Giancarlo Stanton (shoulder) expected back Thursday

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Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton hasn’t played in a week because of a left shoulder contusion. But things are suddenly looking up for the young slugger.

According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, Stanton felt fine after taking batting practice on Wednesday afternoon and is scheduled to return to the Marlins’ starting lineup for Thursday night’s series-opener against the Reds at Great American Ball Park.

“Stanton hit today, and he said things felt good,” manager Mike Redmond told reporters before Wednesday’s series-finale with the Nationals. “He should be good to go for tomorrow. That’s a good sign, obviously. We all know how important he is to this lineup. That’s good news. He felt better today.”

Stanton was batting just .167 with a .575 OPS in nine games before the injury, but it shouldn’t take him long to get going. The 23-year-old hit .290/.361/.608 with 37 home runs and 86 RBI in 123 games last season.

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.