When you thought it couldn't get worse for Pirates

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Remember that big Manny Ramirez trade last summer? Manny to the Dodgers, Jason Bay to the Red Sox and Andy LaRoche and three prospects to the Pirates.

Fifty-game suspension aside, it worked out pretty well for the Dodgers. And you know Boston is happy with Jason being Jason.

But the Pirates, of course, can’t catch any luck. In addition to a mediocre LaRoche, they received Bryan Morris from the Dodgers, and Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen from the Red Sox.

Moss is, like LaRoche, quite mediocre as a platoon outfielder. Morris can’t throw strikes in Single-A. And Hansen, once thought to potentially be Jonathan Papelbon’s future replacement, was also wild and on the 60-day disabled list.

Through it all, Pirates GM Neal Huntington has remained optimistic.

But now, as it turns out, the news is even worse. According to John Perrotto at Piratesreport.com, Hansen is suffering from a rare condition that affects a group of nerves that send signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand.

Recovery is essentially a crap shoot. It can take months. It can take years. It might not happen at all. All you can do is rest the affected area and hope. As Hansen told Perrotto …

“The muscles in my right shoulder have atrophied so much that there would be almost no way that, even if the nerve healed tomorrow, I would be able to get my strength back in time to pitch in a game this year,” Hansen said.

Hansen said that he might come back as a left-hander, showing his sense of humor while in a tough situation.

“I’m thinking about getting a left-hander’s glove and coming back as a lefty,” Hansen said. “I could pitch until I’m 45 and get guys out with my high school curveball.”

Tanner Scheppers leaves Cactus League game with lower core injury

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Rangers’ bullpen candidate Tanner Scheppers left Friday’s Cactus League game with pain in his “lower half,” according to reports by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The specifics of the right-hander’s injury have yet to be determined, but he was accompanied by the athletic trainer when he exited the game and is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Saturday.

Scheppers, 30, has a long history of elbow and knee injuries. He missed all but 8 2/3 innings of the 2016 season after undergoing a procedure to repair torn articular cartilage in his left knee. While he appeared healthy enough through his first seven appearances this spring, he failed to impress with three runs, five walks and six strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings with the club.

Should Scheppers find himself on the disabled list for another lengthy stay, MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan speculates that his absence could clear some room in the bullpen for Rule 5 draft pick and fellow righty Mike Hauschild. Hauschild, 27, has dealt seven runs, five walks and 15 strikeouts through 17 1/3 innings in camp.

Report: Jose Ramirez close to four-year extension with Indians

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Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports that third baseman Jose Ramirez is finalizing a four-year extension with the Indians. The deal is said to be worth north of $30 million, and may crest $50 million if all options are exercised. While the extension won’t take effect until the 2018 season, it guarantees Ramirez a $26 million sum with two options worth $11 and $13 million and will give the Indians control of the infielder through the 2023 season.

Ramirez, 24, is entering his fifth season in the Indians’ organization. He posted career-high numbers during his first full season in the majors, slashing .312/.363/.461 with 11 home runs, 22 stolen bases and 4.8 fWAR in 2016. He’s projected to have a strong follow-up season at the plate and will likely see some time at second base as Jason Kipnis works his way back from a shoulder injury.

Although 2016 only showcased the beginning of Ramirez’s success with the club, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman says it’s a standard move for Cleveland to “sign their stars early,” and indicates that Ramirez was rumored to want the deal. Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors adds that the extension will keep Ramirez under club control through three arbitration-eligible years and one year of potential free agency.