June 14, 2011 in Sports

Bats need a change

 
Associated Press photo

Dave Kretschmann examines thousands of broken bats and established new standards for manufacturers.
(Full-size photo)

By the numbers

500: Number of career games played by Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Ryan Dempster. He received a no- decision in a 1-0 win over Milwaukee.

23: MLB-leading hitting streak owned by Houston Astros right fielder Hunter Pence. It is his career-best hitting streak.

When a player steps to the plate, Dave Kretschmann isn’t thinking about the pitching matchup or second-guessing the manager. He’s focused on the brand, shape and composition of the bat the player has in his hands. If Kretschmann sees something he doesn’t like, he worries about whether it’s about to shatter into fragments that could hurt a player, coach or fan.

Faced with an epidemic of dangerous broken bats in 2008, Major League Baseball turned to the U.S. Forest Service for help in solving the problem.

Ideally, a bat would be made so the grain runs perfectly straight along the length of the bat. But if it’s off by more than three degrees from parallel, the bat can lose about 20 percent of its strength and Kretschmann found himself examining bats that were off by 10 degrees or more.

“There still are some things that can be done with manufacturing consistency, and making sure that bats that don’t conform don’t make it out on the field,” Kretschmann said.

Robinson released from hospital

Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson has been released from the hospital after receiving follow-up treatment for a fever and infection.

Robinson left the hospital and is “home and doing well,” according to assistant Diane Hock.

Dykstra pleads not guilty in bankruptcy

Former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra pleaded not guilty in a federal case where he’s accused of embezzling money from a bankruptcy estate.

Around the bases

The Athletics’ Brett Anderson will undergo six weeks of rehabilitation on his injured pitching elbow. … Johan Santana experienced soreness in his left shoulder 10 days ago when the Mets ace ramped up the intensity of his workouts. … Kerry Wood has a blister on his right index finger, forcing the Chicago Cubs to place the reliever on the 15-day disabled list. … The Boston Red Sox traded minor league catcher Mike McKenry to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named or cash. … The San Diego Padres placed right-hander Aaron Harang on the 15-day disabled list because of a bruised right foot and reinstated outfielder Cameron Maybin. … Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Vicente Padilla, sidelined because of a bulging disk in his neck, is scheduled to undergo surgery.


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