MLB unveils “Pitch Smart”: a guide to help youth baseball players avoid injury

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Major League Baseball today unveiled the first step in an initiative aimed at reducing pitcher injuries. It’s called “Pitch Smart” and it’s designed to educate youth players, parents and coaches about how to better avoid arm injuries. This is important because, as Dr. James Andrews noted last spring when a rash of Tommy John surgeries hit Major League Baseball, the cake on arm injuries is often baked back when the pitcher is young, not when he is already a professional.

The website sets forth best practices, guidelines and identifies risk factors for young baseball players. Stuff like this:

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As Jeff Passan of Yahoo notes, this is but a first step, and later steps will involve reaching out to and working with youth leagues to help set standards. Which is easier said than done given the number of leagues and governing bodies and the incentives in place that don’t always put a players’ health at the top of the list.

It’s good to see baseball wading into an area where they could, if they so chose, simply say “we can’t control that” and turn a blind eye.

Ty Blach to undergo Tommy John surgery

Ty Blach Tommy John
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Orioles pitcher Ty Blach will undergo Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on Wednesday, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports. Teammate Richie Martin, a shortstop, will also undergo surgery on his right wrist the same day, Kubatko adds.

Blach, 29, experienced soreness in his left elbow on Thursday during an intrasquad game. He will be sidelined for the remainder of the 2020 season as well as most of the 2021 season.

The Orioles selected Blach off waivers from the Giants in early August last year. Over 27 combined innings, the lefty allowed 36 earned runs on 46 hits and 17 walks with 20 strikeouts.

Martin, 25, injured his wrist on a slide during an intrasquad game on Friday. The Orioles initially described the injury as just a fingernail laceration, but an X-ray revealed a broken bone. Martin made his major league debut last year, posting a .581 OPS over 309 plate appearances.

Kubatko notes that the timetable for Martin’s recovery is two to three months. It is difficult to see Martin playing in any games this season.