Yankees add veteran catcher Rivera to compete for backup job

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Francisco Cervelli is seemingly the favorite to replace free agent Jose Molina as Jorge Posada’s backup, but the Yankees have brought in some veteran competition in the form of Mike Rivera.
Rivera spent last season backing up Jason Kendall in Milwaukee, drawing a grand total of just 31 starts while hitting .228/.326/.346. He’s shown more pop than that in the past, hitting .276/.338/.465 with nine homers and 14 doubles in 242 plate appearances from 2006-2008, and also averaged 26 homers per 500 at-bats in various stints at Triple-A.
He’s also 33 years old and not especially strong defensively, which is why Rivera could manage only a minor-league deal and Cervelli remains the favorite to be Posada’s caddy in 2010. Cervelli held his own in 101 plate appearances with the Yankees last season, hitting .298/.309/.372 as a 23-year-old rookie, and projects as a solid on-base threat after hitting .273/.367/.380 in the minors.

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.