Former Ray becomes first pitcher to wear protective cap - WSPA.com

Former Ray becomes first pitcher to wear protective cap

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Torres wore the protective cap during Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Dodgers. Torres wore the protective cap during Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Dodgers.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - A former member of the Tampa Bay Rays became the first pitcher to wear a padded protective cap Saturday night in a game between the San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Left-handed relief pitcher Alex Torres was sporting the larger hat when he entered the game for the Padres in the 8th inning. Major League Baseball approved them in January after testing several prototypes.

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MLB officials began looking into the idea of protective caps more than a year after former Oakland Athletics right-hander Brandon McCarthy sustained a life-threatening injury after being struck on the head by a line drive.

Last season Torres was a member of the Rays when Alex Cobb suffered a concussion after being hit above the right ear by a line drive. Cobb missed two months of the season and became an advocate for padded inserts for hats worn by youth baseball and softball players.

Torres, who was acquired by San Diego in a trade with Tampa Bay in January, ordered the cap about a month ago and started wearing it last week while playing catch in pre-game warm-ups.

“The difference between how this hat and the regular hat feels isn’t much,” Torres told 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.”

Torres compiled a record of 4-2 with a 1.71 ERA in 39 games for the Rays in 2013. He was sent to the Padres with right-handed pitching prospect Jesse Han in exchange for infielder Logan Forsythe, right-handed relief pitcher Brad Boxberger and three minor leaguers.

In 31 appearances out of the San Diego bullpen this season Torres is 1-0 with one save and a 2.10 ERA.

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