Buck Showalter, the former manager of the York City, calls for significant modifications after more than a dozen Mets are affected by pitches

Buck Showalter, the former manager of the York City, calls for significant modifications after more  ...

Something must be done.

After seeing 11 of his batters hit pitches in the first week of the season, the manager said. Two of the club's stars and recovered from serious injury after getting plunked in the head.

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According to Showalter, pitchers haven't learned to throw without the use of, and are having trouble gripping the ball.

"Let's be honest about it," Showalter said of the pitchers, who took it too far with the Spider Tack, made it a pitching advantage with spin rate and everything and now I'm not sure we haven't gone too far the other way. Trying to grip a baseball that has been rubbed with dirt in April and early May and October is real slick. I'm not sure whether or not we have gone too far either.

Showalter isn't just complaining and sticking up for his batters. The 65-year-old has a solution:

"I've always pushed for a universal pitching rag behind the mound where guys can tap their fingers and you won't have guys getting hit nearly as much. I think a lot of hit-by-pitches are guys that can't grip the baseball.... Let's say everybody hit without batting gloves, pine tar, and wraps around your bat. Because a pitcher is supposed to have his tool without gripping it, yet a batter can do whatever he wants to grip a

Showalter, a one-time captain, will make his debut as the Mets' manager on Friday as the club prepares to face the Hurricane Katrina.

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Mike Rosenstein may be reached at the address.

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