Report: Bobby Valentine will be the next manager of the Red Sox

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UPDATE: He’s back. Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston confirms that Bobby Valentine will indeed be the next manager of the Red Sox.

Valentine was offered the job while he was away on personal business in Japan and immediately accepted. He is expected to fly back home tomorrow while CSNNE.com reports that he will likely be introduced as Boston’s new skipper during a press conference Thursday.

Valentine, now 61 years old, hasn’t managed in the majors since 2002. He has a 1117-1072 record (.510) over 15 seasons between the Rangers and Mets.

While Valentine has his fair share of critics (and enemies) around the game, baseball is more fun with him in the dugout. Or at least more interesting. And with the Red Sox still reeling from one of the worst collapses in baseball history, this will be a fascinating situation to watch.

7:13 PM: Nothing official from the team yet, but Mike Lynch of WCVB-TV in Boston is reporting that the Red Sox and Bobby Valentine have reached a “verbal agreement” for him to be the team’s next manager.

We have heard conflicting reports this afternoon about whether Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont is still in the mix for the job. As of this evening, Lamont was told that he is still a candidate.

Valentine is expected to return from Japan tomorrow, so we’ll likely hear something official in the next 24 hours.

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.