Jose Contreras rejoins Phillies eight months after surgery

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Jose Contreras is back in the Phillies’ bullpen eight months after undergoing elbow surgery that potentially could have ended the 40-year-old’s career last September.

It looked like Contreras’ return might be delayed when his first rehab appearance was an ugly one, but he quickly got on track in the minors and also proved that he was able to throw on back-to-back days.

Charlie Manuel told Paul Hagen of MLB.com that he plans to leave Chad Qualls in the primary right-handed setup man role for now and work Contreras back into the bullpen mix slowly, but as Contreras put it: “My health is good and my arm is good and I can help the team.”

Red Sox to extend protective netting at Fenway Park in 2018

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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.