Little League places ban on composite baseball bats

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Fairly big news here out of Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

The Little League International Board of Directors Executive Committee, which operates all divisions of Little League Baseball, including the Little League World Series, has issued an immediate and complete moratorium on the use of composite bats.

Composite bats, which sell for upwards of $300, first popped onto the amateur baseball scene in the early 2000s.  Made of not only aluminum, but also wrapped in woven graphite, they generate far more power and allow for faster bat speeds via better swing weight management.

Today, Little League decided that the technology was beginning to put youth at risk.  When struck well, baseballs will fly off of composite bats at much higher rates of speed than regular old aluminum models.

“[This] decision of the Little League International Board of Directors Executive Committee is based on scientific research data from the University of Massachusetts (Lowell), which was contracted by Little League Baseball,” Stephen D. Keener, President and Chief Executive Officer of Little League Baseball and Softball, said in a press release.  “There is a process through which manufacturers can submit individual models for a possible waiver if they wish to seek it. Going forward, we will let our leagues know which ones meet the standards for the Little League Baseball (Majors) 12-and-under divisions, if any.”

Little League parents all around the country are surely wondering why this decision wasn’t made before the holiday season, when big-money bats do big business both online and at sporting goods suppliers.

Other youth baseball leagues seem likely to follow suit.

Giants sign Austin Jackson to two-year, $6 million contract

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The Giants announced on Monday night the signing of outfielder Austin Jackson. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, it’s a two-year, $6 million deal with performance incentives that allow Jackson to earn up to an additional $2.5 million for a total of $8.5 million.

Jackson, who soon turns 31 years old, spent last season with the Indians. In 318 plate appearances, he hit .318/.387/.482 with seven home runs, 35 RBI, and 46 runs scored.

The Giants have been on the hunt for a center fielder and Jackson addresses that need relatively cheaply. Jackson will join Hunter Pence and newcomer Andrew McCutchen in the outfield.