With the epidemic of arm injuries among major league pitchers, including hometown heroes Matt Harvey and Masahiro Tanaka, the situation is on the minds of baseball fans everywhere.
Intrigued, confused and maybe even concerned fans, coaches, parents and players will have the rare opportunity to learn about the issue from a 20-year major league baseball team physician and a World Series-winning manager Saturday on Long Island.
Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who caught for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1980-92, and former team physician Luga Podesta (Dodgers 1990-2006; Angels 2010-13) will highlight a panel of five experts in a free seminar titled “Keeping young arms throwing and dispelling the myths” Saturday morning at Ward Melville High School’s auditorium. The seminar, which will focus on young pitchers, will be sponsored by St. Charles Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.
“We really just want to dispel some of the myths and give coaches good tools back home wherever they play and have parents have a better understanding,” director of sports medicine development Ray Nelson said.
The seminar will range from the right age for a young pitcher to start throwing curveballs to discussing Tommy John surgery — which Nelson said has the reputation of “being a golden parachute.”
(Four of the five members of what is expected to be a superb starting rotation for the 2016 Mets have had Tommy John surgery: Harvey, Jacob deGrom, still-rehabbing Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz, a star pitcher for Ward Melville during his high school days. Only Noah Syndergaard has avoided it.)
The panel also will discuss stretching, icing, pitch counts, throwing ages and techniques and take questions from the audience.
Podesta, who works with St. Charles Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, asked Scioscia, a friend, to be a part of the event. “I’m extremely excited,” Nelson said. “You don’t see the likes of Mike Scioscia, the World Series ring-holder as a player and coach, often.”
Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. and the seminar is expected to begin at about 8:30 and last until 1 p.m. Vendors will be present and there will be raffle prizes, such as gloves and hats. Parents, young athletes, high school players and coaches, and college student-athletes already have registered for the event.
“An event like this with these people for free doesn’t come around too often,” Nelson said. “So I just think they have a unique opportunity to learn some valuable things they can take for years.”