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Phillies sign Andres Blanco for one year, $3 million

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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies have signed utility infielder Andres Blanco to a one-year, $3 million deal.

Blanco, 32, has been a valuable utility player for the Phillies over the past three seasons. He had a career year in 2015, putting up an .863 OPS in 261 plate appearances playing first, second, and third base as well as shortstop.

This past season, Blanco added left field to his repertoire and still put up a solid .721 OPS. He missed a month and a half during the second half of the season due to a broken index finger.

Red Sox to extend protective netting at Fenway Park in 2018

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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.