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Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Putting durability in context

By Mark Saxon

I found myself thinking about my story on Dan Haren's durability as I was chatting with former Angels general manager Bill Stoneman on one of the back fields the other day.

Haren is the most durable starting pitcher in baseball, having never missed a start in his career and with 203 starts since 2005.

But remember, pitchers only throw about 100 pitches nowadays and they get four days off between starts.

Stoneman pitched in the 1960s for the Chicago Cubs, Montreal Expos and Angels. Not only did nobody keep track of the number of pitches a guy threw, most teams only had three or four relievers. The good pitchers pitched more complete games than incomplete games.

Oh, and sometimes they had to pitch batting practice between starts.

Stoneman recalls only one game in his career when the issue of "pitch count" even arose. He had struck out 14 batters and walked five -- he was a power pitcher with shaky control -- when Gene Mauch took him out of the game. Mauch asked him, "Do you know how many pitches you just threw?"

Stoneman had no idea until Mauch told him: 175.