By Mark McDonald
The No. 1 bugaboo among young pitchers? It’s not throwing breaking balls at a tender age, it’s throwing too many pitches – of any kind.
So sayeth Steve Foster, in his second season as pitching coach of the Colorado Rockies.
A young pitcher needs proper mechanics and, equally important, plenty of rest. Tender and growing muscles, joints and ligaments need time to recover from the spring-summer season. Take the autumn off, says Fosty, cited in my new book “They Gave Us Baseball: Now Look What We’ve Done” on how doing parents and coaches screw up the game for kids. The book is available on my website (sportsandoutdoors.guru).
“No break leads to break,” Fosty texts. “Or brake, as in achy breaky heart.”
How well he should know. Once a gritty high school right-hander who led Dallas-area DeSoto High to a state championship, Fosty’s path took him through Blinn College and UT-Arlington where he was drafted in 1988 by the Cincinnati Reds. He got to big leagues in ’91, but despite a strong earned run average of 2.41 and a 3-3 won-lost record, shoulder problems forced him out of The Show by ’93.
Fosty, 49, who lives his faith in the Denver area with wife Cori and their two children, has worked as a scout for the Rays, a coach at Michigan, a bullpen coach for the Marlins and Royals before moving to the Rockies. Ever the competitor, Steve will tell you shoulder trouble forced him to stop pitching long before he was ready to quit.