Roberto Hernandez/Fausto Carmona close to joining Indians six months after false identity arrest

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Fausto Carmona is now known as Roberto Hernandez following his January arrest in the Dominican Republic for falsifying his identity, but Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that he may soon be cleared for a work visa.

Leo Nunez of the Marlins was suspended eight weeks after it was revealed that his actual name is Juan Carlos Oviedo, but Indians general manager Chris Antonetti explained that he’s hopeful Hernandez/Carmona will avoid a suspension in large part because he agreed to re-work his contract and refund the team millions of dollars.

In an effort to speed up the visa process the Indians petitioned the State Department and Hernandez hired a lobbyist to work on his behalf. Bastian also notes that Ohio senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman “have also been involved in the case.”

All of which doesn’t necessarily mean Hernandez would be ready to jump right back into the Indians’ rotation once cleared for the work visa, but he’s been throwing regularly at the Indians’ complex in the Dominican Republic and his impending arrival may convince the team not to pursue starting pitching help at the trade deadline.

Carmona struggled last season, starting 32 games with a 5.25 ERA, but was an All-Star in 2010 and the 31-year-old right-hander has a 4.59 ERA in 150 career starts.

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.