The Dodgers announced Friday that additional protective netting down the foul lines will be installed at Dodger Stadium by Monday when the club returns home to play the Colorado Rockies.
The organization already increased the height of the netting behind home plate and along the dugouts eight feet, reaching 33 feet, this month. The 33-foot net will extend an additional 124 feet down the baseline. It will stop at the elbow bent in front of the baseline seats, several rows from the foul poles.
The installation comes about a year after 79-year-old Linda Goldbloom died four days after she was hit in the head by a foul ball above the netting behind home plate. In June, the club said it was studying protective measures after a girl was hit in the head by a line drive beyond the netting down the first-base line. A boy also was hit by a line drive at Dodger Stadium during batting practice this season. Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill called for extended netting this summer.
“The decisions to both raise and extend the nets at Dodger Stadium were made after extensive data analysis and consultation with both players and fans,” team president Stan Kasten said in a statement.
The Chicago White Sox, Washington Nationals and Houston Astros were the first teams to extend netting down the foul lines at their ballparks this season. The Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays are among the other organizations that have publicly committed to following suit.
All 30 Major League Baseball clubs were required to extend netting to at least the end of the dugouts before last season.
“I’m actually really intrigued with how it’s going to look,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “I’m really happy that we’re extending it to really increase the fan experience as far as protecting them.”
VERDUGO INCHING CLOSER
Roberts said outfielder Alex Verdugo is slated to begin a rehab assignment with a minor league affiliate early next week. Verdugo was placed on the injured list Aug. 6 with a strained oblique and recently began baseball activities at the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Arizona.
“Out early next week to an affiliate and log a week of three, four, five [at-bats], whatever he needs to get ready and then we’ll get him back,” Roberts said.
The rookie was at Chase Field with the team Thursday and was given Friday off from baseball activities. He’ll resume throwing and facing live pitching Saturday.
The Dodgers plan on activating Ross Stripling, Dylan Floro and David Freese when rosters expand Sunday. Stripling likely will the start the game and log multiple innings before giving way to Dustin May out of the bullpen. Stripling hasn’t pitched since landing on the injured list July 25 with a neck injury. Freese is slated to start at first base. . . . Julio Urias is expected to rejoin the Dodgers on Tuesday after serving a 20-game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy. . . . Hill will throw his third bullpen session since landing on the injured list with a forearm strain in June on Monday at Dodger Stadium.