Rangers sign Brad Hawpe to minor-league contract

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Brad Hawpe was a bust for the Padres last season, earning $3 million while hitting just .231 with a .645 OPS in his first full season away from Coors Field, and Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas reports that he’s agreed to a minor-league deal with the Rangers.

Hawpe’s numbers were always inflated by playing half his games in Colorado, but he hit .288 with a .518 slugging percentage in 585 total games from 2006-2009 and typically posted solid road numbers as well.

Then he declined significantly in 2010 and totally fell apart last season before undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery in August. At age 32 he might simply be finished as a valuable player, particularly given the health question mark, but Hawpe is a worthwhile flier to take on a no-risk deal and could give the Rangers a cheap bench bat or first base alternative to Mitch Moreland.

Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, and Didi Gregorius say teams should expand protective netting

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Earlier, a young fan was struck by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium and had to be carried out before being taken to a hospital. Fortunately, it seems that the fan is okay.

As usual, when a scary incident such as today’s occurs, players come out in full support of expanding the protective netting at ballparks. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier as well as Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier and shortstop Didi Gregorius all said as much after Wednesday afternoon’s game.

Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis has also been a very vocal proponent of increased netting. For the most part, the players are pretty much all in agreement about the subject. It’s only a vocal minority of fans who seem to think that their ability to snag a random souvenir or have an unimpeded view supersedes the safety of their neighbors.

Video: Giancarlo Stanton hits a laser for his 56th home run

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Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton continued his march towards 60 home runs, hitting No. 56 in Wednesday afternoon’s win against the Mets. The Marlins, leading 7-2 prior to Stanton’s two-run blast in the bottom of the eighth, didn’t need the extra run support but welcomed it all the same. Mets reliever Erik Goeddel tossed a 1-1, 78 MPH curve that caught too much of the plate.

After Wednesday’s action, Stanton is batting .279/.378/.634 with 120 RBI and 116 runs scored along with the 56 dingers in 646 plate appearances. The last player to hit at least 56 home runs in a season was Ryan Howard (58) in 2006. Stanton’s is the 19th player-season of at least 56 homers.