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Royals sign Brayan Pena to a minor league deal

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Ken Rosenthal reports that the Royals have signed Brayan Pena to a minor league deal.

Pena played for the Royals from 2009 through 2012. Last year was spent in St. Louis, but he played only nine games due to a knee injury. He’s still owed $2.5 million by the Cardinals this season by virtue of a two-year deal he signed a year ago. He doesn’t seem to have a place on the big league roster for the Royals given that Sal Perez and Drew Butera are on the club, but he might stick around Omaha and act as insurance.

In other news, last July Pena said he was joining the army reserves this offseason. No idea if he actually went through with that.

 

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.