The new MLB rules implemented into the 2023 season appeared to be going off without a hitch.
Or did they?
The main one being the pitch clock and limiting the time it takes for a pitcher to deliver the ball across the plate. All appeared to be fine until it came to the impact on the pitcher’s arms.
“When you actually talk to [Dr.] Keith [Meister] and having conversations about them, he saw that the elbow injuries this year — that they’re just way more severe,” three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer said Monday on Foul Territory. “If you look at all the data that came across the game, the pitcher injuries, the arm injuries, out of the pitchers, they’re on the high end, but you’ve seen high-end numbers, but the severity of the injuries are much more problematic.”
Max Scherzer says top surgeons Keith Meister and Neal ElAttrache have both said pitchers' arm injuries have been more severe since the pitch clock changes.
— Foul Territory (@FoulTerritoryTV) November 20, 2023
Dr. Meister is the team physician for the Texas Rangers and has had his fair share of reconstructed elbow surgeries.
Scherzer also said Dr. Meister had spoken to fellow well-known major-league surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache who has operated on the biggest names in sports and related.
“Both of them are saying the same thing — that they saw an uptick in severity,” Scherzer said. “So it makes you start scratching your head — what’s unique to 2023 here? And when you make the game go faster, part of the thing is as a pitcher, your form — I lived it — your form just gets fatigued faster.”
Scherzer said there could be a scenario where a pitcher could over-grip the ball to combat the fatigue which could be a plausible reason as to why these injuries are so severe.
The clock rule had pitchers limited to 15 seconds to throw a pitch while the bases were empty and 20 when a runner was on base. Hitters need to be in the batter’s box with eight seconds remaining on the clock.
The reasoning behind the addition of the clock was to speed up the game and create more excitement.
Following the conclusion of the 2023 regular season, through a total of 2,384 games, the average game measured in at 2:40 compared to an average 3:04 in 2022, and 3:10 in 2021.
The games sped up, but it didn’t appear it alleviated everything.