Along with activating Brandon Morrow from the disabled list the Blue Jays have made another rotation move, surprisingly demoting left-hander Brett Cecil to Triple-A.
Cecil has struggled early on with a 6.86 ERA and 15/11 K/BB ratio in 21 innings spread over four starts, but he went 15-7 with a 4.22 ERA and 117/54 K/BB ratio last season and dropping the 24-year-old from the rotation is definitely unexpected.
Diminished velocity has played a big part in Cecil’s poor performance, with his average fastball clocking in at just 88.3 miles per hour after being at 90.1 mph last season.
He lost against the Yankees last night and afterward manager John Farrell talked about how Cecil’s attempts to “create a little additional velocity” led to control problems and elevated fastballs, so instead of trying to make mechanical adjustments on the fly in the majors they’ll let him do so at Triple-A.
The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”
Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.
After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.