Ex-Ray Alex Torres First to Wear Protective Cap

By Robbie Knopf

Alex Torres’ relief appearance for the San Diego Padres on Saturday was certainly far from his best. He went one inning allowing a run on two hits, striking out two but walking two as well. The Padres lost 4-2 to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Torres did nothing to help their chances. Yet how Torres performed in the game will be forgotten because of what he wore as he pitched in it. Torres became the first MLB pitcher to wear a cap with protective padding, a small step in the process of making such a cap the standard throughout baseball.

Just ordinary Alex Torres…except for the hat. (Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

One second of looking at Torres and it becomes clear what the problem is: the cap looks like a clown hat. The makers of these types of hats have plenty of work ensuring that pitchers don’t look totally ridiculous as they wear them. At the same time, however, the technology is now available to save a pitcher from serious injury, and Torres is now taking advantage. As Torres told Will Laws of the Padres’ official site, he reason he decided to do so was what happened to Alex Cobb last season.

"“It could save our lives, if someone hits a ball to your head,” Torres said. “I get it for free, so I’m just gonna use it to see how it feels.”"

Torres went on to say that the hat doesn’t feel as bad as he looks–presumably he isn’t going to give up on it despite the bad results in the game. In event, though, it is nice to see the ex-Ray Alex Torres doing something in light of what happened to his former teammate, and once the hat starts looking normal, we have to think that the Rays will be right at the top of the list to follow suit.