A pitcher is allowed to throw as many as 10 innings over a four-day calendar period. So he could go 10 on Monday, get the three days off, and 10 more on Friday.
Most professional teams utilize a five-man rotation, meaning that the pitchers get at least four full days off between starts. Yet New Jersey high school pitchers, who aren't as developed, get only three.
Another part of the rule says that a pitcher who throws five innings must have two full days of rest. So a pitcher can throw five on a Tuesday and then five more on a Friday, thus having 10 innings within a four-day period.
Why is that important?
Because the Memorial Day holiday means this week's playoff games will be Tuesday and Friday.
It must be noted that these are not technically the NJSIAA rules. The NJSIAA uses the rules of the National Federation of State High School Associations. Any state association can add modifications, however.
There are critics who suggest that pitch count is more important than innings.
"We debated the whole pitch-count situation, but the question was who would count the pitches," said Larry White, an NJSIAA assistant director in charge of baseball. "And if you are going to do pitch counts, it's on all three levels, and I don't think there is any way they would be accurate, especially on the freshman and JV level."
Rich Dubee, the Phillies pitching coach, didn't want to comment specifically on the rules, but he did say that the program a pitcher follows on every level is extremely important.
"I once pitched 12 innings in a high school game and I never had a bad arm," Dubee said. "There are a lot of factors that come into play."
He said the major factor is arm maintenance.
"If they are doing the proper exercises, if they have the proper balance between the front and back of their shoulder," Dubee said. "If the delivery is equal as far as their front side and back side, their throwing mechanics are so important."
Needless to say, handling pitches on every level and preserving their health is a challenging task.
"You can throw a million factors to look at, and you have to look at it on an individual basis," Dubee said.
So what may work for a 6-foot-4, 195-pound lefthander may not work for a 5-8, 155-pound righthander. While it's ideal to have programs for each pitcher, there have to be universal rules.
Probably the best tweak in the rules would be to force a pitcher to have four full days of rest if throwing five or more innings.
That would force schools to have to use more than one pitcher, at least in the opening week of playoffs, when games are scheduled Monday and Friday, barring a rainout.
It's better to have the current pitching rules than none, but that doesn't mean the guidelines can't be improved to benefit the health of the athletes even more.
Contact Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @sjnard. Find his Rally columns at www.philly.com/narducci