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February 26, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Mariners being given new “Axe” bats to try

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So, what do Jay Buhner and Ted Williams have in common? Not career batting average, that’s for sure. But Buhner is down here, helping a Federal Way-based bat company, Baden Sports, promote a new type of maple bat for players to use.
The bat is called the “Axe” and a company sales manager, Rusty Trudeau, says the name was inspired by legendary slugger Williams, who once said he wishes bat handles could be designed like an axe handle.
Supposedly, axe handles are shaped to fit more comfortably into a hand, and that’s how this bat has been contoured.


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MLB has given provisional approaval to the bats. One of the benefits of it is that it will apparently shatter less often than traditional bats. That’s because, if held correctly so the hand fits the “axe handle”, the hitter will make contact with the ball using the strongest part of the wood — with the lable turned away.
“Obviously, this won’t work if you’re the type of hitter who likes to go up there and twirl the bat, move it around to get comfortable,” Trudeau said, spinning the bat around his hands. “This won’t be for everybody.”
So far, Jack Hannahan is said to have tried it out, along with hitting coach Allan Cockrell and a handful of minor leaguers. The M’s will be given more bats to try during batting practice.
Broken bats have big a big problem in MLB over the past several seasons, especially the maple variety. Russell Branyan broke roughly 130 of them last season, including several in one early-season series in Minneapolis that went flying towards spectators in the stands.
Besides reducing the amount of broken bats and letting hitters square-up with the strongest part of the wood, the new bats could also ease pressure on the hammate bone of the hand by allowing a more comfortable, relaxed grip.
We’ll see how hitters like them in the days ahead.

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