Major League Baseball is working to find suitable protective headgear for pitchers, but they’re not ready to approve any of the products that have been test thus far. MLB senior vice president Dan Halem told ESPN’s Outside the Lines that there will be no cap lining or padded caps ready for Opening Day.
“If I had a product that passed [high-speed impact] tests, it’d be out there tomorrow,” Halem said. More on brain buckets, via Outside The Lines:
MLB commissioned tests on two padded cap prototypes from EvoShield and received test data on two others from Unequal Technologies, according to Halem. But the results, Halem said, showed none of the four products from the two protective sports gear manufacturers were sufficiently effective against baseballs traveling at velocities that can exceed 100 mph.
Brandon McCarthy, who underwent brain surgery after taking a line drive off his head last September, may be asked to test some new prototypes once they’re available.
McCarthy spoke about protective headgear earlier this spring:
“The stuff that’s out there already is no good at all. It seems like it’s still a long way away. I don’t even care if it’s MLB-approved. I just want something that’s functionally approved by me.
I purchased a couple of cricket helmets on my own to see if I could make something out of it, if it was something that worked,” he said. “I actually feel like even with the face mask and all, I could get used to that quicker than I could with a half-shell [hard] helmet [like first- and third-base coaches and some catchers wear].”
Although MLB isn’t quite ready to endorse a particular headgear product, Halem notes that pitchers do not need the league’s approval to wear caps with protective lining.
It appears as though it’s just a matter of time before MLB approves protective headgear for pitchers.