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Angels' Bobby Wilson concerned about effects of concussion

The catcher, who is on the seven-day concussion disabled list, has asked about research that could be done on equipment to better prevent head injuries.

June 10, 2012|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Los Angeles Angels catcher Bobby Wilson throws during spring training.
Los Angeles Angels catcher Bobby Wilson throws during spring training. (Mark Duncan / Associated…)

DENVER — Bobby Wilson has had some down time to investigate the injury that sent him to the seven-day concussion disabled list Tuesday, and the Angels catcher did not like what he found.

Whether it was the suicide of former NFL linebacker Junior Seau, which some think may have been caused by repetitive brain injuries; several concussion-related lawsuits in the NFL; or head injuries suffered by fellow catchers, Wilson was disturbed by the information.

"This concussion thing is big — especially in football — it's a serious thing," Wilson said. "It can cause brain damage when your brain jiggles around in your skull. I wouldn't wish this feeling on anybody."

It's a feeling Wilson has experienced too often. The foul ball he took off the facemask last Monday caused the fourth concussion of his career; his worst came in a violent home-plate collision with New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira in April 2010.

Wilson is the third major league catcher to go on the concussion DL this season, following Cleveland's Carlos Santana, who took a foul ball off the mask, and the New York Mets' Josh Thole, who was injured in a collision.

Wilson asked a players union representative Saturday whether research could be done on equipment that might better prevent concussions. He's already planning to switch from a titanium mask to one made of steel and coated with better shock-absorbing plastic.

"It's a little thicker, a little heavier," Wilson said. "But it's worth the extra protection."

Wilson, who took over as starter in early May after Chris Iannetta broke his wrist, passed a concussion test Saturday and will be examined Monday. He hopes to return by the weekend.

No governor switch

Mike Trout nearly made a spectacular leaping catch of Tyler Colvin's three-run homer in the second inning Sunday, but the ball squirted out of his glove as the Angels center fielder crashed into the wall.

Trout also slammed into the right-center-field wall going for a Carlos Gonzalez double he had no chance of catching in the first inning. He has dived for balls well out of his reach this season, and he often goes head-first into bases.

Trout's competitive fire and gritty play — his uniform is usually filthy by the second inning — are reminiscent of former Angel Darin Erstad, the ultra-aggressive outfielder whose often-brilliant career was often interrupted by injury.

Which raises the question: Would Trout, 20, be better off conceding a hit here or there in an effort to avoid major injury? Manager Mike Scioscia thinks not.

"You have to play baseball," Scioscia said. "I think when you play aggressively you have a natural internal mechanism that protects you. If you try to slide gingerly, not go as hard, you could get in awkward position because you take athleticism out of the equation. I think that puts you more at risk than playing aggressively."

Stay the course

As Trout has solidified an outfield spot, Peter Bourjos' playing time dwindles; the center fielder has started two of the last nine games and is most often used as a late-inning defensive replacement.

But Scioscia said there is no current plan to send Bourjos, a starter in 2011, to triple A, where the 25-year-old can play every day.

"It's something you consider, but there's a role for Peter right now," Scioscia said. "It's not the role he got used to last year, but he's going to help us win games."

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