New Pitching Motion Could Solve Injury Woes
The man you see in the video that appears via this magical link on the internets is Dr. Mike Marshall, who is doing cameos with the MLB Network to talk about pitching injuries and their treatment. And Marshall knows of what he speaks; he pitched 15 seasons in the major leagues as a reliever.
However, his playing career has nothing to do with why Dr. Marshall is so significant. Rather, it's his approach to pitching injuries or, more importantly, how to avoid them. Marshall is spearheading an attempt to change general pitching motion to a safer and -- he argues -- more powerful technique.
It's a fascinating theory, and one which might have some serious legs. The torque put on elbows by nearly all of today's top pitchers is terrifying, and a direct reason why so many of them spend time in Birmingham, Ala., at the offices of Dr. James Andrews. If there's a better way to throw that enforces ligament integrity while also allowing for better velocity, why wouldn't players use it?
The first reason is education. Quite frankly, Marshall is the first major exponent of the subtle but potentially revolutionary shift. In a sport like baseball, there's going to be significant resistance to the change, because coaches at a lower level -- Little League, high school, small colleges -- don't fully grasp and endorse the move.
The second reason is one of hesitation. Because younger pitchers will always look up to stars, it will be hard to usher in dramatic change. Major league pitchers will keep using the formula that landed them in the bigs, and that will make younger players, still in development, mimic some of their motion and subtly shift away from the motion Marshall is trying to teach.
All of that is a shame, at least if you buy Marshall's diagnosis. But maybe you don't. What do people think? Will we see a generation of pitchers with long, healthy careers in 20 years? Or will Marshall's research and soapbox be pushed aside like so many before him?
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