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Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez blames teams for pitchers' elbow injuries: 'Perfect lethal combination'

Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez blames teams for pitchers’ elbow injuries: ‘Perfect lethal combination’

طوبیٰ Tooba 3 months ago 0 1

The list of pitchers with elbow injuries is rapidly growing, and we’re seeing All-Stars fall into what is now becoming a baseball epidemic.

According to Spotrac, there are currently 43 starting pitchers (and 33 relievers) on the injured list with elbow or arm injuries. Among the starters, they have racked up a combined 30 All-Star nods and six Cy Young Awards.

It’s nothing new over the last several years, but guys like defending Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole, Framber Valdez, Shane Bieber and Spencer Strider, four of the best pitchers of this generation of baseball, have all hit the shelf within the last month – the latter three within the last week alone.

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Pedro Martinez waves to the crowd

Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez is introduced during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Clark Sports Center on Sept. 8, 2021, in Cooperstown, New York. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Pedro Martinez, for the bulk of his prime, was hardly injured. From 1995 to 2005, he appeared in 30-plus games eight times and 29 twice. Of course, he parlayed that into dominance, winning three Cy Young Awards in a four-year span (he finished second in 1998) and was an eight-time All-Star en route to Cooperstown.

It wasn’t until the back-end of his career when injuries derailed him – he made just 34 starts in his final three years – but he can see how much the pitching philosophy has changed since he took the bump in the 1990s and 2000s.

“When we see so many up and coming MLB pitchers with fewer than 200 innings in the minors, lots of muscle mass, underworked baby ligaments and a team demanding max velo on everything they throw, we’re seeing the perfect lethal combination for arm injury,” the Hall of Famer wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Shane Bieber vs Mariners

Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Shane Bieber walks to the dugout after throwing against the Mariners in Seattle on April 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

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“The analytics department has forced the young kids by pressuring them to have revolution, velocity and spin rate…that’s too much for baby ligaments. When in the minors I focused on working my ligaments; I never lifted heavy weights. Time has changed, and so has training, but if you want to become a pitcher, you should strive to learn the feel for pitching and the knowledge of what to do with the ball rather than throwing hard.”

It wasn’t just social media where Martinez gave his opinion, after Tuesday night’s Padres-Cubs game on TBS, Martinez continued.

“The sense of urgency that the teams have to make the game younger, to make it quicker, to make it faster in all aspects, I think it’s all taking everything with it,” he said. “I think the young pitchers have been rushed up. They don’t work enough. The ligaments are the ones that hold the arm and maintain the [flexibility] for you to have the trigger points. There’s so many things that you can pinpoint at this point. You can find blemishes all over, and the biggest one is wanting velo at an early age, muscle mass for the young players to be stronger from baby ligaments.”

“You can actually blame the organizations, most of them, for trying to rush those guys up to the big leagues at a younger age where they don’t have the maturity to kind of mess around with the slider or maybe the cutter and pronating those arms. It’s just so many little things that you can think of, so many issues that we have in order for us to correct what’s going on now,” Martinez said.

Spencer Strider downcast

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Spencer Strider walks off the field during the fourth inning in Game 1 of the NLDS against the Philadelphia Phillies in Atlanta on Oct. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

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Valdez was a late scratch this week with an elbow injury; Bieber is out for the rest of the season (he is slated to be a free agent after this season); Strider’s status is still to be determined; Cole is expected back at some point this summer as doctors saw no need for surgery.

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