Pirates activate Russell Martin, designate Wandy Rodriguez for assignment

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Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin is back off the disabled list after missing the past month with a strained hamstring and to make room for him on the roster the Pirates have designated for assignment left-hander Wandy Rodriguez.

Rodriguez has struggled to pitch through an arthritic elbow all season, posting a 6.75 ERA in six starts, and previously spent time on the disabled list. He actually pitched well in his first start back off the DL last week, but Rodriguez allowed six runs without making it out of the second inning yesterday against the Orioles to apparently convince the Pirates he wasn’t going to contribute positively any longer.

Rodriguez was acquired from the Astros in mid-2012 and pitched well for the Pirates down the stretch that season and last season, but he’s repeatedly been limited by injuries. He’s owed $13 million this year, but Houston is on the hook for the majority of that and at age 35 with free agency around the corner he wasn’t going to be part of Pittsburgh’s plans beyond this season anyway.

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.