WARNING: Playing baseball is increasingly hazardous to kids' health.
That's the message from a California lawmaker who is proposing legislation to impose a three-year moratorium on the use of metal or composite bats in high school baseball games.
Assemblyman Jared Huffman is pushing for a crackdown after Gunnar Sandberg, 16, was critically injured while pitching for Marin Catholic High School when he was struck in the head March 11 by a line drive from a player using a metal bat.
The San Rafael Democrat called the incident a wake-up call to protect pitchers from laser-like drives hit by "performance-enhancing metal bats" while they stand virtually unprotected less than 60 feet from home plate after releasing the ball.
"I think we can anticipate that if we don't step in at some point and do something, we're going to see more and more juicing of bats through new technologies," Huffman said.
Sandberg remained in critical condition Thursday in Marin General Hospital, spokeswoman Ashley Shah said.
Huffman said his three-year moratorium would buy time to explore options that could range from stiffer bat-performance standards to protective headgear for pitchers or a ban on non-wood bats.
Bat manufacturers and other opponents of a moratorium counter that claims of increased danger are nonsense.
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