As Major League Baseball continues to grapple with the rise of severe arm injuries among its young pitchers, a high school player in Washington state recorded 194 pitches in a game on Tuesday.
Dylan Fosnacht, a senior at Rochester High in Washington, near Olympia, threw 194 pitches in more than 14 innings of work in his team’s 1-0 victory over LaCenter. Rochester baseball coach Jerry Striegel pulled Fosnacht in the 15th inning, but not before the student had recorded 17 strikeouts, Max Preps reports.
His teammate, Dustin Wilson, pitched the final three innings of that game and all seven innings in the second game of the Rochester-LaCenter doubleheader on Tuesday. “I have never seen two guys take the mound and dominate like that for that long,” Striegel told Max Preps. “I have both of those guys in class, and they both said that their arms were fine today.”
— Dylan Fosnacht (@DFosnacht5) May 14, 2014
Fosnacht’s 194-pitch game drew the attention of MLB star David Price, a starting pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays. Price congratulated Fosnacht on his accomplishment on Twitter, but had harsh words for his coach, Striegel.
“haha you’re a beast @DFosnacht…but let’s be a little smarter brotha!! Love the competitiveness though!! #urcoachshouldbefired,” Price wrote on Twitter.
In an interview with Yahoo Sports on Thursday, Striegel admitted that he should have taken Fosnacht out of the game sooner. “I realize that it was way too many pitches,” he said. “I can understand everybody’s concern about it. And I would tell you too that I am concerned also. I probably would change the decision today.”
Still, Striegel insisted that Fosnacht did not show the typical signs of fatigue, such as diminished velocity or control over the baseball. “I can’t say that I have been a watcher of pitch counts,” he added. “I’m more of a watcher of the kid himself. I’ve tried to develop a feeling of what a kid can and can’t do. I was not personally keeping track of pitch counts. I was concerned about it, but I was more concerned with how he was throwing.”
Despite the criticism of his coach, Fosnacht took to Twitter to defend the decision to leave him in the game, stating that he “wouldn’t want no other coach than the one I have.”
“People just don’t understand. I’m not an ace pitcher, I’m an infielder who pitches every now and then. Not a prospect ruining there [sic] career,” he wrote. “People need to chill.”
“Some people think it’s awesome, some people think it’s ridiculous. I personally loved every minute of it and it’s a great memory to have," he added.
Despite Fosnacht’s enthusiasm, the increasing prevalence of injuries that require ligament replacement surgery remains a major problem for young MLB players. As Yahoo Sports notes, at least 34 professional players have required Tommy John surgery since February.