Ryan Howard expected to return from disabled list Friday

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UPDATE: Ryan Howard confirmed on his Twitter account that he will rejoin the Phillies on Friday.

Read more details regarding Howard’s return on CSNPhilly.com.

10:30 PM: According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, Howard is now “likely” to be activated from the disabled list tomorrow to play against the Braves.

5:32 PM: Ruben Amaro and Charlie Manuel spoke to the Philly media today, and the news nugget of note is that tonight might be Ryan Howard’s last rehab game. Or tomorrow night. Point is, Howard’s time in the minors is almost over and he could be in Philly as soon as this weekend. Here’s Ryan Lawrence from the DelCo Times:

Ryan Howard is scheduled to play nine innings at first base at Triple-A Lehigh Valley tonight. There’s a possibility his next game will be in Philadelphia.

Prior to the Phillies game in New York Thursday, manager Charlie Manuel said Howard will be re-evalauted following tonight’s game with the IronPigs. He didn’t rule out a return this weekend for the former MVP.

Amaro added that he thinks Howard is ready, but that they have to see how he does tonight.

It’s worth noting that Howard hasn’t played back-to-back games in the field since beginning his rehab assignment. He will tonight and tomorrow, however.

Offensively speaking, Howard has been fantastic, going 8 for 17 with a homer, two doubles and nine driven in.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.