Orioles sign Randy Wolf to minor league deal

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Randy Wolf has yet a new home. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles have signed the left-hander to a minor league deal and assigned him to Triple-A Norfolk. He’ll make his first start with his new club on Tuesday against Pawtucket. The Orioles outrighted Edgmer Escalona off of the 40-man roster to make room for Wolf.

Wolf has been well-traveled in 2014 as he attempts to prolong his major league career. He spent the spring with the Mariners, but they released him on March 25. The Diamondbacks signed him to a minor league deal on April 11, but they released him about a month later after he posted a 4.50 ERA in 34 innings across six starts with Triple-A Reno. The Marlins signed him on May 14 and had him make his 2014 debut — his first appearance in the major leagues since September 2012 — on the same day. In four starts and two relief appearances for the Marlins, Wolf posted a 5.26 ERA with a 19/6 K/BB ratio in 25 2/3 innings. The Marlins designated Wolf for assignment on Monday, and he elected free agency on Wednesday.

The 37-year-old lefty is a veteran of 15 seasons in the big leagues. Over 2,293 2/3 career innings, Wolf has a 4.21 ERA with a 133-120 record.

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.