Under the Knife: Braun's Thumb, Harper's Knee, Pitcher Protection and More

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Under the Knife:  Braun's Thumb, Harper's Knee, Pitcher Protection and More
J. Meric/Getty Images

The best is the enemy of the better, and in some cases, the better seems to be the enemy of common sense.

Once again this week, the bigger story in sports medicine is not Ryan Braun's thumb, Bryce Harper's knee or even the continuing saga of the New York Yankees falling apart at the seams. Instead, it's a pitcher taking another ball off the head.

Alex Cobb will be OK after the ball dropped him to the turf. Unlike Brandon McCarthy and J.A. Happ, there was no skull fracture this time. That's hardly victory; it's luck. A bit more force, a bit worse location and Cobb suffers a worse injury.

(It's also worth noting that Ron Porterfield, the Rays' head athletic trainer, got to Cobb inside of 10 seconds and immediately called for a stretcher. That's the arms out gesture he made before even bending down to tend to Cobb.)

The issue is bigger than any one pitcher, and as the mainstream picks up on this, it could quickly become even more of an issue about the general safety of baseball. Football may have a concussion problem, but they're not above reminding parents that at least they have helmets.

Baseball's continued inaction on this is bad, but what is worse is that the pitchers themselves are doing nothing. There are solutions out there. Perfect? No, but as I said, the best is the enemy of the better. Pitchers are out there now with a glove that's doing them little or no good in these situations and...well, hope and luck.

If I can put together a kevlar lined hat in an afternoon, I'd hope that there's someone out there somewhere, that could assemble something significantly better. It's time that MLB helped find that someone and got that product out there before something is mandated.

There's a lot of other injuries around the league, so let's take a look: 

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