Red Sox closer Koji Uehara has been human of late, blowing back-to-back saves and allowing a total of seven runs in his previous four appearances, which has people wondering if the 39-year-old right-hander is wearing down.
However, after last night’s blown save Uehara told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that “it’s nothing about fatigue” and then replied “still, I don’t think that’s the case” when told he’s approaching 150 total innings since the beginning of last season.
Red Sox manager John Farrell took a similar stance, saying the team is “being very conscious of the frequency of the use” but has no plans to shut him down.
Even with his recent struggles Uehara has a 2.25 ERA and spectacular 73/8 K/BB ratio in 60 innings overall this season, which are incredible numbers even if they pale in comparison to his ridiculous 2013 season totals.
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.