Bobby Valentine was asked about reliever Bobby Jenks today, and he said that Jenks — who underwent two back surgeries this offseason — will not pitch during the spring. Rather, he expects him to be a “mid-season arrival.”
Jenks, of course, was able to manage only 19 appearances last season, striking out 17 and walking 13 in 15 and two-thirds with a 6.32 ERA. His unavailability was part of the reason Boston got Mark Melancon and Andrew Bailey this winter.
Of course, I’m still not ruling out John Henry’s ownership of that soccer team as the real reason.
The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”
Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.
After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.