Pirates’ New Rehab Technique for Pitchers

I stumbled across this article from June where the Pirates and pitching coach Ray Searage have turned to a different rehab technique for their pitchers. Searage is known as one of the best pitching coaches in the Majors and worked on the idea with head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk. At the time of writing, both Gerrit Cole and Ryan Vogelsong were returning from different injuries. Both were able to return to the mound without any major issues.

Cole (strained right triceps) and Vogelsong (facial fractures) are throwing on flat ground from various distances and off the bullpen mound. As they throw, head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk monitors their velocity with a radar gun.

”You can’t go over a (specific velocity) number,” Searage said. “That means you’re getting extension but you’re not over-using your arm or trying to overthrow the ball, so your mechanics are (the same as when) you pitch on the mound.”

The method allows pitchers to build arm strength as they heal without the risk of altered mechanics that can come from long toss.

“I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh, Todd. This is an epiphany. You’re a frigging genius,’ ” Searage gushed.

On flat ground, Cole throws from 60, 70, 80 and 90 feet. At every distance, he is not allowed to exceed about 75 percent of his maximum fastball velocity.



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