Daily Dose: Hamilton's hernia

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Josh Hamilton has been in and out of Texas’ lineup since suffering a
groin injury while crashing into the outfield wall on May 17 and the
team announced Tuesday that he has “an abdominal strain that’s
effectively a form of a sports hernia.” For now the hope is that he’ll
return following a 15-day stint on the disabled list, but it also could
require surgery that would sideline him for two months.

Outfield depth is a strength for the Rangers and Hamilton had hit
just .240 with a .746 OPS in 138 plate appearances, so they’re
relatively well equipped to handle his injury in the short term. David
Murphy, Marlon Byrd, and Nelson Cruz started from left to right in
Texas’ outfield Tuesday night and Andruw Jones will also see increased
action.

While the Rangers try to stay atop the AL West without the guy who
led the AL in RBIs last season, here are some other notes from around
baseball …

* Carlos Beltran missed his third straight game with a “stomach
virus” Tuesday, which combined with reports that a member of the Mets’
broadcast team is being hospitalized with what may be a case of swine
flu has everyone wondering about what’s going on. John Maine is also
suffering from a stomach virus, but assistant general manager John
Rizzo told reporters that neither case is swine flu related.

* Speaking of the flu, Jake Peavy left his Tuesday start after
allowing four runs in the first inning with what the team termed “a
viral upper respiratory infection.” It’s the shortest start of Peavy’s
career and he’s been dealing with ankle problems of late, but the
Padres insisted that wasn’t behind the early exit. Peavy had won his
previous three starts and turned down a trade to the White Sox last
week.

* Edinson Volquez was placed on the disabled list Tuesday after his
fingers went numb during Monday’s start, but the Reds also got some
good news. Dr. Timothy Kremchek diagnosed Volquez with elbow tendinitis
and suggested that he should be fine after a couple weeks off, which
Dusty Baker described as “the best news it could be for bad news.”

* After starting rookie Jordan Schafer in 49 of the first 50 games,
Atlanta decided to send him down Tuesday while recalling Gregor Blanco
from Triple-A. Schafer earned the demotion by hitting just
.204/.313/.287 with 63 strikeouts and Blanco started 103 games last
season split between left field and center field. He went 0-for-5 in
center field Tuesday, but has enough speed to be an NL-only asset.

* Mike Scioscia suggested Tuesday that Howie Kendrick could be in
danger of a demotion to Triple-A if he doesn’t turn things around soon.
Kendrick entered this season as a career .306 hitter in 252 games, but
he’s batting just .225/.266/.350 through 171 plate appearances and
potential replacement Sean Rodriguez is on fire at Triple-A with 18
homers, 55 RBIs, and an 1.001 OPS in 50 games.

AL Quick Hits: Joakim Soria came off the disabled list Tuesday
after the Royals went 5-16 in his absence … Roy Halladay tallied a
career-high 14 strikeouts in a 133-pitch complete game Tuesday,
notching his MLB-leading ninth win … Xavier Nady threw again Tuesday
and said that his elbow felt “much better” … Asdrubal Cabrera left
Tuesday’s game after suffering a shoulder injury while breaking up a
double play … Michael Cuddyer remained sidelined Tuesday, but an MRI
exam on his finger showed no structural damage … Matt Joyce went
3-for-4 and drove in four runs Tuesday, homering for the third time in
five games since being called up from Triple-A … Barring another
setback, Travis Hafner (shoulder) is slated to come off the shelf
Friday … Vicente Padilla was rocked for seven runs Tuesday in his
return from the DL … Julio Lugo was a healthy scratch for the third
straight game Tuesday … Evan Longoria left Tuesday’s game with a
strained hamstring.

NL Quick Hits: Tom Glavine (shoulder) tossed six shutout innings
in a rehab start Tuesday at Single-A and may be ready to join Atlanta’s
rotation … Milton Bradley left Tuesday’s game with a strained calf and
as always is now being considered day-to-day … Mike Cameron was out of
Tuesday’s lineup, but said that his knee injury isn’t serious … Elijah
Dukes came off the disabled list Tuesday and should see lots of action
in the Nationals’ outfield … Zach Duke induced 13 ground-ball outs
Tuesday and beat Johan Santana with seven innings of one-run ball …
Rich Harden (back) threw off a mound Tuesday for the first time since
landing on the DL and reported no problems … Jesus Flores has been
diagnosed with a stress fracture in his right shoulder, putting his
season in doubt and leaving Washington with Josh Bard and Wil Nieves
behind the plate … Jerry Manuel hinted Tuesday that J.J. Putz may be
stripped of primary setup duties in favor of Bobby Parnell.

Mets acquire Jacob Rhame from Dodgers

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The Mets acquired right-handed reliever Jacob Rhame from the Dodgers, the team announced on Sunday. Rhame is the player to be named later in the trade that sent outfielder Curtis Granderson to Los Angeles on Friday night. He’s expected to report to the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate.

Rhame, 24, pitched through his second Triple-A campaign with the Oklahoma City Dodgers in 2017, collecting two saves in 41 appearances and logging a 4.31 ERA, 1.9 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 48 innings. While his ERA saw a sharp spike from its modest 3.29 mark in 2016 (perhaps thanks in part to a midseason DL stint due to an undisclosed injury), he’s controlling the ball better than he has in several years and has drawn some attention with a fastball that occasionally touches 98 MPH on the radar gun.

The Mets’ bullpen hasn’t been at its finest over the last few weeks, ranking 16th among its major league competitors with a collective 4.50 ERA and 2.4 fWAR, but likely isn’t looking to add an extreme fly ball pitcher to its staff just yet. Until he gets his big league break, Rhame will beef up Triple-A Vegas’ relief corps alongside fellow right-handers Yaisel Sierra, Joe Broussard and Josh Ravin.

Cardinals and Pirates prepare to play unusual finale in first-ever MLB Little League Classic

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The Pirates and Cardinals will switch things up for Sunday’s series finale, moving from the spacious PNC Park to the renovated Minor League confines of BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field. Normally the home stadium for the Phillies’ Short-Season Single-A Williamsport Crosscutters, Historic Bowman Field will set the stage for an unusual — and unprecedented — matchup between the NL Central rivals as they take the field for the first-ever MLB Little League Baseball Classic.

The game will cap a packed day for Major League and Little League participants alike, as four Little League double-elimination games will be played in the morning and afternoon before the Pirates’ Ivan Nova and Cardinals’ Mike Leake face off at 7:00 PM ET. Despite drawing national attention, the Classic will be invitation-only, and its projected 2,366 attendees will comprise the lowest capacity attendance figure in Major League history.

The event is designed to spark more interest in the sport, especially among young players, and Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny called it “grassroots marketing at its finest.” “We all fell in love with the game and started dreaming about playing on a field like this at the age of these kids we’re going to go see in Williamsport,” he told reporters prior to Sunday’s game. “I hope there are some kids that we can encourage and maybe give a different look of the game and create some lifelong baseball fans that might not have been there otherwise.”

Judging by the excitement that infused the pregame festivities among the players, it looks like they’re already on the right track.