Sammy Sosa is going to be waiting a while

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Last week, Sammy Sosa said that, following his retirement, he would “calmly wait” to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
The headline from a weekend story in the Chicago Tribune: “Sammy Sosa
gets reluctant Hall nod from most.” That isn’t from most Hall of Fame
voters, mind you, just most of the eight Hall of Fame voters who happen
to work for the Tribune. And, as the headline suggests, the support isn’t exactly strong:

Until there’s significant evidence he cheated, Sosa gets my wobbly
vote . . . No, no, a thousand times no . . . we still don’t know any
more about the steroid suspicions surrounding Sosa, which were
circulated merely based on the “eye test” of fans and media.
Fortunately, we will have another four years to uncover any possible
revelations regarding Sosa and others . . . You can’t disqualify Sosa
using those guidelines. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t cheat. Just
that he did it better than some others . . . I’m calling for a separate
wing for the Hall of Fame for candidates like Sosa, Mark McGwire, Barry
Bonds, Manny Ramirez and others who have been suspected of bulking up
with improper chemicals . . . The answer now is a yes vote, but we have
four years to have our minds changed, thank goodness . . . Obviously,
suspicions about Sammy Sosa also exist, and he never quite has
addressed them, but as he continues to work on his English over the
next four years, we should feel confident that he will provide a
clearer picture of how he did what he did.

If that’s the kind of sentiment that comes from the guys who covered
Sosa for this defacto hometown newspaper for so many years, we can only
guess that the sentiment against him among the other Hall of Fame
voters is going to be much stronger.

Not that this is particularly shocking. At least no more shocking
than the fact that one newspaper gets eight Hall of Fame votes.

Alex Dickerson to miss 2017 season after undergoing back surgery

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Padres’ outfielder Alex Dickerson won’t see PETCO Park anytime soon — at least, not as its starting left fielder. The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a bulging disc in his lower back prior to the start of the 2017 season, and hasn’t made any kind of substantial progress in the months since. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune, he suffered a setback in his recovery process last week and is set to undergo a season-ending discectomy next Wednesday.

Over 285 plate appearances, Dickerson batted .257/.333/.455 with 10 home runs and a .788 OPS for the Padres in 2016. He missed several days with a right hip contusion last July, but hasn’t experienced any substantial health problems since undergoing surgery in 2014 to repair a torn ligament in his left ankle.

The expected recovery period for lower back surgery is 3-4 months, according to Lin, which puts Dickerson’s estimated return just a few days before the end of the regular season. The Padres aren’t scraping the bottom of the NL West, but their 29-44 record doesn’t bode well for a postseason run this year. Assuming Dickerson rehabs his back in a timely manner, he should be in fine form to enter the competition for left field next spring.

Video: Hanley Ramirez’s No. 250 career home run barely left the field

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Hanley Ramirez played a pivotal role during the Red Sox’ 9-4 win over the Angels on Friday night, crushing a two-run homer off of Alex Meyer to bring the Sox up to a four-run lead in the fourth inning.

Well, crushed might be the wrong word. The ball cleared the right field fence with a mere 350 feet, landing just beyond Pesky’s Pole to bring Ramirez’s career home run total to an even 250.

According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Ramirez’s milestone blast wasn’t the shortest home run of the year — not by a long shot. That distinction currently belongs to Rays’ outfielder Corey Dickerson, who skimmed the left field fence at Rogers Centre with a 326-foot homer back in April.