Giancarlo Stanton models helmet featuring carbon fiber face guard (pic)
Miami Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton on Thursday faced live pitching for the first time since the horrific injury suffered when he was drilled in the face during a Sept. 11 game by Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Brewers Mike Fiers, leaving him with a fractured orbital bone and five damaged teeth.
The frightening incident and the gruesome aftermath ended Stanton’s season in an instant, so stepping into the batter’s box against a live pitcher has to be viewed as the latest encouraging step in his ultimate return to the lineup.
Fresh off signing a record-breaking, 13-year, $325 million contract in the offseason, Stanton intends to take an additional precaution during at least spring training in order to help avoid a similarly harrowing scene playing out during an at-bat.
A photo from Major League Baseball posted Thursday showed Stanton modeling his new batting helmet, affixed with a face guard to better protect his face.
Yeah, @Giancarlo818 – The faceguard plays. pic.twitter.com/cn3B4Cv9Xh
— MLB (@MLB) February 26, 2015
It’s a good look. While not quite as flashy as a body paint uniform, it’s much more functional.
While Stanton was expected to wear some kind of attachment on his helmet this season — as many ballplayers have done in the past — the fact that the face guard is personalized has drawn some attention.
Included as part of the attachment’s design, the face guard features a “G” — for Giancarlo — as a personalized component.
The face guard was designed by Schutt, a football helmet manufacturer, and was constructed out of carbon fiber. Comments made by Stanton indicate he’s pleased with both the design and perhaps more importantly, its functionality.
“I wasn’t fond of that [old design] across my face the whole time,” he said, via an ESPN report. “It’s just what I envisioned when thinking about it.”
Stanton reported that testing revealed the face guard can withstand fastballs in the range of 85-100 mph without breaking.
Stanton wasn’t wearing the helmet when he faced live pitching Thursday but intends to the next time he does step into the box. It’s unclear whether Stanton intends to wear the face guard during the regular season or if it will be a spring training-only apparatus.
Regardless of how long Stanton plans to wear the face guard attachment, he said he didn’t experience any anxiety facing live pitching for the first time since his injury — even without the added protection.
“It was just like any other spring training,” he said. “I wanted to minimize any expectations on either side. I didn’t think that I would have any thoughts about [the injury] and I didn’t.”