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Lakeland City Baseball pitch counts and rest requirements

Here is a summary of LCB's pitch count rules.

Go to FAQ's

A few years ago LCB participated in a pilot pitch count program with other recreational baseball leagues around the country. The program's aim was to protect the arm health of pitchers by limiting their participation in the game at the pitcher position, and involved moving from an "innings thrown" to a "pitches thrown" system. LCB was a participant in the pilot program and it was a success for us; eventually the pitch count program became part of the regular and post-season rules.

The pitch count rules are fairly detailed and they require some explaining.

Pitching rules fall into two categories: pitch counts and rest.

Pitch counts
The rules state that pitchers cannot exceed a certain amount of pitches thrown per game. (The rule actually uses the phrase "pitches per day", but because we don't play doubleheaders, for us a day equals a game. For clarity we'll refer to it as "per game".). How many pitches they can throw is based on their league age and assumes the older the player the more pitches he/she can throw and their arm can safely withstand. Here's the chart:

League age * Maximum pitches per game
13-15 95
11-12 ** 85
9-10 75
7-8 50

*Remember, "league age" is how old the player is on April 30 of each year.
** A player who is league age 11 and is playing down in Minor League will have a maximum pitch count per game of 75, equal to that of his or her 9 & 10 yr-old counterparts on the team.

Rest requirements
The rest rules are intended to complement the pitch counts and serve to control how often a pitcher can throw. However, not every pitcher will throw the maximum amount of pitches allowed in a game, therefore there is a sliding scale of rest rules based on the amount of pitches thrown. This chart applies to all players league age 15 and younger:

Pitches thrown in a game Required rest
66 or more 4 calendar days
51-65 3 calendar days
36-50 2 calendar days
21-35 1 calendar day
1-20 no (0) calendar days

*"Calendar day" does not include the day of the game, either the one just played or the one upcoming. It does include Sundays. See the FAQ's below.

As you see, the more a pitcher throws, the more he/she is required to rest before pitching again.

Note 1: A pitcher who delivers 41 or more pitches in a game cannot play the position of catcher for the remainder of that day.
Note 2: Any player who has played the position of catcher 4 or more innings in a game is not eligible to pitch on that calendar day. CLARIFICATION: This rule prohibits a player who has played the position of catcher in any part of four innings in a game from being used as pitcher in that same game. That means if the player has received even one pitch in the fourth inning of having played the position of catcher he/she becomes ineligible to pitch in that game. At LCB this rule applies to Minor, Major and Junior League.

These rules have one primary purpose, and that is to protect the arm health of the players, now both pitchers and catchers. There are too many instances where overuse of players' arms have led to injury, and in some cases permanent damage. Who's responsible for this? The adults who let it happen.

It's important to keep in mind that just because there are set limits as to how many pitches a player can throw, that does not mean he or she should throw that many. Pitch counts are a guideline; fatigue should be the rule. Listening to one's own body is the best way to prevent injuries. If a pitcher's arm doesn't feel well, he or she should stop throwing immediately. It's a no-brainer that pitchers are more likely to get hurt when they are pitching fatigued.

FAQ's

Who designed the rules? Why are they necessary?
My child is capable of throwing more What about those playing up or down?
Who keeps the counts? What if the manager disagrees with the pitch count?
Can a pitcher exceed the limit? What about suspended games?
Define 'calendar days' Are these rules the same as tournament rules?
Do these rules apply in the Fall season? What is league age?
Can a pitcher go to catcher in the game? Just how many pitchers will a manager need?
Can a catcher go to pitcher in the game?  


Who designed the pitching rules? Many organizations involved with youth baseball, including Dixie Youth Baseball, Cal Ripken/Babe Ruth, Little League and others, have recognized the need to limit the amount of pitches thrown by young athletes and have instituted limits in their rules. LCB has followed suit.
Why are these kinds of pitching rules necessary? To protect the arm health of the players.
My child is capable of throwing more pitches than the rules allow. Why can't he? He or she can't because we believe that eventually they could be injured from overuse. Young arms need to be protected, and we take the long view.
What about pitchers who are playing up or down in a league not normally in their age group? The pitching rules are designed around an individual pitcher's league age and amount of pitches thrown. That said, if a player is "playing down" an age level (a player league-age 11 playing down in Minor League, for example), that player's maximum pitch count will be 75, equal to that of his or her 9 & 10 yr-old counterparts on the team.
Who keeps the pitch counts? Officially, it's the scorekeeper. However, the manager is ultimately responsible for knowing how many pitches a player has thrown and when he/she must be removed.
What if the manager and scorekeeper disagree on the pitch count? The scorekeeper keeps the official count. A manager can and should consult the scorekeeper often to ensure they agree, but ultimately what gets recorded in the scorebook is the official record.
Can a pitcher exceed the maximum number of pitches allowed in a game? In limited circumstances, yes. The rules allow for an at-bat to be completed by the pitcher even if he or she goes beyond the limit. The pitcher can throw to that batter until he reaches base, or is put out, or until the third out is made on a runner.
What if a game is suspended because of rain? If it is determined that the suspended game should resume and be completed on another day, the pitchers of record at the time the game was halted may continue to pitch to the extent they are eligible within the pitch count and rest rules.
Do the days of the games count when determining the calendar days' rest? No. When the rule refers to "calendar days" it means days between games. For example, if there is a game on Tuesday and the next game is Friday, there are 2 calendar days between those games - Wednesday and Thursday. By the way, Sundays count as a calendar day.
Do these rules apply to tournament play? Regular season and LCB tournament pitching rules are the same.
Do these rules apply to the Fall season? Yes. The same pitch count rules apply in both the Spring and Fall seasons.
What is "league age"? League age is the age a player has attained on April 30 of each year. For our Fall and Spring seasons LCB considers the player's league age the age he/she attains the following April 30.
Can a pitcher go to catcher in the same game? The rule states: "A pitcher who delivers 41 or more pitches in a game cannot play the position of catcher for the remainder of that day." So, if the pitcher has thrown 40 pitches or fewer they can go in as catcher, but not if they've thrown 41 or more.
Can a catcher go to pitcher in the same game? In 2011 we implemented a rule indicating that catchers who have played 4 or more innings at that position may not pitch for the remainder of that calendar day. (Even having received only one pitch in the 4th inning makes the catcher ineligible to enter as pitcher in that same game. The rule reads "any part of four innings.") This is intended to protect the arm of the catcher, much in the same fashion as the rules protecting the pitchers' arms.
These rules mean a manager has to develop a lot of pitchers and catchers, right? Yes it does.

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