Brandon McCarthy revealed protective head gear for pitchers should be available in time for the 2014 on Jimmy Traina’s Fox Sports Buzzer podcast. McCarthy took a liner off the side of the head during the 2012 season pitching for Oakland, which left him with multiple injuries including epidural hemorrhage, a brain contusion, and a skull fracture. In the wake of the injury he’s helped MLB explore options toward increasing safety for pitchers.
McCarthy said that with the new protective gear he’d have been able to remain pitching in the game he was injured.
“They’re coming,” McCarthy said of the headgear. “From everything I know they’ll be available this year. I don’t believe they’re going to be mandatory. Actually, I’m almost certain they won’t be mandatory.
“I did get a chance to sit down with the head MLB doctor last year during spring training, who’s overseeing the whole thing, and it has been a high priority for them. It’s just that there has been very few answers. We both agreed on it not being mandatory at the time, there’s just no need to do that. But whatever gets proposed has to be correct or we’re not really doing too much.”
It’s time MLB came up with something to protect pitchers. In recent years we’ve seen far too many nasty-looking incidents, such as what happened to Alex Cobb this summer, happen. Whatever sort of padding that can be applied to a pitcher’s cap, so long as it doesn’t screw up the balance of his pitching motion is smart.
It’ll bear watching how many pitchers, will decide to wear these new protective caps assuming they’re approved for the 2014 season. Athletes often are creatures of habit. There’s also the underlining machismo element which might make some players reluctant.
However it plays out, this is a positive development. That eerie silence after a pitcher has been hit by a batted ball in the head is one of the worst moments in sports.