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And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

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Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Pirates 3, Tigers 0Trevor Williams tossed a one-hit shutout for seven innings and George Kontos and Juan Nicasio were each perfect for an inning to complete the job. Williams left with only a 1-0 lead but John Jaso hit a two-run pinch-hit homer when replacing him in the lineup in the seventh. That’s gotta feel pretty good if you’re Williams.

Nationals 3, Marlins 2: I guess Max Scherzer was no worse for wear following that neck spasm-shortened outing from last week. Here he didn’t hit a homer — he did single! — and went seven innings allowing two runs and striking out nine. He got a no decision, however, as four Marlins pitchers matched him, collectively. Adam Lind solved all of that with an eighth inning RBI single to give the Nats the lead for good. Bryce Harper homered.

Reds 11, Padres 3: Joey Votto homered for the third straight game, Patrick Kivlehan hit a grand slam and Adam Duvall and Zack Cozart went deep as well. Votto’s blast was his 251st, which ties him on the all-time Reds home run list with Ted Kluszewski. If Votto were to walk out on the field one day with no sleeves like Big Klu did, people would lose their minds. You can pretty much do anything you want, though, when you’re hitting .314/.438/.604 and you’re on pace for 43 bombs and 117 RBI.

Twins 5, Brewers 4: Eddie Rosario doubled home the tying run in the seventh inning. He then advanced to third and the Brewers went in to a big shift for the next hitter, Ehire Adrianza, leaving no one to even pretend to cover him at third base. As a result, Rosario decided to take a biiiiiig lead off third because, hey, why wouldn’t you? That rattled pitcher Oliver Drake, who promptly balked Rosario in for what would be the winning run:

Shifts work a lot of the time, but there are still inefficiencies to exploit in them.

Cardinals 11, Royals 3: Matt Carpenter hit a three-run homer in St. Louis’ six-run fourth inning as the Cards cruised. Earlier he doubled. Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong each hit two-run homers and Dexter Fowler tripled, walked and scored two runs in his first game back off the disabled list. The Royals have dropped six of eight.

Cubs 5, Giants 3: Javier Baez hit one to the deep recesses of AT&T Park, it bounced off the brick wall, he turned the jets on and got himself a two-run inside-the-park homer:

That’s great, but give credit to Giants outfielder Carlos Moncrief for making it a pretty dang close play at the plate with his throw from right field once he caught up to the ball. Later in the game Moncrief would have a chance to show off that hose again:

Orioles 6, Angels 2: Mike Trout homered on his 26th birthday to tie things up at two in the sixth inning and earlier he doubled to collect his 1,000th career hit. Manny Machado and the Orioles would be the ones celebrating, however, as he hit a grand slam in the seventh to give the Orioles their third win in a row and their eighth in ten games. Dylan Bundy struck out ten Angels in seven innings of two-run work.

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.