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MLBPA blaming injuries to star pitchers on faster pitch clock

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Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Tony Clark is pointing the finger at the pitch clock after two star pitchers suffered significant elbow injuries.

Clark noted how MLB made a rash change when it reduced the length of the pitch clock in December 2023, and it could be contributing to more injuries.

“Since then, our concerns about the health impacts of reduced recovery time have only intensified,” Clark said, via the Associated Press. “The league’s unwillingness thus far to acknowledge or study the effects of these profound changes is an unprecedented threat to our game and its most valuable asset — the players.”

The statement came after the Cleveland Guardians announced former Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber will undergo Tommy John surgery, and the Atlanta Braves confirmed Spencer Strider has UCL damage in his right elbow. However, they’re seeking a second opinion on whether he needs surgery.

In 2023, MLB introduced the pitch clock, which increased the speed of the game. Per MLB.com, the average game time last season was just under 2 hours and 40 minutes, the shortest it has been since 1985 (2:40).
 
MLB tweaked the pitch clock to make the game even faster, giving pitchers 18 seconds to throw when runners are on base instead of 20. They still have 15 seconds to throw when no runners are on base.

MLB claims it is working with Johns Hopkins University and has “found no evidence” that the faster pitch clock leads to more injuries.

Expect the league and the players association to keep arguing over this issue until it becomes clear whether there’s a link between injuries and the pitch clock.

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