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Bowa says Little Leaguers throw too many pitches

8/28/2005

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

"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.