What Happened to Jose? (pt. 2)
Ok finally I’ve gotten around to finishing my Jose report. Some notes that I didn’t cover in my last post: Jose had elbow tendinitis which is an inflammation of the a tendon in the elbow. So that means the problem was physical, but my work shall not be fruitless. Maybe I can find what caused or led to the tendinitis.
First step in the process is to find the video. Off to the webz.
Found one. No he’s not in his Tiger uniform. But that’s not important. We need video of him not only pitching successfully, but healthy. Now really I’m assuming both because for all I know that pitch was out of the strike zone and he was pitching hurt while doing it, but I have to assume right now.
Doing the good stuff is kinda boring but ill do it anyway.
- Nice high leg kick. Establishes the timing strongly.
- I can draw a straight line through his shoulders from the cocked position on to release.
Watch the end of the video. It’s full of things that can hurt a pitcher, mostly in the “he looks like he’s gonna start hitting himself” kinda way.
Here’s the fun stuff.
This is a big problem. Look at the right arm. It is separated from the glove hand before the body has started moving forward. So right now the arm is ahead of the body. In order to create proper timing Valverde must now either go incredibly slow with his arm or add a pause. Now I’ve had small arguments in the past about over compensation of other joints, more particularly when it comes to fire ballers, but I believe it to be true of all pitchers when the do either something mechanically wrong or have an inhibitive injury in another part of the body. The joint I see most often getting over compensated is of course the elbow because most pitching mechanics out there have some sort of timing error. Some are minor, others are pretty severe. Jose’s is severe. Now his over compensation probably comes in spurts. Those innings where he just can’t find the strike zone are the biggest culprit.
More then likely in those moments Valverde’s arm is lagging behind his body messing up his release point. In order to adjust on the fly he probably increases the loading rate on his elbow. This increase in loading rate leads to an increase of stress on the joint itself. Keep up the stress on the joint for long enough, pain in some form for some reason shall ensue. In the case of Jose Valverde, it was right elbow tendinitis.
I’m not really saying that Tigers fans should be particularly worried about Jose. For most of the season Jose should be fine. But it’s those last couple months that this type injury has the strongest potential of sneaking up on a him just because of the shear length of an MLB season. The likelihood of late season breakdowns only increases as he gets older as well. Good news is that this type of injury can be prevented. Watching his pitch count is key. Especially when he’s having trouble finding the strike zone. Doing this will significantly cut down on the wear and tear on his body. Personally I’d give him 30 – 35 pitches on a good night (enough to pitch 2 innings if necessary) and 20 if he just isn’t finding the strike zone.