Tommy John surgeries are all the rage these days in Major League Baseball, with many pointing to adolescent overuse as a root cause. Here’s the great Dave Sheinin in The Post earlier this month.
The young pitchers arriving in Major League Baseball these days, as a group, throw harder than any generation before them. They have more overall mound experience, in many cases having played baseball year-round as adolescents and teenagers. They are, for the most part, more fundamentally sound in their pitching motions, thanks to the rising availability of biomechanical analysis.
But these young pitchers are also ripping their elbow ligaments to shreds in unprecedented numbers — numbers that have prompted leading medical experts to use the word “epidemic” to describe the recent rash of elbow surgeries among big league pitchers.
At least 17 pitchers have undergone elbow ligament-replacement surgeries — aka Tommy John surgery — since spring training, “already more than the sport averaged over a full season from 2000 to 2011, according to research at baseballheatmaps.com,” Sheinin wrote.
Rochester (Wash.) High Coach Jerry Striegel apparently didn’t read Sheinin’s story. On Tuesday, he had starting pitcher Dylan Fosnacht throw 194 pitches over 14 innings against LaCenter, finally pulling him after he allowed two base runners with no outs in the top of the 15th. He finished with 17 strikeouts.
Per Maxpreps, Fosnacht was replaced by Dustin Wilson, who had been catching up until that point. Wilson got out of the 15th-inning jam and got the win when Rochester scored the game’s only run in the 17th.
The topper: Wilson went on to pitch all seven innings of Rochester’s second game that day, giving him 10 innings on the day.
To put those numbers into perspective, only four major league pitchers — David Price, Martin Perez, Johnny Cueto and Henderson Alvarez — have thrown more than one complete game this season. Last season, Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals led the majors in complete games. With five.
Fosnacht seems fine with potentially exploding his elbow, taking to Twitter to respond to the haters.
People might criticize me throwing 14 innings, but I’m going to do whatever it takes to win— Dylan Fosnacht (@DFosnacht5) May 14, 2014
Some people think it’s awesome, some people think it’s ridiculous. I personally loved every minute of it and it’s a great memory to have— Dylan Fosnacht (@DFosnacht5) May 15, 2014
So I won’t be able to pitch in 5 years? Well it’s a good thing I’m a pretty solid middle infielder which is where I play 90 % of the time— Dylan Fosnacht (@DFosnacht5) May 15, 2014
Price, of the Tampa Bay Rays, tempered his praise with a tut-tut.