MLB approves new version of padded cap for pitchers

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MLB introduced a padded cap last season in attempt to protect pitchers from head injuries, but it was big and awkward and Alex Torres of the Padres was the only one who actually wore one. According to William Weinbaum of ESPN’s Outside the Lines, MLB has now approved a new padded cap with the players’ feedback in mind:

Pinwrest, the manufacturer, removed the padding from inside the isoBLOX cap it introduced last year in favor of detachable padding to wear over a standard cap. Patrick Houlihan, baseball’s vice president and deputy general counsel for labor relations, told “Outside the Lines” that all 30 teams were informed via email Friday afternoon that the new product passed independent laboratory testing.

“It’s ready for prime time,” said Bruce Foster, CEO of 4Licensing Corp, Pinwrest’s parent company. The revision, he said, addresses pitchers’ complaints that the cap with interior padding and an extended bill hindered comfort, depth perception and the ability to hold runners on.

The padding, which is secured to the cap by an adjustable strap, is made of “plastic injection molded polymers combined with a foam substrate” and is customized to match the colors and logos of each team. Foster said that the weight of the new cap and padding combination is “about the same” as last year’s cap. However, the new version increases padded coverage by about 20 percent to include critical areas like the temples. The new padding is expected to be made available to pitchers in spring training next week.

Protective headgear for pitchers is a work in progress and Houlihan acknowledged that they are open to alternatives to isoBLOX if a better solution emerges. Who knows if this new version will be more popular than last year’s, but it’s nice that pitchers have a choice and MLB is trying.

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

Justin Verlander
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Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video.

“In my simulated game a couple days ago, I felt something in my elbow, and after looking at my MRI and conversing with some of the best doctors in the world, we’ve determined that Tommy John surgery is my best option,” Verlander said.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

“I tried as hard as I could to come back and play this season,” Verlander said. “Unfortunately, my body just didn’t cooperate.”

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain. He went 21-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 2019.

“Obviously, this is not good news,” Verlander said. “However, I’m going to handle this the only way I know how. I’m optimistic. I’m going to put my head down, work hard, attack this rehab and hopefully, come out the other side better for it.

“I truly believe everything that everything happens for a reason, and although 2020 has sucked, hopefully, when this rehab process is all said and done, this will allow me to charge through the end of my career and be healthy as long as I want and pitch as long as I want and accomplish some of the goals that I want in my career.”

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