Drew Storen avoids arbitration with Nationals, gets one-year, $2.5 million deal

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The Nationals and right-hander Drew Storen have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.5 million contract. Storen’s agent, CAA Baseball, made the announcement on Twitter and added that the deal includes $1 million in performance bonuses.

This is a pretty nice chunk of change for Storen, who was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter as a Super Two player. The 25-year-old remains under team control through 2016.

Storen was solid after returning from elbow surgery last season, including a 2.37 ERA and 24/8 K/BB ratio over 30 1/3 innings during the regular season, but he experienced a meltdown during Game 5 of the NLDS against the Cardinals. The Nationals signed Rafael Soriano to a two-year, $28 million contract this week and plan to use him as their closer, so Storen will pitch in a set-up role in 2013. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo insisted today that the decision to add Soriano had nothing to do with the NLDS and that he still feels Storen is a closer.

Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, and Didi Gregorius say teams should expand protective netting

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Earlier, a young fan was struck by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium and had to be carried out before being taken to a hospital. Fortunately, it seems that the fan is okay.

As usual, when a scary incident such as today’s occurs, players come out in full support of expanding the protective netting at ballparks. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier as well as Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier and shortstop Didi Gregorius all said as much after Wednesday afternoon’s game.

Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis has also been a very vocal proponent of increased netting. For the most part, the players are pretty much all in agreement about the subject. It’s only a vocal minority of fans who seem to think that their ability to snag a random souvenir or have an unimpeded view supersedes the safety of their neighbors.

Video: Giancarlo Stanton hits a laser for his 56th home run

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Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton continued his march towards 60 home runs, hitting No. 56 in Wednesday afternoon’s win against the Mets. The Marlins, leading 7-2 prior to Stanton’s two-run blast in the bottom of the eighth, didn’t need the extra run support but welcomed it all the same. Mets reliever Erik Goeddel tossed a 1-1, 78 MPH curve that caught too much of the plate.

After Wednesday’s action, Stanton is batting .279/.378/.634 with 120 RBI and 116 runs scored along with the 56 dingers in 646 plate appearances. The last player to hit at least 56 home runs in a season was Ryan Howard (58) in 2006. Stanton’s is the 19th player-season of at least 56 homers.