The Mariners are moving in the fences … as much as 17 feet!

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Safeco Field is where offense goes to die.  Maybe not in the future. Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that the Mariners are moving in their fences next season.

The specifics: The fences will be moved in four feet from the left field corner to the space between the bullpens — which is roughly straightway left field. Likewise,  From straightaway center to right center, the wall will be moved in four feet. Four feet is significant. But that’s nothing compared to this:

Wow. Launching pad west? I dunno. I know that park kills offense, especially for righthanders, but that seems like lots of feet. Like, several more than many.

In addition, the hand-operated scoreboard in left will be relocated. Now it’s 16 feet high and in play. The new wall will be uniformly 8 feet high.

It’s official, and the changes have been approved by Major League Baseball.  Gentlemen, start your Hittrackers and let’s see how much this will warp the offense in Seattle. If it is indeed warped at all.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.