Joey Votto is three weeks into what was initially a 3-4 week recovery timetable for knee surgery, but told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer that his return isn’t imminent:
I’m not ready to play yet. I’m moving in the right direction. I’m definitely not sure on a timetable. I’m not doing that to be coy, it’s because I genuinely don’t know which day. I’m making progress.
Votto is close enough to returning that the former MVP has been practicing his sliding, although manager Dusty Baker revealed to Brian Hedger of MLB.com that Votto “was a little sore after sliding and trying to get that muscle memory back.”
Of course, Baker also noted that Votto “needed a little work on his sliding before he hurt it.”
Cincinnati won 16 of 19 games after placing Votto on the disabled list in mid-July, but the Reds have now lost five straight games to shrink their lead in the NL Central down to 2.5 games over the Pirates.
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.