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home : sports : regional February 5, 2016

1/29/2014
Quick Hits

MLB

Protective Caps Approved for Pitchers

NEW YORK -- Big league pitchers might feel safer on the mound this season.

Major League Baseball approved a protective cap for pitchers, hoping to reduce the damage from line drives to head. The heavier, bigger hat was introduced Tuesday and will be available for testing during spring training on a voluntary basis. Major leaguers and minor leaguers won't be required to wear it.

"Obviously, it'd be a change," two-time Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers told the MLB Network. "I'm definitely not opposed to it."

Safety plates made by isoBLOX are sewn into the hat and custom fitted. They weigh an extra six to seven ounces -- a baseball weighs about five ounces, by comparison -- and offer protection to the forehead, temples and sides of the head. They'll make the hats about a half-inch thicker in the front and around an inch wider on the sides.

Several pitchers have been hit in the head by line drives in the recent seasons. Brandon McCarthy sustained a brain contusion and skull fracture after being struck in 2012 and Doug Fister was hit during the World Series that October.




Toronto's J.A. Happ and Tampa Bay's Alex Cobb were sidelined after being hit last year.

SKIING

Norway Teenager Wins WC Slalom Under Lights

SCHLADMING, Austria -- Norwegian teenager Henrik Kristoffersen upset the Olympic slalom favorites by winning a World Cup night race on Tuesday.

In front of a ski-mad crowd of 45,000, the 19-year-old Kristoffersen beat Marcel Hirscher and Felix Neureuther by putting in a blistering second run for his first career victory.

Americans Ted Ligety and Bode Miller both failed to finish their opening runs after straddling a gate early.

Miller, coming off two podium finishes in Kitzbuehel last weekend, hiked back up the hill to complete his run but faulted again at another gate.

Ligety, meanwhile, had a fast start and led Matt by 0.02 at the first split time before his mishap occurred.

NASCAR

Ganassi Racing Has Talked to Busch About Indy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Chip Ganassi Racing has had a preliminary discussion with Kurt Busch about running the Indianapolis 500.

"I've talked to him," Ganassi team President Steve Lauletta said Tuesday. "I don't know if it's going to work for us. We haven't gotten to a point where we know if we can run a fifth car for the Indy 500. If we did that, then we'd be able to have a more detailed conversation. But we haven't made that decision yet."

Busch put his chances Monday at "70 percent" at running the 500 this year. He said his options were Andretti Autosport and one other team he declined to identify. He also said his first choice would be to partner with Andretti because he tested with the team last season.

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER: Formula One drivers offered messages of support Tuesday to German great Michael Schumacher, who remains in a coma a month after a skiing accident.

Mercedes included a message for Schumacher on the side of its new Formula One car, while four-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel said he was praying for his friend and countryman.

Drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg unveiled Mercedes' silver-and-turquoise W05 before the first session of the preseason began at the Jerez track. The upper part of its chassis just behind the driver's seat carries the Twitter hashtag #KeepFightingMichael.

"I have known him for a long time and have been looking up to him all my life," Vettel said. "I'm still shocked as everyone and obviously I pray and hope a miracle will happen and he will come back and be the person he has always been before."

Schumacher suffered severe head injuries while skiing in the French Alps on Dec. 29 and has been in an induced coma since. He remains in stable condition.

COLLEGE

Student Athletes Take Step Toward Forming Union

CHICAGO -- Calling the NCAA a "dictatorship," a handful of Northwestern football players announced Tuesday they are forming the first labor union for college athletes -- one they hope will eventually represent players nationwide.

Quarterback Kain Colter detailed the College Athletes Players Association at a news conference in Chicago, flanked by leaders of United Steelworkers union, who are ending their organizing expertise to the effort. Colter said the NCAA dictates terms to its hundreds of member schools and thousands of college athletes, leaving players with little or no say about financial compensation questions or how to improve their own safety.

"The current model represents a dictatorship," he said.

CAPA's president, former UCLA football player Ramogi Huma, said it is an issue of fairness for a game that generates billions "off the players' talent." Not only don't college athletes get paid, he said, but scholarships typically don't cover many basic living expenses.

For now, the push to unionize only applies to private schools like Northwestern -- though large public universities, which are subject to different sets of regulations, could follow, said Huma, who is also the head of the National College Players Association he founded in 2001 to lobby for the interests of college athletes.

"This will be the first domino," Huma said.







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