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Cobb disappointed MLB hasn't made protective hats available, calls it a "gimmick"

Medical officials take Rays pitcher Alex Cobb off the field after he was hit in the head by a ball during a game against the Kansas City Royals in June.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Medical officials take Rays pitcher Alex Cobb off the field after he was hit in the head by a ball during a game against the Kansas City Royals in June.

20

March

Rays righthander Alex Cobb said he was sleeping when Reds pitcher Aroldis Chapman got struck in the head with a line drive Wednesday night.

But when Cobb saw the replay this afternoon on SportsCenter, it brought back some scary memories. Cobb suffered a concussion after getting struck by an Eric Hosmer comebacker June 15, forcing him to miss three months.

"I can't believe it's already happened again," Cobb said. "I wouldn't say I was naive to the fact it wouldn't happen again. But this quickly is pretty amazing."

Chapman was hit when the Royals' Salvador Perez lined a 99 miles per hour fastball into his face during a game in Arizona. He suffered a mild concussion and will have to have surgery to repair a broken bone above his left eye, but is expected to return this summer.

Cobb said the latest incident also made him disappointed and frustrated that the protective caps MLB approved in late January haven't been readily available in spring to test out, calling it more of a "gimmick."

"It's kind of made me angry about the hat topic itself," Cobb said. "Just in the fact that behind close doors they officially made one available, but I don't think you can talk to one pitcher in spring training this year that's really seen one, maybe a handful of guys.

"I was expecting when we first got here this year, that one would be in the training room to test out, throw a couple bullpens in or something before the game actually started and I figured by the games they absolutely would have oneand there hasn't even been anything available to us. I don’t know where we’re suppoed to go online and find it on our own or what, but we haven’t seen anything yet."

MLB went through a number of prototypes before announcing in late January its' approval of a padded protective cap, made by isoBlox, that would be a half inch thicker in the front and an inch thicker near the temples. MLB said at the time they'd be ready and available to pitchers in spring training.

Cobb assumed that meant they would be accessible in the lockerooms, but says he hasn't seen a hat, nor has he seen any promotions for it or a representative. Cobb said he could have been more practive in finding one, but thought they'd be available without having to ask.

"It kind of seems like a gimmick to cover their end in case of a serious injury," Cobb said. "It feels like a liability issue more than an actual care-for-pitchers issue on their end."

Cobb was encouraged to hear Chapman didn't suffer any serious injuries, and plans to reach out to him when the Rays travel to Cincinnati April 11-13.

"He's going to be going down a different path than any of us have," Cobb said. "So you can only hope for the best."

Cobb is also hopeful the protective caps can help, saying he's willing to at least try one - if he ever sees one.

"Home plate collisions have been addressed day one in spring training, helmets for pitchers haven't even been talked about," Cobb said. "There's so many different changes going on, it might be far down on the list of things to address. Maybe this will bring it back up to the top."

 

[Last modified: Thursday, March 20, 2014 4:24pm]

    

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