Force3 Signs Yasmani Grandal, Updates Hockey-Style Mask
Force3 Pro Gear, creators of the Defender Mask for catchers and umpires, has signed Los Angeles Dodgers starting catcher Yasmani Grandal while also updating its hockey-style Defender Mask.
Grandal, who has played for the Dodgers since 2015, joins MLB catchers wearing the Force3 Defender Mask, first worn by Atlanta Braves catcher Tyler Flowers in 2016.
“Over the last two seasons I’ve seen the great results of other players have had after being hit by a ball while wearing the mask, and that made me want to wear it even more,” said Grandal, who credits the technology as an improvement to player safety.
Jason Klein, president of Connecticut-based Force3 Pro Gear, said the Defender Mask reduces the possibility of sustaining severe head injuries by far exceeding the protective qualities of any other mask tested. With about the same footprint as a traditional mask, the Shock Suspension System reduces the “severity index” of impact up to 50 percent in most cases, he said.
“We are thrilled that Yasmani has become a member of the ever-growing Force3 family,” Klein said.
The mask was founded by professional baseball umpires and remains focused on reducing the severity of head injuries while improving the quality of life. Along with the traditional Defender Mask, the hockey-style Defender Mask now works with the brand’s Shock Suspension System, worn by both Austin Hedges of the Padres and Jorge Alfaro of the Phillies, neither of whom are under contract with Force3. The updated shell on the hockey style includes new foam on the inside and a Kevlar lining on the entire mask.
Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Baseball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.