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MLB looks to protect pitchers from line drives, prompting a debate


(Jeff Chiu / AP)

For generations, baseball pitchers and hitters have stood their ground, each physically vulnerable to what the other can do with a ball or a bat. Baseball moved to protect hitters with helmets years ago and now may take action to protect pitchers after incidents this season.

During the regular season, Oakland A’s pitcher Brandon McCarthy was drilled in the head by a line drive. In the World Series last week, Detroit Tigers pitcher Doug Fister shrugged off a drive to the noggin and stayed in the game, prompting conversation about whether pitchers should wear helmets or Kevlar liners under their caps. And, over the weekend, McCarthy’s Oakland A’s teammate, Bartolo Colon, was hospitalized after he was hit in the mouth in a minor league game in the Dominican Republic.

Major League Baseball weighed in on the matter during the Series, with senior vice president Dan Halem telling the Associated Press after the Fister incident that addressing safety was on “a fast track. Hopefully, we can come up with something. We’re making progress.” The guinea pigs are likely to be minor leaguers, with Halem saying, “We think it’s possible for 2013 in the minor leagues.”

Judging by tweets from players in the Nationals’ and Orioles’ organizations, minor-leaguers aren’t thrilled by the idea.

Baseball officials plan to discuss ways of protecting pitchers at the annual winter meetings. Should pitchers be made to wear some sort of protective liner or helmet?

Follow us: @CindyBoren | @MattBrooksWP

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After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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