Column: Pitcher injuries should be taken seriously

More and more injuries have been noticed lately in the MLB, and there has been speculation that this is due to the new pitch clock. However, the MLB says differently. An article from ESPN claims that the MLB Players Association says the 15-second pitch clock is causing damage and injuries to pitchers’ arms. 

Another factor is that pitchers need to focus more on max effort, which could contribute more to UCL injuries than the pitch clock. This could be because they are more focused on their velocity and spin than they are straining their arms. 

Since the pitch clock was implemented in 2022 in the minor leagues, the injuries have gone down. However, there is still concern in the major leagues. With multiple players already entering the MLB with pre-existing arm injuries, this could also cause more strain on their arms and cause them to hurt them again. 

A lot of players, such as Braves pitcher Spencer Strider, Yankees pitcher Jonathan Loáisiga, Marlins pitchers Eury Pérez and Sandy Alcántara and Guardians pitcher Shane Bieber, have all suffered season-ending Tommy John surgeries. All the pitchers who underwent UCL construction surgery are expected to return for next season.

The introduction of the pitch clock has now reduced the game by 24 minutes, to make it a record decrease since 1985, when games averaged two hours and 40 minutes. With runners on base, the time to throw a pitch is 18 seconds. This did not stop the concern in the threat of players’ health. Implementing this new rule has raised concerns, but others just say it’s a coincidence. 

Not many changes have been made based on the new rise in injuries and the MLB “found no evidence to support that the introduction of the pitch clock has increased injuries,” according to John Hopkins. This throws out the notion that the MLB is not the cause of pitchers hurting their arms and is getting them to throw more with velocity in their pitches instead of focusing on where it’s going. 

Pitchers tend to, while under pressure, to throw at max effort and get it across the plate, instead of focusing on pitches and movement. This could also be the deciding factor on their recent arm injuries, especially when throwing for multiple innings. 

As a former softball player and a sister to a former college baseball pitcher, I would have to agree that the new pitch clock is causing pitchers to get season ending surgeries. Also, as a baseball fan, seeing so many pitchers getting Tommy John surgeries hurts me. That is the last thing that they would want. 

As a person who has also been through an elbow injury due to softball, the pain is unimaginable and heartbreaking to know that you can’t play the sport you love. I think that the pitch clock did not need to be implemented and if it is here to stay, the clock should add more time. The objective is to reduce the game, but the sped up version is causing so much strain on the pitchers. They are the most important part of the game. If they are out, what is going to happen then?


Featured photo courtesy of @CleGuardians, X