The spotlight was on player safety at Tampa Catholic High School baseball team's practice Wednesday, a day after a Toronto Blue Jays pitcher was it in the head by a line drive during a game against the Rays.
Desmond Jennings' second-inning line drive struck J.A. Happ in the side of the head, leaving him with a head bruise and a cut to his ear.
Tampa Catholic coach Ty Griffin, a former Major League Baseball player, called the incident "scary" and said now might be the time to improve the headgear worn by pitchers.
"It is finally a time to really look at the pitcher's position. I think we've gone around that," he said. "We've done a lot to help our catchers out. We've done a lot to help position players out. I just think that everybody's maybe looked over it or just looked at the percentages and said they were too low."
Griffin said adding some light weight padding to a pitcher's hat would be a reasonable option.
In recent years, several changes have been made to baseball equipment, especially at the lower levels. Griffin said helmets worn by high school players now have "concussion padding" to cut down on the possibility of severe head injuries. Bats have also been redesigned to slow down the speed of the ball after contact.
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