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How many days rest for MLB pitchers?

Baseball is a physically demanding sport and requires a high level of performance from all players on the field. Pitching, in particular, is a position that demands a lot of physical exertion and endurance. As such, it is of utmost importance for MLB pitchers to have the proper amount of rest between games in order to maintain peak performance levels during the season. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how many days rest MLB pitchers typically have between games, and what factors can impact this schedule.

What is a Starting Pitcher?

A starting pitcher is a player who is responsible for pitching the first three to seven innings of a baseball game. Generally, a team will have four to six starting pitchers on their roster. Starting pitchers are selected based on their skill level, level of experience, and overall physical condition. They are an essential part of any baseball team and play a critical role in determining the outcome of games.

How Many Days Rest Do Starting Pitchers Get?

Starting pitchers are given anywhere from three to five days of rest between games, depending on the team. This rest period is intended to allow pitchers to recover from the physical strain of pitching a game so that they can perform at their best the next time they take the mound. The specific number of days of rest varies from team to team, and can also depend on the individual pitchers’ physical condition and age.

Factors That Impact Rest Schedules

The number of days of rest given to starting pitchers can be influenced by a variety of factors. Here are just a few examples:


Younger players may require fewer days of rest than older players to recover from a game. This is because younger players generally have higher levels of physical fitness and can recover more quickly from strenuous activity.

Arm Strength

Starting pitchers with weaker arms may require more rest between games in order to avoid injury and maintain their performance. Conversely, starting pitchers with strong arms may be able to perform at a high level with fewer days of rest.


If a starting pitcher has recently suffered an injury, they may require additional time to recover before returning to the field. The number of days of rest needed can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the pitcher’s overall health.

Number of Pitches Thrown

The number of pitches thrown during a game can impact the number of days of rest needed. Starting pitchers who throw a large number of pitches may need more time to recover from the physical strain of the game.

How Rest Schedules Are Determined

The decision regarding the number of days of rest given to starting pitchers typically falls to the team’s coaching staff. They will take into account a variety of factors, including the pitcher’s performance, their physical condition, and the team’s overall schedule. This decision-making process can be complex and can involve input from multiple professionals, including team doctors and trainers.

The Importance of Rest for Performance

Rest is critical for any athlete who wishes to maintain peak performance levels. For MLB pitchers, this is especially true. Pitching a game requires a lot of physical effort and energy, and it is essential that pitchers have enough time to recover in order to perform at their best. Adequate rest can help prevent injuries, maintain overall physical health, and improve performance on the field.


Overall, the number of days of rest given to MLB starting pitchers can vary depending on a variety of factors, including age, arm strength, and number of pitches thrown. However, most starting pitchers are given three to five days of rest between games. The specific number of days can be determined by the team’s coaching staff and may involve input from multiple professionals, including doctors and trainers. Ultimately, the success of a starting pitcher will depend on their physical and mental health, as well as their ability to recover quickly between games.

For more information on the physical demands of baseball, check out this WebMD article.


Can pitchers pitch on 3 days rest?

Traditionally, starting pitchers in Major League Baseball are given four or five days of rest in between starts. This is because pitching is a physically demanding activity that puts a tremendous amount of strain on a pitcher’s arm and body. By giving pitchers enough rest between starts, teams hope to minimize the risk of injury and keep their pitchers healthy.

However, there are certain situations where a team might ask a starting pitcher to pitch on just three days of rest instead of four. This is commonly referred to as “short rest,” and it is usually only done in critical situations like playoff games or must-win games late in the season.

Pitching on short rest is not easy, and it can be quite risky for a pitcher. By pitching on short rest, a pitcher is pushing their body to the limit and increasing the risk of injury. Additionally, pitching on short rest can be mentally taxing for a pitcher, as they have less time to recover from their last start and prepare for their next one.

That being said, some pitchers are better suited to pitching on short rest than others. Some pitchers have a more durable arm and can handle the added workload, while others may struggle with the physical and mental demands of pitching on short rest.

In recent years, there has been an increasing trend of teams using “openers” instead of traditional starting pitchers. An opener is a relief pitcher who starts the game and pitches only one or two innings before being replaced by another pitcher. Using an opener allows a team to give their traditional starting pitchers more rest between starts, which can help keep them healthy and improve their performance.

While it is possible for pitchers to pitch on three days of rest, it is not something that is done lightly or without careful consideration. Pitching on short rest can be risky for a pitcher’s health and performance, and it is usually only done in situations where it is absolutely necessary.

Do MLB pitchers have mandatory rest?

Yes, MLB pitchers do have mandatory rest requirements. The exact rest requirements are based on the number of pitches thrown in a game. If a pitcher throws 1-20 pitches in a game, there is no mandatory rest required. However, if a pitcher throws 21-35 pitches, then they must rest for one calendar day before being eligible to pitch again. If a pitcher throws 36-50 pitches, they must rest for two calendar days, and if they throw 51-65 pitches, they must rest for three calendar days.

The rest requirements continue to increase as the pitch count rises. If a pitcher throws 66-80 pitches in a game, they must rest for four days, and if they throw 81-95 pitches, the rest requirement is five days. If a pitcher throws 96 or more pitches, they must rest for six calendar days.

These mandatory rest requirements are in place to ensure the health and safety of the pitchers. Overuse or insufficient rest periods can lead to fatigue, injury, and diminished performance. The rest requirements also help to promote fairness within the league by ensuring that pitchers are not overused and have enough time to recover between games.

It’s worth noting that these mandatory rest requirements are in addition to the rest periods that pitchers often choose to observe on their own. Many pitchers will take additional rest days between games to maintain their health and performance, particularly as they get older or have a history of injury.

Why do pitchers need 4 days off?

Pitching is a demanding and repetitive action that puts a significant amount of strain on a pitcher’s arm and body. The human arm simply isn’t designed to throw a baseball at high velocity repeatedly without rest. This is why most pitchers require four days of rest between starts before they take the mound again in a game. But why four days?

The reason pitchers need four days off between starts is primarily to optimize their performance. While some pitchers may be able to pitch with fewer days of rest, research has shown that pitchers perform better when they have four days of rest between starts. When a pitcher has four days of rest, they are able to recover physically and mentally from the stress of pitching. They are better rested and less prone to arm fatigue. As a result, they’re able to pitch with greater velocity, throw more pitches, and pitch with greater accuracy.

Another reason why pitchers need four days of rest is to reduce their risk of injury. Overuse injuries are particularly prevalent in baseball pitchers who throw too often or don’t have enough rest between starts. By giving the arm enough time to recover, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments involved in throwing have the opportunity to repair and rebuild, reducing the risk of long-term damage.

However, not all pitchers are created equal. Some pitchers have unique mechanics or arm actions that allow them to pitch more frequently without risk of injury. Additionally, some pitchers may need extra days of rest due to their age, injuries, or workload. It’s important for managers and coaches to monitor pitchers’ workloads and provide sufficient rest to prevent injuries and optimize performance.

Pitchers need four days off between starts in order to perform at their best and reduce the risk of injury. Pitching is a demanding activity that requires adequate rest and recovery time to allow the pitcher to perform at their maximum potential consistently. While some pitchers may require more or fewer days of rest depending on their unique situation, four days is the standard for a reason.