Monday, May 20, 2013

Lou Piniella: Today's baseball players work out too much

It has been said before that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

Not everyone agrees with that statement, obviously. But one person who probably does is former Major League Baseball player and manager Lou Piniella. Simply put, Piniella believes the modern baseball player works out too much. He also believes a signicant change in the way players approach strength training and overall conditioning is needed in order to cut down on injuries.

From the New York Daily News:

“The season is so long now and so strenuous, you need to rest your body for two-three months after it’s over,” said Sweet Lou. “But today, these players all have their personal trainers and they work out all winter and put on more muscle. When I played, we didn’t have a weight room or a strength coach and everybody took the team bus to the ballpark. We never heard of an oblique. Now guys are going out on their own, five or six hours before the game, going right to the batting cages and taking hundreds of swings a day. It’s overdone. The body can’t take it. If you ask me, that’s where all these oblique injuries are coming from.

“These kids are in such good shape, but at the same time they’re more susceptible to injury because their muscles are strung too tight. You can’t work it 12 months out of the year.”

The seasoned veteran makes a valid point here. Injuries in MLB have become more and more frequent over the past decade. And many of them involve ailments such as muscle strains or spasms that are likely caused by overuse or overexertion. In theory, Piniella thinks less is more when it comes to working out.

The 69-year-old knows a thing or two about staying healthy over the long term. He went on the disabled list just twice in 18 career seasons. One was for an inner ear infection and the other for a broken thumb. According to Piniella, MLB should consider doing away with weight rooms in the clubhouse and put a time limit on how long hitters can spend in batting cages.

I don't know if the league will ever take such measures as the ones Piniella proposes, but Sweet Lou could be on to something with his assessment. Trying to get current players, who have been taught their whole lives to push their bodies to the max, to get on board could be a tall task, though.

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