NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In September of 2012, Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy — then with the Oakland A’s — was hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Erick Aybar.
The starter immediately fell to the ground but was able to walk off the mound under his own power.
Ever since the scary incident occurred, the 2005 World Series Champion has said that pitchers need further protection from screaming liners headed in their direction.
That protection could be coming in 2014.
On Wednesday, the veteran right-hander said that protective headgear could be an option for hurlers as soon as next season.
“They’re coming,” McCarthy told FoxSports.com. “From everything I know they’ll be available this year. I don’t believe they’re going to be mandatory. Actually, I’m almost certain they won’t be mandatory. I did get a chance to sit down with the head MLB doctor last year during spring training, who’s overseeing the whole thing, and it has been a high priority for them.
“It’s just that there have been very few answers. We both agreed on it not being mandatory at the time; there’s just no need to do that. But whatever gets proposed has to be correct or we’re not really doing too much.”
In May, Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ was drilled on the left side of his head by a Desmond Jennings line drive. He was taken off the field in a stretcher.
“One product that has passed the testing standards should be available to players for next season,” an MLB spokesperson said, according to the website. “We are still evaluating a number of other potential products. Our conversations with the MLBPA are ongoing. We expect this issue to continue to evolve, but we believe this is an important first step.”
McCarthy believes that if he had worn the appropriate protective headgear when he was struck in 2012, he could have avoided a serious injury — and potentially even stayed in the game.
“It should be strong enough and capable enough that literally if I got hit by the same exact ball I would have been able to keep pitching in that game,” McCarthy told FoxSports.com.
Many pitchers will likely avoid wearing the headgear not only because it’s unprecedented, but because it will look a bit foolish.
If you ask McCarthy, who admits that the headgear looks a tad strange, it’s just a matter of getting used to a new look.
“It looks ridiculous and we get so used to the way things look,” McCarthy told the website. “You mentioned the new football helmets and batting helmets. Everything looks silly until it doesn’t look silly anymore.”
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