Trevor Adamo knows how hard it is to take yourself out of a game. And he learned the hard way.
Adamo suffered a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament while pitching a complete game for one of the Connetquot High School teams. He remembers his coach asking if he felt strong enough to finish the game. Feeling no complications at the time, Adamo never hesitated.
“It’s definitely very hard [to say no]. There was probably no way I was going to say no,” Adamo said Saturday at a sports medicine clinic held at Ward Melville High School. “Especially because my arm didn’t hurt in that specific instance and I wasn’t exactly aware of how high my pitch count was.”
The next day, when he couldn’t make the throw to first from shortstop, he realized something was wrong. That’s when he saw Dr. Luga Podesta of St. Charles Sports Medicine and was diagnosed with the partial tear.
Adamo and others at the “Injuries in Baseball” conference, held by Podesta and St. Charles Sports Medicine, learned about proper stretching, exercises, safety concerns and techniques, along with the highly debated topic of pitch counts.
The National Federation of State High School Associations ruled last summer that each state had to create new pitch count and rest standards for this spring. On Saturday, former Shoreham-Wading River coach Sal Mignano revealed those numbers, which he said were approved at an athletic directors’ meeting earlier in the week.
During the regular season, a high school varsity pitcher will not be allowed to throw more than 105 pitches in a game, although if a pitcher reaches that number during an at-bat, he can finish pitching to that batter. The number will be raised to 125 in the postseason. The regular-season maximum for junior varsity pitchers will be 85.
In the regular season, any day in which 1 to 30 pitches are thrown will require one night of rest. It’s two nights’ rest for 31 to 65 pitches, three nights for 66 to 95 and four nights for 96 to 105.
In the postseason, those numbers will change to one night of rest for 1-40 pitches; two nights for 41 to 71, three nights for 72 to 102 and four nights for 103-125.
Each coach will be responsible for keeping track of the pitches and comparing after each half-inning. Any discrepancies will be settled in favor of the home school.
“I think it’s going to impact the game more than guys even know,” Mignano said. “I think it’s going to be, ‘You’re winning a game 2-0, your guy is cruising, pitching a good game; next thing you know, he’s all of a sudden at that magic number and you’re mandated to take him out.’ It’s not like, ‘Should I take him out?’ It’s ‘I have to take him out.’ So I think it’s going to take time for coaches to learn how to manage that and plan for it.”
Podesta said he believes it’s a good start. However, he thinks the numbers may be high come postseason, when pitchers are more likely to be pitching tired, compared with MLB “Pitch Smart’s” chart, which recommends 105 as the maximum for anyone ages 17-18.
Adamo is excited about the new pitch counts. “I think the pitch count implementations are definitely very good,” he said. “They’re going to be very helpful because I wouldn’t have been able to go as far as I did when I hurt my arm, so I think the days of rest are going to be good for people’s arms to limit injuries. I think it’s going to be great.”