And That Happened: Monday's Scores and Highlights

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Cardinals 7, Reds 3: Mike Leake got rocked and the Cardinals made a statement in game one of a big series. And it is only one game, Reds fans, even if it didn’t feel like it. Jim Edmonds’ Reds debut: 0 for 4. Theory: he’s a deep cover agent sent out by the Cards three years ago with the express purpose of hiding his tracks in Chicago, San Diego and Milwaukee before submarining the Reds. Very clever, La Russa. Very clever.

Red Sox 2, Yankees 1: I stand by my real-time Bard gushing from yesterday, subsequent Teixeira homer notwithstanding. Dude announced his presence with authority.

Astros 10, Braves 4: I’m coming down with something nasty. Feels like a flu. Aches all over and just general blah. Because of this I went to bed really early last night, turning this game off when the Braves were up 4-3. I’m glad I did because I don’t think I could have stood it to watch Kyle Farnsworth come into a close game, let alone blow the hell up like he did here. Single, throwing error, walk, single, wild pitch, and finally a walk for The Perfesser, and of course Peter Moylan came in and allowed basically everyone to score. If I was watching this I would have put a brick through my monitor. My guess: Farnsworth doesn’t see action for the rest of the year unless there’s a minimum of a six-run spread at the time.

Orioles 3, White Sox 2: And the O’s keep rolling. Walkoff blast for Brian Roberts in the 10th. The homer came off J.J. Putz, though, not Bobby Jenks so I suppose that kept Ozzie Guillen from committing homicide last night.

Rays 6, Tigers 3: It wasn’t efficient — 115 pitches in five innings — but I suppose David Price’s 9 Ks were effective enough. Eight losses in ten games for the Tigers. On the bright side, they can safely make October vacation plans now.

Diamondbacks 7, Brewers 4: Ken Macha has been putting Trevor Hoffman into games late again, probably as a means of getting him to 600 saves before the year is out. This wasn’t a save situation — it was a tie game in the tenth — but it probably shows the folly of continuing to put Hoffman into anything close to critical spots anymore, as the Dbacks tag him for three runs.

Giants 4, Cubs 3: Carlos Zambrano returned to the rotation and, while he only allowed two runs in five innings, he walked seven dudes and one of those runs scored on a wild pitch. So yeah, there’s more to work on than just anger management.

Angels 6, Royals 4: The Angels jumped out to a 5-0 lead and held on as the Royals charged late. Bobby Abreu had three hits and drove in four from the leadoff spot. And by the way, can I tell you how much I love seeing Bobby Abreu in the leadoff spot? He was born for it — at least the latter-career, low power version of him was — and it’s nice to see Mike Scioscia finally get his mind around the fact that you don’t need a fast dude to bat first.

Mariners 3, Athletics 1: Dude: Triple play. Around-the-horn style, too, which is way more awesome than those “second baseman gets a line drive and everyone stands around confused while he randomly tags people and makes an anticlimactic throw to first to double-off a dude” kind.  And hey: let’s just ignore the fact that it the throw to first was almost certainly late, shall we? The M’s had a bad enough day without letting little old things like facts get in the way of a good story.

Neal Huntington thinks players should be allowed to re-enter games after concussion testing

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Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli, who has suffered many concussions throughout his 12-year career, was hit on the back of the helmet on a Joc Pederson backswing Saturday against the Dodgers. Through Cervelli remained in the game initially, he took himself out of the game shortly thereafter and went on the seven-day concussion injured list on Sunday.

Perhaps inspired by Saturday’s event, Pirates GM Neal Huntington suggested that players should be allowed to re-enter games once they have passed concussion tests, the Associated Press reports. Huntington said, “Any player that had an obvious concussion risk incident should be allowed to be removed from the game, taken off the field, taken into the locker room, assessed by a doctor, assessed by a trainer, go through an extended period of time and then re-enter the game. Because right now, all of this has to happen on the field.”

Huntington added, “The player has to feel pressure as he’s standing there with 30,000 or 10,000 or 50,000 eyes on him. He has to feel pressure to make a decision whether (he’s) in or (he’s) out of this game. He knows if he takes himself out and he’s the catcher, there’s only one other catcher, and the game becomes a fiasco if that other catcher gets hurt.”

Huntington, who has been forward-thinking on a number of other issues, has it wrong here. The concussion protocols were created because players frequently hid or under-reported their injuries in order to remain in the game. Especially for younger or otherwise less-proven players, there is pressure to have to constantly perform in order to keep one’s job. Furthermore, there is an overarching sentiment across sports that taking time off due to injury makes one weak. Similarly, playing while injured is seen as tough and masculine. Creating protocols that take the decision-making out of players’ hands keeps them from making decisions that aren’t in their own best interests. Removing them would bring back that pressure for players to hide or minimize their ailments. If anything, MLB’s concussion protocols should become more stringent, not more relaxed.

The powers that be with Major League Baseball have no doubt followed the concussion scandal surrounding the National Football League. In January, the NFL settled for over $1 billion with retired players dealing with traumatic brain injuries, including dementia, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. For years, the league refused to acknowledge the link between playing football and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), which is a neurodegenerative disease that can lead to dementia and has many negative effects, such as increasing the risk of suicide. Since baseball isn’t often a contact sport, MLB doesn’t have to worry about brain injuries to this degree, but it still needs to take preventative measures in order to avoid billion-dollar lawsuits as well as avoiding P.R. damage. In December 2012, former major league outfielder Ryan Freel committed suicide. Freel, who claimed to have suffered as many as 10 concussions, suffered from CTE. MLB players can suffer brain injuries just like football players.

Huntington seems to be worried about not having enough rostered catchers in the event one or two catchers get injured. That is really an issue of roster management. Carrying only two catchers on the roster is a calculated risk, often justified. Huntington can ensure his team never has to be put in the position of not having a catcher in an emergency by rostering a third catcher. Rosters are expanding to 26 players next year, by the way.