Royals demote Aaron Crow to Double-A

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Needing to make roster room for tonight’s starting pitcher, Liam Hendriks, the Royals have demoted reliever Aaron Crow to Double-A.

At first glance it looks like another case of a team demoting a player to the minors simply because they had a minor-league option remaining. Crow was an All-Star in 2011 and has a 3.35 ERA in 226 career innings through age 26, including a 3.86 ERA in 59 appearances this season.

However, his secondary numbers have slipped dramatically with a 29/20 K/BB ratio in 51 innings and since beginning the season by making 19 consecutive appearances with zero earned runs allowed he has a 5.77 ERA in 40 games.

Dan Otero of the A’s probably has a better case for being demoted solely due to having a minor-league option remaining and either way Crow will almost surely be back in September.

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.