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.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.