Pitch counts have already changed Idaho prep baseball, but injuries persist

 In Idaho’s first season with high school baseball pitch counts, one of the state’s best pitchers hurt his throwing arm.

In early July, Skylar Holcomb was throwing for the Twin Falls Cowboys American Legion baseball team. There was no flash point, just a slow buildup of pain over a few days.

Holcomb later learned he had a bone spur in his left elbow. He didn’t pitch the rest of the summer.

Holcomb suspects the injury was caused, or at least aided, by too much pitching — a problem Idaho’s new pitch count rules aimed to minimize. The health effects of pitch limits won’t be clear for years, but the new rules have already altered several aspects of Idaho prep baseball.

“I’m personally not a fan of the pitch count,” Holcomb said. “I get why it was put in there, but players should be able to take care of their bodies.”

The Idaho High School Activities Association never expected pitch counts to eliminate all pitcher arm injuries, especially not in the first season. The in-game pitch limits and the mandatory rest days were chosen thoughtfully, yet arbitrarily. Nobody at any level of baseball knows how much is too much.

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