Originally posted on SportsBlooded  |  Last updated 3/23/12

The Washington Nationals announced earlier this week that flame thrower Stephen Strasburg will be their Opening Day starter, 18 months after he underwent Tommy John surgery. Tommy John surgery, which was named after former Dodgers pitcher Tommy John, is a procedure in which a graft is taken from a players wrist and is used to replace the torn UCL in the elbow. Undergoing this surgery is a regular occurrence for Major Leaguers. 50 current MLB pitchers have gone through this procedure.

There must be a reason for why this high quantity of pitchers in the bigs are tearing their UCL in their throwing elbow. Lindsay Berra of ESPN The Magazine did some research on the topic and came to some pretty eye-opening conclusions. The main reason why pitchers tear their UCL is because of incorrect mechanics. If a pitcher has a tendency to have his arm trailing the rest of his body in his delivery, he is using his elbow and shoulder to catch-up, which puts too much stress on the arm. If a pitcher is doing these things, it’s only a matter of time until he’s going to be on the DL. Some pitchers can last years without having surgery, while others like Strasburg only lasted 17 starts before he was placed on the DL.

Some coaches believe in using Biomechanics to teach their players how to throw, while others rely on the eye test. It’s tough for a coach to see one of their pitchers succeeding with incorrect mechanics and have the ability to teach them to do it differently. Health has always been an issue with pitchers in the MLB and it will continue to be. More coaches from little leagues to the Majors should be learning to use Biometrics to their benefit. It will save a lot of pitchers arms.

For more information on Tommy John surgery in the MLB, check out Berra’s complete article here.

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