Photo by Bill Greenblatt
On April 27, the star of the St. Louis Cardinals, Adam Wainwright, was injured when he suffered a torn on his left Achilles ligament. The injury occurred when he took a turn at bat in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers. All this is unfortunate, since this is the second time Wainwright has faced a strong career injury. Wainwright did not played during the 2011 campaign due to the fact that he was undergoing reconstructive surgery for his right elbow. After that, the man came with much stronger and accomplished an excellent seasons: 14-13, 3.94 in 2012, 19-9 2.94 in 2013, 20-9, and 2.38 in 2014. This year he began with 2-1, 1.44 when he suffered his second major injury.
All this has caused a commotion, similar to the injury suffered by Buster Posey on May 25th, even though it was different. At that time, playing his catcher position he absorbed a strong collision at home plate, when Scott Cousins of the Marlins, scored the run that put his team ahead in the 12 inning and eventually gave the victory to Florida before the Giants 7 to 6. Posey lost the rest of the season after suffering a ruptured ligament in his left knee, leg and ankle. We recall the general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, Brian R. Sabean, in a moment of anger said: “if Scott Cousins does not play a single game in his life, I don’t’ give a damn (…)”.
In regards to Wainwright’s injury in the Achilles heel, nowadays, many colleagues are asking to institute a designated batter in all Major Leagues. These guys are athletes who must know how to run the bases. A pitcher may be injured if he can’t run the bases well or make a play. This is something that should be done every day, especially today when many of them play games in different leagues. Adam Wainwright has played all his life in the National League with the St. Louis Cardinals. Therefore, he should know better when it comes to batting practices and running the bases, since this is one of the fundamental exercises to strengthen his legs. This is the reason why practicing batting and running bases more often not only would strengthen the legs of the pitchers, but would teach them to do things better. Of course, they do not have to do it with the same simplicity and agility of a José Altuve, but a little smoother, in a more moderate way.
Lets recall a recent incident in which a pitcher got injured on July 24, 2013. At that time, pitcher Tim Hudson, playing at Citi Field for the Atlanta Braves, went to cover first base during the 8th inning. When he got there, he caught a ball that was thrown by a teammate, but unfortunately his foot slipped when he went to put it on top of the plate, leaving the tip exposed. Unluckily, Eric Young of the New York Mets could not avoid stepping on his ankle. Consequently, he suffered a fracture, leaving him out the rest of the season. As you can see, these things occur and will continue to occur. Perhaps we will see less of this as pitchers continue to practice more other duties in addition to pitching since sometimes the demands of the game forces them to make mistakes. Thus, the fact that Hudson suffered an injury, lead us to believe that pitchers should not be asked “to do fielding or to cover first base. Ah, if a rolling is on the mound, “let go”. Hmm! Let’s remember, pitchers are athletes, they should learn to move, protect, and run the bases along with sliding on the ground towards a base in a moderate manner.
On the other hand, If one day a designated hitter is established, it’s fine, but the risk of fielding, running to cover first base, defending themselves from hits or base-lines that goes on heading to the mound is there. For now, the solution is that they train well. Furthermore, training should demand the usual work, running the bases, often practicing fielding and passing the ball, etc. In fact, they should practice the things that must be done and be prepared for any surprises. Precisely, the plays that the pitcher has to do after throwing the ball. One of this is coming out to find the ball, if he has the chance to make the move in order to leave the other player out, a move that would benefit him more than any other player.
To summarize, baseball is a game of men, not of women who spend there time getting a manicure all day. The training that a pitcher executes will benefit him to be more successful in his position.