SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Billy Butler, the Royals' designated hitter, has noticed no difference wearing the new Rawlings S100 ProComp batting helmet, which became official Major League gear this year.
"I used them all last year," Butler said. "I knew we were going to be changing to them, so I went ahead and did 'em early."
The helmet is constructed of aerospace-grade carbon fiber composite and provides more protection for balls striking at up to 100 miles an hour.
"A helmet's a helmet," Butler said. "If you get hit in the head, you'll probably come out of the game no matter what it is. This probably gives us a little more protection, so it's probably better for our health."
The helmet is said to be 300 percent stiffer and 130 times stronger than the previous plastic helmet.
"It doesn't bend; it's rock solid," Butler said. "Maybe it's going to hurt just as much, but that might be just the initial reaction. I don't know if it's going to help with concussions or not -- I'm not an expert, but comfort-level-wise it feels the same."
That seemed to be the consensus.
"Actually, they're pretty comfortable. I can't tell the difference," said second baseman Chris Getz.
"I guess if you're getting hit in the head, you don't want it to bend," third baseman Mike Moustakas said.
Butler had one final thought about getting beaned.
"If you think about getting hit in the head, you're probably in the wrong sport," he said.