Daily Dose: Texas loses Hamilton, McCarthy

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Josh Hamilton’s stay on the disabled list was extended Monday, as the
Rangers announced that he’ll miss another 4-6 weeks after undergoing
surgery to repair a partially torn abdominal muscle. Hamilton had been
hoping to avoid going under the knife, but decided otherwise when the
pain persisted following his trip to the DL last week and a second
opinion confirmed the need for surgery.

Hamilton being out has Texas going with David Murphy in left field,
Marlon Byrd in center field, and Nelson Cruz in right field, as manager
Ron Washington opted for that alignment in seven of the past eight
games. That outfield leaves Andruw Jones and Hank Blalock in a fairly
strict platoon at designated hitter, with Blalock getting the starts
against right-handed pitching.

While the Rangers try to hold onto first place in the AL West sans Hamilton, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Along with losing Hamilton, the Rangers also discovered Monday
that Brandon McCarthy will be sidelined indefinitely with a stress
fracture in his shoulder. He’ll be completely shut down for several
weeks and a similar injury in 2007 kept him out for over a month.
McCarthy went 5-2 with a 4.92 ERA and 44/26 K/BB ratio in 11 starts,
but this marks his fourth trip to the disabled list in three seasons.

Doug Mathis was called up from Triple-A to step in for McCarthy on
Tuesday, but he lacks fantasy upside and ultimately the rotation spot
will probably be filled by Derek Holland once Matt Harrison returns
from the DL later this week. Holland is just 1-3 with a 6.54 ERA in
31.2 innings, but the 22-year-old southpaw has plenty of potential
after posting a 2.68 ERA and 245/64 K/BB ratio in the minors.

* Jeremy Bonderman came off the disabled list and Jose Contreras was
recalled from the minors Monday, and they faced off with dramatically
different results as the Game 2 matchup of a doubleheader in Chicago.
Contreras had gone 0-5 with an 8.19 ERA prior to being demoted to
Triple-A last month, but shut out Detroit for eight innings while
allowing just one hit and one walk.

Meanwhile, Bonderman struggled mightily in his 2009 debut as Chicago
knocked him around for six runs in four innings, including three
homers. He struck out just one batter and reports of decreased velocity
while rehabbing proved accurate as Bonderman initially threw 88-91
miles per hour before dropping to 87-89 late. For comparison, his
average fastball was 92.7 mph from 2003-2008.

AL Quick Hits: After undergoing an eye exam Monday, David Ortiz
was informed that he has 20-20 vision and given drops for dryness …
Adam Lind homered twice Monday and is now 14-for-29 (.483) with three
homers and five doubles in seven games this month … Detroit sent Ryan
Perry back to the minors Monday after the 2008 first-round pick walked
19 batters in 23 innings … Evan Longoria (hamstring) returned to the
lineup Monday after missing nearly a week’s worth of starts … J.D. Drew
(shoulder) is hoping to rejoin the lineup Tuesday after getting a
cortisone shot … Aaron Cunningham left Monday’s game after being hit on
the helmet by a pitch, although he stayed in long enough to score from
first base on a double … Jacoby Ellsbury is day-to-day with a sprained
shoulder after an MRI exam revealed no structural damage … Joe Crede
was scratched from Monday’s lineup with lingering calf soreness.

NL Quick Hits: Justin Upton sat out Monday’s game after injuring
his shoulder on a swing Sunday night … Sean West shut out the Giants
for eight innings Monday to pick up his first MLB victory … Khalil
Greene is slated to begin a minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A
this week as he attempts to come back from social anxiety disorder …
Starting on short rest following his 300th win, Randy Johnson took his
165th loss by allowing three runs in five innings Monday … Clint Barmes
collected two hits Monday for his sixth straight multi-hit effort …
Jose Valverde (calf) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Wednesday
at Double-A … After blowing a save Sunday, Chad Qualls said that his
forearm tightness will probably linger … Out since May 24 with a
hamstring injury, Chris Iannetta is expected to come off the shelf
Tuesday … Jason Marquis improbably became the NL’s first eight-game
winner by allowing two runs in 6.2 innings Monday.

Royals pay tribute to late Yordano Ventura during spring training opener

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 12: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning of the game on August 12, 2016 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.

Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).

A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.

The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:

A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.

Gerrit Cole named Pirates’ Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Gerrit Cole #45 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photograph during MLB spring training photo day on February 19, 2017 at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
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Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.

The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.

Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.