Last night, in game one of the 2015 World Series, Salvador Perez took a foul ball to his throwing hand because it wasn’t protected in his receiving stance. If you have read my book or watched my DVD, you will know that this is one of my biggest frustrations with how many catchers are coached today.
Over the past few years this has become “acceptable” to many coaches and catchers. In my opinion (and the opinion of many brilliant catching coaches I’ve spoken with) this is a bad idea. If you don’t agree with me, I’m pretty sure you will within 30 seconds of pressing the play button below.
Watch the video below first, then continue reading the rest of the article:
I am a huge advocate of catchers keeping their throwing hand in a protected position while they’re receiving so that this EXACT play doesn’t happen. It’s completely unnecessary for a catcher to expose himself to the risk of getting hit by a foul ball in his throwing hand.
So, if catchers need to keep our hand protected where exactly should it go? That’s a good question and there is more than one correct answer…
I’m perfectly fine with a catcher protecting his throwing hand behind his mitt, his butt, or his calf/shinguard…as long as it is protected, I don’t care which is more comfortable to you.
Notice where Salvador Perez keeps his throwing hand while receiving (he has done this his entire career):
This position leaves his hand exposed, and as we saw in the video above in harms way of getting hit by a foul ball and possibly broken.
The coaches who teach catchers to place their throwing hand by their crotch justify it by saying things like “How often do you get hit by a foul ball there? Maybe once a season!? Keep it there because you’re probably not going to get hit.”
The problem with that school of thought is that getting hit there ONCE could be the end of your season. Don’t risk it!
Now, notice where he placed his throwing hand the very next pitch after getting hit by the foul ball:
His hand is now protected behind his back. Had it been here all along, he never would have gotten hit by the foul ball. My only question is “Why wait until it’s too late to protect your hand?”
I’m convinced that the Baseball Gods were looking out for Perez because he is very lucky to not have suffered a broken bone.
Kids, we can learn a lot by watching Major League Baseball games. Usually, we learn what we should do because the players on TV are the best in the world. However, there are occasions when we learn what we shouldn’t do. This is a great lesson of what not to do.
Keep your throwing hand protected in all of your stances!
Thank you old friend for all your tips to help young catchers Xan. I send all your tips to my Mississippi Star's Catchers on my 17U and 18U Nationals Scout teams. I hope to be able to come to next year's Catching Clinic. At 70 yrs old you are never too old to learn more about the game, especially if you played CF. Sincerely Harry Porter
Dude! You are the man! The minute I saw that play, I rewound it and recorded it to show all of my catchers it. . .Great article and thanks for sharing!
It is absolutely illegal for any player to doctor a ball, not just the pitcher...it says it VERY clearly in the rulebook. Otherwise, why wouldn't every catcher have pine tar on them so that the pitcher doesn't have to?
What is your take on the "brown substance" (pine tar) on Perez' shin guard? Have you heard of this being done before? Was it to help him get a better grip or perhaps the pitcher. See article in NY Post on this topic: http://nypost.com/2015/10/28/royals-catchers-mystery-shinguard-substance-raises-questions/