Friday's quick hits – Sheets doubtful for 2009

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According to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, teams interested in free agent Ben Sheets have learned that he won’t be ready to pitch this year after surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon.

When Sheets had the procedure in Feburary, the hope was that he’d be
ready to pitch in August. However, he obviously isn’t progressing as
hoped, which explains why he hasn’t been involved in any rumors
recently. There’s still good reason to believe he’ll be back at full
strength in 2010.

The Reds have activated Edwin Encarnacion from the DL following a two-month absence due to a fracture in his left wrist.

Danny Richar traded places with him, going on the DL with a shoulder
injury. Encarnacion was brutal before getting hurt, hitting
.127/.286/.190, but it was just 63 at-bats and no one has stepped up in
his absence. As a result, it’s practically guaranteed that he’ll get
his job back.

The Braves have scheduled Tim Hudson’s first rehab appearance from Tommy John surgery for July 19.

If all goes well, he’ll make five or six rehab starts and then rejoin
Atlanta’s rotation during the second half of August. The Braves already
have a very solid rotation that includes Derek Lowe, Javier Vazquez,
Jair Jurrjens, Kenshin Kawakami and Tommy Hanson, opening up the
possibility that Hudson could return as a reliever. However, a lot can
happen in a month and a half.

A really intriguing idea would be to shop Vazquez for a big-time
outfielder at the deadline, but I don’t see any obvious fits. A
three-way deal that would bring Matt Holliday from Oakland and send
prospects to the A’s would be ideal.

Nationals owner Mark Lerner had his left leg amputated

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Mark Lerner, son of Ted Lerner and a co-owner of the Washington Nationals, had his left leg amputated earlier this month. He was diagnosed earlier this year for a rare form of cancer that a attacks connective tissue and treatment had been ineffective, so doctors removed the limb.

The news was revealed in the form of a letter Lerner wrote to Washington Post columnist Barry Svrluga, who had inquired about Lerner’s uncharacteristic absence from the ballpark of late. Lerner:

“With my doctors and medical team, we decided that amputation of that leg was my best choice to maintain the active and busy lifestyle that I have always enjoyed. The limb was removed in early August and I’m healing well, cancer-free, and looking forward to my eventual new prosthetic.”

Lerner, 63, has been known to dress up in a Nats uniform and shag fly balls with the team during batting practice. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery and, if his prosthetic allows, some more BP shagging at some point in the future.

New Marlins owners are going to dump David Samson, keep the home run sculpture

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The Miami Herald reports that the future Miami Marlins owners, Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, have informed Major League Baseball that they do not intend to retain current team president David Samson. Derek Jeter will replace him as the person in charge of baseball and business operations.

Samson has been a polarizing figure in Miami and has been seen as Jeff Loria’s front-facing presence in many ways. He led the effort for the team to get its new stadium, which led to political scandal and outrage in Miami (not that he didn’t get his stadium). In 2014, he appeared on “Survivor.” He did not survive.

What will survive, however, is the famous home run sculpture in the outfield at Marlins Park. You’ll recall some reports earlier this week that Sherman and Jeter were thinking about removing it. If so, they’ll have a lot of hurdles to jump, because yesterday the Miami-Dade County government reminded them that it was paid for by its Art in Public Places program, it is thus owned by the county and that it cannot be moved without prior approval from the county.

I know a lot of people hate that thing, but it has grown on me over the years. Not for its own aesthetic sake as much for its uniqueness and whimsy, which are two things that are in extraordinarily short supply across the Major League Baseball landscape. Like a lot of new and different bits of art and architecture over the course of history, I suspect its initial loathing will increasingly come to be replaced by respect and even pride. Especially if the Marlins ever make another World Series run, in which case everything associated with the club will be elevated in the eyes of fans.

On this score, Sherman and Jeter will thank Miami-Dade for saving themselves from themselves one day.