October 15, 2012 - ATHENS, Ga. - One of pro baseball’s brightest young stars, Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Andrew McCutchen has been putting his faith in EvoShield’s protective gear since not long after the hot-hitting center fielder was called up to the majors in 2009. The 26-year-old phenom even remembers how, three years ago, he was first exposed to the EvoShield experience.
“I was wearing another, heavier shin guard at the time, and it broke, so the training staff introduced me to the EvoShield leg guard,” McCutchen recalls. “I tried it out and instantly fell in love with it. It’s light, durable, and I cannot even tell I'm wearing it while I'm playing.”
The EvoShield batter’s leg guard made McCutchen – the 2009 Baseball America Rookie of the Year – an instant convert. Today, to cement their relationship, EvoShield is unveiling a partnership with McCutchen to promote the benefits of the Georgia-based company’s innovative equipment, which safeguards some of the biggest names in America’s most-popular sports.
EvoShield's unique "Gel-to-Shell" fitting process allows athletes to mold their own lightweight protective equipment, for a personal, custom fit to their bodies that regular pads cannot replicate. The resulting ultra-thin and very light, yet incredibly strong Shields disperse energy – instead of absorbing it like traditional foam or plastic – allowing athletes to get the season-long protection they need, without sacrificing their mobility or performance.
EvoShield protective gear for baseball, including elbow, wrist and leg guards, can be found in the dugouts of every major league team.
McCutchen, who finished second in the National League and third among all major leaguers this season in batting, with a .327 average, is part of a growing legion of EvoShield supporters across several sports. He joins an EvoShield team that includes MLB players Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado Rockies), Gordon Beckham (Chicago White Sox) and Yadier Molina (St. Louis Cardinals), as well as NHL stars Shane Doan (Phoenix Coyotes) and Blake Geoffrion (Montreal Canadiens).
NFL standouts relying on EvoShield’s protection and comfort include Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins), Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions), Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints), Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings), and Arian Foster (Houston Texans).
“I’m very proud to be working with EvoShield – to be part of the ‘EvoArmy’ and join the elite class of athletes they have built is an honor,” McCutchen said. “This equipment is something we wear for a reason – it keeps us safe and protects us, while giving us the confidence to play at our highest level every day.”
In four seasons with the Pirates, McCutchen has been hit by a pitch nearly two dozen times, but his offensive output has hardly been disrupted. Just 25 years old during this year’s Major League Baseball campaign (his birthday is Oct. 10), McCutchen finished the 2012 season around the top of the National League in several categories and was a key figure in Pittsburgh’s first-half resurgence. He was first in the league in hits (194), tied for second in runs (107), third in slugging percentage (.553) and third in on-base plus slugging percentage (.953). He also hit 31 home runs and stole 20 bases.
McCutchen, a first-round draft pick in 2005, was twice named the National League Player of the Month this year – his third full season in the major leagues – and was selected as a NL All-Star for the second straight time. Before this year’s All-Star break, “Cutch” had a .362 average with 18 home runs and 60 RBIs, the best first half of a season in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ long, illustrious history.
The Fort Meade, Fla., native also is a legitimate Gold Glove candidate. Noted for his speed, defense and strong throwing arm, McCutchen in 2011 led National League center fielders with 430 chances and 414 putouts. In 2012, he made just one error all season and was second among NL center fielders in fielding percentage (.997) and third in both chances (371) and putouts (367).
“Andrew’s numbers help show how EvoShield equipment provides a new degree of solid protection, without interfering with the athlete’s natural abilities,” said Bob Pinckney, chief executive officer of EvoShield. “As former athletes ourselves, the founders of EvoShield understand the gut-wrenching feeling of being sidelined by injury. So we set out to provide an entirely new way to protect athletes, starting with baseball, and successful players like Andrew McCutchen are proving we’ve hit the right formula. Our followers are responding very well because we help keep them healthy and on the field. Numerous pros have come on board to be part of this revolution in protective gear.”
Since day one, the athletes partnering with EvoShield have had a say in the kind of game protection they need, and McCutchen will be no exception. “I am definitely looking forward to working with EvoShield,” McCutchen offered. “I’ve already started working with their design team on some product innovation ideas, which shows you they care about creating athlete-authentic products.”
“EvoShield products are designed to protect athletes of all ages and at all levels, and it’s critical we have the athlete’s perspective when making this equipment,” Pinckney said. “Our passion is protection and we're becoming the leading choice across several of the most-popular sports, from the pro and college ranks to local school teams, rec leagues and youth organizations.”
Annually, more than 3.5 million children ages 14 and under receive medical treatment for sports injuries. In addition, more than 30,000 high school athletes are treated for avoidable injuries each year.
Most organized sports-related injuries (62 percent) occur during practices, rather than games. But a good one-third of parents often do not take the same safety precautions for their child's practices as they would for a game.
“It’s important that young players are protected every time they step onto the field,” McCutchen stressed. “Through this partnership with EvoShield, we want to reach millions of kids about the need for safety and how the right protective equipment can have a positive impact on their play.”
EvoShield is an Official Protective Supplier of Major League Baseball and its products are part of the MLB Authentic Collection. EvoShield equipment – including protective gear for baseball, football, softball, lacrosse, soccer, hockey and outdoor recreation – are sold nationally in a variety of retail outlets. For more information, visit www.evoshield.com.