Mark Reynolds does it again as Orioles top Yankees

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There’s once again a tie atop the AL East standings.

The Orioles used six homers, including two more from Mark Reynolds, to ward off a big eighth-inning comeback and beat the Yankees 10-6 on Thursday.

The Bombers scored five times in the top of the eighth without the benefit of a homer to even the game up at 6, but the Orioles roared right back with three homers in the bottom of the frame. Two of them came off David Robertson, who failed to get an out and took the loss to drop to 1-6 on the year.

It was the Orioles’ first six-homer game since Aug. 28, 2007 against the Rays.

Reynolds’ two-homer game was his third in a week against the Yankees, as he also went deep twice in wins at Yankee Stadium on Friday and Sunday. He joins Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg as just the second player ever to have three two-homer games against the Yankees in the same season. Greenberg did it for the Tigers in 1938.

Also going yard for the Orioles were Matt Wieters, Robert Andino, Adam Jones and Chris Davis. Jones had the tiebreaker in the bottom of the eighth, making it a 7-6 game. Reynolds and Davis later went back-to-back in the frame.

Reynolds also homered twice against the Blue Jays this week, so he has eight home runs in his last seven games. He had just 12 in 103 games through Aug. 30.

The Yankees and Orioles are set for three more games at Camden Yards, so barring a rainout, the tie atop the standings won’t survive the weekend. Phil Hughes and Wei-Yin Chen will battle in Friday’s game.

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.