Dodgers sign Russ Ortiz, for some reason

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According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the Dodgers have signed right-hander Russ Ortiz and outfielder Michael Restovich to minor league contracts with invites to Spring Training.

Ortiz, 35, was 3-6 with a 5.57 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in 23 games (13
starts) with the Astros in 2009, his first full season back from Tommy
John surgery, but was released by the club in July. The Dodgers have
lost Randy Wolf, Jon Garland and Vicente Padilla this winter, so he
should get a chance to win a rotation spot, according to Gurnick.

How Ortiz keeps getting major league opportunities is positively
baffling. He has averaged 4.7 BB/9 during his career, led the league in
walks twice, and worst of all, he has tallied a 6.56 ERA since 2005.
We’re talking about the Dodgers here, the same team who gave Eric
Milton and Jason Schmidt shots in their rotation last season, but not
promising left-hander Scott Elbert. I’d like to think they wouldn’t be
this silly again, but don’t be surprised to see Elbert get similarly
shafted this season.

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.