Strong Island's Finest: Positional Players

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In honor of the U.S. Open out at Bethpage this weekend, let’s look at
the greatest baseball players from Long Island, or Strong Island for
all you meatheads, in Major League history. First, the position
players:

Carl Yastrzemski, Southampton. 23 seasons with Red Sox … 452 HR,
1844 RBI, .285/.379/.462 … .369 AVG, 4 HR in 17 postseason games … 1967
A.L. MVP & Triple Crown Winner … 18 All-Star games … 7 Gold Gloves
… Hall of Fame in 1989.

Craig Biggio, Smithtown. 20 seasons with Astros … 291 HR, 1175
RBI, .281/.363/.433 … 414 SB (50 in 1998) … 668 2B, 5th all-time … 285
HBP, 2nd all-time … 7 All-Star games … 4 Gold Gloves … successful
transition from catcher to second baseman … dirtiest helmet ever.

John Valentin, Mineola. 11 seasons with Red Sox and Mets … 124
HR, 558 RBI, .279/.360/.454 … 47 2B in 1997 led A.L. … .347 AVG, 5 HR
in 17 postseason games.

A.J. Pierzynski, Bridgehampton. 12 seasons (and counting) with
Twins, Giants, and White Sox … 104 HR, 516 RBI, .284/.326/.428 … 2
All-Star games … traded to SF for Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano …
2005 World Series Champion … 27 GIDP in 2004 led N.L. … .300 AVG, 5 HR
in 30 postseason games … thrown out 3 of 41 base stealers in 2009 (7%).

Frank Catalanotto, Smithtown. 13 seasons (and counting) with Tigers, Rangers, Blue Jays, and Brewers … 83 HR, 449 RBI, .292/.358/.448.

Tony Graffanino, Amityville. 13 seasons (and counting) with
Braves, Devil Rays, White Sox, Royals, Red Sox, Brewers, and Indians …
58 HR, 302 RBI, .265/.335/.394 … .231 AVG in 15 postseason games … once
traded for Tanyon Sturtze, who is definitely slightly crazy.

Keith Osik, Port Jefferson. 10 seasons with Pirates, Brewers,
Orioles, and Nationals … 13 HR, 108 RBI, .231/.308/.321 … 2 relief
pitching appearances, 2.0 IP, 9 ER, 2 K … threw out 29% of potential
base stealers.

Tom Veryzer, Port Jefferson. 12 seasons with Tigers, Indians,
Mets, and Cubs … 14 HR, 231 RBI, .241/.283/.294 … 9 SB, 23 CS … 2
seasons with 20+ errors at shortstop.

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.