He's working with Baden Sports, the Federal Way-based firm that has become well-known for its sports equipment and already has drawn interest from its lastest baseball product.
It's a new bat called the Axe, made of maple with a handle that's shaped like, you guessed it, the handle of an axe. Buhner and Rusty Trudeau, Baden's basebal and softball sales manager, have been in the batting cages this morning showing it to Mariners hitting coach Alan Cockrell and a few hitters. Jack Hannahan and some minor leaguers took some swings with it.
The idea, Trudeau said, is based on stories that Ted Williams would swing an axe in the offeseason to build his swing. The flatter shape of an axe handle fits the hand better than a perfectly round bat. Not only that, but the knob is angled such that Buhner believes hitters won't suffer problems with hand fatigue or hamate bone injuries that are more common with a traditional bat.
It's a maple bat with the grain positioned to reduce breakage, another intriguing aspect considering the number of broken bats that have sent wood pinwheeling onto the field and, sometimes, into the stands.
Trudeau says Major League Baseball has given provisional approval to the bat.
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