Must-click link: Explaining Jose Bautista

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We’ve seen several lazy passes at explaining the phenomenon that is the late-blooming Jose Bautista. Most of them — empty “gee-whiz” musings at best, veiled PED accusations at worst — start from the proposition that Bautista came from out of nowhere and started hitting home runs like some kind of freak.

But Jose Bautista is not quite the freak of nature that he is often made out to be. There’s a story there, involving years of hard work, freak injuries, professional wilderness and then, finally, stability and adjustment that, when read as a whole, makes eminent sense.

Jeff Passan has that story today over at The Post Game. A long, thoughtful report and meditation on where Jose Bautista came from and how he got to where he is now.  It’s must-read material.

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.