Because this blog is focused on public-service journalism, I like to occasionally answer reader questions, especially when they’re accompanied by large photos.

“What’s the deal with that thing on Jayson Werth’s thumb?” a reader asked this week.

Turns out it’s a foam shock absorber thing, which many major league stars also wear to, you know, absorb shock. Werth wears his every game, although there aren’t televised close-ups of it every game, which is why some readers and maybe even professional sports bloggers might have been initially confused.

And not every major league star finds these to be comfortable. From Mark Zuckerman last month, after Bryce Harper jammed his left thumb:

Earlier in the morning, he was toying around with a foam thumb ring that many players use to absorb shock. Harper took batting practice with it, but ditched it come gametime.

“I can’t wear it,” he said afterward. “I’ll wear it during BP and in the on-deck circle. But going to the plate, I don’t like the feeling, so I’m not going to use it.”

At this point, it’s tough to question anything Harper does. He’s now hitting .431 for the spring.

Just imagine what his average would be if he wore a foam thumb ring, though.

That concludes today’s experiment with public-service journalism. Please continue to send me your most important questions.