The Mariners are moving in the fences … as much as 17 feet!

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Safeco Field is where offense goes to die.  Maybe not in the future. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that the Mariners are moving in their fences next season.

The specifics: The fences will be moved in four feet from the left field corner to the space between the bullpens — which is roughly straightway left field. Likewise,  From straightaway center to right center, the wall will be moved in four feet. Four feet is significant. But that’s nothing compared to this:

Wow. Launching pad west? I dunno. I know that park kills offense, especially for righthanders, but that seems like lots of feet. Like, several more than many.

In addition, the hand-operated scoreboard in left will be relocated. Now it’s 16 feet high and in play. The new wall will be uniformly 8 feet high.

It’s official, and the changes have been approved by Major League Baseball.  Gentlemen, start your Hittrackers and let’s see how much this will warp the offense in Seattle. If it is indeed warped at all.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.