Most of the time with minor-league rehab assignments the reports on injured players making their way back from the disabled list are overwhelmingly positive, but it doesn’t sound like Blue Jays reliever Frank Francisco is doing very well in his comeback from a strained pectoral muscle.
Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reports that Francisco has allowed six runs on four hits and three walks while recording five outs at Single-A and manager John Farrell revealed that his fastball has clocked in at just 88-89 miles per hour. Last season Francisco averaged 93.4 mph with his fastball.
Francisco was initially expected to come off the disabled list after just a few rehab appearances, but according to Chisholm he’s now at least three more outings away from returning. Or as Farrell put it: “The feeling is that he needs more reps, more innings on the mound.”
Jon Rauch has been closing in Francisco’s place, although Shawn Camp got (and blew) a multi-inning save chance in yesterday’s wild loss to the Mariners.
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 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.”