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We bought a new -3 (drop 3 BBCOR) two piece bat. Will it hurt the bat using it in a batting cage with rubber balls?
(This is adapted from our advice section)
We avoid hitting dimple balls with high end composite bats. Rubber balls don’t compress the same as baseballs (nor do they weight the same). As such, the odds of cracking the barrel increase with dimple balls. A cracked composite barrel is as good as done. We are more comfortable with an aluminum barrel because their response to a dimple ball is denting. And a dented bat, at least at some level, is still usable.
But your question was this: Will it hurt the bat?
In most cases we’d guess probably not. BBCOR bats are usually built with a ton of durability. If the pitch speed is reasonably slower than average (say 50mph or lower) and the hitter doesn’t have ridiculous bat speed (say under 80mph) then we’d guess you’ll be just fine. But, to be clear, that is just a general hunch based on our experience with dimple balls in the cage.
A few composite USSSA bats (not -3) are built so close to the limit and so delicate we likely would never hit a rubber or dimple ball with those (even off a tee). Same goes with composite USA Bats.
Price Check: Ebay.
In any event, we avoid our game bat in the cage with dimple balls entirely. Even if its a composite or an aluminum. If we are in a situation where we are using dimple balls then we’ll find an old aluminum or wood bat. If that new BBCOR bat of yours is also the game bat then we suggest you find another one to take into the rubber/dimple ball cage.
If you don’t have one of those, we’d suggest you do a search for an older 2015 BBCOR single piece aluminum bat on eBay. At the time of this writing we found a good bat NVS Vexxum in a 33/30 BBCOR for under $45.
As well, we should note, most manufactures have a warranty caveat if a bat has been hit with dimple balls. Meaning they have the right to deny the warranty if its been hit by dimple balls.
In practice, however, most vendors and manufactures are pretty good about honoring warranties unless the buyer is a serial offender or the break on the bat shows some pretty obvious tampering.