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.

Theo Epstein named The World’s Greatest Leader

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Fortune Magazine has put out a list of The World’s Greatest Leaders. Not the greatest business leaders, not the greatest leaders in a given industry, but the Greatest Leaders, full stop. The greatest according to Fortune: The Cubs’ Theo Epstein.

For some context, Pope Francis was third. Angela Merkel was 10th. Lebron James was the next greatest sports leader, ranked 11th. Take Fortune’s methodology with a grain of salt, however, given that it has John McCain above Merkel — what, exactly, does he lead now? — and Samantha Bee in the top 20.

So what makes Theo the world’s best leader according to Fortune?

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

I don’t want to take anything away from what Theo has done — he’s a Hall of Fame executive already in my view — but I feel like maybe one needs to adjust for the fact that this is a baseball team we’re talking about. They’re the whole world to us and their brands are nationally and even world famous, but as an organization, sports teams are rather small. There are guys who run reasonably-sized HVAC companies with more employees than a baseball team and they don’t get the benefit of an antitrust exemption and a rule which allows them to get their pick of the best new employees if they had a bad year the year before.

Really, not trying to throw shade here, just thinking that being the spiritual father for 1.2 billion Catholics or running a foundation that serves 55 million needy children — like the woman who comes in at number 14 — is a bit of a tougher trick.

But this will make a great framed magazine article on Theo’s wall in Wrigley Field.

 

 

Marcus Stroman named World Baseball Classic MVP

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United States starter Marcus Stroman was named Most Valuable Player of the World Baseball Classic after helping lead the U.S. to its first ever WBC title on Wednesday night in an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico. Stroman flirted with a no-hitter through six innings, but gave up a double to lead off the seventh before being relieved by Sam Dyson.

Stroman also pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings against the Dominican Republic in Pool C play on March 11. He struggled in Pool F play against Puerto Rico last Friday, surrendering four runs in 4 2/3 innings.

The WBC MVP award understandably goes to a player of the winning team. However, Wladimir Balentien of the Netherlands deserves special mention. In 26 at-bats during the WBC, he hit a double and had a WBC-high four home runs, 12 RBI, and 12 runs scored while putting up a .615/.677/.1.115 batting line. That’s MVP-esque as far as this tournament is concerned.