After breaking his jaw in May of 2018, Rhys Hoskins became the first Major League player to wear the double C-flapped batting helmet. Just over two years later, he may become one of the first players to wear a mask defensively to take extra precautions against COVID-19.
The 27-year-old met with the media Wednesday afternoon after the Phillies first intrasquad game of summer camp. When asked about potentially wearing a mask during games, Hoskins said he will consider the possibility of keeping a mask in his back pocket and putting it on if a runner reaches first base. He added that he doesn’t anticipate having any reservations holding runners on, even though there’s no way to do that and appropriately social distance.
Later in the day, manager Joe Girardi was asked whether he believes more players will wear masks while on the field.
“I think it’s possible,” Girardi said. “I think a lot of it depends on how things are going inside our clubhouse, in all of baseball and cities where we are playing. I think it’s too early to predict what guys will do. There’s been talk that there’s other masks coming out they may be a little more comfortable to wear and maybe not so hot and heavy feeling. So I definitely think it’s possible that guys will wear masks.”
Girardi, a major league catcher for 15 years, was unsure if he would have worn one as a player. He said it would depend on how he felt behind the plate and running to back up at first base. Comfort and ability to perform while wearing the masks have to play a factor into this discussion, especially considering the regular season will start in late-July.
In perhaps more important fashion news, Hoskins did confirm that he plans to keep his long hair into the season. There’s no word on whether his his mustache, covered by a mask in his Zoom meeting today, will make it to opening day.
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