Lance Berkman cleared for rehab assignment, hoping to return Tuesday

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Lance Berkman told MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart today that his surgically repaired left knee has “turned the corner” and he’s now scheduled to begin a brief rehab assignment tomorrow at Triple-A.
Berkman is expected to play two games in the minors and, barring a setback, hopes to come off the disabled list to rejoin the Astros’ lineup Tuesday against the Marlins. He underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove loose cartilage in his left knee on March 13.
“I’m glad to be making some progress and am finally good enough to go out and see how it does in a normal game,” Berkman told McTaggart. “I’m very hopeful.”
Geoff Blum and Pedro Feliz have been filling in for Berkman at first base, which in addition to being a massive downgrade offensively just helped cost the Astros this afternoon’s game against the Cubs thanks to a bone-headed defensive play by Feliz.

Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, and Didi Gregorius say teams should expand protective netting

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Earlier, a young fan was struck by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium and had to be carried out before being taken to a hospital. Fortunately, it seems that the fan is okay.

As usual, when a scary incident such as today’s occurs, players come out in full support of expanding the protective netting at ballparks. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier as well as Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier and shortstop Didi Gregorius all said as much after Wednesday afternoon’s game.

Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis has also been a very vocal proponent of increased netting. For the most part, the players are pretty much all in agreement about the subject. It’s only a vocal minority of fans who seem to think that their ability to snag a random souvenir or have an unimpeded view supersedes the safety of their neighbors.

Video: Giancarlo Stanton hits a laser for his 56th home run

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Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton continued his march towards 60 home runs, hitting No. 56 in Wednesday afternoon’s win against the Mets. The Marlins, leading 7-2 prior to Stanton’s two-run blast in the bottom of the eighth, didn’t need the extra run support but welcomed it all the same. Mets reliever Erik Goeddel tossed a 1-1, 78 MPH curve that caught too much of the plate.

After Wednesday’s action, Stanton is batting .279/.378/.634 with 120 RBI and 116 runs scored along with the 56 dingers in 646 plate appearances. The last player to hit at least 56 home runs in a season was Ryan Howard (58) in 2006. Stanton’s is the 19th player-season of at least 56 homers.