Last year it was a face guard.
This year, Giancarlo Stanton is experimenting with yet another new piece of equipment in response to an injury — a new bat, one with a flared, tapered handle designed to ease the pressure on his hands.
Stanton, who missed the second half of last season after breaking the hamate bone in his left hand, has been using the Axe Bat at spring training to see if it’s something that will help him swing pain-free.
Whether Stanton continues to use the bat once the season starts remains to be seen.
“We’ll see how it goes after swinging over and over again,” Stanton said. “It hasn’t been painful.”
Stanton was expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks after he injured his hand and underwent surgery in late June. Instead, Stanton remained out the rest of the season.
“Last year, I was searching for anything to not be painful,” Stanton said.
So Stanton ordered the new bat — one used last season by Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia — hoping it would help.
“It’s what I used in the offseason to prepare myself,” Stanton said. “It’s good. I like them. We’ll have to re-evaluate in two weeks to make sure it’s fully ready. In my eyes, it should be.”
Hugh Tompkins, director of research and development for Baden Sports, the company that created the Axe Bat, told Yahoo! Sports last season that he feels the bat is the wave of the future.
“I think it’s only a matter of time before the axe-shaped handle is the standard,” Tompkins told Yahoo!. “The round-handled bat will be like a rotary telephone.”
Stanton said he’ll also continue using his specially designed helmet, which comes with a face guard. Stanton began wearing the helmet after being struck in the face with a pitch toward the end of the 2014 season.