Saturday, November 25, 2017
Tampa Bay Rays

Rays' Alex Cobb irked at baseball over lack of protective cap

RECOMMENDED READING


PORT CHARLOTTE — When Rays right-hander Alex Cobb saw the images of Reds closer Aroldis Chapman getting hit in the face with a line drive Wednesday night, he was predictably stunned.

Then Cobb got mad. After hearing all about the new protective cap Major League Baseball approved in late January, Cobb is frustrated that as opening day draws near he has yet to see a model.

"It kind of seems like a gimmick to cover their end in case of a serious injury," Cobb, who suffered a concussion after he was hit in the head by a liner June 15, said Thursday. "It feels like a liability issue more than an actual care-for-pitchers issue on their end. … I don't know (if) we're supposed to go online and find it on our own or what, but we haven't seen anything yet."

The padded cap, which is a half-inch thicker on the front and an inch thicker near the temples, probably wouldn't have helped Chapman or Cobb, considering where they got hit; Chapman above the left eye, Cobb on the right ear.

And, turns out, there's a reason Cobb hasn't seen the new model: They aren't completely ready. Bruce Foster, CEO of 4Licensing Corp. (parent company of isoBlox, the cap's creator), told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday that after getting feedback from a number of pitchers this offseason, developers have been working on modifications to improve its comfort, breath­ability and look. Foster said the new mesh design will be finalized in the next couple of days. Company representatives could start showing them to teams in visits to spring camps by next week or in stadiums at the beginning of the regular season.

The original prototype was also available this spring. MLB said it told clubs in a late January memo that if pitchers wanted their own model, they should go through their equipment manager to request a custom-sized model from isoBlox.

Cobb acknowledges he could have been more proactive in seeking out the hat but wonders why there wasn't more urgency or awareness about the product.

"Home-plate collisions have been addressed Day 1 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 (the Chapman incident) will bring it … to the top."

The Royals' Salvador Perez ripped a 99 mph fastball back at Chapman, who suffered a concussion and had surgery (story, 5C) but is expected to return this season, like Cobb did last fall.

"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."

Comments
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

Rays INF Matt Duffy has to say big goodbye to 27-pound cat Skeeter

When the Rays acquired INF Matt Duffy from the Giants during the 2016 season, we also heard about the giant and somewhat famous cat he had, an up-to-27-pounder named Skeeter.Duffy announced over the weekend on Instagram that the family had to have Sk...
Published: 11/21/17
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s always some...
Published: 11/20/17
Updated: 11/21/17
UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE: RHP Brent Honeywell among 7 added to Rays 40-man roster

UPDATE, 8:11: RHP Jose Mujica was an additional addition to the roster, beyond the six previously reported. Mujica, 21, was 14-8, 3.04 ERA in 27 starts between Class-A Charlotte and Double-A Montgomery.So among those left unprotected and potentially ...
Published: 11/20/17
Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Former Devil Ray Aubrey Huff among newcomers to Baseball Hall of Fame ballot

Aubrey Huff isn't going to make the Baseball Hall of Fame.But at least the former Devil Rays standout has the satisfaction of making the cut to get onto the ballot, one of 19 first-timers up for election this year.Other newcomers with Rays ties are O...
Published: 11/20/17
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Published: 11/18/17
Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

Rocco Baldelli’s promotion on Rays coaching staff now makes him major league field coordinator

The Rays completed the reorganization of their coaching staff by giving Rocco Baldelli the title of major league field coordinator.In being promoted from first-base coach, Baldelli will implement ideas and information from the staff, while assisting ...
Published: 11/17/17
Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

Rays hope to cash in on Alex Cobb leaving

LAKE BUENA VISTA — The Rays were banking on pitcher Alex Cobb declining their one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer based on the lure of a longer-term and more lucrative deal elsewhere as a free agent.With that decision official Thursday, now the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

Commissioner Rob Manfred likes Ybor City stadium site, but must see more support to keep baseball in Tampa Bay

LAKE BUENA VISTA — MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t want to talk Thursday about what might happen if the current effort to build the Rays a new stadium at the Ybor City site falls through."I’m more focused on working with the community to figure o...
Published: 11/16/17
A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

A message to Rays fans from Alex Cobb

Here is a message from RHP Alex Cobb after he officially left the Rays Thursday in declining their one-year, $17.4-milllion qualifying offer to seek a bigger and longer pact elsewhere:"Getting to this point in my career is truly bittersweet."Twelve y...
Published: 11/16/17