SAN DIEGO — Padres reliever Alex Torres, formerly with the Rays, is the first pitcher to wear a protective cap in a major-league game.
Torres, 26, was with Tampa Bay last season when Rays pitcher Alex Cobb suffered a concussion when he was struck on his right ear by a line drive on June 15.
Torres used the oversized gear when he worked the eighth inning of a 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday night. There was little on-field reaction.
“There really isn’t that much difference between this and a regular hat,” Torres said. “It may not look great, but I can’t feel a difference.”
Torres, obtained in a trade with Tampa Bay in the offseason, said he’s had the cap, approved by Major League Baseball in January, for about a month. He said he tried it on while playing catch on a few occasions before finally wearing it in Saturday night’s game.
Asked why he decided to wear it in a game, Torres said: “If it can save your life, why wouldn’t you? I’m not worried about how it looks if it works.”
Torres recalled the incident that injured Cobb, helping spur action by Major League Baseball to provide the protective headgear.
“That’s a scary thing to witness and it makes you think that could be you,” he said.