DWI policy, maple bats, new helmets all part of the new collective bargaining agreement

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More health and safety stuff from the new collective bargaining agreement.  First, let’s call this new part the “2011 DUI-fest Memorial Contract Provision”:

The parties agreed on a program of mandatory evaluation by a trained professional for Players who are suspected of an alcohol use problem (including Players who are arrested for DWI or other crimes involving alcohol), and for players who are arrested for crimes involving the use of force or violence.

No fines or suspensions or anything yet, but as we talked about when all of those dudes were getting arrested on suspicion of DUI this past year, it’s not as easy to do that as you might think. Ask Derek Lowe, who was arrested, tarred, feathered and … then had all charges dropped against him.

Next up: maple bats:

The parties agreed that no new players will be permitted to use a low density maple bat during the term of the agreement.

So, if you use one now, you’re cool. You’ve been grandfathered into things and you can impale someone completely within your rights as a union member.  New people, nope.  Finally, head safety:

By 2013, all Major League players will wear a new batting helmet developed by Rawlings that protects against pitches thrown at 100 miles per hour. The new version of the helmet is  significantly less “bulky” than prior versions of the more protective helmet.

We remember David Wright and Francisco Cervelli wearing these things. Glad to hear they’re less bulky, but really, if pink-painted pumpkin rinds were proved to protect against concussions, everyone should be on board with it.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.