Tablet Sports

Rangers Spring break: Pitchers skeptical of new protective caps

Protective headgear

Tanner Scheppers took a liner just above his left eye his sophomore year at Fresno State. He doesn’t remember much of it, but was conscious when he left the field and headed to the hospital.

Scheppers called it a scary moment and hopes something like that never happens again. But don’t plan on him taking the extra step of wearing the newly approved protective pitching caps.

Prototypes of the new caps will be shown to Rangers pitchers in the coming days at spring training. They will be custom built for each pitcher interested and are designed to provide protection for a ball coming as fast as 83 mph.

“I’m not going to wear them,” Scheppers said. “How many pitchers have died because of getting hit? None. You don’t want it to happen, but it’s part of the game.”

Most of the Rangers pitchers echoed Scheppers’ thoughts. Veteran reliever Jason Frasor doesn’t feel the caps are something he’ll be interested in using, and neither does Colby Lewis.

“I always say, ‘Hit me anywhere but my face,’ ” Frasor said. “I’ll try it on, but I don’t think that it’s for me.”

Nick Tepesch, who had a start cut short last season when a come-backer hit his arm, will give the new caps a look as well. But he doesn’t foresee them being comfortable enough to use in a game.

“I doubt I’ll use it, but never say never,” Tepesch said.

Injury report

OF Alex Rios (sore left big toe): Is working out and feels well, but will not play in Thursday’s Cactus League opener.

RHP Tanner Scheppers (back spasms): Scheduled to throw live batting practice Thursday.

RHP Nick Tepesch (back stiffness): Scheduled to throw a live batting practice Friday.

C Geovany Soto (left foot surgery): Back in camp and is expected to be game-ready by March 15.

2B Jurickson Profar (shoulder tendinitis): Has begun throwing program at 75 feet.

LHP Derek Holland (microfracture surgery on left knee): He is off crutches and walking on a treadmill. Will report to camp when deemed ready.

RHP Daniel Bard (thoracic outlet syndrome): In the early stages of a throwing program.

RHP Ben Rowen (biceps tendinitis): Will begin a throwing program the first week of March.

LHP Joseph Ortiz (surgery on broken foot): He is non-weight bearing until the end of March.

LHP Rafael Perez (strained right hamstring): Day-to-day.

Telling number

.203 Opponents’ batting average against Jason Frasor last season, the 10-year veteran’s career low.

He said it

“He better get his pillow because he’s going to be on those long bus rides.” — Ron Washington on Michael Choice, who is expected to be among the spring leaders in at-bats