Evan Longoria out again Wednesday night with stomach bug

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Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times passes along notice that third baseman Evan Longoria is out of the Rays’ starting lineup again on Wednesday night due to a flu-like illness.

It’s the third straight game that he has been absent.

The Rays went with Felipe Lopez at the hot corner Sunday and will go with him again tonight against Angels ace Jered Weaver. Sean Rodriguez started at third base on Monday and Tuesday.

Longoria, 25, is batting just .246/.356/.430 with four home runs and 13 RBI in 33 games this season. He missed most of April and a part of May with a strained left oblique and is still trying to play catchup.

The Rays are currently 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees and Red Sox in the American League East.

Red Sox to extend protective netting at Fenway Park in 2018

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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.