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Former MLB Athletes: Today's Pitchers Need to Throw More

by Kris Venezia
A A
Baseball Stadium.

Wikimedia

With more big league pitchers getting arm surgery, former players say MLB teams need to stop pampering athletes.

All this week, WFUV News is looking at an alarming trend affecting baseball players of all ages, from Little League to Major League Baseball. 

New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey will miss the entire season and New York Yankees hurler Ivan Nova has been sidelined since early April after needing Tommy John surgery, and the two aren't alone. 

According to mlbreports.com, 28 MLB athletes have gone under the knife this year, 19 in 2013, and 36 in 2012. 

Major League Baseball teams have started imposing pitch counts and inning limits in the past decade to prevent these arm injuries in their star athletes, but some former big leaguers think clubs are babying their players. 

"I don’t know who came up with the 100 pitch rule, but I guarantee he never threw 100 pitches," Hall of Fame pitcher Rollie Fingers told reporters in late July.

The former Oakland Athletics hurler had an 18-year career from 1968-1985, and said he doesn't remember his teammates having arm injuries like today's players.  

"I think if they let the starters pitch a little longer, stretch it out, they wouldn't have the arm problems that they're having." 

Dave Stewart, a three time World Series champion, had a 16-year career, threw more than 2500 innings, and never needed Tommy John surgery. He agreed with Fingers, and said that players need to throw more to build up arm strength.

"I think that when [pitchers] are brought into [Major League Baseball] now, they aren't throwing a lot of innings and they aren't expected to throw a lot of innings," Stewart told reporters in late July. He said when he was in the minor leagues for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was required to throw 800 innings before pitching at the major league level.

"[There's] too much attention to weight lifting and not enough to throwing a baseball," he said.

Even Tommy John himself has said MLB teams need to let athletes throw more at the big league level to improve arm strength. 

On Tuesday, WFUV News gets the medical perspective from doctors on what might be causing the rise of Tommy John surgery.    

 

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