Report: Fox advances Frank McCourt money to help cover Dodgers’ operating expenses

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According to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, who has been all over this story, Fox has advanced Dodgers owner Frank McCourt money in order to help cover the team’s operating expenses.

Fox owes the Dodgers $35 million for television rights this year, $37 million next year and $39 million in 2013, according to court documents.

Naturally, many find the timing as curious, such as Andy Dolich, a former top executive with the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Athletics and Memphis Grizzlies.

“It’s a bit odd, because the people and the entities that own these teams usually have the money to operate the team well into the future,” said Dolich, who emphasized that he has not reviewed the Dodgers’ finances or how the McCourt divorce might have affected them.

“Maybe it’s not odd, in terms of what’s going on, but I haven’t heard of a lot of teams that do that.”

Shaikin reports that McCourt has discussed a new television deal with Fox that would likely give him the money he needs to settle his divorce case, but as I wrote last week, Commissioner Bud Selig has the right to reject any such deal.

On a related note, yesterday a judge finalized his ruling in which he threw out a post-nuptial agreement that would have provided McCourt with full ownership of the team.

And so, McCourt is now covered in the short-term, but unless something changes, it still looks like an eventual sale of the team is inevitable.

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.