Stephen Strasburg to debut on June 8 vs. Pirates

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Strasburg debut.jpgIt’s finally official. After rampant speculation and anticipation, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo told Bill Ladson of MLB.com that 2009 first-round pick Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to make his major league debut on Tuesday, June 8 against the Pirates.

The 21-year-old right-hander has blown the doors off minor league
competition, going 6-2 with a 1.43 ERA, 0.74 WHIP and a 60/12 K/BB ratio
through his first 10 professional starts. Naturally, the Nationals have been more than pleased with their record-breaking investment. And with his potential “Super Two” status no longer a concern, they are ready to set him loose on major league hitters.

“Along with [pitching coordinator] Spin Williams and pitching coach
Steve McCatty, we had a plan in place since Spring Training [for
Strasburg],” Rizzo said. “We believe he is ready to go. We like that
Stephen could bounce back from tough outings.”

But he isn’t bound for NatsTown quite yet. Strasburg is scheduled for one final tuneup with Triple-A Syracuse on Thursday, where Rizzo said he is expected to throw six innings or 95 pitches.

And now time for a little experiment. I’m wondering how many fans who bought tickets to the widely-hyped June 4 game will actually show up to watch J.D Martin or somebody of similar ilk?

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.