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Research by US Forest Service helps decrease amount of shattered bats in Major League Baseball

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says research by the Forest Service has helped reduce the amount of shattered bats in Major League Baseball.

Vilsack lauded the work of the Forest Service in a press release on Friday. He says it "will make baseball games safer for players and fans across the nation."

Researchers at the Forest Products Laboratory have analyzed thousands of shattered bats, leading to manufacturing changes that have decreased the rate of shattered maple bats by more than 50 percent since 2008. They found that inconsistency of wood quality used in major league bats was the main cause.

Daniel Halem, senior vice president of labor relations for Major League Baseball, also praised the research, calling it "outstanding work."

The research team will continue to study the issue this season.