Dodging the DL: Easing Arms into the Spring Season

PRESQUE ISLE, Me. (WAGM) - The letters D and L separated are nothing special. Just two letters, no big deal, but in baseball and softball, when you put them together they become an ominous designation no baseball or softball player wants next to their name: Disabled List.

In Northern Maine, pitchers and catchers don't report to a warm southern oasis like the Red Sox, they report to the gym, which is like walking a tightrope for players and coaches.

"Once you get into the gym and start throwing, your margin for error is very, very small," Athletic Trainer Brian Morrison said. "You have to be very particular about how you program your practices and the way that you implement you know certain exercise routines for your players."

A common mistake for coaches and players is stepping on the gas too soon.

"Players starting to fast and trying to implement too many pitches or too many reps over the course of two weeks and three weeks instead of the entire allotted four to six week preseason that they have," Morrison said.

Rushing it could lead to a quick trip to the DL.

"Shoulder injuries are very common that we see in here during the first two to three weeks of preseason," Morrison said. "But we also see elbow injuries and that's kind of a mixture between an immobile shoulder or an unstable shoulder and a very weak shoulder at the same time and again, it's a recipe for disaster for your arm health for the rest of the season."

When a player throws hard, he or she is usually described as having a cannon for an arm, but according to Brian, they should be focusing on an old adage from Happy Gilmore, it's all in the hips.

"Your power comes from your lower body when you go to throw very rarely do you see a player throw the ball on two legs," Morrison said. "If you can develop more lower body power especially in the hips you'll be able to take a lot of stress off your shoulder and off your elbow at the same time."

So we've taking you through what can go wrong, but how do you make it go right? Tune in tomorrow and Brian will show you some simple exercises for hips, shoulders and core, to keep you off the D.L. and on the field.