Luke Hochevar shut down with sprained elbow

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Royals right-hander Luke Hochevar has been shut down for at least two weeks with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star.

McCullough reports that “the team hopes he returns by the end of May,” which suggests it could be a more serious injury. UCLs are the ligaments that lead to Tommy John surgery and 12-month recovery timetables when torn.

After years of disappointing as a starter Hochevar shifted to the bullpen last season with a ton of success, throwing 70 innings with a 1.92 ERA and 82/17 K/BB ratio. By comparison, he has a 5.44 ERA in 128 career starts.

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.