Blue Jays plan to use Brett Lawrie at second base against right-handed pitchers

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In an effort to keep Juan Francisco’s bat in the lineup, the Blue Jays plan to use Brett Lawrie at second base when they face a right-handed pitcher, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports. Lawrie has logged only 69 defensive innings at second base in his big league career, though he did spend a majority of his minor league career there.

Francisco is off to a hot start, slashing .292/.382/.585 with five home runs and 12 RBI in 18 games since being recalled from Triple-A on April 18. The Blue Jays signed Francisco on April 1, a week after the Brewers released him.

Lawrie hasn’t been nearly as productive at the plate, slashing .229/.276/.407 despite hitting six home runs and knocking in 21 runs. Chris Getz and Ryan Goins will see a reduction in playing time as a result of Lawrie’s move to second base.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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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.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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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.