Pitchers Bemoan Lack Of Practice Time With MLB-Approved Protective Caps
Rays P Alex Cobb on Friday said that it is "so close to the regular season, he can't envision himself, or most pitchers, experimenting with new equipment once the games matter," according to Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. MLB pitchers more than a month into Spring Training still have not "been able to try out any of the new protective caps." 4Licensing Corp., in conjunction with New Era, has been developing "a new padded cap" for pitchers. But with Opening Day set for March 31, Cobb said that it is "too late ... for pitchers to switch to anything that new and different, unless the cap feels so similar to current caps that the difference is 'unnoticeable.'" Cobb: "If you mess with something that's going on that they're not normally used to, it's going to throw them off a little bit." 4Licensing believed that it needed to "make changes after getting complaints from pitchers who tried out the new caps during offseason workouts." 4Licensing interim CEO Bruce Foster said, "What was approved met the criteria. The breathe-ability needed to be tweaked. We are going to move to a mesh-type cap. And for the overall look, we are extending some of the side panels so it doesn't look flat" (ESPN.com, 3/22). In Cincinnati, John Erardi noted MLB approved a protective device for pitchers, but in "many cases, they haven't gotten to try it at all." Reds P Sam LeCure on Thursday said, "I'd have thought they'd have one down here in spring training, just for guys to try out and see how they feel and see if they're effective. I'm sure they're effective if they were approved, but why if they were approved are they not at our disposal to try out?" A source said that the Reds "did not receive any of the caps this spring" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 3/21).