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After Tyler Colvin And Cliff Lee Hit By Splinters, Is It Time To Ban Maple Bats?

We've all heard it in past years about maple bats and how they splinter and shatter into larger chunks compared to other types of wood bats. The gravity of the danger didn't set in until last Sunday when Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin was struck in the chest - impaled, technically - by a splinter of Wellington Castillo's maple bat. Colvin was lucky that the splinter landed a few inches away from his heart and avoided serious injury.

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Cliff Lee was equally lucky on Thursday night in Oakland. Jack Cust had his maple broken bat come flying back at Lee - and Lee found himself with a cut behind his ear. While a cut behind the ear may not seem like much of an injury, and it certainly didn't receive the attention that Tyler Colvin did, it could have just been equally disastrous. What if the splinter struck Lee in the eye instead of the ear? Or into his eardrum? 

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There's got to be some sort of solution to this. I'm not normally one to preach athlete safety but when two players in one week could have suffered extreme injuries, something has to be done. Jeff Passan at Yahoo! Sports talks about BatGlove, which is "nothing more than a piece of polymeric tape manufactured by 3M that is wrapped along the bat’s handle to the 18-inch mark and purports to keep the bat together amid breakage."

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Whether it's BatGlove, a different type of maple bat or just a ban on maple bats, Bud Selig and Major League Baseball need to do something about this and soon. We're fortunate we didn't witness two really gruesome injuries or worse this past week.

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.