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Blue Jays to extend protective netting at Rogers Centre

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays became the latest Major League Baseball team to announce plans to extend the protective netting at their home stadium Monday.

New netting will be extended to the outfield end of each dugout at Rogers Centre. Existing netting behind home plate will be replaced and increased in height by about three metres, the team said in a statement.

Several big-league clubs announced plans to expand protective netting last season after a young girl was injured by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium. The 105-m.p.h. line drive hit her in the face in less than a second.

The Blue Jays said the existing netting at Rogers Centre meets Major League Baseball’s recommended guidelines, but the newly installed netting will exceed those standards.

The changes will be made in time for the Blue Jays’ home opener against the New York Yankees on March 29.

“The new state-of-the-art netting is designed to blend into the background and provide greater visibility, ensuring fans can remain close to the action in a safe manner, without compromising the viewing experience,” the statement said.

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 Blue Jays said the changes were part of their “ongoing commitment to providing fans with a safe and enjoyable environment at the ballpark.”

There was no immediate word on whether any changes were planned for the team’s spring training complex in Florida.

The Blue Jays will kick off their pre-season schedule Feb. 23 against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dunedin Stadium.

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