Spink Award winner Bill Conlin accused of sexually abusing children

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Four people, three women and a man, accused longtime Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bill Conlin of molesting them as children in the 1970s, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Nancy Phillips reported Tuesday.

Conlin, who is honored in the Baseball Hall of Fame after receiving the 2011 J.G. Taylor Spink award, retired from his post at the Daily News earlier in the day after news of the upcoming article was leaked.

Phillips’ report tells of children, one of them Conlin’s niece, being touched inappropriately by Conlin. According to the account, Conlin was confronted by his brother-in-law after one such incident, cried and claimed he only touched his niece’s leg. None of the alleged acts were ever reported to police at the time, and the statute of limitations has long since run out, meaning Conlin will not be charged with crimes unless additional accusers with more recent allegations come forward.

Conlin declined comment for the article. His lawyer, George Bochetto, did make a statement: “Mr. Conlin is obviously floored by these accusations, which supposedly happened 40 years ago. He has engaged me to do everything possible to bring the facts forward to vindicate his name.”

Conlin wrote for the Daily News for 47 years. He was on the Phillies beat from 1966-87 and served as a columnist afterwards. He’s also made hundreds of appearances on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters through the years.

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.