Ryan Braun has essentially duplicated his MVP-winning numbers from last season and is batting .342 with multiple big hits this month, but he’s doing all that damage at less than full strength physically.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel spotted Braun “walking gingerly” in the clubhouse and manager Ron Roenicke admitted that he’s playing through “a couple of groin issues” and “going out there because he knows we need it.”
Braun missed some time with groin problems earlier this season and under different circumstances it sounds like he might sit out a few games now, but with the Brewers clawing their way back into the Wild Card race he’s unlikely to miss any action.
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.