Justin Verlander Addresses Surge of Elbow Injuries Among MLB Pitchers

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander
Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
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MLB has a pandemic on its hands, or at least, that's how Justin Verlander views the recent surge in pitchers sustaining elbow injuries.

Following the injuries to likes of Cleveland Guardians ace Shane Bieber, Miami Marlins pitcher Eury Perez and Atlanta Braves star Spencer Strider, Verlander was asked about the uptick in elbow injuries among pitchers across MLB, and he described it as being a "pandemic."

Verlander attributed the increase in injuries to the desire among pitchers to spin the ball more and throw with more velocity, suggesting it was a "double-edge sword" as improvement in those areas can lead to injury risks.

"I think the game has changed a lot. It would be easiest to blame the pitch clock... in reality, everything has a little bit of influence. The biggest thing is that the style of pitching has changed so much. You know, everybody's throwing as hard as they possibly can and spinning the ball as hard as they possibly can. You know, it's hard to deny those results, obviously. How can you? It’s a double-edged sword," said Verlander, via Ari Alexander of KPRC2.

In a statement on Saturday, MLBPA union executive director Tony Clark attributed the increase in pitcher injuries to the pitch clock was enacted last season. Verlander thinks there are more factors at play, particularly the recent emphasis on velocity.

Verlander made a rehab appearance for the Triple-A Sugar Land Space Cowboys while recovering from shoulder inflammation that landed him on the 15-day IL to start the season. He surrendered six runs and struck out six on Sunday as he works his way back to the Astros' roster.


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Karl Rasmussen

KARL RASMUSSEN

Karl Rasmussen is a writer on Sports Illustrated’s Breaking & Trending News Team. A University of Oregon alum, his work has appeared on 12up and ClutchPoints. He’s a loyal Tottenham, Jets, Yankees and Ducks fan.