Viewers of the Miami Marlins’ matinee in Cincinnati witnessed a potentially horrific scene on Thursday afternoon. A line drive off the bat of Reds third baseman Donovan Solano whacked Marlins starter Daniel Castano in the back of the head. The ball exited Solano’s bat at an alarming 104 MPH.
Castano collapsed to his knees as teammates watched in horror. The pitcher grabbed his forehead as catcher Jacob Stallings reached the mound to get a glimpse at his battery mate. Trainers and coaches quickly surrounded the victim, encouraging Castano to take his time and practice caution. Teammates grimaced in the background as play quickly ceased.
Luckily for viewers at home and all involved on the field, Castano was able to return to his feet. With trainers standing by his side, the starter made his way off the field under his own power for further evaluation. Interestingly enough, because the ball only hit Castano and not the ground, the subsequent catch turns this into an out. Score that 1-5 with a painful story.
Entering today’s performance, Castano, 27, sported a 3.86 ERA in nine MLB games this season. Only picking up two outs in the first frame before the screaming liner, the pitcher allowed one run, bumping his ERA to 4.04. Technically on the hook for the loss, Miami’s offense picked up the injured teammate, scoring in the third inning to nullify a decision.
Daniel Castano’s Incident Brings Player Safety to Foreground
The NFL is bringing “Guardian Caps” back to training camp. The padded shell that fits over a football helmet protects vulnerable players from devastating collisions. Additionally, a recent league mandate requires every player in certain position groups to wear the cap in camp through the second week of the preseason.
Offensive and defensive lineman, tight ends and linebackers must wear the odd-looking device. A post on NFL.com reads, “The NFL says the cap reduces head contact by 10% if one player is wearing it, and 20% if all players involved are wearing them.”
Castano’s brutal blow with the NFL’s player safety advancement brings forth a potential solution. While MLB has tried protective caps in the past, could a lightweight shell similar to the Guardian Cap provide necessary relief? It’s unlikely many players would sport the new fashion. However, similar to batters wearing jaw protectors at the plate, pitchers could latch on to some sort of protection.