Saturday, August 23, 2008

Nolan Ryan Seen Favoring Old Four-Man Rotation

Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, now in his latest manifestation as president of the Rangers, is bringing an "old school" approach to the game not only by asking minor league prospects to pitch longer, but speculatively to prepare themselves for a return to the historical four-man rotation rather than five-man rotation.

Ryan -- who once threw some 240 pitches in a single game -- has sent word to minor league camps that he wants each prospect to increase their personal pitch count targets to last at least one more inning per outing, thus projecting them into the seventh and eighth innings of games, according to recent comments by acquaintance, broadcaster and former Rangers manager Kevin Kennedy.

The move has prompted unconfirmed speculation in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex that Ryan is eyeing a return to the familiar four-man rotation used during much of the 61-year-old strikeout king's career. Kennedy believes the switch to the five-year rotation and other more modern innovations are the result of "copy cat" strategists.