Kris Bryant scratched, still hits fifth and sixth spring homers

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Cubs third base prospect Kris Bryant was scratched from Saturday’s Cactus League exhibition against the Athletics due to right shoulder fatigue. He pinch-hit for Anthony Rizzo in the DH spot in the third inning and took Jesse Hahn deep for a two-run home run. In his next at-bat, Bryant went yard against Evan Scribner for a solo home run. The Cubs went on to win 3-1, with Bryant accounting for all three runs.

Bryant, 23, leads the majors in spring home runs with six. Randal Grichuk and Alex Rios entered the afternoon tied in second place with three dingers. Bryant is currently 9-for-20 (.450) with nine RBI along with the six long balls.

The Cubs plan to have Bryant start the season in the minor leagues. Mike Olt will be the club’s regular third baseman, but Bryant should earn a promotion in late April or early May. In 594 plate appearances between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa last season, Bryant hit a robust .325/.438/.661 with 43 home runs and 110 RBI.

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.