Giants keep pitching arms healthy

  • San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain talks with catcher Buster Posey and pitching coach Dave Righetti, left, in the third inning of the first baseball game of a doubleheader against the St. Louis Cardinals, Saturday, June 1, 2013 in St. Louis. Cain surrendered seven runs on nine hits in the inning.(AP Photo/Tom Gannam)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Asked about the recent rash of elbow injuries around baseball, Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti jumped back as though stabbed with an electric cattle prod.

"No way, no way, I'm not talking about that," said Righetti, waving his hands and scurrying away.

"I'm not joking. I don't want to jinx us."

Righetti is usually an agreeable and articulate talker on just about any facet of pitching, but his paranoia regarding the mere mention of the words "elbow" or "Tommy John" is understandable. As the epidemic of arm surgeries continues to mount, the Giants are one of the few teams that have largely escaped the well-used scalpels of Dr. James Andrews and other surgeons.

Their record has been so good, in fact, almost everybody in the organization is reluctant to talk about it — from manager Bruce Bochy and Righetti to the team's training staff to the pitchers themselves. They know it could all change on one toss of a baseball, and they're treading lightly.

"We've been really fortunate, no question, the way these guys have held up ... knock on wood," Bochy said. "They were worked pretty good from 2010 to 2012, and it's a credit of how well they take care of themselves. But luck is a big part of it. Genetics, too."

A study by Bleacher Report sports injury writer Will Carroll revealed last year that 124 of the 360 pitchers who started the 2013 season in Major League Baseball — a little more than one-third — have had reconstructive elbow surgery at some point in their careers.

That statistic shows no signs of waning with the almost daily news of some pitcher going down.

The A's Jarrod Parker. Atlanta's Kris Medlen. Arizona's Patrick Corbin. The list goes on, and the trend has been more surgeries, not fewer, despite medical and training advancements.

Wilson the exception

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