If you dig deep enough, you can find a few warning signs. GM Sandy Alderson noted that Harvey had felt forearm pain “for some time now.”
Yesterday I was reading Mike Reinold’s discussion about Matt Harvey tearing his UCL and basically summarizing that sometimes people get hurt from throwing heat. He is right that the forces on the throwing arm are as Stu McGill says, unholy. Unfortunately I don’t agree that physics is to blame, since Just Verlander has thrown more heat and thrown more innings and pitches. Athletes competing will eventually get hurt, even the golden great ones like Jerry Rice and Joe Montana had seasons cut short, and in baseball pitchers are mortal. I find it hard to swallow that we as professions give a pass to injuries from randomness but success is always from core training or corrective exercises stemmed from screening. We need to simply say, we are not able to prevent injuries from happening yet, because the sport is difficult to prepare for and we can’t see what is going on to elbows and shoulders.
Then we have Let’s Calm Down About Matt Harvey’s Elbow by Jonah Keri, who simply says sometime “stuff” happens. Sorry but that is unacceptable to me. I can accept that the human body is mortal and not perfect, but to toss out the feeling that injuries just happen is garbage. Sometimes the reasons are a little outside our current control, but injuries are ballooning in the MLB. I still think we can do better, and suggested options such as the five in an earlier blog. Biomechanics are not easy to do at high speeds, but with motion capture and wireless EMG I think we can start cracking the code a bit more. The hardest is going to see how the strain on ligaments and other structures is without MRI, but that is autopsy data and we need more warning signs.