After an offseason of speculation, the Ohio High School Athletic Association unveiled its new rules regarding the pitch count regulation and the amount of days a player needs to rest before stepping back onto the diamond again.
Starting in the spring, baseball players will only be allowed to throw 125 pitches during a game — the lone exception to exceeding the pitch count would be to finish the current at bat.
“Going into it with an open mind, as a coach and as a player, I think it’s good for baseball because you do have some some coaches or kids who do feel they can throw more than what’s healthy for the arm,” Notre Dame Titans manager Drew Mader said. “I think it’s great for baseball to have a pitch count, it limits how much risk you put on a kid throughout the entire season … “
The limit of 125 pitches during a game was actually a bit surprising to Mader, who thought the number would be closer to the century mark.
“Once you reach 100, it’s starts getting to a warning area — like a red zone,” Mader said. “Once a pitcher reaches 80-90 pitches, (a coach) should already have in the back of their mind who they are going to use next.
“It’s about keeping the kid’s arms healthy and safe because you don’t want to hurt a kids arm ever.”
The other part of the rule is the amount of rest required for a player before they are allowed to pitch again. If a player throws 31-50 pitches, they aren’t allowed on the diamond for one day. It’s two days for someone who throws 51-75 and three days for anyone who throws more than 76 pitches.
“Our initial goal was to meet the requirement of the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) rule that now requires individual states to create their own pitch count limitations,” Assistant Commissioner Jerry Snodgrass, the baseball administrator for the OHSAA, said in a statement. “After assembling a group representing the necessary stakeholders, including a member of our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, we have met that goal. We continue to look at further ways in which these limitations will affect teams as well as providing adequate education for our coaches and those in non-school baseball.”
Mader isn’t opposed to any rule that is going to benefit a player’s health, however, the only reservation Mader has about the new rule is the same concerns he’s shared previously — who’s going to police rule?
“I think it’s the right step in the right direction,” Mader said. “I like the pitch count and I definitely like the rule. The only thing is keeping track of it. How people are going to keep track of it. I know they want us to send things in but who’s to say a coach loses track or something like that. It’s a lot of responsibility …
“I’m not opposed to the rule but I wasn’t opposed to the old rule, it was just hard to police. You almost just have to take the coaches’ word that they’re doing the right thing for the kid. The big thing it I think there needs to be more education. I hope coaches continue to educated themselves with how to rehab a kids arm and then relay that message to the kid.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1927, or on Twitter @crslone.