DENVER -- The latest design in batting helmets is currently available to Major League hitters, but Reds third baseman Scott Rolen has decided to pass on using it. Rolen is one of several hitters around the league to have been plunked in the head lately. On Aug. 2 vs. the Rockies at Great American Ball Park, he was drilled in the helmet by a Jason Marquis fastball and later diagnosed with a concussion and went on the disabled list for two weeks. Rawlings recently unveiled the S-100 model helmet that the company says can protect the head from up to 100-mph fastballs. A sample design, which is a departure from previous generations of helmets, was passed around the Reds clubhouse a few days ago.
"A lot of guys talked about how big it was. I tried it on. It's large," Rolen said on Monday. "I feel like I'm OK right now. We're kind of creatures of habit. I'm not saying that safety isn't a priority, of course it is. But it's a big change in a batting helmet, not a small change. I think the day that MLB mandates it is the day everybody wears it." The helmet will be required equipment for all Minor League players next season. Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster and Mets third baseman David Wright have already worn it this season. Wright, who also suffered a concussion last month from a beaning, tried the new helmet for two games but went back to his old one. "It's just not comfortable," Wright told reporters last week. "It's the last thing I need to be worrying about in the box is trying to shove it on my head. So I wanted to go back to the old one and just wait to see if there's going to be any adjustments made."
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.