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Clayton Kershaw wants to chuck the pitch count

Clayton Kershaw

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw throws to the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a spring training baseball game in Phoenix, Sunday, March 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)


Like most young hurlers, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw is subject to a pitch count. He’d prefer that he not be:

“This year I don’t think there should be that 100-pitch thing. If there was a pitch count last year, I think this year there should be no restrictions, no holds barred, I should pitch as long as I can. That’s what I’m hoping for. That’s just what I feel.”

Rick Honeycutt said that the Dodgers would not “take the gloves off.” Which, given that Kershaw is 21 years old, is the wise move given recent history. You gotta monitor and limit the workload of young arms.

Still, I agree with Kershaw on one point, and that’s the arbitrary nature of a 100 pitch count in and of itself. The point should be to not let pitchers get fatigued or overworked, as people who study this stuff suspect that throwing on a tired arm -- thus messing with mechanics and muscles and labrums and things -- is when the real damage is done. Isn’t it entirely possible that the fatigue point can come at pitch 79 on a particular afternoon? And that some days a guy is free and easy at 105 or 110?

Maybe this is way easier said than done, but if I had a young horse like Kershaw I’d devote someone -- maybe my bench coach; they don’t seem to do anything -- to become an expert in his mechanics, tells for fatigue and that sort of thing rather than simply relying on the automatic 100-pitches-and-you’re-out rule that has come to pervade the thinking on this subject.