Extra Bases

Safety First: Alex Torres Is First to Wear Pitcher’s Protective Cap

While you were enjoying your weekend, a little baseball history was made Saturday night in San Diego.

Padres reliever Alex Torres became the first MLB pitcher to wear the protective cap that was approved for use in January.

Over a year ago, Torres’ former Tampa Bay Rays teammate Alex Cobb was hit in the head by a line drive that caused a concussion.

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"I came in after Alex Cobb was hit in the head," Torres told CNN on Sunday. "That's really an impression to me, how his head sounded from the bullpen. That was really bad. I was shaking. 'Oh my God! Oh my God!' I'm glad he's alive."

So Torres became a groundbreaker on Saturday when he became the first pitcher to wear the oversized protective cap that MLB approved in January.

"It's a good idea they make this kind of hat to protect my head," Torres said. "You want to protect life. I don't have a kid yet, but I want to see my kid grow up."

The new IsoBLOX protective caps, made by 4Licensing Corporation, have padding imbedded inside the front and side of the hats.

"The cap is fitted with uniquely-formulated protective plates that use a combination of dispersion and absorption techniques to diffuse energy upon impact with a high-velocity object," according to the IsoBLOX. "Under rigorous testing simulating MLB line drives, the isoBLOX® cap demonstrated protection at speeds up to 90 mph in the front and front boss impact locations and 85 mph on the side impact location."

The padding adds seven ounces to the cap weight, according to

“The difference between how this hat and the regular hat feels isn’t much,” Torres told “I tried it before using it in the game, playing catch. It doesn’t feel really bad. It doesn’t feel like how it looks on my head.”

After Torres entered the game, old friend Adrian Gonzalez promptly greeted him with an RBI single on the first pitch he saw from the reliever.

Naturally, the comments about cap came rolling in social media: