Los Angeles — All 30 major league ballparks will have expanded protective netting that reaches to at least the far ends of each dugout by opening day.
Major League Baseball made the announcement Thursday ahead of an owners’ meeting later in the day.
The Detroit Tigers announced in September that expanded netting would be in place in time for the start of the 2018 season.
MLB issued recommendations for protective netting or screens in December 2015, encouraging teams to have it in place between the ends of the dugouts closest to home plate. The push for an expansion increased last year after a series of spectator injuries.
A boy was struck on the head by a portion of Chris Carter’s broken bat at Yankee Stadium on May 25, and a fan sitting beyond the first-base dugout was hit by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Aaron Judge on July 25. A young girl was injured by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier on Sept. 20 and was hospitalized.
Speeding up games
Major League Baseball has offered to drop its proposal for a pitch clock this year and also would go without one in 2019 if the average time of a nine-inning game drops to at least 2 hours, 55 minutes this season.
Speaking at the end of a quarterly owners meeting, baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday owners had authorized him to implement management’s proposal from last offseason, which calls for a 20-second pitch clock, if an agreement cannot be reached with the players’ association. Management has proposed a deal that would phase in new pace-of-game rules over the next three seasons.
Around the horn
Pitcher Shelby Miller has won his salary arbitration case against Arizona after missing most of last season because of a torn elbow ligament, a decision that gave players a 2-0 record this year. Miller was awarded a $200,000 raise to $4.9 million on Thursday.
... Indians utility man Michael Martinez will be sidelined at least six months following Achilles tendon surgery, and his career could be in jeopardy.
... Free-agent catcher Miguel Montero has agreed to a minor league deal with the Nationals with an invitation to major league spring training.