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Bat Scan to the Rescue: New Clubhouse CT Scanner Helps Eliminate Exploding Bats

Thirty-second Scan Can Uncover Hidden Defects in Maple Bats Before Disaster

Strikes for Fans, Players and Coaches

CLEVELAND, June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The world's first baseball-bat dedicated application of a portable, battery-operated CT scanner -- able to detect hidden flaws or developed stress within Major League Baseball bats by scanning the bat end-to-end in 30 seconds -- will be introduced as BatteryMate(TM) on June 27, 2008, at the Society For American Baseball Research's (SABR) National Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, by Universal Medical Systems, Inc. (UMS) of Ohio in cooperation with Penn State's Center for Quantitative Imaging.

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"Our CT-scanning application -- in 30 seconds at any clubhouse or factory -- can help eliminate this Russian roulette Major League Baseball is playing right now with fans, players and coaches," says David Zavagno, president, UMS.

A fan, Susan Rhodes, needed jaw surgery after being struck by a maple bat at a Dodgers game in April. Just ten days before, Pittsburgh Pirates' hitting coach Don Long suffered a gash causing a damaged nerve leaving part of his upper lip without feeling after being hit by a splintered bat. Several managers, including John Russell (Pittsburgh Pirates), Jim Leyland (Detroit Tigers), Charlie Manuel (Philadelphia Phillies) and Joe Maddon (Tampa Bay Rays), have voiced concern over the serious danger caused by maple bats exploding.

A committee meeting consisting of representatives from the players' union, the Commissioner's office and Major League Baseball (MLB) teams will meet in New York on June 24, 2008, to discuss the workplace safety hazard caused by in-play breakage of maple bats.

"Once a crack has started it can explode along the direction of maximum stress much like you split wood with a wedge," says Dr. Phillip Halleck, co-director of Penn State's Center for Quantitative Imaging.

Data demonstrates raw maple may need to be chosen very carefully because hidden defects could cause breakage. The wood in maple bats is harder and denser than ash and supposedly more durable, but there is a greater chance of defect in a maple bat compared with a bat made of ash.

Hidden defects in the maple wood -- such as moisture or grain inconsistencies -- can cause dangerous breaks. When grading wood from ash, there's nearly absolute confidence the wood will make a non-dangerous bat. Since there are hidden defects in maple, that confidence cannot exist unless the bat is scanned.

While recent reports speculate a handful of measures are being considered at MLB's meeting on June 24 -- from an outright ban of maple bats to standardizing rules on the measurement of bat handles -- no reports about a maple bat defect identifier have been issued.

About BatteryMate(TM)

BatteryMate(TM) is a baseball-dedicated, non-destructive application of NeuroLogica's CereTom(R), a compact, lightweight, portable, high-speed, battery and 120-volt line powered multi-slice CT scanner that generates up to eight slices per revolution.

About Universal Medical Systems, Inc. of Ohio

Universal Medical Systems, Inc. (UMS) of Ohio is the leading innovative supplier of CT and MRI imaging systems worldwide. UMS offers medical, industrial and veterinary research imaging systems from desktop and portable CT scanners to high-energy systems. Headquartered in Cleveland, every UMS scanner is backed by an affiliated network of research and development and sales and service teams. UMS first developed baseball-dedicated applications using CT scanners in 2000. For more information visit:

About Dr. Phillip Halleck, Penn State Center for Quantitative Imaging

Dr. Halleck holds a B.A. in chemistry from the University of Rochester (1967) and a Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of Chicago (1973). He is an associate professor of Energy and Mineral Engineering and is co-director of the Center for Quantitative Imaging. He has taught courses in geology, geophysics, rock and fluid properties, well log analysis, and well production engineering.

About David R. Zavagno

David R. Zavagno, president of Universal Medical Systems, Inc., has non-destructively tested and documented the content of Major League baseballs covering almost 100 years. His insights and findings have appeared in numerous articles, broadcasts and interviews. He first utilized his diagnostic imaging technology to examine baseballs in 1994. For more information, contact Zavagno at 440-349-3210 or


SOURCE Universal Medical Systems, Inc. of Ohio
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