After Doug Fister catching a ball to the head on Thursday and after Brandon McCarthy’s broken skull, MLB is looking to move quickly on pitcher head protection. Indeed, as the Associated Press reports, there is a likelihood of hat liners for pitchers in the minors as early as next year:
MLB medical director Dr. Gary Green has been talking to companies about protective headgear for pitchers, Halem said. A report is on the agenda at baseball’s winter meetings in December. A cap liner with Kevlar, the high-impact material used by military, law enforcement and NFL players for body armor, is among the ideas under consideration.
I don’t know what the proper solution is here — we’ve talked about pitcher helmets before and this Kevlar liner has come up — but it’s good to see that the league is looking into it.
Pablo Sandoval could be tabbed to play second base in the near future, per a report from John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. According to Shea, Sandoval has been spotted taking grounders at second during pre-game warm-ups and may be considering switching to the keystone on a part-time basis.
It wouldn’t be the weirdest thing the 31-year-old corner infielder has done this year — that distinction goes to the flawless inning of relief he pitched in a blowout loss against the Dodgers last month. But it would represent a pretty notable departure from his comfort zone even so; Sandoval has primarily manned first and third base throughout his 11-year career in the majors and has also taken a few reps at DH during his resurgence with the Giants in 2018.
Of course, this wouldn’t necessarily be a permanent switch for Sandoval. As Shea points out, the Giants are thin on middle infielders after losing Joe Panik to a torn UCL in his left thumb and backup Alen Hanson to a left hamstring strain. Provided he can get up to speed quickly (no easy feat, according to infield coach Ron Wotus), he’d give the club some added depth behind Kelby Tomlinson and Miguel Gomez until Panik is ready to take the field again. Sandoval has impressed at the plate this spring, batting a healthy .270/.329/.429 with six extra-base hits and a .757 through 70 plate appearances.