Major League Baseball
MLB rejects pitch clock injuries theory, says spring training or early-season injuries more likely
Major League Baseball

MLB rejects pitch clock injuries theory, says spring training or early-season injuries more likely

Published May. 23, 2024 7:01 p.m. ET

Major League Baseball says pitcher injuries are more likely to occur during spring training and early in the season.

Management has rejected an assertion by players' union head Tony Clark that injuries may be linked to the pitch clock that was instituted last year and slightly shortened this season.

"In 2014 or so we started with this upward trend," Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after owners were presented with data. "It looked like it turned the other way last year. We don't know what that means, whether that's going to continue or not. I think in terms of the lens, early in the season was not an aberration. There is a pattern that has been an early-season problem for a while."

Cleveland's Shane Bieber, Atlanta's Spencer Strider, Boston's Lucas Giolito, the New York Yankees' Jonathan Loáisiga and Miami's Eury Pérez are among the pitchers who have been sidelined by elbow injuries this year.


MLB has not released the data publicly. Johns Hopkins has been conducting a study that has not been released and has interviewed more than 200 players and doctors, Manfred said.

Fear of pitcher injuries caused some clubs to block their players from participating in the World Baseball Classic in March 2023, and it could become an issue in allowing major-leaguers to participate in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

LA 2028 chairman Casey Wasserman in February gave owners a presentation on possible Olympic play.

"It's hard to talk about and be focused on pitching injuries on the one side and not realize that that issue bleeds over into WBC participation, Olympic participation," Manfred said. "I think that Casey kind of owes us a more detailed breakout of what he thinks can happen with respect to the Olympics. The one thing I'll say about it is to the extent that the data we saw today about early season, it's kind of a plus in terms of Olympic participation because everybody's all built up at that point in time. To the extent that these injuries are driven by the transition from offseason to in season, at least we would be past that."

Manfred said baseball's competition committee had not formulated any proposal on possibly reducing the maximum number of pitchers on the 26-man active roster from 13 to 12. The change is advocated by some who think it would lead to longer outings by starters.

"You can kind of go the route of a limited number of pitchers and force people to essentially pitch more in order to cover the innings," Manfred said, "or you can try to come up with a set of rules that creates a softer incentive for people to go deep."

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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