Joe Smith is a relief pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, but he’s from Ohio and played for the Cleveland Indians for five years.
Translation? We need his opinion on Johnny Manziel.
“I know there’s a lot of people excited in Cleveland,” Smith said on The Morning Show. “They’re looking for something like that. They’re looking for a guy that (has that) whole attitude – a winning guy, but (a guy who) has a lot of fun, has a lot of flare. I think that’ll fit in good. I think him and Joe Haden will be a lot of fun to watch.
“It’s going to be tough, though, with Josh Gordon out,” Smith continued. “I’m a little concerned about who he’s going to throw the ball to. Hopefully they take care of that. They got Ben Tate in the backfield. They’re doing some things to make themselves better. But I don’t know who he’s going to throw the ball to.”
Indeed, the Browns’ top receivers are Greg Little and Andrew Hawkins. Not exactly Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker.
Moving on to baseball, it appears Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez will become the latest casualty of the Tommy John epidemic, as dozens of pitchers have needed the surgery since February.
“It happens a lot,” Smith said. “You go down the list of our team, and I’d say over 50 percent of our pitchers – I’m just guessing – (have) probably had some sort of surgery. I know there’s at least four guys in our bullpen that have either had Tommy John or shoulder surgery, including myself.”
Smith has a theory as to why.
“All these kids are playing baseball year-round now,” he said. “That’s got to be one of the toughest things. It’s already an unnatural motion on the arm. Then you got these guys that are throwing 100 miles an hour, which some of the bodies just aren’t built for. Even though you can do (it), they’re not built for (that).”
Does that mean we should change the way pitchers throw?
“I don’t think so,” Smith said. “You’re going to have to kind of throw how you naturally throw. I think a lot of the guys in the bullpen, when you start seeing a lot of guys throw kind of funky – I’m not going to say it can help, but I think it’s just one of those things you’re blessed with. You’re blessed with health and, basically, so many bullets. You get so many pitches that you can use. When that pitch comes up, it goes. It’s a sad thing.”
Yes, you can monitor players and implement strict pitch counts or innings limits, but some pitchers will still get hurt. Take Stephen Strasburg, for example.
“It’s sad, man,” Smith said. “When you see a guy go down, (it’s sad). Fortunately, it’s Tommy John, and they got it down to a pretty good science now.”
It doesn’t help that some pitchers regularly hit – or come close to hitting – 100 miles per hour on the gun. Smith, on the other hand, has carved out a successful career with a fast ball that typically tops out in the low-90s.
“We’ve got guys throwing harder now than I think we ever have in MLB,” he said. “I’m not one of them, obviously. Maybe that’s why I’ve been able to stay away from it. But when you’ve got guys throwing 98, 100 miles per hour and ripping off a 90-mile-an-hour slider – that’s going to (cause) some wear and tear.”