Oscar Taveras’ ankle “isn’t good enough” for game action

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Cardinals stud prospect Oscar Taveras said back in January that his surgically repaired ankle felt “100 percent” after causing him to miss much of last season, but after seeing him run early in camp the team disagrees.

In fact, manager Mike Matheny told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch this morning that Taveras is running at about 80 percent and then added that “80 percent isn’t good enough.”

Which means Taveras has not been cleared for game action yet and his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster–which may have been fairly slim to begin with–are dropping lower by the day. More likely he’ll head to Triple-A, try to crush some Pacific Coast League pitching for a month or two, and force his way into the Cardinals’ plans. Assuming that he can get healthy at some point, of course.

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.