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

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

* 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.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.