Royals' Anderson hits for cycle in four innings

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Former White Sox first-round pick Brian Anderson, currently auditioning for a spot on the Kansas City bench, hit for the cycle and drove in seven runs in the first four innings Friday as the Royals took a 17-0 lead over the Diamondbacks.
Anderson, who would have had a shot at a starting job before Rick Ankiel was signed, appeared to be losing a competition with Mitch Maier for one spot on the Kansas City bench, but he may have reversed his fortunes in the span of an hour and a half.
The 28-year-old doubled and tripled off Arizona starter Billy Buckner, singled off closer Chad Qualls and then hit a two-run homer in the fourth off Clay Zavada.
The homer was his first of the spring. He entered the day with a .273 average and three doubles in 22 at-bats.
Anderson wasn’t the only former White Sox first-round pick having a big game for Kansas City, either. Josh Fields, another player battling for a bench spot, was 3-for-3 with a double and five RBI before being pulled for a pinch-runner.

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.