Major League Baseball will see plenty of new changes come 2014, including the end of home plate collisions and the increase of in-game instant replay.
But those won’t be the only two notable differences.
According to Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who was a guest on FOX Sports’ “The Buzz” podcast, Wednesday, headgear will be available to this upcoming campaign for any pitcher interested in the added protection.
“They’re coming,” McCarthy told host Jimmy Traina. “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 implementation of head gear is something that certainly hits home with McCarthy. Back in Sept. 2012, McCarthy, then a member of the Oakland Athletics, was hit in the head with a line drive off the bat of Los Angeles Angeles infielder Erick Aybar and suffered an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture.
McCarthy, who fully recovered from the scary incident and went 5-11 with a 4.53 ERA for Arizona in 2013, did note, however, that some pitchers might opt to stay exposed simply because of the headgear’s design.
“It looks ridiculous and we get so used to the way things look,” said McCarthy. “You mentioned the new football helmets and batting helmets, everything looks silly until it doesn’t look silly anymore.”