by Steve Carney
The injury to Cincinnati Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman, who was hit in the face by a line drive Wednesday night in a Cactus League game, comes very close to home for fans of the Tampa Bay Rays, who saw pitcher Alex Cobb miss two months after being hit by a line drive by Kansas City's Eric Hosmer last June.
"I can't believe it's already happened again," Cobb said Thursday. "I wouldn't say I was naive to the fact that it wouldn't happen again, but this quick is pretty amazing."
Major League Baseball in January approved the use of a padded cap for pitchers to protect them in the instance of a line drive coming toward their heads, but Cobb said he's angry about the topic of the cap.
"They've kind of behind closed doors officially made one available, but I don't think you can talk to one pitcher in Spring Training this year that's seen one," Cobb said. "I was expecting when we first got here this year that one would be in our training room for us to test out, or just throw a couple of bullpens in or something before the game actually started. And then I figured by the games they'd absolutely have one, and there hasn't been anything available to us.
"I don't know where we're supposed to go online or find it on our own, or what, but we haven't seen anything yet."
Cobb says there has not been a representative of isoBlox (the company licensed to make the padded cap) in the clubhouse, nor has he seen any promotion for the cap.
"It kind of seems like a gimmick just to kind of cover their end, in case of a serious injury," the right-hander said.
Cobb admitted that he had not asked fellow pitcher Matt Moore, the team's representative for the Players' Association, to push the issue, but felt he shouldn't have to.
"I guess you can kind of say it's our fault for not pushing it, but I did think it would be available without us having to ask."
Click below to hear all of Cobb's comments!