A’s give Conor Jackson his first career start at third base

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Willing to try just about anything — well, short of calling up Jemile Weeks or Adrian Cardenas — to improve their lackluster lineup, the A’s have Conor Jackson starting at third base on Monday.

It’ll be the first career start for Jackson at the hot corner.   He has played four innings there over two games this season.   He also played there for two innings with the Diamondbacks in 2007.

Jackson was a third baseman at the University of California, so it’s not like he’s a novice.  Still, no one seemed to think he’d have the skills to play the position in the majors.  The Diamondbacks moved him to the outfield quickly after drafting him and later stuck him at first base.

With a .255/.333/.347 line in 98 at-bats, it’s not as though Jackson has really forced his way into the lineup with his bat.  He has outproduced the Athletics’ other options at third, though.  Kevin Kouzmanoff went hitless in his last three starts, dropping him back down to .198/.238/.333 in 111 at-bats, and Andy LaRoche is hitting .219/.288/.288 in 73 at-bats.

If there was ever a time for the A’s to experiment, now is it.  They’ve been held to nine runs while losing their last five games.

Report: Mets expect Terry Collins to retire at the end of the season

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The Mets expect manager Terry Collins to retire at the end of the season, sources tell Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News. Collins and the Mets haven’t discussed an extension on his current contract, which expires at season’s end.

Collins, 67, has managed the Mets for the last seven seasons. Overall, he led them to a 546-578 record during the regular season and the team twice made the playoffs. The Mets lost the 2015 World Series to the Royals in five games, and lost the 2016 NL Wild Card Game to the Giants.

Injuries are much more to blame for the Mets’ struggles in 2017. After another loss on Wednesday, the Mets fell to 65-87. They will open the final homestand of the season on Friday with three games against the Nationals and four against the Braves. They could be Collins’ last in New York as manager of the Mets.

Reds to extend protective netting at Great American Ball Park

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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.