Carl Crawford hitless in first minor league rehab game

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Good news for the Red Sox, as WEEI’s Alex Speier brings word that Carl Crawford began a minor league rehab assignment today with the organization’s Gulf Coast League affiliate.

Crawford, who had offseason wrist surgery and was later diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, went 0-for-3 with two walks while serving as the designated hitter. He was retired on a couple ground outs and a fly out to center field.

Crawford figures to DH for a few more games before testing his elbow by playing the field. Assuming the high-priced outfielder spends the maximum 20 days on his rehab assignment, that will set him up to return when the Red Sox begin the second half of the season on July 13 against the Rays in St. Petersburg.

Of course, Crawford isn’t the only member of Boston’s outfield on the comeback trail. Jacoby Ellsbury has been taking batting practice and running the bases this week as he recovers from a right shoulder subluxation and could soon be ready for a rehab assignment of his own.

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.