Having added two starting pitchers — Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel — in Friday’s big trade with the Cubs, the Athletics needed to juggle the roster a bit to make room. The club announced that outfielder Nick Buss was designated for assignment, and that Tommy Milone has been optioned to Triple-A Sacramento.
Milone, who was shocked to learn of his demotion, began the year in the Athletics’ starting rotation but didn’t make his season debut until April 11 due to scheduling and a rainout. Over 16 starts, the 27-year-old lefty posted a 3.55 ERA with a 61/26 K/BB ratio in 96 1/3 innings.
Buss, 27, was claimed by the A’s off waivers from the Dodgers in early May and spent his time since with Triple-A Sacramento. In 250 plate appearances, he posted a .683 OPS. He’ll likely pass through waivers and the A’s will keep him right where he is.
The A’s, by the way, have listed Samardzija as Sunday’s starter against the Blue Jays.
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.