Little League pitch count rule still under debate

Published 4:30 am Monday, July 30, 2007

By Staff
The just completed Little League season began with a cloud of uncertainty after the abolishment of an innings limit for pitchers and the establishment of daily pitch count rules.
The new pitch count rule limited pitchers in the age 9-10 division to 75 pitches a day and pitchers in the age 11-12 division to 85 pitches. Pitchers who threw 61 or more pitches were required to have three days of rest. Pitchers who threw between 46 and 60 pitches had to have two days of rest. Pitchers who threw between 21 and 45 pitches had to sit out one day. Pitchers who threw 20 pitches or less could pitch the next day.
While the pitch count rule is probably going to be around for the immediate future, area officials have mixed feelings towards the debate of whether it has actually helped pitchers.
East Brewton Little League president Joey Shell said while the intent is to cut back the number of pitches a player throws during a week, many pitchers are now throwing more than what they were before the pitch count rule was implemented.
Smith also agrees pitchers may actually be throwing more now.
Shell said there are bigger threats to pitchers than the amount of pitches one throws in a game.
said Shell. &#8220I think a bigger threat for young pitchers is travel ball outside Little League. A lot of places kids will play on the weekend and throw a lot for those teams. Then they come back into Little League and are expected to pitch again. They may be allowed to throw 75 or 85 pitches depending on their age group, but their arms tell them they can't do it. Little League has no jurisdiction as to what kids do outside Little League games. I also think a bigger threat is kids don't warm up properly and playing wall ball.
While the pitch count limit has often forced many coaches to develop extra pitchers, especially at the age 9-10 division, Shell said that is not necessarily all good.
Smith would like to see the current pitch count rule tweaked a bit.
Shell feels the pitch count rule has changed the flow of games.

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