Protective netting at Nationals Park played the hero once again

AP Photo/Colin E. Braley
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Two weeks ago, the protective netting at Nationals Park made a difference when part of Kelly Johnson‘s broken bat rocketed towards the crowd. The netting, though, got in the way and protected fans from potential harm.

The netting at Nationals Park played the hero once again on Wednesday night. Cesar Hernandez broke his bat swinging at a Gio Gonzalez fastball. A majority of the bat went flying towards the fans on the third base side, but it got stuck in the netting. One can clearly see just how dangerous it could have been, as one end appeared rather sharp.

Here’s the link to the video on MLB.com. Some fans, including Stephen King, have been outspoken opponents of the enhanced safety, but it’s made a difference thus far and the players seem to like it.

Major League Baseball issued netting recommendations to all 30 teams during the offseason.

Fried, Braves go to salary arbitration for 2nd straight year

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Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried went to salary arbitration with the Atlanta Braves for the second straight year, asking for $15 million instead of the team’s $13.5 million offer.

The 29-year-old left-hander went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal in arbitration. That was after he pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.

Fried, who is eligible for free agency after the 2024 World Series, had his case heard Friday by a panel that’s expected to issue a decision Saturday.

Players have won two of three decisions so far: Pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Miami Marlins. But Seattle defeated Diego Castillo ($2.95 million).

A decision is being held for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe, whose case was argued Monday. About 20 more cases are scheduled through Feb. 17.