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Elvis Araujo to play for Chunichi Dragons in 2017

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The Marlins finalized their two-year, $16 million deal with right-hander Brad Ziegler on Friday, designating left-hander Elvis Araujo for assignment in the process. According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, Araujo will play for the Chunichi Dragons of Nippon Professional Baseball in 2017.

The 25-year-old southpaw operated out of the Phillies’ bullpen in 2015 and 2016, posting a 5.60 ERA, 9.5 SO/9 and 5.6 BB/9 in 27 1/3 innings with Philadelphia last season. The Marlins claimed him off waivers in November when they were looking for an additional lefty to complement rookie left-hander Hunter Cervenka‘s efforts in the ‘pen. Now, however, it appears the club has changed their tune. Per Tim Healey of the Sun Sentinel, president of baseball operations Michael Hill isn’t looking for a set number of right- and left-handed relievers when it comes to the composition of his relief corps, telling reporters, “Handedness didn’t come into play as much as finding the highest quality [reliever].”

No contract details were given regarding Araujo’s deal with the Chunichi Dragons, but he is currently the only former major leaguer slated for the 2017 roster following the release of middle infielder Anderson Hernandez, right-hander Juan Jaime and left-hander Leyson Septimo.

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.