imagine how great Mr. McGowen would feel if he were to complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program that includes my wrist weight exercises program from which Mr. Evan basterized his hold a heavy ball idea.

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0073.  Mariners reportedly agree to deal with Beimel
MLB.com
January 18, 2014

SEATTLE, WA: Left-handed reliever Joe Beimel, who hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2011 and had Tommy John surgery in '12, has agreed to a Minor League contract with the Mariners with an invitation to Major League camp, according to Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports.

The Mariners haven't confirmed the agreement, but clubs typically don't announce deals until a player passes a physical exam and officially signs the paperwork.

Beimel, 36, is an 11-year Major League veteran who has appeared in 567 games. He was a big part of the Dodgers' bullpen from 2006-08 and pitched in the postseason for the Dodgers in '08 and Rockies in '09.

Beimel underwent surgery after running into elbow troubles in 2011, but Brown said scouts indicate his velocity has returned now that he's fully recovered.

Beimel posted a 24-32 career record and 4.21 ERA in 587 2/3 innings in the Majors from 2001-11. He started 23 games with the Pirates in his first two seasons but has since been used strictly as a reliever.

Beimel posted a 3.04 ERA in 216 games with the Dodgers from 2006-08, including a career-high 83 appearances in '07 (most appearances by a lefty in franchise history), and he pitched 71 games with a 3.40 ERA for the Rockies in 2010.

But the elbow issue began flaring up in '11, and he spent two different stints on the disabled list with the Pirates that season, recording a 5.33 ERA in 35 games before being released in late August.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder signed a Minor League deal with the Rangers in 2012, but he was released at the end of Spring Training and then underwent Tommy John surgery a month later. Beimel appeared in 30 games for the Braves' Triple-A Gwinnett affiliate during the '13 season.


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     The article said:

01. "Joe Beimel's pitching elbow issue began flaring up in 2011."
02. "Mr. Beimel spent two different stints on the disabled list with the Pirates that season."
03. "In late August 2011, the Pirates released Mr. Beimel.
04. "In 2012, Mr. Beimel signed a Minor League deal with the Rangers."
05. "At the end of spring training, the Rangers released Mr. Beimel."
06. "A month later, Mr. Beimel underwent Tommy John surgery."
07. "Now that Mr. Beimel is fully recovered from his surgery, scouts indicate his velocity has returned."

     If Mr. Beimel has not eliminated the 'reverse pitching forearm bounce' in his pitching motion, then maybe Mr. Beimel may have a year or so before he ruptures his replacement Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

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0074.  My Safe Pitching Motion

No, I throw sidearm because I found I couldn't get hitters out overhand.

Sidearm gives me movement on my sinking fastball and the curve ball I throw actually works really well.

Like Kent Tekulve, I found I needed a gimmick to get people out, sidearm.

Plus, to be honest, it's just much more fun to be a cool oddity.

My main thing is simplifying my motion and trying to make my leg drive coincide with my forward arm motion, if only partially.


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     You do a good job of rotating the entire pitching arm side of your body forward together.

     However, I am concerned that you are pulling your pitching upper arm and supinating the release of your breaking pitch. To prevent the bones in the back of your pitching elbow, you need to pronate the release of your breaking pitch.

     Are you able to fully extend and flex your pitching elbow?

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0075.  Ibuprofen

What do you think of the use of Advil pre-pitching?

I have been astonished at the effectiveness in reducing the pain of throwing.

I wonder if you have any comments on the dangers associated with its use?


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     Rather than use a drug to reduce the pain your pitching motion causes, you need to eliminate the injurious flaws in your pitching motion.

     Where do you have pain?

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0076.  Michael Stokes comments

I see the way your monsters pitch.

I thought that the movement which I saw from like Colin and Joe was into the spinal acromial rotation quantity.

This action seems injurious to me.

There is much I have to say and ask you. I just review as much of your videos as I am able to throughout last week.

I have seen so many kids damage their just trying to learn to have a throw like the Maxline Outfield Throw. The workouts here must insulting to you from the "Traditionalists." Teaching long toss as a means of strengthening the pitchers' arm.

In 1967, the slider you threw for that season.

Did that hurt your elbow?

Were you able to feel the pain?

Not having reached a level of proficiency in the Traditional Pitching Method did you feel pain from delivering your fastball?

From a standing position on a flat surface my pitches easily clear a ninety-five inch pole. Even my screwball. For reference I used both the Maxline Pseudo Traditional Torque Fastball Windup for all your pitches.

I then performed on a flat surface, the Maxline Pseudo Traditional Windup for the Maxline True Fastball. From both sides of the pitching rubber. That is where my pitches in your Maxline Technologies clear easily ninety-five inches at release point.

When you faced batters in the All-Star Game of 1974 completely in control of your pitch selection and I don't recall ever seeing you pitch the same ball two times in a row. Location or pitch. They were always different. These pitchers present the image in their deliveries of only having pitched too many pitches of the same pitch from their arsenal during practice and game situations.

I simply don't know how many times I witnessed pitchers during the game trying to get a certain pitch over. Two, three and sometimes four times for a pitch against a batter. You conversely did not adhere to that practice against live batters.


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     After my 1967 season with the Detroit Tigers, I found that I could not fully extend or flex my pitching elbow.

     I don't remember pain, just tightness.

     X-rays showed me that the hyaline cartilage in my olecranon fossa had calcified.

     Apparently, I was locking out my pitching elbow.

     To prevent locking out my pitching elbow, I learned how to pronate the release of my breaking pitch.

     The Pronator Teres muscles pronates the pitching forearm and flexes the pitching elbow.

     Therefore, by pronating the release of my breaking pitch, I stopped locking out my pitching elbow. This discovery lead me to learn how to throw sinkers and screwballs.

     X-rays also showed me that the coronoid process on the front side of my Ulna bone had grown longer.

     Apparently, I was using my Brachialis muscle to try to prevent the bones in the back of my pitching elbow from locking out.

     The Brachialis muscle inserts into the coronoid process. This discovery taught me that I needed to stop taking my pitching arm laterally behind my body.

     When I stopped taking my pitching arm laterally behind my body, I was able to keep my pitching forearm inside of vertical and throw great sinkers and screwballs.

     That was how I learned to use my Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive my pitching upper arm straight toward home plate. When I used my Latissimus Dorsi muscle, I was able to use my Triceps Brachii muscle to extend my pitching elbow.

     I appreciate you understanding how I sequenced my pitches. When batters have no idea what pitch I will throw next, they are not able to attack the baseball.

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0077.  Michael Stokes comments

Have thought about an international velocity contest?

Invite all the vaunted flame throwers from around the globe! They would like pitch twenty pitches for velocity and for strikes in an elimination based on percent of strikes and velocity.

The highest amount of strikes with the highest velocities wins!!


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     All baseball pitchers should have the joy of achieving their genetic maximum release velocity.

     However, the joy of throwing the wide variety of high-quality pitches that enable baseball pitchers to get the four types of baseball batters out is better.

     Therefore, we should have an international Maxline Fastball velocity contest, Torque Fastball velocity contest, Maxline Fastball Sinker movement contest, Maxline True Screwball movement contest, Torque Fastball Slider movement contest and Maxline Pronation Curve movement contest.

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0078.  Michael Stokes comments

Wednesday, I went 240 strikes and 16 balls. Everything clicked and snapped out really well.

Today, I went 60 strikes and 2 balls. The more you achieve the Acromial Line, the more you maintain that line throughout the whole of your delivery.

There were a lot distractions, but, I still went 92 and 8 then 140 and 8 to strikes and balls, respectively.

Today was revelatory to your keys to teaching the Maxline Technologies.

When my accuracy is highest, it is from just inside vertical. The slight hesitation it takes to move into the hip and leg rotation is just the amount of time necessary for these pitchers to attain the highest release point in a shutdown of the mind, pitching the baseball in the Maxline Pseudo Traditional Windups.

That is to say that pitching from one side of the mound or the other gives the batters little to no chance to ever have a good experience. Now the pitchers have not attain the magic which comes from years of fielding and pitching in the angles which by experience afford me.

The attack pitches in the Maxline Pseudo Traditional Windup in the delivery of the Maxline True Fastball may come into a batter at every angle imaginable. The batters are sitting dead red.

Taking all your pitches from over the top may go sideways from there from the right side of the plate to the left to the with everything at a moment's change and to the reverse.

With your slider grip, I raise my middle finger up to a half an inch. Then, raising the index finger to equal contact with the middle finger slicing it in half as a lefty it gives me a lightning 2 to 7 slider. The pitch moves towards home plate directionality towards the batter, then explodes away from the batter to angling across the home plate strike zone. The curve is bigger yet no less vicious though.

If there was a chance to go against any batter alive today, right now or for a whole season. I would ask that they have last rites because the Torque Fastball and True Fastball in Maxline Technologies are viciously lethal in my hands. They move with lightning speed.

I am now 55 and I am made of ancient steel. Flexibility and strength is where my power derives in Acromial Line which is achieved through the Maxline Pseudo Traditional Windups.


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     You were hot Wednesday.

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0079.  My Safe Pitching Motion

I don't have any elbow or shoulder issues.

These games are really the first I've pitched since 8th grade (24 innings in 15 days).

I spin my curve ball between my fingers which I've not heard of anyone doing.

I'll take note of how much I pronate on that pitch. I think sidearm makes pronating easy. It seems to be almost natural to it.

"I am concerned that you are pulling your pitching upper arm." With my pectoral muscles?


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     Glad to hear that your pitching elbow and shoulder are not bothering you.

     But, are you able to fully extend and flex your pitching elbow? Compare your glove elbow with your pitching elbow.

     The 'traditional' way to release breaking pitches is over the top of the Index finger, which means that, when they throw breaking pitches, 'traditional' baseball pitchers supinate their pitching forearm.

     'Traditional' baseball pitchers use their Pectoralis Major muscle to curvi-linearly pull their pitching arm forward.

     I teach my baseball pitchers to use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to recti-linearly drive their pitching upper arm toward home plate.

     The only muscle that sidearm pitchers are able to use to move their pitching upper arm forward is the Pectoralis Major muscle.

     The combination of the Pectoralis Major muscle pulling the pitching upper arm forward and supinating the release of the breaking pitches causes the bones in the back of the pitching elbow to bang together.

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0080.  Samardzija wants to throw 230 innings
CSNChicago.com
January 19, 2014

Jeff Samardzija threw a career-high 213 2/3 innings in 2013. In 2014, he's hoping to break the 230-inning mark.

In his second full year as a starter, Samardzija also hit career highs in hits and runs allowed, as well as a 4.34 ERA. But after using the offseason to rest and recover from the increased workload, Samardzija said he's prepping himself to throw even more in the upcoming campaign.

How do 230 innings sound?

"With all those innings of work also came a little confidence in my delivery and just repeating everything I'm doing. Just giving myself a little more of a break and prepping myself to even go beyond that 215 innings next year and hopefully get into 230 and above," Samardzija said.

Cubs fans don't have to worry about Samardzija coming anywhere close to the franchise record for innings pitched in a single season. That distinction belongs to John Clarkson, who threw 623 of them in 1885.

But by modern-day standards, the 230-inning mark would place him among the league leaders in the category.

Last season, for example, only two pitchers in baseball threw 230 innings: the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw.

Most recently on the North Side, Jon Lieber was the last Cubs hurler to pitch 230 innings, throwing 232 1/3 in 2001. No Cubs pitcher has thrown 220 innings in a season since 2005, when Greg Maddux and Carlos Zambrano tossed 225 and 223 1/3 innings, respectively.


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

     The article said:

01. "After using the offseason to rest and recover from the increased workload, Samardzija said he's prepping himself to throw even more in the upcoming campaign."
02. "How do 230 innings sound?"

     After an three month off-season without training, Mr. Samardzija will need four and one-half months of training to get the fitness he had at the end of last season.

     The article said:

01. "Last season, only the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw threw 230 innings."
02. "In 2001, Jon Lieber was the last Cubs hurler to pitch 230 innings, throwing 232 1/3 in 2001."
03. In 2005, Cubs pitchers, Greg Maddux and Carlos Zambrano, tossed 225 and 223 1/3 innings, respectively.

     Wow. Since, in 1885, when John Clarkson threw 623 innings, professional baseball has lost its way.

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0081.  Mets sign Lannan to compete for spot in rotation
MLB.com
January 19, 2014

The Mets continued their pursuit to round out their starting rotation on Saturday, signing veteran left-hander John Lannan to a Minor League contract, with an invitation to Spring Training.

Lannan, 29, figures to compete this spring with Jenrry Mejia and prospects Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom for the fifth starter role.

A Long Island native, Lannan struggled through an injury-plagued 2013 season with the Phillies after spending the first six years of his career with the Nationals.

The Phillies outrighted Lannan after the season, but he refused his assignment and elected to become a free agent, ultimately signing Saturday's deal with his hometown team.

Lannan's struggles last season started in April with a strained quadriceps tendon in his left knee that forced him to miss two months. He returned on June 17, but made his final start of the season on Aug. 14 before being placed on the disabled list with left-knee tendinosis.

He later elected to have season-ending surgery to repair his recurring knee issues, but Lannan expects to be 100 percent healthy for Spring Training.

Lannan comes into camp with a 45-58 record to go along with a 4.12 ERA over 148 career starts.


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     The article said:

01. "John Lannan's struggles last season started in April with a strained quadriceps tendon in his pitching knee."
02. "Mr. Lannan returned on June 17."
03. "However, on August 14, pitching knee tendinosis force Mr. Lannan to make his final start of the season on August 14."
04. "Later, Mr. Lannan elected to have season-ending pitching knee surgery."
05. "Mr. Lannan expects to be 100 percent healthy for Spring Training."

     Until Mr. Lannan stops reverse rotating his hips beyond second base, Mr. Lannan's pitching knee will continue to cause Mr. Lannan problems.

     To eliminate this injury, instead of rotating over his pitching leg, Mr. Lannan needs to learn how to rotate over his glove leg.

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0082.  Harrison looking to ramp up rehab at camp
MLB.com
January 20, 2014

ARLINGTON, TX: Matt Harrison trying to return strong from a back injury, is among those who are at Rangers Ballpark this week for their mid-winter pitching camp.

Harrison's throwing program has reached the point where he is throwing lightly off the mound, but he expects to "ramp it up a little bit" this week during the camp.

"Everything is going well," Harrison said. "I haven't had any issues with the back. Everything has been feeling good."

Harrison, after winning 18 games in 2012, made just two starts last year before undergoing surgery for a herniated disk in his lower back. The left-hander needed a second surgery to correct the problem and also had an operation in September on his non-throwing shoulder.

So far everything points to Harrison being at full strength when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on Feb. 16. His comeback is critical for the Rangers, but even more so now that Derek Holland will miss the first half of the season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee earlier this month.

"It's unfortunate what happened to Derek," Harrison said. "I know what it's like to get hurt. Hopefully, he gets back on the mound as soon as possible. As far as my situation, I've got to focus on what I've got to do, be healthy and go out and make every start this year. That's all I can do."

Holland was expected to be in a rotation that includes Harrison, Yu Darvish, Alexi Ogando and Martin Perez. With Holland sidelined, the Rangers are considering their options for a fifth starter.

Nick Tepesch was the club's fifth starter coming out of Spring Training last season -- going 4-6 with a 4.85 ERA in 16 starts before going on the disabled list with inflammation in his right elbow on July 7. He made just one start and two relief appearances in September. Tepesch is also attending the mini-camp.

The Rangers have also re-signed Colby Lewis to a Minor League contract in the hope that he is fully recovered from two years of injuries that included surgery on the flexor tendon in his right elbow, and another to address the chronic pain in his right hip. Lewis was 26-23 with a 4.06 ERA in 64 starts with the Rangers in 2010-11, when they went to two World Series, and 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA in eight postseason starts. But he hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since July 18, 2012.

The Rangers are also considering the possibility of moving left-hander Robbie Ross or right-hander Tanner Scheppers from the bullpen to the rotation. Other long-shot candidates include star-crossed left-hander Michael Kirkman and non-roster right-hander Justin Germano.

The Rangers are also evaluating outside candidates and are fortunate that the free-agent starting pitching market has stalled because of Masahiro Tanaka. He is the right-handed superstar from Japan who has been posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles and is being pursued by a number of Major League clubs.

Clubs have until Friday to sign Tanaka, although he is expected to make a decision before then. The Rangers have interest in Tanaka, but have not yet emerged as one of the leading contenders to sign him.


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     The article said:

01. "In 2013, Matt Harrison made just two starts last year before undergoing surgery for a herniated disk in his lower back."
02. "Later, Mr. Harrison needed surgery to correct his herniated disk problem and surgery on his non-throwing shoulder."
03. "After undergoing microfracture surgery on his pitching knee earlier this month, Derek Holland will miss the first half of the season."
04. "In the hope that Colby Lewis has fully recovered from surgery on the flexor tendon in his pitching elbow and surgery on his pitching hip, the Rangers re-signed Colby Lewis to a Minor League contract."
05. "Mr. Lewis hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since July 18, 2012."

     Wow. Who is in charge of teaching and training the Rangers baseball pitchers?

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0083.  Miller moves on from 'mystery' end to rookie year
MLB.com
January 20, 2014

ST. LOUIS, MO: Questions still remain as Shelby Miller reflects on October, a month in which he rode the high of advancing to the World Series amid the low of being a mostly non-participant in it all. He's not entirely sure why the organization opted not to use him, though he has his theories.

That'll have to suffice, though, as Miller insisted he's no longer in a search for answers.

"I'm just going to let it be a mystery," Miller said at the Cardinals' Winter Warm-Up on Sunday. "A mystery unsolved."

Miller's non-usage became a secondary storyline as the Cardinals played deep into October. Despite winning 15 games, making 31 regular-season starts and posting a 3.06 ERA, Miller was left out of the rotation in the National League Division Series. There was a valid explanation for that, as the Pirates had beaten Miller four times in 2013.

Miller pitched once in relief during that series. He wouldn't take the mound again. Not only did the Cardinals opt to exclude him from the rotation for the two playoff series that followed, but they also chose not to utilize him out of the bullpen. The most vivid memory of Miller's October was watching him warm up in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the World Series. The Cardinals were down five runs at the time.

"The season just kind of ended, and I kind of just put it in the past," Miller said. "I was a little upset I didn't pitch. I put it away. That was however long ago it was. After the season ended, I wanted to be ready for a big offseason and getting ready for the spring. I didn't want to dwell on the past as far as not pitching in October. I'm not going to go up to anybody and ask about it anymore. I'm not worried about it anymore."

Miller reiterated that, physically, he "felt amazing" over those final weeks. He conjectured that his workload may have been a factor in the Cardinals' decision, given that he had already set a career-high with 173 1/3 innings during the regular season.

Despite his end-of-the-season perplexity, Miller said he does not believe his October disappearance is reflective of an organizational change of thinking about his long-term value.

"The four guys we had throwing were doing really well," Miller said. "[Adam Wainwright] is always going to throw [well]. [Michael] Wacha was doing great. Joe [Kelly] was having a killer end of the season, and Lance [Lynn] was a guy who's been around that kind of atmosphere and pitched in that. If you're asking if I've lost my role as a starter or anything like that, I don't think so. We're going into camp battling, just like I pretty much did last year, with even more guys."

Miller, whose 2013 season was recognized by a third-place finish in the NL Rookie of the Year voting, will report to Spring Training again in a rotation competition. Last spring, he beat out Kelly in the battle for the fifth starter's spot. The rotation picture is a bit murkier this year, only because there is less definition in the order of the starters behind Wainwright.

Certainly, the resume that Miller produced last season will factor into the Cardinals' decision about where he will fit in April. He's a favorite to retain a rotation spot.

"I'm really looking forward to seeing the adjustments he makes through the season coming up, learning from his last season and all that," Wainwright said of Miller. "The reason I say that about Shelby is I just think sometimes we forget what he was able to do for us last year. Winning 15 games as a rookie is pretty awesome."

Miller is preparing for the season similarly to last year. After seeing the negative effects that slimming down had on his performance in 2012, Miller has spent the past two winters putting on muscle. He has maintained a weight of about 225 pounds but described himself as "stronger than I was last year."

Miller said he hopes that with added strength comes extra endurance. Nearing 200 innings would be a natural next step for Miller in his second full season as a member of the big league rotation.

He's also shooting for October -- this time to spend the month as a participant.

"I had a good season, and I want to be that much better," Miller said. "I want to win 20 games next year somehow. I want to be a part of winning a World Series and all the good things and all the right things you want to say. It's tough to not get to pitch in the postseason, but at the same time, we had a good thing going."


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     The article said:

01. "After seeing the negative effects that slimming down had on his performance in 2012, Miller has spent the past two winters putting on muscle."
02. "Mr. Miller has maintained a weight of about 225 pounds, but described himself as "stronger than I was last year."
03. "Mr. Miller hopes that with added strength comes extra endurance."
04. "In his second full season as a member of the big league rotation, nearing 200 innings would be a natural next step for Miller."

     I always worry about baseball pitchers adding strength with non-specific weight lifting.

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0084.  A's lefthander O'Flaherty agree on two-year deal
MLB.com
January 22, 2014

Looking to add another piece to their impressive bullpen depth, the A's agreed to terms Wednesday on a two-year deal with free-agent left-handed reliever Eric O'Flaherty. The deal is for $7 million over the two years.

O'Flaherty, 28, is coming back from Tommy John surgery that limited his 2013 campaign to 19 games with the Braves, but he's expected to be healthy by midseason. He was 13-7 with a 1.99 ERA over 295 appearances with Atlanta over the past five seasons after opening his career with three seasons in Seattle.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound southpaw compiled a 1.45 ERA in 161 appearances over the past three years, which is the lowest mark among Major League relievers with 125 or more innings pitched. O'Flaherty held opponents to a .220 batting average over that span, including .156 against left-handed hitters.

O'Flaherty's 0.98 ERA in 2011 made him the first Major League pitcher to produce a sub-1.00 ERA while making at least 70 appearances.

In his eight-year Major League career, O'Flaherty has limited left-handed hitters to a .200 batting average and a .531 OPS in 542 plate appearances, while right-handers have hit .270 with a .717 OPS in 796 plate appearances.

O'Flaherty was 3-0 with a 2.50 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP in 18 innings for the Braves last year before being shut down on May 18. He underwent Tommy John surgery three days later after tests revealed a tear in his left elbow's ulnar collateral ligament.


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     The article said: "After tests revealed a tear in his pitching elbow's ulnar collateral ligament, Eric O'Flaherty underwent Tommy John surgery."

     It appears that, now, when orthopedic surgeons see even the slightest real or imagined tear in Ulnar Collateral Ligaments, they will do surgery.

     Money. Money. Money. Money. Money. Money. Money.

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0085.  my son's shoulder

I took your class many years ago and respect your knowledge.

My son, who played many positions was told he was just pitcher in the fall, was overused and now has a problem in his labrum.

We will have a MRI this week to find out the damage and go from there.

My question is:

Do you think swimming freestyle or breaststroke will help him in rehab?

I am a swimmer, who left the sport for a few years, do it now and can’t believe how good I feel after throwing with my kid’s when I wasn’t swimming.

I am a P.E. Teacher in the county and I cannot afford the private lessons that these other players can afford or the outdated rehab the doctor will suggest.

My son loves the sport. My training will help, but I think your experience will help.

I am not one of those dad’s planning on a MLB career. We are doing cardio workouts. He just misses his teammates and I need a teenager to keep busy.


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     Labrum injuries result from baseball pitchers taking their pitching upper arm behind their back (acromial line).

     To prevent baseball pitchers from taking their pitching upper arm behind their acromial line, instead of reverse rotating their hips and shoulders on the pitching rubber, baseball pitchers need to forwardly rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body over their glove foot.

     By stepping forward with their glove foot, baseball pitchers are able to 'throw' their pitching upper arm forward, upward and inward to vertically beside their head with the back of their pitching upper arm facing toward home plate.

     This pitching upper arm action prevents the pitching upper arm from moving behind their acromial line and keeps the head of the Humerus bone in the center of the shoulder socket (Glenoid Fossa).

     To see this baseball pitching motion in action, click on Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion Video and watch how this baseball pitcher turns the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     To learn this baseball pitching motion, you need to watch my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video. The Wrist Weight Training Program section demonstrates the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     Swimming is good, but does not teach or train baseball pitchers how to throw baseballs.

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0086.  Training Youth & Adult "Pitchers"

First, some background.

I am a 36-year-old male. I injured my shoulder about ten years ago while lifting weights. I was doing a bench press with a normal weight when my shoulder gave out and I couldn't hold the weight up any longer.

Since then, I have had difficulty throwing a baseball.

I played in high school, and then recreationally thereafter. It takes me a long time to "warm up" my arm, after which I can throw with a fair amount of velocity, but I have trouble locating my throws, and there is a significant amount of pain involved in each throw.

I have a 7-year-old son, and I am trying to be very careful with his arm. I also coach his Little League baseball team.

I should also let you know that I have purchased two TurboJavs and two PeeWee-sized footballs for my son's team to learn proper throwing technique.

I am aware of your recommendations for youth pitchers. In fact, in your 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program, you write the following:

"01. Biological eight and nine year old baseball pitchers to complete only my lid, appropriately-sized footballs and baseball throws."

I have two questions:

1. What should I do to strengthen my arm so that I can throw again without pain?

2. What should I be doing for my son's team (they are 6 and 7 year-olds) so that they can throw pain and injury free?


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     Bench pressing places a great amount of stress on the attachment of the long head of the Triceps Brachii to the Infraglenoid tuberosity of the Scapula bone.

     Have you had a MRI to see whether this attachment is intact?

01. If that Triceps Brachii attachment is sound, then, to strengthen your pitching shoulder, I recommend that you use five pound wrist weights and complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     You need to master the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion. To learn those drills, you need to watch my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video, especially my Wrist Weight Training Program.

02. To teach 6 and 7 year olds how to properly use their throwing arm, I recommend that you teach them how to throw the square lids off four gallon buckets.

     This drill teaches baseball pitchers how to pronate the release of their curve balls.

     After they are able to 'horizontally sail' the lids, then you should use appropriately-sized footballs to teach them how to grip, drive and release my Maxline Fastball, Maxline True Screwball, Torque Fastball and Maxline Pronation Curve.

     To learn how to do these skills, you need to open my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and watch my Football Training Program section.

     After they learn these skills, you should watch my Baseball Training Program section and teach them how to grip, drive and release the baseball.

     After they learn these skills, they need to complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitching Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

     However, until these youth baseball pitchers are biologically ten years old, they should not use wrist weights or heavy balls.

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0087.  My Safe Pitching Motion

You wrote: "The combination of the Pectoralis Major muscle pulling the pitching upper arm forward and supinating the release of the breaking pitches causes the bones in the back of the pitching elbow to bang together."

I watched the whole video "How Kinesiology Changed My Life" on YouTube.

I likes it a lot.

The reason I throw my curve the way I do is for just this reason.

When I spin my curveball out between my thumb and index/middle fingers, my hand ends up in a 'thumbs up' position.

So, I can easily continue through to at least mild pronation at or just after release.

I feel I avoid supination.

I have a question about the way your pitchers pitch.

Since pitching is ballistic and your guys use triceps and latissimus muscles which are very strong, what muscles are stopping the motion?


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     When releasing your curve, your pitching thumb points upward, it means that you have supinated your pitching forearm.

     When releasing your curve. the pitching thumb points downward, it means that you have pronated your pitching forearm.

     To see this in action, you need to watch my Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion Video for how my baseball pitcher releases my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     With my baseball pitching motion, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle accelerates the pitching upper arm and decelerates the pitching upper arm.

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0088.  My Safe Pitching Motion

I watched the tape again and maybe I do need to work on pronating my curveball more.


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     I agree.

     When you master pronating the release of your curve, you will not only protect the back of your pitching elbow, you will also achieve 12-6 rotation with high rotational velocity.

     However, at release, you will need to have your pitching upper arm vertically beside your head.

     Pronating the release of your curve with a sidearm throwing motion will not give you a 12-6 rotation.

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0089.  Reds bring in Tinsley as assistant hitting coach
MLB.com
January 23, 2014

CINCINNATI, OH: The Reds have hired Lee Tinsley to be their new assistant hitting coach, general manager Walt Jocketty revealed on Thursday.

Tinsley, who will assist new hitting coach Don Long, was previously the Cubs' Minor League baserunning and outfield coordinator. This coming season, the 44-year-old was slated to be the manager in Ogden, Utah, for the Dodgers' Rookie-level Pioneer League affiliate.

"He was the No. 1 pick in Oakland [in 1987] when I was there," Jocketty said. "Bryan [Price, the Reds' manager] worked with him in Arizona. He's a great guy. He'll help with hitting, and he'll help [coach Billy] Hatcher with the outfield and baserunning stuff."

In a five-year Major League career from 1993-97, Tinsley played for the Mariners, Red Sox and Phillies. In Cincinnati, he replaces Ronnie Ortegon, who took Long's former job as the Braves' Minor League hitting coordinator.

The Reds also promoted Sean Marohn to strength and conditioning coordinator after he did the same job in the Minor Leagues for the organization the past 10 years. Marohn replaced Matt Krause, who left in December to join the Yankees.

Marohn recently returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic, where he observed some workouts for pitcher Johnny Cueto. The rotation's ace, Cueto battled a strained right lat muscle much of last season and was limited to 11 starts.

"[Marohn] said he looked great, felt good," Jocketty said.


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     When the St. Louis Cardinals searched for a baseball pitching coach that understood the causes of pitching injuries and how to prevent them, Walt Jocketty was their general manager.

     When Mr. Jocketty learned that the scout recommended me, Mr. Jocketty hired a guy that worked for Dr. James Andrews.

     The article said:

01. "Sean Marohn (the Reds minor league strength coach for ten years) recently returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic."
02. "While there, Mr. Marohn observed some workouts for pitcher Johnny Cueto."
03. "For much of the 2013 season, Mr. Cueto battled a strained latissimus dorsi muscle in the back of his pitching shoulder."

     Because then Cardinals director of player development, Jeff Luhnow, and Walt Jocketty disagreed on how to build their organization (Sabrmetrics), Mr. Jocketty left the Cardinals.

     If Mr. Jocketty had taken the scout's recommendation, then Mr. Jocketty would still be with the Cardinals and not have any baseball pitchers with strained Latissimus Dorsi muscles.

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0090.  Latos feeling good, working after elbow surgery
MLB.com
January 23, 2014

CINCINNATI, OH: Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos isn't going through his typical offseason after having surgery in October, but it's not too far off from the norm.

Latos, who had arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow, has been long tossing without issues. He reported that his elbow felt better than it had in years.

"I'm at 120 feet. Everything is fine," Latos said on Thursday before the start of the 2014 Reds Caravan. "I'm getting everything stretched. I want to long toss, get extended and get everything stretched out."

Latos, who is from Florida but has a home in Southern California, has spent much of his winter in Cincinnati rehabilitating.

"I actually feel like I'm behind right now. They said I'm on schedule," Latos said.

After taking a break from throwing because of the caravan, Latos will resume on Saturday and throw from 120 feet next week also. On Jan. 31, he said he'll throw 10-15 pitches from an indoor mound.

"It's just to see where I'm at kind of thing," Latos said. "We're not letting it loose. I'll be in regular shoes. No cleats. The whole idea is to try and get between four to six bullpens before we start Spring Training. Nothing spectacular -- fastballs and maybe changeups. It depends on how everything feels."

Latos, 26, reported feeling soreness in his elbow and lacked flexibility during the final week of last season. Originally slated to pitch in the National League Wild Card Game vs. the Pirates, he was replaced by Johnny Cueto.

In 32 starts last season, Latos was 14-7 with a 3.16 ERA. Over his 210 2/3 innings, he allowed 197 hits and struck out 187 batters compared to 58 walks. He stepped into the ace's role while Cueto spent three stints on the disabled list.

"Not a bad season for four bone chips floating around in there," Latos said.


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     The article said:

01. "During the final week of last season, Mat Latos reported feeling soreness in his pitching elbow and loss of range of motion."
02. "After the season, Mat Latos had arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his pitching elbow."
03. "Mr. Latos reported that his pitching elbow felt better than it had in years."

     It is too bad that, Reds general manager, Walt Jocketty, did not take the scout's recommendation.

     Had Mr. Jocketty hired me to eliminate pitching injuries, I would have taught Mr. Latos how to pronate the release of his breaking pitches.

     As a result, Mr. Latos would not have banged the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together that broke pieces of hyaline cartilage that he had to have removed.

     With those pieces of hyaline no longer there to prevent osteoblasts from building bone spurs through those openings, Mr. Latos gets to look forward to bone spur removal surgery and more pieces of hyaline cartilage breaking loose from the olecranon fossa.

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0091.  Harvey happy with how recovery is going
MLB.com
January 23, 2014

BOSTON, MA: Just a few weeks before Spring Training starts, Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is all too aware that he'll be on a different schedule than his teammates when pitchers and catchers report. However, Harvey continues to be enthused by his progress from Tommy John surgery.

"It's great. I think I'm just over three months out, and I can't believe it's gone by so fast," said Harvey, who underwent the surgery in October. "Everything is going well. I haven't had the slightest setback. I'm itching to get back out and pick up a baseball again. Whatever the doc says, I've got to follow those rules."

Harvey, who is from New London, Conn., got a break from the monotony of rehab on Thursday and was honored at the Boston Baseball Writers Dinner as the New England Player of the Year.

Before he was shut down for surgery, Harvey had a brilliant season, going 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA in 26 starts. There were comparisons to every Mets pitching great from Tom Seaver to Dwight Gooden.

When does Harvey hope to throw his next pitch for the Mets?

"I'd like right now," quipped Harvey. "That's not possible. I'd like to shoot for being out there in September. Obviously I don't make those decisions. I can only prepare to the best of my ability and make sure I'm in good strength and flexibility, and when they do let me go, I'm good to go."

These days, the little things buoy Harvey.

"I think I get to start the plyometrics pretty soon, which would be actually kind of throwing something but in a training room, which is exciting," said Harvey. "Obviously this has been the longest time I haven't been able to throw anything. At this point, I've switched over from doing my normal five-pound weights to a little bit heavier weight. That's always good as an athlete. You get happy when you see the weight start to creep up. Everything feels great and I'm excited to shoot down to Spring Training."

Harvey plans on reporting to camp on time, along with the rest of his teammates.

"I think so. I really haven't talked to [general manager] Sandy [Alderson] or [chief operating officer] Jeff [Wilpon] or anybody quite yet, but that's what I plan on doing," Harvey said. "Getting down there while throwing time is approaching is probably a good decision."

Harvey knows there will probably be some awkward feelings along the way.

"It's going to be a new experience. It is what it is," Harvey said. "You have to keep your head down and do everything to prepare and to stay healthy and make sure something like this doesn't happen again, and that I can get out and compete and soon enough be back with those guys."

The righty is excited about his team's big new addition in the outfield.

"I think that was one of the first things I said when we signed [Curtis] Granderson. Man, I wish I was going to be in the locker room with him and having him be in the lineup [with me], but it will be fun to watch," Harvey said. "I'm definitely looking forward to Spring Training and seeing everybody bond and mesh together, and I'm excited to see what [Travis] d'Arnaud and [Zack] Wheeler and younger guys that will step in and have a lot more impact this year. I think it's going to be really fun to watch, and I'm looking forward to getting back and joining all those guys."


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     Matt Harvey did not rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Instead, a MRI showed a partial tear in his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     In high school, Jeff Sparks partially tore his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     In his freshman and sophomore years in college, Jeff Sparks partially tore his Ulnar Collateral Ligament twice more.

     Years later, after a tryout at my Baseball Pitching Research/Training Center, the Milwaukee Brewers signed Jeff to pitch Triple-A baseball.

     In Triple-A spring training, Jeff pitched so well, that the Brewers had Jeff pitch in spring training major league games.

     Jeff pitched so well in the spring training major league games that he had a chance of breaking camp with the major league team.

     Unfortunately, at the major league camp, the trainer had baseball pitchers stand back-to-back and hand medicine balls back and forth while twisting back and forth as fast as possible. This drill injured Jeff's lower back muscles.

     After three weeks off, Jeff rushed his recovery and had lack of fitness soreness in the muscles that arise from his medial epicondyle.

     The trainer had their orthopedic surgeon take a MRI of Jeff's Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     The MRI showed that Jeff had three calcium deposits where Jeff had previously torn his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     After the Brewers released Jeff, to be accepted as no longer having Ulnar Collateral Ligament problems, I asked Dr. James Andrews to operate on Jeff. Dr. Andrews gave Jeff the Ulnar Collateral Ligament strap-over replacement surgery.

     Nine weeks after the surgery, Dr. James Andrews told Jeff that he could start his rehabilitation.

     Instead of rehabing with Dr. Andrews people, Jeff asked me to rehabilitate him.

     I had Jeff complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     In January, Jeff completed the 120-Day program.

     A few days later, Jeff drove to Dr. Andrews office for a follow-up check-up.

     To see how I was rehabilitating Jeff, we took video of Jeff doing his wrist weight exercises, iron ball throw and his maximum intensity 96 baseball throws every day.

     While watching this video, Dr. Andrews telephoned me and said that he could not believe that Jeff was at mid-season fitness in only 26 weeks after surgery.

     Mr. Harvey also had a strap-over Ulnar Collateral Ligament surgery. Therefore, like Jeff, Mr. Harvey could be ready to competitively pitch 26 weeks after surgery.

     If Mr. Harvey masters the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion, then Mr. Harvey would not only be ready to competitively pitch, but he would also increase his release velocity and be able to throw the wide variety of high-quality pitches that he needs to successfully pitch to the four types of baseball batters.

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     On Sunday, February 02, 2014, I posted the following questions and answers.

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0092.  Michael Stokes comments the Marshall Pitching Motion video on YouTube

All Maxline Pseudo Traditional Pitching Windup Pitchers also must be able to pitch in the lower parts of the strike zones of home plate.

Nolan Ryan lost the upper half of the strike zone while his traditional pitching method was pitching his fastballs.

The umpires dictated his dominance as high fastball pitcher. Even you must learn to command the lower half of the strike zone.

It is always important to in the Maxline Pseudo Traditional Pitching Windup. Always remember to release the baseball to the lower half of the strike zone.

Utilize your quick reflex muscles and fast twitch muscle fiber as you are pitching down the Acromial Line guys. Pitching down the Acromial Line means that in Dr. Marshall's Maxline Technologie means this.

There is no room for anything to fit into a Maxline Pseudo Traditional Pitching Windup which causes undue strain on the elbow joint first.

In the Maxline Pseudo Traditional Pitching Windups, the ball must always be in motion and that it must never ever become heavy a pitch in your hand.

We already dominate the batters upper half of the strike zone. Mastery is attained by excising the advice and teaching by Dr. Marshall's stellar example and his students.

Pitching down the Acromial Line while in leaning slightly downward to control the lower half of home plate does gives the umpire a sympathetic reaction to the batter in the face of your dominance from the pitcher's mound in Dr. Marshall's Maxline Technologies.

From One Nightmare on the Mound.

I beckon any batter alive to grab a bat.


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

     I feel the joy you have when you throw your pitches. I appreciate your comments.

     As my Marshall Pitching Motion shows, my baseball pitchers release all their pitches as high as they can stand tall and reach upward with their pitching hand.

     With the high backward rotation of our Maxline and Torque Fastballs, our fastballs do not move downward as much as gravity would expect. Therefore, we want our fastballs to cross home plate high in the strike zone.

     With the high spiral rotation of our Maxline Fastball Sinker and Torque Fastball Slider, our minus 10 mph pitches move downward with gravity's assist. Therefore, we want out spiral pitches to cross home plate in the middle of the strike zone.

     With the exceptionally high rotation of our Maxline True Screwball and Maxline Pronation Curve, our minus 20 mph pitches move dramatically downward with gravity's assist. Therefore, we want out 12-6 pitches to cross home plate low in the strike zone.

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

0093.  Forgotten man? Pirates high on righty Cumpton
MLB.com
January 24, 2014

Clint Hurdle calls it "outside noise." And a lot of it is now being raised for right-handers Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow who, at No. 16 and No. 27, respectively, gave the Pirates the highest -ranking pitching tandem on the list of Top 100 Prospects.

People are similarly enthused over the promise of other arms in the system -- most notably that of Luis Heredia and Nick Kingham. They were excited by Gerrit Cole already delivering on that promise, and look forward to more.

Falling in the crack between promise offered and delivered is Brandon Cumpton, who has neither the fanfare nor the drool of scouts. Maybe that's the lot of ninth-round Draft picks (in 2010) who don't scorch mitts with high-90s heat.

What this 25-year-old righty does have is an intriguing Major League baptismal, and "inside" cred.

"He hasn't fallen between any cracks for us," said Larry Broadway, the Bucs' director of Minor League operations. "He may not get as much attention from the media, but he hasn't fallen off the radar from our perspective. He's very much a part of our plans, definitely in the mix."

Cumpton made his big league debut on June 15, 2013, against the Dodgers, as a sub for A.J. Burnett, who two days earlier had gone on the disabled list with a right calf strain. Could Cumpton now be the permanent replacement for Burnett, if the veteran elects to retire or to sign with another team?

Cumpton will check into Pirate City for the start of Spring Training next month with a pretty neat feather: A scoreless streak of 15 innings across the final three of his six appearances with the Bucs.

Also neat: His No. 12 was retired the other day by the Greenbrier (GA) High School Wolfpack, his prep alma mater.

The Hurdle-Neal Huntington Pirates love big arms with swing-and-miss stuff. Cumpton does not have that (90 strikeouts in 122 innings last season with Triple-A Indianapolis). What the Georgian does have is mound smarts and grit.

"He's got good enough stuff and all that," Broadway said, "but the separator that makes him a successful competitor is the fortitude he has on the mound. That's the first thing that comes to mind with him -- how competitive he is.

"When he takes the mound, he almost pitches angry. He won't back down. He's not going to throw 96-97 or have a huge breaking ball, but he won't get scared."

The Pirates saw repeated evidence of that. In three stints last season with the big league club, Cumpton went 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA over six appearances (five starts). He was scored on in only four of the 31 innings he worked.

Most impressive, Cumpton's Major League landing was anything but soft: Five of his six outings were against postseason clubs (Dodgers, Cardinals, thrice Reds). Hurdle got an instant look at Cumpton's makeup when, in his debut, he dueled eventual National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw to a 1-1 standoff through five innings.

Hurdle was impressed with Cumpton's "fastball command to both sides of the plate, and he was aggressive inside with a very good mix of pitches. He's a pitch-to-contact guy, and he went after them."

Cumpton had been blindsided by his mid-June promotion from Indianapolis, ahead of some higher-profile prospects, and the unexpected development may have prevented a buildup of butterflies. But, as Broadway attested, the look in Cumpton's eyes says the bigger the challenge, the louder the response.

"I tried to learn from each outing," Cumpton said in reflection of his 2013 cameos. "Take the positive and stick it in the memory bank, and also note what I struggled with and continue to work on those things and hopefully keep getting better."


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

     The article said:

01. "In 122 innings last season with Triple-A Indianapolis, Brandon Cumpton had only 90 strikeouts."
02. "In three stints last season with the big league club, Cumpton went 2-1 with a 2.05 ERA over six appearances (five starts)."
03. "He was scored on in only four of the 31 innings he worked.
04. "Pirates field manager, Clint Hurdle, was impressed with Cumpton's "fastball command to both sides of the plate."
05. "Mr. Hurdle said that Mr. Cumpton was aggressive inside with a very good mix of pitches."
06. "He's a pitch-to-contact guy, and he went after them."

     When Mr. Cumpton pitches to batters the second and third time, they will know what pitches he throws. Then, we will see whether Mr. Cumpton has the variety and quality that he needs to have long term success.

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

0094.  Matsuzaka gets Minors deal, spring invite from Mets
MLB.com
January 24, 2014

Daisuke Matsuzaka rejoined the Mets on Friday, signing a Minor League contract with the club that includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

Matsuzaka figures to have a shot to compete with recently signed veteran John Lannan and Jenrry Mejia for the final rotation spot, though he will likely start the year in the Minors and provide pitching depth.

The 33-year-old righty made seven starts with the Mets last year after signing on with the organization shortly after being released by the Indians. Matsuzaka went 3-3 with a 4.42 ERA in those seven outings, striking out 33 hitters over 38 2/3 innings.

Prior to joining the Mets, Matsuzaka had struggled in recent years. He went just 17-22 with a 5.53 ERA over his final four seasons in Boston from 2009-12. The righty dealt with a series of arm injuries in '09 and later revealed he also pitched through a hip injury for part of the season.

It showed in Matsuzaka's numbers, which were a staggering drop-off from his first two seasons in Boston when he went a combined 33-15 with a 3.72 ERA. He finished fourth in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting in 2007 in his highly anticipated transition from the Japan Pacific League and followed it up by finishing fourth in the AL Cy Young Award voting the next year.

Matsuzaka signed a Minor League contract with the Indians prior to last season, but he never reached the Majors with the Tribe. He went 5-8 with a 3.92 ERA over 19 starts with Triple-A Columbus before he was turned loose and scooped up by the Mets two days later.

For his career, Matsuzaka is 53-40 with a 4.52 ERA in 124 big league outings.


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

     The article said:

01. "Daisuke Matsuzaka rejoined the Mets.
02. "Mr. Matsuzaka signed a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training."
03. "Mr. Matsuzaka figures to have a shot at the final rotation spot."
04. "Mr. Matsuzaka will likely start the year in the Minors and provide pitching depth."

     Do you remember when Mr. Matsuzaka was the next great major league pitcher?

     Yu Darvish has done well, but he is having back problems.

     Will Masahiro Tanaka become the next Matsuzaka?

     I wish all the best. However, our baseball pitching coaches seem able to destroy the best in all baseball pitchers.

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

0095.  Michael Stokes comments on Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video on YouTube

All Maxline Pseudo Traditional Pitching Windup Pitchers also must be able to pitch in the lower parts of the strike zones of home plate.

Nolan Ryan lost the upper half of the strike zone while his traditional pitching method was pitching his fastballs.

The umpires dictated his dominance as high fastball pitcher. Even you must learn to command the lower half of the strike zone.

It is always important to in the Maxline Pseudo Traditional Pitching Windup. Always remember to release the baseball to the lower half of the strike zone.

Utilize your quick reflex muscles and fast twitch muscle fiber as you are pitching down the Acromial Line guys. Pitching down the Acromial Line means that in Dr. Marshall's Maxline Technologie means this.

There is no room for anything to fit into a Maxline Pseudo Traditional Pitching Windup which causes undue strain on the elbow joint first.

In the Maxline Pseudo Traditional Pitching Windups, the ball must always be in motion and that it must never ever become heavy a pitch in your hand.

We already dominate the batters upper half of the strike zone. Mastery is attained by excising the advice and teaching by Dr. Marshall's stellar example and his students.

Pitching down the Acromial Line while in leaning slightly downward to control the lower half of home plate does gives the umpire a sympathetic reaction to the batter in the face of your dominance from the pitcher's mound in Dr. Marshall's Maxline Technologies.

From One Nightmare on the Mound.

I beckon any batter alive to grab a bat.


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

Hi Michael,

     I feel the joy you have when you throw your pitches. I appreciate your comments.

     As my Marshall Pitching Motion shows, my baseball pitchers release all their pitches as high as they can stand tall and reach upward with their pitching hand.

     With the high backward rotation of our Maxline and Torque Fastballs, our fastballs do not move downward as much as gravity would expect. Therefore, we want our fastballs to cross home plate high in the strike zone.

     With the high spiral rotation of our Maxline Fastball Sinker and Torque Fastball Slider, our minus 10 mph pitches move downward with gravity's assist. Therefore, we want out spiral pitches to cross home plate in the middle of the strike zone.

     With the exceptionally high rotation of our Maxline True Screwball and Maxline Pronation Curve, our minus 20 mph pitches move dramatically downward with gravity's assist. Therefore, we want out 12-6 pitches to cross home plate low in the strike zone.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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

0096.  Fastpitch Softball Pitching

My daughter is a 15 year old fast pitch softball pitcher. I am very curious what you think of the standard 'leap and drag' mechanics of modern fast pitch pitchers. This seem pretty typical:

Fastpitch Softball Pitching

I've kept my daughter away from 'professional' instruction that teaches 'leap and drag' and that 'speed comes before accuracy.' Leap and drag style pitching seems to me to be a recipe for destroying a player's body.

My daughter has a simple delivery and has had no problems being an effective pitcher over an entire game. We keep it simple, pitch the ball at the target while gradually building increased pitch speed.

I attached a video that is a year old and she's a little faster now, but it's what she's always done.

I think girls are being needlessly ruined by leap and drag mechanics; I wonder what you think.


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

     A fellow doctoral graduate teaching assistant at Michigan State University worked with me on high-speed filming my baseball pitching motion. When he accepted a professor job in his home state, he also became the women's softball coach. Therefore, I have watched high-speed film of his softball pitchers for over thirty years.

     The only damage that I see in the 'leap and drag the pitching foot' technique is the wear and tear on the shoe on the pitching foot.

     Unlike in baseball where leaping forces baseball pitchers to bend forward at their waist, in fastpitch softball, softball pitchers are able to remain standing tall throughout the delivery. Nevertheless, dragging the pitching foot does unnecessarily stresses the muscles on the front of their pitching upper leg and prevents fastpitch softball pitchers from rotating the entire pitching arm side of their body forward through release over their glove foot.

     Instead of 'leap and drag the pitching foot, technique' he taught 'leap and replant the pitching foot' technique. This technique enables fastpitch softball pitchers to rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body forward through release over their glove foot.

     I do not closely follow women's fastball softball. However, it seems to me that those that make the rules for college woman's fastpitch softball do not accept the 'leap and replant the pitching foot' technique. If they prohibit leaping and replanting, then they should prohibit leaping and dragging. Therefore, the rules makers should require fastpitch softball pitchers to stop leaping.

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

0097.  Michael Stokes comments on Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video

Your Marshall Pitching Motion is dead cold and vicious shutdown technology.

I do stand corrected by your instincts and intuition, which is drawn from your vast experience as the premier pitcher in the Major League Baseball.

The stuff put on the baseball from the Marshall Pitching Motions are truly as you say.

The high backward rotation of your Maxline and Torque Fastballs do stay high.

Of course Sir. When they are pitched in the two lower quadrants of the home plate strike zone really straighten out first about halfway.

The next part. The magic I see is this. Pronating the baseball in the Marshall Pitching Motions is the baseball straightens out about halfway to home plate and the after explosion to the glove side is at home plate. With the Marshall Pitching Motion Torque Windup.

The movement to the pitching arm side baseball also straightens out about halfway to home plate is explosive almost at home plate as well.

In your Marshall Pitching Motion. Pitching down the Acromial Line. I am proud to be an Iron Mike.

I thought that not being able to stay in the lower half of the home plate strike zone was a weakness in me.

So the employment of the fast twitching muscle fibers in the quick reflex muscles are for power pitching the minus twenty mph pitches and the byproduct in the high Maxline and Torque Fastballs to be just blurs?

When I work off the mound. Pitching our minus 20 mph pitches it is Okay for them too, if the Screwballs and the Curveballs spin as high a rotation by effort as hard we pitch the Maxline and Torque Fastballs after they as cross home plate? So we may utilize equal effort in maximum pronation for all the pitches?

Dead cold viciousness is our nature in the Marshall Pitching Motion from the pitching mound. Standing tall and maximum pronation with the highest release point possible gives me tireless effective high velocity strikes.

I may not ever thank Dr. Marshall enough for his generous and vast help in giving me a baseball that actually is small in hand.

Dr. Marshall's Pitching Motion. Pitching down the Acromial Line makes the distance between me and home plate a very, very short distance.

Not only does the baseball feel small in my pitching hand, but the baseball is really like the stuff of the ancient flamethrowers. They are like aspirin pills.

Thank You Dr. Marshall


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

Hi Micheal,

     When baseball pitchers throw fastballs low in the strike zone, baseball batters immediately know that they are not spiral or 12-6 pitches.

     However, when my baseball pitchers release all their pitches at the same top of the strike zone downward angle, baseball batters cannot determine which of the three velocity pitches (fast pitches, spiral pitches, 12-6 pitches) my baseball pitchers threw.

     That baseball batters have to wait longer to determine the type of pitch my baseball pitchers threw causes check swings and weak swings.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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

0098.  Fastpitch Softball Pitching Motion

That's interesting about their not being able to rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body forward because, as it's being commonly taught now, rotating as you describe is not the thing to do.

Just check the comments section of this article to see the incredible damage this unnecessary technique is doing to kids:

Softball Pitching and Injury Rates

In modern pitching terms, being 'open' is facing third and throwing across the front of the body. This is the preferred technique. Rotating toward facing home plate is being 'closed'. This is discouraged.

Pitching coaches describe the leap and drag as like a car accident: leap forward, glove leg stops motion and even applies backward motion as arm continues forward like something unsecured in a car wreck.

The stress on the glove ankle knee, hip and also the back are tremendous when every pitch is like a mini car accident.


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

     The saying should be 'leap and walk through.'

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

0099.  Training Youth & Adult "Pitchers"

Thank you for the feedback.

I have not had an MRI on my throwing shoulder, but I will look into that.

If the attachment is not intact, will that require surgery?

Should I wait to do the High School Baseball Interval Training program until my shoulder is "fixed"?

I will have the players use the bucket lid drill, as well as the others you mentioned as they learn the proper releases and gain strength in their arms.

As I said in my initial e-mail, I also purchased two TurboJavs.

Would it be appropriate for the players to work with those and learn to pronate the release?


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

     Before you start my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, you need to find out whether the long head of the Triceps Brachii muscle's attachment is still strongly attached to the infraglenoid tuberosity of the Scapula bone.

     If it is not still strongly attached, then, if it is possible after all this time, you need to have it surgically repaired.

     To teach my baseball pitchers how to apply force in straight lines toward home plate, I had them throw plastic javelins.

     However, before I brought out the plastic javelins, I made sure that they could 'horizontally sail' their four gallon square lids and properly release their appropriately-sized footballs.

     Until your guys are able to perform these skills, they should not start my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

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

0100.  Michael Stokes comments

Hi Dr. Marshall,

I am happy to report that today I measured the tree bow I use for my pitching over as part of my workout regimen.

In your Marshall Pitching Windup, all my pitches clear easily 98" inches.

That's the height I clear with smoke curlin offem!!!

Thank You Dr. Marshall.

Sincerely,

Michael


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

Hi Michael,

     The higher baseball pitchers are able to release their pitches, the more downward force they are able to generate.

     And, when they throw non-fastballs, instead of two looks at the baseball, one when the baseball moves upward and two when the baseball moves downward, our the batters only get one look at the baseball on its way down.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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

0101.  Michael Stokes comments on Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video

Your Marshall Pitching Motion is dead cold and vicious shutdown technology.

I do stand corrected by your instincts and intuition, which is drawn from your vast experience as the premier pitcher in the Major League Baseball.

The stuff put on the baseball from the Marshall Pitching Motions are truly as you say.

The high backward rotation of your Maxline and Torque Fastballs do stay high.

Of course Sir. When they are pitched in the two lower quadrants of the home plate strike zone really straighten out first about halfway.

The next part. The magic I see is this. Pronating the baseball in the Marshall Pitching Motions is the baseball straightens out about halfway to home plate and the after explosion to the glove side is at home plate. With the Marshall Pitching Motion Torque Windup.

The movement to the pitching arm side baseball also straightens out about halfway to home plate is explosive almost at home plate as well.

In your Marshall Pitching Motion. Pitching down the Acromial Line. I am proud to be an Iron Mike.

I thought that not being able to stay in the lower half of the home plate strike zone was a weakness in me.

So the employment of the fast twitching muscle fibers in the quick reflex muscles are for power pitching the minus twenty mph pitches and the byproduct in the high Maxline and Torque Fastballs to be just blurs?

When I work off the mound. Pitching our minus 20 mph pitches it is Okay for them too, if the Screwballs and the Curveballs spin as high a rotation by effort as hard we pitch the Maxline and Torque Fastballs after they as cross home plate? So we may utilize equal effort in maximum pronation for all the pitches?

Dead cold viciousness is our nature in the Marshall Pitching Motion from the pitching mound. Standing tall and maximum pronation with the highest release point possible gives me tireless effective high velocity strikes.

I may not ever thank Dr. Marshall enough for his generous and vast help in giving me a baseball that actually is small in hand.

Dr. Marshall's Pitching Motion. Pitching down the Acromial Line makes the distance between me and home plate a very, very short distance.

Not only does the baseball feel small in my pitching hand, but the baseball is really like the stuff of the ancient flamethrowers. They are like aspirin pills.

Thank You Dr. Marshall.


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

Hi Michael,

     When baseball pitchers throw fastballs low in the strike zone, baseball batters immediately know that they are not spiral or 12-6 pitches.

     However, when my baseball pitchers release all their pitches at the same top of the strike zone downward angle, baseball batters cannot determine which of the three velocity pitches (fast pitches, spiral pitches, 12-6 pitches) my baseball pitchers threw.

     That baseball batters have to wait longer to determine the type of pitch my baseball pitchers threw causes check swings and weak swings.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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

0102.  Royals sign reliever Rauch to Minors deal
MLB.com
January 23, 2014

KANSAS CITY, MO: Another veteran pitcher was added to the Royals' spring bullpen mix when the club announced the signing of right-hander Jon Rauch to a Minor League contract on Thursday. He received an invitation to the Major League training camp.

Rauch, a sizable entry at 6-foot-11 and 290 pounds, is considered to be the tallest pitcher in Major League history. He has 11 years of Major League experience with eight different clubs. He's 35 and last pitched in the Majors for the Marlins, appearing in 15 games before being released last May 22 with a 1-2 record and a 7.56 ERA.

He also pitched in the Orioles organization in 2013, posting a 2.89 ERA in 10 appearances at Triple-A Norfolk.

In his 11 big league seasons, Rauch appeared in 556 games (11 starts) with a 43-40 record, 62 saves and a 3.90 ERA for the Nationals, Twins, D-backs, White Sox, Mets, Blue Jays, Expos and Marlins.

His last full season was 2012, when he worked 73 games for the Mets, going 3-7 with four saves. He opened the season with 11 consecutive scoreless outings covering 10 innings. The same year, Rauch lost seven straight decisions in a 20-game span.

He had a career-high 21 saves for the Twins in 2010 after closer Joe Nathan had surgery.

The Royals, well-known for their youth-oriented bullpen, earlier this month signed 40-year-old reliever Guillermo Mota to a Minor League deal.


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

     At 5' 08" tall, I stood tall and released my pitchers higher than a 6' 03" baseball pitcher on my team.

     Imagine Mr. Rauch releasing his pitches two feet higher than his 6' 11" height.

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

0103.  This is Alfredo Caballero

I hope your holidays were great and that everyone is doing good.

I was thinking I was looking for a routine to start.

I have four months before spring-training.

Do you any suggestions?


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

Hi Alfredo,

     It is almost February.

     How can you have four months before spring training?

     That would mean that your spring training starts on the first the first of June.

     My advice is that you never stop doing my training protocols.

     You should use every day of your off-season to get more fit and skilled.

     Therefore, I recommend that, immediately after your season, you increase your wrist weights by 5 lbs. and your heavy ball by 2 lbs. and complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     After you complete that program, you need to maintain that fitness and skill by doing my maintenance training program every day. My maintenance program decreases the number of wrist weight, iron ball, lid, football and baseball throws by one-half.

     Watch Jeff Sparks turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate in my Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion Video.

     Like Jeff does, you need to learn how to:

01. Walk off the pitching rubber.

02. Rotate the entire pitching arm side of your body diagonally forward over your glove foot.

03. Simultaneously move your pitching upper arm to vertically beside your head with the back of your pitching upper arm facing toward home plate.

04. 'Horizontally rebound' your pitching forearm.

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

0104.  Fastpitch Softball Pitching Motion

'Leap and walk through', that's about it!

Here's an exchange that describes the hip turn, 'closing' coming after release of the ball:

Comment by Paul Dent — March 20, 2013

1. I had a discussion with a local pitching coach and he claims that pitchers who bring the hip through after release end up with more shoulder injuries. Have you found this to be the case?

Cindy answers:

2. I’ve not found that to be the case at all.

If you bring the hip through before release, you can’t release the ball because your hip’s in the way. Bringing the hip through depends on the pitch, but every good pitcher brings her hip through, and not all have shoulder injuries. I have found that most shoulder injuries result #1 from over use, and #2 from a slow hand at release that then strains the chest/shoulder muscles.


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

     Using the glove and pitching legs to abruptly stop the forward movement of the body not only injures those legs, but also injures the front of fastpitch softball pitchers' pitching shoulder.

     Newton's Law of Reactions says that, to increase the action force, athletes need to increase the reaction force.

     The pitching arm provides the 'action' force, the glove arm, glove leg and pitching leg provide the reaction force.

     Therefore, when fastpitch softball pitchers use their glove and pitching legs to slam on the breaks, they decrease their reaction force.

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

0105.  This is Alfredo Caballero

Ya, independent ball doesn't start until the end of May, well this league anyways.

We have 5 days of games that they call spring training, which is their just trying to see if you're in shape.

I been training, but I have not thrown, which I will start to do.

I'll take a look at your website and start to go to work> I remember what you said for next year.


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

Hi Alfredo,

     As a professional baseball pitcher, your job is to become the most fit and skilled baseball pitcher that you can be.

     This means that you should always either be maintaining your fitness and skill level, attaining a higher level of fitness and skills or competing.

     Taking time off decreases your fitness and skill levels. Now, you have to train to get back to the fitness and skill levels that you had before you stopped training.

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

0106.  Strasburg declares elbow ready for Spring Training
MLB.com
January 25, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC: Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg was in a great mood at NatsFest on Saturday -- and for good reason. Three months after having arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow, Strasburg told the local media that he is 100 percent healthy and will not be in rehab mode when Spring Training starts next month.

"I feel great. Normal schedule. Doing my throwing, lifting, running, the whole shebang," Strasburg said. "Just kind of getting ready for Spring Training with no problems."

Despite having elbow problems last season, Strasburg put up respectable numbers, making 30 starts, pitching 183 innings and compiling a 3.00 ERA. His arm was healthy enough for game action, but Strasburg had a tough time straightening out the arm after games and in bullpen sessions.

"At the time, I really didn't know what it was, it kind of slowly crept up. I couldn't straighten my arm out as much," Strasburg said. "It's kind of something that happened, and I'm not going to change the way I go out there and approach the game. … If I win or lose, that's all I can really do."

Although he has accomplished a lot in two full seasons in the big leagues, Strasburg is looking to make improvements. He wants to work on his pick-off moves. Like most of the pitchers on the Nats' staff, Strasburg often was unable to keep opponents from stealing a base. He also wants to work on his timing in the stretch and on commanding his fastball on both sides of the plate.

"I'm trying to take that next evolution, trying to get more complete," Strasburg said.

As he makes these improvements, Strasburg is pleased that Steve McCatty is returning as the pitching coach. It's no secret that McCatty, entering his fifth full season in the role, is considered a father figure to much of the Nationals' staff.

"Having Cat there in my corner -- other people in the organization will say the same thing -- he is the type of guy that you could trust," Strasburg said. "If you go out there and get shelled or you go out there and pitch well, he is not going to treat you any differently."


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

     Nationals baseball pitcher, Stephen Strasburg, said:

01. "At the time, I really didn't know what it was."
02. "It kind of slowly crept up."
03. "I couldn't straighten my arm out as much."
04. "It's kind of something that happened."
05. "I'm not going to change the way I go out there."
06. "If I win or lose, that's all I can really do."
07. "Having Cat (Nationals major league pitching coach, Steve McCatty) there in my corner."
08. "Other people in the organization will say the same thing."
09. "He is the type of guy that you could trust."
10. "If you go out there and get shelled or you go out there and pitch well, he is not going to treat you any differently."

     Mr. McCatty might not treat you any differently win or lose, but Mr. McCatty does not understand why you suffered 'bone' chips in your pitching elbow.

     Marshall 101 teaches baseball pitchers that if you 'supinate' release of your breaking pitches, then you will bang the bones in the back of your pitching elbow together, which will break pieces of hyaline cartilage loose.

     Next, Mr. Strasburg will have surgery to remove the bone spurs that will grow through these openings in the hyaline cartilage.

     It may seen like bad form, but Mr. Rizzo, I said that Mr. Straburg supinates the release of his breaking pitches and, as a result, Mr. Strasburg will have hyaline cartiage pieces jamming up his pitching wlbow.

     If Mr. (I'm not going to change) Strasburg continues to supinate the release of his breaking pitches, then Mr. Strasburg will continue to break pieces of hyaline cartilage loose in his pitching elbow.

     Mr. Strasburg, do you want a good guy coaching you or a guy that eliminates pitching injuries and teaches you how to throw very hign quality pitches, like my Maxline Pronation Curve.

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

0107.  Cooper guiding pitchers ahead of spring camp
MLB.com
January 26, 2014

CHICAGO, IL: White Sox pitchers already have heard from pitching coach Don Cooper, with targeted areas to improve in 2014 for each one. In fact, Cooper views himself as sort of an air traffic controller of his staff.

"Trying to guide them in for when we land in Arizona," said Cooper following his Sunday SoxFest seminar. "We're always searching for the edge. How can we help each individual guy continue the process and get to be as good as he can be?

"That might be something as minute as first-pitch strikes. … It could be anything. We're always throwing challenges out to each guy. This is where we need to get better work. Then we're rolling up the sleeves and get together to try and improve those areas in hopes that we have the best seasons we've ever had out of this guy."

By Feb. 15, when White Sox pitchers and catchers report, Cooper will sit down with every individual pitcher to discuss what he did well and what he needs to start focusing on more.

"I'm talking to probably a dozen kids right now," Cooper said. "Where they're at, what they're doing, what they should be working on as far as pitches and stuff and getting ready.

"Hopefully we'll be ready to hit the ground running when we get to Arizona. But it's the conversations that kind of get me psyched because I can sense in their voice and how they're talking that they're psyched."


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     White Sox pitching coach, Don Cooper, said:

01. "Trying to guide them in for when we land in Arizona."
02. "We're always searching for the edge."
03. "How can we help each individual guy continue the process and get to be as good as he can be."
04. "That might be something as minute as first-pitch strikes."
05. "It could be anything."
06. "We're always throwing challenges out to each guy."
07. "This is where we need to get better work."
08. "Then, we're rolling up the sleeves and get together to try and improve those areas in hopes that we have the best seasons we've ever had out of this guy."
09. "I'm talking to probably a dozen kids right now."
10. "Where they're at."
11. "What they're doing."
12. "What they should be working on as far as pitches and stuff and getting ready."
13. "Hopefully, we'll be ready to hit the ground running when we get to Arizona."
14. "But, it's the conversations that kind of get me psyched because I can sense in their voice and how they're talking that they're psyched."

     The article said: "By Feb. 15, when White Sox pitchers and catchers report, Cooper will sit down with every individual pitcher to discuss what he did well and what he needs to start focusing on more.

     Wow. "Something as tiny as first-pitch strikes."

     Those damn pitchers have to stop not throwing first-pitch strikes on purpose.

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0108.  Beachy hopes frustration firmly in the past
MLB.com
January 27, 2014

ATLANTA, GA: Right-hander Brandon Beachy has the utmost respect for Dr. James Andrews and all that the noted surgeon has done for him over the past 20 months. But, after undergoing Tommy John surgery during the 2012 season and another cleanup procedure after making a frustrating, pain-filled comeback attempt last year, it's safe to say he has seen enough of Andrews' clinic in Pensacola, Fla.

"I met somebody from the Pensacola area, and it's sad that I immediately had such a negative point of view toward that place," Beachy, 27, said with a smirk.

Beachy's attempt to return from Tommy John surgery at the standard 12-month mark was cut short in June because of inflammation in the elbow. He made his much-anticipated return to the rotation one month later but was limited to just five starts before the inflammation proved debilitating enough to sideline him and ultimately necessitate a less-intrusive procedure in September, during which Andrews removed a bone spur and some other loose fragments from around the elbow.

Following the surgery, Beachy was encouraged by the fact that Andrews felt he'd be at full strength by the start of Spring Training. A little less than three weeks from the day Braves pitchers and catchers report, it appears this was a sound projection.

"This is exactly as I would have hoped to feel at this point," Beachy said.

Beachy, Craig Kimbrel and top pitching prospect Lucas Sims were among the small group of pitchers who were at Turner Field on Monday to participate in the first day of the club's voluntary early throwing program.

As Beachy throws off a mound during this early camp and during the early portion of Spring Training, he will not be under any limitations prescribed by Andrews or members of the Braves' medical staff, but he understands the importance of avoiding the urge to try to impress or do too much too soon.

"I'm going to be a little smarter than I have been in the past, with not worrying about velocity the first couple of outings and things like that," Beachy said. "But I'm going to be on the same schedule as everybody else."

As they attempt to win a second straight National League East title, the Braves are planning to enter the 2014 season with a rotation that consists of Kris Medlen, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Alex Wood and Beachy. The most obvious questions surrounding this quintet center on Wood's inexperience and Beachy's health.

Attempting to add depth and gain insurance, the Braves signed veteran starter Gavin Floyd to a one-year, incentive-laden contract and brought back Freddy Garcia with a Minor League deal.

When the Braves acquired Floyd in December, they said the progress he had made with his rehab gave them confidence that he will be ready to return in May, 12 months after he underwent an elbow-reconstruction procedure that addressed tears to his ulnar collateral ligament and flexor tendon.

Beachy's rehab created a similar sense of confidence until inflammation began developing around the elbow approximately two weeks before he attempted to rejoin the rotation.

It is often said that every pitcher reacts differently when coming back from Tommy John surgery. Unfortunately for Beachy, he endured some of the same frustration encountered by John Smoltz, who in 2001 also made just five starts in his return from the procedure.

Smoltz's setback led him to a 3 1/2-year stint as a reliever. Less weathered -- and younger -- than Smoltz was at that point of his career, Beachy hopes the cleanup procedure was all he needed to give him a chance to quickly regain the successful form he displayed while producing a Major League-leading 2.00 ERA through the final start he made in 2012.

"I feel normal, and I want to contribute," Beachy said. "That's what I told you guys most of last season. It just didn't work out that way. But that's what I want to do. I want to contribute to a staff that is already positioned to be one of the best in the National League. I just want to help."

As he paces himself over the next few weeks and during the early portion of the Grapefruit League schedule, Beachy will have a chance to gain more confidence. But he realizes that he will need to make a few regular-season starts before he can truly distance himself from the unavoidable doubts created as he routinely encountered frustration last year.

"There's always going to be something there in the way back part of the mind until I go out there in April and get a few starts under my belt," Beachy said. "But every day that I come out here to throw and don't feel anything, it just eases that a little bit. Right now, it is progressing exactly how I hoped."


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

     The article said:

01. "Right-hander Brandon Beachy has the utmost respect for Dr. James Andrews and all that the noted surgeon has done for him over the past 20 months."
02. "But, after undergoing Tommy John surgery during the 2012 season and another cleanup procedure after making a frustrating, pain-filled comeback attempt last year, it's safe to say he has seen enough of Andrews' clinic in Pensacola, Fla.
03. "Beachy's attempt to return from Tommy John surgery at the standard 12-month mark was cut short in June because of inflammation in the elbow."
04. "Mr. Beachy made his much-anticipated return to the rotation one month later."
05. "However, debilitating inflammation sidelined Mr. Beachy."
06. "In September, Dr. Andrews Andrews removed a bone spur and me other loose fragments from around the elbow.

     Let me get this straight.

     Dr. Andrews replaced Mr. Beachy's ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligament, but did not think to remove pieces of hyaline cartilage from his pitching elbow.

     That is elbow surgery 101.

     Braves baseball pitcher, Brandon Beachy, said:

01. "I met somebody from the Pensacola area."
02. "It's sad that I immediately had such a negative point of view toward that place."

     That negative feeling Mr. Beachy has is because Mr. Beachy instintively knows that Dr. Andrews screwed up.

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0109.  Familia shows potential to dominate with power arm
MLB.com
January 27, 2014
by Bernie Pleskoff

There is little question that the greatest strength of the New York Mets is pitching. They have assembled a high-quality group of young pitchers that can become the centerpiece of the franchise for years to come.

Ultimately, once Matt Harvey returns to health, the team might assemble such promising arms as Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard and Harvey as three top pitching prospects at the front third of their rotation. That is far from shabby.

There are additional pitchers on the roster who are beyond intriguing. One of the Mets pitchers I had a chance to scout in this past Arizona Fall League was right-hander Jeurys Familia. He was regaining some innings he lost from the removal of bone chips in his elbow in mid-2013.

One has to look past Familia's Fall League numbers to realize the upside and potential in his strong right arm. If he can control his best pitches, two-seam and four-seam fastballs and a slider, he will make a tremendous impact at the end of a ballgame.

With his 95-96 mph velocity on his four-seam and sinking fastball, Familia has the pitch that can miss bats and induce highly desirable strikeouts when they are needed the most. Once the hitter is set up with the heater, his 82-83 mph slider buckles knees and has the hitter swinging at air.

But Familia's command and control remain issues. He has such a good arm, it is difficult to watch him have trouble locating pitches. That's an offshoot of youth. Familia just turned 24 years old this past October. The future is beyond bright.

Familia is big and strong at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds. He is an imposing figure on the mound. Familia's fastball becomes faster and his slider becomes even more potent because of his intimidating presence.

The Mets signed Familia from the Dominican Republic as an international free agent in 2007. He ranks No. 11 on the Mets' Top 20 Prospects list.

Familia got to pitch for the Mets' parent club the past two seasons. In all but one of his 17 appearances, he worked from the bullpen. In 23 Major League innings, Familia has a 5.09 ERA and has struck out 18 while walking 18.

As a reliever, which was his role in the Arizona Fall League, Familia can come in and mow hitters down with those two very solid pitches. If he can throw strikes.

In Arizona, Familia worked 8 1/3 innings from the bullpen in the eight games he pitched. He had an ERA of 6.48. Familia yielded four walks and struck out 11. He gave up eight hits and six earned runs. His WHIP was 1.44.

One glance at Familia on the mound illustrates a potential for dominance. To this point, however, frustration with his results is a more accurate assessment.

Right now, Familia is very hittable. He falls behind in counts, and to recover, he has to throw pitches that get too much of the plate. That is not uncommon, and additional patience and teaching are required.

I'd like to see Familia work more on developing his changeup. I think it's a pitch that could ultimately be a difference maker in his arsenal. But Familia can't throw it if he isn't confident in the results. That seems to be the case.

There is a great deal of mechanical inconsistency in Familia's delivery. He has to smooth out the motion, using less effort with repeated, clean finishes in his arm action to find rhythm.

Cleaning his delivery, finding the fringes and corners of the strike zone with consistency, finishing his pitches and adding a pitch to his arsenal seems like a laundry list of flaws to correct.

For smaller pitchers with less arm strength and not as much intensity, it might be a tall order. The task is less daunting because Familia has shown he can be reliable and overpowering. He just needs to be more consistent.

For now, while Familia has been a starting pitcher for most of his career, I think he fits best in the back end of the bullpen. I believe Familia will ultimately command a dominant role on the Mets' pitching staff.


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

     The article said:

01. "One of the Mets pitchers I (MLB.com sportswriter, Berenie Pleskoff) had a chance to scout in this past Arizona Fall League was right-hander Jeurys Familia."
02. "Mr. Familia was regaining some innings he lost from the removal of bone chips in his elbow in mid-2013."
03. "Mr. Familia's best pitches are two-seam and four-seam fastballs and a slider.
04. "Once Mr. Familia set up the hitter with the heater, his 82-83 mph slider buckles knees and has the hitter swinging at air.

     That 82-83 mph supinated slider caused Mr. Familia's 'bone' chips that caused Mr. Familia to have season ending surgery.

     That Mr. Familia continues to supinate the release of his slider means that Mr. Familia does not have much left of his professional pitching career.

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0110.  Past injuries provide lesson to heed
MLB.com
January 28, 2014
by Phil Rogers

Like that old middle infielder Maya Angelou once said, you do the best you can until you know better, then you do better. It's how we all evolve, or at least how we should.

Major League Baseball is doing the right thing by allowing pitchers to wear a protective cap on the mound, even if the approved design might leave room for improvement. There's no reason to accept line drives to the head, like those sustained by J.A. Happ, Brandon McCarthy, Juan Nicasio or, tragically, Mike Coolbaugh.

But for baseball's latest safety innovation to pay dividends, it will have to be embraced by players. And in a sport where the culture is so heavy on machismo and individuality, where tradition has always counted double, you wonder if enough moms and dads -- or, even better, wives -- will convince pitchers to wear the new hats.

Like toning down collisions at home plate, protecting pitchers is the smart thing to do. It's a shame, however, that style threatens to get in the way of function with the new caps. They do look a little like "a train conductor's hat," in the words of two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw, and even McCarthy, a safety advocate, says the designs aren't yet "Major League ready."

And, yes, I do know that Coolbaugh wasn't pitching when he was killed by a line drive during a Texas League game in 2007. He was coaching first base -- and, yes, to be technical, he was hit in the neck, not the temple, so the protective caps manufactured by isoBlox probably wouldn't have helped him.

But you're missing the point if you sweat a detail like that on an issue as vital as this one. The point is, when a ball screams off the bat and hits a pitcher in the head, like one from Eric Hosmer did Alex Cobb last June, one from Desmond Jennings did Happ last May, one from Erick Aybar did McCarthy in 2012 and one from Ian Desmond did Nicasio the year before, there's a chance he's not going to get up.

It's 60 feet, six inches from the pitcher's rubber to the front of home plate. By the time a tall pitcher -- say the 6-foot-3 Kershaw or the 6-foot-7 McCarthy -- releases a pitch and finishes his follow through, he's 55 feet away, maybe fewer. And he's often off balance. He can be a sitting duck.

As pitchers throw harder and harder, and batters get stronger and stronger, the odds for a high-visibility tragedy have increased year after year. Why should baseball pitchers continue taking that risk when we have technology to make the game safer?

Kershaw, in an appearance on MLB Network, said that for pitchers, the issue is that the new caps would make them look different than their teammates.

"You don't look very cool, to be honest," Kershaw said, although he didn't say that was too big of a price to pay.

"If you're that one guy that gets hurt, it seems like every year -- there's always that chance," Kershaw said. "It would take a little bit of getting used to, but I think it's a great thing, a step in the right direction, for sure."

There's always some pushback on safety issues in society, and baseball won't be any different. My grandfather was as smart as anyone I've known, and he cut the seat belts out of his car when they first became standard equipment. I went skiing this winter for the first time in years and was surprised to learn I was expected to wear a helmet. Then I noticed that there were only a few knuckleheads not wearing helmets.

Baseball players complained when batting helmets were required, and then again when ear flaps were mandated on helmets. Following Coolbaugh's death, first- and third-base coaches were mandated to wear them, and Larry Bowa and some others complained like they were being ordered to wear headgear reminiscent of Minnie Pearl.

But how about this? Professional bull riders are wearing helmets these days. They have followed Maya Angelou's logic.

Pitchers will, too, especially as the technology evolves. But it will be the younger pitchers leading the old guys, like it so often is.

Let's give pitchers on all levels a year or two to get comfortable with the hats, but no longer. Not everyone is going to like them, obviously. But assuming the technology is proven sound, MLB and the Players Association should take a major step.

Require them to be worn throughout pro ball, with the provision that the current big leaguers can choose for themselves. Any pitcher reaching MLB after the rule was put in place would be required to wear the protective caps.

It just makes sense, as McCarthy and too many others have learned the hard way.


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     How is a batting helmet going to protect baseball pitchers' forehead?

     For years, I wore a inset helmet in my cap. I thought that it might minimize the impact of a glancing blow.

     However, after I learned how to get my pitching foot on the ground before the baseball entered the hitting zone and how to throw breaking pitches that moved inside, I did not worry about my reaction time or batters hitting line drives back at me.

     'Traditional' pitching foot draggers need to wear these new helmets.

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0111.  Angels reach deal with OSI, add two surgeons
MLB.com
January 29, 2014

ANAHEIM, CA: The Angels reached a multiyear agreement with Orthopaedic Specialty Institute of Orange, Calif., and announced the additions of orthopaedic surgeons Robert Grumet and Michael F. Shepard to their medical staff on Wednesday.

The news comes eight months after Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels' longtime team orthopedist and one of the country's most noted sports-medicine practitioners, passed away at age 65 because of liver cancer.

The Angels previously partnered with the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Anaheim, which will continue to be a resource for the team. Dr. Craig Milhouse will remain the team physician.

Dr. Grumet specializes in arthroscopic and reconstructive surgery of the shoulder, knee and hip with a special emphasis in cartilage restorative procedures and hip arthroscopy. He earned his bachelor's and medical degrees from USC and has served as a team physician for the Chicago White Sox and Bulls, as well as for various semi-professional, university and high school teams.

Dr. Shepard specializes in elbow and shoulder injuries for overhead athletes, elbow arthroscopy and complex knee reconstruction. He graduated from UC Davis and the UCLA School of Medicine and serves as a team physician for the USA men's and women's volleyball teams.

"For the past 36 years, the Angels medical team has been the most respected and consistent in all of Major League Baseball," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. "2014 marks a new beginning of our medical program and we are pleased to join with OSI in our continued pursuit of excellence in the field of sports medicine. The people, their experiences and facilities are all top notch, while the leadership of Dr. Grumet and Dr. Shepard will impact our organization in many positive ways for years to come."


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     Mr. Dipoto: Your money would be put to better use by hiring someone that knew how to teach your baseball pitchers how to eliminate the injuries flaws that cause the need for orthopedic surgeons.

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0112.  Pitchers should wear padded caps
MLB.com
January 29, 2014
by Paul Hagen

Red Sox pitcher Oil Can Boyd was in a jam. It was the top of the fourth inning at Fenway Park on May 17, 1986. The Rangers had runners at first and second with two outs. Catcher Don Slaught was at the plate. Boyd reached back to throw a fastball, and that's when everything went kerflooey.

Slaught had no recollection of the pitch afterward. The ball hit him in the face. Slaught fell to the dirt, bleeding. His nose and left cheekbone were shattered.

That horrific memory came flashing back Tuesday with the announcement that Major League Baseball had approved a padded cap that can help protect pitchers from being seriously injured if they are struck by line drives … and the announcement brought a generally tepid response from pitchers who were asked if they were likely to wear it.

Because, see, when Slaught returned to the lineup on July 4, he wore a helmet that was fitted with a clear Plexiglas shield that covered much of his face. After the game, he spoke at length about how much he liked the new equipment, how he planned to wear it for the rest of his career.

A few weeks later, Slaught quietly went back to wearing a standard helmet.

Major League pitchers, listen up: Wear the padded caps.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. They'll look a little funny at first.

D-backs right-hander Brandon McCarthy came right out and said the model he tested "didn't pass the eye test." And that's coming from a guy who knows how serious these injuries can be.

On Sept. 5, 2012, while pitching for the Athletics, McCarthy was hit in the head by a line drive, suffering a brain contusion and a skull fracture. He underwent a two-hour surgery to relieve cranial pressure. It was that incident that helped focus attention on the issue and triggered the search to find ways to better protect pitchers.

And who can forget that when Mets third baseman David Wright suffered a concussion in 2009, he came back two weeks later wearing a new batting helmet? It was much safer. It was also much bigger.

Wright admitted that he was widely ridiculed.

"Those guys were laughing at me on the other side," he said at the time. "Our guys were laughing at me. All the guys on the field were yelling at me."

Wright didn't wear that helmet very long.

The bottom line is that players don't always do what's best for them. They're young and strong and think they're invincible. Then again, most people don't eat five servings of fruits and vegetables and get at least a half-hour of exercise and eight hours of sleep every day, either.

But here's the thing:

Major League Baseball has been trying really hard to make the game safer. A lot of time and money was spent figuring out ways to keep bats from shattering and becoming flying missiles. Base coaches must wear helmets. Commissioner Bud Selig banned amphetamines because he became convinced of how dangerous they were to a player's health. New rules to prevent home-plate collisions that can cause serious injury to both the catcher and the runner will be in place for the upcoming season.

Baseball is properly sensitive to the reality that a pitcher's motion can easily get out of whack and that adding just a few ounces to the equation can upset that delicate balance. That's why the new hats are optional. They also set up an exacting and protracted process to get this right.

But as late Phillies general manager Paul Owens used to say, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't stick his head in it."

Slaught was lucky. His vision wasn't affected. He is now the president of RightView Pro, a company licensed by Major League Baseball that breaks down video of hitters and pitchers, giving all four angles so youngsters can compare their motions to the best in the game. On Wednesday, Slaught explained the mentality that led him to stop wearing the gear that would have protected him if he had been beaned again.

Slaught doesn't downplay how badly he had been hurt.

"Facial bones are like normal bones," he said. "They don't get stronger after they're broken. When I came back, I had shattered my cheek. My eye sits on plastic. My nose was gone. My tooth was broken."

But:

"The real thing was that I wasn't doing well with it," Slaught said. "I wasn't worried about getting hit again. I thought the reason I got hit was a fluke. I just lost the ball.

"I played for 16 years in the big leagues and it was the one pitch that I never saw. That's what I blamed it on. I had a lot of them thrown at my head and got out of the way. I thought it was my fault because I lost the ball in the background. Maybe [the pitchers who have been hit by line drives] think it was a fluke, too."

So, pitchers: Wear the caps. It can happen to you.

Executives from 4Licensing Corporation and isoBlox, which developed the first padded hats approved by MLB, are confident that the product will eventually catch on. They theorized that it may be a bottom-to-top process in which players first become accustomed to wearing the extra protection in youth leagues, making it just part of the game as they progress toward the big leagues. And they're probably right.

When the Major League Baseball Players Association wouldn't agree to a drug testing program, Selig started one in the Minors. When those players graduated to the Majors, they had become comfortable with being tested. Resistance lessened. Now, Major League Baseball's drug program is considered to be the best among major pro sports.

The equipment will also continue to improve. Rawlings has refined its batting helmets to the point where they are now just fractions of an inch larger and about an ounce heavier than the old models while still offering protection that is 130 times stronger than helmets made from the standard plastic. And they became mandatory last season.

That could happen with the new hats some day. Until then, though, the proper response is simple.

Pitchers: No excuses. Wear the padded caps.


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     The article said:

01. "Rawlings has refined its batting helmets to the point where they are now just fractions of an inch larger and about an ounce heavier than the old models."
02. "The new batting helmets are 130 times stronger than helmets made from the standard plastic."
03. "Wearing the new batting helmets became mandatory last season.

     With the way that 'traditional' baseball pitchers bend forward at their waist, wearing batting helmets will add stress to the muscles that flex and extend their head.

     However, if baseball pitchers were to stand tall and rotate through release, wearing batting helmets would not add stress to the muscles that flex and extend their head.

     Therefore, if professional baseball understands that having baseball pitchers rotate their hips and shoulders over the pitching rubber with their pitching arm causes injuries to the pitching shoulder, pitching hip, pitching knee and the lower back, then 'traditional' baseball pitchers will continue to refuse to wear batting helmets on the pitching mound.

     However, if professional baseball understands that having baseball pitchers rotate the entire pitching arm side of their body over their glove foot not only enables baseball pitchers to wear batting helmets without stressing the muscles that flex and extend their head, but also prevents injuries to the pitching shoulder, pitching hip, pitching knee and their lower back, then baseball pitchers will wear batting helmets on the pitching mound even though they will have their pitching foot on the ground before their pitches enter the hitting zone.

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0113.  Bauer, Salazar seek to grow as rotation mates
MLB.com
January 29, 2014

CLEVELAND, OH: As the Indians convened for Spring Training a year ago, Trevor Bauer was a subject of considerable attention. He had been acquired just a few months earlier as part of the three-team deal that sent Shin-Soo Choo to the Reds.

But, at the same time, observers in Goodyear, Ariz., were carefully tracking Bauer's progress and marveling at his unconventional training methods, Danny Salazar toiled in relative anonymity.

Somewhere during the season, though, the two young right-handers switched roles. Salazar became the prospect to watch, and Bauer the project. It was Salazar who helped propel the Indians to the playoffs and was then tapped to start the American League Wild Card Game. It was Bauer who struggled to make the jump from Triple-A to the Major Leagues as he tried to overhaul his delivery.

Their offseasons have been as disparate as their seasons. Salazar was given a hero's welcome in his hometown. A parade was held in his honor, celebrating his ascent to the Majors. Bauer, meanwhile, retreated to the Texas Baseball Ranch to continue rebuilding his delivery, a process that had begun in Spring Training and frustrated him all season.

Now, as the 2014 season approaches, the Indians are counting on both Bauer and Salazar to help them build on last season's success. Though questions still surround both, they believe they are well positioned to do just that.

Bauer traces his struggles to a groin injury sustained in 2012. Not only did the recovery cost him his typical offseason, it forced him to wonder why he had gotten hurt in the first place.

"I look at injury as, I got injured for a reason," Bauer said. "'Why did that break, why did I have pain there?' That's a process I've been going through my whole entire life."

After consulting with several advisers, Bauer came to the conclusion that an inefficiency in his mechanics was to blame, and he decided to alter his mechanics. But because of the injury, he wasn't able to begin the process until Spring Training, when he was also getting used to being back on the mound.

The timing wasn't ideal, and the results weren't always pretty, but Bauer pressed ahead with his adjustments as he began the season in Triple-A Columbus. The low point may have come on June 28, when he was called up to make a spot start in the first game of a doubleheader against the White Sox. He lasted just two-thirds of an inning and gave up five runs.

Bauer said starts like that one were the most difficult aspect of what he called his "worst year of baseball, ever."

"I can handle the personal part of it," he said. "I pitched well or I didn't pitch well, so it's a pretty linear process. But going out there and being called up to make a spot start and trying to help the team win and then not being able to perform was probably the toughest part of it."

Bauer spent the rest of the season in Columbus, trying to work through his mechanics and command issues, but he didn't have a breakthrough until the season ended and he was able to devote all of his attention to establishing his new delivery and creating muscle memory.

"It's just so hard to make any sort of mechanical change during the season because you can't throw a whole lot in between [starts], because you've got to make sure you're in the cycle for your start," he said. "Then, between all the good throws, you get in, you go out and pitch, and your body goes back to what it's been doing.

"Once I was able to work on what I wanted to work on for a month straight, everything went really quickly and fell into place, and I'm good to go."

The extent of the changes Bauer has made and the speed with which he implemented them impressed pitching coach Mickey Callaway, who has tracked Bauer's progress through video updates.

Callaway likes what he has seen and believes Bauer is positioned for a successful season.

"He does a very good job of thinking about the way he should work," Callaway said. "That's the reason he's been able to make those adjustments to get where he's at right now so quick. He went home, and he rested for two and a half weeks and started working on it. And now his mechanics have totally changed, and now he's right where we want him to be. Most guys can't do that."

Salazar began his breakout season as the Opening Day starter for Double-A Akron. He quickly earned a promotion to Columbus and was in the Majors for good by early August. Once there, he pitched well enough to get the ball for the AL Wild Card game.

Though Salazar took the loss that night, his introduction to the big leagues was a success. In 52 innings he posted a 3.12 ERA and a 65-to-15 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Catcher Yan Gomes said that Salazar's poise is what allowed him to make waves as a rookie. Now he is eager to see what the 24-year-old can do for an encore.

"It's kind of exciting to see that from a guy coming in for his first start to pitching in the playoffs," Gomes said. "It's going to be exciting to see what he can do with a full year."

Salazar is already hard at work to improve on last season. He reported to Goodyear on Jan. 12 and has been focused on keeping his fastball down in the zone and pitching to the corners of the strike zone more often.

After accomplishing so much so quickly, he wants to make sure he can carry it over to this season.

"Once you're in Triple-A and you come to the big leagues, you don't want to go back down, because everything is better up here," Salazar said. "So I just told myself I need to work harder to stay here."

Salazar and Bauer share a mutual respect. Salazar admires the way Bauer mixes his pitches, and Bauer picked up a lot just by watching Salazar make the jump to the Major Leagues.

Those lessons should come in handy this spring as Bauer tries to win a rotation spot.

"There's some things I learned by watching, and there's some things I'm sure I learned that I don't even realize I learned," Bauer said. "I'll go through something and I'll go, 'I saw [Salazar] do this or I saw him do that,' and it'll help me out down the road. I try to watch and learn from every experience and everybody."

Both Bauer and Salazar laid the foundation for their future during their contrasting 2013 seasons. Now the Indians hope they are able to continue to grow together as rotation-mates for years to come.


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

     The article said:

01. "Bauer traces his struggles to a groin injury sustained in 2012."
02. "Not only did the recovery cost him his typical offseason, it forced him to wonder why he had gotten hurt in the first place.
03. "After consulting with several advisers, Bauer came to the conclusion that an inefficiency in his mechanics was to blame."
04. "Mr. Bauer decided to alter his mechanics."
05. "But, because of the injury, he wasn't able to begin the process until Spring Training."

     'Traditional' baseball pitchers injure their Adductor Brevis muscle (groin) when they use their Tensor Fascia Latae muscle to sidewardly move their body toward home plate.

     To eliminate this injurious flaw, baseball pitchers need to turn their pitching foot at least forty-five degrees toward home plate. With their pitching foot turned, baseball pitchers will use their Rectus Femoris muscle to move their body forwardly toward home plate.

     Indians baseball pitcher, Trevor Bauer, said:

01. "I look at injury as, I got injured for a reason."
02. "'Why did that break."
03. "Why did I have pain there?'"
04. "That's a process I've been going through my whole entire life."

     It is too bad that Mr. Bauer's advisers, namely Ron Wolforth, have no idea what they are doing.

     If, instead of ignoring my advise, Mr. Bauer had contacted me, I would have explained his problem and the cure and he would have been able to pitch more than 2/3 of an inning.      With regard to Danny Salazar, the article said:

01. "Salazar is already hard at work to improve on last season."
02. "He reported to Goodyear on Jan. 12, 2014."
03. "He has been focused on keeping his fastball down in the zone and pitching to the corners of the strike zone more often.

     When baseball pitchers throw their fastballs low in the strike zone, baseball batting immediately know that the pitch is a fastball. Therefore, they are able to start their swing earlier and more powerfully.

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0114.  McCarthy not ready to wear protective cap
MLB.com
January 30, 2014

PHOENIX, AZ: D-backs pitcher Brandon McCarthy is looking forward to the day when he feels comfortable wearing a protective hat on the mound.

That day will not be this year.

Major League Baseball has approved a padded cap designed to protect pitchers from potentially dangerous line drives, but for McCarthy, it's just not quite the right fit yet.

"It just needs to keep making progress, and I'm confident that it will," McCarthy said. "The company is committed to keep moving forward and making the changes, but it's hard to say when I would wear it or when it would be ready on a personal level for me."

A cap manufactured by the 4Licensing Corporation subsidiary isoBlox will be made available to pitchers at all levels this spring. Use of the hat will be optional at the Major League level, and there are no plans to require Minor League players to wear it, either.

The issue of pitchers being struck in the head by line drives is a personal one for McCarthy, who was struck in the head by a line drive off the bat of Erick Aybar on Sept. 5, 2012. He suffered a skull fracture and a brain contusion, and he was unable to pitch again the rest of the season.

McCarthy worked closely with isoBlox on the design of the new hat.

"They came to me with their original prototype months ago, so I've kind of consulted with them and gone back and forth hammering out some issues and kind of making it a game hat," McCarthy said. "The only issue is it's still not there. It doesn't have enough wear and tear in it yet to see how it basically reacts to game [situations]. Does it feel good over the course of a few innings or games? The times I've thrown with it were indoors where it's 55 or 60 degrees, but what happens if it's 90 or 100 and you sweat? Those are kind of the issues that we have to get past."

The hat is a little taller than your typical baseball cap, and McCarthy noticed when he tried throwing with it that it interfered with putting his hands over his head during his windup.

The thought of having to alter mechanics that have been finely tuned for years is sure to send shivers up the spines of pitchers everywhere.

"Once that becomes a conscious thought, now you kind of start [a] tearing away of the foundation of what you are as a pitcher," McCarthy said of having to adjust his mechanics for the hat. "It's not that it's impossible to work around. It's just that we're the generation that's never had to work around that; it's never been a thought to have to do it."

So while McCarthy and his fellow big leaguers may wait for a different design before wearing the caps in games, if the hat takes hold in Little Leagues or high schools, its bulk might not be an issue years from now.

"You can grow up with this and it will be second nature, and this won't even be a discussion," McCarthy said. "But for us, it's harder to make that progress."


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     Diamondback baseball pitcher, Brandon McCarthy, said:

01. "I worked closely with isoBlox on the design of the new hat.
02. "They came to me with their original prototype months ago."
03. "So, I've kind of consulted with them and gone back and forth hammering out some issues and kind of making it a game hat."
04. "The only issue is it's still not there."
05. "It doesn't have enough wear and tear in it yet to see how it basically reacts to game [situations]."
06. "Does it feel good over the course of a few innings or games?"
07. "The times I've thrown with it were indoors where it's 55 or 60 degrees."
08. "But, what happens if it's 90 or 100 and you sweat?"
09. "Those are kind of the issues that we have to get past."
10. "The hat is a little taller than your typical baseball cap."
11. "As a result, Mr.McCarthy noticed when he tried throwing with it that it interfered with his pitching motion.

     Clearly, the idea of baseball pitchers wearing protective helmets will not work.

     When rotating over their glove foot becomes the norm, baseball pitchers will not need protective helmets.

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0115.  This is Dr. Mike Marshall speaking

     Those that pay close attention to what I warn baseball pitchers to avoid will know that I say that the only contra-indicated anatomical problem is the location of the Ulnar Nerve running through the bony groove behind the medial epicondyle.

     A couple of months ago, I started dropping things that I held in my pitching hand. I also noticed that, between my Thumb and Index finger, my first Dorsal Interossei muscle had severely atrophied.

     To see what my pitching hand looked like, please Google "Dorsal Interosseous Wasting."

     Years of irritating the Ulnar Nerve caused me to lose the first Dorsal Interosseous muscle in my pitching hand.

     The Ulnar Nerve not only innervates the first Dorsal Interossei muscle in the hand, it innervates many more hand muscles. But, the first Dorsal Interossei muscle is the first to go.

     The Ulnar Nerve also innervates the following hand muscles:

01. Flexor Pollicis Brevis (Pollicis means Thumb)
02. Adductor Pollicis
03. Palmaris Brevis
04. Abductor Digiti Minimi (Digiti Minimi means Little Finger)
05. Flexor Digit Minimi Brevis
06. Oppenens Digiti Minimi
07. Lumbricales (between metacarpal bones muscles)
08. Interossei Palmaris

     The cure is to relocate the Ulnar Nerve from the groove behind the medial epicondyle to the medial side of the elbow joint.

     On Friday, January 31, 2014, I had that surgery.

     The surgery lasted less than an hour and the next day I can do everything that I could do the day before the surgery and I no longer have Ulnar Nerve tingling or pain.

     I recommend that all professional baseball pitchers have this surgery.


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***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, February 09, 2014, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0116.  Answer missing for 2014 Q&A #0115?

In the 2014 Q&A, I didn't see an answer posted for entry #0115.


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     I apologize.

     When I wrote Q/A #0115, I only had a few minutes before I needed to upload last week's question/answer file.

     As a result, my comments were confusing and incomplete.

     After I received your email Sunday morning, I spent some time trying to clarify my report and uploaded my new message.

     The next morning (Monday), I made some more adjustments, but I will not upload them until next Sunday.

     Thank you for letting me know that something was amiss with Q/A #0115.

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0117.  Posterior Shoulder injuries in Overhead Athletes

I am a Kinesiology student in college, who is in the beginning phases of working on my senior project.

I have always had a strong passion for the game of baseball, especially for pitching.

I was a pitcher myself, until a hip injury never allowed me to get back to the competitive level I was once at.

I have now turned that competitiveness and passion for the game into my studies and the potential opportunity of working with athletes, especially in the field of baseball.

I am reaching out to you and your fine institute in hopes that you can point me in the right direction with my research.

My thesis is "Posterior Shoulder injuries at the deceleration phase of overhead athletes."

Any research or information that you can share with me will be appreciated and professionally cited in my works.


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     Your thesis title should be: 'Causes of Posterior Shoulder Injuries in Athletes that Use the Maximum Velocity Overhead Throwing Motion and How to Prevent Them.'

     Here are the answers.

01. 'Traditional' baseball pitchers use their Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull their pitching upper arm along a curved pathway to the pitching arm side of the body, toward home plate and across the front of the body.

     Therefore, to decelerate the pitching arm, the only muscle that 'traditional' baseball pitchers can use is their Teres Minor muscle.

     You need to determine how much force the Teres Minor muscle has to apply to decelerate the weight of the pitching arm from 132 feet per second at release in the time between release and when the pitching hand reaches the closest to home plate.

02. Instead of using their Pectoralis Major muscle, I teach my baseball pitchers how to use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to drive their pitching upper arm vertically straight toward home plate and inwardly rotate their pitching upper arm through release.

     My baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to accelerate their pitching upper arm. When they move their pitching upper arm as close to home plate as they are able, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle stops the forward movement of the pitching upper arm AND starts inwardly rotating the pitching upper arm.

     This means that the Latissimus Dorsi muscle similtaneously decelerates and accelerates the pitching upper arm.

     This means that the Latissimus Dorsi muscle eliminates posterior shoulder pitching injuries.

     Even though I wrote my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book in 1979, as your reference source, you can cite the Coaching Baseball Pitchers book that I published on my website in 2000.

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0118.  Training Youth & Adult "Pitchers"

Thank you again for the information.

To update, my doctor is insistent that I go to a physical therapist to see if there is anything non-surgical I can do about my shoulder.

She is also concerned that my insurance won't pay for it if she sends me to the orthopedist surgeon.

While this is not ideal, and I'm sure I know what you would say about it, I will head to the Physical Therapists and see what they can do before I head to the surgery table.

I do have a few questions for you regarding the football throws by youth pitchers.

When they learn how to grip, drive, and release the pitches, are the footballs supposed to spiral?

If not, what are they supposed to do when you release them?

And why do footballs work best to work on the grip and release of your pitches, anyway?


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     Physical therapists are a waste to your time and money. You need to know whether the attachment of the long head of your Triceps Brachii muscle to the infraglenoid tuberosity of the Scapula bone is okay.

     If it is, then my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program is all the physical therapy that you need.

     With regard to using appropriately-sized footballs to learn how to release the pitches that I teach, you need to go to section 08: Football Training Program in my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     We use the tips of the football to define the different spin axes of the pitches I teach.

     We do not throw spirals. That is for football quarterbacks, not baseball pitchers.

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0119.  Posterior Shoulder injuries in Overhead Athletes

Thank you for your information.

I have also been discovering research on the use of weighted baseballs to help strengthen the posterior side of the shoulder.

If I am correct, you were one of the first to suggest the use of weighted baseballs as an effective training tool for pitchers.

I found that Tom House has now started to suggest the use of weighted baseballs to strengthen and prevent injury to the posterior shoulder.

This is something I have found interesting since I have never seen any of this in his previous literature.

May I ask for your opinion on the use of weighted baseballs to help strengthen the shoulder and if it is a logical way of rehabilitating a pitcher's shoulder?


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     To train the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to decelerate the pitching upper arm, I strap wrist weights on the glove and pitching wrists of my baseball pitchers.

     To train the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to accelerate the pitching upper arm, the Triceps Brachii muscle to extend the pitching elbow and the Pronator Teres muscle to pronate the pitching forearm, I use heavy balls starting with 06 lbs. and increasing to 15 lbs.

     I do not recommend that baseball pitchers throw weighted baseballs.

     House and others have taken my wrist weight exercises and substituted heavy balls that weight pounds, not ounces.

     The problem with using heavy balls is that the baseball pitchers have to hang onto the heavy ball throughout the exercise. With the finger muscles contracted through the exercise, these muscles cannot receive oxygen from blood flow. Contracted muscles compress that muscle's blood vessels.

     If you open my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video and watch my Wrist Weight Training Program, then you will learn the best way to train the Latissimus Dorsi muscle to decelerate the pitching upper arm.

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0120.  TWL - San Antonio

Good morning.

Are you coaching one of the TWL baseball teams in San Antonio this month?

My son is 7 and watches your videos daily.

He has told his local little league coach that Dr. Mike Marshall said he cannot pitch until he is older (which does not make the coaches happy), so I would love for him to get to see you in real life and not just through the web.

If you are coaching, which team are you coaching so I can take him to watch a few of the games?


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Dear Mom,

     I live in Zephyrhills, FL. I do not coach youth baseball teams.

     However, the pitching coach for the University of the Incarnate Word baseball team, John Maley, does teach youth baseball pitchers how to properly apply force to their pitches.

     I recommend that youth baseball pitchers master the skills of baseball pitching, including how to throw my Maxline True Screwball, Maxline Fastball, Maxline Pronation Curve and Torque Fastball and practice throwing strikes off the pitching mound.

     Then, when youth baseball pitchers are biologically thirteen years old, which is when the growth plates and the elbow end of the Humerus bone of the pitching upper arm have mature, I recommend that youth baseball pitchers pitch twice and once through the line-up each week for two consecutive months.

     Beginning at ten chronological years old, I recommend that youth baseball pitchers complete my 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Motor Skill Acquisition Program.

     My Baseball Pitching Instructional Video explains and demonstrates the drills that teach the skills of my injury-free, powerful baseball pitching motion.

     I assume that the video that your son watches is my Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion.

     I wish your son every success. That he is taking charge of his coaching is a very good sign. 'Traditional' baseball pitching coaches will destroy his pitching arm and more.

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0121.  Running Question

I am planning on running a 10K in April. I have 9 weeks until the race.

I was looking at your Q&A section from 2012 in which you had the correspondence with the runner's father regarding the interval training program.

I would like to do the same program (or something similar). I would like to run the 10K in 50 minutes, which is equivalent to 8 min/mile.

Would I start with the recommended intervals from the Fox book?
8 - 100 meter runs in 16.5s with 49.5s rest in between
4 - 200 meter runs in 33s with 99s rest in between

This seems fast for my goal. Should a tailor the intervals to my race pace?
8 - 100 meter runs in 30s with 90s rest.
4 - 200 meter runs in 60s with 180s rest.


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     Yes.

     Have fun.

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0122.  Ulnar Nerve Relocation Surgery

It is very rare that you give unsolicited advice as you did in question #115 in this week's letters.

I take it that you believe every pitcher should have this ulna surgery whether they have symptoms or not.

Is this correct?

1. At what age do you recommend pitchers have this surgery?

2. What happened to "grabbing" causing ulna nerve damage?

I take it that there is now no remedy for ulna nerve irritation besides surgery.

3. Why is there not widespread complaints of ulna nerve problems if there is nothing that can be done about it? Fwiw to your readers you told me many years ago that you thought the arm was perfectly constructed to pitch baseballs except for the position of the ulnanerve. Your answer then was not surgery, however.

In any event I find this commentary very interesting because I am coming to the conclusion that some form of grabbing has to take place at the end of the Preparation phase to give pitchers the leverage to smoothly turn the back oF the humerus bone to face home plate.

I am pleased the surgery went well for you.


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     We have all heard that the Maximum Velocity Overhead Throwing Motion is unnatural.

     Therefore, those that use this unnatural force application technique will suffer injuries to their pitching shoulder, pitching elbow, pitching hip, pitching knee, lower back and more.

     Since 1967, when I watched the high-speed film of my 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, I knew that rubbing the Ulnar Nerve in the bony groove behind the medial epicondyle hundreds of thousands of times even my baseball pitching motion will eventually damage the Ulnar Nerve.

     Whenever baseball pitchers bend their pitching elbow to ninety degrees or less ('Grabbing'), baseball pitchers lengthen their Ulnar Nerve.

     That is why, since 1967, I have said that that only contra-indicated anatomical structure of the baseball pitching motion is the location of the Ulnar Nerve.

     When baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to extend the pitching upper arm, the pitching shoulder will work without injury for a lifetime.

     When baseball pitchers use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to inwardly rotate the pitching upper arm, the pitching shoulder will work without injury for a lifetime.

     When baseball pitchers use their Pronator Teres muscle to pronate the releases of all pitches, the pitching elbow will work without injury for a lifetime.

     I believe that the Maximum Velocity Overhead Throwing Motion that I teach is the natural force application technique.

     That is, I believe that, with my baseball pitching motion, when properly performed and properly trained, baseball pitchers will be able to pitch baseballs throughout their lifetimes without injuries, except for the Ulnar Nerve.

01. Rather than an age, I recommend that, after baseball pitchers sign a professional contract, immediately after their first season, they have an orthopedic surgeon relocate their Ulnar Nerve from the groove behind the medial epicondyle to the muscle mass on the inside of the pitching elbow.

02. 'Grabbing' is not only an injurious flaw, it is also a mechanical flaw. 'Grabbing' prevents baseball pitchers from driving their pitching forearm inside of vertical.

03. How long does it take typist to damage their Median Nerve, such that they need Carpal Tunnel surgery?

     I don't remember when my Ulnar Nerve started to bother me. But, for the last several years, whenever I jogged where I keep my elbows bent at less than ninety, I felt numbness and pain in the groove behind my medial epicondyle and in my Little finger. I put up with this discomfort until I started losing the Dorsal Interossei muscles.

     With regard to your question about widespread complaints:

     Who cares about the aches and pains of former professional baseball pitchers?

     How would we know whether former professional baseball pitchers suffer Ulnar Nerve damage?

     I know that I did and now I don't.

     My only regret is that it took losing the first Dorsal Interosseus muscle to take action.

     With regard to 'coming to the conclusion that some form of 'grabbing' has to take place at the end of the preparation phase:

     I would counter that, instead of 'grabbing,' my baseball pitchers need to focus on 'horizontally rebounding' their pitching forearm.

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0123.  Bard's comeback takes a twist as he signs with Rangers
MassLive.com
February 02, 2014

Daniel Bard is still trying to make it back to the major leagues. The Texas Rangers are the newest team to give him a chance, signing him to a minor league contract on Monday.

It’s been quite the journey for Bard, whose first three seasons in the majors were about as good as can be. He struck out 213 batters in 197 innings with a 2.88 ERA. The wheels fell of late in 2011, his third year with the Red Sox, when he lost velocity and didn’t know why. He then posted a 6.22 ERA as a starter in 2012.

Peter Gammons, who wrote about Bard last weekend reported that those close to Bard believe the right-hander is finally ready for his bounce-back season.

What’s been in his way?

Thoracic outlet syndrome, among other things, is the latest culprit of Bard’s demise.

While the mental side of the game was once considered a suspect, as Bard threw wild pitches into the backstop like Rick Vaughn, thoracic outlet syndrome is a much more serious issue, one that can be fatal if a blood clot were to reach the heart.

The thoracic outlet is located between the rib cage and the collar bone, and the condition involves compression in that area. It’s been known to cause pain and numbness in the hands, which would explain why Bard had trouble gripping a baseball.

Bard had surgery to remove part of a rib about a month ago, Gammons reports, which is supposed to relieve pressure and finally allow Bard to throw with ease.

While he’s not expected to hop back on a mound in time for Opening Day, the Rangers took a chance on the 28-year-old.

This time of the year, these are the lottery tickets teams can buy.


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     If, instead of using the Pectoralis Major muscle to horizontally pull his pitching upper arm along a curved pathway back to the pitching arm side of his body, toward home plate and across the front of this body, Mr. Bard learned how to use his Latissimus Dorsi muscle to vertically drive his pitching upper arm straight toward home plate, then Mr. Bard would not compress the Subclavian Vein.

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0124.  Glove Arm

Regarding moving the body forward towards target:

Do you teach bringing the glove arm to the glove side shoulder (after glove arm is extended out at full arm’s length), or do you teach bringing the body to the extended glove arm?

I know you teach glove side thumb starts pointed down and then rotates pointing up as it is coming closer to the glove side shoulder.

Just not sure if you emphasize more pushing off the landed glove foot to move body forward or bringing glove arm to shoulder to move the body forward to “stand tall and rotate”.


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     When the heel of the glove foot lands, the glove arm should be fully extended at shoulder height pointing at home plate with the palm of the glove hand facing away from the body, such that the glove hand thumb points downward.

     At this moment, the glove arm, the glove foot and the pitching foot simultaneously and explosively apply force toward second base.

01. The glove hand reaches as far forward as possible to grab and imaginary pole and, by pulling straight backward toward second base, my baseball pitchers lay their glove on the top of their glove shoulder.

02. When the heel of the glove foot contacts the ground, my baseball pitchers pull straight backward with the heel of their glove foot and roll over the entire length of their glove foot, such that they trigger the 'walking reflex' that causes the pitching upper leg to move diagonally across the front of the glove foot.

     This mean that, instead of pivoting over the pitching foot, my baseball pitchers use their glove foot as the pivot point for rotating the entire pitching arm side of their body diagonally forward.

03. The heel-toe action of walking forward off the pitching rubber triggers the pitching upper leg to move forward. To facilitate this process, the pitching foot pushes off the pitching rubber.

     With the glove arm, the glove foot and pitching foot applying force toward second base, they maximize the equal and oppositely directed reaction force that maximizes the pitching arm's action force (Sir Isaac Newton's Third Law: The Law of Reaction).

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0125.  Micheal Stokes comments

The Mariners signed Fernando Rodney. He is a real good flame thrower. A little twist with his mechanics from would make Cy Young material. He pitches up and clocks in around 99 mph. Not bad.

My reflex stuff without any real effort my via quick reflex muscles and fast twitch muscle fibers in the Marshall Pitching Motion and the baseball is absolutely weightless.

Every pitch works like lightning. I may never be able to thank enough. I know that from the mound that precision control is a meditation.

Last night, I meditated on my stuff you have graciously in great detail so there exist no room for injury.

I let loose with all my stuff and people were watching me in the Maxline Technologies perform. Just watching me instilled real fear and terror from me from the mound.

At over nine feet off the ground from the mound, all the people could believe how fast and beautiful Maxline Technologies are to see as an art form. Tonight people just drove up to me and watched for almost an hour. It is a real lighting show in the Marshall Pitching Motion.

Your biotechnology is amazing to put into action. I had only two balls for the hour I meditated. Guys who saw me last night witnessed my Maxline Torque Slider from over nine feet and three guys there shook their heads as the sliders flew like bolts of lightning through the air.

I believe Rodney watches your videos. At 55 in my master years in Maxline Technologies makes me a nightmare like Walter Johnson.

Quentin from the Padres breaking Zack up from the Dodgers last year would shake at my strike show.

The precision control of the strike zone at home plate would confound or any batter in their prime. With my stuff being as fast and big in movement dictates that my strikes start at the batter and break dramatically over home plate.

A Maxline True Curveball coming from the top of my head at over nine feet and spinning down from over fifteen feet. Then into the strike zone at home plate in a high spin rotation is a joy to pitch. I thank you Sir!

Koufax would have busted Quentin up. A guy like him acting like he is so special would just something from Denny's dollar plate against stuff.

I know that you have so much to go through in just being a professor and all the stuff we older guys carry upstairs. Just enjoy this if you like.

Any baseball types who question your Maxline Technologies, send them to me.

I won't bust-em up. They will just find too late that are in a nightmare. Mine. I am always ready to go against batter.

Sincerely,

A Nightmare from the Mound


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Hi Michael,

     When I see guys like Fernando Rodney, I see potential greatness. Then, I see what their 'traditional' baseball pitching coaches do to them and have to turn away.

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0126.  St. Paul Pioneer Press
February 02, 2014

Although there's mutual interest from the Twins as well as free agent Johan Santana, there's no chance that the former Cy Young Award winner will be ready for spring training, or any time soon after that.

Santana, 34, still recovering from the second (last spring) of two left shoulder surgeries, hasn't picked up a baseball for months. The left-hander isn't expected to begin throwing until mid-summer.

A lot of teams besides the Twins are keeping tabs on Santana.


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     The Pectoralis Major muscle strikes again.

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0127.  Rays' Hellickson undergoes elbow surgery
MLB.com
February 03, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG, FL: Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson had been looking forward all winter to getting back on the mound this season, hoping to prove that his disappointing 2013 campaign was just a fluke.

But Hellickson will have to wait until at least the end of May, as he'll miss the first six to eight weeks of the season after undergoing minor arthroscopic surgery this past Wednesday to remove loose bodies from his right elbow.

"I guess a lot of people were doubting me toward the end of last year, so I was motivated to get back out there and do what I know I can do," Hellickson said on Monday during a conference call with reporters. "It's frustrating to go through this and have to miss a month, month and a half. But I'm just going to rehab, work hard and try to get back out there as soon as possible."

Hellickson, the 2011 American League Rookie of the Year Award winner, is coming off a rough 2013 season in which he finished 12-10 with a 5.17 ERA, by far the highest of his career. Hellickson wouldn't attribute his struggles to any sort of injury, saying he felt fine every time he pitched in a game despite some "normal wear and tear"" discomfort throughout the year.

"A strong rotation is critical to our success -- we rely heavily on our starters, and losing someone like Jeremy is tough," executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. "We're fortunate that the procedure was minor, and [we] look forward to him coming back healthy and strong during the summer."

But that occasional elbow irritation returned when Hellickson began his throwing program in Iowa in mid-to-late December. Still, there were some weeks where he felt nothing at all, so he wanted to wait and see how he felt throwing off a mound.

Hellickson threw his first bullpen session on Jan. 15 with no issues, but his second session a few days later was "far worse than anything I felt last year." He said his arm "locked up" to the point where he couldn't even straighten it.

"It was just a completely different feeling," Hellickson added. "I've never felt that uncomfortable on the mound and throwing as I did in that bullpen."

So Hellickson reached out to head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield, flew to Florida for tests and underwent surgery. Dr. Koco Eaton performed the procedure. The Rays said Hellickson's expected recovery time is six to eight weeks, and he said he was hoping to be back by the end of May.

Although Hellickson is still dealing with some soreness, he noted that he can already feel a difference in his elbow's flexibility and range of motion, an encouraging sign as he begins the rehabilitation process.

The Rays had been counting on a bounceback season from Hellickson, who will turn 27 in April. Hellickson posted a 3.06 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP from 2010-12 before his disappointing 2013 campaign.

Hellickson, who avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $3.625 million salary for the 2014 season, would have joined David Price, Alex Cobb, Matt Moore and Chris Archer in one of the Majors' top rotations. Instead, Tampa Bay likely will turn first to right-hander Jake Odorizzi, who came to the Rays in the same trade with the Royals that brought in 2013 AL Rookie of the Year Award winner Wil Myers.

Odorizzi, a top prospect, appeared in seven games for Tampa Bay last season, including four starts, finishing 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA.

The Rays' other in-house options include right-hander Alex Colome and left Enny Romero, or they could seek another starter elsewhere.


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     The article said:

01. "Jeremy Hellickson wouldn't attribute his 2013 struggles to any sort of injury."
02. "Every time he pitched, Mr. Hellickson said he felt fine."
03. "However, throughout the 2013 season, Mr. Hellickson felt "normal wear and tear" discomfort."
04. "On January 15, 2014, Mr. Hellickson threw his first bullpen session."
05. "Mr. Hellickson threw without discomfort."
06 "Howevr, in his second bullpen session a few days later, Mr. Hellickson felt "far worse pain than anything I felt last year."
07. "Mr. Hellickson said his arm "locked up" to the point where he couldn't even straighten it."
08. "So, Mr. Hellickson reached out to head athletic trainer Ron Porterfield.
09. "Mr. Hellickson flew to Florida for tests and underwent surgery to remove loose bodies from his pitching elbow."
." 10. "The Rays said Hellickson's expected recovery time is six to eight weeks."
11. "Mr. Hellickson will have to wait until at least the end of May.
12. "Although Mr. Hellickson is still dealing with some soreness, he said that he can already feel a difference in his elbow's flexibility and range of motion.

     In 1967, I learned that, when I supinated the release of my breaking pitch, I banged the bones in the back of my pitching elbow together.

     As a result, I lost 12 degrees of the extension range of motion in my pitching elbow.

     These collisions not only calcified the hyaline cartilage in the olecranon fossa of my pitching elbow, these collisions break pieces of hyaline cartilage loose from the olecranon fossa.

     The reason Mr. Hellickson's pitching elboe locked up was because a piece of hyaline cartilage lodged between the Ulna bone and the Humerus.

     Here we are 47 years after I determined the cause of the loss of extension range of motion in my pitching elbow and the Tampa Bay Rays medical staff has no idea what caused these 'pieces of hyaline cartilage' to jam up Mr. Hellickson's pitching elbow.

     That ignorance will result in Mr. Hellickson breaking more pieces of hyaline cartilage loose and locking up his pitching elbow again and again.

     Pronation prevents all pitching elbow injuries.

     Until baseball pitchers master my Maxline Pronation Curve technique, baseball pitchers will continue to suffer this easily prevented pitching elbow injury.

     Grab a four-gallon square lid and get to work.

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0128.  Farnsworth agrees to minor league deal with Mets
Associated Press
February 03, 2014

NEW YORK, NY: Reliever Kyle Farnsworth has agreed to a minor league contract with the New York Mets and will report to spring training as a non-roster player.

The 37-year-old right-hander was 3-1 with two saves and a 4.70 ERA in 48 games last year with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, which signed him in August after he was released by the Rays.

His fastball averaged 95-98 mph early in the season, according to fansgraphs.com, then dropped to 92-96 mph later in the year.

Farnsworth has a 43-63 record with 54 saves and a 4.26 ERA and 945 strikeouts in 960 innings. He's pitched for the Chicago Cubs (1999-04), Detroit (2005, 2008), Atlanta (2005, 2010), the New York Yankees (2006-08), Kansas City (2009-10), Tampa Bay (2011-13) and Pittsburgh (2013), and had a career-high 25 saves for the Rays in 2011.

His agreement was announced Monday.


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     The article said: "According to fansgraphs.com, Mr. Farnsworth dropped from 95-98 mph to 92-96 mph.

     The Pectoralis Major muscle strikes again.

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0129.  Relievers Corpas, Masset sign with Rockies
Associated Press
February 03, 2014

DENVER, CO: The Colorado Rockies have completed minor league contracts with 31-year-old right-handed relievers Manny Corpas and Nick Masset.

Corpas went 1-2 with a 4.54 ERA with 16 walks and 30 strikeouts for the Rockies last season after going to Colorado's big league spring training camp under a similar deal and beginning the season at Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Corpas was the closer on Colorado's 2007 World Series team before he was beset by right elbow injuries. He missed all of 2011 before joining the Cubs in 2012.

Masset missed the last two seasons after right shoulder surgery. He is 16-14 with a 3.78 ERA in 308 major league appearances from 2006-11 with the Rangers, White Sox and Reds.


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     The article said:

01. "Manny Corpas missed all of 2011 with pitching elbow injuries."
02. "Nick Masset missed the last two seasons after pitching shoulder surgery."

     The Rockie Pitching Director has no idea how to prevent Mr. Corpas continuing to injure his pitching elbow and Mr. Massetr from continuing to injure his pitching shoulder.

     These baseball pitchers deserve better.

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0130.  Former NBA star Tracy McGrady to try baseball
Associated Press
February 03, 2014

HOUSTON, TX: Retired seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady plans to try pitching for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League.

A statement from the team says that it is a "lifelong dream" of McGrady's to play baseball. It also says that the 6-foot-8 McGrady has "demonstrated skill, determination and diligence during his training program." The team says it looks forward to monitoring his progress in a new sport.

The 34-year-old McGrady played for several NBA teams, including the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic. He last played in the 2011-12 season.

The Skeeters last made national headlines when Roger Clemens pitched two games for them in 2012 at age 50.


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     If Mr. McGrady were to complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program and master the six pitches that he needs to succeed against the four types of baseball batters, then Mr. McGrady would not suffer the numerous pitching injuries that whoever designed his 'training' program.

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0131.  Orioles extend offer to Korea righthander Yoon
MLB.com
February 04, 2014

BALTIMORE, MD: The Orioles have extended an offer to pitcher Suk-Min Yoon, MLB.com confirmed on Tuesday. Dan Duquette, Baltimore's executive vice president of baseball operations, declined to comment on the team's interest in the Korean right-hander.

Yoon, 27, is said to be coveted by five Major League clubs, and the Scott Boras client is an intriguing international option in a free-agent market that still includes starters A.J. Burnett, Bronson Arroyo, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez.

Duquette -- who didn't rule out the Orioles signing more than one pitcher before camp -- expected the dominoes to fall this week in regard to the rest of the starters. Of that group, the O's are leaning more toward Burnett and Arroyo to avoid sacrificing a Draft pick, and that pursuit -- adding a durable innings-eating veteran -- is independent of the club's interest in Yoon.

"I want to say this: We have some more work to do this offseason," Duquette said this weekend. "We are going to see what we can do between now and when the season starts. If we can get the work done that we've been trying to get done, I think we will have a very competitive team."

What would Yoon add? The Korean righty has a fastball in the low 90s and was a member of the Kia Tigers' rotation until a shoulder injury last year moved him to the bullpen.

It's unclear what his role would be if he signs with the Orioles -- who still haven't named a closer since trading away Jim Johnson -- although Yoon has fared well as a starter. He pitched 325 1/3 innings from 2011-12 and posted a 2.77 ERA for the Tigers over that span.

Yoon is the latest notable Asian pitcher on the O's radar, with the club signing the now-departed Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen -- who is still part of the rotation -- under Duquette.

Yoon is also being scouted by the Cubs, Twins and Giants, according to various reports, with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporting that the Rangers will watch the righty's bullpen session on Tuesday.


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     With Rick Peterson, Dr. Fleisig and Mr. Duquette's brother on board for two years, Orioles general manager, Dan Duquette should have a list of injury-free, high-quality baseball pitchers.

     Mr. Duquette should not have to consider a Korean baseball pitchers with a pitching shoulder injury.

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0132.  Luebke out for '14, will need second elbow surgery
MLB.com
February 05, 2014

SAN DIEGO,CA: Padres left-hander Cory Luebke will miss his second consecutive season after it was determined that he'll need a second reconstructive surgery on his left elbow.

Luebke, 28, had an MRI on Friday that showed a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow. He missed all of last season while rehabilitating the elbow from his first Tommy John surgery on May 23, 2012.

"I feel bad for him … from 2011 through the first part of 2012, he was certainly on his way," said Padres general manager Josh Byrnes. "This is a real setback. There's been a lot of missed time. Hopefully in a year or so, he can get back to being Cory Luebke.

"This whole thing has been a mystery."

It appeared Luebke, despite some stops and starts during a rehabilitation program that typically runs 12 to 18 months for pitchers, was set to make a push for a spot on the staff during Spring Training.

But Luebke said late Tuesday that he has had a sinking suspicion for a while that something wasn't right.

"I guess the general consensus was the graft never took and that there were some problems from the get-go," Luebke said. "Kind of the way the process has gone … the stops and starts, and every time we turned up the volume and intensity, it was never too long before we had a setback. That sort of let me know there's something going on.

"My gut feeling through the rehab process was this didn't seem right. And when we did the MRI, it was pretty clear what was going on."

In September, after his rehabilitation was halted because of pain, Luebke visited orthopedic surgeon Dr. Timothy Kremchek in Cincinnati. But three months later, he advanced to the point where he could throw from a mound, an encouraging sign not only for him but also for the Padres.

In late December, Byrnes indicated that Luebke might be a candidate to begin the season in the bullpen, at the very least to build his arm strength for a potential return to the rotation.

Luebke's first surgery was performed by the late Dr. Lewis Yocum, who passed away in May. The next surgery, in all likelihood, will be done by renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews, Luebke said.

"We're not going to wait around too long," Luebke said. "We're now in the process of getting Dr. Andrews all the info right now, getting him the notes. As soon as we hear from him, we'll get something scheduled."

Luebke is 10-12 with a 3.25 ERA in 55 big league games, including 25 starts. He was 3-1 and had a 2.61 ERA in five starts in 2012 before going on the disabled list, a prelude to surgery.

The Padres thought so highly of Luebke's work in 2011 -- when he was 6-10 with a 3.29 ERA in 46 games -- that they signed him to a three-year, $12 million deal in Spring Training of 2012. The deal also included club options for 2016-17. Luebke will make $3 million this season and $5.25 million in 2015.

"The size, his athletic ability, his intellect," Padres pitching coach Darren Balsley said in Spring Training 2012. "When he puts it together -- and I'm not going to say if -- he's going to be one of the more dominant lefties in the National League."

Luebke last appeared in a game on April 27, 2012, when he won his third consecutive start, limiting the Giants to two runs over six innings. He left that start after throwing 100 pitches. His rehabilitation path last year never reached the point of any Minor League rehab starts.

There's no way to know for sure the long-term prognosis for Luebke, though pitchers have come back from having this type of surgery twice.

Former Padres reliever Doug Brocail had surgeries that caused him to miss the '02 and '03 seasons. But Brocail returned to pitch the next six seasons in the big leagues, including a second stint with the Padres in '06-'07.

More recently, D-backs pitcher Daniel Hudson had his first surgery in '12 and then just weeks before he was set to return last season, he reinjured his elbow during a Minor League rehab start and had to have a second surgery.

Luebke, despite being disappointed, said there's some relief in having an answer to his situation, especially after wondering for the last year or so if he was truly healing or not.

"I guess for me it brings a little closure to what's been going on the last year," Luebke said. "For a while there, the hardest part was the unknown. I think the hardest part was having everyone tell you it looks OK and then take the next step and have a setback."


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

     Padres general manager, Josh Byrnes, said:

01. "This (Mr. Luebke's Ulnar Collateral Ligament not working) is a real setback."
02. "Hopefully in a year or so, he can get back to being Cory Luebke."
03. "This whole thing has been a mystery."

     The article said:

01. "On May 23, 2012, Dr. Lewis Yocum performed Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery on Mr. Luebkepitching elbow."
02. "In September, Mr.Luebke visited orthopedic surgeon Dr. Timothy Kremchek in Cincinnati."
03. "Last Friday, Mr. Luebke had an MRI that showed a tear in his replacement ulnar collateral tendon."
04. "Renowned surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, will perform Mr. Luebke's second Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery."
05. "D-backs pitcher Daniel Hudson had his first surgery in '12."
06. "Just weeks before he was set to return last season, Mr. Hudson reinjured his elbow during a Minor League rehab start and had to have a second surgery."

     Padres baseball pitcher, Cory Luebke, said:

01. "I guess the general consensus was the graft never took."
02. "Kind of the way the process has gone."
03. "The stops and starts."
04. "Every time we turned up the volume and intensity, we had a setback."
05. "That sort of let me know there's something going on."
06. "My gut feeling through the rehab process was this didn't seem right."
07. "And when we did the MRI, it was pretty clear what was going on."

     Just think, all Mr. Luebke and Mr. Hudson has to do is learn how to pendulum swing their pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

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0133.  Crain throws for first time since October
MLB.com
February 05, 2014

HOUSTON, TX: Right-hander Jesse Crain, one of the Astros' key winter acquisitions, made a stride forward in his recovery from an injury on Monday when he threw a baseball for the first time since undergoing surgery for biceps tendinitis in October.

Crain will play catch off flat ground again on Wednesday and Friday, and he plans to ramp up his throwing and eventually get on a mound. When Astros pitchers and catchers report to Kissimmee, Fla., for Spring Training next week, Crain will be behind his teammates.

"I'm throwing, which is a step forward," Crain said. "It's not a shocker that I'm going to be able to throw. I shouldn't feel anything, which I didn't. Yeah, I guess it's a positive [that] nothing was bothering me. I'm still a long ways away. I need to be able to throw for a long time and then throw off the mound."

Crain doesn't want to put a timetable on when he could possibly be ready for game action, but it certainly appears questionable that he'll be ready for Opening Day.

"It's going to take time to get my arm strength back to where it needs [to be in order] to be able to get back on the mound," he said. "We haven't gone through the whole [rehab] program, but we'll increase it every week how much we throw, and hopefully the sooner the better, if my arm gets stronger.

"It feels good, and I'm headed in the right direction."

Crain, who signed for $3.25 million in January, was an All-Star in 2013, a season in which he posted a 0.74 ERA in 38 games with the White Sox, striking out 46 and walking only 11 in 36 2/3 innings, including a 29-inning scoreless streak. He didn't pitch after being traded to the Rays on July 29 because of the injury.

Crain, 32, will join Chad Qualls, Matt Albers, Anthony Bass, Darin Downs and Raul Valdes as newcomers to a relief corps that has been revamped this winter. In 2013 the Astros ranked last in the Majors with a 4.92 bullpen ERA, and their 29 blown saves tied for the most.

In 10 Major League seasons with the Twins (2004-10) and White Sox (2011-13), Crain has a 45-30 record and four saves in 532 appearances (all in relief), with a 3.05 ERA and .229 opponents' average. His 45 wins in relief since his debut in 2004 are tied with Qualls for tops in the Majors in that span.

Valdes, claimed off waivers from the Phillies in October, underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee at the end of January and will be out four to six weeks.


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     The article said:
01. "In October 2013, right-hander Jesse Crain had surgery to repair tendinitus in his Biceps Brachii muscle."
02. "On last Monday, Mr. Crain threw a baseball for the first time since his surgery.

     Astros baseball pitcher, Jesse Crain, said:

01. "I'm throwing, which is a step forward."
02. "It's not a shocker that I'm going to be able to throw."
03. "I shouldn't feel anything, which I didn't."
04. "Yeah, I guess it's a positive [that] nothing was bothering me."
05. "I'm still a long ways away."
06. "I need to be able to throw for a long time and then throw off the mound."
07. "It's going to take time to get my arm strength back to where it needs [to be in order] to be able to get back on the mound."
08. "We haven't gone through the whole [rehab] program."
09. "But, we'll increase it every week how much we throw, and hopefully the sooner the better, if my arm gets stronger."
10. "It feels good, and I'm headed in the right direction."

     Until Mr. Crain stops supinating his breaking pitches, Mr. Crain's pitching arm will never get stronger.

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0134.  'Million Dollar Arm' Singh aiming for Major Leagues
MLB.com
February 06, 2014

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: Rinku Singh, the left-handed pitcher who came to the U.S. from his native India almost six years ago after winning a contest, is about to become more than famous.

He emerged the winner of the first "Million Dollar Arm" reality show by throwing an 88-mph fastball in the strike zone, the fastest and most accurate among 37,000 contestants. Previously, the javelin thrower and youngest of seven brothers and sisters had never tossed a baseball.

Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates a mere 13 months later, Singh became the first native of India to win a game in professional baseball, victorious for the Pirates' Rookie-level team in the Gulf Coast League. Beset by recent arm injuries, he told MLB.com on Monday that he is growing stronger and healthier and he has one goal and one goal only: to pitch and win for the Pirates in the Major Leagues.

"That's why I'm here," he said in an interview at a local Starbucks. "I wish I could tell you what the future might bring. But the faith and belief I have right now, the way I'm going through my day, my training, I think it's going to make it happen one day."

One has to love the conviction.

Whether he pitches in the Majors or not, Singh will shortly rise above the numerous kids toiling in the Minor Leagues everywhere when the Disney-produced film, "Million Dollar Arm," is released in May. Singh and reality show runner-up Dinesh Patel were signed by the Pirates to Minor League contracts in 2008.

Since then, Singh is 10-6 with a 2.99 ERA in 84 games, all in relief, all played at no higher than the Class A level. He didn't pitch in 2013, but he has since immersed himself in learning the game of baseball. Patel has gone home.

The film documents the voyage of these two kids from the Indian backwaters to the Minor Leagues. The marketing agent, J.B. Bernstein -- who helped bring the reality show to India -- sold the rights of the film to Disney and an accompanying book to Simon & Schuster.

The movie has an A-1 cast. Jon Hamm, a huge baseball fan and better known as the complex Don Draper in "Mad Men," is playing J.B. The ageless Alan Arkin is a scout. Suraj Sharma, who played a kid marooned on a small boat accompanied by a wild tiger in the phantasmagorical "Life of Pi," is Singh.

That's not the end of the story. The next chapter is what happens to Singh. Having never thrown a baseball, Singh succumbed to the pressure of overthrowing and bad mechanics and suffered through some arm problems. He's spent the last four months in Arizona building up his arm strength and working out, please excuse the pun, like a mad man. He is heading back to India this week for the wedding of one of his siblings and is due at Pirates camp in Bradenton, Fla., by early March where he will continue his rehab.

He says his schedule has him throwing again in a game during extended spring training this coming April, not long before the film is released. Life imitates art. He's sure to take some ribbing from his teammates, who will see a bit of his life personified on the silver screen. But like his ardent quest to pitch in the Majors, he says he's ready for it.

"It's really exciting," he said. "It's about Rinku and Dinesh's journey, about dreams finally coming true. We never thought Disney would make a movie. It is our film and we are really proud of it. When I think back on it, it's about what we have both done, coming to America, taking the big risk. I think it's really going to help motivate a lot of young kids. It's going to inspire them. It's going to teach them a lesson. It doesn't matter who you are or where you're coming from. If you put a 100 percent effort out there you have a chance to succeed."

Singh, at 25, is polite and well-spoken. During the interview he sported a beard and wore a black skull cap. He came to the U.S. with no fluency in either the English language or the language and art of playing baseball. A high school graduate about to go to college, he didn't even have a glove or the knowledge and ability to use one when he plunged into a completely new culture in the U.S. Since then, he has learned to speak English and Spanish and has overcome the mechanical problems that caused some of his arm woes. A recent short video taken with Singh's iPhone of him pitching in a gym on flat ground revealed a fluid and unencumbered left-handed motion.

Singh and Patel came to America as teenagers and lived in Los Angeles with Bernstein and trained for big league tryouts at USC. He was signed, pitched and even has been to the White House to meet President Obama. He said he learned to speak English, "just talking to people, watching movies and listening to music as much as I could." It took him seven months to learn the rules and how to play baseball.

Now he says baseball is his life and he's more than ready for the next big step.

"I won the competition and I realized I had to go to America now," Singh said. "That was the biggest decision that I ever had to make in my life. I left my whole family. I didn't know the American culture or the language. I gave up college. I gave up my degrees, whether I succeed in baseball or not. It was very strange. My parents were afraid. They were happy I was going to learn new things. But it was a mixture of excitement and being scared. I was the youngest in the family. It was hard for them to let me go.

"The experience I've gotten had made me a more mature. I would have never learned all this if I had stayed in India. I would've been a regular Indian kid. So now I feel like I did the right thing."


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     The article said:

01. "Rinku Singh became the first native of India to win a game in professional baseball."
02. "Having never thrown a baseball, Mr. Singh succumbed to the pressure of overthrowing and bad mechanics and suffered through some arm problems."
03. "Mr. Singh didn't pitch in 2013."
04. "With the prospect of a movie, Mr. Singh has immersed himself in learning the game of baseball."
07. "Mr. Singh has spent the last four months in Arizona building up his arm strength."
08. "Mr. Singh is due at Pirates camp in Bradenton, Fla., by early March where he will continue his rehab.

     Gee. I wonder who taught Mr. Singh his pitching baseball motion?

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0135.  Michael Stokes comments

Dr. Marshall,

So many pitchers are lulled into that results only, "I hate to even capitalize the Traditional Pitching Method," That teaching just never considers the welfare of the human being and Mr. Rodney has lost so much. I didn't see his range of motion in his arm while he pitched in the playoffs last fall.

I used the Torque Fastball in fielding from my position as a pitcher.

Seeing you pitch as young man. Becoming the best pitcher on the planet tells me that in your Marshall Pitching Windup with your mastery of stuff. Even at your advancing age.

I believe your stuff was even better than when were an active Major League Baseball Cy Award Winner. Even after 1974, you were better than even that year.

Like Menuhin, Dr. Marshall, you are a great pitcher and a great teacher. My pa taught that to get the full measure of a man I remember he would say, "Son you measure a man from the neck up." That's you man. Extremely active state of consciousness!

Effortless looking form in any performance art is simply an illusion wrought by perfect practice.

I remember seeing you blast some guys with your heater. Seeing you invite them into your nightmare with a high Screwball watching the batter look down and then out somewhere!!!

Have a great weekend!!!

Sincerely,

Michael


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Hi Michael,

     Thank you for sharing the pleasure I had on the mound with me.

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0136.  Michael Stokes comments

Dear Dr. Marshall,

I really do enjoy your teaching of pitching the Screwball. I always liked that pitch. I never knew how small the baseball could become.

When I meditate in practice that pitch is the first for me to warm up on.

I see the many faults in the kids who don't listen to your implicit teachings. I believe that if your teaching's though via the free networks are too explicit that what you teach in person might be held as in high regard because kids believe they are immortals!!!

I believe that too many kids are rushing into the Marshall Pitching Motion. I simply see the releases of the baseballs. Together with the spins, even though they are really good. I believe that they are still resorting results without a care to the consequences of even the involuntary revelation the reintroduction of the Traditional Pitching Methods residue.

On the whole, I see where opposition at the release points on a good many of these pitchers are simply a preference to add a fancy end to a release of the baseball at way far from 90 degrees.

The favorable outcomes from the lack of going to 90 degrees Sir seeming bio-mechanically injurious to Rotator Cuff Tendons. This T.P.M. is a horrifying disease. Pitching Use Disease.

How is it possible to chastise those boys? Correct the inherently Traditional Pitching Method nature of their arm swing? When after they transition to the release point when the subconscious manifestation of the Traditional Pitching Method revealed?

I do know clearly by your great teachings that by backward movement towards second base with the glove leg along with the glove in hand all move towards second base. The cause of all the true results derived from the Marshall Pitching Windup in this way.

I guess then that these kids were exposed to your Maxline Technologies at a time where their exposure to the Traditional Pitching Methods were much longer than they have spoken to as the amount time they actually were in the implement of such injurious practice.

Jack Nicklaus always believed in the application of practice for successful results in match play. Being owed to the muscle memory through such practices as the key to his match play excellence. Creating muscle memory is derived from repeated good results from his shots. By corrected technique.

Not practicing is to simply try your methods in game conditions. Trying is not the same as doing. These differences are stark. I see that even after time has passed in their educational processing of your Maxline Technologies are trying bend their methods into one. Never gonna happen!

Their techniques reveal that they reached you at a point of where we see them again at the pinnacle tip of an iceberg Sir. The clash of results only techniques trying to allow for muscle memory of the T.P.M. to present in their videos.

It took them a long time for them to get where they are now. However long the pitchers were in the Traditional Pitching Method is how long they will have to take to cure their injurious results only oriented mindset.

Muscles and involuntary reaction to game stresses reveals the real training needs be by their due diligence. Muscle memory in stressful game conditions means that there lies a lack of true preparation in your Maxline technologies.

You, Frank Howard and Gaylord Perry are right. We are isolated to the results we achieve. The resumption of the old techniques which are inherently injurious to a player is often what is revealed through stress.

The T.P.M. is exposed through the results they are striving to show you. Still the hubris of the looking to the results are something on a level as a misnomer. These kids as an aggregate would best advised to review your teachings.

Then for as long as those videos take to view. Have them all from start to finish. At least an whole thirty times. Please have them do so. They are truly facing a real and critical violation against their anatomy and lifelong wellbeing.

My recommendations for their treatment by visual aid first by completing your video teachings and the literature from your hand as well. Of all the will they have to achieve and impress you Sir. You may impart great insight and personal evaluation upon them, as to their own improvement of knowledge.

Combined with the implementation of your correct physical technique being placed into their vital intimate health concern you possess for their health and wellbeing. They recover to a semblance of a whole person. You are a doctor first.

I will say that my first knowledge of the hip and shoulder rotation caused me pitch up with Tailing Fastball or something similar to it.

That has never left my left side!!!! 1969AD

These kids need to let go of the baseball for just a short period so as to not have the T.P.M. influence them any longer. That results at the expense of the loss of their entire physical persona is not acceptable. It depreciates their innocent composition of character.

This was just supposed to be a little note Dr. Marshall.

Sincerely,

Michael


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Hi Michael,

     You are correct, learning is neither a straight line nor easy.

     When students struggle, it means that the teacher is failing.

     In 1967, I learned that supinating the release of my slider destroyed my pitching elbow.

     From that lesson, I recognized the necessity of pitching forearm pronation.

     However, it was not until 1988, seven years after my last major league season, that I learned how to release my Maxline Pronation Curve. However, while I could throw the pitch, I failed to teach all my baseball pitchers.

     Finally, in 2003, while watching a Baseball Pitching Research/Training Center student supinate the release of an appropriately-sized football, I realized that for my students to learn how to release my Maxline Pronation Curve, they needed to learn how to horizontally sail the lid off a four-gallon bucket.

     Five minutes later, that student mastered the pitching arm action required to release an injury-free, high-quality four-seam curveball.

     It took me 36 years to understand that this release technique is the first skill that all baseball pitchers need to master.

     In Q/A #1020 of this week's Question/Answer file, a mom told me that her 7 year old son watches my videos daily.

     That 7 year old needs to learn how to horizontally 'sail' the lid off a four-gallon bucket.

     Then, he needs to learn how to use an appropriately-sized football to pronate the release of my Maxline Pronation Curve.

     Then, he needs to learn how to use an appropriately-size football to pronate the release of my Torque Fastball, Maxline True Screwball and Maxline Fastball.

     Then and only then, should this young man use baseballs to pronate the releases of these four basic youth baseball pitches.

     This means that I have to reorganize my Baseball Pitching Instructional Video.

     This means that I have a lot of work to do.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, February 16, 2014, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0137.  X-ray

Attached are photos of an X-ray of my pitching elbow. The X-ray is from December 2012.

I originally injured it in February 2012.

The orthopedist said that it includes what appears to be a calcification near the medial epicondyle.

I rehabbed it, pitched a full season for several men's teams with no real difficulties other than some occasional soreness.

It acted up more following a tournament in mid-November 2012, prompting my trip to the doctor and the X-ray.

I rehabbed it again and pitched another season with it in 2013.

It's bothering me again somewhat. But, I still don't think it's particularly serious.

Any thoughts on what it might be from the X-ray?

Healing from a small tear either of attachment of the muscles to the medial epicondyle or perhaps a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament?

Since it started bothering me a bit more recently. I've been doing your daily program at maintenance reps at low intensity.

Is there anything else I should be doing, in addition or instead?


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     That you have a reoccurring problem means that you have something that training cannot permanently heal, like a bone spur in the pitching elbow.

     The medial epicondyle should be rounded and smooth. On the lower side, your medial epicondyle is jagged and there is feint image of a piece of bone.

     If there is a piece of floating bone from where the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscle arises or a calcium deposit from where muscle tore, that would be an ongoing irritation that training could not fix and the orthopedic surgeon should remove it.

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0138.  latissimus dorsi II

Thank you for posting Chapter 9 of "Coaching Adult Pitchers."

I am a physical therapist and found your mentioning of the scapular attachment of the latissimus dorsi fascinating.

I was wondering if you could point me to any more resources on the topic, specifically the source for the statistic on the prevalence of this muscle (92%) and the test used to determine its presence in a live person.

Thanks again for making your work available to the public! I look forward to your response.


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     In Chapter Thirteen: The Shoulder Girdle of my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book, I wrote:

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

     a. Latissimus Dorsi II

     "The Latissimus Dorsi II muscle attaches to the inferior angle of the Scapula bone, to the spinous processes of the seventh through twelfth thoracic vertebraes, to the posterior/superior surfaces of the ninth through twelfth ribs (R9-R12) and to the superior surface of the iliac crest of the Hip bone. Therefore, when the Latissimus Dorsi II muscle contracts, these structures move closer together. This means that the Latissimus Dorsi II muscle depresses the Shoulder Girdle.

     At rest, the inferior angle of the Scapula bone hangs at the level of the eighth thoracic vertebrae (T8). Because, during the deceleration phase of the baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers must safely return the Scapula bone to its normal resting position, the Latissimus Dorsi II muscle powerfully depresses the Scapula bone.

     Eight percent of the population does not have the Latissimus Dorsi II muscle. To determine whether baseball pitchers have the Latissimus Dorsi II muscle, coaches should have their baseball pitchers place the back of their hands on their hips and move both elbows forward. If the inferior angles of the both Scapula bones dramatically protrude backward, such that coaches can put their fingers under the inferior tip of the Scapula, then these baseball pitchers do not have the Latissimus Dorsi II muscle."

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

     This action causes the Scapula bones to move away from the surface of the back.

     In this Scapula bone position, you are able to feel the inferior angle. By squeezing below the inferior angle, you are able to determine whether their Latissimus Dorsi attaches to the inferior angle.

     Because, instead of using the Pectoralis Major muscle to move the pitching upper arm along a curved pathway toward home plate, I teach my baseball pitchers to use their Latissimus Dorsi muscle to move their pitching upper arm along a straight line toward home plate, my baseball pitchers have a very large Latissimus Dorsi attachments to the inferior angle of their Scapula bone.

     With regard to the percent of the population that have a Latissimus Dorsi attachment to the inferior angle of the Scapula bone: Dan Ogborn presents a study of 100 cadavers where 79% percent has that attachment.

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The lats & scapula debate
February 12, 2012
by Dan Ogborn

I thought I’d write a quick post to clear up some of the confusion that exists regarding the potential direct interaction between latissimus dorsi and the scapula.

I recently read an article on t-nation and while the author never claimed that the lats attached to or directly moved the scapula, some confusion was definitely generated in the comment section.

The internet police were out in force that day, quickly citing that the lats don’t attach to the scapula in any way, so there’s no way they could contribute to any of the movements described in the article.

Certainly many anatomy books make no mention of any direct interaction, and at best only describe that the lats often overlay the lower portions of the scapula with no direct attachment, but there’s more to the story than that.

Ultimately everyone online agreed with their own facts, so an internet flame war was avoided, and the usual rounds of ‘great article’ resumed in the comment thread. Crisis adverted.

But there’s just one problem: in most people, latissimus dorsi actually DOES attach to the scapula!

Latissimus dorsi attaches to the inferior angle of the scapula.

Basic anatomy texts can often leave this fact out, as it isn’t present in everyone in the population and there is some debate as to the functional significance should a direct attachment exist.

Pouliart et al (1) investigated the anatomy of latissimus dorsi in 100 cadavers and found that in many specimens there was a connection to the scapula as the muscle ran its course to ultimately attach on the humerus.

They describe three types of interactions between latissimus dorsi and the inferior angle of the scapula:

01. Type 1, Direct Attachment: muscular slips are anchored directly onto the inferior angle of the scapula.
02. Type 2a, Indirect Attachment: few muscle fibres with a soft, fibrous link between the two (fascia).
03. Type 2b, No Attachment: a bursa and no connective tissue between the two.

The majority of people (79%) had either a Type 1 (direct, 43%) or Type 2a (indirect, 36%) attachment, while the remaining 21% had no attachment at all (Type 2b).

So it seems that in the majority of the population, there is some form of link between the latissimus dorsi and the scapula, even if some of us have no direct interaction. These direct muscular slips have been observed by others (2), although not always consistently (3), and I’ve seen them on specimens in the anatomy lab myself as well.

What’s the significance of this?

At this point, it’s hard to tell specifically, however we can make some inferences.

Because of the relatively horizontal line of pull of the muscle fibres that run between the inferior angle of the scapula and the thoracic vertebrae, we could suspect that the lats assist in retraction of the scapula (pulling the shoulder blades back and together).

The lats wouldn’t be the primary contributor to this movement, and for pure retraction to take place it would have to be coupled to the activity of other muscles such as the rhomboids.

This interaction could also contribute to downward rotation of the scapula – fitting, as this would allow for a direct link between scapula and humerus during shoulder adduction (bringing the arm down towards the side of the body).

As latissimus dorsi contracts, fibres anchored to the inferior angle will pull it towards the midline of the body (superiomedial) and create rotation through an axis near the superior (medial) angle and the spine of the scapula.

Or maybe as the original authors suspected, the lats simply stabilize the shoulder via it’s insertion on the humerus and perform the functions at the shoulder we’re familiar with including adduction, extension and medial (internal) rotation (1). There definitely isn’t too much discussion of the scapular attachments from a functional perspective in any of the articles I’ve cited below.

Anatomy isn’t set in stone

We often think of anatomy as a ‘hard science,’ but arguably the most important lesson here is that there can actually be significant variability between people.

When you get into the specific functions of each muscle, you’ll see there’s actually more debate than you realized. Sure you won’t find too much argument about the biceps or the triceps, but when you start to look more specifically at muscles and movements, especially complex areas like the scapula, you’ll find that it’s definitely a more complicated subject than we often make it out to be.

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


     Evolution.

     When Chimpanzees race from the forest floor to the top of the trees, what muscle pulls their body upward?

     The Latissimus Dorsi II muscle.

     By arising from the Iliac Crest and attaching to the inferior angle of the Scapula bone, the Latissimus II muscle moves the lower body upward while the Latissimus Dorsi I muscle pulls the entire body upward.

     Without pulling the Scapula bone downward (Shoulder Girdle depression), we could not do our pull-ups.

     Imagine. Back in 1971, realized that the Latissimus Dorsi I and II muscles could also eliminate injuries to the pitching shoulder.

     Yet, even today, people do not believe that the Latissimus Dorsi inserts into the inferior angle of the Scapula bone.

     Even my trusted 'Quiring and Warfel, The Extremities' textbook says that the Latissimus Dorsi muscle inserts only to the floor of the bicipital groove of the Humerus bone.

     But, I knew better.

     208 closing innings in 106 games. Thank you Latissimus Dorsi II muscle.

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0139.  Mark Mulder tweet

Mark Mulder's name and injury reports come up occasionally on your site.

Here is a tweet Mr Mulder recently posted: "Everyone thinks good mechanics prevent arm injury. Doesn't matter people. Either you get lucky or you don't."

I find it incredible that veteran pitchers like Mr Mulder have not stumbled upon your web site. Sadly, I'd bet that 90% of pitchers agree with Mr Mulder.


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     That Mr. Mulder attended Michigan State University and does not know who I am puzzles me. But then, my last year at MSI was 1979 and Mr. Mulder attended MSU in the late 1990s. Since I never played at MSU, I can see how my name is not a part of their history.

     Nevertheless, I would like to talk with Mr. Mulder.

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0140.  Michael Stokes comments on Dr. Mike Marshall's Causes of Pitching Injuries Part 1 video

Simple direct pitching down the Acromial Line means simply this. Direct location pitching right in the middle of home plate where the batters will nearly always look for easy to see and easy to hit pitches.

Using the Marshall Pitching Motion allows a pitcher to do exactly this. There is only neutral lateral movement and no Lateral Forearm Movement to driveline height.

This injurious motion from the Traditional Pitching for pitching the baseball into the upper middle portion of home plate. Which is where dramatic movement of the baseball is what Mike Marshall is the master.

Pitching down the Acromial Line and down the middle of home plate in the Marshall Pitching Motion safely allows a pitcher apply a wide selection of pre-designed pitches with their specific grips which move away from them.

Mike Marshall made easy looking to hit pitched baseball into an un-hittable nightmares where the batter is confused and does not what pitch is being pitched against him.

   I am referring to the games where Dr. Marshall teaches you where to pitch in game situations. With his pitching advice and world renowned fame the best pitcher in all of baseball. Truth and recorded fact right here on Youtube.

This lesson and all the other video's by Dr. Marshall are here to learn this is all and search out, to learn of the Marshall Pitching Motion. With preparation for pitching with the real explicit inside mechanics to power pitching.

This Dr. Marshall's intent. He wishes for you to be pain free and injury free with aspirations of of only your success.

So no PED's they break bones, tears muscles and snap tendons. So no shortcuts.

When you are able pitch to 93 percent strikes to balls. Then you will be a Marshall Pitching Motion nightmare on the pitching mound.

Movement of the baseball at home plate gives a pitcher the protection against batted balls by inducing them to swing at what appears to be a strike. Yet move dramatically away from the batters.

These may be put into the field of play for his team behind him or they miss the balls entirely.

So get to work on learning the correct to pitch and good luck kids!!!


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Hi Michael,

     Thanks for your endorsement.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall



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0141.  Looking for turnaround, Johnson gets positive feedback
MLB.com
February 08, 2014

SAN DIEGO, CA: Josh Johnson didn't necessarily need it, but he received some words of encouragement that really resonated with him recently during an offseason workout.

While working out near his home in Nevada, Johnson had a brief conversation with UNLV head coach Tim Chambers that stuck with him.

"He walked up to me and said, 'I can see a difference in just you playing catch' at the 75 feet or what it was at the time," Johnson said. "That was huge. I've felt good but then to have someone else say I can see a difference, can see the extension ... that was nice."

Johnson, who agreed to a one-year deal worth $8 million in November, is coming off a miserable year with the Blue Jays and surgery after the season to remove loose bodies in his right elbow, which had a profound impact on his struggles in 2013.

Johnson was 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA in 16 starts for the Blue Jays, a season that was interrupted by two stints on the disabled list. His last appearance came on August 6.

"Spring Training [in 2013], [the elbow] felt good, but there was something in there that wasn't bothering me yet," Johnson said. "We got to April and it started creeping in. You could tell that something wasn't quite there. I couldn't get to that extension."

Johnson said his elbow has felt great since his October surgery and that he's already been able to throw three bullpen sessions. He'll likely have two more before pitchers and catchers report to Arizona for the start of Spring Training on Feb. 13.

The Padres will allow Johnson to come along slowly in Spring Training. That's the case with a handful of other players coming off surgery -- including outfielders Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin. The goal, manager Bud Black said last week, is to keep players healthy through Spring Training and have them set for the start of the regular season on March 30.

"I talked to Bud and he was saying you might not go [pitch] every other day and we're going to play it by ear and see how you're feeling," Johnson said.


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     If Mr. Johnson continues to supinate the releases of his breaking pitches, then Mr. Johnson will continue to suffer pitching elbow injuries. Orthopedic surgeons are able to remove bone spurs, but not the cause.

     However, banging the bones in the back of his pitching elbow will require some time to manifest debilitating discomfort again.

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0142.  Appendectomy delays Elbert's elbow surgery rehab
MLB.com
February 09, 2014

GLENDALE, AZ: As if three elbow operations weren't enough for Dodgers reliever Scott Elbert to recover from, on Sunday the pitcher said he also had his appendix removed 10 days ago.

Elbert was placed on the 60-day disabled list Saturday to make room on the roster for Paul Maholm, who was signed as a free agent Saturday. Elbert was not expected to pitch competitively until midseason because of Tommy John surgery.

But Elbert's recovery from that operation was delayed a few weeks by the appendectomy. He will resume throwing in three or four days. Prior to the appendectomy, Elbert said his elbow felt "great."

Elbert missed the entire 2013 season after undergoing three operations on his left elbow. He had scar tissue removed on Sept. 19, 2012, debridement of cartilage in a different area of the elbow on Jan. 23, 2013, and Tommy John reconstruction last June 7.

Elbert earned $505,000 last season and has a $575,000 Major League salary for 2014.


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     The article said:

01. "Scott Elbert missed the entire 2013 season after undergoing three operations on his pitching elbow."
02. "On September 19, 2012, Mr. Elbert had scar tissue removed in his pitching elbow."
02. "On January 23, 2013, Mr. Elber had cartilage debridement in his pitching elbow."
04. "On June 07, 2013, Mr. Elber had his ruptured Ulnar Collateral Ligament replaced."
05. "Mr. Elbert said that his pitching elbow felt great."

     The orthopedic surgeons do love the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

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0143.  Ryu in better spring shape second time around
MLB.com
February 10, 2014

GLENDALE, AZ: A 14-win rookie season for Hyun-Jin Ryu pretty much put a rough Spring Training debut in the rearview mirror, but not for Ryu.

The left-hander remembered huffing and puffing his way through early conditioning drills and wasn't going there again.

So a fitter Ryu took the field for Sunday's first workout. Two weeks ago, Ryu said he was "underprepared" last year after a harried contract negotiation,  vowing he would be in better shape this time around.

"All kidding aside," Ryu said Sunday, "last year was trying with the contract, and I didn't' get a head start. I've had more time to prepare this year."

Ryu, listed at 255 pounds by the team, said he's "significantly lighter compared to last year," but "only I know" how much lighter.

Ryu did give an assist to teammates Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke for the examples they set.

"Absolutely, working hard is very contagious," he said. "My teammates definitely push me. At the end of the day, you have to do it yourself. I just try to be in the best shape I can. I'm an athlete; it's my job to be in the best condition."

Ryu said he's more comfortable this spring, having gone through a Major League training camp.

"I know the faces, I have close friends here," he said. "The first day doesn't feel like the first day like last year, when I didn't know anybody."


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     Dodgers baseball pitcher, Hyun-Jin Ryu, said:

01. "Absolutely, working hard is very contagious."
02. "My teammates definitely push me."
03. "At the end of the day, you have to do it yourself."
04. "I just try to be in the best shape I can."
05. "I'm an athlete."
06. "It's my job to be in the best condition."

     That is true for all true athletes. True athletes train every day.

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0144.  Fidrych and Michigan State Questions

I thank you for your provision of the website materials.

Your knowledge is much appreciated for Little League dads like myself.

I do have a couple of questions dealing with research I'm doing for a writing assignment.

My first question relates to the career, or lack thereof, of Mark Fidrych.

I do know that a doctor discovered in the mid '80s that he had suffered a torn rotator cuff, which apparently was the reason for his flame out after a brilliant rookie year in 1976.

1. If you would have been able to speak with him during the the seasons in which he was attempting his comeback, what would you have told him, given that no one knew of the rotator cuff injury at the time?

2. Even with said injury, would he have been able to resurrect his career to any extent by using your specified arm motion and release point, or would the tear of the rotator cuff kept him from gaining any of the pop on his fastball no matter what training and/or release techniques he might have practiced?

Question number two (actually 3):

I have gathered from one of your comments that you did not think too highly of Danny Litwhiler's advancement of the radar gun.

3. In an overall sense, do you look on his efforts as a coach in any positive light?

4. During your years of graduate studies, did you attempt to help out his players or train with Litwhiler's teams during your off seasons?

Thank you for any information you can share on these subjects.


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01. In 1971, I knew what caused baseball pitchers to injure their pitching shoulder.

     The short answer is Mr. Fidrych pulled his pitching upper arm forward while rotating his body over his pitching foot. I would have taught Mr. Fidrych to drive his pitching arm forward while rotating his body over his glove foot.

02. When baseball pitchers learn how to drive their pitching upper arm forward while rotating their bod8y over their glove foot, whatever damage they did to their pitching shoulder is irrelevant. These baseball pitchers would be able to throw at their genetic maximal release velocity without pain.

03. Mr. Litwhiler was a very nice man that tried everything he could to help baseball players. That Mr. Litwhiler asked the State Police to use their radar guns to measure the velocity of fastballs did not bother me. That professional baseball use the radar gun to measure the value of baseball pitchers made scouts lazy. Skill makes baseball pitchers.

04. Many of the Michigan State University baseball players asked me for advice and I always invited them to my early morning workouts.

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0145.  Mark Mulder tweet

Mark Mulder's name and injury reports come up occasionally on your site.

Here is a tweet Mr. Mulder recently posted: "Everyone thinks good mechanics prevent arm injury. Doesn't matter people. Either you get lucky or you don't."

I find it incredible that veteran pitchers like Mr. Mulder have not stumbled upon your web site. Sadly, I'd bet that 90% of pitchers agree with Mr. Mulder.


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

     That Mr. Mulder attended Michigan State University and does not know who I am puzzles me. But then, my last year at MSI was 1979 and Mr. Mulder attended MSU in the late 1990s. Since I never played at MSU, I can see how my name is not a part of their history,

     Nevertheless, I would like to talk with Mr. Mulder.

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0146.  Beckett enjoys successful first bullpen session
MLB.com
February 10, 2014

GLENDALE, AZ: Josh Beckett has texted enough with Chris Carpenter to know that the medical condition they share can end a pitcher's career, as it did Carpenter's.

But Beckett said it won't end his.

The Dodgers right-hander seemed to back that up with his first bullpen session on Monday, throwing 30 pitches free and easy. At no time did Beckett stop to rub the feeling back into numb fingers, as he often did last Spring Training in what proved to be a hint that something was wrong.

Beckett said the thoracic outlet surgery that cut short last season has solved the numbness and tingling he had felt "for years." He said he's ready to reclaim his role in the Dodgers' rotation as the fifth starter, knowing the club has enough doubt about his health that it chased Bronson Arroyo and signed Paul Maholm for protection.

Despite Maholm's presence, manager Don Mattingly sounds like it's still Beckett's job to lose.

"It's just if he's healthy," Mattingly said. "Josh throws the ball good. He's been a quality pitcher for a long time and he still has good stuff. How he bounces back, we'll see. We've had nothing but positive reports all winter. Josh has never been in the 'pen [but neither has Maholm]. Obviously, it's a competitive situation. We're not handing anything out for anybody. If he's healthy, we'll see."

Stopping short of saying he's willing to be a reliever, Beckett did say he wants to remain a Dodger and make up for last year, when he missed the last 4 1/2 months of the season.

"I felt they treated me really good through everything, and I feel like I want to repay that," he said.

The Dodgers acquired Beckett in the 2012 blockbuster trade with Boston that also brought Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Punto, Carl Crawford to Los Angeles. Beckett went 2-3 with a 2.97 ERA for the Dodgers that season, but was 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA when he hit the disabled list on May 14 last year.

Although he's in his 13th season and is seven years removed from a runner-up finish for the American League Cy Young Award, Beckett, 33, believes he's still got plenty left. He said he never felt pain or really lost velocity because of the injury, but the rib that had compressed the nerve and artery near his neck dulled his touch and "I had no idea where [the baseball] was going to go."

But now, "I'm not tentative," Beckett said. "I'm going to throw as hard as I can and see what happens. Right now, I feel great. I'll throw the ball until I blow out and I'm hoping that's not for a few more years."

The July surgery that Dallas' Dr. Greg Pearl (also Carpenter's surgeon) performed on Beckett removed the first rib, an intricate procedure that requires cutting away the nerves and connective tissue front and back. Beckett said he threw two bullpen sessions in Texas before Monday's stint at Camelback Ranch, leaving "no doubt" that he's healthy.

"I feel I'm throwing as hard with less effort as last year," he said.

Beckett said he's had issues with his neck in past years and numbness when he awoke, which he traces back to the same problem. He said Carpenter's surgery was "more complicated" than his, but communication with Carpenter "helped me a lot and got me through the mental part."

Beckett said there are little signs that tell him he's better, like the fact that he can now maneuver the steering wheel of his car with his right hand.

"I was ecstatic about that," he said. "It's crazy how the simple things become difficult to do."

The impressive bullpen session on Monday was Beckett's way to validate Mattingly's approach that Beckett is presumed to be "a regular guy" as compared to "a rehab guy" in this camp.

"I'm far advanced for February," Beckett said. "I'm probably not going to start Opening Day in Australia. They're paying a guy (Clayton Kershaw) a lot of money to do that. Not all of us are getting ready for those days [in Australia]. Some of us have a little more time than it appears we do."


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     The article said:

01. "The July surgery that Dallas' Dr. Greg Pearl (also Carpenter's surgeon) performed on Beckett removed the first rib."
02. "The intricate procedure requires cutting away the nerves and connective tissue front and back."
03. "Mr. Beckett said he's had issues with his neck in past years and numbness when he awoke."

     When baseball pitchers rotate their body over their pitching foot, they move their pitching upper arm behind their acromial line. This action causes the first rib to compress the nerves and blood vessels that travel through the Thoracic Outlet into the pitching arm.

     When baseball pitchers to rotate their body over their glove foot, they keep their pitching upper arm in front of their acromial line. This action prevents the first rib from compressing the nerves and blood vessels that travel through the Thoracic Outlet into the pitching arm.

     The neck problem results from baseball pitchers striding to far that they have to bend forward a their waist.

     The solution is to walk off the pitching rubber only as far as they are able to keep the center of mass of their body moving forward through release.

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0147.  Rangers, Hanson agree to Minor League deal
MLB.com
February 10, 2014

ARLINGTON, TX: The Rangers have agreed to terms with pitcher Tommy Hanson on a Minor League contract with an invitation to spring training, according to Major League sources. An official announcement is pending a physical, which is scheduled for Tuesday.

Hanson will come into camp as a candidate to be the fifth starter. The Rangers have been looking for pitching depth after Derek Holland underwent surgery on his left knee in January. Other candidates for the rotation include right-handers Nick Tepesch and Colby Lewis, and left-handers Robbie Ross and Michael Kirkman.

Hanson was 4-3 with a 5.42 ERA in 13 starts and two relief appearances for the Angels last season while being sidelined from June 21 to July 23 with a strained right forearm. He was a prominent member of the Braves' rotation from 2009-12 and was 45-32 with a 3.61 ERA in 108 starts.


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     The article said:

01. "From 2009 through 2012, Tommy Hanson was a prominent member of the Braves' rotation."
02. "During those seasons, Mr. Hanson was 45-32 with a 3.61 ERA in 108 starts.
03. "From June 21 through July 23, 2013, Mr. Hanson was sidelined with a strained pitching forearm.
04. "The Rangers signed Mr. Hanson to a minor league contract.

     If Mr. Hanson learned how to pronate the releases of his pitches, then Mr. Hanson should return to his 2009 through 2012 form.

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0148.  Verlander expects to be ready by start of season
MLB.com
February 11, 2014

LAKELAND, FL: The early days of Spring Training have plenty of sights and sounds to warm a baseball fan's heart. The pop of a glove is up there on the list.

When the pop comes after a Justin Verlander delivery, it means even more this year. So when Verlander threw on an otherwise quiet Tuesday morning in the right-field corner at Joker Marchant Stadium, it meant a lot more than the noise level would suggest -- for himself and Tigers fans alike.

For a pitcher whose Spring Training plans and goals often border on compulsive, Verlander enters Spring Training without a script after core muscle surgery. After years of setting his schedule, he has accepted that he'll go as far and as fast as his body and his doctors tell him, rather than risk re-injury.

So far, every indication points towards him getting through this rehab process on time.

"I've just got to adjust, take it as it comes, do what I can when I can do it," Verlander said. "I'm just kind of treating this like last year. Last year was a grind, and I kept telling you guys every day when I realized things weren't right and I had a lot of work to do, my goal was I need to be ready for the playoffs. And I was able to achieve that. I got ready and was pitching to what I expected to pitch to in the playoffs.

"My goal now is the start of the season. Whether that's Game 1 or what, I don't know, but I intend to be ready."

Unless he somehow aggravates his injury, Verlander should be ready. Verlander actually threw off a mound on Monday, delivering 20 pitches in his first such session of the winter. Tuesday's throwing session simply confirmed that he had gotten through his mound session without issue.

"It's like with everything I've been doing after surgery. The first time I do it, I'm a little tentative. Once I realized I could put in a little more effort and a little more effort and still didn't feel anything, that's just kind of how the bullpen went," he said. "I would say it was slightly less effort than some of my bullpens in the past at this time, but toward the end I was getting on it pretty good and didn't feel a thing."

Verlander's surgery was actually more extensive than expected. When he injured himself doing squats in December, the strain was on the left side. He didn't think much of it until it hadn't healed a couple weeks later, and he contacted head athletic trainer Kevin Rand to set up an exam.

By the time all the opinions were in, including from specialist Dr. William Meyers, Verlander needed surgery on the right side as well. That injury, unlike the other side, didn't come from one event.

"When he went in there, he said it was almost as bad as my left side, and this wasn't from the injury that occurred when I was working out," Verlander said.

"That's why he said he had to fix the right side, too, because it was just a matter of time before that went, too. I think it was a blessing in disguise. He said I was probably losing strength from the transition from my legs to my midsection. So I'm happy. Obviously, you're never happy to go under the knife, but from what it sounds like, it could have been the luckiest thing that could have happened to me was to have it go when it did."

That attitude -- to take caution now in order to avoid a bad situation later -- is proving fortuitous for Verlander as well. Instead of trying to make up for lost time, he's listening to the medical staff.

"To be honest with you, I've been holding myself back," Verlander said. "It felt so good, I felt that there's a lot more things I can do, pushing and even getting more ahead of schedule. But I was in contact with Dr. Meyers up in Philly quite a bit and asking him: Should I push? And when can I push?

"I'm starting to get to that period now in my rehab where I can start to, as long as I feel OK, just kind of do more and more. Knock on wood, I haven't had any problems."

Verlander does not expect to be ready for the start of the Grapefruit League schedule in two weeks, but he doesn't sound concerned about that. He has made six starts in each of his last three Spring Trainings, but he believes he can be ready in five outings, his total from 2010.

"I think five's a good number of games to get my pitch count up to where it needs to be," Verlander said. "If we can do that, great. We drew up a plan for that. We also drew up a plan for if I can't do them. It's one of those things that you don't know how it's going to go until you do it. I think [Monday] was a great sign with how my legs and everything felt."


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     The article said:

01. "After off-season core muscle surgery, Justin Verlander enters Spring Training without a script."
02. "Unless Mr. Verlander aggravates his injury, Mr. Verlander should be ready."
03. "Mr. Verlander's surgery was actually more extensive than expected."
04. "In December, Mr. Verlander strained the core muscles on his left side."
05. "When that injury hadn't healed, a couple weeks later, Mr. Verlander contacted head athletic trainer Kevin Rand to set up an exam.

     Unless Mr. Verlander does those goofy hop around twisting exercises that the Tigers strength coach had Mr. Verlander do in an online video, Mr. Verlander should be fine.

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0149.  Eovaldi plans to mix it up from the mound
MLB.com
February 11, 2014

MIAMI, FL: Hard-throwing right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is looking to show more than just power and predictability with his pitch selection this season, and he plans on offering hitters a change of pace.

Already one of the hardest-throwing starters in the game, Eovaldi has spent the offseason working on his changeup. If effective, it will give left-handed hitters something else to think about.

"I'm working on my changeup a lot," Eovaldi said. "I'm hoping to be able to throw that for strikes more. I know last year, I started using my curveball more, and it helped me out tremendously. Being able to use my slider and fastball off my curveball helped me out."

When you throw as hard as Eovaldi, it is natural to rely so heavily on pure heat. According to FanGraphs.com, his fastball averaged at 96.2 mph, which placed him in the upper tier of all starters. Eovaldi's fastball maxed out at 100 mph in 2013.

Because his fastball is such an explosive weapon, Eovaldi used it to get ahead in counts, and conversely, when he was behind, he'd dial up the heat. He used it so often, his pitching patterns became predictable. Per FanGraphs.com, Eovaldi threw his fastball 70.6 percent of the time. As for his changeup? Just 1.7 percent.

Eovaldi is hopeful of commanding four pitches -- including his slider and curveball.

"Getting first-pitch strikes with my secondary pitches, and even when behind in the count, is going to be huge for me this year," Eovaldi said. "If I'm able to throw all four of my pitches for strikes, it will help me out a lot."

Marlins pitchers and catchers begin Spring Training workouts at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., on Sunday. Eovaldi, who turns 24 on Thursday, is already in South Florida, taking part in the Marlins Ayudan Week.

Miami maintains that Eovaldi is one of the team's building blocks. He is projected as the No. 2 starter, behind Jose Fernandez, and the two have the raw talent to be one of the game's most overpowering tandems.

Fernandez's fastball hit 99 mph during his 2013 National League Rookie of the Year Award-winning campaign. His average fastball, as reported by FanGraphs.com, was 94.9 mph.

What set Fernandez apart last season was the command he showed on all four of his pitches. He also was more unpredictable, throwing his fastball 57.3 percent of the time.

For Eovaldi, refining his secondary pitches is a work in progress, but there is little disputing his untapped talent. In an injury-plagued 2013, he went 4-6 with a 3.39 ERA in 18 starts.

It was a painful season overall for the team, which lost 100 games. For Eovaldi, the season started with a lengthy stint on the disabled list.

After enjoying a strong Spring Training, Eovaldi was pegged as the No. 2 starter. But in his final Grapefruit League outing, he experienced some discomfort in his shoulder, and he informed the team that something wasn't right.

The Marlins played it safe and Eovaldi opened 2013 on the DL. Once healthy, he had to basically build back up again, and he didn't join the rotation until June 18.

"I feel that was a fluke," Eovaldi said of his injury. "I've never had that happen to me before, or even any tightness in my shoulder before.

"It was, honestly, the very last game of Spring Training. It got tight. I wanted to be safe, and say something."

Though the team called his injury shoulder inflammation, Eovaldi labels it biceps tendinitis, because the muscle runs into the shoulder area. Either way, he was sidelined for several months.

"I had to shut it down," Eovaldi said. "It took so much time, because I basically had to go through Spring Training all over again."


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

     The article said:

01. "In an injury-plagued 2013, Nathan Eovaldi went 4-6 with a 3.39 ERA in 18 starts."
02. "Mr. Eovaldi started the 2013 season with a lengthy stint on the disabled list.
03. "In his final Grapefruit League outing, Mr. Eovaldi experienced some discomfort in his pitching shoulder."
04. "The Marlins Medical Staff called Mr. Eovaldi's injury shoulder inflammation, Mr. Eovaldi labels it biceps tendinitis."
05. "Mr. Eovaldi started using his curveball more.

     Mr. Eovaldi supinates his breaking pitches.

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

0150.  Three-time All-Star Oswalt officially retires
MLB.com
February 11, 2014

HOUSTON, TX: The crowning achievement in Roy Oswalt's terrific career with the Astros came in Game 6 of the 2005 National League Championship Series, when he pitched Houston past the Cardinals in St. Louis and into the World Series for the first time.

Oswalt and the Astros were on top of the baseball world, and the soft-spoken right-hander from Weir, Miss., was named the Most Valuable Player of the NLCS, earning him a tractor promised to him by then-owner Drayton McLane.

Only a couple of weeks after Lance Berkman announced his retirement, Oswalt followed his longtime teammate into the sunset Tuesday by saying he was hanging up his spikes. He played 10 of his 13 seasons with the Astros, going 163-102 with a 3.36 ERA.

"Last year I had a down year, as far as I got hurt six games into it and sat there for two months and didn't really get to do what I wanted to do," he said. "I decided this offseason that it's time to try to start something else. My girls are growing up, and I'm trying to be around home a little more."

Oswalt, 36, and Berkman both plan to sign one-day contracts and retire with the Astros. Owner Jim Crane said Monday the team had chose a date to honor one of the best pitchers and best hitters in franchise history, but no date has been released.

"Lance and I were teammates for 10 years in Houston," Oswalt said. "He's a tremendous guy, and getting to retire with Lance, a good quality guy and the type of person he is, just adds that much more. We talked about it one time a couple of years back, about signing one-day contracts and trying to retire with the Astros. We made a lot of friends and had a lot of memories together."

Oswalt was drafted by the Astros in the 23rd round of the 1996 First-Year Player Draft and made an unlikely rise through the system. He made his Major League debut in 2001, going 14-3 with a 2.73 ERA in 28 games (20 starts). That began an eight-year run where he was one of the best pitchers in baseball.

A three-time All-Star, Oswalt won 20 games in back-to-back seasons, helping the Astros reach the NLCS in '04 and World Series in '05. He finished third in the Cy Young voting in '04 and fourth in '05 and '06.

His 143 wins with the Astros are second in franchise history behind Joe Niekro's 144.

With the Astros floundering in '10, Oswalt requested a trade and was dealt to the Phillies at the Trade Deadline. He won nine games for the Phillies in '11 and four for the Rangers in '12 before going 0-6 with an 8.63 ERA in nine games with the Rockies a year ago.

"When I first got to the big leagues, my goal was to play 10 years and win 100 games at least," he said. "I got to do that and then some. It's one of the greatest things ever to experience is Major League Baseball. As a kid growing up, there's a lot of kids that want to play in the big leagues and only a few of us get the chance to do it.

"I was blessed and fortunate enough to catch some breaks here and there, and when guys went down, I got to move up a little faster than other guys. Being able to perform with the athletes they have in the big leagues is tremendous. The proudest thing about the whole experience is I did it with natural talent, and that sits with me really well."

His crowning achievement came on Oct. 19, 2005, when he started and held the Cardinals to three hits and one run in seven innings to clinch the NL pennant in the final game at the old Busch Stadium. The win lifted the Astros, who only two days earlier were stunned by a ninth-inning, game-winning homer by Albert Pujols in Houston, into the World Series for the first time.

"I think pitching in the playoffs to get us into the World Series in Game 6 against St. Louis kind of made the whole career there," Oswalt said. "To get a team to the World Series that had never been, for a city that really supported us. When I came up, we were drawing 40,000 people almost every night in Houston and letting them experience a World Series was great. We came up short, but getting there for the first time was one of my greatest moments in baseball."

As for what's next for Oswalt, he plans to assist his agent, Bob Garber. He also recently got his pilot's license.

"I'm going to try to go farther than that and try to fly jets and stuff," Oswalt said. "I'm helping my agent out some. We're signing kids out of college, so that ought to be good. Since I've been through the Minor Leagues and the big leagues and stuff, I can tell them what to expect coming through."


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

     Three time All-Star, Roy Oswald, said:

01. "I decided this off-season that it's time to try to start something else."
02. "My girls are growing up."
03. "I'm trying to be around home a little more."
04. "I recently got my pilot's license."
05. "I'm going to try to go farther than that and try to fly jets and stuff."
06. "I plan to assist his agent, Bob Garber."
07. "We're signing kids out of college, so that ought to be good."
08. "Since I've been through the Minor Leagues and the big leagues and stuff, I can tell them what to expect coming through."

     Number three in Mr. Oswalt's list of things to do is the only one worth doing.

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0151.  Carrasco hopes to benefit from delivery adjustment
MLB.com
February 12, 2014

GOODYEAR, AZ: The Indians plan on giving Carlos Carrasco every opportunity to win the fifth spot in their rotation. After an offseason of working on an alteration to his delivery, the right-hander heads into camp as a leading candidate for that job.

"They've lifted his lead arm a little bit," Indians manager Terry Francona said, "just to create a little deception and some angle on his fastball. I know he's comfortable. He's had a good winter. He's strong. He's excited. It's his time to go show what he can do."

As things currently stand, Carrasco joins Josh Tomlin, Trevor Bauer and non-roster invitee Shaun Marcum as the top options for the lone vacancy within the starting staff. Of the three rostered players, the 26-year-old Carrasco is the only one without Minor League options, meaning he would need to be exposed to waivers before potentially being sent to Triple-A.

Indians general manager Chris Antonetti noted over the offseason that Carrasco would be on the Opening Day roster in some capacity, barring an unforeseen development this spring. If the Indians feel one of the other starting candidates is the best option for the rotation, Carrasco could slide into a relief role.

Last season, which was Carrasco's first year back in the big leagues after sitting out 2012 following Tommy John elbow surgery, the right-hander posted a 6.75 ERA in 15 appearances for the Indians. Within that showing, though, Carrasco had a 1.32 ERA with a 0.88 WHIP in 13 2/3 innings as a reliever.

Cleveland is hoping that Carrasco can learn from his experience in the bullpen and carry the mentality over to a starting role.

"I think anybody can learn from anything. That's the whole idea," Francona said. "But he was definitely more aggressive when he came out of the bullpen. If he takes that to the starting mentality -- not taking pitches off, or relaxing -- yeah, definitely [it could help]."


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

     The article said:

01. "After an offseason of working on an alteration to his delivery, the Carlos Carrasco heads into camp as a leading candidate for that fifth starter job."
02. "They've lifted Mr. Carrasco's lead arm a little bit."
03. "Lifting the lead arm creates a little deception and some angle on Mr. Carrasco's fastball."
04. "Mr. Carrasco is comfortable."
05. "Mr. Carrasco has had a good winter."
06. "He's strong."
07. "He's excited."
08. "It's his time to go show what he can do."

     'Lifting the glove arm a little bit creates deception and fastball angle."

     Let's see how that works.

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0152.  Hamels won't be ready for opening day
MLB.com
February 12, 2014

CLEARWATER, Fl: This is not the news Phillies fans wanted to hear before Spring Training opens Thursday.

Cole Hamels revealed Wednesday morning at Bright House Field that he will open the season on the disabled list because of discomfort in his left shoulder. He later called the issue biceps tendinitis, but he insisted he is not worried, he is pain-free and he will be pitching for Philadelphia sometime in April.

"Oh, yeah, yeah," Hamels said, when asked if he expects to pitch in a regular-season game before May 1. "I see myself pitching in April. It's not any pain or discomfort. It's just the building up of muscles. When you start, you can't run a marathon right off the bat. You have to build up to it.

"Not too far behind [Opening Day] I'll be ready."

The Phillies hope to have cushioned the blow Wednesday, when a source said they agreed to a one-year contract with A.J. Burnett. But losing Hamels for any period of time, especially when he is describing shoulder discomfort, is cause for concern. The Phils enter camp needing several things to go perfectly to return to the postseason for the first time since 2011.

Losing Hamels because of an arm issue is not the way they wanted to start.

"Right now, I'm just kind of in the middle stages of my throwing program, which doesn't allow me to throw bullpens at the moment," Hamels said. "Don't feel alarmed. I feel healthy now. It's just trying to get the strength and the stamina to be able to do that comfortably and not injure myself. But other than that, I'm glad we were able to find it earlier. Things look good. I will progress during Spring Training into the start of the season."

Hamels said he started to feel the discomfort in his shoulder around Thanksgiving. He said that after meeting with Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti and head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan, they decided he should push back his throwing program one month.

Hamels typically begins his program on Dec. 1. He started throwing on Jan. 1. He did not have an MRI.

"All of the tests they did and my responses were 100 percent right to that area and to their diagnosis, and I felt really comfortable with what he diagnosed and what I thought, because it's gone away," said Hamels, when asked why he did not ask for an MRI. "Ultimately, that's what it is. So as I throw, I'm pain-free and I feel great with my mechanics. It's just I'm not able to throw 70 to 80 throws at a certain distance. I tire out too fast."

Hamels said he is eight to 10 days from throwing his first bullpen session.

"Ultimately, it's the bullpens, it's a certain amount of bullpens," said Hamels, when asked how much work in Florida he needs to get ready for the season. "I like to get up to 55 to 60 pitches in a bullpen session. And I'd like to be able to do that three or four times before the season starts. And normally that always falls around the range of games three or four. By the fourth game, leading into the fifth, I'm ready. So we throw five or six games [here]. If I can get to a fourth game, I'm game-ready, I'm good to go."

Hamels turned 30 in December, and he has thrown more than 200 innings in each of the previous six seasons, including the postseason. That is a lot of mileage, so he needs to be careful. While Hamels wants to get back quickly, he also knows he should not push himself.

"I did see Roy [Halladay] over the holidays, so I was able to kind of talk to him and hang out," Hamels said. "He told me pretty much the same thing: 'Don't push it into Spring Training, because Spring Training is where you can really create some really bad tendencies in your mechanics. You can create some bad flaws right there if you don't have the right strength, which can lead into some more serious injuries.' Being able to have that advice was great from the type of player he was."

If Hamels returns, Burnett lives up to his contract and Cliff Lee does what he typically does, the Phillies should have one of the more formidable rotation trios in baseball. Kyle Kendrick should be the No. 4, with Roberto Hernandez, Miguel Gonzalez and Jonathan Pettibone in a fight to be the No. 5.

Regardless, the Phils have plenty to prove following 89 losses in 2013. Hamels knows it.

"I know in 2007 and 2008, we weren't favored to win," he said. "We had to prove to each other and everyone else that we had the capability to go out and win. It's a good situation to be in -- to have to fight your way back to the top. It's something that we'll cherish more when we are able to do it."


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

     The article said:

01. "Cole Hamels said he started to feel the discomfort in his shoulder around Thanksgiving."
02. "He said that, after meeting with Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti and head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan, they decided he should push back his throwing program one month."
03. "Hamels typically begins his program on Dec. 1."
04. "He started throwing on Jan. 1."
05. "He did not have an MRI."
06. "Hamels said he is eight to 10 days from throwing his first bullpen session.

     Phillies baseball pitcher, Cole Hamels, said:

01. "All of the tests they did and my responses were 100 percent right to that area and to their diagnosis, and I felt really comfortable with what he diagnosed and what I thought, because it's gone away."
02. "Instead of an MRI, I throw bullpens."
03. "So as I throw, I'm pain-free and I feel great with my mechanics."
04. "It's just I'm not able to throw 70 to 80 throws at a certain distance."
05. "I tire out too fast."
06. "Ultimately, it's the bullpens, it's a certain amount of bullpens."
07. "To be ready for the season, I like to get up to 55 to 60 pitches in a bullpen session."
08. "And I'd like to be able to do that three or four times before the season starts."
09. "And normally that always falls around the range of games three or four."
10. "By the fourth game, leading into the fifth, I'm ready."
11. "So we throw five or six games [here]."
12. "If I can get to a fourth game, I'm game-ready, I'm good to go."
13. "Oh, yeah, yeah, I see myself pitching in April."
14. "It's not any pain or discomfort."
15. "It's just the building up of muscles."
16. "When you start, you can't run a marathon right off the bat."
17. "You have to build up to it."
18. "Not too far behind [Opening Day] I'll be ready."
19. "Right now, I'm just kind of in the middle stages of my throwing program, which doesn't allow me to throw bullpens at the moment."
20. "Don't feel alarmed."
21. "I feel healthy now."
22. "It's just trying to get the strength and the stamina to be able to do that comfortably and not injure myself."
23. "But other than that, I'm glad we were able to find it earlier."
24. "Things look good."
25. "I will progress during Spring Training into the start of the season."
26. "I did see Roy [Halladay] over the holidays, so I was able to kind of talk to him and hang out."
27. "He told me pretty much the same thing: 'Don't push it into Spring Training, because Spring Training is where you can really create some really bad tendencies in your mechanics."
28. "You can create some bad flaws right there if you don't have the right strength, which can lead into some more serious injuries."
29. "Being able to have that advice was great from the type of player he was."

     Boy, there are some bricks in this discussion.

     Phillies physician Michael Ciccotti and head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan told Mr. Hamels that he should wait an additional month before starting his training to get ready to competitively pitch.

     Around Thankgiving, Mr. Hamels started to feel the discomfort in his pitching shoulder.

     What did Mr. Hamels do that caused Mr. Hamel to 'feel' discomfort in his pitching shoulder?

     Did he carve the turkey?

     Rest does not make injuries better. Rest atrophies. That means that the bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons associated with competitively pitching are less able to withstand the stress.

     To maintain fitness, athletes must train every day at a slightly reduced intensity.

     That means that Mr. Hamels should have thrown baseballs every day after the end of the season.

     It is easier to maintain fitness than it is to rest and allow the fitness to atrophy, then train to get back to competitive fitness.

     Let's see how this disaster unfolds.

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0153.  Iwakuma may miss start of season with finger injury
MLB.com
February 12, 2014

It appears the Mariners will begin the regular season without starter Hisashi Iwakuma, as the right-hander on Wednesday was diagnosed with a strained tendon in his right middle finger.

Iwakuma, who suffered the injury while working out in Southern California in preparation for Spring Training, will not throw for four to six weeks. The finger has been place in a splint for the time being and Iwakuma will be reevaluated in three weeks.

The injury is not expected to require surgery at this time, but will still delay his preseason throwing program significantly.

"Luckily, this does not appear to be a serious injury," said general manager Jack Zduriencik. "It is a setback for Kuma, but we are confident that he will quickly overcome the missed time and be able to rejoin our rotation early in the regular season."

Iwakuma excelled last year in his first full season as a Major League starter, going 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA over 33 starts. He made his first All-Star appearance and finished third in the voting for the American League Cy Young Award.


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

     The article said:

01. "On Wednesday, Seattle Mariners Medical Staff diagnosed Mariners baseball pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma as having strained tendon in his pitching middle finger."
02. "Mr. Iwakuma suffered the injury while working out in preparation for Spring Training."
03. "Mr. Iwakuma will not throw for four to six weeks."
04. "The Mariners Medical Staff has ordered Mr. Iwakuma to keep his pitching Middle finger in a splint."
05. "The Mariners Medical Staff will reevaluated Mr. Iwakuma in three weeks."
06. "At this time, the Mariners Medial Staff does not expect Mr. Iwakuma to require surgery on his pitching Middle finger." 07. "Having his pitching Middle finger in a splint will delay Mr. Iwakuma's preseason throwing program significantly.

     What did Mr. Iwakuma do that strained his pitching Middle finger?

     The Flexor Digitorium Profundus muscle inserts into the distal phalange of the Middle finger.

     If Mr. Iwakuma had done my Middle Fingertip Spins drill every day, then Mr. Iwakuma would not have injured his pitching Middle finger.

     Professional baseball needs someone to explain how to keep their pitchers healthy.

     Clearly, the Mariners Medical Staff has no idea.

     Remember, baseball pitchers are only as good as the strength and skill of the tip of their Middle finger.

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0154.  Niemann, Howell linked by shoulder surgeries
MLB.com
February 12, 2014

ST. PETERSBURG, FL: One is John Wayne, the other is Spicoli. Nevertheless, Jeff Niemann and J.P. Howell are amigos.

Niemann is a cowboy at heart, sitting tall in the saddle at 6-foot-9. He throws right-handed, delivering angry fastballs that travel at an angle seemingly from the top of a mountain. Howell is generously listed at 6-feet in the media guide, and he is a southpaw whose pitches arrive under the speed limit but move like Mexican jumping beans.

Niemann is a Texan and Howell hails from California, each fitting their respective stereotypes. Niemann is reserved and understated to outsiders, prone to saying "we" instead of "I" when discussing his accolades. If not on a pitcher's mound, the happy-go-lucky Howell might be on a skateboard, dude! He's hilarious and acts like everybody's kid brother.

Though two guys could not be more different, the former Rays pitchers hit it off.

"Right away," Howell said. "I'd always heard about him. He went to Rice, I went to Texas -- there's another kind of opposite thing we are. I'd always heard about him weekly [in college]. When we got to the Rays, we had a lot of information on each other and we hit it off.

"He's a big Texas country boy and I'm from California, but I got a taste of that when I was at UT. I like guys like that. He's pretty hard-nosed. He's a nice guy, but he's tough, and I kind of look up to him for that."

After all their years together, the pair finally has something in common: shoulder surgery.

Howell, 30, pitched for the Dodgers in 2013, and after the season, he re-signed with Los Angeles on a two-year, $11.25 million contract. Niemann, 30, elected to become a free agent after Tampa Bay outrighted him in December. Unlike Tommy John surgery, which has seemingly become routine, shoulder surgery is a far different animal.

"Shoulder surgery is not routine," Howell said.

Howell's shoulder surgery came early in the 2010 season, and though he pitched the following season, he wasn't fully recovered until 2012.

"When you got your diagnosis, you can't lie to yourself," Howell said. "You know the odds of coming back are not good. In my case, they told me about 20 percent. And the surgery, even if it goes well, the anchors that hold your labrum and shoulder together, they have to stay intact during rehab. So it's a stressful 12 months for someone who uses his arm to make a living.

"For a hitter, they seem to be able to bounce back. But for a pitcher, it's your moneymaker and it all comes down to your rehab. When I was told that information, I definitely had that moment of doubt. But I brushed that off as quickly as I could."

Howell found a role model for his recovery in New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who returned from a torn right labrum after 2005 surgery.

"I had a gradual tear; he had an impact tear, which is worse. It's the biggest tear you can have," Howell said. "He was diving for a football and blew his shoulder out. And that's worse, because other things around it get messed up, like your rotator cuff can get slight tears. And usually when you have a labrum tear, and that's the heaviest tear, you might have a slight rotator cuff issue. But not as big as Drew Brees had to face, so I figured if he could make it back, so could I."

Niemann watched Howell's rehab efforts, lending support to his friend when he could. And like every pitcher, he wondered when the day would come that he had to face shoulder or elbow issues. The answer to the question came last spring, when Niemann competed against Roberto Hernandez for the fifth spot in the Rays' rotation. Hernandez won the job, prompting Niemann's exodus to the bullpen.

Niemann's 2012 season had ended with shoulder pain, but such thoughts were on the back burner as he competed for a job last spring.

"Last year, we were fighting through it," Niemann said. "I've overcome so much, so I'm going to fight through this, take that turn. We got to a point where I was feeling really good and throwing the ball well. Everything was working for me. I was throwing really well last spring."

Niemann felt ready as he headed for bullpen duty in 2013.

"I had a lot of confidence going into the season," Niemann said. "Then those first two days in the bullpen, trying to maintain the ability to be ready at any moment, that's a lot tougher than people can truly grasp, especially somebody who has never done that before. Going down there and trying to stay loose. And stay ready and keep the arm going. I'm telling you, I couldn't even lift my arm up after those first two days of the season."

Less than a week later, Niemann had surgery to repair his right shoulder, which did not surprise Howell, who suspected the worst for his friend.

"I remember him asking me, 'How did your shoulder feel before the surgery?'" Howell said. "And I told him your strength goes away. It's still flexible, but there's no strength."

Howell knew that Niemann was talking about his labrum when he had asked Howell about where he had hurt prior to his surgery.

"I knew what was going on when he asked me that question, because that's what I did," Howell said. "I would ask guys who had injuries, 'Where did you hurt?' That means you're not doing so well. You don't ask anybody when you're feeling good, obviously. And when he asked me that, I knew. His velocity wasn't there, man. I just knew it was time for him in my heart."

Once Niemann's surgery was scheduled, he texted Howell the news. Howell remembered the tone of text as less than somber and he understood the feeling.

"He seemed excited, because whenever you have a problem, and you finally realize you're going to have surgery, you feel relieved," Howell said. "Because you always think that people around you think you're faking it, or you're making it up.

"You're thinking, 'I'm not being soft, I'm really hurt. I'm not being lazy.' And you want to move forward. So the day that you have surgery, you're taking your first step forward to recovery. And that's what I tried to pass on to him. And it's really not a big deal if you do the rehab. If you do the rehab -- full bore, four to six hours a day, whatever it is, everybody's different -- you can come back."

In future conversations, Niemann picked Howell's brain about his experience so he could best navigate the minefield of rehabbing his shoulder.

"Just trying to understand what hurdles to expect during this whole process," Niemann said. "Tommy John surgery -- anything with an elbow -- it's a one-way joint, it goes up and down. You fix that one thing and you're back in business.

"But the shoulder, being a 360-degree joint -- it moves in, out, up, down, all the way around. So it's tougher for things to be protocol. There are certain things and everybody reacts differently to different things. Seeing J.P. go through it has definitely given me the confidence that he went through it, so I can go through it."

Howell noted that he learned more about the journey and his shoulder than he ever cared to know.

"But it's one of those things where I wish I would have had the knowledge I had after my surgery, because I probably could have prevented it," Howell said. "It was just one of those things where you learn as you go, and for me, that was the case." While Niemann doesn't have a team yet, he feels confident he will make a return at some point during the 2014 season.

"There's still nothing locked into place," Niemann said. "Everybody I've talked to has pretty much said I'm a second-half guy. Obviously that can be definitely sooner."

One thing is certain: Niemann won't soon forget how his little buddy has served as a sounding board and a fountain of knowledge for his comeback.

"If I didn't have a guy like that, who I saw coming out from the other side and having success, and sustain success, it would be a little different ballgame, you know, mentally," Niemann said. "Talking to him, getting the small pointers -- simple things like how to sleep. Or certain shirts you wear to make your shoulder feel better. Small things make a difference when you're trying to build and get stronger when you're coming off surgery. So having that input has been priceless."


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

     Dodgers baseball pitcher, J.P. Howell, said:

01. "When you got your (shoulder injury) diagnosis, you can't lie to yourself."
02. "You know the odds of coming back are not good."
03. "In my case, they told me about 20 percent."
04. "And the surgery, even if it goes well, the anchors that hold your labrum and shoulder together, they have to stay intact during rehab."
05. "So it's a stressful 12 months for someone who uses his arm to make a living."

06. "For a hitter, they seem to be able to bounce back."
07. "But for a pitcher, it's your moneymaker and it all comes down to your rehab."
08. "When I was told that information, I definitely had that moment of doubt."
09. "But I brushed that off as quickly as I could."
10. "I had a gradual tear; he (New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees) had an impact tear, which is worse."
11. "It's the biggest tear you can have."
12. "He (New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees) was diving for a football and blew his shoulder out."
13. "And that's worse, because other things around it get messed up, like your rotator cuff can get slight tears."
14. "And usually when you have a labrum tear, and that's the heaviest tear, you might have a slight rotator cuff issue."
15. "But not as big as Drew Brees had to face, so I figured if he could make it back, so could I."

     When quarterbacks throw footballs, some more than others, but they all turn the back of their throwing upper arm to face their target.

     When baseball pitchers pitch baseball, very, very few turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

     One simple adjustment and all baseball pitchers will never suffer pitching shoulder injuries.

     "Turn the back of the pitching upper arm to face toward home plate."

     For over forty years, I have taught baseball pitchers to turn the back of their pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and not a one has ever suffered a pitching shoulder injury.

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

***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, February 23, 2014, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0155.  American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI)I

I have one thing to say about ASMI: ”Whew.”

The people do not know the way to pitch in the show.

9/27 for accuracy is truly wrong.

Live batters give reality.

A place in statistical analysis.

Hubris is annoying.

Relativity is a far-fetched notion as to how pitches are effective.

ASMI should have analyzed cake for as much as they espoused to their scientific methods.


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

     I cannot agree more.

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0156.  Equipment

I am searching for the equipment that you recommend for both the 120-day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval Training Program and the 60-Day Youth Baseball Pitchers Interval Training Program.

Here are the issues that I'm having. I wonder if you could help me:

1. I can't find a 2-pound iron ball. Wal-Mart does not have the Danskin ball currently available, and Frozen Ropes appears to sell 2-pound baseballs. I also found a 2-pound "Gripp" ball here: http://bit.ly/1jhNqEK. Would either of these work instead of the iron ball, or should I continue to try to find a 2-pound iron ball?

2. I found 4- and 6-pound iron balls (technically, they are shot puts) at everythingtrackandfield.com. I am assuming that they would work. Am I correct?

3. Do I still need to call you for the 8-, 10-, 12-, and 15-pound iron/lead balls, or can I get those at everythingtrackandfield.com as well? Do they need to be iron balls or lead balls?

4. I did purchase 4-gallon buckets and square lids from US Plastic, but your link doesn't work. I had to go to their home page, and then search for them.


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     While I have never used 02 lb. balls, readers have told me that they found them and they worked well.

     Yes, the 06 lb. iron ball is what I used for the 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program.

     Through the last fifteen years, my readers have sent me the names and website for the equipment that we need.

     As you already know, all I have is in my Equipment Vendors file.

     For the 06, 10, 12 and 15 lb. heavy balls, you need to order lead balls. The iron balls of the same weight are too big for youth and adult baseball pitchers to throw with proper grips.

     For my 8, 10, 12 and 15 lbs. lead balls, I ordered them from Lead Enterprises at (305)635-8644 in Miami, FL. They make these balls to hold shrimp nets on the ocean floor. But, I have not ordered from them for several years.

     Sorry about the link to US Plastic. Nice work.

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0157.  Michael Stokes comments on the Marshall Pitching Motion

Tijuan Walker of the Seattle Mariners now has an unspecified soreness in his shoulder.

If he were to learn this technique of Dr. Marshall's in the Marshall Pitching Motion he too could pitch over 100 mph like me!!! I don't lie.

He is lost after one season in the Big Leagues. Another soon to bite the dust in the Traditional Pitching Method.

Results without ever consideration to these fine young men in the Majors makes them cripples for the rest of their lives.


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Hi Michael,

     To know how to prevent every pitching injury and read about the epidemic of pitching injuries makes me sad for those that teach the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion knowing that what they teach will cause injuries.

     How can they live with themselves?

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0158.  Michael Stokes comments on the Marshall Pitching Motion

Very cool stuff. This is the best way for batters to wait for their pitches.

Against the greatest American League All Stars I saw how confused and helpless your same top of the strike zone downward plane.

Cy Young never had this approach. So is it true that the eyes of the batter may not focus as well when trying to determine what kind of pitch it is?


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Hi Michael,

     Before baseball pitchers competitively pitch, they need to master my Maxline and Torque Fastballs and, at least, one of the breaking pitches I teach and at, least, one of the reverse breaking pitches I teach. Then, they are able to sequence their pitches tailored to the weaknesses of the types of baseball batters.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0159.  Deltoid Muscle

I am enclosing a link to a story that states there is now evidence that the shoulder joint muscles (Deltoid, Supraspinatis) are still active when you raise your Humerus bone above horizontal.

1. Assuming this is true, wouldn't this have implication for your pitching motion?

This is the statement from the article I find compelling.

"Many “experts” state that the muscles of the back (such as the trapezius) take over when the arms are above shoulder level. But, simple anatomy tells us that these back muscles are not connected to the arm. Therefore, they cannot raise the arm."

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

Lateral raises; how high should you go?

When doing the lateral or front arm raise exercise it is generally believed that the arms should be raised no higher than level to the shoulders.

There are two reasons usually given for this:

1) raising the arms above the shoulders causes shoulder impingement; and
2) raising the arms above the horizontal no longer involves the deltoid muscle.

These reasons have little substantiation in the literature and in practice. Raising your arms above the level of the shoulders over a long period of time does have the potential for shoulder impingement. But, if you have normally functioning shoulder joints and do the exercises correctly, you should not get shoulder impingement or any other shoulder problems.

It appears that the individuals (usually physical therapists) who recommend you should not raise the arms above level, make these claims based on the exceptional cases rather than the norm or what athletes must do. Rather than condemning a particular exercise or movement it is important to understand why pain arises in some individuals and not in others. This is more effective than stating that the exercise is dangerous and should not be done.

For example, impingement of the rotator cuff (shoulder) muscles is commonly seen in some baseball pitchers, quarterbacks, swimmers and others whose activities involve repetitive use of the arm above the horizontal plane.

However, whether impingement is the primary event causing rotator cuff tendenitous or whether rotator cuff impingement occurs secondary to rotator cuff disease is unproved. In all likelihood both mechanisms of injury can occur.

According to the research the shoulder is most vulnerable to impingement when the arm is at 90 degrees of abduction and the scapulae has not rotated sufficiently. Thus, when you do lateral arm raises, which involves shoulder joint abduction, the key is for the scapulae to rotate in synchronization with the arm raising (abduction).

The scapulae should rotate upward one degree for every two degrees of upward arm movement. The only exception is when the arm is internally rotated. In this case, the greater tubercle of the humerus hits the scapulae and prevents the arm from being raised more than 90 degrees.

If the scapulae do not fully rotate upward to allow the shoulder (glenohumeral) joint to rise up, the chances of impingement are increased greatly.

Thus, to have a properly functioning scapulae you should make sure that the upper and lower portions of the trapezius and the serratus anterior muscles are functioning well or are sufficiently strong. These are the key muscles that rotate the scapula in synchronization with should joint abduction.

In addition, to get a full 180 degrees of upward arm movement you need elevation of the scapula. This action allows for the final 60 degrees of arm abduction (to the vertical, over-the-head position). The muscles mainly responsible for this are the levator scapulae and the very uppermost fibers of the trapezius.

Also, when doing lateral arm raises, to prevent shoulder impingement rotate the arm outward (lateral shoulder joint rotation) as you approach the level position. This outward movement of the arm turns the tubercle out of the way making impingement impossible. Thus with a slight change, you can execute the movement safely and get much more development of the deltoid and supraspinatus muscles.

The statement that the deltoid muscles are no longer involved when the arms are raised higher than the level of the shoulders is also erroneous. EMG studies as reported by Basmajian have proven beyond a doubt that the deltoid muscles are most active when the arms are above the level of the shoulders. You will also find that the mechanical advantage of the deltoid muscle increases greatly above the level position and thus achieves its strongest position.

Even simple anatomy can show you this.

In a normal standing position with the arms alongside the body, the deltoid is mostly in a vertical position. When the arms are level the deltoid muscle is basically horizontal and pulls in a straight line so that all of its force can be put to work. Most shortening occurs above the level position which shows that this is why the deltoid is strongest from 90 degrees (level) and higher.

Many “experts” state that the muscles of the back (such as the trapezius) take over when the arms are above shoulder level. But, simple anatomy tells us that these back muscles are not connected to the arm. Therefore, they cannot raise the arm.

Muscles such as the upper and lower divisions of the trapezius and the serratus anterior play a very important role in rotating the scapulae as the arms move upward and above the head. If these muscles are not working in synchronization with the deltoid and supraspinatus muscles, it could cause a jamming in the shoulder or difficulty in raising the arm above level.

This is a classic example of how other muscles come into play to enable a single movement to take place. In essence, the upper back muscles work together with the deltoid (and supraspinatus). Also, these muscles work actively. They contract strongly through the full range of motion.

Thus you need balanced muscle development of not only the deltoid and supraspinatus, but also of the muscles responsible for rotating and elevating the scapulae. The next time you are in the gym and do lateral arm raises, be sure to raise the arms up above the head. Not only will this give you stronger and fuller development of the deltoid muscles, but it will maintain the flexibility in your shoulder joints.

If you are not capable of raising your arms completely over your head you have lost flexibility. In this case, it may be necessary to do supplementary stretching as for example, the backstretch strap stretch. In addition, you should do the shoulder exercises full range with lighter weights to develop the additional range of motion. Lighter weights when doing full range shoulder exercises are very important.

Only with light weights will you be able to raise the arms completely overhead. If you use heavy weights, which most athletes seem to have a tendency to use today, you will only be able to raise the arms up to the level position. Repetitively doing the exercise in this manner can cause tightness and its concomitant problems in the shoulder.

Also when heavy weights are used there is a strong tendency to start off with a very vigorous whipping of the arms to the side to gain enough momentum to raise the arms to the level position. In these cases the arms stop on their own inertia when they reach level or slightly below the level position.

Because of this, rather than getting more complete deltoid development you are emphasizing development of the supraspinatus. It is the key muscle involved in raising your arms from your sides to about 60 degrees upward. It is at this point that the deltoid becomes involved, and then both muscles remain under contraction through the full range of motion.


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01. No. Nothing in this article has anything to do with my baseball pitching motion.

     Okay. I will start with the statement that you find compelling.

"Many “experts” state that the muscles of the back (such as the trapezius) take over when the arms are above shoulder level. But, simple anatomy tells us that these back muscles are not connected to the arm. Therefore, they cannot raise the arm."

     The Trapezius I muscle arises from the external occipital protuberance of the skull and inserts into the acromion process of the Scapula bone. The Trapezius I muscle moves the acromion process closer to the external occipital protuberance of the skull.

     Therefore, the Trapezius I muscle does not directly raise the arm.

     However, when athletes raise their arms above shoulder height, by upwardly rotating the Scapula bone, the Trapezius I muscle indirectly raises the arm.

     The Middle Deltoid muscle arises from the middle of the end of the acromion process and inserts into the deltoid tuberosity of the Humerus bone that is on the lateral surface of the Humerus bone about one-half way down the Humerus bone. The Middle Deltoid muscle moves the lateral surface of the Humerus bone closer to the acromion process.

     Therefore, the Middle Deltoid muscle raises the Humerus bone to shoulder height.

     When athletes raise their arms above shoulder height, the Middle Deltoid muscle only maintains (isoanglosly) the Humerus bone at shoulder height. By upwardly rotating the Scapula bone, the Trapezius I muscle raises the arm above shoulder height.

     I want to take a couple of minutes to discuss 'shoulder impingement.'

     The article said:

01. "Raising your arms above the level of the shoulders over a long period of time does have the potential for shoulder impingement."

     Nonsense.

     The relationship between the acromion process of the Scapula bone and the head of the Humerus bone remain the same. Raising the arm above shoulder height only changes the rotational position of the Scapula bone.

     This means that, there is no such thing as 'shoulder impingement.'

     Comedian Jim Carrey does a bit where he has his arms cross behind his head and still the head of his Humerus bones do not contact their acromion processes of the Scapula bones.

02. "Impingement of the rotator cuff (shoulder) muscles is commonly seen in some baseball pitchers, quarterbacks, swimmers and others whose activities involve repetitive use of the arm above the horizontal plane.

     Nonsense.

     Using the Pectoralis Major muscle to pull the pitching upper arm along a curved pathway injures the Teres Minor muscle, not some made up 'shoulder impingement.'

     I know because, in 1978, to show that orthopedic surgeons have no idea what causes injuries to pitching shoulders, I gave a presentation to the Minnesota Sports Medicine Seminar where I made up 'shoulder impingement.'

     To eliminate pitching shoulder injuries, baseball pitchers and quarterbacks need to turn the back of their pitching/throwing upper arm to face toward their target. But, back, in 1978, when I said Latissimus Dorsi, they could not understand how a Shoulder Joint muscle the extended the Humerus bone could drive the pitching arm toward home plate.

03. "However, whether impingement is the primary event causing rotator cuff tendenitous or whether rotator cuff impingement occurs secondary to rotator cuff disease is unproved."

     Rotator cuff tendinitis is not a disease, it is an unnecessary injury from using the Pectoralis Major muscle to pull the Humerus bone along a curved pathway back to the pitching arm side of the body, toward home plate and across the front of the body.

04. "According to the research, the shoulder is most vulnerable to impingement when the arm is at 90 degrees of abduction and the scapulae has not rotated sufficiently."

     Nonsense.

     Shoulder joint abduction moves the Humerus bone from hanging vertically downward to horizontally even with the height of the shoulders.

     In this position, the head of the Humerus bone is nowhere near the acromion process of the Scapula bone.

     The rotational position of the Scapula bone does not change the positions of the head of the Humerus bone and the acromion process of the Scapula bone.

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0160.  Dodgers slowing down Fife's throwing program
MLB.com
February 12, 2014

GLENDALE, AZ: Dodgers pitcher Stephen Fife is healthy right now, and he wants to keep it that way.

So as a precautionary measure, Fife is on a slower Spring Training throwing regimen than most of the pitchers. It's a measure to avoid the struggles of last year, when Fife developed right shoulder bursitis that put him on the disabled list twice.

Fife came into camp last spring No. 9 on the starting-pitcher depth chart. But he ultimately made 10 big league starts, more than Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett, Ted Lilly or Aaron Harang. He went 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA, allowing a .235 opponents' batting average.

The right-hander also said that once he developed shoulder problems, they never went away. Fife is on a conservative throwing program now, similar to the one Billingsley is using to ease back from Tommy John surgery.

"I was discouraged over the winter, because even in December, I didn't feel like I was getting any better," said Fife. "I still couldn't stretch my arm on a training table. But around Jan. 10, it really started to improve and it feels good now when I throw."

A year ago, Fife's path to the big league rotation was blocked by the signings of Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Similarly, this spring, the Dodgers have brought in veteran starters Dan Haren and Paul Maholm.


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     Last year, Mr. Fife developed pitching shoulder bursitis.

     Dodger baseball pitcher, Stephen Fife, said:

01. "I was discouraged over the winter."
02. "Even in December, I didn't feel like I was getting any better.
03. "I still couldn't stretch my arm on a training table."
04. "But, around Jan. 10, it really started to improve."
05. "Now, it feels good when I throw."

     With rotator cuffs, labrums and bursa sacs, its amazing that anybody can stay healthy.

     Thank goodness for those athletic trainers that stretch pitching arms on training tables.

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0161.  Orioles could have Bundy in Majors by June
MLB.com
February 14, 2014

SARASOTA, FL: If all goes well, the Orioles could have Dylan Bundy in a Baltimore uniform in June.

"In other words, they are saying this is when he'd be an option again for us," manager Buck Showalter said of the June target date, which Bundy has mentioned before but the O's skipper clarified on Friday.

"It's not when he's pitching in [Class A] Frederick on rehab. That's the way I understand it. I've found through the years, it means to me that he's probably going to be pitching competitively in May. By the time this is over we are going to have to pull the reins back on him."

Bundy, who had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow last June, threw from 120 feet again on Friday with trainer Chris Correnti, and he could move back to 180 next week. He's been throwing at about 75 percent, starting with 25 throws at 60 feet and moving back accordingly.

The Orioles' top pitching prospect, Bundy was the club's first-round pick in 2011 and the 21-year-old made his Major League debut Sept. 23, 2012. A power arm, Bundy could be a starter or relief option depending on where the club is, with Showalter saying the hope is he'll be stretched out to go as a starter in June.

"He's doing well," Showalter said. "My biggest hope, not my biggest but one of them, is not having setbacks with him. I haven't seen anything to think that would happen. He looks good."


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

     The article said:

01. "Last June, Dylan Bundy had Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow."
02. "On last Friday, Mr. Bundy threw from 120 feet."
03. "Orioles athletic trainer, Chris Correnti, said that, next week, Mr. Bundy could move back to 180 feet."
04. "Mr. Bundy has been throwing at about 75 percent."
05. "Mr. Bundy started with 25 throws at 60 feet and moved back accordingly."

     Amazing.

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0162.  Rays give Erik Bedard chance to revive his career
Tampa Bay Times
February 14, 2014

PORT CHARLOTTE, FL: Veteran LHP Erik Bedard hasn't done much well the past two seasons, going a combined 11-26, 4.78 for the Pirates and Astros.

But the Rays took the low-risk gamble of signing the 34-year-old to a minor-league deal Friday to see what he has left as they seek a fifth starter in Jeremy Hellickson's absence and potential bullpen help.

"He's a guy that we've liked in the past, and we're anxious to get him in here and be around him more," executive VP Andrew Friedman said. "He'll come in to compete for the fifth starter's job. I don't know how that will transpire. And he's also a candidate to pitch out of the pen."

Bedard was an effective starter for the Orioles, winning 15 games in 2006 and 13 in 2007. But shoulder issues after a trade to Seattle derailed his career, and he has not been the same.


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

     With the Rays 'Shoulder Training Program,' Mr. Bedard will be ready soon.

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0163.  Bauer shows Francona change for the better
MLB.com
February 14, 2014

GOODYEAR, AZ: Trevor Bauer has only thrown one bullpen session this spring, but Indians manager Terry Francona is already raving about the progress made by the pitching prospect.

"Night and day," Francona said. "We're thrilled. We're not evaluating, but he looked different. I think we were really excited. Again, he hasn't even faced a hitter yet, but he looked like a different pitcher, and that was nice to see."

Bauer -- competing against Carlos Carrasco, Josh Tomlin and Shaun Marcum for the fifth spot in the rotation -- underwent drastic mechanical changes to his delivery last season. The 23-year-old right-hander saw a dropoff in his statistics in both the Minors and Majors last year, but Cleveland has tried to keep the bigger picture in mind.

Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway noted that the biggest change made by Bauer has been raising his lead arm during his motion. Callaway said the goal is to create better leverage, in order to pound the lower half of the strike zone.

"Really, the main thing for him was to get back to what he was doing before," Callaway said, "and getting in a good launch position with his lead arm. He's getting it up and staying tall and getting that lead arm up so he can drive the ball down. It's so he doesn't spin off and do all those things that a low lead arm leads to."

Callaway said Bauer strayed from that approach while trying to decrease the amount of stress on his back leg, following a groin injury that flared during the 2012 season with the D-backs.

Acquired from Arizona in a trade prior to last season, Bauer had a 4.15 ERA with 106 strikeouts and 73 walks in 121 1/3 innings at Triple-A. Between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012, Bauer had a 2.42 ERA with 157 strikeouts and 61 walks in 130 1/3 innings.

In parts of two big league seasons with Arizona and Cleveland, Bauer has gone 2-4 with a 5.67 ERA, 28 strikeouts and 29 walks in eight appearances (33 1/3 innings).


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

     Indian's pitching coach, Mickey Callaway, said:

01. "The biggest change Trevor Bauer has made is raising his glove arm."
02. "Trevor's goal is to create better leverage."
03. "Better leverage enables Trevor to pound the lower half of the strike zone."
04. "Really, the main thing for him was to get back to what he was doing before."
05. "Getting in a good launch position with his lead arm."
06. "He's getting it up and staying tall."
07. "Getting that lead arm up so he can drive the ball down."
08. "It's so he doesn't spin off and do all those things that a low lead arm leads to."
09. "Trevor strayed from that approach while trying to decrease the amount of stress on his back leg."
10. "During the 2012 season Trevor injured his pitching groin."

     Standing tall?

     Mr. Bauer strides as far as he can.

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0164.  'Coaching Baseball Pitchers' Query

I was wondering if there's any chance you would provide a link to the full book on your website?

I realize you may have split it up so that you can more easily edit and replace individual sections, but I thought there might be a chance you had a full copy for those of us who trust that the information you've written so far is more than adequate for our self-teaching needs.


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

     I appreciate your interest in my Coaching Baseball Pitchers book.

     You are correct.

     I have separated the Chapters to enable editing.

     However, I also believe that, for someone to copy the entire book might require adding paper and changing ink cartridges.

     I have no idea how many pages I have in the entire book.

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0165.  Deltoid Muscle

You replied in part: "When athletes raise their arms above shoulder height, the Middle Deltoid muscle only maintains (isoanglosly) the Humerus bone at shoulder height."

For me, your answer partially explains this statement by the author: "The statement that the deltoid muscles are no longer involved when the arms are raised higher than the level of the shoulders is also erroneous. EMG studies as reported by Basmajian have proven beyond a doubt that the deltoid muscles are most active when the arms are above the level of the shoulders. You will also find that the mechanical advantage of the deltoid muscle increases greatly above the level position and thus achieves its strongest position."

So, EMG sensors would show the Middle Deltoid muscle still contracting even though the Humerus bone was above shoulder height.

1. How does the author conclude that the Deltoid muscle achieves its strongest position when it is above shoulder height?

It is my understanding that muscles can only resist (not apply) force when they contract isoanglosly.

2. Is it possible that, in order to maintain this Isoanglos position, the Deltoid muscle sends out a more powerful signal to these EMG sensors as the Humerus bones moves higher above shoulder height?


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01. In this case, the Middle Deltoid muscle is at its shortest length, which means that all contractile units in all muscle fibers are maximally contracted.

02. Whether the Trapezius I muscle upwardly rotates the Scapula bone or not does not affect how powerfully the Middle Deltoid muscle contracts.

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0166.  Project Zero

Good morning Sir.

I found this at Harvard University. I thought might be an avenue which may be of interest for you. For derivation emanating from Harvard the syntax was awful.

Maybe, with consideration of the fact which might permit me to introduce your bio-technology to Harvard. We may bring in the hybrid mentality of those abusive owners into a most offensive light for them here.

I was the Sunday School President for my chapel for six years. Together with other presidents we formed the Board of Presidents for our Zone here. We administered curriculum for over six thousand students. Every two weeks we gathered for this great meeting for our students.

You would be a shoe-in for this as an instructor!

Welcome.

Project Zero is an educational research group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education composed of multiple, independently-sponsored research projects. Since 1967, Project Zero has examined the development of learning processes in children, adults, and organizations.

Today, Project Zero’s work includes investigations into the nature of intelligence, understanding, thinking, creativity, ethics, and other essential aspects of human learning. Our mission is to understand and enhance high-level thinking and learning across disciplines and cultures and in a range of contexts, including schools, businesses, museums, and digital environments.


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     It sounds as though you have busy and productive life.

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0167.  Michael Stokes comments

It would be so nice to see other pitchers pitch in your Marshall Pitching Motion.

The stuff derived from continued use isn't far from lightning in velocity. 

The Maxline True Curveball in your hands and in combination of your previous M.L.B. experience would have been better than Bert Blyleven's.

Upon deep contemplation Sir, The Maxline Torque or True Side Curveball would have given you devastating results.

Your 20 mph off speed across the seams high spin rotation pitches would be vicious in the eyes of batters.

The glove side of home plate batters would become paralyzed from the 10/4 or your 11/5 and especially 12/6 high spin rotation curveballs. We haven't even covered the 1/6 and 2/7 high spin rotation curveballs yet!

I have learned of Fernando Rodney coming to Seattle. I have not seen his name posted from the roster the Mariners have on the internet site. Mulder and Braden are gone now.

Television moguls give the owners impetus and cash to field and televise injury riddled fielders for the television eyes of the viewers. Greed is very much the addiction.

The batters now don't seem to know the size of bat to use. Ichiro is injured from throwing and hitting use disorder. The hitters would injured so badly from the tube like baseball pitches from pitches in in your Marshall Pitching Motion from me.

My stuff is real tube like. If I move to with seam selections they are really for just elbow 45 degrees inside vertical release points.

To say that with the seam pitches are huge is an understatement. Establishing a tempting to swing at pitch is really the way.

The neural network firing of impulses in the brain in shutdown mode allows the fast twitch muscle fibers to dictate location of the pitches you need to pitch in any situation. Looking at the target produces control to that spot.

The Acromial Line is the key and everything you teach.

Not one pitch may be the same in sequence. Not one chance for the batters is allowed. Every pitch except for the Maxline Torque and True pitches up and in the middle of home plate need to be pitched at the batters.

Giving them a chance to see the Maxline Pitches coming towards them trains their eyes. My reality here is that batters know that the stuff is only something to try to hit. Glove side of home plate Torque for the opposite field hitters hopelessness and so on.

At 78" inches my stuff was not hittable. In the Marshall Pitching Motion you will see that at over nine feet high pitching is a demonstration of what is unhittable stuff may be. Live long Sir.

I have been pitching all out for forty-eight years. I have by all accounts know that when my pitches are a blur and are only visible at or beyond home plate the you have done a heavenly thing.

You are able to note that even Sir, the N.F.L has a very bad decision incurring before the national media and to us as citizens. three quarters of a billion dollars is more like three quarters for what has been done to players with concussions.

Baseball is shaking in its collective boots. Do you have contact with other non-competing big leaguers? They need to sue the collective hides off the owners. Oh Selig!!!!!!!

I will be sending my pitching video for you to see. You will see that what flows from my stream of active consciousness always is equaled from the mound.

I wish for you the very best. I am so glad to have these words of instruction in this great struggle in life. Cy Young could still pitch strikes at eighty-seven!!!!!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Hi Michael,

     When you wrote: "The Acromial Line is the key and everything you teach," you were correct.

     To point their acromial line at home plate as they release their pitches, my baseball pitchers have to rotate over their glove foot and keep the center of mass moving forward through release.

     I look forward to watching your pitching video.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0168.  Project Zero

I have mostly an active state of consciousness. Being involved while I am able allows me to spin my dreams into my life.

Always giving education a chance to work. Giving teachers the full attention to what is being taught. The hallmark of being taught is that even we may see education take people to the next plateau in this life.

The eloquence by which you transmit your machination of thought is astounding Sir. Your teaching has this old guy into the reality of what wicked stuff is all about. In October I gave your teachings a chance.

You gave my fastball lightning and sheer terror on the mound my 20 mph less curve balls and 10 miles less pitches. Inside vertical and still over nine feet high release point for Maxline Tech!!!

My parents are still active and vital. I have to consider my age in terms of almost half way of middle aged. My grandparents all lived well into their eighties and nineties.

So I only have the first thoughts of my life which carry me deeper into this life. My thoughts are enough for me first. I am not lonely when I am alone in this illness.

I know that ever since I was a kid. Pitching away from pain kept my arm young. Even now with enough to blast any batter out of the box with any pitch and give them very bad days. I can't thank you enough for that. 

You teaching have given me the tools to compete against any batter. Anytime and anywhere.

Many, Many Thanks,

Sincerely,

Michael


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Hi Michael,

     The conversations that we have with ourselves are the most important. We can be whatever we want to be and do whatever we want to do. I am honored that you chose what I teach.

     Michigan State University Kinesiology Professor William Heusner taught the value of high-speed filming and how to analyze force application. With that knowledge, I did things I never thought I could do.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0169.  Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke puts back injury in the past
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
February 15, 2014

BRADENTON, FL: Jeff Locke felt it lifting weights last July. Coming up from a squat, he never made it to the top.

No noise, no pop, but he instantly felt a sharp pain.

"I couldn't really walk for a few days," Locke said.

The back injury forced Locke to miss his final start before the All-Star break and kept him from participating in his first All-Star game. He was able to pitch in the second half of 2013, but the back injury, he said, limited his preparation between starts.

Locke refuses to make excuses, but his performance dropped sharply in the second half. Entering spring training, Locke plans to gain strength and avoid the cocktail of circumstances that plagued him after midseason.

"Maybe because last year in the second half, we slowed it down so much, I felt like maybe this offseason I had to push a little bit more," Locke said. "It's tough in November and December to be in the weight room and be like, 'I got to push it for August!' But if I didn't go through what I went through, I probably wouldn't have [pushed harder.]."

The 26-year-old Locke, a slender lefty, earned the final spot in the rotation out of spring training last season. He hit his stride in his fourth start of the season, when he allowed two hits in six scoreless innings against the Philadelphia Phillies in Citizens Bank Park, and never looked back.

Eleven of his 18 first-half starts lasted at least six innings and four of his final five starts went for seven innings or more. He arrived at the break with a 2.15 ERA in 109 innings.

Then came the back injury, which forced Locke to miss his final start of the first half.

"That was the only thing that really upset me," Locke said. "I've never missed a start in my life. That was the first one. Every time they've said, 'Hey, you're taking the ball,' I've taken it. That's something I've always prided myself on."

During the second half, Locke said, he remained able to pitch but had to reduce his workouts during the four days between starts. The limited work meant Locke became fatigued as the season wore on. His ERA in the second half jumped to 6.12.

"To be honest with you, the first half and the second half, I don't think they were that much different in the ways I pitched," he said. "Now, the results were way different, but every stat rat in the world anyway was just waiting for it to happen."

To prevent future back issues, Locke spoke to players who had overcome back problems to discover how they maintained themselves. He learned more about his body's kinetic chain and how tightness in other muscle groups, such as his hamstrings, can affect his back. He added some weight.

"I think every time I think about last season, the only thing I wonder, really, is how much different it could have been if I was still pitching the same way at the end," Locke said. "You put a lot of pressure on yourself to come back this year and say, 'I'm not going to let the guys down again like last year.' I let myself down."

Locke began throwing off a mound a few weeks before spring training began. He throws at moderate intensity and limits himself to four-seam fastballs and changeups.

"That's something that A.J. [Burnett] always told us," Locke said. "'That guy's coming in right out of the gate throwing hammers. Where's that going to be in September, or August?'"

The final two spots in the Pirates' rotation, after Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton, appear somewhat fluid. Wandy Rodriguez will return to the unit if he feels no ill effects from the injury to the flexor tendon in his left forearm that kept him out for the final four months of 2013.

The Pirates spent $5 million on Edinson Volquez, who allowed more earned runs last season than anyone in the National League and hasn't had an ERA of less than 4.00 since 2008.

Locke will compete for one of the final two spots. Even if the back injury reduced his workload between starts and affected his performance, he still has other issues to address. After walking 47 batters in 109 first-half innings, Locke walked 37 in 57 1/3 innings in the second half. Opposing batters hit .308 against him, up from .202 before the All-Star break.

"I just wanted to gain strength so that down the stretch next year, this coming season, if fatigue played a part last year or if it was just my back, I wanted it to not be because of the fatigue," Locke said.

The intent, at least, is to make it back to the top.


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     Squats are non-spectific exercises for baseball pitching. Squats are sport specific for for competitive weight lifters.

     With regard to the back, baseball pitchers need to learn how to stand tall and rotate over their glove foot as explosively as possible. No weights required.

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0170.  With future uncertain, Blanton ready to prove worth
MLB.com
February 15, 2014

TEMPE, AZ: Conditioning was one of the few things that actually wasn't a problem for Joe Blanton last year, but the 33-year-old right-hander is nonetheless leaner than he's ever been heading into this uncertain 2014 season, shedding somewhere between five and eight pounds during a winter dedicated more to developing quickness than overall strength.

It's one of the many things he hopes is different.

"Last year was by far the worst season I've ever had," Blanton can safely admit. "I'm not scared to say that. That's 100 percent. No season has even come close to that. I don't want to repeat it."

Blanton unraveled in the first of a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels, going 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP in 132 2/3 innings. By July 23, he had given up a Major League-leading 24 homers and 157 hits, and had lost his rotation spot to an up-and-coming Garrett Richards, left to spend the final two-plus months in bullpen obscurity.

Blanton entered Spring Training in essentially the same position as Bobby Abreu in 2012 and Vernon Wells in 2013 -- a veteran coming off a bad season, with lots of moneyowed to him and seemingly no place on the roster.

But his importance suddenly grew on Saturday, when Mark Mulder suffered the ruptured left Achilles that derailed his comeback hopes.

Now, if the 22-year-old Tyler Skaggs doesn't prove he's ready to pitch in the big leagues, the Angels could turn to Blanton to temporarily round out the rotation until he is. If Skaggs wins the job, or if Matt Shoemaker or Wade LeBlanc impress in camp, then Blanton -- owed $7.5 million in 2014, plus a $1 million buyout of his 2015 option -- will either be traded or released before Opening Day on March 31.

"Where your pitching staff ends up from Day 1 of Spring Training to Day 1 of the opening season sometimes seems like a lifetime," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, minutes before Mulder's injury. "Joe needs to put his best foot forward; Joe needs to make some adjustments. He had just a terrible season last year, but he's shown in the last couple years that when he is throwing the ball to his capabilities, there's no doubt he can get Major League hitters out."

Blanton has always pitched to contact and has never been considered a shutdown ace, but he joined the Angels having thrown more than 190 innings in six of his previous eight seasons while posting a 4.37 ERA in that span.

Blanton believes he tightened up several mechanical flaws down the stretch last year while working with pitching coach Mike Butcher. Blanton always used to rock back as he fired toward home plate, but last year his front side stayed low, which took away a lot of his deception. Blanton believes he finally got back to being more front-side late in the year, then continued to throw over the course of the offseason to not lose touch with the mechanical adjustments he made.

When he starts to face hitters again, Blanton believes there will be a significant difference.

But will it even matter?

"That's one of those that's not in my power," said Blanton, asked if he believes there's a role for him on this team. "You go out and throw, and let it be.

"I'm here with a good frame of mind this year. I'm in good shape physically, and baseball shape as well. And also, I felt like I carried over the changes I made and they did some good in my throwing this winter. It kind of makes things fun again when you figure out what you're doing wrong for a full season to see how those changes result over."


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

     The article said:

01. "Joe Blanton believes he tightened up several mechanical flaws down the stretch last year while working with pitching coach Mike Butcher."
02. "Mr. Blanton always used to rock back as he fired toward home plate."
03. "But, last year his front side stayed low, which took away a lot of his deception."
04. "Mr. Blanton believes that, late in the year, he finally got back to being more front-side."
05. "Then, Mr. Blanton continued to throw over the course of the offseason to not lose touch with the mechanical adjustments he made.

     Is Angels pitching coach, Mike Butcher, the same guy that got Scott Kazmir released?

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0171.  Verlander continues to build strength in bullpen session
MLB.com
February 15, 2014

LAKELAND, FL: Justin Verlander knows he has to watch himself as he works his way back to pitching shape following core muscle surgery. The Tigers, even with a new manager, know him enough to know better.

So as Verlander approached the 40-pitch limit in his bullpen session Saturday afternoon, Brad Ausmus and pitching coach Jeff Jones positioned themselves right behind Verlander to be ready to shut him down. Verlander, predictably, asked for one more pitch.

"Whatever the number is, he always seems to be one over," Ausmus said. "When it was 20, he threw 21, when it was 30, he threw 31. When it was 40, he threw 41."

The new manager learns quickly.

"One pitch is pretty docile for me," Verlander said. "Usually I go over by six or seven. But that kind of goes back into not wanting to push too hard. Those guys laughed today after my 40th when I said one more, and then [Ausmus] and Jeff were right behind me and they looked at each other and started laughing."

If the extra pitch suggested Verlander wasn't letting up, his quiet demeanor after many of those pitches suggested he was a little more realistic. He asked his catcher, Alex Avila, for feedback several times, but the usual frustration, the muttering, was muted.

That will come soon enough. Verlander pointed out that he's only about 10 pitches off from his count at this point last spring. For now, though, he wants to focus on getting back there.

"I'm not real concerned about quality right now as I am quantity," said Verlander, whose next session is scheduled for Tuesday. "For me, getting my body working and getting my arm used to throwing every day, that's most important for me right now. Starting probably next week, it'll be a mixture of both, quantity taking a back seat to quality once I realize that I'm ready to go."

Verlander has not yet started taking part in full on-field drills, but hopes to start doing so in the next couple days.

"Really it's kind of getting to the point where I don't even feel anything in my hips or my groin," Verlander said. "Everything feels good. I'm starting to just completely forget about it and focusing on getting my arm ready."


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     Tigers baseball pitcher, Justin Verlander, said:

01. "Really, it's kind of getting to the point where I don't even feel anything in my hips or my groin."
02. "Everything feels good."
03. "I'm starting to just completely forget about it and focusing on getting my arm ready."

     As long as Mr. Verlander stays away from those goofy hopping twisting drills, Mr. Verlander's 'core' will be fine.

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0172.  Recovered from surgery, Banuelos feels "normal" again
MLB.com
February 15, 2014

TAMPA, FL: When Manny Banuelos submitted his aching left elbow for examination in October 2012 and learned that he needed Tommy John surgery, the Yankees prospect feared that his career might already be over.

But when Banuelos returned to the mound late last season, hitting 93 and 94 mph with his fastball in simulated games, the left-hander regained his confidence. Banuelos is not only looking ahead to pitching in games, but he expects to reach the Majors this year.

"I have a chance now, and I want to work hard to get to the big leagues," said Banuelos, who turns 23 next month. "If I don't make the team here, [I will] try to get a callup soon."

Banuelos had been listed among the Yankees' brightest pitching prospects, grouped with Dellin Betances and Andrew Brackman to comprise the "Killer B's." Banuelos had been promoted as high as Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the club's chain before the injury limited him to just 24 innings in 2012.

"I feel normal now," Banuelos said. "After two long years, now I feel ready. I feel good after that. The rehabbing was good."

Banuelos was being developed as a starter before his injury. That is expected to continue, though the Yankees haven't been mentioning Banuelos as a serious contender for their fifth-starter battle because he hasn't faced hitters in more than a year.

He'll get that chance on Wednesday, when Banuelos is scheduled to throw live batting practice at Steinbrenner Field. Banuelos said that he "can't wait" for that, and added that he'd be open to pitching out of the bullpen if it helps him reach the big leagues.

"I don't mind if it's the bullpen or a starter," Banuelos said. "I can make both. I just want to be with the team, that's all."


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

     The article said:

01. "In October 2012, Manny Banuelos submitted his aching pitching elbow for examination.
02 "Mr. Banuelos learned that he needed Tommy John surgery."
03. "Mr. Banuelos feared that his career might already be over.

     In 2014 spring training, Yankees baseball pitcher, Manny Banuelos, said:

01. "I feel normal now."
02. "After two long years, now I feel ready."
03. "I feel good after that."
04. "The rehabbing was good."

     If 'feel normal' means reverse bouncing his pitching forearm, then, in a couple of years, Mr. Banuelos will get to spend two more years rehabbing.

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0173.  More spring rest on tap for Grilli and Rodriguez
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
February 15, 2014

BRADENTON, FL: The Pirates will take a different approach to closer Jason Grilli's spring preparation, and that allowed him an extra day of rest Saturday.

"We've actually got a few guys that are going to be, based on the day, potentially a little slower with," manger Clint Hurdle said.

Most pitchers in camp are throwing a bullpen session, which consists of 25 to 30 pitches off a mound to a catcher, followed by a day of rest. Every third bullpen session, the pitchers will generally mix in a "touch-and-feel" session, which is less intense. Grilli threw Thursday, and his group was scheduled to throw Saturday, but he did not.

"Basically, some of the guys that we've got a little more experience with, we communicate with, and just try to play it along and do what's right," Hurdle said. "We're in no hurry to peak him, so we've got time in front of us."

Grilli is 37 and missed time last year due to a flexor strain in his right forearm.

The Pirates are also allowing left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, 35, an extra day of rest between bullpen sessions. Rodriguez injured the flexor tendon in his left forearm last year and missed the final four months of the season despite two attempts at rehabilitation and a platelet-rich plasma injection.

Rodriguez threw his first bullpen session Friday and said he felt no pain.


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

     The article said:

01. "Jason Grilli missed time last year due to a flexor strain in his pitching forearm.
02. "Wandy Rodriguez also injured the flexor tendon in his pitching forearm last year."
03. "However, despite two attempts at rehabilitation and a platelet-rich plasma injection, Mr. Rodriguez missed the final four months of the season."

     To eliminate these injuries, these baseball pitchers have to learn how to pronate the release of their breaking pitches.

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0174.  Tiger pitchers enjoy Vizquel's new fielding drill
MLB.com
February 15, 2014

LAKELAND, FL: Not much changed in the Tigers' workout routine from Friday to Saturday, other than the weather. The on-field drills were pretty much the same, including the rag ball drill that has been drawing raves from pitchers.

The drill features new infield coach Omar Vizquel slapping hard-hit comebackers to pitchers to get them used to reacting quickly. The drill uses a softer material than baseballs so that the Tigers don't lose half their staff to bruises if they have slow reactions.

"They seemed to have fun," manager Brad Ausmus said. "Might try to make a little game out of it, friendly competition. Gotta work out the details on that."

One pitcher who has missed out on it is Justin Verlander, whose rehab from core muscle surgery has sidelined him from most on-field drills other than pitching. He's hoping that changes in the next couple days, especially that drill.

"I just don't want to take one in the groin," he said half-jokingly.


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     Remember, all training is specific.

     This means that Mr. Vizquel's new fielding drill has to precisely replicate competitive situations.

     Unfortunately, because the Tiger's baseball pitchers do not have both feet on the ground when their pitches enter the hitting zone, this drill does not help.

     I recommend that baseball pitchers practice throwing highly active 5 1/4 ounce rubber balls off the pitching mound to a concrete wall that is sixty feet six inches feet away from the pitching rubber.

     With my baseball pitching motion, because my baseball pitchers will have both feet on the ground before their pitches enter the hitting zone, my baseball pitchers will easily field these quickly rebounding balls.

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0175.  Dodgers' two Garcias battling injuries
MLB.com
February 16, 2014

GLENDALE, AZ: The Dodgers have two pitchers in camp named Garcia and both are hurt.

Right-handed prospect Yimi Garciahas been sidelined with a sore right knee and the club is awaiting test results. The 23-year-old was protected from the Rule 5 Draft after being a Southern League All-Star with a system-leading 19 saves. He also pitched in the Arizona Fall League.

Meanwhile, left-hander Onelki Garcia is throwing on flat ground as he continues to recover from two surgeries -- a left elbow procedure to remove a spur in November and arthroscopic surgery to repair torn left knee cartilage last month.

The 24-year-old Cuban, who pitched only one professional game in 2012, raced through the system last year with 25 games at Double-A Chattanooga, 10 games at Triple-A Albuquerque and three games with the Dodgers.


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

     The article said:

01. "Right-handed Yimi Garcia has a sore pitching arm side knee."
02. "Left-hander Onelki Garcia is recovering from surgery to remove a bone spur in his pitching elbow and surgery to repair torn pitching arm side knee cartilage."

     Mr. Garcia bangs the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together. To prevent more back of the pitching elbow problems, Mr. Garcia needs to learn how to pronate the release of his breaking pitches.

     With regard to their pitching arm side knee problems, the two Garcia's have to stop reverse rotating their hips and shoulders over their pitching arm side leg on the pitching rubber.

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0176.  Hermann wants to compete in return from surgery
MLB.com
February 16, 2014

GOODYEAR, AZ: Frank Herrmann can be excused for missing his spots with his fastball during the early portion of his latest mound workout. The Indians reliever was a little too amped over facing hitters for the first time in nearly a year.

"It felt great," Herrmann said Sunday. "I would say my first six or seven pitches were up in the zone, just from having that extra adrenaline. But then I was kind of able to lower my sights and get back in the groove. It felt great. It's competing again. Being able to compete for the first time in a year was awesome."

Herrmann faced a couple of hitters during a mound session Saturday and felt great one day after testing out his surgically repaired elbow. Last March, when the right-hander hoped to be vying for a spot in Cleveland's bullpen, he injured the joint and needed Tommy John surgery to fix the damage.

Almost one year later, Herrmann is once again hoping to work his way into the mix for the Tribe's bullpen.

"Until they tell me otherwise, that's my goal," Herrmann said. "Who knows? I understand the process. For me, I'm looking to have a career. I'd like to, ideally, pitch for six or seven more years. So I'm not going to blow it out for an arbitrary April 1 date, but I'd certainly like to be in the competition."

The current plan for the 29-year-old Herrmann -- a member of Cleveland's relief corps for parts of the 2010-12 seasons -- is to have extra days off between bullpen workouts. Barring any setbacks, the right-hander projects to make his Cactus League debut in early- to mid-March (likely around the one-year anniversary of his surgery).

"'Gradual' is the right word," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We have just tried to reiterate again and again with him that it has to be a process. He is doing great, but it has to be a build up to hitters, and a build up to a game. He needs a certain amount of bullpens, so he will be throwing in games a little later. He's probably stronger than anyone in camp, but there's a way to do it."

In his Major League career, Herrmann has posted a 4.26 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP in 95 games for the Indians, but he felt he took a major step forward in 2012. That year, the righty added a curveball to the mix, along with his fastball and split-change, and fashioned a 2.33 ERA with 14 strikeouts and four walks in 19 1/3 big league innings.

That progress made the injury last spring even more frustrating, but the silver lining was the timing of the operation.

"It was a tough decision," Herrmann said. "But with the timing of it, I wanted to give myself the best chance possible to be ready for this season. ... There's a process. The Indians have a done a tremendous job with me so far. It's amazing. This surgery is so down to a science now that there's a reason they do things the way they do things. I completely put it in their hands."


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

     Indians baseball pitcher, Frank Herrmann, said:

01. "It was a tough decision."
02. "But, with the timing of it, I wanted to give myself the best chance possible to be ready for this season."
03. "There's a process."
04. "The Indians have a done a tremendous job with me so far."
05. "It's amazing."
06. "This surgery is so down to a science now."
07. "There's a reason they do things the way they do things."
08. "I completely put it in their hands."

     Mr. Herrmann is putting his baseball career in the hands that taught him how to rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament in the first place.

     My recommendation: Do not trust those that injure you to rehabilitate you. They will only rupture your replaced Ulnar Collateral Tendon.

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0177.  Parker focused on improving stamina, durability
MLB.com
February 16, 2014

PHOENIX, AZ: The early goings of the offseason proved troublesome for Jarrod Parker, who admittedly struggled to get moving out of bed with much ease those first few mornings.

"I spent a little more time than usual doing nothing," said Parker, "just to let my body regenerate and heal a little bit."

Rest was all the A's had prescribed Parker, after discovering the elbow soreness he dealt with for much of September and October stemmed from a forearm strain in his pitching arm. Luckily, it was all he needed, as he entered camp this weekend with full health on his side.

But Parker, still just 25 and likely destined for his first career Opening Day start this year, isn't content to go through this same cycle again. He wants to ensure his body remains just as strong at the end of the season as it feels at the beginning.

Normal wear and tear is typical -- and expected -- of any pitcher as the season progresses, but having the self-awareness to make the effort to prolonging durability can go a long way, as Parker's learning.

"At the end there, something was tired," he said, "and so other muscles were having to do extra work. I don't want to feel so worn down at the end of the year."

So Parker strayed from his normal offseason routine after totaling a career-high 197 innings last year and sought additional help at the Fischer Institute in Phoenix, where he added five pounds to his 6-foot-1 stature, reporting to camp at an even 200 pounds.

The training facility is also frequented by teammate Eric Sogard in the offseason.

"There are other guys that have done it before, and they'll tell you, 'This is a good investment to make for your career,'" said Parker, who is 25-16 with a 3.73 ERA in 61 starts over two seasons with Oakland. "I let them analyze me and break me down and tell me what I needed to do and where I could get better.

"I'm used to working out at the field on my own, so it was just a whole new thing for me. I was working with a strength coach, we were doing a lot more core, a lot more agility drills to maintain that athleticism. It wasn't like a prototypical pitchers' workout. It was more about being athletes, really."

The work continued after making the daily drive home, where Parker would prepare all of his own food, ditching the meal service he subscribed to the previous offseason.

"You start to realize it's not that hard to cut up your own vegetables," he said, smiling.

Last April was rough on Parker, but he then managed to average 6.85 innings per start over the next four months, outside of a 3 2/3-inning stint on June 29 against the Cardinals when he suffered hamstring tightness. But in September, he didn't once pitch past the sixth inning, failing to even complete five innings in two of his five starts that month.

In Game 3 of the American League Division Series, Parker was limited to 73 pitches over five innings.

"I need to have that stamina to go the distance at the end," he said. "Anything I can do to help that is big."

"He's a hard-working guy," said manager Bob Melvin. "He's hard on himself. Physically, he's not the biggest guy out there, so he probably learned something last year with the workload and how hard he had to work at the end of the season. Young pitchers find out a little something about themselves, and then you try to counteract that with maybe different workouts or eating habits. I think he's learned quite a bit and been proactive about it."


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

     The article said:

01. "Jarrod Parker sought off-season training at the Fischer Institute in Phoenix."
02. "teammate Eric Sogard also frequented the Fischer Institute in the off-season."
03. "The Fischer Institute analyzed Mr. Parker's baseball pitching motion." 04. "Then, the Fischer Institute broke down Mr. Parker's baseball pitching motion and told Mr. Parker adjustments that Mr. Parker needed to make and how they would make Mr. Parker a better baseball pitcher.

     Athletics baseball pitcher, Jarrod Parker, said:

01. "I'm used to working out at the field on my own."
02. "So, it was just a whole new thing for me."
03. "I was working with a strength coach."
04. "We were doing a lot more core."
05. "To maintain that athleticism, we did a lot more agility drills."
06. "It wasn't like a prototypical pitchers' workout."
07. "It was more about being athletes, really."

     "Really."

     Nothing the Fischer Institute did with Mr. Parker will help Mr. Parker to pitch better.

     But, Mr. Parker will look good doing the non-specific agility drills.

     Who is Fischer and why does he think he earned Institute status?

     My guess is that it is another Physical Therapy rip-off.

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0178.  Mulder ruptures Achilles during workout, needs surgery
MLB.com
February 16, 2014

TEMPE, AZ: For three and a half months, Mark Mulder trained like he never really had before, pushing his arm to new limits to prepare for Spring Training and the hopes of returning to the Majors after a five-year retirement.

A ruptured left Achilles tendon, suffered during a harmless agility drill Saturday morning, may have ended that pursuit before it could officially begin.

"I can handle this," Mulder wrote on his Twitter account, @markmulder20, shortly after receiving the MRI results. "But seeing my son in tears when he saw me in a boot and crutches and I told him I wasn't going to pitch - that was tough."

The injury -- the same one Ryan Howard suffered while making the last out of the 2011 National League Division Series -- will require surgery and typically takes months to recover from. Given Mulder's age (36), his no-strings-attached Minor League contract and his general acceptance of being away from the game, he'll probably opt for a return to retired life.

"My heart goes out to him," said Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, who didn't want to speculate on what decision Mulder would make about his future. "I know how hard he worked, and we're all disappointed for him. Every one of us."

Mulder is expected to address the media from Angels camp on Sunday morning.

Prior to that, the left-hander talked openly about how good his arm felt and how ready he was to attempt a comeback few have ever completed.

It started in October, when Mulder was watching Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez pitch in the playoffs, stood up in his living room, mimicked a quicker, more fluent delivery, translated it to the pitching rubber and came away amazed by how much better it made him throw.

"I haven't had the ball come out of my hand like this in a very long time," Mulder said over the offseason, "and it's fun."

He dazzled in a late-November bullpen session and hooked on with the Angels on an incentive-laden contract that would pay him anywhere between $1 million and $6 million if he made the Major League roster. Then, shortly after the New Year, Mulder made sure his arm could stand up to the rigors of being a starting pitcher by engaging in two 100-plus-pitch simulated games, followed by 40-plus-pitch bullpen sessions twice a week leading up to Spring Training.

Mulder noticed gradual improvement, both with his stuff and his command, every time he stepped on the mound.

Eight days ago, everything clicked.

"That was the first day I really thought to myself, 'OK, I'm ready to start this,'" Mulder said Friday.

The following morning, he sustained what's probably a season-ending ankle injury during a change-of-direction warm-up drill at one of the back fields of the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex, minutes before throwing his first bullpen session in front of Angels coaches.

The Angels weren't necessarily counting on a Mulder comeback, so his injury isn't expected to intensify their pursuit of outside starting pitching help. Tyler Skaggs, 22, is still the favorite for the fifth spot in the rotation, but Joe Blanton's importance has suddenly heightened as a potential fallback option.

The Angels are still not expected to sign any starters to a Major League contract, especially guys like Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, who are tied to Draft-pick compensation.

Mulder was the second overall pick by the A's in the 1998 First-Year Player Draft and established himself as one of the game's premier left-handers over a five-year period, averaging 18 wins and posting a 3.65 ERA from 2001-05. But he pitched only 12 2/3 innings with the Cardinals from 2007-08, a product of two rotator cuff surgeries, and moved on immediately thereafter, briefly trying his hand at professional golf before becoming an ESPN analyst.

His attempt at a comeback was the result of an epiphany, not the necessity to fill a void.

"I don't know what's going to come of it," Mulder said previously, "but I just know that I'm very confident in what I'm doing, and I'd like to think that when the Angels people see me throw, I'm going to hopefully turn some heads."

Mulder never got that chance.


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

     The article said:

01. "Early morning, Mark Mulder was at one of the back fields of the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex.
02. "Minutes before throwing his first bullpen session in front of Angels coaches, to warm-up his legs, Mr. Mulder was using a change-of-direction drill."
03. "As a result of performing some dumb-ass non-specific agility drill, Mr. Mulder ruptured the Achilles tendon in the back of his pitching arm side heel.

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0179.  Gonzalez pushes back bullpen session due to back spasms
MLB.com
February 16, 2014

SARASOTA, FL: Miguel Gonzalez will not throw his scheduled bullpen session on Sunday, as the O's right-hander -- who exited Saturday's workout with back spasms -- will give it another day or two to let the area calm down.

"My lower back tightened up a little bit on the rundown covering first [base]," Gonzalez said. "I haven't been stretching as much as I was used to. ... I feel pretty good now. I feel a lot better than I did yesterday."

Gonzalez, who threw a bullpen session on Friday, will continue to get treatment on the area and play it by ear in terms of getting back up on the mound. The right-hander had a minor back issue before one of his starts last year but was still able to pitch.


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     Stride far, bend forward hard and straighten up fast.

     Stretching injures muscles.

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0180.  Michael Stokes

I have mostly an active state of consciousness. Being involved while I am able allows me to spin my dreams into my life.

Always giving education a chance to work. Giving teachers the full attention to what is being taught. The hallmark of being taught is that even we may see education take people to the next plateau in this life.

The eloquence by which you transmit your machination of thought is astounding Sir. Your teaching has this old guy into the reality of what wicked stuff is all about. In October I gave your teachings a chance.

You gave my fastball lightning and sheer terror on the mound my 20 mph less curve balls and 10 miles less pitches. Inside vertical and still over nine feet high release point for Maxline Tech!!!

My parents are still active and vital. I have to consider my age in terms of almost half way of middle aged. My grandparents all lived well into their eighties and nineties.

So I only have the first thoughts of my life which carry me deeper into this life. My thoughts are enough for me first. I am not lonely when I am alone in this illness.

I know that ever since I was a kid. Pitching away from pain kept my arm young. Even now with enough to blast any batter out of the box with any pitch and give them very bad days. I can't thank you enough for that. 

You teaching have given me the tools to compete against any batter. Anytime and anywhere.

Many, Many Thanks.

Sincerely,

Michael


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Hi Michael,

     The conversations that we have with ourselves are the most important. We can be whatever we want to be and do whatever we want to do. I am honored that you choose what I teach.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0181.  Nationals' pitchers mark their growth together
Washington Post
February 16, 2014

VIERA, FL: Stephen Strasburg plopped into a chair and faced his locker, one of the double-wide stalls reserved for veterans in the Washington Nationals' clubhouse, the kind he would have preferred to let someone else have. He glanced at his hand and counted his fingers ashe exteneded the, simple math he needed to prove how long it had been: 2010, 2011, 2012. His eyes widened, and he nodded. It was hard to believe, but it was true: Strasburg had just started his fifth spring training.

“That is kind of strange,” pitching coach Steve McCatty said. “It’s weird.”

“Time flies,” Strasburg said, a sentiment his friends in the room understood well. During their ascension from doormat to contender, the Nationals have been driven and defined by a youthful, dominant pitching staff. The staff remains excellent, but it is not quite so young anymore. Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard, Ross Detwiler, Craig Stammen — they have all left their early 20s behind.

They have attended each other’s weddings. Two of them, Strasburg and Zimmermann, became fathers this winter. They have celebrated each other’s awards and raises. They have supported each other through failures and demotions. As they have helped transform the Nationals, they have grown up together.

"I told Clip, 'I still can't wrap my head around Stras talking about his kid,' Stren said. It's unbelievable to me. It’s cool. You’re able to see people grow up, and at the same time you realize how much you’ve grown up yourself.”

The Nationals’ familiar pitchers have treaded carefully into a sort of baseball adolescence. They can no longer consider themselves rookies or inexperienced, but they are not ready to call themselves old hands, either. Gonzalez, Clippard and Detwiler may be closer to 30 than 25, but they haven’t gotten there yet.

“I wouldn’t say we’re veterans,” Zimmermann said. “But we’ve been up here for a few years and kind of know what goes on. It’s definitely nice coming to spring training. You feel a lot more comfortable, not like the new guy sitting in the corner, you know?”

Last year, Strasburg arrived early for spring training and found an extra-large locker awaiting him. No one had moved into the smaller one next to it, so he told clubhouse manager Mike Wallace to give his to Dan Haren. This year, Strasburg wanted to give his wide locker to Doug Fister, but he arrived too late — Fister’s stuff was already moved in.

“I want the younger guys to be approachable, and if they have any questions, I’ll try to help them the best I can,” Strasburg said. “But at the same time, I don’t feel like I have all the answers, either.”

I remember the first couple years, I was like, "Man, I wonder what it;s like to have five or six spring trainings under your belt. You must feel like such a veteran,' Stammen said. It doesn't feel that way. I still feel like I'm trying to earn my way. But it’s nice to have made it this far with one team.”

The Nationals derive benefits from their pitching staff’s years together. If Gonzalez drops his arm even a smidge during his delivery, Zimmermann can tell immediately. They know when to give one another space, but they also know how to offer criticism without offending.

“They watch each other,” McCatty said. “I always thought it was the guys that you pitch with for a period of time, that when you talk to them, they know themselves pretty well but they know you, too. You can exchange things.”

They know how to tease each other, too. In the rare moments Gonzalez remains silent, Zimmermann might walk past him and say, “One of those days, huh?” On Saturday, Strasburg said he looked forward to learning from Fister, whose locker was to the left of his. On the right was Gonzalez.

“If I can get a couple words in with him over Gio’s chatter, then that will be good,” Strasburg said, laughing.

On Saturday morning, Clippard was the last pitcher to reach the practice field. (“We were a little ahead of schedule,” Manager Matt Williams said, “and Clip was really the only one that was on time today.”) As Clippard jogged to join his teammates, they rose and gave him a standing ovation.

As they have gained experience, they have also grown more expensive for the Nationals. In 2012, Strasburg, Zimmermann, Gonzalez, Storen and Clippard combined to make $10.7 million. This year, after all received raises through arbitration, they will earn a total of $29.3 million. Next year, Zimmermann will make $16.5 million.

Time moves so fast that they barely realized how time has passed — “it’s crazy,” Stammen said. But Saturday, the first workout of spring, provided a benchmark. Strasburg thought back to his first trip to Viera, in the fall of 2009 after the Nationals drafted him.

“When I first got here after I signed, I get to the airport in Orlando,” Strasburg said. “I go get my rental car. I’m driving out in the darkness. I’m like, ‘Where am I going?’ I can’t see anything. It took forever. I’m like, ‘Where is this place?’ Now I have a little better idea of how things work.”

This winter, Strasburg’s wife and Zimmermann’s FaceTimed constantly, swapping stories about their newborns. “I’ve been up here for four years now,” Zimmermann said. “I got a kid. Married. Who knows what’s going to come next?”


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     Who missed Mr. Strasburg's banging the bones in the back of his pitching elbow together?

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0182.  Rangers' high hopes hinge on Harrison, Ogando
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
February 16, 2014

Players on the Texas Rangers’ spring-training roster began showing up at the Surprise Recreation Campus last week to prepare for another 162-game go-round in 2014.

Missing, though, is left-hander Derek Holland, who won’t be leaving behind the friendly confines of Dr. Keith Meister’s TMI Sports Medicine facility in Arlington for another week.

That leaves one spot in the starting rotation wide open, and the other four held down by:

1) Yu Darvish, a Cy Young runner-up who finished last season with nerve inflammation in his lower back.
2) Matt Harrison, an 18-game winner in 2012 who pitched only twice in 2013 because of a herniated disk.
3) Alexi Ogando, 19-12 in his career as a starter but a resident of the disabled list three times last season.
4) Martin Perez, who pitched a career-high 167 2/3 innings last year, 124 1/3 of which came in a 19-start stretch from June 22 to Oct. 1.

So, as pitchers and catchers report Sunday, signaling the beginning of another spring camp and another baseball season, no one issue is as big as the starting rotation and no one player is as important to the Rangers’ success in 2014 as an able-bodied Harrison.

An able-bodied Ogando is running a close second.

“This is a big hurdle I have to take on, physically being back the same way I was before,” Harrison said. “That’s going to be tough, but I’ve done everything possible to get back to 100 percent and be ready for our season. I guess time will only tell once I get back in some game action.”

The Rangers have been vastly improved on the mound in recent seasons, ranking among the league’s best, and Darvish has been as good as the Rangers expected he would be when they plucked him from Japan two years ago.

The offense received a boost with the acquisitions of first baseman Prince Fielder and left fielder Shin-Soo Choo, but the club needs Jurickson Profar, among others, to show more in the bottom half of the lineup.

Not all is settled in the bullpen, where the departure of Joe Nathan has left a significant void at closer. But the first six or seven innings, ideally more, that the rotation is able to provide trumps all other areas of concern.

Harrison appears to be full speed ahead, but the Rangers will tap the brakes if necessary. They don’t have much choice but to be cautiously optimistic with Holland out until at least the All-Star break after undergoing microfracture surgery last month to repair damage to his left knee.

Though he has battled inconsistencies throughout his career, Holland for the most part has been an innings-eater capable of streaks of brilliance. Removing that from the rotation for some 20 starts adds to the importance of keeping everyone else healthy.

“It’s going to be a situation that’s going to have a lot of communication between him and Wash and Mike and the medical staff,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “[Harrison] is of the mindset that he’s full-go and it never happened. He’s not going to ease up. That’s not his nature.”

Ogando was expected to settle into the No. 5 spot in the rotation. Now, anyone from Nick Tepesch to Colby Lewis to Tommy Hanson could take the spot. So could lefty reliever Robbie Ross. So could 42-year-old Jose Contreras.

The Rangers like the group that is competing to fill in for Holland. The key for them is also remaining upright.

“A lot of potential. A lot of options. Some unanswered questions,” Daniels said. “If we get through spring healthy, I feel good about our group. I really do.”

If that group performs well enough this spring and red flags are raised about Ogando’s ability to stay healthy, Ogando could find himself in the bullpen.

Daniels didn’t speak to Ogando late last month while at the Rangers’ Dominican academy, but those who did said that the right-hander is in a good spot mentally and physically.

He wants to be a starter, and said that he worked during the off-season to strengthen his shoulder after hitting the disabled list three times in 2013.

“I don’t want to go back like last year,” he said.

Ogando can’t, and neither can Harrison if the Rangers hope to end Oakland’s two-year reign atop the American League West. As of reporting day for pitchers and catchers, neither expects to repeat last season.

“I look to go out there and make every start,” Harrison said. “Time will tell how I feel start to start. Right now, I feel 100 percent. A lot will be said once I get back out there every five days and get my body going and get that adrenaline rush again. But I expect to be out there every five days.”


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     Wow. It appears that every Ranger baseball pitcher has suffered some injury and are trying to rehabilitate.

     It is a good thing that all these injured baseball pitchers enjoy the friendly confines of Dr. Keith Meister’s TMI Sports Medicine facility in Arlington, TX.

     Hip, hip horrey for orthopedic surgeon Keith Meister.

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0183.  Reds stocked with young pitchers, but may not be able to pay
Cincinnati Enquirer
February 16, 2014

GOODYEAR, AZ: Reds manager Bryan Price was asked the annual Opening Day starter question Saturday.

He dodged it a bit, but it sounds like he’d be happy with Johnny Cueto, Mat Latos or Homer Bailey.

“Have an idea what I want to do,” Price said. “I’d like to make sure that our guys are healthy. We know Mat’s been banged up. Johnny has been the man and continues to be. But we’ve got to make sure he’s healthy. Homer’s turned his corner. For me personally, I love Johnny at the top of our rotation. There are other guys I’d be really happy with as well. But I want to make sure they’re healthy.”

The fact that the Reds have young and talented options for the Opening Day starter is a big thing. The Reds have come a long way from days when they started Joey Hamilton, Jimmy Haynes, Cory Lidle and Paul Wilson on consecutive Opening Days.

Cueto, at 28, is the oldest member of the rotation. Latos is the only starter the Reds didn’t sign and develop in the minors. In addition to the aforementioned three, the Reds have Mike Leake and Tony Cingrani, talented with resumes of early success as well.

But now that the Reds have figured out how to develop starting pitchers, they are facing a new challenge: How do you keep them?

Much attention has been placed on whether the Reds can keep Bailey, i.e., sign him to a long-term contract. Bailey is arbitration-eligible for the third and final time. He will become a free agent if the Reds don’t sign him beyond this year.

“We’re still negotiating,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said.

But Bailey could command a salary north of $15 million a year for four or five years. Bailey is the first of the group to reach free agency. Cueto, Latos and Leake are eligible for free agency after 2015.

Cueto, Latos and Leake all have better career records and ERAs than Bailey.

The Reds already have $45.5 million committed to Joey Votto ($20 million), Brandon Phillips ($13 million) and Jay Bruce ($12.5 million) in 2016. It’s hard to imagine the Reds being able to keep Bailey, Latos, Cueto and Leake.

“It is,” Price said. “I realize in my position that I don’t have a lot of control over those things. You can let them consume you as a manager and an organization. Who can we afford to keep and who we can’t.”

It beats the alternative.

“Thank goodness we have that much talent where we’re a team that has a concern over how we can keep our most talented performers. That door swings both ways. Would you like to look at that group for five or seven years together? Is that something we’re able to do? I don’t know. I can’t answer that.”

Contracts are Jocketty’s department. He knows it will be difficult.

“In our market size, its tough to manage,” Jocketty said. “But we’re doing the best we can to get through that and retain as many of our own players as we can.”

The Reds got a bargain when they signed Cueto to a four-year, $27 million contract in 2011 before he reached arbitration. But Cueto had three solid years in the rotation at that point and was coming off a 12-7, 3.64 year, so it was worth the risk.

It was still a risk. It always is when tying up young pitchers to long-term deals. But if you wait and the pitcher is successful, the price goes up – way up.

That’s why Price says the club has to make the most of this window of opportunity.

“While we have them, we certainly would like to seize the opportunity and go out and do special things,” he said.


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     If professional teams had a program that teaches and trains baseball pitchers, then, when the major league pitchers become more expensive than their Triple-A baseball pitchers, they use the expensive pitchers for quality young position players and bring up the next quality-to-be Triple-A baseball pitcher.

     When teams trade for major league baseball pitchers, it shows that they do not have a development for their incoming baseball pitchers.

     With my 724-Day Adult Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, the baseball pitchers I trained would not only be highly-skilled, but they would also be injury-free.

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0184.  Dempster won't pitch for Red Sox in 2014
MLB.com
February 16, 2014

Right-hander Ryan Dempster will not pitch for the Red Sox this season.

Dempster, who was scheduled to make $13.25 million in 2014 in the second season of a two-year deal he signed before last season, likely will be placed on the restricted list.

"I'm extremely grateful, " Dempster said at a news conference on Sunday. "It took me a long time to come to this decision. I wanted to be 100 percent behind it and I am."

He would not receive his salary if he's place on the restricted list.

"I don't feel like I am capable of performing to the ability and standard that I am accustomed to," Dempster told FOXSports.com. "I feel it's in the best interest of both the club but most importantly myself to step away from playing baseball at this time. The time is right.

"I'm not saying retirement but I definitely won't be playing this season."

Dempster, who turns 37 in May, was 8-9 with a 4.57 ERA in 32 games (29 starts) last season.

A two-time All-Star, Dempster has posted a 4.35 career ERA in 579 games (351 starts) over 16 years for the Marlins, Reds, Cubs, Rangers and Red Sox.


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     Red Sox baseball pitcher, Ryan Dempster, said:

01. "I don't feel like I am capable of performing to the ability and standard that I am accustomed to."
02. "I feel it's in the best interest of both the club but most importantly myself to step away from playing baseball at this time."
03. "The time is right."
04. "I'm extremely grateful."
05. "It took me a long time to come to this decision."
06. "I wanted to be 100 percent behind it and I am."
07. "I'm not saying retirement, but I definitely won't be playing this season."

     Whatever is happening to Mr. Dempster and those he loves and love him, I wish all well.

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0185.  Williams praises Strasburg's work on slide step
MLB.com
February 16, 2014

VIERA, FL: Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg had his first bullpen session in front of Matt Williams on Sunday, and impressed his manager as he worked on his slide step and varied his looks toward home plate.

Strasburg has often said he would like to do a better job at holding runners. Nationals pitchers allowed runners to steal bases over 80 percent of the time last year.

"That's the attention to detail I'm looking for. So he is concerned about it. He wants to improve on it. I think that is a really good thing," Williams said. "The fact that Stephen is taking the initiative for himself and for our team is good. He is taking the bull by the horns and that's good."


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     The article said:

01. "Nationals right-hander, Stephen Strasburg, impressed his manager as he worked on his slide step and varied his looks toward home plate."
02. "Mr. Strasburg has often said he would like to do a better job at holding runners."
03. "Last year, Nationals pitchers allowed runners to steal bases over 80 percent of the time.

     It sounds as though the entire Nationals baseball pitching staff have difficulty preventing stolen bases.

     However, varying his Set Position baseball pitching motion, Mr. Strasburg should do whatever enables Mr Strasburg to get the baseball to his catcher as quickly as he is able.

     By not lifting his glove foot off the ground will decrease the time that Mr. Strasburg requires to get the baseball to his catcher.

     The problem is that, by slide stepping, Mr. Strasburg will have to start his pitching arm action before he slide steps forward or he will not be able to have his pitching arm reach driveline height at the same time that his glove foot lands.

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0186.  Lincecum warms up for spring in Seattle warehouse
MLB.com
February 16, 2014

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: Tim Lincecum threw his bullpen session Sunday with such freedom that he reminded Giants manager Bruce Bochy of a galloping thoroughbred.

"It's like taking a horse out of the barn," Bochy said. "He just goes."

In Lincecum's case, he escaped not a barn, but a warehouse.

Lincecum said that he rented a small warehouse in Seattle, his offseason home, to maximize benefits from his throwing. He draped netting, filled a bucket with baseballs, installed an artificial mound and enlisted friends to catch.

"Getting the feel of the mound under me" was one objective, he added. Given Seattle's inclement weather, an indoor facility -- even a makeshift one -- was ideal for Lincecum.

The right-hander hopes the momentum from his jump-start will result in a successful spring. Lincecum typically struggles in Cactus League competition. He has never recorded an exhibition ERA below 4.00 -- including last spring, when his 10.57 ERA was a personal worst.

Of course, none of these games count. Lincecum said that he indeed wants to perform well enough in the Cactus League to avoid entering the regular season "with a question mark and hoping." He added that consistently steering his pitches toward the lower end of the strike zone will satisfy him.


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     I applaud Mr. Lincecum's initiative.

     Now, he needs a plan to improve the quality of his pitches.

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0187.  Pirates breathe sigh of relief after Rodriguez throws
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
February 16, 2014

BRADENTON, FL: Wandy Rodriguez threw his first bullpen session Friday without feeling any pain in his left forearm, where an injury to the flexor tendon forced him to miss the final four months of the 2013 season.

“I have good news for you guys,” Rodriguez told reporters after the session. “I threw my bullpen and I feel nothing.”

Rodriguez, 35, left his June 5 start in the first inning and did not pitch again in the major leagues last season. He began a rehabilitation assignment in late June, but tightness in the forearm forced him to stop. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection July 1 and rested.

He resumed throwing off a mound in August, but went to see orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion. Andrews confirmed that there was inflammation, and Rodriguez started throwing again, but the Pirates shut him down for good in mid-September.

Doctors told Rodriguez to rest the forearm over the winter. When he started his weightlifting regimen, his forearm felt strong, so he continued. He threw over the winter in the Dominican Republic, but this was his first bullpen session of the year.

“I was a little bit nervous because I wanted to know exactly how I feel,” he said. “Every time I throw, I feel more comfortable.”

Rodriguez threw 28 pitches, including fastballs, changeups and curveballs, and also threw curveballs while playing catch.

“He looked good,” pitching coach Ray Searage said. “There was no hesitation whatsoever in his throwing, his delivery. Ball came out good.”

Rodriguez will take two days off between bullpen sessions, meaning his next scheduled session is Monday. Most pitchers are throwing bullpen sessions followed by one day off, with lighter ‘touch-and-feel’ sessions mixed in.

“We’ll go from ’pen to ’pen to see how he feels, so this way we can add or subtract or just hold our own after that ’pen,” Searage said.

“He’ll feel more confidence the next time he gets out,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Every step forward, obviously confidence is going to come with that. I don’t think it will take him a long time for him to get to a comfort zone knowing that, 'OK,' I've taken care of that. Now I can just get back to pitching.'"

Hurdle makes a point of creating open communication between his players and the coaching staff and said Rodriguez keeps the coaches and trainers informed of his status.

“How he feels and what he’s thinking are important,” Hurdle said. “We continually ask questions to try to get those answers out of them so it gives us some direction. To a player, they’ve all gotten better with the trust factor. Some guys would have difficulty in saying they had some butterflies. They just don’t want to throw that out there. He’s gotten to a point where he had some, so he’s worked through them.”

When healthy, Rodriguez has produced, including as a Pirate. He has a 3.66 ERA in 1372?3 innings since joining the Pirates before the 2012 trade deadline. He had a 3.59 ERA in 12 starts last season before getting hurt.

A solid season from Rodriguez, who pitched at least 191 innings in each of the four seasons before 2013, would improve a starting staff that already ranked fifth in ERA last year but ranked 24th in innings pitched.

Rodriguez exercised his $13 million player option after last season ended. The Houston Astros are still paying $5.5 million of that.


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     The article said:

01. "Wandy Rodriguez left his June 5 start in the first inning and did not pitch again in the major leagues last season."
02. "Mr. Rodriguez began a rehabilitation assignment in late June, but tightness in the forearm forced him to stop."
03. "On July 01, Mr. Rodriguez received a platelet-rich plasma injection and rested."
04. "In August, Mr. Rogriguez resumed throwing off a mound, but Mr. Rodriguez went to see orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion."
05. "Dr. Andrews confirmed that there was inflammation."
06. "Mr. Rodriguez started throwing again."
07. "But, in mid-September, Pirates shut him down for good."
08. "Pirates Medical Staff ordered Mr. Rodriguez to rest the forearm over the winter."
09. "When he started his weightlifting regimen, his forearm felt strong."
10. "Over the winter, Mr. Rogriguez threw in the Dominican Republic."

     Thank goodness that Mr. Rodriguez threw in Dominican Republic.

     If he had waited until spring training, then he would miss another three months to rehabilitate.

     However, Mr. Rodriguez has not eliminated the injurious flaw that caused his injury.

     Mr. Rodriguez needs to learn how to pronate the releases of his breaking pitches.

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0188.  McGee works curve back into repertoire
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

Port Charlotte, FL: Left-hander Jake McGee packs a 97-mph fastball, but he needs to have a pitch to keep hitters from digging in and waiting for that fastball -- even though a 97-mph normally does the trick. Thus he's gone back to using a curve.

"I used to use it in the Minor Leagues when I was a starter," McGee said. "It's more a 12-6 curveball. It'll have a bigger speed difference than my cutter-slider used to."

McGee, who has been using a cutter and a slider as his secondary pitches, hasn't used the curve at all.

"I have a lot of confidence in it," he said. "I threw it for five years in the Minor Leagues, and when I got called up in 2010, I started using the cutter-slider. I'll be able to throw the curve for strikes."

McGee also plans to use a changeup on occasion, but he believes the curve will be his go-to offspeed pitch this season. He acknowledged that he needs it.

"Especially something with a little bit of a speed difference, which is why I like the curveball," he said. "It's in the low 80s; my cutter last year was up to 93. So it's a bigger speed difference. You'll have to sit on one of the other pitches instead of just the fastball."


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     This is the type of guy that, if he learns how engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, pronate the release of his breaking pitches and throw reverse breaking pitches, he could become a monster major league pitcher.

     However, because his uses his Pectoralis Major muscle, he will either injure or lose shoulder joint stability, supinate his breaking pitches and injure his pitching elbow and, without reverse breaking pitches, never succeed against glove arm side pull hitters.

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0189.  Facing hitters, White reports improvement
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

KISSIMMEE, FL: Right-hander Alex White, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery performed 10 months ago, faced hitters Monday for the third time in his recovery. He threw two sets of 15 pitches against some of his teammates.

"It felt good," he said. "That's our third time out facing hitters, and I think each time out I've been better. The velocity is coming along, and I feel more comfortable throwing to hitters. We've got a few more in the next couple of weeks and see where it goes from there."

White, 25, made the Astros' Opening Day roster last year before injuring his elbow in a preseason exhibition at Minute Maid Park and getting placed on the disabled list. He underwent surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow on April 11. He said he'll throw again Saturday and mix in some breaking balls.

"That's where I feel excited, about getting some breaking balls off the mound, spinning stuff," he said. "I think then you can kind of judge what you're going to do against hitters when you have all your stuff. I'm looking forward to that."

White said the next step following live batting practice is throwing in a game.

"When a guy is coming back off Tommy John or an injury, you want to see clean mechanics," manager Bo Porter said.


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     Astros field manager, Bo Porter, said: "When a guy is coming back off Tommy John or an injury, you want to see clean mechanics"

     It is too bad that Mr. Porter has not idea what clean mechanics are.

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0190.  League using caution with mild lat strain
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

GLENDALE, AZ: Dodgers reliever Brandon League said he hopes to return to the mound Wednesday after a few days of reduced throwing because of a mild lat strain.

Manager Don Mattingly said the conservative throwing program for League is similar to the one prospect Zach Lee has been on since Spring Training opened.

"We don't think it's anything serious," Mattingly said. "But we want to be extra cautious, especially with the schedule we've got, we don't want anybody pushing it and winding up with something worse. Just like Zach, Brandon is feeling better and he's moving closer to getting back on the mound."

League said backing off is just "precautionary." He said he threw eight bullpen sessions before arriving in Arizona, more than usual in anticipation of the compressed training camp.

Lee, meanwhile, said he also plans to throw off a mound Wednesday. He strained a lat muscle doing pull-ups at last month's pitching mini-camp.


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     The article said: " Zach Lee strained his Latissimus Dorsi muscle doing pull-ups at last month's pitching mini-camp."

     This means that Mr. Lee is one of the 92% of humans that has the Latissimus Dorsi muscle inserted into the inferior angle of the Scapula bone.

     Unfortunately, unlike Chimpanzees, Mr. Lee does not have the fitness to pull his body upward to the top of the forest trees.

     But, with my wrist weight exercises, Mr. Lee and Mr. League could learn to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and powerfully inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm through release.

     Isn't it a shame that professional baseball does not understand how muscles and bones work?

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0191.  Young is pain-free, ready to pitch
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

VIERA, FL: Last year, it was believed that right-hander Chris Young would be one of the first pitchers the Nationals would call up to the big leagues if one of the players in the rotation had to go on the disabled list. But the Nationals never called Young because he missed most of the season with a pinched nerve in his neck.

That injury would affect his shoulder as well. Young had nerve problems for at least four years. All that time, he thought it was his right shoulder that was giving him problems. The nerve in his neck was never fixed until last June.

After the season came to an end, Young was able to have an offseason where he just had to build his arm strength.

"After having shoulder surgery in the past, you sort of expect a level of discomfort," Young said. "I was sort of resigned to the fact that my shoulder is not the same that it once was. What I didn't realize was, the problem was never truly corrected. Now I feel great. I'm really excited about it. Hopefully, it will stay that way."

Young wants to show the Nationals that he can be the pitcher that he was several years ago. His best season was in 2006, when he went 11-5 with a 3.46 ERA for the Padres.

"When I'm healthy, I've been successful in this game," he said. "I look forward to [having that success]."


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     The article said:

01. "Chris Young had a pinched nerve in his neck."
02. "The pinched nerve in Mr. Young's neck affected muscles in his pitching shoulder."
03. "For at least four years, Mr. Young had nerve problems."
04. "Last June, Mr. Young had the nerve in his neck fixed.".

     I would like to know more about the surgery.

     Did the C7-T1 intervertebral disk move into the spinal cord canal?

     Did the surgeon have to remove part of the intervertebral disk?

     Whatever the surgery, for Mr. Young to not reinjure the dorsal nerve root that exits the spinal column between the C7-T1 vertebraes, Mr. Young needs to learn how to stand tall and rotate.

     Bending forward at his waist caused his neck injury.

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0192.  Interview with Orioles Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, Dan Duquette
Additional arms will come from system
MLB.com
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

01. MLB.com: The Orioles added Suk-min Yoon, but you've stressed the importance of adding a veteran pitcher. Is that still on the agenda this spring?

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette: We've been trying to add pitching to our club, and we are going to continue to work on that before we get going here. Beyond that, we probably have to look for some answers to pitching from within the team. We do have some good young pitchers that are starting to get some recognition and exposure. But people will become more familiar with them as we get going.

Our everyday ballclub is pretty good. We just got to get some more depth to our pitching staff, some more definition to our bullpen.

02. MLB.com: When you came here, part of the emphasis was on improving the Minor League system and international recruiting. Do you feel like those facets of the organization are in better shape now than when you arrived?

Duquette: I think we are making good progress on international recruiting. The Wei-Yin Chen signing really helped our Major League ballclub. He's given us two strong years. I think you will see more contributions on the international market to our ballclub in the next couple years.

(Executive director of international recruiting) Fred Ferreira has done a great job with his recruiting. He also signed Miguel Gonzalez after watching him throw in the Mexican League, so there's a couple of starting pitchers that have come our way from the international market.

He signed Henry Urrutia and he got to the big leagues quickly, and I think you are going to see a good contribution to our team from Henry this year. (Ferreira) continues to sign guys, the two young guys we signed recently are very gifted, (17-year-olds) Jomar Reyes and Carlos Diaz … So you will see some more contributions from the international recruiting, but so far we are making good progress in that.

The other part, our farm system is starting to develop a good core base of talent for our Major League team.

(Director of player development) Brian Graham got recognized with the Player Development Award at the past Winter Meetings and (director of pitching development) Rick Peterson was recognized by the American Sports Medicine Institute with the James Andrews Award recently.

The leadership of the player development is good. (Director of Minor League operations) Kent Qualls is a real professional with good success at developing success. And you are starting to see the players being recognized. Our Arizona Fall League team won the league.

We've got the right people in the right job, and they are doing good jobs to help the Orioles have a consistent player-development operation. Once we do that consistently, we will be able to draw on that operation for our Major League team for good players and also for trades.

MLB.com: But is it tempting with where you are with the core of this team to preach patience and not sign any big free agents, particularly given all the activity with teams around you?

Duquette: (Laughs) We want to win just as much as anybody. Our desire to win is there, and everybody, from Buck to the rest of the staff, the desire is there. We will keep working to build ourselves a good solid pitching staff so we can compete. This is a tough division, so you've got to be tough year in, year out.

MLB.com: Is that what it comes down to when you talk about success in the American League East? Pitching?

Duquette: That's going to be part of it. But the veteran leadership within the pitching staff, Chris Tillman, Chen, Gonzalez, Bud Norris they are all capable pitchers. Dave Wallace is a really top quality pitching instructor, and he's been able to help a number of pitchers over his career.


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     Orioles Executive vice president of baseball operations, Dan Duquette, said: " Oriols Director of Pitching Development, Rick Peterson, was recognized by the American Sports Medicine Institute with the James Andrews Award".

     Wow. The American Sports Medicine Institute gave an award to themselves.

     Meanwhile, the Orioles baseball pitchers continue to suffer baseball pitching injuries.

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0193.  Grilli taking his time early on in spring camp
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

BRADENTON, FL: Jason Grilli, who skipped his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday and has stayed off the mound since, is getting a kick out of the curiosity sparked by his "inactivity."

"You want to make sure I'm all right?" the Pirates closer said with a wide grin.

The right-hander eventually did get a little testy when questions continued why he had gone four days without pitching, after his first regular turn on Thursday.

Grilli reaffirmed he's just "taking his time."

The interest in Grilli's throwing schedule is understandable, considering he had missed two months of last season's second half with a forearm strain. But Grilli lightly shrugs off any concern, pointing out "last spring I pitched one inning in the World Baseball Classic, and when the bell rang I was ready to go."

Grilli had gone two weeks between Grapefruit League appearances for the Bucs, and in that span was used for one inning by Team Italy in the WBC. Overall, he logged only six innings in exhibition play, then came out of the gate converting his first 25 save opportunities.


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     For bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons to withstand the stress of competitively pitching, they need training to stress them. Without training, bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons become less able to competitively pitch.

     For Mr. Grilli to take four days off from throwing will make it more likely that Mr. Grilli will reinjure his pitching forearm.

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0194.  Crain hopes to be ready to pitch in April
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

KISSIMMEE, FL: Relief pitcher Jesse Crain still hopes to be ready to pitch in games sometime in April following surgery in October on his biceps tendon. Crain, a free agent who signed a one-year, $3.25 million deal to become one of the club's key offseason acquisitions, threw a baseball off flat ground from 60 feet on Saturday and Sunday before taking Monday off.

"That was a step forward," Crain said. "It's the first time I had thrown two days in a row and getting down here and getting into a routine and focusing strictly on my arm because that's what I'm here to do. I think it's going to progress quickly."

Crain was an All-Star in 2013, a season in which he posted a 0.74 ERA in 38 games with the White Sox, striking out 46 and walking only 11 in 36 2/3 innings, including a 29-inning scoreless streak. He didn't pitch after being traded to the Rays on July 29 because of the injury.

"[Throwing off] the mound is probably a couple of weeks away," he said. "You've got to get your arm strength up. … I need to get out to 120 feet at least to feel comfortable arm-strength-wise to throw off the mound. Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks I'll reach that point."

When asked if he hopes to pitch in April, Crain said he thinks so.

"I can't imagine it taking any longer than that," he said. "Like I said all along, I don't want to set any kind of date, so if I don't make that date to get down on myself."


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     The article said:

01. "Last October, Jesse Crain had surgery on the tendon of his Biceps Brachii muscle."
02. "Last Saturday and Sunday, Mr. Crain threw a baseball off flat ground from 60 feet.

     Until Mr. Crain supinates his pitching forearm throwing his breaking pitches, Mr. Crain will not reinjure his pitching arm.

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0195.  Pettibone gets treatment on sore right shoulder
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

CLEARWATER, FL: Phillies right-hander Jonathan Pettibone received a cortisone injection into his right shoulder Monday. He said he has felt soreness in the shoulder his past couple of bullpen sessions.

The Phillies said Pettibone will stop throwing for five days before attempting to throw again Saturday. No MRI has been scheduled.

"We'll see how he bounces back," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said.

Pettibone finished last season on the disabled list because of shoulder inflammation, so this is worth following. It could become an issue because Cole Hamels said he expects to miss the beginning of the season following discomfort in his left shoulder.

Hamels' absence would leave Cliff Lee, A.J. Burnett, Kyle Kendrick and Roberto Hernandez in the top four spots of the rotation. The fifth spot would be a competition among Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Ethan Martin, Sean O'Sullivan, Jeff Manship and others, if Pettibone cannot compete.

"I look at this as a setback, so odds are he can be a little bit behind," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.

Sandberg also mentioned right-hander B.J. Rosenberg could be stretched out to start, if needed. He has started in the past.


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     The article said:

01. "Monday, Phillies right-hander Jonathan Pettibone received a cortisone injection into his pitching shoulder."
02. "Mr. Pettibone said he has felt shoulder soreness in his past couple of bullpen sessions."
03. "Before attempting to throw again, Mr. Pettibone will stop throwing for five days."

     After destroying Ryan Howard's ankle with cortisone shots, the Phillies Medical Staff continues to give cortisone shots.

     Good luck, Mr. Pettibone.

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0196.  Venters believes slow, steady rehab way to go
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL: Jonny Venters is scheduled to throw off a mound on March 5 following two more weeks in his current long-toss program.

Venters is humming along the comeback trail after undergoing Tommy John surgery last May, but this ride is slower and steadier than the first time he underwent the procedure in 2005. His previous rehab effort was not as measured, and ultimately resulted in pain.

"The way I went about [rehab] was so much different than the first time," Venters said. "From Day 1 of the throwing program the first time, I was trying to throw hard and constantly pushing. I was constantly sore and never feeling good."

Rather than throwing full throttle from the get-go, Venters is gradually stressing the ligament and fine-tuning his mechanics. The 28-year-old hopes that by the time the Braves wrap up Spring Training at the end of March, he will be throwing hard and ready to start planning rehab assignments.

"My main goal is once I get on the mound, just to be able to find my delivery and be able to repeat it," Venters said. "Once I start throwing harder, it'll just be that much easier to repeat, and stuff like that."

Venters began dealing with soreness in July 2012 and felt discomfort in his elbow early in 2013. The injuries followed two seasons as one of baseball's best relief pitchers. He compiled a 1.89 ERA in 171 innings between 2010 and '11, earning an All-Star nod and leading the Majors with 85 appearances in his sophomore season.

The southpaw hopes to return to that form after avoiding arbitration with a one-year deal signed in November. Through his more gradual rehab, Venters feels the ball is coming out of his hand much better than before his surgery more than nine months ago.

"I haven't been sore at all," Venters said. "It's been smooth. I'm taking it slow. It's been a much better experience this time in every way really."


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     "Really."

     The article said:

01. "In 2005, Mr. Venters had his first Tommy John surgery.
02. "In July 2012, Mr. Venters began dealing with soreness."
03. "In early 2013, Mr. Venters again felt discomfort in his pitching elbow."

04. "In May 2013, Mr. Venters had his second Tommy John surgery."
05. "After two more weeks of long-tossing, Jonny Venters is scheduled to throw off a mound.
06. "Rather than throwing full throttle from the get-go, Venters is gradually stressing the ligament and fine-tuning his mechanics."

     While fine-tuning his mechanics, Mr. Venters might want to learn how to pendulum swing his pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height in one, smooth, continuous movement.

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0197.  Siegrist skips bullpen for precautionary reasons
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

JUPITER, FL: Though listed among the 13 pitchers scheduled to throw off the mound on Monday, lefty Kevin Siegrist skipped his bullpen session due to some left arm soreness.

Siegrist described the soreness as minimal and said that the decision to hold off on throwing was done in an effort "to try and stay in front of" the issue. He felt the soreness after throwing his first bullpen session of the spring on Saturday.

Asked how long he may refrain from throwing, Siegrist said, "it's not going to be long." He described the rest as "precautionary" and did make the other rotations around the field with his group on Monday to participate in non-throwing drills.

It is not all that uncommon for pitchers to experience arm soreness in the first days of spring as they begin conditioning their arms. General manager John Mozeliak said the Cardinals are unconcerned about this being more than just a minor bump in Siegrist's throwing program.

Siegrist, 24, comes to camp expected to be a key piece in the Cardinals' 2014 bullpen. Once a 41st-round Draft pick, Siegrist shot from Double-A to the Majors last season and dominated upon his arrival. In 39 2/3 innings, the lefty gave up 17 hits and two runs, struck out 50 and walked 18.

He's targeted to be a late-inning reliever for the Cardinals, who have only one other lefty (Randy Choate) already earmarked for a spot in the 'pen.


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

     The article said:

01. "Cardinals lefty Kevin Siegrist skipped his bullpen session due to some left arm soreness."
02. "Mr. Siegrist described the soreness as minimal."
03. "Mr. Siegrist described the rest as "precautionary."
04. "Cardinals general manager, John Mozeliak, said the Cardinals are unconcerned."

     Baseball pitchers need to train through soreness, not rest.

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0198.  Drabek's first bullpen session gets noticed
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

DUNEDIN, FL: Right-hander Kyle Drabek was among those who caught the eye of the Blue Jays' coaching staff on the first official day of workouts at Spring Training.

A large group of Toronto pitchers threw their first bullpen sessions Monday morning, and Drabek came away with some positive reviews from the organization. He appeared to be throwing pain free and without limitations, which is a good sign for a guy still trying to make his way back from Tommy John surgery.

The Blue Jays certainly won't read too much into the first side session of the spring, but the way Drabek looked on the mound was still an encouraging first step. 

"He was one guy that stood out for me today," Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker said. "His delivery looked sound, I love where his hands are right now. He located the ball down in the zone, his changeup was outstanding.

"He looks very confident and poised. Really repeated his delivery well. If he's a guy that's going to pound the strike zone, he's definitely in the mix. There's no question that's a Major League-calibre arm."

Right-hander Drew Hutchison also threw his first bullpen session of the spring on Monday morning. Both pitchers underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012 but appear to have arrived in camp at full strength and will contend for the fifth spot in the starting rotation.


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     Blue Jays pitching coach, Pete Walker, said:

01. "Kyle Drabek was one guy that stood out for me today."
02. "His delivery looked sound."
03. "I love where his hands are right now."
04. "Mr. Drabek located the ball down in the zone." 05. "Mr. Drabekl's changeup was outstanding.
06. "Mr. Drabek looks very confident and poised."
07. "Mr. Drabek really repeated his delivery well."
08. "If he's a guy that's going to pound the strike zone, he's definitely in the mix."
09. "There's no question, that's a Major League-calibre arm."

     Hey Pete, where were you when Mr. Drabek and Mr. Hutchison ruptured their Ulnar Collateral Ligaments?

     Is Mr. Drabek still 'reverse bouncing' his pitching forearm?

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0199.  Vasquez eyes sidearm success with Braves
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL: After several years in the Minors, Luis Vasquez decided to approach pitching from a different angle -- literally.

The right-hander, who struggled with control issues and injuries during his days as a Dodgers prospect, began experimenting with a sidearm delivery as he was struggling at two different Minor League levels for the Dodgers in 2012.

However, after spending much of last year on what he described as "the phantom (disabled list)" to work on his throwing motion, Vasquez used the new sidearm motion to compile a 3-0 record and a 1.56 ERA in 22 appearances in the Dominican Winter League.

Vasquez's success gave the Braves more reason to be encouraged about the decision to sign him as a six-year Minor League free agent on Nov. 3.

"The thing that made me better in the Dominican [League] was like, I just started throwing strikes and get that under command," Vasquez said. "I found a slider from down there, and it's like, everything gets easier."

Now hopeful to earn a spot in the Braves' bullpen, Vasquez is ready to put his new style to the test. However, a scheduling issue in obtaining his visa prevented Vasquez from reporting to Spring Training until Monday.

Because Vasquez recently sustained a mild lat strain, the Braves will not allow him to begin throwing until he is evaluated by their medical staff.

"It's nothing major," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Vasquez could prove to be another under-the-radar bullpen find by general manager Frank Wren. With his new sidearm delivery, Vasquez's fastball has registered 95-97 mph.

"I've been in the Minor Leagues for 10 years," Vasquez said. "The issue was I got injuries and stuff. Now, I'm healthy, and I'm trying to put everything together."


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

     Braves minor league baseball pitcher, Luis Vasquez, said:

01. "The thing that made me better in the Dominican [League] was like, I just started throwing strikes and get that under command."
02. "I found a slider from down there, and it's like, everything gets easier."
03. "I've been in the Minor Leagues for 10 years."
04. "The issue was I got injuries and stuff."
05. "Now, I'm healthy, and I'm trying to put everything together."

     Other than not being able to get glove arm side spray hitters and pitchinga arm side pull hitters out, sidearm baseball pitchers cannot pronate the releases of their sideways breaking pitches.

     Nevertheless, after 10 years in the minor leagues, I hope that Mr. Vasquez gets some major league time.

     I spent parts or all of 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1970 in the minor leagues.

     Yet, I still finished first, second, fourth, fifth and seventh in Cy Young Awards.

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0200.  Reds pitchers doing well on health front
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

GOODYEAR, AZ: Through the first four days of Spring Training, the Reds haven't had to hold many pitchers back from full participation.

The exceptions have been Mat Latos, who had left knee surgery Friday on the first day of camp, and Jonathan Broxton, who is on a modified throwing program as he comes back from August forearm surgery.

"We're in really good shape," manager Bryan Price said Monday.

The Reds are also making sure they don't overload lefty reliever Sean Marshall, who missed most of last season with shoulder tendinitis.

"I want to make sure he's fully strong because of the shoulder," Price said. "The strength in the shoulder is good. We had a little bit more conservative offseason for him so he had more time on the front end to get his shoulder strong before he got too deep into his throwing. I don't want to see him on work overload on the front end of Spring Training. He's 100 percent but a guy that I watch."


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

     The article said that, in 2013, Mr. Broxton and Mr. Marshall suffered pitching injuries.

     It is a good thing that they fired that pitching coach.

     As the Reds field manager, Mr. Price will not injure any more baseball pitchers.

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0201.  Kazmir continues resurrection with A's
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

PHOENIX, AZ: Scott Kazmir is starting to look like Tommy John without having had to go through Tommy John surgery to get there.

"It's quite a resurrection he's had," said Bob Melvin, Kazmir's new manager with the Oakland Athletics, on a calm, warm Monday morning at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, the team's Spring Training facility.

That's the perfect word for it: resurrection. When he threw his last pitch for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 3, 2011, in Kansas City, the pervasive feeling around the game was that we'd seen the last of the once-great talent from Houston.

Getting five outs that day with a batting-practice four-seamer, Kazmir yielded five hits, two walks and five runs. He hit two batters, gave up a home run and two steals. Of his 63 pitches, 35 were strikes.

It got worse. He was handed his release on June 15, after going 0-5 with a 17.02 ERA at Triple-A Salt Lake, walking 20 in 15 1/3 innings. Kazmir looked done at 27. Nobody expected to see him on a big league mound again.

"I had to learn how to fix myself," Kazmir said, getting to the moral of the remarkable story.

So, here he is with the reigning American League West champions, armed with a two-year, $22 million contract. He's a pitcher born again at 30 after a 2013 season in Cleveland that included a 10-9 record, 4.04 ERA and 162 strikeouts against only 47 walks in 158 innings.

Manager Terry Francona and his Indians teammates certainly played roles in Kazmir's comeback, but the real answers are found in the athlete's resolve, his no-surrender attitude.

"Tito put on that vibe in Cleveland," Kazmir said. "I loved playing for him. I thought the whole team was awesome. Almost from game one everyone came together. Looking back, everyone had a blast."

A free agent, Kazmir weighed the offers and decided the East Bay and an exciting young club on the rise fit his needs to a T. All the numbers checked out for A's general manager Billy Beane, who signed off on another former Angels pitcher, essentially replacing 40-year-old ace Bartolo Colon (28-15 in two years) with a man 10 years younger.

"I hope you're right -- I'm paying the guy $22 million," Beane said when a longtime Kazmir watcher predicted he'd get a nice return on his investment.

Kazmir's resurrection is of the storybook variety, rivaling any in the game.

Signed to a $2.15 million bonus as the Mets' first-round pick (15th overall) out of Houston's Cypress Falls High School in 2002, he was dealt to Tampa Bay two years later for pitcher Victor Zambrano. Kazmir soared in Florida with his 95- to 98-mph heater and a killer slider.

An American League strikeout champion at 23, he was the winning pitcher in the final All-Star Game at old Yankee Stadium in 2008. Not a big man by pitching standards, carrying 185 pounds on a 6-foot frame, Kazmir was showing some signs of wear when the Rays sent him to the Angels at midseason 2009.

Effective in the beginning, going 2-2 with a 1.73 ERA in six outings, he made two postseason starts for the Angels. It began to unravel in 2010 when he was 9-15 with a 5.94 ERA. Then came the crash.

"I don't want to go there," Kazmir said when asked what he takes from his Angels experience.

What appeared to be the end of the road actually was the start of a new journey -- one of self-discovery.

"It was nothing physical," he said, dismissing the notion of a dead arm. "My arm felt great."

So how does a guy go from throwing 98 mph to 84? A two-pitch pitcher whose heater is no faster than his slider isn't going to survive.

"I was in great shape," he said, "but it wasn't the shape I needed to be in. It was me. I had to figure it out."

He looked at video and threw in his backyard. He attended Ron Wolforths's Texas Baseball Ranch in Montgomery, Texas. He did drills, "hoping something would click."

He spent 2012 with mixed results for Sugar Land of the Independent Atlantic League.

What Kazmir finally discovered was that "everything had to do with flexibility. Doing one repetitive motion over and over, I lost my flexibility. It's something so small you can't see it on video. It's lower body, lower back, arm flexibility, hip flexibility -- everything I use to pitch.

I wasn't able to raise my [right] leg nearly as high [in his delivery].

"Everything I do in life is left-handed. Once I identified the problem and learned how to balance myself out, everything began to come back."

He started practicing yoga, a discipline the A's introduce to players during Spring Training. Unlocking the keys, Kazmir figures he's embarking on a second career, in effect.

"I was throwing 94, 95 again last year," he said. "My slider came back in the second half. I developed a change almost by accident; I was deadening the ball without even realizing it. It became my best pitch. I developed a curveball, a cutter.

"These things are so easy to do now, with balance and flexibility. They aren't perfect pitches, but they can get better." He paused, in thought. A five-pitch repertoire clearly beats two pitches.

"I think I'm for sure better than I used to be," Kazmir said. "Now it's a matter of how consistent I can be."

He had banked about $38 million when he left the Angels.

"It definitely wasn't about that," he said. "I could have easily folded, stayed home. It was about competing; that was the motivation. I couldn't even turn on the TV and watch a game. I missed it."

Scott Kazmir is back. Resurrected.


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     Athletics baseball pitcher, Scott Kazmir, said:

01. "I had to learn how to fix myself."
02. "Hoping something would click."
03. "I looked at video."
04. "I threw in my backyard."
05. "I did drills, hoping something would click."
06. "Everything had to do with flexibility."
07. "Doing one repetitive motion over and over."
08. "I lost my flexibility."
09. "It's something so small you can't see it on video."
10. "It's lower body, lower back, arm flexibility, hip flexibility -- everything I use to pitch."
11. "I wasn't able to raise my front leg nearly as high.
12. "Everything I do in life is left-handed."
13. "Once I identified the problem and learned how to balance myself out, everything began to come back."
14. "I started practicing yoga."
15. "I was throwing 94, 95 again."
16. "My slider came back in the second half."
17. "I developed a change almost by accident."
18. "I was deadening the ball without even realizing it."
19. "It became my best pitch."
20. "I developed a curveball, a cutter."
21. "These things are so easy to do now, with balance and flexibility."
22. "They aren't perfect pitches, but they can get better."
23. "A five-pitch repertoire clearly beats two pitches."
24. "I think I'm for sure better than I used to be."
25. "Now it's a matter of how consistent I can be."
26. "I attended Ron Wolforths's Texas Baseball Ranch in Montgomery, Texas."

     What!

     Mr. Kazmir attended Ron Wolforth's Texas Baseball Ranch.

     Like Mr. Bauer, did Mr. Wolforth and Mr. Strom teach Mr. Kazmir how to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and pronate the release of his breaking pitches?

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***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, March 02, 2014, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0202.  Rockies Director of Pitching has the answer to thin air

I think the Rockies have found the secret to delivering high quality pitches at altitude!

There it was: the technique pictured on the front page of the sports section.

A set of track hurdles were set up on the field.

One pitcher was ducking under one hurdle. Another pitcher was stepping over another hurdle.

Surely this is the key!!!


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     Damn. I wish that I had thought of that.

     Ducking under the hurdle teaches baseball pitchers how to get out of the way of hard hit line drives back at their head.

     Stepping over the hurdle teaches baseball pitchers how to get their front leg higher for maximum stride distance.

     Genius.

     That explains why the Rockies Director of Pitching is not interested in anything that I teach.

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0203.  A Cardinals Pitcher Threw a Football to Improve His Curve

It looks like another Cardinals pitcher is using your methods.

Also, I read where Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow indicated that last year none of their top pitching prospects suffered a major arm injury. It was the first time he had experienced that in his 12 years in pro baseball.

I wonder what methods of yours the Astros organization is using.

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

Joe Kelly threw a football to improve his curveball
Aaron Gleeman
Feb 21, 2014

Joe Kelly has impressed onlookers in Cardinals camp with his improved curveball and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch writes that the right-hander credits throwing a football during the offseason for the change:

Kelly said by throwing the football he was able to find an arm slot that he could consistently use and a shorter arm swing that adds to his deception. He was able to condition his hand’s release for better control. He shifted his usual grip on the curve to meet the new arm slot. The righty acknowledged that he worried about “losing velocity” by making the change. But he hasn’t.

Kelly stepped into the Cardinals’ rotation down the stretch last season and was fantastic, going 9-2 with a 2.09 ERA, but St. Louis’ impressive starting pitching depth means he’s not even guaranteed to be a starter this season. Goold notes that Kelly is one of seven starters competing for four openings behind Adam Wainwright, so that’s where the improved curveball could factor in.

And, really, Sam Bradford's grip on the Rams starting job can't be that secure anyway.


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     Unfortunately, the article does not show how Mr. Kelly threw the football.

     I doubt that Mr. Kelly threw a football with the tip of the football between his Index and Middle fingers and drove the Ring finger side of his Middle finger to achieve the 12-6 rotation of the football.

     If Mr. Kelly threw the square cover of a four-gallon bucket and made it horizontally into the strike zone, then I would be very interested.

     When Mr. Luhnow was the Cardinals Director of Development, I showed Mr. Luhnow my wrist weight exercises, my football throws, my iron ball throws and the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     If the Astros did not have any top baseball pitching prospects suffer a major pitching arm injury, then Mr. Luhnow learned about pendulum swinging the pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height and how to pronate the releases of their pitches.

     I also showed Mr. Luhnow how my Half Reverse Pivot drill taught baseball pitchers how to engage the Latissimus Dorsi muscle and much, much more.

     That Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch wrote this article is interesting. During one of my visits to Jupiter, FL, Mr. Goold and I spent time talking about what I teach.

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0204.  Doolittle moves past minor calf injury
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

PHOENIX, AZ: Sean Doolittle got through his Monday bullpen session pain-free, putting the left-handed reliever back on track at A's Spring Training following a mild left calf strain.

Doolittle, in fact, hasn't felt any discomfort for three days, allowing him to take to the mound without hesitation. For him, the bigger question mark was how his arm was going to feel a full week after his last bullpen session.

The answer: Just fine.

"It feels great," Doolittle said. "It feels really good. I was disappointed with the way I located things today, but the way my body felt, the way my arm felt, it was real free. After having a full week off, I was real pleased with the way things felt."

"All we were looking for was to make sure he's OK, and no problems with him," said manager Bob Melvin. "We didn't feel like it was a big problem, but this early in spring you always want to make sure you're proactive and give him an extra day."


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     Athletics baseball pitcher, Sean Doolittle, said:

01. "It (strained glove leg calf muscle, probably the Plantaris) feels great."
02. "It feels really good."
03. "I was disappointed with the way I located things today."
04. "But, the way my body felt, the way my arm felt, it was real free."
05. "After having a full week off, I was real pleased with the way things felt."

     As a result of doing too much too soon, Mr. Doolittle had a minor training discomfort.

     Athletes need to train through training discomfort.

     Taking a week off only delays the physiological adjustment.

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0205.  Cingrani told to be upfront about injuries
MLB.com
February 17, 2014

GOODYEAR, AZ: One of the few negatives associated with lefty pitcher Tony Cingrani's rookie 2013 season was back injuries. In August, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list and missed two starts with a lower back strain. The injury flared up a second time in the middle of a Sept. 10 game and ended his season.

It turned out that Cingrani was having back trouble for three weeks before he informed the club. Former manager Dusty Baker and then-pitching coach and current manager Bryan Price let Cingrani know that keeping his injury a secret wasn't acceptable.

"First of all, we have a responsibility to go out there and win games for the Reds and take the field prepared," Price said Monday. "No. 2, you have the best in the business in the clubhouse to get you ready to take the field feeling good. Don't keep an injury or a nagging problem to yourself. I think anymore, if you're not ready to play, we have the people to help you get ready to play."

Cingrani, 24, was 7-4 with a 2.92 ERA last season in 23 games, including 18 starts, mostly while filling in for an injured Johnny Cueto. He is expected to be a full-time member of the rotation this season.

"You're not soft by going in [the training room] on the days you need some attention from the trainers," Price said. "I think he was trying to be that rookie that wasn't seen lingering in the training room. I appreciate that but I think it set him back."


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     Reds field manager, Bryan Price, said:

01. "First of all, we have a responsibility to go out there and win games for the Reds and take the field prepared."
02. "No. 2, you have the best in the business in the clubhouse to get you ready to take the field feeling good."
03. "Don't keep an injury or a nagging problem to yourself."
04. "I think anymore, if you're not ready to play, we have the people to help you get ready to play."
05. "You're not soft by going in [the training room] on the days you need some attention from the trainers." Price said. "I think he was trying to be that rookie that wasn't seen lingering in the training room. I appreciate that but
06. "I think it set him back."

     If the Reds Medical Staff were the best at getting baseball pitchers ready to take the field feeling good, then the Reds Medical Staff would know that lower back strains result from striding too far and bending forward at the waist.

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0206.  Duffy competing to start, but open to bullpen role
MLB.com
February 18, 2014

SURPRISE, AZ: When you sift through the names, there's quite a long list of possible candidates for that fifth spot in the Royals' rotation.

Hard-throwing rookie Yordano Ventura is the early favorite, but there's also Danny Duffy, Wade Davis, Luke Hochevar, Chris Dwyer and even dark-horse guys like Brad Penny, P.J. Walters and Everett Teaford. (Hot prospect Kyle Zimmer has been moved to the slow track for now.)

When it all shakes out, how about this for one of the outcomes: Duffy as a left-handed part in the bullpen?

Yep, that's the same Duffy who's always been regarded as a big-time starter of the future. Yet, sliding into a relief role is something that even Duffy has considered.

"There's a lot of really deserving candidates and I've heard a lot of talk about the bullpen and I've thought that my game would fit out there for a long time, too," he said. "So wherever they may put me, I'm ready for it."

Duffy, 25, was on the rehabilitation trail last season after Tommy John surgery reconstructed his valuable left elbow on June 13, 2012. He eventually got back to the Major League level and made five starts late last season.

He did all right, too, with a 2-0 record and a 1.85 ERA. Heck, on Aug. 16 at Detroit, Duffy had a no-hitter going with two outs in the sixth inning until Miguel Cabrera -- who else? -- singled. Duffy got the third out and was pulled, but earned a 2-1 victory over the formidable Justin Verlander.

He went back to Triple-A Omaha for another start before returning for three more starts for Kansas City. Then, after Sept. 7, he was shut down for the season and eventually went on the disabled list with what was termed a flexor strain.

"It was just a little inflamed, I didn't have a strain," Duffy said. "It was just a little inflammation and they erred on the side of caution. I never had any structural damage or anything."

Now Duffy, who threw a batting practice session in camp Monday, is feeling good.

"I'm ready to go," he said. "I've prepared myself the whole offseason to come in here and give them a full season. I feel like I'm ready for that. I'm in the best shape of my life right now. We'll see, I'm ready to go."

Duffy broke into the KC rotation on May 18, 2011, and made 20 starts that season with a 4-8 record and 5.64 ERA. In his sixth start of 2012, he injured his elbow on May 13 and underwent reconstructive surgery a month later.

And now: "It's all good, everything's good, all reports are good right now," he said.

Of the 121 games that Duffy has pitched as a professional, he's relieved in only four. But he thinks he could handle the transition from starting as teammate Luke Hochevar did so well last year.

"It's a lot easier said than done. Hoch did a heck of a job last year. He made the transition look really easy," Duffy said. "I know it's a lot of work and it's a different approach but I feel like my game could really fit out there if it really got to that point. But right now, I'm trying to win that fifth spot. But wherever they put me, wherever they think I fit best, wherever they think I could help the team most, I'm ready for it."

Manager Ned Yost anticipates his toughest decisions will be in the bullpen.

"Here's our focus: At the end of Spring Training, we're going to put together the best pitching staff that we can assemble," Yost said. "If that means that one of these young guys, we feel, makes our pitching staff better in the bullpen, we're going to do it."

At this point, who knows -- that young guy could be Ventura as well as Duffy. But Yost can see Duffy riding the bullpen boards.

"Danny's a competitor, Danny can pitch anywhere," Yost said. "Danny comes in like all our pitchers do with the right mindset. They're going to compete and they want to win."

And Yost can envision Duffy as being anything from a long reliever to a situational lefty, a reliever with versatility. "With his stuff, yeah, he could be Hochevar," Yost said.

Duffy, if he fails to win the fifth starting job, is certainly willing.

"It's never a problem to have too many arms," he said. "The skipper will shift it around like he knows best. I have total trust they know where I could fit best and help out the most. Wherever I may end up, it'll be a good thing."


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     Royals baseball pitcher, Danny Duffy, said:

01. "It was just a little inflamed."
02. "I didn't have a strain."
03. "It was just a little inflammation."
04. "They erred on the side of caution."
05. "I never had any structural damage or anything."

     Erring on the side of caution causes more injuries.

     Judicially training through strains, inflammations and so on, not only stimulates a physiological adjustment, it also keeps the skills ready to go.

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0207.  Michael Stokes comments

If any lily liver MLB team or batters chose to step into harm's way and step up to my plate, I will cause them injury in just attempting to make even contact your pitches. I guarantee terror from the mound.

Your Sport Illustrated Covers do not show the motion you used to get into those stills photographs.

Paganini and Ughi. Paganini stirred a generation and Ughi was a Picasso on a bad trip!!!

You were finest pitcher I ever saw toe the rubber.

Good Day Dr. Marshall

Sincerely,

Michael


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Hi Michael,

     For the Sports Illustrated photo, I purposely used the 'traditional' pitching motion.

     That said, while I engaged my Latissimus Dorsi motion, I did not do the pitching motion that I recommend today.

     I wish that I had known then what I know now.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0208.  Rockies folly

I think the Rockies have found the secret to delivering high quality pitches at altitude!

There it was: the technique pictured on the front page of the sports section.

A set of track hurdles were set up on the field.

One pitcher was ducking under one hurdle. Another pitcher was stepping over another hurdle.

Surely this is the key!!!


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     Damn. I wish that I had thought of that.

     Ducking under the hurdle teaches baseball pitchers how to get out of the way of hard hit line drives back at their head.

     Stepping over the hurdle teaches baseball pitchers how to get their front leg higher for maximum stride distance.

     Genius.

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0209.  A Cardinals Pitcher Threw a Football to Improve His Curve

It looks like another Cardinals pitcher is using your methods.

Also, I read where Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow indicated that last year none of their top pitching prospects suffered a major arm injury. It was the first time he had experienced that in his 12 years in pro baseball.

I wonder what methods of yours the Astros organization is using.

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

Joe Kelly threw a football to improve his curveball
Hardball Talk
By Aaron Gleeman
Feb 21, 2014

Joe Kelly has impressed onlookers in Cardinals camp with his improved curveball and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch writes that the right-hander credits throwing a football during the offseason for the change:

Kelly said by throwing the football he was able to find an arm slot that he could consistently use and a shorter arm swing that adds to his deception. He was able to condition his hand’s release for better control. He shifted his usual grip on the curve to meet the new arm slot. The righty acknowledged that he worried about “losing velocity” by making the change. But he hasn’t.

Kelly stepped into the Cardinals’ rotation down the stretch last season and was fantastic, going 9-2 with a 2.09 ERA, but St. Louis’ impressive starting pitching depth means he’s not even guaranteed to be a starter this season. Goold notes that Kelly is one of seven starters competing for four openings behind Adam Wainwright, so that’s where the improved curveball could factor in.

And, really, Sam Bradford's grip on the Rams starting job can't be that secure anyway.


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     Unfortunately, the article does not show how Mr. Kelly threw the football.

     I doubt that Mr. Kelly threw a football with the tip of the football between his Index and Middle fingers and drove the Ring finger side of his Middle finger to achieve the 12-6 rotation of the football.

     If Mr. Kelly threw the square cover of a four-gallon bucket and made it horizontally into the strike zone, then I would be very interested.

     When Mr. Luhnow was the Cardinals Director of Development, I showed Mr. Luhnow my wrist weight exercises, my football throws, my iron ball throws and the drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion.

     If the Astros did not have any top baseball pitching prospects suffer a major pitching arm injury, then Mr. Luhnow learned about pendulum swinging the pitching arm downward, backward and upward to driveline height and how to pronate the releases of their pitches.

     I also showed Mr. Luhnow how my Half Reverse Pivot drill taught baseball pitchers how to engage the Latissimus Dorsi muscle and much, much more.

     That Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch wrote this article is interesting. During one of my visits to Jupiter, FL, Mr. Goold and I spent time talking about what I teach.

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0210.  Jamie Evans Can't Prevent Arm Problems

Your comments on the problems caused by the bastardization of your pitching program seems to be happening with the Blue Jays.


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     Thank you for the link.

     Yep. I predicted that Mr. Evans did not understand the how to properly of trains the brakes and he would injure baseball pitchers.      I am especially interested in why the Blue Jays would hire Mr. Evans on the apparent success of one baseball pitcher.

     When I have more time, I will comment in great detail about the Blue Jay folly.

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0211.  Lewis ready to compete in return from pair of injuries
MLB.com
February 24, 2014

SURPRISE, AZ: The Rangers will hold an intrasquad game Tuesday afternoon on the Nolan Ryan Field at their Spring Training complex. Normally these are desultory affairs designed for little more than to allow pitchers to throw their first inning of the spring before moving into the Cactus League.

For Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis, it is much more significant. It will be his first time on the mound in any kind of game conditions since undergoing right hip replacement surgery on Aug. 22. Every small step is a victory when trying to come back from a procedure that usually takes place after a player's career is over.

Lewis does not believe he is done, even though he hasn't pitched in the big leagues since July 18, 2012. He is in camp on a Minor League deal competing for a spot in a rotation that has an unexpected opening after Derek Holland suffered a freak knee injury in January tripping over his dog. If Lewis is as good -- or better -- than he was during 2010-11 when the Rangers went to two World Series, he could find himself once again pitching every five days in the Major Leagues.

"I feel like there's opportunity to be had," Lewis said. "There's a little bit of, if I'm healthy, what I've done here that hopefully plays into it. I know I can do this and give it what I've got and give it what the body's got left and keep going forward.

"The Rangers have been gracious to give me another opportunity this year to try to make the club. That's all I can do is go out there and perform with what I've got. If it's good enough, I'll make the club. If it's not, we'll see what's out there."

The hip replacement is one of two major operations Lewis has undergone since last pitching for the Rangers. He also had surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow on July 27, 2012. That surgery took place after Lewis had gone 32-29 with a 3.93 ERA in 80 starts for the Rangers after they signed him out of Japan in 2010. He was also 4-1 with a 2.34 ERA in eight postseason starts.

So far, everything has gone well. The new hip allows Lewis to drive off the mound again and has taken pressure off the arm. There is no pain and his delivery is free and easy, something he really hasn't experienced in eight years, even through two excellent seasons in Japan in 2008-09 and as a member of the Rangers' World Series rotation in 2010-11.

"I feel like I have drive off the back side," Lewis said. "It's kind of different feeling that I can work on feeling pressure on my back side and my leg. My mechanics, I feel like, are a lot better now. Being so short and it takes less pressure off my elbow. I think I was continuing to have elbow problems because I was throwing across my body because the hip was hurting so badly. I don't have those issues right now.

"I feel like four or five years ago when I got here. I feel like I've got all that flexibility I had back then I started feeling it in 2006. It felt like a hip flexor, constantly tight. Even in Japan, I'd pitch and the next day a couple of guys would make fun of me because I'd walk with a limp."

Major surgery is nothing new for Lewis. He had Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in high school, long before the Rangers made him the 38th overall pick in the 1999 First-Year Player Draft. Lewis missed all of 2005 because of a torn rotator cuff that required surgery, and he spent the next two years with the Tigers and Athletics pitching mostly in Triple-A. He needed two years in Japan to really find himself again.

"They gave me a 70 percent chance that I would ever pitch again with my shoulder," Lewis said. "I [had] Tommy John [surgery] at 16. It's just another something that I have to overcome. It's the way my career has been -- never been super healthy. I'd put three or four years together and get hurt again.

"To have the surgeries that I've had -- big surgeries -- I've been blessed. I have a beautiful family, a beautiful home. God has blessed me in so many different ways besides coming out here and worrying about coming back to play baseball."

Other pitchers have come back from torn rotator cuffs, flexor tendons and ulnar collateral ligaments. The hip replacement is something new.

"You never want to have a hip replacement in the middle of your career," Lewis said. "I knew that I'd probably have to have it eventually, some day. After seeing one of the doctors, he said I was probably born with a little bit of hip dysplasia, and playing sports just sped the process up. This is active replacement, I guess. It's not the whole rod down the leg, but it is a good size two-pound chunk of metal there.

"This is unchartered territory. It could last me five years, it could last me three years. Who knows? I feel like as long as I stay in good shape, it's going to take less pressure and keep everything tight in there and keep things from banging in there.

"I'm sure it will be year-to-year. I did it for the love of the game and wanting to continue to play. Like my wife said, 'I'm not ready for baseball to be over.' Neither am I. It is what it is. You've been dealt with the cards you've been dealt and have to play what you've got."

The next big step comes Tuesday.


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     The article said:

01. "Major surgery is nothing new for Colby Lewis."
02. "In High School, Mr. Lewsi had Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery."
03. "Mr. Lewis missed all of 2005 because of a torn rotator cuff that required surgery."
04. "Mr. Lewis needed two years in Japan to really find himself again.

     Rangers baseball pitcher, Colby Lewis, said: 01. "I feel like I have drive off the back side." 02. "It's kind of different feeling that I can work on feeling pressure on my back side and my leg." 03. "My mechanics, I feel like, are a lot better now." 04. "Being so short and it takes less pressure off my elbow." 05. "I think I was continuing to have elbow problems because I was throwing across my body because the hip was hurting so badly." 06. "I don't have those issues right now.

     What Mr. Lewis is saying is that, instead of rotating the hips and shoulders forward over his pitching leg, Mr. Lewis has to rotate his hips and shoulders over his glove foot.

     Now, if Mr. Lewis learns how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle, then Mr. Lewis will never again have problems with his pitching shoulder.

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0212.  Matsuzaka already in regular season form
Newark Star Ledger
February 19, 2014

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL: As the Mets ease into spring training, on just the fifth official day for pitchers and catchers, it is apparent that Daisuke Matsuzaka is working off his own schedule. He began throwing on Jan. 1.

When Matsuzaka long tosses with his counterparts in the outfield on Field 5 at the Tradition Field facility, he stands nearly twice as far apart from his throwing partner than the others.

His accelerated progress was most visible during his bullpen session Wednesday. While the other pitchers had left the area, and even the coaches walked away, Matsuzaka remained — throwing alone on the far end.

The 33-year-old Japanese right-hander said he had only thrown 50 pitches, but his preparation is so far ahead of other pitchers — and he is given so much autonomy — that Mets manager Terry Collins would not have been surprised if he had thrown 150.

It is part of the mandate Collins gave Matsuzaka heading into this season. After re-signing with the Mets on a minor-league contract last month, he entered spring training in a competition for the fifth starter role with John Lannan and Jenrry Mejia.

To get him prepared, Collins told him simply to follow his own regimen.

"You know yourself better than anybody," Collins said. "You know what you gotta do to get ready. You do it and I’ll back you up."

Having worked in Japan for two years, Collins is familiar enough with the culture of pitching in the country that the aim is to work harder in order to make the game easier.

"If he threw 100 (pitches), I wouldn’t be shocked," Collins said of his bullpens. "If he threw 75, I wouldn’t be shocked. If he threw 150, I wouldn’t be surprised."

Already, Matsuzaka said, he is ready to throw in a game. He went into the offseason with the goal to enter spring training able to pitch to hitters, and he has achieved it. He now spends his time refining.

During bullpen sessions, Jeff Cutler, his interpreter, stands a camera on a tripod behind the catcher or the pitcher. Matsuzaka later watches the video to check his mechanics.

Matsuzaka is hoping to carry over the success of his final four starts of last season — when he allowed four earned runs over 26? innings — and not the messy three starts — 15 runs in 12? innings — that preceded them after he joined the Mets in August.

He will attempt to do so by using his curveball as he did last season, throwing it more than he ever had, and by working out of the same position on the mound.

It has helped that he spent an offseason fully healthy for the first time in "a while," he said. It allowed him to focus on maintenance and training, instead of recovery.

As those factors added up, it has given the pitchers confidence that he can replicate his September results and regain the luster he once held.

"I’m in the process of getting back to the pitcher I think I can be," Matsuzaka said. "And I think I’m making steps in the right direction."


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     Mets baseball pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka, said:

01. "I’m in the process of getting back to the pitcher I think I can be."
02. "And I think I’m making steps in the right direction."

     The article said: "Having worked in Japan for two years, Collins is familiar enough with the culture of pitching in the country that the aim is to work harder in order to make the game easier."

     The Red Sox destroyed Mr. Matsuzaka. Maybe, Mets field manager, Terry Collins can let Mr. Matsuzaka fix himself.

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0213.  Tijuan Walker of the Seattle Mariners now

Dr. Marshall,

Yout candor and forthright are, are exemplary. Too often your pictures are what the kids all imitate.

They may pitch to the middle of home plate up until they all lose the range of motion, snapped tendons and torn muscles.

Kershaw, King Felix, Iwakuma and Ichiro are suffering from the flying out of there elbows to get the picture perfect you created for them be photographed in on the cover of Sports Illustrated where you following through after one of your baffling pitches.

No one is you.


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Hi Michael,

     My videos teaches what baseball pitchers need to learn. Start with Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion. Then, watch my Causes of Pitching Injuries and Prevent Pitching Injuries videos. Then, spend the time to watch all eleven sections of my two and one-half hours Baseball Pitching Instructional video.

     Still photographs from 1974 mean nothing. In the forty years since then, I have learned a lot.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0214.  Astros stockpile talented arms in farm system
MLB.com
February 20, 2014

KISSIMMEE, FL: The Astros have been at the forefront of utilizing statistical data since general manager Jeff Luhnow was hired 26 months ago, and they recently spent more than $300,000 upgrading the club's video equipment for advance scouting.

They've tried to take whatever steps necessary to give them a competitive edge as they continue to rebuild the Major League club, but no matter how many numbers you crunch or high-definition cameras you install, the game still usually comes down to one thing: pitching.

The Astros have tried to make sure they have enough of that, too, stockpiling arms through the First-Year Player Draft and trades in the past two years. The team has built what's considered the best Minor League system in baseball, thanks in part to an impressive influx of young arms.

"You've got to score some runs, but you've got to prevent runs," Luhnow said. "They're both equally important, but because pitchers tend to get hurt more often than position players, you have to have more of them."

Last year, the Astros saw 10 pitchers make their Major League debuts, including Jarred Cosart, Josh Zeid, Kevin Chapman, David Martinez, Jose Cisnero, Paul Clemens and Chia-Jen Lo. In camp this year are several players who could reach the Majors at some point, led by prospects such as Mike Foltynewicz and Asher Wojciechowski.

It's an impressive mix of young talent manager Bo Porter hopes continues to grow.

"We all know it starts and ends on the mound," Porter said. "You look at the young players we have coming, and obviously they are extremely exciting players. The additions which we were able to make to go with the core groups we had returning last year gives us depth."

With veteran pitching coach Brent Strom, pitching coordinator Dyar Miller, roving pitching instructor Doug White and senior pitching advisor Doug Brocail providing guidance, the Astros' young pitchers have also already heard from Roger Clemens this year. Nolan Ryan will drop by, too.

"I think they're taking the kid gloves off them a little bit and asking a lot of them to step up," Clemens said. "I hope they pay attention to detail and I hope they pay attention when they're not pitching, watching what's happening to a hitter they have trouble with or how they want to break that hitter down. That's all part of the learning process, but good Lord, you're a Major League player and you should already have that in your routine and your makeup and how you carry yourself."

The pitching depth runs so deep, the Astros plan to again use tandem starters in the Minor Leagues to give more pitchers more innings. By having two starting pitchers work in the same game, it gives eight starters at each level and 10 in rookie ball a chance to work on a third pitch or stamina or anything else.

Some of the pitchers are ultimately going to be moved to the bullpen, but the Astros want to give them as long of a look as possible as starters, and the tandem starting arrangement allows them to do that.

"Whatever they're working on, they get a chance to work on it," Luhnow said. "Ultimately, not everybody can start, so you do need some guys to go into the bullpen. It also allows you to build up more innings with them so when they do transition over the bullpen, they've got the amount of innings in the Minor Leagues they need."

Since taking over as general manager in December 2011, Luhnow has acquired 21 pitchers in 13 different trades, including Wojciechowski, Rudy Owens, Alex White, Brad Peacock and Anthony Bass, all of whom are in big league camp this year. Other names, such as Joe Musgrove, David Rollins, Blair Walters, Colton Cain and Josh Hader, aren't quite well as known.

The Astros took 24 pitchers in last year's First-Year Player Draft, including Mark Appel with the first overall pick, Andrew Thurman in the second round and left-hander Kent Emanuel in the third round. They drafted 19 pitchers in Luhnow's first Draft with Houston in 2012, taking Lance McCullers Jr. 41st overall and Brady Rodgers in the third round.

"There's a higher failure rate for pitchers coming through the Minor Leagues, so you have to have more of them," Luhnow said. "We definitely prioritized that in every trade that we made. We wanted to make sure we got a good, young arm coming back to the extent that was possible. We knew we would be picking some up in the Draft as well, but it takes those guys a little bit longer.

"From Owens to Wojo to Hader, we really prioritized getting guys in we thought could be starters and had already passed a couple of hurdles in the Minor Leagues. So maybe a little bit safer than guys out of the Draft. Even when you have a pitching prospect at Double-A, there's going to be no guarantees they're going to make it to the big leagues, so we wanted to make sure we had a enough depth there."

The Astros have been fortunate not to suffer many serious injuries among their starting pitchers in the Minor Leagues, though White is coming off Tommy John surgery and Owens missed nearly all of last year following foot surgery. Luhnow credits team doctors, trainers, coaches and strength and conditioning coaches for helping maintain health and giving the pitchers more time to develop.

"That's really what it's all about," Luhnow said. "You look at what we have in the big leagues, a lot of young pitchers and lot of guys made their debuts last year. Also, you look at guys who could potentially make the big league club this year, and Wojo is in that equation and Folty's not that far away.

"There's a big wave of guys after that when you look at Rodgers and Appel and everybody else. You kind of want to have that situation every year where you have three or four guys coming to the big leagues for the first time that are going to be in the mix sometime in the next season and a season and a half, and I think we're there."


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

     The article said: 01. "With veteran pitching coach Brent Strom, pitching coordinator Dyar Miller, roving pitching instructor Doug White and senior pitching advisor Doug Brocail providing guidance, the Astros' young pitchers have also already heard from Roger Clemens this year and Nolan Ryan will drop by."

     Former major league baseball pitcher, Roger Clemens, said:

01. "I think they're taking the kid gloves off them a little bit and asking a lot of them to step up."
02. "I hope they pay attention to detail."
03. "I hope they pay attention when they're not pitching."
04. "Watching what's happening to a hitter they have trouble with or how they want to break that hitter down."
05. "That's all part of the learning process."
06. "But good Lord, you're a Major League player and you should already have that in your routine and your makeup and how you carry yourself."

     Unless these baseball pitchers have the variety of high-quality pitches that they need to succeed against the four types of batters, their routine and make-up will not make any difference.

     The article said:

01. "Veteran pitching coach Brent Strom, pitching coordinator Dyar Miller, roving pitching instructor Doug White and senior pitching advisor Doug Brocail providing guidance to the Astros baseball pitchers."
02. "The pitching depth runs so deep, the Astros plan to again use tandem starters in the Minor Leagues to give more pitchers more innings."
03. "By having two starting pitchers work in the same game, it gives eight starters at each level and 10 in rookie ball a chance to work on a third pitch or stamina or anything else."
04. "The Astros have been fortunate not to suffer many serious injuries among their starting pitchers in the Minor Leagues."
05. "Only White is coming off Tommy John surgery and Owens missed nearly all of last year following foot surgery."
06. "Mr. Luhnow credits team doctors, trainers, coaches and strength and conditioning coaches for helping maintain health and giving the pitchers more time to develop."

     Brent Strom teaches and mastered my Maxline Pronation Curve and watches my video. Dyer Miller watched my two guys demonstrate my wrist weight exercises, iron ball throws and Half Reverse Pivot drill.

     Maybe they learned something.

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0215.  Australian baseball league re: your system

I am an expatriate New Yorker, residing in Sydney, who has a desire to implement your system in the fledgling Australian Baseball League.

My background is a 30 year history in natural medicine with the emphasis on myofascial bodywork, acupuncture and clinical nutrition.

I had clients such as John McEnroe, Byron Scott, Jack Haley, Royce Gracie and others.

I have a profound interest in plyometrics and the biomechanics of sports, especially  pertaining to iron palm kung-fu and a breathing technique I have developed called "original form".

I have a plan which I would gladly share with you for a training regimen and your system would, I project, be embraced in this Australian sports culture quite readily.

Your videos and website present irrefutable evidence of the correctness of your approach, and I cannot think of a more likely place to gather momentum. Pun intended.


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     I am always available to teach baseball pitchers and baseball pitching coaches what baseball pitchers have to do to become the best injury-free baseball pitchers that they can be.

     In the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, the 'reverse bounce' technique is an injurious attempt at plyometrics that results in rupturing the Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     With my baseball pitching motion, my 'horizontal rebound' technique properly and safely lengthens the tendon of the Latissimus Dorsi muscle for the plyometric effect.

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0216.  Michael Stokes comments

If any lily liver MLB team or batters chose to step into harm's way and step up to my plate, I will cause them injury in just attempting to make even contact your pitches. I guarantee terror from the mound.

Your Sport Illustrated Covers do not show the motion you used to get into those stills photographs.

Paganini and Ughi. Paganini stirred a generation and Ughi was a Picasso on a bad trip!!!

You were finest pitcher I ever saw toe the rubber.

Good Day Dr. Marshall

Sincerely,

Michael


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Hi Michael,

     For the Sports Illustrated photo, I purposely used the 'traditional' pitching motion.

     That said, while I engaged my Latissimus Dorsi motion, I did not do the pitching motion that I recommend today.

     I wish that I had known then what I know now.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0217.  Australian baseball league re: your system

Thank you for your response.

Firstly, I have been engaged in something baseball related, but not regarding biomechanics.

It is a physioacoustic microphone that I have been promoting to Stan Last en through his son who is an orthodox Jew as I am...it might be of interest to you seeing that you are an Innovator by nature...

One other thing that I had devoted myself to was the NASA designed human gyroscope originally called an orbitron. ..it was designed to teach astronauts how to spacewalk by moving thru their center of gravity while experiencing weightlessness. ..I used it to develop core strength and inculcate an awareness of motion through the center of gravity. ..athletes based on my observations fail to recognize balance and the correct format even though you would assume that their peak physical condition and extensive training would have enlightened them as to proper form coinciding with proper breathing and timing...I've written a treatise on this that is an elegant simplicity. ..anyway...

I will make inquiries with the staff here on Sydney of the blue sox team.

Is there a presentation you've written even an executive summary I could utilize to present your cogent argument...perhaps from your website.. I could cull the essential persuasive data...


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     My Dr. Marshall's Baseball Pitching Motion video shows the six basic pitches that baseball pitchers need to succeed against the four types of baseball batters.

     My Baseball Pitchers instructional video shows how to teach and train baseball pitchers.

     My Causes of Pitching Injuries and Prevent Pitching Injuries video explains why baseball pitchers have to stop using the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

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0218.  Maurer misses workout with stiff back
MLB.com
February 20, 2014

PEORIA, AZ: Right-handed pitcher Brandon Maurer was held out of Friday's workout after his back locked up on him in the morning, causing him to miss his first live batting practice.

Maurer, 23, said he didn't think the issue was serious and he hasn't had any prior problems, though it came at a bad time with pitchers just taking the mound to face hitters for the first time.

"I think I just must have slept on it wrong," Maurer said. "It's just a little stiff back, that's all. We'll see how it feels tomorrow and go from there."

Maurer is one of about 10 pitchers competing for starting rotation berths this spring in a wide-open camp. After Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, there are no locks for roster spots among the contenders.

Top rookie prospects Taijuan Walker and James Paxton both have a chance to win starting jobs, as do veteran non-roster invitees Scott Baker and Randy Wolf as they come back from Tommy John surgeries. Returners Erasmo Ramirez and Blake Beavan are also in the mix, along with Maurer and newcomers Matt Palmer and Mark Rogers.

Maurer was the surprise of last year's spring when he earned a rotation berth with a strong camp despite never having pitched above Double-A ball. He wound up going 5-8 with a 6.30 ERA in 22 games, including 14 starts.


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     The article said:

01. "Right-handed pitcher Brandon Maurer was held out of Friday's workout after his back locked up on him in the morning, causing him to miss his first live batting practice."
02. "Mr. Maurer, 23, said he didn't think the issue was serious and he hasn't had any prior problems."

     If Mr. Maurer has back pain at 23, wait until he is 30.

     Like Colby Lewis learned, to eliminate hip replacement surgery, baseball pitchers have to learn how to stand tall and rotate over their glove foot.

     Standing tall through release prevents lower back pain.

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0219.  Hamels on track for first bullpen session
MLB.com
February 20, 2014

CLEARWATER, FL: Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels is scheduled to throw his first bullpen session of the spring Tuesday.

He is behind schedule after feeling discomfort in his left shoulder in November.

The Phillies and Hamels maintain there is no reason for concern, and he expects to be back in the Phillies rotation sometime in April.

Hamels threw off flat ground Thursday morning at Carpenter Complex.


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     As a pull, supination baseball pitcher, Mr. Coles is on that downward spiral to oblivion.

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0220.  MRI reveals Crain has strained right calf
MLB.com
February 20, 2014

KISSIMMEE, FL: Jesse Crain's MRI results came back on Thursday and revealed his right calf injury suffered on Tuesday is a strain. Astros manager Bo Porter, who announced the results prior to the team's pre-workout stretching, said there's no timetable for Crain's return.

"It's just a strain, and he will continue to work with the training staff, and they'll keep me abreast of his progress," Porter said.

Even before receiving the news that his injury was just a strain, Crain felt good on Thursday morning, saying he did not believe the injury was "anything too major."

"It's getting better, but I don't know how fast [recovery] is going to be," Crain said. "But it's a little easier to walk on today, so that's a good sign."

The right-handed reliever, who is wearing a walking boot, suffered the strain while stepping onto a box during a workout in the weight room on Tuesday.

"It's something I definitely wasn't planning on," Crain said. "It's something that just happened. There was nothing leading up to it or any kind of warning. It just went out on one thing. It's frustrating, but you've just got to keep on moving forward. I've had stuff like this before, so just try to keep a positive attitude and get better."

The Astros signed Crain to a one-year deal on Dec. 31 to help add a veteran presence to their bullpen. In 46 appearances with the White Sox last season, he posted a 0.74 ERA in 37 innings. Crain was traded to the Rays on July 29, but he never threw a pitch for American League East runners-up.

Although the calf strain is a setback, Crain hopes to press forward without much issue.

"As long as I can get some kind of throwing in and keep my arm there, I don't think it's going to cause too much of a problem," Crain said.


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

     The article said: "Jesse Crain strained the Plantaris muscle in his lower leg of his pitching arm side leg when he stepped into a box during a workout in the weight room."

     What?

     What kind of exercise required Mr. Crain to step into a box?

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0221.  Hernandez, Walker start camp on slower schedule
MLB.com
February 20, 2014

PEORIA, AZ: Pitching coach Rick Waits said Felix Hernandez and Taijuan Walker would continue on a slower schedule this spring than other Mariners hurlers, but expects both to be right on pace to open the regular season.

Hernandez, 27, will follow the exact same schedule he's used in recent Spring Trainings, as the Mariners try to lighten the early load on a pitcher who has thrown 232 or more innings in each of the last four seasons.

While most Mariners pitchers have already thrown three bullpen sessions and now a live batting practice outing, Hernandez still has to throw his third bullpen and then will have one live BP outing and a simulated game on one of the practice fields before he makes his Cactus League debut in early March.

"He won't be in the first games, same as he's done every year," Waits said. "He gets his stuff going on a backfield, then he's ready. He threw 22 [Cactus League] innings last year and 17 the year before. So somewhere between 20-25 innings is what we'll shoot for."

Waits said he has no concern over Hernandez getting ready in time by Opening Day.

"I don't because he's in great shape this year," said Waits. "He threw plenty enough before he came. And his first bullpen, he seemed ahead to me from his first bullpen last year."

Walker, 21, is a slightly different situation. The youngster had a sore arm upon arrival after throwing some hard sessions getting ready for camp. So he was held back initially and is just now gearing up.

Walker had a strong second bullpen session Thursday, but will still need several more bullpens before he graduates to live batting practice. Waits said Walker is completely healthy now, just slightly behind the other pitchers due to his late start.

"There are no issues at all," said Waits. "Today was an important day, the day after he threw his second bullpen, and he said he felt great. Hopefully he doesn't have any setbacks. We've got enough time to get him ready, but he's a little behind Felix."

Walker threw 35 pitches in Thursday's bullpen session, up from the 25 fastballs he fired in his first mound appearance Monday.

"I was pleased," said Waits. "He threw a few curveballs, but mostly fastballs and changeups. We need to do that again. There's no hurry to get to the off-speed pitches. The idea is to get the arm strength built up. When you've got the arm strength, you can throw anything."


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

     Mariners pitching coach, Rick Waits, said:

01. "Felix Hernandez and Taijuan Walker will continue on a slower schedule this spring than other Mariners hurlers."
02. "Nevertheless, I expect both to be right on pace to open the regular season."
03. "The idea is to get the arm strength built up with fastballs."
04. "When you've got the arm strength, you can throw anything."

     Instead of allowing the bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons associated with baseball pitching to atrophy by not continuing to throw, professional baseball pitchers should throw every day of the year.

     This means that Mr. Hernandez adn Mr. Walker should have thrown every day after the season until spring training.

     Then, Mr. Hernadez and Mr. Walker would not have toi build arm strength, they would already have it.

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0222.  Harrison shut down, will have MRI on stiff back
MLB.com
February 20, 2014

SURPRISE, AZ: Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison is experiencing stiffness in his lower back and is returning to Texas for further examination. The stiffness is near the area where Harrison underwent two operations for a herniated disk, but on the opposite side.

Harrison came to camp saying he was 100 percent, and he threw a full bullpen session on Sunday. But he reported some stiffness in his neck on Tuesday that prevented him from throwing live batting practice, and now the discomfort has moved into the general area where he had problems last year.

"He's uncomfortable right now," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Thursday morning. "He's thrown a lot this winter without any issues. Unfortunately, it's picked up again. After what he went through last year, there is a level of concern. Hopefully it's just some irritation he can push through, they can prescribe some medication and get him going."

Harrison, an 18-game winner in 2012, will undergo an MRI and scan on Thursday, then fly back to Texas to be examined by back specialist Dr. Drew Dossett.

Harrison said he wasn't happy that this was just now coming up after having no problems this winter, but it doesn't appear to be as serious as last season. Harrison said the issue is more on his right side than the left side, which was the problem area last year.

"I was 100 percent, and now I'm having some tightness there and I don't know," Harrison said. "I felt a little bit [Wednesday], and when I got up this morning, it was worse. I was ready to come in here and throw my live BP, it's just not happening."

"There's obviously some concern there from what happened last year. I just hope that it's not a serious issue, and [that it is just] something I can take a few days down and stay on top of my core program and get right back out there, and hopefully that's the case. But it's not fair to say that I'm not worried about it, because I've had a lot of issues recently."

Harrison made just two starts last season before being diagnosed with a herniated disk in his lower back. He underwent two operations -- one in late April and a second in early May -- and did not pitch the rest of the season. Dossett did the surgery both times.

"I'm not going to push through any pain if I'm having pain with it," Harrison said. "But I definitely need to keep my core strong, because it was up there. It was up to where it was supposed to be. And [I will] try to keep my arm going by doing some shoulder stuff in there, because I'm not able to throw right now."

The Rangers were hoping Harrison would be ready to go this spring and that he could regain his spot in the rotation. They already lost Derek Holland until midseason after he underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee.


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

     The article said:

01. "Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison is experiencing stiffness in his lower back."
02. "Me. Harrison is returning to Texas for further examination."
03. "The stiffness is near the area where Harrison underwent two operations for a herniated disk, but on the opposite side."

     What does Mr. Harrison expect?

     Surgeries do not eliminate the cause of the injuries.

     Until Mr. Harrison stops bending forward at his waist, he will continue to suffer back problems.

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0223.  Harvey cleared to begin throwing after surgery
MLB.com
February 20, 2014

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL: Matt Harvey received the news he was waiting for on Wednesday, when doctors cleared him to begin throwing a baseball for the first time since Tommy John surgery.

Harvey, who underwent surgery on Oct. 22, expects to begin throwing in a few days, according to pitching coach Dan Warthen. Through a team spokesman, the right-hander declined comment on the latest step in his recovery, as did general manager Sandy Alderson.

It was just one of many hurdles that Harvey must clear in his aim to return by Opening Day 2015. Once Harvey begins throwing off flat ground, he will gradually increase the distance until he is ready to pitch off a mound. He will then increase the intensity of those sessions until he is ready to pitch in games.

Teammate Jeremy Hefner's Tommy John rehab program requires him to reach 150 feet off flat ground before climbing atop a mound, and Harvey's will likely be similar.

Though Harvey hopes to contribute to the Mets as soon as September, the organization does not realistically expect him back until next year.

"If things can work out quicker than normal, then we'll see," Harvey said last weekend. "But I can't make that call."


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

     The article said:

01. "On October 22, 2013, Matt Harvey had Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery."
02. "In a few days, Mr. Harvey will begin throwing."
03. "Once Harvey begins throwing off flat ground, he will gradually increase the distance until he is ready to pitch off a mound."
04. "Before Mr. Harvey can step on a pitching mound, Mr. Harvey needs to throw 150 feet off flat ground."

     Mr. Harvey had to wait four months to throw baseballs.

     Bones heal in six weeks.

     The holes through which the orthopedic surgeon threaded the tendon completel close in six weeks.

     Therefore, Mr. Harvey's pitching elbow was physiologically ready to throw in six weeks.

     Whoever made up this rehabilitation program does not understand how the body responds to training.

     Four months after the surgery, I would have Mr. Harvey ready to pitch in games.

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0224.  Maholm isn't concerned with sore elbow
MLB.com
February 20, 2014

GLENDALE, AZ: Dodgers starter Paul Maholm has mild elbow tenderness that has kept him from throwing off a mound in recent days, but he downplayed the seriousness on Thursday.

"I'm just being smart and understand what's needed to prepare for the season," said Maholm, who signed at the start of Spring Training. "I only really missed one bullpen session today and I expect to throw a bullpen Saturday, and it won't set me back."

Maholm was signed as protection in case fifth starter Josh Beckett isn't sufficiently healed from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. But Beckett actually is ahead of Maholm, and in either case, the Dodgers don't need a fifth starter until the middle of April.

"I'm not concerned with it," said Maholm, who described the current tenderness as different from discomfort he fought through last September while pitching for Atlanta. "I've learned what I can push through. I think this is from standing around and all of a sudden making a throw and there's a little soreness. I'm just being cautious."

Maholm and Brandon League (lat strain) are the only Major League pitchers at Dodgers camp who have not thrown batting practice yet.


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

     Dodgers baseball pitcher, Paul Maholm, said:

01. "I'm not concerned with it (pitching elbow tenderness)."
02. "I've learned what I can push through."
03. "I think this is from standing around and all of a sudden making a throw and there's a little soreness."
04. "I'm just being cautious."

     The only way to overcome muscle tenderness is to train through.

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0225.  Pryor hopeful as he returns from rare injury
MLB.com
February 20, 2014

PEORIA, AZ: After missing most of last season with a torn muscle behind his right shoulder, Mariners reliever Stephen Pryor seems optimistic he will be able to contribute to his team's efforts even as he recovers from a surgery that is rare in pitching circles.

Pryor, 24, is not yet throwing off a mound, but he is playing long toss, doing fielding drills and feeling like part of the team again after spending five months last year in the training room.

Pryor initially tore the latissimus dorsi muscle in his right shoulder off the bone, then spent three months doing rehab as the injury healed. But the reattached tendon retracted during his recovery and attached to his triceps muscle, which is why he started having issues with his triceps when he started throwing again.

An MRI test revealed the new problem. Doctors removed the tendon from the triceps and attached it in the proper place using a technique first introduced on veteran pitcher Jake Peavy when he was with the White Sox in July 2010.

Peavy missed six months and had a difficult 2011 season before becoming an All-Star in '12. He is still pitching, now with the Red Sox. Pryor and a Minor League hurler are the only pitchers who have had the same surgery since, so this is somewhat new medical ground.

That is why Pryor and the Mariners are being vague on a potential return date, despite the youngster's apparent optimism.

"I mean, I really don't know," Pryor said. "It was just kind of a freak thing. I'm the second Major Leaguer to have this surgery and come back from it, so it's kind of unknown territory. [Peavy] had a complete tear, where I had a partial tear. So there's not really a timetable on it. I'm feeling good, but I think it'd be a stretch to be ready by Opening Day obviously. But hopefully not far beyond that would be a good goal."

The hard-throwing right-hander was a big part of Seattle's bullpen plans a year ago and he threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings in seven appearances before hurting his shoulder in mid-April.

Pryor has been playing catch at 110 feet and doing some light throwing in pickoff and fielding drills, but the real test won't come until he gets on a mound and fires with full force off the incline. The Mariners proceed carefully before giving him the green light to return and he figures he'll need eventually to prove he can throw hard on back-to-back days several times before getting a chance in games.

But whether that potential return comes a month or two, or longer, into the season, the Tennessee native is intent on regaining a role on the team that drafted him the fifth round in 2010.

"I want to pick up where I left off last year," said Pryor, who has a 3-1 record and 2.97 ERA in 33 appearances since being promoted in the middle of the 2012 season. "I felt like early in the season I earned a spot in the 'pen and was able to come in in pressure situations and later in games. I'd like to have that role again. I know it's something I've got to earn, with a new coaching staff, coming off an injury. So time will tell."


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

     The article said:

01. "Stephen Pryor initially tore the latissimus dorsi muscle in his pitching shoulder off the bone."
02. "The reattached tendon retracted during his recovery."
03. "The Latissimus Dorsi muscle attached to his Triceps Brachii muscle."
04. "An MRI test revealed the new problem."
05. "Doctors removed the tendon from the Triceps Brachii muscle and attached it to the medial lip of the bicipital groove in the head of the Humerus bone.

     The bicpital groove is on the anterior (front) surface of the head of the Humerus bone. One part of the Triceps Brachii muscle attaches to the posterior (back) of the head of the Humerus bone.

     As a 'traditional' baseball pitcher, Mr. Pryor does not use the Latissimus Dorsi muscle at all. Instead Mr. Pryor uses hit Pectoralis Major muscle to pull his pitching upper arm forward.

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0226.  Astros prospect Wojciechowski rests with sore back
MLB.com
February 21, 2014

KISSIMMEE, FL: Right-hander Asher Wojciechowski, who last week underwent an MRI on his strained middle back, said Friday he was sore one day after he attempted to throw. He's still listed as day-to-day and isn't about to rush the injury.

"It felt great this week, and I thought I was ready and started throwing yesterday, and it felt good," Wojciechowski said. "After a little bit, it started getting sore on me and today was pretty sore. I'm going to have to rest it a little bit more and see where I am. I'm not trying to rush it. It's still early. The big thing is to be ready for the season, because I definitely don't want this to flare up once the season starts."

Wojciechowski, who's competing for a rotation spot, now walks the fine line between trying to impress the coaching staff while not wanting to aggravate an injury.

"It's kind of torture right now, just sitting around watching everybody throw," Wojciechowski said. "It's one of those things I have to be patient and take my time and not try to rush it."

Wojciechowski, who sustained the injury throwing Feb. 1, went 9-7 with a 3.56 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) last year at Triple-A Oklahoma City.


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

     Astros baseball pitcher, Asher Wojciechowski, said:

01. "It (sore middle back) felt great this week."
02. "I thought I was ready and started throwing yesterday."
03. "It felt good."
04. "After a little bit, it started getting sore on me and today was pretty sore."
05. "I'm going to have to rest it a little bit more and see where I am."
06. "I'm not trying to rush it."
07. "It's still early."
08. "The big thing is to be ready for the season."
09. "definitely don't want this to flare up once the season starts."

     Rest will not prevent Mr. Wojciechowski's sore back.

     Mr. Wojciechowski needs to either train through the soreness or stand tall and rotate.

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0227.  Eight-man bullpen a possibility for Blue Jays to begin season
MLB.com
February 21, 2014

DUNEDIN, FL: The Blue Jays are at least contemplating the thought of once again starting the season with an eight-man bullpen.

Toronto has a series of tough decisions to make with its starting rotation and bullpen. There's a long list of players who are out of Minor League options on their contracts, and carrying an extra reliever could be one way to help alleviate the problem.

The Blue Jays started last season with eight relievers, and that type of scenario will be considered when the club makes its final cuts at the end of March.

"If everyone is throwing the ball that well and we don't want to expose anyone to waivers or we don't want to trade someone and not get full value, we could go to an eight-man bullpen," general manager Alex Anthopoulos told reporters Thursday morning.

"It's not ideal, but we've definitely done it before, so we could do that. And that would be a good problem to have. I hope everybody throws the ball unbelievably well. I hate saying this, but the reality of it is, there will be some guys that don't perform. There will be some guys that get hurt. Nobody's hurt right now, knock on wood, but we have five, six weeks -- everyone has something that goes on in Spring Training. A lot of that takes care of itself by the end of camp."

Health will certainly be a factor, but if everyone gets through camp unscathed, it will be up to Anthopoulos and manager John Gibbons to make the tough decision.

Esmil Rogers, Todd Redmond, Luis Perez and Jeremy Jeffress are among those who are competing for jobs but cannot be sent to the Minor Leagues without first being exposed to waivers. Casey Janssen, Sergio Santos and Brett Cecil also are out of options, but they should have guaranteed jobs heading into the regular season.

Outfielder Moises Sierra is out of options as well, and an eight-man bullpen could potentially have a direct impact on his future with the organization. Sierra is competing for the final spot on the bench, but if the Blue Jays really wanted to keep him in the fold it's also possible he could make the team over Anthony Gose as Toronto's fourth outfielder.

The Blue Jays ideally would start the season with a seven-man bullpen, but carrying an extra reliever could be at least a short-term fix. It's a lot easier to sneak a player through waivers at the start of the season when other teams have finalized their rosters and are more hesitant to make an additional move.

"It's going to be a factor," Anthopoulos said when asked if options will dictate which players make the team. "Right now we can't carry everybody. ... But based on past Spring Trainings, I don't know that anybody ever stays completely healthy or has great performances the entire way.

"The only two guys that have options are Steve Delabar and Aaron Loup, and they were such a huge part of our bullpen that I'd be extremely surprised to ever see a change with those guys. You still have to go out and perform. It's a great problem to have; I'd much rather be in that position than say we have three or four guys and we're looking to add someone in Spring Training."


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

     Blue Jays general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, said:

01. "If everyone is throwing the ball that well and we don't want to expose anyone to waivers or we don't want to trade someone and not get full value, we could go to an eight-man bullpen."
02. "It's going to be a factor."
03. "Right now we can't carry everybody."
04. "Based on past Spring Trainings, I don't know that anybody ever stays completely healthy or has great performances the entire way."

     No need to decide which baseball pitchers to use in the major league, just wait for some to injure themselves.

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0228.  Sabathia happy with report on his mechanics
MLB.com
February 21, 2014

TAMPA, FL: CC Sabathia kept hearing the speculation, both inside his clubhouse and out of it, that a change in the left-hander's mechanics may have been to blame for some of his troubles last season.

So Sabathia decided to go into the laboratory, so to speak. This offseason, Sabathia paid a visit to the Andrews Institute in Birmingham, Ala., strapping on electronic sensors and submitting his pitching motion for biometric analysis.

As Sabathia was pleased to learn, his delivery looked almost the same as a data set that was taken while he was with the Indians in 2003, except for a minor change in the rotation of his hips.

"It was brought up, and I thought it was a great idea, because I knew they had the data," Sabathia said. "I think they talked a lot about my arm angle and stuff like that, but it's been the same."

That discovery was encouraging for Sabathia, who threw his first live batting-practice session of the spring on Friday. Sabathia explained that his 2012 mechanics were off because he needed surgery to remove a bone spur from his left elbow.

"I had the bad elbow, so I was throwing a lot different," Sabathia said. "Last year, I think a lot of people brought it up because I looked different last year than I did in 2012. But where I was at last year is where I should be."

Sabathia said that in facing hitters on Friday, his control was a touch off, but he feels a difference compared to last season. He won't know about velocity until games begin, but if Sabathia's fastball sits where it was last year, he still expects to win games.

"I feel good. I feel strong," Sabathia said. "I don't feel any fatigue or anything like that. I'm excited. I didn't throw a lot of strikes today, but the fact that I was able to keep throwing at 100 percent makes me feel good."

Manager Joe Girardi said that Sabathia is "ahead of where he was last spring, definitely." Sabathia said that he has been long-tossing all winter and was able to throw all offseason, which has helped his endurance.

"I'm ahead of where I was last spring, maybe even the spring before, just from all the work I've been doing," Sabathia said. "I'm encouraged by the way I feel. My arm angle seems to be good, getting the ball out. My arm just needs to catch up with the rest of my body."


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

     The article said:

01. "CC Sabathia kept hearing the speculation that a change in the left-hander's mechanics may have been to blame for some of his troubles last season."
02. "Mr. Sabathia decided to go to the Andrews Institute in Birmingham, AL for a biomechanical analysis of his baseball pitching motion."
03. "ASMI's biomechanical analysis showed that Mr. Sabathia's delivery looked almost the same as when Mr. Sabathia was with the Indians in 2003.

     In 2013, Mr. Sabathia needed surgery to remove a bone spur from his pitching elbow.

     Therefore, ASMI's biomechanical analysis was not able to determine the cause of Mr. Sabathia's bone spur.

     This shows that biomechanical analysis is not able to determine the causes of pitching motion.

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0229.  Wilson's mind as important as his arm
MLB.com
February 21, 2014

TEMPE, AZ: C.J. Wilson keeps moving, always thinking, constantly evolving. An outfielder and pitcher in his school days in Southern California, the Angels lefty originally wanted to sign professionally as a position player but has adapted beautifully to his calling as a pitcher.

A versatile reliever his first five seasons in Texas, he became a starter in 2010 and delivered handsomely for the American League West champion Rangers with a 15-8 record and 3.35 ERA in 204 innings.

Elevated to ace status in 2011 with the free agency departure of Cliff Lee from Texas, Wilson responded with a performance (16-7, 2.94 ERA, 223 1/3 innings) that helped drive the Rangers to the World Series -- and a crushing loss to St. Louis. The Angels -- their fortunes having fallen with Texas' rise -- invested five years and $75 million in Wilson that winter. A 17-game winner in 2013, he has gone 30-17 over the past two seasons with ERAs of 3.83 and 3.39.

"This is my fifth year as a starter, and I still have a lot of room for improvement," Wilson said. "I know what my shortcomings are. If you're in the big leagues, you're not oblivious to it. Teams are trying to decipher your pattern. You have to adjust, be aware of what you're doing."

Wilson enters 2014 as the Angels' No. 2 starter behind Jered Weaver.

"C.J. dissects his ability and what he is trying to do on the mound more than anybody I've been around," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "In that regard, he wants to keep going and seeing the adjustments he wants to make.

"He has to find the balance between finding that edge and keeping his stuff where it needs to be."

By all measures -- of the statistical and eye-test variety -- Wilson had a remarkable 2013 season. He was among the AL leaders in a wide range of categories, underscoring his deep repertoire, endurance, intelligence and competitive will.

Winning percentage: .708, fourth in the AL. Run support: 5.72 per game, sixth in the league.

Wilson: "That's your job as a starting pitcher, to give your team a chance. We had the fourth-ranked offense even though our record [78-84] wasn't great. It's a mental thing. I stayed in the game and gave them a chance. I think I was able to take some pressure off the offense, and they responded by scoring runs.

"It's being positive, making a concerted effort to engage teammates, whether I'm pitching or not. The hitters will say, `I don't know why he's getting me out,' and I'll say, `Here's what he's trying to do.' I work real hard at staying in the game."

Innings: 212 1/3, ninth in AL. Batters faced: 913, fourth. Pitches thrown: 3,651, third. Pitches per start: 110.6, first. Quality starts: 24, third.

Wilson "Pitches per start and innings are related to conditioning. If you're in shape, you can throw more pitches. As a starter, you can conserve. It's about efficiency. As a reliever, you turn it up … throw as hard as you can. My average fastball came in two miles harder -- 93, 94 mph -- as a reliever.

"I can throw a batting-practice fastball, 89 [mph], or bring it up to 92, 93. I learned that -- changing speeds on the fastball -- from Zack [Greinke, a former Angels teammate now with the Dodgers]. He's the first guy I've ever played with who had the same approach I do. He looks at all the data I do, how [hitters'] strengths match up with what I throw.

"Most of the guys who throw a lot of pitches are big guys: [Justin] Verlander, [James] Shields, [Adam] Wainwright, [Jon] Lester. How tall you are doesn't matter. I'm extremely competitive. I campaign [with Scioscia] to get that extra batter. If you want to pile up innings, he told me, get one more out. That's 11 innings over a season. I prepare to throw nine every time out, but I need to be ready to go one extra out.

"As a starter, you need to make that same pitch [fastball] maybe 75 percent of the time. The changeup, curveball -- they're like a breather. You're not throwing as hard as you can. The slider, I put a little more into that."

Opponents' slugging percentage: .361, seventh in the AL. Home runs per nine innings: 0.64, fourth.

Wilson: "I don't give in. It's something I got from watching [Tom] Glavine as a kid. He didn't have one unhittable pitch, like Pedro Martinez, Nolan Ryan [and] Roger Clemens [did]. Glavine threw 90 [mph] and hit the [catcher's] glove, so he was able to expand his strike zone a little. His walk rate wasn't sexy; he would walk guys. Would you rather walk a guy or give up a home run?

"The home run percentage stat is [all about knowing] scouting reports, knowing hitters. I still miss spots and give up a homer. I don't overthrow; that's a big issue. I don't have a love affair with my four-seamer. I have a number [five or six] of pitches I can throw in any count.

"If you give a guy a pitch he can sit on, a guy like [Mike] Trout or [Miguel] Cabrera is going to hit it hard. You can't make a mistake to the big guys. Glavine wouldn't groove a ball. I said, 'Everything he does, that's what I can do as a pitcher.'"

Opponents' on-base plus slugging vs. fastball: .652, 10th in the AL. Opponents' OPS vs. curveball: .530, second. Wilson "I'm never going to throw 100 [mph]. I didn't hit 90 [mph] until I was 20.

"My changeup is like 86 [mph], my curveball in the high 70s -- 77, 78. It's important to know when to use it. Guys most likely are going to take it if I start with it. They'll swing at the changeup, because it looks like a fastball, and if I get a first-pitch out, great. I have a lot of movement, which makes it hard to catch me. Everything's hopping. You end up going deeper in counts."

A young 33, exceptionally fit and confident, Wilson is in the refining stages of his career.

His goals? "Being consistent, giving my team a chance to win and getting as deep in games as I can."


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     Angels baseball pitcher, C.J. Wilson, said:

01. "I don't give in."
02. "It's something I got from watching [Tom] Glavine as a kid."
03. "He didn't have one unhittable pitch."
04. "Glavine threw 90 [mph] and hit the [catcher's] glove"
05. "He was able to expand his strike zone a little."
06. "His walk rate wasn't sexy."
07. "He would walk guys."
08. "Would you rather walk a guy or give up a home run?"
09. "The home run percentage stat is [all about knowing] scouting reports, knowing hitters."
10. "I still miss spots and give up a homer."
11. "I don't overthrow."
12. "That's a big issue."
13. "I don't have a love affair with my four-seamer."
14. "I have a number [five or six] of pitches I can throw in any count."
15. "If you give a guy a pitch he can sit on, a guy like [Mike] Trout or [Miguel] Cabrera is going to hit it hard."
16. "You can't make a mistake to the big guys."
17. "Glavine wouldn't groove a ball."
18. "I said, 'Everything he does, that's what I can do as a pitcher.'"

     Except for developing high-quality pitches that baseball batters cannot hit even when they sit on it, I agree with everything Mr. Wilson said.

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0230.  Cueto intending to step up on field, in the clubhouse
MLB.com
February 21, 2014

GOODYEAR, AZ: It's not enough that starting pitcher Johnny Cueto wants this season to be different than last year. Both Cueto and the Reds need it to be.

The 2013 season was an injury-filled mess for Cueto, who was limited to 11 starts and 60 2/3 innings. A strained right lat muscle caused him to exit two starts prematurely and required three separate stints to the disabled list, including one for more than two months.

Cueto, 28, believes the work he put into his offseason at the Reds' academy near his home in the Dominican Republic has put the issue behind him -- hopefully for good.

"I did a lot of training. Now I can come back ready," said Cueto said, who was 5-2 with a 2.82 ERA last season in those 11 starts.

Two seasons ago, Cueto went 19-9 with a 2.78 ERA in a career-high 33 starts and 217 innings. It was the lone 200-plus-inning season in the big leagues. That's what Cueto would like to achieve again in 2014.

"I know I can do it, but I don't know what's going to happen," Cueto said. "I've worked out hard and ... it's crazy."

The ascension of rookie Tony Cingrani last season helped pick up some of the slack from Cueto's injury.

Heading into this season, Cueto delivering a healthy season is even more essential because the healthy 30-start, 200-inning constant of the rotation the past eight seasons -- Bronson Arroyo -- is no longer with the club. Arroyo departed as a free agent  and signed with the D-backs last week. Mat Latos, who also stepped up as an ace in Cueto's absence, has started camp with a torn meniscus in his left knee that required surgery and has put behind. Even without those issues, Cueto knows what he has to do.

"I need to have 30 starts, for sure," Cueto said.

Cueto has another incentive for a strong and healthy season. He is entering the final guaranteed season of a four-year, $27 million contract. There is a $10 million club option for 2015 that has an $800,000 buyout.

Before the start of camp, manager Bryan Price, who was Cueto's pitching coach the past four seasons, instructed Cueto to modify his delivery. Price wants Cueto to shorten the extreme twisting motion which turned his back to hitters.

The request wasn't entirely about keeping Cueto healthy, but played a part in the thinking.

"When this over-rotation started back in 2011, it was kind of Luis Tiant, very compact turn and tuck and then come out," Price said. "There are times when he can get away from that. … There are times when he can get so dramatic in the turn, that it creates a more difficult time to repeat the mechanics. He's coming off a lat strain and a history of some shoulder fatigue and things of that nature. We're trying to make it easier for him to repeat the delivery."

Cueto had no problem with making the adjustment.

"Bryan told me to shorten it for my body. I can do it," he said.

There are also adjustments happening off of the field that weren't required, but came of Cueto's own volition.

Since his big league debut in 2008, the Spanish-speaking Cueto has spoken to reporters almost entirely with the aid of a translator -- whether it was a teammate or assistant trainer Tomas Vera. This year, at least with the writers, Cueto wanted to do interviews in English.

"I'm trying to speak English by myself. It's better," Cueto said. "I'm trying to understand."

During a follow-up interview, Cueto did not understand a couple of questions in English and instead of not answering, asked for Vera's assistance.

As the oldest and one of the most tenured members of the rotation, Cueto does not feel a burden to fill Arroyo's leadership shoes.

"That's a normal thing. Everybody is a man here," Cueto said via Vera's translation. "We know what type of job has to be done. I don't feel like I have to step into somebody else's job and tell them what to do. It would be hard for me to do that, just for doing it."

Perhaps, but Price believed just taking the step of trying to communicate in English showed signs of leadership.

"These guys are getting here and they're developing not just as pitchers, but developing as people," Price said. "When these guys are so talented at such a young age, you'll form an opinion of a young person who is a young person. Sometimes, we unfortunately extract that dynamic out of the equation when we're evaluating. That's not fair. In Johnny's case, I think he is absolutely latching on to that role of being in a place of more leadership and just trying to be a bigger part of what's going on here.

"You're exposing yourself when you do something you're not comfortable doing. A willingness to offer up and say, 'I want to do this,' and him to be proactive in that way speaks a lot about that maturity and the type of role he wants to fill for our club, especially now that Bronson is gone."

While Cueto was on the DL last season, Latos stepped up and filled the top-of-the-rotation role. Homer Bailey had another strong season and earned a six-year, $105 million contract that was signed on Wednesday. Mike Leake is coming off of the best season of his career, while Cingrani is now a full-time member of the rotation.

Heading into 2014, Cueto still feels like he is the ace of the staff.

"It's a normal thing for me. I always feel like I am," Cueto said through Vera. "But I have to keep working. If I don't continue working, I won't get to do what I want to do."


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     The article said:

01. "The 2013 season was an injury-filled mess for Cueto."
02. "Mr. Cueto had 11 starts and pitched only 60 2/3 innings."
03. "A strained right lat muscle caused him to exit two starts prematurely and required three separate stints to the disabled list, including one for more than two months."

     'Traditional' baseball pitchers do not use the Latissimus Dorsi muscle either to accelerate or decelerate their pitching upper arms. Therefore, I doubt that Mr. Cueto injured his Latissimus Dorsi muscle. I suspect that Mr. Cueto injured the Teres Major or Minor muscles.      The article said:

01. "Before the start of camp, manager Bryan Price, who was Cueto's pitching coach the past four seasons, instructed Cueto to modify his delivery."
02. "Mr. Price wants Cueto to shorten the extreme twisting motion which turned his back to hitters.
03. "The request wasn't entirely about keeping Cueto healthy, but played a part in the thinking.
04. "Cueto had no problem with making the adjustment."

     Reds field manager, Bryan Price, said:

01. "When this over-rotation started back in 2011, it was kind of Luis Tiant, very compact turn and tuck and then come out."
02. "There are times when he can get away from that."
03. "There are times when he can get so dramatic in the turn, that it creates a more difficult time to repeat the mechanics."
04. "He's coming off a lat strain and a history of some shoulder fatigue and things of that nature."
05. "We're trying to make it easier for him to repeat the delivery."

     For a moment there, I thought that Mr. Price might have understood that rotating over the pitching foot caused injuries to the pitching hip and knee and the front of the pitching shoulder.

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0231.  Broxton ready to get back on mound
MLB.com
February 21, 2014

GOODYEAR, AZ: Because he had major surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right forearm in August, Reds reliever Jonathan Broxton was expected to be behind other pitchers when he got to camp.

The gap is starting to close some lately. After throwing on alternate days last week, Broxton has moved up to throwing every day, alternating long toss one day with shorter distances the other.

"Everything is fine. There have been no problems throwing, and no stiffness after," Broxton said on Friday.

On Monday, Broxton is scheduled to throw from a mound for the first time.

"We'll see how it goes and see how I feel," Broxton said. "Hopefully, everything will feel normal."

Broxton, 29, now has an L-shaped scar near his right elbow, similar to the aftermath of Tommy John surgery. He tore his flexor mass tendon off of the bone during an Aug. 21 game vs. the D-backs. Broxton, who had just given up a home run, felt the pain from the tear when it happened, but still threw three more pitches before exiting after a walk.

Two days later, Broxton had season-ending surgery. He later watched a video of Dr. Tim Kremchek performing the procedure. One thing he noticed was that Kremchek broke two drill bits while drilling into his bone.

"He said it was the first time that had happened in 20 years," Broxton said.


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

     The article said:

01. "Jonathan Broxton has an L-shaped scar near his pitching elbow."
02. "In the August 21, 2013 game, Mr. Broxton tore his flexor mass tendon off of the bone."
03. "Mr. Broxton had just given up a home run."
04. "Mr. Broxton felt the pain from the tear, but still threw three more pitches."

     The only way that athletes can put so much stress on a muscle that it rips that attachment from the bone is when the antagonist muscle co-contracts.

     The primary muscle in the 'flexor mass' on the medial epicondyle is the Pronator Teres muscle.

     The Pronator Teres muscle pronates the pitching forearm. The Biceps Brachii muscle supinates the pitching forearm.

     If these two muscles were co-contracting, then I would expect the tendon of the Biceps Brachii to suffer the injury.

     Mr. Broxton needs to learn how to pronate the releases of his breaking pitchers.

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0232.  Latos continues to rebuild strength following surgery
MLB.com
February 21, 2014

GOODYEAR, AZ: Reds pitcher Mat Latos, who had surgery on Feb. 14 to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, threw for the third straight day on Friday. Manager Bryan Price believed Latos was gradually getting closer to being able to throw from a mound.

"I think we have to make sure the strength is there," Price said. "The good thing is he's strong enough to go out there and not just be weight-bearing, but be able to be active and throw and keep his arm in shape."

Latos is up to throwing at distances of over 60 feet on flat ground.

"As you guys know, pitching -- a lot of it starts with the legs, works through the core and comes out through the hand," Price said. "He's still doing all of his flexibility and strength exercises. When he's ready, we'll get him out there."


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

     The article said:

01. "On February 14, 2014, Reds baseball pitcher, Mat Latos had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his glove knee."
02. "One week later, on Friday, February 21, 2014, Mr. Latos threw for the third straight day."
03. "Mr. Latos is up to throwing at distances of over 60 feet on flat ground.
04. "Reds fieln manager, Bryan Price, believes that Mr. Latos was gradually getting closer to being able to throw from a mound."

     When baseball pitchers rotate over their pitching foot, the twisting of the knee tears the posterior horn of the meniscus in the pitching knee.

     Therefore, Mr. Latos twisted his glove knee.

     Mr. Latos needs to learn how to land on the heel of his glove foot and rotate over the toes of his glove foot.

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0233.  No crow hop from Trevor Bauer
Cleveland Plain Dealer
February 21, 2014

CLEVELAND, OH: There was a request made, but not granted, Friday morning as Indians pitchers threw to hitters for the first time in spring training.

The University of Utah's baseball team watched practice. As Trevor Bauer went to the mound to pitch, one of the Utah players yelled, “Let’s see a crow hop.”

When Bauer warms up between innings, he usually runs up the back of the mound and throws his first warm-up pitch as hard as he can toward the plate. Sometimes it sails to the backstop, other times the catcher catches it.

Some people have called it Bauer’s version of a “crow hop.“

On Friday, Bauer kept the crow hop in his back pocket, but his revamped delivery looked smoother than last year’s. He didn’t throw a lot of strikes, but he looked under control.

“I would agree with that,” said manager Terry Francona. “I think he’s smoother in his delivery.”

Bauer said once last season ended, it didn’t take him long to make the needed adjustments in his delivery so he could avoid injury and have better control. He kept pitching coach Mickey Callaway in the loop to by sending him tapes of his throwing sessions.


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     When baseball players use the 'crow-hop' throwing rhythm, they rotate over their glove foot.

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0234.  Vizcaino impresses in return attempt from Tommy John
MLB.com
February 22, 2014

MESA, AZ: When Arodys Vizcaino finished throwing his live batting practice session, one of the first people to shake his hand to congratulate him was Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.

The Cubs have waited a long time for Vizcaino, 23, to show what he did on Saturday. The right-hander, acquired from the Braves in the Paul Maholm trade in 2012, was rehabbing at that time from Tommy John surgery on his elbow. He had a setback last season, but on Saturday, he looked healthy.

"I would've never known [he was hurt] just from the way he looked today," said catcher Eli Whiteside, who caught Vizcaino. "He looked really good."

It's too early to say who will be the surprise of Sspring Training, but Vizcaino may be the leader so far.

"He looked very, very good," Cubs manager Rick Renteria said of Vizcaino, who is projected to pitch out of the bullpen. "We're very pleased with his session. Very sharp, live fastball, breaking ball, he was burying his pitches when he needed to. He's progressing well. We're happy to say there are no setbacks and we hope it continues that way."

The right-hander does have some Major League experience, pitching in 17 games in relief for the Braves in 2011. That's the last time he appeared in a game, missing both '12 and '13.

"I thought his stuff looked really good today," Whiteside said. "Most of his stuff was down in the zone. He obviously had good velocity. The ball was coming out of his hand good. I think that's really what you're looking for now is how the ball's coming out of their hand. He had spin on his breaking ball, was able to locate down in the zone. It all looked good today." Ryan Sweeney thought so, too. Sweeney had to face Vizcaino in the live batting practice session.

"I'd never seen him before and I didn't know he throws a changeup," Sweeney said. "He throws a hard changeup, too. There was a 10-mph difference from what his heater is, and that throws you off a little bit. His slider was good, too. It looked like he was throwing with good command, too, this early in camp."

The radar gun was hitting 97, 98 mph on Vizcaino's fastball. That's encouraging. His take?

"Everything felt good -- my elbow, shoulder, everything," Vizcaino said.

That's what the Cubs want to hear.


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     If Mr. Vizcaino still 'reverse bounces' his pitching forearm, then Mr. Vizcaino will revisit his Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery.

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0235.  Toronto Blue Jays' Brett Cecil hopes easing up will improve his durability
National Post
John Lott
February 22, 2014

DUNEDIN, FL: Before Brett Cecil went to the mound to throw his first batting practice session of the spring, his coaches told him he had 25 pitches. He told them he would stop at 20.

A year ago, he might have asked for 30.

Back then, Cecil could not risk caution. His job was at stake. He went on to enjoy the best season of his career, but in the process, he wore down, got hurt and failed to reach the finish line.

Now, his job seemingly assured, the Toronto Blue Jays reliever is determined to do more with less.

“I am going to be a lot smarter,” he said Saturday, one day after an impressive spot of work as he faced hitters in batting practice for the first time in spring training.

For Cecil, who missed most of September with a sore elbow, working smarter means throwing less often between outings and informing his trainers and coaches when his body is telling him he needs a day off.

Statistically, his 2013 workload was not unusual for a left-handed reliever: 60 games, 60 2/3 innings pitched. He pitched in back-to-back games only three times.

But it was a new role for the former starter. And the pressure started in spring training, when he went all out while pitching an unremarkable 16 2/3 innings.

Management saw just enough positives to keep him on the roster. They could not have predicted that he would make the all-star team after posting a 1.94 ERA in the first half, during which manager John Gibbons began to use him often in tough situations.

“I kind of had to give everything I had right then and there,” he says of last year’s spring training. “When I was pitching well, it was like [I wanted] to keep getting out there. ‘I don’t want to stop this roll I’m on.’ But you’ve got to be able to use there. ‘I don’t want to stop this roll I’m on.’ But you’ve got to be able to use your better judgment even when you’re feeling great.”

After the break, he worked only 14 innings. His ERA in that stretch was 5.65. In August, his elbow started to ache. His final appearance was on Sept. 12. Tests indicated no structural problems in his elbow. He just needed rest, and now he says everything is fine.

Cecil worked in 13 games in April. In eight outings that month, he pitched more than one inning. He also threw on flat ground most days. All of that led veteran relievers Casey Janssen and Darren Oliver to issue a warning.

“I think during the beginning of the season I was so amped to just get in any game I could, just to prove I belonged there,” Cecil said. “If I pitched two innings this day, I wanted to throw three the next day. Casey and Darren have been in this situation for a lot longer than I have, and they were telling me in April, ‘Save your bullets.’”

It was a hard sell. Out of minor-league options after the Jays sent him down the previous two seasons, Cecil was bent on keeping his job. And of course, he was revelling in his newfound success.

He credited part of his renaissance as a reliever to a weighted-ball program made popular by teammate Steve Delabar. Used properly, the regimen is supposed to strengthen all parts of the shoulder and help to increase velocity.

Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press But both Delabar and Cecil experienced arm problems last year, so the weighted-ball program is no panacea. Cecil admits he compounded his problems by not properly following the program.

He intensified his weighted-ball exercises when he was feeling tired and sore, figuring that would give him a boost. Instead, he says, he subsequently learned from Delabar that he should have eased up, going harder with the weighted balls when he was feeling good. In the off-season, he talked with one of the program founders, Blue Jays consultant Jamie Evans, and clarified the course he should follow.

He says feels he has the job security to assert his intention to listen to his body and advise the trainers and coaches when he needs rest.

“I’m fairly certain I have a spot on the team,” he said. “Obviously, I’ve got to perform, but I’d say there’s a little bit more pressure taken off, not being on the bubble for once. So yeah, my mind’s clear, just focusing on getting my quality work in, not necessarily quantity work.”

Gibbons understands Cecil’s position but says the pitcher must understand that durability is a key quality for a reliever. “The good ones, they get used a lot if your team’s winning,” he said, obviously envisioning a reversal of fortune for his club this year.

“The good ones learn how to save pitches in the bullpen,” Gibbons said. “It doesn’t take them as many to get loose. A lot of those guys, when they’re young and they’re figuring it out, they get up before they go in the game and some of them might throw 20-plus pitches. Veteran guys that have figured it out, they cut that in half. That’s where they save themselves. And as a coaching staff too, we’ve got to be conscious of protecting those guys, and I think we do a pretty good job of that – when we can.”

Cecil says he is figuring it out, but Gibbons was surprised to hear what Cecil told reporters about his plan to save bullets. The two will undoubtedly be having a chat soon about their competing realities.


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

     The article said:

01. "Blue Jays baseball pitcher, Brett Cecil, credited part of his renaissance as a reliever to a weighted-ball program made popular by teammate Steve Delabar."
02. "Used properly, the regimen is supposed to strengthen all parts of the shoulder and help to increase velocity."
03. "But, both Delabar and Cecil experienced arm problems last year."
04. "So, the weighted-ball program is no panacea."
05. "Mr. Cecil admits he compounded his problems by not properly following the program."
06. "When he was feeling tired and sore, Mr. Cecil intensified his weighted-ball exercises."
07. "Mr. Cecil figured that intensifying his weighted-ball exercises would give him a boost."
08. "Instead, Mr. Cecil subsequently learned from Delabar that he should have eased up."
09. "Mr. Cecil should go harder with the weighted balls when he was feeling good."
10. "In the off-season, Mr. Cecil talked with one of the program founders, Blue Jays consultant Jamie Evans, and clarified the course he should follow."

     Mr. Evans says that, when bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons are tired and sore, athletes should not train. Instead, Mr. Evans says that, when bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons feel rested and strong, athletes should train.

     Therefore, Mr. Evans believes that rest makes bones, ligaments, muscles and tendons stronger.

     As I explained when I first learned that Mr. Evans had bastardized my wrist weight exercises, Mr. Evans does not know the injurious flaws in the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion.

     Therefore, using Mr. Evans' heavy ball with the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion makes injurious flaws more injurious. Without eliminating the injurious flaws, using Mr. Evans' heavy balls injures baseball pitchers.

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0236.  Melvin encouraged by Rodriguez's progress
MLB.com
February 22, 2014

PHOENIX, AZ: A's manager Bob Melvin is extremely encouraged by Fernando Rodriguez's recovery from Tommy John surgery.

The right-handed reliever is nearly a year removed from the operation, and though he's not expected to get into any spring contests, he's already looking "like he could pitch in a game right now," said Melvin.

"We're going to be careful with the timeline on that. He realizes that too," he continued. "But he looks different to me."

Chalk it up to Rodriguez putting in overtime work last year, when his team was enjoying a second consecutive playoff run. The 29-year-old was seen in the clubhouse almost daily and stayed for most games.

"That was a year well spent, for a guy that had to sit there and watch," Melvin said. "He did it the right way. He studied different pitchers, he knew he was a little bit slow to the plate, and he's already combated that. His mechanics are tighter. He's throwing downhill better.

"And I complimented him on that during the season last year, because he wasn't just doing his rehab and going home. He was staying and watching and learning."

Rodriguez, acquired with Jed Lowrie from Houston last year, is out of options, but will likely remain on the disabled list at season's start so the A's can get him a handful of rehab appearances in Triple-A Sacramento. There's no rush for his return to the big league level, considering Oakland's extensive bullpen depth.


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

     Athletic's field manager, Bob Melvin, said:

01. "That was a year well spent."
02. "Fernando Rodriguez sat there and watched every home game."
03. "Mr. Rodriguez did it the right way."
04. "Mr. Rodriguez studied different pitchers."
05. "Mr. Rodriguez knew he was a little bit slow to the plate."
06. "Mr. Rodriguez has already combated that."
07. "Mr. Rodriguez's mechanics are tighter."
08. "Mr. Rodriguez is throwing downhill better."

     It is a good thing that the pitching mound slopes downward at one inch per foot for six feet.

     Otherwise, Mr. Rodriguez might not be throwing downhill better.

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0237.  Garcia to undergo MRI on left shoulder
MLB.com
February 22, 2014

JUPITER, FL: Jaime Garcia will travel back to St. Louis on Sunday to have an MRI on his left shoulder, which began to bother him again this week during his bullpen sessions. Even if the MRI comes back clean, this setback likely won't leave Garcia enough time to get himself ready by the first week of the regular season.

That means an eight-man competition for five starting spots has, for the time being, been reduced to seven.

"I think all of us have been around this enough to know that [injuries happen], and it shouldn't completely devastate you," manager Mike Matheny said. "You need to have some contingency plans in place of what it might look like. ... We're fortunate that we've got plenty of guys ready to compete right now, and we'll just watch how they continue to progress."

The resurfacing shoulder discomfort is a discouraging development for Garcia, who reported to Spring Training relieved to be healthy again. After pitching through shoulder pain from 2012-13, Garcia chose to address the issue with season-ending surgery last May. He hoped that would allow him to come into this season uninhibited, and until this week, he was meeting each new challenge without a problem.

The surgery, which was performed by Cardinals team physician George Paletta, fixed a tear in Garcia's rotator cuff and labrum. Garcia began the throwing portion of his rehab process late in the season and was actually far enough along to throw batting practice in October. That allowed Garcia to follow a normal offseason program.

Garcia had thrown three bullpen sessions since the start of Spring Training and was scheduled for a fourth on Saturday. That was postponed indefinitely when Garcia alerted the medical staff to the discomfort.

"It's just been something where he hasn't felt quite right the last 48 hours," general manager John Mozeliak said. "From a medical standpoint, no one thought it was that serious. But it wasn't improving. And given how early it is in camp, there's no reason to try and work through something if it might be something larger. We think it's just better to get some resolution and have him seen back in St. Louis."

The Cardinals expect to publicly announce the results of the exam on Monday afternoon.

"I know if I was in that spot, I'd want to get looked at," Matheny said. "I'd just like to get some answers from the medical team and then after that, figure out what it looks like."

Asked if he had a gut feeling on what Paletta may find, Mozeliak said: "I feel like it's always best to react once you sort of know all the facts."

The Cardinals, who have lost a key member of their pitching staff each of the past three Spring Trainings, are seemingly set up as well as one could hope to handle Garcia's absence. Adam Wainwright remains the ace of the rotation, and some four-man combination of Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, Joe Kelly, Carlos Martinez and Tyler Lyons will follow him.

The Cardinals were intentional about retaining their young pitching this winter so that they could boast such depth. Now, it's moving from a luxury to a necessity.

"Obviously, when you think about all the talk and banter about how much pitching we have, it certainly shows you that you might not have enough," Mozeliak said. "It definitely helps to have that depth to tap into."

Lyons is the only lefty in that bunch, though Matheny said it is not imperative that the season open with a southpaw in the rotation. The Cardinals pitched most of the second half of last season with a rotation of right-handers.

That's not to say, though, that the Cardinals were not excited to get Garcia back into the mix. He was a third-place finisher in the National League Rookie of the Year vote in 2010 after going 13-8 with a 2.70 ERA. He won 13 games again in '11, while posting a 3.56 ERA in 32 starts. Even when compromised by shoulder issues in the following two seasons, Garcia had a respectable 3.81 ERA in 29 games.

Garcia's setback does not solely affect the starting rotation competition, either; it will also alter the bullpen complexion. The Cardinals anticipated bumping as many as two starters into relief roles once the rotation was set. Now, there may be just one such move.


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

     The article said:

01. "Jaime Garcia will travel back to St. Louis on Sunday to have an MRI on his pitching shoulder."
02. "The resurfacing shoulder discomfort is a discouraging development for Garcia."
03. "Mr. Garcia reported to Spring Training believing he was healthy again."
04. "In May 2013, Mr. Garcia chose season-ending surgery."
05. "Mr. Garcia hoped the surgery would allow him to come into this season uninhibited."
06. "Until this week, Mr. Garcia was meeting each new challenge without a problem."
07. "Cardinals team physician George Paletta fixed a tear in Garcia's rotator cuff and labrum."
08. "Mr. Garcia began the throwing portion of his rehab process late in the season."
09. "Mr. Garcia was far enough along to throw batting practice in October."
10. "That allowed Mr. Garcia to follow a normal offseason program."
11. "Since the start of Spring Training, Mr. Garcia had thrown three bullpen sessions."
12. "Mr. Garcia was scheduled for a fourth on Saturday."
13. "Instead, Mr. Garcia alerted the medical staff to the discomfort."

     So much for surgeries being the answer.

     Mr. Garcia needs to learn how to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate.

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0238.  This is Mike Farrenkopf

I am starting to understand the anatomy of the shoulder a little better and in depth.

If I remember correctly, did you have shoulder surgery?

What is limiting you to not be able to lift your arm over head?


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

     When, to keep the free standing closet that I was moving with a hand truck from falling, I hit the closet, I tore the attachment of my Supraspinatus muscle from the top of the head of my Humerus bone.

     Without that attachment, I could not raise my Humerus bone to shoulder height.

     Unfortunately, the attachment was so badly torn that the surgeon could not reattach it.

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0239.  Danks focuses on cutter in second spring after surgery
MLB.com
February 22, 2014

GLENDALE, AZ: John Danks never worried about his velocity during Spring Trainings prior to last year, a 2013 season in which he couldn't help but look at the speed reading to somewhat gauge progress made after season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery in August '12.

He won't worry about velocity when he takes the mound for Cactus League action this March, with his first start coming Saturday at home against the Indians. Instead, the focus for the left-handed veteran is on getting his cutter back in shape.

"That was the pitch I felt I struggled with the most last year," said Danks. "It wasn't nearly as sharp. It wasn't going to where I wanted it to go. I think being able to spin it a little more consistent, a little easier, it will help certainly."

For the record, Danks' average fastball velocity dipped from 91.6 mph in 2011 to 90.1 in '12 to 89.3 last year, according to Fangraphs. With as strong as Danks has felt through the first week of camp, that velocity figures to see an upturn in '14.

If there's not a noticeable immediate change, though, it won't be a deal breaker in regard to Danks' hope for success.

"I'm more worried about being able to throw the ball where I want," Danks said. "Obviously I anticipate [velocity] being back and would love it to be right back there. That's something that's not going to kill me if it's not. Being able to spin the ball and make the cutter be a lot sharper and more consistent is more important."

Rave reviews have come in for Danks during Week 1, from how he looks on the mound to how the ball is coming out of his hand to his physical health. But the White Sox have yet to even play an intrasquad game.

Facing opposing hitters stands as the next step for Danks as he reasserts himself in the rotation.

"I've passed the beginning test, and now it's going out there and facing another team," Danks said. "It doesn't mean I'm going to strike everybody out or throw perfect innings, but just being able to feel good and throw the ball where I want is more important."


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

     The article said:

01. "In August 2012, John Danks had season-ending arthroscopic shoulder surgery.
02. "Mr. Danks' average fastball velocity dipped from 91.6 mph in 2011 to 90.1 in '12 to 89.3 in '13."
03. "With as strong as Danks has felt through the first week of spring training 2014, Mr. Danks' velocity figures to see an upturn."

     As a pull, supination baseball pitcher, Mr. Danks pitching shoulder is becoming less and less stable.

     As a result, Mr. Danks will continue to lose release velocity and release consistency.

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0240.  Lefty pitching prospect Purke gets tips from Hernandez
MLB.com
February 22, 2014

VIERA, FL: Nationals coach and ambassador Livan Hernandez watched left-hander Matt Purke throw his first live bullpen session on Saturday.

After Purke was done, Hernandez told the left-hander that he was getting lazy with his front side when he was throwing his breaking ball.

"He wanted me to stay strong on the offspeed and [follow] through," Purke said. "That way, those pitches would be up and over the plate. He said if you don't keep it strong, it's going to go down every time. Nobody will swing at it."

Purke, who was rated as the sixth best prospect in the Nationals' farm system in 2013, is finally healthy entering Spring Training. He had his throwing shoulder cleaned up before last season, and now he is ready to show the Nationals what he can do.

"I want to have a good spring and just go from there," Purke said. I can't control where they send me or what they do with me, but I can control what I do between the lines. My focus is to prepare and be the best I can be out there."


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

     The article said:

01. "In 2013, Nationals baseball pitcher, Matt Purke, was rated as the sixth best prospect in the Nationals' farm system."
02. "Bbefore the 2013 season, Mr.Purke had his pitching shoulder cleaned up."
03. "Now, Mr.Purke is ready to show the Nationals what he can do."

     Nope. As a pull, supination baseball pitcher, Mr. Purke is ready for more destruction of his pitching shoulder.

     Until pull, supination baseball pitchers become Latissimus Dorsi and Pronator Teres baseball pitchers, they will continue on the downward spiral to oblivion.

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0241.  Yankees to add reliever Bailey on Minors deal
MLB.com
February 23, 2014

TAMPA, FL: Right-handed reliever Andrew Bailey has agreed to a Minor League deal with the Yankees, but he likely won't be ready to join the club until August or September, or perhaps not at all this season, as he recovers from shoulder surgery.

The one-year deal is for a base salary of $2.5 million, if Bailey makes the Major League roster, and it includes a 2015 option and buyout plus incentives, according to ESPN, which first reported the pact Saturday night. Bailey, 29, will report to Tampa to work with the Yankees' training staff. The club has not officially announced the deal.

"This is more complicated, because it's a shoulder. When he's healthy, he's an exceptional reliever," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said Sunday. "He's coming off a shoulder surgery, so we're taking a flyer. A low risk, and if we can get a reward out of it, great. One of those, 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained.' Because it's a shoulder, more likely than not, it's an uphill battle, but we'll see."

Bailey underwent surgery on his right shoulder in July and was non-tendered by the Red Sox in December. The 29-year-old spent the last two seasons in Boston, though he was often injured and made only 49 appearances between 2012 and '13.

When healthy, Bailey was one of the most successful closers in baseball. He won the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 2009, earned two All-Star nods and saved 75 games with a 2.07 ERA for the A's from 2009-11.

"This guy's done a lot in his career. He's closed. He's pitched late in games. I'd expect him to be one of our late-inning guys," manager Joe Girardi said. "I think the earliest [he could pitch for the Yankees] would the end of the season. He's coming in. He's got a lot of work to do. ... It just takes time. It takes time to rehab."

The Red Sox traded for Bailey before the 2012 season, but he didn't pitch until August while recovering from a thumb injury. He went on to post a 7.04 ERA in 19 games in 2012.

Bailey occasionally looked more like his old self in 2013, working in a setup role and briefly as Boston's closer. He finished last year with a 3.77 ERA in 30 appearances before being shut down to undergo shoulder surgery.

Cashman said he didn't base the decision to sign Bailey on having seen him throw, but rather on "who he was" when healthy with the A's and Red Sox. Closer David Robertson agreed that Bailey could be a valuable addition if he's able to get on the mound.

"It would mean a lot; he's a great arm. He has a lot of experience, had some good years with Oakland and some good years with Boston until he got injured," Robertson said. "He has a lot of experience, so any help in the bullpen is welcome."

Robertson said he wasn't threatened by the Yankees signing another reliever with experience closing out games, though he joked that Girardi hadn't officially appointed him the closer yet. He also noted how relief roles tend to change and evolve over the course of the season, so it's hard to tell what Bailey's job would be by the time he's healthy enough to pitch in the Majors.

"I look at it as helping the bullpen as a whole," Robertson said. "Whatever is going to make our team stronger and help us get back to the playoffs, that works for me."


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

     Yankees general manager, Brian Cashman, said:

01. "This is more complicated, because it's a shoulder."
02. "When he's healthy, he (Andrew Bailey) is an exceptional reliever."
03. "He's coming off a shoulder surgery, so we're taking a flyer."
04. "A low risk, and if we can get a reward out of it, great."
05. "One of those, 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained.'"
06. "Because it's a shoulder, more likely than not."
07. "It's an uphill battle, but we'll see."
08. "I am giving Mr. Bailey $2.5 million to see whether Mr. Bailey is able to pitch again."

     Using the Pectoralis Major muscle to pull the pitching upper arm forward, destroys the pitching shoulder.

     Unless Mr. Bailey uses his Latissimus Dorsi and Pronator Teres muscles, Mr. Cashman has wasted $2.5 million.

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0242.  Iwakuma still uncertain on specific return date
MLB.com
February 23, 2014

PEORIA, AZ: Injured Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma did some dry work on a bullpen mound Sunday, going through his throwing motion first without a ball and then using a towel wrapped around his hand.

"I'm feeling very good," Iwakuma said through translator Antony Suzuki. "Condition wise, I'm great, besides the finger."

The standout right-hander is waiting for a doctor's reexamination of the strained tendon on the middle finger of his throwing hand this coming week before getting a better grip on when he might be able to start actually throwing a baseball again.

"He's coming along fine," said manager Lloyd McClendon. "After he sees the doctor, we'll see where we are. We're just trying to keep him in the best physical shape that we can at this point."

The initial report was Iwakuma would be sidelined 4-6 weeks from the start of camp and McClendon said he didn't think anything had changed to this point.

Iwakuma injured the finger when he caught it in protective netting as he leaped up to catch a ball while doing drills in California prior to reporting to camp. After finishing third in the American League Cy Young voting last year, Iwakuma had hoped to get off to another good start this year. But it's unlikely he'll be ready by Opening Day, given he's been unable to throw at all yet this spring.

Sunday's drills were designed to at least help keep his arm in throwing shape. But clearly this isn't the way he wants to spend Spring Training, watching from the sidelines as his teammates prepare.

"To be honest, it's hard to wait a second from throwing the ball," he said. "But I have to do what I have to do. I have to respect what the doctor says and be patient now and do what I can for now. You look forward to coming back as soon as possible, but at the same time, you don't want to rush anything. So we kind of have to play it by ear."


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

     The article said:

01. "Hisashi Iwakuma injured the Middle finger on his pitching hand when he caught it in protective netting as he leaped up to catch a ball while doing drills in California prior to reporting to camp."
02. "It's unlikely he'll be ready by Opening Day."
03. "Mr. Iwakuma has been unable to throw at all yet this spring."
04. "Mr. Iwakuma is waiting for a doctor's reexamination of the strained tendon on the middle finger of his throwing hand."
05. "Until Mr. Iwakuma is able to grip the baseball, Mr. Iwakuma is not able to start throwing baseballs again."
06. "Mr. Iwakuma did some dry work on a bullpen mound Sunday, going through his throwing motion first without a ball and then using a towel wrapped around his hand."

     If the tendon of the Flexor Digitorum Profundus or the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis muscles is not attached to the distal or middle phalange bones in the Middle finger of Mr. Iwakuma's finger, Mr. Iwakuma will need surgery to reattach the tendon.

     Baseball pitchers are only as good as the strength and skill of the tip of their Middle finger.

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0243.  Logan taking steady approach to recovery
MLB.com
February 23, 2014

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: Rockies left-hander Boone Logan is taking a measured preparation approach in gearing up for the season after undergoing surgery to remove bone chips from his throwing elbow during the offseason.

Logan, who signed for three years and $16.5 million after pitching the last four seasons with the Yankees, threw a 30-pitch, touch-and-feel bullpen Friday, using his fastballs and changeups. But he hasn't thrown 100 percent. He'll begin a long-toss program this week to stretch the arm. It's not clear when he'll pitch in Cactus League games.

Last season, Logan went 5-2 with a 3.23 ERA in 61 games, but was in pain throughout the year. It also bothered him in 2012, but he led the American League with 80 appearances and went 7-2 with a 3.74 ERA.

"As long as I don't have any setbacks, if it keeps progressing, I'm not worried about it at all," Logan said.

Logan will need to be at full health. With the Yankees, he was used often in left-on-left matchups, but the Rockies want him available for full innings. That means he'll have to employ his changeup -- a pitch he had to be careful with when dealing with a bone spur and the chips in the elbow. He could barely rotate his arm, and he held off on offspeed pitches in warmups and just hoped they'd be there during the game.

"Now, I can prepare myself for a full inning," Logan said. "I can prepare for the seventh inning or the eighth inning, knowing that I'll have my own inning for the most part. I'm sure, too, there are situational times that I'll go in, because we have live arms at the end of the game."

Logan, 29, became familiar with Bill Geivett, the Rockies' senior vice president of Major League operations, during golf tournaments in his native San Antonio honoring Mike Coolbaugh, the late Rockies Double-A coach who was killed when hit in the neck by a line drive during a game. Logan appreciated the fact the Rockies didn't back off their free agency offer even though Logan had surgery.

"They said, 'We want you over here, we like your makeup, we like how you are as a person in the clubhouse,'" Logan said. "That meant a lot to me, and their confidence in me to have my own inning. Feeling love like that and having the opportunity to not let them down is going to be a little pressure on me, because I don't want to let anybody down. But I'm happy for the opportunity."

Rockies manager Walt Weiss said, "He hasn't had any issues, and we're encouraged where he's at."


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

     The article said:

01. "During the off-season, Rockies left-hander, Boone Logan, HAD surgery to remove bone chips from his throwing elbow.
02. "Friday, Mr. Logan threw a 30-pitch, touch-and-feel bullpen, using his fastballs and changeups."
03. "But, Mr. Logan hasn't thrown 100 percent."
04. "To stretch his pitching arm, Mr. Logan will begin a long-toss program this week.
05. "Last season, Mr. Logan pitched in pain throughout the 2013 year."
06. "In 2012, Mr. Logan also pitched in pain."
07. "Nevertheles, in 2012, Mr. Logan led the American League with 80 appearances and went 7-2 with a 3.74 ERA.

     Supinating the release of breaking pitches causes baseball pitchers to bang the bones in the back of the pitching elbow together.

     First, banging the bones together breaks pieces of hyaline cartilage off the end of the Humerus and Ulna bones.

     Then, bone spurs grow through the openings in the hyaline cartilage.

     However, when surgeons remove those bone spurs, baseball pitchers are able to continue to bang the bones in the back of their pitching elbow and break more pieces of hyaline cartilage off the ends of the bones.

     I wonder how many degrees of the extension and flexion ranges of motion Mr. Logan's pitching elbow has lost.

     Pronating the release of breaking pitches prevents banging the bones in the back of the pitching elbow together.

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0244.  Dodgers' Billingsley building up for 2014 return
MLB.com
February 23, 2014

GLENDALE, AZ: Chad Billingsley said he was progressing well in his rehab from Tommy John surgery when he reported to camp. But the statement the Dodgers made over the weekend shows Billingsley's comments aren't just lip service.

The Dodgers needed to make room on the 40-man roster for new Cuban infielder Erisbel Arruebarrena and they could have shifted Billingsley, out since last spring, to the 60-day disabled list, which would have guaranteed the right-hander would be out until mid-May. But the team instead elected to designate for assignment infielder Justin Sellers, more than suggesting the one-time All-Star could return to a Major League mound before then.

"It seems that way," Billingsley said Sunday of reading between the lines. "I'm not really too worried about that. My main focus is getting healthy and being smart during this rehab. Don't have any setbacks.

"The rehab has been going great so far. The arm is feeling good. It feels like I have a new arm, really. The elbow started bugging me back in 2008 and it was a gradual deterioration from there, so it's nice to wake up in the morning and not feel like it's stiff and sore. It's a different feeling than I've felt in a long time. It's nice to throw without pain."

Billingsley underwent the elbow surgery last April after he made two regular season starts. Back then, or even six months ago, he didn't let himself put expectations or timetables on his progress.

"You can't predict a 12-month process," he said. "You'd like to be back by the 12th or 13th month, and right now it's going that way, but you never know."

Billingsley said he's thrown off a mound 14 times this spring, three innings of about 15 pitches each time. The one-time 16-game winner has kept his fastball between 80-85 mph the past five weeks at the doctors' behest. He will increase his velocity this week and hopes to throw breaking balls by the end of week.

"I'm gradually building up," he said.

A great amount of math goes into the rehab process. But Billingsley refuses to allow himself to become caught up in the arithmetic of where he fits in once healthy.

As it is the Dodgers have six starters -- Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dan Haren , Josh Beckett and Paul Maholm -- for five rotation spots. That's actually two fewer than a year ago, Billingsley quickly points out.

"Last year they were talking about us having eight starters and we needed all eight," Billingsley said.

Indeed. After Billingsley went down, Greinke, Beckett and Chris Capuano also spent time on the disabled list at different points and for varying lengths.

"You can never have enough pitching," Billingsley, 29, said. "You break camp with 25 guys and you're going to need all 40, probably plus, to get through the season.

"It will figure itself out. I'm not too concerned about that. When I get healthy and ready to come back and pitch, when that time comes, decisions will have to be made. But they won't be my decisions to make. The only thing I can control is my rehab and getting ready to pitch in a big league baseball game."

Billingsley will make $12 million this season in the final year of a three-year, $35 million deal he signed before the 2012 season. The Dodgers own a $14 million team option on Billingsley for next year, with a $3 million buyout. But Billingsley continues to focus on the process.

After a couple more bullpen sessions he'll begin to throw live batting practice. That should last the rest of the spring, though the possibility exists he could pitch in a Minor League game on one of the back fields by the end of March.

"Each time out I want to give it a little stress and push it just a little to strengthen it up," Billingsley said. "If everything goes well from now until then, when the team breaks for the season I could go on a rehab assignment. If everything goes well from there I'll be back by the end of April or early May."

But patience still is the prerogative.

"I'll know when my arm is ready and they'll know when I'm ready," Billingsley said. "That's when I'll be back on a Major League mound."


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

     Dodgers baseball pitcher, Chad Billingsley, said:

01. "It (rehabilitation progress) seems that way."
02. "I'm not really too worried about that."
03. "My main focus is getting healthy and being smart during this rehab."
04. "Don't have any setbacks."
05. "The rehab has been going great so far."
06. "The arm is feeling good."
07. "It feels like I have a new arm, really."
08. "The elbow started bugging me back in 2008."
09. "From then on, it was a gradual deterioration."
10. "It's nice to wake up in the morning and not feel like it's stiff and sore."
11. "It's a different feeling than I've felt in a long time."
12. "It's nice to throw without pain."
13. "You can't predict a 12-month process."
14. "You'd like to be back by the 12th or 13th month."
15. "Right now it's going that way, but you never know."
16. "I'm gradually building up."

     Replacement tendons for the Ulnar Collateral Ligaments do not build up.

     Instead, with every 'reverse pitching forearm bounce,' the replacement tendon is tearing more and more connective fibers in the tendon.

     That replacement tendons do not have pain sensors give false hope that everything is getting better.

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0245.  Wang begins latest comeback bid in Cincinnati camp
MLB.com
February 23, 2014

GOODYEAR, AZ: Modern medical achievements have enabled surgeons to repair torn elbow ligaments and save pitching careers. A steady success rate for fixing shoulders remains elusive. For many pitchers -- even the elite ones in Major League Baseball -- they are never the same again once the scalpel is used on their shoulder.

That's the reality right-hander Chien-Ming Wang has lived with since 2009. Before his operation, he was a two-time 19-game winner for the Yankees who possessed a tough sinkerball. He's been essentially a journeyman pitcher since.

In Reds camp this year as a non-roster invitee, Wang very much wants to recapture that level of excellence again.

"I'm trying to," Wang said. "It's hard, the rehab and the throwing. After shoulder surgery, sometimes it can pinch."

Wang, who turns 34 on March 31, was signed to a Minor League contract by Cincinnati in December. He is viewed as possible depth behind the rotation.

The Taiwanese Wang went 19-6 in 2006 for the Yankees, posting a 3.63 ERA in 34 games and 218 innings to finish second in American League Cy Young Award voting. He followed up in '07 by going 19-7 with a 3.70 ERA in 30 starts and 199 1/3 innings. His '08 season was poised for more success as he finished April with a 5-0 record.

The root of Wang's derailment came not from his shoulder, but his foot. On June 15, 2008, during an Interleague game against the Astros, he tried to score on a Derek Jeter single when he stepped awkwardly near third base. The result was a torn tendon in his right foot that ended his season.

Wang's foot issue lingered into the following Spring Training and the 2009 season. He was 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA when his velocity lost its steam during his final start of that year, on July 4 against the Blue Jays. His right shoulder had given out, a byproduct of the foot injury from the previous year.

"I didn't use my legs enough," Wang said. "I didn't have the push from that leg. I was using my arm too much to throw the ball."

On July 29, 2009, Wang had season-ending surgery to repair a torn capsule in his right shoulder. The operation was performed by one of the best in the business, Dr. James Andrews, but even successful shoulder repairs don't guarantee successful shoulder comebacks.

The Nationals signed Wang for 2010, but he spent the entire season rehabbing. He did likewise for the start of the '11 season, but worked his way back through the Minors. He made 11 starts for Washington in '11, then spent much of '12 back on the disabled list and appeared in only 10 games (five starts).

Wang was given another shot by the Yankees last season before he was granted his release from their Triple-A affiliate in June to allow him another big league shot with the Blue Jays. He had a 2.61 ERA and pitched into at least the seventh inning over his first three starts. After that, Wang was beaten up in back-to-back games and failed to get out of the second inning. He was sent to Triple-A and returned for only one more three-inning start, and a loss, for Toronto in August.

"My fastball average hasn't got there yet," Wang said. "Last year, it was 89-92 [mph]. Before, it was at 94-95. I was tired. My body was tired. Last year, I pitched in the [World Baseball Classic for Taiwan]. I had two years with no stopping."

This spring in Reds camp, Wang still attracts interest from the Taiwanese media that documents his early bullpen sessions and workouts with the club.

Reds manager Bryan Price has yet to draw any conclusions from what he's seen from Wang thus far.

"I'm looking forward to seeing him against hitters," Price said. "With a veteran guy, you don't want to bring him in here and make any assumptions too early in camp. That being said, he's a veteran pitcher that had a lot of success on the front end of that Yankee career and has had to deal with some injuries since. I'm a big believer that if we see something as a [coaching] staff that can help him improve his consistency, we need to acknowledge it."

Wang's shoulder has been healthy to this point, and he has shown the team he might still have something left in his arm.

"Shoulders are a challenge ,but the one thing that hasn't gone away is the sink on his fastball," Price said. "For any pitcher, consistency is a huge thing -- for him, bottom of the zone command, strikes. He's got a changeup and curveball that are both good pitches. I'm looking forward to seeing how the hitters respond to him. He's the type of guy I feel like has room to get better."

Wang has out clauses in his contract on May 31 and June 30 if he's not on a Major League roster. Satisfied with his new team, he is looking to stick around.

"I will do what the team wants me to do," Wang said. "I would go to the Minor Leagues and start in the Minor Leagues."


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

     The article said:

01. "Modern medical achievements have enabled surgeons to repair torn elbow ligaments and save pitching careers."
02. "A steady success rate for fixing shoulders remains elusive."
03. "For many pitchers, even the elite ones in Major League Baseball, they are never the same again once the scalpel is used on their shoulder.

     That orthopedic surgeons continue to do surgeries on pitching shoulders shows how much they want the money.

     They know that pitching shoulder surgery always fail.

     The only answer is to teach baseball pitchers the pitching arm action that I teach my baseball pitchers.

     Instead of paying orthopedic surgeons tens of thousands of dollars, baseball pitchers with injured pitching shoulders need only to do the drills that I use to teach the skills of my pitching arm action.

     With my 'horizontal rebound,' these baseball pitchers will not only be pain-free, they will also increase their release velocity above whatever they were able to throw previously.

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0246.  Cautious Indians taking it easy with Salazar
MLB.com
February 23, 2014

GOODYEAR, AZ: The Indians took extra precautions throughout last season to protect the powerful arm of pitcher Danny Salazar, and the club has adopted the same approach this spring.

As an assortment of Cleveland's pitchers worked through live batting-practice sessions over the past three days, Salazar has limited his throwing to routine bullpen workouts. Salazar said Sunday that there is no injury behind the conservative schedule.

"We're just sticking with a program," Salazar said. "It's not just for now, but for the whole season. It's going to be a long season, so right now we're just in a slow period, just because of that. It's not tough for me to deal with, because it's just workouts right now."

Salazar, 24, underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2010 and the Indians have taken a careful approach with his innings in the past few years. After logging just 14 2/3 innings in 2011, Salazar increased to 87 2/3 innings in '12 and then 145 innings in '13. The last figure includes his time at both Triple-A and in the Major Leagues last season.

In 10 outings with the Indians last summer, Salazar posted a 3.12 ERA with 65 strikeouts against 15 walks in 52 innings. He became a fixture in the rotation down the stretch, earned the nod to start in the American League Wild Card Game and now enters camp a virtual lock for the rotation.

Cleveland wants to do all it can to make sure the hard-throwing Salazar can handle a full campaign.

"We're just trying to be smart more than anything," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "He's a guy that throws hard and you want to make sure that we can control that and still get something out of it. He's on the same schedule as everybody else; he's just pushed back a little bit."


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

     Indians baseball pitcher, Danny Salazar, said:

01. "We're just sticking with a program."
02. "It's not just for now, but for the whole season."
03. "It's going to be a long season."
04. "So right now, we're just in a slow period."
05. "It's not tough for me to deal with."
06. "It's just workouts right now."

     The idea is resting in spring training keeps baseball pitchers fresh at the end of the season.

     Unfortunately, resting prevents fitness.

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0247.  Bundy making progress, being careful
MLB.com
February 23, 2014

SARASOTA, FL: The toughest thing for Dylan Bundy, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, is holding himself back as he continues to make progress for the Orioles during Spring Training.

Bundy, 21, worked up to throw at 150 feet again on Sunday, with the only difference being that he moved in to 90 and 60 feet to throw a little more. The right-hander threw to vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson with assistant athletic trainer Brian Ebel watching and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and trainer Chris Correnti coming over toward the end.

"I want to throw harder, but I know I'm not supposed to," said Bundy, who was popping the mitt pretty good when he got closer to Anderson. "They say right now it's a touchy stage because people feel really good about their arm and they throw harder, but if they keep at 75 percent, they should be fine."

Bundy will throw at 150 feet at least one more time, and the next step is 180. The Orioles hope Bundy, their top pitching prospect, can be a factor for them in June.


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     I wonder whether Dylan Bundy realizes that he will never be the baseball pitcher that he imagined in his dreams.

     Conversely, with my pitching arm action, I became a better baseball pitcher that I ever imagine that I could become.

     It is too bad that Mr. Bundy has to listen to Rick Peterson and Dr. Glenn Fleisig. They have done so much for Mr. Bundy already.

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0248.  New Brave Floyd excited about progression during rehab
MLB.com
February 23, 2014

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL: As Gavin Floyd attempts to return from reconstructive elbow surgery, he will continue to be cognizant of the fact that a premature return could negatively affect his future. But the Braves right-hander can't help but be excited about his progress, which has allowed him to remain hopeful of joining the rotation in May.

"I'm just super thankful," Floyd said. "You hear a bunch of stories and testimonies about how different guys have recovered and how guys have recovered. I've had my soreness and stuff. But for some reason, I've recovered well and fast."

Floyd began throwing curveballs last week and was cleared to begin mixing in some sliders during a 75-pitch bullpen session he completed on Friday. The 31-year-old right-hander will continue throwing both his breaking balls as he increases each of his pitch counts during his next two bullpen sessions.

If Floyd continues to make pain-free progress, he'll be cleared to begin throwing live batting practice at some point during the early portion of March. As he increases his workload and endurance with these exercises, he'll be moving toward being cleared to begin a rehab assignment, which will essentially serve as his Spring Training.

"It's been flying by," Floyd said. "It's crazy to think maybe a month from now, I'll maybe be pitching in a game. It's pretty cool."

Floyd's excitement is also a product of the fact that this is the best his elbow has felt in more than two years. He endured two disabled list stints after the 2012 All-Star break and then pitched through pain before undergoing surgery in May to repair tears to his ulnar collateral ligament and flexor tendon.

After the surgery, the White Sox indicated Floyd would need 14-19 months to recover. But encouraged by the medical reports they reviewed, the Braves signed Floyd in December with the belief he could join their rotation in May, which would be 12 months after the surgery.

"He's fine," manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think he's right where he's supposed to be. He just needs to keep hitting those marks the trainers set and keep progressing from there."


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     Braves baseball pitcher, Gavin Floyd, said:

01. "I'm just super thankful."
02. "You hear a bunch of stories and testimonies about how different guys have recovered and how guys have recovered."
03. "I've had my soreness and stuff."
04. "But, for some reason, I've recovered well and fast."

     Sorry, Mr. Floyd, but those testimonies were all lies. You will never become the baseball pitcher that you imagined in your dreams.

     More pain awaits.

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0249.  Chacin shelved with shoulder inflammation
MLB.com
February 23, 2014

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: The Rockies announced Sunday that they have shut down right-hander Jhoulys Chacin for at least a week because of inflammation in his pitching shoulder. On Monday, the Rockies will schedule an MRI to determine the exact nature and severity of the injury.

Until the injury is fully diagnosed, with the Rockies hoping the MRI distinguishes whether the problem is with his biceps tendon or if it's rotator cuff weakness, there is no timetable on when Chacin will continue throwing. The diagnosis also will determine whether he can receive the 30-35 innings necessary to be ready to pitch for the Rockies when the regular season begins.

Chacin said he believes the issue is minor, and the problem is more in his biceps than the shoulder, but the MRI will check the biceps tendon, which begins high in the shoulder and runs along the arm, and the rotator cuff muscles.

"I think it's not too bad," Chacin said. "I'll just take a couple of days to get the inflammation and the pain out, then work to get back throwing again.

"I don't feel it when I'm on my throwing program, throwing real easy. When I start to throw hard, that's when I feel it."

Rockies manager Walt Weiss insisted Sunday that the club will not rush Chacin, although he is a major part of the potential rotation. Chacin, 24, went 14-10 with a 3.47 ERA in 31 starts and threw a career-high 197 1/3 innings last season, and is being counted on as half of a 1-2 punch with lefty Jorge DeLaRosa who went 16-6 with a 3.49 ERA last season.

"I feel good about the fact that we caught it early. He's had it at times in the past, not necessarily last year, but the year before," Weiss said. "So we're being really cautious. We've got time on our side. We'll hope for the best, but I'm not overly concerned right now, just because it's February."

Chacin didn't report any problems throwing this winter, and he went to the Rockies' complex in the Dominican Republic to complete his pre-Spring Training work. Weiss said there may have been soreness at the end of Chacin's time in the Dominican.

Chacin missed most of 2012 with a right pectoral nerve issue that was a mystery for the Rockies for two months until a specialist made the determination. But Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said Chacin feels much better now than then, and does not believe the current problem is related to the pectoral nerve issue.

"He's a little sore in the biceps tendon and kind of all over … inflammation, you would think."

While the Rockies, looking for a turnaround after last-place finishes in the National League West the last two years, can ill afford to lose one of the NL's emerging hurlers, they entered camp with depth.

The Rockies traded with the Red Sox for lefty Franklin Morales, received righty Jordan Lyles in a trade with the Astros and have lefty Chrisitan Friedrich healthy after missing a year with a back injury. They were brought in to compete with hard-throwing but inconsistent righty Juan Nicasio, but also offer depth in the case of injury.

Morales, who broke in with the Rockies as a starter in 2007 but has pitched mostly out of the bullpen since, said he didn't know Chacin's status. But Morales is prepared for what the Rockies need.

"I came to do my job and pitch, and I like to be ready for any situation."

Rockies pitching coach Jim Wright said of Chacin, "We know what he means to the team, and we just hope it's a minor issue that can be addressed with rest, and we can get him ready."


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     The article said:

01. "The Rockies announced Sunday that they have shut down right-hander Jhoulys Chacin for at least a week because of inflammation in his pitching shoulder."
02. "On Monday, the Rockies will schedule an MRI to determine the exact nature and severity of the injury."
03. "The Rockies hope the MRI distinguishes whether the problem is with his biceps tendon or if it's rotator cuff weakness."
04. "There is no timetable on when Chacin will continue throwing."

     Mr. Chacin has inflammation in his pitching shoulder.

     Unless Mr. Chacin uses the pitching arm action that I teach, Mr. Chacin is on the downward spiral to oblivion.

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0250.  Latos makes quick progress from surgery
MLB.com
February 23, 2014

GOODYEAR, AZ: Reds pitcher Mat Latos continues to make speedy progress from left knee surgery. On Sunday, Latos' fourth day of his long-tossing program had him throwing at distances of 100-120 feet.

"I set a goal of the end of next week to start throwing at 100 feet and I've surpassed that today," Latos said.

What really pleased Latos, though, was that he could participate in stretching, throwing and drills with his teammates for the first time this spring. He had a torn meniscus repaired in his knee on Feb. 14, the first day pitchers and catchers reported.

"All in all, today was the best day that I've had," Latos said. "I had been doing my exercises and strengthening stuff, but I wasn't able to actually get out and interact with the guys. This was a huge positive to be able to go out there and throw and run and the other stuff."

Latos backed up the bases during cutoff and relay drills and did some limited fielding drills that didn't require turning on his knee to throw. He also performed some agility drills on his own.

"Backpedaling bothered me a little bit, but that's to be expected," Latos said.

There is no target date known yet for when Latos will begin throwing from a mound. He is not considered to be too far behind the other pitchers, however. He began throwing again quickly after the surgery and had completed his rehab from October elbow surgery that removed four bone chips.

"We're boosting up the cardio where I'm putting in a huge amount of effort real quick, because I have to get my legs under me," Latos said. "The arm has been there. I've already rehabbed that. I haven't taken a huge step back. After four days, I'm already at 100-plus feet. The knee feels good. Dr. [Tim] Kremchek says he's not worried about me reinjuring it."


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     The article said:

01. "Reds pitcher Mat Latos continues to make speedy progress from left knee surgery."
02. "On Sunday, Latos' fourth day of his long-tossing program had him throwing at distances of 100-120 feet.
03. "There is no target date known yet for when Latos will begin throwing from a mound."
04. "He is not considered to be too far behind the other pitchers, however."
05. "He began throwing again quickly after the surgery and had completed his rehab from October elbow surgery that removed four bone chips."

     Mr. Latos needs to be concerned with the four bone (hyaline cartilage) chips in his pitching elbow. Those four openings in the hyaline cartilage will become bond spurs and more surgeries.

     Mr. Latos needs to pronate the releases of his breaking pitches.

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***********************************************************************************************

     On Sunday, March 09, 2014, I posted the following questions and answers.

***********************************************************************************************
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0251.  Have you seen the latest in the injuries from Spring Training for pitchers?

I was very forthright with the Mariners when after they declared that Walker was healthy. I told them through their messaging that he has a Right Teres Minor either hyper extension of or it is torn.

Luckily that worked. He is now throwing pitches away from his Traditional Pitching Method cessation of his career. My gloves are off now.

Since the Giants have a comments section on their Facebook, I have been injecting it with some information about similarities of injuries occurring to batters and pitchers.

The Lateral Ulnar Collateral Ligament is the exposed victim we see in all the photographs of pitcher in full extension when they pitch in the Traditional Pitching Method.

I still believe that an all-out blitzkrieg of everyone in whom you have communications with, who are willing to go before the Jugs Guns throughout our nations ballparks and air it right there in front of everyone. Seeing, believe me Dr. Marshall, is believing.

When I screamed that this one is for you Junior. He was watching and in the warm ups he just walked up to where I could see him. He stared a long time. Tell the kids to go and have fun. Sending shivers like the kind that Walter Johnson used to give batters, Children with blazing fastballs. Torque and True Fastballs raining down from the skies.

My release is so high that if they, "The Batters" do get a pitch which almost contestable Dr, Marshall. It will come right out of the lights.

My maximum height at release is in what I call, "The Full Tilt Boogie."

When I pitch to different spots down Acromial Line the pitches even in the same grip really spin axis direction changes so I may have Torque moving to different locations it becomes other pitches. Torque Screwball, Torque Slider and Torque Tailing Fastball and so on....

I studied my pitches in all out shut down for four hours on Tuesday February 25, 2014 and learned this. One release point different locations equals different pitches. It's tantamount to pitching a hornets nest!

Standing on a flat surface is an epic 8'6" with everything I have in full extension inside vertical pitching down the Acromial Line in complete mental shutdown. My grip is the only change I make at those high altitudes.

We as pitchers. Don't need to be hard, tough, self-made individuals anymore. Busting someone up and in. Deviating from the Home Plate Point is more debilitating than the Gossage Method applied to the Red Sox! You were probably the first Nightmare to the entire baseball world Sir.

Thank you kindly Sir for all communications. I will work on the M's here in Washington State.

Sincerely,

Michael


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Hi Michael,

     I love it. Please continue to tell the Mariners that what they teach their baseball pitchers is why these baseball pitchers suffer pitching injuries.

     If professional baseball teams were to directly challenge my causes of pitching injuries and how to prevent them and make their decisions on what to do to eliminate pitching injuries and give me the opportunity to explain, then I could accept the carnage they create.

     However, to ignore my Causes of Pitching Injuries and Prevent Pitching Injuries videos and my perpetually explaining how to eliminate pitching injuries, is not only insulting, it is the height of ignorance.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0252.  Quarterback's Cold Remedy: Huge Hands

Do you believe hand size is important for throwing?


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     Thank you for sending me this article.

     Off the top of my head, the idea that big hands enables quarterbacks to better control the football makes sense.

     When I have more time, I will read the article in detail and make my comments.

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0253.  This is Mike Farrenkopf Re: Pitching Shoulder

1. Can you remind me the how the deltoid and the supraspinatus muscles contribute during the pitching motion?

2. If I remember correctly and by the action of these muscles would they primarily work as decelerators?

3. Does the anterior deltoid help with internal rotation of the humerus through release  of the baseball?

4. Do you have these questions answered in your book?

You can direct me there if that is easiest for you.


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01. In my baseball pitching motion, the Middle Deltoid and Supraspinatus muscles raise the pitching upper arm to shoulder height.

02. In my baseball pitching motion, these muscles neither accelerate nor decelerate the pitching upper arm. Instead, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle decelerates the pitching upper arm.

03. In my baseball pitching motion, the Anterior Deltoid does not contribute to inwardly rotating the pitching upper arm. Instead, the Latissimus Dorsi muscle powerfully inwardly rotates the pitching upper arm.

04. I am sure that I talked about how each of these muscles contribute to my baseball pitching motion, probably in the section where I list the muscles in the Shoulder Girdle, Shoulder Joint, Elbow Joint, Forearm Joint and so on.

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0254.  Tendons reattaching in different muscles

I would like to explore question #225 a bit. 

The author of the article wrote: "Pryor initially tore the latissimus dorsi muscle in his right shoulder off the bone, then spent three months doing rehab as the injury healed. But the reattached tendon retracted during his recovery and attached to his triceps muscle, which is why he started having issues with his triceps when he started throwing again."

1. In general, is it possible for a tendon to detach from a bone then reattach to another muscle?

2. If so, how does this happen?

3. Specific to baseball pitching, outside of this story have you ever heard of this happening before?

If a tendon attached to the anterior of the humerus bone retracted, I can see how it would end up on the posterior side of the humerus bone, but I can't see how it would attach to another muscle.


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I find it difficult to believe that any baseball pitcher, let alone a 'traditional' baseball pitcher, threw a baseball in a way that caused the attachment of the Latissimus Doris muscle into the bicipital groove to pull off the bone.

Maybe, if someone were rock climbing and slipped and grabbed something to stop the fall and the force overwhelmed the Latissimus Dorsi muscle, then the attachment might rip off the bone.

01. Orthopedic surgeons secure rupture tendons back where they should be. I find it difficult to believe that the tendon broke free. Even if the tendon broke free, I cannot believe that it would attach to somewhere else.

02. No.

03. No.

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0255.  Training advice

Following your advice, my son has been doing your 120 day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program since January 27.

Based on how he is handling the 10 pound wrist weights and 6 pound iron ball exercises, he seems to be rapidly increasing his shoulder strength.

1. Would you recommend increasing the iron ball weight as he gets stronger? -or is 6 pounds the optimum weight to develop faster muscle action?

He is 6'6", weighs about 225, and is pretty strong, but our focus has been to make sure that he's doing the exercises correctly.


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     With my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, I am more interested in baseball pitchers mastering the four drills that I use to teach the skills of my baseball pitching motion than the weights of the wrist weights and iron ball.

     Nevertheless, after your son completes the 120 days, your son should increase the wrist weights from ten pounds to fifteen pounds and the iron ball from 06 pounds to a lead ball that weighs 08 pounds and continue to do the workouts daily at one-half the number of repetitions. This is my maintenance and in-season program.

     The next time your son repeats the 120-Day program, he should use 15 lb. wrist weights and an 08 lb. lead ball and so on until he uses 30 lb. wrist weights and a 15 lb. lead ball.

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0256.  A Quarterback's Cold Remedy: Huge Hands
Suddenly, Long Fingers Are Seen as Common to Great Quarterbacks
By KEVIN CLARK
WALL STREET JOURNAL
Jan. 23, 2014

NFL fans can see it already. Falling snow frustrates the quarterbacks at next Sunday's New York Super Bowl. Passes flutter around like wounded ducks. Completions are as rare as fans in shorts.

But inside the game, it is understood that both starting quarterbacks possess a trait that renders them all but weatherproof. The Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos' Peyton Manning have huge hands.

"I don't know if it's going to be a wet ball, I don't know if it's going to be a cold ball but both those guys have big mitts so it's not going to make a difference," said Jedd Fisch, the Jacksonville Jaguars' offensive coordinator who has been an assistant in both Denver and Seattle.

Quarterbacks with long fingers and big palms may seem like a sideshow, good for strong handshakes and getting stuck items out of vending machines. Even in the NFL, hand size received little attention until the 1980s, and no truly serious attention until the past few years.

But today's executives understand that height isn't the only or even the most important measure of a quarterback's size. Wilson stands only 5 feet 11. But from pinkie to thumb, his hands measure 10¼ inches, compared with an average male span of 7.4 inches.

"Russell Wilson's hands are a God thing—something you couldn't even design," said Jim Zorn, the former Seahawks quarterback who is between coaching jobs. On Super Bowl Sunday, Zorn added, "if it's wet, slimy, the grip won't be an issue."

Thomas Dimitroff, the Atlanta Falcons' general manager, said studies have shown that ball control in frigid outdoor games—from fumbles to interceptions—starts with the size of the quarterbacks hands.

"Big hands are anatomically the best thing for hurling a football, no question about it, in inclement weather," said Dimitroff, previously the New England Patriots' director of college scouting before taking over the Falcons.

In cold weather, Zorn said, a ball tends to get hard and prone to a "popping" wherein it bounces off the quarterback's hand. For most quarterbacks, that leads to short, inaccurate passes.

But Zorn said that cold weather isn't a problem for quarterbacks with fingers long enough to control the ball without use of the palm, which is the source of that pop.

Zorn said Manning's newfound ability to play with gloves further neutralizes the weather. Fisch, meanwhile, said there is a direct correlation between big hands and a quick, smooth release that gets the ball out in a matter of tenths of seconds in inclement weather. Larger-handed quarterbacks, he said, are likelier to touch part of the laces and, without looking, adjust their grip and quickly get off a throw.

A quarterback with huge hands was a must for the Seahawks, who play in a misty, rainy stadium in the Pacific Northwest. After selecting Wilson in the third round of the 2012 draft, John Schneider, Seattle's general manager, publicly mentioned hand size as a determining factor. Schneider said he first noticed Wilson's iron grip when Wilson was a senior at Wisconsin and Schneider trekked to a game against Penn State. Wisconsin won 45-7.

"A really nasty, cold, rainy day and he lit it up. It wasn't close," Schneider said just after the draft.

Growing interest in hand size is reflected on the league's own website. The site doesn't offer hand-size statistics for older quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, the Patriots' Tom Brady or retired superstar Brett Favre—players known anecdotally to sport big mitts.

But the site lists younger-quarterback hand statistics as standard information. That information shows that Wilson's hands are bigger than all of his young quarterbacking rivals.

They are slightly bigger than Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck's hands, three-fourths of an inch bigger than those of the Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin III, and 1¼ inches larger than those of the Miami Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill, who was selected two rounds before Wilson in the 2012 draft. Wilson's NFC West rival, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, has a hand that spans only slightly over 9 inches.

In an informal poll of league executives this week, nearly all said the league was moving away from small-handed quarterbacks, in part because of the cold-weather advantage of large hands. Former NFL executive Gil Brandt said that throughout history, the list of small-handed NFL quarterback stars is short—and may consist only of Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin. "He had short little stubbs for fingers," said Brandt.

In a shocker, star Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson, once considered a top draft prospect, fell to the fourth round of last year's draft. The team that drafted him, the Oakland Raiders, released him before he ever played in a game—which seldom happens for a pick that high. Scouts have confirmed that his incredibly small hands, 8¾ inches, were a huge factor.

In time elapsed before throwing, Manning and Wilson represent opposite ends of the spectrum. According to Pro Football Focus, Manning takes a league-shortest 2.36 to throw the ball. Wilson takes a league-longest 3.18 seconds. Manning likes to get the snap, find the laces then move the ball out as quickly as possible. Wilson, many times, runs backward or scrambles until one of his receivers gets open deep. It is crucial, according to coaches, for him to be able to control the ball with one hand while using the other to spin away from coverage. For the left and the right, size helps. The cold won't bother either Manning or Wilson.


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     The article said:

01. "From pinkie tip to thumb tip, Seattle Seahawk quarterback, Russell Wilson's hands measure 10 1/4 inches."
02. "The average male hand span is 7.4 inches."
03. "Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck's throwing hand is three-fourths of an inch bigger than those of the Washington Redskins' Robert Griffin III, and 1 1/4 inches larger than those of the Miami Dolphins' Ryan Tannehill."
04. "San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick throwing hand spans only slightly over 9 inches."
05. "Only of Hall of Famer Norm Van Brocklin had short little stubbs for fingers."

     I'm convinced. However, because quarterbacks cannot change the size of their throwing hands, I don't like that teams exclude small handed quarterbacks.

     What hand size does Drew Brees have? Mr. Brees understands strategy and reading defenses.

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0257.  A look at what Oregon's Irvin could expect over the next calendar year
Daily Emerald
February 15, 2014

At the start of the 2013 MLB season, one-third of all pitchers on an MLB roster had previously undergone Tommy John surgery. If Oregon’s Cole Irvin ever makes it to the big leagues, he’ll join the list of players who have been able to overcome baseball’s most daunting procedure.

Irvin was arguably Oregon’s best starting pitcher last year, posting a 2.48 ERA and 1.09 WHIP during his freshman campaign. In mid-January of 2014, his elbow flared up and he was shut down by the Oregon coaching staff.

After getting an MRI, it was determined he had torn his ulnar collateral ligament, and after getting multiple opinions, he decided to opt for Tommy John surgery. The surgery was performed on Feb. 10 at one of the most respected clinics for the procedure – the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic.

The general timetable for recovery from the surgery is nine to 12 months, and pitchers often vanish from the public eye during that time. However, the rehab process is one of the most tedious and mentally strenuous times for any athlete.

“It’s nowhere close to what a lot of people have to go through in their lives, but it was definitely the hardest thing that I’ve ever had to mentally go through,” said Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Daniel Hudson, who is nearly eight months removed from his second Tommy John surgery in less than two years.

The surgery replaces the torn ligament with a tendon harvested from elsewhere in the patient’s body, so the first few weeks following surgery are spent doing exercises that teach the transplanted tendon how to become a ligament.

Former Oregon pitcher Christian Jones underwent Tommy John surgery prior to the 2012 season and recalls doing exercises such as touching his thumb to his pinky, small wrist curls and making the “OK” sign and the “Spiderman hand” sign.

After about three weeks, Jones started range of motion exercises where he would try to touch his shoulders and extend as far as he could. These were done every day for the next three months with shoulder and back exercises gradually built in after about six weeks.

Jones started playing catch at 30 feet four months and 10 days after his surgery and very slowly worked his way up to long toss. He continued to play catch and do rehab exercises until throwing flat ground (pitching, just not on a mound) at about nine-and-a-half months. After starting bullpen sessions at 10 months, he was finally able to pitch in an intrasquad game 10 months and three weeks out of surgery.

A month later he pitched his first post-surgery game for Oregon, throwing three scoreless innings of relief in the February season opener against Hawaii.

While Jones had a successful 2013 season for Oregon, he admits that he didn’t feel completely comfortable pitching until mid-October, about 20 months after his surgery.

“For the longest time, throwing did not feel normal at all,” Jones said. “I thought that I was throwing wrong.”

The reason Jones felt this way was that following surgery he was in the process of regaining proprioception — the body’s ability to sense its position, location and movement.

“The nerves have to learn where things are,” explained Will Carroll, lead sports medicine writer at Bleacher Report. “It took a long time for Peyton Manning to figure out where his hand was because his nerve had been impinged for so long. It’s the same exact thing.”

Individuals regain proprioception at different rates based on their rehab. Hudson says that getting back the feel for his mechanics and pitches has not been a problem.

While the physical effects of the feelings Jones described are significant (Carroll writes, “A 1/8th inch difference in release point can mean an eight-inch difference in pitch location as it crosses the plate.”) there is also a mental toll.

“Your confidence is nowhere close,” Jones said. “If you’re a normal athlete and something tweaks or feels iffy, you kind of stop doing it. But when you’re coming back from surgery, it feels tweaked the entire time.”

For Hudson, the length of the rehab process is the most mentally taxing aspect.

“Every single step (of the process) that you take feels like it takes forever,” Hudson said, “especially when all the guys are getting ready to go out and compete in games and I’m just sitting there playing catch with my trainer.”

The rehab process is so grueling that for a few hours after Hudson found out he’d need surgery for a second time, he was unsure he’d be willing to go through rehab again. Ultimately, the drive to get back on the mound overcame the temporary temptation to walk away from the game.

“After I talked to my wife for awhile and my family they made me realize that if I didn’t try again, I wouldn’t be able to look at myself in the mirror again in a few years,” Hudson said.

The return rate of pitchers from Tommy John surgery is between 85-90 percent, with the majority of failures being cases of young high school or college pitchers who hang up their spikes because they don’t expect to pitch at the professional level. Setbacks during the rehab process happen, but complete failures such as Hudson’s first case are extremely rare. (He required a redo of the procedure.)

The next calendar year will undoubtedly be a dreary and challenging process for Irvin, but those around him are confident that he has the mental makeup to make it back.

“He’s probably as well prepared for this as anybody,” pitching coach Dean Stiles said. “He’s done his research in terms of the whole surgery process. He knows about the rehab process. He’s gone to the finest clinic in the country. So he mentally got himself prepared for this early on and now I think it’s just a matter of supporting him.”


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     Lead sports medicine writer at Bleacher Report, Will Carroll, said:

01. “The nerves have to learn where things are.”
02. “It took a long time for Peyton Manning to figure out where his hand was because his nerve had been impinged for so long."
03. "It’s the same exact thing.”
04. “A 1/8th inch difference in release point can mean an eight-inch difference in pitch location as it crosses the plate.” 05. "There is also a mental toll."

     Ulnar Collateral Ligament replacement surgery does nothing to change proprioception.

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0258.  Rockies take to situational hitting in first workout
MLB.com
February 23, 2014

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: Rockies manager Walt Weiss emphasized effort and execution in his first meeting with the squad before Sunday's first full-squad workout. But they're just words until the principles are put into practice. New hitting coach Blake Doyle is putting Weiss' address into practice, literally.

Doyle, who took over after Dante Bichette left after one season to spend more time with his family, placed baseballs into a pitching machine that would spit them out with different breaking and sinking actions. But a second before he put the ball into the machine, he would shout out a situation:

"Slug-bunt."

"Hit and run."

"Get 'em over."

"Infield back [runner on third]."

The hitter had to adjust his swing to the situation.

Doyle said the drill will be incorporated into many Spring Training drills and batting practice throughout the season. He said the Rockies' Michael Cuddyer, who won last year's National League batting title, has devoted his second round of all batting practice to situational hitting throughout his career, and many veterans do the same.

Doyle gave Weiss baseball lessons when he was in high school and taught future and current pros for many years at a facility in Florida he ran with his brothers -- former Major Leaguers Denny and Brian Doyle. He worked with the Rockies on a rotating basis last year, and he understands the issues the team struggled with last season.

In the drill, the situation changes from pitch to pitch, which Doyle said helps players concentrate on the swing.

"The stroke's gotta change," Doyle said. "That stuff starts when they're in the hole in the dugout, looking at the situation they might be put into. Then they get on deck and the situation changes."

The issue is crucial for a team, even though the youth of some players could make it difficult to give at-bats to the team. Young regulars like third baseman Nolan Arenado, catcher Wilin Rosario and second basemen DJ LeMahieu and Josh Rutledge could feel pressure from the inevitable batting average ups and downs, and must fight that to measure their worth in team goals.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki said he had to find that balance in 2007 when he was with the Rockies' team that went to the World Series.

"Defensively, that's where my head was at," Tulowitzki said. "I knew I wasn't a finished product offensively. We had such a good offensive team and I knew I didn't have to carry the load. Hopefully, these young guys can say the same thing.

"It depends on the individual. You get some guys here that are advanced and have high baseball IQ, and other guys learn along the way."

Arenado, who turns 23 on April 16, hit .267 last season as a rookie but felt he left opportunities for RBIs or advancing runners behind.

"What I did a little bit last year but what I didn't do consistent enough was slow the game down and look for my pitches," Arenado said. "I'll have a better chance of success than I did last year.

"I know I can play here, and when I've had my best years, I've never thought about numbers. I had my best streaks or good months and people ask what I did, and I just know I hit the ball hard."

Rosario, 25, has hit .277 since breaking in with the Rockies in 2011 and has 52 homers. His 49 in the last two years are the most of any Major League catcher. To further cement his offensive reputation, however, Rosario will have to improve a .309 on-base percentage. Last year's .315 was a career high, but Buster Posey's .377 career number and Yadier Molina's improvement in OBP are traits Rosario can emulate if he can balance his aggressiveness with selectivity.

"I know with the guys in front of me there will be traffic for me, so I'll be aggressive and have fun," he said. "But if I've got to walk, I'll walk. If they pitch to me, I'll hit it, one or the other. I have to consistently bring a good approach."

Weiss said, "It's playing hard and playing right, and playing right falls under the heading of our execution."


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     The article said:

01. New Rockies hitting coach, Blake Doyle, is putting Rockies field manager, Walt Weiss' situational hitting into practice."
02. "Along with his brothers, former Major Leaguers Denny and Brian Doyle, Blake Doyle taught future and pros for many years at a facility in Florida."
03. "When Rockies field manager, Walt Weiss was in high school, Blake Doyle high schooler Walt Weiss baseball batting lessons."
04. "Last major league season, Blake Doyle worked with the Rockies on a rotating basis last year."
05. "Mr. Doyle placed baseballs into a pitching machine that would spit them out with different breaking and sinking actions."
06. A second before he put the ball into the machine, Mr. Doyle would shout out: Slug-bunt, Hit and run, Get 'em over and infield back and expect the batters to hit the baseball on the ground."

     Unless Mr. Doyle teaches rear arm control of the bat, the Rockies' baseball batters will not be able to hit baseballs on the ground.

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0259.  Elbow feeling better/Chronic inflammatory response

I wanted to let you know that my elbow has been feeling a lot better since last year. It took a while but the surgery, I believe, was ultimately successful. Unfortunately, as I probably became detrained since I was unable to climb as intensely as I did before, back in July I sustained another injury.

This time the injury didn't seem to be an acute instance. Basically, I was training my finger flexors and over a two week period my wrist started feeling weaker until I felt a sharp pain over the mid to medial portion of my wrist (I figured it was a finger flexor, specifically the profundus). Nothing seemed to pop or tear, but the pain wasn't getting any better. Therefore, I stopped for two weeks and then returned and started slowly again.

Now it's hard for me to tell how quickly I should turn up the intensity when rehabbing (partially because I have climbed at the level that is on par with throwing 90mph) but I seemed to be doing pretty well about two months after the injury. I had occasional pains, but nothing that seemed to be bad. So of course what did I do, I jumped the intensity to a much higher level (thinking I was healed). The interesting thing is that nothing specific happened, but after about 5 days of hard climbing, the pain returned. This time the pain did not get better. So I decided to stop climbing every day in the gym, but do easier climbing outside (a fraction of the intensity that I usually put on it). The pain subsided, but I was left with a sensation that my wrist was weaker.

Since then I have had an MRI performed on it. (Results only showed fluid in the wrist without any tears or damage to soft tissue) and an X-ray (no bone spurs or bony deposits that would typically show up if I had detached something). This is good news, BUT the pain/sensation has not left. After the MRI (which was performed back in December and it took about till January to get the results), the doctor said to work back into climbing over 6 months. Now once again I am not sure how quickly to progress, but I would venture to say that I probably try to progress to quickly. I have been doing easier climbing for about 2 months and recently I progressed a little too quickly and the pain/sensation in my wrist has returned.

It has been 7 months since the initial injury. I now believe that I have some sort of chronic inflammatory response to increased intensity in climbing. My father keeps saying that if you were to biopsy the tendon you could probably find that there is an inflammatory response, therefore making it a tendonitis. I am not sure exactly how to proceed from here. I don't have pain (as one would think of wincing), I more so have a sensation of weakness and a pinching feeling, but it gets stronger as I increase intensity and it typically take a couple of days to catch up with me.

Please let me know your thoughts. If you think blood flow would help then how should I go about getting blood flow without exacerbating the problem. If NSAID's (or a cortisone shot, I know you hate those) would be beneficial in this particular instance then I will try that. I am just tired of feeling like I am doing something to hurt it, but it not really being an injury anymore.

Thank you for your help and I apologize for the lengthy email. It's funny, I want to be a doctor, but I tend to be a doctor's most annoying patient. I ask too many questions.


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     Those tendons move through the carpal tunnel in the wrist. While you have not complained of tingling in your hands, I wonder how your Median nerve is doing. All that activity builds up connective tissue around the nerve and tendons. It would seem to me that extra connective tissue would interfere with the effectiveness of the Profundus contractions. Rubbing against extra connective tissue would inflame the tendons.

     I had carpal tunnel surgery in both my wrists to alleviate the pain from the Median nerve. I wonder whether your Median nerve is functioning well. The Median nerve innervates the Flexor Digitorum Profundus and Flexor Digitorum Superficialis.

     A few months ago, I noticed that I had lost grip strength and digital control. Therefore, I had my Ulnar Nerve checked for conduction rate. I found out that rubbing the Ulnar Nerve against the groove behind the medial epicondyle had destroyed the Ulnar nerve fibers that served the Dorsal Interosseous muscles in my pitching hand. To prevent more damage, I had a surgeon relocate my Ulnar nerve.

     I don't know whether Carpal Tunnel surgery would fix your situation, but that is what I think is your problem.

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0260.  Slice pitch

What pitch is it when you reach inside vertical, then reach up as high as possible, in that stretch you slice the baseball with the inside of your middle finger's first digit and being vertical?

While engaging the pronating of my wrist and forearm. While pitching down the Acromial Line.

The same motion in the Marshall Pitching Motion instead I slice it of the first digit of the index finger.

True and Torque pitches  are while pitching down and forward to the home plate point. I have seen...


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     To throw my Torque Fastball Slider, I teach my baseball pitchers to diagonally slice the top loop of the circle of friction of the baseball. Remember the key to my slider is to keep the circle of friction on the top front of the baseball facing home plate.

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0261.  Michael Stokes comments on your Marshall Pitching Motion video

Every pitcher who pitches in the Marshall Pitching Motion needs to go to every ballpark in this country and pitch your hearts out to the Radar Guns and pitch as many balls as you are able!

Tanaka, King Felix, Justin and CC are all not able to pitch the numbers we are able to.

We are the best of all baseball pitchers. We only get faster, sharper and more accurate with more pitches.

35 pitches from the M.L.B. pitchers I just named are in decline by that pitch count. They make 60'6" look like it is a mile away after they get tired.

We who are the real pitchers know that these poor boys are doomed to failure of their arms loss of use for a lifetime.

We just get ready to pitch again like we do today, tomorrow. We only get better, stronger and gain real control in the strike zone.


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Hi Michael,

     You are absolutely correct.

     With my baseball pitching motion, by training or pitching every day, my baseball pitchers get stronger and stronger.

     With the 'traditional' baseball pitching motion, baseball pitchers injure themselves when they pitch, such that, as the season goes on, they become weaker and weaker.

     Injurious flaws in their mechanics and 'rest' (detraining) makes them less and less fit.

     Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Marshall

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0262.  Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

I had a few more questions.

When did you have your CTS surgery and how long did it take you to recover?

Obviously, recovery when you are talking about returning back to high performance activities is usually longer in time.

Did it significantly help your pain/sensation, swelling, and strength?

I will probably go see the hand specialist again and see what his thoughts are.

Thank you for your help!


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     As soon as I came out of the anesthesia, I no longer had any tingling.

     As to whether I returned to high performance, that had gone long before. But, I felt strong.

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0263.  Elbow feeling better/Chronic inflammatory response

Thank you for sharing!

The thought has crossed my mind, but since I do not have any numbness or tingling I would find that a stranger diagnosis.

Do you think it's possible that it could be the beginning stages?

If so, is there anything I can do besides surgery?

Maybe get a cortisone shot that would reduce inflammation. I want to try to avoid surgery given the fact surgery is usually the last resort.

Thank you again for a well thought out response.


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     Something is rubbing against the tendons in the Carpal Tunnel that is causing inflammation. If connective tissue build-up can irritate the Median nerve, maybe connective tissue can irritate the tendons.

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0264.  Southpaw Detwiler adds cutter to arsenal
MLB.com
February 23, 2014

VIERA, FL: Nationals left-hander Ross Detwiler has added a cutter to his arsenal, because he doesn't want hitters to sit on his fastball like they did last year.

In 2013, the Nationals felt that Detwiler relied too much on his fastball. According to Fangraphs.com, in fact, Detwiler threw a fastball 88 percent of the time. He is also known to throw a curveball and changeup.

"Opposing hitters have had the same look. They kind of know what to expect," Detwiler said. "I'm just trying to throw something else out there. Just another look. Open up everything else if I want to go back to the fastball or whatever."

Detwiler is competing with Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan for the fifth slot in the rotation. He missed most of the 2013 season because of back issues, but he was healthy enough to go to the instructional league toward the end of the season. If he does not win a starter spot, the Nationals are considering putting him in the bullpen.


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     The article said:

01. "Ross Detwhiler throws a fastball, curveball and change-up."
02. "Mr. Detwhiler throws 88% fastballs."
03. "Opposing batters sit on Mr. Detwhiler's fastball."
04. "To prevent opposing batters from sitting on his fastball, Mr. Detwhiler wants to learn how to throw a cutter."

     Mr. Detwhiler needs to learn how to throw my Maxline Fastball Sinker.

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0265.  McAllister refines pitches, adds slider to arsenal
MLB.com
February 23, 2014

GOODYEAR, AZ: Zach McAllister went home over the winter in search of a strikeout pitch. When the Indians right-hander arrived to Spring Training, he brought a new slider with him.

At the suggestion of Cleveland's coaching staff, McAllister went to work over the offseason on adding a slider to his repertoire. The goal of the pitch, which essentially replaces the inconsistent cutter he featured last season, is to give the Tribe starter a more reliable weapon for hitters to chase.

"I think it'll be important for me," McAllister said Sunday. "I'm a fastball pitcher and I'm going to use my fastball anyways, but to know I have something else I can go to and hopefully get some swings and misses and give a hitter a different look, rather than sticking with my fastball, I think that'll be big for me."

The 26-year-old McAllister headed into camp as one of four virtual locks for the rotation, along with Justin Masterson, Corey Kluber and Danny Salazar. McAllister has spent parts of three seasons in the big leagues with Cleveland with varying results, going 15-18 with a 4.12 ERA in 50 career outings.

Last year, McAllister went 9-9 with a 3.75 ERA in 134 1/3 innings and missed roughly six weeks between June and July due to a right middle finger injury. The big right-hander threw a fastball, splitter, curveball, changeup and cutter last season. The Indians felt the pitcher could benefit from reorganizing that pitch arsenal.

"McAllister did a really nice job of working on a slider and his split in the offseason," Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway said. "His slider is noticeably different this year. It looks really good. Last year, he threw a cutter and a curveball, and he kind of banged his cutter and started throwing a little bit of a power slider this year. It looks pretty good.

"He started throwing the split last year, but was kind of inconsistent with it. So if we can get a good secondary pitch for him -- like that good slider and that split -- for wipeout pitches, he's going to be pretty good. That was kind of the goal for this year."


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     The article said:

01. "Last year, Zach McAllister threw a fastball, splitter, curveball, changeup and cutter."
02. "Over the off-season, Mr. McAllister added a power slider."

     Curveballs, sliders and cutters are all pitches that move toward the glove arm side of home plate.

     I suspect that Mr. McAllister's fastball also moves to the glove arm side of home plate.

     I don't know whether Mr. McAllister's splitter moves to the pitching arm side of home plate. But, even if it does, one pitch moving to the pitching arm side of home plate does not balance the pitch selection.

     Mr. McAllister needs to throw a fastball that moves to the pitching arm side of home plate and at least one reverse breaking pitch that moves to the pitching arm side of home plate.

     Adding a power slider is redundant.

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0266.  Hamels upbeat, encouraged by progress
MLB.com
February 24, 2014

CLEARWATER, FL: Ace left-hander Cole Hamels pronounced himself ready to throw his first bullpen session of the spring after throwing from 60 feet on flat ground Sunday at the Carpenter Complex. That's good news for the Phillies, who hope he'll miss only a couple regular-season starts after an offseason bout with biceps tendinitis.

An upbeat Hamels said he's pleased with not only his throwing progress but the fact that he was cleared to begin lifting weights again about a week ago.

"It feels good. I feel really good. I've made tremendous progress," he said. "I think I've been able to do everything to the best of my ability at the right time, at the right pace. Everything has been that slow progression, and now I feel like my body is capable of making the big jumps.

Hamels said he isn't ready to put a timetable on his return.

"I really don't know. I know right now I'm happy with where I am," he said. "I know I'm going to have the big strides and get used to pitching up and down, mixing in bullpens. That's a different intensity. Different sorenesses come up. But I feel comfortable that nothing is painful. It's just the soreness of throwing a baseball, not in a specific area, so I think that's better."

Said pitching coach Bob McClure: "He was good. Real good. Free and easy."

Hamels said he'd prefer to build up to at least 100 pitches before his first start of the regular season, but that's not a necessity.

"The ultimate goal of every pitcher is to pitch a complete game, so 100 pitches gives you a better opportunity than 90 or 85. That's what I'm working toward," Hamels said. "But if that doesn't happen and I'm at 80 or 85, I feel like I still can give the team a really good chance. I'm also really confident in the bullpen this year … it's been fun to see them."


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     During the off-season, Cole Hamels suffered a bout of biceps tendinitis.

     The Biceps Brachii muscle supinates the pitching forearm.

     Therefore, Mr. Hamel is trying to inwardly rotate his pitching upper arm and outwardly rotate his pitching forearm.

     That will not work.

     Mr. Hamels needs to learn how to pronate his breaking pitches.

     With his pitching shoulder becoming more and more unstable, Mr. Hamels might want to learn how to engage his Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

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0267.  Law turning heads with quirky delivery, pitch control
MLB.com
February 24, 2014

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: Derek Law's unusual pitching motion has lumped him with others displaying similar traits, such as Luis Tiant, Kevin Brown and Johnny Cueto.

But among bullpen prospects in the Giants organization, nobody compares to Law.

Giants general manager Brian Sabean has indicated that Law, who made the Arizona Fall League Top Prospects team, could reach the Majors sooner rather than later. The 23-year-old possesses not only an enviable variety of pitches but also matchless command of them, a combination that should hasten an ascent to the big leagues.

Infielder Nick Noonan, who accumulated 111 plate appearances for the Giants last year, faced Law during live batting practice Sunday and praised the right-hander's repertoire.

"I can definitely say that there's a lot of upside to his pitches, a lot of potential, and he's already captured some of it," Noonan said.

Law's control separated him from the pack last year. After successful stints with the Giants' Rookie-level Arizona club and Class A Augusta, Law ascended to Class A Advanced San Jose and walked one batter in 25 2/3 innings spanning 22 appearances, including 11 saves. For the season, Law struck out 102 and walked 12 with 14 saves. He followed that by allowing eight hits and no earned runs in 12 1/3 innings encompassing 11 games for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League.

Law's father, Joe, taught him the waste of throwing ball four. The elder Law pitched professionally for nine seasons in the A's system.

"I've been throwing curveballs since I was 8 or 9, getting in fights with my dad," Derek Law jokingly said.

When they weren't debating the prudence of flinging curves at a relatively early age and risking injury, Law was listening to his father.

"Most of his influence was, 'Don't give hitters too much credit. They'll get themselves out seven out of 10 times,'" Law said. "That's a pretty good ratio to me."

Law's skills further tilt the statistical imbalance in his favor. To his surprise, he gained velocity on his fastball last year, adding a couple of miles an hour to consistently reach the mid-90s range. Throwing straight overhand helps his slider, which is his out pitch, and his curveball, which travels in a sharp vertical arc -- "12-to-6," in baseball parlance.

"It doesn't have much of a hump," Noonan said.

Then there's Law's delivery, featuring an exaggerated corkscrewing so that his back faces the hitter before he releases the pitch. The turn in his motion helps him hide the ball longer and create torque, which in turn enhances velocity.

"I used to have a high leg kick with a little bit of a turn, more like a Kevin Brown," Law said, citing the six-time All-Star right-hander. "I just turned a little bit more and I was really comfortable with it. I was able to throw strikes with it and it just kind of developed over the years."

Law estimated that the evolution of his partial revolution became complete when he was a sophomore at Miami Dade College, just before the Giants selected him in the ninth round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.

"It helped me with hiding the ball and gaining velocity," he said.

Then Law started hearing more about Tiant, who won 229 games in 19 seasons while spinning like a helicopter's rotors before he threw, and Cueto, another torso-twister who's 65-48 in six seasons for Cincinnati.

Law has sensed that he's approaching his Major League opportunity. He said that though he tries to ignore management's upbeat remarks, he can handle the encouraging words that filter through to him.

"If you're a closer or a reliever," Law said, "you kind of like pressure."


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     The article said:

01. "To his surprise, Derek Law gained velocity on his fastball to A consistent mid-90s range."
02. "Mr. Law says that throwing straight overhand helps his slider."
03. "Mr. Law's straight overhand delivery enables Mr. Law's curveball to make a sharp downward vertical arc."

     These statements indicate that Mr. Law engages his Latissimus Dorsi muscle and pronates the release of his breaking pitches.

     However, Mr. Law also credits turning his back toward home plate helps him to hide the baseball and gaining velocity.

     Engaging the Latissimus Dorsi and reverse rotating the hips and shoulders well beyond second base is incongruent.

     It is impossible to rotate over the pitching rubber and engage the Latissimus Dorsi muscle.

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0268.  Beckett, Maholm, Fife ramp up spring workloads
MLB.com
February 25, 2014

GLENDALE, AZ: The Dodgers' fifth, sixth and seventh starting pitchers were in action on the Minor League side Tuesday morning.

Josh Beckett, Paul Maholm and Stephen Fife each pitched two innings. They've each been on restricted throwing programs, Beckett because of last year's surgery to remove a rib, Maholm because of recent elbow tenderness and Fife as a precaution because of last year's shoulder bursitis.

Beckett said he continues to have no relapse of the finger numbness that led to thoracic outlet surgery. This was the second time this spring he faced hitters, but last time most of them were merely tracking pitches. He said it was beneficial to see how hitters were reacting to his pitches. He expects to pitch in a game in five days.

Maholm expects to do the same, as long as he comes out of this with no discomfort on Wednesday. This was the first time he sat down and warmed back up this spring.

The Dodgers won't need a fifth starter until the middle of April and, if healthy, it figures to be Beckett. If not, it figures to be Maholm, although Fife made 10 starts last season.


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     The article said:

01. "Josh Beckett had a rib removed."
02. "Paul Maholm has pitching elbow tenderness."
03. "Stephen Fife had shoulder bursitis."

     The Dodgers Medical Staff makes sure that they are busy.

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0269.  Cards, Garcia seek second opinion on lefty's shoulder
MLB.com
February 25, 2014

JUPITER, FL: The Cardinals are delaying comment on the results of Jaime Garcia's exam with team physician George Paletta until after the left-hander visits orthopedist James Andrews for a second opinion on Wednesday.

Garcia, who underwent an MRI on his left shoulder in St. Louis on Monday, requested the additional consultation with Andrews before seeing Paletta. General manager John Mozeliak was briefed by Paletta about the results of Monday's exam, and while he declined to share details, Mozeliak did note that "early indications have been encouraging."

"Rather than say one thing today and change tomorrow, I'd rather get both reports and then go from there and decide after we have time to also meet with Jaime and decide what the next step is," Mozeliak said. "Based on the MRI and everything, we feel good. But I would like to see what the other doctor has to say and go from there."

Garcia has met with Andrews twice before for shoulder discomfort. In October 2012, Andrews suggested that Garcia address the issue with a rest and rehab program. The following May, Andrews recommended surgery to repair a tear to the rotator cuff and labrum.

Garcia took Andrews' advice in both instances, which led him to having a season-ending procedure last May. His rehab work went without a hitch, and Garcia reported to Spring Training encouraged by how well he felt. That relief lasted only three bullpen sessions, however, as Garcia then notified the staff of shoulder soreness and subsequently shut his throwing program down one week ago.

The Cardinals, regardless of the recommended course of action for Garcia, are moving forward with the expectation that Garcia will not be available for the season opener. What Wednesday's consultation should do, however, is help clarify how long Garcia's absence could be.

"I think right now his situation is first to determine health and then you can worry about the next step as far as what this camp means to him," Mozeliak said. "The good news is that we have options, and we certainly feel we have enough depth to handle this if we have to."


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

     The article said:

01. "Jaime Garcia has met with Dr. James Andrews twice before for shoulder discomfort."
02. "In October 2012, Dr. Andrews suggested that Garcia address the issue with a rest and rehab program."
03. "The following May, Dr. Andrews recommended surgery to repair a tear to the rotator cuff and labrum."

     Clearly, Dr. Andrews is guessing. Dr. Andrews has no idea what is causing Mr. Garcia's pain.

     Until Mr. Garcia learns to turn the back of his pitching upper arm to face toward home plate and rotate over his glove foot, Mr. Garcia will continue to confound Dr. Andrews.

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0270.  Santana auditions for seven MLB teams
MLB.com
February 25, 2014

Two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana auditioned Tuesday in Fort Myers, Fla., in front of seven teams in hopes of making a comeback after not pitching in the Majors last season.

The New York Post reported that Santana, who turns 35 on March 14, topped out at 81 mph and mostly sat between 77 and 78 mph, while also flashing his signature changeup.

The Twins and Yankees are among the teams with reported interest in Santana, who underwent left shoulder surgery last April.

Santana received a buyout from the Mets after the club opted not to pick up his $25 million option. Santana had just concluded a six-year, $137.5 million deal signed before the 2008 season.

Santana was 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA in 21 starts for the Mets in 2012, including the franchise's only no-hitter.

The 2004 and '06 American League Cy Young Award winner is 139-78 with a 3.20 ERA in 12 seasons with the Twins and Mets.


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     To achieve their maximum release velocity, baseball pitchers have to competitivel pitch against high-quality batters for at least three months.

     If Mr. Santana wanted to pitch major league baseball, then he should have spent the winter months competively pitching against the best baseball batters he could find.

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0271.  Giolito pumped for first full season of pro ball
MLB.com
February 25, 2014

VIERA, FL: Nationals top prospect Lucas Giolito certainly looks the part of a Major League pitcher. At only 19 years old, he stands 6-foot-6 and weighs around 255 pounds after an offseason of putting on what he called "good weight."

After the start of his professional career was interrupted by Tommy John surgery, the right-hander is back on track toward bringing his imposing frame -- and 100-mph heat -- to a big league mound. Washington's first pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft returned to action late last season and now enters his first full year of pro ball.

"It's the best feeling in the world," Giolito said on Tuesday at the Nationals' Spring Training complex. "I'm ready to go. I'm ready to get going. It's just great that I was able to persevere through everything. I never had a setback."

The expectations are high for Giolito, who earned a signing bonus of nearly $3 million from the Nats. He is ranked as the No. 44 prospect in the game by MLB.com and No. 21 by Baseball America, despite having only 38 2/3 professional innings under his belt.

Two of those innings came in 2012, before his surgery. The rest came after he returned to action last July, finishing his season with three starts at short-season Class A Auburn, where he gave up one run on nine hits over 14 innings, racking up 14 strikeouts.

"It was unreal," Giolito said. "To be able to be out there and play on the team and compete, that's all I want to do." Although the surgery delayed Giolito's development in some ways, it proved beneficial in others.

Rehab afforded Giolito an opportunity to strengthen his arm as well as his mind. He watched a lot of games, charting pitches and paying close attention to pitchers' sequencing and approach. And when he returned, he found that he was in possession of an improved changeup to complement a fastball that can reach triple digits and a hammer curveball.

"I developed a lot better feel for the changeup after the surgery," Giolito said. "It just comes out of the hand feeling a lot better and a lot different."

Now Giolito, feeling "fully healthy," is in line for a normal spring as he awaits his assignment, likely to one of Washington's full-season affiliates. He looks forward to gaining experience, pitching in front of bigger crowds and improving his command.

The California native is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday, and Nationals manager Matt Williams is eager to get his first look.

"I've gotten great reports," Williams said. "I look forward to that tomorrow. I'm excited to go see him throw." The Nationals have good experience in recent years with pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery. Stephen Strasburg and Jordan Zimmermann both did, as did Taylor Jordan, whom Giolito has spoken with extensively about the rehab process.

With Giolito following the organization's recovery plan, there is a good chance he will operate under an innings limit this season, although he has not heard that yet. It's not something he is too worried about at this point.

"That's in the hands of the organization," Giolito said. "I believe there's some sort of limit, that's just how it is for all the guys that had Tommy John the year before. Whatever they want me to do, it's obviously for the best."


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     The article said:

01. "The Nationals have good experience in recent years with pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery."
02. "Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Taylor Jordan did."
03. "With Giolito following the organization's recovery plan, there is a good chance he will operate under an innings limit this season."

     Unless these baseball pitchers have stopped 'reverse bouncing' their pitching forearm, except for Mr. Strasburg, these Nationals baseball pitchers will rupture their replacement Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

     Mr. Strasburg did not rupture his Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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0272.  Tigers to have green light on basepaths early on
MLB.com
February 25, 2014

LAKELAND, FL: Brad Ausmus has spent the early days of camp trying to instill an aggressive mentality on the basepaths for a Tigers team that didn't run much last season. Now that Spring Training games have started, he's ready to push for it.

When Grapefruit League games begin Wednesday, Tigers baserunners will have the green light to try to steal a base. All of them will have it.

"We're trying to instill some ideas, to make risk-based stealing," Ausmus said. "We're not just running to steal bases. What we're trying to do is find spots where we can steal bases successfully.

"All position players have the green light to start, so we have the ability to run right now. Clearly, that doesn't mean it's a carousel out there. It just means thinking about situations. And I'm sure as we go along, we'll take the green light away from some, and some will keep it, based on what they do. If you have the green light and you're on first base from pitch one, you're much more in tune with what's going on. You're timing the pitcher and watching the catcher, as opposed to just standing there without the green light."

The Tigers didn't try any stolen bases Tuesday against Florida Southern, understandably, but they were aggressive in seeking extra bases and running hard to first.

"The thing that stands out by far was the baserunning," Ausmus said after the 12-0 win. "It was an outstanding effort. Guys were really aggressive. Devon Travis was really aggressive on a ball in the dirt, got to second. We had guys busting hard. They were coming out of the box hard even on non-hits, which is one of the things we've been preaching. So that was good to see."


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

     The article said:

01. "Tigers field manage, Brad Ausmus is instilling an aggressive mentality on the basepaths."
02. "When Grapefruit League games begin, all Tigers baserunners have the green light to steal bases."

     Unless Mr. Ausmus teaches the Tigers batters to start and stop the baseball bat with their rear arm, the base runners will spend a lot of steal opportunities stopping and watching pop-ups.

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0273.  Angels bring aboard dietitian/nutritionist to staff
MLB.com
February 26, 2014

EMPE, AZ: Many around the Angels will say that players came into camp this spring in better shape than they have in a while, and there's a pretty good reason for that.

For the first time, the organization has hired a nutritionist.

Her name is Becci Twombley. She's been serving as director of sports nutrition at USC for the last year and a half, after spending the previous five years at UCLA. The Angels consulted with Twombley this offseason and added her to the staff as a dietitian and nutritionist for the 2014 season.

"We have no doubt she'll change the way we eat, the way we prepare, the way we take care of ourselves, the ability of the player to stay in peak condition through the course of the season," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said. "The athlete in today's game is wired so much differently in a high-performance-type way, and diet and nutrition makes a big difference."

Twombley has set up menus for Angels players in Major League camp and at the Minor League complex. Over the offseason, she visited with some personally to discuss how they eat, while strength and conditioning specialist T.J. Harrington traveled to work with several players on their conditioning.

"We did a more efficient job of staying in touch with our players, giving them goals from a conditioning perspective, weight perspective," Dipoto said. "They all had targets, they all hit their targets, they all stayed diligent to their program because we helped them manage it. That's the first time that we've done that, and I think it's been very effective."


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     Don't eat animal fat.

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0274.  After long recovery process from elbow surgery, Wood is throwing heat again
Cleveland Plain Dealer
February 26, 2014

GOODYEAR, AZ: A year ago at this time, Blake Wood was heaving 80-mph four-seam fastballs in the bullpen. He was nine months removed from elbow surgery and five more months away from finally feeling comfortable on the mound.

The Indians claimed Wood off waivers from the Royals in November 2012, a little more than five months after the right-handed reliever underwent Tommy John surgery. Last July, 14 months after he went under the knife, Wood reported to Triple-A Columbus and returned to live pitching.

"At this point, it's pretty much down to a science, the recovery from Tommy John," Wood said. "You know it's a process. Every athlete thinks that you're going to be the guy who comes back faster, but you never think, 'I'm going to be able to do it in six months.'

"But you think, 'Oh, I'm going to come back and do everything the way I'm supposed to, plus a little bit more. Maybe I'll come back a little bit faster.'

"That didn't happen for me."

Wood is competing for a spot in the remodeled Indians bullpen. He made two appearances for the Tribe in September, a pair of scoreless outings that reassured him of his ability.

"Just knowing that I had a major injury," Wood said, "and I made it back to the big leagues and got in a game -- not having that loom over me now like, 'All right, can I still pitch in the big leagues? It's been such a long time.' Just to go and get it out of the way and be like, 'All right, I got back out. I pitched in a game. Now we can just go from here, just like that.'"

Wood averaged 95.4 mph on his fastball in 2011, when he compiled a 3.75 ERA in 55 appearances with Kansas City. He tallied 62 strikeouts in 69 2/3 innings. In his brief cameo with the Indians last fall, he averaged 97.2 mph on his fastball.

Wood said that while sidelined for more than a year, he worried about whether he would be able to reacquire that kind of velocity on his heater.

"You feel like it's going to be fine, but you're never really sure until you see it," Wood said. "You always believe it and you want to believe it, but every now and then doubt will creep in -- not for any good reason. You just sit there thinking, 'Man, I hope it all comes back.'"

The velocity has returned. Now, manager Terry Francona wants to see Wood hold runners better, a tactic that could go a long way in ensuring the 28-year-old a bullpen spot.

"He hasn't done it yet or [done it] consistently in his bullpens," Francona said, "but he can do it and when he does it, he's throwing 97, 98. It's got a chance to be pretty special."

The Indians viewed Wood has a low-risk, high-reward acquisition following the 2012 campaign. Now, Wood wants to help the team cash in.

"I'm as thankful as I could ever be to an organization," Wood said. "They got me when I was five months out of surgery. You don't know what's going to happen when people come back from a major injury. Tommy John is pretty successful in recovery, but you never know. Just for them to have the confidence in me to come back -- at that point, it's not like they're getting me for last year, it's more for this year, is how I took it.

"Hopefully I can repay the favor to them and show them that they made a good investment."


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     Indians baseball pitcher, Blake Wood, said:

01. "At this point, it's pretty much down to a science, the recovery from Tommy John."
02. "You know it's a process."
03. "Every athlete thinks that you're going to be the guy who comes back faster."
04. "You never think, 'I'm going to be able to do it in six months.'"
05. "But you think, 'Oh, I'm going to come back and do everything the way I'm supposed to, plus a little bit more."
06. "Maybe I'll come back a little bit faster.'"
07. "That didn't happen for me."

     Bones heal in six weeks. Therefore, the holes through which orthopedic surgeons thread the replacement tendon close in six to nine weeks. Therefore, nine weeks after the surgery, baseball pitchers are able to train.

     If these baseball pitchers were to complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, then, after less than 30 weeks or 7 months, these baseball pitchers would not only be able to prepare for competitively pitching, but they would also eliminate the injurious flaw that ruptured their Ulnar Collateral Ligament.

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0275.  Arroyo hopes to continue to be Mr. Durable
MLB.com
February 26, 2014

SCOTTSDALE, AZ: In the era of Tommy John surgeries, closely monitored pitch counts and strict innings limits, it's rare to find a pitcher who can consistently throw 200-plus innings each season and remain healthy.

More than 200 pitchers went on the disabled list last year, but new Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Bronson Arroyo was not one of them. The 37-year-old has not spent a single day on the DL in his Major League career, despite pitching nearly 2,300 innings over 14 seasons.

"That's where most of my ego lies," Arroyo said. "We all want to win ballgames, you want to strike guys out, you want to have a good ERA. But the bottom line for me has been -- can you take the ball every fifth day?"

Arroyo has done precisely that, making at least 32 starts each season over the past nine years and never missing a start because of an injury. Those starts were not brief outings either; he averaged more than six innings each start and 210 innings per season since 2005. After becoming a full-time starter in '04, Arroyo is 129-113 with a 4.10 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP.

Since joining the Cincinnati Reds in 2006, Arroyo has led all National League pitchers in starts (265) and wins (105) -- remarkable for a player who was thought to be a high injury risk as a prospect.

"I was a thin guy in the Minor Leagues and came up [to the Majors at] 6-foot-4, 150 pounds, and people really weren't sure of my durability," Arroyo said.

The Florida native credits luck and genetics for his ability to remain injury-free, but he admits hard work -- on and off the field -- is crucial as well.

"My consistency on the mound is a reflection of my consistency in my workload leading up to being on the mound," Arroyo said.

That includes not missing workouts, a strict diet, sleep and keeping up to date on the types of medication and treatments he needs. Luck is always a factor, and Arroyo is fully aware of how blessed he has been.

"There are a lot of guys in the game that are doing all the same things I'm doing. I've just had a little more fortunate luck along the way," Arroyo said. "You get hit with a line drive, you could be on the DL."

A similar scenario happened to the new D-backs starting pitcher in April 2010, when he was with the Reds. Arroyo was struck in the right calf by a line drive off the bat of then-Cardinals outfielder Colby Rasmus. In typical Arroyo fashion, he finished the game, pitched eight innings and made his next start.

Arroyo believes the seemingly inhuman durability he displays may become far more common for other players in the future.

"The generation before me really didn't take care of their bodies as well [as players today]," Arroyo said. "I think you are going to see more and more guys be able to sustain a long period of time, like I have, without going on the DL."

Whether it's luck or perseverance, Arroyo's health and consistency were traits the D-backs desired in a starter, especially considering two of their pitchers, including Daniel Hudson, underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery last season.

Arizona signed Arroyo to a two-year, $23.5 million deal with a club option for 2016 on Feb. 12. His addition will provide much-needed depth to the team's rotation while allowing the organization to take its time with its top pitching prospects, namely Archie Bradley.

"[Arroyo] is very experienced, he's got a lot of wisdom and been through a lot of battles," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said.

The skipper added Arroyo's attention to detail validates the message the coaches preach to their young pitchers. Arizona hopes his addition will help push the team back into the postseason for the first time since 2011 after finishing 81-81 the past two seasons.


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     Diamondback baseball pitcher Bronson Arroyo, said:

01. "That (never being on the Disabled List) is where most of my ego lies."
02. "We all want to win ballgames, you want to strike guys out, you want to have a good ERA."
03. "But, the bottom line for me has been -- can you take the ball every fifth day?"
04. "I was a thin guy in the Minor Leagues and came up [to the Majors at] 6-foot-4, 150 pounds."
05. "People really weren't sure of my durability."
06. "My consistency on the mound is a reflection of my consistency in my workload leading up to being on the mound."
07. "There are a lot of guys in the game that are doing all the same things I'm doing."
08. "I've just had a little more fortunate luck along the way."
09. "You get hit with a line drive, you could be on the DL."
10. "The generation before me really didn't take care of their bodies as well [as players today]."
11. "I think you are going to see more and more guys be able to sustain a long period of time, like I have, without going on the DL."

     Mr. Arroyo must not have debilitating injurious flaws in his pitching motion.

     However, I would like to measure Mr. Arroyo's pitching elbow ranges of motion.

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0276.  Wilson struck on head in BP at Angels' camp
MLB.com
February 25, 2014

TEMPE, AZ: Angels starter C.J. Wilson was struck in the left side of the head by a comebacker off the bat of Yorvit Torrealba during live batting practice at one of the back fields at the Tempe Diablo Stadium complex Tuesday.

Wilson sprang back to his feet, told everyone he's fine and wanted to throw the 10 pitches that remained in his session. But the 33-year-old left-hander had some bleeding and was instead carted off the field, leaving to undergo a precautionary CT scan.

Wilson was texting back-and-forth with general manager Jerry Dipoto throughout and posted a lighthearted message on his Twitter account shortly thereafter, writing: "Everything is fine, except that pitch I threw. Shoulda caught it."

"He was very cognizant; he was aware of what was going on, what was happening, and never lost consciousness," Dipoto said. "The initial read is that neurologically he is fine."


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     Mr. Wilson said that he shoulda caught the line drive that hit him in the left side of his head.

     That Mr. Wilson was hit in the left side of his head means that as a left-handed baseball pitcher, Mr. Wilson was able to turn his head toward the glove side of his body.

     If Mr. Wilson had both feet on the ground, then he would have been able to turn sideways before the baseball entered the hitting zone.

     Unfortunately, Mr. Wilson's pitching leg landed on the ground too late.

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0277.  High schooler trying to work back from Tommy John surgery
Daytona Beach News-Journal
February 26, 2014

PORT ORANGE, FL: Gage Hutchinson still remembers the moment his elbow fell apart.

The Spruce Creek senior said it was in a game against Venice last April. The right-hander uncorked a pitch and, he said, his arm lit up.

“It was like someone struck a match in my elbow,” he said.

Still, Hutchinson shook it off, finished the inning and went back out for the next. But with his velocity dipping down from the mid-80s to the low 70s, he said he knew he was done.

Hutchinson, who said he committed to play at Daytona State late last week, posted a 7-3 record with a 1.18 ERA in 2013, and proved himself as one of the area's best pitchers. But he will be lucky to throw a pitch this season.

The fire in his elbow was coming from his ulnar collateral ligament,  and last June, that led to him having Tommy John surgery.

Prior to the injury he said he was hearing from schools such as West Virginia, Florida Atlantic and Central Florida. After the injury, he said, that all went away.

“It was a big blow,” he said. “It came at a big time for me, and it was definitely hard to keep my spirits up.”

Despite that, Hutchinson said he attacked rehab and has worked hard to get his arm back to where it used to be.

“He is a trooper,” Spruce Creek coach Johnny Goodrich said. “He is about as mentally tough as he needs to be. He goes out there and treats every day like a new day.”

Hutchinson said he has come a long way since his surgery, but he is still not what he once was. He goes to practices and works on the side, and holds out hope that he could return for the playoffs.


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     The article said: "The fire in his elbow was coming from his ulnar collateral ligament."

     Nope. The fire in his pitching elbow came from the muscles that arise from the medial epicondyle.

     If Mr. Hutchison were to complete my 120-Day High School Baseball Pitchers Interval-Training Program, Mr. Hutchison would not only be competitve pitching ready, but he would also have eliminated the injurious flaw that ruptured his Ulnar Colleral Ligament.

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0278.  Cardinals have foresight not to trade depth
MLB.com
February 26, 2014

JUPITER, FL: Right around the time Jaime Garcia was visiting Dr. James Andrews up in Pensacola, Fla., for a second opinion on his sore shoulder, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly and Tyler Lyons lined up in succession on the mounds that sit just outside the St. Louis Cardinals' spring clubhouse to begin a bullpen session.

This is how the Cards roll with the punches.

This setting, nestled in the quiet town center of a developmental community, is the Florida factory where this organization famously churns out quality arms. That it doubles, almost annually, as the spring source of at least one instance of physical anguish -- as Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Jason Motte and, now, Garcia can certainly attest -- only hammers home the point of the process.

The Cardinals got good newson Garcia on Wednesday, but they won't know how good until they see how his shoulder, which reportedly has no structural damage, responds to a cortisone injection to treat inflammation Garcia is an alumnus of both a labrum repair and Tommy John surgery, so, as general manager John Mozeliak so eloquently put it, "his days of feeling perfect are over," as are the days of the Cards counting on him as anything resembling a sure thing. But if we know anything about pitching attrition at the big league level, we can safely assume the Cardinals' days of falling back on their accrued depth in 2014 are probably just beginning.

"Any time you look at who you think can help your Major League club, you realize it's a fragile state," Mozeliak said. "And it's one you don't want to have to take advantage of."

That's precisely why the Cards didn't take advantage of their depth by dealing any of it this winter. If forking over four years and $53 million for 31-year-old shortstop Jhonny Peralta was the cost of keeping Miller, Lynn, Kelly, Lyons, Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal, Tim Cooney et al., well, so be it.

As a result, this club is stacked in precisely the area you prefer to be stacked at. Garcia's shoulder could prove continually problematic, Rosenthal has a sore groin, Motte might be just a little bit behind the Opening Day timetable as he recovers from Tommy John surgery and Martinez had a little off-the-field distraction in recent days. But these early spring issues aside, the Cardinals are counting on quality early, middle and late in games.

Equally important as the quality, though, is the resolve the Cards have shown with the use of their talent. How many clubs would have loved to thrust Miller onto the World Series stage? How many would mark down the likes of Michael Wacha or Lynn or Kelly or even the still-developing Martinez as absolute rotation locks in lieu of leaving them twisting in the wind in spring camp?

The Cardinals get that what is best for others might not always necessarily be best for them, and they get that competition breeds success.

They saw Miller's decline in sharpness as 2013 evolved and deemed him worthy of rest even when every out was of pivotal import. They view Kelly and Martinez, in particular, as fungible assets who can help them in either the rotation or bullpen, depending on what is the need at that particular point, and so they have them competing accordingly. Wacha was an October legend? OK, great. Prove it wasn't a fluke, kid.

And lest anybody, even Wainwright, get too satisfied with their strengths, the Cardinals are quick to point out oft-overlooked weaknesses, such as the K rate of last year's starters … at the plate. Cards pitchers posted their lowest collective batting average since 1986 last season, and that's been an area of emphasis in these early days of camp.

Now, everybody knows or otherwise assumes the rotation will include Wainwright, Wacha, Miller and Lynn, with Martinez and Kelly competing for the fifth spot, unless Garcia recovers in time to remain in the mix. But beyond Wainwright's Opening Day nod, the Cardinals only confirm what they're comfortable confirming, and they use spring instability as grounds for mental motivation.

"We don't take anything for granted," Miller said.

How could they? There are too many bodies in that room capable of bumping somebody out of a job.

"I think it's normal," said Kelly, whose 2.69 ERA in the face of injuries elsewhere essentially saved the Cards' summer last season. "You never want to be complacent with whatever you do. So it's always good. I don't care about the other guy. It's something you've got to work on for yourself. If you know you did your job and put the effort in, it's not in your hands after that."

All that's in Kelly's hands is the development of a curveball he'll need to help his K rate. All that's in Martinez's hands is the refinement of secondary stuff that would allow him to take his electric stuff into a starting -- and starring -- role.

And what's in manager Mike Matheny's hands is the pleasant problem of too many guys for not enough spots. Or innings, for that matter. Which is why the first two weeks of games, which begin Friday, are so important.

"Last I checked, we don't have a zillion 'B' games lined up, and we don't have a lot of split-[squads]," Mozeliak said. "At some point, when pitchers stop going two [innings] and jump to four or five, that's going to be hard."

Hard choices are good choices, and the Cardinals have more than most. Garcia presents a slight problem in that, aside from Lyons (who is likely to be either in long relief or down on the farm as depth), he was the only left-handed option in this assemblage of starters. But considering that St. Louis reached the World Series with a rotation that, for all intents and purposes, was all right last season, the Cards aren't too worried.

"If [Garcia] is right physically and in a good spot to make quality pitches, we'd love to have him out there," Matheny said. "If not, we're going to take whoever's best -- left, right or whatever."

"Whatever" doesn't really qualify. The Cards aren't so loaded that they have guys throwing with a newly discovered third hand.

But they are uniquely positioned to take a hiccup such as the Garcia news in stride.

Of course, late-February depth can morph into an April or May scarcity quite suddenly (ask last year's Dodgers all about that), which is why the Cardinals' higher-ups join their players in taking nothing for granted.

"The moment you think you have depth, you have to realize it's going to be tested at some point," Mozeliak said. "People might have thought perhaps we were overvaluing [the pitching depth this winter] or were just reluctant to move it. Either way, we felt we had a great set of assets and wanted to retain it."

The unsettled Garcia situation demonstrates the first of what, for all we know, could be multiple reasons why.


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     Cardinals general manager, John Mozeliak, said:

01. "Mr. Garcia's days of feeling perfect are over."
02. "Any time you look at who you think can help your Major League club, you realize it's a fragile state."
03. "And it's one you don't want to have to take advantage of."

     In 2007, the Cardinals owner asked the general manager to have a young scout to search for someone that knew how to prevent pitching injuries.

     After meeting with several baseball pitching coaches, that young man chose me.

     Unfortunately, the then-general manager refused to meet with me.

     As a result, today's general manager says that Mr. Garcia's days of feeling perfect are over.

     Give me one off-season and Mr. Garcia and all other Cardinals baseball pitchers will feel perfect.

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0279.  With injury in rearview, Familia makes bid for bullpen
MLB.com
February 26, 2014

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL: Jeurys Familia stood next to his locker, answering question after question about his mindset, his preparation, his rocket launcher of a right arm. He had arrived as a bona fide Major Leaguer, and he was happy.

This was last May, in the immediate aftermath of a 10-inning victory in Atlanta. Because Terry Collins had used regular closer Bobby Parnell earlier in the game, the Mets manager called on Familia to lock down his first career save in the bottom of the 10th. And he did so with aplomb, dialing his fastball into the upper 90s during a 1-2-3 inning.

What Familia did not reveal was that he felt something -- he was not sure what, but definitely something -- uncomfortable in his right elbow. The former top prospect ignored it at first, pitching two effective innings two days later against the Braves. But when Alex Rios homered off him the following week in New York, Familia knew something was wrong.

For the first time in his life, his arm hurt.

"I couldn't understand why I couldn't throw my fastball the way I was trying to," Familia said.

Doctors quickly determined the cause: bone spurs and loose bodies floating around his right elbow. The Mets scheduled surgery, making it clear that Familia's season was likely finished.

Except it wasn't. Four months later, following a rapid recovery and intense rehab program, Familia stepped back on the mound for one final appearance at Citi Field. To Collins, it was a testament to how hard the rookie had worked.

"He wants to pitch in the Major Leagues bad," the manager said, lauding Familia's decision to travel nearly a month early from the Dominican Republic to Florida for Spring Training. "He [lives] in a place where if he wants to, he can go work out every day. And yet he flies over here three weeks early to start the process here -- to be seen by our coaches that are here and get on the field and do things right."

Familia is rare in that way. For example, most pitchers loathe fielding practice, but he does extra glove work on the side every day, as reigning American League Gold Glove Award winner R.A. Dickey once did.

Most pitchers also do not possess Familia's natural ability. As recently as two years ago, mainstream media outlets were comparing Familia, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler to the Mets' infamous "Generation K" trio of starting pitching prospects in the mid-1990s -- Jason Isringhausen, Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson. While Harvey has gone on to enjoy massive success and Wheeler is attempting to do the same, Familia was unable to follow their path.

Conversely, he struggled to such an extent that, by the spring of 2013, the Mets were convinced Familia would be better off as a reliever. So they converted him, and the team was finally starting to see him change the trajectory of his career arc when injury struck.

"He's blessed with some special tools that a lot of guys don't have," Collins said. "You can't teach it. It's just something that he does. Now it's about working on the delivery and the release point to where it can be consistent."

The Mets, in other words, will spend this spring attempting to match Familia's statistical performance with his natural tools and work ethic. He is concentrating on throwing first-pitch strikes and trying to minimize the control issues that have dogged his Minor League career. Now effectively a two-pitch pitcher with his mid-90s fastball and low-80s slider, Familia understands the need to jump ahead in counts as often as possible.

It's an opportunity he did not have a year ago, when injury troubles derailed him. But now Familia ranks among the leading candidates to score an Opening Day bullpen spot alongside Jose Valverde, Kyle Farnsworth, Vic Black and others.

"I love being in baseball and playing the game," said Familia, who lockers next to Valverde and is one of several Mets pitchers attempting to soak up the veteran closer's knowledge this spring. "Right now, I'm feeling like a new guy. I can compete without being scared anymore about my elbow. I'm ready to go."


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     The article said:

01. "Last May, Mets field manager, Terry Collins, called on Jeurys Familia to lock down his first career save in the bottom of the 10th inning."
02. With fastbals in the upper 90 mph, Mr. Familia had a 1-2-3 inning."
03. "However, Mr. Familia did not reveal was that he felt something uncomfortable in his pitching elbow."
04. "At first, Mr. Familia ignored the discomfort and, two days later, pitched two effective innings."
05. "But, when Alex Rios homered off Mr. Familia, Mr. Familia knew something was wrong."
06. "The Mets Medical Staff quickly determined that Mr. Familia hadbone spurs and loose bodies floating around his pitching elbow."
07. "Four months later, Mr. Familia stepped back on the mound for one final season appearance."
08. "Mr. Famila throws a mid-90s fastball and low-80s slider.

     To have loose bodies (hyaline cartilage) and bone spurs mean that Mr. Familia bangs the bones in the back of his pitching elbow when he supinates the releases of his 80 mph slider.

     With two weeks rest, Mr. Familia would be ready to start training.

     That training needs to include teaching Mr. Familia how to pronate the release of his slider.

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0280.  Niese sent to New York for MRI on left shoulder
MLB.com
February 26, 2014

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL: Mets starter Jon Niese flew back to New York on Wednesday for an MRI on his left shoulder, which he described to manager Terry Collins as "dead."

"It's precautionary right now," Collins said. "But anytime you send somebody for an MRI, it's going to be a concern until you get the reading."

In a text message to MLB.com, Niese downplayed the severity of the pain, saying it felt nothing like the partially-torn left rotator cuff that sidelined him for eight weeks last season.

"There's no pain, just a little discomfort," Niese wrote. "Last year when there was pain, it was difficult to do everyday things such as turn a steering wheel or simply put on a belt. There's no pain with any of that now, so I don't foresee it being serious at all. Just going to take a look at it to make sure, so I can move on with Spring Training, so I don't miss any of the season."

"He just said he's got a little discomfort in there," Collins said, "so we're going to have a look."

Collins said that Niese began experiencing "a little bit of pain" in his left triceps after reporting to camp, but that it was not in the same area as last year's issue. Niese ultimately rehabbed his rotator cuff non-surgically last summer, returning to go 5-2 with a 3.00 ERA in 10 starts down the stretch. He finished 8-8 with a 3.71 ERA in 24 starts overall.

According to Collins, Niese first reported discomfort early in camp, prompting the Mets to limit him to long-toss. The left-hander climbed back upon a mound this week and initially felt fine, but the second half of his live batting practice session Monday resulted in pain. As a result, the Mets decided around noon Wednesday to fly Niese to New York for testing.

"He just said at the end of it, 'Geez, my arm's just dead,'" Collins said. "'Like, it's dead.'"

Niese, 27, is entering the third season of a five-year, $25.5 million deal that includes team options running through 2018. He started Opening Day for the Mets last season, and was the leading candidate to do so again on March 31 against the Nationals. If Niese is not healthy enough to make that start, Bartolo Colon and Dillon Gee would be the frontrunners to replace him.

Colon, incidentally, is also nursing a minor injury, skipping Wednesday's workouts with tightness in his calf.


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     Mets baseball pitcher, Jon Niese, said:

01. "There's no pain, just a little discomfort."
02. "Last year when there was pain, it was difficult to do everyday things such as turn a steering wheel or simply put on a belt."
03. "There's no pain with any of that now."
04. "So, I don't foresee it being serious at all."
05. "Just going to take a look at it to make sure."
06. "So, I can move on with Spring Training."
07. "So, I don't miss any of the season."

     Mets field manager, Terry Collins, said:

01. "Jon Niese said: 'Geez, my arm's just dead.'"
02. "'Like, it's dead.'"

     Dead arm means that the pitching shoulder lacks stability.

 &nb