Selig visits Wrigley, discusses broken-bat issue

Selig visits Wrigley, discusses broken-bat issue

CHICAGO -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said experts are looking at ways to reduce the number of broken maple bats in the wake of the frightening moment when Cubs outfielder Tyler Colvin was struck in the chest while running toward home from third base.

Studies have shown that the number of broken maple bats has dropped 50 percent since 2008.

"Is it enough? No," Selig said Friday at Wrigley Field. "We've got the remaining 50 percent to do, and when you watch something like the Tyler Colvin incident, it scares you."

Colvin's chest was punctured by a broken bat as he ran from third to home last Sunday in Miami. The rookie outfielder is done for the season. On Thursday, Texas pitcher Cliff Lee was hit behind the ear by a broken bat.

"We're making progress," said Selig, who called Colvin when he was in the hospital to wish him well. "All the experts think they may have some solutions. So hopefully, this offseason, we can finish solving the problem. We need to do more."

Selig said that the Major League Baseball Players Association is very much involved in the discussions, but he added, "players want to use maple bats."

Cubs pitcher Tom Gorzelanny has had to deal with his share of comebackers this season, including a line drive by the Pirates' Jose Tabata on Sept. 1 off his left hand. Gorzelanny made his first start since the incident on Friday against the Cardinals.

"It's one thing you can't control," Gorzelanny said of all the flying objects. "Things happen, balls fly, they find people.

"With Tyler, it was such a scary thing," he said. "It's not shocking, because of the way bats are these days. You see it all the time all year and they're not finding people, and the one time it does, bad things happen. You've got a guy with a punctured lung at home right now.

"Hopefully, something can be done about that," Gorzelanny said. "It's frightening. You don't think as a guy on base, running the bases, you're going to get hit. The closest person to getting hit is the pitcher. You've got baseballs flying back at you and bats flying back at you. It's part of the game. You hope the bat aspect, you can control it. The ball, you can't control."

On other subjects, Selig said the economy is to blame for the slight drop in baseball's attendance. The Cubs, however, entered Friday's game on the verge of topping 3 million fans for the seventh straight season.

Selig spent some time with former Cubs third baseman Ron Santo to discuss whether to add more instant replay to baseball. Santo is against it.

"It's a game of pace," Selig said, "and you have to be very careful not to disturb that."

The Commissioner declined to speculate about the Cubs hosting a future All-Star Game. The Cubs would like to do so in 2014, which is the ballpark's 100th anniversary. Selig did spend time with Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts on Friday.

"I've talked to him a lot," Selig said of Ricketts, who took over the team a year ago. "He did something today when I got here which I found fascinating, since I used to do it myself. We walked out onto the main concourse and he talked to everybody and shook hands. In Milwaukee, I used to do the same thing. He said he goes to the concession stand sometimes and buys things. I think he's off to a very good start."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.