HomeTrending MLB NewsAstros ace speaks out on 'pandemic' of pitcher injuries

Astros ace speaks out on ‘pandemic’ of pitcher injuries

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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander is concerned about the rise in injuries to star pitchers and believes baseball must address the issue before it spirals out of control.  

“You throw [changes to the ball] in the mix, you throw analytics in the mix, and you throw the pitch clock in the mix, and it all kind of adds up,” Verlander recently told Ari Alexander of KPRC-TV in Houston. “The trickle-down permeates all the way to Little League (Baseball). I just hope that we don’t wait too long. It’s obviously a pandemic, and it’s going to take years to work itself out.”

Star pitchers such as Shane Bieber ( Cleveland Guardians), Spencer Strider (Atlanta Braves) and Eury Perez (Miami Marlins) recently suffered severe elbow injuries.

Perez and Bieber are scheduled to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery. Strider and the Braves, meanwhile, are still determining whether he needs surgery. 

Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark believes a slight tweak to the pitch clock has led to more injuries. It now gives pitchers 18 seconds to throw when runners are on base instead of 20.

However, Verlander — who hasn’t suited up for the Astros this season due to a shoulder injury — thinks the need for speed is the main culprit.

“I think it would be the easiest to blame the pitch clock. I think, in reality, you put everything together, and everything has a little bit of influence,” Verlander said. “I think the biggest thing is the style of pitching has changed so much. Everyone is throwing as hard as they possibly can and spinning the ball as hard as they possibly can … it’s a double-edged sword.”

According to Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, the number of pitches thrown 100 mph or more increased drastically over the past five years, from 1,058 in 2019 to 3,880 in 2023. 

Verducci added that MLB is looking into the problem with a new study that includes 100 coaches, doctors and biomechanical experts. This seems like a smart idea. The league must prevent severe injuries and protect its best players.

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