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Angels sign Dustin Ackley to minor league deal

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The Angels inked free agent infielder/outfielder Dustin Ackley to a minor league contract on Saturday, per a team announcement. The deal includes an invitation to spring training.

Ackley, 28, missed the bulk of the 2016 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He played his last full season with the Mariners and Yankees in 2015, splitting time between left field and second base and batting a combined .231/.284/.429 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI in 264 PA.

The Angels will look to Ackley as a backup candidate alongside outfielder Ben Revere and infielder Cliff Pennington.

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.