Softball Notebook

The Softball Channel’s Fastpitch Blog

18  11 2011

Cat Fights to Save Career

Legendary Pitcher’s Recurrent Arm Pain Fuels Retirement Rumors

By Kayla Knight
TSC Contributor

Experts agree that underhand windmill softball pitching is easier on the arm than overhand baseball pitching, but every human machine has its limits—and superstar pitcher Cat Osterman has been pushing those limits for quite some time.

Hopefully, time is not running out.

Osterman puts an incredible amount of spin on her pitches, arguably more than any hurler on the planet (softball or baseball). The result is the ball moves up, down and/or sideways—almost as if by magic—making it almost impossible to hit. But that also puts an enormous strain on the muscles in her throwing arm, especially those involved in pronating (twisting) the forearm.

Her current injury woes date back to the final game of last year’s World Championships against Japan. Cat started the game but exited in the 4th inning when she felt a pull or twang in her throwing arm. The initial diagnosis was a torn biceps biceps tendon, but that was discounted after further testing.

Cat dropped out of competition for most of the remaining 2010 summer season but was able to come back just long enough to win the 2010 National Pro Fastpitch title for the USSSA Pride.

Cat’s crisis culminated in this year’s National Pro Fastpitch playoffs, when she had to leave the final series against the Chicago Bandits because of pain in her left forearm. Savvy fans knew that her team, the USSSA Pride, was finished, even though it had compiled the league’s best regular-season record—and they were right.

Further medical workup has proved disappointing negative, including an MRI designed to detect soft tissue damage. The latest theory, primarily one of exclusion, is a nerve impingement condition called Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. But because no specific damage to muscles, ligaments or tendons was discovered, a permanent cure may remain elusive.

In the meantime Cat has thrown herself back into coaching, this time with buddy Lindsay Gardner at St. Edwards University in her home state of Texas. Read more.

As for her competitive career, right now all Cat can do is rest…and hope she has a few more magnificent pitches left in her magnificent arm. Read more.

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