Less playing time could hurt Bengie Molina's wallet

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Bengie Molina headshot.jpgAndrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, one of my favorite beat reporters, unearthed some interesting details about Bengie Molina’s new contract with the Giants:

And as I discovered today, even a small reduction in playing time could take a lot of money out of Molina’s pocket.

That’s because the veteran catcher has significant incentives built
into his $4.5 million contract. He’d earn a $250,000 bonus for his 90th
start at catcher, and additional $250,000 payouts for each five games
he starts beyond that, maxing out at 115 games. That’s six triggers
worth $1.5 million – which could bring his total earnings to $6 million.

As Baggarly notes in his piece, manager Bruce Bochy is already planning
to give Molina fewer starts this season, so what happens once June 1
arrives and the Giants no longer have to worry about Buster Posey’s
“Super Two” status? A chance to win should trump all, but he might have second thoughts about turning down $5.5 million guaranteed from the Mets.

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.