Ryan Madson: “This is the closest I’ve felt to being normal”

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Ryan Madson has basically been “two weeks” away from returning since February, but setbacks with his surgically repaired elbow have reset his timetable multiple times.

He’s once again making progress, throwing a 40-pitch bullpen session Tuesday “with conviction, with extension, and without one bit of pain.” Seriously, that’s the quote he gave to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.

DiGiovanna reports that Madson will throw again Friday and, barring another setback, is now aiming to join the Angels’ bullpen by May 1. If/when he does return it won’t be in the closer role, which was the Angels’ plan for Madson initially after signing him. That job is now Ernesto Frieri’s until either he falters or Madson forces his way into the picture by actually pitching well.

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.