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Sunday, August 28, 2005
Bowa says Little Leaguers throw too many pitches

Associated Press

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- Larry Bowa wants Little Leaguers to throw fewer pitches and fewer breaking balls.

For a kid to throw 130 pitches in a game is ludicrous, really.
Larry Bowa

"Throwing too many breaking balls, I don't think your body is mature enough to throw that much," the former Philadelphia Phillies manager said.

Bowa spoke Sunday before receiving the William A. Shea Distinguished Little League Graduate Award. He was honored before the Little League World Series title game between Hawaii and Curacao.

Bowa is now a baseball analyst for ESPN and has covered some regional Little League tournaments. He has watched some of the Little League World Series, including one game in which a pitcher threw 130 pitches.

"You've got to look at the long-range goals, look at the future," he said. "For a kid to throw 130 pitches in a game is ludicrous, really."

Little League president Stephen Keener last week said the organization tested pitch counts in some local Little Leagues, replacing the current limit on innings pitched per game and week. Information from that study is being evaluated.

With the growth of travel and all-star Little League teams, more kids are playing longer into the summer. Keener said Little League has not seen more arm injuries, but there is concern with the number and types of pitches thrown by players.

Little League does not prohibit breaking balls, but Keener said the organization is investigating whether there should be a limit for younger pitchers.

Bowa is impressed with the play in South Williamsport.

"These kids are bigger, stronger, faster," he said. "There is no doubt in my mind that these same kids will play in the big leagues somewhere."

Bowa starred at shortstop for the Philadelphia Phillies team that won the World Series in 1980. As a kid, he played for the Land Park Little League Cubs in Sacramento, Calif.

"I feel like I was cheated not being able to make it to the Little League World Series," he said.