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.

Video: Minor League Manager goes on epic rant

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Frisco RoughRiders manager Joe Mikulik got his money’s worth last night. He was ejected after arguing an automatic double play on an enforcement of the slide rule, and he didn’t go gently into that goodnight.

Rather, he threw things, kicked things, threw things and then subsequently kicked those same things, gave overly-demonstrative slides and safe signs and basically went all Earl Weaver/Lou Piniella on everyone.

Double-A baseball is the best minor league because you tend to see more prospects there than you do at Triple-A. But it’s also the best because, when you’re a manager who is not quite a heartbeat away from getting your shot at the big leagues, you’re a little less uptight about things. Or at least Mikulik was. Or maybe he was more uptight. I don’t know. He just went with it, and going with it has its charms.

 

(h/t Big League Stew)

A must-read oral history of the 1998 home run chase

7 Jul 1998:   American Leaguer player Mark McGwire #25 of the St Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa #21 of  the Chicago Cubs answer questions during  the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Coors Field in Denver,  Colorado.The American  League defeated the
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It’s hard to believe that it’s been 18 years since Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivated the nation with their epic chase of Roger Maris’ home run record. But it has been, and after years of reaction, counter-reaction and, of course, baseball’s reckoning with the performance-enhancing drugs which helped fuel the chase, it’s probably finally time to do our best to contextualize it historically.

Today one of my favorite news outlets does that with an oral history. All of the key figures weigh-in on it, from McGwire and Sosa to Bud Selig to Tony La Russa. Randy Johnson makes an appearance as well, reminding us that it wasn’t just the sluggers who had an amazing year in 1998. Indeed, his story, including his being traded to Houston and going on an amazing second-half run, has almost been lost to history.

This is bookmark material, my friends. For savoring later if you can’t read it now. And for revisiting at another time given the depths to the drama which justifies multiple readings. I’ll just warn you that there is some adult language in the story, but that’s to be expected given the passion the 1998 baseball season inspired.

Go check it out.

UPDATE: Asdrubal Cabrera leaves Mets-Nats game with back spasms

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera #13 of the New York Mets throws to first from his knee after diving to catch a ground ball to get Joc Pederson #31 of the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second out of the sixth inning 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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UPDATE: Cabrera was removed from the game due to back spasms.

1:21PM: This is not good: Asdrubal Cabrera was removed from today’s game against the Nationals with an apparent injury.

It’s unclear what the injury was, as Cabrera had yet to even play in the game. Matt Reynolds came on to play shortstop in the bottom of the first inning, but Cabrera didn’t bat in the top of the first. It could be an illness. Or some freak occurrence.

We’ll update when we hear more.

There are apparently unwritten rules about manager replay challenges now

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 05: Manager Joe Maddon #70 of the Chicago Cubs shakes hands with manager Mike Matheny #26 of the St. Louis Cardinals before the Opening Night game at Wrigley Field on April 5, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Last night’s Cardinals-Cubs game was a blowout, with the Cubs beating the Cards 12-3. Apparently, however, in the ninth inning of the game, Reynoldsburg, Ohio’s own Mike Matheny played the Cardinals infield in, which is a move you never see in a blowout. Why did he do that?

He hasn’t said yet, but Cubs manager Joe Maddon just spoke to the media before today’s game and he’s speculating that Matheny did it as a form of protest:

God, I hope that’s true. I hope that manager replay challenges, which are already dumb enough inasmuch as they turn what should be an officiating correction device into a strategic tool, are now turning into another front in the Great Unwritten Rules Wars. I hope that we now have a bunch of people talking about how there’s a right way and a wrong way to use the replay system and that one can disrespect the other side if they do it the wrong way. The way the replay system has been implemented often resembles tragedy. Why not make it farce?

Oh well, I guess it beats throwing at someone for doing that wrong. And I guess it’s just a reminder that no matter what we do, baseball is always gonna give us an opportunity for petty bits of silliness.