Wow, Bruce, wow

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How can you have spent the last 12 years covering the NL and believe that Brad Hawpe is a legitimate center fielder capable of pushing Kosuke Fukudome to right field?
I actually think Bruce Miles is one of the Cubs’ best beat writers, but that’s an ugly error. It’s not like Hawpe is a newcomer. He’s spent five-plus years in the big leagues, he’s averaged a 900 OPS in the last four and he even went to an All-Star Game this year.
Hawpe, though, has never played a game in center field and for good reason. He’s a natural first baseman who moved to the outfield because of Todd Helton’s presence. After doing a respectable job his first few years in the league, he’s declined to the point at which his defense has nullified much of his value on offense.
There’s a good chance that Hawpe will be traded this winter. The Rockies have Carlos Gonzalez to plug into right field on a full-time basis and they should be fine in center with Dexter Fowler and in left with a combination of Seth Smith, Ryan Spilborghs and maybe Eric Young Jr.
It is teams with holes at first base and DH that should be looking at Hawpe, though. He’ll be of more use there than he is as a liability in a corner outfield spot.

Report: Shohei Ohtani has sprained UCL in pitching elbow

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The Angels signed Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani for a $2.3 million signing bonus last weekend. They may have damaged goods on their hands. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Ohtani underwent a physical that revealed a first-degree sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament. As a result, he got a platelet-rich plasma injection on October 20. This was made known to teams after Ohtani entered MLB’s posting system, so it wasn’t like the Angels went into this blind.

Ohtani’s report said, “Although partial damage of UCL in deep layer of his right UCL exists, he is able to continue full baseball participation with sufficient elbow care program.” It also said Ohtani “will most likely be available to start his throwing program approximately a month from the PRP.”

Passan notes that the report also mentioned that a “small free body” floats in Ohtani’s elbow near his UCL.

Ohtani isn’t without other injuries. He battled hamstring and ankle issues throughout 2017 and underwent right ankle surgery back in October. Thankfully for the Angels, this diagnosis is about as good as it could be considering the circumstances. However, if Ohtani does exacerbate his UCL issue, he may ultimately need Tommy John surgery at some point, which would take him out of action for at least a year.