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Sunday, June 22, 2014
Alex Torres wears padded cap

ESPN.com news services

San Diego Padres reliever Alex Torres became the first pitcher to wear a padded cap during Saturday's night's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Alex Torres
Alex Torres became the first pitcher to wear an isoBlox protective padded cap during a Major League Baseball game Saturday.

Major League Baseball tested several prototypes of protective cap that provide some head protection and approved one in January, 17 months after pitcher Brandon McCarthy, then of the Oakland Athletics, was struck in the head by a line drive and suffered life-threatening brain injuries.

Torres was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays last season. Last June 15, teammate Alex Cobb suffered a concussion on a line drive that struck his right ear. He missed two months and has become an advocate of padded inserts for caps for young baseball and softball players.

"I was in the bullpen and was in shock, I was in shock," Torres told "Outside the Lines" in a phone interview before Sunday afternoon's game against the Dodgers. "I was scared for a couple of minutes and hoped God would give a good sign -- there was no stirring and I was hoping Alex was OK and would show signs of life."

The motivation for becoming the first major league pitcher to wear a padded cap in a game is simple, Torres said.

"I'm just trying to protect myself, my life, and to see my kids grow up," he told OTL. "I don't want to wait for something to happen."

According to MLB.com, Torres ordered the cap about a month ago and started wearing it sporadically while playing catch over the past week.

"The difference between how this hat and the regular hat feels isn't much," Torres said, according to MLB.com. "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."

Information from ESPN's "Outside The Lines" contributor William Weinbaum was used in this report.