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:
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.
The Angels have placed Andrew Heaney on the 10-day injured list with left shoulder inflammation, the club announced Saturday. The move is retroactive to July 17, though it’s not yet certain that he’ll be cleared to pitch again by the end of the month.
It’s an unfortunate development for the 28-year-old southpaw, who has battled inflammation in his pitching elbow on and off since spring training. In fact, his arm issues date back several years, including the shoulder impingement that put him on the shelf in 2017 and the Tommy John surgery he underwent in 2016. With such a complicated medical history, it makes sense that the Angels would want to proceed with caution as they facilitate the lefty’s eventual return to the mound.
Given his ongoing struggles, Heaney has seen mixed results with the club in 2019. Prior to his recent IL assignment, he pitched to a 1-3 record in nine starts with a 5.09 ERA, 3.7 BB/9, and 10.6 SO/9 through 46 innings. Since the end of June, however, his starts have gotten shorter and shorter; he lasted just 4 1/3 innings in his final outing against the Astros, expending a tremendous 103 pitches and issuing two runs, two walks, and five strikeouts during the team’s eventual 7-2 win.
In a corresponding roster move, the Angels claimed lefty reliever Adalberto Mejía off of waivers from the Twins. Mejía, 26, is expected to be activated ahead of Saturday’s game versus the Mariners. Over 13 appearances with Minnesota, he turned in an 8.80 ERA, 7.0 BB/9, and 8.8 SO/9 in 15 1/3 innings.