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Orioles plan on arbitration hearings for three players

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Orioles general manager Dan Duquette is planning on taking right-handers Kevin Gausman and Brad Brach and catcher Caleb Joseph to arbitration hearings next month, according to comments made by the GM during FanFest on Saturday.

Gausman, 26, returned to a full-time starting role with the Orioles in 2016. He went 9-12 with a 3.61 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 8.7 SO/9 over 179 2/3 innings, a substantial improvement over the 4.25 ERA he posted as a swingman in 2015. He filed for $3.55 million and was met with a $3.15 million offer by the team, but the two have been unable to compromise on a midpoint in the weeks following the deadline.

Right-handed reliever Brad Brach had a stunning season in Baltimore, earning his first career All-Star nomination and touting a career-best 2.05 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 10.5 SO/9 through 79 innings. The 30-year-old requested $3.05 million, which was countered by a $2.525 million sum from the Orioles.

Things weren’t so hot for 30-year-old part-time backstop Caleb Joseph, who sustained a severe testicular injury on a wayward foul tip and lugged a .174/.216/.197 batting line and three doubles through 141 PA with the club last year. Joseph is expected to serve as the primary backup for catcher Welington Castillo in 2017. The team offered $700,000 to Joseph’s $1 million request.

Brian Dozier, Todd Frazier, and Didi Gregorius say teams should expand protective netting

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Earlier, a young fan was struck by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium and had to be carried out before being taken to a hospital. Fortunately, it seems that the fan is okay.

As usual, when a scary incident such as today’s occurs, players come out in full support of expanding the protective netting at ballparks. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier as well as Yankees third baseman Todd Frazier and shortstop Didi Gregorius all said as much after Wednesday afternoon’s game.

Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis has also been a very vocal proponent of increased netting. For the most part, the players are pretty much all in agreement about the subject. It’s only a vocal minority of fans who seem to think that their ability to snag a random souvenir or have an unimpeded view supersedes the safety of their neighbors.

Video: Giancarlo Stanton hits a laser for his 56th home run

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Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton continued his march towards 60 home runs, hitting No. 56 in Wednesday afternoon’s win against the Mets. The Marlins, leading 7-2 prior to Stanton’s two-run blast in the bottom of the eighth, didn’t need the extra run support but welcomed it all the same. Mets reliever Erik Goeddel tossed a 1-1, 78 MPH curve that caught too much of the plate.

After Wednesday’s action, Stanton is batting .279/.378/.634 with 120 RBI and 116 runs scored along with the 56 dingers in 646 plate appearances. The last player to hit at least 56 home runs in a season was Ryan Howard (58) in 2006. Stanton’s is the 19th player-season of at least 56 homers.