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.
In toughness, Yost leads by example
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Manager Ned Yost continued his recovery from gall bladder surgery and put in a second full day at the Royals' complex.
"I feel pretty darn good. Maybe I'm tough, maybe I'm not," Yost said. "Maybe it ain't a tough surgery. But on a scale of 1 to 10, I'm a 2 or a 3. I feel much better because it's out. It's sore, but I don't have that side-ache pain."
Yost's gall bladder was removed Tuesday afternoon, and he was back in uniform, running camp less than 24 hours later.
"It just shows how tough he is and how much he cares about us, to have surgery one day and to come back to work the next day, just to get us better," pitcher Will Smith said. "You've got to respect that; I like that. It's awesome."
"It's unbelievable," third baseman Mike Moustakas said. "It shows you that this year if you have a sore hamstring or a sore finger, you have to remember that Skip had surgery and was back the next day. It shows you what kind of a guy he is."
Yost pointed out, though, that he is not required to hit or pitch. If a player had gall bladder surgery, it would be a different matter.
"I sit on my rear end all day and watch," he said. "They've got to work. They wouldn't be able to do much for the next two weeks, probably."
Injuries healing for Teaford, Cain
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Royals left-hander Everett Teaford, slowed by a sore shoulder, is back to throwing and is doing well.
"I threw from 75 feet, and it felt good. I am off today, and then tomorrow I'll throw from maybe 90 feet. You never know what tomorrow will bring," Teaford said Thursday.
"It felt good at 20 throws, at 75 and we're all go," he said.
There was also good news from center fielder Lorenzo Cain, nursing a strained right hand.
"All good," he said.
Cain expects to resume batting practice Saturday and hopes to be game-ready by Monday.
League representatives discuss rule changes
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, and umpire supervisor Steve Palermo met with Royals manager Ned Yost to discuss rules changes Thursday.
There was not much to discuss, although one change bans a pitcher's fake pickoff throw to third base with runners at first and third. The fake usually was followed by a throw to first base in an attempt to catch that runner. It was seldom successful.
"I'm fine with that," Yost said. "The play never really made much sense to me to begin with, and I actually think that no fake to third is actually an OK rule."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.