Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Dodgers Star Pitcher Reflects on Series of Pitching Injuries

Several household pitchers have succumbed to elbow injuries that shut down their seasons. Spencer Strider and Shane Bieber are two of the most recent victims of Tommy John surgery. It’s the kind of trend that’s being labelled as a pandemic in baseball. Clayton Kershaw offered his thoughts on the increased issues of elbow injuries among pitchers. But one thing, he didn’t offer any kind of explanation.

Clayton Kershaw is Curious About the Pitching Injury Dilemma

“If someone says, ‘I have it figured out,’ I wouldn’t listen to them,” Kershaw told Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic.

He added “I’m very wary of people that think they have it all figured out when all of this is still happening. If you had it figured out, you would’ve told somebody and made a billion dollars. You what I mean? Nobody knows.”

To Kershaw, what’s been going on feels like a real surge. But he shared with Ardaya that nobody knows the real reason for the injuries.

“Everybody has theories,” Kershaw said. “It’s probably a combination of what everybody’s talking about, whether it be added velocity, weighted ball programs too young, all this stuff that people talk about. But at the end of the day, nobody knows. Nobody knows the formula, and if they did, they’d be doing it. So I think the question we need to ask is, how do we fix it? And then somebody has to be brave enough to put their neck out and try something different.”

Arm Injuries After Arm Injuries

Strider underwent surgery to repair his ulnar collateral ligament. He’s already been through one Tommy John surgery in his career. Reigning American League Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole was shut down in spring due to an elbow issue. Miami Marlins young prospect Eury Pérez, lost the year to Tommy John surgery. As for Bieber, who was on a roll in his first two starts with the Cleveland Guardians, also fell to Tommy John surgery. Right behind them is Framber Valdez, who went on the injured list with elbow inflammation.

Kershaw Believes Throwing High Velocity is a Theme of the Injuries

The pitchers who are getting injured could prove to be a major problem for baseball. But for Kershaw, he noted that it isn’t pitchers like him whose injuries matter.

“Nobody cares about the old guys,” Kershaw said. He was referring to himself along with Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer, who are out to start the season. Even as the left-hander was consistent and piled up his velocity in his career, he never threw hard like throwing 100 mph. Interestingly enough, that’s what’s happening to Cole, Strider, Valdez and Sandy Alcántara. That itself presents a big threat and recurring theme to the game itself.

Verlander Echoes a Similar Tune to Kershaw

While on his rehab assignment, Verlander was asked about the issue by Ari Alexander of KPRC2. The right-hander referred to the scale of the problem as a “pandemic.” He also suggested that increased velocity may be a factor in all of this.

“I think the biggest thing is that the style of pitching has changed so much. Everyone is throwing the ball as hard as they possibly can and spinning the ball as hard as they possibly can.”

As Verlander notes, the change in the guard hasn’t been easy and will take some time. It might be the only way to reduce the high-level of injuries.

MLB and MLBPA Don’t See Eye to Eye

The problems that persist aren’t getting through between the league and the union. MLBPA’s executive director Tony Clark released a statement where the union blamed the pitch clock for the increasing risk of injuries for pitchers. The statement explained that despite “unanimous player opposition,” MLB reduced the length of the pitch clock last December. In response, MLB said that they’ve commissioned a research study by Johns Hopkins University to understand pitching injuries. They did not find evidence of quick pitching leading to injuries.

Main Photo: © Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message