NEW YORK, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball has approved a padded hat for pitchers meant to reduce the risk of injury from line drives, its manufacturer announced Tuesday.
4Licensing Corp. said its isoBLOX protective cap will be available for competition beginning in the 2014 season after receiving the blessing of MLB.
Chief Executive Bruce Foster said its design was developed "under rigorous testing simulating MLB line drives" and can provide protection at speeds up to 90 mph from the front and 85 mph from the side.
"We can all agree that player safety is a top priority at all levels of play," he said.
The cap is slightly wider than the standard issue and is fitted with protective plates using "a combination of dispersion and absorption techniques to diffuse energy upon impact with a high-velocity object."
Pitcher Brandon McCarthy, who suffered a skull fracture from a line drive while pitching for Oakland in 2012, told ESPN.com "the technology is there. It helps. It's proven to help. But I don't think it's ready yet as a major league-ready product. And I told them that. I told them that's where it's at."