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Report: Giants sign Michael Morse to minor league deal

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Veteran infielder/outfielder Michael Morse has reportedly struck a minor league deal with the Giants, according to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy.

After posting a .275/.390/.391 line through 45 games with the Pirates in 2015, Morse was released just one month into the 2016 season when the club cleared roster space to accommodate right-hander A.J. Schugel. He hasn’t seen a full workload since his last stint with the Giants in 2014, batting .279/.336/.475 with 16 home runs while splitting time in left field and first base.

The 34-year-old has an invite to spring training, but could find it hard to break into the Giants’ 25-man roster again. Brandon Belt has a lock on first base, with most off days allotted to Buster Posey. Left field offers more flexibility, though the Giants appear to have a plethora of players that could see time there in 2017, including Jarrett Parker, Mac Williamson, Kyle Blanks and Chris Marrero, among others. Defensively, Morse doesn’t stand out in the crowd, though he could add a decent bat off the bench if need be.

Outfielder Justin Ruggiano also picked up a minor league contract, per Eddy’s report. The two deals have yet to be confirmed by the team.

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.