San Diego Padres reliever pitcher Alex Torres was the first Major League Baseball pitcher to use the protective cap that the MLB agreed to back in January in a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night at Petco Park in San Diego. Torres pitched one inning for the Padres. He gave up one run on two walks and a single, while also stroking out two. The Padres lost the Dodgers 4-2.
Until this past Saturday, no other pitcher in the league had worn the new hat, not even Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who was forced to undergo emergency surgery after getting hit in the head by a line drive back in 2012 when he was pitching for the Oakland Athletics . Torres was the first to do so.
“Hopefully, in a couple years, they can come up with something that everyone wears and that you don’t notice it being on your head while out there,” McCarthy said to ESPN after the cap was unveiled back in January. “I hope it gets there. … But right now, it’s just not there.”
McCarthy stated that the cap was too big, too itchy and too hot to wear on a consistent basis. The protective baseball cap has over a half of inch more padding in the front part of the hat and more than inch more on the sides of it.
However, the reported irritation of the cap didn’t stop Torres from ordering one within the last month. The 26-year-old left handed pitcher, who has has been in the majors since making his debut in 2011, had supposedly been wearing it on-and-off while playing catch over the last week. He dismissed the claims that the hat is too uncomfortable.
“The difference between how this hat and the regular hat feels isn’t much,” Torres said to MLB.com. “I tried it before using it in the game, playing catch. It doesn’t feel really bad. It doesn’t feel like how it looks on my head.”
But safety is much more important to Torres than style or feel.
“It could save our lives, if someone hits a ball to your head,” Torres stated. “I get it for free, so I’m just gonna to use it to see how it feels.”
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