Rockies activate Michael Cuddyer; Rafael Betancourt and Jeff Francis make progress

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The Rockies have activated Michael Cuddyer from the 15-day disabled list, tweets Troy Renck. The outfielder had been sidelined due to an inflamed cervical disc, halting a fantastic start to the year. The 34-year-old carried a .319/.383/.580 line through May 8, his last appearance. It should be noted his numbers are much better at Coors Field (1.157 OPS) than on the road (.785).

Meanwhile, reliever Rafael Betancourt will throw a bullpen to determine his availability for tonight’s game against the Giants, according to Renck. He had left Tuesday’s game with a groin injury and there was thought that he would wind up on the disabled list, but he appears to be avoiding that option. Additionally, lefty Jeff Francis — also dealing with a groin injury — threw a 25-pitch bullpen and will head to extended spring training before being reevaluated by the team. Francis had a 6.00 ERA in 36 innings before succumbing to the injury, and will have to hope a rotation spot opens up if and when he is ready.

Red Sox to extend protective netting at Fenway Park in 2018

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The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”

Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.

After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.