The idea of a major league pitcher wearing a helmet is no longer as crazy as it once seemed.
Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who suffered a serious injury in 2012 when a line drive struck him on the side of the head, told FOX Sports’ Jimmy Traina on Wednesday that MLB pitchers might have the option to wear protective headgear as soon as the upcoming season.
“They’re coming,” McCarthy said of the headgear on FOX Sports’ The Buzz podcast. “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.”
The headgear will likely look like a hat, although, according to McCarthy, it probably won’t win any fashion contests any time soon. Then again, if the headgear protects pitchers from serious injuries, many hurlers will probably trade style for safety.
“It 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,” McCarthy said, referring to his 2012 incident.
It might be a few years before some pitchers come around to the idea of wearing headgear that differs from a traditional baseball cap, and the exact specifications of the final product are unknown. All indications are that headgear will be an option for pitchers sooner rather than later, though, and the concept is the latest proof that even non-contact sports like baseball are taking head injuries seriously nowadays.
“One product that has passed the testing standards should be available to players for next season,” an MLB spokesperson reportedly told FOX Sports when reached for comment. “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.”