Major League Baseball pitchers may have the option to wear protective–or padded–headgear on the mound next year. The specialized hats will not be mandatory.
Brandon McCarthy, who had a harrowing and almost life-threatening experience on the mound when a line drive smacked him squarely in the head when he was pitching for the Oakland A’s in 2012, said the new gear will be available this season.
“They’re coming,” McCarthy told Fox Sports. “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.
An MLB spokesperson said, “One product that has passed the testing standards should be available to players for next season. We are still evaluating a number of other potential products. Our conversations with the MLBPA are ongoing. We expect this issue to continue to evolve, but we believe this is an important first step.”
McCarthy said though the headgear does look “ridiculous,” the gear “should be strong enough and capable enough that literally if I got hit by the same exact ball, I would have been able to keep pitching in that game.”
Breitbart Sports previously reported that padded caps that were submitted to MLB before last season were not quite ready. McCarthy’s comments come after former baseball player Ryan Freel, who committed suicide last winter, became the first MLB player diagnosed with CTE.