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#pounditMonday, April 15, 2024

Max Scherzer makes bold claim about uptick in pitcher injuries

Max Scherzer in uniform for the Rangers

Oct 4, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Max Scherzer (31) is seen in the dugout during game two of the Wildcard series for the 2023 MLB playoffs against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Rangers pitcher Max Scherzer has not been a huge fan of the pitch clock in baseball, and he is now claiming that it may be having a detrimental impact on the health of pitchers.

In an appearance on the “Foul Territory” podcast, Scherzer claimed that two leading surgeons — Dr. Keith Meister and Dr. Neal ElAttrache — had told him that pitcher injuries were much more severe in 2023, which Scherzer linked to the introduction of the pitch clock.

“Both of them are saying the same thing: that they saw an uptick in severity,” Scherzer said. “It makes you start scratching your head. What’s unique to 2023 here? When you make the game go faster, part of the thing is, as a pitcher, I lived it. Your form just gets fatigued faster. For starting pitchers that are trying to pitch 100 pitches, you’re going through that fatigue, you’re overgripping the baseball to try to combat that fatigue, and that’s a very plausible reason for the severity of the elbow injuries.”

Scherzer said there were other factors at play, but certainly pinned the majority of his claims on the pitch clock speeding up pitchers.

Whether true or not, the league would want to see more than one year of evidence to determine whether this is the actual root cause of an issue for pitchers. The clock has been praised by fans, and the league will not want to see any big changes to it.

Scherzer himself battled a couple injuries in 2023, though none related to his elbow. He has been a consistent critic of the pitch clock, arguing that its restrictions are too rigid.

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