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Gerrit Cole says MLB, union bickering over pitch clock sounds like ‘divorced parents’

 The Associated Press  |    Apr 8th, 2024 3:19pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole faulted Major League Baseball and the players’ association for bickering over the pitch clock last weekend, comparing their behavior to divorced parents.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and former member of the union’s eight-man executive subcommittee spoke about the union’s statement Saturday that questioned whether the clock caused pitcher injuries and MLB’s response dismissing the concerns. Cole has been sidelined since spring training by right elbow inflammation.

“I’m just frustrated it’s a combative issue,” he said. “It’s like, OK, we have divorced parents and the child’s misbehaving and we can’t get on the same page to get the child to behave, not that the players are misbehaving, but we have an issue here and we need to get on the same page to at least try and fix it.”

The players’ association claims a shorter pitch clock — which MLB insituted despite player opposition — has contributed to a series of pitcher injuries. Cleveland’s Shane Bieber, Atlanta’s Spencer Strider, the New York Yankees’ Jonathan Loáisiga, Miami’s Eury Pérez and Oakland’s Trevor Gott are among the pitchers recently diagnosed with elbow injuries.

MLB said the union’s claim “ignores the empirical evidence and much more significant long-term trend, over multiple decades, of velocity and spin increases that are highly correlated with arm injuries.”

The league said it is undergoing a research study into causes of increased injuries. It cited an analysis by Johns Hopkins that “found no evidence to support that the introduction of the pitch clock has increased injuries” and “no evidence that pitchers who worked quickly … or sped up their pace were more likely to sustain an injury than those who did not.”

Cole said Manfred and MLB should not dismiss the players’ concerns.

“Rob cares about the players. He’s supposed to care about players, he’s supposed to really deeply care about them, like that is his job,” Cole said. “I don’t know if he wrote that statement, I don’t know who wrote that statement, but did anyone put a name on it? At least Tony did.”

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB