Coming soon: pitcher helmets

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Via Pete Abraham, we are pointed to a press release about a new product coming to a baseball diamond near you: helmets for pitchers. It actually appears to be more of a shield that fits over a cap, but I can’t tell. Head protection is head protection, I suppose.

The press release makes mention of a high school player, Gunnar Sandberg, who was seriously injured by a comebacker to the head.  And as these things usually go, I suspect that we’ll see more of this in the amateur ranks before it works its way up to the majors.

And once it gets to the majors: like with most safety measures, I presume this will follow through the normal progression: mockery-outrage-denial-grudging acceptance-acceptance.  All that will ultimately matter is if pitchers’ mechanics are the same with it and without it.  If so, players will be wearing them soon enough.

Cubs place Ben Zobrist on 10-day disabled list with back soreness

Ben Zobrist
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Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.

Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.

With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.