MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez with the news:
Willis last pitched in the Majors in 2011 with the Reds, posting a 5.00 ERA in 73.2 innings over 13 starts. It has been a long and He signed with the Phillies for the 2012 season, but he was released during spring training. Shortly thereafter, Willis signed with the Orioles on a Minor League deal. He and the O’s organization disagreed on his usage, with Willis wanting work as a starter. He suffered a forearm strain, and subsequently announced his retirement in July.
The Cubs signed Willis to a Minor League deal in January. He threw seven pitches in a spring training appearance before leaving with a shoulder injury. The club ultimately released him, allowing him to sign with the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League. Willis, now 31 years old, posted a 2.57 ERA in 87.2 innings over 14 starts in the independent league.
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.
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.