Baseball's Arms Race: The Price Of All Those Fast Pitches Too many pitchers are throwing too hard for the human body to bear, commentator Frank Deford says. What makes these injuries unique is that the players are doing it to themselves.
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Baseball's Arms Race: The Price Of All Those Fast Pitches

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Baseball's Arms Race: The Price Of All Those Fast Pitches

Baseball's Arms Race: The Price Of All Those Fast Pitches

Baseball's Arms Race: The Price Of All Those Fast Pitches

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/448303557/448544964" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon Beachy throws against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 11 at Dodger Stadium. It marked his comeback from a second Tommy John surgery to his right elbow. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images hide caption

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Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brandon Beachy throws against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 11 at Dodger Stadium. It marked his comeback from a second Tommy John surgery to his right elbow.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Pitching a baseball overhand — which has always been a rather contorted, unnatural action — is now leading to an epidemic of injuries. Incredibly, it is estimated that one-fourth of all major league pitchers have had what's called Tommy John surgery, which involves the elbow's ulnar collateral ligament.

Part of the reason for this is, obviously, that kids have been throwing too much, too hard, too early in youth leagues. Now that we see all the arm injuries to young grown-up pitchers — and even some position players — we can surely expect that better care will be given to young pitchers.

However, the other apparent reason for this plague is simply that too many pitchers are now throwing too hard for the human body to bear. It's commonplace for pitchers to throw well over 90 miles an hour. That's the ticket to the big leagues. Can we expect teenagers and 20-somethings to cut back on their speed?

Click the audio to hear the rest of Deford's thoughts on the pressures that lead to sports injuries.