Preseason: New MLB uniforms draw criticism; Escobar joins the Blue Jays

New MLB uniforms generate criticism and some praise in training camps; Eduardo Escobar reached Blue Jays and Diego Castillo reached Orioles

The uniforms players wear receive the same amount of attention as they did in spring training.

MLB teams are using new uniforms designed this year to improve performance and help keep players cool during summer games. But the new clothing, designed by Nike and manufactured by Fanatics, has received a mixed response.

“I know everybody hates him,” Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Trea Turner said Friday. “We all liked what we had. “We understand the business, but I think everyone wants to continue doing the same thing, largely with changes here and there.”

Nike has designed the uniforms since 2020 and Fanatics has made them since 2017, but this is the first year with the Nike Vapor Premier jerseys.

MLB officials indicated that the uniforms improved mobility by being 25% more elastic and drying 28% faster. The letters, symbols and numbers on the sleeves are smaller so that the fabric is more breathable and comfortable.

Commissioner Rob Manfred says he hopes the criticism starts to die down.

“In baseball, any new initiative will have a negative reaction,” Manfred acknowledged Thursday. “First of all, they’re Nike T-shirts. We did this partnership with Nike because of who they are and the products they use. Whatever he has done for us so far has been 100 per cent successful.”

Representatives for Fanatics declined to comment and Nike did not respond to an email to its media relations office.

Manfred recalled the positive reaction he received when the uniforms were introduced during last year’s All-Star Game.

Although the complaints have received a lot of attention this week, other players have praised the work.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder and three-time American League MVP Mike Trout posted on the social network X, formerly known as Twitter: “Change can be good and I’m a big fan of it.”

“Honestly, in some ways it feels more authentic than what we’re used to,” Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Jason Heyward said in a team video on X. “The material feels better. It feels more breathable.”

Blue Jays add Eduardo Escobar

The Toronto Blue Jays added Venezuelan outfielder Eduardo Escobar to a minor league contract.

The 35-year-old batted .226 with a .269 on-base percentage, six home runs and 31 RBI in 99 games with the New York Mets and Angels last season. He has 13 seasons in the Major Leagues and has a career batting average of .253, with .305 on bases, 164 home runs and 636 RBIs.

Orioles claim Diego Castillo

The Baltimore Orioles claimed Dominican Diego Castillo after he was released by the Phillies and designated Venezuelan infielder Livan Soto for assignment.

Castillo, 26, played one game with the Arizona Diamondbacks last season after hitting .206 with a .251 on-base percentage, 11 home runs and 29 RBI in 96 games with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2022.

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