Max Scherzer was skipped in the rotation this week due to a nagging shoulder issue, but he could end up playing a critical role for the Tigers before the end of the regular season.
According to Jason Beck of MLB.com, Scherzer played catch today without pain and is scheduled to long-toss tomorrow at full effort. The hope is that he’ll be able to throw a bullpen session Monday, setting up his return for Wednesday’s season finale against the Royals. Justin Verlander is starting today against the Twins and isn’t an option on three days’ rest, even in a do-or-die situation with the division on the line.
Via Brooks Baseball, Scherzer averaged under 92 mph on his fastball during his last start last Sunday against the Twins, down from his 94.2 mph average for the year. The 28-year-old right-hander has a 3.82 ERA and 228/52 K/BB ratio over 183 2/3 innings over 31 starts this season.
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.