12/19/2013 4:48 P.M. ET
Protective headgear for pitchers possible in 2014
By John Schlegel / MLB.com
Protective headgear could be made available for Major League pitchers in the upcoming season, a player who intends to use it revealed this week.
Brandon McCarthy, the D-backs pitcher who sustained a severe head injury in a game while pitching for Oakland in September 2012, told Fox Sports' "The Buzz" podcast on Wednesday that a protective cap could be in use on an optional basis by pitchers in 2014.
"They're coming," McCarthy said of the headgear on the Fox 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."
Contacted Thursday, an MLB spokesman said, "We are continuing our conversations with the [Major League Baseball Players Association] on this subject and a potential voluntary program. While we are not ready to make an announcement on the specifics yet, there is a product that has passed the testing standards designed by our medical officials. We are also evaluating a number of other potential products."
In the September 2012 incident, McCarthy walked off the field after being hit by a line drive, but later was transported to a hospital and underwent surgery to relieve pressure on his brain. He was diagnosed with an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and cracked skull. McCarthy recovered over the offseason and pitched for Arizona in 2013 in the first year of a two-year deal with the D-backs.
McCarthy said the version he has tested out might look "ridiculous," and he sent photos out to some of his fellow pitchers to let them see what it looks like, getting mixed reactions.
"It's going to look silly," McCarthy said on the Fox podcast. "But 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."
John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnSchlegelMLB This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.