Thursdays quick hits – Big Hurt update

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Frank Thomas told ESPN radio Thursday that he’s still open to playing again, but that he getting closer to announcing his retirement.

Thomas isn’t expecting anyone to come knocking on his door now that we’re three months into the season.

“That percent right now is probably about five percent, since we’re so
deep into the season now,” Thomas said on ESPN 1000. “But I’m still in
shape, ready to go, if anything happens.”

Despite saying earlier in the week that he’d remain in the
rotation for now, the Pirates demoted Ian Snell to Triple-A on
Thursday, apparently at his request.

Snell had turned in three straight quality starts before struggling in
2 2/3 innings against the Indians on Tuesday. It sounds like Snell
might be at least as fatigued mentally as physically, though his
velocity has been down for most of the year and his slider just isn’t
breaking like it used to. He’s always had question marks in that area,
though. Whether it’s a lack of drive or confidence or intelligence, I’m
not sure, but it’s his arm that made him a major leaguer, not his head.

The Mariners have lost shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to the 15-day disabled list because of a hamstring strain.

Is it a loss, even if his backup is hitting .128? Ronny Cedeno has
been a complete bust offensively while seeing more playing time of
late, but he has the same sort of offensive potential as Betancourt and
he is the better defender. The Mariners may well be better off.

Reds to extend protective netting at Great American Ball Park

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The Reds announced on Thursday that the protective netting at Great American Ball Park will be extended to the end of each dugout in time for Opening Day next season. The press release notes that the current netting meets Major League Baseball’s guidelines and the new netting will go beyond those standards.

The netting “debate” came back on Wednesday when a young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have done about the bare minimum in installing protective netting, which rightly earned them criticism. Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, and Didi Gregorius each said yesterday that the netting should be extended. Other teams and Major League Baseball in general received criticism. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, for example, said the relative lack of action on MLB’s part is “morally repugnant.”

Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that the Reds had already had this idea prior to Wednesday’s incident at Yankee Stadium.

Orioles don’t intend to trade Manny Machado this offseason

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Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become eligible for free agency after the 2018 season and is likely to get a windfall. The club, however, isn’t expected to pursue trading their star at the hot corner this offseason, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Machado, 25, has been one of baseball’s best players since debuting in 2012. He had a slow start to the 2017 season, seeing his OPS nearly drop below .700 in early July, but a strong second half has made his overall numbers more than respectable. Machado is batting .264/.318/.484 with 32 home runs and 92 RBI in 651 plate appearances while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base.

Just because the Orioles don’t plan to move Machado this offseason doesn’t mean they won’t try to recoup some value ahead of next year’s non-waiver trade deadline. According to Heyman, a person involved with the Orioles said, “It would take us 35 years to find another player like him.”