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For the first time since 2002, the Red Sox went to arbitration with a player

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As Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports, the Red Sox went to arbitration with reliever Fernando Abad on Monday. Abad asked for $2.7 million while the Red Sox countered at $2 million. The lefty earned $1.3 million in 2016.

This marks the first time the Red Sox have gone to arbitration with one of their players in 15 years, as Silverman notes. Back in 2002, the club went to a hearing with pitcher Rolando Arrojo and the arbitrator ultimately sided with the Red Sox. Historically, teams tend to come out ahead.

Abad, 31, started the 2016 season with the Twins but was traded to the Red Sox ahead of the trade deadline on August 1. Between both teams, he posted a 3.66 ERA with a 41/22 K/BB ratio in 46 2/3 innings. Abad can become a free agent after the 2017 season.

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.