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Report: Neftali Feliz close to deal with Brewers

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According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, free agent right-hander Neftali Feliz is reportedly close to signing a deal with the Brewers. The 28-year-old has also been linked to the Dodgers and Nationals over the last month, though nothing substantial has surfaced on those fronts.

Milwaukee GM David Stearns has been shopping relief options as recently as last week, per a report from Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. While his roster doesn’t appear to lack any significant bullpen pieces, the loss of closer Tyler Thornburg to the Red Sox last month has left the club wanting for more depth. Feliz, meanwhile, could potentially step into the closing role in Milwaukee, provided that his resurgence in 2016 wasn’t a one-time deal.

The veteran righty is coming off of an impressive tour with the Pirates, during which he sustained a 3.52 ERA, 3.5 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 53 2/3 innings. His time on the mound was highlighted by a promising spike in velocity, accompanied by the second-highest strikeout rate of his career to date, though he missed the last month of the season after suffering a bout of arm soreness.

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.