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MLB reviewing head gear for pitchers

02/13/2013 3:37 PM ET
By Matt Hughes

Brandon McCarthy is a primary example of why MLB is considering head gear for pitchers.(AP)
Major League Baseball is considering requiring pitchers to use protective head gear. It's uncertain whether the right head gear will be approved in time for the beginning of the 2013 season.

As ESPN reported, MLB is testing different iterations of padded caps. Proposals from six companies are being considered, but only two have submitted working prototypes. The hope was to approve a design by Spring Training. 

"We're not going to approve a product unless our experts say it provides adequate protection," said MLB senior vice president Dan Halem.

According to ESPN, as many as 10 pitchers have been struck in the head in the last five years. MLB began researching the use of protective head gear for pitchers as early as two years ago. Those efforts were accelerated on September 5 when Oakland Athletics' pitcher Brandon McCarthy was hit on the head by an Erik Aybar line drive. McCarthy required emergency brain surgery due to the life-threatening injuries he sustained. He has since received medical clearance and signed a new two-year contract to pitch for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Halem noted that pitchers who independently choose to wear a padded cap, or even a helmet, would not be in violation of any rules. MLB is still hopeful of making an official product endorsement by Opening Day.

Follow Matt Hughes on Twitter: @hughesmatt

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