Major league infielders debate comfort versus protection

There's a new undergarment debate raging among major league infielders, and no, it's not boxers versus briefs.

It's whether to play without a protective cup.

The discussion was prompted by an unusual injury suffered by Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre, who was put on the disabled list last week after a ground ball caused a severely bruised right testicle.

Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen, always quick to offer a colorful take, called Beltre's decision not to wear a cup "ballsy."

"I can't believe a guy is playing third base without a cup," Guillen told "That's a dangerous place."

Among the infielders who confessed to playing without protection are Oakland second baseman Mark Ellis and Detroit counterpart Placido Polanco. They said it's primarily a comfort issue.

Athletics infielder Nomar Garciaparra told the website he has always worn a cup, but if he didn't, "I'm definitely taking ground balls off to the side and not using proper form."


Trivia time

Beltre hit a career-high 48 homers with the Dodgers in 2004 despite playing with an injury that bothered him for much of the season. What was the injury?


Cheap eats

Premium seats to New York Yankees home games still cost as much as $1,250 after the team agreed to lower prices, but there is a way to enjoy luxury box fare gratis.

By being homeless.

According to the New York Times, Yankee Stadium donates its prepared, unserved food to the needy after every game. Rock and Wrap It Up, an antipoverty think tank, arranges for churches, shelters and agencies to receive postgame leftovers for their pantries, food banks and soup kitchens.

One item to avoid: the N.Y. Grill steak sandwiches. One blogger said they "looked like E.T. when he was dying . . . tastes like it too."


Likely story

Chris Brown claimed he had strained an eyelid by sleeping "funny" on it. Aaron Rowand said he tweaked his shoulder by playing tag with neighborhood kids.

Add to the list of the-dog-bit-my-rotator-cuff injury excuses the story told by Philadelphia pitcher Brett Myers, who declared that one of his eyes was swollen shut after his 4-year-old son, Kolt, threw a baseball at him.

At least Myers had enough sense to quickly amend his story, saying he slipped getting out of his truck, hit his face and suffered significant swelling around his eye.

Actually, Adam J. of isn't buying that excuse either.

"OK, yes, that sounds a little better," he wrote. "But what did he slip on? It's Clearwater, Fla. In August. We're pretty sure the ice isn't exactly 'taking' down there just yet."


Trivia answer

A bone spur in his left ankle.


And finally

A review of NCAA Football 10 on notes that sideline reporter Erin Andrews' head shot pops up to alert game players of injuries, but her reports are so long that they often carry over into the next play.

"Sideline reports are annoying enough during real broadcasts," the review lamented, "[so] we hardly need them added to our video games."


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