Indians’ second baseman Jason Kipnis is not expected to be ready for Opening Day, according to comments made by Terry Francona on Saturday. Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com reports that the infielder is scheduled to miss up to two weeks with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder.
The 29-year-old received a cortisone shot in his shoulder last month, but is still feeling discomfort after playing in back-to-back Cactus League games last week. He went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles and a walk and was expected to DH on Sunday before the team’s medical staff shut him down.
Kipnis batted .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs and an .811 OPS with the Indians in 2016. While this isn’t the first shoulder injury of the infielder’s career, Francona doesn’t expect that it will pose a significant problem down the road. Until Kipnis is cleared for a full return, Hoynes notes that the team could call on utility infielder Michael Martinez or third baseman Jose Ramirez to handle the keystone in his absence.
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.