Drew Storen could return to the Nationals on Thursday

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Nationals reliever Drew Storen hasn’t appeared in a major league game this season due to problems with his throwing elbow. But that’s about ready to change.

According to CSN Washington’s Mark Zuckerman, the 24-year-old right-hander made a dominant one-inning rehab appearance Tuesday night at Class A Potomac and could be cleared to return to the Nationals’ bullpen as early as Thursday afternoon.

“I feel confident out there and I feel comfortable,” Storen told Zuckerman. “I think that’s the main thing. That’s what you try to get in spring training. I treated these rehab appearances like they were spring training, and I’m really happy with where I’m at.”

Storen posted a 2.75 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 74/20 K/BB ratio across 75 1/3 innings last season for the Nationals, converting 43 saves in 48 opportunities. He owns a 3.10 career ERA and 8.68 career K/9.

Tyler Clippard has been acting as the Nats’ closer for the past several weeks and will remain in that role.

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.