Major League Pitchers Need Greater Attention to Mechanics

Major League Pitchers

by Matt Stone

Biomechanical analysis:  The study of a pitcher’s delivery.  The Boston Red Sox have used it in the past to prevent injuries while the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians still abide by it.  Many teams attempt to control the risk of injury through monitoring pitch count and only allowing a certain number of innings per game, which is standard in Major League baseball. But to many Major League pitchers and their coaches, this isn’t enough.  Clay Buchholtz, for example, is on the DL for bursitis in his shoulder along with a strained trapezius.  The star pitcher won’t be expected to play possibly before the All Star break this month.  Jon Lester was almost out for the count not long ago, after limping off the mound in the eighth inning, against the Toronto Blue Jays, and Joel Hanrahan, unfortunately, has much more to worry about. His most recent injury (a torn flexor tendon muscle in his right arm) has provoked Tommy John’s Surgery.  He will not be back as closer this season and it looks as though Andrew Bailey will take it from here.

 

Joel Hanrahan major league pitchers

Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Joel Hanrahan delivers to the Baltimore Orioles during the ninth inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston, Monday, April 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Biomechanical analysis can save a pitcher from future problems.  It was in 1989,  Al Leiter then of the New York Yankees, was over trained and overworked. His pitching career continued without proper analysis. After a three season stint with the Toronto Blue Jays, his pitching abruptly became a problem when he was forced to undergo two arthroscopic shoulder surgeries and a pinched nerve in his elbow.  It would not have been a problem if he had just undergone biomechanical analysis.  In 1991 he was the ‘poster child’ for the analysis.  As soon as orthopedist, James Andrews, worked on him and his mechanics the tables turned.  Together, they were able to work on a proper arm path.  His career had then taken off and he became one of the better Major League pitchers.

It’s not high pitch counts or number of innings that can control whether or not a pitcher gets injured. Eventually, if you don’t look at mechanics, it’s only a matter of time until the pitcher will show up with an injury.  Hence the reasons behind the copious amount of injuries we’ve seen this season for the Boston Red Sox.

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