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Tuesday, March 29, 2016: Texas will be next state to consider pitch counts

   Leading off today: The Texas High School Baseball Coaches Association will recommend a pitch count limit and mandatory rest for pitchers during an April 17 presentation to the medical advisory committee for the state's governing body for high school sports.

   THSBCA Executive Director Rex Sanders will make the pitch for the proposal, which has been met with resistance from some high-profile coaches.

   Major League Baseball and USA Baseball's Pitch Smart collaboration with a medical advisory committee that includes the American Sports Medicine Institute's renowned surgeon Dr. James Andrews, recommended pitch count limits and required rest periods in 2014.

   Pitch Smart suggests a 95-pitch limit per outing for ages 15-16 and a 105-pitch cap for ages 17-18, in addition to at least four days rest if a teen exceeds 76 pitches in a game. The THSBCA is expected to call for a 110-pitch limit per outing and 3-5 days of rest for 18- and 19-year-olds. Standards would vary depending on the age of a pitcher and the number of pitches he threw previously.

   That news comes after the Alabama High School Athletic Association adopted pitch count rules in October. Dr. Jeffrey Dugas, who serves on the Medical Advisory Board for the AHSAA, told The Journal News that procedures like "Tommy John surgery" would be required less frequently if states relied upon pitch limits rather than restrictions on innings pitched.

   "We in the medical world know that inning counts aren't sufficient to protect kids," said Dugas, an orthopedic surgeon in Andrews' practice in Birmingham, Ala. "There's a real push for pitch counts instead of inning counts. And there are more and more states that are looking it at."

   Alabama, Colorado and Vermont high schools now work under pitch-count restrictions. In New York, the PSAL restricts varsity pitchers to 105 pitches in one game and JV pitchers to 90 while also mandating rest periods based on how many pitches were thrown.

   Like many states, the rest of New York operates on a system of innings limits. The New York maximum is 12 innings per day and 18 in a six-day period. But the workload in a single inning can vary from as few as three pitches to 30 or more, making for an imprecise measurement of arm wear and tear.

   "It's always mentioned (at NYSPHSAA meetings), but there's never much that takes it further," Section 1 baseball co-coordinator Phil DiRuocco told the paper. "There are layers of bureaucracy. I'd like to see a nice, heated discussion about it, but it never gets to that point. ... We haven't had that grassroots push, where I'm getting calls or emails everyday about it."

   NYSPHSAA baseball chairman Ed Dopp echoed those sentiments, saying, "Nothing to this point has gone to a formal motion to change."

   Maginn drops football: The recently released 2016 schedule for Section 2 football made no mention of Bishop Maginn, and now the New York State Sportswriters Association's Steve Grandin explains why: The school will not field a team at any level this fall.

   The relatively tiny Albany school -- its BEDS figure is 112 this year and slips to 99 in the fall -- competed successfully in Class A for a number of years but was 0-9 last fall. Maginn was 7-2 the previous year, but that came on the heels of back-to-back 1-8 seasons.

   Joe Grasso has coached every Maginn game since it was formed by the merger of Cardinal McCloskey and Vincentian Institute in 1977. He is the third winningest coach in Section 2 history with a 204-169-6 record; only Brent Steuerwald of Shenendehowa coached more varsity games in Section 2 than Grasso.

    • Troy, a Section 2 Class A finalist last fall, moves back up to Class AA in 2016, and Lansingburgh returns to Class A after one season in B. Niskayuna also returns to Class AA after two years playing as a playoff-ineligible team in Class A.

   A reunion of sorts: The NCAA men's basketball Final Four reunites a pair of New York guards who have had decidedly different college careers.

   In March 2012, Mount Vernon defeated Aquinas 61-57 for the NYSPHSAA Class AA championship in Glens Falls. The star guards on the floor that day were Isaiah Cousins for the Knights and Christian White for the Little Irish.

   Cousins recorded 11 points, seven assists and five rebounds in Oklahoma's 80-68 victory over Oregon in the Elite Eight. It was the latest in a long line of steady performances on his part.

   Cousins, Buddy Hield, Ryan Spangler and Jordan Woodard have made 104 consecutive starts together for the Sooners, and the former Mount Vernon star is averaging 12.8 points per game and shooting 42 percent on 3-point attempts.

   Cousins is over 1,200 points for his career and finally broke through this season with a ratio of two assists for every one turnover.

   White got off to a promising start at Monmouth but fell out of the rotation his sophomore season as the team was given a makeover with an influx of new talent. Combined with a need to be closer to home for personal reasons, White landed at Syracuse and was rewarded with two surprises -- a grant of immediate eligibility by the NCAA and a scholarship from coach Jim Boeheim after arriving with walk-on status.

   White played sparingly last season, but his primary role was to push the Orange guards in drills and handle scout-team roles in practice. Before the current season, Boeheim agreed to keep White out of games -- unless there was a dire emergency, which never materialized -- in order to preserve his final season of eligibility.

   "One of the things I've tried to do this whole year is make an impact on the game without ever playing in it," White told "I think you can do that through playing as hard as you can in practice and then being as good of a teammate as you can."

   White, a computer science major, will graduate from SU in May. Under NCAA rules, White can't transfer to another Division I school if he wants to pursue a graduate degree in a field of study offered by SU, so he's almost certain to land in Division II (I've heard it will be Pace University) on scholarship for a season.

   First, though, there's the matter of this season.

   "I'm just so grateful to be part of a bunch of great guys," White said. "It means a lot."

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