Kendrys Morales “feels a lot better” than last spring and “should be ready” for Opening Day

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This time last year Kendrys Morales was hoping to be ready for Opening Day after missing most of 2010 with a broken ankle, but several setbacks followed and he ended up sitting out the entire season after undergoing a second surgery.

Morales is back in Angels camp now, still essentially rehabbing an injury from two years ago, but told Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles that the ankle “feels a lot better” than it did last spring and he “should be ready” for Opening Day.

Morales has reached “believe it when we see it” status at this point, but revealed that he’s “been running for about four months” already and no longer feels any pain.

Adding his bat to the lineup alongside Albert Pujols would be huge for the Angels, as Morales hit .302 with 45 homers and a .901 OPS in the 203 games immediately preceding the injury. After so much time on the sidelines he can’t be counted on to pick up right where he left off, of course, but even at something less than full strength a reasonably healthy Morales would further complicate the Angels’ first base/corner outfielder/designated hitter logjam.

In other words, Bobby Abreu might not want to unpack.

Reds to extend protective netting at Great American Ball Park

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The Reds announced on Thursday that the protective netting at Great American Ball Park will be extended to the end of each dugout in time for Opening Day next season. The press release notes that the current netting meets Major League Baseball’s guidelines and the new netting will go beyond those standards.

The netting “debate” came back on Wednesday when a young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have done about the bare minimum in installing protective netting, which rightly earned them criticism. Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, and Didi Gregorius each said yesterday that the netting should be extended. Other teams and Major League Baseball in general received criticism. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, for example, said the relative lack of action on MLB’s part is “morally repugnant.”

Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes that the Reds had already had this idea prior to Wednesday’s incident at Yankee Stadium.

Orioles don’t intend to trade Manny Machado this offseason

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Orioles third baseman Manny Machado will become eligible for free agency after the 2018 season and is likely to get a windfall. The club, however, isn’t expected to pursue trading their star at the hot corner this offseason, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

Machado, 25, has been one of baseball’s best players since debuting in 2012. He had a slow start to the 2017 season, seeing his OPS nearly drop below .700 in early July, but a strong second half has made his overall numbers more than respectable. Machado is batting .264/.318/.484 with 32 home runs and 92 RBI in 651 plate appearances while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base.

Just because the Orioles don’t plan to move Machado this offseason doesn’t mean they won’t try to recoup some value ahead of next year’s non-waiver trade deadline. According to Heyman, a person involved with the Orioles said, “It would take us 35 years to find another player like him.”