thing I tell [Verlander] all the time is to listen to your body," says
Bonderman, who is second in the league in strikeouts (163) and on track to see
his ERA (3.86) decrease for the fourth straight year.
Weaver, who missed one start last month with biceps tendinitis, has heard the
same mixed message from his body as Verlander. "I've never been this deep
[into a season]," Weaver said. "Obviously, I've got to maintain my
strength and conditioning. I'm getting adjusted to doing that, and it's been a
grind. But I feel like I'm getting back to healthy.... So, I don't think
there's going to be anything--knock on wood--that's going to keep me from
getting deep in the season."
baseball, teams are protecting young pitchers by having them throw less than
those from previous generations. The Mariners say they will cap the innings of
Felix Hernandez, 20, at around 190 innings to avoid a dangerous jump from the
172 1/3 he threw last year. The Pirates and the Marlins, who have used rookie
starters extensively this year, are considering six-man rotations in September.
The Yankees don't allow top prospect Philip Hughes to throw more than five
innings in his Double A starts. The Twins, as they did with Garza this month,
conduct strength tests of a pitcher's shoulder and elbow immediately upon
calling him up from the minors.
phenomenal, Weaver is special and Verlander is special," says Detroit
general manager Dave Dombrowski. "But if you had looked for the same kind
of pitchers in 1997, you would have picked Jaret Wright and Carl Pavano, who
both got hurt. The reality is, you may think a guy is special but you have to
wait until a pitcher gets through his first couple of years healthy until you
really can believe it."
when asked about Verlander's pitching down the stretch, "He'll make it,
easy. I believe in protecting pitchers as much as anybody, but at the same time
this is a big boy's game. You know what I mean?"
On Aug. 16, two
days after meeting Fidrych, Verlander walked a career-high seven batters and,
without command of his curveball and changeup, lost to the Red Sox 6--4. The
grind of the season, he insisted, was not a factor. But who could know for
sure? Even with the careful monitoring of innings, pitch counts and
conditioning, eventually a young pitcher like Verlander, having thrown more
innings over more months than ever before, reaches a rite of passage called
Of the eight
pitchers who, since 1995, have thrown 200 innings in their rookie seasons,
seven saw a significant drop-off the following season, and only Freddy Garcia
and Matt Morris regained their rookie form.
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