Yankees Preaching "Prehab" For Young Pitchers

With a touch of science, modern medicine and technology, the Yankees are doing their best to beat the injury bug to the punch. How? With a trip to the American Sports Medicine Institute, they're preaching the ideas of "prehab" and the science of biomechanics to keep the careers of their young pitchers on track.

Made famous my Mets' pitching coach, Rick Peterson, biomechanical evaluation has come to the forefront of modern day professional pitching. The program takes pitchers, evaluates them, and breaks down the ways a pitcher can prevent future injury by cleaning up their mechanics. This process has become known as "prehab", and the Yankees have taken notice of its success. And, with all the injuries in baseball today, the staff at ASMI has made tremendous strides in lessening the brunt of such injuries in the game, and in this case, the Yankee farm system.

"Our mission is to prevent and understand these injuries," said ASMI's, Dr. Glen Fleisig. Dr. Fleisig is well known as one of the best biomechanics practitioners in the world. "Unlike many sports injuries, we have found that nearly all pitching injuries are preventable. The injuries they come in with are not usually acute, but more frayed like a rope or a wire. We're dealing with overuse injuries mostly."

"There are three factors that go into injury prevention," Dr. Fleisig added. "There is amount of pitches thrown, strength and conditioning, and mechanics. For Example, if strength is the issue, we can put them on a conditioning program. And, if it is mechanical, we relay that information to someone like Nardi Contreras, and they can work to correct that. What we are is a resource to the coach. We do the diagnosis, then we pass it on to the coach to fix the problem."

In this case, it was Nardi Contreras that escorted three Yankee pitching prospect to Birmingham, Alabama for their biomechanical evaluations. The three pitching prospects were some of the Yankees' finest; Phil Hughes, Tyler Clippard, and Alan Horne. It is quite evident that the Yankees are making a great effort to keep their young, talented arms healthy.

"We wanted to get some info on their deliveries," pitching coordinator, Nardi Contreras explained. "It is very interesting to see the numbers and evaluations they come up with. This is only going to help these guys in the future. The three guys we took are all guys we thought could benefit from the experience. For the three that went, we believed it was the right time to move forward in making adjustments to their delivery."

Obviously, this is going to have a significant effect on these pitchers' careers. And, no matter how polished they appear to be, they will all likely have something to improve. But, what exactly are the pitchers and their pitching coordinator expecting to see?

"There are certain things I expect to see," he thought. "Obviously, there's stuff that I've worked on with these guys that I think will probably be evident in the results. There are certain mechanical things that they need to work on and I expect them to show up in their evaluations, along with others things as well."

"I don't expect the results to reveal any major mechanical problems," righty pitching prospect, Alan Horne added. "I mean, we went over the video with a great deal of detail. And, the only flaws we saw were just real minor. We're talking about thousandths of a second. I just need to get my arm higher before my front foot lands. Like I said though, it is something very minor and not something to be real concerned about. But, I tell you what, I'm excited to see the results."

If morale is something to be considered here, what does it say to a player when an organizations goes to such great lengths to keep you healthy? Apparently, it says a lot because Clippard, Hughes, and Horne all came away not just impressed with the facility, but appreciative to the Yankee organization.

"Well staying healthy is obviously the most important thing and to know that I have been given the opportunity to know how to stay that way means everything to me," Tyler Clippard explained with a great deal of gratitude. "I guess I learned that the Yankees care enough about my abilities to send me to a place like that. I mean you could tell the doctors were well accomplished in their field. To be given the chance to experience something like that was amazing. If someone had told me I would be doing something like that five years ago, I'd be like, what is that?"

"It was awesome to take part in something that not many pitchers have an opportunity to do," Yankee's top pitching prospect, Phil Hughes commented. "I mean, I have never seen my mechanics broken down so slowly or from so many angles. So, they will probably be able to see some things that normally I wouldn't notice."

"It was a very impressive experience," Alan Horne went on to say. "Going to a place like that where all these great big leaguers have gone is just awesome. I was just in awe. It is really amazing what they can do with the technology they have. It was just an amazing environment to be in. Its definitely important for more pitchers to have this sort of thing done. With an injury history or not, I think it is really important for me to go in there and make sure I'm, you know, lined up and everything is how it should be."

Despite the amazing experience, the one thing everyone wants clear is that this program is for injury prevention, not to pick up velocity. In recent case, pitchers do tend to add some giddy-up to their fastball, but "prehab" is still the name of the game.

"This is about injury prevention," Phil Hughes proclaimed. "If you're not healthy, it doesn't matter how hard you throw."

"There are some that come to us looking for more velocity," said Dr. Glen Fleisig. "But, that is not what we're about. This about preventing injuries. We're looking to make the muscles efficient, with as little elbow and shoulder force as possible."

"Any time you are fixing something mechanical, you are going to pick up velocity," Nardi Contreras confirmed. "But, that's not what this is about for these guys. This is about having sound mechanics and that's what ASMI does. The goal is to help prevent injuries for these guys. Whatever else comes out of it is extra. This is about keeping these guys healthy for the long haul."

The purpose of these biomechanical evaluations is quite simple. How many pitchers with bright futures ahead of them have had it all taken away by injuries early in their careers? Many organizations and former players know this all too well. Perhaps from lessons learned, the Yankees are taking no chances with their young stars.

"You hear so many stories about kids that were so talented but didn't make it because of arm injuries," 19 year old, Phil Hughes told PinstripesPlus.com. "And, it makes me feel really good that the Yankees are taking so many precautions to make sure that doesn't happen to me."

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nMade famous my Mets' pitching coach, Rick Peterson, biomechanical evaluation has come to the forefront of modern day professional pitching. The program takes pitchers, evaluates them, and breaks down the ways a pitcher can prevent future injury by cleaning up their mechanics. This process has become known as \"prehab\", and the Yankees have taken notice of its success. And, with all the injuries in baseball today, the staff at ASMI has made tremendous strides in lessening the brunt of such injuries in the game, and in this case, the Yankee farm system.
\r\n
\r\n\"Our mission is to prevent and understand these injuries,\" said ASMI's, Dr. Glen Fleisig. Dr. Fleisig is well known as one of the best biomechanics practitioners in the world. \"Unlike many sports injuries, we have found that nearly all pitching injuries are preventable. The injuries they come in with are not usually acute, but more frayed like a rope or a wire. We're dealing with overuse injuries mostly.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"There are three factors that go into injury prevention,\" Dr. Fleisig added. \"There is amount of pitches thrown, strength and conditioning, and mechanics. For Example, if strength is the issue, we can put them on a conditioning program. And, if it is mechanical, we relay that information to someone like Nardi Contreras, and they can work to correct that. What we are is a resource to the coach. We do the diagnosis, then we pass it on to the coach to fix the problem.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn this case, it was Nardi Contreras that escorted three Yankee pitching prospect to Birmingham, Alabama for their biomechanical evaluations. The three pitching prospects were some of the Yankees' finest; Phil Hughes, Tyler Clippard, and Alan Horne. It is quite evident that the Yankees are making a great effort to keep their young, talented arms healthy.
\r\n
\r\n\"We wanted to get some info on their deliveries,\" pitching coordinator, Nardi Contreras explained. \"It is very interesting to see the numbers and evaluations they come up with. This is only going to help these guys in the future. The three guys we took are all guys we thought could benefit from the experience. For the three that went, we believed it was the right time to move forward in making adjustments to their delivery.\"
\r\n
\r\nObviously, this is going to have a significant effect on these pitchers' careers. And, no matter how polished they appear to be, they will all likely have something to improve. But, what exactly are the pitchers and their pitching coordinator expecting to see?
\r\n
\r\n\"There are certain things I expect to see,\" he thought. \"Obviously, there's stuff that I've worked on with these guys that I think will probably be evident in the results. There are certain mechanical things that they need to work on and I expect them to show up in their evaluations, along with others things as well.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't expect the results to reveal any major mechanical problems,\" righty pitching prospect, Alan Horne added. \"I mean, we went over the video with a great deal of detail. And, the only flaws we saw were just real minor. We're talking about thousandths of a second. I just need to get my arm higher before my front foot lands. Like I said though, it is something very minor and not something to be real concerned about. But, I tell you what, I'm excited to see the results.\"
\r\n
\r\nIf morale is something to be considered here, what does it say to a player when an organizations goes to such great lengths to keep you healthy? Apparently, it says a lot because Clippard, Hughes, and Horne all came away not just impressed with the facility, but appreciative to the Yankee organization.
\r\n
\r\n\"Well staying healthy is obviously the most important thing and to know that I have been given the opportunity to know how to stay that way means everything to me,\" Tyler Clippard explained with a great deal of gratitude. \"I guess I learned that the Yankees care enough about my abilities to send me to a place like that. I mean you could tell the doctors were well accomplished in their field. To be given the chance to experience something like that was amazing. If someone had told me I would be doing something like that five years ago, I'd be like, what is that?\"
\r\n
\r\n\"It was awesome to take part in something that not many pitchers have an opportunity to do,\" Yankee's top pitching prospect, Phil Hughes commented. \"I mean, I have never seen my mechanics broken down so slowly or from so many angles. So, they will probably be able to see some things that normally I wouldn't notice.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"It was a very impressive experience,\" Alan Horne went on to say. \"Going to a place like that where all these great big leaguers have gone is just awesome. I was just in awe. It is really amazing what they can do with the technology they have. It was just an amazing environment to be in. Its definitely important for more pitchers to have this sort of thing done. With an injury history or not, I think it is really important for me to go in there and make sure I'm, you know, lined up and everything is how it should be.\"
\r\n
\r\nDespite the amazing experience, the one thing everyone wants clear is that this program is for injury prevention, not to pick up velocity. In recent case, pitchers do tend to add some giddy-up to their fastball, but \"prehab\" is still the name of the game.
\r\n
\r\n \"This is about injury prevention,\" Phil Hughes proclaimed. \"If you're not healthy, it doesn't matter how hard you throw.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"There are some that come to us looking for more velocity,\" said Dr. Glen Fleisig. \"But, that is not what we're about. This about preventing injuries. We're looking to make the muscles efficient, with as little elbow and shoulder force as possible.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Any time you are fixing something mechanical, you are going to pick up velocity,\" Nardi Contreras confirmed. \"But, that's not what this is about for these guys. This is about having sound mechanics and that's what ASMI does. The goal is to help prevent injuries for these guys. Whatever else comes out of it is extra. This is about keeping these guys healthy for the long haul.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe purpose of these biomechanical evaluations is quite simple. How many pitchers with bright futures ahead of them have had it all taken away by injuries early in their careers? Many organizations and former players know this all too well. Perhaps from lessons learned, the Yankees are taking no chances with their young stars.
\r\n
\r\n\"You hear so many stories about kids that were so talented but didn't make it because of arm injuries,\" 19 year old, Phil Hughes told PinstripesPlus.com. \"And, it makes me feel really good that the Yankees are taking so many precautions to make sure that doesn't happen to me.\"
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