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Chase Utley to re-sign with Dodgers

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Free agent second baseman Chase Utley reportedly has a one-year contract in place with the Dodgers, says Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times. The club has not yet confirmed the deal or reported its terms.

The 2017 season will mark Utley’s third run with the Dodgers and 15th in the majors. Selecting a team looked like a laborious process for the veteran infielder, who was exclusively considering contending clubs and had narrowed the list to four teams on Thursday.

The 38-year-old polished off a two-year stint with the Dodgers in 2016, batting .252/.319/.396 with 14 home runs and a .716 OPS. It’s the best offensive output Utley has managed since his last All-Star season in 2014, but he figures to occupy a more limited role this year since the team traded for 30-year-old infielder Logan Forsythe last month.

While Utley adjusts to his part-time responsibilities on the field, his presence and leadership in the clubhouse should benefit at least one fellow infielder:

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.