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.

Jason Kipnis could join Team Israel for 2017 World Baseball Classic

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians throws during batting practice prior to Game Seven of the 2016 World Series against the Chicago Cubs at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.

For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.

Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.

Rangers to sign James Loney to minor league deal

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 21: James Loney #28 of the New York Mets tosses to first base against the San Francisco Giants during the second inning at AT&T Park on August 21, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  The New York Mets defeated the San Francisco Giants 2-0. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Free agent first baseman James Loney has reportedly signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The deal includes an invite to spring training and a $1 million salary if he makes the major league roster in 2017.

Loney picked up a one-year stint and starting role with the Mets in 2016, slashing .265/.307/.397 with nine home runs in 336 PA. While his numbers were down a hair from the .280/.322/.357 batting line he produced with the Rays in 2015, he provided the Mets with a necessary, if underwhelming upgrade over an injured Lucas Duda through most of the season.

The 32-year-old infielder is expected to have some competition at first base, with at least five other candidates in the mix: Jurickson Profar, Ronald Guzman, Ryan Rua, Joey Gallo and Josh Hamilton. Rumor has it that the team is planning on platooning Rua and Profar in 2017, barring any impressive breakouts or injuries during spring training, though Loney could still provide the club with some veteran depth and a decent left-handed bat off the bench.