MLB TEAMS USING DISABLED LIST CHANGE TO AVOID ARM INJURIES

by John P. Kamin (June 20, 2017)

Teams are strategically using an offseason change to Major League Baseball’s disabled list rules to prevent more significant injuries among pitchers. This has implications that the world of workers’ compensation could learn from.

During the 2016-17 offseason, the league opted to reduce the 15-day disabled list to a 10-day disabled list. The league opted not to make any changes to the longer, 60-day disabled list, which is meant for players with more serious, long-term injuries.

Immediately after the change, analysts like MLB.com’s Mike Petriello accurately predicted that teams would use the new 10-day disabled list to try help starting pitchers avoid long-term arm injuries. Avoiding long-term injuries helps ensure that playoff teams will have those important starting pitchers available in the postseason as they attempt to make their championship runs.

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Sure enough, playoff hopefuls like the Los Angeles Dodgers used the 10-day disabled list to help older pitchers skip the occasional start. (For you non-baseball aficionados, skipping a start means avoiding anywhere from 100 to 200 pitches, when one includes warm-up pitches.)