Padres lose hot-hitting rookie catcher Yasmani Grandal to oblique injury

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Rookie catcher Yasmani Grandal has provided a huge spark for the Padres since being called up on June 2, hitting .312 with five homers and a .947 OPS in 24 games, but now he’ll miss at least two weeks with a strained oblique muscle.

He’ll be eligible to return from the disabled list in the middle of the month, but oblique injuries have a tendency to linger. Normally the Padres would probably recall Nick Hundley from Triple-A to replace Grandal, as he was the starting catcher to begin the season, but because he’s on the disabled list with a hamstring injury John Baker and Eddy Rodriguez will split the action.

It’s only 24 games, of course, but Grandal’s production is pretty amazing for a rookie catcher calling pitcher-friendly Petco Park home. In fact, since the Padres moved into Petco Park in 2004 the only hitters to play at least 20 games and post a higher OPS than Grandal’s current mark are Milton Bradley in 2007, Scott Hairston in 2007, Russell Branyan in 2006, and Adrian Gonzalez in 2009.

Grandal came to the Padres from the Reds along with Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, and Brad Boxberger for Mat Latos in December. Looks like a helluva trade for San Diego at this point.

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.