Tim Stauffer undergoes elbow surgery

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Tim Stauffer’s 2012 season is officially over, as Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that he underwent surgery yesterday to repair the flexor tendon in his right elbow. Padres manager Bud Black said that he should be ready for spring training next year.

Stauffer was originally expected to be the Padres’ Opening Day starter, but he ended up making just one start in the big leagues this season. After beginning the year on the disabled list, he made his season debut against the Nationals on May 14 and gave up four runs (three earned) over five innings. However, he was placed right back on the disabled list after feeling more discomfort in his elbow. He finally decided to have surgery after being pulled from a rehab assignment earlier this month.

Stauffer made $3.2 million this season and is arbitration-eligible again this winter, so he figures to be a non-tender candidate this winter. The 29-year-old right-hander will likely have to settle for a one-year “prove it” contract, but after posting a 3.73 ERA over 185 2/3 innings in 2011, there should be plenty of teams willing to take a chance on him.

White Sox to extend protective netting to the foul poles

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Recently two more fans suffered serious injuries as the result of hard-hit foul balls at major league games. One of those fans was hurt at a White Sox game at Guaranteed Rate Field earlier this month. In response, the White Sox have taken it upon themselves to do that which Major League Baseball will not require and extend protective netting. From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The White Sox and Illinois Sports Facilities Authority are planning to extend the protective netting at Guaranteed Rate Field down the lines to the foul poles, according to a source.

Exact details will be announced later, but the changes will be made as soon as possible this season.

If recent history holds, they will not be the last team to do it.

Major League Baseball has taken a laissez-faire approach to protective netting over the past several years, requiring nothing even if it has made recommendations to teams to do something. The last time it made a suggestion was in December 2015 when teams were “encouraged” to shield the seats between the near ends of both dugouts and within 70 feet of home plate. In the wake of that recommendation only a few teams immediately extended their netting, primarily because if you ask a business to do something but say it is not required to do anything, it is not likely to do anything.

It would not be until September 2017, after a baby girl was severely injured at Yankee Stadium, that the rest of baseball was inspired to extend protective netting in keeping with MLB’s recommendations. Indeed, it was a land rush, with all 30 teams extending their netting by Opening Day 2018. While a generous interpretation would have everyone seeing the light simultaneously, my slightly more experienced eye saw it as a “don’t be the only team not to have extended netting by the time the next lawsuit hits” approach.

In the wake of the two recent injuries Major League Baseball issued a statement about how it “will keep examining” the matter of additional protective netting while, again, mandating nothing. Now that the White Sox are extending netting to the foul poles, however,  it’s not hard to imagine a situation in which other teams follow suit. Sooner or later, enough will likely have done so to create critical mass and make any team which has not done so to make the effort out of self-preservation.

Or, more generously, good sense.