Who will the Red Sox start at shortstop in the playoffs?

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Back in early August, when Jed Lowrie returned from the disabled list, manager Terry Francona indicated that Lowrie and Marco Scutaro would “split” playing time at shortstop for the Red Sox.

That didn’t last very long, however, as Lowrie was needed to fill in for the injured Kevin Youkilis at third base and Scutaro has now started 16 of the past 18 games at shortstop.

Scutaro is also hitting .308 with an .816 OPS during that time, which would seemingly make him the Red Sox’s choice to continue starting at shortstop down the stretch and into the playoffs, but Francona stopped short of saying that when asked yesterday.

“I guess it depends on how we’re playing and how guys are playing,” Francona told Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com. “It seems like things change weekly, if not daily. I guess I would fall back on the answer that I’ll try to put us in the best position to win and see what that is. I don’t think it’s necessary to have one guy be the shortstop. At the same time, maybe there’s a hot [hitter]. I don’t know. We’ll see.”

It’s a nice problem to have, of course, but right now everything points to Scutaro getting the bulk of the work.

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.