Man behind the mask: Giancarlo changes helmet

Man behind the mask: Giancarlo changes helmet

ATLANTA -- Marlins right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is sporting a new face guard.

The change was prompted by a heat-of-the-moment incident where Stanton inadvertently broke the customized football-styled mask that sported a scripted "G" on it. Now, he's wearing more of a plastic flap that covers his left jaw area.

"I broke the other one," Stanton said. "That's why I'm using this one."

Stanton said the old guard busted about the time he sustained a Grade 3 left groin strain on Aug. 13. Asked how it happened, Stanton joked, "I was being nice to it, flipping it up."

Stanton began wearing a guard after he was struck in the face by a Mike Fiers fastball on Sept. 11, 2014, at Milwaukee. That injury caused facial fractures and significant dental damage.

In Spring Training 2015, Stanton revealed a guard that has bars. The new mask isn't much different in terms of comfort and vision.

"They're about the same," Stanton said. "I broke one. That's the next one up, whatever is easiest."

A look at Giancarlo Stanton's old helmet.AP

Stanton typically wears the guard against right-handers and often goes with a standard helmet against lefties.

The fact that so many right-handers throw hard has Stanton planning to wear some form of a guard for the rest of his career.

"I'll definitely get hit in the head again within 10 years or however long my career is going," Stanton said. "So, I've got to be prepared for it. I don't necessarily like the look or anything. I'll try to do a different design or think of something that is strong enough that you can take it off when you run."

In the offseason, Stanton plans on designing a mask that best fits his needs. Ideally, he'd like an attachment that comes off when he is on the bases.

"I'm still bouncing it around in my head," Stanton said.

Cubs lefty closer Aroldis Chapman is the hardest thrower in the game, but a growing number of pitchers are throwing in the upper 90s and reaching 100 mph.

"Guys are throwing 104," Stanton said. "It's not just Chapman anymore. Everyone has a guy that throws 100. They're going to slip. There's going to be moisture outside. We still play in light rain. It's going to happen. I guarantee you it happens, and you're not always going to be able to turn. You don't always have enough time.

"Guys are getting grazed now. It will happen. I want to find out a way to get something I like to wear."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.