Should High School Baseball Players Use Metal Bats?

Long Beach player seriously injured by a ball hit from a metal bat, raising questions whether metal bats should be banned from high school games

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Should metal bats be banned in high school games?

    Christian Hurtado, 15, is out of the hospital and back at the practice field at Long Beach's Jordan High School, recovering after suffering a serious injury caused by a ball hit by a metal bat.

    The baseball hit Hurtado in the head at more than 100 miles per hour. A sophomore, he was pitching for Jordan High School when that line drive took him down.

    "I didn't feel it, but as soon as I hit the ground I started feeling a whole bunch of pain," said Hurtado.

    It put Hurtado in the hospital for six days. He suffered a brain contusion, blood spotting, and he won't be able to play again for at least three months.

    Like most high schools, Jordan's ballplayers use aluminum bats. The same bats California is looking at banning after several players were hit in the head like Hurtado.

    A moratorium would ban aluminum bats for two years, as experts study to see whether they are safe, but there is divided opinion on whether such a ban would work.

    Most players like the aluminum bats, but some admit it might be safer if only younger players used them.

    "In high school, varsity teams should not be allowed to use aluminum bats. I think J.V. and freshman teams should be allowed, because that just adds to the game," said Victor Torres, a player for Jordan High School.

    Back in his playing days, Hurtado's coach Mark Prager took a line drive to the head that broke two bones and caused a concussion. He likes a moratorium not just for safety reasons, but also because he believes aluminum bats make it too easy to get hits.

    "A kid can get a cheap hit off an aluminum bat, where maybe not as a wood bat. A wood bat might turn into an out," said Prager.

    Metal bat supporters say there's not enough evidence to support a ban.

    Hurtado's teammates, meanwhile, are happy he's on his way back to the mound.