Saturday, Oct. 2, 2010
By Patrick MooneyCSNChicago.com
HOUSTON There are still restrictions on Tyler Colvin, who couldnt fly to Houston to visit his teammates this weekend. The Cubs outfielder wont lift weights for another six weeks, but hes been cleared to begin running, and he has no trouble breathing.
Colvins outlook could have been much different if the shattered piece of a maple bat pierced his heart or neck instead of his chest. That freak accident on Sept. 19 in Miami opened a national debate. But he isnt about to make it his cause.
I cant say much about it because I use maple bats, Colvin said Saturday on a teleconference from his fiances home in West Virginia. It happens and Major League Baseball is doing a good job of reducing the number of broken bats. I think theyll keep working on it and get it better.
It drew the attention of commissioner Bud Selig, who contacted Colvin as he recovered from a collapsed lung at a Miami hospital. Colvin, the teams assistant union representative, hasnt seriously considered not using maple bats anymore.
If somebody really made me, I guess Id have to, Colvin said. But (bats are) going to break and Ive seen ash bats break like that before. As long as they keep trying to improve them and make them better, I dont see whats wrong with them.
Two weeks ago, the 25-year-old turned his head and moved down the third-base line as Welington Castillos double soared toward the left-field wall at Sun Life Stadium. At first it didnt register that the sharp edge of Castillos bat stabbed him.
Colvin thought he was out of breath as he walked back to the dugout until Jeff Samardzija told him he was bleeding. Colvin would have a tube in his chest for a few days, ending a promising rookie season in which he lived up to the potential the Cubs saw when they made him the 13th overall pick in the 2006 draft.
Its been kind of tough just (because) the season wasnt over and Im sitting at home right now with all my teammates playing the season out, Colvin said. Were playing so well right now and I wish I could be a part of that. But I know I need to get better and be ready for next year.
Colvin will presumably handle this like he has everything else this year without getting caught up in all they hype. No one expected him to make the team out of spring training, but he absolutely crushed the pitching in Arizona and eventually became more of an every-day player.
In 358 at-bats, Colvin hit .254 with 20 homers, 56 RBI and a .316 on-base percentage. He finished with 100 strikeouts and 30 walks. There are no immediate plans to have him start working again at first base.
Theres nothing to (be concerned) about playing at this level defensively, manager Mike Quade said. He can fool around at first. Thats always in the back of your mind somewhere if need be. But hes a solid corner guy in the outfield. (Hes) just got to continue to get better identifying pitches and being a good, disciplined power-type guy.
Colvin has already spoken with Castillo, who was also his teammate coming up through the minor-league system. The message to Castillo was simple: Dont worry about it. Theres nothing you could have done about it. Keep playing. That will be Colvins mindset as well.
I'm still going (to) play the same way I always did, he said. It's not going to scare me to go out there on the field again, if that's what you're implying.
Patrick Mooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. Follow Patrick on Twitter @CSNMooney for up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.