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Doumit welcomes equipment changes at catcher

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • August 23, 2013 - 12:06 AM

 

– The Twins are looking at how catchers are dropping across the league because of concussions and hoping Major League Baseball comes up with some solutions.

Five catchers are on the league’s seven-day concussion disabled list, including the Twins’ Joe Mauer. Ryan Doumit, who hit a three-run homer on Thursday, was recently activated from the DL after taking a foul tip off his facemask during a game in Kansas City.

“I would think they would do something,” Doumit said.

Doumit said he’s all for testing new equipment that could help absorb blows better. He’s also a realist. If a 95-miles-per-hour fastball is foul-tipped off his facemask, what can he do? But he said he’s even willing to try heavier masks if it improves his chances of avoiding a concussion.

It might be too late in the season for catchers to try out new headgear, but Doumit wouldn’t mind testing new masks in spring training.

The league is expected to respond to the rash of catchers suffering concussions. In an interview on Wednesday, Dr. Gary Green, MLB’s medical director, said he’s gathering information and hopes to make recommendations to the league.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is very concerned about how catchers can suffer head injuries — especially since he has a perennial All-Star catcher on his roster — and would like to see something done.

“Baseball, I’m sure, is going to find more ways to protect them,” Gardenhire said, “and I don’t know what it is going to be. We had a long conversation with our trainer about all the types of different things they can try to limit that blow on the mask, from shock absorbers to air-filled masks. I’m sure there is going to be a lot more talk now because of this rash” of concussions.

Arcia can play

Oswaldo Arcia swung in the batting cage before Thursday’s game and was available off the bench.

Arcia, bothered by a sore left wrist, told the Twins that he could start if needed, but the team decided to be cautious.

“It’s better,” Arcia said. “When I try to pull, there is some pain.”

Hitting coach Tom Brunansky pointed out during the session that Arcia was holding his bat during his follow-through longer than in game situations. Once Arcia took his top hand off the bat earlier, he didn’t experience much pain. The Twins feel he can play without further damaging his wrist, but it will take a few more days before he’s close to 100 percent.

Hendriks to start

The Twins announced on Thursday that righthander Liam Hendriks will start on Saturday at Cleveland as he replaces righthander Kyle Gibson in the starting rotation. Gibson was sent to Class AAA Rochester on Monday following a run of poor starts. In 16 starts for the Red Wings, Hendriks was 4-8 with a 4.67 ERA. He’s 0-1, 3.94 in three starts with the Twins.

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