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Protection does come at a price.
A quick check online shows batting glove prices for previous models run from about $5-$50.
XProTex's top-of-the line Raykr retails for $80. It is made specifically for right-handed or left-handed batters, and has AIC protection on the outside of the hand and wrist, and the inner wrist. A step down is the $50 Hammr, which has less protection, and then there is the $35 Dinger, a symmetric model that protects the wrist only. There also are pads for catcher's mitts and baserunners (to prevent their fingers from being hyperextended).
Smith says players have responded positively when he shows them the equipment.
"It's exceeded our expectations," he said. "It's the difference of being injured or being a little sore so they get to stay on the field."
But even if the gloves fit, that doesn't necessarily mean players wear them.
Kasarjian says the large equipment corporations are obstacles.
"The agents have been steering players toward these bigger companies because the companies are offering the players who are up and coming in the agents' stables deals in return for delivering the major leaguers," he said. "We're kind of bucking the culture, but we're getting people's attention really quickly. Everybody is now seeing one or two players on their team and they're asking for them."
Rawlings S100 helmet, touted as being able to withstand pitches up to 100 mph, is mandatory in the minor leaguers starting this year. The Mets' David Wright tried it for two games when he returned from the disabled list after getting beaned by a 94 mph Matt Cain fastball, then decided it was too bulky and went back to his regular helmet.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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