Now Commenting On:

Ziegler's injury revives maple bat debate

Ziegler's injury revives maple bat debate

OAKLAND -- For years now, the debate over the use of maple bats has been ongoing within the baseball community.

It was reprised Friday night, as Oakland reliever Brad Ziegler was struck by a large portion of Mike Napoli's broken bat in the ninth inning of an 8-0 A's win. Ziegler had a deep scratch and a bruise on his back below his right shoulder, but was able to stay in the game and finish the inning. He received a new bandage and ointment before Saturday's matinee and said he would be a game-time decision.

"It really feels like it's starting to tighten up today," Ziegler said Saturday.

As Oakland manager Bob Geren pointed out Friday, had Napoli's bat rotated another 10 or 20 degrees before it struck Ziegler, it could have done more damage or even impaled the reliever. Napoli said he was using a maple bat from maker SSK on Friday.

"That's one of the things we've been talking about with maple bats for a long time, the inherent danger," Ziegler said. "It didn't seem like bats broke like that -- with the barrel end flying all the time -- 10, 15 years ago. Now that's happening a lot, almost every game or every other game. It was just a matter of time before someone got hit with one, I just wish it wasn't me."

Maple bats have become more prevalent in baseball over the past couple of decades, replacing ash bats. Although maple bats can pack more punch than their ash counterparts, maple bats tend to break in fuller shards as opposed to flaking like ash ones.

Some have even said pitchers should wear protective headgear on the mound. Asked whether he would support such a measure, Geren said, "If there was something available and a pitcher wanted to, I would have no problem with it."

Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español