Everyone's out to get Albert Pujols

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St. Louis Cardinals fans must be nervous. It seems like the baseball gods are trying to hurt Albert Pujols.

On Monday night, Pujols appeared to tweak his ankle while hustling into second base, getting his spikes caught in the dirt just before beginning his slide.

Turns out he was fine — even shrugging it off, saying he’d be in the
lineup Tuesday — but it was scary enough for the trainers to come out
to check him out.

If that wasn’t enough, turns out even some media members are after him. Do I smell a conspiracy?

Jack Curry of the New York Times wrote on Monday of an encounter last week with Pujols in which …

Our ankles got tangled for a moment and both of us nearly tripped.

“You all right?,” Pujols said. “I don’t want you to get hurt.”

It’s not like Pujols needs more All-Star votes so we’ll assume his concern for Curry was genuine.

To his credit, Curry found the question hilarious, and responded
correctly, saying “We’d be in a lot worse shape if anything happened to
you.”

So true. Had Pujols taken out Curry with their accidental game of Twister, it’s just another reporter down and out. (Click here for a great list)

But can you imagine the furor if a reporter had put the planet’s
best hitter on the disabled list? That would be a true test of the
power of the press.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.