Major League Baseball has approved protective caps for pitchers the first time, according to ESPN’s William Weinbaum.
The caps are optional for pitchers and will be available at the start of spring training.
4Licensing Corporation subsidiary isoBlox, will manufacture the caps and the company states the caps weigh seven ounces more than normal MLB caps, which only weigh three or four ounces.
The protective caps are a little over half-an-inch thicker in the front and an inch thicker on the sides — near the temples — than normal caps. The extra thickness will provide protection for frontal impact locations against line drives of up to 90 mph and for side impact locations at up to 85 mph.
“Four of the five pitchers who were hit in the head since Sept. 2012, including those most seriously injured — McCarthy, Happ and the Tampa Bay Rays’ Alex Cobb — were struck below the cap line. MLB, however, hasn’t contemplated exploring protective headgear for pitchers with broader coverage, such as a visor, mask or helmet, said Halem (MLB executive vice president for labor relations). “There would have to be widespread willingness among players to use such a device.”
This move is similar to MLB mandating base coaches to wear batting helmets for protection from line drives. Pitchers coming up in the league will likely be more receptive towards the protective caps while current pitchers will stay with the standard caps because it is what they are familiar with.