Jon Lester’s Injury
I’m not a Red Sox fan, yet I can’t help but reach out to Jon Lester and their training staff. Lester had a no-hitter going last night against the Toronto Blue Jays through four innings but had to be pulled after suffering a strained left Latissimus Dorsi muscle.
According to fangraph.com, the Sox had the most trips to the Disabled List in 2010 and spent the 4th-most total days on the DL. 2011 isn’t shaping up to be much different. Lester is one of the best young pitchers in the game, and the Sox can’t afford to lose him. Like any of our clients dealing with injuries or chronic pain, I’m not worried about the specific symptom. I’m worried about why the symptom occurred.
I’m going to analyze Lester as if he were my own client. I did a quick Google search and found several pictures of Lester that will allow me to do a postural analysis. I want to uncover why he injured his left Lat. So, let’s take a look…
This is a great picture of Lester standing (on the far right. Pitcher Josh Beckett is on the left and manager Terry Francona is in the middle). I want you to take note of several things here. Notice how much higher his left shoulder is than his right shoulder. Typically with baseball players, we’ll see their throwing shoulder sitting lower than the shoulder on their glove side. Not so with Lester. Some will argue that it’s because his glove is tucked under his left arm and therefore pushing his left side “up,” but that’s just not the case. Countless images showed his left shoulder higher than his right. Also notice that his left upper body is a bit rotated forward. Let’s try getting you in that position. I want you to elevate your left shoulder and rotate the upper portion of the left side of your body forward. I want you to really over-exaggerate it and feel what that does to your Lat muscle on the left side. It’s like taking a rubber band to its longest position and THEN asking that rubber band to throw a fastball 95 MPH. Tell me how that works out for you. I’m fairly certain Jon Lester knows how it’s working for him.
Now, take a look at his foot position (or all three of their foot positions for that matter. I won’t even get started about the absolute functional WRECK that is Josh Beckett). Notice how Lester’s feet are pointed out, his right is pointed out more than his left, and that he’s standing with a wide stance? This wreaks of hip dysfunction. I can look at his foot position alone and tell you that he’s pitching with his upper body. He might think he’s using his lower body, but I can almost guarantee that if he were to get his hips functional and working for him, he’d gain velocity and accuracy, and he doesn’t struggle in either of those areas as it is. What I’m saying is that he can be even better than he is.
Here’s another picture showing the difference in what his hips are going. Again, notice how the right foot has turned out more than the left. This tells me his right hip isn’t able to load like his left hip and is turning out in an attempt to widen the base and stablize his body. His right hip is completely compromised causing compensations through the rest of his body.
This last photo is a really good, full-body image. Again, we see his elevated left shoulder and the everted-foot position. However, with this one, we also see his right hip is higher than his left. Also note that his left shoulder is hinged or rounded forward. I’m seeing a lot of the back of his left hand when I should only be seeing the thumb and the side of his index finger.
Please understand that this analysis was completed off of Google images. I’d love to see what I can uncover with Lester right in front of me. To Mike Reinold and the rest of the Red Sox training staff, you’re sitting on a time bomb here. If these structural issues aren’t addressed, there are more injuries headed Lester’s, and your, way. I’d love to discuss these issue further. Believe me, you can’t just treat his strained muscle, you HAVE to look at the big picture. His left Lat has nothing to do with the Lat itself. It has everything to do with his pelvic position sitting under the Lat and shoulder. When you bring that back into balance he’ll be fine. If you don’t, you’ll continue to see symptom after symptom.
QUESTION: Are you an athlete? What reoccurring injury are you dealing with? What questions do you have that I can answer about it?