Act now to get your David Wright helmet protector

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wright_huge_helmet_090901.jpgAs if the Mets’ season hasn’t been bad enough, now even David Wright has become a laughingstock — through no fault of his own.

On Tuesday night, Wright made his return from the disabled list, where he had landed after taking a Matt Cain fastball to the noggin.

The incident was frightening, so precautions were taken to protect the cranium of New York’s star third baseman in the form of a giant batting helmet.

Remember the old commercial from Saturday Night Live featuring the “Gary Busey helmet protector,” which was a large foam covering made to be placed over the top of a motorcycle helmet? That’s sort of what Wright looked like.

Another comparison – courtesy of Newday’s David Lennon? The Great Gazoo.

According to Lennon, Mets, Rockies and Rockies fans all took pleasure in poking fun at Wright, looking as sharp as he was in his little league helmet. (By the way, it will be mandatory in the minor leagues next season)

Wright admitted that the helmet did need some adjustments. It had a tendency to slide down over his eyes while he was running. Wright also nearly killed Troy Tulowitzki when the giant helmet rocketed off his head at second base.

“There were times I couldn’t get it to fit,” Wright said. “I don’t know – maybe I got an odd-shaped head.”

Still, Wright plans to stick with the helmet, and there is no truth to the rumor that he will try a chinstrap when he returns to the lineup on Thursday.

For video goodness, click here.

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If you Twitter, and only wear safe headgear while operating your computer, follow me at @Bharks.

Struggling Francisco Rodriguez’s job seems to be secure

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Tigers closer Francisco Rodriguez continued to struggle on Thursday, allowing a run in a 2-1 loss to the Mariners. It’s the sixth time in nine appearances that the right-handed veteran has allowed a run, bumping his ERA up to 6.23. He’s blown two saves and has two losses on the year.

Despite that, it doesn’t sound like Rodriguez’s job as the Tigers’ closer is in any jeopardy, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. When asked how much of a leash Rodriguez has, manager Brad Ausmus said, “I’ll let you know.” Ausmus continued, “I think people have short memories. This guy did a pretty good job for us last year. Early on, people were worried because the velocity was down. Well, the velocity is back.”

“But at some point,” Ausmus said, “he does have to pitch the way he pitched last year, because he did an outstanding job for us last year and in a city that has been looking for a closer that was consistent for a long time, he was that.”

Rodriguez, 35, doesn’t have the stuff he once did. And the Tigers do appear to have someone who would be a better option in high-leverage situations. Lefty Justin Wilson has thrown 9 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings so far this season with 15 strikeouts and three walks. But for now, it sounds like Rodriguez will be free to work through his issues.

The Nationals are sad to be leaving Coors Field

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Don’t look now, but the Nationals have the best record in baseball at 16-6. They’re coming off a 10-game road trip in which they went 9-1, including sweeps of the Braves and Mets and a 3-1 series against the Rockies at Coors Field. During that series with the Rockies, the Nationals scored 46 runs, which is nearly as many as the Royals (54) have scored all season long. The Nats scored double-digits in all three wins.

The first game at Coors, an 8-4 loss, saw a three-hit game from Anthony Rendon and a homer from Ryan Zimmerman.

The second game featured Trea Turner hitting for the cycle and driving in seven runs. Daniel Murphy had three hits and five RBI.

The third game saw Turner finish a triple short of the cycle. Bryce Harper had four hits. Zimmerman had three hits including a homer. Murphy homered, too.

The fourth game featured homers from Adam Eaton, Harper, and Murphy. Seven members of the lineup had multiple hits and six had multiple RBI including pitcher Gio Gonzalez.

The series helped the Nationals bring their run differential to +34, the best in the National League. The Yankees are the only team with a better differential at +35.

Indeed, the Nationals are sad to be leaving Coors Field. They return home to open up a three-game set with the ailing Mets on Friday night.