How much should freak accidents guide sports’ rules? The horrifying injury to Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ during a game last week, when he was struck in the head by a hard line drive, was an incredibly rare event — yet still raises questions about whether pitchers are adequately protected.
Only 60 ½ feet from home plate, pitchers have little time to react to a fast drive like the one that rocketed off the bat of Desmond Jennings in the second inning of a game in St. Petersburg. Unable to raise his glove fast enough to protect himself, Happ crumpled to the ground as the ball bounded off his head. He was hospitalized with a head bruise and cut to his ear.