Pat Neshek, A’s avoid arbitration with one-year deal

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Oakland has avoided arbitration with Pat Neshek by signing the reliever to a one-year deal, according to Casey Pratt of CSNBayArea.com.

Neshek spent most of this year at Triple-A in the Orioles’ farm system, but was sold to the A’s in August, got called up to Oakland, and tossed 20 innings with a 1.37 ERA down the stretch.

He also appeared in one playoff game, getting two outs to escape a jam against the Tigers just days after rejoining the team following the death of his new-born son.

From his odd pitching mechanics and frequent interaction with fans online to his difficult comeback from Tommy John surgery and the personal tragedy his family suffered Neshek is someone to root for on and off the field, so it’s nice to see he’ll get an extended opportunity in the majors for 2013.

Another young fan was struck by a foul ball, this time at Guaranteed Rate Field

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ESPN reports via the Associated Press that a young boy was struck by a line drive foul ball but was not seriously injured during Sunday afternoon’s game against the Royals. The boy and a woman were escorted by a first aid crew to the concourse area and the boy was later eating ice cream in a luxury suite.

A woman was struck in the face by a foul ball also on the first base side at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, but she didn’t request medical assistance.

Last week, a young fan at Yankee Stadium was hit by a line drive foul ball, which motivated several teams to commit to extending protective netting at their ballparks. The Yankees, strangely, were not among them. Nor were the White Sox.

Diamondbacks clinch NL Wild Card

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Losses by the Cardinals to the Pirates and the Brewers to the Cubs on Sunday clinched an NL Wild Card berth for the Diamondbacks. Their walk-off, 3-2 win over the Marlins earned them hosting rights for the Wild Card game.

The D-Backs, now 90-66, trailed the Marlins 2-1 going into the bottom of the eighth. Daniel Descalso tied the game at two apiece with an RBI single off of Brad Ziegler. Second half hero J.D. Martinez secured the win with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth against Javy Guerra.

The Rockies beat the Padres on Sunday to increase their lead over the Brewers (+2) and Cardinals (+2.5) for the second Wild Card slot. One of these three teams will visit Arizona for the Wild Card game.

The Diamondbacks are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2011, when they lost the Division Series in five games to the Brewers.