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 leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.