The Yankees on Wednesday announced plans to install additional protective netting at Yankee Stadium in time for the team’s home opener against the Rays on April 2.
The Yankees took heat for not extending protective netting immediately after a 1-year-old child was seriously injured by a 105-mile per hour line drive off the bat of Todd Frazier during a game against the Twins on Sept. 20.
There were other incidents of balls flying into the Yankee Stadium stands and injuring fans during the 2017 season, including one on July 25 when a fan was bloodied by a liner off the bat of rookie sensation Aaron Judge.
After the Sept. 20 incident, the Yankees were pressured to immediately extend the protective netting. But the club said it was still studying how to accomplish the task in time for the 2018 season.
The Yankees will install partially retractable netting to the roofs of both dugouts, which will extend to nine feet above the dugout during games, and eight-feet high stationary netting that will extend past the ends of each dugout to Section 011 on the first-base side and Section 029 on the third-base side.
That’s about half-way to the outfield foul poles, according to a diagram released by the club.
During batting practice, the netting over the dugouts will be lowered so fans can better interact with players. A batting cage is used during batting practice to stop foul balls from leaving the home plate area.
In addition to the netting at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees also are adding a similar system at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., in time for the start of spring training next month.
The Mets expanded their Citi Field netting in July. Four other MLB teams announced plans to expand their netting after the Sept. 20 incident, and commissioner Rob Manfred said MLB would “redouble” its efforts on the issue.