When Major League Baseball introduced a new padded cap, Alex Torres wanted it. He was the first player to wear it in a game, on June 21.
"The hat is not a joke," said Torres, now pitching for the San Diego Padres. "I'm just trying to protect myself to be in this game for 10 to 15 years."
The new hat is baseball's latest effort to protect pitchers. The biggest obstacle might be players shying away from it because of how it looks.
MLB approved the isoBLOX hat, manufactured by the Pinwrest Development Group, in January. It provides protection for front impacts up to 90 mph and side impacts up to 85 mph.
Pinwrest CEO Bruce Foster said his company has custom-fit and delivered more than 60 hats to major-league pitchers. Torres is the only player to wear the hat in a game, but Foster said many pitchers have practiced in it.
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