Marlins discuss pitcher safety after Chapman's injury
JUPITER, Fla. -- Aroldis Chapman's injury on Wednesday night once again sheds light on the topic of pitcher safety.
In the sixth inning, the Reds' closer was struck on the face by a line drive off the bat of Kansas City's Salvador Perez. Chapman sustained a fracture above his left eye, and the incident prompted the game to be suspended at that point.
MLB is exploring a type of protective liner that fits into a cap. Such a hat, however, wouldn't guard a pitcher's face.
A number of Marlins pitchers said they'd only consider wearing a helmet-like liner if it were perfectly comfortable.
"Initially, I'd say no," left-hander Mike Dunn said. "If it fits just like a regular hat, then yeah, why not? But I haven't seen it yet."
Dunn recognizes there is risk in the game, and he doesn't know how many measures could be taken to prevent head/face injuries.
"It's part of the game. It just happens you see it more recently," Dunn said. "It's not like it's never happened before these last few years. It's unfortunate that it did happen.
"I've had balls go right past me, and you're like, 'Thank goodness.' You have zero chance of doing anything about it."
Nathan Eovaldi, the hardest throwing starter on the Miami staff, says a pitcher's mindset is on attacking hitters and getting outs. The last thing they are thinking about is getting hit by a line drive.
"You're thinking ... you're going to strike them out or get them out, not about a comebacker," Eovaldi said. "You don't want to be timid. But for that to happen to anybody is sad."
Miami manager Mike Redmond, a catcher in his playing days, was behind the plate during one of the most frightening moments ever to happen a Marlins pitcher.
In 2003, against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, Kevin Olsen was struck over the right ear by a Todd Walker liner.
Redmond was the first to the mound, where he saw Olsen on the ground, eyes closed, and blood coming from his ear.
"It felt like that ball slowed down," Redmond said. "That messed him up. He really wasn't the same after that. I didn't know what I'd get when I was out there. My first reaction was to just get out there. It was scary. There is just nothing you can do. It happened so fast."
Redmond notes he worries about a pitcher's safety whenever slugger Giancarlo Stanton steps to the plate.
"It's scary," Redmond said. "Believe me, I think about that every time Giancarlo gets up there and hits. You think about it, how hard he hits the ball. You just don't have the reaction time if he hits it back up the middle. Not even just him, anybody.
"If they could come up with something that could be comfortable for pitchers to wear, then I'd be all for it, protection-wise. I just don't know what they can do. You don't see it a lot, but it takes one time to be super scary."