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OnBaseMachine
03-12-2006, 03:24 PM
Organization changes course in protecting young arms

BY JOHN FAY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

SARASOTA, Fla. - Pitchers Ty Howington and Chris Gruler were once what Homer Bailey is. They were No. 1 draft picks with potential to be No. 1 starters.

But Howington (No. 1 in '99) and Gruler (No. 1 in '02) have spent more time in injury rehab than on the mound.

The Reds have scrapped the 75-pitch limit for pitchers at Single-A and below - instituted by former general manager Dan O'Brien to help prevent injuries.

"We're going to formulate individual plans for every player," said Johnny Almaraz, the director of player development/international operations. "We'll pull back when a player's fatigued."

Some injuries can't be prevented. But the Reds made mistakes in the cases of Howington and Gruler.

Howington threw 1412/3 innings in 2000 at 18 years old. Gruler was hurt when he was drafted.

Almaraz said the club will use inning limits, depending on age - 100 innings for an 18-year-old, 110 for a 19-year-old, and so on.

"We'll add and subtract, depending on the individual," Almaraz said.

http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060312/SPT04/603120444/1071/SPT04