White Sox plan to extend netting

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CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago White Sox plan to extend the protective netting to the foul poles at Guaranteed Rate Field, becoming the first major league team to take that step since a couple of high-profile injuries this spring increased the focus on fan safety at ballparks.

The White Sox and Illinois Sports Facilities Authority, which owns the ballpark, are hoping to complete the project this season. They say they will announce more details at a later date.

Now that one team has jumped in front on the move, there likely will be more to come. It's hard to imagine a scenario where one major league team feels comfortable with less protection for fans than at another ballpark.

"Obviously that's a positive step in this sport," Chicago Cubs outfielder Albert Almora Jr. said before their game against the crosstown White Sox on Tuesday night. "I don't think anybody should go home with bumps or bruises or even worse. So whatever they got to do to take care of that, I'm glad they're taking procedures."

Following recommendations from Major League Baseball, by the start of the 2018 season all 30 teams had expanded their protective netting to at least the far ends of the dugouts after several fans were injured by foul balls in 2017.

But a liner by Almora struck a young girl in Houston in May, and a woman was hit by a foul ball off the bat of White Sox slugger Eloy Jiménez in Chicago on June 10. Each of the incidents occurred in the stands beyond the dugout on the third base side, sparking several players to call for expanded netting.

PRO BASEBALL

WASHINGTON (AP) - Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer suffered a broken nose when he took a ball off his face during batting practice on Tuesday.

Scherzer was injured while attempting a bunt. The team said a CT scan was negative.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner was scheduled to start one of the two games of Washington's day-night doubleheader against Philadelphia on Wednesday. The Nationals said Scherzer's status - as well as the team's pitching plan for the doubleheader - was still to be determined.

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) - Authorities in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday announced the arrest of an 11th suspect in the attempted killing of former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz.

An official identified the suspect as Franklin Junior Merán. The official, who agreed to disclose the information only if not quoted by name because they weren't authorized to discuss the case publicly, told The Associated Press that Merán is accused of renting one of the cars used in the June 9 shooting at a bar in Santo Domingo.

Ten other suspects have already been ordered to spend a year in preventive detention as the investigation continues, including the alleged shooter. Authorities say they are looking for at least three other suspects, including the man they believe paid the hit men.

PRO BASKETBALL

BOSTON (AP) - Boston Celtics center Al Horford will decline his player option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent, a person familiar with the decision has told The Associated Press.

The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity Tuesday because the decision has not been announced. ESPN was first to report Horford's decision.

A five-time All-Star, the 33-year-old Horford joins point guard Kyrie Irving, who also won't exercise his option to remain in Boston for the final year of his contract. Horford signed a four-year, $113 million deal in 2016.

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