'It's gonna be an issue for 30 teams': Starting pitchers brace for unprecedented innings jump

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Trevor Bauer estimates spending about an hour each day logging his own metrics, a process that produces something in the neighborhood of 50 different data sets related to body composition and vital signs. The work is at the crux of Bauer's conviction about being able to start every four days. Workload, Bauer believes, isn't an issue so long as his body returns to optimal strength before each outing.

"Where it matters," the Los Angeles Dodgers righty said, "is if you're not getting back to 100% for every start."

Bauer is confident in his own ability to achieve this, but getting back to full strength between starts is a challenge for most pitchers even in the best of circumstances.

It's why the forthcoming innings jump concerns him.

"Yeah," Bauer said, "I think it's gonna be a problem."

Major League Baseball will return to a 162-game season in 2021, one year after the COVID-19 pandemic shortened its schedule to 60 games. That means 30 teams will scramble to fill an extra 900 or so innings, a frightening proposition for an industry increasingly fixated on the health of its pitchers. Starters and relievers throughout the sport are bracing for triple the workload and might inevitably pitch at fatigue levels that typically portend injuries. It's an unprecedented circumstance. Solutions remain elusive.