I often hear, in real life and on TV, about being tough, or working through pain, or being a guy, or to “man up”.
With Alex Reyes, and indeed throughout baseball, I wonder if this is a factor.
Now, I’m no medical expert and don’t have a degree in any field remotely related to baseball, so you can take this all with a grain of salt if you wish.
That being said, I saw an interesting article on ESPN from, of all people, Mike Matheny.
In the ESPN article, Matheny talks about how players, specifically his pitchers, should communicate better with him, especially in regard to being in pain. The article cites how Alex Reyes had a decrease in velocity, still finished an inning, cited soreness afterwards, and ultimately had surgery and is now gone for the year, just after getting back.
Now, you know from past articles that I am not Matheny’s biggest fan. I wonder if he plays favorites with his players and I often question his bullpen usage. Here, however, I find myself agreeing with him. In today’s game, pitchers made a ton of money, so you would think they would err on the side of caution and not push themselves too much. This does not seem to be the case.
Toughness isn’t the only issue here. Velocity has become increasingly important in todays game, but you have to wonder if all of that heat exerts a lot of pressure on a pitcher’s arm. Why not take a few miles off of your heater, work on your control and save the magic bullet for, say, an 0-2 count? Or use the breaking stuff to get to 0-2 (or any 2 strike count, for that matter.) This seems like common sense to me, and yet we often see highlights of Aroldis Chapman (or Jordan Hicks for you Cardinals fans) and gaze in wonder. Me personally, every time I see a Hicks 100+ heater, I cringe, worrying about the long term health of his arm, and hope that he’s not pushing himself to throw those heaters due to pressure from outside sources.
Just some food for thought.
As always, thanks for reading.