Illinois examining pitch limits in high school baseball

Illinois could join a growing number of states that are implementing pitch counts for high school baseball players, an effort to curb arm and shoulder injuries.

Photo: Kevin Hoffman
Photo: Kevin Hoffman

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Illinois High School Association is considering a rule that would cap the number of pitches a single player can throw in a game. It could also establish parameters for rest days after a player throws a specific number of pitches.

From the Chicago Tribune:

“We’re facing an explosion of injuries in youth baseball, and I think that the IHSA definitely has a role to play,” said Dr. Preston Wolin, an orthopedic surgeon who serves on the association’s sports medicine advisory committee and favors a 105-pitch limit. “The longer that I go, the more I see that makes me believe we have to have rules for this.”

“Who’s going to decide who’s actually following the protocol and who’s not?” asked coach Rich Pildes of Chicago’s Taft High School. “Beyond that, what’s the number going to be? Not every pitcher is the same. You have to depend on the credibility of coaches to do what’s right for each pitcher.”

It seems there is support for the rule, but it’s unclear whether it’s enough to actually pass the new measure. The IHSA attempted to do something similar years ago, but coaches were skeptical. According to the Tribune, coaches said “pitchers were more likely to hurt themselves in travel leagues or high-pressure scouting showcases.”

MLB and USA Baseball developed the “Pitch Smart” initiative, which recommends a 17- or 18-year-old player throw no more than 105 pitches in a day, followed by four days of rest.

Alabama, Colorado and Vermont have rules designed to give players more rest, but there is no national mandate for high school baseball teams. The Texas baseball coaches association announced it March it would propose a pitch count, and Wisconsin’s baseball coaches association is also examining the issue.

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