Pitch-count, innings limits don't prevent pitcher injuries, study says

Baseball As Tommy John surgery has run rampant among pitchers over the last decade or so, many major league organizations have instituted strict pitch-count and innings limits on their young pitchers in an effort to ward off future injuries.But that approach might not be doing any good. A new study by two University of Waterloo researchers published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found no correlation between pitch or innings restrictions and injuries in subsequent seasons.The reseachers used the so-called Verducci Effect — named for Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci, who has advanced the theory — as a baseline. The theory holds that pitchers under the age of 25 who see an increase of 30 or more innings from the previous season tend to get hurt or see a noticeable decline in effectiveness the following year. Other research has taken issue with Verducci's reasoning, but teams have nonetheless moved to avoid significant innings increases for their younger pitchers as a preventative measure. The Waterloo researchers studied all pitchers under 25 who threw at least one-third of an inning in the majors from 2002-07. They analyzed more than 761 individual seasons, including innings pitched in Triple-A and Double-A along with the majors, but found no apparent connection between pitch-count and innings limits and time spent on the disabled list.“We didn’t find any correlation between those so-called workload metrics and future injury risk,” Thomas Karakolis, one of the study's authors, told the Toronto Star.That's not to say there should be no usage restrictions on pitchers, Karakolis noted. The point is that there is no one-size-fits-all formula to prevent ligament and ten

don injuries that often result from overuse. Every pitcher, and every body, is different.“By just putting blanket innings limits on pitchers or pitch counts, that’s not going to get you the results you’re looking for in terms of reducing the number of injuries," Karakolis said.


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