Alex Cobb willing to wear protective cap

Leon Halip

Alex Cobb will likely try out MLB's new protective cap for pitchers in spring training.

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb is willing to try out MLB's new protective cap for pitchers, according to comments he made to the Tampa Tribune on Wednesday.

Just a day after Major League Baseball announced that they had approved a padded cap for pitchers to wear as protection from line drives, Cobb has stated he will at least try out the hat in spring training.

"I absolutely think it's worth consideration, at least when I get to spring training to try it out no matter how inconvenient it might look," Cobb told the Tribune. "But you kind of have to be realistic with something like this. The first prototype or model is not always practical or as state of the art as you'd like it to be when you do use it."

Last June, Cobb was struck in the head by a line drive, causing him to miss two months during the season. The 26-year-old right-hander was one of four major league pitchers to be struck in the head by a line drive in 2013.

Cobb's comments come one day after Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy stated he wouldn't wear MLB's new protective cap. McCarthy, who suffered a brain contusion and skull fracture after being hit by a line drive in 2012, told ESPN's Jayson Stark that he doesn't "think [the cap] is ready yet as a major league product."

MLB's first approved protective headgear for pitchers does have some limitations. The cap is proven to protect against objects traveling up to 83 mph, but many batted balls in the major leagues travel over 100 mph. These drawbacks make McCarthy hesitant to try out the new product in 2014.

But for Cobb and Rays manager Joe Maddon, MLB's announcement yesterday was a significant step in the push to protect pitchers from head injuries in the future.

Speaking about the cap, Maddon said, "I think it's a positive step in injury prevention. Like many new implementations, give it time to see how well it works and know changes to improve will be welcomed."

Five to seven current and former major league pitchers were involved in the testing of the cap, and MLB will continue to seek out better ways to protect pitchers from line drives in the future.

For now, MLB pitchers will be given the choice to wear this current product during the 2014 season.

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