Carl Crawford almost ready to begin facing live pitching

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An update here on the Dodgers’ Carl Crawford.

According to beat writer Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Crawford is throwing at a distance of 90 feet and taking regular swings off a tee at the Dodgers’ spring training complex in Arizona without any pain or discomfort in his surgically-repaired left elbow.

Crawford hopes to begin facing live pitching within the next couple of days and told reporters on Tuesday afternoon in camp that he is “confident” he will be ready for the beginning of the 2013 regular season.

Crawford has batted just .260/.292/.419 with 14 home runs, 23 stolen bases and 75 RBI in 664 plate appearances since signing a seven-year, $142 million free agent contract with the Red Sox before the start of the 2011 campaign. The 31-year-old outfielder was traded to Los Angeles last summer.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.