Erik Bedard, heated garages, and playing catch with your brother

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Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle has an amusing look at what Erik Bedard did to stay in shape while spending the offseason at home in Ontario, Canada and waiting for what became a minor-league contract from the Astros:

Bedard walked to a plastic pitching mound inside his 70-foot heated garage, waited for his 30-year-old brother Mark to get off work at 4 p.m., and finally started hurling. By the end of Bedard’s garage run, it was minus-20 degrees in Ottawa.

Bedard has earned around $30 million playing baseball and even his minor-league deal with the Astros will pay what is in the non-baseball world a huge amount of money if he makes the team. Given that there’s an argument to be made for Bedard hiring someone–a professional catcher, a pitching coach, whatever–to work with him during the offseason or at least paying his brother enough so that the throwing schedule doesn’t revolve around his work hours.

But that wouldn’t be as fun, probably.

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.