The All-Star ballots are out

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Major League Baseball just announced that, as of now, All-Star balloting is underway. The ballots — all online, we don’t do the paper ones anymore — are available here.

You can cast five ballots in any 24-hour period. Of course, there are many ways to get around those limits if you know anything about the Internet. That would also require, however, you caring to stuff an All-Star Game ballot box, which seems like a somewhat questionable use of your time. You do you, though.

As for the ballots themselves, here’s the National League:

 

And here’s the American League:

There are a couple of weird things in there. Most notably seeing Ian Desmond at first base for the Rockies instead of Mark Reynolds when Desmond has played one game and Reynolds is the best hitter on the Rockies so far. Back in the day of paper ballots I’d get that but why couldn’t they have changed that by now?

Oh well, doesn’t matter. Many of the guys elected will beg out. None of this matters. At least not in a serious way. Just go with it. It’s the All-Star Game.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.