MLB, SPORTS

Roy Oswalt: Strict pitch counts contributing to elbow injuries

July 15, 2014

Little leaguers are throwing too many pitches, too many curve balls, and their arms can’t handle the abuse. That’s why we’re seeing so many elbow injuries and so many pitchers, young and old, undergoing Tommy John surgery. Right?

Maybe not.

Roy Oswalt, the longtime Houston Astros pitcher who last pitched for the Colorado Rockies in 2013, told Robert Wuhl on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio that he believes coaches have become too strict with younger pitchers.

“I think that guys don’t throw enough,” the three-time All-Star said. “They have this scientist or this doctor or somebody come up with this pitch count; 100 pitches, 95 pitches, 90 pitches, don’t let kids throw too much. When I came up – this is me going off my personal experience – you threw all the time.”

Oswalt wasn’t exaggerating, either.

“I remember in high school, we had 14 games, or 16 games – I pitched every one of ‘em, every year, so I threw all the time,” Oswalt said. “I threw Mondays and Thursdays, and I pitched seven innings. And I remember thinking, I’d never seen a bullpen until I got into the minor leagues. And I’m thinking, ‘What is the bullpen?’ I didn’t even know what the bullpen was.

“So we get into college, and I pitched, I think, 22 games in college, or somewhere around that, 18-22 games,” Oswalt continued, “and I’m thinking, ‘How many games did I not finish?’ I don’t remember any, it’s a while ago, a lot of games ago, but I’m thinking, I think I finished every game. So I went back and looked at my stats, actually, last year […] and I never came out of a game in college. So it wasn’t a pitch count. Nobody wrote down pitches. There’s some games, I guarantee you, I threw 200 pitches. But you grew to throw the ball. It made your body adapt to throwing that many pitches.”

Oswalt told Wuhl he thinks major league coaches pull the plug on younger pitchers in their staff too early, also.

“The way I see it, why not use that guy that’s 22, 23 years old, because these days, 35 is pretty old in the big leagues,” Oswalt said. “It’s not like it used to be when 40 wasn’t that old. But now, use those guys when they’re young because they can recuperate so quick. You know, you give them two days and they’re ready to get back on the mound.”

“I think they don’t throw enough now,” Oswalt concluded. “I think they do so much training, they don’t throw enough.”

Agree or disagree with Oswalt? Send your opinion to @SiriusXMFantasy on Twitter.