Major League Baseball will let players use wearable technology in games, the Associated Press reported Tuesday night. The league's rules committee approved two specific devices for use during games this season, according to "two people familiar with the decision" cited by the wire service.
The two devices are reportedly the Motus Baseball Sleeve that monitors stress on elbows and the Zephyr Bioharness, which tracks heart and breathing rates. The committee also approved two bat sensors — one from Blast Motion and another from Diamond Kinetics — for use during on-field workouts.
An official announcement from MLB is yet to come. The technology could work toward preventing injuries, but the players' union is reportedly concerned about player privacy and how teams might use the information. Further discussions are likely this year, according to the AP.
As it stands, the data from the wearables can be used only internally and will be shared with the player. The data also will not be allowed to be transmitted during games, but it can be downloaded after the final out.
The sleeve gained provisional approval last year. As reported in October by International Business Times, the Motus sleeve was name-checked by numerous experts as a potential tool to help prevent injuries to the ulnar collateral ligament, injuries that often end in "Tommy John surgery," a common occurrence among MLB pitchers.
If the Motus sleeve is able to detect flaws in a pitcher's delivery by tracking the stress put on an elbow then, the thought is, changes can be made to prevent career-derailing injuries.
"My guess: Three to five years, they’ll have sensors all over the body," said Rick Peterson, a pitching expert with the Baltimore Orioles who previously worked with the Moneyball-era Oakland Athletics, in an interview with IBT last year.