Ian Desmond set to take “paternity leave” from Nationals

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No one tell Richie Witt, but Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond will soon join Rangers starter Colby Lewis is taking advantage of MLB’s new “paternity leave” roster rule.

Lewis missed one start, which has become a surprisingly big deal (or at least surprisingly frequent talking point), whereas Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports that Desmond plans to leave the Nationals for one or two games once his wife goes into labor with their first child any moment now.

According to Kilgore the Nationals are likely to call up Brian Bixler from Triple-A to fill Desmond’s roster spot, with Alex Cora or Jerry Hairston Jr. likely replacing him in the lineup.

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.